FROM THE HEART - August  2016

LCA's monthly newsletter,  From the Heart,  recently received a 2016 APEX Award for Publication Excellence an annual competition for publishers, editors, writers and designers who create print, web, electronic and social media.

Businesses, nonprofit, agency and freelance
communicators are eligible to win APEX Awards for their best writing, publications, campaigns, programs, design and media.

If you are new to our newsletter, please visit our  archives . If someone forwarded you this edition and you would like to receive this newsletter  each month, sign up here .

Early arrivals at Summer Sipper.
More than 150 neighbors came together on Sunday, 
June 22, for LCA's second annual Sunday Summer Sipper

Created as an informal reception for LCA members and other neighbors, the late afternoon party drew people to the Fire Station Park on a beautiful summer evening.  43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith and the Honorable Vi Daley, former Alderman and Founder of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, were among the guests.
Magician Mr. Danny delighting the children.
In addition to hors d'oeuvres, lemonade and wine, Geja's proprietor Jeff Lawler served the restaurant's own Sangria. A magician plied his trade to the delight of the crowd, who also admired the "Magic" of John Adduci's sculpture, a new addition to the garden that is part of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit.
LCA President Kenneth Dotson welcomed guests,
LCA Vice President, Kathy Jordan and Board member Betsy Costello sharing a laugh with a guests.
thanked them for coming, and highlighted LCA's many contributions to the neighborhood. LCA Parks Chairman Sally Drucker explained the four areas of the garden, including the herb and vegetable beds, inviting guests to take home herbs for future recipes.  She pointed out that the beds are cared for by volunteers, and that all  are welcome to join the effort. 

LCA Vice President Kathleen Jordan presented a
Cynthia Schumann thanks LCA for  honoring her.
commemorative crystal bowl to Cynthia Schumann, former 18th District Community Policing Sergeant who retired from active duty in May. Jordan thanked Schumann for her work for court advocacy, domestic violence victims, youth programs, and many other efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of the neighborhood. See event photos.
The Sunday Summer Sipper is one of four annual neighborhood events hosted by LCA. The others are Spring Zing, An Evening in the Garden, and Howler at Bauler. See a full roster of LCA's hosted or co-hosted events.

T hursday, September 15, 2016

LCA will host the third annual  An Evening in the Garden  on Thursday evening, September 15.  An Evening in the Garden is a free neighborhood event held in our beautiful, award winning Fire Station Park featuring entertainment,  hors d'oeuvres and beverages. Read more about last year's event and see the photos   from the event.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Howler at Bauler, LCA's biggest and oldest annual event, offers family fun and entertainment for everyone. Last year's special guests included 5th District Congressman, Mike Quigley, State Representative Ann Williams, Alderman Michele Smith and Fire Engine 22 .  Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for additional details.
There's nothing quite like movie night under the stars in Oz Park and there are two more opportunities this year to experience movie night in Oz. Mark your calendars, get those picnic baskets ready and enjoy the magic of Oz Park under the stars.

Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 8:00 PM 

Aug, 27, 2016 from 8:00 PM

Tuesday, August 9th
LCA Monthly Zoning Committee Meeting
Zoning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:15 PM in the back room of the  Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage. LCA Zoning meetings are open to the public. Tonight's meeting will be held at the Red Lion Pub at  2446 N Lincoln Ave. The Red Lion and its proprietor, Colin Cordwell are both LCA members.

Thursday, August 24th
LCA Monthly Board Meeting
Board meetings are 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.

Friday, September 9th
Oz Park Advisory Council Annual Meeting
Smoking Fish Concert
The Oz Park Advisory Council will hold its annual meeting on Friday September 9 in Oz Park at 6:00 PM.  Following the annual meeting, the band Smoking Fish  will perform a concert beginning at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 13th
LCA Monthly Zoning Committee Meeting
Zoning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:15 PM in the back room of theMarquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage. LCA Zoning meetings are open to the public.

Thursday, September 22
Lincoln Park Uncorked: Lincoln Ave. Wine Stroll
The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce  is thrilled to announce the return of Lincoln Park Uncorked, a neighborhood wine stroll from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM that combines delicious wine samples paired with local, complementary bites and showcases Lincoln Park businesses.  More details and where to purchase tickets will be available soon! 

Thursday, September 28th
LCA Monthly Board Meeting
Board meetings are 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.
LCA Facilities Community Agreement

Sedgwick's Bar & Grill
A proposed sidewalk cafe at Sedgwick's Bar & Grill (1935 N. Sedgwick St.) prompted a July 12 community meeting that brought together neighbors and LCA Board and Zoning Committee members for an evening of fruitful discussion and information sharing. A dozen neighbors attended, many concerned with the additional noise and nuisance from outdoor dining spaces on their mostly residential street. The meeting was hosted by 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith. Sedgwick's set out a delicious buffet of bar food, enjoyed by all after the meeting.

Mario Davila, the new owner of Sedgwick's, presented plans for two outdoor dining areas (one would seat 16, the other 10) that would hug the building and be set apart from the sidewalk by green planters. To be agreeable to neighbors, Davila agreed to limit hours to 8 p.m., with a 7 p.m. "last call." cont'd below.

Lawler at  Savor Lincoln Park
LCA member Jeff Lawler's life changed when he came to Geja's. He took John Davis' place on the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce and in 1997 became its president. "I met many wonderful people and learned a lot about the community," he says.

He's still on the board of the chamber, and seven or eight years ago got involved in the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, and now serves on the Board of Directors. The Chamber serves breakfast at the Shelter two Thursdays a month, with 12 restaurateurs preparing the food for the guests.

Jeff's commitment to the neighborhood also includes support for LCA. His involvement with LCA began in 2015 when Geja's provided gift certificates for Spring Zing and Jeff served Geja's wine at the dedication of Richard "Dickie' Harris Way hosted by LCA. In 2016, Geja's was a sponsor of our LCA's summer event series which includes both Spring Zing and Sunday Summer Sipper.

"Jeff's support of LCA is important," says President, Kenneth Dotson. "He genuinely cares about the neighborhood and shares our commitment to making it even better by looking for ways to give back. Jeff loves being around people and people love being around Jeff."

"I'm excited that Geja's is involved in the community. We're truly a neighborhood organization," said Lawler. "So much happens outside of these walls. It's important be involved with the community and to give back."
SEDGWICK'S, cont'd.
Davila also shared his cell phone number with neighbors so he could be reached directly in case of nuisance. 

Neighbors learned that  sidewalk cafe permits  are issued annually, and not granted in perpetuity. Such public way permits, which run from date of issue through Dec. 1, are voted on by city council. 

At the end of the meeting,  LCA members polled neighbors, most of whom supported Sedgwick's application for an outdoor cafe permit. Two neighbors were vehemently opposed. LCA members learned that neighbors are displeased by late night noise and nuisance from the outdoor dining space, on Sedgwick St., operated by  Stanley's Kitchen & Tap (1970 N. Lincoln Ave.) and urged neighbors to  contact the Alderman's office to lodge complaints.

Later, LCA's zoning & planning committee voted unanimously to support Sedgwick's proposal because owner Mario Davila listened thoughtfully to neighbors' concerns and sharply limited hours (most outdoor cafes operate until 11 p.m.) Further, the committee believes that outdoor cafes, when operated properly bring a liveliness to our streets and neighborhoods.
Editors' Note: The letter below first appeared in the June 2016, edition of  From the Heart. We believe it is as true now as it was then.

Dear Neighbors,

Lincoln Central recently hosted a unique party at our beautiful Fire Station Park featuring food and beverages all seasoned with flavors from our herb garden. Several attendees noted that even a small amount of seasoning from a single herb could shape the entire flavor of a dish.  

Upon reflection, it occurred to me that the same is true with community service and neighborhood engagement. Even if you don't have time to be the "main course" of a neighborhood project, or even its largest ingredient, your involvement, even in a small way, may still be the very thing necessary to fundamentally change the outcome for the betterment of the neighborhood. 

And that's my invitation to you: Let this be the "season" you find even a small way to shape the flavor of our neighborhood. If you're not already a member of Lincoln Central Association,  why not join today ?

From the heart,
P. S. If you would like to learn more about LCA, have neighborhood concerns or provide suggestions to help us better serve the neighborhood, fee free to contact me at any time at or 773.531.5515. Also, please let us know if you have story ideas for our award winning newsletter or website.

LCA member Jeff Lawler 
He fell in love with the restaurant business while a student at Southern Illinois University. Today, LCA member Jeff Lawler is the proprietor of Geja's Cafe, that monument to romantic dining that's been part of Lincoln Park since 1971 after moving from Old Town. "I wandered through the industry 'til I came here," he says, and when he did, he fell in love.
His wandering began when he was a high school senior in Frankfort, Ill. He'd been playing football for two years, getting maybe three plays a game. "I said, Coach, will I get more than three plays per game?" The answer was "No," so he quit the team and took a job as a short order cook at a grocery/carry out/catering place. He liked the job.
At Joliet Junior College, he learned about food service. At SIU for his junior and senior years, he was a waiter at a "white table cloth" restaurant that did table-side steak Diane and shrimp scampi. Stints at Arby's and Bennigan's, persuaded him that "Fine dining was my way to go. My heart swelled when I served people."
Back home in Frankfort he got a waiter/busboy job at ChiChi's Mexican restaurant. In three months, he was assistant manager and three years later, a general manager. "I thought I'd made it," Lawler says. But he outlived the job and moved on to Country Buffet. There, he missed customer service and was fired for being "too nice, carrying customers' plates, bringing them a second dessert."
On to Chicago, where he was a sous chef for the Old Carolina Crab House at Illinois and Lake Shore Drive. "I worked there for three years. I was not a very good chef." Next it was Christopher's American Bistro in Lincoln Park, where Dave Green played piano every night.  And then Jeff's life changed.....cont'd.

I f you are reading this newsletter in Gmail, Yahoo mail and certain other
 email programs, the right hand side of the newsletter will be cut off before it concludes. If that happens, go to the very bottom of the ema il and on left hand side and  you will see a message that says "[Message clipped]   View entire message Simply clink that link and you will be able to read the entire newsletter or simply click here.

L to R:  Firefighters  Maurice Carney, Vinij Viriyakur, & Brendan Broderick, Lt. Rogelio Guzman, Alderman Michele Smith and LCA President, Kenneth Dotson.
Armitage Avenue in front of Fire Station is safer due to the recent installation of 22-white safety stripes. Alderman Michele Smith and Lincoln Central Association  worked to expedite this project, after firefighters at the station alerted LCA about their safety concerns. The stripes provide safety for the firefighters, drivers, pedestrians and bikers alike.  

Engine 22 safely exits station as car waits at safety stripes.
These stripes are designed to tell people to use caution when approaching the fire station," said Alderman Smith on a recent visit to the station. "A truck may be leaving or entering the station and that means the fire fighters need the entire street to maneuver."

Lieutenant Rojelio Guzman added that "The stripes give people an idea of the parameters of the space we need when pulling in or out. We hope it will
Engine 22 safely on its way with Engineer  Paul Clark at the helm.
remind them to keep clear of the area." "It's for everyone's safety," said Alderman Smith. "We ask that people obey this safety zone, and help to remind them not to drive around the fire vehicles when they're moving in or out of the station."

If you become aware of a safety issue in our neighborhood, please let LCA know. We want to help keep our neighborhood safe.

Each year,  Lincoln Central Association hosts or co-hosts numerous neighborhood events featuring food & beverages, entertainment and education. These events offer attendees the opportunity to visit with neighbors they know, meet ones they do not and interact one on one with elected officials. Almost all of these events are open to the public and held at no cost to attendees. Some are underwritten by generous sponsors; others are fully underwritten by LCA and/or by our co-hosts.

In 2015, LCA hosted or co-hosted nine neighborhood events, eight of which were free of charge. In 2016, LCA is on track to host an equal number of events, mostly free.  In addition to the events listed below, LCA also hosts various meetings each year related to zoning, liquor licenses, permits and other issues of concern or interest to members of the community, all of which are free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you at future events.
Family Friendly Events
Provided By Host(s)
2015 Annual Mtg. & Reception
Food & beverages No charge
Aldermanic Debate (a) Public service No charge
Aldermanic Run-off Debate (b)  Public service No charge
Spring Zing
Food, beverages, entertainment & education
No charge
Sunday Summer Sipper
Food & beverages 
No charge
An Evening in Garden
Food, beverages and entertainment
No charge
Ella Jenkins Park Dedication (c)  Food, beverages and entertainment
No charge
Howler at Bauler Food, beverages and entertainment
Richard Harris Street Dedication
Food, beverages and entertainment No charge

Family Friendly Events
Provided by Host(s)
2016 Annual Mtg. & Reception
Food & beverages
No charge
Spring Zing
Food, beverages, entertainment & education
No charge
Architectural Walk Education No charge (d)
Lincoln Ave. Open House (e) Food, beverages, public service No charge
Sunday Summer Sipper Food, beverages and entertainment
No charge
An Evening in Garden (f)
Food, beverages and entertainment
No charge
Howler at Bauler (g) Food, beverages and entertainment
Book Talk With Patrick Butler (h) Education No Charge
Lincoln Central, Then and Now: A History through Photographs (i)
Education No Charge

( a) co-hosted with Sheffield Neighbors and Ranch Triangle
(b) co-hosted with Sheffield Neighbors, Ranch Triangle & Wrightwood Neighbors
(c) co hosted with Old Town Triangle, Alderman Michele Smith and Church of the Three Crosses
(d) free to LCA members, $10 for non-members
(e) co-hosted with Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Alderman Michele Smith & Wrightwood Neighbors
(f) scheduled for Thursday evening, September 15 at Fire Station Park
(g) scheduled for Saturday afternoon, October 29 at Bauler Park
(h) author of The Hidden History of Lincoln Park. Date TBD
(i) featuring Lincoln Park photographer, Bob Segal. Date TBD

If you have an interest in sponsoring an upcoming LCA event, please let us know.
lawlerpart2 Lawler, contd.

Hearty fare at Geja's
Geja's owner John Davis had a head hunter looking for an assistant manager for the restaurant. He found Jeff Lawler. "At first I thought I wouldn't be here long," Lawler says. "I had dreamed of going to Florida, but I fell in love with Geja's. By six months I knew I'd be here a long time." Lawler and John Davis worked together for 22 years.
Geja's was named the "most romantic restaurant" in the United States by
Geja's romantic dining room
USA Today in 2015, 50 years after first opening in on Wells Street as a wine and cheese bar in 1965. It moved to its present location in 1971, when the apartment towers were being built on the corner of Armitage and Clark, and everyone was sure the neighborhood would grow. In 1971, Geja's served a variety of dishes including one cheese fondue. It became all fondue within six months of moving to the Lincoln Park location, although gourmet meats, cheeses and fabulous wines remain a cornerstone of the menu.
Flamenco and classical guitar music, a staple of Geja's almost from the beginning, still fill the air. Along with menu and the decor, it contributes to the restaurant's romantic ambience.  And, of course, two or three couples get engaged each week.
For Jeff Lawler, one thing remains the same. "I'm not just an owner, I'm a proprietor, involved with the people who come in. That's my favorite role, one I've strived to keep alive throughout my life."
John Davis passes Golden Spoon to Lawler in 2015.
Having passed its 50th year in 2015, the year Lawler purchased Geja's, a few changes may be on the way--fire places on the patio, maybe with wine service--new silverware and chairs.
"But how do you make it better?" Lawler asks. "It's already wonderful and it's the people who make it so. It can be a girl's night out, a first date, a couples date. It's all about people, about being part of their experience and making it special." 

His goal? "I want to see the 75th anniversary. I bought it on the 50th .  I want to see the 75th."
These gardens are kept beautiful year after year by neighborhood volunteers, most all of whom are LCA members . Read about these volunteers in this DNAinfo article .

Did you know Oz Park was named one of the 
top neighborhood parks  in Chicago? (We think that's an understatement!) Congratulations, Oz Park and Oz Park Advisory Council!
LCA Adopts New By-laws

In  order to correct deficiencies and to ensure the efficient, modern practices of a non-profit corporation are codified into Lincoln Central Association's governing documents, the Board of Directors proposed earlier this year that LCA's membership vote to adopt new by-laws drafted by the Governance Committee of the Board.

All LCA members in good standing were eligible to vote and were invited to a Special Meeting held on Saturday, June 4 at 1:00 PM. A vote of all members present was taken and the new bylaws were unanimously adopted. Read the newly adopted bylaws.
LCA member and sponsor  Bridgeview Bank is offering $50 donations to Lincoln Park Community Shelter AND a $100 bonus with each qualifying account!
Bridgeview developed the Hearts for the Homeless program in partnership with Lincoln Park Community Shelter and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and raised more than $23,000 for those organizations 2015. This year, they've re-igniting the program with the goal of providing even more assistance to help end the tragedy of homelessness in our communities!

To qualify for your $100 bonus, simply a) o pen a new personal checking account with direct deposit ; or b) o pen a new personal savings or money market account with $10,000 or more; or c) d eposit $10,000 or more into an existing personal savings or money market account.  Learn more .
According to McCaffery Interests, the following activities will take place during the week of August 8, 2016:
  1. Demolition of Wilson Jones will begin along North Orchard Street, starting south heading north.
  2. Fencing will be moved to curb line along North Orchard Street.
  3. Scaffold work will be complete on Fullerton Avenue for this phase of demolition.
  4. The re-processor(recycling machine) will arrive on-site and begin operation.
  5. A 150-ton crane will arrive on-site and be utilized intermittently.
Learn more about the re-development of the old CMH property. Read today's DNAinfo article about the demolition.

Belmont Village Update

Demolition contractor  W.E. O'Neil Construction Company is expected to begin environmental abatement of the Nellie Black building, site of the planned Belmont Village assisted living facility, on August 29, 2016. This process is expected to be completed in approximately one month.

Click the following links to see the Building Footprint and Exterior Elevations of Belmont Village .
Vi Daley receives award.
44th Ward Alderman, Tom Tunney, presenting an award to  43rd Ward Alderman and LCA member, the Honorable Vi Daley for her years of service to the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit   which she founded in 2001. She received the award at CSE's Annual Kick-off event in June.

Congratulations, Vi!

From the Heart is published monthly by Lincoln Central Association. Please email story ideas to c o-editors, Kenneth Dotson and Kathy Jordan .