Chicago energy audits branch out

Federal funds helped Energy Impact Illinois line up 3,500 building retrofits in the Chicago area, says field organizer Vito Greco. Now CNT Energy, the Wicker Park-based nonprofit organizing the yearlong coaching effort, is lining up partners to continue its energy assessments.

"Our aim is to create a more whole-home approach," Greco said. "This might include not just insulation and air-sealing, but also lighting, appliances, solar and even water management." The energy-efficiency clearinghouse would channel grants, rebates and free products to owners of houses and and 2-4 unit buildings.

Greco will give a progress report on the successor effort at Monday's East Village Association meeting. He'll also have tips on insulating and sealing homes for winter. The meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Author Adam Levin at West Town Branch Library

By Jason Nosek, library associate

Author event: Adam Levin
Please join us at 2pm Saturday Nov. 2 for a reading by local author Adam Levin, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Books will be available for purchase at the library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave.

Levin is the author of the novel “The Instructions,” winner of both the 2011 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and the inaugural Indie Booksellers Choice Award, and finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction.

Hot Pink,” his collection of short stories, was a New York Times Editor's Choice pick and a Shelf Unbound Top 10 book of 2012. It contains stories that have won the Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest as well as the Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize.

His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Tin House, Esquire, Playboy, and New England Review. He lives in Chicago, where he teaches Creative Writing at the School of the Art Institute.

Bringing trees to Augusta Boulevard

East Village Association board meeting minutes for October 14, 2013
Submitted by Meghan Quinn

Upcoming speakers
Vito Greco from the Center for Neighborhood Technology will give a short talk about its energy programs.

For a future meeting, Neal McKnight and Gladys Anselmo will approach someone from zoning to speak about possibilities for East Village, with an aim toward developing a plan to encourage the preservation and construction of single-family homes.

Ronda Locke will ask Dietch Pharmacy if it's interested in doing a business minute to discuss current renovations and additions.

Red Apple liquor license
Red Apple filed suit in circuit court against the city for denying a license. The judge ruled in favor of Red Apple, and the city will appeal. The process likely will take awhile.

Miller Lumber
LaSalle II school was promised $10,000 a year from the developers. McKnight will write to developers reminding them of the commitment.

1800 W. Chicago Ave.
Fifield has contacted McKnight about again increasing the unit count above the existing zoning to move forward with the project. EVA has stated the group is against upzoning and will not support this new density. The board supports the idea that the community or park district obtain the land and expand Commercial Park.

Augusta Boulevard
The board would like to come up with ways to improve Augusta, as it is currently not being treated as a boulevard. We would like to see an upgraded streetscape, including trees and possibly a bike lane. Ronda Locke spoke to Ald. Scott Waguespack regarding streetscape improvements in general, not necessarily in this location, and he said the process can take 2 to 4 years. An old letter from Barbara Lumpkin shows approval by the city for curb bumpouts, and while the letter may no longer be enforceable, a plan most likely exists. We would like to see improvements all the way to Humboldt.

Damen trash cans
The city will install trashcans if it can be worked into its current daily pick-up route/schedule. Some community members have expressed interest in having this amenity.

Holiday party location
Board members will brainstorm places to hold this year's holiday party. Smoke Daddy was brought up as a possibility.

Meeting commenced at 6:40pm, adjourned at 7:25pm. Attendance: Board members Neal McKnight, Meghan Quinn, Gladys Anselmo, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Rob Schickel, Tom Tomek; other attendees Rich Anselmo, Marjie Isaacson, Ronda Locke.

West Town crime: August-September 2013

West Town crime remains lower compared to last year, according to police figures. Arrests in the news included suspects in a Wicker Park shooting and a Ukrainian Village armed robbery.

The East Village Association analyzed statistics downloaded from the City of Chicago Data Portal and published on the Chicago Tribune Crime in Chicago website, comparing them to 2012 incidents.

August % change September % change YTD % change
Homicide 0 0 2 100% 7 17%
Sexual assault 4 100% 1 0% 21 11%
Assault 7 -42% 3 -67% 56 -28%
Battery 15 -17% 12 0% 98 -9%
Robbery 31 35% 21 -46% 238 -20%
Violent crime 57 4% 39 -37% 420 -17%
Burglary 79 -5% 65 -28% 579 -6%
Theft 256 -11% 245 -11% 1,911 -15%
Auto theft 54 15% 52 -20% 420 -13%
Arson 2 100% 0 -100% 7 17%
Property crime 391 -7% 362 -16% 2,917 -13%
Criminal damage 83 -14% 90 10% 655 -25%
Prostitution 0 -100% 1 -50% 6 -45%
Narcotics 25 -11% 29 -9% 237 -41%
Lifestyle crime 108 -14% 120 3% 898 -30%
Total 556 -7% 521 -15% 4,235 -18%

1611 West Division: Permit parking off limits

Leasing is under way at the 1611 West Division high-rise tower, marketed as "less than 300 feet away" from the CTA Blue Line. After side-street parking was raised as an issue at this week's East Village Association meeting, Ald. Proco Joe Moreno asked us to share the following statement.

Dear neighbor

As you may know, as part of the redevelopment agreement for the building at the corner of Ashland and Division, I committed to not allowing residents of this building the ability to obtain permit parking on Marshfield.

To that end, at last month's city council meeting, I introduced an ordinance that prohibits residents at the new building from acquiring permit parking on Marshfield. This ordinance will be passed in committee this week, and by the full council next week.

Additionally, the City Clerk agreed to not issue any permits allowing parking on Marshfield to residents of the new building "pending passage of the ordinance." In other words, even though the ordinance is not technically passed, the Clerk will not issue permits if someone were to visit her office prior to passage.

Please feel free to contact my office if you should have any further questions.


Proco Joe Moreno, Alderman 1st Ward
2058 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

LaSalle II earns top grade; healthcare enrollment opens

Minutes of Oct. 7 membership meeting
Submitted by Stephen Rynkiewicz

LaSalle II
Principal Lauren Albani announced that LaSalle II school has been promoted to Level 1, giving the language academy more autonomy. Level 1 is the highest of three ratings levels based on growth in attendance and Illinois Standard Achievement Test scores. Top-tier schools score 28 or more points on a 39-point scale; LaSalle II earned 34 points. More information is at

Landscaping will begin Oct. 21 along Division and Honore streets as part of a campus re-imagination. This summer new playground equipment will be added, along with two basketball courts and a vegetable garden. The campus will be open to the community thanks to an OpenLands grant. Neal McKnight noted that developers of the former Miller Lumber property had pledged to donate to the project.

This year the school at 1148 N. Wolcott has an enrollment of 622 chosen by lottery, with half of incoming students chosen from within 1 to 1½ miles of the school. Common Core testing indicates math scores in the 98 percentile and reading 85% better than schools in the same demographic range.

Coffee talk, Ashland BRT's route

East Village Association membership meeting minutes for September 9, 2013
Submitted by Meghan Quinn

Business Minute: Ugly Mug Café owner Mikky Wright
The Ugly Mug Café has been a 10-year dream of Mikky Wright to bring a community-driven coffee shop to West Town. After moving from Seattle to Wicker Park in 1997, Mikky lamented on the lack of cafes in the neighborhood. After owning and operating a few local businesses such as the Alliance Bakery and the Wicker Park Inn, he decided to bring his vision to life and create a vibrant, neighborhood-accessible shop.

Sticking to the independent nature of West Town, Mikky created a coffee shop from the ground-up by using local vendors (such as Passion House coffee and Sweet Cakes bakery) and hiring a strong and friendly staff dedicated to the mission that the Ugly Mug should be open to everyone whether for a coffee, a sandwich, or just to stop by and say “howdy.”

Ugly Mug is located at 1458 W. Chicago Ave., between Green Zebra and Unite Urban Grill (a new business opening soon). Beginning at 10:30am, you can order for delivery if you are located from California to Armitage & VanBuren to Larrabee. They also do catering. The whole interior of the café was furnished with reclaimed and reused materials from around the city, from places such as Rebuilding Exchange.

Stop by for live jazz on Fridays and storytelling with The Button Down on Saturdays. Ugly Mug always displays local artists on its walls, and they are participating in the West Town Art Walk this year on October 4th & 5th, so go check out work by artists John Preus, Cailin Short, Allie Kushnir and Tom Tomek.

For more info, take a look at

EVA Monday: Obamacare, LaSalle II

In Near Northwest Side neighborhoods Avondale, Hermosa, Logan Square & West Town, 28% of adults are uninsured, according to Health & Disability Advocates. This week they're able to size up coverage under Illinois' new healthcare insurance exchange or the state Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

People looking to lower rates from their current coverage, or who have been denied coverage in the past, also can check 2014 rates from the exchange, through insurers that include Aetna, Blue Cross and Humana. Patrick Corcoran, regional outreach coordinator for the state's Get Covered Illinois program, will explain the options at Monday's East Village Association meeting.

The Get Covered Illinois website launched Oct. 1 and by 3:30pm had attracted 69,840 visitors. The newly expanded state Medicaid site took 1,100 applications. The responses “certainly validate the strong interest in healthcare in Illinois,” said a statement from Jennifer Koehler, executive director of Get Covered Illinois. “It also validates our strategy of education, since all this has come with basically no advertising.”

Also on the Monday agenda is a visit from Lauren A. Albani, the new principal at LaSalle II school, 1148 N. Honore. Albani last year was principal at Humboldt Park's Lafayette School, known for its after-school orchestra. Lafayette this fall was merged into Chopin school at 2450 W. Rice St. Previously Albani was a principal in residence at Skinner North Classical, and taught English at KIPP LEAD College Prep and Spanish at Austin Business and Entrepreneurhsip Academy.

The 7pm meeting is at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.