Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Some Local Proof the Affordable Healthcare Act is Working

I am sick of hearing about Obama's website and how he failed as a President because his website did not magically fix the entire healthcare system over night. His use of technological tools are better than almost every other politician out there, but for some reason we demand he be a tech god and the US government the best tech support outfit in the world, better than Silicon Valley and Bangalore combined. This is why all this anti-Obamacare/ website coverage is embarrassing, "journalists," because you gave so much air time to the loser Republicans.

"Wah, wah, the website is broken! Someone is trying to hack into it! Look how incompetent the President is at building a very important website," they whine like children.  

Meanwhile, inside Illinois,

"Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems has achieved its goal of 115,000 applications initiated for CountyCare, an early rollout of the Affordable Care Act for Cook County, Illinois, more than two months ahead of schedule."

115,000 people for the early version! That's a fifth of the number currently being cited everywhere (500,000) by the media! 115,000 people ALONE in Cook County, this size of an area!

Given that, more than 500,000 people have to have signed up for healthcare under the ACA. It's statistically impossible for it to be just "500,000." But anyway, it's not the numbers that are important, it is all these people who are now able to get affordable insurance.

So cool it on the anti-ACA website coverage please.

Here's the rest of the press release, sent to me on November 13th, for those that are curious:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Pizza & Blog Technology Workshop for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders

I recently teamed up with Mazie Soto and Phillip Pompa as a volunteer for their TLCC Chicago Autobiography/Photography Blogging pilot workshop. I had been meaning to volunteer in some capacity for a while -- I enjoyed the short stint tutoring at Roosevelt High School when the Albany Park Post was on the Windy Citizen, but felt I wasn't really wanted by the program as I was younger and not a math or science "expert."

Blogging, editing, helping young ones better articulate themselves however, is right up my alley (as is helping the Ecuadorean Center acquire computers, hah) as it is my line of work. Come next week, I will be at the Sulzer Library helping edit and type -- if any kids show up, that is.   

Both Mazie and Phillip are very passionate about the project, and about helping under served children, but it's been incredibly disappointing to see pushback from the Chicago Public School system. We can't even leave flyers on the premise for some reason -- which is really freaking rich considering 9 out of 10 schools in the United States still don't offer a computer science class. There is a real need for this type of education, but the CPS apparently doesn't want any help.

Anyway, here is the flyer! Send your young ones, I promise I won't tell them about 4chan's /b/.

Free Blog Technology Workshop for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders
Pizza will be provided for participants

When: November 6, 2013

Where: Sulzer regional Library in the Community Conference room at
4455 N. Lincoln Ave  Chicago, IL 60625

Time: 4-6:30pm
A little about us, Technocratic Learning and Collaboration Center of Chicago is a 501c(3) nonprofit whose mission is to help middle school aged students from underserved communities improve their academic performance through positive motivation, collaboration, and holistic learning by utilizing technology as a way to bridge the digital divide
Please sign up at or call/text us at (773) 840-8522

Space is limited

A big thank you to our sponsor

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

That new building being constructed on Kedzie & Lawrence is going to be a residence for the elderly

According to Albany Park Plaza workers (who interact with the construction workers regularly) this new building will be a residence home for the elderly. No indication it will be just for elderly Koreans, like the building next door. 

Enjoy that big crane:  


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Ecuadorian Association Needs Your Old Computers

  AEU Vice President Danny Siguenza and AEU volunteer Edwin Rivera. Both also volunteer at CeaseFire. 

The Asociacion Ecuador Unido (AEU or Ecuadorian Union Association in English) just north of Lawrence on Albany is currently trying to build a computer lab/free Internet cafe on their premises, and they are in desperate need of old computers and donations.

 "There's not a lot of places for youths to go to after school" said AEU Vice President Danny Siquenza, after citing McDonalds as an alternative and the Albany Park Neighborhood Association's computer area "which is always full."

 The computer hangout will be built in the main lobby (see above picture) by volunteers -- mostly parents who drop their children off for dance, music art or Tae Kwon Do lessons taught at the AEU said Siguenza.

The construction will include the demolishing of a wall and a new one to partition the lobby. The AEU will be holding a dance soon (TBD), tickets at $5, to raise money for dry wall, desks and other necessities.

The story behind the Ecuadorian Association's mural

There's not a whole lot of street art in Albany Park (occasionally gang graffiti will be somewhat pretty, but the whole "gang" business makes it hard to justify it as art), but one new community mural consistently catches my eye.

Located just north of Lawrence on Albany on the old garage door belonging to Asociacion Ecuador Unido (AEU or in English: Ecuadorian Union Association), this mural was completed near the end of August.

What it looked like on August 15th:

The mural was part of an Albany Park Neighborhood Association youth employment program, explained AEU Vice President Danny Siguenza today. About 80 teens in the community were given summer jobs at schools, nonprofits, daycares, hair salons and other local business as part of the program, and one of the jobs was painting this mural.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thoughts on Congressman Quigley named by BuzzFeed as "Most YOLO"

For a good couple of minutes earlier this week, my face was frozen between a wince and a grin: my elected congressman was on BuzzFeed as the “most YOLO Congressman on Facebook.”

The grin because it is great Quigley is getting recognition for his public appearances, community outreach and grasp of social media, the wince because while the BuzzFeed piece was celebratory it was also satirical and that made me defensive. YOLO makes me think of reckless young adults passed out at a party or driving drunk. "You Only Legislate Once" doesn't do it for me, so stop trying to make that happen, Benny Johnson. Ugh.

This is why then, that I immediately puffed up with “How dare BuzzFeed mock Quigley for actually doing his job and photographing it!” upon reading the title of the piece. Quigley and his neighborhood antics -- which include riding with garbage pick-up workers to experience their job difficulties -- has always made me proud to call him my elected official.

I’ve been following Quigley’s antics on social media, primarily through Twitter, for years now and I was always impressed with his use of the Internet. His team is constantly sharing photos on Flickr, Facebook and now Instagram, as well as news blasts, alerts, and website polls on issues and upcoming legislation. Quigley and his staff understand how to use the Internet to keep his constituents happy and informed. I know, because I am happy and informed. He even responds to emails-- once in letter form-- and his staff has always been helpful and polite on the phone if I am calling about legislation that has caught my attention.

Which is why then, that I wince over BuzzFeed being the first national publication to recognize Quigley’s social media prowess, and them doing so in a not-so-respectful nor complete-enough-to-my-liking manner. I realize BuzzFeed is currently rebranding itself as a serious news site but I still associate them with regurgitate from reddit and social media shaming posts meant to stir liberal hate, both clickmagnet formulas they won't be stopping any time soon. Maybe one of their readers might actually think Quigley does nothing but photo-ops, pick fights in his Blackhawk jersey and plays with marine life all day! I hate that person, whoever they are.

Quigley, being the man that he is, took the BuzzFeed post with aplomb, tweeting the link various times including one tweet beginning with “Cool story bro.”  What a guy. Someone should give him an award or something.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Speaking of newsletters, Laurino clearly has issues communicating with her constituents...

Staff at Laurino's office sent this news blast out at 3:45 PM today, titled "Montrose Closure," emphasis mine.
"Montrose Avenue will be closed at Kildare (4300 West) for a sewer main connection, starting immediately, and will be reopened on June 5th. The detour is Montrose-Cicero-Irving Park-Pulaski.

This is part of sewer reconstruction projects which will reduce flooding and reduce future maintanence needs. We apologize for any inconvenience in the interim. "
It would be nice to know about street closures before they actually happen, but yah know, maybe that is a little bit too much to ask from your alderman. (What exactly do they do all day again?)

Traffic on the North Side is already terrible, and now this? Ugh. Get it together, Laurino.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Particularly touching note from Alderman Mell regarding Memorial Day

Will his daughter write similar notes? (Also, Laurino never writes such nice notes...)

Alderman Mell speaking at the 17th PD Town Hall meeting, 2010

"Dear 33rd Ward Residents,   

Most of us think of the Memorial Day weekend as the start of summer, although you couldn't tell by the cooler weather we are experiencing. I suppose we will look back with fondness on such days as these as we inevitably see the temperatures turn hotter.   

However, tomorrow's holiday is rooted in a much more sobering reality. It started out as “Decoration Day” in rural areas of the South where the "decorating" of soldiers' graves with flowers around this time of year was the custom.   

Civil War General John Alexander Logan (for whom Logan Square and Logan Boulevard was named), the commander-in-chief of the organization for Union Civil War veterans known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation declaring that "Decoration Day" should be observed nationwide.  General Logan had a distinguished civil career as an Illinois state senator, a congressman and, eventually, a United States senator for Illinois.


As a result of General Logan's proclamation, May 30, 1868 is considered the start of our national commemoration. Today Memorial Day honors all those heroes who have died in the Civil War and all other wars since, an estimate than now comes close to a monumental 800,000 lives given in the service of our country.    

So as we fire up our grills and start our picnic season, do not forget those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and whose graves are being decorated on this day.  

With kindest regards,  

Alderman Richard F. Mell"

why do bots love this blog's twitter...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Someone please tell me why the APCC is acting all crazy and drunk (and maybe stealing federal and/or state grant money?)

 Yeah, another one of Fruzs's rants about obscure neighborhood issues.

But seriously, as someone who has lived here for 5ish years with limited knowledge of how state and federal funds work, even I know what I am about to tell you is fucked up. (Note: the center on Kimball and Foster that teaches ESL actually does good work which I have seen first hand and is in no way included in this rant. All those teachers and staff in that building are exempt from my textual wrath as they actually provide a service to the community.)

Back in March I became furious upon learning the APCC moved their main building out of the neighborhood, for presumably cheaper rent and larger office space. But it wasn't just their offices; APCC moved community services too. I never actually used the APCC for anything, but people living in the hood that were in need of its services were always wary of it, which made me pause.  The fact that they were taking money out of the neighborhood -- ie, they got money for providing services in a troubled neighborhood but now they were no longer in a troubled neighborhood --  was what pissed me off. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You can print guns from a 3D printer now!

I find this terrifying...and it throws a wrench in the whole gun control/gang violence debate.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Last Night's Fire Displaced 28 Albany Parkers

....reports the Twitter stream of the American Red Cross.
The blaze began around 4am on Sunday morning, on the back porch of a three-story apartment building. No one was injured. From the Tribune's "overnight violence and mayhem" reporter Peter Nickeas:

Fire engines, trucks and ambulances jammed the blocks surrounding the building, in the 4800 block of North Lawndale Avenue, as crews worked to extinguish the blaze.
Nickeas snapped this pic, as well as this one he shared on Twitter:
Meanwhile CBS/WBBM Radio, who made a note to mention the CTA's "warming buses" for the people displaced, is reporting that 4800 North Lawndale Avenue is "Avondale."

What? Avondale is Lawrence between Kimball and Pulaski? They're trolling me, right... Right???

Take Congressman Mike Quigley's Survey on Gun Violence

It's actually only one question, but a good one.

And here is Quigley with some NIU students recently, taken from his official Twitter stream. (In case you can't tell, I also think Quigley is a good civil servant.)


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gunman Killed by Albany Park Police this morning

Happened around 4am on Wilson Ave, reports all the presses. The man was speeding down Wilson and probably drunk as he crashed into & sideswiped a bunch of parked cars before getting out of his vehicle and shooting at the approaching police.

The two officers suffered "bruises and contusions" when they dove for cover.  

Police Shoot, Kill Man in Albany Park After Exchanging Gunfire

Police shoot, kill man in Albany Park neighborhood 

 Read more:

Police: Man killed after exchanging gunfire with officers

Read more, with video:,0,4396546.story

Friday, March 15, 2013

Alderman Laurino Spring Newsletter includes an O'Hare traffic & noise meeting!!!

(cut and pasted from my email for your viewing pleasure, now that EveryBlock is gone...)

Issue: 202March 14, 2013

O'Hare traffic and noise meeting
Alderman Laurino is hosting an informational meeting about O'Hare traffic and noise over the Thorndale corridor. Invited speakers will be from the Chicago Department of Aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.
Thursday, April 4, at 6:00 pm. North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski, H-Building Community Room.
Clean and Green

April 20 is Clean and Green day! Clean and Green is Chicago's annual community clean up day! Meet your neighbors and make your neighborhood more beautiful. If you'd like to start a volunteer group, or join an existing group, call Jonathan at Alderman Laurino's office, 773-736-5594.
Boys Basketball Tournament
Congratulations to all the participants in Alderman Laurino's Eleventh Annual Boys Basketball Tournament! It was a lively competition, and a great time was had by all.

Thorp won first place in the 5th and 6th grade division, while St. Edward finished second. Brentano won the 7th-8th grade division, while Volta finished second. Also participating were Gray, Farnsworth, Hibbard, Marshall, Newberry, Portage and Saugansh.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The APCC has moved? Did this neighborhood even need the APCC?

 Pardon me for being late to this news, as I was in India for a month, but the Albany Park Community Center is now located in Ravenswood!?

Can someone explain to me how the APCC will continue to serve the community if it is no longer located in Albany Park, but two well-to-do neighborhoods away and towards the lake?

Well, that's the thing: the APCC is now trying to be a city-wide service, as opposed to a neighborhood service.  The APCC isn't really concerned about serving Albany Park any more, they say. They want to serve the whole city.

Is this a sign of Illinois' economic times? In an interview, APCC president did say they are depending less and less on government and state funding.


According to Patch (which is now covering Lincoln Square for some reason - no wonder Fourcher felt threatened), the move allows the APCC to employ more people, provides a better social and working atmosphere as the organization is no longer split between 2 floors, and offers bigger space for cheaper rent. Programs offered at the APCC include employment training and the rehabilitation of veterans, but something about Ravenswood and its comparable wealth really rubs me the wrong way.  It's all about location, right?

You'd think that if the APCC was trying to reach more people in need of their services, they'd move to a less affluent neighborhood.  You know, a neighborhood where their services are actually needed and wanted.

Are you really going to make poor people commute farther to your center? Where they'll walk past pretty boutiques and manicured streets with flower boxes - aka, feel more shitty about their economic level and life - to go take job training classes and learn how to speak English?  Well, yes.  Yes you are.

At least Albany Park still has Our Lady of Mercy, which many would argue is the real community center here in Albany Park.  And we have the APNC and NRC, which actually provide real services to the community.

Sigh. I don't know why I am angry about this.

Oh, no, yes I do.

I hate it when we lose nonprofits and neighborhood services. I was pissed when Blue Sky Bakery left, when they reduced CAPS meetings for every other month for my police district, and then when they closed down the library at Kimball & Foster.

Now this???   

pro tip on how to get out a gang!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Other blogs covering Albany Park!

... besides the fun Fuck Yeah Albany Park tumblr, some new ones have popped up in the last year:

60625news, which is written by a former CSJ writer and the comic book artist Sarah Morton!  She focuses on the Lincoln Square area, hence the zipcode.

Albany Park Neighbors, a new community group that I may or may not check out in March. 


Shadow was 19-year-old Andre Ephrame...

...who died on 9/15/11 at 10:30 p.m

According to the RedEye's homicide map, Andre died on the same block as the RIP graffiti. The Chicago Tribune is reporting the killer's motive was "retaliation" for a shooting in California, that Ephrame was in no way a part as he was on the other side of the country, except, of course, for being in the same gang.
"Cook County prosecutors said Miguel Ruiz, 20, of the 4600 block of North Central Park Avenue, was driving around with his friend Alfredo Carranza, 25, on Thursday, looking for members of rival gangs to shoot.

Carranza's brother had recently been shot in California by a gang member there, which was why he was hunting for other gang members in Chicago.

Eventually they found Andre Ephrame, 19, and Carranza shot and killed him in the 4900 block of North Troy Street, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Howlett said in court Saturday."  

What solidifies my theory that Andre was Shadow, is an RIP Latin Kings tribute video made about an Andre Ephrame who went by the name of "Shadow." The 1 minute 45 second video is full of images of Andre goofing off with his friends interspersed with Latin Kings imagery. At the end, the video lists his place of death as on "4900 block Lkst," which is in keeping with media and official reports of his place of death.

Gone but never forgotten. 

Here is Andre's mug shot, taken in May 2011, for carrying a firearm illegally.  Andre lived in Little India

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Win a Dinner for Two at Semiramis!

You just have to take a related photo, and tag them on Facebook. See the photo below: