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NEW YEAR, NEW YOU The pursuit of happiness

How to become your best self PAGE 8


Why strong is the new sexy



Cozy cabins of Canoe Bay PAGE 28





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630-584-2255 MD. 521 W M S S. C

INSIDE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU 8 THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS How to become your best self 12 THE CURE Cool hobbies to combat winter blues



13 EXERCISE EVOLUTION Fitness trainers weigh in on why strong is the new skinny

28 SHACKED UP This winter, escape to the cozy cabins of Canoe Bay


31 THE GLASS-HALF-FULL GUY Summit your New Year’s goals one mountain at a time

14 GROWING RIVER STREET SCENE Even in the winter, downtown Batavia continues to blossom 18 CRAFT URBAN COOL Geneva’s latest dining hot spot offers all things local, craft and true

BUSINESS & CIVIC 20 REAL ESTATE MAGNATE Top-ranking Realtor Debora McKay turns successful career into family affair 21 NEIGHBORS IN NEED Lazarus House calls for locals to help ‘Unmask the Face of Homelessness’ at gala Jan. 20

OUT & ABOUT 32 SITTING PRETTY Largely considered one of the greatest success stories in environmental science, bald eagles continue to rebound along the banks of the Fox River 35 LEND A HELPING HAND Volunteering with park district serves as fun, educational alternative to typical New Year’s resolutions


36 BOOK NOOK Thought provoking picks to kick off 2018

22 DRESS YOUR BEST Boutiques offer tips to overcoming typical fashion foibles

38 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County in January!



CRAFT URBAN COOL Geneva's latest dining hot spot offers all things local, craft and true

24 DIY DREAMS Reclaimed Wood Chicago brings Pinterest ideas to life 26 MOTHER NURTURE What to expect when you’re expecting … to garden

Photos by Missy Donovan


Editor's Note New year, new you! This month’s issue is dedicated to the journey of self-betterment. Whether that entails reading every book on your high school-age kid’s English syllabus, causing your Fitbit to go haywire from your tireless devotion to steps, or getting to check off that bucket-list-worthy trip to Bali, just remember that complacency is the antithesis of self-improvement. The best time to start is NOW. Crack open that copy of “The Great Gatsby,” lace up those Nikes and book that flight.

actual advice. In “putting these words to paper,” I’m hoping they will keep me honest in my own pursuit of self-improvement. This year, as I’m going into my first full month in my new house, it feels like things are just beginning. And my only hope is that as soon as I start to feel comfortable in my new life that I won’t become complacent, fall into old habits and inadvertently swap persistent effort and lasting contentment for old habits and immediate gratification. It’s not going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

Decide to begin. Show up. And the pieces will begin to fall into place.

But maybe this will be the year. What if this is the year?

There are many paths, many practices, many contradicting opinions about those paths and practices. So, whatever you plan to experience, create or fix this year, there is no right way – or one way – to get to where you’re trying to go.

Thank you for reading,

Kara Silva, Editor

Trust that this unsolicited pep talk serves more as a means of self-motivation than

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

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

on the


Heather Kellogg is new to Geneva and new to owning a business, but the local yogi has big plans for her studio – Yellow Aura Yoga – where she guides students on the path to becoming the best version of themselves. Find out more, on Page 8. Photo by RON MCKINNEY Salon Services by MARIO TRICOCI Stylist - MARINEE Makeup - TRICIA


ACCOUNT MANAGERS Sandra Petti 630-313-0251 Tricia Walter 630-845-5272 CORRESPONDENTS Kelsey O’Connor, Kevin Druley, Allison Horne, Peter Stadalsky, Allison Manley, Jonathan Bilyk, Melissa Riske 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

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630.938.9100 TTY for the hearing impaired 630.933.4833.

The pursuit of happiness:



here once was a time when Geneva resident Heather Kellogg transported herself from Yorkville to Chicago, and back again, five times a week – an arduous work commute comparable to a parttime job all its own.

“It’s almost like a reboot, I suppose you could say,” Kellogg says. “You come back out like, “OK, now I can deal with whatever it is I have to deal with.”

In December, Kellogg’s passion for the practice led her to open Stress quickly accumulated as her own studio, Yellow Aura the routine began taking its toll Yoga, in downtown Geneva. (and not just on her iPass!). There she aims to guide others on their own journey to “I just really could tell I wasn’t becoming the best versions of myself anymore,” Kellogg says. themselves through meditation “I’m usually really outgoing and really upbeat, and I was just tired and the peaceful – and ancient – all the time and canceling plans practice of yoga. with everybody, and just really But sometimes self-betterment didn’t want to do anything.” means making big changes – Kellogg ultimately found a lighter career changes. That’s where Cynthia Wade comes in. vessel to take her away from her troubles: her yoga mat. The exercises Kellogg completes on her mat have landed her on the journey to self-betterment – an overall objective of the New Year’s resolutions of many. In fact, research finds that practicing yoga and meditation has positive effects on mindbody health and stress resilience, according to Science Daily.

when her daughter moved out of the house. Stress quickly accumulated. And depression piled on, too, growing so cumbersome that Wade even harbored thoughts of suicide, she says. “I sank into a very deep depression, and for the first time in my life, I had a hard time figuring out how to get out of it,” Wade says. “It was deeper than I had ever sunk before."

As the founder of Geneva-based, Wade strives to guide others toward becoming their best professional selves through reflection and evaluation – and often on the heels of trying times. Over a four-month period in 2013, Wade underwent a major surgery, turned 60, lost her job and became an empty-nester


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“It’s almost like a reboot, I suppose you could say. You come back out like, “OK, now I can deal with whatever it is I have to deal with.”

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-Continued from page 8 "I was doing a lot of unhealthy things to self-medicate," Wade says. As much as she thought about suicide, Wade says that she wasn’t able to follow through with it, and, instead, it caused her to jump into action. She thought, “I better get busy figuring out what I was going to do next.” So, for the past three years, Wade has operated – an operation geared toward assisting adults with career transitions, namely overcoming the raw emotions, depression and anxiety that often accompany life-changing events. Wade worked as an executive-level recruiter before she lost her job. Discussing optimal resumes and job interview strategies helps a person professionally, but it also brings forth valuable career-related questions. “People have to understand who they are and what they really want, and have to have the opportunity to be able to fulfill those needs in order to be able to succeed and to be happy,” Wade says. When happiness is difficult to achieve people look for an escape, or immediate gratification, and some escapes are healthier than others. Kellogg began hoarding every minute of free time she had because of the work pressures inherent as a marketing professional in Chicago. So, she turned to a habit – physical activity – for 10 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

an escape from her hectic professional life. She says that she embraced yoga, in part, because it was an escape. She started practicing once or twice a week before becoming a regular – visiting the studio four times a week. The deeper she delved into the practice, the more positive benefits she began to notice and reap during her “escape.” She especially enjoyed her instructors’ community focus, and found that meeting new people only augmented the physical benefit she felt with each session. She revered the fusion of the two worlds that allowed her to take a “mental break.” Now an instructor, Kellogg provides attendees a theme with each class. In December, amid the social and financial bustle of the holiday season, she stressed balance. “I think [yoga] really helps other people become their better self because they come to class, they hear the message that maybe resonates with them, and then, when they get off their mat, maybe they’re a little nicer to their spouse or their children or their co-workers, you know,” Kellogg says. “So, that’s my intention. They come here because they need it, and then, when they leave, they’ve left with something that really is going to sit with them and maybe help them through their week a little bit easier.” NEW YEAR NEW YOU

Photos provided

Counterpart Kay Eck, owner of Shine Yoga in Batavia, can attest to the power of investing in yourself. “Yoga is one of those practices that, the more you practice it, the deeper you go and the greater the benefit,” Eck says. “So, we really want to get people comfortable with the practice itself.” Whether she’s away from her studio or helping those inside it, Eck believes that “people are naturally a bit more introspective, a little bit more inward looking during the cold months.” Considering the things one might be grateful for offers another insight into wants, needs and what it takes to attain true happiness. At, Wade believe that teaching clients about being grateful, above all, can sometimes be the first step in resetting one’s mindset. Working with clients that often hail from affluent suburbs often means discussing finances –

“People have to understand who they are and what they really want, and have to have the opportunity to be able to fulfill those needs in order to be able to succeed and to be happy.” – Cynthia Wade, owner of

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both past, present and future. For Wade, the challenge lies in teaching those she works with that it’s OK to re-evaluate the importance of money in relation to happiness, if need be. For example, if a client aspires to live in a $500,000 house with a three-car garage and a Mercedes waiting in the wings for their 16-year-old child who is planning to enroll at Harvard, she’ll be happy to oblige, says Wade. But the main goal is to get clients to reflect on meaningful means of employment – that is, earning “money to be able to live how you want to live, but also be able to feed your soul, too,” Wade says. “To be able to do something that you feel is making a difference in the greater good.” “You are not less than because you don’t have that job and that title and that car and that garage and that paycheck – that those are not the things that we should allow to define us,” Wade says. “That each one of us has worth and value just by virtue of the fact that we’re here, and that there should be an even playing field for all of us to have an opportunity to get what we want, regardless of what that is. That’s what we’re all about.”


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hen the temperature dips, it’s pretty tempting to spend your free time curled up on your couch or binging on a new Netflix series. But long winter months also present an opportunity to pick up a skill or try out a new hobby.

the Cure


Here are a few (indoor) ideas to get you started:


Knitting is the perfect hobby to take up in the colder months. Not only is it relaxing, but also your efforts are rewarded with a cozy new hat, pair of gloves or whatever else you dream up. Wool and Company in St. Charles or Elgin Knit Works are great places to get started. Wool and Co. offers a complimentary introductory to knitting lesson, as well as classes for teens, kids and advanced students.


Elgin Knit Works offers a variety of knitting classes, too. Start off with its skill builder series to learn basic techniques, and then move on to project-based classes. Participants will create a different garment, such as a baby sweater, mittens or socks, over the course of several sessions.

Experienced instructors offer weekly private lessons for guitar, electric bass, piano, clarinet, flute, drums, saxophone, voice and more. Its popular Ukulele Club practices together each week. And it also offers RocksCool, an eight-week program where members can write original songs, record music and play live shows.

And you can pick up any supplies you need from either of the shops’ wide selections.

Whether you want to rock out on the guitar or key the classics on a piano, there’s plenty of time to learn a new instrument this winter. Hix Bros Music offers private and group lessons in Batavia and Aurora for all ability levels.

HIX BROS MUSIC Aurora: 4315 Westbrook Drive 630-898-8840 Batavia: 1941 W. Wilson St. | 630-406-0044

WOOL AND COMPANY 107A W. Main St., St. Charles 630-444-0480 | ELGIN KNIT WORKS 8 Douglas Ave., Elgin 847-627-4700 | www.


How difficult is it to learn to brew beer?

“We often tell folks that if you can boil water you can make beer,” says Ed Seaman, owner of Broken Brix Home Brew Shop in St. Charles.  GET IN TOUCH The shop offers everything you need to start WITH YOUR ARTSY SIDE making your own beer and wine at home. Try your hand at something creative with a Swing by the store (at its temporary location) class at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles. The center offers classes in ceramics, and a staff member will help you find the right supplies. watercolor, woodcarving, macramé, metal work, jewelry making and much more. “Home brewing is not something that is limited to the colder months, but since If you need help deciding, swing by its the activity is typically done indoors, it is exploration day on Saturday, Jan. 6. For one when most folks home brew,” says Seaman. flat fee, participants can try up to four mini classes. All materials and lunch are provided. “Brewing is a social event. Friends get together to brew up a batch of home brew “It’s a great way to do something fun after while outside temperatures keep us focused all the holiday crazy,” says executive director on indoor activities.” Lynn Caldwell. “You can try out different things and get a taste of it. If you never try it, BROKEN BRIX HOME BREW SHOP 9 S. 3rd St., St. Charles you’ll never know.” 630-377-1338 | FINE LINE CREATIVE ARTS CENTER 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles 630-584-9443 | 12 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


Fitness trainers weigh in on why strong is the new skinny By KELSEY O’CONNOR


f pop culture serves as any indication, the primary reason to work out is to get thinner. Magazines flaunt the best celebrity slim downs. Contestants on shows like “The Biggest Loser” obsess over how many pounds they shed each week. It often feels like the only way to measure the success of your exercise regimen is by the number of inches lost off your waistline.

tasks. The focus is less on how you look and more about what you can do. The idea is to use exercise to make daily tasks easier and continue this high level of functioning as you age. The change has been especially noticeable among women. Gone are the days when female clients were hesitant to pick up weights, says Flotte.

“I rarely hear women say ‘I don’t want to get But the fitness industry has been evolving and so too bulky,’” she says. “I think women, now more are our fitness goals. than ever, want to be stronger. They’re really The past few years have seen a subtle shift in embracing the body building and strength the way people approach exercise. For many, training.” exercise is becoming less about looking good This shifting mindset has not only changed and more about feeling good. why people work out, but how they work out. “I absolutely think things are shifting,” says Cassandra Flotte, a fitness specialist at Delnor Health & Fitness Center in Geneva. “It’s less about ‘I want to be thin or lose weight.’ They wanted to improve their functional fitness; they [want] to get through their day-to-day activities with less of a challenge.” This new emphasis on “functional fitness” is about getting stronger and better at everyday

Exercises that focus on building strength have become more popular with men and women alike. That may be why high intensity interval training (HIIT), such as Crossfit, has exploded in popularity in recent years. “I think we’re definitely seeing a shift in people’s mentality on how to be fit,” says Mark Wrzeciona, a Crossfit coach at Fox River Strength and Conditioning in North Aurora. “It’s not about HEALTH & WELLNESS

being thinner. As a population, we’re getting more educated on healthy choices and the best way to not only lose weight but to gain muscle.” Wrzeciona says this new perspective is one of the reasons for the Crossfit boom over the past decade. Crossfit and similar fitness programs are designed using constant, varied functional movement performed at a high intensity. This type of function-focused moves aligns with fitness buffs’ shifting values. For many, becoming physically stronger can also lead to becoming stronger in other areas. “I look at fitness from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint,” says Wrzeciona. “As you’re more confident in yourself and as you’re able to do more, that translates to becoming mentally and emotionally stronger.” Flotte says she sees a similar effect with her clients. “You definitely have the physical benefits of getting stronger, along with the mental benefits,” she says. “People come in and say ‘I never thought I would do this, I didn’t think I was this strong. It’s a huge confidence booster.” KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2018 | 13

Growing River Street scene

Even in the winter, downtown Batavia continues to blossom By KEVIN DRULEY


iver’s Edge Bar & Grill owner Melissa Monno enjoys her existing neighbors in the downtown Batavia business scene, but the thought of a new neighbor excites her, too. Good news for Monno, as a used book store is set to open soon on River Street – across the street from River’s Edge. “More reasons to just walk around,” Monno says. “It’s been fun to watch the street grow.”

Shine Yoga studio owner, Kay Eck, agrees. “It’s definitely getting to be more vibrant,” says Eck, whose studio is located at 5 N. River Street. River Street and its adjacent area offer entertainment year-round, and it’s getting better all of the time. From shooting pool and taking yoga to listening to live music and sipping martinis in a cocktail lounge, take a little time this winter to explore the abundance of River Street fun.

 RIVER’S EDGE BAR & GRILL 12 N. River St. | 630-406-9200 HOURS: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday Make no mistake, Monno touts the live, local music that can be heard at River Street on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. However, Bluegrass Sunday (from 5 to 8 p.m.), in her mind, resides in another stratosphere. “Sundays are kind of our favorite day of the week around here,” Monno says. “Just a really good scene. You’ve got families – it’s all ages. It’s a lot of fun. People dance. It’s a really just relaxing time down here.”  BULLDOG’S CELLAR BAR & GRILL 1 E. Wilson St. | 630-406-9177 HOURS: 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday Open since the summer of 2015, Bulldog’s Cellar has established itself as a go-to spot for beer, food and diverse entertainment options, including pool, holiday-theme events and Tuesday karaoke. Tournaments for oche pong – a wall- or surfacemounted variation of beer pong – were a popular attraction in the fall.



GAETANO’S  15 E. Wilson St. | 630-406-3009 HOURS: 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday The Gaetano’s lounge hosts live rock music and $10 charcuterie boards from 7 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday in January. Live blues musicians can be heard from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, when wine and whiskey flights are available for $14 (a $6 savings). Thursdays offer “Try Something Local,” in which patrons can enjoy $2 local beer or spirits. If you’re up for something quieter, but equally local, check out the indoor farmer’s market, hosted by Batavia MainStreet, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

 BAR EVOLUTION 27 N. River St. | 630-454-4315

 EL TACO GRANDE 6 N. River St. | 630-406-8415 | HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

HOURS: 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; Noon to 1 a.m. Saturday; Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays

Shake off that cabin fever in style by enjoying one of El Taco Grande’s many varieties of regular and specialty margaritas, available as individual drinks or in pitchers. Don’t fret if your tastes take you elsewhere. Plenty of rum drinks and imported and domestic beers await, as well.

Call or check the website for more on Bar Evolution’s eclectic live music schedule. (Friday and Saturday performances begin at 9 p.m.) True to the name of the establishment, the bar list abounds with both the usual suspects and inspired new offerings. If it suits your palate, hope for an early spring by ordering an April Showers martini – Tito’s vodka, dry vermouth and lime with a twist – for $9.

 SHINE YOGA 5 N. River St. | 630-482-9700 | HOURS: Call or check website for class offerings. An online newsletter also is available for class updates. Whether you’re a budding yogi or a pose pro, Shine Yoga offers something for everyone on the yoga spectrum. Beginning Jan. 7, a six-week basics course will be available for $90 ($75 if signing up with a friend or family member). Choose the Sunday afternoon (4 to 5:15 p.m.) or Monday night (6 to 7:15 p.m.) track. “We break down the poses. We take our time,” Eck says of the course.

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-Continued from page 15  THE SALT ESCAPE 9 N. River St. | 630-708-7258 HOURS: 3 to 7 p.m. Monday; 10 am. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Looking for some peace of mind and introspection after the holiday season rush? The Salt Escape offers a salt cave healing room, in which cellphones and electronic devices are forbidden. Sessions begin on the hour and are 50 minutes in length. The cost is $30 per session, with five-session packages available for $100.

the tea • oil and vinegar • spice • essential oil

29 N. River Street Batavia, IL 630-425-3340  THE TEA TREE 25 N. River St. | 630-425-3340

Beach Time!

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday

Largest Himalayan Salt cave Zero gravity chairs Sounds of waves washing up

9 North River Street Batavia, IL | 630-708-SALT (7258) | 16 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE



The perfect setting to get away from it all to relax and rejuvenate.

Owner Missi Hartmann offers nearly 30 varieties of tea, with names – Feel Better Blend, Sleep Tea and Throat Therapy – seemingly suited for fueling winter perseverance. Also look for your favorite olive oil and vinegar flavor, and find numerous spices and essential oils available for sale.



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CRAFT URBAN 211 James St., Geneva 331-248-8161



raft Urban, one of the newest restaurants in downtown Geneva, went from concept to completion in a little less than a year. Despite this accelerated timeline, the owners worked hard to ensure that no detail went overlooked – from the menu to the art on the walls (and even in the bathrooms!). “We really pushed ourselves to get this thing done,” says Bernie Laskowski, who owns the

restaurant with Francisco Chavez. “We looked at what was missing in Geneva. We wanted to do something that was true American food and hyper local. It’s a mash up of all different cooking styles.” Craft Urban opened its doors in the former Nosh space in mid-November. The menu showcases a blend of cooking styles from regions throughout the country, with an emphasis on seasonal fare. Dishes on the menu are divided up into bar snacks, appetizers, hot and cold veggie dishes, and entrees – including seafood, meat and sandwiches. “They’re familiar items done with a twist,” says Laskowski. “We don’t want it be fine dining in any way shape or form.” The offerings change frequently, sometimes on a daily basis. Guests might get a taste of tempura-battered cheese curds, shrimp and grits, a fried chicken sandwich with jalapeno honey, or beef short ribs with crispy peppers. The curated drink menu features local-based brews, eclectic wines and craft cocktails.

far, is the Craft Urban burger, made with beef from Fairview-based Slagel Family Farm, and topped with tomato jam and caramelized onions on house-made bread. The focus on staying local extends to the restaurants aesthetic. The walls are adorned with works from area artists. The exterior of the building features a colorful mural by Chicago-native and world-renowned painter Caesar Perez. “We turned the outside of the building into a piece of art,” says Laskowski. “We wanted to draw people in.” And the inside is designed to keep them in. Laskowski describes the interior as shabby chic with a retro vibe and feminine color palette. Much of the furnishings are reclaimed and refurbished, and guests of all ages can play with old-school toys, like Rubik’s Cubes and Etch A Sketches.

While this is Chavez’s first foray into the restaurant industry, Laskowski is no stranger to the trade. He’s been an executive chef in Chicago for 25 years and previously ran the In most dishes, the spotlight is on ingredients kitchen at Park Grill in Millennium Park. from local vendors and producers, which “As a chef, I’m kind of a snob. I thought the must be within an eight-hour-drive of suburbs were where chefs go to die,” says Geneva. One of the most popular dishes so 18 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


“We looked at what was missing in Geneva. We wanted to do something that was true American food and hyper local. It’s a mash up of all different cooking styles.”

Time for Comfort Foods!

– BERNIE LASKOWSKI, co-owner of Craft Urban

Laskowski. “But downtown Geneva isn’t like other small cities. There are no franchises; it’s all very quaint, independent and accepting of creative endeavors.” At Craft Urban, Laskowski manages the kitchen, while Chavez handles marketing and other “behind-the-scenes” responsibilities. The pair has quickly found that their differing strengths are an asset that allows each of them to simultaneously collaborate while pushing each other to do better. “We’ve had a really good opening,” says Chavez. “We can pat each other on the back, but we don’t think we’re successful yet, because we’re just getting started.”

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Top-ranking Realtor Debora McKay turns successful career into family affair By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY


ebora McKay began working in real estate 20 years ago. And, today, she has managed to build a successful business that includes her husband and children. McKay is at the helm of The McKay Group for Coldwell Banker, providing real estate services in and around Kane County. McKay says that 2017 was one of the best years on record for the group, as the volume of sales made it one of the best on the books. She is quick to point out that much of her success comes from having a great team. “… I have really great people behind me,” McKay says. “I’m really, really proud of where we are as a team.” Her team includes her husband, Don, and her youngest daughter, Jessica Lollino. Her son-in-law, Roger Erikson, is married to McKay’s eldest daughter, Courtney, who lends her talents as needed to help with home staging.

“She grew up having to work very hard and having to earn everything she’s gotten. She’s just amazing in so many ways,” Lollino says. “The key to success is not about the sale, but about building relationships with people, and she’s always willing to help people.” Though she has earned many accolades in her business, including recognition as a top producer for the Coldwell Banker Western Region and as the No. 1 agent in Kane County. McKay stresses that the core of her work ethic is building relationships with people.

“It’s a people business. It’s a relationship business. Whether you are buying or selling, you want a relationship built on trust, integrity.”

“It’s a people business. It’s a relationship business. Whether you are buying or selling, you want a relationship built on trust, integrity,” McKay says.

The Georgia native moved to the Tri-Cities shortly after meeting and marrying her husband in – DEBORA MCKAY the mid-1980s. As a stayat-home mom, McKay was able to raise her girls and, shortly after the “Many people get into this business and it’s youngest entered school full time, she was able a one-man, one-woman show. To me, it’s a to turn her attention to launching her career in business, and I hope to go at least another real estate. 20 years more,” McKay says. “… My hope is the next generation, my family, can make it a business for themselves.” The family knows how hard McKay works. She would often give her time to the business seven days a week, Lollino says.


Living and raising her family in St. Charles gave McKay the insight to really understand the community and help her clients as they looked to buy and sell.

from the housing boom in the ’90s to the crash in 2008 and the slow climb out of the recession. When she started, buyers relied on the real estate agent to provide details on every listing while, today, McKay says that 95 percent of buyers start their search online. In order to weather the changes in the market, McKay says it’s important to stay informed. “It’s important to stay up with trends and the best way to do that is stay educated,” McKay says.

Over the last 20 years, McKay has witnessed countless changes in the real estate market,



UPCOMING EVENT LAZARUS HOUSE’S ‘UNMASKING THE FACE OF HOMELESSNESS’ GALA WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 WHERE: St. Charles Country Club, 1250 Country Club Drive, St. Charles


TICKETS: $120 a person; $1,000 for a table of 10

Homelessness is never easy, no matter the season.


But the challenges of living an itinerant and transient lifestyle, whether by choice or otherwise, is only magnified under the skies of a Northern Illinois winter, says Liz Eakins, executive director of Lazarus House in St. Charles. “We always are trying to figure out when it is we should expect the people to be coming to our door for help,” says Eakins. “And every time we think we’ve got that answer, it’s wrong. But, without question, in the winter, being homeless is so much harder, because of the elements.” For more than two decades, Lazarus House in downtown St. Charles has provided assistance to the homeless and others in crisis in the TriCities and the primarily rural regions of western Kane County, covering a combined population of nearly 160,000. That assistance comes in various forms, Eakins says, from temporary and emergency shelter, and the traditional “soup kitchen,” to programs designed to help those in crisis develop the life skills and job training needed to return to independent living. The ultimate goal is to break the cycle of crisis that led them to Lazarus House’s door, whether referred to by local public school workers, police departments, churches or observant and caring neighbors. The task is made a bit more challenging by Lazarus House’s seemingly paradoxical location in the heart of a community considered by many to be among the more affluent and least economically troubled in the Chicago area.

questions,” Eakins says. “’I didn’t even know you were there,’ followed by ‘Who do you serve?’”

everyone whose life has been impacted by homelessness has a story to tell.”

But from there, she says, the response is almost always enthusiastic, as people learn about their hurting neighbors. The reaction, she says, is measured by the help Lazarus House receives from hundreds of volunteers each year and the generosity of the community, which aid the organization by helping it serve dozens of homeless Kane County residents every day.

Tickets to the gala are $120 a person or tables of 10 can be reserved for $1,000.

“When they see the need, the reaction from people then is ‘I want to do something to help,’” she says. This month, Lazarus House will continue to spread the word and unmask the issues associated with homelessness when the nonprofit hosts its annual fundraising gala Jan. 20 at the St. Charles Country Club. The event, now in its third year, will offer attendees the chance to enjoy an evening of dining and entertainment, while learning more about Lazarus House and those it serves. This year, for instance, Eakins says a professional theater group will help to dramatize the story of a person helped by Lazarus House.

In 2016, the event drew more than 200 guests, Eakins says. With the funds raised from past galas and other donations, Eakins says that Lazarus House has continuously improved and diversified its services and programs. At this year’s gala, she notes, Lazarus House will be celebrating the purchase of the building located at 214 Walnut St., in St. Charles. The nonprofit has rented the building from St. Charles Free Methodist Church since the organization’s inception. Lazarus House will perform renovations that allow the nonprofit to consolidate activities that had previously been spread among three buildings, she says. “Now, we can bring them all under one roof,” says Eakins. Donors should watch for a capital campaign in the coming days, as Lazarus House cements its renovation plans.

“We don’t put people in front of crowds, and make them tell their story,” says Eakins. “Instead, “The support we receive from our towns, from “The typical reaction from people when we talk with them about our work and our mission is two we find other ways to tell their stories – because our neighbors, it’s second to none,” Eakins says.



DRESS YOUR BEST Tips to overcoming typical fashion foibles By ALLISON HORNE

You might want to think twice before grabbing that bland sweater or pair of sweatpants from the closet this winter. From oversized scarves to pops of color, Kane County boutique owners and style experts are helping reinvent your style by sharing their tips to make this winter your best dressed yet. “I think sometimes women just need a little bit of help,” says Jill Card, owner of Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, which has locations in Wheaton, St. Charles and Downers Grove. “It’s OK to stay on trend and try looks and styles, as long as you do it in the right way, and make sure it’s flattering to your figure, and looks good.”

Card says she’s been seeing a lot of women buy the wrong size lately when it comes to jeans. Jeans now are generally made with a lot more spandex and stretchy fibers in them than in the past, making them stretch, but not shrink, while worn. “The spandex is great because it makes them feel comfortable, but you do have to buy them snug,” Card says. “If you’re between sizes, buy the smaller size, because it’s going to stretch.”

Some style woes can be solved with something as easy as just pairing the right items and buying In addition to buying the right size and the correct sizes. coordinating an outfit correctly, those looking to “No. 1, you have to balance the silhouette, no switch up their style quickly and easily can do so matter the body size,” Card says. “If you’re doing by adding a pop of color. a tight jean on the bottom, such as a skinny jean “If you tend to gravitate towards black and grey, or leggings, you have to do something more it’s good to pop in a little color here or there,” loose on the top. You can reverse that, too.” Card says. “Maybe think about getting a scarf Another common problem is that women often with colors in it. It’s always nice to have a little don’t buy the right size. It could be because they pop of color by our faces.” may feel more comfortable in a bigger size or maybe they simply aren’t aware that the fit isn’t Other items like jewelry, earrings or even a bright cardigan can add a little bit of a pop. right. However, Chic Boutique owner Nicki Turnbull “No matter what size you are, you have to buy tends to gear her own style toward more subtle your correct size,” Card says. “Most women think they’re bigger than they are and they don’t tones. see what’s really there when they look in the mirror.” 22 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

But Turnbull agrees with Card, adding that it’s “always fun to try a pop of color and have fun with fashion.” This winter isn’t about a particular item in style – it’s all about fabrics and textures. “There are some wonderful fabrics and textures that are out right now,” Card says. “We have some fabrics that we just call ‘yummy.’ There’s just a real feeling of wanting for be comfortable, look good, feel good, but also be cozy and comfortable.” One way to integrate both fabric and color is blanket scarves. They’re big, warm, and provide that extra pop to make an outfit stand out.

For those looking to keep up with the trends, “I’m always in black and neutrals – it’s my go-to,” a popular clothing style has been the cutout tops. The “cold-shoulder” or tops with cutout says St. Charles clothing boutique owner. FASHION & BEAUTY

shoulders have been trending for a while and they are expected to do so through the winter. “It gives the opportunity to show a little bit of skin but also keep it classy and elegant,” Turnbull says. “It’s a really small part of the body and it still gives you edginess, and it works on all ages and body types.” Similar to the cold shoulder tops, the choker neckline cutout tops have been very popular, as well. “Not all women are comfortable wearing choker jewelry, and when you wear a choker neckline top, you get the choker look without actually being choked,” Card says. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your style or simply boost your confidence by dressing for your body type, it’s important to have fun with fashion and feel good about what you are wearing. “Fashion is one of the easiest ways to express yourself,” Turnbull says. “I look back at the photos from the ’80s and ’90s and just kind of laugh and say, ‘I can’t believe that was a trend back then.’ But then you see it come back in style. I love that aspect of it. You just kind of have to have fun with it.”

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DIY dreams

At Reclaimed Wood Chicago, bring all of your Pinterest ideas to life | By ALLISON HORNE When Adam Long first quit his trading job in downtown Chicago, he set out to create his own furniture line out of old barn wood he acquired personally. It didn’t take him long to realize people wanted to buy the salvaged wood for their own projects, and thus, Reclaimed Wood Chicago was born. Now, Reclaimed Wood Chicago has emerged as one of the premier spots to purchase reclaimed barn wood from all over the Midwest. With a warehouse in West Chicago (opened more than five years ago) and a showroom and shop in Chicago (opened three years ago), there’s plenty to choose from. After the wood is pulled from the buildings (Long no longer does demo himself and, instead, outsources it.), there is a long process before it hits the shelves to sell. Each piece is washed, de-nailed, kiln-dried and checked over for the highest quality pieces.

 Reclaimed Wood Chicago 33W447 Roosevelt Road West Chicago 630-457-5048

Photos provided



“If you saw how much dirt came off these things, you wouldn’t put it in your house,” Long says. “The material is riddled with nails, dirt dust and drywall dust. The process from when we picked it up to the sale point is what people appreciate.” While Reclaimed Wood Chicago does large projects – such as restaurants (Shake Shack in Chicago, Main St. Pub in St. Charles), the Arcada Theater and large custom homes and other assorted home projects – it also provides wood that is ideal for craft and do-it-yourself projects. “The ideas are endless,” Long says. “People bring in project stuff all the time that they want to replicate, copy or replace.”

For smaller DIY crafts, Reclaimed Wood Chicago offers a “Crafter’s Corner,” which is full of smaller pieces that are too nice to throw out. You can fill a crate with wood for $20, and the pieces are ideal for making crafts like candleholders or smaller coat hooks.

The Right Choice, Right in Your Neighborhood. Proudly Serving the Tri-Cities Area Since 1985.

Long says that Reclaimed Wood usually always has wood in stock to make things like benches, tabletops and shelving. For bigger DIY projects, the company can outsource it to try to find the perfect piece. “Most of the time, people take stuff home with them once they’re ready to do something,” Long says. One of the common DIY trends Long has been seeing is taking a garage sale or thrift shop piece, such as a smaller side table or coffee table, removing the top and replacing it with a reclaimed piece of wood for a new finish. “Clients are on Houzz or Pinterest or Etsy, or go to an art fair and see something and say, ‘I can make that,’” Long says. “We can help show them what they’re looking for and it might only cost them $40 in wood.” For bigger DIY projects – like dining room tables – in addition to selling the wood, the company offers a la carte services for customers who don’t have all of the necessary tools, like a joiner, planer or a glue line rip saw. “We can do certain things to give them a head start,” Long says.


One of the best tips Long has is to be open to minimum and maximum dimensions while shopping for wood to do a project with. “I always tell people to have a range so you can make your options that much greater to choose from,” Long says. “If you really like a piece but it’s only 100 inches, and you came in thinking you were going to do 102 inches, is it OK to go down to 100? Always come in with a range.” WE SERVICE ALL MAKES AND MODELS, 24/7

© 2017 Service Experts LLC. Service Experts and the Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning logo and design are registered or common law trademarks of Service Experts LLC. Offers not valid on prior purchases and cannot be combined with any other offers. Some restrictions apply. PROMO CODE: 33148-54 SM-CL1485772





What to expect when you’re expecting to garden With MEAGAN PROVENCHER

Most moms will know what I’m talking about when I reference the popular pregnancy book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” While the book educated me, it scared me, too. And I wish there was a book like that for many things in life. A gardening version, for example, would be spot on. So, here’s my take on a few things to expect when you venture into the backyard.  Gardening, like parenting, is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it. However, the reward outweighs the pain. Stiff joints after planting 800 bulbs? Rewarded with 800 blooms in early spring after a long winter. Scratches from roses? Rewarded with a never-ending wave of blossoms from the hardy Knockouts. Eyes crossed from transplanting 20 tiny tomato plants indoors in February? Rewarded with 50 pounds of gorgeous fruit that you can enjoy straight from your backyard.  It’s hot/wet/frozen/raining/dry out. Get outside and enjoy it – no matter the conditions! The garden is constantly renewing itself. Don’t let the weather get you down – garden anyway! Meagan Provencher is the Sr. Landscape Designer at Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles. She can be reached at 630-584-4424 or



 It can be low maintenance if you do it right. Plan ahead so you have the right plant for the right spot. If a plant can grow on its own to the perfect size without you having to trim it all of the time, you’ve just taken your maintenance down to almost zero. Why try to force a plant to stay small when there are plenty to choose from in the size range you need?

“I remember the birth of my children like it was yesterday. I also remember the first tree I ever planted. I have enjoyed watching all of them grow up.” – Meagan Provencher, Wasco Nursery senior landscape designer

 Invest in your outdoor space the same as your indoor. You wouldn’t ask “who’s the cheapest doctor around to help me deliver this kid?” Why ask who the cheapest guy is to help you with your landscaping? Your yard is an extension of your home. Professional landscapers have years of schooling, years of skilled planting experience and, most of all, they know their stuff – and that comes at a cost. Contact several reputable firms for quotes. Talk to neighbors about who did their landscaping if you like it. And don’t judge landscaping solely on the bottom number. Take into account warranties, the size of plants, suppliers of plants, time it takes to do the job, who’s in charge, insurance and certifications, and ease of communication with the business. Always make sure you are comparing “maples to maples” and that you feel comfortable with the contractor.  Enjoy all stages of the process. I remember the birth of my children like it was yesterday. I also remember the first tree I ever planted. I have enjoyed watching all of them grow up. The tree is taller than my teenager (but his feet are bigger), and I have hundreds more “children” in my garden now. Gardening is a lot like raising kids. It’s tough work. It’s dirty. There’s no money in it. But at the end of the day, it’s rewarding and fun. Granted, you don’t have to pay for college for a Sugar Maple and plants don’t talk back, but still … watching living things grow is wonderful, so it’s time to finally take that plunge into gardening.





From the streets of Chicago to the forests of Chetek, Wisconsin, it’s been a long journey for Canoe Bay owners Lisa and Dan Dobrowolski. But one well worth it.

living space, Lisa Dobrowolski recommends any of the six dream cottages. All six of the cabins offer a direct lake view and a two-person tile shower, in addition to the whirlpool tub. Other options like heated bathroom floors and steam showers are available in several of the cabins.

The duo first opened Canoe Bay 25 years ago after Dan Dobrowolski’s parents showed them a property for sale that he and his family had spent “In the dream cottage, you get more storage some time on growing up. space, larger furniture, more floor space; it’s truly like a home away from home,” she says. “We decided to go ahead and make an offer on it, figuring it would be meaningful,” Lisa Dobrowolski says. “They actually took the offer, so then we had to figure out what to do with the place.” The duo relocated from Chicago to create Canoe Bay, an adult-only resort situated on 300 acres, with a 50-acre clear lake designed to help couples escape the day-to-day madness of life. “We appreciated coming up from Chicago and experiencing the real peace and quiet – the beauty of the crystal clear lake and the surrounding woods that are just as beautiful in every season,” she says. “We thought it would be fun to share it with other couples.”  WHERE TO STAY Spread out over 300 acres is 20 different structures with 27 different accommodations for couples. There are 15 standalone cottages, three duplexes and several private rooms available at the inn.

For those with a love for water, the Heavenly Suite, located at the Inn, has a porch that sits above the lake. For couples seeking a minimalistic experience, Dobrowolski notes Canoe Bay does offer two Escape Units, which are 400-square-foot tiny houses that have a queen bed, walk-in tile shower (no whirlpool), and a large screened-in porch. “Your view is always of nature and water, not of your neighbors,” Dobrowolski says. “You can maybe see the lines of the other buildings, but it’s not in any way an obstacle. It’s pretty rare in a Midwestern resort.”  WHAT TO EAT You’ll never have to worry about the stress of cooking or any dirty dishes because, at Canoe Bay, it offers handcrafted food and farm-to-table meals.

These rooms aren’t your ordinary hotel rooms – a fireplace, king bed, whirlpool tub, private deck and mini-fridge come standard in each room.

With a large garden and professional gardener, much of the food served at Canoe Bay comes directly from its own land. Canoe Bay sources local Wisconsin pork, beef and chicken, and all of the greens – kale, potatoes, beans, carrots and lettuce – come from the garden. There is even is an orchard.

For those looking for a bit of privacy and a large

The main restaurant hosts a $75 prix fixe

“It’s easy to go out all day and not realize how many people are staying here,” Lisa Dobrowolski says. “It’s part of the charm.”



dinner nightly at the inn, which consists of a handcrafted three-course chef’s meal. The menu changes nightly, and has included the likes of glazed king salmon, garden potato soup and New York strip steak. “It’s hard not to be fully satisfied with the coursing of the meal, and the ambience, and the terrific servers who like to help and engage people,” Dobrowolski says. For a more private meal, guests can partake in the wine cellar dinner. For $120 a person, couples can dine alone in Canoe Bay’s wine cellar, receiving a glass of champagne to start the meal, an extra food course, and a serving of

Photo by Steve Niedorf

Photo by Steve Niedorf

dessert wine following the meal. “The wine cellar is very beautiful and you are surrounded by our collection of wines,” Dobrowolski says. More adventurous couples can also try out the chef’s table meal for $99 a person. Couples get to sit in the kitchen and watch the chef cook while their meal is prepared right in front of them. “It’s like you’re a fly on the wall, but the chefs are welcoming you instead of trying to shoo you away,” Dobrowolski

Photo by Layne Kennedy

-Continued on page 30



-Continued from page 29 says. “You might get some extra treats, or get to try something the chef is experimenting with, or even get some insider information. You basically just get to watch how we make it all happen.” For those pining for a more casual option, couples can shack up and have dinner brought to them in their room. Continental breakfast is included in the stay and is brought to the rooms each morning. Additional breakfast and lunch food can be purchased and delivered, as well.  WHAT TO DO While there’s plenty to do in the summer at Canoe Bay (think canoeing, kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding), there’s also plenty to do in the winter while enjoying the view of the 50-acre, glacier-created Wahdoon Lake. Ice fishing is permitted (gear is not provided), while more popular activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Free snowshoes are available to use, while guests must bring their own equipment for any kind of skiing. For a bigger challenge, the Blue Hills trail (located within an hour of the property) is great for cross-country skiing enthusiasts, and Christie Mountain is nearby for those who like to downhill ski. For those who prefer to spend winter months indoors, there’s an extensive library collection, fitness center, movies and inroom massages. “It is a great joy to share this with people and see them be so relaxed,” Lisa Dobrowolski says. “It’s great to see people breathe deep and not be fully scheduled with lots of activities and places to go. It does the body good to be out in nature; we greatly underestimate the value of it if people aren’t outdoorsmen. “As time has gone by, the need for this kind of alternate experience has gotten more necessary.” Photo by Layne Kennedy



The Glass-HalfFull Guy:


During a recent seminar, where I talked about the tools necessary to help improve our lives, participants found that one of the most useful principles we covered was “one mountain at a time.” Since it’s January 2018, many of us are thinking about goals for this year. Being human, we fall short of our goals all of the time, or so it seems.

goal to cross a continent on a bike and then knock it out. There was years of planning, researching laws, learning about bike repairs, saving money like it was going out of style and getting my living arrangements in order. Without ample preparation, I would have face planted at the travel agency and never would have made it to Spain.

Having the right tools in place can help us change how we see things and accomplish what we wish to conquer. Some of us take on too much and others hit adversity and abort the mission. Whether you’re planning to sail around the world or want to bench press a Toyota Corolla, having the right mindset is what could make or break you.

It might be considered a pipedream for an inexperienced person to step into a gym and magically get shredded or become an entrepreneur over night. Whatever it is you want to do, research it, learn about it and become an expert. Know every nook, cranny, and nuance, so when it’s hammer time you’re coming out swinging.

 One mountain at a time

 Re-mapping

This year, I discovered that going back to college, What would a great adventure be without working two jobs, running a website and writing some catastrophic detour? Accomplishing our goals is highly dependent on the ability to a book simultaneously was a recipe for failure. handle adversity. The question isn’t will there be David Allen, creator of the time management challenges, but when? method known as "Getting Things Done," says In the middle of my trip across Europe, I had to that “you can do anything, but you can’t do change a 60-day route because of unexpected everything.” weather and time conflicts. It was only a matter So, by picking one mountain at a time to climb, of time before my plans for my 120-day trip fell we are more likely to succeed. Climbing multiple to smithereens. peaks at once simply isn’t possible. My trip’s success and my own happiness relied  Preparation heavily on being able to pick myself up, get over Years ago, I set a goal to ride a bicycle 2,500 my frustration and finding a new approach. miles across Europe. But I didn’t simply set a Having to start over tends to be the place where


many find it easy to give up. But being able to navigate adversity and remap an initial plan is more valuable than any skill or amount of intelligence.

 Grind before shine In the book “The Road Less Traveled,” Psychologist M. Scott Peck explains that most people have a hard time changing their habits because they are unwilling to delay instant gratification to produce long-term happiness. I’m not going to lie and say that it didn’t suck not being able to go out sometimes because I was saving money for my epic adventure across Europe. We all have to decide what’s most important, because we can’t have it all. So, while setting goals in the New Year, keep in mind that all change involves some sacrifice in one area to flourish in another. We all have the capacity to change anything in our lives, and we can only reach each summit one mountain at a time. u Peter Stadalsky is an Aurora resident and adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world. KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2018 | 31


Largely considered one of the greatest success stories in environmental science, bald eagles continue to rebound along the banks of the Fox River By JONATHAN BILYK

Photo provided

As winter swept in on strong winds in early December, also did freezing temperatures and a seemingly ever-present chance to awake to a white, blanketed wonderland.

The bird of prey, which has served as a symbol of the U.S. since the nation’s birth, faced extinction in the mid-20th Century. To give the bald eagle species a chance, lawmakers placed the bird on And for avid birdwatchers, like Bob Andrini, that’s the country’s endangered species list, prohibiting people from hunting it and moving to restrict great news. the use of the pesticide known as DDT, which In the depths of winter, when lakes, rivers and scientists say interfered with the eagles’ ability other waterways begin to ice over, most birders to reproduce. know that the eagles are coming – or, at least, In the decades since, the recovery of the bald coming into easy view and in relatively large eagle species has been among the greatest numbers – to the Fox River. success stories in environmental science, as “Every winter, you can bet there will be bald bald eagles have rebounded strongly enough to eagles along the river,” says Andrini, president of be removed from the endangered species list in the Kane County Audubon Society. “The waters 2007. they might usually fish will be frozen over, so a That success has translated into the eagles river, like the Fox, will be a very attractive place for them, and they’ll be pretty easy to spot, with moving back into areas from which they had long been absent, including some regions heavily even just a little patience.” populated by humans, such as the suburbs of This bald eagle phenomenon has been playing Chicago. out annually for about the last decade, Across the region, an online bird-sightings map along rivers throughout northern Illinois, but known as eBird, maintained by the Audubon particularly those with dams, like the Fox. Society and the Cornell University Lab of “Now, whenever we go out for a bird walk, Ornithology, has recorded dozens of eagle we expect to see at least one eagle,” he says. sightings throughout Kane County and beyond “That’s how common they’re becoming.” in the last couple of years alone. Some of those sightings have occurred in summer, thanks to But, until recent years, the sight of a bald eagle bald eagles that have taken up residence in the swooping down to snag a fish in its talons, or region year-round. But many more sightings soaring on a thermal uplift, dark and majestic against an azure sky on a clear day, was not only have occurred in the winter, as mature eagles from the area, younger eagles seeking to stake something unexpected, but was treated as a out their own territory and eagles transiting cause for celebration. 32 | JANUARY 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


the area in search of winter hunting grounds compete for the bounty of fish available in local rivers – and, particularly, at local dams. “They’re expanding into areas that are less optimal, but they are still faring very well,” says Stacy Iwanicki, natural resources education coordinator at Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside and president of the McHenry County Audubon Society. “You don’t have to leave the county to see them, and, once the rivers start freezing up, they’ll really become visible.” Andrini and Iwanicki note that hotspots for eagle sightings in the winter in Kane County include just about any of the dams along the river, as the water below the dams never freezes and the churning water offers easy fishing. At the south end of the county, Andrini highlighted the Fox River dam in Montgomery. But Iwanicki notes also that many sightings at the dam in Carpentersville, thanks to its more natural setting – away from town a bit – give the eagles a bit more seclusion and protection from encroaching humans. “But just about anywhere along the river, you’re going to be able to see them,” Andrini says. While spotting the eagles can be both relatively easy and exciting, Andrini and Iwanicki urge prospective eagle watchers to take some basic precautions this winter, including respecting the conditions and the birds by dressing warmly and keeping a respectful and safe distance from the eagles.

Also, they encourage new eagle watchers to educate themselves on the birds, to know how to identify bald eagles and distinguish them from other birds of prey or scavengers, such as hawks or turkey vultures. For instance, they note, while bald eagles are renowned for their white head and tail feathers, which do not appear on the eagles until they reach their third or fourth year of life. For the first three years, they say, juvenile bald eagles will have brown heads and tails. “You may be looking at a bald eagle, and not know it, because you’re looking for the white head and tail,” says Andrini. The birds are large, measuring around 3 feet long with wingspans of 6 to 7 feet. And that, they say, makes the birds easy to see, with or without binoculars.

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For those who wish to enlist the aid of experienced birders in eagle spotting, the local Audubon societies and others will offer organized eagle watching events. On Jan. 20, a coalition of different state and local organizations will celebrate Bald Eagle Day with eagle watching events set up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at dams along the Fox River from southern Wisconsin to northern Kane County, followed by a presentation in McHenry County featuring live eagles and other raptors. And Feb. 14, Bob Andrini, president of the Kane County Audubon Society, says that the Kane County Audubon chapter will host its annual “Bird the River” event, as birdwatchers will travel along the Fox River from Algonquin to the south end of the county to count eagles and other bird species. All are welcome to join. For more information, visit www.

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LEND A HELPING HAND Volunteering with park district a fun, educational alternative to standard New Year’s resolutions


activities are put together by volunteers.

f you’re tired of making the same old New Year’s resolutions, why not change it up this year?

If self-betterment is what you seek, then volunteering is a great way to feel good about yourself while also helping someone else. While the rigors of dieting or working out can be boring and frustrating, the rewards of volunteering can be beneficial and fulfilling. Volunteering can broaden your horizons, lift your spirits and energize your daily routine. Volunteers with the St. Charles Park District get to try new things, meet new people, work outdoors or indoors, in a group with family and friends or by yourself. The positive aspects of volunteering flow in both directions. The work done by volunteers makes the park district a stronger community. And being a part of a larger, collective effort can endow a volunteer with an enhanced sense of self-worth. Volunteering can be as varied and as wideranging as the park district itself. Like to be outdoors? Park district volunteers can help out with daily chores, such as feeding the livestock at Primrose Farm or harvesting seeds for restoration work at the district’s many natural areas. “Our nature volunteers do so much that most of us don’t realize we benefit from,” says Lara Piner, volunteer coordinator. “Those beautiful

spaces take work to make them look so natural!” Enjoy working with children? Sign up to be an usher at a Dance Academy recital or chaperone children at regular “Friday Live!” events at Pottawatomie Community Center. Want to give back to the community? The Adult Activity Center schedules regular monthly volunteer sessions with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Many of our events would not be able to take place if it weren’t for our volunteers,” says Piner. Take the traditional Easter Egg Hunt for kids and the popular Doggie Egg Hunt for canine friends, for instance. All of the eggs used for both OUT & ABOUT

And if one of you New Year’s resolutions is to try something a bit out of the ordinary, then becoming a park district frog monitor would certainly fit the bill. Frog monitoring is a perfect volunteer activity for the nature-loving individual or outdoor-embracing family. And, more importantly, it provides a vital function: helping officials evaluate the ecological health of a region. Frog monitors need only visit a specific wetland three times between March and June to identify frogs by the sound of their call. For those interested, a training session featuring frog monitoring frequently asked questions – from how to visually identify amphibians to what listening techniques are most effective – is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 (10 a.m. to noon) at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles. All training materials, including recordings of frog calls, will be provided.  To become a St. Charles Park District volunteer, contact Piner at 630-513-4330 or visit the park district’s website at


Book Nook


Regardless of whether you plan on making resolutions, there’s no denying that the start of a new year is a time when many of our friends and family are trying to form positive new habits. If you’re trying to read more this year (or if you already read regularly), I recommend these inspiring and thoughtprovoking picks to start 2018 on the right foot.

 ‘THE DEEPEST WELL: HEALING THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY’ By Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. There’s been a lot of recent attention in the medical community about how childhood adversity correlates to health problems in adulthood. In “The Deepest Well,” Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., shares her crusade to increase awareness for Adverse Childhood Experiences, and how common medical practice hasn’t always understood, or even acknowledged, the impact ACEs have. The book shares some gut-wrenching examples of people who suffered ACEs whose health in adulthood suffered as a result. Harris also describes how, sadly, despite overwhelming evidence on the importance of ACEs, many medical practitioners struggle to consider the impact of ACEs in their daily practices. While it’s hard to hear the stories of some of Harris’s patients, “The Deepest Well” is essential reading for anyone who works in medicine (or may have suffered ACEs themselves).  ‘FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD’ By Louise Erdrich

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.


Louise Erdrich’s “Future Home of the Living God” isn’t just a dystopian cautionary tale; it’s also a deeply personal novel about family and motherhood. Cedar Hawk is a pregnant woman in her mid-20s whose birth mother is Native American, but whose adoptive parents are white. As time progresses in the story, nature’s gene pool regresses. As part of this, women are giving OUT & ABOUT

birth to children who are genetically more like humankind’s primitive evolutionary origins than they are like modern-day humans. As a result, the U.S. government mandates that it will closely monitor all women’s pregnancies in poorly-maintained facilities (usually, against their will). The novel, told through Cedar Hawk’s journal entries, is both thrilling both in its political drama as well as its personal drama. Erdrich gracefully shows the pregnant protagonist’s journey, but still maintains a tone of dread and stunning social commentary.  ‘WINTER’ By Ali Smith Ali Smith’s “Winter” is part two of four season-themed novels, but it stands alone as a story about an English family in post-Brexit England. Four characters get together for Christmas: Sophie, a wealthy but secretlyunfulfilled retiree; Sophie’s son, Art, who recently broke up with his stifling girlfriend, Charlotte; Lux, a Croatian-Canadian expat whom Art hires to pose as Charlotte for the duration of the family gathering; and Iris, Sophie’s estranged and protest-participating sister. While the plot may sound a little cliché, “Winter” is a vast and beautiful exploration of culture and identity. Smith occasionally strays from her main characters to share short accounts of true events that have affected international politics. Her politics are sharp (if sometimes subtle), and Smith nimbly balances the personal, day-to-day drama of the characters with the big-picture tragedies happening on an international stage.

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WEDDING EXPO WHEN: 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 1 WHERE: Hickory Knolls Discovery Center 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles

be “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” with live accompaniment by Jay Warren on the theater’s pipe organ. For more information, visit www.

The Wedding Expo event will showcase a variety of wedding-related businesses, and there will be door prizes featuring goods and services provided by participating local vendors. For more information, visit www.

STEM CAFÉ: THE VINYL RESURGENCE WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10 WHERE: Two Brothers Round House 205 N. Broadway, Aurora

WINTER ON THE FARM WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 6 WHERE: Primrose Farm 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles Escape the house and venture out into an agricultural winter wonderland. Visitors to Primrose Farm can greet the year-round animal residents, visit with costumed interpreters, help with winter livestock chores, tromp around the lantern-lit farmyard in snowshoes and enjoy a bonfire barrel. Stop in the candlelit summer kitchen for hot chocolate, cookies, festive music and a holiday thank-you card craft. Tractor-drawn wagon rides will be available on the half hour for an additional $2 a person. Registration is required. For more information, visit special-events. MOVIE MONDAYS: ‘SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS’ WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8 WHERE: Paramount Theatre 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Walt Disney’s very first animated featurelength film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) comes to life at the Paramount Theatre during its classic movie Mondays. Rated G, the film runs 83 minutes. Buy tickets at the door for $1 (cash only). Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Movie starts at 7 p.m. Concessions will be available for purchase. For more information, visit ARCADA SILENT FILM NIGHT: ‘20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA’ ACCOMPANIED LIVE BY JAY WARREN ON THE ARCADA ORGAN WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9 WHERE: Arcada Theatre 105 E. Main St., St. Charles Experience the magic of silent cinema the first Tuesday of every month. The film Jan. 9 will


Despite being nearly extinct in the late ’90s and early 2000s, vinyl records have made a reappearance in pop culture and in the homes of music lovers. Why are people so fascinated with this generally bulky and easily damaged music medium? Join Joliet Junior College professor and NIU alumnus Dr. Andrew Morrison to explore how the science of sound may be able to explain why vinyl has come back, and why it’s not going away. The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks are available for purchase from Two Brothers Round House. For more information, visit www. STAND-UP COMIC DENNIS MILLER WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 WHERE: Arcada Theatre 105 E. Main St., St. Charles Dennis Miller, stand-up comedian, talk show host, political commentator, sports commentator, actor and TV and radio personality, will take the Arcada Theatre stage. He rose as a cast member of "Saturday Night Live" in 1985 and subsequently hosted a string of his own talk shows on HBO, CNBC and in syndication. Miller is listed at No. 21 on Comedy Central’s 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time. For tickets or more information, visit THE FINE THINGS OF YOUTH WHEN: 3 p.m. Jan. 14 WHERE: Norris Cultural Arts Center 1040 Dunham Road, St. Charles “Music in the Gallery” will present the Midwest premiere of a new, two-person play based on Willa Cather’s coming-of-age classic, “Lucy Gayheart.” St. Charles native Evan Bravos will bring the story and songs to life, along with Jill Anderson, as Lucy, and pianist Shannon McGinnis. Tickets cost $18. For tickets or more information, visit


AMERICAN HERITAGE LIVING HISTORY SHOW WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21 WHERE: Kane County Fairgrounds 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles The American Heritage Living History Show’s mission is to provide an outlet for the general public and history buffs that may be interested in learning hands-on-history while finding quality information, tools and accouterments 1700-1890. There will be demonstrators, vendors and craftsmen displaying and selling their trade works. For more information, visit AmericanHeritageLivingHistoryShow. GENEVA RESTAURANT WEEK WHEN: Monday, Jan. 22, to Sunday, Jan. 28 WHERE: Participating restaurants in Geneva The Geneva Chamber of Commerce will highlight the culinary excellence of the town during Geneva Restaurant Week. There will be discounted dining at some of Geneva’s finest restaurants. Tickets and passes are not necessary for this week of discounted dining; simply show up at any participating location or call ahead to make a reservation.

’90S DANCE PARTY AT EVENFLOW WITH FOOL HOUSE WHEN: 9:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Jan. 27 WHERE: EvenFlow Music & Spirits 302 W. State St., Geneva Fool House is bringing the '90s to Geneva. From NSYNC, Blink 182, Britney Spears and Ricky Martin, EvenFlow will host a ’90s dance party. There will be a $7 cover. For more information, visit

START THE NEW YEAR BY VOLUNTEERING By Anderson Animal Shelter Featured Sponsor DePaw University Canine Campus With every new year, comes new resolutions and goals. Why not make one of them getting involved in a local nonprofit? You can make a significant difference in your community and world. At Anderson Animal Shelter (South Elgin, North Aurora & Bloomingdale), volunteers (ages 18 and up) are not only important, but they are an integral part of the daily business, operation and success of the shelter.


Individuals or groups that volunteer dedicate time to helping with animal enrichment activities, cleaning kennels or cages, assisting with adoption events, offering foster care support, assisting at fundraising and outreach events, preparing mailings, sharing expertise, skills and more. Our extensive adult volunteer program enables individuals or groups to become involved in helping the shelter according to their own personal interests, skills and talents. Do you

have an hour a week, or even just an hour per month? Corporate groups, service, social and civic groups are welcome. Each volunteer, regardless of their role and amount of time they spend at the shelter, play an instrumental role in the organization. Utilizing volunteers to assist with daily tasks allows the shelter to save money and to direct resources and staff time where most needed. The shelter utilizes volunteers 365 days a year and typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Every volunteer and every hour makes a difference! For more information on how you as an individual, or a group or company can volunteer please visit or call (847) 697-2880.

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Kc mag january2018  
Kc mag january2018