West Fest organizers at July 12 EVA meeting

The West Town Chamber of Commerce takes over Chicago Avenue July 10 and 11 for its West Fest street fair. The next day, the business group reports to East Village Association members on the festival and its other activities.

West Fest closes Chicago Avenue from Damen to Wood, and extends from noon till 10 p.m. both days. This year's music headliners are We Were Promised Jetpacks, an indie rock band from Scotland, and New York dance DJ Jonathan Toubin.

A Kid Fest on Wolcott between Chicago and Rice features live music, pony rides, a bounce house and other activities till 6 both days. A PupFest includes a dog wash to benefit the Greyhounds Only rescue organization and Alive Rescue shelter.

A $5 donation benefits the West Town Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Park Advisory Committee. It's the last of three summer fund-raisers the chamber organizes, following June's Do-Division Street Fest on Division Street and the Green Music Fest this past weekend, another Chicago Avenue fair between Ashland and Noble.

The EVA presentation on business issues will include the tax-supported West Town Special Service Area, which has funded murals, street banners and trash collection.

The July 12 EVA meeting is delayed one week due to the Fourth of July holiday. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Happy Village outdoor patio at Wolcott and Thomas.

Worker bees star in community garden

A bee at work (top) in the Frankie Machine garden; an insect trap amid the sage.By Marjorie Isaacson 

Consider the honeybee: It may be a humble insect, but food production depends on the work of these pollinators. In recent years, honeybees have become the subject of considerable attention from scientists and food policy experts.

They've observed a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. Worker bees suddenly die off and whole hives disappear. This is a big deal for agricultural crops worldwide.

However, honeybees work in the city too, and this year they’re being studied right in our neighborhood.

A University of Illinois researcher is evaluating the honeybee population in a number of Chicago area sites, including the Frankie Machine Community Garden at Wood and Haddon. Four monitoring stations have been established in the garden, and once a month collection containers are set out to catch insects.

Then the contents are shipped to the U. of I. for analysis. Additional data are collected on plants that are in bloom within five meters of the monitoring stations.

I’ll report the results on the study when they are available.

Respect: Final thoughts on thoughtful debate

President's Message | By Greg Nagel  

At our last general meeting. a bylaw amendment was vigorously debated. The result was 11-10 against adding language giving the president the power to remove from a meeting a member who was not being respectful.

I had promised East Village Neighbors leaders to propose this amendment as a prerequisite for them merging into the East Village Association, and felt it had additional symbolic value. I had only half my board’s support, and as it turns out just under half the vote in the general meeting.

Many board members urged me not to push forward on this item but rather find other ways to promote respect within the organization. After all, there were reasonable objections, including the potential for the president to abuse the power and quell legitimate debate, and the vague nature of exactly what is disrespect.

With that said, I’m pleased that I pushed forward and took it to a vote. One result was we spent nearly an hour in our general meeting talking about what respect means. Just discussing the topic this long will have a significant impact on EVA culture.

And there was some value in losing gracefully. Hopefully, most people felt I was gracious in how I ran the meeting and dealt with this issue. I did get some very nice e-mails to that effect. So perhaps being a model for taking a loss in stride was good for our culture as well.

The result seemed immediate in the presentation that followed from Galleria Liquors. One member interrupted the presenter and fired off three or four questions without giving the person a chance to respond. I stepped in and asserted that the person deserved a chance to speak. The EVA member politely pulled back and allowed the presenter to finish.

Arguably this incident shows that with proper leadership, removal of a member from a meeting is not necessary. Still, I can’t help but wonder: Had the Galleria debate come first, would the respect vote have had a different result?

As an alternative to a bylaw amendment, I will be talking about respect at the start of each meeting to set the tone, and may even bring up the topic mid-meeting before a potentially contentious vote. Of course I want people to speak their mind and advocate their position, but in a neighborly way.

I have been at meetings where members have been rude and the president did not step in and set the tone. I’m not sure if it was leadership style or priorities. I feel somewhat confident that I have elevated the importance of respect within our organization and that we can run our meetings with open debate and respect. Can we maintain respect in our EVA culture in years to come? I hope so.

Talking points to frame EVA meetings

Greg Nagel opens June 7 membership meeting with guidelines for respectful speech. 
Board Meeting Minutes for June 14, 2010
Submitted by Dana Palmer

Attendance: Greg Nagel, Neal McKnight, Nicole Semple, Dana Palmer, Scott Rappe, Aaron Bilton, Tom Tomek and Stephen Rynkiewicz. Meeting commenced at 6:40 p.m.

  1. Respect Bylaw Amendment Alternatives: It was agreed by the board that the president will open each membership meeting with an opening statement regarding respect and will introduce the board members. Majorie Isaacson drafted a statement regarding respect that the president will use as an outline to the opening statement of each meeting:
    1. Welcome everyone, thanks to all for coming and special welcome to new attendees.

    2. Suggest that if people are newcomers, they are encouraged to introduce themselves to any of the Board members after the meeting. (This because some people are shy about speaking in public, and point people to the whole board so if one person is busy talking after the meeing, they can go to someone else.)

    3. Announce this is the monthly general meeting of our local community group, where we meet to learn and talk about issues relevant to our neighborhood.

    4. Note that we think it's very important to hear people's opinions on the subjects we are talking about.

    5. Remind people that during these kinds of exchanges differences of opinion may occur (and perhaps that the more controversial the subject the more likely this is).

    6. So, while we hope people will contribute to the conversation, it must be done in a respectful manner.

    7. If commentary becomes out of line, it will be stopped by the person presiding over the meeting.

    8. We are serious about maintaing a respectful enviornment, and thank everyone in advance for helping make that happen.

    Isaacson will also draft a brief statement regarding respect and what it means to EVA for the website and newsletter.

  2. EVA Signs: Scott Rappe made a map of East Village and mapped out where each board member will place signs prior to each membership meeting.

  3. Trees on Augusta: Neal McKnight will set up a date to do measuring of Augusta to find out what options are available to add more foliage to the street.

  4. Guest Speakers: Greg Nagel reconfirmed with the West Town Chamber and SSA to come to July 12 membership meeting. Neal McKnight agreed to speak with Black Dog Gelato about doing a Business Minute. Scott Rappe also agreed to speak with Barry's pharmacy about presenting a Business Binute in the future.

  5. Galleria Liquor follow-up: Scott Rappe is drafting a letter to send to Ald. Joe Moreno regarding the vote at the membership meeting.

  6. Walgreens: PR representatives sent an email to Greg Nagel regarding the reintroduction of beer and wine into their store. They were asking to come to a meeting, as suggested by the alderman, to inform the group of their plans. After some discussion, Neal McKnight agreed to speak with Ald. Moreno's office about the issue.

  7. Treasure's Report: Nicole Semple stated that she is still in the process of arranging a new bank account for EVA and is planning to go with Chase bank.

  8. Membership: Dana Palmer agreed to compile a complete membership list of both East Village Association and the previous East Village Neighbors group.

Liquor OK linked to zoning, new moratorium

Peter Locke (with laptop) demonstrates energy-audit tests at the Happy Village.
Membership Meeting Minutes for June 7, 2010
Submitted by Dana Palmer

  1. Business Minute: Dana and Matt Palmer presented Super Dog Walking as a local business.

  2. Guest Speaker: Peter Locke, a sustainability consultant with the city of Chicago, presented to the group. He spoke about the Chicago Climate Action Plan, which states that Chicago has proposed to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. He also touched on the Chicago Retrofit Strategy, which involves retrofitting homes and businesses to be more energy efficient buildings.

  3. Respect Amendment: President Greg Nagel proposed a bylaw amendment regarding respect and expulsion of an individual being disrepectful. However, a vote of 10 in favor and 11 opposed did not allow the amendment to pass.

  4. Galleria Liquors. Benjamin Pourkhalili and associates presented plans to put a high-end wine and liquor store at Ashland and Division in the Polish Triangle. They are requesting a lift of the liquor-license moratorium. The EVA Planning, Preservation and Development team presented a proposal that could grant the Galleria request and also fulfill EVA initiatives. The committee also reported that it met with Alderman Joe Moreno's office regarding the pedestrian designation along Division. The alderman committed to the designation and it will be presented to the City Council at a July meeting.

    Neal McKnight presented the Galleria Liquors proposal as:
      The Planning, Preservation and Development Committee does not oppose lifting the packaged goods moratorium to allow Galleria Liquors to obtain a liquor license, subject to and only upon the successful implementation of the following:
    1. Establishment of a new packaged goods moratorium on the south side of Division, from Wood to Ashland,
    2. Zoning change of 1551 Division, 1553-55 Division, 1133 North Ashland and 1141 North Ashland form C2-1 to B1-1.
    This proposal was made and seconded and passed with a 19-3 vote.

Meeting commenced at 7:07 p.m., adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

EVA lends wine store an opener

East Village Association members on June 7 paved the way for a wine shop to lease the former Washington Mutual bank building at 1555 W. Division.

Members voted 19-3 vote to support a new package-goods moratorium on the south side of Division Street, from Wood Street to Ashland Avenue, and to rezone the commercial Division-Ashland-Milwaukee block to B1-1.

Galleria Wine & Liquor‎ made a presentation to EVA at the suggestion of 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno, who would have to lift a moratorium that now extends to Milwaukee Avenue. Downzoning after Galleria obtains a license would prohibit package-goods uses if the business fails or moves, said EVA planning co-chair Neil McKnight.

A proposed bylaw that would allow the chair to expel members from EVA meetings failed on a 10-11 vote.

LaSalle II raffle raises $3,674

By Rhonda Locke

A total of $3,674 was raised for art and music programs at LaSalle II magnet school, 1148 N. Honore, from a raffle sponsored by the East Village Association May 22 at the Boundary Tavern & Grille.

There were 328 tickets sold at $5 each or 5 for $20.

Raffle revenue totaled $1,370. The Boundary, at 1932 N. Division. donated $2,304.

Winner of the Black Hawks box is Caroline Pappas, of West Delaware Place. A CrossFit Chicago membership package goes to Cathy Micinski of North Hoyne Avenue, and Lush Wine & Spirits will provide a wine-tasting package for Craig Benson of North State Parkway.

Total expenses were $250.18: business license $120, raffle ticket printing $92.18 and posters $38.

A huge thank-you to EVA and all who helped the LaSalle II Parent-Teacher Organization pull this off.