Come join us for the EVA annual barbecue

Bring your neighbors and your favorite side or dessert at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2 in the Happy Village Tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott. Please RSVP with the number of guests and your side dish to

Beat washday blues for a song: Here's the first bar

Eco-Tip | By Marjorie Isaacson 

Doing the laundry can be hard on the environment, and many people resist changing the methods and products they use. The supermarket presents a bewildering number of choices, so many people buy one brand and stick to it, perhaps even the brand your mother used. But there are also lots of easy ways to make your laundry habits greener.

One way is to use cold water as often as possible. This will have the additional benefit of saving money on water heating. Another good habit is not to use too much detergent. More is not better.

Use white vinegar for fabric softener. I never used fabric softener in the past, but when I heard about this and tried it, I liked it. Vinegar cuts any soap residue and leaves clothes smelling clean.

Avoid detergents with phosphates, which feed algae blooms that consume oxygen in water and kill native fish and plants. Buy one of the “eco” brands of detergent to be sure you’re not adding unnecessary chemicals to the water supply. Or make your own laundry soap.

Not many people will take the time to make their own laundry soap. But in addition to kicking your eco-credibility up a notch, it represents a pretty big savings. My colleague, who gave me this recipe, found that one recipe of homemade laundry soap yields enough for 288 loads of laundry, and costs around 3 cents a gallon, or a savings of $70.

The recipe and advice, with thanks to Linda Young:

Laundry Soap

1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; any bar soap will work, but I use Zote from the Hispanic stores, just half a bar; it's real soft for grating.
1 box of washing soda (in the laundry detergent aisle at your local variety store; it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches)
1 box of borax (this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch — one box will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent)
1 5-gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters - ask around, these aren’t too tough to acquire)
3 gallons of tap water
Big spoon to stir the mixture with
Measuring cup

Put about 4 cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down with the knife. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

Put 3 gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the 5-gallon bucket. (The easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs.) Mix in the hot soapy water, stir it for a while, then add 1 cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add ½ cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool. And you’re done.

Use care with borax. It can irritate the skin, and don’t ingest it! I don’t use gloves. I am just careful not to have a lot of contact. Borax is also a great application to get rid of ants.

When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used (in my case, it’s a very pale greenish blue). One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry, and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent.

Thus, out of 3 gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store) and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around 3 cents a gallon, or a savings of $70.

The glop does not have the smooth consistency of commercial detergent. I have used a whisk to make it, and while it results in a smoother product at first, over time it separates a bit. I just keep a whisk handy to re-stir. Even if it does separate it works fine.

Aug. 2 barbecue set; Walgreens taps liquor

Board meeting minutes for Sept. 20, 2010 submitted by Dana Palmer 

Attendance: Greg Nagel, Neal McKnight, Nicole Semple, Dana Palmer, Tom Tomek, Marjorie Isaacson and Richard

Meeting commenced at 6:37 p.m. Greg Nagel is missing the EVA notice sign he placed out prior to the EVA membership meeting for July.

Guest Speakers: Greg Nagel confirmed with Wayne Janik to be the business minute speaker for September. Aaron Bilton has been requested to confirm with the LaSalle school to be the main speaker for September. Greg Nagel also suggested having a representative from Streets and Sanitation, possibly Manny Gonzalez, to speak regarding parkway regulations and issues with alleyways such as trashcans. Greg will make contact with them for possible guest speaker in November.

Aug. 2 barbecue: Tom Tomek agreed to work on a design and layout for fliers that will be dispersed to the East Village neighborhood to notify residents of the BBQ happening on Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Happy Village Tavern. The flier also will notify residents that if they sign up for a membership with EVA or renew a membership with EVA at the BBQ, they will receive an additional four months' free membership and will not asked to renew again until January of 2012. Nicole Semple has agreed to work on asking a few local businesses if they would be willing to make some food donations. She will also work with Dana Palmer on purchasing condiments and paper items and setting up prior to the BBQ. Neal McKnight will also speak with Ald. Joe Moreno to formally invite him to attend the BBQ.

Dana Palmer is updating the EVA membership list and combining it with the previous EVN list to have one complete up-to-date list. After the BBQ, she will also update the list with any new memberships or renewals that were obtained.

For membership renewals, the board briefly discussed the possibility of having a annual renewal date to help ease the process of keeping the membership list and renewals up to date. This will be discussed further at the next board meeting in August.

Walgreens: PR representatives for Walgreens contacted EVA president Greg Nagel asking to come to a meeting to inform the group of plans to reintroduce liquor sales at the Chicago Avenue location. After discussion, EVA board members decided that they did not want the PR group to come but that if Walgreens' manager or director has a specific request of the group they would be welcome as guest speakers. Ald. Moreno was approached by the PR group and told them to contact EVA. EVA board members Neal McKnight and Scott Rappe spoke with Ald. Moreno about the decision to speak directly with Walgreens representatives. Greg Nagel will make contact with Walgreens and the PR group to inform them of the decision and to ask them if there is something specific they are wanting to request of the group.

Galleria Liquors: Neal McKnight reported that the individual originally requesting for the lift of the moratorium for the building at Ashland and Division has decided not to purchase the property. Therefore, nothing needs to be done.

Treasurer's Report: According to Nicole Semple, the key to the old post office box no longer works. She also stated that she cannot continue to have our mail forwarded to our new box because it requires having a credit card with the ZIP code corresponding with that location. Majorie Isaacson stated she could help with the issue if need be. Nicole Semple also stated that she has been unable to find a new bank that will offer EVA a no-fee account. Neal McKnight agreed to make contact with MB bank as a possibility.

Meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

CVS chills liquor store; tree study branches out

Matthew Westfallen of SSA 29 and Kara Salgado of the West Town Chamber of Commerce. Their array of festivals has spread from Division and Chicago to Grand Avenue with Design Harvest, a decorating expo from Damen to Wood on Oct. 2 and 3.  

Membership meeting minutes for July 12, 2010 submitted by Dana Palmer 

Meeting commenced at 7:05 p.m. Jessica Oloroso, who owns Black Dog Gelato, did a brief presentation for the monthly business minute. The restaurant opened two weeks prior and is located at 859 N. Damen. Hours of operation are weekdays 12-10 and Friday and Saturday 12-11.

Guest speakers Kara Hughes Salgado, director of the West Town Chamber of Commerce, and Matthew Westfallen, the program manager for SSA29, presented to the group. The West Town Chamber of Commerce is currently located at 1810 W. Chicago. Information packages and contact information were handed out to the group.

Arborist Mark Duntemann gave an update regarding planting trees on Augusta Boulevard. After spending some time on Augusta and in the East Village area, he stated that most Augusta sidewalks are 8 feet and the city only plants on sidewalks that are at least 9 feet. However, he mentioned some ideas. He also stated that he is interested in evaluating the whole East Village neighborhood and mapping out what trees exist, what space is available and what are some possibilities for not only Augusta but for other areas in the neighborhood. He agreed to have a plan drawn up by August for the whole neighborhood.

Neal McKnight updated the group about the proposed Galleria liquor store on the southeast corner of Ashland and Division. Ald. Joe Moreno told McKnight that he could not comply with the requests EVA made about lifting a moratorium and doing an overlay moratorium to prevent other liquor sales establishments from entering the area. The alderman was willing to downsize to B-1 zoning but that leaves a 12-month window where other liquor sales establishments could come in. McKnight also stated that the owner is now questioning his decision to pursue the location because CVS plans to open across the street and it will be major competition. The City Council passed Division Street pedestrian designation, McKnight said, from Leavitt to Milwaukee.

Calendar: Shredding, fests, gardens, EVA

Saturday: Recycling at West Town Jewel
10am-noon in the parking lot of the Jewel at 1341 N. Paulina. Secure EcoShred will shred sensitive paperwork free for the first 3 boxes or bags; more at $5 per box/bag. Wicker Park Bucktown will repeat Sept. 11 and Nov. 13.

Saturday & Sunday: West Fest 2010
Noon-10pm on Chicago from Damen to Wood. Music, children's activities in West Town Chamber of Commerce fundraiser; $5.

Saturday & Sunday: Bucktown Garden Walk
11 am to 5pm starting at Club Lucky, 1824 W. Wabansia. Bucktown Community Organization fundraiser with music and petting zoo. Damen Avenue shops will have flower-inspired events.

Monday: West Town Chamber at East Village Association meeting
7-8 pm at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott. Update from organizers of West Fest, Green Music Festival and Do-Division.

Thursday: Facade Rebate Workshop
9-10am at 1368 N. Milwaukee. Recoup up to half the cost of Wicker Park facade improvements.

July 19: East Village Association board
6:30-8 pm at Leona's, 1936 W. Augusta.

July 31-Aug. 1: Wicker Park Fest 2010
Noon-10pm on Milwaukee from North to Wood. Wicker Park and Bucktown Chamber of Commerce street fest with music, food, children's activities. $5.

July 21: Chicago Police CAPS Beat 1323
7-8 pm at Northwest Settlement House, 1012 N. Noble.

Aug. 2: East Village Association summer barbecue
7 pm at Happy Village outdoor patio, 1059 N. Wolcott. Free to EVA members.

Will it recycle? City floats guidelines

By Marjorie Isaacson

Recycling block captains received these tips from Shelli Bruno of the Chicago Department of Environment:

While you may think these paper-based items are recyclable, they actually belong in the trash:
• paper bags with foil lining (such as cookie bags)
• carbon copies
• candy bar wrappers
• metallic paper (such as yeast packets)
• used napkins
• manila envelopes lined with bubble wrap

And these items can be included in your Blue Cart:
• envelopes with plastic windows
• waxy cardboard beverage containers, such as orange juice and soy milk containers