Distress Bandanna and State Farm promotes safe driving this summer

Distress Bandanna and State Farm are teaming up to remind drivers of Scott’s Law and other driving tips to stay safe during summer travels. Scott’s Law, or the “Move Over” law, requires drivers to slow down and move over one lane when possible while approaching stopped emergency vehicles, stranded motorists with hazard lights on, and any vehicle with flashing lights.

Distress Bandanna, a non-profit organization originated in Southern Illinois, promotes safe teen driving through educational outreach and classroom presentations. By pairing up with local police officers and State Farm agents, Distress Bandanna has distributed over 58,000 bandannas to teen drivers to be used in roadside emergency situations.

This past year, Distress Bandanna offered an extra credit assignment to students going through this program. After each presentation, the organization posts class photos on social media, and students are asked to share or retweet with “#ScottsLaw”, “#MoveOver” or “#All50States”.

“Just the other day, we had 53 students from the same high school complete this extra credit assignment within 24 hours,” said program founder and coordinator Vivian Anderson. “We feel strongly in the education of new drivers and creating safe driving habits while they are young will make our roadways safer for everyone!”

State Farm has supported the Distress Bandanna program since 2017 and has presented to drivers’ education students in high schools across Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee. For more information, click on Distress Bandanna.

As the weather heats up and more drivers take to the roadways, here are some tips to keep everyone safe while having some SUMMER FUN:

· Start your trip with GPS and music set; phone stowed. Keep children and pets content by bringing along a favorite toy, treat, or blanket.
· Understand the laws for passenger restraint. Both child and pet passengers require special attention. No passengers belong on a lap or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
· Make sure that the heatingventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) of your vehicle is in good condition before your trip begins. This will be especially important for those longer trips.
· Make it a point to pull over if a child or pet needs attention, or if you feel tired or drowsy. This way you keep your eyes on the road.
· Eating along the way may be necessary, but you should pull over for this, too. Pack snacks and drinks for everyone, including pets, for convenience.
· Remove loose objects from your vehicle, they can become projectiles in a crash, causing injury to people or pets. In the event of a crash, unsecured pets may become frightened and jump from open windows.
· Forbid paws and heads from being out the window. This applies to both 2-legged and 4-legged passengers.
· Understand construction may be underway along your route. Plan ahead and find alternate routes and pet-friendly stops, helping to get you to your destination on schedule.
· Never leave children or pets in cars alone for any period of time. Temperatures can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes, putting them at risk.
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A special trip to Chicago’s Our Lady of the Angels

Of course, what comes to mind for many of you my age and older, is the tragic school fire on Dec 1. 1958 at Our Lady of Angels school in West Humboldt Park. I was only three when my mother began to cry when watching the news. But I will never forget. Being taught fire safety in elementary school, teachers always referred to the horrific event that killed 92 children, three nuns and hundreds who walked away with significant injuries. Consequently, the fire did lead to major fire reforms in schools throughout the country and over 60 years later, you rarely hear of a child being hurt in a school fire.

Over decades, I have visited the neighborhood, saying a prayer, feeling the unrest and watching the massive decline. If you or your family were not involved in the fire, you certainly knew someone on the street that you lived who may have lost a child. The pain was too great and many moved on to begin a new start. In the late 1960’s, blockbusting occurred in many parts of the city where real estate practices essentially forced whites from their homes to create high housing prices for blacks. Whites also took the jobs with them and blacks were unemployed. Our Lady of the Angels couldn’t survive and the parish closed in 1990.

The school closed as a Catholic school first but was a charter school until approximately 2017 when given back to the Franciscans at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels . Fr. Bob Lombardo came to Chicago in 2005, at the special request of Cardinal George, to set up a mission outreach to help the poverty- stricken neighborhood that struggle with gang infiltration and drug trafficking on Chicago’s west side; one of the most violent areas in the country.

Many may not realize that  Fr. Bob erected the first on-site outside memorial for the victims of the tragedy, which was blessed by Cardinal George in 2007. He is a founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. In Chicago, Fr. Bob has functioned as the founder/ director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, founder/ superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, a newly established religious community of young men and women living and serving at the Mission of Our Lady of Angels.

Fourth of July weekend I visited their monthly food pantry with an added bonus in which they gave away 80 mattresses for those in the community. They provide fresh produce, non perishable food, clothing, and household goods to about 250 families each month at their Mobile Pantry. They have 75+ volunteers that help and you can sign up at any time. Families can take a cart filled with food and volunteers will help walk the family to their homes as long as it is within a block from the pantry. But the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels does so much more.

The Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago are an extremely educated and talented group who have been invited to take part in pilgrimages throughout the world. In the beginning, Fr Bob graduated from Notre Dame University in 1979 with an accounting degree and worked at Price Waterhouse. It was shortly after when he found his calling to become a Franciscian and a priest with over 30 years of religious experience.

Sister Kate, originally a nurse, talked about her humbling experience working in the community and their excitement in being able to renovate the school for more program space and retreats. The Church currently provides Eucharist adoration as well as neighborhood prayer services while the original Convent houses the female Franciscans and their offices. The rectory currently houses Fr. Bob and the male Franciscans. Kelly Hall hosts their monthly food program as well as senior programs. And they have received incredible donations that have allowed them to re-build and continue their unwavering commitment to help others. It not easy being who they are, but their graciousness towards others is genuine, constant and truly God’s gift to all of us.

Those who believe that all was ultimately lost in that community after the unforgettable fire…..maybe not. For the Franciscans do pray for those lost in 1958 and their survivors. But their current passion is not giving up on their mission to improve the lives of others they meet today; reminding us who is always in charge with them.

They improved my life in just a few hours and maybe the blessings of the community angels……. many so young…… are assisting the Franciscans to trust and always have faith in God’s timeless love.

 

World Book

As I sat at my card table in the den watching TV, or painting, the World Book Encyclopedia was sitting on a shelf right next to me within hands reach. My mother was so excited when we got them. Like the internet, no family could or should live without them in the 1960s. Now, whenever you had a question for a parent or grandparent, the famous line was let’s go look that up in the World book. I especially liked H.. the one for the human body.. where you opened the book and saw the delicate, plastic, shiny drawing pages.

The first edition of The World Book Encyclopedia was published (as simply The World Book) in 1917, by the Hanson-Roach-Fowler Company in Chicago. Unlike the way most other encyclopedias were printed, World Book has traditionally been published in variously sized volumes, depending on the letter of the alphabet. And it still exists today.

World Book Encyclopedia was also published in electronic form for Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X.  Thousands of print sets are still ordered annually, mostly by schools who use them as teaching tools for library research skills; public libraries and homeschooling families are also frequent purchasers. Currently, the 2019 general A-Z look-up source in 22 hard-cover volumes is under 1,000 dollars. World Book also has a series of children’s learning books that deal with science, nature and technology.

My children were 1990’s kids though the computer age was just beginning but for me, we still used the available encyclopedia or dictionary. The computer took forever to connect in their early years but throughout high school and college it was amazing what we could find together. Though Grandma would still refer to …where is that world book? 

Today some students in the elementary classroom will run to their IPad to look something up on the Internet but there are many that will remember that hardcover book. They run to that learning book on the shelf with the colorful photos of the Under the Sea Fish and animals; looking to learn the non-fiction facts about what an octopus really is. Learning to read, at his or her level successfully, as they turn the pages. I can’t wait to sit with them sharing their success with a beloved hard-cover.

 

Could the answer to affordable living lie with Airbnb?

JUNE 2019, UK: A recent study by leading travel comparison site dealchecker, analysed the cost of living across the USA. The study compared the average cost of renting an apartment vs Airbnb which uncovered that in Joliet, IL, AirBnB is an eye-watering 4% cheaper than renting.

Findings revealed that the estimated daily rental price is $39.83 vs Airbnb at $38.15 per night. The high rental charges for residents reflect the changes seen in the national average market, with increased rental rises across the entire country. According to Yardi Matrix apartment rent reached an all-time high of $1,405 in June 2018, an increase by 2.9 percent year over year, and by 0.9 percent ($12) month over month.

So savings are to be had in Joliet, but what if is not quite the place for you? The study shows that on average it is cheaper to live in an Airbnb versus traditional renting in 18 of the 21 cities analysed across Illinois state. In Chicago, IL one of the largest cities in the US, Airbnb is $38 cheaper than renting, a substantial 48% saving for the 2.7 million strong population.

In Aurora, the estimated rental price per night is $54.25 taking into account bills and living costs attached to traditional renting, whilst choosing to Airbnb hop could offer a 29% saving, costing on average $38.42 per night, a price difference of $15.

City/Arbnb Rental Price/ Price Percentage Difference/ Savings per night

Joliet: $38.15, $39.83, 48%, $1.68

Naperville: $46.00, $59.88, 23%, $13.88

Aurora: $38.42, $54.25, 29%, $15.83

Peoria: $33.86, $58.17, 42%, $24.31

Springfield: $32.39, $58.17, 44%, $25.88

Chicago: $41.30, $78.88, 48%, $37.58 (largest savings)

Further findings revealed that in fact, it is cheaper in a staggering 74% of the 1,127 cities analysed across the USA with five Illinois cities sitting in the top 100. Renters could be saving in Glenview, Carbondale, Urbana and Campaign.

Airbnb has been flying the flag for flexible apartment stay for over a decade and since it’s conception 2008 has taken the world by storm. In 2017, alone, a colossal $93 million dollars in net income was generated by the company. The concept was born out of not being able to afford apartment rental prices and embraces a nomadic lifestyle for those who enjoy the flexibility of short-term stays providing the opportunity to explore different areas within a state, city or country.

For a generation of digital nomads where the appeal lies with fluidity in both work and living, it offers a sense of freedom and empowerment and the rise in choosing this way of life has coincided with the rapid global rise of remote work which is fast becoming a viable way to work, especially across global tech companies. This study has shown that Airbnb could become a viable living option in a climate of increased rental prices across the USA offering both affordability and flexibility to future generations.

Introduction to the Good Old Days: The Fourth of July

I found them in a Victorian box the cover decorated with miniature roses of days long ago.  I remember the day which was cold, wet and a time where I had nothing constructive to do.  Being an only child, there were days like this so I decided to play in our basement and look through old packing boxes of memorabilia.

It was my grandmother’s box and it looked like it had contained real flowers at once time.  The box was like the cover of a book and had a gold binding.  Scripted writing said “roses for you” and I wondered if my grandfather had given real roses from this box on a special occasion. But it wasn’t dark and disintegrating flowers that I found beneath the cover, but piles and piles of 5 by 7 sheets of yellowed newspaper clippings.  There had to be over a hundred comics and in each corner the label read “The Good Old Days by Erwin L. Hess.

These had been printed in the 1950’s but their black and white pictures depicted the world much younger, in fact, beginning at the turn of the century. The detail of each comic frame reminded me of scenes from perfect doll house rooms.  You could look at one drawing several times and still not see everything.  This shows a celebration of the Fourth of July in 1954 but it talks about remembering 1919; over a hundred years ago. That is why I have taken out the box many times through the years.

Today, begins the journey of the good old days series and I will post a story and comic to match a topic throughout the year. Of course, I will also being doing other writings about everything and anything. However, you will always know by the yellowed comic chosen with label and title, The Good Old Days.

There is an expression that says “one picture is worth a thousand words”.  As you view the comics in later posts, not only do you learn about the past and its progression, but you will experience the artful moments of family, canvases of adventure, scenes of the seasons and just plain enjoyment. You will realize the milestones of invention, the joys of house and home, entertainment in different forms and that unconditional love for family or friends has never changed from past to present.

Erwin L. Hess was an artist for all types of comics and began “The Good Old Days” series  in 1947.  Believe it or not, the comics were still being published until 1981.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s, he did artwork for comics such as Roy Rogers.  He had also illustrated several children’s books.  He had become quite popular for his creation of Captain Midnight , another newspaper comic strip.

Spike Mendelsohn introduces the Flipp app and a new recipe

I walked into the Good Stuff Eatery at 22 South Wabash Ave just a few blocks from Millennium Park. I was extremely interested in visiting since the thought of delicious burgers and hand-spun shakes was my chosen favorite food since childhood. The Chicago location of the Good Stuff Eatery opened in 2015 after winning the Chicago Gourmet’s 2014 Hamburger Hop. The Prez burger (President Obama) won the Judge’s Choice Award. The pilot store of Good Stuff Eatery opened on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in July 2008. This was a family operation owned by the Mendelsohn family with the son, Spike Mendelsohn, at the helm.

Spike is better known, to many, as a celebrity chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Spike worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs and eventually made his television debut on Bravo TV’s Top Chef. Spike went on to appear on several other cooking-related shows, including Life After Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Late Night Chef Fight and Beat Bobby Flay. He also hosted Midnight Feastand Food Network’s Kitchen Sink.

The Good Stuff in Washington became a favorite of President Barack Obama’s which inspired Spike to write a cookbook called The Good Stuff cookbook. Following the opening of the Good Stuff Eatery, Spike opened up We, The Pizza, Béarnaise and Santa Rosa Taqueria.

Today, Spike talks about shopping tips and tricks for the Fourth of July and some of the unique resources available when finding the best prices. That includes the free Flipp app for IOS and Android. You can search weekly ads, coupons and navigate through your favorite stores. The app allows you to check out specific foods or browse a variety of retailers. Once you download the app and add your location, Flipp will locate the stores in your area and you can click on your favorite store to explore its best deals. You can tap a retailer, check out the coupons and load them to your loyalty cards. There are thousands of retailers available including Kroger, Walmart, Big Lots, CVS Pharmacy, Aldi’s, Family Dollar, Home Depot, Loews and Dicks Sporting Goods to name a few.

Spike is truly passionate in giving back to the community; something he was taught at an early age. He has a genuine desire for providing food equity and help others purchase healthy food while saving time and money. Flipp offers shoppers a way to plan and budget for groceries but still choose quality instead of just running into your favorite store at the end of day and choosing items on sale. Spike commented on a Flipp feature where you type milk or peanut butter into the program and a variety of milk options will be displayed such as almond milk or organic peanut butter that demonstrates the Flipp app is focused on quality as well as excellent prices.

Spike came to Chicago because of his sister going to school here when opening the Good Stuff Eatery downtown. He loves to travel and is the first chairman of the Washington DC Food Policy Council where he continually helps to improve school lunches and speaks out in groups that encourage healthy eating.

I enjoyed the Prez burger that was made with apple-wood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo. The Chocoholic Shake was, by far, the best. The next time I would like to try the Compass Coffee Shake since coffee is another drink I cannot live without. For the holiday, Spike shared a special recipe below for Mahalo sliders that you can make at home. Consequently, I am planning my own July 4th menu which will include homemade Mahalo burgers with barbecue sauce and pineapple,cucumber slaw. And it has never been so easy and cost effective. My new Flipp app will even tell me when store sales will be ending so I know exactly when I should plan my shopping time.

Mahalo Sliders
– 4 pounds Ground Beef of your choice, leaner the better for sliders, less shrinking
– 1 teaspoon of cayenne
– 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
– salt/pepper to taste
– 1 tbl olive oil
– cheddar cheese slices for melting

* use a large bowl and add all of your ground meat and break it up, add all seasonings, parsley flakes, oil and mix around aggressively. Using a small scale patty up 2 oz burgers and place on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper.

Hawaii roles 2- 12 pcks or enough for everyone to have at least two sliders.
– using butter spray, spray your buns before grilling.

Pineapple Cucumber Slaw
– 2 cups pineapple, small dice
– 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 1 medium cucumber, peeled and small diced
– 1/4 cup red onion, small diced
-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
– 2 tablespoon lime juice
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– salt and pepper to taste

*In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside

Bbq Sauce
– 2 cups bbq sauce
– 1 tbl of chipotle in can
– 2 tbl of Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 tbl Molasses

*Add all of these ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously, season with salt and pepper…

Assembly
– Make sure to grill the burger only for a minute on each side. Melt cheddar cheese
– toast Hawaiian rolls
– add burgers
– add slaw
– add bbq sauce.

Display patriotic TIKI torches for the Fourth of July

The best Fourth of July celebrations were at home or in the backyard of friends and family. Though when I was a child, it was easy to obtain sparklers which was our source of light along with the fading light of lightening bugs. Dad would handle a few, simple, fireworks but it was the sparklers in our hands that excited us the most. Then, as the mosquitoes began to bite, we would go inside and just watch the fireworks on TV since I was a Chicago city kid.

After moving to the suburbs and having my own children, once, again, we always celebrated Fourth of July in the backyard with neighbors though I don’t remember much about sparklers since those were not as easy to purchase as in the old days. Today, even as adults, my children and I can watch the suburban town fireworks from our backyard though we sometimes have to re-arrange our chairs away from the towering trees. Now, to add to our evening, we can establish a patriotic flare with a festive American Bamboo Torch from TIKI. Filled with the TIKI Brand Bite Fighter Torch Fuel, the easy to pour bottle really keeps the mosquitoes; lasting for several hours.

If you want to add a flame to a tabletop, the adjustable flame glass table torch( gold-dipped) is a beautiful addition to your yard or porch. TIKI torches truly create an outdoor oasis especially in celebration of the Fourth of July. Over fifty five items are available to choose as well as unique design idea options for your backyard or small porch on their website. Enjoy free shipping and join the TIKI Brand email list to get the latest news and offers.

When you gather on the Fourth with family and friends, it is a wonderful time to reflect on what we have accomplished as people, as a country, the continued freedom we have together and the simple beauties that surround us.

Happy Fourth of July from TIKI!

Wrigley chewing gum

Juicy fruit and bazooka,(bubble gum was bazooka penny candy with the comics inside wrapper) was the ones that fought for being number one in my life. I chose Bazooka more in the early years because if we had an allowance, we could buy penny candy and that was the selection in the bin at Cozy Corner on the south side of Chicago. Cozy Corner was a great little store and diner located next to South Chicago Hospital. Juicy Fruit came in a package and was more expensive. There was another store across the street that I remember buying magazines and my Archie comics. Another story coming soon on that trend.  But throughout my life, decades later, it was Juicy Fruit, a package of five, created by Wrigley here in Chicago.

In 1891, 29-year-old William Wrigley Jr. came to Chicago from Philadelphia with $32 and the idea to start a business selling Wrigley’s Scouring Soap. Wrigley offered premiums as an incentive to buy his soap, such as baking powder. Later in his career, he switched to the baking powder business, in which he began offering two packages of chewing gum for each purchase of a can of baking powder. Wrigley soon abandoned baking powder, entered the gum industry and in 1893, he offered two new gum brands; Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint.The popular premium, chewing gum, began to seem more promising. Wrigley also became the majority owner of the Chicago Cubs in 1921. William Wrigley Jr. died on January 26th, 1932, at the age of 70 and his son continued to run the company.

According to Wikipedia, In 2005, Wrigley purchased Life Savers and Altoids from Kraft Foods for US$1.5 billion.On January 23, 2007, Wrigley signed a purchase agreement to acquire an 80% initial interest in A. Korkunov for $300 million with the remaining 20% to be acquired over time. On April 28, 2008, Mars announced that it would acquire Wrigley for approximately $23 billion. Financing for the transaction was provided by Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan (Warren Buffet) Berkshire Hathaway held a minority equity investment in Wrigley until October 2016.

 

Free O’Douls at the Cubs vs Mets game: June 21st

Chicago fans can get their hands on limited edition cans of O’Doul’s, designed by local artist Brandon Breaux, on June 21st at the Cubs vs. Mets game at Wrigley Field. Visitors can visit Responsible Fan kiosks on concourse levels during the game. Fans at the game can look out for O’Doul’s signage on the big screen in the outfield to learn where else they can find the cans throughout the stadium. The cans will be given away at the game free of charge, no purchase necessary.

After the ODoul’s can refresh in November with NYC-based artist Mr. Kiji, they wanted to bring him back for a second launch and expand to two additional top markets in the U.S. The O’Doul’s team worked internally to identify three unique artists that produce art reflective of their cities’ one-of-a-kind aesthetics, and approached Brandon for this unique opportunity.

Brandon talks about his artwork for the brand, “The design utilizes color forms to communicate, which I feel speaks to the brand’s message and impact that message holds. The goal of the design is to make something that attracts people and gives off a good vibe in any environment.”

Brandon Breaux is a fine art/designer who was born in Chicago graduating with a Bachelors of Art and Design from DePaul University and is currently working out of the city. He is widely known as the artist behind all 3 of Chance the Rapper’s iconic album covers but continues to be involved with painting, sculpture, web, video and print projects. Brandon has his own shop online with a variety of art that you can purchase including a picture of Chicago’s great Harry Caray (still available) and Harold’s Chicken; another Chicago favorite. However, his overall goal is to inspire and educate by producing creative solutions. Once a child myself from the south side of Chicago, I appreciate Brandon’s collaboration with The Invisible Space at 85th and Cottage Grove offering yoga and meditation sessions helping to transform others into a more healthy life style; just like promoting a non-alcoholic environment.

O’Doul’s has been a leader in premium non-alcohol beers for nearly 30 years. Wanting to socialize responsibly, Anheuser-Busch- ODouls bottled beer was always my choice at a restaurant or bar for it’s full body taste. Perfect for attracting people who want to enjoy the fine beer flavor but take pleasure in a sober/ positive event. O’Douls and O’Douls Amber contain only the finest of natural ingredients-including barley malt, domestic and imported whole cone hops, brewer’s yeast, select grains and water.

In a time when more brands are entering the non-alcohol beverage category, O’Doul’s wanted to shake up its look for long standing brand fans, while enticing new consumers to drink responsibly and in moderation this summer.

My Dad, Happy Fathers Day

When I looked up the definition of father, I was amazed at how many categorized fathers we have today. From the weekend/holiday fathersurprised father, stepfathersecond father to just mothers partner or husband; all of which define “the Dad”.  And, believe it or not, there is the DI Dad who is the social/legal father of children produced via donor insemination.

Father is also considered a founder of a body of knowledge or institution like George Washington; the Father of Our Country. And now I can understand why fathers are seen as authority figures and are suppose to possess experience and knowledge in life to pass onto others. That is what being a father is about; the active father who speaks of wisdom and guidance.

My father passed away when I was twelve and Fathers Day was not a Hallmark occasion that was at the top of my list. He was several years older than my Mom and always wanted a little girl. My mother never re-married and someone said that a father is a girl’s first love. Only he could push me on my new swing set at our home in Chicago.

With time, I realized my father, John, was gone and could not be replaced though I would always be grateful for the strong memories of his love for me. Some didn’t have any example in their lives. And as the years passed, I figured out that I could have as many fathers as I wanted; a trusted male friend who nurtures and helps you live a more fulfilling life.

They can be a neighbor that offers support when you struggle, comfort when you are down and their snow blower when there is a foot of snow in your driveway. They can be a manager who reminds you that you are truly worth it regardless of your awkward stumbles at work. They can be a co-worker that offers you a smile, something to laugh at, thumbs up and a cup of coffee when you are having a bad day.

They can be a brother who offers unconditional love and commitment regardless of how you frustrate him. They can be any relative who is protective, concerned and sees your success rather than incompetence. They can be your best friend’s father who spent hours tutoring you in math and building your self-esteem in a subject you never thought possible.

They can be the salesman or contractor that is really looking out for your safety and best interests. They can be your postman who always makes sure your mail is delivered on time and doesn’t rush off without saying hello. They can be teachers and role models to all children of any age and family.

Most of all, they can be the one above…you may not be able to see, but truly loves you.

(Re-posted-originally published June 17, 2018)