Loyola vegans mourn closing of Earwax Cafe

Earwax Cafe

 By Kimberly Baugh

After 21 years of famous vegan dishes and artsy atmosphere, Wicker Park’s infamous Earwax Cafe will be closing its doors tonight due to “financial issues.”

The Chicago Reader broke the news last week that the Wicker Park staple at 1561 N Milwaukee Ave. would be closing its doors for good. Almost immediately, a public outcry to save the restaurant was visible on the Facebook page. Numerous pleas to save the restaurant and even fan videos are plastered all along the page with hopes of salvaging a piece of history.

Loyola University Chicago alumnus Jeff Graupner, 23, has been working as a host for Earwax since July. “It’s really like a relic in this neighborhood in the era before Wicker Park became as popular as it is now,” he said.

Although all the details about the reasoning for the sudden closing are not known, Graupner described it as a “messy situation” that employees are not fully aware of. “We just found out last Saturday about it, so we were really surprised. We were just told that it’s mostly a financial issue,” said Graupner.

In the week following the news, the restaurant has been packed with lines out the door with customers trying to get their last fix of vegan friendly meals. Loyola students have also expressed their dismay at the Wicker Park staple coming to an end.

“It’s always difficult to find a place where vegans and carnivores alike could find a burger and shake, in that department Earwax was always an obvious choice. I’m really sad to see it go,” said Erin Pophal, 21, an international studies major.

On Saturday evening, customers were lined along the wall waiting for about an hour to snag a table. Condolences were being expressed to the upbeat staff, and many were taking pictures of the colorful walls and graffitied bathrooms.

“The environment, the co-workers, and the regulars were definitely the best part about working here,” said Graupner.

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Loyolacappella beats retreat to Cincinnati

By Matthew Graham

Loyolacappella, Loyola University Chicago’s only co-ed a cappella group, returned to Chicago late Sunday afternoon from its spring semester 2011 retreat.

Loyolacappella, whose members have been singing at Loyola for 15 years, takes a weekend each semester for a musical retreat to learn new music and bond with group members according to senior Kara Leslie, the group’s captain.

“We arrange all of our own music,” said Leslie, 21, “and this semester we are working on a few new songs. Retreat is always a great opportunity to put in some hours of work towards our musical goals for the semester.”

The retreat takes place outside the city and in recent years the singers have ventured to Waukesha, Wisc. and Lansing, Mich.. This semester, Loyolacappella headed to Cincinnati, to Leslie’s childhood home.

In addition to learning new music, the group performed an impromptu performance for a living room full of Leslie’s family and friends and made a pit stop at the University of Cincinnati to perform a quick song at a house party.

Group member and Loyola freshmen Martha Hawkinson, 18 described the weekend as “a great way to take time out to prepare for our concerts and really bond with other group members, especially newbies.”

Loyolacappella is also excited to announce the formal acceptance and initiation rite of their newest member, Loyola freshman To-uyen Vo, 18.

“Retreat was great! I really had an awesome time,” said newbie, Vo.

While no one is disclosing group secrets of initiation or their arranging and practice strategy, Loyolacappella is disclosing that many of their new arrangements can be heard at the upcoming “Aca’friendzy”, the combined a cappella performance of Loyola’s three a cappella groups the Aca’fellas, the Silhouettes and of course, Loyolacappella. The performance takes place on Friday, March 18 at 7:30PM in CFSU.

Look for updates from Loyolacappella on their Facebook page and be sure to look out for their annual Lakeshow, coming in April.

– Matt Graham

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Study says Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces

Could social networking be hazardous to your marriage?

One in five failed marriages cite Facebook as a factor according to a press release from Loyola School of Medicine.

Here are the details:

If you’re single, Facebook and other social networking sites can help you meet that special someone. However, for those in even the healthiest of marriages, improper use can quickly devolve into a marital disaster.

A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that Facebook is cited in 1 in 5 divorces in the United States. Also, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a rising number of people are using social media to engage in extramarital affairs.

“We’re coming across it more and more,” said licensed clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons, PhD, of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. “One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact.”

Though already-strained marriages are most vulnerable, a couple doesn’t have to be experiencing marital difficulties for an online relationship to blossom from mere talk into a full-fledged affair, Kimmons said. In most instances, people enter into online relationships with the most innocent of intentions.

“I don’t think these people typically set out to have affairs,” said Kimmons, whose practice includes couples therapy and marriage counseling. “A lot of it is curiosity. They see an old friend or someone they dated and decide to say ‘hello’ and catch up on where that person is and how they’re doing.”

It all boils down to the amount of contact two people in any type of relationships –including online – have with each other, Kimmons said. The more contact they have, the more likely they are to begin developing feelings for each other.

“If I’m talking to one person five times a week versus another person one time a week, you don’t need a fancy psychological study to conclude that I’m more likely to fall in love with the person I talk to five times a week because I have more contact with that person,” Kimmons said.

Stories of people whose marriages were destroyed by affairs that began on social networking sites abound on the Internet. It’s enough to make some people swear off online technology for life. Though there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow, there are some safeguards couples can apply to decrease the chance of online relationships getting out of control. For starters, do a self-assessment of why you’re using online sites.

“Look at the population of the people who are your online friends,” Kimmons said. “Is it a good mixture of men and women? Do you spend more time talking to females versus males or do you favor a certain type of friend over another? That can tell you something about how you’re using social networks. You may not even be aware that you’re heading down a road that can quickly get pretty dangerous, pretty fast to your marriage.”

Another safeguard is to spell out from the beginning with your online contacts what your expectations are of social networking relationships. Also, it’s a good idea to not engage in intimate conversation with someone who is not your spouse.

“From the start tell your online friend that you’re not looking for anything more than establishing old contacts with people to find out how they’re doing,” Kimmons said.

In some instances, couples could share passwords with each other and place the computer in a common area in the house or apartment.

“It’s not that people are going to read what you’re writing, but they’ll see what you’re doing,” he said. “Then it’s not a secret.”

Couples can also set parameters around how much time and when they are online each day.

“If you’re doing this at 2 o’clock in the morning with no one watching because you don’t want anyone else to know about it, that should be a signal to you that this is something approaching a boundary line or you’re at least moving in that direction,” Kimmons said.

– Rebekah Comerford

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The Vagina Monologues performed at Loyola

By Marco Grittani

Loyola University Chicago welcomed The Vagina Monologues to the Mundelein Center Auditorium Thursday, Friday and Saturday night in honor of V-Day.

The student-run show is made up of numerous monologues that all relate to female empowerment as well as the explicit title of the play. Whether a monologue is funny, serious or provocative, they are all inspired from true stories that the founder of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, gathered through interviewing hundreds of women.

As a result of the wide-success of The Vagina Monologues, the global movement, V-Day, was created to help end violence against women and girls throughout the world. According to the official V-Day website , their vision is “to see a world where women live safely and freely.” V-Day is concerned with ending issues such as rape, incest, sexual slavery and much more, which are topics all covered in The Vagina Monologues.

With an all-woman cast of Loyola students, each performance was read so naturally that it was difficult to not become immediately immersed in the stories. This year’s 24-member cast performed 15 scripted monologues with one originally-written monologue to conclude each show.

Loyola student Luis Federico, sophomore, Psychology major, said this was his first time coming to see The Vagina Monologues.

“I didn’t really know what to expect going into the show, but I ended up loving it” Federico said. “It’s one of those performances that everyone should see.”

However, Marie Tierney, sophomore, Political Science and International Studies major, is very familiar with the show.

“I’ve been to past Loyola performances of The Vagina Monologues,” Tierney said. “It’s such an enjoyable show, yet it also sends a great message to the audience.”

The Vagina Monologues at Loyola was sponsored by the Gannon Scholars and all proceeds benefit Chicago’s Rape Victim Advocates, Porchlight Counseling Services and V-Day.

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Loyola sells property to archdiocese for new seminary

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, was guest of honor at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Joseph College Seminary near Loyola University Chicago. Photo courtesy St. Joseph College Seminary.

By Stanislav Golovchuk

Loyola University Chicago has sold property that once contained a tennis court and apartment building to the Archdiocese of Chicago to be the site of a new seminary.

“That property is no longer university property,” said Kana Wibbenmeyer, Assistant Vice President for Facilities. “It was sold to the Archdiocese to be the new construction site of the St. Joseph Seminary.”

Ground was broken last week on the new seminary building in a ceremony attended by a number of prominent Catholics, including Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, and Loyola President the Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J.

According to Wayne Magdziarz, Vice President of Strategic Planning in the Department of Capital Planning, the new seminary will be designed by Loyola’s preferred architects, Solomon, Cordwell and Buenz, in case the property, at 1067 W. Loyola Ave. is ever bought back.

“Loyola sold the land to the archdiocese but also has a right of first refusal to buy the property and building back if the archdiocese decides to ever close the seminary,” Magdziarz said in an email.

He also wrote that “construction will be completed by July of 2012,” at which time “the seminary will move out of Campion [Hall] and that space will revert back toLoyola residence hall space.”

The Catholic New World has the following details about the new seminary:

The new building will have a residence area, a chapel, library, office space, dining hall and recreational space.

There will be 34 residence rooms in a four-story portion of the building, which can accommodate 68 seminarians. There will also be six suites for priests on staff and guests.

Stained-glass windows from the now-closed Holy Rosary Church will be used in the new chapel along with a new rose window made by Rigali studios featuring symbols of the Eucharist.

The worship space will be named Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in honor of the closed Holy Rosary Parish.

After four years at St. Joseph’s, the men earn degrees in philosophy from Loyola University and then go on to seminaries like Mundelein Seminary where they earn advanced degrees.

The seminary has averaged 30-45 seminarians enrolled each year for the past 10 years. This year, 33 men are enrolled in St. Joseph’s.

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Murder charges filed in stabbings, shootings in Edgewater

Augustin Toscano and Raul Segura-Rodriguez
Charges were filed Monday morning against two surviving members of an alleged drug ring police say may be responsible for more than a dozen murders in Chicago, Chicago Breaking News reports.

Augustin Toscano, 29, and Raul Segura-Rodriguez, 36, were arrested late Saturday night after two people were stabbed to death and a pursuing police officer was shot on the Far North Side. The suspected ringleader, Arturo Ibarra, 37, was shot and killed by police during the chase, which crisscrossed the Edgewater neighborhood, Chicago Breaking News reports.

The three have been linked to as many as a dozen slayings across Chicago, according to law enforcement sources, including four men found fatally shot inside a West Lawn garage in September and three men found bound and gagged and fatally beaten in a car in the McKinley Park neighborhood in April, Chicago Breaking News reports.

The three worked for a roofing company on the South Side, but officials say they also peddled drugs. They would set up drug deals with buyers they knew, and when large amounts of money were involved, they would rob and kill the buyers, a police source told Chicago Breaking News.

The charges stem from a crime spree that started with stabbings in the Edgewater neighborhood and ended with a police shootout in Rogers Park near Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus.

Here are the details from Chicago Breaking News:

The crime spree came to a dramatic end that virtually locked down much of the Edgewater neighborhood late Saturday.

Gang crime officers were on surveillance, looking into a narcotics-related homicide, when they spotted a group of people run from an apartment building in the 5800 block of North Winthrop Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. just as a call of “shots fired” was heard on the police radio, officials said.

Police discovered two victims with their throats slit inside the apartment and a third man was critically injured.

Ibarra, Toscano and Segura-Rodriquez fled in a dark pickup truck, racing north and ramming a squad car. The suspects fired at police and shot one officer — a 12-year veteran cop — in the leg near the intersection of Broadway and Thorndale avenues.

The three men continued to fire at police until officers stopped the truck, returning fire and killing Ibarra and arresting the two others near the intersection of Devon and Greenview avenues, police said.  Ibarra died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Toscano and Segura-Rodriguez were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of home invasion with a firearm and aggravated fleeing with bodily injury.

Toscano also was charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer. During the chase a 12-year veteran police officer was shot in the leg near the intersection of Broadway and Thorndale avenues.

“This is a crew of individuals we’ve been looking for some time,” Nick Roti, chief of the police department’s organized crime division, said Sunday.

Ibarra had a history of large-scale drug deals and evading law enforcement, court documents show.

In December 2002, Ibarra pleaded guilty to a federal indictment after he was discovered with about 1,950 grams of cocaine in his car. He also allegedly drove his car at a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was trying to detain him.

In state court, Ibarra — who sometimes used the alias surname Barragan — also pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was sentenced to two years in prison. A person who answered the phone at Ibarra’s home declined to comment.

– Caitlin Botsios

Edgewater stabbings, shooting leave 3 dead, 2 wounded

Police chase ends at Devon and Greenview avenues. Photo by Sabine Schramm.
A double homincide  Saturday evening prompted a pursuit in the Edgewater community that left one Chicago Police officer wounded and a suspect dead from police gunfire according to ChicagoBreakingNews.

Gang crime officers that were on survaillence on the 5800 block of North Winthrop in the Edgewater commuity were looking into a narcotic related homicide. The officers saw a group of people running from the building before they recieved the call “shots fired” came from the location at 5:30pm.

In the fourth-floor aparment, Police found three victims, two dead on the scene and the other in critical condition.

A marked police car attempted to stop the suspects fleeing in a vehicle that several witnesses later described as a black pick-up truck. The suspects rammed the sqaud car and fired at police officers, wounding one officer in the leg, according to Chicago Police.

Police pursued the vehicle from Broadway and Thorndale to Devon and Greenview Avenues, where the vehicle crashed to a stop after attempting to turn south on Greenview, said officials. Police fatally shot one person who had been inside the vehicle, while two were taken into custody.

The officer was shot on the intersection of Broadway and Thorndale Avenue, officials said. The officer was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston in good condition.

Police were trying to determine if the fatal stabbings on Winthrop were connected to other drug-related homicides , a law enforcement source said.

Officials from the Cook County medical examiner’s office  pronounced three males dead as a result of the incidents.

The man shot by police was identified as Arturo Ibarra, 37, of the 4500 block of South Troy Street, according to medical examiner’s spokesman.

The two victims on Winthrop Avenue  have not been identified,and were of unknown age. The victims suffered from apparent multiple stab wounds. The autopsies are pending. The third person from the Winthrop address was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

In a brief news Conference,police  Superintendent Jody Weis would not provide details on the victims or attackers, but said, “Its a stark reminder of the dangers our men and women face everyday.”

– Jennifer Jones

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Chicago outdoor ice rinks to close this Sunday

Chicago will move one step closer  to spring with the Sunday closing of  Chicago Park District outdoor ice rinks.

One popular outdoor rink, located on 6601 N. Western Ave. in Rogers Park, has given those in the neighborhood a good excuse to come out during this years brutal winter.

“Since Thanksgiving time, I have been coming here every weekend for a few hours to get in some exercise since most sidewalks make it impossible to jog,” said David Albergo,19, a freshman at Loyola University Chicago studying business.

Because the ice rink is free of charge, many looking for a non-expensive activity to enjoy themselves took advantage of the opportunity.

“In this economy there isn’t much in the city to do that’s free. I love knowing that during the winter months I can have a place to bring my daughters to have fun and it won’t cost me an arm and a leg,” said Melanie Wagner, a 49-year-old stay at home mother from Rogers Park.

Visitors from out of town were even able to get in on the fun.

“This is my first time coming to Chicago and because I play hockey back home, this was the perfect way to enjoy myself while I’m here,” said Fred Willis, a 22-year-old student from Ontario, Canada.

Throughout the city this year  there have been more than 150,000 people who have visited the 10 outdoor ice rinks.

“This just goes to show that there was more to the past few months then a lot of snow,” said Mark Allen, a 30-year-old Chicago Park District worker from Chicago. “There is a still a couple more days to go out and enjoy the weather before everything, including the ice, melts away.”

– Alexander Fleites

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Mag Mile retailers fear more attacks by “flash mob offenders”

By Elizabeth Noel

Shoppers and security around Loyola University Chicago’s downtown campus fear that a crime ring of teenagers nicknamed the “Flash Mob Offenders” will start a new trend in stealing.

Story Update: Man attacked by flash mob on Chicago Avenue

According to the Chicago Tribune, this group of about 15 teenagers ranging in age from 14 to 17 has been involved with three thefts around the Water Tower area.

In January, the group tried to steal about $5,000 in merchandise from the North Face, 875 N. Michigan Ave.; Filene’s Basement, 830 N. Michigan;  and AX Armani Exchange, 520 N. Michigan by swarming in to the stores and grabbing as much as they could before running out. The Tribune says that 11 of the teens were caught.

Meanwhile, Mag Mile retailers, security guards and shoppers fear the thieves guerilla  methods might catch on.

“Sure the security and police caught most of them, but that doesn’t mean other kids won’t try this now,” said Haris Mian, 33, a security guard at 900 N. Michigan Ave. “Overpowering a store with sheer numbers and surprise—it’s such a simple idea that others might think they can get away with it.”

However, according to Mian it will be difficult to make changes in security that will cater to incidents like this. In many areas, employees have been advised to simply monitor the store more closely.

“The biggest change I’ve seen is that we are all keeping a closer eye on kids, especially groups of kids,” said Jennifer Martz, 28, an employee at Filene’s Basement. “Now if we see anything suspicious at all we immediately call management. But there really haven’t been any other changes.”

Last Saturday, Loyola University Chicago’s Campus Safety issued a warning  about the “Flash Mob Offenders.” The Campus Security warning read:

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has informed Loyola’s Department of Campus Safety about a recent pattern of crime referred to as “Flash Mob Offenders.” These offenders are allegedly committing thefts within local retail stores around the Water Tower Campus community. These offenders exit the Chicago Red Line stop, go to various shops, usually clothing stores, and storm the stores, taking as many items as they can carry when running out of the store.

This Saturday, February 19, beginning at 5 p.m., there will be an increased presence of Chicago Police Department bike units, tact teams, foot officers, and Chicago Mass Transit officers strategically placed around the Water Tower Campus community. Campus Safety will also have additional officers available that evening keeping an eye on things.

Some shoppers think that more should be done to prevent incidents like this.

“I think it would be terrifying as a shopper or an employee,” said Carly Ricky, 24, of Lincoln, Neb., who frequently shops at the Macy’s in Water Tower Place. “You never know what a large group like that could do.”

Mian warns that further flash mob theft attempts will not be taken lightly by security.

“It’s terrorism,” Mian said. “They might not physically hurt anyone or carry weapons, but it’s still terrorism.”

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Loyola professor defends reporters’ access to Blagojevich jurors

Beth Konrad

Loyola University Chicago Journalism Professor Beth Konrad defended news reporters’ rights to have access and interview jurors in the second corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

A federal judge is contemplating delaying reporters’ access to jurors at Blagojevich’s upcoming trail, and may even allow yard signs in jurors’ lawns warning reporters not to seek interviews.

Konrad, who also is an executive with the Chicago Headline Club, shared her views during an interview with NBC-5 Chicago reporter Phil Rogers.

Konrad is spearheading an extensive  survey of Chicago area reporters, online, print, broadcast, ethnic and community journalists that will impact reporters’ access and rights to information. Through focusing on the experiences of reporters, the survey will shed light on government transparency and the broader issue of citizen access to information.

The survey asks journalists about their experiences submitting Freedom of Information Act requests, gaining access to prisons, jails, courtrooms, city and county news conferences and meetings, crime and fire scenes, obtaining press credentials, public records and other experiences they have had gaining access to information they intend to disseminate to the public.

Konrad and the Chicago Headline Club  are conducting the survey with funding from a grant provided by the McCormick Foundation.

Here is Rogers’ blog posting of the Blagojevich story, including quotes from Konrad:

Judge James Zagel didn’t like the way the media treated the first Rod Blagojevich jury. And he indicated Thursday he doesn’t intend to repeat that scenario in the second Blagojevich trial, which is slated to begin in late April.

“A need to offer some personal protection to the jurors is justified,” Zagel said, declaring that in the next trial,  he intends to wait at least eight hours, maybe more than a day after a verdict is rendered, to release juror’s names. That time period, he said, would allow them to “return to their castles and pull up the drawbridge”.
The judge said that in the first trial, there was clear evidence that reporters would “disregard the clear rights of citizens,” and that jurors had been subjected to an “onslaught of rapacious media.”  Zagel noted one juror complained of a helicopter flying over her house, and that others objected to having reporters ring their doorbells.
The first trial was marked by a verdict which stunned most court observers, with acquittals on all but one count. Reporters gathered in a room where jurors were expected to elaborate on their decision, but none showed up. Zagel had released the names of the jurors after the verdict was rendered, however, and reporters fanned out in the days after the trial to seek their stories on what had transpired in the jury room during the lengthy deliberations.
“I think if someone takes the time to serve as a juror, they should be able to say afterward, look, I made my decision, I don’t want to talk to anyone about it,” said defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who said he would support an even longer moratorium on release of jurors’ names. 
“When there are bench trials, no one goes up to the judge after the trial and says, ‘judge, why did you find the person guilty?’ No one says that to a judge. Why should a jury be any different?”
Freedom of Information advocates had a ready answer.
“As a juror you have to be accountable to the public,” said Beth Konrad, of the Chicago Headline Club. “You are the major decision maker.”
Konrad expressed particular concern that Zagel said he might provide jurors with yard signs, warning reporters to stay off their property.
“You don’t need a lawn sign just to say no,” she said. “If you don’t want to talk to any member of the media, say no, and guess what? They walk away!”
Konrad, a professor of communications at Chicago’s Loyola University, said it was wrong for the court to suggest that reporters are engaged in a negative pursuit when they ask jurors questions about their verdict.
“It’s sending the wrong message, not only to these jurors, but to future people who might become members of a jury, that there is something wrong with talking to the news media.”
“It is a mixed signal to the public at large that we are the enemy,” she said. “We are not the enemy. We are the conduit of information. We are a conduit of what people do, and why they do it. ”
“It’s really an accountability factor to the public,” Konrad said. “Ought they not be accountable to the public for a decision that they have made? At least, to tell the public, why they made that decision?”
Zagel said he is still finalizing his policy, and will issue a formal order next week.

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