April 2012 Cover of Chicago magazineChicago magazine's April issue hits newsstands Thursday, March 15th. To schedule an interview with one of our writers or editors, please contact Natalie Marquez at nmarquez@chicagomag.com.

Boost Your Home's Value (Cover Story) – The real-estate market may be in the doldrums, but now is the best time in years to make home improvements. Whether it’s adding a new deck, converting the attic to a bedroom, or using one of the tips for ratcheting up curb appeal, Chicago magazine’s April issue provides smart strategies for all homeowners—and organizes them in a useful timeline for those looking to sell this summer, in a few years, or in a decade-plus. The cover story offers 29 home improvement options that deliver the biggest bang for the buck. In addition to expert advice, the story includes an incredibly handy guide to which improvements will yield the biggest payoff—and what that payoff could be—when it comes time to sell. The cover story also brings readers the latest data on home values in 70 neighborhoods and 198 suburbs, plus comparisons on how the market is performing compared to last year and its 2006 peak.

Green Awards: Entrepreneur Edition – The magazine honors five green business owners with big ideas on how to grow the local sustainable economy. We all know that green entrepreneurship has been championed for its potential to create jobs and slow the pace of global warming. But is it really possible to save the planet and make money? Chicago magazine asked its 2012 winners that question—and more—in a candid roundtable about the ins and outs of starting and running a green business in Chicago.

Can This Woman Fix Gary? – Karen Freemen-Wilson, Gary’s Harvard-educated new mayor, is drawing national attention with her out-of-the-box ideas on how to turn Chicago’s most notorious neighbor back into a thriving city. If she succeeds, Gary could become a model for other failing towns. No pressure.

The Nation’s Greenest House (Three Years Later) – In 2009, the Chicago home that Michael Yannell moved into was heralded as the most energy smart in the country. But not all of the features turned out as planned. Here’s what worked—and what didn’t.

Politics – Columnist Carol Felsenthal gauges the impact of senator Mark Kirk’s absence—now and after November.

Where to Bust a Gut in the Funniest City in the World – The Laugh Factory finally opened in Lake View, and it’s only the latest addition to Chicago’s expanding—and improving—comedy universe. The sheer volume of comedic choices can be paralyzing. Chicago magazine reporters compiled this comprehensive guide to the city’s top talent and best venues.