Column on Geneva library referendum sparks questions

Column on Geneva library referendum sparks questions

Posted2/5/2017 7:00 AM
  • A recent Dave Heun column on a potential tax increase for the Geneva library district raised some questions among readers.

      A recent Dave Heun column on a potential tax increase for the Geneva library district raised some questions among readers. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Allen Anderson of Geneva checks out some materials from the Geneva library.

      Allen Anderson of Geneva checks out some materials from the Geneva library. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

When my editor posted my recent column about the upcoming referendum for a new Geneva Library on Facebook, I figured it would trigger a variety of responses. And it did.

It was interesting to see the varied opinions on whether a tax increase is worth having a larger library offering more services and educational events, but the feedback left me concerned about something entirely different from how a tax hike might translate to my pocketbook.

It was troubling to see that some weren't well versed on what takes place in the community, and it seems that part of that problem would be from not reading the newspaper and/or its online version.

One respondent went as far as to admit he didn't even know Geneva had a library, while another asked if a new location had been chosen.

My awareness of local issues isn't quite as good as it was years ago when I was a local editor, but I've been around long enough to understand that by reading a newspaper those types of facts can't be missed.

As for the referendum, there's nothing wrong with reviewing facts as laid out by the library and comparing those with other libraries in the region to come up with an interpretation of what they mean to your finances or family's use of a library.

My other assessment is fairly simple. Some people use the library and some don't. There will be "yes" and "no" voters in both camps, though far more "no's" among those who never step foot in the place.

The library's mission has to be to convince those who do use it to fully understand the benefits a new library can bring to a community, and to illustrate to those who don't use it now of what they might be missing.

Nearing his goal:

One might say Geneva figure skater Derek Wagner is moving up the ladder to his goal of making the USA team and skating in international competitions.

"He is very close to accomplishing that goal," his mother, Sandy Wagner, said. "So he is planning to continue skating again next year and going to Waubonsee (Community College)."

That's the assessment after Derek's family watched him finish eighth in the juniors level of the recent U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Kansas City.

It was Wagner's first time in the juniors level at nationals and he fared well, despite losing a few points for doing a triple-double jump instead of a triple-triple in both his short and free skates. But the Geneva High School student did not fall once.

From where I sit, that's pretty good for anyone on ice skates.

Playing a favorite:

The tune seemed familiar and, sure enough, it was an old favorite -- "Friend of the Devil" by the Grateful Dead.

It was fairly odd to hear it at TriCity Family Services' recent retirement party for executive director Jim Otepka, who leaves the agency in April.

The song certainly had nothing to do with describing Otepka, but when the band played it during the event at Riverside Banquets in Geneva, I was all ears. This group of musicians strummed away on a few songs I haven't heard in years, like one from Hot Tuna.

It makes sense these fellows played songs that triggered past memories. Eli Broxham, a bass cello player, is from a trio called Ask Your Folks. Get it? Ask older folks about these songs.

Because Broxham's other trio members weren't available, he brought in Josh McPartland and Mark Frystak from a band in St. Charles called Close Enough.

Close enough or far away, these guys were fun to listen to.

Switching to soccer?:

Former prep and collegiate soccer standout Zac Scaffidi deserved all of the accolades he received at the recent Geneva High School Hall of Fame inductions.

Zac was good in just about any sport he played, but I have to wonder if I had something to do with his choice to pursue soccer, a sport in which he was nothing short of a super star at Geneva High and Michigan State.

I was his coach when he played park district basketball when he was in about fourth grade. He broke his wrist in the first minute of our first game and missed the whole season.

So maybe working with his feet became more appealing.

Some odd Bowls:

Why is that I remember the "crazy" Super Bowl Sundays I have endured, probably more so than continuing to bask in the glory of the 1985 Chicago Bears victory? After all, given the current folks involved, we won't be celebrating a Bears title again any time soon.

But here's the two that stick out for me.

Super Bowl XXI on Jan. 25, 1987, stands out because I never made it to the Super Bowl party, mostly because it was about 50-degrees below zero wind chill and I didn't have a garage. The weather records say sustained wind speeds that day were around 57 miles an hour. So my car was going no place.

But, hey, I won some money because the N.Y. Giants pasted the Denver Broncos.

The other one was Super Bowl XI when the Oakland Raiders clobbered the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 9, 1977. This one sticks out because it was the only Super Bowl I ever watched by myself. I was in a mobile home in Carbondale because I had to cover a Southern Illinois basketball home game that weekend for the college paper. Everyone else I knew was still home for the holiday break.

I remember the parties I could not get to. The games? Not so much.

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