Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Readers Who Count

By Joan Hadac

Editor and Publisher

and Tim Hadac
Managing Editor

Southwest Chicago Post

Almost exactly three years ago, 97 days after launching our Southwest Side neighborhood news service, we expressed a lot of surprise when we glanced at the hit counter on our website (swchicagopost.com) and saw this:

That was about 19,000 more than we had anticipated.

Three years after that day in 2012, the positive response to the Southwest Chicago Post continues to be a pleasant surprise that has exceeded all expectations.

When we glanced at our website this evening, we saw this:

...and then we blinked our eyes and saw this:

That's right. We reached and crossed another milestone. Three quarters of a million hits since 2012, on our way to a million.

Who said numbers couldn't be fun, right?

Anyway, back in 2012, we began this new online news service---locally owned and operated---with absolutely no fanfare, no advertising.

We started quietly---"soft-launching" this news service so we could work the kinks out before we got up to speed. Kind of like how, years ago, people who bought new cars would go easy on them for the first few hundred miles or so.

Our plan was---and still is---to proceed deliberately. Step by step. Just simple, straightforward, neighborhood news reporting with no shortcuts to success.

In that regard and in terms of our business model, we are not the hare. We are the tortoise.

And proud of it.

So trust us---we're not about to high-five each other or run out to Weber's to buy a cake or to Archer Liquors to buy a bottle of champagne.

Instead, we thank our friends and neighbors on the Southwest Side---that's you!---for giving your vote of confidence to a Southwest Side-owned and operated online news service.

These way-better-than-anticipated numbers tell us we're on the right track. Your response tells us to keep doing what we're doing and trusting our instincts---not just as journalists, but more important as lifelong Southwest Siders who basically want and work for the same thing we all do: clean, safe neighborhoods in which to live, work, play, study, worship, shop, and more.

Neighborhoods where we can raise our families and grow old in peace and comfort.

Neighborhoods where---especially for our children and grandchildren---"the good old days" are now, because we made it that way by working together.

And we hasten to add this about our website's hit count: while it's definitely exciting to get three quarters of a million hits--750,000--when you thought you'd get about 7,500 at this point--we prefer to measure quality over quantity.

That is to say this: we primarily serve the five city neighborhoods that border Midway Airport, as well as the Scottsdale neighborhood directly south of that. An area of about 175,000 people. But know we'll never have 175,000 regular readers, or 100,000 or even 50,000.

And that's entirely OK with us, because we believe in the old newspaper saying: "Far more important than counting your readers, is having readers who count."

Rest assured, we don't need to reach every single person directly---and we don't plan to.

We don't want the Southwest Chicago Post to be an unread, rolled-up newspaper on every porch (or soggy and in the bushes). Not us. Not ever.

We want to be a 24/7 online news service for Southwest Siders who are smart, savvy, and skeptical---but not cynical.

Southwest Siders plugged into the Internet and who use social media tools to connect and communicate.

Southwest Siders who are registered to vote---and vote.

Southwest Siders who---whether they know it or not---are leaders.

Leaders, not because they're some local big shot or political windbag. Southwest Siders who are leaders, simply because they are ordinary men and women with common sense---and who care enough to take the time to inform themselves on issues and have solid opinions. And then, deliberately or not, influence other people (and therefore help shape the direction of our neighborhoods) as they share their opinions with neighbors on the block, at their church or local school, in their civic association or neighborhood watch group or CAPS meeting.

In other words, you.

Readers who count.

Thanks again.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Letters to the Editor

Editor's note: We respect your opinion and are privileged to share it via this website. All letters to the editor will
be reviewed before being posted. We do allow anonymous comments, yet we will not allow the Southwest Chicago Post to serve as a forum for bigotry of any kind. We also will not allow personal attacks against anyone, including elected officials and other public figures. On this site, all of us need to keep our tone respectful and our criticisms constructive. That's important as we work together to build better Southwest Side neighborhoods for all. So please join the conversation by sending your letter to editor@swchicagopost.com.

* * *


It's great when one in the field of journalism gets to cover good news for a change, and you've done an excellent job in chronicling our community's proper, orderly and lawful jubilance in celebrating the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win. 
Also, in consideration of the meteorological conditions of the evening, "Fans Flood Archer Avenue......"  was a most appropriate headline. In recognition, we're nominating the Southwest Chicago Post for a Pulitzer Prize in the category of headlines.
John T. "Red" Ryan
Garfield Ridge

* * *


I saw how heavily you promoted the St. Joe's parish carnival, but I saw almost nothing about the St. Daniel the Prophet Summerfest. That's my parish. Why are you playing favorites?


Editor's reply: You're right about us promoting the St. Joseph carnival. We wrote and published a news story about it in advance, posted a calendar listing, and then for four days in a row, we promoted the next day's attractions on our Facebook page. With St. Dan's, we did a calendar listing and a single Facebook post to let folks know about it.

Not playing favorites at all, however. Here's the difference: St. Joe's asked us to help promote their carnival, St. Dan's did not. We will cheerfully help any church, school or other local not-for-profit that asks (as we have for more than three years now), but we will never force ourselves on anyone.

So if you, as a St. Dan's parishioner, want the Southwest Chicago Post to help promote any of the many good things going on at St. Dan's, please let parish leaders know we're ready when they are.

* * *

What's going on with all the catalytic converter thefts in the neighborhood? I don't see you reporting on them.

Bob Czekaj
Garfield Ridge

Editor's reply: It's often a struggle for us to get all the crime reports we'd like from CPD 8. That said, it also happens when someone will go on Facebook, etc. and report a crime, but then we follow up with police and find out that the victim never filed a police report.

* * *

Dear Editor:

Thank you for reporting the truth of what that Cook County Sheriff's policeman said at the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch meeting.

I was at the meeting, I have friends in Central Stickney, and I couldn't believe what he was saying about Central Stickney being relatively crime free. It isn't, and the people living there say when they call 911, it takes Tom Dart's people forever to respond. Now we know why. Sheriff's police who are supposed to be patrolling Central Stickney are instead over at 63rd and Halsted, helping plug gaps for the undermanned Chicago Police Department--in what I can only conclude is some sort of a political deal between Dart and Rahm.

I'm glad you were there, because I looked in the other newspapers to read about the meeting. One didn't cover the meeting at all, and the other watered down what the Sheriff's officer said. Thanks for giving us the straight story.

Teresa Cruz
Garfield Ridge

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Burglars Hit Archer Heights; Stay Aware, Call 911 to Report Anything Unusual

Just released to the press by CPD at 2:28 p.m. Friday, June 26:

Bureau of Detectives – Area Central
Community Alert

008th District ( Chicago Lawn)

About the Crime:
This alert gives notice to citizens residing in the 008th District (Chicago Lawn) of burglary incidents which have occurred during the month of June.  In these incidents, offender(s) gain entry into a residence through a rear door and take property from therein.  These incidents have occurred in the geographical locations listed below:

Incident times and locations:
4600 Block of S. Karlov Ave on 08 June 2015 at approximately 2:30 P.M.
4500 Block of S. Kedvale Ave on 18 June 2015 at approximately 8:30 P.M.
4600 Block of W. Karlov Ave on 25 June 2015 at approximately 6:45 P.M

What you can do:
  • Keep the perimeter of your property well lit
  • Report suspicious activity immediately
  • Keep doors and windows secured
  • Immediately repair any broken windows, doors or locks
  • If video surveillance is available, save and make a copy of the incident for investigating detectives. 
  • Make an agreement with your neighbors to watch each other's homes for suspicious activity.
  • If you are a victim do not touch anything, call police immediately
  • If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information
If you have any information Contact the Bureau of Detectives – Area Central
(312) 747-8382
HY292986, HY306902 &HY315893
(Reference : PATTERN # P15-1-149)

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History Walking Tour Set for July 4th at Chicago Portage Site at 48th and Harlem

All are invited to a free "nature walk" through the Chicago Portage National Historic Site, 4800 South Harlem, set for 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 4.

Statue depicting early explorers at the Chicago Portage.
Veteran tour guide Gary Mechanic will lead the walk. Attendees will learn about the “birth Story of Chicago,” from the geological beginnings of the Portage to how it is still functioning in Chicago today.

The tour is approximately a half mile in length on a gravel path through the woods. It will take about two hours. Those taking part are advised to wear long pants and walking shoes or boots. The tour will be held rain or shine.

One of only two national historic sites in Illinois, the Chicago Portage National Historic site is said to be the only place where people today can stand on the same ground walked by all the early explorers, early settlers and creators of Chicago.

The late Chicago Tribune columnist John Husar, after touring the site, called it “Our sacred ground."

For more information call Gary Mechanic at 773-590-0710 or visit  www.chicagoportage.org.

Friends of the Chicago Portage promotes the historic interpretation, ecological restoration and appropriate development of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site through volunteer advocacy, public events and other projects that raise public awareness of the site’s history and significance.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Central Stickney a 'Country Club'? Sheriff's Police Official Says Yes

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Crime in unincorporated Central Stickney is down so much in the past couple of years, that it is part of a Cook County Sheriff’s Police district known as “the country club,” a prominent law enforcement official said Monday night.

Commander Tabb
“We used to have a lot of issues with a few of the gang members over in our unincorporated area over in Central Stickney, but a lot of our gang teams and our patrol units dealt with a lot of cases and took a lot of the gang members off the streets, and they’re actually in the penitentiary now,” said Terrence L. Tabb, patrol commander of the Sheriff’s Police’s Bridgeview District, one of four districts across the county.

He made his observations as an invited guest of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, a citizen-led crime prevention organization that serves central and western Garfield Ridge (everything west of Central Avenue), at a meeting at Kennedy High School, 56th and Narragansett. About 50 Garfield Ridge residents—neighbors of Central Stickney--attended the meeting and applauded his remarks.

“It’s pretty much crime free over here,” Tabb said. “We really don’t have too many complaints over here. We get a little bit of graffiti every now and then, but nothing major over this way. Everything’s pretty good over this way.”

Tabb did not offer any statistics to back up his assertions.

While the power of Sheriff’s Police includes everything in Cook County, the force’s primary mission is to patrol unincorporated areas of the county—areas like Central Stickney (essentially from 47th to 51st Streets, Laramie to Central) and Nottingham Park (the several-block area south of 71st Street and east of Harlem).

“It’s rare that you will see our gang teams over here now, because we are focusing more on a lot of different things in [Chicago] now,” Tabb added. “[Sheriff Tom Dart] has an initiative that we do right now, that we do every Tuesday and Wednesday of the summer…we just started it last year, so what we do now is, we get all our gang teams, our warrant teams, canine units and patrol officers, and we try to hit all the hot spots in the city. So we’ve been bouncing around to a bunch of different places. Starting tomorrow night, we will be in Englewood.”

Tabb said that the actions in high-crime neighborhoods in the city do not mean less Sheriff’s Police in unincorporated areas like Central Stickney, because “a lot of extra officers” are on duty on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

GRNW President Al Cacciottolo thanked Tabb for what he said was Sheriff’s Police successful efforts to rid Archer Avenue of drag racing and other speeding on Garfield Ridge’s main street.

In response to a question, Tabb added that Garfield Ridge residents who see a crime in progress in Central Stickney should call 911 immediately and that the call will be routed to the appropriate dispatch unit.

Non-emergency police calls relating to Central Stickney should be directed to (847) 635-1188, 24 hours a day. The line should also be used to report graffiti in Central Stickney, Nottingham Park or any other unincorporated area.

The next GRNW meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, July 20 at Normandy Park, 6660 W. 52nd Street.

(Editor's note: More coverage of the GRNW meeting coming in the days ahead.)

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Friday, June 19, 2015

CPD Alert: Burglary Crew Working Scottsdale; Stay Alert, Aware, Call 911


Looks like a burglary crew is working the north end of the Scottsdale neighborhood.

Let's all keep our eyes and eras open and call 911 promptly to report any suspicious activity to the police!

Information below released by CPD to the press at 11:55 a.m. Friday.

~ ~ ~

Bureau of Detectives – Area Central

Community Alert
8th District (Chicago Lawn)

This alert gives notice to citizens residing in the 8th District (Chicago Lawn) of
burglary incidents which have occurred during the month of June.

In these incidents, offender(s) gain entry into a residence through a side door and take
property from therein.

These incidents have occurred in the geographical locations listed below:

Incident times and locations:

7800 Block of South Kilpatrick at approximately 3:10 p.m. Monday, June 1.
7700 Block of South Knox at approximately 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, June 2.
7700 Block of South Keating at approximately 4:45 p.m. Sunday, June 14.

What you can do:

• Keep the perimeter of your property well lit
• Report suspicious activity immediately
• Keep doors and windows secured
• Immediately repair any broken windows, doors or locks
• If video surveillance is available, save and make a copy of the incident for
investigating detectives.
• Make an agreement with your neighbors to watch each other's homes for suspicious
• If you are a victim do not touch anything, call police immediately
• If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information

If you have any information Contact the Bureau of Detectives – Area Central
at (312) 747-8382.

Mention case numbers HY283700, HY285314 and HY301030.

(Reference: PATTERN # P15-1-132)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Sneak Peek at Midway Garden Society's Members-Only Mini-Walk

The Midway Garden Society will not hold its annual Urban
Garden Walk in 2015, at least as a public event, because most of the members who typically open their gardens simply were not available, for varying reasons.

Last year's event was a showcase of eight of the best gardens on Chicago's Southwest Side. All eight are located in Garfield Ridge or Clearing, except for one located in the Gage Park neighborhood.

This year, the Society decided to host an abbreviated, members-only version of the event.

It was held in the early evening of Wednesday, June 17, and the Southwest Chicago Post was the only local news organization that asked for permission to tag along. And we thank the Society leadership and members for granting us the privilege of joining them.

We're sure glad we did! The three gardens--two in the Gage
Park neighborhood and one in West Elsdon--are lush little backyard oases: beautiful, unique and even quirky---and the gardeners: Pat Liskovec, Pat Cardona and Ann Pena, are interesting, well spoken and passionate about what they do.

It was a fun assignment to shoot, and our photos are
sprinkled here, in no particular order.

Interested in becoming a member or at least learning more about the group? Simply attend a Midway Garden Society meeting, held on the final Wednesday of the month at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 West 63rd Place. Meetings typically feature an interesting guest speaker, and group members participate in plant exchanges and other activities. The Society also publishes a monthly newsletter.

Next meeting is set for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.
Visitors are always welcome, and the Society actively seeks new members.

Congratulations and thanks to the Midway Garden Society for making the Southwest Side a more beautiful and interesting place.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fans Flood Archer Avenue to Celebrate Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Win

Doing what they wanted to in 2010 and 2013, the
Chicago Blackhawks captured the Stanley Cup on home ice Monday night, shutting down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win the series, 4 games to 2.

The explosion of joy on Archer Avenue was every bit as fun as it was in 2010 and '13, with Hawks fans shouting a count-down of the final seconds of the game and then flowing out of such watering holes as Lawlor's, Bobby G's, Solofra's, the bar at Lindy's/Gerties, and others, and onto the rain-soaked sidewalks and streets.

The difference this time was that fans--many from Bobby G's--rushed the intersection of Archer and Newcastle and shut down Archer for at least 30 minutes, while police let them have fun and temporarily diverted traffic into the side streets north and south of Garfield Ridge's main street.

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 and '13, 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, 2015 Stanley Cup Champions!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Southwest Chicago Post coverage
of the 2015 Stanley Cup celebration on Archer
is sponsored in part by:

...and sponsored in part by:


 The only pies that are "As Good As Mother's and Better Than Others."
Bobby Hull--one of our biggest fans!

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