Peabody School again a closing target

The Chicago Public Schools could set off changes in East Village classrooms as its March deadline approaches for a final list of school closings.

"We're in a wait-and-see period," says Frederico Flores Jr., principal of Elizabeth Peabody Elementary, one of 129 schools being considered for phase-out. The school at 1444 W. Augusta Blvd. is the neighborhood school for East Village residents east of Ashland Avenue.

The prospect of Peabody closings is on Monday's East Village Association agenda. The meeting is set for 7pm at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott.

A hearing this week on closings in the CPS Fulton Network of West Side schools drew 800 people, according to a Chicago Teachers Union report. They included Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, who is scheduled to attend Monday's EVA meeting.

"Peabody is a general-admission elementary school, and there are not many of them," says CTU organizer Marty Ritter. "These are high-quality schools." LaSalle II magnet school at 1148 N. Honore is a converted neighborhood school, and Pritzker School at 2009 W. Schiller maintains both magnet and general-admission tracks.

Moreno presses Ashland liquor license

East Village Association board meeting minutes for Feb. 11, 2013, submitted by Meghan Quinn

Liquor moratoria discussion with Ald. Moreno
Garden Gourmet Market on Ashland just south of Division has requested a liquor license to sell wines and craft beers. There is currently a moratorium in place at this location, but Ald. Proco Joe Moreno would like to lift it to grant Garden Gourmet a package-goods license. Moreno contends that there have been several community meetings and the community as a whole does not have a problem with a small grocer/market selling beer and wine, as it is not a liquor store.

There are about 20 moratoria in place currently, and three recent requests to lift them -- two on Division and one on Augusta & Damen that was lifted and put back in place. Moreno stated that he wants to support local business but prevent nefarious liquor sales, and requests that EVA support his lift of the Ashland moratorium.

In response, Neal McKnight suggested there are two issues to consider: bigger, neighborhood-wide effects and an enforceable plan of operation tied to the license. The plan of operation would run concurrent with the liquor license, and if not followed, fines and ultimately license revocation could be imposed. The plan of operation is legally binding and can be more stringent than the municipal code.

Vegetarian food processor develops Grand-Hoyne site

Nicole Sopko describes the Upton's Naturals construction at 2054 W. Grand Ave.

East Village Association membership meeting minutes for February 4, 2013, submitted by Meghan Quinn

Business Minutes
Pure Vibes Fitness
Manager Kristi Burris stopped by to talk about innovative training approaches at Pure Vibes Fitness, 834 N. Ashland Ave. Established in 2010, Pure Vibes Fitness is Chicago’s only accelerated training center, using Power Plates in most of classes. Pure Vibes Fitness is also a functional training center, encouraging exercise using one’s own body, along with tools such as kettle bells and TRX suspension. For more info, go to website

Upton’s Naturals
Upton's Naturals is a Chicago-based natural foods producer specializing in vegan/vegetarian meat alternatives. Its main product is seitan, which is made from the protein in wheat. Both Whole Foods Market and Green Grocer Chicago carry Upton's Naturals products.

Upton’s visited EVA to announce the future opening of its new production facility at Grand & Hoyne on a lot that has been vacant for 30 years. A truly local company, Upton's Naturals started in Skokie and currently is located at Fulton & Damen. A small takeout café will open on the corner of the new lot with a rotating menu of sandwiches, baked goods and other vegan items. A planned community yoga space can be attended by donation. Completion of the building is anticipated in June or July. Upton's Naturals currently employs 16 people and will add more for the café.

Banco Popular (Popular Community Bank)
Branch manager Natalie Trempe and assistant branch manager Edith Armenta stopped by to talk about the Popular Community Bank branch at 1445 W. Chicago Ave. During February they are running their America Saves promotion. If you open a savings account, the bank will contribute extra money as an incentive. For example, if you put $250 into a new savings account, the bank will contribute an additional $50 to your account. Popular's Facebook page is conducting an I Love Saving photo contest. Simply upload an original image of what you’re saving for this year, and you will be eligible to win the grand prize of $5,000. Go to the Popular website at for more info.

Share your family's migration story

John Motley, Jr. Nightlife, 1943

By Anne Miskewitch, West Town Branch Manager, Chicago Public Library

Curators at the Art Institute of Chicago will visit the West Town branch library March 7, looking for people to record their oral histories.

A 6pm lecture at the library is based on a new Art Institute exhibit, "They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration, 1910–1950," opening March 3. Paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and decorative arts from foreign- and Southern-born artists trace Chicago's waves of migration.

What's really special and unique about this program is the invitation to stay and share your stories of cultural assimilation here in Chicago or in the U.S. It would be wonderful to get some of our community neighbors to share with us their life story.

Other March events at the library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave., include a homebrew demonstration, tax advice on college education and a book-group discussion of Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts.

Read more »

Pledge puts Wells ballfield on base

Efforts to build a ballyard at the Wells High School parking lot scored a pledge of $100,000 to $200,000 from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, says Wells principal Ernesto Matias.

The charity named for the Baltimore Orioles catcher and manager will help design the park, make fundraising connections and try to cut costs of a project estimated at upwards of $2.5 million. The Ripken Foundation has developed youth ballparks in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

The Field of Hope plans would place home plate roughly where the drivers-education Willis wagon is parked. The school at 936 N. Ashland Ave. now uses Eckhart Park's soccer and baseball fields a half-mile away at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. The preliminary design incorporates a dog park, playground and movie screen.

The Field of Hope Foundation's November event at the Boundary raised $5,000. The fundraising group is looking for more board members: Candidates should contact Matias or Susan Nusbaum at the school.

East Village crime map

East Village crimes: One year prior to present

Source: City of Chicago Data Portal (Powered by Socrata)

EVA Monday: Quigley new East Village congressman

When members of the 113th Congress were sworn in Jan. 3, East Village got a new congressman: Mike Quigley.

The southern edge of Illinois' 5th congressional district now ends roughly at Damen, Grand and Milwaukee avenues. Aside from Goose Island, it's the only stretch of Quigley's North Side turf that extends past Division Street. East Village now has three aldermen (maybe more during the ward remap transition) but only one congressman.

So it's get-aquainted time for former constituents of Luis Gutierrez. Tim Nazanin, Rep. Quigley's outreach coordinator, will sound out community concerns at Monday night's East Village Association meeting in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott.

Rep. Quigley, a former Cook County commissioner, was elected to the House four years ago. In this session he'll have a role in the budget debate as Illinois' only representative on the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Quigley is also the state's regional whip in the Democratic caucus, and has been the ranking member of the subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs.

A backer of Chicago's handgun ban, Rep. Quigley began the new term by introducing bills to report firearms-dealer background and inventory checks and to fund $15 million in local gun buybacks. The local-news blog DNAinfo this week reported on Quigley's "undercover congressman" shift at Dinkel's Bakery in Lakeview.

The meeting starts at 7pm with a Business Minute on Banco Popular's latest incentive program.