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updated: 12/28/2013 7:02 PM

'Talk of the Town' finishes first decade

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  • Flora Kaindl, resident of The Crossings in Geneva, painted two murals for the community room of the senior living condo complex. Both took about six months. One mural is of landmark buildings in the Tri Cities/Fox Valley area. The other is a triptych of the Chicago skyline, with fellow residents adding touches to the flower, sailboats and skyscrapers.

       Flora Kaindl, resident of The Crossings in Geneva, painted two murals for the community room of the senior living condo complex. Both took about six months. One mural is of landmark buildings in the Tri Cities/Fox Valley area. The other is a triptych of the Chicago skyline, with fellow residents adding touches to the flower, sailboats and skyscrapers.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Dorothy Flanagan and Sam Hill were big winners at "Dancing With The Geneva Stars."

       Dorothy Flanagan and Sam Hill were big winners at "Dancing With The Geneva Stars."
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

"Talk of the Town" marked its 10th anniversary this year, meaning we've talked about a lot of people and places in the last decade.

But it's hard enough to remember what took place in 2013 alone, so in this column we'll look back at what we were talking about this year.

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One of the last notes I got from readers this year would qualify as quite exciting, especially for a group of young girls and their families.

The St. Charles North High School drill team will ride in the Liberty Bowl parade on Beale Street in Memphis and perform at halftime Tuesday at the Liberty Bowl game.

It's a wonderful way to finish the year for the 23 varsity and junior varsity dancers and coach Nancy Prentiss.

Other items in "Talk" during 2013 included:

• Batavia author Dan Van Haften started his year off right, making a presentation at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., about a book he co-authored. The setting was proper, considering the book was about "Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason."

• Batavians were getting ready for the opening of the new Chick-fil-A at McKee and Randall Road. Talk of the popular chicken restaurant choosing a Batavia location had circulated for the better part of a year.

• Flora Kaindl showed us her murals of historic and interesting places in the Tri-Cities. She just happened to make them large enough to cover the walls of the community center of her residence, The Crossings condominiums in Geneva.

• In February, talk picked up quickly about Geneva's Coultrap Elementary School, which was about to face the wrecking ball. As it should have been, people who attended that school or had children there, or both, were getting nostalgic about what the place meant to them.

• Geneva aldermen Sam Hill and Dorothy Flanagan teamed up as partners to show their skills on the dance floor at what would be the final "Dancing With The Geneva Stars" fundraiser. It just so happened the two collected the most votes in the contest, helping raise $18,500 for the cultural arts commission and Geneva schools.

• Geneva middle schooler Derek Wagner placed sixth at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships at the age of 13.

• When March rolled around, Batavians had mixed emotions about the street remodeling taking place on North River Street and eventually Wilson Street. In particular, they weren't too enamored with the $117,000 arch at the entry of North River.

• Traffic on Route 38 between Geneva and West Chicago became a daily nightmare as work on a much needed overpass at the train tracks near Kautz Road began to unfold.

• That wasn't the only place for traffic headaches. St. Charles had to endure a lengthy project on Main Street. It was especially tough on the east side. Piles of rubble near Pheasant Run did not leave a nice impression of the city for visitors at the resort or those attending business conferences at the MegaCenter.

• As new St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina was preparing to take office, an interesting fact surfaced. Both Rogina and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns had spent 10 or more years as public address announcers for high school sports events. Burns at Geneva, of course, and Rogina at St. Charles East.

• As the summer neared, Geneva Middle School music instructor Jason Flaks had great plans. He was accepted to attend the prestigious summer symposium at Yale University School of Music.

• Friends and family of teen Emma Mebane, who died in her sleep in July 2011, got together for an afternoon of fun at Wheeler Park in her memory. It wasn't a fundraiser or a rally for a cause. It was simply a way to remember a person they loved. Emma's name came up in a later column when her mother Donna wrote a book in her memory.

• The St. Charles VFW closed its doors in July, and the city of St. Charles obtained the property. Members were looking for a smaller location, or one to possibly share with the American Legion.

• Readers shared their ideas about what they would fix in the Tri-Cities if they could do so with a snap of their fingers. The idea was to fix something the recession had altered. Ideas ran from fixing Charlestowne Mall or the empty Mill Race Inn to bringing back Avenue Chevy in Batavia or any number of restaurants that had become victims of the weak economy.

• During the summer, former resident Jim Masters came home to sing at a St. Charles High School reunion and his rendition of "In St. Charles" started a movement to get the nice ballad christened as the official city song. That happened later in the year, and he sang it for the first time in public in St. Charles during the holiday season tree-lighting ceremony in the First Street plaza.

• The shuttered Wayne Country Store on Army Trail Road was making its comeback as the "Outpost General Store" under the ownership of Caroline Scheeler.

• In an excellent example of youths doing good things, the St. Peter Barn Sale operation in Geneva was turned over to the leadership of younger parishioners. Matt, Mike and Mandy Mayorga were key leaders, following in the footsteps of their parents, who had worked previously on the gigantic fundraiser.

• Batavia was beside itself with joy when the high school football team captured the Class 6A state title in November. It was an excellent team effort, but we made special mention of its outstanding leader, quarterback Micah Coffey.

• Finally, it was good to hear that Herrington Inn general manager Paul Ruby continues to do well with an exercise regimen and medicine that helps control his Parkinson's disease. Of equal importance to him was that his foundation came through this year with $100,000 for Parkinson's research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

• Happy New Year to all of my readers! I'm looking forward to another year of sharing the stuff we tend to talk about around the Tri-Cities. So, keep in touch and let me know about anything you find interesting.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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