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  • Midways and monster trucks at DuPage County Fair Jul 23, 2014 11:21 PM
    The DuPage County Fair opened its five-day run Wednesday with hundreds of vendors, countless carnival rides, and plenty of performers and grandstand shows featuring monster trucks, rodeo cowboys and even a wine and beer tasting. The fair, which began 60 years as a small expo in Naperville, is expected to draw roughly 100,000 people this week as it continues from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Sunday at the fairgrounds at 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton.

     
  • Thome’s hitting tips to Lisle kids: ‘Don’t get down on yourself’ Jul 23, 2014 11:30 PM
    When Jim Thome helped out Wednesday at a Bulls/Sox Academy baseball camp in Lisle, it wasn’t all about the kids. It was about their families, too, as the former White Sox designated hitter answered questions from parents like Tracy Swinford of Monee, who said her family attended the 2007 game when Thome hit his 500th home run, and wondered what it felt like for him. “It was almost like time stops,” Thome said, recalling the moment. “Once I got to third and I was heading home and I saw all my teammates, the emotion is just beyond what you can imagine.”

     
  • Giant wooden soldier taken down in St. Charles Jul 23, 2014 9:22 PM
    If you have traveled north of St. Charles on Route 25 in the past 38 years, you’ve probably been greeted by a larger-than-life wooden soldier. That iconic, 25-foot-tall Revolutionary War soldier on Route 25 north of St. Charles was slowly dismantled Wednesday, taken in for repairs, before it's relocated to a new battlefront in Pingree Grove.

     
  • 4-year-old boy dies in Bensenville house fire Jul 24, 2014 10:38 PM
    A 4-year-old boy hiding behind a dresser didn’t escape a house fire and died Wednesday afternoon in Bensenville despite the efforts of his mother, a neighbor, passers-by, police and firefighters. “Every minute seemed to be like 100 minutes,” neighbor Kathleen Barroso said of their efforts to get to Martin Pletz. “You are trying to do something. ... You’re only two feet from him and you just can’t get to him.”

     
  • Mobile home park residents protest after manager removes belongings from yards Jul 22, 2014 5:23 AM
    Residents of a mobile home park near Des Plaines are upset with their property manager for taking belongings from their yards and levying fines on them — an apparent enforcement of the fine print in their leases. Some 200 residents of the Blackhawk Estates at 400 W. Touhy Ave. in an unincorporated area near Des Plaines held signs and chanted Monday afternoon during a protest over what they say is mistreatment by management.

     
  • Dist. 203 residents don't want cell towers at schools Jul 22, 2014 5:34 AM
    Naperville Unit District 203 residents who said they would rather see their taxes increase than have cellphone towers installed on district property shared their concerns about the towers' potential health effects with school board members Monday night. “To expose a growing child's health for the purpose of revenue I don't think is a reasonable choice,” Lisle resident Sudha Srinivas said.

     
  • DuPage leaders on W. Chicago thorium cleanup funds: ‘Pay it now’ Jul 23, 2014 12:31 AM
    DuPage County officials are calling on the federal government to provide roughly $30 million to complete an environmental cleanup at the former Kerr-McGee factory site in West Chicago. The hope is to get the money from the Department of Energy’s Title X program. “If this were a football game, we’re on the five-yard line,” said Kurt Stimpson, who manages the West Chicago Environmental Response Trust.

     
  • Craft beer festival coming to Lake Zurich Jul 22, 2014 1:01 AM
    Lake Zurich trustees Monday night agreed to expand the village's fun portfolio. Lake Zurich's first craft beer festival is set for Paulus Park on Rand Road in October.

     
  • DuPage County Fair opening Wednesday in Wheaton Jul 23, 2014 11:31 AM
    For five days every July, DuPage County residents get a chance to step into a world dominated by monster trucks, bucking broncos and guys who like to smash their cars into other guys who like to smash their cars. It’s the DuPage County Fair and it opens its five-day run Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the fairgrounds at 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton.

     
  • Friends gather at Grayslake Central to honor teen who drowned Jul 23, 2014 5:09 AM
    Friends of 16-year-old Grayslake Central High School student Matt Reed who drowned in Third Lake honored the teen Tuesday by releasing green and white helium-filled balloons matching the school’s colors. Reed’s basketball coach, Brian Moe, described the teen as “a funny, outgoing, caring kid who always had a smile on his face.”

     
  • Experts: Wear flotation devices away from shore Jul 24, 2014 10:20 PM
    Personal flotation devices should always be worn by swimmers — no matter how experienced — when in the middle of a lake, the head of a regional dive rescue team and other experts say. “You know nothing can go wrong with a (flotation device),” said Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief John Skillman, a rescue diver since 1988. “You can relax.”

     
  • Entrepreneur takes chance on Lake Zurich waterfront Jul 21, 2014 9:08 AM
    Bobby Razes says he saw an opportunity in a tired, former restaurant on Old Rand Road near Lake Zurich's waterfront when it was put up for sale earlier this year. Razes is renovating the former Eng's Tea House into Bobbers Bar and Grill. He said the nearby lake is the foundation of his business. “View is critical,” Razes said. “People play on view. It plays in their minds.”

     
  • Batavia dog rescuers help counterparts in Tennessee Jul 21, 2014 5:04 AM
    Traveling hundreds of miles to rescue dogs from death isn't anything new for volunteers with Batavia-based Casey's Safe Haven Horse and Dog Rescue. But a dozen volunteers went to Tennessee two weekends ago with a different mission: to rescue a rescue. “It was an eye-opening experience. We had no idea the conditions we were getting into,” Kathy Schweisthal said.

     
  • U-46 board rejects Elgin charter school proposal Jul 22, 2014 5:56 AM
    Despite pleas from dozens of parents, the Elgin Area School District U-46 school board Monday night denied a proposal to create a new math and science elementary charter school in Elgin. “We are fed up with social experiments conducted with our children and tax dollars as you employ not just nonproductive but destructive practices," one parent said.

     
  • Arlington Heights author digs up ‘Wizard of Oz’ history Jul 21, 2014 7:02 PM
    Longtime Arlington Heights resident David J. Hogan has written “The Wizard of Oz FAQ,” a highly detailed and exhaustively researched look at the classic, 75-year-old movie that has spawned inferior movie sequels and prequels, zillions of “Oz” conventions and a watershed industry of memorabilia. “There is a reason why, 75 years later, people still respond to it,” Hogan said.

     
  • More suburbs getting quiet zones for train horns Jul 21, 2014 5:16 AM
    Do you get misty-eyed over train songs like Willie Nelson's "The City of New Orleans"? Or are you more of a Johnny Cash, "When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry"? Then, this column — all about relief from train horns with Quiet Zones — is for you.

     
  • Grayslake Central student's body found in Third Lake Jul 22, 2014 8:50 AM
    The body of incoming Grayslake Central High School junior Matt Reed was pulled from the water of Third Lake Monday evening, authorities said. Reed had been on a pontoon boat Monday afternoon with six friends when they went into the water for a swim, authorities said, and Reed struggled. Reed was recalled as a "very funny guy" and a "very ferocious competitor."

     
  • Composed Maine South song, wrote book, and BTW, dated Hillary Jul 20, 2014 8:08 AM
    Gary Koca of Pingree Grove wrote the Maine South High School fight song, broadcast games with radio partner Steve Goodman years before "Go, Cubs, Go," and would rather talk about his book, "Forgotten Movie Stars of the 30's, 40's and 50's." But it's hard to look past that he went on a date with classmate Hillary Rodham.

     
  • Local veterans heal with skydiving, land at Cantigny Jul 20, 2014 7:40 AM
    It’s not just another jump when Mike Elliott does a tandem skydive with a veteran or a person who has lost a loved one in combat. “It’s transformational,” he said. “It’s all about freedom and changing lives.” Elliott did a tandem jump with Korean War veteran John Crowden of Woodstock landing at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

     
  • Donors visit future Ronald McDonald House in Winfield Jul 19, 2014 6:40 PM
    Major donors and future volunteers of the new Ronald McDonald House Near Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield got a sneak peek Saturday at the construction progress of the 12-family facility nearly seven months before it will open. “It’s very stressful to have your child hospitalized,” Julie Evans of Glen Ellyn said. “The whole thing about the community of the (Ronald McDonald) house was absent with the apartment (she rented).”

     
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