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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.

Garden Tip: Grow-through frame supports summer beauties

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Spring has finally arrived, and plants are emerging from their winter slumber. As you see new shoots, it’s the perfect time to provide support for some of our more floppy perennials and shrubs.

Praying from the neighborhoods

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The National Day of Prayer is a time for religious communities to come together and offer a unified front for their neighborhoods, cities and the world. Two Aurora pastors decided the best way to pray for the specific needs of the city is to get …

Kendall nature school program starting area trend

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YORKVILLE — Parents of children in the Natural Beginnings program don’t see their children come home with worksheets or math papers. Instead, they are likely to come home with a caterpillar lifecycle craft or even dirty clothes. That’s because these preschool children probably spent the …

Blessings in a Backpack helps three Aurora schools

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On Wednesday, Kathy Schank, community outreach coordinator for KidsMatter in Naperville, was hard at work with her cadre of volunteers who were packing this week’s Blessings in a Backpack meals for distribution Friday morning at an Indian Prairie School District 204 elementary school. Schank said she joined the backpack effort to continue the mission of KidsMatter.

Work underway to protect murals from old West Aurora building

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AURORA — In between the crumbling floor and the unstable roof in the damp, dark building at 14 W. Blackhawk St. is Aurora artist Scott Sherwood, working with one beam of light, one thermometer and strips of rice paper. Sherwood, who specialized in art restoration, …

Mark Colby to play saxophone with West jazz bands

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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. …