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2013 Archive News

Alderman Reilly's Offices Closed December 24, 2013 to January 2, 2014 

December 20, 2013

 

In observance of the holidays, the Offices of Alderman Brendan Reilly will be closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays beginning at 3:00pm on Tuesday, December 24th and will reopen for regular business hours on Thursday, January 2nd.  If there are matters that you need assistance with over the holiday, please contact us before December 24th and we will be happy to serve you!

 

Please note that Wednesday, December 25th and Wednesday, January 1st are official City Holidays - City Hall, public libraries, health clinics, senior-service centers and other city offices will also be closed.

 

If you are in need of city service, please call 3-1-1 or call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.  All public safety services including police and fire will remain at full strength and will not be impacted. 

 

Those headed out to holiday celebrations on New Year's Eve are encouraged to take advantage of the Chicago Transit Authority's annual "penny ride".  Enjoy safe and convenient travel on CTA buses and trains for just one penny beginning at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, December 31st until 4:00 am Wednesday, January 1st.

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Condominium Refuse Rebate Program

2013 REBATE APPLICATIONS DUE BY JANUARY 15, 2014

December 20, 2013

 

*** The following information is intended for Condominium Property Managers and Condominium Board Members regarding the annual Condominium Refuse Rebate application. One application per Condominium Association shall be submitted by the Property Management Company or Condominium Association. ***

 

 

ATTENTION PROPERTY MANAGERS:  

 

You must return all completed 2013 refuse rebate applications to Alderman Reilly's City Hall office no later than JANUARY 15, 2014, or your application may be denied.

 

DO NOT DELAY!

 

Application forms and additional information are available at the Committee on Finance website.   Submit completed applications to Alderman Reilly's City Hall Office, located at 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 200 no later than January 15, 2014, or your application may be denied.  

 

Please ensure that completed applications are sent via a method that provides a "delivery confirmation" receipt.

 

If you have any questions about the Refuse Rebate program, please contact the Committee on Finance at (312) 744-3332 or Alderman Reilly's City Hall Office at 312-744-3062 or via email at  rebates@ward42chicago.com.

 

Please note: Applications submitted after January 15, 2014 may be ineligible for the 2013 rebate and all subsequent years.

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Celebrate Safely this New Year! Reminders from the Chicago Police Department

December 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Police Department will be highly visible and enforcing all laws.

  • NO drinking on the Public Way.  This rule will be strictly enforced.
  • Do not drink and drive. Designate a driver.
  • Utilize public transportation.
  • Weapons should not be used as a means of celebration.
  • Keep your celebration indoors.
  • Be attentive to excessive noise and trash.
  • Know your destination.

The Chicago Police Department is dedicated to maintaining safety and will be highly visible. They ask your cooperation by exercising sensible and responsible judgment.

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Alderman Reilly Interview on Politics Tonight

December 17, 2013

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly appeared as a guest on Politics Tonight, a talk show hosted by WGN Political Analyst Paul Lisnek.  



A video of the interview will be posted on the CLTV website soon. 

This interview was conducted as part of CLTV's "50 Ward in 50 Days" program.  To view past interview with other members of the City Council, please visit cltv.com/politics-tonight.

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Suggest Locations for New Divvy Stations

December 17, 2013

 



The Chicago Department of Transportation thanks Alderman Reilly for his input and assistance in helping launch the successful Divvy Bike Share System with 300 stations. Among those 300 stations, there are 44 stations in the current 42nd Ward, and 45 stations within the future (2015) ward boundaries.

 

Divvy, Chicago's bike-share system, launched a new website to solicit suggestions and feedback from Chicagoans on the locations for the 175 new Divvy stations scheduled to be added to the system in 2014.

 

On the website suggest.divvybikes.com, Chicagoans can make suggestions for locations and provide feedback on site suggestions others have made.

 

There are currently 300 Divvy stations located across Chicago, and funding has been secured to add 175 more in neighborhoods across Chicago next year. At 475 stations, Chicago would have the largest number of bike share stations than any other city in North America.

 

Chicagoans can find out more about the system at www.DivvyBikes.com or through social media on Twitter at @DivvyBikes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DivvyBikes.

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Chicago Police Department Holiday Events and Notices

November 27, 2013

 

Warm Hands, Warm Hearts 

Join the 18th District Police Department in a holiday drive to help Chicago's homeless and needy families. Donations of new gloves, mittens, scarves, hats socks and underwear are needed. These items can be dropped off at the 18th District Community Policing office at 1160 North Larrabee Street through January 1, 2014.  For more information, please call the Community Policing office at 312-742-5778 or email caps018@chicagopolice.org.

 

Holiday Safety Tips 

During the Holiday Season, most people are out shopping, attending parties and out traveling.  Everyone enjoys this time of year -- including criminals!  The Chicago Police Department would like to offer a few suggestions to make sure that your holidays are safe and secure. Click here for more information.  

 

Don't Become A Victim 

Robbers want one thing - your money or property. But there are some steps you can take to help prevent becoming a victim. Click here for more information. 

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2013 Safe Shopping Guide

November 27, 2013

 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently released her annual Safe Shopping Guide highlighting recalled toys and household items to help Illinois families create a safe environment for the holidays.

 

The 2013 holiday resource guide includes detailed descriptions and photographs of the nearly 100 different children's products recalled in the past year. This year's edition also includes a warning for parents and caregivers about the risks of shopping online at resale sites where previously recalled toys and children's products are still being sold.

 

Consumers can view and download the 2013 Safe Shopping Guide at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov or by calling the Attorney General's Recall Hotline for a print copy at 1-888-414-7678.

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Historic Wells Street Bridge Opens to Traffic!

November 22, 2013

 

(photo credit: Brooke Collins, City of Chicago Photographer)

 

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, Alderman Reilly joined Mayor Emanuel, CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, CTA President Forrest Claypool and other officials in the opening the newly reconstructed Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River - marking the end of a one-year project that replaced the historic structure while maintaining active train and maritime service. 

 

The complex project included replacing the trusses and all of the steel framing for the lower level road and upper level railway structures.  The mechanical and electrical components were also replaced, and the bridge's historic elements, railings, bridge houses and major structural components were reconstructed to preserve the 1920s look of the bridge. 

 

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) service into the Loop had been briefly interrupted for two nine-day periods this spring while the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) construction crews dismantled and replaced the two movable leaves on the bridge with new pre-fabricated sections, which were assembled off-site and floated up the river on a barge. 

 

At the same time, the CTA rebuilt the Loop 'L' junction at Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18, and performed additional track replacement at the curve over Hubbard Street between Wells and Franklin Street.  Combining their work saved CDOT and CTA a total of $500,000 in construction coordination costs.

 

The $50 million Wells Bridge project was funded through a combination of state and federal transportation improvement funds. 

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Alderman Reilly Co-Sponsors Budget Amendment to Hire 500 New Cops

November 18, 2013

 

At the November 13th Chicago City Council Meeting, Alderman Reilly co-sponsored and introduced a budget amendment that would shift $25 million from the proposed 2014 Police Overtime Budget to hire an additional 500 full-time police officers. Alderman Reilly praised Police Superintendent McCarthy and downtown police commanders in the 1st and 18th districts for getting results with limited resources.

 

"The Chicago Police Department does an excellent job managing limited resources and we're fortunate to have talented and dedicated police commanders leading the Department in downtown Chicago," Alderman Reilly said. "Commanders Dunn and Nagode are excellent partners and I want to make sure they have the resources and assets they need to keep downtown a safe place to live, work and visit."

 

Alderman Reilly co-sponsored the budget amendment with Aldermen Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward), Tom Tunney (44th Ward), Michele Smith (43rd Ward), Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Toni Foulkes (15th Ward), Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), Howard Brookins (21st Ward), Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward), John Arena (45th Ward), Nicholas Sposato (36th Ward), Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), and Alderman Willie Cochran (20th Ward) - a former Chicago police officer.

 

This proposed budget amendment would shift a portion of the proposed 2014 overtime budget to increase the full-time force level by 500 officers. Alderman Reilly supports Mayor Emanuel's use of overtime programs to manage city costs, but believes the City of Chicago needs to start adding additional full-time officers to the force, rather than simply keep pace with attrition.

 

"I support the Mayor's creative use of police overtime programs to help limit the City's costs and long-term obligations, especially with the looming pension crisis the City will face next year," said Reilly. "However, I believe we need to make a greater commitment to adding more full-time officers to the police force - to ensure the Chicago Police Department has the resources they need to continue their excellent progress fighting crime and improving public safety."

 

During this week's Public Budget Hearing, Lawrence Msall, Executive Director of the Civic Federation of Chicago testified that the use of police overtime budgets is fiscally responsible - but conceded the fact that the use of overtime budgeting alone is a limited short-term solution. He acknowledged that smart long range public safety planning involves adding more full-time officers to the Department.

 

Privately Funded Off-Duty Cop Initiative

Earlier this year, Alderman Reilly introduced an ordinance to create a "Supplemental Off-Duty Police Initiative" - allowing non-profit funds to be established for the private funding of uniformed off-duty cops to supplement existing beats across Chicago, at no cost to taxpayers. The initiative would give the Police Department even more ammunition in the fight against crime across Chicago.

 

This program could benefit communities across the City of Chicago - it would not privatize Chicago police services, nor would it empower local businesses to manage or direct supplemental off-duty police officers. The Program would simply allow private non-profits, charitable organizations or SSA / BID taxing districts to provide funding for this additional layer of police coverage.

 

Off-duty Chicago Police Officers would be paid $35 / hour for minimum 6-hour shifts and officers would bid for slots in the Program through a lottery system. Today, many younger police officers with less seniority in the Department are unable to bid for existing violence reduction overtime initiatives - instead working other part-time jobs such as security or construction. The Fraternal Order of Police and many downtown police officers have endorsed Alderman Reilly's initiative.

 

Alderman Reilly looks forward to working with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his colleagues on the City Council and the Chicago Police Department to implement this program across the City of Chicago.

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Veterans Services Available at CCRD 

November 8, 2013

 

All veterans are urged to record their DD-214 military discharge records with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds (CCRD) - Veterans Service Office. This extremely valuable document is required for veterans to apply for well-deserved benefits such as medical care, educational benefits and VA loans for housing.

 

If a veteran would like to record their DD-214 or would like to get a copy of one previously recorded (1996 or sooner), just stop by CCRD's Downtown Chicago office.  If a veteran or their designee would like to get a copy of an older DD-214, the CCRD office asks that they call ahead first so they can have it waiting when you arrive. Some older DD-214s, especially from World War II era, require a hand-search through ledger books and can take some time.  Veterans may record a DD-214 at any CCRD Satellite Office, but may only receive a certified copy at the Downtown Office at this time.

 

In a time of need, this service offers peace of mind so that that your family can access these valuable documents in a safe and secure fashion. They won't have to hunt through desk drawers or find keys to a safety deposit box. Letting family know in advance that the CCRD office has a copy can save them time and worry.

 

All DD-214s are protected from public view, and are available only to the person named in the document, the named person's dependents, the county veteran's service officer and representatives from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

Veterans may record their DD-214s at the CCRD Downtown Office at 118 N. Clark or at any of the courthouses conveniently located in Cook County. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact them directly at 312-603-5788.

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365 Days of Divvy

November 1, 2013

 

Chicago's Divvy bike stations will be available throughout the winter at all 300 bikeshare locations, although the bike fleet will be reduced to match anticipated ridership. 

 

Snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of Divvy rebalancing teams, technicians, and station cleaners.  The teams circle the city in blue vans from 6 a.m. to Midnight every day.  Vans will be loaded with shovels, brooms and salt to keep stations clear of snow and ice. 

 

As a safety matter in very extreme weather, Divvy may choose to temporarily close the system, only after alerting the public via press release, social media and the CycleFinder app on iPhone and Android.  Emails will also be sent to Annual Members.  In an instance of a temporary halt to operations, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to take bikes out.

 

Divvy is launching an online campaign called #DIVVYON, intended to educate Chicagoans about biking in cold weather. #DIVVYON will also serve as a reflection of the bike share's continuation through winter and the resilient spirit of Chicagoans. 

 

To find out more about the system visit www.DivvyBikes.com or connect through social media on Twitter at @DivvyBikes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DivvyBikes .

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Gogo to Open New Headquarters in 42nd Ward

November 1, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly looks forward to welcoming Gogo, the world leader in in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, who will soon move its corporate headquarters and commercial aviation business to the 42nd Ward. Gogo will be located right in the heart of the technology community at 111 N. Canal, situated between companies such as 1871 and the Energy Foundry.

 

More than 460 employees will be moving into 232,000 square feet of space at their new location, with plans to add more than 50 jobs within the next two years.

 

Gogo's headquarters and commercial aviation business are currently headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, and their business aviation division is based in Broomfield, Colorado.  The company previously considered options in Colorado, but ultimately chose Chicago as the right choice due to the city's extensive talent pipeline, access to domestic and foreign partners and thriving technology community.

 

Gogo provides in-air connectivity to more than 2,000 commercial aircraft and communication services to more than 6,000 business aircraft. The company utilizes its own ground based cellular air to ground network and satellite technology platforms to provide service.

 

Companies such as Gogo are continuously drawn to the city in large part due to its unique talent pool. Public and private post-secondary educational institutions enroll more than 65,000+ in the Chicago Loop alone, and Chicago is home to two of the world's top business schools. Additionally, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed Chicago residents over 25 with BAs in computers, math, and statistics increased by 20 percent in 2012 (nationally, this figure increased by 4.6 percent).

 

Fostering innovation and building momentum around the region's technology industry is a key component of the city's Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. As a part of the Plan, World Business Chicago (WBC) is working to drive growth and opportunity in businesses related to science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship with its ChicagoNEXT council.

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2014 City Budget Hearings

October 25, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly invites you to attend the city budget hearings, which begin Monday, October 28th at 10:00am in City Council Chambers, located on the second floor of City Hall.  The budget hearings are open to the public and begin at 9:00am (or subject to call of Chair) each following day in Council Chambers.       

 

If you would like to provide feedback to the Budget Committee on the official record, please attend the Public Hearing session on Wednesday, November 13th at 10:00am in Council Chambers.

 

As Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee, Alderman Reilly encourages you to participate in this important annual event.  The Alderman also welcomes written feedback and ideas via email to office@ward42chicago.com.  

 

The budget hearing schedule is posted below, and can also be found on the City Clerk's website.

 

10/28/13 MONDAY -

Budget Hearings - 10:00am, Budget Overview:

Budget Director

Chief Financial Officer

Department of Finance

                                                            

10/29/13 TUESDAY -    

City Treasurer

City Clerk

Department of Innovation & Technology

Department of Aviation

 

10/30/13 WEDNESDAY -

Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Ofc. of Emergency Mgmt. & Communications 

Office of Inspector General

 

10/31/13 THURSDAY -  

Department of Human Resources

Board of Ethics

Department of Police

 

11/1/13 FRIDAY -          

Board of Election Commissioners

Department of Family and Support Services

Department of Fleet & Facility Management

 

11/4/13 MONDAY -       

Police Board

Fire Department

Department of Planning & Development

 

11/5/13 TUESDAY -      

Department of Public Health

Chicago Public Library

Department of Streets and Sanitation

 

11/6/13 WEDNESDAY - 

Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

License Appeal Commission

Department of Buildings

Chicago Department of Transportation

 

11/7/13 THURSDAY -    

Business Affairs & Consumer Protection

Commission on Human Relations

Commission on Animal Care and Control

Department of Water Management

 

11/8/13 FRIDAY -         

Department of Administrative Hearings

Independent Police Review Authority

Department of Procurement Services

Department of Law 

 

11/13/13 WEDNESDAY -

City Council Meeting - Public Hearing

 

11/18/13 MONDAY -      

Budget Committee Meeting - 1:00pm

 

11/20/13 WEDNESDAY -  

City Council - Budget Committee Reports

Annual Appropriation Ordinance *

CDBG Ordinance

* Defer and Publish

 

11/25/13 MONDAY -     

Budget Committee Meeting - 1:00pm

 

11/26/13 TUESDAY -     

City Council Meeting - Vote to Adopt Both

Annual Appropriation Ordinance * *

CDBG Ord, (if deferred and published 11/20)

* * Amendments Up or Down

 

If you would like to review Mayor Emanuel's 2014 Budget address please click on the following links to watch the video, or read the transcript.

 

Mayor Budget Summary and Press Release

2014 Budget Overview

Recommendations 

Draft Action Plan

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Chicago Solar Express Created to Encourage Solar Development 

October 25, 2013

 

Chicago Solar Express, recently launched by Mayor Emanuel, the Environmental  Law and Policy Center and West Monroe Partners, is a streamlined and progressive permitting, zoning and interconnection process established for residents and developers seeking to place solar installations on residential and commercial projects.

 

The Chicago Solar Express project will cut down on wait times for solar permits, cut fees by 25 percent and simplify key processes. The City of Chicago and its partners developed these reforms with the assistance of a $750,000 "SunShot" grant received from the Department of Energy (DOE).

 

The reforms support a vibrant solar sector while helping to mitigate the City's carbon footprint. The City will launch an expedited permitting process where qualifying projects can receive same-day permit approval at reduced fees. The permitting process was cut from 30 days to one day and the fee schedule decreased from $375 to $275, a 25 percent reduction.

 

Along with the expedited permitting process, Chicago's Department of Buildings has published new guidelines, outlining clear steps for general contractors to follow for designing both small and large systems to City standards, making requirements clearer and making doing business with the City easier. Significantly lowering the cost to install a large rooftop solar arrays, the new guidelines update structural design requirements to recognize improvements in the design of ballasted systems over recent years.

 

Other reforms include simplifying the zoning process by providing policy interpretation and design guidance for all solar types in all sectors and streamlining the process for connecting solar panels to the electric grid. This partnership will introduce the Online Interconnection and Net Metering Enrollment, a tool to be launched by ComEd by year-end that will allow applicants to submit, track, and pay for applications through an online platform. This will enable applicants to connect their solar generator to the grid and receive credit on their bills for producing their own electricity.

 

The new policy introduces flexibility for projects covered by the Sustainable Development Policy, a set of requirements for large developments going through the planned development process or receiving City financial assistance. Launched in 2004, the Sustainable Development Policy requires large developments to install vegetated green roofs and pursue LEED certification, and has been instrumental in helping make Chicago the North American leader in green roofs with 359 vegetated roofs covering 5.5 million square feet and LEED certified buildings numbering 405 totaling 114 million square feet. Under the updated policy, these projects can swap a portion of their green roof requirement for solar panels, giving property owners additional flexibility while maintaining high standards for project sustainability in Chicago.

 

To make access to solar for Chicagoans as easy as possible, the City has launched a new website for solar, a one-stop shop with a step-by-step process for getting rooftop solar approved, installed, and connected, as quickly and efficiently as possible: solar.cityofchicago.org.

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BACP Reminder: Be Aware of Consumer Recalls

October 11, 2013

 

Did you know Land of Nod bed-frames were recalled for entrapment hazard? Are you aware that Children's Place footed pajamas were recalled for flammability standard issues?


The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) provides consumers with information about recalled products on its website and ensures that these recalled products are removed from store shelves.

A product recall occurs when the government, through its U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, removes a product from market because it is dangerous and can injure or kill a child or adult. This is usually done in cooperation with the manufacturer. Consumers should be aware of recalled items and the potential harm those items may cause to children, especially as we approach the holiday season.

To report a dangerous product, or product-related injury, visit SaferProducts.gov or call 800-638-2772. Recalled items can be viewed on the City of Chicago's website at Consumer Recalls.

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Chicago Park District Offers New Online Application Process for Special Event Permits

October 4, 2013

 

The Chicago Park District is improving its special event permit application process by eliminating the physical wait in line.  Beginning Friday, November 1, 2013, applicants can go online  and complete the application process beginning at 9:00am

 

Under the new two-step electronic process, applicants will purchase a non-refundable $35 permit application fee that secures a space in the processing queue, and complete the special event permit application online.

 

To prepare for the new process, starting October 25, applicants should click here and take the following steps:

  • New users should create an account as a Chicago Park District customer.
  • Current Chicago Park District customers can login and add "Permit Application Fee 2014" to their wish list in preparation for check out on November 1, 2013 at 9 a.m.

The new process will allow for more planning time and eliminates waiting in line.  The former process did not open to applicants until early January the same year of the event.

 

In spring 2014, the Chicago Park District plans to unveil a streamlined process for picnic permits.  These changes, together with the improved online program registration process, are some of the Chicago Park District's recent initiatives to better serve patrons.

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Enroll Chicago! City-Wide Campaign to help Enroll Uninsured Chicagoans

October 4, 2013

 

A new citywide initiative, Enroll Chicago!, was recently launched to provide uninsured Chicago residents with information and resources that will enable them to take full advantage of new options available to them under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

 

This campaign will roll out over the coming weeks and bring together multiple city agencies and close to 40 community partners to encourage enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Exchange (exchange), which opened October 1, and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), opening November 1. Chicago residents can visit the State of Illinois' website, www.getcoveredillinois.gov, for more information on opportunities under the ACA.

 

Through Enroll Chicago!, the City and its partners will work to provide education and enrollment information directly to uninsured residents where they work, live and play. From library branches and public schools to Chicago Housing Authority properties to Chicago Police Department community meetings - the City and its partners will make resources and technical assistance available to the uninsured. City agencies are working to assist partners providing enrollment services directly to residents.

 

For more information about Enroll Chicago!, click here

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City Of Chicago's First Chicago Film And Media Summit Coming October 20, 2013

October 3, 2013


Following the success of the inaugural Chicago Music Summit this fall, the City of Chicago will hold the first Chicago Film and Media Summit on Sunday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The Summit will focus on Chicago's film making community in efforts to nurture the ever-growing local culture. Chicago filmmakers expected to participate include actor Michael Shannon, producer Bob Teitel and director John McNaughton.

 

Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and co-organized by IFP Chicago, CIMMFest and Cinespace, the FREE Film and Media Summit will host Producers Series Panels in the Claudia Cassidy Theater (2nd Floor North).

 

Summit participants will also have the opportunity to participate in a case study on a newly-released film. "The Harvest" will have its premiere screening on October 19th at the Chicago International Film Festival.

 

Smaller sessions will explore the multiple platforms now available to filmmakers to reach audiences and will take place in the Fourth Floor Conference Room (4th Floor South).

 

Registration for the Film and Media Summit is now open. Registration is FREE, but limited to the first 500 people who sign up at chicagofilmandmediasummit.org. The Summit will also feature an expo of industry professionals whose services are readily available for filmmakers in Chicago.

 

Additionally, film fans are invited to enjoy short films in Randolph Square (1st Floor North). Films screened will be representative of many of the city's film festivals. Admission to the short films is FREE, with no registration required.

 

Prior to the Summit, filmmakers can take advantage of free events in association with the Chicago International Film Festival. On Friday, October 18 they can Meet the Critics at 4 p.m. at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.); on Saturday, October 19 at noon, a panel of writers, producers, directors and actors offer up their thoughts on Comedy: Improvising Cinema; and at 2 p.m. Saturday, filmmakers will learn about the current surge in horror films at After Dark: The Horror Renaissance. Pre-Summit events are FREE, but tickets must be obtained from the box office.

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Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace

October 4, 2013

 

Under the Affordable Care Act, Illinois residents will soon have the opportunity to purchase affordable health coverage through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace is a vital portal where consumers can find out what insurance coverage they are eligible for, review and compare insurance plans, and enroll in health coverage. Some individuals and families may also be eligible for financial help to reduce the cost of their monthly premiums.

 

Illinois residents can now enroll in new health insurance plans, and coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014.

 

To learn more, click here

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FREE Flu Shots Offered by the Chicago Department of Public Health

September 27, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced over 60 special flu vaccination clinics to be held in communities across Chicago through December 14. These clinics will provide free flu shots as part of the city's ongoing efforts to help residents stay healthy this flu season. To make these clinics easy to find, CDPH also launched an updated version of its online Flu Clinic Finder that pinpoints CDPH clinics by zip code.

  

For best protection against the flu, CDPH recommends every individual over the age of six months get a flu shot before the flu season starts.  In addition, CDPH recommends that residents first contact their primary health care provider to get a flu shot.  For those without healthcare providers or whose healthcare providers do not administer flu shots, residents can visit a retail pharmacy or go to their local CDPH flu vaccination clinic. 

 

CDPH flu vaccination clinics provide flu shots to Chicagoans six months of age and older at no cost to the individual.  Senior citizens should present their Medicare card.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 

 

Flu shots are also especially important for health care workers and anyone who lives with or cares for anyone at increased risk for flu complications including infants, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

 

Because the flu vaccine is made from egg products, people who are allergic to eggs should get their flu vaccines from their health care provider.

 

In addition to getting a flu shot, Chicagoans can also follow these simple steps to avoid the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Regularly clean commonly-touched surfaces such as countertops, tables, doorknobs, telephones and TV/stereo remote controls. 
  • Don't share cups, straws or anything that goes in the mouth.
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Stay home when sick.

For more information on flu resources residents can call 3-1-1 or visit www.CityOfChicago.org/FLU.

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New Regional Headquarters for Wells Fargo Opens in Chicago

September 27, 2013

 

 

Last week Alderman Reilly joined Mayor Emanuel and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) Chairman and CEO John Stumpf to welcome the company's new regional headquarters at the CME Center in the West Loop.

 

Wells Fargo has grown its business and resources substantially in Chicago over the last decade: total team members have increased five-fold, from 134 positions in 2001 to more than 800 presently, and growing. Now assembled at the regional hub are 40 Wells Fargo business lines collected from four locations around the city into one central hub where employees can more easily collaborate, learn new skills, and meet with customers.  Wells Fargo expects to continue adding positions as growth continues.

 

The new Wells Fargo regional headquarters on the Chicago River's west bank is home to a wide range of business lines, including Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking, Equipment Finance, Global Banking, Insurance, Private Banking, Trade Services, Wells Fargo Securities, and others.  In total, the company now leases 14-percent more office space in Chicago than it did before the move. Wells Fargo has committed its presence at CME Center through 2028, with an option for 10 more years.

 

Among the wide range of Chicago-area and Illinois companies working with Wells Fargo to continue their growth at a local and global level are Freedman Seating Company, Growmark, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corporation, Paylocity, and Stoller Wholesale.

 

Wells Fargo also has a long-standing tradition of community service and involvement in Chicago. In 2012, Wells Fargo contributed $1.7 million to Chicago charities and nonprofit organizations, including The Field Museum, Garfield Park Conservatory, Clean Trust Group, and Resurrection Housing. Earlier this year, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago recognized Wells Fargo with its leadership award - a measure of the significant participation by the company's team members.

 

To read the full press release, please click here.

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Chicago Police Department Notices

September 27, 2013

 

Pickpocketing Arrest - 18th District 

The 18th District has released a notification of an arrest made for I-phone theft that occurred near State and Ontario. Please be aware of your surroundings when in public areas. To learn more about this arrest, please click here to download the notice.

 

Strong Arm Robbery - Beat 1834

The 18th District has released a Community Alert for two offenders wanted for strong arm robberies committed on Beast 1834. The incidents occurred at the following times and locations:

  • 400 Block of N. Wabash Ave on August 22, 2013 at approximately 1:30 AM.
  • 000 Block of E. Illinois St. on September 13, 2013 at approximately 1:45 AM.
  • 000 Block of E. Ohio St. on September 18, 2013 at approximately 11:00 PM.

To learn more about the offenders and what you can do, please click here to download the notice.

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Downtown Chicago Enjoys Record Tourism Gains in 2012

September 20, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly is pleased to report that record increases in Chicago tourism are dominating local, national and international news!  Click here to read more.

 

The City of Chicago greatly improved its tourism numbers for 2012 visitation as measured in several different areas, including: travel expenditures, total tax revenue, and leisure and hospitality-related employment. This past Labor Day, ABC News ranked Chicago the 2nd most popular tourism destination in the United States, just behind New York City.

 

Chicago has attracted a surge in international visitors, with a 14.2% increase from 2011 levels, rising to the 9th most visited city in the US by overseas visitors.  Total visitation rose in 2012 to 46.37 million. Chicago is showing promise for 2013 after exceeding hotel occupancy records during the first half of this year.  Occupancy rates are high and there is strong demand for hotel rooms downtown.

 

The tourism industry is a critical component of Chicago's economy - responsible for more than 132,000 tourism-related jobs and a record payroll of $4.44 billion.

 

Downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward is most directly impacted by these impressive tourism statistics, resulting in a number of new hotel openings and hotel development proposals.  Over the past few months Alderman Reilly has been participating in multiple ribbon cutting ceremonies per week to celebrate new businesses opening across the 42nd Ward. 

 

The new "Hotel Triplex" celebrated its River North opening in June, while just last week the Alderman welcomed the Langham Chicago, housed in the landmark Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building at 330 North Wabash.  The Langham was the first hotel project Alderman Reilly approved during his first year in office.

 

Further openings expected in coming months include boutique hotels like the Godfrey Chicago in River North and the Virgin Chicago in the Loop.  The Gold Coast will celebrate the opening of the Thompson Hotel (formerly the Sutton Place Hotel) later this year and Streeterville will be home to the new Loews Chicago, a 400-room luxury hotel with event spaces expected to open in 2015. 

 

The Michigan Avenue corridor between Wacker Drive and Monroe Street is also undergoing an exciting and long-overdue transformation, thanks to several new retail, residential and hospitality developments.  A new mixed-use development at 200 North Michigan is close to receiving city approvals.  The former Chicago Athletic Association is currently being converted into a boutique hotel. 

 

The Doral Plaza at 151 North Michigan is being refreshed with an updated and enhanced retail experience at street level.  Rocky Wirtz is making a major investment in redeveloping his landmark property at 333 North Michigan.  A hotel has been proposed for 168 North Michigan, replacing a vacant office building.

 

All of these new developments will dramatically improve the pedestrian experience along this important stretch of Michigan Avenue and will serve as an important link between the Chicago Riverwalk and major cultural attractions like Millennium Park, the Cloud Gate, Grant Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Alderman Reilly is working diligently to help shape and approve these important developments across downtown Chicago - holding architects to higher design standards and placing a premium on negotiating enhancements to public safety, infrastructure and improving the streetscape.  He works closely with downtown residents, neighborhood associations and city departments to ensure these proposals fit the context of their respective neighborhoods and offset increased density through infrastructure changes and improvements.

 

Last year, the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association honored Alderman Reilly with the "Ambassador of Hospitality Award" for his extensive work supporting the local hospitality industry.  The Alderman is proud of the awards he has received for his role in supporting our important tourism economy and helping promote continued economic development, infrastructure improvements and job creation.

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Property Fraud Alerts Available through Cook County Recorder of Deeds

September 20, 2013


Did you know that in many instances, stealing someone's house can be easier than stealing a car? All it takes is someone filing a fraudulent transfer of ownership document with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds (CCRD), Karen A. Yarbrough.

 

Savvy fraudsters often target elderly persons who live in paid-for homes, and who have no heirs. This allows the criminal to take out a mortgage or sell the home outright once the owner dies. 

 

Though the documents may be fake, the damage is real because the homeowner must get a court order (at their own expense) to have the fake document removed. Until this happens, the true owner will be unable to refinance or sell their home.

 

Recorder Yarbrough recently helped pass a new state law creating an expedited judicial review process to remove fraudulent recordings, but there is a tool available now that can alert you when a document is recorded against your property's 14-digit Property Identification Number (found on your property tax bill). 

 

Once a homeowner registers their 14-digit Property Index Number (PIN), the free service notifies them by phone or email as soon as any document is recorded against their property, meaning quick legal action can be taken before a potential scammer can use the false interest for their own gain.

 

To help explain the issue, the CCRD has created a video to show residents step-by-step how to register for the FREE Property Fraud Alert.

 

Signup is easy, free and your information is never used for anything other than the Alert. Best of all, you can monitor multiple properties, allowing people to monitor the homes of their older parents and relatives. You can sign up online at CookRecorder.com, or by calling 800-728-3858.

 

If you suspect property fraud or have questions about signing up, please the CCRD Property Fraud Unit at 312-603-4000.

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Alderman Reilly Welcomes The Langham, Chicago at Special Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

September 13, 2013

 

Earlier this week, Alderman Reilly participated in the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the The Langham, Chicago at 330 N. Wabash.   

 

Alderman Reilly congratulates Langham Hospitality Group CEO Brett Butcher, his Chairman Dr. Lo and the entire team at Langham Chicago for making the wise choice to invest here in the Chicago market. This is Langham's first purpose-built hotel in the United States - a project that started more than 4 years ago.  

 

The Langham Chicago will be a 316-key luxury hotel housed in the 52-story landmark structure formerly known as the "IBM Building" which overlooks the Chicago River. This is the last office building designed by one of Chicago's most important architects - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - who is best known for developing the modern skyscraper.  

 

Chicago architect Dirk Lohan had notable involvement in the conversion of this luxury hotel.   As Mies van der Rohe's grandson who worked on the original IBM Building with his grandfather, Dirk Logan has served as a great ombudsman and advocate in support of all of Mies' important work here in Chicago.  

  

This building is particularly special because it is an example of architectural innovation way ahead of its time - as the only building designed by Mies van der Rohe that uses double-paned glass.  

 

This glass (now commonly referred to as "thermo-pane") is now a widely accepted "green design element" - another great example of Mies' trailblazing leadership in design innovation.  

 

This hotel project was one of the first development proposals Alderman Reilly managed (in 2007/08) immediately after he was elected as Alderman of downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward. Alderman Reilly is proud to have worked with Mayor Daley in championing the effort to confer Landmark status to the building and supporting the tax credits that assisted with the redevelopment of this important, iconic property in the middle of downtown Chicago.

 

Alderman Reilly considers this Landmark redevelopment to be a great Chicago adaptive re-use success story. Once facing massive vacancies and the threat of obsolescence, Chicago now celebrates a revitalized, refurbished "new" property that is home to a beautiful new hotel property in the heart of one of the fastest growing zip codes in the nation.

 

Not only is this an exciting economic development story - a project that created hundreds of jobs to redevelop the property and many hospitality jobs moving forward - but it is also an exciting day for Landmark and Preservation advocates who fight for the adaptive re-use of important architecture at-risk of becoming obsolete. 

  Langham

(from L to R: Dr. Lo, Mayor Daley, Ald. Reilly, Dirk Lohan, photo courtesy of Steve Dahlman, Loop North News)

 

The Alderman was joined with Robert Schofield, Managing Director of Langham Hospitality Group; Dr. K.S Lo, Executive Chairman of Langham Hospitality Group and wife, Mrs. F Lo; Mayor Richard Daley; Dirk Lohan, Lohan Anderson architect and grandson of Mies van der Rohe; Lang Lang, renowned classical pianist and Langham Brand Ambassador; and Katie Benson, Vice President, Langham Hospitality Group Investments.

 

To read the official press release, please click here.

 

The opening of The Langham, Chicago, along with the hotel triplex in River North - Aloft City Center, Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown/River North and Hyatt Place Chicago/River North - coincides with a record increase of international visitors to Chicago.

 

Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago recently announced that Chicago has surpassed all expectations - welcoming 1.369 million overseas visitors in 2012. This number represents an impressive 14.2% gain over the 1.199 million overseas visitors reported in 2011, and moves Chicago into 9th place in overall city rankings according to US Department of Commerce rankings.

 

Growth from Asian markets to Chicago (+30%) was particularly strong, twice that of the national average, as was growth from the South America markets (+18%). These two markets are responsible for more than half a million overseas visitors in 2012.  This outsized growth in reflect the increased marketing that Choose Chicago has placed there, locating new offices and selling Chicago as a top tourism, convention and business destination for these economic zones. 2012 saw a dramatic 41% increase in visitations from the Mexican market to 142,000, more than four times the national growth rate.

 

With the inclusion of the official international visitation volume for 2012, Chicago's revised total visitation set a new record high in 2012 at 46.37 million. This single rise in the rankings has helped drive the record hotel construction we have seen so far this year, as well as a record hotel occupancy rate of more than 73% - the best since the recession. That hotel occupancy produced more than $1 billion of revenue so far in 2013. 

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Interactive "Give" Sculpture Installed on State Street at The Gateway public plaza

August 30, 2013

 


(Photo courtesy of James John Jatel, CLA)

 

Chicago Loop Alliance's (CLA) newly created public plaza on State Street, The Gateway, received two new additions recently: Give, an interactive 14-foot-tall steel sculpture by local artist Dusty Folwarczny, and a series of ongoing pop-up lunchtime performances from the Chicago Street Musicians.

 

Both of these activations on The Gateway, which occupies the State Street median from Lake Street north to Wacker Drive, are a continuation of CLA's efforts to improve the quality of the public realm downtown, creating a distinctive sense of place and a powerful sense of arrival into the Loop.  

Since opening in June, The Gateway has become a lunchtime destination, drawing 40-50 visitors at any given time during the afternoon hours.

 

Give, a loop-shaped sculpture, adds to the aesthetic appeal of The Gateway by providing a place for pedestrians to walk through, sit within or frame pictures of State Street to the south. The colors and material of Give reflect the surrounding environment and nearby El tracks, in addition to referencing the surrounding Loop neighborhood.

 

Chicago Loop Alliance is also sponsoring members of the Chicago Street Musicians, a local not-for-profit organization, to perform in unexpected pop-up concerts at The Gateway in the coming weeks. The concerts will occur twice each week for about an hour during lunchtime. Performers currently scheduled to appear include guitarist/vocalist George Banks, saxophonist Beau Barry, keyboardist Eugene Rowland and violinist Hannah K. Watson.


For more information, visit the Chicago Loop Alliance website

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Answer the Call! Open House and Information Sessions Available for Chicago Police Department Application Process

August 30, 2013

 

The Chicago Police Department is looking for men and women to be part of the strongest, most technologically advanced police department. A career with the Chicago Police Department can help advance your future in various policing areas and expose you to new and exciting opportunities. Become a Chicago Police Officer and join the diverse workforce of 12,500 sworn men and women who have the privilege to serve and protect Chicago's people and property while working alongside the community to improve the quality of life in every neighborhood.

 

Applications for the police examination are now being accepted through September 16, 2013.  Interested applicants should visit www.chicagopolice.org/answerthecall to apply online.

 

Additionally, the CPD will hold open houses and information sessions, which include demonstrations from the Mounted Unit, Canines, SWT and various demonstrations by Training Academy staff. Representatives from the CPD Investigations and Recruitment Units will be on hand to answer questions about the application and investigation process.

 

CPD Open House

  • Saturday, September 7, 2013, 10:00am - 2:00pm
    Chicago Police Training Academy, 1300 W. Jackson Blvd

CPD Information Sessions

  • Saturday, September 14, 2013, 10:00am - 2:00pm
    25th District Station, 5555 West Grand Ave

For more information, please click here to download the flyer, contact the customer service line at 312-744-4976 or dial 3-1-1. 

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Chicago Police Department Notices

August 30, 2013

 

18th District - Court Advocate Needed for Strong Armed Robbery at 1000 Block of North Lake Shore Drive 

Court advocacy is a way to show support for victims and solidarity against crime in your community.  The presence of Court Advocates in the courtroom sends a strong message to the defendant, the judge and all other interested parties in the criminal justice system that the community cares about the outcome of these cases and is willing to devote its time and energy to monitor the workings of the judicial system. Volunteer to work with other community members in tracking court cases and attending judicial hearings.

 

The 18th District is looking for court advocacy volunteers for a case in the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive. The offender was arrested for strong armed robbery of an I-Phone on August 17, 2013 at 4:30pm. If you are interested in volunteering as a court advocate, please call the CAPS office at 312-742-5778 and reference RD #HW 411930.

 

12th District - Bicycle Theft and Theft from Motor Vehicles  

There has been an increase in bicycle thefts in the 12th District. Bikes are predominantly being stolen from back yards, rear decks or patios. If possible, please store your bicycles IN your residence or in a locked garage where thieves cannot easily see them on the exterior of your residence. By leaving your bicycle outside in plain view, you are making your bike an easy target for thieves.

 

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND!

A smaller number of bicycle thefts are occurring from citizens leaving their garage doors unlocked or not properly locking their bikes to a fixed object. In some cases, inexpensive locks were easily cut off by the offender(s). Please ensure that you keep your garage doors locked at all times.

 

Leaving your garage door unlocked makes your garage and its contents an easy target for thieves. For those citizens who are unsure of how to properly lock their bicycles or what type of locks best thwart the efforts of thieves, the internet provides many resources on these subjects.

 

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES

Lastly, thefts from vehicles continue to be a problem as a result of people leaving anything from spare change to power tools and laptops in open view in their vehicles. As a community, we cannot continue to make ourselves easy targets for the thieves. Thieves will frequent neighborhoods where they are likely to be successful in committing such crimes. Let's make it harder for them and keep our valuables out of sight!

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WorldChicago Seeking Chicago Host Families this Fall

August 30, 2013

 

WorldChicago is seeking Chicago homestay hosts for ten emerging public policy professionals from Eastern Europe and South Asia this fall. 

 

All of the fellows are visiting Chicago to participate in the US Department of State's Professional Fellowship Program. While in Chicago, the fellows will be completing full time fellowships with government agencies, NGOs, and universities. Stipends are available for homestay hosts for both programs.  

 

Professional Fellows from Eastern Europe and Turkey (4 total)

Dates: October 5 to November 4, 2013

 

Professional Fellows from South Asia (6 total) 

Dates: October 17 to November 5, 2013

  

If you are interested or want to learn more, please contact John Baum at (312)254-1800 ext. 100  or jbaum@worldchicago.org.

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Condo Owner Alert: Costly Energy Benchmarking Mandate - Grassroots Effort Defeated Costly Sprinkler Mandate; Benchmarking Ordinance Latest Threat

August 23, 2013

 

At the July 24, 2013 City Council meeting, Alderman Reilly and 11 of his colleagues delayed the vote on the Emanuel Administration's "Building Energy Use Benchmarking" ordinance that would require all commercial and residential buildings over 50,000 square feet to provide energy consumption data to the City of Chicago on an annual basis. The proposal requires each building's data to be posted on a public website; and each building's energy consumption would be rated and assigned a performance score.

 

Alderman Reilly does not support the proposed ordinance in its current form, as it could impose a costly mandate on condominium owners in the 42nd Ward and across the City of Chicago.  A champion of several innovative energy efficiency and demand management programs already underway in downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly supports the concept of "energy benchmarking." Benchmarking can be a powerful tool to help accelerate the market for energy efficiency, when scaled and implemented properly.

 

However, Alderman Reilly will continue to oppose the "Building Energy Use Benchmarking" ordinance until it is amended to:
(1) prevent the further marginalization of older buildings in the local real estate market; and (2) better shield condominium and co-op owners from the financial burden of costly mandates associated with the ordinance.

 

This ordinance will be voted on at the next City Council Meeting on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.  Because the ordinance was deferred at the last City Council meeting it cannot be deferred again and there will be no debate allowed on this proposal - only a simple roll call vote of aldermen.

  
Alderman Reilly hopes that, with your help, we can work collaboratively with Mayor Emanuel to craft a more responsible and reasonable Energy Use Benchmarking ordinance that provides property owners with the valuable data they need to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings without burdening them with additional costly government mandates and exorbitant building retro-fit costs.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:  

 

Respectfully share your concerns with the Emanuel Administration and request an opportunity to make minor, reasonable changes to the proposal that would protect condominium and co-op owners from additional costly mandates.To contact the Mayor, e-mail:
letterforthemayor@cityofchicago.org and cc: mayor.emanuel@cityofchicago.org

    

You can also send letters to: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor's Office - City Hall, Room 500, 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602. If you wish to use social media to register your objections, you can post them via Twitter: @chicagosmayor or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoMayorsOffice.

 

For information about the next City Council Meeting on September 11, 2013 click here.  

 

For past information on this ordinance click here

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Chicago Enjoys 35th Annual Jazz Festival on Aug. 29

August 23, 2013

 

The 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Chicago Jazz Partnership and Jazz Institute of Chicago, will be held this year from August 29 - September 1.

 

 

 

The oldest of Chicago's free lakefront music festivals, the Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. It promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through free, quality live musical performance.  Since 1979, the festival's mission is to showcase Chicago's vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages.

 

Opening day will start at 12pm in the Chicago Cultural Center with music on three stages - including a performance by NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston performing a solo piano concert at 2pm in Preston Bradley Hall.

 

Artist in Residence Hamid Drake performs the first of his four appearances at Roosevelt University's Ganz Hall at 5pm that day and then the festival moves to its new home in Millennium Park with FREE live jazz music on four stages!

 

Highlights include NEA Jazz Master Drummer Jack DeJohnette, the Art Fair and Marketplace, three more performances from Artist in Residence Drake, headliners Charles Lloyd, Jason Moran and Donald Harrison with the Congo Square. The festival pays tribute to the late, great saxophonist, Von Freeman, with a short concert by his brother George Freeman at the newly named Von Freeman Pavilion, now a permanent stage at the festival.

 

For the latest information on the Chicago Jazz Festival including musical lineups, visit chicagojazzfestival.us, like the Chicago Jazz Festival on Facebook or follow on Twitter @ChicagoDCASE.

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Experience Tall Ships at Navy Pier - Now through Sunday, August 11!

August 9, 2013

 

Tall Ships Chicago 2013 at Navy Pier is the summer event you do not want to miss. 


Tallship

 

Not only can you view, board, tour and take a sail away cruise on historic Tall Ships from the US, Canada and Norway... but there is even more to do and see inside the festival grounds and explore the rich maritime heritage of Chicago!  

 

A Chicago landmark since 1916, Navy Pier has evolved from a freight passenger ship docking facility to the #1 tourist attraction in the Midwest, drawing more than eight million visitors annually. Navy Pier currently encompasses more than fifty acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibit facilities, making it a tourist and visitor hub.

During this five-day summer festival, guests can explore the festival grounds, view the Tall Ships, board a vessel for a dockside tour, get a taste of life at sea with a sail away cruise, and watch more than 100 match races. This nautical event also includes fun-filled festivities and educational opportunities for the entire family including the War of 1812 exhibit and nautical activities for kids including a radio-controlled sailboat pond.

 

Modern match racing meets maritime history as the Chicago Match Cup (CMC) joins with Tall Ships Chicago for the first time this year. This professional sailing competition is the only U.S. stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Witness twelve of the world's best teams, including USOne Sailing Team featuring local Chicagoans, sail against each other in match race sailing, a form of head-to-head combat similar to the America's Cup, just feet from the edge of Navy Pier. These teams will ferociously compete for their share of the $100,000 prize purse and points earned toward the Tour's overall World Championship, worth $1.75 million in prize money - the richest in the sailing world.

 

Navy Pier's east end will be transformed to showcase the best of the Chicago Match Cup and the Tall Ships festival, promising front-row seats, hospitality areas and live commentary to best enjoy the thrills on the water.  

 

This Friday, August 9th, the Windy City Lounge opens, featuring exclusive rooftop seats in a posh, VIP setting. Escape the crowds and ensure a great view of all the Chicago Match Cup competition concluding with the Chicago Match Cup Finals and Award Ceremony in a live broadcast to more than 140 countries on Sunday, August 11th.   

 

Once the festival has concluded for the night, stay for a special fireworks spectacular over Lake Michigan. Fireworks are visible from the south side of Navy Pier and will be set for today and Saturday at 10:15pm.    

 

For more information about Tall Ships Chicago 2013 and the Chicago Match Cup race, including the event schedule and ticket information, please click here.

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CPS Schools Open August 26, 2013 - One Week Ahead of Traditional Post-Labor Day Start

August 9, 2013

 

Under the new calendar, all CPS schools begin Monday, August 26th - one week ahead of the traditional post-Labor Day start. Over the course of the next four weeks, CPS will lead an aggressive grassroots campaign to engage students and families around this year's early start date, along with the importance of attendance on the first day of school and everyday throughout the year.

 

This year's integrated back-to-school campaign aims to energize citywide and community based partners to work in cooperation to promote the shift from a two-track system (Track E and Regular Track) to a single track model, starting on a Monday, August 26th.  Back-to-school activities include:

  • Door to door outreach
  • Robo calls to CPS households
  • Targeted literature drops El stations, bus stations and neighborhood festivals
  • Phone bank calls to parents
  • CTA ad campaign
  • Text messages and e-mails blasts to parents regarding August 26th start date

CPS encourages parents to visit their school and/or visit www.cps.edu/firstday, or call the back-to-school hotline at (773) 553-3CPS (3277) for additional information.

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Explore Streeterville to Cast Your Vote for the 2013 SOAR Beautification Awards

August 9, 2013

 

The Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) presents Beautification awards annually to honor residential, institutional, and commercial buildings with landscaping which:

  • contributes to the overall quality of life in Streeterville for residents and tourists;
  • shows substantial improvement in quality and interest;
  • demonstrates creativity, color, and interest for residents, workers and tourists;
  • and is well maintained and cared for.

SOAR invites you to participate in the 2013 Virtual Beautification Walk.  Walk the neighborhood to personally visit and experience the beauty and creativity of each contestant's landscape.

 

If your schedule does not permit, visit the Virtual Tour of Streeterville showcasing the 2013 Beautification Award contestants.  Click here to begin your Virtual Beautification Walk and cast your votes.

 

Participating in this award selection process helps encourage buildings to upgrade their landscaping to make Streeterville the most beautiful neighborhood in Chicago! 

 

Click here to learn more about the criteria for Beautification Awards selection and view past winners.

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Chicago Achieves Record Tourism Numbers for First Half of 2013

August 2, 2013

 

Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago recently announced that Chicago has set a record for hotel occupancy in first half of 2013, at 71.5 percent, a gain of 1.5 percent. Hotel revenue during the first six months also set a record at $857 million, a gain of 7.2 percent from 2012. The high water mark was generated by revenue from the Leisure-related occupancy that exceeded $500 million for the very first time. This was complimented by a five-year high in Group revenue, which reached $341 million, and a four-year high in Contract revenue at $8.7 million.

 

June was also a sterling month for tourism in Chicago, with near-record hotel occupancy numbers for the month at 90.3 percent - the second straight June that eclipsed 90 percent occupancy. Group and leisure occupancy contributed to this success as the month progressed.

 

Group occupancy rose at a rate of 42.6 percent, a gain of 9.1 percent from last year, making this the third time on record that group occupancy for the month of June has exceeded 40 percent. Average daily rate (ADR) growth was positive in June, with  Leisure ADR growing 15.1 percent and Group  ADR growing 5.4 percent.  ADR levels for Leisure ($249.87) and Group ($249.14) set records for the month of June. Year-to-date ADR recorded a five-year high at $188.06, gaining 5.5 percent versus the same six months of 2012.

 

June's Revenue per available room (REVPAR) also moved at a positive pace with a 3.3 percent gain in Leisure RevPAR and a 15.1 percent gain in Group RevPAR. Year-to-date RevPAR advanced 7.2% to $134.54, supported by a record Leisure RevPAR of $79.65, which is a gain of 8.0%, and a five-year high in Group RevPAR of $53.52.

 

This year's June tourism numbers have yielded over $13.4 million in Chicago Hotel Tax Revenue, a gain of 11.1% from 2012.

 

For more information, click here to read the full press release.

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Online Voter Registration to be Available in Illinois

August 2, 2013

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation revising the Illinois Election Code to give residents the ability to register to vote online. Illinois is now the 18th state to allow online voter registration.          

 

Online voter registration is part of House Bill 2418 - the "Omnibus Elections Bill" - which includes other provisions, such as:

  • Changing the hours for early voting on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. - Noon, to Noon - 3:00 p.m., to enable broader participation;
  • Requiring the State Board of Elections to post precinct-by-precinct totals for all of the state's precincts, and; 
  • Codifying that votes cast for a candidate who drops out before Election Day but remains on the ballot will not be counted.

Online voter registration is expected to be in place in Illinois by the 2014 General Election.

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Prepare Chicago Campaign to Help Residents Prepare for Emergencies

August 2, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently launched Prepare Chicago, a new public education campaign to help Chicagoans prepare for large-scale public health emergencies and natural disasters.

 

Prepare Chicago educates residents on how they can prepare their families, work together as a community and volunteer during public health emergencies like: extreme weather conditions, deliberate releases of hazardous materials and epidemics of influenza and other communicable diseases.

 

Prepare Chicago messages include:

 

Prepare Your Family (Develop a family emergency plan and build a readiness kit.)

  • Make a Plan - Establish a family emergency plan that details how you will contact one another in an emergency.  Outline how you will get to a safe place and how you will get back together if separated.
  • Build a Kit - A family readiness kit includes essential items that can keep your family safe and healthy in an emergency until additional help arrives.  It includes items such as non-perishable food, water, copies of medical prescriptions and immunization records.  Make a kit for yourself, your family and your pets.  A complete list of items to consider for your kit can be found here.

Prepare Together

It always is important to check on your neighbors and prepare as a community for emergencies.  Remember to lend a hand and assist residents who are more sensitive to weather conditions, especially senior citizens and those who are chronically ill.  This summer, prepare together by:

  • Helping a neighbor contact a family member for assistance.
  • Calling 3-1-1 for a well-being check for a neighbor.

Prepare to Help

The Chicago Medical Reserve Corps (CMRC) has over 400 medical and non-medical professionals who assist in public health emergencies and local disasters.  Chicagoans can sign up to volunteer with CMRC online or via email at ChicagoMRC@cityofchicago.org.

 

For more information, visit www.cityofchicago.org/HEALTH.

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DFSS Summer 2013 Senior Life Enrichment Guide Now Available

August 2, 2013

 

The summer issue of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Service's (DFSS) Senior Life Enrichment Guide is now available at Alderman Reilly's Constituent Services office, 325 W. Huron St., Suite 510, DFSS regional and satellite senior centers, libraries and many other locations.

 

Inside the guide, seniors will find information about health and wellness, educational, recreational and many other types of events, trips, classes and lectures, along with schedules and registration details.  Most of these are free or at a nominal cost. The contents of the guide are also available electronically. Click here to download.

 

September is National Senior Center Month and seniors are encouraged to visit a senior center and explore the available resources and tools to empower them to make choices that will enhance their golden years. 

 

Further information about DFSS services and programs is available by calling the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at (312) 744-4016.

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Alderman Reilly and Alderman Burke Propose "Gun Free Zones" for Businesses Serving Alcohol

July 22, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly and Alderman Edward M. Burke, 14th Ward, introduced an ordinance last week that would require all Chicago businesses that serve alcoholic beverages to exercise their right under the state's new concealed carry law to prohibit firearms in their establishments.

 

The state law allows businesses "of any type" the authority to "prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons" on their premises. The newly proposed Chicago measure would mandate that businesses do just that or become ineligible to do business in the City.

 

"Simply put, booze and bullets don't mix," Alderman Burke said. "They clearly present a very dangerous combination. That is why Chicago needs to enact this local requirement in order to protect the public."

 

"As an alderman whose ward includes many restaurants and venues where alcohol is served, I strongly believe that Chicago should put in place this safeguard," Alderman Reilly added.

 

The Firearm Concealed Carry Act was adopted by Springfield legislators earlier this month and does not allow concealed handguns in establishments where liquor service accounts for more than fifty percent of gross receipts.

 

Under the proposed ordinance, Chicago businesses must post signs near entrances to all such establishments stating that firearms are prohibited on the premises. The measure exempts current or retired law enforcement officers as well as the owner or tenant of the premises.

         

Establishments that sell packaged liquor -- but do not serve alcohol -- are also exempt from the proposal.

 

This measure was introduced directly to the Chicago Council Committee on Finance meeting held Friday, July 19. The proposal would become law thirty days after passage and publication by the Chicago City Council.

 

Click here to download the ordinance.

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Chicago City Council Honors Gold Coast Doorman

July 15, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly and Alderman Edward M. Burke, 14th Ward, presented a City Council resolution to honor Cornell Wrightington, doorman at 30 West Oak Street, who thwarted a rape attempt in the Gold Coast last month.

 

  DoormanWrightington

(Alderman Ed Burke, Cornell Wrightington,

Ald. Reilly, Commander William Dunn)

 

Mr. Wrightington was working the overnight shift at 30 West Oak Street when he spotted a suspicious man following an unsuspecting woman outside the building where he worked. When the woman turned into a nearby alley to take a short cut, the man followed. Fearing for the safety of the woman, Wrightington left his doorman post and ran to the alley to investigate, where he found the man attempting to assault the woman. Wrightington's alertness and quick intervention caused the attacker to flee the scene.

 

To read the full resolution, please click here.

 

Recent Press: Chicago Tribune, WGN TV

 

Please note: the suspect in this crime has not yet been caught. For more information about the offender and what you can do, please click here to download the Chicago Police Department Community Alert.

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Chicago Welcomes Divvy Bike Sharing System

July 8, 2013

 

Chicagoans took their first rides on the Divvy bike share system last week, making more than 4,000 trips in the first weekend of operations.

 

Divvy will feature thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations across Chicago neighborhoods.  Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map, and a docking system that releases bikes using a Member key or ride code. More than 1,700 Chicagoans have already signed up for Divvy Annual Memberships at DivvyBikes.com.

 

The system is dubbed "Divvy" to reflect the nature of bike share, where members "divide and share" the use of the bikes.  The bicycles' distinctive "Chicago Blue" paint is the same color as the stripes on the Chicago city flag, and will provide a high level of visibility on the street.

 

Of the 4,123 bike trips made from Friday June 28 to Sunday June 30, 3,225 were made by annual members, and 898 were from customers who purchased 24-Hour Passes.

 

The newly launched system will features 75 neighborhood stations and 750 bikes on the street.  Divvy will quickly build to 300 stations and 3,000 bikes by the end of August, and 400 neighborhood locations by next spring.

 

Riders can purchase $75 Annual Memberships or $7 24-Hour Passes, which allow riders unlimited trips in that period. The first 30 minutes of every trip are included in the cost of the Membership or Pass, and incremental fees apply to trips that exceed 30 minutes. Annual Members use a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from any station.

 

Chicagoans can find out more about the system through social media on Twitter at @DivvyBikes and on Facebook at facebook.com/DivvyBikes.

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Share Your Concerns about the State Fire Marshal Proposal with JCAR

July 26, 2013

 

Several of you have contacted Alderman Reilly regarding the Illinois State Fire Marshal's proposed regulations requiring sprinkler installation in a large number of Chicago buildings. Alderman Reilly shares your concerns, and believes these onerous new regulations could have a disastrous fiscal impact on Chicago homeowners, condominium associations and businesses.

 

The City Law Department believes that these new rules would unduly infringe upon the City of Chicago's constitutional right as a home rule unit of government to enact fire safety and prevention standards that differ from requirements under state law. The State Fire Marshal's proposed rules mandate a "one-size fits all" model that ignores new fire prevention technologies as alternatives to expensive sprinkler retrofits in all older high-rise buildings and even single-family homes that undergo renovations.

 

The Alderman hopes that you will join him in opposing these new rules. The most effective way to influence the outcome is to share your comments directly with the Members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), comprised of 12 state legislators who must vote to approve these new rules in the coming weeks.


To download the contact information for each of the JCAR committee members, please click here. Comments should be addressed to the Co-Chairmen and should cc: Executive Director Vicki Thomas as well as Governor Quinn. Correspondence can be submitted by email to jcar@ilga.gov; via fax to 217-524-0567 or by U.S. Mail to JCAR, 700 Stratton Building, Springfield, IL 62706. The deadline for public comment is August 12, 2013.

 

Alderman Reilly is committed to lobbying each member of JCAR and will be contacting Governor Quinn to share his significant concerns regarding these proposed regulations. The Alderman hopes that you will take the time to join him in sharing your opposition to this measure with the JCAR committee members - who will be voting on this matter in the near future.


To view the Alderman's previous notice regarding this proposal, from the 7-15-13 edition of Reilly Reports, please click here.

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Last Week at City Council ...         

July 22, 2013

 

Mayor Emanuel called for a special meeting of City Council last Wednesday, July 17, 2013 for the sole purpose of amending two ordinances regarding assault weapons and student safety zones. Both measures were approved:

 

In reaction to the proposed statewide legislation that would allow the concealed carrying of guns among other changes to weapons regulations, Chicago's city council passed an ordinance that prohibits the import, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the City of Chicago.  Under the recent statewide legislation, municipalities in Illinois have 10 days to pass new or updated assault weapons legislation, and this ordinance was passed within that window.

  

This ordinance reflects the latest advances knowledge in gun technology, and bans a list of specifically named weapons and their equivalents:

  • any semiautomatic rifle or handgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine and has at least one military feature;
  • any shotgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine, has at least one military feature, or has a fixed capacity of more than five rounds;
  • and any weapon with a fixed magazine of more than 15 rounds.
  • Military features include telescoping stocks, pistol grips, grenade launchers, barrel shrouds and other features.

Penalties will remain the same as the current law, and any person who violates the law would be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 and incarcerated not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days.

 

To download the ordinance, click here.   

 

 

The City Council approved another measure to increase penalties for serious weapon and gun-related offenses in "student safety zones" along Safe Passage routes, in schools buses and around schools and some parks in an ordinance introduced on Wednesday. 

  

The ordinance creates Student Safety Zones that will include:

  • Safe passage routes during designated operating hours (Operating hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If there is a school activity after 7 p.m., the associated safe passage route will be in effect until 60 minutes after the school activity ends)
  • School buildings during designated operating hours (Operating hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If there is a school activity after 7 p.m., the zone will be in effect until 60 minutes after the school activity ends)
    • Within 1000 feet of school buildings
    • Public parks, where any portion of the park is within 1000 feet of a school building
    • School buses

The ordinance will also increase penalties for gun and weapons crimes that put our students at greatest risk.  If a person is convicted of possession of an illegal gun or other dangerous weapon, the offender would be subject to the following enhanced penalties:

 

1st Tier Crimes: Assault weapons and high capacity magazines

  • First offense: 120 days to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $1,000-$5,000
  • Second offense: 150 day to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $5,000-$15,000
  • Third offense or more: Mandatory 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $10,000-$20,000

2nd Tier Crimes: Possession of silencer/laser sight accessory for a firearm

  • First offense: 30 days to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of. $1,000-$5,000
  • Second offense: 90 days to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $5,000-$15,000
  • Third offense: Mandatory 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $10,000-$20,000

3rd Tier Crimes: Dangerous weapons other than firearm

  • First offense: 30 days to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $500-$1,000
  • Second offense: 90 days to 6 months jail time, with a fine range of $1,000-$2,000
  • Third offense: Mandatory 6 month jail time, with a fine range of $2,000-$5,000

To download the ordinance, please click here.

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Free Wi-Fi Access Now Available at Five Chicago Beaches

July 22, 2013

 

Five city beaches will now offer free wi-fi to visitors. Beachgoers will be able to access free high-speed wi-fi at North Avenue, Osterman/Hollywood, Montrose, Foster and Rainbow beaches. The new networks at these five beaches are part of the Mayor's commitment to extend free wi-fi to parks, beaches, and public plazas across Chicago.

 

Through a partnership with Cisco and Everywhere Wireless which began in May, the Chicago Park District identified five beach locations with existing infrastructure that accommodates wi-fi connectivity. The connectivity is being provided by placing wireless infrastructure on existing buildings, including condo and apartment buildings nearby the selected beaches.

 

For the initial season, Everywhere Wireless provided the design at each location, Internet connectivity, backhaul equipment and setup. Cisco provided the wireless access points and cloud management services. The Chicago Park District is providing power, electrical work and infrastructure. Coverage will extend around the buildings and concession areas.  

 

Everywhere Wireless will cover the cost for this pilot program with the exception of power lines, which is covered by the District. Depending upon the success of the pilot, the Chicago Park District and Everywhere Wireless will consider continuing at the current locations and/or expanding to the other beaches.  Everywhere Wireless will pursue sponsorship to cover the cost of future expansion. 

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Leisure Visitors to Chicago Increased in 2012!

June 17, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly is happy to report that visitors to Chicago in 2012 have returned to pre-recession levels. Earlier this month, Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced that Chicago had reached a near record level of 46.2 million visitors in 2012.  This growth was fueled by a significant increase of 10.2 percent in overnight leisure visitation.  Chicago exceeded the national growth rate for overnight leisure visitation of 7.2 percent by three percentage points. 

 

Chicago welcomed 45 million domestic visitors in 2012, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2011. Preliminary data indicate international visitation will increase 3.2 percent to 1.24 million visitors. The resulting total of 46.24 million visitors is a 6.1 percent increase over 2011's total of 43.59 million.

 

Although just under the record visitation year in 2007, the 2012 visitor volume generated $100.8 million in Chicago Hotel Tax Revenue, an incremental gain of $26.1 million over 2011 tax receipts.

 

Mayor Emanuel set an ambitious goal of 50 million visitors by the year 2020, which would be an increase of more than 10 million visitors from 2010's total of 39.25 million visitors. In 2011, visitation increased 11.1 percent, to 43.59 million, and then increased another 6.1 percent in 2012 to 46.2 million.  In just two years, these combined these visitation gains already represent 65% of the mayor's goal.

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Protected Bike Lane installed on Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago's Busiest Cycling Street

June 17, 2013

 

Mwkebikelane

 

The City of Chicago officially opened the new bike lanes on a key section of Milwaukee Avenue today, the city's busiest cycling street.  This complete roadway redesign improves safety for all users, and includes dedicated bicycle traffic signals and Chicago's first bike passing lane.   

 

The safety improvements along the 0.85-mile stretch of Milwaukee between Kinzie Street and Elston Avenue include: a resurfaced roadway; bike lanes in each direction that are protected from vehicular traffic with physical barriers and buffers; improved pedestrian crossings; and increased bike parking opportunities.   

 

The new Milwaukee design will complement Chicago's Divvy bike share system and makes the corridor a "complete street" by improving transportation options for all roadway users. 

 

On the bridge over the Ohio Street Feeder Ramp, the new protected bike lanes double in size to allow for a passing lane for faster cyclists - the first of its kind in Chicago.  Each intersection in the corridor now has bicycle-specific pavement markings to provide guidance to bicyclists.  At the intersection of Milwaukee and Elston, a new bicycle signal and right-turn arrows have been installed to reduce conflicts between cyclists and motorists and improve capacity for right-turning motorists. 

 

CDOT resurfaced much of the route using an asphalt mix that included a significant percentage of recycled material.  In the nearly 2,000 tons of material laid down, there was recycled rubber from 1,800 car tires, enough discarded roofing shingles to cover 30 homes and 15 truckloads of reclaimed asphalt pavement. 

 

Milwaukee is a "Spoke Route," defined in the  Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 as 60 miles of direct routes in and out of the Loop that provide safe, continuous bikeways connecting all areas of Chicago with the downtown.  The primary goal of the Spoke Routes is to increase commuting by bicycle citywide.  

 

To learn more about the new protected lane on Milwaukee Avenue, please click here to read the full press release.

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"The Gateway" to the Loop is Chicago's First "People Plaza" in CDOT's Make Way for People Program

June 10, 2013

 

Gateway2

 (Alderman Reilly, Commissioner Klein, Mike Edwards) 

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly was joined by Commissioner Gabe Klein from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Mike Edwards from the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) to celebrate the grand opening of "The Gateway," a colorful placemaking activation that invites residents and visitors to explore the vibrant business and cultural district in the Loop. 

 

The Gateway, located on State Street between Lake Street and Wacker Drive was conceptualized by CLA's Placemaking Committee. This new public space is filled with bright red and blue canopied tables and chairs, flowerboxes, trees and banners welcoming pedestrians to the Loop. The Chicago Loop Alliance will actively manage The Gateway with a cleaning team and support staff from 7:00am - 10:00pm every day through the end of September. 

 

Gateway1
(The Gateway on State Street)
 

 

 The Gateway is the first "People Plaza" installed by CDOT for their Make Way for People initiative, which aims to create public spaces that cultivate community and culture in Chicago's neighborhoods through placemaking. To learn more about The Gateway, please visit the Chicago Loop Alliance website. To learn more about the Make Way for People initiative, please click here.

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City Vehicle Sticker and Residential Permit Parking Reminders

May 28, 2013

 

City Sticker

It's time to buy your 2012-2013 Chicago Vehicle Sticker! Stickers are now available for purchase on the Chicago City Clerk's website, in person at their City Hall or satellite offices, at various neighborhood locations, or through USPS mail by sending in your completed renewal form.

 

Prices for the 2013-2014 City Vehicle Sticker have not changed. All seniors 65-years-old and older also qualify for their senior discount, as they have in years past.

 

However, there is one major difference between this year and previous sales seasons: This year, residents should bring their renewal form with them when they purchase a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker in person at a Chicago City Clerk Office or other in person sales locations.

 

The renewal form includes your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is now a requirement for completing your transaction. You can also bring one of three other approved forms of VIN documentation (link to flier) to make an in-person purchase. Accepted forms of approved VIN documentation - in addition to the renewal form - include vehicle registration, insurance card displaying VIN or vehicle title.

 

For the first time ever, the City Clerk's office is using VIN data to match you to your vehicle. This is an anti-fraud measure and will also allow the City Clerk to assign your new renewal month once they implement Year-Round City Sticker sales beginning in 2014.

 

This year's sales season marks the last time residents will purchase Chicago City Vehicle Stickers from June-to-June. Year-Round Sales are set to begin in June 2014.

 

Stickers are valid upon purchase and they can be displayed on your vehicle's windshield immediately. The 2012-2013 Chicago City Vehicle Stickers expire June 30, but the Chicago City Clerk's Office will again provide a grace period of two weeks. To avoid late fees, residents must purchase and display their Chicago City Vehicle Stickers by July 15.

 

Residential Permit Parking Information:

The 2013-2014 vehicle sticker will again feature residential zone information on the annual vehicle sticker. Residential parking permit (RPP) zones limit parking to residents and their guests during specified hours. This program helps to ensure that residents of densely populated areas have reasonable access to parking near their residences.  Vehicles parked in an RPP zone must display an RPP annual permit or daily pass on their windshield or they may be ticketed.  In addition, residents parking in an RPP Zone must adhere to any other parking regulations or restrictions on the street - including, but not limited to paying meters, adhering to rush hour or tow zone regulations, and street cleaning parking restrictions.  It is the driver's responsibility to read and comply with all the posted parking restriction signs.

 

Residents can check to see if their address falls in a residential parking zone by clicking here

 

A city vehicle sticker is not required to purchase daily guest passes. Daily passes are for guests of a RPP zone resident. The pass is valid for no more than 24 hours from the time written on the permit. All other traffic restrictions must be followed while displaying a permit. By ordinance, an RPP zone resident can purchase up to 30 daily passes every 30 days.

 

If a resident is buying 24 hour daily guest passes online for the first time this year, they must do so in conjunction with the purchase of a city vehicle sticker. The first time a resident wants to buy only guest passes without also purchasing a vehicle sticker, they must do so in person. After the initial in-person purchase the resident will be able to buy the guest passes online with or without an annual vehicle sticker purchase.

 

Please be advised that residents will need to bring a photo id with their current address or proof of residency (mortgage or lease, water, gas, light, satellite or cable television or land line phone bill), in order to purchase the annual residential permit parking sticker or daily guest passes.

 

Please visit the City Clerk's website for additional information on vehicle stickers and residential passes, or call them directly at 312-744-6774. 

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Ward42StickerSaleCity Vehicle Stickers to be sold this Saturday, June 1st in the 42nd Ward  

May 27, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly and City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza have partnered to give 42nd Ward drivers the opportunity to purchase their Chicago City Vehicle Stickers. On Saturday, June 1st the City Clerk's Office and Alderman Reilly will host a dedicated sales day at the 42nd Ward Constituent Service Office, 325 W. Huron Street, Suite 510, from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

 

The 2012-2013 Chicago City Vehicle Stickers expire on June 30 and enforcement begins on July 16.  In addition to the Saturday, June 1st 42nd Ward sale day, stickers are available at all City Clerk and Department of Finance office locations, at more than 400 community vendors and online at www.ChiCityClerk.com.

 

Chicago City Vehicle Stickers are $85 for a passenger vehicle and $135 for a large passenger vehicle. Annual residential parking is $25 and a set of 15 daily residential guest permits is $8. Senior citizens with a valid Illinois driver's license are eligible for one reduced rate vehicle sticker for $30.

 

Please note, new this year motorists MUST bring their renewal form with them when purchasing their stickers or a state vehicle registration card, insurance card or vehicle title, which contains the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Chicago City Vehicle Stickers purchased after July 15 are subject to a $60 late fee and drivers may receive a minimum $200 citation.

 

Additionally, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office will be sending a representative to assist residents with their I-Cash program, which connects state residents with their unclaimed property. This face-to-face help will coincide with the sale of city vehicle stickers on Saturday, June 1st from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

 

Formerly called "Cash Dash," I-Cash was established in 1999 with the goal of helping Illinois residents through the process of reclaiming money or assets. The state currently has $1.7 billion dollars in cash, plus contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes, which need to be returned to Illinois residents. Most assets are transferred to the state after they've been inactive for at least five years.

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Think! Beyond the Banks: Everyday Actions to Positively Impact the Chicago River

May 27, 2013

 

We are all connected to the Chicago River one way or another and the choices we make every day at home and work can have a great impact on the water and the wildlife that lives in it.

 

Your thoughtful consideration of what you do at work or at home will help the Chicago River become an even greater resource for the people who live here but also make it healthier for the wildlife like large-mouth bass, bluegill, herons, beavers, muskrats and so many other creatures that rely on the river as their home.

 

Example of an everyday action to take:
Use environmentally friendly cleaning products that don't contain harmful chemicals such as phosphates or nitrates.

  • Impact - Everything that goes down our drains ends up in the Chicago River untreated (other than sewage) and all kinds of household products contain chemicals that are harmful to animals and fish.

To find out about more everyday actions that can help you think beyond the banks, visit the Friends of Chicago River website at www.chicagoriver.org/think.

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"Chicago Grows Green" Presented by Midwest Pesticide Action Center

 

As city dwellers, surrounded by concrete streets and buildings, we are often looking for ways to escape the urban environment and connect with nature. The cultivation of this connection can be as simple as potting a few indoor plants, growing produce in a small window box, or joining a community garden.

 

In addition to being beautiful, greening your space can add numerous health benefits such as removing toxins from indoor air, increasing oxygen levels, and reducing stress. However, the way in which we care for our green spaces, even the smallest of indoor or outdoor gardens, can have a negative impact on our environment.

 

The nonprofit organization Midwest Pesticide Action Center is launching a new program called Chicago Grows Green this summer to provide information on growing in a way that is environmentally-friendly. Take action by following these simple tips: 

  1. Buying Organic. The products you use to maintain your lawn or garden may contain toxic chemicals like pesticides. Be mindful of the products you are purchasing to care for your plants. For environmentally friendly choices, use only organic fertilizers and natural pesticide products.
  2. Composting in an Urban Environment. Food and garden scraps makes up a quarter of all municipal solid waste. To reduce this waste, purchase an indoor compost bin and compost your food and garden scraps at home. The compost you createserves as a free, nutrient-rich soil amendment to be used on your plants. If space is limited, use a Chicago-based compost pick up service or drop off your waste at the Green City Market.
  3. Cultivating Change in Your Community. Changing the ways we maintain our lawns and gardens is a great first step in improving our relationship with the natural world. Take further action by advocating for the use of sustainable landscape practices in your parks, schools, hospitals, and government buildings. Midwest Pesticide Action Center provides the tools necessary to initiate community level change in the Activist's Toolkit: A Guide to Promoting Sustainable Lawn & Landscape Care in your Community.

For more information, download Midwest Pesticide Action Center's newest resource, "Chicago Grows GAs city dwellers, surrounded by concrete streets and buildings, we are often looking for ways to escape the urban environment and connect with nature. The cultivation of this connection can be as simple as potting a few indoor plants, growing produce in a small window box, or joining a community garden.

 

In addition to being beautiful, greening your space can add numerous health benefits such as removing toxins from indoor air, increasing oxygen levels, and reducing stress. However, the way in which we care for our green spaces, even the smallest of indoor or outdoor gardens, can have a negative impact on our environment.

 

The nonprofit organization Midwest Pesticide Action Center is launching a new program called Chicago Grows Green this summer to provide information on growing in a way that is environmentally-friendly. Take action by following these simple tips: 

  1. Buying Organic. The products you use to maintain your lawn or garden may contain toxic chemicals like pesticides. Be mindful of the products you are purchasing to care for your plants. For environmentally friendly choices, use only organic fertilizers and natural pesticide products.
  2. Composting in an Urban Environment. Food and garden scraps makes up a quarter of all municipal solid waste. To reduce this waste, purchase an indoor compost bin and compost your food and garden scraps at home. The compost you createserves as a free, nutrient-rich soil amendment to be used on your plants. If space is limited, use a Chicago-based compost pick up service or drop off your waste at the Green City Market.
  3. Cultivating Change in Your Community. Changing the ways we maintain our lawns and gardens is a great first step in improving our relationship with the natural world. Take further action by advocating for the use of sustainable landscape practices in your parks, schools, hospitals, and government buildings. Midwest Pesticide Action Center provides the tools necessary to initiate community level change in the Activist's Toolkit: A Guide to Promoting Sustainable Lawn & Landscape Care in your Community.

For more information, download Midwest Pesticide Action Center's newest resource, "Chicago Grows Green - A Guide to Growing a Climate-Friendly Lawn & Garden" at www.spcpweb.org, call 773-878-7378, or email sneville@spcpweb.org.

reen - A Guide to Growing a Climate-Friendly Lawn & Garden" at www.spcpweb.org, call 773-878-7378, or email sneville@spcpweb.org.

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"Plant Green Ideas" Comes to South Michigan Avenue

May 27, 2013

 

South Michigan Avenue will be getting a lot greener this spring with the launch of "Plant Green Ideas Chicago 2013." This never-before-seen interactive art installation is intended to inspire new ways of thinking about sustainability and to encourage new behaviors that will positively impact the environment while also raising awareness of Chicago's leadership in the "green" economy.

 

The full exhibition will be on display Memorial Day through Labor Day along Michigan Avenue from Washington to Van Buren. To learn more about this project, click here to visit their website.

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Public Hearing Dates for Chicago Metered Parking System Concession Agreement

May 20, 2013

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly voiced his opinion on the controversial parking meter proposal introduced at the May 8th City Council Meeting. 

Constituents will also have an opportunity to share their comments.  The City Council's Committee on Finance will hold two public hearings on the Proposed Settlement Agreement and Associated Amendment to the Chicago Metered Parking Concession Agreement.

For more information on each hearing, please visit the City Clerk's Legislative Information Center calendar.

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Last Week at City Council ..

May 13, 2013

 

The Chicago City Council met last Wednesday, May 8th, and approved the following measures:

 

Revised Ordinance Governing Water Rates for Non-Profit Institutions 

The City Council approved a revised ordinance that provides for a four-tiered system that will govern how much non-profit institutions pay for their water. This scaled payment system ensures smallest churches and non-profit institutions can provide critical services while taxpayer interests are protected.

 

The final proposal divides non-profits into four groups, based on the size of their assets.

  • Group 1: NFPs with net assets less than $1M will be eligible for a 100% exemption from water payments.
  • Group 2: NFPs with net assets between $1M and $10M will be eligible for a 60% exemption from water payments.
  • Group 3: NFPs with net assets between $10M and $250M will be eligible for a 25% exemption from water payments.
  • No exemption from water payments for those not-for-profits with net assets in excess of $250M.

Additionally, Disproportionate Share Hospitals' water exemption will be based on their net asset levels with a minimum exemption of 25%. The public museums' water exemption will remain at 20% regardless of net asset level.

 

Finally, all water accounts must be controlled by a meter, and the City will work with all the institutions to make sure that meters are installed appropriately, and will help them get a meter installed in the event that there are costs associated with the installations.

The agreement will be retroactive to the beginning of 2013.

 

To download the ordinance, please click here.

 

 

Lead-Safe Renovation Ordinance 

The City Council also approved an amendment to the demolition and renovation ordinance (Chicago Municipal Code Chapter 11-4) that aims to protect public health and the environment by reducing the risk of exposure to dust and debris that may be contaminated with lead-based paint or asbestos-containing material.

 

The proposed amendment will strengthen and clarify existing ordinance to reduce the risks of exposure to these materials during demolition and renovation. The ordinance will especially protect children, who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of lead, which can cause learning disabilities and behavior problems. Inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers can cause potentially fatal asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

 

This amendment will require permit applicants to certify they will comply with federal lead-safe training requirements and work practices when conducting work that may disturb lead-based paint in certain buildings. Contractors who apply for renovation permits or architectural surface cleaning permits for work in certain pre-1978 child-occupied buildings must certify that they are in compliance with the U.S. EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, which has been in effect since 2010.

 

By ensuring that projects permitted in the city are performed in compliance with the federal rule, this ordinance will help to limit exposure to lead hazards and prevent lead poisoning before it happens. Further, the amendment clarifies the notice, fee, and disposal provisions in the current asbestos ordinance. Clarifying the notification procedures will ensure that the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is timely notified of such projects for review and inspection. By clarifying that asbestos-containing demolition debris must be disposed of properly, the ordinance will benefit anyone who might come into contact with the debris, from the workers and waste haulers to the general public.

 

Overall revisions to the ordinance include:

  • A clarification that buildings must be inspected for asbestos before being demolished and that the debris must be properly disposed.
  • Procedural clarifications regarding the timing and form of asbestos notifications submitted to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).
  • A new requirement for contractors to report compliance with already-existing federal lead-safe work practices before doing work that will disturb paint in pre-1978 child-occupied buildings.

To download the ordinance, please click here.

 

A summary of other measures approved and introduced at the May 2013 City Council meeting is available here. The City Clerk also provides access to the full video and detail on all the items from the Council meeting on the Legislative Information Center.

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Reminder from IL Secretary of State Regarding Recent Changes to Persons with Disabilities Parking Program

May 13, 2013

 

Due to a new law enacted by the Illinois General Assembly, Public Act 97-0845, significant changes have been made to the Persons with Disabilities Parking Program, which affect both new applicants and current disability placard and license plate holders.

 

New legislation establishes more stringent criteria for a person to park for free at parking meters in order to reduce fraud. The new two-tier system removes the ability for all persons with disability license plates and/or placards to park for free at metered spaces.

 

The re-certification for current disability placard and license plate holders began in April 2013. Enforcement of the new provisions will begin January 1, 2014.

 

To learn more about changes to the Persons with Disabilities Parking Program, please click here or visit the FAQ page.

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Alderman Reilly Congratulates the 2013 Preservation Excellence Award Winners!

May 6, 2013

 

Last week, three 42nd Ward buildings were honored with a 2013 Preservation Excellence Award from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, recognizing the significant contributions they have made to the preservation of the City's historic buildings and places.

 

Monroe Building - 104 S. Michigan Ave. (renovation)

 

104 S Michigan  

 

The Monroe Building, designed in 1911 by Holabird and Roche, is a 16-story office building clad in granite, terra cotta, and brick. The building is designed with classic proportions of a 1900s-era Chicago high-rise including a two-story base, 12-story shaft (main body of the building), and two-story gable roof.

 

The scope of work included the repair of the terra-cotta cornice, façade and green Spanish-tile roof repairs. Decorative cast iron entrances on Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street were replicated from original photographs. At the ground floor, the historic entrances on the east and north sides of the building were recreated from the original drawings.

 

Although the interior is not part of the designated features, the owner restored the lobby area to its original grandeur using historic documentation - original construction documents, early photographs and much extant historic material retrieved from the site. The new lobby includes restoration and re-creation of original design elements including Rookwood tile floors, walls and vaults, decorative iron elevator grilles, doors and hardware, and lighting fixtures. The interior's vaulted lobby has one of the largest commercial installations of Rookwood tile in the country. The Historic Michigan Boulevard District was designated as a Chicago Landmark on February 27, 2003.

 

Carson Pirie Scott - 1 S. State St. (innovative reuse)

 

1 S State

This complex is anchored by the twelve-story State Street building designed by Louis Sullivan for the Schlesinger and Mayer Department Store. A National Historic Landmark, this building was constructed between 1898 and 1904 and is considered to be one of Sullivan's most important works and one of the best examples of the Chicago School skyscraper. After the Carson, Pirie, Scott Department Store took over the building in 1904, an addition was added designed by D.H. Burnham and Co. (1906), and later another addition designed by Holabird and Root (1961) was constructed.  

 

This project put a major modern retailer back in this landmark department store, one of the most important buildings ever designed by Louis Sullivan. Target is the tenant on the first and second floors in a project that combines eight separate buildings along State and Wabash streets. This is the first of a new generation of center city Target stores and the first one to be located in an historic building. The landmark designation includes much of the interior, with the open first floor volume accented by column capitals designed by Sullivan with his signature florid style. Inserting all the necessary modern systems into the building while not impacting these elements was a technical and design achievement. Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building was designated as a Chicago Landmark on November 5, 1970.

 

Steuben Club - 188 W. Randolph St. (rehabilitation) 

 

188 W Randolph  

 

Built in 1929, this 45-story building was designed by the German architect Karl M. Vizthum & Co. and is one of the city's finest 1920's-era skyscrapers. Known as the Steuben Club, a prominent German-American organization, the building was designed in the Gothic Revival style with detailed terra cotta ornament, pointed arches, tracery, buttresses and finials.

 

The building had been deteriorating for many years and became a hazard when terra cotta pieces fell to the street. The current owner purchased the building out of bankruptcy court in 2005 and began planning to convert the vacant commercial building into residential use. The project included substantial exterior and interior work to provide for 313 rental units of which 20% are affordable housing units.

 

The scope of work included the removal of the granite cladding and modern storefronts that were installed at the ground floor in the 1950s. Reconstruction of the historic storefronts and terra-cotta piers was based on original shop drawings. The terra-cotta arched opening was reconstructed to match the historic configuration at the new entrance to the building, located on Randolph Street. More than 12,000 pieces of terra cotta were needed for the project. Steel arched windows on the 2nd-3rd floors as well as the 24th-25th floors were retained and restored. Typical double hung steel windows were replaced with compatible aluminum double-hung sashes. The flying buttresses were also reconstructed. Architectural accent lighting was installed to highlight the restored architectural features.    

 

Financing from IHDA, TIF, and the 20% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit were used to finance the project. Steuben Club was designated as a Chicago Landmark on July 26, 2006.

 

The awards recognize extraordinary improvements to designated Chicago landmarks, properties within landmark districts and other projects that embody Chicago's architectural heritage.  Each project was chosen by the Commission's Permit Review Committee.  Click here to view all of the 2013 honorees.

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Small Business Plan Competition and Elevator Pitch Contest Presented by City Treasurer Stephanie Neely

May 6, 2013

 

2013 Business Plan Competition

The Chicago City Treasurer's Office has launched their annual Business Plan Competition. The competition is open to start-up and existing small businesses throughout the city. To compete for a chance to win cash for your small business, submit a two-page executive summary detailing the business and what makes it unique.

 

2nd Annual Elevator Pitch Contest for Chicago Businesses

Can you explain and sell your business or service in 30-60 seconds? Showcase your business by developing an innovative, creative and professional elevator pitch. The 2013 Elevator Pitch Plus Contest is now underway! Treasurer Neely and  SCORE Chicago, are excited to find the best video promoting a Chicago business.  Expert judges will determine the top 10 submissions.

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Buckingham Fountain Celebrates 86 Years!

May 6, 2013

 


 

On Thursday, May 2, 2013, the Chicago landmark Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain celebrated its 86th season opening.

 

The Buckingham Fountain made its debut as the centerpiece of "Chicago's Front Yard" - Grant Park, on May 26, 1927, and has provided 86 years of mesmerizing water displays for millions of Chicagoans and visitors alike. Chicago notable Kate Sturges Buckingham, in memory of her late brother Clarence Buckingham, originally dedicated the Fountain to the people of Chicago. Today, Buckingham Fountain serves as one of Chicago's main tourist attractions, bringing in some 6 million visitors annually.

 

Fun Fountain Facts: Three powerful pumps give the Fountain a combined output of 515 horsepower, cycling through a maximum of 15,000 gallons of water a minute to feed 134 individual jets. Every hour on the hour the Fountain's main jet ejects a 150-foot tower of water into the air, accompanied by an equally grand display of lights and music. The initial "grand" display begins at 9:00 a.m. and the final evening display begins at 10:35 p.m.

 

To learn more, please click here.

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Chicago State University's Entrepreneurial Idol Competition

April 29, 2013

 

The Chicago State University Entrepreneurial Idol Competition is back and looking for some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the State of Illinois! On June 20, 2013, five Illinois based entrepreneurs will compete in front of a live audience of supporters and judges for the chance to win $10,000, $5,000, or $2,500.

 

Online registration is free and only requires that you submit a one page Executive Summary and 60 second video for the first round. Deadline for all online submissions is 3:00 pm on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

 

ENTER TO WIN TODAY!

  • 1st Place Prize - $10,000
  • 2nd Place Prize - $5,000
  • 3rd Place Prize - $2,500
  • Crowd Favorite Prize - $1,000

If you have an Illinois based business in the start-up or early stages of growth, apply today! Interested applicants should apply online at:

 http://www.csu.edu/business/eicompetition/.

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Whooping Cough Prevention and Vaccination Opportunities during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW)

April 22, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is recognizing National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 20-27, with a new campaign calling on Chicago families to vaccinate themselves against whooping cough (pertussis) to help protect their infants.

 

CDPH will host free clinics from 9 am to noon at the following locations for adults and children to receive their whooping cough vaccine, also known as a Tdap shot:

 

Saturday, April 27, 2013, 9:00am - 12:00pm

Curie  High School, 4959 South Archer Avenue, Chicago, IL 60632

Goldblatt School, 4257 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL  60624

 

Chicago Public Schools is now requiring all 6th through 12th graders to get their Tdap shot before starting the 2013-14 school year.  CDPH encourages parents across the city to check their children's immunization records and make an appointment to get them vaccinated.

 

What you need to know about whooping cough:

  • Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.  The disease is characterized by uncontrollable, violent coughing, which makes it hard to breathe and often results in a "whoop" at the end of a coughing fit.
  • Even though babies can be vaccinated with a whooping cough vaccine starting at two months of age, they are not fully protected until they are older.
  • Pregnant women should receive a Tdap during every pregnancy.
  • Healthcare providers should get a Tdap so they do not spread whooping cough to their patients.

CDPH offers immunizations throughout the year, for more immunization clinic locations in Chicago visit CDPH online at www.CityOfChicago.org/Health.

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CDOT's Complete Streets Design Guidelines
April 22, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently developed the Complete Streets design guidelines to insure that Chicago's roadways are designed and built in a balanced way to improve safety for all users.

 

Complete Streets Chicago: Design Guidelines incorporates best practices from around the world and reevaluates how Chicago designs, builds and maintains its streets with a primary emphasis on walking, bicycling and public transit.  As the City is making an unprecedented level of investment in infrastructure improvements through Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Building a New Chicago program, CDOT's roadway projects will ensure that all modes of transportation become more efficient. 

 

All CDOT projects and programs, will favor pedestrians as a priority mode of transportation.  Chicago is among the first cities in the nation to decisively place pedestrians first, while also providing safe access for bicyclists, transit users, trucks and automobiles.

 

In addition, street design will be conducted in a manner that supports context and transportation mode priorities, and is not limited by rigid engineering standards.    This will allow staff to develop innovative solutions that meet the overarching goals of a complete street, including:

  • Supporting active transportation to address obesity and improve health.
  • Enhancing neighborhood economies by drawing people to shop, live, and work in walkable, livable communities.
  • Designing to protect all users, reduce speeding and decrease crashes.
  • Addressing the changing transportation needs of Chicagoans, who are driving less and using other modes.

CDOT is also driven by goals to eliminate pedestrian crash fatalities in ten years; reduce pedestrian and bike crash injuries by 50% in five years; and reaching 50% of commuting trips made by walking, biking, transit, and working from home by 2030 (currently at 38%).

 

Complete Streets Chicago is a goal-oriented effort tied directly to Chicago Forward, CDOT's two-year action agenda.  It also has been developed in tandem with its sister publication, Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Guidelines and Policies, which provides guidance on creating streets that are intended to be more efficient, more economical, and mitigate some of the effects of climate change.

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Federal Financing Sought for Continuous Walkway on Chicago Riverwalk

April 1, 2013

 

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has inviting the City of Chicago to submit a formal application for a federal loan to complete the Chicago Riverwalk along the main branch of the Chicago River.  The invitation moves the project to the last stage of USDOT's rigorous review process. The Chicago Riverwalk is the first project to reach this stage since Congress significantly expanded the USDOT's Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) program last year.

 

USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood cited the positive results of the initial review of the project as the basis to invite Chicago's formal submission to the federal loan program, a significant step in securing a federal loan to significantly cover the cost of the transformative development project, which will build a continuous walkway and recreational amenity connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown. 

 

The TIFIA program provides federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to finance infrastructure projects across the country.  The City is requesting approximately $100 million from the TIFIA loan program, which will cover the vast majority of the project.

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been working on the Chicago Riverwalk since East-West Wacker Drive reconstruction began in the 1990s.  The roadway was reconfigured to accommodate the expansion of the Riverwalk to promote a pedestrian walkway and activate the space as a public amenity.  The East-West Wacker Project included utility build-outs for the future Riverwalk build-out for the entire length from Michigan to Lake Street.

 

The reconstruction of Wacker Drive was funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration, and the Vietnam Veterans memorial west of Wabash Avenue was financed in part by $5 million in federal funds, both of which were secured by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.  Senator Durbin also secured $480,000 for engineering of the Riverwalk in 2005 and these funds will contribute to the current project. 

 

Senator Durbin's efforts and advocacy for this project were instrumental in getting the Federal Highway Administration to recognize this project as a more comprehensive roadway and pedestrian project to improve the flow of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in a safe and efficient manner on the street, sidewalk and riverwalk.

 

In 2009, CDOT completed the first phase of the Riverwalk build-out at Michigan Avenue and Wabash, which was funded through Tax Increment Financing.

 

In 2010, CDOT issued an RFP/RFQ for the team to finalize the design of the framework plan developed through the city's Riverwalk Development Committee.   In May 2011, the chosen design team of Sasaki Associates Inc., Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects and Jacobs/Ryan Associates began work on the design plans for the next six blocks from State to Lake.

 

The Riverwalk design plans include conceptual ideas for each of the six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street with distinctive identities and purpose, thematically named:  The Marina (from State to Dearborn); The Cove (Dearborn to Clark); The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle); The Swimming Hole (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin) and The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake).

 

The bridges over the river establish a boundary between each block, which allow for each to have a unique identity and landscaping.  Each block will be linked by the continuous walkway along the river, beneath each bridge.  The design of the blocks has considered the previous feasibility studies and the changing operations of the waterway.      

 

The United States Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers and other waterway stakeholders - community groups, commercial operators and the recreational users of the river - continue to play an important role in shaping the development of the Riverwalk plans.

 

To read the full press release, please click here.

 

Recent Press:

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Sun-Times

Huffington Post

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Public Safety Update: Saturday Incident on Mag Mile

April 1, 2013

 

Dear Neighbor:

 

I am writing to provide you with some additional information regarding the very disturbing incident that occurred at the intersection of Chicago and Michigan avenues on Saturday evening. Please know that I have already contacted the Chicago Police Department to request a detailed plan for the 2013 Warm Weather Season, to deter these incidents as the weather continues to improve.

 

My office is working to schedule a meeting with the Police Superintendent to discuss this recent incident, request more police resources and gain a better understanding of his strategy to ensure Chicago's Central Business District remains safe and secure this summer for downtown residents and visitors alike.

 

On Saturday evening, large groups of teenagers converged on the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue. According to the Police Department, there were approximately 400 youth in the crowd, with roughly 50 police officers originally detailed to the area. This large crowd gathering was orchestrated via social media (Facebook and Twitter) messaging, predominantly by teenagers and some individuals in their early 20's.

 

As the Police Department witnessed the crowd growing and becoming increasingly volatile, the Commander of the 18th District redeployed additional police resources from other areas of the District to Michigan Avenue. There was a substantial surge in police presence at this location when fighting finally broke out between different groups of teens in the larger crowd.

 

The Police Department reported that there were no robberies during the incident, and the multiple battery charges and arrests were fights that broke out between rival groups of teenagers in the large crowd that assembled at this location. The Police reported a few pedestrians received minor injuries when the youth were fleeing the Police and bumped into them on the sidewalk - but no pedestrians were targeted by the crowd.

 

Thanks to the swift response from the Chicago Police Department, a total of 29 arrests were made downtown on Saturday evening.

 

While we should always praise our officers for excellent police work resulting in arrests, it is just as important to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place. This is why it so important for the Police Department to assign additional, high-visibility resources to our downtown commercial corridors during the warm weather months - especially at the start of the season.

 

I am most concerned about Saturday's incident, not only because I live just a few blocks from the area where it occurred - but because worry for the safety of the Central Business District has become a perennial concern for downtown residents and businesses. It's time Chicago commits to a permanent solution.

 

Although I do not manage the Chicago Police Department, I do take these incidents very seriously and will be aggressively lobbying Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent McCarthy for more resources, including additional foot patrols, bicycle police officers and more CTA police details in the downtown area.

 

I want to thank the brave men and women of the 18th and 1st Police Districts for their excellent police work on Saturday evening - aggressively managing this very large, volatile crowd of teenagers. They reacted quickly and professionally in response to this incident, and I am truly grateful for their service.

 

Unfortunately, a swift, professional response to these incidents is not enough. We need increased police presence and visibility in the Central Business District during the warm weather to prevent these events from occurring in the first place.

 

My goal is to meet with Police Department leadership this week for the purpose of securing a permanent commitment of enhanced police resources (and visibility) during the warm weather season, to help keep downtown Chicago a safe place to live, work and visit.

 

Once I have met with Superintendent McCarthy and his team to discuss their plan to prevent future incidents, I will report back to you with next steps. Thank you in advance for your patience as I work to resolve this very serious concern.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brendan Reilly

Alderman, 42nd Ward

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Chicago's Clean & Green Citywide Volunteer Clean-Up

March 25, 2013

 

This year's Clean & Green Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2013. For more than two decades, Chicagoans have teamed up with community groups and the City of Chicago to help beautify their communities by cleaning up and recycling accumulated litter and trash.

 

On April 20, you and community groups in your area can make an immediate difference in your neighborhood by volunteering your time and efforts to take part in the annual Spring Clean and Green Day.

 

All you have to do is sign up and meet at a location in your neighborhood that could use a really good cleaning. The City will work with you and community organizations to provide use on that day of all the brooms, rakes, shovels and bags needed to get the job done!

 

To register or for more information, please call 3-1-1. The registration deadline is April 12, 2013.

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Mayor's Office Summer Technology Fellowship Program Recruiting Students in Computer Science, Engineering and Web Design

March 25, 2013

 

The Mayor's Office Summer Technology Fellowship Program will recruit student technologists and web designers to spend three months working alongside some of the nation's leading minds in technology to find innovative solutions to better serve Chicagoans. The four technology fellows will have a hand in developing and implementing projects that enhance Chicago's technological capabilities and will also have the opportunity to directly collaborate with leaders in the city's booming digital scene.

 

Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for these paid positions by visiting www.cityofchicago.org/careers  . Applications are due by March 31, 2013 and the program runs from June 17, 2013 to August 30, 2013

 

The Mayor's Office Fellowship Program attracts bright, highly motivated individuals, gives them a broad overview of municipal government and provides a unique, "hands-on" experience. Fellows participate in budgetary, legislative, and programmatic areas of city government and work directly with Mayor's Office staff. Mayoral Fellows are afforded the opportunity to learn about public service and policy-making by directly contributing to the executive office of the City of Chicago.  This is the first year the City has specifically worked to recruit students from computer science, engineering, web design and related technology fields.

 

The Tech Fellows duties will:

    • Participate in the development and support of technology projects including research, design, software development and testing
    • Collaborate with the Department of Innovation and Technology on the ongoing support of existing technology projects
    • Explore ways of enhancing information located on the City's data portal
    • Develop Java and/or Python code for projects within assigned technical area based on business requirements documents/and or technical design documents.
    • Support existing technology projects
    • Design new innovative ways to leverage digital tools to connect with Chicagoans
    • Explore ways of making information on the City's data portal more useful for non-technical Chicagoans
    • Collaborate with the City's data and statistics team Perform other duties as required.

For more information about the fellowship program and to apply, visit: www.cityofchicago.org/careers.

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Celebrate Earth Hour - Saturday, March 23 at Navy Pier!

March 18, 2013

 

Navy Pier  

 

Earth Hour 2013 is Saturday, March 23 from 8:30pm - 9:30pm.  In its seventh year, Earth Hour is a global movement that encourages everyone to take positive action for the environment by switching off non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. 

 

Presented locally by ComEd, join in on Saturday, March 23, as Chicago celebrates Earth Hour with in front of Navy Pier's Ferris wheel.  Witnessing a local iconic landmark go dark for one hour is the highlight of every Earth Hour.  This year, Navy Pier's Ferris wheel was selected as the City's symbolic gesture for Earth Hour.

 

The program starts at 8:15pm and the Ferris wheel will go dark starting at 8:30 pm.  You can also enter ComEd's Earth Hour Facebook contest to win the chance to turn off the lights to the Ferris wheel by answering a trivia question about energy efficiency.  Visit ComEd's Facebook page for more details, www.facebook.com/ComEd.

 

The Ferris wheel is one of hundreds of buildings and landmarks throughout the city and state turning off their lights in support of Earth Hour.  If you can't make it to Navy Pier, show your commitment for Earth Hour by turning off your non-essential lights from 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. to demonstrate your action in reducing our environmental impact in Chicago.  Also, you can follow Earth Hour activity on the Earth Hour Illinois Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EarthHourIL or on twitter: @EarthHourIL. 

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Chicago Police Department Notices

March 18, 2013

 

18th District - Burglary Alert (Update Notice from 3-25-13)

The Area Central Bureau of Detectives has issued a Community Alert for an increase of burglary related incidents during the month of March.  To learn more about the crime and incident locations, please click here to download the official notice.

 

What you can do:

  • Keen the perimeter of your property well lit
  • Report suspicious activity immediately
  • Keep doors and windows secured
  • Immediately repair any broken windows, doors or locks
  • If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information

Chicago Police Department Reminder - Chicago Curfew Ordinance

Spring break begins this week, and there is no better time to have a refresher course on the curfew law.   The curfew laws apply year round there is no difference if your child is in school or on spring and/or summer break.  The Curfew Municipal Code will be enforced.

 

Chicago Curfew Ordinance 

 

1st District - Safe Running

In light of recent attacks on lone runners along the lakeside path (none in the 1st or 18th District), the Police Department wanted to get the word out about being alert.

 

 SafeRun

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CTA Brown Line Service Interruptions in Effect through Sunday March 10th for Wells Street Bridge Reconstruction

March 4, 2013

 

As part of the reconstruction of the historic Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) service into the Loop will be interrupted for two nine-day periods while the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) puts into place new sections of the double-decker movable bridge.

 

The first CTA service detour will continue through March 10th wherein CDOT will replace the south half of the bascule bridge.  The second service break will be April 26th through May 5th, as the north section of the bridge is replaced.

 

During the shutdown, construction crews will dismantle and replace the movable leaves with new pre-fabricated sections, which are being assembled off-site and will be floated up the river on barges.

 

At the same time, the CTA will rebuild the Loop 'L' junction at Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18, and perform additional track replacement at the curve over Hubbard Street between Wells and Franklin Street. 

 

The Tower 18 work was originally scheduled to be part of the ongoing Loop Track renewal project.  But by performing the work while CDOT completes the Wells bridge repairs, CTA will reduce the duration of the work by eight days.  Additionally, combining the work will save CDOT and CTA $500,000 in construction coordination costs.

 

The Tower 18 junction is one of the busiest railroad junctions in the country, handling nearly 700 trains on an average weekday and nearly 500 trains on an average weekend.  Five of the CTA's eight rail lines pass through the junction.

 

The bridge's historic elements, railings, bridge houses and major structural components will be replaced to preserve the 1920s look of the bridge.  Crews will replace the trusses and all of the steel framing for the lower level road and upper level railway structures.  The mechanical and electrical components will also be replaced. 

 

The contractor, Walsh/II in One (JV), began work on November 5th, closing the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.   The project is expected to be complete by the end of November 2013.   While the roadway will be closed for the duration of the project, the schedule of the construction work is designed to keep CTA rail service interruptions at a minimum.    

 

During the two nine-day closures, to run from late Friday through early Monday of the following week, CTA will provide alternative bus and rail service. 

 

On weekdays, Brown Line trains will alternate between terminating at Merchandise Mart or continuing into the Loop through the State Street subway.  Bus shuttles will be available at the Chicago Avenue rail stop as well as special shuttle service on the Loop Elevated to make sure passengers can efficiently reach their usual destinations.  Purple Line trains will not run south of Howard.

 

During weekends, service on the rail lines that serve the Loop will be impacted.  Brown, Pink and Green Line (Lake Street) trains will terminate just outside the Loop.  Orange and Green Line (South) trains will terminate at different stops in the Loop.  Shuttle buses and a Loop shuttle train will operate.

 

To view the CTA's alternative service plan, please click here

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Central Loop Bus Rapid Transit System Plans Released

February 25, 2013

 

Last May, Alderman Reilly co-hosted a public presentation with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to a new type of bus service, which will providefast and reliable connections throughout the central business district.  The Central Loop (East-West) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will operate from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center, through the Loop to Streeterville and Navy Pier.

 

CDOT and CTA recently revealed the proposed lane configurations for the Loop BRT system, which will start service in 2014.  Through careful planning and design, the lanes provide a balanced separation of bus, bike and regular traffic lanes.  The agencies also unveiled renderings of the design for the new off-street transportation center just south of Union Station, which will provide key connections with other modes of transport to the BRT system. 

 

BRT plans for the Central Loop East-West Transit Corridor include designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets: Madison, Washington, Canal and Clinton.  The Loop BRT corridor will serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, CTA subways and Navy Pier with more than 1,700 buses per day, making it one of the busiest bus routes in the nation.

 

BRT improvements designed to make bus travel more reliable and appealing to customers include: colored pavement markings and enhanced signage clearly delineating the bus lanes; level-boarding; queue jumps for buses at key intersections; distinct bus shelters; bus tracker digital displays; sidewalk improvements and protected bike lanes.

 

Under the proposed lanes configuration, eastbound Washington will feature a colored bus-only lane that will be serviced with island bus-boarding platforms.  Two auto lanes will remain for traffic through the Loop.  A bike lane against the southern curb would be protected from auto traffic by the bus lane and boarding platforms.

 

On westbound Madison, the bus-only and auto lanes would be similar to the current configuration with curbside bus-boarding platforms.  The westbound protected bike lane will relocated to Randolph Street.

 

CDOT will construct and manage the Central Loop BRT project, to be finance with a $24.6 million Federal Transit Administration grant and $7.3 million in local Tax Increment Financing funds.

 

CDOT is in the process of acquiring a surface parking lot located south of Jackson between Canal and Clinton to build the transportation center.  It will provide sheltered staging areas for CTA buses and a vertical connection to an existing Amtrak underground passageway, allowing commuters to access Union Station without crossing at street level.

 

BRT implementation could improve overall bus travel times through the Central Loop corridor by three to nine minutes per trip.   While buses are only 4% of the vehicles traveling through the corridor, they carry more than 47% of the commuters making trips in vehicles.

 

To learn more about BRT projects in Chicago, please visit www.brtchicago.com.

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DFSS Winter 2013 Senior Life Enrichment Guide Now Available

February 25, 2013

 

The winter issue of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Service's Senior Life Enrichment Guide is now available at Alderman Reilly's Constituent Services office, at the department's regional and satellite senior centers, libraries and many other locations.

 

Inside the guide, seniors will find information about health and wellness, educational, recreational and many other types of events, trips, classes and lectures, along with schedules and registration details. Most of these are free or at a nominal cost.

 

This issue also highlights wellness programs at our senior centers throughout the City, and includes a special section on how to avoid Medicare and medical equipment marketing scams.  The contents of the guide are also posted online.  

 

Further information about DFSS services and programs are available by calling the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)  at (312) 744-4016. 

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Apply Now for Cook County Summer Fellowship Program

February 25, 2013

 

The Cook County Government Fellowship is a summer internship opportunity in Chicago for graduate students to develop leadership skills, create a civic network and have a lasting, positive impact on Cook County. Within the context of a structured learning environment, Fellows gain first-hand experience in the various departments within Cook County through:

    • Completing high-impact projects while working side-by-side with a management level program officer within one of their fellowship program areas: President's Office [Policy, Communications, IGA, External Affairs and Legal], Human Resources, Economic Development, and Finance.
    • Developing an understanding of government policies, projects and operations, as well as approaches and challenges for each.
    • Developing in-depth content knowledge through research conducted within that program area.
    • Lunch and learn activities within the Civic Consulting Alliance summer internship program, in addition to independent County learning activities and events.

Candidates should be registered in a graduate degree program in business, public policy, public affairs, or other related degree. Candidates may also be registered in a law school and currently entering or completed their second or third year.

 

Fellows commit a minimum of 10 weeks from June through August. Compensation for the summer program is $20/hour for 10 weeks, with fellows not to exceed 40 hours per week.

 

For consideration for a Fellowship for the summer, the application deadline is Friday, March 1, 2013. The Civic Consulting Alliance will oversee the hiring and personnel decisions during the search process.

 

Please send the following to consultantsearch@ccachicago.org:

    • Resume and cover letter
    • Three references (references will not be contacted without first talking to the candidate)
    • One page response to the following: If you had the opportunity to assist Cook County on a critical issue, which issue would you choose and why? What do you think are the critical components to solving this problem?
    • Please note "Cook County Government Fellow for Graduate Students" in the email subject line.

For more information, please click here.

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City Increases Funding for Tax Preparation Resources

February 11, 2013

 

The City of Chicago will provide an additional $500,000 in funding to help Chicago's working families who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) apply for their tax refunds by hiring additional site leaders, expanding hours and days they are available to provide critical free assistance.

 

Each year nearly 100,000 - or 25 percent of eligible families in Chicago - do not take advantage of the EITC, leaving over $230 million in unclaimed refunds. These additional resources will ensure that Chicago working families do not bear the brunt of the fallout from the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, which forced the IRS to give working families even less time to file for the EITC by cutting the tax season by two weeks.  

 

The new $500,000 investment is from remaining funds from the $11.9 million the City collected last year's income tax claw backs from nearly 73,000 scofflaws. It will be dispersed to the Center for Economic Progress and Ladder Up, two non-profit organizations that currently provide free tax preparation services to over 18,000 Chicagoans. The funds will allow each of the organizations to expand the hours and number of days at sites  allowing 7,000 more families to have access to free tax prep services over the next two years.  This investment by the City will lead to over $16 million in additional refunds for working families and stimulate over $26 million in local economic activity.

 

In addition, a new website has been launched:  www.TaxPrepChicago.org that will allow residents to find their closest free tax preparation site, file their taxes online for free, learn more about the EITC, and provide important information about consumer rights when using a paid tax preparer.

 

Click here to read the official press release.  

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Chicago Police Department Community Alert - 1st District

February 11, 2013


Electronic devices, namely cell phones, are often the object of desire by thieves.  You can lessen your chances of being victimized by practicing the following:

 

    • Refrain from using your cell phone in public, such as walking down the street or on public transportation. 
    • Do not leave your cell phone out in the open, such as on the table top next to you.
    • Never leave valuables, especially cell phones, in plain view in your vehicle....even for a second!
    • Keep your electronics concealed by keeping them in your pocket or purse.
    • Be aware of your surroundings.

Phonerobberyflyer

 

The Chicago Police Department's Bureau of Detectives - Area Central has issued a Community Alert for Robberies in the 1st District due to an increase in cell phone robbery related incidents. These incidents occurred in the month of January in the general area from State Street to Michigan and 14th Street to Cullerton Street.  Please click here to download the flyer below to learn more about this crime, about the offenders and what you can do.

 

phonerobberyalert

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Freezin' for a Reason! Join in the Fun at the 13th Annual Chicago Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics Chicago

February 11, 2013

 

Polar Plunge

 

Think you're fun? Take the test and participate in the 13th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge on Sunday, March 3rd at North Avenue Beach. Go knee high,go waist high or take the full plunge and support the athletes of Special Olympics Chicago at this unique and memorable event!

 

Grab your friends and break out your favorite team jerseys or costumes.Free bus is provided for groups of 20 or more. Participants receive an official Polar Plunge shirt and, better yet, a warm souvenir towel whenyouget out of the water!

 

Visit chicagopolarplunge.org to save your spot at North Avenue Beach on Sunday, March 3.

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Deadline for Senior Citizen Exemption on 2012 Property Taxes EXTENDED through February 20, 2013

February 11, 2013

 

The deadlines for the Senior Citizen and Senior Freeze Exemptions have been extended until Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  If you qualify, it is important that you apply for these cost-saving exemptions.  Please remember that under Illinois law, seniors must re-apply for these exemptions every year.

 

Please note that there are TWO separate exemptions available: Senior Citizen Exemption AND Senior Freeze Exemption.

 

To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for the taxable year 2012, the property owner must have:

    • Been born prior to or in the year 1947,
    • Owned the property, or have a lease or contract which makes them responsible for real estate taxes, and
    • Used the property as a principle place of residence.

To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for the taxable year 2012, the property owner must have:

    • Been born prior to or in the year 1947,
    • A total household income of $55,000 or less for income tax year 2011,
    • Owned the property or had legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012,
    • Used the property as a principle place of residence as of January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012, and
    • Been liable for the payment of 2011 and 2012 property taxes.

Eligible seniors who have never applied for the senior exemptions may visit the Assessor's website at www.CookCountyAssessor.com and download an application, or contact the Assessor's office at 312-443-7550 and request that a form be mailed.

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Peoples Gas Opens Share the Warmth Program - Matching Grants Available to Help Combat Winter Heating Bills

February 11, 2013

 

Peoples Gas has opened their Share the Warmth program to help residents get a leg up on winter heating bills. Share the Warmth is the Peoples Gas dedicated energy assistance program which provides matching grants of up to $200 for qualifying residential heating customers. Chicago residents who are struggling financially are strongly urged to apply to see if they are eligible.  

 

Qualifying residents whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $200 on their natural gas bill. Customers may be eligible even if they have already received a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant this heating season. LIHEAP funds are also currently still available and customers who have yet to receive a LIHEAP grant are encouraged to apply for both programs.

 

Customers can apply for both Share the Warmth and LIHEAP grants at several locations throughout the city of Chicago. A list of available sites can be found on www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.

 

When applying for a Share the Warmth and/or LIHEAP grant, customers should bring the following documentation with them:

    • Proof of gross income from all household members for the last 30 days
    • Copy of most recent utility bill
    • Proof of Social Security Numbers of all household members
    • A Medical Eligibility Card for any household member receiving TANF; and
    • Copy of rental agreement in cases where utilities are included in the rent

Customers who are not eligible to receive a Share the Warmth grant are encouraged to enroll in Budget Billing and take advantage of programs like the Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program. Budget Billing allows customers to spread their natural gas bills and payments more evenly over the year and enables them to have a better sense of how much they will pay each month.

 

The Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program offers rebates on purchases of furnaces, boilers, water heaters and home insulation. Owners of single-family homes and smaller multi-family buildings are eligible for rebates when they install certain types of energy-saving products.

 

For more information about the Share the Warmth and LIHEAP, the Peoples Gas Natural Gas Savings Program and energy-saving tips, visit www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.

____________________________________________________

City Increases Funding for Tax Preparation Resources

February 11, 2013

 

The City of Chicago will provide an additional $500,000 in funding to help Chicago's working families who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) apply for their tax refunds by hiring additional site leaders, expanding hours and days they are available to provide critical free assistance.

 

Each year nearly 100,000 - or 25 percent of eligible families in Chicago - do not take advantage of the EITC, leaving over $230 million in unclaimed refunds. These additional resources will ensure that Chicago working families do not bear the brunt of the fallout from the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, which forced the IRS to give working families even less time to file for the EITC by cutting the tax season by two weeks.  

 

The new $500,000 investment is from remaining funds from the $11.9 million the City collected last year's income tax claw backs from nearly 73,000 scofflaws. It will be dispersed to the Center for Economic Progress and Ladder Up, two non-profit organizations that currently provide free tax preparation services to over 18,000 Chicagoans. The funds will allow each of the organizations to expand the hours and number of days at sites  allowing 7,000 more families to have access to free tax prep services over the next two years.  This investment by the City will lead to over $16 million in additional refunds for working families and stimulate over $26 million in local economic activity.

 

In addition, a new website has been launched:  www.TaxPrepChicago.org that will allow residents to find their closest free tax preparation site, file their taxes online for free, learn more about the EITC, and provide important information about consumer rights when using a paid tax preparer.

 

Click here to read the official press release.  

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Get your Taxes Done for Free through the Center for Economic Progress

February 11, 2013

 

The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) offers FREE income tax preparation assistance for families earning less than $50,000 and individuals earning less than $25,000.  CEP tax sites are located in 15 communities throughout Illinois, including the 42nd Ward:

 

Harold Washington College

30 E. Lake Street, Room 203 D & E

Chicago, IL 60601

 

Now open through April 15

Closed March 25-31

Saturdays, 10am - 1pm

Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 1 pm and 5:30pm - 8 pm

 

For a full list of tax assistance locations, and a checklist for what you need to bring, please click here to download the flier, or visit the CEP website:

http://www.economicprogress.org/clients/free-tax-help.

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FREE Help Completing the FAFSA

February 11, 2013

 

The City Clerk's Office is teaming up with Ladder Up to provide students and parents with assistance in filling out the FAFSA, (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA form is required for all students seeking Federal and State grants, work-study opportunities or student loans. Students interested in attending a university, community college or technical program may be eligible to receive more than $10,000 in grants and other aid for higher education.


To get free one-on-one assistance with the FAFSA application process, please visit:  

 

City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 107 
Tuesdays, February 5 through April 9, 2013 
From 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm (FREE and no appointment needed)

 

For more information, please contact Ladder Up at 312-458-9105,  email lift@goladderup.org  or click here to download the flyer.

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Vote for the Movies in the Parks Movies You Want to See

February 25, 2013

 

Cast your vote for the movies you would like to see in the Montgomery Ward Park during the summer 2013 season.  Vote for one movie from each genre. Movies are sponsored by the River North Residents' Association (RNRA) and the Chicago Park District.

 

Click on this link to take the survey. 

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ACTIVATE! Design Competition

February 11, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Architecture for Humanity Chicago have officially launched the fourth annual ACTIVATE! Design Competition. This free and public competition challenges designers to redefine public space on a temporary basis and a budget of $1,000.

 

ACTIVATE! 2013 has partnered with CDOT as part of the 'Make Way for People' initiative and will focus on four sites across the city in Old Town, Pilsen, Woodlawn and East Garfield Park. The ACTIVATE! designs will leverage community development through the implementation of small scale place making infrastructure. Similar installations from the organization's competition have been shown to increase pedestrian activity, which can lead to increases in revenue to adjacent businesses and encourage multi-modal, healthy transportation.

 

The goal of the competition is to increase access to open space and improve street safety for the community, while providing a replicable model for neighborhoods across Chicago and design organizations across the country. For more information about the competition, please visit the competition website at: www.activate2013.org . Entries are due Friday, March 15, 2013.

____________________________________________________

 

Peoples Gas Opens Share the Warmth Program - Matching Grants Available to Help Combat Winter Heating Bills

February 11, 2013

 

Peoples Gas has opened their Share the Warmth program to help residents get a leg up on winter heating bills. Share the Warmth is the Peoples Gas dedicated energy assistance program which provides matching grants of up to $200 for qualifying residential heating customers. Chicago residents who are struggling financially are strongly urged to apply to see if they are eligible.  

 

Qualifying residents whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $200 on their natural gas bill. Customers may be eligible even if they have already received a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant this heating season. LIHEAP funds are also currently still available and customers who have yet to receive a LIHEAP grant are encouraged to apply for both programs.

 

Customers can apply for both Share the Warmth and LIHEAP grants at several locations throughout the city of Chicago. A list of available sites can be found on www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.

 

When applying for a Share the Warmth and/or LIHEAP grant, customers should bring the following documentation with them:

    • Proof of gross income from all household members for the last 30 days
    • Copy of most recent utility bill
    • Proof of Social Security Numbers of all household members
    • A Medical Eligibility Card for any household member receiving TANF; and
    • Copy of rental agreement in cases where utilities are included in the rent

Customers who are not eligible to receive a Share the Warmth grant are encouraged to enroll in Budget Billing and take advantage of programs like the Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program. Budget Billing allows customers to spread their natural gas bills and payments more evenly over the year and enables them to have a better sense of how much they will pay each month.

 

The Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program offers rebates on purchases of furnaces, boilers, water heaters and home insulation. Owners of single-family homes and smaller multi-family buildings are eligible for rebates when they install certain types of energy-saving products.

 

For more information about the Share the Warmth and LIHEAP, the Peoples Gas Natural Gas Savings Program and energy-saving tips, visit www.peoplesgasdelivery.com.

____________________________________________________

Home Depot Weatherization Vouchers
January 7, 2013

As in years past, Alderman Reilly's office has been provided with a limited number of $40 vouchers to be redeemed at Chicago Home Depot stores for the purchase of a variety of weatherization materials (such as programmable thermostats, filters, insulation and weather stripping).

Vouchers may only be given to households meeting low- and moderate-income guidelines. Please refer to the table below for more information.

Home Depot Weatherization Vouchers are available for pick up only from Alderman Reilly's Constituent Service Office, located at 325 W. Huron St., Ste. 510 or City Hall Office, located at 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 200. A very limited number of vouchers are available 42nd Ward residents who meet the low- and moderate- income guidelines.

Low to Moderate Income Guidelines for Home Depot Voucher Recipient Eligibility.

Household Size

120% of AMI

1

$63,720

2

$72,840

3

$81,960

4

$90,960

5

$98,280

6

$105,600

7

$112,800

8

$120,120


Goal is for vouchers to be allocated to households below 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

_________________________________________________

Protect Yourself This Flu Season! Simple Steps to Help Prevent Influenza

January 21, 2013

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported widespread influenza activity in Illinois and across the nation this year. In response, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) encourages all residents to take simple steps to help prevent the spread of influenza and continues to offer flu shots in neighborhood locations across the city.

CDPH recommends that individuals receive vaccinations from their own doctor or other regular health care provider. For those without a health care provider, there also are other convenient, affordable opportunities to get a flu shot, including retail pharmacies and CDPH Fast-Track Immunization Clinics.

CDPH Fast-Track Immunization Clinics provide flu vaccinations at no charge for adults and children six months and older. Clinics are open five days a week in several locations across Chicago. For locations and hours of operation, please click here.

In addition to getting a flu shot, CDPH recommends the following simple steps to avoid contracting or spreading the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Don't share cups, straws or anything that goes in the mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and promptly discard used facial tissues.
  • If you are sick, stay home.

Other important factors that help prevent getting sick:

  • Eating nutritious food like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Getting enough rest and staying physically active to help the body fight off disease.
  • Not smoking and reducing your exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoke impairs the ability of your mucous and cilia to trap dust and microbes including flu viruses.

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New Chicago Digital Website to Connect Public to City's Digital Innovation Projects

January 21, 2013


Digital.CityofChicago.org is a new online hub that connects Chicagoans with innovative digital tools, offers increased access to the City's technology initiatives and makes it easier to connect with City departments and agencies through social media.  This is the first time the City has organized data science, technology and social media resources in one easy-to-use hub. The site also houses a gallery of web and smart phone applications built by local Chicago developers.

Chicago Digital is organized to bring information and resources to people's fingertips, from the developer looking for City data to build an application to a resident trying to find new innovative smart phone apps or official social media accounts.

The site includes:

  • Official City social media accounts in one simple chart
  • Blog posts on digital initiatives, technology projects and data advancements
  • Civic web and smart phone applications developed by private sector technologists
  • Video produced by the City and archives of Mayor Emanuel's live streamed events
  • City Hall in Your Community map showing Mayor Emanuel's visits across the City
  • Images and behind-the-scenes photos of initiatives and events
  • Developer resources including links to the City's Data Portal and an online forum for discussion

Chicago Digital was built through collaboration between the Mayor's Office and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). Click here to read the official press release.

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Invite the City of Chicago's Bicycling Ambassadors to your Next Community Event!

January 21, 2013

The Chicago Department of Transportation's Bicycling Ambassador Program celebrates its 13th summer as Chicago's bicycle safety outreach and education experts.  The Bicycling Ambassador Program is a FREE city service, available mid-March through mid-October.  Ambassadors attend a wide variety of events, from bike tours to day camps to block parties, and speak to audiences of all ages.

The Bicycling Ambassadors promote bicycling safety for all road users - bike riders, motorists and pedestrians.  They provide a face-to-face education by engaging people in discussion about safe bicycling and offer demonstrations to children, teens and adults. 

Services provided by the City of Chicago's Bicycling Ambassadors includes: helmet fittings, bicycle safety checks, presentations on how to avoid car-bike crashes, explanation and demonstration of bike-carrying racks on CTA buses, distribution of safety materials and bike maps, assistance to non-bikers or novice bikers to improve or increase their bicycling, on-bike drills and safety training, advice for Chicagoans who seek to bike to work or school, instruction to motorists and bike riders on the use of bike lanes, and more!

Click here to fill out an online request form to have the Bicycling Ambassadors at your next event. 

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Test Your Home For Radon During National Radon Action Month

January 21, 2013

In recognition of January as National Radon Action Month, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) asks Chicagoans to test their homes for harmful levels of radon, a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that can lead to death if unchecked. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly one of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 20,000 Americans each year.  Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure.  If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family. 

Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into homes through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can then be trapped inside the home, where it can build up. Any home is susceptible to radon, including new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes and homes with or without basements.

Low cost test-kits are available in stores and online. In addition, CDPH provides free home inspections. Chicago residents interested in information on limited testing available through CDPH can call (312)747-5323.

More information on radon can be found at www.epa.gov/radon.

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Chicago Police Department Presents Crime Abatement Workshops for Landlords and Property Managers

January 21, 2013

The Chicago Police Department, in partnership with the Departments of Buildings and Law, and the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) will be hosting a series of resource workshops for owners and managers of residential properties of varying sizes.


The goal is to assist managers and property owners in increasing their personal level of safety and learn how to work with the police and other partners to improve the level of safety surrounding their properties.

Topics include but are not limited to: Understanding the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Tips to Reduce Crime at Your Property, Understanding the Building Code, Best Practices of Lease Management, and Personal Safety.

To accommodate the varying schedules of the owners and property managers, identical sessions will be offered in the morning and evening. Please note that these sessions are free to all property owners and managers but space is limited.

Morning Sessions will be held at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 1103, from 11:00am - 12:30pm on the following dates:

  • January 24, 2013
  • March 14, 2013
  • May 2, 2013
  • July 11, 2013
  • September 12, 2013
  • November 7, 2013

Evening Sessions will be held in various neighborhood police districts from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm. Please see the schedule below:

  • January 29, 2013 at 6th Police District - 7806 S. Halsted
  • March 5, 2013 at 7th Police District - 1434 West 63rd
  • May 7, 2013 at 9th Police District - 3120 S. Halsted
  • July 16,2013 at 10th Police District - 3351 W. Ogden
  • July 23, 2013 Conducted in Spanish at 10th Police District - 3351 W. Ogden
  • September 17, 2013 at 17h Police District - 4650 N. Pulaski
  • September 24, 2013 Conducted in Spanish at 17h Police District - 4650 N. Pulaski
  • November 12, 2013 at 20th Police District - 5400 N. Lincoln

To register or to obtain additional information, please contact William Townsell by e-mail to william.townsell@chicagopolice.org or at (312) 745-5900 ext. 85131.

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ChiTEXT Feature Expanded to Include 311 Service Requests
January 7, 2013

Text Messaging capabilities have been added to Chicago's 311 system. The new ChiTEXT features allow Chicagoans to text in service requests, receive "311 Service Tracker" updates via text message and sign up for localized City alerts.

Chicagoans can now interact with Chicago's 311 system via text message. With this new feature, texting CHICAGO to 311311 allows people to submit a service request, track the progress of the request, and sign-up to receive an email when the issue is resolved.  The new system also allows residents to sign up for localized City alerts based on their address.

This is the first time texting service has been used to receive service requests to the 311 system. Previously, the ChiTEXT tool could only be used to provide on-way information, from the City to a person, which included contact information for government offices and the location of a relocated vehicle. Adding this feature allows for two-way texting communication with 311, so that Chicago residents have a full range of options to connect with the City: they can submit service requests by calling 311, visiting www.cityofchicago.org/311, or texting CHICAGO to 311311.

Open 311 has also allowed for third parties to build applications on the 311 platform, creating even more ways for the public to interact with the City. Chicagoans can use a variety of third party applications built using the open 311 technology including the ChicagoWorks app, Fix311 app and SeeClickFix.com.  Since connecting with Open311 in October, SeeClickFix.com has experienced a ten-fold increase in number of issues reported each week, an eight-fold increase in number of comments posted each week and a seven-fold increase in the number of Chicago users creating content on the site.

This Open311 technology was developed through a partnership between the City of Chicago, the Department of Information Technology and Code for America and funded in part by the Smart Chicago Collaborative. To read the full press release, please click here

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Enjoy the Holiday Season in the 42nd Ward with FREE Events for the Whole Family!

December 20, 2013

   

New Year's Eve Fireworks at Navy Pier 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12:00am midnight

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand Avenue

 

Welcome in 2014 with Chicago's only spectacular lakefront fireworks show on New Year's Eve! For more information about all the New Year's Events held at Navy Pier, please click here to download the official press release.

 

 

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

 

 

 

Open Now until January 14, 2014

Click here for hours of operation

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand Avenue

 

'Tis the season to have too much fun at everyone's favorite winter extravaganza: the 13th annual Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier presented by Bank of America. Attractions include a Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating rink, an indoor Ferris wheel, and so much more.  Admission to Winter WonderFest is free. However, an Activity Wristband purchase is required to participate in rides and attractions within the event.

 

 

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

 

 

Open Now until March 9, 2014

 Click here for ice rink hours

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park

201 E. Randolph Street

 

Don't miss the opportunity for free ice skating at the one of Chicago's most popular winter destinations. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park is now open! This year offers new Winter Workouts presented by Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Free ice skating lessons are offered to the public at 11am Fridays - Sundays. Thursdays will feature ice sports skills and drills for Noodle Hockey, curling and speed. Admission is FREE and skate rentals are available for only $10.

__________________________________________________________

 

2014 Shared Cost Sidewalk Program to Open on January 1st!

December 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)'s popular Shared Cost Sidewalk Program will re-open to participants on January 1, 2014. This program allows residents to share the cost of sidewalk repair with the City. The program has been a successful service for many years, offering an outstanding value to property owners. All property owners pay the same square-foot cost for new sidewalk: $3 per square foot -- well below what a private contractor would charge.

 
In previous years, this program has been extremely popular and reaches capacity very quickly. Participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please note that if you applied for the program in previous years, you must apply again in 2014.


Applications will only be accepted through the City's 3-1-1 system (phone or website).  To learn more, please visit CDOT's website.

___________________________________________________

 

Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda - Year One Progress Report

December 17, 2013

 

Significant progress has been made in the first year of the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda. In September 2012, the City of Chicago set 24 goals across seven sustainability categories including: economic development and job creation; energy efficiency and clean energy; transportation options; water and wastewater; parks, open spaces, and healthy food; waste and recycling; and climate change. Since that time, the City has marked several key accomplishments and one third of goals are delivering ahead of schedule. Chicago continues to grow through sustainability research and innovation.

 

Building on Chicago's legacy of planning, action, and leadership on climate and environmental issues, the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda offers a concrete roadmap for the City and its residents to make Chicago an even more prosperous, healthy, and vibrant place to live and work. All advancements are currently on track to make significant advances to save taxpayer dollars, pollution reduction and climate change.

 

The first year progress report identifies specific areas where Chicago residents, families and communities can drive the impact of the City's sustainability goals. The Year One Progress Report is available for download here

 

Resident engagement is absolutely essential if Chicago is to achieve its ambitious sustainability aspirations. The City welcomes questions, feedback and success stories related to Sustainable Chicago 2015 by email to sustainability@cityofchicago. org.

___________________________________________________________

 

Creative Chicago Expo 2014 - Call for Workshop Proposals and Vendors

December 17, 2013

 

The 11th annual Creative Chicago Expo will take place on Friday March 14 and Saturday March 15, 2014, from 10-4pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center.

 

The Expo connects thousands of creative individuals, businesses and organizations with local and national tools and resources to strengthen their enterprise. Last year over 7,500 attended this free event.

 

Vendors and Workshop / Info Session Proposals are sought. The deadline for Proposals and Vendor Applications is January 2, 2014.

 

Apply online to submit a proposal for the 2014 Creative Chicago Expo Workshops and Info Sessions and to register to be an Expo Vendor.

___________________________________________________________

 

Redefine the Drive: North Lake Shore Drive (NLSD) Study Update

November 22, 2013

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Park District and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) have shared an update on Redefine the Drive, the study to improve and reconstruct North Lake Shore Drive (NLsD) from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Avenue.

 

Public meetings were held earlier this summer to provide all regional users an opportunity to share how they use the Drive and offer input on how to meet the travel demands of all users in the corridor. To read about the outcome of the first round of public meetings, click here.

 

As outlined in the Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP) the NLSD project established seven task forces. They met recently to review the project background, public involvement process, project environmental processes and existing conditions. To review the meeting materials from the first round of Task Force meetings, please click here.

 

To learn more about this study, visit www.northlakeshoredrive.org.

___________________________________________________

 

New Sales Program for Residential Zone Permit Parking Introduced by City Clerk 

November 22, 2013

 

This week, Chicago City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza introduced a new sales system for the residential permit parking program with the goal of saving City residents annual in-person visits to sales locations.

Under the new permit program, records from the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State are now matched to individuals who reside in a residential permit parking zone. For the first time ever, with a valid, up-to-date Illinois Driver's License, residents can buy online using their Driver's License number instead of having to validate residency in-person as in previous years.

 

All residents living in a residential permit parking zone are eligible to purchase Residential Parking Permits. With the holidays coming, the Office of the Clerk anticipates a big uptick in permit purchases.

 

Residents not in the Illinois Secretary of State's system will still be eligible to purchase online and avoid in-person visits. They will only need to establish their eligibility to purchase by sending evidentiary documents, such as a lease, to a City Clerk email address.

 

A unique customer code provides for the easy online purchase of Daily Residential Parking permits. The customer code allows residents to purchase permits each month using this code rather than resubmitting their personal information prior to each transaction.

 

As part of ongoing initiatives to reduce fraud, people who chronically abuse the program can now be disqualified from future purchases of Daily Residential Parking Permits.

 

If you live in a residential parking zone, you can use the improved permit sales system and buy today via EZ>BUY .

 

The new program also marks another step toward the biggest change in the Office of the City Clerk: year-round City Sticker Sales. Year-Round Sales, which begins in spring 2014, will dramatically reduce the long lines and headaches that are the hallmark of the compressed, seasonal sales season.  

 

To learn more about Year-Round Sales or the new Residential Permit Parking Program, please visit www.ChiCityClerk.com or call 312-744-7404.

______________________________________________________

 

Alderman Reilly Welcomes Lyfe Kitchen to River North!

November 18, 2013

 

(Cutting of the ceremonial Brussels sprout ribbon at LYFE Kitchen Chicago (L to R): Nate Cooper, Gail Taggart, Alderman Brendan Reilly, Mike Donahue, Al Friedman, Carey & Cheryl Cooper, Mike & Maureen Roberts. Photo Credit: Bridget Clauson)

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly joined CEO Mike Roberts for the opening of River North's newest restaurant, Lyfe Kitchen at 413 N. Clark Street. To learn more, click here to download the official press release.

___________________________________________________

 

Take the Pledge to Eat, Drink & Buy Local

November 18, 2013

 

Join thousands of Chicagoans in strengthening the local economy, growing employment and cultivating a sense of community this holiday season.  Local First Chicago is building a new tradition to make supporting locally owned businesses a part of everyday life.

 

Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink & Buy Local seeks to inform consumers and businesses about the importance of buying locally and to foster an environment that supports unique and locally owned businesses.


Take the pledge to reallocate a small percentage of your holiday shopping budget to locally owned stores, restaurants and establishments. The Unwrap Chicago campaign urges Chicago households to pledge at least $100 of planned holiday spending from chain businesses to locally owned merchants.  If you spend less than $4 a day at a local establishment, you can help keep millions of dollars in Chicago.

  

Visit www.unwrapchicago.org for more information.  Take the Eat, Drink & Buy Local Pledge today!   

_____________________________________________________

 

City Expands Free Mammography Program

November 8, 2013

 

A new expansion will provide free mammography services to an approximately 1,500 additional uninsured Chicago women at Roseland Community Hospital.

 

This new investment to expand mammography services will allow nearly 5,000 women in total to be served through the City's mammography program - a nearly 40 percent increase in the total number of women currently receiving services through the Chicago Department of Public Health's (CDPH) breast health program.

    

Mammography services remain available directly through CDPH clinics. Hours and locations of the clinics can be found here.

___________________________________________________

 

365 Days of Divvy

November 1, 2013

 

Chicago's Divvy bike stations will be available throughout the winter at all 300 bikeshare locations, although the bike fleet will be reduced to match anticipated ridership. 

 

Snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of Divvy rebalancing teams, technicians, and station cleaners.  The teams circle the city in blue vans from 6 a.m. to Midnight every day.  Vans will be loaded with shovels, brooms and salt to keep stations clear of snow and ice. 

 

As a safety matter in very extreme weather, Divvy may choose to temporarily close the system, only after alerting the public via press release, social media and the CycleFinder app on iPhone and Android.  Emails will also be sent to Annual Members.  In an instance of a temporary halt to operations, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to take bikes out.

 

Divvy is launching an online campaign called #DIVVYON, intended to educate Chicagoans about biking in cold weather. #DIVVYON will also serve as a reflection of the bike share's continuation through winter and the resilient spirit of Chicagoans. 

 

To find out more about the system visit www.DivvyBikes.com or connect through social media on Twitter at @DivvyBikes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DivvyBikes .

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CDOT Releases Update to Chicago Forward Action Plan

November 1, 2013

 



The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) released an update to its Chicago Forward two-year action plan from May 2012. 

 

The 2013 Chicago Forward Update document can be downloaded here, and is available at www.chicagodot.org

 

In May 2012, CDOT published the Chicago Forward agenda to set specific metrics to address Chicago's transportation challenges and opportunities.  The update measures the progress toward the department's goals, but also highlights new programs and innovations to serve Chicagoans.

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South Lake Shore Drive Expansion

November 1, 2013

 

The expanded section of South Lake Shore Drive, which will improve traffic flow and downtown access from the south and west, opened this week. 

 

This $64 million, joint state-city project creates a new main north-south alignment for U.S. Route 41 by relocating Lake Shore Drive from 79th Street to Ewing near 92nd Street, a distance of about two miles, and connecting side roads from the existing neighborhood to the new alignment. 

 

Intersections and side roads, including 83rd and 87th Streets, were reconstructed as part of the project. The four-lane divided road also features a five-foot on street buffered bicycle lane in each direction from 79th Street to 87th Street and a non-buffered bicycle lane in each direction from 87th Street south. New traffic signals and street lighting complete the work. 

 

A total of $46 million for the project came from Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. Federal highway funds totaling $15 million and $3 million from the City of Chicago completed the funding package. The construction project was managed by the City of Chicago in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation. 

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Dearborn Street Bridge Celebrates 100th Anniversary!

October 25, 2013

 


Elevation Drawing of the current N. Dearborn St. Bridge  

(Courtesy of CDOT, Division of Engineering)

 

The current bridge at N. Dearborn Street marks 50 years of service on October 27. Mayor Richard J Daley presided over the 1963 ceremony. According to the Chicago Tribune report of the event, no speeches were given, only a hand signal from the Mayor. The bridge was lowered into place and a procession consisting of a single Cadillac followed by about twenty cyclists crossed the bridge. Seventeen minutes later, regular traffic started flowing across the bridge.

 

This Chicago-type bascule bridge was a replacement for a Scherzer rolling-lift bascule removed in 1959. The project was reportedly $2.3 million over budget and three years behind schedule. A national steel strike, foundation problems, and concern that the combined effects from foundation work for both the bridge and Marina City (built during the same period) might adversely affect neighboring buildings added to the cost and delays.

 

The Dearborn street river crossing has a long history. The first movable bridge in Chicago was built at this location in 1834 (bridge plaque shown on Dearborn p1). That bridge was a double-leaf bridge similar to today's bridge, but the limitations of 1834 technology produced a generally hated bridge. This is reflected in the accounts of its demise in 1839. The morning after the town council decided to remove it, the townspeople arrived before daylight to demolish the bridge themselves.

 

The second bridge at Dearborn Street appeared in 1888. Accounts from the Chicago Daily Tribune tell how the existing Wells street swing bridge was floated to Dearborn street via four scows.

 

The installation was controversial. With swing bridges at both State and Clark streets, navigation interests were concerned that a third bridge in the middle would hinder navigation on the river. Due to the close spacing, only two of the three bridges would swing open for vessels, thus slowing river traffic.

 

 

Elevation Drawing of the 1907 Scherzer rolling-lift bridge at N. Dearborn St. (Courtesy of CDOT, Division of Engineering)

 

The third bridge was a rolling-lift bascule opened in 1907. At the time, Chicago was under a mandate from the U.S. Government to replace all swing bridges, because of their interference with navigation on the Chicago River. The Chicago Public Works department had limited funding and manpower, so the Sanitary District (predecessor of the Metropolitan Water District) built downtown bridges in the early 20th Century too. In addition to the rolling-lift bridge at Dearborn, they built Scherzer rolling-lift bridges at State, Randolph, Van Buren, and a Strauss designed bascule at Jackson.

 

The current Dearborn street bridge is the fourth at this location and one of four "modern" (post 1950) Chicago-type bascule bridges downtown. These bridges are most easily identified by their single bridgehouse. As with several other downtown bridges, this bridge received an award of merit by the American Institute of Steel Construction when it was completed.

 

While the Dearborn Street bridge may not have the panache of its elder brethren, it is still an icon to be appreciated as we remember the story of Chicago and its river.

 

Dearborn St. bridge open for a spring boat run in 2013

 

For more information, please contact Jim Phillips with Chicago Loop Bridges at 312-540-0696 or visit their website.

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Support SOAR at the Annual Artisan Market Streeterville!

October 25, 2013

 

The 2013 Artisan Market Streeterville, sponsored by the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, SOAR, will feature handmade and homemade items created with affection, high standards of accomplishment and the stamp of authenticity guaranteed by a panel of professionals.

 

2013 Artisan Market Streeterville 

Saturday, November 9, 10:00am - 5:00pm

Sunday, November 10, 10:00am - 4:00pm

Ryan Family Atrium

Northwestern University Lurie Center

303 E. Superior Street

 

This year's event will feature jewelry, ceramics, glass, clothing, accessories, artwork, photography, home décor and food.  Admission is FREE and discount parking is available at the 321 E. Erie parking garage.

 

For more information, visit www.soarchicago.org , or call (312) 280-2596.

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CTA Red Line South Reconstruction

October 18, 2013

 

The historic Red Line South project brings a brand-new railroad to South Side, from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan, and will reopen on schedule this Sunday, October 20.

 

The CTA was the first transit agency in the country to replace such a large stretch of railroad in such a tightly condensed period of time and with such an extensive alternative-service plan.   The 10.2-mile stretch has been closed for five months to rebuild the railroad and upgrade eight stations along the rail line, which serves dozens of communities along Chicago's South Side. The $425 million project-which created more than 1,500 jobs, many of which will continue after the project ends-will be completed on time and within budget.

 

Originally opened in 1969, the Red Line South was reconstructed from the ground up, including all the rails, ties, ballast, drainage systems and signaling equipment-improvements that will shave up to 20 minutes off the round-trip commute between 95th Street and downtown, while providing a smoother, more comfortable and more reliable ride.

 

Condensing the work into five months saved $75 million over an alternative option to perform work on weekends only over a period of four years. The $75 million of savings was reinvested by the CTA in improvements to eight stations along the branch that received new lighting, painting, Train Tracker screens and other enhancements to improve the customer experience. The savings also paid for three new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th Street stations, making the entire Red Line South accessible to customers with disabilities.

 

To learn more, click here to read the full press release.

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City of Chicago Data Dictionary

October 18, 2013

 

A new, comprehensive data directory known as Data Dictionary, which will allow the public access to data collected by the City's departments and sister agencies in a singular data platform. 

 

The Data Dictionary is the first of its kind in the country and is purposed to provide all possible information on the City's data capacity including education, health and human services, infrastructure and public works, public safety, and housing and property.

 

Currently 177 databases are slated to be included in the Data Dictionary, and more may be added as they are built. As a massive metadata directory, the Data Dictionary will provide the public a convenient way to search and find relevant data through simple query.

 

To learn more, click here to read the full press release.

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Alderman Reilly's City Club Address

October 11, 2013

 


 

Alderman Reilly recently addressed the City Club of Chicago at their October 7, 2013 public policy luncheon. 

 

The Alderman used this opportunity to provide a comprehensive overview of all the exciting things happening in downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward.  He touched on the growth in downtown Chicago's economy, as well as the City's tourism industry and major infrastructure improvements coming down the pipeline. Alderman Reilly also outlined how economic growth has spurred new development proposals for the 42nd Ward.

 

Please follow this link to view Alderman Reilly's presentation.

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42nd Ward Superintendent Rescues Pet Tarantula!

October 11, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly commends 42nd Ward Superintendent, Anthony Coppolillo, for his quick rescue of a tarantula this week.

 

The pet spider was discovered by two Streets and Sanitation laborers.  It was still in its cage but thrown out with other trash in a residential garbage cart.  Thanks to Anthony's quick response, the unharmed tarantula was delivered to Lincoln Park Zoo.

 

Alderman Reilly would also like to give a special thank you to Lincoln Park Zoo for accepting the tarantula spider into their Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE - Under normal circumstances, Lincoln Park Zoo has a strict policy of NOT accepting donations of exotic or domestic animals due to health concerns and space limitations.  The Zoo discourages keeping exotic animals as pets.  In instances where unwanted pets are left at the zoo, these animals are almost always turned over to the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control.

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Record Your Story with StoryCorps at the Chicago Cultural Center

October 11, 2013

 

StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Over the last decade, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews.

 

Throughout October, there are plenty of opportunities for you to come in and record an interview at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street. The story could be about your family history, a great shared experience or one's philosophy on life; whatever you and your subject want to record for posterity.

 

October brings special recording days: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-6pm. November will return to the standard recording session hours: Thursdays, 1-7pm and Saturdays, 9am-5pm. You can make a reservation by visiting storycorps.org, calling 800-850-4406 or stopping by Room 140 of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington Street.

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Chicago Riverwalk Construction Planned for Fall 2013

October 4, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly is pleased to announce the continuation of the Chicago Riverwalk improvement project! The next phase of this project, which will improve the south Riverwalk, from State to Lake, is a forward-looking plan to improve this under-utilized natural asset. Upon completion, these 6 blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk will be activated as an exciting downtown amenity.

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is set to begin construction on the next phase of the Chicago Riverwalk in the fall of 2013.

 

 

 

The Chicago River is one of the City's greatest natural assets, but is largely underutilized downtown as a corridor for transportation, recreation and economic development. Completion of the Riverwalk will improve pedestrian safety and promote walkable communities while at the same time supporting economic development for Chicago's local businesses.

 

The City has secured $100 million from the USDOT's Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which will cover the vast majority of the project. Consistent with the City's public-private partnership initiatives, the City will also pursue sponsorship opportunities for the ongoing maintenance and operations of the new riverwalk facilities.  

 

CDOT has been working on the Chicago Riverwalk since East-West Wacker Drive reconstruction began in the 1990s.  The roadway was reconfigured to accommodate the expansion of the Riverwalk to promote a pedestrian walkway and activate the space as a public amenity.  The East-West Wacker Project included utility build-outs for the future Riverwalk build-out for the entire length from Michigan to Lake Street.

 

In 2009, CDOT completed the first phase of the Riverwalk build-out at Michigan Avenue and Wabash, which was funded through Tax Increment Financing.

 

In 2010, CDOT issued an RFP/RFQ for the team to finalize the design of the framework plan developed through the city's Riverwalk Development Committee.   In May 2011, the chosen design team of Sasaki Associates Inc., Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects and Jacobs/Ryan Associates began work on the design plans for the next six blocks from State to Lake.

 

The Riverwalk design plans include conceptual ideas for each of the six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street with distinctive identities and purpose, thematically named:  The Marina (from State to Dearborn); The Cove (Dearborn to Clark); The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle); The Swimming Hole (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin) and The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake).  

 

The bridges over the river establish a boundary between each block, which allow for each to have a unique identity and landscaping.  Each block will be linked by the continuous walkway along the river, beneath each bridge.  The design of the blocks has considered the previous feasibility studies and the changing operations of the waterway.      

 

The Marina is designed to accommodate restaurant retail space and public seating.  The River Theater will serve as the location for the vertical access between Upper Wacker and the Riverwalk level.  The Cove may allow for human-powered watercraft to dock.

 

The Swimming Hole provides a great area for recreation, which may include a water feature such as a zero-depth fountain.   The Jetty is a location for learning about the ecology of the river, with floating gardens and piers for fishing.  The Boardwalk, still in a conceptual stage of design, will bring people from Upper Wacker down to the Riverwalk level.

 

The plans reflect the build-out limits and general design of the entire riverwalk project which was agreed upon through a public development process in 1999. 

 

The United States Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers and other waterway stakeholders - community groups, commercial operators and the recreational users of the river - continue to play an important role in shaping the development of the Riverwalk plans.

 

The Chicago River is undergoing a number of improvements in addition to the Riverwalk project.  The Chicago Park District, with private sector partners, is constructing four new boathouses along the river.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing free technical assistance to meet new federal water quality standards as well as nearly $1 million in grants to community partners to eradicate invasive plants and place Chicago residents in jobs that focus on environmental cleanup.

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2014 Notice of Application for Chicago Park District Concession Program

October 4, 2013

 

Park Concession Management manages the Chicago Park District concession program. They receive and evaluate applications from people interested in operating a business in the parks and on the beaches under the Park District's jurisdiction.

 

Interested persons can visit the Park Concession Management website www.parkconcessions.com to learn more about the program and to obtain a copy of the 2014 NOA (Notice of Application). The deadline for submitting an application is October 25, 2014. The application can be emailed, mailed or dropped off at their offices at 20 North Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor.

 

If you have any questions, please call 312-750-1035.

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Fashion Focus: Chicago's Fashion Week Returns October 15-20

October 4, 2013

 

The 9th Annual Fashion Focus: Chicago's Fashion Week will take place October 15-20. This citywide celebration of Chicago's fashion industry includes a variety of runway shows in Millennium Park showcasing the latest trends in menswear, emerging and established designers, shopping events and much more.

 

Fashion Focus: Chicago's Fashion Week is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) and programmed with the assistance of the Mayor's Fashion Council. It is sponsored in part by: Michigan Avenue Magazine, Mario Tricoci Hair Salon and Day Spas, Factor Model Management and Chosen Model Management.            

 

To learn more about the premiere events held during Fashion Week, please click here.

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Workforce Development Investment to Put More Chicagoans Back to Work

September 27, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will provide up to $1.6 million in funding over three years for worker training and direct placement program assistance to help unemployed Chicago residents obtain positions at companies that contract with O'Hare International Airport. The funding will be utilized by Skills for Chicagoland's Future (SCF), a public-private partnership working to close the skills gap by helping to match businesses that have current, unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed job seekers.

 

Funding for this effort comes from damages collected by the CDA from contractors who failed to meet the requirement of the Chicago Residency Ordinance, which specifies that penalties collected must be utilized for such worker training programs.

 

SCF's focus is to shrink the skills gap in the Chicago area and help employers find qualified, unemployed job seekers to fill available positions.  Since launching in September 2012, SCF has helped more than 25 companies fill critical vacancies and has helped place nearly 400 unemployed candidates into local jobs.

 

SCF's services are provided at no cost to unemployed job seekers. Employers can contact SCF to assist with recruitment, placement and training efforts related to their skills gap and hiring challenges. Unemployed job seekers in Chicago can apply for jobs or register online at www.scfjobs.com  to be included in the SCF database for placement consideration.

 

As a public-private partnership, Skills for Chicagoland's Future is funded by the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, foundation support and multiple private sector donations, including a lead corporate gift from JP Morgan Chase Foundation.

 

For more information about SCF, please click here.

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Alderman Reilly Welcomes Blackfinn Ameripub to River North!

Septmber 20, 2013

 

Blackfinn

(From L to R: Ted Prosk, Julie Johnson, Alderman Brendan Reilly, Michael Schultz, Peace Sanchez, Zachary Massaro,  Lenny Skorcz)

 

Earlier this week, Alderman Reilly was joined Michael Schultz, Partner, for the opening of River North's newest restaurant, Blackfinn Ameripub at 65 W. Kinzie.  To learn more, click here to download the official release.

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Chicago Releases First Ever Technology Plan

September 20, 2013

 

Mayor Emanuel released the City's first-ever Technology Plan, a framework that will allow the city to maintain its leadership in technology and build on a commitment to modern infrastructure, smart communities, and technological innovation.

 

The Tech plan highlights 28 initiatives within five broad strategies that will enable Chicago to realize its vision of becoming the city where technology fuels opportunity, inclusion, engagement and innovation.   

 

The Tech Plan focuses on:

 

(A) Next-Generation Infrastructure

Establish next-generation infrastructure that enables residents and businesses to become more digitally-engaged.

 

(B) Every Community a Smart Community

Bridge the digital divide to ensure the full participation of all Chicago residents and businesses in the digital economy through training and engagement programs that make technology relevant, useful, and productive.

 

(C) Efficient, Effective and Open Government

Leverage data and new technology tomake government more efficient, effective, and open.

 

(D) Civic Innovation

Work with civic technology innovators to develop creative solutions to city challenges.

 

(E) Technology Sector Growth

Encourage the vibrancy of Chicago's Technology Sector by attracting and retaining STEM professionals and supporting the creation and expansion of technology companies.

 

The Tech Plan is designed to be the starting point for discussion with Chicago's communities. Residents, businesses, and other organizations are encouraged to download the tech plan and submit feedback online or via email to technplan@cityofchicago.org.

 

To read the full press release, please click here.

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Divvy Bikeshare Update

September 20, 2013

 

In just two and a half months, Chicagoans and visitors to the city have taken more than 365,000 trips and have collectively ridden an estimated one million miles, passing the milestone this week.  

 

With 240 stations on the ground to date, Divvy staff plans to install another 60 in the next few weeks, ramping up to 300 stations and 3,000 bikes.  By next spring, Divvy will be in 400 neighborhood locations with 4,000 bikes.

 

Each Divvy station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map and docking system that releases bikes using a Member key or ride code.  Customers can purchase $75 Annual Memberships or $7 24-Hour Passes, which allow riders unlimited trips in that period.  

 

Annual Members use a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from any station.  More than 8,000 Chicagoans have signed up for Divvy Annual Memberships at DivvyBikes.com.  

 

More than 75 local companies and organizations have signed on as Corporate Members, which gives their employees and members discounted annual memberships to Divvy. 

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Pharmaceutical Disposal Drop Boxes Now Available at Chicago Police Stations

September 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has partnered with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to present the  pharmaceutical disposal drop box program - which is now available at all Chicago police stations to allow citywide accessibility for the proper disposal of expired and unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Since 2008, the drop boxes were located in just five police stations.

 

Available 24-hours a day year-round, Chicago's pharmaceutical disposal program offers residents a convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to flushing medicines into the wastewater stream or placing them in municipal landfills.  The main goals of the program are to help avoid unintended use, reduce or prevent recreational pharmaceutical use and to keep contaminants out of Chicago's public waterways. 

 

By using the police facilities as a drop-off location, controlled substances can be deposited safely and destroyed under the observation of sworn law enforcement officials.

 

Pharmaceuticals (non-controlled substances) also can be brought to the city's  Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street.

 

The Chicago pharmaceutical program is provided as a service for residents only.  Business and commercial sector waste will not be accepted at any of the drop-off locations. 

 

CDPH aims to protect the public health and the environment by reducing environmental risk throughout the city including creating healthy and safe environments by reducing environmental hazards that have a negative impact on the health of our City.  For more information, visit the CDPH website.

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2013 Senior Fest in Millennium Park!

August 30, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) hosts their annual Senior Fest in Millennium Park on Thursday, September 12, 2013. Senior Fest is a one day event open to all Chicago residents age 60 and better, and will feature: a live performance of Serendipity, picnic lunch, flu shots, health screenings, senior resource fair, game and art area, dancing, live music, raffle prizes and bingo!

 

Senior Fest 2013

Thursday, September 12, 9:00am - 2:00pm

(Rain Date: Friday, September 13)

Millennium Park

Michigan Avenue at Washington Street

*Vehicles dropping off passengers should proceed to north entrance of Park on Randolph Street between Michigan and Columbus

 

Tickets to the Senior Fest are FREE and available by visiting any one of the City's Senior Centers.  The Regional Senior Center located in the 42nd Ward is at Renaissance Court, 78 E. Washington Street.  For more information, please click here to view the official flier or call the DFSS, Area Agency on Aging at 312-744-4016.

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2013 Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival 

August 23, 2013

 

The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival™ presented by MasterCard returns to North Michigan Avenue, August 22 - September 2, 2013, for THE shopping event of the year.  

 

Outfit yourself in a new wardrobe, score great deals at a designer trunk show, pop in for a party, even rock out with the tweens at a Radio Disney concert. The premier event for fashionistas and bargain hunters alike, The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival takes over North Michigan Avenue, further cementing the eight block-long strip's reputation as a fashion mecca.

 

Combining exclusive offers, sweepstakes and shopping perks with designer meet-and-greets, celebrity appearances, delectable culinary events, live music entertainment and chic runway shows, The Magnificent Mile will be brimming with style and excitement for twelve days straight, August 22 - September 2, 2013.

 

For a full list of events, click here.

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Chicago Air And Water Show Returns To The Lakefront Next Weekend

August 9, 2013

 

AirWaterShow

The 55th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, presented by Shell and the City of Chicago, will return August 17 and 18 along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as show center from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. daily. Strong in tradition and one of the largest FREE admission events of its kind, the show includes a wide variety of civilian acts with daredevil pilots performing their aerial stunts in the skies above Chicago. 

 

To ensure a thrilling show that fans have come to expect for more than half a century the Air and Water Show has increased the number of civilian aerobatic and jet teams.

 

New and returning civilian acts confirmed for 2013 include: The All Veteran Parachute Team (NEW), Sean D. Tucker & Team Oracle, Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Firebirds Delta Team, Chuck Aaron and the Red Bull Helicopter, Matt Chapman Airshows, Dave Dacy in the Super Stearman Model 70, GEICO Skytypers (NEW six plane team), The British Sea Harrier Jet (NEW), Warbird Heritage Foundation: A-4 Skyhawk Jet Tac Demo (NEW), American Airlines (NEW), Aerostars (New three plane team) and the Chicago Fire Department Helicopter Air Sea Rescue. 

 

For more information on the 55th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, please call the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at (312) 744-3315, TTY (312) 744-2964 or visit the web at chicagoairandwatershow.us.

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New CTA / Pace Ventra Fare System Now Available for Select Customers 

August 9, 2013

 

Earlier this week, select CTA and Pace customers were able to use the new Ventra fare payment system, which allows them to use a single fare card for transit across the region. All CTA and Pace customers will be able to use the new Ventra system starting September 9.

 

The first Ventra Customers will be student U-Pass cards for universities. The first universities to receive their cards include Rush Medical School, Westwood College of Technology and Northwestern University School of Law. Additional universities participating in the U-Pass program will receive their cards later this month before he start of fall semesters.

 

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students will receive their Ventra transit cards during school orientation prior to the first day of school on August 26.

 

CTA Chicago Card Plus and Chicago Card registered customers have received emails to confirm their mailing address is updated so they can receive their new free Ventra cards by mail. 

 

Customers who have validated their addresses will begin receiving their informational packets and cards the week of August 19th and can begin using the Ventra system immediately once when their cards are activated. The CTA urges customers who have Chicago Card Plus or registered Chicago Cards to make sure their account information is up-to-date, which they can do online at transitchicago.com or by calling (888) YOUR-CTA.

 

Activation will be simple and easily accomplished with a few short steps by calling (877) NOW VENTRA. Chicago Card Plus customers' balances or products will be automatically transferred to the Ventra system upon activation of Ventra cards.

 

Customers who received their Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus through pretax transit benefit programs from their employers will begin receiving notification of their transition to Ventra starting in September. 

 

All remaining CTA and Pace customers will be able to use the new system beginning September 9, when Ventra cards will be sold at retail locations and at rail stations. Between August 5 and September 9, Ventra machines will be available only to reload Ventra value; customers will not be able to obtain new Ventra cards until September 9.

 

For additional information on transitioning to the new system, please click here to read the full press release. Information about Ventra can be found at ventrachicago.com, transitchicago.com and pacebus.com.

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Open Taxis: Chicago's New Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Dispatcher

August 9, 2013

 

The City of Chicago has nearly doubled its number of wheelchair accessible taxi cabs and expects that number to increase. To make sure the taxis are utilized to their fullest potential, the City has teamed up with disability advocacy group Open Doors Organization and tech company Driven Solutions to create Open Taxis, a new and innovative system for dispatching wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV).

As part of the new system, passengers will be able to use a mobile app on smartphones or tablets to hail the closest wheelchair accessible taxi based on GPS signals. Customers can also call the dispatch at 1-855-WAV-1010 to request a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.

 

For more information visit opentaxis.com or click here to view the Open Taxis informational video.

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DBACP Reminder: How to File a Consumer Complaint Online 

August 9, 2013

 

If you have been scammed, report the incident to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (DBACP). DBACP prosecutes businesses for unlawful business practices, and in some cases, may collect restitution for the consumers that have been ripped off.

Once a complaint is filed, either online or by calling 311, you will be sent a consumer complaint affidavit. This affidavit allows you to fully explain what occurred in detail. It also requires a notarized signature so that BACP can begin to investigate your case. It is important that you compete the affidavit and mail it back within the allotted time frame so they can assist you. Forms that are not returned will not be investigated.     

 

Get started by Filing a Consumer Complaint.  

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New Express Lane and Self-Service Station Provide Faster Service at DBACP Small Business Center

August 9, 2013

 

Mayor Emanuel and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (DBACP)'s latest efforts to support Chicago's small business community include new service improvements to the SmalL Business Center (SBC) that will enhance customer experience and reduce wait times.

 

The SBC provides small business owners and entrepreneurs a one-stop shop to help launch and grow their business in Chicago. In this latest effort, the City will implement new expedited service options that provide customers with an experience tailored to their needs: a new express lane and self-service area.

 

The newly launched Express Lane will service 25% of the SBC customers in 15 minutes or less. The express service enables customers to update account information, print a new license, renew a license, and apply for a peddler's license quickly and efficiently. 

 

The new Self-Service Station helps business owners renew their licenses or prepare for their consultations while they wait, saving business owners time.   SBC staff will be available to help customers navigate the station if they need help.

 

Finally, to improve the overall customer experience, the employees of the SBC developed a set of professional standards demonstrating their commitment to delivering world class customer service.  Going forward, SBC staff will provide each customer with a copy of these standards.   

 

For more information about SBC, please visit the DBACP website.

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Update on City Energy Benchmark Mandate

12 Aldermen Defer City Council Vote Until September 2013

July 26, 2013

 

Mayor Emanuel's proposed "Building Energy Use Benchmarking" ordinance would require all commercial and residential buildings over 50,000 square feet to provide their energy consumption data to the City of Chicago on an annual basis. The proposal would require each building's energy consumption data to be posted on a public website; and each building's energy consumption would be rated and assigned an energy performance score.

 

As the champion of several exciting and innovative energy efficiency and demand management programs already underway in downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward, Alderman Reilly supports of the concept of "energy benchmarking." Benchmarking can be a powerful tool to help accelerate the market for energy efficiency. That said, the Alderman does not support the proposed ordinance in its current form, because it could impose yet another financial burden on condominium owners in the 42nd Ward and across the City of Chicago.

 

Over the past week, Alderman Reilly received hundreds of emails and letters from condominium owners and associations across Chicago requesting more time to review and better understand this policy proposal and the potential financial impact it could have on their properties. He also received hundreds of emails simply requesting that he vote "NO" on this ordinance because it could unfairly marginalize many older and historically significant commercial and residential buildings across the city.

 

At the Tuesday, July 23rd meeting of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, Alderman Reilly debated this proposal with his colleagues and then asked the Committee Chairman to defer a vote on the measure for just one month - to allow his downtown constituents and property owners across Chicago the time to review the proposal, digest it and determine its potential fiscal impact.

 

When the Chairman rejected his request to hold the ordinance in committee, Alderman Reilly made a motion to defer the vote on the ordinance for one month. Unfortunately that motion was rejected by an 11-2 vote (with Alderman Cappleman and Reilly voting in the minority). After this attempt to hold the ordinance in committee failed, the Chairman called the ordinance for a vote to approve. Alderman Cappleman and Reilly were recorded as voting "NO."

 

The very next day (July 24th), when the "Building Energy Use Benchmarking" ordinance was called for a vote by the entire Chicago City Council, Alderman Reilly was joined by 11 of his colleagues when he employed a procedural tactic in the City Council Rules (called "Defer and Publish") to delay a full City Council vote on this ordinance until the next City Council Meeting scheduled for September 11, 2013. The 11 aldermen who joined Reilly in deferring consideration of this proposal until the September Meeting are:

  • Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward
  • Alderman Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward
  • Alderman Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward
  • Alderman Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward
  • Alderman Natasha Holmes, 7th Ward
  • Alderman Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward
  • Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward
  • Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd Ward
  • Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward
  • Alderman James Cappleman, 46th Ward
  • Alderman Harry Osterman, 48th Ward

Although we have won a six week reprieve, our work has just begun. Alderman Reilly asking you, your family members, friends and neighbors to share your opinions with Mayor Emanuel, respectfully asking the Administration to allow for additional discussion and changes that could help limit the financial burden on property owners and avoid picking "winners and losers" in Chicago's still-recovering residential and commercial real estate markets.

 

Other jurisdictions typically recognized for their progressive approach to sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental policies like: Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington and even the State of California have come to understand the unintended consequences that come with mandatory public disclosure of energy data. Rather than mandate public disclosure, those governments have opted to rely upon "transactional disclosure" of energy consumption, to ensure buyers have full access to energy benchmark data for the property when considering a potential transaction.

 

To share your concerns with Mayor Emanuel and request an opportunity to make reasonable changes to the proposal that would protect condominium and co-op owners from additional costly mandates,
e-mail: letterforthemayor@ cityofchicago.org
and cc: mayor.emanuel@cityofchicago. org.

 

You can also send letters via USPS to: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor's Office - Room 500, City Hall - Chicago, IL 60602. If you are interested in using social media to register your objections, you can post them via Twitter: @chicagosmayor or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ ChicagoMayorsOffice.

 

Alderman Reilly will continue to oppose the "Building Energy Use Benchmarking" ordinance until it is amended to: (1) prevent the further marginalization of older buildings in the local real estate market; and (2) to better shield condominium and co-op owners from the financial burden of costly mandates associated with the ordinance.

 

Alderman Reilly hopes that, with your help, we can work cooperatively with Mayor Emanuel to craft a responsible Energy Use Benchmarking ordinance that provides property owners with the valuable data they need to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, without burdening them with additional costly government mandates.

_________________________________________________

 

Update: Revitalization and Renewal of Connors Park Now Complete!

July 24, 2013

 

  Connors Park Before

Connors Park, July 2010

 

  ConnorsParkJuly2013

Connors Park, July 2013

 

After nearly three years of hard work and collaboration with the Chicago Park District, Alderman Brendan Reilly is pleased to announce that his vision for the revitalization and renewal of Connor's Park is now complete. The triangular neighborhood park is located at Rush, Chestnut, Delaware and Wabash Streets in the Gold Coast neighborhood of downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward.

 

"This is an exciting day and one that has been a long time in the making. When I was first elected, this park was considered 'neighborhood blight': dilapidated infrastructure, aging park furniture and a home to vagrants who treated this space as their flophouse, to the exclusion of neighborhood families and visitors," said Alderman Reilly. "To solve this problem, I asked the Park District to pursue Chicago-based businesses to enter a concession agreement that would improve the park; guarantee long-term security and maintenance; and return it to its former glory as a neighborhood amenity and family destination."

 

When Alderman Reilly was elected in 2007, he received numerous complaints regarding the aging infrastructure, poor condition and general lack of maintenance at Connors Park. For the past several years, the Park was in deplorable condition: routinely overflowing with garbage and debris; a target for vandalism and graffiti; and the home to countless vagrants who used the park for drinking and drug use, to the exclusion of neighborhood residents and visitors.

 

Despite Alderman Reilly's regular requests for improvements, repairs and increased security at Connors Park - conditions did not improve. Frustrated by the lack of progress to improve this open space, Alderman Reilly determined the best hope to improve Connors Park would be to enlist a local Chicago business to enter a concession agreement to operate in the Park in exchange for substantial improvements to park infrastructure, landscaping, maintenance, waste removal and especially security - at no cost to taxpayers.

 

Following a robust bidding process administered by the Chicago Park District, Chicago-based Argo Tea was selected to operate in Connors Park. Per their 15-year concession agreement with the Park District, Argo Tea will assume full responsibility for infrastructure, landscaping, maintenance, security and provide a modern glass and steel structure that incorporates green elements while preserving existing open space and plantings in and around the Park.

 

During the planning process, the Alderman asked the Park District to ensure the preservation of the two monuments honoring Senator William Connors, which have been saved and moved slightly to accommodate new park entrances. Alderman Reilly ensured the Connors family was made aware of the renovations and the Connors offered their support for the park improvements.

 

Alderman Reilly extends his sincere thanks and congratulations to Argo Tea (a Chicago-based company now celebrating their 10th Anniversary) for helping him transform this long-standing neighborhood blight into a wonderful, welcoming new oasis for Chicago residents and visitors to enjoy - twelve months a year.

 

The Alderman considers the new and improved Connors Park and Argo Tea concession agreement to be an excellent example of a successful public-private partnership that delivers tremendous public benefits at no cost to taxpayers. Reilly hopes this agreement will serve as a template for future park concessions.

_________________________________________________

 

City Launches New TIF Portal Website

July 22, 2013

 

Chicago has a new TIF Portal website that provides an easy to navigate geography-based representation of TIF districts and project data.  This effort will allow Chicagoans to review TIF project data on a map, by address, a project name, a TIF district name or a ward number. In conjunction with the launch of the TIF Portal, over 2,000 rows of new infrastructure data have been made publicly available. 
 
The TIF Portal is accessible at cityofchicago.org/ChicagoTIF and provides the following information for each TIF district:

 

  • A description of the purpose of the district;
  • The investments that have been made in the District that have been approved by City Council;
  • A list of redevelopment projects approved by City Council for the district; and
  • Links to important documents for the district such as the establishment ordinance approved by City Council, the most recent annual report, and district revenue projection data.

The TIF Portal also provides the following information for each TIF-funded redevelopment project:

  • The name of the developer;
  • The TIF funds approved by City Council;
  • The project's address;
  • A brief description of the project; and
  • Links to important documents for the project (as applicable) such as the redevelopment ordinance, the Community Development Commission report, and the certificate of completion.
The TIF Portal is meant to establish accountability and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent in accordance with a new long-term strategic economic development plan.  The City intends to asses additional data to the TIF Portal in the future, including district and project performance data that will be collected and published for the first time.

 
Previous reforms to the TIF program include a comprehensive online TIF database, which tracks all projects in one place and provides public access to the information.  To enhance accountability, the monitoring of TIF performance was moved to the Department of Revenue, which hired independent auditors to perform random audits. Every proposed private development TIF project now has an assessment report that is posted online before City Council consideration, outlining the project's ability to create jobs and provide return on investment for the city. A specialized TIF Reform Task Force was called to provide insight into the best methods of reforming the TIF program for maximum effectiveness.

_________________________________________________

 

Exciting Movies Being Filmed in Chicago this Summer and Fall

July 22, 2013

 

  Chicago Filming

 

Chicago is on track for yet another record year in film and television production. The recent filming of "Catbird" in the Loop and on North Michigan Avenue is just the first of three blockbuster movies filming here this summer. "Catbird" is based on the novel "Divergent" by local author Veronica Roth and stars Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet. Filming will be completed mid-July.

 

This July-August will be the Warner Bros' science fiction epic "Jupiter Ascending" starring Channing Tatum and directed by Chicagoans Andy and Lana Wachowski - makers of the hugely successful "Matrix" films. And given the success of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" that filmed here in spectacular fashion back in 2010, director Michael Bay returns to Chicago this August-September for more action with "Transformers 4," starring Mark Wahlberg.   

 

The hit NBC series "Chicago Fire" returns for a second season in July, and the spin-off series "Chicago PD," a one-hour drama set in the Chicago Police Department, begins filming this coming September. Four new series - "Sirens" (USA), "Crisis" (NBC), "Mind Games" (ABC) and "Betrayal" (ABC) - will all be shot entirely in Chicago beginning this fall.

 

Last year, film and television production generated a record $184 million in local spending and job creation. With the production activity already slated for 2013, including a record 6 full-time television series, it's likely that the industry's economic impact this year will be the largest ever for Chicago.    

 

Since 1980, more than 1100 feature films and television productions have shot in Chicago contributing $2 billion in local revenue.  Chicago attracts hundreds of commercials and photo shoots each year that are produced for both national and international clients.  This growth industry provides quality jobs for thousands of Chicagoans and creates opportunities for hundreds of hometown businesses.  This success would not have been possible without tremendous community support.

 

Residents and businesses near the filming locations will receive notification from the film production companies of any street closures, parking restrictions, helicopter activity, stunt work and any other impacts related to the film shoots.

 

Traffic impacts from filming in the 42nd Ward can also be found in the Street Closures and Construction Updates section in Alderman Reilly's weekly Reilly Reports newsletter.

_________________________________________________

 

Property Fraud Alerts Available through Cook County Recorder of Deeds

July 22, 2013

 

Did you know that in many instances, stealing someone's house can be easier than stealing a car? All it takes is someone filing a fraudulent transfer of ownership document with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Karen A. Yarbrough.

 

Savvy fraudsters often target elderly persons who live in paid-for homes, and who have no heirs. This allows the criminal to take out a mortgage or sell the home outright once the owner dies. 

 

Though the documents may be fake, the damage is real because the homeowner must get a court order (at their own expense) to have the fake document removed. Until this happens, the true owner will be unable to refinance or sell their home.

 

Recorder Yarbrough recently helped pass a new state law creating an expedited judicial review process to remove fraudulent recordings, but there is a tool available now that can alert you when a document is recorded against your property's 14-digit Property Identification Number (found on your property tax bill). 

 

The CCRD's FREE Property Fraud Alert will trigger a phone call or email to you when a new document is recorded, so that you can investigate further. Getting this alert will help you to take immediate action, before the criminal uses the fraudulent document to take out a loan against your home.

 

Signup is easy, free and your information is never used for anything other than the Alert. Best of all, you can monitor multiple properties, allowing people to monitor the homes of their older parents and relatives. You can sign up online at CookRecorder.com, or by calling 800-728-3858.

 

If you suspect property fraud or have questions about signing up, please the CCRD Property Fraud Unit at 312-603-4000.

_________________________________________________

 

Electrical Aggregation Program Study Shows Significant Reduction in Carbon Emissions

July 15, 2013

 

According to a study released by the Perfect Power Institute at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the City's aggregation agreement with Integrys Energy Services has achieved a significant reduction in emissions that contribute to global warming, including a 16 percent reduction in carbon emissions representing the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off of the road, and a 98% reduction in ozone depleting and acid rain causing nitrogen oxide emissions.  The Perfect Power Institute study can be reviewed HERE


In addition to the municipal aggregation agreement's impact on carbon emissions, the study also found a number of public health and environmental benefits.  The agreement completely eliminates sulfur dioxide, which has been associated with respiratory illnesses and increases in hospitalizations, from the City's supply portfolio.  Additionally, the agreement has reduced the amount of water consumed by Chicago's generation resources by 15%.  And by removing coal sources from the City's portfolio, the aggregation agreement has nearly eliminated the amount of solid waste products attributable to the electricity consumed by Chicago customers.     

 

Since February of 2013, more than 750,000 households and small businesses have saved nearly $21 million by adopting the municipal aggregation agreement. The Chicago municipal aggregation program is the largest of its kind in the country. Using its bulk buying power, the City secured a cleaner power mix.

 

After a referendum vote on November 6, 2012 in which a majority of Chicago voters authorized the City to explore municipal aggregation, Mayor Emanuel announced in December 2012 that the City selected Integrys Energy Services after undergoing a thorough review of its financial strength, customer service ratings and the ability to deliver cleaner energy. The transition to Integrys was seamless with ComEd continuing to be responsible for delivering electricity, responding to outages, and reading meters. To ensure continued customer convenience, Chicago customers continued to receive their bills from ComEd and kept the same billing and automatic payment options. The City selected Integrys on the basis of lowest price margin from among eight interested companies to serve as Chicago's electricity supplier following an open and competitive two-stage bidding process.

 

For more information on the City's municipal aggregation agreement, visit -

www.cityofchicago.org/electricityaggregation.

_________________________________________________

 

Chicago Welcomes Divvy Bike Sharing System

July 8, 2013

 

Chicagoans took their first rides on the Divvy bike share system last week, making more than 4,000 trips in the first weekend of operations.

 

Divvy will feature thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations across Chicago neighborhoods.  Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map, and a docking system that releases bikes using a Member key or ride code. More than 1,700 Chicagoans have already signed up for Divvy Annual Memberships at DivvyBikes.com.

 

The system is dubbed "Divvy" to reflect the nature of bike share, where members "divide and share" the use of the bikes.  The bicycles' distinctive "Chicago Blue" paint is the same color as the stripes on the Chicago city flag, and will provide a high level of visibility on the street.

 

Of the 4,123 bike trips made from Friday June 28 to Sunday June 30, 3,225 were made by annual members, and 898 were from customers who purchased 24-Hour Passes.

 

The newly launched system will features 75 neighborhood stations and 750 bikes on the street.  Divvy will quickly build to 300 stations and 3,000 bikes by the end of August, and 400 neighborhood locations by next spring.

 

Riders can purchase $75 Annual Memberships or $7 24-Hour Passes, which allow riders unlimited trips in that period. The first 30 minutes of every trip are included in the cost of the Membership or Pass, and incremental fees apply to trips that exceed 30 minutes. Annual Members use a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from any station.

 

Chicagoans can find out more about the system through social media on Twitter at @DivvyBikes and on Facebook at facebook.com/DivvyBikes.

_________________________________________________

 

League of Illinois Bicyclists Launches Online Bike Safety Quiz Challenge!.

July 1, 2013

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly joined Secretary of State Jesse White, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider and the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) to announce the LIB's new online Illinois bicycle safety quiz challenge.

 

 

(Photo credit: Diane Banta, National Park Service)

 

Bikesafetyquiz.com, is a new resource to inform bicyclists and motorists on how to properly share the road with each other.  The tool is meant to help close an education gap - and reduce resentment - for both road user types.

 

The free, first-of-its-kind website teaches users key safety techniques and relevant Illinois state laws in an interactive quiz-based format for various audiences: Adult Bicyclists, Motorists and Child Bicyclists. In each, the user progresses through a total of 25-33 multiple-choice questions, divided into bronze, silver and gold levels.

 

The LIB invites anyone who drives or bikes to test their bike safety with bikesafetyquiz.com quizzes. Besides checking and honing their knowledge, people who complete a quiz are eligible for raffle prize money and other incentives.  The annual prizes are funded by Illinois' Share the Road specialty license plates for cars, vans, and light trucks. 

_________________________________________________

 

 

 

City Hosts Successful Lollapalooza 2013

August 9, 2013

 

Last weekend, the City of Chicago proudly hosted another tremendously successful Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park. Now in its ninth year, the three-day Festival featured music, food, art and showcased over 130 bands on eight stages, including Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix and The Cure.

 

The sold-out concert hosted 100,000 fans each day, and attracted thousands more to other festival-related activities, including 45 official after-parties.

 

According to Festival organizers, Lollapalooza infused $120 million into the local economy in 2012 (2013 figures are not yet available).  As a premier music festival held exclusively in Chicago, the event also serves as a tourist attraction. This year, 70 percent of event attendees resided outside of Chicago, with 3 percent of all ticketholders residing in other countries.

 

The City is now in its second year of a 10-year agreement with event organizers to host Lollapalooza through 2021.

 

The City's public safety agencies worked closely with event organizers to ensure a safe and secure event for attendees and residents. According to preliminary reports, there were minimal arrests and medical transports over the three days.

_________________________________________________

 

BREAKING NEWS: Fire Marshal Dumps Proposed Life Safety Mandate

August 2, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly is very pleased to report the State Fire Marshal has withdrawn his proposed regulations that would have imposed costly life safety mandates on Chicago homeowners. Alderman Reilly believes the proposed regulations were a "one-size-fits-all" approach that failed to acknowledge the exorbitant Life Safety Evaluation retrofit investments that hundreds of homeowner associations have made to protect their buildings in recent years.  

 

Over the past three weeks, Alderman Reilly has been publicly criticizing the new rules due to the Chicago Fire Department's opposition to the proposal and the disastrous fiscal impact it could have on Chicago homeowners, condominium associations and businesses. 

 

Thanks to the grassroots efforts of thousands of Chicago homeowners - an unprecedented public opposition effort targeted at state legislators through emails, letters and public meetings - the State Fire Marshal withdrew the proposal. As a result, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) has cancelled all future meetings that were scheduled to consider the rules. Click here to view the official statement.

 

Alderman Reilly is grateful to the thousands of Chicago homeowners and business owners for their advocacy efforts on this important issue over the past few weeks. The Alderman also thanks Governor Quinn for listening carefully to his Chicago constituents during this public debate and for his instrumental leadership in having these onerous rules withdrawn from consideration.

_________________________________________________

 

Sustainable Backyards Ambassadors Program

August 2, 2013

 

Join in creating a more sustainable Chicago by becoming a Sustainable Backyards Ambassador! Sustainable Backyard Ambassadors will:
  • Receive in-depth training on urban flooding issues, green infrastructure solutions, rain garden installation, rainwater harvesting, and composting
  • Meet and connect with experts in flooding control, green infrastructure, and sustainability in Chicago
  • Lead efforts to help Chicago residents reduce flooding, control stormwater runoff, and keep food waste out of landfills
  • Have fun meeting new people and connecting with your community
Sustainable Backyards Ambassadors must attend one mandatory training session, held from 5:30pm - 9:30pm on Tuesday, August 20 at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (2125 W. North Ave).

 

Experts on the topics of urban flooding, green infrastructure, rain garden installation, urban forestry, and composting will give in-depth presentations on their technical area of expertise, including detailed instructions on installing rain gardens, planting trees, and composting science. You will leave with a resource book and a more thorough understanding of the Sustainable Backyards program itself. After the training, you will have the knowledge to educate your community on why and how to bolster its use of green infrastructure.

A $40 deposit is required to participate in the program, to be refunded in full upon completion of 40 hours of volunteering with the program. Activities that count toward these hours will include attending official Sustainable Backyards events, giving presentations about the program and green infrastructure at community events, organizing your own related events in your community or organization, writing blog posts, and more! We will provide educational materials and organizational support throughout your time with the program.

Interested participants must RSVP online for the training session by Monday, August 5th. Email info@sustainablebackyards.org with any questions or for more information.

_________________________________________________

 

This Week at City Council ...

July 26, 2013

 

The Chicago City Council met this past Wednesday, July 24th, 2013. A summary of measures approved and introduced at the July 2013 City Council meeting can be viewed here.

The City Clerk also provides access to the full video and detail on all the items from the Council meeting at the Legislative Information Center.

_________________________________________________

 

"Citizen Corners" and "Citizen Hubs" Provide Naturalization Assistance in Chicago Libraries

July 22, 2013

 

As part of Chicago's New Americans Initiative, a partnership between the Mayor's Office and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will host citizenship workshops and disseminate information on the naturalization process at select Chicago Public Library locations. Known as "Citizenship Corners" and "Citizenship Hubs," the program will be the first of its kind and most comprehensive in the nation, providing a crucial resource for residents to obtain guidance on the citizenship process.

 

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are currently 370,000 legal permanent residents eligible to become citizens in the State of Illinois and nearly 200,000 of them live in the City of Chicago. 

 

As a new citizenship resource for Chicago residents, "Citizenship Corners" will be available at 12 locations of the Chicago Library to disseminate USCIS publications in the languages most commonly spoken in Chicago as well as offer enhanced collections on immigration and US citizenship. In addition to offering information, 17 "Citizenship Hub" locations will partner with Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognized legal service groups and community organizations to host immigration, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and citizenship workshops. 

  

As part of the partnership, more than 50 librarians were recently trained on citizenship resources by USCIS staff and their community partners and all 79 library locations have one or multiple copies of the USCIS Civics and Citizenship Toolkit available for check-out to the public.


To view a list of Chicago Public Library branches that provide "Citizenship Corners" or "Citizenship Hubs", please click here to download the press release. 

_________________________________________________

 

Property Fraud Alerts Available through Cook County Recorder of Deeds

July 22, 2013

 

Did you know that in many instances, stealing someone's house can be easier than stealing a car? All it takes is someone filing a fraudulent transfer of ownership document with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Karen A. Yarbrough.

 

Savvy fraudsters often target elderly persons who live in paid-for homes, and who have no heirs. This allows the criminal to take out a mortgage or sell the home outright once the owner dies. 

 

Though the documents may be fake, the damage is real because the homeowner must get a court order (at their own expense) to have the fake document removed. Until this happens, the true owner will be unable to refinance or sell their home.

 

Recorder Yarbrough recently helped pass a new state law creating an expedited judicial review process to remove fraudulent recordings, but there is a tool available now that can alert you when a document is recorded against your property's 14-digit Property Identification Number (found on your property tax bill). 

 

The CCRD's FREE Property Fraud Alert will trigger a phone call or email to you when a new document is recorded, so that you can investigate further. Getting this alert will help you to take immediate action, before the criminal uses the fraudulent document to take out a loan against your home.

 

Signup is easy, free and your information is never used for anything other than the Alert. Best of all, you can monitor multiple properties, allowing people to monitor the homes of their older parents and relatives. You can sign up online at CookRecorder.com, or by calling 800-728-3858.

 

If you suspect property fraud or have questions about signing up, please the CCRD Property Fraud Unit at 312-603-4000.

_________________________________________________

 

Electrical Aggregation Program Study Shows Significant Reduction in Carbon Emissions

July 15, 2013

 

According to a study released by the Perfect Power Institute at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the City's aggregation agreement with Integrys Energy Services has achieved a significant reduction in emissions that contribute to global warming, including a 16 percent reduction in carbon emissions representing the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off of the road, and a 98% reduction in ozone depleting and acid rain causing nitrogen oxide emissions.  The Perfect Power Institute study can be reviewed HERE


In addition to the municipal aggregation agreement's impact on carbon emissions, the study also found a number of public health and environmental benefits.  The agreement completely eliminates sulfur dioxide, which has been associated with respiratory illnesses and increases in hospitalizations, from the City's supply portfolio.  Additionally, the agreement has reduced the amount of water consumed by Chicago's generation resources by 15%.  And by removing coal sources from the City's portfolio, the aggregation agreement has nearly eliminated the amount of solid waste products attributable to the electricity consumed by Chicago customers.     

 

Since February of 2013, more than 750,000 households and small businesses have saved nearly $21 million by adopting the municipal aggregation agreement. The Chicago municipal aggregation program is the largest of its kind in the country. Using its bulk buying power, the City secured a cleaner power mix.

 

After a referendum vote on November 6, 2012 in which a majority of Chicago voters authorized the City to explore municipal aggregation, Mayor Emanuel announced in December 2012 that the City selected Integrys Energy Services after undergoing a thorough review of its financial strength, customer service ratings and the ability to deliver cleaner energy. The transition to Integrys was seamless with ComEd continuing to be responsible for delivering electricity, responding to outages, and reading meters. To ensure continued customer convenience, Chicago customers continued to receive their bills from ComEd and kept the same billing and automatic payment options. The City selected Integrys on the basis of lowest price margin from among eight interested companies to serve as Chicago's electricity supplier following an open and competitive two-stage bidding process.

 

For more information on the City's municipal aggregation agreement, visit -

www.cityofchicago.org/electricityaggregation.

_________________________________________________

 

Alderman Reilly Breaks Ground for New Streeterville Research Hospital!

July 8, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly joined RIC President and CEO Dr. Joanne Smith, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Mark Kirk to break ground on the new Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) facility at 355 E. Erie Street, two blocks south of the current hospital.

 

 

(Dan Dolan, William Wardrop, William Lowry, Ald. Reilly)

 

To underscore the dramatic differences between how physical medicine and rehabilitation is  practiced today and how it will be performed in the future, RIC also announced that its new $550 million research hospital will be named: The Ability Institute of RIC.

 

Projected to open late in 2016, the 1.2 million-square-foot facility will open with a 242 bed capacity and 900,000 square feet dedicated to clinical and research programs, nearly three times the current research space. The new hospital will bring approximately 500 new clinical jobs and 1,460 new construction jobs to Chicago. 

 


  

Alderman Reilly and SOAR recently co-hosted a follow-up public presentation to inform area residents of the construction plans for the new facility.  To learn more about Ability Institute of RIC, please click on the following links to download the slideshow presentation from the construction meeting or press release.

_________________________________________________

____

 

League of Illinois Bicyclists Launches Online Bike Safety Quiz Challenge!.

July 1, 2013

 

Last week, Alderman Reilly joined Secretary of State Jesse White, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider and the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) to announce the LIB's new online Illinois bicycle safety quiz challenge.

 

 

(Photo credit: Diane Banta, National Park Service)

 

Bikesafetyquiz.com, is a new resource to inform bicyclists and motorists on how to properly share the road with each other.  The tool is meant to help close an education gap - and reduce resentment - for both road user types.

 

The free, first-of-its-kind website teaches users key safety techniques and relevant Illinois state laws in an interactive quiz-based format for various audiences: Adult Bicyclists, Motorists and Child Bicyclists. In each, the user progresses through a total of 25-33 multiple-choice questions, divided into bronze, silver and gold levels.

 

The LIB invites anyone who drives or bikes to test their bike safety with bikesafetyquiz.com quizzes. Besides checking and honing their knowledge, people who complete a quiz are eligible for raffle prize money and other incentives.  The annual prizes are funded by Illinois' Share the Road specialty license plates for cars, vans, and light trucks. 

_________________________________________________

 

New River North Hotel Triplex Opening

June 24, 2013

 

AloftExterior

River North continues to expand its 24/7 appeal to tourists, business travelers and locals alike with the opening of three unique hotel concepts - Aloft Chicago City Center, Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown/River North and Hyatt Place Chicago/River North - and a new Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) concept, Beatrix.  

 

The new River North hotel triplex, located at 515 N. Clark Street, is soon to be among the nation's hottest new travel destinations. Situated in one of the country's most coveted neighborhoods, guests will have front door access to a host of nightlife destinations and exceptional dining options -- offering every cuisine imaginable, and will be in direct proximity to Windy City tourist attractions such as the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier and Millennium Park.

 

To further its appeal as a must-stay location, Beatrix, the newest restaurant from LEYE, is now open adjacent to the Aloft hotel lobby (519 N. Clark Street). A neighborhood restaurant and coffee house, Beatrix's menu has been inspired by foods made in Lettuce's test kitchen, and will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night offerings. 

 

Alderman Reilly participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony last week to celebrate the opening.   The Alderman was joined with (from L to R): Bryan Hayes, COO of White Lodging, Al Friedman, CEO of Friedman Properties, Bruce White, CEO of White Lodging, Richard Melman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You, [Alderman Reilly] and Deputy Mayor Steve Koch.

 

  515 N Clark Ribbon

(Photo courtesy of Henson Consulting,

credit: James Schear)

 

To read the official press release, please click here.

 

The timing for the opening of these three new hotels could not be better. Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced last week that Chicago reached near-record hotel occupancy rates for the month of May - at 81.2%. Much of the overall growth in May was spurred by overnight leisure visitation, which reached a record at 48%, an increase of 8.5 percent over the May 2012 level of 44.2%. Tourism rates in Chicago were also very high in 2012, with over 46.2 million visitors to the city.

 

To learn more about tourism numbers for May 2013, please click here

_________________________________________________

 

City Council Approves Midnight Meters - Alderman Reilly votes "No"

June 10, 2013

 

On Wednesday June 5th the Chicago City Council voted to approve Mayor Emanuel's Parking Meter Settlement by a vote of 39 - 11. 

 

Alderman Reilly was one of the 11 aldermen who voted against the Settlement, because the plan called for extending parking meter hours from 9 PM to 10 PM on 30,000 meters across Chicago and from 9 PM to Midnight at thousands of meters located across downtown Chicago's 42nd Ward - to offset costs associated with providing so-called "Free Sunday" parking in the outlying neighborhood wards. 

 

Although he strenuously opposed the measure, Alderman Reilly recognized Mayor Emanuel, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton and Chicago's Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott for their excellent work negotiating the settlement of "true-up" calculations and invoices that will save Chicago taxpayers nearly $1 billion in payments to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC over the next 71 years. 

 

During the debate, the Alderman raised concerns that the extended meter hours will result in yet another revenue windfall for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, and could have a chilling effect on local businesses across Chicago and throughout the 42nd Ward. The Chicago Tribune's Sunday, June 2nd Editorial in opposition to the Parking Meter Settlement is an excellent summary of Alderman Reilly's concerns regarding the deal: Click here to view.  

 

Alderman Reilly appreciates the hundreds of phone calls and emails of encouragement and support he has received over the past month. He remains committed to trying to find a way for the City of Chicago to buy-back this valuable public asset and finally put an end to the disastrous Parking Meter Lease that continues to soak local taxpayers. 

 

The 11 alderman who voted "No" to the Parking Meter Settlement are:

  • Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward)
  • Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward)
  • Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward)
  • Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward)
  • Alderman Rey Colon (35th Ward)
  • Alderman Deb Silverstein (50th Ward)
  • Alderman John Arena (45th Ward)
  • Alderman Harry Osterman (48th Ward)
  • Alderman Michele Smith (43rd Ward)
  • Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward)
  • Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

Alderman Reilly's comments regarding the proposal and associated press coverage can be found posted on the 42nd Ward website.

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Pilot All-Way Pedestrian Crossing Installed at State & Jackson

June 10, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently launched a test of an "all-way" pedestrian crossing at the downtown intersection of State Street and Jackson Boulevard, which allows pedestrians to cross to any corner - including through the intersection - during a special traffic signal phase that stops all vehicular traffic. 

 

The intersection of State and Jackson is a popular crossing location on all four crosswalks.  On a typical weekday, twice as many pedestrians (41,600) cross the intersection as vehicles (20,500).   DePaul University's Loop Campus and John Marshall Law School have buildings on either side.   

 

As part of the all-way crossing configuration, new continental crosswalks have been striped on all four corners.  New diagonal crosswalks through the middle of the intersection allow pedestrians to cross to any corner during the special traffic signal phase.  Vehicles will be prohibited from making turns.  State Street is a two-way street running north and south, while Jackson is an eastbound one-way street.   

 

The CTA's northbound #151 Sheridan route, which had traveled east on Jackson to State, then north to Washington Street, will now turn north on Dearborn Street. The #151 returns to its normal route at Washington, headed east to Michigan Avenue.  The #130 Museum campus' eastbound routes will be altered to operate via Jackson, Clark, and Congress, then resume their current route on State. Westbound #130 service will not be affected.

 

CDOT will conduct a test of this pedestrian improvement project for several months, and will make the improvements permanent if the pilot proves to be successful.  The all-way crossing is also known as a "pedestrian scramble" or "Barnes Dance," named for traffic engineer Henry Barnes, who pioneered the all-way crossing in Denver, Colorado,. Baltimore Md, and New York City during the 1940s to 1960's.   

 

During the all-way crossing phase, all vehicles including bicycles, will be stopped for 35 seconds.  The signal cycle has been timed to maximize synchronization with traffic signals on adjacent intersections. 

 

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications will deploy Traffic Control Aides (TCAs) to help pedestrians cross the intersection with the new signals.  

 

Each year, more than 3,000 people are hit by vehicles in Chicago.  In 2012, 48 pedestrians were killed in car crashes, according to Chicago Police Department.  Many of these collisions are preventable by obeying simple traffic laws.


Click here to learn more about all-way pedestrian crossings.

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Second Public Hearing on Parking Meter Deal This Tuesday 

May 27, 2013

 

On Friday, May 24th, the City Council's Committee on Finance held the first of three public hearings on the Proposed Settlement Agreement and Associated Amendment to the Chicago Metered Parking Concession Agreement.

 

Alderman Reilly joined with a number of his colleagues who recently formed the "Paul Douglas Alliance" to release a statement sharing their concerns about the amended deal and listing a number of questions that need to be addressed by the Administration. Click here to download the statement.

 

The Paul Douglas Alliance was formed to increase government transparency and efficiency. The Alliance was inspired by former Alderman and U.S. Senator Paul Douglas, who achieved remarkable success in the areas of civil rights, the environment and consumer protection through a combination of progressive values and political pragmatism.

 

Earlier this month, Alderman Reilly voiced his opinion on this controversial parking meter proposal, which was introduced at the May 8th City Council Meeting.  The Alderman urges 42nd Ward residents and businesses who will be impacted by the new proposal to attend the next Committee on Finance Public Hearing to provide their testimony on the Amended Parking Meter Agreement.

 

The second public hearing will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 28, 10:00am in City Council Chambers, 121 N. LaSalle, 2nd Floor, and the final meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 31, 10:00am in City Council Chambers.

 

For more information about the hearings, please click on the following links to download the ordinance and meeting notices for 5/28/13 and 5/31/13.

 

To read the recent press coverage of the new parking meter proposal, please find a "media round-up" below:

 

89 WLS 5/14/13, 89 WLS 5/8/13 

 

ABC 7 News 5/24/13ABC 7 News 5/8/13, ABC 7 News 5/6/13 

 

CBS 2 Chicago 5/24/13 

 

Crain's Chicago Business 5/24/13, Crain's Chicago Business 5/13/13, Crain's Chicago Business 5/6/13 

 

Chicago Sun-Times 5/24/13, Chicago Sun-Times 5/13/13, Chicago Sun-Times 5/9/13, Chicago Sun-Times 5/8/13, Chicago Sun-Times 5/3/13 

 

Chicago Tribune Parking Meter Analysis 5/24/13Chicago Tribune 5/24/13Chicago Tribune 5/10/13, Chicago Tribune 5/9/13Chicago Tribune Editorial 5/5/13 

 

Chicagoist 5/14/13, Chicagoist 4/29/13 

 

DNA info 4/29/13 

 

FOX 42 News 5/21/13 

 

Loop North News 5/13/13

 

NBC 5 Chicago 5/24/13, NBC 5 Chicago 5/14/13, NBC 5 Chicago 5/8/13 

 

WBEZ 91.5 4/30/13

 

WGN Radio 720 5/14/13 

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Alderman's Update Regarding Controversial Parking Meter Proposal

May 13, 2013

 

Dear Neighbor:

 

At City Council on Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel introduced a new Parking Meter proposal to govern the remaining 71 years of this flawed, disastrous lease agreement. Although the new proposal includes some attractive components, there are controversial changes to meter hours that many aldermen do not support.  In fairness to the Mayor, he inherited this horrendous contract from his predecessor and has spent much of his first two years in office working to find a way to get out of the contract or improve it for taxpayers.  We are fortunate the Mayor has been so persistent in aggressively pushing-back against the parking meter company on our behalf.

 

To that end, the Mayor directed his Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton and Chicago's Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott to assemble a team of smart, talented lawyers and financial experts to deconstruct every aspect of the Lease for the purpose of identifying leverage opportunities to dispute annual multi-million dollar invoices being sent to the City by Chicago Parking Meters LLC (CPM) and to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers moving forward.

 

I applaud the Mayor and his team for their excellent work to secure a settlement agreement that would limit the City of Chicago's exposed liability on annual reimbursements to CPM for meters taken out of service by the City (for free handicapped parking, rush hour parking restrictions, etc.) The Mayor's team compelled CPM to accept our econometrics in calculating annual "true-up" money owed to the Company.  Without this great work, the City would have been obliged to pay CPM roughly $20 million per year over the remaining 71-year lease (slightly over $1 billion).  This is a big victory for taxpayers.

 

Unfortunately, the Administration's new proposal goes far beyond the legal settlement of the $1 billion in potential future liability for the City.  At the Mayor's insistence, this proposal would also extend paid parking meter hours during the week and on Saturdays until 10 PM or Midnight for 29,000 of Chicago's 36,000 metered spaces - to offset the cost of "free" Sunday parking in less populous areas of the City.

 

This proposal would extend paid meter hours from 9 PM to Midnight across most of the 42nd Ward and extend hours from 9 PM to 10 PM for tens of thousands of meters located in other wards across Chicago. Over the past week, I have heard from hundreds of my constituents and hundreds more from across Chicago who object to the City Council lengthening meter hours in exchange for "free" Sunday parking in areas outside of the Central Business District and Near North side.

 

We all know nothing is truly "free" and this certainly applies to the Sunday parking proposal.  Rest assured, families from every corner of the city will be paying for that "free" parking until 10 PM in their neighborhoods during the week.  When they visit downtown for dinner, a movie, or concert they'll pay to park until Midnight. No matter where you live, you'll pay for that "free" parking one way or another.

 

Some aldermen have expressed concerns that "free" Sunday meters in their neighborhood wards could actually inhibit local businesses because those spots would be occupied all day and not turn-over for shoppers on a regular basis.  Visitors could take advantage of those free meters by parking their car in a spot on Saturday night and not picking it up until Monday morning. In some wards, that would make it very difficult for residents to secure short-term street parking to support local businesses on Sunday.

 

Crain's Chicago Business recently editorialized against the proposed swap of extended meter hours in exchange for "free" Sunday parking saying: "instead of providing real relief, this renegotiated deal just pushes the slop from one trough to another." The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board also recently opined: "But here's what keeps gnawing at us. If this deal is so good financially for the city, why would Chicago Parking Meters LLC agree to it?"  These opinions regarding extended meter hours are currently shared by a majority of aldermen on the City Council.

 

The Mayor has given the City Council a tight deadline to review this proposal: 28 days to review a tremendous amount of data and complex calculations - not to mention wading through the complex legalese contained in the 3-inch thick, phone-book sized settlement proposal we received five days ago.

 

Although 28 days is far better than the 72 hours the Daley Administration gave the City Council to review the original Parking Meter Lease - setting this artificial deadline to review such a complex proposal and reams of data is somewhat reminiscent of the very process that resulted in the City of Chicago making the mistake of approving this disastrous lease agreement in the first place.

 

In the meantime, I have also been meeting with municipal bond experts to try and identify ways for the City of Chicago to potentially buy-back this valuable public asset.  Although we would have to potentially pay more for the asset than we originally leased it for - buying it back now could limit our exposure to future, costly litigation by CPM and allow the City to again control the asset decades before the Lease would be due to expire. Bond experts have informed me that this approach is within the art of the possible and I will continue to aggressively pursue this option.

 

I consider myself one of Mayor Emanuel's supporters on the City Council and have enjoyed a solid working relationship with him over the past two years.  I truly believe his team did an excellent job negotiating a settlement to the $1 billion in potential liability over the term of the lease and I would vote to approve that good work in a heartbeat.  However, extending meter hours until 10 PM or Midnight for more than 29,000 parking spaces across the City, six days a week, would be a burden for many families across Chicago and could result in yet another windfall for CPM.  I simply cannot support this proposal.

 

I do not relish this public disagreement with the Mayor.  But, as I proved during the Daley Administration, I will always stand up and oppose policies when I genuinely believe they could hurt downtown Chicago or the city at-large.  My first loyalty as Alderman of the 42nd Ward is to the thousands of constituents who have trusted me with protecting their interests on the City Council.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Brendan Reilly

Alderman, 42nd Ward 

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Water Safety Tips from US Coast Guard

May 27, 2013

 

Officials from the City's public safety departments, the U.S. Coast Guard and more than a dozen regional boating and water safety industry associations came together last week to emphasize safe boating during National Boating Safety Week, May 18 - 23.

  

Boating and water recreation safety on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River is a priority of the City of Chicago and the Coast Guard. According to Coast Guard statistics, 651 boaters died on our nation's waterways in 2012. Among those, the 379 of the 459 who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. Small recreational vessels, including paddle craft, are the most vulnerable. Seven of every 10 boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in length.

 

In addition, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents--it's responsible for 17 percent of boater deaths and vessel collisions are the most frequent accident type.

 

Whether it is extreme hot temperatures, rain, thunderstorms or high winds, weather affect one's ability to safely maneuver on the water. OEMC encourages the public to learn more about the safety tips offered by the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary. These tips can save lives and prevent water accidents and emergencies.

 

Area boaters are urged to follow these principles to ensure a safe summer season on the water:

  • Stay Afloat - Life jackets save lives. 
  • Stay Prepared and Informed -FREE Vessel Safety Checks and Boat Safety Courses from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 
  • Stay Alert - Don't Boat Under the Influence. 
  • Stay in Touch - Have the Right Type of Communication Device.
For more safety tips for boat operators, swimmers and passengers, click here to read the full press release.

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Tickets for Taste of Chicago Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour and Petrillo Concerts Now on Sale!

May 27, 2013

 

Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago's beautiful Grant Park on the city's magnificent lakefront has been home to the world's largest food festival.  

 

Chicago continues to demonstrate a robust culinary community of noted chefs. Taste of Chicago continues its efforts to highlight these food masters at the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour. This year's menu of celebrity chefs is: Rick Bayless, Carrie Nahabedian, Giuseppe Tentori, a special pairing of Gale Gand and The Hearty Boys and the newest James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award winner for 2013, Paul Kahan.

                                 

The Taste of Chicago concert lineup includes Rock 'n Roll legend Robert Plant, R&B recording artist Robin Thicke, Grammy Award winner Jill Scott and more. Concert tickets for the seating pavilion in the Petrillo Music Shell are $25, and lawn seating is free. The complete Taste of Chicago Petrillo Music Shell lineup can be found here.

 

Tickets are on sale now at the Taste of Chicago website: tasteofchicago.us.

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New this Summer!  FREE Film Series in Millennium Park

May 27, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has added a brand new film series to their free offerings this summer at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. This series officially kicks off on Tuesday, June 18 with a brief tribute to Roger Ebert, honoring Chicago's Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, and screening the musical "Chicago."

 

The series continues every Tuesday evening through August 20 and will highlight musicals including "Dream Girls" and "Moulin Rouge". The series' films will be presented on the latest and most sophisticated outdoor screen with sound projected from the Pavilion's state-of-the-art sound system.

 

Earlier in June, there will be two pre-screenings: a Chicago Blues Festival related film, "Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, 1981" on June 4 and a Chicago Bike Week related film, "The Triplets of Belleville" on June 11. 

 

The screen was acquired by Millennium Park, Inc. to serve as a permanent enhancement to the Pritzker Pavilion. It measure 40 feet long and 22.5 feet high with an LED system and technology that is similar to that of a giant-screen television. The images are bright, clear and visible from the front row to the back of the lawn seating area. Both live and recorded presentations can be seen either day or night. All film screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. (The June 11 presentation of "The Triplets of Belleville" is shown in association with Chicago Bike Week and will begin at dusk.)

 

The Disney animated film, "The Jungle Book" will screen on Tuesday, July 23 in coordination with The Goodman Theatre's live theatrical presentation, June 21-August 4. Tony Award® winner Mary Zimmerman directs this adaptation with a score of the movie's best-loved songs and original Indian-inspired music and dance.

 

The Millennium Park Film Series is free admission. Seating at the pavilion is first-come, first-served.  (Lawn seating may reach capacity.) For the full list of movies, please click here.

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DCASE's Summer 2013 Theater And Dance Schedule

May 27, 2013

 

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special events (DCASE) is pleased to announce its summer season of theater and dance performances. DCASE is adding new locations to the summer 2013 lineup, showcasing music, theater and dance throughout the City.

 

The DCASE Theater and Dance series is presented as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District. Arts programming in neighborhoods advances the goals of the Chicago Cultural Plan and the Night Out in the Parks initiative. For more information about these initiatives, visit chicagoculturalplan.org and nightoutintheparks.com.

 

Performance locations include the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.), Millennium Park, the Storefront Theater (66 E. Randolph St.), Chicago Park District locations, select Farmers Markets (Night Markets) and various venues in neighborhoods around the City.

 

The series showcases critically acclaimed local, national and international music, theater, dance and multidisciplinary artists, newly commissioned works and debut performances. Admission is either free or low cost. For event details, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

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O'Hare and Midway Airports now offer Complimentary Wi-Fi Access

May 27, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with Boingo, have unveiled a free Wi-Fi portal called "The Good Stuff" that allows visitors at O'Hare and Midway International Airports to have unlimited, free access to some of the most popular sites on the web. 

 

Designed specifically for O'Hare and Midway, the Boingo portal allows users complimentary access to over 30 top sites for news, weather, shopping, entertainment, banking, travel and tourism, as well as local contact information.

 

Boingo used the latest design technology - responsive design - for the layout so that the site can be used seamlessly by any device type, including laptops, tablets and Smartphones.

  

To access "The Good Stuff" portal while at O'Hare or Midway, users should visit the Boingo Wi-Fi network and select "The Good Stuff" panel on the left side on the page.

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"Night Out In the Parks" Offers More Activities and Performances at Citywide Parks this Summer!

May 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Chicago Park District (PARKS) present "Night Out in the Parks" a series that will offer more than 750 citywide activities this summer, making community parks a safe haven and a hub of cultural activity. Many are offered with free admission, including an expanded Movies in the Parks, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks and Grant Park Music Festival Concerts.

 

In January, Mayor Emanuel announced that an additional $2 million in NATO Summit legacy funds will be invested in neighborhood parks and cultural programs.  The Mayor directed $750,000 of those private funds to expand cultural and arts programming throughout the city. Those funds will help pay for the expansion of these programs.

 

Several new programs are coming to Chicago parks as a result of collaborations between DCASE and local arts presenters.  New programs include: the Grant Park Music Festival choral performances in communities; the Juicebox series for children; The Hypocrites' Romeo Juliet; Eye on India festival; Collaboraction's Crime Scene: Let Hope Rise; Elastic Arts' Culture Coach; and Chicago Children's Theatre in association with Redmoon The Elephant and the Whale.

 

The "Night Out in the Parks" series will feature a major expansion of the popular parks program doubling the number of performances and extending the program to new parks and new audiences, reaching more than 100,000 people in parks this summer.

 

For more information, visit www.nightoutintheparks.com or call 312-742-PLAY.

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Chicago Police Department Notice

May 20, 2013

 

Retail Burglaries in Beats 1831 and 1834 

The 18th District has issued a Business Alert for Beats 1831 and 1834 due to an increase in burglary-related incidents. The offender(s) makes entry into a retail or business location by forcing open the front or rear outside door. Once inside the offender may use a blunt instrument to break the glass on an inside entrance door.

 

What you can do:

  • Be aware of this crime and alert other neighbors in the area.
  • Remember to lock doors and windows and activate the alarm and video surveillance system if you have one on the premises.
  • Call 911 to report any suspicious person(s), vehicles(s), or activity near your business or residence
  • Call 911 and provide a detailed description of the offender(s) including any vehicle description and license plate information.

For incident times/location and description of the offenders, please click here to view the official notification. Anyone with information should contact the Bureau of Detectives - Area Central at 312-747-8384 and reference P13-1-099.

 

Court Advocates Needed for 400 N. Michigan Arrest

The 18th District has issued a community bulletin for an arrest made on the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue. The offenders will appear in court on June 10, 2:30pm at 2452 W. Belmont, Branch 29-5. If you are interested in volunteering for Court Advocacy on this case, contact the 18th District Community Policing Office at 312-742-5778, and reference RD #HW 254908.

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DFSSSeniorGuideDFSS Spring 2013 Senior Life Enrichment Guide 

May 13, 2013

 

The spring issue of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Service's Senior Life Enrichment Guide is now available at Alderman Reilly's Constituent Services office, at the department's regional and satellite senior centers, libraries and many other locations.

 

Inside the guide, seniors will find information about health and wellness, educational, recreational and many other types of events, trips, classes and lectures, along with schedules and registration details. Most of these are free or at a nominal cost.

 

This issue also urges older Chicagoans to "Unleash the Power of Age" --the theme of this year's Older Americans Month.  By focusing their efforts and influence, Chicago's nearly 400,000 seniors can greatly enrich their own communities and our entire City. The contents of the guide are also posted online at www.cityofchicago.org/fss.  Further information about DFSS services and programs is available by calling the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at (312) 744-4016.

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Tourism is on the Rise in Chicago

May 20, 2013

 

Alderman Reilly was thrilled to learn that April was a record month for tourism in Chicago.    

 

Hotel occupancy in April was the best it has ever been in Chicago's history, at 78.8 percent.  This figure, announced by Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago this past week, is a 3.1 percent increase over last year's total of 76.4 percent hotel occupancy in April.  This number eclipsed the previous record high of 78.2 percent occupancy, in 2008.  Additionally, the average daily rate (ADR) for April was up 4.2 percent year over year, to $183.21 per night, and Revenue per available room (REVPAR) was up 7.3 percent, to $144.05.  

  

What this all means, is that direct hotel revenues in Chicago went from about $139 million in April 2012 to approximately $151 million in April 2013.  

 

All of the key indicators for the month demonstrated that the industry is back to pre-recession numbers - a great sign for our economy as well.   

 

Year to date numbers are also outstanding so far. Total occupancy has increased 1.7 percent from last year and on its way to becoming the best Chicago has ever seen since 2007. For the year, the ADR is $158.70, a 2.9 percent increase from last year, and total revenue from the hotel industry is the highest year to date that it has ever been, at $427 million.

 

This is a reflection of the increasing occupancy rates at the same time that there is dramatic increase in the number of hotel rooms available in the city. At present there are approximately 35,000 hotel rooms in the city, and more than 2,500 additional rooms are currently under construction- many of which are located in the 42nd Ward.


The strong start to the year is, in part, attributable to a regional winter advertising and public relations campaign launched by Choose Chicago to target visitors to the city during the winter months. The campaign was launched using resources saved from a consolidation of the city's multiple tourism efforts. This Summer's Leisure Tourism Campaign will begin May 20th lasting through August 3rd and will target seven strategic markets through television and digital promotions.

 

If you haven't heard, Chicago is a global cultural destination- for over half a million visitors annually!  The Cultural Tourism Department with Choose Chicago is responsible for increasing awareness and visitation to Chicago's cultural attractions, events and neighborhoods. In addition to operating two Visitor Information Centers, the department's four objectives are:

  • Position Chicago as a global cultural destination by leveraging the rich and diverse resources of Chicago's arts, culture, and neighborhoods.
  • Serve as a catalyst for communication and partnerships among agencies, organizations, and stakeholders in arts, culture, and tourism.
  • Enhance the visitor experience and orientation.
  • Establish metrics to measure and track growth.

Through Choose Chicago's work in driving increased leisure visitation and important international tourism outreach, we look forward to welcoming many new visitors to Chicago over these coming months where our city truly comes alive with our street festivals, concerts in the park and lakefront activities!   

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Washington Street Bridge Celebrates 100th Anniversary!

May 20, 2013

 


The new Washington Blvd. bridge in action. (from the 1913 Annual Report of the Chicago Public Works Department)

 

The current bridge crossing the South Branch of the Chicago River at W. Washington Blvd. was opened one hundred years ago on May 26, 1913.

 

The 100th anniversary for the Washington Bridge is May 26, 2013. Chicago Loop Bridges is sponsoring a free day ay the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum on that date.  Information can be found at: http://chicagoloopbridges.com/bridges12/SB12/WASH12-6.html.

 

This bridge has been present for most of the 144 year history of the river crossing at Washington Blvd. During Chicago's first seventy years as a city, engineers experimented with many ways to satisfy the conflicting needs of land traffic and navigation interests at the river. One of these experiments was the tunnel at Washington Blvd., the first built in Chicago specifically for wagon and pedestrian traffic.

 

Opening in 1869, this tunnel (and a second built at LaSalle St. that opened in 1870) provided an escape path during the Great Fire in 1871 that the burning bridges couldn't. The steep approaches, damp, and dirty conditions made the tunnel unpopular with pedestrians. Eventually the tunnel was converted for use in the cable car, and later, the street car systems. In 1910, the tunnel was rebuilt and lowered 9 feet as the larger vessels ran aground on the top of it. The Washington Blvd. tunnel was closed in 1953, ending 84 years of service.

 

The first bridge was installed here in 1891, when the existing swing bridge at Madison St. was floated in. This swing bridge was in use until 1907 when it was demolished for both the lowering of the existing tunnel and the construction of the current bridge.

 

Today the Washington Blvd. bridge stands as a monument to the metamorphosis of the Chicago-type bascule bridges from first to second generation.

 

This bridge was the first to include the ideals of the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Edward Bennett, co-author of the Plan, began collaborating with Chicago Public Works bridge engineers during the latter design stages of the bridge. That collaboration led to aesthetic considerations such as upgraded materials in the abutment walls, railings, lighting, and, most notably, in the bridgehouses.

 

Earlier bridgehouses resembled mid-west farmhouses. The Washington Blvd. bridgehouses incorporated more ornamentation and were clad in molded copper sheeting. While these houses are not as showy as those that followed, they were a step above what came before. These modest aesthetic features were added at a cost of about $14,000 or about 6% to the total cost of the bridge in 1913.

 

Technologically, this bridge involved innovations in two areas. First, due to the tunnel directly below the bridge, new foundation design techniques were developed and implemented here and used on bridges that followed. Second, features developed and patented in 1911 by Chicago Public Works engineer Alexander von Babo were incorporated into the design. The most significant of these design innovations was changing the location of the rack and pinion which made a striking difference in the appearance of the Chicago's bridges. The photo below contrasts the second generation bridge at Washington Blvd. with the first generation Kinzie St. bridge.

 

 2nd & 1st Generation Chicago-type Bascule bridges.

(Washington- left / Kinzie - right)

 

Unlike the other downtown bridges, you won't find a plaque on the Washington Blvd. bridgehouses. The key players in the design and construction of this bridge were: John Ericson, City Engineer; Thomas G. Pihlfeldt, Chief Engineer; Alexander von Babo, Engineer of Bridge Design; Clarence S. Rowe, Construction Engineer; Edward H. Bennett, Chicago Plan Commission Architect; Strobel Steel Company built the superstructure; and Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company built the substructure. The substructure was completed in a year (August 25, 1911 - August 22, 1912). Work on the superstructure began June 25, 1912 and both leaves were lowered into position simultaneously on March 22, 1913; pavement and sidewalks were the last items completed.

 

Today, it's hard to imagine the number of vessels that used the Chicago River in the first part of the 20th Century. During 1914, the first full year of operation of this bridge, a total of 9,540 vessels entered and cleared the Chicago River. The Washington Blvd. bridge opened 3,773 times in that year alone.  

 

The new Washington Blvd. bridge served as the finish line for the seventh annual Chicago river marathon in 1914. This event, a swim from the Chicago Harbor to various bridges from Wells St. to Van Buren St., was sponsored by the Illinois Athletic Club from 1908 to 1928. In 1908, the manager of the swim was quoted in the Chicago Daily Tribune, "If the swimmers can stand the odor which is said to come from the water they will be able to finish without much great effort." About 55 swimmers competed in the 1914 race.

 

Today, in semi-retirement, the bridge is raised only about 40 times a year, mostly during the Spring and Fall sailboat runs to and from Lake Michigan. About 14,000 vehicles and 9,500 pedestrians cross this bridge daily. Based on the available data, it is estimated that this bridge has been raised about 70,000 times in it's 100 years.

 

The houses may need some TLC, but the recent paint job on the trusses and new sidewalks make this bridge a good looking centenarian.

 

For more information, please contact Jim Phillips with Chicago Loop Bridges at 312-540-0696 or visit their website.

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Get Ready for Bike to Work Week, June 10 - 14, by Joining the Active Transportation Alliance's Bike Commuter Challenge!

May 20, 2013

 

The Bike Commuter Challenge is a FREE workplace wellness program to show employees a new perspective on commuting. This is a great opportunity for building interpersonal relationships within the workplace and creating a positive work environment for employees.

 

Sign your office up for the Bike Commuter Challenge today!  Teams compete for the highest percentage of bike commuters among similar-sized organizations.  

 

Active Trans provides team leaders with everything they need to rally the office: bike maps, posters, how-to manuals, and Active Trans staff are available to give bike safety seminars at your office.

 

The companies with the highest percentage of employees who log at least part of their commute one day during Bike to Work Week win!

 

To learn more, please visit www.bikecommuterchallenge.org.

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Chicago's Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony

May 20, 2013

 

Memorial Day honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.  The City of Chicago will honor our fallen heroes Saturday, May 25, 2013 at its annual Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial Day Parade with special recognition of the Illinois Gold Star families. The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. Participants in the parade include area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans' groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.


Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will lead this year's Memorial Day Parade as its Grand Marshal and participate in the Wreath Laying Ceremony preceding the parade on Saturday, May 25. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.

 

Additionally, as this is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the City of Chicago will commemorate the occasion with a special reading of the speech at the Wreath Laying Ceremony. The day's events will also include an observance of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean conflict.

 

City of Chicago Memorial Day Events
Saturday, May 25, 2013
11:00am Wreath Laying Ceremony at Eternal Flame Daley Plaza
12:00pm noon Memorial Day parade, to step off from Lake and State

 

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died; the day was called Decoration Day. It was first observed on May 30, 1868. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers.

For more information about this event, please click here.

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2013 Annual Area Plan on Aging Released

May 20, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) prepares an annual Area Plan on Aging that describes how DFSS proposes to deliver services to Chicagoans age 60 years and older, using funds allocated from Title III and Title VII of the federal Older Americans Act and State of Illinois General Revenue Funds.

 

As part of the senior services planning cycle, a Public Information Document is issued that summarizes the major elements of the proposed Area Plan and gather comments and recommendations from individuals and organizations.

 

Copies of the latest Public Information Document are available online through May 24th, and at each of the DFSS Regional and Satellite Senior Centers.

 

All comments and recommendations on the Public Information Document are welcome.

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Chicago Department of Aviation Celebrates Military Appreciation Month!

May 6, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) recently kicked off its second annual Military Appreciation Month celebration to recognize active and former military personnel traveling through Chicago's airports.

 

Every day during the month of May, the CDA in partnership with the United Service Organization (USO) and airport concessionaires, will sponsor a series of planned events, programs and special discounts. Participating retail and food and beverage outlets will display signs offering 10-25 percent discounts at O'Hare and Midway to military personnel on Mondays and Wednesdays.

 

Tuesdays will be Donation Days for the USO. Passengers and airport employees are encouraged to visit the USO Centers at each airport and donate food items such as chips, water, candy, granola bars, as well as phone calling cards, DVDs, video games, eyeglass wipes, hand sanitizer and other personal care items for use by military personnel and their families traveling through Chicago's airports. Donation bins will be located at USO centers in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 at O'Hare and in Concourse B at Midway. Passengers can also fill out "Thank A Hero" note cards to leave for those serving in the military.

 

A variety of live entertainment, from high school drill teams to blues and jazz bands and samba dancers, will also take place at both airports in celebration of Military Appreciation Month on Fridays from 2pm to 5pm. At O'Hare, performances will be staged in the baggage claim area in Terminal 1 and on the lower level arrivals area in Terminal 5; and past security checkpoints in Terminals 2 and 3.  At Midway, the entertainment will take place in the baggage claim area, as well as past security checkpoints near the Food Court in Concourse B.

 

For more information about Military Appreciation Month activities, please click here.

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BikeShareCity of Chicago to Launch Bike Share System

April 29, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will launch the city's new bike share system - Divvy - later this spring, with the goal of expanding to 4,000 bikes at 400 neighborhood locations over the next year.

 

The system is dubbed "Divvy" to reflect the nature of bike share, where members "divide and share" the use of the bikes.  The bicycles' distinctive "Chicago Blue" paint is the same color as the stripes on the Chicago city flag, and will provide a high level of visibility on the street.

 

Divvy will give Chicagoans and visitors access to a bike when they want one, without having to worry about storage or maintenance.  It also leverages Chicago's public transit system to help commuters complete the first or last few miles of their trip.  In comparable cities, half of all bike share trips are made to or from a public transit station.

 

Divvy will provide a convenient, easy-to-use transit option available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.   It is envisioned for short point-to-point trips, or as alternative option for a multi-mode commute.  Users will pick up a bike from a self-service docking station and return it to any other station nearest their destination.

 

The specially designed, heavy-duty bikes will be comfortable for all users.  Features include a one-size fits all design, upright handlebars, wide seats, hand brakes, and a chain guard to protect clothing.  The bikes feature headlights and taillights that automatically illuminate as the bike is pedaled.

 

Users will be able to purchase $75 yearly memberships or $7 daily passes, which will allow for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes each.   Annual members will be able to enroll online and receive a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from any station.

 

Divvy stations will be placed near transit stations, employment centers, shopping districts, schools and other popular destinations.   They will generally be located on sidewalks or on the street near the curb.   The stations are wireless, solar powered and modular so that they can be easily installed.   Most stations will have 15-19 bike docks, with open docks at each station for returning bikes.

 

Divvy's inspired logo indicates a sense of direction and motion through a distinctive double-V ligature.   Marked on streets across the world, this double-arrow symbolizes the shared use of roads by both bicyclists and motorists.   In transportation vernacular, this symbol is often called a "sharrow."

 

Last year, Mayor Emanuel unveiled the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, which calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every Chicagoan.  Divvy bikes and solar-powered docking stations will be an integral part of this network. 

 

Beginning in late 2012, CDOT solicited suggestions from the public on where the stations should be to be located through the Chicago Bicycle Program website.  To date, Chicagoans have made more than 1,300 suggestions for station locations with more than 11,000 votes of support.  The siting process is continuing and locations will be announced later this spring.  The stations are modular and mobile, and can be moved or expanded in reaction to demand.

 

Initial funding for the program is from federal grants for projects that promote economic recovery, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, as well as additional funds from the City's Tax Increment Financing program.  The project continues on budget and schedule for a late spring rollout.

 

The system will grow in several steps after the initial launch of about 75 stations, expanding to at least 4,000 bikes at 400 stations in 2014.  The Divvy service boundaries are roughly from 63rd Street to Devon Avenue, from Lake Michigan to California Avenue. 


Chicagoans can find out more about the system by visiting  divvybikes.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/divvybikes.

 

Divvy, Chicago's bike share system, will also be creating roughly 100 jobs in Chicago, and are looking for qualified candidates to fill the following positions: 

  • Assemblers
  • Stagers
  • Inventory Specialists
  • Placement team members
  • Bike techs

To learn more, click here to view the official job posting.

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Special Offer from IGO for 42nd Ward Residents!

April 22, 2013

 

Do you ever need a car for grocery shopping, errand running, getting to an appointment, or getting your kids to soccer practice? IGO, Chicago's only local, nonprofit carsharing service, provides access to eco-friendly vehicles by the hour or day right here in your neighborhood.  Gas, insurance and 24-hour road-side assistance are included in the  low hourly rates.

Now 42nd Ward residents can join IGO for just $25 and get their first hour in driving for free ($85 value). To take advantage of this great offer, just enter the promo code WARD42 in the promotions field of your online application.  (Click here for details on eligibility).

IGO CarSharing is 
Chicago's first and only local, nonprofit carsharing service. IGO has hundreds of vehicles in over 45 neighborhoods and four suburbs throughout the Chicago region.  If you've been thinking about making do with one less car or no car at all, there's never been a better time to take a look at IGO.  Owning a car is expensive, can be a hassle, and is often not a very green way to get around.  Using transit with carsharing as a backup is good for your budget, your stress level and our environment.  A typical IGO member spends about $2,520 per year on transportation, roughly $5,000 less than what the average American spends annually to own, operate and maintain a car. 

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Registration Now Open for One Summer Chicago 2013

April 22, 2013

 

One Summer Chicago is a City-County initiative to provide children and youth between the ages of 6 and 24 with meaningful summer engagement opportunities.

 

One Summer Chicago 2013 includes summer employment for youth adults, as well as educational and recreational opportunities (e.g., day camps, arts programs and sports programs) for youth of all ages.  

 

The goal of One Summer Chicago is to maximize the availability of and access to summer programs for Chicago's young people to keep them safe and learning all summer long.  To achieve this goal, public agency partners from across the City and County come together to leverage their resources to provide the maximum number of high-quality opportunities for children and youth. 

 

More than 18,000 Chicago young adults ages 16 to 24 can gain valuable job training and work experience this summer as part of 2013's One Summer Chicago program.  Additionally, over 190,000 opportunities to participate in educational and recreational opportunities will be made available for young Chicagoans, ages 6 to 24. 

 

To help parents and children find and take advantage of these opportunities, visit  www.OneSummerChicago.org to look up and apply for jobs and internships through a common application.  Online registration and application for summer employment is available now through May 31, 2013.  The site also helps direct families to summer camps, organized sports programs, summer field trips to cultural institutions and other noteworthy locations across the city.


One of the new initiatives that will benefit youth long after the summer of 2013 is through a collaboration with workforce.io, which uses technology and networking strategies to assist young job seekers gain employment. Under this partnership, all 18,000 job participants will be able to build their resumes, establish personal profiles and work directly with supportive area businesses to lay the career planning groundwork that they will draw from throughout their working lives. In addition, 200 high school youth will be placed across city departments to gain valuable public sector work experience.


Of the 18,000 job opportunities 7,000 will be with after school matters, 3,900 will be with Chicago Park District, and 2,200 will be with the Chicago Housing Authority.

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) leads One Summer Chicago in partnership with participating agencies including: Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority, After School Matters, Chicago Public Libraries, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Police Department, Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities, and Cook County Forest Preserve.

Notable private sector participants include the Chicago Community Trust, Bank of America, Boeing Corporation, McCormick Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Rotary Club, Chicago Cares, the Urban Alliance, Smart Chicago, and the
University of Chicago Crime Lab.

For more information concerning programs related to One Summer Chicago and all affiliated summer programs go to: www.onesummerchicago.org  or click here to download the official press release.

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Heat & Frost Insulators Local 17 Apprenticeship Program

April 22, 2013

 

Local #17 Heat and Frost Insulators JATC will be distributing application packets for its Apprenticeship Program from April 15, 2013 through April 26, 2013 on Mondays through Fridays from 7:30am to 3:30pm at their Union Hall, 18520 Spring Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477.

 

In order to apply, interested persons must meet the following qualifications: must be an America Citizen or in the process of naturalization, must lawfully be in the United States and authorized to work, must be not less than 18 years of age on April 30, 2013, and must be able to read, write and understand the English language.

 

A government issued photo ID and $25 money order or cashier's check is needed to pick up the application packet.  No cash is accepted.

 

If accepted into the apprenticeship program, a physical from your doctor is needed, and a drug-screening test and pulmonary function test will be administered.  Further information on requirements and testing procedures can be found at www.local17insulators.com 

 

The recruitment, selection, employment and training of apprentices during their apprenticeship are without discrimination due to age, race, color, religion, national origin or sex.

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Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program

April 22, 2013

 

The Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program, an educational and incentive program, returns this spring planting season to give residents information and incentives for more environmentally friendly landscapes in their yards.

 

Sustainable Backyards Rebates

The program provides rebates of up to 50% for trees (max $100), rain barrels (max $40), compost bins (max $50), and native plants (max $60) that residents purchase for their backyards.

 

Rebate forms are available at more than 50 local retail outlets and available online at  www.sustainablebackyards.org.

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Chicago Avenue Bridge Closure

April 8, 2013

 

The Chicago Avenue Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River will be closed for bridge repairs.  The closure will begin Friday, April 12, 10:00pm, and continue through the weekend to reopen on Monday, April 15, at 5:00am.

 

The following detour routes have been established:

 

Eastbound Detour:

Trucks: Chicago Avenue east to Halsted Street, Halsted Street north to Division Street, Division Street east to Orleans Street, Orleans Street south to Chicago Avenue.

 

Buses and cars: Chicago Avenue east to Halsted Street, Halsted Street north to Division Street, Division Street east to Larrabee Street, Larrabee Street south to Chicago Avenue.

 

Westbound Detour:

Trucks: Chicago Avenue west to Orleans Street, Orleans Street north to Division Street, Division Street west to Halsted Street, Halsted Street south to Chicago Avenue.

 

Buses and cars: Chicago Avenue west to Larrabee Street, Larrabee Street north to Division Street, Division Street west to Halsted Street, Halsted Street south to Chicago Avenue.

  

To download a map of detour routes, please click here.

 

ChiBridgeDetour

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Chicago Police Department Events

April 1, 2013

 

Benefit for Anthony Jaime

Anthony Jaime, the 19 year old son of 12th District CAPS Community Organizer Nancy Arroyo was in a horrific auto accident on 8 Dec 2012, and is still in critical condition. Injuries suffered were traumatic brain injury, injuries to the eyes, nose and throat. He has undergone many surgeries and will need many more surgeries in the future. Anthony is a freshman at Southern Illinois University's Engineer Program, and his lifelong dream is to build prosthesis for those in need.

 

Friends of Anthony Jaime Fundraiser

Thursday, April 25, 2013

6:00pm - 11:00pm

Fraternal Order of Police Hall

1412 W. Washington Blvd.

Ticket donation: $20

 

This event features free food, raffle prizes and music. A ticket donation to the event will enter into a $500 drawing. For more information, please contact the Friends for Anthony Jaime Committee through the 12th District CAPS office at 312-746-8306.  

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Chicago Police Department Events

April 1, 2013

 

Police vs. Firemen WingMadness Battle

This is the third annual wing-eating battle between Chicago's first responders. The finest members of the Chicago Police Department will take on the Chicago Fire Department in a no holds barred, last man standing competition judged by a panel of esteemed Chicagoans.

 

WingMadness  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Dick's Last Resort
315 N. Dearborn Street
Start time: 5:30 pm

Cost: $25 donation includes free food and soft drinks.

Cash bar available

 

100% of the proceeds will benefit the Starlight Children's Foundation Midwest. The Starlight Children's Foundation Midwest helps seriously ill children and their families lead happier and healthier lives.

 

If you wish to attend this event, or would like more information, please visit http://www.chicagowingmadness. com/.    

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City Colleges of Chicago Offers FREE College Classes for High School Students

March 25, 2013

 

The Dual Enrollment Program at City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) allows high school students to enroll in college courses through one of the seven City Colleges.  Students may be able to earn dual credit (both college and high school credit) depending on the course.   Students may enroll in one college course per semester. 

 

CCC will be holding Dual Enrollment Information Sessions on Thursday, April 4, 2013, 5:00pm at Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake Street, and each of their other campuses.

 

To learn more about CCC's Dual Enrollment Program, please visit www.ccc.edu/earlycollege or call 773-COLLEGE.

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Traffic Impacts for Sunday April 7, 2013 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

March 25, 2013

 

The 34th running of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is just around the corner. On Sunday, April 7, 2013, approximately 40,000 runners will be racing through the streets of Chicago, as they kickoff the 2013 running season.

 

The Start and Finish Line areas are both located in Grant Park on Columbus Drive. The course runs through downtown Chicago, extending north to Grand Ave., west to Desplaines St. and south to Roosevelt Rd.

 

For detailed information about timing of street closures, please click here. Event organizers are working with the Chicago Police Department to ensure closures follow a rolling pattern, so streets will reopen to allow traffic once the final runners have passed. Please make adjustments to your schedule to avoid any inconvenience on race day.

 

Click the following links to view the  Shamrock Shuffle Course Route Map, letter sent to neighbors affected by the race route and notification flyer.

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Chicago Police Memorial Fund 9th Annual Run to Remember

March 18, 2013

 

More than 560 Chicago police officers have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in the line and performance of duty.  The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation hosts the Run/Walk to Remember every year to honor these brave men and women who dedicated their lives to protecting the citizens of Chicago and to raise funds to support the Mission Beyond the Memorial, which provides assistance to the families of fallen and catastrophically injured officers.

 

On May 4, 2013 the Chicago Police Memorial fund is having the 9th Annual Run to Remember. You can choose to run, walk or just volunteer to help.  This event is for the whole family.  For more information, visit http://www.cpdmemorial.org/run/

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2013 Hiring Our Heroes: 2 Year Anniversary Veterans Hiring Fair

March 18, 2013

 

Join Hiring Our Heroes for a very special 2 year anniversary hiring fair for veteran job seekers and military spouses.  There will be over 75 employers in attendance conducting on-site interviews. This event is a FREE hiring fair for both employers and job seekers.

 

2013 Hiring Our Heroes Veterans Hiring Fair

Thursday, March 21, 2013

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Palmer House Hilton

17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

 

Walk in job seekers are welcome but will not be guaranteed on-site interviews.  To pre-register for this event, please click here.  If you need assistance registering, please call 202-463-5807 or email hiringourheroes@uschamber.com.

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C3 Environmental Leadership Training Series

March 12, 2013

 

If you have an interest in environmental issues and wish to make a difference in your neighborhood, get involved the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) Spring 2013 Environmental Leadership Training Series.

 

During the training, you'll learn from community and environmental leaders about urban environmental challenges and opportunities for change; then you'll lead an environmental service project in your community with C3 support and resources. 

 

To apply for the C3 Leadership Training Series, you must be a City of Chicago resident and attend one of the following orientations.  

  • Tuesday, April 2, Noon - 1 p.m. 
    Chicago Department of Transportation, 30 N. LaSalle, 11th Floor
  • Wednesday, April 3, 6  - 7 p.m.
    Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N Sacramento Blvd
  • Thursday, April 4, 6  - 7 p.m.
    Hyde Park Arts Center, 5020 S. Cornell
  • Saturday, April 6, 10 - 11 a.m.
    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr.

Register now to attend an orientation session.

 

The Spring 2013 training series will be held at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd, on six Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. on April 17, 24, and May 1, 8, 15, and 22. A $75 fee covers course participation and project support. Financial assistance is available upon request. 

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March in the 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade with Alderman Reilly!

March 12, 2013

 

ReillyStPatsLogo

 

The Downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held Saturday, March 16, 2013 at noon. As always, Alderman Reilly will be marching with a contingent in the parade and would love for you to join! All marchers must be lined up by 11:45am.

 

This year we will be located in Slot #60, on the south side of Balbo Drive, just west of the parade route on Columbus Drive. Please look for our trolley, complete with Alderman Reilly's St. Patrick's Day banners. If you have any trouble finding us, feel free to ask any Parade Marshall in a white jacket and they will be able to direct you.

 

To RSVP, please e-mail rsvp@reillyforchicago.com or call 312-274-0042. Don't forget to include the names of friends and family that you will be bringing!

 

Alderman Reilly looks forward to marching with you on Saturday, March 16th!

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2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade Information

March 12, 2013

 

Festivities for the Downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade, scheduled for Saturday, March 16th will kick off with a dyeing ceremony at 10:00am to dye the Chicago River a bright shade of Emerald Green. The best viewing locations are the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the east side of the bridge at Columbus Drive, and upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.

 

The annual Downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade, one of the largest in the country, follows the river dyeing ceremony. The parade begins at noon and the route runs on Columbus Drive between Balbo Drive and Monroe Street.

 

2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade

Start Time: 12:00pm (noon) on Saturday, March 16th

Parade Route: Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe

Admission: FREE

More Information: visit the Official Website. 

 

  St. Pats Parade Route

 

Street closures for the Saturday, March 16 Downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade will begin at 7:30am on Columbus Drive from Roosevelt to Balbo. The following streets will also be closed beginning at 8:30am until the parade has concluded, streets have been cleaned and public safety issues subside (approximately 2:30pm): Columbus from Randolph to Roosevelt; Jackson from Columbus to LSD; Monroe from Columbus to LSD; and Congress from Michigan to Columbus. Randolph Street will remain open to traffic.

 

If you are planning to attend any St. Patrick's Day festivities, or will be traveling in the area during this time, please consider taking public transportation. Information on how the parade will effect CTA service is available on the CTA website.

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WorldChicago Seeking Chicago Host Families for International High School Students

March 12, 2013

 

This summer, WorldChicago is receiving three groups of international students who are in Chicago to participate in a youth leadership program, practice their English, and live with an American family to learn more about the culture. They are coming from Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Iraq, on an international exchange sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. 

 

WorldChicago is currently looking for host families to receive these youth for periods of 10 days to 2 weeks. Host families are generous volunteers who welcome international youth into their family life.  WorldChicago provides participants with daily activities on weekdays (approximately 9AM-5PM), lunches, phones, and public transportation passes. On weekends families are encouraged to show their host student around our beautiful city of Chicago! Hosts provide a bed and most breakfasts and dinners for their guest(s).

 

If you are interested or want to learn more, please email Shanti, Program Manager of WorldChicago, at sfreitas@worldchicago.org or visit the website at http://worldchicago.org/.

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COUNTRY Financial Scholarships Available for CPS Students

March 12, 2013

 

Money Smart Week

In support of Chicago's Money Smart Week, COUNTRY Financial has partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to sponsor the Money Smart Kids Essay Contest. 

 

Students in grades 5-8 are asked to answer the following questions in 300 words or less:

What is the difference between an investment and an expense?  What would be a good investment in your community and why?  Please discuss who would benefit from this investment. 

 

One winner will receive a $5000 scholarship.  Two runners up will receive $2500 scholarships from COUNTRY.  Complete rules and application information is attached.  Essays are due March 21.

 

Visit the Money Smart Week website for more information or click here to download the application.

 

Chicago Farmers Markets

In collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, COUNTRY Financial is hosting its sixth annual Farmers Markets Reusable Bag Design Competition.  All CPS high school students are eligible to enter. One student's design will appear on thousands of reusable bags distributed at downtown and neighborhood markets this season.  The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship and two runners-up will each receive a $500 scholarship.  The entry deadline is April 5.

 

For more information on how to enter or to see past winners, click here .  You may also download the application here.   

 

Be sure to grab a bag at your local market this summer!

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DCASE Cultural Grants Program Accepting Applications

March 12, 2013

 

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCASE) Cultural Grants Program's goal is simple: to serve as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and creative industries thrive.

 

DCASE provides more than $1 million annually in direct funding for Chicago's arts community through its Cultural Grants Program. Designed to reach artists and nonprofit arts organizations across every community in Chicago, grants provide operating funds, as well as support for professional development, the creation of new work, and instructional arts programs. Grants are awarded through a competitive panel review process. To apply, visit www.chicagoculturalgrants.org.

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Vote for Chicago as the U.S. Headquarters for St. Patrick's Day!

February 25, 2013

 

Chicagoans know when it comes to St. Patrick's Day there's no place like home for a green time.  ShamROCK Chicago 2013, an initiative to prominently showcase Chicago's long history of Irish pride, encourages residents of Chicago to cast an online vote to affirm our great city as "the" U.S. Headquarters for St. Patrick's Day.

 

Chicago has long been known for its rich Irish heritage, including annual standout celebrations around St. Patrick's Day and community and cultural ties to Ireland.  As the old phrase goes, "everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day."  Aside from perhaps Ireland itself, there's NO place like Chicago for St. Patrick's Day!  ShamROCK Chicago 2013 aims to demonstrate Chicago's widespread pride to the rest of the country.

 

Visit www.shamROCKchicago2013.com to cast a vote and demonstrate you Chicago pride. 

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Wolf Point Update

February 18, 2013

Click here to read the latest update on the revised Wolf Point proposal.

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City Clerk's Office Now Hiring College Students for Summer Internship Program

February 18, 2013

 

City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza's Office is now accepting applications for its popular summer internship program. The Office hopes to hire at least 60 interns to help implement its summer programs, including City Vehicle Sticker sales. Students currently enrolled in an accredited college, university or law school or a technology or business schools are encouraged to apply for the internship.

 

City Clerk interns must be available to work 35 hours per week and some Saturdays may be required. Internships are six to ten weeks long depending on the student's start date.

 

Students must be in good academic standing with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 grading scale or 3.5 on a 5.0 grading scale. Applicants who speak Polish or Spanish will be given first preference. Salary is based on grade level completed at the time of application. Freshmen and sophomores earn $9.50 per hour, college juniors and seniors earn $10.50 per hour and graduate level students earn $11.50 per hour.

 

A complete job description and application information can be found at cityofchicago.org/CAREERS under "Open Job Opportunities." Applications will only be accepted online at the City of Chicago Careers website through March 8, 2013.

 

Selection for employment is based on information provided on the application. Qualified applicants are placed on an employment list and names are drawn through a lottery system conducted by the Department of Human Resources.

 

For more information, please visit the City Clerk website.

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Citywide Plan Targets Obesity in Chicago

February 11, 2013

 

With more than half of Chicago adults either overweight or obese, the Chicago Plan Commission adopted a formal plan today that will make neighborhoods healthier places to live by improving access to healthier foods.

 

A Recipe for Healthy Places, presents six community-based planning strategies to support healthy eating. In addition to changing the context in which people acquire and eat food, the plan's strategies seek to foster business entrepreneurism, job growth, gardening, and other spin-off benefits that provide for a healthier city. The plan is an outgrowth of the city's public health agenda, Healthy Chicago.

 

The strategies seek to:

    • Build Healthier Neighborhoods by focusing physical and programmatic planning in communities with obesity-related health disparities.
    • Grow More Food by identifying techniques to help residents cultivate and access locally grown fruits and vegetables.
    • Expand Healthy Food Enterprises by prioritizing the types of businesses that should benefit from City of Chicago incentives involving food production and sales.
    • Strengthen the Food Safety Net by setting high nutrition standards that ensure residents can eat well regardless of income.
    • Serve Healthy Food and Beverages by changing the food culture at festivals, sporting events, community activities, faith-based meetings and other public gatherings.
    • Improve Eating Habits by providing techniques to help people discover appealing, nutritious foods.

As a citywide plan adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission, A Recipe for Healthy Places will serve as an official roadmap for city planning and policymaking, as well as a guide for groups and individuals seeking to achieve healthier lifestyles through food.  Rates of obesity in Chicago have doubled among adults and tripled among children since 1980, which mirrors trends in other urban areas in the U.S. and the country as a whole.

 

By targeting factors that contribute to health and medical issues among the city population, Healthy Places continues a long history of health-related community planning in Chicago. The flow of the Chicago River, for example, was reversed to reduce water-related cholera outbreaks, and many of the city's parks and field houses were initially developed to provide clean, safe places to play and gather.

 

To view the Recipe for Healthy Places, please click here.

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Wallet-sized Civil Union and Marriage Certificates Now Available from Cook County Clerk 

January 21, 2013

Cook County Clerk David Orr's office is now offering new wallet-sized certificates tailor-made for same-sex couples with a civil union, married couples with two different last names or any couple who wants to carry proof of their union. The legal, embossed certificates are available for anyone married or civilly united in Cook County for the same $15 fee as a standard-size certificate.

The set of two wallet-sized marriage or civil union certificates includes names, license number, the clerk's signature and an embossed Cook County seal.

Wallet certificates can be ordered at any of the Cook County Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records locations, and same-day service is available at the downtown office in the lower level of the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington. Couples can also order by mail. To download a form, please visit at cookcountyclerk.com and follow the instructions.

All couples who are married or united in Cook County have the option of purchasing a wallet certificate instead of, or in addition to, their standard marriage certificate.

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Renovations to Connors Park Now in Progress!

January 21, 2013

Argo 1

Argo 2

Over a year ago, the Chicago Park District chose Chicago-based Argo Tea as the concessionaire for Connors Park.  Alderman Reilly has been working with the U.S. Equities, the concessions manager for the Chicago Park District, and Argo Tea's ownership to finalize their concessionaire agreement for operations in Connors Park.  Per the agreement, Argo Tea will be making a 15-year commitment to Connors Park, responsible for landscaping, overall park maintenance in addition to perimeter streetscape improvements in the public way.

The Alderman supports this public / private partnership, like the model in operation in Mariano Park, to ensure basic maintenance, fresh landscaping each season, increased security, dramatically improved aesthetics and the introduction of a neighborhood amenity.  Contingent upon his approval, Alderman Reilly asked for the following:

(1)   Argo Tea's retail structure could not extend beyond the existing amount of hardscape in the Park - to ensure there will be no net loss of vegetation or open green space;

(2)    The structure must be as transparent as possible - using a glass and steel frame that incorporates green elements and green walls to compliment the Park - no exposed concrete or blank walls; and

(3)    The Concessionaire will be held to the highest maintenance and security standards - providing adequate number of personnel on-site to enhance security for visitors and ensure the Park is clean and free of debris.

(4)  Most importantly, Connors Park must remain a truly public park. Per the Alderman's request, the Park District will install official new Chicago Park District signage to welcome neighbors and visitors to our newly renovated neighborhood park.

When reviewing the plans, you will see the fountain is to be enclosed within the Argo Tea structure. Initially, there were concerns that enclosing this public feature would limit public access to the fountain. However, Argo Tea has acknowledged that the public is welcome in the Argo Tea structure without purchasing any food or beverages. Public seating will be provided both inside and outside of the structure, including outdoor tables and chairs - again no purchase required.

Alderman Reilly is grateful for the responsiveness of the Park District, U.S. Equities and Argo Tea.  Each of the above-mentioned points were incorporated into the final design.  The final structure is designed with a greenhouse aesthetic and will occupy 1,200 square feet of the nearly 17,000 square foot park - less than 10% of the total park footprint. The greenhouse is a galvanized steel structure with glass walls and doors in addition to a translucent polycarbonate roof. The Argo Tea structure will be 11 feet tall along the perimeter and 17 feet at the highest point of the roof peak.  The perimeter of the structure is clad with a curved trellis and 10 foot high "green walls" covered with vines - adding another 700 square feet of (vertical) green.  A trellis structure will create additional covered outdoor areas open to the public year round, adding another 900 square feet of green.

Per the Concession Agreement, Argo Tea will be responsible for the landscaping and structure within the park. Argo will maintain all planting beds and perimeter parkways. All existing trees and large bushes will remain in the new park. New planting areas will be landscaped with salt-tolerant, native vegetation in order to ensure, for the first-time, four seasons of color in this highly-visible park.

Argo Tea will also be responsible for all maintenance of the structure, including damage or graffiti, contracting with pest and rodent extermination contractors for the entire park area; and managing all refuse within 100 feet of the concession area for daily removal. The Park District has also pledged to implement a rat abatement and general pest control plan prior to construction in Connors Park.

To address neighborhood requests for a contingency plan in the event Argo Tea is unable fulfill their obligations, the Concession Agreement contains protections including a timeframe by which the Park District can reclaim the site and install a new concessionaire. In the highly unlikely event this situation were to occur, Alderman Reilly is fully committed to work with the Park District to negotiate with a suitable vendor who would produce a high-quality product worthy of this prominent location.

 

The Alderman also asked the Park District to address concerns regarding the preservation of the two monuments on-site honoring Senator William Connors. The Alderman is pleased to report both monuments will remain intact and be moved just slightly to accommodate the new park entrances at both corners. The pergola structure is not a part of the memorial to Senator Connors - in fact this structure was part of a landscaping upgrade made in 1999. 

At the Alderman's request, the Park District contacted the Connors family to inform them of this upcoming renovation and to seek their input.  The Alderman was informed that Senator Connors' descendants are lending their support to the park improvements.

Permits for construction of the Argo Tea structure were issued by the Department of Buildings this past week.  Alderman Reilly looks forward to witnessing this renovation which will transform the park and re-establish this area as a safe, vibrant neighborhood gathering place.  Argo Tea hopes to be open by April of this year.

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ElectricalAggregationElectrical Aggregation Program Notification

January 7, 2013

Integrys Energy Services, the winner of the City's open and competitive two-stage bidding process for municipal electricity aggregation, recently mailed program notification letters to approximately 2.5 million Chicago ComEd customers. Program customers will save approximately 11 percent over the first 15 months of the contract, resulting in $135-165 in savings for the average single-family homeowners. Under this agreement, Chicago customers will receive cleaner energy as well, as Integrys will be providing the City with a coal-fee portfolio. To remain in the program and receive these savings, residents and business do not need to take any action.

Those wishing to opt out have until January 9 to contact Integrys either via mail, phone, or visiting Integrys' website. After the opt-out period ends, Chicago customers will be able to leave at any time at no cost.

Current Chicago ComEd customers who receive the letter should know the following:

  • If they do nothing, they will be automatically enrolled in the City's Program and save roughly 22 percent on your first bill starting in March. This will result in a total savings of $135-165 for the average single-family household over the first 15 months of the contract.
  • ComEd will still be responsible for delivering electricity, issuing monthly bills, maintaining electricity lines and meters, responding to outages, and offering bill payment options such budget billing and automatic payment. In addition, low income assistance programs - such as LIHEAP and PIPP - will not be affected.
  • No one from the City's program will ever come to anyone's door or call anyone to ask them to switch to a new supplier. Anyone who comes to a door or calls asking someone to switch is not with the City's program.
  • Customers can opt out in one of three ways:
    1. Return the card contained in the opt out letter;
    2. Call the Integrys 24/7 call center at 1-888-802-2885; or
    3. Visit the Integrys Chicago website at: www.integrysenergy.com/il-chicago

Current customers who participate in ComEd's real-time pricing program or receive their electricity from an alternative supplier will not be automatically enrolled in the City's program, but they can opt into the program at any time.

The City of Chicago's agreement with Integrys locked in a rate of 5.42 cents per kilowatt hour until May 2014 that will save Chicagoans 11 percent off of their electricity bills over the first 16 months of the agreement, translating into a savings of $135-165 for the average single family household. The rate for the final 12 months of the contract will be set at a later time, but Integrys Energy Services will be required to always beat or match the ComEd price. The agreement also sets new standards for other cities and institutions to follow by completely eliminating coal from Chicago's portfolio.

The City selected Integrys Energy Services to be its electricity supplier after an open and competitive, two-stage process. During the first phase, Integrys Energy Services was one of eight companies to respond to a Request for Qualifications, which required companies to establish that they could meet a number of customer service, account management, clean energy, and corporate health requirements. During the second stage, which ended on the afternoon of Friday, December 7th, the City selected Integrys Energy Services on the basis of lowest price margin.

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