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updated: 7/13/2014 1:11 AM

St. Charles-based band singing a happy tune

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  • The St. Charles-based band Kampfire Kowboys feature David Piper of St. Charles, left, guitarist Tom Colton of Campton Hills, and Ray Henaughan of St. Charles on fiddle.

    The St. Charles-based band Kampfire Kowboys feature David Piper of St. Charles, left, guitarist Tom Colton of Campton Hills, and Ray Henaughan of St. Charles on fiddle.


Kathleen Colton of Campton Hills calls herself the "head roadie" of the country band Kampfire Kowboys.

Colton, a criminal defense attorney practicing in Geneva, is a little more than a roadie for this band. She manages and promotes it.

The fact that her husband, Tom Colton, is lead guitarist for the St. Charles-based band has a lot to do with it.

It's an exciting time for Colton and the Kowboys. In its June 25 edition, the Chicago Reader named them the best country band in Chicago and the suburbs.

"We had no idea that this honor was coming, and were only contacted the day before the announcement for a photograph," Kathleen Colton said.

Colton suspects someone with the magazine might have seen the Kampfire Kowboys perform May 23 at the Hard Rock Café in Chicago, but she's not positive about that.

Still, it's a fairly lofty status for the band, whose members, other than one from Downers Grove, come from the Tri-Cities.

The Kowboys have been performing since 1999 but "morphed into a current and classic country cover band," Colton said. But she realizes the Kowboys may be "the best band that nobody knows about."

If the band stays together, it's hard to imagine more folks won't find out about its talent.

Tom Colton and the band's bass player, David Piper, an American Airlines pilot from St. Charles, had played together in various bands with some success but ultimately put together the Kowboys. They are the two musicians who have been at the core of the band since the start.

The current lineup, started in 2011, includes Ray Henaughan of St. Charles on the fiddle. Rich Lavin of Batavia joined more recently to play the drums, as did Kevin McCarthy of Downers Grove, who plays acoustic guitar.

Thinking like a manager, Colton now ponders how to get those who put together the community festivals in the Tri-Cities to take notice of the Kampfire Kowboys. As of now, the band has not played locally but gets solid reviews from the Chicago media when playing in the city.

Still, local country music fans can catch the band at the Q Bar in Plano on Saturday night or at X Factor, on Randall Road in South Elgin Sept. 19.

The ADA dilemma: It's too bad that Fox Valley Repertory is the target of an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint about lacking ramps and easier access for those disabilities.

The complaint stems from a gentleman whose father, who is nearly blind, needed a seat close to the stage. He uses a walker but had no ramp or elevator to get down to his seat.

The theater, like many other theaters and stadiums, has an area near the rear for those in wheelchairs or with walkers.

This always seemed like a reasonable setup. If there were ever an emergency, you want those ticketholders with disabilities to be able to get out quickly.

Fox Valley Repertory is a small theater, but Pheasant Run may be able to come up with some method of getting ticketholders facing disabilities, but not needing wheelchairs, into the regular seating areas.

However, anyone casting a "they don't care" image upon the theater over this instance is painting an inaccurate picture. Fox Valley Rep, in fact, has gone out of its way to be accommodating in most cases we have seen, including the creation of a special earphones/speaker system for those hard of hearing.

Stay put, library: For years, newspaper readers have asked why government bodies spend so much money on consultants and architects for information that seems as if just about anyone with simple common sense could provide.

More often than not, I defended the government body, saying it was best to have some professional assessments supporting a decision that uses tax dollars.

For that reason, it was good to see the Geneva Library get the best of both worlds. The library got information from an architect study informing the board it might be best to stay in its current location on James Street and figure out a way to expand rather than seek another site. My wife and I have said the same thing to each other for years now. But that wouldn't help a library seeking expert opinions to guide them.

The best part? The architect did this particular study free. Of course, the firm stands to benefit if the library does stay put and build out.

But here's the thing about libraries: Won't the growth of e-readers and e-books render physical library space less critical in the coming years?

We should all know the answer to that.

Quite a switch: In January, I mentioned that the Angel Kisses religious merchandise store at 504 E. Main St. in St. Charles was struggling because purchasing such products apparently wasn't as popular to consumers as in the past.

The store had been there a long time, and its owners, the Kulpin family, cited various miraculous occurrences, including tears coming out of a statue of Mother Mary.

The store was forced to finally close its doors not long ago.

In its place, we now have Delectable Vapors, which among other things sells e-cigarettes in different flavors.

Now there's a switch in stores.

Avoid that line: I've tried the self-scanning grocery line numerous times. Each time, I encountered some sort of delay or hang-up. It's probably me, so I won't blast the technology here.

But I have to wonder what the idea was behind this sort of service, or non-service, if you will.

Let's just say I avoid that line at all times now.

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