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Family & Pets






Animal shelter success stories PAGE 8



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8 HOMEWARD BOUND At Anderson Animal Shelter, every dog adoption is a success story 13 FAMILY: IT’S ALL RELATIVE Three residents share their unconventional family portrait 16 PAMPER YOUR PETS Doggie daycares and boutiques for your canine companion 20 WATER- ‘DOGGED’ Aqua-therapy gives canines new lease on life


22 ROAD TO SUCCESS After 50 years, West Suburban Limousine remains a family affair 26 FROM SNIPER TO SOFTWARE ENGINEER Family man Mike Dorrance proves that it’s never too late to change your career 28 LOCAL HEALER Wellness center owner Krysia Tscherwik leads people down path to good health




Stay-cations in Lake Geneva, Galena and Utica Photos provided by Chestnut Mountain


30 HOOKED ON SMARTPHONES In wake of iPhone’s 10th anniversary, medical professionals discuss the cost of screen time 32 LEARNING TO COPE A local psychologist weighs in on academic anxiety


34 WONDER WOMAN Athlete places fourth in Ironman after injury almost derails efforts


36 BEE NOT AFRAID! Honeybees are our friends

DINING & ENTERTAINING 40 PARTY PLANNER Throw a bash that will wow the kids (without the work)


44 A PARK TO REMEMBER National Park Service’s historic sites help tell the story of Illinois 48 KID-FRIENDLY LABOR DAY ESCAPES Stay-cations in Lake Geneva, Galena and Utica 52 THE GLASS-HALF-FULL GUY: How bearded men rescue kittens


54 SEW MUCH FUN Park District classes make learning to sew seamless 56 SPOKE UP! Vote for your favorite ‘Pedal Geneva’ bicycle 57 SOCIAL LIFE A recap of “Another Evening With Donnie Wahlberg” and Fox Valley Hands of Hope’s annual Garden Party 58 BOOK NOOK ‘Fur’ the pet-loving reader 60 ARTIST SHOWCASE St. Charles sculptor, Guy Bellaver, shares ‘The Key’ 62 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County this month!

Lung Cancer Screening at CDI EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES. More people in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. In fact, most people discover lung cancer when it is too late. Now, there’s an exam that can help detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, when it’s most treatable.



1416 S. Randall Road, Suite 180 Geneva, IL 60134 P: 630.208.9325

4 Cedar Ridge Drive, Suite D Lake in the Hills, IL 60156 P: 847.458.6736


Editor's Note Family. The word probably means something different to each of us. And that’s a testament to the fact that when it comes to family, there is no such thing as “normal.” “A family is a group of people that chooses to love one another,” says Laura Steele in the story, “Family: It’s All Relative,” on page 13. In the story, Steele and her partner, Amanda Littauer, discuss their same-sex family dynamic and what it’s like raising two daughters in Geneva. Steele and Littauer’s family is just one of three examples of family life we’re featuring in our August Family & Pets issue. Also challenging convention in the TriCities is blended family man Jim Radecki, whose family grew quite a bit when the Geneva alderman remarried wife, Maureen Emma. Radecki and his “Brady-like” bunch consist of eight adult children and two grandchildren (with a third on the way!).

Charles have 2-year-old identical triplets and find that keeping the balance depends on a regimented schedule. “Sometimes, I feel like if you have one (child), you can be a little more lenient with your schedule or something,” Brandi Murphy says in the story. “But when you have three … if you miss nap time, your evening is going to be treacherous.” And we can’t forget our furry family members! So, we’re spotlighting a few places to pamper your pet; sharing dog adoption success stories from Anderson Animal Shelter; and showcasing the winning canine of the Kane County Chronicle’s annual “Cutest Pet Contest.” Thanks for reading,

Kara Silva, Editor

Having a baby is exciting. But imagine the surprise of a mom-to-be when one became three. Brandi and James Murphy of St.

DIRECTOR OF NICHE PUBLISHING Laura Shaw 630-427-6213 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253

on the


In this month’s Family & Pets issue, we’re celebrating the family business. West Suburban Limousine owner Jeff Hiltunen (center), Danielle Slamans (right) and Megan Hiltunen, discuss the 50-year history of the family-owned and operated company, on Page 22. Photo by RON MCKINNEY Salon Services by MARIO TRICOCI Hair - Michelle and Lindasy Makeup - Andy and Luna


Published by Shaw Media 333 N. Randall Road, Suite 2 St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 630-845-5288

ACCOUNT MANAGERS Sandra Petti 630-313-0251 Tricia Walter 630-845-5272 CORRESPONDENTS Kelsey O’Connor, Kevin Druley, Jonathan Bilyk, Allison Horne, Peter Stadalsky, Allison Manley, Melissa Riske, Elizabeth Harmon, Tom Witom, Elizabeth Czapski PHOTOGRAPHERS Ron McKinney, Missy Donovan

Kane County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to Kane County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at

“With adoptions, a lot come from rougher backgrounds, so they’re so grateful to be in your house and to be loved.” – Kara Nolte, adoptive parent of Anderson Animal Shelter dog

Homeward bound

AT ANDERSON ANIMAL SHELTER, EVERY DOG ADOPTION IS A SUCCESS STORY By ALLISON HORNE When you walk through an animal shelter, it’s difficult not to wonder where the dogs came from, how they ended up there and why they wound up alone and without a family. Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin aims to give its dogs a bright future by finding families who can give them a second chance at a good life. While shelter dogs may get a bad reputation for being unwanted, old, unhealthy or riddled with disciplinary issues, the slew of success stories from recent adoptions at the no-kill shelter dispel that stigma.

p Stella - German shepherd/beagle mix addopted by Nolte family Photo provided


at the shelter, but many dogs available are mixed breeds. “Mixed breed dogs and cats tend to be healthier and, depending on the mix, they can make some of the best companions,” says Beth Drake, executive director of the shelter. Drake, who has been at Anderson since 2014, has some shelter animals of her own, including two dogs – a pug and a corgi – two parrots, and she also is a regular foster parent for the shelter.

While some families may not see adoption as the best option, others, like Kara Nolte’s family, have a Anderson Animal Shelter usually houses 70 dogs at history of adopting dogs from the shelter. a time, but also has another 100 dogs and puppies “My family has always adopted dogs since I was in foster homes. The organization itself has been a kid and, that being the case, I have experienced around for 51 years, saving an estimated 80,000 firsthand the benefits of adoption versus getting dogs and cats, including 3,000 last year alone. dogs as puppies,” says Nolte. While many of the dogs are local, others are Nolte adopted her German shepherd/beagle mixed rescued from more rural parts of the country, breed dog, Stella, from Anderson in May, and says like Oklahoma, where there are mass numbers of that she knew right away that the dog would fit in dogs due to the lack of accessible spaying and with her family – including their cat, Zoey. neutering. There are occasionally purebred dogs FAMILY & PETS

“With adoptions, a lot come from rougher backgrounds, so they’re so grateful to be in your house and to be loved,” Nolte says. Like many other shelters, Anderson utilizes foster homes, which allows the shelter to take in animals before there is room at the shelter. But foster pets don’t always end up leaving their foster parents. North Aurora resident Kristina Brady Borman has had a licensed foster home with Anderson since 2016 and, seeing as she had seven other dogs of her own, was not looking to adopt any more. But that all changed when she was given Suzie, a Westie mix, to foster. “When I walked up to Suzie, her and I instantly bonded,” she says. “She just jumped into my arms, and I just held her tight … and I said, ‘Suzie is mine, I will be adopting her.’” However, not all rescue stories go that smoothly.

-Continued on page 10



Chase u Siberian husky mix adopted by Mefford family Photo provided

-Continued from page 9 Bartlett resident Tori Mefford had been thinking about adopting a dog for some time and when she saw Chase, a Siberian husky mix, she instantly fell in love with him. But unfortunately for Mefford, a couple had requested to see him before her, and he was put on hold.

While some adoption success stories may be as simple as finding the perfect dog for a home, each dog that Drake and the staff at Anderson can save is considered a success.

Several days later, Mefford anxiously checked back in with the shelter only to find out that the couple had backed out of the adoption process, allowing Mefford to move forward.

“[Dogs] love you without asking for anything,” Nolte says. “They’re not asking for the world; they’re just asking for you to love them back and take care of them. They’re truly a man’s best friend. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true. They want to be around people and they want to feel that love.”

“I hadn’t even had the chance to play with him other than the short interaction through his kennel, and I knew he was the one,” Mefford says.

u Anderson Animal Shelter is located at 1000 S. La Fox St. in South Elgin. For more information, call 847-697-2880 or visit www.

Chase gets along perfectly with the family golden retriever and cat.

Anderson Animal Shelter by the numbers

70 – The number of dogs the shelter houses at one time.

100 – The number of dogs and puppies in foster homes. 51 – The number of years the shelter has been in operation. 3,000 – The number of pets saved by the shelter in 2016. 80,000 – The estimated total number of dogs and cats that have been saved by the shelter.

DOG ADOPTION TIPS When thinking about adoption, always consider several key elements of your lifestyle before selecting a pet.

a dog needs to be kid-friendly. At the Anderson Animal Shelter, they use the ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program to help potential adopters find an animal that fits their lifestyle.

Kara Nolte says that her dog, Stella, seemed very hyper in the cage, but once she got the dog outside to play, Nolte saw her true personality.

“We had a mental list [of what we were looking for] before we went,” According to Beth Drake, executive Nolte says. “Don’t judge the dog director of Anderson Animal Shelter, based on how they act in their kennel. Take them out to a room the program uses a color system and play with them. Test out a to categorize animals based on Always consider how many hours lot of dogs. Take the time to play exercise requirements, and will a day a dog will be left alone; whether a dog will need a yard; how match adopters with animals based with them and see how they react much exercise will be needed; how on the owners’ individual lifestyles. to you. Certain dogs like certain people, and you need to see if they big the home is; and whether or not Many people considering adoption tend to consider a dog for its breed or appearance, when they should really focus on personality, says Drake.



pair with you.” While you may have your eye on a certain dog before heading into the shelter, you never know how well you might pair with another dog waiting for its forever home, so keep your mind open, she says. “There are lots of very nice dogs there,” Nolte says. “It’s a trial and error process; it does require patience.”

ANNUAL PETS-A-PALOOZA FESTIVAL FOR FAMILIES AND FURRY FRIENDS By Anderson Animal Shelter Featured Sponsor DePaw University Canine Campus

Pets-A-Palooza Festival Features Free Education Sessions for Pet Owners (andTheir Pets!) Want to teach your old (or young!) dog or cat a new trick or provide more enriching activities for your furry friend? Wondering how to introduce a new pet to your home or what’s the best diet for your ďŹ nicky feline? These and many other animal welfare, health and training topics will be presented during Pets-a-Palooza, a family- and pet-friendly festival that celebrates the joy of companion animals. Hosted by Anderson Animal Shelter, the community festival is Sunday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mooseheart Child City & School near Batavia and North Aurora. Throughout the day, pet owners can choose from a full slate of informative and practical education sessions and demonstrations, all presented by animal welfare experts. Topics will include positive reinforcement training, nutrition and diet, and how to improve the bond

with your pet. Anderson thanks the Dunham Fund for its generous support as the Presenting Sponsor for the educational sessions. Check the Pets-a-Palooza website for a regularly updated list of all sessions and times: In addition to the educational sessions, this one-of-kind event features activities for people of all ages, as well as four-legged friends, such as pet-themed contests and vendors offering pet-related services and products. Anderson and local rescues will have dogs and puppies available for adoption. Last year, more than 3,000 people attended Pets-a-Palooza. Come out and join the celebration!

DePAW Canine Campus 2017 Winner of THE BEST TRAINER! Come in for a free meet & greet to discuss how we can help you, your family, and your dog have the best relationship possible. DePAW Canine Campus, 100 S. Glengarry Dr. Geneva, IL 630.232.8663

Family It’s all relative By KEVIN DRULEY


hen asked to define the word “family,” Geneva resident and Northern Illinois University professor Laura Steele gladly transformed from teacher to student – and a proficient student at that.

“A family is a group of people that chooses to love one another,” says Steel, offering a basis that galvanizes the many kinds of families, nuclear and otherwise, present in the world today. The diversity of family life trickles down to many places, including the Tri-Cities, where Kane County Magazine turns its focus in this month’s issue. Here’s a look at three families who show that love and respect conquer all – beginning with conventional family labels. -Continued on page 14



-Continued from page 13

Murphy family


Brandi and James Murphy of St. Charles couldn’t tell you what it’s like to simply vacate their vehicle upon arriving at a destination. Having 2-year-old, identical triplets flanking an older brother, who’s only about twice their age, can have that effect. Wagon or stroller? Which child or children might prefer to be carried? Are we going somewhere where the kids might run around? Will we need snacks to bribe them back into their car seats?

Littauer and Steele family

The family recently relocated to a larger house across town from their original St. Charles home. James Murphy supports the family as a firefighter/paramedic, and also launched his own business, Murphy Electric and Home Improvement, as a side endeavor.


Contrary to popular belief, many college professors spend their summers researching, presenting, writing and planning new curriculum. “Sometimes they have their little moments, For that reason, Geneva resident Amanda but – for the most part – they play together, Littauer rarely takes a break from her role as and we try to do things all together,” Brandi Family time abounds in the Murphy family. James associate professor in the Northern Illinois Murphy says. “Just because four boys playing by and Brandi Murphy both attended area high University Department of History and Center for themselves can get kind of crazy.” schools and remain close to their parents. James the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Murphy is a Geneva High School class of 2004 Jonathan Joseph Murphy, Timothy William That reality is affirmed once more whenever graduate, and Brandi Murphy is a St. Charles East Littauer looks around her dinner table. Murphy and James Patrick Murphy revere High School class of 2005 graduate. older brother Tommy Murphy, and the feeling “I obviously have a lot of respect for very often is mutual. The triplets’ ongoing foray into As Brandi Murphy indicated, her children are strong-minded, articulate, opinionated women learning the English language adds a layer to just as active as the next brood, enjoying trips in the world, but, when they’re my own kids, it’s that dynamic, although the boys’ mother senses to local parks and the zoo, and making the most challenging,” Littauer says. “We’ve got four very plenty of nonverbal communication at play, as of the time they spend together – even when informed, expressive, opinionated females in the well. the family heads to the store. She has found, house, so it’s a pretty intense mix sometimes. however, that being regimented is vital. “I think sometimes they kind of have their own But I certainly enjoy it and appreciate it, even if understanding of each other, even sometimes it’s not always what I would call peaceful and “Sometimes, I feel like if you have one (child), without saying anything,” Brandi Murphy says. relaxing.” you can be a little more lenient with your “If one is upset, another one will go get that schedule or something,” Brandi Murphy says. Littauer and her partner, fellow NIU faculty specific kid’s blanket or stuffed animal and give it “But when you have three … if you miss nap member Laura Steele, have two daughters who to them, or their favorite toy, to try to make them time, your evening is going to be treacherous. are 9 years apart in age. Zoe will be entering her feel better. So that’s kind of interesting, because Because you’re going to have three crying, sophomore year at Geneva High School, while I didn’t show that to them or anything. They just screaming kids. We just stick to a schedule, and Lilah prepares for first grade at Western Avenue kind of try to find a way to soothe their brother.” they’re pretty comfortable going out.” Elementary School. 14 AUGUST 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


“I obviously have a lot of respect for very strong-minded, articulate, opinionated women in the world, but, when they’re my own kids, it’s challenging.” – AMANDA LITTAUER, Geneva resident and mother of two daughters Both children enjoy drama – the extracurricular variety, that is. Littauer and Steele, both in their early 40s, have found that the age gap between Zoe and Lilah has not significantly altered their bond as siblings.

The rapport between the donor siblings, or “diblings,” was evident from the start, Littauer says.

“It’s one of those moments when I really am appreciative that we are able to kind of extend our family in certain ways and just create Although opportunities for shared activities may meaningful connections with people who share be scarce, leading to what Littauer calls “dividing aspects of our family life – in this case, half of and conquering” around the house and western the genetic code for one of our kids,” she says. suburbs, both children exhibit a penchant for Littauer and Steele explained their same-sex family. They appreciate experiencing that sense family dynamic to their children from an early of belonging together. age. They say that neither child has been bullied over their partnership and that only Zoe has “I really like the fact that we have created for experienced a compromised friendship, which ourselves a great support system with family here and in a lot of places,” Steele says. “Almost stemmed from the religious beliefs of the friend’s parents. anywhere we go, there are people we could be with who we consider as close as family.” Steele, who has taught an increased workload of online courses lately, recently traveled with her daughters and parents to see family in Kansas while Littauer traveled to New York and Boston for academic pursuits. When the family was back together, they experienced another gathering with a different kind of kin. The sperm donor who helped Littauer and Steele conceive Lilah is a donor for four other families. So, the three of families recently convened for dinner in Oak Park.

Having both children in public school has brought the family into the community a little bit more, Littauer says.


Jim Radecki and his wife, Maureen Emma, quickly found symmetry seven years ago when they wed one another, each on their second marriage. With their nuptials, a new, blended (and balanced) family of 10 emerged. “My youngest is a boy and my three older ones are girls,” Radecki says. “Her youngest is a girl; her three oldest are boys. So, they’re mirror images of each other.”

The couple’s children range in age from 24 to 34, and their varying stages of young adulthood helped ease the transition when their parents remarried. Radecki, in his second stint as a Geneva alderman, knew Emma as one of his constituents during his first term in office, but they developed a true rapport while conversing at the neighborhood fitness club. Martha Emma served as her mother’s maid of honor at the wedding, while Jim Radecki Jr. was his father’s best man. The rest of their respective siblings and step- siblings – Allyson, Meghan, Natalie, P.J., Andrew and Matthew – comprised the rest of the wedding party brigade. Each child graduated from Geneva High School, providing another common bond between the stepsiblings. “You have to be smart and you have to understand what the role of a stepparent is,” Radecki says. “It’s not the same as a parent. And there’s a lot of good with that. You don’t have to be the parent, you know. It’s just a role that you have to understand that you play. You don’t step in for their mother or their father. You are their stepparent. And I think when everybody understands that, it goes pretty well.” Maureen Emma operates her own medical professional administrative business out of the family home. A longtime former Farmers Insurance employee, Jim Radecki now works as a real estate agent for Baird & Warner. Seven of the family’s eight children live in Illinois. All the better considering Radecki and Emma now have two grandchildren and another on the way. The couple enjoys watching their children be parents, to be sure. “I think we knew enough to just be there to support them,” Radecki says. “They’ve all been raised right, and they’re good parents and they’re good people. So, yeah, there’s not a lot to do other than enjoy your grandkids.”

Radecki and Emma family



Pamper your pets Doggie spas and boutiques for your canine companion By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE Kathy Johnson understands that pets are more than man’s best friend. They’re a part of the family. Before becoming the owner of The Water Bowl in Geneva, Johnson was a client. Her job, at the time, required her to travel, so she would board her dogs at the facility. Her Australian Shepherd, Poppy, loves to play with other dogs and Johnson knew how important exercise is for the breed, so she would utilize the facility’s doggie daycare so that she wouldn’t come home from a long day at the office to a dog bounding full of energy.

Now, as an owner of The Water Bowl, she wants other dog owners to feel confident that their pets are having a great day while they are away, too. When Johnson became an owner last year, she updated the doggie daycare building and gave her staff the tools to take photos, videos and even provide text updates so that owners can keep an eye on their pet even while away. “We even encourage owners to call in to check in on their pet,” Johnson says. Whether you are looking for daily doggie care, or a place to house your pet when you’re away from home for a few days, it’s easy to find great care and even some pampering for your pooch in the Tri-Cities.

Just for Paws Pet Salon in St. Charles

Dogs • Cats • Birds • Exotics Susan J. Cechner, D.V.M.

Photos provided q

Now N ow ooffering ffering acupuncture & chiropractic for small animals

403 E. North Street • Elburn


At Ruffner’s Luxury Pet Boarding in St. Charles, owners can find daily care, as well as overnight boarding. Opt for your pet to have playtime and comfortable accommodations with a bed and blanket or upgrade your pet to a luxury suite with a television and a dog-friendly ice cream treat at night.


Before bringing your dog back home, you can choose to treat your pooch to a bath, complete with a shampoo and nail trim, or add on a teeth cleaning, too. At Le Doggie Divine Pet Salon in Geneva, pets are given a hand-washed bath that includes massaging and natural oatmeal and chamomile shampoos. And at Le Doggie Divine, care isn’t limited to dogs. Cat owners can bring in their feline friends for grooming, including baths and cuts, nail trims and teeth brushing. Groomer John Webb says that he designed his pet salon, Just for Paws in St. Charles, with an open area so customers can easily see their dogs as they’re washed and groomed using a full-line of high-quality products.

-Continued on page 18

Batavia Animal Clinic is a full service animal hospital that welcomes patients in need of routine medical, surgical, and dental care as well as those requiring urgent attention. Beyond high quality medicine, our staff provides a comfortable, friendly, and calming atmosphere where your pet and family can relax and look forward to meeting our veterinarian.

Adam Schanding DVM

139 First Street | Batavia, IL 60510

(630) 879-8005 • FAMILY & PETS


-Continued from page 17 “And we keep an extremely clean salon,” Webb says. Grooming a dog isn’t just for looks. Webb says that groomers take time to know their clients and their pets, and often it is a groomer who notices an unusual lump or a skin issue that can easily be overlooked by a pet owner. “Lots of times you only take your pet to the veterinarian once a year, but you see the groomer every month so we notice changes,” he says. And after a bath, cut and clip, pet owners like to indulge in a treat or two, Webb says. This summer, he expanded his St. Charles business to include a boutique for owners to shop for treats, quality foods and other pet products. “People want high-quality foods to help their pets have a high-quality life, and our goal is to help them promote a long and healthy life for their pets,” Webb says.

New Animal Hospital Dentals | Surgery | Vaccines Luxury Overnight Lodging Grooming Services Training Classes

2312 W Main Street St. Charles, IL (630) 524-2125

If you go RUFFNER’S LUXURY PET BOARDING 1880 Dean St., St. Charles 630-377-4589 THE WATER BOWL 321 Stevens St., Geneva 630-457-5583 LE DOGGIE DIVINE PET SALON 309 W. State St., Geneva 630-208-4992 JUST FOR PAWS PET SALON 40w160 Campton Crossing Dr., Suite F St. Charles 630-549-7845




Water‘dogged’ Aqua-therapy gives canines new lease on life By KELSEY O’CONNOR Photos by MISSY DONOVAN Cathy Murphy helps her clients into the water and holds them as they take slow laps in the pool. There are some who are recovering from surgery, others have arthritis and others just need to lose a little weight. Some love the water, while others are nervous and need reassurance. The one thing they have in common? They’re all dogs. Murphy opened The Puddle – Pet AquaFitness and Nutrition in 2013. The South Elgin business specializes in promoting a healthy lifestyle for canine companions through diet and exercise. They’re one of the only facilities in the area to offer swim sessions specifically designed for dogs. Murphy left a 25-year career in advertising to pursue what she refers to as a calling to work with animals. “I always knew in some way that I was wired to work with dogs,” she says. “That was always my desire.” Murphy and another coach, Cindy are both certified by La Paw Spa’s Aquatic Training Program and trained in canine CPR and first aid. The benefits of aqua fitness for pets are numerous, Murphy says. “It’s a non-weight bearing exercise,” she says. “It’s controlled, and it’s one size fits all.


No matter the size of the dog or their issue, swimming is a wonderful exercise that benefits all parts of the body and mind.” Murphy sees dogs with all types of conditions. One common ailment is a torn CCL, the equivalent of a torn ACL in a human. Swimming is great rehabilitation after CCL surgery, or after any other operation or injury. It’s also a great activity for dogs that are overweight, older or just need a new fun form of exercise.

dogs can drown,” Murphy says. Many pet parents bring in their dogs before Besides the physical benefits, swimming can be taking them to larger bodies of water. Murphy says this is a great safety precaution if you’re not emotionally therapeutic, as well. sure about your dog’s swimming abilities. “It’s good for building confidence,” says Murphy. “They don’t all instinctually know how to swim – “We’ve taken very skittish or scared dogs and we FAMILY & PETS

When You Want the Best for Your Pet “It’s so rewarding to know I’ve actually changed the life of a dog.” – Cathy Murphy, owner of The Puddle – Pet AquaFitness and Nutrition in South Elgin

bring them to the pool where it’s quiet, and they can do something that’s really fun.” It also can be a great bonding experience for owners and their dogs. A typical swim session at The Puddle lasts 30 minutes. Most pups spend that time taking laps in the water, either on their own or with the help of a coach. Activities are customized for each animal’s goals and limitations. There are short rest periods during the session, and these become shorter as the dog’s endurance increases.

We Board Cats & Exotics too! Doggie Daycare and Overnight Boarding Facility Dog Grooming

Voted One of the

Best Pet Kennels

in Kane Co.

After four years in business, The Puddle has been a part of many success stories: Charley, a golden retriever, overcame a serious injury and avoided surgery through weekly swim lessons; and an overweight Dogue de Bordeaux named Lucy struggled with walking when she arrived at The Puddle. With an improved diet and regular swim sessions, Lucy is an active dog that bounds into the store each week. “It’s so rewarding to know I’ve actually changed the life of a dog,” says Murphy. u The Puddle is located at 1948 Gyorr Ave., South Elgin. For more information visit or call 630-883-0700.

In Store Bakery with Fresh Homemade

Birthday Cakes & Dog Cookies

630-377-4589 1880 Dean St., St. Charles



ROAD TO SUCCESS After 50 years, West Suburban Limousine remains a family affair



he employees at West Suburban Limousine are so close that it feels like working with one big family. And it doesn’t hurt that some of the staff members actually are related. Jeff Hiltunen owns the Winfield business, and his stepdaughter Danielle Slamans is the vice president. The company has about 30 employees, who happen to feel a lot like family, as well. “A lot of our staff have been here longer than I’ve been alive – 30 plus years,” says Slamans. “I think West Suburban [Limousine] has done a really good job maintaining a great atmosphere. That’s the draw for me. I come to work, and I’m happy to see the people that I’m seeing. It makes your job not feel like a job.” Jeff Hiltunen’s father, Raymond Hiltunen (1938-2010), founded the company in 1966. At the time, airplane flight was becoming more common and the pair seized a business opportunity: shuttling people to and from the airport. They began with just two cars and an office in Lombard. “They started off with a somewhat dilapidated fleet of random cars, and they did a lot of the driving themselves,” says Slamans. “Those were

the pioneer years of the industry, and they saw it was something that would be bigger in the future.” The Hiltunens bought out another limo service in 1968, and the company began to grow quickly. The family business needed more office space and decided to purchase a commercial property on St. Charles Road. At this time, business was booming. The company transported more than 100,000 people and had a growing list of clientele all around Kane County. Today, the company is one of the longest continually operating limo services in the western suburbs. It has a fleet of luxury vehicles that can number more than 100 during peak season, and the company still specializes in airport pick-ups and drop-offs, especially for corporate clients. It also provides service for weddings, concerts, special occasions, sporting events and more. “We’ve worked with celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, business moguls and weathermen,” says Slamans. When she was 16 years old, Slamans began working at West Suburban Limousine as a reservationist. She continued at the company as BUSINESS & CIVIC

an account manager while she was in college, where she pursued a degree in social work at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove and later graduated from Aurora University. “Once I graduated, I realized I really love working with people, but I really love the business aspect of it, too,” says Slamans, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business. As vice president of West Suburban Limousine, Slamans does a little bit of everything, including public relations, hiring, training and working closely with the company’s software provider. Slamans’ younger sister, Megan Hiltunen, helps out at the business, as well. She is following in her sister’s footsteps, occasionally working as a reservationist at West Suburban Limousine while attending Waubonsee Community College. The business may have longevity, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges. Major events, such as the 9/11 attacks, have shaken the industry and permanently changed how transportation companies do business. The company also has been significantly affected by the rise of ride-share companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

-Continued on page 24 KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | AUGUST 2017 | 23

“[The Hiltunens] started off with a somewhat dilapidated fleet of random cars, and they did a lot of the driving themselves. Those were the pioneer years of the industry, and they saw it was something that would be bigger in the future.” – DANIELLE SLAMANS, vice president of West Suburban Limousine

-Continued from page 23 However, technology upgrades have helped West Suburban Limousine stay competitive. Five years ago, the company did a complete overhaul of its software to replace an out-of-date system. It’s also working on a mobile app. “We’re going to have to step up our game and do things we haven’t had to do before,” says Slamans.

But the limo company never lets a drive for efficiency detract from a focus on the well-being of its passengers. “Our emphasis from the day we started to today will continue to be safety,” says Slamans. “We take it very seriously.”

and adults with developmental and physical disabilities.

Last year, the company celebrated its 50th This strategy has earned the company a roster of anniversary in the way that most families loyal clients. The company also tries to provide a level of celebrate – with a big party. service that larger corporations may not be able “We have some corporate accounts that we’ve The family gathered with its staff and those who to compete with. had for 30 years,” says Slamans. “We still have supported the business to celebrate the “We’re still thriving because we take care of our nurture those relationships that we gained back past and look forward to the future. in the day. A lot of our new business is attained clients,” says Slamans. “You’re never going to “I anticipate this business to be around for a through word of mouth, and I think that’s a call us and get an automated response from a long time, and I can’t wait to see what the future testament to our service.” computer. We’re always going to work directly holds,” says Slamans. with you to fix your problem and get a solution.” After decades in the area, the company has become an integral part of the community. They One of the reasons the company has remained a favorite with corporate clients is its open partner with local police and fire departments’ communication and proficient service. They have charitable groups, sponsor youth sports teams a 24-hour reservation system and their drivers and participate in several annual chamber of are available 365 days a year. commerce events. The company also regularly devotes both time and money to the American “We put a lot of emphasis on efficiency,” says Slamans. “Our corporate clients need to get from Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, 630-668-9600 and Misericordia – which is home to children point A to point B.”






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From sniper to software engineer

FAMILY MAN MIKE DORRANCE PROVES THAT IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE YOUR CAREER By ALLISON HORNE Mike Dorrance’s family camper has some stories to tell. While it may be situated in a nice spot at the St. Charles native’s home, it was once the only thing between Dorrance and the wilderness in Denver, Colorado. The G2 Crowd junior software engineer has had anything but an ordinary journey to his current career. Like most high school graduates, Dorrance, 42, originally decided to go to college. But, after a few semesters, he knew it wasn’t for him, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. “I enlisted with the intent of finishing college when I got back out,” Dorrance says. “But that didn’t pan out.” Instead, he served from 1995 to 1998, originally starting as a rifleman before working his way up to sniper team leader in Washington, D.C. While in sniper school, Dorrance was featured on the Discovery Channel’s “On the Inside,” a documentary series that featured an episode of the inner-workings of sniper school. After putting in his time, Dorrance ended up marrying his high school sweetheart, Christine, and settled down in the St. Charles area to start a family. He now is a father to Jack, 16, Grace, 14 and Norah, 10.

that time, he attended a presentation in Chicago by The Starter League, a company that teaches people how to code. “I was really amazed and sparked and inspired by that,” Dorrance says. “I talked to my wife, and she said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’”

Dorrance then attended a 12-week course on coding and decided to start his own business He ended up going back to school for a semester, with another classmate of his. But it didn’t take but essentially decided he wanted to start long for him to realize he needed to know more. making an income, and worked for his dad’s “I was stuck in a spot where I knew enough, but construction business – D. Dorrance and Son not enough,” Dorrance says. Builders LLC – for 15 years. That was the moment he decided to attend But his body could only take so much, and after the Turing School of Software and Design, realizing he only had 15 credit hours left to a nonprofit web development school in finish college, he went back to school. During 26 AUGUST 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


Denver. It was a seven-month program, which students attend full-time for six-week sessions intertwined with one-week intermissions. With his family back in St. Charles, Dorrance decided to live cost-effectively by sleeping in a camper in a mobile home park. “It was just a place to rest with fewer distractions,” Dorrance says, “It was affordable, and because of the isolation, you were completely committed to the outcome. I didn’t have family birthday parties, didn’t have the stress. I wasn’t missing out on anything because I couldn’t go to it.” Dorrance’s family, who are avid campers, would also stay in the camper when they came to visit during his time in Colorado. “We camp, so it’s not a big deal,” he says. “We

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still own [the camper], and we still use it.” Dorrance’s gamble on himself turned out to be the right one. Upon finishing school, he landed a junior software engineer gig with G2 Crowd. Dorrance picked up what they were looking for quickly, and after being hired in October 2015, he ended up being named G2’s “Goose of the Year,” otherwise known as employee of the year (G2’s mascot is Monty the mongoose), in 2016. “I was surprised and humbled I was voted ‘Goose of the Year’,” Dorrance says. “Basically I just work with compassion and try to help out everyone every day.”

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It hasn’t even been two years at G2, but Dorrance is well on his way to a bright future as a software engineer. “When you’re re-training yourself into a new career you bring a lot of life skills with you,” Dorrance says. “As with any new technical career you have to pay your dues. In construction, you have the concept of an apprenticeship, and it takes five years to become a master. I’m on year two, and it’s been a great experience.”

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“I guess the big thing is life doesn’t stand still,” Dorrance says. “If you want change you have to make it … you’re never too old to change. There are always companies out there looking for more than just skill – they’re looking for the person.”





Wellness center owner Krysia Tscherwik leads people down path to good health By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY While some turn to massage as a means of indulging and relaxing, Krysia Tscherwik founded Kryssage Wellness in St. Charles to teach her clients about how massage therapy contributes to good health, wellness and healing.

Tscherwik says that she enjoys providing support and strength to those left feeling vulnerable due to illness. And she has had a number of client’s report they have become pregnant following her treatments.

Tscherwik grew up in Ireland and Wales, where her aunts, uncles and cousins instilled the importance of healing and wellness in her. Later, as a young woman, her aunt encouraged Tscherwik to try massage.

She sees women before pregnancy and postpartum, addressing the needs of clients following a traumatic birth with fibroids, digestive issues or post-operative scar tissue. For Tscherwik, regardless of why a client comes to her, she sees each as an opportunity to teach, to share and to provide care that allows people to regain control of their bodies and to heal.

When Tscherwik started her business Kryssage Wellness 10 years ago, she began offering massages and Reiki treatments, paying special attention to clients battling health issues, including infertility, “My work has digestive issues, ovarian undergone cysts, endometriosis and fibromyalgia. an interesting

“It’s really nice to give back people their power,” she says. Her first location was in Geneva on Third Street. About two years ago, Tscherwik found her current location – a small, former home in St. Charles where she was able to expand her operations.

“My work has transformation. I used undergone an to be a last resort – interesting transformation,” something my clients Tscherwik says. “I used skeptically tried when to be a last resort – something my clients all else had failed them. skeptically tried when “When I found this Now, I am starting to all else had failed them. pretty little house Now, I am starting to be the first stop people … it reminded me of be the first stop people home,” Tscherwik make in healing.” make in healing. Women says. preparing for pregnancy, Cynthia Funegard couples addressing first met Tscherwik as a client seeking massage infertility or those looking to avoid surgery for therapy and, through the years, the two women abdominal issues. I’m honored to be able to help have built a friendship. those looking to help their bodies function at an optional level.” “She’s highly trained and professionally skilled,” Funegard says. “It’s so much more than Tscherwik practices Mayan Abdominal massage therapy.” therapy, which can be used to complement medical procedures or as alternative therapies. And Funegard says that she admires the way



Tscherwik is an avid supporter of other small businesses in the community; whether she’s networking with other business owners, sharing information with her clients or even crosspromoting in special events. When Tscherwik opened her current location, she saw an opportunity to expand and include other specialty services for her clients. Her location includes an aesthetician who provides organic facials and four psychologists. She also hosts classes, meditation programs and support groups at the wellness center. “We are all passionate about what we do,” Tscherwik says.

Hooked on smartphones In wake of iPhone’s 10th anniversary, medical professionals discuss the cost of screen time By JONATHAN BILYK Lisa Messinger knows there are some instances in which a smartphone or tablet could simply be irreplaceable – even for kids. But over the last 15 years, Messinger, a pediatrician now practicing with Centegra Physician Care, has enjoyed a front row seat, as the now ubiquitous mobile technology of the 21st Century has quickly become a staple of life for children and parents alike. And most of the time, she says, parents and their young ones would benefit from a bit more caution and restraint. “There will certainly be times when technology is our friend,” says Messinger. “But today’s kids, and teens especially, have just such a difficult time being away from their phones.” This year marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of Apple’s iPhone, hearkening back to a time not that distant – yet seemingly difficult to recall – when people weren’t connected virtually nonstop to the Internet and to each other through social media. While this connectedness has seemingly had an undeniable impact on many spheres of life, researchers have only begun to take stock of its effects on perhaps the most vulnerable among us, our children. For instance, in May, research presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting 30 AUGUST 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

in San Francisco, indicated that the impact of wireless computing extends even down to infants and toddlers, as 20 percent of children as young as 18 months old were spending nearly 30 minutes a day on a handheld device – a measurement that doesn’t even touch the amounts of time children spend in front of a television or other kind of screen. And the research further indicates such exposure to mobile devices can have real consequences, such as delaying development. Specifically, researchers noted for every 30 minutes a day a child spends on a handheld device, expressive speech development delays increased by as much as 50 percent. “There is a push nowadays to get connected earlier and earlier,” says Israr Abbasi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva. “Children have a double whammy here. You will see young toddlers holding a smart device, even in a stroller, completely unaware of their surroundings – and their parents plugged in themselves.”

Messinger agrees, noting such “screen time,” particularly in young children, can hamper a child’s ability to develop the social skills and adaptive abilities that, while the child grows, are keys to success. “When looking at a young child’s brain, we’re seeing screen time taking the place of activities that we know grow brains differently,” Messinger says. “Screen time can’t be a substitute for things like reading with parents, conversations with parents, free play, playing games – things that will actually help kids.” Further, Messinger notes that device use can interfere with children’s sleep, putting them at risk of a number of health problems.

Abbasi says that for many children, this can have the further effect of blurring the lines between “online and offline life.”

“Screen time should be over at least one hour before bed time,” she says. “But, even then, too much screen time can have a cumulative effect, which can still interfere with sleep.”

“For young children who are vulnerable, it can be difficult to navigate,” Abbasi says. “And [it] can contribute to social and perceptual problems.”

She also notes that too much screen time can make kids sedentary, placing them at higher risk for obesity.


“There will certainly be times when technology is our friend. But today’s kids, and teens especially, have just such a difficult time being away from their phones.” – LISA MESSINGER, pediatrician with Centegra Physician Care

And she recommends setting times of the day during which tablet, video game and mobile device use is acceptable, and when it is not. For instance, Messinger and Abbasi recommend eating meals as a family, with all phones and devices off – that includes parents. “That goes over big every time I mention it,” Messinger says, with a laugh.

Both Abbasi and Messinger readily conceded that kids could benefit from some time interacting with tablets and other mobile computing devices.

To begin, they say, parents should restrict the age at which their kids get mobile devices of their own.

“Technology has improved learning,” says Abbasi, adding that the information children can access online has placed many “on a fast track” to knowledge.

Abbasi suggests waiting until a child is at least age 12 before giving a smartphone to him or her, and that parents and guardians should limit smartphone access to children between the ages of 9 and 12.

“They are more empowered and able to accomplish more in less time,” he says.

“Definitely not to anyone younger than 9,” Abbasi says.

But the educational achievement gains have not been proven to be great enough to simply allow kids to plug in, and stay that way.

Even with such age restrictions, the doctors encourage parents to set age-appropriate boundaries on mobile device use for both young children and teens, alike.

“There’s not much evidence [that] kids learn that much more from computer screens and phone apps – or at least as much as adults imagine they do,” she says. Rather, both Messinger and Abbasi suggest that parents and others charged with the health and welfare of children should take some measures to ensure their young ones interact with the devices properly, and in the proper doses.

If not, Abbasi says, it can be “difficult to know if your child is in his room sleeping, or broadcasting to the world.” Messinger suggests making sure devices can be charged only in common living spaces, so they are not taken into the bedrooms of your child or teenager.


Parents can also consider creating a system under which mobile device use can be used as a reward for chores or other completed tasks or accomplishments. Even on long car trips or airplane rides, Messinger says that parents should consider finding ways to limit screen time, to some degree. She, for instance, suggests that parents consider buying new toys, books, games and other “new and exciting” items specifically for a trip, to distract and minimize the desire for screen time. Parents should always remember they are in control – or should be – and they have the authority and right to measure their children’s exposure and put restrictions in place – even over which social media platforms in which their children can participate, Abbasi says. “Monitor, monitor, monitor,” he says. “Your children should, in fact, expect that [parents] will check their devices randomly. If you are paying for the device and the [data] plan, it is your absolute right to have access to everything on it.”



School can be a place of positivity and learning, but as the start of the school year approaches, the anxieties and pressures students face in and out of the classroom can make academic success challenging. Dr. Heather Harej, a clinical psychologist with David Goodman, Ph.D. Psychologist Associates in St. Charles, offered some advice for students and parents to prepare for back-toschool struggles. Every age group, Harej says, comes with its own difficulties. In middle school, it’s social anxiety: peer teasing and the stress of finding one’s place on the social ladder can take a toll on students. In high school, the future looms large and frightening. “In the St. Charles/Geneva area, where I see most of my kids … if they don’t have an interest in going to college, it’s very, very stressful,” Harej says. DAVID GOODMAN, PH.D. PSYCHOLOGIST ASSOCIATES 405 Illinois Avenue, Suite 2C St. Charles 630-377-3535

Harej says that students often feel pressure to take AP classes and to know exactly what they want to do after they graduate. And, if students are applying to colleges, they can become overwhelmed by extracurricular activities and volunteering,

which students are told they need in order to “look good” on college applications. One action students can take to cope, Harej says, is to find an adult they trust. “For some reason, these kids see adults as the enemy and [they don’t understand] them, and they try to handle all of this alone or in their peer group, which oftentimes is part of the problem,” she says. That’s why a trusted adult – who does not have to be a parent – can be a good resource for children when they need someone to talk to. The most essential thing students can do to lower their stress levels, Harej says, is to limit their social media use. And parents can help. “It’s extremely important that parents do not let their children take their phones to bed,” she says. Students who sleep near their phones are not as well rested because texts and social media notifications wake them up throughout the night. Harej adds that parents should not let their children use cellphones as alarm clocks – instead, opt for the real thing.

Another way parents can support their kids is to clearly define their roles as parents and set “clear boundaries” for what their children are and are not allowed to do. Harej suggested that any time a child gets a major privilege like a cellphone or a driver’s license, it should come with a contract outlining the behaviors the child has to practice in order to keep the privilege, and it should clearly state what will happen if the child does not meet these expectations. It can be confusing for kids if the parent’s role is unclear, Harej says. “I think [parents] try to initially be their child’s friend, hoping their child will tell them everything, and then get panicked by some of the things they find out from their children, and then [they] lay down the hammer,” Harej says. “And there’s all sorts of bad consequences, and the kids are upset because it’s a change from how the parents were.” With these tips in mind, students and parents can work together to face the stresses of academics and adolescence head-on.

u Learn more from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at 32 AUGUST 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE





Wonder woman

ATHLETE PLACES FOURTH IN IRONMAN AFTER INJURY ALMOST DERAILS RACE By KELSEY O’CONNOR When Amanda Marek fractured her foot playing softball, she was immediately concerned about her Ironman race. The athlete was registered to race in her first Ironman triathlon in just a few short months, but her injury threatened to derail that goal.

surgeon and director of the foot and ankle program at Northwestern Medicine sees many sports-related injuries, and he has competed in triathlons himself. His race experience helps guide him as he customizes treatment plans to fit the unique needs of injured athletes.

“It was extremely disappointing. I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to compete, much less perform well,” says Marek, a triathlon coach and Elite Athlete Coordinator at The Mohawk Foundation – an Aurora-based, multi-sport group that raises money for charities through races and endurance competitions.

“I’m kind of involved in that community, so I know what their fears are with these endurance races,” he says. “You put a lot of time and money into training for these so if you get to a point where you’re not going to be able to do it, obviously you’re concerned.”

That’s where Jeffrey A. Senall, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in Foot/Ankle Surgery and Sports Medicine at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics came in. The orthopedic

he says about Marek’s injury. “But with an athlete, knowing that she had to be back training and ready for a race, we recommended surgery.”

“It was extremely disappointing. I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to compete, much less perform well.”

One option for treating the Marek has been fracture would competing in be forgoing an endurance sports operation and since 2001. She first wearing a boot decided to tackle for six weeks the Ironman after instead. But cheering on friends with Marek’s who competed in race quickly – Amanda Marek the 140.6-mile race. approaching, Dr. By the time of her Senall suggested injury, in June 2015, a surgical she had already spent countless hours procedure that would stabilize the training for the October race. On top fracture but not immobilize her foot. of that, she was also a triathlon coach. “In most people, we’d probably choose So, she couldn’t stay sidelined for long. to treat that fracture non-operatively,”



Dr. Senall used a minimally invasive procedure that involves making a small incision and placing a screw across the fracture. The smaller incision size meant less pain and swelling and, most importantly, a shorter recovery time. Marek was back on a bike in a week and running just six weeks later. “The fact that he had me out there in a week is incredible,” she says. “I wasn’t at all nervous just pure excitement and ready to go.” A few months later, Marek completed in Ironman and placed fourth in her age group. When Marek began having pain in her right leg after her second Ironman race in 2016, she knew exactly where to turn. She started seeing a physical therapist at Northwestern Medicine Rehabilitation Services in Warrenville, which helped her identify and treat the issue. “It was perfect; they’re just so knowledgeable. It was so easy for [the doctor] to discover immediately what was wrong and start fixing it,” says Marek. “They put you through an awesome program, and they teach you the things you need to know so you can continue after.” u For more information about orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics, visit rmg. or call 630.225.2663. For more information on Northwestern Medicine Rehabilitation Services visit or call 630.225.2466.

THE PATH TO BETTER STARTS HERE. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage and Delnor Hospitals offer specialized orthopaedic care, close to home. And when we say specialized, we mean it. If you injure your knee, you’ll see a knee specialist. Injure your shoulder, you’ll see a shoulder specialist. If you injure your hip, well, you get the idea. What else would you expect from a hospital ranked nationally for orthopaedics?* Learn more at

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Bees are always on my mind. They are fascinating creatures with a bad reputation, which is unfounded. (Ground wasps – which look like honeybees – and yellow jackets are the real jerks of the stinging insect world.)

from collecting nectar from flowers. An average worker bee only lives six to eight weeks and usually dies of exhaustion.

Many people are afraid of bees, but it’s important to know who is actually doing the stinging. Worker bees (females) Bees are the hardest working critters on sting, but only if they feel threatened. the planet. Did you know that a bee only Unfortunately, they die after stinging. The queen rarely stings, as she doesn’t produces one-twelfth of a teaspoon of usually leave the hive. Drones (males) honey in its lifetime? According to the don’t sting either. The bees visiting National Honey Board, bees fly more than 50,000 miles in order to produce a your flowers have one thing in mind – find food. They are “busy as bees” and pound of honey, visiting about 2 million usually don’t have problems with you flowers. even if you are nearby admiring them or It’s important that we understand the role of honeybees in the garden and help gardening. Even as I’m sitting here typing this on my laptop outside, a huge bumble make their job a little easier. bee is hanging out right next to me on a Honeybees have been around for millions plant – happy as can be. of years, and they are the only insects The importance of honeybees is that produce food eaten by humans. immeasurable. Approximately one-third Honey is one of the only foods that includes all of the substances necessary of the food Americans eat is derived from honeybee pollination. While we to sustain life – enzymes, vitamins, minerals and water. Worker bees produce certainly wouldn’t starve if the honeybee disappeared, we would no longer honeycomb by eating honey produced


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† Plant a succession of flowers in your garden. Bees are always looking for nectar and pollen. Flowers that bloom at different times help stagger their food sources. † Use native plants. Native plants haven’t been bred for disease resistance or other characteristics that can decrease their pollen/nectar output. † Use pesticides sparingly. Find out exactly what undesired pest is bothering your plants and ask what’s the best way to attack. Sometimes common pests can be controlled with organic methods that don’t require broadcast spraying that can harm bees and other beneficial insects. † Plant flowers of various sizes. Bees are attracted to lots of different colors, and different species of bees are attracted to different sizes of flowers. While bees are often feared, these mighty little guys are beneficial to us and should be left to their own devices. Help them by planting lots of flowers and by spreading the word that bees are our friends. ¢ Meagan Provencher is the senior landscape designer for Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles. The Nursery fields are home to more than 10 active honeybee hives. Stop in for some of our honey! Call 630-584-4424 or email

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Party planner Throw a bash that will wow the kids (without the work) By ALLISON HORNE

For your next kids party, forget the party hats and streamers. Why not throw a bash your kids and their friends will be talking about for years, all while sitting back and letting someone else do all of the work. From hanging out with animals to playing a wacky game of mini golf, Kane County has a slew of establishments that bring the fun to your family. Here are a few places to consider for your next kid-friendly celebration: AIRTASTIC PLAY LAND 850 S. Frontenac St., Aurora | 630-851-7525 | One bounce house is always a great time, but what about 10 of them? At Airtastic Play Land, there are 10 gigantic inflatable structures, as well as two age-appropriate play areas that are ideal for birthday parties. (Not to mention, the children will probably be worn out afterward.) There are two birthday party packages to choose from: the snack package and the pizza package. The snack package is $195 for 10 children (each additional child is $13.50) and includes a snack and a beverage per child, a T-shirt and playtime.

-Continued on page 42 40 AUGUST 2017 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


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Come C ome in in a and nd let let Domino Domino h help ellp y you ou find find your you ur new new w favorite favo orite handbag hand dbag g or or necklace! neck klace e! When you shop at Falmouth Road during the month of August, 5% of our net profits will go to Safe Haven Dog Rescue, the organization that brought us Domino!

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-Continued from page 40 The upgraded pizza package offers all of the aforementioned perks, but with pizza instead of a snack, and each additional child’s entry is $15.50. Airtastic also offers an Engineering for Kids add-on activity for an additional $10 per child. Engineering for Kids gives partygoers a chance to do an engineering project and bring home the result, which could easily replace a typical goody bag. Some of the projects, which are broken up into recommended age groups, include constructing model helicopters, stomp rockets, jousting robots, bottle rockets and more. While party hosts are welcome to bring their own cake, all other food must be provided by the venue. Birthday party invitations are available via the website, and all children must be wearing socks at all times.


Homemade Italian or Polish Sausage • Brats • Aged Tender Steaks • BBQ Ribs • Jumbo Chops Signature Burgers for the Grill (12oz. each) • Tuscan • Blue Cheese • Bacon-Onion Cheddar • Jalapeno Jack Gourmet Sliders a Summer Favorite, They’re the Talk of The Town! 20 Different Fresh Salads Daily and Our Own Homemade Potato Salad

What’s a party without Josef’s potato salad?

Featuring a full Line of Boars Head Luncheon Meats Engstrom Plaza 716 West State St., Geneva (Entrance on 7th Street)

630-262-1878 Hours:

Tuesday - Friday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM We are closed Mondays


Call for details.



p PRIMROSE FARM 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles 630-513-4370 Kids can escape to a much simpler time with a party at Primrose Farm. Featuring more than 100 acres of land and an abundance of animals, there is more than enough space to entertain. Birthday party events include a guided farm animal tour, tractor-drawn wagon ride, party setup and cleanup, and the upgraded premium package also includes three large one-topping pizzas, a cake and drinks. “Primrose Farm is a unique party venue with experiences that are not found anywhere else,” says Alison Jones, manager of Primrose Farm programs and interpretive services.

Parties, which run 90 minutes, and are available Monday through Saturday from April to October, allow kids to interact with a variety of animals, including dairy cows, draft horses, chickens, turkeys, sheep and goats. “It’s very rewarding to see how excited the children (and even adults) are to be able to interact with our animals,” Jones says. “I also enjoy when people share their stories of growing up on a farm, and how our antique tools and equipment remind them of their childhood.”








August 6 – Vintage Transport Extravaganzza August 12-13 – Diesel Days September 2-4 – Labor Day Weekend September 16-17 – Museum Showcase Weekend

Go to for timetable and admission info. 7000 Olson Road • Union IL 60180

800-BIG-RAIL OR 815-923-4000

Sip Some Wine & Paint p STONE CREEK MINI GOLF COURSE 101 North St., Geneva 630-262-2228 | Get the competition going for your child’s birthday this year at the Stone Creek Mini Golf Course. A windmill, water wheel, wishing well and dynamite shack highlight the river-themed, 18-hole course that will keep kids entertained for hours.


Public & Private Parties

Register Online & Enter Promo Code “Summer” to Save 15% OFF Valid thru a Paint & Wine Class 8/31/17

Mini golf parties run 90 minutes and include invitations, cupcakes, drinks, a birthday party coordinator, as well as use of the course picnic tables. The $75 rate ($100 for non-residents) is for 15 children, but up to 30 children are allowed entry for an additional $5 each.

for 10-50 People

Choose your date & painting on canvas, barnwood or wine glass project from our gallery.

Make a special memory last a lifetime

The Stone Creek Mini Golf Course offers two packages: a basic package, which includes 18 holes of miniature golf, and a wacky package, which has a unique set of rules for putting at each hole.

1 W. Illinois St Suite 110 St. Charles








en days each year, America’s National Parks welcome visitors fee-free! In honor of the National Park Service’s Birthday, the next Fee Free Day is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 25. It’s a great reason to visit one of our nation’s natural, cultural or historical landmarks – including two Illinois sites within a half-day’s drive of Kane County.

“The actual [National Park Service] ownership within the more than 200-acre monument is the historic clock tower, which is in the process of being restored and will become the visitor center,” she says. The tower sits in the midst of the 12-acre Pullman State Historic Site that includes the Pullman Factory Complex and Hotel Florence. There are two nonprofit museums within the monument boundary. The Historic Pullman Foundation visitor center focuses on the life of the residents and Pullman workers. The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum focuses on the contributions of African Americans to Labor History. The state and federal staff offer free Factory Complex tours at 11:30 a.m. the first and third Sunday of the month, running through August.

¢ Pullman National Monument | Chicago One of the National Park System’s newest landmarks is Pullman National Monument, designated by former President Barack Obama in 2015. Located on Chicago’s South Side, the historic Pullman neighborhood was the home of the Pullman Company, which manufactured railroad sleeping cars, and was the largest employer of African Americans in the early years of the 20th century. The district also is famous for being one of the first planned manufacturing and residential communities with amenities.

The Historic Pullman Foundation offers neighborhood walking tours at 1:30 p.m. the first Sunday of each month (for a fee). For more information, visit

While the Factory Complex and hotel are currently under restoration, there’s plenty to see and do, says Sue Bennett, chief of visitor services and community outreach for the National Park Service.

Learn more about Pullman National Monument and its area partners by visiting Fees are listed at each organization’s website, along with a schedule of free events that take place throughout the year.

“The tours offer an in-depth look at a planned residential community, stories of the people who lived here and the lasting impact of the Pullman dream,” says Bennett.

-Continued on page 47

“The tours offer an in-depth look at a planned residential community, stories of the people who lived here and the lasting impact of the Pullman dream.” – Sue Bennett, chief of visitor services and community outreach for the National Park Service, on the Pullman National Monument in Chicago



Photo provided by the Pullman Historic Monument


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the vintage market Antique & Vintage items span 1200 square feet and fill 2 Levels with over 50 Vendors

Featuring quality vintage items ranging from Mid Century, Primitive Rustic, sttic, 60’s - 70’s Mod & Shabby Chic Chic. Save the Date

August 5th & 6th Paint the Market Event 15% Off the Entire Store Nov. 11th & 12th Christmas Show 211 S. Lincolnway St., North Aurora | 630-229-6821 Tues.-Sat. 10am– 6pm, Sun. 11am– 4pm, Closed Mondays

See our one of a kind handmade jewelry, hand painted si and cards mgnads e by our talented vendors.

14 N. Island Ave, Downtown Batavia | 630-310-9022 Hours: Tues - Sat 11am - 5pm, Sun. 12pm - 5pm, Mon. Closed

-Continued from page 44 ¢ The Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site | Springfield As our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln held the nation together during the most trying time in our history. But visiting the Springfield home where he lived for 17 years with his wife, Mary, and their sons, reveals Lincoln as not only a politician and historical figure, but as a husband, father and neighbor. A ranger-led, 20- to 25-minute tour of Lincoln’s two-story, 12-room house, takes visitors through the downstairs parlor and sitting rooms, the dining room and kitchen, and upstairs through the bedrooms and maid’s room.

Williamsburg Ave

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Tour tickets are free and available inside the home’s visitor center on a first-come, firstserved basis. Tours are limited to 15 visitors at a time, and begin at 9 a.m. The day’s last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.

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The Greek Revival home is the centerpiece of a residential neighborhood that has been restored to the way it looked in 1860. Lincoln’s neighbors included merchants and lawyers, a druggist, railroad fireman and minister. The neighborhood includes 12 homes, including two that are open to the public. The Dean home features exhibits related to Lincoln and his family. An heirloom garden behind the house offers a glimpse of how city families grew their own vegetables and herbs. The Arnold home exhibits focus on historic preservation.

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PULLMAN NATIONAL MONUMENT Visitor Center Address: 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago LINCOLN HOME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE 413 S. Eighth St., Springfield TRAVEL


Kidfriendly Labor Day escapes

Labor Day weekend may unofficially mark summer’s last hurrah in the Midwest, but, for many children, the holiday offers an opportunity to enjoy a last fling before they find themselves immersed in back-to-school activities. A number of resorts – all an easy drive from the western suburbs – offer an alluring array of amenities geared toward kids and parents alike: water parks, zip line, mountain biking, river cruises and golf, to name a few.




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Here are three kid-friendly resorts that would make great Labor Day escapes: About three hours drive from the suburbs, Chestnut Mountain Resort offers stunning panoramic views of the Mississippi River Valley. In the Galena area, the resort ranks among the area’s biggest draws. “The demographic cuts a wide swath,” says Stewart Stoffregen, a spokesman for Chestnut Mountain Resort. “We attract people of all ages, from families with children to youths and seniors.” Visitors enjoy the Alpine slide, miniature golf, hiking and biking trails, riverboat cruises, zip lining and 75- to 90-minute Segway tours. “One could spend a whole day or longer at the resort and just scratch the surface,” Stoffregen says.

-Continued on page 50

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-Continued from page 49 Among dining options are Sunset Grille, where the fine-dining experience comes with enchanting views. Perched high on a bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River Valley, this restaurant offers a little bit of everything: steak, seafood and signature sandwiches. The restaurant also includes a 1,400-square-foot outdoor dining deck.

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Or try The Summit. It’s the resort’s take on a traditional sports bar. With 14 TVs, dad can take in a game while the kids enjoy a pizza pie.


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Courtney Nobilia, marketing spokeswoman for Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, says Labor Day weekend is a “great time to spend [at Timber Ridge].” An hour-and-a-half drive from the Chicago area, its spacious indoor/outdoor waterpark is a big attraction. Adventurous guests can give the lodge’s 35-foot-high slides, which follow twists and turns, a try before reaching a heated pool. Lodge guests also have more than eight miles of hiking and biking trails ranging from easy to expert. Other amenities include golf, mini-golf,

Ream’s Meat Market

horseback riding, archery and sand volleyball. The main lodge has some 350 rooms and it recently added 29 three-bedroom villas, says Nobilia. “Guests can sometimes book [villas] for a single night, though the majority of the rooms are reserved based on a two-day stay.”

For all your party happenings

Those staying at Timber Ridge Lodge receive four free water park passes with a one-bedroom suite, and six passes with a two-bedroom suite.

¢ GRIZZLY JACK’S GRAND BEAR RESORT A roughly one-and-a-half-hour drive from the ’burbs, Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort in Utica is a great spot for families seeking fun and the great outdoors. Located near Starved Rock and Buffalo Creek state parks, visitors also can enjoy boating and rafting on the Illinois River. Or stick around Grizzly Jack’s for waterpark fun. The resort features a wave pool, tube slide and toddler swim area, plus a 15-person hot tub. Two new resort attractions are giving children a hands-on fun experience: a petting zoo and Annie’s Little Pots. The latter allows children to get involved in the process of creating a ceramic piece. All glazes are non-toxic, dishwater safe and microwave-safe.


Other activities include golf and mini-golf. The resort also offers casual dining – pizza, burgers and salads – at family-friendly Jack’s Place Restaurant and Bar. CHESTNUT MOUNTAIN RESORT 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Road Galena 800-397-1320 TIMBER RIDGE LODGE AND WATERPARK 7020 Grand Geneva Way Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 866-636-4502 GRIZZLY JACK’S GRAND BEAR RESORT 2643 IL Rte. 178, Utica 866-399-3866



• Elburn Days

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The Glass-Half-Full Guy:



he last thing I expected to pick up on a 1,000-mile canoe trip was a kitten.

cottonmouth snakes and building lean-tos during sideways rainstorms, we had to begin nursing a baby kitten.

But that’s exactly what happened.

At night, I would toss the kitten above my head in the hammock. He slept like a baby. And he woke up like a baby ¬– every morning before sun-up. He’d prance around like a deer while we cooked up breakfast over the stove. We constructed a house for him out of an old shoebox. Written across the top was “Tom’s House.” His name became Tombigbee, named after the river we found him on.

Halfway through the 75-day adventure, my friend and I heard a moan from the jagged riverbanks right before a tiny, orange kitten leapt from a cliff into the river and swam toward our boat. At the time, I had two cats at home, and one thing is certain – they both hate water. This cat was peculiar. We scooped the mangy scoundrel on board and paddled him to shore. Before releasing him, I picked what seemed like 200 ticks from his tiny body. He pranced around the shore without fear of the river or my friend and me. And as we started to push off the dock, the little bobtail kitten sprinted toward us and jumped back into the canoe.

“If two longhaired, bearded men carrying 100 pounds of gear around in a canoe weren't eccentric enough, adding a kitten to the mix made us look like a circus act.” – Peter Stadalsky



At this point during the trip, we were just getting the hang of living on the river. We paddled every day – sunrise to sunset – through the Alabama summer heat, heading for the Gulf of Mexico. Sunburns, chigger bites and knotted hair was part of the daily grind. We were becoming accustomed to paddling through nature’s gauntlet. There’s a saying that the universe doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Well, apparently, the universe thinks I can handle a lot! Not only were we battling

If two longhaired, bearded men carrying 100 pounds of gear around in a canoe weren't eccentric enough, adding a kitten to the mix made us look like a circus act. Passing boaters and townsfolk were always somewhat interested in us, but soon we became as famous as the viral cat videos you see on Instagram. It took another 35 days to get to the gulf and Tombigbee sat starboard watching the shoreline for the rest of the trip. I’ve never been the parent of anything in my life, but taking care of this kitten is the closest I’ve ever come to parenting. Every time he ran into the bushes, my heart dropped as I thought about snakes swallowing him whole. We sought shelter in lightning storms and pouring rain while I cradled him inside my raincoat. I even had to hitchhike into a town with him tucked under my arm to find a vet. When we crossed the brackish water into the gulf, we were safe alas. Five hundred miles with a kitten, and we made it – all three of us together. As soon as we reached our final destination, Tom jumped out of the boat and ran into the bayou. This time, he never came back out when it was time to load up the boat and shuttle back home. The

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for voting Animal House one of the Best Veterinary Clinics in the Fox Valley Area rangers said that the kitten had wandered into an alligator den and was probably long gone. To go after him would have risked our own lives. That evening, I wept. I wondered about the purpose behind this great adventure and why it ended in such tragedy.

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Hours later, my friend and I went back to the same spot we’d lost Tom, and hopped the gates to search for him again. Approaching the tall grasses in the bayou, I whistled and called his name. There was no sight of the kitten … but then I heard the sound of the bell on his tiny collar jingling. He hopped out of the waist-high weeds with squinted, sleepy eyes. We had found him.

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When I was typing this article on my keyboard, I looked over at Tombigbee sitting next to me. He is a constant reminder that life is a great mystery. Whatever it is that I thought I was searching for on that trip, something greater ended up coming along. Even if was a curious bobtail cat that floated 500 miles down a river in a canoe with me.

u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world.



‘Sew’ much fun!

Park district classes make learning to sew seamless


here once was a time when a sewing machine was a prominent piece of furniture in nearly every household. The ability to hem a skirt, mend a sleeve or create a new addition to one’s wardrobe was a necessary skill – as common as scrambling eggs or making coffee. But with mass merchandising and the advent of department stores, the convenience and availability of ready-made garments made such homespun skills obsolete. Now, thanks to the popularity of TV shows like “Project Runway” and social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, the art and craft of sewing is enjoying an unprecedented resurgence.

basics. Classes that stress the fundamentals – with an emphasis on fun – include Sewing Basics (for adults, ages 16 and older), Learn to Sew (for ages 6 and older) and Sew Together – Mom and Me (for children, ages 5 to 15, and a parent). “A lot of [students] may come in a little bit nervous, but after I’ve taught them some basic techniques and given them some safety information, they start to feel better,” says Beitzel. “Once they’ve practiced first with paper and are ready to move to fabric, that gives them a huge leap in confidence.”

“Children really are so inspired by what they see on reality shows,” says Cindy Beitzel, a professional seamstress who conducts sewing classes for children, teens and adults for the St. Charles Park District. “They’ll come to me and say, ‘One day I’m going to make something like that; [or] I want to be a fashion designer’ or something like that, which is really cool.” But before they can get to the heady world of haute couture, students need to master the

“I have little girls who have come to me after doing a project – like making headbands, for instance – and say, ‘Miss Cindy, I’m selling these with my friends or with my school,’ and it’s great to know that they were inspired by these classes,” says Beitzel. Sewing not only builds creativity, but it gives students the confidence to create and complete something of their very own; and it also helps them to develop physical and mental skills that can have wide-ranging applications. “They don’t realize they’re using so much handeye coordination to stay on a straight line or to push a foot control,” says Beitzel. “It’s more than watching a stitch go; they are focusing, they’re staying away from their phones, and they are immersed in the project that they’re creating.” Beitzel brings everything a student could need to her sewing classes, traveling with about a halfdozen Brother sewing machines, plus threads, scissors, patterns and materials. “It’s frustrating for a parent, especially, to face a supply list and have no idea what they’re buying,” says Beitzel. “I bring it as a package, and then if a student wants to continue on their own at home, they have experience with quality products and will know what to invest in.”

Students can utilize their newfound sewing skills into a variety of projects, from momand-me accessories to wardrobes for their favorite dolls. Each month, a different project helps refine their sewing skills and open their eyes to a world of creativity that can be as vast as their own imaginations.

Beginner projects, which can be as simple as making a drawstring bag or pillowcase, reinforce basic skills, such as straight stitching. But children tend to love anything that can be stuffed, so Beitzel will include projects like the upcoming “Sew an Emoji Pillow” or, for the holidays, “Sew a Turkey Friend” – which entails creating a cuddly turkey stuffed animal just in time for Thanksgiving. And kids love soft things, too, so the popular class “Sew a Mermaid/Shark Tail Blanket” allows kids to make a cozy, one-of-a-kind item to take home. “Kids are very project-based learners,” says


Festival OF THE Vine SEPTEMBER 8-10

Good and plenty!

“I hear students say that they love sewing because they can be creative, pick their own patterns and fabrics, and make something of their own from beginning to end,” says Beitzel. “It’s a life skill that they may not realize they are learning now, but when they’re older and perhaps have a family of their own, these abilities will help them make Halloween costumes for their own child or help them cost-effectively decorate their home.”

For more information on sewing classes for all skill levels, contact Josh Williams, community center supervisor, at 630-513-4329.

630-232-6060 •



SINCE 1911


Developing skills in beginner, intermediate and project-based sewing classes produce immediate results – a pillow to cuddle or new pants to wear – and instill a skill that will last a lifetime.


“Learning to read a pattern is like learning to read a different language,” says Beitzel, who helps students develop their ability to select patterns that are easy for them to work with on their own.

A picture postcard .




Older teens and adults, who already have some sewing skills to their credit, can take classes that reinforce and refresh what they already know. In this case, Beitzel will create projects that require the use of a pattern, such as creating simple pajama bottoms or maybe a jacket with pockets.

Geneva’s Festival of the Vine provides plenty of good wine, good food and good fun for the whole family! Taste wines from around the world. Sample mouth-watering specialties from Italy, Mexico and France at our Flavor Fare. Find unique gifts at our incredible Fine Arts and Crafts show. For events schedule and details, go to We hope to see you there!


Beitzel. “I offer a different project each class, but go over all the basic techniques and safety practices each time and so they receive reinforcement every time they come to class, but they apply it to a new challenge.”




Open daily 9am to dusk (weather & conditions permitting)

East Side Sports Complex Access via parking lot off Commerce Drive

River Bend Community Park Courier & Geneva Avenues

James O. Breen Community Park Campton Hills & Peck Roads

• 3/4 acre dog park • 5-foot chain link fence • interactive play features with mulch surface • access to the site’s pond • separate area specifically for smaller dogs

• 3/4 acre dog park • 5-foot chain link fence • separate area specifically for smaller dogs • doggy water fountain • double-gated security entrance

• 21⁄2-acre fenced dog park • doggy water fountain • double-gated security entrance • dog-friendly equipment and activity stations • separate area specifically for smaller dogs

Dogs must be supervised at all times, be current on all vaccinations, and have current rabies tags worn and visible. Maximum two dogs per person. Dog owners are asked to clean up after their pets, fill in any holes dug, and not bring food into the park. Dogs must be on a leash while in the parking lot.




Photo by Geneva Chamber of Commerce


Vote for your favorite ‘Pedal Geneva’ bicycle This summer, Geneva businesses have been showcasing their artistic flair and creativity in the form of bicycles. Through the Pedal Geneva project, which debuted in 2000, business owners are currently displaying bikes decorated to match the theme of their businesses.

Photo by Kim Byrne of KimberleeB Photography


The colorful, artistic bikes will be on display inside or in front of participating shops through Sept. 10, but voting for a winning bicycle must be decided by the end of this month. Through Aug. 28, patrons can visit the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Facebook page and “like” the bike they want to win the contest. Voters can choose to “like” one bike or as many as they would like.

STRINGWORKS Photo by Kim Byrne of KimberleeB Photography




Find out where to find all of the decorated bikes via a downloadable guide map, available at

GARDEN PARTY RAISES 200K u On May 26, Fox Valley Hands of Hope hosted its annual Garden Party fundraiser at the Q Center in St. Charles. The nonprofit organization raised more than $200,000 for the event and had more than 650 people attend. For more info, visit


DONNIE WAHLBERG & FRIENDS ROCK ARCADA Donnie Wahlberg, a member of the group New Kids On The Block, hosted “Another Evening with Donnie Wahlberg” on June 19 at the Arcada Theatre. The event benefitted nonprofit organization Generation Rescue, which provides treatment assistance to families affected by autism. Special guests included Jenny McCarthy, other members of New Kids On The Block, and members of Naughty By Nature and Boyz II Men.



Book Nook


Brownie, a beagle-boxer mutt, came into my life after my parents adopted him from Save-A-Pet last year. His hobbies are sticking his head out the car window, guarding us against bunnies and deer, gobbling up green beans, and sleeping. Brownie (or Brownie Bite as we call him sometimes) isn’t just a pet; he’s part of our family. A lot of pet-owners say the same thing about their own adopted creatures – and not just dogs! Here are some non-fiction reads about some quirky pets and the relationships they have with their families.

¢ ‘THE LION IN THE LIVING ROOM: HOW CATS TAMED US AND TOOK OVER THE WORLD’ By Abigail Tucker Abigail Tucker’s “The Lion in the Living Room” is less a manual on how to understand your feline and more a study on how cats around the world have shaped humanity. In the book, Tucker describes the controversial “cat parasite,” toxoplasmosis, and how it effects the millions of humans who have it – including 60 million in the U.S. alone. In the chapter “Nine Likes,” the author meets Internet sensation Lil Bub, and discusses the rise of cats on the Internet, while also showing that even dog people are affected by the ubiquitous global presence of cats. While the book explains many of the evolutionary advantages cats have, such as their tiny faces and human-like mews that stir us to treat them like our own children, she occasionally breaks from the science of kitties and talks about her own living-room lion – a big tabby named Cheetoh.

¢ ‘H IS FOR HAWK’ By Helen MacDonald People deal with the loss of a family member in different ways, and Helen MacDonald, author of “H is for Hawk,” is no exception. After her father suddenly passes away, MacDonald decides to train a goshawk, as both she and her father shared a love of falconry. Goshawks are a particularly fussy bird to train, so it was a welcome challenge for the grieving daughter. Much of “H is for Hawk” is about MacDonald’s experience with training the challenging little bird, named “Mabel,” into a fierce (but trained) hunter. But it also is about T.H. White, writer of “The Once and Future King,” who used falconry as a way to cope with his own heavy emotions. MacDonald reserves the strongest and most emotional writing for the end of the book, but, by that point, we’ve already learned the importance of falconry to her family and how Mabel helped her get through one of the most difficult times in her life.

While Tucker’s investigation into cat culture is thorough (and thoroughly enjoyable), I do have one complaint about her book: where are the pictures of cats? Allison Manley was born in Georgia and raised in Island Lake. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. She loves opera, craft beer, and (of course!) reading.



¢ ‘ESTHER THE WONDER PIG: CHANGING THE WORLD ONE HEART AT A TIME’ By Steven Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane Many people probably already know about Esther the “wonder pig” that inspired her owners, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, to start the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, which has more than a million followers on Facebook. But this Internet celebrity almost didn’t become famous at all, as Jenkins writes in “Esther the Wonder Pig,” because this little piggy, weighing more than 650 pounds, isn’t so little at all.

After dealing with confused and troubled friends and family, local laws regarding farm animals as pets, and some messy instances of piggy potty training, Jenkins and Walter wrote a funny and inspirational account to tell the world that Esther was worth all of the trouble (and that the book about her is worth reading).


“Esther” tells the story of how Jenkins and Walter adopted what they thought would be a tiny teacup pig, and how they struggled to adapt their lives so that they could keep her once she grew beyond “teacup” status.


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Hours: Tues. - Fri. : 9am-8pm Sat. : 9am-5pm • Sun. : 10am-4pm KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | AUGUST 2017 | 59






Four-time Winner of IL Professional Orchestra of the Year!


s a sculptor, Guy Bellaver works in both abstract and representational formats, and his work spans many media, including metal, stone, wood and mixed media. The St. Charles artist has more than 30 pieces of public art, and his work also is in private collections in the U.S. and Europe. Bellaver’s piece, entitled “The Key,” was chosen as a “thank you” to Sharon and Vern Oie as part of the “Gratitude Project.” The Oies have long been noted for their contributions to the betterment of St. Charles, which include the founding and functioning of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and the River Corridor Foundation.

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“The Gratitude Project” was created by Dr. C. Alfred Patted to express gratitude through the medium of public art. Bellaver’s “The Key” will be positioned along the Riverwalk in an orientation that allows the keyhole shape to frame a segment of the Fox River. “The Key’s” circular sections, lit from within, suggest a keyhole, and are a metaphor for vision, for which the Oies’ have long been noted. The two-piece design is representational of a couple who have worked together to make St. Charles a place that celebrates community, nature and art. The pieces are painted with a color palette that celebrates the subtlety of the sculpture’s natural surroundings. u For more information about Bellaver or to see more of his work, visit To submit an entry to Artist Showcase, email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three - sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to KaneCountyMagazine@, subject head “Local Artist Submission.”

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ElginSymphony.Org KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | AUGUST 2017 | 61


WHERE: Vasa Park, 35 W. 217 Route 31, South Elgin The 13th annual World of Faeries Festival will feature family activities, music, handmade crafts, food, a scavenger hunt, tea parties, a craft tent, balloons, bubbles and more. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free of charge. No pets allowed (unless it’s a service dog, but owner must have documentation). For more information, visit

MOVIE IN THE PARK – ‘SULLY’ WHEN: 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 WHERE: Island Park 2 Route 25, Geneva


Movies in the Park will feature the film “Sully.� The film is rated PG-13. Attendees should bring a blanket or lawn chair. Concessions will be available for purchase. The event is free. For more information, visit THE WORLD OF FAERIES FESTIVAL WHEN: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6

The ninth annual National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Golf Outing helps support the programs of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. All of the proceeds go

to the NFFF. For more information or to register, visit www.firehero. org. INTRO TO SUP WHEN: 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 WHERE: Rocktown Adventures 107 Spruce St., Aurora Rocktown Adventures will teach an Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboarding class at Jericho Lake. The two-hour experience starts with 20 to 30 minutes of dry land and safety instruction followed by an hour of on-water instruction and paddling. The remainder of the class is for participants to practice. The class costs $40, and it includes a board, paddle, a personal flotation device and instruction. Class is limited to eight participants. Registration is required. Call 630-506-5706 or visit www.rocktownadventures. com.

NORTH AURORA DAYS WHEN: Friday, Aug. 4, and Sunday, Aug. 6 WHERE: Clock Tower Plaza 19 S. Randall Road, North Aurora North Aurora Days will feature amusements, rides, games, food vendors, a beer tent, live music and fireworks. For more information, visit HONEY AND BEER FARM DINNER WITH FOUNDERS BREWING CO. WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 10 WHERE: Heritage Prairie Farm 2N308 Brundige Road, Elburn This year’s Honey and Beer Farm Dinner will feature Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Co. It’s one of the farm’s most popular dinners, with lots of beer pairings and entrees. Tickets cost $90. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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Are You An Artist? See your work in the

To submit an entry to Artist Showcase email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three-sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to, subject head “Local Artist Submission.�

ROCK THE QUARRY WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 WHERE: Hall Quarry Beach 400 S. Water St., Batavia Kick off the last weekend of the Quarry season with music by Johnny Russler and the Beach Bum Band. This will be a fun night you won’t want to miss, with family games, extended hours and more! For more information, visit ELGIN CRAFT BEER FEST WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 WHERE: Riverwalk Promenade S. Riverside Drive, Elgin Hang out along the Elgin Riverwalk Promenade and enjoy more than 50 beers from 30 producers at the Elgin Craft Beer Fest. General admission is $40 and includes 20 tastings and a commemorative glass. For tickets or more information, visit www.

SOUTHERN UPRISING TOUR CONCERT AT RIVEREDGE PARK WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 WHERE: RiverEdge Park 360 N. Broadway, Aurora

YESTIVAL: YES & FRIENDS WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 WHERE: Grand Victoria Casino 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin

The Southern Uprising Tour will feature southern rock favorites Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws. Tickets cost $55. For more information, visit riveredgeaurora. com. ELBURN DAYS WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20 WHERE: Elburn Lions Community Park 500 Filmore St., Elburn Elburn Days begins with a traditional parade at 6 p.m. Friday. The event will feature food, games, rides, entertainment and a beer garden. This community event helps support local charities. For more information, visit

Yes will perform a special show, dubbed Yestival, with Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The outdoor concert will take place at Festival Park in Elgin, and will be led by the Grammy-winning group Yes, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Tickets start at $40. For tickets or more information, visit www.

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Classic car enthusiasts will gather again this year in Geneva to view a collection of antique, classic and modern automobiles. Participants from all over the country will display their prized automobiles on Third Street hoping to be awarded one of the coveted “Benz” trophies. Admission is free. For more information, visit

AN EVENING WITH PRISCILLA PRESLEY WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 WHERE: Arcada Theatre 105 E. Main St., St. Charles The wife of Elvis makes a rare appearance and discusses her life with Elvis in an interview conducted by Arcada Theatre’s Ron Onesti. For tickets or more information, visit

2017 Winner of the Skyline Tree Service was established in 1988 and is family owned and operated. After 29 years of service, we still hold strong to our original commitment to excellence to provide our customers with quality tree care services

CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE CAR SHOW WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27 WHERE: Downtown Geneva, along State Street from Anderson Boulevard to 3rd Street


Come in for a free meet & greet to discuss how we can help you, your family, and your dog have the best relationship possible. A trained dog is a fully participating member of the family—what a gift for all of you! A trained dog joins in the fun when company comes, accompanies the family to the kids’ sports games, goes with you to visit friends and relatives, goes for hikes, swims, and everything else the family does together.






100 S. Glengarry Dr., Geneva, IL 60134 • 630-232-8663 • OUT & ABOUT


Kc mag august 2017  
Kc mag august 2017