Chess for children at West Town library: It's your move

By Caleb Nolan, Chicago Public Library children's librarian

Weekly chess lessons return Thursday at the West Town Branch Library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave. Classes from 6 to 7pm through June 11 are supported by East Village Association fund-raising.

Segun Kamara, instructor from Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation, heads the drop-in program through March 3. Segun Kamara led a loyal following of 40 kids in 6 weekly lessons last fall.

Sessions are recommended for children 7 and up, or children ages 5 and 6 accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Alderman-elect Brian Hopkins at Happy Village

The new 2nd Ward alderman speaks to the East Village Association before his May 18 inauguration. Brian Hopkins plans to spend most of his time at a ward service office, which he'd locate west of Ashland Avenue because Streeterville residents can reach him at City Hall.

Car wash to raise funds for Wells rugby squad

By Bob Zwolinski

Students will be washing cars Saturday to help raise funds for the Rugby Club at Wells Community Academy High School, 936 N Ashland Ave.

Wells High School Rugby is in the middle of its first-ever season, funded completely by private donations. The team has made massive strides, starting with six players who were just playing around with a rugby ball to now 19 players in the Illinois High School Rugby Association.

Donations will go to providing mandatory insurance for each player, field time at Eckhart Park, travel costs, referees, cleats and more equipment.

Car washes will be in the back of the school – $10 per wash, cash only.

Chicago Avenue facade rehab to begin

Rehab will begin soon at 1947 W. Chicago Ave.

Work is expected to begin in the next three or four weeks on a landmark storefront at 1947 W. Chicago Ave.

A new owner worked with the East Village Association and Chicago Grand Neighbors Association to follow architectural best practices in restoring the Italianate facade. Both groups consented to upzoning to allow three residential units above a storefront.

The building sustained significant damage after a previous rehab was abandoned. It's listed as significant, or "orange rated," in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

The project was discussed at tonight's EVA board meeting at West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave. Before the meeting, the owner at 1531 W. Haddon St. asked the planning committee to weigh in on an upzoning request. Attorney Mark Kupiec claimed the original single-family zoning was in dispute, but did not present documentation.

Newly elected 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins will speak at the May 4 membership meeting. Board members plan to update a white paper on East Village issues presented to 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno when he took office five years ago.

Also discussed were ways to work with local agencies on planting trees in the neighborhood, and West Town health issues being studied in a Loyola University Chicago class project.

Police affirm Division, Chicago foot patrols

Jeff Liberman of Asado Coffee unwinds with Dan Johnson at the Happy Village.

Police will address foot patrol staffing on Division and Chicago avenues, CAPS coordinator Molly Murray reports to East Village Association members. Cmdr. Melissa Staples had not known beat cops were filling in elsewhere and said she "will take care of it."

Tonight's meeting ended long before the Wisconsin-Duke game tipoff. Here are notes from the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.:

Extra remodeling incentives are available for buildings with electric heat through Elevate Energy. The nonprofit offers free energy advice to apartment owners and a $99 assessment to homeowners.

John Rutherford of Smoke Daddy will lease the former Moonshine space at 1824 W. Division St. to Mike Bisbee of Parlor Pizza. Plans will be presented at a future EVA meeting.

Asado Coffee is opening another shop at 363 W. Erie; the local chain roasts in East Village at 1651 W. Chicago.

Red Apple Convenience’s appeal for a liquor license was denied by the appellate court.

Red Square sidewalk cafe license is still on hold till a tree pit is restored in front of the building at 1914 W. Division.

EVA Monday: Energy update, police staffing

Free energy advice will spark the conversation at Monday's East Village Association meeting.

Outreach coordinator Malory Giraldo will discuss Elevate Energy's free assessments to save energy and water. They're available to two-flat and apartment building owners, along with rebates and grants for energy improvements.

The nonprofit also administers ComEd’s Residential Real-Time Pricing, which prices electricity by the hour for homeowners to save at off-peak periods.

CAPS coordinator Molly Murray will answer questions on police staffing, an issue in Tuesday's mayoral and aldermanic runoffs. Chicago Police hiring has barely kept pace with retirements, and remaining officers have been working more overtime.

The West Town Chamber of Commerce is circulating a petition seeking to retain foot patrols on Division Street and Chicago Avenue. The two beat officers often are assigned to other beats.

The meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott.