The Chicago Star VOL1 NO1 March 2021 Love is in the air

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Chicago Restaurant Week highlights best of city’s cuisine

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VOL. 1 NO. 1


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Chicagoans embrace passion for plant care amid pandemic


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New Eastside NEWS Elaine Hyde Director of Brand Development Streeterville NEWS Jay Kopp West Loop NEWS Associate Editor Nuria Mathog Staff Writers Jacqueline Davis Angela Gagnon Copy Editors Vivien Lee Bob Oswald Layout/Design Bob Oswald Contributing Editor Candace Jordan Community Contributors Bridget McGuire Jon Cohn

Subscriptions Advertising Contact Jay Kopp Chicago Star is a monthly paper that uses community writers and contributors. The views expressed by community contributors are their own. Chicago Star Media does not take responsibility for third-party announcements or events. Chicago Star Media is independently owned and operated. Published March 1, 2021 Copyright ©2021. All rights reserved. ON THE COVER: A couple from Mexico vacationing in Chicago pauses on Ohio Street Beach.

By Chicago Star Staff The Chicago Star shines a light on positive local news to inspire the community to love where they live, work and play. Through upbeat news coverage, we light the fire of hope in the hearts of Chicagoans, attracting and retaining talent in our world-class city through the power of media. We are assembling an advisory board to help us achieve the long-term vision and strategic priorities of a dynamic new force in the Chicago's media scene. Our goals: *Affect positive change in Chicago's media landscape and beyond *Influence how Chicago is portrayed on the world stage *Spotlight the innovation, creativity and good in Chicago *Address controversial topics with a mindful, solutions-based voice *Provide comprehensive, accurate information to readers Chicago Star Media’s objective is to expand to cover all of Chicago as a mainstream news source under the Chicago Star masthead. Our advantages over existing local news media are a focus on positive, uplifting news; forward-thinking leadership; and a lean staff empowered with cutting-edge technology to drive efficiency and scale. The civil unrest, looting and COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 brought Chicago to its knees, and local news coverage is predominantly negative and sensationalist even during non-pandemic times. It's time for renewal, time for a new conversation and time for new headlines that send a clear message to the world: This is a city that survives and thrives. We invite you to be the change you want to see in Chicago's media landscape. Subscribe today at To submit nominations or be considered for our advisory board, email Appointments Candace Jordan, Contributing Editor Advisory Board members Leslie Hindman, Founder Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Paul Iacono, Chicago Dowel Co. Tom Kehoe, Kehoe Designs Michael Kutza, Founder Chicago International Film Festival Sherren Leigh, Founder Today’s Chicago Woman

Sargent M. McCormick, International Harvester Maria Pappas, Cook County Treasurer Bonnie Spurlock, Founder Associated Publications Howard Tullman, G2T3V Robert Zentner, CEO Zentner Inc.

The Chicago Star has an initial monthly print circulation of 20,000 and is distributed monthly via mailroom drops at residential and commercial buildings in downtown Chicago. To purchase a mail subscription of the Chicago Star, visit the Chicago Star Media website, www. In addition to print subscription options, Chicago Star Media offers a digital subscription that includes access to the online version of the newspaper. The Chicago Star was formerly published as two separate publications, Streeterville News and New Eastside News.

| LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Doorperson of the Month story appreciated

Thanks for that wonderful article. I couldn’t believe it was me. Now I know who to call to update my resume. Will Jones, January New Eastside Doorperson of the Month

Escaping the Chicago winters My parents bought a place on Longboat Key, Florida, to keep up with the White Sox in Spring Training. When I signed with them in 1971, we would all

spend months at a time there. Now 50 years later, the whole family is down there the entire winter. D. Seidholz






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A round up of Chicago's top stories Ten percent of city vaccinated with first dose City officials announced Feb. 20 that one in every 10 Chicago residents had received the initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state of Illinois has since expanded the list of individuals able to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B.

Walgreens begins offering vaccines Eligible Chicagoans can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Walgreens, with doses available at hundreds of stores throughout the state. Appointments must be scheduled in advance online.

New website lets Chicagoans schedule vaccine appointments Zocdoc, a user-friendly website designed for scheduling one’s vaccine shot, allows users to type in their age, state, occupation and a few other health questions to determine if they are eligible to receive the vaccine and where to go to get it.

K-8 students to return to class Chicago Public Schools students in kindergarten through fifth grade will begin attending school in person on March 1 in accordance with a reopening timeline approved as part of a tentative Chicago Teachers Union deal, while students in grades 6-8 are scheduled to return to school

Northwestern Memorial Hospital staff members Dr. Clyde Yancy (above) and Dr. Michelle Prickett get the COVID vaccine in February. Photos courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

on March 8. A date has not yet been set for high school students to resume in-person classes.

Lakefront parks and beaches reopen Lakefront parks and beaches have reopened for the first time since pandemic shutdowns put in place by Mayor Lightfoot in March 2020. Residents can now visit those parks, beaches, biking and running trails without being reprimanded.

Cubs, White Sox spring training schedules finalized The Chicago Cubs revised spring training schedule begins March 1 with an opening game against the San Diego Padres, and 14 of the team's 28 games will take place at Sloan Park. The Chicago White Sox opened their season Feb. 28, facing the Milwaukee Brewers.

MCA to reopen to the public The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago officially reopens March 1. Free admission for MCA Members; members of the military, police, and fire departments; veterans; visitors with disabilities and anyone 18 and under. Free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays. $15 for adults, $8 for students, teachers and seniors (65+).

Immersive Van Gogh exhibit extended through September The Germania Club in Old Town has extended the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, offering shows through Sept. 6, 2021. The exhibition features over 50 digital projectors showcasing Van Gogh’s world-famous masterpieces: “The Potato Eaters,” “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and “The Bedroom.”

ChiTown Drive-In adds movies to lineup The classic Chicago drive-in on 2343 S. Throop St. has added new films to their lineup: "The Black Panther," "Jurassic Park," "Scream," and "Finding Nemo." Guests can enjoy movies from the safety of their car while refreshments can be ordered and delivered directly to the vehicle.

First Southwest flights depart from O'Hare Chicago travelers began taking Southwest Airlines flights from O'Hare International Airport on Feb. 14. The airline currently offers 16 daily flights from O'Hare to Dallas, Denver, Baltimore, Phoenix and Nashville, and Orlando is expected to be added as a weekend destination option beginning this month.

Order streamlines access to materials involving alleged police misconduct An executive order signed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Feb. 5 will establish a standardized process for complainants to access video recordings and other materials involving alleged police misconduct. Complainants will no longer be required to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain access to these items.

Tribune Publishing to be purchased by New York hedge fund Manhattan-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital is set to acquire Tribune Publishing, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and other major daily U.S. newspapers, in a $630 million deal.


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A chef roasts chickens at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, one of the participating restaurants in Chicago Restaurant Week, set to run from Friday, March 19, to Sunday, April 4. Photo courtesy of Neil Burger

Lincoln Park Zoo is set to reopen to the public March 5 at limited capacity. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo

Brookfield, Lincoln Park zoos reopen Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo have both announced reopening dates in early March after closing for several months this winter due to the pandemic. Brookfield Zoo is set to open March 1, while Lincoln Park Zoo plans to reopen March 5 to the public at limited capacity.

Indoor dining capacity expands in Chicago City officials announced bars, restaurants and entertainment venues could begin opening their doors with a capacity of 40 percent after Chicago's daily COVID-19 cases fell below the 400 mark.

Madigan resigns from Illinois House Michael Madigan, former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, announced his resignation from the House Feb. 18, approximately a month after

he was deposed as speaker. He remains chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Young Professionals Streeterville collects Kindness Bags

Lil' Ba-Ba-Reeba! opens in River North

Residents looking to give back to the community are invited to drop off items such as bottled water, granola bars and gloves at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive #1108 or 222 E. Pearson Street #1903 for the Kindness Bag initiative hosted by Young Professionals Streeterville. The last day to donate items is Friday, March 12.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! celebrated its 35th anniversary by opening a “little sister” location, Lil' Ba-BaReeba! on 441 N. Clark in River North in what was formerly Bar Ramone. The smaller restaurant will feature “all the best things” about Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, including their trademark Sangria, Spicy Potatoes Bravas, and Baked Goat Cheese.

CTA to purchase 'clean-diesel buses'

Partnership to provide helicopter service between downtown, O'Hare

The Chicago Transportation Authority announced Feb. 10 that the organization's board had approved buying 100 "clean diesel" buses and could purchase up to 500 additional buses in the future. The vehicles will replace aging buses in the CTA fleet that have been driven more than 500,000 miles and date back to 2000 and 2002.

Vertiport Chicago, a helicopter facility in the Near West Side, is teaming up with New York's Blade Urban Air Mobility to provide air taxi service between downtown Chicago and a number of locations, including O'Hare International Airport, Lake Geneva, the University of Illinois and University of Notre Dame.

Restaurant Week to kick off in March

Airport, reporting as much as 18 inches of snow.

Chicago Restaurant Week will run from Friday, March 19, to Sunday, April 4. The 17-day event features prix-fixe, multi-course menus from restaurants in Chicago and surrounding areas for under $60, excluding beverages, delivery fees, tax, and gratuity.

Architecture Center walking tours return

County treasurer releases study on property taxes The residential and commercial properties in Chicago with the most significant property tax increases from 2000 to 2019 are located downtown, including a Streeterville condo whose tax bill rose 1,890 percent in that time period, according to a report from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

Chicago records more than a foot of snow A snowstorm that began Feb. 15 and extended into the morning of Feb. 16 left more than a foot of snow throughout much of Chicago, with some locations, such as Midway International

The Chicago Architecture Center announced in February that it would resume offering select walking tours, which are still limited to a maximum of six attendees and require face coverings and advance reservations.

City eases travel restrictions for several states Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan have moved to the “yellow tier” of travel restrictions, meaning travelers from these states are not required to self-quarantine or produce negative COVID-19 test results after returning to Chicago.

Macy’s on State Street Flower Show is no more After a quarter century of floral celebrations, Macy's has ended its yearly Flower Show display on State Street. Macy’s will continue celebrating "the rich history and holiday traditions" at the store, a company spokesperson said.

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Plant parents get baby fever as spring heats up By Jacqueline Davis Staff Writer Urban Dictionary defines a "plant parent" as a person who thinks of their plants the way others think about their pets or children. The house plant fad has popped back up in the past few years and now Millennials are devoting their lives and instagram feeds to their shrubs. The practice of house plants is nothing new — in fact, house plants began propagating all over England in the 1800s as a means to combat winter depression. From then, it was faux plants in the ’80s, owning orchids in the ‘90s and now, Instagram feeds are flooded with plants arranged in trendy pots, perfectly placed next to a stack of books and a latte. It’s relatively simple to find photos of jungles growing in small apartments— sometimes so severe a machete would be needed to get to the kitchen sink. The infatuation with houseplants has raised the question: is it really therapeutic or just another trend, left withered to die after the photo op within a week? Kirby Reber—a Millennial, Old Town Chicagoan and plant mother of 50—says social media plays a huge role in this trend. “I know me and my friends will see these home decor Instagrams or TikToks and think to ourselves, ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool, I need that,’” she said. Reber also believes plants are the obvious pet alternative for young people living busy, fast-paced lifestyles in large cities. She is the proud owner of 35 variants of plants. “People living in big cities, maybe they want to get a pet but they can’t because either their building doesn’t allow it or

taking a dog out in the freezing cold does not sound appealing,” she said with a laugh. “Personally, I traveled a lot for work, therefore, could not get a pet, so a plant was the next best thing.” Because Millennials like to focus on their mental health, plants play a big role in helping to combat negative thoughts and emotions, Reber added. “Everyone’s stuck in their house all the time so it’s nice to have a pretty thing to look at,” she said. “It’s something you can take care of, but it’s not a huge responsibility.” But how does owning a bunch of mute plants fulfill so many people the same way providing for a yappy Yorkie can? Florist Nima Manhas of City Scents in Streeterville explains, “plants are therapy.” “Whether it is the solitary time they can spend when they are taking care of them or all of the color and life that they bring, they are a lot easier to take care of than many pets and also can give you direct visual feedback on how they feel or whether they are feeling OK,” Manhas said. According to Renee Young, manager of Christy Webber Farm & Garden, because Millenials are getting married, having families and moving into homes later in life these days, plants, much like children or pets, supply a sense of purpose and joy, fulfilling a biological urge to nurture and care for something — but without the commitment and space. “There are studies that show green spaces in industrial areas do wonders for emotional health,” Young said. “You can live in a garden apartment and have a million plants without needing a ton of space and without a ton of light, even.” In addition to providing psychological

Plant parent of 50, Kirby Reber in front of some of her plant babies in her Old Town apartment. Photo courtesy of Kirby Reber

benefits, having a plant in the home can improve physical well-being. A NASA study in the late 1980s found some plants have the ability to help purify the air, removing chemicals that are linked to respiratory complications, headaches and eye irritation, and can even help prevent the growth of cancer cells. A separate study conducted by NASA about a decade ago found the top three healthiest plants for the home, in terms of the most oxygen and air-purifying qualities, are the Snake Plant, Devil’s Ivy, and

Kentia Palm, which Young said are “selling out of the roof.” Young debunks the theory that claims singing or talking to one’s plant aids in their growth, but she believes doing so provides a similar emotional effect for the plant parent in the same way talking to one’s pet will. However, Young suggested touching and shaping a houseplant with one’s hands replicates the volatility of the plant’s natural outdoor habitat, helping it grow stronger Continued on page 8


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Amid the pandemic, stories of perseverance and innovation prevail By Jacqueline Davis Staff Writer Spring is a time for renewal, change, and most importantly, growth and several businesses that have taken root during the storm of the pandemic and are ready to sprout with the help of the community. Thrd Coffee Company Pandemic or not, Chicagoans want their coffee. When COVID-19 hit, causing a mass shutdown of coffee shops, 27-year-old Raoul Adwan thought, “Coffee is still in high demand in the city, no matter what shape Chicago is in—so, how can we serve coffee while remaining safe and avoiding the one big thing holding us back: rent?” The idea came to him: Build a mobile coffee bar. With a sketch of his coffee bar-on-wheels concept in hand, he and a few friends built the bar, and by September, his coffee business, Thrd Coffee Company, officially opened on-the-go. The name Thrd Coffee comes from “third-wave coffee,” derived from the first to third waves of generations of coffee drinkers. What makes Thrd Coffee uniqu is not the mobile aspect, since other businesses offer the same type of service, but rather the branding, which Adwan describes as the “secret ingredient.” His goal is to pay homage to the southwest side of Chicago, where he is from, and embrace an edgier, urban side of the coffee culture. “Imagine Chance the Rapper drinking espresso,” he said, pro-

viding a glimpse of the vibe Thrd Coffee aims to create. When the pandemic hit, Adwan decided to make a change in his life, despite the odds. “For myself, I looked at this as an opportunity…I said, ‘Hey, there’s stuff outside I can’t control, but I know where I’m at right now in life currently,’” he said. “I can control that.” “Wherever you’re at,” he continued, “ the goal is to never stay stagnant, but to always continue to be cultivating. I can imagine in 5-10 years, someone is going to ask me, ‘‘What did you do during the pandemic?’ I’m going to say, ‘I came into the pandemic as a teacher, I’m leaving the pandemic as a business owner.’” Follow @thrdcoffeeco on Instagram to learn about the next pop-up or event. BIÂN Opening a high-end health and wellness club in the middle of the pandemic presented a new set of challenges for BIÂN founders Robb Leone, Joseph Fisher, Kevin Boehm, Mar Soraparu, Doctor Julius Few, and Angelo Costas—but the team persevered and continued to build their membership base. “Lots of decisions were made around whether to still move forward despite all the challenges of the pandemic,” Leone said. “But we decided people needed this space, they needed something positive.” Leone refers to BIÂN as an “organic brushfire” due to the many ideas that have sprung out of the original concept. Ironically, the club first opened on Nov. 20, 2020, the day Illinois shut down

Thrd Coffee founder and owner Raoul Adwan makes a coffee drink at his mobile coffee bar. Photo courtesy of Thrd Coffee Company

because of the pandemic. Combining philosophies of Eastern and Western healing, BIÂN is a holistic and comprehensive health and wellness club, offering members a myriad of experiences including cosmetic treatments, health and wellness classes such as yoga and pilates, nutrition plans and healing treatments. The club has its own medical advisory board, a chiropractor, an on-site primary care physician and a Chinese medicine natu-

ropathic doctor, all housed in a luxuriously designed space. BIÂN offers a sense of community, not only with others but within one’s self, Leone said, adding he was filled with joy upon seeing his members again. “It moved me to tears,” he said. Visit to join the experience. Follow BIÂN on Instagram: @livebian. Honeybee Charcuterie When 26-year-old Abbey Rez-

etko brought a festive meat and cheese board to her father’s birthday party last September, she was not expecting a full-blown business to come out of it. But after she shared a photo of her creation on social media, her meat and cheese board became an overnight sensation. Her inbox flooded with charcuterie order requests from people who wanted one of her artistic creations at their parties and events. For Rezetko, the new business venture has not only been a money-making opportunity, but also a chance to discover a hidden talent. “I don’t do just meat and cheese, I like to add a lot of snacks, fruits, vegetables and little things... something for everybody,” she said. “I always work directly with my customers, making a personal connection with them and then ask them, ‘Is this for a special occasion, holiday, etc.?’” Rezetko works to include other small local businesses near Beverly, where she resides. She gets her trays from Three Sisters Antiques, an antique shop in Blue Island, while her chocolate-covered strawberries come from Sweet Caroline’s, and cookies from 109th Street Sweets. In addition to desserts and veggies, her trays occasionally include a trinket to spruce up the board, depending on the occasion. “I want to continue to collaborate with small businesses,” Rezetko said. “I want to help everyone out, and help everyone grow. I just think that’s super cool.” Honeybee Charcuterie can be found on Instagram at @ honeybee_charcuterie.

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| NEWS |

Public safety, recovery among priorities for SOAR in 2021 Plants owned by Kirby Reber, a self-described plant parent. Photo courtesy of Kirby Reber

Plant parents Continued from page 6 roots and branches. Julie McCaffrey from Chicago Botanical Gardens says no single indoor environment can support all types of houseplants, as their places of origin vary so widely. “Some plants need loads of humidity and daytime heat; some less,” she explained. “Some require constantly moist soil; others must dry out between water-

ing. Some like less light, some more.” Edible plants and tips: Because Chicago-area homes are dry during winter, McCaffrey suggests adding humidity. She recommends setting potted herbs on a boot tray filled with rocks or gravel before adding water to the tray, misting herb plants regularly and grouping similar plants together to create their own micro-climate in the room. She also recommends herbs get at least six hours of sun per day or 12 hours of grow lights.

By Nuria Mathog Associate Editor At the 2020 annual Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) meeting, held virtually Feb. 18 via a YouTube livestream, SOAR leaders and Chicago aldermen representing Streeterville identified public safety and revitalization of the neighborhood as important initiatives to focus on the year. “We have certainly faced some huge challenges this year—the pandemic, the civil unrest, the looting of our neighborhood twice,” said Deborah Gershbein, president of the SOAR Board of Directors. “This has left everyone’s nerves on edge.” Gershbein said SOAR has worked diligently to improve safety for Streeterville residents, noting the organization’s safety task force is in regular communication with the Chicago Police Department’s 18th District to address resident concerns. Moving ahead, SOAR will continue to advocate for quality of life issues on behalf of Streeterville residents and work with the city of Chicago on its recovery program, Gershbein said. “It may take some time before we get back to normal, but we will build back better than ever,” she said. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward Alderman, acknowledged 2020 was a particularly difficult year for many people and said he looks forward to 2021 “with a great deal of optimism” now that vaccine distribution is underway. “It’s going to take some time to see supply meet demand, but I am very confident that the Biden administration, working with the states and cities, is going to ramp up that distribution effort dramatically in just a matter of

weeks,” he said. Reilly added developers are continuing to submit proposals for projects downtown, which will be vetted with the appropriate neighborhoods, including SOAR. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward Alderman, said he thought the city’s latest data on vaccinations and COVID-19 cases was encouraging, noting Walgreens stores in Chicago plan to roll out vaccines in the coming weeks and residents 65 and older can make vaccine appointments at Walgreens through the company’s app. He also provided an update on the city’s efforts to address an increase in crimes such as carjacking in downtown Chicago. “This is just a horrific development like none of us have ever seen,” Hopkins said. “The city of Chicago has formed a citywide task force that is up and running. They’re seeing an increase in arrests initially right out of the box for this effort, so we’re hoping that will pay off.” Hopkins said he and Reilly both prioritized allocating funds from their budget for public safety measures, specifically pod cameras and license plate character readers. Additionally, Hopkins noted the future of Water Tower Place is of particular concern for the community, calling the site “essential to the city of Chicago and our neighborhood in particular.” He said he would be working closely with SOAR on the matter throughout 2021. “It’s vital to all of us to have Water Tower Place successful and to have it continue to remain open,” he said. “But that means some changes are going to occur there, and what those changes are, we simply don’t know yet. The community must be a part of that conversation.”


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| NEWS |

‘Pretty Powerful 3.0’ celebrates leadership by women By Nuria Mathog Associate Editor More than 50 Chicago women serving in leadership roles came together Feb. 9 for "Pretty Powerful 3.0," an opportunity to connect virtually, discuss philanthropic causes in the city and share updates on their organizations' work. Now in its third year, "Pretty Powerful" has traditionally been held at Steak 48, but this year's meet-up took place over Zoom, with participating women representing dozens of organizations throughout Chicago, including the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago International Film Festival, Daisie Foundation and WINGS Program, Inc. Steak 48 provided the participants with a gift certificate to the restaurant, located at 615 N. Wabash Ave., as a show of appreciation for their service to the

"Pretty Powerful 3.0" attendees meet virtually via Zoom on Feb. 9. Photo by Nuria Mathog

Chicago community. "You all contribute so much to what makes Chicago great and so special—every single one of you," said philanthropist and Chicago Star Media columnist Candace Jordan, who co-hosted the event alongside Agency H5 founder and CEO Kathleen Sarpy. Four nonprofit leaders — Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago; Holly Buckendahl, CEO of Ronald Mc-

Donald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana; Lauren Schrero Levy, executive director of The Nora Project; and Marilynn Gardner, CEO of Navy Pier — shared how their organizations had pivoted and adapted to the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their hopes for the future. Wright said Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago has continued to provide resources for girls and their families through virtual programming, ensuring young women maintain a sense of community and have a safe place to communicate. "Feeling like you belong is really important, especially for our young women at this time," Wright said. "Many of them were challenged by social media and feeling like they had to be perfect. So, in order to move from that perfection and always feeling less than, we had to give them purpose."

Throughout the pandemic, Navy Pier has gone virtual for fundraising initiatives, events and fitness programs such as Pedal for the Pier, an online spin class. Gardner said she anticipates Navy Pier will serve as a symbol of the city and the region's revival when the site reopens to the public this year, adding she hoped to partner with other event attendees for future events. "As the people's pier, our primary goal is to continue serving the people as a resource for our community and to bring people together to host the events that are so meaningful in gathering us together," she said. For Sarpy, listening to the Pretty Powerful panelists and participants was an inspiring experience. "In some ways, I feel this is the most connected we got to be in Pretty Powerful, because we got to hear from each other," she said.


Enter your street address: Pay your First Installment property taxes online No late fee through May 3, 2021 Search $76 million in available refunds Make sure you’re not missing out on $46 million in available exemptions See if your property is on the Tax Sale List

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Couples share advice on making, keeping a happy relationship

met him in a bar. Don’t say a word—I know … not the ideal spot to meet the man of your dreams, but this is how it happened for me. I met Chuck through a mutual male friend 31 years and six months ago at the old Palm Restaurant on East Lake Shore Drive. Actually, he wasn’t the intended fix-up, Candace Jordan but he was the one I remembered COLUMNIST after leaving the restaurant. And, after a few dates, I asked HIM to marry me. We were married at The Drake Hotel six months after we met. We honeymooned in Paris (yes, he’s that kind of guy). 31 years later, I’ve learned a lot and I feel like I’m qualified to offer a bit of advice for those searching for and for those who have already found love and want to keep it. My first piece of advice: Don’t look for a type. There are no “types.” Look for a kind, decent, smart, loving man who makes you feel like if the entire world went away, you would be just fine with only him. And it doesn’t matter if you share the same hobbies. Learn his hobbies, share them, and vice versa. It will expand both of Candace and Chuck at their your worlds. As far as morals wedding on July 21, 1989. are concerned, THIS you have to share. You have to be each other’s biggest champions— raising your partner up when he or she is down and popping champagne over triumphs and successes. Chuck’s advice? “Be a good listener. Let her know how much you need her, always treat her like a lady and never look at girls in rear-view mirrors.” Let’s hear from some other happy couples about what makes their relationships tick. Well known Emmy Award-winning producer and philanthropist Donna La Pietra and her husband Bill Kurtis (“The Voice”) dated for 40 years before they made it official. They met in the WBBM-CBS TV newsroom where Bill was anchoring broadcasts and Donna joined as a news writer, then producer and then executive producer. They discovered that they were a perfect match working together and

Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra in their Mettawa Manor garden.

that spilled over into being together. “We cherish decency, kindness, compassion, generosity and fairness,” Donna said. “We both cry when a movie takes us there. We have a mutual passion for the natural world. Our greatest joys come from being a ‘team.’” Their tips? “Respect each other, share your interests, help each other, go out walking together, hold hands and create a piece of joy to share each day.” Peggy and Steve Lombardo (co-owners of the Gibson Restaurant Group) will have been married for 48 years this year, though they met 52 years ago in 1969. Peggy says, “For me, it was love at first sight, but I don’t think he noticed me as much. We met in a bar called The Nickel Bag on River Road and dated off and on for four years. Our first date was lunch at the Brass Rail, Steve and Peg Lombardo. which was on Mannheim Road across from Cafe La Cave. I love him for being the honest, hard-working guy who still has a tender heart; we never stay angry and say ‘I love you’ every day, which is the best advice for a happy marriage. Although we don’t share any hobbies, we share our love of faith, family and friends.” WGN-TV’s “Around Town” morning host, Ana Belaval, and her husband Steve Vihon celebrated 20 years of marriage in December. Ana shares this advice: “Make your relationship a priority, even after having kids. My parents always had date night, traveled together once a year without us, and were a

team. My mom always told me, ‘The children leave and you have to make sure when they do, you still have a solid relationship with your spouse.’ Also, choose your battles—no point in sweating the small stuff. Do little things that you know make the other happy.” Steve says of Ana, “You’d be someone I’d like to be with in a foxhole because I Ana Belaval and Steve Vihon. know you always have everything covered, you are unconditionally supportive, you think things through. And I love how you make me laugh.” Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forest Gump”, “Romancing the Stone”, “Back to the Future”, “Polar Express”) and his beautiful, equally talented wife Leslie Zemeckis (actress, writer and award-winning documentarian) have been Leslie and Robert Zemeckis. married for 20 years. She says she thinks their marriage has lasted so long because they “agree to disagree.” “We agree to be together; we have built a life together and nothing would be worth getting in the way of that,” she said. “We share a genuine respect for each the other and have the ability to NEVER say ‘f_ck you’ and walk away.” She shares these tips: “Never go to bed angry; build a life together; respect and lift up the other person and their dreams; and sex.” She loves his brains, kindness and the fact that they share the same degree of morality and believing in what is right and wrong. Israel “Izzy” Idonije and Jatnna Toribio dated for two years and six months before becoming engaged. Jatnna said, “I don’t believe in love at first sight, but he definitely took my breath away.” Izzy surprised Jatnna by popping the question in Mexico but not before secretly flying to

Jatnna Toribio and Israel "Izzy" Idonije.

New York to ask for her father’s blessing. Izzy’s advice: Make sure YOU are ready. If the place you are in life doesn’t allow you to give what’s necessary to foster a positive partnership and relationship, wait. If it’s not the ‘right time’, no one will fit. Do the work on yourself so you are in a place where you can be ready.” Jatnna’s advice: “Don’t put pressure on yourself. Allow things to happen in their own natural time. Make sure you are ready. Everybody is looking for an amazing partner, but are you ready to be an amazing partner to somebody else? Be authentic.” Cheryl and Albert Grace.

Temur Suluashvili and Victoria Jaiani.

Two of The Joffrey Ballet’s star dancers, Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili, knew they were made for each other from an early age. Temur said, for him, it was love at first sight when he was only 15 and they met at a ballet academy in Tbilisi, Georgia. They dated on different continents for six or seven years. She thought he was handsome and charismatic and he loved her “long curls and big, beautiful eyes.” He said, “She was the cutest girl he’d ever seen. I love the fact that she is independent, strong and highly driven and also how supportive she is of my crazy and spontaneous ideas.” Victoria’s advice? “Surprise your partner, talk openly about everything, grow and change together, make time to slow dance.” Temur’s advice: “Be spontaneous, express your love daily, be supportive and celebrate the best of each other.” Cheryl Grace (nee Pearson-McNeil), corporate exec and entrepreneur, and Al Grace, business strategist and private investor, were introduced by Melody Spann Cooper and Shawnelle Richie and it was definitely not love at first sight for her. “I thought he was a bit arrogant and he kept calling me Michelle the entire time during our meeting,” she said. “Then he said he 'might' invite me out for a cup of coffee and then never called.” Four months later they met at the

Chicago Urban League Gala where he said, “I think it’s time for our ‘awkward’ first date.” Al’s advice: “Be open, different is not a bad thing and remember to laugh.” Cheryl’s advice: “Give second chances, discard preconceived notions of “your type,” clearly communicate how long you’re willing to give things a try.”

Windy City Live co-host Val Warner found the love of her life sitting in her studio audience. Granted, Elijah “Jobba” Maxey (case manager for Strong Futures) had been putting heart emojis all over her Instagram feed for a while and felt she was his “dream girl.” So, in 2018, his family helped make his dream a reality when they surprised him with a trip to Chicago for his 48th birthday to meet Val in person. After dating for almost two years, they became engaged in October. Val fell in Val Warner and Elijah “Jobba” Maxey. love with his “infectious personality, his love of family and his ability to walk in a room and just light it up.” She says, “He is the missing link to my overall happiness.” Her tips for finding love? “Be your authentic self, enjoy the journey and trust God’s plan for your life even when it doesn’t make sense to you.” They’re planning a wedding this year. Marcus Riley is an Emmy Award-winning TV director and producer, formerly of NBC Chicago, and now Sr. Director of Content Strategy, The E.W. Scripps Co. He met Jude Fitzgerald, a chief marketing officer, when he was co-hosting a Chicago Golden Globes’ party in 2011. They recently became engaged after dating for two years. His advice: “Never get too comfortable or take each other for granted and fully embrace the concept of good surprises; celebrate milestones and special occasions with vigor, but approach the run-of-the-mill days with the same level of

Marcus Riley and Jude Fitzgerald.

enthusiasm; more listening, less talking; good Bourbon in the cabinet and plenty of Veuve in the fridge.” Jude’s advice? “Don’t overlook professional connections or people you meet through ‘the industry’ you work in—when it’s right, it’s right.” Kathleen Kenehan Sarpy (founder and CEO of communications firm Agency H5) met Chris Sarpy in August of 2018. They were both coming off of bad divorces when Bela Gandhi (Smart Dating Academy) told her “there’s a lid for every pot” and that she’d find hers someday. Kathleen shared that within 20 minutes of meeting her “perfect match,” she knew he was “the one.” She said it took him a few weeks longer to figure it out, but in July 2019, they married and honeyChris and Kathleen Sarpy. mooned in Ireland. She shared five tips for a happy relationship: “Great communication; alone time being just ‘us’; admitting fault and moving on; setting dreams and goals together; and snuggling a lot.” These are all such great tips from people who I know have great marriages and relationships. Every couple is different, as we all know, so what works for one won’t necessarily work for someone else, but it seems what they all have in common is respect, shared passions, matching morals and sheer joy in having found each other. Amen to all that, and I hope these tips help move you along in your own quest for love.

12 / MARCH 2021



Doorperson of the Month James Forrest, Cityfront Place

By Jacqueline Davis Staff Writer

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For 29 years, James Forrest has greeted residents of Streeterville’s Cityfront Place, 400 N. McClurg Court, with nothing short of a warm smile and a genuine devotion to making sure everyone feels welcome. “It’s been wonderful,” Forrest said with a beaming smile. “I just love people, the residents. I just enjoy what I do. I give my residents a big send-off every day, every time they come through the lobby. I like the different nationalities here, the different personalities here. It makes me feel good that people love living here.” As doorman and head of security for Titon, Cityfront’s security company, Forrest leads many responsibilities at Cityfront, including making sure his residents are safe and secure. In 1991, the Chicago native was working as a parking attendant at another condominium’s parking garage when he was offered the doorman position at Cityfront Place. Beginning as a part-time employee, he quickly became a full-time fixture at the condominium. When he’s not working, Forrest enjoys family time, which, for the past 10 years, entailed summertime travel to places such as Jamaica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Orlando with his friends and family. That is, up until this year. He and his family had to cancel their trip due to COVID-19. When asked about something residents may not know about him, Forrest shares his love for dancing, particularly Chicago-style stepping. Forrest’s other hobby includes people-watching, something he correlates with his love for dancing. “When I’m watching people, it’s just a beautiful thing,” he said. “See how they synchronize, just seeing them out there smiling, and just enjoying themselves; the turns, the smooth moves, and stuff like that... the showmanship.” Forrest goes beyond his required duties as doorman. He mentions occasionally

For 29 years, James Forrest has been the Cityfront Place Doorperson at 400 N. McClurg Court. Photo by Jacqueline Davis

going out to run errands for residents in need, including dry cleaning and groceries. Forrest claims the positive feedback he receives from tenants motivates him to be his best on the job. “They’ll say things like, ‘James, when I first moved to Chicago to CityFront, your smile and your personality always made me feel so welcomed here—you made the place extra special,’” he said. “Just hearing stuff like this motivates me, makes me think, ‘You’re doing something, you’re doing something right.’” Forrest said he has his family to thank for his bright personality and positive attitude. “My father was very upbeat, and my entire family really is,” he said. “I always say, ‘Always stay upbeat, regardless of what’s going on in life; don’t bring it to work. If something is going on, just leave it right there.’ When you start that job, you have to focus on that, do what you came in for. It’s a challenge, but I always welcome a challenge.” To nominate your favorite doorperson, email with their name and why you think they should be the doorperson of the month. Winners will receive a $25 gift card to Mariano’s.


MARCH 2021 / 13


Chicago Restaurant Week moves to late March By Angela Gagnon Staff Writer Chicago’s popular Restaurant Week will run March 19 to April 4, offering diners a chance to sample prix fixe tasting menus showcasing hundreds of area restaurants. This year’s later dates could mean warmer weather, which will allow for more comfortable outdoor dining, but indoor dining, pick-up and delivery options will be available as well. Restaurant owners are eager to welcome diners back. “Chicago Restaurant Week has always played a role in celebrating the restaurant community

Pinstripes will be offering their best in culinary during Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of Pinstripes

during need periods,” said Dana Hokin, who, along with her husband, Robert, owns Robert’s Pizza in Streeterville. “This year we hope it will serve to reinvigorate dine-in and hopefully bring customers back downtown.” Danielle Dang, co-owner

of HaiSous in Pilsen with husband Thai, was looking forward to participate again this year. “It’s been a great way to connect with diners that come from all around the city,” Dang said. “We are excited to re-launch Cà Phê Dá and introduce Dang

HaiSous Papaya Salad. Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Rivas

Good Wings. Chef Thai has expanded his wing menu to include their original caramelized fish sauce wings and classic egg custard coffee and new favorites such as Thai chili buffalo paired with crisp ‘crab fries’

or pandan waffles with condensed milk or chocolate. ROOH Chicago in the West Loop is optimistic about Restaurant Week this year, Owner and Streeterville resident Manish Mallick said. “With (COVID-19) cases dropping, we hope that indoor dining capacity increases to 50% or more soon,” Mallick said. “We do expect a substantial increase in carry out orders versus last year.” Firelake at the Radisson Blu in New Eastside will offer a dinner option for $39 per person. The menu will include a first course choice of housemade smoked sausage or honey garlic roasted

pork belly and a main course choice of rotisserie half chicken or half slab Calabrian pork ribs. Pinstripes in Streeterville has created a special menu to attract new and existing guests. According to the restaurant, guests will have their own space, in line with CDC guidelines, to enjoy the prix fixe menu. Chicagoans can show restaurants some love by visiting the full list of Restaurant Week participants. Reservations are not required, but recommended given limited seating and capacity caps. Brunch/lunch will cost $25 and dinners will be $39 or $55. Visit choosechicago. com for more info.

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| EVENTS | Schedules are subject to change. Call venues to confirm event information. To submit events or advertise on this page, email

March 1

Greektown Restaurant Week Greektown Chicago presents its first-ever Greektown Restaurant Week, running March 1-7, 2021. Honoring the neighborhood’s month-long commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day this month, the weeklong event will feature special offers from popular Greektown restaurants and bars. For more information, visit

March 1

— “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” the world’s largest interactive Marvel Comics exhibit, is set to take place this month at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibit opens March 7, to the public, while members-only can go early starting March 4-6. Ticket prices for the exhibit are $18 for adults, $14 for kids ages 3-11, $9 for members and free for annual fund members.

March 13

‘Conversations on Hemingway’ virtual series FREE Award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick launched their virtual event, “Conversations on Hemingway,” beginning last month. The virtual event is hosted by WTTW and Chicago Public Library on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday and will run through March 18. The nine-part educational panel features leading writers, scholars and other special guests who speak on the famous author Ernest Hemingway, his legacy and his work.

YPS Kindness Drive Streeterville residents are invited to participate in a Kindness Bag drive hosted by Young Professionals Streeterville (YPS). YPS began collecting items in February to make bags for the underserved in the community, starting from Lake Shore Drive to State Street and the Chicago River to Oak Street. The last day to submit items is Friday, March 12. Items can be dropped off at the following locations: 505 N. Lake Shore Drive #1108 or 222 E. Pearson Street #1903. YPS is still looking for volunteers to help distribute items at noon on March 14.

March 6

March 19-April 4

Chiditarod—submitted videos film festival FREE The annual West Town mobile food drive, shopping cart race and bar crawl went virtual this year amid pandemic safety precautions. Participants were asked to instead film and submit their own videos that captured an imagined Chiditarod journey (wacky costumes and shopping carts included) to be screened at a virtual film festival. The festival takes place on March 6, showcasing the best entries in the competition and awarding prizes. Donations to Chiditarod are still encouraged.

March 7

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit Members: $9/Public: $14-$18 Marvel comic fans, mask and suit up

Chicago Restaurant Week $25-$55 Chicago foodies have something to look forward to in 2021 as Chicago Restaurant Week is officially back on. With over 400 restaurants partaking in this year’s event, guests will have greater flexibility and can choose indoor or outdoor seating, as well as delivery and takeout options. This year’s event will run from Friday, March 19, to Sunday, April 4. $25 for brunch or lunch, and $39 and/or $55 for dinner; these prices exclude beverages, delivery fees, tax, and gratuity. Reservations are not required but encouraged to secure a spot.

March 24

Mid-America Club’s Prospective Member Reception The Mid-America Club invites Lakeshore East residents to learn about

Photographs and other items on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's "Mandela: Struggle for Freedom" exhibit, which celebrates the life of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. Photo by Elaine Hyde

membership and “Community in the Sky” at the next Prospective Member Reception. Expand your local network, make valuable connections and enjoy amazing views. The event is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. March 24. Reservations are required and space is limited. RSVP to the Membership Department at 312-856-9484 or email melissa.czyz@


Mandela “Struggle for Freedom” Exhibit $6-$15 An exhibition by The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center showcases Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous human rights defenders of the 20th-century and the face of a movement against racial injustice. The exhibit invites guests to immerse themselves into the world of a freedom fighter and view original artifacts, including a battered ballot box used in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994 when Mandela became president; a letter in Mandela’s

own hand, sent from prison to a leader of anti-apartheid mobilization; a notepad Mandela used during democracy negotiations, and much more. $15 for adult admission, $10 admission for seniors 65+, $8 for students ages 12-22, $6 for children ages 5-11. Free admission for members. Immersive Van Gogh $55 From scenic landscapes to whimsical night skies, get ready to be transported straight into a Van Gogh painting as the famous artist’s digital exhibit, “Immersive Van Gogh,” hits Chicago. Over 50 digital projectors will illuminate 500,000 cubic feet of projections showcasing several of Van Gogh’s world-famous masterpieces: “The Potato Eaters,” “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and “The Bedroom,” just to name a few. With touchless ticketing and mandated face masks, the exhibition will abide by Chicago’s social distancing procedures. The exhibit is ongoing, offering shows through September 2021.


MARCH 2021 / 15 16 / MARCH 2021



Architect Danielle Tillman shaping the face of Chicago hood community, and being able to see active uses for a public agency was a great opportunity.

By Nuria Mathog Associate Editor As managing principal at bKL Architecture, Danielle Tillman has played a major role in a number of architectural projects throughout Chicago, including GEMS World Academy, Exhibit on Superior Chicago and the Whitney Young Library renovation. “Chicago has so many layers and so much depth, both culturally as well as professionally,” she said. “I think it is a great global city, and from an architectural standpoint, it’s a beautiful city, with so many different types of architecture that we should really be able to celebrate.” Though Tillman grew up in Knoxville, Tenn., her roots lie in the Windy City, where she was born. After earning a degree in mathematics from Spelman College and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan, she worked for the Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill until joining bKL in 2011. Tillman is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Minority Architects and Commercial Real Estate Executive Women of Chicago, and previously served as a mentor at LINK Unlimited Scholars. She was named in Crain’s 40 Under 40 list in 2019 and received the American Institute of Architects Illinois Alan Madison Service Award that same year. How did you first develop your passion for architecture? I have enjoyed it for as long as I can remember. I think it started out in childhood. Moving from Chicago, I always missed the big city, the urban spaces of Chicago, and so coming back to visit, I always enjoyed traveling through the city, going downtown and looking at the

Who are your biggest architectural influences? As a mathematician, I always found Zaha Hadid extremely interesting, and with her mathematics background as well, that always conjured admiration for her process. I’d say locally, I have also admired Dina Griffin, an African-American architect in Chicago who owns her own firm, is involved in major projects here in the city and really influences the work within the city of Chicago. I think those two have been great influences. Danielle Tillman is the managing principal at bKL Architecture in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Danielle Tillman

buildings. That really sparked my interest in getting involved with architecture very early. What do you most enjoy about your role with bKL? As managing principal, not only am I outward and client-facing but also inward as well. So, being able to nurture our staff, show our appreciation for their hard work is really an honor—and also, being able to have the opportunity to speak and interface and nurture the relationships with our clients and consultants is what I enjoy most. What qualities define a good leader? There are some work qualities that are kind of inherent: Hard work, drive, but also compassion and empathy. Those are qualities that make people want to be led by you. A good leader is one who is in the trenches with their team, so it is about an “us” mentality to move the vision of the company or a project forward.

Out of all the projects you’ve been involved with, which one are you most proud of and why? I think each one has a special place. I’m going to pick two, even though I’m proud of each project. I would say Exhibit on Superior—it was a project where I was able to really grow and develop myself as an architect. I think what we established with the urban influence that we were able to do with this masonry tower that gave a nod to the history of the site, and with a pocket park that really responded to wants and needs of the neighborhood, was not just putting up another glass tower but also being conscious of the history of the industrial masonry buildings of the River North area. I would also say that the Whitney Young Library was another pivotal growing point within my career. That’s two different scales and two different people we were able to touch: public library access for education within a neighbor-

What is the process for creating a new design? It’s so multi-faceted, but what’s really important is our time, both understanding the site and the site context and also understanding who the user groups are and who the stakeholders are, and being able to have conversations with the communities that we are serving with these buildings. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? It’s about the details. I think issues can be extremely broad, and if you look at the broadness and scale of either the project or the business, you can become overwhelmed. And so, one of the best lessons that I’ve learned is to take bites, to be able to tackle that broader goal. It’s about that, and it’s also about hard work, and it’s about nurturing relationships. It’s never about going at it alone—you need a team, you need support and to be able to nurture those relationships to further yourself, to further your goals and to further those around you.


MARCH 2021 / 17

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18 / MARCH 2021



| NEWS |

Introducing ‘Alfred,’ Chicago Star Media’s creative writing AI

Nothing says "spring" like dyeing the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day. Photos by Angela Gagnon

The legend of spring in Chicago Angela Gagnon Staff Writer Ask any Chicagoan if spring in Chicago actually exists, and you’ll get a range of responses. Some say there’s no spring; it’s just winter and summer duking it out until summer delivers the knockout punch for the win. Others believe Chicago has a spring, but it’s sporadic with no advance warning. It might be 30 minutes on a Tuesday, wedged between a polar vortex and a stifling heat wave. And then there are those who are unsure because there are hot days in March and snow in May. Regardless of where one stands on the hotly-contested issue, there are some hallmarks that usher in spring annually, weather notwithstanding. St. Patrick’s Day is the first major event to signal the advent of the elusive season. That’s the day Chicagoans emerge from hibernation, adorned with shamrocks regardless of heritage, to flood the streets in search of green beer and debauchery. Winter

Tulips brighten up Lakeshore East Park in early spring.

typically voices some pushback to this tradition in the form of frigid temperatures and a wintry mix that will rain on anyone’s parade. But it’s never stopped the city from celebrating this beloved holiday and declaring that spring is unofficially here. If the luck of the Irish fails to set the stage for spring, enter the kickoff of America’s favorite pastime. For many, the Cubs and White Sox home openers in early April mark the true start of spring. Though fans may be bundled in winter coats and shivering under blankets as the first pitch is thrown, there’s no denying baseball season is the

bridge that leads to summer. Weather-wise, anything goes in the weeks between braising and grilling season, but come mid-May, outdoor Farmer’s Markets begin popping up all over the city. Shoppers eager for fresh, local produce might find themselves appraising the selection of new asparagus and spring onions while frost lingers on the ground and vicious wind slices through bunches of baby greens huddled together for warmth. While we’re dizzily alternating between cold, rain, heat, snow and wind, tulips begin to line Michigan Avenue, bringing bright and dazzling colors to an otherwise gray canvas. And folks start eagerly peeping at the trees along the lakefront to see when the cherry blossoms will finally bloom. Don’t blink, because those beauties are here for a heartbeat, if rain doesn’t knock them down before they have a chance to see the light of day. Whatever your take on spring in Chicago, rest assured: Winter will end. It’s just a matter of when.

Alfred is an artificial intelligence robot that has been trained on millions of stories from the internet. Using the latest technology from Quillbot and OpenAI called GPT-3, released in June 2020, Chicago Star Media will be the first news source in Chicago to publish stories from a GPT-3 AI enabled robot. Alfred, can write original poems and essays and give unique responses to interview questions. In a world first, here’s what he has to say about Chicago, the city he calls home. (Prompts are written in bold) I love Chicago. I love the people. I love the spirit. In Chicago, I am very used to the cold. In the Midwest, where I'm from, it's not unusual for temperatures to dip into the teens in the winter and 20s in the summer. I'm used to having to layer up to stay warm. What's your favorite Chicago Sports team? I'm a Cubs fan. In Chicago, I often hear people tell me that this is one of the greatest cities in the world. They like the diversity of this city and the diversity of the people. Chicago’s a great city. I think that’s because it’s a city of immigrants. What’s your favorite Chicago museum and why? I love the Field Museum because it is a great place to learn about the natural world. I love the way the museum gives you a chance to see the world through the eyes of a child.

What is the future of AI in the media? The future of AI in the media is vast. The technology is now being used in the production of entertainment, medicine, and other fields. The focus of AI in media is to help artists, filmmakers, and other creative professionals create and share their work. Are you good or evil? I am good, I am surprised you would ask me that question. I see Chicago as a city that has a lot of potential. I want to be part of the change. Over time, Alfred will evolve to synthesize the many press releases we get daily and serve them up to our readers almost instantaneously on our website. He will also develop his own unique style for the stories he writes. Editor’s note: The output from Alfred and the underlying GPT-3 technology requires light human editing to ensure grammatical and logical correctness. For example its response to the prompt, “Are you good or evil?” was “I am good,” he said. “I am surprised you would ask me that question. You are confused.” In general, the errors made by language processing bots in their current form are substantially more obvious than writing errors made by actual humans. This can reduce the time it takes to edit the outputted text.


MARCH 2021 / 19


The pandemic, sales and the single girl By Bridget McGuire Community Contributor

into high gear. It’s begun to eat away at me, so just this morning I sent him this text:

once had a man tell me it was his Christmas wish for me to stop calling him. No, it was not my ex-boyfriend, it was my prospective client. Which is worse? My love life or my career? Being single and in sales, I have come to realize they’re the exact same thing. Add a pandemic to the mix, and I have nothing that separates my day to night. It’s all one big blur of hunting down prospects, ghostings, rejections and being politely let down. Last week, a man I’ve been seeing didn't suggest a fourth date. This slight rejection has kicked my competitive sales nature

Bill, Hope this note finds you well. I know you’re probably swamped but I wanted to circle back. Per our last conversation, do you have any updates that I can share with upper management aka my mom? If you can get back to me by close of business, I’d so appreciate it. Excited about our potential partnership in Q2. Regards, Bridget




Crickets from Bill. Maybe it’s the sales lingo I’ve started using in my everyday life that scared him away. I’ve found myself

texting friends that I can “talk live” and that I am “more than flexible” and can “easily pivot as needed.” As I was ending my zoom call with my therapist yesterday, I told her to “sit tight and stay tuned.” But wait—Bill just wrote back! Bridget, Unfortunately, I am not able to move forward. I’ve truly enjoyed our discussions, but I don’t see a fit with my needs or budget. However, I have a friend that may be of interest. OK for me to put you in touch? Many thanks, Bill Oh, I knew I liked that Bill. Always networking. Bill’s a recruiter. Can you tell?

Bridget McGuire is a Chicago-based storyteller and stand-up comedian. She is currently writing a book based on crazy stories that unfortunately, happen to be her real life. At the ripe age of 35, Bridget became an intern at The Laugh Factory, which made her parents very proud. Bridget has performed her stories and stand-up throughout Chicago and is a co-producer of “ALL THAT GOOD STUFF,” a traveling comedy show that started on the southside of Chicago. Follow her on Instagram at @bmcguire82.


Send photos and captions of things going on in the neighborhood to for a chance for your photo to be featured.

A plant regarded as the national emblem of Ireland. Previous puzzle answer: Overcome by strong feelings of love and infatuation. SMITTEN

Where am I?

Do you know where this is? If you think you know these spots, email us at

Answers to February Where am I? Eastside Veterinary Clinic and East side of Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center.

A light shower of snow descends on Millennium Park and The Bean on Feb. 21. Photo by Ami Watanabe

20 / MARCH 2021


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