Enhanced Charges in Oz Park Shooting
Oz Park Safety Walk
Dickens Greenway
Motorcyle and Drag Racing Ordinance
Dear Neighbors,

We have more information about the Oz Park shooting case, in which a 17-year old was injured. Thanks to our Chicago Police Department Detectives, additional video was recovered which shows the offender firing his weapon in the plaza in front of the high school. The Cook County States Attorney upgraded their charges yesterday to Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon. This Class 1 felony does not require the testimony of the victim, who has refused to cooperate. Here is the announcement.

The offender remains in custody. At my request to the State's Attorney, an additional order was issued that prohibits the offender from the area around Oz Park and Lincoln Park High School in the event that he is released from custody. (In the juvenile system, there are frequent evaluations of pre-trial custody).

We thank both the Chicago Police Detective Bartell and the Juvenile Section of the Cook County State's Attorney for their vigorous work on this case. CBS covered the story.

Oz Park Safety Walk

Thank you to the many neighbors who came out for our Oz Park Safety Walk on Friday.

The Second Watch Commander of the 18th District, Lt. Mendez, our CAPS Officer, Sgt. Chris Schenk, our Court Advocacy Officer Al Robinson, and Youth Outreach Officer Ramona Stovall answered questions and walked our residents through Oz Park to identify areas of potential additional security.

At the meeting, the police said they would be adding foot patrols in Oz Park, which is a very welcome development. Although our office recently installed additional security cameras at the request of the police, residents would like to see more. We will be working with CPS and the police to determine locations. Existing cameras in the area and at the Armitage El station were pivotal in this case.

Neighbors also said they felt that the police did not respond to quality of life crimes in Oz Park, including underage drinking. Lieutenant Mendez responded that enforcement of these types of offenses are important and that if neighbors observe this activity, we should call 911. In turn, if a neighbor observes a police officer "doing nothing," we should call 911 and demand to speak to a supervisor. It is also very helpful to report the officer's badge number and/or name.

Many neighbors expressed fear over assisting the police. Neighbors asked how best to help the police, how to report crime, and how to safely participate as a witness. To answer these questions, we have put together this short guide. Please print it out and keep it handy.

A few key points:

  • Calls to 911 are among the metrics that the police use to assign officers to beats. Calling when you see something helps ensure we have the proper amount of crime prevention resources in our community.

  • Calling 911 and being as accurate as possible in making the call is paramount - the guide gives more information.

  • Without witnesses, many crimes cannot be prosecuted at all. Being a witness is safe. In the ten years as Alderman, I have gone to court many times with witnesses and there has never been any attempt to intimidate or retaliate. Your address is not shared with the defendant and you many never have to confront the defendant, as most cases result in guilty pleas. Our job as witnesses is to provide truthful information to the police - and they will continue their investigation of the crime. Next newsletter, we will share a guide to being a witness in a case.
Dickens Greenway

The Dickens Greenway project will be approved and funded through a federal grant.

Thanks to all the neighbors for your input, whether for or against it. All the feedback given shaped the project for the better.

Originally conceptualized as part of Mayor Emanuel's Streets for Cycling Plan in 2012, it was proposed for our neighborhood in 2019 as a way to regulate traffic on Dickens, provide a safer pedestrian experience, and provide a family friendly environment for cyclists. We held four meetings in 2019, but the plan as presented at the last public meeting in August 2019 was not adequate and we directed CDOT to collect further information and respond to your feedback. CDOT conducted observations of Oz Park in the fall of 2019, and did more work on the pedestrian framework to make pick-up and drop-off at St. James Lutheran School more safe.

The pandemic precluded more work on the proposal, but CDOT installed a "shared street" on Dickens as an outlet for residents in summer of 2020. The physical layout of a "shared street" is quite different than the greenway plan, but it provided useful information.
Throughout our community process, several persistent questions arose and our office challenged CDOT to answer them. CDOT's community presentations addressed these questions to the satisfaction of most of the community and to me.

Why is this needed? Over the past twenty years, automobile usage increased dramatically in our ward. In addition to more than 3500 additional cars in our zip code, while population dropped, the number of cars have greatly increased with Uber and Lyft. Ride share companies drove 600 MILLION miles on Chicago City streets in 2018 -- Lincoln Park was in the top ten of neighborhoods for trips. Concerns for pedestrian safety grew, leading our office to build many enhancements to curbs in our ward. Car ownership might have peaked recently, but bicycle travel has increased 30% in the last ten years. Armitage is a very heavily used bike line that is not comfortable for families and less-experienced riders.

Why Dickens? Why not some other east-west street? Dickens has the fewest number of cars today of any cross street in Lincoln Park - by far. It is the only through street in our ward that is both low speed enough and wide enough to accommodate a family friendly bike lane.

Will this create a high-speed "bike highway"? Our experience with the shared street proved this to not be the case. Far more pedestrians utilized Dickens than bicyclists.
Fewer bicyclists utilized Dickens than other shared streets. Only about half as many cyclists used Dickens than Armitage bike lanes. The many safety measures, including speed bumps, will discourage both fast driving and cycling.

Are "contraflow" bike lanes, as planned for the greenway dangerous? No, in fact, they make streets safer. In response to concerns about the contraflow lanes, CDOT has modified its plan to make the lanes wider so cyclists are more visible. Also, CDOT will make minor modifications on the street to provide more visibility to drivers exiting the alleys.

And most significantly, how will the greenway affect Oz Park? Will its passage through the park lead to dangers to children? CDOT conducted 23 hours of observations in Oz Park in Fall of 2019, during weekdays, weekends and during baseball games. These observations led to the conclusion that Oz is the destination for bike riders for both directions and much less a thoroughfare. Cyclists today ride through Oz Park during school hours, and school administration will work with our office and CDOT to establish new locations for bicycle racks for students.

Perhaps most importantly, Lurie Children's Hospital estimates that slowing down drivers reduces injuries by 20-30 percent among bike riders and pedestrians.

Support for the greenway has been mixed; that is why we held many meetings and took all your feedback to ensure that this plan is responsive to the safety needs of our community. For more information about the plan itself, please see our website, which has all the presentations made about the greenway. We will keep you up to date about construction plans.
Motorcycle and Drag Racing Ordinance
In April, the City Council passed a new ordinance which I co-sponsored. Effective on Monday, June 7, the law adds code violations that are punishable by vehicle impoundment. The new violations are:
  • Drifting on any street, highway, or other public way in the City (9-12-100) 
  • Operation of a non-highway vehicle upon any street, highway, roadway, or any public property in the City (9-12-110) 
  • Operating a motor vehicle equipped with prohibited plate covers or other coverings that obstruct the visibility of the plate. (9-76-160) 
This new ordinance gives the Chicago Police Department additional ways to address the problems created by drag racing and loud vehicles.
If you witness dangerous driving or vehicles violating the noise ordinance, please help the police enforce this new ordinance by calling 911.  
Dom's Kitchen and Market Opens

We were thrilled to be on hand for the opening of the new Dom's Kitchen and Market at the corner of Halsted and Diversey.

Dom's is a new concept from Bob Mariano, the former CEO of Dominick's and founder of Mariano's. We hope everybody stops by this beautiful new store and are very proud that our neighborhood is the first of what we expect to be many locations. Eater Chicago has the details.
Electricity Franchise Feedback

ComEd has been Chicago’s electricity provider for nearly 75 years under several electricity franchise agreements. ComEd has been responsible for operating and maintaining all electrical infrastructure to deliver reliable power to residents and businesses. Over time, the public’s needs and expectations of the company have expanded beyond service reliability and safety to meet the important social, economic, and climate challenges of this century.
The most recent agreement has expired, and residents are asked to offer input for the next franchise agreement.
Learn more here. And click here for suggests of the type of feedback sought. 
Residential Parking Pass Appointments

You can visit here to sign up for an appointment to pick up residential parking passes at our office beginning June 7. Appointments will be in 15 minute increments from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Appointments will make it easier to get passes as we continue our reopening protocols. Only one person at a time can be serviced in our office, and masks are required for entry.

The easiest way to obtain vehicle stickers or daily parking passes is to go online at EZBUY at the Chicago City Clerk's Office. You can order 24 hours a day.

You can learn how to order online by using our Guest Parking Passes 101 guide or
watch our video for step-by-step details on how to purchase your passes or stickers online.
Community News
Mental Health Clinician Jobs Available
Apply Now

As part of Mayor Lightfoot’s Framework for Mental Health Equity, the Chicago Department of Public Health is excited to announce that it is hiring five Mental Health Crisis Clinicians as part of a new mental health crisis program at CDPH that will respond to mental health calls that come through the City’s 911 system.

The City is looking for experienced crisis workers that have a passion to serve the residents of the City of Chicago.
Information regarding both positions can be found here.

Please type the job titles in the “Keywords” section to see the full job description and application process. 

The Crisis Clinician positions close tonight at 11:59 p.m., so hurry to get those applications in.
Auction for Lincoln Park Conservancy

Join the Lincoln Park Conservancy for their largest fundraiser of the year; the virtual Auction for Lincoln Park will take place from June 18 through June 20. Auction proceeds support the Conservancy’s stewardship and programming throughout Lincoln Park and will help close the last funding gap for the North Pond restoration. 

They are within $1 million of saving North Pond, but we can't do it without support from the community. Register for the Auction or donate here
Oscar Mayer School Spring Auction Ends Thursday

Now through June 10 you can bid on one-of-a-kind items, including Disney World Tickets, Principal for a Day, great restaurants, and more. All proceeds from the auction support Mayer. So visit here and bid today.
Stay Safe at the Beach this Summer

Join the Chicago Park District for a free session to learn how to keep yourself and others safe at the beach, recognize a swimmer in distress, and respond in an emergency.

Training will be offered from Memorial Day Weekend through June 25. Orientations are offered throughout the city. Click here for information on locations and times.
Summer Opportunities for Kids
Mayor's Youth Commission
The Mayor's Youth Commission is a group of high school and college aged students (14-19) that serve as a liaison between the Chicago Mayor’s Office and Chicago’s youth. Working alongside Mayor Lightfoot and her staff, the commission will meet monthly to foster youth-driven civic engagement and amplify youth voices to impact the city’s critical policy conversations. 
Past Youth Commissioners have had the opportunity to:

  • Host townhalls and events around topics such as the rise in car jackings, mental health post-pandemic, and high school and college transitions and support.
  • Create education resource guides for youth.
  • Provide valuable youth input on planning of campaigns through My CHI. My Future. such as Make 2021 Yours and Spring Forward. 
  • Meet and collaborate with various City staff and leadership. 

The application deadline is June 26; learn more and apply here.
STEM Opportunity for Chicago High School Students
ComEd is launching a summer Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Home Labs program. This session will feature a storyline around a Mars rover and students will build a solar-powered rover of their own while solving many challenges along the way. The program will consist of three virtual build sessions with a final in-person event. The build nights will take place July 22, 27 and 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the final event on Saturday, July 31 at Noon. The location will be announced.
ComEd mentors will be working with the students to complete the projects. Mentors include Dr. Kate Biberdorf from the University of Texas, who is working with ComEd engineers to develop the curriculum. Each student who participates in at least three of the four sessions will receive an iPad for the work.

Learn more and apply here.
Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship
Applications Due June 24

Join Future Founders for a three-week PAID virtual internship where you'll get a crash course in entrepreneurship, work with awesome high school students from across the city, and build a business of your very own! Interns are paid up to $300 based on their attendance and participation in the program. 

Applications are open to Chicago Public and Charter School students only.

Applications are available here and are due by Monday, June 14th.
My Chi My Future

Click below to learn about all of the opportunities available to kids through My Chi My Future. Resources include summer programs, job opportunities, special events, and college resources.
Support Local Restaurants
Support Local Businesses
Stay safe!

43rd Ward Virtual Office Hours: M - F 9 AM - 5 PM 
 2523 N Halsted | 773-348-9500 yourvoice@ward43.org www.ward43.org