Monthly Archives: January 2017

New Homes to Build on Vacant Lots in Bronzeville

The empty lots scattered along South Prairie Avenue, between 39th and 46th streets in the Bronzeville neighborhood, will soon be filled in with brand new market-rate homes. Developers will be able to purchase the lots from the city for just $1 each in order to build 42 new homes in the neighborhood, the first five of which are already slated to be completed by August.

“I am looking forward to seeing these vacant lots finally being turned into much-needed homes for families in Bronzeville,” said Alderman Pat Dowell of the Third Ward in a statement released by the Mayor’s office.

With the new homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhood rather than concentrated in one area, “we can send a stronger signal to the market that you can have confidence living in this neighborhood,” said Benjamin Van Horne of Greenline Homes, one of five developers currently working with the city.

The homes will be priced in the range of $440,000 to $589,000 and feature contemporary amenities, inside and out. Homes built before 1990 are often only equipped with single-pane glass windows, for example, which can be enormously inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling costs. Some 69% of homeowners are also willing to pay more for new kitchen appliances, so the prices may scale depending on features.

“It’s an opportunity to be part of the transformation of a community,” said Lenox Jackson of the building firm Urban Equities.

The so-called “Third Ward Parade of Homes” is just one of many revitalization efforts in the Bronzeville neighborhood. A new Mariano’s grocery store recently opened on King Drive, and the Ellis Park Arts and Recreation Center and pedestrian bridge to the lakefront make this South Side locale an up-and-coming location. The highly anticipated Obama Presidential Center and Library may also draw continued growth to the South Side.

“The parade of homes will foster new residential development that, in turn, will support commercial development that’s occurring throughout Bronzeville,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago No Longer the Bed Bug Capital of America

By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. (Author's archive) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. (Author’s archive) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The good news for Chicago residents is that according to pest control service Orkin, the Windy City is no longer the bedbug capital of America. Following its four-year run at the top, Chicago dropped down to number three on Orkin’s 2016 “Top 50” list of cities in which it performed the most bed bug treatments.

The new leader in bed bug infestations is Baltimore, which jumped up nine slots to make its debut in the top five. Also in the top five are Washington, D.C., New York City, and Columbus, Ohio.

While 20% of homeowners in a recent survey cited termites as their main pest concern, bed bugs are becoming more and more prevalent in both residential and commercial buildings in the United States.

“We have more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before,” said Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist and director of technical services. “They were virtually unheard of in the U.S. 10 years ago.”

Major metropolises aren’t the only communities affected, either. Mid-sized cities throughout the U.S. made the top 50 list this year, including Syracuse, New York, Dayton, Ohio, and Tacoma, Washington.

8984432_20161213_8881566Furthermore, Harrison explained that bed bugs are not an indication of poor hygiene or lack of cleanliness. Bed bugs simply need blood to survive and they are exceptional travelers, attaching themselves to luggage or purses, and laying eggs as they go.

“Anyone can get bed bugs in their home. We have treated bed bugs in everything from million-dollar homes to public housing,” said Harrison.

Bed bugs are often found hiding out in furniture, which is why purchasing these items from yard sales or online used-goods marketplaces (like craigslist or Facebook buy/sell/trade groups) can be a big risk. You are much better off buying home furnishings, including mattresses and sofas, brand new from a retail store. Fortunately, the luxury furniture market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 4% between 2015 and 2019.

In addition to carefully selecting your home furnishings, you can also avoid infestation by inspecting hotel rooms for these little, round, flat, reddish-brown bugs. Check box springs, bed skirts, mattresses, baseboards, and even behind pictures and torn wallpaper. The safest spot to store your luggage while you are traveling is in the bathroom, where insects have fewer places to burrow and hide.

Chicago Area Sees Multiple Drunk Driving Accidents This Holiday Season

Alcoholic Drink and Car Keys Under Spot Light.Unfortunately, driving drunk is all too common in the United States. Scarily enough, every day there are about 300,000 drunk drivers on the road, but fewer than 4,000 get arrested. However, this holiday season the cops in Chicago are cracking down on inebriated offenders.

In the beginning of December, an intoxicated Orland Park man was caught after hitting a school bus and driving away. Sean Gill, 23, hit the bus from behind, then drove up next to the driver, made eye contact, then sped away. Luckily only the bus driver and a school attendant were on board at the time, and neither were injured.

After driving away, police put out an alert with the description of Gill and his car. He was spotted and then arrested for drunk driving on December 5. His blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit of 0.08.

A few weeks later, a Posen man was taken into custody after he rammed his vehicle into several parked cars. Wesley Rodgers, 32, suffered minor injuries, but three of the four passengers in his car died as a result of the incident. The fourth is still in the hospital in critical condition.

Rodgers was charged with three counts of aggravated DUI causing death, and one count of aggravated DUI causing great bodily harm. He has since posted bail, and is currently walking

Lastly, just a few days before Christmas, a drunk driver was arrested in Mettawa for crashing into a parked squad car in the early hours of December 23. The parked car was protecting the scene of an auto accident, and Lauren R. Kimbrell, 27, of Waukegan was found to be driving drunk after she pummeled both the parked car and another car from the initial accident.

While no bystanders were injured, Kimbrell was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident as well as multiple other traffic violations. Additionally, as a result of the circumstances, she may face additional charges for endangering the lives of emergency and construction workers on the scene.

Kimbrell was released at the scene of the crime, and is scheduled for a February 1 court date.