Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ald. Burke Vows Action After Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans a No-Show

More homeowners report defective, possibly toxic, windows from Aviation Department program

By Tim Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post
Managing Editor

The dean of the Chicago City Council has vowed to take action to address the failure of Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans to abide by a Council order to appear at a public hearing at Hale Park.

Speaking at a joint hearing of the City Council Committees
on Finance and Aviation on August 23, a visibly perturbed 14th Ward Ald. Edward M. Burke (chairman of the Committee on Finance) began his remarks by walking directly in front of Evans’ representative, CDA Deputy Commissioner Aaron Frame, and asking him to read from the final section of a measure passed several weeks ago by the City Council:

“Be it ordered by the City Council of the City of Chicago: that the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation appear before the City Council Joint Committee on Aviation and Finance to address the issue concerning windows installed pursuant to the Residential Sound Insulation Program at Midway Airport, including testing locations, findings, and plans to abate and prevent any potential risk.”

The hearing, attended by about 100 Southwest Side homeowners and others, was held to address concerns about defective windows—which are emitting fumes that may possibly by poisonous--supplied to homeowners in recent years through the Department of Aviation’s Residential Sound Improvement Program.

Some of the homeowners have been diagnosed with cancer in the years after their windows were installed. They continue to wonder if the odors coming from their windows are toxic or simply an aesthetic annoyance.

Burke noted that Frame read from a statement that said that CDA considers the matter “a very important issue,” and followed it up by saying, “Apparently, it’s not important enough for the Department of Aviation to have its commissioner comply with an order of the City Council to be present. Is that correct?”
Commissioner Ginger S. Evans

Frame responded that it was his understanding that Evans had a prior commitment that took her out of state.

Burke shot back, “Does she think her prior commitments are more important than the safety and the security of the good people who live out here and worry about the air that their children and their parents and their spouses are breathing?”

Burke was not specific about what consequences Evans might face, but vowed that her failure to appear would be “taken up by the Council” in the near future.

The absent Evans also was criticized by some of the seven other aldermen in attendance, most notably 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski (chairman of the Committee on Aviation) and 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez, who said he found it amazing that Evans, the highest paid official in all of city government at $400,000 a year—according to a published report—could not make time to be at a hearing she was ordered to attend.

The hearing, which normally would have been held at City Hall, was held in the neighborhood to better accommodate Southwest Side homeowners, Burke’s press secretary said.

Many in the audience greeted Burke’s comments with applause and similarly expressed incredulity about Evans.

“She makes more than a thousand dollars a day—a thousand dollars a day—of our money, our tax dollars, and she can’t be bothered to show up and see us face to face,” said Clearing resident Sam D’Amato. “What kind of arrogance is that?”

Garfield Ridge resident Jennifer Gorszewski said she hopes Evans is held accountable for her absence.

“I find it interesting that [Frame] did not say where she was or what she was doing,” she said. “I don’t live in Burke’s ward, but I know that if you publicly play games with him, if you embarass him in front of the people he represents, you do so at your own risk. You have to be quite powerful or quite foolish to cross Alderman Burke.”

Department of Aviation spokespersons declined to say where Evans was or if her out-of-state trip was personal or city business. But a day after she was absent from the City Council hearing at Hale Park, Evans publicly posted a glowing review of the $1,750-a-week Legends Townhome in the resort community of Bozeman, Montana.

Two days before the Aug. 23 City Council hearing, Evans tweeted about a photo she posted to Instagram. The photo was of dawn over the Grand Tetons mountains, in Wyoming. The tweet appears to indicate that Evans is there to view the solar eclipse.

A Southwest Chicago Post request for clarification after the meeting was responded to by a Department of Aviation spokesperson asking about the "focus" of the story. That was provided, and CDA did not respond after that.

The anger over Evans’ absence almost overshadowed the ongoing concerns over RSIP windows. After the elected officials vented, a string of homeowners offered testimony about the windows in their homes.

The number of homeowners reporting problems continues to grow. Since the issue was first reported exclusively by the Southwest News-Herald in early June, the number has grown from four homeowners in the Chrysler Village section of Clearing to more than 80—in Clearing, Garfield Ridge, West Elsdon and West Lawn.

According to the CDA website, homeowners with questions about the sound-insulation windows and doors they had installed through the program should call (773) 838-5632.

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Dulce V, locally-owned and operated!

Friday, August 25, 2017

History Walking Tour Set for Sept. 2 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, September 2.

Statue depicting early explorers at the Chicago Portage.
Tour guide John Langer 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

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.


Dulce V, family-owned and operated!
Dulce V, locally-owned and operated!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch Sounds Alarm About Car Burglaries

Addicts roam streets, check car doors

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Southwest Side residents who leave their cars, SUVs and pickup trucks unlocked are leaving themselves open to burglary, a prominent civilian crime fighter said earlier this week.

GRNW VP Mike Doherty (right) and Secretary Michele Doherty (center)
The note of caution was sounded by Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch Vice President Mike Doherty at the GRNW’s monthly meeting, held Monday night at St. Jane de Chantal Parish’s Ward Hall. About 50 people were in attendance.

“There has been a rash of burglaries in the area recently, and often it involves guys walking up and down the streets, trying car door handles,” Doherty said. “Sometimes they just go through the car and steal loose change or anything they can grab quickly.

“But other times, they’ll grab your garage-door remote control and open your garage,” he continued. “Next thing you know, they’re in your garage while you’re sleeping or not home. They go through your garage quickly, load things onto a truck and they’re out of there before you know it.”

Doherty said it is not yet clear if the recent crimes were committed by hardened burglars or others simply looking for cash to feed an addiction.

The GRNW’s message to everyone is “lock your car doors and keep your [garage door] remote control in the house,” he added.

Vehicle burglaries committed by “door-handle jigglers” have increased in recent years—fueled by the nation’s ongoing heroin epidemic, a retired police detective said later Monday night.

“There have been garage burglaries as long as there have been garages,” said Homer Glen resident Jerry Kowal. “There always will be. Those are the guys who break into your garage or steal your remote and use it to open the garage. They work fast, know what they want and have a way to dump the stolen stuff quickly, for cash.

“But what’s new—what we’ve been seeing a lot in the suburbs, and now in the city—are these kids: teenagers and guys and gals in their early 20s who get hooked on heroin, which is very easy to do, and then turn to petty crime to fuel their habit,” he continued.

Since heroin is highly addictive and inexpensive—“you can get a hit for less than [what it costs to buy] a six-pack of beer,” Kowal said—people addicted to the substance “are desperate and will steal anything they can, quickly, to pull together a few bucks.”

He said that people he tells that to are often incredulous when they learn that victims of car burglaries sometimes lose nothing more than the spare change in their cupholder.

“But really, that’s how cheap heroin has become,” he said. “You can pay for it with change, which is why these kids walk up and down the streets, jiggling car-door handles. They’re not pros, so they won’t break into your car—they may not even know how—but they will definitely enter you vehicle if you leave your doors unlocked. So don’t.”

The remarks were similar in some ways to what Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander Ronald Pontecore has said repeatedly in public meetings across the district--that burglary is a crime of opportunity, and the more that motorists leave their doors unlocked, the more that burglars and auto thieves will seize the opportunity.

In fact, Pontecore said that the majority of vehicle thefts he has seen involved motorists leaving their doors unlocked--and sometimes the ignition running--while they ducked into a 7-Eleven or gas station. 

The next public meeting of the GRNW is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18 at Banquets at the Mayor’s Mansion, 5445 S. Harlem. The neighborhood watch serves the central and western section of Garfield Ridge (everything west of Central Avenue).


Dulce V, family-owned and operated!
Dulce V, locally-owned and operated!

Sell-A-Bration Set for Saturday, Aug. 26

Looking to buy unique rummage items at bargain prices?

Head over to the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch's Sell-A-Bration, set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 26 in the west parking lot of Kennedy High School, near 56th and Narragansett.

The Sell-A-Bration will include a basket raffle. Proceeds from the raffle and space rentals at the event will help fund the GRNW’s various neighborhood initiatives.

Rain date for the event is Sunday, August 27.


Dulce V, family-owned and operated!
Dulce V, locally-owned and operated!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at Hale

A solar eclipse viewing party is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, August 21 at Hale Park, 6258 West 62nd Street.

According to Chicago Park District officials, the event at Hale is one of 20 set for parks across the city.

Children and entire families are invited to see and experience the uncommon celestial event with the use of special viewing glasses that will be provided by the Adler Planetarium, while supplies last.

For details, phone (773) 229-1032.

CPD Warns of USPS Vehicle Burglaries

The Chicago Police Department has appealed to the press and public for help in finding whoever has been breaking into U.S. Postal Service vehicles on the Southwest Side and stealing packages.

The crimes occurred:

• 3600 block of West 55th Place at 10:21 a.m. Wednesday, August 9.
• 3000 block of West 61st Street at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, August 9.
• 5800 block of South Albany at 3:36 p.m. Monday, August 14.
• 3700 block of West 59th Street at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, August 15.
• 6400 block of South Kilbourn at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, August 15.

The offenders were described as one Hispanic man and two black men.

Police offered this advice:

• Report suspicious activity immediately.
• If video surveillance is available, save and make a copy of the incident for investigating detectives.
• If you are a victim, do not touch anything. Call police immediately.
• If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information.

Those with useful information are asked to call CPD Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8382 and refer to crime pattern P17-1-216.

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Monarchs Find Friends on Mayfield

Important butterflies get VIP treatment

By Mary Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post reporter

“Call it ‘The Monarchs of Mayfield,’” one Garfield Ridge
Jackie Faber
neighbor chuckled about the situation in the 5200 block of South Mayfield.

But what sounds like the latest BBC miniseries is actually a real-life drama involving monarch butterflies, important pollinators of plants that are part of the world’s food supply.

It started years ago, with Jackie Faber and Alex Moreno taking in monarch butterfly eggs and caring for them inside their home, away from ants and other predators.

Back then, Faber’s son was a student at St. Jane de Chantal School.

“I brought a bunch of [the eggs and caterpillar hatchlings] to school, and all the classrooms started raising them” she recalled. “We jut did it, and from there I kept doing it. I dropped it for a few years, but then we came back to it. Now that I’m retired, it seems like a full time job.”

The hobby soon grew beyond their house. The St. Jane Holy Name Society planted four milkweed plants around the parish grounds. The milkweed plant is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. The caterpillars can eat the leaves once they hatch. According to Moreno, the parish now has around a dozen milkweed plants.

Now, three other neighbors on their block have taken up this
Teri and Jack Kororlewicz and their milkweed plants
full time hobby, including Teri Korolewicz and her husband, Jack.

“We started doing it because with me being a Girl Scout leader, I’m always trying to show the girls the impact they have on the environment,” Teri said. “So with our two young daughters, we were showing them that if you help these creatures along, you’re helping the environment.

“There have been a couple of times that my younger Girl Scouts are preparing for something else and I’ll be like, ‘Wait a minute. We had a butterfly hatch, so we have to stay for a little bit so we can watch it dry out…and the girls are absolutely fascinated with seeing this,” she continued. “And then as they see them as they walk through the neighborhood, they’re like, ‘I wonder if that’s our butterfly?’ They love the fact that they’re able to help.”

The butterflies seem to soak up the attention, Jack added.
Jack Korolewicz looks at monarch chrysalises

“Last year, I basically had a butterfly sitting on my shoulder,” he recalled with a smile. “For a half hour I was talking to Jackie and my wife, and it just sat there…didn’t want to fly away. I thought, well, I must be picked for something.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ophthamologist Dr. Gary Rubin Offers Solar Eclipse Advice, Special Glasses

While the solar eclipse coming later this month is a matter of
scientific interest, people should exercise caution when trying
Dr. Rubin and staff look at the sun, test the glasses.
to see it 
for themselves, a prominent local opthamologist said earlier this week.

Dr. Gary V. Rubin, M.D., who has served Southwest Siders since 1982 from offices in Garfield Ridge, said that he has secured 40 pairs of certified solar eclipse glasses. He will distribute them, free of charge, starting at 11 a.m. Monday, August 14 from his office at 7001 W. Archer.

“I’ve never done it before,” Rubin said. “When’s the last time we had an eclipse? I’m doing this on my own, as a public service.

“It’s the great American hype, and we have to protect your eyes,” Rubin added with a smile.

On Monday, August 21, the entire United States will see a partial eclipse of the sun. Parts of 11 states, from Oregon to South Carolina, including areas of southern Illinois, will experience a total solar eclipse. The total eclipse will extend for a 70-mile-wide swath.

The eclipse will be seen in the Chicago area beginning at 11:54 a.m. and ending at 2:42 p.m. The maximum eclipse will take place from 1:18 until 1:21 p.m., for just 2 1/2 minutes, Rubin said.

One way to protect your eyes is by wearing specially- designed glasses that are certified for that use. Another way to see the eclipse is through a pinhole projection or video display. A pinhole viewer lets a person project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement.

The resulting image of the sun (not the sun itself) is safe to look at throughout the eclipse.

Sunglasses are not safe for eclipse viewing, Rubin added. Do not use a camera, binoculars or a telescope unless they come with and are protected with certified solar eclipse filter. Individuals who get a chance to see the eclipse should make sure to take care of their vision.

One danger people face from looking directly at the sun, during an eclipse or otherwise, is solar retinopathy, Rubin said.

The damage an individual can sustain “depends how long you spent looking at the sun. People can end up with a blind spot or an extended blind spot. There is a high percentage of permanent eye damage,” he said.

Parents who may think their children have incurred damage by looking at the sun should contact their eye care provider to check out their eyes, Rubin said. He expects a few calls

“There is no treatment, and the damage is irreversible,” he added. The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun
is when it is completely blocked by the moon, which will not happen when viewed in Chicago.

Only part of the sun (about 87 percent) will be blocked in Chicago, even at the peak of the eclipse.

“Here in Chicago you cannot take off the [eclipse viewing glasses] at any time during the eclipse because it is not a total eclipse,” Rubin added. “I suggest sharing the eyeglasses because the eclipse doesn’t really change from
one moment to the next.”

He added, “Even if the eclipse occurs on a cloudy day, don’t look directly at the sun.”

Rubin has been serving Garfield Ridge since 1982, always on Archer Avenue. He moved to his current office in 1985, expanding it in 1993. He originally moved into what was a TV repair store.

When he needed more room, he bought the Cape Cod house next door, demolished it and built what is now the reception area.

Rubin, a member of the American Academy of Opathamology, has literally seen generations of patients. Last week, Rubin’s office marked his 40,000th scheduled appointment.

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City Council to Hold Hearing at Hale Park on Possibly-Toxic Windows Supplied to Midway-Area Homeowners

Southwest Side homeowners whose homes have defective windows supplied through the Midway Residential Sound Insulation Program will have a chance to air their concerns publicly, when the City Council Committee on Finance and Committee on Aviation host a joint hearing on the matter at 12:30 p.m. 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 23 at Hale Park, 6258 W. 62nd Street.

The hearing is open to the public.

Further, the City Council has voted to order Chicago
CDA Commissioner Ginger S. Evans
Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans to appear at the hearing and discuss the matter and what CDA is doing to respond to homeowner concerns.

That order was sponsored by 14th Ward Alderman Edward M. Burke (Committee on Finance chairman) and 23rd Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski (Committee on Aviation chairman). It was co-sponsored by 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn and 41st Ward Alderman Anthony Napolitano.

A statement from Burke's office sent to the Southwest Chicago Post indicated that the Committee on Finance and Committee on Aviation may, in the weeks ahead, hold a similar public hearing to address concerns of Northwest Side homeowners who have had windows supplied through the O'Hare Residential Sound Insulation Program.

At the heart of the matter are RSIP windows that are
emitting foul odors--which homeowners fear may possibly be toxic. Several homeowners have had cancer diagnoses since the windows were installed--some in 2011, some as far back as 2006.

Those homeowners have asked CDA to address their concerns and say they are frustrated and even angry that CDA has reportedly dragged its feet and even lied to them at times.

CDA has responded by offering to remove the windows in question promptly, replace them with commercially available windows--ordinary windows, not sound-insulation windows--and then later replace those windows with new sound-insulation windows when they are available. Further, they have offered to test the windows in a laboratory to determine if the fumes coming from the windows are poisonous.

Until recently, CDA has refused to conduct in-home air quality tests, as requested repeatedly by homeowners. They reversed course, under pressure from elected officials and local news organizations, earlier this month--but have not yet said exactly when and how the tests will be done.

Homeowners who accept the CDA offer of replacement windows are required to sign a 10-page legal document in which they promise to not sue CDA, even if the fumes are found to be cancer-causing.

Most, if not all homeowners, have refused to sign the document. Alderman Burke, upon hearing of the 10-page document, reportedly said that he would not sign such an agreement--as did Midway Noise Compatibility Commission Chairman Thomas S. Baliga.


The story about the possibly toxic windows was reported first--and exclusively--by the Southwest News-Herald on June 9:

..and followed up by the SWNH later that month, when Congressman Lipinski weighed in:

...and then again in early July, as more homeowners stepped forward:

...and yet again when Southwest Side aldermen united to express disappointment with CDA Commissioner Ginger Evans:

...and finally, in early August, when the SWNH covered a stormy question-and answer session with the Noise Commission at Midway Banquets:

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