Dr. King said, “be the peace you wish to see in the world.” As we enter 2019 feeling rejuvenated, let’s continue to practice compassion and generosity to our neighbors through thoughtfulness, inclusivity, and understanding.
45th Ward residents exhibit these values, whether it’s helping seniors with shoveling snow, residents working together on neighborhood improvement projects, or businesses partnering local non-profits to help our neighbors in need.
In observance of the holiday, my office will be closed Monday, January 21. It will reopen on Tuesday, January 22 at 9 am.
Independence Branch Library Grand Opening Jan. 22
Mark your calendars and grab your book bags! The grand opening of the new Independence Branch, 4024 N. Elston, is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22 at 9 am.
The former location was housed in a storefront. The neighbors and users for years advocated for a new library to serve the high demand of the community. After the location closed in 2015 due to smoke damage from an adjacent fire, the urgency to find a new home grew.
In October 2016, Chicago Housing Authority partnered with Chicago Public Library to provide the community with a new library that fits the needs of the 21st century. The unique collaboration also ushered in 44 new units of affordable housing for seniors.
The modern design of the building, by architect John Ronan, flood the library with natural light. The attention to detail on the exterior and interior creates an absolutely breathtaking gem and public asset. John Ronan was selected after winning a city design competition. He was the only Chicago finalist for the Obama Library.
The timing of the grand opening is perfect as the Jefferson Park Branch will be closed after Saturday for a complete renovation. I hope in the interim residents will pay the new Independence Branch a visit.
MLK Holiday Refuse Collection Schedule
Please note these important changes to the refuse and recycling schedule due to Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 21.
During this respective holiday, all city-collected refuse will be serviced Tuesday through Friday. Residents should ensure all black refuse carts are accessible throughout the week of collection, and not solely on their regular day of collection.
Waste Management will continue to collect recycling Monday through Friday. Residents should continue to put out their blue recycling carts throughout the week according to their typical collection.
We appreciate your patience as our Streets and Sanitation crews work hard to collect all refuse.
View How Your Tax Dollars Have Been Spent
My office has created two interactive maps in an effort to help residents visualize how their tax dollars have been spent on infrastructure in the 45th Ward since 2011.
Every year, all 50 wards receive $1.3 million to spend on infrastructure through the aldermanic discretionary budget. This is colloquially known as the “menu money” because the Department of Transportation provides aldermen with a menu of projects items to install in their ward. This menu includes a variety of infrastructure options, including street repaving, sidewalk replacement, curb replacement, bike lanes, street light replacement, and other capital projects.
In most wards, this money is allocated by the alderman, with varying degrees of input from city departments, staff, and residents. Since 2012, however, I have invited residents of the 45th Ward vote on how they would like to allocate $1 million of those discretionary capital funds through a tool known as participatory budgeting (PB).
PB is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The process was first developed in Brazil in 1989, and there are now over 1,500 participatory budgets around the world, mostly at the municipal level. The first PB process in the US was launched here in Chicago in 2009.
Often, residents are very familiar with their neighborhoods and might have unconventional ideas that can improve their daily commute, parks, schools, and more. Participatory budgeting is a tool that taps into that resident genius and allows it an incubator space. This process puts transparency into how the city spends our tax dollars and gives residents a real voice – by offering ideas and voting for specific projects – into how that money is spent in our ward.
You can view an interactive map reflecting all projects that were implemented using the aldermanic discretionary budget since 2011 on my website. Please note the ward boundaries changed due to a remap in 2015. Some projects that fall outside the current 45th Ward boundaries were in the former boundaries. These projects are still reflected on the map.
Water and Sewer Main Replacements
The Department of Water Management is responsible for delivering nearly 1 billion gallons of fresh, potable water to the residents of Chicago every day. They are also responsible for removing wastewater and stormwater from the streets through the sewer system. A major component to maintaining a healthy and functioning water system in the City of Chicago is by ensuring the integrity of the infrastructure can withstand the daily high usage that it’s presented. In 2011, the Department of Water Management announced that they would be replacing water and sewer mains across the city that date back 100 years or more to avoid main breaks and other potential problems.
Since then, they have been aggressive in replacing these outdated water and sewer mains. The projects are determined by, overseen, and managed by the Department of Water Management.
You can view an interactive map reflecting all water and sewer main replacements since 2011 throughout the ward on my website. Please note the ward boundaries changed due to a remap in 2015. Some projects that fall outside the current 45th Ward boundaries were in the former boundaries. These projects are still reflected on the map.
Community Alert: Catalytic Converter Thefts
The 16th District issued a community alert this week due to a pattern of catalytic converter thefts in the area. The incidents occurred at:
- The 4700-block of North Lavergne at 10 pm January 3;
- The 5600-block of West Wilson between 9 pm January 3 and 1 am January 4;
- The 4500-block of North Mason between 7 pm January 3 and 6 am January 4;
- The 5500-block of West Wilson between 8 pm January 3 and 1 pm;
- The 4900-block of West Dakin at 7 am January 4;
- The 4400-block of North Mason at 2 pm January 4;
- The 5100-block of West Berteau between 3 pm January 5 and 2 pm January 6;
- The 5400-block of West Gale between 5 pm January 5 and 8 am January 6;
- The 5500-block of West Luna between 5 pm January 9 and 11 am January 10; and
- The 5500-block of North Lotus between 11 pm January 9 and 5 am January 10.
Please be aware of this pattern of crime and alert your neighbors. Always try to park in a well-lit area and call 911 if you notice any suspicious activity.
Anyone with any information is urged to call the Area North Bureau of Detectives at 312-744-8263.
Meet Commander Pontecore Jan. 24
Introduce yourself to the new 17th District commander on Thursday, January 24, from 10-11 am at Backlot Coffee, 3982 N. Avondale.
Commander Ron Pontecore will be joined by CAPS officers to enjoy a cup of coffee. You can ask questions, discuss any issues or concerns you may have about your community, or just stop by and say hello.
For more information, you may call the 17th District at 312-742-4588 or email Caps.017District@chicagopolice.org.
Submit Your Comment on the Interim Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan by Feb. 27
The FAA is currently conducting a written evaluation of the O’Hare modernization environmental impact statement for the proposed Interim Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan.
The Interim Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan would rotate the runways used between 10 pm and 5 pm on a weekly basis. The plan would balance the nighttime noise that is shared by all communities surrounding O’Hare rather than being concentrated over our neighborhoods.
The Fly Quiet Rotation Plan was first introduced in 2015 after the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (which I sit on), the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the FAA worked together to find a way to alleviate some of the noise pollution residents living near O’Hare incur. Since introducing the Fly Quiet Plan, the ONCC has overseen two additional rotation tests to collect data on how this could provide near-term relief to the highest impacted communities surrounding O’Hare.
The FAA is now evaluating the results of the tests and potential environmental impacts before making a decision on the proposed Interim Fly Quiet Plan. If approved, the new plan would be implemented through January 2021.
An integral part of the evaluation process comes from reviewing public commentary. Comments should be as specific as possible and address the analysis of potential environmental impacts. To assist the public in evaluating the environmental impacts, the FAA has published documents pertaining to the environmental impact for the proposed Interim Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan.
You may submit a comment online through February 27, 2019.
Jefferson Park Branch Library Modernization Update
On Thursday, Chicago Public Library (CPL) and Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) hosted a community meeting on the slated improvements to the Jefferson Park Branch Library at 5363 W. Lawrence. You can find a video of that meeting on my Facebook page and/or the PowerPoint presentation on my website.
Beginning at 5 pm on January 19, the library will close the 49-year-old branch to complete a nearly $2 million renovation. $1.675 million was allocated from the Jefferson Park TIF district to modernize the branch and bring it into the 21st Century. Both 2FM and CPL supplemented the TIF investment at this branch to provide the community with a true public asset that they can take pride in.
The improvements – which will be the first comprehensive upgrade to the library since it was built in 1970 – will include a broad range of upgrades to the building, contemporary furniture and bookshelves, and additional programming and technology to fit the diverse range of services modern libraries provide their users.
The plans call for:
- New early learning play space
- New teen area
- Reconfigured adult reading room
- New circulation desk
- Upgraded community room
- New study room
- New studio adjacent to the teen room
- Upgraded staff workspaces
- Additional power and data outlets
- WiFi access points throughout the library
- Energy-efficient roofing
- New fire alarm
- Upgraded restrooms with ADA improvements
- New ceiling tiles
- New lighting throughout the library
- New exterior windows and additional natural lighting throughout the library
- New window treatments in the children’s and adult areas
- New drywall and paint throughout the library
- Concrete repairs and benches in exterior courtyards
- New “READ BOOKS” bike rack
- Art component in the entrance plaza area
- Improved technology throughout the library
- Re-designed shelving areas
- New furniture throughout the library
- An additional $100,000 invested in new books
The branch will be closed for approximately 8 months while the improvements are completed, with an anticipated opening date in early fall of this year.
The improvements were first proposed as a part of the community-driven participatory budgeting process. Someone remarked that the Jeff Park library “needed a little love” during an idea collection session. I am proud to usher in these upgrades to a local gem and create a welcoming space for all ages to love.
Property Tax Exemption Applications Now Available
The Cook County Assessor’s Office has released property tax exemption applications for the 2018 tax year (tax bills payable in 2019), including the Homeowner Exemption, Senior Exemption, and Senior Assessment Freeze.
Remember that senior citizen homeowners must complete their senior exemption and senior freeze forms every year.
Exemption applications are available to download on the Cook County Assessor’s website. The deadline to apply is February 6.
Property Tax Exemption Workshop February 4
Staff members from Commissioner Gainer’s office will be available to assist with exemption forms and answer questions. Come by my office, 4854 N. Milwaukee, between 10 am and 4 pm on Monday, February 4 for a Property Tax Exemption Workshop.
For those who would like to apply for the Senior Freeze, please remember to bring your 2017 Federal Income Taxes. A government-issued ID is required for all exemption forms.
More information on various exemptions and forms are available on the assessor’s website.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree Thru Jan. 19
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 6 and continuing through Saturday, Jan. 19, Chicago residents can begin to recycle their Christmas tree at any of the city’s 25 locations.
The city has once again partnered with the Chicago Park District to provide residents with this free service. Trees can be dropped off anytime during normal business hours. Free mulch will also be available on a first come, first served basis starting Jan. 7 at Lincoln Park, Margate Park, Mt. Greenwood Park, North Park Village, Warren Park, and the Forestry Site.
The closest recycling locations for 45th Ward residents are at Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma, and Portage Park, 4100 N. Long.
Only live/natural trees free of flocking will be accepted (this means no garland or wreaths). All trees must have any tinsel, ornaments, lights, and strands removed in order to be recycled. Any plastic bags used to transport the tree to a drop off location must also be removed.
A map of all drop off locations is available to view on my website.
FORTS! is back at the Filament Theatre thru March 10
Enter a world of play and creation as the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, transforms into a play-space for children and parents to build new worlds
Using cardboard boxes, sheets, clotheslines, and more, you will build adventures of your own devising. With theatrical design elements working together to support creative play, your family is sure to be swept away in the adventure.
FORTS! is an interactive theater experience is open to all ages, from 2 to 102!
Showtimes, date, and tickets are available online.
Our Lady of Victory Hosts Rick Lindy & The Wild Ones Jan. 26
Our Lady of Victory (OLV) Church presents Rick Lindy and the Wild Ones performing legendary jukebox hits.
Enjoy the music of Elvis, Ray Orbison, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, and many more.
The show will take place on Saturday, January 26 in the OLV Parish Hall on the corner of Laramie and Sunnyside. Doors will open at 5:30 pm and the show will begin at 7 pm.
Tickets cost $30 and include a beef sandwich, a salad, chips, dessert, and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased online.
Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program Community Meeting Jan. 30
The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program invites all to attend, listen, learn, and participate during an information community meeting on Wednesday, January 30 at 6 pm in the theater at Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett.
Created by state statute, Home Equity guarantees you won’t lose any money if your property falls below its current fair market value. More information on the program is available online.
Annual Women’s Toiletry Drive
Once again, my office has partnered with Commissioner Bridget Gainer’s office and the Cook County Sheriff’s Women’s Justice Program to host a women’s toiletry drive throughout the month of January.
The annual toiletry drive helps provide women in Cook County Jail with basic toiletries and feminine hygiene products. Any of the items listed below will be accepted:
- Feminine hygiene products (e.g. pads and tampons)
- Travel size shampoo
- Travel size conditioner
- Travel size lotion
- Full bars of soap
- Small combs
- White socks
- Composition books
- Cards with stamped envelopes
This is an easy way to give back that will help women-in-need. My office will be collecting donations during office hours through January 30.
Volunteer for the Chicago Point-in-Time Homeless Count
The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will host its annual point-in-time homeless count on Thursday, January 24, from 9 pm until 3 am.
This citywide count provides DFSS with a snapshot of Chicago’s homeless population. The data gathered on the homeless in Chicago serves as a basis for federal funding, for service and resource planning, and to raise public awareness about homelessness.
Volunteer registration for the count is available online.
Chicago’s Free Tax Preparation Assistance Program Opens Early February
Eligible individuals and families with children could receive up to $7,589 from the federal and state 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 17 sites across Chicago.
Volunteer tax preparers certified through IRS-approved training will assist eligible taxpayers with federal and state income tax returns for the 2018 tax year. Sites will be open between early February and mid-April 2019. For specific information on location and site hours, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website.
The closest site for 45th Ward residents is:
Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett
- Fridays from 10 am-4 pm February 8 thru April 12
- Saturdays from 9 am-12 pm February 2 thru April 13
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 the Tax Prep Chicago website.
Plumbers Apprenticeship Program
The joint apprenticeship committee for Local 130 will be accepting applications for the plumbing apprenticeship program.
An application can be submitted in-person only at one of the three training enters during the scheduled dates and times listed below. A $25 non-refundable application fee is also required. No cash or personal checks will be accepted. Applicants may pay by money order or cashier’s check, made payable to “Plumbers JAC Local 130” or by Visa or MasterCard with a convenience fee. All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license.
Requirements at time of application:
- Completed application
- Application may be completed on-site; or
- Download and complete to bring when you apply
- Valid driver’s license
- Birth certificate or U.S. Passport
- Proof of completion of high school
- Original high school diploma; or
- GED certificate; or
- Sealed official high school transcripts; or
- College diploma with transcripts; or
- Copy of veterans DD214
- $25 non-refundable fee
- Optional: if you wish to purchase a test-taking tip book for $10, your total will be $35 in the form of a money order or cashier’s check. If you choose to pay by credit card, there will be a convenience fee applied to the charge.
- Must read, write, and speak English
- Must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
- Pass an aptitude test
- Pass a drug screening
- Pass a physical exam
- Pass an agility test
- Always possess a valid driver’s license
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Applicants who are 17 years of age may be placed on the eligibility list if proof is provided that he/she will be 18 years of age prior to being registered by the JAC
Schedule of dates, times, and locations:
You can apply in-person on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday starting on January 22 and ending on February 21, 2019.
All three locations below will be open and accepting applications from 1-4 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Extended hours will be available at all 3 locations on Thursdays from 6-8 pm.
Chicago: 1400 W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607
(Cross streets: Washington Boulevard & Loomis)
Joliet: 2114 South I-80 Frontage Road, Joliet, IL 60436
Volo: 31855 North US Highway 12, Volo, IL 60073
Applicants submitting the required documents at the time of registration will be given all the information of where and when to appear for the aptitude test. Drug screening, physical, and physical agility test information will be provided if invited to a pre-orientation meeting.
There are absolutely no exceptions to these requirements and/or qualifications.
Click here to download the packet.
Thanks for reading,
Mon, Jan 21, 7:30 pm, Location TBD. Meet neighbors and discuss ways to become more involved in your community during the Portage Park Neighborhood Association meeting. Every month, PPNA hosts their meeting at a different business or organization in the neighborhood. For location and more information, view their calendar online. Free.
Wed., Jan 23, 7 pm, 16th District Police Station, Community Room, 5151 N. Milwaukee. Learn what you can do about crime during the 1623 beat meeting. Find your beat at the 45th Ward map. More info: 312-742-4521. Free.
Sun., Jan 27, 10 am-2 pm, Copernicus Center, Annex Space, 5214 W. Lawrence. The Jefferson Park Sunday Market continues in the annex space at the Copernicus Center. There is even a cash bar to make those brunches a little more interesting this winter. More info: online. Cost of purchases.
Sun., Jan 27, 10:45 am-1:30 pm, Buckley Hall, 4777 N. Lowell. Families are invited to St. Edward School’s Open House and Tours. Learn more about the school and register your child for the 2019-2020 school year. Free.
Sun., Jan 27, 1:30-3:30 pm, St. Robert Bellarmine, 6036 W. Eastwood. Learn about the curriculum and programming at St. Robert Bellarmine during an Open House. More info: 773-725-5133. Free.
Tue., Jan 29, 7 pm, Pasta D’Arte, 6311 N. Milwaukee. Meet neighbors and get involved in your community during the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association monthly meeting. More info: online.Free.
Wed., Jan 30, 7 pm, Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, Basement Auditorium, 5320 W. Giddings. Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association monthly meeting. A representative from the city’s 311 non-emergency system will give details about their modernization plan, including several new features and enhancements. Free.
Fri., Feb 1, 5-8 pm, Rex Tavern, 4933 N. Milwaukee. Join Jefferson Park Forward at their monthly First Friday Happy Hour event. This is a great way to meet neighbors and support a local business. Every month, JPF picks a new watering hole to host their event. This month, they’re meeting at Rex Tavern. Cost of purchases apply.
Tue., Feb 5, 7 pm, Independence Park Bungalow, 3900 N. Hamlin. Join neighbors to learn how you can participate in supporting your community at the monthly GIPNA Board Meeting. Free.
Sun., Feb 10, 5-7 pm, Irving Park Lutheran Church, Gym, 4057 N. Hardng. If the weather forecasters are right, we’ll all be ready for a steaming bowl of soup come Feb. 10, which just so happens to be the date of Carlson Community Services’ Soup & Bread fundraiser. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Music, kids’ craft room, and bake sale.$15/adults; $10/seniors and teens; $5/kids 3-12; free/under 3.
Mon., Feb 11, 7 pm, Irving Park Baptist Church, 4401 W. Irving Park. Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during the Old Irving Park Association meeting. Meetings take place in the church basement. More info: online.Free.
Wed., Feb 13, 7 pm, Dunham Park, 4638 N. Melvina. Learn what you can do about crime the1622 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th Ward map. More info: 312-742-4521. Free.
Wed., Feb 13, 7 pm, Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison. Learn what you can do about crime during the 1732-1733 beat meeting. Find your beat at the45th Ward map. More info: 312-742-4588. Free.
Sat., Feb 16, 6:30 pm, St. Viator School, Recreation Center – Gym, 4140 W. Addison. The 8th-grade class is hosting a Trivia Night. This event is potluck style, so bring a dish, snacks, or refreshments for your table. Table themes and costumes not required but encouraged. Register by February 8. For forms and more info: email organizers.$25/person.
Mon., Feb 18, 7:30 pm, Location TBD. Meet neighbors and discuss ways to become more involved in your community during the Portage Park Neighborhood Association meeting. Every month, PPNA hosts their meeting at a different business or organization in the neighborhood. For location and more information, view their calendar online. Free.
Wed., Feb 20, 11 am, Portage Park Senior Center, 4100 N. Long (Parking/Entrance at Berteau and Linder). Want to make Portage Park more age-friendly? If so, please join in learning how a village project is trying to help isolated seniors in the community and how you can become a volunteer during the Portage Park Village Meeting. Free.
Wed., Feb 20, 6:30 pm, Gladstone Park, 5421 N. Menard. Learn how you can help further park development through volunteering, fundraising, and support during the Gladstone Park Advisory Council meeting. The GPAC meets every third Thursday of the month. Follow them on Facebook to keep up on GPAC news. Free to attend.
Wed., Feb 20, 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. Free.
Wed., Feb 20, 7 pm, Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield. Help plan upcoming events and identify priorities to better the neighborhood park during theIndependence Park Advisory Council meeting. Show your community pride and have fun in the process! IPAC meets every third Wednesday of each month. Follow them on Facebook to keep up on IPAC news. Free.
Thur., Feb 21, 5:15 pm, Location TBD. Every third Thursday of the month, the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association and the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce host aThirsty Third Thursday at a local watering hole. This is a great opportunity to meet new neighbors while supporting a local business. More info: online. Cost of purchases.
Thur., Feb 21, 7 pm, Location TBD. Meet neighbors and get involved in the community during the Jefferson Park Forward monthly meeting. Every month, JPF hosts their meeting at a different business or organization in the neighborhood. For location and more information, view their calendar online. Free.
Tue., Feb 26, 7 pm, Pasta D’Arte, 6311 N. Milwaukee. Meet neighbors and get involved in your community during the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association monthly meeting. More info: online.Free.
Wed., Feb 27, 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 27, 7 pm, Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, Basement Auditorium, 5320 W. Giddings. Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association monthly meeting. Free.
Thur., Feb 28, 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.