April 11, 2016

  letterDear Neighbors,

Thank you for taking a few moments each month to read our newsletter. This is a special issue for us. Not only is it the first anniversary edition of From the Heart , we also have an important project to tell you about.

For many years, LCA has nurtured parks and gardens throughout Lincoln Central, helping shape the earth and coax the best from the soil as a gift to the community. At its heart, a garden is about hope, possibilities and expectations for the reward of a bountiful harvest. This is also at the heart of LCA. Just as something will grow in our yards whether we garden or not, something will grow in our community, for better or worse, if left unattended. Like gardeners, a neighborhood must take responsibility for what it cultivates; it must mind its work, try to repel dangers, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed. Much like a gardener cultivates the soil and nurtures the seeds, LCA helps cultivate our community to create a lush, vibrant, living landscape for the individuals and families who live here. 

Our role as "gardeners," however, goes beyond our work with soil. One of our most important roles is helping strengthen the roots of the next generation by setting an example for our neighborhood's children in hopes they will grow strong in values and commitment to service so that when "harvest" time comes, they will be ripe for leadership in whatever community or organization they are planted in. With the above in mind, this is an especially exciting month at LCA. Not only are we gearing up for another season at Fire Station Park, our unique community garden project, we are pleased to share exciting news about LCA's role in an important new neighborhood project, the replacement of the playground equipment at Bauler Park. I hope you will take the time to read about this project. LCA's history with Bauler Park first began in 1999. Roots that deep are strong and lasting. 

LCA will keep you informed about the exciting new Bauler Park project in this newsletter. You can also stay posted by following us on Facebook and on Twitter  @heartlca . Next month, we'll introduce a special section of our website dedicated to this project. Of course, we'll also update you at all of our events, including LCA's  3rd Annual Spring Zing  on June 4. And, if you've got children, you don't want to miss Spring Zing 2016! A large crowd is expected.

If you're not already a member of Lincoln Central, why not join today?

From the Heart,
LCA President, Kenneth Dotson

P. S. Last month, Kathy J ordan, Vice President of LCA and co-editor of From the Heart, traveled to the Galapagos Islands. I've asked her to share her story with you and she kindly agreed.

Lincoln Central Association is updating the organization's bylaws.

Pursuant to Section 8.1 of the Lincoln Central Association Bylaws, the Board of Directors, in an effort to correct legal and other errors in the current Lincoln Central Association Bylaws, will read  the Proposed Amended Bylaws at the regular Board meeting held on April 28th, 2016 at 6:30pm at The Marquee Lounge 1973 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614.

The  reading of the Proposed Amended Bylaws at the April Meeting will satisfy the READING requirement established by the current Bylaws. 
No vote will be taken at this meeting!

We look forward to seeing you at the Marquee Lounge on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at 6:30pm. The proposed amended bylaws are attached.
Another Event From The Heart
Bauler Playlot Park Update Heart at Work

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
LCA Zoning Committee Meeting 

LCA's Zoning & Planning Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month to discuss ways to ensure open and fair processes for developers and homeowners. Meetings are held at 6:00PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted & Armitage. The public is invited to attend.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Coffee With the Commander

Concerned about safety in the community? Stop by for a cup of coffee with Commander George Devereux, 18th District Commander and gain insights into what's going on in the 18th District.
Where: Eva's Cafe |  1447 N. Sedgwick St.
When: Each 3rd Wed.  9:30 am to 10:30 am
Upcoming dates: April 20,  May 18, June 15 
Sponsored by the Near North Unity Program

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
LCA Monthly Board Meeting

The public is invited to attend the discussions at LCA Board meetings, held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage.

Saturday, June 4th, 2016
Spring Zing

Read more about our 3rd annual Spring Zing.

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
2nd Annual Sunday Summer Sipper

An early evening celebration of summer In Fire Station Park. See photos from last year's event.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
3rd Annual 
An Evening in the Garden

Mingle with your neighbors while enjoying the beauty of the Fire Station Park gardens. See photos from the 2014 and 2015 events.

Saturda y, October 29, 2016
Howler at Bauler 

Our annual Halloween party in Bauler Park for all ages. Read about Howler at Bauler 2015.
Did you know?

* LCA is lobbying the city for the full route of the #11 bus to be restored. Read our letter to CTA President, Dorval Carter.

* LCA requested continued free parking at the old CMH garage on Lincoln Ave. Read our letter to Dan McCaffery, CEO of McCaffery Interests.

* LCA's email open rate percentage is more than twice the average of Constant Contact's more than 150,000 non-profit customers. 

* The unsubscribe rate on average for Constant Contact's non-profit clients is 5 times higher than the unsubscribe rate on LCA's newsletters.

Emails from Constant Constant other non-profit customers were undeliverable nearly 13 times more often than those of LCA.

* Our membership grew more than  36% last year.

* LCA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that relies on the generosity of donors to generate funds necessary to fulfill our mission. We believe it is important for you to know your rights and our obligations to you when you donate funds to Lincoln Central Association. Learn more by reading  LCA's Donor Bill of Rights.

LCA entertained hundreds to Bauler Park at Howler at Bauler 2015

A Bauler Park Advisory Committee was formed in May of 1999 and in October of that year, BPAC came under LCA's 501(c)(3) umbrella. As the recognized fiscal agent for Bauler Park since that time, LCA has provided continuous financial support to Bauler Park.

This year, we have exciting news to report. After speaking with LCA last year about the neighborhood's needs, 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith established as one of her top priorities for 2016 the procurement of new playground equipment for Bauler Park.

Discussions the Alderman initiated with the Mayor's office and the Chicago Park District in 2015 resulted in a commitment from the Park District in October to replace the Playlot's aging equipment. At that time, Alderman Smith asked LCA to serve as the fiscal agent for this project during the community process raise funds to further upgrade the equipment package and to also refurbish the park more generally for the betterment of our neighborhood. The Alderman has generously committed to provide matching funds for funds raised in the community.
A Garden from The Heart
A portion of the Garden in early Spring, 2015
"Gardening requires a lot of water, most of it in perspiration" - Charles Dudley Warner

April showers bring May flowers....and  sowing seeds like leafy greens and peas!  The garden is awakening and we welcome you to rise up and volunteer as we begin another season of gardening in your neighborhood. 

From April through October, you can participate in the joy of creating and nurturing the vegetable, herb and perennial beds in our one of a kind Fire Station Park, featured last year in DNAinfo. "Our gardening activities are a 'learn by doing' opportunity for novice to experienced gardeners,"  says LCA Parks Chair, Sally Drucker. "We'll learn from each other and from Mother Nature!"

In order to provide a variety of gardening opportunities to meet everyone's varied schedules, volunteer activities are scheduled both on weekends and on weekday evenings planned. See our full schedule. Hope to see you in the garden! 

Please contact us with any ideas, expertise you want to share, or responsibilities you would like to have in the garden. Specific needs include watering early plantings, planting our four annual planter pots, planning social events in the garden and kid-friendly activity ideas!
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With Lurie Children's Bike Safety Team, Kidical Mass 

If you are ready for family fun in the neighborhood, join us for Lincoln Central's 3rd annual Spring Zing, Saturday, June 4, 10 am to 1 pm, corner of North Lincoln Avenue and Richard "Dickie Harris Way"  (Dickens Avenue). Spring Zing will offer an amazing variety of fun and educational activities for all ages. 

Beware of biker gangs at Spring Zing!
Whether you want information on bike maintenance and safety, family fitness, or our neighborhood's architectural heritage, Spring Zing is for you and your family. If you're looking for fun for kids, Spring Zing will feature magical creations from noted balloon artist, A Real Mad Hatter, as well as face painting by special guest Queen Elsa from the Disney hit Frozen
Kidical Mass will once again end their inaugural ride of the year at Spring Zing and the Bike Safety Team from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago will return to offer bike safety education for children.

Spring Zing brings together those opportunities, plus a chance for neighbors, families, and local merchants to interact in this community focused event. It's the best way to embrace spring while enjoying a fun-filled, information-loaded event for you and your family.  If you or your business is interested in becoming a sponsor of Spring Zing, you can review details here. 

Each year LCA raises funds in the to help maintain, beautify and upgrade our neighborhood parks. Specific parks
State Rep. Ann Williams at Bauler thanks LCA for supporting our parks.
LCA supports include Bauler Park, Fire Station Park and Lincoln Central Park. And, last year, we helped dedicate 
Ella Jenkins Park  in honor of the "First Lady of Children's Music," Ella Jenkins. 

Our ability to provide financial support for the parks has been made possible by generous donors who have contributed to our parks fund . LCA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and your donations to our parks are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Additionally, you can direct your donations to be reserved for a specific park.  LCA's Donor Bill of Rights  outlines your rights and our obligation and commitment to our donors. Please help us support neighborhood parks.

You don't think much about things like whether garbage gets
Marty Casey (right) receiving a community service award in 2015 from Wrightwood Neighbors President, Justin Moore.
picked up, whether streets are cleaned, whether snow is removed--unless it isn't.

But there is someone who thinks about it all of the time. He's Marty Casey, 43rd Ward Superintendent for Streets & Sanitation. It's his job and his purpose to see to all city services from garbage and recycling to street cleaning and snow removal, as well as coordinating with other departments to ensure services are performed in a timely manner.

Casey doesn't see this as a hardship. "My father came here from Ireland," he says, "and got a job with the city--blue collar. My dream was to follow in his footsteps. He told me, 'Always sweep the streets as though you are the Alderman.' It's good advice."

Originally a driver for the 47th ward, then a street sweeper, he caught the attention of the 47th Ward alderman. When the ward superintendent position opened up in 2004, Casey was offered the job. Then in 2011, Alderman Michele Smith offered him the 43rd Ward Superintendent's job and he's been here since.

"Marty is the backbone of our ward services operations, as he's usually the face that residents and businesses encounter outside of our office," said Alderman Smith. "Whether the issue is waste removal, snow operations, construction site inspections to anything in between, Marty is usually on the spot, and he's the hardest working and most effective ward superintendent we could possibly ask for." Read more .

LCA Vice President, Kathy Jordan, with a Galapagos tortoise.
Sea Lions, giant tortoises, Christmas iguanas, Oh My! Trails of sharp lava, stones so smooth you slip on them, craters of lush green, water so clear and blue you see the sandy bottom.

That and more was the wonder of the Galapagos on my visit last month. The destination had been on my bucket list for so long; all my friends had already gone. So I joined the Shedd Aquarium adventure as a solo passenger with 14 others. It was everything I had imagined but so much more.

We visited 11 of the islands from our home on the Evolution, a fishing boat built in 1970 and refurbished to hold 21 people and a crew of 15. The terrain of each island was different and we hiked on lava, fallen lava craters, smooth stones, crushed coral paths. Rarely was a hike without a challenge of some kind, witness the climb of 551 steps to the top of a peak to view a magnificent crater below.

Animals, of course, were everywhere, particularly sea lions and iguanas. You can almost come nose to nose with a sea lion; they are so unafraid. But watch your step in iguana territory; they don't move to get out of your way. There are three species of iguanas: the black marine iguanas, the larger yellowish and gold land iguanas; and the green and red Christmas iguanas. Marine iguanas would swim to feed on green algae on rocks, then return to the beach to huddle in piles of hundreds to get warm. Read more.

Casey says a big issue in Lincoln Park is parking. He got a call from someone who couldn't get into his car because a garbage truck was in the way. Some people find the black carts hindering their access to the alley. The simple answer? Move the carts to the other side.

When it comes to snow removal, complaints roll in at about 3 am, wanting to know why a side street isn't cleaned. The patiently stated explanation is that the main arteries must be cleaned before side streets get plowed. But sometimes the streets have been treated, but the salt hasn't  had time to work on the frozen pavement.

Casey's efforts extend well above and beyond his job description. A call came in at 5 pm when he was on his way home saying there was a refrigerator on the street. He got home, took his wife for a ride to check it out. "She was amazed that I would do that," he says.

Casey is grateful to Alderman Smith for the opportunity to do a job he loves. But the community is grateful to Casey for what he does. In December, he received an award from our friends at Wrightwood Neighbors Association for his outstanding public service.

"I'm a public steward," he says. "I enjoy my work. I'm not God. I can't snap my fingers and get something done, so I get more criticism than praise. But I really enjoy helping people out. I'm glad I have the opportunity to do this job." We're glad too, Marty!
galagapos2 Galapagos, cont'd.

Other land animals included the bright red Sally lightfoot crabs and hermit crabs, while snorkelers saw fishes of every sort from damselfish and pufferfish to sharks and stingrays.
And the birds--spectacular frigatebirds that at breeding time fills his bright red throat pouch until it is the size of a party balloon; blue-footed, red-footed, and masked boobies in abundant supply; flightless cormorants and pelicans diving for fish; brilliant pink flamingos. Of course, the Galapagos penguins stole the show whenever they appeared.
Famed Galapagos tortoises wandered in and out of the picture, with the most seen on a farm-sanctuary. Magnificent is the word for these huge, lumbering animals. We saw some more than 100 years old.
This meager description hardly does justice to the magnificence of the Galapagos Islands. Not a drop of rain  in eight days. Blue skies and bluer water. Animals everywhere. Startlingly beautiful terrain.  Surprises at every turn. That was the trip. If it's on your bucket list, do it now. It's one you must not miss.

See additional photos from Kathy's trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Rep. Quigley with 5th District visitors in D. C.

5th District Congressman, Mike Quigley, encourages you and your family to stop by his office if you're planning a trip to Washington, DC. Whether you are going on a short business trip, or an extended family vacation, his  office can help make arrangements for some of the more popular attractions in our Nation's Capital.

The Congressman's office can help reserve tours to the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. You may place an online tour request. These tours are an excellent way to see all that the nation's capital has to offer and all of these tours are of no charge to you. 

Tickets are provided to the Congressman's constituents on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the large number of visitors, please request tours as early as possible to maximize your chances. Be aware, all White House tours must be submitted at least 21 days prior to the tour. Despite early requests, tickets still are fairly difficult to obtain. 

Although Congressman Quigley is glad to submit a request on your behalf, there is no guarantee you will be selected and obtain a tour of the White House. Congressman Quigley has no control over the selection process the White House uses.  If it were up to the Congressman, the 5th District would always be given preference. 

His office is always available to assist your family. Learn more about other constituent services provided by the Congressman's office.
From the Heart is published each month by Lincoln Central Association. Please email any story ideas to c o-editors, Kenneth Dotson and Kathy Jordan.