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TECHNOLOGY TIPS – HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT LAYOUT?

If you’re a picture taking fiend, this is definitely going to be the app for you. Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing websites still on the web next to Pinterest.  Last week, Instagram announced a new application called Layout.

Let’s say you’re going on vacation or visiting a really cool event or location. You’re most likely going to take several pictures and want to share them on your Instagram account. Layout now has taken the sharing to a new level.

You can choose from several custom layouts provided to combine multiple photos into a single image. Facebook also has this capability but it appears as though Layout is designed with a lot more options and simply “fun” things to do.

After you’ve chosen your layout, find and add the photos you want. There is a feature called Faces so you can select images with people featured. Once you've added your images, things really get interesting. You can rearrange your photos, adjust sizes, flip and rotate, and the list goes from there.

Because we all love a good spontaneous moment, you can also use the feature called Photo Booth. When you select this option, a countdown starts and your images are loaded to the layout instantly. They have really managed to make it even easier to capture any adventure you take.

Currently Layout is only available for iOS but Android users fear not. Layout will be arriving in the coming months.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - TIME FOR CHICAGOANS TO HAVE A SPRING!

Finally, the last weekend in March has arrived (I thought it never would), which means it’s time for Chicagoans to have a spring!

So, let’s start out with some annual spring events that hopefully will get us out and about and in the right frame of mind –

The Randolph Street Market Festival returns to Beaux Arts Plumber’s Hall (1340 W. Washington St.) in the West Loop neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to kick-off its 2015 spring season. This European-style indoor and outdoor market offers a monthly shopping experience featuring 200 select dealers of high quality and amazingly priced merchandise along with themed mini-markets such as the “Vinyl Swap Meet” offering thousands of collectible records from 45’s to LP’s; a “Fancy Food Market” offering all types of chocolates, cakes, spices, olive oils and more; and a “Global Goods Bazaar” offering delightful crafts and artisan goods! There are even onsite services to restore and protect your heirlooms as well as your new market purchases!!

The 12th annual Tom Hanks Day returns to Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to celebrate the nicest man in Hollywood and raise money for his favorite charity, Lifeline Energy, which is an organization of amazing people helping families in need! Every spring, 100% of the proceeds obtained from the sale of T-shirts, winter hats and other merchandise goes directly to Lifeline Energy. But wait, there’s also a raffle giving away official swag autographed by Tom Hanks himself – the nicest man in Hollywood!!

Finally, nothing is more spring-like than Chicago Easter Egg Hunts & Lunch With The Bunny this Saturday at the following parks throughout Chicago for those parents who will be preparing for Easter Sunday next Saturday:

Hale Park (6258 W. 62nd St.) in the Clearing neighborhood from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm. will feature food, music and arts & crafts for the entire family.

Mayfair Park (4550 W. Sunnyside Ave.) in the Mayfair neighborhood from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. will feature an egg hunt (bring your basket), lunch with the Bunny at Noon as well as music, face painting and a photo-op with the Bunny.

Portage Park (4100 N. Long Ave.) in the Portage Park neighborhood from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. will feature an egg hunt, pizza, arts & crafts, dancing and a photo with the Bunny.

Sheridan Park (910 S. Aberdeen St.) in the Near West neighborhood from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. will feature searching for eggs in the park.

Smith (Joseph Higgins) Park (2526 W. Grand Ave.) in the West Town neighborhood from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. will feature a craft project beginning at 10:00 a.m., an egg hunt at 10:30 a.m., plus a photo-op with the Bunny.

Now it’s time to bid farewell to March and kick-off the running season with the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K this Sunday with the Wave 1 Race starting at 8:30 a.m. at Grant Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop. Then it’s off to the post-race party at The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen (1301 S. Wabash St.) from 2:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. with live music from “The Chancery Brothers!” Also, if you want to avoid registration & check-in lines on race day, the Health & Fitness Expo/Packet Pick-Up is being held Saturday (9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) at McCormick Place, Lakeside Center, Hall D1 (2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop.

What Say You?  NO MORE SNOW – It’s SPRING!!!

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - PORTAGE PARK, LINCOLN PARK, LINCOLN SQUARE, LOOP, OAK PARK

PORTAGE PARK

Kids aren't the only ones to get to enjoy Easter egg hunting this year! Come to the Portage Park Dog Park, which is closest to the intersection of Central and Berteau avenues, this Saturday, March 28th, at 1:00pm where Portage Park Dog Park Committee & Friends of Portage Park are presenting a doggie exclusive Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Portage Park Animal Hospital. Pre-registration is just $5 per dog plus another $5 if you'd like to have a picture with the Easter Bunny. Clean up volunteers are needed starting at 9:00am. Whether you have a dog or not, this ought to be a fun sight to see!

LINCOLN PARK

Birch Road Cellar is now looking to expand its membership for the first time since opening last May. This members-only BYOB club located somewhere in Lincoln Park (I'm not a member but wouldn't disclose the location even if I were) is a great alternative to the bar scene. Created by childhood best friends, Kim Bosse and Sharon Provins, the club is a sophisticated and comfortable setting for members to meet and drink their own booze that can be stowed away in assigned lockers for use at any time they please.  Membership is controlled by interviewing with the owners to ensure a diverse but well-integrated social space that should never be crowded. For the price of membership Bosse says, "Once they're inside, members never spend money with us. They can leave their wallet at home." Plus you'll never worry about losing the key to the club since a fancy fingerprint scanner is used to grant access.

LINCOLN SQUARE

Now that the snow is clearing away, although it may return, have you noticed a sort of white webbing over patches of grass? DNAinfo.com says not to panic. It's not an infestation of spider webs. Instead our lawns are experiencing a fungal infestation called "snow mold" that often occurs when a deep cover of snow prevents the ground from freezing. Snow mold is not hazardous and can be cleaned up by gently raking it over.

LOOP

The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is planning to implement a new research technique within the next few months along the retail area of State St. between Congress Parkway and Wacker Dr., and the financial district along LaSalle St. The CLA's mission is to use market research and urban planning strategies to keep the Loop thriving socially and commercially. The new automated system will keep count of the number of pedestrians and vehicles traversing the designated areas 24 hours a day for the next three years. In 2007 a similar study was attempted but with workers manually taking count with clickers. The data obtained will help the CLA track the impact of their current efforts and provide information for new commercial development.

OAK PARK

Oak Park property owners should be on the lookout for an important survey regarding local drinking water being mailed by Aqua Backflow, the company designated to review and maintain the safety of municipal, industrial, and commercial water suppliers in the area. This is to keep in compliance with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's requirement to monitor the quality of water sources every two years by surveying customers. Our plumbing systems involve intricate structures that we often take for granted. Your participation is essential in providing information that may be helpful to identify connections where non-potable water may be contaminating drinking water supplies.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS HEADING INTO THE SPRING REAL ESTATE MARKET IN CHICAGO

UNITS SOLD, MEDIAN PRICES RISE . . . BUT HIGH LEVELS OF DISTRESSED PROPERTIES IN AND AROUND CHICAGO COULD HOLD DOWN PRICES!

Some Positive Signs going into the Spring Market in Chicago!

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, availability of Mortgage Money increased last month.  This has made it easier for potential home buyers to obtain a mortgage loan.  Interest remains strong in Jumbo Mortgages - for borrowed amounts of $417,000 and greater - as well as for new Conventional Loans to be backed by Fannie Mae requiring only 3 percent down payment.  Previously, for non-FHA Loans, the minimum down was 5%.

Indeed, potential home buyers surveyed showed that 54% of them felt they had a better chance of obtaining a home loan than in previous years.

Year over year, Pending Sales of homes and condos in Chicago were up as much as 22 percent.  As we have found on our Team, a considerable number of home buyers moved forward on their purchase plans beginning right after Christmas last year.

Inventory remains tight in the City of Chicago.  However, according to one major real estate franchise, requests for showings increased nearly 50%.

Some other promising stats, as reported by Chicago Tribune Real Estate Writer Mary Ellen Podmolik -

- Chicago Home Sellers in Chicago experienced year over year price increases of over 20 percent in February, and units sold were up versus February, 2014 as well.

- Single Family Resales increased 3.9% last month, versus year-ago levels.  Median Chicago Home Prices increased to $212,000, from $174,900 in February, 2014.

- Sales of Bank-Owned Foreclosed Homes dropped nearly 20% over the past year, and Short Sales in Chicago plummeted 34%.

- Economists expect 2015 home sales fall a bit short of the strong turnaround year of 2013.  But they expect modest annual growth, attributed to increased optimism over job growth and a strengthening economy.

- Depending on the neighborhood, Average Market Time in February edged up to 68 days citywide in February, versus 67 days in February, 2014.

Want our thoughts on how the Chicago Housing Market will likely impact YOUR Neighborhood in 2015?  Give us a call, or message us TODAY!

DEAN MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

WEST RIDGE - STUNNING 3-FLAT - LARGE UNITS - INCREDIBLE INVESTMENT!

• 3 bath, 5 bedroom multi-family 3-flat - MLS $464,500

 -  Stunning Three-Flat! 1940's Blond Brick Building Features Large 2 Bedroom Units on 2nd and 3rd Floors. Sun-Filled Living Rooms, Formal Dining Rooms, Extra-Large Bedrooms, Eat-in Kitchens. Grade-Level Unit has 1 Bedroom + Separate 3-Season Office. Wide, 37' Lot - Big Back Yard with Raised Patio! 2 1/2 Car Garage + Separate Concrete Parking Pad - THREE Car Parking! Clean Hot Water Heat. Long-Time Tenants on Grade Level and 2nd Floor - Rents Could be Higher! 2nd Floor Unit Likely Available at Closing. Ultra-Convenient Location - Top Schools, Warren and Chippewa Park, Shopping Nearby! Gross Monthly Rental Income - $2,900. Incredible Investment, in a Top North Side Chicago Neighborhood!

Property information

KATHY’S HOME & GARDENING TIPS – SPRING MAINTENANCE TIPS

We have lived through another cold, snowy and nastier than usual winter here in the Midwest and around Chicago. Not that you could tell from our outside temperatures this week (30s) spring is just around the corner. Unfortunately, winter can cause havoc on our exterior surfaces. Here are a few things to look for before further damage occurs.

Check the outside faucets, hopefully you drained them in the fall and no freezing occurred. Put your thumb over the running faucet. If you can't stop the flow you are good to go. If you can, have it checked by a plumber. Likely there is freeze damage. Check the hoses also for dry rot and leaks.

Check all the lawn and garden equipment. Start the lawnmower. If there are problems it's easier and quicker to get it fixed than if you wait till next month. Sharpen the blades and change the spark plug. Put in fresh gas and you're ready to go. We have a battery operated cordless mower so the battery is charged and ready to go. Inspect concrete slabs for cracks and movement. All concrete should drain away from the house. Fill cracks with silicone caulk or concrete crack filler.

Problems can also occur on and around the roof after a harsh winter. Examine around the chimney. Look for loose mortar and bricks. Examine the flashing around the chimney as well as around vents and skylights. Look for loose shingles and also shingles missing the majority of their granules. If the roof is older it makes sense to budget for replacement.

Finally, check gutters and downspouts for leaking and structural integrity. Leaky gutters can cause foundation damage. Make sure the downspouts flow away from the house.

KATHLEE WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - HAVE A VIRTUAL GARAGE SALE

You wouldn't know if from yesterday's snow storm, but it's officially spring! I was speaking with a friend of mine who is a professional organizer and we were talking about holding a garage sale on Facebook. Since I'm not a "saler" in the traditional sense this didn't really fall into my radar.  And then I did some digging on how people have been using this medium and there's a lot to creating a successful sale.

You'll need to have decent photographs of everything you plan to sell. Make sure your images are good though - not blurry or full of other items in the background. Join a buy and sell group on Facebook. These are small groups (approximately 700-800) but they are specifically geared toward people who are buying and selling. When possible post in multiple groups. Make sure you follow the group rules though. You can also post to your own page, but be wary of over-selling to your friends.

Speaking of Facebook, make sure you have consistent access. Without access, how can you respond to potential buyers as well as taking down sold images?  Once your item is sold, take it down from all groups. Note though, you can sell anything on Facebook. Items are not limited in size so long as you can make arrangements for delivery. After that, you'll need to make arrangements for pick-up. In this instance listen to your mom's voice in your head. Be careful, go to a public place and if you're uncomfortable, bring someone with you for safety.

A good trick to use when preparing your sale, share on your personal page first. Give your friends and family an opportunity to purchase from you since they are someone you know and trust. After that, make the arrangements to move your sale to the groups you've joined.

Finally, if you still have items available for sale, consider using eBay, Amazon or Craig's List.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

PORTAGE PARK - CLASSIC BRICK BUNGALOW - A GREAT VALUE!

• 1,355 sq. ft., 2 bath, 2 bedroom, finished lower level with third bedroom - MLS $227,400!

- Classic Burgundy-Brick Bungalow on Extra-Wide Lot. Sunny Living Room - Southern Exposure! Formal Dining Room - Hardwood Floors (Under Carpet) and Unpainted Trim Throughout! Kitchen is Updated - Tons of Counter Space, Oak Cabinets, Premium Appliances. Adjoining Media Room, or Larger Kitchen Table Space, Great for Entertaining! Large Deck! Finished Lower Level Offers Second Kitchen, Guest Bedroom, Family Room, Full Bath. Attic is Ready to Expand! Big Yard, 2 1/2 Car Garage! Thorp Magnet, Gray Schools, Portage Park and Pool, Six-Corners Shopping Close By. Roomy Home, and a Great Value!

Property information

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - PUTTING THE “SPRING” BACK INTO OUR STEP!

It’s Official! Spring has returned to Chicago so we’ll be putting the “spring” back into our step this weekend despite the fact that the word “snow” has somehow made it back into our weather forecast (ignore it)!!

As spring makes its return so does the Chicago Flower & Garden Show being held at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) with two dozen stylish gardens. This show also features “The Marketplace” with over 100 exhibitors of green industry as well as related goods and services; the “Garden Gourmet Stage” presented by Mariano’s with cooking demonstrations by top Chefs; a “Gardening Live Stage and Seminar Series” where leading industry professionals focus on educational and interactive workshops and classes; a “Kids’ Activity Garden” with a variety of programs and features that include an indoor playground, a bug zoo, hands-on gardening sessions and arts & crafts; a “National Cake Decorating Competition” and much more!

For the past 41 years, the Macy’s® Flower Show has been wowing its visitors with elaborate gardens and beautiful arrangements every spring with this year being no different. Macy’s on State Street, 9th Floor (111 N. State St.) in The Loop not only will have expert florists adorn the entire store with flowers from around the world but will also have a wonderful array of free workshops and related events beginning this Sunday (11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) and running through April 4th to get us all in the spirit of the season with their bursts and blooms!

Or, maybe you “literally” do want to put the “spring” back into your step! Well then the Vitality Day Challenge will take place this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Swissotel Chicago (323 E. Wacker Dr.) in the Streeterville neighborhood. This thrilling city-wide photo challenge sets-up teams of 3 or 4 that stop at six stations around Chicago where they will perform a different Vitality-themed task then post their photo at each stop to their social media channels all while raising money for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois! Then it’s back to the Swissotel for a fun-filled reception that includes delicious fare and cocktails as well as prizes and an all-expenses paid trip to Switzerland for one lucky participant!!

And, of course, spring wouldn’t be spring without celebrating an upset in March Madness 2015 at a crowded Chicago sports bar where you can watch a game or two while enjoying snacks and a cold one or two or three, and perhaps even cheering on your alma mater in the championship game on April 6th!

Finally, it’s also time to put the “spring” back into our four-legged, furry family members’ steps, especially after this harsh winter, with the 23rd annual Chicagoland Family Pet Expo being held at the Arlington International Racecourse (2200 W. Euclid Ave.) in Arlington Heights this Saturday (9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). Besides the hundreds of exhibits featuring pet products and services, this Expo is all set to deliver top-quality entertainment, a petting zoo, paws-on fun, demonstrations and much, much more for the whole family! However, Fido and/or Fluffy will need to stay home for this one unless you signed them up for one of the pet contests.

Are You Ready to Put the “Spring” Back Into Your Step?

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LAKEVIEW, EVANSTON, WEST LOOP, NORWOOD PARK, OLD TOWN

LAKEVIEW

The avant-garde Kruger Galleries Chicago (3709 N. Southport Ave.) is having an Opening Reception event tomorrow, March 20th, from 6:00 - 9:00pm to welcome their current installment entitled "Escombros" by Mexican - American artist, Luis Sahagun. Escombros is Spanish for "rubble" and the artist has used found objects to create "symbols that depict experiences of how it feels to be a minority in today's world." Sahagun's work will be on display at the Galleries until May 2nd.

EVANSTON

For Evanston residents this Saturday, "WOW" stands for Women Out Walking. WOW is a 12 week fitness campaign offered by the Evanston Health & Human Services Department . Registration began on February 5th and doesn't end until June 20th but their Kick-off Event takes place this Saturday, March 21st, from 10:00am - 1:00pm at Evanston Township High School (1600 Dodge Ave.). Women of all ages and fitness levels are invited to register for only $5 to participate in community exercise, dance classes, workshops, lectures, and more.

WEST LOOP

Easter is right around the corner and now is the time to register your young ones for Soul City Church's 5th Annual Big Find which takes place on Sunday March 28th at Mary Bartleme Park (115 S. Sangamon St.). Registration is free but securing spots ahead of time is a great idea. There will be two start times to choose from, either 10:05am or 11:15am, to accommodate as many kids as possible.

NORWOOD PARK

I wonder if all of the students of Taft High School (6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) know that they have an award-winning author on their faculty? English teacher, Jessie Ann Foley, wrote The Carnival at Bray last year which, according to Amazon.com, earned her several awards including a Michael L. Printz Honor Award and the 2014 Helen Sheehan Young Adult Book Prize. This year the American Library Association (ALA) has included her book in the 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. Come meet the author and hear about her award-winning novel on Tuesday March 31st at the Roden branch of the Chicago Public Library (6083 N. Northwest Hwy.) from 6:00 - 7:00pm. We're letting you know early since registration is required. Call 312-744-1478 for more information.

OLD TOWN

The Old Town Triangle Association's deadline for applications for grant support is approaching on April 1st.  Encourage any qualifying school or organization you can think of to apply as soon as possible! Their Mission Statement declares that their community-based, not-for-profit organization is "dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for residents ...bounded by North Ave., Clark St., Lincoln Ave., Mohawk St., and the former Ogden Ave. right of way". Organizations that received grants last year include Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Franklin Fine Arts Academy, and Midwest Buddhist Temple.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - NATURAL PRODUCTS TO CLEAN AROUND THE HOUSE

Make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake and you’re ready to go. The acetic acid in vinegar kills viruses, bacteria, mold and germs. It also dissolves mineral deposits and stains on tubs, toilets and sinks. Do not use on marble or any porous stone surface. Also test first on tile and finished wood surfaces.

Since vinegar is a no no on porous stone surfaces, like marble, use baking soda instead. Rub the baking soda into the stone with a damp cloth. Rinse and towel dry for a nice shine and you’re done! Baking soda can be used on many surfaces to remove stains, sanitize, and deodorize. It is a gentle abrasive and will not etch marble or stone.

Lemons are acidic and can provide some antiseptic properties, it’s also a fantastic deodorizer. Add to your vinegar all- purpose cleaner to alleviate some of the vinegar smell. Add a cup of juice to laundry to whiten whites safely. Dip a lemon half in kosher salt and use to scrub copper bottomed pots and pans. Soak countertop stains and scrub with baking soda. Keep an eye on it. Although lemon juice is safer than chemicals it can be powerful. Clean garbage disposals by grinding lemon rinds. Use a paste of lemon juice, baking soda and water to clean the refrigerator. Rinse well, clean, and deodorize all in one. Mix lemon juice and salt to remove rust stains on hard surfaces, safe for fabrics too. Always rinse well all surfaces you clean with lemon and do not use on porous stone surfaces.

Castile soap is made from olive oil and is pure. It is good for everyday cleaning to break down grease and loosen dirt. A natural soft scrub can be made with castile soap, baking soda and glycerin. Mix ½ cup liquid castile soap with ¾ cup baking soda, add 1 tablespoon glycerin, and keep stirring till smooth. If scent is desired add 12 drops each lavender and tee tree essential oil.

Borax is a natural cleaner. If you are over fifty you remember television commercials touting 20 Mule Team® brand Borax. It is great as a laundry booster and stain remover. Add a cupful per load to boost your detergent. Mix 1 cup borax and 2 cups hot water to make a paste. Spread on the fabric stain, let sit then launder as usual. Remove carpet stains by wetting the stain and rubbing in the borax. Let dry and vacuum. Borax can be used in place of vinegar in your all- purpose cleaner for those who dislike vinegar smell. Mix two tablespoons borax in two cups hot water in a spray bottle. Mix 1/3 cup borax, 1Tablespoon ammonia, 1 teaspoon dish detergent in one gallon hot water to make a great floor and wall cleaner. Clean the toilet with a cup of borax, scrub with a brush, let sit then flush. If possible always mix borax with very warm to hot water to ensure dissolving.

Most surfaces and areas can be cleaned, deodorized and sanitized using these four natural compounds. Much safer than chemicals for pets and children.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS – SPRING CLEAN YOUR FACEBOOK NEWSFEED

I love when I run across these amazing little apps that make your life much less complicated. Today I found out about Hushbook. This app I specifically designed to clean your newsfeed on Facebook so you only see what you want.

If you’ve heard of Tindr then this will be something that will ring similar. Essentially the app allows you to swipe to the left or right which will in turn unfollow or keep following the individual who is listed on your newsfeed. When you first use the app, it does take a few moments for the unfollow to happen. According to the founder, William Falcon, “Since we’re not using the facebook API (because there isn’t any for unfollowing/unfriending), we are stuck with wait times :( I opted for animations instead of a loading spinner.”

To be completely clear, this app does not unfriend anyone. You have to log into your Facebook account in order to do that. The “bonus” is that when you unfollow people from your feed, they will not be notified of the change. So when you have those folks who like to share so much that you just don’t want to see what is being posted by them, this is an easy solution.

And yes, you can do the same thing in your Facebook newsfeed directly, which is a good thing because Android users have not yet been included in the ability to get this app.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - CHICAGO CURES ITS “CABIN FEVER!”

Last weekend we escorted “Ol' Man Winter” back to where he belongs and now it’s time to cure our “cabin fever” with a myriad of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place all weekend long since it officially falls on a week, or should I say, workday!

For over 40 years, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have officially kicked-off Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with Dyeing the Chicago River Green and will do so again this year as we begin our cabin fever cure. The river dyeing takes place Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. Your best views are from the East side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, or the West side of the Columbus Drive bridge, or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan and Columbus!

Then it’s time to celebrate at the 60th anniversary of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade which kicks-off at Noon at Balbo Avenue and Columbus Drive with your Grand Marshal, William P. Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters as well as the Queen and her Court. This year’s Guests of Honor are the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department!

There are also two other parades in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day scheduled for Sunday in case you’re curing your cabin fever at other celebrations on Saturday –

The South Side Irish Parade which features a slew of bands, Irish dancers, floats and more will kick-off at Noon from Western Avenue and 103rd Street for this annual event!

The Northwest Side Irish Parade will kick-off at Noon from the William J. Onahan School (6634 W. Raven St.) in the Norwood Park neighborhood for its annual festive parade.

Perhaps you rather cure your cabin fever with food and libations at one of the following events:

The St. Patrick’s Day Lunch Cruise is scheduled for Saturday both before (10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.) and after (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.) the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Departing from the southwest corner of Polk Bros. Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood, these cruises offer an Irish buffet lunch, cash bar and a 90-minute tour of all three branches of the “green” Chicago River for only $49!

The St. Pat’s Trolley Bar Crawl begins at 8:00 a.m. (ends 2:00 p.m.) this Saturday at O’Malley’s West (2249. N. Lincoln Ave.), in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, with trolley service from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ticket includes 2 gift cards for food & beverage, a Photo Hunt for prizes, a St. Pat’s medallion and more! So be sure to flaunt your Irish pride by donning your favorite “green” or orange outfit!!

The Chicago Shamrock Crawl offers a breakfast buffet from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Moe’s Cantina (3518 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, or at any one of these other participating bars -- Houndstooth, The Dark Horse, Rockit Burger Bar, Country Club, Barleycorn and Old Crow, as well as a free $5 gift card to use during the crawl (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) and much more! There is no set schedule so start at any bar at any time and if there is a long line at one bar just move on to the next one. There’s plenty of room in the 13 participating bars for everyone!!

Finally, the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.) in the Mayfair neighborhood will be hosting its St. Patrick’s Day Festival on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. with traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, corned beef and cabbage, an arts & crafts fair, kids’ activities and more all under one roof!

Are You Ready to Cure Your “Cabin Fever” and GO GREEN?

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LOOP, LINCOLN PARK, PORTAGE PARK, GOLD COAST, NAPERVILLE

LOOP

As we near April 7th Consolidated Elections, there's plenty of time and opportunities to learn about the candidates for wards that are up for runoff elections so you can make a well-informed decision. Let's start with the mayoral runoff race between incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger, Cook County Board of Commissioners Floor Leader, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. At least two televised debates have been scheduled with one more yet to be determined. The NBC-5 and Telemundo-44 debate will air on Monday, March 16th at 6:00pm. WTTW-11's "Chicago Tonight" will include the men in a joint forum on Tuesday, March 31st at 7:00pm. We'll be keeping our ears open for the time slot of the third debate, yet to be determined.

LINCOLN PARK

The 43rd Ward has four opportunities to see Alderman Michele Smith debate with challenger, Caroline Vickrey who has serving on various community boards such as the Oz Park Advisory Board, the Lincoln Elementary School Local School Council, and the MidNorth Association Board. Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St.) will hold the first debate on Monday, March 16th at 7:00pm. Then the Old Town Triangle Association (1763 N. North Park) on Thursday, March 19th at 7:00pm. The third debate will take place at the Public Hotel (1301 N. State St.) on Monday, March 23rd at 7:00pm. Finally the women's a fourth debate will be televised on WTTW-11's "Chicago Tonight" on Thursday, March 26th at 7:00pm.

PORTAGE PARK

The Portage Park Neighborhood Association is one of the sponsors for the public debate between the 45th Ward incumbent Alderman John Arena and challenger, Chicago Police Lieutenant, John Garrido. It will take place on Tuesday, March 17th at the Copernicus Center (5216 W. Lawrence Ave.) at 7:30pm. You may email your suggested questions for the debate to 45thWardDebate@nadignewspapers.com.

GOLD COAST

Columbus Elementary School (1003 N. Leavitt St.) will host the 2nd Ward candidate debate between attorney/congressional aide, Alyx Pattison and Lakeshore Planning Committee and SOAR member, Brian Hopkins. The event takes place Tuesday March 24th from 7:00pm to 8:15pm. Along with being moderated, the candidates will also be allowed to ask each other direct questions.

NAPERVILLE

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation's Mayoral Candidate Forum on Monday, March 16th starting at 7:00pm at the city Council Chambers of the Naperville Municipal Center (400 S. Eagle St.). The four candidates vying to replace incumbent Mayor A. George Pradel are City Council member Doug Krause, former Carol Stream Fire District Lieutenant Marty Walker, Naperville dental office practice manager James Haselhorst, and City Council member Steve Chirico. The forum will also be broadcast live on the City of Naperville's Public Access Station WCNC (Channel 6 WOW, Channel 10 Comcast, Channel 99 AT&T)

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