WBEZ | University of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/university-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Campus police: real deal or rent-a-cops? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 <p><p>Say you are driving around Chicago and you happen to run a red light. There are no Chicago police officers around, but there is a university police car right behind you. Could you still get a ticket?</p><p>That&rsquo;s exactly what Jef Johnson was wondering when he started noticing University of Chicago Police Department cars all over his Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the question Jef sent our way:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Are police forces at local universities real police or simply security companies? How much policing power do they have?</em></p><p>We found a straightforward legal answer about how this works in Illinois. There is a spectrum of authority that ranges from security guard to all-out cop. At the far end of that spectrum are Jef&rsquo;s own University of Chicago police. He didn&rsquo;t know it at the time but UCPD is almost unique, with a particularly strong hand when it comes to power and jurisdiction. Those officers don&rsquo;t just protect students, staff and campus &mdash; the UCPD serves as the primary police force for 65,000 Chicagoans, and most are not affiliated with the university.</p><p>That prompted a question that should interest anyone, even those who never encounter these officers: How can a private police force get jurisdiction over so much of the public?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not your father&rsquo;s rent-a-cops</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with that legal distinction we found. If you&rsquo;re anything like Jef, you probably assume that campus police officers aren&rsquo;t real police, and they have little authority other than the power to break up rowdy parties.</p><p>&ldquo;I always thought somehow that they were rent-a-cops,&rdquo; Jef said.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not always the case, according Cora Beem, who manages mandated training for the<a href="http://www.ptb.state.il.us/aboutus.htm" target="_blank"> Illinois Law Enforcement Standards &amp; Training Board</a>. She said the big distinction to be made is between campus security guards and campus police. The latter undergo the same basic training and certification that state and municipal police officers do. With that certification, they have the same authority as any other police officer in the state, even if they are privately employed.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; public universities employ campus police, but private universities can choose to hire plain old security guards. Those guards might be armed, but they don&rsquo;t have the power to give Jef Johnson a ticket, and they certainly cannot patrol off campus.</p><p>Like many private schools in Illinois, the University of Chicago voluntarily upgraded its security force to a police force 25 years ago. According to Beem, that means they are definitely not rent-a-cops.</p><p>&ldquo;They can write you a ticket. They can arrest you,&rdquo; Beem explained. &ldquo;They can counsel and release you, so yes, they&rsquo;re real cops.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction</span></p><p><iframe height="480" src="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zD1cveoHRWh8.kfGTEakNbuXk" width="620"></iframe></p><p>With more than 100 full-time officers, the University of Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one of the largest private police forces anywhere. Not only that, UCPD also has a really big patrol area &mdash; they cover 6.5 square miles, most of which is beyond the core of the University of Chicago&#39;s South Side campus.</p><p>But why can UCPD officers patrol so far from campus in the mid-South Side? According to Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at University of Chicago Law School, the department&rsquo;s status is almost unique.</p><p>&ldquo;The deal is that there is a city ordinance in Chicago that grants the police superintendent the power to appoint special policemen for the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/title4businessesoccupationsandconsumerpr/chapter4-340specialpolicemenandsecurityg?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_Ch.4-340" target="_blank">ordinance allows private police forces to assume the powers and responsibilities of municipal police</a>, not just on campus but in surrounding neighborhoods. UCPD is only one of two private forces in Chicago with this &ldquo;special police&rdquo; designation. The other force is that of Northwestern University Law School, but its <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/attachments/S12-01_Att2.jpg" target="_blank">patrol area extends just a few blocks beyond its Streeterville campus </a>north of Chicago&rsquo;s Loop.</p><p>Once the ordinance was passed in 1992, UCPD negotiated its extended jurisdiction with Chicago&rsquo;s police superintendent. To the north, University of Chicago&rsquo;s main campus stops at 55th Street. UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction, however, extends all the way to 37th Street, even farther than Jef Johnson&rsquo;s home in Bronzeville.</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/u%20of%20c%20charters.png" title="University of Chicago's Woodlawn Charter School, left, and Donoghue Charter School, right, are on the southern and northern ends of UCPD's extended jurisdiction. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ) " /></div><p>Futterman says Chicago&#39;s police superintendent has granted UCPD more independence than it once had. In years&nbsp;past, university police needed administrative assistance to complete arrests.</p><p>&ldquo;The arrest, though, would be formalized and would be processed at a local chicago police department district station, usually whatever district the arrest was because UCPD operated in more than one Chicago police district,&rdquo; Futterman explained. Last year that changed. Now UCPD reports directly to the state and can process arrests independently. According to the university, this arrangement allows both departments to operate more efficiently.</p><p>Maintaining a large police force is expensive, but the university says its worth it. On this, an emailed statement from the UCPD reads: &ldquo;The extended patrol area enhances safety and security through the mid-South Side, which is home to a large number of University of Chicago faculty members, students and staff.&rdquo; The statement mentions the university&rsquo;s interest in protecting its charter schools and other properties within the extended patrol area.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The community speaks</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/meeting%20WEB.jpg" title="University of Chicago students and South Side residents held a forum October 29, 2014, at Hyde Park's Experimental Station to discuss UCPD's presence in their neighborhoods. (WBEZ/Ellen Mayer)" /></p><p>UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction doesn&rsquo;t just include university students and employees; again, the department protects approximately 65,000 residents. How do they feel about UCPD&rsquo;s presence in their neighborhoods?</p><p>On Wednesday, October 29, <a href="http://www.experimentalstation.org/" target="_blank">Hyde Park&rsquo;s Experimental Station</a> held a forum for students and South Side residents to discuss exactly that. Organizers also invited former UCPD chief Rudy Nimocks. He was at the helm when UCPD expanded its jurisdiction. As he recalls it, the university received community support as it broadened its jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;We had public hearings,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were asked to come in. At each one of the sessions I said, &lsquo;We&rsquo;ll stay here as long as you want us.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s how it&rsquo;s been ever since.&rdquo;</p><p>Nimocks has a point. Almost every speaker at the community forum expressed gratitude that UCPD has made their neighborhoods safer. That being said, almost every speaker also had a story to tell about UCPD racially profiling black residents who live within the extended jurisdiction.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/triggs%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 246px; width: 370px;" title="Jamel Triggs, who attended the recent forum on neighborhood UCPD presence, says he's been stopped by UCPD six times since returning from the Marine Corps in May. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ)" />Jamel Triggs, a young black man who works at the Experimental Station&rsquo;s bike shop, said he had been stopped by UCPD six times since he returned from the Marine Corps in May. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to be protecting and serving us. That&rsquo;s supposed to be the goal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Triggs, the neighborhood doesn&rsquo;t feel safer if he has to worry about being stopped by UCPD. He said he is also concerned about the safety of the younger kids he mentors at the bike shop. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want these kids walking around being scared of the police and being scared of the gangbangers out in the streets,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I was, and it hurts.&rdquo;</p><p>A student group called South Side Solidarity Network has launched a campaign to end perceived racial profiling by UCPD. The trouble is, all their evidence is anecdotal. To firm up accusations of wrongdoing, SSSN has asked UCPD to release records indicating the race of residents the department stops and searches. So far, the department has refused.</p><p>Another emailed statement responds to accusations of racial profiling. &ldquo;The University of Chicago Police Department does not deploy tactics that support racial profiling,&rdquo; it states. &ldquo;As a department, we often and openly discuss our policing strategies to ensure our officers are not engaging deliberately or inadvertently in bias-based policing.&rdquo;</p><p>Without releasing records and data, however, UCPD is asking the public to take them at their word.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Private police and public accountability</span></p><p>This is where Jef Johnson&rsquo;s curiosity about &nbsp;potential traffic stops in Bronzeville morphed into a much bigger question about the transparency and accountability of a private police force. The 1992 Chicago ordinance that allows for the creation of special police includes technical language about certificates and licensing fees, but it doesn&rsquo;t address the public&rsquo;s right to information when a private force takes on the responsibilities of municipal police. UCPD is not a governmental agency, therefore it is not required to release records under Illinois&rsquo; Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>The University of Chicago does have a <a href="http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/police/contact_the_ucpd/complaint_process/" target="_blank">process for investigating complaints against UCPD</a>, but that process will soon get an overhaul. Until now, all investigations were performed in-house, by a fellow UCPD officer. In response to <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140311/hyde-park/university-of-chicago-police-no-longer-accountable-petition-claims" target="_blank">criticism about UCPD&rsquo;s perceived lack of oversight</a>, the university recently announced the hiring of a new director of professional accountability. This new position will not be filled by a uniformed officer.</p><p>So what did Jef think about all this?</p><p>&ldquo;This is much bigger than I thought when I asked the question,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I worry about a private police force. It just sounds like maybe we&rsquo;re handing too much power to them.&rdquo; Jef said he is most concerned that the average Chicagoan might never know that UCPD had such a huge jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s scary in that sense,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just finding this out, and I&rsquo;ve been living in this area ten years.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jef.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px;" title="Jef Johnson asked our question about university police after noticing UCPD officers far from campus. (Photo courtesy of Jef Johnson)" />Judging by the number of questions Jef Johnson has submitted to our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">list of question-based story pitches</a>, he is one very curious guy. (For the record, that would be seven ... and counting!) If you haven&rsquo;t run across any of his questions we haven&rsquo;t answered yet, you might remember Jef as the truck enthusiast who launched <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-why-ban-pickups-lake-shore-drive-where-can-they-park-104631" target="_blank">our investigation about pickup truck laws in Chicago</a>.</p><p>It turns out this question about university police was also inspired by Jef&rsquo;s driving habits. He says he first began wondering about UCPD&rsquo;s authority on a day when President Barack Obama was visiting his home in the Kenwood neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;They blocked off a lot of my streets, so I was taking some back streets and I saw University of Chicago Police cars in areas that seem far away from the University of Chicago.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>When Jef isn&rsquo;t thinking up questions for Curious City, he&rsquo;s a wedding minister employed by the city of Chicago.</p><p><em>Ellen Mayer is the Curious City intern. Follow her on Twitter at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank"> @</a>ellenrebeccam.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 Community prosecutions credited with drop in crime http://www.wbez.org/news/community-prosecutions-credited-drop-crime-110582 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Uptown theater_flickr_BWChicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Placing prosecutors in a neighborhood instead of a courtroom is a different kind of &quot;law and order.&quot; A University of Chicago law professor says his research shows community prosecution has had an immediate and measurable impact on violent crime.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/31/336765946/community-prosecutions-credited-with-drops-in-crime?ft=1&amp;f=" target="_blank">hear the story from NPR&#39;s Morning Edition</a></em></p></p> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/community-prosecutions-credited-drop-crime-110582 Morning Shift: The relationship between mental health and eating http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-20/morning-shift-relationship-between-mental-health-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/anorexia Flickr schnappischnap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>May is Mental Health Month, so we take a look at the connection between eating right and mental health. We also look at the latest efforts to get a new trauma center at the University of Chicago Medical Center.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-relationship-between-eatng-and-m" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The relationship between mental health and eating" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 20 May 2014 07:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-20/morning-shift-relationship-between-mental-health-and New exhibit takes unique look at death, food and remembrance http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-exhibit-takes-unique-look-death-food-and-remembrance-109974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/death exhibit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When someone passes away today, it&rsquo;s pretty common for friends and family to reminisce about them over food and drink. Just think about all those casseroles and cookies that pile up or about hoisting a glass at an Irish wake.</p><p>It turns out, in some ancient cultures, that use of food went, well, further.</p><p>A new show at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Oriental Institute opens Tuesday, and it takes an unusual look at death. The show&rsquo;s called <a href="http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/special/remembrance/" target="_blank">&ldquo;In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>It examines how we&rsquo;ve remembered our loved ones across cultures and time, and the ways people have tried to control how they&rsquo;ll be thought of too. It highlights some ancient Middle Eastern cultures that believed souls lived on in monuments and needed to be fed so later generations could just come and hang out with them.</p><p>&ldquo;Cultures all over world, in all different periods in all areas of the world have done this, have had some way of maintaining contact their deceased ancestors,&rdquo; said Emily Teeter, a research associate and special exhibits coordinator at the Oriental Institute.</p><p>&ldquo;In Egyptian theology, they thought they would live forever, as long as they were remembered by the living,&rdquo; she said, adding that this ancient culture believed part of the soul lived on in monuments, and keeping those souls alive required lots and lots of food.</p><p>She pointed to a stone slab with an engraving of a couple who were unmistakably Egyptian, with angular black wigs, jeweled collars.</p><p>All over the monument, there are tiny carvings of birds, oxen, bread, even beer. Teeter said those are instructions on what to bring the couple to keep them alive: They wanted a thousand each of oxen, birds, bread and beer.</p><p>&ldquo;The Egyptian dead were apparently constantly hungry,&rdquo; Teeter said. &ldquo;...To stay alive you need to eat, and their whole goal with mummification, with creating these monuments, is to live eternally.&rdquo;</p><p>Teeter said the couple - who died more than 4,000 years ago -- even planned ahead on what to do once all their descendants had passed away, and there was no one to bring them food anymore. The engraving says that if visitors don&rsquo;t happen to have 1,000 oxen on them, it&rsquo;s enough to just pray for the food.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s not just the ancient Middle East where rites like this happened. At an excavation site in Vatican City, University of Chicago Divinity School Dean Margaret Mitchell saw tubes sticking out of burial sites. She said that was so people could pour in beverages to share with their dead loved ones.</p><p>Mitchell said some Roman catacombs had tables for people to eat between rows of burial urns.</p><p>&ldquo;Whether the dead can still eat a Twinkie or can still drink a good glass of merlot, it&rsquo;s a way of tenderly caring for the dead,&rdquo; Mitchell said.</p><p>The monuments go beyond providing the living with that connection to the dead, or assuring the dead will keep getting fed. In some cases, these statues and stones let people control how they&rsquo;ll be remembered.</p><p>The exhibit&rsquo;s showpiece is a replica of an ornately carved memorial stone of a man named Katumuwa. He&rsquo;s in fancy dress, sitting at a banquet table full of food, looking relaxed and happy in the afterlife. Before he died, commissioned it himself.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just &lsquo;Pete was here,&rsquo; but it&rsquo;s even bigger,&rdquo; Mitchell said. She likened this memorial stone to the huge monument Illinois politician Roland Burris has had built, even though he&rsquo;s still very much alive.</p><p>It&rsquo;s like saying, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to leave it to the winds or your children to decide how you&rsquo;re going to be remembered, but I want to steer that process myself,&rdquo; Mitchell said. &ldquo;In some ways, the monuments are like a fist to the sky that says, I refuse to be forgotten.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporter covering religion, culture and science. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 05:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-exhibit-takes-unique-look-death-food-and-remembrance-109974 Yo Sally! Remembering the late University of Chicago math professor Paul Sally http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/yo-sally-remembering-late-university-chicago-math-professor-paul-sally-109738 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7426_chi000416_g1-scr (1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A University of Chicago math legend affectionately called &ldquo;Professor Pirate&rdquo; died recently at age 80. Professor Paul Sally was known as much for his teaching as his research.</p><p>Sally learned he had diabetes at age 15. The disease eventually took both legs and most of his eyesight, requiring him to wear a signature black eye patch.</p><p>Shortly before he died on Dec. 30, 2013, Sally visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with colleague, Kim Ransom, who heads the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program.</p><p>SALLY: It turned out that one of the easiest subjects for me to deal with in school was mathematics. I never had to study and I loved learning it &hellip; I loved to tell people&nbsp; about mathematics until I was blue in the face, and they were so tired they couldn&#39;t stand it anymore.</p><p><em>To hear more, and to find out what sport helped fuel Sally&rsquo;s love of math, check out the audio above.</em></p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a reporter/producer covering religion, science and culture for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/yo-sally-remembering-late-university-chicago-math-professor-paul-sally-109738 University of Chicago symposium focuses on how to better support black male adolescents http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/university-chicago-symposium-focuses-how-better-support-black-male-adolescents-109702 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 10.39.48 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p>University of Chicago professor Waldo Johnson says too many black boys are being robbed of their boyhood.</p><p>&ldquo;Even when they engage sometimes in antisocial behavior, there&rsquo;s some clear evidence that the way in which corrective measures are applied to them tend to, in some instances, be far more harsh,&rdquo; Johnson said.</p><p>Johnson is referring to school suspensions. Chicago Public Schools has come under fire for its zero-tolerance policies. Just this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the head of CPS said they want to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/schools-chief-mayor-push-alternatives-suspending-city-students-109690" target="_blank">change how discipline looks in classrooms</a>.</p><p>U of C is hosting &ldquo;Black Young Men in America: Rising above Social and Racial Prejudice, Trauma, and Educational Disparities,&rdquo; a symposium to be held Saturday at the Hyde Park campus.</p><p>The symposium will center around research and developing strategies to support black male adolescents. Educators, social workers and youth service providers will be in attendance. Panelists will also focus on to how communicate and build relationships with this population. They include Nia Abdullah and Elizabeth Kirby of CPS, Marshaun Bacon of Becoming a Man and Monico Whittington-Eskridge of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.</p><p>This week President Barack Obama was scheduled to announce a <a href="http://www.ebony.com/black-listed/news-views/president-obama-to-launch-my-brothers-keeper-981#axzz2tF58ukaZ" target="_blank">new program</a> to help young minority men;the weather postponed the unveiling.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m optimistic, as this particular initiative develops, that it will develop in ways that will allow for some flexibility to recognize that we&rsquo;re not talking about a monolithic group. There&rsquo;s a lot of differences among African American males,&rdquo; Johnson said.</p><p><em>The symposium is Feb. 15 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th St.</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 22:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/university-chicago-symposium-focuses-how-better-support-black-male-adolescents-109702 Curious tales from Chicago's past http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/curious-tales-chicagos-past-109432 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/history books photo flickr inspector_81.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/7198832&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The Chicago Fire. Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s Barn. Fort Dearborn. Al Capone. We&rsquo;re not going to talk about any of that here&nbsp;&mdash; at least not in the ways you&#39;ve heard before.</p><p>Instead, you&rsquo;ll find chapters of Chicago history missing from most textbooks. We bring you stories from Chicago&rsquo;s past that range from near-death pair-o-chute rides to rides on funeral train cars; forgotten zoos to abandoned hospitals; produce markets to telephone exchanges; infamous asylums to anonymous (but fascinating) sidewalks. And yes, we talk about the Great Fire. But, how about this angle: <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/chicagofire/" target="_blank">What would Chicago look like if the fire had never happened?</a></p><p>All of these stories started from <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">questions </a>you&rsquo;ve asked and you&rsquo;ve helped us report. There are enough of them that it&rsquo;s worth recapping what we&rsquo;ve learned about the Chicago area&#39;s peculiar past &mdash; through the lens of residents&rsquo; own curiosity.</p><p>The audio playlist above begins with an hour-long special featuring questions that span from the 1800s to today. You&rsquo;ll hear about <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619" target="_blank">Victorian-era sexuality</a></strong>, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892" target="_blank">forgotten graves</a></strong> near an insane asylum, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/did-wwii-nuclear-experiment-make-u-c-radioactive-106681" target="_blank">radioactive secrets</a></strong>,&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087" target="_blank">missiles</a></strong> that were a little too close to home, a long-gone&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619" target="_blank">amusement park</a></strong>, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/neon-no-more-lincoln-avenues-motel-row-109050" target="_blank">seedy motels</a></strong> and &hellip; <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-have-all-old-school-doughnut-shops-gone-108483" target="_blank">doughnuts</a></strong>, of all things. Below, we follow up with videos that tell what happened to Union Park&rsquo;s menagerie, what it was like to visit the 1893 World&rsquo;s Fair and why residents on the city&rsquo;s Northwest Side were afraid of Dunning Asylum for the Insane.</p><p>If you want to bring alive the history of Chicago, the region or its people <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">ask your question right now</a>! Otherwise, enjoy tales of local history &mdash; Curious City style!</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Good reads:&nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/curiouscity/chicagofire/" target="_blank">What would Chicago look like without the Fire?</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tensions-and-torches-after-great-chicago-fire-110908" target="_blank">Did the Great Fire affect where Chicago&#39;s rich and poor lived?</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hosting-enemy-our-wwii-pow-camps-109344">Hosting the enemy: Our WW II POW camps </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892">The story of Dunning, a &lsquo;tomb for the living&rsquo;</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/after-haymarket-anarchism-trial-and-city-search-its-soul-110098" target="_blank">After Haymarket: Anarchism on trial and a city in search of its soul</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://wbez.is/1nh6mYK">Pilsen&#39;s tranformation into a Latino community</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/311-chicagos-early-phone-numbers-109135">The 311 on Chicago&rsquo;s early phone numbers ... and letters </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">Gulp! How Chicago gobbled its neighbors</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619">Would Jane Addams be considered a lesbian? </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/bridges-span-river-and-decades-108903">History of downtown bridgehouses </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/marina-city-ideals-concrete-108072">Marina City: Ideals in concrete</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619">Riverview: Laugh your troubles away</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087">What happened to Nike missile sites around Chicago? </a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-has-chicago%E2%80%99s-coastline-changed-over-decades-104328">How has Chicago&rsquo;s coastline changed? </a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PL0LxICU6xOzOOOQCazHiJN9W9pvThPmjA" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em>Follow Curious City&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity">@WBEZCurious City</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/curious-tales-chicagos-past-109432 Chicago: A home fit for wild parrots http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-home-fit-wild-parrots-108565 <p><p><a name="Audio"></a>It may be easier to listen for Chicago&rsquo;s wild parrots than look for them.</p><p>If you hear <a href="http://www.azfo.org/soundlibrary/MP3/190_Parrots/AZFO_MONK_PARAKEET_deviche_112004.mp3" target="_blank">this</a>, look up. High in an elm tree &mdash; or maybe on a light pole &mdash; you&rsquo;ll see an elaborate nest made of twigs.</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/Leanne%20parrot%20question%20asker.jpg" style="height: 257px; width: 200px; float: right;" title="Leanne Roddy of Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood asked Curious City to investigate the origin story of the region’s wild parrot population. (Courtesy of Leanne Roddy)" /></div><p>The bright green parrots that live in these nests year round seemed out of place to Avondale resident Leanne Roddy. So she asked Curious City:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I heard there were wild parrots on the South Side of Chicago, and I was just wondering where they came from ... and how do they survive in the winter?</em></p><p>The raucous birds are monk parakeets. The species is native to South America and notorious there as an agricultural pest, chowing down on crops from corn to citrus fruits.</p><p>But the tropical transplants have found a friendlier reception from people in Chicago since they first showed up in the late 1960s.</p><p><strong>Home, SQUAWK!, sweet home.</strong></p><p>Leanne had never seen one of the parrots up close, so our first order of business was to spot one in the wild. <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210525372542852493607.0004e1dfcb308d0ee1264&amp;msa=0&amp;ll=41.79454,-87.605892&amp;spn=0.003579,0.008256" target="_blank">Lots of you suggested</a> locations to look. There are about a dozen monk parakeet nests in Washington Park, so we started there.</p><p>Leanne and I didn&rsquo;t see any parrots on our adventure. Not one. But we did spot some nests. And we collected a diverse bunch of urban legends.</p><p>How did the wild parrots get here, according to people in the park?<a name="video"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PbRPXM3HHNM" width="620"></iframe></p><p>So, to recap, Chicago residents think the wild parrots&#39; origin story is:</p><ul><li>A University of Chicago experiment went awry and the birds escaped</li><li>The birds escaped from a holding pen at O&rsquo;Hare</li><li>A truck on its way to a pet store overturned and let the parrots loose</li><li>The government put them here</li><li>People who owned them as pets let them out of their houses</li></ul><p>Those urban legends are fun &mdash; but we needed an expert. Lucky for us, <a href="http://pondside.uchicago.edu/ecol-evol/people/pruett-jones.html" target="_blank">Dr. Stephen Pruett-Jones</a>&rsquo; office at the University of Chicago is just a block down from Washington Park.</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/tango_dougstotz_tree.JPG" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Tango, a rescued wild parakeet, sits in a tree. (Courtesy of Doug Stotz)" />As an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, Pruett-Jones has studied the wild parrot population for more than two decades. He&rsquo;s writing a book about the birds now.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">First, Pruett-Jones helped us sort through the many aliases at play. The bright green birds are monk parakeets. Parakeets are small parrots. In the pet trade, they&rsquo;re often called Quaker parrots.</div><p>Pruett-Jones knows the urban legends well &mdash; the overturned truck, the daring escape from the airport &mdash; but says no one has been able to prove the specifics of the birds&rsquo; origin story in North America. He is sure about one thing, though.</p><p>&ldquo;They got here through the pet trade and the pet trade really peaked in the mid to late 1960s,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said.</p><p>So it may be as simple as a few South Side kids leaving their windows open while cleaning a bird cage.</p><p>The first documented nest of wild parrots in the Chicago area dates back to 1973.</p><p>Now Pruett-Jones, along with colleagues at nearby universities, has <a href="http://www.uic.edu/labs/minor/pruett-jones_etal.pdf" target="_blank">mapped the location of almost five hundred monk parakeet nests</a> in the region. The farthest north is near Milwaukee, and the parrot population swings south along Lake Michigan to Chesterton, Indiana.</p><p>The noisy birds have also established colonies on the East Coast, including cities such as <a href="http://www.brooklynparrots.com/" target="_blank">New York</a> and <a href="http://www.urbanparrots.com/" target="_blank">New Jersey</a>.</p><p><strong>Stayin&#39; alive ... with some help from us</strong></p><p>Plenty of pet birds get loose &mdash; but most parrots aren&rsquo;t adaptable enough to survive so far from their natural habitat and climate.</p><p>&ldquo;Birds need a place to live, a place to nest, and they need food,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said. &ldquo;Monk parakeets solve the first problem because they build their own nest. Every other species of parrot requires a tree hollow, or a stump of a broken limb that is somehow hollow.&rdquo;</p><p>Or a pirate ship?</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, or a pirate ship,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a classic Chicago story: The city welcomes outsiders who are willing to work. And these little birds work hard. <a name="tapstory"></a>Every day they scour the landscape for good twigs and prune their nests.<iframe src="//cdn.readtapestry.com/stories/CODk4QIMF/index.html" width="600" height="343" scrolling="no" style="border: 0px;"></iframe><p>Maybe it&rsquo;s why <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-04-19/news/8803100092_1_parakeets-feeders-birds" target="_blank">Mayor Harold Washington liked them so much</a>.</p><p>Of the thousands of bird species worldwide, the monk parakeet is about the only one that lives in its nest every day.</p><p>&ldquo;Without trying to sound anthropomorphic, it basically is a house to them,&rdquo;&nbsp;Pruett-Jones said.</p><p><em>House</em> might be the wrong analogy to draw. But with <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-06-14/news/0406140216_1_parakeets-birds-tree" target="_blank">giant nests</a> cooperatively built among pairs of birds, <em>condo development</em> sounds about right.</p><p>Monk parakeets have gotten good at building these giant nests on man-made structures like light poles and <a href="http://www.northjersey.com/eastrutherford/Monk_parakeet_causes_power_outage_in_Leonia_Edgewater_East_rutherford.html" target="_blank">transformers</a>.</p><p>ComEd&rsquo;s senior environmental compliance specialist Sara Race says it&rsquo;s a perpetual problem.</p><p>The nests can cause a fire on utility equipment or outages. ComEd does sometimes proactively remove nests on its structures.</p><p>&ldquo;They are unfortunately all over our system,&rdquo; Race said. &ldquo;We typically would leave a nest there unless there is a potential reliability issue. We will remove the nest and remove all the sticks and anything that came from the nest in hopes that they will find another place to nest.&rdquo;</p><p>But they don&rsquo;t usually get the memo.</p><p>&ldquo;Many times they will actually start rebuilding right there,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Building nests on utility poles isn&rsquo;t the only way Monk parakeets have adapted to their urban environment. <a name="winter"></a>They also completely change their diets depending on the season.</p><p>&ldquo;If people did not feed birds through backyard bird feeders, I believe that monk parakeets would not survive the winter,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said. &nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://archive.audubonmagazine.org/birds/birds0501.html" target="_blank">Fears</a> that the introduced species would become an agricultural pest like it is in Argentina haven&rsquo;t materialized in the <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/March-2013/In-Hyde-Park-the-Parakeets-Abide/" target="_blank">four decades since the birds began to breed in the Midwest</a>.</p><p>The seasonal reliance on backyard bird feeders might be part of the reason why.</p><p>The monk parakeets can&rsquo;t find much to eat in the winter if they live out in the country. So they stick to areas with a dense human population, huddle in their condo-like nests and head to backyard birdfeeders for takeout.</p><h2><strong>Good work, gumshoes!</strong></h2><p>We asked for your help finding monk parakeets in the wild, and you didn&#39;t disappoint! <a name="voicemail"></a>Listen to voicemails from fellow Curious Citizens about where to spot the birds.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F9654393" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/tbobeda" rel="author">Tricia Bobeda</a> is a WBEZ web producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/triciabobeda">@triciabobeda</a>.</p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-home-fit-wild-parrots-108565 Fellows seek to unleash the power of ‘good’ — with data http://www.wbez.org/news/fellows-seek-unleash-power-%E2%80%98good%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-data-108481 <p><p>Big Data scares some as stories about NSA-spying and Facebook collecting personal data dominate headlines.</p><p>But data for social good?</p><p>It may sound like science fiction, but at the University of Chicago, 12 groups of summer fellows put data to use, measuring or predicting issues that range from&nbsp; predictive crime to garbage route efficiency, infant immunization trends to when to expect a &ldquo;code blue&rdquo; in a hospital.</p><p>The <a href="http://dssg.io/" target="_blank">Data Science for Social Good program</a> was funded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt (the former is executive chairman for Google). The program was run by former Obama campaign <a href="http://www.rayidghani.com/‎" target="_blank">data guru Rayid Ghani</a>.</p><p>The fellows gathered in Chicago from all over the world and were partnered with mentors to tackle social problems using data available from public portals or institutions that provided anonymous data such as patient health data and prisoner information.</p><p>An event Tuesday at the university&#39;s downtown Gleacher Center showed off the fellows&rsquo; work like a high-tech science fair. Colorful graphs lit HD displays and screens glowed with examples of how Twitter helps disaster relief workers.</p><p>&ldquo;The goal for the program was to take people like me... who are interested and who have the skills in data and analytics and want to use that to help people,&rdquo; said Ghani to the crowd of attendees, which included academics, city officials, representatives from the Argonne National Laboratory and a member of the Pritzker family.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/inline.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 280px;" title="Fellow David Sekora presents his group’s project on CTA bus crowding. (WBEZ/Elliott Ramos)" />Fellow Varoon Bashyakarla, a recent Yale graduate from Kansas, worked on predicting crime and searching for correlation between drug arrests and homicides.</p><p>&ldquo;Before we could do anything like predict crime levels in the city, we first had to invest the time in understanding historical crime patterns,&rdquo; he said.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Bashyakarla&rsquo;s group was able to validate was the long-touted relationship between weather and crime. The biggest spike? A warm Friday.</div><p>&ldquo;We see that this relationship is very clear, there&#39;s a clear positive association,&rdquo; Bashyakarla said, pointing to correlations between violent crime and historical temperatures in Chicago.</p><p>Other projects had Chicago commuters in mind.</p><p>Utilizing boarding data and schedules from the Chicago Transit Authority, University of Chicago student David Sekora&rsquo;s team created a tool to allow the CTA to predict bus crowding ahead of making schedule or route changes.</p><p>&ldquo;If they make a change to try and reduce crowding, what they do now is make a change, wait three months and collect all this data on the ridership and see if this made an impact,&rdquo;&nbsp; Sekora said. &ldquo;And then they make similar changes in the future.&rdquo;</p><p>The group&rsquo;s collaboration with the CTA resulted in working tool. Sekora says by simulating the ridership data, CTA doesn&rsquo;t have to rely on the three month test runs.</p><p>Ghani says his goal is for fellows to utilize their skills to make a difference.</p><p>&ldquo;The perfect person we wanted to leave this program was a person who had the scientific background and rigor to really think hard about the problems they&#39;re solving,&rdquo; Ghani said. &ldquo;It&#39;s not enough to have the skills, you also have to care about making an impact.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/ChicagoEl" target="_blank">@ChicagoEl</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 15:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fellows-seek-unleash-power-%E2%80%98good%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-data-108481 Places and spaces, courtesy of the University of Chicago photo archives http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/places-and-spaces-courtesy-university-chicago-photo-archives-108468 <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/apf2-08489r.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 479px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">The University of Chicago has been keeping me up at night lately.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Nothing nefarious, thankfully. But I have burned a bit of midnight oil checking out the photo archives from the university library&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/">Special Collection.</a>&nbsp;Much of the collection is devoted to the university&#39;s own buildings. The image above is an undated photo of White City Amusement Park that stood at 63rd and King Drive until was condemned in 1939.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But a great number of the archive&#39;s images&mdash;and perhaps the best ones&mdash;were taken by midcentury photographers who documented the area surrounding the campus. The shooters captured a metroplis in transition as blocks were wiped away for big urban renewal projects. The 1951 photograph below shows an unidentified street that would be demolished to build the Lake Meadows residential development:</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><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/apf2-09565r.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 463px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">This 1948 photograph shows a building that will be razed to make way for the Eisenhower Expressway (referred to as the Congress Street Superhighway in the sign in the photo):</div><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/apf2-09141r.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 745px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And here&#39;s a color shot from 1958 of row houses on 29th and Prairie. These aged beauties were demolished in the 1960s:</div></div><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/apf2-09639r.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 408px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The archive is plentiful: parks, neighborhoods, the lakefront, downtown and, of course, Hyde Park, documented by different photographers. One photographers, the late Mildred Mead, stands out. All the images accompanying this post are hers, with the exception of the White City photograph.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And perhaps her sense of humor was as sharp as her eye. The archive includes the image below that Mead took of a tow truck driver changing a flat tire on Mead&#39;s own car in 1952: She doesn&#39;t say where she is&mdash;dig the beautiful buildings in the background&mdash;but she does include this note: &quot;Going around demolition is hazardous to tires, you pick up nails.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/apf2-09595r.jpg" style="height: 477px; width: 600px;" title="" /></div></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 05:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/places-and-spaces-courtesy-university-chicago-photo-archives-108468