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updated: 5/24/2014 5:51 PM

Mrs. Hubbard, 'Big Red' ready for next chapter

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  • Retiring H.C. Storm Elementary School teacher Kathy Hubbard in her lounge chair, "Big Red," during the holiday season.

    Retiring H.C. Storm Elementary School teacher Kathy Hubbard in her lounge chair, "Big Red," during the holiday season.


Kathy Hubbard can say her final days at H.C. Storm Elementary School in Batavia have been like a whirlwind.

Or maybe a fire sale. Because, well, she did have a sale with things at low prices.

Hubbard has been teaching at H.C. Storm for 34 years, or about the entire history of the school. That means she accumulated quite a few books and teaching materials.

"I am a book hoarder, so I have just about every book ever written for kids and multiple copies of them," she said.

She and several helpers spent weeks bagging sets of guided reading books, story books and games while getting all of her supplies organized for a sale in the school commons during a recent arts night at the school.

"I still have a lot of stuff but sold maybe about a third of it," Hubbard said.

The Living Well Cancer Center will be thankful for the effort since Hubbard is donating all of the $1,200 she made during the sale to the center.

During the process, students in her second-grade class were especially interested in "Big Red," a red lounge chair that has been part of the classroom all these years. The students love sitting in the chair and reading, so when it was up for "bid" at the sale, many were hoping their parents could land "Big Red."

"A little girl in the class really wanted 'Big Red,' and her dad bid $75 to get that stupid chair," Hubbard said. In this case, the word "stupid" had all sorts of love and memories attached for the veteran teacher.

And she's been getting doses of that sent her way. Last weekend, her daughters held a surprise retirement party attended by more than 100 people at the Hubbard home.

It proved that many kids and their parents are not likely to forget Mrs. Hubbard or "Big Red" any time soon.

Goody's goes dark: As we expected for some time, Goody's in St. Charles has closed. The fast-food casual dining spot on the west side has a sign in front of the building indicating it will become a Dunkin' Donuts site in the future.

Until then, it is another blow to that retail region of the city, which has seen Dominick's and then a hardware store close their doors in that same shopping area. In addition, the nearby Blockbuster site and a sports bar are vacant, and the former Colonial and Burger King sites remain empty across the street. The entire region has set itself up for a massive makeover.

For now, the Goody's site would work for a Dunkin' Donuts, considering it is close to Lincoln Highway (Route 38), has plenty of parking and is easy to get in and out.

It's an auto world: Don't count me among those men who actually fix minor problems with their cars. Men of that ilk have to be dwindling in this age of high-tech autos, plus less time to work on cars.

You wouldn't know it from a quick glance in St. Charles.

In addition to being able to buy auto parts at big-box stores from Menards to Target and everything in between, you see plenty of auto parts stores setting up shop.

I am told the new building going up at the Valley Shopping Center on West Main Street in St. Charles is going to be an O'Reilly Auto Parts.

But a Car Quest Auto Parts is located just two blocks west of that. And consumers have Thompson Auto Supply near Main and Dean streets, NAPA Auto Parts at Illinois and Third streets and Advance Auto Parts on East Main.

The city isn't going to turn down a legitimate business that will generate some more sales tax revenue, but are there that many cars out there in vital need of parts?

Liquidating what?: We've seen this kind of thing for years. They pop up when other stores clear out of a space and call themselves "liquidators." And it seems common in the furniture world.

While it's nice to get what you think is a good deal on furniture, you know it's much better for your community to have healthy businesses operating in storefronts rather than what comes off like a fly-by-night operation. Healthy businesses generally provide decent post-sale service, and you'd have to wonder what kind of guarantees, if any, a liquidator offers.

These joints make it sound like "the store" is closing for what seems like several months. Most folks would be inclined to think the ads in the store windows refer to the previous tenant.

I'm not saying the stuff they sell is bad. It just has the feel of a carnival barker.

Emma's machine: The Mebane family of Geneva created the Starshine Galaxy Foundation three years ago in memory of their late daughter, Emma.

Emma Mebane was a 2010 Geneva High School graduate preparing to pursue her education in the creative arts at Illinois State when she died from unknown causes in 2011.

But the foundation reminds family and friends that it is important to support those pursuing graphic arts.

The foundation named Sarah Kennedy as the winner of the Emma Mebane Magnificent Machine Award for her one-minute animation inspired by the song "Re: Stacks" by Bon Iver.

Kennedy's "magnificent machine" is a Sony touch-screen laptop and a four-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

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