Author Archives: JVO

CBD coffee and shakes coming to Chicago Protein Bar locations

The healing power of CBD (cannabidiol) will be available as an add-on to shakes and coffee drinks at Chicago area Protein Bar locations starting April 15. Eater Chicago says the move adds Protein Bar to a short list of local places that have jumped aboard the CBD train for its “laundry list of therapeutic and medicinal benefits.”


​Eddie Read says there’s a silent majority that will win it for Preckwinkle

In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says one long-time leader in the black independent poliitcal movement thinks Toni Preckwinkle – not Lori Lightfoot – is going to win the April 2nd runoff election.

Not everybody thinks Lori Lightfoot has the unstoppable momentum to win. Eddie Read of the Black Independent Political Organization says there’s a silent majority out there for Preckwinkle, and listen who he compares the situation to.

“I think this is gonna be like Donald Trump. The people on the ground – rural white folks – voted for Donald Trump. They didn’t say thing about it. I think that’s what’s gonna happen here in the black community. People are not gonna say what they’re gonna do about Toni. They understand Toni has come before the people for 25 years. They didn’t reject her the last 25 years! Why reject her now?”

Eddie Read was a big Harold Washington backer and so his take is not to be ignored.


Preckwinkle backs Foxx on Smollett move

In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says Toni Preckwinkle is backing States Attorney Foxx’s decision to intervene in the Jussie Smollett case.

Foxx asked Police Supt Eddie Johnson to transfer the Smollett case to the FBI at the request of Obama ally Tina Tchen.
Now Preckwinkle is saying her protege Kim Foxx made a good decision.
“I have great confidence in States Atty Foxx and I believe she made the right decision in this instance.
Cameron: Why do you think she made the right decision?

Preckwinkle: I think it was the right decision because it was the decision that she made and she’s in the best position to make it! (laughter)”
Preckwinkle got questions about the issue at her press conference announcing Congressman Danny Davis’ endorseement.
Lori Lightfoot countered that by announcing Congressman Mike Quigley’s endorsement of her.


Dirty tricks now in race for mayor

In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says there are now dirty tricks.

Lori Lightfoot is gay and some homophobic flyers were placed on the windshields of cars parked at some black churches on Sunday, including the mega-church of the Rev James Meeks.
Lightfoot had this reaction.

“I feel very confident if we keep working hard and stay focused and not let these kinds of things derail us, we are going to have a broad mandate for change in this city. So, that’s what I’m focused on.”
Lightfoot’s was also taking the high road when asked about a Sun Times story about police being called several times to domestic disturbances in the Hyde Park condo Toni Preckwinkle provides for her son.
“Look, it’s always a sensitive issue when you’re talking about somebody’s family. I really think that’s not for me to comment on. To the extent that is even relevant to a voter, they’ll make that individual decision.”
So now the campaign is getting dirty.


Millennials​ asking for mayoral mail-in ballots

In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says election officials are predicting a big voter turnout.

Turnout for round one was a dismal 35%. Marisel Hernandez, who chairs the Board of Election Commissioner, is optimistic the April 2nd turnout will be much higher.
“I think we’re gonna break a record this time compared to the February election. The most interesting thing about the turnout is the millennial age group, 24-30 that’s coming out and applying to vote by mail. That’s very heartening.”

And most of those millennials are on the north side, which may be good news for Lori Lightfoot.


State, AARP Offer Tax Help

By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) — Illinois is offering help in filing 2018 income taxes. Assistance is available for low-to-moderate income families and senior citizens.

The Internal Revenue Service and AARP Tax-Aide programs are providing free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in over 300 locations statewide.

“With April 15 just around the corner, it is important for Illinois taxpayers to know that filing assistance is available,” said David Harris, Illinois Department of Revenue Acting Director. “Volunteers at these locations are certified by the IRS and ready to assist qualified individuals in filing their state and federal tax returns accurately and on time.”

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities, limited English speaking taxpayers and individuals 60 years of age or older.

AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program focuses on helping low-to-moderate income individuals, with special attention to those over 50 years of age. An AARP membership is not required.

Taxpayers can search for a free tax preparation location closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 3/16/19 – Hidden Gems in Party Cities

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Hidden Gems in Party Cities

Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana
Accommodations: JW Marriott New Orleans on Canal St. – Centrally located, safe area.
Brennan’s Restaurant – Opened in 1946. Classic New Orleans. Food is a combination of French and Spanish cuisine. Elegant, old-world dining rooms.
Commander’s Palace – Refined Creole fare & an elegant jazz brunch. Been around since 1880.
St. Louis Cathedral – Church where Harry Connick Jr. got married. Opened in 1794 and is the oldest cathedral in the United States.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – The largest free-standing American museum dedicated to insects.
When to visit:
Looking to party for Mardi Gras? Arrive the weekend before Fat Tuesday and stay through that day. If visiting for Mardis Gras, be sure to book your hotel a year in advance!
Looking for less crowds? December and January are the least busy and “coldest” months (temps in the 40s – 60s). For less crowds and warm weather – Early March and late April, and between September and November
Cost of flights: As low as $120 from Chicago in off season, like September (sometimes cheaper). Cheapest in July, August, and September.
When to book:
For Mardi Gras, book in Sept. (about 5 months out)
For off season, book 4-6 weeks in advance
Airport to fly into: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located about 15 miles east of downtown New Orleans.
How to get around: Walk or pedicab, also streetcars.
Any other tips? Best (and safest) place to stay is on Canal Street in the French Quarter. It’s popular place to stay, but while it may be more crowded, it’s easy to access a lot of places from the area without renting a car.

Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada
Accommodations: The Venetian Hotel and Ride a Gondola or Bellagio Hotel. You can even watch the fountain show!
Meal/Restaurant: Firefly and Beer and Tacos
Activities: Red Rock Canyon, take in a show. Lady Gaga has an open run. Janet Jackson too!
When to visit: March to May and Sept to November
When to book: The best time to book flights to Las Vegas is roughly four weeks before departure. You may be able to find flights that are 10% cheaper than average fares or more.
Cost of flights: Currently anywhere from $135 on Spirit nonstop to $330
Airport to fly into: McCarran International Airport
How to get around: Take a taxi or airport shuttle to the Strip or your hotel. Public transportation to the Strip takes about an hour and requires a transfer. A taxi or rental car can get you there in half the time.
Any other tips? Las Vegas is also home to hundreds of conventions each year. Be sure to check which hotels are hosting them ahead of time so you can avoid high room rates.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
$89.95 on
Vintage-style radio that comes in a variety of colors (we got one red, one black). It also has a CD Player, AM/FM Radio, Dual Alarm Clock, Dynamic Full Range Stereo Speakers and a Headphone Jack.

$79.95 on
Crosley’s most popular vintage turntable, also available in a variety of colors available (we got sand white). Encased in a portable, suitcase-style shell, plays at 3 speeds, and you can even sync to the Bluetooth connection and stream digital music right through the built-in speakers.

What’s on your phone?
Trail Wallet – Free to download with in-app purchases – iPhone
Trail Wallet is an easy travel expense tracker, where you can organize your expenses by trip or by month, set a daily budget, and easily add expenses. Great for traveling on a budget!

What’s the tip?
7 Ways to Travel Abroad for Free (
House swap – Many websites where you can swap homes with someone.
Become a WWOOFer – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms gives you the chance to volunteer on a farm in exchange for food, accommodation and learning opportunities.
Exchange and accommodation programs – Sites like GlobalFreeloaders or BeWelcome provide cultural exchange, free accommodation
Apply for scholarships or fellowships – Students or recent college grads
Volunteer or apply for an exchange program – Try
Crowd fund a passion project – Try


Rahm unveils Transportation Task Force report

At City Hall, Bill Cameron says Mayor Emanuel has issued a new Task Force Report on Transportation.

Rahm’s pal, former Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood headed the task force. Part of what he recommended is what we’ve heard before.
“We need an increase in not only the state gas tax, but the federal gas tax in order that we can have a pot of money not only in Illinois but around the country not only to fix our roads and bridges, but to make sure the transit systems and the other mobility systems in communities have the resources that they need.”

Including resources to prepare for innovations for better bicycle lanes and cars that drive themselves.


Rahm reveals ​what’s next on his list of big ticket items before he leaves

Mayor Emanuel leaves office May 20th and Bill Cameron says Rahm wants to get more done than he achieved in Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Now that he’s got the cop academy approved and the zoning for the big Lincoln Yards development ok’d, here’s what Rahm says is next on his list of to-do items before he leaves office.
“The next big thing – and I feel good about this – is we’re gonna see thru Year 2 of our universal full-day Pre-K. The City Council will take a decision on whether they want to take a look at the bike sharing, but I’m also determined to the the ethics package thru.”

Missing from the mayor’s list is The 78, the big new South Loop development, but he wasn’t ruling that out.


Cop academy gets final approval after noisy protests and debate

After emotional debate at City Hall, Bill Cameron says the City Council has overwhelmingly approved the controversial new Public Safety Academy to train police, firefighters, paramedics, and other first-responders.

On a vote of 38-8, the aldermen ignored noisy protesters who wanted social programs instead.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa was on the protesters side: “The research shows that the best way to improve public safety is by investing more in after-school programs, job programs, education and mental health.”
But west side alderman Jason Ervin shot back with this: “Yes, we need more money for education, economic development, but the city as a whole needs to move forward to replace our antiquated facility for police, fire and OEMC!”
The academy’s local alderman, Emma Mitts, pleaded for calm. “We have to change this culture of hate!” she said. “Hate in this city!”
Alderman Carrie Austin was more blunt, saying, “We need to stop this cat fight that’s goin’ on! We need to work together so the entire City of Chicago can flourish!”

Voting “no” were Aldermen Waguespack, Garza, Maldonado, Arena, Mell, Pawar, Hairston and Rosa



Preckwinkle says Chicago is NOT a world-class city

In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says Toni Preckwinkle made a surprising remark this morning at a City Club breakfast.

Whaddya think? Is Chicago a world-class city? Most mayors say yes! Toni Preckwinkle, who wants to be mayor, says no!
“It’s easy to call ourselves a world-class city, but Chicago won’t actually be a world class city until everyone who lives here – everyone who lives here – has the opportunity to build safe, prosperous and productive lives for themselves and their children.”

nd to help make that happen she made this promise: “As a candidate for mayor, I’m committed to a real plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, three years before the state minimum reaches that level.”





Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 3/9/19 – Exotic Getaways

Episode 39 – Exotic Getaways

Special Guest
Harsh Patil
Book adventurous, international travel:

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Exotic Getaways

Destination: Bangkok, Thailand
Accommodations: Grand Hyatt Erawan – Bangkok – 9 restaurants on site and it’s centrally located to restaurants and activities.
Meal/Restaurant: Supatra River House – Two-story traditional Thai house on the Chao Praya River.
Grand Palace – The residence and administrative base of the kings of Chakri Dynasty.
Pak Klong Talad – Bangkok’s oldest and busiest wholesale market where flowers, spices and vegetables are sold
Wat Pra Kaew (Emerald Buddha Temple) – The chapel houses the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred image for Buddhists in Thailand.
Long tailed boat ride – Through the klongs or canals of Thonburi on the west side of the river from Bangkok.
When to book:
International flights go on sale about 11 months in advance, but airline tickets to Asia tend to be cheapest right around 3 months (90 days) in advance, 7-9 months out can be cheaper as well, if you can book that early.
Cost of flights:
Delta Air Lines offer the cheapest average flights to Thailand from the United States at around $1,052.
China Eastern Airlines, Air China, and Cathay Pacific all offer flights for $1,200 or less.
Some flights from New York City (JFK) to Bangkok can be found for as little as $739 on China Eastern
From Boston to Bangkok for as low as $844 on Air China
Airport to fly into: BKK – Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok (Colleen had one layover in Dubai), the cheapest airport in Thailand to fly into. It’s about $200 cheaper to fly into Bangkok than to fly into Phuket!
How to get around:
Tuk-Tuk (3-wheeled local taxi)
Some hotels also offer hotel cars to drive you around
Best time to travel there:
Summer is expensive in Thailand, with flights in mid-July peaking around the $1400. Travel in late April, the beginning of May, and late September, when flights drop to $844 or less.
How to find things to do:
Tips to keep in mind:
International Plan for AT&T or an app for international calling through WiFi
Get Thai Cash ahead of time
Download a language translator app before you go on your trip, so you can more easily communicate with locals (iTranslate, Google Translate, TripLingo)

Destination: Florida Keys
Accommodations: Hawks Cay Resort
Meal/Restaurant: The Fish House – Features local seafood including yellowtail snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, Florida lobster, and stone crabs.
Activity: Swimming with the Dolphins – Dolphin Cove
When to book: The best time to visit Key West is between March and May. The winter crowds will die down and the hotel rates become reasonable but the weather is still very pleasant.
Cost of flights: $100-$250 round trip, with Tuesday being the best day to fly and Tuesday Around Midnight being the Cheapest Time to Book (saving about 6%).
Airport to fly into:
Key West International Airport (EYW):
Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH):
Miami International Airport (MIA):
Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL):
How to get around:
There are shuttle services between both Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airports and Key West, but if you want to get around and explore more, you’re better off renting a car.
Best time to travel there:
Peak tourist season in the Florida Keys begins in late December and the area remains busy through May. If you can handle the humidity, the summer months offer an opportunity to take advantage of smaller crowds and cheaper hotels.
How to find things to do:
Tips to keep in mind:
If you’re planning on attending one of the The Florida Keys’ many events, make sure to book your trip way in advance, as these can get very popular and crowded.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Eco-friendly Ceramic Travel Tumbler from ACERA
Starts around $50 –
Award winning travel mugs from ACERA.
Eco-friendly, double wall ceramic travel mugs, enriched with tourmaline on the ceramic glazed (not dangerous metals or plastics) . Better for you and the environment, plus they are reusable so you can save on paper or plastic cups. Come in a variety of colors, and designs, all classic and ceramic styles.

Wowe Health and Earth Awareness Straws
$10.97 for a pack of 8 –
These Straight or Curved Stainless Steel Straws are designed to last a lifetime. They are made from food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, are BPA free, dishwasher safe and will not rust. Each set of straws come with a straw cleaner made from metal and cotton so you can ensure you’re cleaning the inside thoroughly.

What’s on your phone?
WhatsApp – Free – Android/iPhone
Fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free, available on phones all over the world. No fees – WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family.

What’s the tip?
Packing for an International Trip
Pack your light colored clothes are packed inside out to avoid stains
Use disposable hotel shower caps to cover the base of your shoes
Roll and vacuum pack your clothes for more space and less wrinkles
Pack a small bag of potpourri or scented bounce sheets to stay fresh
Separate toiletries, medication, electronics, cords, etc. with ziplock bags
Use lightweight packing cubes to keep organized
Pack in-flight essentials (some Tylenol, earplugs, headphones, phone, wallet, etc.) in a separate bag on your carry-on
Place a cotton wool pad between your makeup sets to prevent the cases from cracking
Pack by outfit, so you’re all ready to go each day of your trip
Download any books you want to bring to your kindle or iPad/Tablet before your trip, so you don’t have to carry them with you, and you’re sure you’ll be able to access it even if WiFi isn’t strong.
If you’re worried about valuable stuff in your hotel room, hide it in an empty sun tan lotion container (or something similar) to avoid theft.



A Jeep Pick-up truck, A New Hyundai and Limiting Your Speed

Jennifer Keiper, DriveChicago Host

If you want a Jeep with a truck bed, Jeep Brand Manger Brandon Girmus tells DriveChicago, the Gladiator is coming. “We like to say that Gladiator is 100% truck and 100% Jeep and what that means is we took the best attributes of our Jeep products – the open-air freedom, the off-road capability and the iconic design but added to it real truck capability,” said Girmus.
Chicago Auto Show Marketing Director Jim Obrill says the new Hyundai Santa Fe offers updated technology and safety enhancements, “New styling throughout.  So, it’s really a noticeable update.  It’s not one of those just mild refreshes.  There’s a whole new front-end, a new side profile and rear-end,” said Obrill.
We also talk about Volvo limiting the top speed on all its vehicles to 112 miles per hour.  “I think it’s really a smart move by Volvo. They’re very safety conscious – always have been – and they’re pushing very hard to eliminate all occupant deaths in vehicles and they really are trying to figure out how to make that a reality and one of the things they’re saying here is we need to take speed out of the equation,” said DriveChicago GM Mark Bilek.
You can listen to DriveChicago every Saturday 8 to 9 a.m. on WLS-AM 890.
copyright 2019 WLS-AM

Preckwinkle calls R. Kelly ‘evil’

In an interview with Bill Cameron for Sunday’s “Connected to Chicago”, candidate for mayor Toni Preckwinkle calls R. Kelly “evil.”

Toni Preckwinkle, who’s worked hard to get thousands of people out of Cook County Jail, is happy to see R. Kelly back in.
“My view is this is a very troubled, problematic, despicable human being. I have no sympathy at all for him.

Cameron: How do we explain R. Kelly?
Preckwinkle: There are evil people in the world.
Cameron: And he’s one?
Preckwinkle: I would say.”

On another high-profile case this week, Preckwinkle said she sees an “inequity” between former congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr and his ex-alderman wife Sandy having to go to jail for spending campaign cash on themselves, but not former Peoria congressman Aaron Schock.

“There are in our criminal justice system historic and present disparities between how brown and black defendants with pretty much equal backgrounds are treated in the courts as opposed to white defendants.”
Much more from Toni Preckwinkle on “Connected to Chicago” Sunday night at 7.


Early Woodstock 50 confirmations made public

Woodstock 50 is coming this summer, and according to Billboard, we know who a few of the performers will be. Billboard says checks have already been cut for The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Chance the Rapper, Santana and Dead and Company. Organizers are promising a bill that spans a variety of genres, including rock, hip-hop and pop.

Woodstock 50 is planned for August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York, which is about 90 minutes east of where the first Woodstock event was held a half-century ago.


Harvey P.D. raided in corruption probe

The feds raided the Harvey Police Department this morning as part of a corruption probe that includes the alleged extorting of a strip club owner and falsifying reports. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago tells the Tribune that a total of six people have been charged in three separate ongoing corruption schemes.

The FBI rolled up at 7 a.m., according to a statement from Mayor Eric J. Kellogg.

Harvey is a city rife with issues. Less than five years ago, the Tribune documented life in the “lawless” suburb, noting “since the 1980s, the suburb of 25,000 residents has struggled with crime, corruption and decay.”


Mayoral candidate Preckwinkle says she’s the change agent

 In the race for mayor, Bill Cameron says Toni Preckwinkle is trying to grab the mantle of change from Lori Lightfoot.

Lori Lightfoot says it’s a change election and she represents the change. But Preckwinkle says she’s the change agent, having beaten the machine for alderman, pushed for more affordable housing in the city council and much more.

“You can talk about change all you want. It’s hard work to actually do it, and that’s what I’ve done! I’ve done the hard work of increasing access to health care and improved the quality of care delivered. I’ve done the hard work on criminal justice reform. We have 4,000 fewer people in the jail than when I came in in 2010.”

But she chairs the central committee of the Cook County Democratic Party, which is NOT an agent of change. ​


Big fines coming for ‘outlaw’ street ads

At City Hall, Bill Cameron says the aldermen are in the process of raising fines on any business or service that slap their outlaw advertising on anything on a public street.

Downtown alderman Brendan Reilly says ugly commercial ads slapped on street signs, poles and even trees are getting out of hand.
“It’s the cheapest form of marketing and when you don’t have to pay to restore the city infrastructure, what a great deal. But the taxpayers do ultimately have to pay for that and so hopefully this ordinance will help discourage the practice.”

And so next Wednesday the City Council will approve fines on violators ranging from 200 to $1,000 per ad. ​


Is a new form of government coming to City Hall?

At City Hall, Bill Cameron says the city elections may produce a new form of government.

On paper at least City Hall is supposed to be a strong council-weak mayor form of government. In practice, it’s been strong mayor-weak council. But it’s a change election April 2nd with a new mayor and a lot of new faces coming to the council.

Veteran Alderman Tony Beale says it’ll be strong council-weak mayor if the new mayor tries to do away with aldermanic prerogative over developments in the wards.
“We know our community. You don’t want to turn over issues that are valuable to my community to the paper-pushers downtown who don’t know the community.”

Both candidates say they want to rein-in aldermanic prerogative, but there will be a big fight if the new mayor tries to do that. ​