Good News Sunday: Barber starts scholarship for students entering trades

  • Jose Maldonado, owner of Jefes Barbershop, cuts the hair of John Burke of Arlington Heights in Rolling Meadows. Maldonado created a scholarship for District 214 students who are looking to enter the trades.

    Jose Maldonado, owner of Jefes Barbershop, cuts the hair of John Burke of Arlington Heights in Rolling Meadows. Maldonado created a scholarship for District 214 students who are looking to enter the trades. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted5/9/2021 7:32 AM

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

A small awards ceremony took place last week in the auto shop at Rolling Meadows High School. There was little fanfare, but everyone involved hopes the scholarship may lead to a life-changing opportunity.

 

Senior Justin Leander of Arlington Heights was the recipient. He has taken four years of automotive technology classes at Rolling Meadows, and he plans to put the scholarship toward pursuing his automotive technology degree at Triton College in River Grove.

Jose Maldonado, owner of Jefes Barbershop, cuts the hair of John Burke of Arlington Heights Friday, April 30, in Rolling Meadows.
Jose Maldonado, owner of Jefes Barbershop, cuts the hair of John Burke of Arlington Heights Friday, April 30, in Rolling Meadows. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Jose Maldonado, a 2010 Rolling Meadows grad, created the scholarship, which is designed to help District 214 students looking to enter the trades. He runs Jefes Barbershop in Rolling Meadows, and recently earned his teaching certificate in the trade. But he still remembers the scholarship he received at Rolling Meadows High that set his career path in motion.

"If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be here," Maldonado says. "My family didn't have much. The scholarship was enough to get me in (to barber school). I don't know where I'd be without it."

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Maldonado purchased the barbershop three years ago and he now employs five full-time barbers.

"I hope the scholarship helps (Justin) a little," Maldonado said. "But once he gets in (to an automotive program), he has to find his passion and set his own path."

For the full story, click here.

Itasca woman inspires others to pick up trash

Everything is popping up along the roadside in May. Especially trash. Laura "Lu" Semenzin of Itasca, an environmentalist who led the push for a Monarch butterfly-friendly garden, picks up trash and posts photos on Instagram and Facebook.

"I started taking walks with Jewel bags during the pandemic and am increasingly shocked at the amount of garbage in town," Semenzin, 54, posted on March 10, the day she launched Keep Itasca Beautiful as a Facebook page.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Lu Semenzin, top, and Sharon Hower, both from Itasca, scour the woods behind the Itasca Public Library for trash.
Lu Semenzin, top, and Sharon Hower, both from Itasca, scour the woods behind the Itasca Public Library for trash. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

"Once you start paying attention, it really is staggering how much trash needs to be picked up."

Her page now boasts 59 members, lots of photographs of bags filled with trash, and a few photos of kids and adults smiling as they pick it up.

Fellow Itasca residents Sharon Hower, Claudia Apuzzo and Ellen Herbert are doing their part. Jay Manguba circulated a flyer on social media for Earth Day, inviting people to pick up trash in the Clover Ridge subdivision. Lake Park High School student Olivia Apuzzo is the student liaison for the Conservation Foundation's annual River Sweep, which will mark its 30th anniversary on Saturday, May 15.

"Once you start looking for it, it's everywhere," Semenzin says, as she picks up a discarded plastic cup lid. "Now that I'm hooked, I can't go for a walk without taking a bag. It is super-addicting."

For the full story, click here.

North Aurora church gifts church building, property to Geneva congregation

Leaders at Chapelstreet Church were pleased last fall when the Cornerstone Community Baptist Church in North Aurora gifted their church building and property to the Geneva congregation.

It moved Chapelstreet into expansion mode, earmarking the site at 307 Banbury Road to become the congregation's fourth church, adding to sites on South Street, Keslinger Road and in Mill Creek South, near the Marklund Hyde Center.

"They (Cornerstone) had come to the end of their life cycle as a church and were determining what to do next," said Abe Doncel, director of operations at Chapelstreet.

"They asked us just over a year ago if we would be interested in merging or in an acquisition. They would cease to exist and donate assets to our church, so we could open a new campus."

After some "back-and-forth process" for a while, Doncel said, it was decided Cornerstone would absolve the church and make the donation to Chapelstreet. Remodeling started in February, adding 3,000 square feet of new space and renovating the existing 6,000-square-foot building.

The congregation has yet to hold a service at the North Aurora site, but it's eyeing a possible opening around Sept. 1.

For the full story, click here.

Lindenhurst veteran with Parkinson's 'works nonstop' helping vets

About three years ago, longtime Lindenhurst resident and former mayor Paul Baumunk was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease due to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange when he served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

Despite the progressive effects, Baumunk hasn't let his situation define him or weaken his commitment to fellow veterans.

That again will be on display in a few weeks on Memorial Day during the ceremony at the Lindenhurst Veterans Memorial, where Baumunk is scheduled to participate, as he has every year since the ceremonial groundbreaking on Memorial Day in 2006.

"He's always involved," says Andrew Tangen, superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County. "He works nonstop for vets."

Part of Baumunk's work as a director on the VAC's executive board is to help fellow vets find benefits they may not know they had coming or are too stubborn to pursue.

But he also uses his experiences and lessons learned to soothe and persuade reluctant passengers to board the Lake County Honor Flight. The nonprofit takes veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

"He's very involved, very active (and) very outspoken about vets' issues," village trustee and fellow veteran Patrick Dunham said. "Everybody knows Paul. Everybody loves Paul."

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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