East Village Association officers 2015-2016

Another week, another election: East Village Association members will vote Monday, March 2, for the group's president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

There'll also be details on the runoff for 2nd Ward alderman. EVA will co-sponsor a debate between finalists Brian Hopkins and Alyx Pattison March 24 at Columbus School, 1003 N. Leavitt St. Crain's Chicago Business political editor Greg Hinz will moderate. The city runoff election is April 7.

Here are the EVA officer candidates:

Daniel R. Johnson (president) has been an East Village resident for the last 3 years. "My wife, Julia, and I bought a house on Winchester built more than a century ago. We have two young daughters and enjoy walking around the neighborhood, playing at Commercial Park and eating lunch at the local restaurants.

"We moved to East Village for a number of reasons, including the short commute to the Loop, the unique character of the architecture, the vibrancy created by the different businesses, the mature trees and the walking distance to a pizza place, gelato store, supermarket or bakery. I'm interested in preserving and enhancing the qualities of the neighborhood, both food and non-food related, that drew us here.

"I'm a graduate of Amherst College and Northwestern University law school and I'm a litigation partner at a law firm. I have been the Vice President of the East Village Association for the last year and look forward to continuing to work together with the residents, businesses, and others that make this community the sort of place that we all choose to live in despite the excessive amount of time we must spend shoveling snow."

Catherine Garypie (vice president) has been an East Village resident for 8 years. She's been active in community policing, volunteered at Commercial Park, the Chicago Police/ Chicago Food Depository monthly food giveaway in Eckhart Park, and at a local teen homeless shelter.

She was born and raised in Michigan, attended college in New York and law school in Chicago. She's worked as an environmental attorney for more than 23 years in Chicago (1991-95, 2002-present), New York (1995-98) and Boston (1998-2002). She lives near Augusta & Wood. Here she's goofing off at EVA's summer 2014 block party with members of EVA and Chicago Fire Department Station 30 (1125 N. Ashland Ave.).

Michael VanDam (secretary) has lived in East Village for more than 6 years, and in Chicago for more than 20. He joins the board after a year as a member of the Planning, Preservation and Development committee. Living directly on Chicago Avenue, Michael is particularly interested in promoting responsible development on the commercial corridors of East Village.

VanDam grew up in Michigan and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island before coming back to the Midwest. He works as an independent public relations consultant, specializing in business-to-business and financial services marketing.

Kok Keng (KK) Goh (treasurer) grew up in Singapore. "I studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, worked as a management consultant, and am currently an investor in real estate projects.

"I’ve grown to love this neighborhood for its mix of inhabitants and blend of architecture. Serving on the EVA board has left me with a deep sense of appreciation for EVA’s role in shaping the neighborhood."

Additional nominations will be accepted before the vote. Meet your neighbors and take part at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1959 N. Wolcott Ave. As Woody Allen said, 80 percent of success is showing up.

Talcott preschool applications 2015-2016

By Sachin Master

Wondering what the first or next step in your toddler’s education should be? Check out the preschool program at Talcott Fine Arts & Museum Academy. Learn more about the program and application process here.

Talcott will host a special open house for families from 5 to 6pm on March 17 at the school, 1840 W. Ohio St. To attend, email your name, preferred email and phone number.

CPS Ready to Learn representatives will be on hand to take applications from 8 to 11am March 31. The preschool program is not attendance boundaries and is open to anyone in the EVA community.

Wells High wins ward debates



By Neal McKnight

We received a question about our expenditures on the recent aldermanic debates and why we would spend money to use Wells Community Academy High School's auditorium.

A total of $1,400 was spent on the two debates. Some of these expenditures will be reimbursed by our neighboring community groups and co-sponsors. The amount of reimbursements depends on what their budgets can afford. All funds were paid to Wells Community Academy High School to defray costs for custodial and security staff and building and parking operations.

There were no other debate expenses. The audio equipment and setup was donated by www.zzounds.com at no cost to the organization. We had invited both CAN-TV and DNAinfo to stream the debates but they were unable to dedicate the resources. Portions of the debate were recorded and posted on Facebook and youtube. This video was provided by volunteers.

Wells High School was selected based on a number of factors. First, the venue was within our boundaries. Second, the venue is within the 1st Ward and very close to the 2nd Ward. Third and most importantly, Wells High School is the single largest institution within our borders. We saw the debates as an opportunity to introduce Wells High School to our community in a most positive light.

We conferred with the students, teachers and administration of Wells to coordinate the debates and increase interaction between the community and Wells High School. The debates offered an opportunity to showcase both Wells itself and the students attending Wells. EVA is proud to say that it succeeded on both counts.

Many debate attendees and we would venture to guess some of the candidates had never been inside this beautiful facility. The questions presented by the students were both insightful and provided a unique perspective on issues facing young people in our city. As we posted in social media, the biggest winner from both debates was Wells High School.

As an all-volunteer organization, we can always use more help. We encourage members of our community who are interested in contributing time, resources or money to attend both our general membership meetings as well as our board meetings. Both are open to the public. Please make time to attend. We would love to have you there.

Chicago 2nd Ward election forum video



Closing statements from Bita Buenrostro, Brian Hopkins, Steve Niketopoulos, Alyx Pattison, Stacey Pfingston and Cornell Wilson, Feb. 5, 2015 at Wells Community Academy High School. The ward debates were sponsored by Chicago Grand Neighbors Association, East Village Association, Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association and West Town Neighbors Association.

State OKs Wicker Park pot shop

The Rauner administration has approved a medical marijuana dispensary at 1368 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, and held for further review an application at 1105 W. Fulton Market on the Near West Side.

The actions suggest a West Town site with city zoning approval at 744 N. Damen Ave. has been turned down. Applicants may appeal disqualification.

The Tribune notes the extended review of the Fulton Market application submitted by Perry Mandera, owner of the VIP's Gentleman's Club.

Route to Polish Triangle rehab



East Village Association board minutes for Jan. 12, 2015, submitted by Catherine Garypie

Aldermanic debate planning

  • At Wells High School, on Jan. 29 (1st Ward) and Feb. 5 (2nd Ward), both 7-9pm.
  • Better Government Association will moderate. Waiting for confirmation from Andy Shaw; he'll likely do at least one of the debates.
  • Partnership: CGNA, UVNA, EVA, new group south of Chicago Avenue and west of Damen Avenue.
  • Format: opening remarks (including: “be civil, respectful, etc., and ask your supporters to do the same"), Q&A, close.
  • Volunteers needed for setup and breakdown.
  • Equipment being planned includes podiums, tables, microphones (hopefully lapel mics), possible digital timer.
  • Approval to spend $560 to rent auditorium? Board votes Yes.
  • Planning conference call with other neighborhood associations will be on Thursday.
  • No one on EVA board cares if there is campaigning going on at the event.
  • Can people park in high school parking lot? NM will find out.
  • Will CAN TV cover? NM will find out.
  • Draft Press Release: Stephen Rynkiewicz will draft.
  • The Winchester will offer drink and app specials before and after. Neal McKnight will get details.

Aldermanic speakers

Feb. 2 EVA meeting: Anne Shaw, Stacey Pfingsten, Bita Buenrostro. Catherine Garypie will get invitations out.

Polish Triangle
  • Chicago Department of Transportation meeting: Scott Rappe and a few other “neighborhood regulars” attended. Two main pathways to renovation at Ashland-Division-Milwaukee: get CDOT to do planning with community vision (liability stays with city) or all private dollars, where vendor does planning with community vision (liability stays with private funders). Possible private funders: LG Development, Centrum, Rob Buono, Jeanne Gang). CDOT would lease the space to the private party, which will have to fund maintenance. Is city selling naming rights to Polish Triangle? Unclear.
  • Centrum will construct a walkway from Division to Milwaukee in association with its planned development. CDOT owns the top inch of the Polish Triangle; under that is owned by different city entities.