Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Sweet Little Girl Needs Your Help

Has it really been three years since we first reported the news about Alexandra Toma?

These kids grow up so quickly, right?

Well, here is an important update from Alexandra's mom, Bridgett:

"We have taken things a step further and have established our foundation, an official 501(c)(3) Non Profit organization, Alexandra's Ambition Foundation. The mission of our foundation is to assist children with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita in obtaining the medical and therapeutic care they need to enhance their quality of life. We will be hosting our 1st Annual Race to Walk in October.

"We, the Toma family--Alexandra and her family (mom, dad, sisters, Abby and Audrey, and brother, Aiden)--now live in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Mom, Bridgett and dad, Tim, were born and raised and lived in Clearing on the Southwest Side until Tim's job took us to Kenosha. All of our family and friends remain on the Southwest Side, which is where our hearts and most of our doings remain. Our foundation, Alexandra's Ambition Foundation, is based on the Southwest Side of Chicago.

"Alexandra has continued to thrive over the past three years.
She is now 3 1/2 years old and started school in the special education program last October. She loves school and is doing well. Alexandra still faces many physical challenges related to her condition, Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) but has learned to adapt in an effort to accomplish her activities of daily living. Although Alex's legs still don't work at this point, we remain hopeful that with continued therapy and the right tools, she will be up on her feet one day. Despite the obstacles Alexandra faces everyday, she is a happy, life-loving little girl who strives to get all she possibly can out of life. We thank all for their continued support."

Remember, folks, even if you can't make it to the 5k on October 2, you can still make a donation. More details at

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Original Southwest Chicago post story from FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013:

A Sweet Little Girl Needs Your Help

Passing along information about an important fundraiser for a sweet little girl whose parents are originally from the Southwest Side.

Alexandra's mom attended St. Rene and St. Symphorosa schools, and then went on to Mt. Assisi Academy. Dad attended Hale School and went on to St. Rita High School.

Please help if you are able. Thanks!

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Friday, September 23, 2016

"Jurassic Park' Coming to St. Sym's

Dinosaurs coming to Clearing? Yes, at least on the outdoor
screen at St. Symphorosa Church, 62nd and Mason.

The award-winning thriller "Jurassic Park" will run at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 24.

No admission charge.

Event will be held rain or shine. (If it rains, the film will be shown inside.)

Pet-friendly event, assuming your pet is friendly. Bring the family dog, if you want.

Bring a picnic basket if you'd like. There also will be a concession stand with hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy, etc.

This family-fun event is sponsored by the St. Symphorosa Parish Transformation Team.

See you there?

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Annual Pumpkin Parade Set for Oct. 29

The 2016 Pumpkin Jamboree Parade is set for Saturday,
October 29.

The parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Archer and Nordica, travel east on Archer to 55th Street, then continue east to Merrimac, then turn south and end at Wentworth Park.

The annual event is hosted by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) and 23rd Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski. 

The parade will feature entries from local businesses, fire departments, police departments, Scout troops, civic organizations and marching bands.

At the parade's end, the fun will continue costume judging, free hot dogs, refreshments and treats.

Any organization interested in participating in this year’s
Pumpkin Jamboree Parade should contact Frank Salerno at Lipinski’s office at (773) 948-6223.

Here's a bit of Throwback Thursday: to check out a few images from the 2012 Pumpkin Parade on Archer, click here:

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

False Alarm: CPD Cancels Warning About Two Men Luring Schoolgirl

Update from CPD at 9:10 a.m. Wednesday, September 21:

"It was discovered that the victim and two individuals are friends. The victim and the two individuals often travel home from school together and were attempting to call the victim over to offer her a ride home. The two individuals thought it would be humorous to wear the masks."
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Original story (below) from Thursday, September 15:

CPD Warns of Two Men Trying to Lure Schoolgirl Near 62nd and Narragansett

Chicago Police sounded a note of caution today (Thursday,
September 15) about two men who tried to lure an adolescent girl into their minivan near 62nd and Narragansett.

Police said that at 2:51 p.m. Tuesday, September 13, the victim was walking home from school when a light-blue Dodge minivan drove alongside her and stopped on the 6400 block of West 62nd Street. The passenger stated, "Come here!" The victim then ran home to safety, as the offenders followed in their vehicle.

The offenders were described as:

●Offender #1 (driver) – Believed to be a male 35- to 45-years-of-age, wearing a black bandana over his face.

●Offender #2 (passenger) - Believed to be a male 35- to 45-years-of-age, wearing a tan Halloween mask from the movie "The Purge" with dark clothing.

An image of the suspects' minivan, released to the press by CPD.

In the wake of the crime, police offered the following advice:

●Be aware of this situation and alert your neighbors.
●Call 911 to report any suspicious persons, vehicles or activity in your neighborhood.
●Do not let children walk or play alone. Identify safe havens along your child's route to school and home, such as businesses or trusted neighbors.
●Always be aware of your surroundings. 

Those with useful information to share about the crime are encouraged to call the CPD Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8380 and refer to case HZ-43446.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dogs, Cats, Turtle Blessed at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

Thanks to Pastor Julio C. Pena and First Lady Claudia C. Fuentes-Pena of Spirit of Love Community Ministry for leading a blessing of pets--dogs, a couple of reluctant cats and even a turtle--at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 56th and Merrimac, at an outdoor prayer service--inspired by St. Francis of Assisi--on Sunday afternoon, September 18.

(Spirit of Love is now housed at the church, along with Good Shepherd.)

Helping out were Girls Scouts from a from troop sponsored by Good Shepherd.

Here are a few shots we were fortunate enough to snap:

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Friday, September 16, 2016

City Will Spray Insecticide in Parts of the Southwest Side on Monday Night

Crews hired by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will spray insecticide throughout part of the Southwest Side on Monday, September 19, in the evening.

The insecticide is designed to kill mosquitoes that may be carrying the West Nile Virus. Areas targeted are those where infected mosquitoes have been found in recent days.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at dusk (abut 7:30 p.m.) and continue through the night until approximately 1 a.m., with licensed mosquito-abatement technicians in trucks riding up and down streets and alleys, spraying an ultra-low-volume insecticide spray up into the air.

On the Southwest Side, the area to be sprayed includes sections of West Lawn, Clearing and Garfield Ridge. The boundaries zig and zag, and go as far east as Central Park Avenue, as far west as Nottingham, as far north as 55th Street, as far south as 71st Street. Here is a the map provided by CDPH, in two pieces:

Eastern section of spray area.

Western section of spray area.

Here is a link to a larger version of the map:

"When our mosquito traps indicate that the West Nile virus may pose health risks in a community, we take action quickly," said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. "But spraying is just one step to protect our city, residents must also take appropriate steps to protect themselves."

CDPH reminds residents to take precautions against mosquitoes that may carry the virus, including:

• Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
• Eliminate standing water. This includes emptying water from flowerpots, gutters, pool  covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths regularly.
• Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
• When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
• Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears
• Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.

Each year, CDPH conducts a mosquito surveillance, prevention and control program to protect residents from West Nile virus and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Though mosquitoes found to carry the Zika virus are not native to Chicago, CDPH has launched a recent campaign, #StopZika, to educate residents traveling to Zika-infested regions how to protect themselves. The campaign also reminds residents how the department is working to prevent mosquito-borne viruses that are endemic to Chicago, including West Nile virus.

In addition to spraying, CDPH's mosquito abatement program includes dropping larvacide in catch basins--starting in spring--which helps limit the number of mosquitoes that can carry the virus, and regularly testing mosquitoes caught in traps throughout the city.

The material being used to control the adult mosquitoes, Zenivex™, is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been widely applied to control mosquitoes in outdoor residential and recreational areas across the city. The spray will be applied by licensed mosquito abatement technicians from Vector Disease Control International, described by CDPH officials as a leader in the mosquito control industry. Guiding the crews through the streets will be supervisors from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. 

While the spray is not believed to be harmful to people or pets and is routinely sprayed in residential areas across the nation, residents of targeted neighborhoods may choose to stay indoors and close their windows while spraying is underway, as an extra precaution. CDPH staff are leaving door hangers in parts of the affected areas to notify residents that the spraying will occur.

"Spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is an effective component of an integrated pest management program," added CDPH Environmental Health Medical Director Cort Lohff, M.D. "It is our expectation that this effort will further limit the mosquito population and prevent cases of human illness in Chicago."

As part of ongoing response efforts, CDPH will continue to collect mosquitoes from traps located throughout the city and test these mosquitoes for West Nile virus. Using results of these tests, CDPH will determine the appropriate steps to be taken in order to best protect Chicago residents.

West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person. Instead, it is transmitted strictly through mosquitoes.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

My Z-Mall World Childcare Invites Everyone to Open House on Saturday

Looking for a good child care center for your son, daughter,
Alejandrina Cerna and several students.
grandson or granddaughter (ages 1-7)?

Check out My Z-Mall World Childcare, 6655 West Archer (right next to the popular Coler Chiropractic Center).

Stop by their open house, set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, September 10.

Food, beverages, school supplies, goodies!

Teachers will be on hand to show you around and talk about why My Z-Mall World (pronounced "My Small World") is an excellent choice.

Newly opened, My Z-Mall World is owned and directed by Garfield Ridge resident Alejandrina Cerna, a social worker with a degree in early childhood education--who also has worked as a teacher in several settings, including catechism at a Catholic parish.

The center includes a bilingual program--conducted in English--that teaches Spanish to children.

My Z-Mall World also serves organic food to the children it serves and even offers tips for parents to do the same.

The center is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Currently, 10 children are enrolled, with space for more.

For more information, call (773) 912-6387.

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