Miami Dolphins great Jim Kiick dies at 73

Miami Dolphins great Jim Kiick dies at 73

Hal Habib, Palm Beach Post
Published 7:27 p.m. ET June 20, 2020 | Updated 10:06 p.m. ET June 20, 2020

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Jim Kiick, one-third of what NFL Network called “The Perfect Backfield” and one-half of the Dolphins’ legendary “Butch and Sundance” tandem with Larry Csonka, died Saturday.

He was 73.

The Dolphins on Saturday evening announced the death of Kiick, who in recent years battled memory issues and resided in an assisted living facility.

His daughter, Allie, an accomplished tennis player, on Thursday wrote a post on social media saying she’d been informed that her father was “declining rapidly.” For months, she was not permitted to visit his room because of the coronavirus pandemic, although it’s unclear if Kiick was tested for the disease.

“I miss my dad,” she wrote. “Every time I see him, he says, ‘I miss you.’ It’s pretty hard when you’re sitting on the outside of the glass and you can’t do anything to cheer him up. He’s lost the spark in his eyes as would anyone in his situation.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jim Kiick. pic.twitter.com/ufih9qRDMt

— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) June 20, 2020

Although Kiick was overshadowed by his best friend, Csonka, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Mercury Morris, a dynamic 1,000-yard rusher, he will forever be ingrained in Dolphins history, both for his skill on the field and escapades off it.

Without him, the 1972 perfect season and 17-0 record might never have happened. Kiick scored the winning touchdown in all three of that team’s postseason victories.

The Dolphins were trailing 14-13 with five minutes remaining in their first playoff game, against the visiting Cleveland Browns. After driving to the Cleveland 8-yard line, the Dolphins would have been expected to turn to Csonka or Morris but instead ran a trap up the middle that Kiick converted into a touchdown and a 20-14 victory.

It was a moment of pride for the three members of the backfield, who contended that the celebration of the TD, with Morris running off the bench to Kiick, personified the selflessness of the entire team. Before that season, coach Don Shula had made a calculated gamble by giving more playing time to Morris despite knowing how close (and effective) the Csonka-Kiick tandem had been.

“He’s the first person that jumped on me, congratulated me,” Kiick told the Palm Beach Post in a 2017 interview. “It just showed we were about the team and not about individual statistics or who scored the winning touchdown or who didn’t.”

Kiick also scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the 14-7 victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII to complete the 17-0 season.

Kiick scored the winning touchdown on a 3-yard run with 7½ minutes left in the AFC championship game, a 21-17 victory over Pittsburgh.

The Dolphins drafted Kiick in the fifth round in 1968 out of Wyoming. His seven-year rushing total of 997 yards fails to do justice to his value to Shula as a versatile complement to the bullish fullback Csonka. Kiick caught 221 passes for 2,210 yards and totaled 31 touchdowns from scrimmage.

Before Kiick, Csonka and receiver Paul Warfield jumped to the World Football League, signaling the end of the Dolphins’ dynasty after the 1974 season, Kiick and Csonka literally rode the streets of South Florida as celebrities. A legendary clip in Dolphins history shows Kiick and Csonka riding horseback along South Beach, playing to their “Butch and Sundance” personas.

“Somebody came up with the idea at Sports Illustrated,” Kiick said. “They put a deal together, we rode horses down Collins Avenue in Miami and it just blew up from there. Butch and Sundance was a big deal.”

Adding to the legend: Kiick and Csonka were often glib on the obvious question of which one was Butch Cassidy and which was the Sundance Kid.

“Same answer I tell everybody,” Kiick said. “I was the better-looking guy. Whether it’s Butch or Sundance, which was Paul Newman and Robert Redford, either way, you couldn’t lose.”

Although defensive tackle Manny Fernandez caught a small alligator during a trip to the Everglades one day, Kiick took the heat after the creature ended up in Shula’s shower, another legendary piece of Dolphins lore.

“I didn’t get an alligator. I didn’t do anything,” Kiick said. “But I was Shula’s goat and whatever he could do, he could blame me. I said, ‘Listen, I’m from New Jersey. I don’t fish and I had nothing to do with it.’ ”

Csonka once explained: “It seemed like Kiick was always the easiest one to catch up to. Me and Merc were kind of quick to be out of Shula’s way and be out of earshot.”

As for Kiick?

“He just didn’t care about getting out of the way.”

Las Vegas reopening: Here’s your guide to what’s open and what’s closed

Las Vegas reopening: Here’s your guide to what’s open and what’s closed

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When Las Vegas welcomed visitors on June 4 after months of being closed due to the new coronavirus pandemic, not every resort opened. Some were and still are working on their reopening plans, which must be turned into the Nevada Gaming Control Board before the doors can open.

Las Vegas is reopening in stages, meaning some of the amenities you enjoy may not be available. 

Here is an updated list of some of the popular hotels we know are open and what will and won’t be available to guests.

This list is subject to change as this is an evolving situation. More resorts will reopen as they finish their final preparations to meet state safety requirements. If you don’t see your favorite hotel on this list, check with it directly. 

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ARIA

ARIA will open to the public at 10 a.m. on July 1. The pool will be open. Self-parking is free. 

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Bardot.
  • Carbone.
  • Catch.
  • Javier’s.
  • Patisserie.
  • Burger Lounge.
  • Salt & Ivy.
  • Starbucks.
  • Pressed Juicery.
  • Alibi.
  • GEM Bar.
  • High Limit Lounge.
  • Lift Bar.
  • Lobby Bar.
  • Pool Bar.
  • Sky Suites Lounges.

Bellagio

The Bellagio Conservatory has a new spring garden display called “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.” The pool is open with a selection of cabanas, as are the salon, spa and fitness center. Self-parking is free. 

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Prime.
  • Lago.
  • Petrossian Bar.
  • Mayfair Supper Club.
  • Yellowtail.
  • Sadelle’s.
  • Noodles.
  • Gelato.
  • Palio.
  • Snacks.
  • Starbucks.
  • Juice Press.
  • Lily Bar & Lounge.
  • Baccarat Bar.
  • Club Prive.
  • Pool Bar.

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California Hotel and Casino

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Redwood Steakhouse.
  • Market Street.
  • Lappert’s Ice Cream.
  • Aloha Specialties.

Caesars Palace

Some stores and restaurants at The Forum Shops are open. All resort pools, including the swim-up gaming area at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis, are open, as well as the fitness center and COLOR – A Salon by Michael Boychuck. The Race & Sportsbook are open. Self-parking is free.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Gordon Ramsay HELL’S KITCHEN (dinner only).
  • Old Homestead Steakhouse.
  • Vanderpump Cocktail Garden.
  • Café Americano.
  • Vista Lounge.
  • Venus Pool.
  • Spanish Steps Bar.
  • Lobby Bar.
  • Montecristo Cigar Bar.
  • DiFara Pizza.
  • Starbucks.
  • Pronto by Giada.
  • Nobu Restaurant & Lounge.
  • Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill.
  • Smashburger.
  • Brioche by Guy Savoy.
  • Restaurant Guy Savory (opens June 24).
  • Tiger Wok.

Circus Circus

The Adventuredome, Carnival Midway and free circus acts have resumed. The Splash Zone & Pool, spa, salon and stores are open. The RV park is open and starts at $20 per day.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • The Steak House.
  • Pizzeria.
  • Westside Deli.
  • Blue Iguana Mexican.
  • West Bar.
  • Big Chill.
  • Slots-A-Fun Bar.
  • Lobby Bar.
  • McDonald’s.
  • Starbucks.
  • Subway.
  • Krispy Kreme.
  • Cocolini.
  • Auntie Anne’s.
  • Tasti D Lite.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Several stores and the Sahra Spa, Salon & Hammam are open. The Boulevard and Chelsea tower fitness centers and the outdoor tennis courts are also open. The Boulevard pool and cabanas are offering cocktail service. 

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Beauty & Essex.
  • Block 16 (everything but Ghost Donkey).
  • China Poblano.
  • Eggslut.
  • Estiatorio Milos.
  • Holsteins.
  • Milk Bar.
  • Overlook Grill.
  • Scarpetta.
  • STK.
  • Starbucks.
  • Jaleo.
  • The Henry.
  • The Juice Standard.
  • The Pizzeria.
  • Zuma.
  • The Chandelier.
  • Vesper Bar.
  • CliQue Bar & Lounge.
  • Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails.

Downtown Grand

The pool and pool bar are both open. 

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Pizza Rock – takeout.
  • Triple George.
  • The Art Bar Coffee Shop.
  • Freedom Beat.

The D

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
  • American Coney Island.
  • Longbar.
  • BarCanada.

Excalibur

The pool and fitness center are open as well as the Fun Dungeon Arcade. It is free to self-park. 

 Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Buca di Beppo.
  • Drenched Bar & Grill.
  • Johnny Rockets.
  • Baja Fresh.
  • Orange Julius/Dairy Queen.
  • Starbucks.
  • Sherwood Bar.
  • Lobby Bar.

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Flamingo Las Vegas

Some of the restaurants and stores at the nearby Linq Promenade are open, as is the High Roller Observation Wheel. The Beach Club pool and Go pool are open. Self-parking is free. 

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • X Bar.
  • Bugsy’s Bar.
  • Pizza To Go.

At the The LINQ Promenade:

  • Breeze Daiquiri.
  • Maxie’s.
  • Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar.
  • Flour & Barley—Brick Oven Pizza.
  • Haute Doggery.
  • In-N-Out Burger.
  • Off The Strip.
  • Tilted Kilt.
  • Yard House.
  • I Love Sugar.
  • ICE BAR.
  • Las Vegas Harley-Davidson.
  • Pier 30.
  • Razer.
  • Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chip.
  • JaBurritos.
  • Virgil’s.

Four Seasons Las Vegas

The Four Seasons in Las Vegas will open at 11 a.m. on July 1. 

Fremont Hotel and Casino

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Paradise Café.
  • Lanai Express.
  • Tony Roma’s.

Golden Nugget

The pool is open and self-parking is free.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Claim Jumper.
  • Saltgrass Steak House.
  • Chick-fil-a.
  • Starbucks.
  • Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse.
  • Bar 46.
  • Claude’s Bar.
  • Stage Bar.
  • H2O Bar.
  • Cadillac Mexican Cantina & Tequila Bar.

Golden Gate

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • OneBar.
  • Bar Prohibition.

Harrah’s Las Vegas

Self-parking is free. 

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Buddy Valastro’s PizzaCake.
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
  • Piano Bar.
  • Carnaval Court Bar.
  • Fulton Street Food Hall Grill.
  • Fulton Street Food Hall Noodle Bar.
  • Starbucks adjacent to Carnaval Court.

The LINQ Hotel + Experience

Though the LINQ Hotel is still closed, its gaming floors are open. The pool is open to guests of any Caesar’s resort. Wine and Spirits retail store is also open. 

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar.
  • Nook Café.
  • Hash House A Go Go.
  • Catalyst Bar and Re:Match Bar.
  • O’Sheas.

The Luxor

The Luxor will open to the public at 10 a.m. on June 25. The pool will be open and self-parking will be free.

 Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Diablo’s Cantina.
  • Public House.
  • Pyramid Café.
  • Starbucks.
  • Backstage Deli.
  • Aurora.
  • Centra.

M Resort

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Anthony’s Steakhouse.
  • Burgers & Brews.
  • Vig Delia.
  • Baby Cakes.

Mandalay Bay 

Mandalay Bay will open at 11 a.m. on July 1. The pool will be open and self-parking will be free. Mandalay Bay Place will open at 10 a.m. on June 25.

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • House of Blues.
  • Citizens.
  •  Hazel.
  • Starbucks.
  • Beach Bar & Grill.
  • STRIPSTEAK.
  • Bonnano’s Pizza.
  • Johnny Rockets.
  • Nathan’s.
  • Subway.
  • Rhythm & Riffs.

MGM Grand and The Signature

The MGM pool, cabanas, salon and fitness center are open. Top Golf opens June 18. Self-parking is free.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • CraftSteak. 
  • Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill.
  • Emeril’s.
  • Crush.
  • Blizz Frozen Yogurt.
  • Pieology.
  • Avenue Café.
  • Starbucks.
  • Subway.
  • Food Court.
  • Whiskey Down.
  • Fat Tuesdays Bar.
  • Lobby Bar.
  • Casino Bar.
  • Pool Bar.

New York-New York

The pool, some cabanas and the fitness center are open. The Big Apple Roller Coaster,  Big Apple Arcade and Hersey’s Chocolate World are among the attractions open. Tom’s Urban restaurant and bar is open. Self-parking is free.

Restaurants/Lounges/Bars

  • Tom’s Urban.
  • Starbucks.
  • Greenwich Coffee.
  • Folton’s Fish Fry.
  •  Greenburg’s Deli.
  •  Sirrico’s Pizza.
  • Gonzalez Y Gonzalez.
  •  Americana.
  • Nine Fine Irishmen.
  • Gallagher’s Steakhouse.
  • Il Fornaio.
  • Chin Chin Cafe & Sushi Bar.
  • New York Pizzeria.
  • Center Bar.
  • Pool Bar.

Paris Las Vegas

The Soleil pool is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Self-parking is free. 

Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

  • Gordon Ramsay Steak.
  • JJ’s Boulangerie.
  • La Pizza (express window).
  • La Creperie.
  • Café Belle Madeleine.
  • Arc Bar.
  • Le Central Bar.
  • Gustav’s Bar.
  • Le Cabaret Bar.
  • Eiffel Tower Restaurant. 
  • Café Americano.
  • BEER PARK.
  • HEXX Kitchen + Bar. 
  • Mon Ami Gabi.

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Plaza Hotel & Casino

The resort is offering free self-parking.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Pop Up Pizza.
  • Coffee Bar.

Sahara Las Vegas

The rooftop pools are open.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Northside Café.
  • Casbar Lounge.
  • Starbucks.
  • Bazaar Meat bu Jose Andres 

The Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod

The Elation pool and bar are open along with the Big Shot, SkyJump and the observation deck. 

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Top of the World Restaurant.
  • Strat Café.
  •  Starbucks.
  • 107 SkyLounge.
  •  View Lounge.
  • 108 Eats and 108 Drinks.
  • Remix Lounge.

Treasure Island Las Vegas

The pool, cabanas, pool bar, gift shop, lobby store, Marvel Avenger’s S.T.A.T.I.O.N. and the wedding chapel are open. Self-parking is free.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Starbucks.
  • Pool bar.
  • Pizzeria Francesco’s.
  • Breeze Bar.
  • Senor Frogs.

Wynn/Encore

Both towers of the resort are open. The pools, private cabanas, 18-hole golf course, beauty salons, barber shop, spa treatments and fitness center are operational. The three retail areas are open. Self-parking is free.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Allegro.
  • Jardin.
  • Lakeside.
  • Mizumi.
  • SW Steakhouse.
  • Ello – a new restaurant debuting late June.
  • Wynn Buffet 

The Venetian & Palazzo

The Venetian’s newly renovated 2-acre pool deck with four pools is open. Along with the fitness center, several retail outlets are also open.

Restaurants/bars/lounges that are open:

  • Spritz – new poolside café.
  • Mott 32.
  • Sixth+Mill.
  • Matteo’s.
  • Black Tap Burgers and Beer.
  • CUT by Wolfgang Puck.
  • The Dorsey.
  • Electra.
  • Yardbird.
  • Buddy V’s Ristorante.
  • Chica.
  • Bouchon Bakery.
  • Grimaldi’s.
  • Go Greek Yogurt.
  • Grand Lux Café.
  • Noodle Asia.
  • Starbucks.
  • Bellini Bar.
  • Bar Luca.
  • Kamu Ultra Karaoke.

You can connect with Arizona Republic Consumer Travel Reporter Melissa Yeager at melissa.yeager@azcentral.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Support local journalism like this story by subscribing today.

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The communities hit hardest by racism have solutions worth investing in

The communities hit hardest by racism have solutions worth investing in

by | Jun 28, 2020 | Worldwide Beach News & Updates

The communities hit hardest by racism have ideas worth investing in

CCLF President Calvin L. Holmes accepts JPMorgan Chase’s $10 million investment to support commercial real estate development on Chicago’s South and West sides. (Photographer credit to Steve Becker Photography.)

The case of Calvin Holmes and the Chicago Community Loan Fund

Calvin Holmes has commuted to work by bicycle since the late 1980s, when he was an undergraduate African American Studies major at Northwestern University in Chicago. Under non-pandemic conditions, after a long day at the office full of meetings with city officials, investors and clients, he rides out about a mile to the Lake Michigan waterfront. Turning left would take Holmes toward the wealthier, predominantly white, North Side of Chicago. But Holmes turns right, toward the side of Chicago more often portrayed in headlines as the realm of drugs and violent crime.

“I ride past people smiling, some people playing drums, other people on skateboards, other people walking to and from the beach, joggers, people playing basketball, playing soccer,” Holmes says. “At the 31st Street Beach in the summers, a couple times a month there’s a house music series. A bunch of people my age trying to be hip and cool. It’s just beautiful.”

Holmes doesn’t ignore the challenges of the South Side of Chicago. They are a big part of why, 25 years ago, he came to work at Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF), where he still works today. CCLF is a nonprofit lender serving primarily disinvested communities around the Chicago area. It’s one of around 1,200 loan funds, banks, credit unions and venture funds around the country that carry federal certification as a community development financial institution, or CDFI, meaning it’s required to make at least 60 percent of its loans to borrowers in low- and moderate-income census tracts.

Black communities are worthy of investment

Since his first day at CCLF on April 1, 1995, Holmes has seen the organization grow from three staff members and a few hundred thousand dollars in its loan portfolio, to more than 20 staff and a loan portfolio of more than $70 million. Nearly 500 loans have been made since its inception in 1991 — totalling around $230 million — supporting everything from affordable single-family housing to apartment buildings, cooperatives, revitalizing commercial properties, community facilities, and more. Holmes became CEO in 1998.

From a certain perspective, it may not seem like these loans have “moved the needle” on racial inequality in Chicago. The predominantly Black South Side and West Side of the city still have higher unemployment rates, higher crime rates, and higher rates of heart disease and diabetes compared to the wealthier, whiter North Side. The COVID-19 pandemic has also disproportionately affected Black Chicagoans — 30 percent of the city is Black, but 70 percent of Chicagoans who have died due to the coronavirus are Black.

But Holmes is playing the long game. He’s thinking about the three or four generations it took to get Black Chicago to where it is today. Black Chicago has seen better days before, and maybe within less time — say one or two generations — it can see them again. That’s not just Holmes’ vision, that’s the vision of every borrower from the South Side or West Side that comes to CCLF. It’s Holmes’ job to make sure the organization continues growing in its capacity to say yes to whatever little piece of that vision those borrowers might want to contribute. 

If the loan fund has proven anything, it’s proven that in the communities it serves — disinvested and portrayed in mainstream headlines as violent and hopeless — there are people who have more than just vision; they can also borrow money for community improvements and pay it back.

“I see the loan fund as a very privileged place to sit in an important American economy,” Holmes says. “Serving local, disadvantaged, undercapitalized but creative neighborhood change agents still really resonates with me and has me bounding out of bed at 5:30 a.m. so I can be at my computer by six, because I know I’ve got a small universe of vulnerable, creative, community strivers who need people like me and CCLF to have their back.”

Vision runs in his blood

Holmes has that kind of vision running in his blood. His mother and grandmother both worked in community development in East St. Louis, where Holmes grew up. He still vividly remembers sitting around the dinner table listening to them talk about what the community needed and wanted in an almost entirely Black city. 

His grandparents were part of the Great Migration, leaving behind the Jim Crow south for what they hoped would be better lives in the north. And in some ways it was a better life, but it was a segregated life. They settled down in the Rush City neighborhood of East St. Louis, famous for its rural look despite being in the middle of a major metropolitan area.

“Surrounded by industry, in the armpit of the city, down by the river, under the bridge, behind the railroad tracks, by the chemical foundries,” Holmes remembers. “That’s the land that was left to migrating black folks coming up from the Delta. My maternal grandparents built the house my mom grew up in with their hands.”

It was in that house where sometimes his mother and grandmother would pore over architectural renderings and site plans for projects around the city. “I would get my hands on them, study them. [I] became fascinated by them,” Holmes says.

“I really appreciated my mother’s and grandmother’s passion for turning our hometown around, which, actually, in the 60s and 70s hadn’t degraded that much yet,” Holmes says. “It was still a pretty decent sized small city; the railroad capital of the U.S. Downtown was populated with lots of stores, the main drag, State Street, was still pretty dense with retail. Things hadn’t fallen apart yet. That didn’t really kick into high gear until the 80s with all the globalization and industrialization.”

Learning the history behind the issues

At Northwestern, Holmes — in addition to majoring in African American studies under department chair and author Leon Forrest — also minored in Urban Studies, giving him more academic exposure to the policies that drove segregation and disinvestment from Black communities in Chicago, East St. Louis and basically every city across the country where there were any Black people. 

Many in the Great Migration were seeking factory jobs in the north and west; jobs that had largely evaporated by the 1980s. Those who migrated early enough, who may have wanted to buy their homes, were largely denied the mortgages to do so because they were Black, or the neighborhood where they wanted to buy a home was known as a Black neighborhood. Worse yet, predatory real estate agents extracted what savings Black families had through the practice of contract sales.

After graduating from Northwestern, Holmes had a brief detour working at his father’s juke joint in Houston’s historically Black Third Ward before returning to Chicago to work as a transportation planner for the city. Three years later he left to get a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University, where he was also one of the first to obtain a certificate in commercial real estate.

Cutting his teeth in Baltimore

He then moved to Baltimore to work as a property manager, overseeing around 200 Section 8 units scattered throughout East and West Baltimore — the city’s famous “Black Butterfly.”

“I wanted to see what it was really like on the frontlines,” Holmes says. “Yeah, I had some cousins who’d gone to jail, but it’s one thing to know people who are poor and disenfranchised from your family Friday night fish fry and holiday gatherings and summer family reunions, and it’s another thing to know a downtrodden group of folks professionally to be responsible for, and seeing if you had what it takes to show them a better way.”

While he loved the work, Holmes says the humidity was getting to be too much for someone used to the dry heat of Illinois. And then the work shifted a bit — from trying to help folks improve themselves and their neighborhoods in the Black Butterfly, to trying to help them move out into better neighborhoods outside of Baltimore. The theory was that children would do better in more affluent zip codes, even if they aren’t from affluent households themselves. Something about the proposed solution of moving poor families into affluent zip codes didn’t sit quite right with Holmes.

“If you can imagine coming out of my household, with the passion my mother and grandmother always had — and still have — about the resurrection of my hometown, I still want to fix the zip code instead of giving up on the zip code,” Holmes says.

Back in Chicago at CCLF

So he started looking for jobs back in Chicago. He applied for a loan officer position at CCLF. He didn’t fully understand what the organization was, but he knew what he wanted out of the experience. 

“Having accepted the fact I wasn’t quite ready to move back to East St. Louis, I made the decision [that] whatever this job was in Chicago, it’s capital and it’s community development, and at the intersection of all this potential change. I’m just going to use this job as my vicarious way of working on this issue at home,” Holmes says. 

“If we could figure out ways to resuscitate some of the toughest, most disregarded neighborhoods in Chicago, that model could be replicable in East St. Louis. So, even if I’m not home doing this work in my beloved hometown, I’m doing it in Englewood, which is effectively the same place, for all intents and purposes.”

As the loan officer in the three-person organization, it was Holmes’ job to go out into the communities and meet with prospective borrowers — to get to know them and their vision, and figure out if there was some combination of public or private grant dollars plus a loan from the fund that could make their project possible. 

“We weren’t really big at the time on dragging people downtown to our offices. We went out and met them in their office, in the evening, spread out over whatever conference room, or living room, or whatever it happened to be,” Holmes says. “I still miss it to this day, and my staff can attest to this because I probably cross the line sometimes and put my fingers into things where I don’t belong as CEO.”

Everyone is treated with dignity and respect

Today, it’s Holmes’ job to maintain the same culture around lending that was easy to establish when it was just him going out to source and close deals. To illustrate that, he still uses the story about a group of public housing residents who approached him with a plan to convert a nearby abandoned school building into an indoor fish farm. They had already had a smaller-scale operation going on in their public housing complex, and had contracts lined up to supply restaurants and other buyers across the city. They had worked with another organization to draft a professional business plan, and even had $50,000 set aside from a lawsuit against the Chicago Housing Authority that they were planning to use as a down payment for the project.

“I don’t know if they had GEDs or diplomas or college degrees; we didn’t ask, it didn’t matter,” Holmes says. “I worked for months on that deal. It was such a rewarding experience to be able to treat these people — who I am sure had been laughed out the door of every bank and conference room in town— with that level of respect and professionalism.”

In the end, that deal fell through after some residents in the area caught wind of the plans and decided they didn’t want a fish farm in their neighborhood. They raised enough of a ruckus that the local alderman withheld approval to get the project started at all. But Holmes says making the deal isn’t always the point, and to him that’s one of the key differences between a nonprofit loan fund and a bank: Not every conversation has to lead to a loan, but everyone who sits down at the table with them gets treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect.

Not every conversation has to lead to a loan, but everyone who sits down at the table with them gets treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect.

“I liked this idea that we didn’t dismiss people, we didn’t disrespect people, we didn’t condescend people, we didn’t humiliate people. We treated everybody — regardless of how new you were to development, no matter how untried or untested your idea was [with respect],” Holmes says. 

“Sometimes the requests that come over the transom are a little premature, but every last one of us recognizes that’s our value proposition in the marketplace — to give community ideas a sounding board and a platform to develop further, and to get to the next level, or to stay alive if it’s a gap piece of financing, or to get to the finish line if they’re in that last mile.”

Finding funders is paramount

It’s also Holmes’ job to find and cultivate relationships with funders. In the early days, CCLF paid for its operations through grants and donations, while pooling savings from values-driven investors like religious orders of nuns and other caring folks around Chicago, using those funds to make its early loans, like one to Salsedo Press — a worker-owned cooperative printing press on the West Side of Chicago.

Foundations were also an early source of capital, providing low-interest loans known as program-related investments that private foundations can count as part of their annually required spending under Internal Revenue Service regulations. While foundations can make program-related investments directly to projects, their chief financial officers and board directors typically prefer making loans through a professional lending intermediary, even a nonprofit one like CCLF.

In the mid-1990s, changes to regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 made it increasingly popular for banks to make loans to CDFIs like CCLF in order to meet their obligations to low-income communities under that law. Since 1999, two-thirds of CCLF’s lending capital has come from banks, along with 21 percent of its grant funding over the same period. The Trump Administration made changes to those regulations this year, and CDFI industry advocates are worried those changes will lead to a decrease in bank funding for CDFIs.

Holmes continues to search for new sources of capital to fund CCLF’s lending. In recent years, through new partnerships and federal policies, CCLF has started tapping into funds from health care systems and even borrowing directly from the U.S. Treasury.

Like other nonprofit loan funds across the country, CCLF pools capital from all its investors and makes loans to its borrowers at slightly higher interest rates, creating a source of earned income for the nonprofit. Today, interest income covers about two-thirds of CCLF’s operating costs. 

Some might question making these kinds of loans if they’re not profitable enough to sustain an organization. Each loan itself is profitable, gets paid back with interest, with less than two percent of the organization’s loans defaulting since inception. And those repaid loans get recycled into new loans to other borrowers from similar communities. 

But the organization takes care not to charge so much interest that its borrowers have to charge exorbitant rents or can only find a buyer who’s already wealthy or to sacrifice their own operational budgets just to pay off a loan. And that means — at least for now — supplementing interest income with grants and donations. 

The endgame

Again, Holmes is playing the long game. He’s working toward bringing better days back to Black Chicago within one or two generations. And it’s the vision that Holmes is sure exists in every Black neighborhood across the country, the vision that deserves the same dignity and respect from a lender as it would coming from any other neighborhood. He’d like CCLF to be totally self-sustaining someday, and he’s kept it moving toward that goal since he was a loan officer, but it won’t be worth getting there if it has to sacrifice what matters most. 

“To give people from these neighborhoods dignity and not to laugh at them, not to assume they’re smoking something because they want to do some Afro-cuisine restaurant incubator in a neighborhood that’s still losing people,” Holmes says. “That’s vision, that’s not cockamamie.”

Baby great white shark grabs spotlight on whale-watching trip

Baby great white shark grabs spotlight on whale-watching trip

by | Jun 27, 2020 | Worldwide Beach News & Updates

Whale watchers out of Newport Beach last Tuesday enjoyed a bonus sighting in the form of a newborn great white shark that swam alongside the vessel for several minutes.

The accompanying video footage and still images were captured from aboard the Newport Legacy by Delaney Trowbridge for Davey’s Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching.

Trowbridge told For The Win Outdoors that the encounter with the 3- to 4-foot shark occurred one mile off Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach.

“It was an unbelievably lucky moment,” she said. “We almost never see sharks at the surface, and when we do the conditions are usually not nice enough to get a clear view of the animal. You usually just see a few inches or less of the dorsal fin.”

RELATED: Anglers in awe as ‘ginormous’ great white shark circles boat

Also, small white sharks spook easily, but Trowbridge added, “This shark was very relaxed with us.”

Asked to confirm the ID, Chris Lowe, Director of the Shark Lab at California State University – Long Beach, told FTW Outdoors: “Looks like a white shark to me and based on its swimming pattern and body shape, I would say relatively newborn.

Lowe added, “There is a lot of shark activity along the coast right now, all juveniles and a lot of young-of-the-year (born this spring).”

Adult white sharks, which can measure to about 20 feet, typically prey on seals and sea lions near island rookeries. It’s not known precisely where they give birth.

Juvenile white sharks, which are on their own since birth, spend a lot of time in shallow coastal waters, where they feed on rays and other bottom fishes.

These are the sharks most commonly featured in video footage captured by drone operators.

However, sightings of newborn white sharks are rare, especially from aboard whale-watching boats, which typically operate well beyond the surf zone.

Said Trowbridge: “This one just calmly cruised beside us and everyone on board was completely amazed by just how well you could see this animal.

“Eventually we had to keep moving, though, and left it behind us. But within a half-hour we had come across over 1,000 common dolphins, two humpback whales, and thousands of birds.”

–Images and video courtesy of ©Delaney Trowbridge/Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching 

Angler’s manhandling of shark not what it might seem

Angler’s manhandling of shark not what it might seem

by | Jun 27, 2020 | Worldwide Beach News & Updates

A crowd on a Delaware beach Sunday was stunned to observe a fisherman manhandling a state-protected sand tiger shark just yards from shore.

The accompanying footage, captured by Rachael Foster at Cape Henlopen State Park, shows the unidentified man wrapping one arm around the shark’s midsection and prying its jaws open with his other hand.

Foster told Delmarva Now: “Everyone started yelling, ‘Shark, shark, get out of the water!’ It was so crazy, like a movie. Like ‘Jaws.’ ”

While some might find the footage to be disturbing, the man apparently was merely trying to remove a hook from the shark after his fishing companion had reeled it to the beach.

RELATED: Angler lands record trout, but reaction is mixed

Foster wrote on Facebook: “He did this by the book and was totally legal with it! His buddy simply caught a shark he went out opened his mouth to get the hook out, than he went deeper into water turned the shark around and released it!”

It’s worth noting, however, that beach fishing for large sharks is somewhat controversial because of the stress long battles – without the maneuverability of a boat – place on the apex predators.

Also, sand tiger sharks  are among several protected shark species in Delaware and must be immediately released if caught.

While these anglers might have meant well, a much quicker release could have been achieved merely by cutting the line.

–Images courtesy of Rachael Foster