The CTA Holiday Train returns this season to add a little extra cheer and joy to the residents of Chicago.
Through Saturday, December 10, The Holiday Train will make its appearance on the CTA Blue Line. For more information and to see the full train line rotation, view the schedule online.
On Wednesday, December 7, Local School Council (LSC) members arrived at City Hall to protest changes in Chicago Public School’s spending for special education.
LSC members from more than 150 schools across the city presented Mayor Rahm Emanuel with a signed letter detailing their concerns surrounding how special education programs are funded.
For 2017, the district has decided to commingle both general education and special education funding into a single allocation. This change in the funding method is estimated to save the district roughly $200,000 according to LSC members.
Special needs students are our most vulnerable charges. They require Individual Education Plans to address educational, emotional, or physical challenges. In some cases, special services such as nursing care or counseling are needed. For legal, as well as moral reasons, this is not the population of students to view as an opportunity for cost savings.
With every decision, however, there are externalities to consider. The decision to commingle the two education funds will make money spent more difficult to track, creating less transparency surrounding CPS’ decisions. Furthermore, the decision risks pitting both programs at odds with each other, as resources, funding, and scheduling become even more scarce.
This decision to commingle the education funds is further exacerbated by Governor Rauner’s recent decision to veto Senate Bill 2822, which would have provided CPS with $215 million this fiscal year. Though the funding issues surrounding Chicago Public Schools are complex and nuanced, it is our children’s futures at stake. Cutting funds to public schools hinder districts’ ability to provide students with high-quality education and have long-term negative effects on the nation’s economic competitiveness. All CPS students, whether in the general education program or the special education program, deserve a high-quality education that will prepare them for adulthood.
I have long advocated for fair funding for CPS and will not allow this latest decision by Governor Rauner deter me from continuing to do so. Please take a moment to email Governor Rauner to stand up for our public schools.
With more snow expected this Sunday, I want to remind residents that city ordinance requires you to shovel your sidewalks in a timely manner. With La Niña expected to bring cold temperatures and snowy weather this year, shoveling your sidewalks is the neighborly thing to do. Also, please be aware that failing to clear sidewalks of snow could result in a fine.
Finally, motorists are asked to be cognizant of snow route signs indicating no parking where there are more than two inches of snowfall.
Though Chicago winters are long and grueling, taking extra steps to keep paths clear of snow and ready for snow removal can make the slightest difference in enduring them.
The police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred on Tuesday night at Friendly Food & Liquor, 4262 N. Milwaukee.
At 9:11 pm, two men wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks over their mouths entered the store yelling, “Move back!” and threatened to shoot the store owner, Sarkon Khoshava. They then proceeded to hold Khoshava at gunpoint while they stole his iPhone, merchandise, and cash from the cash register.
Khoshava then followed the men outside to check the vehicle’s license plate information. Upon seeing this, the armed robber turned around and fired two shots at the storefront. The owner then pulled out his own gun and fired back in the direction of the robbers, hitting the van’s back windshield.
While I am deeply concerned that the incident happened at all, I am equally concerned that it escalated to an exchange of gunfire along Milwaukee Avenue.
The two robbers are described as Hispanic men in their early 20’s. They are between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall.
Anyone with more information regarding this incident should call the 16th District Police Station at 312-742-4480.
There is an issue here that goes beyond the cold details of a police report. I have met with Mr. Khoshava, and he is profoundly affected by this incident and his own actions. In hindsight, he recognizes he took great risk to his personal safety by stepping out of his store with a weapon. He also presented a risk to others by firing his weapon at a moving vehicle. We hear more than enough stories of unintended targets being struck by stray bullets, and I am sure in the moment it seemed justified to Mr. Khoshava.
That said, items and cash can be replaced, but life cannot. Each of us needs to reflect on how we might react in a situation such as this. Is it worth a life, any life, when the loss is inconsequential material?
Recently a CPD officer summed it up this way, “We don’t need heroes, we need good witnesses.”
There has been a spike of break-ins at car dealerships on the Northwest Side, including dealerships along Irving Park Road.
On Tuesday, I met with business owners, Alderman Sposato from the 38th Ward, and Commander Looney from the 16th District to discuss how we can address this issue. In addition to the private security measures the dealerships have implemented, the 16th District has agreed to have an increased presence in the area to monitor the businesses during their most vulnerable hours.
We also discussed the roles neighbors in the area can play to continue to make the 16th District the safest in the city. Please remain vigilant when you are out in the neighborhood. Whenever you see suspicious activity, report it to 911. Try to include any descriptions of suspects you are able to obtain in your call to the police.
Together we can continue to make the Northwest Side a safe community for all residents and business owners.
With the outcome of the presidential election, our immigrant neighbors are left with some uncertainty about their future in the United States. It is imperative that our immigrant community, and everyone who is concerned for them, is fully aware of their constitutional rights and what to do if they are confronted by government authorities.
Immigrants and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend Alderman Joe Moore’s Know Your Rights Workshop at 2 pm this Sunday, December 11, at the St. Jerome’s Church Parish Center, 1709 W. Lunt.
Experts from immigrant advocacy organizations will be present to provide attendees with information on their rights and respond to questions. The meeting will offer both English and Spanish translations.
At 7 pm on Friday, December 16, and again at 3 pm on Saturday, December 17, join friends, family, and neighbors to watch as some of Chicago’s finest actors and variety artists take the audience on an eclectic adventure of song, dance, and performance.
Every show features masks, puppets, and props from the studio. The host Brad French, “that juggling guy,” will guide you through an hour and a half of low-tech fun.
Tickets are $10 each or $5 for children, seniors, and veterans.
The 2017 Individual Artists Program (IAP) grant application is now open. Artists can apply online now through January 13, 2017. Absolutely no extensions will be granted.
All applicants are required to attend an Application Workshop in order to apply for a grant. Due to the high demand of these workshops, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has added one final training workshop for the 2017 IAP grant application. The final workshop will be from 10 am to noon on Wednesday, December 14 in the Yates Gallery on the 4th floor at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington.
Visit DCASE’s website for more information and to apply online.
Per federal law, households with one or more immigrant household members are now required to renew their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) before filing their 2016 tax returns.
The ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident immigrants may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the IRS.
This is the first year of a new multi-year rolling federal process which will progressively require all ITIN-holders to renew. In 2016, the law applies to ITINs with the middle digits 78 or 79 (e.g. 9XX-78-XXXX) and to individuals who have not used their ITIN to file a tax return in any of the last three years.
It is estimated that members of 9,000 Chicago households are among the ITIN users nationwide required to renew for the 2016 tax year. Those not renewing by the time they file this year’s tax return may be deemed ineligible to receive certain tax credits, which could result in an unanticipated tax balance due. Not renewing an ITIN number can also result in processing delays.
The Center for Economic Progress and Ladder Up will provide free ITIN renewal assistance for families earning up to $55,000 and individuals earning up to $30,000 annually. They can also assist with the preparation and filing of tax returns. Capacity is limited and appointments will be made on a first come, first served basis.
For more on ITIN renewal, the IRS put together a Fact Sheet with frequently asked questions and additional information. It is available to view or download on my website.
The Chicago Property Tax Rebate Program has been extended through Friday, December 30, 2016.
Chicago homeowners with a household adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less earned in 2015 that saw an increase in the city portion of their most recent property tax bill compared to last years, may be eligible to apply for a rebate to offset the property tax increase.
Homeowners must apply for the rebate in person at any of the 26 neighborhood processing locations, including City Hall. For residents of the 45th Ward, the closest rebate locations are:
- 3401 W. Foster, open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm;
- 6100 W. Irving Park, open on Monday and Wednesday from noon to 7 pm, on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm; and
- 3160 N. Milwaukee, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.
I encourage all property owners in the ward to review the checklist of eligibility requirements and required documentation before visiting a rebate processing center. Applications are available to download online or available for pick up in the Ward Office, located at 4754 N. Milwaukee. Completed applications and all required documentation must be returned to a processing center.
Visit the city’s website for more information on eligibility requirements, documentation requirements, additional neighborhood processing locations and hours, rebate amounts, and supplemental grant opportunities.
As Hands to Help Ministries celebrates the holiday season and get ready for 2017, they want to take a moment thank all of you for partnering with them to support our neighbors on the brink of losing their homes and those who are experiencing homelessness. Hands to Help is a small grassroots organization run and supported by individuals and families like YOU who believe in supporting our neighbors and local community. With your hands and funds, Hands to Help helped one hundred neighbors stay in their homes and find housing this year.
Hands to Help Ministries serves neighbors like Al, who works full-time as a manager at a local coffee shop. Over the summer, while he was experiencing homelessness, he was referred to Hands to Help. Their Outreach Worker helped him create a budget and connected him with the Irving Park YMCA. In September, with a grant from our Client Assistance Fund, he moved off the street and into his own home.
Your financial support makes a huge impact on their work. Together, we identify neighbors before they are evicted and work with neighbors living on the street. Please take a moment to visit their website and consider our neighbors in need this holiday season. Thank you!
The Chicago Park District is seeking proposals from Chicago-based organizations and individual artists to participate in the 2017 Night Out in the Parks initiative.
The application process is open online now through December 16.
Chicago’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban began Thursday, December 1 at 3 am. The parking ban, indicated throughout the city with signage, will be enforced along 107 miles of critical arterial streets through March 31, 2017. The parking ban does not allow vehicles to park on marked arterial streets from 3 am to 7 am, regardless of snow.
In the 45th Ward, the Winter Overnight Parking Ban impacts Foster east of Central, Milwaukee south of Foster, and Central south of Elston.
Cars violating the overnight parking ban restrictions prevent critical routes from being fully plowed and salted when it snows. Vehicle owners also are eligible to receive a minimum $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket, and a storage fee of $20 per day when they violate the winter overnight parking ban.
In addition to the overnight parking ban, starting December 1, there is another parking ban that goes into effect when at least 2-inches of snow falls on the street. Drivers parked during that time on those streets will be eligible for ticketing or having their cars relocated so plows can clear the streets. Streets with a 2 inches of snow parking ban are indicated with signage.
For an interactive map indicating streets affected by both winter parking restrictions, visit The Chicago Tribune’s website.
Are you interested in making a real difference in our community? If so, consider becoming a Chicago Police Officer.
The Chicago Police Department is looking for Chicago residents 18 and older to become part of a team working to make a lasting difference in our communities. The Chicago Police Department offers a competitive salary and benefits in a career that offers a lot of pride.
Applications are now open online and must be completed by January 31, 2017. The test to become a police officer will be held on April 1 or 2, 2017 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. It makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger.
The IAHC Holiday Food Drive runs from November 25, 2016, to January 6, 2017. Drop off items at the Center’s lobby. Items most needed include canned fruit, cereal, pasta, rice and soup.
Now through December 14, the Irving Park Food Pantry is seeking donations of new, unwrapped gifts for boys and girls ages 0-12. They are also seeking stocking stuffers for all ages, new hats, gloves, scarves, and socks in all sizes to distribute to pantry clients. Financial donations are also welcomed and will be used to purchase items needed for the December 21st holiday distribution at the Pantry.
Throughout the year, hundreds of children count on the Irving Park Community Food Pantry. During the holiday season, the Pantry brings extra joy to these children by providing them with a gift. For some, it may be the only gift they will receive.
Toy collection boxes have been placed in 9 locations throughout Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood, including at my office. My office is open from 9 am to 6 pm Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 am to 4 pm Fridays, and 10 am to 2 pm Saturdays.
Donations can also be made during Pantry hours, which are on Wednesdays from 9 am to noon.
Finally, volunteers are needed to collect toys, organize the toy room, and help with the toy distribution on December 21. For more information or to volunteer, email Sara Yoest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicago Parks District’s Winter Break Camps registration is now open.
Kids can enjoy their school break with other kids their age in a fun and supervised environment at an affordable cost. Campers will participate in recreational activities, arts and crafts, sports, and more.
Most camps run the weeks of December 21 and December 28 and are for children ages 6 through 12. The times vary, but most are at least six hours long.
For more information, to view the winter camps, and to register, visit the Chicago Park District’s website.
Thanks for reading,
Fri., Dec 9, 6-10 pm, Baltic Art Studio Co., 4346 N. Milwaukee.Bring your business cards and make new contacts during the annual Break the Ice Party: A Book, A Painting, and Stained Glass. BYOB. Dress to impress.Free.
Fri., Dec 10, 10 am-7 pm, Irving Park Lutheran Church Gym, 4057 N. Harding. Angel Team hosts their Annual Christmas Gift and Wrapping Event for the Homeless. Free.
Sat., Dec 10, 11 am & 2 pm,Chicago Ballet Center, 4041 N. Milwaukee. Join neighbors for the annual holiday tradition ofSweet Suite Nutcracker. More info and tickets: online. $10.
Sat., Dec 10, 11 am-1 pm, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox. Enjoy afternoon tea, sandwiches, and Christmas cookies while musicians and storytellers celebrate the music of the Christmas season during the annual Christmas Tea event. More info: online. Reservations required by December 5: call 773-282-7035. $25/adults, $8/children 12 and under.
Sat., Dec 10, 1-3 pm, Perkolator, 6032 W. Irving Park. Santa Claus is coming to town! Join the Irving-Austin Neighborhood Association and have your picture taken with Santa Claus during the Holiday Walk! Goodie bags, hot cocoa, and cookies! More info: online. Cost of purchases.
Sat., Dec 10, 1 pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner. Join master brewers Marlon Jacobs and Shelly Wright for a Beer Brewing Master Class. Bring beer, a snack to share. More info: [www.stjohnschicago.com ]online or call 773-725-9026. $10 donation for supplies and the beer.
Sat., Dec 10, 2-9 pm, Norwood Park Train Station, 6088 N. Northwest Highway. The Norwood and Gladstone Chambers present Winter Fest. Photoshoot with Santa, food, sleigh rides, holiday crafts, tree lighting ceremony, live holiday choir, hot chocolate, spiced wine, and businesses open late to shop. More info: online. Cost of purchases.
Sat., Dec 10, 3:30-5:30 pm,Portage Park Playground, 4100 N. Central. Join the Friends of Portage Park for their Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Holiday music, hot cocoa, Santa, and horse-driven sleigh rides through the park. Please bring non-perishable food items to donate to Saint Cyprian’s Food Pantry. More info: online. Free.
Sat., Dec 10, 5 pm, Tapestry Center, 3824 W. Irving Park. Get in the holiday spirit during theWhile You Were Sleeping Christmas Concert. Featuring Austin Corinthian Baptist Church Choir. Free.
Sat., Dec 10, 8 pm, Three Counties Pub, 5856 N. Milwaukee. Help raise money for Misericordia during the annual Holiday Charity Pub Quiz.Donation-based fundraiser.
Sun., Dec 11, 10 am, Fannies Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose. Meet and Greet Santa during Fannie’sBruch with Santa. Santa will arrive at 11 am. Cost of purchases.
Sun, Dec 11, noon & 3pm, Chicago Ballet Center, 4041 N. Milwaukee. Join neighbors for the annual holiday tradition of Sweet Suite Nutcracker. More info and tickets: online. $10.
Sun., Dec 11, 1-3 pm, Old Irving Brewing, 4419 W. Montrose.Local artist Chris Gorz will be selling and signing copies of his newly released Old Irving Park Poster. Stop in to buy a poster, and stay for a beer and the food! More artwork: [www.studiochris.com]online.Cost of purchases.
Sun., Dec 11, 2 pm, Irving Park Lutheran Church, 4100 N. Harding. IPFAC Presents: An Americana Christmas featuring Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel.Free. Donations welcome.
Sun., Dec 11, 2-8 pm, Norwood Park Train Station, 6088 N. Northwest Highway.The Norwood and Gladstone Chambers present Winter Fest. Photoshoot with Santa, food, sleigh rides, holiday crafts, tree lighting ceremony, live holiday choir, hot chocolate, spiced wine, and businesses open late to shop. More info: online. Cost of purchases.
Sun., Dec 11, 4 pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner. Scripture, anthems, and hymns followed by a potluck dinner during A Celebration of Lessons and Carols. Childcare provided. More info: [www.stjohnschicago.com]online or call 773-725-9026. Free.
Sun., Dec 11, 5 pm, Tapestry Center, 3824 W. Irving Park. Get in the holiday spirit during the While You Were Sleeping Christmas Concert. Featuring Austin Corinthian Baptist Church Choir. Free.
Tues., Dec 13, noon-1:30 pm,Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Courtroom 2005.Learn about the court process for obtaining orders of protection and legal protections and resources for survivors of domestic violence during aDomestic Violence Against Seniors: Misuse of Power and Control seminar. Register: call 312-603-9233. Free.
Tues., Dec 13, 6:30 pm, Six Corners Association, 4041 N. Milwaukee, #301. Get involved to make a difference in your community by attending a Six Corners Association Committee Meeting. Promotions meets at 6:30 followed by design at 7:30.Free.
Wed., Dec 14, 3-4:30 pm, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 805.Learn your rights as a consumer using a tax prep service and how to protect yourself from fraud during a Get Ready for Income Tax Season! workshop. Register: email organizers or call 312-744-2086. Free.
Wed., Dec 14, 4-7 pm, Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee. Kids ages 6-11 can participate in sports, games, and crafts while parents shop during a Drop N Shop. Please pack a dinner. $5.
Wed., Dec 14, 7 pm, Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield. Join community members for the Independence Park Advisory Council’s monthly meeting. Free.
Thur., Dec 15, 10 am, Fannie’s Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose. Tap into your artistic side during and make yummy treats during aGingerbread House Building event. Cost of purchases.
Thur., Dec 15, 7 pm, Location TBD. Meet neighbors and get involved in the community during the Jefferson Park Forward monthly meeting.Agenda and more info: online.Free.
Fri., Dec 16, 9:30-11 am, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 805. The Small Business Administration (SBA) shares information about programs, services, and partners to start and grow your business during a Small Business Resources to Help Your Business Succeed workshop. Register: email organizers or call 312-744-2086. Free.
Fri., Dec 16, 6:30 pm, Fannie’s Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose. Join friends and family for a unique take on the holidays during aCreepy Christmas Dinner Party.Cost of purchases.
Fri., Dec 16, 7 pm, Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th. The National Veterans Art Museum partners with Zhou B Art Center to host the opening reception of CreatiVets: Healing Through Art. More info: online. Free.
Sat., Dec 17, 8-10 am, Irving Park YMCA, 4251 W. Irving Park, Large Gym and Dance Studio. Take pictures with Santa, play games, craft, and enjoy a wonderful breakfast spread during the YMCA’s Breakfast With Santa. Bring a toy to donate to the Irving Park Food Pantry.$4/person through December 16, $5/person same day of event, free/children 2 and under.
Sat., Dec 17, 4 pm, Fannie’s Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose. Become filled with holiday glee during a“Remember When” Christmas Concert. Cost of purchases.
Sun., Dec 18, 9:30 am-1:30 pm,Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence. The Jefferson Park Sunday Market kicks off their winter market in the annex space at the Copernicus Center. There will even be a cash bar to make those brunches a little more interesting this winter. Cost of purchases.
Sun., Dec 18, 3 pm, Irving Park United Methodist Church, 3801 N. Keeler. All ages will enjoy this fun mix of musical and cultural styles with more than a concert – it is an interactive experience! Families may want to attend theRoots Rock Society together. More info: call 773-283-6262.Suggested donation of $10/adults, $5/children.
Thur., Dec 15, 10 am, Fannie’s Cafe, 5040 W. Montrose. Tap into your artistic side during and make yummy treats during aGingerbread House Building event. Cost of purchases.
Mon., Dec 19, 7:30 pm, Location TBD. Join neighbors for the monthly Portage Park Neighborhood Association meeting. More info: online. Free.
Wed., Dec 21, 3-4:30 pm, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 805.BACP shares information on the the prohibited buildings list, licensing and registration requirements, and guidelines during a Learn About the Shared Housing Ordinance workshop. Register: email organizers or call 312-744-2086. Free.
Wed., Dec 21, 4-7 pm, Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee.Kids ages 6-11 can participate in sports, games, and crafts while parents shop during a Drop N Shop. Please pack a dinner. $5.
Wed., Dec 21, 6:30 pm, Jacobson Theater Portage Park School, 5330 W. Berteau. Portage Park School Dramatics presents A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday play by Charles Dickens. More info: 773-534-3576. $5.
Thur., Dec 22, 4-6:30 pm, Schurz High School, Room 179, 3601 N. Milwaukee. Get into the festive season by creating, sharing, and building during the Fifthstar Makerspace Holiday Open House. If you are a maker, a thinker, or a creator who wants to show off your skills, email@example.com.Free.
Thur., Dec 22, 6:30 pm, Jacobson Theater Portage Park School, 5330 W. Berteau. Portage Park School Dramatics presents A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday play by Charles Dickens. More info: 773-534-3576. $5.
Fri., Dec 23, 7:30 pm, Tapestry Center, 3824 W. Irving Park. Enjoy Curtis Wayne Hunt’s music during his Just For You concert.$10 suggested donation.
Tues., Dec 27, 10-11:30 am, Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee. Celebrate the snow, the cold, and the holiday season with someWinter Projects and Crafts! Kids 6-11 years old. Register: online using activity code 189277.$5/kid.
Tues., Jan 3, 10-11:30 am, Wilson Park, 4630 N. Milwaukee. Celebrate the snow, the cold, and the holiday season with some Winter Projects and Crafts! Kids 6-11 years old. Register: online using activity code 189278. $5/kid.