WBEZ | Morton Grove http://www.wbez.org/tags/morton-grove Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 2-1-1982: Chicago suburb outlaws guns! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/2-1-1982-chicago-suburb-outlaws-guns-105086 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-1--street.JPG" title="'First in service, First in safety.' [Morton Grove motto]" /></p><p>Thirty-one years ago today, the eyes of the country were on Morton Grove, Ill. The quiet northern suburb had enacted the most restrictive handgun law in America. This was the first day under the new law. &nbsp;</p><p>The story had begun in 1980, when someone applied for a license to open a gun store in the village. The matter went to the Board of Trustees. In June 1981 the Board passed an ordinance banning gun sales. While they were at it, they also approved a measure outlawing the possession of handguns.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, the U.S. Constitution said that &ldquo;the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.&rdquo; The Board knew that the law would be challenged. The Morton Grove police were instructed to hold any surrendered guns for five years, in case the law was overturned.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The lawsuits came. The original enforcement date&ndash;September 6, 1981&ndash;was postponed. In December the U.S. District Court upheld the Morton Grove ban. The Board then announced that the law would go into effect on February 1, 1982.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">On the morning of the big day, reporters, photographers, and TV news crews staked out the Village Hall police station. At 8:15 a resident came in with three rusty handguns in a shopping bag. He&rsquo;d wanted to get rid of the guns for a long time, but didn&rsquo;t know how to go about it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A few minutes later, a second man arrived. He was surrendering a .22-caliber pistol. &ldquo;This would be your Saturday night special,&rdquo; an official helpfully told the reporters.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-1--police station.JPG" title="Morton Grove's gun depository" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">The day went on. The news people waited. In the middle of the afternoon, a third man appeared. He dropped off a small-caliber pistol and some ammo.&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One of the reporters asked the deputy police chief how future violations would be treated. &ldquo;We would hand out an ordinance ticket, just like a parking violation,&rdquo; the chief said. The weapon would also be confiscated.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Village Hall closed at 5 p.m. A total of five guns had been collected.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The&nbsp;mayor of Morton Grove had been following the news coverage on TV. He said he wasn&rsquo;t disappointed by the small number of guns. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a drop in the bucket,&rdquo; he conceded. &ldquo;[But] who the heck can tell how many guns there are?&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Because of later court decisions, Morton Grove repealed much of its handgun ban in 2008.</div></p> Fri, 01 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/2-1-1982-chicago-suburb-outlaws-guns-105086 Skokie school bans Halloween celebrations http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/skokie-school-bans-halloween-celebrations-103444 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/halloween_Karina_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>No costumes. No candy. No Halloween parties.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the new rule in District 69, which serves students in the Northern suburbs of Skokie and Morton Grove.</p><p>Superintendent Quintin Shepherd announced the policy change in <a href="http://www.skokie69.net/index.php/info/district-announcements/item/1569-halloween-letter-from-superintendent-shepherd" target="_blank">a letter to parents</a>.</p><p>Shepherd said in the letter that Halloween festivities were canceled to respect a growing number of students who cannot afford costumes or don&rsquo;t celebrate Halloween for religious and cultural reasons.</p><p>Shaun Saville is the parent of a fourth grader in District 69.</p><p>&ldquo;We were disappointed that Halloween was being cancelled and the way we were being told were weren&rsquo;t very happy about,&rdquo; Saville said. &ldquo;I think two hours out of a school day&nbsp; is not a significant amount of time when kids are going to be focusing on Halloween festivities anyway.&rdquo;</p><p>Saville gathered more than four hundred and fifty signatures <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/skokie-school-district-69-reinstate-the-halloween-celebration-at-school?utm_campaign=new_signature&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=signature_receipt" target="_blank">on a petition</a> protesting the ban on the school&rsquo;s Halloween celebrations and took it to a recent school board meeting.</p><p>&ldquo;I think&nbsp; it&rsquo;s a good chance for kids to be creative,&rdquo; Saville said. &ldquo;Maybe make it a learning opportunity about different cultures and diversity at our school.&rdquo;</p><p>But the school board has upheld the superintendent&rsquo;s decision to cut Halloween parties from the school day.</p><p>The district did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.</p></p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/skokie-school-bans-halloween-celebrations-103444 What do you do with an empty corporate campus? http://www.wbez.org/content/what-do-you-do-empty-corporate-campus <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-23/empty office 1_Flickr_Mark Hillary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/empty office 2_Flickr_Robbie 1.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 176px;" title="(Flickr/Robbie Sproule)"></p><p>There’s a hot new trend among companies around the Midwest – threatening to leave.&nbsp;Several companies, especially around Chicago, have been asking big picture questions as they take a look at their bottom lines.</p><p>One is the food maker Sara Lee, which is&nbsp;going through a major transition as it prepares to split into two companies.&nbsp;One would be focused on meats, such as sausages and hot dogs.&nbsp;The other one would focus on beverages.</p><p>Company spokesman&nbsp;Jon Harris says the company believes a downtown location “would provide our new North American meats company with an environment that will be energetic, that will foster breakthrough thinking, create revolutionary products, offer fresh perspectives and really own the market.”</p><p>But that means moving from Sara Lee’s headquarters and test kitchens, which are currently based in Chicago’s western suburbs, in Downers Grove, Ill.</p><p>While no location has been chosen for the meat company, downtown Chicago is preferred, Harris says.&nbsp;If Sara Lee does pack up and move, it would leave behind a massive office building designed to hold at least 1,000 workers.</p><p>That’s something Martin Tully, the mayor of Downers Grove, isn’t too excited about, especially&nbsp;as it relates to collecting property taxes. “It’s not insignificant,” he says.</p><p>Tully says he’s working with Sara Lee to try to keep operations based there, but it’s hard when the company is going to split up.</p><p>Also,&nbsp;Sara Lee has no deep ties to Downers Grove.&nbsp;Its offices have only been there for six years. Tully says those six years have been worth it – even if he has to find a new tenant. As he says –&nbsp;who would pass up having Michael Jordan on your basketball team for six years?</p><p>But he has a word of warning for other towns that might be looking to unload one giant piece of land. “You have to be on your toes and alert for those things as a community and as an economic development engine,” said Tully.</p><p>Another&nbsp;example is United Airlines, which is&nbsp;moving thousands of employees to what used to be called the Sears Tower. It’s trying to sell its property in Elk Grove Village, in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, not far from O’Hare International Airport. But nobody is really biting.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/empty office 1_Flickr_Mark Hillary.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="(Flickr/Mark Hillary)">Mount Prospect – the town next door – wants to take over the land to try to redevelop it, even though there aren’t any buyers.</p><p>Stacey Kruger Birndorf, an expert on office space real estate issues for <a href="http://www.transwestern.net/Pages/default.aspx">Transwestern</a>, a commercial real estate company,&nbsp;says towns like Mount Prospect have to keep in mind what companies want when they look for a new home.</p><p>“I think so much of it is economically driven,” she says. “I wish I could say it’s geographically driven, but so much of it is economics.”</p><p>Kruger Birndorf says companies look at the cost of the property, where new recruits would want to work, and&nbsp;proximity to clients.&nbsp;She says young people by and large want to be downtown.&nbsp;But if a company wants a lot of space, the suburbs might be a better fit.</p><p>Asked whether it’s worth it for towns to allow big campuses that are hard to re-work into anything other than office space, Kruger Birndorf says towns have to go for it.</p><p>“If we don’t have some hope and some optimism,” there would never be any reason to do anything, she says.</p><p>As proof, look at Ann Arbor, Mich.&nbsp;&nbsp;Pfizer, the international pharmaceutical company, had a 70-acre facility there, but moved out in 2007. It left&nbsp;a modern research facility empty, and took a chunk of the city’s property tax budget with it.</p><p>When Ann Arbor couldn’t find a buyer, the price dropped, and the University of Michigan stepped in.</p><p>“You’re getting 2.2 million square feet of office and lab buildings, which seems like an incredible steal for $108 million,” said&nbsp;David Canter, the Executive Director of the North Campus Research Complex.</p><p>He’s turning the facility into a new type of research center for academia, putting&nbsp;researchers from different departments into the same workspace.&nbsp;Before taking over the Pfizer complex, each department on the university’s campus had its own building.</p><p>Now, Canter says pharmacists, dentists, and mathematicians can all be in the same place.</p><p>“As a result, the university will be able to grow without having to invest in designing and developing a lot of series of new buildings that tend to follow growth rather than be in advance of growth,” he says.</p><p>Canter says if Pfizer hadn’t left, this research project from the university wouldn’t exist. It’s an example of how thinking creatively about how work space is used &nbsp;can let both companies and towns breathe easier.</p><p>Changing Gears<em>is a collaboration between WBEZ, Michigan Radio and ideastream. Support for </em>Changing Gears<em>comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. </em></p></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 15:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/what-do-you-do-empty-corporate-campus Suburbs take on challenge of welcoming new refugees http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-take-challenge-welcoming-new-refugees-90619 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/Asian-Family.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Uptown neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side is an established hub for refugee resettlement. There are many agencies there, and refugees opt to live nearby. But recently more refugees bypass Chicago altogether and head to the north and northwest suburbs instead. Those communities are discovering these new populations in their schools, and suburban educators are having to adjust to meet the unique needs of their newest arrivals.</p><p>Go into Niles North High School at 10am any weekday this summer and you’ll see a stunningly diverse flood of teens crowd the lobby for a brief mid-morning break. Some take summer classes for extra credits; some are retaking classes they failed. But a good number are here to improve their English, so they can keep up in the fall. And of those students, more and more are refugees.</p><p>MURPHY: unfortunately a lot of them have been in refugee camps. And if they were in, for example, Jordan, they may not have been allowed to go to school.</p><p>This is Edmund Murphy. He’s principal of District 219’s Summer School, for students from Niles, Skokie, Lincolnwood and Morton Grove. During the school year he also runs the program for foreign languages and English as a second language. Murphy says the district’s handled large waves of immigrants before. But this is its first big influx of refugees and there are different challenges in helping them.</p><p>MURPHY: Some of them have been through some very traumatic experiences, they’ve lost parents, they’ve lost loved ones, especially in Iraq. It’s awful. And that’s always going to follow them. So we’re just trying to teach them how to deal with those issues in a healthy way, a positive way.</p><p>Murphy says this has forced schools into a comprehensive social service role. School social workers and psychologists are on hand, but sometimes they have to coax parents to allow their children to get that help.</p><p>Cultural biases may make parents fear that their child is “broken” if she needs counseling. And there’s another challenge: a lot of the kids who languished in refugee camps either don’t remember what it’s like to <em>be </em>&nbsp;in school or the schools were just really different.</p><p>MURPHY: When kids perhaps misbehave, if you ask them what would happen to you in your other school, they’d say well, we’d get beat, or we’d get hit, you know, it’s so different. So they get here and sometimes it’s like “wooh, look at this - nothing happens to me.” So it is a challenge to get them assimilated to the American school system.</p><p>Now, Murphy’s summer intro ESL course includes instruction on how to behave in class, how to raise your hand and how to respect the teacher’s authority. Murphy keeps on top of how well these kids are doing partly through his team of volunteers. He’s found a bunch that are fluent in Arabic and Assyrian, to call parents at home. They communicate what’s going on at the school, and relay parents’ concerns back to the district. Murphy says it’s lucky that District 219 has the resources to help these students.</p><p>But it’s still challenging. Often, the district’s trying to get kids up to grade level in English when they’re not even literate in their own native languages. While Murphy was starting to recognize the growth in refugees at his schools, refugee resettlement agencies were noticing changes, too.</p><p>WANGERIN: We were seeing fewer and fewer Iraqis actually come to our office and avail of our services.</p><p>Greg Wangerin is with RefugeeONE, in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. He started to notice the difference in 2007, when the number of Iraqi refugees spiked. Now, Iraqis are the largest group of refugees coming to the Chicago area.</p><p>WANGERIN: We began to examine why, and we noticed that this was the circumstance, again because they were coming to reunite with relatives up in that area.</p><p>Chicago’s suburbs are home to established Iraqi populations. They came as a result of the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s, and Operation Desert Storm in the 90s. Wangerin says there are other reasons Iraqi refugees are heading to suburbs.</p><p>WANGERIN: &nbsp;They often will come in with a bit more resource financially, at least in the initial stages, and may therefore have access to vehicles, or ways to purchase a car, and therefore enabling them to go a little bit further to the north and to the west.</p><p>But that push to Chicago’s fringes and beyond has meant that RefugeeONE had to adapt. It can’t afford to open new offices in the ‘burbs, so Wangerin says he’s hired a full-time suburban outreach employee to keep in constant touch with the schools and families. He’s also formed ad-hoc partnerships with suburban religious groups to offer ESL classes close to where refugees live. Partnerships are the way suburban governments are responding to the new demands, too.</p><p>The English Language Learning, or ELL, Center is the joint effort of eight north suburban school districts.</p><p>ENG: Today at 2 o’clock, the Bookmobile is coming. Anyone know what’s the Bookmobile?</p><p>A room full of women sit at round tables crowded into the reception area of a school district building in Skokie. A substitute teacher is starting a lesson on reading skills...</p><p>ENG: Because you get to check out a book...</p><p>The women’s children watch a film in another room. But this place is primarily for parents.</p><p>WALLACE: What we really emphasize here is the role of parents in the American school system, which is very different than some other cultures. American schools really expect parents to be involved and come in, and we talk about that.</p><p>Corie Wallace runs the ELL Center. She says in the three years it’s been open, the Center has seen foot traffic grow from 200 people to more than 700. It’s not clear how many are refugees, but Wallace says that number is almost certainly growing. And those parents need the same help as other immigrants in navigating American schools.</p><p>WALLACE: We do family field trips where we do school by school teaching parents about the culture of their school, how to sign up for parent-teacher conferences, why that’s important.</p><p>This program for refugee parents and changes at the schools do cost money, but it’s money that these suburbs seem to have. And nobody’s complaining. Many, like Wallace, see it as an investment. She hopes there’ll be a return, as refugees eventually become full participants in the local civic life.</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-take-challenge-welcoming-new-refugees-90619