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Half Week | July 10: Town hall on property taxes, You Matter 2 school supply drive, Hidden Gem sells out, focus on biking experience

Tax Assessment Town Hall. Tax payers in the South Suburbs were astounded by the jump in the second installment tax bills that arrived recently. Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld announced Tuesday that the village will host a town hall meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, in the village hall auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi will be on hand to explain what is causing the increase. Hofeld said there would be a question-and-answer time at the meeting.

You Matter 2 Back to School Drive, anniversary campaign launch. Youth leadership organization You Matter 2 is seeking sponsors for its annual Back to School Bash and Community Party. This year, the event will kick off a new campaign, A Decade of Impact: Celebrating 10 Years of Empowering Youth. Organizers are seeking businesses to serve as drop off locations for school supplies from July 8 to July 22. The bash and campaign launch will be Saturday, July 27, at Woodlands Community Church. Businesses can register as a sponsor and drop off location by July 15 by clicking here.

More school supply help. Serendipity Yoga & Wellness Studio is teaming up with Anew: Building Beyond Violence & Abuse to provide school supplies for two fourth grade students. Anyone who would like to contribute can click here and sign up for items to donate. The deadline for donations is Thursday, Aug. 1.

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Hidden Gem Half Marathon sold out. Organizers posted a simple message on the Flossmoor race’s Facebook page on July 1: “We are humbled.” The race had 1,200 runners register more than two months before the Sept. 7 race, so the registration process was closed. The Gem was named the Race of the Year by members of the Chicago Area Runners Association two years in a row.

Homewood Jewel-Osco. Kroger and Albertsons announced on July 9 that the company will be selling a number of Mariano’s and Jewel-Osco stores as part of a planned merger. According to the Chicago Tribune’s story, the two Jewel-Osco locations in Homewood are not on the list of stores slated to be sold.

Chicago media focus on biking. Two Chicago news organizations, the Tribune and Axios Chicago, have recently covered biking in the city and region. The Tribune invited readers to weigh in on their experiences biking in the city and the letters to the editor section was devoted to their responses on July 5, July 6 and July 9.

Most of the letters focused on safety, or its lack. Several were from people who said they have been avid cyclists for decades, using bikes as a primary means of transportation, but their experience includes a certain amount of routine terror as they negotiate streets built for and dominated by cars.

In the July 9 letters, Alex Perez, advocacy manager, Active Transportation Alliance, said the city’s efforts to improve biking infrastructure were too piecemeal and pushed for a broader, bolder approach that would make Chicago a “world-class cycling city.”

“The benefits of a robust cycling network extend far beyond safety. More people biking means less traffic congestion, better air quality and healthier residents. Not only does it expand affordable transportation options, but it also serves as an investment in our well-being and our city’s future,” he wrote.

The Axios edition focuses on recreational opportunities in the city and region, with routes, photos and advice about how to properly equip and prepare for long rides. 

I like the route guides. Sometimes I get in route ruts, following the same path over and over. It’s good to see different sights, of course. I was recently introduced to an app, Ride with GPS, recommended by Jeffrey Lippert, that makes it convenient for cyclists to share routes.

There are lots of good, safe journeys to be made through our community. I have only been on one Off-Leash Ride and part of one Choo-Choo Ride, the weekly community rides sponsored by GoodSpeed Cycle and led by biking guru Steve Buchtel, but they are great examples of how cyclists can, as a community, enjoy biking, enjoy each other and stay safe.

And safety is key to being able to enjoy cycling, as the letter writers emphasized. We don’t have the same challenges as riders in Chicago. We have our own. Feel free to share your experiences and ideas about biking and walking in Homewood and Flossmoor.

The H-F Biking Life

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