West Bucktown WindowBox

Volume II, Issue 1


In This Issue...

Click on a title to jump directly to the story, or simply scroll down to read the newsletter in its entirety.

West Bucktown's Hidden Gems
Picture This!
Ask the Alderman:  Feb 22 Election Appeal
Video: S'No Parking Zones

Have you seen the new WBNA website yet?
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West Bucktown's Hidden Gems
Image: Sara WaltherFor this issue of the WindowBox, we sent WBNA President Brad Fiorito out into the 'hood to see what kind of talent he could dig up for us to feature. Little did we know he'd uncover a couple of real gems!

Have you ever noticed a grown woman crouching down on a West Bucktown sidewalk or up on the Bloomingdale Trail to extract a piece of shattered glass from the pavement or dirt? Or maybe you've seen her negotiating with metal salvagers in an alley over empty pop cans? Then there’s a good chance you’ve seen West Bucktown resident Sara Walther contemplating how she might use the detritus in her jewelry designs.

Having studied art and metalsmithing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sara has developed a fearless confidence that is reflected in the creations she makes from reused and recycled materials.

“One day I was looking at my recycling bin, full of Diet Coke cans, and I wondered what I could do to reuse them," she explained. "Then I saw the bottom of the can, and I thought, ‘That’s a great shape!’”  

Image: JewelryAfter a lot of experimentation and manipulation of the materials, Sara has come up with a body of work that incorporates those can bottoms into her dramatic and fun earrings, pendants, chokers, and bracelets. She also fashions stray broken glass she finds in the neighborhood into sparkling new creations that never fail to grab attention.

Sara is happy to share her work with you and your friends -- she can be contacted at

Image: JewelryLess likely to be crawling in the dirt -- unless she’s weeding in Maplewood Park -- is Kathi Pruett, longtime West Bucktown resident, WBNA member, and one of the driving forces behind the Maplewood and Lucy Flowers Park Advisory Council. Kathi has been fashioning jewelry for more than 10 years since taking classes at Caravan Beads on Lincoln Avenue.

At first she made jewelry only for herself, but “a lightbulb went off” when her co-workers started asking her to make pieces for them to purchase. It’s no wonder people were drawn to her over-the-top jewelry made from crystals, semi-precious stones, and freshwater pearls. She has a penchant for Chinese crystals, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, turquoise, and agate.

Image: Kathi PruettToday Kathi participates in several outside shows every year. A smart businesswoman, she keeps up with the latest trends by perusing magazines with an eye toward good design, so her work is constantly changing. She’s currently revamping her website, but you can still contact her there at She’s also in the process of photographing her latest work, so check back for her freshest new looks! Kathi welcomes anyone into her home for viewing parties, wine and good food -- and she's more than happy to bring a jewelry party to your place, as well.

The WBNA never fails to be impressed by the skills and resourcefulness of our members. If you have a particular talent you’d like to share, please let us know at

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Picture This!
Image: Chicago Tribune Front PageThere's nothing like 20+ inches of the fluffy white stuff to bring out the best in people!

In the aftermath of Chicago’s third largest snowfall on February 2, stories abound of West Bucktowners banding together across the neighborhood to shovel sidewalks, dig out cars, and clear huge snow drifts from the alleyways. The lucky few with snowblowers became everyone’s new best friend, with some blocks even chipping in to buy additional gas and oil for blowers that were working overtime. And impromptu “snow parties” sprang up all over the place as snow-bound residents looked for ways to make the most of the situation and ward off cabin fever.

All in all, not a bad way to get to know the neighbors a little better!

For those who missed it, the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times captured a quick snapshot of the neighborhood's camaraderie. For example, on February 3, the front page of the Tribune featured Ronnie Kovar, Joanna Johnston and Angelo Gordo digging out together at Cortland and Campbell  (Photo Credit: Michael Tercha/Tribune). Below are some additional photographs that were featured in the online and print editions of the papers in the days immediately following the blizzard. 

Image: Shoveling SnowMichael Glick used a small snow blower to clear the sidewalk at Talman and Wabansia.  (Photo credit: Michael Tercha/Tribune)

Image: Snowy IntersectionA near-deserted intersection at Western and Milwaukee.  (Photo credit: Michael Tercha/Tribune)

Image: Digging Out Behind ArtesianResidents clear an alley behind the 1700 block of Artesian.  (Photo credit: John J. Kim/Sun-Times) 

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Ask the Alderman
With the February 22 municipal election just around the corner, the WBNA asked 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno to weigh in with his thoughts on why he deserves your vote:

Image: Alderman MorenoAs Alderman, I will always look for community-based solutions to solve our biggest challenges. I pledge to remain a strong and independent advocate for the people of the 1st Ward in the Chicago City Council.

Since taking office, I’ve increased my accessibility by establishing weekend Satellite Offices at a variety of 1st Ward locations, as well as Tuesday Ward Night office hours. I visit our senior homes and schools weekly, and my e-Newsletter regularly goes out to thousands of 1st Ward residents.
I will make sure our neighborhoods are clean and safe by ensuring that absentee owners are held responsible for their property. Since becoming Alderman, I’ve paid for additional graffiti removal, vacant lot maintenance, snow shoveling, and a first-of-its-kind street-sweeping text alert system.

Over the next four years, I will continue to innovate and respond to our needs. I will primarily focus on economic development, job creation, and public safety.  It was recently announced that I would be a member of the new Jobs & Growth City Council Caucus, and I fully intend to put all my energy into making the 1st Ward the best example of a thriving and diverse urban community.

Safety should be any Alderman’s top responsibility. When incidents occur, I will continue to dedicate the full power of my office to eliminating future problems. I have used and will continue to use the deleterious impact ordinance with problem businesses. I will also continue to go on ride-a-longs with the Police Commanders at least once a month, as well as work with residents to set up phone trees and make our community safer.  

Being your Alderman is truly an honor, and I humbly ask for your vote on February 22. Let’s make sure our community keeps moving forward.

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S'No Parking Zones
In urban areas across the country, a substantial snowfall like the one Chicago just got is typically a prelude to people “calling dibs” on the parking spaces they shovel out in front of their homes. 
The time-honored practice of using discarded household items to reserve on-street parking spots never fails to spark lively debate on both sides of the argument. Naturally, the folks who spend hours digging out their cars feel justified in making sure their spots are still there for them when they come home at night. But others argue that the streets are not personal property, and digging out cars in the winter is simply part of city living.
Without taking sides, we thought it might be fun to see just how far West Bucktowners were willing to go to protect their hard-earned parking spaces. So we took a quick tour of the ‘hood, and sure enough, we saw the usual assortment of plastic resin chairs, milk crates, and sawhorses. But we also came across a number of “creative” efforts – from kitty litter and barbecue grills, to kids’ toys, flowerpots, and empty beer cases. 
So here's a lighthearted look at what we’ll call the S’No Parking Zones of West Bucktown. Watch and enjoy! And then, please…we encourage everyone to take advantage of this week’s warmer weather to clear out the last of our street snow!

The next issue of the WindowBox is tentatively scheduled for distribution in April. 
If you have a story idea or would like to contribute an article, please email us at


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