WBEZ | WBEZ http://www.wbez.org/tags/wbez Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago police trying to recruit more minorities to join its ranks http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-trying-recruit-more-minorities-join-its-ranks-113604 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_1731.JPG" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="Young Chicago police officers stand with Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th ward at a press conference Monday announcing the police department’s latest recruitment effort. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department has struggled in the past with hiring minorities. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /></p><p>Calling all future police officers: The Chicago Police Department is taking applications for the first time since 2013.</p><div><p>The last time the department held the police exam, 19,000 people showed up&mdash;but Supt. Garry McCarthy said there was a problem with the pool of applicants. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, we didn&rsquo;t get the numbers that we wanted as far as minorities are concerned,&rdquo; McCarthy told reporters Monday. &ldquo;And it&#39;s been a dynamic in this department that we&rsquo;ve struggled with for a long time.&rdquo;</p><div>So this year, the police department is launching a campaign to increase minority participation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who joined McCarthy and other top police brass for the announcement, said the force should better reflect the makeup of Chicago.&nbsp;<p>To meet that end, McCarthy pointed to the diverse group of &ldquo;young, good-looking&rdquo; officers that stood behind him at the podium. CPD will send younger officers out to churches, schools and community events around Chicago to try and convince their peers to join the ranks.&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://chicagopolice.org/takethetest" target="_blank">application </a>deadline is December 16; applicants must be 18 years old by the time of the exam, which will be held in February. Applicants also have to live in Chicago by the time of their employment, have 60 hours of college credit, or 36 months of continuous active duty service with 30 semester hours college credit and they must have a valid State of Illinois driver&rsquo;s license by the time of employment.</p><p>The superintendent said the department will be hiring to keep up with attrition.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-trying-recruit-more-minorities-join-its-ranks-113604 ‘Trust issues’ with Springfield have aldermen looking for property tax relief plan B http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98trust-issues%E2%80%99-springfield-have-aldermen-looking-property-tax-relief-plan-b-113491 <p><div>Citing &ldquo;trust issues&rdquo; with Springfield lawmakers, many Chicago aldermen are looking for another way to help homeowners stomach higher property taxes.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 30 aldermen have signed their names on proposals that would give rebates to struggling taxpayers. Two members say that without the assurance of that plan B, they&rsquo;ll vote no on the budget.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long said his proposed $543 million property tax hike would come with a break for homes valued at $250,000 or less and a doubling of the homeowner&rsquo;s exemption. But the mayor&rsquo;s plan requires approval from state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner, and so far it has only passed through one committee. State lawmakers won&rsquo;t meet again until November, and aldermen are scheduled to cast their budget vote on October 28th.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_821590849688.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 200px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. Democrats in the General Assembly continue attempts at flanking the Republican governor on the budget impasse, advancing legislation that would distribute money that's already been collected to local governments, lottery winners and more. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)" /></p><div>Alderman John Arena (45) said he and his colleagues have &ldquo;trust issues&rdquo; with deadlocked Springfield, and that makes it tough to believe lawmakers will come through on the exemption plan.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna hope that they do their job, we hope they&rsquo;ll do the right thing, so that Chicago can deal with this very important issue, if not, let&rsquo;s do what we can within our purview,&rdquo; Arena said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Providing property tax relief through rebates is not a new idea at City Hall: Mayor Richard M. Daley started a <a href="https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2009/october_2009/mayor_daley_announces.html" target="_blank">rebate program</a> as part of his 2010 budget. But Ald. Michele Smith (43) said as the budget vote gets closer, there is &ldquo;rising sentiment in the council for a rebate program.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith introduced an ordinance this week that would assist homeowners age 60 or older who have owned their homes for 18 years or more and are facing triennial assessments higher than 30 percent. <a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2501244&amp;GUID=A8909CD3-6249-4D5D-82CD-CFCAC6B167F5&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">Her plan</a> is an attempt to widen another rebate plan from <a href="http://www.ward1.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/RELIEF.pdf" target="_blank">Ald. Proco &ldquo;Joe&rdquo; Moreno (1) who proposed a relief program</a> for households earning $100,000 or less a year -- an announcement he made weeks before the mayor&rsquo;s official budget announcement.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2469616&amp;GUID=E60FA614-1C64-40BC-AE85-9214DC5F6760&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">A third proposal from members of the Progressive Caucus</a> would distribute funds that members say are still left over from Daley&rsquo;s rebate program in 2010. &nbsp;One of the sponsors, Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35) said without a rebate program or final approval in Springfield on the homeowner&#39;s exemption, he&rsquo;d cast a no-vote next Wednesday. Arena is with him, calling a budget without either of those items a &ldquo;deal breaker.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Emanuel&rsquo;s staff didn&rsquo;t say whether the mayor would be open to including one of these rebate programs in the budget. Instead, they repeated what Emanuel and his staff have constantly said about the homeowner&rsquo;s exemption: That the plan has never been contentious or controversial in Springfield before, so there is no reason it will be now.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98trust-issues%E2%80%99-springfield-have-aldermen-looking-property-tax-relief-plan-b-113491 Emanuel: Springfield lawmakers “have to” break stalemate, help Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-springfield-lawmakers-%E2%80%9Chave-to%E2%80%9D-break-stalemate-help-chicago-113486 <p><div>Another agency in Chicago is looking to deadlocked Springfield for help balancing its books, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that&rsquo;s OK, because state lawmakers will eventually come through on their obligations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicago Transit Authority officials say their 2016 budget will be balanced, but only if they get the normal level of funding from the state.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;m usually seen as an optimist or keep hope alive is my operating theory,&rdquo; Emanuel told reporters at the Addison CTA Blue Line stop. &ldquo;Look, they have to and will in the end of the day resolve their problem. And their breakdown. They&rsquo;ll have to pass their budget and they&rsquo;ll have to meet their responsibilities.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Emanuel joined CTA president Dorval Carter Jr. Thursday to announce the details of the agency&rsquo;s budget proposal. Carter said the CTA would not increases fares or cut services to balance their $1.475 billion budget, but it will need state funding to fill about 20 percent of the spending plan as it has in years past.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_1583.JPG" style="height: 300px; width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. announce details of the agency’s 2016 budget. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /></p><div>Carter said he&rsquo;s been in &ldquo;productive conversations&rdquo; with lawmakers in Springfield. But as Illinoisans know well, the state is in its fourth month without a budget.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t speak for the governor or for anyone else in terms of where they&rsquo;re going to go or what they&rsquo;re going to do,&rdquo; Carter said. &ldquo;What I can say is I&rsquo;m managing my budget efficiently.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The budget calls for eliminating 100 positions in what officials call &ldquo;non-customer facing areas.&rdquo; It also projects continued growth in ridership. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The CTA isn&rsquo;t the only Chicago agency counting on the state. The Chicago Board of Education<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-board-education-passes-budget-banks-imaginary-money-112740" target="_blank"> unanimously approved a multibillion dollar budget </a>that relies on almost $500 million from Springfield, even though the Illinois General Assembly hasn&rsquo;t agreed to send the Chicago Public School district any additional money.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Meanwhile at City Hall, aldermen are hemming and hawing over whether to support a $543 million property tax increase that relies on Governor Bruce Rauner signing a bill that would lessen state-mandated police and fire pension payments. And an Emanuel supported bill that would double the current homeowners&rsquo; exemption and lessen the blow on homeowners who he said can least afford the additional property tax pain has only passed through one committee.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Aldermen have said that their &ldquo;trust issues&rdquo; with Springfield could affect whether or not they support the mayor&rsquo;s budget.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank"> @laurenchooljian</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-springfield-lawmakers-%E2%80%9Chave-to%E2%80%9D-break-stalemate-help-chicago-113486 WBEZ celebrates 25 years of independence http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-22/wbez-celebrates-25-years-independence-113464 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/WBEZ915_LOGO_3.png" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ is celebrating 25 years of independent broadcasting. Before 1990, the station was an extension of the Chicago Board of Education. But in 1990, Chicago Public Media acquired the WBEZ license and broke free, becoming the independent, non-profit media organization we are today.</p><p>Some of the people who made that move happen reflect on the station as it was, and what that move meant. In the coming weeks, we&rsquo;ll be sharing some of our favorite moments from the past two decades: interviews and stories that highlight who we are. You can listen to some of those moments now at <a href="http://chicagoamplified.org/">WBEZ.org/25</a>.</p></p> Thu, 22 Oct 2015 12:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-22/wbez-celebrates-25-years-independence-113464 Morning Shift: July 2, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-02/morning-shift-july-2-2015-112309 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212963602&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 22px;">We&#39;re on the cusp of the July 4th holiday weekend and along with the bbq&rsquo;s and fireworks is, unfortunately, the specter of increased gun violence. We hear about an effort that aims to stem that violence in certain Chicago neighborhoods. Plus the important and often overlooked role Chicago played in the birth of American movie-making...detailed in the book Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U-S Film Industry.&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 22px;">Also mariachi music from a L.A. band that normally plays punk,&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 22px;">and the latest changes for our NHL Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks.</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; 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);">&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-02/morning-shift-july-2-2015-112309 Inauguration Day: New City Council faces serious financial problems http://www.wbez.org/news/inauguration-day-new-city-council-faces-serious-financial-problems-112042 <p><p>Inauguration day is here: Chicago&rsquo;s mayor, treasurer, city clerk and new class of aldermen will all be sworn in at the Chicago Theatre Monday morning. Of course, many of the people on stage will be familiar faces: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Clerk Susana Mendoza and Treasurer Kurt Summers have already been serving the city, along with a majority of aldermen.</p><p>But thirteen new faces will be mixed among the returning class of politicians. Together, they&rsquo;ll be faced with a number of difficult issues, not the least of which is the city&rsquo;s dire financial situation.</p><p><em>Click below to hear about the members, the lessons they learned from the last election and more on the issues they&rsquo;ll be tackling this term.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205368904%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-PbDUk&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="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Brian-Hopkins.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Brain Hopkins (via Twitter)" /><strong>Brian Hopkins (2)</strong>: Hopkins is currently the senior budget analyst for the Cook County Board&rsquo;s Finance Committee, where he&rsquo;s also served as chief of staff to Chairman John Daley. Hopkins isn&rsquo;t planning to join a caucus; he thinks the city council should, &ldquo;get away from some of the factionalism that exists, and not break down into multiple, different caucuses.&rdquo;</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/greg-mitchell.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Gregory Mitchell (via mitchellforalderman.com)" /><strong>Gregory Mitchell (7)</strong>: Mitchell is a lifelong resident of the 7th Ward and worked as an IT Manager at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He&rsquo;s likely to join the black caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/patric-daley-thompson.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 150px; float: left;" title="Patrick Daley Thompson (via patrickdthompson.com)" /><strong>Patrick Daley Thompson (11)</strong>: Thompson&rsquo;s middle name is a familiar one for the Chicago political scene. His uncle is former Mayor Richard M Daley, and, of course, his grandfather is former Mayor Richard J Daley. Thompson recently ended his tenure with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District&rsquo;s Board of Commissioners; and he <a href="http://www.burkelaw.com/Staff/Patrick+D+Thompson">practices real estate and corporate law</a>, which he says he&rsquo;ll continue while serving as alderman. Thompson says he currently has no plans to join any of the city council caucuses.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/susan-garza.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Susan Sadlowski Garza" /><strong>Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10)</strong>: Sadlowski-Garza is a Chicago Teacher&rsquo;s Union area vice president and, most recently, worked as a counselor at Jane Addams Elementary, a position she says she&rsquo;ll leave when she becomes alderman. She will join the progressive caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/raymond-lopez.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Raymond Lopez (via electlopez.com)" /><strong>Raymond Lopez (15)</strong>: Lopez is the Democratic Committeeman in the 15th Ward, and recently retired from Southwest Airlines. At present, he isn&rsquo;t planning to join any caucuses, including the newly formed Gay Caucus. Lopez is one of five openly gay members of the current city council. Still, he&rsquo;s often included on rosters of the new caucus, but Lopez says he&rsquo;s &ldquo;often guilty by association before I know about it.&rdquo;</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/david-moore.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="David Moore (via citizensformoore.com)" /><strong>David Moore (17)</strong>: Moore&rsquo;s family has been involved in the 17th Ward Democratic Organization since he was a kid--he went on to be precinct captain. Moore is currently an assistant to the commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review, a position he says he will leave once becoming alderman. Moore is a member of the progressive caucus, and plans to join the black caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/derrick-curtis.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Derrick Curtis (via twitter)" /><strong>Derrick Curtis (18)</strong>: Curtis is 18th Ward Democratic Committeeman and ward superintendent for the Department of Streets and Sanitation. He&rsquo;s likely to join the black caucus. &nbsp;</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/michaelscottjr.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Michael Scott Jr. (via Twitter)" /><strong>Michael Scott, Jr (24):</strong> Scott is an area manager for the Central Region of the Chicago Park District, but he says he&rsquo;ll be leaving his position to become alderman. His father is the late Chicago School Board President Michael W. Scott, Sr. He says he&rsquo;s likely to join the black caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chris-taliaferro.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Chris Taliaferro (via 29thward.com)" /><strong>Chris Taliaferro (29)</strong>: Taliaferro is a former Marine and former sergeant with the Chicago Police Department. He currently works as a litigation attorney and partner at Nexus Legal Group. Taliaferro is a member of the progressive caucus and is likely to join the black caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milly-Santiago.jpg" style="height: 160px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Milagros “Milly” Santiago" /><strong>Milagros &ldquo;Milly&rdquo; Santiago (31)</strong>: Santiago is mostly known throughout the city for her work as a TV reporter for Telemundo. She most recently worked as communications manager for Illinois state agencies under the Central Management Services. Her name is rumored to be on the list for the progressive caucus, but Santiago says she hasn&rsquo;t yet made a decision.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gilbert.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Gilbert Villegas (via twitter)" /><strong>Gilbert Villegas (36)</strong>: Villegas was a former Marine, and currently owns a consulting company. He says he may continue to do some consulting while he serves as alderman, &ldquo;depending on the time.&rdquo; Villegas is joining the Latino caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/carlos.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (via carlososa.org)" /><strong>Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35)</strong>: At 26 years old, Ramirez-Rosa becomes the youngest aldermen on the current city council. He&rsquo;s a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee RIghts, and a former caseworker for Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Ramirez-Rosa is a member of the progressive caucus, Latino caucus and the gay caucus.</p></div><div style="overflow: hidden"><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/anthony-napolitano.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 150px; float: left;" title="Anthony Napolitano (via napolitano41stward.com)" /><strong>&nbsp;Anthony&nbsp;Napolitano&nbsp;(41)</strong>: Napolitano is a former Chicago police officer and current Chicago firefighter. He hasn&rsquo;t joined the progressive caucus but supports an elected school board, one of their top issues.</p></div><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s City Politics reporter. Follow her</em> <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></p></p> Sun, 17 May 2015 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/inauguration-day-new-city-council-faces-serious-financial-problems-112042 Final votes tallied: Sadlowski Garza wins 10th ward race, Pope considering legal challenge http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/final-votes-tallied-sadlowski-garza-wins-10th-ward-race-pope-considering-legal <p><p>It&rsquo;s been two weeks since Chicago&rsquo;s runoff election; and as of Tuesday afternoon, every last vote has been counted.</p><p>One big story from the final tallies comes out of the 10th Ward on the far southeast side of the city, where Chicago Public Schools counselor and community activist Susan Sadlowski Garza beat longtime incumbent, Ald. John Pope. At the final unofficial count, Sadlowski Garza beat Pope by 20 votes. The Chicago Board of Elections doesn&rsquo;t issue their official proclamation of the results until Thursday, but elections officials said they don&rsquo;t anticipate any of these numbers to change before then.</p><p>Both Pope and Sadlowski Garza&rsquo;s campaigns filed complaints with the board, so Pope&rsquo;s team could still file a legal challenge over the results. His campaign manager Jake Breymaier said they haven&rsquo;t yet made a decision, one way or the other.</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that both campaigns filed briefs with Board of Elections--we believe that both campaigns want to see a fair outcome with all the votes counted,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Breymaier added that the Pope team hopes to have a decision by the end of this week.</p><p>Meanwhile, some of the other aldermanic runoffs that were close--just not 10th-Ward close--have also been unofficially called. In the 31st Ward, on the Northwest Side, former reporter Milagros &ldquo;Milly&rdquo; Santiago ousted long-time incumbent Ray Suarez by 79 votes. Suarez chaired the Committee on Housing and Real Estate.</p><p>All of the unofficial results, for every runoff election, can be found at the <a href="http://www.chicagoelections.com/dm/general/SummaryReport.pdf">Chicago Board of Elections website</a>.</p><p>Inauguration of the newly-elected council is set to take place on May 18th.<br /><br />Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/final-votes-tallied-sadlowski-garza-wins-10th-ward-race-pope-considering-legal Garcia, Emanuel battle in heated first debate of runoff http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahmchuydebate.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED: 1:32 PM 3/17/2015</em></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s two mayoral hopefuls turned up the heat for their first one-on-one debate Monday night.</p><p>In the first of three live, televised events before the April 7 runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia hit each other in the same spots as usual during the NBC and Telemundo debate: Emanuel criticized Garcia for not giving specifics, and Garcia called out Emanuel for paying too much attention to downtown, rather than the neighborhoods.</p><p>The two went back and forth on a number of topics that are familiar to the campaign trail, like public safety, schools, city finances and red light cameras. On finances, Emanuel said a property tax hike was not on the table, despite comments to the contrary from a top ally last week, as well as a warning from Emanuel himself last Friday that property tax bills would &ldquo;explode&rdquo; if Springfield didn&rsquo;t help reform pensions. Campaign staff later said that property taxes are the &ldquo;very last resort&rdquo; and any increase would &ldquo;protect middle-class homeowners and seniors.&rdquo; The city of Chicago faces a looming $550 million dollar state-mandated payment toward police and fire retirement funds.</p><p>&ldquo;Every effort going forward on police and fire is to avoid a property tax. I&rsquo;ve laid out a specific plan before the election. You&rsquo;ve laid out a commission,&rdquo; Emanuel said to Garcia.</p><p>The mayor says he&rsquo;d ask employees &ldquo;to help us a little&rdquo; to stabilize pensions, and that he&rsquo;d lobby Springfield for reforms to the sales tax and a Chicago-run casino that would be &ldquo;fully dedicated&rdquo; to pensions.</p><p>Meanwhile, Garcia sought to further define himself as the &ldquo;neighborhood guy,&rdquo; taking many opportunities to try and convince viewers not only that his experience in the community will drive his decisions, but that Emanuel focuses too much on the &ldquo;rich and wealthy&rdquo; or on downtown interests.</p><p>&ldquo;The mayor doesn&rsquo;t mind taxing low-income people and working people,&rdquo; Garcia said, referring to the city&rsquo;s red light camera program. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why on day one I will get rid of all those cameras.&rdquo;</p><p>The two candidates also sought to blame the other for the city&rsquo;s financial crisis. Emanuel took a new swipe at his opponent where he maintained that Garcia, as a state senator, voted in 1997 to create a holiday for Chicago Public Schools teacher pension payments. Garcia continued to accuse Emanuel of not following through on his campaign promise to put the city&rsquo;s financial house in order.</p><p>On public safety, Emanuel contended the city was &ldquo;safer than it was before, but not safe enough where people from all parts of the city can enjoy it.&rdquo; Garcia repeated his push for more police officers, and said he&rsquo;d start hiring them with half of what the city spends now on police overtime.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 When will Chicago get its next supertall skyscraper? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/when-will-chicago-get-its-next-supertall-skyscraper-108531 <p><div><p>In 2013 Curious City took on a high-minded question from Minneapolis resident Andrew Wambach.</p><p>Wambach, now 30, had just moved to Minnesota and already missed the Chicago skyline. He wanted to know:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>When will Chicago get its next supertall skyscraper?</em></p><p>The last supertall skyscraper in Chicago was the Trump Tower, built in 2009. Before that the city hadn&rsquo;t reached such heights since 1990&rsquo;s Two Prudential Plaza, 16 years after the Willis (Sears) Tower became the world&rsquo;s tallest building. While the U.S. may be the birthplace of the form, for a while skyscraper construction had slowed at home &mdash; and soared abroad.</p><p>But that may be changing. In December 2014 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted plans for a new tower in the Lakeshore East neighborhood that &mdash; if all goes according to plan &mdash; could reach 1,150 feet into the air by 2018. In 2013, New York City&rsquo;s One World Trade Center became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, at 1,776 feet. Even Wambach&rsquo;s Minneapolis had been considering a proposal to construct an 80-story skyscraper. That project, <a href="http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/289597641.html#" target="_blank">rejected by the city</a>, would have been the state&#39;s tallest building, but would have been just shy of meeting supertall status.</p><p>Wherever they are, massive developments are difficult to design and build. But when they do happen, it&rsquo;s generally because two important factors came together to make building up pay off: egos and economics.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">But first, just how tall is that?</span></p><p>Andrew didn&rsquo;t know this when he asked the question, but &ldquo;supertall&rdquo; is an objective term. Chicago&rsquo;s own Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is the authority on such matters. They deem any building over 300 meters, or 984 feet, &ldquo;supertall.&rdquo; (<a href="http://www.ctbuh.org/HighRiseInfo/TallestDatabase/Criteria/HeightCalculator/tabid/1007/language/en-GB/Default.aspx" target="_blank">For a rough measurement</a>, that&rsquo;s about 75 stories.) Six buildings in Chicago qualify: The Trump Tower, Willis Tower, Aon Center, John Hancock Center, AT&amp;T Corporate Center, and Two Prudential Plaza.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/CTBUH_Tallest20in2020_Poster.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FutureTallest20-2.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 620px;" title="For context, here's a diagram of the predicted world's 20 tallest buildings in the year 2014. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat)" /></a></div><p>Walk into any major architectural office and you&rsquo;ll see plenty of renderings pinned to the wall, showing buildings reaching great heights. It&rsquo;s just that they&rsquo;re in Jeddah, Seoul, Abu Dhabi, Beijing &mdash; not Chicago.</p><p>In 2011 CTBUH even had to add a new category of tall building to reflect the explosive growth of tall buildings in recent years; so-called &ldquo;megatall&rdquo; buildings stand at least 600 meters (1,968 feet) tall. There are only two complete megatall buildings: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the Royal Hotel Clock Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the Shanghai Tower opens in April of 2015, it will be the third, at 632 meters (2,074 feet) tall.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Chicago&rsquo;s latest contender</span></p><p>&ldquo;If there was a great location, a great site, a developer that really had the willpower to pull something off, it certainly could happen,&rdquo; said Rafael Carreira, a principal with <a href="http://tjbc.com/" target="_blank">The John Buck Company</a>. &ldquo;But the larger a project gets, the harder it is to finance, the harder it is to pre-sell or premarket ... and those are factors that make these supertalls hard to do.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wanda%20courtesy%20city%20of%20chicago.jpg" style="float: right;" title="A rendering of the proposed Wanda Vista development. (Courtesy City of Chicago)" />Supertalls can be risky investments. (<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/skyscrapers-that-predicted-financial-crises-2014-4#!GoEAm" target="_blank">Some economists even think bombastic skyscraper booms are an omen of economic collapse</a>.) But as one developer put it, the profession attracts risk-takers.</p><p>&ldquo;Where a normal person might be apprehensive,&rdquo; said Sean Linnane, &nbsp;a senior vice president for Magellan Development Group, &ldquo;developers are excited.&rdquo;</p><p>At the moment the most likely candidate for Chicago&rsquo;s next supertall is an 88-story, $900 million development proposed for<a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/375+E+Upper+Wacker+Dr,+Chicago,+IL+60601/@41.8878616,-87.6209235,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x880e2ca900a2e77d:0x32e4f52fba2475d3" target="_blank"> 375 E. Wacker Dr., in the city&rsquo;s Lakeshore East neighborhood</a>. It would be 1,150 feet (350 meters) tall, and its developers &mdash; Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group and local firm Magellan &mdash; hope to have it open in 2018. They&rsquo;ve hired two local design firms to sculpt the structure, which would become the city&rsquo;s third tallest building: Studio Gang Architects and bKL Architecture.</p><p>Lead designer Jeanne Gang&rsquo;s other <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/work/2004/aqua-tower" target="_blank">notable projects include the Aqua Tower</a> &mdash; a high-rise with undulating balconies that mimic wave patterns when viewed from an angle &mdash; and the lyrical WMS Boathouses at Clark Park. bKL designed the first tower in the Wolf Point development and a 45-story tower at 200 N. Michigan Ave., both of which are currently under construction.</p><p>Their preliminary designs for what&rsquo;s being called Wanda Vista show a cluster of three towers stepping down in height as they go east, each terminating in a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/green-roofs-check-101677">green roof</a>. The glassy high-rises, which are expected to house a five-star hotel, for-sale residential units and retail space, look like stacks of frustums, or cut-off pyramid shapes. The middle tower would meet the ground with a soaring glass atrium looking north over the Chicago River, while the structure itself would straddle North Field Boulevard running to the south.</p><p>So what are its prospect? Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there won&rsquo;t be any public funding involved, the project still needs city approval because its proposed height would exceed the maximum allowed in in the area&rsquo;s master plan.</p><p>Arguably more important is the economic challenge. Downtown Chicago is in the middle of a residential and hotel boom that signals high demand, but could mean the market is nearing saturation. Still, Sean Linnane of Magellan Development Group is confident they&rsquo;ll deliver on this supertall order.</p><p>&ldquo;The timing is right for this project. We&rsquo;re coming out of the doldrums we&#39;ve been in since arguably 2007,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&#39;s not like our Chinese partners said, &lsquo;Let&#39;s come to the U.S. and do a supertall.&rsquo; They were just trying to find a great investment opportunity to make their splash in the United States. And it&#39;s a credit to Chicago that they chose our development.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s market is warming up, but China&rsquo;s is burning across its borders. Wanda is owned by Wang Jianlin, the richest man in mainland China. Like many Chinese developers, he&rsquo;s looking for new markets overseas.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s crazy what&#39;s going on in China right now. There&#39;s just been explosive growth,&rdquo; Linnane says. &ldquo;They&#39;re looking all over the place, not just the U.S. It&#39;s a way to sustain their growth. They look at the U.S. as a very mature market.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zOBXrWDC28PlZhqn_-F8bid5QLCQrKVDN2cKc47P9lw/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=3000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em><span style="font-size:10px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Above: Renderings of the proposed Wanda Vista development. (Courtesy City of Chicago)</span></span></em></p><p>That explosive growth has gone on for a long time, but lately <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/24/china-property-prices-idUSL3N0SJ1DE20141024" target="_blank">Chinese home prices have slipped</a>. Tom Kerwin, principal of bKL Architecture, says the U.S. real estate market is a relatively stable place for global developers to invest.</p><p>&ldquo;I think there&#39;s a shift because, for one, the Chinese property market is down significantly. So these companies that develop as their core business are looking for other places to export their expertise in addition to their capital. You&#39;re seeing many Chinese developers coming to the U.S., and the biggest of the biggest are coming,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Not just Wanda.&rdquo;</p><p>Other major Chinese developers such as Greenland Group and ECADI have made their first U.S. moves in New York City and Los Angeles, but Wanda&rsquo;s debut is in Chicago. That&rsquo;s a vote of confidence in the city&rsquo;s real estate market, and it mirrors a larger trend: <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2015/The-New-China-Pipeline/" target="_blank">Between March 2013 and March 2014, the Chinese purchased $22 billion of U.S. residential property &mdash; the highest volume for any non-domestic group</a>.</p><p>Wanda&rsquo;s not the only Chinese developer interested in Chicago. In 2014 Beijing&rsquo;s Cinda International Holdings Limited <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcole/2014/03/16/chinese-investors-discover-chicago-real-estate/" target="_blank">teamed up with Chicago-based Zeller Realty Group to buy the 65-story tower at 311 S. Wacker Dr. for $304 million</a>. That&rsquo;s the seventh tallest building in Chicago to date, a mere seven meters (23 feet) short of supertall status.</p><p>If it comes to fruition, the Wanda project could signal a new era of tall building investment in Chicago, says CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood.</p><p>&ldquo;Whilst New York is awash with foreign investment, especially from China, this is one of the first major skyscraper investments from overseas we have seen in Chicago during the current wave, which is sweeping the world,&rdquo; Wood said. &ldquo;Chicago will likely never accommodate the World&rsquo;s tallest building again, but it is a proud skyscraper city, as well as a major economic hub, and it is likely that we will see other supertall buildings proposed and built in the coming years &ndash; especially residential supertalls.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">What about other recent contenders to be Chicago&rsquo;s next supertall?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/old%20post%20office%20wikimedia%20commons%20brianbobcat.jpg" title="The Old Main Post Office in downtown Chicago has been in redevelopment limbo since it closed in 1996. Previous plans included the construction of a 120-story building in its place. (Wikimedia Commons/Brianbobcat)" /></p><p>In 2013 Chicago City Council approved the first part of an audacious redevelopment plan for the massive Old Main Post Office downtown, which has loomed vacant over the Eisenhower Expressway since 1996. The plans came from British developer Bill Davies&rsquo; International Property Developers and local architects Antunovich Associates. They called first for a rehab of the existing 2.7 million square foot post office and the construction of a 1,000-foot tower, to be followed in a later phase by a 2,000-foot tower that would be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.</p><p>The first phase would take eight to 10 years, Joe Antunovich said, while the rest might take 20 years. But first they need to secure financing. The entire project could cost $3.5 billion. It would be an impressive feat, to be sure. But in that amount of time, Shanghai&rsquo;s Pudong district<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6600367" target="_blank"> went from mainly farmland to a part of a metropolis with more skyscrapers than New York City</a>.</p><p>In 2014, however, the project&rsquo;s developers <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20141008/CRED03/141009835/old-post-office-owner-plots-next-move-after-breakup-with-sterling-bay" target="_blank">announced they were exploring alternative plans for the property</a>, possibly nixing the 120-story tower.</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/spire%20hole%20flickr%20Marcin%20Wichary.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="The ill-fated Chicago Spire was supposed to be the tallest building in the western hemisphere. (Flickr/Marcin Wichary)" /></div><p>If you want to see evidence of the recession&rsquo;s impact on skyscraper construction, you don&rsquo;t need to pore over spreadsheets or the architectural billings index: You just need to go to 400 N. Lake Shore Dr., where you&rsquo;ll find a pit about 100 ft. wide and 80 ft. deep. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-08/what-might-have-been-ill-fated-chicago-spire-101922" target="_blank">The ill-fated Chicago Spire</a> was supposed to be the tallest building in the western hemisphere. But the twisting 2,000-foot tower failed to attract enough financing and was hit with foreclosure lawsuits. Now it&rsquo;s the most-watched hole in the ground in Chicago real estate.</p><p>In 2013 real estate developer<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/06/24/related-in-deal-to-buy-distressed-debt-on-stalled-chicago-spire-project/" target="_blank"> Related Cos. of New York reportedly entered talks to buy the Spire&#39;s discounted debt</a>, but in November 2014 a U.S. Bankruptcy Court forced the project&rsquo;s original developer, Garrett Kelleher, to hand the 2.2-acre site over. Related <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-spire-1105-biz-20141104-story.html">now controls the real estate</a> and has not yet announced plans for development.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Why the action has been outside Chicago</span></p><p>There are a few factors behind Asia&rsquo;s building boom that don&rsquo;t quite apply to Chicago. For one thing, said Wood, Chicago just doesn&rsquo;t need to make a statement with its skyline like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia did when its Petronas Towers unseated Willis Tower as the world&rsquo;s tallest in 1998.</p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s driving these tall buildings around the world is attention in a global market and population growth,&rdquo; Wood said. &ldquo;And, on the face of it, we&rsquo;re not seeing any of that in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/0,,contentMDK:23272497~pagePK:51123644~piPK:329829~theSitePK:29708,00.html?argument=value" target="_blank">The world gains more than 5 million city dwellers every month</a>, and the U.S. accounts for very little of that urbanization. It&rsquo;s happening in places like China, where<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/world/asia/chinas-great-uprooting-moving-250-million-into-cities.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank"> a government plan to move 250 million people into cities by 2025</a> helps generate huge demand for high-density, supertall buildings.</p><p>But even if Chicago isn&rsquo;t home to many new supertalls, it&rsquo;s still a nerve center of sorts for tall building architecture and engineering.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not many really significant tall buildings that are not happening with some Chicago expertise anywhere in the world &mdash; architectural, engineering, geotechnical, façade &mdash; but some Chicago input,&rdquo; Wood said. &ldquo;However it is fair to say that there has been a major shift in almost all aspects of tall buildings.&rdquo;</p><p>If they pull it off, the Wanda Tower will change the Chicago skyline. But in China huge developments happen all the time. One of the tower&rsquo;s architects, bKL Principal Tom Kerwin, says China&rsquo;s economic and demographic booms have made massive projects part of the new urban culture.</p><p>&ldquo;Supertall buildings or large mixed-use complexes are kind of the norm in China,&rdquo; said Kerwin, who has worked on dozens of projects in the U.S. and Asia. &ldquo;The Chinese are very accustomed to these large-scale, multi-use buildings. So for them, it sounds kind of silly to say, but it&#39;s almost commonplace.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition to moving to Asia, supertall towers have changed since Chicago&rsquo;s skyline rose decades ago. Tall towers today tend to have more retail and residential space than their counterparts from previous generations. They are often mixed-use &mdash; combining hotel, retail, office and/or residential space in one building &mdash; and use different structural systems, like concrete-steel composites as opposed to just steel. And rather than bearing corporate names such as Chrysler, Sears and Petronas, they&rsquo;re increasingly named to inspire civic pride: say, the Russia Tower or Chicago Spire. Burj Khalifa was originally called Burj Dubai.</p><p>Brian Lee, a design partner at Skidmore, Owings &amp; Merrill &mdash; the architectural offices behind thousands of skyscrapers around the world, including four of Chicago&rsquo;s six supertalls &mdash; has seen the effect of these projects first-hand.</p><p>&ldquo;We think that the tall building is not the only kind of building type that should be built, obviously. It has limitations,&rdquo; Lee said, &ldquo;but there&rsquo;s something exhilarating about a tall structure that makes a mark for a city and a region.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A supertall with a Chicago character?</span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/riverpoint-courtesy-hines-and-pickard-chilton.jpg" style="height: 470px; width: 620px;" title="A park plan for the base of the River Point building, connects the property to the Chicago Riverwalk. (Courtesy of Hines and Pickard Chilton)" /></div><p>Our Curious Citizen, Andrew Wambach, raised another interesting question: If skyscrapers are a statement of their city&rsquo;s character, what should influence the design of Chicago&rsquo;s next supertall if it actually comes to be?</p><p>New skyscrapers at Wolf Point, River Point and 150 N. Riverside &mdash; three sites abutting the Chicago River at its confluence downtown &mdash; feature riverwalk connections and landscaped parks at their bases. Two of them actually have broader shoulders, as it were, than footprints. Landscape architect Ted Wolff said the Wolf Point project was the first where he&rsquo;d actually heard an architect tell him to expand his landscaping so far it would hem in the lobby.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/andrew wambach photo.jpeg" style="float: right; height: 303px; width: 200px;" title="Our question-asker, Andrew Wambach, is from Minneapolis but moved to Chicago for work between 2011-2013." />They may not be supertalls by the Council on Tall Buildings&rsquo; definition, but projects like these suggest Chicago&rsquo;s architectural legacy may be as much about Millennium Park as it is about Willis Tower.</p><p>Wanda&rsquo;s plans for a new supertall in Chicago are still preliminary, but its designers and developers have hinted at connections to neighborhood parks and the Chicago Riverwalk.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s no secret that the project site is on an important axis for connectivity to the river, the lake, the Lakeshore East park and other internal features of our development,&rdquo; said Magellan&rsquo;s Sean Linnane. &ldquo;Because of its location, by its nature it will have to address those.&rdquo;</p><p>After all, says architect Tom Kerwin, that&rsquo;s the critical challenge a design team faces with any new project &mdash; no matter its size or location.</p><p>&ldquo;In cities around the world, how do you create a prototype where something&#39;s so technically driven and make it of its place, make it part of the city where you&#39;re building it?&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It definitely is a challenge. You want buildings to respond to their context, not just in a functional way but in an inspirational or an aesthetic way.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, to bring the skyscraper down to earth.</p><p><em>Chris Bentley is a writer with WBEZ and Midwest Editor for <a href="http://archpaper.com/" target="_blank">The Architect&rsquo;s Newspaper</a>. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@cementley</a>.</em></p></div><p><em>Correction: This story misstated the reporting year used for the&nbsp;CTBUH graphic that compares supertalls. The graphic represents data gathered up to November 2014.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/when-will-chicago-get-its-next-supertall-skyscraper-108531 What happens when a Chicago mom tries to become a deer hunter? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/what-happens-when-chicago-mom-tries-become-deer-hunter-111390 <p><p><em>Some of the images in the slideshow above depict graphic scenes from deer hunting.</em></p><p>After years of handwringing over the ethics of meat, I decided that this year I needed to kill my own &mdash; or maybe stop eating it.</p><p>My evolution started a decade ago with meat I bought from local farmers who raised the animals outside. Before long I tried to <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-09-21/features/0809160163_1_organic-meat-sales-pig-factory"><u>attend the slaughter of every kind of meat I ate</u></a> for a summer. I moved on to<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D45zEpIzxiM"> <u>learning how to butcher</u></a> animals myself. And finally I thought I was ready to kill my own dinner. &nbsp;</p><p>It was <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/columnists/chi-110226-hunt-novices-pictures-photogallery.html"><u>part of a project that I did</u></a> with my then-colleague Barbara Brotman when I was a reporter at the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.</p><p>We wanted to see if you could take two urban moms and turn them into hunters.</p><p>We worked under hunting mentors including Department of Natural Resources instructors Bill Boggio and Ralph Schultz, who told us &ldquo;If you can learn to walk like a squirrel, you can sneak up on anything in the woods.&rdquo;</p><p>But after freezing through several weekends in deer stands and deer blinds on the Illinois-Iowa border in 2010, we came away with nothing. A minor gun accident convinced our editors that it was probably time to stop. So that was the end of it.</p><p>Or so I thought.</p><p>As I&rsquo;ve continued to report on food ethics over the years the fact that I never faced the true cost of meat &mdash; never killed my meal myself &mdash; has gnawed at my conscience. &nbsp;</p><p>So much so, that this year I decided I had to hunt again. &nbsp;</p><p>I knew it would be a long shot. I&rsquo;d have to get licenses, guns, land, special equipment, time off from work and kids, and mentors to guide me. But somehow I managed to do it.</p><p>I revisited hunter safety. Brushed back up on deer anatomy. And relearned how to shoot a gun.</p><p>My new mentor was Kankakee county horsewoman and hairdresser Amy Strahan. She scouted a spot with me and even convinced her dad, Bill, to help us put together a tree stand.</p><p>Next I headed to the Farm and Fleet boys department for more than $200 in head to toe camo gear. Amy kept my hunting clothes in one of her horse stalls for weeks to soak up animal smells.</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/HUNTER%20AMY.jpg" title="Amy Strahan agreed to become Monica Eng’s hunting partner for this year’s season in Kankakee County. She sits here in the woods just minutes before a four-point buck approached the two of them. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG)" /></div><p>Then in late November, I slipped on those clothes before dawn and jumped into Amy&rsquo;s truck. After a short drive, we crossed a craggy frozen field, climbed into our stand and sat in the darkness with the faint whine of the interstate in the distance. The warmth generated by our hike faded as the frosty predawn temperatures crept under my five layers of clothing. I started to remember that, the last time I tried the biggest challenge was just warding off frost bite. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>But I also remembered that hunting gives you a front row seat to the spectacle of mother nature turning up the house lights on the world. I sat on the east side of the tree stand and welcomed the tiny warm of the rising sun on my face. &nbsp;</p><p>Three frigid deerless hours later, &nbsp;I was thrilled to hear Amy announce that she had to get to work and we called it a day. I spent the rest of the day just thawing out and vowing to bring hand and footwarmers next time.</p><p>But by 5 a.m. the next morning I was dressed and trudging through a now-slippery rainsoaked field cradling a 12 gauge shotgun. Let&rsquo;s just say this is not my typical day as an urban food writer. And still no deer. The whole thing was startng to feel futile and a little absurd.</p><p>As we climbed out of our stand for the second morning, I asked Amy what she thought.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little discouraging,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve usually seen something by now. But we&rsquo;ll just keep trying.&rdquo;</p><p>On the advice of farmer Roger Marcott, who was letting us use his land, we checked out another spot in a treeline across the road.</p><p>This time we had bellies full of big country diner breakfasts and a bottle of doe urine that we dabbed on cottonballs and placed in the trees.</p><p>Before we even loaded our guns, a buck appeared 40 yards away, snorted and dashed off. A doe frolicked in the distance but she was too far to shoot. My mentors always stressed that one of the worst things you can do is maim an animal with a bad shot. Waiting for a clean kill is essential.</p><p>So we settled down on a log tuning into every little crackle in woods. And then just as I was about to nod off, I heard a rustling in the tall dry weeds. A four-point buck was walking right toward us. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>My heart thudded in my chest as the deer browsed the greenery and kept advancing. He was now 15 yards away but facing us. Side shots are always a lot cleaner, but he wouldn&rsquo;t turn. Finally, he raised his head and turned his body to leave.</p><p>Amy had taken four deer in the last five years, but I&rsquo;d never shot anything.&nbsp;</p><p>She held her 20 gauge shotgun steady with her scope focused on the target and assumed I was doing the same.</p><p>But I&rsquo;d chickened out. All I had in hand was my recording equipment.</p><p>Finally, when the deer turned to leave, she took a shot. The deer leapt in the air and dashed away. I assumed she missed or just nicked him. But we followed after him anyway.</p><p>The trail of blood grew thicker as we followed it into another nearby wooded area where just 40 yards away he lay motionless, eyes wide open, tongue flopped to one side and a scarlet hole in his chest.</p><p>I was stunned that it could be over that quickly. Amy was stunned that I never lifted my gun.</p><p>&ldquo;I had no idea you were just recording,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I was waiting patiently, waiting patiently, and then when he turned to leave, I took a shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Amy is a Kankakee mom, hairdresser and horsewoman who agreed to take me hunting this season. It was part of a decade long personal and professional project to&nbsp; understand the true cost of my meat.&nbsp;</p><p>She thought today I&rsquo;d shoot my first deer, but it wasn&rsquo;t to be. She said my face had gone ashen. But we needed to move quickly, to remove his internal organs and cool him down or the meat would start to rot.&nbsp; Neither of us had ever done this.&nbsp;</p><p>So we heaved the 170 pound buck out of the forest and called, Roger Marcotte, the farmer who was letting us use his land.</p><p>While we were waiting, I asked Amy how she felt.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I think I would have been just as happy to let that buck walk on by.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though we both eat meat, the immediacy of the experience was filling us both with some remorse. She confessed that after she shot her first, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think I would ever be able to do it again.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Roger arrived in his tractor and we loaded the buck and ourselves into the tractor&rsquo;s bucket, the part usually used to shovel grain or dirt. As we rode across the craggy field, the buck lay at our feet like a sleeping pet. I took some video and thought about how unlike a normal day at the office this had been. But it was about to get even stranger.</p><p>Amy&rsquo;s friend Luke Chappel was waiting for us with his field dressing equipment at the edge of the field.</p><p>&ldquo;Did you bring some [rubber] gloves?&rdquo; Amy asked.<br />&ldquo;No,&rdquo; Luke replied. &ldquo;I just go in raw.&rdquo;<br />&ldquo;Awwww,&rdquo; Amy responded.&rdquo;Really?&rdquo;</p><p>Luke explained the first cut is around the anus cavity to prevent any feces from spoiling the meat. Next we had to gently slice through the skin and fur on the buck&rsquo;s belly to expose and carefully remove his organs.</p><p>Luke&rsquo;s taken dozens of deer as a hunter. I asked if it ever made him sad.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have some remorse, there&rsquo;s something wrong with you,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You gotta have some remorse. You&rsquo;re taking a life. But this is going to feed your kids. You&rsquo;re not wasting it. You&rsquo;re not just leaving it there and killing things for fun.&rdquo;</p><p>We left the colorful jewel-like pile of organs in the field for the coyotes to eat and brought the carcass across the road to Faith&rsquo;s Farm. Farmer Kim Snyder raises livestock outdoors and she was letting me stay at her house.</p><p>After we hosed off the carcass and cooled it down, we hung it in a barn to dry age several days.</p><p>Amy had to return to her kids but Luke said he&rsquo;d take me out the next morning--the last legal day of the month. I was still feeling pretty shaken by the day&rsquo;s events, but agreed to go.</p><p>After a third restless night of sleep and more dreams about deer, I rose at 4:45 a.m. and was out in the field by 5. Luke and I settled down behind the same log where Amy and I had hunted but saw nothing. We called it a day.</p><p>For the next two weeks, I mulled over the experience, haunted by my failure to pull the trigger. My license granted me one last weekend of hunting in early December. And I went to bed thinking about it every night, but finally decided I was done. My boss, however, thought differently. I ran into him on the Friday of the last hunting window of the season. He said I needed to follow it through.</p><p>So I returned to Roger&rsquo;s land to meet Amy on Sunday, the last day of the season. She was delayed so I struck out on my own. Roger was just a phone call away if I needed help, but the help I needed was a compass. I got lost looking for our old spot and wandered way off course. I&rsquo;m sure I angered and amused several hunters who watched me in their binoculars spook the deer on their land.&nbsp;</p><p>Eventually, I was picked up for trespassing by the landowner. Her name was Vanna. She grows pumpkins and sews American Girl Doll clothing in the off season. I apologized and got a ride back to Faith&rsquo;s Farm.</p><p>There I checked my phone and found a new text from Amy. It said:</p><p>&ldquo;I feel so bad. I&rsquo;m so sorry. I am trying to rally some troops in case you get one. If you have a shot, take it. But I will warn you, the remorse is hardest the first time. But you feel it every time.&rdquo;</p><p>With this warning echoing in my head, I ventured back out into the field--this time to the nearby tree stand. At least I knew how to get there. And I load my gun.</p><p>It was a cold, windy December afternoon and worse in the treestand. But it was also supremely peaceful up there. As a mom whose life is organized by deadlines, I can count on one hand the number of times I&rsquo;ve felt totally justified doing nothing but tuning in to nature for hours.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, as the sun began to fall, it became increasingly clear that today the deer would win and I would lose. They&rsquo;d chosen to make themselves scarce. But I wasn&rsquo;t altogether ungrateful. I honestly don&rsquo;t know if I was ready.</p><p>Farmer Kim Snyder, who was housing me during my trip, told me as much. She blamed it on my city upbringing that didn&rsquo;t prepare me for the realities of animal life and death when it comes to food. She had a point.</p><p>When and if I do go back out next year, I want to feel more confident. I want to leave behind this nagging sense of fear and doubt.</p><p>To do this, hunting expert and author Hank Shaw told me that I needed to get to the range and sharpen my shooting skills in the off season. He said I&rsquo;ll still feel sad after a kill but the least I can do is &ldquo;give any animal I shoot a death that I would be proud to have.&rdquo;</p><p>For that, I&rsquo;ll need practice and maybe even my own a gun. This was never part of the original plan.<br /><br />I still don&rsquo;t know what the future holds. But deer hunting season doesn&rsquo;t start up again&nbsp; in Kankakee County for another 11 months. So I&rsquo;ve got a little time to figure it out.</p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-51e5f9a0-e4d5-f7cb-20cc-67497667a133">Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</span><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/what-happens-when-chicago-mom-tries-become-deer-hunter-111390