Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Protection Against Abusive Cabbies

Opinion by John T. "Red" Ryan

ADMITTEDLY, MOST OF our neighbors do not find themselves availing the service of a taxicab very often. On those very rare occasions when we do, it is as a mode of transportation to or from the venue of one's catching an airliner. This may be a very short taxi ride to our local airport, Midway or a somewhat longer journey up to O'Hare Field. Recently it has come to our attention of how our citizens can be subjected to rude, dangerous and even criminal behavior by a small minority of unscrupulous and unruly cabbies. Southwest side neighbors in Clearing and Garfield Ridge have related their horror stories to us, all concerning Taxicab abuses and trips to or from the airports.

ONE CLEARING FAMILY was subjected to verbal abuse and physical threats because the cab driver did not want to take a short run from Midway to the nearby destination, near 63rd & Narragansett. When the cabbie finally did render his service very reluctantly, he sped off (peeling rubber) when he dropped the family at their home. In our own personal story, a taxi driver attempted to collect a double fare from this writer by insisting our home (52nd and Natoma) was in another municipality other than the City; insisting that Chicago's western boundary was Austin Avenue at that point. 

REPORTS FROM SOME contacts we have in the Police Department's Traffic Division/Public Vehicle Enforcement unit told us of incidents where taxi operators left O'Hare Field with passengers, stopped on the Kennedy Expressway, threw their baggage on the shoulder and left the people on the roadside. This is said to have occurred several times in an effort to avoid the "dreaded" short haul run.

JUST A LITTLE education in the subject of the Public Vehicle laws and operational rules  can and would eliminate the further occurrence of such incidents. First of all, let's debunk a couple of bits of bogus info that continue to circulate. First, as a prospective taxicab paying rider, one is entitled to any cab that is sitting in a line; not as you may hear only the first one. Secondly. a cabbie must accept a fare regardless of one's destination. 

THE BEST PROTECTION against abuse by the criminal element who masquerade as legitimate drivers is by being observant and knowing your rights as well as the procedures that the Public Vehicle commission uses to police the behavior of drivers. The cabbies may be called in for a hearing concerning any procedural rule misconduct and (of course) are subject to criminal prosecution for any acts in violation of the law. As a citizen, protect yourself by always making note of the taxicab's number and, if possible, the cabbie's name and chauffeurs' license number; which should be prominently displayed. The Public Vehicle Operations even has a downloadable complaint form available.

FOR MORE COMPLETE Information on this topic, we refer you to:
          City of Chicago, Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection
                      Public Vehicle Operations Facility
                      2350 W. Ogden Avenue, First Floor
                           Chicago, IL 60606
                           (312) 746-4600
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John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

‘Yarn Bomb’ Dropped on Archer Avenue

Afghans on trees bring color, whimsy, art to Garfield Ridge

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Public art has made a rare appearance in Garfield Ridge, as four volunteers last Sunday
quietly wrapped about a dozen trees in colorful afghans at the Lech Walesa Triangle at the “five corners” intersection of Archer, 55th Street and Narragansett.

The “yarn bomb” effort is the brainchild of Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ellen Brown.

A Clearing resident, Brown—owner of Midway Storage, 5660 W. 55th St.—was assisted in her Mother’s Day task by her husband, Sam Carreon, and two daughters, Tala Morales and Jaqui Pilamunga.

Brown said the idea began taking shape almost a year ago.

"It really began last summer when I was visiting Eureka Springs, Arkansas,” she said. “The chamber of commerce there had done the same thing, and I figured we should try it up here to see how it looks."

Later, Brown got on the Internet and started visiting Pinterest. "I learned it was called 'yarn bombing,'" she said.

Brown decided to make it a family project. "I reached out to all the senior organizations I knew, but they all told me they didn't knit or crochet and didn't know of any groups that did. One senior finally agreed to put up a notice at the Senior Center near the 5400 block of Archer Avenue. That did the trick.”

Garfield Ridge resident Cherie Neville, who Brown said "crochets for fun," said she would donate some afghans to the cause. Neville gave Brown 15 blankets she had made.

"I don't think she quite understood we were using her blankets as art. I don't think she understood the concept, but she still donated her crocheted blankets. She usually donates the afghans to the VFW or gives them to the homeless in winter. She really enjoys crocheting and does it for fun," Brown said.

She added, "I started with a red, white and blue theme, but since we only had two
crocheters, we went with whatever colors they gave us."

The other person who donated afghans was Brown's mother-in-law, West Lawn resident Clara Carreon, who also crochets for fun, Brown said.

"At first she was like, 'We're going to be putting these on trees?' but when she drove by she just loved it," Brown said.

According to Brown, Carreon wasn't the only one. "A lot of people drove by and told us it looked nice."

"We hope to leave the afghans up all summer. We'll take them down before then if they start to look raggedy," Brown said.

Brown hopes she can repeat the process around Christmas and will be looking for Christmas-themed donations.

"I think this adds something to the area. I hope it puts a smile on peoples faces as they drive by," she said.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Garfield Ridge Run is More Than Fun

About building a stronger and safer community

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A typical 5K run is held for fitness, fun and often to raise funds for a charity.

The inaugural Garfield Ridge Stars & Stripes 5K Run, set for
Saturday, July 1, is all that and something more.

“This is more than a race—it’s basically a community challenge,” said Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo, whose crime-fighting organization is a supporter of the effort. “We want as many people as possible to run in the race—but for those of us who are not in shape to run a race like that, we want everyone to step away from the TV, the computer, whatever, and go out to the curbs of the course and cheer on the runners, and get outside and meet each other. A secure neighborhood starts with good people making connections, of getting to know each other and look out for each other.”

A number of the runners will be police officers, firefighters and active-duty military, he added.

“That’s one reason this is being held on July 1,” Cacciottolo added. “It’s just before the Fourth of July, and it follows the annual Patriot’s Day Parade (set for Friday, June 30 this year). In a way, it’s an opportunity for our community to step outside and thank those men and women who protect us.”

He said the hope is to “make this into a big event as years go by. There are runs like this in other Chicago neighborhoods, like Beverly and Lakeview—as well as a number of suburbs. Why not here in Garfield Ridge? We’re every bit as good as they are.”

The race will start and end at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. The course stretches as far west as Nordica Avenue, as far east as Merrimac, and between 56th and 59th Streets.

Opening horn sounds at 8 a.m., and an awards ceremony in the park at 9:30 will end the morning’s action.

The entire event is a product of Tri-Builders, a non-profit youth triathlon team that since its founding in 2013 has worked to encourage boys and girls to embrace physical fitness, said West Lawn resident Juan Ortega, a founder of the group, whose daughters—age 15 and 13—are members in the group.

A catcher and outfielder for Kelly High School back in the 1990s, Ortega today participates in distance running and related events.

“Tri-Builders is unique in this part of Chicago,” he said Tuesday at a meeting of the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce, where he introduced the event to local business leaders. “We encourage all parents to check us out, and we look forward to a successful event on July 1.”

Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16:00/mile pace for the 5K run. There are six categories for adult runners and six for youths.

Entry fee is $25 for adults, $15 for children age 12 and younger. Registration and more information can be found at

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