Gazette takes a look back at news stories of 2010
January 7, 2011

By William S. Bike

The beat goes on in the ten neighborhoods comprising this community, as the Gazette was filled with news of interest to local residents throughout 2010.

Tax expert Andrea Raila examined 224 pages of tax information in April. 'I question whether this expenditure of taxpayer money is an error in an electronic age,' she said. (Photo by Troy T Heinzeroth)
A Daniel Burnham memorial planned for the south end of Grant Park had local community groups clashing over whether to promote or oppose it. A $10,000 reward was offered in response to the hit-and-run death of Martha Gonzales at 18th and Halsted Streets. Environmental advocates shut down the LaSalle Street financial district, protesting a variety of polluters including power plants in Pilsen and Little Village.

Ninth District police and community leaders came up with new ways to combat crime. A gala for the Walter Payton Liver Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) netted $215,000.

The Gazette previewed all local political races in the Feb. 2. primary election.

The City cited St. Matthew Lutheran Church for alleged building code violations; parishioners felt the City was harassing the church unfairly. The Chicago Transit Authority closed its 103-year-old garage at Archer Avenue and Pershing Road. State of Illinois payment tardiness brought about a cash crisis at UIC.

Two serious fires occurred in Greektown and Bronzeville. Businesses suffering fire damage or destruction were Athens Grocery, Costa’s, the Greektown Gift and Music Shop, and the Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop in Greektown and Blu 47, Steelelife Gallery, Spoken Word Café, Uncle Joe’s Jerk Chicken, and the Jamaican consulate in Bronzeville. Author Charlene Wexler published the novel Murder on Skid Row, set on Madison Street in the 1960s.

A massive 18-month Wacker/Congress street renovation project began. Parents were concerned about the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) plan for Montefiore School. The Cook County Assessor’s office published a 224-page listing of assessment notices in community newspapers, leading some to question the expense and environmental impact.

Two-year old Frank Sroka Vulich-Ferro of Bridgeport survived a liver transplant—a rare operation on one so young. Neighbors expressed concerns about extreme noise in the Near South/Prairie District area. The 2010 UIC Flames men’s baseball team and women’s softball team made their season debut. St. Barbara’s parish preschool underwent a $30,000 renovation.

St. Anthony Hospital mentored entry-level healthcare workers in the School to Work program. Artificial turf won over grass for renovating fields at Sheridan Park.

Lawrence McCallum, a trustee of St.Matthew’s, pointed out where violations were repaired in the church. (Photo by Troy T Heinzeroth)
The University Village Association (UVA) worked with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on expanding Jackson Language Academy. The Randolph/Fulton Market Association voted to make infrastructure improvements in the community the group’s top priority. The State Legislature stymied a law that would have given taxpayers relief from “omitted” assessments, past property tax assessments billed to taxpayers in the current year.

The CPS angered Bronzeville residents by proposing to consolidate the McCorkle and Beethoven schools and for citing Mollison School for alleged “underperformance.”

Some community residents called for fewer rental units at Roosevelt Square. Jones College Prep announced plans for a new building. Bridgeport residents expressed concerns over the area’s lack of a major supermarket.

Thanks to an earlier Gazette article, many volunteers contacted St. Matthew’s Church to help with repairs in the church’s battle with the city over alleged building violations. Tina LaPapa took over as managing director of the West Central Association. The City Council passed a resolution honoring Mario’s Italian Lemonade.

A developer proposed a 314-foot residential tower in the West Loop. Parents at Galileo School expressed their desire for Vice Principal Blanca Miarka to become principal to replace Alfonso Valtierra, who had died in 2009. Local retailers looked at how a Costco store proposed for 14th Street and Ashland Avenue would affect their businesses.

Development proposals included a new high school for the Back of the Yards area and a no-frills hotel in the South Loop. UIC area robberies caused community concern. The Major Adams Community Committee Center in the West Loop underwent renovation.

Rival petitioners offered differing views for Roosevelt Square’s future. The Bridgeport Farmers Market helped relieve Bridgeport’s “food desert” status. Officials announced a Grant Park renovation plan and dedicated Stearns Quarry Park.

Planners discussed a national heritage area and migration centennial celebration for Bronzeville. Pilsen beekeepers produced both honey and environmental awareness. Principal Mary Ann Pollett retired from Montefiore School.

The Federal government declined to provide additional funding for the Morgan el station of the Chicago Transit Authority. Sean Phillips became UIC men’s soccer coach.

Donna Oppolo has raised bees for five years and started the Pilsen Beekeepers Association. (Photo by Troy T Heinzeroth)
The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame pursued refinancing after being threatened with foreclosure. Street improvement projects continued on Wacker Drive and Congress Parkway. Bridgeport/Back of the Yards developer John Edel planned an urban farm.

The WCA called for Target to promise that locals would be hired for its West Loop store.

Transportation leaders planned a new Metra station for 35th Street and Wentworth Ave. The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown held its dedication. Roosevelt University pressed forward on a 32-story skyscraper.

Fifteen aldermen agreed to co-sponsor the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would force Midwest Generation to reduce pollution at its Pilsen and Little Village coal plants. St. Barbara’s parish celebrated its centennial.

The City overhauled policies on encroachments to the public way.

Funeral director Michael Coletta passed away, about nine months after his twin brother, Morrie, died.

The Gazette previewed candidates for local political races. Cermak Fresh Market announced it would open a store in Bridgeport. Parents who had been sitting in at Whittier School negotiated with the Chicago Public Schools, which agreed not to demolish the field house and to create a library within the school. Longtime funeral director Frank G. Reda passed away.

Many Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (C.A.P.S.) police were reassigned to street patrol. The Randolph/ Fulton Market Association sought $20 million for area redevelopment. The City’s free recycling program was threatened with privatization.

Holy Family parishioners commemorated the 20th anniversary of the saving of the church. Provision Theater Co. offered plays and workshops with a positive spin. Homeless vets were given sweatshirts by Pompei Restaurant. The West Central Association transitioned its focus from the community to area business.

St. Barbara’s Parish celebrated its 100th anniversary. Developer and real estate preservationist William Lavicka was honored by Chicago Hope Academy and the Chicago Lions. Taylor St. business owners formed a chamber of commerce and decorated the street for Christmas.

Sr. Francilla Kirby of Holy Family Church and Robert Garippo, a Taylor Street business leader, passed away.