With snowflakes falling and a chill in the air, a busload of supporters and neighbors of Logan Square resident Joe Kopera huddled at the intersection of St. Francis Place and Bingham Street promptly at 12:30PM yesterday to dedicate an honorary parkway featuring a 50-year community contributor and volunteer court advocate.
The crowds had just dispersed when The Pipeline popped by, however Kopera, First Ward Ald. Joe Moreno, his communication director Matt Bailey, and Elaine Coorens, publisher of Our Urban Times, were still hanging around. Visit this post on Our Urban Times for an in-depth dispatch from the ceremony and Joe’s background.
We first [virtually] met Kopera via a May 18, 2010 comment/conversation thread on our Streetsofwicker blog. Kopera had corrected some facts in a story that Nandika Gervais (then Doobay) had written about the ‘VTC’ tagger Nathan DeLuna.
Over the past few months, as crime has become more prevalent, or possibly, as this Everyblock thread, sparked by a robbery yesterday at a tobacco shop on the 1900 block of W. Division, suggests, just more visible due to social media, Kopera has kept local publications updated on a variety of court cases.
Kopera and fellow advocate Sandy Johnson, were the first to let readers know about the ‘Wicked’ tagger, Kristopher J. Klimala, currently in jail, with a court date of this Tuesday, March 6, 2012, as well as the Bucktown rapist Micheal Giffin, whom Kopera remarked yesterday “has two high powered lawyers” working on his case. Giffin will appear again in court this Thursday, March 8th at 9AM, per this update. We know from Kopera that Alexander Hampton will appear before a judge on Monday, March 12th, at 26th and California, to face charges for the Feb. 16th brutal robbery and attack on Kristen, a local florist, and just a few days ago, Kopera filled in Our Urban Times on the status of 17-year-old Travon Lockkett, one of three youths involved in this past Thursday’s strong-arm robbery at North and Leavitt, near Crespo’s.
People like Kopera, and we reckon there are few like him, hence the honorary parkway, serve as valuable assets to our community. If it weren’t for advocates like Kopera and Johnson, local publications such as this one would not be able to share these important updates with readers.
Interested in volunteering, too? Kopera is part of a team of volunteers who appear in court to represent the community. In the 13th District, contact Sergeant Juan Class at 312.744.1271 and in the 14th District contact Sergeant Anita Bielicki at 312.744.1261 to learn more.