WBEZ | Chicago Suburbs http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-suburbs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Training Teaches Schools and Parents How to Talk About Transgender Issues http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Trans Training-phs.d211.org_.png" alt="" /><p><div>This is the first week that a transgender student in Palatine will have access to the girls&rsquo; locker room. This comes after the U.S. Department of Education&#39;s Office for Civil Rights ruled the school in District 211 had violated Title IX by banning the student from the locker room.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, the district is taking a step beyond increased access. They&rsquo;re training staff and administrators with the tools of inclusion for gender non-conforming students.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jennifer Leininger from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital leads this and other trainings in schools.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender Rejecting Appeal On Assault Ban, Supreme Court Again Stays Out Of Gun Policy http://www.wbez.org/news/rejecting-appeal-assault-ban-supreme-court-again-stays-out-gun-policy-114077 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_210510367995_wide-eb1bfccb2754671092487a65eaea8bd092bcb0b6-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res458818130" previewtitle="Chicago suburb Highland Park banned the possession of what it called assault weapons, including AR-15s, like this one, and AK-47s, as well as large capacity magazines. Gun rights advocates challenged the ban, contending that it violated the Second Amendment's guarantee of a right to bear arms."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Chicago suburb Highland Park banned the possession of what it called assault weapons, including AR-15s, like this one, and AK-47s, as well as large capacity magazines. Gun rights advocates challenged the ban, contending that it violated the Second Amendment's guarantee of a right to bear arms." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/07/ap_210510367995_wide-eb1bfccb2754671092487a65eaea8bd092bcb0b6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago suburb Highland Park banned the possession of what it called assault weapons, including AR-15s, like this one, and AK-47s, as well as large capacity magazines. Gun rights advocates challenged the ban, contending that it violated the Second Amendment's guarantee of a right to bear arms. (Charles Krupa/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The U.S. Supreme Court has<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/justices-reject-challenge-local-assault-weapons-ban-114074" target="_blank"> rejected an appeal from gun owners</a> who challenged a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition magazines.</p></div></div></div><p>Two justices &mdash; Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia &mdash; would have heard the case and struck down the ban.</p><p>In deciding not to revisit the issue in the Highland Park case, the justices followed a pattern. Since declaring an individual right to bear arms, the court has largely stayed out of the gun control question altogether, refusing the pleas of gun rights advocates, in addition to many states that have urged the court to rule again and expand the right to gun ownership.</p><p>Monday&#39;s action leaves in place a decision issued by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a local ordinance enacted in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. In 2013 the town enacted a statute banning the possession of what it called assault weapons, including AR-15s, and AK-47s, and it banned large capacity magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds.</p><p>Gun rights advocates promptly challenged the ban, contending that it violated the Second Amendment&#39;s guarantee of a right to bear arms. In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment protects the right to own a gun for self defense in the home. But the 5-4 decision appeared to leave government at all levels wide latitude to regulate gun ownership and possession.</p><p>Since then, many state and local governments have enacted new and stricter gun laws in the face of mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in Aurora, Colo., and elsewhere. And at the same time, gun rights advocates have challenged these and other gun control laws, claiming these statutes are unconstitutional.</p><p>In the Highland Park case, the justices debated for months whether to review the lower court decision upholding the law. The fact that it took so long suggests either that Justices Thomas and Scalia were trying to persuade some of their colleagues to hear the case, and failed, or that neither side of the closely divided court was sure it had to votes to prevail.</p><p>Justice Thomas, writing for himself and Justice Scalia in dissent, said that there is nothing unusual about the guns banned by the Highland Park ordinance; calling them assault weapons, he said, is nothing more than &quot;anti-gun propaganda.&quot; Allowing this and other similar laws to stand, he said, &quot;flouts&quot; the court&#39;s previous rulings on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.</p></p> Mon, 07 Dec 2015 14:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/rejecting-appeal-assault-ban-supreme-court-again-stays-out-gun-policy-114077 Half Day Road and the Origins of a Semantic Slip-up http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/half-day-road-and-origins-semantic-slip-114041 <p><p>If you&rsquo;ve traveled anywhere near Vernon Hills, Lincolnshire, or other Chicago suburbs in Lake County, you&rsquo;ve likely encountered the rush hour misery that is Half Day Road, also known as Illinois Route 22. That two-to-four-lane, rural-feeling stretch of road can sometimes take you 40 minutes to drive only 10 miles.</p><p>The name feels fitting, though probably even more so during the early 20th century, when travel to and from Chicago was conducted via slower modes of transportation. Travel time forms the basis of a common theory about the name&rsquo;s origins.</p><p>Questioner Anita Silvert, who grew up in Skokie, remembers her father&rsquo;s explanation: &ldquo;All he said was that it took a half-a-day to get there.&rdquo;</p><p>It was an answer she accepted as fact until she grew up, and began wondering ... half-a-day to get where? With a little bit of suspicion in mind, she asked Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>What is Half Day Road in the northern suburbs a half day from? Who made the trip, and on what kind of vehicle?</em></p><p>As we dug into the area&rsquo;s history we learned something quickly: The idea that the road was named for the amount of time it took to travel from somewhere to ... somewhere else ... is a misconception. It&rsquo;s actually a misconception within a misconception: It&rsquo;s a miscon-Inception!</p><p>And we say that not to poke fun at folks who&rsquo;ve lived with the wrong idea for years but because &mdash; in a strange twist of fate &mdash; the semantic slip-up associated with &ldquo;Half Day&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t limited to Lake County. Nope, this seemingly unique naming quirk extends well beyond the Chicago region; it&rsquo;s repeated nearly 600 miles away.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Many a Half Day</span></p><p>The crux of the misconception is that it used to take a half-day to travel from Chicago to Half Day the town, which hasn&rsquo;t existed for about 20 years.</p><p>If you lived in the area, you might remember the place. Or not. It was an unincorporated area with just a few hundred residents. It was originally bordered by Vernon Hills and Lincolnshire, and it sat atop the intersection of Olde Half Day Road and Milwaukee Avenue. <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-08-24/news/9508240238_1_annexed-unincorporated-land-half-day" target="_blank">In late 1993 it was annexed, with Vernon Hills taking large portions and Lincolnshire grabbing most of the remainders.</a></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/1861%20Half%20Day%20map_L%20Gast%20Brothers%20and%20Co%20St%20Louis%20MO_courtesy%20Lake%20Co%20Discovery%20Museum%20web_0.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px;" title="A map of the town Half Day in 1861. (Courtesy Lake County Discovery Museum)" /></div><p>Half Day was a town of many firsts for Lake County. Established in 1836, it was the site of the county&rsquo;s first post office, its first school and &mdash; just a few years before &mdash; its first permanent non-native settler. The road came after the town, and with it, a cascade of mistaken origin stories.</p><p>As such, Half Day&rsquo;s fake origin story has long held up in Lake County &mdash; even to those closest to it.</p><p>Take Louis Tricoli, the co-owner of the historic Half Day Inn, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-04-06/news/0704050671_1_big-box-daniel-wright-local-lore" target="_blank">which had stood for more than 160 years before its demise in 2007</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;I had heard that it was a half-day&rsquo;s ride from Chicago,&rdquo; Tricoli said, adding that it wasn&rsquo;t until he and his partner purchased the place that he dug deeper into the history.</p><p>&ldquo;I started going to the library and the village hall and ended up putting a little brochure together that I put in the tables,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t just a building sitting there. It had a lot of history to it.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The man behind the name</span></p><p>Here&rsquo;s the real scoop Tricoli wanted his customers to have: The town of Half Day, and later the road, got its name from a Potawatomi chief named Aptakisic, who was said to have lived with his tribe along the <a href="http://rpwrhs.org/w/index.php?title=Half_Day" target="_blank">Fox River</a>. Aptakisic&rsquo;s name roughly translated to &ldquo;center of the sky&rdquo; or &ldquo;half day.&rdquo; Other accounts suggest the name meant &ldquo;He who could do a whole day&rsquo;s work in half a day.&rdquo;</p><p>While there isn&rsquo;t a ton of information out there about who Aptakisic was as a person, Diana Dretske, a historian with the Lake County Discovery Museum at the Lake County Forest Preserves, said we do know what impression he left on non-natives. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Aptakisic was known to have been very welcoming to the settlers,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Henry Blodgett, the son of a DuPage pioneer, wrote in a letter that Aptakisic had helped protect his family and others from an attack during the Black Hawk War in 1832, leading them from Downers Grove to Fort Dearborn along the Chicago River.</p><p>The letter, published in the book DuPage Roots by Richard A. Thompson, read:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;... There had been a council held that night at West Valley where Aurora now stands, between Black Hawk and a band of chiefs of the Potawatomi and Win&shy;nebago. They had been urged to join with Black Hawks&#39;s tribe in a general attack upon the white settlements in northern Illinois, but refused. As soon as the council broke up, [Aptakisic] had mounted his horse and ridden as fast as he could by way of Naper Settlement to give the alarm so we might get away before the Sauks could get there.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=rBsvCSJbDqcC&amp;pg=PA227&amp;lpg=PA227&amp;dq=%22treaty+of+chicago%22+aptakisic&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=TdM8tx3YyF&amp;sig=fua0RnDp_bEA2NpB4fcqepWrr3U&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwib45j4vrfJAhXCYyYKHeQDC8AQ6AEIPTAG#v=onepage&amp;q=aptakisic&amp;f=false" target="_blank">It was Aptakisic</a> who decided that all of the young Potawatomi warriors be held in a camp along the Des Plaines River until the end of the Black Hawk War, lest they be tempted to join the fight against the white settlers.</p><p>Lake County&rsquo;s first permanent white settler, Daniel Wright, recalled that the chief and his tribe helped him build his home, tended his crops, and cared for his family after he moved to the area in 1833.</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/Painting%20by%20Les%20Schrader%20courtesy%20of%20the%20Naperville%20Heritage%20Society%20at%20Naper%20Settlement%20WEB.png" style="height: 341px; width: 620px;" title="In this painting by artist Les Schrader, Potawatomi Chief Aptakisic says goodbye to Naperville settlers after escorting them to Fort Dearborn in Chicago during the Black Hawk War of 1832. (Courtesy of the Naperville Heritage Society)" /></div><p>Aptakisic&rsquo;s tightness with the area&rsquo;s settlers becomes even more clear, as Blodgett recalls the painful goodbye he and his family exchanged with the chief before he and the other tribes were removed to a reservation west of the Mississippi River in the fall of 1837. The move was part of the Treaty of Chicago they agreed to with the United States in 1833. (The treaty was ratified in 1835):</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I well remember the sad face of the old chief as he came to bid our family goodbye. ...We all shed tears of genuine sorrow &hellip; his generous kindness to my parents has given me a higher idea of the red man&rsquo;s genuine worth.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>We can&rsquo;t, however, say for sure whether Aptakisic was &ldquo;kind&rdquo; because it was in his nature, or because he felt it was the best political strategy for his people.</p><p>&ldquo;It seems that the people that he did get close with tended to be the people who ended up being the leaders of the community, people who were respected,&rdquo; Dretske said.</p><p>In her book <em>Rising up from Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago</em>, author Ann Durkin Keating writes that Potawatomi leaders in Illinois feared joining Sauk warrior Black Hawk in his eponymous war against the United States because such an alliance might &ldquo;lead to an &lsquo;uncompensated removal&rsquo;&rdquo; from the land.</p><p>If this was indeed one of their motives for remaining peaceful, it worked in their favor: In addition to exchanging five million acres of land in northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin for five million acres of land west of the Mississippi River, the Treaty of Chicago afforded the Potawatomis between $500,000 and $1 million in immediate payments, including thousands of dollars in annuities.</p><p>Keating writes: &ldquo;They were among the first Native people subject to the Indian Removal Act, but their acquiescence to removal came with compensation to themselves and their creditors, as well as a negotiated destination. Their leaders proved to be &lsquo;tough, capable, skilled negotiators&rsquo; who took &lsquo;the best advantage they could from an impossible situation.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Aptakisic was among the leaders who helped negotiate the treaty. <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=aKgKCioMi9wC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=The+Potawatomis,+Keepers+of+the+Fire&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwik8pzWr8DJAhWCLSYKHcBSBm0Q6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&amp;q=Aptakisic&amp;f=false" target="_blank">It was unclear, though, whether he agreed with the details of the final agreement or not.</a></p><p>Regardless, it was in 1836 &mdash; after the treaty was signed but before the Potawatomi were expelled &mdash; that the area&rsquo;s settlers decided to name their town after the soon-to-be-departing chief.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Well ... why?</span></p><p>Edward Callary, author of <em><a href="http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/33nxw6km9780252033568.html" target="_blank">Place Names of Illinois</a></em>, said the name &ldquo;Half Day&rdquo; and its variations follow a popular mid-19th century trend, when many American communities, post offices, railroad stops and other places were named for local Native American leaders. The names were often applied long after Native American influence in the area had ceased.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s sort of nostalgic,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We give the names of things that used to be important in the area.&rdquo;</p><p>Callary says Native American names were great candidates for place names because, to white settlers, they evoked the memory of something great that no longer posed a threat. It&rsquo;s no wonder that, beyond Chicago&rsquo;s hockey team, &ldquo;Black Hawk&rdquo; is a familiar name around Illinois; there&rsquo;s a Black Hawk Elementary School in Springfield, an unincorporated town in northwestern Illinois called Blackhawk, a Black Hawk State Historic site, and Black Hawk College. The list goes on.</p><p>Aptakisic, however, didn&rsquo;t appear to pose any threat. The settlers&rsquo; choice to name the town Half Day seemed to have originated from a place of love &mdash; or at least admiration and respect.</p><p>Remnants of Aptakisic&rsquo;s legacy can be found across Lake County: Aptakisic Road, Aptakisic Creek, the old Aptakisic community, the Wisconsin Central Railroad&rsquo;s Aptakisic stop, Half Day Road and Olde Half Day Road, which was the original Half Day Road, before it was replaced by the longer, modern-day Half Day Road.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">How did the name&rsquo;s meaning get confused? And, when?</span></p><p>Perhaps right around the time the town was being named.</p><p>Some sources, like<a href="http://livinghistoryofillinois.com/" target="_blank"> Living History of Illinois and Chicago</a>, say that the town&rsquo;s true name was Halfda, in honor of the chief, but that it changed when an early cartographer spelled it &ldquo;Half Day.&rdquo; This isn&rsquo;t so confusing that we lose the meaning of the name yet, but it&rsquo;s confusing nonetheless.</p><p>Dretske believes the real confusion over the name&rsquo;s origin began around the 1840s, when non-residents began paying visits to the newly-built Half Day Inn near the intersection of present day Milwaukee Avenue and Olde Half Day Road.</p><p>&ldquo;Just knowing how fast a horse and buggy can move on a dirt road, it could take you part of the day to get out there,&rdquo; Dretske said. &ldquo;So you can kind of see how people would make that assumption.&rdquo;</p><p>Dretske adds that the name&rsquo;s mistaken meaning was kept alive when the Wisconsin Central Railroad began making stops at Prairie View in the late 1880s, which would have taken quite a long time to get to from Half Day, and vice versa.</p><p>She points to one early piece of evidence (or at least an allusion to it) within a historical account of the town written by the students of Half Day School in 1918. In it, <a href="http://livinghistoryofillinois.com/files/Half%20Day,%20Illinois.pdf" target="_blank">they explain that the town was named in honor of the Pottawatomi chief &ldquo;Hefda,&rdquo;</a> and that the town was located about halfway between Chicago and northern Lake County.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Lost in translation &mdash; not once, but twice</span></p><p>Considering his celebrated past, it&rsquo;s unfortunate that the translation of Aptakisic&rsquo;s name ended up describing so perfectly the experience of traveling to and from the area during the 19th century. Beyond that, Callary said, people like to make up stories explaining why places have their names, regardless of accuracy: &ldquo;We hear something that we don&rsquo;t understand, and we make up a story to explain it.&rdquo;</p><p>He gives the example of Quiver Township in Mason County, Illinois, which he said is named after Quiver Creek.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the local stories is that when you stand near this river and rock back and forth, you can see the land around you quiver,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Makes sense, right?&rdquo;</p><p>Right! But, of course, this has no basis in fact.</p><p>&ldquo;Rather, the early French explorers named this the Cuivre River from their word &lsquo;cuivre,&rsquo; which means &lsquo;copper,&rsquo; because they mined copper from the river,&rdquo; Callary says.</p><p>There are tons of examples like this, he says, and Half Day is just one of them.</p><p>Which makes us wonder: With a name like Half Day, was there ever a chance that Aptakisic&rsquo;s legacy could have lasted longer than a decade or so?</p><p>Consider this: <a href="http://www.longgrovehistory.org/lghsNewsletter09.pdf" target="_blank">When Aptakisic</a> moved west towards Kansas, per the Treaty of Chicago, and ended up near Elmont, he met white settlers that grew fond of him, and later named a creek and a cemetery after him.</p><p><a href="http://cjonline.com/stories/022201/nli_coder22.shtml#.VmCUKnarS01" target="_blank">If you Google it</a>, the author of at least one local newspaper article asked a question that should be eerily familiar:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I couldn&#39;t help but wonder about the name. How did it originate? Was it half a day&#39;s journey walking or riding a horse from some place to another; to Topeka, eight miles south, for instance? I know that there are streams on trails through the area that are named because they mark distances. For example, 110 Mile Creek on the Santa Fe Trail. But that&#39;s more exact. Half Day, like Elmont, is so unspecific.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>And, as that author did his own research into Kansas&rsquo; own &ldquo;Half Day,&rdquo; he eventually found Aptakisic and &mdash; as we know by now &mdash; a much more meaningful origin story.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Elmont,+KS+66618/@39.1613332,-95.7111252,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x87bf00694f1bfca9:0x9446f9cad1816f32" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/halfday%20creek%20elmont%20kansas2_0.png" style="height: 345px; width: 620px;" title="" /></a></div><p><em>Laura Pavin is a freelance journalist in Chicago and reports for WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/laurapavinnews">@LauraPavinNews.</a></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 03 Dec 2015 14:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/half-day-road-and-origins-semantic-slip-114041 Don't believe the height! Why Chicago suburb names flat out lie about their elevation http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/dont-believe-height-why-chicago-suburb-names-flat-out-lie-about-their-elevation <p><p>Picture it. The majesty of Chicago suburbia.</p><p>The ridges of Park Ridge like waves of a tumultuous sea! The grandeur of Arlington Heights and the sweeping sublime of Palos Hills. And beyond, the bold peak of Mount Prospect rises in the distance like Olympus itself!</p><p>Name-wise, the Chicago suburbs sound like the most romantic landscape this side of the Mississippi.</p><p>But if you&rsquo;ve actually set foot in the place, like our questioner John Leahy, you know the terrain is hardly reminiscent of a <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=thomas+cole&amp;espv=2&amp;biw=1777&amp;bih=905&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI2pW5ge_CyAIVRZyACh21NgRr&amp;dpr=0.9" target="_blank">Thomas Cole painting</a>. Feeling the discrepancy between place names and actual geography, John sent us this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>In notoriously flat Chicago, why do so many suburb names imply elevation?</em></p><p>The irony runs deep.</p><p><a href="http://www.disruptivegeo.com/2015/08/the-flatness-of-u-s-states/" target="_blank">A recent nationwide flatness study</a> suggests Illinois is the second-flattest state in the country (number one being Florida, <a href="http://choices.climatecentral.org/#8/25.933/-80.681?compare=scenarios&amp;carbon-end-yr=2100&amp;scenario-a=unchecked&amp;scenario-b=extreme-cuts" target="_blank">which will be under water pretty soon anyway</a>), but you definitely don&rsquo;t get that impression from the names of Chicago suburbs.</p><p>For real:</p><blockquote><p>Highland Park, Park Ridge, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Palos Heights, Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Barrington Hills, Palos Hills, Rolling Meadows</p></blockquote><p>And before you say: &ldquo;But wait! There is some elevation out in the &lsquo;burbs!&rdquo; Let&rsquo;s make something clear: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sweet-spot-top-chicago-107897" target="_blank">You&rsquo;re not wrong</a>. Chicago&rsquo;s Loop is at about 500 feet above sea level, and <a href="http://peakbagger.com/map/BigMap.aspx?cy=42.124567&amp;cx=-88.237406&amp;z=13&amp;l=CT&amp;t=P&amp;d=6431&amp;c=0&amp;a=0&amp;sx=-999&amp;sy=-999&amp;cyn=0" target="_blank">the high point of Cook County is in Barrington at 900 feet</a>. That height difference is about 400 feet, and that&rsquo;s spread over 40 miles. If we were talking about any other state in the country (besides Florida) you&rsquo;d barely notice the difference. In other words, in Illinois, the default standards are low for what&rsquo;s considered high.</p><p>Besides, getting muddled in the numbers takes some of the most interesting curiosities out of John&rsquo;s question. Because the answer to why suburbs&rsquo; names involve height involves a melding of a broad cultural trend and a specific psyche present in Chicago-area real-estate marketing. I&rsquo;ll move through three theories, each getting a little closer to sweet home Chicago.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Theory one: Flatness doesn&rsquo;t feel good</span></p><p>Picture the flattest place you can possibly imagine. Maybe it&rsquo;s miles of desert under a hot sun, or it&#39;s a view from a lone sailboat on a windless day. Or maybe it looks more like this:</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/Cumulus_Clouds_over_Yellow_Prairie2.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="(Wikimedia/Wing-Chi Poon)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Whatever you&rsquo;re picturing, it&rsquo;s likely you&rsquo;re confusing flatness for expanse, according to geographer Josh Campbell, who&rsquo;s studied perceived flatness versus actual flatness.</p><p>&ldquo;I think people associate flatness with that sense of being able to look in 360 degrees and feel wide open,&rdquo; Campbell says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s that feeling of openness.&rdquo;</p><p>Flat is a feeling, he says, a perception that&rsquo;s triggered by the absence of features that would otherwise disrupt the sense of expanse. For disruptors, think: mountains, bluffs, a dense forest of trees or even a visible coastline.</p><p>Campbell believes he has convincing evidence for this cultural trend. When he surveyed people about <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140314-flattest-states-geography-topography-science/" target="_blank">what they thought the flattest state is</a>, a common answer was Kansas. The correct answer? Florida.<a href="http://isgs.illinois.edu/sites/isgs/files/maps/county-maps/cook-ga.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/elevation chart.png" style="height: 405px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="There is a bit of elevation in the south and northwest Chicago suburbs. But Illinois is the second-flattest state in the country. (Source: ISGS)" /></a></p><p>That&rsquo;s because Florida has the visual relief of a coastline, he says. Even though Florida is the flattest state in the country, its coastline disrupts the human feeling of endless, repetitive, boring landscape.</p><p>&ldquo;Somehow relief in the terrain seems to be more exciting,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>And that creates a special challenge for the part of the country people feel is the flattest: the prairie states.</p><p>&ldquo;Prairie landscapes don&rsquo;t seem to hold the attention of people like white sand beaches and rocky mountains do,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Campbell says if people feel prairie states are the most boring places on Earth, how do you convince people to move there, or travel there? Especially when it comes to Illinois, <a href="http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/illinois/state-nickname/prairie-state" target="_blank"><em>the </em>Prairie State</a>?</p><p>He&rsquo;s not too surprised to hear about all the height-inspired names of Chicago suburbs. He says names like Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect make sense, in a way.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s the best evidence I&rsquo;ve seen that people correlate flat with boring,&rdquo; he laughs. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d name these suburbs anything &mdash; you&rsquo;d tell a lie and call it a Mount &mdash; to differentiate it.&rdquo;</p><p>And a &ldquo;Mount&rdquo; just sounds like a more exciting place to be than a field full of cows, no?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Theory two: Impact of historic scenic imagery</span></p><p>Just look at this painting.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" among="" class="image-original_image" nevada="" sierra="" source:="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/maxresdefault_0.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" the="" title="Albert Bierstadt's 1868 painting, " /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Does this look like flat to you? No.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In the mid-19th century, there&rsquo;s a broad, cultural awakening of romantic, dramatic landscape, says Chicago historian Ann Durkin Keating. Flatlands, she says, just didn&rsquo;t make the cut.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For evidence, she points to countless paintings of settlers on horseback traversing mountain ranges, tourists gazing at waterfalls at sunset, or people standing before the bluffs of the Colorado River.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Keating says artists, poets, and writers from the East Coast or from Europe had decided what &ldquo;scenic&rdquo; meant. Midwestern farmers didn&rsquo;t play as much a part in defining the newfound cultural infatuation with scenery, much less creating art depicting it.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And be honest: The last time you took a road trip, wasn&rsquo;t Kansas the state you slept through?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bringing this back to Chicago suburb names, flatness just wasn&rsquo;t fashionable in the 19th century media market. It was unlikely you&rsquo;d want to look &mdash; much less live &mdash; in a place that evoked flatlandia.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:24px;">Theory three: Local practicality</span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Keating says in 19th century, Chicago&rsquo;s city center was ridden with filth and contagious diseases like Cholera and Typhoid. Those diseases were often transmitted through contaminated water, and the more low-lying, still water there was around, the easier these diseases could spread.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In the 1870s, the northwest railroad&rsquo;s commuter line gained popularity and provided an easy, accessible route to the slightly more elevated suburbs. Many wealthy Chicagoans moved out of the city and into the highlands.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Simply put: Higher places meant healthier places, and they were marketed as such.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There you have it, three theories that led to the oh-so-flat Chicago area having a plethora of names indicating elevation. To recap:</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">1. Flatness is generally boring (people notice and like topographic features)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">2. Flatness isn&rsquo;t worth looking at (19th century prairies and grain fields weren&rsquo;t scenic, apparently)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">3. Flatness is where the diseases are (screw Typhoid, people, let&rsquo;s stay out of low-lying Chicago)</div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">If you put these trends together, it makes sense that if a Chicago-area town could be anything other than flat, it would aspire to be that other thing. And when it came to marketing and selling land in the early Chicago suburbs, many residents and realtors took that to heart.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size: 24px;">A tale of two neighbors</span></div><p>Chicago suburbs end up with names that imply elevation in these two ways: crowd-sourced rebranding and straight-up marketing.</p><p>In the crowd-sourcing camp, we have Arlington Heights, one of the first &ldquo;successful&rdquo; suburbs that sat along the northwest railroad line out of Chicago. It didn&rsquo;t always have that namesake, however. About 20 miles out of the city, and mostly made up of German farmers and the occasional small business or trading post, the place was actually named Dunton, after founder William Dunton. (Go figure.)</p><p>When William Dunton died in the 1870s, residents saw an opportunity to rebrand.</p><p>&ldquo;The people who are living there are saying, &lsquo;Hey, we don&rsquo;t want to be known as Dunton for rest of time. We want a more progressive name,&rsquo;&rdquo; says Keating. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re looking out and saying &lsquo;What will look good to encourage people to come buy land here and settle here?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>After a bit of soul searching, they came up with (drumroll, please!) Arlington Heights.</p><p>Why the Arlington? Keating says no one knows for sure. But the Heights? It wasn&rsquo;t just inspired by the tiny bit of elevation.</p><p>According to Keating, the name switch allowed the community to change its image &mdash; and its reputation &mdash; &nbsp;from a place people associated with farmland to a place people associated with trade and commerce.</p><p>But what about so many other Chicago villages and towns, the ones that had elevation built into the name from the start?</p><p>For that, consider the case of Mount Prospect, which, unlike Arlington Heights, got an elevated name the first time around, before it was incorporated.</p><p>According to Jean Murphy, vice president of the Mount Prospect Historical Society, realtor Ezra Carpenter Eggleston bought a hunk of land along the railroad between Arlington Heights and Park Ridge in 1871. Hoping to make some money, Eggleston anticipated the place would prosper if he could convince the railroad to build a stop there. He named the place Mount Prospect.</p><p>&ldquo;The &lsquo;Mount&rsquo; part was because of the elevation,&rdquo; Murphy says. &ldquo;And the &lsquo;Prospect&rsquo; was because he thought the town had high prospects for the future.&rdquo;</p><p>But, Eggleston&rsquo;s own high prospects fell flat, and quickly; Eggleston failed to convince the railroad company to build a railroad station in Mount Prospect and the realtor went bankrupt from all the unsold lots. Basically, he abandoned ship (er, Mount). There&rsquo;s little known about him after that.</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/mtprospecttrain.jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="Mount Prospect Railroad Crossing, circa 1925. Not a mount in sight. (Source: Illinois Digital Archives)" /></div><p>Mount Prospect eventually got its own railroad stop in 1886, but the place didn&rsquo;t boom until after WWII.</p><p>As for the name? Murphy suspects Eggleston was trying to &ldquo;one-up&rdquo; other towns with height-related names. And Mount Prospect does sound higher than, say, Arlington Heights. Still, Murphy says Eggleston deserves some credit.</p><p>&ldquo;Back in 1874 this might have seemed like the highest point. It was all just prairie,&rdquo; Murphy says. &ldquo;But Eggleston was obviously just trying to sell lots.&rdquo;</p><p>And today, the Mount Prospect Historical Society is doing its own bit of Eggleston-inspired marketing.</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/prospectshirt.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Embrace the irony with a Mount Prospect Historical Society T-shirt. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Funny, right? The Society&rsquo;s self-aware shirt is a popular high school graduation gift.</div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">&lsquo;A placeless society&rsquo;</span></p><p>By the 1930s, it was possible to live in a Chicago suburb named after another Chicago suburb &mdash; or, actually, two suburbs. Example: Prospect Heights, its name being the offspring of nearby Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights.</p><p>But we can&rsquo;t end this story without taking the example of Ford Heights, just south of the city. Because if you think the whole suburb-name-marketing thing is something of a historic relic, it&rsquo;s actually quite the opposite.</p><p>Ford Heights was originally named East Chicago Heights, a spinoff of its neighbor Chicago Heights. According to Edward Callary, author of <a href="http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/33nxw6km9780252033568.html" target="_blank">Place Names of Illinois</a>, Chicago Heights was named to evoke the association of modern, city lifestyle. (Surprise! Neither Chicago Heights nor Ford Heights are much higher than Chicago&rsquo;s low-lying Loop.)</p><p>Because in 1987, East Chicago Heights decided it needed to rebrand.</p><p>According to <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-03-27/news/8701230729_1_ford-heights-park-forest-south-east-chicago-heights" target="_blank">an account in the Chicago Tribune</a>, Village Clerk Edna Mason said: ``We just felt we needed a change in the image. It sounds better. I thought it would be a nice name.``</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The reason? Callary suspects the move was to publicly woo the Ford Motor Co. plant, which sat on an unincorporated piece of land outside of the village boundaries, into annexation. Speaking on the name change, a surprised Ford spokesperson said it was &ldquo;flattering,&rdquo; but that&rsquo;s all.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.dunakin.com/projects/suburb-generator/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/evergreen%20hills.PNG" style="height: 240px; width: 620px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" title="Think you know where Evergreen Hills is? It doesn't exist. Click to take the Chicago Suburbs Name Generator for a spin, though. " /></a></div></div><p>One-hundred years ago we named places very differently, Callary says. Places were named after a town founder, or family member, or after something that indicated the place&rsquo;s actual, physical presence in the world. Today, it&rsquo;s more common to name a place after what you want it to be, rather than what&rsquo;s actually there.</p><p>&ldquo;When we talk about community naming it&rsquo;s all image,&rdquo; Callary says. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s why developers spend time and money into playing into what our hopes and our dreams and our desires are.&rdquo;</p><p>If you buy his argument, here&rsquo;s a question for you: Is it okay to continue naming physical places after feelings?</p><p>Keating, our Chicago historian, says yes. But she also says there&rsquo;s a downside.</p><p>&ldquo;What I see is a loss of roots. We are a mobile society, and being able to move is a critical part of being American,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;These &nbsp;generic names have to do with our caution about real estate investment. &nbsp;And really, it&rsquo;s a middle class American caution. The names of these places can&rsquo;t be so specific that it will be a bar to selling property at the end of all this.&rdquo;</p><p>That lack of specificity, Callary says, suggests people care less and less about having a sense of place at all.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re a placeless society,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The place we live can be practically anywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>And while placemaking once depended on external realities &mdash; geography, landscape, history &mdash; today, placemaking is a bit more amorphous. It&rsquo;s a hologram of words, feelings and associations. A reality without roots.</p><p>Which leads Callary to conclude, that when it comes to making places &ldquo;it&rsquo;s all in our minds.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/leahy.jpg" style="float: left; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Questioner John Leahy scales the heights of Mount Prospect with a newly-acquired mug that indicates otherwise. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Questioner John &ldquo;It-started-as-a-joke&rdquo; Leahy</span></p><p>John Leahy grew up in Elk Grove Village (<a href="http://www.triblocal.com/elk-grove-village/2012/04/25/elk-herd-longtime-area-residents/" target="_blank">which does actually have an elk population,but one imported in the 1920s</a>). But, he says, whenever he&rsquo;d drive with his family through Chicago&rsquo;s northwest suburbs, it was always an excursion of height jokes.</p><p>&ldquo;My dad has a very dad-like sense of humor,&rdquo; Leahy says, &ldquo;And when we&rsquo;d be heading up north and coming back we&rsquo;d say things like &lsquo;Oh, yeah, just trekked up Mount Prospect, came down Arlington Heights.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>But the joking led to a genuine curiosity about why the names didn&rsquo;t match up with the actual geography. And he suspected it wasn&rsquo;t just a coincidence.</p><p>What&rsquo;s he learned?</p><p>&ldquo;Its pretty clear at a certain point that elevation was a way to signal to people that these communities were out of the swamps, that they were healthy and they have good land,&rdquo; Leahy says. &ldquo;That people could move out there for a better life. And to some degree, it seemed like it worked.&rdquo;</p><p>But, Leahy says, knowing the answer isn&rsquo;t going to spoil the family joke: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s still really ridiculous, but it makes sense now.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is a Curious City producer. Follow her on Twitter for more of these kind of shenanigans <a href="http://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a>.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/dont-believe-height-why-chicago-suburb-names-flat-out-lie-about-their-elevation Morning Shift: October 9, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/morning-shift-october-9-2015-113263 <p><p>If you&rsquo;re running the Chicago marathon this Sunday, you have a big decision to make: Will you listen to music? Or will you skip the earbuds? We have the arguments for and against a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/music-and-marathon-113260">race-day playlist</a>.</p><p>Also, the marathon will cause some traffic headaches this weekend, so we give you ideas for things to do in the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/trying-avoid-marathon-traffic-downtown-you-could-have-fun-burbs">suburbs</a>.</p><p>Plus, two WBEZ reporters join us to recap the conversations that are happening at Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/what-happens-city-council-budget-hearings-113261">city budget hearings</a>.</p><p>And the conversations that AREN&rsquo;T happening &hellip; thanks to our obsessions with iPhones, tablets, Twitter, and Facebook. The author of a new book called <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/reclaiming-conversation-new-book-examines-how-digital-age-impacts">Reclaiming Conversation</a>&nbsp;</em>explains why we need to get back to talking to each other.</p></p> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/morning-shift-october-9-2015-113263 CEO: High Legionella bacteria levels only in cooling systems http://www.wbez.org/news/ceo-high-legionella-bacteria-levels-only-cooling-systems-113046 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_272354943990_0.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 212px; width: 340px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="In this September 10, 2015 photo, contractors assemble pipes to flush out a fire hydrant beneath the water tower at the state veterans home in Quincy, Ill. The home’s drinking water system was disinfected with chlorine to help fight a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that has killed twelve residents so far and sickened at least 45 other people at the home, including five workers. (AP Photo/Alan Scher Zagier)" />ELGIN, Ill. &mdash; The CEO of a suburban&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;school district says elevated levels of Legionella bacteria discovered at three schools were limited to the buildings&#39; cooling systems.</p><div><p><a href="http://bit.ly/1FuR6T5" target="_blank">The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports</a> District U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said at a news briefing that none of the approximately 3,000 students evacuated from Eastview Middle School and Larkin and Gifford high schools in Elgin have reported becoming ill.</p><p>The schools and the district offices located at Gifford were evacuated and closed for the day Wednesday morning after the elevated levels were discovered during annual air quality testing.</p><p>Sanders said a decision would be made later Wednesday on whether the schools will remain closed.</p><p>The bacteria were found as western Illinois deals with a Legionnaires&#39; disease outbreak that has killed 13 people.</p><p>&mdash;<em> The Associated Press</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ceo-high-legionella-bacteria-levels-only-cooling-systems-113046 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