Basic needs for back to school: Batavia businesses collecting donations for Interfaith Food Pantry
Knowing that many families in need will be turning to local food pantries to help them in the fall because their children may still be home from school and missing out on school lunches, businesses in the retail strip on West Wilson Street in Batavia are seeking donations.
Through the end of August, Daddio's Diner, Riverside Pizza & Pub and Bulldog Nutrition will have donation boxes at their sites for donations to the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and Closet.
"The pantry is in need of many items, specifically looking for food and supplies for children's snacks, now that many children will be home in the fall and therefore may not have the same access to food they would have in school," said Kristi Beltran of Daddio's Diner.
The donation drive, called "Stock & Rock Around Our Block," operates on the premise that everyone in the community should have the basic items they need to cope with the pandemic. And many don't.
You have a couple more weeks to drop off things in these donation boxes that fill the list of the current needs. That list includes canned chili, tuna fish, applesauce, laundry detergent, diapers, cereal bars, ready-to-eat soups, granola bars, ramen noodles, fruit cups, pudding cups, peanut butter and crackers, spaghetti sauce jars and feminine products.
Splendid world of books:
Thanks go out to Paula Krapf, the public relations and marketing manager at the Geneva Public Library, for the quick tour she gave me of the new library at 227 S. Seventh St.
Geneva residents can be proud of this modern library setting, with plenty of meeting rooms, collaboration areas, a presentation area and, of course, all of the books, DVDs and other materials anyone would want for all ages.
Of all of the amazing things at the library, one of the coolest was just a simple idea that any library could showcase if it had the space to do it.
Because I mostly read history books, a display of books in the quiet reading room about each president in our history, spread across a long shelf in the order they served -- from Washington to Obama -- definitely caught my eye. An empty spot awaits a President Donald Trump book when his presidency comes to an end.
Ultimately, the library has done the best job it can in reopening to the public during the COVID-19 safety guidelines. When the virus is behind us, the library will still be there -- and it is certain to become one of the most popular places in town.
What about movies?:
It sure seems like movie theaters will have as much, or more, trouble than many other businesses in terms of finding their footing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague us.
For the Randall 15 theaters in Batavia, there's the added burden of Goodrich Quality Theaters filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.
It's anybody's guess at the moment as to what the court will rule on that filing, and what will happen to the corporation's theaters when all is said and done.
It's probably safe to say there may not be movies at Randall 15 for some time. And if it were to reopen, it could very well be under a different brand name.
After so many years with so many movie screens in the region, we may find that the Classic Cinemas at Charlestowne Mall will be the only movie theater in the area. That site reopened for a period of time, only to close again because of the lack of first-run features available at this time.
Nobel House expands seating:
Nobel House continues its remodeling operation along State Street in Geneva, where it essentially is reinventing itself while Sophie's Market builds out next to it. Of immediate importance, Nobel House has added some outdoor seating behind the restaurant to go along with the tables and chairs on the front sidewalk.
It's a nice setting that again illustrates how creative restaurant owners have become in creating outdoor spaces and making them the kind that will continue to serve them well once the pandemic is in our rearview mirror.
Don't let it get dirty:
With the opening of Ed's Basement in downtown St. Charles, the city has another bar along Main Street. The social media postings make me believe plenty of younger folks are looking forward to visiting this new site.
But those postings also follow a theme that has gone on for years regarding downtown St. Charles, basically that it has turned into "tavern row."
I've long felt city officials and downtown planners have made wise decisions in seeking more entertainment and dining venues, while also supporting the splendid rebirth of the historic Arcada Theatre.
The standard clothing or shoe stores, or pharmacies, were no longer needed downtown, given the city's streetscape and general retail struggles. Plus, if they were still going to operate downtown (and some do), they needed those other entertainment businesses to attract more people, which leads to things like the First Street redevelopment.
However, there is a downside to so many bars and restaurants that is more of an annoyance than a danger. You have to be careful that your streets don't become a messy mixture of cigarette butts, empty cigarette packs, or other garbage come Sunday mornings.
It can happen, and it can happen quickly if the business owners and the city don't at least put it top-of-mind on occasion as a reminder.
It should be the business owners' desire to keep the sidewalks by their properties clean. If a youth, church or civic group wanted a cleanup project, plenty of spots exist with the collateral damage one would expect from weekend nights.
In addition, St. Charles has a few lower-level business locations along Main Street, some of which appear empty at this point. At those spots, the concrete stairs going down off the sidewalk are covered in garbage, dirt and leaves.
Granted, this isn't a big deal, considering the big-ticket items most cities deal with. And it's not like the city has suddenly become extremely unsightly, but I've called out Geneva and Batavia on this sort of thing in the past, so it's St. Charles' turn.