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Rahm Wants Urban Farms, Mobile Food Trucks

by Mary C. Piemonte 

More than 600,000 Chicagoans lack easy access to a grocery store offering healthy and fresh foods, according to mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.

To eradicate food deserts in low-income communities throughout the city, Emmanuel plans to increase access to fresh food options, by “engaging smaller local grocery stores, facilitating public-private partnerships and encouraging community gardens to thrive,” he said at a Feb. 1 press conference at Growing Power Iron Street Farm, 3333 S. Iron St.

Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel fielding reporters questions, during his press conference at the Growing Power Iron Street Farm, on Feb. 1, where he talked about his plans to combat food deserts in low-income communities across the city. Photo by Mary C. Johns

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Categories: Homepage Special Reports

Renaissance 2010: Sweeping Changes

by Clemolyn Brinson 

Ask people in low-income communities if they have heard of Renaissance 2010 and the majority would likely say they have. Ask them if they know what Renaissance 2010 is and chances are they would say they don’t. Ask if they know schools on the South and West Sides of Chicago have been closing and reopening as “small schools,” and they would most likely answer a definite “Yes.”

That, in essence, is Renaissance 2010: the closing and reopening of both grammar and high schools as “small schools” – schools within a school. The goal, according to Chicago Public Schools, is to reinvent the Chicago Public School system by the year 2010. The policy was made official at the Board of Education’s September 23 meeting according to CPS spokesperson Sandy Rodriguez, despite ongoing protests by community advocates.
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The Compassionate Blues

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

Where does the nation’s heart still beat? Once upon a time, the thump-thump of compassion was not hard to hear. The footsteps of those who marched for justice and equal rights generated a powerful rhythm that was audible around the country.

Today that beat is a little softer, but the echoes can still be heard among the abandoned buildings, vacant lots and potholed streets of Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods. The nation’s heart was beating loudly the other night at Lee’s Unleaded Blues. Located at 75th Street and South South Chicago Avenue (the double south to indicate the direction of ‘South Chicago Avenue’), Lee’s is among the last of the city’s ‘juke joints.’ Seven nights a week, Lee’s hosts authentic Blues acts for a largely African American crowd. Everyone is welcome at Lee’s, though, and on many nights, you can see working class people along with college students and even a few downtown types. In a city infamous for its segregation and racial tension, Lee’s is a rare haven for those who long for a truly multicultural place to have a good time.

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The Sound of Silence

by Mary C. Piemonte 

What is going on? What happened to the people who believe in social justice? The poor of the nation want to know what the leading Democratic presidential candidates intend to do about the issues that concern them the most. But those same candidates’ campaign staffs were tongue tied when they were given the opportunity to reach out to Chicago’s low-income communities.

As of press time, the two Democratic front-runners, U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), continue to talk about their thoughts on the War with Iraq and what they intend to do about national security, health care, tax breaks and jobs for the middle-class, as well as environmental issues, during their national campaigns and debates.
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