Winner of Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
LCA's Mission: To Inspire People to Join Together for the Social, Cultural, and Physical Enrichment of Our Neighborhood.
Dear Neighbors:
Chances are you've seen a bit of St. Patrick's Day cheer on our streets this week. It doesn't take the luck of the Irish or a four-leaf clover  to spot it in the bars and restaurants that dot the area. 

St. Patrick's Day comes just once a year. The "magic" of our neighborhood, however, is available all year round. It's on display in our local parks with their fountains, statues and sculptures. It is evident in the passion of LCA members for causes important to them. It was easy to feel in the warmth of conversations neighbors old and new at the recent members  wine tasting reception hosted by J9 Wine Bar.

The term shamrock means "young sprig." It is encouraging that within our midst there are members of a younger generation emerging like a sprig to help keep neighborhood magic alive for years to come. Also emerging are an increasing number of neighborhood businesses who have taken notice of LCA's ability to connect with the neighborhood through our events, our award winning communication channels and our other initiatives. We appreciate those who have chosen to help LCA fulfill the mission our organization:  To Inspire People to Join Together for the Social, Cultural, and Physical Enrichment of Our Neighborhood. To all of you who support LCA, we offer this verse from the traditional Irish Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home.
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

From the Heart,

Kenneth Dotson, LCA President  

P. S. Feel free to call or email at any time to learn more about LCA or if you have neighborhood concerns. | 773.5531.5515 | 
Visit our   newsletter archive.   Not an LCA member? Join Now Follow LCA on Facebook.
By: Kathy Jordan

Denice Bocek
If you want something done, give it to a busy person. So goes the saying. In Denice Bocek's case, it's true.

Denice is an LCA member and a Project Manager with McCaffery Interests for the Lincoln Common project, a mixed-use development being built on the former site of Children's Memorial Hospital. A full-time commitment, yes. But her commitments don't stop there. She works overtime on her love for animals, a love that began at an early age.

The first manifestation of that love came when she was 7 years old and learned that meat came from animals. For her, that meant the end of eating meat. "My mother so was relieved it wasn't her cooking that turned me into a vegetarian," laughs Denice.
Allie and Zoe

It wasn't until she graduated from college that she adopted her first dog, a Keeshond named Nicholas who captured her heart.  "I narrowed it down from 22 dogs I saw at the Orphans of the Storm Shelter . Nicholas was an older dog I knew would have more difficulty being adopted. I wanted to give him a good home," said Denice. Two years later, she adopted a Samoyed named Casey. Today, Denice and her husband David Lobocki have three dogs, all rescues: Chloe, Zoe and Allie.

Allie and Zoe
Allie and Zoe share a special bond. Surrendered by their owner in 2012 to a high rate kill shelter at four weeks old, Denice saw them on Facebook one evening with the caption Code Red on the Euthanasia List. "It was breaking my heart! So, I woke up at 4:30 the next morning, flew to North Carolina, drove an hour to the vet where they were being quarantined. I paid for their vaccinations so they could cross state lines with me and allow me to find them a new home when I returned to Illinois," she said. According to Denice, Allie & Zoe were so tiny at 6 pounds that they both fit into one mesh dog carrier on the flight from North Carolina through Atlanta to Chicago.

Due to bad weather, the flight carrying Denice and her newly rescued pups did not arrive at the gate at O'Hare until 2:30 the next morning. Somewhere along the way on the journey home, Denice realized she didn't need to find the pups a new home; they already had one with her and David. "I carried Allie and Zoe into their new home just in time for my wake-up alarm to go off," she said.

Denice has put personal passion for animals into action in a way that few have. Early on she volunteered with NAVS, an organization focused on laboratory research facilities and the discontinuation of product testing on animals. "Computer technology has advanced...there are other more accurate ways to test products." she says. From there, Denice became more generally interested  in animal welfare. She volunteers her free time fundraising, transporting animals and working on animal welfare legislation. She also became certified through   continued
20% Savings at ViaStrozzi | 25% at Bacino's

LCA is pleased to welcome the newest participants in our Values From the Heartâ„¢ program. The latest additions are ladies fashion boutique ViaStrozzi (1971 N. Halsted Street) and popular pizzera Bacino's of Lincoln Park (2204 N. Lincoln Avenue).

First established in Florence, Italy, ViaStrozzi offers limited edition fashion items designed and crafted by top Italian designers. LCA members in good standing will receive a savings of 20% on in-store purchases, excluding items on sale, when they present their valid membership card.

Known for their fresh, high quality ingredients, Bacino's of Lincoln Park has been the number one selling pizza at the Taste of Chicago for the past 30 years. Effective immediately, LCA members will receive a savings of 25%, when they present their valid LCA membership card.

Both ViaStrozzi and Bacino's will be offering additional exclusive values to LCA members including member-only events.

Follow us win Facebook to be alerted when upcoming member events with Geja's Cafe,   ViaStrozzi, Bacino's, J9 Wine Bar and others are scheduled.
Third Consecutive Year to Receive Award
For the third consecutive year, LCA's newsletter, From the Heart, has been named a Constant Contact All-Star based on the performance metrics of the newsletter. From the Heart's average open rate is nearly 250% higher than the average of Constant Contact's more than 500,000 non-profit clients.  The notification from Constant Contact stated:

" For another year, From the Heart demonstrated exemplary engagement with your audience. Once again, you set the standard of excellence. We are thrilled to present you with the All Star Award for 2017."
Members Enjoy Free Wine Reception at J9 

A nice crowd of LCA members gathered at J9 Wine Bar  (1961 N. Halsted) on the evening of Wednesday, March 7th for a free reception featuring a selection of Italian wines paired with delicious hors d'oeuvres. J9 manager, Morgan Gabrielson provided pairing tips.

The event was part of LCA's new Values from the Heartâ„¢ program which provides  LCA
members  with access to member-only events as well as significant values from a select group of neighborhood businesses. J9 Wine Bar is an on-going participant in LCA's Values From the Heart program. LCA members receive a 21% discount at J9 when they present a valid membership card.

Event Celebrating Its 5th Year

Lincoln Central's popular family-friendly spring event, Spring Zing, will return on Saturday, June 2nd for its 5th consecutive year. The event will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Lincoln Central Park (corner of Lincoln & Dickens) and along Richard "Dickie" Harris Way (the stretch of Dickens between Lincoln & Larrabee). 

See photos  from  Spring Zing 2017.

Attention Local Business Owners
Businesses interested in being a sponsor of Spring Zing, or other LCA events, should contact us. Hundreds from the neighborhood attend Spring Zing each year. Nintey-five percent of attendees at Lincoln Central events walk to them, meaning they can also walk to your businesses.
LCA members now receive exclusive benefits not available to non-members. These benefits are made possible by the generosity of neighborhood businesses who want to thank those who support LCA through membership

If you believe you are an LCA member current on your dues and have not received your membership card(s), please contact us .
Thursday, May 10 | 6:00 to 9:00 PM

excited to welcome spring with the return of  Lincoln Park Uncorked: An Armitage - Halsted Wine Stroll . This year's event will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Enjoy over 25 curated samples of red and white wines while strolling through one of the city's most famous shopping districts.

Last year's event sold out, so get your tickets now. LCA members current on their dues receive a $5 discount on all tickets to the Chamber's consumer events, including Lincoln Park Uncorked. Members may contact us to receive the discount code.
Thursday, April 19 | 5:30 to 7:30

Bridgeview Bank invites you to Art In the Park at their Lincoln Park branch (1971 N.Halsted). View the works of upcoming local artists while enjoying complimentary food and beverages from some of Lincoln Park's most popular establishments.  The event is free of charge.

Thu rsday,  March 22nd
  LCA Monthly Board Meeting
LCA Board meetings are normally held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge (Halsted & Armitage). Board meetings are open to the public. 
Tuesday, April 10th
LCA Zoning Committee Mtg.
Zoning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge (Halsted & Armitage). Zoning Committee meetings are open to the public. 

Thu rsday, April 19th 
Bridgeview Bank's Art in the Park

Thu rsday,  
April 26th
  LCA Monthly Board Meeting
LCA Board meetings are normally held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge (Halsted & Armitage). Board meetings are open to the public. 

May 8th
LCA Zoning Committee Mtg.
Zoning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge (Halsted & Armitage). Zoning Committee meetings are open to the public. 

Thu rsday, May 24th
  LCA Monthly Board Meeting
LCA Board meetings are normally held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge (Halsted & Armitage). Board meetings are open to the public. 

Saturday, June 2nd
5th Annual Spring Zing
Join us for an afternoon of family friendly fun at LCA's 5th Annual Spring Zing from  1:00 to 3:00 PM  at Lincoln Central Park (corner  Lincoln  & Dickens). Stay tuned for additional details.

Sunday, June 24
4th Annual Summer Sipper
The 4th Annual Summer Sipper will return to our beautiful, award-winning Fire Station Park & Gardens on Sunday, June 24th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.   Summer Sipper is a free neighborhood reception style event event featuring  dishes from local restaurants and dishes prepared by neighbors using herbs grown in the garden.

Thursday, September 13th
5th Annual Evening in the Garden
Enjoy a neighborhood reception from 6 to 8:00 PM in our beautiful, award-winning Fire Station Park & Gardens. Hors' d'oeuvres and beverages will be served. Stay tuned for additional details.

Saturday, October 27th
11th Annual Howler at Bauler   
The 11th annual Howler at Bauler will be held at Bauler Park on Saturday, October 27th from 3:00 to 5 PM.
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Meet LCA's New Board Secretary Robert Rixer

Rixer at a beach in Perth
LCA Board member and new Board Secretary, Robert Rixer, a native of Perth, Australia, exemplifies the opportunity LCA provides for individuals to become community leaders at a young age. 

Since graduating from Illinois Institute of Technology, Robert has worked in the construction industry. He is employed by Power Construction-Luxury Residence Group serving as Project Engineer, managing the construction of luxury single family homes and condominiums. He is also an avid real estate investor focusing primarily on rehabbing and selling single family homes in the Chicago suburbs.

From the Heart: Chicago is a long way from Perth, Australia. What brought you here?

Robert: I wanted to study in the US. At 17, I was offered a scholarship to play soccer at the Illinois Institute of Technology while earning my engineering degree.

From the Heart: How is Perth similar to Chicago? How is it different?

Robert: While both are pretty big cities, Perth is a relatively young city compared to Chicago and has lots of newer buildings. It lacks the rich architecture and history Chicago has, but Perth has beautiful beaches and warm climate year-round warm. People are often bewildered when they learn we celebrate Christmas and New Year in Perth on the beach in 90-degree weather.

Rixer on Senior Day at IIT in 2013
From the Heart: How did you develop the skills necessary to play soccer at the collegiate level?

Robert: My dad transferred his passion for soccer to me. I began playing as soon as I could walk and started playing competitively around age eight. My career progressed from there.

In my freshman year at IIT, I was one of 27 internationals on the squad, making it a pretty atypical American college soccer experience. Nonetheless it was a great time and I'll forever cherish my four seasons.

Retired kangaroo boxer, Robert Rixer
From the Heart: When you were younger, you were a kangaroo boxer. Did you ever consider pursuing that more fully instead of soccer?

Robert: No, not really. I lost all my early matches, mostly by knockout. Then, they started to use real kangaroos and began allowing them to box with both hands. As I'm sure you can imagine, I felt that gave the kangaroos an unfair advantage. Quite frankly, it was a bit scary for me. So, I decided to focus on soccer instead.

From the Heart: So, just to be clear, you have never boxed a live kangaroo?

Robert: No. I have not.

From the Heart: With family and friends back in Perth, there must have been some temptation to return. Why did you settle in Chicago?

Robert: Studying in the US was a wonderful experience and I thought what better place to start my professional working career than in the greatest economy on the planet. There is so much opportunity in this country for those who are willing to work hard and seek it out.

From the Heart: How did you end up in Lincoln Park? continued
Special Note: If you use Gmail, Yahoo mail or other another webmail program, and in some cases on Android devices, you will either need to click on the "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here" link at the very top of the email, or the "message clipped" link at the bottom left of the page. Otherwise you will not see the full email and some of the links will not work. In some instances when using Outlook, only the link at the very top will be available.
Gardening "Artists" Bring Fire Station Park to Life
By Sally Drucker 

Home of award winning artistry
Gardens do not simply happen. They require planning and, yet, even that is often not enough. Gardens are designed and created and, like works of art, require inspiration. And even a bit of magic, perhaps.

 "A painting, like a garden, is a self-conscious framework with defined borders," says artist Cathy Layzell. "Within that framework there is a constant dance between decision making and planning and allowing intuition to take over and direct the brush," Layzell adds.

The Park is magical setting for LCA events!
Certainly, that is also true with our gardens at Fire Station Park. There we play with combinations of colors, texture and even taste when we choose what to plant in the Park's perennial beds and vegetable gardens.

Just like the first layer of a painting, this time of year the garden is indistinct, with just the suggestion of what is to come. All signs of life are hidden from view, but the planning and the mind's eye are painting a much different picture. But a picture of what?

Imagine the canvas of Lincoln Central Association's award-winning Fire Station Park coming alive with the arrival of spring. What is first drawn on that canvas? Expect the delicate blue of forget-me-nots, the pink blossoms of the redbud trees and the fragile columbine in hues of purple, magenta and white.

Our herb gardens
Mayapples with their umbrella-like leaves, bleeding heart with teardrop flowers and Virginia bluebells fill the shaded corners of the canvas. Early in the year there is minimal color which can be considered "negative space," a space where an individual can complete the image in their mind. These start the creation of a work of art which only nature can provide and we, as stewards of the park, curate throughout the season.

Our art is interactive. The landscape comes alive with herbs, plants that draw butterflies and bees, and vegetables that are promising a bounty of fresh produce - a rewarding outcome of the palate we have created.

Bring the neighborhood together at Fire Station Park
Gardening is a chess game with nature because the variables are so many. We are the artists at work, but our vision is solely reliant upon the willingness of the garden to accept our suggestions. It is up to the sun, rain and temperature to build an ever changing landscape for all to enjoy.
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Between monthly newsletters, Lincoln Central provides frequent neighborhood updates via  our Facebook page. Updates are also made on special member only events and other benefits available to members only.  So follow us on  Lincoln Central's Facebook page  a nd stay updated throughout the month.
bocek Bocek, continued

Denice and David at pet fundraiser
FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) for front-line emergency response to rescue animals. "I have a particular interest in working on natural disasters, although it is challenging with a full time career." To bridge that gap, Denice applied her professional project manager skills to a remodel at the North Chicago Animal Control facility.

A collage of dogs rescued by Denice and David
Currently, Denice volunteers with Anti-Cruelty Society, PAWS Chicago, Best Friends and the ASPCA among other organizations that focus on everything from educating people about behavioral issues, to dealing with the loss of a pet, and reporting on animal cruelty.  

"Her work is very much appreciated," says Michelle Grimm, a volunteer with Save-A-Pet who met Denice years ago at one of the adoption center's annual auctions. "She is a huge animal advocate on many different levels-transports, home visits, the legislative front and the financial level just to name a few. Denice plays a very beneficial role in the animal welfare world."

Still she wants to do more. "There is a bigger issue here and I want to be in a position to build momentum and be a part of the team to drive change," she says. And, indeed, she is driving change.

A longtime supporter of HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States), Denice applied for a new District Leader Volunteer role which plays an essential role in legislative advocacy and local animal protection initiatives. After extensive interviews, she received an offer earlier this year to join the team and accepted the position of District Leader Volunteer for IL Congressional District 8.

Denice, at center, at rescue event
"This HSUS role provides a platform to advocate for animal welfare and anti-cruelty initiatives on federal and state levels to legislators for animals of all types," says Denice. "It takes a village when it comes to animal welfare. Change happens over the course of time, not quickly. I just want to do my part. It's all about giving back," she added. 

To those who share her love for animals, she says:  "There are so many ways you can help, whether it is making phone calls, fundraising, volunteering at a physical shelter facility or animal welfare advocacy."

Dominique Allion, former president of  Save-A-Pet says, "Denice has been involved in rescue for many years, networking with different animal organizations helping save animals who otherwise would have perished. She is a big supporter of Save-A-Pet's no-kill mission and a regular donor to our causes."

A quote from Mahatma Gandhi sums it up for Denice: "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Robert: My friends and I used to venture up to the Lincoln Park establishments during college. We were envious of the DePaul kids who got to live full-time in "LP" and vowed that when we graduated, we would all get jobs and go live up there. So, right after graduation, I moved into an apartment on Lincoln Avenue and haven't looked back!

From the Heart: What prompted you to join LCA?

Robert: I'd been involved with numerous other organizations over the years but felt it was necessary to first make an impact in my own backyard. The neighborhood has been so good to me. I saw LCA as a great opportunity to make an impact on the community.

From the Heart: You didn't just join LCA, you also immediately became active, attending Board meetings and zoning committee meetings and volunteering to help at LCA events. What made you decide to become so active?

Robert: From my first involvement with LCA, I was warmly welcomed. I felt the affection and pride members had for their community. Being among people who are so passionate about their neighborhood and welcoming of fresh faces and new ideas was contagious. That inspired me to get involved! 

And when I attended an LCA event for the first time, I was quite amazed by the way the organization could bring so many neighbors together in one place.

From the Heart: What is the biggest contribution you hope to make to the neighborhood through your involvement with LCA?

Robert: To inspire a new generation to become involved in LCA and other community endeavors. Our neighborhood has a very rich and proud history but constantly needs new people with the same pride and passion for their community as the current leaders. If we can engage enough people within the neighborhood, we're bound to identify the future leaders of this community.

From the Heart: Why do you believe people should join LCA?

Robert: There are many people who want to make a difference but don't know where to begin. There is no better place to start than your own backyard. LCA offers a great platform for people to engage in their communities and discover what they truly care about. Most would be surprised to find out how far reaching LCA's impact in the community actually is. For me, it's also been a phenomenal opportunity to meet elected officials and leaders of neighborhoods throughout Lincoln Park.

From the Heart: What do you enjoy most about your professional career? What are your long term career objectives?

Robert:  Currently, I am a Project Engineer with Power Construction -- Luxury Residence Group and really enjoy the relationship aspects of my job As I've become more adept over my career, I've discovered that business is all about relationships. It doesn't matter if you are running a tiny neighborhood restaurant or a Fortune 500 company; your relationships with the people around you is ultimately what matters most.

I'm quite entrepreneurial and would like to run my own business in the future; likely in real estate development.

From the Heart:  Lastly, our research for this interview uncovered an article from your college days that referenced your "playboy lifestyle" and "the relentless media frenzy" that followed you one summer. You were quoted as saying: "You learn to live with it.......I can cope with the paparazzi following my every step, the constant rumor mill, the beautiful women and the celebrity lifestyle as long as my performance and the team's morale is not damaged." The article quoted you as saying that your goal was to be "an icon of a generation."  Robert, is there anything else you'd like to share with us about that period of your life?  

Robert: How far did you have to dig to find that article? 

From the Heart: We ask the questions, Robert. Your role is to answer them.

Robert: Unfortunately, I was the victim of a prank by one of my teammates. This guy invented fake news. He happened to also be sports editor of the campus newspaper. He knew the editor in chief didn't proofread the sports articles, so he wrote this and it got published! I'll admit, he got me good.  I can't believe it's still online. I should probably get it taken down before it causes me any problems.
There is still time

committee If you have an interest in serving on one or more of LCA's committees, there is still time. If interested, please  contact us   at your earliest convenience. The committees for  2018 are: 
  • Parks
  • Communications & Membership
  • Arts & Culture
  • Events
  • Planning & Zoning
  • Community Affairs 
  • Governance
You do not need to serve on LCA's Board of Directors or live within the Association's geographic boundaries* to serve on one of the Association's committees. You must, however, be a member of the organization.

A Memorial Fund has been established for fallen
Commander Paul Bauer
Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer  who lost his life in the line of duty on February 13th. To donate to this account, please visit any Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union location, or call 312-726-8814. Checks made payable to: Paul Bauer Memorial Fund can be mailed  to:

Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union
Attn: Paul Bauer Memorial Fund
1407 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Keeping Our  Neighborhood Healthy

Please help make our communities safer:
  • Become a court advocate - send the message that crime will not be tolerated.  Contact my office more more information.
  • Post "Neighborhood Watch" Signs - we have them in our office
  • Turn on your porch light and leave it on at night
  • If you see suspicious people loitering in the area, call 911.


Let's all do our part to keep our neighborhood safe. The poster shown below can help discourage crime. To obtain copies of this poster, you may stop by the Alderman's office or contact LCA.

Join  LCA  online | Download LCA  membership form | Support your neighborhood parks.
From the Heart  is an award winning newsletter published monthly by Lincoln Central Association, c o-editors. Kenneth Dotson and Kathy Jordan. Please email any story ideas.

From the Heart  r eceived a 2016 and 2017   Additionally, From the Heart has been named a  Constant Contact All-Star for 2015, 2016 and 2017  based on the open  rates and other metrics associated with this  newsletter in comparison to other Constant Contact clients. Visit our archive to catch up on past issues.