Introducing CAPS Community Organizer Belinda Washington 

By Gary Jenkins 

Belinda J. Washington is not a Chicago Police Officer, she is a civilian, yet she serves in a vital role as the 22nd District’s Community Organizer.  As much as it important for the community to get know the officers who serve the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods, it is also important to get to know the civilians who works night and day with the CAPS office and its police officers.   

As the 22nd District’s community organizer, Washington’s role is to help manage the CAPS office, organize district-wide community events, and communicate with the residents of 22nd District about activities and events being sponsored by the 22nd District.  

This month marks Washington’s 22nd year with the Chicago Police Department, and she has been at the 22nd District for five years.  As a function of her role, she attends Beat meetings, National Night Out events, Outdoor Roll Calls, and just about any public event the 22nd District has going on in the community. She also sends out correspondence via email and newsletters to help keep residents informed on the goings on at the 22nd District. 

Having served as a Beat Facilitator for the more than ten years and participated in numerous 22ND District events over the same time period, I have had the opportunity to work with two 22nd District Community Organizers. Washington came in and immediately familiarized herself with the neighborhoods and people. Her dedication and commitment to her profession and the people she serves are apparent from the moment you meet her. The people of this community are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional CAPS office, and Belinda Washington is a vitally important part of that office. 

Village Viewpoint – September 2020

By Gary Jenkins, BAPA Safety Liaison

I have lived in the Beverly/Morgan Park community for the past sixteen plus years. My wife Sharon and I moved here from the 6500 block of Sangamon Street.  I am originally from New York City, so Englewood was my first taste of Chicago.

Most of Englewood then, as it is now, was considered a very tough neighborhood. I wasn’t intimidated by Englewood — I’m from the southeast Bronx, and people from the Bronx aren’t intimidated easily.  So, I just did what I had done most of my life: I got involved.  I attended community revitalization meetings; I talked to neighbors and seniors about how we can make our block and neighborhood better; I swept my and other neighbors’ trash from in front of homes; and spoke to the kids on the block about things they could do to improve their chances in life.

Since I was new to Chicago back then, CAPS was a new concept to me.  I was somewhat familiar with NYC community policing efforts, but I had not participated in them in any significant way. Since I was very concerned with being safe and comfortable where I was living, I began attending CAPS meetings where I listened as neighbors shared their concerns over crime and violence on their streets.

One of the things that struck me about those meetings is that there didn’t seem to be a real connection between the residents who attended and the 7th District CAPS officers who conducted the meetings.  Residents also seemed to be reluctant about being forthcoming. I believe there was a sense of hopelessness, fear, and distrust among the residents.

When we moved to Beverly/Morgan Park, Sharon and I began attending 22nd District CAPS meetings. I was struck by how the level of issues were on two different ends of the spectrum for Englewood and Beverly/Morgan Park.  I had come from a district where murder, rape, assault and robbery were the topics of CAPS meetings to a district where kids hanging out in the park after dusk and loud music complaints topped the CAPS agenda.

There were other differences, too.

I noticed there seemed to be a closer connection between the residents and the officers, and that the meetings were attended by other community stake holders like 19th Ward and BAPA representatives. I attended many meetings over the next couple of years, then I made my voice and concerns known.

More than ten years ago I was recruited to serve in a two year term as beat facilitator for Beat 2213. As beat facilitator, I got to know and work with more of the officers of the 22nd District.

Although I have no proof, I believe that one thing that makes the relationship between the residents and officers in the 22nd District different from the 7th District is that more of our officers live in the community.

As I stated earlier, I am from the Bronx, and growing up an African American male in the Bronx, I did not have a great relationship with police officers.   I rarely saw police officers who looked like me.  On more than one occasion, I have been stopped by police because of the color of my skin.

For six years before coming to Chicago, I worked as a peace officer along with and close to law enforcement individuals of all stripes, from federal, state, and local agencies. I began to appreciate and respect the individuals behind the badges who where doing the right thing, the right way.

That is what I have come to know about the personnel at the 22nd District who I have worked with over the years: they do the right thing, the right way.

As BAPA’s Safety Liaison, I view my role with the folks at the 22nd District as merely an extension of my role as an active, concerned, member of this community.

I want to recognize how hard the officers at the 22nd District have been working and the sacrifices they make by working 12 hour shifts with no days off. Special thanks go to the 22nd District police for keeping our community safe during these turbulent times.

Say Hello to Your 22nd District CAPS Officer 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

Meet the 22nd District’s Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy Officer, Kurrin Beamon. Officer Beamon has been at this position for four years. Part of her responsibilities include but, not are limited to, organizing and conducting clergy meetings, safety seminars and beat meetings.  

From our first meeting, Officer Beamon’s energy and commitment to her work was immediately apparent.  I have served as CAPS Beat Facilitator for Beat 2213 for about 12 years (I’ve lost track of how many!). In those years, the 22nd District has been blessed with very dedicated Beat Officers: Sgt. Hurley, Sgt. Lewis, Officer Northcross and now Officer Beamon.   

Officer Beamon continues the fine work of her predecessors, and she has taken it to a new level. As BAPA’s Safety Coordinator, I have attended 22nd District Beat meetings in addition to the  Beat 2213 meetings, and seen how Officer Beamon’s meetings are run in a very professional manner, both allowing for spirited conversations, and, more importantly, problem solving discussions. Officer Beamon is quick to remind attendees that the goal of the meetings is for the police and the community to work together to find solutions to problems in the community.   

Officer Beamon has organized outdoor community events in areas of the district that have shown a spike in crimesThese  events are designed to bring the community and the officers together in a social setting  to forge better understanding, trust and communication. Officer Beamon utilizes social media platforms to help keep the residents of the 22nd District updated.  

In her years at the 22nd District, Officer Beamon has worked seamlessly with both the 19th Ward office and BAPA, hosting security and safety seminars for residents and small businesses. These events have been popular and successful. among the most successful of these events is where residents and businesses are brought together with actual burglars to hear firsthand how to better protect their homes and businesses from break-ins.   


22nd District Beat Meetings Change Format 


Last month the 22nd District Police CAPS Office held its first Beat meeting under the new COVID-19 State of Illinois and City of Chicago guidelines.  The meeting was held inperson at the District Office. The Aug. and Sept meetings will be held via Zoom, accessible online at or dial in, 312-626-6799.  

Using the new format, Beats in the 22nd District are now divided into sectors for the online meeting platform.  Beats 2211, 2212 and 2213 are in Sector 1 and will meet Tues., Aug. 11 and Sept. 15, 6 p.m. 

Use meeting ID: 982 7618 5186 and password: 347128. 

Beats 2221, 2222 and 222, are in Sector 2 and will meet Wed., Aug. 12 and Sept. 16, 6 p.m. Use meeting ID: 923 2135 9813 and password: 548867. 

For more information, contact the 22nd District CAPS Office, 312-745-0620. 


22nd District CAPS Profile: Officer James Connell 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Community Safety Liaison 

Officer James Connell is the Chicago Police Departments Abandoned Buildings Officer for the 22nd District, and he has been in that role for the past six years. One of his responsibilities in that role is to follow up on complaints from residents regarding buildings and homes. Although the abandoned building officer fields all types of complaints about problem properties, complaints involving overgrown yards, and buildings and homes in need of obvious repairs are usually referred to Pat Hefferman, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, 312-933-2763. 

If a property appears to have been abandoned or is vacant or unsecured, Officer Connell will initiate an investigation to determine the ownership status. If a property owner can be identified, efforts will be made to have the owner address the problems. If the owner does not address situation, or the in the case of an abandoned or vacant property, where the owner cannot be located, Officer Connell will refer the property to City of Chicago’s Law Department for legal action.  

If residents have tangible information regarding illegal activity in a vacant or abandoned buildingor if they have questions or concerns regard potential troubled buildings, they should contact Officer Connell, 312-745-0620 or email 

Besides notifying Officer Connell, residents can call 311 or visit City of Chicago websites that have very helpful information: 

Neighborhood Notes – April 2018

Spring Flower Sale. Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., is accepting orders for its annual sale of spring flowers through May 10. Choices include several varieties of impatiens, petunias, salvia, geraniums, herns and more, and can be ordered in four-packs, flats, pots and baskets. Flower pick-up is May 19. Info:

CAPS Meetings. 22nd District Police CAPS meetings are open to all. Beat 2221, Tues., Apr. 3, 7 p.m. Christ the King, 9225 S. Hamilton; Court Advocacy Subcommittee, Wed., Apr. 11, 1:30 p.m. 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey; Bea 2213, Thurs., Apr. 12, 6:30 p.m. Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr.; Domestic Violence Subcommittee, Thurs., Apr. 26, 10:30 a.m. 22nd District Police Station.  Info: 312-745-0620.

Smith Village Open Mic Night. Area singers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers are welcome to perform at Open Mic Night, Tues., Apr. 3, 7 to 10 p.m., Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th P. Free; refreshments will be served. To sign up an act, contact Debbie Parks, or 773-574-9727. For information about attending, call 773-474-7300 and ask for Meghan Maple.

Beverly Therapists Offer Groups, Events. Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor, offers a variety of groups and seminars. Free ongoing monthly LGBTQ+ Support Group for high school aged teens; call Christina Sprayberry, 314-550-4384 or Bonn Wade, 773-330-2544 for info. Spring Renewal Wellness Seminar, Sat., Apr. 21, 3 to 5 p.m., featuring guided meditation, QiGong and gentle yoga to raise energies for a fresh start,$10.  Grieving a Child Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month, 7 to 9 p.m., and Grieving a Partner Support Group meets the third Wednesday of each month, 7 to 9 p.m., $30 per session. Info and registration:

LSC Meetings. John H. Vanderpoel Humanities Academy LSC, Tues., Apr. 3, 5:30 p.m. 9510 S. Prospect Ave., 773-535-269; Kellogg School LSC, Thurs., Apr. 5, 6 p.m. School Library, 9241 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2590; Barnard Elementary School LSC, Mon., Apr. 16, 6:30 p.m. Room 203, 10354 S. Charles St., 773-535-2625; Clissold School LSC, Mon., Apr. 16, 7 p.m. Auditorium, 2350 W. 110th Pl., 773-535-2560; Sutherland School LSC, Tues., Apr. 17, 6:30 p.m. school, 10015 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2580; Morgan Park High School LSC, Wed., Apr. 18, 7 to 9 p.m. Library, 1744 W. Pryor, 773-535-2550; and Barbara Vick Early Childhood & Family Center LSC, Tues., Apr. 24, 3:45 p.m., St. Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., 773-535-2671.

Dance Gallery Registration. Registration is now open for the spring session of dance classes for children and adults at the Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Classes are offered for beginners through advanced levels in several dance disciplines, and are taught by a professional dance faculty. Info: 773-445-8910 or

Butterfly Gardening Workshop. The Oak Lawn Park District hosts a butterfly gardening workshop Sat., Apr. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St. The workshop will be divided into three parts: butterfly gardening, monarch conservation, and raising caterpillars at home. $10.  Register using code 427117 at 708-857-2201.

Yoga and Wellness Events. Light House Yoga & Wellness, 11240 S. Western Ave., 2nd floor offers the following events this month: Ayurveda for Spring with Maureen Ryan, Sun., Apr. 8, 1 p.m.; Women’s Workshop with Life Coach Bridget Rourke, Sun., Apr. 15, 3 p.m.; Welcome to Light House Open House Celebration, Sun., Apr. 22, all day, featuring free yoga classes (sign up at, live music, refreshments and good vibes; and Sound Healing: Live Music, Restorative Yoga and Aromatherapy with Brendan McAlinden and Erin Kelly, Sun., Apr. 29, 3 p.m. Info: 773-569-1015. Complete class schedule and registration:

Registration Opens Apr. 8 for Summer Peace Camp.  Registration opens Apr. 8 for the annual Peace Camp at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley Ave. Peace Camp is for children entering 1st grade through 6th grade, and will be held June 2 through 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children will learn how to find peace through yoga and prayer, non-violent conflict resolution, multicultural appreciation, the arts, care of creation, and more. Bible stories will teach about peace and camp includes a one-day field trip. All children welcome. $60 per camper (scholarships available). Register on a first-come, first-served basis at  or 773-445-7558.

Seminar Topic is Jesus’s Ministry. Lois Tverberg, author of “Reading the Bible with Jesus,” will present a seminar on the topic Jesus, Our Rabbi and Lord Sun., Apr. 8, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Bethany Union Church of Chicago, 1750 W. 103rd St. The seminar will look at how Jesus’s first-century Jewish context sheds light on his ministry and messianic claims. Free. Info/RSVP: 773-779-0123 or

Chicago Speech Study Seeks Volunteers. The Georgetown University Department of Linguistics is conducting a study on the production and perception of Chicago speech, seeks the help of people over age 18 who were born and raised in the Chicago area and have normal hearing and speech.  The study lasts around 60 minutes and will take place at Northwestern University, Apr, 9 to 13. Participants will read a series of sentences while the movement of their tongue is measured with ultrasound. Their speech will be recorded with audio and video. You will then complete a computer-based task where you are asked to listen to speech samples and report what you hear. Info: Jonathan Havenhill, Participants will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

Longwood Writers Guild. Longwood Writers Guild, a critique group for adult creative writers, will meet Mon. Apr. 9. 7 pm., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Bring a piece you are working on to read aloud for productive comments. Donation requested. Info:

Kellogg School Events. The Adler Planetarium’s ‘Scopes in the City will be at Kellogg School, 9241 S. Leavitt, Mon., Apr. 23, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a free  program of observing the spring sky – hopefully including the moon and Venus – by telescope. The event will be held weather permitting, so check and Twitter @AdlerPlanet for updates closer to the event.  Jazzin’ at the Blossom, a benefit for Kellogg School, will be held Fri., June 1, 7 to 10 p.m., Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery, 9030 S. Hermitage. The event features live music, open bar, and wine and food pairings with Chef Alvin Green. $50 before May 11 or $60 after. Info:

End of Life Care for Pets. Veterinarian Dr. Amir Shanan will present “Hospice and Other Choices for End of Life Care for Pets,” a lecture and discussion, Tues., Apr. 24, 7 p.m., Ingersoll-Blackwelder House, 10910 S. Prospect Ave. Dr. Shanan provides information, support and guidance in helping owners of beloved geriatric or seriously ill pets with care options. He is founder of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. Reservations needed by Apr. 12 at or 708-638-6813. $5 donation requested for the not-for-profit Compassion for Pets organization that assists families unable to pay for end of life care for their pets.

Free Shred Event. Beverly Bank and Trust, 10258 S. Western, will hold a free shred event Sat., Apr. 14, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items you can shred include: tax information and returns, investment and bank records, cancelled checks and paycheck stubs, bills and household information, personal documents and more. Electronic devices will be collected for recycling. Info: 773-239-2265.

Rummage Sale. Morgan Park United Methodist Church, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., will hold a spring rummage sale Fri., Apr. 13 and Sat., Apr. 14, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clothing, household items, jewelry, books, furniture and more will be available. Enter at north end of the parking lot. Info: 773-238-2600

Life Line Screening. Life Line Screening, a provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will offer a preventive health event Tues., Apr. 17, Bethany Union Church, 1750 W. 103rd St. Five screenings will scan for potential health problems related to blocked arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, hardening of the arteries in the legs, atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat, and bone density. Fees, information and registration: 1-888-653-6441 or

Renaissance Academy. The John T. Farrell, Sr. Forum of Renaissance Academy presents a spring forum, Catherine of Siena:  Philosopher, Theologian, Saint and Doctor of the Church, Thurs., Apr. 19, 11:30 a.m., Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., Butler Reception Room. Dominican Sister Nancy Murray dramatizes vignettes of St. Catherine’s life from childhood to her influence on political and church leaders of her time. A light luncheon precedes the presentation. Admission is free and open to the public.

Clean and Green. Join BAPA and help clean up a park, train station or public space near you on Chicago clean and green spring clean-up day, Sat., April 21, starting at 9 a.m. Find locations and easy sign-up at

Band Plays Four Seasons Music. The Four C Notes, a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, will perform Sat., Apr. 21. 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $30 ($27/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

Open House Highlights Rehab Therapy Services. Learn about the physical, occupational and speech therapy teams at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., at an open house, Sun., Apr. 22, 11 to 2 p.m. Therapists offer short-term services to help patients with the transition from a hospital stay to self-reliance back at home. Information about this rehab option as well as an introduction to Mercy Circle’s independent living lifestyle will be offered at the open house. Guests are encouraged to tour the chapel, exercise room, salon, library and dining rooms and ask questions about the many, daily activities at Mercy Circle. Info/private appointments: 773-253-3600.

Faith and Unity: Community Choir Concert.  The Beverly/Morgan Park Community Choir will perform its annual concert with the theme “Faith & Unity,” Sun., Apr. 22, 4 p.m., St. Cajetan Church, 2445 W. 112th St. The choir will perform a variety of sacred music from classical to gospel, accompanied by piano, percussion, and brass instruments.  Nearly 60 singers from 20 churches throughout the South Side are members of the Beverly/Morgan Park Community Choir. The group draws singers of all faiths. The concert is open to all; a free will offering will be taken at intermission. Info: or

Motown Revue at BAC. Masters of Soul Motown Revue, a celebration of the legendary songs and performers that defined Motown and soul music, will be on stage Fri., Apr. 27, 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $38 ($34/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

‘Cinderella’ at BAC. Chicago Kids Company presents “Cinderella,” one hour musical adaptation of the popular fairy tale geared to children age 2 to 12, selected dates through May 5, Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St. Tickets: $12; lap children under age 2, free. Group rates available. Info/tickets: 773-205-9600 or

Robbie Fulks at BAC. Robbie Fulks, alternative country singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, performs Fri., May 4, 8 p.m. Baffes Theatre, Beverly Art Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Tickets: $30 ($27/Beverly Arts Center members). Tickets/info: 773-445-3838 or

BIA Bird Watch and Nature Walk. The Beverly Improvement Association (BIA) hosts its annual Bird Watch and Nature Walk Sat., May 12, at Dan Ryan Woods. The free coffee, juice, and donuts tailgate begins at 7:30 a.m. in the 89th and Western Avenue parking lot. At 8:15 a.m., noted local ornithologist Walter Marcisz will begin the tour. Bring binoculars and wear waterproof boots.


Police Presence, Nosey Neighbors and Being Informed Impact Safety

According to BAPA’s safety survey, a strong and consistent police presence, a commitment to being nosey neighbors and having access to community alerts and crime information are the top three tools needed for a safer community. (See survey results.)

“I think these results show how much confidence our community has in our police force, so much so that we hope Chicago Police Department leadership will dedicate more police manpower to protecting our commercial and residential areas,” BAPA’s Margot Holland.

“The survey provides valuable information for our law enforcement partners,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. ” I look forward to ongoing collaboration with BAPA and the 22nd District.”

The survey was distributed in early December through email blasts and social media, and was completed by nearly 2,000 area residents.

“It was a great response, and respondents overwhelmingly agreed that frequent police patrols throughout the community is the most effective crime-fighting tool,” Holland said.

Being a nosey neighbor and calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity was cited as the second most important aspect of crime prevention, and quick access to crime alerts came in third. CAPS meetings received the lowest confidence as a crime prevention tool.

Nearly 80% of the people who completed the survey have lived in the community for more than 10 years, and they provided good perspective on changes in community safety. “Many people noted that neighborhood receives a lot of attention from police when there is an uptick in crime, and that strong police presence is an effective crime deterrent,” Holland said. “People also commented that the neighborhood needs continuous police presence, not just added presence when something happens.”

While the vast number of survey respondents perceive the neighborhood as somewhat safe or very safe, a concerning number of people also indicated that they limit certain activities due to safety concerns.

“We received a lot of comments about where and why people curtail activities, and many people said that concern about their safety increased with the recent spate of crimes and there is more opportunity for crime because there are not enough police on the streets,” Holland said.

Even before the recent armed robberies, BAPA was developing the safety survey. “Those crimes made the survey more timely and the input we received more critical,” Holland said.

Survey respondents selected increased crime prevention tips in BAPA communications, volunteer-driven neighborhood watch, and neighborhood watch Facebook groups.

People interested in seeing the survey results can find it at The survey was developed by BAPA staff and board members with the help of 22nd District CAPS leaders, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, and community members.


Holiday Giving Guide

The holidays are an especially difficult time for people who are in need of food, shelter, friendship and a helping hand. Neighborhood organizations are reaching out with a variety of collections and programs. Read more to see how you can help. 

Holiday Food Drive. Donations of canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry can be dropped off weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 1 through 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The Food Pantry is also seeking monetary donations, which can be mailed to Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago IL 60643.  Donations of $15 or more will provide a turkey dinner for local families. Each month, the Food Pantry serves about 1,200 families from the 60643 and 60655 zip codes. When you’re out stocking up for the holidays, consider buying something extra for a neighborhood family in need or writing a check to provide a holiday dinner with all the fixings.

Hops for the Homeless. Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western, will host Hops for the Homeless raising funds Franciscan Outreach services for Chicago’s homeless, Wed., Dec. 6, 7 to 10 p.m. Admission, $40 (advance) or $45 (door), includes beverages, food, music by These Old Men They Play Records, a silent auction and raffle. Bring in new hats or gloves in exchange for raffle ticket. Order tickets/make a donation

Children’s Book Drive. Donate used children’s books in good condition through Fri., Dec. 8 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The book drive is co-sponsored by Ald. Matt O’Shea and Open Books, a non-profit organization that funds literacy programs by selling donated books. Info about Open Books: Info about the collection:

Share the Harvest. Grace Seeds Ministry is a “greenhouse” for the seeds of God’s love, justice and peace that are germinating in us, in our communities and in the world God loves. Morgan Park Presbyterian Church is a partner in Share the Harvest, Grace Seeds Ministry’s food pantry program, which inspires congregations to grow fresh produce in their gardens then donate the harvest to food pantries across Chicago. To participate in growing produce next season, call the church office, 773-779-3355.  To make a tax deductible donation to Grace Seeds Ministry, send cash or check to Grace Seeds Ministry, PO Box 1378, Bedford Park, IL  60499-1378. Info:

Snowball Party and Collection. 22nd District Police CAPS beat facilitators are collecting funds, gift cards, school materials and personal grooming items for its 2nd annual holiday party to benefit the families of 10 homeless kids who attend elementary schools in our district, Sat., Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m., at the Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.  Officers work with local school principals to select families and invite them to the luncheon with police, pastors, principals and community volunteers. On the night before the luncheon, local students transform the room to a winter wonderland at a holiday tree decorating party. Individuals and businesses are welcome to contribute gifts and necessities such as toiletries, household cleaning items, coats, bath items and more. For info on how you can help, call the 22nd District CAPS office, 312-745-0620.

Cheers for Charity. The 9th Annual Cheers for Charity Christmas Party will be held Thurs., Dec. 21. 7 to 10 p.m., Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western, raising funds to help local families in need. $40 minimum donation. The needy families are suggested by local charitable organizations, and their identities are kept private. The party raises funds to give the families a chance to enjoy the holiday season.

Help for the Homeless.  Carly Carney of Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, is collecting men’s warm winter coats and blankets for the Lower Wacker Mission for the Homeless. Donations may be dropped off anytime in front of the studio on the second floor. Info: or 773-239-9642.

Angel Babies. Marlene’s Angel Babies Foundation accepts donations of wedding dresses that are deconstructed to become burial attire for babies who are stillborn or have died in infancy.  The foundation operates citywide; the local representative Mikki Carping, 708-906-0327.

The Blue House. The Catholic Youth Ministry Center at Morgan Park High School, 1825 W. Monterey Ave., more commonly known as The Blue House, is the only program of its kind associated with a Chicago Public High School, providing a “home away from home” where there is always someone for students to talk to. Volunteers can help by presenting Career Exploration Workshops, or facilitating interactive educational workshops on topics such as college essays and applications, money management and social media safety. Plumbers, electricians and handymen are always needed to help maintain the old house. Info: Peggy Goddard, 773-881-0193

I Am Who I Am Foundation. Teens and adults with special abilities who package, label and create artwork, and sell I am . . . bath and body products for the I Am Who I Am Foundation, receive a percentage of the sales.  The non-profit organization advocates for people with special needs. I Am . . . products are available at Murray’s Browse and Brew, 3545 W. 99th St., and

Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. Women who care deeply about being of service are invited to learn more about joining the Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. The Juniors provide a variety of service and fund raising project throughout the year. On Dec. 8, Club members will provide a luncheon for Department of Veterans’ Affairs Vet Center at 87th and Kedzie.   On Dec. 16, the club is participating in Wreaths Across America, a nationwide initiative to, on the same day at the same time, lay wreaths on at the graves of fallen soldiers in military cemeteries.  They will lay wreaths at Abraham Lincoln Cemetery.  This month the club will visit the Family Rescue Woman’s Shelter on the East side to present Holiday Gift Bags; collecting treats and paperbacks to send overseas to military troops; and organizing the Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence event that will be held ton Mar. 24 to benefit A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park. Info: Cynthia Heywood,

Friends of the Forest Preserves. Friends of the Forest Preserves is the only independent non-profit organization solely focused on the Forest Preserves of Cook County. They are the voice of a diverse community inspiring and organizing people to protect, restore, and expand the forest preserves in Cook County. Through political advocacy, ecological stewardship, and community engagement, they ensure the forest preserves will always be a source of education, enjoyment, and recreation. Locally they are stewards of Dan Ryan Woods, working on invasive species removal and improving the trails. Donations will help fund conservation and outreach programs. Info: or contact Ilana Federman, or 312-356-9990.

Business Attire Clothing Drive. Donate new and gently used men’s and women’s business clothing through Dec. 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: 773-445-8128 or All items benefit The Find Your Future program which helps young men and women dress for success and land that first job

Restock the Food Pantry Drive. The Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association will host a non-perishable food drive in January to help re-stock the shelves of the Maple/Morgan Park Food Pantry after the holiday season. Collection boxes will be located at various Beverly/Morgan Park businesses and monetary donations will also be accepted. Info: Caroline Connors, 773-779-2530

Surveillance Systems Protect Homes and Businesses

By Kristin Boza

Video surveillance systems offer homeowners and businesses an affordable way to monitor their property, according to Tom Rezetko, owner of Enterprise Network Services in Evergreen Park.ENS offers a variety of options depending on the home or business owner’s needs, utilizing the latest in affordable technology.

“The nice thing about today’s technology is that through your internet connection at home or work, you can view the video feed remotely from your Smartphone or PC,” Rezetko said. “When you’re at work or on vacation, you can check your video feed with a wireless access. We found our clients value this service.”

Surveillance cameras can be installed outside of your home or business, or inside. “We normally place external cameras at the entrances to the building, and areas between buildings to monitor any place someone could penetrate a home or business,” Rezetko said. Internal cameras could be used to keep an eye on your children who are alone after school while you’re at work, or even to make sure an elderly parent is staying safe while alone all day.

The feed records 24/7 and is saved on a Network Video Recorder, or NVR, for storage retrieval. This can be accessed at any time in case of emergency, and a copy can be downloaded to a thumb drive. “Video quality is improving immensely compared to how it used to be, and we see it continuing to improve. A better picture quality lets you see more at a distance and allows for better viewing in dark places; night viewing technology has also improved,” Rezetko said.

Video is typically stored for up to six weeks. After that time, the oldest recordings will automatically delete first. “What we’ve seen is if there’s an incident in the area, the police will look around to see if any neighbors have cameras and will ask to see their feed,” Rezetko said.

When cameras are installed, ENS is careful to ensure the cameras fit in well with the home. “People are sensitive with having cameras hanging off the house, so we blend them in,” he said. A typical home will have at least four cameras placed on the outside. Rezetko’s team makes sure cables are concealed as much as possible and that all connections are protected. They also will setup your Smartphone or PC to allow you to monitor the feed, so it can be used immediately with minimal work from the home or business owner.

Rezetko says that cameras could be a deterrent from a crime occurring at a home or business. “It’s a service that provides value for the consumer and it really helps law enforcement as well,” he said. “We always make sure that we install a product that does what it’s supposed to do, while being aesthetically pleasing to the home’s exterior.”

Contact ENS at 773-583-4009





Village Viewpoint: Working Together for a Great Community

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Well, I was hopeful that after the contentious presidential election my Facebook newsfeed would go back to focusing on cute pictures of kids and fuzzy animals and that the traditionally cold weather would compel crime to let up, allowing the Chicago Police Department time to regroup and address the growing crime rate on the south and west sides of our City. No such luck.

I, like you, have been especially concerned about incidents that took place in our neighborhood from shots fired on New Year’s Day to hateful graffiti found on residential and church property. These crimes are unacceptable. We at BAPA condemn these acts of violence and hatred that happened in our neighborhood. We are proud to be part of an integrated, family-oriented community, and we believe that we can find a way to come together as a community and curtail this unacceptable behavior.

Over the last several weeks, members of the BAPA staff and Board of Directors, civic leaders, the alderman’s office and the 22nd District Police have been discussing the safety of our community and how, in the current climate in Chicago, Beverly/Morgan Park can remain safe.  WARNING: It requires your participation!

We need you to engage in keeping our community strong and safe by doing these simple things: don’t be a bystander and don’t be afraid to call the police – they are ready and willing to be here on our streets protecting us!

BAPA has been working with you – our community — to preserve and improve the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood for more than 70 years. Our mission is to sustain and enhance our safe, culturally diverse community. We do that with proactive, effective programs that unify residents, institutions and businesses around the common cause of nurturing Chicago’s best neighborhood.

Thank you for all you do to support BAPA and our neighborhood!

All the best,