Each year, the staff at Khanna Dentistry in Geneva determines how it can best donate time to help the surrounding communities.
"Our office manager talked about how sad it is that so many people can't afford dental treatments, so we decided we wanted to try to manage something on a lower level because we have a small practice," said Gina Lazzerini, a chairside assistant at Dr. Neeraj Khanna's practice at 425 Hamilton St.
"As a team, we thought we could reach out to families, because so many kids are not going to the dentist at all," Lazzerini said.
The staff molded that idea into its first Kids Day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25. Parents interested in setting up an appointment for children 12 and younger can do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It would have been tacky to put a salary level to qualify, but it's basically for kids whose families may not have insurance or are low-income," Lazzerini said.
The staff decided email registration was the best approach because it may have become difficult to "just open the doors" on a first-come, first-serve basis and have parents waiting with their kids for hours.
"This way, we will respond to the emails and schedule specific times," Lazzerini said. "We will possibly have three hygienists and the doctor available.
"A cleaning, X-ray and an exam for kids don't take as long," she added.
If the event goes well, the practice may consider scheduling another kids day in the near future, Lazzerini said.
In the meantime, a lot of kids will have far healthier smiles for having visited the dentist.
A day for Melvin: St. Charles and its history center are taking the time next week to proclaim Melvin Peterson worthy of his own day.
The proclamation for the 91-year-old Peterson will take place at Monday's city council meeting, but the St. Charles Heritage Center, of which Peterson has been an active volunteer and a walking history book, will celebrate Melvin Peterson Day with an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Peterson, former owner of the Wasco Blacksmith Shop who still works at the shop, has created numerous historic centerpieces for the various historic sites, organizations or individuals in the city. It is only fitting that he gets some recognition in return.
He has incredible longevity with 70-plus years on the Baker Community Center Board, one of many community roles he has been involved in since his younger days working on his family's farm and that of Col. Edward Baker at what is now the Pheasant Run Resort.
All for more chocolate: Can you ever have too much of a good thing? I say no to that, especially if that good thing is chocolate.
Chef Alain Roby must certainly agree. The chef has based his life's work on the glory of chocolate, and he plans to expand his All Chocolate Kitchen on Third Street in Geneva into the location next door, where Mossy Twig is located.
In a game of musical stores, Mossy Twig plans to move one location farther north. It's another deal that tells us that slowly, but surely, empty spots in downtown Geneva are filling up.
Crazy about Peck Farm: I've always considered our dog to be "crazy." In this case, "crazy" is an affectionate term for amazingly smart. Any other folks who own a poodle will understand this next statement. Our dog, Maddie, is "crazy" because she clearly understands just about everything we say or do.
She also knows a good place when she finds one. That's why I let her drag me around Peck Farm Park in Geneva for the better part of an hour last weekend. We had the place to ourselves on a beautiful autumn afternoon, so we roamed around the property for what amounted to a major "sniff fest" for Maddie.
So, take it from my dog. If you haven't walked your pet around Peck Farm Park, give it a try. You're dog might go "crazy" over it.
Jury out on scarecrows: I heard plenty of pros and cons about the new setup for last weekend's St. Charles Scarecrow Festival. The new setup basically spread the festival from Lincoln Park to the First Street Plaza grounds and the Freedom Walk into Pottawatomie Park.
Some people don't like change; others don't like to walk too much. So those types would represent your detractors. However, I would agree that it all created a festival setting that appeared to be missing something from previous years.
By the same token, it made it easier to navigate through the displays, no matter which area you were visiting. The St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau will surely tweak things as needed to keep the festival in its lofty position as one of the most popular in the region.
It was annoying to see that many scarecrows on the First Street grounds were vandalized, so the police certainly have their hands full with more areas to keep an eye on.
Three and counting: A big round of applause please for the wonderful folks at Geneva United Methodist Church who put on the Third Tuesday free monthly community dinner. Organizers celebrate the third anniversary of the event, which was created to help people keep their minds off the bad economy and allow senior citizens and others to have a place to look forward to seeing friends and neighbors.
It's turned into my mother-in-law's favorite night of the month, and it's been fun taking her or meeting her there with her friends.