By William S. Bike
Editor’s note: At press time, future events listed in Around the Neighborhood still were scheduled, but changes are happening on a daily basis. Check websites or call to make sure if particular events have been postponed or canceled.
BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 helped secure $6.3 million in the Chicago City Budget for 29 new positions in the City’s mental health clinics. This 73% increase in staffing is the biggest since former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel shuttered half of the clinics in 2011. For information, email [email protected].
The Better Government Association has compiled Illinois’s most comprehensive databaseto review, explore, and compare compensation for public employees throughout Illinois. See https://salary.bettergov.org/?.
B.I.G. Baseball Academy, 4425 S. Western Blvd., is open to the public, offering eight indoor batting cages, batting cage rental, two pitching tunnels, a full workout area with weights and medicine balls, plyo walls with arm bands and weighted balls, wooden bats, facility rental, individual lessons, and group lessons. Memberships are available. Call (773) 397-1200 or log on to bigbaseballacademy.net.
The Bronzeville Historical Society earned a grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation to have a metadata specialist organize and code the society’s collection to increase access. The society is located at 4455 S. King Dr. Call (312) 428-8033.
A Valentine’s Day blood drive is scheduled for this community. Chicago Hope Academy and the American Red Cross will host a blood drive in the school’s chapel at 2189 W. Bowler St. on Monday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the American Red Cross at 1 (800) 733-2767 or log on to redcrossblood.org, and learn how to get a $10 Amazon gift card for donating.
CBD KRATOM OPENS
CBD Kratom, the largest privately owned cannabis and kratom retail chain in the United States, has opened a shop at 643 W. Roosevelt Rd. in the South Loop. It held a grand opening weekend celebration Dec. 17 through 19. The company recently made gifts to support three local charities: the Anti Cruelty Society Animal Shelter, Project Fierce Chicago, and Resilience Chicago Sexual Assault Support as part of CBD Kratom’s Living Our Values campaign. Call (312) 508-8040.
Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced CPL’s Sunday library service has expanded to an additional 24 sites. With these branches now opening on Sunday afternoons, every community in Chicago has access to library services seven days a week.
Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St., now is home to a collection of 88 photos of Pilsen in the early 1990s taken by Japanese photographer Akito Tsuda. The collection is available for public viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room on the ninth floor. Appointments are required to view the photos noon through 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. Call (312) 747-4300.
Gazette Chicago frequently runs health-related articles as part of Chicago HealthText, a collaboration between DePaul University and Chicago Independent Media Alliance. See https://chihealthtext.org/ for more information. Do you have a healthcare or health-related issue you would like to see Gazette Chicago cover? Text (312) 487-2372 or (773) 969-9443, or text HEALTH to (312) 487-2372.
The Chicago Polar Plunge, benefiting the athletes of the Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities program, will return in person to North Avenue Beach on Sunday, March 6, with a virtual option available as well. Registration is open at www.chicagopolarplunge.org.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The Chinese American Service League, 2141 S. Tan Ct., has launched a mental health services program in Chinatown. The agency’s Behavioral Health and Clinical Services program will provide mental health evaluations, psychotherapy, and crisis response. The league created the program to address pandemic anxiety, depression, and mental health consequences of rising levels of anti-Asian hate affecting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the area. Log on to www.caslservice.org/.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Church of the Holy Family, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd., invites all to join the Saint Ignatius College Prep community for the following Masses: Fri., Feb. 4, 8:10 a.m., First Friday Mass; Wed., March 2, 8:10 a.m., Ash Wednesday Mass; and Fri., March 4, 8:10 a.m., First Friday Mass. For information, call (312) 492-8442.
Local Cook County Board Commissioners Alma Anaya (D-7th), Dennis Deer (D-2nd), and John P. Daley (D-11th) led the successful effort to expand county court services for domestic violence survivors. The board’s 2022 budget included amendments to address needs of Domestic Violence Court and to turn it into a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week operation. For more information, call Anaya’s office at (312) 989-2848.
DE LA SALLE NEWS
De La Salle Institute has named Marty Quinn as the new varsity head coach of the football program for the 2022 season. He most recently served as the defensive coordinator at St. John’s Catholic School in Plaquemine, LA. Quinn replaces Coach Michael Boehm, who will continue to teach and serve on the leadership team for De La Salle’s athletic program. The school also named Chris Goffer as the assistant head coach. Goffer played professional football for the Chicago Rush and the Chicago Slaughter.
The school is at 3434 S. Michigan Ave. Call (312) 842-7355 or log on to www.dls.org.
The Field Museum is offering free admission days for Illinois residents on all Wednesdays in February.
The museum’s newest exhibit, Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep, will take visitors on an underwater journey to see some of the creatures that called the oceans home during the Jurassic period. The exhibit will feature more than 100 fossils and models from the Jurassic period, including giant marine reptiles that resemble the Loch Ness monster. The exhibit opens Friday, Feb. 25, and runs through Friday, Sept. 5.
The museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. See www.fieldmuseum.org or call (312) 922-9410.
FREE COVID TESTING
Get free COVID testing, bothrapid antigen and PCR; PCR results sent within 24 hours. Gemini Labs is a City of Chicago-approved lab for onsite and in-home testing. The tests are Federally funded, so no insurance nor out-of-pocket costs required. Schedule group testing at schools (students and staff), work (employees or volunteers), and events (family, friends, and others). Call or text (872) 288-6587 to schedule a free test.
GEM OF THE OCEAN
Goodman Theatre is presenting Gem of the Ocean,a play set in 1904 about Ester Tyler, an African-American woman providing spiritual guidance, though Sunday, Feb. 27. It also is presenting The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci Friday, Feb. 11, through Sunday, March 20. The theatre is at 170 N. Dearborn St. Call (312) 443-3800.
WATER BILL ASSISTANCE
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced the new $42 million Low-Income Household Water Assistance Plan, under the Help Illinois Families initiative, to help low-income families unable to pay water and sewer bills avoid shutoffs. Apply for assistance by contacting the real-time assistance hotline service at (833) 711-0374.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides money from the Federal government to eligible ComEd customers with a one-time payment toward energy bills. Apply through LIHEAPillinois.com.
LUPUS SUPPORT GROUP
The Lupus Society of Illinois hosts a support group at Rush University Medical Center, Tower Resource Center, 1650 W. Harrison St., 4th floor, suite 04527. The group meets the second or third Saturday of the month. Call (312) 542-0002.
Lyric Opera of Chicago has hired Enrique Mazzola as its new music director. The orchestra will perform Verdi Voices on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. The opera house is at 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr. Call (312) 827-5600 or log on to www.lyricopera.org.
MALCOLM X COLLEGE NEWS
Malcolm X College and the City’s health department offer a free program that trains people to be a vaccine ambassador, engaging with others to encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and answer their questions about the vaccines. Log on to https://pages.ccc.edu/apply/mxvaccine/. The College is at 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.
The college and the University of Illinois Chicago have teamed up under a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support undergraduate students training in biomedical research during the last two years of their studies. The Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant will provide two-year traineeships annually to four underrepresented students who transfer to UIC from Malcolm X. For more information, call (312) 355-4133.
OUR LADY OF THE HOLY FAMILY NEWS
Our Lady of the Holy Family,1334 W. Flournoy St., holds Sunday Masses at 9 a.m. in English and 11 a.m. in Spanish. Saturday evening Mass is at 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, evening Mass is at 6 p.m.
Praying the Rosary begins at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. Adoration/holy hour and confessions begin at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays. Tuesday through Thursday Masses are at 8 a.m. in the chapel at 1335 W. Harrison St.
OLHF now offers a Friday Food Pantry for area residents facing food shortages. Contact the parish office to register or come to the pantry from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. The food pantry is located behind the church at 1334 W. Flournoy St.
The PepsiCo Foundation launched its Community College Scholarship and Mentoring program for City Colleges of Chicago. The Success Matters in Life & Education (SMILE) program scholarship’s deadline to apply is Monday, Feb. 28. For more information, log on to https://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/pepsicosmile/.
Michael Polelle, a former Near West Side resident and a professor emeritus of the University of Illinois Chicago college of law, has written American Conspiracy, a political thriller mainly set on the Near West Side. For more about Polelle and his novel, visit www.mjpolelle.com.
U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Com-
merce’s Energy Subcommittee, announced that Illinois will receive a record $408.2 million in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) this fiscal year to help families afford energy costs. Illinois families who need assistance should call (877) 411-WARM (9276) or visit www.LIHEAPIllinois.com. For more details, contact Naomi Savin at (202) 716-6365.
SAINT IGNATIUS NEWS
Saint Ignatius College Prep students Lainie Bradley, Emma Penner, Mary Shea, and Elizabeth Unger hosted a drive to collect warm clothing for the organization Northside Latin Progress.
The school is located at 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd. Log on to www.ignatius.org or call (312) 421-5900.
BLACK HEROES OF FIRE
Glessner House, Quinn Chapel, and Friends of Historic Second Church will host a free Black History Month program on Sunday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. Black Heroes of Fire: The History of the First African American Fire Company in Chicago, will be presented by Dekalb Walcott Jr., author of the book of the same name, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Engine Company 21 in 1872. The program will take place at Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave. Reservations not required. For more information, visit www.glessnerhouse.org.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii is offering three concerts, Il Cinema, L’Opera,and Ommagio a Sinatra online through Sunday, Feb. 27. To order the concerts, call (312) 421-3757 or log on to www.givecentral.org/location/78/30968,30967,30966,30965.
The shrine is at 1224 W. Lexington St. Call (312) 421-3757.
Smokeball, a legal practice management software firm at 200 W. Adams St., raised and donated $45,000 during its fourth annual Season of Giving program. The funds are going to Howard Brown Health, a community-based LGBTQIA organization, and Equip For Equality, a non-profit advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities; the donations will support these organizations’ longterm development and the public services they offer. Call (855) 688-3206.
RAVI SHANKAR PROGRAMMING
South Asia Institute, 1925 S. Michigan Ave., will offer programming related to musician Ravi Shankar on Saturdays. On Feb. 19, at 4 p.m., author Oliver Craske will discuss his book Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar.On Feb. 26 at 4 p.m., the institute will show the film Ravi and Anoushka Shankar Live in Bangalore. Log on to saichicago.org or call (312) 929-3911.
URBAN FARM GRANT
Urban Autism Solutions has won a $10,000 Capacity Building Grant from Advocates for Urban Agriculture. The award will enable UAS’s Growing Solutions Farm, a 1.2-acre urban farm at 1212 W. Flournoy St., to hire a second part-time farmer. Call (773) 377-5691.
SECRETARY OF STATE NEWS
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that Illinois has extended expiration dates for driver’s licenses and ID cards an additional three months to Thursday, March 31. See www.ilsos.gov/.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators recently honored White by giving him the Region 3 Customer Convenience Award for his office’s web-based appointment system at select driver services facilities.
Local resident Hannah Talcott has been named to Southern New Hampshire University’s fall 2021 President’s List.
AddictionResource.net lists drug and alcohol abuse hotlines available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and confidential. Log on to https://www.addictionresource.net/addiction-hotlines/ or call (844) 616-3400.
Near West Side resident Peter Pero has written a book, Chicago: America’s Workshop.The book contains historical photos from companies such as Mars Candy, Motorola, Abbott Labs, Radio Flyer, and Rand McNally. Produced by Arcadia Publishing, it is available at bookstores and on bookseller websites. To contact Pero, email [email protected].
Aquinas Literacy Center, 1751 W. 35th St., needs volunteer tutors to instruct adult learners with limited English proficiency. All instruction is one on one, and volunteers receive training. Tutoring can take place in-person, online over Zoom, or a hybrid of both. Knowledge of a second language is not required; all instruction is in English. For more information, contact Sabrina Poulin, volunteer coordinator, at (773) 927-0512 or email her at [email protected].
BENTON HOUSE INFO
At Benton House,3052 S. Gratten Ave., find out about public benefits such as supplemental nutrition assistance and citizenship application help. Call (773) 927-6420.
The Boulevard of Chicago at 3456 W. Franklin Blvd. provides medical respite care and housing services for homeless adults discharged from area hospitals. Call (773) 533-6013 or log on to www.blvd.org.
BRIGHT STAR RESOURCES
Bright Star Community Outreach and Bright Star Church have a trauma helpline and provide professional development, emotional support, and child and family services. Log on to brightstarcommunityoutreach.com/. Donations welcome. The church is located at 4518 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
The toll-free Bright Star Community Outreachtrauma counseling helpline is(833) TURN123. The helpline assists those experiencing trauma caused by exposure to violence.
Residents who want to share their thoughts or require assistance on any issue in the community can reach the office of State Rep Kam Buckner (D-26th) at (773) 924-1755 or by email at [email protected].
The Catholic Charities call center helps callers with a variety of needs and connects them toprograms within Catholic Charities or other agencies.
The organization offers meals to go at St. Vincent Center, 721 N. LaSalle St., Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. No pre-registration required.
Catholic Charities operates several food pantries.
A counseling/support hotline is available at (312) 948-6951. Catholic Charities also offers professional counseling at (312) 644-7725.
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has expanded the youth and young adult services its network provides to this community. The partnership provides help for young adults seeking employment, training, and career pathway opportunities at the American Job Center (AJC) at 1700 W. 18th St. Services are offered by appointment only. Call (773) 318-2224.
Gazette Chicago associate editor William S. Bike has authored a book about the 1970 Chicago Cubs season, The Forgotten 1970 Chicago Cubs: Go and Glow.
For more information, go to www.1970chicagocubs.com.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services reports that Community Services Block Grant Scholarships are available for those enrolled or planning to enroll in college or vocational training. Call (312) 747-0327.
SEEKING YOUNG LEADERS
Chicago Votes offers the Civic Leaders Program, a leadership development program for young people who have experienced incarceration, training them to serve as leaders in the organization’s legislative advocacy, court watching, and voter registration efforts. Chicago Votes is located at 234 S. Wabash Ave. Log on to https://chicagovotes.com.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is hosting multiple coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination special events across the city. Anyone age 12 and older can get vaccinated. All COVID-19 vaccines are free, and no insurance or ID is required. See the full list of special vaccine events at www.chicago.gov/vaxcalendar.
RIGHT TO RETURN
Former Chicago Housing Authority residents who were displaced by the CHA’s Plan for Transformation and who want to return to the CHA may receive help from Antwain Miller at the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.Call (773) 291-8621 or email antwain.mille[email protected]. The center is located at 710 E. 47th Street.
Community Organizing and Family Issues,2245 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 226-5141, organizes and trains parents to win improvements in schools and communities and in how to create organizations and programs. See cofionline.org.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office provides property tax exemptions for veterans with disabilities and returning veterans. Log on to cookcountyassessor.com or call (312) 443-7550.
RENTER AND LANDLORD HELP
If you are a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs, or if you are a landlord trying to stay afloat, help may be available. State and local programs are distributing dollars for such needs. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at consumerfinance.gov to find programs. See also ChiCookilRentHelp.org or call (833) 221-9821.
Cook County officials and partners run Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt, a county-wide initiative to help residents resolve eviction, foreclosure, debt, and tax deed issues. Services are provided pro bono for Cook County residents without legal representation and are offered to tenants facing eviction, landlords dealing with an eviction, debtors being sued for unpaid debts, creditors wishing to sue based on unpaid debts, and residents who have defaulted on property tax payments or mortgage foreclosure payments. Learn more by visiting www.cookcountylegalaid.org/.
Any Chicagoan can request an in-home vaccination for coronavirus (COVID-19) by calling the City of Chicago at (312) 746-4835. Or, find out where to get vaccinated from the State of Illinois by calling (800) 889-3931 or logging on to https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/.
Elephant Room Gallery, 704 S. Wabash Ave., presents new exhibitions of the work of new and emerging Chicago-based artists every four-to-six weeks. Log on to www.elephantroomgallery.com.
The following food pantries provide groceries and meals to those who need them.
Chosen Tabernacle Full Gospel, 4310 S. Champlain Ave., Thursday, 1 to 3 p.m., (888) 834-9414.
Church of St. Paul and the Redeemer, 4945 S. Dorchester Ave., Wednesday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., (773) 624-3185.
Hyde Park SDA Soup Kitchen, 4608 S. Drexel Blvd., Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., (773) 373-2909.
Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, 4242 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., (773) 548-7500.
Kenwood UCC Soup Kitchen, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:30 to 10 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m., (773) 373-2861.
Operation Pull Grant Memorial, 4017 S. Drexel Blvd., Tuesday, 1 to 3 p.m., (773) 285-5819.
Our Lady of the Holy Family, 1334 W. Flournoy St. (enter from parking lot behind the church), Friday, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., (312) 243-7400.
HRHotSeat Chicago is a free monthly online meetup of more than 1,600 human resources practitioners, service providers, students, and Chicago-area professionals in job transition who come together to expand networks and solve problems. Visit www.HRHotSeat.com or email [email protected] for a calendar of upcoming events.
The Epiphany Center for the Arts,201 S. Ashland Ave., is presenting two art shows: Agave! Runs through Saturday, April 9, and Like Queer Animals-We Hold Your Gaze runs through Saturday, Feb. 19. Log on to www.epiphanychi.com.
FGWTP JOB TRAINING
Greater West Town Training Partnership, 500 N. Sacramento Blvd.,offers job placement and training programs in wood products manufacturing and shipping and receiving. Call (312) 563-9570.
Harmony Community Church, 1908 S. Millard Ave., has a community center for youth programs and events. The church offers reading, tutoring, fine art, music, and dance programs. It also has a food pantry. Call (773) 762-9673.
The Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers encourages people to give blood. Contact Vitalant at www.vitalant.org or (877) 258-4835 to schedule a donation time.
Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church,600 E. 35th St., holds Sunday worship services at 11 a.m. Call (312) 225-5300.
Internet Essentials makes it possible for people receiving public assistance to qualify for low-cost internet service. Log on to internetessentials.com.
The Jason Foundation offers free suicide prevention training to educators, other school staff, parents, physicians, clergy, community leaders, and students. Log on to www.jasonfoundation.com.
LADIES OF VIRTUE
Ladies of Virtue,1245 S. Michigan Ave., (877) 565-7121, provides mentoring and leadership and empowering experiences, including help with school applications, for girls ages nine through 18 from underserved communities. Log on to lovchicago.org.
Latino Union of Chicago collaborates with low-income workers to improve their social and economic conditions through employment opportunities. Log on to latinounion.org or call (312) 491-9044. For those looking to hire workers, call (773) 588-2641.
The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing provides eligible renters with supportive services and free legal aid. The LCBH also offers Rennie the Chatbot at rentervention.com to help with people’s housing problems. The LCBH is located at 33 N. LaSalle St. Call (312) 347-7600 or log on to www.lcbh.org.
DISCOUNT PHONE, INTERNET
Under the Federal Lifeline Program,low-income consumers and veterans can receive a discount off their monthly bills for phone, broadband, or bundled phone and broadband service. See http://linkupillinois.org, call (312) 914-6701, or email [email protected].
FIGHT OPIOID ABUSE
Malcolm X College invites individuals to become community health workers to help fight the opioid crisis. Using a $2.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the college launched the Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program to bring care and relief to neighborhoods most affected by opioid use disorder. The University of Illinois Chicago Department of Disability and Human Development is partnering in this four-year initiative. Scholarships are available. For more information and to register for the program, visit www.ccc.edu/opioid.
Mount Sinai Hospital, 1500 S. Fairfield Ave., offers free rides for patients to get to and from any medical appointment within the Sinai Chicago system. All residents in Sinai Chicago’s service area who need to get to any of the medical system’s hospitals, clinics, or offices for any procedure, check-up, or health appointment can now get free, door-to-door transportation services. Patients can book a ride by calling (630) 903-2949.
Mujeres Latinas en Accion empowers Latinas through service and advocacy. Their domestic violence crisis hotline is (312) 738-5358 and their rape crisis hotline is (888) 293-2080. Mujeres is located at 2124 W. 21st Pl. Call (773) 890-7676.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago offers support groups and other resources for individuals who may need help. Call (833) 626-4244 or visit www.namichicago.org.
GAS BILL HELP
For Peoples Gas customers, bill payment assistance is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Share the Warmth program. To see if you are eligible and apply, call the Community Economic Development Association at (800) 571-2332 or go to cedarorg.net.
SOCIAL HEALTH INITIATIVE
The Pilsen Social Health Initiative at 1850 S. Throop St. offers a food pantry, thrift store, and onsite social worker. See www.pilsensocialhealthinitiative.com/. Call (773) 812-3150.
BACK TO BUSINESS
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have launched the $250 million Back to Business grant program to support small businesses’ continued recovery. See www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/B2B.aspx.