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September 2012 Archives

Old Prentice Women's Hospital off agenda again

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It appears that the old Prentice Women's Hospital will not be on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks Oct. 4 agenda.

Preservationists hoping to save the building had hoped to see it on the draft agenda posted online Friday afternoon. But it wasn't there.

If there is any discussion about the building, Chris Morris, senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Places, said members of the Save Prentice Coalition aren't part of it

"No members of the coalition have been approached by the city for any meetings or discussion," she said Friday.

"We are hopeful it will show up on the agenda Nov 1," she added.

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'Friction with everyone,' but 'not militant'

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a-mallette.jpgThe Rev. Daniel Mallette, now 80, was in the news this week for resisting the Catholic archdiocese's effort to nudge him into a nursing home from St. Margaret of Scotland parish on the Southwest Side. He also was in the news in 2002 for fighting off two men who broke into his rectory bedroom and last December when burglars blackened his eyes and broke his ribs.

And the parish council chairman now says, "he has friction with everyone ... that's one of the reasons we all love him."

But in an interview back in 1975, two years before he was appointed to St. Margaret, the Rev. Mallette emphasized that he was "not militant."

The Rev. Mallette became a civil-rights activist at St. Agatha's in Lawndale, where he spent 11 years early in his career. During that time, he went to Selma, Ala., to march with Dr. Martin Luther King for civil rights. He was registering voters in Mississippi when three civil rights workers were killed. He was jailed in Chicago when some of his parishioners were arrested while demonstrating for better public education. One of his companions in jail was the comedian Dick Gregory.

Prentice Hospital preservationists: NU has enough land

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a-prentice-72-1.jpgPreservationists trying to save the old Prentice Women's Hospital in Streeterville released a report today saying Northwestern-related entities own 44 percent of the Near North Side neighborhood.

Their tally shows the "Northwestern family" owns 23 buildings on 25 acres of land in the area bounded by Pearson Street, Grand Avenue, Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. 

The Save Prentice Coalition, which includes includes AIA Chicago, DoCoMoMo, Landmarks Illinois, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Preservation Chicago, wants to save the building designed in the early 1970s by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.

The coalition defines the "Northwestern family" as Northwestern University, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and Northwestern Medicine.

Bill Nye: Please don't teach your kids creationism

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Bill Nye the Science Guy calls on parents who believe in creationism -- the Bible-based view that the world was created a mere 6,000 or so years ago -- to resist teaching that fable to their children. It's not science in any way, Nye says, and kids need to learn real science.

"Don't make your kids do that because we need them," Nye says.

Nye is right, of course, which should not need saying. But it does. Too many American schools controlled by religious fundamentalists continue to push creationism or intelligent design or whatever the going euphemism is for religion dressed up as rational, evidence-based and predictive science.

A terrific book on the subject -- carefully reported and highly readable -- is "Monkey Girl," by Edward Humes, published in 2007. It is a fascinating account, as one critic said, of a "modern day 'holy war' being waged by American fundamentalists in the schoolyard battle over Darwin's dangerous idea."

That idea, one of the most brilliant and important ever worked out by mortals, is evolution.

a-horist.jpgA little piece of political and civic history is leaving Illinois this week.

Larry P. Horist, who ran Steve Forbes' 1996 campaign in Illinois and was a political strategist in Michael Flanagan's win over Dan Rostenkowski - and who lost to Spanky the Clown in the 1995 Chicago mayoral primary - says he is moving to Florida.

Back in the 1980s, when he was executive director of the City Club of Chicago, he helped lead the campaign to save the Chicago Theatre.

CeaseFire changes name to CureViolence

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a-ceasefire-.jpgGary Slutkin, founder and executive director, announced today that CeaseFire is changing its name to CureViolence.

"Treating violence as a disease is more than a metaphor. And, preventing violence requires more than a model. It requires a movement that changes how people think about violence," Slutkin wrote.
"That's why I am so pleased to announce today the shift from CeaseFire to CureViolence.


Challenger disputes Alvarez's conviction-integrity record

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Lori S. Yokoyama, the Republican who is challenging Democrat Anita Alvarez for Cook County state's attorney, today criticized Alvarez's seven-month-old Conviction Integrity Unit.

Yokoyama called on Alvarez "to explain why she continues to use office resources to fight the exonerations of several wrongfully accused men, while trumpeting the results of the Conviction Integrity Unit. The CIU, which is comprised of three Assistant States Attorney's and woefully understaffed, has only released one wrongfully convicted person in 2012."

Why the Green Party has fewer candidates this year

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a-Jill_Stein-72.jpgHaving the Green Party presidential candidate in town tonight for a fund-raiser raises the question: Where are all the Greens in local races this year?

In the Chicago area, there are only four. Three candidates - Nasrin R. Khalili, Dave Ehrlich and Karen Roothaan - are running for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The fourth, Nancy Wade, is the Green Party candidate in the 5th Congressional District (she's joining Stein at the fund-raiser at the Grafton Pub in Chicago).

That's a drop from recent elections. And the reason can be found in Illinois' election code, which doesn't make life easy for alternative parties. An established party is required to gather far fewer signatures on petitions to place a candidate on the ballot than a new party is.

The Green Party had obtained status as an established party in the past, but the last gubernatorial campaign turned into a five-way race when Scott Lee Cohen got in, which split the vote. That dropped the Green candidate for governor, Rich Whitney, below the 5 percent cutoff. So the Greens don't automatically qualify statewide as an established party this time around.

a-strike.jpg If the Chicago teachers strike, now in its second day, seems contentious, perhaps it's worth looking back to the summer of 1931.

That's when the school board stopped paying teachers in cash, defaulted on 24 payrolls and offered to pay teachers in scrip instead.

As Dominic A. Pacyga recounts in his 2009 book, Chicago: A Biography, businesses by September were giving Chicago's 14,000 teachers only pennies on the dollar for their nearly worthless paper. Teachers passed out in classrooms due to a lack of food.

"Finally, the circuit court stopped the payment system after a lawsuit by the Chicago Teachers' Federation," Pacyga wrote. "Payless paydays followed."

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Alvarez: Law could discourage "straw buyers" of guns

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alvarez-72.jpgOne way to fight back against "straw buyers" who flood Chicago with guns is a "lost or stolen" law, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says.

At a press conference last week, Alvarez talked about the law when asked about a Sun-Times series by Frank Main that documented how straw buyers purchase guns legally in the suburbs and then sell them to people who use the weapons in crimes in Chicago. If the gun is traced back, the straw buyer says it was lost or stolen.

"We have the past three years proposed a law down in Springfield called 'lost or stolen,' " Alvarez said. "I think it is a very common-sense law, and obviously it has gone nowhere down in Springfield."

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