Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Dana Hokin Garvey, Joffrey board member and co-chair of Joffrey’s Spring Gala, on the universal language of performance ]]> Lead story image

As a lifelong student of and practitioner in the arts, joining The Joffrey Ballet’s Women’s Board five years ago made perfect sense for me. My days as a young woman studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City instilled in me discipline, grace and an appreciation for physical expression I incorporate into my daily personal and professional life. I believe studying, watching and performing world-class dance is transformative and, therefore, everyone should have access to it — something the Joffrey also believes. A perfect example is Joffrey’s Community Engagement (CE) program, which reaches 5,000 students a year … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:08:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ Bob Sirott imagines a future in which the Cubs win the World Series — and transform Chicago ]]> Lead story image

It’s been exactly one week since hell froze over and the Cubs capped their magical, miracle 2015 season with a stunning World Series championship. When Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year candidate Edwin Jackson bested Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 1-0 in a nail-biting Game 7, Wrigley Field, the surrounding neighborhood, most of Chicago, and for that matter, much of the free world, erupted in a massive celebration. It continues this afternoon with 5 million people expected to brave the chilly fall temperatures for the Clark Street ticker-tape parade. Clark, the Cubs mascot, whose personal appearance fee just … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:13:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Chicago break dancer Lady Champ on overcoming the impossible ]]> Lead story image

It is possible to do the impossible, and I am living proof. I am sharing my story in hopes of motivating each and every Chicagoan to take steps this year to achieving his or her goal, whatever it is. Combine determination, perseverance and faith in yourself, and you can accomplish anything. Don’t believe me? Read on. My story starts like many other Chicagoans. A professional break dancer, I was struggling to raise a son and daughter and make it through the typical daily stressors. But a little more than six years ago, everything changed for me. My world turned upside … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:08:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Architect John Syvertsen on improving lives through design ]]> Lead story image

Throughout my 35-year career as an architect, I’ve attended dozens of ribbon-cuttings and grand-opening celebrations. But it wasn’t until I was designing a new elevator in 2007 that I realized the power that design has to change people’s lives. The organization I was working with simply needed accessibility to the upper floors in order to remain in their location. After we installed the elevator, they were thrilled to be able to stay in their community. Although this project was by some standards insignificant, it drove home for me the importance of impact. It was the perfect representation of the power … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:21:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Playwright Brooke Allen on processing the loss of her brother by penning a play ]]> Lead story image

I often find that the most difficult times in my life have also been the times when it’s easiest to be a writer. As a playwright, letting the words flow through the filter of a character I’ve created helps me gain some perspective on the situation at hand. This has never been truer than in April 2011, when my younger brother Craigen died unexpectedly in an accident. We were good friends as well as siblings, and I knew the only way I would be able to process the grief of losing him would be through writing. Craigen was a thoughtful, … ]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 02:18:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ John Groden on how Camp Kesem helped him see his way out of the darkness ]]> Lead story image

Normally, when someone introduces themselves, they talk about their achievements. To that end, my name is John Groden. I am a history major at the University of Notre Dame. I am an Eagle Scout, and a swimming and water polo Academic All-American. However, I also have a more personal part of my identity that I don’t often share, but that defines who I am today. My father died when I was 5 years old. I was keenly aware of this growing up — how I was different, how much harder my mother had to work and how my friends could … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:18:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Mark George, President and CEO of the Music Institute of Chicago, on the importance of apprenticeship ]]> Lead story image

When I was a young pianist, I was surprised to find my playing improved after I turned pages for my teacher in a series of concerts. What I learned was mostly intangible, but momentous nonetheless. The notion of apprenticeship is sometimes obscured by our contemporary impulse to professionalize the training of the artist. A well-organized curriculum and the structure of classes and ensembles have their advantages — especially for the student with a more scholarly or academic disposition — but there is something more vital about communicating through music that must be passed on to our young musicians. Seeing up … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 16:47:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ MS advocate Justine Fedak pulls back the curtain on disability blindness ]]> Lead story image

Why do people without disabilities or mobility issues sit in seats designated for those that need them? This is something I’m forced to confront regularly. I travel by air often, and because of my multiple sclerosis, it’s actually not that easy for me. First, you have to line up and wait to check in. Standing for a long stretch of time can be a very draining experience for someone with MS. While I tell myself I can do it, sometimes the tremor in my leg acts as a warning, and I vividly imagine my leg giving out and the sound … ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 02:20:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Drew Kelley’s winning entry from Gilda’s Club Chicago’s Teen Essay Contest ]]> Lead story image

I’m not a young man with a lot of words. I guess sometimes life makes it hard to find words. I had no words when my older brother, Will, first went to the hospital with my parents. I had no words when I found out that Will had cancer. I had no words when they told me it was leukemia, a blood cancer. I did not know what that meant. I had no words when I first saw him in the hospital, when I saw a chart that said acute lymphoblastic leukemia had the highest survival rate. I had no … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:58:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shakhari Edwards, the 2014 Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Youth of the Year, on how the organization changed her life ]]> Lead story image

The following is a speech given by Shakhari Edwards, the winner of the 2014 Youth of the Year Competition, at the March 4 Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago gala. My Boys and Girls Club, Daniel A. Cotter Club, has positively impacted the person I am today. Having supportive people around has helped me overcome difficulties and has increased my confidence and drive to succeed. I do not know what type of person I would be today if I had not attended the Cotter Club. During grade school, I struggled to maintain good grades. I wasn’t focused on my education. … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:58:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Carrie Meghie on her commitment to help families with babies in the NICU ]]> Lead story image

On 11/11/11 at 11:11 p.m., my son Jackson was born nine weeks premature. Jackson was truly as special as his birthday. He spent all but 48 hours of his short life in the NICU, but those 10 months were the happiest of my life. Every night with Jackson felt like Christmas Eve. I will cherish the memory of running into his room and seeing his beautiful brown eyes look up at me and give me a huge smile. He took full advantage of his gorgeous eyelashes by flirting with all of the nurses. I am proud of his numerous girlfriends, … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:58:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vermilion restaurateur Rohini Dey on doing business in New York City versus Chicago ]]> Lead story image

After spending 15 cumulative years in what I’ve called the most harrowing industry in two demanding dining cities (Chicago and New York City), here’s a behind-the-scenes comparison on the joys and glamour of operating in both towns. Obviously expenses make entering the New York City market formidable. For example, water, which is free in Chicago, is more than triple our linen expenses in NYC (and our lead chef’s salary!). Rents are three-fold and every input costs 20-30 percent more. Salaries are justifiably that much higher, too. While costs merit it, charging three times the price for a dish or drink … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:58:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rory Dominick on how her son’s health struggles inspired her to help families like her own ]]> Lead story image

I’ve never won any prizes in a raffle, trips to exotic locations or even a radio contest. I definitely never have used the term “lucky” to describe my life, especially if you’d asked me seven years ago. In 2006, my son Cameron was born two months premature with medical conditions affecting his brain, heart, kidney, diaphragm and spinal cord. At three weeks, he had his first brain surgery for hydrocephalus, a condition where a buildup of fluid inside the skull leads to brain swelling. At one year, he had surgery to treat a tethered spinal cord. To date, he has … ]]> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:20:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Nina Mariano explains why she’s greening for the good of Chicago ]]> Lead story image

My love affair with food, fashion and flowers has been at the core of my existence for as long as I can remember. When I met my husband, Bob, he was struck by how well I ate, dressed and decorated my home with flowers while living on a working single mom’s budget. To me, these elements were non-negotiable in my life. Flowers are the easiest and least expensive way to make someone’s day — they enhance your surroundings and elevate your mood because you’re actually investing yourself in the process of picking and arranging them. What colors and varieties will … ]]> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:20:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cheryl Jefferson on how Chicagoans can help stop ritualistic violence ]]> Lead story image

For 1001 blissful nights beginning in 2011, I studied belly dance at Chicago’s Jasmin Jahal School of Dance. With each class, I grew in self-confidence and reveled in my femininity, a far cry from my shy, lonely childhood spent in leg braces. But the genie escaped from the bottle when I discovered that this expression of female empowerment is the dance of death for many women. I remember the exact moment I saw the exposé in an Elle magazine in Jasmin’s lobby. My jaw dropped as I read about how this art, which was once so revered that the pharaohs … ]]> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 10:26:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Linda MacLennan on preserving a 100-year-old theater’s legacy ]]> Lead story image

I call it “The Little Theatre That Could.” But for 100 years, it’s been called simply “The Wilmette Theatre.” For a century, The Wilmette has defied depressions and recessions, the ravages of the elements, the conversion from silent black-and-white films to Technicolor talkies, the perceived threat from TV and now from on-demand, on-any-device. And we’re still open for business! Our somewhat tattered and decidedly outdated storefront, with what still passes for a movie marquee jutting over the sidewalk, sits almost stubbornly in the middle of Central Ave. in downtown Wilmette. In its small-town, personal way, the ’Mette has welcomed generations … ]]> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:17:46 -0500