WBEZ | suburbs http://www.wbez.org/tags/suburbs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Trying to avoid marathon traffic downtown? You could have Fun in the Burbs http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/trying-avoid-marathon-traffic-downtown-you-could-have-fun-burbs <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pumpkins comehurl.org_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There will be an insane mass of humanity running in or watching the marathon downtown and around the city this weekend. Add in a number of street closures before, during and after the event, and even the heartiest Chicagoans will be doing some running of their own &mdash; running the heck out of town.</p><p>So if you&rsquo;re looking to avoid the crowds and the traffic, you could always head out to the suburbs. Jeanelle Kardas talks about some places and events to check out. Kardas runs the website &ldquo;<a href="https://www.funinthechicagoburbs.com/">Fun in the Burbs</a>,&rdquo; an entertainment guide for Chicago and its suburbs.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-09/trying-avoid-marathon-traffic-downtown-you-could-have-fun-burbs Afternoon Shift: Spotlight on suburban living http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-05-12/afternoon-shift-spotlight-suburban-living-112019 <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/Flickr%20spakattacks.jpg" style="height: 517px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo: Flickr/spakattacks)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205191862&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Are &#39;Best Places to Live&#39; lists accurate?</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">With the &ldquo;top 10&rdquo; and &ldquo;best places to live&rdquo; lists popping up all over the web, we&rsquo;ve been wondering which suburbs are the best to buy a house and raise a family. Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter, Dennis Rodkin, tells us what to believe and why we should be skeptical of those lists. Marty Winefield, an Evanston-based real estate broker with Coldwell Banker, also gives his insights.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a31-72d3-df2f-fdbdadf29c51"><strong>Guests: </strong></span></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Dennis_Rodkin?lang=en">Dennis Rodkin</a> is a Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business reporter.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a31-72d3-df2f-fdbdadf29c51"><a href="https://twitter.com/MartyWinefield">Marty Winefield</a></span> is a Coldwell Banker real estate broker.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205191457&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Photography collection depicts Cuba&#39;s Special Period</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a33-e80b-15c3-b96053ed3c2b">Madeleine Plonsker visited Cuba for the first time in 2002 and it changed her life. She saw examples of modern photography that haunted her and she has returned more than a dozen times since. Her visits in those years have resulted in a striking collection of photography that has been gathered in the new book &ldquo;The Light In Cuban Eyes&rdquo; from Lake Forest College Press. She joins us to talk about the book</span> and her experiences in Cuba.</p><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a33-e80b-15c3-b96053ed3c2b"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em>Madeleine Plonsker is an art collector, philanthropist and author of </em></span><em><a href="https://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/programs/english/press/books/cubaneyes.php">&ldquo;The Light in Cuban Eyes.&rdquo;</a></em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205192082&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Ogden Dunes Democrat enters Indiana governor&#39;s race</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">A Northwest Indiana woman hopes to become the state&rsquo;s first female governor. Democrat Karen Tallian officially kicked off her campaign on May 12 to seek her party&rsquo;s nomination for governor. The veteran lawmaker wants to increase Indiana&rsquo;s minimum wage and push for civil rights protections for the LGBT community. Tallian says current governor Mike Pence, a Republican, is beatable due to a series of missteps, but she&rsquo;s not the only Democrat seeking the nomination. WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter Michael Puente joins us to talk about Tallian&rsquo;s candidacy and the overall race for Indiana governor.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a35-00fd-4887-50be4cb9982d">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/mikepuentenews">Michael Puente</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205192092&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Illinois High School Association launches initiative to make high school sports safer</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The group that represents Illinois high schools has a new campaign aimed at making high school sports safer. &ldquo;Play Smart. Play Hard.&rdquo; is an educational resource for coaches, parents and student-athletes. And there&rsquo;s another piece to the initiative: A new advisory council that will suggest changes to policies at the Illinois High School Association. Kurt Gibson, assistant executive director of the IHSA, joins us with more.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a36-a657-4337-2f6aea6e0af2">Plus Dr. Cynthia LaBella joins us to talk about the initiative. She&rsquo;s the medical director for the Institute of Sports Medicine at Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital and head of the concussion program. She&rsquo;s also a member of IHSA&rsquo;s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. </span><br /><br /><strong>Guests: </strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><a href="http://www.ihsa.org/AbouttheIHSA/AdministrativeSupportStaff/KurtGibson.aspx">Kurt Gibson</a> is associate executive director of the IHSA.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a36-a657-4337-2f6aea6e0af2"><a href="https://www.luriechildrens.org/en-us/care-services/find-a-doctor/Pages/LaBella_Cynthia_2236.aspx">Dr. Cynthia LaBella</a></span> is the medical director of the Institute of Sports Medicine at Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205192294&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Tech Shift: UI Labs opens its hub for advanced manufacturing</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">After much fanfare, &nbsp;Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute is open. After winning a $70 million federal grant back in 2014 for advanced manufacturing, the UI Labs tech hub is up and running. UI Labs chairman Warren Holtsberg &nbsp;gives us the details.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a3b-5cad-285b-f5d9f0045722">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.uilabs.org/board/">Warren Holtsberg</a> is the chairman at UI Labs.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205192096&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Chicago gets Obama Library but exact site still undecided</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">After months of speculation and rumors surrounding where the Obama Presidential Library would break ground, Chicago is the place for that space. It&rsquo;ll be called the Barack Obama Presidential Center. According to the Obama Foundation, it&rsquo;ll include a library, museum, and archives. What&rsquo;s not clear is where it&rsquo;ll be. WBEZ&rsquo;s Yolanda Perdomo attended Tuesday&rsquo;s event and joins us in studio.</p><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a3c-b161-1876-eb27efbb7cf1"><strong>Guest:</strong><em> </em></span><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/yperdomo">Yolanda Perdomo</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205192098&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">What will the Obama Presidential Library look like?&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">AThe Obama Presidential Library is officially coming to Chicago. As for the design: obviously Chicago&rsquo;s a city known for its architecture. How much more pressure does that put on the Obamas and the Obama Foundation for their decisions regarding architecture, design and urban planning? Blair Kamin is architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune and has been busy writing about these aspects of the Library. He joins us with his thoughts and some tips for the First Family. &nbsp;</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-2808c723-4a3e-0775-7839-2154016b2b8c">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/BlairKamin?lang=en">Blair Kamin</a> is tChicago Tribune&rsquo;s architecture critic.</em></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 May 2015 17:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-05-12/afternoon-shift-spotlight-suburban-living-112019 Underground Korean-French dinner serves up mystery and music http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 <p><p>In mid-December I returned from vacation to find a handmade Christmas tree and card inviting me to dinner in a private suburban home hosted by &ldquo;a crazy hair stylist, a crazy dancer and crazy French Cuisine cooker.&rdquo;</p><p>It was from a man named David Cho, whom I interviewed more than 15 years ago about his nascent karaoke booth business.&nbsp; My first thought was, &ldquo;no way.&rdquo; But I figured I should at least call and decline. By the end of the call with Mr Cho, however, I told him I would go as long as my bosses OK&rsquo;d it, and I could pay for the meal.</p><p>When I told my friends on Facebook that I&rsquo;d been dining in the in the Northwest suburbs, Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel wrote back, &ldquo;10 minutes from the airport. You&#39;ll be over international waters before we know you&#39;re missing.&rdquo;</p><p>Sure, it was a risk but one I felt we are all too ready to avoid when it comes to meeting new people and checking out the workd of unknown culinary artists. Right? I invited my mom and 11-year-old daughter, to make sure I wasn&rsquo;t captured alone.</p><blockquote><p><a href="https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/109616767565/SaAaSRvg" target="_blank"><strong>Photos from Monica&#39;s 10-course meal</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>When we finally arrived, Mr. Cho met us in the parking lot of the very old condo complex. He led us up some stairs to a guy who looked like a Korean Harpo Marx dressed as a chef.&nbsp; As we entered the dining room/living room of his tiny place we found an elaborately decorated table, pink placemats, crystal. Loud French bistro music poured from the giant TV all night.</p><p>Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and other dolls filled the nearby shelves along with several more homemade Christmas trees. Other souvenirs included tiny chef dolls, Eiffel Tower replicas and pictures from chef James Hahn&rsquo;s many hair styling exhibitions.</p><p>I joined the other guests at the table and Hahn disappeared into the kitchen.</p><p>Within minutes, the first course was on the table. It was a purplish salad that Hahn said reflected his time in Nice, France.</p><p>Cho explained that Hahn was in Paris studying hairdressing when he first became fascinated with cooking. He said Hahn learned as much as he could about French food before returning to Korea to become a famous hairstylist. It has only been since his arrival in the States that he&rsquo;s started cooking for groups.&nbsp;</p><p>Hahn has hosted about 10 of these dinners, spending weeks planning and preparing the meals. Guests are invited from the from the ranks of Hahn&#39;s favorite customers at Gloria Hair Art beauty salon in Niles. They often donate money at the end of the meal to help cover food expenses. Hahn works completely alone, as prep cook, chef and server.</p><p>&ldquo;This is his secondary job or like a hobby,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;So I don&rsquo;t know how many times he&rsquo;s going to do this in the future, making a 10-course meal by himself. He needs a lot of energy. So maybe he&rsquo;ll do two or three times more. As far as I know he&rsquo;s more than 40-years-old. I don&rsquo;t know how much more energy he&rsquo;s got left. Last time I was here he was even sweating a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though I knew the meal would be a multi-course affair, I hadn&rsquo;t expected it to be so elaborate. By the 6th course of fried lobster in an apple garlic sauce I was ready to pop. But there was still steak, abalone, sashimi and dessert to come. (see full course list below)</p><p>As the meal progressed, I started to understand Hahn&rsquo;s prominence in the Korean community--if not exactly why I was called here tonight.</p><p>It seems that he had become a sort of dancing, hairdresser celebrity in Korea, appearing on talk shows and styling the hair of the stars.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s recognized as No. 1 hairstylist in the Korean community,&rdquo; Cho said, &ldquo;And he wants to be known for all of the United States. He is especially known for giving crazy haircuts in 10 minutes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can he give me a crazy haircut?&rdquo; I asked.</p><p>&ldquo;He can do whatever you want in 10 minutes,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t take long hours.&rdquo;</p><p>We finally finished the meal with a refreshing dragon fruit salad, and Cho announced that it was time to watch videos. These included Hahn&#39;s appearances on Korean talk shows, his dance performances and dancing haircutting acts. During some, his clients are even upside down. The final video showed him dancing and styling a red-haired client on stage at Chicago&rsquo;s Korean Festival on Bryn Mawr Avenue this past summer.</p><p>The clips from Korea showed elaborate headdresses that Hahn had created from his clients&#39; hair trimmings.&nbsp; Some took a year to produce. They have to be seen to be believed.</p><p>It was nearing midnight and my daughter was getting sleepy. So we left our donation, offered our deep thanks and we said our goodbyes. Despite my initial apprehension, it turned out that all Cho and Hahn wanted was to share their passion for food with a fellow foodie. And everyone left the experience alive.</p><p>As I told my daughter on the way out: this may have been a slightly risky move, but if you pass up every crazy invitation you get, you just may miss out on some magical experiences.</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/16202028940_84a71beaeb_z.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Course eight: Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p><strong>Full 10 course menu</strong></p><ol><li>Ten-vegetable salad in the style of Nice, France. (pineapple jam)</li><li>Kemasal soup featuring a seafood broth, broccoli florets and shredded crab</li><li>Roasted burdock over bok choy, ginger and scallions.</li><li>Scallops in a cauliflower puree</li><li>Boiled shrimp and lobster tail in a pink sauce.</li><li>Fried lobster in an apple sauce showered in garlic chips. A slice of smoked salmon in a pink horseradish sauce on the side.</li><li>Steamed whole abalone served in the shell with mushrooms and accompanied by a piece of rolled grilled prosciutto.</li><li>Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens.Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Dragon fruit, pineapple, persimmon, candied citrus and grapefruit salad.</li></ol><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 Berwyn relaxes towing policy that hit immigrants especially hard http://www.wbez.org/news/berwyn-relaxes-towing-policy-hit-immigrants-especially-hard-106888 <p><p>A suburb west of Chicago is relaxing a tough car-towing policy because of its effects on immigrants.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CimagliaCROP.jpg" style="float: right; height: 371px; width: 250px;" title="Michael Cimaglia, a Berwyn police commander, met with immigrant advocates to hammer out the new policy. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />An order signed by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/beyond-bungalows-berwyn%E2%80%99s-creative-side-105351">Berwyn</a> Police Chief James D. Ritz says the &ldquo;towing, impounding and seizing of a vehicle&rdquo; operated by an unlicensed driver &ldquo;may be decided by the use of officer discretion unless the vehicle is uninsured.&rdquo;</p><p>Berwyn officials say the order softens enforcement of a 2007 ordinance that allows the city to charge the unlicensed motorists $500, not including towing and storage costs, to recover impounded vehicles.</p><p>Berwyn was among several heavily immigrant Chicago suburbs that enacted strict towing measures before proposals to overhaul the nation&rsquo;s immigration laws stalled in Congress in 2007. The ordinances hurt immigrants who, because of their unlawful presence in the country, didn&rsquo;t qualify for an Illinois license.</p><p>&ldquo;We still don&rsquo;t condone people [breaking] the law and driving without a license,&rdquo; said Michael Cimaglia, a Berwyn police commander who met with immigrant advocates to hammer out a policy. &ldquo;However, we&rsquo;ve modified the policy so it&rsquo;s not as hard on some of the residents.&rdquo;</p><p>Berwyn now allows unlicensed motorists to turn over the car to a licensed driver or park it.</p><p>Immigrant advocates said Berwyn officials heard a message from Latino residents. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re here to stay,&rdquo; said Julie O&rsquo;Reilly Castillo of the Interfaith Leadership Project, which pressed for the policy. &ldquo;Respect us and be a little bit flexible because there are things beyond our control that leave people vulnerable.&rdquo;</p><p>Under an agreement with the advocates, Berwyn is also putting its entire police department &mdash; nearly 200 employees &mdash; through a three-hour training session focused on ethnic sensitivity. Cimaglia says the goal is more compassion for the city&rsquo;s immigrants.</p><p>About 60 percent of Berwyn&rsquo;s 56,657 residents are Latino, according to U.S. census figures. That population includes thousands &mdash; the exact number is unknown &mdash; who lack authorization to be in the United States.</p><p>The state of Illinois, meanwhile, is planning to begin issuing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-allow-immigrants-get-licenses-105171">temporary driver&rsquo;s licenses</a> to unauthorized immigrants this fall.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/berwyn-relaxes-towing-policy-hit-immigrants-especially-hard-106888 Oak Park's Continental Divide http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/oak-parks-continental-divide-105662 <p><p>Most of Chicago is flat as a pancake. That&rsquo;s why the neighborhood I grew up in was special. We had a hill. I was so impressed that when I got my first camera, I went out and took a picture from the top of its dizzy heights.</p><p>Actually, our hill wasn&rsquo;t a real hill. The rise along Narragansett Avenue was a ridge. Long ago Lake Michigan was much larger, and its waters covered most of what&rsquo;s now the city of Chicago. The ridge marked one of the ancient lake&rsquo;s beach lines.</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/Narragansett%20Hill.jpg" title="'Narragansett Hill', 1959" /></div><p>That same Narragansett ridge stretches into Oak Park. Once I became an adult, I never paid much attention to it. Then, a few years ago, I was driving west on Chicago Avenue through Oak Park. Just as I crested the ridge I saw the historic marker on the parkway to the right.&nbsp;</p><p>The marker told the story. My childhood ridge was a continental divide.&nbsp;</p><p>The ridge separates two great watersheds. The rain that falls on the east of the ridge eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The rain that falls on the west of the ridge goes toward the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.&nbsp;</p><p>Chicago was settled because of its convenient location between the two great watersheds. Think of the native peoples&mdash;or Marquette and Jolliet&mdash;paddling their canoes down Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, portaging a few miles over the ridge, then catching the Des Plaines River on the way to the Mississippi. We all learned that story in Early Chicago History 101.&nbsp;</p><p>The Oak Park markers were erected through the efforts of retired architect Bill Dring. With the help of Dennis McClendon at Chicago Cartographics, he located a 1927 map that identified the ridge as a continental divide. This particular one is known as the St. Lawrence Divide, because the east-flowing waters reach the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence River.</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/03-04--Oak%20Park%20Marker.JPG" title="Oak Park's Continental Divide" /></div><p>A few spoilsports have claimed that the Oak Park ridge isn&rsquo;t an actual continental divide. Drop a bottle into the water and send it west from the ridge toward the Mississippi and the Gulf. If that bottle doesn&rsquo;t get picked up or smashed, it&rsquo;s still going to wind up in the Atlantic eventually. So what&rsquo;s the big deal?&nbsp;</p><p>I don&rsquo;t buy that argument. Over 70 percent of the earth&rsquo;s surface is water, and all of it flows together at some place or another. The continents are really nothing more than giant islands. So if you want to get hyper-technical, you have to throw out the Rocky Mountain Divide, too.&nbsp;</p><p>Most of us will never get to Four Corners, and never be able to stand in four states at once. But with very little effort, we can straddle two great watersheds. So let&rsquo;s all celebrate the Oak Park Continental Divide. &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/oak-parks-continental-divide-105662 Saving a New Deal mural http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/saving-new-deal-mural-105320 <p><p>The New Deal is the collective name given to federal programs launched to fight the Great Depression of the 1930s. One of these was the Treasury Relief Arts Project (TRAP). The idea was to have established artists decorate existing public buildings.</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/2-13--George%20Melville%20Smith.jpg" style="width: 223px; height: 250px; float: right;" title="George Melville Smith (Frick Art Collection)" />George Melville Smith was an artist commissioned through TRAP. He painted murals in a number of buildings around the Chicago area, including the Schubert Elementary School in the city, and the post offices in Elmhurst and in Crown Point, Indiana.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1940 Smith completed &ldquo;Indians Cede the Land&rdquo; at the Park Ridge post office. The mural measured 6x20 feet. Depicted was an idealized scene of a Native chief and an army officer shaking hands as settlers move into a new territory. The artist received $2,000 for his work.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Indians&quot; hung in place for thirty years. In 1970 the Park Ridge post office moved to larger quarters, and the building became headquarters for the local school district. The new tenants planned extensive redecoration. They had no use for the mural.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Enter Paul Carlson, a history teacher at Maine South High School. He found out that the New Deal mural was going to be thrown away. Along with a few students he removed the painting from the wall and rolled it up. He stored it in his home.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Carlson had saved a historic piece of artwork from destruction. But he wasn&rsquo;t a conservator. The mural had already gone through various indignities during its public display. Now, over the long years in storage, &ldquo;Indians&rdquo; gradually deteriorated.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Paul Carlson died in 2008. After his death, the Carlson family presented the mural to the Park Ridge Public Library. I&rsquo;m on the library&rsquo;s Board of Trustees.</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/2-13--Post%20Office%20Mural.jpg" title="'Indians Cede the Land' by Smith (Park Ridge Mural Restoration Committee)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">We were happy to receive the mural. The big question was whether it could be restored. After shopping around, we found out that restoration was possible. The cost would be about $40,000&mdash;which we couldn&rsquo;t afford.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Three of our trustees formed an independent committee to solicit donations from the public. The committee also received a grant from the Park Ridge Historical Society. Last year the fund-raising goal was reached. Work began on bringing the mural back to life.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now restoration is complete. On February 23, George Melville Smith&rsquo;s &ldquo;Indians Cede the Land&rdquo; goes on permanent display at the Park Ridge Public Library, 20 South Prospect Avenue in Park Ridge. Once again, public art will be available to the public.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/saving-new-deal-mural-105320 Forget Poles: Palestinians find a home in suburban Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/forget-poles-palestinians-find-home-suburban-chicago-105416 <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/Laila%20Grape%20Vine%20small.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Laila Maali has owned Grape Vine in Orland Park for nine years. Maali, who is part of the region's large Palestinian diaspora, has lived in the U.S. for 26 years. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" /></div><p>Chicagoans are fond of saying that there are more Poles here than anywhere outside of Poland. But ask about Palestinians and you may get a blank stare. As it turns out, there are likely more Palestinian immigrants living in the Chicagoland area than anywhere else in the U.S.<br /><br />The nexus of Arab American life in the Chicago region is the city&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs. Bridgeview, the oldest and most established of the area&rsquo;s Muslim community, is seen as the hub, but the community also extends to neighboring towns like Oak Lawn and Orland Park.<br /><br />When listeners learned that reporter Michael Puente and I planned to visit Orland Park this week, they asked us to look into the town&rsquo;s diverse population. &ldquo;I work out in Orland and I&#39;d be interested to hear you address the large Arabic populations here,&rdquo; listener Eric Olsen told us. &ldquo;Where are they from?&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Lunch in Little Beitunia (or Big Beitunia, as the case may be)</strong><br /><br />We started our research with a visit to <a href="http://grapevine-orlandpark.com/">Grape Vine</a>, a small storefront grocery and bakery on John Humphrey Drive. It was lunchtime, and the sun filtered in onto shelves lined with pita bread and pickled cucumbers, red lentils and Royal World Tea, bags of rice and jars of butter ghee. Aluminum trays of savory pastries and stout, cigar-shaped falafel sat on the counter. Grape Vine&rsquo;s owner, Laila Maali, stood behind the cash register in a navy blue blouse and loosely draped black hijab, rattling off phone orders from catering customers in a quick mix of Arabic and English.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lunch%20Grape%20Vine%20small.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="The Grape Vine in Orland Park carries a variety of middle eastern groceries -- pita bread, red lentils, butter ghee, pickled cucumbers -- as well as some pretty tasty falafel! (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />While we chatted with Maali, Edward Hassan walked inside. Hassan was smartly dressed in leather gloves and a wool overcoat, and told us that he owned seven strip malls in the area, including the one we were in. The vanity plates on his white Mercedes Benz read LND LRD.<br /><br />Both Maali and Hassan immigrated to the U.S. from Beitunia (sometimes spelled Baytunya), a town roughly eight miles outside Ramallah in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. Maali said she has lived in the Chicago area for 26 years, while Hassan said he came to the U.S. as a child with his parents 50 years ago, first settling in Chicago at 63rd and Halsted then moving to the suburbs.<br /><br />It was Hassan who first tipped us off to the sheer number of Palestinians living southwest of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;There are 23,000 people living here from Beitunia,&rdquo; he told us, much to our surprise. &ldquo;And only 2,000 back in Beitunia.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>How many people of Palestinian descent actually live in the region?</strong><br /><br />The truth is more complicated, but surprising nonetheless. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there were closer to 20,000 people living in Beitunia as of 2007. But sociologist <a href="http://www.marquette.edu/socs/cainkar.shtml">Louise Cainkar</a>, a professor at Marquette University and an expert on Arab immigration, backs up the underlying thrust of Hassan&rsquo;s claim.</p><p>&ldquo;Historically Beitunia was the largest feeder village [of Palestinian immigrants] to Chicago,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Cainkar has spent time in Beitunia and has seen the results of this relationship.</p><p>&ldquo;[The village]used to be characterized by agriculture, but is now quite built up,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Cainkar says the investment from money made in the U.S. and sent back to the village in the form of remittances is visible.<br /><br />Cainkar estimates that as many as a quarter of all Palestinians living in the U.S. live in the counties surrounding Chicago &mdash; more than live any other American city. And, Palestinians make up the single largest Arab ethnic group in the Chicago region, according to Cainkar &mdash; as much as 40 percent of the area&rsquo;s total Arab population. &nbsp;<br /><br />It&rsquo;s actually quite difficult, though, to measure exactly how many people of Palestinian descent live in the Chicago area. And it&rsquo;s hard to know how many people of Arab descent there are in the country as a whole. Nationally, the 2010 U.S. Census found that about 1.9 million Americans are of Arab descent, although groups like the Arab American Institute estimate that the number could be much larger, as high as 5.1 million people. It&rsquo;s a similar story in Illinois; the Census found about 85,000 people of Arab descent living in the state, but again, the AAI thinks the number is much higher, closer to 220,000 total.<br /><br />Cainkar thinks the real number of Arab Americans living in the U.S. &mdash; and in Illinois &mdash; is probably somewhere in the middle of those estimates, but agrees that the Census misses a lot of people.</p><p>The short version of the Census &mdash; given to 82 percent of people who take it &mdash; only measures race, and Arabs are supposed to mark themselves down as white. The 18 percent of people who take the longer version of the survey are asked questions about their &ldquo;ancestry.&rdquo; In 2010, of the people who indicated they were of Arab ancestry, five percent described themselves as being of Palestinian descent. But another 11 percent said they were &ldquo;Other, Arab&rdquo; and another 15 percent said they were &ldquo;Arab/Arabic.&rdquo;</p><p>Cainkar&rsquo;s research suggests that many of these respondents are actually Palestinian, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I looked at the Census tracts block by block, based on where people live,&rdquo; she said, adding that many Chicago communities she knows to be Palestinian weren&rsquo;t counted as such.<br /><br />Regardless of the exact number of Arab Americans living in Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs, their presence is clear, whether in the Prayer Center, the Orland Park mosque with a glowing gold dome and colorful tile walls built in 2004, or the sheer number of businesses that cater to Middle Eastern tastes.</p><p>&ldquo;I counted 100 Arab-owned businesses in less than one square mile between 79th and 87th and Harlem, and that&rsquo;s just a little piece of their commercial enterprises down there,&rdquo; Cainkar said of one portion of the Southwest Side community. &ldquo;That is definitely their hub.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>So why Chicago?</strong><br /><br />What, then, drew Palestinian immigrants and other Arabs to the region to begin with? As is the case with so many elements of Chicago history, Cainkar said the answer lies in the 1893 World&rsquo;s Columbian Exhibition. The fair brought travelers and presenters from all over the globe, including Arab traders who liked the region and found a market here for their goods.<br /><br />That started the first wave of Arab immigration to the U.S., which was followed by many more. And because U.S. immigration policy is focused on family reunification, once a family had one member settled permanently in the U.S., more were likely to follow.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Prayer%20Center%20Orland%20Park%20small.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="The Prayer Center, a mosque in Orland Park, was built in 2004, as more area Muslims moved to town. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Of course, the answer to why there are nearly as many Palestinians living abroad as there are still living in Palestine &mdash; about 4.5 million &mdash; lies in that region&rsquo;s troubled history. Many left or were forced out starting in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel, an event many Palestinians refer to as the &ldquo;Nakba&rdquo; or &ldquo;disaster.&rdquo; (At the time, many Jews were also expelled from or chose to leave their homes in neighboring Arab countries.) Subsequent conflicts, like the 1967 war, prompted subsequent waves of immigration.<br /><br />But Cainkar said the biggest wave of Palestinian immigration to the U.S. came in the 1980s and &lsquo;90s. Many who came were not immigrants but students, Cainkar said, earning advanced degrees.</p><p>Many of those same students-turned-engineers, say, went on to live in Persian Gulf states, drawn by the promise of good paying jobs funded with oil boom money. But 350,000 Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait and other Gulf states in 1990 after the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) refused to back foreign intervention as a solution to Iraq&rsquo;s occupation of Kuwait. Cainkar said that for many of these Palestinians, &ldquo;this meant their only other option for survival was the U.S.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Putting down roots</strong><br /><br />Arab Americans have been subjected to much unwanted scrutiny since 9/11 turned &ldquo;Islamic extremism&rdquo; into a household term that fueled fear &mdash; the 2004 struggle over the Prayer Center in Orland Park is certainly evidence of that &mdash; and Palestinians carry with them a particularly painful history of struggle.</p><p>But Cainkar said that as a whole, America&rsquo;s Arab population, including the entrepreneurial Palestinian community in Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest suburbs, is thriving.</p><p>&ldquo;Overall Arab income in the U.S. is higher than the median income of the U.S. as a whole,&rdquo; Cainkar said. &ldquo;Usually groups that face discrimination don&rsquo;t do well in this country, but they&#39;re an exception to this pattern.&rdquo;<br /><br />Back at Grape Vine, property owner Edward Hassan talked not just of his business investments, but of his childhood in Chicago and his service during Vietnam. Hassan said he founded an Arab American veterans group that has over 200 area members, some of whom served in the Korean War.<br /><br />&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t just get off the boat,&rdquo; he told us. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re American.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/forget-poles-palestinians-find-home-suburban-chicago-105416 Chicago's Rosemont Corridor http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/chicagos-rosemont-corridor-105151 <p><p>You can find a little bit of Chicago in the strangest places.</p><p>In 1945 the federal government transferred 1,080 acres of land near Mannheim and Higgins to the City of Chicago. The site was to be used for a new commercial airfield, the future O&rsquo;Hare.</p><p>Though Chicago held title to the airport land, the site itself was a few miles beyond the city limits. That fact might cause legal complications--could&nbsp;the Chicago police even issue parking tickets?&nbsp;Early in 1956, the city council opened hearings on annexing unincorporated land between the city and the airport.</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/Foster%20corridor.JPG" title="Foster Avenue--Chicago's 'Rosemont Corridor'" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Part of the plan was to annex forest preserve&nbsp;acreage along the Des Plaines River. The Cook County Board was controlled by Chicago Democrats, so that would be easily done.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">At the same time, the city was going to annex a 66-foot-wide strip of Higgins Road. This narrow corridor would stretch from the&nbsp;existing Chicago border (Canfield Avenue) to the airport land (Mannheim Road). Chicago would then have a physical link with O&rsquo;Hare.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile,&nbsp;out on the prairie, the homesteaders in Park Ridge and Des Plaines were alarmed. Those city slickers were invading their territory. What would happen to their peaceful country&nbsp;lives?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now both Park Ridge and Des Plaines began their own annexations, trying to block Chicago&rsquo;s land grab. The newly-incorporated village of Rosemont followed suit. To help things along, Leyden Township officials volunteered to co-ordinate the new suburban&nbsp;borders.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago&nbsp;wasn&rsquo;t about to let a few little hamlets interfere with the greater good of his city. Daley&nbsp;met behind closed doors with officials from the rebellious suburbs on March 28<sup>th</sup>. When the meeting ended,&nbsp;the mayor&nbsp;announced that the matter was settled, and the Chicago annexation would go forward.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">By virtue of that strip along Higgins&mdash;which was only 33-feet wide in some places&mdash;O&rsquo;Hare was now connected to the City of Chicago. But the solution was only temporary. In 1959, in a different case, the Illinois Supreme Court questioned the legality of such &ldquo;shoestring&rdquo; annexations.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Otto Avenue looking toward Rosemont.JPG" title="Otto Avenue in Chicago, view toward Rosemont border" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Daley didn&rsquo;t wait for the court to take up the Higgins annexation.&nbsp; He reached a deal with Rosemont to swop the Higgins strip for a 185-foot wide strip along Foster Avenue, on Rosemont&rsquo;s southern border. Now the matter really was settled.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Today there&rsquo;s nothing to identify the little corridor along Foster as part of Chicago, except for a few city street lights. The old suburban street signs are still in place. And in a final bit of irony, the Rosemont land to the north has undergone massive redevelopment, while the Chicago land is occupied by single-story industrial buildings.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 07:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/chicagos-rosemont-corridor-105151 2-1-1982: Chicago suburb outlaws guns! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/2-1-1982-chicago-suburb-outlaws-guns-105086 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-1--street.JPG" title="'First in service, First in safety.' [Morton Grove motto]" /></p><p>Thirty-one years ago today, the eyes of the country were on Morton Grove, Ill. The quiet northern suburb had enacted the most restrictive handgun law in America. This was the first day under the new law. &nbsp;</p><p>The story had begun in 1980, when someone applied for a license to open a gun store in the village. The matter went to the Board of Trustees. In June 1981 the Board passed an ordinance banning gun sales. While they were at it, they also approved a measure outlawing the possession of handguns.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, the U.S. Constitution said that &ldquo;the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.&rdquo; The Board knew that the law would be challenged. The Morton Grove police were instructed to hold any surrendered guns for five years, in case the law was overturned.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The lawsuits came. The original enforcement date&ndash;September 6, 1981&ndash;was postponed. In December the U.S. District Court upheld the Morton Grove ban. The Board then announced that the law would go into effect on February 1, 1982.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">On the morning of the big day, reporters, photographers, and TV news crews staked out the Village Hall police station. At 8:15 a resident came in with three rusty handguns in a shopping bag. He&rsquo;d wanted to get rid of the guns for a long time, but didn&rsquo;t know how to go about it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A few minutes later, a second man arrived. He was surrendering a .22-caliber pistol. &ldquo;This would be your Saturday night special,&rdquo; an official helpfully told the reporters.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-1--police station.JPG" title="Morton Grove's gun depository" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">The day went on. The news people waited. In the middle of the afternoon, a third man appeared. He dropped off a small-caliber pistol and some ammo.&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One of the reporters asked the deputy police chief how future violations would be treated. &ldquo;We would hand out an ordinance ticket, just like a parking violation,&rdquo; the chief said. The weapon would also be confiscated.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Village Hall closed at 5 p.m. A total of five guns had been collected.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The&nbsp;mayor of Morton Grove had been following the news coverage on TV. He said he wasn&rsquo;t disappointed by the small number of guns. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a drop in the bucket,&rdquo; he conceded. &ldquo;[But] who the heck can tell how many guns there are?&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Because of later court decisions, Morton Grove repealed much of its handgun ban in 2008.</div></p> Fri, 01 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/2-1-1982-chicago-suburb-outlaws-guns-105086