Non-profits care for feral cats

The cats return the favor by hunting rats

By Taylor Hartz and Angela Gagnon | Staff Writers

Local building staff are reminding residents not to feed or approach feral cats that may be spotted in Lakeshore East Park. Although these cats may look like strays that are in need of some TLC, they are well cared for. Many of the cats, and all of those with their ears marked, are regularly fed and given housing and shelter by non-profits as part of the feral cats ordinance.

If you aren’t familiar with this law, here’s the scoop—in September 2007, Cook County passed the Managed Care of Feral Cats ordinance, allowing non-profit organizations to care for feral cats in the county using Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs, with the goal of managing their population numbers.

Several of thse feral cats were introduced into the Lake Shore East Park this winter by the Lakeshore East Masters Association with one particular job in mind. According to Magellan Development Group Community Relations Director Vanessa Casciano, the program was brought to Lakeshore East as way to thwart rat populations in the neighborhood.

“We found this method of pest control is being used in other parts of the city as well as nationwide so we thought [the program] would be a good fit for our Lakeshore East neighborhood,” she said.

Locals have noticed the feral cats in the Park. “I was surprised to see a gray cat limping in the park as we don’t [usually] have strays in this area,” said Lakeshore East resident Zareen Gauhar. “My first thought was the cat was abandoned, but I found out they are brought in to deal with the rats. I was concerned for their safety and also given the freezing cold windy weather we have in the Chicago area.”

Buckingham resident Erica Meyer also shared concerns. “As an animal advocate, this is beyond horrible. I’ve never heard of this type of resolution before. It feels to me like the safety issues aren’t being taken seriously,” she said.

Open cages with camouflaged covers have been placed under trees on the east side of the park allowing the cats to come and go as they please. The cages are within an area that is currently fenced off. Feral cats live outdoors and are not socialized with humans, so are unlikely to react like a normal house cat when they are approached.

Through TNR programs, non-profits like PAWS Chicago, Tree House and Triple R Pets provide care services for the cats. Deemed “cat colony caretakers,” these organizations take the cats to be spayed or neutered and get them vaccinated. Other care may also include parasite treatment, re-homing services, microchipping and feeding.

Feral cats that receive this care are distinguished by being “ear-tipped” so future trappers know they have been neutered and are being cared for, according to a press release from PAWS Chicago. Since 2008, there has been a 41 percent drop in the number of cats in the county. According to PAWS, 18,000 cats have been sterilized.

The TNR program is designed to counter a traditional “Trap and Kill” method. According to PAWS, TNR is “the most humane and progressive way to manage these colonies and control overpopulation.”

Anyone with questions about feral cats in Lake Shore East Park can contact Vanessa
Casciano (312) 642-8869. All community calls and complaints to 311 regarding feral cats are directed to sponsoring organizations that care for the colonies.

Published on May 3

Private security hired to patrol Lakeshore East

By Stephanie Racine | Staff Writer

In late February, the Lakeshore East Master Association announced in an email to residents that they had hired Monterrey Security, a private security firm, to provide the Lakeshore East area with a safety ambassador, who will act as a deterrent against crime in the neighborhood.

Security guard Jequan Lewis, will patrol on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Residents will be able to identify the new safety ambassador by the bright red
jacket he wears with the words “Monterrey Security” written on the front and back.

The email also described the ambassador’s responsibilities. He can be used as a walking escort, act as a witness in any crime he observes, liaise between the community and the police, and make suggestions on how to improve safety in the area. He will also act as a customer service agent and can answer questions about amenities, events, and businesses in the area and he will be able to report on any issues that concern residents, such as
graffiti, suspicious activity, and damaged signs or lampposts.

The Association stressed in the emails that the ambassador is not the police and is unable to make arrests, but rather serves as an extension of the eyes and ears for police and can be in contact with the police as he makes his rounds. If a resident feels unsafe or sees a crime being committed they are advised to call 911.

Monterrey Security has many contracts in Chicago, including with Soldier Field, Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, and the annual Lollapalooza music festival, according to their website.

As of the time of printing, the Lakeshore East Master Association and Monterrey Security had not responded to requests for further information.

Salvation Army Saturdays in Lakeshore East

By Taylor Hartz,

Published March 4, 2018

Is your closet or home feeling a little cluttered? Need to make room for a new Spring and Summer wardrobe? Combine spring cleaning with doing a good deed this season and donate to the Salvation Army.

This year, donating your used clothes, furniture and home goods won’t include trekking bags full of items to the closest store or drop center. In fact, you won’t have to go further than Lakeshore East.

Magellan Property Management has arranged for monthly Salvation Army pick ups in Lakeshore East, at Field Boulevard and South Water Street in front of the construction site for the upcoming Wanda Vista building. 

Local property managers are hoping to make donating a part of the community in the New Eastside – Aqua Apartments issued a statement on Facebook in January encouraging New Eastsiders to “make 2018 the year of generosity.”

On the first Saturday of every month, a sizable Salvation Army truck will be parked in the neighborhood from 9 a.m. to noon, accepting donations from locals.

On Saturday Feb. 3, Jimmy Smith from Salvation Army stood inside the truck, marked with the words “Donate Goods (Do Good)” as New Eastsiders lined up to pile in boxes and bags.

According to Smith, the most popular donations include clothes and furniture, but it’s not uncommon to receive things like flat screen TV’s or art work.

Rose and Paul Snopko, residents of the Buckingham., 360 E. Randolph St, stopped by on Saturday with a rolling cart piled high with donations. The couple donated 11 pairs of shoes, a twin size comforter, sweaters, pajamas, and a jewelry organizer.

Rose and Paul Snopko, residents of the Buckingham, donated several bags of clothes, shoes and home goods to Salvation Army on the morning of Feb. 3.

“We’ve done this many times before, we always donate,” said Rose Snopko.

Despite the cold temperatures, Smith said he was seeing just as much attendance as he does in the Summer months. By 11:30 a.m., the truck was nearly full, and Smith said there had been a steady stream of donations all morning.

The Salvation Army accepts most home and clothing items, with the exception of car seats and strollers that may have safety issues, items with excessive pet hair that might harm those with allergies, or overly stained mattresses or clothes.

The truck will return to Lakeshore East on March 3 and April 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.

 

Lakeshore East book club draws literature lovers

By Stephanie Racine | Staff Writer
Book clubs within the city are tailored to just about any genre a Chicagoan could want. There’s a book club for Sci-Fi lovers, and for fantasy titles like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Certain book clubs have tangential draws, like discussions over wine or brunch, while others focus on deep conversations about the reading.
Here in Lakeshore East, residents have their own book club, combining all of the above genres. The Lakeshore East Book Club meets the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m., on the 16th floor of the Tides party room. The book club is open to all Lakeshore East residents.
The Lakeshore East book club reads an assortment of books every year, with participants volunteering to lead book discussions each month. Book genres vary between fiction and nonfiction, and attendees often bring snacks, wine or dessert to be
shared. Books are also carefully sequenced so similar themes or lengthy novels are
not read back-to-back. In September, the members vote on 11 titles they will read
the following year. In addition, members also read whichever winning title is select-
ed by the city-wide reading program One Book, One Chicago.
“I joined the Lakeshore East Book Club to create friendships and meet new people,”
said New Eastside resident Nina Anderson.The group agreed that the book club instills a sense of community between its members. Although they discuss the readings in depth, the participants also catch up with one another. The area buildings and management teams have a hand in supporting the book club. For residents hoping to join the Lakeshore East Book Club, the next meeting will be held March 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss the book Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar.
For more information about the book club, email Vanessa Casciano, community relations director at Magellan Development. vcasciano@magellandevelopment.com.

Must read books about Chicago

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
This nonfiction work describes the events
of the World’s Columbian Exhibition, and
mostly focuses on its organizer Burnham
and the infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The novel is bluntly realistic in its portrayals
of workers and working conditions in Chicago,
before the enforcement of workers’ rights.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos
Consisting of small vignettes, the work is a
unique glimpse into the Latino community
in Chicago. Chicago Eternal by Larry Broutman
A nonfiction examination of overlooked
and notorious places of burial in Chicago

Thursday: Learn to defend yourself at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Published Jan. 24, 2018

On Thursday, New Eastsiders can sign up for a crash course in self defense that will leave participants feeling safer and more empowered. Lakeshore Sport and Fitness, located at 211 N. Stetson Ave., is offering a “Self Defense Seminar” that will cover the basic skills needed to defend yourself against a physical attack.  

Luis Davila, social programming director for LSF, said the class will address how to remain in a calm mindset in a stressful, threatening situation.

“It’s okay to be vulnerable, and this class is going to help you deal with those moments,” said Davila.

The course will demonstrate “real world scenarios” and will teach attendees how to be more aware of their surroundings and vocalize their experiences with self defense.

Davila said that according to a Facebook poll of the event, respondents are most interested in learning how to escape if an attacker grabs them by the wrist or neck, so the class will go over movements for getting out of an arm or neck hold, along with other dangerous situations, like how to react when an attacker shows a weapon, or threatens that they have a weapon.

The 90-minute session will be led by instructor Christina Biancamano. Biancamano has a black belt in Tang Soo Do and has more than ten years of experience in a several areas of martial arts, including Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Though reason for the class stems from concerns about safety, the team at LSF wants to have fun with it.

Davila will serve as the “dummy” for simulated attacks, and the group will participate in group kickboxing as a warm-up

The session will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the 211 lounge at Lakeshore Sport and Fitness.

Registration is open online for $49 per person. Readers can use the discount code NEWEASTSIDE for $10 off.

 

CAPS beat meetings resume in new year – CPD adding more officers

By Taylor Hartz

Published Jan. 16, 2018

 

New Eastsiders met with officers from their local police beat for the first time this year on Jan. 11.

The district’s first Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy – or CAPS –  beat meeting of 2018 took place in the community room inside the 400 E. Randolph Street building. About 30 residents gathered to discuss their concerns in the new year and follow up on issues addressed at previous CAPS meetings, including growing homeless populations in Pritzker Park and drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive.

The monthly CAPS meetings, which aim to improve communication between residents and local law enforcement, will alternate between the Randolph Street location, and 130 N. Garland Ct.

The meeting kicked off by addressing concerns about the growing homeless population in Pritzker Park, a concern that was discussed in length at the last CAPS meeting, held in November.

Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski speaks to residents at the first CAPS beat meeting of 2018, held at 400 E. Randolph St., on Jan. 11.

Dombrowski said Chicago Police are addressing this issue by looking into putting new cameras in the area, an idea Dombrowski said is supported by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and nearby John Marshall Law School already have security cameras in the area, said Dombrowski, but CPD is looking into adding some that are more visible to potential criminals.

Dombrowski said he thinks new, prominent cameras will be more effective.

“If people don’t realize they’re being recorded, they’re less likely to alter their behaviors,” said Dombrowski.

At previous CAPS meetings, officers have told residents that police can prevent individuals from panhandling or sleeping in Chicago Park District areas, but can’t do much else to keep them homeless individuals from gathering on public property.

Dombrowski told residents that Chicago police will always address reported crimes involving these populations, but reminded residents that “homelessness isn’t illegal.”

“Every homeless person is an individual person who has a whole life history as for why they’re in the position they’re in,” Dombrowski said, “unfortunately, there is no blanket solution.”

 

While the Pritzker Park issue may not have been resolved since the last CAPS meetings, residents were pleased that other issues were. Although it may mostly have to do with the extreme cold weather, drag racing seems so have slowed, if not stopped completely.

In place of the drag racing, though, was another concern of fast drivers.

One resident said that cars have been speeding on Lower Harbor Drive, where many New Eastsiders walk their dogs during inclement weather since the area is covered. The resident also noted that a few traffic lights in the area are out.

The resident said she had reported the issue a few times and was frustrated that the lights hadn’t been fixed, she also suggested adding speed bumps to the drive. Dombrowski said he would look into the issues raised.

Another repeat topic raised by Sgt. Dombrowski was the concern of theft in the area.

Police warned residents again of the dangers of leaving their bags on the backs of their chair at restaurants or bars, of leaving valuables on the seats of their cars and of walking with cellphones in hand.

When walking, especially in the evening, Dombrowski said that it may feel safer to have your cell phone out in case of an emergency, but having your cell in hand may make you a target.

Overall in the district, Dombrowski said thefts and other crime levels had remained steady, and started to decrease slightly.

The CPD is planning to increase the number of officers guarding New Eastside streets as the population in the area increases. With several new residential buildings being proposed for the area – though those plans are currently on hold – the population may soon be increasing by a few thousand. Dombrowski assured residents that as the New Eastside neighborhood grows, so will the police force protecting it.

“We are hiring new officers as fast as we can,” said Dombrowski, who said the process can often take quite a while as new recruits go through training.

Dombrowski said that bicycle units are “increasing their numbers dramatically” and that the number of officers on foot will also grow.

The sargent said the CPD will be hosting a recruitment drive on Feb 1st and that residents should expect to see a lot of new, young officers added to the local force.

According to Dombrowski, the CPD is also looking to hire a civilian community organizer, and said that community relations between CPD and New Eastsiders will be even more of a priority going forward.

The next CAPS meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, and will be held at 130 N. Garland Ct.

 

Plans for Lakeshore East high rises halted by Alderman

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly rejected the proposed development of three
buildings in Lakeshore East known as the “IJKL” parcels on Dec. 13 in an email to
constituents.

The highrises, proposed by Lendlease and Magellan Development Group earlier this year, would have added 1,400 residences throughout three new buildings. The project would also add 3,000 construction jobs and generate an approximate $20 million in annual revenue.

The statement from Ald. Reilly’s office said that “after reviewing the neighborhood
feedback, and discussing with the City Department of Planning and Development, Reilly determined to not move forward with the project.”

The development groups first proposed their plans to the community at a meeting
on July 10, showing renderings of the sleek new buildings. The meeting lasted three hours and drew more than 1,000 residents who gathered to voice their concerns. After the meeting, Ald. Reilly said his office “received hundreds of letters, emails and calls objecting the proposal.”

After requiring the developers to host public meetings with every residential building in the neighborhood and considering the many concerns raised by
locals, Ald. Reilly formally rejected the IJKL plans as presented.

Reilly sent several suggestions to the development companies, providing a list of changes that need to be made before he will consider future plans for the site. The list included more active, usable open space, elimination of a proposed grand staircase and zigzag pedestrian path, relocation of the Harbor Drive pedestrian access point and fencing between the parcels and lower Lake Shore Dr.

The alderman also called for tighter security. He suggested a staffed guard station on the lower level to monitor pedestrians, regular security patrols, installation of way-finding signage at the lakeshore access point and improved lighting and surveillance cameras that can tie-in to the City’s OEMC security camera network.

According to Rielly’s office, residents will be notified if the office receives an updated
proposal and a “transparent community process” will continue if the project moves
forward.

Shoreham and Tides change management companies

By Stephanie Racine and Taylor Hartz | Staff Writers

Published January 5, 2018

Magellan Development Group is out-sourcing the property management of the two oldest buildings in its portfolio—The Shoreham and The Tides.

The Shoreham, 400 E. South Water St., was the first building in Magellan’s Lakeshore East development in New Eastside and was completed in 2005. The Tides, 360 E. South Water St., was completed in 2008. Both buildings had been managed by Magellan Property Management until December 12, 2017, when Lincoln Property Company—based in Dallas, Texas—took over management of the two residential buildings.

The Tides building, 360 E. South Water St. is now managed by Lincoln Property Company. Photo
by Stephanie Racine.

Irini Boeder, the assistant Vice President of Marketing for Lincoln Properties confirmed the change. “Lincoln Property Company, the second largest property company in the nation, has been selected as management by the existing ownership group,” Boeder said in December last year.

Staff of the two buildings were notified of the change by supervisors in early November. When the announcement broke, Shoreham and Tides desk and maintenance staff were uncertain if they would retain their jobs. Residents were sent an email right before the holiday season last year, informing them no checks would be taken for the annual staff holiday fund collection due to a change in management companies.

Shoreham resident Norma Alanis said she was upset about the loss of the holiday fund, but she was happy with the overall change. “[Lincoln Property Company]
maintains their properties very well, so I am looking forward to the changes they will make to the common areas” Alanis said.

In the confusion, Shoreham residents submitted a petition in a bid to encourage Lincoln Property Company and Titan Security Group, the company charged with employee management, to keep their beloved doormen on staff.

Doorman Fred Crocker, who worked the first shift on the opening day of the Shoreham 13 years ago, was one of the staff members who had to navigate the change
in management. “Residents went above and beyond. I think the petition worked,”
Crocker said. “I got a phone call from a representative at the new company saying
I’m not losing my job and that nothing is changing.” The phone call came a day after the petition was submitted in December.

James Hatter, a doorman at the Shoreham who manned the second shift on the day the Shoreham opened, said all desk staff now work for Titan Security Group, 616 West Monroe St. Hatter said he had a good first impression of Titan Security, describing it as a big company that runs a tight ship. The longtime doorman said the new management is a big change. “Everyone is a little afraid of change after so long being comfortable,” he said.

Still, Hatter’s goal is to remain optimistic. “I’m trying to keep positive,” he said. “I’m
happy to get the opportunity to stay on. We’re not just getting paid out and let go.”
Magellan Property Management and Titan Security did not respond to requests
for comment.

How New Eastside transit elevators stay clean and operational

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

The elevators that serve nearby CTA stations, such as Clark and Lake and Washington and Wabash, are crucial parts of the transit network. The CTA operates 168 elevators in Chicago, and keeping them running correctly is a daunting task.

“Our elevators are used by thousands of people a day, every day of the year,” CTA media representative Irene Ferradaz said in an email. “Additionally, many of our elevators are exposed to the elements, meaning they suffer significantly more ‘wear and tear’ than an average elevator.”

According to Ferradaz, the CTA currently employs 15 contracted workers for elevator maintenance and repair, including administrative employees, mechanics and
supervisors. These employees perform daily routine maintenance on the elevators,
and respond to between zero and eight elevator calls a day.

The Pedway elevator, between Macy’s and the Lake Red Line Station is maintained by Fleet and
Facilities Management, a city department. Photo by B.David Zarley.

“All elevator breakdowns are considered important and responded to as quickly as
possible by our contracted staff, since being out of service impacts our most vulnerable
customers—those with disabilities or who are wheelchair dependent,” Ferradaz said.

Whenever one of the CTA’s elevators breaks down, it is reported to the CTA
control center by CTA customer service assistants or representatives and “Out of
Order” signage is placed on the elevator.The control center then alerts mechanics who are on call 24/7.

One elevator in the Pedway just outside Macy’s is an integral link to the Loop for New
Eastside residents and has been known to break down, leaving users unsure of whom to
report the maintenance issue. Operated not by the CTA or Macy’s, this elevator actually
falls under the purview of Fleet and Facilities Management, a city department.

Engineers from the department regularly check the elevator, according to an emailed statement from a department spokes-person. If the elevator is out of order or dirty—common problems include jammed doors, as well as human excrement and
urine—there is a 24-hour number to call that is indicated in the elevator. Mainte-
nance and repairs on the Pedway elevator are contracted to Anderson Elevator.

Other widely used elevators that provide New Eastside residents access to the city
are located at the Northwest corner of the Lake Shore East Park and the Lancaster el-
evator at the eastern end of the Park. These elevators are maintained by Magellan De-
velopment Group. Issues with the elevators can be directly reported to Magellan by
calling (312) 469-8100 or to New Eastside News at (312) 960-3092, who will forward
the maintenance request.

GEMS School built on hopes and dreams

By Nicole VandeBoom
Staff Writer

GEMS World Academy Chicago celebrated the laying of their Upper School foundation, 355 E. Wacker Dr., with a hope-filled building dedication ceremony on Dec. 14. The ceremony was attended by students, faculty, parents, and community members who gathered outside the construction site.

A Lucite box filled with messages illustrated and written by students and faculty about their hopes and dreams for GEMS was placed inside a wooden box and cement was poured over it—the new school will literally be built on the hopes and dreams of its community.

Siena Guccione speaking to the crowd. To the
right, Lileny Lone and Andrew Sherman. Photo
by Nicole VandeBoom.

To open the ceremony, music teachers Christopher Roebuck and Robert Mayfield, playing guitar, led the students in the performance of the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun.”

Interim Head of School Andrew Sherman gave an opening speech about the
future of GEMS. “At GWA we recognize that non-cognitive skills such as cooperation, resilience, empathy and leadership along with the acquisition of academic material determine student achievement,” Sherman said.

Sherman explained that the new building is designed to allow a student-centered model for teaching and learning to prepare young people to engage in innovation. Other speakers included the CEO of GEMS Americas, Denise Gallucci, Director at Chicago Forum on Global Cities, Vanessa Vardon and two GEMS students, Siena Guccione and Lileny Lone. Guccione, a freshman, ended her speech by saying, “Different environments of a school really set the mood for the students. As for our school, a very positive one. I can’t wait to
spend my next few years learning in this new and outstanding environment.”

GEMS had been waiting on the approval of a building permit that they received the day after the ceremony. Director of Marketing, Alissa Calamino explained the dedication ceremony came to fruition as a desire to celebrate how far they’ve come in this process.

“It is important to celebrate. It’s exciting to have the permit in place and
we start building after this,” Calamino said.

The opening date of the Upper School has been pushed back, with no set date
announced. In order to accommodate their growing school body, GEMS is in the
process of seeking out a nearby temporary learning space for Upper School students.

Grades 2–9 were able to attend the ceremony outside, while the younger students watched a live-stream video from inside the warm gym. Several screens were set
up outside allowing spectators to witness cement being poured on top of the box.

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