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Blackberry Farm opens May 1 with more ways to have fun

Blackberry Farm and its unique charm will be on display in all its glory starting next Thursday, May 1, when the barn doors swing open to the public for the 45th year. Since 1969, the historic pioneer village and farm has delighted and educated generations of visitors.

Mark Colby to play saxophone with West jazz bands


Tenor saxophonist Mark Colby looks a little like pop-singer Billy Joel, but fans say his instrument doesn’t sound anything like the New York piano man. “His improvisational solos are just so creative and musical,” says long-time friend Peggy Sampson, band teacher at West Aurora High …

Food: Recipes for harvest from home gardens


Joannie Rocchi not only digs into her work every day, she also is able to feast upon it. As the retail perennial manager at The Growing Place, she works with hundreds of plants, but her favorites are herbs, which she both grows and uses in …

Dentists say more adults seeking straighter teeth for better smile


Stacie White still recalls how smooth her teeth felt after having the stainless steel brackets of her braces removed from her teeth a year ago. “They felt so smooth, and my teeth are beautiful now,” the Oswego resident says. “I love my smile.” Unlike most …

Master Gardeners: Too much mulch not good for plants


It’s difficult to pinpoint when the beneficial gardening practice of mulching trees and shrubs started to become a problem for the very plantings it was meant to help. The two most common mistakes are top dressing old mulch annually when it isn’t needed and routinely …

Church’s helicopter egg drop attracts 2,000


On April 12, First Baptist Mill Creek Church in Geneva hosted its first Helicopter Egg Drop with about 2,000 people watching. Pastor Grant Diamond, 24, was astonished by the turnout.

In Our Towns: Craft show, meet mayor, folk music


The Washington Middle School PTA is hosting its first Spring Craft and Consultant Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at 231 S. Constitution Drive, Aurora.

Batavia Lions Club pancake breakfast benefits scholarships

The Batavia Lions Club is hosting its 36th annual pancake breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Park District’s East Side Center, Shannon Hall, 14 N. Van Buren St., Batavia. Cost is $6 adults, $1 children ages 3 to 12. …

Pets of the Week


Bella Age: 1 years old Breed: Jack Russell rat terrier mix Background: Bella came to ADOPT in February 2013 from Naperville Animal Control. Personality: Bella is a sweet girl who loves to go for walks and play ball. She is a young high-energy type of …

Sandwich farmers emphasize food safety


Home cooks know there is nothing like fresh-from-the-farm produce. However, food-borne illnesses have made the headlines several times in recent years, with recalls of spinach, lettuce and other produce, which cause concern. Unlike food processing facilities, there are few laws in place for farmers.

Rookie robotics team from Yorkville takes programming award


ELGIN — Twenty-five teams of middle-school students from DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties displayed their technical, creative and teamwork skills March 22 during the 4-H Robotics Box Bot Showcase. Throughout the afternoon, 4-H’ers showcased their Lego Mindstorm robots in creativity, table performance and technical categories. …

Good Cause: Grants benefit families struggling with autism


Aurora resident Wanda Malone is determined to help local families who have children with autism. She wants to keep others from the struggle her family faced when looking for appropriate therapies and resources to benefit her 10-year-old autistic son D.J. So in 2010, Malone set …

Oswego graduate finds direction in disaster


Nathan Anthony is in Denver, Colo., and he’s waiting for a flood. The Oswego East High School graduate is serving a 10-month term in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Corps as part of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps program. Anthony is a member of …

Drop off unwanted prescription drugs at Kane County coroner’s office

Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said the coroner’s office recently became a DEA collection site for the disposal of prescription drugs.

Proper prescription drug disposal is important because studies have shown that prescription drug abuse promotes heroin use and addiction, according to a press release. …

Jewel PTO barbecue fundraiser

The Jewel Parent-Teacher Organization’s annual barbecue fundraiser runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at Jewel Middle School, 1501 Waterford Road, North Aurora.

The event coincides with the schoolwide Social Studies Fair and features barbecue prepared by popular Waterman-based 5-B’s Catering.

Presale tickets …

East Aurora Middle students show off spelling skills


Put this story down. Hand the newspaper (or iPhone or laptop) to a friend. OK, now have your friend read these words so you can try to spell them: Disarray. Vivacious. Monochrome. Armistice. Rosin. Bulbous. How’d you do? Not to rub it in, but if …