Friday, July 22, 2011


The Jobs of Summer Are Available Now

Summer is really here! The weather is turning hotter and the Fourth of July Holiday is right around the corner! In addition to celebrating with neighbors, friends and family over backyard barbeques, summer get-togethers as well as enjoying a host of free events in our local parks, for many young adults in the 37th Ward, the search for summer employment continues. Are you looking for a job? Do you know anyone who wants and needs a job?
    I’ve got some good news to share! The Illinois Conservation Corps is currently seeking workers, between the ages of 18-25, for a six-month employment opportunity. They are looking for participants who will work on publicly-owned and/or land leased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Requirements: Young adult workers must be (a) currently unemployed; and (b) eligible to work for up to six (6) months. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. Workers will assist the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) staff with a variety of duties, including but not limited to: building and ground maintenance; litter clean-up, mowing and weed control; brush removal; concrete and asphalt road re-surfacing and patching; security and fire patrol; camping permit issuance and trail building in state parks; tool and equipment maintenance, painting and repair; bird care and cage maintenance and more.  Applications will be reviewed and hires will be made on a first-come-first-served basis. To apply for a position, please use the link to the application below, fill out the application and scan/email it to or fax it to 217-557-8406. If you have any questions, please call 217-782-6752 and ask for the Conservation Worker Program Manager.  Good luck on your search and enjoy the upcoming Fourth of July!
Need a city service? Feel free to call my ward office at 773-745-2894.

Emma Mitts is the Alderman of the 37th Ward and Chairs the City Council Licensing Committee. For information on City programs and for requests for service, visit the 37th Ward Office at 5344 West North Avenue or call 773/745-2894.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Volunteers deliver flowering plants to beautify the 500 & 600 blocks of N. Drake. (Photo by Nilesh Patil)
 On Saturday, June 4, more than 100 volunteers from Neighborhood Housing Services and their corporate partners teamed up with 30 homeowners and their families on the 500 & 600 blocks of North Drake in West Humboldt Park to paint porches, plant flowers, trim hedges, and spread mulch. Volunteers and residents worked side by side all day in the 90-degree heat to complete the block transformations as part of NHS Chicago’s 24th Annual NeighborWorks Day.
    The two blocks of Drake, extending north from Franklin Boulevard, were chosen for NeighborWorks Day to support the longtime beautification and improvement efforts of Annie Jones, 500 North Drake Block Club President, and Flourine Jones and her husband, 600 North Drake Block leaders. For the Joneses, NeighborWorks Day will have lasting effects in bringing to fruition their vision of what their blocks can be.
    “I have strived for years to make my block a block where people don’t want to move away and I believe we are having success,” declares Annie Jones. “NeighborWorks Day was a great help, especially to our seniors, and I will continue my work to make my block a place I can enjoy for what years I have left.”

Evelyn Rieves & her cousin Amber Hailey transform her front porch. (Photo by Rick Hicaro)

Longtime West Humboldt Park resident Lynda Pinson chats with NHS West Humboldt Neighborhood Dir. John Groene during NeighbborWorks Day. (Photo by Nilesh Patil)
 Flourine Jones adds, “The next day at Sunday Mass, neighbors from nearby blocks commented that everyone should take a walk down Drake to see the improvements.” She stressed that NeighborWorks provided encouragement to all her neighbors and is pleased that the block cleanup will be visible long after the NeighborWorks Day.
    Alderman Walter Burnett and State Representative Derrick Smith toured the blocks and visited with families to find ways to build upon their success and share the lessons learned with other parts of the community. Alderman Burnett also attended the annual block club meeting hosted by Annie Jones the following Saturday.
    Coinciding with NeighborWorks Day, community volunteers from NHS, West Humboldt Park Development Council, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), and Alderman Burnett hosted the West Humboldt Park Farmer’s Market & Bazaar in the parking lot of the West Humboldt NHS Office at 3601 West Chicago Avenue.
    NHS thanks longtime corporate partners – Travelers Insurance and MC Financial – plus Madison Capital Funding, Metropolitan Capital Bank, Pan American Bank, Nationwide Insurance, and Century 21. Special recognition is extended to the West Humboldt Neighborhood Advisory Council, especially to Nita Hailey-Gamble, Renee Watson and James Webb.
    The NHS West Humboldt Park Office, 3601 West Chicago Avenue, offers homebuying counseling and classes, fixed-rate lending services, including loans for construction rehab, and other resources to help Chicagoans buy, fix, and keep their homes. For information, call 773/533-5570 or visit

More than 100 volunteers helped clean and beautify the 500 & 600 blocks of Drake during NHS-Chicago’s 24th Annual NeighborWorks Day, June 4. (Photo by Keiron Scott)

Mayor Emanuel Vists a west Side Church

Mayor Emanuel thanks members of the Mt. Vernon Young Adult Choir. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)

Mayor Emanuel greets members of the Mt. Vernon congregation. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)

Rahm Emanuel makes a return visit to Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 2622 W. Jackson Blvd., to thank Pastor Johnny L. Miller & the congregation for their support. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)

Rev. Dr. Johnny L. Miller, Pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, welcomes Mayor Emanuel. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)


KaBOOM! the national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving play came to the front yard of St. Angela School, 1332 North Massasoit Avenue in Austin, with more than 100 volunteer workers from Radio Flyer, the Chicago Bears, plus school board members, staff, alumni, and family and friends of St. Angela. In less than 7 hours, colorful playground equipment was assembled and put in place, cement was poured, mulch was spread, sod laid, benches and a stage were built, and flowers were planted. A magical children’s world grew from nothing.
    Even the President of Radio Flyer was on the scene, hard at work with his company’s employees. George McCaskey of the Bears’ ownership family was assembling slides and climbing walls, all for children they don’t know and will probably never meet. At 3:00 PM, work was done and everyone gathered for a children’s parade leading them to the new playground the volunteer army had just created.

Monday, July 18, 2011

African American Farmers About $1.25 Billion Class Action Settlement

(Washington, DC) - The Court-ordered process of officially notifying African American farmers   and their  heirs  about  the    $1.25  billion    “Pigford  II”  class  action  settlement,  In  re  Black  Farmers Discrimination Litigation, is underway.
    Class  members  should  visit  or  call 1-877-810-8110  for  complete information, including the detailed notice, key dates, and claims-filing information. Media are requested to include the toll-free number and website in articles about the Settlement.
    African American farmers around the country who tried to file a claim in the 1999 Pigford Settlement but were unable to receive a decision on the merits because their claims were late are now receiving information about their legal rights and options under the Settlement by postal mail.   A comprehensive paid published notice program will complement this direct notice.  The program will include a nationwide radio advertising campaign, including heavy focus on areas where large numbers of class members are believed to live.   A Summary Notice will also be published in a variety of print publications including African American newspapers, general market daily and community newspapers, and farming and ranching trade publications.  Finally, online ads will appear on a variety of websites.
    The plaintiffs and USDA announced the proposed settlement in late 2010 and President Obama signed the bill authorizing payment of the Settlement on December 9, 2010.  If approved by the Court, the settlement will resolve discrimination claims related to USDA farm loans and other benefits.   The proposed settlement includes $1.25 billion for cash payments and loan forgiveness for class members who file valid claims.
    Class members eligible for the Settlement are African Americans who farmed (or attempted to farm) between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996; were prevented from applying for or were denied a USDA farm loan during that period or were given a loan with unfair terms; and who filed or attempted to file a late claim between October 13, 1999 and June 18, 2008 in the original Pigford case that was never considered because they tried to submit it after the late claim deadline.  Heirs or kin of people who fit this description but have since passed away may also be class members.
    Class members’ rights may be affected by the Settlement even if they do not act.  Those who wish to object to the Settlement must do so by August 12, 2011.  The deadline for filing claims under this Settlement may be as early as February 28, 2012.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will consider whether to grant final approval of the Settlement at a hearing in Washington D.C. on September 1, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
    Lead Class Counsel: Andrew Marks, Crowell & Moring LLP, 202-624-2500; Gregorio Francis, Morgan & Morgan, P.A., 407-420-1414; and Henry Sanders, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway & Campbell, LLC, 334-875-9264


We issued a major ‘CALL TO ACTION” and the community responded! Earlier this week, an enthusiastically diverse, multi-ethnic, bi-lingual group of over 250 concerned local residents, including families, working adults, young people and seniors - from the West Humboldt Park community joined me at West Park Academy, located at 1425 North Tripp for an emergency “ANTI-VIOLENCE” community meeting to address the recent spike in gun violence and the recent tragic murders of several young men within the last few days.
Also in attendance were several key church, community and business stakeholders and representatives from the Chicago Police Department – 25th, 11th and 15th Districts, the Chicago Public Schools, CAPS, CeaseFire, the City’s Building Department, Streets & Sanitation, Bureau of Forestry, the City’s Commission on Human Relations – African & Latino Affairs Directors and many others all came to spread the same simple message of hope and action: “We must all STAND STRONG together to win this fight. No one can do it alone!” The Police urged residents to call 311 and 911, talk to or send written notes anonymously to the Police about troubled spots, suspected suspicious activity, abandoned buildings and lack of street lights. They discussed their commitment to increased patrols in the area, and promised more cameras in response to homeowner requests. A new CAPS beat will be established at West Park Academy, with many in the audience enthusiastically agreeing to attend and participate. Many issues and areas of concern were addressed and a Plan of Action will be implemented in conjunction with my 37th Ward community service office to hopefully create a SAFER SUMMER for all!
I want to deeply thank everyone who came out to help be a part of the solution for safer streets this summer, including the residents, City officials; community and church leaders and the Chicago media, channels 9, 7, 2, FOX-32, Spanish-language television-Univision for covering the event. We all know that it takes a VILLAGE - - well staring today, the VILLAGE is going to start taking back OUR streets and neighborhoods!
Feel free to call my ward office at 773-745-2894. or Stop by and see me at 5344 West North Avenue.

Emma Mitts is the Alderman of the 37th Ward and Chairs the City Council Licensing Committee. For information on City programs and for requests for service, visit the 37th Ward Office at 5344 West North Avenue or call 773/745-2894.


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