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updated: 7/5/2014 5:40 PM

Pick your favorite St. Charles headache

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  • Pick your St. Charles headache: Cliff McIlvaine's decades-long 'remodeling' project, shown above; the almost-vacant Charlestowne Mall; or the idled First Avenue redevelopment project.

    Pick your St. Charles headache: Cliff McIlvaine's decades-long 'remodeling' project, shown above; the almost-vacant Charlestowne Mall; or the idled First Avenue redevelopment project.
    Daily Herald file photo


St. Charles has three headaches of varying degrees, depending on your threshold for pain.

The first is the nearly four-decade saga of Cliff McIlvaine and what we'll call his house "remodeling" project on Prairie Street that the city has been insisting he finally complete. This is a saga of threats and broken promises, for the most part.

The second is the nearly empty Charlestowne Mall, now called The Quad under new owners who promise a major facelift. But that's been delayed until an estimated reopening sometime in late 2015. This is a saga of past disinterested owners, a shoddy economy and a city left scratching its head.

The third is the First Street redevelopment project started several years ago and sitting in idle mode as far as future phases go. This is a saga of poor economic timing, and big ambitions versus "this is too big for our britches at the moment."

At the moment it is a spillover parking area, which actually comes in handy.

So, which of these headaches will be relieved first through a completed project?

Discuss. And share your thoughts with me.

Judge this band:

It was surprising to see a man I thought was Judge David Akemann playing the bass guitar in a band providing country and folksy music at last weekend's St. Charles Heritage Center pig roast fundraiser.

It turned out to be his twin brother Peter performing with The Good Ole Boys band.

"I've only been playing with these guys a couple of years now," Peter Akemann said. "I had just retired and they needed a bass player, and it's been a fun thing to do."

No one will accuse these gents of making you walk away marveling at their harmonies, but neither does their playing tarnish their mix of country, gospel, folk, bluegrass and easy listening tunes. Plus, any band that plays a decent version of "The Weight" by The Band is OK by me.

Most importantly, the heritage center raised between $25,000 and $30,000 for its operating budget, according to museum director Julie Bunke.

"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we greatly appreciate those who came out to support it," Bunke said.

Apparently, it was a fun event for mayors. Former city leaders Fred Norris and Sue Klinkhamer attended, as did current Mayor Ray Rogina. Norris was all smiles when his name was called on the raffle ticket drawing.

Good reviews:

Though we haven't had a chance to try it yet, we have heard nothing but good reviews for the Patten House restaurant that opened a few weeks ago on Campbell and Second streets in Geneva.

It's been interesting to watch the makeover of the 1857 Geneva home unfold the past several months, so now it's just a matter of getting there to try the food.

In the book:

Interior designer Kathleen Newhouse admits she has been "like a rolling stone" by working at a few different places since she closed her Park Place Interiors at Dodson Place in Geneva nearly two years ago. She's been at Toms-Price Home Furnishings in Wheaton since last September.

Her interior design expertise is now on display in a book titled "Interiors Midwest," which features her ideas and work along with those of other experts.

"I am honored to be among the talented interior designers in this book," Newhouse said.

The book is sold on and at Barnes and Noble. In what Newhouse considers an ironic twist, the book also is available at Prairie Path Books in Wheaton, which happens to be located inside of Toms-Price.

"It is an interesting story, but basically the owner of the book store needed a place, and Scott Price thought it would be a 'novel' idea to attract traffic in the store," Newhouse said. "So we have a book store inside of the furniture store."

Pizza replaces pizza:

Riverside Pizza and Pub has its name plastered across the restaurant building on the corner of Riverside and Main Street in downtown St. Charles.

It means that a new pizza place will take over on that corner soon, replacing Pi Pizza, which has been gone a few years now it seems.

It made sense that another pizza parlor would give it a go at that corner. Setting up shop across the street from the Arcada Theatre seems like a pretty sound strategy.

A tree's value:

You don't give much thought to how important it is to have a lot of trees in your community, but those who stroll through Delnor Woods off Route 25 in St. Charles can find out.

Several trees are tagged with a monetary value, based on how that tree retains stormwater, cuts down on carbon, saves energy and increases property values.

Delnor Woods also has an educational placard about white oaks, which I consider one of the coolest trees in our area. If you want to see really long limbs on a tree, check out the white oaks in this small preserve.

Bring on the heat:

The Kane County Fair starts July 16. We know what that means. It's going to be really, really hot outside.

Bring on the air:

The DuPage Airport will host its Community Days weekend July 26-27. All sorts of cool planes will be on display, with tours and flights available.

We know what that means. I will look at planes like this on the ground, but you won't see me flying around in one.

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