With temperatures forecasted to be in the single digits and low teens over the weekend, I would like to remind residents of some simple tips to prevent your pipes from freezing.
A simple and cost-effective way to protect your pipes is by purchasing pipe insulation from a hardware store. Other tricks include keeping garage doors closed, opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing, allowing cold water to drip from a faucet served by exposed pipe, and keeping the thermostat set to a temperature no lower than 55-degrees.
The city does offer warming centers during extreme cold. To find the location of the closest available warming center at any given time, call 3-1-1.
Please be advised, that there will be no Ward Night on Tuesday, January 29.
Sweeping Reforms Introduced at Wednesday’s City Council Meeting
This week was busy at City Hall. At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, my colleagues and I in Chicago’s Progressive Reform Caucus introduced a number of reforms to bring more transparency and oversight to the dealings at City Hall.
On Wednesday, City Council voted to permanently move the $100 million workers compensation program out of the Finance Committee. In December, I introduced an ordinance that would strip the Finance Committee of the worker’s compensation program and move it to the Law Department. It’s a change I have been advocating for since 2017. While I am pleased that this program has been moved out of the Finance Committee, I am disappointed that it took a federal investigation of Alderman Burke to do right by our residents.
Additionally, we introduced an ordinance that would expand the investigatory authority for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and provide that office with subpoena power. My colleagues in the Progressive Caucus and I introduced a similar ordinance in 2016 that would have given the IG jurisdiction over committees, including the Finance Committee and the workers’ compensation program.
We also introduced changes to Rule 14 of the City Council Rules of Order. The proposed changes would require more information on recusals and prohibit committee chairs from presiding over matters where they need to be recused from voting.
Finally, we called for the installation of Alderman Scott Waguespack as Finance Chair. Alderman Waguespack has a proven track record of expertise and integrity on financial issues. He also has been a trailblazer on ushering in more oversight and transparency to the City of Chicago.
While the proposed changes would bring significant changes to City Hall, work remains to be done. I am committed to continuing the fight to provide city residents the government they deserve.
Voting Information for the Upcoming Municipal Election
The February 26 municipal election is around the corner. Beginning Tuesday, January 29, Chicagoans can vote early at the Loop Super Site, 175 W. Washington. This is the only early voting location that will be open until February 11.
Beginning February 11 through February 25, you may vote early at any early voting location. The 16th District Police Station, 5151 N. Milwaukee, is the early voting location in the 45th Ward. A list of all voting locations and hours throughout the city are available on the Chicago Board of Election’s website.
On February 26, you are required to vote at your polling place. You can find your polling place by entering your address on the voter’s information page on the Chicago Board of Election’s website. Polls close at 7 pm on Election Day.
Those interested in voting by mail may request a ballot on the Chicago Board of Election’s website. The deadline to apply for a vote by mail ballot is 5 pm on February 21. When you receive the vote by mail ballot, make sure to follow all the enclosed instructions and vote in secret. A mail ballot must be postmarked (or, in the absence of a postmark, certified by the voter) on or before Election Day, February 26, in order to be counted. In addition, the Board of Elections must receive the ballot by March 12 for the ballot to be counted. You may return the vote by ballot through the U.S. Postal Service, by personal delivery to the Election Board (either by the voter or an immediate relative), or through a state-licensed motor carrier (such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL). Once a mail ballot has been returned to the Board of Elections, it cannot be retrieved or withdrawn. The same voter cannot vote in person at a polling place on Election Day unless they bring the mail ballot (or a portion of it) to the election judges or completes an affidavit stating the mail ballot was never received by the voter or that it was received and lost.
You may register to vote at ANY early voting location or at your polling place on February 26. You will need two forms of identification, one which must show a current address, to register to vote at a polling place. A list of acceptable forms of ID are available to view on the Chicago Board of Election’s website.
Help Save Fannie’s Cafe
Small businesses are the foundation of our neighborhood. They act as spaces for neighbors to come together and build relationships.
However, small emergencies and changes in the market can create financial hardships, putting them at risk of closing their doors.
Fannie’s has acted as a space for dialogue among neighbors and been a partner for many local organizations. Our neighborhood is a better place because of their decision to open here.
I hope you will join me in making a contribution if you are able to save a neighborhood gem. You can make a donation online atGoFundMe.
View How Your Tax Dollars Have Been Spent on Water, Sewer, and Other Infrastructure Improvements
My office has created two interactive maps, authorized menu and water and sewer projects, 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.
Jefferson Park Sunday Market to Feature Yoga and Dance Classes on Jan. 27
Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you from enjoying a farmers market! The Jefferson Park Sunday Market continues their winter market tradition for the third year in a row at the Copernicus Center.
Patronize your favorite businesses and stock up on fresh produce, microgreens, honey, tamales, baked goods, soups, and more! The market even has a cash bar to make your shopping and brunch a little more entertaining.
This weekend’s market will feature live music and dance cardio from Fly Girl Fitness (5525 N. Milwaukee) at 10:30 am and, Jazzercize from the Copernicus Center’s instructor Sherrie at 11:20 am, and yoga from Wildlight Yoga (4140 N. Milwaukee) at 1 pm.
The next market takes place this Sunday, January 27, from 10 am-2 pm in the annex space at 5214 W. Lawrence.
This is the perfect excuse to get out of the cold, support local businesses, and get your heart pumping!
16th District Donation Drive
The 16th District’s Office of Community Policing is hosting a “shopping event” for domestic violence shelter residents. During the event, survivors will receive clothing, accessories, and self-care tools for free.
Between now and February 1, the 16th District, 5151 N. Milwaukee, is accepting donations of gently used and/or new women’s clothing and purses.
For more information, contact the CAPS office at 312-742-4521.
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.
Chicken & Beer Dance Feb. 1
Back by popular demand! After over 200 people attended last year’s event, the Six Corners Association has decided to do it all over again this year!
On February 1, they will be transforming 2112 Chicago, 4245 N. Knox, 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! – who specialize in bluegrass covers of top radio hits. Local restaurants will be providing country-style cuisine and local craft breweries will be providing the beer tastings.
Tickets cost $40/person and include food, soda, water, and a tee shirt. If you decide to forgo the beer, you can purchase a ticket for $25/person.
You must be 21 or older to participate in the beer tasting. All tickets must be purchased in advanced, no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets are available to purchase online.
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.
Princess Party Feb. 8
Rosedale Park, 6312 W. Rosedale, is hosting a Princess Party on Friday, February 8 from 6-8 pm.
Come dressed in your princess outfit or fancy dress for a night full of princess-themed songs, crafts, games, and fun!
All ages of princesses (children) must be accompanied by a king or a queen (adult).
You must register a princess ahead of the event to attend. You can register online or by calling the park at 773-631-7156. Registration only costs $5 per princess.
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.
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.
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 tax payers 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.
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.
Thanks for reading,