WBEZ | Rogers Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/rogers-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Weird and wonderful things you might not know about Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/weird-and-wonderful-things-you-might-not-know-about-chicago-111290 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/thumbnail for cms.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/182895289&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>There are a bunch of standard things that come to mind when locals and non-Chicagoans alike think of Chicago: Al Capone, deep dish pizza, soaring skyscrapers, sports teams, corrupt politicians, freezing winters and Oprah, just to name a few.</p><p>If you&rsquo;re so over this narrow and stale view of this multifaceted town, we&rsquo;ve got some hope for you.</p><p>Thanks to <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/questions/answered" target="_blank">your questions about Chicago</a>, the region and its people, we&rsquo;ve spent the past two years investigating some far-out places and funky moments in Chicago&rsquo;s past. (You can catch all those <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city" target="_blank">stories online here</a>, on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/curious-city/id568409161?mt=2" target="_blank">our podcast</a>, and you can always <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&amp;display_text=asfasfsad&amp;commit=Ask#ask" target="_blank">ask a question anytime, here</a>.)</p><p>In the spirit of this season of giving, we&rsquo;ve wrapped up an hour&rsquo;s worth of our favorite stories for you &mdash; stories that reveal fun facts and oddities about this town you might not know, even if you consider yourself up on all things Chicago. &nbsp;</p><p>Kick back and listen above and then dive deeper into each piece via the links below. We hope these stories get you equipped with enough local trivia prowess to wow the crowd at any gathering &mdash; or to defend your choice of calling Chicago home to anyone who dares question you. (And how dare they?!?)</p><p>You may not realize:</p><blockquote><ul dir="ltr"><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hmmm-if-only-our-curiosity-had-anthem-105512">Some</a><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fseries%2Fcurious-city%2Fhmmm-if-only-our-curiosity-had-anthem-105512&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHoDv2paHj2fnTl0UIYQVGwj4-vJg" target="_blank">&nbsp;things can only be found in Chicag</a><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hmmm-if-only-our-curiosity-had-anthem-105512">o</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tale-chicagos-tattoo-holdout-110185">For nearly a decade Chicago had just one tattoo parlor</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/jackpot-chicagos-hold-pinball-industry-and-artistry-110175" target="_blank">Chicago is the pinball industry capital of the world</a>&nbsp;(Hear&nbsp;<a href="http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/for-amusement-only/" target="_blank">a related story</a>&nbsp;that appeared on the 99% Invisible podcast).</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sweet-spot-top-chicago-107897">The city&rsquo;s highest natural point is in Beverly</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-part-chicago-has-most-biodiversity-103725">The most biodiverse section of Chicago is on the Southeast Side</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/sniffing-chicago%E2%80%99s-wild-onion-108281">Chicago&rsquo;s namesake wild onion can be found today</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648">West Ridge and Rogers Park once waged a fight involving cabbages</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fountain-youth-schiller-woods-110099" target="_blank">A public water pump in a forest preserve is touted as a &ldquo;fountain of youth&rdquo;</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/ohares-ghost-terminal-4-109632" target="_blank">Why O&rsquo;Hare is missing a terminal 4, when it has terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5</a></li></ul></blockquote><p>And if you like what you&rsquo;ve heard or read, pass on this <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/curious-city/id568409161?mt=2" target="_blank">gift of Curious City</a> to the Chicagophile in your life! Note: We&rsquo;re not responsible for friends and family suddenly taking more interest and / or pride in Chicago as a result. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Curious City tweets <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezcuriouscity" target="_blank">@WBEZCuriousCity</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/weird-and-wonderful-things-you-might-not-know-about-chicago-111290 Who cleans up crime scenes on Chicago streets? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/who-cleans-crime-scenes-chicago-streets-111055 <p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: The audio version of this story is contained in the podcast episode above. It begins just before minute seven. </em></p><p>Peter Normand&rsquo;s question for Curious City begins with an unusual email he received on July 13. The email was from his alderman, the 49th Ward&rsquo;s Joe Moore.</p><p>The message referenced William Lewis, a 28-year-old photographer who had just moved to Chicago. Just one day earlier, Lewis had been killed by stray gang gunfire on the 1300 block of W. Devon Ave.</p><p>&ldquo;I happened to be on Devon only a block from the shooting and heard the gunfire,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.ward49.com/site/epage/153765_322.htm" target="_blank">read Ald. Moore&rsquo;s email to constituents</a>. &ldquo;I looked up to see the assailant, who appeared to be a teenager, continue to fire his weapon at a group of fleeing youths. It is something I will never forget.&rdquo;</p><p>What Moore wrote next saddened our question-asker and piqued a morbid curiosity:</p><p>&ldquo;Later that evening on our way to a neighborhood block party, my wife and I drove past the scene of the shooting and noticed that bloodstains remained on the sidewalk. We went to a nearby store to purchase some water, bleach and a brush to clean the sidewalk. By the time we returned, Milton, a resident of the building adjacent to the sidewalk, had already undertaken the grim task. We helped him finish the job.&rdquo;</p><p>Peter Normand, a 36-year-old architect and resident of the 1900 block of W. Morse, was moved enough to ask Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Who cleans up the blood on sidewalks and playgrounds after shootings?</em></p><p>We pressed Ald. Moore&rsquo;s 49th Ward office to explain the events he described in that email, <a href="http://chicago.everyblock.com/crime-posts/jul13-man-killed-devon-avenue-shooting-6253739/" target="_blank">which he also posted to the neighborhood web forum EveryBlock</a>. The office declined repeated attempts for any more information than what Moore provided in his online account.</p><p>Regardless, the story raises some interesting questions. For one, whose responsibility is it to clean up blood in the public way? And, if it&rsquo;s not done quickly (or, if it&rsquo;s left behind), what kind of risk does that pose for legal liability and for public health?</p><p>Through conversations with city agencies and private contractors, we parsed out the city&rsquo;s process for cleaning up after homicides and other traumatic events. And we found not everyone agrees the city is doing it the right way.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&lsquo;Washdown&rsquo;</span></p><p>After the police department&rsquo;s detectives, forensic investigators and evidence technicians have finished investigating the scene of a homicide, they&rsquo;re directed to call for a &ldquo;washdown,&rdquo; according to <a href="http://www.chicagopolice.org/2013MayDirectives/data/a7a57be2-12946bda-6b312-9483-7cdab14bcdee3789.pdf?ownapi=1" target="_blank">Special Order S04-02</a> from the Chicago Police Department&#39;s procedure for crime scene protection or processing. The Illinois State Police follow the same procedure, a spokeswoman said.</p><p>A washdown is when the Chicago Fire Department sends an engine crew to blast the area with &ldquo;copious amounts of water [until] there is no longer any residue left behind,&rdquo; according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. While a very old crime scene might require the addition of disinfecting chemicals, he said, almost all crime scenes on public property are cleaned with plain water &mdash; albeit water blasted from a high-pressure firehose.</p><p>&ldquo;Even dried blood is a hard match for an engine putting out water at that pressure,&rdquo; Langford said. Police and other city agencies also call CFD for a washdown to clean other messes. &ldquo;It could be an accident scene, a drop of material on the street,&rdquo; Langford said. &ldquo;A truck could have spilled honey, and that would be a washdown too.&rdquo;</p><p>If the call for a washdown is considered urgent, Langford said, crews are supposed to show up within three and a half minutes.</p><p>If the crime scene is on private property &mdash; that can include Chicago Housing Authority or Chicago Park District holdings &mdash; it&rsquo;s up to the owner of the property to clean up. They usually hire private contractors, such as Aftermath Services LLC, a crime scene cleanup and biohazard removal company based in Aurora, Illinois.</p><p>The work often involves managing emotional burdens, as well as any physical legacy.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;What we try to do is take as much away from them so they don&#39;t have to worry about the physical clean up,&rdquo; said Kevin Reifsteck, Aftermath Services&rsquo; vice president. Sometimes the jobs include consoling bereaved friends and family members. &ldquo;When you really start getting down to specifically what we&rsquo;re going to be doing, I think that&rsquo;s sometimes when it really becomes a reality for the family.&rdquo;</p><p>Aftermath&rsquo;s work varies by job, which can range from a few hours of disinfection and carpet removal to weeks of biohazard cleanup. (<a href="http://www.abc2news.com/news/local-news/investigations/grief-stricken-customers-complain-about-high-bills-for-crime-scene-clean-up" target="_blank">After a series of complaints about pricing</a> between 2010 and 2013, Aftermath changed its policy to always give upfront estimates of a cleanup job&rsquo;s price, which can be thousands of dollars.)</p><p>But one common element among those privately-contracted jobs is that they use more than just water. Reifsteck did not want to comment on the Chicago Fire Department&rsquo;s practices without witnessing them firsthand, but another private contractor was blunt about the matter.</p><p>&ldquo;Calling in for a washdown is antiquated,&rdquo; said Andrew Yurchuck, board president of the American Bio Recovery Association, an industry trade group. &ldquo;It&#39;s not proper. If a private person did that they would be fined.&rdquo;</p><p>Yurchuck said many cities follow protocol similar to Chicago&rsquo;s, but he favors San Diego&rsquo;s approach, which is to hire private contractors like his for crime scene and accident cleanup. Private contractors often use absorbent booms and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect blood and other liquids, cleaning on site instead of washing blood into the sewer system. &ldquo;Rather than spraying and sending it out down into the river,&rdquo; Yurchuck said, &ldquo;we try to absorb it right there.&rdquo;</p><p>He thinks Chicago officials could be skirting laws governing the disposal of medical waste. We found legal and scientific reasons why that may not be the case.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CuriousCityCopBlood-1 shawn allee.jpg" title="A stain on the sidewalk from a crime scene on the 1600 block of W. Morse Ave. in Rogers Park. While Chicago police have a washdown protocol for cleaning up crime scenes, our question was inspired by two apparent cases where the public took on the task. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /></div></div></div></div><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Clean enough?</span></p><p>Langford said the Chicago Fire Department is under no legal obligation to sanitize city streets and sidewalks, which he points out are not sterile places to begin with. &ldquo;It doesn&#39;t make sense to disinfect a panel of the sidewalk,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If something is to the point that it&#39;s dangerous it would be a level one hazmat situation. We would send the hazmat crew.&rdquo;</p><p>But even blood, which typically merits a simple washdown from CFD, can convey diseases if not properly handled. The <a href="https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&amp;p_id=10051" target="_blank">Occupational Safety &amp; Health Administration</a>&rsquo;s Blood Borne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) recommends training and protective gear for handling substances like blood that could convey HIV, hepatitis B and other serious illnesses. Langford said firemen don&rsquo;t need special gear because they never come into contact with biomatter on crime scenes &mdash; they just blast it with water from afar.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo;<a href="http://www.ipcb.state.il.us/documents/dsweb/Get/Document-12277" target="_blank"> code for potentially infectious medical waste (35 Illinois Administrative Code 1420.102)</a>, which includes blood, instructs &ldquo;all persons who generate, transport, treat, store or dispose of&rdquo; such waste to use detergent and low-level disinfection techniques like bleach. But the code only requires those measures if the blood results from medical procedures.</p><p>&ldquo;Anything that&rsquo;s done in a crime scene cleanup is not diagnosing or treating humans or animals,&rdquo; says Beverly Albarracin, who oversees the potentially infectious medical waste program for Illinois&rsquo; Environmental Protection Agency. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not regulated as medical waste.&rdquo;</p><p>She says the public health risk is vanishingly small.</p><p>&ldquo;The odds of a disease lasting, for one thing, outside of a human body and remaining virulent or able to cause disease,&rdquo; Albarracin says, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s a very very minute possibility.&rdquo;</p><p>But what about legal risk? Scott Burris, a professor with Temple University&rsquo;s Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice, said while he hasn&rsquo;t investigated the issue in depth, it&rsquo;s &ldquo;hard to imagine a transmission happening accidentally or that someone could be consider negligent under the circumstances.&rdquo; The risks of infection are low, he said, although new fears of Ebola might change the equation.</p><p>Both federal and state representatives from OSHA and the Department of Public Health were unaware of any complaints against the Chicago police and fire departments related to crime scene cleanup.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not surprising to Dr. Carl Bell, a medical expert on youth violence and a psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center.</p><p>&ldquo;Having lived in Chicago my entire life, it&rsquo;s very clear to me that Chicago is characterized by cosmetics,&rdquo; Bell said. &ldquo;And having blood or bullet casings on the street is not good. So they&rsquo;ve done a very good job of cleaning up after homicides. &hellip; I think it&rsquo;s always been the case.&rdquo;</p><p>As for taking steps to disinfect crime scenes before a washdown that could flush biological material into the city&rsquo;s sewers, Bell said &ldquo;it&rsquo;s probably not that risky,&rdquo; because most blood-borne pathogens are short-lived outside the human body.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s say the city doesn&rsquo;t clean blood quickly and community members pass by the scene. Is there potential to traumatize them? Dr. Bell says yes, but memory is complicated. Consider the<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-06-18/news/ct-chicago-murder-memorials-met-20140618_1_memorials-shrines-human-toll" target="_blank"> makeshift memorials that mark the sites of homicides</a> and car accidents across the city. These are odes to lost loved ones, but also a daily reminder of violence in neighborhoods where they are all too common.</p><p>&ldquo;Those spots are traumatic reminders for some people,&rdquo; Bell said, &ldquo;whether the city cleans up after it or not.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?&nbsp;</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker.jpg" style="float: right; height: 375px; width: 300px; margin: 5px;" title="(Photo courtesy Peter Normand)" />Architect Peter Normand lives in the same area, Chicago&rsquo;s far North Side, that sparked his question about crime-scene blood and who&rsquo;s responsible for cleaning it when it&rsquo;s on the public way.</p><p>Notably, he had two occasions to consider the question, not just one. There&rsquo;s the email from Ald. Joe Moore mentioned above, but he had also seen blood on the sidewalk for himself, just a few months earlier. &nbsp;</p><p>On the night of April 10, he was on the 1600 block of W. Morse Ave. and came across blood left from a shooting earlier that evening. He was surprised to see it the next morning, as he walked to work.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s where a lot of kids have to walk to go to school,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s less than half a block from New Field [elementary school].&rdquo;</p><p>Maybe the kids noticed the blood, or maybe they didn&rsquo;t, he said. He hopes few did.</p><p>&ldquo;Eventually it doesn&rsquo;t look any different than salsa spilled on the sidewalk, but it&rsquo;s not salsa,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Peter&rsquo;s accounts greatly informed our reporting. Among other things, his story about the April shooting suggested at least one example of where citizens, not the city, had disposed of blood on the sidewalk. (Officials have no record of clean up at this spot). His recollection of the location led us to the Hadima (she would only give her first name), who owns SK Food Mart. The shooting victim had bled in front of the store.</p><p>She remembers seeing the blood, too. She said she had a janitor in the building clean it.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want to see blood in front of my store so I had to wash it out,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><em><a href="http://cabentley.com/" target="_blank">Chris Bentley is a freelance reporter</a> and regular contributor to WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow him at cabentley.com and on Twitter at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank"> @Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/who-cleans-crime-scenes-chicago-streets-111055 Longtime Rogers Park butcher hangs up his apron http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/longtime-rogers-park-butcher-hangs-his-apron-111043 <p><p dir="ltr">At first glance, Ed &amp; Erv&rsquo;s Centrella Food Mart on Touhy Avenue looks like any other small neighborhood grocer. Step inside and the first thing you notice is the smell of mothballs. On the shelves are the usual dry goods: cereal, canned beans and rice. Milk and dairy are in a refrigerator at the rear, and in a corner next to the cash register is a small area for fresh vegetables and fruits.</p><p dir="ltr">But all the way in the back is the store&rsquo;s real hidden gem: a butcher&rsquo;s counter. Denny Mondl, the owner, stands behind a case of his special ground chuck, homemade Italian sausage, bratwurst and skinless hot dogs.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Obviously my specialty is the butcher. Probably two-thirds of my sales are in the back,&rdquo; he said.</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/Rogers%20Park%20grocer%202.JPG" style="float: right; height: 208px; width: 310px;" title="Mondl’s father, Erv Mondl, co-founded the neighborhood grocery 47 years ago on Touhy Ave. in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Mondl&rsquo;s father, the &lsquo;Erv&rsquo; in the store name, opened the store with his business partner in 1947. For nearly seven decades, the small shop served generations of Rogers Park residents who were in the know about the high-quality meats they stocked, and who came to regard the Mondl family as a part of an extended family.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Denny really exemplified what is so good about this neighborhood,&rdquo; said longtime Rogers Park resident Kathy Kirn.</p><p dir="ltr">Kirn&rsquo;s son, now 18 years old and attending college in Boston, once worked as a cashier in Mondl&rsquo;s store. Kirn said as soon as her son found out Mondl planned to close, he bought an airplane ticket to Chicago to visit his old boss.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Denny would make him sandwiches,&rdquo; Kirn said of her son, when he was in grade school. Like many regulars, Kirn&rsquo;s family kept a running tab, paid off regularly, at the store. Mondl never hassled them for payment on the spot.</p><p dir="ltr">Kirn recalled one time that Mondl saved a large family dinner from going awry. She had ordered brisket for a large Rosh Hashanah dinner, but her husband forgot to pick it up. &ldquo;We got home and the babysitter with our kid said someone came and delivered something,&rdquo; Kirn said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And Denny had it delivered to my house. He said &lsquo;I knew it was important, so I just had someone deliver it.&rsquo; Who does that? No one does that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Mondl said business really slowed down in the last decade.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I used to do six deliveries a day, and I probably do about six a week now,&rdquo; Mondl said.</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/Rogers%20Park%20grocer%203.JPG" style="float: left; height: 208px; width: 310px;" title="Customers have been signing a guestbook in recent weeks, filled with their memories of Mondl and how the store played a role in their lives. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Many of his older customers have passed away, and he thinks younger customers are too tired to go home and cook a meal after work.</p><p dir="ltr">Ironically, once people knew it was his last week, Mondl found himself just as busy as he was in the store&rsquo;s heyday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been making a ton of stuffed chicken breast and stuffed pork chops for people,&rdquo; said Mondl. &ldquo;And when I say a ton, I usually get a 40-lb box of chicken breast. I&rsquo;ve already gotten 120 lbs of chicken breast this week alone to bone out the breast to put the stuffing in it. And pork loins, the same thing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Hollye Kroger, a Rogers Park resident who only discovered Mondl&rsquo;s store last year, said she&rsquo;s very sad to see him retire. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m getting all kinds of food, tons of food to take home,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;and stuffed chicken to stick in my freezer so I can pretend that it&rsquo;s still open for another couple of months.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Mondl said that at 65 years old, he&rsquo;s the only one among his grade-school and high-school buddies who still works full-time, so he&rsquo;s ready to hang up his butcher apron.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to miss talking to people and the camaraderie with everybody,&rdquo; he said. But he&rsquo;s ready to take it easy. &ldquo;I have projects at home to finish that I&rsquo;ve only started,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I&rsquo;ve only been off one day a week.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 01 Nov 2014 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/longtime-rogers-park-butcher-hangs-his-apron-111043 Cabbage War: West Ridge vs. Rogers Park http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nsU07hchILU?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/163030116&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We receive a good number of questions about Chicago neighborhoods: Among other things, we&rsquo;ve learned <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-are-chicago-neighborhoods-formed-103831" target="_blank">how their boundaries are formed</a>, how the city&rsquo;s roster of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">neighborhoods grew through annexation</a>, and how the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538" target="_blank">ethnic composition of neighborhoods can sometimes change </a>surprisingly quickly.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648#laura" target="_blank">Laura Jones Macknin</a> of the Ravenswood neighborhood sent along one of the more puzzling queries along these lines. Laura had been working on a health-related survey project in several Chicago neighborhoods. For reporting purposes, her team needed to distinguish between West Ridge and Rogers Park, which are tucked into the northeast corner of the city.</p><p>As Laura researched the neighborhoods&rsquo; dividing line, she bumped into historical references to an altercation between the two areas &ndash; one with a vegetative flair. The issue took hold of her enough that she sent us this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What was behind the so-called Cabbage War in West Ridge and Rogers Park? I would like to know more because, you know ... Cabbage War.</em></p><p>Well, the Cabbage War had very little to do with cabbages per se. And though it&rsquo;s easy to dismiss such an oddly named conflict, this 19th century showdown involved something that neighborhoods and even entire cities continue to fight over today: parks and the taxes to create and maintain them.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Unfriendly neighbors</span></p><p>As West Ridge and Rogers Park evolved from being independent villages to neighborhoods of Chicago in the late 19th century, residents carried animosity towards one another. Rogers Park was urbane compared to the decidedly rural West Ridge, which grew a considerable amount of &ndash; you guessed it &ndash; cabbage. Rogers Parkers would hurl the &ldquo;Cabbage Heads&rdquo; epithet toward West Ridgers, and they prided themselves on the fact that they lived in a &ldquo;dry&rdquo; part of town where booze was outlawed. West Ridge, on the other hand, was home to several drinking establishments. The West Ridgers considered Rogers Parkers to be effete snobs, or &ldquo;silk stockings&rdquo; in the 19th century parlance.</p><p>This cultural divide persisted as things came to a head on the political front in 1896. The two areas (now Chicago neighborhoods) had proposed competing plans to create and fund parks. Notably, at this time, there was no unified Chicago Park District, and it was common for local communities to create separate parks authorities, which would sometimes compete for tax dollars. During the campaign to decide which parks plans would prevail, West Ridgers and Rogers Parkers exchanged harsh words and &mdash; in at least one case &mdash; deployed brutal tactics.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s stop the tale here. This is no <em>Game of Thrones</em> epic. Unlike that unfinished opus, the chronicle of Chicago&rsquo;s Cabbage War doesn&rsquo;t need umpteen books: You can get the gist (and all the drama) in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsU07hchILU&amp;list=UUkpMCLrDFxb1n74GOOw81-w" target="_blank">our short animated story</a>!</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="laura"></a>Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question asker FOR WEB.png" style="height: 245px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="" /></p><p>Did you hear Laura Jones Macknin&rsquo;s voice at the top of our animated story? There&rsquo;s a chance you&rsquo;re actually familiar with it. Laura sent her question to us while working in a healthcare outreach program, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2669689/">but she&rsquo;s also an actor</a>.</p><p>She&rsquo;s also performed voice work in local advertisements, including some for Central DuPage and Swedish Hospitals.</p><p>Laura wrote us early about her interest in the Cabbage War story. &ldquo;It&#39;s so odd and whimsical (Cabbages on poles! Cabbagehead slurs! Farmers vs. Northwestern!) that I wanted to know more about it,&rdquo; she wrote.</p><p>She also pressed us for a little <em>Game of Thrones</em> reenactment but, alas, the historical record might be a bit too scant to sustain a book or TV series.</p><p><em>Illustrator and reporter Simran Khosla can be followed&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/simkhosla" target="_blank">@simkhosla</a>. Sincere thanks to the <a href="http://rpwrhs.org/" target="_blank">Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society</a> for expertise, materials and interviews.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648 Former aide to Ald. Joe Moore details ethics violations http://www.wbez.org/news/former-aide-ald-joe-moore-details-ethics-violations-108160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Joe Moore.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A former aide to Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th) is speaking out about ethical violations that she claims she witnessed when she worked in the alderman&rsquo;s office between 2006 and 2009. The claims, first detailed in a <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/olig/Documents/LIGrpt-Jul2013.pdf">report</a> released Monday by the city&rsquo;s legislative inspector general, have put the reform-minded alderman on the defensive.</p><p dir="ltr">Anne Sullivan joined Moore&rsquo;s re-election campaign shortly after she was let go as campaign manager for his rival, Don Gordon, in a runoff election. She later became a legislative aide in Moore&rsquo;s ward office, eventually specializing in housing matters.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan was terminated in November of 2009, and alleges the reason was that she sounded alarms over potentially illegal ethics violations in Moore&rsquo;s ward office. &ldquo;There was a paid city intern, a student intern, that was working at the front desk, like at the front door of the office,&rdquo; Sullivan told WBEZ, &ldquo;and they had him putting mailing labels on an invitation for a fundraiser for Toni Preckwinkle that Joe Moore was hosting at his home.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">City and state laws prohibit public servants from engaging in political activities that use government resources and property, and that are done on city time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I told the kid he shouldn&rsquo;t be doing that, and I emailed Joe Moore and told him about it,&rdquo; Sullivan continued. She claimed that Moore was away from the office that week, but that his Chief of Staff, Betsy Vandercook, initially disputed the veracity of Sullivan&rsquo;s claim. Vandercook did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said Moore told her that when he returned to his office, the staff would have a meeting to discuss the matter. &ldquo;But then we never had a staff meeting,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, according to Sullivan, when Moore returned to his office he took her to a restaurant in Rogers Park and told her that she was terminated. He also offered Sullivan three-and-a-half months of pay, roughly $8,700. &ldquo;But for that I had to agree to walk away from the ward office, and not talk to anybody about anything that occurred in the ward office, or about anybody in the ward office, or badmouthing anybody,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said she had not accrued enough unused vacation time or overtime to justify the payment, but she claims she accepted it because she thought city employees were entitled to severance pay. Sullivan said she later called the city&rsquo;s human resources office and was told that the city of Chicago does not give severance pay to public employees.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I hung up the phone and had a panic attack,&rdquo; Sullivan said. &ldquo;Because I felt like I had been set up, like I was now embroiled in something illegal, and I felt like Joe (Moore) knew that, and he had me.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said she called the City Inspector General&rsquo;s office to inquire if the payment was illegal, but dropped it because she didn&rsquo;t want to sign a formal complaint. But a year later, Sullivan said she spoke with the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on the advice of a friend. She claimed that office helped arrange for two FBI agents to interview her.</p><p dir="ltr">The FBI declined to comment on whether it is investigating the alleged violations. Moore did acknowledge in an interview with WBEZ that he was interviewed by FBI agents about the matter.</p><p dir="ltr">But the alderman disputed much of Sullivan&rsquo;s account on Tuesday, starting with the allegation that an intern labeled political flyers in his ward office. &ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t there and this is not something that I&rsquo;m familiar with,&rdquo; he said. Moore also said did not recall receiving any e-mail from Sullivan about the matter. Moore added that Sullivan often made allegations about staff members in his office, &ldquo;and almost all of them were unfounded,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She was a very disruptive influence in the office,&rdquo; said Moore. Others who worked with Sullivan on Moore&rsquo;s re-election campaign and in the ward office told WBEZ that she had a tendency to &ldquo;burn bridges&rdquo; with those around her, and that her working relationship with Moore was often tense.</p><p dir="ltr">Moore denied that he terminated Sullivan because of any allegations of illegal activity, but rather claimed it was for insubordination. &rdquo;I told her that things just weren&rsquo;t going well in the office with her, that I was going to have to let her go.&rdquo; He claimed the severance pay was for overtime hours.</p><p dir="ltr">According to the report that first revealed the alleged violations, Moore also paid taxpayer-funded severance in excess of unused vacation days to a former chief of staff, Kevin Cosgrove, amounting to $13,497. Cosgrove did not respond to WBEZ&rsquo;s request for comment.</p><p dir="ltr">The accusations against Moore were publicly aired on the same day the White House announced he was to be honored as &quot;a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance.&quot; The progressive alderman, in office since 1991, was the first in the city to implement a constituent-driven budgeting process in his ward. According to <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Alderman-Accused-of-Ethics-Violation-Honored-at-White-House-216592541.html">news</a> <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=9182730">reports</a> late Tuesday, the White House was withholding the honor in light of the pending investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">On Monday, Moore emailed <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/737899-statement-of-ald-joe-moore-1-7-22-13.html">a written statement</a> to the media, denying any misconduct, and calling the office of Faisal Khan, the Legislative Inspector General &ldquo;run amok with a lack of professionalism...&rdquo; Moore also claimed Khan never interviewed him about the allegations, which Khan disputes.</p><p dir="ltr">The complaint against Moore was among 132 filed with Khan&rsquo;s office between July 2012 and July 2013, of which 25 were investigated. Khan said that&rsquo;s far more than were filed in the previous year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s more public awareness as to the existence of this office,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now since we&rsquo;ve been out trying to raise awareness of this office, allowing the taxpayers and the citizens of Chicago to come forward and speak to us, I think that&rsquo;s a reasonable explanation as to why these numbers have increased.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The investigations now go to the city&rsquo;s Board of Ethics.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 07:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-aide-ald-joe-moore-details-ethics-violations-108160 The Sullivan of Sullivan High School http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/sullivan-sullivan-high-school-104800 <p><p>Roger Sullivan wasn&rsquo;t an educator, or a scientist, or an explorer, or a military hero, or a celebrated humanitarian. His public service consisted of a single term as a probate court clerk. So why does he have a high school named after him?</p><p>In Chicago, the reason is obvious. Roger Sullivan was the political boss who built the Democratic Machine.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-14--Sullivan H.S..jpg" style="width: 430px; height: 286px;" title="Sullivan High School" /></div></div></div></div><p>Born in 1861, Sullivan grew up in rural poverty outside Rockford. He came to Chicago as a teenager to work in the West Side rail yards, and soon became active in the Democratic Party. His election to the Cook County Probate Court came in 1890.</p><p>Chicago had a competitive, two-party system then. The Democrats had several factions who battled among themselves. The Republicans were divided that way, too.</p><p>If either party could become united, that party would easily win elections. Different political chieftains kept trying to build a permanent coalition. Sullivan was the man who succeeded.</p><p>Over the course of twenty years, he gradually brought the local Democrats together. Often it was like herding cats. But though he suffered setbacks, he kept going. And as the Sullivan group began winning more elections, more ward leaders joined up&mdash;which in turn, made the Sullivan group even stronger.</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/1-14--Sullivan%20%28LofC%29_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 420px; float: right;" title="Sullivan Himself (Library of Congress)" />Sullivan also became a force in national politics. He was elected National Democratic Committeeman from Illinois in 1906. At the 1912 convention he helped secure the nomination for Woodrow Wilson. Now Sullivan was touted as a backroom boss who had the vision to work for progressive causes.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sullivan himself became quite wealthy. His enemies made pointed hints about how he&rsquo;d obtained that wealth, but nothing illegal was ever proven. There was enough money to be made from politics in legal ways, without blatant stealing from the public treasury.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In&nbsp;1914, after decades operating behind the scenes, Sullivan became a candidate for the United States Senate. &ldquo;The chief wants to be a statesman,&rdquo; one of his associates explained. Illinois was still a Republican state and Sullivan lost, but only by 17,000 votes.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He went back to building the local party. By 1920 he had control centralized in his hands, and newspapers were starting to write about the Democratic &ldquo;machine.&rdquo; That April 14th, Roger Sullivan died of a heart attack.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He had played hardball politics, but had never been vindictive. &ldquo;The men who are strong enemies today may be friendly six months from now,&rdquo; he once said. In his obituary the <em>Tribune</em> called Sullivan &ldquo;the benevolent boss of Illinois Democrats.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1926 the Roger Sullivan Junior High School opened at 6631 North Bosworth Avenue. When the city later abolished junior highs, it became a four-year general high school, as it remains today.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 05:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/sullivan-sullivan-high-school-104800 Rogers Park, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/rogers-park-past-and-present-104722 <p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re Number One!&nbsp; We&rsquo;re Number One!&rdquo;</p><p>Any Chicago neighborhood can shout that.&nbsp;But Chicago&rsquo;s&nbsp;official Community Area #1 is Rogers Park, in the city&rsquo;s northeast corner.&nbsp;That&rsquo;s where some anonymous U of C social scientist started the numbering system in the 1920s.</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/1-15--Chicago%20NE%20corner.jpg" title="Chicago's northeast corner" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The earliest residents here were the Potawatomi.&nbsp;Sometime before 1800 they established villages along the glacial ridge that&rsquo;s now Ridge Boulevard.&nbsp;The land eastward toward the lake was too low and swampy for much of anything.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When white Americans moved in, they stuck to the high ground.&nbsp;In 1839 Philip Rogers built a cabin near (present-day) Ridge and Lunt, and began truck farming.&nbsp;Over the next several years, other farmers settled in Mr. Rogers&rsquo; neighborhood.</div><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/1-15--map.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 260px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Patrick Touhy, Rogers&rsquo; son-in-law, really spurred development.&nbsp;During the 1860s he organized many of the locals into a building and land association.&nbsp;The Chicago &amp; North Western Railroad arrived on the scene in 1873.&nbsp;Five years later, the Village of Rogers Park was incorporated.</p><p>Growth was slow but steady.&nbsp;Large Victorian homes were erected in the blocks between the C&amp;NW line and the ridge.&nbsp;A small commercial district sprang up just east of the train station, around Clark and Lunt.&nbsp;In 1885 a second&nbsp;commuter line was completed&nbsp;through the eastern lowlands by the Chicago, Milwaukee &amp; St. Paul Railroad.</p><p>Rogers Park was a sleepy little community of 3500 people when Chicago annexed it in 1893. But as the century turned, &lsquo;L&rsquo; service came to Rogers Park over the CM&amp;SP right-of-way. And then Rogers Park really took off.</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/1-15----Jackson-Thomas%20House-7053%20N%20Ridge%20Blvd.jpg" title="Early Rogers Park: The 1873 Jackson-Thomas House" /></div><p>Loyola University relocated from the West Side. Two-flats and large apartment blocks went up near the &lsquo;L&rsquo;, and the Howard line became the city&rsquo;s busiest.&nbsp;The population jumped from 6,700 in 1910 to over 57,000 twenty&nbsp;years later.&nbsp;</p><p>Rogers&nbsp;Park didn&rsquo;t have a single dominant shopping district.&nbsp;Most stores were small and locally-owned, and could be found in clusters near the &lsquo;L&rsquo; stations.&nbsp;Clark Street, the main streetcar line, developed its own commercial ribbon.&nbsp;</p><p>Howard Street was a special case.&nbsp;The street bordered Evanston&ndash;which was dry&ndash;so a whole range of bars and liquor stores set up on the Chicago-side of Howard.&nbsp;&rdquo;Going to Howard&rdquo; was a favorite field-trip for generations of Northwestern students.</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/1-15--The%20Jungle.jpg" title="Juneway Terrace in The Jungle" /></div><p>East of the &lsquo;L&rsquo; the border jumped north of Howard to include&nbsp;the few blocks up to Calvary Cemetery.&nbsp;Here the narrow streets were crammed with&nbsp;three-story apartments that&nbsp;shaded the sidewalks the whole day.&nbsp;Someone called the area The Jungle, and the name stuck.&nbsp;</p><p>In&nbsp;Patrick Touhy&rsquo;s day, most people in Rogers Park were English in ancestry.&nbsp;They were later joined by Germans and some Irish.&nbsp;Beginning about 1910, a significant number of Russian Jews began moving into the community.&nbsp;By 1950, when the population reached 63,000, they were the largest identifiable ethnic/religious group.</p><p>Rogers Park was a good place to live.&nbsp;Public transit was fast, stores were plentiful, crime was low, rents were affordable, and Lake Michigan was at your doorstep.&nbsp;That last one was important in the era before air conditioning.</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/1-15--Morse%201978.jpg" title="Morse Avenue at the 'L', 1978" /></div><p>My wife and I lived in Rogers Park during the 1970s.&nbsp;Our apartment was across from Loyola Beach, and if you sat in the right chair, you could actually see the lake from our living room.&nbsp;Nearly every summer weekend, relatives and long-lost friends descended on us.&nbsp;Could the reason have been that it was often 20 degrees cooler at our place than a few miles inland?&nbsp;</p><p>In the years since, like many Chicago communities, Rogers Park has had problems.&nbsp;Some of the older housing deteriorated.&nbsp;Businesses left.&nbsp;Crime increased.&nbsp;Parts of The Jungle became blighted.&nbsp;</p><p>Yet&nbsp;the positive factors remain.&nbsp;Meanwhile, new construction has replaced many run-down buildings.&nbsp;The Gateway Centre Plaza has helped stabilize the area around the &lsquo;L&rsquo; terminal.&nbsp;</p><p>The 2010 Census counted 55,000 people in Rogers Park. The community&nbsp;has a diverse population&ndash;39% White, 26% African-American, 24% Hispanic, 7% Asian.&nbsp;Rogers Park&nbsp;also boasts an active historical society and numerous other community organizations.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re Number&nbsp;One!&rdquo; In many ways, it&rsquo;s true.</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/1-15--Rogers%20Park%20Lakefront.JPG" title="Rogers Park lakefront" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/rogers-park-past-and-present-104722 There in Chicago (#10) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/there-chicago-10-100704 <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/03--2011.jpg" title="Howard Street at Paulina Street--view east" /></div><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/03--1961_0.jpg" title="1961--the same view" /></div></div><p>How well did you find your way around 1961 Chicago?</p><p>Both pictures were shot from the platform at the Howard Street &quot;L&quot; station. Though there has been a great deal of land clearance and rebuilding in the surrounding area, this particular block looks much the same after a half-century. Thankfully, a few trees have been added.</p><p>The Howard Theatre &mdash; identifiable by the vertical &quot;. . . WARD&quot; in the 1961 photo &mdash; closed many years ago. The auditorium itself was gutted, but the 1917 building facade has been preserved. &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/there-chicago-10-100704 Orthodox Jews launch emergency service http://www.wbez.org/story/orthodox-jews-launch-emergency-service-93709 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/ambulance_Flickr_Alex C. Balla.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Starting later this month, residents of Chicago’s far North Side, Skokie, and Lincolnwood will be able to get help in addition to 911 for medical emergencies. A team of local Orthodox Jews is launching a new emergency response service called Hatzalah Chicago to augment services in the areas where high concentrations Orthodox Jews live. Members hope the service will help resolve some unique religious tensions that can come up in emergency situations.</p><p>Imagine, say, that it’s Friday night and you start feeling chest pain. Most non-Jews wouldn’t think twice about it; they’d just pick up the phone and dial 911. But the calculation’s not so simple for Orthodox Jews because Friday night is the Sabbath, and they’re not supposed to use electricity.</p><p>“We have obviously a lot of doctors in the community, and I remember one of the doctors told me a story where somebody literally walked over to his house, I don’t remember, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, literally in pain, cardiac pain,” recounted Rivka Kompel, one of Hatzalah Chicago’s board members. “[He] thought he was possibly having a heart attack, and he still walked to the person’s house 20 or 30 minutes because it was the Sabbath."</p><p>In Hebrew, Hatzalah means “rescue.” Hatzalah Chicago is a non-profit organization funded through private donations and staffed by unpaid volunteers. Kompel says the mission is to prevent more stories like the example she gave. Kompel says Jewish law allows people to break the Sabbath in life-or-death situations, but problems arise because, sometimes, people can’t tell the difference between what’s serious and what’s not.</p><p>Hatzalah’s emergency medical technicians are trained in both medicine and religious law. Kompel hopes they’ll help people make smarter decisions when it comes to the intersection of religious law and medical urgency.</p><p>Simcha Frank has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting to get Hatzalah off the ground. The team’s dispatch center is just a small, windowless room in a Skokie office park. But while the group has been setting up, they’ve used the room for equipment storage. The day he showed the facillty to me, the phone rang.</p><p>“That’s weird,” Frank said, after hanging up. “So there’s this organization nationwide that keeps track of all the Hatzalahs. They wanted to see if we’re operational.”</p><p>Lots of other cities have Hatzalahs. Frank, a Jewish funeral home director, says his baby nephew was saved by Hatzalah Brooklyn. He got advice from Hatzalah Baltimore.</p><p>Here’s how the service will work: If someone in the service area experiences a medical emergency, they still need to call 911. But Frank hopes they’ll also call another number for Hatzalah. Hatzalah’s dispatch center will radio its 40-or-so EMTs.</p><p>Each EMT has gone through standard training at Malcolm X College or Vista Health Systems, a hospital in Waukegan, Ill. They carry emergency medical equipment in their cars at all times — things like oxygen tanks, defibrillators, and first aid supplies. That helps them stabilize a patient in the first minutes after a call’s put out.</p><p>But once the fire department or an ambulance comes on scene, Hatzalah backs off. That’s part of Frank’s agreements with Chicago, Skokie and Lincolnwood.</p><p>But there are other things that Hatzalah can do that are unique to this religious community, things that other emergency response services may not consider — particularly on the Sabbath.</p><p>“So let’s say now Chicago Fire Department comes to the house on a Friday night, (and) they say we’re going to call your mother so they could come watch your kids,” said Frank. “You could call your mother from today ‘til tomorrow, they won’t answer the phone. So you actually have to physically go to the house, knock on the door, because they won’t answer the phone.”</p><p>Hatzalah responders can also make sure that if someone goes to the hospital on the Sabbath, they bring along a couple of bags of grape juice, a pack that’s something like a goodie bag. This allows the patients to observe Kiddush, the Jewish ceremony of praying over wine to start the Sabbath.</p><p>As for the EMTs, if they respond to something on the Sabbath, you might ask -- aren’t they violating the Sabbath by working? Frank says Hatzalah Chicago has a rabbinical board to think through those things.</p><p>“That’s where the Rabbinical Board comes in and says you guys need to do this in order to be a good responder,” said Frank. “You won’t be good to your community if your car is under two feet of snow. You won’t be good to your community if you don’t have an oxygen tank. You won’t be good to your community if you don’t have a radio to talk on.”</p><p>Barry Liss, Skokie’s deputy fire chief, says he’s never seen a small group start up a volunteer emergency service in Skokie. Liss says when Hatzalah first approached him to tell him what they were building, he was surprised.</p><p>“We weren’t certain that there was a need,” said Liss. “We want to know if there’s something we are missing, because we want to provide that need. That’s what society relies on. They rely on their emergency services to provide their emergency services to them.”</p><p>Liss is concerned that residents might stop calling 911 just because Hatzalah’s around. Hatzalah officials say they don’t want that to happen either. They say if someone who needs care doesn’t call 911, Hatzalah will. That’s partly because Hatzalah itself needs the fire department; as of now, and for the immediate future, Hatzalah doesn’t have the ability to transport patients to the hospital.</p><p>Liss says it’s good to have more boots on the ground, but he stopped short of praising the operation.</p><p>“We don’t know how it will work. Nor do they,” said Liss. “Just because you initiate something, you need to give it time to evaluate it. And that’s what we ask them to do.”</p><p>Liss says it’ll take a couple of years to know whether Hatzalah is making a difference, and Simcha Frank agrees. Frank says he has no idea how many calls Hatzalah will get, and he won’t know until it goes live. Still, he may do his own evaluation sooner. In 18 months Frank plans to revisit whether or not Hatzalah should buy ambulances and start transporting patients on its own.</p></div></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 12:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/orthodox-jews-launch-emergency-service-93709 As Illinois redistricting begins, public gets say http://www.wbez.org/story/chinatown/illinois-redistricting-begins-public-gets-say-84382 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-28/IMG_0008.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois state senators are hearing from Chicago area residents who want a say in redistricting, the once-a-decade, highly contentious and political process that determines boundaries for legislative districts. It is about power and influence, and on Monday afternoon dozens of people showed up to tell senators how they want the boundaries drawn.<br /> <br /> Kyle Hillman lives in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, and said the community is a poor fit for its current district.<br /> <br /> &quot;There's a high crime rate and it has one of the largest food kitchens in the metro area, and yet it is included in a district that is mostly consisting of lakefront homes in Evanston in New Trier,&quot; Hillman told the Senate Redistricting Committee.<br /> <br /> Others complained their neighborhoods span several districts, watering down the community's influence.<br /> <br /> &quot;The greater Chinatown community area is a vibrant and cohesive community. Its interests are not served by being split into multiple districts, as it is currently,&quot; said Bernie Wong of the Chinese American Service League.</p><p>C. Betty Magness with the group IVI-IPO urged the senators to ignore politicians' addresses when they draft the boundaries.<br /><br />&quot;Districts should not be drawn to favor or discriminate against incumbents, candidates or parties,&quot; Magness said.<br /><br />Another issue that came up Monday has to do with the addresses of prisoners. Right now, they are counted as residents where they are incarcerated, which is most often downstate.<br /><br />&quot;Prisoners should be counted where they originate from, instead of where they're currently housed,&quot; testified Lawrence Hill with the Cook County Bar Association.<br /><br />The Illinois House could actually vote to make that change as early as Tuesday, according to the bill's sponsor, state Rep. LaShawn Ford. But the Chicago Democrat said it would not take effect until the next redistricting - ten years from now.</p><p>Monday's hearing was the first of <a href="http://ilsenateredistricting.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=78&amp;Itemid=117">at least five public forums</a> for the Senate committee. Lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a new legislative map, or the process will be put in the hands of a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con4.htm">special commission</a>.</p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 21:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chinatown/illinois-redistricting-begins-public-gets-say-84382