Debra Keefer Ramage

Debra Keefer Ramage began writing freelance for Southside Pride in 2012, shortly after returning from a 13-year sojourn in England. She covers progressive politics, education, co-ops and neighborhoods. In 2017 she started doing Southside Pride’s restaurant review column, The Dish.


Chicago and 48th Street — who made it through?

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Despite its genteel relative prosperity, the business and residential hub around Chicago Avenue and 48th Street has had a rocky year and a bit. It’s only a few blocks south of George Floyd Square, so there has been some disruption to traffic flowing through. There were…

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Saving the Earth like we mean it – Part II

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE You probably did not guess when you read my “Saving the Earth like we mean it” piece a year ago (https://southsidepride.com/2020/04/13/saving-the-earth-like-we-mean-it/) that it was only Part I of an ongoing exhortation. Even worse, this is the agitprop equivalent of a good-cop-bad-cop routine, and last year was…

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Second COVID Spring on Lake Street

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE I’m not sure but I think spring on Lake Street might be the first neighborhood spotlight piece to get a second COVID treatment. According to the sparse feedback I get, this formula works—for COVID, and it should work for the gradual emergence and recovery from it—so…

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Cam Gordon convenes Housing Forum

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE The Ward 2 Housing Forum presented by City Council Member Cameron Gordon on Feb. 21 was attended by over 70 people. A lot of the attendees were landlords, mostly small scale. The Zoom meeting was hosted by Gordon’s policy aide, Robin Garwood. Co-presenters for the forum…

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the 2021 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE 2020 is gone but the Weirds are definitely lingering on. As February rolls in and we congratulate ourselves on surviving the first full month of what could be another very stressful year, we acknowledge two things—one, we’re just past the one-year anniversary of the first publicized…

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2020’s two great losses in local journalism

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Throughout this pandemic, we have been noting businesses in various categories that have closed for good (and a few brave souls who opened businesses!).We’ve noted the impact on restaurants, breweries, retail and services, both vital (like groceries and pharmacies) and not so vital but still pretty…

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The art of winter wellness

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Oh, great. Not only is it winter, but it’s in the peak of a terrible pandemic. And you want to talk about wellness? Is that some kind of sick joke? When the conditions are most stacked against your goal, that’s not when you give up, it’s…

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Holidays are holy

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” Joni Mitchell famously sang. I have been thinking about the many local delights that are gone, or may be soon. In 2016 I was still working for Heart of the Beast Theatre. We put on “La Natividad”…

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Some inspirational folks who are aging gracefully; plus, explosion of senior workouts online

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE First, let us consider the staggering array of online workouts available these days, especially those geared toward seniors who might have mobility issues. Chair workouts and zero-impact aerobics (ZIP) dominate the list. There are stand-alone companies like GrowYoung Fitness (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQn6LXA4_2c), along with the Ys, private health…

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How to observe holidays in the 2020 Weirds

DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE I just finished reading “The Plague” (in translation) by Albert Camus. I didn’t consciously do it as a preparation for writing this, but it had that salutary effect. I say salutary because it’s not an easy or pleasurable read, whether you happen to be in a pandemic…

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