Monday, February 16, 2015

Cougars ticket sales, the Albright Theatre and more

Single-game tickets for the Kane County Cougars' 2015 season go on sale Feb. 21. The Cougars will host their home opener April 9.

Albright Theatre’s ‘Mousetrap’ continues
The Albright Theatre Company will continue its production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” with weekend shows Feb. 20 to Feb. 28. The play involves a murder and a group of strangers stranded in a London snowstorm. Michael Yoder and Mitch Jacobs direct the show. The cast includes Richard Holloman, Katy Steel, Chris Contreras and Bobby Dunn Jr. The show is presented at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m Sunday. The Albright Theatre is located inside the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave., Batavia. For more information or to buy tickets, call 630-406-8838.

Kane County Flea Market to open 2015 season
The Kane County Flea Market will be open  noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 28 and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 1 at the Kane County Fairgrounds, located near Randall Road and Route 64 in St. Charles. The fair features antiques, collectibles and a wide variety of other merchandise. Admission is $5 for adults. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free.

Cougars share theme night dates
The Kane County Cougars’ theme night schedule for the 2015 season includes two Star Wars nights, a Military Appreciation Night, two Bark in the Park nights and a two-day celebration marking the Halfway to Halloween. The theme nights offer fun and activities for all ages. All event take place at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. The team will announce additional theme nights in the coming weeks.

Boomers hot for area ranch-style homes

Baby boomers are on the move in Chicago’s suburbs, downsizing from two-story colonials and buying one-floor, single-family units, according to an article by Jean Murphy in the Daily Herald’s Feb. 14 edition. Ranch-style home built in the 1950s and 1960s are in high demand with baby boomers and empty-nesters between the ages of 45 and 64, according to the report. The baby boomers are seeking the convenience of a one-floor structure and the privacy of a single-family home. While the baby boomers seemed focused on existing housing stock, the good news is they typically conduct large-scale renovation of the homes they purchase, seeking open kitchens, larger master bedrooms and family rooms. Many also add exercise areas or hobby spaces, according to the article.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

State partners with group for butterfly habitat effort

The Illinois Tollway Authority and the Natural Resources Defense Council recently partnered to create a habitat for monarch butterflies along 286 miles of the state’s roads, according to a recent report from the Associated Press. The effort includes plans to plant milkweed along roads. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, the source of food for the caterpillars that subsequently develop into the monarch butterflies, which is the state insect of Illinois. Experts say the monarch population is declining, primarily due to habitat destruction, according to the AP report. I hope the effort produces the desired results. The monarch butterfly is a pretty thing to watch fly on a summer day.

Military History Fest continues in St. Charles
The annual Military History Festival continues Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Pheasant Run Mega Center, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. The festival includes displays of military vehicles, heavy weapons, encampments and reenactors. The event also includes live music and children’s activities. Admission is $20 for adults. Children ages 12 and younger admitted free. For more information, call 630-336-2614.

Cougars plan job fair
The Kane County Cougars will host a job fair for seasonal employees from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7 at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. The Cougars are looking to fill full and part-time seasonal positions, including concession stand staff, picnic servers, cooks and bartenders. Applications are available here and at the Cougars’ administrative offices at the ballpark. For more information, call 630-232-8811.


Batavia Brotherhood Banquet set for Feb. 16
The 46th annual Batavia Brotherhood Banquet is set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 2300 W. Main St., Batavia. The event will feature guest speaker Al Ritter, president of the Ritter Consulting Group. I enjoy attending the banquet. The featured presentations are always engaging, and the evening offers an opportunity for Christian fellowship.

Here's something I learned this week
Kelsey Wolf of nearby Winfield, IL is a member of the Baylor University’s Equestrian team. As of this writing, the team is 3-0 in conference competition and 8-0 overall. I always find it interesting to see where life takes people. I came across the roster for the Baylor team while working on an unrelated project and was surprised to see the name of a Winfield resident on a list that consisted mostly of students from Texas and California. You never what you might find once start looking around.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Batavia to launch Winter Farmers Market Jan. 10

Batavia’s Winter Farmers Market will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 10 at Gaetano’s Batavia, 15 E. Wilson St. The market will offer organic breads, meats, eggs, and other items. The market will be open Saturdays through May 23. The market is presented by Batavia MainStreet.

All Canada Show continues at Pheasant Run
The annual All-Canada Show, featuring a fishing and hunting expo, continues Jan. 9 to Jan. 11 at the Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles.  The show will offer exhibits, seminars and presentations. The show will be open 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. Children ages 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, call 920-362-0966. 

Books Between Bites
The Batavia Public Library will its next installment of the Books Between Bites program at 1 p.m. Jan. 15. Steven Sullivan, a retired judge, will discuss Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism. Sullivan will discuss some of the event and personalities included in the book. The program is open to the public and admission is free. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch and eat during the program. The library is located at 10 S. Batavia Ave. in downtown Batavia. For information about future programs, click here.

Daddio’s featured in Illinois Farm Bureau publication
Daddio’s Diner, 134 W. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia, was featured in the winter edition of the Illinois Farm Bureau’s "Illinois Partners" magazine. I can endorse all the good things the article reports about Daddio’s. The cinnamon-raisin French toast is one of favorite items from Daddio’s menu, but I have a long list of favorites there. Make a point to visit Daddio’s and enjoy a meal. For more information about Daddio’s call 630-879-5299.

More from the Illinois Farm Bureau
I always enjoy reading the Illinois Farm Bureau’s "Illinois Partners" magazine. Each edition contains a variety of information about Illinois agriculture and Illinois farmers. The magazine covers a range of topics. Here’s a sampling from the publication’s winter edition:
• Dianne Ruff of downstate Lincoln is an artist who works with wheat. She practices the art of wheatweaving, according to an article by Joanie Stiers. Judging by the pictures accompanying the article, Ruff appears to a talented weaver of wheat. 

• Illinois farms produced 46.2 million bushels of wheat in 2014, ranking the state near among the top 15 wheat producing states in the U.S. according to Wheat 101, an interesting little article.
• Jan Phipps offers Tips for the Aging Gardener, a brief item chock full of helpful suggestions. I am not a talented gardener, but I like the activity and enjoy the outdoors. I make a point of visiting local hardware stores and garden centers during the winter months just to look at outdoor tools and daydream about warm days and sunny skies. 

And one more item from the Illinois Farm Bureau
Our friends at the Illinois Farm Bureau sent word reminding us January is National Egg Month and sharing some interesting facts about eggs. Here are some of the points I found most interesting.
• About 6.1 billion dozen eggs are produced each year in the U.S.
• A typical adult will eat about 250 eggs each year. I’m sure total count of consumed eggs is much higher than the average.
• Illinois is ranked 25th in the nation for egg production.•Most eggs produced today will be at the grocery store within 72 hours. That is an accomplishment worth noting, I think.Share news and photos about your organization or business here. 

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cougars to welcome Santa

The Kane County Cougars will host an opportunity for children to visit with Santa Dec. 13 at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Children can meet Santa and Ozzie Cougar, the team’s mascot, from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. The event also will include a variety of children’s activities. Admission is free, but there is a $5 fee for those participating in the ornament and cooking decorating activities. Visitors are encouraged to bring gently-used winter coats and clothing for donation to local families in need. For more information about the event, call the Cougars at 630-232-8811.

Redbirds to play in FCS quarterfinals Dec. 13
The Illinois State University Redbirds will play Eastern Washington University Dec. 13 in  the FCS quarterfinals. The game will begin at 3 p.m. CT and will be aired on ESPN3. the football team finished the 2014 regular season 11-1 overall, 7-1 in conference play. Coach Brock Spack’s Redbirds defeated Northern Iowa, 41-21, Dec. 6 in the NCAA Division I FSC playoffs to advance to the quarterfinals. The Redbirds and Northern Illinois University, which will play Marshall in the Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 22, provided football fans in Illinois something to cheer about during the 2014 season. We can't say as much about the NFL team that plays in Chicago.

Train show to stop at DuPage County Fairgrounds
The Great Midwest Train Show will be conducted Dec. 14 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. The show be open 9:30 a.m. to 3 pm. and will feature more than 100 vendors. The show includes train displays and attractions for all ages. Admission is $7 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free. Parking is free. 
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

A few final moments with November

November is one of my favorite months, and I regret seeing the 2014 edition reach its end.

It’s not just November that I enjoy. The calendar’s final quarter — October, November and December — is my favorite time of the year. It’s just that November typically fires in me an intense sense of reflection and gratitude.

The gratitude part I try to express throughout the year, not just on Thanksgiving Day. November in northern Illinois typically includes the end of the fall harvest. There’s much to be grateful for during the annual process, and I deeply appreciate our nation's farmers.

We also typically experience consistently colder temperatures in November in northern Illinois, and we take seriously the change of seasons. Early October can present some warm days here, which I do value, but November’s temperatures help us develop an appreciation for sturdy boots and heavy sweatshirts.

I enjoy walking, both for exercise and relaxation. I particularly enjoy walking during the early evening hours throughout the year. I walk through residential neighborhoods and many of neighbors make frequent use of their indoor fireplaces beginning in November. I always enjoy the fragrant smell of burning wood while completing my walks.

October and December are busy months for Lori and me. We celebrate several birthdays in those months, observe a wedding anniversary in October and joyously mark the birth of Jesus Christ in December.

November is a comparatively quiet month for us, with the notable exception of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. November provides us a fine opportunity to recover from October’s schedule and prepare, physically and mentally, for December’s hectic pace.

I suppose I value November so much because it provides me 30 days to reflect and refresh before I rush through December, celebrate Christmas and welcome a new year.

While I hesitate to release November, I realize none of us can slow time’s relentless march. In a few hours November will give way to December and 2014’s few remaining days.

I will pause later tonight to offer a final thank you to November, and then I will prepare to embrace December as we move forward, ever forward.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Peaceful Parlour owner has sense for marketing

    Shari Ralish, owner of Peaceful Parlour in Geneva, talks tea with a guest at the Geneva Public Library.                                                                                              Kevin Botterman photo

     Shari Ralish is a retailer with a keen sense for community-oriented marketing.
     Ralish owns Peaceful Parlour, 212 S. Third St. in downtown Geneva, an “eco-chic  boutique” she opened five years ago, during the early days of the Great Recession.
     Ralish partnered with the Geneva Public Library to provide tea service during a Civil War history presentation Nov. 8 at the library.
     During a program intermission, Ralish poured a variety of teas for audience members, explained characteristics of each offering and managed to share information about her business.
     “It’s a nice opportunity to meet people and tell them about my business,” Ralish said during a lull in the tea service.
     The tea proved popular with the audience. Several guests returned to the service table for refills or to sample another tea. Most asked questions about the teas and inquired about the business hours at Ralish’s shop.
     “It’s all very informal, and everyone seems comfortable asking questions,” Ralish said. “They learn about my products, and find a one or two they really enjoy.”
     Ralish said it is important for business owners to identify ways to build relationships with new customers while reinforcing existing ties, particularly during a weak economy.

     During the summer months, Ralish offers a series of musical programs on the grounds outside her shop and frequently hosts special events inside the store.
     The Civil War program was Ralish's second opportunity to share tea and product information at the library. She presented a program last January devoted to tea.
     “Attendance exceeded our expectations. We shared a lot of information and started some good relationships. It was wonderful” Ralish said.
     Kimberly Gotches, a public relations and outreach coordinator at the library, said Ralish’s program last January was so popular it serves as a model for the type of programming the library seeks to present in partnership with local businesses.
     The library encourages local businesses to submit program proposals, said Gotches. A popular program can offer benefits for everyone involved, she said.

     To learn more about Peaceful Parlour, call Ralish at 630-232-6300. For more information about the library's outreach efforts, call 630-232-0780.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Museum, St. Charles Singers offer holiday programs

Submitted photo
Ellwood House offers holiday mansion tour
     Our friends at the Ellwood House Museum in DeKalb say they are ready for the museum’s annual holiday mansion tours beginning Nov. 15 and continuing through Nov. 30 on select dates. 
     The tours are a holiday tradition for many area residents, and the museum is one of our favorites. Visitors can enjoy a room-by-room tour of all four floors in the mansion. Each room is decorated for the holidays. The museum also will host a holiday open house weekend beginning Dec. 5 to Dec. 7. 
     The museum is operated by the DeKalb Park District and reflects the key role Isaac Ellwood played in the development of the barbed wire industry in the United States. The tours offer a glimpse of local history and are a wonderful way start the holiday season. For more information call 815-756-4609.

St. Charles Singers set annual Christmas performance
     Our friends at the St. Charles Singers tell us they will present the 31st annual Candlelight Carols Christmas program at 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave. in downtown St. Charles. 

     The program will include 18 songs from the Renaissance era to today. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for senior ages 65 and older and $10 for students.

Fall weekends mean football

Here are some of the football games we’ll be following this weekend. Hope you enjoy the contests:

Youngstown State at Illinois State

Iowa at Minnesota
Michigan at Northwestern
Ohio State at Michigan St.
Penn State at Indiana
TCU at Kansas State
Auburn at Texas A&M
Notre Dame at Arizona State
Baylor at Oklahoma

Chicago at Green Bay
St. Louis at Arizona

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