Grab your grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, and leis for St. Edward School’s annual Big Red Auction this weekend.
This year’s theme is Lei’d Back Luau. There will be plenty of dancing and mingling with great company. Attendees will have opportunities to win great prizes during a live and silent auction.
The event will take place on Saturday, March 25, from 6:30 PM to midnight in Buckley Hall, 4447 N. Lowell.
More information is available online.
John Ronan Announced as Architect for New Independence Library
On Sunday, March 19, John Ronan Architects was unveiled as the winner of a city design competition for the new Independence Park Library at 4022 N. Elston. The design includes a library on the ground level with affordable housing above as part of a unique agreement between the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Public Library for a mixed-use development at the site. John Ronan Architects was recently the only Chicago finalist for the Obama Library.
After Independence Park Library’s former location closed in 2015 due to smoke damage from a fire at the adjacent building, neighbors and supporters lobbied for a new and improved library. In October, it was announced that the library would have a new permanent home where the former Hollerbach Funeral Home was located.
A public meeting to gather community input on the final design will be announced at a later date. Construction on the new library is slated to begin later this year, with completion anticipated by winter of 2018.
Work to Begin on Jefferson Park Master Plan
Big news in the effort to revitalize Jefferson Park! The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has awarded a contract to Teska Associates to develop a master plan to enhance the area surrounding the Jefferson Park Transit Center.
I first announced the effort to craft a master plan in the fall of 2015, when I secured funding from the RTA to cover 80% – or $125,000 – of the costs of the analysis. The remaining costs for the master plan will be covered using funds from the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District.
Teska Associates will review the existing conditions of the transportation infrastructure, analyze properties within a ¼-mile of the transit center, collect data, and gather public input in order to make recommendations to improve access to public transportation and revitalize the business corridor through sustainable, economic development.
We need your input! You’ll have the chance to participate in this process as Teska Associates conducts stakeholder interviews and hosts multiple public workshops. A steering committee made up of residents will also help provide feedback and make recommendations throughout the process. The data collection and analysis will take about a year to complete before a final master plan is published.
I am thrilled with the announcement and glad we are ready to begin the data collection and analysis. This will help kickstart our ongoing campaign to revitalize the Jefferson Park neighborhood and create a thriving neighborhood for all residents of our community.
Chicago Policing Advisory Panel Seeking Public Input
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and members of the Community Policing Advisory Panel (Panel) are seeking public input from Chicago residents on how to engage with our communities and share ideas on the future of CPD’s community policing efforts. The Panel will be hosting three Town Hall Meetings as well as collecting feedback via an online portal to receive direct input as the Chicago Police Department continues to renew its focus on community policing and building trust between CPD and the residents they serve.
The Panel is chaired by CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller and consists of national experts in the field, members of CPD Command Staff, and Chicago community leaders. This strategic planning group was appointed in the fall to provide a comprehensive and thoughtful report proposing ways CPD can engage and collaborate with communities to fight crime and restore trust by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
Comments collected through the Town Hall sessions and the online portalwill be reviewed by the Panel to inform recommendations. The Town Hall Meetings will take place at the following dates and locations:
Tuesday, April 18: George Westinghouse College Prep
3223 W. Franklin Boulevard
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Tuesday, April 25: Sullivan High School
6631 N. Bosworth Avenue
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Tuesday, May 2: Corliss Early College STEM High School
821 E. 103rd Street
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Please take a moment to provide thoughtful feedback online or attend a Town Hall Meeting to help strengthen community relationships with our local police departments.
Menard Sewer Main Replacement
In April, the Department of Water Management crews will begin work to install a new sewer main in North Menard Avenue from Lawrence to Strong. They will also install a new sewer main in West Ainslie Street, from Menard to Menard (where the street is off-set). The old sewer dates back to 1915 and needs to be replaced.
When crews are working in the street, they may close or limit traffic for safety reasons. However, residents will always be able to reach their homes or businesses. Outside of working hours, a travel lane will be left for local traffic only.
“No Parking” signs will be posted as needed during work hours (generally 7 AM to 4 PM). Parking outside of those hours will be allowed, but cars will need to be moved by the start of the next workday. Crews will try to preserve as much parking as possible.
DWM and my office understand that construction always involves inconveniences and noise. Crews will do everything possible to maintain residents’ quality of life throughout these projects, and will conduct themselves as good and thoughtful neighbors in the course of their presence on your street.
Thank you for your ongoing patience as these important infrastructure improvements are completed.
Annual Clean and Green on April 22
Join your neighbors for Chicago’s annual citywide Clean and Green Day of Service at 10 AM on Saturday, April 22. This is a great opportunity for individuals and community groups to gather and help beautify our neighborhoods.
This year we will be focusing on the three following areas:
- CTA Jefferson Park Terminal
- Along Avondale between Irving Park and Pulaski
- Along Avondale near Lawrence
In addition to the supplies available at my office, the Department of Streets and Sanitation will provide rakes, brooms, shovels, and bags. Please bring your own work gloves.
Six Corners Spring Clean Up & Art Dedication
The Six Corners Association is hosting a Spring Clean Up & Art Dedication on Saturday, April 1.
Volunteers will pick up trash, remove graffiti, and report potholes around the shopping district.
This is a great opportunity to get involved in your community and boost the overall attractiveness of the neighborhood for residents and visitors.
Volunteers will meet on the morning of Saturday, April 1, at 9 am at 4041 N. Milwaukee for coffee, donuts, and supplies before hitting the neighborhood. Volunteers will clean up until about noon before heading to an art dedication ceremony.
Participants are encouraged to bring work gloves and wear old clothing that they don’t mind getting dirty. More information regarding the Spring Clean Up is available online.
Olives Garden for the Hungry Needs Your Help
Olive’s Neighborhood Garden for the Hungry is hosting its annual fundraiser from 3 PM to 6 PM on Saturday, April 1, at Rabbit’s Bar & Grill, 4945 W. Foster.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards purchasing seeds, plants, and supplies for the upcoming growing season. The food grown in the garden helps serve 70-80 families per week at the Northwest Church of Christ’s food pantry.
Admission to the event is free and open to families and children. There will be raffles for items donated by local businesses, including Gale Street Inn, Delightful Pastries, and Lake Effect Brewery. There will also be a cash raffle prize!
Host an On the Table Discussion
Over the past three years, tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents have come together to participate in On the Tabe, an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships, and inspire collaborative action across the region.
These conversations will continue with On the Table 2017 on Tuesday, May 16.
Friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues will take part in mealtime conversations across the Chicagoland area. The act of people coming together to discuss the issues that matter most to them has never been more important. When we come together as a community to learn from each other, we have the power to impact our neighborhoods and lives.
Previous On The Table conversations have been enlightening and thought provoking. I look forward to engaging with community members once again this year for these important discussions.
Irving Park Food Pantry Easter Donation Drive
The Irving Park Community Food Pantry will begin to give out Easter baskets to their clients’ children up to 8 years old starting March 22 and continuing for the three Wednesdays leading up to Easter (March 29, April 5, April 11, and the evening of April 12).
In order to do this, they need your support! The food pantry provides Easter baskets by gender and age range (under 2, 2 to 5, and 6 to 8 years old). In addition to individual items to fill baskets, the food pantry also accepts completed baskets. Typically, the baskets are medium-sized filled with grass and layers of fun dollar-items including:
- Wrapped candy
- Bubbles, Nerf balls, yo-yos, pinwheels, etc.
- Easter pencils, erasers, and toys
- Small stuffed animals
- Stickers, crayons, and markers
- Little books and activity pads
- Homemade bookmarks
- Please avoid woven baskets with handles. Rather, use plastic or fabric baskets that can be easily stacked
The food pantry will happily accept individual items and monetary donations earmarked for this program. Due to limited storage space, the food pantry is asking that you please arrange a time to deliver completed baskets.
For questions and to schedule a delivery time, contact Gina Hubberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March Madness has Gone to the Dogs!
College basketball is king this time of year, so Chicago Canine Rescue is wrangling their shelter pups to get in on the action! Instead of shooting air balls, sink some three-pointers to help raise some life-saving funds for the pups at Chicago Canine Rescue!
Purchase your “Mutt Madness Tickets” and they’ll drop them into the bracket bucket of your choice based on your favorite adoptable or your favorite NCAA team. And SWOOSH!…you’ve got a chance to compete for their ultimate prize: a personalized Cubs World Series jersey and two tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival!
Get 2 tickets for $10 or 5 for $20 – visit Chicago Canine Rescue’s websitefor more information and to get started.
National Veterans Art Museum’s 3rd Annual Spring Ice Breaker
Join the National Veteran Art Museum (NVAM) for their third annual Spring Ice Breaker.
This annual fundraiser is a meet and greet aimed at engaging the community with the museum to continue supporting veteran artwork. Proceeds collected from the event will directly support NVAM and its mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit art created by veterans and inspired by combat.
This year’s event will be on Wednesday, April 5, from 6-9 PM at Old Irving Brewing, 4419 W. Montrose. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online.
Join neighbors and friends to participate in an evening of celebration and community engagement while enjoying food, drinks, a silent auction, merchandise, and much more!
Secure Your Space for Hands To Help’s Annual Trivia Night
Hands to Help Ministries’ Trivia Night is filling up quickly! Enjoy tasty food, test your trivia knowledge, support your neighbors, and have a ton of fun.
Hands to Help is offering early bird pricing for this fun-filled evening. Purchase an individual ticket now for $45 each or a table (seats 8) for $350. Early bird pricing ends on April 1stand the event has a history of selling out, so buy your tickets now! Business sponsorship opportunities are available as well. More information and tickets can be purchased at Hands to Help Ministries’ website.
Trivia Night will be on Friday, April 28, at 7 pm at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee. This community event and fundraiser will continue to support services and activities that break the cycle of homelessness in our community.
Support the Homeless and Enter a Chance to Win Tickets to Pitchfork
Hands to Help Ministries is offering an exclusive raffle opportunity to win a pass to the Pitchfork Music Festival.
The winner of the raffle will receive 2 three-day VIP tickets to the Chicago concert on July 14-16 at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph.
The internationally recognized Pitchfork Music Festival offers over 40 bands highlighting the best in new and emerging music. The winner of the VIP pass — valued at $500 per pass — will receive exclusive access to the VIP-only area of the festival. The winner will also enjoy FREE BEER and watch the bands — including LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, and many others — up close!
Raffle tickets are being sold online at 1 for $10 or 3 for $20. Those interested in purchasing raffle tickets are not required to attend Hand to Help Ministries’ Trivia Night to win!
Learn more and purchase your raffle tickets online.
Home Delivered Meals: Volunteers Needed
Spring is a time of growth, vibrancy, and new beginnings. And what better way to embrace the beauty of the season than by giving back to some of our community members most in need of a friendly visit?
As a norVOLution Home Delivered Meals volunteer, you have the opportunity to truly make someone’s day. Your commitment of no more than 2 hours per week ensures that homebound seniors receive nutritious meals and a few precious moments with a caring volunteer.
Volunteers have great flexibility in scheduling. They can choose to deliver regularly, seasonally, or on an “on-call” basis – when volunteers are needed the most.
Tenth Annual Chicago Farmers Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is partnering with COUNTRY Financial in their tenth annual reusable bag design contest. The contest is open to all Chicago high school students.
This year’s theme is “Give, Grow, and Be Green”. Students’ designs should reflect this theme and include imagery inspired by the spring and summer seasons as well as local market goods. Featuring non-local produce (e.g. bananas, avocados, mangoes, etc.) is discouraged. Students are asked to illustrate the spirit of the city while emphasizing the freshness of green, and how it means new growth and revitalization.
The student with the winning design will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Their design will also be displayed on thousands of reusable canvas bags distributed to shoppers this season at the Chicago Farmers Markets locations. Two runners-up will each receive a $500 scholarship and their designs will be showcased at the kick-off press conference.
All participants must submit their entries by 4 pm on Thursday, April 6. Entries must be mailed to COUNTRY Financial Reusable Bag Contest, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602.
Winners will be notified through their schools, via email, or via phone by Friday, April 21. The three winning entries will be unveiled on May 11 at Daley Plaza, and the three finalists will be invited to attend.
To download the contest entry packet and for the official rules, visit COUNTRY Financial’s website.
One Summer Chicago Applications Open Thru May 15
The City of Chicago’s One Summer program will return this summer, providing the city’s youth with over 30,000 job and internship this summer. Now through May 15, youth ages 14 to 24 can apply online.
The One Summer program connects Chicago’s youth with valuable work experience, helping them realize their full potential and work towards a brighter future.
This year’s One Summer Chicago will also link young men and women participating in Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW) to jobs with After School Matters, one of the city’s leading youth employers and One Summer Chicago partners. Exposure to these programs has proven to reduce involvement in crime and to increase on-time high school graduation rates by nearly 20 percent. 2,000 BAM and WOW participants will have an opportunity to build on progress made during the school year with meaningful work opportunities this summer.
A new-and-improved application process will use a tiered matching process to pair youth
applicants with jobs, apprenticeships and skill-building opportunities based on their interest area and skill-level. New opportunities in 2017 include the Youth Arts Corps, enabling youth to contribute to public art projects as part of the city’s 2017 “Year of Public Art.” Returning this year are the traditional work and apprenticeship opportunities—including urban agriculture, bike repair, outdoor forestry projects—as well as office and clerical work.
This year’s program includes a new crowd-funding component, allowing the general public to donate funds to the mission of keeping youth safe and engaged in productive experiences during the summer months public a chance to support positive summer opportunities and safer communities through the OSC program, focusing on enhancements to four distinct program areas: neighborhood beautification, college access, youth-led anti-violence initiatives and summer opportunities and supports.
Sponsorship ranges from financing work supplies and transportation for participants, to major community beautification projects, like murals and planters; donations can also support FAFSA workshops for students and families, and stipends for books for first-time college students. A top tier donation can support an entire summer job to serve an additional youth in the program, and all donations made to the One Summer Chicago Fund will directly benefit the youth participants through added opportunities to contribute to their communities and build new skills.
Donations to the “One Summer Chicago 2017 Fund,” a fund of the McCormick Foundation, can be made online or by mail with checks payable mailed to: One Summer Chicago 2017, 23912 Network Place, Chicago, IL 60673-1245.
Youth Summer Job Positions with Junior Bicycling Ambassadors
The Chicago Park District is hiring teenagers for the Juniors Bicycling Ambassadors program. The Juniors Bicycling Ambassadors program has been around for about 15 years and educates 155 parks and reaches 25,000 people each year. Over the summer, teens will educate children of all ages about biking and bike safety.
They are seeking for hard working, self-driven, dedicated teen to help encourage and educate the City of Chicago. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, own a bike, live in the city, know how to navigate the city on a bike, and enjoy working with kids.
For more information and details contact email Angel@chicagocompletestreets.
Donate to the Irving Park Food Pantry to Receive Discount on Filing Income Taxes
Liberty Tax Service, 4900 W. Irving Park, as again partnered with the Irving Park Community Food Pantry, 3801 N. Keeler. For every $20 contribution a client makes to the Irving Park Community Food Pantry during the month of March, Liberty Tax will offer a 50% discount on individual income tax return preparation fees.
The hours of operation are 9 AM to 9 PM Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM Saturdays, and by appointment on Sundays. Call 773-286-6900 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Youth Can Share Best Cupcake Recipe to Win Scholarship
The French Pasty School (FPS) is launching an open call for best cupcake recipe and a caption on “What Inspires You to Bake” from youth throughout Chicago’s 50 wards to express their passion for pastry-making, baking, and the confectionary arts.
Twelve finalists will receive personal mentoring and coaching from FPS master chefs before they participate in May’s live competition, where one finalist will be awarded the Mayor’s Cup.
The winner of the inaugural cup will be awarded a French Pastry School scholarship valued at $23,700, along with other prizes and educational opportunities. The remaining finalists will also receive various prizes and awards.
In addition, one youth finalist from each of the remaining wards will receive a certificate recognizing them as their ward’s youth pastry essay winner for 2017.
To be considered, high school students ages 14-19 residing in the City of Chicago must submit their best cupcake recipe and an essay in 100 words or less on “What Inspires You to Bake” online.
Spring 2017 Environmental Leadership Training Series
The Chicago Conservation Corps is now recruiting for its Spring 2017 Environmental Leadership Training Series. Learn from community and environmental leaders about urban sustainability challenges and opportunities for change. Participants will also lead a sustainability service project in your community with support and resources from the Nature Museum.
To participate in the training course, you must be an adult Chicago resident, attend an orientation, and submit an application. The 8-week course will be held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon, from 6:15-8:45 PM on Thursdays, April 27 thru June 15. A $125 fee covers covers course participation; financial assistance is available upon request.
Summer Internship Opportunity for High School Students
The Chicago Summer Business Institute (CSBI) is seeking high school sophomores and juniors who are interested in careers in investment banking, accounting, asset management, government, information technology, and architecture/engineering.
CSBI offers a six-week internship program providing hands-on experience working with top companies, non-profit agencies, and local government offices located in the Loop business district.
CSBI is hosting a free Job Readiness Workshop where prospective applicants can learn more about the organization and the six-week internship program. The workshop will be from 10 AM to noon on Saturday, March 18, at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle.
The application for the summer internship program is open. Applications must be completed online by March 31.
Van Gogh Cafe Returns to Fannie’s Cafe
The popular immersive theater experience, Van Gogh Cafe, returns this March.
10-year-old Clara knows that anything is possible after ligthning strikes and the food starts to cook itself. After a neighboring possum displays magical powers, she doesn’t question if magic will happen – but when. This family-friendly production is appropriate for people aged 8 and older.
In the fall of 2016, the event sold out at Community Tavern. This time around, the Filament Theatre will partner with Fannies Cafe, 5044 W. Montrose, to offer audiences this unique experience.
Performances will take place through March 26. Tickets are $45 for adults and $30 for children. The ticket price includes a prix fixe menu inspired by the story.
View the event online for scheduling information and to purchase your tickets.
Chicago’s Free Tax Preparation Assistance Program Now Open
Eligible individuals and families with children could receive up to $6,896 from the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit alone, not including other valuable credits. Many Chicagoans may not claim all the income tax credits they deserve without the help of knowledgeable preparers, however.
Families earning up to $55,000 or individuals earning up to $30,000 are eligible to take advantage of the city’s free and confidential income tax assistance at 19 sites across Chicago.
Volunteer tax preparers certified through IRS-approved training will assist eligible tax payers with federal and state income tax returns for the 2016 tax year. Sites will be open between late January and mid-April 2017. For specific information on location and site hours, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website. The closest site for 45th Ward residents is at Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett. Their hours are:
- Mondays from 5 pm to 8:30 pm January 30 thru April 17;
- Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm February 3 thru April 7; and
- Saturdays 9 am to noon January 28 thru April 8; finally
- This location will be closed on February 20, April 14, and April 15.
Last year, the City of Chicago’s free income tax assistance helped 20,000 families and individuals receive $31 million in tax refunds and credits. This added income not only has a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents – it also helps sustain small businesses, strengthens neighborhoods, and infuses millions of dollars into the local economy.
For more information and to view additional locations, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website.
Thanks for reading,