The Chicago Police Department has announced leadership changes that go into effect beginning February 1. As a part of these bittersweet changes, 17th District Commander Elias Voulgaris will be reassigned to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, where he will coordinate between OEMC and CPD offices to provide a higher level of service during routine service calls.
Commander Voulgaris distinguished himself as an exemplary leader and a pillar of the community during his time with the 17th District. I am confident that he will take the same determination, compassion, and experience to the OEMC, where he will continue to serve Chicago residents.
Susan Moss will replace Commander Voulgaris as the 17th District Commander. Commander Moss is a 30-year CPD veteran. She has spent much of her tenure with the 12th District on the Near West Side. And while Commander Voulgaris left big shoes to fill, I am confident Commander Moss will show the same level of resolve and diligence as her predecessor.
I hope you will join me in thanking Commander Voulgaris for his service and in welcoming Commander Moss to our community.
Thursday’s Vehicular Hijacking
At about 2 pm Thursday, a 72-year-old woman was parked in the 4300-block of North Lavergne to pick up her grandchild from St. John’s Lutheran School when a small silver or dirty white hatchback car pulled in front of her. An African American man with a fade-style haircut approached her car with a gun, opened her door, and ordered her to get out. A second offender then entered the passenger side of the car. Both offenders fled the scene with the victim’s car, a white 2010 four-door Toyota Camry.
I have communicated with Commander Looney from the 16th District on their plans to address this incident. Police will increase their presence around the school throughout the day. Detectives are also looking for any video footage that might help them identify the offenders. Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Detective Division at (312) 744-8263.
I am deeply troubled by the carjacking. While this is a very rare occurrence in our community, I will continue to work with the 16th District to address this incidence with the gravity it deserves. I visited St. John’s this morning and spoke to Principal Dr. Hendricks and his staff. This incident is deeply disturbing and my prayers are with the victim, her family, and the St. John’s community.
I would like to commend the 16th District for their response to this incident and their continued commitment to our community. Their diligence and hard work continue to make our district the safest in the city. For my part, I will continue to support the police and the community. If anyone sees any suspicious activity in the neighborhood, report it to 911 immediately. Our community is strongest when we work together.
Community Alert: Attempted Child Luring
At approximately 3:55 pm on Tuesday, January 16, a 15-year-old female was walking on the 5300-block of North Natoma Avenue when a male in a vehicle motioned to her. The offender continued to follow the victim at a slow pace for several blocks. The victim was able to seek shelter at a local store, where she then called her parents.
The offender is described as a white male between 50 and 60 years old. He is heavy set with white hair and a white beard. He was driving a light brown four-door vehicle.The victim was unable to identify what the offender was wearing at the time of the incident.
If you have any information about this incident, please call the Area North Bureau of Detectives at 312-744-8200. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online.
Jefferson Park Master Plan Open House Jan. 22
Teska will host the third Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan community open house from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Monday, January 22nd at the Copernicus Center Annex, 5214 W. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.
There will be a presentation on outreach and feedback to date, followed by an opportunity to learn more and comment on recommendations that have been developed for the draft Master Plan. Key topics include transportation, economic development, and community character. Design guidelines and design concepts will also be shared for public comment.
Your comments will help to guide the implementation of recommendations that have been developed by the Jefferson Park community over the past eight months, including three community meetings, over a dozen outreach events, 1,100 responses to community surveys, and over 200 comment cards.
More information is available at the Master Plan website.
Property Tax Exemption Workshop Feb. 1
Staff members from Commissioner Gainer and Commissioner Fritchey’s office will be available to assist with exemption forms and answer questions. Come by my office, 4754 N. Milwaukee between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm on Thursday, February 1 for a Property Tax Exemption Workshop.
More information on the various exemptions and forms are available at the assessor’s website.
Connect Gallery Grand Opening Jan. 26
Jefferson Park’s newest addition, Connect Gallery at 4968 N. Milwaukee, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony event at 7:00 pm followed by a grand opening event with hors d’oeuvres and wine on Friday, January 26.
Artist Tracy Shymkus will continue to sell her gemstones as well as showcase a diverse range of artwork from local artists. The new space will allow space for a variety of events, including pop-up displays for assorted artists.
I am confident Connect Gallery will provide neighbors and visitors with unique and original pieces. I hope you will join the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce and I in welcoming them to the neighborhood.
More information about the grand opening is available at theFacebook event.
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.
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 Opens Late January
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.
Peoples Gas Work on Winnemac and Cicero
This week, Peoples Gas began work to install new gas main and 66 services. Upon completion, Department of Water Management crews will begin to replace an outdated sewer main in the same area.
KSE contractors will begin working in the street, sidewalks, and parkways to install the new gas main at Winnemac and Cicero and then move to the intersection of Lamon and Ainslie.
“No Parking” signs will be posted as needed during work hours (generally 7 am to 4 pm). Peoples Gas anticipates that one side of the street will be kept open for parking at all times while work is being completed. Parking outside posted hours will be allowed, but cars will need to be moved by the start of the next workday. Crews will try to preserve as much parking as possible.
There might be some slight impacts and delays to commuters accessing the Kennedy. Please be aware of the upcoming work and allow additional time to reach your destination or make adjustments to your commute until work is complete.
Peoples Gas anticipates work will be completed by mid-March 2018.
Rutherford/Natoma Sewer Main Replacement
Please be aware that beginning this late January, Department of Water Management (DWM) crews will begin to install 700 feet of new 12-inch sewer main in North Rutherford Avenue from West Argyle Street to 350′ north and in North Natoma Avenue from West Argyle Street to 350′ North. The old sewer main dates back to 1936 and needs to be replaced.
With crews working in the street, there may be closures or traffic restrictions for safety reasons. However, residents will always be able to reach their homes or businesses. Outside of working hours, a travel lane will be left open for local traffic only.
“No Parking” signs will be posted as needed during work hours (generally 7 am to 4 pm). Parking outside those hours will be allowed, but cars will need to be moved by the start of the next workday. Crews will try to reserve as much parking as possible.
My office and the Department of Water Management understand that construction always involves inconveniences and noise. Crews will do everything possible to maintain residents’ quality of life throughout this project and will conduct themselves as good and thoughtful neighbors in the course of their presence on the street.
If you would like to receive regular email updates about the project, you can register online for the WaterALERT program. Simply enter your name, email address, and the project identification number for this sewer main replacement is 7242.
By signing up for WaterALERT emails, you will be notified as the project enters each new construction phase – from mobilization of equipment onto the site, to the installation of new pipes to the final restoration of the street.
Should you have any questions or concerns, you can either ask the construction foreman on the project site, email my office, or call the DWM Office of Public Affairs at 312-744-6635.
Thank you for your ongoing patience as these important infrastructure improvements are made.
Chicken and Beer Dance Feb. 2
Six Corners Association will transform the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, into a honky tonk hub of fried chicken, craft beer, and dancing in an effort to raise money for the organization’s economic development efforts in Chicago’s Portage Park community.
The event will feature live music by Folk Yeah!, a bluegrass band showcasing top radio hits, country-style cuisine from local restaurants, and a beer-tasting from craft brewers.
The event will take place on Friday, February 2, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee. More information and tickets are available to purchase online.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree Thru Jan. 20
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 6, and continuing through Saturday, Jan. 20, Chicago residents can begin to recycle their Christmas tree at any of the city’s 25 locations.
The city has 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 January 8 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 stands removed in order to be recycled. Any plastic bags used to transport the tree to a drop off location must also be removed.
View a map of all drop off locations at my website.
Volunteer for the Citywide Homeless Count on Jan. 25
The City of Chicago’s 2018 homeless count will take place on Thursday, January 25. The Department of Family Support and Services (DFSS) is asking for your help in assisting with the count.
Chicago’s Homeless Count is a point-in-time tally and survey of individuals in shelters and on the street conducted by trained volunteers. Information gathered from the Count is used for service and resource planning, advocating for continued federal funding for the city’s programs to prevent and reduce homelessness, and to raise public awareness about homelessness in Chicago.
For 2018, DFSS has a goal of recruiting and training more than 300 volunteers to work in teams of three or four, counting individuals in shelters and on the street. Other city departments and partner agencies will also assist by counting the homeless on CTA buses and trains, in parks, and at other key locations.
Full information about the Count and how to volunteer is available at the city’s 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.
Apply to Become a Crossing Guard
Help give back to your community with this job opportunity as a crossing guard.
Crossing guards are responsible for stopping and directing traffic to ensure the safety of children and other pedestrians as they cross the street on their way to school.
Any Chicago resident aged 19 or older can apply for this opportunity. The position pays $13.94 an hour and is part time.
Applications are available at the City of Chicago’s Careers websiteand will be accepted through January 21.
Plumbers Apprenticeship Opportunity
The Joint Apprenticeship Committee for Local 130 will accept applications for admission to the Plumbing Apprenticeship Program starting Tuesday, January 23, through Thursday, February 22.
Applications will be accepted in-person only at the following times and locations:
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1-4 pm; and Thursdays from 6-8 m at both the Chicago and Joliet offices:
1400 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
2114 S. I-80 Frontage Rd.
Joliet, IL 60436
- January 23 & 25, and February 6th, 20th, & 22. From 1-4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and additionally from 6-8 pm on Thursdays at the Volo office:
31855 N. U.S. Hwy 12
Volo, IL 60073
There is a $25 registration fee. Please have a money order or cashier’s check payable to Plumbers’ JAC Local 130. There is also an optional test staking tip book available to purchase for $10. If you choose to purchase the tip book, please make sure the money order is in the amount of $35. No cash, credit cards, or personal checks will be accepted.
You are required to apply in person and bring the following items:
- Valid driver’s license
- Birth certificate or U.S. passport
- Original high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent OR sealedhigh school transcripts OR college diploma WITH transcripts
- A $25.00 non-refundable application fee.
You must meet the following qualifications:
- Must be able to read, write, and speak English
- Must have a high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent
- Pass an aptitude test, a drug screen, a physical exam, and an agility test
- Applicants must 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 they will be 18 years of age prior to being registered by the JAC).
There are absolutely no exceptions to these requirements and qualifications. Applicants submitting the required documents will be given all the information as to where and when to appear for the aptitude test, drug screening, physical, and physical agility test.
At the time of indenture you must:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a reliable form of transportation
- Pass a drug test
Thanks for reading,
Tue., Jan 23, 9-10 am, Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison. In honor of thyroid awareness month, Community First Medical Center will provide TSH Screenings fora fee of $10. No fasting required. Register: 773-282-7000. $10.
Thur., Jan 25, 10-11 am,Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison.Carleen Nunez, R.N., B.S.N., O.N.C., along with staff from rehabilitation services hosts aArthritis and Total Joint Replacement – Taking the Right Steps seminar. Register: 773-794-4640. Free.
Thur., Jan 25, 12-1:30 pm, Cook County Elder Justice Center, 50 W. Washington, Courtroom 2005.The senior enrichment seminar series hosts a Reverse Mortgages: What You Should Know to Make An Informed Decision. RSVP: 312-603-9233.Free.
Sat., Jan 27, 2:30-4:30 pm, St. Viator Elementary School, 4140 W. Addison. Kick off Catholic School Week by attending St. Viator School’sOpen House. More info: online.Free.
Sun., Jan 28, 10 am-2 pm,Copernicus Center, Annex Space, 5214 W. Lawrence. TheJefferson Park Sunday Marketcontinues in the annex space at the Copernicus Center. There is even a cash bar to make those brunches a little more interesting this winter. Cost of purchases.
Sun., Jan 28, 10:30 am-12:30 pm, Pope Francis Global Academy, North Campus, 6040 W. Ardmore.Following mass at 9:30, Pope Francis Global Academy will host an Open House. More info:online or 773-763-7080. Free.
Sun., Jan 28, 10:30 am-1:30 pm, St. Edward School, 4343 W. Sunnyside. Tour campus, meet teachers, parents, and students during Catholic Schools Week Discovery Sunday Open House. More info: onlineor 773-736-9133.Free.
Sun., Jan 28, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Pope Francis Global Academy, West Campus, 6143 W. Irving Park. Following mass at 9:30 am, Pope Francis Global Academy will host an Open House. More info:online 773-736-8806. Free.
Sun., Jan 28, 2 pm, Irving Park Lutheran Church, 4100 N. Harding.Irving Park Fine Arts presentsNois Saxophone Quartet. Free.
Tue., Jan 30, 7 pm, Pasta D’Arte, 6311 N. Milwaukee. Meet neighbors and get involved in the community during theGladstone Park Neighborhood Associationmonthly meeting.Free.
Wed., Jan 31, 7 pm, Basement Auditorium of the Congregational Church, 5320 W. Giddings. Meet neighbors and discuss how to improve your community during theJefferson Park Neighborhood Associationmeeting. Policy adviser and CTU member Kurt Hilgendorf will be a guest speaker. He will be discussing transparency and budgeting. Free.