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Save St. James church

Pre-demolitiwork St. James Church 2942 S. Wabash. Monday March 25 2013  | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Pre-demolition work at St. James Church, 2942 S. Wabash. Monday, March 25, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 5, 2013 2:51PM



Save St. James church

As a Friend of Old St. James and former parishioner, I beg you to consider the case against this beautiful, historical, architectural and spiritual monument. Day by day, new evidence comes to light that suggests St. James has been “framed” — for example, the fact that the church was never condemned by the city, the reality that the estimate for repair — $12 million — is vastly inflated, the discovery that the land promised for a new church building isn’t even up for sale!

As of now, the agents of destruction are accelerating the demolition process. Aware of new evidence that calls for an instant reprieve, those who stand to benefit from the tear-down have become relentless in their determination to topple this house of prayer.

Please, before it is too late, please review the facts and figures; please look carefully at who will prosper by reducing St. James to rubble. One thing is for sure: Neither the parishioners nor members of the community stand to gain anything but grief from the wrecking ball. A church restored, however, brings the hope and possibility of new dreams, of wider social outreach, of greater possibilities. Please join your voices to those of The Friends of St. James on Wabash. Only your intervention can let this dream become reality; only your intervention can stay the execution!

Elizabeth-Anne Stewart,

South Loop

Speak out on climate change

I am very pleased to see Sen. Mark Kirk’s statement in favor of gay marriage. Both his own statement, and the coverage in the Sun-Times suggest that he was brought to this position largely by his own close brush with death and a new appreciation for what is important in life. Good for him!

I hope he will now apply the same new outlook to the problem of global warming. Kirk has to be among the many Republicans who know very well that climate change is an urgent problem. But these Republicans have been intimidated by the fossil fuel-funded denier crowd. Please, Sen. Kirk, let your new courage shine through. Acknowledge that climate change is serious. The simplest step to address this on a large scale is a carbon tax.

Doug Burke, Oak Park

Keep Delano School open

I was both saddened and surprised when I recently learned of the proposed closure of Delano Elementary School at 3937 W. Wilcox at the end of this spring semester, a school that first opened its doors in September 1913. In five months it would have celebrated its 100th anniversary of continuous education and service to the community.

In September 1954, my kindergarten teacher at Delano was Mrs. Maroney in Room 101. If I could have one wish, it would be that everyone could have had Mrs. Maroney for a kindergarten teacher. Everything I know about sharing, respect, ethics and morals, I learned from her.

In 1954 or 1955, my mother attended her first PTA meeting at Delano. Before the meeting began, the principal, Dr. Schutter, mingled with the parents in attendance. When he approached my mother, she said to him: “Good morning, Dr. Schutter, I’m Mrs. Malevitz,” to which Dr. Schutter answered: “You must be Paul and Linda’s mother” (Linda being my older sister). My mother was surprised and answered: “Dr. Schutter, I’m impressed that with all the hundreds of students here, you know who my children are,” to which Dr. Schutter replied: “It’s my job to know my students.”

From what I understand, the school building at 3937 W. Wilcox is going to remain, but the name will change from “Delano” to “Melody,” and the “Melody” staff will replace the “Delano” staff. As a retired teacher myself, I can confidently say that every school has its share of all kinds of teachers, with some being better than others. The quality of the teaching staff at Delano and Melody is most likely exactly the same.

Delano’s current principal, Dr. McNealey, was planning a centennial celebration for Delano this summer. How many elementary schools both in Chicago and elsewhere celebrate 100 years of existence at the very same location and with the same name and building? I can’t believe that the Board of Education is considering closing Delano three months before its 100th birthday!

As a Delano alumnus, I request that Delano School be allowed to remain Delano School for another 100 years!

Paul Malevitz, Los Angeles

Cappleman is trying to help

I read James Cappleman’s letter in the Sun Times on Tuesday. I had the privilege of knowing James at a major hospital for children in Chicago. I was the Chicago schoolteacher there and James was the patient care family advocate. James always cared about everyone. I also have read Mark Brown at the Sun Times for many years. He also seems to care about people as well. Knowing James in a working relationship for over five years at this hospital, he always championed the helpless and was one of the most compassionate people that I ever had the honor to work with. Many of my students and their families were helped by James. He is a very good listener and good person. No one wants people to live in a substandard fashion, and I truly believe that James is trying to help the homeless in a selfless way.

Jeanne Edmondson, Frankfort

What’s really going on in 46th Ward

Chicago Ald. James Cappleman writes (“Actively helping homeless,” April 2) that he disagrees with the “approach that the best way to help the homeless is to simply leave them alone.” Pointing out that he worked as a social worker, the Uptown alderman writes that he “will never give up on anyone in need” and “will do everything I can to help this population and the social service providers who dedicate their lives to serving them.” This sounds nice, but let’s clarify what’s going on in Cappleman’s 46th Ward — all of it recently covered by columnist Mark Brown’s impressive reporting.

Cappleman has introduced a city ordinance that would shut down the last two cubicle hotels in Chicago, including the Wilson Men’s Hotel in his ward. If these up-to-code buildings were closed, 325 men would be left scrambling to find other places to live for $300 a month. Cappleman has blamed the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless for scaring the men. But men who live at the Wilson & South Loop’s Ewing Annex Hotel told our organizers, and later Brown, that they worry they will end up homeless again.

Days after those articles ran, Cappleman met with the Salvation Army to tell it to pull its soup truck out of his ward because it attracts homeless people. As that move blew up in his face — with thousands of readers sharing Brown’s column — the alderman claimed 36 hours later that he was misunderstood and never told the truck to leave. Three hundred people picketed outside the alderman’s office to protest any effort to expel the Salvation Army. At the same time, Cappleman has refused to identify the developer with which his office is working on the overhaul of the Chateau Hotel. The low-rent hotel faced numerous building code issues, was sold, and the new owner is now evicting up to 75 remaining tenants. Residents have told Brown and other reporters that they are not sure where they can move on meager budgets. None reported being helped by the alderman’s office.

And a week after Brown profiled some of the homeless people who slept under the Lake Shore Drive/Wilson Avenue viaduct, they were rousted in the middle of the night, their blankets and belongings thrown away. People were shooed away into the night; no one was taken to a shelter as is usual city practice. In a follow-up article, Brown noted that the alderman says he was completely unaware of what was undertaken by police and a Streets & Sanitation crew working in his own ward.

Cappleman’s record speaks for itself. If humanitarian testimonials are in order, they would mean something if they came from the alderman’s needy constituents or those that work with poor people, not the alderman himself.

Edward Shurna, executive director,

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless



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