Home hustle . . .
Sneed hears the run for Gov. Pat Quinn’s subsidized mortgage program has already become a sprint.
◆ Translation: Since Sneed exclusively tipped the Welcome Home Illinois Loan Program’s launch last Sunday, $5.2 million has already been reserved to finance applicants’ homes. Some interested parties have even walked into the governor’s office to ask about applying!
◆ Back shot: The Illinois Housing Development Authority has $130 million earmarked for these mortgages and new home construction — and now there’s a few million less for eligible homebuyers.
The bling thing . . .
Puck luck run amok?
The winner of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship ring, which was raffled off on the Blackhawks Charities website, won a 15-carat ring containing 260 diamonds by dropping $25 bucks for a ticket.
Sneed is told the winner, retiree Allen T. Stone Jr. of the south suburbs, thought he was being scammed when he got the call from Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz informing him he had won — while he was watching his beloved Hawks.
The ring, which is identical to the Blackhawks players’, will be engraved with Stone’s name and presented Sunday at the Blackhawks’ game against the St. Louis Blues.
“I should have gone out and bought a lottery ticket. That was apparently my lucky day,” Stone, a lifelong Blackhawks fan, told Sneed.
“I always assume [when I buy charity raffle tickets] they’re going to be a donation,” Stone said.
“This is one I really am glad I heard back from.”
AmBush ’em . . .
Former President George W. Bush, who has become a painter since leaving the White House, claims the reason he chose to paint a portrait of himself in the bathtub . . . was “because I wanted to kind of shock my instructor.”
Hmmm. Isn’t that what happens when Dubya opens his mouth?
The vertical leap . . .
How high can you go?
Former Bull Ron Harper, “Windy City Live” host Ryan Chiaverini, sports aficionado and Harry Caray’s CEO Grant DePorter and Chicago Bear Brandon Marshall played “Jumping Jacks” at the new Harry Caray’s Chicago Sports Museum at Water Tower Place recently.
◆ To wit: The guys had a contest at the museum’s “How High Can You Jump” exhibit.
◆ Results: “Marshall got the highest, he almost got the top button, but he was wearing tight pants and didn’t want to split the seams,” DePorter said.
◆ Harper hoola: The big Bull, who just put his 1996 and 1998 NBA championship rings in the museum’s ring cabinet, gave up a flight on legendary hoopster Michael Jordan’s jet to participate in the hijinks. He is playing in Jordan’s golf outing in Las Vegas this weekend.
Bow wow! A happy-go-lucky Chicago dog is now the star of her own illustrated children’s book.
◆ Paw & awe: Titled “Gigi the Famous Rescue Dog: From Skid Row to Embassy Row,” by author J.C. Caroline, the book is based in part on the true story of Gigi, an affectionate flat-coated retriever abandoned for months before being rescued in Washington, D.C., and winding up in Chicago with a new family.
◆ Paw maw: The book — which teaches children about kindness to pets, love of adopted pets and the importance of animal rescue organizations like PAWS Chicago — is being published by Answers Learning, an educational company founded by former Chicago journalist George de Lama, with Author House, an arm of Random House.
Sneedlings . . .
Saturday’s birthdays: Colin Powell, 77; Pharrell Williams, 41, and Greg Mathis, 54 . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Marilu Henner, 62; Candace Cameron-Bure, 38; Andre Previn, 85.