Edgeville Buzz


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From the desk of Mary Ann Smith

Vote November 4!
More than 6,600 48th Ward residents took advantage of early voting. For those of you who didn’t vote early, the polls are open on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Election Day, you must vote in your home precinct. To find your precinct number and polling place, go to the Chicago Board of Elections website or call the Ward Service Office at (773) 784-5277 during regular business hours. You should bring identification with you to the polling place, although identification is not always needed. You may bring: a state-issued photo identification or driver’s license, utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks or other government documents that show your name and address. If you did not show identification when you registered, either by mail or with a motor voter form, be sure to bring identification. You do not need yourvoter registration card when you go to vote.
If you have moved recently within Chicago and did not re-register to vote at your new address, you can request a “Federal Office Only” ballot. You must go to your old polling place and your name must still be on the voter record for the ballot to be valid. A “Federal Office Only” ballot entitles you to vote for president, U.S. Senator,and U.S. Representative. If your registration is questioned and/or you are not on the voter registration rolls, you have a right to ask for a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot will allow you to vote even though your information cannot be located. You will be asked to sign a Provisional Voter Affidavit and the election judge will also sign the notice. You will be asked to provide any proof of voter registration that you can produce at that time and you have two days from the election to provide additional information.
Z&P Meeting Draws Thoughtful Response on Shelter Issue
Last month the 48th Ward bulletin carried an article explaining that the 65 bed overnight shelter for homeless men located at Epworth Church would be closing. At that time we asked for comments and suggestions on what should be done about this issue. We also explained the topic would be discussed at the October 29 Zoning and Planning Committee (Z&P) meeting. We received more than 200 letters and e-mails on the topic and more than 70 people attended Z&P. At the meeting, Doug Fraser, 48th Ward chief of staff distributed a document that reflected the opinions contained in the e-mails. Rev. Dominic Grassi, pastor of St. Gertrude’s Church and a representative of ECRA (Edgewater Community Religious Association), explained that a crisis was imminent because the shelter’s lease at its current location expires on November 1. Jim LoBianco, managing deputy director for the Chicago Department of Human Services, outlined the city’s role in aiding the homeless. He said that city funding was available if a temporary shelter location could be found and that he would guarantee that funding for the shelter location would only extend until May 1. Alderman Smith told residents that the immediate need was to find a temporary location and then work toward a more permanent solution. She said that if a shelter is not available, the homeless will sleep in the streets, alleys and parks in our neighborhoods this winter, and some will freeze to death. She also told residents that the vacant Ridge Avenue Firehouse was not being considered as a location for the temporary shelter. Community residents expressed concern that relocation of the shelter could create difficulties for residents and asked that any temporary shelter not be placed near schools or in residential areas. The Alderman, ECRA, the city and interested community residents will seek out a location that could serve as an overnight shelter until May 1.
Ward Initiatives Target Crime
To combat an increase in crime, Alderman Smith is working with the 48th Ward block clubs and community organizations on a number of public safety initiatives. Last month, she hosted a “Troubled Buildings” Workshop where block club representatives and representatives of City and community agencies met to discuss how they can work together to tackle troubled buildings. Such buildings are the root of many of the public safety problems in the neighborhood. Actionuptown.com, a community-driven website created by the Ward Office, connects neighbors to safety resources and activities in their area. From the website neighbors can learn about safety initiatives they can participate in, including Neighborhood Watches and Court Advocacy dates, and find out the locations of problem areas, troubled buildings and “hotspot” corners where illicit activity occurs. The Ward office has printed Community Watch yard signs for Uptown. These signs, which are available from the block clubs, let everyone know the community is organized against crime and direct interested people to the actionuptown.com website. New police surveillance cameras and additional cameras at public elementary schools, funded by Alderman Smith, will complement these efforts.
Alderman Smith is dedicated to working with police and the community to improve the safety of our neighborhood. These initiatives will enable us to be proactive on public safety and effectively use all the resources our community has at hand. For more information on these efforts, contact Dana Fritz, dana@masmith48.org or 773-293-8413.
Local Gardeners Win City Landscape Honors
The 48th Ward, while small in area, features a number of award-wining gardens. Congratulations to those individuals and organizations recognized by the Mayor’s Landscape Award Contest: Suzanne Stryczek – multi-unit residential home garden (3rd place), Rick Repenning – container garden (3rd place) and Tom Jerome and SSA 26 – Broadway Armory planters (3rd place). Honorable mentions went to the gardens at Ashbury Manor Condos/John Popik, Carmen Vidal-Hallett’s home and the Edgewater Beach Apartments/Beth Tenney. Holiday Office Closings
Alderman Smith’s Ward Service Office will be closed on Tuesday, November 11 for the Veteran’s Day Holiday and on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27. In addition, because each City employee must take mandatory unpaid furlough days, the office will also be closed on Friday, November 28. If you need assistance with City services when the office is closed, please call 311.


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