WBEZ | Chicago Suburbs http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-suburbs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en It’s not just CPS: suburban and Catholic schools are back, too http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-26/it%E2%80%99s-not-just-cps-suburban-and-catholic-schools-are-back-too <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/school supplies Nick Amoscato.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public School students are getting ready to get back to class after Labor Day, and the district is gearing up for a new year with a new CEO and some old budget problems. But there are more than 2 million kids enrolled statewide, and many districts have already started, including many suburban schools. Then there are Catholic schools and the changes, closures and consolidations brought on by the archdiocese. And, our neighbors in Northwest Indiana are dealing with a new state funding formula and a shortage of teachers. We&#39;re joined by Dr. Mary Kearney, interim Superintendent for the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, Michael A. Jacoby, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials and WBEZ Northwest Indiana reporter Michael Puente.</p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-26/it%E2%80%99s-not-just-cps-suburban-and-catholic-schools-are-back-too Wherefore art thou Romeoville? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/wherefore-art-thou-romeoville-111302 <p><p>It&rsquo;s a feat of imagination to look beyond modern developments in your town, suburb or neighborhood and picture how the place looked as it was getting its start. Even if your neck of the woods has no historic district or a single century-old home, it&rsquo;s still got a history. And, often, its starting point is somehow tied up with its name.</p><p>Paul Kaiser is particularly interested in the starting point of his adopted home of Joliet, the largest city in Will County. His question for Curious City goes back decades, when he first encountered an odd, name-related fact about Joliet and its apparent relationship to a village just north, Romeoville:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>I believe that Joliet was once named Juliet, while nearby Romeoville was once named Romeo. What&#39;s the story?</em></p><p>To find an answer for Paul, we found historians (both past and present), a linguistics professor and a Shakespeare expert to consider the relationship between the original town names. As we looked at the towns&rsquo; broader history, we found we were able to fill in at least some blanks left by a lack of documents. But more importantly, we learned why origin stories can still be useful to our own identity, even if you can&rsquo;t nail these stories down so tightly.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">What we know</span></p><p>Paul&rsquo;s onto something, at least when it comes to the two core details. Back in the 1830s, Joliet was founded as Juliet, and Romeoville was founded as Romeo. (Some sources also call the town Romeo Depot.) You can even see the names on old maps of the area &hellip; which is cute and all, considering they bear an obvious resemblance to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet" target="_blank">William Shakespeare&rsquo;s star-crossed lovebirds, Romeo and Juliet</a>. There is, however, no solid documentation &mdash; no municipal meeting minutes nor history accounted for by town founders &mdash; that unequivocally lays out why these towns were named as they were.</p><p>But there are some worthy speculations. Your best bet is to head back 150 years or so before the towns were named by white settlers. In the 1670s, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were traversing parts of the Great Lakes region, in part to find out if the Mississippi River flowed to the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean.</p><p>In May of 1673, just southwest of present-day Chicago, they stumbled upon a huge mound near the Des Plaines River. On their maps, Marquette and Jolliet christened the landmark Mont Jolliet, and the name stuck. The name later morphed to Mound Joliet.</p><p>About 150 years later, the area was drawn into an ambitious plan by the U.S. government, the newly-formed state of Illinois, and investors to build the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a waterway that would connect the Great Lakes to the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. When completed, materials could be transported quickly, compared to the era&rsquo;s cumbersome overland routes. The federal government ceded land surrounding proposed routes, and lots were sold to fund canal construction.</p><p>James Campbell, treasurer of canal commissioners, bought a bunch of land in the Mound Joliet area. Except, for one reason or another, the area at this time became known as Juliet &mdash; with a U. This is where history gets wonky.</p><p>Even historians from the late 1800s (including those writing just a generation or so after Campbell) can&rsquo;t offer much insight into Juliet&rsquo;s origins. In his 1878 book <em>History of Will County, Illinois</em>, George Woodruff throws his hands in the air:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/various%20theories%20take%20your%20choice.png" title="An excerpt from the book History of Will County, Illinois, published in 1878, lays out our three theories. " /></div><blockquote><p><em>Campbell&rsquo;s town was recorded as &lsquo;Juliet,&rsquo; whether after Shakespeare&rsquo;s heroine, or his own daughter, or by mistake for Joliet, the writer cannot determine. There are various theories; take your choice.</em></p></blockquote><p>We encountered three theories that account for the original name of Juliet, as well as some kind of relationship with Romeo.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The typo theory</span></p><p>Our question-asker, Paul, is familiar with the explorers Marquette and Jolliet, and he speculates that the town was named Juliet on maps, due to &ldquo;possibly human error on some of the map making. Where things just morphed to what somebody wanted it to be.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/juliet%20joliet%20timeline.png" title="Historical maps of the Will County area show the changing name of modern-day Joliet over time. (Source: Chicago History Museum)" /></div><p>We can find no record of cartographers of yore owning up to such a careless error. But Edward Callary, a linguistics professor at Northern Illinois University who wrote a <a href="http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/33nxw6km9780252033568.html" target="_blank">book on Illinois place names</a>, entertains the idea from an oratory standpoint. He says it&rsquo;s possible that 19th-century map makers may have simply not known how to translate the French-sounding name Jolliet into English. So, when marking the spot of Mound Jolliet, it&rsquo;s possible they made spelling errors. And if that&rsquo;s the case, Callary says, it&rsquo;s also possible those spelling &ldquo;errors&rdquo; were more like willful oversights.</p><p>&ldquo;We sometimes make up things that are a little bit closer to words that we already know rather than ones we don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; Callary says.</p><p>For example, ever hear of Illinois&rsquo; Embarrass River? Callary points out the name comes from Americans reappropriating the river&rsquo;s French-given name, Embarrasser, which meant &ldquo;obstruction&rdquo; at the time.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The daughter theory</span></p><p>However, Sandy Vasko, the Executive President of the Will County Historical Society, is a proponent of what we call the daughter theory.</p><p>Remember land-buyer and canal treasurer James Campbell? Several sources suggest that he may have had a daughter named Juliet, and that when forming a town, he named it after her.</p><p>Ironically, the earliest suggestion of this comes from the same 1878 Will County history book we got our three theories from. In any case, the author writes:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/daughter%20theory%202.png" title="" /></div><blockquote><p><em>On the 13th day of May, the Surveyor&rsquo;s certificate was filed, and on the 10th of June, 1834, the plat was recorded and the town christened to &ldquo;Juliet,&rdquo; for Campbell&rsquo;s daughter, it is said &hellip;</em></p></blockquote><p>All of this is debatable, though, since we&rsquo;ve also encountered history books that claim Campbell had a <em>wife</em> named Juliet, not a daughter. But Callary says that&rsquo;s not possible.</p><p>&ldquo;Campbell&rsquo;s wife&rsquo;s name was Sarah Anne,&rdquo; Callary says. &ldquo;He had no females in the family that were named Juliet that I can find. Maybe he named it for a friend&rsquo;s wife or daughter, but he didn&rsquo;t name it for his wife.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The Shakespeare theory</span></p><p>At face value, the Shakespeare theory is simple: The towns Romeo and Juliet were platted around the same time and named, perhaps puckishly (<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/questions/861" target="_blank">as suggested by one our most prolific web commenters</a>), as a pair in honor of Shakespeare&rsquo;s star-crossed lovebirds. Some sources mention that either Romeo or Juliet were platted as a healthy competitor to the other.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a complex side to the Shakespeare theory, though. To understand why Shakespeare characters would even be appealing names for new towns, it&rsquo;s important to know that &mdash; at times &mdash; there&rsquo;s a lot at stake in a name.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shakespeare marlboro.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="A 1928 ad for Marlboro cigarettes. (Photo courtesy canadianshakespeares.ca)" />Recall that the I&amp;M Canal was meant to make Midwestern transportation cheap, but it was an expensive capital project. Vasko reminds us that &ldquo;people didn&rsquo;t want to buy land until there was a canal. And they couldn&rsquo;t build a canal until they sold the land. And so it was a vicious circle.&rdquo;</p><p>So any boost in land sales was forward momentum as far as the canal commission was concerned. This is where our recognizable Shakespeare characters, the towns named Romeo and Juliet, come in.</p><p>&ldquo;I truly believe that it was almost an advertising gimmick,&rdquo; Sandy Vasko says. She suspects &ldquo;somebody who was big into advertising said: &lsquo;Ya know, let&rsquo;s do this. Let&rsquo;s call this new land Romeo, it&rsquo;ll be a catch thing and maybe we can sell a few extra lots because of the Romeo and Juliet connection.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Sound like a far-fetched connection? Well, consider that, when we kicked the British out of the colonies, we let Shakespeare stay. And in 1800s America, the works of Shakespeare reached a new form of American kingdom.</p><p>&ldquo;Shakespeare is in the theaters, it&rsquo;s in peoples rhetoric books. They&rsquo;re being taught passages of Shakespeare and how to speak it in order to be eloquent,&rdquo; says Heather Nathans, chair of the Department of Drama and Dance at Tufts University. &ldquo;It had a kind of familiarity that I think maybe we don&rsquo;t have now.&rdquo;</p><p>With that level of popularity, it&rsquo;s hardly a surprise that Shakespeare was deployed, like today&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.target.com/bp/cake+boss" target="_blank">Cake Boss</a>, to entice people to buy stuff. Shakespeare became the Shakespeare brand.</p><p>&ldquo;Slap Shakespeare on [a product] and it instantly seems more elegant or elevated, or it&rsquo;s some clever tie-in that draws your attention to whatever it might be: little mints or cigarettes or playing cards.&rdquo; Nathans says.</p><p>If Shakespeare had become an important branding technique in 1800s America, was it used by I&amp;M Canal commissioners? Again, there are no surviving documents that lay this out, but the Bard as &ldquo;brand&rdquo; would have solved a problem the canal faced: Illinois sometimes seemed an uninviting place to prospective landbuyers.</p><p>&ldquo;People really didn&rsquo;t want to move here because they were worried: Are these Indians going to kill us?&rdquo; Vasko says. &ldquo;One of the things [the commissioners] had to do was be sure that people wanted to come here, and that the Indians were gone.&rdquo;</p><p>Mainly, the commissioners encouraged Illinois to act on the federal Indian Removal Act signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shakespeare coca cola.jpg" style="float: right; height: 393px; width: 280px;" title="A 1928 Coca-Cola advertisement featuring William Shakespeare, published in Life Magazine. (Photo courtesy Coca-Cola) " />Tensions between Native Americans and white settlers came to a head during the timeframe of when Juliet and Romeo were founded. In the spring of 1832, <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/141.html" target="_blank">the Black Hawk War</a> broke out. Afterword, Native Americans, mostly Potawatomi in that area, were forced to leave Illinois for good. They gathered in Kankakee, then walked to reservations in Kansas and Nebraska, according to Vasko. &ldquo;A lot of old people died on the way, of course. A lot of young people were never born, died stillbirth, things like that,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It was a very sad, sad time for Illinois, and it&rsquo;s why we have no Native American reservations at all here in Illinois.&rdquo;</p><p>After the exodus, land sales to white settlers increased. &ldquo;Now they felt safe,&rdquo; Vasko says.</p><p>Heather Nathans adds: &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t think of a better way to declare that that is the past and this is the future, by putting on some nice, recognizable Shakespeare names.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to prove, but perhaps the new Shakespearean town names signalled safety to prospective settlers and investors back East. Regardless, the town names of Romeo and Juliet only stuck around for about 15 years, until 1845.</p><p>The change came about after former President Martin Van Buren passed through Juliet while touring western states. Van Buren noticed the town name of Juliet was similar to the name of Mound Joliet. He encouraged the citizens to reconsider having a town named Juliet after a<em> girl</em>, (again, supposedly Campbell&rsquo;s daughter) and instead call it Joliet, in honor of the renowned explorer.</p><p>&ldquo;And they took [that] under consideration,&rdquo; Vasko says. &ldquo;In 1845 they indeed changed the name from Juliet to Joliet. But, they did refuse to add any extra t&rsquo;s or e&rsquo;s. So the word was Joliet, very plain and simple J-o-l-i-e-t.&rdquo;</p><p>We don&rsquo;t know whether they gave Romeo a heads up, or even if they bothered to send a postcard. And we don&rsquo;t know how Romeo felt about it. But we know what they did: That same year, Romeo added -ville to its name, becoming Romeoville.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The myth lives on</span></p><p>Even without official records or documentation that answers why each place was originally named as it was, hints of Romeo and Juliet persist within their modern incarnations.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/romeo%20cafe%20juliet%20tavern.png" title="Romeo Cafe in Romeoville and Juliet's Tavern in Joliet are hints into the area's past lives. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe and Katie Klocksin)" /></div><p>As you drive through Romeoville you&rsquo;ll pass Juliet Ave. and Romeo Road, Romeo Cafe and Romeo Plaza. In Joliet, you&rsquo;ll find Juliet&rsquo;s Tavern &mdash; a nod to the city&rsquo;s former name.</p><p>But where the Shakespeare theory resonates most is perhaps at the Romeoville Area Historical Society. We take Paul, our question-asker, and his wife, Kathy there to meet Nancy Hackett, president of the society and a Romeoville resident.</p><p>Hackett shows us around the place, and we eyeball some items that hint at the area&rsquo;s slight hangup on its past self.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="416" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1PjwID6dIP5O75xdRfnY6TmoCR5BnjaugI4LIscbUvck/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=3000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Hackett says, even outside of the historical society, she lets the Shakespeare connection play out in her everyday life. Among other demonstrations, she shows off a bumper sticker that reads &ldquo;Wherefore art thou, Romeoville?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;For so long Romeoville was that tiny little place,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When people ask me where it is I say &lsquo;It&rsquo;s north of Juliet&rsquo; &hellip; and then I correct it.&rdquo;</p><p>Hackett may correct herself on the town names, but there&rsquo;s one thing she won&rsquo;t budge on: Shakespeare is the reason for them. She says she knows this because it&rsquo;s in a book written by a woman named Mabel Hrpsha in 1967. Hrpsha was a member of the historical society and part of a long line of Romeoville residents who lived in the unincorporated part of town.</p><p>Hackett finds the specific page of Hrpsha&rsquo;s book, and reads:</p><blockquote><p><em>Romeo was one town proposed by the canal commissioners along the proposed canal. It was named after the Shakespearean hero and planned as a romantic twin sister and rival for Juliet, later Joliet.</em></p></blockquote><p>And even when she learns about the other two theories laid out in history books that predate Hrpsha&rsquo;s, Hackett says: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll stick with Romeo and Juliet.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">What&rsquo;s in a name?</span></p><p>Without the evidence to confirm any single theory, it&rsquo;s hard to disabuse people like Hackett who have chosen to take one theory or another as gospel. But maybe the tendency to perpetuate origin stories &mdash; and the many ways they manifest &mdash; can sometimes be more interesting than a verifiably true story.</p><p>At least that&rsquo;s Callary&rsquo;s take on our answer to Paul Kaiser&rsquo;s question.</p><p>We learn that, through names, people make statements about their heritage. And if a tiny, tiny town like Romeo &mdash; almost written out of history books &mdash; has anything at stake, it is identity.</p><p>&ldquo;Very few [people] have heard of Romeoville&rdquo; Callary says. &ldquo;Joliet is large enough to have an identity on its own but Romeo &mdash; or, Romeoville &mdash; might need a little bit of help.&rdquo;</p><p>So people fill in the gaps because, well, that&rsquo;s just what people do.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s satisfying to have an answer,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;And when we don&rsquo;t &hellip; by golly, we make one up.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paul%20and%20kathy.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Paul Kaiser and his wife, Kathy, after visiting the Romeoville Area Historical Society. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Who asked the question?</span></p><p>Paul Kaiser, a retired math and computer science professor, moved to Joliet from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1973. As a curious new resident to the area, Paul got interested in the history of the I&amp;M Canal. It was while he was learning about the canal that he first came across old maps bearing the town names Romeo and Juliet.</p><p>&ldquo;For me this has been a trip around in a big, long historical circle,&rdquo; Paul says. &ldquo;It seems like we&rsquo;re always coming back to the canal, its importance back in the 1800s for opening up commerce and developing communities.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Luckily, Paul is comfortable with a bit of ambiguity in this Curious City investigation.</p><p>&ldquo;I do like the theory of Juliet being the original name because of Campbell&rsquo;s daughter,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But as the author says, we don&rsquo;t have any records to really say with 100 percent accuracy. So it&rsquo;s a good guess. I like the story. I&rsquo;m comfortable with the story. But it still leaves some freedom to play with it if you want. I mean, it leaves mystery in your life.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Katie Klocksin is an independent radio producer. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/KatieKlocksin" target="_blank">@katieklocksin</a>. Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s multimedia producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 15:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/wherefore-art-thou-romeoville-111302 How Blue Island fought off Chicago's annexation attempt http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-blue-island-fought-chicagos-annexation-attempt-109763 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136868066&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>If Blue Island, a Southwestern suburb of just four square miles, once beat back Chicago&rsquo;s attempt to annex it, we shouldn&rsquo;t be surprised that they trounced other suburbs in a Curious City face-off.</p><p>Recall that curious citizen Jim Padden asked Curious City how Chicago grew over time by annexing its neighbors. (The answer? It&rsquo;s in an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">animated map</a>).</p><p>But then, we asked you: Which Chicago suburb&rsquo;s story of resisting annexation do you want to hear more about?</p><p>Blue Island prevailed against Oak Park, which is on the city&#39;s western border, and Evanston to the north. I want to thank the&nbsp;<a href="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/forms/d/1hZ7pRixGl5BicB0a6JZQ7Iz94ZRrx9cTcgxD3Wn8GQQ/viewanalytics#start=publishanalytics" target="_blank">thousands of you who voted</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>If you&rsquo;re not familiar with the place, Blue Island is a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/echo-past-help-blue-island%E2%80%99s-future-105883" target="_blank">diverse, proudly working class suburb</a> of about 24,000 people. It&rsquo;s about 16 miles southwest of Chicago&rsquo;s loop, as the crow flies.</p><p>To get to the heart of why this suburb said &lsquo;No thanks&rsquo; when Chicago came knocking, we need to go back in time.</p><p><strong>Which is the city, which is the suburb?</strong></p><p>In the 1830s, Blue Island and Chicago were just whispers of their future selves among Illinois wilderness.</p><p>&ldquo;Blue Island is just two years younger than Chicago,&rdquo; said chair of the Blue Island Historical Society Mike Kaliski. &ldquo;So Blue Island was a stopping point for travelers going on to Chicago. It was still a day&rsquo;s travel from here to Chicago. So between Chicago and Joliet, Blue Island was it. There was nothing else and this was a big town. So Blue Islanders always felt maybe Chicago should be the suburb, not Blue Island. &rdquo;</p><p>But Blue Island remained a modest four square miles while Chicago grew, annexing its neighbors one at a time. By 1914, Chicago had sidled up to Blue Island&rsquo;s doorstep.</p><p>&ldquo;Morgan Park had voted for [annexation by Chicago in 1914],&rdquo; Kaliski said. &ldquo;So now, oh boy, it&rsquo;s getting closer. Now what are we going to do? So there was probably a little more urgency to the Blue Islanders&rsquo; frame of mind at that time.&rdquo;</p><p>Blue Islanders got to see what happened to their neighbors in Morgan Park after Chicago gobbled them up in 1914. For one thing, Morgan Park lost half its street names in the transition; its east-west streets took on numbers (e.g., West 111th Street), following Chicago&rsquo;s convention.</p><p>We dug out some old newspapers to give a sense of how the arguments for and against annexation played out. Here&rsquo;s an excerpt from the Blue Island Standard on February 2, 1915.</p><p>&ldquo;Who is Annexation Society? The writer afraid or ashamed to disclose his identity...The first gun in the annexation campaign was fired last Saturday when hundreds of circulars called Volume 1 Annexation filled the mails and found their way into nearly every home in the city.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The anonymous &lsquo;Annexation Society&rsquo; flyers touted Chicago&rsquo;s public schools and other city services. But they didn&rsquo;t convince many Blue Islanders. In 1915, residents rebuffed Chicago in a landslide, with about 77 percent voting not to join Chicago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/blue%20island%20historic%20western.PNG" style="height: 207px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Archival image of Western Avenue in Blue Island. (Courtesy of Rock Island Public House)" /><strong>Blue Island roots</strong></div><p>The outcome doesn&rsquo;t surprise Richard Bauer. The 83-year-old comes from a family whose roots in Blue Island run deep. He&rsquo;s a direct descendent of Henry Bauer, who <a href="http://www.blueisland.org/landmarks/33-bauer/" target="_blank">opened a brewery in Blue Island in 1858</a>. Richard Bauer was born 15 years after the annexation vote, but remembers plenty of stories about why it failed.</p><p>&ldquo;There were certain businesses and politicians that were very prominent and it wouldn&rsquo;t be any advantage to them at all,&rdquo; Richard said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;d be out. Naturally they&rsquo;d want to stay the way it was.&rdquo;</p><p>Richard said he never heard anyone in Blue Island consider joining Chicago again.</p><p>&ldquo;If there had been any talk it wasn&rsquo;t serious talk,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Jason Berry is a city planner and history buff who loves Blue Island so much he braved a blizzard to come out and talk about it.</p><p>&ldquo;We have our own identity,&rdquo; Berry said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a shock to me that in 1915 Blue Islanders also felt the same way &mdash; growing up in the shadow of Chicago doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to give up who you were. The pride that Blue Islanders have today you see echoed in these old papers. Blue Islanders always felt strongly about their place in history and I&rsquo;m glad that they were able to hold onto it.&rdquo;</p><p>Identity. That word keeps popping up. Sure, taxes, politics and plenty of other things factored into Blue Island&rsquo;s fear of annexation. But it seems that &mdash; for most folks I talked to &mdash; it&rsquo;s about identity.</p><p><strong>Identity and infrastructure</strong></p><p>It&rsquo;s one thing to have a strong community identity. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-are-chicago-neighborhoods-formed-103831" target="_blank">Plenty of Chicago neighborhoods do.</a></p><p>Shoot, Hyde Park was annexed into the city way back in 1899, but if you ask someone at 55th and Woodlawn where they live, odds are good the first words out of their mouth aren&rsquo;t &ldquo;Chicago,&rdquo; but &ldquo;Hyde Park.&rdquo;</p><p>So the warm fuzzy feeling of a Blue Island identity wasn&rsquo;t enough to fight off annexation. It had to have city services good enough to make Chicago&rsquo;s offers of infrastructure unconvincing.</p><p>A big part of it was that Blue Island had already secured a way of getting fresh water from Lake Michigan without Chicago&rsquo;s infrastructure.</p><p>&ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t need Chicago to come in and say, &lsquo;Hey, you&rsquo;re going to get water, you&rsquo;re going to get this and this &mdash; we&rsquo;ve already got it,&rsquo;&rdquo; Kaliski said. &ldquo;We got a contract and they already secured the water. So you gotta understand their attitude was we don&rsquo;t need you. We don&rsquo;t want to be part of Chicago. There&rsquo;s nothing Chicago could offer except higher taxes.&rdquo;</p><p>Blue Island was also bolstered by its connection to the railways and had diverse industry. It made everything from bricks to beer.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rockislandpublichouse_elliott.PNG" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 350px;" title="Blue Island’s Bauer brewery opened in 1858 but didn’t survive until today. The the beer-loving tradition continues with a new business: Rock Island Public House. (WBEZ/file)" /><strong>Depending on diversity for future growth</strong></div><p>The only thing more diverse than the industry in Blue Island&rsquo;s past is its people. The <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1706704.html" target="_blank">latest U.S. Census numbers</a> show residents are:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li>41.3% white</li><li>47% Latino (can include other categories)</li><li>30.8% African-American</li></ul><p>The city just elected its first Latino mayor: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBsnlL7YcVc" target="_blank">Domingo Vargas</a>. He says Blue Island&rsquo;s diversity still keeps it distinct from Chicago and newer suburban sprawl to its west.</p><p>Blue Island businesses struggled in the 20th century to compete against suburban malls.</p><p>But Vargas &mdash; whose own family has lived in Blue Island since 1914 &mdash; says the suburb is poised to grow again. They&rsquo;re not making bricks anymore, but they are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/echo-past-help-blue-island%E2%80%99s-future-105883" target="_blank">brewing again</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;Blue Island&rsquo;s basically been a community of churches. As well as the breweries. So from one extreme to the other,&rdquo; Vargas said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re coming back. The churches are coming back, the breweries are coming back, and eventually hopefully more of the small businesses will be the unique niches here again.&rdquo;</p><p>There&rsquo;s even talk now in Blue Island of making room for newcomers by snapping up a few bits of available land in the surrounding area.</p><p>Because, as just about everyone we met there said: Who wouldn&rsquo;t want to live in Blue Island?</p><p><em>Tricia Bobeda is a WBEZ web producer. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> @triciabobeda</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 16:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-blue-island-fought-chicagos-annexation-attempt-109763 Suburban board election to be decided by coin flip http://www.wbez.org/news/suburban-board-election-be-decided-coin-flip-106923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Stickney_130501_sh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In April, the Stickney&#39;s Village Board of Trustees election tied with 573 votes for each candidate. Under Illinois law, ties must be broken by lottery-- usually a coin toss. So David DeLeshe and Lea Torres met at the Cook County Clerk&rsquo;s office to decide the winner.</p><p>DeLeshe sat at one end of the room, bouncing his knee. He said he had been feeling&nbsp; nervous since the ballot counts started coming in. &ldquo;Initially, I was down by four, then the next day by three, several days later it was down to a tie. So [I feel] anxiety to the point that I want it over,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Torres sat at the other end of the room, with a few good luck charms in her purse. &ldquo;There are just little holy cards from my mom, dad and mother and law. I keep them close to my heart all the time.&rdquo;</p><p>There was a&nbsp; brief discussion of using a half dollar or quarter from Illinois. But neither was on hand, so they used a Hawaii quarter.</p><p>DeLeshe won a drawing that determined who would get to call heads or tails. Then Cook County Clerk David Orr flipped the coin. DeLeshe called heads. The coin rolled on the floor, and everyone crowded around it.</p><p>&ldquo;There it is, it looks like a head. So David is the new trustee of Stickney,&rdquo; announced Orr.</p><p>Those who are skeptical about whether or not their vote matters, might want to consider that Cook County suburban elections have been decided by coin toss in both 2007 and 2011.</p><p>As for that quarter? DeLeshe says he will frame it.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 08:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/suburban-board-election-be-decided-coin-flip-106923 Park Ridge, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/park-ridge-past-and-present-106638 <p><p>Park Ridge is one of Chicago&rsquo;s older, inner suburbs, located about 15 miles northwest of the Loop. The name is descriptive of its park-like setting along a gentle ridge. Local legend to the contrary, it does not contain the highest point in Cook County.</p><p>The area that became Park Ridge was originally part of a Potawatomi settlement. After the 1833 treaty, people from New England and upstate New York began moving in. They were mostly farmers. Reflecting their Yankee background, they called the district Maine Township.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A--Prospect.JPG" title="Welcome to Park Ridge!" /></div></div></div><p>George Penny was a driving force in the early years. When the first railroad came through in 1854 he opened brickworks near the line, and then arranged to have trains stop by building his own station. The community was informally known as Pennyville, until Penny himself suggested it be called Brickton.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>By 1874 the brick pits had been worked out. The residents voted to incorporate that year, naming the new village Park Ridge. Over the next decades the community took on the look of a traditional New England town, with large homes on wide lots and plenty of trees. Apartments were banned and industry discouraged.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A--z--Park%20Ridge%20Map.jpg" title="" /></div><p>The 1910 census counted 2,009 people in Park Ridge. Anticipating annexation pressure from Chicago, the village reorganized as the City of Park Ridge in 1910. The population continued to grow steadily, reaching 10,417 in 1930. With its pleasant surroundings and convenient Chicago &amp; North Western rail service, Park Ridge had found its niche as a commuter suburb.</p><p>The depression came, and building stopped. During the early 1940s and World War II, some new housing was constructed for war-industry workers. However, away from the main commuter station, much of Park Ridge was still open land.</p><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/A--After School 01.JPG" title="Picking up the kids after school" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A new boom began with the war&rsquo;s end in 1945. Americans were moving to the suburbs. They were looking for the good life away from the crowded central city. They wanted quality schools and their own ranch homes. Park Ridge satisfied all these desires. The population rose to 16.602 in 1950. Twenty years later it was 42,466.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And once again, location was important to the growth of Park Ridge. In 1962 nearby O&rsquo;Hare became Chicago&rsquo;s chief airport. Meanwhile, the metropolitan network of express highways was under construction. The suburb was at a prime spot, near the junction of two major tollways and the Northwest (Kennedy) Expressway.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><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/A--Athletic and Academic.JPG" title="Maine South High School--celebrating athletic and academic excellence" /></div></div></div></div><p>The sleepy days were over. With the expanding population and demand for services, Park Ridge moved to increase its tax base by encouraging office-building. A small number of apartments and condominiums were allowed. However, a proposal by Marshall Field&rsquo;s to build a store in Uptown was rejected, and commercial development remains limited.</p><p>New residential construction has continued, even though the community has reached maturity. Beginning in the 1980s speculators started buying small houses, tearing them down, and replacing them with larger dwellings. The &ldquo;McMansions&rdquo; caused some controversy. Still, it&rsquo;s acknowledged that they&rsquo;ve helped keep general property values high.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A--Two%20Eras.JPG" title="Two eras of Park Ridge houses" /></div></div><p>Park Ridge retains a feel of uncluttered openness. The Cook County forest preserves along the Des Plaines River are just to the west. And the suburb even has a pair of its own man-made lakes.</p><p>If Park Ridge has a signature building, it&rsquo;s probably the Pickwick Theatre. The landmark structure has been in place at the summit of Uptown since 1929, and was used in the credits of the Siskel-Ebert TV show &ldquo;At the Movies.&rdquo; Another art-deco gem from the same era is Maine East High School. Hillary Rodham Clinton&rsquo;s girlhood home still stands on Wisner Avenue, a few blocks from the house where actor Harrison Ford grew up.</p><p>The latest census reported that Park Ridge has a population of 37,480. About 93 percent of the residents are identified as white, with the remainder mostly Asian or Hispanic.</p><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/A--Murphy Lake.JPG" title="Park Ridge's own Murphy Lake" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/park-ridge-past-and-present-106638 Palatine's deathly, intergalactic secrets http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/palatines-deathly-intergalactic-secrets-106723 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88481381" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20palatine%20topper%202.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></p><p>The village of Palatine sits about 30 miles northwest of Chicago. It&rsquo;s marked with a water tower you can see from I-90.</p><p dir="ltr">Like a number of our suburbs here, Palatine was founded around the 1830s by settlers leaving Chicago&rsquo;s Fort Dearborn, who walked along various Indian trails until they found the right spot.</p><p dir="ltr">That spot, now Palatine, had its own trading post and railroad station by the 1850s. And the population kept growing. Now, Palatine is home to about 70,000 people. And it&rsquo;s also home to the state&rsquo;s largest space-themed roller rink, and a mini golf course located in the basement of a funeral home.</p><p dir="ltr">Sandra Levin bought <a href="http://www.orbitskate.net/">Orbit Skate Center</a> in 1992. In this audio clip, she talks about why she bought a skate center, of all places, and what that means to her:<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88450687" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">We also meet Ryan Breede, an employee at the rink who&rsquo;s been skating for about 15 years. We convince him to teach us some skate tricks. Surprisingly (not), we&rsquo;re both pretty rusty. And yes, we do operate a camera on a tripod on roller skates. But Justin Bieber and disco lights keep us motivated. You should really just watch this whole ordeal on your own:<iframe align="middle" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QP5JIMg1soo" width="560"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">All of those new moves really work up our appetite. We want energy for the trek ahead: the journey into the basement of Ahlgrim Funeral Home.</p><p dir="ltr">So we get a bite at a place suggested by Sandra, our roller rink owner: <a href="http://www.thepalatineinn.com/">The Palatine Inn</a>. She adds there is a museum of the village&rsquo;s history in the restaurant, and that maybe we would find it useful for our story.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20palatine%20inn.jpg" style="float: left;" title="The Palatine Inn (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Turns out, the museum is more of a one-wall grid of framed pictures once used in a calendar featuring some of Palatine&rsquo;s memorable history. This includes a human pyramid of Palatine&rsquo;s Mens Athletic club from 1918, mustached men playing cards at a saloon in 1900, an aerial view of the village from 1929.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">We stick around for the food. The Palatine Inn is the type of place where matzoh-ball soup, a BLT and rice pudding just seems like the right choice.</div><p dir="ltr">Around 2 p.m., we start heading to <a href="http://www.ahlgrim.com/">Ahlgrim Funeral Hom</a>e, but get sidetracked by <a href="http://www.spunkydunkers.com/">Spunky Dunkers</a> along the way. Spunky Dunkers is a doughnut shop owned by three sisters who have kept the place in its original everything. It&rsquo;s clean and cozy and lined with chrome bar stools under big windows. Newspaper clippings and photos of past employees are spaced evenly throughout the walls.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the workers, Doreen, has been there for about 10 years. She says she&rsquo;s not really a doughnut person, but she sticks around for the customers. Sometimes they go to brunch in a nearby town or play cards on weekends. She says her customers would kill her if she quit.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20ahlgrim%20hole.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Ahlgrim Acres is the mini golf course in the basement of Ahlgrim Funeral Home (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></p><p dir="ltr">We finally get to Ahlgrim Funeral Home. We were excited about coming here long before we even started our drive: It came up in a search of mini golf places one day, and we&rsquo;ve been scheming how to get here ever since.</p><p dir="ltr">The funeral home itself is familiar to people in Palatine - it&rsquo;s been around since the 1960s. But not everybody knows there&rsquo;s a death-themed mini golf course and arcade in the basement.</p><p dir="ltr">Bradford Hein, Ahlgrim&rsquo;s funeral director, explains how this whole thing got started and why it seemed a natural fit to open a golf course in the basement:<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88451183" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">He goes on to explain the creative ways to bury people these days:<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88451594" width="100%"></iframe></p><div id="PictoBrowser130418140311">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "620", "470", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Palatine, IL: April 18, 2013"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157633277356060"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser130418140311"); </script><p><span id="cke_bm_202S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><i>Rob Wildeboer is the criminal and legal affairs reporter for WBEZ.&nbsp;Logan Jaffe is a web and multimedia producer for WBEZ and Curious City. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity" target="_blank">@WBEZCuriousCity</a>.&nbsp;</i><span id="cke_bm_202E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/palatines-deathly-intergalactic-secrets-106723 Maywood, Illinois: A small village with a circus of talent http://www.wbez.org/news/maywood-illinois-small-village-circus-talent-106467 <p><p>There are two Maywoods in Illinois.</p><p>One is a 2.72 square-mile small town nine miles west of downtown Chicago that has produced a circus of raw talent ranging from NBA players to activists, folk singers and Emmy award winners.</p><p>The other is a Chicago suburb with a fewer than 25,000 people struggling with crime, blight, housing issues, poverty, changing demographics and identity.</p><p>On the south side of town, you have boarded up buildings, burnt-out brick buildings in a slow-state of repair, a quiet little downtown area and a Masonic lodge that serves as a Boys and Girls Club.</p><p>The north side boasts an eclectic mix of Chicago architectural styles where Frank Loyd Wright&rsquo;s students were said to have practiced. You can find 16 homes on the National Register of Historic Places, many tucked away in a quiet little neighborhood just west of the Des Plaines River.</p><p><object height="465" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633156114641%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633156114641%2F&amp;set_id=72157633156114641&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633156114641%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633156114641%2F&amp;set_id=72157633156114641&amp;jump_to=" height="465" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p><h2><strong>You&rsquo;re in Pirate Country</strong></h2><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/PTHSpic0101.jpg" style="height: 211px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Image courtesy of Proviso East High School alumni site)" /></p><p>What the two Maywoods share, besides history and square footage, is a high school called Proviso East, which has proven a fertile ground for more than athletic achievement. The last man to walk on the moon, the inventor of the Sidewinder missile, the founder of BET and an influential member of the Black Panthers all attended the school.</p><p>Proviso East High School - formerly the home of the Proviso Township School District until it was split into east and west schools - is a focal point of the small town.&nbsp; Its colossal brick field house and impeccable blue track make it look more like a small college than a high school.</p><p>Rivaling the school&rsquo;s physical size is its lengthy list of impressive alumni:</p><ul><li>Folk singer John Prine</li><li>Black Entertainment Television (BET) co-founder Sheila Johnson</li><li>Dennis Franz of <em>NYPD Blue</em></li><li>Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the Will Smith film <em>The Pursuit of Happyness</em></li><li>Dr. Walter LeBarge, undersecretary of the Air Force</li><li>Tony and Pulitzer prize winning producer Dennis Grimaldi</li></ul><p>At a concert at the school a few years ago, John Prine said: &quot;Boy, I spent a lot of time in this place, I had a lot of naps...it was rumored that the Dean of Students had a metal plate in his head, so we would carry magnets in our pockets.&quot;</p><p>The school&rsquo;s athletic prowess, especially in basketball, is legendary. Proviso players who made it to the NBA include Reggie Jordan, Steven Hunter (currently with the Denver Nuggets) and most famously Glenn &ldquo;Doc&rdquo; Rivers, the NBA All Star who went on to coach the Celtics all the way to an NBA championship in 2008.</p><p>Donnie Boyce also played in the NBA.</p><p>Boyce was born in Maywood and grew up just down the street from Doc Rivers.&nbsp; He was one of the so-called &ldquo;three amigos&rdquo; (along with Sherell Ford and Michael Finley, both of whom also played in the NBA) on the Proviso team that won the Illinois State Championship in 1991.&nbsp; Boyce played for the Atlanta Hawks in the late &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Two years ago he came back to Proviso, this time to coach.</p><p>For an ex-player with offers to coach in Europe, his decision to come home was a big one for himself and the community.</p><h2><strong>Fred Hampton&rsquo;s legacy of black activism</strong></h2><p>Another famous Proviso alumni is Fred Hampton, the charismatic activist who founded the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party (and became chair of the Illinois BPP). Hampton was shot and killed by the Chicago police in 1969. &nbsp;Hampton earned three varsity letters and graduated from Proviso with honors in 1966. Though he didn&rsquo;t join the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) until he enrolled at Triton Junior College, he seems to have developed his political consciousness and organizing skills at the high school.</p><p>While at Proviso, Hampton led student demonstrations and boycotts over a number of issues: disparities between the treatment of black and white athletes, the lack of black teachers and administrators, and even the election of homecoming queen, a contest limited to white females. <a href="http://www.westsuburbanjournal.com/Maywood/sep17_09_hampton_fred_article55624.html">He won a number of reforms and was head of the school&rsquo;s Inter-racial Council</a>.</p><p>After high school, Hampton continued his activism while rising to lead a Youth Chapter of the NCAAP. He led a campaign to get an integrated public pool in Maywood. Some demonstrations he was involved in apparently became violent, including one against a city board meeting in 1968.</p><p>Many associate the term &ldquo;rainbow coalition&rdquo; with the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., but it was actually Hampton who coined the phrase to describe the alliance he formed between the BPP, Chicago street gangs, youth organizations and student political groups.</p><p>Maywood has remembered Hampton by naming both a street and that very pool he fought for after him. Outside the pool is a bust created by famous Chicago sculptor Preston Jackson. But on Proviso&rsquo;s wall of famous alumni, Hampton&rsquo;s name and image is notably absent.</p><p>Still, not everyone has forgotten him. Donnie Boyce says Hampton had a big impact on him - in fact he thinks Hampton helped quell racial tensions at Proviso.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86363109" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>Maywood Now</strong></p><p>In his 1978 song &ldquo;Bruised Orange&rdquo; John Prine described Maywood like this:</p><p>&ldquo;My heart&#39;s in the ice house come hill or come valley<br />Like a long ago Sunday when I walked through the alley<br />On a cold winter&#39;s morning to a church house<br />just to shovel some snow.</p><p>I heard sirens on the train track howl naked gettin&#39; nuder,<br />An altar boy&#39;s been hit by a local commuter<br />just from walking with his back turned<br />to the train that was coming so slow.</p><p>You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,<br />throw your hands in the air, say &quot;What does it matter?&quot;<br />but it don&#39;t do no good to get angry,<br />so help me I know&rdquo;</p><p>If you talk to residents now, you&rsquo;ll find that some are mad. They are mad about what they perceive as high property taxes and water rates. They&rsquo;re mad about murder rates.</p><p>Even the mayor of Maywood, Henderson Yarbrough Sr. <a href="http://www.maywood-il.org/News&amp;Info/Newsletters&amp;Releases/Releases/2010/VoM_d042210_PropertyTaxAppeal.htm">says that property taxes are high</a>. He&rsquo;s held an appeal forum with <a href="http://www.cookcountygov.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_336_226_0_43/http%3B/www.cookcountygov.com/ccWeb.Leadership/LeadershipProfile.aspx?commiss_id=506">commissioner Larry Rogers Jr.</a> for three years running.</p><p>With a murder rate hovering near an average of <a href="http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Maywood-Illinois.html">eight murders per year</a>, and the blight of old buildings boarded up and empty houses, it might be easy take Prine&rsquo;s approach and gaze at the window and &ldquo;get mad and get madder.&rdquo; &nbsp;But with elections coming up on April 9, citizens have that one quintessentially American way of expressing themselves at their disposal. &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 10:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/maywood-illinois-small-village-circus-talent-106467 Skokie stores highlight print's past and future http://www.wbez.org/skokie-stores-highlight-prints-past-and-future-106098 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-03-14%20at%201.18.49%20PM.png" style="height: 383px; width: 620px;" title="Bob Katzman of Bob's Magazine Museum in Skokie. (Tricia Bobeda/WBEZ)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Bob Katzman calls his store a magazine museum, but everything is for sale. The 63-year-old has been in the print business for almost a half century.</p>He started a newsstand as a South Side kid trying to make ends meet so he could keep attending The University of Chicago Lab School.<p>He moved his business to the Northern suburb of Skokie a few years ago. <a href="http://oldzines.com/">Bob&#39;s Magazine Museum</a> is one of 22 new businesses opened since the suburb&#39;s downtown revitalization project started, according to the local chamber of commerce. There&rsquo;s a new Yellow Line CTA station just down the road and the Village is funneling TIF money and other aid into this area.&nbsp;</p>Katzman&#39;s store is not a typical retail experience. But it is an experience. And it&#39;s is one of two businesses on Oakton Street in downtown offering a glimpse into the past -- and possibly the future -- of print publishing.<br /><p>Two claustrophobic columns of shelves holding more than 100,000 magazines shotgun back from the big front windows at that proclaim Katzman&#39;s store as &quot;Where Print Still Lives!&quot;</p><p>&quot;I wish I was valued more,&quot; Katzman said. &quot;Because what&rsquo;s the good of knowing this if people have an indifference. What do you have? You have 100,000 magazines. So what would I want? I&rsquo;d want Chicago to realize they&rsquo;ve got something remarkable.&quot;</p>His oldest publication is from the 1500s - an English publication railing against the Catholics. It hangs high on the wall next to the front page of a newspaper from the day Marilyn Monroe died.<p>Katzman worries that as the Internet gobbles up the world of print, it&#39;s more than just the glossy covers and smell of paper we&#39;ll miss.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that the present generation - which includes my children so obviously I adore them - is going to have an awareness of things that&rsquo;s a mile wide and an inch deep,&quot; he said. &quot;So they&rsquo;ll know who Davy Crockett is but they won&rsquo;t know all the other material. And you could say &lsquo;so what&rsquo;, right? But to me all of that&rsquo;s important. There&rsquo;s a lack of comprehension, a lack of depth and you end up with superficiality.&rdquo;</p><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/Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 1.18.34 PM.png" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Marc Hammond is co-owner of Aw Yeah Comics in Skokie. (Tricia Bobeda/WBEZ)" />Down the street at <a href="http://www.awyeahcomics.com/">Aw Yeah Comics</a>, relationship between print and digital is different.</div><p>Co-owner Marc Hammond says technology and social media are transforming the comic book industry.</p><p>Aw Yeah Comics will celebrate its one-year anniversary in April. It&#39;s a collaboration between Marc Hammond, who runs the store, and comic artists Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani.</p><p>&quot;There are a ton of really amazing [comic] shops in Chicago,&quot; Hammond said. &quot;We didn&rsquo;t want to be one of many stores in Chicago. We&rsquo;d rather be the store in Skokie.&quot;</p><p>Baltazar created a couple of characters - Action Cat and Adventure Bug - to be the store&#39;s mascots. They liked the characters enough to keep drawing. But would their customers want to hear about these super friends?</p><p>They took the question to the crowd-source funding platform <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1197720703/aw-yeah-comics">Kickstarter</a>. Their pitch: donate a few bucks and we&#39;ll be able to print the duo&#39;s adventures in comic book form. They set an initial goal of $15,000. The campaign closed last week after banking $47,483.</p><p>Hammond says digital tools like this democratize the publishing process.</p><p>A few dollars each from a lot of fans up front added up to enough to cover the cost of printing 12 issues.</p><p>Hammond said the comic shop and magazine museum refer customers to each other often, since their stock doesn&#39;t overlap. And they&#39;re both optimistic that downtown Skokie can add more traffic without losing its charm.</p><p>Katzman is no slouch when it comes to the digital world. He has a website and a Facebook page. He publishes his poetry online.</p><p>But some days, no one comes into the store.</p><p>&quot;I wish I was valued more,&quot; he said. &quot;Because what&rsquo;s the good of knowing this if people have an indifference. What do you have? You have 100,000 magazines. So what would I want? I&rsquo;d want Chicago to realize they&rsquo;ve got something remarkable.&quot;</p><p>He has no plans to retire and his children aren&#39;t likely take on the family business.</p><p>Katzman hopes someone make his dream come true and turn the magazine collection into a real museum. He&#39;d like to stick around as curator. Sounds like the start of a Kickstarter pitch.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/skokie-stores-highlight-prints-past-and-future-106098 Echo of past to help with the Blue Island’s future? http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/echo-past-help-blue-island%E2%80%99s-future-105883 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/BlueIslandMain.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="775" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/March/BlueIsland/2013_03_06_BLUEISLAND_620_INTERACTIVE.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Dave Brown, the owner of Rock Island Public House in south suburban Blue Island, hopes to prove people wrong when it comes to getting good beer in his area.</p><p>&ldquo;The reason we actually opened this bar was in part because everybody said it couldn&rsquo;t be done,&rdquo; said Brown. &ldquo;Everybody said there&rsquo;s no room for craft beer on the South Side. We feel that Blue Island&rsquo;s kind of gotten lost or gets a bad reputation.&rdquo;</p><p>Selling craft beer is not novel, of course, but it is part of what Brown sees as a new back-to-the future strategy of development along <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205386033664818854506.0004d74bb50b3198d595a&amp;msa=0&amp;ll=41.652689,-87.682421&amp;spn=0.006381,0.009645">his stretch of Blue Island&rsquo;s Olde Western Avenue and Broadway Street</a>.</p><p>His building, like many on the block, has historic value and hearkens back to a time when Blue Island was teeming with industry and a sense of community. Blue Island was once home to many blue collar workers, but industry in the region has struggled. Residents have recently tried to revitalize the city through environmental initiatives and artist outreach &mdash;&nbsp;all while cautioning against the label of &ldquo;hipster destination.&quot; The large Latino population is strongly blue collar, as is the ethos.</p><p>And when you meet Brown and other area business owners, they&rsquo;re not shy about telling you so.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to emphasize there&rsquo;s much more down here than public perception leads to,&rdquo; Brown said.</p><p>The 35-year-old former resident of New Orleans moved to Blue Island in 2005 with his wife, Jennifer, who has been a longtime resident. Brown is also a part-time firefighter for the city.</p><p>Jason Berry, a city planner for Blue Island, told WBEZ &ldquo;You have a chance to be pretty progressive. We&rsquo;ve tried to do that with active transportation stuff with environmental stuff with music and the arts.&rdquo; He added that the city&#39;s trying trying to push, and it&#39;s great that &quot;The community all along seems to be saying yeah, keep doing it.&rdquo;</p><p>Business operators told WBEZ that there will soon be an opportunity for Blue Island to consider playing up its past and rejuvenating the retail environment, as Republican Mayor Donald Peloquin is leaving after a tenure of nearly 30 years.</p><p>&ldquo;This area of Olde Western Avenue could be really something special in this town because it&rsquo;s a historic district,&rdquo; said Mario Mendez, a lifelong resident and owner of Mario&rsquo;s restaurant.</p><p>&ldquo;This building was built before Abraham Lincoln became president,&quot; he said. &quot;This area could be very special if it was taken care of if the city devoted money and time into making it something that no one has around here.&rdquo;</p><p>Mendez pointed out several historic photos on the wall of his Mexican restaurant. Such photos are also shown prominently at Brown&#39;s public house as well.</p><p>That kind of civic pride is also on display at neighboring Jeben&rsquo;s Hardware, where customers can stand beneath antique airplanes suspended from the ceiling. A whistle can surprise visitors, too. The source? A model train that circles the store shelves.</p><p>&ldquo;I hope to see a new mayor that comes in to all of the businesses because even the chamber of commerce. This is what makes this community,&rdquo; said Judy Tuma, the hardware store&#39;s manager.</p><p>Tuma and Mendez both think the city could do more for Olde Western Avenue to help increase local business.</p><p>&ldquo;What I see is we&rsquo;re down here cut off from main street Blue Island and sometimes this area can be more prosperous and buildings full compared to what&rsquo;s going on uptown&hellip;. We need to clean up,&rdquo; Tuma said.</p></p> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/echo-past-help-blue-island%E2%80%99s-future-105883 Woodstock: Beyond the Groundhog's shadow http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/woodstock-beyond-groundhogs-shadow-105615 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80126382" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Twenty-one years ago the town square in Woodstock, Illinois was just another idyllic little red cobble-stoned street surrounded by quaint shops and historic buildings.<br /><br />Then actor/director Harold Ramis, known for films such as <em>Ghostbusters</em> and <em>Caddyshack</em>, allegedly took a trip out to the far northwestern Chicago suburb and viewed the town and its square from the vantage point of the old bell tower in the town&rsquo;s beloved Opera House.<br /><br />He decided to cast the town, its square and its people in a little flick that would pump millions into the local economy and forever associate the place with groundhogs and Bill Murray stuck in a never-ending February 2.<br /><br />The film, <em>Groundhog Day</em>, was released Feb. 12, 1993, and more than 80 percent of the initial filming took place in and around the town square of Woodstock. Now more than 20 years later, the town and its people still venerate the chubby woodchuck enough to hold their own week-long festival that culminates in a prognostication to rival that of Punxsutawney Phil.<br /><br />Rather than attend the festival and join up with the crowds enjoying the festivities of Groundhog Week in Woodstock, we opted to visit the town a week after the festival, just to get a sense for what normal life is like there.</p><br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8490960300_bc98452275_z.jpg" style="height: 127px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>WBEZ producer Eilee Heikenen-Weiss and I arrived on a Tuesday morning to skies that were grey and ominous, much like they had been in the film, only we didn&rsquo;t have a threat of blizzard hanging over us.<br /><br />We drove slowly around the red-brick square, coming to a stop near the Starbucks, which was a block or so from the eye-catching Opera House in an already idyllic setting.<br /><br />In need of caffeine after the hour-and-a-half drive from downtown Chicago, we stopped into Starbucks only to find the place overtaken by the <a href="http://home.netcom.com/~fuffle/HTS/current.htm">Hollow Tree Spinners</a>, a group of fiber artists publicly spinning wool into yarn.<br /><br />&ldquo;We think that more people need to see people doing the crafts that are important to what the pioneers did and what people still enjoy doing,&rdquo; Jean Hervert Niemann, of Marengo, told us. &ldquo;The way you get to yarn. Most people don&rsquo;t even know.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8489860939_3be0ced98e_z.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="" />They show up every Tuesday and spread out around the large wooden table pulling combed fibers, some of it locally produced, into the diameter they want and then spinning it into yarn for knitting, crocheting or weaving.</div><p>&ldquo;The Starbucks is great, Niemann said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll see everyone in town come through here.&rdquo;<br /><br />It&rsquo;s not quite the place you&rsquo;d expect people to gather, but the Tom Waits on the sound system and the crafters suggested otherwise.<br /><br />Their husbands sat around the other end of the table chatting about beekeeping over coffee. And sure enough, as folks lined up for their beverage, they chatted amicably with the spinning club members about Alpaca, bobbins and skeins of handspun yarn.<br /><br />It was an auspicious start to the day, with barely a mention of land beavers or Bill Murray.<br /><br /><strong>The Opera House</strong><br /><br />The limestone, terra cotta and fieldstone building sits themed in beige and red colors as the main architectural feature in town, which befits its historical designation as the town&rsquo;s main attraction.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8489861825_b2db32cb0f_z.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="" /></div><p>John Scharres is the director of the Woodstock Opera House. It&rsquo;s a city job, because the city runs the Opera House just like it runs the police department, the fire department or the library department.<br /><br />&ldquo;Historically, there were a lot of municipalities that had facilities like this,&rdquo; Scharres said. &ldquo;Especially in the midwest. You weren&#39;t a happening municipality if you didn&rsquo;t have an auditorium in the community for people to get together en masse to be educated, entertained or recognized for some important achievement in the community.&rdquo;<br /><br />If you watched the film, then you should recognize it as the Pennsylvania Hotel, a central location and backdrop throughout the movie.<br /><br />Its iconic bell tower is the place from which Murray&rsquo;s character tries to end the Sisyphean repetition once and for all by jumping off. &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />Groundhog Day is not the only brush with Hollywood for the old building. Renowned actor/director Orson Welles attended the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock and began his career belting lines from the small stage in the auditorium of the building.<br /><br />Scharres said the stage is almost accurate to the way it looked in 1890, when it was built in the style of the grand theaters on the riverboats that once plied the Mississippi.<br /><br />&ldquo;Well, you can&rsquo;t use open flame in the lights anymore,&rdquo; Scharres said wistfully.<br /><br />You wouldn&rsquo;t know it to look at it, but behind the soft light and the antique fixtures and muted colors is a high-tech sound and lighting system.<br /><br />&ldquo;Probably the most technically sophisticated theater of its size really anywhere,&rdquo; Scharres said proudly.</p><br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8491083989_2ed9edd49d_z.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="" /></div><p>It doesn&rsquo;t take much to get him talking about the town&rsquo;s entertainment prowess and Hollywood connections.<br /><br />&ldquo;Woodstock has a lot of history,&rdquo; Scharres said. &ldquo;<em>Scenes from Planes, Trains and Automobiles</em> were filmed here and Alan Arkin&rsquo;s <em>American Playhouse</em>.&rdquo;<br /><br />Like the 6 a.m. alarm clock in Groundhog Day, where you hear Sonny and Cher sing <em>I Got You Babe again</em>, and again, and again, the conversation inevitably returns to the film.<br /><br />&ldquo;We used to eat them, and now we celebrate them,&rdquo; Scharres said jokingly about groundhogs.</p><p><br />The first prognostication brought about 20-30 people, mostly from Woodstock. But as the film began to take on an almost cult-like status, the curious showed up to see the fake Punxsutawney, PA.<br /><br />Chicago day trippers, Midwestern weekenders and eventually buses full of Japanese tourists arrived. This year, just a few weeks ago in fact, there were more than 800 people there in the early morning of February 2 to hear the prognosticator of prognosticators indicate that spring would be early.<br /><br />Thousands more participated in activities throughout the week during Groundhog Days.<br /><br />Scharres calls it a slow burn.<br /><br />&ldquo;If it hadn&rsquo;t been such a successful movie, we would have not probably embraced it so much after the fact,&rdquo; Scharres said. &ldquo;If it had been something like <em>Dude, Where&rsquo;s my Car</em>, we would probably hide our faces in shame. But this has long-term staying power.&rdquo;<br /><br />Embracing the film might be putting it lightly.<br /><br />There are <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagopublicradio/sets/72157632808243325/">plaques in nooks and crannies</a> all around the square depicting where Bill Murray stepped and indicating Ned&rsquo;s Corner.<br /><br />There is somewhat of karmic cycle for Woodstockians too, as Scharres likes to call townspeople.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a blessing and a curse,&rdquo; Scharres said. &ldquo;I keep wondering what I have to do to get myself out of the loop, because we kind of live <em>Groundhog Day</em> here. On the other hand, it&rsquo;s been a really good boon for the city. We get a lot of positive publicity. We get a lot of tourists, many of whom come back for other events here.&rdquo;<br /><br />Woodstock is a big, old slice of Americana, and the town offers far more than a walking tour of an old Hollywood movie set.<br /><br />Scharres oversees all of the technical setup for the City Band, which performs all summer in the gazebo in the square. There&rsquo;s a jazz festival, farmer&rsquo;s market and parades. The city is definitely setting itself up to be a regional musical destination with its investment in the Opera House.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8490960420_fcec148a32_z.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="" /></div><p>&ldquo;A lot of the basic structure was restored,&rdquo; Scharres said. &ldquo;This one we were able to year after year, bite after bite, do one project after another. We did a complete rehabilitation of the roof, reversed improper construction, rebuilt 114 windows, cleaned and rebuilt the stone work. And the reconstruction of the portico from old photos took 17 years.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Stepping out of the Groundhog&rsquo;s Shadow</strong><br /><br />Like most towns, Woodstock has been impacted by the recession, and the challenges for city departments and small businesses are the same as other similar-sized towns.<br /><br />The movie&rsquo;s influence might be strong around the start of February, and the town certainly has made investments in infrastructure and development, but Bill Murray&rsquo;s influence won&rsquo;t last forever.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s sad,&rdquo; Jim Davis said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of like we&rsquo;re still talking about the &#39;85 Bears.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis has a front-row seat to the action on the quaint town square. He owns a building that houses his wife&rsquo;s telephone counseling business, The Divorce Busting Center.<br /><br />His business is not reliant on tourism.<br /><br />&ldquo;So you&rsquo;ve walked around the square? Have you seen the plaques?&rdquo; he asked us. &ldquo;Ned&rsquo;s corner. Bill Murray jumped off the tower. You&rsquo;d think we&rsquo;d have more going on here than that.&rdquo;<br /><br />He concedes that the square is pretty, and though he doesn&rsquo;t know what would make the town more viable, he knows exactly what he&rsquo;d like to see there.</p><p>&ldquo;Some good restaurants would be a great start,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s difficult in small towns to make them viable. Parking is a problem. It doesn&rsquo;t have the money that a Geneva or St. Charles has, but it&rsquo;s physically quaint.&rdquo;<br /><br />Speaking of food, we ate lunch at La Petite Creperie &amp; Bistrot, which is a popular lunch spot for locals and visitors alike. <a href="http://www.foodspotting.com/reviews/3136641">I ate the Pâté Sandwich</a> with fries and washed it down with a Dutch beer.</p><p>Even though there are dozens of good food options in Woodstock, the square has had its troubles.<br /><br />&ldquo;Restaurants have had a difficult time lately,&rdquo; Mayor Brian Sager told WBEZ. &ldquo;Some have had to shut their doors, there has been some turnover of our restaurants.&rdquo;<br /><br />But he says that&rsquo;s not abnormal for a place like the town square in Woodstock.<br /><br />&ldquo;We just revitalized an economic commission to talk more specifically with businesses,&rdquo; Sager said. &ldquo;How to help them and see what their needs are.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8490960534_1a84667821_z.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="" /></div><p>More foot traffic, more music attractions and a general influx of food businesses would help, according to Sager.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;ve identified as being themed as a dining and entertainment destination,&rdquo; he said. &quot;Events focused around music like folk, jazz and Mozart. It will bring people interested in music to square area.&rdquo;<br /><br />But so does Bill Murray&rsquo;s bronze shoe imprint on a sidewalk next to a Mexican restaurant formerly built as a prop for the cafe scenes in <em>Groundhog Day</em>, for now.<br /><br />The trick will be to figure out what draws people to Woodstock in 20 years.<br /><br />And the town is betting its going to be their quaint, idyllic movie-set of a town square.<br /><br />&ldquo;Come here on a summer Wednesday and the band is playing in the gazebo, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining,&rdquo; John Scharres said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like something out of a picture book.&rdquo;</p><p><object height="520" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632755935777%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632755935777%2F&amp;set_id=72157632755935777&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632755935777%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632755935777%2F&amp;set_id=72157632755935777&amp;jump_to=" height="520" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/takimoff" rel="author">Tim Akimoff</a> is the digital content editor at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff"> Twitter </a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/timakimoff"> Facebook </a></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/woodstock-beyond-groundhogs-shadow-105615