Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Naperville Sun - "Garden Walk Raises Money For Parkinson's" (6.11.09)

By JASON DUARTE For The Sun-Times News Group

Mary Anne Ostrenga was 47 years old when her life changed.

"When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, everyone was in disbelief including my husband, my family and my physician," said Ostrenga, chairwoman of the Team Fox Garden Walk. "I have a lot of physician friends and they all said I was too young.
» Click to enlarge image
The Michael J. Fox Foundation will host the third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception in Naperville which will raise money for Parkinson's research. Fox was diagnosed with the disease in the 1990s.


The third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception is from 1 to 5 p.m. June
28 between six yards near Royce Road and Apple River Drive in the River Woods subdivision of Naperville. All six gardens are within a four-block radius. It's a self-guided tour, and you can start and end at any house.
Here, you'll find a map of the walking tour.

1. Nardis house,
2570 River Woods Drive,
2. Flynn house,
401 Apple River Court,
3. Casserly house
211 Fiala Woods Court,
4. Taverna house,
325 Royce Woods Court,
5. Griffith house,
305 Apple River Drive
6. Mater house,
301 Apple River Drive.

"I'd be out gardening and I'd have trouble standing up," Ostrenga said. "Usually, it's more common in people over 70."

After three physicians told her she has Parkinson's, she decided that was enough and went out and bought seven books to educate herself on her disease. In researching, she came across a Web site for the American Parkinson's Disease Association. In 2006, she attended a walk in Naperville, volunteered for the next year's event and has been involved ever since.

The third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception hosted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. June 28 between six yards near the intersection of Royce Road and Apple River Drive in the River Woods subdivision of Naperville.

The Garden Walk is "a self-guided tour and you can start and end at any house," said Naperville resident and Team Fox Garden Walk co-chairwoman Diane Breece.

There will be four to six master gardeners between the homes, answering any questions people may have. The homeowners are also very knowledgeable about their gardens. All six gardens are within a four-block radius. The six gardens will be at the Nardis house at 2570 River Woods Drive, the Flynn house at 401 Apple River Court, the Casserly house at 211 Fiala Woods Court, the Taverna house at 325 Royce Woods Court, the Griffith house at 305 Apple River Drive and the Mater house at 301 Apple River Drive. The reception will be held at the DuPage River Park, 808 Royce Road.

Ostrenga, a good friend of Breece, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001, and since 2007 this has become her passion, Breece said.

The American Association of University Women in Naperville voted Ostrenga "Woman of the Year" for her work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Their goal this year is to raise $50,000, raising the bar from last year's $46,000 raised.

There will be a $50 donation per person and all proceeds benefit Parkinson's research. The donation is also tax deductible.

A reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., where there will be a silent auction and raffle for items such as a signed Buddy Guy guitar, a Porsche for a weekend, sports tickets, a private tour of the Shedd Aquarium, wine, golf clubs, four passes for free golf between courses in Wheaton, Naperville and Bolingbrook, a signed basketball by the 2009 Chicago Bulls team, a $150 Caribou Coffee gift card, gift baskets donated by Jim Beam, jewelry, tickets to plays and more.

Louise Kelly and her band will be performing and Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be in attendance with Dr. Kathleen Shannon, a neurologist at Rush Medical Center, Dr. Michael Rezak, a neurologist who just moved from Glenbrook Hospital, and a representative from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Ostrenga said.

My Chef Catering, Belgio's, Sullivan Steakhouse and others will also be donating food for the event.

Tickets can be purchased at the event, by searching "Ostrenga" at www.teamfox.org or by e-mailing teamfoxgardenwalk@yahoo.com.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Naperville Sun - "Officials Pleased With Downtown Documentary"


City officials are hoping a new video will help bring tourists to Naperville's downtown.

Just 10½ hours after finishing their promo DVDs, co-producers Ken Karlson and director Grant Weiss presented their 3½-minute promo of "See You Downtown" on Thursday to a private audience of various members of Naperville organizations including Mayor A. George Pradel, Councilman Kenn Miller and Christine Jeffries of the Naperville Development Partnership, "See You Downtown."

"I thought it was excellent," Pradel said. "What was nice is it didn't feature any one person, one restaurant or one business. It talked about Naperville as a whole."

Pradel said he was especially thrilled about the footage shot at Centennial Beach.

"People coming from another town and seeing this would say, 'Why am I going to Lake Michigan when I can go to Naperville to enjoy the beach there?'" Pradel said.

The promo DVD takes a look at a lot of what Naperville has to offer. Like Pradel said, the cast and crew didn't so much focus on any certain places, but citizens and visitors to Naperville would easily be able to identify the streets and buildings that are featured in the promo. One daytime segment was shot outside at Jimmy's Grill, one of the nightlife pieces was shot outside of Rizzo's, and one of the hosts, Evan Dollard, even does a front flip into Centennial Beach on a bright, sunny day.

"I thought it was great quality," said Miller. "It was very professional."

Miller said the city can even use the video to promote itself to people who might potentially move to Naperville, which would contribute to its "infamous" sales taxes and boost the local economy.

"I think a lot happened," Karlson said of the showing. "It was nice talking to people and no one was in a hurry to get out."

After the showing was over and the council chambers at City Hall were empty, Karlson and Weiss said they were happy with what they created and said they wouldn't change anything.

"I'm the kind of person that will want to do more," Weiss said.

Even after showing their promo and receiving letters of intent from three major TV networks, Weiss and Karlson didn't show an ounce of ego about their show.

"We're here because we love downtown of Naperville first and couldn't think of a better city to start with," Weiss said.

The next step is funding if they are to shoot pilots for television and a steady TV show.

"Everybody was interested," Karlson said. "Mayor Pradel came up to me and said, 'We have to find a way to get the money to do this.'"

The group decided not to delve into finances and funding for the show at the promo showing, but shared their plan to start local and work their way shooting downtowns across America.

"George doesn't waste money," Karlson said. "So we wouldn't just bring something in on a whim."

When the time comes to talk about investing, "they'll get what they paid for and more," Weiss said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beatnik Termites, Kobanes, Neutron Bombs, Fizzy Pops at Reggie's in Chicago (6.12.09)

My band, the Kobanes are playing Reggie's in Chicago this Friday with the Beatnik Termites, The Neutron Bombs and The Fizzy Pops!
The show is 17+ and starts at 8 p.m. The Beatnik Termites are a great pop punk/surf band that's been around for (I think) over 20 years now. The Kobanes are a bunch of suburban retards. The Neutron Bombs have Pete from The Methadones in them and they're pretty cool. Old school punk with British-sounding vocals. The Fizzy Pops are three rad dudes (and a dudette) from Chicago. They're a power pop/pop punk band, pretty good. I saw them and the Neutron Bombs before, both good bands. Never saw the Beatnik Termites before, so I'm really excited for that. Anyways, check it out! Friday night. 8 p.m. 17+. I think $10? Give or take a couple bucks.