Monday, March 25, 2019

Apply to Evanston's Cultural Fund Grant Program by April 1

This in from the City of Evanston...

Arts organizations are invited to apply to the City of Evanston’s Cultural Fund Grant Program. The Cultural Fund, administered by the Evanston Arts Council, supports artistic excellence throughout the community by providing financial assistance to not-for-profit arts organizations for operational costs or projects. Applications must be submitted online at
by Monday, April 1, 2019 at 5 p.m.

The City will award a total of $30,000 in grants in the following two categories: Grants to Organizations, awards up to $5,000; and Special Programs and Projects, awards up to $5,000. Applicants may only apply for one of the grant categories. All projects must take place in Evanston in order to successfully qualify for a grant.

There will be a free grant-writing workshop offered specifically for the Cultural Fund Grant Program. All applicants are encouraged to attend the session on Wednesday, February 27, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Morton Civic Center, Room 2402, 2100 Ridge Ave. For special considerations, such as sign language interpretation or Braille translation, please call 847-859-7833 at least one week prior to the meeting date.

The Cultural Fund Grant application must be completed and submitted online only. This allows applicants to easily submit financial records and supporting documents, as well as save progress throughout the application process.

All information about the grants, guidelines and applications can be found by visiting For questions, please contact Assistant to the City Manager Paulina Martínez at

The goal of the Cultural Fund Grant Program is to sustain and advance the community’s arts industry. Evanston’s vision for its Cultural Fund Grant Program is to activate the extraordinary assets of the community to develop Evanston as an arts hub and destination.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Chilling at King Spa

updated November 22, 2018

I go to King Spa almost monthly. It feels like a vacation, because it's such an uncommon-to-me atmosphere and I leave feeling good, body and soul.

By uncommon-to-me, I mean that it is a Korean-style spa. Most of the staff seems to be Korean. The televisions are tuned into Korean programs. Most of reading materials are in Korean. I’m not Korean. That said, it feels as common-to-me as going to my neighborhood pool. Little kids try to swim in the hot tubs (to the annoyance of some). There are signs telling us the rules and minders, a combination of lifeguards and librarians, making sure we observe them, rules like no water in the hot rooms and only whispers in the hot tubs. There are lockers, towels, showers, and what I call a concession stand, but with tasty, healthy Korean/Asian food. No hot dogs here.

If you’ve never been there, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go.
Here’s some tips.

* Entry costs $40. Discounts are available via coupon sites and on their website, but I think the best deal is found next door at Super H Mart. Their customer service desk staff sell passes for $24 each, if you give them cash. Note that while the spa is open 24 hours, the customer service desk closes at 9 p.m., last I checked.

* The locker key issued to you includes a fob that allows spa staff to track your purchases — food, slippers, facial masks, plus facials, massages, scrubs and other services. You’ll pay for those items on your way out.

* Hot tubs are not co-ed. They’re accessible only through locker rooms and include lots of nakedness. If one is not used to this, this can be challenging at first. To me, the scene by the hot tubs is like an impressionist's painting. This I believe: a) If any of the other women in and around the hot tubs looks at you at all, it won't be for too long. No one there cares much about your looks. b) You won't have the most unusual, noteworthy body in the place.

Before going into the cool tub, spend as much time as you can in the hottest tub. If you do that, the cool tub will feel refreshing, not freezing.

A Korean women long acquainted with the hot-cold system of recommends continuing to move in the hot and cold tubs to help the toxins leave your system and keep your joints nimble.

* Hot rooms are co-ed. You’ll be issued blousy shorts and a top. No one looks good in them, but no one looks bad either.  No dust or dirt on the floors, but in the hottest rooms, those floors get very hot, so wearing socks is a good idea.

I hope you’ll go and enjoy it.

[ Photos courtesy King Spa's website ]

Friday, November 2, 2018

Learn about artist Gabriele Munter--or Pirate Women--at the Evanston Public Library, courtesy Rotary Club of Evanston


Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) was a central figure of German Expressionism and the artist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)--artists who believed the Neue Künstlervereinigung München had become too strict and traditional--which was founded at Münter’s house in Murnau, in Bavaria, Germany. Her role as a dedicated proponent, mediator, and longtime companion of Wassily Kandinsky is widely recognized.

Less known is the fact that Münter is one of the few women who played an early role in developing modernism.

Her openness and willingness to experiment as a painter, photographer, and graphic artist will now be presented in detail for the first time at an exhibition now at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, until January 13, 2019.

For those of us not going to Cologne: Gabriele Münter: Painting to the Point, by Isabelle Jansen, Matthias Muhling und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung has been gifted to the Evanston Public Library by the Rotary Club of Evanston, in honor of fellow Rotarian Julie Clark's visit to one of their Thursday lunch meetings. (Better than a pen or a mug.)

A few of the other books we've donated in the name of our guest speakers:
> Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement by Naomi Andre

> A Guide to Improvised Weaponry: How to Protect Yourself With Whatever You've Got by Terry Schappert

> The Science of Positivity: Stop Negative Thought Patterns by Changing Your Brain Chemistry by Loretta Breuning

> Pirate Women : the Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers who ruled the Seven Seas by Laura Duncombe

> Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado

> 1,001 Ways to be Creative : a Little Book of Everyday Inspiration by Barbara Kipfer


Sources: >< ><

Monday, September 17, 2018

Help neighbors and strangers celebrate their birthdays


You’re doing what you can to make ends meet.
Your loved one’s birthday is coming up.
Do you spend funds on ends meat--sold at some deli counters, sometimes they include cheese--or on baking supplies to make a birthday cake?

Skevanton’s Hillside Pantry has got your back.
They provide birthday cake kits: Cake mix, frosting, candles, sometimes a card.

If you have the means, consider creating some birthday cake kits for the pantry.

You can drop them off at Rotary International's headquarters on Sherman. In the lobby, by the sundries shop, is a collection box. A member or friend of the Rotary Club of Evanston will take contributions to the pantry.

Learn more about the kits and what else the Hillside Pantry is looking for online, because while cake is nice, so is tuna.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Meet Rotary's Michele Berg

That's Michele with one "L".
Michele Berg, as Susan Trieschman discusses
restorative justice and her passion for Curt's Cafe
at one of the Rotary Club of Evanston's
Thursday lunch meetings.

Maybe you've already met Michele Berg. Maybe you met her at an Evanston Fourth of July parade. She'd have been there marching with Rotarians. Maybe you met her at a Evanston Community Foundation gala. She's on the foundation's board. Maybe she seems familiar, because last year you read about her in Evanston Woman magazine.

By day, Michele Berg is the deputy general secretary for the Evanston-headquartered Rotary International, the second highest ranking person in the organization.

In 2009 she doubled down and joined the Rotary Club of Evanston. She was the only RI staffer in the club at the time. She became a Rotarian during fellow Rotarian Dick Peach's first stint as club president. On July 1, Dick ended his second term as president when he handed the gavel over to Michele.

As a fellow club member, I was curious about what was on Michele's mind as she took the top post in our club.

Here's what I learned.

Q: What do you especially enjoy about your job at Rotary International these days?

As Deputy General Secretary, I have a broad portfolio of work including Global People & Talent, International Operations, building operations of our world headquarters, support for Rotary Board/Trustees and audit. I also have the opportunity to represent the General Secretary at events locally and internationally. I enjoy the variety of the role and the ability to work with people from all around the world.  

Q: What’s on your mind as you begin the next Rotary year as president of the Rotary Club of Evanston?

Our club has a rich history and is made up of enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers. I’m proud to lead the club as the 100th president, but certainly I can do nothing alone. I’m grateful for how many individuals have stepped up to plan service projects, invite compelling speakers, promote our activities on social media, and work on member events. I hope we continue to have fun and contribute to our community at the same time.

Q: Years ago you and I collaborated on inviting guest speakers to our weekly lunch meetings. I enjoyed working with you on that. I especially appreciate your equanimity and intelligence. I think you’re going to be a great president.

As club president, do you have any specific goals you’ll be focusing on this year?
Thanks, Karen! So kind of you.

The Rotary Club of Evanston has a strategic plan with goals to increase membership, focus on a signature fund raising activity, focus on a signature service project, and improve our public image. As club president, I certainly want to support our strategic plan and keep us on track for a successful year. Other than these goals, I’m hoping to engage as many members as possible in club activities and get us ready to celebrate our 100th year. 

Q: What inspired you to join our Rotary club years ago?

I’ve been involved in Rotary for over 20 years as a member of the Rotary International staff. I believe in the mission and I see the impact the organization is having to create lasting change in our communities and in our world. I wanted to join the Rotary Club of Evanston, because I wanted to get more involved in the community. I live and work in Evanston and am raising a family in Evanston – I thought it was important to be involved and connected. 
Dick Peach and Michele Berg at the
annual transition party at Rotarian
Elio Romero's Chef's Station.

Q: Any of us can conjure up some "good" reasons to NOT serve as club president, but what ideas coaxed you into taking the gavel this year?

A Rotary club is run by volunteers and someone needs to step up to lead the club each year. And Dick Peach asked me. As we both know, in Rotary you just say yes!

Q: What does your family think of you taking on the role of club president or should I ask them myself?

Ha! Definitely ask them, but if I had to guess... I met my husband working at Rotary International, so my family has grown with Rotary always in the mix professionally and personally. I’ve always involved them in service projects and some of my travel for work. They understand that Rotary is about helping people, so they are supportive of all that I do with Rotary.

Q: You’re one of the leaders of your family and Rotary International. What lessons learned in those roles do you expect to make use of as you lead our club?

Delegate! I am grateful to have a great team in my family, at work and in the Rotary club - I’m surrounded by wonderful people, so it is really about having a goal and then working together as a team to reach our goals.

Q: What would you like more people to understand about being a Rotarian?

I hope people understand that being a Rotarian opens a network of 1.2 million other Rotarians who are all committed to working together to bring lasting change to our communities and around the world. It is a powerful group – we are literally changing the world with our efforts in polio eradication, water and sanitation, peace, economic development, maternal and child health, education and literacy, disease prevention and treatment. And we work locally in Evanston as well – community grants, scholarships. We need more hands to do good work – anyone interested should come check us out!  Like our Facebook page or come to a meeting – we meet Thursdays at 12:15 at Rotary International, 1560 Sherman Avenue in downtown Evanston.
To take up MIchele's offer of lunching with
the Rotary Club of Evanston,
RSVP to her via email.

Michele Berg plants a tree with her daughters at Evanston's Harbert Park
in May. One of Rotary International's goals for last year was for

1.2 million new trees to be planted, one for every Rotarian in the world.
The Rotary Club of Evanston pitched in.

Friday, August 3, 2018

THANKS, again, Dick Peach

Monarda, aka Bee Balm.
Roses, lilies, black-eyed Susans, bee balm and purple cone flowers are just some of the flora at home in Evanston's International Friendship Garden. Maybe you've strolled through it or ridden past it at McCormick and Bridge St. in the middle of the Ladd Arboretum. Established in the early 1960s by the Rotary Club of Evanston, not widely known is that Dick Peach, with his wife Shelley Peach, have lead the maintenance of it for many years, until recently, on behalf of the club.

Few people active in Evanston's civic life don't know Dick Peach. He's consider by many one of the unofficial mayors of Evanston. By day he's the general manager of Dempster Auto Rebuilders. In his spare time he's doing all he can to help Evanston be all it can be, plus a little more fun. He plays Santa during Evanston winter Holiday Bash. He writes the Hooked on Fishing column for the Evanston Roundtable, which he's won awards for. He's served in leadership positions in numerous Evanston's community organizations: Evanston Chamber of Commerce, City of Evanston's Liquor Control Board, Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston Environmental Association, Evanston's 4th of July Association, WE Foundation and probably others. The position he takes a special pride in is being a Rotarian. It is a rare day he's not wearing one of his Rotary shirts, and if he's not, he's wearing a Rotary pin.

Dick Peach
This past Rotary year, July 2017-June 2018, Dick served as president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, again. The first to serve as president twice in the club's nearly 100-year history.

Dick is not hard to get to know. What you see is what you get. For certain details, one has to dig a little deeper. I pressed him a bit on his thoughts about his recent stint as club president.

Here's what he had to say:

Q: How are you feeling about your year leading the club, again?

Feeling pretty good, the year was not a bad year for our Club. We lost a few members due to job changes, and we gained a few new members. Leading this club is a joy because we have so many outstanding Rotarians leading the way and their showing the newbies how we do it.

Q: How did this year differ for you from your first time serving as president during the 2009-10 Rotary year?

This year we didn’t make any major shifts in the club's operations. Last time when I came in I changed how we collected for lunch, by adding it to the dues instead of everyone paying at the door. Last time I de-emphasized taking attendance and offered a number of new ways to ‘make-up’ a meeting like Tuesday Toasters. This year was pretty uneventful in comparison.

Q: What was the high point of the year for you?

Getting the dues structure realigned with the financial reality of our membership. With the shift from most companies covering all the dues for the members, to most not covering the dues cost, this putting the weight on the individual. I think it was prophetic that it was on my first presidency we added the meals to the dues making them substantially higher, that on my current watch I was able to restructure dues and make it easier on the membership to pay dues. Big change.

Q: Is there anything you feel you left undone?

I wish I could have had more new members. I couldn’t find a way to get our members to invite more people to join us.

Q: What’s next for you? Any projects you’re looking to take on within the club or outside of it?

Within the club, finish another big banner with club banners from around the world to make our meeting area look even better. I told [current president] Michele [Berg] I would be happy to work on our 100th Anniversary project for the club and I’m on two other committees, so I’ll stay involved.

Outside of Rotary I’m working with the WE Foundation to help kids get ahead. I’m taking a back seat on the 4th of July doings, stepping down from Celebration Manager for next year. I’m also going to be working full time on my retirement and move to Minnesota.

Q: What else is on your mind as you transition out?  Any advice for new president Michele Berg?

I told Michele the best thing she can do is to delegate as much as possible, because otherwise the job will overwhelm you in a minute. Pick good people to run your committees hold them accountable. And most of all…have fun. Remember you have lots of experienced past presidents to lean on for advice and guidance.

Santa Sandwich: Elf Eldridge Shannon (center) with
Dick Peach (right) and I at the first annual Evanston
Holiday Bash and Tree Lighting. November 2012.
[Photo by Genie Lemieux]
More about the Rotary Club of Evanston

Planting trees, rehabbing homes for low-income families, cleaned-up beaches, packing backpacks of school supplies for K-12 students, tending to the International Friendship Garden and raising funds for not-for-profit organizations addressing issues from illiteracy to HIV/AIDS to homelessness, poverty, and gang violence is just some of what Rotary Club of Evanston does locally.

Through the network of 35,000+ clubs connected through Rotary International--which just happens to be headquartered at Sherman and Grove--the Rotary Club of Evanston, as well as the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club, partner with other clubs to do what they can to tackle the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges, which include eradicating polio, disaster relief, clean water and micro-enterprise in Kenya, and upgrading health care systems in Guatemala.

Most of the humanitarian efforts Rotarians work on globally fall under six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

If you'd like to learn more, check out the club's website and Facebook page. All are welcome to our Thursday lunch meeting in downtown Evanston. For an invitation to lunch and to learn more about membership in the club, contact club member Brian King.

Dick Peach, with fellow Rotarian Gene Servillo, at a Tuesday Toasters, one of the
Rotary Club of Evanston's events that is only about fun and friends.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Gale West's Success with Soul Summit starts June 4

Success with Soul Summit host
Gale West

What do Rhonda Britten, Lynne Twist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ben Saltzman, Susan Jenkins, Georgina Sweeney, Lisa Marie Platske, Brandon Peele, Mark E. Sackett, Alison Armstrong, Jennifer Hough, Sahar Nafal, Martin Rutte, Jeffrey Van Dyk and Jodie Baudek all have in common?

They’ve all been on Oprah?

Close. A few of them have been.

They’re authors, coaches, and thought leaders in the area of personal transformation. All are participating in the Success with Soul Summit hosted by Evanston’s own transformation coach Gale West. It starts June 4 and runs for two weeks.

Gale talked to these leaders about living fearlessly, designing your own destiny, love, the need for community, the value of creativity and other topics relating to aligning passion and profession in agreement with the nature of one's own being...and recorded their conversation.

One thought leader/coach is featured daily. Sign up online to receive the link to his/her conversation with Gale in your inbox each morning.

The summit is "free" and hopefully freeing. ;-)
The summit will only cost you some time and attention. It might even cost you some limiting beliefs, which would surely make this all worthwhile.
(If you'd like access to the talks after the summit, that will cost you some money.)

If you’ve been feeling that our society’s current definition of success, which tends to foster competition and values image, status and money for money’s sake, is soul sucking, this is for you.

Gale says this summit aims to promote new definitions of success that are soul nourishing, life enhancing, celebrate your unique gifts in the marketplace, allow your magnificence to shine and for money to be an agent for good.

It promises to be inspirational. Maybe it will change your life.

Ooh. Cool. Thank you, Karen.

You're welcome.