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News From Uptown Chicago Commission
April 2006

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
  • Public Safety
  • Newz in the 'Hood
  • Upcoming Events:

  • Public Safety
    Wilson Men's Club

    SEX OFFENDER UPDATE: Due in part to UCCís activism in bringing the issue of whether convicted sex offenders are complying with a residency law to the State Attorney General's office, a 5-part series aired on this subject on WBBM radio. UCC Vice President Richard Thale, was interviewed as part of the series discussing the difficulty of identifying and locating convicted sex offenders and expressing UCC"s concern regarding the enforcement of the laws restricting where they live. UCC's concern is reflected in particular to sex offenders who live at the Wilson Menísí Club.

    Questions remain about how the law should be enforced and who should be responsible for enforcement: the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Corrections or the Attorney General's Office. The mechanism for enforcement still needs to be identified as well as the agency ultimately responsible for enforcing the law.

    The UCC is in discussions with all the relevant parties to convene a public seminar to address these questions. Both the 20th and 23rd Police Districts continue to show great cooperation in addressing this ongoing public safety concern. We are grateful for the extensive amount of staff hours the police have devoted to this issue.

    UNDERCOVER DRUG STING IN UPTOWN: Chicago police arrested several alleged gang members on April 4th and seized a number of guns and narcotics as part of an undercover drug-trafficking investigation.

    The arrests were part of a lengthy and continuing investigation called "Operation Taking Back Uptown," which involved as many as 10 gang members who live and operate in Uptown, and specifically out of the "Happy Wash" laundromat on Wilson Avenue.

    After receiving complaints at 23rd District CAPS meetings regarding gang and narcotics related loitering in the area, "Operation Taking Back Uptown" was initiated in January.

    Investigators learned that members of the criminal street gang, the "Black Stones," were using payphones inside local businesses to conduct their drug sales. Officers made 17 undercover purchases of crack cocaine during the three month investigation. The officers learned that crack cocaine was the primary narcotic being sold and that the "Black Stones" controlled the majority of drug sales in the area.

    Three handguns and an unspecified amount of cocaine and crack were seized during the sweep.

    POSITIVE LOITERING :Building on the momentum of the "Taking Back Uptown" drug sting operation, a positive loitering event and open police roll call will be held at 6pm on Thursday, April 20, at the corner of Wilson and Magnolia. 6pm. Neighbors, friends, and dogs on leashes are all welcome to show your support for the police and against criminal activity.

    COURT ADVOCATES NEEDED: April 26, 2006 , 9 A.M. Room CL 95 at the Daley Center. The defendant , Paul Myvette, has been charged with Driving with a Suspended/Revoked Drivers License.

    May 4, 2006, 10 A.M. Room 604, at the Criminal Court House located at 26th and California. The defendant, Spenser Martin, has been charged with Attempted Robbery in the vicinity of Clarendon and Lawrence Avenues. : Contact Officer Ron Tanaka at the 23rd District CAPS office at 312.744.0064 for further information.

    PROBLEM BUILDING SEMINAR: Do you live in or near a problem building? To learn about options you may have join us on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at Faith Tabernacle Church 3750 N. Halsted, 6:30-8:00 PM. Speakers from the State's Attorneys Office and the City of Chicago will be present. This Seminar is being presented by the Cook County State's Attorneys Office and the Chicago Police Department.

    Please RSVP to Lori at 773-506-3602 or Ltrier@cookcountygov.com by May 1st. Space is limited.

    Newz in the 'Hood

    MORE CHANGES FOR WILSON YARD: The Uptown Neighborhood Council (UNC) hosted a Community Meeting on the hot topic of Wilson Yard, April 4th in Uptown's Hull House on Wilson Avenue. Invited guests Alderman Helen Shiller, Developer Peter Holsten and Commissioner Lori Healey did not attend the event.

    In February, the planned development suffered a huge loss when it was announced that the proposed 12-screen movie theater component planned by Kerasotes Show Place Theatres, LLC, would no longer be a part of the Wilson Yard redevelopment, due to escalating costs.

    The only components of the plan that remains in place are the 177 units of affordable housing in two 13-story buildings and a new grocery store for Aldi's.

    In a News-Star interview, Ald. Shiller expressed confidence that Target would build a store in the Wilson Yard and that a letter of intent is expected to be signed soon from Target representatives.

    At the meeting, UNC President Randy Lehner expressed many people's concerns about increased traffic congestion and public safety issues with the current proposed plan, and produced a report that was filed by the Chicago Police, stating their concern for the safety of senior citizens who might reside in the Wilson Yard residential buildings, citing the area's crime and potential for accidents. For more information visit www.uncchicago.org.

    In his column in the April 12th edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, Dave Roeder quesioned viability of the Wilson Yard plan, and Alderman Shiller's agenda. For his full column, go to: http://www.suntimes.com/index/roeder.

    GIRL SCOUT THRIFT STORE OPENS: Ready for spring cleaning? A new thrift store benefiting the Girl Scouts of America has opened at 4405 Sheridan Road, and is currently seeking donations. Do your spring cleaning and help the Girl Scouts at the same time. Bring your gently used dishes, pots and pans, linens, and other household items M-W-F between 10:30am and 5pm, or call for more information 773-525-4235.

    Upcoming Events:

    The Third Annual Kentucky Derby Party: will be held on May 6th at CREW Bar & Grill (4804 North Broadway), from 4-7pm. For $25 you get food, drink, and a one-year membership to UCC.

    Prizes for Best Hat!! Prizes for race winners!!! Bring your neighbors, meet your neighbors... come for a great time!!

    UPTOWN CAPS MEETINGS: 20th and 23rd Districts

    • Beat 2311: May 2, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave
    • Beat 2312: April 18, May 16, 2006: 7pm-8pm: 4715 N. Sheridan Rd.
    • Beat 2313: June 14, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Clarendon Park Fieldhouse
    • Beat 2322: May 4, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Buena Park Library
    • Beat 2323/2324: May 17, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Faith Tabernacle, 3750 N. Halsted St.
    • Beat 2024: April 20, June 15, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Margate Park Fieldhouse
    • Beat 2033: April 4, June 6, 2006: 7pm-8pm: Methodist Home, 1415 W. Foster Ave.

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

    Richard/Firehouse Garden

    As part of the City's Clean and Green Day on May 13, UCC is sponsoring prizes to promote the beautification of Uptown. Two awards worth $250 each will be given toward landscaping materials and supplies. One prize will be awarded to the Block Club with the highest number of participants, and the second prize will go to the block club with the most organizations that join in, such as businesses, churches, schools, and social service organizations.

    Plans for a Summer Picnic are getting started now. Look for more information to follow.

    News from the President

    A Good Idea Gets Better

    Clean and Green has been around for years, but it only makes sense to take this wonderful event and bring it up another notch or two. As an unassuming high school student back in April of 1970, I remember the profound impact it made on me to join my classmates to pick up garbage in my community as we celebrated the very first Earth Day. All of us at UCC felt we should encourage people of all ages and organizations of all types to participate in the next Clean and Green in Uptown.

    With that, an idea surfaced that we could give award money to encourage block clubs to invite local schools, businesses,places of worship, and area organizations to join with them in making Uptown free of litter. UCC Vice President, Cindi Anderson came up with the idea that gift certificates to a local nursery could be the prizes, making it a win-win for all: Uptown would be cleaner and the block club that organized a lot of participants would get planting material to make their area even better. My not-so-hidden agenda was that this would also get people more connected to other people in our neighborhood. Commander Gary Yamashiroya of the 23rd Police District loved the idea and has said he wants to help in any way that he can.

    And hereís my hope...this event makes a profound impact on another unassuming high school student who will grow up wanting to make a difference in our world of tomorrow.

    ----- James Cappleman

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