Friday, May 3, 2019

Evanston Rotary's PizzaFest May 21

This in from the Rotary Club of Evanston...

Stephanie Murray--with other member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Paul Fischl, Gene Servillo, Jane Lawicki, Paul Larson, Dick Peach, Dave Stumpf, Diane Krier-Morrow, Ada Kahn, Janet Butterfield, Björn Gylling, Pete Giangreco, Tori Foreman, Helen Dickson, Harry Vroegh, Gary Bowen, Paul Giordano, Bill Logan, Shawn Iles, Evelyn Lee, April Jensen, Jason Orloff, Pam Rosenbusch, John Robertson, Bridget McDonough, Tracy Tebear, Mark Lowry, Michele Berg, Wally Bobkiewicz, Kelly Gilbert, Brian King, Tom Swigert--invites you to this year's PizzaFest
Gigio's Pizzeria, 1001 Davis, Evanston
Tuesday, May 21, from 4:30-8:30 p.m..

New this year is outdoor dining on Maple Street ad entertainment by the Greenleaf Band and Johnny Price aka DJ JP Gunnz.

Bennison's will be bringing the dessert.

The growing list of "celebrity servers" expected to be there slinging slices includes John Hewko, Rotary International; Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty; and Evanston Alderman Peter Braithwaite.

Tickets for all the pizza and pop you can consume run $20 for adults and $12 for kids, if you purchase from a club member or online. Tickets at the door will cost a bit more.

This umpteenth annual pizza and pop extravaganza raises funds to support community projects and initiatives vital to the well being of Evanston. Past recipients of the club's philanthropy include James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Family Focus Evanston, On Your Feet Foundation, Curt's Cafe South, Evanston Food Exchange, Park School PTA, School for Little Children, Youth and Opportunity United/Y.O.U., Mudlark Theater Company, Youth Job Center
and others.

Deejay JP Gunnz aka Evanston's own Johnny Price

Friday, March 29, 2019

Grants to combat hate and intolerant behavior

Evanston logo This in from the Rotary Club of Evanston...

National statistics indicate that hate crimes are on the rise, accompanied by an alarming increase in hateful speech and intolerance in the nation’s social discourse.

Recent incidents of intolerant behavior and language among school-age children indicate that this broad societal problem can have a local impact, “trickling down” to affect our youth at a particularly important time in their intellectual and emotional development.

Recognizing the destructive impact of hateful speech and intolerance on communities, and particularly its significantly harmful impact on youth, the Rotary Club of Evanston Charitable Fund is turning its attention to this issue with its annual request for local grant proposals. The Charitable Fund will award community grants this year to local organizations that are interested in addressing the issue through innovative programming. The grants will range in size from $500 to $2,500.

To be considered for a 2019 grant, local organizations are asked to demonstrate programming intended to reduce the impacts of hateful speech, cultural insensitivity or intolerance among children, while promoting youth communities that are characterized by tolerance, empathy and respect for diversity. Because these issues impact children of all ages, program proposals aimed at children from pre-kindergarten/early childhood through middle school and high school are encouraged, including those focused on parenting skills and support for families.

Funding for this effort is being provided by the generous contributions of four Community Partners who are supporting this year’s grants: Byline Bank, Hagerty Consulting, NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Romano Brothers & Co. Wealth Management.

Completed applications may be submitted by email to or sent by U.S. mail to: Rotary Club of Evanston, P.O. Box 84, Evanston, IL, 60204. The application deadline is May 10, 2019. Grant awardees will be announced in June 2019.

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.