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Article updated: 10/26/2013 6:04 PM

'In St. Charles' songwriter will perform it back home next month

JOHN STARKS/ Congressman Bill Foster has a discussion with local auto dealers about their economic problems in May 2009 at Avenue Chevrolet in Batavia. The dealership closed in December 2011 and the site along Randall Road has remained vacant. Some residents wouldn’t mind seeing a grocery store fill the void.

JOHN STARKS/ Congressman Bill Foster has a discussion with local auto dealers about their economic problems in May 2009 at Avenue Chevrolet in Batavia. The dealership closed in December 2011 and the site along Randall Road has remained vacant. Some residents wouldn't mind seeing a grocery store fill the void.

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Jim Masters is one happy camper.

After Jeff and David Hunt sang "In St. Charles" to a St. Charles City Council committee last Monday night, impressed committee members voted unanimously to christen the tune the city's official song.


As you may remember from my column last summer, Masters spent his childhood in St. Charles before going on to a career in music. So he wrote "In St. Charles" as a tribute to the city he loves.

He sang it during a reunion last summer of the St. Charles High School Class of 1963. (Not his class, by the way. He was Class of 1972 but moved before finishing high school here.)

Alderman Maureen Lewis and resident Bill Russell heard the song that night and immediately began pushing for it to become something more than just a really nice song.

When the full council puts its official stamp on the song with a vote expected next month, all that will be left is for more residents to hear it and see what all the hoopla is about.

That chance, if you didn't see the video with Jim Fuller's story Wednesday, will come Nov. 29 when Masters plans to return to St. Charles from his home in Columbus, Ohio, where he is a music instructor at Ohio State University. He'll sing "In St. Charles" during the city's annual holiday celebration at the Municipal Center plaza.

Not an auto spot? Ask someone in Batavia what they would like to see go into the vacant Avenue Chevrolet location along Randall Road at McKee, and it's quite likely you won't hear a lot of pleading for another auto dealer.

Some city officials wouldn't mind seeing another car dealer there in the future because those businesses tend to bring in nice tax revenue, but it's somewhat rare these days to see an auto dealer sitting on its own island, so to speak.

Generally, car dealers locate near each other. That allows the dealer's signs to be front and center, even if someone contemplating an auto purchase is at the dealership next to or across the street from his.

Here are a couple of ideas that aren't bad for that spot: A Whole Foods or maybe a Mariano's food store. Those ideas came from my wife's exercise class in Batavia. The ladies there know what they want.

For special people: Wine lovers will want to know about this special event, and we're not using the word "special" loosely here.

It's called "Northern Nights, Trees and Lights" and will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Charles.

The Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation is throwing this party -- a wine tasting with more than 20 wines, heavy appetizers, live entertainment, raffles and auctions with holiday themes.

Of course, it's all about supporting the special rec association, which has provided therapeutic recreation services to children and adults with disabilities for the last 36 years.

We've all seen the work of these folks in action with summer day camp, Special Olympics training and competition in multiple sports, wheelchair athletics, music, swim and computer lessons and personal fitness training.

If anyone is in a donating mood, event organizer Carolyn Nagle said the event could still use auction items. She also gave shout-outs to people she says make the event possible -- Joelle Kelly, Patti Dickens, Connie Wechter and Jodie Hurckes.

"We could not have done the event without any of these great, giving ladies," Nagle said.

Those interested in purchasing tickets for the event or making a donation can visit

Station's special event: The Filling Station, a popular bar in St. Charles, has been hosting an important fundraiser all month -- the fourth annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser to raise money for the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva.

The main event takes place Friday, as the bar has been selling $5 raffle tickets for various prizes to be drawn that day. The bar will donate 50 percent of proceeds from drinks and 10 percent from special menu items that day. The staff will also donate a portion of its tips. It brings in close to $2,000 the center would not have otherwise.

Clear the signs: Numerous clubs and organizations volunteer during the warm weather months to keep the parkways of our main streets clean from debris.

I have participated in these cleanup efforts in the past, so I know how much work is put into it, and how much debris is gathered.

Because of that, it is rather irritating to see a bunch of promo ad placards stuck in the ground along Randall Road, touting a sale on mattresses, or a business that buys houses, or any other number of business offerings.

To me, that's no different from seeing scummy debris on the sides of our highways. So here's a better idea: Take out an ad in this newspaper and its website and quit junking up our highways.

Will miss Father Mike: It was sad to hear that Father Mike Chernetzki at St. Peter in Geneva passed away after fighting a brain tumor for several months. His letters in the church bulletin showed a spirit and faith that many of us can only wish we had.

He was a favorite of many at the parish because, well, he was a jolly soul. His services were to the point and meaningful. He talked to us, not at us.

At 50 years old, he wasn't with us long enough. And his two years at St. Peter were far too few.

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