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Latest News in La Grange, CA
Starbucks in Edgewater Beach becomes sixth Chicago store to file for union representation
Workers at a Starbucks in Edgewater Beach have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, bringing the number of Starbucks locations in Chicago seeking union representation to six.“We just want to come together and have a bit more recognition and have a say in how to best serve our customers,” said Rachel Simandl, a barista at the store at 1070 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. on Chicago’s Far North Side. Simandl started working at the Edgewater Beach location a couple of months ago and previously worked fo...
Workers at a Starbucks in Edgewater Beach have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, bringing the number of Starbucks locations in Chicago seeking union representation to six.
“We just want to come together and have a bit more recognition and have a say in how to best serve our customers,” said Rachel Simandl, a barista at the store at 1070 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. on Chicago’s Far North Side. Simandl started working at the Edgewater Beach location a couple of months ago and previously worked for three years at Starbucks locations in McHenry County.
Workers at about 180 Starbucks locations have filed for union recognition across the U.S. since the beginning of last year, though the vast majority have yet to conduct formal votes. Elections have been held at 14 stores across the country, 13 of which have voted to unionize, Starbucks Workers United said in a news release Thursday. Three of the successful elections were held Thursday.
The Edgewater Beach store is the sixth in Chicago to file with the NLRB, following stores in the Loop, Logan Square, Hyde Park, Bucktown and Edgewater. In the suburbs, workers at Starbucks locations in La Grange and Cary have also filed.
No union elections have been held for Starbucks locations in Chicago, organizers said, nor have dates for elections been set.
The filing from the Edgewater Beach workers will move to a hearing with the NLRB. Starbucks will have the chance to challenge the petition, after which it will likely move to an election.
“I think that we are going to continue to see this momentum,” said Kathy Hanshew, manager of the Chicago and Midwest Joint Board of Workers United and the international vice president of Workers United, the Service Employees International Union affiliate that represents the Starbucks workers. “I think it speaks to the service sector industry in and of itself and a lot of the challenges of working within that industry.”
Eleven workers from the Edgewater store announced their intent to form a union in a Thursday letter addressed to interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
“Our commitment to this company and its values has not wavered — we love our jobs and are grateful for the benefits we have — while Starbucks continues to favor profits and promises over partners and patrons,” the letter reads.
Starbucks said in a statement Thursday that “from the beginning we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners without a union in between us and that conviction has not changed.”
Simandl praised Starbucks’ benefits, which include health care and education benefits, but said some workers are worried they aren’t getting enough hours to meet eligibility criteria. Simandl hopes to attend Arizona State University in the fall under Starbucks’ education benefit, which pays for employees’ online studies at the university, but is worried about getting the 20 hours a week of work necessary to qualify. In their letter to Schultz, workers at the Edgewater store noted the “gutting of hours” as a particular concern.
Simandl said workers would also like to see more livable wages, a better system to manage coverage when baristas call out of work and greater independence on the store level.
Starbucks’ national minimum wage for baristas stands at $12 per hour, though Chicago’s minimum wage is $15 per hour for employees of large businesses. This summer, the company will raise its wage floor to $15 per hour for baristas, and says hourly employees will average just under $17 per hour.
“I would just like to say to Howard Schultz and the rest of the company that we all know you care about your partners,” Simandl said. “What we’re asking for is just a better and more protected say in how we can work together to continue to deliver a product that people love across the world.”
La Grange offers tours of historic homes
The La Grange Historic District is filled with architecturally significant buildings that you can learn about on your own whenever you wish.Details about seven Self-Guided Walking Tours of the La Grange Historic District are available for downloading on the website of the La Grange Area Historical Society, lagrangehistory.org/programs-events. You can also access them on an iPhone from a free app called PocketsSights which gives walking directions...
The La Grange Historic District is filled with architecturally significant buildings that you can learn about on your own whenever you wish.
Details about seven Self-Guided Walking Tours of the La Grange Historic District are available for downloading on the website of the La Grange Area Historical Society, lagrangehistory.org/programs-events. You can also access them on an iPhone from a free app called PocketsSights which gives walking directions.
“The tours cover two or three streets at a time. It will talk about probably about 20 of the homes,” said Sarah Parkes, Executive Director of the La Grange Area Historical Society. “The tour will give a little sample of the different types of architecture and a little history on who owned the house. If they want to know more about any particular house, we can pull out that file and they can see the complete amount of information that we have.”
The La Grange Area Historical Society created the Self-Guided Walking Tours of the La Grange Historic District in the 1970s shortly after the Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Parkes reported.
“We thought it would be a great way for people from the area to experience the historic architecture and heritage of the neighborhood,” Parkes said. She noted that in a relatively small area “there are a significant number of historic homes that have been well-preserved. We have files for every address in our archives.” The files include information about previous owners and about the architect if those details are available.
“Because we have those resources in our archives, we decided to share that information with the community so that they could learn about these homes and learn a little bit more about those details as they took the tour,” Parkes explained.
People on the tour will see a variety of architectural styles. “We have a little bit of eclectic variety from Italianate to Tudor to Prairie style,” Parkes said.
Parkes noted that there are two buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Historic District. The one at 211 S. La Grange Road is a Victorian that was one of the first homes that Wright designed. It is considered a “bootleg” house because he designed it by moonlighting while he worked for the architectural firm of Adler & Sullivan. Known as the Clark House, it resembles Wright’s house in Oak Park.
Another significant building in the Historic District is the Pratt House at 222 S. Spring Ave. “The person who had the house built was a Civil War veteran, one of the very early settlers in the La Grange area,” Parkes said. It has some notable architectural elements including a two-story rounded entrance tower with rounded double doors.
Another interesting structure in the Historic District is Cossitt School. Built in 1924, it had features that weren’t typical at the time, including a gymnasium, auditorium, swimming pool, and library.
“There was a school on those premises decades before that,” Parkes said. “It was the original school in La Grange, started as a one-room schoolhouse.”
Parkes added, “We also have a very vibrant downtown area that has a lot of historic buildings in it that is walking distance from our location and where the tours take place. So there’s lots of options for places to grab a bite to eat or coffee or do a little shopping while you’re in the area.”
La Grange Theatre moving closer to reopening later this year
The Village Board approved two ordinances granting the Downers Grove-based company two design review permits allowing the renovation of the building first opened in 1925 to include the moving of several outside doors.“We’re still shooting for that summer release at the La Grange Theatre,” Chris Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the family-owned business, told the Board of Trustees.Classic Cinemas began in 1978 and has grown to include 15 locations in the Chicago area since then, gaining a reputation for bein...
The Village Board approved two ordinances granting the Downers Grove-based company two design review permits allowing the renovation of the building first opened in 1925 to include the moving of several outside doors.
“We’re still shooting for that summer release at the La Grange Theatre,” Chris Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the family-owned business, told the Board of Trustees.
Classic Cinemas began in 1978 and has grown to include 15 locations in the Chicago area since then, gaining a reputation for being a firm that breathes new life into old theatre buildings, including its first location, the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, the Lake Theatre in Oak Park, and Elmhurst’s York Theatre.
Operating under its previous owners as a second-run venue, the La Grange Theatre had fallen on hard times in recent years. First, the advent of streaming services cut into its revenue; then the pandemic forced it to close.
The current owners, who will still be owners of the building, took out a $1 million loan from the Village in 2009 to furnish need infrastructure improvements.
The deal reached was that the theater owners never had to repay the loan as long as it operated as a theater. With the closing, the loan was legally due.
But to bring a first-run theater environment to La Grange, Classic Cinemas first wanted to be relieved of any obligation for a debt for which they hadn’t been a party.
A deal was worked out between the Village and Classic to have a new 50-cent per ticket tax on all ticket sales, with the proceeds being split evenly between the Village and Classic Cinemas.
Johnson said the new configuration will include six screens and continue the Classic Cinema tradition of a complete modernization of the venue, even including heated seats.
He noted that the La Grange Theatre would continue the tradition of Classic Cinemas proving free refills on soda and popcorn, stressing “we’re going to provide value.”
Johnson said that the company was in La Grange “for the long haul,” and that the closing of Classic Cinemas at Ogden 6 in Naperville was the decision of the City and not the company.
“The La Grange Theatre is this gem that has been open for almost 100 years,” he said. “It’s the perfect fit for us. We’ll combine the best of the old building with modern amenities.”
La Grange Park partnering with National Alliance on Mental Illness to bring virtual wellness program to community
The Village of La Grange Park wants to do something about the stress and anxiety brought on by everyday life, stress that has been magnified by the pandemic.So it will partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to bring a series of online Community Wellness Virtual programs to address various issues related to mental health.“Mental health and wellness is something that has always been on our minds here at the Village, especially since the start of the pandemic,” Sandy Bakalich, Deputy Village Clerk,...
The Village of La Grange Park wants to do something about the stress and anxiety brought on by everyday life, stress that has been magnified by the pandemic.
So it will partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to bring a series of online Community Wellness Virtual programs to address various issues related to mental health.
“Mental health and wellness is something that has always been on our minds here at the Village, especially since the start of the pandemic,” Sandy Bakalich, Deputy Village Clerk, said recently.
The initial virtual wellness programs will run for four months, beginning Monday, Feb. 28, with hopes of continuing the viewings in the future.
The first, Mental Health 101, will center on how to recognize the warning signs of mental illness, how to deal with he stigma attached to the problem, and how to distinguish between stress and anxiety. That first wellness program will also touch on the topic of suicide, discussing warning signs and methods of prevention.
Raising awareness of suicide prevention is also something the La Grange Park Fire Department is concerned with, as a recent email to the community from Fire Chief Dean Maggos noted with the concise message, Life is hard right now, and it’s OK to admit that, but don’t give up.
The second program, Empathetic/Active Listening, will run March 21 and focus in various listening techniques, including keys to being an active, empathetic listener.
March’s program will also educate the viewer about the benefits of kinesics (body movement in nonverbal communication), proxemics (proper body spacing in communication), and haptics (the study of touching in nonverbal communication).
NAMI dates back to 1979, when mental health experts from 29 states and Canada met in Wisconsin and incorporated into the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Its website notes that the group’s mission is to “provide advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
“They have all these programs they pout out and they’re free,” Bakalich said, urging those interested to visit the NAMI website for ore information.
Bakalich said that the recent Omicron variant was a definite setback in a fight against the COVID-19 virus that appeared to be seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
Bakalich noted that the added stress of the pandemic was felt in areas of life as varied as relationships, school, and personal finances.
Assistant Village Manager Maggie Jarr agreed, noting that many were already dealing with a full plate before the pandemic hit.
“There was already a level of stress and anxiety in everyone’s life,” she said. “The pandemic has brought an increase to that anxiety.”
Those interested in La Grange Park Community Wellness programs — from any area — can visit the Village’s website for more information on how to access the programs online.
La Grange Art League hosts exhibit featuring an artist born and raised on Chicago’s West Side
The event replicated her regular exhibit, titled “The Voice Inside,” and featured an app posted next to each painting that allowed one of the visitors to play music related to that particular work on their smartphones. Her work reflects her years on the West Side, with subjects ranging from her family members to scenes from neighborhood churches.“Art is healing,” she said, “and it’s also about perseverance. When you see art, you know that someone had persevered to make that happen. It’s about ...
The event replicated her regular exhibit, titled “The Voice Inside,” and featured an app posted next to each painting that allowed one of the visitors to play music related to that particular work on their smartphones. Her work reflects her years on the West Side, with subjects ranging from her family members to scenes from neighborhood churches.
“Art is healing,” she said, “and it’s also about perseverance. When you see art, you know that someone had persevered to make that happen. It’s about beauty, harmony, and color.”
On her website, Ruppert reminisces about being caught as a young girl sketching da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, shocking her mother by recreating a nude, and being impressed by the reaction to her work.
She was impressed by her father pencil sketching as a way of decompressing after a long day’s work noting that it was something personal to him. But for Ruppert, art is meant for the community.
“Connection, story, community, and relationships,” she said Thursday. “My work intersects the lines of those four themes. I’m a community artist, sharing my work with others.”
Ruppert, the oldest of six children, said that the sculptor and print artist Elizabeth Catlett was an important influence on her work.
Catlett’s themes were often related to the African American experience in America, especially Black females, but Ruppert was also impressed by Catlett’s longevity.
“She was very prolific, she said. “She worked well into her old age. And that was at a time when there weren’t that many African American female artists.”
Ruppert was the City of Chicago’s Artist in Residence for the Austin Community in 2021, and during the past 25 years has had her work displayed at colleges, libraries, and public venues throughout the Chicago area.
La Grange Art League Board member Margaret Prescott said the idea for exhibits dedicated to diversity and inclusion grew out of the reaction of many to the unrest following the death of George Floyd.
“My family was watching some of the coverage on television and my kids asked me “‘What are you doing about this.’ I realized that we had to take some real action.”
That action became the League’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Outreach Program Task Force, which will stage monthly Guest Artist exhibits featuring minority immigrant, LGBTQ and disabled artists in an effort to being greater exposure to their work.
Kelly Cusack, only recently hired by the Art League, was excited and pleased that the event’s turnout, especially in light of the lingering effects of the pandemic.