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TECHNOLOGY TIPS - FACEBOOK TRENDING TOPICS

After an internal investigation, Facebook is changing the way Trending Topics will display. Recently the social media group was accused of "tampering with its Trending Topics feature, promoting 'progressive' views and websites over content presenting views from the American right."

Facebook's Trending Topics currently uses an algorithm utilizing Artificial Intelligence and human input. The subjects also include feeds from 1,000 media outlets. While speaking with Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, outlined that the investigation showed that almost half of the topics suggested using the algorithm are rejected "because they do not make sense at the time or are duplicative." Once topics become "stale" or "junk" they are left out of the Trending Topics.

There are so many topics to choose that some are disregarded because of the inability of team to translate from a foreign language or the length of the topic. For example, the Black Lives Matter hashtag which could have been manually added did not appear in the Trending Topics. The topic of Ferguson, however, was added to accommodate for this oversight.

The full findings of the investigation are available for review in 12-page letter addressed to US Senator John Thune who brought the issue of Trending Topics to the attention of Facebook. Expect to see some changes in how Trending Topics will be handled in the future.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - EASY BATH CLEANING

The easiest way to keep a bathroom clean is to make sure you don’t let things get carried away during the week. After you shower the bath is wonderfully steamy. Keep dry rags or paper towels under the sink. Wipe down the sink, counters, faucets and showers. Wipe the mirrors with dry paper towel.

Your weekly cleaning will go much easier now. Dust the light fixtures with a microfiber cloth. Keep cloths or sponges color coded to keep toilet ones and sink/shower ones separate. Micro fiber cloths are fantastic for many cleaning jobs around the house. They are great for polishing and dusting and work especially well on stainless steel appliances.

Spray the cleaner of your choice all over the tub, tile walls, sink and toilet. Spread the cleaner all around with a sponge or cloth. I use Kaboom, but any cleaner that works on soap scum is sufficient. Leave on the surface at least 5 minutes. Cleaner needs time to work! Give everything a good scrub with a non-abrasive pad. Rinse thoroughly and dry with clean, dry cloths. Remember your color coded cloths here.

Clean the mirrors and shine faucets with glass cleaner and dry with paper towels. Exit by cleaning the floor with one of your used cleaning cloths or sponges then dry with the towels you used on the mirror. A clean bathroom in less than 20 minutes.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!
We’re just one weekend away from Memorial Day Weekend where we officially celebrate the beginning of our summer festival season here in Chicago. However, some events couldn’t wait and will be kicking-off the festival season this weekend. After all, summer is almost here!

Chicago’s biggest annual kick-off event for the summer festival season takes place in the Lakeview neighborhood at 3100 N. Ashland Ave. this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) with Mayfest. Celebrating their 21st year, Mayfest’s main stage is set up under a Big-Top Heated Tent (weather not an issue) and features an amazing beer garden offering some of the best ice cold beverages prepping those taste buds for the summer. This event also showcases some of the best music with Too White Crew (Saturday) and 7th Heaven (Sunday) wrapping-up the entertainment for the day as well as offering some of the best cuisine in all of Chicago. There’s even a Chicago Kids Day putting special focus on health and wellness of the city’s youth and a Chicago Pet Pageant & Expo for the city’s pet enthusiasts. This event will definitely give you a weekend of endless fun!

Another event celebrating the beginning of summer transforms a tranquil northside pocket park into an open-air market with the Lincoln Park Wine Fest this Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Jonquil Park (1023 W. Wrightwood Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This 2nd annual event will offer twelve wine tastings of more than 80 varietals with sommeliers and brand ambassadors on hand to give you the ins and outs of what you’re tasting. Also on hand will be food-wine pairings, a live music lineup, fine artists and wine-related vendors with their products/services!

Moving right along, how about raising funds and awareness for colon cancer at this year’s Chicago Undy Run/Walk this Saturday at Lincoln Park South (1627 N. Stockton Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This is a family and pet-friendly underwear themed 5K event with opening remarks at 8:40 a.m., the 5K beginning at 9:00 a.m., the 1 Mile Fun Run at 9:10 a.m. and the Survivor & Patient recognition and awards ceremony at 10:05 a.m. Dare to be Bold and Run Brave for this great cause!

Prefer wearing more clothing? Then perhaps The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Bark in the Park 5K Walk is just the event for you! This 22nd annual event takes place in a new location this year at Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Post-walk offers a wide variety of activities, competitions and relay races to keep the fun going for participants and their four-legged friends all morning long! Professional demonstrations and performances as well as make and take craft and DIY projects at Memory Lane will be featured for those wanting a more relaxed morning or don’t have a dog on their hands. And, new this year, kids will be able to test their own agility skills at the kid-friendly obstacle course! It’s more than just a walk!!

Finally, in case you didn’t know, this year marks the 30th anniversary of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” which was released on June 11, 1986 and filmed right here in Chicago. So, several events have been planned for this Chicago classic which includes film screenings, tours of all the filming locations, a Shermer High School 1986 dance, guest appearances from some of the film stars and more for Ferris Fest this Saturday and Sunday!

Are You Ready for the Summer Festival Season to Begin!

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

SIGNING ON AS AN AIRBNB HOST IN CHICAGO CAN BE LUCRATIVE . . . BUT THERE ARE CONCERNS!

Airbnb!

Thousands are already taking advantage of this new method of finding lodging away from home.  Hundreds nationwide, and here in Chicago, are renting all or a portion of their house as Airbnb Hosts.  Across Chicago, in Diverse Neighborhoods, Affluent, or Not-So-Affluent, Airbnb’s gives out of town visitors to experience Chicago like a Local, and often for a Fraction of the Cost of Traditional Hotel Rooms.

But is it for YOU?

Beth Franken, in her article in the Chicago Tribune Real Estate Section this week, sees Chicago Airbnb Locations in virtually every Chicago Neighborhood – from the Far South Side, to Edison Park, on the Far Northwest Side – and in virtually every Chicago Suburb, from Glenwood to Antioch.

Despite the fact that the City of Chicago and many Chicago Suburbs are considering more tightly regulating – and taxing – Airbnb Hosts who rent out more than 90 days a year, and the Airbnb website imposes a “royalty fee” on both Hosts and Guests, books are growing very quickly here.  Many local homeowners see profit in participating in Airbnb, especially during warm weather months.

Many Airbnb Hosts, fearing privacy and security concerns, refuse to discuss their participation outside of the Web Portal.  Many don’t want the “publicity” should the City impose tighter regulation or impose taxes.

Here in Chicago, some neighbors in the Gold Coast Neighborhood on the Near North Side fear that too many Shared Housing Condos will create Party Houses, where young people rent Downtown Chicago Condos, then behave badly during warm weekends this Summer.

Some of the Outlying Neighborhoods in Chicago have few traditional hotels.  For example, in Logan Square, on the Northwest Side, one long-time resident has made nearly her entire home available to Airbnb Guests, with no resulting problems.

The Airbnb Dashboard has built-in security, and allows Hosts to customize their offerings, as well as set their own prices.   For some Hosts, the entire home is made available to guests.  For others, only a room or two is made available, sometimes only when the Hosts are at home.

Airbnb Hosts typically provide toiletries, towels, kitchenware and coffee.  Food is usually not provided.

Hosts, as well as Guests, are subject to screening and reviews.  For Safety’s Sake, the Airbnb Portal allows communication only when there is an offer of lodging made.  However, for most Airbnb hosts and their Guests, Security has not been a problem thus far.

In less than ten years, Airbnb has grown from a one-room operation, to a massive Online Community, operating in 191 countries, with over two million listings.    Here in Chicago, Airbnb Choices range from small Lincoln Park studio and one-bedroom condos at less than $50/night, to townhomes in Bronzeville, Lakeview, and Bucktown renting for over $400 nightly.  In the Chicago Loop alone, Airbnb lists nearly 250 rentals, with an average price of $162 each night. 

Airbnb locations abound in most Chicago Suburbs as well – Wheaton, Berwyn, Evanston, Oak Park, Schaumburg, and Naperville, among others.

The Airbnb website claims at least 247,000 visitors found their website within the past 12 months.

The City of Chicago has requested that all Airbnb Hosts register with the city, but compliance, at this time, is low.  Only 131 Hosts have registered thus far.  This will change, of course, if registration, and a Guest Tax, becomes mandatory.   Many around City Hall are predicting this soon.

To become an Airbnb Host, click on their website – www.Airbnb.com – and register.  Of course, the more detailed your background info, and the more pictures you post, the greater the likelihood you will achieve more success – and more revenue – as an Airbnb Host.

Let us know if YOU plan to list YOUR home or condo on Airbnb!

DEAN MOSS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO  

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LINCOLN PARK, LOOP, OAK PARK, LINCOLN SQUARE, NORWOOD PARK

LINCOLN PARK

Don't miss out on Geja's Cafe (340 W. Armitage Ave.) Back to the Roots Wine Festival that's been going on since April and ends on June 30th. They are offering promotional prices for nearly 20 different wines whose winemakers use sustainable, organic and holistically ecological practices to ensure a more healthy environment for generations to come.  Geja's Cafe is known for its romantic fondue dining and now they want to spread the word about these winemakers and their love for their craft and the environment. For reservations and more information, call 773-281-9101 or visit www.gejascafe.com.

LOOP

Ferris Fest is this weekend, May 20th - 22nd. What does that mean? It means that there are events celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, from Lake Forest to Chicago. One of the featured stops during the weekend schedule is the painstakingly accurate recreation of Ferris' bedroom, by Toronto artist/designer Sarah Keenlyside, on display at the Virgin Hotel (203 N. Wabash Ave.) from 9:00am - 5:00pm this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There will also be a live recreation of the famous "Twist and Shout" parade scene from the movie but you must purchase a ticket to be notified of when and where this parade will take place. Follow the link above for more details. Save Ferris!

OAK PARK

Every third Friday of the month from 6:00pm - 10:00pm, Oak Park welcomes everyone to their Third Friday Gallery Walks that showcase special discounts and events at the galleries along the Oak Park Arts District on Harrison Street from Elmwood Avenue to Austin Boulevard. Tomorrow's third Friday of the month, 5/20, is extra special because it kicks off the Spring festival, What's Blooming on Harrison on Saturday, 5/21, from 11:00am - 7:00pm. This family-oriented event will include a children's carnival, live music, dancing, craft demonstrations, and Family Fun Activities. There will also be arts and crafts for purchase from local and select guest artists. Come join the festivities on Harrison Street between Cuyler and Humphrey Avenues.

LINCOLN SQUARE

Stomp and Shout located at 4668 N. Manor Avenue, close to Lincoln Square, offers a three year music and creative play program for kids aged 8 months to 4 years old to help bolster language, listening, and socialization skills in fun, creative ways. They provide 45 minute classes that engage children through music and imaginative play with participation from their caretakers, guided by professional teachers and musicians. All are welcome to check out their free event to see what Stomp and Shout has to offer your children and the community. Their Neighborhood Kick-Off Party is from 10:00am to 2:00pm this Saturday, 5/21. There will be two Imagination Parades, one launching at 10:30am and the other at 12:30pm for a little 2.5-block parade where stomping and shouting will be encouraged. The three-piece Stomp and Shout Jam Band will provide a live concert after each parade plus art projects and more. It's a free event but RSVPing is helpful for an approximate attendance head count. Email Parties@StompAndShoutChicago.com and specify which parade time works best for you and your young one(s).

NORWOOD PARK

Memorial Day is a week from Monday and Norwood Park is gearing up for their Memorial Day Parade that starts gathering on Monday 5/30 at 9:30am and then kicks off at 11:00am at Onahan School (6634 W. Raven St.). The parade will travel west on Raven St. then cross Avondale Ave. where it becomes Nina Ave., then south onto East Circle Ave., then east onto Ardmore Ave., south again onto Natoma Ave., then east on Hurlbut to finish the route at Taft High School (6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) where a Tribute Ceremony will take place at 12:15pm. There's the route specifics so you can stake your claim to the best vantage point for viewing the parade.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - TOOL LIST FOR FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS OR NEWLYWEDS

Now is the time of year when newlyweds, first time home buyers and even college graduates will be starting in a new home. Following is a list of basic tools that will definitely help them save money by doing small jobs around the house.

     14-volt lithium battery powered drill. This will work as a power screwdriver as well as a drill.

     4-in-1 screwdriver. Has Philips heads as well as straight heads in various sizes.

     Crescent wrenches in 6 inch and 14 inches. The smaller for tight spaces and the larger for more leverage.

     More basic tools include: 16oz rip hammer. I prefer wood handled but as long as it feels balanced any material is ok. Linesman pliers for cutting and twisting wire and a needle nose for finer work. 25-foot tape measure with a one-inch blade will extend without buckling which is essential when working alone.

     Adjustable channel lock pliers, for shower heads and nuts.

     Basic utility knife- retractable blade, hold extra blades in handle. Scores drywall and other everyday tasks.

     Basic painting tools. 1-inch putty knife for nail holes. 6-inch drywall knife and a 5-in-1 painter’s tool. A paint tray and 9-inch roller frame for disposable rollers. A good 2½ inch angled brush will do your paint cutting in.

     A 4-foot spirit level works great for leveling shelves. A line or torpedo level will work for hanging pictures.

     Basic garden tools include: round and flat edged shovels, hand held spade, hedge clippers and a good quality rake.

With these tools any first timer will be able to tackle many handyman jobs. The total cost of these tools (around $250) could be saved on a few jobs like panting a room or hanging shelves.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

 

TECHNOLOGY TIPS - LITSY

So I love all things technology and this latest app I've uncovered has me really excited. It's called Litsy and it's got some cool features for those of us who love technology and reading.

According to their website, "Litsy is a place to share and discover your favorite books with your favorite people." Litsy is all about the book and not about the sales of books.

You literally (pun intended) have three options for personal posts - quote, blurb, or review. To post anything you must include the book title as a tag. You can use both images and text for your posts. You also have three options when viewing your feed - add, comment, or like.

Litsy has similarities to Instagram with tagging, pictures, likes and comments. It also has some similarities to Goodreads. Some of the unique benefits to Litsy include no privileged author space, no private messaging, and four options for rating. Finally, for the competitive at heart, there is also Litfluence which measures your personal influence on Litsy.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - COOLER MAY TEMPS – WHO CARES – CHICAGOANS WILL BE OUTDOORS!
Who would have guessed that the second weekend in May would bring us such cool temps! Not Chicago as the City gears-up for another weekend packed with lots of fun outdoor things to do, and even some indoor things for those who require warmer temps. As long as the sun is out, who cares!!

Our first outdoor adventure will entangle race participants in a web of puzzles and challenges to use their wit, mapping skills and life lines in a citywide race to the finish line with thousands of dollars of cash prizes up for grabs for the fastest teams, best family teams, best costume and great finish line greats! The CityScape Fun Run takes place this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Bottled Blonde (504 N. Wells St.) in the River North neighborhood. Afterwards, enjoy a post-race celebration packed with fun games and prizes!

One of Chicago’s favorite Spring events has returned as Chicago’s First Lady along with the Chicago Architecture Foundation have donated once again an Architecture River Cruise benefitting the Real Tree House Cats! This year's Puss & Boat Cruise takes place this Saturday with an 8:15 a.m. check-in at the Southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Driver on the river front. This 90-minute cruise not only gives you the real story on Chicago architecture and its history but also will have an informal talk and Q&A with Steve Dale, author of Good Cat along with drinks available for purchase!

Enjoy one of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods while perusing one of a kind artwork, crafts and décor from Chicagoland’s best artists at the outdoor Hand Made Chicago Arts & Crafts Festival this Saturday and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at Journeymen Plumbers Hall (1340 W. Washington Blvd.) in the West Loop! Come and enjoy these handmade works from DIY craft to jewelry, soaps, candles, furniture, wearables and much more as well as enjoying some music and food!

As we take it indoors, create your ultimate outdoor living space (for the warmer temps) at the Outdoor Furniture Sample Sale this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Merchandise Mart (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza) in the River North neighborhood! Here you’ll be able to view the latest in outdoor seating, outdoor dining sets, outdoor accessories and more. Samples are available at up to 75% off and any custom orders can be made with the Designer-On-Call program.  Unbeatable & Unbelievable Prices for your outdoor oasis!

While you’re at the Outdoor Sample Sale drop the kids off at the 2nd annual Chicago Science Fest located on the 12th Floor of the Merchandise Mart this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This fest features talks and demos from local researchers on science and technology as well as free hands-on demo stations that include 3-D printing, virtual reality, fuel cell electric cars, prosthetic limbs, edible insects and more!

Finally, the 27th annual Headsucker’s Ball takes place this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) at McGee’s Tavern & Grille (950 W. Webster Ave.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This is Chicago’s Biggest Crawfish Boil and in honor of their 27th year, McGee’s will be flying in over 2,500 pounds of fresh crawfish straight from the Bayou and serving it up with their famous jambalaya, red beans & rice and spicy gumbo all day long, or until the last crawfish is eaten while amazing zydeco sounds will be provided by Hurricane Gumbo starting at 2:00 p.m.! This is definitely one Chicago Cajun Party you don’t want to miss!!

Cool? Who Cares! Do You?

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - PORTAGE PARK, SOUTH LOOP, OLD TOWN, NAPERVILLE, LAKEVIEW

PORTAGE PARK

Thursday evening, 5/21, Local School Councils from across the City will be meeting for a Press Conference & Rally at Carl Schurz High School Auditorium (3601 N. Milwaukee Ave.). The LSC Citywide Rally and doors open at 4:30pm. Speakers will being at 5:00pm and will include 45th Ward Alderman John Arena, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy Laraviere, and CPU representative Martin Ritter as a call to action to address issues regarding Chicago's current education system. For any questions prior to the event, contact Catherine Marchese by calling 773-633-8391 or cemarch24@gmail.com via email.

SOUTH LOOP

Temperatures are improving and it's time for that super cool pop-up urban experience, ACTIVATE, that transports art, music, and entertainment to Loop alleys through the summer. Starting on Friday, 5/13, Chicago Loop Alliance presents six nights of excitement to various alleys through October, one night per month. Friday's event takes place at 8th Street Alley, which is at 205 E. 8th St. between State St. and Wabash Ave., from 5:00pm - 10:00pm. This year, each monthly Activate party will celebrate our senses. May's theme is "Touch" and revelers will be encouraged to interact with the art displays and activities they have in store. Follow the link above to RSVP ahead of time for a free drink. This is a happy hour type of event so leave the kids at home. Dean's Team will be sure to keep you posted about future Activate dates.

OLD TOWN

Sunday, 5/15, from 6:00pm - 10:00pm brings Old Town's First Sight Art Fair to farm-to-table restaurant, Perennial Virant, at 1800 N. Clark. St. Tickets are $115 per person for Chef Virant's selection of canapes, Seasonal Delights and Sweets. Wine, beer, soft drinks and the Old Town Art Fair Signature Cocktail will also be available. Artwork by selected artists and offerings from local businesses will be up for bid in live and silent auctions for an exciting evening to benefit the Old Town Triangle Association. There will also be raffle prizes for ticketholders to try their luck. Follow the link above to purchase entry and raffle tickets online.

NAPERVILLE

Attention, Naperville motorists, pedestrians, and cyclers, traffic signal installation at the intersection of Aurora Ave. and Webster St. begins next week, the week of 5/16. Motorists' access to the Water Street District and its parking deck currently under construction will be improved, along with pedestrian access to Naper Settlement. Expect daily closures from 9:00am - 3:00pm along Aurora Ave. although two-way traffic will continue during construction which is expected to last through mid-August. Be prepared to adjust your commute accordingly.

LAKEVIEW

Donut lovers, prepare yourselves. Stan's Donuts will be opening TWO more locations in the Chicago area next Saturday, 5/21, at 6:30am. The stand alone location will be in Lakeview at 3300 N. Broadway St. and another location on the Magnificent Mile, inside Labriola Ristorante at 535 N. Michigan. If you recall previous Stan's Donuts openings, prizes will be given away to the first 100 customers in line on opening day.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SPRING TREE CARE

Even established trees need care after a long winter. People seem to forget about mature trees and shrubs but they need our attention as much as young plantings.

First do a good clean up. Now is the time to remove any lights and decorations left over from Christmas or any holiday since. Lights wrapped around trunks can be especially damaging as they can girdle growth if left on too long. Remove any protective wrapping on any tree trunks or shrubs. Rake around trees to remove any debris. This can be especially damaging to trees susceptible to fungal diseases which can overwinter on debris.

Spread a tree inch layer of mulch around the tree but leave a space around the trunk. This prevents heat and moisture buildup which can again be an aid to disease. Moisture will break down the bark and give disease an easy entry point. Mulch is crucial for younger trees but can also be beneficial to older trees.

Water thoroughly in the spring. This is especially beneficial for trees near roads and sidewalks that receive a lot of salt runoff. Do not water until the ground is thawed, watering frozen ground simply runs off. Water with a hose set to a trickle a foot or so away from the trunk. Let it go for a couple of hours.

Check the tree for any pruning that needs to be done. Major pruning is best done in the winter but it’s good to trim any dead branches or ones that may be rubbing or some that are too crowded. Wait till the tree leafs out a little so you can see the dead branches that have no leaves.

With a little spring care we will enjoy all our trees and shrubs for the summer to come.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

TECHNOLOGY TIPS - SNAPCHAT AND OLYMPICS TEAM UP

For the first time in history, NBC has agreed to share video of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Snapchat will set up a dedicated channel that will be curated by BuzzFeed. The plan is that Snapchat will create stories from the content provided by NBC, fans and athletes. According to Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, Snapchat "really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the United States, and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games."  Snapchat has not been shy about wanting to cover other major events like the Oscars and Super Bowl. This current merger hopefully will set the stage for those partnerships in the future.

NBC has also been courting Facebook and Twitter but NBC will not allow livestream of the events to appear anywhere but NBC's own feed. This is making the talks a little more challenging, especially, since Twitter has already shown they are willing to pay a premium for other major events including 10 Thursday night NFL games in this upcoming season.

Snapchat hosts many Discover channels including National Geographic, ESPN, and BuzzFeed; however, their live stories are the ones that are most popular. For example, the Super Bowl stories on Lady Gaga getting ready before signing the national anthem and the Denver Broncos celebrating their win in the locker room were both heavily watched. According to Snapchat, users watch 10 billion videos every day on the app, and they can also submit content for stories. Said Matthew Henick, head of development for BuzzFeed (a recent investment recipient of $200 million from NBCUniversal), they "are not necessarily glued to their televisions anymore, and Snapchat is something they check in with multiple times a day."

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - MOTHER’S DAY/YOUR DAY -- ALL WRAPPED IN ONE WEEKEND!

With Mother’s Day taking center stage this Sunday with brunches, cruises and just spending time with Mom, Saturday is “Your Day” which just so happens has a myriad of events planned for everyone to enjoy!

A favorite family event, the 18th Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival returns to Cricket Hill (660 W. Montrose Dr.) in the Uptown neighborhood from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Once again, while supplies last, the City provides kite kits for children to build, decorate and fly. Kite Harbor will be onsite as well for kite buyers along with professional kite flyers demonstrating their skills with uniquely-shaped and oversized kites. And, weather permitting, the Big Kite Candy Drop (a piñata-like kite that drops candies from the sky) will take place during the afternoon. Other activities include balloon artists, crafts and face-painting for a day of outdoor fun!

Returning to Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop with a new name and exciting new festival elements, the Chicago Beer Classic celebrates over 100 unique beers with two sessions (Session 1: GA 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., VIP 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Session 2: GA 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., VIP 3:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m.). This year’s largest beer festival will offer several educational elements where beer lovers can learn more about their favorite beverage; a people’s choice competition wherein attendees take part in the Most Valuable Brew competition; and a 20-25 minute tour of the stadium with stops at the Visitor’s Locker Room, the Skyline Suite and the Colonnades for $10. Food will also be available for purchase. It’s a pre-summer kick-off you don’t want to miss!

For those who prefer wine over beer, the Uncorked: Chicago Wine Fest takes place at the Revel Fulton Market (1215 W. Fulton Market) in the West Loop neighborhood with two sessions to choose from (Session 1: GA 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., VIP 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; Session 2: All GA from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). More than 50 wineries will be on hand with over 100 wines to taste as well as gourmet food trucks, music and a custom photo booth for a fun atmosphere!

Let’s not forget the biggest Kentucky Derby party outside the Bluegrass State! The Kentucky Derby Day at Arlington International Racecourse (2200 W. Euclid Ave.) in Arlington Heights opens its gates at 10:30 a.m. Special all-inclusive packages, fashion contests, giveaways, entertainment and much more are planned for your Kentucky Derby day! Don’t forget to don your proper attire as your Mint Julep awaits you!! BTW, there are other Derby parties being offered as well at several Chicago neighborhood establishments.

There’s even a parade on Saturday! The Polish Constitution Day Parade kicks-off at 11:30 a.m. on a new route this year along State Street from Lake to Van Buren Streets in The Loop. Polish values, history, traditions and culture are presented by the participants in the biggest parade outside of Poland which celebrates the Polish Constitution of 1791! Afterwards, head on over to Bar Louie (333 N. Dearborn St.) in the River North neighborhood as they host the Polish Constitution Day Hash with a light buffet from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and beverages!

Finally, you can wrap-up your Saturday with ComEd and the Chicago Park District at this year’s Switch on Summer at Buckingham Fountain (500 S. Columbus Dr.) in the South Loop from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with the Fountain being switched on at 6:00 p.m.! Free giveaways, family activities and live entertainment will be provided as well!!

HAPPY MOTHER’S & YOUR DAY!!!

SUE MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - GOLD COAST, NORWOOD PARK, LOOP, LINCOLN PARK, EVANSTON

GOLD COAST

No other city represents the entertainment form of Improv better than Chicago. In its 19th and largest year so far, Chicago Improv Productions is presenting the Chicago Improv Festival that started on Monday, 5/2, and runs through Sunday, 5/8. This weeklong showcase of Improv entertainers from across the globe have brought their talent to the best known Improv venues in Chicago, including Second City (e.t.c. Theater: 1608 N. Wells St.), The iO Theater (1501 N. Kingsbury St.), and Annoyance Theatre (857 W. Belmont Ave.). The schedule is extensive with types of shows including long form, short form, dramatic, and experimental. Up to 9 countries will be represented with no less than 170 talented groups to show us how it's done.

NORWOOD PARK

Mother's Day and Friend for a Cure's 14th Annual Mother's Day Breast Cancer Walk/Run is right around the corner. It's not too late to register or become a sponsor. The event begins at St. Thecla School (6323 N. Newcastle Ave.) on Sunday. 5/8, at 9:00am. Registration is free for children under 12 but anyone older may register online for $27.37 ($25 + fees) or $30 on the day of the event BEFORE start time so be sure to get there early if not registering ahead of time. The fundraiser will benefit the nonprofit Insight Breast Cancer Organization which provides transportation, child care and delivery meals to cancer patients in the metropolitan Chicago area.

LOOP

Wabash Ave., between Van Buren St. and Roosevelt Rd., has Columbia College Chicago art students to thank for the Wabash Arts Corridor "Big Walls" mural project that is beautifying the neighborhood from now until May 13th. Columbia began the Wabash Arts Corridor project in 2013 and this year it has literally gotten huge with this year's "Big Walls" installations. Follow the link above to see photos of these stunning works of art in process as covered by South Loop's blogsite, Sloopin™.

LINCOLN PARK

Tickets are now on sale for next Saturday's, 5/14, Zoo-ologie fundraiser gala at Lincoln Park Zoo (220 Cannon Dr.) from 8:00pm to midnight, brought to you by the Zoo's Auxiliary Board.  Admission is $135 - $180 to enjoy a night of elegance and adventure in the Urban Zoo-Fari tent with DJ Rock City, dancing, animal encounters, drinks and food stations featuring culinary experiences from local restaurateurs such as Vanille, Presidio, RJ Grunts, Firefly, and more. There will also be exciting items up for bid during the silent auction. Thanks to great fundraisers like this, Lincoln Park Zoo is free to the public all year round.

EVANSTON

The city of Evanston held a Human Services Committee this past Monday, 5/2, at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center at 2100 Ridge Ave. On the agenda to discuss was concern over the shrinking dog beach located where Church St. meets the Lake. The Evanston Round Table news source reports that lakefront expert, John Shabica of Shabica & Associates, was at the meeting to explain that the water level has risen 4 feet in the past 3 years, shrinking some beaches including the dog beach but none have been completely eroded so far. He contributes the harsh winters of 2013 and 2014 to the problem by covering the Lake with so much ice that it halted evaporation and left us with a higher water level once melted. No immediate resolution was reached as it may take up to seven different government agencies to approve any kind of action such as importing sand to bolster the beach or creating offshore wave breaks to interrupt the strength of waves before they erode the shores any further. The Human Services Committee meets on the first Monday of every month and hopefully will come up with a plan during their next meeting on 6/6.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - USE NATURAL BAKING SODA TO CLEAN

Baking soda is a great deodorizer. Buy the refrigerator packs and make sure you change every three months. Sprinkle on carpets and upholstery. Leave for fifteen minutes then vacuum. Sprinkle in gym shoes and bags to deodorize between uses. Tap out before using.

Baking soda is also a natural cleaner and gentle abrasive. Use with water on countertops, stainless steel, and cooking utensils. Use straight with a damp cloth or sponge to clean tough spots in the refrigerator or microwave. Clean bath toys with a sponge dipped in baking soda and water. It freshens and cleans.

Stuffed toys are really hard to clean. To get rid of dust and surface dirt, place in a paper bag with one cup of baking soda. Close the top and take outside. Vigorously shake for a few minutes. Dump out the bag and shake off as much of the baking soda as you can. Vacuum with your handheld brush. The baking soda draws out dirt and dust leaving them fresh smelling.

Have stained plastic food containers? Scrub with a damp sponge and baking soda. Or make a soaking solution with 4 tablespoons of baking soda and I quart warm water. Clean your produce of pesticides and waxy residue with a mixture of baking soda and water. Add a couple tablespoons to dish water to boost your dish detergent.

Do the tried and true drain freshener and cleaner. Pour one cup baking soda in the drain. Follow with two cups white vinegar. Behold the chemical reaction! It will foam and bubble. Let sit for ten minutes then rinse with super-hot water. There you are, fresh and clean drains.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - MORE STREAMING NEWS, THIS TIME FROM HULU

Over the weekend it was announced that Hulu plans to ramp up their subscription service. While Hulu does already offer add-on service this would be a newer subscription service that would stream cable TV and network content. As an example, Disney and 21st Century Fox are part owners of Hulu with Comcast. So Disney would offer not only ABC but also ESPN and Disney Channel while Fox would offer FX and other local/national sports channels.  Comcast has not yet joined the bandwagon.

With users already getting away from traditional subscription prices, Hulu is simply following the latest trend in online services creating "skinny" TV packages - budget-friendly prices on popular channels. With over 9 million people subscribing to their content, Hulu has been offering add-on services like Showtime, Starz, and the like as a form of testing the threshhold for this service. While Hulu is keeping hush about the cost, experts are predicting the cost to be approximately $40 per month which would give you live shows and on demand. As with current Hulu TV shows, you'd still be watching targeted ads.

The change would not happen before the first quarter of 2017 so you have time to prepare.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

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