Good News Sunday: Fremd grad to compete on new season of Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories recently published by the Daily Herald:

A two-time James Beard award-nominated chef with suburban roots is competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef” this season, and she says the intensity portrayed on the competition cooking show is very real.

Alisha Elenz, who was raised in Palatine and currently lives in Chicago, will be one of 15 talented “cheftestants” to appear on the 21st season of the Bravo Network show, which premiered Wednesday.

This season takes place in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, before embarking on a special finale on a Holland America Line cruise ship.

“Every chef that was out there is so talented,” she said. “That was the most surreal moment when you’re sitting down talking to everybody and hearing their background and what they’ve done. It’s intimidating, but by the second day it was like we’re all family.”

Episodes, which are 75 minutes long this season, will be available to stream on Peacock the following day.

“It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my career so far,” Elenz said. “I’m so grateful I did it. It taught me so much about myself.”

For the full story, click here.

Gail Borden Library in Elgin celebrates 150th birthday

  Portraying the Gail Borden Library’s namesake, Elgin City Council member John Steffen waves to the crowd while library division chief of public relations Denise Raleigh, right, laughs during the library’s 150th birthday celebration Tuesday in Elgin. Rick West/

Hundreds of people crowded the atrium of the Gail Borden Library in Elgin Tuesday to celebrate the local institution’s 150th birthday.

“We have the greatest library probably in the state of Illinois, and maybe in the country,” Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said before declaring 2024 as Gail Borden Library Year in the city. “This is so important for this community.”

A slate of speakers echoed Kaptain’s sentiments.

“It’s been said that bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, but great libraries like Gail Borden build communities like you can see in this room,” Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog said.

Elgin holds the distinction of being the first community in the state to establish a public library by vote on April 2, 1872, after the state of Illinois passed the “Free Library Act” in March 1872. The doors of the first library opened in 1874.

The birthday celebration is part of a yearlong recognition that will include an old-fashioned outdoor fair on June 8 and other events.

For the full story, click here.

DuPage County recognizes Glen Ellyn couple for embrace of solar power

  Jeff Jens and Ann Boisclair pose at their home tucked into the woods in Glen Ellyn. They have donated to several solar initiatives. John Starks/

In some ways, you could call them a power couple.

Ann Boisclair and Jeff Jens have funded solar power projects across the country. Closer to home, the Glen Ellyn couple donated $50,000 toward the installation of a solar array atop the DuPage County administration building in Wheaton.

“Their total contributions have led to a reduction of at least 750 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which could power 96 homes for one year,” County Board Chair Deborah Conroy said.

Boisclair and Jens presented a symbolic check for the $50,000 to Conroy and county board member Sheila Rutledge at a recent meeting. Conroy introduced the pair as “two very generous DuPage County environmentalists who are putting their energy and resources toward preserving and improving the health of our planet.”

For the full story, click here.

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