WBEZ | Southeast Side http://www.wbez.org/tags/southeast-side Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mystery boat: Alone and idle in a waterlogged corner of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/mystery-boat-alone-and-idle-waterlogged-corner-chicago-112735 <p><p>There is something incongruous, maybe even outlandish, about seeing a big rusty ship from a freeway in America&rsquo;s Breadbasket.</p><p>Have you ever seen it? The 620-foot vessel docked up on the Calumet River under the Illinois International Port sign, clearly visible by anyone driving north on the Bishop Ford Expressway.</p><p>Our questioner, Chicagoan Samantha Kruse, saw it while out on her uncle&rsquo;s boat. They&rsquo;d set out for a leisurely cruise on the Calumet River when, there she blew: a giant old hulk of a ship. Seemingly abandoned. Covered in rust.</p><p>She joked with her uncle that it was likely haunted and filled with ghosts. But ultimately, she wondered, &ldquo;What is the deal with that ship?&rdquo;</p><p>So she came to Curious City for help. (As did two other people who asked about this boat).</p><p>An answer, though? This turned out to be a bit of a head scratcher. Initial research brought up very little. And most people we asked had absolutely no clue. Even the security guard who guards the Port&rsquo;s entrance, where the ship is docked, had no idea why the boat was there. He just knew it never moved.</p><p>But we do have an account of the boat&rsquo;s predicament, one that reveals a lot about the fate of a regional industry as well as a waterlogged corner of the city that &mdash; when it&rsquo;s not just passed up entirely &mdash; is probably best known for heavy industry, as well as black clouds of swirling <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-city-move-crack-down-petcoke-chicago-109412">petroleum coke pollution</a> or a <a href="http://www.calumetfisheries.com/">colorful shack that produces famous smoked shrimp and sturgeon</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The mystery boat, uncovered</span></p><p>Our research produced a name for the vessel: <a href="http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/ctcno1.htm" target="_blank">the C.T.C No. 1</a>.</p><p>The C.T.C No. 1 &mdash; just the latest in a string of five names given by each new owner &mdash; was built in 1942 and moved iron ore to steel mills throughout the Great Lakes. It was wartime, and the country was hungry for raw materials to produce more ships, tanks and aircraft. The ship continued to ferry bulk materials around the Great Lakes until 1980, when it was converted into a cement storage facility, a job it stopped doing in 2009.</p><p>So, clearly the ship had been useful at one point, but what was it doing now? And why didn&rsquo;t it ever move?</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m13!1m8!1m3!1d3325.873456615632!2d-87.58940332364065!3d41.666989634240146!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m2!1m1!1s0x880e26c7283a4ef7%3A0x614fbf32bcd2ea29!5e1!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1440623973334" style="border:0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Even in the Google age, you can&rsquo;t get a succinct account of why the boat&rsquo;s idle. To get a fuller picture, I interviewed people in the ship&rsquo;s neighborhood, a sleepy industrial swath on the city&rsquo;s Southeast Side that&rsquo;s home steel processing facilities, the Ford Motor Co. plant, as well as yacht clubs and tugboat companies.</p><p>I got some of the most useful information from the<a href="http://www.chicagoshipmasters.com/"> International Shipmasters Association</a>, which, lucky for me, was holding its monthly meeting at Georgie&rsquo;s Tavern on 134th Street. Several members said the boat had been a mystery to them, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve heard the question many, many, many times,&rdquo; said Marshal Bundren, the chaplain of the shipmasters local. &ldquo;Because there is a great big ship and here we are in the middle of the Midwest on a ten-lane highway driving by. Why is that there?&rdquo;</p><p>But Bob Hansen, the shipmasters secretary, was familiar with the mystery boat and its history.</p><p>&ldquo;[It&rsquo;s the] Bethlehem Steel boat,&rdquo; he said, referring to an earlier owner. &ldquo;It says C.T.C. 1 on it because they use it for storing cement.&rdquo; (The C.T.C comes from its time in service for Cement Transit Co. of Detroit.)</p><p>Hansen went on to say, in rapid-fire succession, what our earlier research had shown: that the ship was built in 1942 and was used to move iron ore throughout the Great Lakes during World War II.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s empty and there is no place for her to go. She has no home,&rdquo; Hansen said. He went on to explain that the walls of the ship contain asbestos, <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/learn-about-asbestos#asbestos">a highly carcinogenic mineral fiber once commonly used for insulation and fireproofing</a>. Scrapping the boat, he added, would likely require expensive safety procedures.</p><p>And with the shipping industry as it is, struggling, it was too expensive to justify the rehab.</p><p>&ldquo;So for the moment it&rsquo;s sitting,&rdquo; he said of the vessel.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="410" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=400&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;speed=stop&amp;setId=72157657382651669&amp;click=true&amp;caption=on&amp;credit=2&amp;trans=1&amp;theme=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why it doesn&rsquo;t shove off</span></p><p>Scott Bravener, the president of Grand River Navigation, who owns the C.T.C. No. 1, assured me that the asbestos is well contained, though its future is unknown. He said it would cost the company roughly $30 million to rehabilitate the ship and integrate it back into the company&rsquo;s fleet as a working barge. (The boat no longer has an engine.) The company already owns three of its sister ships. And with the C.T.C.&rsquo;s hull still in relatively good condition, the ship acts almost like an insurance policy if something goes wrong with one of the other vessels.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also pretty inexpensive to keep it where it is. According to the Port, Grand River pays $600 per month to keep the C.T.C. No.1 docked there.</p><p>But, according to Bravener, the ultimate reason the ship sits idle is because there isn&rsquo;t enough demand to justify putting it into service, a view corroborated by William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago specializing in manufacturing and shipping on the Great Lakes.</p><p>Strauss said softness in the shipping industry is due to sluggish global growth and a lack of investment in the country&rsquo;s infrastructure for shipping.</p><p>&ldquo;Low commodity prices [and] some struggle with regard to growth of different markets for commodities, has really left a challenge to justify the expenditure,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Overall, the shipping industry is still relatively active, but the Port of Chicago is not the economic engine it once was. According to a 2011 report, the most recent data available, the Port generates nearly 2,700 jobs, 25 percent less than it did nearly a decade prior. And the jobs the Port creates indirectly have dropped by 22 percent over the same period. Industry-wide, shipping on the Great Lakes faces headwinds, due to the phasing out of coal and a steel industry that has yet to return to its pre-Recession peak. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an industry that will never die. But it will never get better,&rdquo; Hansen said. &ldquo;It just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. As we lose our steel. As we lose our cement. As we lose our coal.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, marine transport is the most economic way to get cargo from one place to another &mdash; <a href="http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11134.pdf">far cheaper than trucking and even rail</a>.</p><p>But a struggling manufacturing sector mixed with low commodity prices, means ships like the C.T.C. No. 1 are left waiting in the wings, stuck in a kind of limbo where they&rsquo;re too valuable to ditch, but not useful enough to repair.</p><p>However, there is one thing working in the favor of Great Lakes shipping. Despite the rusty look of the ship, Strauss said the fresh water of the Great Lakes is forgiving on vessels, nearly tripling their lifespan compared to their ocean-going counterparts. Boats like C.T.C. No. 1 have the possibility of being reintroduced to fleet, even after years spent idle.</p><p>When I told our questioner, Samantha Kruse, that her mystery ship was not abandoned, but just empty and unused, she wasn&rsquo;t all that surprised. &ldquo;I think that is where I thought it was heading,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>What&rsquo;s more, she said she&rsquo;s glad to be reminded that the Calumet River isn&rsquo;t just for recreational boating. That in fact, there is an active shipping industry still there.</p><p>&ldquo;There are all these people working on barges. It&rsquo;s not something I think about everyday,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>One thing she is a little bummed about, she said: &ldquo;That I probably can&rsquo;t make the boat into an awesome haunted house one day.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/samanthastudio.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Questioner Samantha Kruse at the WBEZ studios. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">More about our questioner</span></p><p>Samantha Kruse grew up in the South suburb of Lansing, Illinois. The 27-year-old program adviser at the University of Illinois at Chicago said she noticed the ship &mdash; never moving, always there &mdash; for years. But it wasn&rsquo;t until she saw the mammoth ship from the waterside that her curiosity peaked.\</p><p>She tried the usual Googling spree, but couldn&rsquo;t find much of anything. Only one article that referred to it as simply, &ldquo;a rusted boat.&rdquo; Clearly, she knew that already.</p><p>&ldquo;I was so fascinated that this whole other part of Chicago existed that I never really thought about,&rdquo; Kruse says, referring to the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. &ldquo;Then we came close to that rusted boat and I was like what&rsquo;s the deal with that boat.&rdquo;</p><p>Her family has always been big boaters, but even they didn&rsquo;t know anything about the ship. &ldquo;It was accepted. It was just there,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Kruse lives in Logan Square with her rescue dog. She says she&rsquo;s glad to know the ship had a past, though she&rsquo;s not all that surprised it&rsquo;s idle and empty.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to know she had a name and where she was from &hellip; and people cared about her,&rdquo; she says.</p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/mystery-boat-alone-and-idle-waterlogged-corner-chicago-112735 With petcoke out in Chicago, Indiana groups worry it's heading their way http://www.wbez.org/news/petcoke-out-chicago-indiana-groups-worry-its-heading-their-way-111595 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/BP Petcoke.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tom Shepherd was celebrating on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side Thursday but it had nothing to do with President Barack Obama&rsquo;s arrival to declare the historic Pullman area a National Monument.</p><p>Shepherd, president of the Southeast Environmental Council, was cautiously optimistic about the news that the area&rsquo;s ongoing petcoke problem is one step closer to being resolved.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, at this point, it&rsquo;s still kind of early in the game,&rdquo; Shepherd told WBEZ. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve just been getting this information. It&rsquo;s been coming in pretty feverishly over the last couple of days. We&rsquo;ve heard from the city, we&rsquo;ve heard from the company.&rdquo;</p><p>On Thursday, the Koch Brothers-owned KCBX Terminals Inc. announced that it was shuttering its North Terminal on the Southeast side within the next five months.</p><p>That means it will no longer accept petcoke on that site but has no immediate plans for the property.</p><p>The company also announced that it will take steps to eliminate petcoke piles at its nearby South Terminal on Burley Avenue by June 2016, a deadline imposed by the City of Chicago.</p><p>Shepherd says the company will continue accepting petcoke from other nearby refineries so the issue is not dead.</p><p>&ldquo;The BP announcement is going to put a dent in their operations but it will still take product from two other refineries in the area. So, that operation is going to continue,&rdquo; Shepherd said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s still a big win.&rdquo;</p><p>But that win could eventually be Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s loss.</p><p>Kim Ferraro, lead attorney for the Hoosier Environmental Council, says she&rsquo;s worried all that petcoke could end up dumped in struggling cities such as Gary, Hammond and East Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;We may see some effort to put petcoke on those sites. And certainly it&rsquo;s a concern for communities here who are already dealing with so much exposure to harmful pollution,&rdquo; Ferraro said.</p><p>All this comes a day after BP announced that it will stop shipping petcoke from its massive Whiting, Indiana, refinery to KCBX by this summer.</p><p>&ldquo;Based on a number of considerations, BP has made the business decision to store the majority of its petroleum coke produced by the Whiting Refinery at a facility outside of Illinois beginning in the second half of 2015. A final decision has not yet been made on where this material will be stored in the future,&rdquo; BP spokesman Scott Dean said in a statement. &ldquo;If necessary for business reasons, BP may consider using limited Illinois-based storage options on a short-term basis if those options are compliant with state and local regulations.&rdquo;</p><p>Earlier this week, the City of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Public Health announced it would not give KCBX more time to comply with a two-year requirement to enclose coal and petroleum coke piles. &nbsp;KCBX wanted another 14 months.</p><p>But KCBX President Dave Severson says the company wants to stay in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;We remain committed to Chicago and we are going to work within the city&rsquo;s new rules to try to stay in business,&rdquo; Severson said in a written statement. &ldquo;We expect we&rsquo;ll have to make some adjustments to the services we provide our customers but we hope operating this way will allow us to remain in business and give us the time we need to determine whether we can proceed with the enclosure project.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s been a long struggle for residents on the Southeast side who live in the shadow of the petcoke storage sites. In late August 2013, a huge dust-storm covered nearby homes and businesses with the ash-like substance, a byproduct in the refining of crude oil.</p><p>Residents have been concerned about the long-term health effects of breathing in petcoke dust.</p><p>Activists say even if KCBX covers its piles, petcoke can still become airborne and fall into the lake as it&rsquo;s transported via train or truck from Whiting, Indiana. &nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, the Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association continues to defend the handling of petcoke.</p><p>&ldquo;Petcoke is a valuable commodity used in a wide range of manufacturing applications including cement, paint, steel and glass,&rdquo; Mark Denzler, vice president of the IMA, stated to WBEZ. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s extremely important to keep in mind that the United States Environmental Protection Agency does not classify petcoke as a hazardous substance and an August 2014 analysis found no traces of the material in local furnace filters. Elected officials need to focus on creating good jobs and economic development.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/petcoke-out-chicago-indiana-groups-worry-its-heading-their-way-111595 Push for solar power comes to Chicago's Southeast Side http://www.wbez.org/news/push-solar-power-comes-chicagos-southeast-side-110897 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Solar Chicago 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not long ago in a small storefront on Baltimore Avenue near the Indiana border a handful of folks got schooled on solar energy.</p><p>It was part education, part sales pitch put on by Seth Johnson, policy advocate with the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;Right now, we see a lot of fluctuation with energy prices. They seem every day to go up and down, up and down,&rdquo; Johnson said at the office of the Southeast Environmental Task Force in Chicago&rsquo;s Hegewisch neighborhood in late September. &ldquo;What you do with solar energy is you lock in that price. You make that upfront investment but then you levelize your cost in the long run.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnson&rsquo;s been making these types of sales pitches throughout the Chicago area since July.</p><p>He&rsquo;s trying to get people to take advantage of incentives offered by the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago before the October 10 deadline.&nbsp;</p><p>Peggy Salazar is with the Southeast Side Environmental Task Force, which hosted the informational meeting. Her group is on the front lines of banning companies from storing potentially harmful pet coke nearby.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re the ones that deal with the air emissions from the pet coke being stored. We have the BP refinery that is just across the border,&rdquo; Salazar said. &ldquo;But the emissions from the actual refinery don&rsquo;t stop at the Indiana border, they blow toward us.&rdquo;</p><p>Salazar says eventually they want to attract cleaner energy companies to the Southeast side.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what we would love to see in this area. So, it&rsquo;s very important that we work hard to at least help direct people to new, cleaner renewable energy,&rdquo; Salazar said.&nbsp;</p><p>Local resident Maria Gallegos said she was on the fence, but wants to do something to help curb fossil fuels -- especially in her own backyard.</p><p>&ldquo;This is an industrial area. Pollution has been a big problem,&rdquo; Gallegos said.</p><p>Gallegos said the main issue with a solar panel system is the cost factor.</p><p>&ldquo;Even though there&rsquo;s some incentives, right out of the bat it&rsquo;s pretty expensive,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Depending on the solar panel system, a customer can expect to shell out $8,000 to $18,000.</p><p>And that return of investment in lower ComEd bills may not be realized for at least seven years.</p><p>That may be one reason why only about 100 people have signed up to purchase a solar panel system in Greater Chicago since July, according to Johnson.</p><p>But Luis Rojas is giving solar energy a try. Rojas is a construction manager with Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. The 59-year-old lives on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast Side on Avenue H.</p><p>Rojas said his investment in solar makes sense in the long run.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really excited about it,&rdquo; Rojas said. &ldquo;Lately, I&rsquo;ve been putting a lot of attention to the efficiency of my house and the footprint that we all leave just by living.&rdquo;</p><p>He&rsquo;s already installed barrels next to his two-flat to capture rainwater that he uses to water the grass.</p><p>Now, after years of considering solar energy, Rojas says it finally makes financial sense.</p><p>&ldquo;Solar PV panels, they were always really expensive to install and the second things was the efficiency rating of them,&rdquo; Rojas said. &ldquo;The efficiency looks like it has quadrupled in the last five or six years so I&rsquo;m in for it.&rdquo;</p><p>A dozen solar panels, each about the size of a flat-screen TV, will be installed on Rojas&rsquo; roof in the next few weeks.</p><p>The system would normally cost $12,000 but with the state and city incentives, Rojas expects to only pay half that much.</p><p>And eventually, it will cut his electricity bill by more than half.</p><p>&ldquo;If you can save money and then at the same time do some good to the environment, well, here&rsquo;s my two pennies,&rdquo; Rojas said.</p></p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/push-solar-power-comes-chicagos-southeast-side-110897 Dad gets sober, learns how to be a father http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/dad-gets-sober-learns-how-be-father-110347 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 9.00.38 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Jerome Biegel grew up in a big Catholic family on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast Side, the middle of nine children. His father worked in an industry supporting the steel mills and, like a lot of kids on the Southeast Side, he thought he&rsquo;d follow in his father&rsquo;s footsteps.</p><p>Earlier this year, Jerome Biegel, 66, joined his daughters Karen Benita Reyes, Kendall Veronica Biegel and granddaughter Una Reyes in the StoryCorps booth at the Chicago Cultural Center. They talked about his childhood on the Southeast Side and how he became a father.</p><p>Jerome says at that time the Southeast Side was full of open space. Despite having eight siblings, he was able to play in the prairies around his house. He went away to high school at a seminary, where he soon learned about the war in Vietnam. After school he entered the military and went overseas.</p><p>When he got back to Chicago at age 24, he worked at the Solo cup factory, where he met a woman. They had a child, Karen. Jerome was drinking heavily at the time.</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t until years later &ndash; and the birth of another child &ndash; that he was able to quit drinking and learn to become a father.</p><p>&ldquo;How was it different to be a father the first time and the second time around?&rdquo; Jerome&rsquo;s daughter Karen asks him in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;Did you perfect it all the second time?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think I perfected anything,&rdquo; Jerome says. &ldquo;The big difference was definitely me, and the condition I was in. Being an alcoholic the first ten years of your life I was still drinking and abusing alcohol. I know I was around and I know I was there physically. But I feel like I missed more than I wanted to with you growing up.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I learned in recovery the whole thing about &lsquo;stopping drinking wasn&rsquo;t enough,&rsquo;&rdquo; Jerome says. &ldquo;You had to find something else in your life to replace that feeling that we got from alcohol, from drinking.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Life has a tendency to take things away as well as present us with opportunities. That charge that I used to get from drinking was real and I felt it. And you can&rsquo;t shy away from that and say I never wanna feel that way, or I shouldn&rsquo;t feel that way.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You gotta find something else in your life. Life has a tendency to take some things away but I think it&rsquo;s important for us to help both ourselves and the people around us to find new ways to not only replace those feelings but to find a bigger high.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 08:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/dad-gets-sober-learns-how-be-father-110347 Pet coke dusting leads to lawsuit http://www.wbez.org/news/pet-coke-dusting-leads-lawsuit-109052 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ash_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Four families living on Chicago&rsquo;s far Southeast Side filed a lawsuit Thursday against several companies for failing to contain mountains of black ash dust.</p><p>The families say the dust has coated their homes&mdash;inside and out&mdash;and is making life unbearable in a area of the city already saturated by heavy industry.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s horrible,&rdquo; said Jane Gould, 54, of who lives near the huge piles of dust with her elderly mother. &ldquo;I have to take care of my mom. I can&rsquo;t be cleaning the windows every other day. The window tracks, they are full of black dirt.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago attorney Tom Zimmerman is representing the families.</p><p>He filed his lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Thursday.</p><p>The defendants are:</p><ul><li>KCBX Terminals Co.</li><li>George J. Beemsterboer, Inc.</li><li>KM Railways, LLC</li><li>Transload Realty, LLC</li><li>DTE Chicago Fuels Terminal, LLC</li><li>Calumet Transload Railroad, LLC</li><li>Koch Carbon, LLC</li></ul><p>Zimmerman hopes a judge not only awards monetary damages, but wants an injunction against the company.</p><p>&ldquo;To force the companies to stop polluting the neighborhood with black dust that is blowing off their piles. They can either cover it or enclose it,&rdquo; Zimmerman said.<br /><br />Local steel companies and BP&rsquo;s Refinery in Whiting, Indiana transport either coal dust or petcoke to the Southeast Side for storage.</p><p>Steel companies use coal in the steelmaking process, while pet coke is a sort of fuel byproduct from the refining of crude oil.</p><p>BP spokesman Scott Dean says coal dust and pet coke ash are very difficult to tell apart.</p><p>Dean acknowledges BP contracts with KCBX, but not with Beemsterboer, a Hammond, Indiana based company, to transport tons of petcoke by truck from Whiting to the Southeast Side.</p><p>Unlike in the Southeast Side, federal and Indiana laws require BP to cover the petcoke so it does not blow away. Dean says the refinery can store up to a week&rsquo;s worth of petcoke at the Whiting refinery.</p><p>He says petcoke is actually a fuel and is used as a coal substitute. It&rsquo;s usually transported by barge to markets overseas such as China or Mexico.</p><p>BP is not named in the lawsuit -- but many have pointed fingers at BP for causing the problem because it intends to process heavier Canadian crude oil once its $4 billion modernization at its Whiting refinery is completed in a few months.</p><p>Dean says BP has been trucking pet coke to the South Side for years and hasn&rsquo;t even started processing tar sands crude oil from Canada yet.</p><p>Dean says the company has a business relationship with KCBX Terminals to store the petcoke, but no other company.</p><p>&ldquo;You expect your third party contractors to obey all local rules and regulations. As far as I can tell, they (KCBX) are. It&rsquo;s their facility. They are responsible for the operations of it,&rdquo; Dean said last week.</p><p>At Thursday&rsquo;s press conference, Southeast Side resident and plaintiff Alfredo Mendoza says he&rsquo;s worried about the health of safety for his three children, a son, 13, and two daughters, 12 and 11.</p><p>&ldquo;I have asthma myself. My son also has asthma,&rdquo; Mendoza said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a little better but we still live in the same area. We can&rsquo;t even enjoy the yard outside because of all the dust.&rdquo;</p><p>Another plaintiff,&nbsp; Lily Martin, says her 21-year-old daughter also suffers from asthma and worries what the effect the dust will have.</p><p>&ldquo;You can see the black dust everywhere. You have to power wash every week,&rdquo; Martin said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s getting worse because the wind is blowing the dust everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>No date has been set to hear the lawsuit.</p><p>The filing of the lawsuit comes one day after the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint against Beemsterboer for failing to cover the ash and for not filing necessary reports to the state.</p><p>Beemsterboer is based in Hammond, Indiana and has been in business for 70 years, mostly handling steel slag, another byproduct in the steelmaking process that is often used in concrete.</p><p>The companies could not be reached for comment.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Michael Puente <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/WBEZ-Northwest-Indiana-Bureau/701257506570573?ref=br_tf" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pet-coke-dusting-leads-lawsuit-109052 Southeast Side: Will new community rise on old South Works steel site? http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/southeast-side-will-new-community-rise-old-south-works-steel-site-107443 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8893544482_980f6847e2_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago velodrome is a place where super-light bikes race at lightning speeds around a steep slanted wooden track. It&rsquo;s on a corner of a sprawling overgrown swath of land along the lake on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast Side.</p><p>One of the largest steel mills in the country, U.S. Steel&rsquo;s South Works plant, once stood here. The steel mill was the lifeblood of the community. In its heyday it employed 20,000 people and its blast furnaces lit up the sky. But like mills all over the Midwest, South Works struggled through the 1980s to compete with overseas producers. In 1992, South Works was shut down and then demolished.</p><p>This is lakefront property. It&rsquo;s huge, bigger than the Loop. No surprise then that developer Dan McCaffery plans to create practically a new city here: more than 13,000 homes, upscale shopping, a marina, a scientific research park, wind turbines, a charter school.</p><p>&ldquo;When you think about the scale, and the fact that it&rsquo;s been 25 years since that community was basically abandoned, with respect to a job-maker this thing has got enormous potential consequences,&rdquo; McCaffery said.</p><p>The site starts just south of Rainbow Beach at 79<sup>th</sup> Street. It is surrounded by a ribbon of tall chain link fence adorned with colorful banners showing the manicured gardens, chic apartments and happy people that the developers promise will materialize soon.</p><p>But they&rsquo;ve been talking about it for more than a decade, and so far the most concrete improvement is a new extension of Lake Shore Drive stretching for 10 blocks through the middle of the site. The velodrome, which isn&#39;t part of the McCaffery development, is at the southern end.</p><p>Emanuele Bianchi is an Italian immigrant, bike fanatic and the driving force behind the velodrome. He&rsquo;s assembled a team of dedicated riders, and on a Saturday in May he rides a converted German motorbike to pace them.</p><p>Local residents are a little perplexed by the velodrome. Since the steel mill closed, this area has fallen on hard times. Everywhere you look are overgrown empty lots and vacant boarded-up buildings, many of them scarred by fire.</p><p>Locals do not typically ride expensive bikes or wear pricey, tight-fitting cycling outfits. Some enjoy watching the velodrome races. Others see the velodrome as an intrusion, an effort to bring a new class of people to the Southeast Side. It&rsquo;s the way many people here feel about Lakeside Development as a whole.</p><p>Will it bring new jobs and opportunities for local residents, or will it be for other people, a separate and more upscale city where current residents won&rsquo;t feel welcome?</p><p>Mike Medrano grew up and still lives practically across the street from the site. &ldquo;If it&rsquo;s nice, shiny and new, I don&rsquo;t see why they&rsquo;d include us,&rdquo; Medrano said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve never included us in any particular way before, so, you don&rsquo;t have enough people with the education to have the jobs to afford to buy the houses out here.&rdquo;</p><p>Medrano&rsquo;s neighbor Maura Barajas feels the same way. Her son translated. &ldquo;The people that are richer are going to advance more than the ones that are in the middle.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Anyone that feels they haven&rsquo;t been involved or haven&rsquo;t been consulted just hasn&rsquo;t shown up,&rdquo; McCaffery said. &ldquo;Every community you go into you could hold 150 meetings, at the 151&nbsp;meeting someone will say, &lsquo;I wasn&rsquo;t consulted.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>McCaffery&rsquo;s staff leads frequent tours of the site. And on a cold spring day, project manager Nasutsa Mabwa led a large group on one such tour, telling them: &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of passion here, it means a lot to many people, so we&rsquo;re not just the big bad developer coming in to push things around, we really are here to stay and we&rsquo;re working really hard to make sure we listen and involve a lot of different groups and really understand how we can be a good partner and move things forward.&rdquo;</p><p>The bus stopped at the north end of the site and people climbed out to admire the view of downtown. Area resident Evelyn Johnson pulled her coat tight against the wind. &ldquo;My son was eight when I started working at U.S. Steel,&quot;she said. &quot;He&rsquo;s 48 now. If they start a new development, I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of this&hellip;.It would improve the neighborhood quite a bit, for housing primarily, and then they are going to put in Crate and Barrels, some of the stores they have in the Loop or suburban areas. I think it would be quite a nice development.&rdquo;</p><p>Karen Roothan skipped the tour because she&rsquo;s already been on the site plenty. Since moving here 13 years ago and being labeled the dirty hippie by some neighbors, Roothan has worked hard to build community gardens and cultivate relationships. &ldquo;Meow, oh you&rsquo;re not speaking to me today Mr. Cat, huh? He likes to live in my garage in the winter,&rdquo; Roothan laughed. &ldquo;Now he pretends he doesn&rsquo;t know me. So these are native perennials here, plus a little blown in trash.&rdquo;</p><p>Roothan thinks Lakeside will uproot people like her.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Are we going to cater to rich people who don&rsquo;t even live here,&quot; she asked, &quot;or are we going to cater to poor people and moderate income people who already live here and are trying to cope? Does it make sense to build a lot of new houses when you have vacant buildings everywhere?&rdquo;</p><p>Bianchi, the Italian bicyclist, thinks new development could have big ripple effects. He&rsquo;d love to see a world-class indoor velodrome on the site. But he&rsquo;s starting to get discouraged: &ldquo;Unfortunately it won&rsquo;t be easily financed because it looks like it&rsquo;s extremely hard to find the companies or institutions that are willing to invest in sports, especially cycling. Everybody says, &lsquo;Oh yeah we can help you but you&rsquo;ve got to find the money.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The biggest question facing Lakeside may not be what effect it will have on residents, but whether it will be built at all.&nbsp;Financing still has not been obtained for even phase one of construction. The city is building a new park along the lakefront, sidewalks and sewers. But a promised $98 million tax subsidy won&rsquo;t kick in until retail space is leased. McCaffery thinks things will really pick up once the Lake Shore Drive extension opens. That&rsquo;s scheduled for September.</p><div id="PictoBrowser130530135135">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "The Southeast Side of Chicago"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157633815674310"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser130530135135"); </script></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/southeast-side-will-new-community-rise-old-south-works-steel-site-107443 The Dave Matthews Band Caravan rolls up on the Southeast Side http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/dave-matthews-band-caravan-rolls-southeast-side-88873 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-08/US Steel.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.davematthewsband.com/" target="_blank">The Dave Matthews Band Caravan</a> rolled into Chicago Friday, adding yet another festival to Chicago’s hectic summer schedule. But many people have been surprised by where they pulled up - the former site of U.S. Steel on the city's far Southeast Side.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-07/steel-mill-site%E2%80%99s-second-act-88844">Related: A steel mill site's second act</a></p><p>Although there are <a href="http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/content.cfm/lakeside_1" target="_blank">plans to develop</a> an area that boasts nearly 600 acres of lakefront land with panoramic views of downtown, before the caravan arrived it was little more than gravel and mud. To discuss why the caravan opted for a site that has never held a concert before and what this could mean for the Southeast Side and the future of festivals in Chicago, <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Richard Steele was joined by <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/bio_jim.html" target="_blank">Jim DeRogatis</a>, WBEZ’s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis" target="_blank">music critic</a> and host of <em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/" target="_blank">Sound Opinions</a>.</em></p><p><em>Music Button: Kid Cudi, "Erase Me" (Feat. Kanye West) from the release Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager (Universal Motown)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/dave-matthews-band-caravan-rolls-southeast-side-88873 10th ward in the hizzouse: Southeast Side architecture goes hip-hop http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/10th-ward-hizzouse-southeast-side-architecture-goes-hip-hop <p><p style="text-align: center;"><object width="485" height="297"><param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Fmzczc5Ff-I?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" name="movie" /><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="485" height="297" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Fmzczc5Ff-I?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></embed></object></p><p>My neighbor, architect <a href="http://www.windhorst-gorski.com/">Jim Gorski</a>, turned me on to this video via his Facebook page. The rap video features some sharp black-and-white cinematography of far Southeast Side of Chicago; and the rapper himself only appears briefly--I think--as a hooded figure at what I am guessing is the pier at 63rd Street Beach. The rest of the clip is composed entirely of images of places and spaces on the Southeast Side, most of shot from a passing vehicle.</p><p>The underside of the Skyway. St. Francis DeSales. Ewing. Avenue M. Power lines. &quot;Southeast as you can before you reach the state line,&quot;&nbsp;as the rap goes.</p><p>Nicely done. As is this one from the same artist, Cojack:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><object width="600" height="345"><param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/277EIG_OvDo?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" name="movie" /><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="600" height="345" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/277EIG_OvDo?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></embed></object></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/10th-ward-hizzouse-southeast-side-architecture-goes-hip-hop Tribune: Police questioning 'person of interest' in shooting deaths http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police-department/reward-offered-shooting-death-chicago-police-officer <p><p>The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Chicago police are questioning a 'person of interest' in connection to the shooting death of a police officer and a former CHA&nbsp;officer Friday. The 19 year-old man reportedly lives across the street from the alley where the bodies were found.&nbsp;</p><p>Authorities say a Chicago police officer was fatally shot while processing a burglary scene at a garage on the city's Southeast Side.</p><p>The dead officer was identified Friday evening as 46-year-old Michael Flisk, an evidence technician. Weis says Flisk has a wife and four children, plus three siblings who also work for the Chicago police department.&nbsp; The Chicago Police News Affairs office said Friday evening that Flisk joined the department in 1991 and was promoted to evidence technician in 2007.</p><p>A second person killed in the same incident was 44-year old Stephen Peters. Peters was a former police officer with the Chicago Housing Authority.</p><p>The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the fatal shooting of the second Chicago police officer this week.</p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 27 Nov 2010 16:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-police-department/reward-offered-shooting-death-chicago-police-officer