How Kane County Cougars support local communities, charities
How Kane County Cougars give back to the community through local charities
In the year or so prior to the Kane County Cougars making their minor-league baseball debut in Geneva, the concept of bringing professional baseball to the area had a fair number of detractors.
The usual concerns about drinking and rowdiness at games, heavy traffic along Kirk, and too much noise for neighbors all were aired.
Some also asked what would happen if the idea bombed and we were stuck with an empty stadium.
Luckily, other than some noisy fireworks shows during the summer months, none of those fears became an ongoing, troubling reality.
The Cougars have been a nice success story, providing family-oriented entertainment and baseball for 26 years.
They've also delivered on a part of its business operation that was rarely, if ever, mentioned during those debates prior to the county inking a contract with the Class A Midwest League.
The Cougars have been great neighbors when it comes to sharing the wealth through its charitable foundation -- to the tune of more than $2.2 million in cash and in-kind donations in the last three years alone. Last year, the foundation supported various facets of area communities with $950,000.
"Many different factors come into play to bring that total to what it is," said Jacquie Boatman, communications coordinator for the Cougars. "One is the 50-50 raffle that we have set up for different monthly charities."
Organizations like Fox Valley Wildlife Center, Food for Greater Elgin and Northwestern Medicine Hospitals' Holiday Heroes program have benefited from the 50-50 monies.
The Cougars also have a "pitch for charity" game that helps DuPage PADS, a homelessness resource agency.
But the team also donates tickets and other goodies to kids involved in the Cougars Reading Club summer reading program. Last year, 134,000 students from 456 schools took part in the program.
Veterans also get free tickets as part of an ongoing military recognition program.
"We're really passionate about recognizing our veterans," Boatman said. "We work with an organization called Vet Tix, and also do a hometown hero event on fireworks nights."
Last year, the Cougars donated $17,000 worth of military tickets to veterans and family members.
That is certainly good stuff to hear, as opposed to what some feared might occur along Kirk Road at the ballpark those many years ago.
Antiques say farewell: The manager at the antique co-op Antiques on State in Geneva has decided it is time to close the shop at 422 W. State St. That closing takes place on April 29.
The building owner has the site up for sale, but a couple of other lifestyle factors are playing into this closing.
The pending building sale, "combined with changing social trends and online competition from the likes of eBay and Etsy, told us that it is time," manager Karen Klaske stated in a release to the media. "We have 10 wonderful dealers in our co-op, and some will go on to other shops and some will take this opportunity to retire.
"It has truly been a labor of love."
About that market: A reader responding to my recent idea about having a much larger weekend farmers market taking place in the Tri-Cities at some point had a different location in mind.
I floated the idea that maybe something like this could take place around the old Kane County Courthouse in downtown Geneva.
Knowing that idea might not sit well with downtown businesses, reader Rick Pauer suggests that maybe the new courthouse complex at Route 38 and Peck Road would be a better site.
He reasons that the parking lots are not being used on the weekends, and that's not a bad place to start.
It's fun to envision stuff like this, but the starting point would be sparking interest in the people who currently organize these markets and the people who set up tables and sell food and other wares. There has to be something of benefit for everyone involved. A scenario of high-effort/low-return would not work in a case like this.
A busy Nosh: Going by my "heads in the windows" gauge, it seems that Nosh is doing quite well since opening its new breakfast and lunch location at 22 N. Third St. in Geneva.
Heads in the windows simply means how many people I can see sitting in a restaurant when driving or walking by. In this case, it would be the morning during its busy breakfast hours.
Eyeing service academies:
Two Geneva women are among many Illinois students whom U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's selection committee has nominated to attend a service academy.
Therese A. Hein, the daughter of Jennifer and John Hein, has been nominated for one of the two vacancies available at the West Point Military Academy.
Mackenzie Adkins, the daughter of Jacqueline Walker-Adkins and Douglas Adkins, will be vying for the one vacancy available at the Air Force Academy.
A full salute: In a break from my usual pattern of providing several nuggets of information in this column, on Sunday I will devote the entire column to a World War II hero still with us -- and willing to share an interesting story about his extremely important job during that conflict.
We'll call it my full salute to this man who served his country.