WHO IS MINDING THE STORE?
Do you ever get the feeling that nobody is minding the store when it comes to government here in Illinois?
Well, I wish I had better news for you but a couple of recent developments are not helping matters..
But, there is a silver lining…we have someone out there looking out for pocketbook even if the government isn’t.
Government is Now a Mystery to Itself
A recent report conducted by the Auditor General of Illinois found that the state government could not provide a comprehensive list of programs it runs. Let me repeat that…the state government spends our tax dollars, hires staff and runs programs on behalf of Illinois citizens but cannot list them.
Often times, these reports go unnoticed but thanks to the policy experts at the Illinois Policy Institute shined the spotlight on this report. John Tillman who serves as Chairman of the Institute appeared on the Greg and Dan Radio Show in Peoria talking about this report during their morning program. As John Tillman pointed out, the audit indicated that there are a minimum of 1,750 programs the state administers and that is on the conservative side. As a result, they are calling for a sunset commission to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative programs, which makes a lot of sense. How much of an impact are they making if nobody is making a list?
We all agree that the CTA is a vital element to moving around the City of Chicago. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t use a tune up.
Although there has been an enormous amount of media attention about the CTA doomsday scenario, there has not been a whole lot of talk about tightening the belt at the CTA or making sure we don’t face future budget problems. Instead, we look at the posters on trains in the morning that say we just need more money.
Once again, the Illinois Policy Institute is shining that spotlight on some problems that I think we all know exists but really nobody is talking about. A recent column by Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune highlighted a series of common sense proposals that would right the economic ship at the CTA instead of asking taxpayers to write a blank check and hope for the best. In fact, these proposals will also help the CTA avoid further doomsday scenarios and actually operate more like a business than a bloated agency.
In the coming weeks, we might have a deal on the CTA. Hopefully, some of these proposals that actually solve short term and long term problems at the CTA can be included in the deal. If not, we can always go back to “Where’s Waldo” in our state government.
VP/Group Director, Public Affairs
FRESH BEATS TO CHICAGO NIGHTLIFE AND THE MASSES
A recent trend in mainstream music culture is the emergence of DJs from behind their DJ booths and into the spotlight. Regardless of how you feel about the cultural phenomenon surrounding “Celebrity DJs,” two Chicagoans, Matt ROAN and E6 have proven to have the talent and the dynamic personalities to steal the spotlight and still provide some of the newest and innovative material on the scene. The emergence of new technological developments has lead to an evolution of what it means to be an artist as well as a DJ. DJs not only provide the musical atmosphere for parties, but are now also involved in the production, promotion, and creation of music. With so many exciting new developments, it should be no surprise that the Chicago music community is at the forefront of this new trend.
Two individuals that stand out from the crowd are Matt ROAN and E6, who together are a perfect example of this new breed of DJ. Blending everything from performance to production, the past year has brought some exciting new opportunities for both. In addition to being selected as a featured performer at Lollapalooza, Matt ROAN announced his residency at Empire Liquors with partner E6, and also opened for some of the biggest names in the music business. During the summer alone, ROAN opened for eccentric musical artist Mickey Avalon, and also opened and closed for celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson, from whom he received rave reviews. Since then, ROAN and E6 have gone on to form their own music management company called Crossfader King, and even to co-produce their own monthly event Dance Party Magic at Empire Liquors, which features some of the best talent in the underground DJ circuit.
Dance Party Magic has served not only as a means to showcase the newest developments in music, but it has also been a way for different artists to meet and interact, which will inevitably lead to new collaborative efforts in the future. Whether it is providing innovative talent from other cities, or performing and traveling nationally, the dynamic duo of Matt ROAN and E6 only promises to continue to revolutionize and raise national consciousness of the Chicago music scene.
REALITY RULES & ROLLS
RA Sushi‘s Glenview location recently hosted RA Reality, a creative sushi recipe contest to raise awareness for local non-profit organizations featuring Chicagoland reality television stars.
Michael Laungani of The Apprentice Season 5, Mookie Lee of Survivor Fiji, Jamie Murray of The Real World New Orleans, and James Rhine of Season 6 Big Brother all partnered-up with a charity of their choice and participated in creating and naming an original recipe for a sushi roll. A panel of media judges, as well as guests had the opportunity to sample all four rolls and vote for their favorite.
The guys were nothing short of competitive. Before the rolling even began, they were schmoozing the media judges claiming their roll to be “best for your cholesterol” or “most unique shape to eat!” This did not let up when the competition began…they were all business!
Named after his tribe on Survivor, Mookie Lee’s winning RAVU Roll features Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Unagi, Scallion, Avocado and Cucumber topped with Tempura Bits and drizzled with Eel Sauce and Wasabi Mayo. The RAVU Roll will be offered on a special menu throughout the month of December 2007 at all three Chicagoland RA Sushi locations (Chicago, Glenview and Lombard) for $10, with $3 from the sale of every roll going to Mookie’s own charity ACTIVE Chicago.
And I will not reveal my personal favorite…or the spread for that matter, but I must say all four of the rolls were quite tasty, and Mookie’s roll is definitely worth the try!
Click HERE Q101RAReality.mp3 if you want to listen to James and Mookie discuss RA Reality on the Sherman and Tingle radio show on Q101.
HOTEL RIDER NIGHTS
Recently, our client, the new Hotel Sax Chicago launched some incredible packages based on celebrity contract riders. (You know, all the stuff celebrities request in their hotel rooms or green rooms during their stay.) Packages are inspired by various artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rat Pack and even a fictionalized character with a true celebrity persona – Ari Gold. The hotel offers guests a chance to live like these famous faces for a night with rooms filled with white flowers, apple pie, tubs of Heineken, a bath butler or your own personal “Loyd” for the day.
A few weeks ago, I got a call from producers at Nightline, ABC’s nightly news program asking about the Celebrity Rider Inspired packages and expressing their interest in featuring the Hotel Sax and these packages in an upcoming segment. I couldn’t believe it! Nightline is one of the most prestigious news programs in the country and we were honored to work with them.
The piece aired this past Tuesday night during the “Sign of the Times” segment. One of the most rewarding things about a job in PR is actually watching your work come to fruition and I have to say this was hands down one of my favorite PR experiences and one of my favorite clips.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Every five years, Congress embarks on a lengthy process to reauthorize federal farm policy through legislation commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill.” The Farm Bill is one of the most closely watched pieces of legislation by Congress, media, lobbyists and rural America. Although many may not take a second glance at this legislation, you should. Why? This year the Farm Bill has the opportunity to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing the nation – obesity.
Over the past two years, a broad-based coalition of agricultural organizations have joined together to shape a Farm Bill that is more competitive, improves the quality and safety of foods and improves nutrition for all Americans, especially children. The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance represents 120 specialty crop organizations and 350 individual specialty crops throughout the nation in their effort to raise the level of debate on nutrition.
So, what is a specialty crop?
This is a classification used to describe fruits, vegetables, potatoes, nuts, nurseries, etc. Just about everything you see in the produce section at your local grocery store. Actually, specialty crops account for nearly half of all the cash crop receipts in America and are a vital component of the agricultural economy.
Getting back to nutrition, how does the Farm Bill help combat obesity?
For the first time, Congress has the opportunity to write into law legislation that would establish a nationwide effort to include fruits & vegetable in schools in each and every state. The USDA Fruit & Vegetable Snack Program – if authorized by Congress – would allow more than 5,000 schools and 4.5 million children by incorporating healthy eating into the school lunch program. There is no more effective way to establish a routine for healthy eating than give children fruits & vegetables every day at school.
So, how is Congress reacting…
A recent editorial by The Hill – one of the top publications covering politics and policy in our nation’s capitol – sums up the efforts of the Alliance very well. “Most notably, growers of fruits and vegetables appear to be on the verge of winning significant support for the first time. The bill approved by the House last summer includes $1.6 billion to help growers of tomatoes, oranges and other so-called specialty crops…”
This boost was made possible – in part – by the efforts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who took her case to the floor indicated her support of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and their priorities. Recently, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee passed a bill that would take the needs and priorities of specialty crop growers to even higher levels.
But, the food fight is far from over. The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on the Farm Bill very soon but there is still division on the bill as a whole. Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the United Fresh Produce Association, shared his thoughts on the future of the Farm Bill and its impacts on the nation’s specialty crop industry.
Many have voiced their concerns with the Farm Bill as a whole, but Congress has a chance to enact a program that is a true paradigm shift in nutrition policy and sets a course for health eating in our nation’s schools. Let’s hope they do just that.
HAVE YOU JUST READ ABOUT US IN CRAIN’S?
The Zapwater Blog has gone a long way in communicating the depth and diversity of our client roster and what a great place Zapwater is to work. Yes, Zapwater has a booming hospitality and lifestyle practice. But most people don’t know we also have equally booming corporate and public affairs practices.
Why a Blog?
This Blog enables us to share experiences, talk about trends and to both praise and critique our industry. We’ve blogged from such great events as The Sundance Film Festival and The Kanye West Foundation Event at the Hotel Sax. But because our client roster is so diverse, we are likely to also be blogging about topics such as the Farm Bill debate in Congress or the first flight of Airbus 380.
What is Zapwater?
With the reach of a big agency and with boutique-quality services, all Zapwater campaigns show return-on-investment and provide tangible measurements for success. By mixing proven practices with new and innovative techniques, Zapwater’s service offerings include the following:
Public and Media Relations
o How do you cut through the clutter? Even a great product can get lost in the shuffle if it doesn’t have the right machine behind it. Zapwater’s unique approach and extensive contacts help our clients wade through a sea of competition to ensure that they’re placed smack in front of decision-makers and thought leaders vital to their success.
o Zapwater excels in the creation of events that capture the attention of the media who influence your clients most. Zapwater’s team are involved in the planning of award-winning events that range from five to 5,000 people. In short, we know the power of a well-executed event.
o Zapwater helps clients build brand equity through a wide variety of marketing tactics. While we’re known for our award-winning media campaigns, we also help our clients with all facets of marketing. From message development to shortening the sales cycle, we ensure that our clients have the right tools to meet their goals.
o The reputation of an organization is its most valuable asset. Zapwater works with its clients to confront situations and issues that might threaten that reputation. Whether it is a product recall or a rumor that is getting louder, Zapwater is prepared to provide counsel and damage control. Our team has gained invaluable experience working in both the political and corporate worlds.
Want to learn more about Zapwater Communications? Call David Zapata at 312.943.0333 or e-mail email@example.com.
You can also learn more about our clients at our new YouTube channel by clicking here.
THANK YOU VETERANS
On behalf of the USO of Illinois, Zapwater Communications would like to salute the men and women who have and do serve our nation. Zapwater Communications is proud to tell the world about its pro-bono client the USO of Illinois and all of the work the organization does on behalf of our troops.
Happy Veterans Day.
DON'T BE JEALOUS OR NV-IOUS
There’s something about a top floor penthouse lounge that eludes exquisiteness, the illuminated Chicago skyline screams radiance and the Hollywood Glam décor of NV Penthouse Lounge emanates elegance. NV Penthouse Lounge (116 W. Hubbard) recently opened and gave anxiously awaiting Chicagoans a chance to experience what we have been missing for so long–a nightlife venue that beckons guests inside to experience luxury, temptation and distinction with a view.
To get an INSIDE LOOK AT NV and sample a taste of the sinful drinks, check out the Metromix TV segment HERE.
As the elevator doors open to the 8th floor penthouse, guests are just steps away from the lounge’s 27-foot granite bar, intertwining accents of granite, iron and upholstery into a unique Windy City nightlife venue. Contrasting elements flow throughout the lounge as an inviting vintage mirrored back bar, bordered with pony hair and granite beckons guests in. Illuminated dark oak towers, low hanging black chandeliers and detailed concrete floors designate the green seating areas providing for simple elegance. Slightly elevated, the Champagne Room with its bubbling lights helps accentuate the backdrop of the gleaming Chicago lights. VIP seating areas pamper guests with private washrooms for usage by the reserved parties for the evening and the outdoor terrace is directly to the left featuring cabana seating for 40 and standing room.
So don’t feel left out, jealous or envious and be sure to check out the hottest nightlife spot around any Thursday, Friday or Saturday!
40 UNDER 40 CONGRATS
Congratulations to Lisa Moeller, President of the USO of Illinois, for being named to this year’s prestigious Crain’s Chicago Business Forty Under Forty list. Lisa is the third Zapwater client to have been named to a Forty Under Forty list.
To read about Lisa, click here.
PHOTO PLUS EXPO 2007
Thousands of photographers stopped by Moab Paper’s booth at the recent Photo Plus Expo at New York’s Jacob Javitz Center. Moab introduced its new line of Moenkopi line of Japanese Washi papers. Brought to market in conjunction with the Awagami Factory of Tokushima, Japan, Moenkopi is the newest product introduced by Moab and continues its tradition of developing and supplying the most innovative and unique inkjet papers available today.
Next up for Moab Paper, Imaging USA 2008 in Tampa, Florida.