Happy Opening Day at the Farmers Market

It was a beautiful day as the Third Annual SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza joyfully opened to 20 local vendors and several thousand first-day shoppers on Tuesday. The vast array of fresh and locally-grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, bakery goods and prepared foods is better than ever. Lurie Children's Hospital representatives were at the market celebrating their 5th Anniversary in Streeterville by distributing shopping bags to visitors. Also Wintrust Bank representatives were on site as sponsor of the day at the Farmers Market handing out premiums to shoppers. Last year, more than 75,000 shoppers visited the market and the trend is upwards.The Farmers Market is now the biggest  source of new SOAR members and we appreciate each and every volunteer who helps create a friendly and positive atmosphere for Streeterville neighbors. To volunteer, contact Carole Thomas
Mary Kate Daly, Lurie Children's Hospital; Angela Olah, Wintrust Bank; Tara Fedorko, Wintrust Bank;
Barbara Webb, SOAR; Debby Gershbein, SOAR;
Judy Aiello Fantus, SOAR; Ladarius Curtis, Lurie Children's Hospital; Clare Hennessy, SOAR

Streeterville is fortunate to have its very own Farmers Market. The Market will be held every Tuesday, from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and runs through October 31st. The market will NOT be open July 4th in honor of the National Holiday. The Grand Opening ceremony is scheduled for June 20th at Noon with a complimentary taste of the famous Eli's Cheesecake for everyone who attends. Please mark your calendars. We are grateful to our sponsors, without whom our homegrown Farmers Market would not be possible. We will begin our series of local chef demonstrations from area restaurants, using ingredients sold at the Market, on June 27th. Don't forget to keep up with Farmers Market news on our Facebook page and web site. Stop by the SOAR tent to say hello to our SOAR volunteers and representatives when you are shopping. We Nourish Community!
Look here for a complete list of vendors. Farmers Markets have cropped up all over the country, from small towns to large cities. Read how the markets contribute to the health of a community.
As always, I will be happy to hear your ideas and respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at dgershbein@soarchicago.org 


Tips and Trends Explained at 2017 SOAR Safety Forum

On their way to speak at the SOAR Safety Forum on May 30, Officer Joe Incaprera and Sergeant Amanda Vanek, Chicago Police 18th District Community and Business Relations Office, counted 39 pedestrians who were looking at their phones or wearing headphones or ear buds-in a single block! "If you take only two tips away from this meeting," Officer Incaprera told the sell-out audience at Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Center, "they would be: 1) Be aware of your surroundings and 2) Avoid using any distracting electronics." Sergeant Vanek urged managers of all residential, commercial and public buildings to install exterior safety cameras to deter and record criminal activity. "New technology has made cameras more effective and economical," she said. Bruce Lewis, Associate Vice President and Chief of Police, Northwestern University Department of Safety and Security, said that their security police force patrol Streeterville, from Chestnut to Ontario, by car and on foot, on a regular basis. He reminded the audience that Northwestern looks out for the safety of all stakeholders in the community and urged residents to use the Blue Light Emergency phone system when in the Northwestern Campus to report crimes or suspicious activities in the campus area. http://www.northwestern.edu/up/ Gregory Wing, Supervisor Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigations, focused on gang activity in Chicago and screened a new video that can be seen on their website
Gregory Wing, Deborah Gershbein, Bob Johnson, Bruce Lewis, Amanda Vanek, Charlie DeMar, Joe Incaprera
SOAR President Debby Gershbein said, "Safety is among the top priorities for SOAR and Streeterville. We are fortunate to have Bob Johnson as Chair of the SOAR Safety and Sound Task Force. As a former firefighter and Fire Chief his expertise is highly valued by the organization." Bob announced the launch of a SOAR partnership with WhistleStop, an action safety program that provides residents practical protection on the street. Free whistles were given to audience members and will be distributed at the SOAR Farmers Market and other venues for a suggested donation of $2.00. He introduced the panel and Charlie DeMar, a reporter for CBS2 and moderator of the panel. Special thanks to Charlie and to Northwestern University for hosting.
Safety and Sound Task Force Members 
Gail Spreen, Bob Johnson, Nicole Lehman, Susan Caraher, Vaune Carr, Dietrich Muller


Highlights of the First Quarter, Onto the Second

In the first quarter of 2017, SOAR actively planned and implemented programs to help 
keep Streeterville a safe
, healthy and beautiful neighborhood to live, work enjoy. Here are some of SOAR's first quarter highlights:  
  • Hosted a volunteer recognition celebration and New Year Kickoff at Green River 
  • Provided a community voice as host of two Town Hall meetings with Alderman Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward and Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward to address neighborhood issues such as traffic congestion and safety.
  • Held multiple meetings with City of Chicago government and police officials, Chicago Park District representatives, business, institutional and cultural leaders, as well as local real estate developers. In all of these meetings, we shared resident concerns and expressed our appreciation for their stewardship in Streeterville
  • Conducted a membership social event at Café Coco Pazzo's new location on Ohio.
  • Continued to keep the neighborhood informed through the monthly SOAR eNewsand eWeekly updates
Left to right; Green River event, Alderman Hopkins Town Hall and Coco Pazzo Cafe social.  

Now, in the second quarter of the year, we will be implementing many exciting activities as well:
  • We will be launching our Membership Renewal Campaign this week. Be on the lookout for an email notification. We thank you for your continuing support.
  • SOAR will complete the upgrade of a new membership software program to improve member communications. The interactive renewal process will be easier and more efficient with the new program.
  • The SOAR Garden Club is preparing the gardens for the 21st beautiful season at Lake Shore Park. 
  • On May 30, we will host another Safety Forum at Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center.
  • On June 6, the Third Annual SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza will open. This year's Market is sure to be a winner again, with 20 different vendors and 44 vendor tents. The Market will also feature monthly culinary demonstrations from local chefs this year. And we are very pleased to welcome our sponsors, the MCA, Northwestern University, Northwestern Medicine, Wintrust Bank, and The Clare. There's more exciting news to come in the second quarter, so stay tuned!
On behalf of the Board, membership and staff, I would like to send best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement to two longtime champions of SOAR, Rosemarie Wert, Co-Founder of Community Specialists, and Gloria Bowman, Director of Business Development at The Clare. Rosemarie initiated Community Specialists' sponsorship of SOAR publications beginning in the 1990's and continuing to this day. With Gloria's coordinating efforts, The Clare was a founding co-sponsor of the SOAR Farmers Market and sponsored many other special events. We are very appreciative of their support.
As always, I will be happy to hear your ideas and respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at dgershbein@soarchicago.org 
Deborah Gershbein

Help Keep Streeterville a Beautiful Neighborhood

It officially became Spring on March 21st!  Temperatures are getting a bit warmer, buds are popping out of the ground and on the trees and bushes. SOAR's Spring Clean Up is just around the corner on Earth Day Saturday, April 22nd. If you are interested in helping out meet by the tennis courts at 9am. We should be finished by 11am. 

SOAR is an organization of members and volunteers and when it comes to cleaning up the neighborhood in celebration of Earth Day and Spring, we ask you to volunteer to help keep Streeterville a beautiful neighborhood. We don't have much green space in our urban environment, but what we do have is a treasure. We have several parks in the heart of the neighborhood, Seneca Park and Lake Shore Park. They are a true asset to the Streeterville community. Volunteer opportunities are available to help clean up the parks on Earth Day April 22nd, so just show up and wear your clean up gear. All necessary supplies to help will be provided as well as refreshments. It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, meet your neighbors, and contribute to Streeterville. Both parks are conveniently located between Chicago and Pearson Avenues, Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue.

Volunteerism is an important part of SOAR and we encourage you to volunteer on Earth day and throughout the year. We have many volunteer opportunities available. They include the Farmers Market, every Tuesday from June-October, First Responders Appreciation in September, and many other worthwhile causesand events through 2017 and beyond. For volunteer opportunities please contact our Volunteer Chair, Susan Caraher  or our Garden Co Chairs- Judy Birk and Carol Brosk.  
As always, I will be happy to hear your ideas and respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at dgershbein@soarchicago.org 
Deborah Gershbein

SOAR Social Wednesday at Coco Pazzo Café

Coco Pazzo Café recently moved from its longtime location on St. Clair to 212 E. Ohio, just east of Michigan Avenue. Jack Weiss and the staff took with them the name, the murals, the warmth and hospitality and the best of the menu choices. The restaurant hosted more than 80 appreciative SOAR members at a reception on March 8. Thanks a million, and best of luck in the new location. Here are some of the event-goers:
Marco Villavicencio, Jack Weiss, Debby Gershbein, David Hampe
JoAnne and Howard Melton, Michael and Amy Kraynak
Lisa Robertson, Mary Alex Japczyk, Kim Lawson, Bobbi Meyers 
Minglei Blumenthal, John Keefe