Chicago’s Homeless Population Continues To Decrease

by Marina Naseem and David Miotto

Founded in 1985 by the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Park Community Services has been serving the homeless population in Chicago for over three decades. This location, 600 W Fullerton Pkwy in Chicago, has seen the homeless population dwindle over the last few years.

Despite the many challenges different shelters may endure, many residents volunteer year after year in support of Lincoln Park Community Services. Volunteer coordinator, Emma Jones of LPCS states, “Our mission is that we bring communities together to empower people to make sustainable life changes, we’re a community organization that wants to make our guests feel like they are part of the Lincoln Park community”.

“We have around 2,000 annual volunteers, and the majority of those people live in Lincoln Park, we want them to feel like they are part of the community, doing more than just providing funds and signing checks, we want them to be actively engaged at least once a year” Jones said. “We want them to get to know the clients that we serve on a deeper level, get to know their unique stories, eat dinner with our guests, work on resumes, just be very community based in all aspects.”

Community outreach and engagement has helped this shelter continue its mission more than 30 years. Besides providing the shelter with generous donations and funding, community input goes beyond that. Without the help of all these volunteers, the homeless population would not get the same benefits and support they need.

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Summertime in Chicago: Neighborhood Street Festivals 2019

By: Ji Hee Choi and David Miotto

With summer approaching, Chicago’s annual neighborhood street festivals will be in full swing. Over the months of May, June and July, Chicago will be bustling with the many food festivals, beer gardens, music acts, parades and other event that fill the neighborhoods all over the city.

Although there will be many things to do for everyone, Chicago’s neighborhood street festivals set themselves apart by keeping long-standing traditions alive and bringing many communities together.

Chicago’s neighborhood street festivals have many things to offer such as, local bands, DJ’s, arts and crafts, games and performances. In addition, many vendors offer local products ranging from paintings and pottery, to T-shirts and jewelry. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

The month of May will bring festivals such as Mayfest, Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest and the Lincoln Park Wine Fest to life. Chicago’s Mayfest kicks off the summer festival series. Located in the neighborhood of Lakeview on 3100 N. Ashland Ave., this festival runs from May 17 through 19.

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Chicago’s Problem Landlords List

In recent years Chicago’s Building Department has decided to make public a “problem landlords” list. In order to attempt to crack down and publicly shame building owners that fail to provide tenants with basic services such as heat, working water, smoke detectors, the city plans to update the list twice a year.

By taking this initiative and making all of this information and data available, the city aims to help many tenants all over Chicago that are affected by problematic building owners. Chicago’s data portal provides all the pertinent information such as ward, community area, community number of the buildings that are incurring in violations.

Landlords on the list are those that have been found liable and have two or more administrative hearings within a two-year period, and have at least three building code violations. Additionally, problem landlords that are on the list will not be able to obtain business licenses, zoning changes, acquire city land, receive city financial assistance or obtain any building permits that are not related to fixing problems at their buildings.

Respondents will have the opportunity to appeal their inclusion on the list, and at the worst they would be forced to forfeit control of their buildings. The City Council endorsed a proposed ordinance tied to improving building rental conditions, in part to a response to South Side apartment fire that killed four children in a building that had a history of violations.

Although most of the buildings on the list are located on Chicago’s South and West sides, Josh Bartlett of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization thinks that there are some discrepancies on how the list was composed. “They are going after the small mom and pops and letting the larger owners of the hook. Where are the larger owners? Certainly some of them have had violations” he said.

Felicia Davis, the city’s building commissioner said that the list “is all about preventative maintenance.” “We know that there are conditions that if they go unabated at these properties, we are likely to have a tragedy” Davis said. Although Chicago has no formalized inspection program for all rental buildings, this list could be the very first step on the right direction.


Time Lapse and Juxtapose: The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate

Located in the south west part of Asia and landlocked between Israel and Jordan, The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate. Also called the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea it’s eight or nine times saltier than the rest of the oceans of the world, and it’s so dense and rich in minerals that humans can naturally float in it. As the Dead Sea continues to shrink, the fresh waters aquifers along the perimeter of the lake are receding along with it.

As the fresh water continues to diffuse into the salt deposits beneath the surface of the shoreline, the water slowly dissolves the deposits until the earth above collapses. Over the last 15 years, more than 1,000 sinkholes have appeared, causing many palm fields, and buildings to collapse. Environmental experts believe that that hotels along the shore are also in danger.

During the past several years the environmentalist network of organizations known as Friends of the Earth , has lobbied for the authorities from Jordan, Israel and Palestine, to nominate the Dead Sea as a United Nations World Heritage site. Such designation would require the creation of an environmental protection plan and restrict development.

Given the dramatic decline of the Dead Sea in recent years, it needs an infusion of over 160 Billion gallons of water annually to maintain its current size, and it barely gets 10 percent of that. Extending 50 miles long in 1950, the Dead Sea is about 30 miles long today.

The Dead Sea helps support one of the most vibrant ecosystems in the world. Fed by fresh water springs and aquifers, where dozen of oases along the shore harbor many different species of plants, fish and mammals, it has such a rich history, that despite its name, the complete loss of it would immeasurable.

Chicago named overall top spot in the US to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day

Chicagoans certainly like to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day, so much so, that the Windy City was named the top destination to celebrate the famous holiday all around the country.
The long standing traditions such as the South Side Irish Parade, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown, the dyeing of the Chicago River emerald green, and the many other festivities that took place this year fueled a green filled colored weekend.

The South Side Irish Parade dates back to 1956 when the city’s first parade was held, and the unique to Chicago dyeing of the river got its start around 1962. Chicago’s Irish population had been growing steadily since the mid 1800’s due the Irish Potato Famine, and as of 2010 Irish was estimated to be the top ancestry in Chicago.

A small decrease from last years $5.9 Billion to $5.6 Billion this year in spending, still resulted in at least 55 percent of Americans partaking on the celebrations of the famous holiday. Moreover, 81 percent of celebrators wore green, and at least 30 percent of Americans cooked a traditional Irish meal.

The Chicago tradition of dyeing of the Chicago River attracted at least 400,000 party goers, and the 40 lbs of dye used left the water emerald green for at least 5 hours. These long standing traditions, in addition to Chicago’s Irish population give the city a uniqueness that has made the celebration of St.Patrick’s Day known all over the US. May the reign at the top keep going for years to come, Chicagoans certainly want to keep it that way.

Russell Westbrook continues breaking records

For the third straight season, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple double. As of Feb 21st in the 2018-19 NBA season, Westbrook has completed 25 triple doubles, and since then has achieved two more. Westbrook’s intensity and aggressiveness continues to be a key factor for the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook’s gritty play making abilties coupled with the career season Paul George is having could turn into a trip back to the Western Conference Finals for the Thunder.

Westbrook is one of only two NBA players to ever average a triple double. The other player to ever average a triple double during an NBA regular season was the great Oscar Robertson in 1961.

Having broken the record of the most triple doubles during the regular season in 2016-17 with 42, Westbrook shows no signs of slowing down. This year Westbrook had a streak of 11 consecutive triple doubles, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record of nine straight triple doubles in 1968.

Additionally, this year Westbrook surpassed Gary Payton for the most points in Thunder/Supersonics franchise history with 18,208 points. Currently the Thunder are in third place in the Western Conference standings just two games behind the Denver Nuggets. As the beginning of the playoffs get near us, it seems as if Westbrook’s current NBA season has just begun, because according to him “there’s always room for improvement”, but improve where one might ask, “everywhere” he said, “because I do everything.”

Most Triple Doubles in NBA History

Chicago’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions

With spring approaching and warmer temperatures closing in, it might be a good time to plan your next trip. There’s no better place to visit than Chicago. This great Midwest city certainly has more to offer than just heavy wind, so on your next visit be sure to check out some of the amazing tourist attractions this city has to offer.

If you happen to be downtown, be sure to visit Millennium Park, which hosts many festivals, concerts and activities year round. Should you come during the winter season, get your ice skates on and enjoy the ice skating rink. Located within Millennium Park is a well known sculpture called Cloud Gate. Also known as the Bean, this work of art is a major tourist attraction for its display of the sky and Chicago’s skyline.
Located in Chicago’s downtown neighborhood of Streeterville, Navy Pier has many shops, restaurants, and a new much taller and faster Ferris Wheel.

As you continue to explore downtown, just north of Navy Pier in the John Hancock building you’ll find 360 Chicago. This observation deck offers 360 degrees views of the city and Lake Michigan. Another popular observatory in Chicago is located in the Willis Tower. In here you’ll find the Skydeck and its amazing retractable extended glass balconies. Don’t miss out on it, and take a step on the ledge and enjoy the amazing street views.

Not too far from the Willis Tower is The Art Institute of Chicago, which houses many different art collections from all around the world. Your next three stops are all located steps from each other. The Field Museum showcases exhibits as early as fossils among its many exhibitions. The Shedd Aquarium contains thousands of species from birds to marine mammals, to snakes and insects. Near by is the Adler Planetarium, which has become a recognized leader in science education. Besides its stunning terrace views, this planetarium is also home to three full size theaters.

End your Chicago trip surrounded by colorful plants and flowers and visit the Garfield Park Conservatory. The lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors are not to be missed. Chicago has a lot to offer, so next time you are in town, take advantage of all its amenities and enjoy all of its great tourist attractions.

Chicago’s Pride Parade hits record numbers in attendance

For many years Chicago’s Pride Parade has been well known all across the U.S. In recent years, the popular parade has gained even more attention nationwide. The long running parade that had it start around the mid 80’s broke the 1 million mark in attendance during its 44th annual parade. An estimated 850,000 people turnout for the popular parade last year. Drawing crowds from neighboring states such as Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the parade’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down, given its increase in attendance over the last few years.

Former NFL player Wade Davis served as the Grand Marshall, and elected officials participating in the event included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and many more. An article published by the Huffington Post details the parade’s record breaking numbers, and showcases a great photo gallery of the event. The Pride Parade over the last weekend in June marked the culmination of Pride Month of Chicago’s vibrant LGBTQ community.

Chicago’s Pride Parade attendance from 1985 to 2014

Google Trends: After five years Chicago homicide rate still tops New York, Preckwinkle enters bid for Mayor

Chicago is still a crime and violence plagued city. Although 2017 saw a decrease in homicides from 2016, there were still 650 people killed in 2017. Is that a grim sign of improvement? Although there were over 760 homicides in 2016, the city remains to be marred violence by having the highest murder rate in all of the U.S. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said investments in technology are paying off but there’s still a lot of work to be done. The Chicago Police Department attributed the decrease of homicides to the hard work by officers, having added more personnel and investing in police technology. An analysis of Google Trends search data shows the difference in homicide rates between the two cities over the past five years.

New York in the other hand, saw its biggest drop of homicides in nearly 70 years. Commissioner James O’Neal of the New York Police Department said that “New York hasn’t been like this since the 1950’s. Since Chicago’s homicide rate has topped New York’s over the last five years, perhaps the CPD should consult the NYPD in order to put their tactics into action, and with that not be at the top of the homicides list nationwide like it has been in recent years.

Chicago homicide rate has been higher than NYC homicide rate for the past 5 years


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle officially has entered the Chicago Mayoral amid controversy over the conduct of one of her top staff members. Preckwinkle’s Chief of staff John Keller was asked resign after allegations of disrespectful behavior surfaced. Preckwinkle is not new to controversy. Dubbed the “Queen of Sugar”, Preckwinkle admitted that the Cook County soda tax she hardly advocated for “was first and foremost about revenue”. Although current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel popularity amongst Chicagoans has decreased in recent years, an analysis on Google Trends revealed that over the past 12 months Mayor Emanuel has topped Preckwinkle in Google searches, as well as maintaining his popularity in all of the regions outside of Chicago.

Throughout his term Mayor Emanuel has lost the respect he was once had from Chicago residents, even more so after the murder of Laquan McDonald, hence his decision not to seek re-election for a third term in 2019. Even though Preckwinkle can bring many positive changes to Chicago, there will always be those voters that won’t forget the whole “soda tax” episode, which to say the least didn’t have sweet implications to begin with. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still very popular outside of Chicago