Tutor in Ukrainian Village

The literacy group Open Books is seeking volunteers for the East Village Youth Program activities at Mitchell Elementary School, 2233 W. Ohio:

Got an hour at lunch or before work? Join us as a reading Buddy at a local elementary school! We pair up with kids to work on fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, expression, confidence, and developing an overall love of reading.

Thursdays, starting October 2
12 - 12:45pm

Help students in grades 5-8 with homework after school. Tutors work one-on-one or with a small group of students.

1 day a week, Tuesday or Thursday
6 - 7:15 pm

To find out more and volunteer through Open Books' partnership with East Village Youth Program, contact literacy director Erin Walter.

Vote early at Goldblatt's Building

In the primary election, Chicago led the state in early voting. Now, the Chicago Election Board says Chicago voters have cast 105,000 ballots in 10 days, more than the entire 18 days of early primary voting.

If you are registered to vote, you don't need a reason to vote early through Oct. 30, but you do need to present a government photo ID.

The Goldblatt’s Building, 1615 W Chicago Ave. and 50 other city locations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The election board at 69 W. Washington is open on Sunday as well.

A parallel universe

President Message by John Scheer 

Imagine my surprise when I introduced myself to a guy next to me, and I find he's president of another neighborhood association.

The more we talked, the more amazed I was how similar his community in Milwaukee is to Chicago's East Village.

Milwaukee's historic Brewer’s Hill has many homes constructed in the late 1800s. Brewer's Hill and East Village both have landmark districts. They have received significant investments in renovation and restoration. Both are just north of downtown, a couple exits off the expressway to North Avenue. Both neighborhoods have permit parking, seemingly not to give residents priority but to aid city snow removal and revenue generation.

And the similarities continue. They both have beautiful commercial buildings on the major arterial streets. Brewer’s Hill buildings are being converted to residential, but most continue as commercial. There's a wonderful Crown Hardware store, an independent chocolate maker (Northern Chocolates), a museum, Walgreens, Value Village, Rainbow Fashion, Wendy’s, Foot Locker and hair and nail salons. The business model must be very Midwestern.

There's also a multiyear program to encourage further development alone the commercial corridor, King Drive. Since 1995, Brewer's Hill have been working on business improvement and investment in this major commercial street. They have been successful in securing more than $200 million in business development and have wooed a couple of corporate headquarters to relocate to this location. They call it a Business Improvement District. It’s not clear if this is anything like a Tax Increment Financing district, but it is similar to the efforts to encourage new businesses along our Chicago Avenue.

And we'd fit right into this diverse Milwaukee neighborhood. Neighbors are very diverse in several perspectives. They're working very hard to maintain their neighborhood as a good place to raise their family and earn a living. They are taking pride in their homes by maintaining and renovating buildings, whatever their vintage.

Business and residents work together. There was the August Brew City’s Best BBQ that included a family fun area, motorcycle-themed entertainment, barbecue and a live music stage. Other activities include street festivals, Juneteenth Day and the Garfield Avenue Jazz, Blues & Gospel Festival.

I have to believe that we can share some of our experiences in the growth of the East Village and learn from their challenges in historic Brewer’s Hill. Maybe we can even join forces and collectively achieve greater accomplishment by working together across state lines.

Andersen open house Wednesday

By Marjorie Isaacson 

Andersen Elementary School, 1148 N. Honore St., has been reborn as the LaSalle II Magnet School.

The curriculum for students in kindergarten through third grade is modeled on the successful LaSalle Language Academy, 1734 N. Orleans in Old Town. LaSalle II will focus primarily on acquisition of a second language. Classes will be taught in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Principal Suzanne Velasquez-Sheehy will be showing off the renovated building on Oct. 22 at an open house for the community. Tours times are 5-5:30 p.m. and 6-6:30 p.m., with a presentation at 5:30 p.m.

The school has a new computer lab and has received a $30,000 library grant. Neighborhood residents are already enjoying the new playground equipment installed this summer.

Admission to LaSalle II will be determined by lottery, with 50% of the spaces reserved for neighborhood residents. See cpsmagnet.org for an online application.

October 2008 EVA minutes

General Meeting minutes for Oct. 7, 2008 Membership Meeting
Submitted by Joe Hunnewinkel

Attendance 7
Members: 6
Non-members: 1

Introduction and welcome to Guest Speaker Lionel Martin of the OEMC.

1. Mr.. Martin highlighted the functions of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

1. OEMC coordinates the city's delivery of police, fire and emergency medical resources to all 311 and 911 calls. OEMC is the central hub for all city services.

2. OEMC prefers to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to addressing potential problems, as well as coordinating city operations.

3. Mr.. Martin stressed the importance of emergency planning with a focus on prevention of potential problems. It is important for residents to build emergency kits and have a plan in place in case of a crisis.

4. Website is alertchicago.org. A new program "Notify Chicago" is in place for residents can sign up for emergency notification.

2. Kristin Chiczewski from the Chicago Police Department Preventative Programs spoke to members on personal safety and ways to avoid potential attacks on the street, in your car, on public transportation, and at home.

3. Meeting adjourned.

Board Meeting minutes for 10/13, 2008
Submitted by Joe Hunnewinkel

Board Members: John Scheer, Greg Nagel, Brian Thompson, Joe Hunnewinkel, Rich Ansalmo, Scott Rappe, Steven Rynkiewicz

Non- Board member: Margie Issaccson.

1. It was decided that the November General Meeting and Board Meeting be combined on Monday, 11/10 due to the November 4th election. The focus of the meeting will be planning for the December Holiday Party.

2. Discussion of possible future guest speakers.

3. It was decided that Barista Coffee House, 852 N. Damen would be the site for EVA's first Movie Night at 4 p.m. Oct. 26. "High Fidelity" will be the film.

3. No progress on landmarks enforcement. No response from either the City or the Alderman's office.

4. No progress on the state of the former Pizza Hut property at Division and Ashland.
Walgreen's has not proposed a new plan for the potential structure. This may be due to the state of the economy.

5. Meeting adjourned.

Film students focus on West Town

By Matthew Wendeln

Intersection Pictures, a group of students at Columbia College Chicago, is producing a documentary about resisting gentrification in Chicago, including a segment on West Town.

The producers are looking for stories from people like you. For more information, contact Segment Producer Deirdre Lee.

EVA spins 'High Fidelity' at Barista movie night

"High Fidelity," the romantic comedy starring John Cusack, is next Sunday's movie at Barista Coffee House, 852 N. Damen.

Join Barista and the East Village Association at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 for free popcorn and Cusack's performance as Wicker Park hipster Rob Gordon. The movie is EVA's choice for Cusack's "top five breakups of all time" and the on-location scenes from fictional Championship Vinyl at Milwaukee and Honore.

The cast includes Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack. "High Fidelity" is rated R for language and some sexuality.

Here's how the film is described in the Internet Movie Database: "High Fidelity" follows the 'mid-life' crisis of Rob, a thirty-something record-store owner who must face the undeniable facts - he's growing up. In a hilarious homage to the music scene, Rob and the wacky, offbeat clerks that inhabit his store expound on the intricacies of life and song all the while trying to succeed in their adult relationships. Are they listening to pop music because they are miserable? Or are they miserable because they listen to pop music? This romantic comedy provides a whimsical glimpse into the male view of the affairs of the heart."

Join your neighbors to take in a film Barista-style, as owner April Lopez describes it, with "comfort, mental stimulation, and tantalizing treats." Upcoming Barista promotion: Bring proof of your vote on Nov. 4 for a free coffee.

East Village alert: 4 fires in 4 days

Four fires in four days were reported in East Village and Ukrainian Village, according to an Oct. 15 statement from the office of Ald. Manuel Flores.

"Law enforcement in the area is investigating to determine if there is any possible connection between these incidents," 1st Ward constituent-service specialist Jerry Gabrielatos said in an e-mail statement. "However, our office is providing this information as a precaution."

Call 911 to report suspicious activity. For more information, contact Gabrielatos at (773) 278-0101 or Jerry.Gabrielatos@cityofchicago.org.

No excuse not to vote--EVA meeting delayed

The Nov. 4 presidential election means the East Village Association's next monthly meeting is rescheduled to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10 at the Happy Village Tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott. The bar is also an Election Day polling place — only in Chicago!

EVA's annual holiday party is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 2, and the Nov. 10 agenda will feature planning for the event.

Have an emergency getaway? Sounds like a plan

Chicago emergency workers brought advice to East Village Association members Oct. 7 on how to prepare for family threats.

"Make a plan. Know where to meet in an evacuation should something occur," said Lionell Martin of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, which runs the city's 911 phone center.

Families should prepare a communication plan with places to meet up in case of a neighborhood or citywide emergency, Martin said, and a "go bag" to take with you. Include medicines, emergency supplies and contact numbers.

Update the emergency kit every six months, he said, so a power outage won't leave you holding dead batteries. A list of items to keep on hand is at the department's website, alertchicago.org.

A stealth feature of the site: Click on a Notify Chicago button under the FEMA "orange alert" graphic to sign up for city phone messages, text alerts or e-mails — on anything from from weather emergencies to traffic alerts.

The city plans how to react to a range of scenarios, Martin said, from locations to escape extreme heat and cold to evacuation routes in case of attack. In the city's planning, he said, Barack Obama poses a potential terrorist threat: The native son might raise the city's profile and make it a target for his enemies.

If that speculation seems far-fetched, consider that the city for the first time activated alarms during storms this past August. "You would think tornadoes would not be a problem in the city but in the last two years they've been getting closer and closer," he said.

The emergency office also answers phone calls to 311 for routine city services. The 911 center not only dispatches police and fire crews but also will follow up with local utilities in power outages.

Katie Chiczewski of the Chicago Police joined the discussion with safety tips and advice on how to describe a suspect. Her observations focused on keeping your eyes open: Look up, know if someone is nearby, and note tattoos or other unusual features.

Though the police website has detailed recommendations, she gave intuition its due: "Go with your gut feeling," Chiczewski said — "99% of the time you're right."