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Monarch Festival Flies High

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Congratulations to the Waukegan Public Library for another successful Monarch Festival.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table, whether that was talk, create a butterfly or pick up information.  We had a great time challenging the kids’ creativity and watching their concentration, especially the younger ones.  We also handed out over 200 Dining Guides and “Things to Do” calendars of events.

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The weather was perfect and, once again, the Library arranged interesting activities and presentations, including a rock climbing wall, traditional Mexican folk dance and BMX Pro Biker Matt Wilhelm.  Wilhelm was a wonderful motivational speaker, especially to kids about working toward a goal.  The tricks he did, such as joining over people (including the Library’s Executive Director Richard Lee) were unmatched as well. If you have the opportunity to see him, do.

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There were a number of other booths and food vendors.  The Lake County Bike Project held raffles, giving away eight bikes during the event.  We look forward to the Lake County Bike Project holding one or more technical training events to introduce weekend bikers to basic maintenance.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens Youth Farm were selling their fresh vegetables and we saw a number of people walking around with full bags.

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Once again, congratulations to the Library for all their efforts in putting on a fun, successful event in downtown Waukegan.

Keeping Waukegan Beach Beautiful

Waukegan Main Street joined a long list of volunteers and volunteer organizations who are keeping our beautiful Waukegan Municipal Beach beautiful.  With the hard work every weekday of Eco-Ambassadors and individuals hired through a DNR Grant awarded to the Waukegan Park District, the weekend clean-up efforts take less than two hours.

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Volunteers Paul Ferry, Sandy Petroshius and Nick Nicketakis (left to right) are ready to the clean the beach!

Our group on Saturday was small, but efficient.  Two Board members, Sandy Petroshius and Nick Nicketakis, joined Michael May, Paul Ferry and a high schooler putting in two hours of community service.  The group “divided and conquered” the beach, ending up with only two mostly full liner bags of trash.  This is a vast improvement from the last two years of volunteer clean up where often each individual ended up with a full bag.  Congratulations to Friends of Waukegan Beach and alderman Lisa May for coordinating the volunteer efforts!

Waukegan Main Street has volunteered for two more Saturdays – August 30th and September 6th.  If you would like to join us, call the office at (847) 623-6650.  Many hands make light the work.

Type Rider II Rolls into Bowen Park

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New Little Free Library by Jack Benny Center for the Arts

Two poets rode 1,400 miles on a tandem bicycle through America’s heartland, writing free poems & building Little Free Libraries. How cool is that? Really cool, when a brand new Little Free Libraries is located outside the Jack Benny Center at Bowen Park!

Maya Stein and Amy Tingle, poets who rode a tandem bicycle and towed two typewriters 1,400 miles from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin, swung by Bowen Park to open the latest Little Free Library, write poems from a word given to them, share their stories, and open up the Tiny Traveling Library.  (Feel free to contribute to the Tiny Traveling Library.)

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A small part of the Tiny Traveling Library

Stein came to Waukegan two years ago after a 40-day, 1,200-mile trip from Amherst, Massachusetts to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During that trip, she towed her typewriter and invited people at each stop to contribute to a collaborative collection of writing.  According to their Kickstarter page, “Her journey was documented by several publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Rails-to-Trails Magazine, and The Writer. ”

Currently 11,000 US towns do not have public libraries and this poetic pair is out to change that by building new libraries in communities they visit.   Waukegan is lucky enough to have an award-winning library, so that is not an issue.  The issue is, many parents and family members wait for the children/siblings who are taking lessons at Jack Benny Center and they often are looking for something to do.  The Little Free Library has books for adults and kids to read while they wait, or take with them.  Claudia Freeman, Superintendent of Cultural Arts for the Waukegan Park District put out a call to fill the new Little Free Library and, as of yesterday afternoon, had a box and a few bags of books.  Freeman promised to put out the call when more books are needed.

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Writing poems based on the word “Hawaii”

Finally, the poets also created personalized poetry “for the people we meet, a keepsake of our trip and – we hope – an inspiration for others to tap into their own creativity.” They asked for a word, individually typed poems based on that word, read the poems aloud, and took a photo of the completed works for a final book about the project.  

Per Stein, “Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour is about creativity, collaboration, and community. We hope to promote literacy and the love of reading for children and adults everywhere.  And by writing poems for the people we meet along the way, we hope to spark the spirit of connection through creativity and inspire young writers to keep pursuing their passion.”

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