All posts by ChicagoAdmin

Opening of New Cultural Venue

What was once the Church of the Epiphany – located at 201 S. Ashland Avenue – will soon become a multi-dimensional space used for a variety of cultural events.  This will become one of Chicago’s largest venues for cultural activities.  It is also regarded as a landmark in the region.

“Chicago’s Church of the Epiphany was an historic landmark, built back in the mid-nineteenth century and designed by Burling and Whitehouse which was the famous architectural firm made famous by Francis Whitehouse,” explains Moshe Victor Keinig, a retired architect now living in Israel.

“I remember once seeing the church and being almost awe-struck by stone that was used and indeed how they were used.  I learned later that they had been imported from Lake Superior and were irregularly placed on the building,” Keinig adds.

Today, that same property is in the hands of David Chase and his wife Kimberly Rachal who made the purchase and are committed to preserving the property along with the buildings next to it.  Once up and running, it will feature a courtyard, three very different spaces in which to hold events as well as additional areas that will aim to bolster arts and culture.

Rather than it just remaining vacant (as has been for a while) it will be known as the Epiphany Center for the Arts and become a great location for community gatherings, etc.

Costly Commuting in Chicago

Commuting is costly everywhere in America but when it comes to fines and fees, it seems like Chicago is getting the brunt of it.  Chicago has been infamous for its red-light cameras with one individual – who had even held the role of an executive transportation official – serving jail time for bribetaking with a red light camera firm. 

But it’s done been positive for the administration and infrastructure sector of Chicago.  Over the last ten years it’s gotten even heavier. As one report pointed out:

“Red-light cameras in the Chicago suburbs have been a gold mine for local governments and a headache for drivers. Red-light camera revenue outside Chicago city limits drove almost all of that increase, with $56.6 million generated in 2018 compared with $5.4 million in 2008.”

Now, lawmakers are looking to ban red light cameras.  But this would lead to “budget holes” in Chicago as well as other cities.Chicago and many suburbs with significant budget holes. Given that Chicago has traditionally been Illinois’ “biggest beneficiary” of red light cameras, there would be huge implications.  In 2018 the city brought in $56 million just in fines.

There is a lot of infrastructure work that needs to be undertaken and the monies are often used for that.  Chicago and its five collar counties have 2,720 miles of roads and almost 1,500 bridges.  According to executive vice president of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association  and member of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition Kevin Burke, most of the money is being used for transit in the Chicago metro area and in general there’s a lot of work that needs doing. At the end of the day roads need maintenance.

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville pointed out that “it’s good to see that there is some attention, finally, to some long overdue projects that are in need of desperate repair.”

Marathon Makes Money

The Chicago Marathon is a great money maker.   Last year, revenue was outstanding with a contribution of $378 million to Chicago’s economy.  In 2017 the figure was also high but $40 million less.

This year there were 45,857 participants in what was the 41st Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Nearly 30 percent were visiting from overseas which is also great for tourism and the economy.  Further, it adds to Chicago’s prestige as a tourist destination.  Indeed, according to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot:

 “The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is not only one of the largest and most prestigious marathons in world, but it is also an economic engine for our city – including a record-setting $378 million last year – that takes runners through 29 dynamic neighborhoods that together showcase our city’s diversity, history, and beauty. As mayor and as a fan, I look forward to joining Chicagoans and cheering on runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries for the 42nd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.”

Jobs are also created from the marathon. For example, in 2018, 2,592 jobs were created, equaling $127 million in salaries.

City Car Stickers

Some Chicagoans have accumulated fees and tickets due to not updating their city car stickers.  Thanks to a recent announcement from the Mayor, this pressure will be relieved as they will be given the opportunity to purchase a new sticker without incurring any additional fee/back charges for this month only

This could be due to the endeavors of Anna Valencia, City Clerk who worked hard to eliminate the citizen city sticker debt for Chicagoans.  She argued that:

“The city sticker debt is crazy. Only one out of three city sticker tickets are being paid a year. If we keep this debt on the back of our communities, they can’t get jobs. They can’t get child care. They can’t drive to work.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot added:

“Then, beginning Nov. 15, everyone who is in compliance with their city sticker by Oct. 31 will be eligible to have some or all of their city sticker tickets forgiven.It’s a new day in Chicago, and we’re going to make sure that every single person gets a fair shot at economic opportunity.”

Fines for not having a city sticker have jumped tremendously. For example in 2012 the increase was $80 (from $120-$200). This resulted in the huge escalation of ticket debt, fees, late penalties to approximately $275 million in the last 9 years.

Illinois State Fair

Over $6.5 million (a conservative estimate) in revenue came from this year’s Illinois State Fair.  This is a record amount for the event with the highest amount being raised to date occurring in 2013 at $6.4 million. 

The fair was inaugurated in 1853 and today is held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Based on agriculture, today the fair has shows, competitions, parades, spectacles, festivals and more and the State Fairgrounds where it is held has over 100 permanent buildings for the event. This year around 509,000 individuals attended which was nearly 40 percent more than 2018 rendering it the highest amount since 2014.

This year the game was really stepped up with grandstand shows and more than 50 new vendors.  According to John Sullivan, Agricultural Director:

“We knew we had a great state fair. The economic engine that this fair drives is tremendous. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here.”

Furthermore, according to Manager Kevin Gordon, some of the reasons the financial results were so positive this year was due to the following:  an increase of $150,000 in corporate sponsorships from last year and fairground camping area revenue increase of $20,000.

Revenue for grandstand acts was 110 percent of the cost for those acts, or 10 percent more than the state shelled out to the artists. Corporate sponsorships were up by $150,000 over last year, he said, to a total of $750,000. He said revenues from the camping area on the fairgrounds were up by $20,000.

AT&T: Giving Back to the Community

In this video we learn about how AT&T is seeking to not only to provide services, but also to be a part of the community.  They spend time strategizing to think of what they can do for the community to get more involved.  One example of this is a project they run for students come in after school, to assist them with their homework and see what they can do to help.

Back to School – and Business – in Chicago

The long summer holidays are over and now children are finally heading back to school.  That means businesses are getting more back to normal as parents are finally able to return to their full time work schedules.

But some Chicagoans got back to work even earlier than the official end of summer date – Labor Day Weekend.  Parents were back at their desks over two weeks ago on August 14! Indeed, for most districts in Illinois, September 1st is just another day in the school calendar.  Maine East, Maine South and Maine West students all returned to school on August 14.

One district official explained that this move of returning to school earlier  began back in 2015.  The idea behind it was to finish the fall semester before students go back home for their December Winter break.  In theory it is also meant to relieve stress for high school students who really could benefit from the earlier break.

In other areas of Chicago – as well as public schools – kids returned to school tomorrow.  This past Saturday, hundreds of backpacks were given out in Garfield Park thanks to fundraising efforts of the church in University Village.

Using Challenges to Jumpstart Careers

Why do people love to push themselves?  Over the years – pretty much since the end of the caveman days – people have traditionally tried to push themselves out of their comfort zones.  Apart from it being a healthy way to gain strength and stay in shape, mentally, stepping out of one’s comfort zone has been a proven tactic of bettering all skills.

According to an article in Business Insider written last year, the benefits of pushing oneself are beneficial to one’s career. Sammi Carmela listed four reasons why:

  1. Confidence booster
  2. Perception by others enhanced
  3. Experience
  4. Broadening of horizons

We sent two members of our staff to the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago a few months ago. Last week we interviewed them both on the impact they felt it had on their careers.  Here is the transcript of the interview our editor conducted with photographer Mozes Victor Konig.

Editor:  Mozes, why did you initially agree to take part in the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago?  Have you ever done anything like this before?
Mozes: Actually my job sometimes requires me to enter into situations that are out of my comfort zone.  But when I’m on a job I feel I do not have a choice.  In my regular day-to-day life, if I can avoid such situations then I will.  As my boys are getting older they increasingly pressure me to do things like this. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea.
Editor:  Do you not feel like it benefited your career?
Mozes: On the contrary!  Because I pushed myself for a leisure activity, it gave me much more confidence for when I am faced with something like this at work.  Usually when photographing in an event – if I get stuck in a tight spot – I feel like I’m having a panic attack.  Just last week I was asked to take shots at Six Flags and I really enjoyed it.  Usually I wouldn’t have a good time at all; I would just get on with it.
Editor: Would you say that getting out of your comfort zone in a fun way has helped you at work?
Mozes: Absolutely.  And I would advise others to do the same.  If you do something for fun and make a decision ahead of time to enjoy it, it can be so much more awesome than just being forced to do it.  Plus, when you enjoy what you’re doing on the job, you’re going to much more successful.  You should have seen some of the shots I took!
Editor: Thank you for your time Mozes.  We look forward to seeing your great work in the future.

The good thing about the Sacramento Ninja Warrior Obstacle Park is that while it comprises 7 obstacles, it enables participants to go at their own time, on their own terms and within their own levels. This is already helpful for confidence bolstering that is such a huge part of career advancement.