WBEZ | Hyde Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/hyde-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Campus police: real deal or rent-a-cops? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 <p><p>Say you are driving around Chicago and you happen to run a red light. There are no Chicago police officers around, but there is a university police car right behind you. Could you still get a ticket?</p><p>That&rsquo;s exactly what Jef Johnson was wondering when he started noticing University of Chicago Police Department cars all over his Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the question Jef sent our way:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Are police forces at local universities real police or simply security companies? How much policing power do they have?</em></p><p>We found a straightforward legal answer about how this works in Illinois. There is a spectrum of authority that ranges from security guard to all-out cop. At the far end of that spectrum are Jef&rsquo;s own University of Chicago police. He didn&rsquo;t know it at the time but UCPD is almost unique, with a particularly strong hand when it comes to power and jurisdiction. Those officers don&rsquo;t just protect students, staff and campus &mdash; the UCPD serves as the primary police force for 65,000 Chicagoans, and most are not affiliated with the university.</p><p>That prompted a question that should interest anyone, even those who never encounter these officers: How can a private police force get jurisdiction over so much of the public?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not your father&rsquo;s rent-a-cops</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with that legal distinction we found. If you&rsquo;re anything like Jef, you probably assume that campus police officers aren&rsquo;t real police, and they have little authority other than the power to break up rowdy parties.</p><p>&ldquo;I always thought somehow that they were rent-a-cops,&rdquo; Jef said.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not always the case, according Cora Beem, who manages mandated training for the<a href="http://www.ptb.state.il.us/aboutus.htm" target="_blank"> Illinois Law Enforcement Standards &amp; Training Board</a>. She said the big distinction to be made is between campus security guards and campus police. The latter undergo the same basic training and certification that state and municipal police officers do. With that certification, they have the same authority as any other police officer in the state, even if they are privately employed.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; public universities employ campus police, but private universities can choose to hire plain old security guards. Those guards might be armed, but they don&rsquo;t have the power to give Jef Johnson a ticket, and they certainly cannot patrol off campus.</p><p>Like many private schools in Illinois, the University of Chicago voluntarily upgraded its security force to a police force 25 years ago. According to Beem, that means they are definitely not rent-a-cops.</p><p>&ldquo;They can write you a ticket. They can arrest you,&rdquo; Beem explained. &ldquo;They can counsel and release you, so yes, they&rsquo;re real cops.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction</span></p><p><iframe height="480" src="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zD1cveoHRWh8.kfGTEakNbuXk" width="620"></iframe></p><p>With more than 100 full-time officers, the University of Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one of the largest private police forces anywhere. Not only that, UCPD also has a really big patrol area &mdash; they cover 6.5 square miles, most of which is beyond the core of the University of Chicago&#39;s South Side campus.</p><p>But why can UCPD officers patrol so far from campus in the mid-South Side? According to Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at University of Chicago Law School, the department&rsquo;s status is almost unique.</p><p>&ldquo;The deal is that there is a city ordinance in Chicago that grants the police superintendent the power to appoint special policemen for the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/title4businessesoccupationsandconsumerpr/chapter4-340specialpolicemenandsecurityg?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_Ch.4-340" target="_blank">ordinance allows private police forces to assume the powers and responsibilities of municipal police</a>, not just on campus but in surrounding neighborhoods. UCPD is only one of two private forces in Chicago with this &ldquo;special police&rdquo; designation. The other force is that of Northwestern University Law School, but its <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/attachments/S12-01_Att2.jpg" target="_blank">patrol area extends just a few blocks beyond its Streeterville campus </a>north of Chicago&rsquo;s Loop.</p><p>Once the ordinance was passed in 1992, UCPD negotiated its extended jurisdiction with Chicago&rsquo;s police superintendent. To the north, University of Chicago&rsquo;s main campus stops at 55th Street. UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction, however, extends all the way to 37th Street, even farther than Jef Johnson&rsquo;s home in Bronzeville.</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/u%20of%20c%20charters.png" title="University of Chicago's Woodlawn Charter School, left, and Donoghue Charter School, right, are on the southern and northern ends of UCPD's extended jurisdiction. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ) " /></div><p>Futterman says Chicago&#39;s police superintendent has granted UCPD more independence than it once had. In years&nbsp;past, university police needed administrative assistance to complete arrests.</p><p>&ldquo;The arrest, though, would be formalized and would be processed at a local chicago police department district station, usually whatever district the arrest was because UCPD operated in more than one Chicago police district,&rdquo; Futterman explained. Last year that changed. Now UCPD reports directly to the state and can process arrests independently. According to the university, this arrangement allows both departments to operate more efficiently.</p><p>Maintaining a large police force is expensive, but the university says its worth it. On this, an emailed statement from the UCPD reads: &ldquo;The extended patrol area enhances safety and security through the mid-South Side, which is home to a large number of University of Chicago faculty members, students and staff.&rdquo; The statement mentions the university&rsquo;s interest in protecting its charter schools and other properties within the extended patrol area.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The community speaks</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/meeting%20WEB.jpg" title="University of Chicago students and South Side residents held a forum October 29, 2014, at Hyde Park's Experimental Station to discuss UCPD's presence in their neighborhoods. (WBEZ/Ellen Mayer)" /></p><p>UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction doesn&rsquo;t just include university students and employees; again, the department protects approximately 65,000 residents. How do they feel about UCPD&rsquo;s presence in their neighborhoods?</p><p>On Wednesday, October 29, <a href="http://www.experimentalstation.org/" target="_blank">Hyde Park&rsquo;s Experimental Station</a> held a forum for students and South Side residents to discuss exactly that. Organizers also invited former UCPD chief Rudy Nimocks. He was at the helm when UCPD expanded its jurisdiction. As he recalls it, the university received community support as it broadened its jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;We had public hearings,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were asked to come in. At each one of the sessions I said, &lsquo;We&rsquo;ll stay here as long as you want us.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s how it&rsquo;s been ever since.&rdquo;</p><p>Nimocks has a point. Almost every speaker at the community forum expressed gratitude that UCPD has made their neighborhoods safer. That being said, almost every speaker also had a story to tell about UCPD racially profiling black residents who live within the extended jurisdiction.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/triggs%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 246px; width: 370px;" title="Jamel Triggs, who attended the recent forum on neighborhood UCPD presence, says he's been stopped by UCPD six times since returning from the Marine Corps in May. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ)" />Jamel Triggs, a young black man who works at the Experimental Station&rsquo;s bike shop, said he had been stopped by UCPD six times since he returned from the Marine Corps in May. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to be protecting and serving us. That&rsquo;s supposed to be the goal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Triggs, the neighborhood doesn&rsquo;t feel safer if he has to worry about being stopped by UCPD. He said he is also concerned about the safety of the younger kids he mentors at the bike shop. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want these kids walking around being scared of the police and being scared of the gangbangers out in the streets,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I was, and it hurts.&rdquo;</p><p>A student group called South Side Solidarity Network has launched a campaign to end perceived racial profiling by UCPD. The trouble is, all their evidence is anecdotal. To firm up accusations of wrongdoing, SSSN has asked UCPD to release records indicating the race of residents the department stops and searches. So far, the department has refused.</p><p>Another emailed statement responds to accusations of racial profiling. &ldquo;The University of Chicago Police Department does not deploy tactics that support racial profiling,&rdquo; it states. &ldquo;As a department, we often and openly discuss our policing strategies to ensure our officers are not engaging deliberately or inadvertently in bias-based policing.&rdquo;</p><p>Without releasing records and data, however, UCPD is asking the public to take them at their word.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Private police and public accountability</span></p><p>This is where Jef Johnson&rsquo;s curiosity about &nbsp;potential traffic stops in Bronzeville morphed into a much bigger question about the transparency and accountability of a private police force. The 1992 Chicago ordinance that allows for the creation of special police includes technical language about certificates and licensing fees, but it doesn&rsquo;t address the public&rsquo;s right to information when a private force takes on the responsibilities of municipal police. UCPD is not a governmental agency, therefore it is not required to release records under Illinois&rsquo; Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>The University of Chicago does have a <a href="http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/police/contact_the_ucpd/complaint_process/" target="_blank">process for investigating complaints against UCPD</a>, but that process will soon get an overhaul. Until now, all investigations were performed in-house, by a fellow UCPD officer. In response to <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140311/hyde-park/university-of-chicago-police-no-longer-accountable-petition-claims" target="_blank">criticism about UCPD&rsquo;s perceived lack of oversight</a>, the university recently announced the hiring of a new director of professional accountability. This new position will not be filled by a uniformed officer.</p><p>So what did Jef think about all this?</p><p>&ldquo;This is much bigger than I thought when I asked the question,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I worry about a private police force. It just sounds like maybe we&rsquo;re handing too much power to them.&rdquo; Jef said he is most concerned that the average Chicagoan might never know that UCPD had such a huge jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s scary in that sense,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just finding this out, and I&rsquo;ve been living in this area ten years.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jef.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px;" title="Jef Johnson asked our question about university police after noticing UCPD officers far from campus. (Photo courtesy of Jef Johnson)" />Judging by the number of questions Jef Johnson has submitted to our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">list of question-based story pitches</a>, he is one very curious guy. (For the record, that would be seven ... and counting!) If you haven&rsquo;t run across any of his questions we haven&rsquo;t answered yet, you might remember Jef as the truck enthusiast who launched <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-why-ban-pickups-lake-shore-drive-where-can-they-park-104631" target="_blank">our investigation about pickup truck laws in Chicago</a>.</p><p>It turns out this question about university police was also inspired by Jef&rsquo;s driving habits. He says he first began wondering about UCPD&rsquo;s authority on a day when President Barack Obama was visiting his home in the Kenwood neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;They blocked off a lot of my streets, so I was taking some back streets and I saw University of Chicago Police cars in areas that seem far away from the University of Chicago.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>When Jef isn&rsquo;t thinking up questions for Curious City, he&rsquo;s a wedding minister employed by the city of Chicago.</p><p><em>Ellen Mayer is the Curious City intern. Follow her on Twitter at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank"> @</a>ellenrebeccam.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 Chicago: A home fit for wild parrots http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-home-fit-wild-parrots-108565 <p><p><a name="Audio"></a>It may be easier to listen for Chicago&rsquo;s wild parrots than look for them.</p><p>If you hear <a href="http://www.azfo.org/soundlibrary/MP3/190_Parrots/AZFO_MONK_PARAKEET_deviche_112004.mp3" target="_blank">this</a>, look up. High in an elm tree &mdash; or maybe on a light pole &mdash; you&rsquo;ll see an elaborate nest made of twigs.</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/Leanne%20parrot%20question%20asker.jpg" style="height: 257px; width: 200px; float: right;" title="Leanne Roddy of Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood asked Curious City to investigate the origin story of the region’s wild parrot population. (Courtesy of Leanne Roddy)" /></div><p>The bright green parrots that live in these nests year round seemed out of place to Avondale resident Leanne Roddy. So she asked Curious City:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>I heard there were wild parrots on the South Side of Chicago, and I was just wondering where they came from ... and how do they survive in the winter?</em></p><p>The raucous birds are monk parakeets. The species is native to South America and notorious there as an agricultural pest, chowing down on crops from corn to citrus fruits.</p><p>But the tropical transplants have found a friendlier reception from people in Chicago since they first showed up in the late 1960s.</p><p><strong>Home, SQUAWK!, sweet home.</strong></p><p>Leanne had never seen one of the parrots up close, so our first order of business was to spot one in the wild. <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=210525372542852493607.0004e1dfcb308d0ee1264&amp;msa=0&amp;ll=41.79454,-87.605892&amp;spn=0.003579,0.008256" target="_blank">Lots of you suggested</a> locations to look. There are about a dozen monk parakeet nests in Washington Park, so we started there.</p><p>Leanne and I didn&rsquo;t see any parrots on our adventure. Not one. But we did spot some nests. And we collected a diverse bunch of urban legends.</p><p>How did the wild parrots get here, according to people in the park?<a name="video"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PbRPXM3HHNM" width="620"></iframe></p><p>So, to recap, Chicago residents think the wild parrots&#39; origin story is:</p><ul><li>A University of Chicago experiment went awry and the birds escaped</li><li>The birds escaped from a holding pen at O&rsquo;Hare</li><li>A truck on its way to a pet store overturned and let the parrots loose</li><li>The government put them here</li><li>People who owned them as pets let them out of their houses</li></ul><p>Those urban legends are fun &mdash; but we needed an expert. Lucky for us, <a href="http://pondside.uchicago.edu/ecol-evol/people/pruett-jones.html" target="_blank">Dr. Stephen Pruett-Jones</a>&rsquo; office at the University of Chicago is just a block down from Washington Park.</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/tango_dougstotz_tree.JPG" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Tango, a rescued wild parakeet, sits in a tree. (Courtesy of Doug Stotz)" />As an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, Pruett-Jones has studied the wild parrot population for more than two decades. He&rsquo;s writing a book about the birds now.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">First, Pruett-Jones helped us sort through the many aliases at play. The bright green birds are monk parakeets. Parakeets are small parrots. In the pet trade, they&rsquo;re often called Quaker parrots.</div><p>Pruett-Jones knows the urban legends well &mdash; the overturned truck, the daring escape from the airport &mdash; but says no one has been able to prove the specifics of the birds&rsquo; origin story in North America. He is sure about one thing, though.</p><p>&ldquo;They got here through the pet trade and the pet trade really peaked in the mid to late 1960s,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said.</p><p>So it may be as simple as a few South Side kids leaving their windows open while cleaning a bird cage.</p><p>The first documented nest of wild parrots in the Chicago area dates back to 1973.</p><p>Now Pruett-Jones, along with colleagues at nearby universities, has <a href="http://www.uic.edu/labs/minor/pruett-jones_etal.pdf" target="_blank">mapped the location of almost five hundred monk parakeet nests</a> in the region. The farthest north is near Milwaukee, and the parrot population swings south along Lake Michigan to Chesterton, Indiana.</p><p>The noisy birds have also established colonies on the East Coast, including cities such as <a href="http://www.brooklynparrots.com/" target="_blank">New York</a> and <a href="http://www.urbanparrots.com/" target="_blank">New Jersey</a>.</p><p><strong>Stayin&#39; alive ... with some help from us</strong></p><p>Plenty of pet birds get loose &mdash; but most parrots aren&rsquo;t adaptable enough to survive so far from their natural habitat and climate.</p><p>&ldquo;Birds need a place to live, a place to nest, and they need food,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said. &ldquo;Monk parakeets solve the first problem because they build their own nest. Every other species of parrot requires a tree hollow, or a stump of a broken limb that is somehow hollow.&rdquo;</p><p>Or a pirate ship?</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, or a pirate ship,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a classic Chicago story: The city welcomes outsiders who are willing to work. And these little birds work hard. <a name="tapstory"></a>Every day they scour the landscape for good twigs and prune their nests.<iframe src="//cdn.readtapestry.com/stories/CODk4QIMF/index.html" width="600" height="343" scrolling="no" style="border: 0px;"></iframe><p>Maybe it&rsquo;s why <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-04-19/news/8803100092_1_parakeets-feeders-birds" target="_blank">Mayor Harold Washington liked them so much</a>.</p><p>Of the thousands of bird species worldwide, the monk parakeet is about the only one that lives in its nest every day.</p><p>&ldquo;Without trying to sound anthropomorphic, it basically is a house to them,&rdquo;&nbsp;Pruett-Jones said.</p><p><em>House</em> might be the wrong analogy to draw. But with <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-06-14/news/0406140216_1_parakeets-birds-tree" target="_blank">giant nests</a> cooperatively built among pairs of birds, <em>condo development</em> sounds about right.</p><p>Monk parakeets have gotten good at building these giant nests on man-made structures like light poles and <a href="http://www.northjersey.com/eastrutherford/Monk_parakeet_causes_power_outage_in_Leonia_Edgewater_East_rutherford.html" target="_blank">transformers</a>.</p><p>ComEd&rsquo;s senior environmental compliance specialist Sara Race says it&rsquo;s a perpetual problem.</p><p>The nests can cause a fire on utility equipment or outages. ComEd does sometimes proactively remove nests on its structures.</p><p>&ldquo;They are unfortunately all over our system,&rdquo; Race said. &ldquo;We typically would leave a nest there unless there is a potential reliability issue. We will remove the nest and remove all the sticks and anything that came from the nest in hopes that they will find another place to nest.&rdquo;</p><p>But they don&rsquo;t usually get the memo.</p><p>&ldquo;Many times they will actually start rebuilding right there,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Building nests on utility poles isn&rsquo;t the only way Monk parakeets have adapted to their urban environment. <a name="winter"></a>They also completely change their diets depending on the season.</p><p>&ldquo;If people did not feed birds through backyard bird feeders, I believe that monk parakeets would not survive the winter,&rdquo; Pruett-Jones said. &nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://archive.audubonmagazine.org/birds/birds0501.html" target="_blank">Fears</a> that the introduced species would become an agricultural pest like it is in Argentina haven&rsquo;t materialized in the <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/March-2013/In-Hyde-Park-the-Parakeets-Abide/" target="_blank">four decades since the birds began to breed in the Midwest</a>.</p><p>The seasonal reliance on backyard bird feeders might be part of the reason why.</p><p>The monk parakeets can&rsquo;t find much to eat in the winter if they live out in the country. So they stick to areas with a dense human population, huddle in their condo-like nests and head to backyard birdfeeders for takeout.</p><h2><strong>Good work, gumshoes!</strong></h2><p>We asked for your help finding monk parakeets in the wild, and you didn&#39;t disappoint! <a name="voicemail"></a>Listen to voicemails from fellow Curious Citizens about where to spot the birds.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F9654393" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/tbobeda" rel="author">Tricia Bobeda</a> is a WBEZ web producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/triciabobeda">@triciabobeda</a>.</p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-home-fit-wild-parrots-108565 The wild parrots of Chicagoland http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/wild-parrots-chicagoland-108037 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Eloise Mason Flickr parrots photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Curious Citizen Leanne Roddy of Chicago&rsquo;s Avondale neighborhood heard about a strange phenonomenon from a friend of hers who nannies in Hyde Park: bright green tropical parrots ... in the decidedly <em>non-tropical</em> wilds of our region. Basically, she wanted to know: &quot;What&#39;s the deal?&quot;</p><p>We put the case to pirate-fan and WBEZ web producer <a href="https://twitter.com/triciabobeda">Tricia Bobeda</a>. She&#39;ll be putting on her peg leg, eye patch to see what she can find (with that one eye). Below, you can track her progress as she gets answers, but if&nbsp;you have leads or a point for us to consider, please comment below! Seriously ... your comments count!</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0AgYZnhF-8PafdG5ueGNYeHhIb0hXTkxMajNuam5Cc1E&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;hash_bookmark=true&amp;width=620&amp;height=750" width="620"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity. People like you&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the reporter&#39;s notebook above.</p></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 11:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/wild-parrots-chicagoland-108037 Obama wraps State of Union speech tour in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-wraps-state-union-speech-tour-chicago-105552 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP494226414608(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Returning to the South Side of Chicago, President Barack Obama allayed critics who called on him to address gun violence in his hometown by identifying economic opportunities and strong families as the key to combat crime.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got to grow our economy and create more good jobs. It means we&rsquo;ve got to equip every American with the skills and the training to fill those jobs. And it means we&rsquo;ve got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for everybody willing to climb it. And that starts at home. There&rsquo;s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would more important for us reducing violence than strong stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood,&rdquo; Obama said Friday afternoon at Hyde Park Academy in the Woodlawn neighborhood.</p><p>Since his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama has been giving stump speeches around the country about growing the middle class, all while pushing for new gun control legislation as well. For a couple of years, local activists have wanted the president to come to Chicago and tackle violence. The agitation hit a fever pitch last month after the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student who had recently performed at his inauguration. Last Saturday First Lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral.</p><p>Obama said in his remarks that gun violence claims the lives not just in mass shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 kids last December. He said 65 children were killed by guns in Chicago last year &mdash; the equivalent of a Newtown tragedy every four months. Several Chicago families who&rsquo;ve lost children to gun violence sat in the invite-only audience at Hyde Park Academy.</p><p>&ldquo;This is not just a gun issue,&rdquo; Obama said. &ldquo;We should reform our child-support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children,&rdquo; the president said. He added that his administration will continue to work with the private sector and faith-based communities this year on a campaign to encourage parenting and fatherhood.</p><p>Obama noted that he was raised by a single mom but &ldquo;I wish I had had a father who was involved and around.&rdquo;</p><p>Before his remarks at Hyde Park Academy, Obama privately met with a group of students in a mentoring group called Becoming A Man. Robert Scates was one of them.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what he said, it&rsquo;s what he did, how he was able to become the president that should be able to spark some change in my eyes,&rdquo; &nbsp;Scates said. The meeting got him thinking about &ldquo;how we can relieve our stress ... When you&rsquo;ve got a lot of things built up inside of you, a lot of anger, the littlest thing will just make you go off for no reason.&rdquo;</p><p>Violence experts have said mentoring and understanding the social and emotional needs of young people can deter gunplay.</p><p>Obama said he will push for tax breaks for businesses that invest and hire in hard-hit communities. Economic development is hard if people don&rsquo;t feel safe and commerce dries up, he said. Chicago murders surpassed 500 last year, up from the previous year but nowhere near the figures of the 1990s.</p><p>While some specifics were absent from the president&rsquo;s speech, many said Obama&rsquo;s presence is a good first step in rebuilding communities: part inspirational, part dog-whistle to South Siders and his base.</p><p>Rami Nashashibi, executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, helped organize petitions that demanded Obama speak in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;Many of us who&rsquo;ve been in the community...have to be at least somewhat gratified. It was a very heartwarming event to have the president on the South Side,&rdquo; Nashashibi said. &ldquo;We know there&rsquo;s much more work that needs to happen on the grassroots level and those policies need to come to fruition. But just on that basic level we need to see it as a victory.&rdquo;</p><p>Father Richard Tolliver, of St. Edmund&rsquo;s Church in Washington Park, said the president&rsquo;s speech was on target and appropriate for the South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;He spoke to issues directly important to us: jobs, education, recognizing sometimes there&#39;s a one-parent family because our laws prevent married people who are low-income from marrying because then women lose a lot of their benefits so he understands the unique challenges to our neighborhood,&rdquo; Tolliver said.</p></p> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 08:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-wraps-state-union-speech-tour-chicago-105552 President Obama to speak at Chicago high school http://www.wbez.org/news/president-obama-speak-chicago-high-school-105515 <p><p>President Barack Obama&#39;s post-State of the Union speech in Chicago will be at a high school on the city&#39;s South Side.</p><p>The White House says Obama will speak Friday afternoon at Hyde Park Academy. The visit comes days after first lady Michelle Obama sat next to the parents of Hadiya Pendleton during the president&#39;s State of the Union address on Tuesday.</p><p>The 15-year-old girl was shot and killed about a mile from Obama&#39;s Chicago home. The majorette was killed just days after she performed at events for Obama&#39;s inauguration in Washington last month.</p><p>The president is expected to address gun violence and other issues.</p><p>Michelle Obama attended Hadiya&#39;s funeral in Chicago last weekend. Police say the girl was an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 16:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/president-obama-speak-chicago-high-school-105515 Obama brings international media circus to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/obama-brings-international-media-circus-chicago-103662 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hydeparkhairsalon.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Journalists from all over the world are camped out in Chicago to cover President Barack Obama on election night.</p><p>And they all seem to have the same city tour guide.</p><p>Antonio Coye is a barber at the <a href="http://hydeparkhairsalon.net/" target="_blank">Hyde Park Hair Salon</a>. The salon is home to the president&#39;s old barber and a popular landmark for out-of-towners looking for a sense of Obama&rsquo;s Chicago.</p><p>&quot;There&rsquo;s been a surge of foreign reporters that have been coming in the last couple weeks,&quot; Coye said. &quot;Maybe four or five different groups a bang. Maybe twenty or thirty different countries.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://valoisrestaurant.com" target="_blank">Valois Restaurant</a> is another Obama favorite turned tourist attraction. Manager Piros Argiris said he&#39;s seen journalists from Russia, France and Thailand this week.</p><p>Argiris said the foreign journalists and tourists mostly all have the same questions: Where is Obama&#39;s house? What is he like? How long has he been coming here?</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s good for business for Hyde Park,&quot; Argiris said. &quot;We get tourists all year round. Sometimes buses from downtown and the hotels.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.semcoop.com/" target="_blank">57th Street Books</a> is another frequent stop on the unofficial tour of the president&#39;s old neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;We still get odd journalists who come through who are doing either a piece on Obama or a piece on America in general,&rdquo; said store manager Tom Flynn. &ldquo;(They) stop in here just because we&rsquo;re unofficially the president&rsquo;s bookstore. It&rsquo;s really something for a small, independent business to get the kind of attention that we get simply by virtue of the president of the United States shopping with us and being a member of our cooperative.&quot;</p><p>Flynn said that interest has waned a bit since 2008, but the presidential connection still drives tourists to visit. It&rsquo;s given the bookstore an international profile. A journalist from Brazil recently named the store a must-see Chicago location.</p><p>&ldquo;That one just happened,&quot; Flynn said. &quot;So we haven&rsquo;t really seen the bump yet on that one if there will be a bump.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 12:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/obama-brings-international-media-circus-chicago-103662 Barbara Davis: Hyde Park lunch line veteran http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups/barbara-davis-hyde-park-lunch-line-veteran-102646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/KCU_03_BDavis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="407" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/50165949" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="610"></iframe></p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14.399999618530273px; line-height: 22px; "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.399999618530273px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; ">Kitchen Close-ups</a>&nbsp;offers an intimate introduction to characters in Chicago&rsquo;s food and dining scene. The series runs weekly at wbez.org.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups/barbara-davis-hyde-park-lunch-line-veteran-102646 Ronald Reagan's Chicago home http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605 <p><p>Before Barack Obama, only one U.S. President had called Chicago home. As a boy, Ronald Reagan lived on the first floor of the building at 832 East 57th Street.</p><p>The Reagans moved into their&nbsp;apartment in January of 1915. They&rsquo;d come to the city from the western Illinois village of Tampico. Jack Reagan, Ronald&#39;s father, got a job selling shoes in the Loop. His wife, Nelle, stayed home with the two boys, 6-year-old Neil and little Ron&ndash;called &ldquo;Dutch&rdquo;&ndash;who was going on 4.</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/05-02--Reagan%20home.jpg" title="President Reagan's Chicago home--832 E. 57th St." /></div><p>The University of Chicago was a few blocks east, but the area where the Reagans settled wasn&rsquo;t fashionable. Nor was the building&ndash;their flat was lighted by a single gas lamp, which operated when a quarter was deposited in a timer. They probably picked the location for its easy access to the Cottage Grove streetcar line.</p><p>After living in tiny Tampico, Chicago was a brave new world for Dutch Reagan. He was excited to see all the people and activity. When a horse-drawn fire engine clanged by his apartment window, he decided there could be no finer profession than Chicago fireman.</p><p>All was not pleasant for Dutch. He came down with bronchial pneumonia and nearly died. A neighbor brought over a set of lead soldiers for the boy to play with, and they became his favorite toy.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-02--Reagan_0.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 380px; float: right;" title="A child of Hyde Park (National Archives)" /></div></div><p>Jack Reagan was a&nbsp;drinker, which didn&rsquo;t help the family&#39;s finances. President Reagan remembered that his mother &ldquo;had to make a soup bone last several days and be creative in her cooking.&rdquo; Fried liver was considered a Sunday feast.</p><p>The boys did their part, too. In&nbsp;the summer, Nelle would hang a sack of fresh-popped popcorn around each of their necks, and send them out to peddle it in front of White City&nbsp;amusement park, a mile away on 63rd Street. Child labor laws were fairly loose then.</p><p>Sometime in 1916 the Reagan family left Chicago and moved to Galesburg. It&rsquo;s not clear whether Jack quit his Loop job, or was fired. But their time in Hyde Park was over.</p><p>Many years later, President Reagan told a friend he&#39;d once lived in Chicago, but didn&#39;t know the address. Reagan had always been frank about his dad&#39;s drinking. The friend scoured old arrest records, and found Jack Reagan of 832 E. 57th St., charged as a &quot;drunk-and-disorderly.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, in Hyde Park, the University of Chicago continues to expand. Since the Chicago home of our 40th President doesn&rsquo;t have any landmark status, its future is uncertain.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 09:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605 Barack's neighbors rev up for 2012 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-06-24/baracks-neighbors-rev-2012-88265 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-23/2011 001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/2011 001.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 389px;" title="Volunteers came up with a plan (Photo by Achy Obejas)"></p><p>About 30 of Barack Obama’s neighbors gathered at the Hyde Park Treasure Island Wednesday night, deliberately ignoring his big Afghanistan speech, to take on a much bigger task. Huddled in the downstairs community room, they separated into four smaller groups to break down their project into manageable bites: phone banks, canvassing, signs and other such down-to-the-ground matters; one group came up with a slogan: “I’m in.”</p><p>It was the first meeting of the Obama Campaign Grassroots Planning Sessions, or the Obama GPS, in the president’s home neighborhood, just a few steps from the 55<sup>th</sup> Street Walgreen’s where he was once a common late night cigarette buyer, back in the day when he smoked and went places alone.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/2011 040.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 400px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Wallace E. Goode, Jr listens (Photo by Achy Obejas)"></p><p>Folks had found their way here because they had some grassroots tie to the 2008 election: they were former volunteers, or referred by a volunteer, or they’d taken the initiative to find the meeting on the campaign website or via some other means. It was an open meeting, though – no one was turned away. The room was mostly African-American, and mostly middle-aged, but with a good-sized clique of mostly white kids from the University of Chicago. There was, of course, pizza and pop, campaign paraphernalia, lots of clapping and laughter. Speeches were short, peppy, more cheerleading than political.</p><p>In the crowd, Wallace E. Goode, Jr., listened and applauded with vigor to suggestions and declarations. He’d voted for Obama in 2008 and even donated but he wants to do more this time.</p><p>“I’ll canvas, I’ll phone bank,” he said, “but we’ll see where they need me.”</p><p>Yes, he thinks the president is taking the country in the right direction, but he’s got a bigger reason for participating.</p><p>“I have a 13 year-old son I want to be involved, to experience history for himself,” he says. “We have great pictures from Grant Park (in 2008) when he was 9, but this year he’s going to have to work a bit to earn that for himself.”</p><p>Just before concluding the meeting, one of the organizers announced that the president had given "a very good speech." Folks turned to her for a minute, nodded, then turned back to their tasks.</p></p> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-06-24/baracks-neighbors-rev-2012-88265 On the streets of Hyde Park, Basquiat lives again? http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-20/streets-hyde-park-basquiat-lives-again-88032 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-19/bey-samo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-19/P6184721.jpg" style="width: 501px; height: 392px;" title=""></p><p>I was driving through Hyde Park a few days ago when I saw this bit of graffiti on a piece of plywood at the Metra underpass at 51st Street: <em>Stay Positive +</em>.</p><p>That the cheery street scrawl was signed "SAMO2" made me smile a bit. The late NYC artistic phenom <a href="http://basquiat.com/">Jean-Michel Basquiat</a> and two other friends of his used to secretly spray paint sayings on the sides of Manhattan buildings in the 1970s and 1980s, signing them "SAMO"--pronounced "SAME O." Stuff like, "Life is Confusing at This Point--SAMO", and "SAMO Does <u>Not</u> Cause Cancer in Laboratory Animals.."</p><p>Basquiat went on to great, albeit brief, acclaim as an artist, striking up friendships with Andy Warhol and other notables before dying of a drug overdose in 1988 at age 27. More than two decades later, a new SAMO seems to have taken up the call in Hyde Park. Who is behind this, I wonder? A few steps east of the above sign, there was this reminder from SAMO2:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-19/P6184724.jpg" style="width: 499px; height: 372px;" title=""></p><p>Why, <em>thank you</em>.</p><p>AN UPDATE: A purchase agreement has been signed--but the deal has not yet been closed--to sell the endangered Forum hall in Bronzeville to a developer who wants to repair and reuse the dilapidated 112-year-old structure at 43rd and Calumet. The building was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-05/unfunny-thing-thats-going-happen-forum-demolition-planned-decaying-bronzevil">profiled in this blog</a> earlier this month. The developer,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-07/temporary-stay-execution-bronzevilles-historic-forum-building-87495"> Bernard Loyd</a>, said he has erected protective scaffolding beneath a section of the building that was shedding bricks. He said he expects the purchase to be completed in a few days.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 20 Jun 2011 10:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-20/streets-hyde-park-basquiat-lives-again-88032