Monday, August 25, 2008

65th Place

So what's up with the work stoppage on 65th Place?

The three buildings on the south west corner are mostly completed but haven't been finished. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen anyone on the worksite for months.

And while we're on the subject, not only hasn't Living Green lofts broke ground, but it's website has gone MIA. Oddly enough, a random listing or two can be found if you poke around searching real estate listings.

Everything seemed so promising just a scant year ago.

I believe that developers are feeling the heat from this real estate downturn. They very well may not be able to afford to finish and market new construction.

What ever the case, it would be nice if the buildings could be completed so they don't attract the wrong element.

That's all we need----higher end abandoned buidlings.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wonder Twin Powers

So there I was slinging hash and hustling drinks last night when one of my co-workers came up to me and said, “Do you have a blog?”

Damn, I’d been spotted---again.

I rarely talk about the blog in work situations---the restaurant is no exception---so when she asked me that question I knew someone out on the floor knew me.

The pleasant surprise is that I had been spotted by the infamous “Chicago Pop” of Hyde Park Progress fame.

He was taking a meal with his lovely wife and spotted yours truly dealing with a table of 4 adults and 4 small children.

Don’t ask.

In the interest of disclosure, Chicago Pop and I had previously been in touch and I invited him to come into the restaurant so we could meet.

I also sent him a picture.

Asking the man to identify me by the fact that I’m a tall, substantial, black woman is like me trying to find the “smart kid” at the University of Chicago.

I had to give the man something to go on.

Since that was some time ago, it was great to finally meet one of the people behind HPP.

Mrs. Chicago Pop was a hoot and a holler as well.

Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to chat as people seem to want their drinks in a timely manner on a warm Saturday night.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again in the near future.

God be willing there will be plenty of time to talk.

‘Cause there’s certainly is a lot to talk about.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To The Market I Go

These are the sights I see when I go to the Woodlawn Farmer's market on Saturdays.

Once I hit Dorchester I pass by Apostolic Church. The flowers in the parking medians are just the living end.

As I keep on heading north on Dorchester, around 62nd Street, I was struck by how nice the lawn looked at this house.

So I keep on walking north until I hit 61st Street and the sign welcoming me to the Woodlawn Farmer's Market.

Yeah we don't have alot of booths---yet. Hope springs eternal for next year though.

Crepes in Woodlawn? Who knew?

Tomato Mountain Farms organic Habanero Salsa. If you like hot, I strongly suggest you pick up a jar. It's fire.

Bleeding Heart Bakery. I love them. Their Goat Cheese and Basil croissants are the shit. I wish they would come to the market every week.

Hopefully our little market will be teeming with vendors in '09. Woodlawn needs more fruits, vegetables and flowers too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So Much For The Peace and Quiet

These motherfuckers have lost their everlovin' minds.

The question in my mind is if you know that your presence on the corner might draw gunfire, why do you stand there?

When I went out to purchase detergent from the corner store (Dan Allan in the WGN piece is the owner) on Monday night, I reminded myself to get there before 8:50 as the store closes at 9:00.


'Cause I didn't want to be there during the last ten minutes of the business day---that's when stick up guys tend to rob places.

Of course I also passed the horde of teenagers and young people that congregate on and near the corner where the shooting occured.

I will start putting in calls during my lunch hour today to find out who's who and what's what.

If we don't get a handle on all of this violence, the only thing Chicago's gonna get is kicked in our overfed Midwestern asses, not the Olympics.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Corner

The sound of gunfire is unmistakable.

So I knew what I was hearing at 6:30 tonight.

I just didn’t know what direction the gunfire was coming from. If memory serves me correctly, about six shots rang out.

Believe it or not, I completely dismissed the whole incident. I figured if it was really gunfire I’d soon hear the wail of police sirens.

I kept on about my business---surfing the internet, watering the flowers and taking out the trash. Not really paying attention to what was going on outside.

It was when I was coming back up stairs from the alley that my next door neighbor (yes, the one who put out the fire) asked me if I heard the shots.

Great. Just fucking great.

I knew there had been two shootings or attempted shootings in the past month.

All shootings jumped off not even a block from my little floral paradise at the corner of 65th and Stony Island.

That’s where a group of aimless youth---some of whom I believe live in the building on the northwest corner of the intersection---tend to gather.

Now that’s definitely fodder for another post but let me go on record by saying that I don’t like any group of teenagers “hanging out.”

You know what I like even less?

Groups of young men “hanging out”---especially during a warm and violent summer that we’ve had on the south side.

It's been crack-a-lacking over in South Shore this summer. There's a reason why they call it Terror Town. Frankly I was hoping, if you’ll excuse the pun, that we had dodged a bullet.

Apparently that ain't the case.

Well that’s the assumption I made since I can stand on my front balcony and look at the pretty flashing blue lights on top of the police cars that are lining Stony from 64th to 65th.

Allegedly today’s shooting may have also involved an innocent bystander on the street, the passengers and driver of the north bound 6 Stony Island bus.

Let’s say it all together----Delightful.

Are you fucking kidding me?

You’ll have to excuse the language---I swear up a blue streak when I get agitated. Hell, I don’t think I said anything fit for family consumption for a month after September 11th.

But I’m sure you can understand.

Now I don’t know if the aimless youths are beefin with another group of aimless youths. I don’t know why after two years of their shiftless presence in our happy little hood is the shit is hitting the fan, but I can tell you this:

Those young men and women, their friends, whomever they live with and their landlord is now officially on my radar.

I make 40 in 13 days, I’ll be damned if I get shot over some stupid gangbanger shit that I don’t have jack shit to do with.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Where's My Curl Activator

J.C. Penny, my ass...

God, isn't teenage angst sacred? I know I'm getting old, but come on.

Don't make me have to squeeze into my high school cheerleading uniform. Trust me on this---nobody wins. You, me or the seams on the doubleknit pleated skirt.

Friday, August 08, 2008

But Will She Name Names?

That sign ain't bullshitin'.

Ironically, it sits at the corner of 64th and Dorchester in the 20th Ward. Yes the same ward of the former Alderwoman Arenda Troutman.

You know the former alderman who just plead guilty to charges of mail fraud and tax evasion related to corruption charges of soliciting bribes from real estate developers.

We all know what the newspapers say.

And the Department of Justice's affidavit is enlightening. Note how certain banks got put on blast.

But what inquiring minds want to know is what other developers paid to play?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Clue Phone Is Ringing

A reality check (along with my translation) that tempers the celebrating of my upcoming milestone birthday:

Dear Woody:

This is to inform you of an upcoming change in your premium charge. As a result of the recent birthday (you old broad)for the above referenced member, your policy premium has been adjusted (cause your girly parts are gonna need more maintenance). Please note the new amount and date so that you may plan for your automatice payment withdrawal.

Premium rates are established for age and geographic location, among other factors. In keeping with the industry practices (so we can make a business case to jack you for more cash), we review premium charges assessed to each of our policyholders on certain birthdays. For future reference, it may be helpful to know exactly when our premium rate reviews take place; at ages 6, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 and 65.

If you have any questions (like we care), or if we may be or assistance to you, (my ass) please call our customer service department at 1-800-538-8833.


Membership Services
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

Industry practices. premium rate reviews. Bah---humbug. I better pile up some cash in the upcoming years. I can only imagine what would happen to my rates if I made a major claim.

Jesus take the wheel.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Second Report

The first report on the state of Carlton Knight’s Harvey rental properties painted some dismal conditions at the three buildings.

The second report finds that the receiver hired both an architect and a general contractor to inspect the property per a court order. “The basic conclusion from the reports is that the property, while structurally sound is in need of major repairs.”


As if things couldn’t weren’t bad enough for the folks living at the rentals named The Rose (indeed), they also had a little issue with their water pipes and sewers.

More specifically on December 26th, 2007 “two water pipes broke, the sewers backed up and waste was coming up the drains in the utility room in the 15144 building.”

Merry Christmas.

According to the report, the issue was immediately fixed (yuck!) and then the plumbers came back out on January 14, 2008 to complete a more extensive repair. “They noted that the sewer lines were old and some of the lines had extensive debris in them that was affecting the pitch of the sewers.”

I wonder if this is how Mr. Knight is “involved in all aspects of operations.” Letting the sewer lines get so backed up that his former tenants were swimming in shit.

The inspection reports read like a laundry list of repairs. I’ll save you the boring parts and get down to brass tacks.

The construction totals are as follows:

Misc. Exterior Work-----$28,600.00
Interior Work------------$326,500.00
HVAC Repairs--------------$15,000.00 to $20,000.00
Other Capital Repairs--$144,200.00

Yowsa that’s a lot a scratch.

At the time of the report, one tenant had moved out to a nursing home and three tenants vacated their units as of January 31st. So if I’m doing my math correctly that would of put the occupancy rate at 25 units that were unoccupied at the time.

Which would explain the dismal cash situation.

“As of December 7, 2007 the receiver had $6,770.98 in its account. From December 7, 2007 to January 23, 2008 the receiver collected $11,999.00 in rents and paid $17,862.23 in expenses. The case balances as of January 24th, 2008 is $907.75.”

That’s some thin margins to operate and maintain an apartment building.

Sunday, August 03, 2008