News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Next Up at Concert in the Square: The Crown Vics

Lake Forest’s summer concert series will feature The Crown Vics on Thursday evening, July 24, at Market Square. The city’s Parks & Rec website describes the band as such:

July 24 – The Crown Vics – Car Show – The Vics have brought their authentic form of early Rock ‘n’ Roll to audiences of all ages. When only the most authentic early 50s rock ‘n’ roll experience will do, get hip to the jive and set the clock to rock—it’s time for The Crown Vics.

Round up your friends, pack a picnic … and wear a sweater! It’s supposed to be a bit chilly.

Concerts on the Square run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Lake Bluff Farmers Market Sets Date Two Marquee Events

Submitted by the Lake Bluff Farmers Market

The Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market is committed to creating an inviting, community-oriented space while providing local residents with access to farm-fresh goods, unique products and more. Working to combine those two missions, the Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market has set the dates for two of its most popular annual events – the Corn Roast and “Beers ‘n’ Brats”.

Scheduled for the Friday, August 1, Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market, the annual Corn Roast will again feature complimentary roasted corn for the assembled crowd. In addition to offering Lake Bluff residents with an expertly prepared taste of Illinois’ most popular crop, it also provides the crowd a great experience for all the senses. For a new twist this year, The Spice Merchant, a new retailer in town, will offer a variety of spices to sprinkle on the corn. In 2014, the Friends of the Lake Bluff Park District will sponsor the event and run the corn roaster. Corn will be offered from three market vendors including Didier Farms, Red Barn Farm and Twin Gardens Farm. Corn will be ready for sampling between 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

On Friday, August 8, at 10:30 a.m., the Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market and two popular Lake Bluff businesses, The Daily Grind and Lake Bluff Brewing Company, will present a special “Beers ‘N’ Brats” event to highlight this iconic pairing and the businesses offering it right here in Lake Bluff. This event is also offered to market guests free of charge.

“Our Corn Roast and Beers ‘N’ Brats events are two of the most exciting Fridays for the Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market,” said Gridley Swanton, market manager for the Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market. “There’s nothing better in the summer than great BBQ, refreshing beverages and fresh Midwest corn. These events help bring those favorites to Lake Bluff residents in an elevated and approachable way.”

“Together with music from local musicians, story time with the Lake Bluff Library, Master Gardeners, these events help support a key aspect of our mission – celebrating what makes Lake Bluff one of Chicago’s greatest suburbs,” Swanton continued. “Working together with farmers, vendors, local businesses, we are proud to contribute back to the Village’s reputation.”

About the Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market

The Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market was launched in 1993 to provide Lake Bluff residents access to farm fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, jams, and much, much more. Throughout the Market season, patrons will find accessible parking near the Central Business District at the Walnut Avenue Parking Lot, the Train Station Lot, and at Artesian Park. A complete list of vendors, as well as recipes, photos, and more is available at The Lake Bluff Farmers’ Market stays connected to vendors and visitors alike with their presence on Facebook (/LakeBluffMarket) and Twitter (@lakebluffmarket).

GLASA Athletes Test The Waters With Lake Forest Sailing

By Paul Foght of Lake Forest, longtime sailor

Athletes who play basketball in wheelchairs or hockey on sleds were introduced to the sport of sailing by Lake Forest’s Recreation Department sail program at an open house for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports participants.

For the second year, Lake Forest Sailing is offering sail training to youths and adults with primary physical or visual disabilities through a partnership with Chicago’s Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation that has brought a specially designed boat to Lake Forest’s harbor.

Two students at a time sail the boat, belted into seats mounted on rails running across the boat so they can move quickly from side to side as they maneuver under the guidance of their instructor. A course of six 2 1/2 hour lessons is offered, taught by veteran instructor Will Howard.

Lake Forest Sailing .d.d.d..d

Will Howard watches as a GLASA sailor uses a boarding platform to transfer from her wheelchair to a seat aboard a boat specifically designed for sailors with disabilities. Athletes participate in several of the more than 30 sports Lake Forest-based GLASA helps make available in Illinois and Wisconsin. Photo by Jeanette Kaiser.

GLASA program director Nicole Verneville guides the sailor down the dock so she can add sailing to the list of athletic activities she has experienced through GLASA. Photo by Jeanette Kaiser.

GLASA program director Nicole Verneville guides the sailor down the dock so she can add sailing to the list of athletic activities she has experienced through GLASA. Photo by Jeanette Kaiser.

Book Beat: Pulitzer-Winning Author Will Be In Town To Discuss ‘Summer of the Dead’

Editor’s note: The GazeboNews Book Beat column focuses on books, reading and writers. It’s written by former Chicago Tribune journalist Mike Conklin, who in retirement wears more hats than he did in the work force — Lake Forest Lake Bluff Historical Society trustee, active in First Pres programs, Facebook administrator for Library Matters and other non-profit pages, doting grandpa, president of the GazeboNews Advisory Board and, of course, book club member.


By Mike Conklin

Julia Keller, a Pulitzer Prize winning feature writer with the Chicago Tribune, will be in the Lake Forest Bookstore to discuss and sign copies of her new book, “Summer of The Dead,” at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28.

This is the third in her Bell Elkins’ mysteries; it’s not too late to jump aboard. This series promises to have a long run. Best-selling Michael Connelly, whose Hieronymus Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer crime novels are as big as it gets these days, said Julia’s Bell Elkins “is one of the most fully realized characters in fiction today.”

julia_2What I think sets her books apart is this: The setting is Ackers Gap, a small town in hard-pressed rural West Virginia. Bell, a single parent raising a teenager, is the county prosecutor. A native of the isolated community, she’s returned from a Washington DC law firm to wage war against all the brutality imaginable fueled by poverty and drug abuse.

Julia, who has a doctorate in English literature from Ohio State, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities and the University of Notre Dame. She is an essayist for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Now some full disclosure: Julia is a friend and former Tribune colleague. At the newspaper, she was a friendly, multi-talented journalist greatly admired—and read—by her peer group.

More to the point here, she is from the same rural West Virginia mountain country she vividly portrays in her Bell Elkins series. She worked as a reporter there and, like Bell, this part of Appalachia always will be a part of her.

Some Q & A with Julia:

1. How did your career as a newspaper reporter, writer, columnist and critic prepare you for writing books?

I always thought of my newspaper career as a way of gathering raw material for my fiction-writing. For years, in fact, when somebody called me a “journalist,” I’d look at them funny: Me? A journalist? Nope, I was a writer. And according to the biographies I read of some of my favorite writers that’s what writers did: They worked as newspaper reporters for a while, to widen the circumference of their experiences.

Writers who toiled in the newspaper vineyard included, of course, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter, Thornton Wilder, and crime fiction writers such as Michael Connelly, Ruth Rendell and Val McDermid. And indeed, I’ve used so much of my reportorial experiences in my fiction: the subplot of “A Killing in the Hills,” about a mentally challenged man accused of murdering a young boy, was based on an actual case I covered; the opening scene of “Bitter River” was based on a similar moment from my journalism days. The description of the aftermath of a catastrophic event later in “Bitter River” was also based on what I learned while covering the aftermath of the 2004 Utica tornado in Utica, Illinois. And in “Summer of the Dead,” the description of the accommodations made for a retired coal miner with a back injury — setting up a home for him in the basement, where he can crouch under tables — was based on what I saw in McDowell County, West Virginia, on a reporting assignment for the Chicago Tribune.

More importantly, journalism put me in the presence of the most profound human emotions: sorrow, joy, disappointment, exhilaration. Being a reporter means that you must pay close attention to other people’s stories, other people’s perspectives. It takes you far away from the narrow confines of your own experiences, your own views, thus it’s excellent training for a fiction writer.

2. You have written fiction, nonfiction and Young Adult books. As a writer, how do you characterize shifts you made in your approaches?

I’m one of those annoying purists who loathes the term “creative writing” because it’s redundant. ALL writing is creative — or ought to be. No matter if it’s a six-inch story for the newspaper, or a thousand-page novel, written work should always be lively and thorough and evocative, and to never leave readers in the same place they were when they began reading.

Yes, there are superficial differences between genres and styles of writing, but in general, I think writing is writing. There’s a story about the writer Dorothy Parker that sums up my attitude: She had moved into a new apartment and was putting away her books. Someone advised her to divide them up according to dozens of different categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science fiction, children’s books, etc., And she said, “Nope,” and proceeded to separate them into only two categories: Good and Crap.

3. You’ve established a memorable, ongoing protagonist in Bell Elkins in three popular mysteries. How consuming is it to write, and continue to develop, a single character in a series?

Much harder than I anticipated! I’ve always envisioned having a set of novels with identical spines lined up along a bookshelf, just as I possessed when I was a kid with the Nancy Drew and Tom Swift series — only these would have my name on them, instead of Carolyn Keene and Victor Appleton Jr. (Finding out that those authors weren’t real people and just various journeymen writers was a terrible blow.) But writing a series is more difficult than I ever imagined.

Fictional characters must change and grow, just as real-life people do. You have to know a character so well — know her inside-out, I would argue — to understand just how impossible it is to truly know another human being. Strange as it sounds, Bell continues to surprise me with some of her choices — just as flesh-and-blood friends do. Sometimes I get irked with her. Other times, I’m proud of her. But I’m always intrigued by her.

4. Your three Bell Elkins novels, “Summer of The Dead,” “A Killing in The Hills,” and “Bitter River,” introduce many readers for the first time to the desperate problems of impoverished, rural America. How important is this to you?

An honest depiction of the bleak, beleaguered state of affairs in rural America — especially Appalachia — is a large part of what drives me to write these books. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and I feel a fierce kinship with the place and its people. I knew I wanted to write a crime fiction series, because I love mysteries. Yet when I sat down to actually do the work, I was startled to realize that I was compelled to set my novels in West Virginia. I’ve lived in big cities — Boston, Chicago, Washington DC — and Lord knows, those places have inspired some great crime fiction. But West Virginia called to me. With its insistent poverty, with its surpassing physical beauty, with its intrepid, hardworking families, West Virginia seemed to me to be an ideal setting for stories about life and death, about good and evil, about crime and punishment.

5. Any hints of what is next for Bell?

Oh, she has quite a few challenges coming her way! Her daughter, Carla, is heading to college — maybe — and that means Bell must have more dealings with her ex-husband Sam. Acker’s Gap continues to suffer from an economic downturn, as coal production dwindles and dies. And her best friend, Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, is fed up with the hassles of his job. Will he even want to continue as sheriff? Moreover, there’s the small matter of the dead body found in the . . . Ah, you’ll have to check back this time next year, when Book IV is ready.

Register at Lake Forest Book Store 847-234-4420.

Mothers Trust Golf Event Nets Profit …

News from Mothers Trust Foundation

The winning foursome  from left: Cole Holmes, Michael Rubin, John Rubin and Glenn Holmes.

The winning foursome from left: Cole Holmes, Michael Rubin, John Rubin and Glenn Holmes.

The Mother’s Trust Foundation annual golf event, which took place June 13 at the Lake Bluff Golf Club, netted over $25,000. A picture-perfect day -a true rarity these days- brought out 86 players from around Lake County. The event was made possible by the support of The Roanoke Group, Lake Forest Bank & Trust, State Bank of the Lakes, Libertyville Bank & Trust, Associated Bank and The Visual Pak Companies. Golf hole sponsors included Dona and Dick Litzsinger, Jack M. Dunk and Associates, Joe Egan – Morgan Stanley, Roycealee J. Wood – Regional Superintendent of Schools, Home Town Home Care, Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Lions Club, The Atzeff Family, John Drummond, Zion School District 6, The Slaughter Family, Supporter of Mothers Trust, Dennis F. Kratohwil CLU, Larry Neal, Linda Yaple, Theo and John Figliulo, The Karst Family, Judge Victoria A. Rossetti, Karen and Bob Bush, Zera Enterprises LLC, Kaiser’s Pizza and Stifel.

Mothers Trust is a non-profit 501 c 3 dedicated to meeting the critical needs of disadvantaged children in Lake County. Since our founding in 1998, we have helped nearly 23,000 children with grants totaling over $1,800,000. Almost all of our clientele are at or below the federal poverty level, and 30% list no income whatsoever. To learn more about Mothers Trust Foundation and to become involved, please visit our website:

Also new at Mothers Trust Foundation: a newly designed website – click here to take a look.

CenterStage Pitches ‘Damn Yankees’

Victoria Cameron as Lola, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate.

Victoria Cameron as Lola, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate.

What would you do to see your favorite baseball team win the pennant? That’s the premise of “Damn Yankees,” the summer musical presented by CenterStage in Lake Forest on July 25, 26, 27, 31 and August 1 and 2.

“Damn Yankees” is the story of middle-aged baseball fan Joe Boyd who jumps at the chance to lead his beloved Washington Senators to the pennant over the despised New York Yankees. With the help of Mr. Applegate, Joe Boyd is transformed into the young baseball phenom Joe Hardy and leads the Senators from worst to first. But as we all know, making a deal with the devil has it’s risks.

Joyce Lee Becker as Doris, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren and June Miller as Sister.

Joyce Lee Becker as Doris, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren and June Miller as Sister.

Damn Yankees is filled with many memorable songs including the signature “Heart” as well as “Two Lost Souls” and “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo” and the sultry “Whatever Lola Wants.”

The CenterStage in Lake Forest’s production features Tom Beck as Mr. Applegate, June Miller as Sister, Chris Finch as Joe Boyd, Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy, Dick Salon as Benny Van Buren, Joyce Lee Becker as Doris and Victoria Cameron as Lola.

Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Chris Finch as Joe Boyd.

Stacey Goebel as Meg Boyd, Chris Johnson as Joe Hardy and Chris Finch as Joe Boyd.

“Damn Yankees” is directed by Mark Taylor with vocal director Andrea Amdahl Taylor, orchestra director Brian O’Connor, choreography by Jenna Jozefowski and technical director Chris Alaimo.

“Damn Yankees” is presented by CenterStage in Lake Forest July 25-August 2 at Gorton Community Center, 400 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest. Performances are 7:30pm July 25, 26, 31 & August 1 & 2; 3:00pm matinee on July 27. Tickets in advance are $25/adults and $15/students and seniors; all tickets $30/at the door.

Visit or call 847-234-6062.

Sponsored Post by CenterStage Lake Forest

Lake Forest Composer Debuts Sequel To 100-Year-Old Story

Jim Stephenson

Jim Stephenson

Lake Forest’s Jim Stephenson is debuting a new classical music composition at Ravinia on Aug. 5 that has a very interesting story behind it. Jim is a full-time composer and Composer-in-Residence at the Lake Forest Symphony. His new work is titled “The Devil’s Tale”, and it’s a sequel to a work called “The Soldier’s Tale” by Igor Stravinsky. Jim explains:

Almost a century ago, Igor Stravinsky wrote a work called “The Soldier’s Tale”, which has become an iconic work amongst the chamber music repertoire. It is the story of a soldier who trades in his fiddle to the devil for ‘wealth untold.’ Long story short – the devil triumphs, and the soldier ends up with no soul, and isn’t too pleased about the whole thing…

I wrote a sequel – and mine is called ‘The Devil’s Tale.’ I pick up where Stravinsky left off, but mine is set in Vegas. (lots of opportunity for devilish mischief there). The music and story are completely my own, but I certainly pay my respects to Stravinsky throughout.

I’m very honored to have the Grammy award-winning Chicago Pro Musica (members of the Chicago Symphony) as my ensemble, in a presentation directed/narrated by the multi-talented Hershey Felder. They will be performing both the Stravinsky and my piece all in one concert!

For more information and/or to secure a ticket to this concert, please visit this link to Ravinia’s website.

Road Closures For July 19th Criterium Race and Block Party

From the Village of Lake Bluff’s website:

On Saturday, July 19th the Village will host the Lake Bluff Criterium Bicycle Races in conjunction with the Village Block Party in the Central Business District. Set up for the events, including street closures, will begin at 8:00 am on Saturday with racing starting at 10:00 am. The Village Block Party will be on the Village Green from 4:00 to 11:00 pm.

As a result, E. Center Avenue and E. Scranton Avenue will be closed to all vehicular traffic between Sheridan Road and Gurney Avenue starting at 8:00 am until racing is completed at approximately 8:00 pm. In addition Oak Avenue, Evanston Avenue, Glen Avenue, and Gurney Avenue will be closed between E. Center and E. Scranton Avenues. Residents should make arrangements to have their vehicles moved outside the race route prior to 8:00 am on Saturday. Vehicles may be parked on side streets or at the Train Station Parking Lot for free on Saturday. For questions regarding the planned road closures, please contact the Lake Bluff Police Department at 847-234-2152.

For more information on the Bike Race and Block Party, click here.

Making A Difference One Bike At A Time …

The Lake Bluff Criterium begins on Friday and the town is getting primed. The race is part of the Prairie State Series, with eight days of racing from July 18 to July 27. World Bicycle Relief  has ties to the series and those involved in it. Last year they were in attendance and a part of the Criterium in Lake Bluff, and they’re coming back this year.

According to Marco Colbert, director of Prairie State Cycling Series and the Lake Bluff Criterium, Prairie State supports the mission of World Bicycle relief, because of the amazing difference a bike can make in the right setting.

“A bicycle is like a dream come true in many areas in Africa. Especially a strong bicycle, can become a work animal,” he said. “Young girls can go to school longer, business people can take 3 times more produce to market. Health care workers can see 3-4 times more patients per day, with a bicycle.”

Rob Dintruff, a resident of Lake Bluff, has worked in Africa for 15 years, dealing with people with HIV and governments and agencies that are also involved with the global issue of HIV. Rob and Marco met through the Lake Bluff Criterium, and they decided there would be some benefit to getting Rob together with World Bicycle Relief to share knowledge and experience. Rob has seen with his own eyes, in rural Africa, the benefit of a bicycle.

Rob sat down with Charles Constan, Executive Director, from World Bicycle Relief, to share insights and compare notes — here’s the video:

Church Honors Long-time Lake Forest Residents with Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace

Submitted by The Church of the Holy Spirit


The Church of the Holy Spirit will honor the memory of long-time Lake Forest residents Jane and Mike Weeden on Sunday, July 20, during the consecration of The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace.

“We were blessed by their presence,” said Rob Krebs, a member of The Church of the Holy Spirit and a voice in the decision to name the terrace in the Weedens’ honor. “This is perfect way to celebrate their contributions and what the two of them meant to this church.”

The Weedens called Lake Forest home for nearly 30 years and were devoted members of The Church of the Holy Spirit. Jane served as Chairman of the church’s Altar Guild during the 1970s and 80s, and Mike served as Warden from 1988 to 1992.

The consecration of the terrace is the culmination of more than a year spent renovating The Church of the Holy Spirit’s facilities to make them both more environmentally sustainable and accessible to people with disabilities.

The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace replaces a set of stairs that once led to the church’s main entrance.

“There’s a tradition of having stairs at many churches – as if you are leaving the day-to-day roughness of the world behind and bringing yourself closer to God,” said Thomas Rajkovich, who designed the new terrace. “We wanted to be thoughtful of the needs of those who had trouble with stairs while also being sensitive about the historic character of the original church.”

Rajkovich came up with the design after carefully studying the design of similar terraces at English hall churches throughout the United States and England.

“It’s very common in English hall churches for there to be some sort of paved terrace area where people gather before and after services,” said Rajkovich. The Jane and Mike Weeden Terrace provides this gathering space while making the entrance accessible to those with disabilities. A set of stairs to the west of the entrance allows those who are able to ascend a set of church steps.

In addition to the construction of the terrace, the church’s landscaping has also been restructured. “We wanted to celebrate the way the space has been re-envisioned,” said landscape architect Craig Bergmann.

“We wanted to design a landscape that was simple, honest, low-maintenance and appropriate,” he said. “I think it will be a nice place for someone to sit and contemplate.”

The church’s parking lot has also been redesigned to more evenly distribute rainwater, thereby reducing The Church of the Holy Spirit’s “footprint on the earth,” said Rajkovich. “There was a sense that stewardship generally means not only being good shepherds for the people in the congregation, but also the rest of creation,“ he shared.

The consecration of the new construction will take place outside The Church of the Holy Spirit’s main entrance following the 10 a.m. worship service on Sunday, July 20.