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Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Halloween in Evanston Rocks

Yes!!! We did it! We had a totally successful first Halloween in our new city. Tons of candy, Halloween decorations, friends, wine for parents - it was amazing. Thank you everyone who made our night such a success, especially the homeowner down Hinman who handed out full-size Hershey bars - You Rock!

Below is a slide show I've put together of some of my favorite Halloween front yards in Evanston.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Video of a recent public art project by my husband, Dave Ford

Recently I wrote about being married to a visual artist (10.22.11: On marrying a visual artist, staying For Real and communal living in Chicago) and the benefits of choosing a spouse who helps you keep it real. I'd like for my readers to get to know my husband a little better, so that when I pitch the City of Evanston a public art proposal for the "Swing Set Drum Kit", you'll know what I'm talking about and back my idea!

The video above was taken of my husband's "Swing Set Drum Kit" that he was commissioned to create for a public art festival in El Paso, Chalk the Block. The festival is geared toward children, with a variety of chalk drawing activities, performances, etc. Dave's piece was ideal for this festival and there was a long line of children waiting to swing during most of the festival.

Click here for a slide show of images of the event, to include Dave on the cover of the El Paso Times.

Thank you in advance for your support, I totally think this piece would be great for the Evanston Art Center right around spring.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Bracelets

A beat that I love to cover is street style. So far I've created a slide show of 2 images of street fashion in Evanston and it's not for lack of style on the streets, I've just been slow to cover this particular beat.

At a recent business lunch of fellow journalists at the Prairie Moon, someone brought along their teenage daughter who happened to be wearing the 45 bracelets photographed here. My favorite bracelet? Snob.

Click here for more images (actually one other image) of street fashion in Evanston.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Friday, October 28, 2011

On my mother's green thumb, living like a nomad and asking for jade clippings from strangers

One thing I clearly remember about my childhood is my mother’s incredible green thumb. In our sunroom hung ferns, 6 feet off the ground, with their long green limbs hanging all the way to the ground. Ferns are incredibly delicate plants and it takes forever for them to grow indoors but my mother managed to love and grow those ferns like a pro. Because of her nurturing plant nature, I always equate a solid, stable, loving home with big, happy, green houseplants.

For the last ten years, my nomadic living habits have meant lots of shiny keys and tiny plants. I don’t move plants with me when I change addresses, they are always the first things to go either as going away presents or garage sale items.

Upon moving into our new apartment in Evanston we received several already huge houseplants as house warming gifts but I had to fill in the rest of the house with plants on my own. In a rather green effort, I replanted a basket of plants I found by the trashcans, each tiny planting received their own tiny planter.

But one plant I really wanted was jades, I love jades and succulents. And in a money saving effort, I sought out clippings from friend’s jade plants – thank you Maura – but I could only clip so many from one plant. What I noticed walking around Evanston was plenty of business owners with big, healthy jades in their storefront windows. Could I ask a business owner for a jade clipping? Is that so weird?

Up on Dempster at the Copy Room there was a huge jade in the window and I thought, here goes. Without any copying business to bring as trade I walked in and I asked the guy at the front desk if I could ask a very strange favor. He said “sure”. I said “can I have a clipping of your jade plant in the window?” He said “sure”. And I walked over and clipped off a small chunk of jade, said, “thank you” and left.

Now (pictured here) are two of my jade clippings, growing happily in a patch of sun on one of my windowsills. The clipping on the left is from the Copy Room on Dempster and the other is from my friend Maura’s plant. The little ceramic pots they are planted in are also from a pile by the trashcans, the dirt is scooped up from our courtyard garden.

By mooching off of other people’s stuff I managed to get two new houseplants and I hope when I move next, these plants will be much bigger and make the cut and actually come with me. This of course all depends on where the winds take me next.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun Fact: The inventor of Tinker Toys, Robert Pettit, is from Evanston

I recently became a volunteer at the Evanston History Center and am learning all kinds of awesome and fun facts about my new hometown. For instance, the inventor of Tinker Toys, Robert Pettit, is from Evanston! I think that is so great and so will my children as we love Tinker Toys.

Below is a very cool video of all the different things you can build out of Tinker Toys. From the Evanston History Museum website: This digitized film is part of the Pettit Family Film Collection housed at the Evanston History Center. The films were made in the 1920-1940s by Robert Pettit, Vice President of Toy Tinkers Company, headquartered in Evanston, IL. Pettit filmed his family and friends, trips and events, and documented his company's various products. The Pettit Family films were donated to the Evanston History Center in the 1960s; in 2008, we began transferring the films to digital format. To learn more, visit the "contact us" page at: www.evanstonhistorycenter.org.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Nov. 24: Evanston Flying Turkey 5K

From the City of Evanston website:

The First Annual Evanston Flying Turkey 5k will take runners and walkers around a beautiful course that highlights Evanston's lakefront and Northwestern University's campus. This is an event for all ages and a great way to start off your Thanksgiving. The first 1,000 registered runners will receive a crew neck sweatshirt. Medals for top three overall and age group winners. Let's make this an annual tradition! Learn more and register at www.evanstonflying5k.com.

When: Thursday, November 24, 2011. 9am.
Start area: Corner of Church and Sheridan.
Fees: Register before Nov 1: $30. After Nov 1: $35. Kids race: $15.

Packet Pick-Up
Packet pick-up will be available the week prior to the event as well as the morning of the run beginning at 7 am. More details to come.

Early Packet Pick-up
Monday, November 21. 5pm to 7pm
Whole Foods (South Evanston location)
1111 Chicago Ave, Evanston

Race Day Packet Pick-up
Thursday, November 24. 7am to 8:50am
Race Site (Centennial Park. Corner of Church and Sheridan.)

Charity
We will be collecting canned goods before the race to benefit the Harvest Food Pantry. Please bring non perishable food items to donate to this worthy cause.

Accepted Food Items:
http://www.evanstonvineyard.org/harvest-donations

Volunteers
To volunteer please email Jonathan at jcain@mychicagoathlete.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Postcards: Pancho Villa rides into town, Jacques receives his first postcard and the intellect of babies

So now we are going to enter the phase of babies and pets who received my postcard collection. We had Gus pose with Jesus a few weeks ago (click here to see sad Gus) and now I've got several babies and a cat to add to the collection.

The baby photographed here is holding a very vintage, sepia toned, Pancho Villa postcard. In the image Villa is riding a horse with some bandit friends about to attack the town of Columbus, NM, one of the first invasions on American soil. The postcard was sent to a friend in El Paso, also on the Mexico/U.S. border and a Mexican Revolution hang out for Villa and his gang.

This baby has no concept of war, the struggle of the U.S./Mexico border or life as a bandit - all he knows is baby food and possibly the smell of his mother! Wouldn't it be wonderful if for 57 minutes a day, just under an hour, your brain could only think of food and no other cares or worries? That's how amazing it is to be a baby, carefree and focused on food! Don't be jealous of Baby Jacques!

I will post more cute baby and pet photos of the postcards as they become available.

Click here to read more info about my postcard collection and all the exciting plans I have for its distribution.

P.S. I named this baby Jacques on this post in order to protect his identity and the identity of his celebrity parents!

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Monday, October 24, 2011

We all scream for Hartigan's Ice Cream

WOW! Talk about the most delicious and creamy ice cream in the world. We finally made our way over to the highly recommended ice cream shop Hartigan's on Central and what a treat. Barely halfway through the first cone my son asked if we could order another one.

Hartigan's isn't your average ice cream shop in that all the flavors are very interesting and unique. I tried the mint Mackinac Island fudge and was amazed at how creamy and delicious it was. As if Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream could get any better, the geniuses at Hardigan's added MINT!

As my family is busy seeking out our new hot spots, we are thrilled to find an awesome ice cream so early in the search. Is it the Wisconsin dairy cows? Is it the great service? I don't know, but Hartigan's is going to be hard to beat.

Of course, we are totally open to tasting every ice cream shop in Evanston, so send your recommendations to thelisadshow@gmail.com and we'll add them to the list.

Hartigan's
2909 Central St.
847-491-1232

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On marrying a visual artist, staying For Real and communal living in Chicago

That's my husband Dave Ford at Artprize 2010 standing in front of his "Truck Drawing El Paso, TX, to Grand Rapids, MI". His truck drawings were on display at the UICA and landed him in the top 75 Artists category for Artprize 2010. He looks so happy in this photo, which is the emotion he feels when making art, which is why he's an artist and why I totally support him 159% in that endeavor.

I am not necessarily a good wife, I am just the type of friend who only loves you if you are living honestly and to your true drum beat. The reason I surround myself with people who live honestly is I need the encouragement and social pressure to stay for real. And my husband Dave Ford is totally for real, which is one of the top 14 reasons I married him.

Part of our move to Evanston focused on getting Dave into a more competitive art market where he could meet more artists, see more art and show more art. And so far, that plan is working out. Today Dave will have his first art opening in Chicago at the Sothside Hub of Production (SHoP). SHoP is an artists collective run by this fantastic and warm woman Laura Shaeffer (Click here to read more about SHoP in a recent Time Out Chicago), who is working with John Preus (read John's review of Dave's Truck Drawings here) to make tonight's art happening a fantastic event.

And both Laura and John represent the type of people we've met here in Chicago since our move; helpful, warm, kind and friendly. Everyone here seems very excited and willing to play along and help you along and it's a wonderful way to live. Chicago feels much more communal than any other city I've lived in.

If you're up for a unique and interesting art opening, head down to the Southside tonight from 5-9 p.m. at 5638 S. Woodlawn and see Dave Ford's "Truck Drawings Santa Fe, NM, to Chicago, IL", it would be great to see you. If you can't make it, you can see more of Dave's work at http://fordart.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Postcards: Molly brings in friends, Flamingos and an Airstream to celebrate postcard arrival

Everyone who has received a postcard has sent me a photo via email of the postcard upon arrival. Most recently my friend Molly sent a photo of her postcard while she was in Austin at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems with her friends Lindsay and Eric. (Molly is holding the postcard.) My only request is that people email me a photo of themselves (or dog or baby) with the postcard and I love the effort I'm getting.

I will post photos of the postcards as they become available.

In a world where friendship is so virtual (Facebook) and communication is so sterile (texting) I wanted to use our move to Evanston as an opportunity to reach out to friends and really check in. Sending postcards feels so much deeper than a Holiday card. Granted the first round of cards that went out only totaled 7, my plan is to get rid of all the postcards in the collection which is around 150. Do I have 150 friends' addresses? No, I'll have to work on that and enter the addresses in an old school address book. Do I have 150 friends? According to Facebook I have many, many more.

Here is a slide show of the postcards sent in round #1 and the images I've received back from postcard recipients.

Click here to read more about my amazing postcard project.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

I'm doomed if Halloween night in Evanston doesn't blow my children's minds!

I'm doomed if Halloween night in Evanston doesn't blow my children's minds! This is their first Halloween in their new hometown and you know how kids are, it's all about how the holidays compare and in El Paso, Halloween was a total blast. People had haunted houses in their front yards, one neighbor dressed like a bleeding zombie and chased kids - you get the idea.

So for my children's sake, I hope their first Halloween in Evanston is fun, because if it's not, I will hear about it....and hear about it....and hear about it.

One thing I do know is that Halloween has a designated time in Evanston in that children are allowed to Trick or Treat from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. I'm assuming festivities end at 7 p.m. because the temperature drops to 40 below zero, but maybe it's due to the fact that Halloween falls on a Monday this year and people have to work in the morning.

Either way, Evanstonians seem to be getting in the spirit. I drive by all kinds of houses with loads of decorations and I'll keep a slide show of them right here, so check back.

Any Halloween recommendations for the Chicago area? My children are still too young for haunted houses but they can do corn mazes, costume parades, etc. Send your ideas to thelisadshow@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Evanston 150 Voting Oct. 15 and 16

Evanston residents will have an opportunity to choose the 30 best ideas for the city’s future on Oct. 15 & 16. A series of voting sessions will be hosted by Evanston150, allowing community members to vote on the 100 ideas that were selected by a 21-person selection jury of community members.

The voting sessions will be held Saturday, October 15th at 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. at the Century Cinema located at 1715 Maple Avenue; and at 2:00 & 3:30 p.m. at Evanston Township High School located at 1600 Dodge Avenue in Room N112 (Bacon Entrance); and Sunday, October 16 at 1:00, 2:15, & 3:30 p.m. at Saint Francis Hospital located at 355 Ridge Avenue. <> Community members who live, work or study in Evanston are invited to participate in an approximately 45-minute voting session to rate their favorite ideas from a slide presentation using electronic keypads. Seating is first come, first served. Overflow attendees can vote in the next session or fill out a paper ballot. Ballots translated into Spanish will be available at all voting locations. Voters are encouraged to preview the 100 ideas before voting.

Click here to read a list of the 100 top ideas. (Apologies in advance for the fact that the list is in ALL CAPS!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Even Gus the dog is afraid of Jesus!

My postcard project is going perfectly. Everyone who has received a postcard has sent me a photo via email of the postcard upon arrival.

Most recently my friend sent a photo of her dog Gus with the newly arrived postcard. Look at this poor dog's face and body language. Gus is afraid of the image on this postcard (but it's 3D and so awesome) and barely wants to stand next to it. Poor Gus!

I will post photos of the postcards as they become available.

Click here to read more info about my postcard collection and all the exciting plans I have for its distribution.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On getting used to living in a small space, what children do with colored chalk and more of the things we inherit

Our new life is an adjustment for all of us, especially because we're living in an apartment, which my children haven't experienced. The best thing about our apartment is our tiny porch, which we call France, and the big communal courtyard in the back. This summer we used the courtyard for lots of dinners, charades, scooter action and some chalk art. This week my older son took it upon himself to produce a massive scale chalk drawing, leading a team of children from other apartments, eventually coloring in 90% of the bricks in the courtyard.

What started out as a few bricks of color ended up as this flag of color, with more than seven children coloring on their knees for hours. My son is very comfortable being bossy on projects and other children follow his lead, regardless of the size of the project. At the beach this summer he was always leading a crew of under 10s to build some huge Mayan village. The beach is too cold for projects and he's taken his energy to the courtyard. I love it and I love the scale of this project.

The timing of this project is very fitting as their father (visual artist Dave Ford) is across the country in El Paso, TX, participating in this year's Chalk the Block, one of the coolest arts festivals for children in Texas and possibly the nation.

Cheers to all the artists who make their work using the world around them, from courtyards to scraps.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just smell those roses!

It's October in Evanston and the weather is amazing, I think today's high was 80 degrees. Here's what's going on at the Merrick Rose Garden on Lake Ave., full bloom! And imagine the lovely portraits you can take of your pet sitting in front of this amazing fountain...

From the City of Evanston's Website

The Merrick Rose Garden features hundreds of beautiful rose bushes, as well as the historic Fountain Square Centennial Fountain. The Garden is located at Lake Street and Oak Avenue, one block east of Ridge Avenue. In 2003, new garden lighting and irrigation systems were installed and the retaining walls were reconstructed.

History of Centennial Fountain

The Centennial Fountain is associated with a tradition of public commitment. The original Centennial Fountain was purchased by public donations in 1876 in honor of the nation’s Centennial. It was located in what became known from then on as Fountain Square (located at the intersection of Orrington and Sherman Avenues and Davis Street).

In 1912 the fountain was badly deteriorated and was replaced with a replica. The fountain was frequently threatened by modernization plans and each time concerned citizens came to its rescue. In 1946 the fountain was removed and put into storage. However, Evanstonians could not let it be forgotten.

In 1950 a successful fund drive, including a $5,000 donation from Vera Megowan, enabled the fountain to be restored, The Centennial Fountain was moved to the Merrick Rose Garden and was rededicated on July 4, 1951, which was 75 years after its dedication in Fountain Square in 1876. The original plaque as well as a new bronze plaque were installed in the garden.

In May 1987 redevelopment began at the Garden. The Fountain was suffering from decay and vandalism. The future of the cast iron fountain was slowly eroding. Therefore, a group of 15 local non-profit organizations banded together and formed the Centennial Fountain Restoration Coalition. The Coalition raised $30,000 to restore the Fountain! The Merrick Rose Garden and Centennial Fountain were rededicated on July 4, 1988.

The Fountain was renovated again in 2000. It was stripped to bare metal and received a more historically-accurate paint job. In addition, the fountain underwent a mechanical renovation.

History of the Merrick Rose Garden

In July 1948, the Merrick Rose Garden was dedicated in honor of Clinton Merrick, a prominent attorney and second ward alderman for 23 years. The original rose garden was designed by Ralph Melin, the City’s landscape architect. The original garden had over 1,000 roses in 48 varieties, which were selected by C. Eugene Pfister, president of the National Rose Gardens Association.

In 1969, the Rose Garden contained 1,200 roses and 65 varieties. In 1985, an early frost killed many roses. In May 1987, redevelopment began in the garden, including a new brick outer wall with wrought iron fence and an irrigation system. Bricks were recycled from the old brick city streets. The fountain was refurbished at a cost of $30,000 (see “History of the Fountain,” above). Garden clubs and individuals donated over $8,800 for new plantings. The Merrick Rose Garden and Centennial Fountain was rededicated on July 4, 1988. Visit www.cityofevanston.org for more information.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Gigio's Pizza, giving your customers lip and things in common with Tina Fey

I finally had my first slice at Gigio's, the famous pizzeria in Evanston that serves up big slices of yummy pizza. I had the pepperoni slice for $2.65 with a Dr. Pepper in the can. I'm a dedicated fan of the massive New York style slice of pizza. Deep dish doesn't do much for me (which I know is going to be a problem for my pizza eating habits as a Chicagoland resident) so I was excited to finally try a slice at Gigio's.

What the Gigio's pizza slice experience offers is the perfect ratio situation, where identical amounts of ingredients make up the slice; dough, cheese, meat, sauce are all served in equal amounts which creates harmony in the mouth, not a battle for attention between sauce and bread. There is nothing worse than your pizza going to war in your mouth which deep dish totally does for me, I'm like "let me make room for 40 lbs. of dough and like 1/2 lb. of cheese during this chew of this bite." I don't want the kind of eating experience deep dish offers.

You'll find that most of the diners at Gigio's are very happy. During my visit it was lunch time and the place was packed, line to the door, 2 tables empty in a room of 30 tables. Most diners order multiple slices, I wanted just one on my first visit and settled for the pepperoni although I did take a bite of my son's cheese slice and thought it was just as good. The line moved fast and while you're waiting, you get to stand at the counter and watch the older time put your slice in your over for a quick warm up which gets you access to the customer banter. One guy in line was arguing (in jest) with the old timer who was letting the pizza stay in the warm up for too long, they were giving each other lip but you could feel the love.

As we were about to leave two little girls came in the pick up their pizza to go and as they were paying the old timer in the back asked "Where's your mother? You can't carry this out, it's too big. Where's your car? I'll take it out there." The little girls gave each other a look like "Okay, guess we gotta listen to him" and they showed him the way out to their mom's car. It was totally cute and they would of dropped the pizza for sure, it was huge and they were 6, max.

The best part of Gigio's? I now have two things in common with Tina Fey; my love for Gigio's and the Evanston YMCA. Read Bossypants when you have a minute (it won't take long) and you'll see that Fey spent some very formative years in Evanston and would save up for a slice at Gigio's on Fridays during her lunch break at the YMCA. Through osmosis alone, I too am a successful stand up comic writing for a hit sitcom living it up as one of the highest paid women in TV.

Gigio's Pizza of Evanston
1001 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60201-3609
(847) 328-0990
Hours: Sun 2:00–10:00pm; Mon-Sat 11:00–1:00am
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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Evanston Style Watch: Afro on Davis St.

It is impossible for this kid to have cooler hair. He was very friendly about having his photo taken, what's not in the photo is his friend describing how long the hair gets when you comb it out. I didn't know Evanston was so eclectic in the hair department and I've never photographed an Afro.

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Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at thelisadshow@gmail.com and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10,000 Neighbors of Evanston Promotes Community Sustainability

From the City of Evanston website:

The City of Evanston and Citizen's Greener Evanston invite you to join 10,000 neighbors who are emphasizing the ‘us’ in sustainable. We hope you will actively participate, connect and share with others as we strive to have a healthy environmental and social impact on our local community.

OhSoWe is about the personal and neighborhood level things we can do to safely build bonds with our neighbors, save money, and increase our quality of life while making our neighborhoods better (and saving the Earth’s resources). OhSoWe is focused on helping us all re-discover the things we can do with our neighbors. OhSoWe can share a meal with a neighbor, OhSoWe can easily borrow the things from our neighbors, OhSoWe can organize a block party simply and easily.

You can join any of the groups that interest you:
CGE Energy Efficiency
CGE Community Education
CGE Integrated Transportation
CGE Collaborative Community
CGE Renewable Energy

Visit www.ohsowe.com to join today!

This program was started by the Citizens' Greener Evanston, an organization that works to improve the community's capacity to act in a sustainable manner by addressing environmental, economic, and social equity goals. Visit greenerevanston.org for more information on how you can make Evanston a greener city.