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It's time to wish the Norwood Senior Network (NSN) a happy anniversary.  The local group which provides transportation, social outings, in-home care services, delivery of meals to homebound seniors and care management is celebrating 20 years of providing this service to local seniors. NSN has been recognized as the Best of Home Care Provider of Choice and Best of Home Care Employer of Choice for the past two years. The organization has also managed the Norwood Park Senior Center since 2009.


This weekend is the time to take in the Chicago International Children's Film Festival.  With showings at multiple locations throughout Chicago, including the Music Box, you have a lot to choose from this Halloween weekend. This year's event was pared down from 3000 entries to 270 films from over 50 countries. The festival is now in its 31st year and enjoys a legacy of bringing empowerment to "children by involving them directly in the jurying process."


Speaking of arts for children, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy a new musical adaption of Leo Lionni's Frederick by Chicago Children's Theatre at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Lionni was awarded the Caldecott Award for his children's book about a mouse who, though he daydreams the summer away, shows us we all have a place in this world. Be prepared to hear folk and blues music as you celebrate Frederick's journey.


Yes we all know that Halloween is here.  You might now know about Chicago's largest Thriller Flash Mob that is coming to I|O Urban Roofscape at The Godfrey Hotel on Friday beginning at 9pm with encores at 10:31pm and midnight. If it's been a while since you've broken out your latest Michael Jackson moves, never fear. You can go to Flirty Girl Fitness at 2215 N. Halsted at 6, 7 or 8pm for a class as well as transform your look into the ghoul you want to be.


The ground breaking for the MetaMedia center of the McGaw YMCA happened this past Wednesday. Local middle school students participated in the creative development $1.1 million project. COO, Monique Parsons, stated, "We couldn't have done it without your energy and feedback." Parson went on to further praise the youth for being an integral part of the process.

One more outside job before we go inside. If you haven’t done so already, start the snow blower. There is time still to take it into the shop if necessary. The flakes will be flying soon and you don’t want to be in line with the other slackers that waited too long.

Check grout and caulking around the tub and sink in the bathroom. This prevents costly repairs down the road. Clean out broken grout and replace with grout made for bathroom tiles. Follow directions and take your time. Preparation is the most important step here. Use waterproof caulk and again go slow. Make sure the toilet is secure and doesn’t wobble. If you do have one that wobbles it’s probably best to call a plumber. The fix might be as easy as tightening bolts but you may need a new wax ring. This is a job only for the handiest among us. Tightening the bolts can also become a problem as over tightening can crack the base.

Change furnace filters regularly. The fancy expensive allergy filters are really not necessary. You would be better changing twice as often with the regular 10 in a box filters. It will still be cheaper and just as effective.

Clean the exhaust fan in the kitchen. Grease builds up here and will decrease the fan’s efficiency as well as pose a fire hazard.

Flush out the water heater from the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. This will remove sediment that will let the unit operate more efficiently and extend its life. A more efficient water heater will also use less energy.

Test the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFI) outlets. These are the outlets near water and outside. They are a safety feature that will trip the circuit when it comes in contact with water to prevent electrocution. They are inexpensive and any competent Handy Man can install. They are required within 10 feet of any water source indoors and in all outlets outdoors.

Check all interior and exterior stairs and handrails for safety. Repair or replace any treads that are not solid and secure. Make sure handrails are present and secured.

Our clothes dryer’s life can be extended by a very simple chore. Always remove lint at every drying. This is where most of us stop. Unfortunately, the use of dryer sheets can leave a film that clogs the little holes in the vent screen. Take it out and wash with dish detergent and a brush. Run water through the screen, it should flow freely. This shows you air flow is free through the dryer and filter. This one step will make your dryer last a good long time.     


PRICE REDUCTION! NORTH CENTER - CLASSIC 2BR CONDO - PARKING INCLUDED! Center, Chicago  -  Announcing a PRICE REDUCTION on 2105 West Byron Street, #1W, a 925 sq. ft., 1 bath, 2 bedroom classic condo in pet-friendly building. NOW MLS $239,500 - GREAT OPPORTUNITY!!

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Each week I like to find apps that I can use on my phone as well as replace other apps for something more streamlined.

I ran across the TuneIn Radio app just recently and I have to admit I really like this app. I'm a supporter of Pandora for sure. I also like Spotify and Shazaam. I don't know that this is necessarily a replacement for these other apps, but this app has over 100,000 stations AND over 4 million podcasts from around the world. Like NPR and TedTalks, this is a great addition to an existing application on your phone. The entertainment value is pretty high with this app and it's also free to iOS or Android users. 

The app is also great for people who are starting a business or have been in business for a period of time.  You can easily set up your own radio station for broadcast where it has a reach to over 50 million subscribers. You can even brand your own profile, which can be quite exciting. Imagine creating your own station for family updates or one for your own neighborhood.  The possibilities are limitless.

Time to Tune In!


Have you ever been told to beware of things that go bump in the night? That’s some pretty good advice since Chicago and some of its neighboring suburbs have documented hauntings & sightings -- and not just at Halloween time! Not a believer? Well, checkout the following Halloween events (not-so-scary & scary) taking place this weekend through Halloween itself (Friday, October 31st)!

Let’s begin with the not-so-scary events –

Happy Hauntings takes place in the presumably haunted Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. This haunting features performances by Midnight Circus in Preston Bradley Hall, movie screenings (6:30 p.m.) of “Monsters Inc.” (Saturday) and “E.T.” (Sunday) along with storytelling events and regular crafts activities with a “Monster Bash” (Saturday only) which includes trick-or-treating, a costume contest and a dance party for the kids!

Spooky Zoo Spectacular takes place at Lincoln Park Zoo (2200 N. Cannon Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Celebrate Halloween with live entertainment at the Spooky Stage located in the Main Mall or the Toddler Zone located in the Regenstein Center for African Apes, visit the Haunted House, partake in arts & crafts, trick-or-treating and more while dressed in your spookiest or best costume!

Continuing with the not-so-scary but bumping it up a notch –

Horror Movie Madness takes place at the Logan Theater (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.) in the Logan Square neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday through Halloween with an adult costume party on Friday at 8:30 p.m. featuring door prizes, Halloween drink specials, a $100 gift card awarded to the best costume and a screening of “The Shining” (10:30 p.m.) with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. A Kids Spooktacular is being held on Sunday (11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) for a day of Halloween treats and activities with a matinee screening of “Coraline” at Noon and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” at 3:00 p.m. Finally, the late night horror line-up is: “The Shining” (Oct 24-26, 10:30 p.m.), “Army of Darkness” (Oct 27-29, 11:00 p.m.), “Candyman” (Oct 28-29, 10:30 p.m.) and “Halloween” (Oct 30-31, 10:30 p.m.; Oct 26, 5:00 p.m.)!

Bumping it up another notch, there’s the ‘Fifty Shades of Grave’ Halloween Bash at Golan Studios (1501 N. Magnolia Ave.) in the Noble Square neighborhood on Saturday from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. The biggest Halloween party in Chicago, now in its 29th year, takes place in a 100-year-old, haunted ice factory featuring an all-inclusive food & beverage package, dancing, haunted exhibits, a costume contest with prizes and more are planned for this “it’s not your mama’s Halloween Party” adventure!

SCARY! It just wouldn’t be Halloween without visiting a few, or all if you have any nerves left, of the Chicagoland Haunted Houses such as: “Chronicles of the Cursed Haunted House” (River North), “Disturbia: Screams in the Park” (Rosemont), “13th Floor Haunted House” (Melrose Park), “The Fear Haunted House @ Navy Pier” (Streeterville), “Fear City Haunted House” (Morton Grove) and a host of many others!

Finally, for those of you returning for your Treat (from last weekend’s blog), Eli’s Halloween Fest takes place this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) with Spooktacular Savings taking place this Sunday (11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at Eli’s Cheesecake (6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.) in the Dunning neighborhood. The Halloween Fest features cheesecake games for the entire family such as cheesecake hula hoop, cheesecake walk & cheesecake bingo, a chance to meet and greet Eli’s Big Slice Mascot, a fall market place and much more with Spooktacular Savings (Sunday only) featuring up to 50% off selected cheesecakes & desserts as well as FREE cheesecake samples and more!!

Believer Yet?  Let Me Know When You Are – BOO!!




Alderman Tim Cullerton announced a new street resurfacing project on Irving Park Road between Austin and Neenah avenues. As part of the $600,000 beautification project, Central Avenue will also be resurfaced between Montrose and Higgins.  The goal is to bring more foot traffic to the Irving Austin Business District by installing bigger sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly crosswalks, among other improvements.  The hope is that the project will be begin before cold weather begins.


I like bubbles, lots of them.  I'm telling you about this now so you can be sure to get your tickets if you so desire.  This week it was announced that the Binny's in Lincoln Park will be hosting their Grand Champagne Tasting on December 4 from 5-8pm. Tickets are $50 with a Binny's card and are available online. There will be Cava, Prosecco and Champagne including some of the biggies. Don't miss out!


Time to dust off the ol' Halloween costume as the Chicago Cultural Center hosts its Family Fun weekend. Midnight Circus will be there with their acrobats. There is going to be the annual Monster Bash on Saturday with trick-or-treating, a costume contest and dancing. And new this year are the Ghost Tours through the halls of the Center's enchanted building. And for good measure, don't miss the movie screenings of Gremlins and Frankenweenie.


Mud pit no more! McPherson Elementary students came to school on Monday to a brand new playground. Last Friday's ribbon cutting brought in several local VIPs including Ald. Ameya Pawar and State Sen. Heather Steans. The playground includes slides, a giant spider web and climbing mounds. The surface is made out of porous rubber that absorbs water. There is also a learning garden on the east side of the school. Each student was involved in planting 3,000 perennials in the learning garden.


Tickets may still be available for Open Door Repertory Co.'s Benefit Concert. This is a must see for any theater-goer. The benefit will feature local and national artists for a one-night-only performance.  The best part is the tickets are only $30. Ashton Byrum, who will be reprising his role from Cats with Gina Valentine, joined the board of Open Door recently and has played a key role in bringing together the lineup. According to Byrum, "Our lineup of talent is thrilled to be performing Saturday night to support this cause."


Clear all vegetation that is along the foundation. This causes problems in three areas. Vegetation like this is an open invitation to vermin and insects to move right in. Roots can grow and cause pressure and cracks in the foundation. Number three is water retention. Water needs to flow away from the foundation, not pool around vegetation and cause foundation problems. Fill in low spots around the foundation to further encourage water running away from the foundation. Extend downspouts to bring roof runoff further away from the house to discourage water running back towards the foundation. Install splash blocks to keep water from splashing back.  

There are several things we can do to extend the life of our roofs. One of the most important is keeping the gutters clean and flowing. Clogged gutters cause water to pool and splash back and over time will damage the shingles and cause leaks and worsen ice damming. We usually keep an eye out during heavy rains. You can tell right away when gutters are overflowing and not much is coming out the downspouts. So you might have to clean them twice in the fall, just make sure the last time you do them is when all (or almost all) the leaves have fallen. Check the roof while you’re up there. Make sure flashings are sealed and replace shingles as needed. Trim trees near the house and roof. They can cause damage in wind storms and during heavy snows. Termites and other wood destroying insects can also use overhanging branches as a highway to your home.  

Clean around the exterior air conditioning compressor. Fallen leaves tend to collect around this unit in the fall. Compressors need to have good air flow in winter as well as summer. Do not cover!

Seal asphalt driveways. This will deter water seeping into the driveway to freeze, expand and deteriorate the surface. Apply deck preservative to protect the wood from the harsh winter elements.

Check all the exterior doors and windows for caulk deterioration. A simple bead of caulk around windows and doors will go a long way to keep cold out and reduce energy costs. Make sure your caulk is rated for exterior use.

Again check all outside drains, now and through the winter. Clogged drains cause water to pool and seep into basements and foundations causing no end of damage. I remember the words an old Home Inspector told me years ago, “Water is not your friend!” You need to keep it away from the foundation, roof, gutters, windows and doors to keep your house in good repair.

Next week indoor maintenance.   



This past weekend I attended AlphaBeer.  It's a rather fun event where you taste through 26 craft beers (A-Z). The theme for this tasting was craft brews from in and around Chicago.

What was interesting is that after attending, I read about a new initiative started by the City of Chicago. The craft beer industry in Chicago is growing and it's making an impact. Visitors travel to our fair city to experience not only the culture but also the neighborhoods. With the launch of Chicago Craft Beer & Breweries there are now opportunities to experience what our city has to offer in both the cocktail and craft beer scene. You can create travel packages, tour local breweries or learn the History on Tap - all centered around our ever increasing popularity as a craft beer city. After all Chicago is a great place for a stay-cation too!

And my favorite tip after attending my tasting, I learned a very valuable lesson.  There is now a website where you can follow multiple bars and beers to find out where they are being sold.  Imagine being on vacation or traveling for work and wanting to have that favorite beer.  The site is called BeerMenus. All you have to do is create a login, select five local establishments and enter any brews you want to find.  It took me a total of 3 minutes to do the whole sign-up.  Once signed up, there is so much more available. Let's say you forgot a beer you want to try. You simply search and the system will look based on the location you've entered. If you want to attend a tasting, head over to the Events section. The Specials section is more like a Twitter feed. And best of all, if a business you like is not in BeerMenus, simply recruit them.

Oktoberfest may be over, but craft beer season is all year!



With the #1 priority being Trick-o-Treating on Halloween itself, many Halloween activities take place prior to October 31st, because let’s face it, we just can’t get it all done in one day!!  So here are some pre-Halloween activities for all ages –

Skelebration is a Halloween event designed for families returning for its second year to Redmoon Central (2120 S. Jefferson St.) in the Pilsen neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. as well as next weekend. This event is a re-invention of the seasonal rituals of Halloween featuring a wildly interactive haunted house, devilish hosts, mausoleums that will transport you into new bizarre and ethereal environments as well as experiencing Redmoon’s new devices and games along with live music, art making, snacks and much more!

Costume Design with Anna Glowacki is a Halloween hands-on workshop for the kids’ where Ms. Glowacki inspires them to create accessories as final touches to their Halloween costumes. This event takes place at the Chicago Children’s Museum located at Navy Pier (700 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday every hour from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.! There are other events taking place as well for the kids so the family can make a day of it!!

Chicago Costume’s Pumpkin Carving Contest is being held on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Plum Market (1233 N. Wells St.) in the Old Town neighborhood. Children are invited to carve and decorate pumpkins as well as enjoy some snacks and refreshments. Also, the first 30 children to RSVP will receive a free pumpkin!!  There’s also free 2 hour parking with any purchase.

Bobby’s Fright Hike:  Halloween Edition Bike Ride takes you on a terrifying bike tour through the city to a former cemetery where bodies still remain today, then to the Chicago River site where 844 people drowned in broad daylight and is said to still be haunted by one man who was on the boat, and other notorious haunted locales as well. This special edition bike ride begins at Bobby’s Bike Hike (540 N. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Streeterville neighborhood and is offered through October 31st from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Price includes a bike, helmet, guide and, hopefully, a scary time!

Youth Pumpkin Patch is a youth event taking place on Saturday (8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) through October 31st at the Park Ridge Community Church (100 S. Courtland Ave.) in Park Ridge benefitting both a Navajo reservation in New Mexico and the PRCC Youth Ministry Fund. This event not only provides pumpkins, gourds, corn, ornamental items and more for purchase but also offers a screening of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on Friday and Saturday evenings!

BOO! At the Zoo opens this Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (next Saturday and Sunday too) at Brookfield Zoo (8400 W. 31st St.) in Brookfield. Little ghosts and goblins of all ages are guaranteed to have a great time at this annual not-so-scary event that features a “Craized Maize” corn maze, haunted hayrides, the “Pumpkin Smasher” back by popular demand, pumpkin carving demos, the popular Costume Parade at 1:00 p.m., the Costume Showcase at 1:30 p.m. with prizes for best animal theme, scariest, most original and best group, Zoo Chats throughout the day and much, much more!

Come Back Next Week for Your Trick-o-Treat – If You Dare!!!


PRICE REDUCED! BELLE PLAINE COMMONS - UPGRADED CONDO WITH PARKING! Center, Chicago  -  Announcing a price reduction on 2335 West Belle Plaine Avenue, #406, a 825 sq. ft., 1 bath, 1 bedroom upgraded condo in all-amenity building. Now MLS $174,500 - A MUST SEE!

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Mark your calendars for an open house at Taft High School in the Norwood Park neighborhood.  After investing in a $17 million renovation, the school has scheduled their new look to be revealed on November 1, from 1-3pm. With new windows, tuck pointing, updated science labs, and new lockers, new principal Mark Grishaber wants to showcase Taft as the "premier Chicago neighborhood high school."


Maybe we'll see each other there.  This weekend at AJ Hudson's Public House, join AlphaBeer for their next installment. From 6-9 pm we will taste one craft beer for every letter of the alphabet. Chef Jill Houk will offer food pairing recommendations for each taste while explaining alcohol content and taste. Cost is $50 or a table for six at $250.


Fear not, if you missed the open casting call for Master Chef, you still have time to submit your video. Potential show competitors brought a prepared dish to the call where they had three minutes to plate the dish they brought with them including all dishware and utensils. Your video submission must be in no later than October 25 and you cannot be a professional chef or earn your main source of income preparing/cooking food.


So have you seen this Airstream trailer while riding the Brown Line between Damen and Montrose? Many people do not have an inkling as to why it's there and are pretty darn curious about it.  As part of Open House Chicago presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, you can get all the details on how this little gem made its way to the roof.  There are seven other buildings in Lincoln Square also featured, so don't miss it!


Have you ever been to Fountain Square in downtown Evanston and thought there were some better ways to highlight and improve the area?  Well the city would like your input. From now until November 21, leave your ideas in one of the brightly colored mailaboxes located around the Square or leave a "tip" in the tip jar of local businesses that are participating.  Don't forget to involve the kids!


The weather is getting cooler and it’s time for a succulent slow cooked pot roast that’s easy and delicious. It’s stick to your ribs cooking. I often make this on the weekend for a couple of week day meals.

This recipe calls for a three pound or so chuck roast. This type of cut lends itself to becoming tender and flavorful with long slow cooking. Dry the roast thoroughly with paper towels. Rub with two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. I know this sounds like a lot but this is a big piece of meat. Press the seasoning into the meat. Preheat a large Dutch oven with a heavy bottom over HIGH heat, then add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. This is a most important step! You need to sear the roast on all sides and brown well. Yes, it will be smoky! Turn on the exhaust and open the windows.

Move the roast to a large plate with sides to hold the juices that will collect. If necessary add a little more oil to the pot and add a large diced white onion. Throw in a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes along with three minced cloves of garlic. Next throw in 5 anchovy fillets. Yes I said anchovies! I know many people go "ewww" but anchovies give a meaty saltiness that’s wonderful, a delicious umami. They will literally melt as they cook in the pot. Cook until the onions are translucent, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. This is called "fond" and it contains a load of flavor. Add one 6oz can of tomato paste along with 2/3 bottle of red wine. Bring mixture to a boil, again scraping up the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add two 28oz can of whole tomatoes and their juice. I use a potato masher to break them up. Add 1 dried bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Return roast along with the juices and push it down to the bottom of the pot.

Cook in a 325° oven for 3 hours or in a slow cooker on high for 6 hours. The roast will literally fall apart. I usually serve with mashed potatoes and veggies the first time using the tomato sauce as gravy. Second meal I serve the roast on fresh French bread with the gravy and coleslaw. Yum! Bon Appetite.



I've said is so many times, "There's an app for that." 

What's interesting is the process in which an app is made and developed. Me, I'll never create an app. A local 15-year old from Wheaton, however, just created one with a friend in a couple hours over the weekend.

When Wheaton Academy softmore, Austin Valleskey, was asked by his friend in Australia about an idea for an app, they spent a couple hours developing the app, Impossible Rush.  It's a brain teaser game that was originally created to share with friends to see what they thought.  What they didn't expect was the popularity of the app to grow so quickly.

The team contacted a marketer to purchase the app.  At its peak, the app ranked 16 in the US, 18 in Australia (where his friend Ben Pasternack resides) and 7 in Sweden. The most amazing part of this app is that is surpassed several popular apps including Skype, Tinder, and Netflix.

Now Valleskey, who taught himself computer programming last year on a road trip to Florida, is already working on developing another app.




For many years, developers of New Condo or Rental Buildings have been required to provide one garage or exterior parking space for each unit in the building - a 1:1 Parking Ratio.  Under a new ordinance approved by the Chicago City Council last year, however, builders of projects within 600 feet of a CTA or METRA Public Transit Terminal or Hub, or within 1,200 feet of a designated Pedestrian Shopping District, need only provide one-half that number of parking spaces for that complex or building, reducing the ratio to 0.5:1.

As a result, Developers can allocate more space to expanding the size of the residential units themselves, or providing amenities such as Fitness or Business Centers in their buildings.

According to Mary Ellen Podmolik, Real Estate Reporter for the Chicago Tribune, projects have started or are contemplated in the transit-proximate neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Logan Square.  Other Neighborhoods - Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Albany Park, and Rogers Park on the North Side of Chicago, or Hyde Park and Bronzeville on the South Side - offer similar opportunities for providing incentives to Condo or Rental Building Developers.

Experts believe focusing on people's commuting habits and lifestyles, rather than providing ample space for the cars they may not even own, might actually create more residential options in areas historically short on affordable new places to live.

In a Survey conducted by Transit Center, an independent group that supports use and expansion of public transit options, found the availability of close public transit ranks high among many residents over the age of 30.  Many are young families or baby boomers, who want to enjoy what Chicago Neighborhoods have to offer, but don't necessarily want to reside Downtown.

Just Curious - is proximity to Chicago Public Transportation a high priority for YOU when you consider your next home or condo?

 Let us know!


ATTRACTIVE NEW PRICE - GLADSTONE PARK - BRICK CERTIFIED OCTAGON BUNGALOW! Park, Chicago  -  Announcing another PRICE REDUCTION on 5449 North Monitor Avenue, a 1,278 sq. ft., 2 bath, 2 bedroom Bungalow with new roof and boiler! NOW MLS $229,500 - A VINTAGE GEM!!

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