Holy Trinity High School Service Day

Jack Wangelin - Thursday, April 10, 2014
HTHS Service Day

Holy Trinity High School is in the midst of planning our annual Service Day during which the entire student body is deployed to sites across the city to do service projects for various charities and businesses.

 

This event is a community-building event for the students at Holy Trinity, and it benefits many community organizations.  Each year we get feedback from the organizations we help praising our students’ efforts and thanking us for helping with jobs that might not have otherwise been done.  

Jose Alatorre, Director of Group Services at Northwestern Settlement House said of last year’s service day group“Holy Trinity students and chaperones did a great job.  Settlement staff that worked with them commented to me on their diligence and positive attitudes….”

HTHS Service Students

Service Day student groups consist of 10-15 kids who go to sites like the Greater Chicago Food Depository, St. Helen School, The Polish Museum, Franciscan Outreach, and more.  The event is on the morning of Friday, May 2nd, with work taking place from 9:00am to 12:00pm.  We are looking for charities or businesses that have a job for the students during that time.  


Jobs typically range from things like filing and clean-up to packaging food for needy families to reading to preschool children.  Groups are chaperoned by HT staff and are willing to do spring cleaning, office tasks, shelf stocking, store room organizing, landscaping, and more.


Anyone interested in having a group help at their business should contact the school by April 25 by calling 773-278-4212, via e-mail at bbaisden@holytrinity-hs.org, or by filling out the HTHS Service Day Interest Form.


The End Is Nothing, The Road is All: A Nelson Algren Documentary

Jack Wangelin - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Nelson Algren: The End Is Nothing, the Road Is All

A documentary on the life of Nelson Algren, the literary figure of local infamy; produced by local studio, Bullet Proof Film.

Bullet Proof Film Logo
Bullet Proof Film Inc.

Chicago’s Wicker Park is home to Bullet Proof Film, a full service production company and producer of award winning documentaries whose work has been distributed world wide airing on PBS, ARTE France, Link TV and the History Channel. It is also the site of esteemed writer Nelson Algren’s most evocative and influential work. So, it seems fitting that former Wicker Park resident and award winning filmaker Denis Mueller and filmmaker Mark Blottner have joined with Ilko Davidov of Bullet Proof Film to produce the definitive documentary on the life and work of Nelson Algren.


Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All is a feature length documentary film about one of America’s most important -- yet underappreciated and unjustly forgotten authors. The film deftly evokes the atmosphere of 1950’s Wicker Park/Chicago, the perfect setting to revisit, through Algren’s signature writings, issues that are still very relevant today - government surveillance, social and political activism, the excesses of a materialistic society, and the role of the artist in it.

The soulful notes of jazz great Oscar Pettiford, performed by long time Bucktown musician Richie Pardo, provide an emotional chiaroscuro to Algren’s flailing, tragic battles with the city of Chicago, his critics, the FBI, too many women - most famously Simone de Beauvoir, and ultimately, himself.

We are seeking support for this project from those who are closest to it. To Algren, Chicago and Wicker Park were more than just places to live and work, they were characters that came alive through his writing, they were like family. And so, we too are part of the “Algren family” and have been working for over a decade to finish and bring this film home, to Chicago, where it belongs. 


Our Indigogo campaign is drawing to a close.  We are within reach of our goal. Your help can make this amazing story of Wicker Park’s most illustrious writer, a reality. Please donate what you can, today.

"The End Is Nothing, the Road Is All" LINKS:

Indiegogo 

The Film's Website 

Facebook 

Twitter

Vimeo

A big thank you to Ilko Davidov, Carmine Cervi, & Bullet Proof Film, Inc. for bringing WPB a fantastic biopic on Nelson Algren, and for writing this post to help get the word out.

Member Spotlight: Canine Crews

Jack Wangelin - Monday, March 31, 2014
Canine Crews Logo

Canine Crews is a perfect fit for the dog-loving WPB Negihborhdood. They offer over 3,500 square paws (or 7,000 square feet for you humans) of indoor play space, a separate small dog playroom, outside yard and over 50 boarding suites of various sizes. Catherine Crews is the owner & founder of Canine Crews; You're a dog lover, you want a dog lover taking care of your pup, even after this short introduction, you will know that Catherine & Canine Crews is dedicated to the dogs.


Briefly describe your business and introduce yourself. 

Catherine Crews

Hi, I'm Catherine Crews and I graduated from the University of Arkansas with BA in History and in Art with a minor in Biology. I have lived in Chicago since 1999 and I bring a passion for animals along with the knowledge of running a small business. In my former life, I worked over 12 years in the metal industry. The last 10 years were with a company under 15 employees; building the work ethic and patience required in working with dogs - oh, and people! 


Canine Crews offers four rooms, 12,000 square feet of total indoor space, as well as a large, fenced outdoor space. Daycare is broken into groups by size, temperament and age; allowing dogs to exercise and socialize in a way that is natural to their pack mentality. Your furry friend will come home relaxed and happy and you will experience a better behaved dog.  Canine Crews offers all you could need in pet care: daycare, boarding, dog walks, pet sitting, dog bus, grooming and retail!

 

You must have a huge heart for dogs!   

Growing up, I was that kid who brought every animal home to save. I had dogs, fish, cats, birds, snakes and a white mouse I unsuccessfully tried to hide from my mother. In college, while on a trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I fell head over heels for a little fluff-ball that was the runt of a litter. I adopted my dog, Barney, from the local humane society that day. It was possibly the most transient point of my life, but we somehow survived my college years (thanks to a lot of dog-sitting from my parents). Barney came with me to St. Louis and then to Chicago where he lived to be almost 16 years old! He would have loved to come to Canine Crews but I lost him in February 2009!  In the spring of 2011, a new dog decided to waltz into my life and has trained me very well. Carlos (Fu Man) has become an integral part of my world as well as buddy to the staff of Canine Crews. He's a 12 pound mess of Schipperke & Poodle with a bit of Pomeranian thrown in for some fancy prancing. I call him a Schipper-Doodle but others call him Fancy Pants or Fu Man!


What made you decide to turn your love of dogs into a business? 

The opportunity!  I was toying around with ways I could use my knowledge outside of non-profit rescue work and when a friend mentioned this building, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to give it a try.  I spent every waking moment educating myself on the industry and studying my target demographic in WPB to find out how I could make this business a success.  It was a whirlwind of time spent between the library, online and utilizing the SBA SCORE program for my business plan and financials but it all boiled down to the fact that I just KNEW I could do this and that I would be providing a great service to our neighborhoods while facilitating my love for happy, healthy animals.

What new products and services are you most excited about offering? 

Our pet boutique has grown from a small corner in the facility's lobby to a thriving retail resource for pets and pet owners!  We've put together a carefully curated selection of food, treats, toys, and event clothing, all with an eye toward healthy and happy pets.  

Speaking of happy and healthy pets, I am also super jazzed for our debut Pet Health Expo taking place on Sunday April 27th 2014 in the large upstairs space at Canine Crews, with over 6,000 square feet of space for attendees and vendors.The event is being sponsored and co-promoted by Canine Crews, Chicago Canine Concierge, One Tail at a Time and Alive Rescue, and we plan to showcase a slew of services and products related to the health and well-being of today's pets. Companies offering healthy food, vitamins and supplements, dog training, and veterinary care will be on premise to answer questions, hand out samples, and help pet owners make the best choices for their pet's care.  

During all my free time, I am also creating and launching a puppy program which launches in spring 2014.  It's definitely busy at Canine Crews!

What advice you you give anyone looking to go into the pet care industry?

Do your research and invest in training for you and your staff.  I spend hours every week studying animal behavior, natural foods and supplements and reviewing video of my staff to ensure we are providing the best care for our pups. Working with animals brings a ton of surprises and emergency situations and the better educated you are, the better you are able to handle. We use many professional training programs and I also am a certified instructor through PetTech for Pet First Aid and CPR; these are just a few of the large investments I have made over the years in me and my staff.  

Pet Care is a service industry and your biggest challenge is not the pets, it's your staff.  My secret?  Monthly staff meetings. One of my favorite parts of being the BOSS is that I get to help train and mold young adults into great employees and caring souls.  Nothing is better than an engaged staff that is excited about the progress a dog has made or a new program we are rolling out.  You should see them get excited about their new Pet First Aid/CPR patches - they can't wait to put them on their company sweatshirts!

What are your favorite dog-friendly spots in WPB?

Wow...there are so many!  WPB is such a dog-friendly place that I truly enjoy meeting friends and walking our pups around.  There are tons of restaurants where you can stop and get a drink or a bite to eat on the patio and lots of retail stores have water and treats (and Carlos knows them all)!  I like the shade of Penny's Noodles and Club Lucky for a great Friday afternoon sip. There are excellent dog parks that are well-maintained and tons of dog-friendly stores all around. WPB is truly one of the best places in the city for our four-legged babies.


Low Inventory Causes Market to Favor Sellers In Real Estate

Jack Wangelin - Monday, March 24, 2014

The Real Estate Concierge

A new real estate market blog series from Betancourt Realty

Low Inventory Causes Market To Favor Sellers In Real Estate 

Recently, the real estate market has been on a slow and steady incline. However, the newest obstacle in a full recovery appears to be the lack in inventory. “The lack of inventory is a big obstacle for the housing market right now,” says Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research for the National Association of Realtors. 
Inventory is being reported at 18% lower than it was in 2013. As a result of this lack in inventory, the market is temporarily becoming one favoring the seller.  It is matter of supply and demand. The less homes that are available translates to the prices of homes continuing to rise. Sellers are taking full advantage of the current state of the market and increasing the sales price of their homes.    According to Smith, a normal housing market brings about 1.5 million new housing starts a year, but only around 800,000 new homes hit the market last year, meaning supply is not keeping up with demand. 

“The Great Recession forced many of the smaller builders to go out of business because they didn’t have access to the credit market and those builders tend to make up about 50% of new home construction.”


The National Association of Realtors reported housing inventory fell 9.3% at the end of December, to 1.86 million available homes, which is about a 4.6 month supply at the current sales pace. According to Smith, a normal market has about a six-to-seven-month supply available. Existing homes, are now the driving force behind inventory levels with previously-owned homes selling more than 10-to-1 to new homes. Smith also states that the number of days a home sat on the market in December 2013 jumped to 72 from 56. However, he suggests that this particular increase may be due to the cold weather.

   
While much of this may sound like good news for current sellers, what this lack in inventory means for potential home buyers is possibly being faced with exorbitant prices for homes. However, it is not time to panic just yet. Some suggestions for potential home buyers in this market is to start your house hunting early. Starting as early as possible will put you in a better position in a market that is not presenting a mass amount of choices. Refer to a knowledgable real estate agent. Also, consider expanding the area you would like your desired home to be in. Lastly, be very realistic about the type of home you are in the market for. Determine what factors are an absolute necessity versus those that are negotiable.   


Information:  

  • http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/01/23/housing-biggest-obstacle-inventory/
  • http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/01/home-prices-2014-housing-starts/4181021/
This post was written by Betancourt Realty for the educaction & benefit of the WPB Chamber, it's members & those otherwise interested in today's real estate market. We warmly thank Betancourt & welcome the monthly post, keeping us updated on all things real estate. 

New Member Spotlight: Inkway Printing

Jack Wangelin - Monday, March 03, 2014
Inkway Printing
Inkway Printing & Promotional Products has recently joined the WPB Chamber. As one of WPBs growing numbers of digital storefronts, let's give Inkways Printing a warm welcome to the Chamber, & get to know a bit more about Inkway & its founder, Matt Northam.

Matt Northam - Inkway Printing Briefly describe your business and introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Matt Northam and I started Inkway Printing & Promotional Products LLC in March of 2013. I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago & have been living in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood for the past 5 years.

Inkway Printing & Promotional Products specializes in business printing & personalized promotional products. We distribute items like business cards, calendars, banners, pens, drinkware, custom apparel & thousands of other products!


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner?
To not fall behind with the accounting.  I’ve never been interested in the numbers side of the business so it was something I would procrastinate doing.  By putting it off, I ended up wasting more time & money when I could have been out trying to earn more business.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in Chicago
Do your research and ask a lot of questions. If you have a well thought out idea and business strategy, go for it! You don’t have to reinvent to wheel to have a successful business in Chicago. 

What product or service of yours are you the most excited about offering? 
There are a lot of cool IT products that we offer for your mobile, tablet & computer devices that you can personalize with your brand or business logo.  Items like custom gel skins for your cell phones/tablets or mini power banks/portable chargers which make great gifts to clients.

What do you like the most about being located in Wicker Park Bucktown? 
I love the atmosphere of Bucktown/Wicker Park. You don’t have to worry about the hustle and bustle of downtown & the neighborhood isn’t condensed to where you feel like you’re living on top of one another.  The bars/restaurants are excellent too!

What are the places in Wicker Park Bucktown that you cannot live without? 
Since I don’t have an actual store front, I find myself getting a lot of work done at Filter Café. I could probably stay there for 24 hours straight if they allowed me.  Lucia’s on North Ave. has the best meatball subs in Chicago. Delicious!


New Member Spotlight: Wastemaster

Jack Wangelin - Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Wastemasters Logo

Wastemaster has just joined the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber's membership. The owner, Mark Lestina, is hoping to bring a new set of tools to the businesses in the WPB area. Let's get to know Mark a bit better, and what Wastemaster is bringing to the proverbial table.


Mark Lestina;

My name is Mark Lestina and I am the owner of Wastemaster, Corp. I’ve been in the waste and recycling business for over 20 years and today as a small business entrepreneur, I am drawing off of my experience working for several large waste disposal companies.

Wastemaster is an online resource for business owners who want to reduce their waste disposal and recycling costs. Using a proprietary database application, we offer our customers easy access to local pricing information that would be time-consuming to assemble. Wastemaster’s savings program creates greater competition among waste haulers and potentially lowers your costs. 


Where did you get the inspiration to open your business? 

Years ago, the City of Chicago conducted a waste disposal pricing study of small businesses and found that in the same neighborhood, business owners pay a wide range of prices for trash hauling services. For example, a retail store on Damen may pay twice as much when compared to another retail store across the street. The reasons for this disparity are many but in general, businesses have a tremendous opportunity to reduce their costs. Wastemaster brings transparency to this pricing problem and helps its customers lower their disposal costs. 


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner? 

Nothing comes easy! There is no silver bullet for any business issue I’ve faced. Passion and hard-work are the two extremely important components necessary for any business owner to succeed. 


What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in Chicago? 

Don’t start your business unless you have passion for what you do. It sounds clichéd but when you start your business, it becomes part of your life and if you lack the passion for your product or service, you are going to have a miserable life. 


What product or service of yours are you the most excited about offering? 

Our service is pretty simple. We analyze waste disposal pricing data and we help negotiate better rates with various garbage companies on behalf of our customers. It’s exciting to see the look on the face of an owner who has just realized he/she just improved their financial bottom line. I can relate to this feeling because I’m a business owner just like they are and we all share the same feelings. 


What do you like the most about being located in Wicker Park Bucktown? 

The WPB neighborhood is where I raised kids, shopped, dined and experienced the best of Chicago. There are other great neighborhoods in Chicago but WPB is clearly one of the best. 


What kind of people are your customers? 

Simple. Any business owner who wants to find a way to reduce the cost of trash disposal. We make it easy. 



The Farmessori: Near North Montessori School's Urban Farm

Jack Wangelin - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wicker Park's Near North Montessori School 

(NNMS) has an urban garden, named the Farmessori, on Wood Street. The school uses the space as an outdoor classroom where students learn not only about growing vegetables but also about botany, ecology, and food systems. And since the students bring much of the food grown back to the school to be used in the student-run Sandwich Shoppe, they also learn about microeconomies, nutrition, collaboration and much more.

This fall the garden received a few new residents: two chickens were brought in and will be keeping the Farmessori bees company and NNMS hired a new farm coordinator, Joe Phillips. Here we meet Joe and learn more about his goals for this amazing space.


Near North Montessori School


 Hi Joe. What are the origins of the Farmessori? Where do you want it to go?

We're quite lucky to have a farm at all. The property is actually three city lots that were donated to us by a family whose grandchildren were students at Near North Montessori School. I've met them and they are just as passionate about urban farming as we are. It's really an incredible partnership. The first couple of years entailed a lot of hard work getting the land ready for farming. Now it's a healthy and thriving ecosystem - so many birds and insects buzzing there all the time. Our honey bees, for whom we built multiple hives, love it there.

I am also working closely with Jamee Warrenfeltz, our Sandwich Shoppe Teacher, to strengthen the connection that our meals have with the Farmessori. Our goal is to empower the NNMS Jr. High students to use all of the food harvested from the gardens in the food they prepare, while at the same time guiding our decision-making process in terms of what crops are planted. We have a rare opportunity to make the "farm to table" loop direct and meaningful.


Joe on the Farmessori


How does the Farmessori complement the lessons / academics from the classroom?

Honestly, there is no end to the possibilities with connections to the classroom. One classroom is studying the Great Depression in history, which is an excellent lens through which to view the farm. Just this morning I mentioned the concept of patterns while showing the students how to build a brick garden border, and they immediately tied it to math. By studying bees, we can touch on food security, the effects of industrialized farming, ecology, life sciences, and meteorology. The farm is a goldmine for educational points of entry.


Can the community get involved or support the Farmessori?

Absolutely. Beyond serving as a learning space, the farm also operates a CSA group (Community Supported Agriculture). Anyone can be part of it simply by emailing me.


 Why chickens at the Farmessori?

Chickens are a great learning experience on so many levels. First and probably the most obvious is that they provide eggs, which will be sent directly to the school's Sandwich Shoppe to be used for meals - all prepared by the Jr. High students. Chickens also offer a myriad of science lessons in embryology, anatomy, animal behavior, symbiotic relationships... the list goes on and on. Also, they are hilarious and cute, which gives the Farmessori a certain personality.


Any other wildlife you'd like to see there?

I would love to add more chickens. And I hear ducks are awesome farm birds, both in terms of egg production and comedic value. There has even been talk of goats, which is a real possibility since it's already part of Chicago's municipal code. If people think the chickens are adorable, the goats will be a real hit.


What happens over the winter?

We keep farming! One of our goals is to finish the second greenhouse so that we have two fully functional winter growing spaces, one of which will serve as a chicken coop when the temperature drops too low.  In addition, we will build cold frames that will extend the growing season for our outdoor garden beds. It would make me a happy farmer to know that our students leave Near North Montessori School confident that they can grow their own food all year round.


How'd you get into urban farming?

Over the last few years I've become interested in urban farming through the vibrant farmers market scene. While I was in graduate school I worked at a store called the Green Grocer, owned and operated by Cassie Green who is a real advocate for local producers. My role was to pick up orders from the Lincoln Park Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. There I became acquainted with many farmers, all of whom are wonderful people - creative, passionate folks. That experience really piqued my interest in the urban farming movement. I started building raised garden beds in my Ukrainian Village backyard and haven't looked back since.

Also, I suppose farming is in my genes. My great grandfather was a second generation German immigrant who farmed a few hundred acres in northwestern Oklahoma, the same area that was heavily featured in Ken Burns’ film The Dust Bowl. My grandparents went on to be cattle farmers and when I went to college, my grandma gave me a calf as a graduation present. At that time, in my early twenties, I wasn't too interested in farming so she would send me pictures of the cow as it grew. Pretty funny to get that kind of mail every once in a while.

I like the idea that I settled in Chicago, one of the most metropolitan centers in the world, to finally start my own farming career.


Thank you to the Near North Montessori School, and their Urban Farmer, Joe Phillips for sharing Farmessori with us. For more on the Farmessori, Visit it online.

Contact Joe Phillips at NNMS at jphillips@nnms.org

Check out the Near North Montessori School and their neighborhood events 


Member Spotlight: Sparkfactor

Jack Wangelin - Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Sparkfactor

Sparkfactor is one of the newest Members of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber. Let's get to know President and Co-Owner George Lowe and the Sparkfactor team a bit better in this Member Spotlight. If you would like to meet George and the Sparkfactor team in person, swing by Tonight's Mixer at Jane's.



 George Lowe, President
George Lowe, President

Briefly describe your business and introduce yourself.   

 Sparkfactor is a boutique digital agency in Wicker Park Bucktown. We love what we do! From a simple print ad, to an attention grabbing video or a complicated interactive website, our designers, storytellers, idea-makers, shooters, programmers, artisans, and thinkers work together to make your message and your brand the utmost memorable. We want to do it for you!



Where did you get the inspiration to open your business? 

The inspiration came over flaming saganaki at Santorini restaurant in Chicago.



What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner? 

Communication on all levels is the key.


What product or service of yours are you the most excited about offering? 
We’re super stoked to offer our clients highly designed responsive websites built in WordPress that they can manage themselves and they are optimized for whatever device you may be viewing it on (desktop, tablet or mobile).



What do you like the most about being located in Wicker Park Bucktown? 

It's great to have clients come down to our offices because it’s a neighborhood where you get to know people and there are so many choices of places to eat and things to do.









What are the places in Wicker Park Bucktown that you cannot live without? 

Club Lucky, Lottie’s, Gallery Café & Big Star


What kind of people are your customers? 
We love all people at Sparkfactor



What can people expect when they walk in your front door? 

Unbelievable creativity and design, execution of our plans and great service.



Do you have a great story about your business that you’d like to share? 

Were excited about our recent work for Howard Street in Rogers Park – hellohoward.org a grassroots campaign to promote the businesses and diversity of Howard Street.


Meet the Spark Fa

Chicago Traveler Reviews the Top 10 "To-Dos" in WPB

Jack Wangelin - Friday, August 23, 2013

Top 10 Things to Do in Wicker Park and Bucktown 


A Chicago vacation isn’t complete without spending some time in Wicker Park and Bucktown, and we recommend checking out these great attractions, restaurants and other things to do while enjoying these incredible neighborhoods. A quick hop on the Blue Line takes you to Wicker Park and Bucktown’s doorstep, so come enjoy!


1.  The “Fashion Hub” of Wicker Park is where main shopping streets (of Milwaukee, Damen, & North Avenues) intersect conveniently, bringing together original boutiques, vintage/antique stores, art galleries and more. While many tourists make shopping on Magnificent Mile a priority, those who enjoy the urban feel in a place that oozes culture and character will prefer shopping in Wicker Park and Bucktown for an afternoon. And the substantially lower prices don’t hurt either.

2.  Empty Bottle and Double Door are the top music venues in Wicker Park, and arguably two of the top music venues in Chicago. The size and location make these two spots perfect venues for bigger names on the weekends, and lesser known bands throughout the week. Both venues have bars, and you can get a cheap PBR to enjoy with your show, no problem.


3. The Congress Theater, while not in Wicker Park Bucktown proper, is a beauty on it’s own, and is not to be missed. Featuring ornate designs both inside and out, reminiscent of the Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. The theatre was designated an official Chicago landmark in 2002, and currently serves as another popular live music venue. Whether you go for a live show or just to check out the beauty of the theatre, it’s a sight many tourists marvel at and one of the many things to do in Chicago that shouldn’t be missed!

4. The Violet Hour is a Wicker Park lounge that inspires a classy feel, and bares no expense. Their ‘Juliet & Romeo’ cocktail was featured in Esquire Magazine, and their other mouth-watering cocktails do not settle for anything other than perfect. Nibble on some pulled pork sliders while enjoying the swanky feeling of this Wicker Park lounge.


5. Chicago is a city known for pizza, and ther are pizzerias all over town that people from all over the country come to try. Two of those top pizza destinations are located right here in Wicker Park!

a. Piece Brewery and Pizzeria

b. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria

6. Don’t miss out on a Saturday or Sunday Bongo Room Brunch. From the Chocolate Tower French Toast to delectable egg options, the Bongo room keeps the weekend crowd happy and full with brunch. Don’t forget a mimosa!


7. Music lovers should get their groove on at Reckless Records, Wicker Park’s treasure chest of vinyl, CDs and DVDs. They offer pretty good trade-in value for music enthusiasts who are looking to find good swap. Whether visiting the area, or in town for good Reckless Records is always a good place to spend a few hours getting lost in the inventory of amazing musical gems.


8. The Wicker Park Farmers' Market is a perfect Sunday morning activity, and stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies always feels great. The farmers market is currently one of the smaller in the city, but that’s why we love it! The Wicker Park Farmers' Market runs through October 6th this year.


9. Cool off with Oberweis ice cream. As summer slowly comes to an end, grabbing a cone (or maybe sharing one with your sweetheart?), is the best way to beat the heat. With chess boards on the tables ice cream lovers can easily spend some time relaxing and enjoying this a cold treat.


10. Grub and groove at Jerry’s on Division Street. With live music nearly every night, good beer, delicious sandwiches, and the occasional costume party, this is a go-to sandwich shop for an all-in-one fun time. Boasting an amazing beer list, a huge array of sandwiches, and good times that shouldn’t be missed.

 

The Editors of Chicago Traveler have kindly written this guest blog post of the Top 10 Things to Do in Wicker Park Bucktown. Thank you! Keep tabs on what to do in Chicago on the Chicago Traveler Website, and remeber to be a tourist in your own city.

Member Spotlight: St. Stanislaus Kostka School

Jack Wangelin - Tuesday, August 13, 2013


My name is Marjorie Hill 

and this will be my sixth year of serving as principal of St. Stan’s.  I grew up in a small farm town in upstate New York before moving to the Midwest to attend the University of Notre Dame.  After completing my degree, I did a two-year volunteer program called Alliance for Catholic Education in which I taught in the inner city of Dallas, TX while earning my Master’s degree.  After many years teaching in a variety of school settings, I was encouraged to pursue a principal position within the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Having earned a second Master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, I am extremely proud to lead such an amazing, innovative, and strong school.  There is no place I would rather be! 

St. Stan’s, located at 1255 N. Noble St., serves Pre-School through 8th grade students. We provide a strong leadership driven curriculum is an academically challenging and faith-driven environment giving our students the skills necessary to thrive in the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. 


How did the school come about?

In 1874, St. Stan’s was originally founded to serve the Polish community who settled in the neighborhood.  Throughout our 139-year history we have been a two-year all-girls commercial high school, a four-year girls’ high school and an elementary school.  At one time St. Stan’s was the largest elementary school in the United States with more than 4,000 students in attendance. Today, we continue to be a place of warmth, excellence and faith and serve a wonderfully diverse group of students from throughout the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhoods and beyond.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a principal.

Change is essential.  With such a storied past, it is hard for people to conceive this.  Yet, St. Stan’s has always been a place that has valued tradition, yet adapted to the needs to of our neighborhood.  Failure to do so could easily have closed our doors. 

Over my five-year tenure at St. Stan’s, together with the St. Stan’s community, we have thoughtfully considered what our current students need in order to be successful in high school, college and life.  Challenging academics is a number one priority.  We want our students to know how to think, not just recite facts.

We also know that academic success is only one aspect to life success.  We have read and have heard over and over againthat the soft skills of the work place are often missing for people.  We believe those skills can be taught.  With unbelievable support from our school parents, we have developed a culture of values-based leadership.  Accountability, confidence, determination, initiative are what propels people to greatness.  While we would love to think all schools are doing this, they are not.  Through our intense work with The Leader in Me, we are giving our students an advantage-an advantage that will last a lifetime. 

What product or service of yours are you the most excited about offering? 

We actually have three programs about which I’m particularly proud and that have changed the learning culture here at St. Stan’s:  The University of Chicago's Everyday Math Program, Steven Covey's The Leader in Me Program and the Lucy Calkins Reading & Writing Workshop.  The Math and Reading programs have played a very strong part in increasing our Terra Nova test scores year after year.  

What do you like the most about being located in Wicker Park Bucktown?

I think that the current diversity in the neighborhood brings with it a liveliness that the founders of St. Stan’s could never have imagined.  In our particular situation, I watch children celebrate their similiarities as well as their differences equally well every day. 

What kind of people are your customers?

Our school is a microcosm of the world in which these children will one day serve as leaders.  Our students are a reflection of the neighborhood in which St. Stan’s is located.

What can people expect when they walk in your front door? 

To be welcomed warmly, to be treated with respect and to have questions answered honestly.  Not only will adults be treated this way, but we model these behaviors for the children that attend our school each day.

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St. Stanislaus School is continuing to accept applications for the 2013 school year. Please visit the St. Stanislaus School Website for more information

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