Nathan Allen leaves House Theatre of Chicago after nearly 20 years as leader

Nathan Allen, the founding artistic director of the House Theatre of Chicago and its principal public face and creative force for the last almost 20 years, is leaving his post.

“I am not going to stop making art,” Allen said, noting that money factored into his decision. “But I have two school-age kids and my wife is working a lot of overtime.”

As with many other theater companies, the pandemic has had an acute impact on House, a company founded by a group of college friends in 2000 and known for its innovative original theater, its interest in popular culture and its longstanding determination to attract millennials and Gen-Xers who do not typically attend theater. Allen, known for his exuberant curtain speeches (“let’s make some noise”) and his warm-centered personality, was a big part of that appeal, as was his work.

Unlike most non-profit theaters, House made an impressive 70% of its roughly $2.2 million annual budget at its own box office, and that box office has been closed since March.

“Our way has always been to sell a hell of a lot of tickets,” Allen, 42, said. “And our way doesn’t work anymore. We’ve settled into a sustainable position where we can hold on for a whole year. But what the House deserves is someone to really rebuild a company. I know what that is, but it’s not me. That was a commitment I had in my 20s, but I don’t have it now. I feel like I already helped build it, and I honestly would be too angry to have to do it all again.”

House has been forced to furlough or lay off most of its staffers in recent weeks. Its two remaining current employees, Allen and managing director Erik Schroeder, have been reduced to part time.

Allen was responsible for some huge creative and financial successes, including the writing and directing of “Death and Harry Houdini,” which toured nationally; the co-authorship and direction of “The Sparrow,” a wrenching piece about an unusual young girl in a small Illinois town; the direction of “Verboten,” a recent hit musical featuring punk music by Jason Narducy; and, perhaps most notably of all, the direction of “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan,” the dazzlingly creative and emotionally intense piece that first made House a young Chicago theater to watch.

“Nate has built a community of artists,” Schroeder said. “For so many people in Chicago, House was their first theater experience. His focus was always on the audience. He helped bring some super-fun and very unusual stories to the stage. And a large part of the legacy that Nate leaves is an audience of 30- and 40-somethings who now will be theatergoers for rest of their lives.”

Schroeder also said that House intends to carry on into the future and look for a successor. Allen says he is committed to helping the company make that transition. He also said that he had “seen the sea change socially” and concluded

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Trump’s Return from Walter Reed Leaves White House in Disarray

The White House that President Trump woke up in on Tuesday morning was in full-blown chaos, even by the standards of the havoc of the Trump era.

Aides said the president’s voice was stronger after his return from the hospital Monday night, but at times he still sounded as if he was trying to catch air. The West Wing was mostly empty, cleared of advisers who were out sick with the coronavirus themselves or told to work from home rather than in the capital’s most famous virus hot spot. Staff members in the White House residence were in full personal protective equipment, including yellow gowns, surgical masks and disposable protective eye covers.

Four more White House officials tested positive, including Stephen Miller, a top adviser to Mr. Trump, bringing to 14 the number of people carrying the virus at the White House or in the president’s close circle. Mr. Trump, diagnosed with Covid-19 last week, was still livid at his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose effort on Saturday to tamp down the rosy portrait of Mr. Trump’s condition given to reporters by his chief doctor was caught on camera. Other officials were angry with Mr. Meadows for not even trying to control the president.

Some aides tried to project confidence — “We feel comfortable working here, those of us who are still here,” Alyssa Farah, the White House communications director, said in an interview on Fox News — but many saw the situation as spiraling out of control. The pandemic that Mr. Trump had treated cavalierly for months seemed to have locked its grip on the White House. West Wing aides, shaken by polls showing the president badly trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr., worried that they were living through the final days of the Trump administration.

The disarray was at the same time spreading across Washington. Almost the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, including its chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, went into quarantine on Tuesday after coming in contact with Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who tested positive for the coronavirus. Late in the day, the stock market took a dive when Mr. Trump abruptly called off talks for a congressional coronavirus relief bill after the Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, said such a stimulus was badly needed.

Some White House staff members wondered whether Mr. Trump’s behavior was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria.

Staff members said the president was glad to be back in the White House after spending four days and three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which aides said made him feel as if he were in a cage. Mr. Meadows and Bobby Peede, the director of the White House advance team, kept him company there for hours and served as a lifeline to the rest

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Jalpaiguri tea garden suspends operation, leaves 1,500 people jobless

JALPAIGURI :
The Saili Tea Estate in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district suspended operations on Monday, leaving around 1,500 people jobless ahead of the festive season, officials said.

The management put up a suspension of work notice at the main gate in the morning, workers at the tea estate said.

Negotiations were underway for the Durga Puja bonus and the operations were suspended amid the talks, they said.

The management refused to give 20% bonus to the workers as being given by the other tea gardens, they added.

The workers were offered 15.5% bonus, which led to protests at the tea garden a few days back.

“When we arrived for work in the morning, we saw the suspension of work notice at the gate. Also, the garden officials have left, following which protests started,” said Swapna Pradhan, a worker of the tea estate.

Officials of the Malbazar police station were at the spot to tackle the situation.

The workers demanded resumption of operations and payment of 20% bonus, threatening to intensify their agitation.

“If the administration does not take immediate action, we will boycott the next year’s assembly elections. We do not get any benefit, neither do we get fair pay. We need 20% bonus and the garden has to be opened before the Durga Puja,” said Shanta Kujur, another worker at the garden.

The garden authorities could not be reached for comments.

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House leaves for October recess without reaching deal with White House on coronavirus bill

The House has adjourned for October recess so members may return to their districts to campaign ahead of Election Day, even though congressional Democrats have not reached a deal with White House officials for a coronavirus relief bill.

Pelosi said in a letter to her Democratic House colleagues on Friday afternoon that she and administration officials remained far apart on certain issues. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke several times this week to negotiate, and met in person at the Capitol on Tuesday.

“Our negotiations with the Administration continue, and I am hopeful that we can reach agreement. However, we still have significant disagreement in key areas,” Pelosi wrote. She said that she and administration officials differed on unemployment insurance benefits, schools, state and local funding, a child tax credit, testing and tracing, and appropriations.

“We are expecting a response from the White House on these areas and others with more detail.  In the meantime, we continue to work on the text to move quickly to facilitate an agreement,” Pelosi said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walks into her offices at the U.S Capitol
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) enters the U.S Capitol to her office in Washington, D.C., U.S. October 2, 2020.

KEN CEDENO / REUTERS


Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Democrats and the Trump administration were still far apart on issues including funding for state and local governments, and there is “a stark difference not just of dollars, but of values.”

The House narrowly passed a $2.2 trillion aid bill on Thursday evening, a slimmed-down version of the $3.4 trillion relief bill the House passed in May.

The legislation is unlikely to pass in the Senate, as the Republican majority is unwilling to consider a proposal that costs more than $2 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that “the thought that Senate Republicans would go up to $2.2 trillion is outlandish.”

In her letter to Democratic colleagues, Pelosi also offered her thoughts and prayers to President Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This is a sad day for our country, knowing that more than 7 million American families have faced the same worry after their loved one has been infected, and more than 209,000 have died,” Pelosi said.

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Home Improvement: Safe and effective ways to clean up leaves – Salisbury Post

Metro Creative

Removing leaves from the yard is a task that homeowners must perform each fall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not all leaves are shed at the same time, so several cleanup sessions may be necessary before the last leaf is banished from the yard. Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup can be a taxing job if done by hand. For people unaccustomed to exercise, cleaning up leaves can turn into quite a workout.

According to the Discovery Health Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoulders and arms will feel the burn. Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of breath should take a break, and these tips also make the job safer and easier.

• Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy to work up a sweat after raking for awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as not to get overheated or risk hypothermia from sweating in chilly temps.

• Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Medical School, recommends forming a wide base with the feet and holding the rake slightly toward the end of the handle with one hand three-quarters of the way down the handle from the other. Do not twist the spine; move your entire body. Avoid overuse of muscles on one side of the body by switching sides periodically.

• Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the task that much more difficult, which could lead to overworking oneself.

• Avoid overfilling bags. For those who plan to mulch and bag leaves, remember that compressed leaves can get heavy pretty quickly. Do not over-fill bags, as they can be hard to move or bring to a recycling center. Using a leaf blower to push leaves into piles will reduce the strenuousness of the task, but leaf blowers can be heavy and noisy and gas-powered blowers can produce a considerable amount of exhaust. Raking leaves can be quite a chore. It is important that homeowners take steps to prevent injury while cleaning up leaves in their yards.

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Five ways to turn fallen leaves into free fertilizer for your garden

Leaf litter is a common sight in yards across the country this time of year. Instead of raking leaves into bags headed for the landfill, experts say fallen leaves can stay put, and with a little preparation, become a natural renewable resource that creates the perfect soil to grow new vegetation.

Raking leaves
Raking leaves

(photo/patrickheagney/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, yard wastes account for approximately 20 percent of all garbage generated in the United States each year.

The EPA’s most recent statistics indicate 34.5 million tons of yard trimmings were accounted for in 2014, but only about 31 percent (10.8 million tons) ended up in a landfill.

Most tree leaves, grass clippings, brush and other prunings end up recycled, composted or burned for energy. And experts, like horticulturist Robert “Skip” Richter with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, suggest taking advantage of the leafy freebies by keeping them in your own yard.

“You have all these free nutrients in an organic form that lay on the lawn and by bagging them up and using them for mulch or compost you can recycle them back into your landscape in a form that plants are designed to take: naturally decomposing organic matter,” Richter said.

Nutrients in leaves that fall from a tree during one season is equivalent to about three-fourths of all the nutrients that tree took up during the year, he added.

Reusing these wastes creates a product that can be used to help improve soils, grow the next generation of crops and improve water quality.

If you are going to hang onto your leaves this year, here are a few ways you can keep them on your property and out of landfills.

Mowing

A light covering of leaves can be mowed with a mulching mower or cut up with a few passes of a lawn mower. The shredded leaves fall in between the blades of grass and down toward the soil.

Richter said this technique is most effective with southern turfgrasses because they have a course texture and the leaves can fall between the turf blades.

Mulch

Use a mower with a bag as your leaf gathering device to shred and collect leaves. Then spread the chopped leaves as mulch in flower, vegetable and shrub beds and around trees.

Leaves will slowly decompose on the surface and release their nutrients over time, Richter told AccuWeather. They also form a cover that protects the soil against erosion and crusting from rainfall and irrigation.

Compost

Some jurisdictions operate programs in which residents can rake or blow leaves onto the street for pick up by special vacuum trucks on designated days. These are then sent to composting facilities, according to the EPA.

Another option is to compost them on-site. For people who have a compost bin, leaves and other yard wastes can be added to create an organic product that feed trees and plants.

Soil Improvement

You can simply collect leaves and rototill them directly into garden beds to

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Double shooting in Garden City leaves one dead, another injured – News – Savannah Morning News

A double shooting in Garden City on Tuesday evening left one person dead and another injured in a neighborhood that is experiencing an uptick in gun violence this year.

According to Garden City Police Chief Gilbert Ballard, on Sept. 22 just after 7 p.m. two people were shot on 6th Street near Highway 80, with one victim struck in the chest and the other struck in the leg.

After Garden City police arrived at the scene, both victims were transported to be hospitalized, where one victim died from gunshot wounds.

No arrests have been made in connection to the case as of Wednesday morning. The identities of the victims are being withheld pending notification of next of kin for the deceased.

Garden City police were assisted at the scene by the Pooler Police Department and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. Ballard said that the case has been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“It’s just so aggravating,” Ballard said of Tuesday’s shooting, which is the fifth fatal shooting incident in Garden City during 2020 after no homicides were reported there in 2018 or 2019. “These shootings are random. … We’re aggressively patrolling that area.”

On Sept. 13, a solemn procession to demonstrate against gun violence was held in the neighborhood of Tuesday night’s double shooting. Following this incident, four people have been fatally shot in the neighborhood this year, including an 11-year-old boy in April.

Anyone with information about Tuesday night’s double shooting is encouraged to call the CrimeStoppers tip line at 912-234-2020. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

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Laura Whitmore leaves fans in hysterics with epic interior design fail involving a multicoloured rug

Television presenter Laura Whitmore has left fans in hysterics while revealing her interior fail.

The 35 year old Irish star took to Instagram to show off a new rug she’d purchased, however it wasn’t quite what she expected.

Sharing a snap of the rug with her 1.2 million Instagram followers, the Love Island presenter penned: “So I ordered this… and today, this arrived (SWIPE >)” followed by an eye-rolling emoji.

Laura Whitmore shared a snap of what the carpet was supposed to look like
Laura Whitmore shared a snap of what the carpet was supposed to look like

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In the first snap we see a beautiful geometric patterned rug in pastel shades spanning a well-designed lounge in what appears to be a shop photo.

However, the beautiful rug which appears in the professional shot isn’t the same rug as Laura received, with it instead being a touch shabby, a completely different shade and half the size.

The shocked presenter shared a snap of herself standing on her new purchase, showing that it was instead a door mat sized rug, as opposed to a lounge rug as it was advertised as.

The rug that turned up was a little less impressive than Laura had hoped
The rug that turned up was a little less impressive than Laura had hoped

And fans couldn’t stop laughing, as they rushed to the comment section to pen their thoughts.

One wrote: “Literally dying”, while another added: “the reality of ordering online.”

A third said: “This has cracked me up,” and a fourth penned: “Hahahahahhaha.” [sic]

The Irish star has been left less than impressed
The Irish star has been left less than impressed

The comment section, which was filled with laughing emojis by commenters, also saw some fans comparing the rug faux-pas to 2020.

“If there was ever a picture for 2020,” while another commented: “If 2020 was a rug.”

Despite the unfortunate purchase, the rest of Laura’s home is a total haven of interior perfection.

Laura and partner Iain Stirling, who is also a television star, have been living together since he moved in back in 2018.

Their home is filled with quirky artwork, a gorgeous balcony and a must-have dressing room.

Plus, the pair recently introduced an epic garden bar into their home.

The stars enjoyed a boozy night with friends
Laura and Iain recently introduced a bar into their back garden

Taking to Instagram in summer, Iain shared a look at the rustic delight which sits in the pair’s large garden.

Coined ‘The Snug,’ comedian Iain penned: “Delighted to introduce you to the newest member of our family.

“I can now go to the pub and not even leave my house. Ideal.”

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Mum’s grout cleaning trick leaves her bathroom walls sparkling clean



a sign on a tiled floor: MailOnline logo


© Provided by Daily Mail
MailOnline logo

An Australian mother has revealed how she ‘cracked the code’ and discovered how to clean dirty grout on bathroom shower walls with ease.

The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried ‘every product’ on her rental bathroom walls with no success and decided to mix bicarb soda with Domestos disinfectant bleach.

‘Mums! I’ve cracked the code! This took me only a few minutes and not a lot of effort – I couldn’t believe my eyes,’ she wrote alongside photos of the transformation posted in the Mums Who Cook, Clean and Organise Facebook group.  

For health and safety reasons, it’s advised to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals, but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe.



a close up of a tiled wall: BEFORE: An Australian mother has revealed how she 'cracked the code' and discovered how to clean dirty grout on the bathroom shower walls with ease (pictured)


© Provided by Daily Mail
BEFORE: An Australian mother has revealed how she ‘cracked the code’ and discovered how to clean dirty grout on the bathroom shower walls with ease (pictured)



a group of people sitting on a tiled floor: AFTER: The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried 'every product' but resorted to mixing bicarb soda with Domestos bleach. She said she was 'so pleased' with the result (pictured)


© Provided by Daily Mail
AFTER: The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried ‘every product’ but resorted to mixing bicarb soda with Domestos bleach. She said she was ‘so pleased’ with the result (pictured)

The woman said she mixed the two products until a paste was formed, then used an old toothbrush to apply it onto the grout.

‘In most places I didn’t even leave it, just a light brushing, it was gone in an instant,’ she said.

The woman was ‘so pleased’ with how well the formula worked at cleaning the grout she highly recommends it to others.

Her post has been ‘liked’ by more than 1,200 others since it was shared on September 20, leaving others very impressed.



a close up of a device: Bicarb soda is commonly used to clean products and areas around the home


© Provided by Daily Mail
Bicarb soda is commonly used to clean products and areas around the home



a close up of a bottle: For health and safety reasons, it's best to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe to use


© Provided by Daily Mail
For health and safety reasons, it’s best to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe to use

‘I’m off to go scrub everything in the house!’ one woman said.

‘Well I know what I’m doing while the kids are at school,’ another said.

‘Just bought Domestos! Will give it a go,’ a third added. 

While the clever hack worked well at cleaning the grout, others warned about the dangers of mixing chemicals together. 

CHEMICALS YOU SHOULD NEVER MIX 

Bleach + Vinegar

Baking Soda + Vinegar

Bleach + Ammonia

Drain Cleaner + Drain Cleaner

Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar

Bleach + Rubbing Alcohol 

Source: Good House Keeping 

‘Be careful people when mixing chemicals, don’t ever mix vinegar and bleach,’ one mum said. 

‘Good on you for experimenting and finding a solution to something that so many people struggle with – please carefully research your chemicals before mixing!’ another warned.   

Inhaling the toxic vapours can lead to coughing, breathing problems, allergic reactions and even nasty chemical burns. 

It’s a common cleaning mistake many people make, as cleaning experts have warned for years that adding any acidic to bleach will produce a toxic chlorine vapour. 

Before you get

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Mum’s genius grout cleaning trick leaves her bathroom walls sparkling clean in seconds

‘I couldn’t believe my eyes’: Mum’s ‘genius’ and VERY simple grout cleaning trick leaves her rental bathroom walls sparkling in minutes

  • A mum has shared how she ‘cracked the code’ on how to clean shower grout  
  • Posting online, she resorted to using bicarb soda mixed with Domestos bleach
  • She said the mixture worked remarkably well and required minimal scrubbing 
  • For health and safety, it’s best to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals

An Australian mother has revealed how she ‘cracked the code’ and discovered how to clean dirty grout on bathroom shower walls with ease.

The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried ‘every product’ on her rental bathroom walls with no success and decided to mix bicarb soda with Domestos disinfectant bleach.

‘Mums! I’ve cracked the code! This took me only a few minutes and not a lot of effort – I couldn’t believe my eyes,’ she wrote alongside photos of the transformation posted in the Mums Who Cook, Clean and Organise Facebook group.  

For health and safety reasons, it’s advised to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals, but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe.

BEFORE: An Australian mother has revealed how she 'cracked the code' and discovered how to clean dirty grout on the bathroom shower walls with ease (pictured)

BEFORE: An Australian mother has revealed how she ‘cracked the code’ and discovered how to clean dirty grout on the bathroom shower walls with ease (pictured)

AFTER: The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried 'every product' but resorted to mixing bicarb soda with Domestos bleach. She said she was 'so pleased' with the result (pictured)

AFTER: The Melbourne woman was frustrated after having tried ‘every product’ but resorted to mixing bicarb soda with Domestos bleach. She said she was ‘so pleased’ with the result (pictured)

The woman said she mixed the two products until a paste was formed, then used an old toothbrush to apply it onto the grout.

‘In most places I didn’t even leave it, just a light brushing, it was gone in an instant,’ she said.

The woman was ‘so pleased’ with how well the formula worked at cleaning the grout she highly recommends it to others.

Her post has been ‘liked’ by more than 1,200 others since it was shared on September 20, leaving others very impressed.

Bicarb soda is commonly used to clean products and areas around the home

For health and safety reasons, it's best to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe to use

For health and safety reasons, it’s commonly known to avoid mixing bleach with other chemicals, but combining the product with bicarb soda is safe to use

‘I’m off to go scrub everything in the house!’ one woman said.

‘Well I know what I’m doing while the kids are at school,’ another said.

‘Just bought Domestos! Will give it a go,’ a third added. 

While the clever hack worked well at cleaning the grout, others warned about the dangers of mixing chemicals together. 

CHEMICALS YOU SHOULD NEVER MIX 

Bleach + Vinegar

Baking Soda + Vinegar

Bleach + Ammonia

Drain Cleaner + Drain Cleaner

Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar

Bleach + Rubbing Alcohol 

Source: Good House Keeping 

‘Be careful people when mixing chemicals, don’t ever mix vinegar and bleach,’ one mum said. 

‘Good on you for experimenting and finding a solution to something that so many people struggle with – please carefully research

Read more