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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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A change of venue

  People ask “Do you still go to church at St. Anthony’s?” Of course, those are the people that aren’t on Facebook or my column email list, don’t go to meetings of the Spaghetti-Os or haven’t seen my one-man George Pullman show. Otherwise they would know that I bake something every Sunday for the 8:30 a.m. Mass Coffee Club. Not only do I bake, I do the second reading in Italian at that Mass. This is the Mass that brings many of us longtime St. Anthony parishioners from the “old days” together. We look forward to this Mass because it ...

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Winter maintenance tips

  If you own property, it’s essential that you keep it in good condition, especially if you have tenants. They will expect you to stay on top of repairs and maintenance issues so no problems arise during their lease. Jack Frost has arrived and all the leaves have fallen from your trees and bushes. This is a good time to trim off any dead or overgrown branches. Be sure to cut them back from any structures on the property to prevent water runoff and possible damage such as a branch falling through a window or even worse the roof. Speaking ...

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The Fed “busts a move”

For the second time in nearly a decade, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rate, this time by .25 percent. The move was widely expected, as the futures markets had predicted in the last few weeks that there was a 100 percent probability that the Fed would raise rates. The bond market was not happy about Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments after the move. Bonds were caught off guard because the Fed changed their forecast for raising rates in 2017 from two increase to three. Although Yellen stated that any future moves would be data dependent, the market was caught ...

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Embracing Facebook as a genealogy tool

  Back when I started my genealogy research in the late 1980s, there was no social media to speak of. Heck, there was barely internet access! So during the formative phase of my research, when I was attending classes and genealogy groups and conferences, there were no presentations on techniques for using social media for genealogy. When it comes to Facebook and its use for genealogy, I am “a completely self-taught idiot,” to borrow a phrase from Monty Python. I never attended any presentations on “Facebook For Genealogy,” so the ideas I have are based purely on my own experience. ...

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News affecting elderly and the disabled

  Two important developments have happened since the November elections. First and foremost for the majority of Fra Noi readers, one of the likely things on President-elect Trump’s to-do list is the block granting of Medicaid. Medicaid is the premier federal and state joint government program that pays for long-term care for seniors in nursing homes along with a host of other societal needs. While one of Trump’s campaign promises was repealing Obamacare, his election coupled with the Republican control of both the House and Senate means that there will almost certainly be a new GOP effort to convert the ...

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