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.


Neighborhood Notes – March 2018

Free Business Counseling at BAPA. Local business owners are encouraged to take advantage of expert advice from counselors from SCORE and the Far South Community Development Corporation. Mentors from these organizations meet with clients at the BAPA office, 1987 W. 111th St.  SCORE business mentor Mark Jaswanthkumar is available by appointment on Mondays, 9 to 11 a.m., to help entrepreneurs learn more about business start-up, finding funding, expanding their current businesses, managing cash flow and marketing. Mentoring is free and offered by appointment only. Make appointments at Florence Hardy and Kathryn Jackson of the Far South Community Development Corporation (FSCDC) make appointments to help small businesses with business accounting and business plans on the second Wednesday of each month between 10 a.m. and noon. Far South counselors are experts at connecting businesses with resources and services for current and prospective business owners. To schedule an appointment, call BAPA, 773-233-3100.

Call for Artists. Chicagoland artists are invited to apply for the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival to be held Sat., June 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. A $20 application fee is required and will be used toward the $85 booth fee for artists who are accepted into the juried fair. Space is limited. The application deadline is Apr. 15. Eligible fine art media include paintings, sculpture, ceramics, leather crafts, textiles, jewelry, and art glass. The art fair is being coordinated by the Ridge Park Advisory Council and John H. Vanderpoel Art Association through the Chicago Park District Partners in Art program. Information/applications at

Teacher in the Library Homework Help. Certified teachers and trained homework helpers are available at local libraries to assist students with homework and learning strategies. Help is offered on a drop in basis and days/times vary by location. Contact local libraries for details: Beverly Branch, 1962. W. 111th St., 312-747-9673, and Walker Branch, 11071 S. Hoyne, 312-747-1920.

Light House Wellness Events. Light House Yoga & Wellness, 11240 S. Western, 2nd floor, will host Living Your Life with Passion, Balance & Grace, a women’s workshop with life coach Bridget Rourke, Sun., Mar. 4, 3 p.m.; Goddess Yoga for Women with Erin Kelly, Wed., Mar. 14, 7 p.m.; and Sound Healing: Live Music, Restorative Yoga & Aromatherapy with Brendan McAlinden and Erin Kelly, Sun., Mar. 18m 3 p.m. Information and registration:

Spring Writing Classes. Registration is open for spring classes at Chicago Writers Studio, 1917 W. 103rd Street, Ste #5. Classes include Life Stories with Grace Kuikman, Blogging 101 with Camille Acker and Getting Started Writing Fiction with Cole Lavalais begin the first week of March. Info/registration at

Chicago, Collected Exhibit at BAC. Chicago, Collected, an exhibit of specimens, artifacts, and scientific presentations from The Field Museum, will open with a reception Sun., Mar. 4, 2 to 4 p.m., and continue through Sat., Mar. 31 at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.  Through this innovative collaboration, visitors can discover fossils, animals, plants, and other real objects from the museum’s collection, all showcasing the incredible natural world right here in Chicago. On select dates, scientists from the Field will present their research, answer questions, and show off special items from the Museum. Info: 773-445-3838 or

Early Voting. 19th Ward residents can vote early for the Illinois primary election Mar. 5 through 19 at Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. through Sat., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. On Mon., Mar. 19, voting will remain open until 7 p.m. People can register to vote and vote at the same time during early voting; two forms of accepted identification will be required. People who wish to vote by mail can find forms at the 19th Ward office, 10400 S. Western or online at; a mail ballot must be postmarked on or before Mar. 20 to be counted. Early voting is available at the Chicago Board of Elections, 16 W. Adams St.

After School Matters Spring Programs for Teens. After School Matters is now accepting teen applications for the spring program session that features more than 400 programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports and STEM at nearly 150 locations throughout the city. Teens can search and apply online at Application features include an interactive map to help teens search for programs and a full Spanish translation on a mobile-friendly platform. Questions: 312-742-4182 or

Beverly Bank Platinum Adventures. Platinum Adventures through Beverly Bank offers a variety of programs and activities at area Wintrust bank locations. This month: Can You Hear Me? a discussion on recognizing the signs of hearing loss, Tues., Mar. 6, 11:30 a.m., First National Bank of Evergreen Park, 3960 W. 95th St., free/members, $5/non-members; “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Thurs., Mar. 15, Drury Lane Theatre, $99/members, $109/non-members includes lunch; Mollie’s War, a presentation of the role of women in the military with a focus on WACS in WWII, Tues., Mar. 20, 2 p.m., First National Bank of Evergreen Park;  Good Mood Food, a presentation from the Little Company of Mary Hospital CHEER program, Thurs., Mar. 22, 10 am., First National Bank of Evergreen Park, free/members, $5/non-members; and Safe Use of Medications, presented by a doctor from Little Company of Mary Hospital, Wed., Mar. 28, 11:30 a.m., First National Bank of Evergreen Park, free/members, $5/non-members. Info, program registration and membership details: Margie O’Connell, 773-239-2265 or

LSC Meetings. John H. Vanderpoel Humanities Academy LSC, Tues., Mar. 6, 5:30 p.m. 9510 S. Prospect Ave., 773-535-2690; Barnard Elementary School LSC, Mon., Mar. 19, 6:30 p.m. Room 203, 10354 S. Charles St., 773-535-2625; Clissold School LSC, Mon., Mar. 19, 7 p.m. Auditorium, 2350 W. 110th Pl., 773-535-2560; Sutherland School LSC, Tues., Mar. 20, 6:30 p.m. 10015 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2580; Morgan Park High School LSC, Wed., Mar. 21, 7 to 9 p.m. School Library, 1744 W. Pryor, 773-535-2550; and Barbara Vick Early Childhood & Family Center LSC, Tues., Mar. 27, 3:45 p.m. St. Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St. 773-535-2671.

Support Group for Caregivers of People with Dementia. Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl., invites neighbors who are caregivers for older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to attend a free memory care support group Tues., Mar. 6, 6:30 p.m. The floor will be open for a Q&A session with caregivers able to ask about sundowning, the disease’s progress and what certain behaviors mean. Reservations: 773-474-7300 or

Open Mic Night. Irish folk musicians — some from the well-known Dyed in the Wool band — are expected to perform during Open Mic Night, Tues., Mar. 6, 7 to 10 p.m., Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th Pl. Singers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers are welcome to perform for an appreciative audience. Free. To sign up your act, contact Debbie Parks, or 773-574-9727. Info about attending, 773-474-7300 (ask for Meghan Maple).

CAPS Meetings. Beat 2221, Tues., Mar. 6, 7 p.m. Christ the King, 9225 S. Hamilton; Beat 2213, Thurs., Mar. 8, 6:30 p.m. Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Court Advocacy Subcommittee, Wed., Mar. 14, 1:30 p.m. 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey; Domestic Violence Subcommittee, Thurs., Mar. 22, 10:30 a.m. 22nd District Police Station. Area residents are encouraged to get involved with 22nd District CAPS activities. Info: 312-745-0620.

Burglary Prevention Seminar. “Keeping It Real,’ a burglary prevention seminar for residents of the 19th Ward, will be presented Tues., Mar. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Convicted criminals will discuss how to protect yuourself rom becoming a crime victim. Information will be available from the police. Free. Info:

Saturday Drawing Class. Registration is w open for the Vanderpoel Art Association Saturday Drawing Class, beginning Mar. 10 at 10 a.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Jim McGreal will teach the basics of drawing, cartooning, and sequential art (comic strips, comic books and graphic novels). The class limited to 15 students. Registration:

19th Ward Business Breakfast. The 19th Ward Business Breakfast for business owners will be held Wed., Mar. 7, 8:30 a.m., La Fiesta Restaurant, 3333 W. 111th St. Information and resources from the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection will be available and representatives from the Chicago Police Department 22nd District will also be present.  Anyone operating a business in the 19th Ward is encouraged to attend and learn more about efforts to support the local economy in Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood.  For information, contact the 19th Ward Office, 773-238-8766.  Co-hosts are BAPA, the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, 95th Street Business Association and Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association.

One Earth Film Festival Screening. “What Lies Upstream,” a documentary by Cullen Hoback that reveals how the quality of drinking water is impacted by how companies and the government circumvent public health policies and the lax enforcement of laws that protect the environment, will be screened at Wed., Mar. 7, 7:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., as part of the 7th annual One Earth Film Festival. The 2018 theme is “This is the Moment,” and the BAC is one of 47 Chicago area venues that will be screening films about environmental issues and hosting discussions on how people can get involved in protecting the environment. Admission: $6 ($5 for BAC members). Festival info:

BACinema Special Screening. “Rogers Park” (2017), an official selection in the Chicago International Film Festival, will be screened Thurs., Mar. 8, 7:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St. In Chicago’s most diverse neighborhood, four intertwined lives begin to buckle under midlife pressures in this thought provoking drama. Filmmaker Kyle Henry will conduct a Q&A with audience following the screening. Tickets: $6 ($5/BAC members). Info, tickets and movie trailer at

Shamrock Skate. The Shamrock Skate will be held Sat., Mar 10, 4:45 to 6:05 p.m., Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. Western. Admission: adults and teens, $5; age 12 and under, $4; age 60+, $2. Skate rental is $3.

Children’s Programs at Beverly Library. Beverly Branch Library, 1962 W. 95th St., hosts the following free programs for children this month: Preschool Story Time, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., including stories, songs, activities and crafts; Irish Tales for all ages, Wed., Mar. 14, 4 to 5 p.m., featuring stories, songs, dance and treats; and Sew & Tell, in which participants will create a Celtic knot-inspired hand-stitched block, Sat., Mar. 24, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Registration required; call 312-747-9673.

SXU Spring Internship and Job Fair.  Seeking an internship, part-time or full-time job? Need help navigating the job market? Saint Xavier University (SXU) will host the 2018 Spring Internship and Job Fair Fri., Mar. 16, 12 to 3 p.m., SXU Shannon Center, 3700 W. 103rd St. Free and open to the public. Employers will recruit for full-time, part-time and internship positions. Attendees are advised to dress professionally and bring many copies of their resumes. Find a  full list of employers at, keyword: job fair. Info: 773-298-3131.

Troop 609 Pancake Breakfast. Boy Scout Troop 609 invites area residents to the annual Pancake Breakfast Sat., Mar. 17, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Morgan Park Baptist Church basement, 11024 S. Bell Ave. Enjoy pancakes and more: $4 for adults and teens, $2 for ages 5to 10, and free for preschoolers. Carry outs available.

Math Know How Boot Camp. Math Know How Boot Camp offers an eight-week workshop Mar. 20 through May 17 at Bethany Union Church, 1750 W. 103rd St. Students will be participant in grade level groups, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: grades 3 and 4, on Tues., grades 5 and 6 on Wed., and grades 7 and 8 on Thurs.  Fee: $450 per student. Info: 773-590-0096 or email

SXU Community Health Fair. Free health screenings, assessments and information are available at the 15th Annual Community Health Fair, Fri., Mar. 23, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saint Xavier University, Shannon Center, 3700 W. 103rd St. The fair, which is free and open to the public, is a “one-stop shop” for free health services that include free screenings and assessments for blood pressure, blood glucose, bone density, hearing and vision, injuries, stress, body mass index, spinal cord. The fair also includes free chair massages; 15-minute chair yoga classes every hour starting at 9 a.m.; demonstrations about child and adult CPR, first aid, exercise demonstrations, and free screenings; a scavenger hunt, a children’s activity corner, and face painting; and a wide range of vendors. Info: 773-298-3592.

Utility Bill Clinic. Representatives from the Citizens Ulility Board (CUB) will help area residents spot ways to reduce their uillity bills at a clnic, Mon., Mar. 26, 6 to 8 p.m., 19th Ward office, 10400 S. Western. Residents should bring copies of their bills for review. Free. Reservations required: Anairis Boror, 312-263-4282 ext. 111.

Amplified Phone Testing. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities will provide phone testing for people who have trouble hearing on the phone Wed., Mar. 28, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., 19th Ward Office, 10402 S. Western. Illinois has a free amplified phone program that may be able to help people with hearing loss; to qualify you must no longer be able to use a standard telephone. Participants must bring copy of latest landline and/or cell phone bill, must have Bluetooth on their cell phone, must have proof of residency, and must have pre-paid phone service verification. Info about the program at RSVP for testing is required at 773-445-8128.

East Beverly Town Hall Meeting. A 19th Ward Town Hall meeting will be held Wed., Mar. 28, 7 p.m., Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Pl. Representatives from various government agencies will be present to address concerns and share information. The meeting is being sponsored by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, BAPA, Vanderpoel Improvement Association and East Beverly Association.

Registration Open at Dance Gallery. 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

Jesus ‘Jewishness’ Seminar. 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

Save the date: City of Chicago citywide clean and green spring clean-up, Sat., April 21.

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.


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,


‘Citizens Are Our First Responders’

By Grace Kuikman

Calling 9-1-1 Makes Communities Safer

“Citizens are really the first responders,” said Sherrie Wright, Chicago Police Communications Officer 2, 9-1-1 Training Division (pictured). “Community involvement is key to community safety.”

Wright has ten years of experience as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, the last 2½ as a trainer. She recommend that people trust their instincts and call 9-1-1, even if they’re not sure they should. “This is your every day life,” Wright said, explaining that residents know what’s normal where they live.  “Err on the side of caution.” And don’t assume someone else is calling.

Some examples of suspicious activity that should be called in to 9-1-1 are people lingering on the block, looking into doorways or windows, checking doors on homes or cars.

The Police would rather get a call and find out it’s not a problem than miss the chance to respond to an issue that could escalate or put people or property in harm’s way. The police will use all of the information you provide and respond with the appropriate resources, Wright explained. They want to hear from you.

Keeping Communities Safe

Calling 9-1-1 is not just about reacting to crime, it’s about keeping safe communities safe and preventing crime. Criminals prefer targeting areas where people aren’t watching and calling police. Nosey neighbors are best neighbors.

9-1-1 calls are important tracking tools that help police uncover crime trends and allocate resources. According to Wright, 9-1-1 calls provide an ongoing history about a location or household where there may be problems. The information provided by callers provide important evidence as well as patterns that may need to be addressed by police or shared with community partners. The more issues reported at a location, the better the argument for assigning a special attention or additional resources.

Your Right to Anonymity

Callers can remain anonymous. “Anonymity is every citizen’s right,” Wright said. People can request to remain anonymous at any time during a 9-1-1 call as long as they are not the victim of the crime or there is no need for them to meet with the police. Requesting anonymity does not delete your contact information, but hides it from the dispatcher and responding police. For certain crimes, police must canvass all neighbors for information or witnesses – if a caller is contacted during a police canvass, it is not a breach of anonymity.

Your 9-1-1 Call

Time is of the essence when you call 9-1-1, and Wright encourages community residents to be prepared when they call. “Have patience with the call taker,” Wright advised. “It seems like a lot of questions are being asked, but they all have a purpose.”

Wright shared the 5 W’s of what 9-1-1 dispatchers will ask to help citizens think about and look for important details if they ever witness a crime or need to report suspicious activity:

WHERE Try to provide a street address (best), block or intersection. Also report where on the property the incident is occurring – garage, back yard, front porch, etc., and any nearby landmarks.

WHAT What is happening determines what kind of resources need to be dispatched. Be as specific as possible: loitering, people attempting to break into a house, robbery in progress, fire etc.

WHO Give as much detail as you can about the suspicious person(s), starting with gender, race, height and weight, clothing, shoes; distinguishing characteristics like tattoos, scars, marks, haircuts or hair color, etc. If there is a vehicle involved, try to identify the make, model, color, license plate number, etc.

If you are the victim, there is a second WHO: Who are you and how can the police locate you?

WHEN If the activity is in progress, say it’s happening right now and response is urgently needed. If it’s over, give the date and time it occurred.

WEAPONS If there are any kinds of weapons being used – even things that aren’t usually weapons, like a brick or bat — let the dispatcher know.

Additional details that can help police include whether there are mental or physical disabilities, or medications involved. “Paint as clear a picture as possible,” Wright said.

Staying involved in the community is a resident’s first line of defense, Wright said. She encourages residents to work with the 22nd District Police, CAPS and organizations like BAPA and with the ward office to maximize communications and drive resources to the area.

CAPS Snowman’s Ball Helps Families in Need

By Kristin Boza

In the spirit of the season, Chicago Police Department Officer Carressa Northcross is leading the charge to organize the Snowman’s Ball, benefitting local families in each of the 22nd District’s beats.

The Snowman’s Ball will be held on Sat., Dec. 10 at 12:30 p.m. in the 22nd District’s community room. Volunteers are needed to decorate, serve food and clean up after the event.

“Volunteers can come the night before [Fri., Dec. 9] to help decorate, which is the fun part. We also need help setting up food tables before the event early Saturday morning,” Northcross said. “We are looking to have Beverly Woods cater the food, along with desserts from Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Bakery & Pies.”

Besides being treated to lunch at the event, each family in attendance will receive an Essentials Basket.

“All over the world, organizations participate in toy and coat drives. We wanted to do something different here in the 22nd District and give each family other items that they need,” Northcross said. “Each family will receive a heavy-duty roll cart filled with much-needed essentials such as school uniforms and supplies, socks, gloves, hats, toiletries, books, and of course toys. Essential items are often overlooked at this time of year.”

Northcross is looking for donations of gift cards and specific items for the event. “Many families cannot buy certain items on Link cards, even if they have them. These items include laundry detergent and feminine care products, since they are personal care items,” she said.  “These items can be purchased at Walgreens or CVS, so a small gift card donation of $10 to $25 is needed to these stores.” Family games, such as Twister, dolls and movie theater gift cards are also requested.

This is the first year that the 22nd District is hosting an event like this. Northcross explained that Beat facilitators were asked to select a school on their beat, then reach out to the principal to identify a student in need. The beat facilitators then spoke with the families to learn about specific individual needs for the Essentials Baskets. “We are very happy with the response and the rapport being built between the principals, parents, participants and the police,” Northcross said.

To donate your time, gift cards or items, contact Officer Northcross, 22nd District CAPS Office, 312-746-0650.