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42nd Ward Update: Sprinkler Mandate Update - Join Alderman Reilly by Signing Representative Feigenholtz's Online Fire Safety Petition

April 4, 2014

 

State Representative Sara Feigenholtz recently introduced The Feigenholtz Bill (Amendment #1 to House Bill 4609) that would require any sprinkler mandates to be first vetted by the entire General Assembly and establishes a Task Force to debate the issue through 2015. To view the legislation, please click here

 

The House Committee on State Government Administration approved Representative Feigenholtz's HB 4609 by an overwhelming 17-2 vote on March 26th. The entire House of Representatives will consider the legislation in the coming weeks. 

 

Representative Feigenholtz recently unveiled the Lakefront Coalition for Responsible Fire Sprinkler Policy petition to show community support for her bill. 

 

Alderman Reilly signed on to Representative Feigenholtz's online petition to share his support for this important measure. 

 

Alderman Reilly strongly encourages downtown residents to join him by signing Representative Feigenholtz's online Fire Safety Petition. These petitions will be shared with other members of the General Assembly to prove how important this issue is to Chicago homeowners and high-rise residents. 

 

Alderman Reilly appreciates all who have signed on to the petition, and encourages continued public input on this issue to ensure this bill's passage in the General Assembly. Please sign and share this petition with your friends, family, and neighbors. 

 

Prior information regarding the Sprinkler Mandate can be found here.

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Skills for Chicagoland's Future - a First-of-its-Kind Seasonal Talent-Sharing Initiative for Unemployed Cook County Job Seekers

April 4, 2014

 

Skills for Chicagoland's Future-a public-private partnership working to match businesses that have current, unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed job seekers-announced today a new partnership with Divvy, operated by Alta Bicycle Share, and Gap Inc. that will bring year-round employment opportunities to unemployed Chicago and Cook County job seekers.

 

Launching in April, the innovative "Optimum Employment" pilot program will creatively solve the challenges businesses face with hiring qualified, seasonal employees by linking seasonal positions at Divvy and Gap Inc. stores to create a 12-month employment opportunity for the unemployed.

 

Developed by Skills for Chicagoland's Future, Optimum Employment is a first-of-its-kind talent-sharing pilot solution for businesses seeking a dependable pipeline of qualified seasonal workers, while providing job seekers with predictable, long-term employment. For eight months (March-October), candidates will be employed as Divvy rebalancers, supporting bicycle distribution throughout Chicago during the program's peak months. Then, for four months (October-February), candidates will work as logistics associates at local stores, assisting with shipment, pricing, replenishment and selling during the peak holiday season. Unemployed individuals in the pilot group will begin employment at Divvy in late-April.

 

Skills for Chicagoland's Future will recruit and prescreen qualified, unemployed Chicago and Cook County residents to be considered for the pilot program. Divvy human resources representatives will interview the candidates first for employment beginning in April. Once they secure a job with Divvy, candidates will then interview with Gap Inc. for potential employment at one of the company's stores in October 2014. Candidates hired by Divvy will only convert to Gap Inc. hires after successfully completing their employment with Divvy and must also pass Gap Inc.'s application process.

 

Unemployed job seekers interested in the pilot program are encouraged to apply now at www.scfjobs.com for positions to begin in late-April. To be considered for the Optimum Employment program, candidates must be currently unemployed and reside in Cook County.

 

Chicago-area employers interested in meeting with Skills for Chicagoland's Future to learn more about their customized hiring solutions can contact biz@skillsforchicagoland.com  or visit www. skillsforchicagolandsfuture. com.

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Helpful Tips from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

April 4, 2014

 

Tips for Taking Taxicabs in Chicago:
  • Look for the City of Chicago-issued medallion on the taxicab hood.
  • A licensed Chicago taxicab number is four digits or fewer and matches the license plate digits, and is posted around the cab.
  • The driver must have his or her City of Chicago-issued public chauffeur license displayed.
  • The taxicab placard with payment rates must be displayed in the vehicle.
  • The approved credit card payment systems are mounted inside the cab, either in the front or the rear.
  • When paying by credit card, check the fee, including tip, before approving payment.
  • Portable, mobile credit card payment gadgets ARE NOT approved devices for accepting and processing taxicab fare payment in Chicago licensed taxicabs (Click to download the Know Before You Swipe! for downloadable flier).
The Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (DBACP) reviews all cab complaints. To file a complaint or compliment, call 3-1-1 or visit www.cityofchicago.org/BACP.

 

How to Address a Problem Business in Your Neighborhood:

Are you concerned about a business in your neighborhood? The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection wants neighbors to know what they can do and what action the City of Chicago can take to correct the problem.

Some of the steps include:
  • Call 9-1-1
  • Call 3-1-1
  • Document the nuisance issues
  • Work with the Alderman
  • Attend a CAPS meeting
  • Request a community meeting with the City
  • Take action and be heard 

The Problem Business flier offers more information that will help guide you on the steps to address a problem business.

 

How to File A Consumer Complaint With BACP:

As a community member, you may voice your complaints by calling 3-1-1 or though the Citizen Complaint Form. BACP can enforce the law best when people who file a complaint identify themselves, but we will also accept anonymous complaints.

 

BACP reviews complaints under the following categories:

  • General Consumer Complaint 
  • Consumer Fraud Taxicab Complaint 
  • Cable Television Complaint 
  • A Liquor License Establishment 
  • A Restaurant 
  • A Retail Store 
  • Taxicabs and Public Vehicles 

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Chicago's Clean & Green Citywide Volunteer Clean-Up

April 4, 2014

 

This year's Clean & Green Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, 2014. For more than two decades, Chicagoans have teamed up with community groups and the City of Chicago to help beautify their communities by cleaning up and recycling accumulated litter and trash.

                  

On April 26, you and community groups in your area can make an immediate difference in your neighborhood by volunteering your time and efforts to take part in the annual Spring Clean and Green Day.

 

All you have to do is sign up and meet at a location in your neighborhood that could use a really good cleaning. The City will work with you and community organizations to provide use on that day of all the brooms, rakes, shovels and bags needed to get the job done!

 

To register or for more information, please call 3-1-1. The registration deadline is April 18, 2014.

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2014 Construction Season Begins for Department of Water Management Infrastructure Improvement Projects

March 28, 2014

 

The Department of Water Management is starting its 2014 construction season under the Building a New Chicago infrastructure program, which will include 85 miles of new water mains, 21 miles of new sewer mains, 55 miles of sewers lined and 14,000 catch basins lined at a cost of $671 million.

 

Since 2011, the Department of Water Management has installed 177 miles of new water mains and 46 miles of new sewers. In addition, DWM has lined 140 miles of sewers and 47,701 catch basins, as well as installed more than 4,600 water valves and 5,000 new fire hydrants.

 

Announced in 2012, Building a New Chicago is a $7 billion infrastructure program over three years, and one of the largest investments in infrastructure in the City's history. The program will touch nearly every aspect of the city's infrastructure network and create more than 30,000 jobs during its three years. Building a New Chicago involves an unprecedented level of coordination between City Hall, multiple city departments and sister agencies, private sector utilities, and the public.

 

For a complete map of the DWM 2014 Plan, click here.

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Applications Now Accepted for ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, a Program to Bring the Nation's Top Engineering and Computer Science Students to Chicago!

March 22, 2014

 

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is a four-day event to attract technology students from around the United States to move to Chicago after graduation. It introduces the City's fast-growing technology industry and one of the country's most popular musical festivals to some the nation's top technology and computer science students. In 2014, the program will expand from 100 students to 125 students. 

 

Organized by the City of Chicago, Chicago Ideas Week, World Business Chicago, 1871, and Lollapalooza, ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza invites university undergraduate and graduate students from around the country to attend a variety of events in Chicago.

 

Attendees of the ThinkChicago program will have a chance to visit and meet with the leaders of some of today's most innovative tech companies, meet industry leaders, visit business headquarters, and gain free admission to all three days of the Lollapalooza music festival.

 

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago-based technologists and entrepreneurs will host a series of discussions and panels to hear pitches from ThinkChicago students on tech solutions that could improve the quality of life for Chicagoans.

 

Past participants have been exposed to companies like GrubHub, Belly, kCura, 37Signals and Groupon, and speakers like Eric Lunt (BrightTag CTO), Dag Kittlaus (creator of Siri) and Harper Reed (Obama for America 2012 CTO).

 

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is seeking candidates who are enthusiastic about digital technology, computer science, innovation or entrepreneurship and have demonstrated a commitment to achievement and excellence in their field. ThinkChicago is opening the application to undergraduate and graduate students from engineering, computer science, and technology entrepreneurship programs at universities across the country.

 

Students may submit applications through April 30, 2014 by visiting www.thinkchicago.net. Participating students will be required to secure their own travel and lodging. Questions concerning the program can be submitted to info@thinkchicago.net. To learn more about ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, click here to read the official press release.

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Pay-By Cell Option Available this Spring for Parking in Metered Spaces

March 22, 2014

 

Motorists will soon have a state-of-the-art mobile payment option for parking in metered areas throughout Chicago. The new pay-by-cell program will be introduced as part of a pilot program in the downtown area this spring and then rolled out throughout the City.

This new pay-by-cell technology will offer a number of time-saving conveniences:

 

  • Drivers will no longer have to make payments at the meter boxes if they choose. (Meter boxes will remain in place throughout the City, providing motorists with multiple options to pay). Printed receipts will no longer need to be placed on dashboards.
  • Drivers will no longer have to return to their car to increase their time allotment.

Motorists who purchase parking for two hours or more will pay no additional fees. Those paying for less than two hours will pay a 35-cent convenience fee, which is comparable to or less than similar fees in other cities.

 

The cashless option allows users to use the app to pay via credit or debit card. The system, available to iPhone and Android users, will also send users text message reminders 10 minutes prior to the expiration of their parking session, and allow them to pay for more time remotely.

 

To read the full press release, click here.

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CDOT Pothole "Strike Teams" Tackle Arterial Streets

March 14, 2014

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has formed "strike teams" to fill potholes in geographical grids on arterial streets only every Monday and Friday for the next several weeks.

 

In 2014, CDOT crews have filled approximately 240,000 potholes. Six additional crews were added March 1st to give CDOT up to 30 pothole crews on the street at one time, including double the amount of crews that currently work weekends. The extra crews, starting earlier than usual, are expected to fill approximately 25,000 more holes in March.

 

For the next several weeks on Mondays and Fridays, when CDOT has the most pothole crews available, every team will be assigned to arterial streets. They will work in geographical grids to address potholes on Chicago's 1,055 miles of major thoroughfares.

 

CDOT is also developing an expanded plan to resurface additional streets in 2014, which will help to improve the overall quality of the streets and reduce the number of potholes we may see next winter.

 

Chicagoans can track the fight against potholes and see a week's worth of CDOT's work on the City's Pothole Tracker application, which shows not only the calls for service but the number of potholes filled during each site visit.

 

Chicagoans can report potholes in a number of ways, including:

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Street Resurfacing Projects Expanded in 2014

March 14, 2014

 

Chicago will see an expanded streets paving program for 2014 to combat the pothole-filled condition of many arterial streets caused by the extremely harsh winter weather.

 

City agencies and private utilities plan to resurface a total of 333 miles of arterial and neighborhood streets and alleys in 2014.

 

Much of the funding for the additional roadway improvements will come from the State of Illinois, who will contribute an additional $14 million to repave 14 miles of arterial streets. The remaining $8 million in additional funding will come from selected Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts and Corporate Fund savings.

 

Under Mayor Emanuel's Building a New Chicago infrastructure investment program, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Department of Water Management (DWM), private contractors and utilities will have resurfaced more than 1,000 miles of streets of streets from 2011 through 2014 (155 miles in 2011; 269 miles in 2012; 290 miles in 2013; and 333 miles in 2014).

 

DWM plans to increase their workload in 2014, to installing 85 miles of new water mains, 21 miles of new sewer mains, relining 51 miles of sewer mains, and install 15,000 new water meters. DWM will also repave 133 miles of roadway.

 

In 2014, CDOT expects to repave 85 miles of arterial streets, 90 miles of residential streets and five miles of alleys. Gas, electric and telecommunication utilities are expected to repave 20 miles of streets as part of their infrastructure work.

 

With better coordination on infrastructure improvement projects through CDOT's Project Management Office, both departments and the utilities worked together to reduce the amount of project conflicts that would open up a street more than once. By setting new standards for restoring the public way after construction, the various utilities resurfaced more miles of Chicago streets.

 

In 2013, the City realized a savings of approximately $14 million through the coordination of projects with utilities and the requirements that they fully restore the roadways after their construction projects.

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CDOT to Audit Recently Repaved Arterial Streets for Potholes 

March 7, 2014

 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is conducting an audit of streets recently repaved by private contractors last year to determine if any potholes have formed, and will work with the contractors to make any necessary repair work or provide the City with reimbursement under quality assurance warranties.

 

Under the Building a New Chicago infrastructure investment program, city crews, contractors and utilities have resurfaced nearly 300 miles of streets and alleys in 2013. There are about 100 miles of arterial streets that were paved by private utilities and contractors in 2013 that are still under warranty.

 

To date in 2014, CDOT crews have filled more than 215,000 potholes. Six additional crews were added this weekend. With the added labor, CDOT will have up to 30 pothole crews on the street at one time, including double the amount of crews that currently work weekends. The extra crews, starting earlier than usual will fill approximately 25,000 more holes in March.

Chicagoans can track the fight against potholes and see a week's worth of CDOT's work on the City's Pothole Tracker application, which shows not only the calls for service but the number of potholes filled during each site visit.  

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2014 Senior Sewer Rebate Renewal Applications Recently Mailed

March 7, 2014

 

Alderman Reilly reminds seniors to submit their annual renewal application for the Sewer Charge Annual Refund for Seniors.  Renewal forms were recently mailed out to previous applicants by the Committee on Finance.

 

New applicants can find information below on how to apply for the Sewer Charge Annual Refund.

 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be 65 years of age, or older, as of January 1 for the year you are applying.
  • You must be the sole owner, or owner in joint tenancy, or tenancy in common of the property.
  • You must occupy the property as your principal place of residence.
  • You must own a townhouse, condominium unit, or cooperative apartment that shares a common water bill

Once your application is received by Alderman Reilly's office, it is introduced at the next City Council meeting and is forwarded to the Committee on Finance for review and processing. Please note that it can take 6-7 months to process the application.

 

If you are eligible to apply for the Senior Sewer Charge Annual Refund and have not yet submitted your paperwork, please click here for additional information, a list of the required documentation, and to download the application form.

 

Completed applications, and all necessary paperwork, should be submitted to:


Alderman Brendan Reilly   

121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 200   

Chicago, IL 60602

 

Please email rebates@ward42chicago. com with any questions about the Senior Sewer Annual Refund.

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Hyatt Moves More than 60 IT Jobs to Downtown Chicago

February 28, 2014

 

The global hospitality company, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, will relocate more than 60 Information Technology (IT) positions from a suburban location to its headquarters in downtown Chicago. The move will bring more than 60 positions held by both Hyatt associates and its IT vendors to the company's 200 West Monroe location. These positions range from application support to development.

 

Hyatt was recently named a "Top 100 Workplace" by the Chicago Tribune. Hyatt's new IT positions will join a flourishing technology community in Chicago, which is home to more than 1,500 digital technology companies that employ more than 40,000 people, an increase of 21 percent since 2013. Built in Chicago also reports that a technology startup is launched in Chicago every 24 hours.

 

Promoting and enabling greater levels of innovation throughout the regional economy is a key component of Chicago's Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, a blueprint for accelerating the economy and adding jobs in Chicago. The Plan was initiated by Mayor Emanuel and is currently being implemented by World Business Chicago.

 

Similar to Hyatt's move, other companies, including Walgreens, Medline, Grainger, and Motorola Mobility, have relocated their technology divisions to the city in order to gain access to its unique talent pool. Public and private post-secondary educational institutions enroll more than 65,000 students in the Chicago Loop alone, and Chicago is home to two of the world's top business schools. Additionally, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed Chicago residents over 25 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in computers, math, and statistics increased by 20 percent in 2012 (nationally, this figure increased by 4.6 percent).

 

To read the full press release, click here.

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Chicago Awarded Department of Defense Grant for Future Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI)

February 28, 2014

 

Chicago was recently awarded a $70 million federal grant to build a Digital Manufacturing Design Lab (Digital Lab). An additional $250 million in public and private sector matching funds was raised to support the winning bid. This new center will change the face of research and engineering growth in the Midwest.
 
The Digital Lab will be the nation's flagship research institute in digital manufacturing. The lab will apply cutting edge computing technologies to address the manufacturing challenges faced by the Department of Defense (DoD) and transform manufacturing across the country. The computing technologies of the Digital Lab include mobile computing, cloud computing, and high performance computing. The Digital Lab will build online communities and leverage the power of networks and big data to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, make the U.S. supply chain more competitive globally, and reduce acquisition costs for DoD.

Solutions developed at the Digital Lab have the potential to generate $35 billion in savings to the Department of Defense and $100 billion in value for its industry partners, including large manufacturers and small businesses. The breakthroughs in applying these new technologies will promote growth in the Chicago region's advanced manufacturing sector and create thousands of new jobs.

The Digital Lab will make technology accessible to small businesses, helping them compete. The Digital Lab will also integrate skills training for new digital manufacturing jobs into regional and national STEM education and workforce programs, reaching more than 2 million students and workers over the first 5 years through partnerships with trade associations, community colleges, and local economic development organizations.

 

To read the full press release, please click here.

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850 N. Lake Shore Drive Recently Reopened as Luxury Apartments - an Adaptive Re-use Success Story!

February 14, 2014

 

Alderman Reilly is very pleased to report the successful adaptive reuse of an historic Streeterville building - the Lake Shore Athletic Club at 850 N. Lake Shore Drive.   

 

 

 

Alderman Reilly worked closely with the Chicago and Illinois landmark preservation community to designate and save a number of architecturally important historic buildings across downtown Chicago, including Jarvis Hunt's 1927 Lakeshore Club at 850 North Lake Shore Drive.  

 

Upon taking office in May 2007, the pending demolition of the Lake Shore Athletic Club was the first controversial development issue to hit the Alderman's desk. With a demolition permit filed five weeks prior to Reilly taking office, and a looming demolition deadline of July 16th, 2007, the Alderman immediately intervened to preserve the building. Six months after declaring his opposition to a proposal by Northwestern University and Fifield Development to demolish the historic Lake Shore Athletic Club, Alderman Brendan Reilly was able to announce the building had been saved from demolition and slated for renovation. 

 

After a thorough and deliberative community process, it was found that the building could and should be re-used.

 

Alderman Reilly is happy to report that after remaining empty for 9 years, 850 Lake Shore Drive reopened its doors in January 2014 as a luxury apartment building, adding to the distinctive "lakefront row" including designs by Lucien Lagrange and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  

 

Together with restoration architects, Booth Hansen incorporated many historical elements in this newly designed 19 story building, including brass pieces and the chandeliers from the former ballroom - now converted into 850 Lake Shore Drive's social room. The re-use now features 198 luxury apartment units, of which most enjoy views of Lake Michigan, due to the building's half hexagon shape.


(Matthew Phillips of Integrated Development Group, Alderman Reilly and Joe Valenti of Valenti Construction at a 2010 event celebrating the construction of 850 n. LSD and removal of an antique silver chandelier from former dining room) 

 

(Mediterranean Dining Room, 1920s) 

 

 

(850 N. Lake Shore Drive current, from 850lsd.com/gallery)

 

Alderman Reilly continues to partner with Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Preservation Illinois, as well as the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development's Historic Preservation Division to review and landmark other important structures in downtown's 42nd Ward. 

Alderman Reilly has recently sponsored initiatives to consider landmark status for important buildings such as: The Gibbons and Steger Buildings, The Marina Towers, Northwestern's downtown Quad (Montgomery Ward Memorial, Weibolt Hall of Commerce, Levy Mayer Hall including McCormick Hall) and the Augustus Warner House in the Gold Coast to support the preservation of downtown Chicago's historic buildings.

Recent Press:
Chicago Magazine 1/30/14
Curbed 1/31/14

Previous Reilly Reports Stories:
Lake Shore Athletic Club Saved from Demolition 12/5/07
850 Lake Shore Drive Begins Newest Phase of Renovation 3/10/10
Lake Shore Athletic Club Re-Use Update 7/23/12

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IPW 2014 in Chicago April 5-9th

April 4, 2014

 

Over 6,000 tour operators, suppliers, travel writers and other travel leaders representing more than 70 countries are in Chicago this week from April 5 - 9 for IPW 2014. IPW is the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.   More than 1,200 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of more than $4.7 billion in future Visit USA travel. At IPW, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips.

 

IPW 2014 will be held Saturday, April 5, through Wednesday, April 9, at McCormick Place. Participants will also take part in a number of sightseeing tours, dining opportunities and local excursions throughout the city.   While the trade showwill take place at McCormick Place, many activities will occur within the 42nd Ward.

 

On Sunday, April 6th at 10:00am there will be an International Media Brunch at the John Hancock Center at The Signature Room at the 95th® and 360 CHICAGO (formerly the John Hancock Observatory).

  • Guests will be picked up and dropped off along Chestnut Street with buses staged along Chicago Avenue between Lake Shore Drive and Fairbanks. All buses will be monitored by Traffic Control Aides
  • IPW Media Tours will depart immediately following the Media Brunch.

IPW is a wonderful opportunity to welcome the international travel community and to showcase the City of Chicago as a world-class tourism destination!


For logistical information regarding bus routes and shuttle bus staging areas, please see this link.

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2014 Chicago Blues and Chicago Jazz Festival Artists Announced

April 4, 2014

 

31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival

"Blues by the Lake" in Grant Park

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the complete line-up for the 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival set for June 13 through June 15 in Grant Park. Click here to read the full press release.

 

This year the festival theme celebrates "Blues by the Lake," with three days of the finest blues music featuring headliners Carolina Chocolate Drops, Otis Taylor Band and a special celebration commemorating the centennial of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson featuring Billy Boy Arnold and The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band with Sam Lay. Also headlining, Theo Huff, Willie Clayton, Bettye LaVette Nikki Hill, Aaron Neville and Dr. John.

 

The FREE admission Chicago Blues Festival is open from 11am to 9:30pm daily. The Petrillo Music Shell will feature headliners at 6pm-9:30pm on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14. The stage will run 5:30pm-9:30pm on Sunday, June 15.

 

The popular day stages contribute to the festival's reputation as an internationally acclaimed event. Each stage features local and national blues musicians celebrating the genres rich tradition and heritage. Stages and performance times are: Bud Light Crossroads Stage, 11:15am-5:30pm; Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage, 11:30am-7:30pm and Pepsi Front Porch Stage, noon-5:30pm.

 

New this year, blues fans can enjoy the "Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion" sponsored by the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. The dining pavilion will feature live music from 11:30am-4:30pm daily.

 

Leading up to the Chicago Blues Festival, May is "Blues Month" in Chicago featuring a number of preview performances at various Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations throughout the city. Blues music will also fill the halls of the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) during May on select Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon - and a Blues Festival preview on Daley Plaza is set for Monday, June 9. The full schedule of preview events will be announced later this month.

 

For more information about the 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival, please visit chicagobluesfestival.us. Join the conversation on Facebook (Chicago Blues Festival) and Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE  (#ChiBluesFest).

 

 

36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events also presents the headliners performing in Millennium Park for the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.), August 28-31, showcasing the very best of Jazz music from noon to 9:30pm daily.

 

Millennium Park headliners include: Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The FREE admission Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

 

For the latest information on the36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, visit chicagojazzfestival.us, Facebook  at Chicago Jazz Festival or twitter @ChicagoDCASE. To read the full press release, click here.

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IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

April 4, 2014

 

The Internal Revenue Service warns consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.


Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

 

Other characteristics of this scam include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue - if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
  • If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.

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Free Tax Help Available

April 4, 2014

 

Time is running out to take advantage of the City's free income tax assistance program before the April 15th tax filing deadline.

 

The City of Chicago offers federal and state income tax preparation and e-filing free of charge for families earning up to $50,000 or individuals earning up to $25,000 at sites across Chicago.

 

You'll also find out if you qualify to claim federal and Illinois Earned Income Tax Credits, the Child Tax Credit, and/or student financial aid for college. For eligible families, these federal and state credits could be worth more than $6,000 on their 2013 tax returns! But without the help of knowledgeable tax preparers, many Chicagoans will not claim all the income tax credits they deserve.

 

For more information about how to access the free tax assistance program, Chicagoans can:

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The Chicago Park District Needs Summer Lifeguards!

March 28, 2014

 

 

The Chicago Park District is now hiring summer lifeguards, with a starting pay of $13.38 an hour.  Interested candidates must complete a swim test to be eligible to enroll in the Park District's lifeguard training academy. Those who complete the academy will get an interview for a lifeguard position. Over 90% of those who complete the training are offered jobs! Start the application process now. Call the Chicago Park District Aquatics Division at (312) 742-5121 or visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/ lifeguards. Applications must be completed by April 24, 2014.

 

Note: Financial assistance is available for the Lifeguard Training Class.

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Chicago College Startup Competition to Attract Business Startups to Chicago

March 22, 2014

 

Mayor Emanuel, ThinkChicago and 1871 recently launched the Chicago College Startup Competition (CCSC) - a new effort to attract the leading collegiate business startups from around the country to Chicago.


As part of the CCSC, 1871 will provide up to 10 full-time desks at their 50,000 square-foot networking and business incubation space in The Merchandise Mart. The spaces will be designated for entrepreneurs who started their businesses while in college and wish to continue after graduation by moving to Chicago. The winners of the competition will receive a full free year of desk space, mentorship services, and all of the amenities that are made available to startups at the 1871 facility.

 

ThinkChicago and 1871 will work with some of the leading entrepreneurial business plan competitions at colleges across the country to identify outstanding businesses that may be selected as the winning businesses. Businesses can also directly apply to 1871 and ThinkChicago to be considered for the program. This will ensure businesses that are not involved in ongoing entrepreneurship competitions can still have a chance to be offered a place in the program. A panel of current businesses located at 1871 and members of ThinkChicago will evaluate the additional entries for inclusion in the program.

 

Competition winners will have same access to all 1871 resources as existing businesses. 1871 will also create a working group focused specifically on the unique challenges facing collegiate entrepreneurs to support the new companies and future collegiate businesses that come to the City of Chicago.

 

Interested applicants should visit www.1871.com/CCSC or contact college@1871.com for more information. Competition winners will be publicly announced at ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza during the first week in August. Click here to read the official press release.

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CTA and Pace to Complete Transition to Ventra by July 1

March 22, 2014

 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace have announced the transit systems will complete the transition to the new Ventra fare payment system by July 1.

 

The transition calendar has three phases:

  • May 1-Customers can no longer buy magnetic stripe cards or autoload/reload Chicago Card/Chicago Card PlusJune 1-Customers can no longer reload magnetic stripe cards or use Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus
  • July 1-Customers can no longer use magnetic stripe cards. Pace customers paying with cash will no longer be issued a Transfer Card. All customers will be transitioned to Ventra.

Chicago Card Plus customers enrolled in the CTA's Transit Benefits through their employers and O'Hare employees using the temporary O'Hare smart card are transitioning the first week of April, and will receive specific instructions through their employers.

 

Senior citizens who are enrolled in the Reduced Fare Program should spend down their available balance on their magnetic swipe cards.  Seniors enrolled in the Reduced Fare Program who have not received a new Ventra card should call the RTA at 312-913-3110.  Seniors who are unable to spend down their available balance by July 1 can either do a balance transfer either through the mail or at a balance transfer event, details of which are below.

 

To assist all other customers who still need to transition, Ventra has a number of ways to purchase a Ventra card and transfer the balance from a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus to a Ventra Card.

 

Customers can easily obtain a Ventra Card at vending machines at CTA's 145 rail stations and at more than 1,000 retail locations in Chicago and the suburbs. To take advantage of balance protection in the event of a lost/stolen card and online account management, customers can easily register their cards at ventrachicago.com  and have the one-time card purchase fee of $5 converted to fare value on their Ventra Card.

 

Ventra plans a number of balance transfer events throughout the city over the next three months. At these events, customers can transfer balances from valid magnetic-stripe cards and Chicago Cards, obtain and register a new Ventra Card (with no upfront purchase fee), and have their questions answered. These events will also assist customers who have been issued Reduced Fare and Ride Free Permits by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

 

Balance transfer customers may bring a maximum of five eligible fare media cards with a combined minimum of $5 in transit value. Fare media that is eligible for balance transfers includes CTA and Pace stored value magnetic stripe full-fare and reduced-fare cards and Chicago Cards. Unlimited ride 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day passes, reduced fare passes, and passes sold in bulk or any expired fare media cannot be transferred to Ventra cards and must be used up. RTA reduced-fare permit holders must bring in new Ventra RTA reduced-fare permit for balance transfer.

 

Chicago Card Plus customers who have not yet transitioned to Ventra will be able to do so  online at ventrachicago.com.


Later this spring, customers who wish to transfer unused balances on Chicago Card and magnetic stripe fare cards will have the option of mailing in their old cards and having any unused balance transferred to their registered Ventra Card. (Not including unlimited-ride 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day pass products, which must be used up in advance of the full transition.) The CTA and RTA will provide more details about the mail-in option later this spring and information will be published in Reilly Reports as well.

 

Customers can visit ventrachicago.com for complete balance transfer rules and event dates, how-to-videos and frequently asked questions.

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New Electric Bill Savings Available

March 14, 2014

 

The second half of the City's electricity aggregation agreement with Integrys Energy Services is expected to save as much as $24 million for Chicago residents and small businesses, while ensuring that all of Chicago's energy comes from non-coal sources.

 

Starting in May, the average participant in the aggregation program will see an average savings of $34 as compared to the expected ComEd effective rate, which is set to increase in June. The City's aggregation program has saved more than 720,000 Chicago households and businesses an average of $42 on their bills since February 2013, resulting in a total savings of $32 million to date.

Chicago is the largest city in the country to have purchased electricity in bulk on behalf of its residents and businesses. Through this use of bulk buying power, the City secured a coal-free power mix. This cleaner supply mix has resulted in a 16 percent reduction in the City's carbon footprint, removing the equivalent of 100,000 cars from the streets. Additionally, Illinois wind farms will physically generate 5 percent of the electricity provided through the municipal aggregation program.

The municipal aggregation program has also provided residents and small businesses with top quality service according to Ameresco, Inc., a third party validator retained by the City to test and validate Integrys' performance in administering the program. To view a scorecard of Integrys' performance in 2013, click here.

Customers will have an opportunity to opt out of the program via phone, mail, or web and return to ComEd. Opt-out letters will be mailed starting the week of March 17 and customers will have 14 days to decide whether they would like to opt out of the program before the new rate takes effect. Additionally, after the initial opt-out period, residents will still have the opportunity to leave the program at any time without charge, fee, or penalty. All current Chicago residential and small commercial members will be automatically enrolled in the program under the new price, unless they opt-out.

During the second year of Chicago's aggregation program, the pricing structure will shift to a demand-based electricity supply approach that is designed to result in lower rates for households that use less electricity. The new pricing will begin with the May 2014 meter read and is based on a two-part pricing structure, called "My Balanced Energy Plan." The plan produces lower rates for smaller electricity users by setting a low energy fixed price of 5.299 cents per kilowatt-hour and a monthly customer charge of $22.36 for single-family customers and $9.06 for multi-family customers. The City estimates that this structure will deliver the average customer $34 in savings over the final year of the program.

In addition to delivering savings to Chicagoans, the City's agreement will continue to offer the same consumer protection and environmental benefits negotiated under the City's aggregation program, including no hidden fees or exit fees and non-coal supply.

Integrys Energy Services will also be required to beat or match the ComEd price. If the Integrys effective rate for the average residential users rises above the ComEd rate, including the Purchased Electricity Adjustment (PEA), then Integrys will be required to match the price or send Chicago customers back to ComEd at the request of the City.

For more information, please go to http://www.integrysenergy.com/ aggregation/il-chicago/ or call 888-802-2885.

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Alderman Reilly: Help Us Defeat People's Gas Rate Hike Request!

February 28, 2014

 

Alderman Reilly is strongly encouraging Chicago consumers to mobilize against a People's Gas proposal that would guarantee higher utility bills and significantly higher costs to heat homes and small businesses.

 

People's Gas Cries Poor...Just Months After Winning a $56 Million Rate Hike.

 

Just months after securing a $56 million rate increase on consumers last year, People's Gas is back for more. But this time, they're seeking a nearly $130 million rate hike. On February 26th, People's Gas announced their request for a "delivery rate" increase that, if approved, would add an additional $5.00 in costs per month for a typical residential customer. A "delivery rate" hike would significantly increase what People's Gas is allowed to charge consumers for the delivery of gas to their homes.

 

Regulated utility monopolies like People's Gas are allowed to make a profit off of the "delivery" charges on bills, but not the cost of the actual gas. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is considering the proposed rate increase and is now in an 11-month regulatory review process. If the ICC approves the rate increase, it would take effect in January, 2015.

 

But Wait, There's More...People's Gas Has "March Surprise" For You.

 

People's Gas price increases will impact 829,000 customers as early as next month and will continue to impact Chicago consumers through the next year. At the same time People's Gas announced they would be seeking their rate increase - they also told consumers they can look forward to an 80% jump in gas prices in March (at approximately 68 cents per therm). March bills would reflect the highest gas prices Chicago has seen since 2010 and promises a much higher gas bill for March (on average, $57.00 higher than February).

 

Turn Up the Heat on People's Gas: Help Us Fight Against These Rate Hikes!

 

Alderman Reilly is strongly encouraging Chicago consumers to petition the Illinois Commerce Commission to reject this rate increase. The best way to impact this ICC decision is to work with the state's leading non-profit utility watchdog, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB). Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by fighting rate hikes and securing consumer refunds.

 

To get involved and help make a difference, please call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit CUB's award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org to see how you can help fight monopoly rate hikes!

 

Recent Press:  

 

Chicago Tribune
Crain's Chicago Business

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Same-sex Marriage Licenses Now Issued in Cook County

February 28, 2014

 

Cook County Clerk David Orr is now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples - more than three full months before the June 1 date set by the Illinois legislature - following a recent federal court order.

 

Marriage licenses are valid from the day after issuance for 60 days. In other words, couples who obtain a marriage license on March 1 may get married between March 2 and April 30.

The $60 license fee will be waived for any couple who already has an Illinois civil union license. Couples who wish to convert their prior civil union date to a marriage will have to wait until June 1 because it was not addressed in Judge Coleman's order.

 

An updated Frequently Asked Questions is available regarding marriage equality. For more information, visit, www.cookcountyclerk.com.

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Alderman Reilly Visits with 42nd Ward Neighborhood Groups

February 14, 2014

 

Alderman Reilly recently spoke at the 2014 River North Business Association (RNBA) Annual Meeting, held February 4th at the Allerton Hotel. Alderman Reilly was glad to participate in a special surprise bagpiper procession honoring France Langan, outgoing RNBA Chairman of the Board.

 

  

 

 

Last month, Alderman Reilly was also invited by the Fulton River District Association (FRDA) / Neighbors of West Loop to give a "State of the 42nd Ward" address.  

 

At the January 22nd event at OVIE Bar and Grill, Alderman Reilly discussed upcoming and current developments, new infrastructure improvements and other neighborhood updates in the Fulton River District and West Loop.

 

A summary of the event was chronicled in a recent FRDA/Neighbors of West Loop newsletter

 

 

Alderman Reilly thanks Sharon Romack, RNBA President and CEO, and Larry Gage, FRDA President for inviting him to speak to their members.

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Alderman Reilly votes "NO" on City's $1.9 Billion Borrowing Plan

February 10, 2014

 

Last week, the Chicago City Council approved a $1.9 billion borrowing plan by a 43-4 vote. The vote empowered the Emanuel Administration to issue up to $900 million in general obligation bonds (backed by property taxes) and doubled the city's short-term line of credit to $1 billion.

 

Alderman Reilly was one of the four aldermen who voted against issuing the $1.9 billion in new city debt obligations. Aldermen Robert Fioretti (2nd), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and John Arena (45th) accounted for the three other "no" votes against the proposal.

 

Alderman Reilly said he could not support authorizing the additional $1.9 billion in city debt for two reasons: (1) the sheer amount of bonding authority request was enormous; and (2) the lack of detail on how the Administration would spend the billions in bond proceeds.

 

According to Reilly, although the Administration provided a broad sketch of how the proceeds would be spent - it only accounted for how approximately 60% of the proceeds of the $900 million in general obligation bonds would be spent, leaving roughly $300 to $350 million uncommitted potential bonding authority without specific earmarks.

 

Vice-Chairman of the City Council Budget Committee, Alderman Reilly has worked with the Emanuel Administration to reform the City Budget, supporting efforts to: streamline bureaucratic functions; spend tax dollars with an eye toward "return on investment;" and implementing local pension reform to keep the system solvent and help restore stability to the City's long-term finances.

 

Despite his support for many of the Mayor's budget reforms and the targeted use of bonding authority to support critical infrastructure investments and refinancing costlier debt obligations - Alderman Reilly could not support granting the Administration this massive new bonding authority that saddles future generations of Chicagoans with billions of dollars of new debt.

 

Alderman Reilly believes we must tackle these difficult fiscal issues today, rather than "pay forward" this ongoing fiscal crisis to future generations of mayors, aldermen and Chicago taxpayers.

 

According to Reilly, addressing those challenges will require an honest discussion about the price of city government, spending priorities and a full accounting of the real costs to provide basic services taxpayers expect. In order for Chicago to remain solvent and grow, Reilly believes we must more narrowly define core services delivered by city government and be more creative and flexible in how we fund and deliver those services.

 

Alderman Reilly is committed to working with the Emanuel Administration to confront these unprecedented financial challenges head-on and chart a budget path to fiscal responsibility and stability.  Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran two compelling editorials regarding the ramifications of extending Chicago's long-term debt - one on Wednesday's Editorial Page LINK and another again on Sunday LINK

Here are other related local news reports regarding the borrowing plan:

Chicago Tribune  2/5/14
Chicago Sun Times 2/5/14
 

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City of Chicago Presents New Cultural Tourism Strategy

January 31, 2014

 

Chicago's first-ever cultural tourism strategy aims to position the city as a premier global cultural destination. Based off the findings from an eight-month analysis, the cultural tourism strategy calls for the implementation of a neighborhood tourism plan, promotion of cultural asset infrastructure and enhanced tourism sales efforts.  

 

With this strategy in mind, Mayor Emanuel recently announced the goal of attracting 55 million visitors a year to Chicago by 2020, which will add an additional 30,000 tourism-related jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue into the city of Chicago.

 

The Chicago Cultural Plan, released in 2012, included a number of initiatives designed to position the city as an even more prominent global cultural destination and help differentiate cultural opportunities in Chicago from those in other destinations. Leveraging Chicago's distinctive cultural assets is a critical component of the City's efforts to attract travelers, support major events and festivals, and increase opportunities for economic growth.

 

The Chicago Neighborhood website encourages visitors and residents to explore Chicago's neighborhoods thematically and geographically to raise awareness of the cultural opportunities present in every Chicago neighborhood.

 

Learn more about Chicago's cultural tourism strategy, including the work that went into developing the plan and featured 2014 programing by clicking here.

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Small Business Energy Advantage Program 

January 31, 2014

 

The Small Business Energy Advantage Program is a new initiative that allows businesses to join the City's municipal electricity aggregation program and save on their electricity bills.

 

This program will provide an estimated 40,000 additional small businesses with the opportunity to opt into the City's program and save up to 12 percent off the ComEd rate from February to June, and an estimated 5% for the remaining 12 months of the City's agreement with Integrys, based on historical rates. The City estimates that this would result in savings between February and June ranging from $100 for the smallest users to $2,500 for larger users such as a leased office suite in a commercial building.

In addition to delivering savings to Chicago small businesses, the launch of the Small Business Energy Advantage Program will afford users the same consumer protection and environmental benefits negotiated under the City's aggregation program, including no hidden fees or exit fees, and no coal in the supply mix.

 

The Small Business Energy Advantage Program is designed to offer a savings opportunity to small businesses that were initially too large to qualify for the City's aggregation agreement under state law because they use more than 15,000 kWh annually but are included in ComEd's "0-100 KW" and "Watt-Hour" delivery classes. Examples of these types of businesses include small to mid-sized churches, coffee shops, small storefront restaurants, small storefront retail spaces for service businesses and individually metered tenant office spaces in commercial buildings.

 

The Small Business Energy Advantage Program is the first program of its kind in the nation and was included in the aggregation agreement that the City finalized with Integrys in December 2012. The new savings opportunity will be promoted jointly by Integrys and by the City's Small Business Center, housed in the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

 

For more information and to possibly signup, visit www.integrysenergy.com/ EnergyAdvantage or call 855-310-5440.

 

 

 

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