400′ building mural


 Before & After
 Screenshot_2015-03-07-05-40-26 (2)
Cityscapes                                               Chicago Tribune 3.6.15
Mural puts riverfront high-rise on the map
Blair Kamin

   How do you put your building on the map? You put a map on the building, of course. A really big map.   That’s what you see at the once-forgettable 300 S. Wacker Drive office building, where a megamural map covers a formerly blank concrete wall along the Chicago River.   The mural map, a vertical sliver more than 400 feet tall, portrays the bending river, the crisscrossing street grid and (naturally) 300 S. Wacker. It’s the star of the map, represented by a bright red rectangle that looks like a flat-roofed version of a Monopoly hotel. At night, the rectangle is lit from within by LED lights.


You wouldn’t use this map for directions. But it communicates a clear message, and it does so without descending into garish, self-aggrandizing display, like a certain enormous sign (first letter “T,” last letter “P”) that blights the riverfront near the Wrigley Building.   The idea was to “highlight the building’s connectivity to the city and the river, and to elevate its presence, literally and figuratively putting it on the map,” said Maria Rizzolo, the lead designer on the project for New York-based ESI Design.  


Shaped by Chicago’s A. Epstein & Sons (now known as Epstein) and located kitty-corner from Willis Tower, 300 S. Wacker was a typical product of the early 1970s. The generic steel-and-glass high-rise turned its back on the river, ignoring the forward-thinking precedent of Marina City, which visually addressed the river with its corncob-shape high-rises and further engaged it with docks beneath the towers.   At the center of 300 S. Wacker’s riverfront wall was a tall shaft of concrete that enclosed the building’s elevators. If the idea was structural drama — steel-and-glass wings hanging from the concrete core — it fell flat.   “That building was pretty nondescript,” said Constance Rajala, assistant director of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s river cruise tour. “I don’t think most of the docents covered it.”   Indeed, the high-rise was so banal that there is no place for it in the 550 pages of the American Institute of Architects’ “Guide to Chicago.”   300 S. Wacker was literally not on the map, at least the architecture map.  


But things changed after Beacon Capital Partners, a Boston-based real estate investment firm, bought the building for $112.5 million in 2013, then bought into ESI’s map idea, which called for painting the blank wall with a mix of colors — a brownish gray matching the original concrete, and dark and light grays for the river and city streets.   “I can tell you they were nervous about it. It was a big surface. There was some risk to doing this,” Rizzolo said.   That risk was not unprecedented. In the early 1980s, for example, artist Richard Haas turned the walls of an old apartment hotel at 1211 N. LaSalle Blvd. into an homage to such legendary Chicago architects as Louis Sullivan. On the building’s south wall, Haas painted Sullivan’s arched “Golden Door” from the Transportation Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, plus the round, richly ornamented window from Sullivan’s famous bank in Grinnell, Iowa. In between, on painted windows, Haas added a “reflection” of the Chicago Board of Trade skyscraper, 2 miles to the south.   While the 300 S. Wacker mural map doesn’t rise to Haas’ level of artistry, it is still a positive addition to the cityscape.   That’s because the map gives 300 S. Wacker a face, rather than a back, along the river.   And while that face is playful — it isn’t every day that you see a map superimposed on an office building with 35 floors — the design, by virtue of its palette and proportions, is respectful of the building’s sober modernist language.   With the exception of the red rectangle, there are no shrieking colors. The river is gray, not blue, and there is no name or building address present. The map is at once noticeable and understated, which is not an easy balance to bring off.  
True, there are weaknesses. At night, despite the LED lighting, the map fades into the sky. The designers also took artistic liberties by erasing certain features, like the railroad yards that flank Roosevelt Road, to eliminate visual clutter.   And you have to wonder whether the paint will hold up for more than 10 years, as the designers predict.   Nevertheless, the map can be pronounced a success, and its presence is nicely echoed in the building’s lobby. There, another ESIdesigned map, this one fabricated with water jet-cut steel, portrays a view looking west from the building to the horizon line. Adding visual interest, the streets are labeled, the river is colored blue and backdrop lighting changes over the course of the day.   Although it’s a tad cluttered, the lobby map, like the one on the river-facing wall, shows how bold graphic design can help freshen a tired modernist building.  
Tenants have responded favorably to the changes, which were part of a $13.87 million capital improvement plan.   The building is now 86 percent leased, up from 80 percent when Beacon bought it, according to a spokeswoman for the firm.   Even if Chicago Architecture Foundation docents don’t mention the big mural map on the river cruise, they are now expected to know about it.   “I guarantee you,” said Rajala, the assistant river cruise director, “that someone will ask you about it when the boat docks.”bkamin@tribpub.com Twitter @BlairKamin 
 Click here for many More cleverly decorated buildings
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Why ‘Touch’ Triggers Pleasure And Pain


Fingertips To Hair Follicles: Why ‘Touch’ Triggers Pleasure And Pain

Fingertips, David Linden explains, are filled with different sorts of sensors for detecting different types of touch, including one that notes texture and fine little bumps. Another type perks up at vibration.iFingertips, David Linden explains, are filled with different sorts of sensors for detecting different types of touch, including one that notes texture and fine little bumps. Another type perks up at vibration.  Laughing Stock/Corbis

The rate at which someone strokes your hair can cause feelings of pleasure or annoyance — too slow is repulsive, too fast is annoying, and just right soothes.

There’s a scientific explanation for this: People have special nerve endings (wrapped around the base of hair follicles) that detect the deflection of the hairs.

“In turns out, remarkably … that hairy skin has a special caress sensor,” neuroscientist David Linden tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “If you actually record electrical nerve endings long before they get to the brain, they send more signals to the caresses that feel the best.”

In Touch, his latest book, Linden writes about this and the “weird, complex and often counterintuitive system” of touch circuits involving the skin, nerves and brain that create pleasure and pain.

The two sensations are inextricably linked, Linden explains.


“Part of what we know is that when pain ends, that is pleasurable,” he says. “Think of taking off your ski boots after a day of skiing — it feels really good. But there’s something more complicated than that: What I think it is, is that both pain and pleasure are emotionally salient. They mark experiences that are important for your life and, in terms of memory, they’re the signal that says, ‘This is important; write this down and underline it. Don’t forget it.’ ”

So what else can be emotionally salient? Chili peppers.

“They’re a bit painful,” Linden says. “Why should we want to put something painful in our food? I think it is because it is rewarding to eat something that is a little bit of a threat.”

Interview Highlights

On why life without touch is so problematic

Touch is so central to our humanity that it’s hard to even imagine [life without] it. For example, if a child is born blind, they can grow up and have a completely full and normal life. They will be cognitively normal, psychiatrically normal and not have profound problems — the same if a child is born deaf. However, if a child is born into a situation, like a Kurd in Romanian orphanages in the 1980s and ’90s, where social touch is deprived because there are not enough caregivers around, then that child will develop terrible psychiatric problems, attachment disorders, mood disorders, and also physical problems — problems with the digestive system and immune system, higher incidences of diabetes. And, amazingly, these problems are not just problems of childhood, but persist throughout life.

David Linden is a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is a former chief editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. He also wrote The Compass of Pleasure.David Linden is a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is a former chief editor of theJournal of Neurophysiology. He also wrote The Compass of Pleasure.  Jacob Linden/Courtesy of Viking

On how pain can actually protect people

There are a number of different relatively rare cases where you can lose different aspects of touch, and one of them … is called “congenital insensitivity to pain.” Folks who have this inherited syndrome — if they whack themselves on the thumb with a hammer — they’ll feel the pressure and the thumb will swell up, but they won’t feel any pain at all.

There’s a famous case of a boy in Pakistan who jumped off of a high roof to impress his friends. He hit the ground, got up and said, “I feel fine,” and he went home and he promptly died because he had no pain to realize that he had broken bones and sustained massive internal injury.

So we think, “Oh great, a life without pain! That would be idyllic!” But if you don’t have pain, then you don’t have the protective reactions that are so crucial.

On why a caress against the grain of hair can feel strange

There are sensors that wrap around the base of the hair follicles that only wrap around one half of the base. If you looked in a microscope, you would see that they don’t make a full 360-degree circle; they cover about 180 degrees of the base. And that means that they are tuned to detect deflection in one direction versus the other.

When we think about the way we speak in our lives, if we had interaction with someone we might say, “He or she rubs me the wrong way.” Someone who is socially clumsy we call “tactless” — literally they lack touch. I think it’s important — it’s telling us something that so many of our common expressions in English refer to the tactile sense.

On why fingertips are so sensitive

Fingertips are endowed with a number of different sensors for mechanical stimuli. There’s one sensor called a “Merkel ending,” which is good for feeling texture and fine little bumps.

There’s a different one that is good for vibration. So if you are driving your car and there are subtle vibrations that come from the road up through your tires up through the steering, through the wheel that you use to detect how slick the road is … or what the texture of it is — if it’s pebbly or smooth — that is being detected by what are called “Pacinian sensors” in your fingertips and in the palms of your hands.

On why you can’t read Braille with your genitals

The key point is that the word “sensitive” is really too broad. So it can mean two different things: areas like the fingertips and the lips and the tongue not only can respond to tiny deflections, but they can precisely localize fine special features on objects or sense textures, the sort of thing you would need to read Braille.

Other parts of the body, like the cornea of the eye or the tip of the clitoris or the tip of the penis are very sensitive in the sense that they can detect very fine deflections of the skin, but they’re not very discriminative. They lack the Merkel-type nerve ending. And, as a consequence, it will fail if you attempt to read Braille with your genitals.

On the connection between anxiety and pain

We don’t entirely understand why depression leads to chronic pain, but it’s part of a larger phenomenon in which pain perception is modulated by all kinds of situational factors having to do with mood and expectancy and surprise.

So it turns out that the emotional pain centers are richly interconnected with regions of our brain having to do with cognition and anxiety and anticipation. So this is why many people who suffer from chronic pain can get partial relief from anti-anxiety medication. It’s not that the anti-anxiety medication directly affects pain-perception — what it does is it breaks this horrible positive feedback loop between anxiety and chronic pain. So if you have chronic pain, then you become anxious about, “When is it going to stop? When is it going to recur?” And that anxiety seems to trigger more chronic pain. If you can interrupt that … then often times that can bring at least partial pain relief.


An earlier book, Touching; the Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montague is readable, sometimes touching, and still instructive though written before brain-scanning and other such wonderful tools were developed.  I have a copy to lend.  rjn

Snow Monkeys’ New Home at Lincoln Park

Hey, hey, it’s the snow monkeys at Lincoln Park Zoo    source

With a walkie-talkie call from curator of primates Maureen Leahy Wednesday, an assistant in the holding areas beneath Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Regenstein Macaque Forest exhibit opened a door and the zoo’s troop of eight Japanese macaques spilled into their spiffy new habitat.

The medium-sized primates, commonly known as “snow monkeys” because they are often seen in the cold in their native Japan, checked out the new digs with the thoroughness of a prospective tenant sizing up an apartment.

The exhibit opening gave visitors their first glimpses of the animals and their elaborate hillside enclosure, complete with heated rocks and, come warmer weather, a stream, that now occupies an area where the zoo’s Penguin-Seabird House once stood.

Snow monkeysA Japanese macaque walks past a heated pool while exploring its naturalistic habitat at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

More story and photos and even more story and photos


Lives of Chicago Coyotes


Watch a coyote outfitted with a National Geographic Crittercam run through the city streets of Chicago. Click here for 5 VIDEOS.

Christine Dell’Amore  National Geographic   NOVEMBER 21, 2014

An extreme breed of coyote is finding there’s no finer place than downtown Chicago, where the predator has learned to lurk under the radar of city life, new data show.     More »

The versatile carnivore, native to middle America, has spread into nearly every corner of the U.S. in the past few decades, taking particular advantage of the suburbs and their wildlife buffet. (Related: “Coyote-Wolf Hybrids Have Spread Across U.S. East.”)

But in some metropolitan areas, such as the Windy City, populations are now so high that no vacancies are left in the suburbs for these highly territorial animals—which means youngsters are being forced to strike out into the only remaining habitat: downtown.

Among the skyscrapers of Michigan Avenue and busy Lake Shore Drive, these animals are “pushing their ecological envelope,” said Stan Gehrt, a wildlife ecologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, who has been studying coyotes since 2000.

The animals have altered their natural behavior to accommodate living in close quarters with people. Unlike wild coyotes, for example, Chicago’s uber-urban coyotes are nocturnal, coming out when most people have gone home; have learned to travel and cross busy roads regularly; and maintain huge yet fragmented territories, according to new data from coyotes outfitted with a GPS collar or a Crittercam, a National Geographic camera that attaches harmlessly to animals.

“We constantly underestimate them,” said Gehrt, who recently completed the first part of his urban-coyote research, funded by National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration.

“We felt there were parts of Chicago too urban, with too many people, for coyotes to live—and we were wrong,” he said.

“They’re a humbling animal.”

Hard-Knock Life

Though coyotes have taken up residence in several U.S. metropolises, including New York City and Washington, D.C., few scientists are studying them—in part because the urban coyote didn’t even exist until suburban sprawl spurred a boom in prey in recent years. (See National Geographic Your Shot pictures of coyotes.)

But it’s crucial to understand how these carnivores interact with the landscape, Gehrt said, both to figure out how to manage them and to avoid conflicts with people.

Watch a coyote snatch a bird for a snack. Graphic content.

“People in Chicago have shifted their opinions about coyotes to primarily acceptance. That doesn’t mean that they are thrilled they are here, but they are not that quick to remove them like they used to,” Gehrt said.

“Whether it stays like that, or if they eventually get tired of them, is one reason why we continue to monitor them.”

For his newest work, Gehrt and colleagues fitted six Chicago coyotes with GPS collars and four with Crittercams in 2013 and 2014—the first time either technology was used on urban coyotes.

Gehrt estimates there are about 2,000 coyotes living in metropolitan Chicago, home to about nine million people.

The GPS data revealed that city coyotes have larger home ranges than suburban coyotes do—up to 3.4 square miles (8.9 square kilometers), compared with 0.4 square mile (1.2 square kilometers)—probably because sizable sections of their habitats are too hard to use or defend, such as popular shopping streets. (Learn more about wildlife in your backyard on Nat Geo Wild’s Urban Jungle.)

“The thing I have to wrap my head around,” Gehrt said, is the mystery of how a coyote is actually able to defend and maintain such a large and fragmented territory.

What’s more, the coyotes have a short window of time for their patrols: Chicago’s inner-city coyotes are strictly nocturnal, curling up in little hideaways during the day (sometimes a few feet away from people walking down city streets).

Suburban coyotes are less constrained, and will hunt and defend their territories in both daytime and nighttime hours.

“Downtown animals never have that flexibility,” Gehrt said. (Get facts on suburban wildlife.)

Gehrt and colleagues also took blood samples from several urban coyotes to determine whether the city dwellers are genetically distinct from their suburban kin, or whether they’re part of one big related group. Those results are pending.

Though coyotes can mate easily with dogs and wolves, the animals Gehrt studies are mostly full coyotes.


Even under cover of darkness, urban coyotes still have to dodge people and vehicles—and the GPS data reveal they do it deftly. Chicago coyotes have learned to negotiate roads, sidewalks, and railroads usually without being seen or hit, despite tremendous traffic volume.

One GPS-collared coyote named 748 and his mate even raised a litter of five healthy pups inside a secret concrete den in the parking lot of Soldier Field Stadium, home of the Chicago Bears.

It’s unknown whether urban coyotes die at higher rates than their rural or suburban counterparts, though Gehrt suspects it’s a mix: The first downtown animal they radio-collared, in 2010, is still doing well.

Chicago’s coyotes are “the most urban coyote I’ve heard of,” saidRoland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in Raleigh, who studies suburban wildlife.

Predators Becoming More Urban

The Crittercams have given researchers an unprecedented window into an urban coyote’s lifestyle, with 91 video clips of the animals hunting, eating, and avoiding people.

Footage of the animals hunting, for instance, reveals that they eat a surprisingly large amount of wildlife, such as songbirds and rabbits, instead of the suspected people food and garbage. (One video sequence showed a coyote burying a squirrel carcass for later use.)

“Despite how urban they are, they’re eating natural foods … That’s the most amazing thing about what he’s finding,” Kays said.

To Kays, this is another indication that predators are finally catching up to the smaller animals that moved into cities and suburbs, such as rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons. (Related: “Watch Raccoons Escape Trash Can—Are Urban Animals Getting Smarter?”)

“It’s the reclamation of urban America by predators,” he said. “The prey moved in first, and predators started to move in behind them.”

None of the Crittercam clips showed evidence that Chicago’s downtown coyotes are regularly hunting dogs, cats, or other pets, a concern of many people.

Admirable Underdogs

Even so, coyotes have always been the underdog—which is part of why Gehrt admires them.

The coyote is the only carnivore to have doubled its range across North America in the face of intense persecution, including frequent hunts organized by government agencies.

“They don’t live anywhere where people want them, and that includes cities,” he said.

“They’re successful in spite of us, not because of us.”


End of Spire


It’s official: The Chicago Spire is dead

The site where the Spire was planned. Bloomberg News photo

The site where the Spire was planned. Bloomberg News photo

Chicago developer Related Midwest LLC has taken control of the Chicago Spire development site, putting an end to a big bubble-era dream that stalled once the housing crisis hit.

Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Joseph D. Frank, who represents Spire developer Garrett Kelleher, confirmed today that his client handed over the property at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive to its biggest creditor after failing to make a required payment late last month.

Under the approved bankruptcy plan, Mr. Kelleher’s venture had until Oct. 31 to pay Related more than $109 million. The venture also could have extended the deadline to next March by paying a $22 million fee and increasing Related’s claim, but a lawyer for Mr. Kelleher told city officials the venture was unlikely to secure enough funding to make any payment.

“We are pleased to have resolution on 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, the site of the former Chicago Spire project,” Related Midwest President Curt Bailey said in a statement. “We recognize the importance of this site to the city of Chicago and look forward to creating an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location.”

Related has said it would not build the Spire if it won control of the site, killing hopes that the twisting 150-story, 1,194-unit condominium tower near Lake Michigan will ever be built. The Spire landed in Bankruptcy Court last year after a Related venture bought the outstanding debt on the property and filed an involuntary Chapter 11 petition.


Mr. Kelleher, an Irishman who ran a commercial painting business in Chicago before hatching plans for the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, found a local partner to help secure the funding necessary to exit bankruptcy. That partner, Steven Ivankovich of Chicago-based Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC, said the venture gave a “yeoman’s effort” to get funding and that the Spire’s water-filled foundation is still buildable.

“Unfortunately we just ran out of time to get everything documented and processed with our lender,” Mr. Ivankovich said in a statement. “There is no doubt that the city of Chicago deserves the Spire to be built and Related should build it or sell the land and infrastructure to someone who will.”

The Kelleher venture began foundation work on the Spire and even pre-sold its two-floor penthouse to Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner in 2008. But the subsequent financial crisis quickly halted the project, now just a water-filled hole in the ground. A foreclosure suit was filed in 2010, and the property wound up in bankruptcy last year.

Related filed a motion Nov. 1 to compel the Kelleher venture to relinquish the property but withdrew it motion before today’s court date. Mr. Frank said the case will continue to resolve other claims.


                                                                                    Calatrava IMG 2489.jpg

I’m a fan of the architect on the Spire project, Santiago Calatrava.  He designed the art museum in Milwaukee with the huge wings or sails on the top that can be raised or lowered to keep out or to admit sunlight.  rjn


What’s Next for Santiago Calatrava’s Troubled Chicago Spire?  (excerpted) Source

A starchitect of global stature, the building’s designer Santiago Calatrava is the Spire’s most enticing draw. Ask anyone excited at the prospect of the Spire and it isn’t the height or the location or the luxury that ultimately appeals—it’s the designer. “You’d be buying a Calatrava in the same way you might be buying a Picasso,” explained Wood.

Carley and later Kelleher pursued Calatrava feverishly, and the architect was a major boon during the design process. He attended neighborhood meetings and helped to sell the concept of the building. Carley spoke “rapturously” of Calatrava at an early town hall meeting, according to a 2008 feature in Chicago Magazine, and then-alderman Burton Natarus was “enchanted” by the architect, asking him to sign a book. Everyone was starry-eyed over the soft-spoken Spaniard.

“These are buildings that are built for far more than economic return. They’re built to put a city on the map.”—Antony Wood, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats

While Calatrava has designed buildings all across Europe—including many in Italy, Spain, and Switzerland—as well as in Latin America and Australia, his work in the United States has been limited thus far: the Milwaukee Art Museum (finished in 2001), the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay in Redding, California (finished in 2004), and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, Texas (completed in 2012). He currently has a number of projects in the works, including a few in New York City. The Spire would be his first for Chicago.


Wallenda Will Walk Over Chicago

Wallenda sets high-wire path
Tightrope to go high above river, between towers
By Ted Gregory Tribune reporter   Chicago Tribune 9.17.14

   Nik Wallenda, seventh-generation member of the famed “Flying Wallendas” acrobatic performance family, is planning a tightrope walk more than 50 stories above and across the Chicago River  without a net or harness.  The event at 6 p.m. Nov. 2, a Sunday, would consist of two walks — one that would reach longer than two city blocks and rise to an incline of 15 degrees from Marina City’s west tower to the Leo Burnett Building, and the second spanning Marina City’s west and east towers.

   It also would resemble closely the tightrope walk in which his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, patriarch of the clan, fell to his death. The elder Wallenda was 73 years old when he fell while attempting to walk a cable between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 22, 1978.

   “This is going to be the most incredible tightrope walk of my career,” Wallenda said Tuesday afternoon in a prepared statement released by the Discovery Channel, which will televise the event live. “I can’t think of a better city to do it.”

 Wallenda, who made his first professional tightrope walk at age 13, said he hopes the walk “will inspire others to go after their dreams,” the release said.  He is dedicating this walk, which will be along a wire that measures five-eighths of an inch wide, to his family, especially his great-grandfather.

  “I’m always looking for the next major hurdle and doing something that the world has never seen,” Wallenda said, adding that his wife, three children and his father will attend the event. “I want my family to be there to see history in the making. And feel comforted knowing that they’ll be praying along with me.”

BRIAN CASSELLA/TRIBUNE  Nik Wallenda, who visited Chicago in April, has set his tightrope walk for Nov. 2, a Sunday night, at 6:30.

The average low temperature on Nov. 2 hovers around 41 degrees and wind speeds have averaged about 10.4 mph on that date. But that stretch of the river, almost cavernous from skyscrapers that line each side, is notorious as a wind tunnel in fall, winter and spring.

The Discovery channel said “dozens” of cameras across the city and on helicopters will record Wallenda’s “nailbiting, two part walk … in one of the windiest sections of Chicago.”

 Wallenda said he has fond memories of performing in Chicago with his family. Also, he has said the “Windy City” nickname offers an intriguing element for marketing the event.

  “Besides, it’s the ‘Windy City’ and there’s nothing like doing this during winter in Chicago,” Wallenda said, although winter officially starts in December. “That’s a challenge for me and I love to push myself to do things that most people think are impossible.”

  In making the decision, Wallenda and his team, including his retired acrobat father, used maps, photographs and bird’s-eye views from Google Earth. They concentrated on minimizing traffic and business disruptions while trying to allow space for live audiences.

  In a prepared statement when plans were taking shape months ago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was enthusiastic about the wire walk, noting that Chicago was home to the first skyscraper.

  The city “has played host to countless world events,” Emanuel said, “and this will be one for the history books. We are thrilled Nik Wallenda has chosen our great city with its iconic skyline as the site of his next walk.”

 A Wallenda tightrope walk draws massive TV viewing numbers. His last walk, a quarter-mile across an Arizona gorge over the Little Colorado River in June, brought an estimated 13 million viewers to Discovery.

 Wallenda has acquired stage experience in Chicago in recent years. From 2005 to 2010 he joined his sister, Lijana, a costume designer at Lookingglass Theatre, three times for “Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale.” Wallenda was a safety adviser, helping coordinate a seven-person pyramid on a high wire, and performed in the show. tgregory@tribune.com 



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


Traffic Help

Sometimes it’s hard to know what the radio traffic reporter is talking about.

Here is good help from Sarah Jindra, radio traffic reporter.

Click blue for Jindra’s entire booklet with maps.

3 sections here:     Major Chicagoland Roadways, names and numbers.                                                     Frequently Asked Questions                                                                                               Helpful Traffic Resources with web addresses


Edens (I-94)
Kennedy (I-90/94)
Eisenhower (I-290)
Stevenson (I-55)
Dan Ryan (I-90/94)
Bishop Ford (I-94)
Lake Shore Drive
Tristate Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
Edens Spur (I-94)
Chicago Skyway (I-90)
Elgin O‟Hare




Q: How are the travel times determined?
A: There are sensors in the roadways that track how fast or slow drivers
are going. Really smart people created equations that automatically
calculate travel times based on the sensor data.

Q: I always miss my road! How do I know when it‟s coming?
A: I read travel times in the same order every single report. Most other
traffic reporters in Chicago have an order they use as well. Find out what
the road before yours is, and listen up!

Q: Why didn‟t you mention my road?
A: I only get one minute to get everything in and read my sponsor. Most
likely, if I skip your road, it‟s fine. If I skip it and it‟s not fine, I just didn‟t
have time. Sorry!

Q: What‟s a gapers delay?
A: When people cause a delay by stopping to look at an accident or police
activity. For example, there can be WB gapers delays due to an EB
accident. Stop “gaping” and drive people!

Q: Where‟s the junction?
A: That‟s where the Kennedy and the Edens meet.

Q: What‟s the difference between the Loop and the Circle?
A: The Circle is where the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan and Kennedy meet

From above, it looks like a circle and some know it as the spaghetti bowl.
The Loop is east of the Circle. The name originated because of the loop
formed by the CTA „el‟ tracks.

Q: What‟s the extension?
A: The part of The Eisenhower (I-290) that runs between I-355 and I-294.

Q: What‟s the Hubbard Cave?
A: Also known as the Hubbard Tunnel, it‟s on the Kennedy between
Hubbard and Wayman St.

Q: Where are the Mile Long Bridge and the Bensenville Bridge?
A: Both are on I-294. The Mile Long Bridge runs between LaGrange and
I-55. The Bensenville Bridge is just south of O‟Hare and carries the I-294
over Metra tracks and Mannheim.

Q: Where‟s the Oak St. curve?
A: It‟s the large curve on LSD at Oak St. We tend to see a lot of accidents
there, especially in the winter.

Q: Where‟s the Steel Bridge?
A: It‟s the bridge that carries the Bishop Ford over the Calumet River.

Q: What‟s “The Merge”?
A: That‟s where the Bishop Ford and I-57 merge into the Dan Ryan.

Q: What is the intersection known as “Six Corners”?
A: It‟s the three way intersection on the NW side of Irving Park, Milwaukee
and Cicero.

Q: Where‟s the Old Post Office?
A: As you enter the city on I-290, you‟ll pass under the Old Post Office just
after passing by the Circle. It‟s between Canal and the River.

Q: What‟s the old Hillside Strangler?
A: Where I-88 merges into I-290 in Hillside. That merge used to be worse
and people called it the Hillside Strangler. After reconstruction of that area,
many people stopped using the term.


– TRAVEL MIDWEST: http://www.travelmidwest.com/lmiga/home.jsp
-Maps and camera shots of roadways in Chicago and Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan
-Travel times on major expressways and tollways

-IDOT: http://www.dot.il.gov/projects.html#District_1
-Lists current IDOT construction projects in Illinois by district

-Maps of construction projects on the Illinois tollway system

-CHICAGO OEMC: http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/NotifyChicago/index.jsp
-Sign up for alerts specific to your neighborhood
-This includes events or incidents that may cause heavy traffic or closures

-CTA: http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/systemalerts.aspx
-Check all delays and alerts on CTA trains and buses
-You can also click on “News & Initiatives” to read press releases about upcoming projects

-METRA: http://metrarail.com/content/metra/en/home/service_updates/service_updates_alerts.html
-All reported Metra delays are listed at this link
-You can also click on “Newsroom” to read press releases about upcoming projects

-PACE: http://www.pacebus.com/sub/schedules/route_notices.asp
-Lists any changes to typical routes

-FAA: http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp
-Lists any reported delays at airports in the US

-DU-COMM: http://ducomm.org/stats/
-Lists any reported accidents in DuPage County

-LAKE COUNTY LIVE TRAFFIC: http://www.lakecountypassage.com/index.jsp
-Map of Lake County traffic and incidents
-Also shows updated camera views of many intersections/roadways in Lake County

-NORTHWEST INDIANA: http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/
-Map and camera shots of traffic on 80/94 and I-65

-WISCONSIN: http://www.511wi.gov/web/map.aspx?region=statewide&show=16
-Map and camera shots of Michigan with incidents, alerts and construction projects

-MICHIGAN: http://mdotnetpublic.state.mi.us/drive/Default.aspx
-Map and camera shots of Michigan with incidents, alerts and construction projects