Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Launching the new year right
For 20 years, a floating alternative to Jan. 1 hangover

Sunday, January 08, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Chris McNamara

While thousands of Chicagoans spent New Year's Day in the customary fashion--on the couch nursing hangovers waiting for football to begin--a few hundred spent the morning paddling down the Chicago River. Tylenol and temperature be damned.

Overseeing this weird, watery parade, just as he has every New Year's for the last two decades, was Ralph Frese, for whom the nickname Mr. Canoe only begins to tell the story.

"What I do is preach about canoes," joked Frese, owner of the Chicagoland Canoe Base, 4019 N. Narragansett Ave., from which he sells, repairs and designs canoes and kayaks.

"Most people don't know the geography of where they live. They have no idea about these waterways," he said. "But if you're curious enough, there are all these little adventures within a two-hour drive of Chicago."

Maybe it was Frese's enthusiasm, or maybe it was the chance to dip the paddles in the middle of winter that lured experts and amateurs to the southern tip of the Skokie Lagoons, where a crude launch site had been built beneath a dam. "Happy Canoe Year!" they shouted to one another as they removed their watercrafts from their trucks.

The day was unseasonably warm--temperatures reached the 40s--but even on sub-zero days this river flows due to a treatment plant that warms the water.

"The North Branch of the Chicago River--often called the Skokie River--isn't utilized," says Frese. "It's a beautiful resource right in our back yard."

It also provides a beautiful winter workout, no health club membership required. Paddlers meander through twists and turns, past deer who stare quizzically and a few hardy golfers on the Chick Evans Golf Course.

It's a fit bunch that turns out for this event; you can tell that even under the layers of clothing and wetsuits. By the end of the 6.5-mile course, many were sweating under their winter hats. A few had capsized, but most completed the course unscathed, their muscles a bit sore, their spirits soaring.

"Paddling not only exercises the body but also the mind," explained Frese, who admitted that this event has a certain novel appeal. "It started as a whim, something different to do. I didn't realize it would catch on with people."

Tim Jonasson of Lockport is a regular attendee who knows enough to appreciate comfortably cool days like this one, compared with past New Year's Days that have registered below-zero temperatures.

"This is a good alternative to lying on the couch hung over," said the avid paddler as he packed up his gear. "We need to take advantage of this weather before it gets really cold and we have to hole up like rats."

- - -

Stroke ... stroke ...

Canoeing and kayaking exercise the muscles and heart in different ways. Propelling a canoe with a J-stroke on one side of the boat, according to paddling coach Jon Maleta of the Chicagoland Canoe Base, entails stroking with the paddle's blade perpendicular to the boat at the start, then ending the stroke with the blade parallel to the boat. Propelling a kayak is more of a constant, side-to-side motion with less strenuous strokes.

Other than that, advises Ralph Frese, "just keep the open side up."

--C.M.

Where you can dip your paddle

Chicago isn't Colorado, granted, but there are still abundant opportunities for us metropolitans to get muddy. Ralph Frese recommends these local waterways:

The lower stretch of the Des Plaines River from Willow Springs to Lockport. "It's a strange scene there, with farms, quarries and industry on the left and wilderness, complete with beaver ponds and deer, on the right."

The upper reaches of the Des Plaines River, from Wisconsin down through open meadows and wetlands.

The Rock River in Oregon, Ill., lined with sandstone cliffs crowned by white pines.

The lower Fox River. "We call it the Dells of Illinois, with stone cliffs along the river, caves, waterfalls. It's perhaps one of the most scenic regions around here."

--C.M.



Recent Headlines

Cook County sheriff’s office warns of phone scam
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Assessment Appeals Caused Backlog at PTAB and Spike in Refunds According to New Report
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Program helps Cook County Jail inmates reconnect with their children
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County forest district poised to regain 400-acre Barrington Hills farm, but foreclosed owners hope hemp crop can bail them out
Monday, June 24, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County forest district poised to regain 400-acre Barrington Hills farm, but foreclosed owners hope hemp crop can bail them out
Monday, June 24, 2019
Chicago Tribune

County assessor nixes help wanted request to commissioners after watchdog raises concerns
Monday, June 24, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Budget woes at Cook County health system threaten insurance program used by more than 300,000 residents
Friday, June 21, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Property tax pinch: Average North Sider’s bill to rise by $536, South Sider’s by $23
Friday, June 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Own property on Chicago’s North Side or central core? Expect a big tax hike
Friday, June 21, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Budget woes at Cook County health system threaten insurance program used by more than 300,000 residents
Friday, June 21, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Watchdog Alleges Shady Financials At Health System
Friday, June 21, 2019
WBEZ News

If you live in these areas, your property taxes are about to soar
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County property tax bills posted online ahead of mailing, taxes due August 1
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Cook County Assessor’s Office asks commissioners to lend staff — and is told, yeah, we’re pretty busy
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Program Focuses on ‘Whole Person Care’
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
WTTW News

Beekeeping Behind Bars: Inmates Raise Bees at Cook County Jail
Friday, June 14, 2019
WTTW News

Court rules county retirees entitled to health care no matter who last employer was
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Prevent Illinois from being the next ground zero for measles
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

At Cook County Jail, Inmates Relax Their Minds, Bodies With Yoga
Thursday, June 06, 2019
Prison Mindfulness Institute

Illinois Dept. of Revenue Releases Final 2018 Cook County Equalization Factor
Thursday, June 06, 2019
JD Supra

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP