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A review of the Lyric’s “Norma”

I’m very happy to report that the Lyric production of “Norma” is by far the strongest musically that I’ve witnessed thus far in the 2016-17 season. One would be hard pressed to think of any other contemporary singers who could do any better in the four major roles, especially that of Norma, than those who took the stage at the Civic Opera House. The chorus was also outstanding, and the fine Lyric orchestra turned in yet another solid performance. Bellini was not the creative orchestrator as were the other Italian masters of opera. His instrumental accompaniments are relatively simple, and ...

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Getting your deposit back

You’ve found an apartment that suits your needs and decide to move in. But before the landlord hands you the keys, you’re going to be asked put down a security deposit. In theory, your deposit will be returned when you move out, so long as you don’t damage the property while you’re renting. To ensure that reality synchs up with theory, you need to protect yourself from the start. Step one? Familiarize yourself with landlord-tenant laws in your community and be sure to read the entire lease carefully. All leases should have an end date. Unless you notify your landlord ...

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Adjustable Rate Mortgages are back

ARMs, or adjustable rate mortgages (mortgages that do not have a fixed rate), can be scary, but if you stay within your time line, it can save borrowers a lot of money when rates are on the rise. The most popular adjustable rate mortgages are the 5/1 ARM with 5/2/5 Caps, Margin 2.25, and the 7/1 ARM with 5/2/5 caps, Margin 2.25. What his means is that the payment will be spread over 30 years but the rate will be fixed for the first 5 or 7 years. Once the fixed time frame is over, the mortgage will adjust annually ...

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Using your cellphone to scan photos

Over many years of meeting with relatives, I will admit that there are occasions of apprehension. After I am invited to their home, I sit, make conversation, have a cup of coffee, and silently wait for the right moment to segue into how to ask them to break out the old family photo albums. When I started this odyssey, I had to bring a laptop and scanner that weighed more than I did! Later on, I could bring a flatbed scanner that only weighed a couple of pounds. Today, new phone cameras and apps are making this task even easier. ...

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St. A’s is planning a Grand Reunion!

For many years on the last Sunday in April, past parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Roseland have gathered for a reunion breakfast in the church hall following the 9 a.m. Mass. This year, the event will take on a whole new scope and meaning. An open invitation is extended to everyone with ties to the St. Anthony Parish or its parishioners to take part in a Grand Reunion in the church hall after an 8:30 a.m. Mass on April 30. Monthly, the Spaghetti-Os meet at Carlo Lorenzetti’s on US30 in Chicago Heights. This group is composed of Italians, ...

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A Cubs’ Tale

  Every Cubs fan has a story. Especially now. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees may have been dubbed “America’s Teams,” but the Chicago Cubs have long been the “little brothers” of the power baseball teams of each decade. The team’s overall performance always came in a distant second to the tradition of a neighborhood park with ivy-covered brick walls, personality-filled bleachers and hot-dogs, peanuts and beer cuisine. Heck, as the earliest active sports club in America (1870), it was 118 years before they even hosted a night game! With Cubs fans literally all over the world, and ...

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Avoiding a critical record-keeping error

  I have spent most of the winter going back over my Italian records from towns that are close to my main ancestral “comune.” A lot of people from neighboring towns married into our families. (Or maybe they say that we married into theirs!) I had to order a lot of different films and visit Salt Lake City on multiple occasions in order to find the birth records for these people. When I first looked for many of them, I made a mistake that I don’t want you to make. I rented the microfilm (or viewed it in Salt Lake ...

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Mining for revealing realty data

  Most buyers today are savvy when it comes to basic data like days on the market and the difference between list and sold prices, but digging a little deeper could give you the edge needed in today’s market. Let’s start with the inventory for the area you’re targeting. Look at the trend over the last 12 months, how many have sold? How many have been listed only to be removed from the market without selling? This will help you determine if you will have plenty of options to choose from or end up in a possible bidding war. Next ...

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Rates rise with consumer confidence

  Jan. 25, 2017, was a historic day in the equity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 20,000 mark for the first time in history, and all that optimism has put upward pressure on mortgage and treasury rates. Since the election, mortgage rates have jumped by almost 1 percent. The markets (both stock and bond) are expecting great results from what the new administration will bring to the table. Rates have moved up because of better-than-expected economic news and the potential of higher wages and higher inflation, both of which are needed to sustain real estate prices increase. ...

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A review of “The Magic Flute” at the Lyric

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” live, produced by one of the world’s foremost opera companies1 It doesn’t get much better than that even though it’s a bone-chilling 4 degrees above zero outside the toasty Civic Opera House. Having seen this opera so many times, its characters are like old friends to me, so I expected that the Lyric singers would at least do justice to their roles. I wasn’t disappointed. There are a number of things to say about the “Flute’s” many singers, but before we get into that I would just like to once again voice my supreme admiration for ...

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