Newsletter September/October 2020
Note from the Board
Dear Skyline Village Chicago Members and Friends,

Skyline Village Chicago stands firmly and resolutely in opposition to all forms of systemic, institutionalized racism and oppression.

After the Chicago uprising at the end of May stemming from the George Floyd murder, we’ve been committed to organizing impactful programs to inform us about racial injustice. These programs have included Zoom forums on “Police in the Schools”, “Chicago’s Racial Injustice and Housing,” and Linda Gartz’s presentation of her memoir “Redlined.

We are horrified once again at the recent police shooting of an unarmed Black man in nearby Kenosha. Protests and demonstrations following this latest injustice are easily understood. Indeed, were it not for COVID, many of us would be in the streets with our young friends and relatives. However, the safety and well-being of all communities is a priority to us. We condemn the destruction and terror of our downtown neighborhoods and live in the hope that better solutions are on the horizon.

The following non-violent organizations are working to confront many of the systemic issues facing Chicago. We suggest you get to know them and perhaps direct your resources there.

Skyline Village hosts a regular Zoom chat for members every Friday at 4:00 pm. Join us if you’d like to discuss this and other issues. Register here.

Skyline Village Board of Directors
Vote by Mail
Click here to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Chicago Voters Break Record for Vote By Mail Applications

In record-breaking numbers, more than 900,000 voters across Chicago have already completed Vote By Mail applications to receive ballots. All voters who participated in recent elections should have received an application for a mail ballot, thanks to a bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in June. “Whether or not there’s a vaccine, there’s going to be a vote. And we need to do everything we can to keep our voters and our poll workers safe,” said James Allen with the Chicago Board of Elections.

Ballots will be mailed in late September and early October. All mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day on Nov. 3 to be counted. Allen said the new law strikes a “middle ground.” While states such as California have decided to mail ballots to all voters, Illinois will send applications for ballots to those who’ve participated in elections since November 2018.

Experts reiterate that voting by mail is safe and secure.“It’s been tried and it’s worked in several jurisdictions, both red and blue, as well as purple,” Allen said. “The key thing for everybody to remember is to apply as early as possible, so that they have the time to receive their ballot and have the time to return their ballot.”

Once applications are submitted, the Election Board will notify voters by email when the ballot has been mailed, when the ballot envelope has been returned and when the ballot has been processed and counted. In-person voting will still be available on Election Day.

The new law also recognizes Election Day as a state holiday, which will open up more polling locations such as schools.

NEW: Chicago voters, starting mid-October, if you have not mailed your ballot, you are encouraged to use the Secured Drop Box at 69 West Washington to deposit your signed and sealed Ballot Return Envelope.
Skyline Village Chicago Needs Your Help
Thank you for being part of Skyline Village Chicago.
Please consider helping us keep our virtual doors open.

To join or donate to Skyline Village Chicago: Annual Dues $75 Individual, $100 Couple
Mail check: Skyline Village Chicago P.O. Box 64524, Chicago, IL 60624
Our 501C3 status affords members tax deductions to the extent allowed by law. 
Upcoming Events
Skyline Village Chicago is using Zoom to connect with members and friends. Please join us at one of the following.
Women’s Salon Zoom
Second Tuesday of Every Month
September 8, October 13

SVC members gather in conversation monthly to increase their awareness of cultural and societal notions on aging.

Click here to register.
SVC Weekly Member Chat
Every Friday
4:00pm - 5:00pm
(Members Only)
Check in for a backyard over-the-fence chat on how you’re getting along during the Shutdown and what strategies you’re using to stay sane and healthy. 

Watch your email for the Zoom invitation.
SVC Forums and Forward Chicago present
The Latest on COVID 19 and the upcoming flu season with Dr. Michael Ison: Continued Discussion and Updates
Thursday September 17 8:30am

Dr Michael Ison will join us again bring us up to date on the most current research and information about the vaccine trials at Northwestern as well as share information about seasonal flu and COVID.
Questions for Dr Ison? Submit them to

SVC Forums
The Fair Tax Vote
State Reps Lamont Robinson & Kam Buckner
Wednesday September 23 3:00-4:00 pm

The Fair Tax is an amendment to the Illinois state constitution on the November ballot. It would change the state income tax system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax. Join us to hear State Representatives Lamont Robinson and Kam Buckner explain the pros and cons of the Illinois Fair Tax for Chicago and our neighborhoods. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
SVC Comedy Hour
Sunday, October 4

Laura Hugg, Second City comic, actress 

Need a laugh? Join us for an hour of hilarity. Comedy room producer, Laura Hugg showcases professional local comics in the first-ever Skyline Village Comedy Hour. Just like the rest of the theater community, the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the Chicago comedy scene. Clubs and comedy rooms have been shut down. Let’s help our Chicago comics and breathe a bit of life into the virtual Chicago comedy scene.

This Zoom event is free but you must register. Look in the Chat Box for the virtual “Tip Jar” to help the entertainers.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
SVC Forum
Wednesday, October 21
In That Number: One Woman's March from the Streets of Protest to the Halls of Power (And Beyond)
Regan Burke 

Skyline Village Chicago board member, Regan Burke, discusses her new book, In That Number Signed copies available for preorder at Tortoise Books

Register in advance for this SVC forum:  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Join Skyline Village Chicago
Annual Dues $75 per individual, $100 per couple
Sign up on our website:
Mail check: Skyline Village Chicago, PO Box 64524 Chicago, IL 60664
Our 501C3 status affords members tax deductions to the extent allowed by law. 
SVC Forum
Covid-19 and Older Adults with Dr. Michael Ison

Michael Ison, MD, MA, an expert on infectious disease, spoke to Skyline on Friday, July 10, about a variety of factors impacting the health of older adults. The session was co-sponsored by ForwardChicago.

As is commonly known, the elderly are at higher risk for Covid-19 due to underlying factors. However, the Northwestern patient who had recently undergone a double lung transplant was in her ‘20s. Therefore, the more serious underlying factors—obesity, high blood pressure, underlying kidney disease—are just as critical for young patients, many of whom may not feel sick but need to consider their overall health status.

Why do elderly patients get sicker? Studies have shown that the older a patient is, the more virus that is detectable in the nose, a marker that contributes to clinical severity. 

How important are masks? With respect to prevention, masks are very important. At least 45 papers have shown a marked reduction in the risk of transmission.  As for those who don’t feel sick and don’t wear a mask, coming within six feet of those people carries a 90% risk of infection. If you wear a mask, that goes down to 60%; if both are wearing a mask, the risk goes down to 20-40%. Social distancing has been very effective in Chicago; “We had the lowest mortality rates in the U.S.” in July.”

What will the future hold? “We are not of the woods yet,” ‘Dr. Ison said. Vaccine development is underway and, in two Chicago medical centers, patients are being recruited. Plans call for 25% of patients to be older adults and for Latino and Black patients to be over-represented, Dr. Ison explained. Work on therapies also is proceeding. The most successful has been convalescent plasma.
If you know someone who has been sick with Covid-19, but has not been hospitalized, it’s probably safe to begin interacting with that person after two weeks. If the patient was hospitalized, then delay interactions for 20-30 days. “Patients can continue to shed the virus, sometimes for months,” Dr. Ison said. “So a doctor’s advice is definitely warranted.” 
-Nancie Thompson

Password: 9g$goi30
This program is part of a series of Skyline Forums exploring racial injustice

SVC Forum
Why Do We Have Police in Our Schools?
On July 22 Skyline hosted an online meeting that featured two Chicago Public School (CPS) educators who addressed the history, recent events, and pros and cons surrounding the controversial issue of police in Chicago schools. 
David Stieber, who has been with CPS since 2007, teaches social studies and poetry at Kenwood Academy High School. He summarized the history of police in Chicago schools, which began in the 1990s; Jackie Charles has taught Kindergarten and grades 1-4 and has run a social justice club for younger students to help them better understand the vocabulary and nuances of civil right issues. 
Mr. Stieber noted that there is large body of research that shows that having police 
in schools negatively impacts student learning and makes students, especially Black and brown
students, feel unsafe. For example, “White students who are accused of an infraction may be sent to a principal or counselor, while students of color are often handcuffed, arrested, and removed from the classroom, thus becoming part of the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’” Any infraction on a student’s record shows, even though it may have happened at a very young age.
One of the arguments in support of police in schools is that police are needed to prevent “school shooters” but the number of major school shootings has actually been declining. In white culture especially, David said, people are indoctrinated to believe that the police are there to “keep you safe.” However, in just a four-year period, police officers assigned to public schools led to more than $2 million in misconduct settlements. “Most officers are good people,” he said, “but their job is to arrest, not to restore,” and they are trained to deal with adults, not with teenagers. Another argument in support of police in schools is that students need role models, and many Chicago police are Black. Unfortunately school “defunding” has reduced the number of Black public school teachers.
The Chicago Police Department represents $1.8 billion of the city budget, or nearly $5 million a day. On top of that, Chicago Public Schools pay $33 million to have police in schools. Rather than spending $33 million ($90,000/day) on policing, “We need to invest that money in our students,” David said. “Students need smaller class sizes, counselors, social workers, mental health services, conflict resolution, homeless coordinators, enrichment opportunities, and mentors.” 
In July the Chicago Board of Education discussed the contract and voted to renew it. In August the school board voted again to retain the contract but to consider future modifications to the contract. 
 -Nancie Thompson

This program is one in a series of Skyline Forums exploring social injustice.


On July 29 more than 35 Skyline Forum attendees heard from Jawanza Malone, executive director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). Jawanza is currently focused on two critical campaigns: (1) Winning a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)* for the Obama Presidential Center and (2) Repealing a statewide prohibition on rent control and establishment of rent regulations through the Lift the Ban Coalition. **

Jawanza explained that while the increased attention and investment in the area due to its selection for the Obama Center may be cause for celebration, the impact on low-income families, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities has caused South Shore to struggle. An obvious remedy is to build more “affordable” housing. Currently there are 180,000 new units of affordable housing needed to meet the demand. Also, while the Chicago Housing Authority has prioritized releasing “housing choice vouchers” to assist Chicago renters, the skyrocketing costs of rent means that vouchers are not able to support the same amount of housing as they once did. Finally, because of too few regulations in the residential real estate market, unscrupulous real estate developers exploit loopholes to amass wealth at the expense of our most vulnerable residents. Virtually absentee landlords add insult to injury.

A recent research study has identified the increased vulnerability of renters and homeowners alike due to the rampant real estate speculation following the announcement of the Obama Presidential Center. The Obama CBA Coalition is working to establish clear provisions for the creation and preservation of affordable housing to prevent families from being displaced as rents and property taxes continue to increase. Elements included in the CBA are Economic Development, Education, Employment, Housing, Sustainability, and Transportation.

Redlining continues to contribute to ongoing segregation in the area and undermines many opportunities to build wealth.

*A CBA is a contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer that requires the developer to provide specific amenities and /or mitigations to the local community. In exchange, the community groups agree to publicly support the project, or at least not oppose it.

**The Lift the Ban Coalition is actively working to repeal the existing Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997, which restricts any regulation on rent increases. The Coalition is also advocating for rent control, which would prevent rent increases from exceeding the Consumer Price Index; i.e., rent could not increase more than the rate of inflation.
-Nancie Thompson

This program is one in a series of
 Skyline Forums exploring social injustice.

Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community

Linda Gartz, the author of Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in Chicago, was the featured speaker at a recent Skyline Forum, co-sponsored with Forward Chicago and held via Zoom on August 20. Redlined captures what it was like to grow up on the West Side of Chicago during the 1950s and ‘60s. The term "redlining" refers to Chicago’s racist lending rules that refused mortgages or indeed any form of loan to anyone living in neighborhoods with even one Black resident. Thus, owning a home as a path to building wealth was closed to Black families living in Chicago.

Linda’s parents bought their home in West Garfield Park in the 1950s and expected to live there for 40 years. During that time, an entity called the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation attempted to determine the creditworthiness of properties within wide swaths of many American cities. HOLC’s metrics were heavily based on the racial composition of neighborhoods; white flight meant that the presence of non-whites brought the specter of housing value collapse.

Referencing a deju vu moment, Linda noted that Martin Luther King’s assassination took place on April 4, 1968, leading to peace marches and riots. “Fifty-two years later those areas are still devastated,” she pointed out. Also at that time, due to lack of access to appropriate health care, African-Americans were dying at twice the rate of whites.

Housing policies enacted in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s attempted to address discriminatory housing practices and in some cases improved conditions affected by the HOLC maps . It remains possible that the HOLC maps meant that government policy helped create rather than merely reflect the economic and racial segregation of American Cities. 

Today, race and housing policy continue to be intertwined in cities across America. An article in the Chicago Tribune on August 28, 2020 reported that a home owned by a mixed race couple in Jacksonville, FL, was first appraised at $330,000. A second appraisal, conducted after pictures of Black relatives were removed from the house (and the Black half of the mixed-race couple went shopping), concluded with an appraisal of $465,000, more than a 40% increase. 
-Nancie Thompson

Support Skyline Village Just by Shopping
Log into Amazon through Choose Skyline Village Chicago Inc. as your charity and .5% of your purchase will be donated to help SVC continue its mission. That's it! Everything else - all your logs ins, lists, saved items and all the prices will be exactly the same.
Skyliner Expeditions
September – a brand new year if, like me, you have been going by the school year calendar since first grade. If you have a story to share, of staying in place or of summer travel, and would like it included in the November – December newsletter, please send it, along with pictures, to by October 23rd. When your device asks you whether pictures should be small, medium or large, please choose large.
More Urban Sketchers Chicago
By Anna Rappaport

Just before COVID-19, during the first week in March, I visited Washington D.C. I had two experiences there that were very meaningful. I attended a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the first time I had done that. It was a beautiful service and made me proud of my country and the service of my son-in-law, Tom Jones. I also visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was amazing, with many eye-opening exhibits.
The week after I came back, Americans started to recognize the importance of COVID-19. Since then every meeting and event that I would have participated in has been cancelled or moved online. I want to share with you more of a very interesting online experience that has been rewarding to me. I am an active member of Urban Sketchers Chicago. They started to have weekly virtual sketch meet-ups in March and they have been fantastic. Each week there is a topic for sketching and a time to meet. The sketchers post their work with some discussion on a special Facebook page and discuss the work of others. The topics have included draw your closet (see July-August Newsletter), draw the place you draw, draw something connected to opening up, draw garages, draw urban uglies, and many more.
Last week, the topic was garages, and I started out thinking how boring. But as usual, the group presented a variety of very interesting work. For example, the community we are in, Kissimmee, Florida, has a golf cart and bicycle rental shop, and I drew that. There is an art deco building that houses a garage in the Loop, and one person drew that. Several people drew single-family homes with garages from the outside, some drew high rise garages, and some drew what is in their own garages. 

It amazes me each week that such interesting drawings result from focusing on very ordinary subjects. The drawings of the city help me feel like I am experiencing Chicago. I feel like all of us are learning and that I am staying connected to my drawing friends. It has been a wonderful experience.
From Our Members
Alexa, I Need Help!
By Colby Krouse

My brother Pete bought our mother an Amazon Echo for Christmas. Our mother lives alone in a small town in PA and is fiercely independent. The thought was she would have some fun with it - especially since she is not comfortable with searching the internet on the computer. Mom loves it! She can say “Alexa, tell me a joke” and the speaker will respond with a joke. It goes even further – Alexa will tell you the temperature, what is on your schedule, can read your emails, play virtually any song that you ask for and a host of other things. Using smart plugs, it can turn appliances or lights on or off. All of these are fun and Mom often says “Alexa told me the funniest thing today”. Alexa is almost like a friend, which during COVID isolation has been a bonus.

That is not why I am writing this, though. Mom took a nasty fall. She wasn’t wearing the Life Alert necklace - but that's another story. Initially, she was able to get up but after lying down, the pain became unbearable. She couldn’t stand and so she rolled off onto the floor and crawled to the phone to call 911. The ambulance came and took her to the hospital. She was fortunate that she did not break a hip but instead had a very painful hip pointer. When she left, she was in pain and did not remember to take her cell phone with her, so we knew nothing until the neighbor called my brother about the ambulance in the driveway.

My brothers and I started to think about what we could do that would have avoided this situation and similar in the future. The answer was Alexa needed to have siblings. My brother Pete bought more Echo Dot speakers to supplement the Echo 3 that she already had. We connected them to the internet and placed them strategically in her house so if she calls to them, they will respond. The Alexa App has a feature called DropIn. Since Mom's Alexa is on my brother’s Amazon account, he can drop in on my mother on the speakers from the Alexa App on his cell phone and talk to her or hear what is going on in the house. He has also listened in to consult and advise Mom when a repairman came. Mom can now call out “Alexa, call Pete” or Colby or Andrew and she will be connected to one of us and we can call emergency services or a neighbor. All one has to do is put a person and their phone number in Favorites. What it won’t do is call 911 because it doesn’t see that as a “real phone number.

This doesn’t take the place of a medical alert necklace but is something that can add an extra layer of safety for those who live alone. As an added bonus, Mom now has music wherever she is, can get her morning joke and look things up, even before she rolls out of bed in the morning.
SVC Advocacy
Making Our City More Livable
SVC is involved in making our beloved Chicago more livable. COVID-19 has offered new challenges and opportunities, including opening streets for outside dining and create a safe way to dine out with friends. Here are some ways we are supporting a more livable Chicago:

Gradually Resume
The City of Chicago is currently in Phase Four: "Gradually Resume." Many City services have adjusted hours or locations and may require health screens prior to entering their physical spaces. Please call ahead or visit any department's website to get additional details, or visit

You can find lists and maps of Chicago street closures here.

Take the Housing Blueprint Survey
The Housing Blueprint is a plan informed by and created for the people of Illinois.

Governor J.B. Pritzker is committed to constructing a statewide housing plan that is inclusive of and relevant to all Illinois citizens. The Illinois Housing Development Authority invites all residents of Illinois to complete the following survey to share their housing experiences, perspectives, needs, and hopes for the future. Survey responses are completely anonymous and every question except for respondent Zip Code is optional.

Click here for survey.
SVC Partner Events

Our friends at Good Memories and Sounds Good Choirs are rehearsing online. Read about them here:
Sounds Good! and Good Memories Choirs
Rehearsals via ZOOM Mondays, 12:00pm - 1:00pm via ZOOM

Yes, there is a virtual choir you can join. No audition. Check out their website at or contact Jonathan Miller at (630) 441-5157.
Our Community Partners
Many of our friends are conducting online classes and events. Click into their newsletters and websites for information.
AARP Chicago Newsletter
The Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy Website
Beth Finke MasterTeachers™: Website
Center for Life and Learning 4th Presbyterian Church: Brochure 
Driehaus Museum Website
Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease: website
ProPublica Website
Rush Generations Center for Excellence in Aging:  Website
Sounds Good/Good Memories Choirs: Website
Streeterville Neighborhood Advocates Website Facebook page
Streeterville Organization for Active Residents: Website
Join Skyline Village Chicago
New Members
Sharon Gonsky
Patricia Leshuk

Renewing Members
Barbara Dillard
Mary and Jim Houston
Anne Rossiter and Jim Ross
Annual Dues: $75 Individual, $100 Couple
Send a check to: Skyline Village Chicago, P.O. Box 81334, Chicago, IL 60681 

Join online:
Email us:
News We Can Use
Thinking of visiting your friends and relatives? Here are some tips from the August 27 edition of Forbes Magazine.

Supporting local nonprofit organizations serving our region’s most vulnerable neighbors

Free Puzzles for Memory Improvement

Do you have something you'd like to share with your Skyline Village friends in the next newsletter? A news story, a poem, blog, piece of art, photo, a Favorite Thing, a quote? How have you been creative during our Stay Safe / Stay Home time?

We'd love to include you in upcoming newsletter and the website.
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The Skyline Village Chicago community of older adults engages
in cultural, educational and social programs. We are active, informed
and connected advocates within our unique, vibrant high-rise neighborhoods.