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I needed a measly 10 feet of alley fence ripped out and replaced many years ago. I didn't want to mess with the old concrete posts of the previous fence or the alley and stuff or is have done it myself. Called Bob Jaacks up in Niles and they came out and took care of it no problem.

— On the neighbor message DIY or hire?
8:33 a.m.

When I built and filled my raised veggie beds, I did a very unscientifically measured mix of 1/2 giant compressed bag of peat moss (I think it was 3 cu ft compressed in a bag, but I forget), 1 bag of humus, 1 large bag (2-3 cu feet, maybe?) of miracle gro garden soil and the remainder filled with regular topsoil (something like 20-30 bags) to fill each of my 4.5x4-foot beds (12 inches high).

Sorry I don't have the actual numbers...but maybe that will help give you a foundation.

Also, if you're wanting to avoid using fertilizers like miracle gro, then obviously don't use that particular product. :)

— On the neighbor message Garden soil advice
5:20 p.m.

Dear reporter, how about asking for a definition of "Chicago-style" BBQ? Don't have any idea what that is...

— On the neighbor message New Drive thru BBQ Coming to Jefferson Park
9:54 p.m.

I agree...I hope it all turns out to be good quality bbq...and the multi-regional approach sounds cool too.

— On the neighbor message Smokey's BBQ Reopening!
9:48 p.m.

As great as it would be to have the Patio thriving and active again, remember that the growth around it lately has happened IN SPITE OF rather than because of the Patio.

I don't think any business request should be "automatically" blocked by assumptive ideas or what everyone always calls NIMBY ideas, but I haven't seen any trustworthy reason based on the owner's history to support this request.

The area has done ok without the Patio even being open recently...would it do it better to have it open regularly again? Probably wouldn't hurt. But the community isn't desperate, in my opinion and shouldn't act that way.

5:58 p.m.

The $40 included tip, FYI, before you all do math. :)

— On the neighbor message Cochinita Taco Co= Portage Inn
11:25 p.m.

Went this evening and picked my order up to go -- stuck to the "standards": Steak, Pastor and Pollo Gringo, to see how they did with those. All were tasty, solid standard tacos, but nothing "out of this world". Tommy A, it's funny you mention Chipotle, as the Pollo Gringo taco reminded me a bit of Chipotle's flavor profiles. The Steak taco tasted pretty authentic to what I might make at home, but it wasn't skirt steak (which I use). I'll go back to try the "special"/different tacos on the menu at some point. For four tacos (two of the Pollo), and three kids meals, I paid $40. Ambiance was outstanding while I waited (though it's opening night) and the bar looks like a great place to hang out. I didn't have any drinks while waiting, but they looked worth a try.

— On the neighbor message Cochinita Taco Co= Portage Inn
11:24 p.m.

They read my meter wrong in October and still couldn't read it right in November. Idiots.

— On the neighbor message ComEd Bill
7:27 p.m.

I had the original beef sandwich for lunch today at beefbelly and was really happy with it. The garlic parm fries, however, were disappointing -- tasted like fries that had been sitting out for a while and had some garlic parm spread all over them. Not BAD, but not really "fresh-tasting" if you will. The place itself seems really nice too...nice atmosphere (but really loud music...even the cashiers were kind of yelling to each other to converse...depends if you're into loud music or not), though I took the sandwich and fries to go. The wait was bearable this afternoon (1:30 p.m. or so), but the cashier told me five minutes, and it was more like 15 to get my order. Not a big deal to me, but everyone should be aware they're still working through "newness", I think.

— On the neighbor message 3 new restaurants to try in the 45th Ward!
5:14 p.m.

I usually drive down to Wing Stop on Harlem near North Ave. for mine and have been happy with what they offer. Used to go to Buffalo Joe's back in my college days, and it was good, but for me, there's a mental block in thinking Evanston is about a million miles away. :)

— On the neighbor message Buffalo Wings
11:56 a.m.

Good thing CLTV got the IMPORTANT facts of the incident, like, what jersey the guy was wearing and what kind of tattoo he had (related to the jersey). How about why this guy was here? How about where the victim was from? How about what they argued about (if Cubs vs. Sox, then the jersey becomes MARGINALLY interesting as a fact, but beyond that, it's completely stupid, particularly to include it in the headline). I hate broadcast "news"...

— On the media mention Cubs fan accused of stabbing man 7 times
10:34 a.m.

Also, Laura, remember, this is Everyblock...nothing is ever decided here, nor is it ever a good representation of any neighborhood. It's mostly complaints, reports on crime/issues, fear-mongering and open-ended (never-ending) debate. Visit the areas you want to live (every little community has its own quirks and "flavor" and make your decision that way...). Everyblock can be observed, but I'd say taking all of it with a grain of salt is giving it too much credit. It's not a good representation of any neighborhood it attempts to represent.

9:31 a.m.

They stop after a few days. It was nice to not have to worry about using my metered water for a bit. I was surprised they even did that much, to be honest...figured we'd be on our own.

— On the neighbor message KS Construction Watering
9:47 a.m.

I got a minivan a couple years back after looking at the large SUVs...the price tag and fuel economy made the decision easy...and now they're finally appointing the interiors nicely -- minivans aren't as strictly utilitarian as they used to be...with the seats stowed, I can fit a 4x8 sheet of drywall/plywood in the back and I get just as good gas mileage as I did my 2005 Equinox.

That said I do miss the heck out of the wagons...our family had a couple of them over the years while growing up.

— On the neighbor message See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet
8:07 p.m.

Carl, do you have experience with Viking ranges/stoves/vent hoods and access to parts for that? We have one that needs what I'd call a good "inspection" and "tuneup" still works quite well, but has some issues that probably ought to be checked out. It's probably about 20-25 years old. I'm frankly "afraid" of what the cost would be to have work done on it, but more "afraid" of the cost to replace it (it's a double-oven, so if we wanted to replace it, we'd be looking at bazillions of dollars just to fit the space it takes up).

— On the neighbor message Repair for a vintage oven-?
11:14 a.m.

A Wingstop or Buffalo Wild Wings closer than Niles and/or North Ave. would be nice as well...

— On the neighbor message Starbucks
3:55 p.m.

Wow, I guess DNA Info doesn't have copy editors (duh) to check this stuff...the BUDGET is going up 26%, but to David's point above, the tax is rising a significantly smaller percentage. At least that's how I read it as it is written later in the story.

Oops. I'd typically blame the headline writer, but it's also in the lede...

— On the neighbor message Strongly Oppose!
6:32 p.m.

I've used blood meal with success on my front porch planters...the squirrels were digging in them to bury the peanuts that a neighbor leaves out for them.

— On the neighbor message Those Irving Park Squirrels
1:10 p.m.

I would say this...lots of great, satisfying, occasionally hilarious ideas above.

My approach would be this: Avoid her and her "territory" as often as you can. Don't push the issue. However, if you *NEED* the spot, or if she confronts you on something, don't back down and prosecute to the fullest extent that you can. Take pictures, video, whatever -- get a lawyer, whatever you need to do. Get proof that she did it and then follow through.

If she's berating people from her door or the house or on the sidewalk, stand up to her. It's bullying...establish and display your own self-confidence and that you're not afraid of her, or you'll live in fear forever.

She may have a mental issue too, and I get that maybe there should be some sympathy, but frankly, nobody seems to have found that out. It becomes a different response if that's the case, but as of now, it sounds like this woman simply is selfish and mistaken in her stubborn ways. Get the cops and courts involved, and maybe that will either solve the problem or at least give some insight into how everyone can "get along"...someone posted above about guests parking there, which is a good point. If I showed up at a friends' house and found a parking spot, I wouldn't know that my tires were going to be randomly slashed.

All that said...all bets are off if she "has guns" like the other neighbor have to be careful about the sleeping bear that you're poking.

Just use common sense.

— On the neighbor message Need Help!
9:54 a.m.

I blame Peoples Gas.

10:56 p.m.

Every time I think I'm never going to read another EveryBlock post, a comment string like this makes me laugh and brings me right back.

— On the neighbor message LA Fitness at Six Corners Closing
11:02 a.m.

I had a fledgling robin that wouldn't leave my yard for about three days a couple weeks ago, except when I approached it, it would fly a few dozen to hundred feet and then hop around on a garage roof or house somewhere. But then I'd find it back, "hiding" in my garden or bushes, but clearly not in any hurry to get the heck out of town with my dog around. Or me.

Never did hear or see the parents anywhere after about Day One or so...I've actually gotten accustomed to recognizing the parent robins' "distress" calls to the fledglings when I enter the I know to be on the lookout for one.

Finally, the thing has seemed to have gone on to grow up and fly away...thankfully.

— On the neighbor message Sick/stunned sparrow
11:53 p.m.

"Park" does not automatically equal gangbangers, drunks, late-night hangout kids...if the local residents and the park management take action to make sure that type of activity isn't acceptable by being visible and using the park. And, yes, calling the police if indeed those incidents occur.

12:39 p.m.

I don't know for sure, but I thought bumblebees were solitary (not hive-builders) and ground dwelling...I could very much be wrong though. Someone with more knowledge on bees might be able to help better. I guess I'm curious to know if I'm right or not. :)

— On the neighbor message Please help me identify this bee colony.
11:43 a.m.

Put your sprinkler out, watch for the people to come by (if you know when, roughly it is going to be), and then turn the sprinkler on full blast before they arrive (or as their dog is squatting, if you want to be really effective in sending the message). Probably aren't going to stand there and get wet while their dog poops on your lawn.

Sometimes, you need to resort to conditioning humans as well as dogs.

— On the neighbor message Pick up your poop
11:37 a.m.

I'd be interested in The Simpsons ones, if still available...given that the show has gone down the tubes in recent years. :)

— On the neighbor message $0.25 comics
4:57 p.m.

Lake Street Supply gave me a really reasonable quote for topsoil and delivery years ago (that I ended up not needing because my plan for my yard changed, so I can't say beyond the quote how they would have been)...some of the others up north and west said I was too far into the city for may be close enough though, as you're further north/west.

3:15 p.m.

Fwiw, I've had Nyberg Exteriors (local to Irving park) redo my brick bungalow roof and my garage roof in the last eight years. Exemplary job both times. I believe the bungalow roof (again, eight years ago this was done, so I'm fuzzy on the cost) was in the 8k-9k range, but that price included three or four layers or tear-off (which didn't up the price but gives you an idea of how little the previous owners took care of the roof) and more importantly, nearly 300 linear feet of roof decking that needed to be replaced because it was rotted through. Parts of the roof had actually sagged and one part looked like someone had stepped "through" it...was in terrible shape.

It was our first investment in the house and I was she'll-shocked but very very happy with the outcome.

— On the neighbor message New roof
9:01 a.m.

By the way, I'm a big fan of historical Chicago weather...I have the original (falling apart) newspapers from the '67 blizzard and the Oak Lawn tornado (which my mom kept and gave to me), and the '87 floods...amazing stuff...gotta get it laminated or preserved or something sometime in the near future, before they completely disintegrate.

7:25 p.m.

Careful, IU, being a trailblazer could get you a citation for a lack of focus.

7:23 p.m.

Logan Square is pretty great and challenging, for sure!,-87.7064381,18z

11 p.m.

IU: That Mitsubishi eclipses all others though.

10:42 p.m.

Very cool historical account...

5:42 p.m.

@Inactive: don't forget that, much like the horse and buggy, planes are doomed to vanish from the transportation landscape.

— On the neighbor message Alderman Arena on Airplane Noise
12:34 a.m.

Speaking from experience, your dentist sounds right about the shifting. I had a tooth die and fall out in college bc my parents couldn't afford a root canal. Over the many years, my teeth around that gap began to shift to fill the gap, bc there was no counteracting force to keep them in line. I now have a bridge there, which has fixed the problem (but obv was not cheap either).

Good luck. My dentist is way down by midway and isn't open Sunday's so I can't help there...sorry!

6:04 p.m.

St Robert bellarmine still offers it, depending what your definition of "close" is.

— On the neighbor message Market Day
8:56 a.m.

Did that squirrel vote? Sounds like election shenanigans to me!

In all seriousness, if there's a squirrel in there already, the property is only going to get worse before it gets better.

— On the neighbor message Abandoned house
11:41 a.m.

Years and years ago I just called Luna and they did a fine, inexpensive job. I ordered a basic carpet and pad though, so it was no big deal.

— On the neighbor message Carpeting a staircase
2:03 p.m.

All politicians are pretty much beholden to some special interest somewhere, so it's hard to vote using that as a differentiation point, honestly.

The "unknown" as to how Garcia would operate as mayor certainly is there, but I feel comfortable taking more of a chance than what we've received from Emanuel.

2:02 p.m.

Culver's wouldn't compete with Leadbelly. Totally different level of burger joints. A Meatheads or Five Guys might compete but not Culver's. Truthfully, Culver's would be more of a "threat" to Dairy Queen than Leadbelly.

11:33 a.m.

I'd rather have some Jesus Christ with my fish and tartar sauce than some card magic, lol -- "I'm not picking a card, I'm EATING DINNER! Leave me alone!" Ha ha ha ha...

— On the neighbor message Is St. Ferds open to the public ?
6:05 p.m.

Culver's is a great get...the closest one is where? Franklin/Melrose Park? So that's opposed to, say, another McDonald's, which are ubiquitous.

That's exciting and would give me a reason to patronize the area.

6:01 p.m.

BellaV, just another vote in favor of Chicago Canine Rescue in case you needed it...we got our current dog there about 3 years ago, and he's been outstanding. That said, every dog is different, and I agree that you'd have the best luck with your chickens' survival if you can get a dog very, very young and acclimate him/her to the chickens (and, frankly, the chickens acclimated to him/her too...for all the "prey instincts" a dog might have, don't chickens have a "flight instinct" in the face of danger???).

Good luck in your search...I once went into the puppy room at a municipal shelter like anti-cruelty, and had a really hard time leaving without 12 dogs, trying to save them's not easy to go to those places knowing that while you're saving one, what about all the others you're not saving...I found that difficult to handle for a few minutes that I was there.

— On the neighbor message Looking to Adopt a pup
7:12 p.m.

At Woodfield, you don't have to buy a photo...they show you all the options and tell you the prices, but when we stepped up with our sons today, the camerawoman asked if we were taking a photo or if the boys were just visiting. Of course, we do buy a photo, because it's a tradition at this point, but still, we could have walked through, had the boys talk to Santa and move on. It probably varies from worker to worker (clipboard worker) and the wording they use too...the one you saw probably put on a harder sell...of course, I'm just guessing.

— On the neighbor message Selling Santa
11:06 p.m.

I feel lucky that the worst thing we're dealing with right now on our block is the gravel-filled sidewalk holes...yes a couple curbs were broken and sidewalks too, but generally on our block the work hasn't been terrible. Of course, we have a ways to go yet, so I'm sure it'll be worse. Then again, we had a huge sand pile in front of my house in the street that appears to have been cleaned up after they finished filling, so again, we must have been lucky (at least to this point).

I have my "before" pictures at the ready though, in case I need to file repair complaints.

The only "bad" thing is I can't put out my Christmas decorations this year for fear that they'll get ruined if/when the contractors come back. I'll decorate inside this year only, and I guess I'll save some on my electricity. ;)

11:29 a.m.

I was concerned about that, Alderman Tim...hopefully they fulfill that requirement. Thanks for sharing the information.

4:10 p.m.

Prairie grass will be a wonderful visual shield...and will look nice in front of my bungalow as well once I plant it and they install it there. Which I chose. Because the area in between the houses ices up severely, and the last thing I need is some freeze/thaw cycle damaging my meter somehow.

— On the neighbor message These Gas Meters Are an Eyesore
12:51 p.m.

Not having snow removal services makes their not-worth-squat investment that much less attractive. Too bad they don't see that. I'd immediately walk away from a for-sale condo without basic association-paid services, and I'm guessing most also would.

Good luck in your own efforts though...

12:52 p.m.

We've had a couple small family birthday dinners there, just immediate family, and we've been fine with it. Not blown away, but not disappointed either.

— On the neighbor message Italian Restaurant
1:55 p.m.

I'm surprised they didn't say to gear up for a daytrip to go to SmakTak, as it's the only place in the distant hinterlands west of Cicero.

That trip probably blew their entire travel budget. Probably had to hire a couple Sherpa guides.

5:14 p.m.

Thanks Ald. Tim...appreciate the effort in getting the details.

— On the crime report Kidnapping: Child abduction/stranger
10:17 a.m.

Last week, the street cleaner made three passes on each side of the street to get all the leaves that had been blown into the street by the various landscaping companies and residents over by here...


Usually I just run the lawn mower over them on the mulch setting a few times before it rains and let them fertilize the lawn. Or I'll get them in the bag and dump the chopped up little bits of leaves into the garden or something.

No big deal -- even with billions of leaves from the huge trees by us.

— On the neighbor message Raking Leaves... Into the street
10:56 p.m.

A fourth "no problem with Verizon for several years" from me...near Thorp.

— On the neighbor message Cell phone reception (Addison/Austin) area
11 p.m.

Better than an abandoned car wash.

— On the neighbor message Sparkle Car Wash
9:54 a.m.

Trey E., thanks for calling the cops and trying to follow these punks.

We live in the city, there are gangs. Gang warfare is what's happening in other parts of the city...we have issues here for sure, but they are either "isolated" or done by a lot of wannabes -- who can be more dangerous than the "proven" gangbangers sometimes, yes, and we should keep an eye out and report everything.

However, those of you who are criticizing Trey for his description of these kids as "Biebers" or whatever, what more would you have liked him to do? He called the cops, called graffiti blasters and followed the kids as long as he could.

Stop "scolding" him -- I highly doubt anyone is reading this and saying, "Phew, I thought there was a gang war going on in our neighborhood, but Trey E. said that it's just a bunch of Justin Biebers running around, so it's safe to be oblivious."

Report everything; take nothing lightly; but also let's not crucify someone for doing everything they could -- and more than some others HAVE done on this board -- to respond to a situation THEY were in...not you.

9:14 a.m.

Realtors can turn away houses/clients they don't believe will sell. Teachers cannot turn away students/families they don't believe will meet academic standards.

I agree, however, that all schools (public and private) need to seriously upgrade the access to technology across the board -- not just here and there.

— On the neighbor message Ald Arena pushes for an elected school board
12:57 a.m.

@Minerva: It's not a conflict of interest now?

— On the neighbor message Ald Arena pushes for an elected school board
12:14 p.m.

Holla back, girl?

11:11 p.m.

We're debating over indoor air quality in the heart of a city that isn't Mexico City, Beijing or Los Angeles, but is still a city.

— On the neighbor message Smoke and Fragrance Free Zone?
2:56 p.m.

Thanks to the cool summer, I gambled (thinking we'd use over the threshold of kWh to cancel out Integrys' fees) and lost, ha ha ha, by sticking with Integrys. Time to switch over the ComEd now, based on my household's historical usage patterns...

9:49 p.m.

@Laymaneers is the best! Just wanted to publicly say thank you.

We will put this piece to good use, for sure -- though it's actual task is yet to be determined, there's no way it will go to waste. :)

— On the neighbor message Solid wood hutch - Free
8:58 p.m.

And the horchata and other food at Pueblo Nuevo is unbelievable. I don't go there enough...

2:54 p.m.

SVDC: was that $1,300 your half, or the entire cost to be split?

10:49 a.m.

OK, let me see what I can do and get back to you. If I can't get at it today, I'll try for tomorrow and will let you know. I know JJ is waiting as well. :)

— On the neighbor message Solid wood hutch - Free
12:17 p.m.

Not sure at the badly do you want it out of there today? I'd have to find somebody to help me -- which is always a "challenge" on short notice these days.

Let me ask around and see if I can find anyone...I work "way up north" so I'd have to get back to the NW Side first and foremost, and then go from there.

— On the neighbor message Solid wood hutch - Free
11:49 a.m.

Is this still available? Would you be willing to measure/share the dimensions?

I'm interested...

— On the neighbor message Solid wood hutch - Free
9:47 a.m.

All that needed to be said was that there was a group of teens/kids/young adults wandering the alleys, looking like they were up to something. Should we not call 911 because they did or did not look like gangbangers? Street smarts is knowing when something's not matter what the possible perp looks like.

Also, like the earlier commenter posted, call 911. Cops probably won't come out, but as has been said before, it creates a record of a 911 call at the location. Squeaky wheels get the oil.

— On the neighbor message Be Safe
6:21 p.m.

Lock your stuff up, keep your eyes open, don't make yourself a target by not using common sense and you should be fine. We've been here seven years near thorp school and have loved it and never felt really threatened by crime. Don't forget that you're in a city and you'll be fine.

— On the neighbor message Living in Portage Park
7:44 p.m.

We had our "where to put the new meter" appointments on our block in the spring. They said they'd be probably starting up the work in August sometime. Here we are, mid-September, with absolutely zero sign of things to come -- nothing even on the blocks around us at the moment. So yes, I'd say they're definitely way behind. Which is not fun, because I'd hoped they'd have done it before the snow/sleet/ice/MESS of winter. Especially since any holes they dig and fill will have to be left as mud until spring. Pretty frustrating.

— On the neighbor message Peoples Gas work (photo)
9:37 a.m.

Every spring, I treat all my veggies beds with dried poultry litter. It's worked wonders.

— On the neighbor message Garden Tomatoes
10:10 a.m.

Just sliced one up and had it on a sandwich with deli chicken, American cheese and ranch dressing...perfect. :)

— On the neighbor message Garden Tomatoes
1:31 p.m.

@SJ (and everyone else): the tomato plants were: Steak Sandwich Hybrid Tomatoes
I'd never heard of them before my sons got the packet of seeds in a Disney "Grow Your Own Garden" kit...suffice to say, they performed "as advertised"...I will buy the seeds and grow them again.

— On the neighbor message Garden Tomatoes
12:02 p.m.

EDIT: I got the Yellow Garden Peach at Meinke's, NOT Lurvey's...sorry. :)

— On the neighbor message Garden Tomatoes
9:53 p.m.

My rundown:
-- I was very impressed with the black cherry tomatoes I grew as well @BellaV-- although they took a LONG time to ripen up, oddly enough. I will try to get these again.
-- Forgot how great Husky cherry tomatoes are, and the plant produced all season long (and still is). I used to do Sweet 100s, but those split and cracked far more than the huskies. It's a must for me now.
-- Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes -- decent, but won't get the plant again. First, one branch of the plant seemed to have a disease or mutation, where it was producing orange tomatoes but the stem/core black/green was spread out around a significant part of the tomato. So I had to pitch a few every time I picked them Second, although my sons liked the orange ones, I didn't care as much for the flavor.
-- Yellow Garden Peach -- Didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. Very mild-ish flavor, almost a lemonade-yellow color to them. Peach-sized and peach fuzzy. And prolific producer too. I will try to find again at Lurvey's next year.
-- Lastly, the main full-sized pink/red tomatoes my sons planted from seed (forgot the name, but have it written down outside) were FANTASTIC. Plant stayed relatively under control, and the flavor on them were GREAT.

All in all, aside from the squirrels raiding my entire corn crop and my pepper plants being relatively useless (two sweet banana peppers, one mole, two not-yet-orange bells, ZERO poblanos and ZERO green bells so far), it was a good year in the garden. Tons of Yukon Gold potatoes a month or so ago; cucumbers growing at a nice, reasonable pace; carrots almost ready to pull, nice broccoli earlier in the year.

— On the neighbor message Garden Tomatoes
9:53 p.m.

Had the same guy come by, @christyr20...saw him through the peephole and didn't even bother to answer. He went away after about 30 seconds.

I don't need to tell them that I already did all the math. And if the goof was from Integrys, well, I already HAVE Integrys, so he's a moron. :)

— On the neighbor message Integrys
11:50 p.m.

"A dog will love you more, not less, if you assert your dominance."

Exactly. I hate Cesar on TV, but he's right about being an alpha and controlling the pack, even if it's a two-creature pack.

3:44 p.m.

@Inactive...sadly, when that scene came up in the movie, I was the only one in the theater laughing heartily...none of the little ones obviously had any idea what the hell I was laughing so hard about, and the parents either were just as clueless or where stifling it. :)

— On the neighbor message Chips
8:55 p.m.

For next year, I'll have to construct something to completely enclose the corn. Seems that once they were convinced there was no more corn on those plants, they left. Maybe that will keep them away

It'll be nice if I don't have to enclose the entire flippin' garden and can just build a freestanding cage around the corn (mind you, it's about an 8x5 swath of corn, but that's better than 22x10!), that I can lift or open or something when harvest time arrives.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
3:59 p.m.

Knock on wood/crossing my fingers...
A combination of a hastily set up "cage" of chicken wire around my biggest and pinkest tomatoes, combined with Polonia's suggestion of Russian Sage (I clipped about four three-foot long branches off the plant that were hanging across the sidewalk and needed to be cut anyway), seem to have kept the squirrels from scratching/biting my tomatoes the last day and a half.

I hope this lasts. :)

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
3:56 p.m.

If you haven't seen the parody of CHiPs in the kids movie Planes Fire & Rescue, look it up or see it. Hilarious!

— On the neighbor message Chips
8:56 a.m.

Oh, it can use a trim...I'll try some of that too, and see what happens.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
11:04 p.m.

Polonia: You spread cut Russian sage around to keep them away? I have a nice-sized Russian sage plant I can cut up and spread around...

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
8:55 p.m.

Fortunately, there's enough cherry tomatoes to share. It's the big ones that are a little less numerous and I'd prefer to keep to ourselves. ;)

But yes, @DebbieM, I'll have them all over, I'm sure...I usually get a few every year from tomatoes that fell off the plant and I missed or forgot to pick up too.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
1:39 p.m.

This morning, I went out and found my first nearly-ripe large tomato with two good-sized varmint bites out of it. I'm really bummed about this. I threw cayenne pepper on the other ones. I'm hoping rain doesn't wash it off before I get home later.

I'm going to have to cover the tomatoes, I guess. I have no choice.

And then maybe this evening, I'll sit out there with the hose and blast them anytime they try to come in the garden. At least I can get some comic relief/"revenge" in a harmless way, to ease my frustration.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
9:36 a.m.

Sunday morning, garlic water found to have little effect. Decided to spread around some powdered cayenne all over the plants, the fence, etc. Came home in the afternoon to find one of the guys standing directly on a pile of the stuff on the fence, chowing away on a cherry tomato. Just standing there, eating, practically laughing at me. :)

Chased him off. Came back out in the evening to find THREE squirrels rooting around for whatever little bit was left of my corn. Chased them up the alley light pole. Took a stick and began whacking the pole. They got scared enough to run down the wires down the alley to the next pole. Didn't come back that evening.

THIS MORNING, I got another idea. My wife has two scarecrows (DUH!) that we put out for fall decorations. I put one in the garden this morning. My dog, actually, began barking at the thing, so maybe, JUST MAYBE.

@joanie: If the squirrels start dancing to Kenny Loggins, then MAYBE I'll cut them some slack. ;)

@Allexa: I ALWAYS have issues with them digging in dirt -- blood meal has always stopped them (and did this year too). Anyway, you may have hit upon why they're being more destructive. 1. a neighbor passed away last year, and she had a huge raspberry patch (and other assorted plants/veggies/etc.), which the new owners got rid of...also, our other neighbor fed the heck out of the squirrels, and I'm not sure she's doing that anymore, or at least not as frequently.

@bellyer: THANK YOU! That helps a lot. I'm going to re-read your specs and look at the pic later...I have some ideas myself, it's a matter of how insane I want to get. :)

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
3:18 p.m.

Sprayed garlic water out there this evening. Had to chase two squirrels out to do it, and one of them even came back into the garden WHILE I was working the other end...suffice to say, he was chased off by me with the spray bottle firing away.

I'll report if it works.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
8:17 p.m.

Polonia: never heard of the ornament trick...will have to look that up

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
4:44 p.m.

It's not humane that they're taking my corn. :) I don't know any better, I'm just doing what humans do. :)

I'll try the garlic water first, and step it up if I have to...

I've read about how they don't like the pepper because if they get it in their eyes it burns (same as us). That's more humane than poison, in my opinion.

Bellyer: that was my thought for next you have any pics you'd be willing to share?

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
4:42 p.m.

East of Thorp we had a surge at one of the major strikes. Power is on but comcast cable and phone are out.

— On the neighbor message Power out in Portage Park
4:32 p.m.

I forgot to mention that I have a dog, but I do not let him out unsupervised (mostly because of the squirrels, rabbits, opossum, raccoons, etc. around here -- don't need any run-ins).

A&K, I'll check that out. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure they wiped out most of the corn -- and the jerks at only the two inch or two of every single ear...jokes on them if they were marking it and leaving it for later, as I threw it all away.

But now I'm worried about my tomatoes.

— On the neighbor message Squirrels in the veggie garden
10:36 p.m.

I'm just curious to see over the next couple days how many fewer bees, butterflies, lightning bugs, etc., visit the yard. That's the shame of the whole thing...and for me, the mosquitoes have actually not been bad at all this year.

— On the neighbor message Mosquito Spraying This Week
2:17 p.m.

They will not re-paint any walls they tear out inside, I was told...they replace the drywall, tape and mud it, and the rest is up to you, FYI.

— On the neighbor message Gas Meter Relocation
6:33 p.m.

Wow, just wow. God bless, I'm done. I hope that my sons' school and my parish can do something as genuine, caring and generous as this if ever the situation were available to them. Good luck to St. Pascal's on this venture. It's the right thing to do, and I hope it happens.

— On the neighborhood event neighborhood meeting
2:48 p.m.

Divine Divine: Are there residential homes in view of the recess area? Have you background-checked the residents of those houses? Will you be background-checking anyone who purchases any of those homes in the future?

I assume this means that, if through some miracle of finance they were able to do so, you wouldn't want these residents of the women's home to send their children to St. Pascal's either?

— On the neighborhood event neighborhood meeting
12:55 p.m.

Wow...the lack of sympathy for fellow human beings on here is really pathetic. I hope and pray that those of you who are screaming to the hills against this never end up in a situation where you need the church or some charity to help you and your family get back on your feet or get your life straightened out.

— On the neighborhood event neighborhood meeting
10:59 a.m.

Stop raising the bar for all of us!!! Lol! ;)

— On the neighbor message Date Night
2:24 p.m.

Online. Comfort of home and I can drink all the beer I want without having to share. :)

1:38 p.m.

Ald. Tim (or anyone else): Do you know of any place where we can find out the status/schedule of the Peoples Gas work? Our block has been waiting patiently for them to surprise us with "no parking" signs anytime now, but there hasn't even seemed to be any work nearby Warwick east of Austin, which is where we are.

— On the neighbor message Street resurfacing
10:17 a.m.

That should have said, "To ADD to beth in uptown's point" sorry...

10:24 a.m.

To beth in uptown's point -- I wouldn't trust the people to dismantle it. Take it apart yourself and pile it up. You never know how much of a mess the craigslist dismantler might leave -- or if they might accidentally damage something you'd like to keep. No need to take chances. :)

10:23 a.m.

Do you have a sprinkler? If you do, set it up, watch for him, and the minute he so much as touches the gate or throws the bag of poop over the gate, you turn the sprinkler on full blast. Do that every time.

Stupid humans can be trained just like smart dogs.

I'd lock the gate first though...that's the next step. It's a game of wits at this point. He may not be smart enough to toss it over the fence.

— On the neighbor message Jerk keeps letting his dog(s) into my yard
1:30 p.m.

I stacked mine on the side of the yard and started to leave a little bit at a time with the regular weekly garbage, so as to not overdo it, and in case something came up where I might have found a use for it.

Turns out, I was lucky to find a local baseball Little League that my sons participate in ended up needing plank wood for their dugout floors. I got rid of most of it that way, but admittedly, that was just good fortune and timing.

When I took down a privacy fence left by the previous owners that needed replacement, I used a bunch of the dog-eared panel boards to create about five raised garden beds in the back of my yard. Rather than spending who-knows-what on brand new cedar boards, these were perfect, and they've already lasted four years or so. I know I'll need to replace them eventually, but it was a good, free, solid stopgap solution for having to spend all at once on that much lumber.

Today, I have a little bit of scrap left from the deck demo that I've just been leaving bit by bit with the garbage each week.

1:24 p.m.

@pattymelt: I'm never selling my house, so I'm not concerned about future residents. ;) LOL
@Pamela: Yeah, I see them out there too and they're ugly when they're out there like a sore thumb. A couple taller plants a few feet in front of the meter ought to block the street view nicely though, which is my hope. :)
@Carmen: I'm just talking about putting a stand or two of prairie grasses or a bush or something a few feet in front, to block the view from the street/sidewalk, with plenty of clearance in case work is needed...and the RF readers they have shouldn't have any problems with that, considering they read through the brick walls currently (I've never had a gas man come in and read our meter, ever, in seven years). But yes, I can't imagine you can, say, box the thing up and cover it completely.

— On the neighbor message People's Gas Question
3:58 p.m.

Mine is being relocated to the front of my house, because I can better disguise it there with well-placed plants/bushes/etc. The non-walkway side of the home wasn't going to cut it for would look MORE out of place there, and it would also be less protected from the weather than it would in the "armpit" of my front porch, right above where the gas service enters the house currently.

— On the neighbor message People's Gas Question
9:49 a.m.

BtE: My parents still have a refrigerator in their basement -- still working -- that is that lovely avocado color. And they got rid of their ketchup red matching fridge and oven/stove about a decade or so ago.

9:20 p.m.

cool shirt and concept, but what about the Skyway and the Bishop Ford??

10:38 p.m.

Assuming you mean child/baby seats, my wife took them to the fire station, I believe.

— On the neighbor message Car Seats Inspection
8:54 p.m.

Having grown up in Burke's ward, I would be stunned if there was anyone around Burke who knew what a plant's a "concrete jungle" down there -- Roundup's not necessary. "Monsanto" sounds like another name for the parish pastor to most of the residents.

That said, maybe there are some donations that have been made -- although I don't know why he would need campaign donations. Nobody ever runs against him, and nobody has since I've been alive, that I'm aware. It's totally peculiar.

1:05 p.m.

After crunching the numbers on my end, Integrys still turns out to be a better deal for us -- we're a single-family home in the $26.49 tier, and by my calculations, you break even somewhere around 1,103 KWH a month...anything more than that, the Integrys rate (including the fee) turns out better. Any lower usage, and the ComEd rate is better.

We'll probably still stick with Integrys, especially in case of a heat wave...but everyone needs to figure their usage out on a case-by-case basis.

It's a shame that I just did all this math for myself two months ago, and already they're changing the rules of the game here.

— On the neighbor message Integrys - yes or no?
9:54 p.m.

@modvox: "more complicated" is the motto of Chicago politics -- the more complicated it is, the more people will throw up their hands, say, "eff it" and just fall in line.


Thanks for doing all the legwork (and you too, Edwina...and anyone else I've forgotten).

— On the neighbor message Integrys - yes or no?
2:16 p.m.

My last dog, a black lab/chow mix, NEVER barked. Even if I tried to actually teach him to "speak" for a treat, it was like pulling teeth. Not just because of this point, he was an amazing, outstanding, wonderful dog. Best dog I've ever had in my life. Back to the barking point: Later in his life, he growled at a contractor who was giving my wife his cell phone (long story, she knew the guy's daughter), and I didn't even recognize it until he did it a second time...I thought it was some noise outside. :)

Our current dog is a black lab/beagle mix, and he's more vocal, but he's more of an "alert" barker...if he hears something odd, he'll give an alert bark for me. But then he's all submissive because he thinks he's not "supposed" to bark. I'm trying to teach him that alert barking is very, very good and what we need. He's getting it, slowly but surely.

— On the neighbor message Dog Heroes and Villains
9:36 p.m.

I will say, as much as I despise these cameras in some ways, I laughed heartily today heading eastbound on Irving, when a guy in an SUV went flying by everyone in the painted parking lane over by Jolly Inn...then I saw him waving angrily at someone going sorta slower as he cut them off right after Narragansett.

I was like, "Yes, please catch him....please catch him..." and then the flash of the camera by St. Pascal's, and I about cheered aloud. Dude appeared to have no idea either, as he continued to fly on through Austin and hopefully on to another ticket at Portage Park. :)

So, that was nice. :)

6:29 p.m.

Total missed opportunity...he could blast "Lasagna" by Weird Al...that would be a perfect "pizza delivery guy" entrance song.

— On the neighbor message Pizza Delivery People
4:09 p.m.

Don't know how familiar you are with this group, but I get emails from them about solving urban flooding all the time...I'm not involved with them, so I can't say that they're "any good" but maybe check them out.

— On the neighbor message Yesterday's Short Downpour
7:21 p.m.

Hi Allexa: I've thought about that, trust me. But I just can't get past the part where I'm spending my own money on a service I've, in effect, already paid for and the city is supposed to provide. :)

It's just a "principle of the thing" situation...there's a record that I've now called twice in 14 months or so (and will start following up progressively more frequently), so if something does happen (what would happen, who knows?), I can at least point to the fact that I told the city about it and the city didn't get to it.

Truth be told, had I planted the tree (or hired someone to do it) even if it was in the parkway, I'd definitely spend the money on it.

— On the neighbor message Parkway grass or parkway garden?
10:40 p.m. -- to read the constituent thank-yous...I'm sure he wasn't everything to everyone all the time, but as I said in my own comment, every alderman ought to aspire to the service and access level he attained in his time as alderman.

— On the neighbor message Cullerton won't run for re-election
10:31 a.m.

Hmmm...maybe I ought to cite this citation when I call for the third time in 14 months about getting my parkway tree that the city planted trimmed. The branches are DRAGGING THE GROUND.

Called 311 last month to re-file the request, and the operator says, "It appears there's a case open on this same tree..." I said, "OH, yeah, was it filed last year sometime?" "Yes, in July"..."Yep, that was's been a YEAR. Maybe this year they can come trim it?"

I'd do it myself, but I've heard they're vigilant in my area about tsk-tsking and threatening a ticket if you do it yourself. Don't need that annoyance.

— On the neighbor message Parkway grass or parkway garden?
9:13 p.m.

It's a shame that the good ones are always the first to go. Although the remap puts me directly across the street from the 38th in the future, you'll be missed at our house. Thanks for all your insight, your service to the ward and for genuinely caring and being ridiculously accessible.

You're the kind of alderman that all should aspire to be, and it's a shame that this city doesn't have more like you.

Of course, that's selfish of me to think that you should stick around, but I'm happy that you'll be able to enjoy retirement. I can only hope that whomever takes over has been studying what you've done in the hopes of emulating your model of work.

Thank you, Ald. Tim...

— On the neighbor message 38th Ward 2015 Aldermanic Election
9:07 p.m.

Ogden Slip (the slip just south of North Pier) used to be a great place to catch perch too...we used to go bright and early.

Then the city, I guess, didn't like the idea of people fishing, gutting and cooking perch right there on North Pier with the delicate tourists walking by, and they made it virtually un-fishable (this was a decade-plus ago...may be better now).

— On the neighbor message Fishing Anyone?
6:15 p.m.

Just bc you checked everyblock after shots were fired doesn't mean the original post was made after the shots were fired.

— On the neighbor message Loud noises outside.
5:44 p.m.

I can't hear them over the airplane noise.

— On the neighbor message Loud noises outside.
11:32 p.m.

Again, there are bike lanes already there. Improve them, make them protected lanes, that's fine. Add beautification, streetscapes and curb bumpouts for pedestrians too if you want. But there's no need to reduce the number of auto lanes, as that will create a traffic nightmare.

12:01 p.m.

A temporary "waste of time, money and effort" to get it correct the first time (whatever that "coirrect" may be) is better than a permanent one @HarryLee.

11:49 p.m.

I'm all in favor of bike lanes (which are already there) and making them safer for the cyclists, but not at the cost of a lane of auto traffic on a major north-south thoroughfare.

6:33 p.m.

But @Inactive, all that new traffic will be cyclists and pedestrians. Oh and divvy cyclists in's a transportation revolution. Lol

6:32 p.m.

I like the mirror-reflected sunlight idea. :)

— On the neighbor message Creepy spying neighbor
4:22 p.m.

If you get good firewood, the fire pit should make even less smoke than the barbecue grills people use. Problem is, like previous posters said, not everyone burns (good) firewood -- or firewood at all.

— On the neighbor message Outdoor Fireplaces and Chimineas
2:53 p.m.

@Amy: I agree...they ought to actually test it. Heck, plan a "construction" project and just block off one lane in each direction for a month and see. Have an unaffiliated third party assess business volumes (increases OR decreases), assess traffic backups, travel times (during rush hours included), etc., etc. And count the number of bicycle commuters too, because maybe those numbers will increase in a safer situation.

Thing is, nobody REALLY knows what will happen. A temporary trial run would be a great idea -- it's about the smartest suggestion I've seen. Because, you know, residents come and go, commuters come and go, aldermen come and go, even some businesses come and go, but changing the road costs money (even if it is federally funded) and thus becomes a lot more permanent once the changes are made.

2:47 p.m.

But BtE, the road diet is the "silver bullet"...and I don't mean the Coors he may have been drinking...that will make that a happy, healthy road! (ugh) All drivers, even drunken ones, will change their ways when driving on the new, improved Milwaukee Ave. (double ugh...even I'm sickened by my own sarcasm)

4:13 p.m.

We used Nyberg Exteriors for the roof of our Chicago style bungalow about 7 years ago, and it has withstood everything Mother Nature has thrown at it since...also had them re-do our garage roof maybe three(?) years ago...I believe they do siding, but not sure about the any rate, they're right here in IP, so that's about as local as it gets.

I second the notion of getting gutters (or at least having your current ones repaired, if possible) a storm like the ones that just blew through, all that water is going to pool around your house...even though water comes down now because of the warping, don't underestimate how much might actually be leaving via the downspouts. That's a LOT of water...and maybe you aren't getting any water in your basement, but your neighbors might.

— On the neighbor message Need recommendation for roofers
2:36 p.m.

Agreed, BAF -- Irving and Austin, Foster and Austin, for example, each have incomplete left-turn signals, just on one direction, when several of the other ones actually NEED a left-turn signal to ease the backup of traffic, particularly during rush hour.

— On the neighbor message Stoplight installed at Montrose and Linder
10:16 a.m.

Norridge, Bensenville, and a few others have them every year (I've seen the signs hanging up along the roads)...don't know the dates/times, but you could probably Google them and get the info.

— On the neighbor message Local Fireworks Show?
12:23 p.m.

I prefer Mariano's, but let's not get out of control here, it's not more than one step better than Jewel. While Mariano's has more customer- and experience-oriented things and a better overall selection, I've found just as much expired product on the shelves there as I did at Jewel. Also, their fresh chicken isn't much more desirable looking to me than Jewel's was...I pick up my fresh chicken at Costco...tastes better, freezes better (vacuum-packed) and lasts longer.

I'll still hit up Mariano's more frequently for the selection, but my average grocery bill also hasn't changed (up OR down) since making the regular switch.

— On the neighbor message Jewel at 6 corners more $ than others
7:56 p.m.

You should have called the cops, plain and simple. Let him tell them to go inside.

— On the neighbor message Man lets his child use yard as "bathroom"
9:15 a.m.

Our previous owner stowed the one stained glass window away in a corner of the utility room, and I'm glad he/she did. We haven't used it yet, but if we ever plan to reinstall it, we'll have it there and won't have to spend a mint to get one that fits.

— On the neighbor message Bungalow Stained Glass Windows
3:02 p.m.

As you'll be out in galena, two non-local-to-Chicago options I'd suggest, if you can find them are Boulevard Wheat (a KC beer), or Shiner Bock, from Texas. Both are go-tos for me in the summer when I can find 'em, and the SB is a very easy-to-drink beer in my opinion.

— On the neighbor message Beer recommendations?
1:06 p.m.

@Amy: What I've done when riding my bike up from the western PP area is take Austin all the way up (cutting over the Kennedy on the crossover bridge to the Metra station at NW Hwy) to Milwaukee, limiting the Milwaukee Ave. time.

To be honest, riding up Austin from IP to Foster is probably more harrowing, in my opinion, than the Milwaukee Ave. ride from Austin up to Devon.

Just a thought...don't know how far west you are...

11:44 a.m.

@HarryLee: Now we're saying the same thing -- no one's experience is any more relevant than anyone else's based on the situation at the given moment of that experience. :) So, in a sense, we agree, and we disagree. :) I've seen one accident in a decade plus on that stretch, but maybe you've seen dozens? Or none? It's "luck of the draw" experience certainly is no more valid than yours.

I just take any statistics or studies, in most cases, with a grain of salt, as they can be (and almost always are) manipulated by whomever is funding their collection and analysis to make a point. It doesn't always happen, but I've seen it so many times.

All I know is, traffic does not flow perfectly through there already during rush hour, and I don't really believe reducing the number of auto lanes is going to automatically make riding a bike any safer through there. I should add, on the flip side, I'm not saying that we should build a highway through there either. :)

I could support protecting/widening the bike lanes through there somehow, but not a reduction in vehicular lanes.

11:41 a.m.

@Harry Lee: All data can be massaged to make any point. Thus, your "evidence" is no more or less qualified than mine, especially if I have to follow a link to get to it. Nearly every "study" out there has an agenda (including anything I might refer you to). I'm referring to my daily first-hand experience. Sure, that's not reflective of the entire rush hour period, but it's still my perspective. It has just as much validity as whatever you're citing.

I'm not a resident of the ward, but I drive through it and patronize businesses there nearly every day, and this would be a mistake.

We're talking about reducing the number of lanes on a MAJOR north-south thoroughfare (with few other quality options) here in the hopes of somehow making that road safer. That's backward thinking in my opinion.

Personally, much as I completely LOATHE them, I'd prefer they tried the dumbarse speed cameras, or maybe even step up actual enforcement of the rules of the road through that stretch first. Maybe that alone would solve all the problems.

9:59 a.m.

I've said it before, all the evidence anyone needs to see what it will do to auto traffic if they reduce it to one lane in each direction is to go west to Harlem between Milwaukee and Touhy during rush hour. Furthermore, southbound during evening rush on Milwaukee north of Devon already backs up well into Niles most evenings -- reducing the number of lanes that traffic feeds into will only make the bottleneck that much worse.

It will break my heart to never visit Pasta d'arte or Superdawg again, but the simple fact is, a one-lane Milwaukee Avenue with the possibility of bottlenecks and backups would probably keep me away.

All of this for how many bicyclists? In the evening rush, I'm lucky to see one per day, and that's a generous number.

8:44 p.m.

Awesome...EB at its 39 comments, we've figured out:
1. Some people like "gastropubs".
2. Some people like "taverns".
3. Some people like non-empty storefronts, regardless of whether (1) or (2) fills them.
4. Almost all of the above people live in the neighborhood.
5. Community will be hiring shortly.

As you were...

— On the neighbor message Community Tavern - The drywall is going up!
11:08 p.m.

The thing is, if you sign up for one of the bargain basement rates, you have to read the fine print and have to pay attention to how many months it goes, and then get ready to shop around again...that pluginillinois site is really good for laying the groundwork, I think.

I've used a couple suppliers and not been burned at all by fees or spikes or whatever, because I set reminders for myself and also chose rates that didn't have cancellation fees, so I could opt out any time I wanted. As I mentioned way up above, I'm sticking with Integrys...our next bill should have the new Integrys rate, right?

5:56 p.m.

@Jan: Creepy bait shops at 4:30 in the morning is half the fun of going fishing!!! :)

— On the neighbor message Fishing Anyone?
12:43 p.m.

@Nick: All you're doing is promoting your own Web site/company "the whole story" is that?

10:49 a.m.

I'm happy when these birds are around, as well as the bats that occasionally hang out in our trees -- fewer mosquitos and flying insects to bother us when we're in the yard -- and they're both entertaining flyers to watch...they're pretty amazing.

— On the neighbor message Bird screeching all night for the 3rd summer
9:44 a.m.

Doesn't the airplane noise drown it out?

— On the neighbor message Bird screeching all night for the 3rd summer
9:34 a.m.

Whatever happened to "we got winner" that was always the norm at basketball courts and pool tables? Even if you could never win, you at least got a chance to unseat one of the teams/players...and a couple chances in a rotation.

It being a public place without reservation capabilities, it should be shared, not "owned" by an entrenchment. As usual, one group/person ruins something for everyone.

— On the neighbor message Tennis Courts at Portage - hoarding
4:52 p.m.

I need to get back into fishing...all the places my dad, my bros and I used to go, we went to decades ago. Don't know if they're particularly good anymore or not...

— On the neighbor message Fishing Anyone?
3:48 p.m.

The newer Equinox models are definitely (reportedly) better than the '05 was on gas mileage...I got a pathetic 16-19 mpg with mine. :) I actually do better in the new minivan now.

— On the neighbor message in the market for a new vehicle
11:06 p.m.

@Randy: "There's a sale at Penney's!"

I know there's someone here who'll get that stretch of a reference...


— On the neighbor message NEXTDOOR venting
8:50 p.m.

My insurance sent me to Safelite and they did a good job.

— On the neighbor message Windshield Repair
8:46 p.m.

The most important thing is to go and test drive each one and see what's most comfortable for you, honestly.

I drove a 2005 Equinox into the ground and finally sold it last year with about 125,000 miles or so on it. Prior to that I'd driven a 1997 Grand Prix GT to 206,000 miles (and could have kept it, but we needed a size upgrade with a growing family). :)

Anyway, the Equinox was a great little SUV for what I needed. But it was also time to upgrade (again!) in size and utility, as my boys are getting older, so we now have a minivan.

The GM six-cylinder engine is a decades-old design that has been ridiculously reliable and is seriously a hidden gem of the cars it sits in. It's simply has been a really good engine in both the cars I've owned with it. My father, a former GM mechanic and general cynical sourpuss about car/engine design and engineering, never had a bad word to say about the 3.8L GM V-6. The GM four-banger, on the other hand...

At any rate, get input from as many places as you can, but make sure to take it as one portion of the decision-making process...anybody can be unlucky and get a lemon, no matter what car/model it is.

Also, if you're even remotely knowledgeable on cars/handy with the tools/take religious care of your vehicle, then unless you're the most unlucky vehicle purchaser in history, your car (SUV in this case) will repay you year after year. :)

— On the neighbor message in the market for a new vehicle
8:44 p.m.

Would "Portage Park types" be different from "Jeff Park types" or "Wicker Park types"...just curious, as I had no idea what "Portage Park types" even meant...ha ha ha...

— On the neighbor message Martins is open
6:59 p.m.

Contacting government officials to ask them not to plant something is a balanced point of view?

6:16 p.m.

Doh! I just washed both our cars!!!!! Dangit...

— On the neighborhood event Free Carwash Today
3:50 p.m.

Ha! @Bella...I have a sun sugar cherry plant already in the ground, and I think the variety of seeds my son planted were big boys...go figure. :)

Sounds like some other folks are more in need of these plants, so I'll happily defer to them (mostly because I'd be squeezing them in).

@Polonia...never heard of the indigo blue berries tomatoes, but I've honestly only every grown red and yellow tomatoes. :) I looked them up though, and I think I'm hooked...theysound pretty cool...I'd probably be fooled when eating them into thinking they were going to taste like blueberries, ha ha ha!

If it turns out that anybody has a plant or two that is simply going to wilt away to nothing, I'd be happy to dig up a perennial or something to trade for it...but I'll let others have "first dibs" first.

At least until the watermelon I planted dies... :(
(I have low hopes, as the last time I tried, it didn't grow much.)

9:07 p.m.

Time for ultra-chlorination...

— On the neighbor message Portage Park Fountains
7:23 p.m.

Nothing like a chicken photobomb...what type of peppers and/or tomatoes, if you still have the labels?

12:48 p.m.

Well, that explains why the one was on the was a new cedar fence. :)

— On the neighbor message Plants to give away
11:42 p.m.

@Polonia...the umbels, I believe, are similarly colored to the stems on my The flowers themselves are white.

I've not seen the chrysalises on the plants themselves, but did see the caterpillars crawling and (mostly) munching away on the milkweed. Only saw one chrysalis, and that was on the fence, like I mentioned.

And it was pretty challenging to even find the caterpillars...

— On the neighbor message Plants to give away
2:23 p.m.

@Eye: Just did ALL of that yesterday at my place...tilled and filled four raised beds, planted the veggies (and watermelon), turned over and planted my front porch planters and weeded the heck out of the perennial gardens (and threw down some annual seeds while there).

All before the rains came...while I'm exhausted today, there's little more relaxing than working out there in the garden. My young kids actually helped with some of the seed'll be nice when they're older and can help even more. :)

— On the neighbor message Gardner
9:55 a.m.

@robin in WRP:
... talking about things that actually matter about 50 percent of the time. :)

— On the neighbor message Users on everyblock
9:50 a.m.

I've had good success with Swamp Milkweed actually self-seeding in a wide variety of spots around my yard. In most cases, I've let it grow...last year I counted at least three monarch caterpillars on the various plants over the course of the summer and was able to snap a few pics of them too, which was nice. And I found a cocoon hanging between the fence post and pickets nearby too.

It doesn't seem like a ton of the swamp milkweed came back strong this year, but I did transplant one of them to the main perennial garden in the hopes that I'll have two separate little stands of swamp milkweed.

Currently I've also got dill plants self-seeding around my perennial garden, having migrated over from my neighbor's yard. I believe that's a host plant for the swallowtail butterflies I occasionally see around here too.

— On the neighbor message Plants to give away
11:18 p.m.

You probably already got to this point, but your vet might be able to check for a microchip to have it scanned...

— On the neighbor message Found dog
5 p.m.

@Bob K. and @Giselle -- I've done nothing but respect the opinion of others, nor have I once said, "Don't bother trying" or anything of the sort. And my good luck and kudos message was sincere. Whether you want to believe that or not is up to you, but anybody who has chatted back and forth with me here probably would believe it. Nevertheless, you don't get to tell me what threads I can or cannot read, nor do you get to decide if I continue to post in this thread or not.

— On the neighbor message This aircraft noise is a joke
11:41 p.m.

FAiR has yard signs? Great, that's just what we need around here -- more politicking signs on front lawns.

Kudos to you all for fighting the powers that be and trying to make your lives better. I wish you well in your efforts...I further hope to see you all fighting for crime prevention and education improvements, and at the ballot boxes in the many years to come as well.

— On the neighbor message This aircraft noise is a joke
9:43 a.m.

Thanks PP46, and for finishing my thought out well :)
And Dennis, yeah, I know...I come back partially to remind myself to not be a whiner/complainer and partially to humor myself a bit.

And, in some ways, when airplane noise is the "problem" of the day, I guess it comforts me a bit about where I live. :)

— On the neighbor message This aircraft noise is a joke
10:24 p.m.

The sad thing about EB is that posts about things like airplane noise, theaters, and whether we should have a Trader Joe's or a Dollar Store get more people riled up than some of the posts about crime, education, etc.

I mean, really, we're clicking on the "unneighborly" button on a post about airplane noise? Come on.

Everyone's so worried about airplane noise ruining their lives, property values, etc., but then how many people shut themselves in and don't take action when action really ought to be taken?

I'm not pointing the finger at anyone here, specifically. But we should all take a look in the mirror and think: if I'm willing to write a letter to my congressman/alderman/etc. for airplane noise, maybe I ought to write TWO about the couple other true dangers to property values around here.

Just keep it in perspective.

— On the neighbor message This aircraft noise is a joke
10:03 p.m.

Actually, @Tim, down by Irving, we're plenty affected by the new southernmost runway (10C/28C) that just opened last summer. They fly right over our neighborhood most days between Irving and Addison on Austin now, hooking around on their approach from the south when the winds are blowing from a more northerly direction. Used to be no further south than the Lawrence/Montrose corridor.

However, the "noise" doesn't bother me at all...but there has been more traffic above the Irving corridor because of 10c/28c opening.

There are now four E-W runways open. With two more on the way someday down the road.

— On the neighbor message This aircraft noise is a joke
12:50 p.m.

For a "down the road" solution, I always thought it would be a great idea to install solar panels on my roof and have them power the a/c units up there only. That way, the sun can battle itself for attic supremacy all day long. Someday, maybe...

Those Mitsubishi units are great (my parents have them...or maybe they have identical Fuji units, I don't remember) but a word of folks' two units were zapped completely dead last fall by a power surge, and only recently were they able to get them fixed (after also installing a whole-house surge protector as well). Their neighbor's identical units befell the same fate...

Someday we might get them for our place, but not for a while yet...we're OK with what we have at the moment.

4:09 p.m.

We were in exactly the same thing that helped (don't want to assume you have/have not done this) was, we figured out that the two in-wall a/c units hadn't been cleaned by the previous owner of the house, probably ever.

We pulled the units out of the casing and boy, were we right...there was all kinds of dust and hair and stuff caked on the outside fins and all over the interiors...the only place the air was coming through was a circle where the fan actually moved the air most.

We cleaned the heck out of them, re-installed them, and they've done a really good job since. Each is about 10,800 btus. It doesn't get unbearable in the afternoon up there anymore (though yes, there's a difference between day and night). We've also minded our use of our blinds up there too...closing them as much as possible on sunny days.

Our biggest problem, honestly, is this time of year, when it's 70 degrees and sunny, and the upstairs bakes to the upper 80s, forcing us to turn on the a/c because the cross-circulation efforts of opening the windows doesn't do enough. Oh, and years ago when we had our roof redone, we opted for a gray/silver reflective membrane for the low-slope on the dormer (over the black membrane that used to be on there). That has had to have helped some...

12:57 p.m.

That would be a very cool house to live in. But I'd get too fat eating at Golden Nugget :)

11:32 a.m.

Too far, Chris...then the city will have to pay to clean people's floors from tracking in all the mud. Stupid city and it's "progress"...

— On the neighbor message Airplane Noise
11:25 a.m.

@Chris: Can you please tell your horse to stop clip-clopping around my neighborhood -- he's making too much noise. Also, his horseshoes are causing potholes that will never get fixed. Finally, I don't know what you'll use to pick up his droppings now that plastic bags are banned.

— On the neighbor message Airplane Noise
10:18 a.m.

To quote my brother: "Just wait until O'Hare becomes a spaceport..."

— On the neighbor message Airplane Noise
2:37 p.m.

We are east of Austin, south of Irving and close to Thorp, and there aren't really any glaring issues where we are...we have the occasional annoyances, and according to that map there have been a few thefts around recently, but generally speaking, it's quiet. We've lived on our block now for about seven years and are thrilled with it. We have a good mix of longtime residents and new, young families on the block. Some with young kids (like us), some with older kids.

I've walked over to a friend's house east of Central from where I am (at night even), and I've walked over to the Enterprise rental center by the park, and never once have I felt even remotely uncomfortable doing so.

We have a block party, a Facebook group, and generally a friendly culture on our block. Do we have issues? Sure...most of them revolve around parking (though it's not Lincoln Park or Lakeview type issues, for sure). When I used to walk my dog around Thorp, I'd seen a drive-up drug deal once or twice, but beyond that, nothing much in our general vicinity (knock on wood).

I think the general neighborhood is seeing an influx of younger families, so that bodes well for the future of the neighborhood, obviously.

Truthfully, in perspective, you really can't go "wrong" out this way, whether you're north or south of's not all sunshine and rainbows, as it is still the city. Sometimes some folks forget that, and that's where the problems occur.

— On the neighbor message Still shopping
10:31 a.m.

I'll give an update here whenever that might be...and when I get the first bill.

People around here are going to be familiar with waterless soap, ha ha ha. :) Just kidding of course...

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
7:09 p.m.

Allexa...I don't know yet. They are supposed to deliver it separately. The workers have the other two options (indoor or outdoor conservation kits), but they don't carry the rain barrels with them. They told me that they install about 6-10 meters a day...and a lot of rain barrels to carry around if folks request those. :)

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
4:35 p.m.

Update: Just had the water meter installed hours ago...absolutely no problem, they were in and out quickly (said water would be off for 45 minutes, and it was that or less), and I get a rain barrel out of the deal. The two-man crew didn't leave a mark in the finished basement at all.

Con: I've already WASTED FOUR GALLONS of water flushing the lines!!!! Also, dollar signs now pour from my faucets instead of water droplets. Odd.

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
3:42 p.m.

Fighting against charters/privatization of public schools (particularly to politically connected, corrupt, private companies that have not proven their ability to do BETTER than the public schools in place in many cases) would be a plus-1 in my book.

— On the neighbor message Our Overcrowded Schools
2:58 p.m.

I posted my proposed solution: Invest in neighborhood schools, not charters/magnets. Investing in them is an investment in the neighborhood. Not too dissimilar from the links you posted, actually.

In terms of whether the alderman of any ward is resourceful enough to get those types of funds directed to schools in his/her ward, well, that I don't have a solution for...obviously some are better than others at different things.

Education is ridiculously important, but it also isn't the only thing for many people to judge an alderman on...that doesn't mean I support any current incumbent or candidate specifically...I haven't made up my mind yet, mostly because it's too early to make a full-on decision without seeing an entire campaign platform.

Anyway, I didn't get the sense that anyone was attacking you, which is why I questioned your posting then getting fed up and announcing you were leaving -- you're definitely entitled to your opinion -- as is everyone else. But if you back it up with facts as robin in WRP mentioned, open-minded individuals are more likely to engage with you in worthwhile conversation.

— On the neighbor message Our Overcrowded Schools
11:27 a.m.

Hera/Minerva/whatever your name is, you started the discussion and now you're leaving because our minds are made up?

What did you expect bringing an opinion to a forum, everyone to just say "Heck yes!" and carry on down the road?

For the record, I support investing in and improving the neighborhood schools over any other charters/magnets/etc. I'm not a supporter (which others who have read my posts on this before know) of selective enrollment schools at all.

— On the neighbor message Our Overcrowded Schools
8:56 a.m.

While they did only put in a short wooden fence and gate back by the alley, I was happy with Bob Jaacks Rustic Wood Fencing & Decks, and they get really good reviews mostly on Angie's List (beyond just mine).

Their worker did a great job digging out the old wood posts (in very tight quarters between concrete slabs and the alley, as well as the garden back there...and the fence/gate has been sturdy.

That said, again, this was about a 10-foot run...but happy nevertheless. When I expand my deck, it's likely I'll get a quote from them.

— On the neighbor message Deck/Fence Contractor Suggestions?
4:45 p.m.

Ald. Cullerton's quote in here is spot on...there's nowhere here for our kids to play (we're dead square between Merrimac and Portage, which are walkable but still "far"), so this is a VERY welcome addition to the 'hood. Congrats to the Thorp folks for pulling it off!

Much as I don't support the enrollment policies of this type of school, I'm glad to see it offering SOMETHING to the neighbors who don't have kids in the school. I've never felt as though it was truly part of the neighborhood because of its enrollment...this might actually help.

10:57 a.m.

I'm going to skip the shopping cart too...they have plastic on them that probably can't be recycled. I'm just going to pocket my groceries as I shop. If I remember to pay for them on the way out, so be it.

9:42 p.m.

The mayor -- whoever it is -- will always be a problem until the City Council is full of people who properly check and balance him/her. Rahm isn't to blame for the pension crisis, but he COULD become the scapegoat for whatever solution happens.

I'm also not saying this excuses Rahm for anything he's done/not done, but some of the things he's rammed through the council with nary a peep or a review period is, in my book, as much the council's problem as it is his.

I don't agree that he's contributed to improving the education system, but that's a personal opinion. :) :) :)

— On the neighbor message Property Taxes Going Up Again?
3:09 p.m.

Ding dong!!!!

— On the neighbor message Sparks is back... again
11:04 a.m.

I wonder if they ever do any actual research on the door-to-door sales they convince enough people (or stealthily switch enough) to pay these door-to-door folks' salaries (even at what is, I'm sure, a peanuts-per-hour rate)?

I mean, seriously, how much business can the really truly be earning this way?

— On the neighbor message Sparks is back... again
9:19 p.m.

All of us, union or non-union, have already downsized and begun to live within our means, particularly in the last five years. Instead of asking the union workers to live within their means or asking non-union (and union) members to pay more in taxes, why don't we ALL (again, union and non-union folks) ask the government to run its finances correctly? Open the books (they'll NEVER do that, I'm sure)...

Everyone, union and non-union, feels the pain of higher property taxes, and no one wants a property tax increase, particularly with the belief that it won't do what it's intended, just like all the other slush that gets thrown around this city seemingly on a whim in order to line someone's pockets.

The city WANTS union folks pitted against non-union folks, because it turns the spotlight away from everything they've done (and are doing) wrong. Don't fall into that trap...

— On the neighbor message Property Taxes Going Up Again?
12:26 p.m.

I agree with the "new employees on 401k" for the other issues, including what to do with current employees and retirees -- as well as, you know, the actual politicians' pensions and such -- well, that's a sticky wicket, for which I don't have any really, really good ideas.

There's going to be a lot of pain for a lot of people, as the entire system is so far off. And, the sad thing is, there's no "one person" or "one instance" to blame or undo.

— On the neighbor message Property Taxes Going Up Again?
10:11 p.m.

You know, I filled out their form online around the same time as you and didn't hear anything back. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to actually place a call to them...fortunately, however, what I want done isn't particularly urgent...I was just hoping to get "on the list"...ah well.

— On the neighbor message Landscaper recommendation?
10:35 p.m.

I'm against the ban if it forces me to purchase and bring reusable bags to the store every time I need to buy something. If I can use paper bags like my mom and dad used to bring the groceries home in, fine. I'm not playing the warehouse-club game every time I go for standard groceries. The fact that Costco makes me figure out a way to carry things home easily keeps me away (fortunately, as I could spend a small fortune in there) and keeps me honest. Bagging my groceries in store-supplied bags, I'm sorry, is part of the service of a grocery store, in my opinion.

If I have to bring my own bags, I'll do my shopping outside city limits, wherever they still offer bags as a service.

I also DO repurpose the bags...they're great for MANY things that otherwise you'd have to buy something else (oh, and then waste that plastic as well). Waste cans around the house, picking up trash and dog poop, etc.

At the end of the day, I also agree with several of the commenters too who have said that this city government should be focused more on things other than banning or not banning plastic grocery bags. Is it important to the environment? Sure, but not as a distraction from all the other things that need fixing around here.

— On the neighbor message Proposed Ban on Plastic Bags
1:29 p.m.

@Ginger: I don't know the situation, but maybe your seemingly off-hand comment/joke about the doctor's weight struck a nerve more than the bad business review. Could be they're a terrible business, I don't know...but that kind of stood out for me when I read your opinion as "um, that was kind of in poor taste."

Just sayin'...

For the record, I drive over to VCA North Chicago for my vet needs.

— On the neighbor message In need of vet recommendation
11:34 p.m.

I just took a look at that thread and scanned through and found thing that did stick out to me about the original opinion and review -- just to keep things in perspective here -- is that the EBer threw in a comment about the doctor being overweight.

It could be that set the business off for such a reaction. It's not right to hassle someone who gave you a bad review on Yelp, EB, etc. (and it's snowballing bad PR 101 on top of it)...but really, the "joke" of saying that the doctor (who gave the EBer a hard time about her pet being overweight) could stand to lose a few pounds was in poor taste.

Maybe the business/doctor should have thicker skin or be able to ignore stuff like that, but none of us really knows the whole story there.

— On the neighbor message Users on everyblock
11:29 p.m.

Tis a fine line between "visionary" and "pie in the sky", however...

9:19 p.m.

Bummer that I can't make Saturday's meeting as a first-timer...have a little league event for my son that day. In terms of plants to bring for the plant exchange, are we talking divided perennials as well? Lots of my perennials badly need dividing...and I'd love to give some of the divisions away...they're very strong, hardy stock. They've survived pretty much 5-6 years since I planted the garden.

Is there a place (I know we're a ways away from the meeting) where I could tell members what I have that can be divided, so that I don't dig them all up and then have no "takers" of my poor plants? :) Plus, you know, minimal work would be nice too, ha ha ha!

— On the neighbor message Gardening Community?
9:16 p.m.

We're all neighbors, but we need our private little worlds too. I stay partially anonymous here for that reason. Another example is, our block has a facebook page, but I'm "friends" with only a couple of those on the block...meaning, while my neighbors and I share information, fun things, bad things, etc., we do it on our own terms, rather than on their terms. It's not unlike the real world...I talk to my neighbors, but when the conversation is over, I go in the house, they go in their house, and that's that. Somebody might break the "friend" barrier and get invited into the house for a beer and a Blackhawks game, or not. But they're not just barging in, seeing and doing whatever they want all the time.

— On the neighbor message Users on everyblock
9:15 a.m.

Ancient ruins?

— On the neighbor message Grafitti inside ruin
8:09 p.m.

In this day and age, the more one-star Yelp reviews your business gets, the more likely you are to get a reality TV show all your own...

— On the neighbor message Neighbors Beware! Re: Carmen's Concrete
3:33 p.m.

It's not really Petsmart's job to police Michael Vick. Furthermore, if every animal-centric business refuses him service, who suffers, him or the dog he currently owns (whether he should own the dog or not, which I believe he should NOT, but that's beside the point)? Especially if he's not "reformed" and still couldn't care less about the dog he owns...

— On the neighbor message PetSmart joining the Six Corners Family
2:53 p.m.

@jgmccarn: when you say "the others" I don't know if you mean other people's blue carts, or the standard black garbage carts...

If you mean the black garbage carts, bknight is's every other week on the blue's a link to the schedule for our side of town:

If you mean they empty your neighbors' blue carts but not yours, then yeah, that's weird...

— On the neighbor message Why is our Blue Bin not being Emptied?
9:52 a.m.

@bill...that's what I thought at first too ha ha, taking the garbage out, then looked down the alley and saw a procession with candles...

— On the neighbor message March down Menard???
9:10 p.m.

I hear ya, Cindy, but it still might have mobilized a unit at best in the direction you cited, and at worst it would have created a report on file. And fwiw, I'm not criticizing...we just need to report everything all the time or we'll continue to get ignored. The squeaky wheel gets the oil...

7:20 p.m.

I hope that you called the police as well...

5:19 p.m. has been useless recently, and I'm tired of filing reports.

— On the neighbor message robocalls?
9:13 p.m.

Like a few of you, today was cleaning and grilling for the first time today...but did some basic, boring Italian Sausage links...gotta start out slow, with the basics, to remind myself of my hot and cold spots. Since winter was so stinkin' long...


— On the neighbor message Welcome to Grilling Season
6:07 p.m.

@Inactive: I've done the same many, MANY just about every place I've lived. What if this, what if that?

— On the neighbor message Community Alert - Burglary Warning
11:54 p.m.

Lucky them, they actually have such an option.

11:48 p.m.

I've not gotten the detailing done there, but when they take their time washing the car, they do a good job. Only times I've been disappointed was when I was in a hurry and had them run it through the automatic wash...that's not their fault, in that case. :)

— On the neighbor message A Very Clean Car
9:54 a.m.

Exactly...all luck-based. It's not a neighborhood school, it's selective-enrollment -- you still have to be lucky to get in, even if you live across the street from the school (or, as my cynical side suspects, you "know somebody"...see accusations about Rauner using clout to get his daughter in at Payton, for example -- and while nobody ever confirmed these accusations officially, it still raises my suspicion. This is Chicago after all).

And before I get blasted, we have not tried and been denied yet. But we have at least a couple of neighbors (some now former neighbors who gave up) who have done so -- some who can look out their window and see the school. Shame that we've all worked our tails off to invest in a great neighborhood like this, and we have to then leave it to luck to see if our kids get "the best" education or just a "good" one (or worse, depending where they go).

Some get lucky, and that's good for them. Some do not...either way, a good education shouldn't be based on LUCK. This is a cheap way out for CPS/the city to say they're improving education without actually doing so across the board. Charters/magnets make it look like they're doing something, when really, what percentage of kids get a spot across the city in any selective-enrollment school? What about the others?

Once again, maybe they should fix the neighborhood schools across the board (even if it takes TIME to do so) and then there wouldn't have to be luck-based enrollment schools.

This is not an attack on Thorp or the teachers who I've heard do nothing but an awesome job there...I'm sure they're great. But it's the system that is severely flawed...which should be no surprise to any longtime Chicagoan.

— On the neighbor message Area School Dilemma
9:49 a.m.

Go Sox!

— On the neighbor message IT Solutions / PC Repair
9:43 a.m.

@Gordo...that's like going to the doctor...hilarious. Take two pills twice a day with food and if you're not feeling better after a week...

9:15 a.m.

Well done, Gary... :)

— On the neighbor message New Retailers - more ideas
10:12 a.m.

@zachary: Dump it on their lawn. With a rock to weigh it down in this wind, painted to say, "You left your <trash> on my property. Next time, it'll be on your porch."

— On the neighbor message Pick up Yard/Curb Trash
9:31 a.m.

Target would be an excellent anchor store that I would actually visit. Target would draw in a wide variety of consumers, thus allowing for a foundation of consumers for a variety of smaller, niche-business opportunities (bookstore, photo shop, etc., are good examples -- things the big boxes don't focus so directly on and thus couldn't do nearly as well as a small niche shop). Also, I don't shop much at Sears or Walmart, but I understand why others do, and wouldn't be so averse to having those places around. Heck, Sears is there now.

What current local small businesses over by dere would a Target put out of business? What has Sears put out of business? Further, if a Target doesn't come here, who's going to start up a local small "general merchandise" business in this economic climate? For that matter, how many "general merchandise" small businesses do you see?

I get the idea of not wanting Starbucks because it could drive off mom-and-pop coffee shops -- because those still exist. But in the general-merchandise retail world, that ship has long sailed, in my opinion, and I suspect you'll never see another one again.

I get "thinking outside the box" but I've said it before on other posts, there has to be a mix of familiar options too if you want to draw in more of the mass population and keep the area supported by more than the occasional, walk-in, "I feel like supporting local businesses today but maybe not tomorrow" traffic.

— On the neighbor message New Retailers - more ideas
9:30 a.m.

Seemed to notice quite a few trees having been cut down on Austin north of Irving Park up toward Lawrence...cuts seemed fresh.

A friend of mine tells me that the emerald ash borer has done a number on a lot of our neighborhood trees, and that many, MANY of them will probably have to be cut down over time. Quite of the reasons we like this neighborhood are the old, towering, historic will take some time to replace that canopy.

— On the neighbor message city tree cutting
9:26 a.m.

Street cleaning season is here...he can't move all eight cars at once...time to organize a "park in" with your neighbors.

In all seriousness, that would completely stink, as I couldn't think of what you possibly could do. I guess the only thing you could do is reach out to the guy with your neighbors, as a group, like robin suggests, and see if you can work something out...though I don't know what that possibly could be. And if he resists, well, then just smile and laugh when karma comes back to bite him.

9:08 a.m.

I remain (respectfully) unimpressed, then, and likely wouldn't care if a Trader Joe's opened up blocks away from my home. But thanks for sharing that each their own, and good luck in getting one here.

Artificial ingredients in my food won't be the first thing to kill me anyway.

— On the neighbor message New Retailers - more ideas
11:02 p.m.

I'm on the other side of Irving, down toward Addison, and I will say that every single block is different. My half of the block is older, empty-nesters, some of whom don't speak much English, have lived here for decades and keep to themselves. However, when I've waved to them, they've smiled and waved back (I've been here seven years).

BUT, things have been changing on our block. We have maybe a half-dozen to dozen younger kids now, and a new, younger family or two has moved in on the block as well. Now, anything can happen, and every block varies, like I said, but you also can help make your own experience that much better by setting an example and being friendly to begin with.

We have a block party and a Facebook page, even...which doesn't get overly used or annoying, and is good for general contact when needed. All in all, though, it's good.

— On the neighbor message Moving to Mobile&Sunnyside close to SMYSER
5:23 p.m.

Curious, what, exactly, makes Trader Joe's so good? I've been in a couple and found nothing that made me say I had to go back. I'm not pooping on anyone's love of the place, I'm just curious what I'm missing...

— On the neighbor message New Retailers - more ideas
5:06 p.m.

Well, after reading through all your explanations (THANKS!) and doing some of my own long, difficult analysis of seven years' worth of electric bills and more difficult math, we're going to stick with the city aggregation baloney through at least September.

So, I know that through the summer months, we use 1,000 kWh or more -- even in the cold summer of 2009, we had at least three months over the "break-even" point on these rates. And, in recent years of hot summers, we doubled that number. By my calculations, even with the fee (assuming it stays at $22.36), that would save us a considerable amount over most of the other deals out there right now.

I'll see what deals are available in September, and likely opt out of the city aggregation at that time. Thanks to all the math wizards out there for the enlightenment! I wouldn't have known where to start...

11:10 p.m.

@Chi-Girl: They have to replace the lost budgeted funds from the speed cameras somehow... :)

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
10:05 p.m.

Well, the actual Portage Park, for one...but not until June, I believe.

9:59 p.m.

@Bill: Don't get me started on the complaints about those horrible national chains coming in, bringing a completely failed business model, and destroying the very fabric of the neighborhood by running the mom-and-pop empty-storefront business out of business. ;)

@Inactive: You should wait to ask when it's warmer outside. Plus, the ugly dirty-ice photos won't reflect very well on the neighborhood, ha ha ha. In seriousness, I'm betting there will be even better photos when the improvements are done...question is, can the district wait that long?

— On the neighbor message Irving-Austin Business District Facelift
9:52 p.m.

One of my favorite ongoing themes of EB is:
"Great news, that empty storefront is getting filled!"
Typical response: "Wait, that's not the exact kind of business I wanted there, therefore, the neighborhood isn't getting any better because it doesn't fit my personal needs! We should have XYZ business instead."
Followed by: "Yeah, XYZ neighborhood has one of those, why can't we have one?"

I admittedly don't patronize the Irving-Austin district as much as I could -- but in return, no one will hear me complain about any particular business opening there either. If it fits my needs, great...if it doesn't, I'm not going to sit and say that we should have something else there.

I give props to the folks who have tried to fill those storefronts -- some successfully, some not -- and agree that their efforts shouldn't be overlooked. Heck, nearly a decade ago, that district was an afterthought, something I drove past without even looking at on the way to the, there are some noticeable things happening -- it's happening in fits and starts, but things don't change overnight, especially following a recession such as the one we just had.

— On the neighbor message Irving-Austin Business District Facelift
3:35 p.m.

And expect protein prices to continue to rise...especially beef. Cattle producers have cut back on herd size, and it's not like they can change the numbers overnight...takes a long time to grow a cow.

— On the neighbor message Meat
3:25 p.m.

Forgot about costco...duh, thanks odette, for the reminder. I do buy meat at Costco too, and portion it out before freezing it.

— On the neighbor message Meat
12:34 p.m.

I've been happy with the Mariano's in Norridge thus far -- this compared to Jewel and A&G, where I used to do my "standard" grocery shopping. Mariano's isn't really the "heaven on earth" that everyone says, we're just all used to hell for grocery. It's great, don't get me wrong, but Chicago grocery options still are lacking compared to the rest of the country.

Joseph's was awesome the time or two I've gone, but their hours prevent me from shopping there, as I work too far away and too long hours, unfortunately. Which is a shame too...

— On the neighbor message Meat
9:43 a.m.

I guess the water bill is so "last week's" news...this week, it's electric bill worrying time.

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
10:17 p.m.

Thanks's pretty popular, apparently...the earliest days available were the last week of April/May 1-2...which is OK. It'll allow us to "practice" saving water, ha ha ha!

My basement is finished, but I was "wise" enough to leave a gaping hole in the drywall where the city valve is (and tons of space between the framed wall and the brick outer wall...TONS of space... And if they have to cut a larger hole in the drywall too, then so be it.

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
8:11 p.m.

@arnie: I registered really quick before running out the door, and then saw the confirmation email come in that said a rep would contact about scheduling...but didn't get to the next paragraph that gives a Web site to schedule. So apparently that is the case still...I'll update if not. :)

Thanks! I USUALLY read the whole email, LOL...

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
1:58 p.m.

Well, we just applied we'll see how long it takes them to contact me to get things scheduled. My bill this time around was $370 or so. It has gone up about $50 in each of the last two years. Enough is enough.

— On the neighbor message Water Bill
10:11 a.m.

The need for a filling then eventually a crown over a root canal has been my experience as well. The cost also appears relatively in line with what I paid too.

However, the lack of communication until after the first step was completed appears to be way out of whack with normal business practices.

— On the neighbor message Review about Dentpol at 7407 irving park rd
11:26 p.m.

Wow, Mike, nice job!

— On the neighbor message Pet Smart Coming to Six Corners
9:42 a.m.

That is a well-written, well-put-together analysis (reminder, I'm not in the 45th, so I have no horses in the race, nor can I sit and say anything was valid, invalid, sensationalized or otherwise). Mr. Stewart should be proud of that piece from a strictly journalistic standpoint...what a nicely constructed preview/analysis of the race ahead.

11:40 a.m.

What does the Volkswagen Fox say?

— On the crime report Other offense: Eavesdropping
3:09 p.m.

Statistics are collected simply to be manipulated to communicate an end message.

@waveland, rose-colored glasses aren't wise, I agree. Fortunately for all of us, Portage Park has one thing that many neighborhoods miss, and that's people who care. As long as those who care stick around to uphold the good things about the neighborhood, it'll have its bumps and occasional big bruises, but it ought to do just fine.

I'm certainly doing all that I can, along with my neighbors, to keep our neck of Portage Park as safe as we can...hopefully there are many, many more like us out there.

1:38 p.m.

While I don't need to use a plot in the garden (I have space in my own yard), I'm glad to see this moving forward -- got tired of looking at that rundown lot on the commute to/from work. It'll be nice to see gardens growing there...let's hope people tend them well. :)

— On the neighbor message SRB Spirit Garden Moving Forward
10:12 a.m.

Lastly, there are pockets of bad spots, most of which are displayed here on EB by commenters/posters, because they have nowhere else to turn -- Eye Irritant, I'm sorry that you're in one of those pockets, apparently. That completely sucks...stay safe and stay sane. I'd be growing ulcers over it for sure...I hope that it gets better for you, no doubt.

10:11 a.m.

In my experience, anywhere anyone has lived since the '60s or '70s is worse than it was in the '60s or '70s. :)

We live in the city; there is crime; you do what you have to in order to avoid it/survive; and it could be a lot worse, that's for sure. Fortunately, here in Portage Park, we CARE about whether there's crime -- it's not a part of the culture.

Aside from the reality of how much crime there is or isn't, this is a great thing for the neighborhood -- some folks were complaining about home values around here and what is being done to help. Well, positive perception like this will help quite a bit. You're not sitting on a goldmine of housing values, by any means, but it helps the "brand" that is Portage Park.

10:08 a.m.

Good luck to you folks at FAiR (and I do mean that) in your efforts. From my perspective, you're climbing a heckuva mountain and may not reach the top, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't/couldn't try. All the best...and thank you for explaining the end goal.

I personally am not bothered by the planes, so I really have no complaints to lodge or ability to assist in the efforts. Also, I do agree with the comment above about picking your battles, and this is a battle that (if it actually did bother me) I would choose to just "let be"...but again, that takes nothing away from those of you who ARE bothered, so again, good luck to you.

— On the neighbor message Planes and more planes
9:41 p.m.

Can I ask, in all seriousness, what is the end result you're hoping to attain, via the FAiR Coalition? I'm not asking to be snide...I'm serious.

Because frankly, I'm not sure what complaining about airplanes traveling to the second-busiest airport in the country truly is going to accomplish.

Again, I'm asking seriously here, what is the end result the group is aiming to accomplish?

— On the neighbor message Planes and more planes
12:21 p.m.

It does have some grammatical issues beyond the comma...dependent clauses standing alone as sentences, a few verb/noun/tense disagreements, and somewhat choppy transitions...but whatever. :)

12:22 a.m.

Oh, and duh...the Chicago Flower and Garden Show is going on right now at Navy could probably get some cool inspiration there, if you can find the time to get there. I sure have...

Lastly, check out Chicagoland Gardening magazine for inspiration.

— On the neighbor message Front yard land scaping
12:08 a.m.

@BeenAFix: Honestly, I'd say it depends on what you want to could watch a lot of HGTV and DIY Network and get ideas, and/or you could even search a wide variety of blogs that DIYers have created (though that takes a little more searching). To be honest, there are a wide variety of examples/idea sources out there. It just depends what you're looking for.

Personally, I also have my front yard landscaping on my to-do list. My backyard has been trial and error, and it probably wouldn't win any specific awards, but I like what I've put in thus far, and it has thrived too.

— On the neighbor message Front yard land scaping

@Mike...awesome grilling tips. :)

— On the neighbor message Planes and more planes
11:57 p.m.

" wouldn't be wrong..."

For me, the airplanes are the least of my worries whether it be air or noise pollution...mostly because there's really nothing I can do about O'Hare's flight patterns.

— On the neighbor message Planes and more planes
10:48 p.m.

I grew up living under the takeoff and landing approaches at Midway Airport my whole life, before noise abatement and pollution limitations. You can argue they're still loud as heck and polluting, and you wouldn't be wrong. But they were a lot louder and stinkier back in the day...besides, I don't think people living in the city give themselves enough credit for what they can get used to...

— On the neighbor message Planes and more planes
10:17 p.m.

I'm not in the 45th, but I would say that judging any alderman candidate (incumbent or otherwise) on home values in a city the size of ours, where there are far more macro influences on overall home values is picking nits a bit, particularly in the economic situation we all just went through.

If we were living in a small town where there weren't commercial opportunities for miles and miles around, then yeah, I'd say rake officials over the coals over what it's doing to the neighborhood home values. But in Portage/Jeff Park, you're going to have people wanting to buy in the neighborhood but willing to travel elsewhere for their commercial needs.

Should they have those options here? Well, yeah, it would be convenient and would help the neighborhood look nicer, and it might even help make homes more attractive, sure -- but in my opinion, having those options one or two neighborhoods over helps stem the "collapse" of home values around here.

Now, that doesn't mean we should board up Six Corners or the other biz districts on Milwaukee or Irving or wherever...we should encourage investment and good investment at that. But if it's not moving at lightning speed, well, to me it doesn't mean that it's a failure.

I'd think things like perception of crime/safety, and education options have much more of an effect on home values than, say, if there's multiple restaurants or a coffee shop, or an operating theater, or a Trader Joe's, etc. within walking distance.

I have to believe those are "nice to haves" not "gotta haves" for MOST average citizens.

Personally, if I were "over by dere" at Six Corners, I'd be much more focused on what officials are doing to prevent the kinds of crimes that have occurred in the last couple of years. Over by here, near P.Park itself, I honestly care much less about the vitality of the business district in comparison to what my officials are doing to ACTUALLY prevent the crimes that have occurred by the park in recent years.

— On the neighbor message 45th ward alderman
10:32 a.m.

People can provide all the studies they want on either side of the issue. But all anyone has to really do to "study" what probably would happen to auto traffic flow through there is to go west to Harlem from Milwaukee south into Norridge/H.Heights and "study" that.

I'm fine with putting in a protected bike lane. But don't reduce the number of lanes of traffic. That isn't going to stop idiots from being idiots. And in fact, it could even make more people enraged idiots because they're sitting in more traffic.

— On the neighbor message Milwaukee ave road diet project
8:42 p.m.

I'll give the Family Dollar a shot...only thing within walking distance for me to pick up milk/bread/etc. is Walgreens, really. Maybe this will be better, or maybe I'll go back to Walgreens...that's to be seen. But my dollars alone aren't going to make or break this store.

I get that we have a ton of dollar stores around here, and that yeah, hey, some people don't want to shop at them, don't like the junk-consumerism they create, etc., etc. But wouldn't something commerce-related be better than a big ol' vacant building?

Should we strive for better options? Sure...but you also have to start somewhere.

Also, it's not like this is some awful business that's going to drag down the surroundings. It's a general merchandise store.

— On the neighbor message Old bowling alley
9:01 p.m.

How did we ever do the whole politics thing without Everyblock???

— On the neighbor message 45th ward alderman
8:36 p.m.

I had them too and switched when the city switched. They are ridiculously aggressive, but of you're not interested in switching then you say so and that they don't need to see your bill. At the time I had spark, there actually wasn't a cancellation fee and their rate at the time saved me quite a bit. That may have changed.

Now the city's group rate is better. Or at least it has been.

Worst thing is, you tell then you're not interested and close the door.

— On the neighbor message Spark energy scammers back
5:44 p.m.

A bushel of Granny Smiths.

— On the lost-and-found posting FOUND APPLE PRODUCT (Nagle Ave)
11:01 p.m.

While they're at it, they can install a left-turn arrow further west on Foster at Austin...turning from Foster westbound to Austin southbound. Most evening rush commutes, I need to wait a minimum of three cycles to get the chance to turn left. Traffic would flow a whole lot better through there if they'd do that.

Then, head south and install left-turn arrows on northbound Austin to westbound Irving Park.

— On the neighbor message Left turn arrow needed at LOVEJOY
9:14 p.m.

Generic brands are made by a variety of actual branded-goods companies,, that can of Roundy's carrots might have been made by Del Monte, just with a different formulation in the "juice" or even a different variety of carrot.

Carrots being just one example I picked off the top of my head.

Most "private labels" (which is the "let's not call it generic anymore" term for generic brands nowadays) are really, really close to the vest about who makes their products. As are the companies that actually make the products too...they're usually contracted to NOT disclose whom they're processing for...

So, at the end of the day, well, it would take a LOT of work, and you'd have one hell of a diverse portfolio. :) Sorry to burst your bubble, in a sense.

— On the neighbor message Mariano's on Elston
11:19 p.m.

Was just going to say that if the local bakeries aren't up to snuff for your liking, Costco is worth it.

— On the neighbor message Cake-Bakery?
7:22 p.m.

Better options, maybe? When a not-so-familiar, "lower-prices" chain like that Toppers store comes in and closes soon after, tells me we're a discriminating (taste) bunch. And that's a good thing, I'd say...

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood pizza prices
7:20 p.m.

A couple parking garages near some of these commercial "want to" hotspots...because I should be able to take advantage of the businesses nearby during brutal winters like this...15 layers or not. :)

— On the neighbor message Your fantasy for Portage Park
9:13 p.m.

@Bella beat me to it...I mow whatever leaves fall on the grass/sidewalk on the mulch setting and just take an extra pass or two over them to chop them into super-fine bits and work them into the grass.

If you do this when the leaves are relatively dry, they should spread out relatively nicely and not clump up.

If there are billions of leaves, I'll bag some up that throw them over my gardens as winter cover/mulch...yes it takes longer to break down whole leaves, but that's a lot of nutrients there that are going to waste being bagged up (or put in the street).

There are already enough leaves in the street, so I try not to add to it.

— On the neighbor message Street cleaning and leaves
2:57 p.m.

Wow...I'm taking my garbage can and going home.

— On the neighbor message Not your garbage, not your poo poo?
9:27 a.m.

@DoubleA: That must make the thaw when there's this much snow so much fun for you...

— On the neighbor message Recommendation Needed: Toilet Replacement
9:14 p.m.

Well, we all can't be right...

Like the author of the linked story below, I have nothing against AWD, but I've never paid up for it on a vehicle and never each their own, of course. I always get a kick out of folks who don't know what AWD does (no insinuation that anyone HERE are those folks), and go flying down the road, thinking AWD will help them stop better. Then, several miles ahead, they're off in the ditch, wondering why the AWD didn't help them take that icy turn at 55 mph...

— On the neighbor message Alley Snow Removal
1:38 p.m.

@Bill: I remember when they removed that toll booth and the one at Willow, and somebody snapped a pic and developed that picture into one of my most favorite articles in The Onion ever:,484/

— On the neighbor message Widening the Kennedy?
1:27 p.m.

Most places will warn you about cooking a burger lower than medium-well to well-done because of the food-safety risk involved. On the odd chance that there are pathogens present in the meat, only cooking to 165 really ensures that the bugs are eliminated.

Pork actually nowadays can be "cooked like a steak" can cook pork similar to beef, as opposed to poultry (which had been the norm for decades).

— On the neighbor message Leadbelly's
1:52 p.m.

...and teachers, police and fire who haven't figured out ways to game the system are stuck living in the city, whether they get their pensions fully funded or not. There is no moving out of the city for those folks.

10:04 a.m.

We'll see how well the Machine works in the next election. I can't see how rahm can win without cops, teachers, firefighters...nevermind the whole stupid DePaul stadium ripoff.

If rahm is re-elected, I'm done with caring anymore.

6:40 p.m.

Assuming, of course, that's his ward still...

— On the neighbor message Gotta Love Chicago
7:22 p.m.

@Victrola: Ald. Cullerton actually had the rental car facility on the other side of the park ticketed and posted about it on his facebook page, so just report it to him, and I'm sure he'll gather the evidence and have them start writing tickets.

— On the neighbor message Gotta Love Chicago
7:22 p.m.

Chickens would be cool to own, but given that my dog already chases the rabbits and squirrels all over the place, I'm not sure that would work over here.

My friend was pretty interested in it though...and so was his dad. long do the eggs keep, out of curiosity?

— On the neighbor message Who else has city chickens?
8:12 p.m.

I had a really good experience with a similar company a year or two ago, but I don't believe that they service our area anymore (I checked once before, when I had the urge to have the junk in my garage cleaned out). We bought our house with an old, busted hot tub out back (p.o. died, and unfortunately, the tub was not drained before winter came...suffice to say, all the water blew the PVC pipes and stuff up underneath, pretty much). After my dad and I demo'ed everything but the tub itself, they came out, hauled out all the debris and even cut up and hauled out the tub/basin. And it was about as much as it would have cost, if not a little cheaper, than the Dumpsters I was looking at renting (for which we'd have had to carry all that stuff out to it).

So these services, if you find a good one, are great if you're feeling "lazy"... :)

— On the neighbor message Spring Cleaning!
8:03 p.m.

I'll refer you to an older discussion that was resurrected a couple weeks ago:

We have an original brick bungalow, two levels heated, radiator heat, and our bill for the same period as you was $352. We keep both thermostats at roughly 71.5 degrees (old, dial-style thermos), and have original windows in the LR, DR and first floor BRs, with aluminum storms. Kitchen, bath and all upstairs rooms have wood casement windows that were installed probably in the 80s/90s sometime, I'm guessing.

— On the neighbor message Gas Bill Prices
5:23 p.m.

Walter Jacobson investigates "The secret underworld of urban chicken owners -- are YOUR children safe?" next on Fox 32.

— On the neighbor message Who else has city chickens?
8:57 a.m.

Also, there's a significantly wide median...if the city wanted to increase the width of the bike lanes a bit and suck that out of the median (assuming that would still retain the width necessary to have left-turn lanes), that would be OK too.

8:55 a.m.

I commute this way every single day. I've seen one bicyclist every couple months actually using the unprotected bike lanes. I've also actually commuted ON MY BIKE a few times through this thoroughfare. I see people going 40 mph, but not 50. That's a sensationalist claim.

I see traffic flowing most of the time. I've seen one accident in a decade of commuting through here, and it was because an elderly driver tried to make a left turn without properly gauging the distance between he and the oncoming driver.

Yes, there are idiot drivers. Yes, there are idiot bicyclists. But the majority of both are law-abiding, good folks. And through this area, I've not seen any animosity between the two, because there's currently enough space.

Making a major thoroughfare into a glorified bike path with some vehicular traffic in one lane in each direction is the wrong move. It's not going to stop people from going 50 mph (as some claim)...if anything, it's going to give those idiots less room to make corrections when an issue DOES arise.

If they want to create protected bike lanes through this stretch, that's a great idea. But don't cut the number of automobile lanes...that's overkill, and it isn't going to make people slow down or drive more safely. Look at ANY of the busy streets around here, and you have your proof. People drive 40 on Addison, Montrose, Austin, Central, etc. all the time.

People think this city is Amsterdam, where they have streets dedicated ONLY to bicycles, and rightfully's outright DANGEROUS to cross those bike streets as a pedestrian, there are so many bicyclists (I've tried). We are a bike-friendly city, and we should be. But let's not go overboard and turn a major thoroughfare into something it shouldn't be. Going east-west up on the North Side is already relatively difficult...let's not make north-south trips that challenging.

8:53 a.m.

I'll second Mike's statements above. I passively appealed last year online (passively because I didn't bother to take pictures of comps and visit an office and all that baloney...just filled out the form, picked a few neighbors' houses that were comparable (or larger with smaller taxes), and submitted it. Got a nice reduction.

— On the neighbor message 2013 First Installment Property Tax Bill
8:43 a.m.

Did you guys know there's a fire? Nevermind... ;)

10:18 p.m.

@Alderman Tim: Unless you're offering free shipping, forget it. :)

6:25 p.m.

Yep, we have a handful of great neighbors on our block who just walk up and down snowblowing the main sidewalks. Also, the guy across the alley plows our half of the alley (at least), and around the corner down the street a bit's nice.

— On the neighbor message Great Neighbors
4:17 p.m.

Check out Studio Nigro for the design work -- Kim is local (live right by the park), and she designed the gut renovation (including kitchen) of my cousin's Craftsman bungalow down in Oak Park/Berwyn (it's not on their site, though there are a handful of projects there). Did an outstanding job, in my opinion, and my cousin was thrilled with it. I was pretty jealous of how nice it looked.

— On the neighbor message Kitchen Remodel
4:16 p.m.

Thanks Tom...that's actually even college, I often drove my buddy down to the original Newsweb Corp. building (the one mentioned, on Fullerton) to drop off the files for the college paper he was editor for, so that's kind of a neat little tie-in for me now.

— On the neighbor message New business on NW Hwy at Marmora...
11:19 p.m.

I "plan" for a $400 gas bill every month, even in the summer. Then instead of selling vital organs to pay my winter bill, I'm buying vital organs with the "bonus" money in the summer. I have three brains and two hearts at the moment.

Just kidding, of course.

All that said, my parents do the budget plan and swear by it, and that's cool. I've thought about signing up for it, but eh, I've also got almost seven years' worth of bills now in a spreadsheet that helps me plan accordingly.

I can see how it can help a lot of folks, though.

— On the neighbor message People's Gas Bill?
11:12 p.m.

I second Frank's Shrimp...

— On the neighbor message Best places to eat?
5:51 p.m.

Our mail came around 7:30 pm yesterday.

— On the neighbor message USPS not delivering random pieces of mail
5:49 p.m.

I'm enjoying a jumbo slice at Bacci's now,

— On the neighbor message PIZZA!!
2:06 p.m.

Pasta D'arte up by superdawg. Not PP, I know, but still worth it. Not as hidden as it was after it was featured on check please a few years ago, but they're pretty outstanding.

— On the neighbor message Best places to eat?
12:50 p.m.

Yep it's happening all over the city. My folks had theirs cut out on the South Side a few months ago.

— On the neighbor message Catalytic converter stolen
7:53 a.m.

Thanks everybody for the sure looked like a printer in the first couple of windows, at least zipping by at 30 mph.

— On the neighbor message New business on NW Hwy at Marmora...
8:35 p.m.

Hmmm...their little private party room was nice. We rented it out a few years ago for one of my sons' post-baptism parties. Food was good, and it was nice to be isolated from the rest of the restaurant, yet not "walled in" like you might be in a banquet hall.

We'll probably go check it's the talk of my Italian family-in-law now...that we gotta go check it out.

— On the neighbor message Legno on Central?
8:33 p.m.

Thanks for's always a good reminder to folks around here that you need to keep your eyes and ears open and be aware at all times.

— On the neighbor message Old news, but be alert
8:31 p.m.

Will they be returning the letters to the signs on the wall, so that kids (or adults acting as kids) can rearrange the letters to obscene messages?

— On the neighbor message Citgo on Nagle open for business again
8:30 p.m.

@Inactive User: Yeah, I really forgot all about how "the ex" used to complain about dibs (or support it), wonder how to stop delivery of phone books, and speculate about how many trolls were on here supporting Eddie Carranza and biking throughout the city (or not). :)

Soon she'll be wondering if she just heard gunshots, a massive explosion or just fireworks (which, by the way, drive her poor dogs insane, please STOP).

No offense to anyone who posted about that stuff...just laughing at how quickly many of those topics re-appeared right away. :) You gotta laugh at yourself, right? Because hey, I'm probably just as guilty. :)

— On the neighbor message Welcoming EveryBlock
8:25 p.m.

Does it really matter, either way?

10:13 p.m.

Welcome, all of you, to the neighborhood! Before EB went on hiatus, many of us residents felt as though we were living in a great hood that had lots to offer new residents...glad to see many folks have seen similar positive things's nowhere near a perfect hood, but we've been happy here for seven years now, with little reason to think otherwise.

— On the neighbor message So excited EveryBlock is back!
8:49 p.m.

I work in Deerfield, and Milwaukee north of superdawg is slow enough with two lanes. Anyone who supports this should go over to Harlem ave and drive south from Milwaukee down to Lawrence -- there's your evidence against it.

8:42 p.m.

At the recommendation of bill the e., so long as I can fit it in the schedule, I'll be taking my little guys...they love car shows period.

— On the neighbor message world of wheels
8:34 p.m.

Yeah, you know, for all the "stupid" stuff that one might end up ignoring, the informational value of this site really was missed.

8:30 p.m.

"Hey everybody!" "Hey Dr. Nick!"

So, what has been happening in our neighborhood since Everyblock vanished? I assume nothing...let's all catch up right now, in five minutes. :)

All kidding and sarcasm aside, glad this is back...

— On the neighbor message Welcoming EveryBlock
10:20 a.m.

My biggest concern is, like all electronics, what happens when the calibration skews and the thing starts thinking cars are going 40 when they're really going 34 mph? (Or, to be less cynical and angry, if it skews the other way, and you can go faster without the camera realizing it?)

There's been little to no explanation as to how often these things are maintained/tested/checked, and how they are actually setting and testing the calibration.

Because Lord knows, if you get a ticket, there's pretty much no way to prove you weren't doing what the camera says you were...

— On the neighbor message Radar camera
10:19 a.m.

@Scott: I understand what you're saying and I see your stats and points, and I'm not saying it wouldn't be something worth bringing up. I'm just not certain I, personally, would support such an idea, is all...

6:36 p.m.

@Scott: I don't think I'd support reducing the lanes from Austin to Melvina...and a shared center turn lane makes sense if there are a lot of places to turn left (lots of roads, driveways, etc.), but really, through that stretch, how many are there?

This would also take away all street parking in an area where businesses are already fighting to attract customers with limited street parking alternatives. Lastly, what's a bike lane from Austin to Melvina going to do if the rest of Irving east and west of Portage Park doesn't have bike lanes?

Irving Park Road is a major thoroughfare and a state route...we need to be careful about how we view changing it, or it will just increase traffic throughout the system (Montrose, Addison, other parallel streets that would end up getting the spillover, frustrated drivers). People who drive THROUGH PP need to be able to easily get THROUGH it...

For a good example of potential effects on traffic, go up to Lake-Cook Road during the evening rush on the TriState. Drive west to and through Buffalo Grove. L-C Road goes from three or four lanes down to 2 in each direction, and westbound traffic just CRAWLS through BG because of it (along with the volume).

Don't get me wrong, I applaud the outside-the-box thinking...I'm just not sure I'd support those particular solutions, especially living a few blocks off IP Road.

2:44 p.m.

Is EveryBlock a good place to ask rhetorical questions?

— On the neighbor message New Construction
9:31 p.m.

@Jos: Is the Shepherd in your profile pic your dog? Beautiful, either way...two of the three dogs I grew up with were purebreds, and they were unbelievable dogs. My wife is partially afraid of shepherds because of a run-in with one when she was little, otherwise, we'd totally have one. Regardless, I've got a good dog now (and had a good one before this one), so I'm not complaining. :)

— On the neighbor message Off Leash dogs and abusive owners.
10:29 p.m.

What's "funny" (not in a ha, ha way) is, I BELIEVE the median on the west side of the intersection is repainted (where a left-turn lane doesn't exist, as Menard is one-way southbound).

They must have punched out or run out of paint right before getting to the east side of the intersection or something...and never came back.

5:42 p.m.

Oh, and of course, nobody will make you eat at Chipotle.

— On the neighbor message Chipolte Finally Coming?
5:38 p.m.

@SLPearl: I'm still looking for what qualifies FoodBabe as some sort of knowledgeable expert on food...she has quite a long bio, but no mention of what qualifications or access she has to state the things she states.

Basically, like most bloggers, she's a recycler of content...and someone with an opinion. Which, those of us on EB know, there's not enough opinionated people around with access to the Internet, right?

— On the neighbor message Chipolte Finally Coming?
5:38 p.m.

I would just call the cops, the minute you see him. You know you will again, so keep the phone relatively handy whenever you go out. Hopefully they'll be free to respond or won't consider it a nuisance call.

Also, while I love the beef stock idea, if this guy is already verbally abusive toward you, I would shy away from coming across in any way as an "aggressor" of any sort. Heck, making it obvious that you're calling the cops on him could set him off, for all you know. People who have no respect have NO respect, so make sure you're a safe distance or around the corner when you put that phone to your ear.

— On the neighbor message Off Leash dogs and abusive owners.
5:30 p.m.

Hate to tell you, but welcome to dealing with XSport...I'm sure others have had good or bad experiences, but I've had memberships at a couple different branches of theirs over the years, and every time I've had to deal with ignorance, stupidity and an "upsell" experience all the time.

XSport isn't the only one, by the way...just the only one I've ever actually dealt with.

5:23 p.m.

Kestrels are really beautiful...for those who HAVEN'T googled it, do so... :)

— On the neighbor message Red Hawk Near Portage Park
10:36 p.m.

You all beat me to it...I must have gotten one of the last batches of shrimp and ocean perch from the Addison location on thrilled that, even though it's SLIGHTLY farther away from us here on the west end of Portage Park, that they stayed local...

Now Frank's can remain a part of my LIFE...since I grew up relatively near the original one. :)

10:34 p.m.

Nice work on the post-200k mark...I drove my old '97 Grand Prix to 206k, and then with the first kid on the way, I had to get rid of it (rather than risk breaking down on a frozen day like today). It was still running great and CarMax even gave me $700 for it. I thought they were going to laugh me out of the store when I went to trade it in, but they couldn't believe it had 206k on it. Always wondered how much longer that car lasted...

As for where to get rid of the thing, I have no ideas than the ones you and @Bill already have supplied...

— On the neighbor message My Van Finally Puked
2:05 p.m.

@cnaue: Tell Merrill to swing away...

— On the neighbor message Anyone know what these are?
10:51 p.m.

You've heard of crop circles before...?

— On the neighbor message Anyone know what these are?
6:42 p.m.

Always grew up idolizing the 16-inch Hall of Fame and bro (about a year younger than me) and I trekked downtown for the 16-inch Classic a year or two, when we were old enough, to watch the epic players play a game that we played in the street on the corner of our block (first base was an electric pole; 2nd, 3rd and home were sewer covers. We played pitchers' hand and right field (over the fence -- it was a T intersection) was out (and, you had to crawl under the fence and fetch the ball -- trespassing!!!!

Anyway, I was pleasantly stunned when I did a little research on the house my wife and I purchased here to find out that the previous owner is a member of the 16-inch HOF. It would explain the GIANT, wooden Mt. Prospect 1992 tournament sign in the basement, and the oodles of drywall on the garage and laundry room walls that are sliced-and-diced former bracket results boards.

I haven't played 16-inch in a few years, but there's a big part of me that misses it. :) Would have been awesome to have been good enough (and, really, committed and obsessed enough, LOL) to be a part of that Hall of Fame...I hope that someday they'll be able to raise enough funds to have an actual museum somewhere...

— On the neighbor message Co-Ed Adult Softball
10:30 p.m.

@Bill: "a finger"...just one? Come on! :)

— On the neighbor message Co-Ed Adult Softball
10:18 p.m.

Sorry for your loss, Kathy...I had to put my big guy down a year ago this past december...we quickly adopted another dog, because I couldn't stand not having the companionship (beyond, you know, the humans living with me, ha ha!)...good luck getting through the pain and finding a new friend. Lord knows, there are plenty of potential friends out there...

— On the neighbor message Where can I rent a dog heart monitor?
1:52 p.m.

Sportsmonster and/or Sport & Social Club are really the main choices, and because of that, they charge RIDICULOUS fees (especially given the refereeing/umpiring they supply, ha ha)...

There are leagues in abundance in the burbs -- not as many in the city itself, and most are 16-inch...and there are definitely more men's leagues that I know of last time I looked. My friends and I drive out to Elmhurst...their men's league is really solid.

— On the neighbor message Co-Ed Adult Softball
1:48 p.m.

Ah, vasovagal syncope...had that happen to me once...scared the hell outta my wife. And me after I woke up after busting my lip wide open on the toilet and then hitting the floor, not knowing what the hell had just happened.

— On the neighbor message Man found on sidewalk
8:34 p.m.

Depends what the label says. They're delicious.

2:01 p.m.

So, maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any way that your taxes could end up RISING as a result of the appeal, rather than falling?

It would be my dumb luck to hear, "Oh, you know what, you don't qualify for a're actually being under-taxed..." for some dumb reason. :)

11:19 p.m.

Hey Nicole, just a thought I had, but Jewel-Osco has that "plastic bag recycle" bin just inside their door (the one on Narragansett and Irving does, at least)...I don't use the dog park, but maybe your organization could approach them and see if they'd have used bags they could donate?

Just a thought I had -- don't know if Jewel would even be allowed to do so (maybe it's contracted to go somewhere specifically, I don't know)...I use Jewel/shopping bags to pick up after my dog all the time...better than spending money on bags, anyway, in my opinion.

Good luck!

— On the neighborhood event Portage Park Dog Park Committee Meeting
10:55 a.m.

@MK: Good luck in your's a link to a thread from just before the New Year on this very topic:

— On the neighbor message Moving to Portage Park
9:15 a.m.

Most Chipotles I've been to around Chicagoland have that same stainless steel/hardwood/lots of natural light look to them. In fact, I can't really think of any that looked much different.

@kenji...I know what you mean about the mass cooking of the chicken/steak/etc. It's also fun to watch them mix up the gargantuan bowl of rice (with lime and cilantro)...

Of course, in my current weight-loss life, Chipotle visits have been much fewer and farther between for lunch -- and I'm not keen on leftovers, unfortunately.

Not everyone will like the place, and that's cool, but it'll be a good addition to the neighborhood. As I mentioned, I think, in the older post on this subject, I was (pleasantly) surprised when Chipotle opened at the Brickyard...and I'm happy to see one coming to Six Corners.

— On the neighbor message What will be in the empty lot
11:21 p.m.

My thoughts exactly, Ald. See what Spark is willing to do save me an additional phone call, maybe... Ha! Thanks!

— On the neighbor message Electric Aggregation Program....Questions???
1:55 p.m.

Thanks Ald. Tim for clarifying...we use another supplier (Spark) and I wasn't sure if we'd have to do something on our end or not, because the page tells you that you can join anytime, but it doesn't really specify how to do that.

I assume we call the number associated with the link you specified? Any insight there? Spark actually saved us quite a bit of money over the last year and a half, but the new aggregate rate is still lower than Spark's rate for us now. And, thankfully, we have no cancellation/change fee. Double bonus! :)

— On the neighbor message Electric Aggregation Program....Questions???
12:58 p.m.

@DarkAngel: For a home in the Dunning-Portage demilitarized zone, the price of our house was pretty ridiculous...had I known we'd be the first to be overrun in the event of Dunning Aggression, I might have further negotiated down. :)

— On the neighbor message Your opinions requested
2:36 p.m.

@Lorenzo: " is what you make it."
Very much right on...

This weekend should be good for you as a Chicago-based Packers fan...even Bears fans have to root for them this week.

— On the neighbor message Your opinions requested
1:18 p.m.

Welcome (hopefully) to the neighborhood... :)

My wife and I moved here five years ago from Old Irving Park (and we'd lived all over the city during our lives) to start a family and now have two little guys, and we couldn't be more thrilled with our decision. We're north of addison and west of central, and it's been great.

I don't think we have any neighborhood-related regrets at's a great mix of bedroom community with city life. You get a little of everything's not the burbs, but it's not truly urban either. There are plenty of families around, with young kids too, and from our perspective, it's a good mix of generations around as well. You have a good amount of long-time residents too, who truly love the neighborhood and their homes (but will always say it's not how it used to be, of course).

As to the diversity and culture situation, remember that those two terms are subjective to personal definition and situations. It's certainly not as "segregated" as many other areas of the city are/were (I grew up in a neighborhood where it was engrained at an early age that you did not cross such-and-such street, ever)...I think there's a solid mix of a few ethnicities/lifestyles/races -- but I wouldn't say everyone is "represented" everywhere, and there are majorities of's not a 33-33-33 split or something.

There are enough young families/couples with enough various differences moving in over the course of time, it seems, to keep the neighborhood going forward, rather than stagnating or backsliding.

Also, to kenji's point, we have some really great aldermen working with/for us to improve even more.

We bought our house with the caveat that we had to find a place where we could live for decades if need be, and we believe this is it -- and we've seen no reason to think otherwise in the five years we've been here. Even as a frequent EveryBlock reader, where the sky is always falling somewhere... ;)

Good luck in your search!

— On the neighbor message Your opinions requested
11:18 a.m.

The address in the story appears to be wrong...4417 N. Kilpatrick is nowhere near the Jewel...and would require about a two-mile walk around the expressway, actually...

I think the caption is correct, but is also far from 4417 N. kilpatrick...hopefully DNAinfo's editors are reading this and can fix the factual conflicts...

10:34 a.m.

@christyr20: My polling place in the recent election changed, so I think it's more or less changed least administratively. I don't have any official word on that, just basing it off that election situation. Though I haven't had any sort of need to call on the alderman's office for anything, so I can't "test" it. I guess if I ever have to, I'll find out really quickly where to go. :) Obviously, you're in the same boat as me, being neighbors and all.

Let's hope other alderman across this entire city begin to take their positions as seriously as Alderman Tim. It will be good for the whole city, whether we love our aldermen or not.

— On the neighbor message Cullerton - Your Alderman in the News
10:30 a.m.

My wife and I went a few years ago and were pretty impressed...and now that we have our own home and decorate it, we'd probably appreciate it even more. :)

7:07 p.m.

Ald. Tim, that would deserve it's own triumphant post if it happens to be true...please let us all know once you know more.

— On the neighbor message Man shot on Cullom Saturday morning...
8:30 p.m.

And count me in...that's three, fellas (assumedly speaking on the gender)...

— On the neighbor message Thanks for stealing my Christmas lights
8:38 p.m.

Now go get a nice snowblower to launch your snow onto their vehicle. :)

— On the neighbor message Parking Etiquette
8:37 p.m.

And that's cool...nothing wrong with either.

— On the neighbor message Parking Etiquette
8:36 p.m.

@That Guy: Totally agree...but it does make our area less tantalizing to random-crime committers to know that the chances of them getting caught in the act is slightly higher.

Hell, even if they just announced it but didn't actually do it would be a first good step. To undo the announcement that they were moving all the cops to the higher-crime districts a year or two ago..."Please only commit crimes in these areas. That's where the biggest police presence will be. Thank you."

— On the neighbor message Robbery
8:32 p.m.

@stevio: I agree with Lisa that I don't think anyone's blaming the police themselves for the problem. It's that there's a lack of fear of any patrol being anywhere near here that allows these kids to enter the neighborhood and feel as though they can pull off something like this, because there aren't any police officers around. That's not the officers''s the city's fault.

Everyone and their mother knows how short on manpower we appear to be around here on the NW Side...the officers that are here are doing their best. But they can't be in more than one place at a time. It's the "smarter" criminals who come here to do their "business" with less of a threat of being caught.

— On the neighbor message Thanks for stealing my Christmas lights
3:53 p.m.

@mike karalis: While it doesn't bother me, you should consider making sure your people do that out of sight of the customers if possible (given that it's approved)...we've all seen what public opinion (as opposed to fact-based information) can do to any portion of the food industry overall.

Or, even though it would be a tremendous expense to the bottom line, see if they make disposable plastic sleeves/long gloves that your employee(s) could use, if only for the mixing portion of the task. Would also probably save them from having to clean their arms after mixing too, if the sleeves were full coverage.

Again, just a thought or doesn't bother me, but as you can see, there are others who think differently.

— On the neighbor message Help me find clean take out or delivery food.
3:50 p.m.

I am a proponent of being good to your neighbors, but this type of post comes up every so many months on here. In fact, I think since we haven't had any snow, the annual "I hate dibs/I love dibs" post drought record may be in jeopardy.

The long and the short of it is, posting to EB about the parking etiquette problem isn't going to help any, really, except to vent frustration. That's about it. If that's what you need, very cool.

It really boils down to three solutions:
1. Talk to the neighbor. If you know other neighbors having problems with the same thing, "organize" and approach the neighbor together, in a peace-treaty type of way.
2. Get even, albeit legally and morally -- but good luck with that.
3. Find peace with it, laugh and move on with more important things.

And before I get reamed, I'm completely with you, philosophically, on all the points above, and have even experienced some parking etiquette issues myself that irk me. But I've found the only real good solution is to just make peace with the fact that other people are inconsiderate idiots who only care about themselves, and I'm not going to appear that way, so I choose to just let it go.

And then when it snows, I "accidentally" push as much snow off my sidewalk under their cars. LOL

— On the neighbor message Parking Etiquette
3:42 p.m.

This post made me laugh...thanks Ald. Tim. :)

— On the neighbor message Ho! Ho! Huh?
9:22 a.m.

@kenji: Whey Protein Lattes. :)

— On the neighbor message Irving Park & Linder Coffee Shop
11:59 a.m.

My thoughts, living within walking distance (though in no particular order) and trying to be realistic about what I think I might use and what might survive there longer term:

Again, in no particular order...
-- Noodles & Co. would be a cool spot to have within walking distance.
-- really like the idea of a tapas restaurant, and even better if takeout is somehow an option
-- anybody been to Flo & Santos in the South Loop/McCormick Place area? That would be an AWESOME place to have here...and probably reasonable to expect it would do OK.
-- Would a place like Sami Swoi (addison and austin) move in there? wanted to try the place, and then it had the fire and never re-opened...
-- Does Pasta d'arte up on Milwaukee want to open a "south location"??? :)
-- Pet store (though nothing silly high-end...I spoil my pup, but not that much), maybe with one of those dog self-wash and small grooming (nail-clipping, for instance) options. Again, would be nice to not have to drive the dog somewhere for these things.
-- Something kids-oriented...a Build-a-Bear/artsy-crafty/pottery making type of place...but if not priced right, it wouldn't last. something fun for the kiddos that's not just a toy store or book store, but can include those things. A Land of Nod but with more engagement for the kids and at a reasonable price that families around the place could frequent it.
-- Potbelly-style sandwich shop -- or find the owners of Submarine Port on the Southwest Side and convince them to open there...loved that place growing up (and we still have it to this day for special folks bring the subs for Christmas...they're that good and that traditionally loved!)
-- someone brought up Corner Bakery/Panera Bread in the Six Corners Chipotle discussion, and that would be interesting
-- Sports bar
-- Butcher
-- Apple store (HA HA HA!) -- it's got all the glass windows they'd need!

Well, that was longer than I thought it would be...anyway, that would be cool.

— On the neighbor message Irving Park & Linder Coffee Shop
11:32 a.m.

@Bob Bank: "Emehrgency. Evrybuddy please to get from strit!"

— On the neighbor message siren?
8:46 p.m.

@Portage Parker: Makes a lot of sense that Chipotle would be interested in setting down a restaurant here...I've seen a lot of this similar demo moving into the neighborhood in the nearly six years I've been here.

I know you stated the facts and no personal opinion, but in my own opinion, that's a good sign and a good demographic to have around here. :) And, to be honest, it really reflects some of the folks we see debating on EB all the time here in many cases. LOL...individuality? Yep, I'd say so...

— On the neighbor message Chipolte Finally Coming?
1:35 p.m.

Sorry, that should be, "knows not to run and to come and stay." Typing too fast...

— On the neighbor message Let's keep our dogs on leash please
6:08 p.m.

@inssane: I've always laughed when dog owners who unleash their dogs say, "Oh, he/she walks right with me and knows not to come."

Well, my dog is extremely well-behaved on walks (ON the leash)...except when he sees a squirrel. I tell them, it would be a shame if a squirrel ran by, crossed the street, and your well-behaved dog's instincts kicked in. I think you'd probably change your mind about no leash. Of course, then it would be too late.

People simply think they know (their) dogs, and many just have no clue. It's a shame.

— On the neighbor message Let's keep our dogs on leash please
6:06 p.m.

Not to everyone, but to many, Chipotle is a draw. I've never been in one where I was able to walk in and walk right up to the counter and order. Go during the week at lunchtime to many of them, and it's a madhouse most of the time.

Regardless of whether any individual likes it or not, or thinks it's upscale or not, or thinks it's Tex-Mex, authentic, or glop or whatever, its brand recognition alone should be viewed a major positive addition for the area (assuming the report/rumor is true, of course).

It's a successful, fast-growing brand with staying power. I was impressed when one opened in the Brickyard (and I've been in there twice, again, waiting in line both times), and I think the HIP expansion is going to include one. So, to be honest, if Brickyard and the HIP are, in a sense, competition for Six Corners in terms of attracting anchor businesses, well, Six Corners ought to welcome Chipotle with open arms, because Chipotle obviously sees enough demand for three of their stores with a several mile radius here.

And, given that most people don't view it as true fast food, that should say a lot about the dynamics of the neighborhood.

Sure, they're not the end-all, be-all solution, but they're probably another step in the right direction, I'd think.

— On the neighbor message Chipolte Finally Coming?
5:58 p.m.

@kenji: Fling Feces would be a great band name...

— On the neighbor message Curb your dog................
11:49 p.m.

Wait until the snow comes...oh wait, that's not the problem. Wait until the snow comes and then MELTS. You find a lot of "surprises" in the grass then.

As a responsible dog owner, it makes life miserable for me as well, since I have to dodge "landmines" to pick up after my own dog.

It's annoying...and there's hardly a way to stop it without endangering yourself or starting the equivalent of world war 3. If it were me, I'd go out there if I saw a dog owner and pretend I was going to my car or something, and then if they didn't pick up after the dog, I'd ask, "Excuse me? Are you planning on picking that up, or do I have to pick it up and follow you home next time to leave it on your lawn?"

They'll either apologize that they don't have a bag; swear at you; or shoot you...or maybe never come back to your block again.

— On the neighbor message Curb your dog................
1:09 p.m.

Just drove through there. Looks like they freshly painted the lines on IP at the Marmora intersection. That's one block away from Menard. Hopefully Menard is next...

— On the neighbor message Painted lines
12:20 p.m.

Oh, I know all about that stuff...I've since hidden the topics, because they've become pointless. I don't mute people typically because even complete idiots, once in a while, say something useful in some way. Even if it's something I can learn NOT to say.

I just hope people are being smart. Seems like a lot of hot air here on EB...what translates to the real world is what matters. Thanks fellas...

— On the neighbor message A plea to Portage Park EB's
12:19 p.m.

I haven't lost any mirrors or been sideswiped yet, but I have the same issues trying to turn left onto Menard would be great if they re-painted those lines...

— On the neighbor message Painted lines
9:19 a.m.

6 Cornered: Thanks for your plea. I've blocked every single Portage Theater thread and frankly don't even care anymore.

There are positive ways to rally support for your side of the argument (both sides). I've seen that rarely in any of the comments I took the time to read before I realized I was wasting my time. The Save the Portage movement against the church was a good example of positive ways in which the community worked together. This is exactly the opposite.

It's funny how people seem to think that a 500-message debate string (with maybe 25% of the comments useful) on a site like this is really going to change what happens at the Portage (or anywhere, for that matter). All the time wasted, by both sides of the argument, on typing snarky comebacks and downright insults in many cases -- could have been spent doing something with more of a potential payout in the real world. People need to remember, policy and plans aren't finalized on EveryBlock, whether EveryBlock thinks so (or wants it to be or not). Support can be rallied, but if the primary voices on EveryBlock don't take it to face-to-face reality (where I'm betting most of the people wouldn't have the stones to say 95% of what has been said/insulted/etc. on here), nothing really will be accomplished. And, that 500-comment-plus, so-called "debate" will truly have been a total waste of time, all around.

I wish good luck to both sides, mostly in the hopes that people will grow up, stop hiding behind Internet anonymity (even if you give your name, there's a certain amount of anonymity involved), and treat others on here like human beings. It's really simple. Anyway, I also hope whoever "wins" does the right thing for the area. But I, for one, will be putting away the proverbial "popcorn" and waiting to read about what happens at the Portage elsewhere.

— On the neighbor message A plea to Portage Park EB's
9:10 a.m.

Mrstipre: I know the feeling of not being able to get back to a somewhat similar situation years ago, I was awakened at 3 a.m. from a dead sleep at a hotel by the following loudspeaker/intercom announcement (this isn't an EXACT quote, but it's pretty damned close): "Ladies and gentlemen, we are aware of the fire alarm malfunction. Please ignore it as best as you can. The building is not on fire and there is no need to evacuate or leave your rooms. We are working on correcting the issue."

I heard NO fire alarm, by the way. But I proceeded to look out my door, smell for smoke and freak out, more or less, for the next two hours. I finally calmed down and started to doze off, and lo and behold, they came on the loudspeaker to announce that they had fixed the problem.

Suffice to say, that kept me up the rest of the night/morning.

— On the neighbor message Doorbell ringing at 2am
10:59 p.m.

Oh yeah, and the sign hanging outside? Old Style. :)

10:44 p.m.

@EveryblockHead (and kenji, by extension)...I'm no old timer, but my old neighborhood had a tavern on every corner (east-west half-blocks). The tavern on my corner growing up, my grandpa used to frequent (and run numbers), and my dad too -- and it was where I learned tavern "etiquette" from my dad in my early years too, ha ha. It was to the point where, once my buddies and brothers and I got old enough, we'd walk in, and the FIRST round was free, and then every third round was on the house. Those were the days...sadly, we weren't old enough to take as full advantage.

Then again, our trick-or-treat routes always took us into every tavern, where we made out like kings and queens...

Man, do I miss those taverns... :)

Anyway, sorry all for the distraction from your entertainment... :)

10:43 p.m.

kenji: here's one of mine, from my parents, though:

cops, informing your van was stolen a couple hours ago, but we already found it, abandoned without damage other than to the steering column. caught the guy too, want to know if you want to press charges.

— On the neighbor message Doorbell ringing at 2am
2:40 p.m.

I've been buying my tires at Costco for a few years now. The warranty is nice if you end up needing it...I've had bolts (YES, BOLTS, not nails) in my tire two or three times in the last 5-6 years, and Costco does a good job of only charging you for the unworn portion of the tire they're replacing.

But the previous comment about how busy Costco Niles is, is right on the money. Don't know how the Melrose Park Costco compares, but it's about the same distance, so it might be worth a shot.

— On the neighbor message Tires - Black Friday deals
8:26 p.m.

@MontroseMonster: a couple days ago this school year...last school year, we got a call also, but I don't remember when that one came through...why do you ask?

8:20 p.m.

Hey Vincent, we got our dog about 11 months ago from Chicago Canine Rescue, and I've had dogs pretty much my whole life. While at first I was a bit put off by it (I know how to keep a house dog-friendly, and a yard dog-friendly and stuff like dare they question me and impose into my home!), I realized that it's like chris said, to screen out the morons who have no idea what it takes to have a dog and keep him/her safe. I knew I had nothing to worry about, and that proved true. They barely even "checked" anything around the house, to be honest...

Honestly, it's nice that they bring the dog to you anyway...I didn't have to worry about a mess in my car to start off the relationship! :)

My parents just had to put their dog down, and I told them to drive all the way up here to CCR if they decide they want another dog. It's so worth it. But, I'll say, going to Animal Care and Control or Animal Cruelty or any other of the rescues (PAWS, etc.) around town is just as worth it.

8:17 p.m.

Two years in a row now, my son has been wait-listed for pre-K (we live less than a mile away), and two years in a row now, months after school has started, we've been called to be informed that there was an opening. We've turned it down both times (we're not moving him once the year starts), but I've begun to wonder why these openings have sprung up...I know people move and situations change and things like that, but does it really happen that often?

I've not visited the Academy, but my wife has, twice, and really liked it. It's just unfortunate they didn't have enough room for my son at the start of his school career...we're not upheaving his world for what would probably not amount to a tremendous difference in his education in the long run (our opinion...probably not shared by everyone).

10:28 a.m.

They ought to address-verify for the selective enrollment schools that do neighborhood lottery too...I bet there's all sorts of inaccuracies there too. Yes, I'm a cynic. :)

— On the neighbor message Prussing Elementary Kindergarten Class size
10:21 a.m.

Alex, I could be wrong, (and I'm certainly not saying that there aren't parents who DO treat it as glorified day care) but I think what likely happened is this (again, I don't know if the situation is the same, but my wife is a PK teacher elsewhere in CPS, so I can only make a semi-educated guess based on second-hand info).

Probably, there were two sets of K students per day. A morning class and an afternoon class. Both, let's say, capped at 21 students each, with no crossover (no full-day students). When it was a half-day program, each kid would attend half the day in K, and then the parents would have to send them to day care the other half (or make other arrangements). Now that it's a full-day program, the two classes would be merged into one larger full-day class. Thus 42 kids, with no ability/need for parents to find day care for half the day. All the kids attend all day long.

I'm guessing, based on the 21 and 21 vs. 42 total number, they have to keep the total at 42 or they'd lose funding...again, that's just a guess.

Hopefully that makes some kind of sense and helps. I'm trying to figure out if it makes sense even to myself! :)

— On the neighbor message Prussing Elementary Kindergarten Class size
3:56 p.m.

@Johnny: If I learned anything from Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, etc., there are PLENTY of hijinks that could make your day with phony packages on the front porch. :)

— On the neighbor message UPS/FEDEX Package Thefts
1:11 p.m.

@pattymelt: Yep, and that would be the next step, I guess, to get the word out to simply have everyone opt out.

1:08 p.m.

Evergreen Park is a south suburb. :)
Just a little good-natured ribbing for ya...good luck with the rescue efforts!

1:07 p.m.

Sounds like your neighbor may have pissed some folks off (one way or another), and they called it in on him, to me anyway.

— On the neighbor message Auto Repair
1:05 p.m.

@Paul: That pisses me off...there are far too many people like you. So you get penalized by something that, really, wasn't in your control. That's B.S.

2:09 p.m.

I saw this and came on to post it, @Bill...thanks for beating me to the punch. I think it deserves its own post, as it deserves the whole EB community's attention.'s a non-tax tax.

Also, Rahm sure wasted NO time in doing this...such a freakin' snake.

11:04 a.m.

Wow...all this is just crazy. Sorry that you had to witness this...and thank you for sharing the first-hand account. I'm sure it's not easy to do. Thank you for informing all of us on this sad event.

— On the neighbor message Accident at Irving and Narragansett
10:57 a.m.

Thank you, Sarah, for finding and posting...

— On the neighbor message Accident at Irving and Narragansett
3:19 p.m.

So, does anyone have any news here to report on this? I saw the aftermath as well and was wondering the same thing?

— On the neighbor message Accident at Irving and Narragansett
10:37 p.m.

@kenji: I thought EXACTLY the same thing when I first looked at the picture...pretty slick grill...but they probably thought it was a Craftsman (Michael, my apologies for making a joke at your's jealousy over you having had a grill that is much cooler looking than most of the littler ones I've seen)...

— On the neighbor message Stolen Grill from my backyard (Portage Park)
3:06 p.m.

So, refresh my they take away one of your black bins, or do they just add a blue bin to your alley spot? Either way, I'm not sure I want in. I need both black bins and there really isn't room for an additional bin behind my fence.

— On the neighbor message Sticker on Garbage Cans
9:23 p.m.

Michael, welcome to the neighborhood. I'd hate to say it, but at least you learned your lesson early on that this is still the city, and in fact, we're often a more attractive neighborhood because of the "crime of opportunity" possibilities here. Scroll back through time on this site and you'll find plenty of "X was stolen out of my car because the doors were unlocked" or "my neighbor's garage was robbed but they never lock the doors", etc....this is a little different, but yes, you have to keep everything either locked down or taken in.

I have my gas grill chained to my deck with a large chain and sizeable padlock. Did that from Day One. I figure, they probably could still get it, but at least I'm going to make them work for it if they want it.

It sucks, but like I said, at least you learned it with a "tiny" grill and not something larger or way more expensive...and I totally get the sentimental value portion. Hey, look at the bright side, now you can take advantage of the end-of-the-season clearances that are left and get a monster grill instead. :)

Good luck getting over the loss...and again, welcome to the neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message Stolen Grill from my backyard (Portage Park)
9:22 p.m.

1. The streets are alphabetically ordered (generally speaking), unlike those uneducated, mish-mash, spur-of-the-moment streets east of Pulaski.

— On the neighbor message 2013 Michelin Bib Gourmands
7:21 p.m.

"Dat's a baker's dozen for me..."

— On the neighbor message Quick Someone Talk Pueblo Nuevo Into This!
9:17 a.m.

Boy, putting together a newsletter would be a skill of mine I could share with the fine alderman, if only I were still in the 38th Ward, LOL. :)

8:59 p.m.

Thanks kenji...saw the Web site...we shall see, of course, how it goes. :)

10:33 a.m.

@Kenji: Like GrilledCheese and PeacefullyD, I'm now in Sposato's ward. Maybe he's good, time will tell, but I at least know Ald. Tim (beyond just here on EB) and feel comfortable approaching him. He's made it that way, that's kudos to him.

What stinks, kenji, is that the border runs right down the middle of my street. So, I'm 36 now, and 34 is right across the street! Suffice to say, I haven't played the lottery lately, LOL.

10 a.m.

It's a total bummer to lose you, Ald. Tim. I'll be thinking about this sad situation as I walk right past my old polling place to my new polling place on Tuesday. Pretty ridiculous.

5:13 p.m.

Would this include larger-sized SUVs (such as Tahoes, Suburbans, etc.) or only pickup trucks?

— On the neighbor message Truck Parking Referendum
10:09 p.m.

@DebbieM: From Sky & Telescope's This Week's Sky at a Glance...maybe this will help, though it's not too descriptive, I guess. Good luck! I'd say if it's there in the same spot every day and moving up into the sky over the few hours of the morning (as opposed to not moving at all the entire morning), then it's probably Venus, which is the third-brightest object in the sky.

"Venus (magnitude –4.0, at the Leo-Virgo border) rises in darkness more than an hour before the first glimmer of dawn. By dawn it's shining brightly in the east."

— On the neighbor message Lanterns in the Sky
1 p.m.

@DebbieM: How high up in the sky? Venus is in the morning sky this time of year, I see it every morning on my dog walk (I'm also west of Central down near Addison), and it is very bright. I'm assuming you're talking about lower to the ground?

Satellites move, so that's out. If you're talking celestial body, you're probably seeing Venus.

— On the neighbor message Lanterns in the Sky
8:13 p.m.

Off-topic, but Ald. Tim, I didn't get a chance to stop and say hello last night at St. Robert's Harvest Gala...too busy bidding, eating, drinking and meeting new folks (we're a new family there, so we needed to schmooze a bit!). Anyway, thanks for your support! :)

— On the neighbor message Feedback on mayor's budget
6:55 p.m.

In all seriousness, thank you, both Ald. Tim and Ald. Arena, for your input.

— On the neighbor message Feedback on mayor's budget
2:32 p.m.

"additional healthcare cuts" -- assuming this has to do with the wellness program mentioned prior, Ald. Tim, does this mean we'll see you jogging around the ward more frequently? :)

— On the neighbor message Feedback on mayor's budget
2:28 p.m.

Awesome map, kenji...thanks for passing it along. I gotta dig around and see if I can find the same thing from the prior 3 censuses (censii???)...

One interesting thing, I was looking at my (relative) old haunts, and I was wondering why there was a blob of sky blue crammed together in the middle of Little Village...couldn't figure out what would have such a high density, regardless of the racial makeup of that density. Then I realized, it was right at 26th and Cal, and I said, "Oh, I guess I didn't realize that prisoners are counted in the census, and damn, there are a lot of black folks at 26th and Cal..."

Interesting indeed...

7:26 p.m.

Fire truck #94 went by several minutes after I heard one of them while I was letting the dog out in the yard. Probably coincidental, but still...we're down by Austin and Marmora and I heard at least the first one.

7:18 p.m.

I forgot the smiley face to convey that, as a lifelong South Sider, I've been brainwashed into thinking that nothing matters other than God, your family, the Democratic machine and your precinct captain, and not always in that order. :)

4:50 p.m.

@Alex, to quote Aretha Franklin: "Don't you blaspheme in here!"

3:50 p.m.

See where they're going. :)

— On the neighbor message Firefighers Busy Last Night
9:24 p.m.

@Glad2B beat me to it, but my parents said County Line Orchard was actually on the news a week or so ago about how the drought destroyed most of the U-pick crops around here.

A bummer, because my boys loved picking two years ago, and when we went last year, we didn't make it, as we got into a car-debilitating accident on the way, maybe next year!

9:23 p.m.

I thought I'd heard a lot of sirens the last night or two around here...I'm on 5900 Warwick, so just south. Guess I'll have to keep a more watchful eye (and ear) out...

— On the neighbor message Firefighers Busy Last Night
9:03 p.m.

I'm of the opinion that, to each his/her own -- design is so subjective. But I also shake my head whenever I see the lop-and-plop additions that people stick on top of their bungalows that don't match in any way, shape or form the original design of the exterior. (Ranches and Tudors and the like as well.)

At least these folks tried something DIFFERENT than most of the flat-faced, boxy, all-siding specials you see dropped on top of many expanded brick bungalows. That said, trial doesn't always mean success. Good luck to the owners (legitimately) selling this, but I too would cringe at looking at it day-in and day-out if I had to...

2:29 p.m.

They're getting better over time...the first dozen or so were pretty bad, imho... :) Hopefully by the time they get to us, they'll have refined their efforts....

10:24 p.m.

I love the idea of having the dog adoption there...great audience, and a great idea. However, I get sad whenever I'm there because our family can't take another dog in, and I ALWAYS see at least one I'd like to know more about. Alas...

It's a great audience and a great idea, and hopefully they're cataloging the success stories from "meeting at the market"...

— On the neighborhood event Portage Park Farmers Market
11:26 p.m.

My oldest son did lil' kickers for several years and we just signed him up again, along with our youngest. The oldest one started around 18 months (it's mostly just running around and being silly at that age, which is's exercise), and now he's 4, and he's always enjoyed it. We're hoping the youngest, who is almost 2, will enjoy it as much. It's not cheap, but it's fun for the kids and they do a good job with the little ones.

— On the neighbor message Soccer leagues/ classes in the area?
10:24 a.m.

I'm not nearby Elston (but I used to be), and wondered the same things. Note, don't just get the aldermen involved...maybe go to all those store/restaurant owners up and down Elston and get their input, for the record...or start up a petition with them. Ask them if they'd be interested in supporting a citizens' effort to get the CTA to reinstate an Elston bus route. I can't see why they wouldn't support it...of course, I'm no business owner. :)

— On the neighbor message Why isn't the an Elston Bus Route
10 p.m.

@Gordon: My wife and I lived in the condos on the northwest corner of that intersection, actually, about six years ago, and we never really felt 100 percent comfortable with the area because of all the apartments and high-turnover housing in that couple-block radius, combined with the insane Blue Line and Metra foot traffic that parked on the block (the first block without permit parking) every day, two blocks from the station. We enjoyed our time there, but we were luckier than you... We moved a bit west, into Portage Park/Dunning, and while we have our recent theft issues in this neighborhood as well, at least I feel as though I can recognize who lives here and who does not, typically. There isn't as much turnover in the residents around here. Sorry for your situation...good luck in your pursuit...hopefully it turns up somewhere and you get it back.

— On the neighbor message Stolen Motorcycle
11:05 p.m.

Also, if they got moved to the alley because they were making noise out front, then they're aware of it, and maybe you can barter with them a bit...say, look, I don't want to call the cops about the noise, and I don't want to complain about it, because you guys are good kids, but you gotta stop playing ball after [whatever time] because it's just making too much noise.

Or's definitely a sticky situation.

— On the neighbor message Basketball Playing in the Alley?
11:37 a.m.

Hey Josh...I didn't get through all the comments above (sorry, feeling lazy today)...but if the kids are good kids, like you say, why don't you talk to them first? Just go out there during one of the late-night sessions and say, "Hey guys, I don't mind you playing out here, but can you stop the playing after [a certain time]? I don't care about the noise during the day and evening, but I really have to get up early to work everyday, and these late games are keeping me up."

Keep it light, keep it stress-free, and maybe you'll see the kids take the initiative themselves to stop.

Outside that, obviously talking to the parents would be a good idea. Maybe talking to all of them at once during the mom-dad-kids games during the day. Focus on the late-night noise, and only that. Just mentioning it to them, so they're aware, and asking if there was a way to put a curfew on it.

— On the neighbor message Basketball Playing in the Alley?
11:35 a.m.

That's cool that you were able to find that info and have that story. I hope to have a story further back once I figure out the Poland side of the equation.

I've been fortunate to visit Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and soon I'll be heading to China for business. I also don't count Canada and Mexico, and I've been to both. I'm lucky to be able to travel to a lot of different parts of our nation for my job...rural, small-town areas that I'd never care to or think to see otherwise. Not necessarily vacation destinations, necessarily, but it's still interesting.

I'm not so sure that us mountain folks have a great reputation, to be honest. ;) My grandfather appears to have come from a little village named Jurgow (Jurgova), and my grandmother from Nowy Sacz. Both way down south, not terribly far from the (now) ski resorts of Zakopane, from what I know.

Ah well...someday! :) It's more difficult with young kids. Maybe when they get older, we'll head over there and check it out...would be fun.

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
9:50 p.m.

@pattymelt: I'm sad to say that I'm not sure...I should know more than I do, but my grandma died when my dad was 12 and my grandpa when I was five. They were "off the boat" and we were a relatively Americanized family. But I think you may be right.

@grethomory: Yep, the mountain people... :) I believe we're Galician, by ethnicity...if that means/says anything. But i don't know for certain. Someday I want to go over to Poland and see what I can find out, if anything. I believe I know where my grandpa lived as a boy, but I don't know for sure. Someday, hopefully, I'll be able to find out more.

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
5:35 p.m.

If we need to call what we have a "gang issue" to get people mobilized and motivated, then so be it -- I'll even stoop to calling it a (gasp!) "crisis" if it means getting neighbors outside, paying attention, not allowing the corners, streets and alleys to be visited and taken over...I can live with that. But not if it's going to make people hide in their houses. Because that will be the real issue, if it were to happen.

11:28 p.m.

Polish Highlander a generation or two back in my blood... :)
Of course, that may not be a positive to some. Ha ha ha!

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
11:23 p.m.

Ha! No Poland anything on it (I would have kept it then! LOL...)

Not purple or black either. Sorry. :(

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
11:01 p.m.

@grethomory: Get a description and let me know...assuming he wants the old one back.

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
9:50 p.m.

@Joyce and @Ed, good luck in your search for those bikes...neither are the bike I have.

I'm going to monitor the "newswires" through the weekend, and if I don't see anything, I'm going to take it to the police station, as @Thomas suggested. I feel as though I'd get better acceptance of it than calling 311 or something else.

I appreciate the advice, everyone! Thanks!

— On the neighbor message Bike left on my property...
11:51 a.m.

Having grown up on the South Side (duh, handle...) and lived in Humboldt and Old Irving, and now in Portage, I don't see the same signs here that I saw down south. At least not in the 5.5 years I've been here.

What "gentrified" the SW Side was fear and white flight. I don't see people mass-exodus-ing here, the same way that everyone down south did back in the late 80s and 90s...there were signs then (decades of blockbusting, race riots, etc.) that built up a fear over time that was never addressed.

Trust me when I tell you that the occasional post like this and the handful-plus of people who say, "to hell with this place, it stinks" is NOT the kind of fear I'm talking about. I'm talking irrational, wholesale fear that drives into the very being of the neighborhood. And then the neighborhood changes virtually overnight (in my neighborhood's case, in less than a decade).

We don't really have that here in PP. Yes, caucasians are the majority (right???? i didn't double-check that fact), but there is a decent mix of ethnicities/races/cultures, so there really isn't that fear.

Yes, there have been issues, but there is too much magnetism drawing "yuppies" down Irving Park -- to most people way east and southeast, there isn't much "west of Western" -- but the Blue Line and Irving Park can be conduits to draw them out. Also, when they fall asleep drunk on the Addison bus after a Cubs game, they end up out here and realize they didn't fall into the Pacific.

We see it here on EveryBlock, as young families from east of here ask about the neighborhood all the time. Sure, there are spots that suck, but you get that even in the burbs.

Another thing to think about: The sheer population density (just thinking about multi-unit bldgs vs. single-family homes) out here really makes it hard for businesses to compare our neighborhood to a Bucktown/Wicker/Roscoe/etc.

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood going downhill
9:12 p.m.

I know that when I'm handed a card from a stranger telling me to check out a Web site, boy, I rush right to that site and buy/believe whatever it is they're selling.

Especially in an election year.

The only thing more believable than that is a post on EveryBlock. It MUST be true then!

— On the neighbor message Elected School Board
8:46 p.m.

@Rose is going to win at least two people over. Eventually.

By the way, wherever they get their records, it's not wife's salary is wrong. Take that for what it's worth.

— On the neighbor message Thank You Alderman Arena
12:49 a.m.

@Bob, I'm cool with getting rid of all the extra cars. Less traffic, more space. Problem is, the people who don't know what they're doing will be the ones who keep the cars.

— On the neighbor message neighbor with 2 cars
11:42 a.m.

I don't have a problem with where people park in as much as HOW people park...some folks need a refresher course on parallel parking, and/or need to go out and take a look at how long their vehicle is, really, and stop taking up two spots with one vehicle. That's the only thing that peeves me...

Thankfully, just about all my neighbors are good about this, but every now and then, there's a 3/4-of-a-car space open because somebody didn't pull up or back enough to create enough space.

— On the neighbor message neighbor with 2 cars
9:37 a.m.

@joyce: Unfortunately, with much of today's society, I think the owl would need to gouge out people's eyes with some death talons and the crying indian would need to shoot people with arrows to get anyone's attention for more than two seconds.

— On the neighbor message Liter on Agatite by OLV
11:23 p.m.

I know it was a phrase used in passing here, but I still don't get how people around here need, again, to be told to lock their (cars, doors, etc.) on occasion...

10:53 p.m.

@DarkAngel: I think at the end of the experiment, Salo the Tralfamadorian kills himself in despair.

— On the neighbor message neighbor with 2 cars
6:32 p.m.

@Anne (Dept. of S&S): No ill will meant by my comment, of course...just thought it was funny that it's not actually a grid in the actual webster's sense of the word.

I have no complaints about garbage collection either, and I don't expect to have any moving forward either...just changes my collection day earlier by one day, which is good, because Friday collection days stink. :)

6:19 p.m.

My last apartment, ages ago, was in "West Bucktown" nevermind the fact that it was a mere four blocks from Humboldt Park itself. Idiot realtors. LOL... :)

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood bounderies?
10:55 a.m.

Probably Jefferson Township, no?

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood bounderies?
9:14 a.m.

Ha ha more example of a "grid" not actually being a "grid"...Tuesday's pretty interesting.

How many years until the "grid" is gerrymandered just like the wards? :)

Too funny...

11:18 p.m.

@Josh: Before Ed died, I believe he was pretty hard up for money, so I wouldn't have even trusted him to creep around my property with a cardboard check -- might be up to no good. :)

— On the neighbor message There was a cop in my yard with gun drawn
9:20 a.m.

...and don't come south to Portage Park either. :)

— On the neighbor message tagged at Foster and Laramie
9:29 p.m.

I drive over to VCA on Elston and Addison -- but there are alternatives closer, and I wouldn't say, "Oh my gosh, you have to go there." However, if you don't find a place you particularly love, I've had no complaints in the 6 or 7 years I've taken two of my dogs there, so it would be worth your consideration if other options weren't what you liked.

— On the neighbor message Looking for a Veterinarian
9:26 p.m.

You know how I profile? I pay attention all the time I'm out in the yard or on the porch or looking out the window, or if I hear something outside, whether white, black, hispanic or otherwise, if I don't recognize you, I'll be watching you.

Race/color/creed/appearance doesn't have to have anything to do with it. If you know your neighbors/block, you have an idea when someone is "new" to the neighborhood, and if they're acting peculiar, you watch them until you can't see them anymore. Then you make a judgment call. Simple as that. It's not racial profiling, it's block profiling.

— On the neighbor message There was a cop in my yard with gun drawn
9:23 p.m.

Boy, it would be nice to have more than one sewer for our entire alley (way, way down at the other end of the block)...hope this is a trend. :) My yard floods just like your neighbor's yard, Paula.

— On the neighbor message 38th Ward | Alley Work
5:45 p.m.

Bummer, our alley needs work.

— On the neighbor message 38th Ward | Alley Work
9:21 a.m.

If you got enough interest from "subscribers" maybe you could collect advertising dollars from the stores or associated businesses? Or some combination of the two...

— On the neighbor message Have an idea - would there be interest?
10:37 a.m.

Smokey's BBQ, mentioned in a previous comment, is also on Northwest Highway at Austin, and it's pretty good...though it's actually a BBQ place.
5481 N. Northwest Highway

— On the neighbor message Smokey Joes on Addison
9:10 p.m.

Another vote for Xpert...they came out, installed an access point in our front yard and scoped and rodded the line with the city inspector present to check for damage out to the street. They found badly damaged tiles out in the street, which through the Private Drain Program, the city replaced free of charge to us. Xpert handled all the details and everything. Of course, I had to pay for the access installation, scope and rodding, but it was well worth it, as we've not had any clear-water backups since.

— On the neighbor message Preventative sewer maintenance
9:04 p.m.

I'm still confused as to why you believe you were profiled but won't explain what you think you look like in order to be profiled...such as, "I'm white, but I look like a dirty hippy," or "I'm Hispanic and sometimes am mistaken for a Native American" or "I'm 29 years old but I look 18 and so I get carded all the time." keep beating around the bush about being profiled, without really explaining what "profile" you think the owner slotted you into.

I have absolutely zero affiliation here, and have no inclination to even head over to that bar anyway, but my ears perk up when I hear folks saying they were profiled but not explaining in what way.

5:27 p.m.

Portage Park's has improved gradually over the years. A big help, I think, for foot traffic was the move last year to the Central side of the park (used to be on the other side). At least, in my view, it seems much better attended this year and late last. As attendance keeps up, I'm sure the vendor variety and selection will improve too, but I get a good handful of things I need from there, at good prices.

— On the neighbor message Farmers Markets in the area
9:56 p.m.

Love looking up and seeing "West Irving State Bank" up top the think, as long as that building remains, it will always pique the interest of any passerby who might happen to look up there...forever carved in the face of the building. It's cool, not-so-little-but-little-if-you're-in-a-hurry things like that that I love to "discover" randomly...

— On the neighbor message Irving and Austin Old Bank
9:54 p.m.

"One day a year" is the biggest b.s. statement's a week-long event, if not more than that.

Still confused as to whether blowing up fireworks makes someone feel like more of a man because you think you're harnessing an incendiary device, or more of a flash-in-the-pan pyrotechnic artist to many of these fools.

I will say, I like seeing the visual-based ones -- at least there's a payoff of sorts for the risk/noise. But the noise-only fireworks? I never saw any point to them.

— On the neighbor message (Illegal) Fireworks For Hire!
2:50 p.m.

@Gene: That's in case Woodfield Mall comes under attack...

— On the neighbor message Motorcade on the Kennedy
10:45 p.m.

@JCinthe20th: Kenji is right...this will, more or less, be a different state for you, if you're coming from down south. You should be able to handle just about anything.

I'd equate Portage Park to the neighborhoods around Midway, in terms of style...but not exactly. Off the top of my head, there isn't too many similar areas down south that I can think of that are similar to where we are now.

We're a few blocks southwest of the park itself and have few issues (though they are there). Nonetheless, a healthy dose of common sense and a watchful eye will keep you in good shape. You should be fine. Welcome to the neighborhood!

— On the neighbor message The scoop on the block
9:12 a.m.

Just keep in mind, Mike, that there seem to be more families moving in around here nowadays. Or at least it seems that every couple weeks, someone like you or CJ or someone else comes on here and asks about Portage Park in similar situations. My wife and I have been here five years (east of Thorp), and we got lucky and landed on a really good block. We have a facebook page with 20-something people on it, we've had two block sales and a few great block parties. Now, not everyone on the block participates or communicates or whatever -- in fact my half of the block is a lot of widows or empty-nesters and Polish folks who keep to themselves mostly. But they don't cause trouble, and that's nice.

My point is, if you really love the house, don't necessarily rule it out based on no kids being there (because that could change) or based on gangbangers walking down the block (because that happens throughout the neighborhood) or anything like that.

On the flip side, I suspect it's a buyer's market -- it's just a matter of inventory coming free to meet your desires...

I'd say move to our block, because we have a bunch of kids and it's a really diverse, friendly and safe (read: nosy to a point and involved neighbors) block, but I don't think there are any houses for sale. If I see one, I'll spread the word. :) By the way, I've posted on this before, but you (and a few others) are doing exactly what I'd hoped for when we bought our house out here: Wrigley-Roscoe apt./condo dwellers moving due west looking for more space and a nice neighborhood. So, spread the word and keep the pipeline going! LOL

— On the neighbor message Soon To Be Neighbors
9:01 a.m.

Yes, me and my four-year-old stopped by the market later in the day and it was pretty crowded -- more crowded than most. Indeed, the produce was limited, but it is early in the growing season, so I didn't expect much. Later in the season, I'm sure there will be more. Hopefully the attendance will keep up and the market, market that to draw more vendors.

— On the neighbor message THANK YOU!
10:46 p.m.

I think I still have the newspaper clippings somewhere from the August 87 storms. Of course, back then, Addison and the Kennedy was worlds and worlds away for my young South Side self... :)

— On the neighbor message Jeff Park Flood Proofing
10:20 p.m.

@Jovie: that's great news...I know if I were there, I'd have been freaking out. :)

— On the neighbor message Jeff Park Flood Proofing
12:20 p.m.

@Gene: That storm about near killed me here in Portage Park...not nearly to the extent of the Albany Parkers/North Mayfair residents who got the Chicago River in their living rooms, but it was pretty scary as a new homeowner. One of those "what have I purchased?" moments... :)

— On the neighbor message Jeff Park Flood Proofing
10:36 p.m.

I live on the southwest end of Portage Park, near Thorp, and I have no problem walking the neighborhood at all, and I wouldn't have a problem with my wife and kids doing the same. Of course, we're near-lifelong cityfolk, so as others have said, pay attention to your surroundings, don't let your guard down but do stop and smell the roses a little bit. It's a nice neighborhood. :)

— On the neighbor message Security Alarm Companies?
10:05 p.m.

Wow, that's shocking...I subscribed for a year, until I figured out that it was written and edited by and for people who believed the world ended west of Western Ave. and south of McCormick Place.

— On the neighbor message Portage Park featured on!
9:59 p.m.

Wow, selling cologne from a bike basket? That's a new one I'd never seen before...ha ha ha!

— On the neighbor message Gang Activity (Dakin / Lavergne)
9:43 p.m.

There's also something to be said about taking care of the little things as well as the big things. If the gangbangers see that the neighborhood CARES about such little stuff at flyers posted to garages by removing them/citing the perps/etc., maybe that will convince one or two or three of them to not bother with our neighborhood, because all of us, united, care about the way things look and the way things are. It won't keep them all or most of them away, but one or two is better than making the place look like a pigsty that nobody cares about or is too scared to do anything about.

Certainly, all the things you mentioned, Jo, are really, REALLY important comparatively to address. But sometimes wars are won by winning a bunch of little battles first, then taking on the big challenges with a stronger foundation under you.

— On the neighbor message Garage door postings (again)!
9:09 p.m.

What kind of school is CPS proposing there? High school? Grade school? Yet another "selective" enrollment? Just curious...

— On the neighbor message Chgo Reed Mental hosp
9:03 p.m.

I don't feel as though I have any choice at all for my kids, actually, because the system for selective enrollment is not unbiased and fair. Furthermore, the selective enrollment schools get and have far more resources than the neighborhood schools, easily. Part of why there are six of them in the top 10.

My choice is the same as the choice that suburbanites have, but on a smaller scale. Either my kids go to the neighborhood public school (farther away than two selective enrollment schools) or private school. As such, I pay double tuition.

— On the neighbor message Way to go CPS - 6 of the top 10!
5:37 p.m.

How long has the waiting list been, roughly, from when you called requesting the meter to when the work was actually done?

— On the neighbor message Water meter
5:29 p.m.

The big orange signs on the trees don't work?

If the city were smart, they'd start selling sponsorships on those signs. :)

— On the neighbor message plans?
9:38 p.m.

@NG: We had a very similar problem a couple years ago. We had clear water back up from our floor drains in the basement during a particularly heavy rain or two. When I went out and checked the catch basin in the backyard (mine's in back), it was full of water. No one else on the block was running around outside attempting to bail their basements out, so I assume I was the only one who had water at that time, plus there was no water standing in the street either.

Anyway, I had my entire line power-rodded and video-scoped to check the integrity of the line. I was afraid the line had collapsed somewhere on my property, and it turns out, the clay pipes had shifted to where the line was constricted severely -- fortunately this was out under the street. The city has the Private Drain Program by which they do the work to repair it, free of charge, so long as you follow the guidelines and the damage is on their portion of the line.

See the link:

I also had a cleanout installed in our front lawn for future use when the line had to be power-rodded again. I had Xpert Flood Control do the work, and I've been pleased with it (no water since, knock on wood). Even with the great job done, I have a strong sump pump ready at a moment's notice to drop down into the catch basin and evacuate the water in case of a major backup again. But I suspect that won't happen (again, knock on wood)...the line probably hadn't been cleaned out or inspected in ages, and it simply built up over time.

Anyway, had the damaged part of the line been on our portion, we would have had a serious issue on our hands. We only lost use of the drains in the house for a couple hours while the guys replaced the lines, and that was while we were at work, so no big deal. It took the city longer to come and patch the hole in the street than it did for them to get the sewer repaired.

— On the neighbor message Catch basin cleaning
9:31 p.m.

I can't wait until NoThanksgiving. I think I heard a rumor that EB is buying someecards in order to prepare for that new "Hallmark" holiday...

— On the neighbor message Thanks and No Thanks ?
12:06 a.m.

What if I log in and Thank somebody, but then my alter-ego logs in half an hour later and wants to No Thanks the same comment?

— On the neighbor message Thanks and No Thanks ?
8:44 p.m.

As far as I'm concerned, there isn't anything "wrong" with Smyser, Gray, etc., and the other neighborhood CPS schools around here, specifically in comparison to CPS schools (and other schools) in the rest of the city...

It's like jeb says, it's really a matter of finding a good match for your kid(s). I just completely disagree with the magnet/charter process at its core -- the fact that my kids don't have a fair shot (and they don't) at attending the school closest to our home, when we've worked hard to purchase a home in a nice neighborhood for the schools and the safety and all that really irks the hell out of me. I would sacrifice Thorp's fancy programs to make it a neighborhood school just so we'd be able to send our kids to school right down the block. Alas, that will probably never happen.

Furthermore, that CPS continues to pour its highest priority and marketing into these schools, rather than use that effort/funding/innovation to make all neighborhood schools better, irks me even more. The only reason CPS has to bus kids to magnet/charter schools is because it has basically given up on making those kids' neighborhood schools reach the level that would serve these kids well. If they were ALL great schools, they wouldn't need to be bused anywhere -- and neither would my kids.

None of this is groundbreaking or innovative thinking...but I felt the need to share where I'm coming from as far as my claim of B.S.

— On the neighbor message Chicago Academy and Thorp Experiences?
10:33 p.m.

Back in my parents' neighborhood on the southwest side, for the longest time a few years ago, there was an independent ice cream truck guy who lived down the block. He was respectful, time-wise, but his truck was hilarious. He only had Christmas carols on it. Nothing like a little jingle bells in the middle of summer...

— On the neighbor message Ice Cream
10:19 p.m.

I just wish I drove a tank or a monster truck. Nobody would dare get in the way then.

10:03 p.m.

Nothing personal to anyone here, but I think it's interesting (B.S.) that someone two blocks away got into Thorp before someone 5 houses away. Such a bunch of bull...

— On the neighbor message Chicago Academy and Thorp Experiences?
11:11 a.m.

I thought I had heard something, but I was in my basement and thought it was just that someone had slammed their car door outside really hard. Sorry I can't be of more help...

12:12 a.m.

I don't know -- tank-cars certainly came back though...I rode around in my buddy's 79 Bonneville, as well as his uncle's 70-something Malibu, and we felt indestructible. In fact, he decided to do donuts in a snowed-over parking lot one time, forgetting that there were parking blocks in the center of the lot. We side-swiped those things so hard, I'm surprised we didn't knock the axle and wheels out the side.

Good thing there were no cameras then. :)

8:58 p.m.

Hey Gene, I think that you (we...I'm not that young) didn't have to wear seatbelts back then because those tanks wouldn't flip over if you tried. Today, cars are so light, a stiff breeze blows them over. :)

8:09 p.m.

@chicago girl: I'd beg them to tape it to my porch stoop. Of course, that's concrete, so the tape can't damage it. :)

— On the neighbor message Garage door postings (again)!
8:33 a.m.

My apologies...I see you did not necessarily call the police. But they did wake you up to inform you of your garage incident. I just wanted to make sure I clarified that part.

— On the neighbor message Garage door postings (again)!
11:03 p.m.

@Jo: What if there was a shooting in the neighborhood when your garage was tagged and rammed into? Would you calling the police be a waste of their time because it takes them away from more important things such as a shooting?

It's a matter of personal perspective. If you like the flyers on your garage, then by all means, let them wallpaper your door and pull all the paint off when you remove them. I, for one, don't need to have masking tape pulling the paint off my garage, especially once I get around to repainting the thing because of their persistent defacing of my property.

Nevermind the previously mentioned aspect of it actually being a crime.

Furthermore, give the alderman some credit. If it was a waste of his time to address this, I'm sure he'd ignore the problem as a bunch of people whining about stupid stuff. As it is, this is the kind of group effort this neighborhood needs...residents working to get information to the alderman/authorities, who then embark upon a "sting" to get the crime -- petty or not -- stopped.

As for whether it's legit business, a cover for casing garages or some mix of both, I personally would rather not take the chance that they're watching my garage to see how often I use it, or how often I'm in the alley checking things out, and the like. If you want me to consider doing business with you, drop your flyer in my mailbox like the rest of the junk mail. It was genius marketing the first time you did it. Now, it's annoying, criminal and damaging in some cases (such as mine).

— On the neighbor message Garage door postings (again)!
11:01 p.m.

Keep an eye on Craigslist too...seems that bungalow doors (typically interiors, though) come up there relatively regularly...

— On the neighbor message Old Chicago bungalow doors?
10:41 p.m.

Be prepared, @Inactive, beef prices are going to go up...herd numbers are down this year, and exports are growing. Beef prices in the U.S. are going to go up across the board. At least that's what the industry and analysts are predicting...

— On the neighbor message wheres the beef?
11:03 p.m.

Agree with @kenji...the differences between the three spots you highlight are really not that big, so you can't really go wrong in this general area. From my perspective, I'd say you probably get a more "urban, commercial" feel (to a point, though) the closer to Milwaukee you get (Six Corners/Jeff Park area), whereas out by Central/Austin and IP (where I'm at), there's a little less of what you might call "hustle and bustle"...but again, the differences are really negligible in that realm and some of the newer IP businesses are starting to bring more "window shopper" potential that the Milwaukee corridor might have.

— On the neighbor message Where to buy a house
10:14 a.m.

@kenji: Any knowledge as to where this 14-year-old lives? Just wondering if he's a neighborhood kid

11:04 a.m.

Just not looking forward to the B.S. process. Our son couldn't get into Chicago Academy for pre-K because we're too far away...even though we're not that far. I have low hopes for Thorp even though we are a block away. So I'm prepared that we'll be forced to pay for our kids' schooling, at the end of the day. Bunch of B.S.

— On the neighbor message Chicago Academy and Thorp Experiences?
12:10 a.m.

So the $30,000 question is, how were you all able to get your kids in either of those schools?

— On the neighbor message Chicago Academy and Thorp Experiences?
8:52 p.m.

AWESOME! Hahahahahaha! I love the "sting"...great work!

— On the neighbor message Excessive Garage postings
9:55 p.m.

I feel bad for the kids, that's it. Though I will say, hopefully they'll learn from their father's mistakes and be much finer upstanding citizens.

A 1 a.m. shooting in a garage sounded awfully peculiar to me...glad my instincts proved me right, in a sense. Didn't think the guy was out there changing his oil.

— On the neighbor message Neighbor just gunned down in his garage
12:08 p.m.

Until we get the full story, or at least close to it, I reserve my right to not worry about this as much as the gunfire next to the park a few weeks ago. This sounds pre-meditated, targeted and isolated to me -- possibly a "get-together" gone wrong -- as opposed to the idiots firing wildly near a busy park. Of course, chicago girl, I feel bad for you and your neighbors, having to deal with this directly...

— On the neighbor message Neighbor just gunned down in his garage
10:41 a.m.

Oh, and thanks Ald. Tim, for addressing this...hopefully it does the's been insane recently.

— On the neighbor message Excessive Garage postings
9:16 p.m.

FYI, I actually saw a person walking the alley this morning, posting these, around 7:30 a.m. or so. I was going to say something, but I figured they'd pull the "no habla" crap and pretend they didn't hear me or didn't understand me. Plus, the person had earbuds in anyway, so I doubt they'd have heard me.

And, surprise, surprise, the tape pulled off a little more of the paint. I'm thinking about posting a sign on my own garage, in English and Spanish, saying, "Attention: You are being videotaped and I will call police and prosecute. Do not post flyers to garage." Probably won't make a difference, but hey, who knows...

— On the neighbor message Excessive Garage postings
9:16 p.m.

Yeah, the paint thing ticks me off more than anything. My door framework needs a new coat of paint, but I'm hesitant to put it on knowing that these idiots' tape is going to ruin it right off the bat.

— On the neighbor message Excessive Garage postings
9:23 p.m.

Thank you everyone, for your insight. It's just what I was looking for...a nice, varied set of opinions. Definitely, we plan to check these schools out for ourselves, but I wanted to find out more about these two first, as we'd not really heard anything on either (while others, we'd heard things from folks we know...some good things, some bad).

This helps tremendously, so thank you all!

— On the neighbor message Constance or Bellarmine?
9:36 p.m.

I've been doing some on-again/off-again tree research for my own backyard, and found this site to be a pretty good start for narrowing down potential trees that might work for the situation. Of course, you have to google the trees that fit your criteria to find out what they look like, but it's a nice site to start with, in my opinion:

— On the neighbor message Trees
9:39 p.m.

I certainly wouldn't vote for someone running for office in a city that he/she thinks is apparently more than 300 years old, and thinks the city burned down in the 1980s. Whether or not that is a harbinger of bad service or not, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that the person couldn't have, you know, done some research on the things he/she was citing.

It's pretty easy to find things nowadays, like when the Chicago fire happened and when the city was incoporated. I'm not asking politicos to know these things by heart, but if you're putting out a newsletter, don't make it look like you just threw things together off the cuff -- it makes me think that's how you'll do business or treat constituents. Off the cuff, who cares, just collect a paycheck. Whether true or not, it's about the appearance. You can always tell when someone took the time to do something right, no matter what the craft/business/communication.

FYI, for full disclosure, I'm in the publishing business, so accuracy is, for me, a big deal.

— On the neighbor message This week's 30th Ward Newsletter, unedited
12:58 p.m.

3 decades ago?
By 1700?


— On the neighbor message This week's 30th Ward Newsletter, unedited
10:23 p.m.

Funny thing is, DA, I read it in the Preview mode or whatever, and it didn't read that way. It wasn't until the third time, after I posted, that I was like, "Wait a minute..." Ah well...happy Friday to everyone I guess...and good luck.

6:22 p.m.

Oh, I should clarify that my grandparents passed away 20 years ago...I wouldn't be putting my grandparents out on the street. :) I just read that over, and I guess it sounded that way. Ha ha ha ha!

5:04 p.m.

Those of you who are set to restore bungalows, count me in. In fact, if you win, hire me full-time. Even though I'll know how much money you have, I won't demand a high salary. Ha HA! :) :)

I would move my parents out of their house on the South Side and get them out of there. If the house sells, great...if not, I have plenty of money to pay someone to live there and watch over it (anti-rent)...I'd also walk up to my grandparents old, beautiful bungalow in Chicago Lawn, ring the doorbell and tell them, here's $250k. You have a week to move out. Then I'd restore that house to its former glory (it looks bad today), have one last big party in it for relatives and turn around and sell it.

Then, a friend of mine lives in Bolingbrook and has a beautiful acre out there. I would buy his property, demo and build a new house there for him to live in rent-free. He's a great guy that hasn't caught a lot of breaks in his life, and he has done a ton for me.

I'd like to say that I'd stay in Portage Park, b/c really, I do love it. But being completely realistic, I want land...I want a big backyard, and while I am blessed to have what I do have and am not complaining, with the prospect of holding several dozen million dollars, I can't believe I wouldn't move out to the burbs somewhere. I love the city, but I gotta be realistic. If I stayed in the city, I'd have to find a HUGE lot to live on. Anyway, wherever it is, I'm also paranoid, so I'd probably hire a full-time bodyguard to live with us. :)

Beyond that, who knows what, exactly, I'd do...donate like hell, get my name on some things, I'm sure (not that I need the name recognition, but sometimes that comes with the territory -- "in loving memory of Ursula," anyone?)...and give plenty to family and true friends.

5:01 p.m.

I use nail clippers and a ruler to cut the that wrong? ;)

— On the neighbor message Extension Office?
5:01 p.m.

A few years ago, the HIP had some antique/street rod car show up on the upper level of the parking deck...don't remember any of the details, but there were quite a few cars in most of Kohl's lot over there...they looked great too. The old and new ones...a good mix of both.

— On the neighbor message Neighborhood Old Car Show
9:48 p.m.

Oh, and sorry for spelling Thorp as though it was Jim Thorpe...I should know better. :)

— On the neighbor message Good News?????
10:16 p.m.

Sorry I didn't post the link to my Flickr garden (there are a few "around the house" photos in there too) set...there are several hundred in there, so you can "weed" through whatever you'd like, to kind of see the evolution of my perennial/natives garden. Again, it's not purely natives, but the majority is. Here you go:

— On the neighbor message Turf other than Kentucky Bluegrass?
9:43 p.m.

My good news about the neighborhood comes every day. I walk my dog twice a day around Thorpe -- just started doing this when we got the pup at Christmas. My old dog was, well, old, and I had not been able to walk him for years. So getting this pup has been great for exercise and for getting out and walking the neighborhood around the house. But, during the winter months, it gets kind of lonely out there. Even when you see someone, it's too danged cold to stop and uncover your face to say hello... :)

I'm not surprised at all, but the warm weather has brought out the good people of the neighborhood, and people aren't afraid to make eye contact, stop and talk, introduce their dogs to yours, etc., etc. Even the "yutes"...

For all the criminals and scary people supposedly wandering our streets, there are certainly more nice people. It just takes some friendliness in return -- a simple good morning or hello, or even the macho head nod -- to feel good about things.

— On the neighbor message Good News?????
9:22 p.m.

Oh, and I wish I had room for some Big it. But I'm out of space at the moment...

— On the neighbor message Turf other than Kentucky Bluegrass?
8:21 a.m.

The first three on jersey mike's list, I can back up with my own observations. The first year of planting the perennials/natives that I have, they needed water, but last year, I barely watered them at all...once they're established, they're good to go. And pesticide and fertilizer-free! I concur with the other points, but the first three are key for many gardeners, because so many want "low maintenance" gardens...natives are the answer. :)

— On the neighbor message Turf other than Kentucky Bluegrass?
8:20 a.m.

You can also check out Earthwild Gardens up in Grayslake,

Mike, your garden looks excellent...Over the last five years, I've adopted a similar strategy with our backyard strip between the sidewalk and neighbor's fence, and hope to do mostly natives on the front yard too. I'd do the whole backyard, but I have two very young sons and a dog, and they need room to roam. :)

I don't have ALL natives, but just about everything I have is "prairie" plants...lots of butterfly-loving plants, to where, actually, I had a huge amount of Monarchs last year and a handful of swallowtails too, which was nice. All extremely hardy perennials and they take little maintenance. The most I have to do is cut back what the birds don't take in the springtime. If you're interested, I have pictures on Flickr also...under the same name as my EB handle.

— On the neighbor message Turf other than Kentucky Bluegrass?
9:56 p.m.

Jeff Park Gardner, do you have any photos of the finished "products"??? Would be interested to see the work done.

10:29 p.m.

I would think you could probably threaten to call the cops for harrassing you, and they'd go away...and if not, then call the cops.

And I don't want to hear about taking cops away from more serious crimes possibly being committed. You shouldn't even get to the stage of actually calling the cops if the people are smart. The threat alone should do the trick.

Just a thought...

— On the neighbor message Door to Door Soliciting AT &T
10:27 p.m.

Thank God! Two extra days of school a year...that'll fix the entire problem! Look out Asia! Our kids are going to be blowing your kids away in a few generations.

And, anyone who thinks the kids will learn about Pulaski on Pulaski Day is delusional...half the teachers probably don't even know who Pulaski is.

— On the neighbor message Doing away with Pulaski Day
10:25 p.m.

Honestly, I think if you left them in the alley, the scrappers would have them outta there within an hour. Seriously, they move FAST.

— On the neighbor message Metal recycling?
10:19 p.m.

We had our brick bungalow roof (including a low-slope dormer) redone when we first moved in as well, and then last summer we had our garage roof redone too, both by the same company, Nyberg Exteriors. Stuart was honest, a nice guy and a great guy to work with to where I didn't even bid out my garage project last year -- just gave them the business. Stuart is local to Old Irving Park, and his brother is local to Palatine, I believe. Check them out among your bids...also, the person who mentioned deck replacement is spot on. Make sure you factor in over-budget for deck replacement. We had to replace some 225 linear feet of decking when they did ours. Lots of rot and bad stuff under three layers of shingles.

— On the neighbor message Roof advice please!
9:08 p.m.

I partially disagree, in that many of these problems start with the parents and the family at home at an early age. Too many parents want to either be their kids' best friend or plan out their kid's lives for them with no regard for what the kid wants.

However, in agreement with what you all are saying, the main problem comes when the kids are ready to "leave the nest" (whether the parents are ready or not). There needs to be a support system beyond the home. Sadly, for a lot of these kids, that support system isn't there, or the options that are there aren't "cool" or attractive to them. Because so many parents find it hard to connect with their children as they get older, they're grasping at straws to find something for their kids to do, and many of those options aren't what the kid likes.

So, the support system they turn to is the gangs. Hell, it's attractive to some kids in comparison to other options. Straightforward rules, straightforward consequences, "easy" acceptance into a community/group, friends already involved.

Maybe, rather than trying to pigeonhole their kids into activities (whatever those may be), parents ought to ask their kids what they want to do and then support it and find a way to make it happen. Treat them like they're smart and their opinions are worthwhile or worth a try...give them respect, and they'll develop it for themselves as well.

This won't work for every kid, of course, but it's worth a try for most.

10:46 a.m.

SunPorchGirl, I'm with I said, I really hope this trend, which has taken entire neighborhoods down south by storm, does not take hold up here...whether it's ugly wood six feet high or wrought iron or otherwise...good fences make good neighbors, sure, but there is something way off-putting about the front lot fences. Maybe I'm old-school or should move to a farm, but the open spaces out front are nice to have and see...

— On the neighbor message Today's Funny Post
8:54 p.m.


I really hope that people don't start this front-yard fence trend up here. Lord, I hope that stays away.

— On the neighbor message Today's Funny Post
10:58 a.m.

Thanks, Ald. Tim, for the insight, the information and for your proactive work in keeping our neighborhood safe. Certainly, we will always have some idiots who commit crimes even when there are officers (how ever many) nearby, but I know you understand where we're coming from, given your attempt at speed-camera wheeling and dealing (nice play, by the way...common sense, but nice play nonetheless).

I hope that it results in something positive for the district at the end of the day.

10:55 a.m.

I had an older Speedstream modem from AT&T DSL, which I signed up for around 2007 here at the house, and it kept crapping out last year. Called AT&T and they were surprised I still had that modem, and suggested I get a new one, because the speedstream was going to just die one day and leave us high and dry. I bought a new one (the ones they sell at Best Buy) and have had no problems since.

— On the neighbor message Internet Service options?
10:44 a.m.

Ald. Cullerton, we've got to get our beat cops back in the district. The shifting of them to higher crime areas was a mistake to begin with, compounded by the P.R. lunacy of actually announcing it to the public (which includes criminals).

While our neighborhood still only has these isolated incidents, and thus is a great place to live, the criminals know the facts. And no matter how awesome the few beat cops we have left in our district are (thanks to them, by the way, if they're reading!), it's simple science that they can't respond quickly to multiple isolated incidents going on at the same time.

I hope this is something you'll push hard for -- of course, with all the shootings that come with the nice weather, I'm probably not the lone voice in the city calling for such things.

10:25 p.m.

These folks are at the Bungalow Expo every year, and they've done seminars through the HCBA as well. I've not purchased their window boxes (plan on building one myself out of some 8-foot long wooden boxes I bought from Borders for $10 when they went out of business), so I can't give you a review, but they look pretty solid in person and the designs are pretty cool (to me, at least)...Urban Prairie Planters

— On the neighbor message Bungalow Planters
9:41 p.m.

I haven't been to the Independence Park one, but I do like the vendors at the Portage Park Farmers Market very much...I get a lot of what I want/need there, though I wish the meat offerings were a little more.

— On the neighbor message Suggestions for good farmers market
6:03 p.m.

Good luck and hopefully an "advance welcome" to the neighborhood...

10:40 p.m.

christos, with that attitude, I hope you become a neighbor of mine. LOL!

8:21 p.m.

P, absolutely, but that's an entirely different discussion. ;) (Full disclosure, my wife is a teacher, so I'm in total agreement on this!)

My end comment was more a sarcastic jab at the fact that no matter what CPS does, someone will find some way in which their kid is getting hosed by the system. Isn't our competitive society awesome? :)

8:19 p.m.

Yeah, if it's black and nasty, then it's not likely blocked. My problem was crystal clear, ice cold water that backed up. We did have a root problem, but the line was really constricted too, so thankfully, we got that problem fixed. Our basement was finished and I remodeled it a little bit, so I'm hoping that we stay water-free from here on out. I've also bought a sump pump that I can drop in my catch basin in an emergency situation in the hopes that it keeps things dry. We shall see, of course... Good luck!

8:04 p.m.

I'm no plumber/flood control guy, but based on our similar problem a couple years ago, I would suggest having the line power-rodded first.

Possibly, you could do it in conjunction with the city's private drain program, mostly because, if they find that there is sewer damage out on the city's portion, they repair it at no cost to you.

We had the same thing happen at our place, and after power-rodding, the problem went away until the next spring. We had more water, so we did the Drain Program thing after being introduced to it by the power-rodding company. They sank a camera down the line and found that the clay pipe had shifted out under the street, so the line actually was constricted quite a bit. Of course, if the damage is on your part of the line, that will suck, but if the power-rodding doesn't do the trick, you may have some damage, so you'll have to sink a camera down the line to see it.

We used Xpert Flood Control to handle the power-rodding and dealing with the intricacies of the program, and had no problems. My folks then also used them for a catch-basin related project and had some communication issues at first (slow to call back and things like that), but what they did for both of us have worked just fine.

So I wouldn't give them five stars, but they were good because they took care of the whole program details so I didn't have to worry at all about it.

12:20 p.m.

@M: We're on the same page, but choosing a different adventure at the end of the page. I agree that the single-parent, molested, crossfire-dodging excellent student should have the same access to the educational resources as the pampered, tutored, dual-income excellent student. Doesn't always happen, but sure, I can get on board with the possibility being important.

The difference is, the tier system is not the answer, and because of the statistics you brought up yourself -- not enough space for all the supposedly qualified students (simply academically) to get in. Thus, the tier system is not corrupt (agree with you) but it is tremendously flawed and not a logical solution. Add that it creates more problems in the way of ill will toward the city by its residents, and my common-sense alarms go off.

Fix the neighborhood schools instead, and then a far, far greater percentage of those students get the same opportunities across the board, without the stress of worrying about finding "the best" school that they have access to. Again, I know that sadly that won't happen, but I stand by that thought.

That is, until parents start complaining about the individual teacher their student gets compared to other teachers in the system.

12:10 p.m.

@M, I totally agree with you that you don't always get your top choice, and my sons will learn that as they go. I didn't always get my top choice.

However, it's not that the system is corrupt (which I'm sure CPS is, of course, but that's no surprise), it's the CONCEPT that I cannot stand and do not agree with.

Imagine if CPS put 3/4 of the effort they put into these charters/magnets/selective enrollment schools into the neighborhood schools instead? Imagine if all these magnet/charter teachers taught at neighborhood schools rather than their current facilities? Maybe then there would be no need to ship smart, qualified, different-tiered students out of their neighborhoods to get good opportunities.

So, because CPS cannot figure out how to make the neighborhood schools in the all tiers better (in particular the lower tiers, as the media would represent best), they create this magnet/charter system and effectively punish the very people they'd like to have living in the city. That doesn't even include teacher/cop/fire families who are making a decent wage and are required to live in the city. And I mean folks in all tiers, of all races and creeds. They want to stop an exodus of residents to the suburbs, but they continue to give people plenty of reasons to leave -- those who can.

Unfortunately, this will never change, as the rules of supply and demand come into play, plus the current administration appears to believe that these types of schools are the future. I just wish they'd focus on making the neighborhood schools EVERYWHERE (lower and upper tiers) a destination of choice, rather than sending the kids to school outside the neighborhood as the perceived successful outcome.

9:52 a.m.

@odette said it best, "We are being punished for having bought a house in a safer neighborhood."
But I have a different belief than it's not fair...but in order to avoid being censored, I cannot share my real thoughts.

My sons would have been better off educationally if I lived where my parents still live and I grew up. Of course, in that neighborhood, there'd be no guarantee they'd live to make it to the high school level.

How stupid and backward is that? Oh, wait, it's CPS, where they are giving everyone a fair shot at good schooling without actually giving everyone a fair shot.

8:09 p.m.

Like Stacey T and Mo G., we live within a block of Thorpe and we love it. We've been here five years this May and have a 4-year-old and 1-year-old. We're not looking forward to being rejected by Thorpe (as we've already been rejected by nearby Chicago Academy) when it's time for Kindergarten, but beyond that, I really love the block we live on and the neighborhood overall. It's really safe, so long as you take what you read here on EveryBlock with a grain of salt and be aware of your surroundings.

Keep in mind, your neighborhood/block/etc. is often what you make of it and what you're used to. You can't really predict or control whom your neighbors are, but @odette mentioned one thing we looked for when home-shopping, and that was that we wanted something on a block of single-family homes nowhere near any two-flats or apt-style buildings. You can find some really good blocks like that around here.

That said, this is definitely a city neighborhood, so you need to pay attention and such. I grew up in a much, much rougher area that wasn't as rough when I was younger but changed within the span of a decade as the gang territories shifted and new people flooded into the neighborhood while the older residents bailed en masse. I don't get that same vibe here, yet...but again, I live on what is a pretty darned good block, which has a great block party and a Facebook group page and all that, which always helps. Of course, there are neighbors that no one knows, but that's always going to be the case. It happens.

Finally, I walk my dog early in the morning and in the evening around Thorpe and through the nearby neighborhood and never do I feel unsafe.

Anyway, you're helping to keep the neighborhood vibrant anyway by being a "new young family" that moves in (rather than move out to the 'burbs, for whatever reasons).

7:45 p.m.

"Honey, why do none of the electronics work?"
"Hmmm, I guess someone tried to break into Gene K.'s house...."

— On the neighbor message how do you defend yourself and your family?
10:11 p.m.

I have an assortment of ideas, but I'm not going to share them in case @Inactive User decides to try it. ;) LOL

— On the neighbor message how do you defend yourself and your family?
5:23 p.m.

@JenMcG, it's easily a "Medill F" where I come from...

— On the neighbor message Strong-arm robberies in Jeff/Portage Parks
10:14 p.m.

The media is just as infected by the "west of Western" syndrome that affects many residents...if it's out here, they've never been and thus can't get the neighborhoods right many times.

— On the neighbor message Strong-arm robberies in Jeff/Portage Parks
8:58 a.m.

We are actually a "dual-citizenship" household here, because my wife is a Cubs fan, and I can't change that. :)

— On the neighbor message Sox fans in Jeff Park?
8:56 a.m.

@Inactive, you're absolutely right. Twice I've found things expired on the shelves there. Once was medicine (forgot what, cough syrup or something), the other time was fruit. Both were expired by months. I found a worker and said, "Um, you might want to get rid of those and tell whoever is responsible for this aisle to do a better job of checking the dates."

Definitely always check the best by dates, no matter where. These places have hundreds of items and can't be expected to keep up on this stuff. They SHOULD, but they don't or can't.

— On the neighbor message Dunkin Donuts on Irving/Lavergne
10:39 p.m.

@Fischman: If you have any "Sox Specials" nights or weekend games, be sure to send a message here so that those of us who might enjoy such events can know. :)

— On the neighbor message Sox fans in Jeff Park?
8:32 p.m.

I was wondering the same thing. Bungalow, paying about $500 a year. Currently have two little ones who will grow up faster than fast, so I was curious if this would be worth it. So, I too will be reading the responses here.

— On the neighbor message Let's talk water meters
8:30 p.m.

@christos: No, check out not "some" but ALL of the ways that animals are destroyed for food, then make an educated decision. I've seen good processors/farmers/ranchers do these things first-hand. Just because activists and the media show you the bad apples (which, admittedly, there are, and they should be punished severely) doesn't mean all of them operate that way.

Being well-informed allows you to put the bad apples out of business by refraining from buying/consuming their product without punishing the people who do things humanely. I'd suggest starting by searching for "Temple Grandin" and go from there, if you don't know whom that is.

— On the neighbor message Public subsidy to animal testing lab
10 p.m.

I'm glad to hear about all the folks considering bees...I have always wondered where the honey bees that love my Anise Hyssop plant come from, so it'll be nice to "supply" some nectar sources for more local beekeepers via my most native perennials. I'd raise bees myself, but I couldn't find a good place to keep them around here, to be honest...every square inch of my postage stamp yard (like all of yours, mostly) is pretty much spoken for.

— On the neighbor message Three Questions...
9:52 p.m.

As per my username, you can probably figure out I'm such a fan. Grew up 10 minutes from the park. Still get to half a dozen to a dozen games a year, as my bro is a split-season ticket holder (I went in with him long ago but had to get out at one point). Though I'm not in Jeff Park, I'm just "up the street" in Portage Park...will have to put Fischman on my list of "go-to" places for viewings. Hopefully we'll have some "key" games to attend this year...we shall see.

— On the neighbor message Sox fans in Jeff Park?
9:44 p.m.

S.L. Ick: For chicken raising stuff, if you can, go to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, which is coming up in a couple weeks. At least check out who's exhibiting.

Last year I went and there was a big chicken coop display and stuff. Here's a link to a picture or two that I shot at the show, because a friend's dad was interested as well.

Maybe you can get some decent ideas, or find a way to mimic some of the techniques if you're building from scratch...

As for yoga, I can't help ya...nor do I have any construction projects happening around here. Sorry. :)

— On the neighbor message Three Questions...
6:41 p.m.

So, I'm not sure how this saves fuel...if I work a four-day workweek, and I confined to my home that fifth day? Because, well, I'll still be driving somewhere probably that day anyway, just enjoying where I'm driving instead of not enjoying it. Also, in terms of electricity, I'm turning on lights at home and watching TV at home that fifth day, instead of turning on lights and using a computer at work.

Sounds like a wash to me, at least to approach it from an energy-consumption standpoint. Just my two cents. Maybe I'm missing something.

6:34 p.m.

@Brian: Your post reminded me of this, one of my favorites from The Onion:,560/

— On the neighbor message Starbucks in the Neighboorhood
7:10 p.m.

@Kathy...haven't seen it yet, but if it's one of those median planters, wait until summer/fall when it's planted with tallgrass and the like. They are beautiful, no doubt, but they should have had the common sense to stop them a good 10 yards shorter than they have in most cases, because they block line of sight in many instances.

Of course, if you're talking about something else, I stand down my statements. LOL...

— On the neighbor message Center Island
6:45 p.m.

@christos and @maryann: Giordano's was closed for a long time (nearly a year, maybe?) as they remodeled the entire building, but they've been open and just as good as ever for more than a year now. It's still there and still as good as ever. :)

— On the neighbor message Lunch on a Saturday Afternoon
9:37 p.m.

When do the police finally figure it out or get wind of this and "stake out" the area? Not being snotty or sarcastic, honestly wondering...

— On the neighbor message Here we go again...
6:27 p.m.

You think she might have included that on the note, originally, you know, rather than causing stress to you by being vague. I wish people would realize that, often, if you just explain the situation to people instead of making demands, those people are usually a little more receptive to change. :) Glad you got it worked sure did sound like an Onion article. Though not as much as an asthmatic insulation company owner.

— On the neighbor message Streets and Sanitation
7:40 p.m.

I second Wonderworks...a friend has their kid's birthday party there and both my sons (4 and 1) enjoy it -- the older one moreso, but there's enough for the one-year-old as well.

— On the neighbor message New to the Neighborhood
10:14 p.m.

@legaldiva. I've lived in Gage Park (SW Side), Humboldt Park (near the park itself), Old Irving and now my family and I are in Portage Park, south of Irving. A friend of mine lived in Rogers Park for a few years. To reaffirm what others have said, Portage is far more quiet and "suburban" than Rogers, for sure.

I walk my dog in the evenings and don't see many people out and about (of course, it's the dead of winter, I get that), but even many times in the summer, I can go out on my porch at, say, 8 or 9 p.m. and be surrounded by peace and quiet. It's nice.

We have been here exactly five years in May. We don't regret living here at all. Of course, like any other place in the city, obviously, it will be based on two things: 1. how your neighbors/blockmates are, and 2. what you make of it. I have excellent neighbors who communicate and have a Facebook group page as well, which is nice.

If you close off yourself to your neighbors, obviously, that's no good. But I've found that it's a pretty friendly, and family-friendly, neighborhood, for sure. Heck, since I started walking our new puppy about a month and a half ago, I've actually had strangers on my walk say "good morning" and "hello" and me back. How about that! :)

I'm not the person to ask about crime and gangs -- given my history, I'm living in paradise now. But, remember, it's the city, and there's crimes all over. If you don't give them an opportunity, they are fewer and farther between.

PP of course isn't utopia and never will be. There are things that stick in my craw, but they are little, petty things, and I choose to get around them and/or let them go. For the most part, it's a really great place.

Finally, good luck in your search, and I'm glad to see several people on here saying they're moving to Portage Park -- sounds to me like a less stagnant housing market may be developing, albeit ever so slowly! :) Not that we're in the market to sell, of course. :)

— On the neighbor message Guidance on Portage Park from the locals?
6:44 p.m.

CJ...Giordano's is awesome. We are a few blocks south of it, and it's nice to have it within walking distance (though not so much in this weather). There was a pizza thread on here several weeks ago that you might poke around and try to find, full of a multitude of options. I believe it was started around the topic of Toppers opening up over by Jewels.

— On the neighbor message New to the Neighborhood
6:30 p.m.

Kathy: Yep, that's her: norske2383

— On the neighbor message Avon Store
9:35 a.m.

kenji: I'd like a tutorial, but I don't know how to use the phone. Can you Pony Express me the instructions? :)

— On the neighbor message CRIME ALERT
9 p.m.

A woman down the block from me near Warwick and Austin sells Avon...I can alert her to this post, if you want, as she's on here occasionally.

— On the neighbor message Avon Store
8:57 p.m.

Welcome to the neighborhood...

— On the neighbor message New to the Neighborhood
8:55 p.m.

@MaggieC: Yeah, and don't get me wrong, I don't blame people for being paranoid about the cameras and using the countdown. I just hate that the government has basically created a different kind of dangerous situation when they probably thought they were enhancing safety. :)

— On the neighbor message Traffic Cameras - Milwaukee & Montrose
9:08 a.m.

As a pedestrian, the countdown is great, though I can still pick up the pace if the light turns yellow while I'm in the intersection if need be.

As a driver who has been behind other drivers who are clearly watching the countdown and virtually stopping at the intersection when the countdown hits 1 (still green), I hate it. I've noticed this at Irving and Austin and Irving and Narragansett a few times, where there's clearly visible countdowns and a sensitive red-light camera system.

Would be nice if they could figure out a way to make said countdown visible to pedestrians but not drivers. There are a whole host of problems that could be created by a driver looking at that countdown off to the side, rather than dead-center -- aside from the stopping at the intersection while the light is technically still green (albeit for one second prior to yellow).

Fortunately, I pay attention when I drive, but in this world of distracted driving, we're looking at a lot of pain and heartache for someone who gets rear-ended (even though it wouldn't be their fault, technically speaking). And each time I've had to hit the brakes early to stop behind one of these folks, I've hoped that the person behind me is paying attention too.

— On the neighbor message Traffic Cameras - Milwaukee & Montrose
9:29 p.m.

"So often that you won't even notice it."

— On the neighbor message Buying a home
10:55 p.m.

@Stacey, no offense, but your final sentence, in which you use "all" and "agree" made me laugh. You realize this is EveryBlock, where those two words are not allowed to be used in conjunction? :) :) :)

To the point of the hour. I was thinking about why Six Corners would need another grocery/food store at all, with Jewel and Family Fruit Market nearby. I agree that it would make more sense to lure a store that doesn't have competition within a so-many-block radius. Putting a food/grocery store there will only dilute the grocery business done by it and those other two stores.

It's too bad you couldn't lure an electronics store, of, say, Best Buy's ilk, there -- I'd assume Sears would put up one heck of a fight against that, and I'd think that location would be "too close" to the HIP location. But that's probably thinking too big...then again, make no little plans, right?

— On the neighbor message Old Bank of America Building
8:55 a.m.

I'm sure Alderman Sposato is great. But that doesn't mean he won't be voted out in favor of a Hispanic alderman in his new ward, which is now 60-plus percent Hispanic.

For the record, Ald. Tim, I've also been bumped from 38 to about 25 feet.

10:35 p.m.

@Tracy: My wife and I lived in a condo for two years or so at Keystone and Berteau (nearby Elston and Montrose), and I can second your statement -- we moved out of there and into PP five years ago this May...

— On the neighbor message Gangbangers by Merrimac Park
10:25 p.m.

I just read that in the Trib story now, but even that story doesn't fully clarify that is the case. Great reporting... :)

— On the neighbor message New Ward Map
10:51 p.m.

Yeah, I don't see any note that my street is fully included, or any street in the 38th, for that I'm in a new ward, despite being smack-dab in the middle of the 38th before this redraw...good thing I voted for an alderman that isn't even my alderman now, but is the alderman across the street. Great timing...I hate this city sometimes.

— On the neighbor message New Ward Map
10:14 p.m.

Oh...OK...great...time to dig.

— On the neighbor message New Ward Map
10 p.m.

How do the boundaries actually work? Is the street the boundary, physically, such that one side of the street is one ward, while the other side is another ward? Of course, I live on a new boundary line...

— On the neighbor message New Ward Map
9:50 p.m.

You mean, if they "go" on the bottom step and some trickles or falls onto the ground, I have to email BOTH places? That said, I guess it would be interesting to see how precise those cleaning crews get (and who arrived faster)...

— On the neighbor message Graffiti
10:16 p.m.

Easy there, McCarthy... ;)

— On the neighbor message Graffiti
6:11 p.m.

Never had filipino would you describe it, if you could? Dominant flavor themes? Anything it's "similar" too? Etc.? Always curious to expand my palate. :) Make me want to go there and try it. :)

— On the neighbor message Yummy Filipino Food on Central!
6:10 p.m.

@Portage Patty: You're right about the spray paint, but the thing is, a lot of this small area tagging is done with markers too. permanent markers are obviously easier to get than spray paint. I remember too, growing up, riding the bus to and from high school, the taggers would carry sandpaper to scratch-tag the windows on the bus and other words, they're resourceful sometimes. :)

— On the neighbor message Gang graffiti in dunning
12:03 a.m.

Hmmm, one unanswered question I have is, what are we to do if we see someone robbing a liquor store with a "Born to Win" tattoo on their chest?

— On the neighbor message Gangbangers by Merrimac Park
3:42 p.m.

Well, Mariann, you sound just like the people I grew up with who fled the neighborhood at the first sign of those awful "Blacks and Hispanics" who were going to ruin the neighborhood. Hint, it wasn't them, it was the gangbangers -- of all races, by the way. Funny, you are a real estate agent, and the neighborhood I grew up in is historically known for "white flight" and "blockbusting" -- all of which occurred because of statements and thoughts like yours above. Hopefully this neighborhood will stand stronger than my old neighborhood did, as real estate agents struck fear into the hearts of the longtime residents and left "en masse", giving the gangbangers run of the 'hood within a decade's time.

Anyway, back to the important parts of the discussion...I was going to say that we all just need to remember that, many times, these "punks" just need to be shown that this kind of stuff won't be tolerated. No need to endanger yourself (while most of these kids are just kids who have not been challenged to stop doing what they've done, you don't want to risk that the one that you challenge is a little more "entrenched" or has buddies hanging around). So, obviously, don't be afraid of them, but use your common sense and call the cops, like everyone says, if anything looks fishy. I was a good kid growing up, but my friends and I were routinely stopped on the street by squads and patted down when we were teenagers and older. If we even WANTED to do something suspicious, we knew better because the cops were around the corner and the residents were watching us too. If you communicate respect to these kids, they'll grow up respecting the neighborhood just like we do now.

All in theory, of course... :)

— On the neighbor message Gangbangers by Merrimac Park
10:43 a.m.

@JerryC: Hopefully the folks like you who feel pride and ownership in this 'hood don't leave. I moved here because it reminded me of my 'hood growing up, before the gangs moved in, and everyone ran scared, and then they owned the 'hood. As long as the residents maintain pride and ownership in the 'hood, we can keep it strong and keep the riff-raff (and worse) to a minimum.

— On the neighbor message Gangbangers by Merrimac Park
1:39 p.m.

@Norine64: Yeah, I walked my dog past there the other day, and I think I saw the same guys. Though they were not doing anything suspicious when I walked by, other than standing on the porch with their hoodies, mumbling something to each other. I thought little of it, other than, "Man, there sure are a lot of people out and about tonight," after seeing quite a few folks on my evening walk. Obviously, if I see anything, I'm dialing 911 once I'm out of earshot and eyeshot.

— On the neighbor message Gangbangers by Merrimac Park
1:36 p.m.

@julie: I've been wondering the same...why there is one left-turn signal at the intersection (WB on Irving to SB on Austin) but no others. Seems ridiculous to me, especially when NB Austin backs up often because of left-turn traffic onto WB Irving Park, sans the signal to assist with the traffic flow. Seems that one at least should also have a left-turn signal. I'll be interested to hear what the DOT has to say...

— On the neighbor message Irving / Austin Accident
1:31 p.m.

@Mark C.: Papa John's at Brickyard delivers to Austin and Warwick, so that's pretty close. They're worth trying at least once, but as prior commenters stated, they're quite different from the Giordano's/Pete's type places.

We like Papa John's when we have a taste for it. Like I said, it's another option that is "different" but still good. Also, typically, we find that their claims of "fresh" hold up pretty good, unlike Little Ceasar's or Domino's or Pizza Hut. Papa John's is our cheap go-to.

It's a leftover "habit" from college, really...they were one of the few quick and easy pizza options near campus, and they always had deals and were cheap. I was happy that they had one here, it delivered to us and was still as good as it was years ago.

Oh, and definitely try the cheese sticks. It's a mini cheese pizza with garlic butter type of tomato sauce at all. I love them!

— On the neighbor message Toppers Restaurant...
9:29 p.m.

I love when Chicagoans discuss what the best pizza's like asking a dozen stock brokers to each recommend just one investment. :) :) :)

Our household rotates between Giordano's, Pete's and Papa John's, because of the wide variety of the three. It all depends what we're "in the mood" for, honestly.

Still, nothing will ever come close to the thin crust pizza I grew up on, from Pizza Kitchen on the SW Side, God rest its soul. :)

— On the neighbor message Toppers Restaurant...
10:33 p.m.

@kenji: No need to go all the way to Texas for drive-thru alcohol...there are plenty just north of the border in Cheeseland.

Just sayin'...

9:44 p.m.

"the old Tornado site"...I love how the reporter assumes everyone knows what the heck Tornado was...

9:35 p.m.

Actually, EHB, you're right. I think I've seen a dozen people out and about on both my morning and evening walks. Now, that will change in the morning by Thorp, but the evenings have been nice, peaceful and quiet. :)

— On the neighbor message 6200 block of berenice
10:47 p.m.

Well, at least I can drive out of the city on the tollway without any fare hi ... oh, wait...

10:16 p.m.

Hmmm...thanks for posting this info. I just got a new dog that requires lengthy walks (a puppy full of energy), so since Christmas I've been walking through this intersection and part of the neighborhood most evenings. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled...

Oh, and don't worry, I'm a responsible dog owner. ;)

— On the neighbor message 6200 block of berenice
9:52 p.m.

Thanks Alderman Cullerton! I appreciate your time and effort on this! Now, to just get my money saved up to fix my yard, and it will be great! :)

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
9:19 p.m.

Re: rain barrels: I got mine several years back when the water dept. was selling them for something like $45 apiece. I believe, however, that program either ended or they ran out of barrels or something. I'd suggest checking out craigslist and ebay (at worst)...with craigslist giving you the best options, price-wise, I'd suspect. I honestly haven't checked in a long time. Be aware, a thing I found about the rain barrels is the water pressure issue. If you're not going to use a pump of some sort, you're going to have to set it up high to get the water to really do what you want. I have mine hooked to a RainBird irrigation line (you can see it in the one picture of the garden beds), and there's just enough pressure to get all the drip holes working all the way down the line. To get that pressure, I've got the barrel sitting atop a very high column of bricks.

Mario's Mondo Cafe in Glenview...I drive by there every day on the way home from work...right by Reagan's Meats...

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
8:33 p.m.

@Laura: If your situation is anything like mine, I don't suspect rain barrels will help. My problem is that we are the low spot more or less on the block, and all the water runs off the alley into the areas around my garage as well, which are about 8 inches lower than the alley. I have one rain barrel, which I only got for my garden, not as a solution to this problem, and have had it for a couple years, and there's been no difference in the amount of water I get in the yard.

The only solution for me that worked on one side of the garage was to build raised vegetable beds (about a foot high), surrounded by patio pavers).

Now, that area doesn't flood because it is level with the alley (more or less). But the area in front of it that is still lawn does, because it's a low spot. My hope is that once I raise that area and the areas around the garage, the same will hold true and it won't flood anymore.

Same on the other side of the garage, where I plan to lay a concrete apron and have my backyard sidewalks raised (but still pitched away from the house) ever so slightly, and also raise the low spots in the yard to match the high spots that do not flood. I know that my sidewalk is lower than my neighbor's property, because I planted this partially raised shrub bed a couple years ago, and I had to dig near the fence to bury the boards to make the bed level.

Sorry for the long message (I stayed under 2,000 characters!)...but I've been battling this for almost five years, and I feel as though I'm close to beating it...I hope. Here's some pics of the flooding...sorry that they're blurry. If you start here and browse around, you can see the different pictures I took. These are older pics, but I still get very similar flooding.

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
7:52 p.m.

Yep, and I definitely plan to do that too -- it's a matter of finances. Concrete nowadays isn't cheap. :) Raising the grade of my yard has been on the "to-do" list for a while though and is creeping nearer the top.

I appreciate you looking into the key-cut as well. If there's no point to it, that's fine. At least I know it's been looked at anyway.

And, yes, Santa was good to the little guys (we have two now)...thanks! :)

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
8:30 a.m.

Ald. Tim...yep, that's me. I gather you remember me then. :)

Thanks! Again, let me know if I need to do anything (or if the block needs to...we have a pretty strongly aligned block of residents here...I'm actually happy to be on the block we're on). And, of course, let me know what you find out.

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
10:55 p.m.

Hey, we have the same problem here between Warwick and Waveland, on the 5900 block. Actually, Alderman Tim, I believe when you were out going door-to-door during election time, I had mentioned it to you while we chatted on my front porch.

Well, now that I see it's something that's doable, how do I get the same thing done for our alley? I'd like to take the sandbags away from my basement stairs, so it doesn't look like I'm bunkered in. Without them, the water builds up in the yard and eventually backs into the house. I have to raise up the back of my yard too, as Jewels has done, but having the water diverted out of the alley would be a good start. There is often plenty of standing water in the alley during (and after) a good rain.

Thanks, in advance!

— On the neighbor message Shout out to Ald. Cullerton
4:57 p.m.

@kenji: I sent a message to a friend who lives near there and informed her that she is now from the West Side...and so am I. Stupid tribune copy editors (or lack thereof)...

— On the media mention 11 displaced in Near West Side fire
9:28 p.m.

Went to Joseph's a day or two ago for the first time, and man, am I depressed I hadn't gone there before. Likely I will be making all my meat purchases there from now on. I got two pounds of fresh ground chuck, one pound of pork cutlets and half a pound of sliced turkey lunchmeat for a steal of a price. And the best thing is, the guy behind the counter was fantastic. Very welcoming, very nice, very knowledgeable. I'm's geographically the closest to me, and that's important to me at the end of the day.

— On the neighbor message Where do Regularly Shop for Meat and Fish?
9:27 p.m.

If someone takes the spot that you dug out, it's really simple, and legal: shovel the snow right back into the spot as they are parked there. Doesn't take much more than a push-shovel and a few minutes. No damage to the vehicle, no vandalism of any sort. It just makes that person do the work if they want to get out again.

Never understood the extremes of slashing tires, pouring a bucket of water over the car, breaking windows, etc. Just make them do the work.

And, even though it's technically more work for you to push the snow back, it'll help burn off some of the anger of them taking your spot.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and other objects
10:19 p.m. need to be sorry. :) I didn't take it that way. Yeah, I only went into Chicago Meat once, and it was pretty empty, period...this was a while ago. Again, it didn't turn me off to the place at all, but I was a little surprised. Ah well...after the holidays maybe I'll poke my head into these places and have some conversations. Given your description of what you did, I'm betting this guy will know what I want exactly and how to cut it. It's a known cut nowadays, but it's just really hard to find.

— On the neighbor message Ellengee Butcher Open for Retail
6:26 p.m.

@kenji...OK, cool...thanks for the tip. I've been meaning to check out Joseph's for a long, long time. My in-laws live right there, so I've seen it many times. Gotta get off my lazy rear-end and get there. Maybe I'll try to stop there tonight. Nonetheless, Ellengee sounds like it might be worth a visit for regular bulk meat purchasing. We'll see. Beats driving all the way out to Costco anyway (though I've been pleased with their meats thus far, for a "big box" store. @Gerard: Definitely not selling the hood short, no doubt about it. I grew up on the SW Side near the stockyards (after they'd closed though), so obviously, there were butchers everywhere down there. That and bakeries galore. There are surely plenty of those up here! Anyway, I've been in Chicago Meat Market and was very impressed, particularly with the selection...but didn't see a lot of workers, and the people I did see looked more like the "hired help" rather than someone who wanted to find out what I needed assistance with. Not bashing the place, just sayin'...I have to talk to somebody who knows what my favorite cut of meat is and how to actually cut it correctly (and sorry, I'm not sharing, because then you'll all go buy it, fall in love with it and demand will skyrocket! ;) LOL)...

— On the neighbor message Ellengee Butcher Open for Retail
8:43 a.m.

I'm going to have to check this place out...been looking for a real butcher who can get me the exact cut of meat I want...and if it's IBP branded, I know they should be able to order it. Thanks for the tip, kenji -- you in the business? You know an awful lot about meat -- more than the average consumer, I'd say. (which is a good thing, by the way...)

— On the neighbor message Ellengee Butcher Open for Retail
11:42 p.m.

I told my wife one of the greatest draws to Portage Park for me was her exact trip in "housing"...which I believe many so-called yuppies will follow...enough to keep this neighborhood nicely "yuppified" if you will...
That is, single, out-of-school folks love that whole Wrigleyville/L.Park area. They rent there, then, as they "grow up" a bit, they move a little further west. Then, maybe their first home purchase is a condo out in Albany or Old Irving, and finally, when they're ready for a house and yard and stuff, Portage Park is just further west, has reasonable housing, and enough draws to keep things interesting. Plus, it's a bus ride away from all their old haunts. :)

Of course, adding more neighborhood destinations is always a good thing. Yuppie-centric or otherwise. :)

— On the neighbor message Coffee House, Coming soon!
9 p.m.

@Pam R.: If we write to the media, we should position it as, "Look at the increase in crime in the "good areas" since last year's plan to shift officers from the "good" to "bad" areas and ANNOUNCE IT publicly..."

It's like leaving your doors unlocked and posting flyers around the neighborhood that they're unlocked.

I don't know if McCarthy reversed the program since he took over, but I didn't hear an announcement stating it would be reversed, and I've seen far more police outside our neighborhood than in it, patrolling and such.

— On the neighbor message corner of berteau and mason
8:45 p.m.

There is the newly opened Regulus Coffee shop one half-block west of The Patio theater down by Irving and Austin, which is independent and locally owned. It just opened right after Thanksgiving...go check it out when you have a chance.

— On the neighbor message Coffee House, Coming soon!
12:28 a.m.

Garden nurseries typically have this kind of stuff too...coyote urine or something. Just don't forget to turn off the lights if you're spraying the wires! Zap! :)

— On the neighbor message Deliberately cut Xmas lights
4:03 p.m.

Go south on Harlem from about Addison down toward Elmwood Park and you'll find loads of options. It's "furniture row" practically...though some have shut down.

— On the neighbor message Recommendations on furniture store?
2:17 p.m.

I watched whole neighborhoods on the Southwest Side install, one after one, the wrought-iron fences in the front yards over the past few decades, and I cringe every time I go back there now. Good fences make good neighbors, but they also allow people to become very insular in their own worlds in some cases.

I'm a bit of an old-fashioned fogey when it comes to the Bungalow Belt, in particular, in that the front yards are nice and big, to make them feel more suburban (think in 1930s terms here) than urban.

Having lived in Humboldt Park and Old Irving as well, I can see front yard fences there being a little more tolerable aesthetically, as those are more "urban-esque" without huge front yards in many cases (not all, I know...but you get my drift) but not so much in Portage or Jeff Park...of course, this is only my personal opinion and it doesn't represent every area of the above neighborhoods, but I would be really sad to see this trend run through my part of Portage, for example...I can understand the desire to feel secure, but there's gotta be other ways. :)

That said, good luck with whatever you decide.

— On the neighbor message Wondering about front yard fences...
10:24 p.m.

Like rindalla, we're near Thorp and had a good amount of kids, but not as many as last year. Thus I have TONS of candy left over...last year, we ran out, and with the weather looking good again this year, I thought for sure I was going to have to just sit on the porch and hand candy out. I got way more than I ended up needing. Ah well, more for us! :)

9:53 p.m.

What's the weather supposed to be like this year? Last year was our fourth year in this house, and let me tell you, I was worried about running out of candy, we had soooooo many kids. More than we'd had in previous years, probably because we actually decorated the house a bit last year (whereas in previous years, not so much. It's GREAT,'s such a good sign that families are comfortable around here.

— On the neighbor message Trick or Treat
10:46 p.m.

I wondered the same thing...seems overkill for autumn leaf removal... ;)

— On the neighbor message Dumpsters
11:11 p.m.

Anytime we can see a bird other than a sparrow, finch, robin, cardinal in the city neighborhoods is cool to me.

— On the neighbor message Huge Hawk in Six Corners
6:40 p.m.

I wonder if this is the same hawk my neighbor told me she saw today, on our alley pole about a block from Thorp school...she said it was huge, and I'm sure that the range of this thing is pretty decent...there are sure a lot of rabbits and critters around here, so it could be part of its hunting "trail"...

— On the neighbor message Huge Hawk in Six Corners
9:04 p.m.

In my experience, gangs are (and crime is) everywhere. Just because we don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there. Vigilance and pride starts at the property level, then spreads to the block level, then the community level. Communicate with your neighbors (you won't get all of them, but several families can really help keep a block feeling more secure than going it alone).

Gangs (and crime in general) take advantage of the naive and fearful, and those who discount what they saw (i.e., "There's no way I just saw that, because that doesn't happen here!"), to infiltrate areas. Like many others stated above, there's no shame in calling the police if you see something truly disruptive or outright illegal. I grew up in a area that was over-run over time by gangs and turf warfare. My neighborhood, when I was young, wasn't too different from P.Park is today...I hope Portage Park can stay safe and sound for my kids, and thankfully we have a strong block that communicates well -- as a start.

— On the neighbor message Gangs. Do their presence exist in our area?
8:56 p.m.

To any of you who might have wandered by yesterday, thank you! If you thought about coming through today, I hope common sense ruled the day and you stayed home. It was a washout today...but yesterday, we had a nice steady stream of buyers, and some good deals were had by many. So, if you were one of them, thanks!

9:56 p.m.

@Laura: I have a long, long story about vicious dog accusations and jumping through hoops to get things cleared up from years ago when I lived for a short time in Bolingbrook. Your story flashed me back to then...a triumph for me, because as a young man just figuring things out in the world, I successfully convinced animal control, the chief of police and the village that I (and my dog) was completely "innocent" and the people making this insane claim were wrong. Thanks for taking me back to that triumph. :)

Matt, as for your situation, you could call the cops...or you could try to diffuse the problem by walking across the street just at that time. I know that when I've had issues with other dogs, other people, etc. and me walking my dog, I've just avoided them entirely. I cross the street when I see another dog and their owner coming, because I simply do not trust other people/other dogs, even when their owners say, "Oh, my dog is fine." Many of us are smart dog owners, others, however, are not. If it were me, I would just walk across the street, as much of a PITA that is, unless it continued to happen or escalated.

— On the neighbor message Resident Threatening Me and My Dog
9:29 p.m.

I forgot to mention, the sales will go from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Looking forward to see you there!

11:16 p.m.

Similar things happen at Warwick and Austin every morning with Thorp dropoff...haphazard parking all over, blocking sight lines at the intersection, etc. Sometimes, Austin northbound is backed up because of people trying to turn left on Warwick (perfectly legal), but there's nowhere for them to go.

I'm not complaining at all from a personal level (the school was here before me, so I can move if I don't like it!), but it's just a really potentially unsafe and/or explosive situation. Common sense and common courtesy need to win out in these things, and sometimes when people are "in a hurry" those things don't end up winning out.

There's a crossing guard at Grace and Austin, where there is a light, but there ought to be one at Warwick, where motorists cannot be expected to follow the law and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Especially people flying along in the right (typically parking) lane...

As I mentioned, I'm not bashing anyone or complaining here. Just telling it as I see it. I'd hate to wake up one morning and hear about or see a tragedy down the block from me that could have been avoided one way or another.

— On the neighbor message Crossing guard issue
10:44 p.m.