Lester: The rundown on Jeb Bush's stop in Geneva today
Wondering just how one comes to have Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush padding around in his suburban home?
Local businessman Gerard Keating, who will host Bush tonight at his Geneva home, says things came together following Keating's six-month stay in Panama in 2012.
"While I was there, almost everyone I met was investing in Florida," Keating, who owns Keating Resources, says.
He bought a 20-acre site blocks from Miami International Airport for $11.2 million and developed it into a logistics center he is now leasing out.
It was through his business ventures that he met Bush, who was Florida governor from 1999 to 2007. "I was struck by how the whole state's booming," Keating said. "The more research I did, I realized that it was his leadership and policies that transformed Florida."
'If you run...'
Keating decided to make an offer to Bush. "I said if you run for president, I'd love to bring you to Illinois."
The $250-per-ticket reception will allow the 100 attendees the opportunity to have drinks and appetizers and get to know Bush in what Keating describes as a "fun and easy" setting."
"The debates don't do him justice. If anybody takes time to meet him they'll see he's very genuine, he's very measured," Keating said. "He's much like his father -- he's going to engage his brain before his mouth."
Keating and his wife, Janet, and their two children live in a stunning limestone home built in 1899 by the late entrepreneur and politician Henry Fargo. It's been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2008.
Has he told the neighbors? You bet, and they're invited, Keating says. Geneva police will be on hand to make sure everything's secure.
First since JFK
Bush's visit is the first time a presidential candidate has visited the city since John F. Kennedy made a stop in October 1960, according to the Geneva History Museum.
Opera program discontinued
Longtime Lyric Opera volunteer Mary Robins of Arlington Heights says she's gotten a number of calls from suburban residents who are looking to attend Lyric's opera education programs at local libraries and nursing homes but can't find them anymore. After 30 years, the Lyric discontinued the program after officials noticed attendance was down and felt people were learning about the opera in other ways, she said.
I told you on Monday about Dorothy Farrell, super Cubs fan and mother of Mount Prospect Realtor Bill Farrell. After that column ran, I learned some more about members of her entourage, who sit near her front-row seats at Wrigley Field, call themselves "the wild bunch" and have printed business cards with that name.
Something's getting done
Among the droves of those who attended new state Sen. Laura Murphy's swearing in in Des Plaines was fellow Democratic state Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago. Though the ongoing impasse over the state budget is dominating the news, Mulroe tells me he's still getting bills passed -- 18 so far this year -- with bipartisan support. Goes to show you things can get done at the Capitol, and maybe there is hope for the big stuff.
Hat tip to sports editor Tom Quinlan for noticing one of the horses running Tuesday at Hawthorne Racecourse was "Lisa's Mad Again."
The odds were against the 7-year-old mare, and she finished fourth.
No word on whether the Democratic Illinois attorney general placed a bet.
Speaking of Madigan
Steve Brown, spokesman for Michael Madigan, Illinois House speaker and dad of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, says he's "felt sorry for Cubs fans" since the Steve Bartman debacle of 2003, a game Brown happened to attend.
Fan Bartman deflected a fly ball, preventing a catch in foul territory late in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Marlins. The Cubs went on to lose that game and Game 7, keeping their World Series drought alive. Brown was born and raised in St. Louis and is a devoted Cardinals fan.
Did you know
Brown also was one of the Daily Herald's first political editors. He followed Arlington Heights resident Ed Murnane, now of the Illinois Civil Justice League.
I'm regretting not signing up for the Chicago Marathon this year, especially as race weather looks like it will be mild and sunny come Sunday. Among the inspiring groups of runners raising money for a cause are those who are running in memory of Glenview resident Tobi Klonecki, who lost her life to breast cancer in 2013. A total of 16 runners from around the country will race in her honor, raising funds for North Shore Kellogg Cancer Center.
GOP state Rep. David McSweeney takes advantage of a non-session week by heading out of town to Wednesday's Cubs game in Pittsburgh.