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CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - PORTAGE PARK, ROGERS PARK, LAKEVIEW, EDGEWATER, EVANSTON

Jennifer Garrity - Dean's Team Customer Service CoordinatorPORTAGE PARK

Approximately 800 people filled the auditorium of Foreman High School in the Portage Park community where the Evangel World Outreach Center has met for the past year. The historically German congregation expanded to include nearly 1,400 members drawn from 40 ethnicities.  It is outgrowing its home on West Diversey Avenue.

With a contrite heart, Friedel Lenz apologized Sunday for past misdeeds leveled by his German ancestors against members of other races, whose descendants gathered with him for an Easter service.  His wife Clara Lenz came next, atoning for wrongdoing on behalf of other Filipinos and Asian groups.

One by one, congregants stepped forward during a ceremony at the Evangel World Outreach Center, on Chicago's Northwest side, that was designed to promote racial and ethnic healing.

The atonement followed this month's landmark speech by Sen. Barack Obama on race.

"We're just standing here today to say diversity does work," said Patricia Santana, who is Mexican-American. "They always said Mexicans and Puerto Ricans could not be together. Well, that's a lie . . . because I married one."  To read the entire article, click here.

ROGERS PARK

Look at any map of Chicago and you will find 77 communities from Rogers Park to Riverdale.

A more detailed examination will reveal that those 77 communities - politically official areas of the city used by facilitiues such as the public schools - break down even further into 182 to 224 neighborhoods (the total depends on who you may ask), such as The Villa in Irving Park and Ravenswood in Lincoln Square.

Their individual identities which were used most prominently for census-tract data analysis, are established with directories, annual celebrations and, in some cases, historians.  Learn more by clicking here. 

EDGEWATER

When Friends of the Parks revived an idea for expanding Chicago's string of lakefront parks further north, they thought they had a way around the objections.  They would enlist residents to design their own vision of beaches, an extension of the bike path and off-shore islands.

But it's not that easy.  Residents living in high rises along the shoreline north of Hollywood Avenue are putting up a fight.

"I bought my property simply because of the location it was in," said Philip Bernstein, 60, who owns a two-bedroom unit in East Point Condominium. "I'm worried that any development on the lake side of my building would have a negative impact on my property values."

Extending Lincoln Park north of Hollywood is not a new idea.  About three dozen mid-rise to high-rise condominium buildings lining Sheridan Road end at the shore, and past proposals, including a shoreline-protection study in 1987, have called for expanding the shore east of these private properties.  Click here for more information.

LAKEVIEW

One by one, comedic hopefuls shuffle into the meeting at Sheil Park in Lakeview.  They head into a room so white and devoid of color that anything, shoes, clothing, and jokes become more noticeable.  They sit down in two rows of folding chairs.  They hold their heads down and quietly wait for Jason Geis and Micah Philbrook to give them a suggestion.

Philbrook asks for two volunteers. Two of the eight applicants stand up and give their names, adding a line about themselves. One plays fantasy football. The other describes himself as a "South Side Italian family man."

Then they are put to the test.  "Your suggestion," Philbrook says, "is AM radio."

The two men get to work, lamenting over a pantomimed radio, they act out a scene on the fly.  For the next few minutes, Geis and Philbrook look for signs.  Did they move the scene forward?  Do they work well with others?  Do they make smart choices?  Are they funny?  Click here to read the whole story.

EVANSTON

Vincent L. Gillon knew what he was talking was doing when he counseled troubled men and women at Carepoint Adult, Child and Family Association, the Evanston social services agency he founded and established in 1998.

Mr. Gillon spent many years as a heroin addict before he cleaned himself up, earned a master's degree and had a second chance in life working with people suffering from a wide range of ills.  He died of a heart attack on Monday, March 17, at his Evanston home, said his wife, Charisse.  He was 53.

Gillon was the executive director of Carepoint.  His facility offers prevention and counseling programs to HIV/AIDS sufferers and those at risk for the disease, drug abusers, former prisoners working their way back into society and others.  Read more about the life of this wonderful man by clicking here.

JENNIFER GARRITY & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2008 4:29 PM by Dean's Team

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