Issue: 413
February 1, 2017
39th Ward Newsletter  

Greetings, Neighbor!

In this week's newsletter, you'll find information about: a free seminar for first-time homebuyers (2/4); filming in the ward; a City Council update; Peterson Garden Project membership; free tax assistance; how to report graffiti; and much more.

  • The new Checkout Bag Tax started today (2/1.) Learn more here, then stop by our office this week for free reusable grocery bags. First come, first served. We're located at 4404 W. Lawrence.
  • Alderman Laurino is proud to be sponsoring an upcoming "Know Your Rights" seminar with the Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center at the Albany Park Public Library sponsored. Date to be determined; keep your eye on this newsletter for details.
This newsletter comes out every two weeks; for more timely information about events, infrastructure projects, and more follow us on  Facebook  or Twitter. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter.

Margaret Laurino
39th Ward Alderman
City Council Update
  • At the January 25th meeting of the City Council, Anna Valencia was sworn in as the new City Clerk of Chicago. Valencia replaces the outgoing Susana Mendoza, who was elected Illinois Comptroller. The City Clerk's office provides a number of services including issuing city vehicle stickers and residential parking permits, as well as launching the City's new municipal I.D. program. Alderman Laurino looks forward to working with Clerk Valencia, and she also wishes both her and Comptroller Mendoza congratulations and the best of luck in their new endeavors.

  • At the same meeting, the City Council voted in favor of the issuance of federal multi-family bonds on behalf Mayfair Commons at Lawrence and Elston. Alderman Laurino supported this measure because Mayfair Commons has provided affordable housing for low income seniors in the 39th Ward since 1999. The issuance of these bonds will allow much-needed maintenance and improvements to the property and will preserve the affordability of this project for years to come.
Keep Calling Graffiti Busters!
If you see graffiti, no matter how small or large, report it as soon as possible!

Here's how to get help: first, send a quick picture to
, with the address and description of the tagging; then call our office (773 / 736 - 5594) or 311 to follow-up.

Graffiti removal is conducted by the Department of Streets and Sanitation, Bureau of Street Operations. We thank our City laborers for their tireless efforts.

Alderman Laurino meets with graffiti crews on Lawrence Ave. 
Membership Now Open for Peterson Garden Project
Learn to grow your own food organically at NEIU Ground 5500 N. St Louis) with Peterson Garden Project! Starting today (February 1) you can apply for membership ; g arden plots are assigned on a first-come ,   first-served basis , so don't delay!

Free Seminar for First-time Homebuyers, 2/4

If you're thinking about purchasing a home for the first time ever in 2017, you'll benefit from a free seminar at Mayfair Library (4400 W. Lawrence Ave.) on February 4 from 9:30 until 11:30am. Topics will include down payments, contracts, inspections, appraisals, and more.
Filming / Parking Restrictions, 2/2-4

The television show Chicago Justice will be filming in our ward this week from Thursday, February 2, until the early morning hours of Saturday, February 4.

Please heed "no parking / tow zone" signs posted from 8pm on Thursday, February 2 until 1am on Saturday, February 4 at the following locations:
  • West side of ST. LOUIS (from 5521 south to Balmoral)
  • North side of CATALPA (from St. Louis east to the alley)
Thank you for welcoming this cast and crew into our community.

Great Rivers Planning Meeting, 2/16

If you have great ideas for your riverfront but not sure how to get them moving, this workshop hosted by Metropolitan Planning Council on February 16 is for you! Topics will include plans for: stewardship, environment, physical improvements, small businesses, arts and cultural programming, health, recreation, and more.

Senior Citizen Sewer Service Charge Exemption

The Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption entitles seniors aged 65 or over, residing in their own residence with separate metered water service or a separate city water assessment for that residential unit, to an exemption from payment of the sewer service charge for their residence. This exemption provides substantial savings to seniors.

To be eligible for the sewer service charge exemption you must meet the following criteria:
  • You must be 65 years of age or older
  • You must be the owner of the residential unit
  • You must occupy the residential unit as your principal place of residence
  • The residential unit must have a separate water meter or assessed account
Find more information about this exemption on the City's website.
Infrastructure Updates

Sewer Project Starting in March

A new sewer project is starting in mid-March that involves Peterson, Hiawatha, and Devon.
Learn more about this project on our website

Peoples Gas Project

In advance of a new sewer project, Peoples Gas has started installing two temporary bridge supports to support the existing main near the intersection of Peterson & Sauganash (in yellow on the graphic below,) as well as two street crossings to replace the existing gas pipe with plastic/steel at the intersections of Sauganash & Keeler and Glenlake & Tripp (in grey on the graphic below.) 

This project started on 1/16 and is expected to take a week and a half to complete. Traffic and parking will be impacted in the area.

Thanks in advance for your patience as crews do this work in cold temperatures.

Highlights from Facebook

Items to be added

Calling All Artists!

50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project / Apply by 2/24

DCASE is now accepting applications for the 50x50 Neighborhood Arts Project, which will provide up to $1 million to create new public artworks throughout the city's neighborhoods.
Artists--including painters, photographers and sculptors--interested in brightening and enhancing the city-- are invited to submit their qualifications for the project online before February 24.
For more information on the Year of Public Art, including a year of exhibitions, performances, tours, and other public events, visit cityofchicago.org/yopa.

Create Video Art for Albany Park Library / Apply by 3/12

Four artists/teams will be commissioned to create original video artworks at Albany Park Branch of Chicago Public Library. Applications are due March 12.

Learn more here, and spread the word!

FREE Tax Resources
Last year, the City of Chicago's free income tax assistance helped 20,000 families and individuals receive $31 million in tax refunds and credits.  This added income not only has a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents - it helps sustain small businesses, strengthens neighborhoods and infuses millions of dollars into the local economy.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has announced the 17 th annual citywide outreach campaign to raise awareness about the City's free tax assistance program and the variety of income tax credits and benefits available to Chicagoans.

Families earning up to $55,000 or individuals earning up to $30,000 are eligible to take advantage of the City's free and confidential income tax assistance at 19 sites across Chicago.  V olunteer tax preparers certified through IRS-approved training will assist them with federal and state income tax returns for the 2016 tax year.  Sites will be open between late January and mid-April 2017, but please refer to the links below for specific information on the location and hours of the sites.

This year, eligible individuals and families with children could receive up to $6,896 from the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits alone, not including other valuable credits.  But many eligible Chicagoans may not claim all the income tax credits they deserve without the help of knowledgeable preparers.

For more information about how to access free tax assistance, Chicagoans can:

Tax Information for Immigrants in Our Community

If you have one or more immigrant household members, it is important that you know that they are now required by federal law to renew their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) before filing their 2016 tax returns. 
Failure to renew the ITIN can result in the inability to claim key credits on taxes, processing delays, and a balance due. 
The ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service to individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number.  ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

Learn more here:
CAPS Schedule + More

CAPS Meeting Schedule for February and March 
Now Open: Emergency Heating Repair Program

The application period for the 2016-17 Emergency Heating Repair Program opened November 1, 2016. The program will close either on April 1, 2017, OR when all funds have been exhausted. 
As a reminder, the program provides assistance to a property one-time only. Any owner-occupied property that has received service in the past would be ineligible to receive service again.

Winter Reminders

Staying Warm + City Warming Centers

In this season's bitter cold, please protect yourself by following some basic guidelines: 
  • Spend as little time outside as possible.
  • If you have to go outside, wear appropriate winter clothing, including coats, hats, gloves, scarves, warm shoes and socks, etc. to avoid hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Make sure children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people wear appropriate clothing and are not subjected to freezing temperatures.
  • Seek a Warming Center if needed. Website with locations and more on the City's site.
GET HELP: 311 will assist you with finding a Warming Center, finding transportation to a Warming Center, doing well-being checks for vulnerable neighbors and loved ones. Learn more here
Avoid Frozen Water Pipes 
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
    Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
If your pipes freeze, call 311 to request assistance from the Water Dept. Please know that response is slower when demand is high.
Land a Hand, Keep Sidewalks Safe

Did you know that the City has a team of volunteers who help neighbors unable to shovel their own sidewalks with the task? Help a fellow resident and keep our neighborhoods safer by joining the Snow Corps.

Job Opportunities
The Office of Emergency Management has posted jobs job postings for th e Crossing Guard and Supervising TCA positions. Learn more here.
Quick Notes

Petition: Bring a New Park to the Mayfair Neighborhood (PDF)
Office Hours
MONDAY: 9am - 8pm  
TUESDAY - FRIDAY: 9am - 5pm 
SATURDAY: 9am - 12pm 
SUNDAY: Closed 

Excludes holidays and holiday weekends.

We encourage you to call ahead to confirm open office hours and make your visit as efficient and productive as possible: 773-736-5594 
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