The Newsletter of Lincoln Central Association
Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
May 13, 2021

Spring is in the Air & Events are Back!
I hope you all are enjoying the scents and sounds of spring. Our neighborhood is coming to life as we’re all getting out more and frequenting our local parks, restaurants and businesses. The promise of Chicago opening outdoor activities, street fairs, and music performances is heartening! In May and June we can look forward to many local events that can soon take place. Be sure to check our newsletter announcements, the Alderman’s newsletter and the Chamber of Commerce of Lincoln Park. The Chicago Park District will be scheduling events in our parks again. Bauler and Oz Park should be posting upcoming events for the summer. We can look forward to our very own Evening in the Garden at Fire Station Park in September and Howler at Bauler at Halloween. We can’t wait to see you all again!

As we all are coming out of these last 14 months of hibernation with a renewed sense of the importance of community, several members found a purpose in giving back by becoming Lifetime members of LCA. We want to acknowledge and give a special thank you to Jacob and Dana Ringer, Jill and Jay Dale, and Stephen VanderVoort for their generosity. Your commitment to LCA and, through our work, to the neighborhood is greatly appreciated!

Many members will have received renewal letters recently. I encourage you to not put it in “that pile” and take a moment to renew! It is easy by simply going to Your membership enables us to continue our rewarding work and bring our community closer together. You are the Heart of the Neighborhood as an LCA member. 

Wishing you all a healthy and happy spring!

Sally Drucker
President of LCA

You can become a Lifetime member HERE now, or send a check to:
Lincoln Central Association
PO Box 14306
Chicago, IL 60614-0306
LCA’s Community Affairs Committee is working to improve safety in our neighborhood through education, addressing concerns and engaging with local law enforcement. Our committee has identified several opportunities to help improve the safety of our neighborhood and will begin work to:
  • Be present at local CAPS meetings 
  • Educate the neighborhood on how to stay safe
  • Create a Safety Ward Walk
  • Create a survey regarding neighborhood safety concerns
  • Engage with the Lincoln Park Alliance to address safety throughout Lincoln Park

These are just some of the many activities we are working on to address safety in our neighborhood. Watch your email for more information!
LCA is all about helping to beautify our neighborhood, so we want to recognize improvements made by local businesses. Halligan Bar at Lincoln and Belden recently made significant improvements on the sidewalk outside of their business, including a new seating area and greenery. Thank you to Halligan for helping to beautify our neighborhood! 
The community is invited to join the LCA board meetings! The LCA Board of Directors meets at 6:30 p.m. on the 4th Thursday of every month. Currently, we are meeting virtually via Zoom. If you would like to join, please email Sally Drucker at, and she will provide you with the Zoom link and the agenda. 
We want to hear YOUR stories and share them in our monthly newsletter! Tell us about your favorite businesses, beautiful local parks, unique events, positive neighborhood stories and more. This newsletter is meant to be the voice of the neighborhood! Please send us your content ideas, stories, photos and articles to help us create the best newsletter we can.

Send any ideas and photos to
The Oz Park Advisory Council (OPAC) will be in Dorothy's Playground on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. to gather input on replacing the playground. OPAC will present three options for the replacement. There will be catalogs and pictures to go over and forms will be available for all to give input on this important project. Please join OPAC as they move forward on this project.

More information about OPAC is at 
As a part of the Lincoln Park Alliance, LCA is working with other neighborhood associations to help address community issues, and one of those issues is rats! The Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute is working to address this issue through a study to prevent health risks associated with rat infestation. 

On Monday, May 17 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m., the Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute Chicago Rat Project is hosting Zoom meetings to discuss the issue and answer questions. 

On Tuesday, May 18 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, Alderman Michele Smith’s office and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will host an update on the Dickens Greenway. CDOT will provide an overview of the project and take questions from the community. 

You can Register Here for the online event. 
The Theatre School at DePaul University recently announced the Creative Root summer theatre camp schedule for students ages 6-14.
The Creative Root summer theatre camp experiences offer a socially-distanced in-person option or a virtual option, with classes presented via Zoom. Class sizes will be limited to 12 students for in-person classes and 16 students for virtual classes. All in-person classes will be held at The Theatre School in both indoor and outdoor locations. DePaul University COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, including the required use of face masks and appropriate social distancing measures.

Visit for registration and more information.
by Kathy Jordan
“There were theaters, bars, and restaurants. We needed a wine bar,” said Sonya Mlodzek when asked what led her to open the J9 Wine Bar.

Something Sonya and her late sister had talked about doing for years, J9 will celebrate its 5th anniversary in October 2021.

Not a formally trained sommelier at the time—”after I opened the bar, I got training and certification”—Mlodzek began J9 in a building bought by her step-father in 1974 and inherited by her after his death. J9 is in honor of her late sister’s name, Jeanine.

Pre-Covid, business had been good at the wine bar. The size of groups varied.

“50% is twos or 3-4, There might be a pair of girlfriends, or a date night, an engagement, even a marriage celebration that brings people to J9,” said Mlodzek. “The Wine Bar hosted parties and charity events. At times we even closed the bar for a group as large as 150 people." 

The Pandemic brought changes. The Wine Bar closed for a while, then opened on Friday evenings—windows open, blankets and space heaters provided. Customers also could purchase a case of wine to pick up, or two bottles for home use. “Any time the city gave us breathing room we were more than happy to take advantage,” said Mlodjek.
How are wines chosen? “That’s the most fun part of the job,” said Mlodjek. “We taste a lot, looking for a region or a particular country. It’s done by me along with the staff.”

And how do the customers choose? “If they ask for help, we ask them questions—for example, crisp white or rich red? Smooth or chunky tannins? Then we choose one or two wines for them to taste.”

Wine is not the only beverage to be had at J9. There are 50 wines by the glass and the bottled list is growing. But there also are seven beers to sample, as well as a variety of cocktails that include craft drinks made in-house. There also is a small retail display from which customers can choose bottles for home use. 

The next step will be an expansion one door south. 

“It will be open in June,” Mlodjek said, “with 80 seats for social distancing. We’re excited that it’s coming to fruition. It will hold wine bar events, birthday and bridal parties, small weddings and receptions. I am on pins and needles about the opening. It’s been a year and a half in the making.”

Mlodnek added, “The neighborhood has been a wonderful embracer of the wine bar.”

J9 Wine Bar is at 1961 N. Halsted, 312-982-2488. Hours are Monday 4-9 p.m.; Tuesday 4-10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday 4-11 p.m.; Friday 3 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, 2 p.m. to midnight; Sunday 1 to 9 p.m. 
Local Events
Virtual Workshop: Botanical Illustration with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, May 15. Learn more here.

Old Town Triangle Art Fair, June 12- 13,

The Southport Art Fair, July 10-11.

The Chicago Auto Show, July 15-19. Learn more here

Market Days, August 6-8. Learn more here. 

Do you have a local event that you would like us to share? Email us at
From the Heart is an award-winning newsletter published by Lincoln Central Association. We welcome your feedback and story ideas.

LCA has received at least one APEX Award for Publication Excellence in each of the last five years and a total of eighteen since 2016. Additionally, From the Heart is the recipient of four consecutive Constant Contact All-Star.

Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
Winner of Four Consecutive Constant Contact All-Star Awards