Category Archives: Community

IL EPA Hears Southeast Side Residents’ Complaints about Petcoke Piles along Calumet River

Last Thursday the Illinois EPA held a contentious public meeting on Chicago’s SE Side to hear residents’ concerns and complaints about the massive piles of petcoke — a waste by-product of tar sands oil refining done in nearby Whiting, IN … Continue reading

Posted in Chicago, Community, Health, Land use, News, Pollution, Rivers, Social justice, Waste & Recycling, Water | Comments Off on IL EPA Hears Southeast Side Residents’ Complaints about Petcoke Piles along Calumet River

Piles and Piles of Petcoke: Environmental Justice along the Calumet River

Today’s Mike Nowak Show on WCPT features a segment about the petcoke controversy in the Calumet Region of Chicago’s far South Side. This waste by-product from the refining of oil from the tar sands of Canada has been piling up … Continue reading

Posted in Chicago, Community, Health, Land use, News, Pollution, Rivers, Social justice, Waste & Recycling, Water | Comments Off on Piles and Piles of Petcoke: Environmental Justice along the Calumet River

Back to School in Joliet: Reflections on Junior High

As Labor Day recedes sadly into the distance and we come to grips with the fact that, yes, another school year has officially begun, I can’t help reflecting on the pervasive and damaging myth within American educational culture that junior … Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Community, Education, Family, Joliet, Music, News, Students | Comments Off on Back to School in Joliet: Reflections on Junior High

Action Research at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm

Many of the writing and research assignments I give my students at RU are fairly straightforward and prescriptive. I give them a lot of concrete guidelines and freedom to choose a topic; they crank out the work; and then I … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Chicago, Classes, Community, Education, Food, Green design, Research, Roosevelt, Social justice, Students, Sustainability | Comments Off on Action Research at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm

Remembering Don Reiter

Today in Joliet, while picking up a prescription after dropping my daughter off at school, I ran into a friend from my Jr. High days. Lori and I both worked at Plainfield Road Pharmacy back in the 1980s, when the … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Family, History, Joliet | Comments Off on Remembering Don Reiter

Accelerate 77 Share Fair Celebrates Sustainability in Chicago

Looking for a cool sustainability-themed event this coming weekend? Here you go: this Saturday from 10am to 4pm at Truman College on Chicago’s North Side, the Institute for Cultural Affairs will host the “Accelerate 77” Share Fair that brings together … Continue reading

Posted in Chicago, Classes, Community, Events, Internships, Roosevelt, Social justice, Students, Sustainability | Comments Off on Accelerate 77 Share Fair Celebrates Sustainability in Chicago

Labor-Managment Conflict in Blue-Collar America: The Caterpillar Strike in Joliet

Without Caterpillar Corporation, I probably wouldn’t exist. Once upon a time, a Kansas farm boy (my grandfather) moved to central Illinois with some of his brothers to find work. He eventually caught on at Caterpillar in Peoria, where he became … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Economics, Family, Joliet, News, Politics, Social justice | Comments Off on Labor-Managment Conflict in Blue-Collar America: The Caterpillar Strike in Joliet

A Tribute: Remarks at My Grandmother’s Funeral

If you had met Millie Bryson for the first time in the last few months of her life, it would have been easy to underestimate her. She was 98 years old, blind, hard of hearing, and increasingly forgetful. She lived … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Family, Joliet, Music | Comments Off on A Tribute: Remarks at My Grandmother’s Funeral

Walking to Grandma Millie’s

Not long ago I walked with my kids from our home in Joliet to my Grandmother Millie’s house to pay her a friendly visit. The distance is nine-tenths of a mile: long enough for me to get a little exercise, … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Family, Joliet, Transportation | Comments Off on Walking to Grandma Millie’s

City Creatures Retreat at the Indiana Dunes (Pictures and Random Thoughts)

I’ve never been invited to a writer’s retreat before (not to mention a writers and artists retreat), and despite long anticipation and careful planning for this one, I almost didn’t get to go to this one when my spouse took … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Chicago, Community, Events, Field Trips, Literature, Parklands, Research, Urban ecology, Urban nature, Wetlands, Wildlife | Comments Off on City Creatures Retreat at the Indiana Dunes (Pictures and Random Thoughts)