Saturday, May 29, 2010

Funeral held for Chicago officer

Hundreds packed a South Side church Friday to celebrate the life of fallen Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham IV.

Wortham was remembered as a son, a brother and a friend with a giving and humble heart - and was described as a fallen hero and a warrior.

"Other than my father, I don't know if God ever created a greater man," said Wortham's sister Sandra.

Thomas Wortham is being remembered not just as a Chicago police officer, but also as an Iraq War veteran.

"If you want to see success, you need not look any further than the man Tom was. If God needed another soldier - another warrior - in heaven, then he got more than that: he got Thomas Wortham IV," said Chicago Police Officer Andy Turner.

At the funeral Friday, Wortham's parents were praised for raising a great young man who wanted to make a difference in peoples' lives.

"Tom possessed the qualities you can only get from having loving parents: a strong work ethic, courage, selflessness, responsibility and integrity," said Turner. "I can honestly say Mr. and Mrs. Wortham did a fine job."

"Smart, focused, friendly, helpful, loving, and brave," said 6th Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle. "As the old folks would say, he came from good stock. He was the exemplification of what a young Black man should be."

Those closest to Wortham made the service a call to action.

The tribute drew hundreds of his fellow officers - a sign of deep respect for the man who walked the walk.

" He stood up. He was working to improve his community not just as a soldier, not just as a police officer, but as a resident - to protecting his neighborhood for the children of Chatham," said Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

Wortham was killed when suspects allegedly attempted to steal his motorcycle.

Wortham's father, a retired police sergeant, witnessed the violence and fired back, killing one suspect.

"Thomas did not stand alone that night. Sgt. Wortham - you were there for your son his entire life. You were there defending him and fighting bravely for him - to the last," said Weis.

He was a Chicago police patrolman who had also served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

"You showed no fear - your men admired you," said Capt. Matthew McDonald of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. "They would follow you anywhere."

"God did not give Tom a long chronological life. His three decades on this earth he had a servant's heart, and he led an exemplary life - a purposeful life - and all of us who are parents would be well advised to look at his life as a role model for our children," said Governor Pat Quinn.

The strongest memories shared about Wortham were about the dignity with which he carried himself and his service to his community outside of work.

"The people of Chicago have lost a compassionate man, a community leader who touched many lives - worked tirelessly to make his neighborhood and his beat a better place to live," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Those who knew Wortham best called upon those listening to do something to carry on his legacy.

"It's okay to be sad. It's okay to cry. And it's okay to grieve. But let's not be angry," said Wortham's mother, Carolyn Wortham. "Because angry saps your energy, and we have much to do."

Wortham was buried at Lincoln Cemetery.

This Memorial Day, he will be among those fallen soldiers honored for their service at the cemetery.

Wortham had hoped to move closer to his parents, get married, and have kids. His dreams for himself will not be fulfilled - but his dreams for the Chatham community now lay with the living.

"We can't say it's too hard - pack up the house - we all pack up, then what? Tommy never ran from a challenge, and so I don't think we should," said Sandra Wortham.

The message from all of those who spoke at the service Friday was to not let Wortham's death be in vain.

I'm glad we had him when we did," said Sandra Wortham. "I hope God has him now, and I just hope that all of you don't just leave here and forget, and that the same pain that we have now can propel us."

Wortham's parents placed a message in his casket Friday that reflected his life of service. The note read: "May the work I've done speak for me."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blog Question

What do you think should be the legacy of Thomas Wortham IV for Chatham? Leave your comments on the comment line.

New Library Update

It has come to our attention at the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council that the final real estate parcel (the old laundromat) for the new Whitney Young Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 7901 South King Drive, has been purchased as agreed by the Facilities Committee Board of Directors, allowing for demolition of the old structures and the groundbreaking for a new facility.

Casket of slain officer arrives at church for funeral


Chicago police officers unload the flag-draped casket bearing the body of Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side today for his funeral. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)To the mournful cadence of bagpipes and the salutes of more than 100 Chicago police officers and cadets lining the street, the flag-draped casket bearing the body of Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV was carried into Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side this morning for funeral services.

Moments before as the hearse moved down Eggleston Avenue, neighbors watched from their front steps and leaned over their fences watching the solemn procession, some wiping away tears.

Police Supt. Jody Weis and other members of the department's command staff also saluted as the casket was carried past them.

Wortham was killed eight days ago in a robbery attempt across from his parents' Chatham neighborhood home.

A wake is scheduled at 10 a.m. at the church, 400 W. 95th St., with the funeral expected to begin at 11:30 a.m.

Burial will follow at Lincoln Cemetery in southwest suburban Alsip.

On Thursday, several hundred mourners turned out for visitation for the Englewood District patrol officer who recently returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Police say he died as four men tried robbing him at gunpoint of his new motorcycle. One of the robbers was killed and another wounded in an exchange of gunfire between the robbers and Wortham and his father, a retired Chicago police seargent. Two other suspects have been charged with murder and are being held without bail.

At the visitation, Wortham's casket was surrounded by flowers sent from police departments as far as New York City. The officer wore his dress police uniform, his cap sitting on top of the coffin. Inscribed in gold letters on his coffin's inner lid were words that close friends and family members said the young patrolman lived by: "May the work that I've done speak for itself."

Former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard, who worked with Wortham's father and lives near
the family, said he was impressed with how the Morgan Park Academy graduate chose public service over a career in a more lucrative field.

"He lost his life over a motorcycle," Hillard said. "Where are our values? Where are our morals? They don't come around too often, people like this."

Wortham had been actively involved in trying to stem violence in the Chatham neighborhood where he grew up. In particular, he took a leadership role in making Nat King Cole Park, across the street from his parents' home, a safer place after two recent shootings shut down the basketball court.

Hundreds mourn slain Chatham police officer

Known as a reserved and upstanding first lieutenant in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Thomas Wortham IV wasn't afraid to personally connect with the young soldiers under his command.

Army National Guard Spc. David Capps said his fear of ranking Army officers quickly melted under Wortham's warm, joking personality and willingness to spend time with soldiers.

"He'd sit down and hang out with the enlisted (men)," Capps said with tears streaming down his face outside of the Leak & Sons Funeral Home on Chicago's South Side. "Most officers don't hang out with enlisted. He hung out and talked with us and showed us the ways to be a good soldier. That's just the way he was."


Chicago police officers welcome Sandra Wortham (left), sister of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham, outside his wake Thursday. (Tribune / Abel Uribe) MORE PHOTOS

Capps was one of several hundred mourners who turned out Thursday for visitation for Wortham, who was also a three-year Chicago police officer.

The visitation came exactly one week to the day he was shot and killed when police say four men tried robbing him at gunpoint of his new motorcycle outside of his parents' Chatham home.

The patrolman assigned to the Englewood District had recently returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Surrounded by flowers sent from police departments as far as New York City, Wortham wore his dress police uniform, his cap sitting on top of the coffin. Inscribed in gold letters on his coffin's inner lid were words that close friends and family members said the young patrolman lived by: "May the work that I've done speak for itself."

Former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard, who worked with Wortham's father and lives near the family, said he was impressed with how the Morgan Park Academy graduate chose public service over a career in a more lucrative field.

"He lost his life over a motorcycle," Hillard said. "Where are our values? Where are our morals? They don't come around too often, people like this."

Annual Memorial Day Outdoor Cookout at the Chatham Food Market!!!

Stop by for the annual Memorial Day Outdoor Cookout, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, May 30, 2010, with great grocery shopping at Chatham Food Market, 327 East 79Th Street in the heart of the Chatham retail strip!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Funeral arrangements set for slain police officer

Funeral arrangements are set for Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV who was shot to death last week in a robbery attempt across from his parent's home in the Chatham neighborhood.

Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave. A wake is scheduled Friday at 10 a.m. at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St., with the funeral expected to begin at 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow at Lincoln Cemetery in southwest suburban Alsip.

Wortham, a three-year police veteran and Army National Guard first lieutenant who recently returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq, was shot late Wednesday when police say four men tried robbing him of his new motorcycle outside of his parents' Chatham home.

Wortham's father, a retired police sergeant, fatally shot one of the alleged robbers and critically wounded a second. Two others escaped at the time, but one surrendered and the other was arrested during a traffic stop. Both have been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Memorial Day and Indianapolis 500 Weekend and Time to Rev Up Your Engines and Drive Over for a Summertime Feast at the Chatham Food Market!!!

Make sure you stock up on fresh produce for the special weekend of the beginning of summertime season with great grocery shopping at Chatham Food Market, 327 East 79Th Street in the heart of the Chatham retail strip!

Chatham Community Anti-Violence Rally

Chatham Community Anti-Violence Rally will be held TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at St. Mark Methodist Church, 8441 South St. Lawrence Avenue at 6:00 p.m. Come out and support your community along with Alderwoman Fredemma M. Lyle, Supt. Jody Weis, Cmdr. Eddie Johnson-6Th District, Com. Christopher Fletcher-3rd Dist. and others. TOGETHER WE CAN PUT AN END TO VIOLENCE! For more information call the Chatham Avalon Community Office at 866-272-1215. Sponsored by St. Mark Methodist Church (Rev. Dr.Jon McCoy, Sr., Pastor), Alderwoman Fredemma Lyle and all of the 6Th Ward Community Organizations.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, 1980-2010

Off-duty Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, who was fatally shot last week on the South Side, during an armed robbery outside of his parents' home, will have visitation Thursday at the Leak and Sons Funeral Chapels, 7838 South Cottage Grove, 3 to 8 p.m. The funeral on Friday at the Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95Th Street, with the wake at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chatham residents rally to honor slain cop

Today was supposed to be the day Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV was to join hundreds of residents in reclaiming the Chatham neighborhood, which has been plagued recently by gun violence.

Wortham never made it. He was shot to death Wednesday night in front of his parents' home after four men tried to steal his new motorcycle, police said.

But as neighbors continued to reel over Wortham's death, they came out to Nat King Cole Park on Sunday toting coolers of soda pop and sharing memories to show support for the officer's family and to send a message to those responsible for the rash of crime in the neighborhood.

"If we're in the park, the bad guys stay out," Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward) said.


Chicago police officer Rich Bankus watches the area where community members including motorcycle groups gathered at Cole Park in the Chatham neighborhood Sunday to pay tribute to slain Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV. (Tribune / Lane Christiansen)

Wortham, who worked in the Englewood Police District , had become increasingly concerned with making the park, which is across the street from his parents' home, a safer place after two recent shootings shut down the basketball court.

Wortham and others planned to hold a fellowship meeting there on the first 80-degree day to stake their claim on the neighborhood.

One of Chicago's best-known black middle-class neighborhoods, many long-time Chatham residents have grown concerned over the increasing crime they attribute to Chicago Housing Authority residents moving to the area. But according to the authority, 118 families have used vouchers to relocate from public housing to Chatham. That is less than 1 percent of the neighborhood's households.

Lewis Jordan, the CHA's chief executive officer, said complaints that former public housing residents are responsible for an increase in crime in Chatham are unsupported by the facts.
Kassandra Scott-Ward, 59, was 8 years old when her family moved into their Chatham home. Back then, children knew where their teachers lived, neighbors raised chickens or horses and grew fruit trees in their yards.

Now, "these people have moved into a community without having a sense of community," Scott-Ward said.

Jordan said the distribution of former residents of CHA high rises has not been concentrated in any particular area, but throughout the city.

Though Wortham, who had just returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq as a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard, was absent from Sunday's fellowship meeting, the vision he had for it was honored, his friends and supporters said.

On Sunday, supporters included Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, who looked on as Little League players filled the the baseball diamond. The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived and shook hands, consoled Wortham's parents and expressed many neighbors' concerns.

"This is a state of emergency," Jackson said. "There needs to be a sense of urgency, not just a well-covered funeral."

Charges filed in slaying of Chicago police officer

Two of the three men accused of killing Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV in a botched robbery attempt this week were charged tonight in his death.

Paris McGee, 20, of the 6300 block of South Ada Street and Toyious Taylor, 29, of the 4300 block of South Lamon Avenue each has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery, according to Cook County state's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly.

mcgeetaylor260cap.jpgA third suspect who remained hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the robbery hasn't been charged yet, Daly said.

Wortham was killed late Wednesday as four people attempted to rob him of his motorcycle outside of his parents' home in Chatham, according to police. Wortham, who was off duty, and Wortham's father, a retired police sergeant, exchanged gunfire with the suspects.

One of the would-be robbers was killed. He was identified as Brian Floyd, 20. The man in the hospital is Floyd's cousin, authorities have said.

In a news conference late Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis attributed the arrests to police teamwork and community cooperation.

"There's some cases that will break any code of silence," Weis said. "I think the community wanted to solve this case."

Weis said detectives pursued various leads, tracking down over 30 addresses. In the end, McGee turned himself in to police and Taylor was apprehended during a traffic stop.

Weis declined to comment on any details of the ongoing investigation, including a ballistics analysis. (Click HERE for unedited video of the news conference from WGN-TV)

According to court records Taylor pleaded guilty in 2002 to drug charges and was sentenced to six years in prison. More recently, in 2009, he served several days in Cook County Jail for a misdemeanor conviction.

McGee is on probation in a 2009 conviction for weapons charges, records show. There is a current misdemeanor illegal gambling charge pending against him as well.

The two suspects were scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court Saturday.

Men held without bail in officer's slaying

Two men charged with killing an off-duty Chicago police officer were ordered held without bond today as prosecutors released new details about how an alleged robbery attempt ended in bloodshed.

Paris McGee, 20, and Toyious Taylor, 29, showed no emotion as a prosecutor announced they had been charged with the murders of Officer Thomas Wortham IV and their own friend, Brian Floyd, who was fatally shot while trying to steal Wortham's motorcycle.

The men, who authorities say were waiting in a getaway car during the alleged robbery attempt, could face the death penalty.

mcgeetaylor260cap.jpgWortham, an Army National Guardsman who recently completed his second tour in Iraq, had gone to his parents' Chatham home for dinner Wednesday on what prosecutors described as "a regular night."

Authorities say that as he prepared to leave around 11:30 p.m., Floyd, 20, and his 19-year-old cousin approached Wortham and tried to steal his motorcycle.

When the officer's father, retired Police Sgt. Thomas Wortham III, saw the men approach, he yelled at them to leave his son alone, authorities said. Floyd responded by shooting at the elder Wortham, Assistant State's Attorney Joe Cataldo said.

In that moment of distraction, Wortham IV pulled out his own gun and identified himself as a police officer. He and Floyd exchanged gunfire, during which Wortham was shot in the abdomen.

"That's when a regular night turned into a nightmare," Cataldo said.

Wortham's father rushed to a ground-floor bedroom, returned with a gun and saw Taylor and McGee pull up in a red car, authorities said. McGee, who was in the passenger's seat, flashed a handgun and yelled at his friends to get in the car, Cataldo said.

With Wortham lying in the street, his father opened fire on Floyd and his cousin.

Taylor and McGee fled the scene in the getaway car, striking Wortham's body and dragging him roughly a quarter-mile, Cataldo said.

Wortham was pronounced dead just after midnight Thursday.

"He survived two tours of duty in Iraq, but he couldn't survive dinner at his parents' home in our community," Cataldo said.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the scene. His cousin, who has not been charged yet, remains in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

McGee turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon. Taylor was apprehended Thursday night during a traffic stop.

Wortham's father identified both men as the getaway car's occupants in a police lineup, Cataldo said.

According to court records, Taylor pleaded guilty in 2002 to drug charges and was sentenced to six years in prison. Last year, he served several days in Cook County Jail for a misdemeanor conviction.

McGee is on probation for a 2009 weapons conviction, records show. There also is a misdemeanor illegal gambling charge pending against him.

Both men are expected to return to court Monday.

McGee attended an alternative high school, where he played on the basketball team. He was scheduled to graduate next month, said his attorney, Anthony Burch.

His Facebook page -- on which he refers to himself as "Payroll McGee" -- lists his hobbies as "basketball, dice and robbin." In a box dedicated for a personal description, he wrote: "I hav no promlem wit pullin da trigger!!!!!"

Both McGee and Taylor appear in a rap video on Floyd's Facebook page for a song titled "I'm Crazy." During the three-minute video, which was posted Tuesday, the men appear to be smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol as they cruise in a white Mercedes Benz.

McGee's parents declined comment as they left the courthouse. Outside on the sidewalk, his relatives and friends hugged each other and wiped away tears before clasping hands in prayer.

"There are two sides to every story," Burch said.

Taylor's family also declined comment.

Wortham's parents did not attend the brief bond hearing. Earlier Saturday, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation presented a $50,000 check to the officer's family.

Pastor Phillip Cusic of New Life Christian Ministries Church -- where Wortham III's mother is a congregant -- has been counseling the family since the shooting. Cusic said the tragedy could be a watershed moment for the city, in part because the Worthams are such exemplary people.

"You have a stable family and an Iraq veteran, a police officer who was working in the community," Cusic said. "This is something people can relate to."


We, at the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, wish to express our deepest and heartiest condolences to the family of the Chicago Police Department's finest Thomas Wortham IV and hope the best for all of his family, friends, and acquaintances in this most difficult time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Join Alderman Freddrenna M. Lyle at Cole Park

After the last Cole park shootings in April, we made a commitment, to come

out and fellowship at Cole Park.

This is a reminder, Sunday May 23rd at 3pm will be the first 80 degree day

since that shooting and that promise.

Bring Your Families, Your Friends, Your Block Clubs, Your Lawn Chairs, and

Your Refreshments.

Let’s honor our commitment to ourselves and show


Slain off-duty officer mourned; suspects charged

Charges have been filed in the shooting death of off-duty police officer Thomas Wortham IV.

Police Superintendent Jody Weis announced the charges Friday night.

Paris McGee, 20, and Toyious Taylor, 29, are both charged with two counts of murder and one count of armed robbery.

Weis would not comment Friday on who fired the shot that killed the off-duty police officer.

"In cases like this, usually everyone recognizes that it's just so outrageous, it's just so evil that people come forward. There's some cases that will break any code of silence," said Weis. "I think when you just keep going out and talking to enough people, and I think the professionalism of our officers and our detectives and our gang enforcement investigative officers, I think the community wanted to solve the case."

Weis refused to comment on reports that the suspects were engaged in a drinking game in which they dared each other to commit a robbery.

Floyd's mother had reportedly told the Chicago Tribune that the crime was the result of a drinking game involving a dare.

Purple and black bunting is hanging at Chicago Police Department District 7 in Englewood in Wortham's honor. Fellow officers shared their memories of him Friday.

"He was a great man - he was a great officer," said Officer Kevin Spisak. "Truly, he was a great friend, and it's a horrible loss to his family, to his friends, and to us here in the 7th District."

Wortham also was a community leader and a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and had recently returned home to Chicago. He was visiting his parents Wednesdsay night with his new motorcycle.

Police say the four armed suspects pulled up and tried to steal the bike. In an exchange of gunfire, Wortham was hit, and his father, a retired Chicago police office, reportedly shot two of the suspects.

Brian Floyd, 20, died at the scene, and another suspect is being treated for his injuries.

The injured suspect remains in critical condition. Weis said that he will also be charged if he survives.

According to police, the two other suspects fled in a car. They were both in custody Friday. One suspect turned himself in, and the final suspect was caught Thursday night at a traffic stop.

Both of them were questioned Friday, along with the injured suspect.

ABC7 Chicago went to the home of suspect Brian Floyd's family Friday and was told by the person who answered the apartment intercom, "He has no side of the story. He is dead."

Days before his shooting death, Wortham had traveled to Washington, D.C. with Superintendent Weis for the police memorial ceremony there.

Among those whom Wortham came to honor was his friend and fellow officer Alex Valadez, who was killed last year.

"I am truly at a loss for words, and I cannot describe my hurt, my pain, and my anger and anguish over this," said Chicago Police Commander Keith Calloway.

Officers were still recovering from Valadez's death when the news came that Wortham had been killed.

"There's no way on God's green earth I would have thought I would be standing here today in front of you talking about Tom," said Calloway.

The Wortham home in Chatham saw a steady stream of friends come by Friday. Wortham's mother said Friday that she hopes something good will come of her son's death.

Wortham and his family were actively trying to keep peace in the neighborhood. A series of shootings in April prompted more anti-violence efforts in Chatham, which had been seemingly immune to violence.

"So many good people have left their lives or put their lives on the line for the good citizens of Chicago, and we've got to go through it - we don't have the luxury of not doing this, because if we don't win this, then we've all lost it, and I refuse to give up," said Calloway.

Neighbor Debra Banks said the recent crimes in the area were a marked departure from the past.

"It feels as though we've been in a cocoon until now, because our community has been such a lovely blessed community," said neighbor Debra Banks.

6th Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle had been working with Wortham to improve safety in the community. Lyle is helping to organize a kind of block party in Cole Park on Sunday, which is across the street from the Wortham family home.

Cole Park has been a trouble spot for violence of late.

"We're still very angry that this young man's life was just snuffed out so senselessly, but what can we do to make this a permanent testament to what he was trying to do - that's what we're gonna work on," said Lyle.

Lyle said the plan was to make a big show of neighbors on the first hot, summer-like day.

Before his death, Officer Wortham had worked to improve safety at the park.

Wortham is the second District 7 officer to die within one year.

Cop killer suspect caught hiding in car; Two suspects in custody, one killed, one injured

The fourth and final suspect sought in the shooting death of an off-duty officer Wednesday night in the Chatham neighborhood was taken into custody Thursday night during a traffic stop on the city's West Side.

A third suspect turned himself in at the Harrison Street District yesterday afternoon around 4 p.m., police said. He was accompanied by his attorney.

A detective familiar with the investigation confirmed that the fourth suspect was picked up during a traffic stop near Jackson Blvd and Oakley Blvd at 9 p.m.

He was a passenger in a vehicle that went through a stop light. Police said they were suspicious when they found the man triying to hide in the car. He was taken out and identified.

He's now at Area 2 police headquarters being questioned in the armed robbery which killed Chicago police officer, Thomas Wortham IV.

A second source said the driver may have purposely driven through the red light to arouse police suspicion.

The third suspect turned himself into the 11th police district at Kedzie Avenue and Harrisond Street around 4 p.m. Thursday. Police said he was accompanied by his attorney.

Both are at Area 2 right now.

A police official tells me he doesn't know when charges will be approved, but said the it was an intensive investigation and they were still questioning the suspects.

"We're hoping it's soon," said the police official.

In the meantime, Leak & Sons Funeral Home-Chicago on South Cottage Grove Avenue will be handling the funeral.

A spokesperson said they are handling Officer Wortham's body, but the family is still making arrangements.

He couldn't confirm what a source told WGN-TV that the wake would be next Thursday followed by a Friday service.

The funeral home is located at 7838 South Cottage Grove Avenue Chicago. The funeral home is known for its service to police officers and often performing free services.

30-year-old Thomas Wortham IV was a three-year veteran of the force working out of the Englewood District.

Police say Wortham was leaving his parents home Wednesday night when four men approached the officer in their vehicle and tried to steal his new motorcycle.

Wortham's father came to his son's aid, exchanging gunfire with the suspects, killing one and injuring another.

The dead suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Brian Floyd. The wounded suspect is in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

A third suspect turned himself into police Thursday afternoon.

Thursday night people gathered in Cole Park to pray for Officer Thomas Wortham who was killed Wednesday night in front of his parents' Chatham home.

Four men tried to rob him of his motorcycle. Gunfire was exchanged and Officer Wortham was shot in the head.

Another group gathered in front of the 7th District where the 30-year-old officer worked.

Bikers came to pay their respects.

Both groups also had strong words for anyone who brings violence into their community.

Alderman Freddreena Lyle of the 6th Ward said she was very familiar with Wortham and his family.

She said the officer had just finished his second tour of duty in Iraq. She also said he was president of the Cole Park Advisory Council, a group concerned with maintaining safety at Nat King Cole Park located at 85th Street and South King Drive. She said the officer was heading efforts to get residents to "take back the park" by planting their lawn chairs there this Saturday. Lyle spoke about the slain officer.

"He was someone we held up as an example of a young person who came back to his community. He was willing to work to better it. He was there all the time. This is a tremendous loss," she said. "We were going to have an event this Saturday to take the park from the thugs after a shooting happened there a month ago. I don't think we'll have it now."

Lyle said she talked with the officer's family at Christ Hospital where Police Superintendent Jody Weis had announced the officer's passing.

"It has been very difficult for the mother and the father. He witnessed it, so it's especially difficult. It's just tragic."

A source said, "It appears at this time the city will give the off-duty officer full honors in handling his death."

At a news conference at City Hall this morning, Mayor Richard Daley offered his condolences to the family and friends of Officer Wortham.

"We think of him serving not only our city, but our country." He added, "All of our hearts are saddened, and we'll pray for his family and all members of the Chicago Police Department."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cops, community rallies after officer, an Iraq vet, is gunned down

Community activist Andrew Holmes had two messages for the group that gunned down a Chicago police officer and Iraq War veteran: "You didn't gain anything," and "We're looking for you."

By Thursday night, only one of those messages remained true.

Just hours after a pair of vigils held in Thomas Wortham IV's name, Chicago police announced they had a fourth -- and believed to be the final -- person in custody. No charges have yet been filed.

Wortham was gunned down Wednesday night by a group of people who tried to steal his motorcycle during a late-night visit to his parent's house. His father, a retired Chicago cop, fired back at the robbers, killing one of them and critically injuring another.

A third -- a 20-year-old Marquette Park man with a minor criminal record for a gun charge -- turned himself in Thursday afternoon at the Harrison District police station, officials said.

Holmes heads up the community group "No Guns, No Violence" and told the crowd of supporters and bikers gathered outside the District 7 police station at 63rd and Bishop that violence around the city must be snuffed out.

"We're not going to stand for too much violence in the streets of the city of Chicago. This is not a warzone and we're going to put an end to it," he said.

Wortham was a three-year-veteran of the Chicago Police Department, working in the Englewood District, and had purchased the motorcycle as a gift to himself after serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

He was active at the Nat King Cole park across the street from where he was slain, served on the park's advisory council and was vocal about the violence in the city.

"Thomas was a good person, a hardworking person, a person that works the streets and tries to enhance the quality of life for others out here," said Holmes.


Blog Question

Is it now high time to bring in the National Guard to rid Chatham of its crime wave? Leave your vociferous comments on the comment line. Please do be straight-forward!

Loved ones, police mourn after officer shot fatally

Police have arrested a fourth suspect in the shooting death of a Chicago police officer. Meanwhile, members of the community joined family and friends Friday in mourning Officer Thomas Wortham IV, 30.

Thomas Wortham IV was killed for his motorcycle. Source: NBCChicago

Wortham, who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, was visiting his parents in the 8400-block of South King Drive around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when four men allegedly tried to steal his new motorcycle. He was shot to death.

The Chicago Tribune reports the shooting began as a game of dare among friends to see who could rob someone at gunpoint first.

At Chicago police District 7 Friday, a purple and black bunting was on display in memory of the fallen officer.

As the shooting unfolded Wednesday night, Wortham's father, a retired Chicago police officer, fired at the suspects, killing 20-year-old suspect Brian Floyd and injuring another suspect who was later hospitalized. Two other suspects got away but one later turned himself in and the fourth suspect was arrested Thursday night. Police say he was apprehended during a traffic stop and was found ducking and hiding in his car.

"[Wortham] was approached by several individuals in the apparent robbery attempt. There was an exchange of gunfire," said Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. "Sadly, this three-year veteran of the department was killed. Two offenders were also shot."

Neighbors heard the chaos unfold outside the home.

"I called 911 at 11:27. Just prior to that, I was in the kitchen part of my house and heard 'pop, pop, pop,'" said neighbor Elliot Powell.

Wortham recently got the motorcycle after returning from his service in Iraq.

Neighbor Al Stewart saw Wortham's father just after the shooting.

"He just said he needed help - that he shot the two guys that tried to rob his son," said Stewart.

Police said they recovered the suspected getaway car, a Nissan, at 37th and Princeton Thursday morning.

Wortham was pronounced dead at 12:07 a.m. at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. Officers led a procession past the hospital Thursday morning in remembrance.

Wortham had just gotten back from a second tour of duty in Iraq. He was single, did not have any children, and worked in the Englewood District. He was also a First Lieutenant in the Wisconsin National Guard.

Neighbors describe Wortham as a man and an officer who gave back to the community and cared about the neighborhood. He was the president of the advisory council for Nat King Cole Park, the popular park across the street from his childhood home on the South Side.

"So ironic, he can serve two tours of duty in Iraq, nobody gets him over there, not the Shiites, not the Sunnis," said Powell. "He comes back home, and just in the course of a few minutes, something like this happens."

The community group No Guns No Violence is offering a $2,000 reward.

"As far as I knew, he was very strict, wanted the youth to go in the right direction," said Andrew Holmes of No Guns No Violence.

Wortham's mother greeted a steady stream of friends, family and politicians who came to pay their respects at her Chatham home Thursday afternoon. The blue star in the window of his parents' home is a tribute to his military service.

"My heart goes out to the family. He's a fallen comrade. I share the family's pain. He's my brother in arms," said Staff Sgt. Antonio Preston.

Wortham was a graduate of Brother Rice High School and went on to the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater where he was part of the ROTC program. In 1999, he enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard, and in 2006, he became an officer. He went on to serve two tours of duty overseas.

His neighbors are concerned about growing violence in the once-safe Chatham neighborhood. They say there have been three shootings near Nat King Cole Park in recent months

"We're seeing violence breeding violence, retaliation breeding retaliation, and it's causing disruption in our community," said Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, a family friend.

Mayor Daley, speaking at another event Thursday, sent his condolences to the family and focused on the gun issue.

"If the person didn't have this [gun], it would have never happened. Access to guns in America: everybody can have guns, and doesn't matter who they are, and if they have a criminal record or not - they have access to guns and that is the most frustrating issue," said Daley.

In the meantime, Chicago police officers, with guns drawn, are guarding the parents' home and plan to do so for the forseeable future.

"It is a preventative measure to protect the family and demonstrate that the police department is going to be responsive with the use of force it needs when the time comes," said 20th Ward Ald. Willie Cochran.

A crowd gathered Thursday night to remember Wortham in the park he helped protect.

"You couldn't have asked for a more caring or better person. Please everyone, continue to pray for the family because this is just such a huge tragedy," said family friend Caira Woods.

"It's just a tragedy, a senseless criminal act to rob this city and this community of a very positive individual," said family friend Sgt. Edward Adams, Chicago Police.

Sergeant Adams served on Mayor Harold Washington's bodyguard detail with Wortham's father, who also helped launch an organization for African-American police officers.

"Worked on four other police murders in my career and none of 'em hit home because I knew him, know the family. It just hurts," said Adams.

Slain officer remembered as community leader

Thomas Wortham IV is being remembered not only for his service as a police officer and a soldier but also for his work as a leader in his community.

The black and purple bunting at the 7th District Thursday was an indication of the grief felt by Wortham's fellow officers.

Officer Wortham IV was the Chatham community's native son.

"He's been committed, his family has been committed to community work and betterment of the neighborhood," said neighbor Elliot Powell.

Sixth Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle has known Wortham and his family both personally and professionally for years and was hit hard by word of his death.

"We talk about rebuilding families. So we can't afford to lose any. And I think that is the biggest travesty, we lost one," said Lyle.

Wortham was active in the South Side community where three generations of his family had lived in the house his grandfather built.

Friends say the 30-year-old became president of the Cole Park Advisory Council after recent shootings there made it unsafe for neighborhood kids.

"Tough to talk the talk and walk the walk. He was a genuine individual," said Keith Tate of the Cole Park Advisory Council. "He meant what he said, and he said, 'I'm going to try and do what I can do to make this a better place for everybody.'"

There was also grief Thursday at Brother Rice High School, where the flag flew at half staff for the latest alumnus to be lost. The death of Wortham, a 1998 graduate who ran track and played soccer and football, comes almost a year after Officer Alejandro Valadez, a 2000 Brother Rice graduate and Chicago cop,was killed in the line of duty last June.

"Tom was the perfect example. He served his community, he served his country, his family. He lived life the right way. And to see him go so young is just an absolute shame," said Bob Alberts, Brother Rice High School.

Wortham had been with the Chicago Police Department for three years. He had been on furlough since returning from his latest military service.

Those who worked with him at the Englewood District say he was proud to be a cop and proud to serve his community.

The motorcycle community showed their support for Officer Wortham Thursday night. Dozens of bikers rode from the Washington Park field house to Wortham's police district.

The fallen officer was an avid motorcyclist and police say it was Worthham's bike the four gunmen were trying to steal.

"It's sad. He was minding his own business. Can't have new things then to have them taken away from you," said friend Jerome Frazier.

Family members who had recently traveled to Chicago to celebrate a soldier's homecoming are now planning his homegoing service.

"His family is deeply devastated. He is their only son. My heart goes out to his family," said Gordon Fleming, cousin.

Wortham served in Iraq as part of the National Guard and had just finished his last tour at the end of March. He is survived by his sister and his parents.

(Copyright ©2010 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

But also:,0,3635305.story

And Chatham generally:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blog Question

Would you like to see a Virgin Superstore (instead of a Walmart) opened up in the Chatham Market? Leave your comments on the comment line.

Off-Duty Officer Killed: Three year CPD vet just finished his second Army tour in Iraq

An off-duty Chicago Police officer, who had just returned from an army tour in Iraq, was shot and killed overnight when three people tried to steal his motorcycle in Chatham neighborhood.

Thomas Wortham IV, a 3-year veteran of the force, was on his motorcycle at approximately 11:25 p.m. Wednesday in the 8400 block of South King Drive when several individuals approached him in an apparent robbery attempt, said Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

"Gunfire was exchanged and sadly this 3-year veteran of the department was killed," Weis said at a press conference outside Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Sources said Wortham was leaving his parent's house in near 85th Street and King Drive. He was there to show them pictures from a Washington D.C. memorial he attended days earlier, honoring police officers killed in the line of duty.

His father, a retired police sergeant tried to defend his son. He came out of the house as the three men exited a Nissan and tried to steal the motorcycle. The father shot and killed one of the robbery suspects. A second suspect was wounded and a third got away.

Cook County medical examiners identified the dead suspect as Brian Floyd, 20, of the 3700 block of South Wentworth Avenue. The wounded man is receiving medical attention, but hasn't been named.

Wortham worked at the Englewood District and was active at the Nat King Cole park across the street from where he was slain. He served on the park's advisory council.


Own Up and Fess Up!!!

The immigration issue is just not relevant only to Arizona. It is relevant here in Chatham as well. There are day laborers looking for work every day by the Home Depot at the Chatham Market. Are you or have you hired "illegal immigrants" or "undocumented aliens" from Mexico or other Latin American or Caribbean countries to do housekeeping, landscaping or other home-related work? YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!! Leave your detailed stories on the comment line.

Blog Question

Do you think ShoreBank is worth saving? Leave your comments on the comment line.

ShoreBank rescue prompts call for congressional probe

Two top Republicans on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, including U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama demanding records pertaining to any administration involvement in the $140-million Wall Street bailout of ShoreBank Corp.

“Some believe that ShoreBank was really saved because of an assumption that high-ranking officials in the Obama administration favored a bailout of this failing institution with deep political ties,” said the May 19 letter by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and Ms. Biggert. “The administration’s perceived involvement raises very serious questions as to whether the federal government is facilitating the rescue of a politically connected hometown bank when hundreds of others are forced to close.”

Mr. Bachus is the senior Republican on the Financial Services Committee, which oversees banking laws, while Ms. Biggert is the top GOP member on the committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

Chicago-based ShoreBank was on the brink of failing before a group of the nation’s largest financial players, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., General Electric Co.’s commercial finance arm, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. stepped forward with about $140 million in equity commitments.

That should enable the South Side lender, which made its name over three decades lending profitably in low-income neighborhoods, to qualify for about $75 million in bailout funds from the Treasury Department.

Obama administration representatives and the bank have denied any White House role in the capital-raising campaign.

A perception has fueled by anonymous comments from Wall Street sources to other publications that Goldman Sachs and other recipients of federal aid in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis acted knowing that the administration favored a rescue of ShoreBank.

ShoreBank’s leaders, most of whom live in the Obamas’ home neighborhood of Hyde Park, long have had a personal relationship with the president, going back to when he was a state senator.

Mr. Bachus and Ms. Biggert requested that the White House provide all records of communication relating to the ShoreBank negotiations, including with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Eugene Ludwig, a former ShoreBank board member and head of Promontory Financial Group, a Washington, D.C., consultancy that assisted ShoreBank.

“In a year in which hundreds of banks are expected to fail, it is good news that this troubled institution has managed to survive,” the letter said. “The question that many are asking, however, is why did government-supported Wall Street banks decide to save ShoreBank rather than the numerous others that faced a capital shortage?”

News of the letter was first reported by Fox Business Network.

ShoreBank now needs Feds' help

High-profile lender to poor areas seeks $75 mil. in bailout money

For Chicago's ShoreBank Corp., Job One is done. It has raised enough private capital to give it a fighting chance to survive.

But it's uncertain if it can complete Job Two, getting $75 million in federal bailout funds. ShoreBank, a prominent lender to poor communities in Chicago and other Midwest cities, needs the federal help to reach its capital goal of $200 million.

Sources said Tuesday that after overnight meetings, a group of Wall Street giants and some Chicago banks agreed to provide ShoreBank $125 million to $140 million. The saviors range from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. to Chicago's Northern Trust Corp. and PrivateBancorp Inc., sources said. A new infusion of about $20 million from GE Capital pushed ShoreBank over the top, they said.

There was no agreement, however, on the federal money. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has taken up ShoreBank's cause, said she believes the Treasury Department's help has no strings other than the bank hitting its threshold of private capital. "It's looking good but nobody is talking at all," she said.

She said she is urging Treasury officials to help ShoreBank and other institutions that suffer from "the recklessness of the Wall Street banks."

For the big banks accused of abetting the nation's financial collapse, the rescue would buy favor in President Obama's administration. Obama has used ShoreBank as an example of enlightened community-based lending and his advisers know the bank from prior jobs.

ShoreBank has a dual mission of profits and community improvement. It was founded in 1973 when other banks redlined poor communities and its slogan, "Let's change the world," speaks to its mission.

Treasury officials could not be reached and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which would handle a ShoreBank shutdown, declined to comment.

Conservative critics have said ShoreBank is getting special attention because of politics. Schakowsky and ShoreBank said the White House is not involved in the case and that they have not spoken with anyone on Obama's staff.

"We are continuing our capital raising efforts and the results we have achieved so far are encouraging," said ShoreBank President George Surgeon. "We are very appreciative of the efforts of all investors who have expressed support, those who have been with us over the years as well as new supporters; and we are also grateful to the people in our communities of Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland."

Eugene Ludwig, chief executive of Promontory Financial Group and an organizer of the private fund-raising, told the Wall Street Journal, "In the end, the financial service industry stood together and got this done. ShoreBank is an international symbol of hope for low- and moderate-income citizens, and the banking industry recognizes that it is too important to allow its leadership role to wither away."

Officer's father — a retired cop — kills one of would-be robbers

He survived two tours of duty in the war zones of Iraq. But an off-duty Chicago police officer who recently returned from Iraq was shot and killed in a robbery attempt Wednesday night in the South Side neighborhood where he grew up and where he had become active in the community.

Officer Thomas Wortham IV, 30, was gunned down around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. He was leaving his parents’ home in the 8400 block of South King Drive and sitting on his new motorcycle when he was approached by several men who tried to steal the bike.

An off-duty officer was shot Wednesday. His father -- a retired Chicago Police officer -- shot two of three suspects, killing one and wounding one, police said.
(Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

In the ensuing gunfire, Wortham was shot in the head. He was pronounced dead just after midnight at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The officer’s father — himself a retired Chicago police sergeant and, like his son, a military veteran — came to Wortham’s aid and shot two of the attackers, killing one, police said. Two others got away. Charges are pending against the injured suspect, who was taken to Christ Medical Center.

Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) has known Wortham and his family for years. She said she’s outraged that “an intelligent young man” she called “the best we had to offer” survived war, only to be gunned down in the neighborhood — Chatham — where three generations of his family lived.

“You go to Iraq,” said Lyle. “It’s a war zone. You come back to a community you’ve been safe in all of your life and lose your life? It’s just unfathomable.”

Wortham had gone to see his parents “to show his dad his new bike,” said Lyle, who represented Wortham when he closed on a building in the neighborhood.

He’d also driven her around during one of her aldermanic campaigns, she said.

“To have people try to rob him of his motorcycle — to have that happen at his father’s house? I’m numb and heartbroken,” she said. “He was willing to put his life on the line for this country, only to have people who want nothing and are about nothing take his life. I’m just so angry about this.”

Wortham was active in his community. He was president of the Cole Park Advisory Council, a role he sought so he could “keep the park safe, enjoyable and well-stocked for the children of the neighborhood where he was raised,” Lyle said, and was involved in a “take back the park” effort planned for Sunday in response to recent shootings there.

Wortham was gunned down in front of the house where he grew up. His grandfather built it. It’s at the north end of Cole Park.

Lyle called him “a surprisingly mild-mannered and softspoken young man. He would always make us feel so old because he was always saying, ‘Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir.’ I kept telling him, ‘Don’t call me ma’am. We’re not old enough.’ ”

Lt. Eve Gushes worked with Wortham in the police department’s Englewood District. She said he had recently returned from Washington afte traveling there to pay tribute to fallen officers at the national law enfocement memorial.

“We are all in mourning here,” Gushes said.

Wortham was single and a graduate of Brother Rice High School and had been with the Chicago Police Department for three years, according to police Supt. Jody Weis.

He’d been on furlough since returning from his latest military service, said Gushes. She said he was proud to be a cop and proud to serve his community.

His death was even harder to deal with, Gushes said, because “this is the second young officer we’ve lost within a short period of time, and we’re going to have to dig deep within ourselves to get through this.”

Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, 27, who’d also been a Chicago cop for three years, was shot and killed in the line of duty last June. Valadez, who also came from a family of police officers, was a graduate of Brother Rice, like Wortham.

The shooting stunned neighbors of the Wortham family.

Miles Stewart, 48, was coming home from work on the back of a buddy’s bike Wednesday night. As he rounded the corner a block from the Wortham home, he said, “10 shots rang out.”

He said Wortham was on the ground in his motorcycle helmet and gear. Two of the would-be robbers were lying on the ground, he said, and two more jumped in a car and sped off, running Wortham over.

“I ran over there and went up to Thomas to help, and his dad told me to get away from his son,” Stewart said. “"His dad had two guns — a semi-automatic and a revolver, and he said, ‘They were robbing my son, and I shot them.’ ”

After Stewart identified himself as a family friend, Wortham’s father let him assist, he said.

The robbers sped away down an alley, drove around the block to see what had happened, then fled down 85th street, leaving Wortham's new Yamaha R1 sport bike behind, he said.

Neighbor Elliott Powell, 52, a lawyer, said the robbers clipped his wife’s car, leaving a red paint mark as they fled.

He said the Wortham family was heavily involved in trying to clean up Cole Park.

"They’re hanging in there,” he said this morning.

As a police officer armed with an assault rifle guarded Wortham’s father and the family home today, neighbors said the shooting had pulled the blue-collar Chatham community together.

“You can band together and try to take your neighborhood back, but you’ve gotta have everybody on board,” said neighbor Wesley Andrews, an engineer. “Unless everybody pulls together, it won’t work.”

Speaking about his neighborhood, Andrews said: “It used to be something to be proud of — you’d stick your chest out and say, ‘I’m from Chatham.’ ”

But, with the closing of public housing projects in recent years across the city, Chatham has seen violent people move in.

Up and down the block where the police officer was killed and in neighboring Cole Park, small groups of neighbors, friends and relatives gathered. There was a lot of talk about the violence, what’s causing it, what they might be able to do to quell it. They spoke about problems with gangs, parenting, jobs, housing, popular culture, drugs and policing.

A prayer vigil is planned for 7 o'clock tonight on the Worthams' block.

Slain officer fought to take back streets in his neighborhood

Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham served two tours of duty in Iraq, but his latest battle had been against rising violence in the Chatham neighborhood where he grew up.

It was a fight he would not survive.

Wortham was gunned down in front of his parents' home late Wednesday night as three men were trying to steal his motorcycle, police say.

Just last week, in an interview with the Tribune, he had decried a recent rash of shootings that forced the alderman of his ward to take down basketball hoops in Cole Park across the street from his parents' house.
"It's starting to feel like it's expected in this community," said Wortham, 30, who was president of the Cole Park advisory council and whose grandfather built the home across from the park 50 years ago.

"When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that's not what we see. It's happened, and we're going to fix it, so it doesn't happen again."

Wortham was planning to literally take back the park.

"After the last shooting in the park (in late April) we were going to take back the park on the first 80-degree day," Ald. Freddenna Lyle (6th) said hours after learning Wortham had been killed. "That was this week. We are not going to give up the park to the thugs. The residents were going to converge there with lawn chairs.

"This is a tragedy. This young man survived two tours in Iraq, and came home and got murdered on the streets in front of his house that he grew up in," said Ald. Lyle, who has known the officer and his family for years. "In front of his father, it's just unbelieveable."

Wortham's father, also named Thomas Wortham, is a retired Chicago police sergeant and, like his son, was a military veteran, according to neighbors. His mother, Carolyn Wortham, is a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher.

Both father and son grew up across the street from Cole Park, a cornerstone of Chatham, a neighborhood that is home to judges and teachers, cops and a former Chicago mayor.

By the statistics, the streets around Cole don't reflect a surging crime problem. But after a recent rash of armed robberies, Gresham District Commander Eddie Johnson assigned officers to solve the spree. A man suspected in 15 armed robberies was arrested two months ago.

But gangs have closed in on the area over the last couple years, Johnson said. And because gangs tend to claim public spaces such as parks, the shootings at Cole have been a cause for concern.

"We need to be proactive now to prevent it from becoming a full-blown conflict," Johnson said just last week. "The police can't be there all the time, but if we all work together -- the police, the community, the elected officials -- all of us together ... can make a difference with it."

In an interview with the Tribune in 2009, Wortham's parents said they believed the close-knit atmosphere of the neighborhood -- with strong block clubs, community organizations and churches -- would prevail over the rising crime.

"On my block, people watch out for one another, care about each other. We basically have a really strong sense of community," Carolyn Wortham said.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ShoreBank saved; $20M from GE puts bank over the top

General Electric Co. says it has committed to pump $20 million into ShoreBank, providing the last amount of capital needed to keep the ailing South Side community development lender from failing.

Discussions that went into the wee hours last night finally produced an agreement among a who’s who of Wall Street banks and a group of local lenders that will provide about $140 million of private capital to rescue ShoreBank, a person familiar with the matter said.

That will enable ShoreBank to tap up to $75 million in bailout funds from the Treasury Department. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had prepared to seize ShoreBank, which lost more than $100 million last year due to huge losses from real estate loans in its low-income neighborhoods, but held off as the extraordinary private-sector rescue effort gained momentum.

Other major investors include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which sources say is contributing $20 million; Citigroup Inc., which says it's in for $20 million; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which a source says is committing $15 million, and Bank of America Corp., which says it will chip in $15 million. Morgan Stanley is another major contributor.

Local financial services firms participating with smaller contributions include Northern Trust Corp., State Farm Insurance Cos. and Harris N.A.

ShoreBank hasn't yet said it's hit its capital-raising target.

In a statement, ShoreBank President George Surgeon said today, "We are continuing our capital-raising efforts and the results we have achieved so far are encouraging. We are very appreciative of the efforts of all investors who have expressed support, those who have been with us over the years as well as new supporters; and we are also grateful to the people in our communities of Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland."

The $2.3-billion-asset bank has become a national cause celebre in recent days. ShoreBank is perhaps the best-known community bank in the country, vaunted for its track record of lending profitably for three decades in neighborhoods most other banks avoided.

But ShoreBank ran aground in the most recent recession, with even its bread-and-butter loans to apartment building owners and rehabbers souring in large numbers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blog Question

Do you think with school now coming out for the summer (a lot of parents don't know what their children are doing in the after-school hours) there will be a rash of home invasions in Chatham? . Leave your comments on the comment line.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

State Representative Marlow Colvinâ Youth Safe and Fun Summer Activities Fair

State Representative

Marlow Colvin’s

Youth ‘Safe and Fun’

Summer Activities Fair

Come out and learn about the sports, arts and educational activities for youth ages 10-19 available this summer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

10:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.

Olive-Harvey College

10001 S. Woodlawn , Chicago


Drew Sidora

Singer, Actress, and Co-Star of the play

"Church Girl" with Robin Givens

Special Guest MC


• Power 92 van onsite with give-a-ways

• Sign-up for a summer activities

• Center Stage Performances include:

- South Shore Junior Golf Association

- American Martial Arts Youth Team

- Global Girls Inc. Performing Arts

• Mobile health van onsite to perform sports physicals

• Games and prizes

• Limited stipends available to cover activity fees

• Refreshments will be provided

• Sign-up for a free bus ride at the following locations (limited

space available; parent/guardian must ride with youth to be admitted on the bus):

  • Jesse Owens Park , 8800 S. Clyde , Contact: Jetaune Guyton, Park Supervisor, 312-747-6709
  • Rowan Park , 11546 S. Avenue L, Contact: Martha Ramirez, Park Supervisor, 773-646-3180
  • Representative Colvin’s office, 8539 S. Cottage Grove , Contact: Bonnie Phillips, 773-783-8492

For more information contact

Jenelle Alexander at 773-783-8492

Sponsored by:

Alderman Michelle Harris, Alderman Sandi Jackson, Alderman John Pope, MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Area Project,

Olive-Harvey College , Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools , Chicago Police Department,

Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), Cook County State ’s Attorney’s Office, Claretian Associates Inc.,

Office of the Mayor - Community Safety Initiatives, Local 110, Green Resources & Opportunities, CVS Pharmacy

Jenelle A. Alexander

Chief of Staff for
Representative Marlow Colvin
33rd District
House of Representatives
Illinois General Assembly
off: (773) 783-8492
fax: (773) 783-8625