WBEZ | Elgin http://www.wbez.org/tags/elgin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Don't follow leaders, watch the parkin' meters http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-09/morning-shift-dont-follow-leaders-watch-parkin-meters <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/MorningShift_CMS_tile_1200x900_19_1.png" alt="" /><p><p>The above Bob Dylan quote is apt as the City Council follows Rahm further down the parking meter rabbit hole. Plus WWACIED (what would a church in Elgin do), and your musical memories of mom.<script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/don-t-follow-leaders-watch-the-parkin-meters.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/don-t-follow-leaders-watch-the-parkin-meters" target="_blank">View the story "Don't follow leaders, Watch the parkin' meters" on Storify</a>]<h1>Don't follow leaders, Watch the parkin' meters</h1><h2>The above Bob Dylan quote is apt as the City Council follows Rahm further down the parking meter rabbit hole. Plus WWACIED (what would a church in Elgin do), and your musical memories of mom.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Wed, May 08 2013 14:33:59</p><div><b>City Hall </b>-&nbsp;Aldermen received a copy of the new parking meter plan shortly before Wednesday’s City Council meeting leaving little time to dissect the details. Alex Keefe explains what they did talk about instead. <br></div><div><b>The Elgin/Joplin connection</b> - &nbsp;A Church in Elgin is building a new home for a woman whose life was upended by the Joplin, MO, tornado that struck in May 2011. Keith Duncan explains how they’ve been constructing the home in the Church basement. &nbsp;<br></div><div><b>Beckett</b> -&nbsp;Chicago-born actor and playwright Rick Cluchey met Samuel Beckett while imprisoned at San Quentin, and he brings their relationship to the stage in a new performance at Stage 773. <br></div><div><b>Music Thursday Mother's Day</b> - What song reminds you of your mom? &nbsp;Something she listened to when you were a kid? &nbsp;Something you listened to together? Celebrate the woman who made it all happen, and call and tweet us with your mother-music-memories.&nbsp;</div></noscript></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-09/morning-shift-dont-follow-leaders-watch-parkin-meters Elgin Latinos: Big in number but not in representation http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/elgin-latinos-big-number-not-representation-100379 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gil Feliciano.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The latest census numbers tell a surprising story of how the racial makeup of Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs has changed over the past 20 years. In many places, Latinos now outnumber whites. West suburban Elgin is one of those places.&nbsp; But as the population in Elgin has taken off, Latino representation at all levels of local government has not kept up.</p><p>&ldquo;Just look at this stuff, the ethnicities represented here,&rdquo; said Gil Feliciano, standing in the lobby of Elgin&rsquo;s Gail Borden Library. On a summer afternoon, the lobby is filled with children of all backgrounds: white, black, Hispanic, Asian. It&rsquo;s common to see them dragging their parents across the main floor to the children&rsquo;s room in the back.</p><p>Feliciano was born and raised here in Elgin. His parents came from Puerto Rico. Feliciano was also Elgin&rsquo;s Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for ten years. He was the glue that connected Elgin&rsquo;s Latinos with city functions.</p><p>&ldquo;A gentleman one time came to see me,&rdquo; recounted Feliciano. &ldquo;When I approached him at the counter, he throws down two photographs, both of his porch. One where his porch is a disaster, and one where his porch looks gorgeous.&rdquo; The renovation had been the man&rsquo;s own handiwork, Feliciano said. &ldquo;I go, &lsquo;Well, that&rsquo;s wonderful work.&rsquo; And he goes, &lsquo;Well, not according to you guys.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The man showed Feliciano a letter he had received from Elgin&rsquo;s Historic Preservation Department. It said all his work either had to be undone or changed because it didn&rsquo;t comply with department guidelines.&nbsp; Feliciano says he had to walk lots of immigrant residents, like this man,&nbsp; through those kinds of confusions.&nbsp; Often, they didn&rsquo;t know the rules, or they didn&rsquo;t understand them. Feliciano was the one who&rsquo;d explain to them that even if they owned the house, the city still had a say in whether, or how, they could modify and occupy it.</p><p>One thing that could have helped? Having Latinos help to craft those policies in Elgin. Feliciano said when he started his job in 1997, Latinos weren&rsquo;t in elected positions, they weren&rsquo;t in upper management, and they weren&rsquo;t on most city boards and commissions.</p><p>&ldquo;We knew that things needed to change,&rdquo; said Feliciano, &ldquo;especially if we were interested in having a reasonable reflection of the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Behind the library, across the river, the Metra train shuttles people between this suburb of stately Victorian homes and Chicago. More than two centuries ago, it was railroad labor opportunities that brought the earliest Mexican immigrants to western suburbs like Elgin. Puerto Rican women came, too, to work as housemaids.</p><p>But the numbers really started climbing about 20 years ago. In 1990, Elgin&rsquo;s population was 19 percent Latino. In 2010 , that had grown to nearly 44 percent. That was a huge change over just 20 years, but during that span, Elgin managed to gain only one Latino city council member: Juan Figueroa.</p><p>&ldquo;We were lacking representation in the school boards, library, township, city council,&rdquo; recalls Figueroa.</p><p>Figueroa took office just a couple of years into Gil Feliciano&rsquo;s time at city hall. And slowly the two of them started doing what they could to draw Latinos into the city&rsquo;s affairs. Figueroa put Latinos on boards and commissions. They formed a political action team to register Latino voters. Figueroa says they were building momentum in the community, but then it started falling apart.</p><p>&ldquo;There was a small group of people that thought it was time perhaps to have a city council (member) from a different ethnic group,&rdquo; said Figueroa, &ldquo;in this case the Mexican community.&rdquo;</p><p>Figueroa is Puerto Rican in a city where most Latinos are of Mexican origin. In 2008, that was suddenly a problem for Figueroa. He found himself running for reelection along with two Latinas of Mexican descent. None of them won.</p><p>Even though they weren&rsquo;t all running for the same office, Figueroa believes the three Latino candidates split the vote. He says rivalry among Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latin Americans is one reason that, though they make up nearly half of Elgin&rsquo;s population, Latinos today have zero seats on the city council.</p><p>Figueroa believes what they need is one charismatic leader. &ldquo;It will take a person that can unite the community again, that can bring the groups together,&rdquo; Figueroa said, &ldquo;that can heal some of the bad experiences, the issues, the conflict. All those things that have not allowed us just to be together, as we used to.&rdquo;</p><p>Allert Brown-Gort has studied Latino political involvement in Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs. He says there may be another reason Elgin&rsquo;s Latinos haven&rsquo;t organized behind candidates and causes - and ironically, it&rsquo;s the same reason they moved there in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;The Chicago metropolitan region is really quite friendly to immigrants,&rdquo; said Brown-Gort, &ldquo;so as immigrants don&rsquo;t feel particularly threatened maybe that does not mobilize them.&rdquo;</p><p>For the most part, this has been true throughout Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs, and Brown-Gort says you can see that from an important switch in immigration patterns that started a few years ago. It used to be that immigrants would first come to Chicago, then move to suburbs when they were more established. Brown-Gort says in 2005 that changed. Now, Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs have become the first stops - the gateway communities for immigrants.</p><p>That&rsquo;s been true for Elgin, and as old-time residents observed the changes over the last two decades, some were uncomfortable with the city&rsquo;s new demographics. Dianha Ortega-Ehreth felt that tension when she was house-shopping there in 2004.</p><p>&ldquo;Our realtor told us that we should be careful moving to the Elgin area because of all the Hispanics that are taking over the city,&rdquo; recalled Ortega-Ehreth. &ldquo;To which I responded, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s great, I want to be around more people like me.&rsquo; And I don&rsquo;t think he knew I was Hispanic.&rdquo;</p><p>But on the whole, Ortega-Ehreth and many other Latinos say they feel welcome in Elgin. They mutter thanks that things haven&rsquo;t gone the way of their neighbor to the north. Carpentersville, 50 percent Latino, created tensions years ago when it considered policies to drive undocumented immigrants away.</p><p>Instead, many in Elgin hope their city will turn out more like Aurora, to the south. There, Latinos make up 40 percent of the population and hold positions across local government. They focus on the same issues that matter to Latinos in Elgin - and that matter to most people: jobs, education, public safety.</p><p>Elgin&rsquo;s city elections come in 2013. That&rsquo;s the next chance to see whether Latinos will be at the table, helping to shape Elgin&rsquo;s&nbsp; future.</p><p><a name="map"></a></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="700" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&amp;q=select+col2+from+1b76OZbv2awt3RiX2hHNTibPT5YLBAiveCS30XhM&amp;h=false&amp;lat=42.13344418738396&amp;lng=-88.1201595&amp;z=9&amp;t=1&amp;l=col2" width="650"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/elgin-latinos-big-number-not-representation-100379 ICE nabs 29 in Chicago-area sweep for gang members http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ICE_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is talking up 29 Chicago-area arrests that were part of a national operation targeting transnational gangs.</p><p>Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE’s Chicago-area Homeland Security Investigations, said the operation began April 9 and lasted three days. He said police in Wheeling, Waukegan, Joliet and Elgin took part.</p><p>“I don’t have the time and resources to just go round up everybody who happens to be in the country illegally,” Hartwig said. “Our job is to focus our resources on criminal gangs and criminal organizations — in this case, transnational gangs — who are operating in our communities and making our streets unsafe.”</p><p>As a result of the Chicago-area arrests, ICE says, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen and two foreign nationals face criminal charges. Officials say the other 26 detainees are in deportation proceedings.</p><p>An ICE statement says the operation, dubbed Project Nefarious, led to more than 600 arrrests nationwide. The statement says the operation spanned 150 U.S. cities and reached Honduras. The operation’s impetus, the agency adds, was a 2011 federal report that identified gangs tied to human smuggling and trafficking.</p><p>The victims of those crimes include foreign nationals in the United States, but some immigrant advocates are withholding praise for the operation.</p><p>“We support ICE’s efforts to target criminal enterprises rather than immigrants whose only crime is working to support their families,” said Chuck Roth, litigation director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center. “But past ICE actions have usually turned out to involve more arrests of bystanders and family members than of individuals actively engaged in wrongdoing.”</p></p> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557 Aurora combats gang violence with a new special prosecutor http://www.wbez.org/story/aurora-combats-gang-violence-new-special-prosecutor-91056 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-25/latin kings_flickr_nvaughn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Aurora, Illinois has gotten a new $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help pay for a special prosecutor who will go after street gangs. He or she will file civil lawsuits against Aurora's known gang members to stop them from gathering or wearing certain colors.</p><p>Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said the position will help the police department use new methods to combat gang violence. "They have the ability to make an on-scene arrest, which then can lead to the removal of weapons or illegal street drugs, as opposed to waiting for the gang member to use that weapon or to deal that drug," said McMahon.</p><p>McMahon believes the city has done a good job preventing gang activity, but this hire is "another step we can take."&nbsp;</p><p>Aurora doesn't track gang related activity, however, <a href="http://www.aurora-il.org/detail_news.php?newsDateID=823">crime records</a> for 2010 show an 11 percent decrease in overall crime from the year before.</p><p>"This is certainly not a one-year project. This is a step in a long-term approach to getting gangs to stop expanding in and around the city of Aurora," said McMahon, citing the nearby city of Elgin, which has received a similar grant.</p><p>According to <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-01-17/news/ct-met-street-gang-lawsuits-0118-20110117_1_gang-members-gang-activity-satan-disciples">the Chicago Tribune</a>, since <a href="http://law.justia.com/codes/illinois/2005/chapter57/2052.html">a 1993 law</a> passed allowing injunctions against against gang members, suits have increased in Illinois, and in the greater Chicago area. The <a href="http://www.aclunc.org/issues/criminal_justice/facts_about_recent_gang_injunctions.shtml">popularity of injunctions in California</a> has prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to become heavily involved in combatting what they see as a racially targeted and ineffective method of reducing gang violence. Ed Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy for&nbsp;the ACLU-IL, said that the issue was not one that had yet been heavily targeted by his branch.</p></p> Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/aurora-combats-gang-violence-new-special-prosecutor-91056 Incumbents rule the day in suburban mayoral elections http://www.wbez.org/story/incumbents-rule-day-suburban-mayoral-elections-dnp-84794 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/Naperville Riverwalk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on 4/7/11 at 11:06am</em></p><p>Voters throughout Chicago's suburbs cast ballots in more than two dozen races for mayor or village president.&nbsp; But amidst budget pressures and uncertain economic times, the response from voters in most communities was: stay the course.</p><p>That wasn't true in every community, of course. Several of the state's largest cities will see new leadership this year - the result of both ballot box rebukes and voluntary retirements.</p><p>In the latter case, Joliet's incumbent mayor Arthur Schultz is retiring after 20 years in office.&nbsp; He'll be succeeded by Tom Giarrante, a retired firefighter and incumbent city councilman.&nbsp; Giarrante defeated eight other candidates on Tuesday to become mayor of Illinois' fourth largest city.</p><p>But in northwest suburban Elgin, longtime mayor Ed Schock lost his bid for a fourth-term in office, as tallies showed challenger Dave Kaptain winning 54 percent of the vote.&nbsp;</p><p>Residents of west suburban Wood Dale also will have a new mayor soon.&nbsp; Voters denied incumbent Ken Johnson's bid for a fourth term, giving the nod instead to Annunziato Pulice.&nbsp; Pulice won a close two-way contest, capturing 51 percent of the vote, following revelations that Johnson owed the village thousands of dollars in unpaid health premiums.</p><p>CPA David Gonzalez won election to an open seat in Chicago Heights over Alderman Joe Faso.&nbsp; The south suburban community has had an interim mayor since the death of then-mayor Alex Lopez in August 2010.</p><p>Challenger Gopal Lalmalani defeated incumbent John W. Craig in the race for Oak Brook Village President, and in the open mayoral seat in Rolling Meadows, former city councilman Tom Rooney sailed to victory against Jonathan Trapani.</p><p>In a battle of ballot nicknames in Prospect Heights, Nichaolas "Nick" Helmes handily defeated incumbent Dolores "Dolly" Vole with better than 70 percent of the vote.</p><p>But elsewhere, it was business as usual for many other communities as incumbents cruised to re-election in races for mayor and village president, many of whom ran unopposed.</p><p><strong>Schaumburg</strong></p><p>In Schaumburg, long-time incumbent village president Al Larson faced his first challenge in more than 15 years but emerged victorious over 31-year-old challenger Brian Costin.&nbsp;</p><p>Much of the campaign focused on the village's recently instituted property tax, as well as the village's ownerhip of the Schaumburg Flyer's baseball stadium and the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center.&nbsp; Costin criticized the village property tax, and he argued that the stadium and convention complex should be privatized.</p><p>Larson, 72, has led Schaumburg for 24 years and his victory on Tuesday returns him to office for another four-year term.</p><p><strong>West Suburbs</strong></p><p>Tuesday night also proved to be a big one for Naperville's four-term incumbent mayor George Pradel.&nbsp; He defeated two other challengers to win a fifth term in office, which Pradel says will be his last.&nbsp;</p><p>In nearby Wheaton, Mayor Michael Gresk defeated Councilman John Prendiville in his bid for re-election.&nbsp; Gresk garnered 53 percent of the vote to Prendiville's 47 percent.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>South Suburbs</strong></p><p>While voters in Joliet selected a new mayor, incumbents won the day in several other south suburban communities, including Country Club Hills, where voters elected Mayor Dwight Welch to a seventh term in office.</p><p>In Harvey, Eric Kellogg also won re-election, though he failed to win a majority of the vote in a five-person contest.&nbsp; A recent controversy over a vote that made Kellogg superintendent of Harvey's public schools and allegations of corruption swirled during his most recent term in office.</p><p>Meanwhile, John Ostenberg cruised to a record fourth-term as mayor of Park Forest by a two-to-one margin, but the race for mayor of University Park was much closer.&nbsp; With absentee ballots not yet counted, Vivian Covington holds onto a razor-thin lead over Joseph Roudez.</p><p><em>Correction:&nbsp; An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Gopal Lalmalani as the incumbent in the race for Oak Brook Village President.&nbsp; He was the challenger.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/incumbents-rule-day-suburban-mayoral-elections-dnp-84794 Elgin's ROPE program puts police officers on patrol where they live http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/elgins-rope-program-puts-police-officers-patrol-where-they-live <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Elgin police station.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some local communities have gone as far as embedding their police officers into troubled neighborhoods in an effort to curb crime. Northwest suburban Elgin is one of those areas. In 1991, the local police department started the Resident Officer Program of Elgin, or <a href="http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?NID=297" target="_blank">ROPE</a>. Today, five officers patrol the communities in which they live. In 2003, WBEZ&rsquo;s Steve Edwards visited Officer Pete Almeida, now retired from the program. He gave us a peek into his daily work.</p></p> Mon, 06 Dec 2010 15:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/elgins-rope-program-puts-police-officers-patrol-where-they-live