Slaughterhouse 19, Chicago’s longest running scooter rally

The Midnight Ride through Lower Wacker Drive. | Aug. 30, 2013 / PHOTO BY JULIE EGELAND

The Midnight Ride through Lower Wacker Drive. | Aug. 30, 2013 / PHOTO BY JULIE EGELAND

The first slaughterhouse scooter rally was held in Chicago in 1995. The rally’s name is an homage to Chicago’s history as the “hog butcher to the world.” Initially, the rally was specifically for classic vintage scooters. As the market for modern scooters has grown, Chicago’s Slaughterhouse Rally has become the Midwest’s largest gathering of scooters. Annually scooterists from all over the country descend on Chicago over Labor Day weekend to dance, eat good food, share bike tips and most importantly ride.

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Pugilism in Pilsen, Part IV

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is the final part of a four part story.  Read PART I hereRead PART II hereRead PART III hereRead PART IV here.

1350 West 19th St. The place where a moped rally turned into a crust punk fight club.

1350 West 19th St. The place where a moped rally turned into a crust punk fight club.

Once the sun goes down anything goes in Pilsen. I learned that firsthand the summer of 2011.

Zoey, my girlfriend at the time, was a crust punk that was into protesting for workers rights and salting for labor unions. She had a lot of activist friends living in the Humboldt Park and Pilsen neighborhoods because of the low rent and lack of police patrols. For instance, she had friends that lived in a house in Humboldt Park that had seven roommates, a few dogs, cats, a jellyfish, turtle and a chicken coop in the backyard. The progenitor of these chickens was purchased from a hispanic neighbor a few doors over that sold live poultry and fresh produce out of his back yard.

One sweltering summer weekend we were invited by some of her friends to a backyard show in the Little Village neighborhood that borders Pilsen to the west. At the time I was living at an apartment in Old Irving Park, so we hopped on my Vespa and hauled ass down Western Avenue to the show. Upon arrival, we were witness to the first salvo in the unrelenting weirdness that would prevail throughout the night. Continue reading

The Wheeling Plane Crash

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.Often the story behind a news article is just as (and sometimes more) interesting than the finished product the public reads. This is the behind the scene story of the time I covered a plane crash for the newspaper.

The plan crashed near the parking lot and entrance of the Foxboro Apartment complex, 470 Foxboro Dr., in Wheeling on June 25.

The plan crashed near the parking lot and entrance of the Foxboro Apartment complex, 470 Foxboro Dr., in Wheeling on June 25.

It was about 8:30 p.m. and I was still at a Niles village board meeting. The trustees had already gone through most of the important business on the agenda and were now talking in circles about companies that were bidding for the village’s information technology contract.

As my mind began to wander, I decided to check the twitter app on my phone. The third tweet from the top was a bulletin that there had been accident at the Chicago Executive Airport about 20 minutes north of me.

I looked at my watch. Reports I found online were secondhand and sketchy, but they all agreed that the plane had gone down around 8:20 p.m. From what I could tell there weren’t any broadcast jockeys or other print reporters on the scene yet. I turned around and looked at the other journalists that were covering the Niles meeting. They were busy taking notes and I was pretty sure they didn’t know a plane had crashed nearby.

After looking up the fastest route to the crash I quickly packed my belongings into my messenger bag and left the village boardroom, walking quickly to my car. Once I was behind the wheel I gunned the gas and tuned the radio to WBBM to see if there was any more info on the crash. Continue reading