Thursday, December 31, 2009

Joel's favorite 2009 photos for Evanston

Annually Pioneer Press' photographers are asked to selects some of their favorite picture of the year for a year-in-review section. Here's some of Joel Lerner's picks from the Evanston Review.

A packed Beardsley Gymnasium stands and listens as Barack Obama is takes the oath to become the 44th President of the United States at Evanston Township H.S. on January 20, 2009.

Evanston's Nicole Brown saves the ball off of Glenbrok South's Danielle Drews at a home game in February.

Second-grader Grace Loveland of Evanston (center) exercises along with her classmates and Northwestern wide receiver Jeff Yarbrough as part of a program called "Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge" at St. Joan of Arc School in February.

Joan of Arc principal Gail Hulse (left) and 1st graders Alexandra Renoult-Orlandini (middle) and Halina Osojnak dance in class as part of the "Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge."

Bessie Rhodes' Alyssa Nichols, Julia Larson, John Hruska and Sarah Cooper ponder a question during the District 65 Health Bowl held at the Frank Auditorium at Evanston Hospital in January.

ETHS graduate Stephanie Marquez give ETHS faculty Taya Kinzie a hug after receiving her diploma in June.

Tiffany Baltimore's family reacts as the ETHS 2009 graduate proceeds into the the Welsh-Ryan Arena for graduation in June.

The Evanston Library Precision Book Cart Team twirl their way down Central Ave. during the Evanston Fourth of July Parade. From left to right: Rick Kinnebrew, Beth McGuire, Lea Solis and Nancy Engel.

The Wellness Revolution shop in downtown Evanston marched down Central St. as a spine to highlight their chiropractic services during the Evanston 4th of July Parade.

All in red, white and blue, the Rearbon family, who moved to Evanston from Australia just 5 months previous, meet Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn during the Evanston Fourth of July Parade.

Kevin Schrieber of Chicago, takes on the Triple Undisputed at Weiner and Still Champion, a 9 patty, 11 American cheese slice colossus in October. Reporter Irv Leavitt didn't dare take it on.

Evanton's Morgan Fitzpatrick runs back to the dugout of the new field at Evanston Township H.S. with the flag after the National Anthem, before the first game at the field in March.

Evanston's Colleen Harper competes in floor exercise at a New Trier girls gymnastics meet in January 2009.

This photo would have run in the first Evanston Review of 2009: Levi Laber of the Cheder Lubavich Hebrew Day School uses the shamash to keep his hands warm before Evanston Chanukah Menorah lighting in Fountain Square in December 2008.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa's Express rides the Purple Line

Joel Lerner, while on duty for Pioneer Press, caught these images while covering Santa's Express train action on the CTA's Purple line Tuesday, December 22, 2009.

CTA's Holiday Train pulls into the Howard St. station.

Twelve-year-old Angeles Lopez shakes hands with Santa during the CTA's Holiday Train's stop at the Howard St. station.

Evanston's Matthew (left) with his sister Anna Clemson.

Three-year-old Khendal Terrell of Evanston gets some candy canes from Santa's helper, Ian.

Castanza Wilson of Skokie,with her godson Marocco Vaughn, 4, shoots a picture in the Linden St. station.

Sarah Quish of Wilmette leads her son Emmett, 3, back onto the CTA Holiday Train with everyone else at the Linden St. station for the trip south.

Five-year-old Jason McDermott of Evanston poses with Santa in the Linden St. station.

Sam, Allie, and Abbie Deyhle of Evanston poses with Santa in front of CTA Purple Line Holiday Train on Tuesday evening.

From the family archives: Karen in front of 1218 Hartrey

That's me. Little Karen Kring in front of her grandparent's home at 1218 Hartrey in Evanston in the early 1960s.

My grandparents, Mildred and Lawrence Swarthout built the home at 1218 Hartrey, just south of Dempster.

The photographer is facing east. In the background is what used to be Apeco.

One has to appreciate the effort the photographer made to get low in the snow to make this picture.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eye on the Prize: Shifting from Reacting to Teaching & Learning

by Michael J. Banks, Ph.D.

Years ago, a couple was driving through the mountains near Boulder, Colorado. As the husband steered their car through a number of turns, his wife started to feel a little carsick. When she mentioned this to her husband, he said that he was feeling fine. She was a very resourceful woman who believed that "if it’s possible for one, it’s possible for anyone". So, instead of feeling annoyed, frustrated, or angry with her husband, she became very curious. She wondered how it was possible for him to be feeling fine while she felt dizzy and nauseous.

Right away, she noticed that he was leaning back comfortably in his seat, while she was tensely leaning forward watching the road in front of the car. Taking a cue from her husband, she settled back and quickly her focus shifted from the front of the car out to the horizon. When she asked her husband about his visual focus, he said that he was almost always aware of the mountain range in the distance even while negotiating sharp turns. Within a few moments after her shift in focus, her dizziness subsided and her nausea went away.

Often when we parents correct our kids, our focus is on the immediate situation instead of the long-term horizon. Out of stress, annoyance, and frustration, we often snap at our kids. We yell, we send them to their rooms, and we sometimes say hurtful things that we later regret. What we also do is miss an opportunity to teach and learn with our kids.

One afternoon, a few years ago, I went to pick up my sons from school. My younger son, Morgan, who was about six at the time, came running up to me and asked me to hold his Gameboy. He said that he needed to talk to a friend and would be right back. When I looked at his Gameboy, I noticed that is was still on. So, I switched it off to save the battery. When Morgan returned, I gave the Gameboy back to him. Immediately, he got very angry and yelled at me because in turning off the Gameboy, I had lost the progress he’d been making. While it was OK with me for my son to feel angry, it was not OK with me for him to talk to me the way that he did. I angrily took his Gameboy from him and told him to get in the car.

My anger didn’t last very long. By the time we got home (about 10 minutes later) my focus had shifted from the immediate to the long-term, which made a very productive exchange possible:
  • First, I explained to my son why I’d gotten angry (being talked to disrespectfully) and encouraged him to explain to me why he’d gotten upset (losing progress in the game).

  • Next, I told him that in the future when someone did something that he didn’t like, he should let them know, in a respectful manner, what was the matter and what he’d like them to do differently in the future.

  • Then, we practiced the new scenario. Morgan gave me his Gameboy. I turned it off. He told me what I’d done wrong and explained what he wanted me to do differently in the future.

  • As a result, we both felt better. I had taught my son a more effective way to deal with a negative situation. He had gotten his dad to really understand him and how to handle his Gameboy.
While that situation was resolved nicely, what has been particularly gratifying is that this pattern of relating continues to persist in our family to this day. If I’d simply kept my eye on the immediate situation, an opportunity for long-term learning and relationship building would have been lost.

Eye On the Prize
  1. Identify Your Reactive Response: The point here is to realize that your knee-jerk reactions often provide feedback about things that are important to you. What you can do here is simply pause and ask yourself, “What was important to me in this situation?” Or, “What is the message being signaled?” In the Gameboy example, it was important to me to be treated with respect as well as for my son to act respectfully.

  2. Appreciate Your Emotions: Being in touch with our feelings, plays a critical role in living well. Be aware of your response and appreciate the message that it is signaling to you. In the above example, my anger was in response to being talked to in a disrespectful manner and led to a constructive change.

  3. Shift Your Focus: Look beyond the immediate event to the longer-term lesson or goal you can have for your child. Ask yourself, “What would I like my child to do differently in the future?” Or, “What would I like my child to learn from this experience?” This shift in focus will move you out of a reactive mindset and into a teaching or coaching mode.

  4. Seek First to Understand: Before you attempt to influence your child’s behavior in a new direction, take time to develop a mutual understanding of the problem. In the Gameboy example, Morgan & I were able to understand each other. This mutual understanding prepares the way for coaching new behavior.

  5. Rehearse a New Response: This is where we as parents put on our teaching or coaching hats and show our kids a new response. In the Gameboy example, Morgan and I replayed the triggering event but with new behaviors. Be clear about what you’d like your child to learn or do differently and rehearse the new behavior you’d like to see in the future.

  6. Monitor Results: In the days, weeks, and months to come, monitor the impact of your coaching. Appreciate any signs of success by acknowledging your child’s progress. After the Gameboy incident, I happily noticed a positive change in Morgan’s behavior with his older brother as well as with others, which I acknowledged. If there are setbacks or if the problem persists, gently revisit coaching by recycling through the steps of the process with your child. Sometimes, it takes several cycles before a new habit of behavior is formed.
Discussion: In some Native American traditions, leaders were taught to make decisions with respect for their forbearers and concern for their descendants.

As you incorporate this pattern into your parenting style, it might be useful to keep your own grandchildren in mind. As you are correcting your children today, you are also influencing how they will parent their children in the years to come. By keeping your future grandchildren in mind, you will have your eye on the horizon of tomorrow while dealing with the twists and turns of today.

This article has focused on the parent-child relationship, but you can apply this approach to any relationship. The point is to calmly and respectfully let the other person know what you’d like them to do differently. Instead of focusing angrily on what has happened, you let the other person know your preference by saying, “In the future, I’d prefer you do this.”

A Refinement: Although the behavioral rehearsal step is very important for young children, it often isn’t necessary with adults and teens. A simple verbal request can do. However, I’ve found that having clients and seminar participants actually practice new behavior is far more effective than simple verbal discussion. So, you might try the behavioral rehearsal whenever simple verbal request isn’t enough.

In Conclusion: I hope that as you shift your focus away from an immediate problem and become curious about the learning opportunity it presents, you will start to take steps to turn your hopes and aspirations for your child into reality.

Michael J. Banks, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, health & life coach, trainer, and consultant. His mission is to assist others in developing the skills that they need to improve their health, enhance their lives, and turn their dreams into reality. He is happily married and the very proud father of two delightful sons both students at Pope John XXIII. To get information about his training seminars, consulting, or health & life coaching, see Boundaries Unlimited online or contact him via 773-262-2794 or
© 2009, Michael J. Banks, Ph.D.

Free writing classes at NU Dec 5 and 6

This just in...

For the fifth year in a row, students in Northwestern's MA/MFA in Creative Writing program are offering short, FREE writing classes on the Evanston campus.

The dates are Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6, and you can get more info by e-mailing You can sign up for one class, all of them, or any number in between.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WTTW invites the public to "Health Secrets" taping

This just in from ETHS alum, Class of 2002, Lindsay Miller, now with WTTW...

WTTW/Channel 11 and Northwestern Memorial Hospital have partnered to inform and inspire women to take control of their health.

Health Secrets: What Every Woman Should Know is a four-part television series being taped at WTTW. The public is invited to be part of the program.

Hosted by award-winning journalist Paula Zahn, each one-hour program is aimed at different points in a woman’s life. From teenage body image issues to menopause to life after being diagnosed with a serious illness, these programs will benefit women in all stages of life; each of the four programs examines the challenges that women face throughout their lives.

> Coming of Age
Thursday, November 12, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Helping mothers talk to their teens about body image, obesity, eating disorders, and the HPV vaccine

> Reproductive Years
Friday, November 13, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Starting a family, infertility, balancing family and work, and stress management

> Menopause and Beyond
Thursday, December 3, 6:00pm-7:30pm
Menopause, alternative choices to staying healthy, integrative medicine, and
age-appropriate screenings

> Healthy living and options after a difficult diagnosis
Friday, December 4, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Disease prevention and the options available when dealing with heart attack, stroke
or cancer diagnosis

This program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. If you are interested in being an audience member for any of the four programs or would like additional information, please contact Lindsay Miller, Audience Coordinator at WTTW, at or 773-509-5473.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wacky Cake

My friend and Evanston neighbor Suzanne Cosgrove treated some of her friends and colleagues to her homemade cupcakes today, which inspired me to make some cupcakes today myself.

Here's my family's recipe for Wacky Cake. It requires no eggs. I know no other cake recipes that includes vinegar. You don't have to grease your baking pan. In fact, you can mix it in your baking pan, thus saving yourself one less bowl to clean.

Wacky Cake

1-1/2 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
1 t. baking soda
3 T. cocoa
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. vinegar
6 T. melted butter
1 Cup warm water

Sift all dry ingredients into an 8" cake pan, or into a 9" x 13" pan if you double the recipe.
Make three holes in the flour mixture for vanilla, vinegar an butter.
Pour warm water over all.
Mix well an bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Frost if you want to.

To make cupcakes mix in a bowl. A single batch will make about 12 cupcakes.

Our family got this recipe from our Morton Grove neighbor Eunice Mattes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the family archives: Joel, Elita and Rona on Mulford

Rona Lerner, with her children Joel and Elita, in front of their then home at 1620 Mulford in Evanston in the summer of 1970.

Joel is my husband. He currently lives in Skokie, but as a photojournalist for Pioneer Press, shooting for the Evanston Review, he's there a lot. Elita lives in Atlanta and works for S.C. Johnson. Both are ETHS alumni. Rona was a Chicago Public School teacher for more than 30 years. She passed away in the spring of 2007.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Portrait Fun with Maura and Karen October 23 in Chicago

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Having a good portrait made of yourself is a good idea no matter what profession you are in or ambitions you have. You never know when someone might want to write about you in a news article, like the one Garrett Popcorn's Alecia Dantico was featured in. And then there's LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that ask for profile pictures.

Getting a professional portrait made, that you actually like, that works for you, is usually pricey. This is why Maura Hernandez and I put our heads together to figure out how we could help our friends, colleagues and acquaintances get some good portraits made at a relatively reasonable price.

Friday, October 23, noon - 3 p.m., Maura and I will be making portraits at 9 W. Washington in Chicago for $75. We'll both shoot a whole bunch of pictures of you and we'll deliver six or more images files to you for your personal use.

A portion of all proceeds will go to the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago's scholarship fund.

Sign-up and pay for Portrait Fun here:

No refunds for no-shows, but you can come to another portrait session yet to be schedule.

Questions? Contact me at

Karen Kring/@EvanstonLive

Some portraits I've made for fun, money, sometimes both, are on Facebook:
- Emily Lonigro, owner, LimeRed Studio
- Dr. Barbara K. Iverson, professor, Columbia College
- Cheryl Corley, reporter, National Public Radio
- Monty Cole, actor, writer, director
- Michael M. Lorge, trustee, Village of Skokie
- Pam McKuen, independent journalist and journalism instructor
- Ramon DeLeon, operating partner, Domino's Pizza
- Justin G. Roy, co-founder, Networking for a Cause and TweetNetworking

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TweetCamp Oct 10: Where there's no such thing as a dumb question

The Association for Women Journalists-Chicago invites you to TweetCamp Chicago, a day-long “unconference” for anyone interested in utilizing Twitter professionally, or just learning more about it.

Emerging media specialist and blogger Keidra Chaney and journalist and social media consultant Maura Hernandez have organized this educational opportunity not just for journalists, but also marketing and public relations pros, entrepreneurs, developers, educators, consultants, artists and others. Anyone wanting to figure out Twitter and social media is invited to this potent and affordable day of learning.

When: Saturday, October 10, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Where: Columbia College Chicago’s Film Row Cinema
1104 S. Wabash, Chicago

Cost: $35 - non-members and the general public
Profits from the event will go to AWJ's scholarship fund

Lunch provided to all. Door prizes will be raffled.

Speakers and session leaders will include Twitter users:

Scott Smith,
Craig Kanalley
, Breaking Tweets
Mari Luangrath
, Foiled Cupcakes
Alecia Dantico
, Garrett's Popcorn
Ramon DeLeon
, Domino's Pizza

Columbia College's Dr. Barbara K. Iverson is expected too.
Chicago Tribune's Alicia Eler aims to talk with others about Twitter and arts writing.

Kathryn Janicek, Supervising News Producer at WGN-TV
John Cary, newly named Director of Interactive at Time Out Chicago
Mary Jo Maffei, Production Asst at WFLD-Fox Chicago News
Sally Duros, Independent Journalist
Lauran Berta, Web Coordinator, Sun-Times News Group

What makes this conference an unconference is that the content of most of the sessions will be determined on the day. For example, if a participant wants to discuss how one decides what to keep private and what to reveal online, a time and space can be posted on the big board they'll be using to create the schedule.

Like some other unconferences, it will not be about some participants being "teachers" and some "student". Everyone will have something to teach and everyone will have something to learn. Yes, even the self-described experts will learn something and even those feeling tech-challenged will have something to teach. There will be no such thing as a dumb questions.

Further developments will be announced on the TweetCamp blog as they happen.

Spots are limited. You must register on the TweetCamp Chicago registration page.

If you have questions, contact Maura at


Karen Kring here: I aim to be there too and plan to propose and participate in a session about how and why to get started on Twitter. I'll share some of what I know, but will also be interested in listening to what non-users and new users have to say. Some Evanston folks know that I tweet from Evanston Live

I recently asked Keidra Chaney what advice she has for people who find Twitter and social media scary or useless.

Here's her reply: I think social media, at its best, is a fantastic tool to bolster and strengthen real-life relationships and to communicate with a broader audience about news/events. I think one of the biggest misconception is that it's for tech savvy youth. Honestly it's not about technology, but it is about getting used to a multi-level two-way conversation, communicating with people and expecting - even anticipating a direct response. That's hard for a lot of people to get use to... But it's really liberating, even democratic. It's great to see a platform where lots of different voices get to be heard without filters. A lot of my daily job is evangelizing about social media, and honestly, it is not for everyone, especially Twitter, which can be really time-consuming.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

From the family archives: Larry with Buttons at 1218 Hartrey

Lawrence Swarthout, Jr. with Buttons in front of his then home at 1218 Hartrey, Evanston. January 1952.

Larry Jr. is my uncle and his parents built this home.

Like his father, he was a plumber. He worked for L.C. Swarthout Plumbing and Heating and later F. J. Kerrigan Plumbing until her retired. Larry passed away in August 2008. Larry Jr's son, Michael, is also in the business.