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- Bill Morton
Rogers Park in 1,000 Words
During the first few years of writing Rogers Park in 1,000 Words, I focused mainly on common issues specifically in our neighborhood which remained unresolved due to being overlooked. Such subjects included public safety, health concerns, transportation and our crumbling infrastructure.
Gang takes over bathroom of mexican restaurant was one of my first photo-journals of graffiti in Rogers Park. I took the photos because I thought it was strange that the business owner knew of the gang activity but gave-in to the mass vandalism in their establishment. As I explored our neighborhood deeper, I found that complacency was a default setting for many throughout our diverse neighborhood.
The CTA was captured Fixing the rails with their yellow S-704 above Sherwin and Greenview Avenues while graffiti defaces the Pace 290 bus stop at Rogers and Damen Avenues. When a Biker was hit by a cab on Sheridan and Sherwin Avenues or when a Van was tagged at Ashland and Touhy Avenue, I learned to always have my camera ready.
By the end of 2007, the blog's base was built by observant photography, but received criticism as being a mere complaintant.
While stating in 2008 that "I feel that these issues have to be addressed rather than ignored to improve life in our community", I became a swift addition to 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore's "negativity chart" and a regular source for Craig Gernhardt's 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park blog. Readership grew as Rogers Park in 1,000 Words became a community advocate with more bold photography, writing and in February 2008, original videos.
The North Shore School, 1217 W. Chase Avenue, demolition was controversial considering that Alderman Joe Moore received a campaign contribution from owner, Swanette Triem, before he granted her the permit needed to demolish the historic building. (Petitions and phone questions unanswered by Alderman Joe Moore on North Shore School demolition)
The demolition was also challenged due to complaints to the IEPA concerning Asbestos dust blowing in the wind 9-5pm on weekdays. (Spreading Asbestos in the Air) When the IEPA ceased demolition due to the public health hazard, the demolition crew continued undercover on evenings and weekends. (IEPA at North Shore School) This was another architectural tragedy of a historic building in Rogers Park. (North Shore School - Before and After) The public outrage continued after it's complete destruction. (Memories of North Shore School)
In February of 2009, I brought my community activism to the forefront with a television interview about How gang graffiti negatively affects local businesses. This video was followed by Our attempt to save the Adelphi Theater, Blogging serves local news needs for Rogers Park and Barren storefronts pose problem in Rogers Park.
With the April 2009 formation of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, local business newsletters and updates were included with Rogers Park in 1,000 Words daily posts. The first chamber members Quest Network Services and The Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest were introduced along with non-chamber 7013 Studio, Alhambra Cafe, Flatt's and Sharpe Music Company, George's Pumpkin Patch/Christmas Tree Lot, Lifeline Theatre, Maureen Flowers, Rogers Bark, The Ardent Center, The Idle Muse Theatre Company, The New 400 Theater and Tu Bloom.
Additionally, events from local organizations were promoted such as CAPS meetings/National Night Out, Family Matters, Park Advisory Council meetings/fundraisers and the Rogers Park Baptist Church.
This was one of the most blogged years in Rogers Park. Rogers Park in 1,000 Words averaged over two new posts a day partially due to increased business and non-profit organization updates, more original videos and some equipment upgrades.
The Farcroft Building (photo)
Facing south on the beach (Chicago skyline from Rogers Park)
Icy (pier photo)
A drive around Rogers Park (time-lapse video)
Charmers Cafe (photo)
Rogers Park view (photo)
Winter Beach (time-lapse video)
Rogers Park musicians (photos)
Cafe Society silent film night (event)
Willye B. White Park Advisory Council fundraising (event)
2011 has seen a great increase in blog followers, site hits and search engine rankings. Businesses and events mentioned on Rogers Park in 1,000 Words are receiving new clients and good attendance. The Rogers Park in 1,000 Words archive has reached well over two-hundred thousand photos and one thousand uploaded videos.
Our old water tower with it's top missing on Howard Street near Sheridan Road is a statement on the state of Rogers Park over the past decade or so. How about a friendly "Welcome to Rogers Park!" on a fully-functioning water tower?
The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce August newsletter featured a major redesign of the newsletter along with information about the Preparing for 2012 event.
The October newsletter featured a variety of chamber sponsored and chamber supported events such as The First Annual Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce Art Auction at Alden Village North, Halloween Lore event at Charmers Cafe, Paranormal viewing in The Parlor of Quest Network Services, Halloween Party at Quest Network Services, Wine Tasting at Taste Food & Wine and The Bishop's Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony at Church of the Atonement.
The S&C Electric Company has been in business in Rogers Park since 1911 in one building (which still stands on the property), and expanded over the years to the become the largest facility in our neighborhood. In this blog post, I featured some abstract night photography and a brief history of our electric power transmission and distribution manufacturer.
It was rainy all day during the annual Here Comes The Sun event this year. Jarvis Avenue was blocked for the day and HCTS tents shared the street with the Rogers Park Garden Group. Reporter Sarah Eberspacher / MEDILL appropriately covered it as Sunny support group brightens up gloomy Saturday.