50 Horse Statues on Michigan Avenue


Life-size statues to line Michigan Avenue next month as fundraiser
By Michelle Manchir Tribune reporter  Chicago Tribune 8.6.14

Is that a horse stable outside of Starbucks? Magnificent Mile visitors could be asking that question next month as installation of at least 50 life-size horse statues begins along Michigan Avenue.

  The public art project featuring  50 6-foot-tall, 6-foot-long horse statues made of weatherproof fiberglass will serve as a fundraiser for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which assists families of fallen or severely injured officers.

JESSICA TEZAK/TRIBUNE PHOTO Supporter Ron Vasser salutes at a Chicago Police Memorial Foundation news briefing Tuesday.

Each statue will be decorated by local artists and will carry with it a minimum donation of $2,500 to the foundation. All but one of the horses will also be named after officers who have died in the line of duty, said project organizers, who held a news conference Tuesday at the Chicago Police Department headquarters. One horse, showcased at the conference, will be named Sacrifice and display the names of six officers who suffered catastrophic injuries, said former police Superintendent Phil Cline, who now serves as director of the foundation.

“The horses do represent our commitment to the living and dead officers and to their families,” said Art Hannus, president of the foundation. “The families are the ones today who live with the greatest burden, and we want to do everything we can to lighten that burden.”

The public display is scheduled to begin Sept. 11 and last until mid-November, with the possibility of the horses moving from Michigan Avenue to other well-traveled spots like Navy Pier and the Merchandise Mart, said Billy Bracken, a partner at Agency 360, a consulting group helping organize the project. One of the reasons the horse was selected is because of the animal’s strength and power, Bracken said.

Denise Domagala said those are the words she thinks of when she considers how the foundation helped her family. Domagala’s husband, Bernard Domagala, was shot in the head at age 37 in 1988 while responding to a man who had barricaded himself in his home, Cline said. He survived but suffered traumatic brain injury and today lives in an assisted-living community, Cline said.

Domagala said the foundation has been crucial in helping support the couple’s three sons, who were all age 4 or younger when the shooting happened.

“To know that all the police officers are together and they’re really working with us through this journey is an incredible feeling for our family,” she said.

The horses will probably be sturdy enough for children to climb on, but it’s not encouraged, Bracken said. Each horse will be drilled into the ground on concrete bases, Bracken said, to deter anyone hoping to sneak one away. They will be auctioned off in December, though, for anyone who really wants to bring one home. “They’re a good size, so they’d have to have a big great room,” Bracken said.mmanchir@tribune.com


How I Relaxed

John has found a picture of me, lying in the grass and smiling by the side of a road during army basic training.  The rule was to march forty minutes and to rest ten.  Soldiers learn to relax anytime they get a break, even doze.


But I’m thinking of points of relaxation with lasting effects.  At one time in the Sixties I was working two jobs  and taking courses to qualify as a librarian.  It was very hectic, and I was roaring around in an old V-8 Chevy, trying to get away first from a stoplight, pushing speed limits, always accelerating fast and breaking hard.

At that time, Joanne had a pretty little American Motors car, white with red vinyl seats,  with very little power.  When it became clear she needed a bigger car, we bought her a used AMC station wagon, got rid of the Chevy, and I took over the little car.

Such a relief!  That little car would never get anywhere in a hurry,  so there was no point trying.  I could just sit back and ride with the traffic.  That took a lot of tension out of my life.

Later we got a second AMC wagon.  The kids asked why we couldn’t have normal cars.  I don’t know why we stayed with AMC cars, but probably they were cheaper than Big Three cars.

The kids probably wondered too why I didn’t have a normal workday.

Eventually I finished my coursework, but our union local asked me to serve as our first grievance officer, a paid job charged with enforcing our contract with the school board by taking violation complaints  through the grievance procedure, a few times into arbitration. This meant a lot of meetings, and I was always reviewing mentally what was coming up so I wouldn’t embarrass myself and our organization by missing something.  I never did, but I was always on edge.

Then somehow I thought of the handy pocket calendar that the union has always distributed to members at the start of a school year.  Wow—you just write your appointments down!

When I retired from paid labor, I resolved to avoid any responsibilities that would wake me up in the middle of the night.  I failed in that. I was sitting on the Board of Jewish Education when they broke ground for a building.  The Board promoted me to Vice-President for Operations which made me the executive janitor with a lot to learn.  Luckily I found I could get a lot of good advice from the man who managed maintenance the neighboring Jewish school and others.

After a several years I resigned from the BJE, and, when I turned seventy, I resolved to attend no more meetings.  It felt good to make that resolution and I’ve adhered to it, pretty much.

I do live a slower, less stressful life now, and I’ve discovered the Google calendar which helps with the growing load of doctor appointments–primary care, dermatologist, two cardiologists . . .





Leggos at Sea


Lost At Sea, Legos Reunite On Beaches And Facebook

Listen to the story     2 min 53 sec        Source
Tracey Williams, who founded the Lego Lost At Sea Facebook page, put together this guide to some of the Lego pieces people are finding that were spilled into the ocean.

Tracey Williams, who founded the Lego Lost At Sea Facebook page, put together this guide to some of the Lego pieces people are finding that were spilled into the ocean.

These Lego dragons washed up at Bigbury-on-Sea, on the south coast of Devon, England in the late 1990s.

Nearly two decades ago, a massive wave struck the Tokio Express, a container ship that had nearly 5 million Legos onboard. The colorful toy building blocks poured into the ocean. Today, they are still washing up on shores in England.

Tracey Williams and her children first happened upon the Tokio Express Legos in the late 1990s. Since then, she’s created a Facebook page called — Lego Lost At Sea — where other collectors show off their findings.

Williams, who lives in Cornwall, tells NPR’s Scott Simon that among the many small, colorful and ironically nautical-themed Lego bits are flowers, swords, life vests, scuba tanks and even Lego octopi.

This Lego octopus was found in a cave in south Devon, England, in the late 1990s.

Tracey Williams/Lego Lost At Sea



Tracey with Lego haul on beach

Tracy Williams  source


Williams says she started the page to document the washed up Legos because she was fascinated that they were still washing up after so many years.

“I thought it would be quite interesting, from a scientific point of view, to monitor where it was all turning up, what was turning up and in what quantities and who found it,” Williams says.

Based on submissions to the Facebook page, the Lego pieces have reportedly washed up in several areas of England and Ireland, Williams says. She says she has even had reports that pieces have allegedly been found in Holland and as far as Australia, though she hasn’t been able to verify those yet.

“Oceanographers say it is perfectly feasible after 17 years that this Lego could have gone around the world,” she says.

Williams says that while it is fun to find these Legos on beaches far and wide, what this incident does is highlight the issue of marine debris. As part of a beach cleanup group, she says there many cargo spills every year and debris is often found from those spills for years to come.

More details and photos at   MORE

More Lake Invaders


The war beneath the waves
Aquatic invaders are colonizing Lake Michigan
Editorial, Chicago Tribune   8.2.14



   Zebra mussel shells 3 feet deep and 150 feet long lie along Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago, west of Lake Michigan.

Beneath the serene waters of Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes, a war rages. It pits armies of invaders bent on establishing colonies against a dwindling force of native lake dwellers. The invaders — at least 56 organisms not native to the Great Lakes — have infiltrated the lake over the decades, most of them arriving stealthily in freighter ballast tanks.

 You’ve heard about the tenacious zebra mussel, which has cost industries on the Great Lakes billions of dollars over the past two decades to keep pipes open and water flowing through homes, businesses and power plants. You may have heard about its even more destructive cousin, the quagga mussel: It roams farther than the zebra and blankets nearly the entire lake bottom. Damage: unfathomable.

 And … there are more lake pillagers likely to come. (See carp, Asian.)

We mention this because we just finished an impressive series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “A Watershed Moment: Can We Protect the Great Lakes From a New Wave of Invasive Species?”

The answer: gulp. History isn’t on our side. Nor do most people comprehend the staggering scale of what’s happening beneath the waves:

The public can comprehend the devastation of a catastrophic wildfire that torches vast stands of trees, leaves a scorched forest floor littered with wildlife carcasses and turns dancing streams into oozes of mud and ash,” reporter Dan Egan writes. “But forests grow back. The quagga mussel devastation of Lake Michigan is so profound it is hard to fathom. … The mollusks now stretch across the bottom of Lake Michigan almost from shore to shore, piling on top of one another like a gnarly, endless plate of coral, clustering at densities exceeding 35,000 per square meter. People might still think of Lake Michigan as an inland sea full of fish. It’s now more accurate to think of it as an exotic mussel farm.”

So what? Here’s what: “We wear shoes while swimming or risk stinging, razor-sharp shell cuts. We buy exotic farm-raised tilapia instead of local fish such as chubs at our local grocery stores and restaurants. We turn up our noses and walk away from beaches fouled by rotting seaweed slicks triggered by the mussels and laced with their carcasses — often wrongly blaming the stench on sewage spills. We don’t even notice the hundreds of millions of extra dollars in utility bills we’ve paid to keep water pumping through everything from our power plants to our faucets.”

 The mussel colonization of Lake Michigan has opened the floodgates for another invasive species, the round goby, a prodigious consumer of mussels — it crowds out the lake trout, white fish, sturgeon, herring and perch that welcomed European explorers to Lake Michigan.

 One bright note: There hasn’t been another invasive species found in the Great Lakes since 2008, when a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule required oceangoing ships sailing into the Great Lakes to decontaminate ballast water. That’s the longest lull between invasive species discoveries since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, Egan reports. Two possible reasons:

• There haven’t been any new species crafty enough to evade decontamination.                                                                                                                               • Scientists aren’t looking in the right places … or “sleeper colonies” are skulking around the lake just waiting to be discovered when their numbers grow large enough to be readily detected.

Gulp again.

 There’s a rogues’ gallery of potential invaders on the government’s watch list. Those include the notorious Dikerogammarus villosus, aka the “killer shrimp.” Don’t laugh. The shrimp “makes a mess of ecosystems it invades by destroying native species with its vise-like jaws and then leaving them for dead, often without even swallowing a bite,” Egan writes.

 Defending Lake Michigan against hordes of aquatic raiders is a grinding, long-term fight that requires constant vigilance. Not every invader harms the ecosystem. But this region’s most precious commodity, sloshing just outside your window, needs to be protected and safeguarded — from pollution, yes, but also from alien invaders.





Sculpture of feet to start traveling  

By Michelle Manchir Tribune reporter  Chicago Tribune 8.1.14

The 7-foot-tall sculpture of two feet at Oak Street Beach this week has legs.

ANTONIO PEREZ/TRIBUNE PHOTO A sculpture at Oak Street Beach ties into a Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

That is, it’s expected to move to other locations around the city as long as the Art Institute of Chicago is hosting an exhibit inspired by Rene Magritte, the Belgian surrealist artist. The beach installation is a larger-than-life marketing campaign to bring attention to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute.

The feet — each of which weighs 800 pounds and is made of plywood and carved foam with a urethane hard coat — were installed last Friday at OakStreet Beach. The Magritte exhibit, “The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938” opened in June at the Michigan Avenue museum.

(We saw the Art Institute exhibit–I enjoyed it. rjn)

The sculpture, created by Ravenswood Studio in Lincolnwood, was inspired by Magritte’s painting “The Red Model.” As they do in the painting, the feet in the sculpture “morph into unlaced boots — Magritte’s way of calling attention to the fact that we often cover our own flesh with dead animal flesh,” according to a release from the museum.

Beach visitors seem to be embracing the hooves — in some cases, literally. A museum spokeswoman said she’s noticed many photos of people standing near or playing on the feet popping up on social media. “That’s meant to be sort of the antithesis of the museum experience,” spokeswoman Rebecca Baldwin said.

The feet, designed by Leo Burnett Chicago, working with the museum to market the exhibit, are expected to stay at the beach until mid-August, and there’s no set itinerary for where they will appear next, Baldwin said. They are expected to be positioned somewhere along Michigan Avenue the weekend of Aug. 23-24.

Another element of the institute’s Magritte marketing campaign — dubbed “Unthink” — includes a poster installed on the museum’s roof visible only topeople peeking down from high-rises along Michigan Avenue, Baldwin said. The Magritte exhibit is scheduled to be at the Art Institute until Oct. 13.mmanchir@tribune.com   Twitter @TribuneMM