St. John’s Episcopal Church will host their annual Mardi Gras Party on Saturday, February 3, at 6:00 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner.
Just $30 will give you access to an evening full of delight. The Cajun Connoisseur will be dishing up Nor Orleans cuisine followed with festive music from Joe Lill. There will be a cash bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to satisfy your thirst throughout the night.
More information is available online.
Election Judges Needed
The Chicago Board of Election is looking for election judges to serve during the primary election on March 20. The pay is $25, plus $45 for attending a training.
I hop you’ll take the opportunity, if you are able, to help further democracy and serve as an election judge. Apply online or download an application for this personally rewarding job at the Board of Election website, or pick up an application in my office, 4754 N. Milwaukee.
Apply to Become a Police Officer
Applications to become a Chicago Police Officer will be open through February 28. The exam will be on Saturday, May 5, at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Dr.
This is an opportunity to serve your community and pursue a meaningful career. Chicago police officers will be eligible for healthcare benefits, tuition reimbursement, uniform allowances, a retirement plan, and a competitive salary.
You must be at least 20-years-old by July 31, 2018 to apply. More information and applications are available online.
View the Draft Jefferson Park Master Plan and Submit Final Comments Through Feb. 12
Teska has completed the draft recommendations for the Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan. These recommendations are the result of an extensive community input process over the past nine months that included 15 meetings and outreach events, numerous interviews, two public surveys, and hundreds of comments.
The draft recommendations are available to view at the Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan website. Residents have through February 12 to provide feedback via an online comment submission form. Once these comments have been collected, Teska will prepare a full draft of the Master Plan.
I would like to thank the community for their participation over the past several months in this process and for their ongoing commitment to our community. It gives me great honor to serve residents who are invested in the betterment of our neighborhood.
File Your Taxes with Liberty Tax & Support the Irving Park Food Pantry
Liberty Tax Service, 4900 W. Irving Park, has partnered with the Irving Park Community Food Pantry, 3801 N. Keeler, again this tax season as a way to give back to our community.
For every person who files their tax return with Liberty Tax between January 29 and February 28, they will donate $5.00 to the food pantry. Their tax professionals can answer all your questions about your return, including a program to receive your return quicker for qualified recipients.
Liberty Tax Service is open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and available by appointment on Sundays through the tax season. For questions or to schedule an appointment, call (773) 286-6900.
Portage Park Village Meeting Feb. 21
Are you interested in making the Portage Park neighborhood and surrounding area more age-friendly? Would you like to help isolated older adults make connections? The Department of Family and Support Services is hosting a meeting where interested residents can learn more about this initiative and sign up to volunteer.
The village meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 21, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Portage Park Senior Center, 4100 N. Long. If you have any questions ahead of the meeting, feel free to contact Sean Dolan at 312-744-9022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pay Your Property Tax Bill Online
As of Monday, January 22, property owners who use their bank accounts to pay their tax bills online will no longer have to pay a $1 fee. The removal of the fee is to encourage taxpayers to use the convenient electronic payment system. In 2016, 485,000 property owners successfully paid their tax bill online.
To pay your 2017 property tax bill online, visit the Cook County Treasurer’s website and select the “Make an online Payment” option. For property owners paying their taxes using a credit card, third-party processing fees still may apply.
Property owners may also opt to receive future tax bills by email by selecting the “eBilling” option. Please note that by selecting to receive bills via email, you will no longer receive a bill in the mail.
Property owners may also obtain a copy of their tax bill by selecting the “Download Your Bill” option. Taxpayers can print that bill and use it to either pay by mail or in person.
First installment property tax bills for the tax year 2017 are due March 1, 2018.
Schurz Basketball to Play at United Center Feb. 10
The Schurz High School boys’ basketball team has been invited to play at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 10.
This provides a unique opportunity to watch the Schurz basketball team compete on a world-class court followed by a Bulls game. Schurz High School has 375 tickets for only $30 each. This small fee will get you a seat in the 100 level for the Schurz game and the 300 level for the Bulls game afterward.
For those interested in this unique opportunity to spend a fun-filled day cheering on our local high school team and the Chicago Bulls can call Lucille at Schurz High School at (773) 534-3420 for more information on how to purchase tickets.
St. Viator Trivia Night Feb. 10
St. Viator’s 8th grade class is hosting a Trivia Night fundraising event. Community members are invited to come together for this fun social event where you can show off your knowledge.
The event is on Saturday, February 10, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm in the recreation gym at the school, 4140 W. Addison. Tickets cost $25 per person and a table can seat up to 8. Registration forms are available at my website.
Become a Chicago Scholar
Chicago Scholars is now accepting applications for students to join the class of 2023!
Chicago Scholars is focused on transforming the leadership of Chicago. This nonprofit organization is committed to breaking down fundamental barriers for academically ambitious, first-generation college students from under-resourced communities.
Chicago Scholars provides an opportunity for high school juniors to gain mentorship and guidance in preparation for and throughout college. Chicago Scholars has a high success rate in helping students graduate from high school and college, while also placing scholars in internship and career positions.
Interested students can apply online through February 12.
CFPTA Training Sessions Begin in February
The Chicago Police & Firefighter Training Academy (CPFTA) will be hosting information sessions throughout the city of Chicago during the months of February, March, and April.
Sophomore high school students expected to graduate in 2020 can apply for a unique partnership opportunity between Chicago Public Schools (CPS)4 and the CPFTA between February 1 and 5:00 pm on May 1.
Students will attend class two days a week from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Chicago Police Academy or the Fire Academy, participate in a two year after-school program to learn about a career in public safety, have hands=on classroom and fitness training with police and fire CPFTA instructors, will have an opportunity to receive EMT-B certification and unarmed security 20-hour certification, will have the opportunity for to apply for a paid summer internship with CPD or the Chicago Fire Department, and will receive preference in being considered for the Chicago Police Cadet Program.
After School Program at the 17th District
The 17th District Police is offering a free after school program for kids in 7th grade through 10th grade.
This program will include fun board games, drug and gang resistance awareness, homework assistance, and provide a safe environment for kids after school.
Students will meet in the community room at the 17th District Police Station, 4650 N. Pulaski, every Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.
For more information on how to enroll your child or to sign up to volunteer, call the 17th District CAPS office at (312) 742-4588.
Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Renewal Deadline Feb. 7
The Cook County Assessor’s Office mailed renewal applications for the Senior and Senior Freeze exemptions for Tax Year 2017. Those who received the exemptions last tax year should receive a renewal application in the mail. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 7. State law requires annual renewal in order to continue to receive exemption savings.
The Senior Exemption application is part of a booklet sent to eligible seniors. The booklet also contains the separate income-based Senior Freeze Exemption application.
To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for Tax Year 2017, a taxpayer must have:
- been born prior to or in the year 1952
- owned the property during 2017 or have a lease or contract for 2017 which makes them responsible for the real estate estate taxes
- used the property as his or her principal place of residence in 2017
Please note: The new law will increase savings this year for the Senior Exemption from $5,000 to $8,000 in Equalized Assessed Value (EAV). It is important to note that the exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which a tax bill is lowered.
EAV is the partial value of a property to which tax rates are applies; it is this figure on which a tax bill is calculated. The Assessor does not set tax rates. The savings for a Senior Citizen Exemption is calculated by multiplying the exemptions savings of 8,000 by the local tax rate.
To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for Tax Year 2017, a taxpayer must have:
- been born prior to or in the year 1952
- a total household income of $65,000 or less for [income] Tax Year 2016
- owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017
- used the property as his or her principal place of residence as of January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017
- been liable for payment of 2016 and 2017 property taxes
Please note: new law expands eligibility by increasing allowable total household income to $65,000, from the previous limit of $55,000. There is also a new minimum of $2,000 EAV deduction for the Senior Freeze, which will help offset increases assessed value and help ensure that more seniors benefit from the Senior Exemptions.
Seniors receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically receive the Homeowner Exemption. Seniors receiving the Senior Freeze Exemption automatically receive both the Homeowner and Senior Citizen Exemptions.
Eligible seniors who have never applied for the Senior and/or Senior Freeze Exemptions in the pas may visit the Assessor’swebsite and download an application or contact the Assessor’s Office at 312-443-7550 and request a form be mailed to them. Applications for the Homeowner Exemption are also availableonline.
Applications for additional exemptions administered by the Assessor’s Office will be available within the next several weeks.
Chicago’s Free Tax Preparation Assistance Program Now Open
Eligible individuals and families with children could receive up to $7,202 from the federal and stated Earned Income Tax Credit alone, and that’s not including other valuable credits. Many Chicagoans may not claim all the income tax credits they deserve without the help of knowledgeable preparers.
Families earning up to $55,000 or individuals earning up to $30,000 are eligible to take advantage of the city’s free and confidential income tax assistance at 18 sites across Chicago.
Volunteer tax preparers certified through IRS-approved training will assist eligible tax payers with federal and state income tax returns for the 2017 tax year. Sites will be open between late January and mid-April 2018. For specific information on location and site hours, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website.
The closest sites for 45th Ward residents are:
Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett
- Fridays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm February 2 through April 13 (closed March 30); and
- Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm January 27 through April 14 (closed March 31)
Mather’s – Portage Park, 3235 N. Central
- Thursdays and Firdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm February 15 through April 13 by appointment only (call 888-600-2560)
Mathers – Norwood Park, 7134 W. Higgins
- Mondays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm February 12 through April 9 by appointment only (call 888-600-2560)
Last year, the City of Chicago’s free income tax assistance helped 20,000 families and individuals receive $30 million in tax refunds and credits. This added income not only has a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents – it also helps sustain small businesses, strengthens neighborhoods, and infuses millions of dollars into the local economy.
For more information and to view additional locations, visit theTax Prep Chicago website.
ITIN Renewal Notice
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 2017 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 second year of a new multi-year rolling federal process which will progressively require all ITIN-holders to renew. In 2017, the law applies to ITINs with the middle digits 70, 71, 72, or 80 (e.g. 9XX-70-XXXX) expired on January 1, 2018. Additionally, ITINs that have not been used on a tax return in the last three years (2014, 2015, or 2016) expired on January 1, 2018.
It is estimated that members of 9,000 Chicago households are among the ITIN users nationwide required to renew for the 2017 tax year. Those not renewing by the time they file their tax return may be deemed ineligible to receive certain tax credits, which could result in unanticipated tax balance due. Not renewing an ITIN number can also result in processing delays.
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..
Ladder Up can be reached via email at ITIN@goladderup.org or by calling 312-995-1140.
For more on ITIN renewal, the IRS has put together a fact sheet with frequently asked questions and additional information. It is available to view or download on my website.
2018 Construction Summit
The Department of Procurement Services (DPS) is hosting a construction summit on Wednesday, February 7, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the JLM Center, 2622 W. Jackson.
There will be great opportunities for primes, subcontractors, and construction-related business owners. Information and details about upcoming construction and job order contract projects will also be available. City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, City of Chicago Sister Agencies, and Assist Agencies will also be in attendance to answer any questions.
Those interested can register at the city’s website.
Local Carpenters Union No. 181
Through Friday, February 16, Carpenters Local Union No. 181 will be entitled to refer candidates to the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Apprentice & Training Program Office (1256 Estes Avenue, Elk Grove) to apply for future pre-apprenticeship training classes in general construction.
If interested in applying, please contact Carpenters Local Union No. 181 at 708-453-4400 for a recommendation letter.
Each candidate mus present the following requirements at the apprenticeship proram office at the above address between the hours of 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday no later than Friday, February 16.
- Must present letter of recommendation on a local union letterhead and signed by an officer.
- Must be at least 17 years of age (driver’s license or state I.D. required).
- Must present a copy of a high school diploma or high school transcripts (must have official school seal – 8 credits minimum) or a copy of G.E.D. certificate.
- Must present copy of Social Security Card or a receipt showing duplicate card has been applied for.
- Veterans – DD214 copy.
- A $25.00 non refundable application processing fee. Money orders and cashier’s check only payable to the “Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Apprentice & Training Center”. No cash will be accepted.
All (6) above-listed requirements must be submitted at the time of filing or the candidate will not be permitted to file an application.
Further details will be mailed to each applicant regarding the required pre-test session and aptitude test dates.
Thanks for reading,
Sat., Feb 3, 6-7:30 pm, North Park Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski.The Citizens Utility Board hosts a Home Energy Savings & Sustainability Workshop. Free.
Sun., Feb 4, 3 pm,St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner.John St. John’s Episcopal for theMusic803 series. More info: online.Free.
Tue., Feb 6, 7 pm,Independence Park Bungalow, 3900 N. Hamlin.Join neighbors to learn how you can participate in supporting your neighborhood at the monthlyGIPNA Board Meeting. Free.
Wed., Feb 7, 10:15-11 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringPreschool Story Time. Stories, rhymes, songs, STEAM activities, and crafts. 3-5 years old. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 7, 11:15-11:45 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringBaby and Toddler Time. Mother Goose rhymes, stories, and songs for babies and toddlers from birth to 36 months. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 7, 1:15-2:15 pm,Portage-Cragin Branch, 5108 W. Belmont. The Portage-Cragin Branch hosts a three-week series of beginner classes focused around learning digital tools. This class will focus onUsing a Mouse and Keyboard. Register: 312-744-0152. Free.
Thur., Feb 8, 12-1:30 pm, Cook County Elder Justice Center, 50 W. Washington, Courtroom 2005.The senior enrichment seminar series hosts aNavigating Foreclosure: What Happens When You Get Served with Foreclosure Papers? seminar. RSVP: 312-603-9233. Free.
Thur., Feb 8, 5 pm, Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence.Participate in aJob Search 101workshop to learn valuable skills. More info: 312-744-1998.Free.
Fri., Feb 9, 10-11 am, Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence.Children from birth to 5-years-old are invited to join in on a Play Group. Story, open play, parachute play, and a final song. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Sat., Feb 10, 9:30 am, Austin-Irving Library, Community Room, 6100 W. Irving Park, 2nd Floor. Join fellow gardeners and neighbors for thePortage Park Garden Club’sfirst meeting of 2018. 1st half of the meeting will be the “2017 PPGC in Review” slideshow followed by exercises with Fran, a seed exchange, and a group discussion. Bring non-perishable items and canned goods to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul/St. John’s Lutheran Food Pantry. More info:email organizers.Free.
Sat., Feb 10, 5 pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner.Celebrate Darwin Day with a conversation about climate change and the future of our food supply. Speakers Dr. William Bromer and Vicki Westerhoff will be in attendance. More info: online.Free.
Sat., Feb 10, 7:30 pm, St. Robert Bellarmine School, Kernaghan Hall, 4646 N. Austin.Adults ages 21 and older are invited to St. Robert Bellarmine’sBingo Blast. 14 games with 12 cards for each game. Over $1,500 in prizes. Proceeds from event will benefit the school. $20. Dabbers available for $2/each.
Mon., Feb 12, 7 pm, Irving Park Baptist Church, Basement, 4401 W. Irving Park.Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during the Old Irving Park Association meeting. Free.
Wed., Feb 14, 10:15-11 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringPreschool Story Time. Stories, rhymes, songs, STEAM activities, and crafts. 3-5 yeas old. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 14, 11:15-11:45 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringBaby and Toddler Time. Mother Goose rhymes, stories, and songs for babies and toddlers from birth to 36 months. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 14, 1:15-2:15 pm, Portage-Cragin Branch, 5108 W. Belmont. The Portage-Cragin Branch hosts a three-week series of beginner classes focused around learning digital tools. This class will focus on Email Basics. Register: 312-744-0152. Free.
Wed., Feb 14, 7 pm, Dunham Park, 4638 N. Melvina. Learn what you can do about crime during the 1622 beat meeting. Find your beat at the 45th ward map. More info: 312-742-4521.Free.
Wed., Feb 14, 7 pm, Athletic Park, Fieldhouse, 3546 W. Addison.Learn what you can do about crime during the1732-1733 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th ward map. More info: 312-742-4588. Free.
Mon., Feb 19, 7:30 pm, Location TBD. Meet neighbors and discuss ways to become more involved in your community during thePortage Park Neighborhood Associationmeeting. More info: online. Free.
Wed., Feb 21, 10:15-11 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringPreschool School Time. Stories, rhymes, songs, STEAM activities, and crafts. 3-5 years old. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 21, 11:15-11:45 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringBaby and Toddler Time. Mother Goose rhymes, stories, and songs for babies and toddlers from birth to 36 months. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 21, 1:15 pm,Portage-Cragin Branch, 5108 W. Belmont. The Portage-Cragin branch hosts a three-week series of beginner classes focused around learning digital skills. This class will focus onIntermediate Email. Register: 312-744-0152.Free.
Wed., Feb 21, 7 pm, 17th District Police Station, Community Room, 4650 N. Pulaski. Learn what you can do about crime during the 1722-1723 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th ward map. More info: 312-742-4588.
Thur., Feb 22, 12-1:30 pm, Cook County Elder Justice Center, 50 W. Washington, Courtroom 2005.The senior enrichment seminar series hosts a Long-Term Care: Who Will Pay?seminar.RSVP: 312-603-9233.Free.
Thur., Feb 22, 7 pm, St. Bartholomew, Krueger Hall, 4910 W. Addison.Learn what you can do about crime during the1634 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th ward map. More info: 312-742-4521. Free.
Sat., Feb 24,Location and time TBD. Save the date for theWest Walker Winter Social. Details will be available in the February issue of the West Walker Wire.
Sat., Feb 24, 7:30 pm, St. Bartholomew, Krueger Hall, 4910 W. Addison.The Mikey O’Comedy show will host a Stand Up for St. Barts!fundraiser. Enjoy a fun night out in the community and support St. Bartholomew School. Food and drink available for purchase. Cash bar. Tickets:email organizers. Doors open at 6:15 pm. $25.
Sun., Feb 25, 5-7 pm, Irving Park Lutheran Church, Gym, 4100 N. Harding. Support the local non-profit Carlson Community Services during aSoup & Bread Benefit. More info: online.Donations accepted.
Tue., Feb 27, 7 pm, Pasta D’Arte, 6311 N. Milwaukee. Meet neighbors and get involved in the community during theGladstone Park Neighborhood Associationmonthly meeting.Free.
Wed., Feb 28, 10:15-11 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringPreschool Story Time. Stories, rhymes, songs, STEAM activities, and crafts. 3-5 years old. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 28, 11:15-11:45 am,Jefferson Park Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence. Join in on the fun duringBaby and Toddler Time. Mother Goose rhymes, stories, and songs for babies and toddlers from birth to 36 months. More info: 312-744-1998. Free.
Wed., Feb 28, 7 pm, Portage Park Senior Center, 4100 N. Long.Learn what you can do about crime during the1624 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th ward map. More info: 312-742-4521. Free.
Wed., Feb 28, 7 pm,Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, Basement Auditorium, 5320 W. Giddings.Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during theJefferson Park Neighborhood Associationmonthly meeting. Michael Reed, Procurement Manager, and Elizabeth Lopeth, Volunteer Coordinator, from Habitat for Humanity and ReStore Chicago will give insights into their organization.Free.