Good News Sunday: Palatine students make contribution through art

  • Courtney Murphy of Palatine with one of her many peace poles that she has posted around town.

      Courtney Murphy of Palatine with one of her many peace poles that she has posted around town. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Posted10/18/2020 5:30 AM

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

Palatine is home to two uplifting and heartwarming art projects done by local students who wanted to make a positive contribution during difficult times.


Courtney Murphy, a senior at Fremd High School, spearheaded the "Painting Peace" project over the summer that resulted in 200 hand-painted "peace poles" being installed throughout the village and Palatine Township Elementary District 15, from which she graduated.

Sofia Commodaro, a sixth-grader at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, did an art project last month that consisted of writing "We are in this together" in chalk in front of the district's 15 elementary schools plus John G. Conyers Learning Academy and the main office.

Both girls were recognized for their efforts Wednesday night during the District 15 board meeting.

"This really just resonates ... with what we stand for as a district," Superintendent Laurie Heinz said.

For the full story, click here.

Halloween scares benefit animal shelter

People are drawn to the house by an unseen force, a feeling from within that cannot be denied.

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At 714 Morton St. in Batavia, the colors grow stronger as the night grows longer. Visitors stand with mouths open, as their eyes wander from one figure to the next. The journey ends when one of the youngest speaks: "Thank you, that was cool!"

So goes each evening this time of year for Zachary and Andrea Sage, proprietors of the "Midnight on Morton" Halloween house.

"Halloween is so much fun for us," says Zachary. "We want to see all the smiles on the kids' faces."

For several years the couple has been adding handmade figures and lights to their front yard to celebrate Halloween, and for the second year in a row, they are asking for donations to Animal House Shelter in Huntley, where they adopted their orange cat, Finnegan Pumpkin.

"Last year we ended up giving them cat food, dog food, toys, towels and other stuff," Andrea says of the donated items. They also collected about $100 that went to the shelter.


For the full story, click here.

Teacher up for Grammy two years in a row

Months after she was one of 10 nationwide finalists for the 2020 Grammy Music Educator Award Award, Buffalo Grove High School teacher Elizabeth Bennett is now a semifinalist for the 2021 edition of the prize.

The school's director of orchestras is among 25 people vying for the award, which recognizes those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools, officials said.

Bennett, who lives in Libertyville, was named a finalist for the 2020 accolade last January for her direction of Buffalo Grove's innovative music programming. That includes creating a Music Workshop class aimed at giving more students an experience in music; launching a series that showcases different career paths in music; bringing AP Music Theory to Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and starting Buffalo Grove's annual Winter Celebration outreach to the community.

Finalists will be named in December.

For the full story, click here.

Glenbrook North senior gets lifesaving award

Jack Fitzharris and his friends had a feeling something wasn't quite right.

Somewhere out there, a man might owe them his life for noticing.

Fitzharris, a senior at Glenbrook North, was driving home from a friend's house earlier this summer with two friends in his car.

Driving through Bannockburn, at the intersection of Half Day and Waukegan roads, they saw a car that had driven off the road and onto railroad tracks just west of the intersection parallel to Waukegan Road. Fitzharris noticed a person in the vehicle, but said there was no movement inside.

"The first thing that went through my mind when I saw the car on the tracks was suicide," Fitzharris said. "I got scared and it just kind of kicked in, like I had to call the cops."

A Deerfield police officer saw an oncoming train and flashed his spotlight at the engineer. He sped along Waukegan Road to attempt to draw the engineer's attention and stop the train. Meanwhile, Bannockburn police attended to the car stalled on the tracks.

The train stopped about 600 feet from the car.

The man, who was charged with DUI, didn't know he was on the tracks.

For the full story, click here.

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