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[ Drivers beware: Cellphones and cars just don’t mix ]]> Lead story image

My cellphone rang recently as I was driving into downtown Aurora. I was tempted to pick it up and answer, in case it was one of my children. Then I remembered that the Aurora Police Department’s Community Policing Division has been implementing a program called “Click-It, Drop It and Drive.” If they find motorists using phones without hands-free devices, texting, or neglecting to wear seatbelts, they will issue tickets. Wearing my seatbelt never has been a problem for me. If I had sometimes neglected to fasten it regularly in my youth, it became a permanent habit in 1986 after I … ]]> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 02:30:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Time to celebrate all of the important men in our lives ]]> Lead story image

On Fathers’ Day we take a moment to appreciate the men who have guided our lives. Fathers play a pivotal role in molding the people their sons and daughters will become. Their role in society cannot be underestimated. My daughters will be 22 years old this summer. It probably won’t be long before they will choose the fathers of my grandchildren. So for them, and for other young people out there, I have some words of advice. Manhood is a very cool thing. Don’t try to feminize it. Beards, chest hair, a height advantage, deep baritone and bass voices, upper … ]]> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 02:34:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ukelele band can’t help but make you smile ]]> Lead story image

Saturday is Aurora’s fifth annual Greenfest and everyone is invited to this free, family-friendly event. As we have come to expect from previous years, there will be plenty of exhibitors and interesting products, recycling opportunities, fresh produce and other food, demonstrations and information, animals, art, activities for the kids, a Green Car Show and more. One of my favorite parts of this event in previous years has been the live music. This year will showcase some new talent, including a local group of ukulele enthusiasts. “Ukulele bands are nothing to be laughed at, even if the word ‘ukulele’ makes you … ]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 02:27:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Traveling the world is a great way to learn, understand ]]> Lead story image

As I recover from jet lag after returning home from Ireland, I’m happy to be home. Still, I can’t help but think there are some things we could learn from our cousins abroad. Better food sense Unless it’s a complete tourist trap, most restaurants there do not serve entrees that could feed a small family. Portions are much healthier. Sugary soft drinks are served in small (maybe 10 ounce) glasses, not by the quart as they often are here. Sugary breakfast cereals are found in candy stores and are pricey. Foods generally have less preservatives. Some of my daughter’s friends … ]]> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 02:28:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Flight delays: Keeping an eye on the big picture ]]> Lead story image

You don’t really know someone until you see how they handle adversity. Anyone can be clever and charming when circumstances are pleasant. Under pressure people show their true colors. I already knew my husband was a gem under pressure. As water came up into the first floor of our house during the 1996 flood and we realized we had no flood insurance and would have to rebuild the house ourselves, the first thing he said was, “If I have to go through this, I’m at least glad I can go through it with you.” Recently I was reminded of this … ]]> Fri, 30 May 2014 02:35:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ A special music teacher at West Aurora says goodbye ]]> Lead story image

There’s a large group of talented and dedicated teachers retiring from West Aurora School District 129 this year. I had the honor of sitting down to talk with one of them recently. Lila Fagan has been an integral part of the district’s band program for as long as many of us can remember. When I asked Lila how long she had been teaching, she said 36 years, noting that 33 were at Jefferson Middle School in Aurora. While teaching at Palatine High School, George Peichl (former West High band director) suggested that she interview for a team-teaching position at Washington … ]]> Fri, 23 May 2014 02:31:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Bhutan refugee, West Aurora student a true inspiration ]]>

Last week, I met an amazing young woman named Dhani Adhikari. She is a senior at West Aurora High School and recently won a scholarship from the Exchange Club of Aurora. The Exchange Club gives scholarships to local students who have not only excelled academically, but done so after overcoming great adversity. Laura Leinweber, Adhikari’s guidance counselor at West, told me some of this exceptional young woman’s story. Adhikari was born in a refugee camp in Nepal when her parents’ homeland of Bhutan adopted a “one nation, one people” policy and forced all ethnic groups to follow the traditions, culture, … ]]> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 06:49:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Aurora event to honor the struggle to help homeless students stay in classroom ]]> Lead story image

Imagine the feeling of icy panic as you learn your family has just become homeless. Without the security of a permanent address, you may be looking at weeks or months of living in a shelter or out of your car. You wonder how you will get back on your feet again. You wonder how you and your family can survive this. But at least you know your children will still have the continuity of the same classrooms, teachers, and friends from the school they had been attending. Thanks to the efforts of some tenacious Aurorans, educational stability for your children … ]]> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 06:21:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ A closer look at the labels we use for one another ]]> Lead story image

I am a conservative. Seriously. This past weekend in Clontarf, Ireland has convinced me beyond any shadow of a doubt. “Conservative” means you wish to conserve something, and there are a great many things I am fighting to conserve. I want to conserve timeless arts. I saw a lot of those this past week — from traditional archery, to weaving and pottery making, to simply cooking over an open fire. I am convinced that many ancient skills still have great value. I want to conserve ageless values. Ideas like basic integrity and keeping your word. An honest day’s labor for … ]]> Mon, 26 May 2014 06:21:15 -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 … ]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 06:14:40 -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 … ]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 06:20:35 -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. … ]]> Mon, 05 May 2014 08:45:40 -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 … ]]> Thu, 01 May 2014 07:07:10 -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 … ]]> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 06:17:40 -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