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February 16, 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Belen Deleon

Dear Editor: I’ve worked as a nurse for many years. Every day, my fellow nurses and I provide compassionate care for the approximately 110 residents who call The Grove of Evanston their home. We work hard to deliver the best care possible for your parents and grandparents.

Unfortunately, we often feel like the state doesn’t support us. It’s most evident in the reimbursement rates provided for residents with Medicaid. Illinois ranks 49th in the nation for home much money it invests in nursing home care. Frankly, we should be ashamed for being second to last.

Nursing homes are no longer the rest homes they were decades ago. Today, we care for the frail elderly who require complex medical care around the clock. None of us want to think about getting so old and sick that we can no longer live at home. But we must put ourselves in their shoes and think about what we’d want if we lived in a nursing home.

With a new governor in office, we’re hopeful nursing homes and our residents will become a priority. Please join The Grove of Evanston in urging the governor to adequately fund nursing homes because our residents deserve better.

Sincerely,

Belen Deleon
Director of Nursing



Posted: Monday, February 11, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Megan Hughes

Regarding Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors' comments on the Ricketts family:

First, I have come to admire Rev. Dr. Nabors very much though I have never met him in person. I've watched him talk in front of the school board about racism via the taped meetings available on the Evanston City TV. I've read his comments and heard him interviewed by Meleika Gardner, who does a wonderful service interviewing those with all kinds of viewpoints. It seems this man is EVERYWHERE and always with a message of peace and unity.

So I was right there with him in this truly anguished, angry, commentary. My heart broke when I read his words "I woke up this morning to find the Ricketts' family (Cubs owners) embroiled in a racist-filled, messy, unseemly and wicked story.
It seems Joe Ricketts was fond of receiving racist emails and then sending off some of his own. The emails also included Islamophobic remarks and a smearing of former President Barack Obama.
Current owner Tom Ricketts is distancing himself and the Cubs organization, making his old dad appear senile and alone. But we have to look at the larger picture, Metro Chicago." YES! YES! YES!

The Ricketts family and their views are no secret to most on the North Shore. Many share their views though would not publicly do so in an email. I am surprised that anyone in the Ricketts family would have let that get out so that someone like Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors could GRAB HOLD of it!

But he HAS, and to him I say Bravo, Reverend!! You have called for action and that's something I've seen you do every time you communicate publicly. Bravo!

He goes on to describe how the Ricketts amassed their wealth. In turn, I was shocked when I learned that they wanted the taxpayers to pay for renovations to Wrigley Field, until a friend said to me "Of course they want the citizens to pay for it. THAT'S HOW THE RICH STAY RICH - BY SPENDING OTHER PEOPLES' MONEY." It sickened me as I realized how naive I had been. OF COURSE.

But Reverend Nabors is not so concerned with their wealth as to how they are using the power that comes with it. Here's another brilliant quote:
"So then, this racism is not just an isolated event (as racism never is) that is focused on a few emails. But it is a lethal octopus with tentacles spread throughout the nation and world. It seeps into securities and how finances and wealth possess the stain of racism that breeds generation after generation of racist economic policies and structures.
It is egregious that a wealthy white family carries these horrible, Neanderthal attitudes that surely influence their thinking, which influence their training, which influence their education, which influence their decision-making and work".

Then, incredibly, he demands that the Ricketts family CHANGE! First by confession, then by actively "PURSUING OBJECTIVES TO FIGHT RACISM IN CHICAGO"!! UNBELIEVABLE!!! What a daring, incredible, wonderful, simple thing to do that takes courage beyond any I have ever seen expressed!

Thank you, thank you Rev. Dr. Nabors, this man I have never met, from a lily white 62-year old granny-type who woke up the day Donald Trump was elected.
.
"Let's DO something", he says. Now, wait a minute. You want....me....to send an email to you, Reverend?and you'll forward them all to the Ricketts?

Heck,yes Sir! I will do this!! Just in case anyone missed it I'll also end with his comments and his email address. I am in tears thinking of this simple yet courageous "LET'S DO SOMETHING." Because racism hurts all of us, but I'm tired of seeing my black and brown and all non-white folks get the bottom of the barrel and all I do is put a "Black Lives Matter" sign in my front yard.

Most of my comments are quotes of his, but they deserve to be repeated over and over again. Now here is his challenge to us: What will we do with it?
.
"Don't just keep giving free passes. If we are going to arrest racism, reverse its trend, bring it to a grinding halt and then destroy it, we have to start somewhere.

"Why not now? Why not here?

"Please join me in sending your email voices of concern regarding the Ricketts and Cubs organization to Michael_nabors@msn.com.
I will gladly collect them all and forward them to the Ricketts family with an urgency that demands their attention. I'm tired of all this garbage. All I want to do is watch some great baseball this year. With a great team that represents our world."

Reverend Nabors, you deserve that, and so much more. I know about white privilege, and fully admit I share that with the Ricketts. But I darn sure don't share their racist views, and I thank you for your call for ACTION, Sir! I will write an email and ask the Ricketts do as you suggest. What you are asking is actually the kindest thing anyone could ask of them - to let whatever you want to call - their souls, their beliefs, their inner selves - to open up to the beauty of ALL people in this world, REGARDLESS OF ANY "DIFFERENCES".
To LET GO of the hatred that binds them. That binds ME, because I need to NOT HATE THEM.
So I will do as you ask, and I feel my soul reaching out again to whatever it is that lights up this world with love and grace. I call it a Higher Power, some call it Nature, some don't believe in it, period.
But reading Rev. Dr Nabors words and request, don't you feel it? Can you feel a lightening of the heart? A reaching out to your neighbor, a stranger, in friendship? We can DO THIS!!

Thank you again Sir, Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors.



Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Sarah Finch

My daughter has been a figure skater at Robert Crown for the last 7 years. It has basically become a second home for her. The building has served Evanston well, but it is in bad need of replacement. Not only does it need general updates to keep up with other rinks and community centers in the area, it is falling apart. During wet weather, water comes in from the roof into the lobby and even on the rinks. I've seen classes have to skate around unsafe, coned-off areas in those situations. In December, right before the annual Nutcracker performance, a holiday tradition for much of Evanston not just something for the skaters, a main part that cools the rink failed. This left management to have to make a choice between keeping air temperatures extremely cold to maintain ice quality (but leaving cold kids and parents) or keep the air temperature where it is comfortable, but risk soft, dangerous ice. That is ridiculous. The locker rooms are old, dingy and not big enough. The small second rink is nice to have, but doesn't give enough true available ice time or space for both the thriving figure skating and hockey programs having two large sheets of ice will help ease that somewhat and only attract more skaters, who like me, pay to for the programs offered.

The many other community programs beyond skating are equally important as the ice programs and need better facilities and space as well. After school, pre-school, summer camp and so many more are happening daily throughout the year. There are literally hundreds of people, many of them kids, using the building on any given day and basic things like restroom facilities, indoor athletic areas/gym and classrooms need more to provide quality programs that meet the volume and demand to serve community families. I can only imagine what more the youth programs at Robert Crown will be able to do with better facilities and an onsite library!

We are so excited about the new building and have watched the construction progress with anticipation for what it will bring not only for my daughter, but for all the people who use Robert Crown now and in the future.

With the addition of the library - a real building not just the current library vending machine in the entrance - the enhanced fitness facilities and more, I really struggle to understand how this isn't a benefit to all in Evanston. No one is saying that Northwestern, Beacon or others will "own" this building and honestly, I appreciate their willingness to partner and invest money to help make this happen. Seems like a win-win versus something to be upset about.

The concerns I see posted here seem to suggest this is essentially a private facility being purchased by public money. I completely disagree. Many individuals like me have given amounts large and small because we know this building is needed. It isn't a cheap project, there is no way around that. But there is also no point in spending too much tax payer money for what the current building needs to be safe and viable. That would be an even worse use of our dollars...kind of like replacing major parts of a 20 year old car. The new Robert Crown will be able to offer so much more to Evanston as a community center than it does now and I, for one, can't wait to see it open.



Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Andrew White

I wish to express my support for the renovation of the Robert Crown Center, which I believe will be an extraordinary resource that serves the Evanston community for many generations to come.

Like so many Evanston residents, my family enjoyed frequent use of the Robert Crown Center, but I had noticed the (universally acknowledged) wear and tear on the outdated building and its increasingly deteriorating condition, both interior and exterior. Living in south Evanston, this was the best (and only) public facility of its kind close by, with no other nearby, easily accessible options. So a new center that responds to so many varied community needs -- providing athletic facilities, a new branch of the Evanston Public Library, community meeting spaces, indoor and outdoor events, just to name a few of the combined elements – is a truly welcome prospect, especially in south Evanston.

I also believe that, contrary to critics’ suggestions, the process for the development of the project has been wholly transparent at each step of the journey. Input and feedback from community stakeholders has been solicited at numerous city council and community forums, with multiple opportunities for community members to participate in conversations about best use and design of the new center. Indeed, community input had a significant impact on the ultimate design of the project. Further, reaching out to resourced partners like Northwestern University as a means of gathering support for the project is smart, practical, and a sensible way of gathering and maximizing financial support for the project -- this is hardly the first joint venture that has sought and received financing from both public and private sources.

Stopping construction, as some suggest, would serve and satisfy no one (except, perhaps, the project’s most vociferous critics). The City should complete the project as designed so that the new building can finally become the wonderful public square and asset that its founders envisioned, one that the people of Evanston need and will treasure long into the future.



Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Peter Hudis

A Candidates Forum for the upcoming election of the Oakton Community College Board will be held on Tuesday, February 26, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Des Plaines campus of Oakton Community College (1600 East Golf Road) in Room 1604.

At the municipal elections on April 2, 2019 an election will be held to fill three upcoming vacancies on OCC’s Board of Trustees. This forum will be an opportunity to find out who the candidates are, what they stand for, and how they envision the future of Oakton Community College. A question and answer session will follow brief introductory remarks by each candidate. Bring your ideas and questions.

All those living in District 535 (which includes Des Plaines, Evanston, Skokie, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Rosemont, and Winnetka) are eligible to vote for Oakton’s Board of Trustees in the municipal election. Early voting begins February 21 and ends April 1. The election itself is April 2.

For more information on the forum and upcoming election, contact: Political Action Committee of OCCFA (at phudis55@gmail.com and/or greg.hamill2@gmail.com). The forum is sponsored by OCCFA (Oakton Community College Full-Time Faculty Association-Political Action Committee) in collaboration with AFA (Adjunct Faculty Association) and OCCCSA (Classified Staff Association)

Free and open to the public.




Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Traci Kurtzer

Note: This is the text of my full message to the City Council 2-4-19 that was cut short due to the time restraints placed on public comment.

Thank you Mayor and members of the City Council. The last time I stood before you to speak in November was right before the final budget vote when Victim Services was being considered for a cut from the city services and contracted to the YWCA. Many of us asked the city to not only not eliminate those positions as a city service, but also to bring them back under the auspices of the police department. So, first thank you for listening to our concerns and voting to keep the program budgeted for a six month period under the current Health and Human Services department.

My purpose here today, is to not let this issue fall off the radar because very quickly July will be upon us and I would like to ensure there are plans to keep this vital city program. If as a community we are not providing adequate victim services, particularly for families of homicide victims, we can cause secondary trauma to those individuals.

For a city, that led the country in being one of the first police based Victim Services programs, a model for many others, a level of concern for keeping this program critical for the well-being of our citizens is imperative.

So first, I ask the city council to thoroughly evaluate if the current level of service provision in Victim Services is adequate and meeting the same standards as when it was under the police department. Second, I ask again that these services be kept under in the city for better accountability. If the need for outside contracting becomes absolutely necessary, the coordinating with a program that has a record of working with survivors of homicide, like a program utilized in Chicago, must be the path forward. I say this with the utmost respect for the domestic violence services provided but the YWCA, which I depend of regularly in my work.

Last, this is Gun Violence Survivors week and next Saturday February 9 will mark one year from the murder of Yakez Semark, the first of two deaths by guns in Evanston in 2018. I want to ask all my fellow citizens to remember Yakez and his family with me on that day and as a Moms Demand Action member, I ask that you honor his death, and all victims of gun violence, with action. That means supporting efforts to reduce gun violence from urging our politicians to support federal and state common sense gun legislation and to also back local programs that support our youth and promote equity in our city.

As my husband and I will be moving from Evanston after 20 years, and this may be my last city council meeting to attend, I hope everyone here will continue to work towards that ideal of a city that we just don't have yet: one of diversity with equity and justice one in which we make sure everyone is included and cared for as we strive for prosperity and excellence. I will continue to support your efforts as a neighbor from Chicago! Thank you.



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