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Commemorative Section • Thursday, October 26, 2017

Celebrating 135 Years of Local News!


INSIDE

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

| 135TH KCC ANNIVERSARY

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Chronicle celebrates milestone anniversary By KATHY BALCAZAR kbalcazar@shawmedia.com

The Kane County Chronicle is recognizing a significant milestone – this special section honors the 135th anniversary of the paper. What notable things were happening about 135 years ago? Thomas Edison established Edison Illuminating Company in 1880. Numerous lynchings of African Americans were occurring in the southern United States. And the American-Indian Wars were taking place intermittently.  In Kane County, a Valley Chronicle from 1881 included an “official report” on an 8th Illinois Cavalry reunion, information about a telegraph company and an advertisement for corsets. Times have certainly changed, and a lot has happened since then. Along the way, newspapers have helped document the record of the day. And I’m proud to say the Kane County Chronicle – formerly the Valley Chronicle – has been a part of that history. As you look through this special section, you will find a story about the history of

the paper and why the Chronicle – now three weekly papers serving St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia – is still relevant today. In addition, you will see photos of the landmarks that make this area identifiable, and a question-and-answer piece with reporter Brenda Schory, who has been with the Chronicle longer than anyone else on the editorial staff. Finally, you will find reflections on the paper from mayors, chamber leaders and others in the community. As St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina wrote: “ … [the paper] still provides our community with more than the news of our region; it gives us a peek at the slice of life we cherish as Fox Valley residents. Congratulations and happy anniversary.” We hope you enjoy this section. Feedback can be sent to me using the contact information at the end of this column. Kathy Balcazar is weekly group editor for the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove Herald and Suburban Life Media, and is a member of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kbalcazar@shawmedia.com or 630845-5368. Learn more about NINA at ninaonline.org.

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Chronicle celebrates long connection to community

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Landmark photos

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Chronicle’s Brenda Schory shares stories about her career in newspapers

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Readers reflect on the Kane County Chronicle

Shaw Media file photo

A young boy fishes along the Fox River Trail, an activity that could have taken place 135 years ago. The Kane County Chronicle is celebrating its 135-year anniversary with this special section.

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Chronicle celebrates long connection to community Surpassing the 135-year mark, the Kane County Chronicle continues its enduring role while nimbly adapting to a changing media landscape. Its story began in 1881, when Samuel W. Durant founded The Valley Chronicle. In its first issue on May 27, 1881, Durant listed the paper’s goals:

Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com

Kane County Chronicle Local Editor Zachary Van Vuren (from left), reporter Brenda Schory, sports reporter Jacob Bartelson and reporter and Kane Weekend Editor Renee Tomell discuss upcoming editions of the paper in a staff meeting at the Chronicle’s St. Charles office.

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That commitment has held for 135 years and counting. In 1989, the B.F. Shaw

See COMMUNITY, page 4

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“It will stand aloof from personalities, petty neighborhood difficulties and unauthorized gossip,” Durant stated. “It will not wage war on its contemporaries, in the interest of any class, political, religious, sectional or otherwise. Its course will be directed with an eye single to the dignified position which journalism should occupy, and in the general interests of the valley and surrounding region.”

CELEBRATING 135 YEARS |

By RENEE TOMELL rtomell@shawmedia.com

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

| CELEBRATING 135 YEARS

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• COMMUNITY Continued from page 3 Printing Co. purchased the Chronicle’s then four semiweekly papers – those with St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Elburn nameplates – from the Paschal family, which had owned the Chronicle since 1903. J. Tom Shaw, former Chronicle publisher and now vice president of Shaw Media, is the sixth generation of the Shaw family to help run their newspaper company. In 1990, the local paper’s name was changed to Kane County Chronicle. In 2012, the Tri-Cities chain of The Republican newspapers was acquired and later merged into the Chronicle, which in 2016 saw the acquisition of the Elburn Herald and Sugar Grove Herald. “The Kane County Chronicle serves the Tri-Cities and western Kane County better than any other source of news and information,” Shaw said. “If you want to read about your hometown online, we are there for you. If you want to get your news through social media,

we’ve got you. If you want to know about upcoming events, or how your local government is spending your tax dollars, the Kane County Chronicle is there for you. We love our communities, and have partnered with civic leaders on numerous projects over the decades to make our communities great places to live.”

“Digital media has given us the opportunity to reach a bigger audience than ever before,” Shaw said. “In addition to our printed newspaper and magazines, we interact with the residents of Kane County through our website, through our online newspaper, through email, text alerts, Facebook, Twitter, video and Instagram.

Shaw said the Chronicle also focuses harder than ever to help preserve local small businesses.

“For marketing, we have a robust portfolio of solutions for our business partners, including website design, social media management and content generation,” he said. “While the entire Shaw Media company is focused on … audience growth, the Kane County market is far and away the leader in our digital initiatives. This is a result of two factors. We have an incredible team in Kane County, and we serve an incredible market.”

“The majority of our business partners are small independents, and we are committed to helping our partners keep traffic walking in their doors,” he said. “Our audience shops local, and we do, too. After all, what is a great place to live without a vibrant downtown filled with shops and restaurants? From the Riverwalk in Batavia, to Third Street in Geneva, to Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles, we serve a truly unique and wonderful area. We provide marketing solutions that help our small business community thrive and grow.” As technology evolves at an accelerating pace, so has the Chronicle.

Chris Cudworth, a former staffer, said he found his tenure at the Chronicle invaluable training for his position as Batavia’s chief information officer and director of Freedom of Information Act requests. At the Chronicle, Cudworth was promotions and creative services manager, interacting with the Tri-Cities

and Elburn communities and their leadership. He also contributed articles ranging from the arts to the environment and sports. He said the experience dovetails with his current role in keeping the public factually informed on the actions and decisions of the city of Batavia, and in engaging the community. “I can think of no better preparation than working at the community newspaper that still covers these issues,” Cudworth said. “In fact, I have weekly interaction with reporters … and try to be the best assistant I can in helping these journalists gather the facts, information and contacts needed to report objectively and truthfully on issues of civic and social importance.” Part of the Chronicle’s identity is to nurture the well-being of the towns it covers, and it long has partnered with nonprofit agencies and organizations committed to the greater good. “I think that it is more important than ever for a local newspaper to serve

See COMMUNITY, page 9

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Top left: The Little Traveler, Geneva Bottom left: Batavia Bottom right: Arcada Theatre, St. Charles

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

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CELEBRATING 135 YEARS |

Historical Photos

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Landmarks in Kane County provide a sense of history

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1. The St. Charles Municipal Center

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2. The Fabyan Windmill, located at the Fabyan Forest Preserve

near Geneva

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Campana building in Batavia

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Alice’s Place in Elburn The Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove Hill’s Country Store, also known as The Purple Store, in Kaneville Hotel Baker in St. Charles The Kane County Courthouse in Geneva, built in 1891 The River Street archway at River and Wilson streets in downtown Batavia.

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10. The Sugar Grove Public Library 11. The Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles

Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

! rs ea Y 5 3 1 g n ti a r b Cele

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CELEBRATING 135 YEARS |

| CELEBRATING 135 YEARS

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ALL PHOTOS BY: Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com


Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

| CELEBRATING 135 YEARS

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Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com

Brenda Schory, who has been a reporter for the Kane County Chronicle since March 1993, is interviewed by Local Editor Zachary Van Vuren.

Chronicle’s Brenda Schory shares stories about her career in newspapers

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By ZACHARY VAN VUREN zvanvuren@shawmedia.com

Reporter Brenda Schory has been with the Kane County Chronicle longer than anyone else on the editorial staff. She started with the paper in March 1993, though she did a brief stint at one other Shaw Media newspaper since then. Schory answered questions for Local Editor Zachary Van Vuren about how media and reporting have changed – or have not changed – during her time working as a newspaper reporter. Van Vuren: What did you do for the Chronicle when you started?

Schory: I covered schools, parks and libraries for Batavia and Geneva. We were grouped into reporting teams, so I wasn’t the only one. I went to every single meeting … sometimes two in a night. Van Vuren: How has reporting changed since you started? Schory: I went to journalism school during Watergate. Basic reporting hasn’t changed. With the advent of social media, it should make it easier. … There is a level of instantaneous reporting. You can be live at the scene broadcasting it, and readers can obtain the story through social media.

Van Vuren: How do you feel about social media? Schory: It’s another level of connection between the journalist and the readers. I still consider the public the readers. Van Vuren: How did Watergate affect your reporting style? Schory: When you go to journalism school in the Watergate era, you never trust anyone from the government, rather than regurgitate what an official tells you. Van Vuren: When and where did you go to journalism school?

Schory: I went to Northern Illinois University. My degree is in journalism and English. I graduated in 1977. Back then, we called the computers video display terminals. They didn’t have them in the classrooms yet. They were at my first job, and they were just installed. Van Vuren: What else has changed since you went to journalism school? Schory: Nobody refers to me as lady reporter anymore. It was started in journalism school. The Society of Professional Journalists did not [initially] admit women as members. People would

See BRENDA, page 9


• BRENDA Continued from page 8

Van Vuren: What do you believe is the role of the media now?

Van Vuren: What’s been the most interesting story you’ve reported on? Schory: The most dangerous one was at Lakeland, a newspaper chain in Lake County. I wrote about a corrupt police chief and his wife that was the juvenile officer. I received death threats, directly and indirectly from him. But he and his

Schory: I did a “Face Time” interview with someone that found out she was her mother’s seventh child and was given up for adoption. She found all this family she didn’t know existed. All of the siblings didn’t even know the mother was pregnant. Van Vuren: What is your favorite type of story? Schory: I love to write about sewage, government, landfills and garbage, animals, people’s trauma and tragedies, and people who do good deeds. I like crime and courts. … The only thing I can’t do is sports. Van Vuren: How do you feel about covering meetings? Schory: When you cover a local meeting you’re at ground zero for democracy. We go to meetings so you don’t have to.

Continued from page 4 as a community advocate,” Kane County Chronicle General Manager Ryan Wells said. “That’s why I’m so proud to be part of the team at the Kane County Chronicle, because we understand that our underlying mission is to help strengthen the connections within our communities.” And helping fulfill that responsibility is Kane County Chronicle Editor Kathy Balcazar. “It’s important for a community to have a newspaper – or an online presence – so people can be informed about the area in which they live,” Balcazar said. “For those who want news every day, we have our website, which we treat as a daily news product. Our print product comes out on Thursdays, and it’s great for those who still love the feel of a newspaper in their hands.” Balcazar became editor of the Kane

“With technology changing, it’s great that we have a tremendous focus on digital,” she said. “Social media is one way that many people stay up to date on what is happening in their community, and for the Kane County Chronicle, I think it’s important that we have a presence on social media so our news is front and center for those who are on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.” Looking ahead, Balcazar said her goal is to keep telling the stories that are important to residents in the community. “We can do that by sticking to traditional journalism,” she said, “but also by taking advantage of technological advancements, and – as always – being as responsive as possible to requests from our readers.”

Inspired by Kane County Chronicle.

Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

Schory: It’s the same as it’s always been. It’s to tell people’s stories and be the government’s watch dog, or any agency that’s in power – whether it’s a charity, a nongovernmental body or a corporation. I think the goal is to get the to the truth, then to tell it.

Van Vuren: Any other interesting stories you’d like to share?

• COMMUNITY

9 County Chronicle in 2011, previously serving as editor of the Lake County Journal, also a Shaw publication, for three years.

CELEBRATING 135 YEARS |

say, “There is a lady reporter here to see you,” as though this is an anomaly. There is a lot more equality now. … By the time I graduated, I joined the Society of Professional Journalists two weeks before graduation, so I could put it on my resume.

wife were indicted for theft and official misconduct.

Congratulations, Kane County Chronicle, on serving your community for 135 years. KCS

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

| CELEBRATING 135 YEARS

10 “My family has been a customer of the Kane County Chronicle for 39 years,” writes Norm Turner of Campton Hills. “I like the Chronicle due to the numerous community activities that appear regularly. The activities focus on organizations that improve community life in Kane County. As an active volunteer in the county, the Kane County Chronicle consistently provides assistance for us to increase our awareness and achieve our goals. Thank you, Kane County Chronicle, for years of super service and support.”

Photo provided

Readers reflect on the Kane County Chronicle I have been reading the Chronicle – St. Charles, Kane County – for over 43 years, beginning with my first year of teaching at St. Charles High School. It kept me close to athletic conquests and disappointments, bond issues that passed and failed, contract negotiations between the school board and the teachers’ association, and the development of a community into one of Chicago’s finest suburbs. Today, as mayor, it still provides our community with more than the news of our region; it gives us a peek at the slice of life we cherish as Fox Valley residents. Congratulations and happy anniversary. Ray Rogina Mayor of St. Charles I first started reading the Chronicle in the mid 1970s when I was 10 years old. The Chronicle was published one time a week, and the sports section was my go-to section. In the fall, the Chronicle published the weekly Tri-Cities soccer standings so we could find out where

each team stood – there was no internet, no Facebook, no cellphones, no apps to get us informed. The Chronicle was the authoritative source. In the summer, the same held true for boys baseball. As I got older and entered high school, I continued to follow prep sports and still do. Loved reading about all of our local athletes, the rivalry games, etc. As time went on, I started reading about local issues. I have been reading the Chronicle for 40 years as it changed from Wednesday only, to Wednesday and Friday, to six days a week, and now one day a week with internet access. I continue to read it for the same reason I always have – to celebrate what a great area we live in and to learn about all of the great people and things that happen here on a daily basis. Keep up the great work! Clint Hull Kane County judge It’s difficult to comprehend the impact a local newspaper has on the psyche of a community. The coverage of civic affairs,

culture, society, sports and the like helps give definition to [the] community the newspaper reports on and insight to those who read it. While we as a society have gravitated to the allure and addiction of social media in all its forms, the badge of honor for the discerning news junkie still remains ink-stained fingers after having combed through, consumed and contemplated what’s been written on good-old-fashioned paper. Happy 135th anniversary, Kane County Chronicle! Kevin R. Burns Mayor of Geneva I received a Chronicle subscription as a wedding gift in 1993. New to the area, I was told it was THE newspaper to read in order to stay current on local events. Even though it has gone through many changes in the last 25 years, it’s still the resource I turn to for local news and events. I’ve also found it to be a wonderful resource for pre-1993 news, even going back to the 1800s. I have copies of articles describing periodic cicada emergences (aka the

17-year cicada phenomenon) written by Chronicle editors way back when. Solid reporting for 135 years. Thanks, Kane County Chronicle! Pam Otto “Good Natured” columnist and manager of nature programs and interpretive services at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center The Batavia Chamber of Commerce values our long-standing partnership with the Kane County Chronicle. We have several ways to communicate with our business members, but we struggle to find ways to communicate with the community as a whole. The Chronicle fills this need for us through their great coverage of our community. When we have a community event to promote, we turn to the Batavia Kane County Chronicle first. Holly Deitchman President and CEO of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce

See READERS, page 11


• READERS Continued from page 10

The Kane County Chronicle plays such an important role in the Tri-Cities area and is a vital component for the Batavia Park District to communicate all that we do, whether it’s through advertisements, our monthly “Park District Dish” column or sponsoring our events, we are endlessly grateful for their support. Katie Drum Director of marketing and public relations for the Batavia Park District I read it out of habit, mostly, but also for local obits and Tri-Cities news. Other papers reporting Tri-Cities news haven’t

Jim Ledbetter North Aurora As a longtime and faithful reader of the Kane County Chronicle, I am responding to your request about seeking reader feedback about the paper. ... I always read “Face Time,” and find it fun when I see someone I know – but still like it regardless. Sometimes we talk about in our family what our answers would be, if we were ever asked. ... Of course, it’s a given that I read it for local news and coverage of happenings, such as school and community events. I especially enjoy the columnists. It’s refreshing to read the viewpoints of the young high school and college-aged writers just starting out

in journalism. As a mother of teens, it’s very interesting to read the perspectives of Jennifer DuBose and Robert Wallace. As a teacher, it’s so inspiring to read the exquisite eloquence of Richard Holinger. As an avid baseball fan, I especially enjoy the umpire’s thoughts. Those are my favorites, but I read virtually everything – like when we had a critter in our yard, Pam Otto’s nature article really touched home. Sue Avila Batavia Happy birthday, KCC! That aromatic hint of wood pulp. Photographs of moms and dads I got to know as Boy and Girl Scout leaders, now picketing, protesting exclusion, or cutting a ribbon. Columns bringing laughter, tears. Sports heralding local heroes. Upcoming ESO concerts, Shakespeare, Turkey Trot, Steel Beam productions, festive festivals ... . Community crimes and criminals from the merely vulgar to the reprehensible. The names of late taxpayers, today’s scarlet letter. Foodie fun, comic corn. The dead and what they did in life. Thank you, KCC, for all this and more. ... Keep breathing, so we can. Rick Holinger “River Town Chronicles” columnist and high school teacher

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sue Klinkhamer Former mayor of St. Charles

Jean Gaines President of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce

a clue what the Tri-Cities are composed of. Your crossword puzzles and political cartoons I’ve usually already seen in other publications. However, should I find myself only able to afford one paper newspaper, the KCC would be it. ... Kane County political news is covered best by the KCC. I have little, if any, interest in surrounding counties. Some local papers go into more depth with local political issues, but I find that to be mostly fluff or – in some rare cases – a tad yellow. I think you’re doing just fine, and I’m proud you’ve kept the presses rolling.

CELEBRATING 135 YEARS |

What can I say about the Chronicle? Plenty! When I first came to [St. Charles] it was published once a week, on Wednesday. It was then the record of all that happened. Births, deaths, engagements, weddings and (everyone’s favorite) police reports! Regular columnists and great reporters. Want ads for everything from garage sales to apartments for rent and the only way to find a job. I took out an ad for my husband’s 30th birthday! When I ran for office and won, the Chronicle took on a whole new meaning. Running for office entailed buying campaign ads (which were very expensive and had to be paid for up front). I’m proud to say the ads I took out in the paper really helped me win. There was a regular column called “At City Hall” written by Lee Husfeldt, which was well written and had just enough “dirt” to keep people intrigued. ... It was great that a paper was “chronicling” my time in office. I am still friends today with many of the reporters and photographers. It was a great time!

We love our local news! The Kane County Chronicle keeps us informed about our neighbors and events and awards. The Chronicle also helps us get our message to the residents, writing stories about festivals, new restaurant openings, business events and the work of the City Council. The once-a-week publication dates back many years to the Geneva Republican, and our interest in the local scene has not changed. It is a tradition we hope will continue for generations to come. It is Geneva.

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Kane County Chronicle / KCChronicle.com • Thursday, October 26, 2017

| CELEBRATING 135 YEARS

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KCC-Celebrating 135 years  
KCC-Celebrating 135 years