WBEZ | alcohol http://www.wbez.org/tags/alcohol Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en What are you giving up for Lent? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/what-are-you-giving-lent-105499 <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/511389398_556c659ff3.jpg" style="float: right; height: 304px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/exfordy" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.26830687760580285">I didn&rsquo;t mean for this to be Catholicism week on my blog but it&rsquo;s going that way. I don&rsquo;t have an interview with a saint lined up for Friday or anything though, don&rsquo;t worry.</span></div><p><br />A few days ago my friend Erica asked me what I was giving up for Lent. <em>Ugh</em>. It&rsquo;s Lent again?<br /><br />My first instinct was to say &quot;Nintendo,&quot; which has been my joke answer since about 7th grade once I had passed the point of actually wanting to play Nintendo (unlike my brother, for whom giving up Nintendo would actually have been a sacrifice.) This is an example of your traditional sarcastic Catholic answer, which often takes the form of &quot;Catholicism&quot; when questioned &quot;What are you giving up for Lent?&quot; (This year the popular sarcastic answer is &quot;The Pope.&quot;)<br /><br />But Lent is a complicated time for Catholics who have one foot in and one foot out of the faith. Why do we get ashes, give things up, stop eating meat on Fridays? Many of us don&#39;t exactly remember but we do it anyway because it&#39;s ingrained, because it&#39;s strangely fun (&quot;What are you giving up for Lent?&quot; is a good conversation starter) and we have those old feelings of obligation.<br /><br />My first thought was &quot;Booze&quot; and then I felt like Dan Aykroyd did in <em>Ghostbusters</em> when the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man popped into his head. &quot;No wait! Sugar. Cheese. Facebook. Aargh!&quot; The second I thought it, I knew that&#39;s what I needed to give up based on the fact that I really, really didn&#39;t want to.<br /><br />After I had the baby, alcohol took on a new role in my life. I mean, I always enjoyed it. But a glass of wine at the end of the day after having a kid just takes on a different feeling and meaning than it did before, partially because to go out to a bar and get one is an expensive, inconvenient luxury that comes along a lot less often. Pre-baby, I rarely used to drink at home, except when people came over, but now people come over all the time, to see the baby, plus we&rsquo;re home all the time. Holding the baby in one hand while balancing a glass in another is something I&#39;m getting pretty good at. So maybe it&rsquo;s worth just working on cutting back.<br /><br />I&#39;m also trying to lose those last ten baby pounds. Nobody cares if I lose this weight but me. I can fit into my clothes. I look more or less the same as I did before I had the baby. But I know I&#39;d like to lose them and I&#39;m pretty sure that cutting out the booze for a while will help, not to mention that I signed up for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race in a few months and I know it&#39;d be a lot easier to run it without a ten pound barbell hanging from my neck. (I also decided to quit weighing this Lent, too, in a slightly more positive pledge.)<br /><br />I looked at my calendar to see if I had many events coming up that would be utterly worthless without me drinking and sure enough there are some that will be tough: Valentine&rsquo;s Day. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/rosie-schaap-interview-104518">Rosie Schaap</a>&#39;s alcohol-themed <a href="http://www.bookcellarinc.com/event/drinking-men-rosie-schaap">reading this Friday</a>. <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/funnyhaha.php">Funny Ha-Ha</a> next Friday. Various get-togethers with friends. What was I thinking?<br /><br />It&#39;s not that big a sacrifice, I know, but it&#39;s a challenge I knew I should take on by how much I didn&#39;t want to. &quot;You just had a baby!&quot; some friends offered to me as an excuse. &quot;You didn&#39;t drink for nine whole months!&quot; Well, that&#39;s not totally true and that argument doesn&#39;t really fly: this would be something I do for myself (and I guess maybe God? But I&#39;m not going to get into that). I also don&#39;t buy into that whole exceptions thing: cheating is cheating, even if it&#39;s on Sundays. If my first thought was &quot;You should go without drinking for a month and some change,&quot; it&#39;s probably worth trying.<br /><br />So here we go. If I&#39;m out and I&#39;m at a bar, take a look at my hand and if I&#39;m drinking something that looks suspiciously fun, feel free to say &quot;But you published a blog about this&quot; and shame me to death. Let&#39;s do this. Come Easter Sunday, it&rsquo;ll be all about the mimosas at brunch, hold the O.J.<br /><br />What are you giving up for Lent? (And if you&rsquo;ve got a sarcastic answer, it had better be a really hilarious, original one, and &ldquo;Giving up reading your blog&rdquo; does not count.)</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 09:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/what-are-you-giving-lent-105499 American history, seen through a shot glass http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/american-history-seen-through-shot-glass-92160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/whiskey shots_Flickr_Kirti Poddar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When you order a couple of beers at your neighborhood bar, you're not just having a drink, you're taking part in a grand old tradition stretching back to the birth of our nation and beyond.</p><p>When the first British colonists began to wash up on our shores, the very first thing they built was usually a tavern.</p><p>"It sounds absurd, doesn't it?" author Christine Sismondo tells weekends on <em>All Things Considered </em>host Guy Raz. "But it kind of served as the initial infrastructure while everyone was waiting for everything to be built properly, and it just wound up being all things to all people."</p><p>Sismondo is the author of the new book, <em>America</em><em> Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops</em>. She says she was inspired to write it after traveling through America and realizing how many important events in the country's history had their roots in bars and taverns.<br> <br> "This is where people organized, this is where people aired their grievances, this was where people spread political propaganda," Sismondo says. You could get a tumbler of whiskey, and you could find out what your neighbors thought about the latest news — and what they planned to do about it.</p><p>Boston's Green Dragon tavern, for example, is thought to be where the Boston Tea Party was planned.</p><p>"The tavern is really considered the cradle of the revolution," Sismondo says.</p><p>Even after the Revolution, taverns continued to serve as social and political hubs, eventually giving rise to the machine politics of the 19th century.</p><p>"That's part of what everybody gets really concerned about," Sismondo says. "The 'rum, Romanism and rebellion' that comes out of the saloons, and that the political system being completely controlled in major urban centers by the buying of votes through alcohol."</p><p>It's a good argument for Prohibition, if you're on the losing side of an election, Sismondo says. She adds that Prohibition was partially the result of an odd alliance between progressive Northerners and conservative Southerners who worried that blacks and immigrants might be gathering and organizing in bars.</p><p>Yet that freedom to gather and organize is the most important aspect of the bar, Sismondo says.</p><p>"I think it's the whole sense that we have the right to congregate, to associate and to effect political change," she says, "and that, I think, is really born in the bar."</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Sun, 18 Sep 2011 12:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/american-history-seen-through-shot-glass-92160 Illinois kids are getting more responsible http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-kids-are-getting-more-responsible-86182 <p><p>Kids these days are engaging in less risky behavior than they did a decade and a half ago, according to a new study of Illinois teens by Children&rsquo;s Memorial Hospital. Compared to the mid-1990s, Illinois teenagers are drinking less, smoking less and being more responsible on the roads.</p><p>Jennifer Cartland analyzed the numbers, from the Illinois Youth Risk Behavior Survey. She says while some might assume kids&rsquo; behavior is getting worse, the improvement likely won&rsquo;t surprise people who work directly with teens.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we still tend to demonize teenagers a little bit and get very frustrated with them,&rdquo; Cartland said. &ldquo;But I think people who work in high schools see these changes happening with the kids they&rsquo;re working with.&rdquo;</p><p>Cartland says that, while it&rsquo;s impossible to know the cause and effect based on just this data, it seems like public health messages are getting through.</p><p>Her report finds drinking, huffing, smoking and fighting have all been on the decline. Fewer Illinois kids now are riding without seatbelts or getting in the car with a drunk driver. One number that hasn&rsquo;t changed much is youths reporting a suicide attempt in the last year. That has stayed fairly steady, at just under 10 percent.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 06 May 2011 21:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-kids-are-getting-more-responsible-86182 Turnaround school gets turned around again http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-20/Sims.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama and congressional leaders may be trying to cut the federal budget, but they’ve agreed to pour more than a half-billion dollars of new funds into Race to the Top, the president’s signature education program. It aims to turn around low-performing schools by taking steps like bringing in an outside group to replace the staff and run the school. Education Secretary Arne Duncan helped pioneer that model as Chicago schools chief. The city now has 12 turnaround schools. But their record is mixed and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has not said where he stands on them yet. A school near Chicago’s Garfield Park shows that the turnaround strategy is anything but a panacea.</p><p>MITCHELL: When classes change at Orr Academy High School, Tyese Sims drops everything and joins a dozen security guards patrolling the halls. She’s the new principal. And she keeps an eye on all three floors.</p><p>SIMS: I run up these stairs every day, all day.</p><p>MITCHELL: I bet you’re in pretty good shape.</p><p>SIMS: I guess!</p><p>SIMS (to students): Excuse me. What are we doing? Keep it moving.</p><p>MITCHELL: Almost every student in sight is wearing a school-issued polo shirt, either black or gold.</p><p>SIMS: Come on. Hurry up. 30 seconds.</p><p>MITCHELL: By the time the tardy bell rings, the halls are empty again.</p><p>SIMS: You don’t hear loud noises coming out of the rooms. It’s quiet. It’s calm.</p><p>MITCHELL: Orr Academy is undergoing its second turnaround in three years. In 2008, Chicago officials consolidated three small high schools that had occupied the building. To run the new Orr, the district contracted a nonprofit group called AUSL. That’s short for Academy for Urban School Leadership. AUSL brought in new teachers and staffers and a new principal. But student test scores after the first turnaround remained dismal. And Sims says there were other problems.<br> <br> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js"></script></p><div id="tableau_hide_this" style="width: 654px; height: 634px;">&nbsp;</div><object class="tableauViz" style="display: none;" width="654" height="634"><param name="host_url" value="http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F"><param name="name" value="PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1"><param name="tabs" value="no"><param name="toolbar" value="yes"><param name="animate_transition" value="yes"><param name="display_static_image" value="yes"><param name="display_spinner" value="yes"><param name="display_overlay" value="yes"></object><noscript>Dashboard 1 <br /><a href="#"><img alt="Dashboard 1 " src="http:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;PS&#47;PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1_rss.png" height="100%" /></a></noscript><div style="width: 654px; height: 22px; padding: 0px 10px 0px 0px; color: black; font: 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div style="float: right; padding-right: 8px;"><a href="http://www.tableausoftware.com/public?ref=http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1" target="_blank">Powered by Tableau</a></div></div><p>SIMS: When I came before — profane language, being disrespectful to peers, being disrespectful to other adults — I did see it. It was just something I wanted to change.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now AUSL has changed Orr’s principal again. The group brought in Sims in the middle of the semester. During her first month, the school gave students 310 out-of-school suspensions. A handful resulted from behavior the district calls “very serious” — things like assault, alcohol use and vandalism. Most suspensions concerned infractions like tardiness, disobedience and disruption. Sims says she also dropped almost three dozen students for poor attendance.</p><p>SIMS: If we’re really preparing them for the real world, there’s no way we can keep a job and, with missing this number of days and being tardy, they’ll think, ‘Wow, my high school didn’t prepare me. This was acceptable there, but now I’m in the real world and it’s not like that.’</p><p>LANG: When you’re first starting something new and you’re changing, people have to take it seriously.</p><p>MITCHELL: AUSL’s Debbra Lang oversees Orr and two other high schools the group runs for the Chicago district. Lang says AUSL is applying what’s called the broken-windows theory. It’s a way some police try to keep the peace by focusing on low-level offenses like vandalism. Lang says the approach works for schools, too.</p><p>LANG: The precursor to fighting is often a slew of curse words. And so we would much rather intervene — deal with the cursing — rather than having it lead to fighting. What we’re really encouraging is an environment where learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Not everyone is happy about that encouragement. 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett got so many calls about Orr Academy’s latest turnaround that he held a community forum with Principal Sims. She got mixed reactions there from parents...</p><p>MOTHER: Two-day suspension for ‘damn’ — for the words — I think that that’s a little harsh.</p><p>GRANDMOTHER: I like your approach to what you’re doing at the school with the children. They need to have some respect.</p><p>FATHER: My son comes home suspended two days. Where was that phone call to the parents?</p><p>MITCHELL: ...and from teachers and counselors.</p><p>TEACHER: The history at Orr has been inconsistency. You take your kids to Whitney Young, they know on Day 1, ‘I can’t curse in class.’ This year, we’re getting that message half-way into the third semester. That’s where you’re going to get push-back from students.</p><p>COUNSELOR: I’ve never seen Orr any better than it is now. You can walk in that school — I would ask anybody to walk in that school and just walk around.</p><p>MITCHELL: The alderman’s forum also turned out young people. An Orr Academy senior stood up and said she’d like a turnaround of some school staff attitudes.</p><p>STUDENT: Students curse out adults. Adults curse out students. The students are the only group of people being addressed for that.</p><p>MITCHELL: A community organizer spoke up for students who end up on the street.</p><p>ORGANIZER: This is not the first time where we had phone calls from parents, saying, ‘I feel like my kid is getting pushed out.’</p><p>MITCHELL: But Alderman Burnett urged everyone to give the school’s new leaders a chance.</p><p>BURNETT: We just lost a principal at Orr because they didn’t think he was doing well enough. So these principals, just like everyone else, have a duty to do things in order to keep their jobs too.</p><p>JENNINGS: This is a daunting task.</p><p>MITCHELL: Jack Jennings of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy says there’s not much evidence yet that the turnaround model works.</p><p>JENNINGS: These schools serve very poor students who bring the problems of poverty into the school — namely one-parent homes, sometimes parents being on drugs. These schools generally are in dangerous neighborhoods. Sometimes there’s a lack of security in the building itself. These schools have teachers that are frequently discouraged because they’ve tried to improve for years and they’re not being given adequate help. And a number schools do everything right and they still don’t succeed in turning around. And some schools that have become better, if they don’t receive assistance over a couple more years, will slide back and wind up in the same type of trouble [that they were in] before.</p><p>MITCHELL: Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s team didn’t respond when we asked whether he’d try to turn around more schools. This week he did announce that two AUSL officials would fill top city education posts. The turnaround approach isn’t the only vision for improving the nation’s worst schools. In Chicago, the teachers union suggests more social services for students and decent jobs for parents. Those remedies could be expensive, though. At Orr Academy, Principal Sims insists that simpler steps can go a long way.</p><p>SIMS: It’s just structures in place so we can have a safe, orderly environment for our students so learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Simpler steps like getting kids to class on time.</p><p>SIMS: Let’s go baby. Come on, let’s hustle.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474 Gloria Materre named new Chicago liquor-control commission director http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/gloria-materre-named-new-chicago-liquor-control-commission-director-83923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/gloriamaterre.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There's a new head of the body that oversees alcohol and cigarette sales laws in Illinois.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has named Gloria Materre to be the next executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. Materre is the outgoing executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.</p><p>At her new post, she'll be responsible for implementing decisions of the seven-member commission, including disciplinary measures. The body also monitors the enforcement of laws that bar underage sales of alcohol and cigarettes.</p><p>Materre replaces Lainie Krozel at the commission. The governor's office says Krozel is returning to a position she held before - as chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Revenue.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 17:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/gloria-materre-named-new-chicago-liquor-control-commission-director-83923 Winning a referendum is no silver bullet http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-13/REFERENDUM_Rea_Woods.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The idea behind a referendum is to give voters a direct voice in making their community better. These ballot questions can cover anything from stem-cell research to the fate of an empty lot. They may be binding or just advisory. Last month, referenda were on ballots in nine Chicago precincts. But it&rsquo;s not clear the voters will get what they had in mind &mdash; even if they were on the winning side. We&rsquo;ll hear now from WBEZ reporters in three parts of the city. We start with Chip Mitchell at our West Side bureau.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kurt Gippert lives near a building here in Humboldt Park that seemed like a magnet.<br /><br />GIPPERT: Gang banging, loitering, drug sales, some prostitution, tons of urinating.<br /><br />MITCHELL: It was a liquor store.<br /><br />GIPPERT: In 2010, we had at least nine people shot in front of that store.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Under city pressure, the store closed last fall. Gippert and his neighbors wanted it gone for good, so they turned to a 77-year-old Illinois law that lets voters ban selling alcohol in their precinct.<br /><br />GIPPERT: It&rsquo;s the only power we had &mdash; the only surefire, effective thing that was going to last longer than six months or a year.<br /><br />MITCHELL: They petitioned to put the referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot. And voters passed it about 4-to-1. Starting next week, the precinct will be dry. There&rsquo;s just one problem.<br /><br />SOUND: Car alarm.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): The place with the gang bangers in front wasn&rsquo;t the precinct&rsquo;s only store selling alcohol. I&rsquo;m outside a CVS a few blocks west. The clerks inside tell me booze accounts for about half their sales. But there&rsquo;s also a stream of customers who rely on this CVS for everything from prescription drugs to shampoo and milk. Without its liquor sales here, some of these folks worry CVS might close this store.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: Some of my family members get their prescriptions filled here. And it&rsquo;s really convenient that they can walk here instead of worrying about getting a ride or catching the bus.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Do they have cars?<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: No.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 2: I got three kids, so we need milk. If you get something for them from the corner store, it&rsquo;ll probably be old.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 3: Everybody around here, I guess, is poor. So they need to get to a place that most of them can walk to. Bus fare is high. Cab fare is high. So, yeah, it would hurt them.<br /><br />MITCHELL: CVS isn&rsquo;t answering whether it&rsquo;ll keep the store open once it quits selling alcohol. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) supported the referendum. But he admits there&rsquo;s collateral damage.<br /><br />MALDONADO: We don&rsquo;t have a lot of retail in the area. And we have never heard complaints about CVS. However, if they depend on liquor to remain viable, then they should not be open.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask Maldonado about other precincts in his ward.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Businesses that are selling alcohol and doing so responsibly, without a lot of problems out in front, do they have anything to worry about?<br /><br />MALDONADO: No, they don&rsquo;t have to worry as long as they are conscious about their own responsibility [to be] a good business neighbor.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And as long as residents don&rsquo;t vote the precinct dry. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s West Side, I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell.<br /><br />MOORE: And I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore at our Side South bureau. The situation was different in a 3rd Ward precinct along East 47th Street. Voters didn&rsquo;t take aim at all liquor. They had specific targets: Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird &mdash; cheap, fortified wines that some residents say attracted low-end elements to the neighborhood. The referendum was nonbinding, nothing more than an opinion poll. Still, the majority voted to ban fortified wines at two stores. No more malt liquor either. But one of the stores took 22-ounce malt liquor off the shelves in July.<br /><br />MICHELIS: Took a hit on sales, between $20,000-$25,000 a month, but I gained it from the wines I put in the store.<br /><br />MOORE: Steve Michelis owns a store called 200 Cut Rate Liquors. Michelis says voters got what they wanted. He says the loitering and begging in front of his place stopped last year. Still, he didn&rsquo;t mind last month&rsquo;s referendum.<br /><br />MICHELIS: I don&rsquo;t care. I don&rsquo;t have anything to hide.<br /><br />MOORE: Maybe another reason Michelis didn&rsquo;t mind so much was because he was already getting other pressure &mdash; from Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).<br /><br />DOWELL: You have people who stand outside, they drink it, they throw the can down, they beg for money or they go back in and get some money from somewhere and go back and buy another can.<br /><br />MOORE: Residents targeted Aristo Food and Liquor on the ballot, too. While residents gathered signatures for the nonbinding referendum, Dowell had her own approach. She&rsquo;s been working on getting the owners to sign agreements to stop selling the cheap liquor. She&rsquo;ll then attach them to their liquor licenses with the city. That would make them binding. The owner of Aristo says he plans to comply with Dowell. But the alderman says she&rsquo;s still waiting to hear back from him. Reporting from the city&rsquo;s South Side, I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef. Here on the North Side, one alderman and some voters are not on the same page. And, the issue isn&rsquo;t liquor. It&rsquo;s land use.<br /><br />GLAZIER: There&rsquo;s going to be three large driveways next to each other.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Josh Glazier.<br /><br />GLAZIER: Two for trucks coming in and out of the project, and one for several hundred cars that are going to remain inside the building.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier lives behind this unused hospital garage in Lincoln Park. He&rsquo;s not happy about a developer&rsquo;s plan to turn it into a grocery store.<br /><br />GLAZIER: The community really objects to the grocer and the trucks.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier says Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) has heard him out. He and others recall her saying she&rsquo;d stay neutral until the community reached a consensus on the project. But in spite of overwhelming opposition at public meetings. . .<br /><br />GLAZIER: We&rsquo;ve been hearing for quite some time that the alderman had this secret list, with the names of all the project&rsquo;s supporters and opponents. And increasingly she&rsquo;s been telling us the count was very close. And we didn&rsquo;t feel like a secret list should be the basis for any decision on the project.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Glazier and fellow opponents gathered signatures to put the issue on their precinct&rsquo;s February ballot.<br /><br />YOUSEF (on the scene): So you knew going into this that this would not be a binding result?<br /><br />GLAZIER: Of course it was not going to be a binding result, but it was going to create some transparency.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And that&rsquo;s what Glazier says he got. Most voters opposed the project at the polls. So he was stunned to hear Ald. Daley&rsquo;s official position just days later. In a statement, she wrote, &ldquo;I will not delay this project any longer and I will vote to approve this project at City Council.&rdquo; Daley said only a narrow majority of voters opposed the development. She said she heard from many ward residents who do want it. They live outside the precinct that voted on it. I asked Prof. Christopher Berry of the University of Chicago if that was a legitimate reason to discount the referendum results:<br /><br />BERRY: Well, it&rsquo;s a legitimate tack to take, but the only way we would really know the answer is to have some sort of scientific public opinion poll that was done, that included everyone in the affected geography.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says referenda are anything but scientific. They&rsquo;re often put together by self-selected groups on one side of an issue. And, usually, only a small fraction of voters come out to decide it. Berry says with referenda, the real story often isn&rsquo;t about how the vote came down. It&rsquo;s that an issue came down to a vote at all.<br /><br />BERRY: When you see a referendum, which means citizens have to be directly making this policy, it suggests some sort of failure or breakdown in the process between the citizens and their representatives.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says those breakdowns are rare because politicians usually want to get reelected. But, in Lincoln Park, that&rsquo;s not the case. Ald. Daley retires in May. On Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet Crime issue boils in some ward races, simmers in others http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/24th Ward forum 2cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans who punch cards for their favorite aldermanic candidates might have the issue of crime on their minds. But depending on where they live, they will have heard more&mdash;or less&mdash;about crime from their candidates. Talk of crime is loud on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, where there&rsquo;s relatively little violence. And some say there&rsquo;s complacency among candidates in West Side neighborhoods, where there&rsquo;s more crime. Two WBEZ bureau reporters, Odette Yousef and Chip Mitchell, look at this mismatch between crime and election talk. We start with Odette on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.<strong><br /></strong><br />AMBI: Ready? Front! At ease.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Thirty or so police officers from the Rogers Park police district are on hand for an outdoor roll call. They&rsquo;re at Warren Park on a freezing night.<br /><br />AMBI: Twenty-four oh five, Twenty-four twelve...<br /><br />YOUSEF: Normally, police hold roll calls inside the district station. But 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone asked them to do it here this time.<br /><br />STONE: On behalf of the entire 50th Ward, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do for us.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Usually, shows like this only happen when a jarring crime rocks a neighborhood. The police and community all come out to show criminals that law-abiding citizens still own the streets. But no major incident has happened recently in this police district. Ald. Stone is running for reelection. One of his opponents thinks that&rsquo;s the real reason he called this show of force: A little politics before a scheduled CAPS meeting. CAPS is the city&rsquo;s community policing program.<br /><br />MOSES: I was very disappointed in Ald. Stone trying to take CAPS and make it a political event. CAPS and politics do not mix.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So candidate Michael Moses leaves after the roll call. But he&rsquo;s the only one. The other four candidates all stay through the meeting. It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly how residents and politicians in the Rogers Park police district should feel about crime, because the stats are kind of all over the place. In 2010, general &ldquo;violent crime&rdquo; in the district fell more than 5 percent from the previous year but murder went up 75 percent. In another North Side police district, murder increased 400 percent. But consider this: That&rsquo;s from only one murder the previous year. So, we&rsquo;re talking about five murders in one North Side district in 2010. But some West and South side police districts saw dozens of murders last year. Still, crime is one of the top issues in North Side races.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: Too often the media and everybody in this business, we talk about violent crime rate in Chicago. And the reality is that crime is more complex and neighborhood disorder is complex.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Dennis Rosenbaum. He&rsquo;s a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosenbaum says even when violent crime may be low, residents feel fearful when they or their neighbors are victims of lesser offenses, like graffiti, car breakins, and auto theft. And, that fear translates into politics.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: In times of fear and external threat, we tend to turn to authority figures to give us guidance. So it&rsquo;s a way of taking control over issues.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Rosenbaum says it&rsquo;s little wonder North Side politicians are talking about nonviolent crime&mdash;after all, their constituents take it seriously. But there&rsquo;s another reason why North Side candidates are talking crime and safety. For two years, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has advocated so-called beat realignment. It would involve redrawing maps of where cops patrol, so there&rsquo;d be more officers and cars in high-crime areas. One fear is that the North Side would lose officers to the West and South sides, where there&rsquo;s more violent crime. Previous efforts to realign beats have fallen flat, but there are rumors Weis is still trying to make it happen. Weis declined to confirm those rumors for WBEZ this week, but here&rsquo;s what he told us a couple months ago.<br /><br />WEIS: What we think by moving people around from districts that are not necessarily the quietest districts, but districts that have an abundance of police officers, we think we can move them over to the districts that are shorter, we can start attacking the whole image of Chicago.<br /><br />YOUSEF: The future of beat realignment in Chicago is unclear. For one, the two frontrunners in the mayoral race are against it. And they say they want to dump Supt. Weis. Still, North Side aldermanic candidates continue to talk about realignment and run against it. One of them is Michael Carroll. He&rsquo;s running in the North Side&rsquo;s 46th Ward. He&rsquo;s also a cop.<br /><br />CARROLL: As a police officer, I know, absolutely, putting more police officers in high-crime areas to bring down the crime rate works. However, I have a very hard time sending our police assets from our community, when we have a clear problem with gang activity and violence somewhere else.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Carroll says his ward has pockets of violent crime that are just as bad as parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West or South sides. He fears losing cops on the North Side would make those places more dangerous. Carroll&rsquo;s opponents are pretty much of the same mind. Most want the city to hire more officers, rather than shift existing officers around. But those same candidates concede that could be tough because the city&rsquo;s faced with a $600 million deficit. Not many have detailed roadmaps for how they&rsquo;d overcome that tricky problem. But in the 48th Ward, one candidate does. It&rsquo;s Harry Osterman.<br /><br />OSTERMAN: What I&rsquo;d like to try to do is see if we can modify state law to use dollars for public safety. There&rsquo;s a surplus in TIF funds for the city of Chicago, and potentially using some of that to hire police officers is something that I think would be worthwhile.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Osterman&rsquo;s goal of hiring more police is popular on the North Side. But using TIFs to get there may be less so. Tax increment financing districts have a bad reputation for being slush funds. So, maybe it&rsquo;s telling that Osterman wants to use them. On the North Side at least, the debate about crime and safety is so loud that candidates will turn to whatever tools are around to ensure police resources stay put. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell at WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau. The political talk about crime is a lot different in this part of Chicago. Not many aldermanic candidates are hollering for more patrol officers. There are some loud voices on the issue. They&rsquo;re regular folks or community activists, like a woman named Serethea Reid. She moved into the Austin neighborhood a couple years ago.<br /><br />REID: There were people on the corner, drinking, selling alcohol out of the trunks of their cars&mdash;partying, loud music&mdash;two blocks from the police station.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): So what have you done about it?<br /><br />REID: I started by calling the police. We&rsquo;d call, wait 10 minutes, call, wait 10 minutes, call. And the police were not coming.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid started attending local meetings of CAPS, the community-policing program. She soon noticed a stronger police presence near her house, but she wanted more help for the rest of Austin. So, last summer, Reid formed a group called the Central Austin Neighborhood Association. It meets in a church.<br /><br />AMBI: Today, I wanted, I was going to start with reviewing and sharing what our mission is....<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid&rsquo;s group shepherds Austin residents to Police Board meetings, where they demand better service. She&rsquo;s writing various Chicago agencies for data to see if police response times are slower in Austin than in other neighborhoods. And Reid wants information about that beat-realignment idea police Supt. Jody Weis talks about.<br /><br />REID: All the responses I&rsquo;ve gotten were that it was going to take a few months before he&rsquo;s done: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not finalized. We can&rsquo;t talk about it because he&rsquo;s working on it.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid says she feels like officials are giving her the runaround. She says her alderman isn&rsquo;t helping much either. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that it&rsquo;s election season, when politicians tend to speak up about nearly everything. So I&rsquo;ve been checking out West Side campaign events to see whether aldermanic candidates are pushing for police beat realignment.<br /><br />AMBI: I want to say thank you to each and every one of you candidates. Let&rsquo;s give them a round of applause.<br /><br />MITCHELL: This is a high-school auditorium in North Lawndale. Sixteen candidates crowd onto the stage to explain why they would be the best 24th Ward alderman. The forum lasts more than two hours, but not one of the candidates brings up the idea of realigning police beats or other ways to bring in officers from lower-crime areas. After the forum, I ask incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon why.<br /><br />DIXON: I can&rsquo;t answer that question for you, but that is a very good question. I can&rsquo;t answer it but it certainly should have been on the radar here, seeing that Lawndale is a high-crime area with lots of homicides and drug activity, etc. So that should definitely be a concern.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve reached out to aldermanic incumbents in five West Side wards with a lot of crime. All of the aldermen express interest in shifting police to high-crime neighborhoods. But none is trying to organize any sort of campaign to make it happen. In the 29th Ward, Ald. Deborah Graham points out that any organizing would meet resistance from people in low-crime areas.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Some of our aldermen on the north end [of the city] are fearful of losing their police officers.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Graham wishes police Supt. Jody Weis would lay out his plan and build public support for it.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Having a clear understanding of why we need the realignment&mdash;to ease their discomfort of possibly losing squad cars&mdash;would be very helpful.<br /><br />MITCHELL: But there may be another reason why so few West Side candidates are pressing the issue. 24th Ward challenger Valerie Leonard says many constituents don&rsquo;t want more officers.<br /><br />LEONARD: Talk to younger people, especially on the street. They say they&rsquo;re scared of the police. They say that the police are always picking on them and...<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): It&rsquo;s not a winning campaign issue.<br /><br />LEONARD: That&rsquo;s true, given the history.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The history includes a point in 2003, when Mayor Daley was running for reelection. He promised to realign police beats. That riled aldermen of lower-crime wards, including some on the North Side. After the election, Daley backed away from his promise. Instead of realigning beats, his administration set up elite police teams to rove across large swaths of the city, from one crime hotspot to another. That way, the low-crime areas didn&rsquo;t have to give up patrol cops. One reporter called it the path of least resistance. But Chicago police SWAT officer Erick von Kondrat points to a downside.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: These teams out there&mdash;whether they&rsquo;re area gang teams or some of the other citywide teams that move from district to district on a need-by-need basis&mdash;they don&rsquo;t have that opportunity on a day-to-day basis to make the connections that are really going to bolster the trust between the community and the police department.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Officer Von Kondrat says distrust in the police partly explains why West Side aldermen don&rsquo;t campaign for more beat officers. But he says there&rsquo;s another reason. He noticed it when he was a 24th Ward candidate himself (before a challenge to his nominating papers knocked him off the ballot).<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: A lot of these incumbents, because Mayor Daley is leaving, they don&rsquo;t really know what they&rsquo;re going to be stepping into at this point in time.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Again, the mayoral frontrunners don&rsquo;t support beat realignment. So, Von Kondrat figures, no West Side alderman can afford to be on the new mayor&rsquo;s bad side.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: Going against that force is probably not in your best interest. It wouldn&rsquo;t make much sense to bring that issue up.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The beat-realignment idea has stalled, time and again, since the 1970s. The alternative would be to hire more cops for high-crime areas. That&rsquo;s basically what the top mayoral candidates are suggesting. In this economic climate, though, it&rsquo;s not clear what option the city can afford: financing a larger police department or shifting around the cops it already has. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others Prohibition’s doctor-sanctioned drunkenness http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/prohibition%E2%80%99s-doctor-sanctioned-drunkenness <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/champagne 2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As you raise your glass of champagne tonight, toast the fact that you&rsquo;re not celebrating New Year&rsquo;s Eve between 1919 and 1933. The &ldquo;Noble Experiment&rdquo; better known as Prohibition caused drinking rates to drop precipitously and made it a lot harder to get that precious glass of bubbly.&nbsp;</p> <div>Harder that is, but not impossible. Drinking didn&rsquo;t stop in the U.S. during Prohibition, nor was it technically illegal. (Only selling, making or transporting alcohol was.) We all know the legends of the speakeasies, those password-protected watering holes lousy with dolled-up dames and their mobster dates. But writer <a href="http://www.danielokrent.com/">Daniel Okrent</a> traces a less glamorous set of work-arounds in his book <em>Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition</em>. According to Okrent, you were just as likely to end up in the doctor&rsquo;s office or the pharmacy as the speakeasy. For $3, or about $37 in today&rsquo;s money, you could get a weekly prescription to keep the taps running.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the audio excerpt above, Okrent describes how the medical establishment was in cahoots with the liquor biz, underground as it was. As you&rsquo;re listening, just be glad you can go to a bar this weekend. So much less romantic to steal a boozy New Year&rsquo;s kiss under the cold, unflattering fluorescent lights of a CVS. &nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../series/dynamic-range"><em>Dynamic Range</em></a><em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. David Okrent&rsquo;s talk was presented by the </em><a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/"><em>Chicago History Museum</em></a><em> in May of 2010, and was recorded by </em><a href="../../../../../../amplified"><em>Chicago Amplified</em></a><em>. Click </em><a href="../../../../../../episode-segments/prohibition-seminar-way-we-drank"><em>here</em></a><em> to hear Okrent&rsquo;s talk in its entirety, and click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.</em></div></p> Fri, 31 Dec 2010 18:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/prohibition%E2%80%99s-doctor-sanctioned-drunkenness Chicago hospitals brace for alcohol-related problems on New Year's Eve http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/chicago-hospitals-brace-alcohol-related-problems-new-years-eve <p><p>Emergency rooms around Chicago are bracing for an influx of patients seeking help for drinking too much Friday.</p><p>The head of the emergency room at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago's western suburbs says he sees more teenagers on New Year's for alcohol-related problems than any other day of the year.</p><p>It's an old routine for hospitals by now. Emergency room doctors prepare for patients who celebrate New Year's Eve a bit too much. Dr. Rahul Khare works at the ER at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.</p><p>&quot;It's actually pretty quiet a couple hours before new year's, but then about 15 minutes after new year's hits, we do see a surge of ambulances,&quot;&nbsp;Khare said.</p><p>Khare said doctors mostly try to re-hydrate patients. He said pumping stomachs is invasive and doctors don't do it much any more.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 31 Dec 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/chicago-hospitals-brace-alcohol-related-problems-new-years-eve Four Loko drink to remove caffeine http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/four-loko-drink-remove-caffeine <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101018028114.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago-based manufacturer of the drink Four Loko is changing its recipe. The caffeine and alcohol drink has been banned in several cities around the country.</p><p>Chicago's City Council has talked about banning Four Loko. Other cities have already done it, even the State of Michigan. Politicians said the combination of alcohol and caffeine in Four Loko drinks were to blame for sending several college students to the hospital. The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to ban the product.</p><p>So Chicago-based Phusion Products announced a recipe change. In a statement, the company's co-founders say they're taking the caffeine out of the drink, leaving just the alcohol. They say Four Loko is no different than combining coffee and whiskey or cola and rum. The co-fournders say they tried unsuccessfully to navigate a politically-charged regulatory environment.</p></p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 13:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alcohol/four-loko-drink-remove-caffeine