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TGIF: 12 Chicago Stories That Prove There's Lots Of Good In The World

By DNAinfo Staff | August 18, 2017 1:32pm | Updated on August 19, 2017 8:59am

CHICAGO — If you follow the news regularly, it can get you down. But there is no shortage of good stuff happening in our fair city: you can now play arcade games with cats, see what it's like to fly during the Air and Water Show and eat a ton of meatballs to win a contest this weekend.

Check out this week's good news from around the neighborhoods:

Obama Foundation Puts Spotlight On Ain't She Sweet Cafe

BEVERLY — The mother-daughter team behind Ain't She Sweet Cafe is featured in a short video from the Obama Foundation.

Margo and Ayisha Strotter's cafes are known for their fresh wraps and smoothies in Beverly and Bronzeville. The Chicago-based foundation posted a video profiling the business Aug. 9.

"There wasn't a place to eat a healthy meal in their neighborhood, so this mother and daughter stepped in," the foundation's Tweet read.

Read more.

[Shutterstock]

Twitter's 'We Rate Dogs' Comes To The Rescue Of Bucktown Animal Shelter

CHICAGO — An extremely popular Twitter account is helping Bucktown's One Tail at a Time animal shelter save dozens of dogs with a fundraiser.

We Rate Dogs — which has more than 3 million followers who check out ratings of adorable pups — is using GoFundMe to raise $10,000 for One Tail at a Time, at 2144 N. Wood St., and the Shelter Project, a national organization to help animals. The money will be split between the two groups.

Read more.

Fly Along With Air & Water Show Pilots With Sky-High GoPro Video

GARY, IND. — Where this story's going, we don't need roads. 

As always, organizers of the annual Air & Water Show hosted local media for rides and interviews Thursday with stunt plane performers flying out of the Gary Jet Center in Northwest Indiana.

This year, pilots who fly anything from Harrier jets to Blue Angels showed up. DNAinfo got to ride along with the AeroShell Aerobatic Team before the big show kicks off Saturday.

Read more.

[DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

Chicago Now Has A Cat Arcade And Cafe, And It's Pretty Awesome

LAKEVIEW — Longtime couple Chris Gutierrez and Shelly Casey have three passions in life — pizza, travel and cats. 

A writer and hairstylist by trade, respectively, each year the pair embarks on a multicontinent journey. 

They've been doing extensive research on cats.

"Because we are such weird, crazy cat people, I was always like, 'Oh we're going to Amsterdam, [let's Google] cat things in Amsterdam,' literally," Casey said. 

Read more.

[DNAinfo/Dave Newbart]

Can You Win A Meatball-Eating Contest In Little Italy? Try This Weekend

LITTLE ITALY — Festa Italiana — featuring a meatball-eating contest and lots of other food — returns to Taylor Street this weekend, but with a shorter schedule then in recent years.

The fest, in its 13th year, runs 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The fest, which also features Italian dancing and music, will take over Taylor Street between Racine and Ashland avenues in the heart of Little Italy.

Read more.

[Courtesy Len Richard]

Former Hollywood Stuntman Raising $10,000 For His Stem Cell Therapy

CHICAGO — Len Richard used to fight in movie scenes as a stuntman, but now he’s fighting for his life.

Diagnosed with liver disease in 2009, he’s been placed on the liver and kidney transplant list to replace his rapidly failing organs. He’s opted to have stem cell replacement therapy in place of the transplant, but his insurance won’t cover it, so he’s raising $10,000 through YouCaring.

Read more.

[DNAinfo/Ted Cox]

What's It Like To Waddle With The Penguins At Lincoln Park Zoo?

LINCOLN PARK — No, I didn't rent a tuxedo, but I did dress in summer black and white, the better to fit in.

Lincoln Park Zoo invited me out for one of its new Penguin Encounters this week. The first thing you find out is you don't actually waddle with the penguins. You're expected to sit quietly, let the penguins decide how close they'll get and definitely don't touch.

You're not "behind the scenes," however, but actually in the back of the Penguin Cove exhibit, where there's a sort of bench shelf that can be converted to nests underneath come winter.

Read more.

[Facebook/South Side Hackerspace]

Bridgeport Group Teams With NASA To View Solar Eclipse From Space

BRIDGEPORT — Chicagoans will be able to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse Monday. But if that's not enough, a local team of amateur astronomers will launch a device that will livestream the eclipse as seen from "near space."

The group, which is affiliated with the South Side Hackerspace facility in Bridgeport, was able to join a NASA program to monitor the solar eclipse from many vantage points. The crew, which calls itself the Remote Astonaut Crew, was the only team selected by NASA that is not affiliated with a university or research facility, project leader Matthew Wendeln said.

Read more.

[DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

Winnemac Park Is So Gorgeous Right Now

LINCOLN SQUARE — In the midst of an ugly week, we present an antidote: nature.

Winnemac Park's late summer wildflower blooms, set against a backdrop of willow trees, are impossibly beautiful right now.

To borrow a quote from John Muir: “Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

Read more.

[DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]

Logan Square's Historic Photo Exhibit Is Back With 100 Never-Shown Images

LOGAN SQUARE — About two years after putting the most comprehensive collection of Logan Square historical photos on display, Andrew Schneider is at it again.

Last year, Schneider, president of the neighborhood group Logan Square Preservation, bought nearly 100 more photo postcards, all taken in the early 20th century, from a single eBay collector who painstakingly gathered the artifacts — sometimes just one or two at a time — at various antique fairs and shows over the years.

Read more.

[Shutterstock]

Here's How To Get A Free Backpack From The Majostee Allstars

CHICAGO — The Majostee Allstars, a group working to empower young people on the South Side, is giving away 1,000 backpacks.

The backpacks will be available during several events leading up to Sept. 5. Chance the Rapper and his band, Social Experiment, helped sponsor the bookbags, said Ja'Mal Green, an activist and the founder of the Allstars.

Read more.

Jamila Woods' New Video Also Stars Chance The Rapper ... And Chicago

CHICAGO — A new music video by local artist Jamilia Woods celebrates Chicago with shots taken in various city neighborhoods and also enlists Chance the Rapper.

Woods, raised in Beverly and educated at St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd., and Brown University, is the associate artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, according to her bio.

Read more.