Kelly's Update

Ok, so it’s not as cold and that’s awesome, but the last few days have just been gross. That said, the fog yesterday and today was really beautiful. Some of our neighbor’s photos shared on social media of our neighborhoods cloaked in mist and fog showed how talented, creative, (and damp) some of our neighbors are. Hopefully the sun will be out soon to help dry us out a bit.

This week was a continuation of our ongoing work to meet with advocates and constituents proposing bills for the upcoming session. The bills we submitted to the Legislative Reference Bureau to be put in bill form are slowly starting to come back. This will be ongoing for the next couple of weeks as we work to get bills into final format for introduction. My first bill filed of the 2024 Spring Session is an initiative of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a state agency charged with criminal justice policy research and grantmaking. HB4409 will add a requirement that the Adult Redeploy Oversight Board include 2 positions for former participants in the very successful program that funds locally-based interventions and sanctions for some offenders who would otherwise be destined for our state prison system. Adding people with lived experience to the grant funding decision-making body will help to further ensure that program dollars are directed to the most effective local interventions and services.

As bills finish the drafting process, we’ll get them introduced and share more information here in upcoming newsletters. The bill introduction deadline is February 9th, so we’ve still got a good bit of time for LRB to finish their work.

We continue to work towards the passage of HB3158, the Natural Organic Reduction bill that will allow a new and more environmentally friendly method of disposition of human remains in Illinois. It was fun to join local funeral director Benjamin Schmidt and Brie Smith who runs an NOR facility in Washington state for “The Funeralcast,” Benjamin’s podcast on the funeral industry. When it goes live, I’ll share a link so you can hear our chat about the bill, attitudes about death, and the funeral industry in general.

Torrence and I had a great time visiting Family Matters to talk about their funding streams, and opportunities for state support for their programming, and to learn more about their new (since our last visit) full-day sensory school program. We are so lucky to have so many incredible resources that are truly rooted in our community in our area. I was also pleased to join the Illinois chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women virtually to share an update on reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, and end-of-life issues. I’ve been working in coalition with NCJW since my first days here in Illinois at the Chicago NOW office, so it was a little bit of a homecoming that included some of my old NOW colleagues!

We also held a joint hearing of the House Mental Health and Addiction and Senate Behavioral and Mental Health committees to take a deeper dive into workforce issues impacting the behavioral health space. We heard testimony laying out the challenges faced by people seeking care as well as the difficulty providers have navigating the administrative burden of accepting insurance or Medicaid. Dr. Lindsay Doyle of the Chicago Therapy Collective in Andersonville shared that due to the challenges of filing Medicaid claims which require nearly 10 times the documentation of a commercial insurance claim, they have made the determination that it is a better use of their time to not charge Medicaid eligible patients for service and instead raise outside funds to cover their care. As an agency that does amazing work on behalf of some of our most vulnerable neighbors, I am endlessly grateful for their work and the support of folks who help make it possible. And, I am appalled that we can’t seem to get this right. Even patients with private insurance find that providers can’t manage that burden as multiple witnesses testified that a large percentage of the workforce operates outside the insurance space and cash only is the norm. Both Chair LaPointe and Fine talked about addressing these issues legislatively, so I am eager to continue the conversation as we shift towards solutions.

We’ve got a few more days of clouds ahead of us, but we’re hardy folks. We can do this. I’ll share a cool shot of a sun dog we captured in Wyoming at Thanksgiving to help make up for our gloomy skies.

Neighborhood Shoutouts

Hats for Refugees

Margie Chan, a Rogers Park Resident, has collected over 1,800 crocheted and knitted hats from across the country to help support Chicago Migrants! As the daughter of refugees herself, Margie wants to make migrants feel welcome.

To learn more about how to help out with Margie's program, email her at

To read the WTTW article about Margie and the Hats for Refugees program, click here.

In the District

Care for Real Diaper and Menstrual Care Drive

Our office (1507 W. Morse) will serve as a drop off location for The Diaper and Menstrual Care Drive that will support Care for Real. We are accepting drop offs Monday - Friday from 9am-5pm. Please call 773-784-2002 to make sure we will be in the office.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Join Commissioner Morita, State Representative Kelly Cassidy & Alderwoman Maria Hadden for our annual Lunar New Celebration at Pottawattomie Park (7340 N Rogers Ave) on Feb 11 from 12p-1:30p. There will be Lion Dancers as well kids crafts and red envelope stuffing. We look forward to seeing you there!

Loyola Gun Violence Prevention Seminar

The Loyola organization, Loyola stands against gun violence, is hosting a gun prevention seminar in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety on Wednesday, February 7th from 4:00 PM- 5:30 PM in Dumbach Hall, room 236. To register for this event, scan the QR code above. If you have any questions about the event, email

City of Chicago Bike Survey

The City of Chicago is currently undertaking a comprehensive study to assess the impact of bike lanes on neighborhood commercial corridors.

In order to gather a thorough understanding, the study will compare corridors with bike lanes to those without, with a specific focus on Clark Street from Lawrence to Edgewater. As part of this investigation, various economic datasets will be analyzed, but the invaluable perspectives of business owners and neighborhood residents along this corridor are crucial. Recognizing the significance of firsthand knowledge and experiences, the city extends an invitation to business owners and community members to participate in a focused group discussion. This provides an opportunity for the community to share their insights, contributing valuable information to the study's findings.

To complete this survey, visit the following LINK.

Chicago Northside Community Group

Andersonville Coffee & Cocoa Crawl

Coffee & Cocoa Crawl tickets are on sale NOW! One of our big hit events last year, Coffee & Cocoa crawl, (10AM - 1PM on Saturday, February 10) part of our Fika Fest Weekend, takes you up and down Clark to sample some of the warmest, coziest, most delicious coffee and cocoa Chicago has to offer.

At check in, attendees will receive a commemorative Andersonville mug and your route card (Bean or Brew) that will act as your ticket for each location. Kids under 10 crawl for free with a paid attendee. Please make sure to register your child when checking out.

Andersonville Kids Activities Fair

Join the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Rogers Park Montessori School at the Kids Activities Fair on Saturday, February 24, from 9:30AM-12:30PM. Showcase your summer camps and year-round youth programming to parents, caregivers, and the community. Limited spots available, free for not-for-profits, $50 fee for for-profits. Sponsorship opportunities at $250 welcomed. Secure your spot by signing up before the deadline on January 31, at 5PM. For demonstration inquiries, email by February 5. Don't miss out on this chance to be part of a vibrant kids' event!

7th District Small Business Restoration Grant

Deadline Extended to Feb 16 at 5pm

State Senator Mike Simmons is announcing the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant, made possible by $2.5 million in funds that is meant to provide one-time, $10,000 grants to Illinois 7th District small businesses. The grant is provided in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Grant funds are intended for independently-owned small businesses that have missed out on previous grant opportunities, are in danger of closure and/or are facing financial hardship, and identify as historically underserved entrepreneurs located in the 7th District.

Applicants must operate in brick-and-mortar sites in the State of Illinois’ 7th District and must have first opened no later than Sun, Dec 31, 2021.

Applications are due on Tue, Feb 16, 2024 5 pm.

For more information, click here. To apply, click here.

RPBA Webinar for 7th District SBRG Grant

Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) will host a free webinar via Zoom on January 30th from 10a-11a to help answer any questions about applying for the Small Business Restoration Grant. Join via Zoom here. RSVP here.

Meeting ID: 868 6366 9053

Youth & Teen

After School Matters Spring Application Open

After School Matters is accepting applications for its spring program!

Programs run from February 26 through May 11 and are open to teens ages 14-18. Every ASM program allows you to explore your passions, learn new skills, and earn money at the same time!

To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the following LINK.

Employment Resources

Wild Onion Market General Manager

The Wild Onion Market is accepting applications for its first General manager Position.

Per the job description: The General Manager (GM) plays a pivotal role in leading our cooperatively owned grocery store to achieve the mission, vision, and Policy Governance as articulated by the Wild Onion Market Board of Directors and ownership. This is an onsite, store-based role with extensive public contact in a dynamic environment.

To learn more about this position, visit the following LINK.

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Community Development and Business Services Manager Postion Hirings

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce Hiring

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is hiring a Community Development & Business Services Manager!

Are you an extremely organized, detailed-oriented program manager with experience managing a Special Service Area, Business Improvement District, Economic Development Corporation or membership association? If yes, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is looking for you!

To learn more about this position and to apply, click here.

Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program


Kelly Cassidy

State Representative, 14th District

Office of State Representative Kelly Cassidy

1507 W. Morse Ave

Chicago IL 60626

773 - 784 - 2002 (phone)

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