Welcome to the first weekly email where your Aldermanic Service Staff reviews what’s happening in the 49th Ward office and on the streets.
We are listening to you. As we have been hosting satellite service offices and been out and about in the community, we have heard that while you love Alderman Joe’ Moore’s email blasts, you also would like to hear more about what our staff is doing for the community and some of the things that Joe is doing that perhaps don’t warrant a big stand-alone email. And so we are launching this email.
Please reply to this email with your thoughts, and what you might like to see included in this email.
Housing: Targeting the most vulnerable: Over the past year, our office has responded to a distressing trend: drug dealers have been deliberately targeting our vulnerable neighbors living with severe mental health issues and intellectual disabilities, taking over their apartments for use selling drugs. In most cases, these victims are clients of responsible social service agencies, like Trilogy or Thresholds, yet never tell their case workers because they have been threatened with harm. One case worker discovered her client sleeping in the hallway closet because gang members had taken over their bedroom.
As Alderman Moore’s housing specialist, these calls go to Ann Hinterman. The challenge she faced was how to handle these situations when the victims are terrified of retaliation or being accused by police of being involved? Traditional interventions obviously wouldn’t work here.
We partnered with officers from 24th Police District and representatives from all major behavioral heath providers in our area to discuss this issue. Together, we were able to discuss warning signs the outreach teams can look for that might indicate their client was being targeted by drug dealers and ways to have safe conversations to learn more. The police described what steps they would take when alerted to a possible apartment takeover, and the kind of protections behavioral health clients could expect to avoid being lumped in with their attackers. Most importantly, we established relationships among key members of our community so future problems can be resolved before a crisis occurs.
Development: Big turnout for Target job fair. Almost 200 job seekers attended the Target Job Fair Monday sponsored by Alderman Moore. The Target in the Concord development, just north of Devon on Sheridan, is scheduled to open this spring. Staff assistant Wayne Frazier pulled together this popular event, with an assist from Cecilia Salinas and other staff. If you missed Monday’s job fair, you still can apply at a weekend-long Target Job fair starting today (Friday, January 18th) through Sunday, January 20th, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, at the Peterson Avenue store (2113 W. Peterson).
PB update: Time to order from infrastructure “menu.” With the dawn of the new year comes the chance for us to start planning for all the infrastructure improvements you voted for last September under the Participatory Budgeting project. The Alderman got the city’s infrastructure “menu” this week, from which we select and order all the street and alley repaving you chose. PB coordinator Cecilia Salinas and Staff Assistant Wayne Frazier are making the menu selections this week; the work will start late spring and into the summer. Meanwhile, check out the updates on 2018 PB projects. This spring, look for emails about how to get your PB ideas on this year’s ballot.
311 & city services: How can we help you? Our staff is still getting accustomed to using the city’s new web-based 311 system. We like it much better as it’s more intuitive and easy to use. Need your alley baited? Is there a street light out on your block? Give us a buzz (773-338-5796) or email us, giving as much detail as possible. We’ll give you a tracking number and let you know the average response time for service completion.
True stuff: A neighbor stopped by the office a week ago to say that someone ran over and severely damaged both his blue and black garbage carts on New Year’s Eve. Our Ward Superintendent Dan Murphy set him up with new carts.
Your turn: Snow shoveling reminder. Our intrepid weather forecasters are warning we may get 6-to-10 inches of snow starting Friday night and into Saturday. That prompts us to remind all neighbors of your responsibility to clear the snow from sidewalks in front of your home or property. You must shovel snow as soon as possible after it falls. By law, snow that falls between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. should be removed no later than 10:00 p.m. Snow that falls between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. must be removed by 10:00 a.m. If you need help shoveling, we can suggest some folks you can hire. Call or write us if you see areas that still need shoveling and we will remind property owners. Also, don’t forget to have some fun – make a snow-person (or two)!
For fun: Martin Luther King Day basketball. Looking for a way to honor the great civil rights leader, and support our middle school kids? The Friends of Sullivan, along with Sullivan High School, the Chicago Park District and Norman Polk, are hosting its First Annual Middle School Boy’s Basketball Invitational on Monday, January 21st (King Day), at Willye B. White Field House, 1610 W. Howard Street, from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. Teams from Gale, Kilmer, Jordan and Acero schools will compete in this one day tournament, which will include a drills session, an educational program honoring Dr. King, exciting basketball, a celebratory meal and trophy ceremony, including T-shirts. At the tournament, Sullivan representatives will inform the players more about exciting opportunities at Sullivan, as they consider their high school options. Staff Assistant Wayne Frazier worked with the sponsoring organizations and all the schools to make this happen. Nice work all around!
Rogers Park historical note – Fritz Pollard. In reading an AP story recently about NFL coaching changes, we ran across the mention of Fritz Pollard, a famous Rogers Park native and the first black NFL coach. Dare we say, he’s probably the only Rogers Park native enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And for sure we know he’s the first African-American to be elected to the Hall. Read what the Rogers Park-West Ridge Historical Society wrote about Fritz and the entire Pollard family.
Our 49th Ward Service Office Staff is here to serve you: Wayne Frazier (infrastructure issues), Mike Land (business, zoning and property tax issues), Cecilia Salinas (Participatory Budgeting coordinator and immigration issues, bilingual), Ann Hinterman (housing specialist), Bob Fuller (legislative aide) and Kevin O’Neil (police and schools issues). Please let us know how we can improve our work for you. Also, share any other thoughts you have about this email by hitting reply.
Yours very truly,
49th Ward Service Office Staff