Adjunct Agony: Uncertainty for part-time professors

By Emily Gray Brosious, Julian Hayda and Matt Koske | Originally published at The DePaulia | May 31, 2015

Wanda Evans-Brewer, an adjunct professor at DeVry University and Concordia University, is a Ph.D. on welfare. As some adjuncts in Chicago and across the country push to earn $15,000 per course, she and DePaul University adjunct Marty Bernstein discuss the difficulties of being a “second-tier” instructor.

Read the full story at The DePaulia.

Neighbor: Slain Bernadette Glomski, 58, did yard work outside Logan Square home

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | May 4, 2015

A 58-year-old woman found strangled in her Logan Square home appeared happy and upbeat just days earlier, according to a neighbor.

A friend found 58-year-old Bernadette Glomski dead in her home in the 2500 block of West Moffat Street on April 15, authorities said. An autopsy later concluded she died of asphyxia by strangulation and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“It’s heartbreaking. You don’t want to hear that happen to anyone … especially like 50 feet from your own bed,” said upstairs neighbor Keithon Gipson. “Whatever the situation, nobody deserves that.”

Authorities have released few details about the killing, and only released the woman’s name in hopes of locating a family member.

Despite the slaying, Gipson says he he still feels safe in the neighborhood.

Gipson, 38, has lived in the apartment directly above Glomski’s for about three years. He said Glomski lived there “for sometime” before he moved in.

Gipson said Glomski, and the man she lived with, were often outside doing yard work and odd jobs for the landlord.

She was an interesting person. Not exactly the friendliest, I mean, she didn’t do anything wrong to anyone, just sometimes you’d try to avoid her. She was that type of character,” Gipson said.

Glomski appeared in good spirits, and days before her death Gipson said she was hanging out with friends and playing music in the backyard.

She looked happy. The color in her face looked real good,” he said. “And to have her life end that way is unacceptable and terrible.”

Gipson said he spoke briefly with police the night Glomski was found dead, but says detectives have not contacted anyone in the building since then.

I’m not a policeman, but it seems like they have somebody that they’re thinking about. Because they didn’t come back and rehashed anything with us,” he said.

Nobody has been charged for the killing. Area North detectives are investigating.

Give a tattoo through Google Glass

By Emily Gray Brosious and John Zaccari | Originally published at The Red Line Project | Oct. 8, 2014

How we made the video

By Emily Gray Brosious

A good portion of twenty-somethings like myself know what it’s like to get a tattoo. So my teammate John Zaccari and I were curious; what’s it like on the other side of the needle – what’s it like to give a tattoo?

We wanted to capture the experience from a tattoo artist’s perspective, using Google Glass. Lucky for us, Tattoo Factory’s David Dillon obliged.

I wore Google Glass to record our interview at the popular Uptown tattoo parlor where Dillon works. Then we passed him Glass to record his point of view during a tattoo session. We asked him to walk us through his process as he worked.

Homicide Watch Chicago | Jeremiah Shaw

Video by Emily Gray Brosious, Peter Holderness and Alex Wroblewski | Story by Emily Brosious and Kaley Fowler | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago; Chicago Sun-Times | Sep 2, 2014

Jeremiah Shaw was a loner who avoided gangs, family and friends said.

That is why they were shocked when he was fatally shot Aug. 6 while smoking a cigarette outside his aunt’s home in the 5400 block of South Laflin Street in the Back of the Yards community, authorities and family said.

Continue reading “Homicide Watch Chicago | Jeremiah Shaw”

Mentor: ‘It’s like he was born on a different path but got swallowed up in the streets’

Video by Jessica Koscielniak and Emily Gray Brosious
Story by Kaley Fowler and Emily Gray Brosious
Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago
July 15, 2014

Cassius White moved to Chicago from New Orleans in 2006 after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, friends said.

White and a 16-year-old boy were wounded in a drive-by shooting July 7 in the 9600 block of South Sangamon Avenue, authorities said.

White, 19, of the 8200 block of South Dante Avenue, died later that day.

Friends described him as wise beyond his years.

“He didn’t think like kids from our generation,” said friend Arielle Williams, 18. “He had an old soul and he seemed so old, so mature. He was very intellectual.”

White moved to Chicago when he was in fourth grade and bragged to his classmates that his father stayed in New Orleans to help hurricane victims, said friend Tevon Blair, 18.

White was well read, stayed up to date on current events and could easily hold a conversation with older adults, said Lenora Dennis, the mother of one of White’s friends.

“He was an exceptionally bright kid,” said Dennis’ husband, Kenneth Holman. “It’s like he was born on a different path but got swallowed up in the streets.”

White lived with his mother, but often stayed with Dennis and Holman, said Williams. White’s mother declined to comment.

“Cassius was very headstrong, and he’d listen to her, but he wasn’t keen on taking her advice,” Williams said. “He told me once he wished he could be the man she wanted him to be and he wished they were closer. He loved his mom.”

Holman and Dennis said they invited White into their home because they wanted to keep him off the streets. They said their house was a safe place for him and his friends to listen to music and play video games without getting in trouble.

Holman, who operates a recording studio out of his home, said he frequently tried to persuade White to pursue rapping, but White never showed much interest.

However, White brought up rapping during their last conversation, when he told Holman he was ready to record his first track.

“I was looking forward to him being under our watch in the studio and off the streets,” Holman said. “He fell in with some guys that were into street life and slowly devolved into that world in the last few months. I got the vibe that he realized he needed to do music because the walls were closing in.”

Friend Lamont Brown, 19, said he and some of White’s older friends tried to keep him out of trouble, but they could tell White was growing increasingly reckless.

Friend Kyndal Buchanan, 18, said White had a tough exterior, but still cared deeply for his friends and always put their needs first. She said he had a great sense of humor and could make anyone laugh.

Brown said that although White was “in the wrong state of mind” in recent months, he still had good intentions and aspired to be successful in life.

Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area South detectives continue to investigate.

‘Seeing him in the hospital bed like that…. made me feel numb’

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | Jul. 8, 2014

Video by Emily Gray Brosious and Peter Holderness

It has been nearly a year since Andrew Turner was fatally shot in the North Lawndale neighborhood, and his family continues to search for answers as they struggle to cope with their loss.

It’s still unbelievable. It’s still fresh to me. And for it still not to be solved, that hurts a lot,” said Ebony Scott, Turner’s girlfriend and mother of his two oldest children.

Turner was a “family man” who was silly but firm with his children, Scott said. He wanted to raise them to be good men.

He took care of us,” Scott said. “He was my rock.”

Turner, 23, of the 1100 block of South Independence Boulevard, was shot in the jaw July 26, 2013, in the 3200 block of West Roosevelt Road, authorities said. He died six days later at Mount Sinai hospital.

Seeing him in the hospital bed like that, it made me feel numb.” Scott said. “I really thought he was going to make it. I had so much hope. … When I lost him, I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore. My heart stopped.”

Police said Turner had gang affiliations. Scott denied that claim, but admits Turner sold drugs to support his family.

There’s a lot of rumors … People hear he was black and he got shot, so they assume things,” Scott said. “Everybody’s got different ways of making a living. People out here selling a lot of things they shouldn’t be selling. But a lot of people doing it for the wrong reasons. Andy did it for his family.”

Scott doesn’t know why Turner was murdered, but thinks it has something to do with jealousy. She described him as a handsome and smart man with a nice family and nice cars.

I think they wanted what he had,” she said. “People don’t want to see you shine out here. Andy was shining in his glow, and they took him out that glow.”

Scott said she had been fearful of dangers associated with Turner’s lifestyle, but said he was on good terms with everyone.

I never thought this would happen,” said Audrey Langston, Turner’s grandmother. “He was a generous spirit and a free spirit … I miss him so much.”

Langston raised Turner and five of his siblings. She remembers him as a shy, well-mannered child.

People were always telling me how respectful he was,” Langston said. “That’s rare from young men these days.”

Turner was trying to turn his life around before he died, Scott said. He wanted a legitimate career and she tried to help him fill out job applications, she said.

A lot of people don’t know, but Andy was smart. He even went to college and he could of graduated,” Scott said. “But he got sidetracked with ‘Oh you’re pregnant, we need money.’”

Scott and Langston both think people in the neighborhood know who shot Turner and ask anyone with information to come forward.

I just want the detectives to come to my door one day and be like, ‘We got him,’” Scott said. “That’s all I want. I think about that every day.”

Commuters Find New Red Line South a Smoother, Quicker Ride

By Emily Brosious and Qudsiya Siddiqui
Originally published at The Red Line Project
Nov. 19, 2013

(Featured photo: Newly reopened CTA Red Line South Branch stop / By Emily Gray Brosious)

The El’s Red Line South Branch construction was different from other Chicago Transit Authority renovation projects. Rail service was completely shut down on May 19th, from Chinatown/Cermak to 95th, for the largest rail construction project in the transit authority’s history. During the five-month closure, crews replaced the entire 10.2 mile track bed and renovated six of the eight stations.

“The reopening has been a lot smoother than the old ride was,” said Deidra Williams, a commuter who takes the Red Line from 95th to get to school in the Loop. “It used to take me about two hours to get to downtown and now I reach downtown within 45 minutes.”

The new rail is much faster without “slow zones” that once troubled the South Branch. New trains can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.

Lenard Richardson, a commuter at 79th Street, rides the Red Line because he doesn’t have a car. A lot of people, including himself, rerouted to the Green Line during the closure, he said. This meant Green Line trains were packed during the Red Line closure, he said.

“I think it’s good that they reopened the Red Line. There was too many people on one El and it scared me,” Richardson said. “I used to think the El was going to fall, so many people were on it.”

Red Line south branch commuters Lenard Richardson and his daughter get around easier since the Red Line reopened. (Photo/Emily Brosioius)
Red Line South commuters Lenard Richardson and his daughter say they get around much easier since the Red Line South branch reopened. (Photo/Emily Brosioius)

The $425 million Red line modernization project finished on schedule. Station and rail renovations provide 80,000 commuters with faster rides that commuters say feel smoother and more comfortable.

Among the station improvements are digital screens at every station platform that notify commuters when trains will be arriving.

Initiatives undertaken by the CTA to install security cameras at the stations have resulted in an improved station environment that El-riders say feels noticeably safer.

Rhondalyn Buchanan works in the Loop and takes the Red Line daily from 79th. She said the new trains are smoother, cleaner, and appear to have less “delinquent behavior.”

“A lot of undesirables are not around anymore because we have more police presence and it’s also just a cleaner atmosphere,” Buchanan said.

Commuters and business owners along the South Branch are relieved with the timely and glitch-free reopening.

The CTA provided free shuttle busses to help commuters reroute during the Red Line closure. Still, some businesses along the South Branch said they lost customers during the construction.

Phil Chen, manager at MingHin Cuisine, said business at his well-established restaurant known for late-night dim sums dropped by 15 to 20 percent during the rail closure.

“Many people use public transportation to get to Chinatown and the closure affected everybody,” said Chen.

He said business has come back a little since the reopening, but not completely.

“I don’t think that most people are informed that the Red Line is open,” Chen said.

CTA InfographicDada Hu owns and manages Oriental Art Imports in Chinatown, which sells decorative statuettes, ornaments, and small gift items. A sign in the doorway reads “store closing” and clearance signs fill the windows.

The economic downturn has been hard on profits, Hu said, and the Red Line South Branch closure was the last nail in his shop’s coffin.

Business hasn’t returned much since the reopening, he said. He doesn’t think the city has done enough to publicize the reopening, particularly for tourists.

“Chinatown is a tourist attraction in many cities, but it doesn’t do more attention here,” Hu said.

Businesses like his need the city to do more to promote tourism to Chicago’s Chinatown, he said.

But Sharyne Moy Tu, associate executive director of Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, had a different story to tell.

She said the Red Line South Branch closure didn’t hurt local business as much as many feared. People took advantage of the Wendella water taxis and free shuttle bus service to Chinatown, Moy Tu said.

We are pretty much a haven for foodies,” she said. “People come to Chinatown a lot for the restaurants and I think they will come down here no matter which way there is.”

A representative for CTA said that publicizing the re-opening to commuters was a huge component in the success of this project.

“We had extensive government community outreach, engaged with local alderman and communities to keep them informed of the project status,” an official said.

Along with numerous press interviews, the transit authority placed advertisements at key locations, specifically where people catch the shuttle buses, to let residents know about the re-opening, she said.

In an earlier interview with The Red Line project, Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown Sugar Bakery in Bronzeville expressed fears that the closure would go on longer than expected and decrease her business.

The popular neighborhood bakery is off the 79th Street stop. Hart said the closure didn’t hurt her customer base because most of her customers drive.

“The main way that I was affected by the rail closure was by my employees, I worked a lot of shifts,” she said. “Them getting to work, moving around, dropping off children at school, and having to reroute that way with shuttle buses.”

Hart said she was pleased, if somewhat surprised, that the project completed construction on time. Her bakery does the most business during the holiday season and she said it was important that the Red Line reopen before the holiday rush.

“I’m really happy that I don’t have to test the theory that the closure would affect me financially because they’re open before my holiday season,“ she said.