Not just online: Some clubs, groups holding meetings outdoors

  • The TriCities Exchange Club recently met at Fairview Park in St. Charles for a meeting.

    The TriCities Exchange Club recently met at Fairview Park in St. Charles for a meeting. Courtesy of Dave Heun

Posted8/21/2020 6:00 AM

Zoom and Google Hangouts aren't the only way to conduct a meeting or chat with friends during the pandemic.

We've also taken to the parks, streets and parking lots to gather outdoors for business or pleasure. It's becoming fairly common to see a group of people sitting in lawn chairs in a parking lot, which we saw when Starbucks locations were closed indoors, and those who had become accustomed to gathering inside just moved it outside to lawn chairs.


We also spotted a group of gentlemen setting up lawn chairs along the Fox River near the footbridge by the Brownstone townhouses in St. Charles. It looked like a perfect spot to grab a coffee at nearby Arcedium Coffeehouse and set up a talking circle.

One reader noted she had seen groups of men and women (maybe their spouses) meeting regularly during the week outside in Batavia near Houston Street to talk about the day's important news. This could be an extension of the folks who met regularly inside the nearby McDonald's.

The F3 Freeman's Workout Group in Geneva is a step ahead of everyone on this outdoor meeting stuff. This group does it on a regular basis, regardless of pandemic guidelines. It's just that we probably noticed them more now. These fellows said they meet at the crack of dawn in Wheeler Park in Geneva or Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles during the week.

The Tri-Cities Exchange Club, of which I was a member for 20-plus years before a job change took me away from the 7 a.m. Tuesday meetings regularly meets at the Colonial Restaurant on Randall Road.

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In taking its meetings outdoors, the group has gathered about four times in the past couple of months, at the 7 a.m. time, at Fairview Park on Oak Street in St. Charles.

"Some members aren't coming because things haven't opened up totally yet," club President Brian Henry said. "But I think we've had, as a top number, about 15 members attend."

The meetings are more informal in this type of setting, but club members talk about "how we'll be able to raise money for the organizations we donate to," Henry added.

So far, the weather has cooperated with most of the outdoor meetings occurring throughout the Tri-Cities -- and sometimes, the unexpected occurs.


"At one of our meetings, we had a Channel 7 helicopter flying overhead for some time," Henry said. "We didn't know we were that popular."

Selecting playwrights:

The Kane Repertory Theater has remained busy through the pandemic, creating a new play development program called The New Play Lab.

Four plays are being put together through the lab workshops, and audiences are invited to watch the initial readings streaming on the repertory's YouTube Live site. Those watching have the option to provide input into the process with post-performance discussions. The first one, titled "The Humanities," appeared earlier this week.

The next on tap is "Be Mean to Me" by Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, showing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, followed by "Moreno" from playwright Pravin Wilkins streaming at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2.

"The Broken Hearts of a Corrupted White House" by Matthew Paul Olmos is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Ready for an outing:

The golf course has been one of the few places where I have felt safe and comfortable the past several months in navigating the COVID-19 landscape.

So it is, that I was happy to see TriCity Family Services going ahead with its annual golf outing, this year taking place at 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at Prairie Landing Golf Course.

I'll be out there creating a few divots with my foursome in this scramble event called "Golftoberfest," and hopefully follow up last year's prize when I somehow had the longest putt on one of the contest holes.

It's $185 per player for breakfast, the outing and lunch. Registration is available on the agency website at

TCFS had to conduct a virtual event for its major fundraising gala this year, and it is hoping supporters will go for an actual live event with this golf outing.

That's a rush:

Batavia MainStreet is trying to make downtown Batavia a destination on Thursdays, creating what it calls the "$10 Lunch Rush."

The title sums up what you need to know. Different restaurants and businesses have put together $10 meals or product packages. Plus, there are things for kids to do during the "Rush" time frame of 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

You'll want to check out who is involved on the MainStreet website or Facebook page. The themed Thursday promotions take place through October.

But I'll make a note here of one that caught my eye. The River's Edge Bar & Grill is offering its single-patty signature burger, fries or tots and a fountain drink for $10.

Husband on call?

A classified advertisement in the Daily Herald caught my eye because a friend was looking for a handyman to fix a piece of siding on her home.

It touted "no chore too big or small" and went on to list any number of tasks that many people don't have time to do.

The company is called "Husband On Call" and makes the pitch of "any chore a husband would do; I will do it promptly."

It didn't appear to be a Tri-Cities area business, but it's possible an entrepreneur like this would take jobs just about anywhere. But it would seem these types of workers would be extremely busy.

There are a lot of large houses throughout the area with owners who are either too busy to stay on top of all of the tasks or, if they are like me, simply don't do too well with tools in their hands.

I've known a few guys who made their living by being the local handyman. So much so, they often told me their own homes were neglected because of it.

Over the years, I've tackled any number of projects -- painting, hanging ceiling fans, replacing doors, putting in light dimmer switches, fixing leaky faucets or plugged sinks, and various other minor tasks. None were done particularly well, but my house hasn't blown up yet, so that's a good thing.

Still, no one is going to mistake me for a "Husband On Call." That title is for the real handymen out there.

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