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The 312: Watering the food desert: Still work to do, but growth

Both organizations came to Loretto Hospital in the Austin neighborhood to show residents how they can purchase better and healthier foods to eat. The American Heart Association and the mobil grocer called Crisp are both working to help eliminate the food desert areas in the city of Chicago.

By Adrienne Samuels Gibbs Staff Reporter November 24, 2014 9:41AM

Santrice Martin is the Director of Multi-Cultural Initiatives at the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association and the mobil grocer called Crisp are both working to help eliminate the food desert areas in the city of Chicago. Both organizations came to Loretto Hospital in the Austin neighborhood to show residents how they can purchase better and healthier foods to eat. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
18 Points
1

Off-duty CPD officer, allegedly drunk, accused of firing at suburban cop near police station

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter November 24, 2014 4:52PM

An off-duty Chicago Police officer has been stripped of his arrest powers after he allegedly fired multiple times at an off-duty suburban cop who tried to pull him over after suspecting he was driving drunk, law enforcement sources said Monday.

READ MORE at http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/off-duty-cpd-officer-suspected-of-being-drunk-firing-at-suburban-cop-near-police-station/

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

Former Chicago Rush owner arrested on bankruptcy and wire fraud charges

BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter November 24, 2014 11:19AM Chicago Rush owner David Staral Former Chicago Rush owner David Staral was arrested Monday on fraud charges over his controversial and doomed purchase of the Arena Football League team.READ MORE at http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/former-chicago-rush-owner-arrested-on-bankruptcy-and-wire-fraud-charges/.

BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter November 24, 2014 11:19AM

Chicago Rush owner David Staral

Former Chicago Rush owner David Staral was arrested Monday on fraud charges over his controversial and doomed purchase of the Arena Football League team.

READ MORE at http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/former-chicago-rush-owner-arrested-on-bankruptcy-and-wire-fraud-charges/

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

9 people file to challenge Rahm Emanuel in mayoral race

William “Dock” Walls was the last filer at 5 p.m., according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.READ MORE AT: http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/perfect-10-all-chicago-mayoral-race/mon-11242014-601pm.

November 24, 2014 9:42PM

With the filing deadline closed, the list of Chicago mayoral hopefuls ballooned Monday, the final day of filing nominating petitions for next year’s city elections.

In all, 10 people filed to run for mayor, including incumbent Rahm Emanuel.

Seven of them filed on Monday, including Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who turned in more than 63,000 signatures. William “Dock” Walls was the last filer at 5 p.m., according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

READ MORE AT: http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/perfect-10-all-chicago-mayoral-race/mon-11242014-601pm

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

Lifelong friend of ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to 22 years

BY FRANK MAIN AND KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporters November 24, 2014 2:31PM

A top henchman in Joaquin “El ChapoGuzman’s Sinaloa cartel was sentenced Monday to 22 years in Chicago’s federal court.

Alfredo Vazquez-Hernandez was a lifelong pal of Guzman who served as a logistics chief of the world’s largest drug-trafficking organization, prosecutors say.

Vazquez-Hernandez, 58, pleaded guilty in April to shipping cocaine into Chicago by train, but denied playing a major role in the cartel, claiming a pair of Chicago twins who cooperated with the government overstated the case against him to win a sweeter deal for themselves.

Read more at

http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/lifelong-friend-of-el-chapo-sentenced-to-22-years/

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

‘Nothing short of a miracle,’ says daughter of retired teacher who survived condo collapse

BY JON SEIDEL and REEMA AMIN November 23, 2014 8:42PM Fire rescue crews work the scene of a building collapse. “The next thing she knew was that the walls were caving in around her,” said Brooksdaughter, Michero Washington.READ MORE at http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/building-collapse-reported-in-washington-park/ .

BY JON SEIDEL and REEMA AMIN November 23, 2014 8:42PM

Fire rescue crews work the scene of a building collapse. |Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media

Updated: November 25, 2014 2:44AM

Georgia Brooks had just returned home from a trip to the grocery store Sunday evening when she smelled gas in her second floor condo. Brooks, 78, opened a window, turned on her radio, and then laid down in her bed to rest. “The next thing she knew was that the walls were caving in around her,” said Brooksdaughter, Michero Washington.

READ MORE at http://chicagosuntimes.com/news/building-collapse-reported-in-washington-park/

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

Hazel I. Lowe, owner of South Side boutique known for elegant apparel, dies at 97

They were classy and very, very glamorous clothes.”Thanks to Ms. For 43 years, Hazel Lowe’s Boutique was a one-stop destination for women who knew Ms. BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Reporter November 24, 2014 7:06PM The stylish Hazel Lowe, who loved wearing hats, owned Hazel's Lowe's boutique in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.

BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Reporter November 24, 2014 7:06PM

The stylish Hazel Lowe, who loved wearing hats, owned Hazel's Lowe's boutique in the Calumet Heights neighborhood. Her customers included gospel queen Albertina Walker, singer Natalie Cole, pastors' wives, and well-heeled patrons from the nearby Pill Hill neighborhood.

Updated: November 24, 2014 9:02PM

Bejeweled and behatted, Hazel I. Lowe’s customers were her best advertisement.

They emerged from her shop ready for a wedding or black-tie ball ? or maybe, stopping traffic.

For 43 years, Hazel Lowe’s Boutique was a one-stop destination for women who knew Ms. Lowe would deck them out from shoes to chapeau. She dressed the Rev. Johnnie Coleman, founder of Christ Universal Temple; singer Natalie Cole; business leaders; and wives of pastors and bishops.

She helped turn a gospel queen into a glamour queen. “Albertina Walker shopped there all the time,” said Henrietta Leak, wife of funeral director Spencer Leak Sr. “She had fabulous clothes. If you ever wanted a one-of-a-kind dress, that’s where you would go, to Hazel Lowe.”

“Albertina just lived in the store,” said Kermit E. Hart, 95, Ms. Lowe’s companion and business partner.

Ms. Lowe died Oct. 23 at the South Side’s Villa at Windsor Park. At 97, she had only been retired for two years, Hart said.

Hazel Lowe’s Boutique catered to upwardly mobile women in the Calumet Heights neighborhood. Patrons also came from nearby Pill Hill, named for all the doctors who lived there.

These were African-American women with style and the money to fund it. Often, they felt more welcome at Hazel Lowe’s, 1720 E. 87th St., than at a Gold Coast atelier. It didn’t hurt that she kept champagne in the refrigerator. “If someone just wanted to talk to her, she made it comfortable for them,” Hart said.

“You would not meet yourself coming and going in her merchandise,” said customer Dorothy Bordeaux. “The type of clothes Hazel sold were not your usual, meek, run-of-the-mill. Everyone wanted to know, ‘Where did you get that?’ They were classy and very, very glamorous clothes.”

Thanks to Ms. Lowe, “You could tell if I was going to a party or to pray,” said Bettye Brooks, wife of Pastor Cato Brooks Jr., of Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana. She bought a royal blue gown from Ms. Lowe to attend the second presidential inauguration of fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton. “It was beautiful, and then she dyed my shoes to match.”

When Ms. Lowe would go on New York buying trips, “She would always find one little special something [for me], and she’d say, ‘Now, you don’t have to buy it, but I thought about you,’ ” Brooks said. “And I almost always loved it.”

Leak once purchased a $1,200 crystal minaudiere from Ms. Lowe that she still mourns after a mix-up landed it in the trash.

“It looked like a Judith Lieber,” Leak said, referring to a designer of couture clutches that resemble fine jewelry. “I bought this purse and I put it in a bag in my kitchen, and I told my son, ‘You have to take out the trash.’ Of all the bags in the kitchen, guess which one he threw out?”

“My purse is in the landfill,” Leak said. “I boohooed. Nothing but jewels, crystals ? it was a total crystal bag.”

Leak is hanging onto Lowe outfits that might come back in style, including “a two-piece leather suit trimmed in rhinestones,” she said.

In the 1960s, Ms. Lowe worked as a buyer and creative designer for Spiegel, the catalog giant that hired and promoted African-American woman at a time when many retail doors were closed to them. Wigs were coming into vogue, and she was one of the first to push for them to be included in the catalog, a move that “sent her right to the top,” Hart said.

She opened the boutique in 1971 and ran it until 2013, when she began suffering from strokes, he said.

Ms. Lowe was known for her largesse at Christmas, handing out containers at the store’s back door filled with all the fixings for dinner. “She had a chicken in every basket,” Hart said.

They met in 1961 at a Count Basie concert in Chicago. “You would think she was a movie star,” he said.

Services have been held. A native of Belize City, Ms. Lowe immigrated to Chicago to join an uncle, a Belizean mahogany dealer with high-end clients such as the Wrigley family. The lustrous wood played a key role in Belize’s economy and history. Mahogany is the country’s national tree, which appears on the Belizean flag. “She always said to me, when I pass, I want a mahogany casket,” Hart said. “They are expensive, but there was nothing too good for her.”

Email: modonnell@suntimesobits

Twiter: @suntimesobits

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
2 Points
1

Abner Mikva receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Afterward, Thomas told me they keep in touch with their friends from when they lived in Winnetka.CONTINUE READING AT POLITICS.SUNTIMES.COM. And the committeeman said, ‘we don’t want nobody nobody sent.’ That’s Chicago for you.”That phrase from Mikva’s retelling of his encounter with an 8th Ward Democratic boss . (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Updated: November 25, 2014 1:04AMWASHINGTON .

BY LYNN SWEETWashington Bureau Chief November 25, 2014 1:04AM

President Barack Obama awards former Illinois Rep. Abner Mikva the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Updated: November 25, 2014 1:04AM

WASHINGTON ? It’s a story so good, it bears retelling, and President Barack Obama did on Monday as he awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Abner Mikva, the Chicagoan who’s been a congressman, federal judge, Bill Clinton’s White House counsel, a law professor and much more.

“As a University of Chicago student, Abner Mikva stopped by the local Democratic headquarters and asked to volunteer,” Obama said. “I love this story. A committeeman asked who sent you. And Ab said, nobody. And the committeeman said, ‘we don’t want nobody nobody sent.’ That’s Chicago for you.”

That phrase from Mikva’s retelling of his encounter with an 8th Ward Democratic boss ? “we don’t want nobody nobody sent” ? came to be the defining shorthand in explaining how Chicago machine politics worked.

Though Mikva was a nobody from nowhere ? well, actually Milwaukee, but that doesn’t count in Chicago ? Mikva started a political career rooted in Chicago’s independent political movement that produced a unique resume, culminated by the ceremony Monday in the White House.

Obama handed out 18 medals to Mikva and, among others, Meryl Streep, Marlo Thomas, Stevie Wonder, Tom Brokaw, Charles Sifford, Isabel Allende and slain civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, who received the most sustained applause.

Ethel Kennedy also was an honoree, and among her many children and family at the event was Chicago business executive and University of Illinois board Chairman Chris Kennedy. Former Chicago-based talk show host, Phil Donahue, who is married to Thomas, was in the audience. Afterward, Thomas told me they keep in touch with their friends from when they lived in Winnetka.

CONTINUE READING AT POLITICS.SUNTIMES.COM

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
10 Points
1

Eugenia Last horoscopes for Nov. 24

EUGENIA LAST November 18, 2014 12:55AM CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Sarah Hyland, 24; Katherine Heigl, 36; Colin Hanks, 37; Pete Best, 73.Happy Birthday: Plan your strategy and take action. 5 stars GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Sharing will help you keep your relationships on track. 3 stars CANCER (June 21-July 22): Put greater emphasis on partnerships.

EUGENIA LAST November 18, 2014 12:55AM

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Sarah Hyland, 24; Katherine Heigl, 36; Colin Hanks, 37; Pete Best, 73.

Happy Birthday: Plan your strategy and take action. Don’t give in to shortcuts or be disillusioned by what others tell you. Stay poised to take advantage of any opportunity that may come your way. Readdress domestic issues and make whatever adjustments are necessary to ease tension and ensure your comfort and peace of mind. Romantic relationships can be started or rekindled. Your numbers are 4, 12, 22, 27, 35, 39, 42.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A change in your legal, medical or financial status will be beneficial if you remain calm and focus on getting things done. The less time you spend pontificating, and the more time you spend taking action, the better. 2 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Interesting information will develop through a conversation you have or a lecture you attend. A little knowledge can go a long way, so dig deep and discover all you can before incorporating your findings into your daily routine. 5 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Sharing will help you keep your relationships on track. Offering unique suggestions and taking part in events or activities that you feel you have something to contribute to will encourage you to get more involved. Love is in the stars. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Put greater emphasis on partnerships. Express your concerns and plans for the future, and you will weed out the people who have no interest in helping you reach your goals. Be careful not to fall for someone’s insincere gestures. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Set aside some time to do things that will help improve your outlook, appearance or overall wellness. Avoid anyone who brings you down or puts unrealistic demands on you. Consider alternatives and make a move. 3 stars

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Pick up the pace. You don’t have to make drastic changes, but you can put practical plans into motion. Be a little creative, but don’t feel the need to please someone who is using emotional tactics to make you feel guilty. 5 stars

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Travel to unfamiliar destinations that can offer you inspiration and get you away from any problems brewing at home. You need time to think about the changes you should make to keep personal conflicts to a minimum. Love is on the rise. 4 stars

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Take a moment to reorganize your personal space to better fit your needs. Use your insight and strong sense of practicality to come up with a plan that is cost-efficient and will help you be more productive. 3 stars

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Keep the facts straight to help avoid someone messing with you mentally or emotionally. Get involved in a new venture that will add to your knowledge or skill set. Try to improve the way you live and be open to change. 3 stars

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Productivity will be the name of the game. What you put in, you will get out. Now is not the time to scrimp with your time or your attributes. Offer what you can, but make sure you get something in return. 3 stars

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Don’t back down when under pressure. Taking action will help you avoid someone trying to manipulate the way you do things. Making a change is a good idea if your motives are good and your plan is well-researched. Love is highlighted. 3 stars

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You’ve got options, so don’t feel the need to follow the crowd. Someone will mislead you if you are too much of a chameleon. Be creative and let your intuition help you make the best choice. Don’t let a poor relationship cost you. 4 stars

Birthday Baby: You are active, engaging and adventuresome. You are funny, clever and playful.

Eugenia’s Web Sites ? eugenialast.com for confidential consultations, eugenialast.com/blog/ for Eugenia’s blog and join Eugenia on twitter/facebook/linkedin

Chicago Sun-Times
Today
10 Points
1

Prevent, not simply treat, Lake Michigan pollution

As detailed in a new report from The Nature Conservancy, C40 Climate Change Leadership Group and the International Water Association, these solutions alone could reduce the amount of nutrient pollution from reaching Chicago’s water supply by 10 percent. Investing in nature can reduce the amount of nutrient and sediment pollution in our natural water sources, before costly chemical treatment is required. One in four cities could see a positive return on investment from conserving their water sources.

By Rahm Emanuel and Mark Tercek November 23, 2014 5:54PM

The world’s cities spend roughly $90 billion per year on infrastructure to move and treat water. This price tag is increasing as urban populations grow, infrastructure ages, and our changing climate continues to turn once-reliable rainfall into periods of more severe drought and floods.

We spend billions to clean water, but do comparatively little to prevent it from getting polluted in the first place.

Delivering clean and reliable water may be the single largest challenge that our growing cities face. The good news: we have a significant opportunity right now to turn this trend around. Investing in nature can reduce the amount of nutrient and sediment pollution in our natural water sources, before costly chemical treatment is required.

For Chicago, and cities worldwide, one of the most powerful solutions is to work with and incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve their agricultural practices, including reducing the amount of run-off from excessive fertilizer, planting cover crops to protect soil, and replanting trees to reduce sediment. As detailed in a new report from The Nature Conservancy, C40 Climate Change Leadership Group and the International Water Association, these solutions alone could reduce the amount of nutrient pollution from reaching Chicago’s water supply by 10 percent.

The report, released last week at the Conservancy’s Global Water Summit in Chicago, shows that five key conservation solutions could collectively improve water quality for more than 700 million people in cities around the world, while reducing annual water treatment costs by roughly $900 million. One in four cities could see a positive return on investment from conserving their water sources. And, this accounting does not even consider the other values to cities of improved recreation, new green jobs, and healthier ecosystems.

In addition to agricultural practices, other key solutions for the world’s cities include protecting and restoring forests that help clean and regulate water flow, repairing river banks to reduce erosion, and conducting controlled fires in forests to reduce the potential of ash pollution. For Chicago, replanting forestland in its watershed could further prevent nutrients from entering Lake Michigan and degrading water supply.

If the world’s 100 largest cities were to fully deploy these key natural solutions, the potential market would be upwards of $18 billion.

Chicago, which draws nearly one billion gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, is focused on continuing to be a model for action in ensuring clean water for its citizens.

Still, the city must remain progressive in securing its water. For example, a plan to remove and replace 900 miles of infrastructure over a hundred years old is already funded and underway. And, as Chicago deals with its primary challenge of managing wastewater during periods of extreme rainfall ? events that are expected to continue to increase in the coming years ? it is important to work with water users and managers in the city, as well as the agricultural industry beyond the city limits, to help protect water quality for the long run.

Method Products, PBC is one company leading the way. This week, the company announced plans to work with local farmers to improve their practices, replenish the water its new South Side Chicago factory will use, and equip the facility to filter city storm water to reduce the burden on the city’s wastewater system.

A healthy, prosperous city must have clean, reliable water. While nature cannot resolve our water challenges on its own, smarter investments in natural water sources are a critical complement to traditional water delivery options. These solutions are here, they are cost-effective and they are replicable all over the world. We cannot afford to leave nature’s potential untapped.

Rahm Emanuel is mayor of Chicago and Mark Tercek is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.

Chicago Sun-Times
24/11
12 Points
1

Steinberg: Our ancestors, all immigrants, are watching us now

By NEIL STEINBERG November 23, 2014 10:36AM Irwin Bramson Updated: November 24, 2014 2:15AMThis is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. He was a simple man, and I loved him.Everyone in the United States, unless they are Native American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest.

By NEIL STEINBERG November 23, 2014 10:36AM

Irwin Bramson

Updated: November 24, 2014 2:15AM

This is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. I don’t believe his picture has ever appeared in a newspaper before. He would be delighted to see it here.

My grandfather was not famous or successful, beyond supporting his family, working in a factory in Cleveland that made machine parts. He eventually owned his house, on Rossmoor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was very proud of that.

My grandfather was born on a farm in Bialystock, Poland, in 1907 and was sent to this country because things were very bad there and he had a relative, a distant cousin in Cleveland who owned an automobile parts factory and would employ him. He left at 16 and never saw any of his family again; they were all murdered ­? man, woman and child ? by the Nazis and their henchmen.

When he got here, he no doubt faced the scorn of those who felt that America was being corrupted by racially inferior immigrants such as himself, that all manner of subhumans and Jews, were poisoning American blood, that they were constitutionally different and would never fit in.

But he did fit in. He never went to college, but he met my grandmother, got married ? they went to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago on their honeymoon in 1934. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest. Had they been born in Poland, they all would have been murdered too.

All of my memories of him involve him sitting in a green Barcalounger, watching “The Price Is Right.” He smoked cigarettes and drank bourbon. He sucked Luden’s Cherry Cough drops for his throat. He would die of emphysema in 1980.

He taught me chess. He would give me a dollar if I won and a dollar if I lost. He took me to my first baseball game. There was nothing mean or difficult about him. He did not complain. He asked nothing of anybody. In fact, he rarely spoke. He was a simple man, and I loved him.

Everyone in the United States, unless they are Native American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.

My grandfather became a citizen, not because he was a genius, not because he was harder working or smarter or better than any Mexican fording the Rio Grande. But because he could back then. There was an Ellis Island and a system that worked. Today Ellis Island is a shrine to ideals that half the country doesn’t believe anymore, who adopt the cruel role of the Americans who harassed their own forebears.

I thought of my grandfather, after I watched Barack Obama’s brief speech Thursday night ? lucky I have cable because none of the networks, the supposed mainstream media supposedly in his thrall, bothered to show it. He announced his changes to immigration policy, to allow undocumented immigrants who have been here longer than five years to “get right with the law,” register and not fear deportation.

Before Obama even spoke, the Republicans, who oppose everything the president has done, is doing, or will do, made a show of opposing this, too, a rare trifecta blending economic myopia, longterm political suicide and lack of basic human decency. Only time will tell if they respond by trying to impeach him, shut down the government or some new stratagem. The only thing that they are certain not to do is pass the comprehensive immigration reform which, announcing his stopgap, Obama called for.

That this is the right thing, that it is long overdue, that it will help the country’s economy, that to do otherwise is cold hypocrisy and a denial of their own family, an insult the memory of my grandfather and theirs and the millions like him, never wrinkles their brow.

My wife and I watched the speech.

“He looks tired, frustrated,” my wife said.

“He’s trying to talk sense to idiots,” I said.

I’m glad I saw the speech, because I was starting to think very little of Obama, just by osmosis, just by living in a country where he is so despised. I wish he had done this three months, six months, a year ago. Not doing so was the kind of small, mean political calculation that has hobbled his presidency. The Democrats got drubbed anyway.

But now I realize, the bottom line with Obama is: He did what he could do. He didn’t waste effort trying the impossible. Even his narrowed options were tough to manage.

The good news is, he’s already won.

As with gay marriage, the notion of no longer keeping millions who came to this country illegally in rightless limbo forever will seem an impossibility until suddenly it doesn’t and everybody wonders what took us so long to do the moral thing. Then the people who are castigating the president now will be hard to find. Cornered, they will shrug off their fanatical opposition to people just like their own grandparents with some easy rationalization. What really struck me about the president’s speech is he could speak the words at all, that he somehow found the stamina to present a cogent argument to rabid enemies who stopped listening long ago. There is a nobility to that.

Chicago Sun-Times
24/11
7 Points
1

Steinberg: Our ancestors, all immigrants, are watching us now

By NEIL STEINBERG November 23, 2014 10:36AM Irwin Bramson Updated: November 23, 2014 1:54PMThis is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. He was a simple man, and I loved him.Everyone in the United States, unless they are Native American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest.

By NEIL STEINBERG November 23, 2014 10:36AM

Irwin Bramson

Updated: November 23, 2014 1:54PM

This is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. I don’t believe his picture has ever appeared in a newspaper before. He would be delighted to see it here.

My grandfather was not famous or successful, beyond supporting his family, working in a factory in Cleveland that made machine parts. He eventually owned his house, on Rossmoor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was very proud of that.

My grandfather was born on a farm in Bialystock, Poland, in 1907 and was sent to this country because things were very bad there and he had a relative, a distant cousin in Cleveland who owned an automobile parts factory and would employ him. He left at 16 and never saw any of his family again; they were all murdered ­? man, woman and child ? by the Nazis and their henchmen.

When he got here, he no doubt faced the scorn of those who felt that America was being corrupted by racially inferior immigrants such as himself, that all manner of subhumans and Jews, were poisoning American blood, that they were constitutionally different and would never fit in.

But he did fit in. He never went to college, but he met my grandmother, got married ? they went to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago on their honeymoon in 1934. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest. Had they been born in Poland, they all would have been murdered too.

All of my memories of him involve him sitting in a green Barcalounger, watching “The Price Is Right.” He smoked cigarettes and drank bourbon. He sucked Luden’s Cherry Cough drops for his throat. He would die of emphysema in 1980.

He taught me chess. He would give me a dollar if I won and a dollar if I lost. He took me to my first baseball game. There was nothing mean or difficult about him. He did not complain. He asked nothing of anybody. In fact, he rarely spoke. He was a simple man, and I loved him.

Everyone in the United States, unless they are Native American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.

My grandfather became a citizen, not because he was a genius, not because he was harder working or smarter or better than any Mexican fording the Rio Grande. But because he could back then. There was an Ellis Island and a system that worked. Today Ellis Island is a shrine to ideals that half the country doesn’t believe anymore, who adopt the cruel role of the Americans who harassed their own forebears.

I thought of my grandfather, after I watched Barack Obama’s brief speech Thursday night ? lucky I have cable because none of the networks, the supposed mainstream media supposedly in his thrall, bothered to show it. He announced his changes to immigration policy, to allow undocumented immigrants who have been here longer than five years to “get right with the law,” register and not fear deportation.

Before Obama even spoke, the Republicans, who oppose everything the president has done, is doing, or will do, made a show of opposing this, too, a rare trifecta blending economic myopia, longterm political suicide and lack of basic human decency. Only time will tell if they respond by trying to impeach him, shut down the government or some new stratagem. The only thing that they are certain not to do is pass the comprehensive immigration reform which, announcing his stopgap, Obama called for.

That this is the right thing, that it is long overdue, that it will help the country’s economy, that to do otherwise is cold hypocrisy and a denial of their own family, an insult the memory of my grandfather and theirs and the millions like him, never wrinkles their brow.

My wife and I watched the speech.

“He looks tired, frustrated,” my wife said.

“He’s trying to talk sense to idiots,” I said.

I’m glad I saw the speech, because I was starting to think very little of Obama, just by osmosis, just by living in a country where he is so despised. I wish he had done this three months, six months, a year ago. Not doing so was the kind of small, mean political calculation that has hobbled his presidency. The Democrats got drubbed anyway.

But now I realize, the bottom line with Obama is: He did what he could do. He didn’t waste effort trying the impossible. Even his narrowed options were tough to manage.

The good news is, he’s already won.

As with gay marriage, the notion of no longer keeping millions who came to this country illegally in rightless limbo forever will seem an impossibility until suddenly it doesn’t and everybody wonders what took us so long to do the moral thing. Then the people who are castigating the president now will be hard to find. Cornered, they will shrug off their fanatical opposition to people just like their own grandparents with some easy rationalization. What really struck me about the president’s speech is he could speak the words at all, that he somehow found the stamina to present a cogent argument to rabid enemies who stopped listening long ago. There is a nobility to that.

Chicago Sun-Times
24/11
19 Points
1

The 312: Watering the food desert: Still work to do, but growth

Both organizations came to Loretto Hospital in the Austin neighborhood to show residents how they can purchase better and healthier foods to eat. The American Heart Association and the mobil grocer called Crisp are both working to help eliminate the food desert areas in the city of Chicago.

By Adrienne Samuels Gibbs Staff Reporter November 24, 2014 9:41AM

Santrice Martin is the Director of Multi-Cultural Initiatives at the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association and the mobil grocer called Crisp are both working to help eliminate the food desert areas in the city of Chicago. Both organizations came to Loretto Hospital in the Austin neighborhood to show residents how they can purchase better and healthier foods to eat. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Chicago Sun-Times
24/11
2 Points
1

Bears’ huge second half spoils Lovie’s homecoming

November 23, 2014 3:22PM Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. and the Bears pulled away with a 21-13 victory in front of 54,706 fans at Soldier Field.Read more at http://chicagosuntimes.com/sports/halftime-update-bears-cant-get-rolling-trail-bucs-10-0/.

November 23, 2014 3:22PM

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Updated: November 23, 2014 3:23PM

After a poor first half, the third quarter happened ? the team’s best 15-minute period in two months ? and the Bears pulled away with a 21-13 victory in front of 54,706 fans at Soldier Field.

Read more at http://chicagosuntimes.com/sports/halftime-update-bears-cant-get-rolling-trail-bucs-10-0/

Chicago Sun-Times
24/11
5 Points
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