Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chicago Glass Blocks: Privacy, Security, Style from a Local, Family-Owned Business

In a world where high-tech surveillance is on the rise and privacy seems increasingly difficult, people across the city and suburbs are turning to glass block windows as a simple solution to low-tech surveillance by burglars and plain-old snoops.

“My basement is the place where my wife does the laundry
Single-pane windows = lack of privacy
and my daughters play with their friends,” says Clearing homeowner Dave Bauer, 36. “The last thing I want is people on the outside snooping in, for whatever reason and especially if I’m not home. So I had my four windows—the original, single-pane windows that came with the house in 1955—removed and replaced with glass blocks. I feel better, my wife feels more secure, and my kids—innocent that they are--don’t know the difference.”

Empty nester Ted Wesolowski of Garfield Ridge agrees. “My youngest son graduated from college last year and moved out into an apartment. So with plenty of space and no more tuition bills, I decided to remodel my basement at long last and make it into a ‘man cave’ or whatever we’re calling a den these days.”

“Well, I did it up right and added a home theater system, a wet bar and few other expensive upgrades,” he adds. “Then one night, I’m hosting a Monday Night Football party for a few buddies; and what do I see but some punk peeking in, like he’s casing my house for a burglary or something. We ran outside and chased him away, but that did it for me. Next day I started looking into glass blocks. In the end, it worked out well. No more uninvited guests.”

While glass block windows add an important measure of security and privacy to any home or business, they offer many other benefits.

“The right glass blocks can add a whole new dimension of beauty on the outside and soft natural light on the inside,” says Carol Basic, a Clearing resident and owner of Chicago Glass Blocks, headquartered at 6036 S. Central. “Plus they add value to your home, and they are generally maintenance free.”

Chicago Glass Blocks creates and installs custom-made
Brian and Mike Basic at a home window installation.
windows using top-quality Pittsburgh Corning glass block, the only glass block manufactured in the U.S. The company is the only Pittsburgh Corning distributor in the Chicago area.

The company also is known for using superior mortar mixed to manufacturer's specs, a high-quality blend of Type I Portland cement and lime. This, Basic says, is unlike the big-box, discount home improvement stores, where the glass blocks are stuck together with merely a fraction of an inch of caulk.

Joe Leonard applies mortar, while Brian Basic checks inventory.
Celebrating its 26th anniversary this year, Chicago Glass Blocks is locally owned and managed by a family with decades of experience in masonry and masonry restoration for homes and businesses. Well known and highly respected in the Chicago-area construction industry, the Basic Family has a deep understanding of local construction methods and materials, enabling them to quickly and accurately assess your home or business needs. The highly trained technicians--mostly family members and all area residents--who will come to your home are fully insured and leave your home in better shape than they found it.

To learn more about Chicago Glass Blocks, go online to or call (773) 581-5081 for a free energy consultation from a friendly, experienced expert.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern and southern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in Sector 1. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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A 47-year-old woman looking at plants outside the Shop & Save grocery store at 5829 South Archer struggled with a strong arm robber but managed to hang onto the gold chain he tried to snatch away.

The crime occurred at 12:27 p.m. Monday, June 24. The attacker walked up from behind and
5829 South Archer
yanked on the chain. Unable to grab it away from the victim, the criminal gave up and walked away north towards Archer and then east.

A passing motorist followed the would-be robber but lost him near 52nd and Long. The victim refused medical treatment. The chain was broken, but in her possession.

The criminal is described as a white Hispanic man age 20-25, 5'2 to 5'5 and 125-135 pounds, brown eyes, medium-length brown hair, olive complexion, goatee that hangs just below his chin, and wearing a tan baseball cap, a white polo shirt with blue/green stripes at the shoulder and khaki cargo shorts.

* * *

A robber hit the U-Haul store at 4705 West 47th Street, making off with $300 cash.

4705 West 47th Street
The crime occurred at 1:44 p.m. Saturday, June 22. The robber saw the manager near the front door and ordered him to "step the other way." He put his hand near his waistband, implying he had a weapon and said "You got two minutes to empty the drawers."

The manager complied, and the criminal ran out the door--east on 47th Street, then south on Kilpatrick, then west through a gangway.

He is described as a black man age 30-40, 5'10 and 160-180 pounds, brown eyes, light complexion, black hair in a shaved style, wearing a black baseball cap, a light blue jacket, black faded jeans, and brown square-toe dress shoes.

* * *

A 34-year-old Burbank man was robbed of his keys and wallet as he stood in front of Austin Cash 4 Gold, 6011 South Pulaski.

The crime occurred at 6:40 p.m. Friday, June 21. The victim, who works at the store, was
6011 South Pulaski
confronted by two thugs as he was putting away advertising flags outside the shop. One had a pistol and ordered him to "get in the building."

The other crook urged the gunman to "just shoot him," the victim told police. At that point, they punched the victim in the head and took his belongings before fleeing in a dark blue two-door car that sped away east on 60th Place.

The criminals are described as white Hispanic men age 18-24, 5'7 to 5'9 and 140-160 pounds with brown eyes.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live
in Beat 815 or 821 (see map), come to the St. Bruno School (south entrance) at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 3. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

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A 41-year-old West Lawn man was robbed by two criminals who walked up from behind and hit him in the head and face before taking his cell phone, metal chain, and wallet which contained $30 cash and his matricula card.

The crime occurred at 10:30 p.m. on the corner of 70th and Hamlin. After the attackers fled, the victim walked back to his home a block and a half away to call police. He refused medical attention and described the robbers as white Hispanic men age 20-25, 5'8 to 5'10 and 160-170 pounds, short black hair, both wearing black shorts. One wore a black t-shirt; the other, blue.

* * *

Burglars broke through the service door of a garage near 69th and Hamlin, entered a 1999 Mercury SUV inside and stole a wallet with credit cards, as well as ripped out and stole a mounted TV and a dashboard radio. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 31-year-old man, at 8:25 a.m. Tuesday, June 25.

* * *

Burglars forced open the service door of a garage near 57th Place and Hamlin and stole a lawn mower and a grass edger. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 30-year-old man, at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, June 23.

* * *

Burglars broke the side window of a garage near 64th Place and Leclaire and stole a keg of beer belonging to a friend of the owner of the garage. The crime was discovered at 3:00 a.m.
Sunday, June 23 by the garage owner, a 45-year-old man, who told police through an interpreter that he saw the service door open.

* * *

Burglars entered a garage near 55th and Kildare and stole a garage door remote control, a bicycle, a tile cutter and a tool box with hand tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 48-year-old man, at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 25.

* * *

Burglars pried open the service door of a garage near 53rd and Kolmar and stole a circular saw, a concrete saw, a miter saw and assorted other tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 71-year-old man, at 5:48 a.m. Wednesday, June 26.

* * *

Burglars entered a garage near 56th and Kolmar a lawnmower, a grill, a caulking gun, and a toolbox with assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 36-year-old man, at 6:45 a.m. Monday, June 24. The garage was locked with no sign of forced entry. The victim told police he had just moved in and was not sure if anyone else has keys to the garage.

* * *

Burglars forced open the back door of a bank-owned vacant house near 62nd and Mayfield and stole a water heater and copper pipes. The crime was discovered at noon Wednesday, June 12 but not reported until a week later.

* * *

Burglars opened an unlocked side window of a home near 78th and Kilpatrick and stole a laptop computer, an Xbox, a camera, and assorted jewelry. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 31-year-old man, when he came home from work at noon Wednesday, June 19.

* * *

Burglars entered a garage near 63rd Place and Nashville and stole a lawnmower. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 47-year-old man, at 1:15 a.m. Thursday, June 20 when he heard loud noises behind his garage and went outside to investigate and saw the door ajar. Police said there was no damage to the door, although the CPD incident report did not say which door.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch to Salute Two Local Companies in Parade

While the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch group usually marches in local parades as its own unit, at this year’s Patriots Day Parade they will walk with two local businesses:
ChicagoGlass Blocks and Best Home Insulation.

The parade, set for Tuesday, July 2, is scheduled to step off at 7:00 p.m. from Mark Twain School and head southwest on Archer, ending at Wentworth Park.

“Crime prevention will always be at the heart of what we do,” stated GRNW President Al Cacciottolo. “But we have recently expanded our efforts into neighborhood improvement as a way to fight crime indirectly.

People of all ages enjoy the annual parade on Archer!
“One way to improve the neighborhood is to build bridges between residents and local businesses,” he added. “So we have started an initiative to highlight and salute businesses—especially those that are locally owned, which hire local men and women, and share our commitment to community improvement.”

Headquartered at 6036 South Central Avenue, Chicago Glass Blocks and Best Home Insulation are companies owned and operated by the Basic family, longtime Southwest Siders engaged in building and home repair and improvement since 1949.

“We are pleased to join with the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch in this fun celebration of our nation’s independence,” said Carol Basic, owner of Chicago Glass Blocks, the only
Chicago-area firm that sells and installs American-made Pittsburgh Corning glass blocks. “We help make the neighborhood more stylish and secure, one building at a time; and the Watch does the same in its way.”

“In just a few short years, the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch has established itself as the gold standard of citizen-led crime prevention organizations in the Chicago area,”
added Best Home Insulation owner Brian Basic. “We are honored that they would salute us in such a public way. We share their commitment to making the neighborhood a better place.”

Cacciottolo added that the GRNW plans to highlight and honor at least one local business at each of its monthly meetings going forward. “The Basic family is well known and highly respected in Garfield Ridge and elsewhere across the city and suburbs,” he said. “By saluting them—and others in the months ahead—we are also reminding everyone about the importance of shopping locally for goods and services.

“Whether it’s shopping for groceries, dining at a restaurant, choosing a health care provider or legal professional, hiring a tradesman or home improvement company and so forth, ‘think local’ first. When we spend our money right here where we live, the neighborhood benefits.”

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Fans Flood Archer Avenue to Celebrate Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Win

In just 76 seconds Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and the Stanley Cup away from the stunned Boston Bruins.

The explosion of joy on Archer Avenue was equally sudden, with Hawks fans bursting out of such watering holes as Lawlor's, Bobby G's, Solofra's, the bar at Lindy's/Gerties, and others.

They were joined by Garfield Ridge residents of all ages: men, women and children who literally ran from their homes north and south of Archer to join the celebration.

Also, jubilant motorists in all types of vehicles: cars, vans, SUVs, pickup trucks, CTA buses, commercial trucks and even 18-wheelers helped make Archer into a parade of red
and black.

As planned, Eighth District Police were out in force--especially near the bars--to occasionally nudge the throngs back towards the curb. As was the case in 2010, the crowds were loud and rowdy but civilized---as sports fans ought to be.

Here are a few stills we captured on the fly. Southwest Chicago Post video highlights coming later tonight! Update: video embedded below!

Congratulations, Blackhawks, 2013 Stanley Cup Champions!


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

St. Jane Scouts Clean Up at Car Wash

The Garfield Ridge area is a little cleaner today, thanks to the boys from Cub Scout Pack 4466 from St. Jane de Chantal Parish---with an assist from the Girl Scouts at St. Jane's---who hosted a car wash in the parking lot of Soukal Floral & Greenhouses, 6118 South Archer.

Way to go, kids! (And Scout moms and dads.)

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Klingbeil Honored by Court Advocates; Others Are Needed to Step Up, Fight Crime

The Chicago Police Eighth District Court Advocates bade a fond farewell recently to one of their own: Clearing resident
Gerald Klingbeil, who is leaving the group because he is moving out of state.

The Southwest Chicago Post adds our thanks to Mr. Klingbeil for helping make the Southwest Side a better and safer place; and best wishes for a future that is filled with good health and happiness!

And we remind everyone that volunteers are always needed to join the ranks of the court advocates--good men and women who show up in criminal court to support victims and witnesses, back up police and prosecutors, and demand justice from judges.

Sounds like a tall order; but in reality, it's quite easy. Try it for just one day and see for yourself. Just call (312) 747-8724, ask to speak with the CAPS office, and then tell them you want to be put in touch with the court advocates.

It's no accident that the Eighth District court advocacy program is widely recognized as the largest and most effective in the entire city. It has strong leadership and some dedicated men and women in its ranks. So make the call, won't you?

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