Pulse:

Joan Kaufman likes talking about green design. And that’s exactly why she found herself in the big media spotlight recently.

On Feb. 22, she appeared on WGN-AM radio’s Bill Moller Show where she talked about the “green” interior design features her Naperville company, Interior Planning & Design, is offering in commercial and residential buildings.

Kaufman said this wasn’t the first time she has appeared on TV or radio, but that she still finds it “nerve racking.”

“I’ve been on television in California before as well as on TV on the ‘House Smart’ program, but you still get nervous,” she said. “Mr. Moller makes you feel very comfortable, and the show is really interactive as people can come by on Michigan Avenue and see you. It’s not like being in a fishbowl, but of course, I don’t do this all the time.”

Kaufman said she spoke with Moller about energy-efficient designs in features from plumbing systems to lighting controls that turn on and off automatically as well as the use of nontoxic fabrics, carpets, and other materials used in homes and commercial sites.

“We just finished the Springbrook Animal Care Center that opened last summer in Naperville, and we included nontoxic materials there,” she said. “You have cats, for instance, that walk across floor and later lick their paws. You have to use safe products because of that.”

No taboo here

Best-selling author to share ‘Friends’

Grief, mental illness, extramarital affairs — it’s going to be a wild night as New York-Times best-selling author Robyn Carr meets with fans March 27 at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville.

Carr will discuss the lurid topics of her new novel, “Four Friends,” which focuses on a group of women coping with life’s toughest moments. Don’t call the babysitter just yet; Carr insists this is a family-friendly event.

“All ages are welcome,” Carr said. “‘Four Friends’ also explores some warmhearted themes: forgiveness, new love, finding oneself, sharing a laugh with a good friend.”

Carr, who has published almost 50 books since 1978, authored the incredibly successful Virginia River and Thunder Point series. She will share the inspiration for her new novel before answering audience questions and signing copies of the book.

“I definitely try to keep things fun and lively,” Carr said. “I always adore meeting readers — whether they’ve read all my books or just stopped into the bookstore and are hearing about my novel for the first time. There’s something magical that happens when people talk about the books that they love.”

Sometimes these “magical” book talks can turn into something entirely different; Carr insists no question is taboo.

“People ask all kinds of things,” Carr said. “Sometimes a person will bring up current events, or even ask what my favorite Beatles song is.”

The discussion begins at 7 p.m. at 123 W. Jefferson Ave.

Check please

Redwings take No. 2 at state in chess

Students from Benet Academy had an impressive finish last month in the 40th annual Illinois High School Association Chess Team State Championship in Peoria. After stellar performances throughout seven rounds, the Redwings earned second-place honors, losing to the No. 1 seed, Whitney Young.

“This team is special because at its core are 10 players who founded the Benet chess team in the fall of 2011,” said Benet coach Pattie Zinski. “These kids have many other talents, including violin, theater, track, swimming and soccer, yet they dedicated themselves to excellence in chess.”

Zinski said this was the team’s third state championship appearance.

“Their experience shone as they won six out of seven matches,” the coach said. “I am so proud of them for taking this program from nonexistent to second in the state in three short years. I can’t wait to see what they do as seniors next year.”

Playing for Benet were Brendan Brown, Anthony Gedvilas, Matt DeMario, Ethan Evans, Grant Kozeny, Nate Kranjc, Alec Mather, Russell McKenzie, Patrick Noble, Joe Weber, Johan Widmann and Max Zinski. Earning All-State honors at their respective boards were Max Zinski and Matt DeMario.

The team heads to high school nationals in San Diego during spring break.

Next on list

Benet presents ‘42nd Street’

Residents looking to be entertained need to get in the car and head straight to “42nd Street,” which opens for two weekend performances next week at Benet Academy’s St. Daniel Hall Auditorium.

Brian Wand is at the helm of this Broadway classic, which includes a cast and crew of more than 100 students.

“The students have been working so hard and spending hours in and out of rehearsal,” he said. “The audiences will be entertained and amazed, and can expect to leave with a smile on their faces and a desire to sign up for a tap class.”

Wand said “42nd Street” offers an opportunity to “showcase the fantastic groups of dancers we currently have at our school.”

“This show has been on our to-do list for a few years,” Wand said. “It is such a fun and energetic show.”

The show opens Thursday, March 13, and runs through the weekend, and plays again March 20 through 22. Tickets are $10. For more information, contact the ticket hotline at 630-991-2401.

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