Community Garden Returning this Spring to New, Permanent Home

McKinley Park Community Garden volunteers gather on Sunday, January 28, to plot the 2018 return of the garden.
McKinley Park Community Garden volunteers gather on Sunday, January 28, to plot the 2018 return of the garden.
Published January 30, 2018

The McKinley Park Community Garden is set to return to after over a year's hiatus from planting, weeding and harvesting at the popular neighborhood spot. Now assigned a new, permanent home on the Chicago Park District land "between the Damens," the garden will no longer face uncertainty about its future with each growing season.

The cadre of volunteers who run the garden gathered this past Sunday to finalize plans for 2018. One main event will be a full-day garden build-out on Saturday, April 14, to construct the new garden beds and site layout. Sign-ups for plots should begin on February 26, said garden volunteer Kara Breems, with a kick-off meeting for gardeners slated for Saturday, March 17.

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Burglars Posing as Utility Workers, Cops Warn

Published January 29, 2018

The 9th District of the Chicago Police Department issued a community alert about burglars posing as utility workers who have been active on the Southwest Side, including the McKinley Park neighborhood. A string of four burglaries have all involved offenders in disguise, all striking residences in the afternoon, mostly on weekdays.

The McKinley Park neighborhood burglary occurred at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, in the 1800 block of West 34th Street. Other similar burglaries in January have taken place in Bridgeport and Brighton Park neighborhoods.

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Week Ahead Promises Jazz at the Library, Business Networking and More

Published January 29, 2018

Jazz vibraphonist Thaddeus Tukes performs live at the library at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, presenting The Story of Vibes in Chicago. Tukes will play and discuss Chicago vibraphone greats, including Lionel Hampton, as well as talk about his work with Chance the Rapper and the vibes’ influence on Chicago’s African-American jazz scene.

For Tuesday lunch, nosh and network at the Focus on Manufacturing Luncheon, hosted at the 36Squared Business Incubator, tucked away in the southeast corner of McKinley Park in the industrial strip on Iron Street. The focus is on assistance for small business through a discussion of grants and incentives; a presentation on Google marketing rounds out this business-focused meeting.

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Unionization Underway for Namaste Charter School Staff

Namaste Charter School at 3737 S. Paulina St. is the site of a unionization push by its staff.
Namaste Charter School at 3737 S. Paulina St. is the site of a unionization push by its staff.
Published January 26, 2018

The staff at Namaste Charter School, 3737 S. Paulina St., earlier this month filed their intent to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board. According to a report by Chicago Tonight, the staff is making these moves to have a greater role in educational and other programs at the school.

If the staff does unionize, they will join Chicago ACTS Local 4343, which is affiliated with both the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. This unionization push comes as these federations are moving closer to merging with the Chicago Teachers Union.

A report from the Chicago Tribune notes this change comes amidst a broader movement of unionization at Chicago charter schools and coordination of charter school unions with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Youth Substance Abuse Awareness Program Rolls Out in McKinley Park

One of the posters from the awareness campaign focuses on underage drinking data.
One of the posters from the awareness campaign focuses on underage drinking data.
Published January 25, 2018

Combating teens' false perceptions about their peers' use of alcohol and marijuana is one focus of the substance abuse awareness program rolled out this week in the McKinley Park neighborhood. Staff from the Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA) began their advocacy and information campaign as part of the McKinley Park Underage Drinking and Other Substances Prevention Coalition (McK-UDOS).

"By providing teens with accurate information versus their perceptions, they are more likely to make better decisions when faced with drinking or marijuana use," said Vernalynn De La Rosa, MAHA substance abuse prevention program coordinator and point person for the McKinley Park program. "Adolescents at this stage of development are greatly influenced by their peers."

"We want to focus on youth because prevention must start at an early age," said MAHA Executive Director Dr. Hong Liu, also noting the multilingual aspect of the campaign. "Since we target the immigrant community, it is important that we create campaign materials that are culturally and linguistically appropriate."

Read more: Youth Substance Abuse Awareness Program Rolls Out in McKinley Park