WBEZ | Air and Water Show http://www.wbez.org/tags/air-and-water-show Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The air show won’t go on in Gary http://www.wbez.org/news/air-show-won%E2%80%99t-go-gary-106436 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/60thAF_Anniv-ThunderBirds-173.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Northwest Indiana is losing its most popular summer event: the South Shore Air Show in Gary.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />Due to federal sequestration cuts the the Navy&rsquo;s popular Blue Angels and the Air Force&rsquo;s Thunderbirds have been temporarily grounded this year. That news already dampened enthusiasm for Chicago&rsquo;s Air and Water Show in August, though the show above Navy Pier is still scheduled to occur.</p><p>But organizers in Northwest Indiana had to pull the plug on the entire South Shore Air Show. Thousands typically line the southern shore of Lake Michigan for the annual event, which was set to enter its 14th year this July</p><p>In addition to the high-profile precision aerial acts the show usually features other military aircrafts such as a C-130 cargo plane, F-22, F-16s and F-18s.&nbsp;</p><p>Already, more than 30 air shows across the country have been canceled this year and Gary now joins the list.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the most popular summer event in Northern Indiana, north of Indianapolis,&rdquo; organizer Speros Batistatos, of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, told WBEZ Tuesday. &ldquo;Trying to do this event under the best circumstances is difficult. Trying to replace it with something else with only a couple of months to go, is impossible.&rdquo;</p><p>The Navy and U.S. Air Force often use these air shows to recruit new members.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the governments&rsquo; first line marketing contact in recruiting. One of the reasons why you put the Thunderbirds on the road or the Golden Knights or other military acts is so that the young people of this great country can see and say &ldquo;Hey, you know what, maybe the military might be a viable option for my career, my training and my education,&rdquo; Batistatos said. &ldquo;Fundamentally, it&rsquo;s very silly that at a time when we need more military recruits, we need a stronger military presence, to ground the very marketing core of what we do to me makes no business sense whatsoever.&rdquo;</p><p>And while there are civilian air acts, such as the popular Lima Lima aerial stunt team, Batistatos says there&rsquo;s not enough of them to create an entire afternoon show. Batistatos said cancelling the show was not an easy decision to make.</p><p>&ldquo;We have spent countless hours considering the effect of sequestration on our air show sponsorship opportunities, programming, attendance, and the overall financial viability of producing an all civilian aircraft event. It is with a heavy heart, that we have decided that despite our best efforts, we must cancel this year&rsquo;s show,&rdquo; Batistatos said. &ldquo;This was a very tough decision, but when options were weighed, this was viewed to be in the best interest of all participating parties of the air show, from spectators to sponsors.&rdquo;</p><p>While the air show could be seen all along the lakefront in Gary, from various vantage points, the prime viewing spot was near Marquette Park in Gary&rsquo;s Miller Beach neighborhood. Therefore, the city of Gary will lose thousands in parking fees without those visitors, along with the loss of revenue from the selling of food and souvenirs.&nbsp;</p><p>In all, Batistatos says the region will lose about $8 million over a three day weekend in July.</p><p>Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was not happy about the canceled show.</p><p>&ldquo;We are very sorry that the air show had to be canceled. We will see more casualties that are a direct result of parties&#39; failure to work together,&rdquo; Freeman-Wilson said in a written statement. &ldquo;In the end, this has an adverse effect on communities that are least able to withstand the impact -- cities like Gary.&rdquo;</p><p><b id="internal-source-marker_0.7531661451794207" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Michael Puente is a reporter with WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" style="text-decoration: initial;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@MikePuenteNews</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></b></p></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/air-show-won%E2%80%99t-go-gary-106436 Muslim group markets faith with grassroots campaign, airplane http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-markets-faith-grassroots-campaign-airplane-90824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-22/MFL Pictures 058.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As Chicagoans turn their gaze to the sky this weekend they'll be greeted by the following message: “Give Blood---Save Lives---Muslims for Life.”</p><p>The message will be on a banner trailing from a plane, with over a million people watching Chicago’s 53rd annual Air and Water show.</p><p>The group behind the banner is a local Muslim denomination known as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In 2010, they launched “Muslims for Peace” and “Muslims for Loyalty,” both grassroots campaigns meant to spread the truth about Islam. Ads ran from the side of Chicago buses to electronic billboards in Times Square, New York. This weekend they are launching “Muslims for Life,” to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.</p><p>The banner attempts to push the message that Muslims want to protect life, not take it.&nbsp;</p><p>“Terrorists have painted an untruthful picture of Islam--of death and destruction, whereas Islam protects the sanctity of all human life” said Haris Ahmed Public Affairs director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. “As we approach the 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Sept. 11, we wanted to conduct blood drives aimed at saving American lives.”</p><p>The Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community is aiming to raise 10,000 units of blood nationally--enough to save 30,000 lives, the group said. Members from the local Chicago chapters plan on dispersing twenty thousand “Muslims for Life” brochures through the weekend.</p><p>Spokesperson for the event, Farah Qazi said the group decided the Air and Water Show was the best way to promote the blood drive to Chicago’s diverse community. “This is an interfaith and community-partnered event,” Qazi said. “We hope to invite people from all backgrounds to be a part of this massive effort.”</p><p>The blood drive is one part of a series of events the group is hosting to commemorate 9/11’s 10th anniversary. Other events include interfaith services and various press conferences to reiterate Islam’s message of peace and nonviolence in a world that is sometimes “Islamaphobic,” Qazi explained.</p><p>The blood drive will take place in the days leading up to Sept. 11 at various locations including mosques, churches and established blood banks like Lifesource.</p><p>More information about the campaign can be found at <a href="http://www.muslimsforlife.org/">www.muslimsforlife.org</a>. Questions about the blood drive can be directed to PR@IslaminChicago.org.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 22:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-markets-faith-grassroots-campaign-airplane-90824