WBEZ | Chatham http://www.wbez.org/tags/chatham Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en As South Side church turned black, one white congregant stayed in pews http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 <p><p>On a recent Sunday morning, the choir at Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church belts out &ldquo;Jesus is the Rock.&rdquo; The brick church at the corner of 81st Street and Calumet Avenue is a largely African-American congregation made up mostly of senior citizens.</p><p>One of its members, Marie Moe, has been around longer than most.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m 85 years old. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida in an all-white home, in all-white neighborhood in an all-white church, in all white schools in the segregated South,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>In her Southern home, the family&rsquo;s black maid entered through the backdoor. Her cast off textbooks ended up in the under-resourced black schools. Today, she&rsquo;s the only white member of Crerar from a bygone era.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member2_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 197px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Marie Moe, second on left, with a group of church women. (Photo courtesy of Marie Moe)" />Sixty years ago when she first joined, the community and church were all white. The story of Crerar is a story of changing neighborhoods, and attitudes toward race that changed even more&mdash; and Marie Moe saw it all from the pews at Crerar.</p><p>Lately, though, a bad hip and a recent stroke have kept her from attending church.</p><p>Her silver hair styled in a pixie cut, Moe lives among stacks of books and photo albums in her third-floor Hyde Park apartment. She first moved to Chicago in 1949 to attend Northwestern University. A few years later a friend brought her to Crerar.</p><p>&ldquo;One choir rehearsal night in September 1953, I walked over to the church and said &lsquo;may I sing with you?&rsquo;&rdquo; Moe remembers. &ldquo;And the director said &lsquo;what do you sing?&rsquo; And I said &lsquo;soprano.&rsquo; He said &lsquo;go sit over there.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Moe joined the soprano section, and the church.</p><p>In the late 1940s, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racially restrictive housing covenants. African Americans who had been confined to the Black Belt of Chicago could start moving into white neighborhoods like Chatham. Eventually some black families starting showing up at the all-white Crerar to worship.</p><p>&ldquo;It was very gradual at first,&rdquo; Moe says.</p><p>Back then Rev. Warren Studer, who was white, actively recruited blacks. A committed integrationist, Studer wanted to avoid what happened the last time blacks moved near the church.</p><p>In 1928, Crerar was located on 57th and Prairie, then a white neighborhood. When the &ldquo;population began to change&rdquo; - a nice way of saying Negroes were moving in - the church decided to simply disband.</p><p>Fast forward to the 1950s, and Studer wasn&rsquo;t going to let that happen again.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the members in the church felt that Mr. Studer was spending too much time trying to bring black people into the church and he was ignoring them,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;He really was excellent at making the new people feel welcome in the church. Some white people felt he was neglecting them for them.&rdquo;</p><p>Outside, neighborhood tensions were even higher. Chatham experienced racially-motivated vandalism. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who lived in the community, had her windows shot out.</p><p>Inside Crerar, Moe remembers asking her new friends questions.</p><p>&ldquo;I wonder what it feels like to be black,&rdquo; Moe said. A friend looked at her and replied &ldquo; &lsquo;Moe, there&rsquo;s hope for you yet.&rsquo; If I said something wrong in Bible class, someone would say, &lsquo;you don&rsquo;t understand.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>And Moe said others would chime in: &ldquo;&lsquo;Of course she doesn&rsquo;t understand, she&rsquo;s never had the experiences we&rsquo;ve had.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member3_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 274px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church on 81st and Calumet. (Photo courtesy of Crerar Church)" />But those awkward moments never pushed Moe away.</p><p>&ldquo;People have always been very good with me. Very patient with me and treat me like I&rsquo;m one of their own.&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Just listening to what people were subjected to. I hadn&rsquo;t had to go through any of the experiences black people had to go through. It was all new.&rdquo;</p><p>One of the first blacks to move to Chatham in the 1950s was Alscenia Hodo. A retired school teacher, she&rsquo;s the same age as Moe and still attends Crerar. After service on a spring Sunday, Hodo and other congregants gathered for fellowship in the basement named for Rev. Studer, Crerar&rsquo;s integrationist pastor.</p><p>&ldquo;There might have been racial tension in the church, but I didn&rsquo;t feel it really,&rdquo; Hodo said.</p><p>By 1967 the church was virtually all black and had its first black pastor. Whites had emptied out of Chatham, mirroring white flight in neighborhoods across the country. Hodo said every week a white family moved out. Crerar was more welcoming, but she remembers whites leaving there, too.</p><p>Despite the changes over the years, one thing at Crerar remained constant: come Sunday morning, Marie Moe was almost always there.</p><p>&ldquo;Not only did she stay, she&rsquo;s been very active. And she has contributed to the community,&rdquo; Hodo said. &ldquo;I think sometimes she has to be reminded that she&rsquo;s not black. Cause she thinks that she knows a lot of things and she doesn&rsquo;t but she&rsquo;s always been wonderful being here.&rdquo;</p><p>Today middle class Chatham, with its Cape Cod, ranch and bungalow homes, is still close to 100 percent black.</p><p>This is one reason why I always noticed Moe. I&rsquo;ve been a member of Crerar since I was about 10 years old. Growing up in Chatham in the 1980s, I was keenly aware of my segregated surroundings.</p><p>I always wondered why that white woman was still a member. Not in a negative way but there just weren&rsquo;t any other white members. And so it&rsquo;s taken me all this time&mdash;now that I&rsquo;m a reporter&mdash;to ask her if she truly felt accepted.</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt accepted. There was always a line in a way that I was not supposed to cross,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;I remember once when I was nominated for an office, they said, no this is a black church now we should have a black person in that office. I was elected to it anyway,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>&ldquo;Just little things like that would come up once in awhile, but by and large I haven&rsquo;t had any negative experiences. That was home and I was going to stay there. Nobody ever asked me to leave.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 Navistar layoffs add to doubts about incentives http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/AP05060901633.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-23/Navistar_truck_SCALED.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 308px; height: 207px;" title="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)">Sears Holdings Corp. and Chicago’s financial exchanges have quit threatening to pull up stakes now that Illinois has enacted tax breaks for them. But it remains unclear whether state incentives to big companies are wise uses of economic-development resources. A personnel shift by Lisle-based Navistar International Corp. will add fresh doubt.</p><p>WBEZ has learned that some new jobs Navistar promised under an Illinois incentive agreement are coming to the state at the expense of unionized workers in Indiana.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Navistar incentives last year after the company threatened to pack up its headquarters in west suburban Warrenville and leave the state. The deal committed Illinois to a $64.7 million bundle of tax credits and job-training subsidies for the company. It committed Navistar to moving the headquarters to Lisle, a couple miles east, and to adding 400 full-time Illinois employees.</p><p>Navistar’s first report to the state about the jobs isn’t due until next year, so it’s hard to tell how many positions the company has created thus far. Employees confirm that dozens of new engineers and designers are working at the Lisle facility.</p><p>Navistar is creating those jobs as it phases out its Truck Development and Technology Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, just three hours southeast of Chicago. The latest Fort Wayne cuts came December 2, when the company laid off 130 employees, mostly engineers and designers who are United Auto Workers members. Before the layoff, some of the Fort Wayne workers had to help train their Lisle replacements.</p><p>Navistar has “rewritten the job descriptions so the people that used to do the work here — the union folks — don’t qualify anymore on paper,” said Craig Randolph, a design engineer the company laid off after 15 years at the Fort Wayne center. “So they’re eliminating the high-seniority, older employees like myself and replacing them with nonunion college kids — guys fresh out of school. And the taxpayers in Illinois are subsidizing the whole thing.”</p><p>Asked for a response, Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning called it unusual for engineers to have union representation in the first place, a claim disputed by auto industry experts. Denning also sent a statement that said the company’s decision to shift the Fort Wayne jobs to Lisle was “based solely on our desire to compete in the global economy.” The statement added that Navistar has allowed many Fort Wayne employees to relocate to the Chicago area and stay with the company.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity sent a statement that doesn’t directly address whether the Navistar incentives have anything to do with the Fort Wayne layoffs. The statement says the state’s assistance to companies like Navistar over the last decade has “created and retained tens of thousands of jobs,” including unionized positions.</p><p>There’s not much proof to back up such claims. Scholars who study the effects of corporate incentives point out that companies decide where to operate based on proximity to suppliers, markets, transportation and so on. Another factor is whether workers are bargaining collectively. Just this summer, Navistar announced it was closing a unionized plant in Chatham, Ontario. The company has moved that work to nonunion facilities in Texas and Mexico.</p><p>“I don’t think that the [Illinois] incentives are causing Navistar to shift around its workforce,” said Rachel Weber, an associate professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “But they do send a message that the public sector and taxpayers are validating these kinds of activities. And, if you asked a lot of taxpayers in the state of Illinois whether they’d want to support these kinds of activities, I don’t think they’d be so happy about it.”</p><p>Weber pointed out that the economies of Illinois and Indiana intertwine closely and said it would help both states to quit poaching jobs from each other. Eliminating state incentives for corporations, she added, would free up resources for everything from workforce readiness to small-business incubation.</p><p>The union, for its part, didn’t return calls about the Fort Wayne layoffs and isn’t creating a public fuss about them. That raises questions about the role of UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who serves on Navistar’s board of directors under a decades-old agreement that reserved the seat for the union. Because Williams draws salaries from both the UAW and Navistar, and because he once directed a UAW region that includes Illinois but not Indiana, some of the union’s Fort Wayne members accuse him of hanging them out to dry.</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives New, smaller Walmart opens on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/story/new-smaller-walmart-opens-chicagos-south-side-89725 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/IMG_0839.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A Wal-Mart unlike any other in the country opened Wednesday on Chicago's South Side.</p><p>Wal-Mart Inc. officials in Chicago have a lot to celebrate. After years of controversy over employee wages and negotiating with the city and labor unions, they opened a new store today on the city's South Side. What makes the new store so special: it's a shrunken-down version of a Wal-Mart Super Store; the first of its kind. Think of it as a convenience store.</p><p>Wal-Mart spokesman Steve Restivo called it a test store, with others coming to Arkansas and North Carolina.</p><p>"Our goal this year is to open five in each market, solicit customer feedback, obviously monitor sales and performance and if all goes well, we'll have a new number to announce in the next fiscal year," he said.</p><p>Restivo said nine other Wal-Mart projects are currently in the pipeline around Chicago.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 20:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-smaller-walmart-opens-chicagos-south-side-89725 South Side Aldermanic Races http://www.wbez.org/story/3rd-ward/south-side-aldermanic-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/4704712869_eaf3ca8414_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 11:35&nbsp; </em>Among the Election Day highlights on the city's South Side: Ald. Freddrenna Lyle will face challenger Roderick Sawyer in an April runoff in Chicago's 6th Ward, while&nbsp;Grammy-award winning rapper Che &quot;Rhymefest&quot; Smith has made it into a runoff race for a Chicago City Council seat. With all precincts reporting, the rapper had 20 percent of the vote, trailing incumbent Alderman Willie Cochran, who had 46 percent.&nbsp; There will also be runoffs in the 15th and 16th wards.</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 2</strong></p><p>55 of 56 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Bob Fioretti, (i) 7,836 - 55 percent</p><p>Genita Robinson, 4,442 - 31 percent</p><p>Enrique Perez, 640 - 4 percent</p><p>Melissa Callahan, 634 - 4 percent</p><p>Federico Sciammarella, 616 - 4 percent</p><p>James Bosco, 157 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 3</strong></p><p>47 of 50 precincts - 94 percent</p><p>Pat Dowell, (i) 5,758 - 68 percent</p><p>Ebony Tillman, 2,756 - 32 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 4</strong></p><p>46 of 52 precincts - 88 percent</p><p>Will Burns, 7,456 - 65 percent</p><p>Lori Yokoyama, 1,104 - 10 percent</p><p>Norman Bolden, 1,077 - 9 percent</p><p>Brian Scott, 803 - 7 percent</p><p>George Rumsey, 576 - 5 percent</p><p>Adam Miguest, 348 - 3 percent</p><p>James Williams, 161 - 1 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 5</strong></p><p>55 of 55 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Leslie Hairston, (i) 7,217 - 62 percent</p><p>Anne Marie Miles, 2,489 - 21 percent</p><p>Glenn Ross, 826 - 7 percent</p><p>Carol Hightower Chalmers, 701 - 6 percent</p><p>Michele Tankersley, 451 - 4 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 6</strong></p><p>63 of 64 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Freddrenna Lyle, (i) 6,573 - 45 percent</p><p>Roderick Sawyer, 3,689 - 25 percent</p><p>Richard Wooten, 2,893 - 20 percent</p><p>Cassandra Goodrum-Burton, 940 - 6 percent</p><p>Sekum Walker, 337 - 2 percent</p><p>Brian Sleet, 303 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 7</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Sandi Jackson, (i) 6,506 - 53 percent</p><p>Darcel Beavers, 3,223 - 26 percent</p><p>Gregory Mitchell, 1,542 - 13 percent</p><p>Lionell Martin, 467 - 4 percent</p><p>Deborah Washington, 334 - 3 percent</p><p>Sidney Brooks, 179 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 8</strong></p><p>66 of 70 precincts - 94 percent</p><p>Michelle Harris, (i) 9,789 - 68 percent</p><p>Faheem Shabazz, 2,082 - 15 percent</p><p>James Daniels, 1,752 - 12 percent</p><p>Bertha Starks, 682 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 9</strong></p><p>52 of 53 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Anthony Beale, (i) 6,201 - 58 percent</p><p>Harold Ward, 1,946 - 18 percent</p><p>Sandra Walters, 1,751 - 16 percent</p><p>Eddie Reed, 780 - 7 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 10</strong></p><p>48 of 48 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Pope, (i) 6,298 - 59 percent</p><p>Richard Martinez, 3,801 - 36 percent</p><p>Joseph Nasella, 421 - 4 percent</p><p>Jose Leon, 110 - 1 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 11</strong></p><p>50 of 50 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>James Balcer, (i) 6,712 - 61 percent</p><p>John Kozlar, 2,449 - 22 percent</p><p>Carl Segvich, 1,787 - 16 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 12</strong></p><p>24 of 24 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>George Cardenas, (i) 2,680 - 55 percent</p><p>Jose Guereca, 911 - 19 percent</p><p>Jesse Iniguez, 796 - 16 percent</p><p>Alberto Bocanegra, 321 - 7 percent</p><p>Maria Ortiz, 137 - 3 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 15</strong></p><p>52 of 52 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Toni Foulkes, (i) 3,088 - 44 percent</p><p>Raymond Lopez, 1,042 - 15 percent</p><p>Harold Bailey, 765 - 11 percent</p><p>Sammy Pack, 730 - 10 percent</p><p>Felicia Simmons-Stovall, 573 - 8 percent</p><p>Syron Smith, 415 - 6 percent</p><p>Sandra Mallory, 368 - 5 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 16</strong></p><p>44 of 44 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>JoAnn Thompson, (i) 2,626 - 43 percent</p><p>Hal Baskin, 1,367 - 23 percent</p><p>Eric Hermosillo, 957 - 16 percent</p><p>Javier Diaz, 269 - 4 percent</p><p>Eddie Johnson, 211 - 3 percent</p><p>Tameka Gavin, 204 - 3 percent</p><p>Ronald Mitchell, 196 - 3 percent</p><p>Jonathan Stamps, 128 - 2 percent</p><p>Jeffrey Lewis, 93 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 17</strong></p><p>57 of 64 precincts - 89 percent</p><p>Latasha Thomas, (i) 4,380 - 49 percent</p><p>David Moore, 1,696 - 19 percent</p><p>Antoine Members, 1,002 - 11 percent</p><p>Ronald Carter, 518 - 6 percent</p><p>Michael Daniels, 442 - 5 percent</p><p>Twaundella Taylor, 349 - 4 percent</p><p>Paulette Coleman, 273 - 3 percent</p><p>Virgil Means, 219 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 18</strong></p><p>62 of 62 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Lona Lane, (i) 7,774 - 51 percent</p><p>Chuks Onyezia, 2,450 - 16 percent</p><p>Joseph Ziegler, 2,255 - 15 percent</p><p>Michael Davis, 2,163 - 14 percent</p><p>Manny Roman, 711 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 19</strong></p><p>63 of 63 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Matthew O'Shea, 14,426 - 61 percent</p><p>Anne Schaible, 6,526 - 28 percent</p><p>Phillip Sherlock, 1,315 - 6 percent</p><p>George Newell, 725 - 3 percent</p><p>Ray Coronado, 592 - 3 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 20</strong></p><p>50 of 50 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Willie Cochran, (i) 3,403 - 46 percent</p><p>Che Smith, 1,469 - 20 percent</p><p>George Davis, 1,201 - 16 percent</p><p>Andre Smith, 1,079 - 15 percent</p><p>Sid Shelton, 241 - 3 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 21</strong></p><p>70 of 74 precincts - 95 percent</p><p>Howard Brookins, (i) 8,004 - 56 percent</p><p>Sheldon Sherman, 2,797 - 19 percent</p><p>Patricia Foster, 1,706 - 12 percent</p><p>Sylvia Jones, 1,537 - 11 percent</p><p>Jerome Maddox, 309 - 2 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 23</strong></p><p>54 of 54 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Michael Zalewski, (i) 8,581 - 53 percent</p><p>Anna Goral, 5,511 - 34 percent</p><p>Chuck Maida, 2,231 - 14 percent</p><p><strong><br /></strong></p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 34</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Carrie Austin, (i) 9,170 - 65 percent</p><p>Henry Moses, 2,123 - 15 percent</p><p>Shirley White, 1,533 - 11 percent</p><p>Burl McQueen, 659 - 5 percent</p><p>Michael Mayden, 618 - 4 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated At: 9:35 p.m.&nbsp; </em>Grammy-winning hip-hopper Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith appears to have forced a runoff in the 20th Ward. Incumbent Ald. Willie Cochran has a substantial lead, but he has so far drawn less than 50 percent of the vote. Here's the latest look at numbers from South Side aldermanic races:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated At 8:30 p.m.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em>A runoff appears likely in Chicago's 6th Ward. Here are the numbers in that race, with 91 percent of precincts reporting:</p><p>Here's a look at some of the races WBEZ is focusing on:</p><p><strong>3rd Ward</strong><br />Ald. Pat Dowell was elected in 2007, replacing longtime Ald. Dorothy Tillman. Tillman&rsquo;s daughter Ebony tried is trying to best Dowell. Many in the ward saw the contest between Dowell and the younger Tillman as a revenge race. In 2007 Dowell, who is a former urban planner, had the support of many young professionals in the ward who are eager for development in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. But the economy plummeted during Dowell&rsquo;s term and development stalled. In this election season, she landed endorsements from The Service Employees International Union, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and For A Better Chicago PAC. Ebony Tillman did not return phone calls from WBEZ about her candidacy. Her website said she wants to bring big box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, etc. to the ward.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>4th Ward</strong><br />The 4th Ward includes the neighborhood of Hyde Park&ndash; a progressive, politically independent part of the city. The ward had been led by Toni Preckwinkle, who relinquished her seat after winning the presidency of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.&nbsp; Illinois State Rep. Will Burns was the likely heir apparent to Preckwinkle&rsquo;s former seat, and he scored her endorsement early in the race. The SEIU, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and For A Better Chicago PAC also endorsed Burns. Burns has an extensive public policy background that resonated with residents in the ward. He campaigned on bringing more retail shopping options to the area.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>6th Ward</strong><br />Roderick Sawyer ran against incumbent Freddrenna Lyle. Sawyer is the son of the late Eugene Sawyer, former 6th Ward alderman and mayor of Chicago. Sawyer argued the ward was neglected with blight. He benefitted from deep community connections and name recognition. The SEIU-backed Lyle struck a chord with seniors. The 6th ward covers Chatham and Park Manor &ndash; black middle-class neighborhoods that tend to be politically mobilized. Chatham has seen an uptick in crime, which has made residents nervous.</p><p><strong>7th Ward</strong><br />The race for 7th Ward alderman featured two women with deep political ties.&nbsp;Ald. Sandi Jackson is the wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., whose father is the Rev. Jesse Jackson. She took this South Side ward four years ago by beating Darcel Beavers, who was appointed to finish the term of her father, William Beavers. He left the office in 2006, after serving as alderman for 23 years.</p><p>Sandi Jackson ran on a platform of economic revitalization. Specifics included development of a large retail and housing complex on the site of the former USX steel plant.</p><p><strong>10th Ward</strong></p><p>The 10th ward comprises portions of several Southeast Side neighborhoods: South Chicago, South Deering, the East Side and Hegewisch. The area was once an industrial powerhouse but as manufacturers left, the ward&rsquo;s struggled with crime, unemployment and the question of how to make use of large tracts of former factory space.</p><p>The two front runners differed in how they approached economic development.&nbsp;The incumbent, John Pope, ran on a platform that included attracting clean industrial jobs. Richard Martinez campaigned on moving the ward away from reliance on heavy industry.</p><p>Two other candidates, Joseph NaSella and Jose Leon, made little impact during the aldermanic contest.</p><p><strong>19th Ward</strong></p><p>The aldermanic race in this Southwest side ward began when Ald. Ginger Rugai, announced she would retire.&nbsp;The five candidates that vied for her seat included Rugai&rsquo;s longtime aid and ward committeeman Matt O&rsquo;Shea.&nbsp;His opponents included Ray Coronado, George Newell, Anne Schaible, Phil Sherlock and Diane Phillips.&nbsp;O&rsquo;Shea and Schaible dominated the race during the campaign.</p><p>The ward includes portions of the Morgan Park and Beverly neighborhoods. Top campaign issues include how best to revitalize retail strips along 95th Street and Western Avenue.</p><p><strong>20th Ward</strong><br />Grammy-winning hip-hopper Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith challenged first-term Ald. Willie Cochran. Smith enlisted help from fellow hip-hoppers and intellectuals, including Cornel West. Smith brought energy and youthfulness&nbsp; - and of course, celebrity &ndash; to the race. Cochran is regarded relatively well in the ward for bringing some affordable housing and commercial development. Since the last aldermanic election the ward&rsquo;s taken a hit from foreclosures and stalled economic options.&nbsp; The ward includes the Washington Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods.</p><p><em>Natalie Moore and Michael Puente contributed to this story.</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/3rd-ward/south-side-aldermanic-races Del Valle has big stake in election board hearing http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/del-valle-has-big-stake-election-board-hearing <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DeJesus.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago mayoral hopeful Miguel del Valle has decent name recognition after serving four years as city clerk and, earlier, two decades as an Illinois state senator. He&rsquo;s winning support in the race from some progressive activists.<br /><br />But he&rsquo;s got a problem closer to home. Del Valle could lose thousands of Puerto Rican votes to the pastor of a huge Northwest Side congregation. That pastor is Wilfredo De Jesus of New Life Covenant Church.<br /><br />Del Valle&rsquo;s campaign says it won&rsquo;t comment on an effort to knock De Jesus off the February ballot. That&rsquo;s after denying any ties to the effort, then acknowledging some.<br /><br />An objection to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners claims thousands of De Jesus&rsquo; nominating signatures are invalid. The objection goes before hearing officer Rodney W. Stewart on Monday afternoon.<br /><br />The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of Oak Park, claimed she&rsquo;s not working for any candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan. The objector is her brother Frederick Charles Webb, a truck driver who lives in Chatham.</p></p> Mon, 27 Dec 2010 11:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/del-valle-has-big-stake-election-board-hearing Puerto Ricans clash over mayoral ballot objection http://www.wbez.org/story/news/puerto-ricans-clash-over-mayoral-ballot-objection <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Miguel_del_Valle.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A skirmish is breaking out between the only Puerto Ricans among 20 candidates for Chicago mayor. Rev. Wilfredo De Jesús&rsquo; campaign says it has reason to believe City Clerk Miguel del Valle is behind a mysterious objection to the minister&rsquo;s nominating papers.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m extremely disappointed that our only challenge is coming from a fellow Latino candidate,&rdquo; says Billy Ocasio, a De Jesús advisor and former 26th Ward alderman. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s even more disappointing when they have no grounds for a credible challenge.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Del Valle spokeswoman Alejandra Moran says his campaign has nothing to do with the objection, which challenges thousands of De Jesús&rsquo; signatures.<br /><br />The attorney who filed the objection, Ralanda Webb of west suburban Oak Park, claims she&rsquo;s not working for any mayoral candidate. Webb, a real-estate specialist, worked in the 1980s as a senior staff member of then-Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan.<br /><br />Webb says her only client in the case is the objector, her brother Frederick Charles Webb, who was not available for comment Thursday evening. A woman who answered the phone at his Chatham address said he&rsquo;s a truck driver.<br /><br />De Jesús leads New Life Covenant Church, one of the world&rsquo;s largest Assemblies of God congregations. He and Del Valle, a former Illinois state senator, are competing fiercely on the Northwest Side, where both are based.</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/puerto-ricans-clash-over-mayoral-ballot-objection Footworking in Chatham: Battle Groundz takes dance to a new level http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/footworking-chatham-battle-groundz-takes-dance-new-level <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-29/achypic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;It doesn&rsquo;t really look anything like a typical dance club. For starters, the lights are on, blazing. They serve zero, zip, when it comes to beverages. And it only happens on Sunday nights.</p> <p>But Battle Groundz, on 87<sup>th</sup> just east of Stony Island in Chatham, isn&rsquo;t a very typical place. This is where a good bunch of Chicago&rsquo;s hardcore footwoorkers &nbsp;-- from the South Side, the West Side, the suburbs, even a few stragglers from the North Side -- come to practice, compete, and hang out.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/16288151?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;I think of footworking as hyper tap dancing,&rdquo; explains Maurice Fulson, 31, who started Battle Groundz two years ago in the empty front room of an insurance office, in a space donated by a sympathetic friend. Since he first opened, the floor tiles have been nearly worn through from all the sliding, jumping, skimming, popping, tapping and slamming involved.</p> <p>&ldquo;There are different types of spins, combos and crossovers,&rdquo; says Fulson, a father of five who makes a full-time living from coaching and teaching footworking. He still performs with Final Phase, one of the performing crews he helped create.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about the feet, everything&rsquo;s done with the feet,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>And sure enough, on any given Sunday, young men &ndash; there are young women, but they&rsquo;re few &ndash; gather in circles and lines here to impress each other with their moves. The feet are loco &ndash; twisting, turning, kicking, and the upper body comes in mostly for equilibrium and design.</p> <p>And though Fulson may describe it as close to tap dancing, the social culture seems to resemble break dancing more: crews and competition, taunting, plenty of stylized aggression and physicality, and a system of honor and prestige. Face offs and battles take place anywhere: in clubs like Battle Groundz but also in people&rsquo;s homes and basements, on the streets, in abandoned buildings, in highly regulated staged performances, in theaters and schools.</p> <p>&ldquo;What I like about is the creativity,&rdquo; says Aaron Ag Neal, 25, one of the founders of Terra Squad, one of Chicago&rsquo;s premier crews. &ldquo;But I&rsquo;m a competitive person, so I like the aggression too, the passion it takes to do it. I want to be dominant, I want to be the best.&rdquo;</p> <p>The competition is crew on crew or any number of crew members against the same number from another crew, resulting in some fierce one-on-one and two-on-two battles. It&rsquo;s a total in-your-face experience, with dancers frequently crossing the space in the middle or across lines to push off opposing crew members, mocking and making faces, gestures and generally affecting defiant and daring poses. Winners are determined by the crowd&rsquo;s reactions.</p> <p>And though it gets pretty intense sometimes, what really seems to piss off footwookers is when someone enters the circle early, interrupting another&rsquo;s routine. The craft is held in the highest regard here; interruption of the creative flow is a mortal sin. Yelling and pushing will no doubt ensue until the offender folds back and lets the injured party recover, continue, and maybe even stretch his routine out a bit.</p> <p>These, says Fulson, are the progeny of Ed Brown and Maurice Arnold, the Chicago South Siders usually given credit for developing footworking back in the late 80s.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ed was doing it in his basement, you know,&rdquo; says Fulson, &ldquo;and then they started doing it in Jackson Park. People saw it and understood it, and that&rsquo;s how it started.&rdquo;</p> <p>The idea, for Fulson, was to create a place to keep kids off the streets, give them a place to safely express themselves. Drinking and smoking are banned (though some goes on outside, on 87<sup>th</sup> Street), the $5 cover is a mere formality.</p> <p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re all sweet kids here,&rdquo; Fulson says of his crowds. And they are, in fact, exceedingly polite, friendly and warm. They know each other and hug on sight, greet each other with chest bumps and quick hand grips. They range in age from mid-twenties to toddlers &ndash; siblings or offspring.</p> <p>&quot;We're passing it on to a new generation too,&quot; he says.</p></p> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/footworking-chatham-battle-groundz-takes-dance-new-level