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posted: 7/7/2012 7:02 PM

Diamond master to stop in Geneva

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  • Chadley Ballantyne, from left, Danielle Floyd and Matt McNabb ham it up in the Fox Valley Repertory's "Some Enchanted Evening" at St. Charles' Pheasant Run Resort.

      Chadley Ballantyne, from left, Danielle Floyd and Matt McNabb ham it up in the Fox Valley Repertory's "Some Enchanted Evening" at St. Charles' Pheasant Run Resort.

 
 

If Martha Sanchez says this is "not something you can usually see around here," then it must mean that lovers of diamonds are in for a treat.

After all, Sanchez has been the manager of State Street Jewelers in Geneva for 36 years, so she knows a thing or two about the diamond industry.

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Sanchez is quite excited about master diamond cutter Brian McHardy appearing July 20 and 21 at State Street Jewelers to demonstrate his craft.

It's not quite the diamond industry's equivalent of a major sports or music star making an appearance, Sanchez admits. But it's exciting to those in the business and any others curious about how diamonds are cut and polished.

"I never saw diamonds being cut until I went to Antwerp, Belgium, years ago," Sanchez said. "So it's really nice to be able to see it demonstrated here."

McHardy is no slouch at his trade. He's a third generation diamond cutter now working with Hearts on Fire diamond jewelers, cutting diamonds from the Premier Mine in South Africa his grandfather and father operated.

"He will be bringing in a case of diamonds and his cutting wheel, so he'll be showing how to cut and polish a diamond, " Sanchez said.

In recognition of the family's contributions to the diamond industry, the McHardy House at the Premier Mine is a museum open to the public.

Hearts on Fire Company LLC uses the marketing slogan of "the world's most perfectly cut diamonds," and that's what McHardy will be showing onlookers at the store at 214 W. State St.

"Brian is very well known in the industry, and it's really exciting to bring something to the area that you aren't going to see anywhere else," Sanchez said.

Cheering the local gal: You always enjoy seeing a local person make good in the performing arts, and such was the case in watching Danielle Floyd of St. Charles sing in Fox Valley Repertory's "Some Enchanted Evening" last weekend at Pheasant Run.

In making her first appearance with Fox Valley Repertory during this show's run, Floyd may have stolen the show with her rendition of "I Can't Say No" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma."

I say "may have" because all of the singers in this production were top-rate, so it's certainly tough to choose a favorite number, let alone a favorite singer. Because she's the hometown girl, we certainly were cheering for Floyd.

What's that pounding?: We've never been disappointed with a show at Fox Valley Repertory, but there was an odd background noise last weekend during "Some Enchanted Evening."

Some of the most beautiful and entertaining songs of our lifetime were being performed onstage, yet a thumping noise in the background surfaced through much of the show. It sounded like a live band in one of Pheasant Run Resort's nearby clubs. That band likely was quite good, but through the walls of the theater it sounded more like an annoying garage band practicing.

It wasn't a major deterrent, but it was unfortunate when actor Matt McNabb was singing touching renditions of "Maria" and "Edelweiss" from "The Sound of Music," that you could detect that thumping.

I highly recommend the show, which runs through July 22. But maybe the nearby band can tone it down just a notch on the weekends.

For many cents less: It used to be that in order to find cheaper gas you sometimes had to drive to another city or county. Or, if you were in a neighboring state, you might fill up on cheaper gas while visiting.

But last weekend all you had to do was go from one side of Batavia to the other, or one part of Randall Road from another, in order to save 22 cents on a gallon.

Some stations were charging $3.49 a gallon last weekend, while others, on the other side of town in most cases, were at $3.27. And on the Fourth of July, it naturally shot up to $3.63 in some places.

I know the pricing of gasoline remains one of life's unsolved mysteries, and disparities like this reinforce that theory.

Infomercials at home: Whatever happened to that "Do Not Call" list we signed up for that was supposed to stop unsolicited sales calls? My home phone has turned into a talking infomercial lately with loud and long calls about stuff I would never buy. And my cellphone isn't immune to this abuse, which is really annoying.

Sensible tax formula: I went back and forth on this for a few weeks now, wondering whether shooting off my mouth would actually make any difference. I realized it likely won't, but the TaxFACTS group in Geneva inspired me in its push for answers and ideas about why school taxes are becoming extremely difficult to support.

My idea on this is simplistic and makes too much sense, meaning it likely will be disregarded out of hand by school officials and TaxFACTS folks alike.

During a recession, or when unemployment numbers are high, local tax burdens should match a person's income level or home value. In other words, if a person has suffered a significant cut in income from a previous year and his home value has plummeted as well, the tax bill should reflect a decrease very close to that percentage during those tough years, rather than increase fairly dramatically. And yes, local government entities relying on tax dollars would have to live and adjust with such a decrease, just like the person experiencing the tough times.

A challenging path: All along I thought harsh winters resulted in heavy road construction during the summer. We had a mild winter, but are in the throes of massive road construction in the Tri-Cities it seems.

None of it is pleasant, but here's my choice for the "Not For the Faint of Heart" award: The east side work on Main Street in St. Charles. By any evaluation standard, this is a rough one on drivers.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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