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January 2006 UCC e-Newsletter

Welcome to Uptown Chicago Commission's monthly newsletter. Comments, feedback and suggestions for articles are welcome. Please email us at uptownchicago@sbcglobal.net.

in this issue:
     * News from the President
     * Crime and Punishment
     * Newz in the 'Hood
     * Upcoming Events

Crime and Punishment


In late 2005, UCC and the Uptown Chamber of Commerce hosted a gathering of area residents to assist 23rd District Commander Gary Yamashiroya and the 23rd District Police with the distribution of posters to area businesses. The Salvation Army and the Center on Halsted were listed along with Inspiration Cafe as worthwhile organizations that help those in need.

The purpose of the posters, entitled Open Your Heart---But Donate Smart, was to educate the public about panhandling and to discourage them from responding to individuals who ask for money from passersby. Rather, the poster gives suggestions of various social service agencies that individuals who wish to help could donate. The idea for the creation of the poster surfaced at Beat 2312's CAPS meeting where there were numerous complaints about aggressive panhandling in the area.

Posters will be available at every CAPS meeting and on UCC's website.


In what may come as a surprise to many Uptown residents, there is no formal system set up in Chicago to identify when a child sex offender lives within 500 feet of a facility or playground that serves children. Following letters from UCC to Attorney General Lisa Madigan in August 2005, 10 sex offenders have been formally notified by the Chicago Police Department that they must move to a different location. In addition, UCC has been informed that the city's Corporation Counsel is investigating whether the Wilson Men’s Club, 1124 W. Wilson Ave., where 13 sex offenders live, is a legal residence. The Men's Club is across the street from a Head Start program at Truman College and a children’s playground within 500 feet.

DRUG STING OPERATION Beat 2024:On May 12, 2005, the Narcotics and Gang Investigation Section of the Chicago Police Department and the 20th District ended an extensive, long term undercover sting operation of the Black P-Stone street gang in the area of Sheridan Road and Argyle Street. Operation Fort Sheridan identified 18 individuals in connection with an open-air market at that location. If convicted, these individuals face long term sentences.

Eight individuals were charged with Criminal Drug Conspiracy. If convicted, a minimum 6-year sentence is mandatory. 10 individuals were charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance. If convicted, sentences vary -- possibly 2 to 30 years.

Operation Fort Sheridan has had a major impact on street narcotic sales in the area. Many thanks to the officers of the 20th District and the Narcotics and Gang team of the Chicago Police Department.

Newz in the 'Hood

WILSON YARD - The sale of land from the CTA to the City has finally gone through. Holsten expects to start the "Big Dig" for Phase One - building the new Aldi's - later this winter.

Agami, Uptown’s new sushi restaurant at 4712 N. Broadway, now has a liquor license. If you haven’t discovered this aquatic-themed sushi spot located adjacent to Borders, now’s the time to check it out. Owners have stocked over 3 dozen sakes in their dramatic curved bar. For those who enjoyed Agami’s BYO policy, you will still be able to do so, but you will be charged a $15 corkage fee.

Uptown Lounge, 1136 W. Lawrence Ave., is planning to expand its business to the adjoining storefront immediately west of the bar. Owners are seeking to open another room for private parties and live music. They’re soliciting community input in this process.

Developer Steve Sagouris would like to build 35 units at 4146 N. Kenmore. He's seeking a zoning variance, as he does not wish to conform to the City’s requirements for landscaping. Buena Park Neighbors are working with him to reach a compromise.

Michelle Fire, owner of Big Chicks, 5024 N. Sheridan Road, has made her establishment smoke-free. Although bars are not required to do this until 2008, Michelle decided to be one of the first in this community to take this step.

Upcoming Events

The 12th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards will be held February 2, 2006, at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. The theme for this year’s program is “Green Chicago: Building for an Affordable Future.” The Awards recognize outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development and community building. For more information go to www.lisc-cnda.org

PEGASUS PLAYERS PRESENTS: Young Playwright's Festival featuring three short plays - Writing Your Tragedy; An Evening with the Living Dead and I Am Someone. Truman College. All Tickets $12, Performances: Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm; Sundays @ 3pm. For more information, please call 773-878-9761 or visit www.pegasusplayers.org

Beat 2311: Feb. 7, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Truman College, 1145 W Wilson Ave.

Beat 2312: Feb. 21, 2006: 7pm-8pm: 4645 N Sheridan Rd.

Beat 2322: Feb. 2, 2006: 7 pm-8 pm: Buena Park Library

Send information about neighborhood news, activities and upcoming events to: uptownchicago@sbcglobal.net.

News from the President

As UCC celebrated its 50th Anniversary last November, we reflected on what has been accomplished over the past half century. We began the same year--1955--that the first Richard Daley was elected mayor of Chicago. Over the years, we have transitioned from being an organization primarily composed of business owners to one of active community residents dedicated to improving the lives of all in Uptown. Our secret to success has been simple: we believe that connecting with others is key in creating positive change for the community.

From UCC’s work to help shape the direction of the Wilson Yard, to matters related to zoning and historical preservation, we believe that our influence has helped make Uptown a more livable community to raise our families and shop. Our work to address the problem of child sex offenders living too close to the play lots, daycare centers, and schools in Uptown led to a discovery that all of Illinois needs to do a better job to protect our children. When a number of residents attending CAPS at the various police beats complained about the aggressive panhandling, UCC worked with the 23rd Police District to educate residents about ways to more effectively help people who panhandle.

In the next couple of months, we will be working with the 23rd Police District to educate local businesses about how they can help address the problems related to graffiti on their buildings. We will ask block clubs to help organize neighbors to participate in Clean & Green Day and at the same time, encourage their neighborhood schools and places of worship to lend a hand. It’s all about connecting with others to make Uptown a better place.

As our 50th Anniversary reminded us, Uptown is a community that many people call home. Our commitment is to have it remain diverse and balanced so that all people can thrive and grow.

        ----- James Cappleman

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