Homicides down in Austin in 2019

Mirroring a trend across Chicago, Austin reported 10 fewer homicides in 2019. Forty-seven people were killed, down from 57 in 2018, according to the Chicago Sun-Times homicide tracker.

BUILD Chicago holding open house today

Join BUILD staff and state Rep. La Shawn Ford to learn about work being done in Austin and plans for the future. Building tours will be given, at 5100 W. Harrison St., and refreshments will be served at the 5:30 p.m. event on Dec. 17.

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.

Community summit set for Saturday

All Austin residents are invited to the community summit, where updates will be given on Austin’s quality-of-life plan. Celebrate the victories and investments, and discover how you can get involved. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 at Kehrein Center for the Arts, 5628 W. Washington Blvd.

Black lawmakers push West Siders to take part in census

Traveling as part of the “Get Counted” bus tour, members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus made a stop at MacArthur’s Restaurant to unveil a new partnership they hope will help hard-to-count areas such as Austin get an accurate count in next year’s census. The data collected every decade determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

Loretto Hospital jumps in patient safety rating after new report

The hospital – which remains the largest private employer in Austin, with 624 people on staff – received an A rating for its fall report, after receiving average ratings of C’s and D’s. The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit based in Washington, grades hospitals across the country on factors like in-patient care, infections and practices to prevent error. Hospitals voluntarily participate, and Leapfrog releases reports twice a year.

Austin residents celebrate Veterans Day despite the cold

Veterans were honored Monday at the 29th Ward’s Veterans’ Peace Garden, 5413 W. Madison St. The event – held in the midst of falling snow and bitter winds – was sponsored by the recently formed Austin Veterans Community Organization (AVCO). The group will be meeting the third Wednesday of every month at noon at the 29th Ward Veterans’ Peace Garden when it’s warm enough to meet outside and at MacArthur’s restaurant during the winter.