October 31, 2015 Issue

Please join Lincoln Central Association and 43rd Ward Alderman, Michele Smith on Saturday November 7th at 2:00 PM for the dedication of Richard "Dickie" Harris Way. The dedication will be held at Lincoln Central Park (corner of Lincoln Avenue and Dickens Street). The dedication will be followed by a reception honoring Dickie. Additional details on the reception will be provided early next week. Read more.
President's Letter
Neighbors With Heart
Celebrating Dickie Harris
Heart Watch
We Need Your Feedback
Not An LCA Member? Why Not Join Today!
upcomingeventsUPCOMING EVENTS

Tuesday, November 11th
LCA Zoning Committee Meeting 

The LCA Zoning & Planning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month to discuss ways to ensure open and fair processes for developers and homeowners. The meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage. The public is invited to attend.

Thursday, November 19
LCA Monthly Board Meeting 

You are invited to attend the discussions at LCA Board meetings, which are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage.Due to Thanksgiving, the November meeting will be held on the third Thursday.

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Rediscovering Old Town: Investigating a Historic and Legendary Neighborhood

Reception at 6:30 PM. Program begins at 7:00.
DePaul University Student Center Room 120
2250 N. Sheffield. Admission is free but RSVPs are requested. Learn more.
If a good party can be judged by smiles, laughter, and cheerful sounds, LCA's 2015 Howler at Bauler was a howling success. 

State Rep. Ann Williams thanks the crowd

The crowd, estimated to be at least 50% more than any prior year, enjoyed games, music and dancing, led by an engaging young DJ, and was entertained by nationally known magician, Danny Orleans, as well as the popular balloon artist and face painting team A Real Mad Hatter
Magic in The Heart!
A costume parade led by long time LCA Board member Gary Sinclair, the event's emcee, and a best original costume contest added to the excitement, as did a raffle drawing by Alderman Michele Smith, which included a flat-screen television, four Chicago Bulls tickets, four Chicago Blackhawk tickets, eight tickets to Winterfest and many other prizes. In addition to Alderman Smith, special guests included Congressman Mike Quigley and State Representative Ann Williams.
Especially popular was a visit from Engine 22 and first shift crew, led by new LCA member and Engineer Ben Hosek. Parked on Mowhawk just outside Bauler, the engine attracted a flood of children with parents, eager to meet the fire fighters and to get an inside look at the workings of a real fire truck. Safety was ensured by barricades provided by Alderman Smith's office.
"Howler is always one of the most fun events of the season," the Alderman commented. "Lincoln Central's yearly sponsorship of such a successful neighborhood event is a tribute to its commitment to the community." Representative Williams added, "It was fabulous community event with lots of great energy."
Howler at Bauler is one of four annual events now hosted by LCA. The others are Spring Zing in May; Sunday Summer Sipper in June; and an Evening in the Garden in September. In addition, in 2015, LCA has also co-sponsored two Aldermanic debates, the dedication of Ella Jenkins Park and will host the street dedication for Richard "Dickie" Harris Way at 2:00 PM on Saturday November 7 at Lincoln Central Park.

We appreciate all of the LCA volunteers who came out to assist with this event. Al are also grateful to donors of our raffle items including Natural Elements Salon, Starbucks, Nookies, Pure Barre, Le Pain Quotidien, Paper Source and Nails Boutique. Thanks also to Steve Chang at City Grounds for providing coffee, hot chocolate and water.

We owe a special thanks to John & Kelly Ketchum  and  LCA member Jen Kramer for their generosity.


"Step on it," urges Judy Johanson, referring to
Judy Johanson
the new surface on Dorothy's Playground at Oz Park. "It's the only way to feel how soft it is."
Johanson, president of the Oz Park Advisory Council Board, is justifiably proud of the new, state-of-the-art surface, completed in early September. It was months in the making--months of pleading with the Chicago Park District to repair or replace a surface that was so riddled with tears and holes that Johanson called it "an accident waiting to happen."
Enter Alderman Michele Smith, just off of a closely fought election. Smith walked the playground with Johanson and Park District employees and immediately offered to put up much-needed funds. The Park District came up with a contribution, and with $10,000 from the Advisory Council, the work got underway. That sum from the Advisory Council is a small part of the more than $1 million the council  has raised and given to park projects such as the Emerald City Gardens, sculptures, wrought iron benches, movies, and more.
The Oz Park Advisory Council was formed in 1992. Then headed by long-time Lincoln Park resident Howard Ecker, the focus then was to stop the wear and tear on the park due to the Oz Park Festival that brought 50,000 people to the park for one weekend each year. 
"It may not sound like much," says Johanson, "but it devastated the athletic field, as well as the surrounding areas. It took a year to recover, and then the cycle started all over again," she said.
"We were able to renovate and protect the improvements thanks to a combination of forces," Johanson says. "First, the Park District Superintendent agreed with our position on the overuse of the park by the yearly festival. Then we received a $600,000 grant from the Dorothy Melamerson estate that allowed us to completely refurbish the athletic field and make improvements in the children's playground." That same year saw the birth of the Emerald City Gardens, thanks to a $4,400 grant from Chicago Community Trust and $12,000 from the Advisory Council.
Johanson raised the funds for the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and Dorothy and Toto, all sculpted by artist John Kearney--plus the yellow brick plazas that surround the statues. She's the person who got Sculptor John Kearney interested in the project, and raised the money to make them a reality. Thanks to the Statue Stories Chicago project, three of the four will talk to you if you follow the directions for your smart phone.
"Not a day goes by when there aren't at least one or two people taking photographs of the statues, " says Johanson. "We're listed in several guide books on things to do in Chicago."
Today, Oz Park is a mecca of activity--sports programs of Lincoln Park High School and Lincoln Elementary School, softball programs from local establishments, the Oz Park Baseball Association programs, and picnics and activities of local residents.  Children and parents use Dorothy's Playground daily, and people take advantage of the garden's beauty for relaxation, sun bathing, and photographs.
"You name it, and you'll find it going on at Oz," says Johanson. "The Advisory Council was started to make this park a true neighborhood  park, open to everyone and used by everyone equally, and that's what we've accomplished."
And when you pass the playground, be sure to "step on it."

To see additional photos of Oz Park, click here. 
MYLetterDear Neighbors,

Ordinarily, this space is reserved for words from me.....words that I hope will inspire you to become involved with one or more of Lincoln Central's many initiatives to enhance the quality of life in our neighborhood. This month, however, it occurred to me that no words could possibly be as inspiring as the smiling faces shown in this month's photos.

If you are not already a member of our organization, why not join today? If you are a member, but not actively involved, please give it some thought. The Heart of the Neighborhood has plenty of room for your smiling face!

From the Heart,
LCA President, Kenneth Dotson

P. S. If you would like read prior issues of
From the Heart, visit our newsletter archive.

When her youngest son went off to college in 1998, attorney and LCA member Harlene Matyas needed an evening activity: her Cleveland Avenue home seemed empty without kids. She'd always liked music, and had played piano and cello as a child, so she signed up for guitar lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music.
Harlene Matyas
The first session was not promising. Matyas couldn't get her short arms around the guitar she'd rented. Too, her beautifully manicured, long fingernails made it hard for her to press the strings. "I was shocked: I assumed it was easy because so many people play guitar. That first night, I couldn't play anything." But there was something magical about the group teaching and nightly performances in Old Town, which made her stick with it. "I could see the stepping stones of possibilities."
She traded her guitar for a smaller one, cut off her nails, and kept taking classes. Today she sings and plays rhythm guitar in a Grateful Dead ensemble band and mandolin in other groups at a Lincoln Avenue bar, at neighborhood festivals and in We Band Together, which performs in hospitals and nursing homes. (Gigs are weekends only.) For about 10 years, she was one of 40 in a Beatles ensemble group that traveled the country, where she made the best friends of her adult life. Cont'd.

There are people in the neighborhood who didn't know the late businessman, attorney, community supporter and LCA Board member Dickie Harris. But not many. Not just known, but also loved by friends and neighbors alike, Dickie will have a permanent place in memories and reality with the dedication of Richard "Dickie Harris" Way, an honorary designation of the stretch of Dickens Street that runs between Lincoln Avenue to Larrabee Street. 

The celebration and naming ceremony will take place in Lincoln Central Park at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Dickens Street, Saturday, November 7, 2 p.m. 
"Dickie was instantly likeable," says Sally Drucker, LCA Board member. "He was one of the first people I met when I moved into the neighborhood a few years ago," she adds. "He immediately worked to get me involved in the neighborhood, and then onto the LCA board."

Current LCA President, Kenneth Dotson, echoed Drucker. "Seeing Dickie around the neighborhood was always a special treat for me. He would greet me warmly and give me that big smile of his; he was a laugh a minute." But, he had a more serious side, Dotson added. "From time to time, I would get notes from Dickie encouraging me to become more active in the community and thanking me when I did. Dickie loved the neighborhood."

Please join your neighbors as we honor Dickie at this dedication to his lifetime of giving.

Ella Jenkins has called Lincoln Park home for more than 50 years. Now, in a lasting tribute to her and her work with children, Ella will be a part of the neighborhood for years to come.
The Ella Jenkins Park was dedicated on Sunday, September 20, when some 50 community leaders, friends and admirers gathered at the corner of Cleveland and Wisconsin to honor the "First Lady of Children's Music."
Now 91, Ella Jenkins used to perform her signature call-and-response folk songs for children in a small park next to The Church of the Three Crosses, her long-time place of worship. So it was only fitting that the park was named for her to celebrate her life and career.
"Ella's music has been played in the households of many, many families over the years, and now her legacy will live on as families enjoy Ella Jenkins Park," said Alderman Michele Smith.
At the dedication, Jenkins performed two of her best known songs, "Jambo" and "Did You Feed my Cow? with children's music singer/songwriter Susan Salidor.
Dedicating the park to Jenkins was Alderman Smith's idea. The Alderman's staff and neighborhood groups including Lincoln Central Association and Old Town Triangle Association worked with the Chicago Department of Transportation, which manages the land, to make the naming a reality.

The crowd celebrating with Ella and getting ready for cake!
Neighbors With Heart cont'd
Matyas is second from left
Matyas is a Chicago native. She grew up in Edgewater and graduated from Senn High School at 16. At University of Illinois at Champaign she was "always marching," protesting the war in Vietnam, equal rights for women, police aggression in Chicago. By 19, she'd graduated with a degree in psychology and chemistry, with plans to become a doctor. Instead, she joined husband Tom at New York Law School, where she was one of five women and graduated in the top five percent of her class. She is a litigator in private practice. Tom Matyas, also an attorney, is the son of Holocaust survivors. He emigrated from Hungary when he was a boy and grew up in Lakeview.

The pair met as teens and married in 1969. They bought their Cleveland Avenue home, which dates to just after the Chicago Fire, in 1975. Urban pioneers, they were the first on the block to gut a building and turn it into a family home. At the time, there was a small grocery store across the street, a butcher shop around the corner, and a social club on the corner. Their parents thought they were crazy to invest in a humble 1880's structure, but the couple wanted a home that would serve their needs for many years. It has: their three sons were born there, and many a dog, cat, bird, fish, turtle has called it home.
"I love our home and can't think of living anywhere else," says Matyas, who has a wide smile and an infectious laugh. "We're in the middle of everything but it's quiet, and my backyard is a little paradise." That's where she reads, voraciously, and practices guitar and mandolin.
You're likely to see Harlene and Tom, smoking his signature cigar, in the neighborhood walking their bulldog Rosie or strolling with their children and grandchildren, some of whom live nearby--and play the trumpet, piano and violin.
heartwatchHEART WATCH
Statistically Speaking . . .
More than 8,600 people live within the boundaries of Lincoln Central Association.   Of those, 81.2% or more than 7,000 are 18 or over, with 16.6% or 1,427 between ages 0-14. About 11% or 950 are 65 or over. Some 5,126 of the 8,600 are employed, most in management/business/financial, professional, sales, or administrative support positions. Just under 4% are employed in farming/forestry/fishing; installation/maintenance/repair, production, transportation/material moving, or construction/extraction. Learn more about the demographics of people within in LCA's boundaries.
Webster Square Construction Update . . .
 The concrete contractor intends to begin demolition work on the 1st floor on Saturday November, 1. They are in the process of cutting and removing the concrete slab to create the opening for the new ramp into the basement. This work is mainly concentrated on the east end of the project next to the construction loading dock.

Monday November 2 through Friday November 6,  the excavator expects to continue removing dirt spoils from the north side of the project. The Earth Retention Contractor (Thatcher) will mobilizing on Monday the 2nd to start the final installation of the sheeting along the east side of the project. They will be installing steel beams along the top of the sheet piling along with bracing beams back into the site. Once this is installed the balance of the extra soil will start to be removed so that the new concrete foundations and walls that will make up the underground parking structure and row home foundations along Grant Place can be built.

Concrete work will also continue the 2nd thru the 6th. This will consist of building the new residential garage ramp into the basement and the start of the beams that need to be constructed on the 4th floor of building. The new beams interlock between most of the columns on the 4th floor, this process once complete will allow infilling of the recesses of the tower portion of the building.

What do you want for our rivers?
The Metropolitan Planning Council wants to hear from people about what you want for the rivers that run through and around Chicago. The council is sponsoring a series of meetings that will help shape the future of Chicago's rivers. Sessions are open-house style to give participants a chance to discuss issues and share ideas. A forum on Near North Side rivers will take place on Wednesday, November 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the REI Community Room, 1466 N. Halsted St., Chicago. To register, contact the Metropolitan Planning Council, 140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60613.

Where are the bodies buried in Lincoln Park?
Find out here.
Every month, we do our best to keep you informed about news and events in our neighborhood that affect you. We receive much positive feedback, but we'd love to know what we can do better. We hope you will reach out to us with any suggestions to help us improve From the Heart and also our website.

In particular, if you have story ideas, news items, information about upcoming events, photos or other suggestions, please share them with our co-editors, Kenneth Dotson and Kathy JordanIf you know someone from our neighborhood who has achieved an important milestone or who you would like to see featured in our Neighbors With Heart profiles, please let us know.

If you would like to be a guest columnist or even write regularly for From the Heart, get in touch. The pay isn't very good. It's actually nothing-but don't let that stop you; we could use the help!

Most importantly, though, thanks for reading. You're who we write for each month in From the Heart.
Who is this man and why is he holding up 3 fingers?  Get the scoop in the December issue of From the Heart.


LCA members are the heart of our beautiful neighborhood. The benefits of membership are many and the cost is small. If you're not already a member, we hope you'll join today. Simply select one of the affordable membership options below:


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Membership Benefits


  • Beautify & preserve your neighborhood
  • Meet Lincoln Park's decision makers
  • Help shape your neighborhood
  • Engage in your parks, zoning, development & more
  • Become a neighborhood leader
  • Be the first to know what's happening
  • Enjoy fun events with neighbors
  • Make a difference - and give back:


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Membership Options


 Individual - $20

 Family (2 people) - $25

 Business/Organization - $25**

 Senior - $10

 Patron - $50

 Annual Benefactor - $100

 Lifetime Benefactor -$500

 Other Donation


LCA is a 501 (C) (3) organization.

Your membership fees are tax deductible to full the extent allowed by law.


Mail check payable to
Lincoln Central Association to:


LCA | P. O. Box 14036| Chicago, Il 60614


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