Beacon News Latest news from Beacon News Online en-us (Editor) Beacon News 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ SHERMAN: What will rebranding do for Aurora? ]]> Lead story image

Every time I read something in the Beacon-News about Aurora hiring consultants for a “rebranding” of the city, I wonder “is this necessary?” I also think, “Why can’t we use local talent?” On Tuesday I attended a meeting where North Star Destination Strategies Inc., the Tennessee firm being recommended for the job, presented its plan to the City Council. Goals At the meeting, Alderman Richard Irvin asked “What are the ultimate goals?” City Chief of Staff Carie Anne Ergo replied that this came out of Mayor Weisner’s business roundtable. The goal is economic development, creating a “toolbox” to promote Aurora. … ]]> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:09:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Timeless: We can learn quite a bit from history ]]> Lead story image

Every now and again you get to be in the right place at the right time to witness something truly epic. As some of you know, my daughter Kyra has been studying in Ireland this past year. One of the groups she joined at the University in Cork was the Medieval/Renaissance Society. They were recently in Dublin, participating in a reenactment of the Battle of Clontarf, which occurred on Good Friday 1014. I am lucky enough to be here with them and other re-enactment groups from across the globe. For those not familiar with that battle, some consider it part … ]]> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 02:23:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rebuilding Together Aurora deserves ready, willing hands ]]> Lead story image

Recently when I stopped at the Rivers Edge Cafe, my friend Reece Boyd was excitedly telling me about projects he has been involved with through Rebuilding Together Aurora. I remembered some years ago my husband and I had helped out with a Rebuilding Together project and knew it to be a great group. Rebuilding Together has been helping rehab homes around the country for 25 years now. Aurora is lucky to have a chapter. On April 25 and 26, the group will be working on 21 projects in the neighborhood around Nancy Hill Elementary School on Aurora’s west side. I … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 02:32:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Let’s do our part to help bees make a comeback ]]> Lead story image

After a long hard winter, many of us are just itching to plant something and see young plants begin to sprout. Last year I made a real effort at gardening. I even got professionals to come and prepare our flower beds and garden (and I highly recommend Two Hipsters Landscaping, which can be found on Facebook). One of the things I planted was a pumpkin patch. I was excited to have pumpkins for October and was thrilled when I saw great big blossoms appear. Then something went very wrong. Those blossoms never grew into actual pumpkins and they eventually died. … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:42:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Important to get the facts on Obamacare ]]> Lead story image

A neighbor knocked on my door recently and handed me a three-page document. He said he knew I liked to research things and get to the truth, so he wanted me to read this. In red capital letters at the top of the first page it read: URGENT--MUST READ!!!! AND FORWARD!!!! Maybe you received one, too. It includes a challenge to put it into the hands of at least 20 friends. On the very next line it gave the website link to its source material: House Bill 3200. It then went on to make threats and wild accusations about how … ]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 15:33:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Aurora EarthNite event to help people connect ]]> Lead story image

On Saturday night, millions of people around the world will celebrate “Earth Hour” by turning off everything around them that is fossil fuel powered, with the mutual goal of raising awareness about their desire for a sustainable future for our planet. There are events globally, in 7,000 cities. One is right here in Aurora. This will be the first time I’ve participated in this annual event and I’m very much looking forward to it. I recently spoke with Mavis Bates, the chairwoman and founder of Aurora GreenFest, who is also heading up this EarthNite celebration at Aurora’s Culture Stock bookstore … ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 02:26:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Making the most out of ‘RENT’ ]]> Lead story image

I need to vent a little. I had a frustrating weekend. Our car hit a huge pothole on Galena Boulevard in Aurora, blowing out two tires and bending the rims. We ended up walking further than we expected to see “RENT” at the Paramount. I knew the Paramount would do a great job presenting “RENT” and they exceeded my expectations with a spectacular set and actors who engaged the audience and made the air buzz with excitement. Not just anyone can get a whole audience to moo. Still, “RENT” is my least favorite musical ever. My distaste for this plot … ]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 06:18:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Great reason to head out for First Fridays in downtown Aurora ]]> Lead story image

I have literally been waiting years to see Charlie Zine’s bootleg T-shirt collection. Ever since he told me the story of how he earned money for college in the 1970s by traveling across the country and selling bootleg concert shirts, I’d hoped to have the opportunity to some day see his collection. Well, today is that day and happily, you can see it too. As part of this month’s First Fridays events, the Yetee Gallery at 110 Cross St. (between Lake and River Streets, south of Benton) will host an exhibition of Zine’s unique shirts. “The most interesting thing is … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 06:23:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Skate away those winter blues with roller derby ]]> Lead story image

It’s been a particularly cold and snowy winter. When I asked people about their strategies for coping, I got some excellent answers. Kathy Brooks of Montgomery said: “My husband and I visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory a couple of weekends ago which gave us a much-needed, though short, change of climate. Lovely, free place to go to commune with the plants and enjoy some humidity.” Cindy Russell of Joliet had a different strategy. Rather than escaping the snow, she and her sons are making the most of it. “It’s a cross country skiers’ heaven,” she said, also noting that they … ]]> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 06:19:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Common sense needed in marijuana legalization debate ]]> Lead story image

I don’t smoke. I tried once in college, in an attempt to stay awake during finals week, but found that my body had a stronger sense of self-preservation than to inhale smoke. So I have no personal stake in the legalization debate concerning marijuana. On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of truth and history, which shape my opinion on the matter. I have long been amused at how quickly the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol was repealed by the 21st, though cocktails have no real medicinal purpose. Yet marijuana has managed to remain illegal. I read Jack Herer’s book … ]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 06:14:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ DEENA BESS SHERMAN: The Beatles’ Aurora connection ]]> Lead story image

As we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” did you know that one of your neighbors — Art Sheridan — had a role in bringing the Beatles’ music to America? Art is currently a commercial Realtor with an office on West Downer Place in Aurora, but from the early 1950s to the early ’60s, he was involved with Vee Jay Records out of Chicago. “When I got out of the service after World War II, I worked with my father manufacturing small appliances,” Sheridan told me. “Phonograph records were not … ]]> Sat, 15 Mar 2014 06:22:36 -0500 <![CDATA[ Looking for answers in pipeline ]]> Lead story image

It frustrates me that there are just too many issues out there to understand each one adequately. I know how difficult it can be to find enough time for serious research, but I hate to see anyone spout opinions based on partisan sound bites. Since decisions are being made right now about the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL), I decided it was time to investigate whether pros outweigh cons. Obviously, there are environmental concerns. With dirty energy like oil, that’s unavoidable. No one who stands to make money in this venture wants to talk about it, but history has shown that … ]]> Sat, 08 Mar 2014 06:20:36 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ex-Arkansas governor clouds contraception issue ]]> Lead story image

Last week, former Arkansas governor and now Fox commentator Mike Huckabee said a puzzling thing. I had to listen to the video clip a couple times to try and understand what his message was. Huckabee began: “Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anyone else can do. Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them. It’s a war for them.” If he had stopped there, it would have been a nice speech, even if it didn’t square with the reality that … ]]> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:04:31 -0500 <![CDATA[ Some businesses OK with minimum wage increase ]]> Lead story image

When I wrote about raising the minimum wage earlier this month, I expected to find some responses when I checked my inbox. What I didn’t expect was that they would all be positive. Anthony Palucci thanked me for “an intelligent and fair-minded piece” and said he was pleased to “find such honest and thoughtful articles.” He continued: “I guess I am a bit of a dinosaur, still thinking newspapers should inform and enlighten the public.” My favorite response came from a place I didn’t expect, a small business owner. If one listened only to groups like the U.S. Chamber of … ]]> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 06:19:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Plan a perfect date night in downtown Aurora ]]> Lead story image

I’m really excited about January in downtown Aurora. The production I have anticipated most in this season’s Broadway Series — “42nd Street” —is playing at the Paramount and Chef Amaury’s 33 West is adding new menu options on show nights. For those unfamiliar with “42nd Street,” it has a somewhat odd history. It began as a novel by Bradford Ropes, became a successful movie in 1933, and was resurrected in 1980 as a Broadway musical. It has big dance numbers, fun costumes, and songs you will likely recognize, like “Lullaby of Broadway.” I’ve only seen it as a black and … ]]> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 06:22:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Nation needs to raise the issue of the minimum wage ]]> Lead story image

As I read Linda McDaniel-Hale’s Beacons Viewpoint piece, “Minimum wage debate serves up ample food for thought,” it seemed her primary concern appeared to be that raising the minimum wage would increase the price of fast food. So I decided to weigh in. Aside from the fact that a few less greasy burgers and a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables on the plates of we increasingly overweight Americans could only help, it’s not the price of burgers that should drive us to contact our elected officials. As McDaniel-Hale noted, the national minimum wage is $7.75 per hour. A person … ]]> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 16:28:39 -0500