Photographer shares her portrayal of Austin

Photographer Sasha Phyars-Burgess recently discussed her work “UNTITLED,” a photographic exploration of race, class and space in Austin, at the Oak Park Public Library. The project was supported by a short-term summer fellowship from the Black Metropolis Research Consortium.

Sen. Duckworth, advocates push for bill to lower phone calls from prison

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act with the aim of reducing the costs of phone calls made by the 2 million people incarcerated across the U.S. and their families. The lawmaker and others pushing for the legislation, including the American Jail Association, say the current system lacks competition and results in high and unreasonable rates.

Austin celebrates first year of 5-year quality of life plan

In its first year, the campaign to improve Austin garnered $13 million in investments. That includes a record $10 million gift from BMO Bank. “It’s been a really momentous year. There’s been a lot of success,” said Darnell Shields, executive director of Austin Coming Together. The nonprofit, launched in 2010, is the driving force behind the quality-of-life plan.

Nine Austin sites featured in this weekend’s Chicago architecture tour

The nine sites that are open to the public are Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (901 S. Central Ave.); Austin Community Family Center (501 N. Central Ave.); Austin Town Hall Cultural Center (5610 W. Lake St.); Catholic Charities Father Augustus Tolton Peace Center (5645 W. Corcoran Place); Columbus Park Refectory (5701 W. Jackson Blvd.); Fraternite Notre Dame (502 N. Central Ave.); Kehrein Center for the Arts (5618 W. Washington Blvd.); St. Martin’s Episcopal Church (5700 W. Midway Park); and Third Unitarian Church (301 N. Mayfield Ave.).

West Side residents offers ideas on how to improve policing in Chicago

Suggestions were offered this past weekend at a community meeting organized by the independent monitoring team put in place as part of a federal court consent decree the Chicago Police Department is under. Sitting at tables in the Austin Town Hall auditorium, about 30 people answered two questions: What are your hopes for the consent decree, and what are your concerns?