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updated: 2/16/2013 5:38 PM

Geneva boy places 6th at U.S. skating championship

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  • Figure skater Derek Wagner of Geneva finished ninth in the juvenile boys competition at last year's U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in December.

       Figure skater Derek Wagner of Geneva finished ninth in the juvenile boys competition at last year's U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in December.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Derek Wagner of Geneva was ninth in the juvenile boys competition at the 2012 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in December.

       Derek Wagner of Geneva was ninth in the juvenile boys competition at the 2012 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in December.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Derek Wagner, USFSA Nationals


If you want to catch a glimpse of something that lots of folks in Geneva already know about Derek Wagner, check out his performance at the recent U.S. National Figure Skating Championships.

You'll see the 13-year-old Geneva Middle School North student doing the routine that earned him a sixth-place finish of eight contestants in the intermediate division of the competition.

"The divisions are all skill-based, rather than age-based," said Bob Wagner, Derek's father.

Derek is hopefully working his way up a ladder that goes from intermediate to novice, to juniors and then seniors, "The seniors are the ones who go to the Olympics," Bob Wagner added.

Derek will spend the next year working on a short program and free skate, or longer program at the novice level in hopes of winning enough regional and sectional competitions to make it to nationals again next year, Bob Wagner said.

"He'll be adding new jumps, spins and combinations at the novice level," he added.

The Daily Herald featured Derek in a story a year ago when he did well in a junior tournament, noting that his training schedule has taken him to rinks all over the area, from Geneva to Buffalo Grove, Bolingbrook, Naperville and even Wisconsin.

Finishing sixth at the Nationals a few weeks ago in Omaha, Neb., represented a much bigger prize for the young skater.

Watch the YouTube video and then just imagine what he can accomplish as he gets bigger and stronger.

Countering Coultrap view: People who work hard to preserve older buildings in a community don't particularly like others who write off their efforts as a simple case of nostalgia.

Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned it wasn't likely I'd ever side with the folks wanting to save Coultrap Elementary School in Geneva from the wrecking ball. But I didn't go to school there.

It wasn't only nostalgia, some of them said. Carolyn Zinke said she has been involved in trying to keep Coultrap vital since 2006. Zinke has followed the saga through all of its twists and turns but felt the school board was only interested in demolishing the building.

Well that, and demolishing the money drain the building potentially represented for the future.

With more time, a guide such as "New Life through Adaptive Use: Saving Our Historic Schools" from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, could reveal options to consider, Zinke said.

Historic preservation is not a waste of time. Communities that save historic buildings and landmarks stand out from those that fail to do so. But each case has its own set of data and a certain burden for property owners and neighbors.

Coultrap's owner happens to be the taxpaying public, and the school board is in charge of spending that tax money in the wisest way possible. The school board has been under fire for some weakness in that area, so pumping money into Coultrap could have turned that into a raging blaze.

For his Italian blood: Considering the Italian blood lines on my mother's side of the family, this dinner should be right up my alley.

The Geneva United Methodist Church is offering an Italian Winter Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday night for its free monthly community meal. You can't go wrong with any meal offering baked pasta, Italian sausage and meatballs.

End of an era?: With the Blockbuster on Lincoln Highway in St. Charles closing, it could mark the end of an era for our household. Yes, I was among the "Last of the Mohicans" who drove to Blockbuster to rent DVDs. We don't rent movies often, which is probably why Blockbuster is vanishing from the brick-and-mortar scene. I know we don't watch movies enough to sign up for Netflix, so I'll have to see what this Redbox thing is all about at some point.

Otherwise, counting the long-gone days of looking through the VHS video boxes, this closing probably ends nearly 30 years of browsing through video stores.

What do they do?: Speaking of videos, Fermilab in Batavia has created a documentary, "Fermilab: Science at Work." You can watch it here. If you visit the high-energy physics lab, you might get a DVD of the documentary as part of your educational trip.

For many people the lab remains a mystery. It has accomplished much more than keeping a large area of open land in place along Kirk Road. Watch the video to learn more about what goes on at this fascinating place.

Another grand show: Last weekend's fifth annual "Dancing With The Geneva Stars" show at Eagle Brook Country Club confirmed what I have thought since my wife and I danced in the inaugural event in 2009.

This is the most fun you can have raising money. It is a great event, and I'm not just saying that because I have been part of its planning committee the past four years.

It has more to do with giving everyday Genevans a chance to be part of something they would never consider otherwise. And it gives those who attend a chance to see professional dancers perform during the entertainment segments -- and see their friends and neighbors earn badges of courage for participating.

It raises money for the city's schools and arts commission, but provides an enjoyable dose of culture at the same time.


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