Saturday, April 28, 2018

Civic Leaders Cheer Cicero Ave. Arrests

Are busts routine or sign of change ahead?

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Less than 10 days after Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson made a public vow to rid Cicero Avenue of streetwalking sex workers and related crime, police on the ground appeared to be making good on the top cop’s promise.

Four recent arrests appear to be a step in that direction, although none of the women apprehended was accused of prostitution. Three of the four were charged with soliciting a ride on a public road, a legal tool police use against streetwalkers and others.

Each was arrested on or near Cicero Avenue, between 46th Street on the north and 51st Street on the south.

Charged with felony possession of a controlled substance
Crystal King
and possession of drug paraphernalia was 36-year-old Crystal G. King, of the 4900 block of West Huron. She was arrested in the 4600 block of South Lamon at 12:25 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Police would only say said she was spotted in a vehicle “participating in narcotics activity.”

According to public records, King has been arrested at least 19 times by CPD, going back to 2014. Four of those arrests were for soliciting rides on a public road—most recently in February of this year.

Two days before King’s most recent arrest—at 6:45 a.m.
Dawn Schackart
Friday, April 20--police apprehended Dawn Schackart, 35, of the 3200 block of South Wallace, in the 5000 block of South Cicero and charged her with soliciting a ride on a public road.

Just five minutes before Schackart was arrested, police apprehended 39-year-old Katie E. Howard in the 4800 block of South Cicero and charged her with the same crime. Howard, of the 4500 block of South Lawler, has been arrested three times this year by CPD: once for driving without a license and
Katie Howard
another time for operating an unregistered motor vehicle.

Finally, police arrested Megan M. Rudnick, 37, of the 4500 block of South Lawler, at 7:35 a.m., Thursday, April 19 in the 4900 block of South Cicero. She was charged with soliciting a ride on a public road.

Whether the arrests are a reaction to Johnson’s pledge—made April 11 to members of the Archer Heights Civic Association—or whether they reflect ongoing work directed
Megan Rudnick
by Chicago (8th) District Commander Ronald Pontecore remains to be seen.

Either way, reaction from leaders in Archer Heights and Vittum Park was swift.

“From both the Archer Heights Civic Association and the Gateway to Midway Committee, we are very glad to see action being taken regarding the streetwalkers on Cicero and have no doubt it is Commander Pontecore working in concert with Superintendent Johnson,” said AHCA President Thomas S. Baliga, also a principal organizer of the Gateway to Midway Committee. “We only hope this current initiative is not just a one-shot deal, but a response to the request from both the AHCA and GTMC to the Superintendent for an ongoing police tactical presence on Cicero to permanently rid the area, including the adjacent residential streets, of streetwalkers.”

Baliga added that in a conversation with an out-of-state developer of one of the Cicero Avenue revitalization projects, “they informed me they were warned about the prostitutes, but had not yet seen any during their visits to the site. Such discussion among developers can be catastrophic for Cicero Avenue revitalization.  The prostitute situation has to be rectified once and for all.”

Vittum Park Civic League Vice President Holly Petroschuk, who also is the longtime facilitator for CAPS Beat 814 meetings, applauded the recent arrests and said she sees them as a reflection of efforts made under Pontecore’s leadership.

“The commander continues to appear to be doing all he can with the resources he has available, and we applaud him for that,” she said. “Our concern remains about what the superintendent promised. We look forward to seeing his plan of action, learning about what additional law enforcement resources will be brought to this area, understanding what his timelines are and knowing what our role is as citizens living right here near Cicero.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rahm Names Committee to Examine 23rd Ward Aldermanic Candidates

Released to the press earlier today by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Office:

Mayor Emanuel today named the five members of the 23rd
Ward candidate screening committee that will examine the candidates for 23rd Ward alderman.

“The Chicagoans serving on this committee represent a cross-section of the many families, faiths, businesses, and workers that make up the 23rd Ward community,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I look forward to reviewing the committee’s recommendations and ensuring the 23rd ward will continue to enjoy strong representation in the City Council.”

The committee members include:
·         Al Cacciottolo, 23rd Ward Superintendent
·         Alejandrina Cerna, owner and lead teacher at My Zmall World Childcare Center
·         Alderman Michelle Harris, Chair of the Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
·         Father John Noga, Pastor of St. Daniel the Prophet Church
·         James Sweeney, President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150

Mayor Emanuel will charge the committee with narrowing eligible candidates to a small group of applicants that he will interview himself before making a final decision.

Mayor Emanuel expects the final candidate will be recommended to the City Council prior to the June 27th meeting.

·         Applications will be accepted online at starting Friday, April 27th at 9:00am until Friday, May 4th at 5:00 p.m.
·         Alderman Michael Zalewski’s resignation takes effect on June 1st.
·         Mayor Emanuel has 60 days from the date of the vacancy to appoint a replacement.
·         Applicants will be able to apply for the seat by submitting the required information via the City's website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Job Fair Coming May 1 to Gage Park HS

Looking for a job? You are is invited to an employment and resource fair set
for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1 at Gage Park High School, 5630 S. Rockwell.

Sponsored by State Rep. Dan Burke (D-1st), the event is designed to link job seekers with employers ready to hire. A number of employers will be on hand, looking for qualified applicants for position such as warehouse worker, customer service representatives, cooks, cashiers, valets and more.

Participants are encouraged to bring their resumes. Additionally, there will be information on services for people who are unemployed or underemployed. 

Burke is working with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, as well as Employment & Employer Services--and a number of private-sector employers, large and small.

In all, there will be 26 employers at the event, eager to talk with people who want a job and are ready to work.

The kind of jobs available: office workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, healthcare professionals and support staff, retail workers, janitors, bus drivers, security guards and much more. Even jobs for people with disabilities.

Plus, there will be a dozen agencies offering resources to help you be in a better position to land the job you want.

Admission is free, and preference will be given to job-seeking military veterans, in the first hour of the event.

For more information, call (773) 471-2299 or visit

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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 the western section of the district. 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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Reputed gang member shot and killed on 55th Street
A 33-year-old man said by a law enforcement source to be a documented gang member was shot in the head and killed as he drove a car west on 55th Street, near Kostner, at 10:42 p.m. Monday, April 23. He lost control of the car, jumped a curb and hit two nearby buildings. He was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he died shortly after midnight Tuesday. No one is in custody and no other injuries were reported, police said.

Off-duty cop exchanges fire with carjackers
An off-duty police officer exchanged gunfire with would-be carjackers at 8:55 a.m. Friday, April 20 in the 3700 block of West 79th Street. Police said that a gunman opened the passenger side of the off-duty cop’s vehicle, waved a handgun and demanded the vehicle. The victim got out of his vehicle, announced his office, and drew his weapon. “An exchange of gunfire ensued, and the offenders fled on foot to an awaiting vehicle,” police said in a statement. No injuries were reported, and Area Central Detectives are investigating. Police have not released a detailed description of the offenders, saying only that they were “two males.”

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beats 815 or 821 (see map), come to St. Bruno School (south entrance), 4839 S. Harding, at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 2 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. 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.

Women roughed up, robbed on sidewalk
Two West Lawn women—ages 64 and 58—were roughed up and robbed at gunpoint as they walked down a sidewalk in front of 6000 S. Kolmar at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, April 17. The victims told police that two bandits walked up behind them, with one putting a gun to the head of the 64-year-old and other pushing the 58-year-old to the ground. The thugs snatched a purse and a wallet before running away west on 60th Street and then north through an alley. They were described only as black men. The victims refused medical attention, police added.

Man beaten, robbed as he gets out of car
A 56-year-old man was beaten and robbed as he got out of his vehicle in the 6200 block of South Kildare at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17. The victim told police that a trio of thugs hit him in the face and body before snatching his wallet and cellphone, running away east down a nearby alley. The criminals were described only as black men, one wearing a white coat. CFD paramedics were on scene and treated the victim for a cut on his nose.

Police hunt man who fled five-car crash
Police are seeking the driver of a vehicle that caused a five-vehicle crash in the 6400 block of South Kedzie at 11:07 p.m. Thursday, April 19. Witnesses told police that the driver’s vehicle sideswiped another vehicle—which contained a 32-year-old woman, a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. Also hit were three parked cars. The driver of the first vehicle fled the scene on foot. He was described only as a Hispanic man. The three victims in the vehicle that was sideswiped were taken to Holy Cross Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police added. No one is in custody, and detectives are investigating.

Bandits rob pair in bowling alley lot
A 27-year-old Vittum Park man and a 25-year-old Burbank woman said they were robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of Lawn Lanes, 6750 S. Pulaski, at 1:25 a.m. Tuesday, April 17. The man was assisting the woman with her car, which would not start, when they were accosted by two armed bandits who demanded their belongings. The victims surrendered their cellphones, and the man also handed over his wallet. The robbers fled and were described only as black men. One of the cellphones was later tracked by police to a trash cart near 61st and Washtenaw. It was returned to the victim.

Murderer busted for non-compliance
A 40-year-old convicted murderer who lives in West Lawn was arrested and charged with
Rogelio Pulido
failing to report his whereabouts to law enforcement, after a traffic stop in the 5100 block of South Tripp at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, April 10.

Rogelio Pulido, of the 6100 block of South Kolin, murdered a 20 year-old person when he was 18 years old, according to the Illinois State Police, which had listed him as “non-compliant.”

Pulido previously lived in the 4200 block of West 59th Street.

In the days since his arrest, Pulido has come into compliance and is now listed as "compliant" by the ISP.

Clearing man held without bond on burglary rap
A 34-year-old Clearing man with an arrest history that stretches back at least several years
David Calvillo
was arrested and charged with one felony count of burglary after he allegedly burglarized a garage in the 6100 block of South Komensky at about 9:45 a.m. Monday, April 16. David C. Calvillo, of the 5300 block of West 63rd Street, was apprehended after the victim, a 48-year-old woman, contacted police to say there was a man in her garage without her permission.  Police said that Calvillo removed a lawnmower from the victim’s garage, left and was discovered walking nearby. Officers responding to the call detained Calvillo and arrested him when the victim positively identified him. Calvillo reportedly indicated where the lawnmower was, and police said they recovered it in an alley in the 6200 block of South Pulaski. He was ordered held without bond and was due in court earlier this week. According to public records, Calvillo has been arrested 17 times by CPD, stretching back to 2014 for such crimes as domestic battery, reckless conduct, theft, burglary, possession of a controlled substance and trespassing.

Busted for attempted burglary, professes innocence
A 42-year-old West Elsdon man has been charged with attempted burglary after he allegedly tried to force his way into an apartment in the 5200 block of South Tripp at 8:27 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Roberto Miranada, of the 4400 block of West 55th Street, was apprehended after a brief foot chase with police, who were responding to a “burglary in progress” call. Miranada allegedly used a screwdriver to force open a dining room window and then push in window blinds, before being spotted by the tenants. When apprehended, Miranada reportedly denied committing the crime and said he was in the victim’s backyard because he has been chased by someone else. Police said they recovered a screwdriver and gloves nearby.

Reputed gang member busted for assault
A 36-year-old Austin man said by police to be an admitted gang member was arrested and
Vashaun Ervin
charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly used a handgun to threaten others at a house party in the 5800 block of South Melvina at about 10 p.m. Saturday, April 21.

Vashaun A. Ervin, of the 1100 block of North Austin, was apprehended after the 44-year-old man hosting the party told police that Ervin had committed the crime.

No weapon was recovered, police added. 

Convicted burglar busted for driving on revoked license
A 33-year-old Gage Park man—known to some in the area as a convicted burglar--was
Joseph Rocha
arrested and charged with driving on a revoked license after police curbed his vehicle in the 5100 block of South Christiana at 9:28 p.m. Monday, April 16. Joseph. A. Rocha, of the 5200 block of South Christiana, was taken into custody after a computer check showed that he was wanted on a warrant. Police did not describe the nature of the warrant or what jurisdiction it was from. According to public records, Rocha has a criminal record stretching back to 2003, when he was sentenced to three years in prison for felony unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle. In 2013 he was sentenced to four years in prison for residential burglary—that conviction related to the December 2012 burglary of a home near 80th and Kolin. At the time of that crime, Rocha was living near 81st and Tripp. He was paroled in 2015.

White van used in Pete’s heist
Burglars in a white van broke through a gate at Pete’s Fresh Market, 4700 S. Kedzie, and stole about 70 plastic stacking pallets used for soda pop, and well as another plastic pallet. The crime was reported by a Pete’s representative at 5:45 p.m. Monday, April 16 but occurred at 5:43 a.m. Friday, April 13, according to surveillance video. There was no description of the burglars.

Burglars swipe vehicle from construction site
A 39-year-old representative of a Posen-based construction firm told police that someone stole a Model 246B Caterpillar construction vehicle—as well as the vehicle’s forks and bucket—from a construction site at 4334 S. Kedzie. The theft was reported to police at 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 16 and appeared to have occurred the previous night.

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Fight crime with food? Believe it!

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Back door window smashed in burglary 
Burglars smashed the window of the back door of an apartment in the 4400 block of West 59th Street, entered and stole assorted jewelry, an iPad Mini and $300 cash. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 64-year-old woman, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17.

Elderly man’s garage broken into
Burglars forced open the door of a garage in the 4700 block of South La Crosse and stole a bicycle and two pairs of designer sunglasses. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 70-year-old man, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

Door may have been unlocked, burglary victim says
Burglars entered a garage in the 4800 block of South La Crosse and stole two bicycles, a large jack and assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 43-year-old man, at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22. The victim told police that he may have left the garage’s service door unlocked.

Tools taken from Kostner garage
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage in the 4900 block of South Kostner and stole assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 31-year-old woman, at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17.

Burglars have haul at vacant home
Burglars forced open the back door of a vacant home in the 3800 block of West 71st Street and stole a bedroom set, a living room set, a microwave oven cart, and a kitchen set. The crime was discovered by a property manager employed by the victim, a Loop-based bank, at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 17.

Toolbox taken from garage
Burglars kicked in the service door of a garage in the 4800 block of South Kolin and stole a toolbox containing various tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 33-year-old man, at about 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17.

Street peddlar’s garage hit by burglars
A 27-year-old Vittum Park woman reported that someone entered her unlocked garage in the 4700 block of South Lamon and stole various gardening tools—as well as about $700 worth of socks and blankets that she had planned to sell on the street. She said she discovered the crime at about 5 a.m. Wednesday, April 18.

No sign of forced entry in garage burglary
Burglars entered a garage in the 4900 block of South Lamon and stole a compressor, a heater, a bicycle and a radio. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 67-year-old man, at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 19. He told police that there was no sign of forced entry.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

St. Mary Star of the Sea sets big Ballet Folklórico showcase at Hubbard HS

Our friends at St. Mary Star of the Sea School have asked us to share details about their upcoming Ballet Folklórico Estrella del Mar talent showcase: "Mi Música, Mi Baile, Mi Cultura," set for Friday, May 11 in the auditorium at Hubbard High School, 62nd and Hamlin.

Why Hubbard? Well, this show is going to be so big, the parish's Duggan Hall won't be able to hold it!

About 50 St. Mary Star of the Sea students (and a few alumni) are set to perform what is being billed an evening of music, dance and culture.

Special guest performers include A Flor de Piel.

Tickets are available for the students at the school, or at the St. Mary Star of the Sea rectory. Ticket price is $15 for adults, $5 for grade school children. The rectory is located at 6435 S. Kilbourn, and its phone number is (773) 767-1246.

Click the flyer below for details. See you there?

Police bust four for blocking streets

Scottsdale crime fighter cheers ‘nuisance crime’ arrests

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Following through on a pledge by Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander Ronald Pontecore to enforce laws against public nuisances, police have made four “traffic obstruction” arrests in the last six weeks in the Scottsdale area—a neighborhood where some residents have for decades complained about aggressive panhandlers at busy intersections—often with little or no response by police.

Police did not say if the four people apprehended were panhandling, but they did charge each with obstruction of traffic by a non-motorist.

The most recent “obstruction” arrest occurred at 1 p.m. Friday, April 13, when 42-year-old Christina Dankert was apprehended at 79th and Cicero.
Christina Dankert

Two days earlier, police arrested Edgar Hardaway, 48, at 87th and Pulaski at 6:23 p.m. Wednesday, April 11. He also was charged with urinating/defecating on the public way.
Edgar Hardaway

Police arrested James Crouse, 58, near 86th and Pulaski at 12:40 p.m. Sunday, April 1.
James Crouse

Ervin Schlosser, 51, was arrested by police near 87th and Pulaski at 8:48 a.m. Saturday, March 17.

Ervin Schlosser

The busts were cheered by several people in the Scottsdale Neighborhood Watch, most notably President Jason Huff.

“Kudos to CPD for enforcing the laws,” Huff wrote on the SNW Facebook page. “Minor issue or not, these are ‘quality of life’ issues that can become bigger issues.

“These people getting charged often go and do other illegal activities,” he continued. “Those who say they should not be arrested have not been harassed by these individuals or may not realize that some these ‘homeless’ are actually not homeless and are just hustling kind-hearted people.”

Beggars—some with cardboard signs and others with squeegees and water—have been a sore spot among some on the Southwest Side in recent years, particularly in cases where panhandlers turn aggressive toward motorists at intersections. 

Street musicians— bucket boys in particular—are often thrown into the angry mix when the young percussionists roam between lanes of traffic and aggressively solicit donations.

Some people object to police action against panhandlers, saying that those working intersections are more in need of food, shelter, substance abuse services and mental health counseling than they are a jail cell.

Others point out that police are police--not social workers equipped to deal with societal ills--and that duty dictates a response to 911 calls about all crime, no matter how minor.

The recent police action in Scottsdale is consistent with remarks Pontecore made publicly last August at a West Elsdon Civic Association meeting.

At that event at Hancock High School, the commander acknowledged that calls about panhandlers are typically the lowest priority for police up to their elbows in calls relating to shootings, stabbings, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, theft and other “index” crimes. But he encouraged everyone to call 911 to report aggressive panhandlers because they may represent “little problems that can turn into bigger problems.”

Pontecore also has vowed to use the resources he has available to fight street-walking sex workers in the Archer Heights/Vittum Park area, most notably near 49th and Cicero—a move cheered by a number of local residents, including Archer Heights Civic Association President Thomas S. Baliga, who has called Pontecore “a hardworking leader…who has staged two roll calls in Archer Park and committed resources to missions on Cicero Avenue to combat both gang activity and prostitution.”

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