Fox Valley Newcomers and Neighbors Club helps members form lasting friendships

  • Claudia Barmore, left, is the president of the Fox Valley Newcomers and Neighbors organization. Glenna Walton, right, is a past president and the current membership chair. The group will host a Get Acquainted Coffee at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, at Arcedium Coffeehouse in St. Charles.

    Claudia Barmore, left, is the president of the Fox Valley Newcomers and Neighbors organization. Glenna Walton, right, is a past president and the current membership chair. The group will host a Get Acquainted Coffee at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, at Arcedium Coffeehouse in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Posted8/13/2021 6:00 AM

Moving into a new town often brings a bit of mystery along with it. Social media and local newspapers take out some of the guesswork about where to get services or which restaurants might be worth trying.

Local organizations like Welcome Wagon also have served that purpose for newcomers, usually dropping off a nice bag of gift cards or promotional materials to use at various businesses, or helping advertisers send digital ads and messages to welcome new residents.


But for nearly 20 years, the Fox Valley Newcomers and Neighbors has taken a different approach that covers a lot of bases. The organization provides an outlet to meet new people and participate in various activities for older folks who have moved into the area, possibly to be near grandchildren, or longtime residents whose friends have moved or passed away.

"The 'neighbors' part of this is the emphasis," said organization president Claudia Barmore of Geneva. "So many who have been around for years want to meet new friends because so many of their buddies are gone."

The organization, actually an offshoot of the original St. Charles Women's Club, offers activities for both men and women. They range from monthly luncheons, card games, dominoes games to an Explorer's Club for virtual outings and discussions.

One event called Excellent Adventures takes members on a different trip, usually monthly.

"We are planning one this month to go up for a ride on the mail boat in Lake Geneva," Barmore said of the excursion that allows visitors to watch local youths jump off the mail boat onto the numerous docks along the lake to deliver mail at breakneck speed.

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Interesting outings or fun get-togethers give the organization some staying power.

"This is not an organization in which we see a lot of people in for a couple of years, then they are out," Barmore noted. "We have members who have been around forever."

The club has about 180 members and about half have already signed up for the coming year. Members pay a $30 annual fee to help cover the costs of website and marketing operations as well as things needed for outings and events. Other persons in a household can join for $15.

"We get maybe 10 to 15 new members every year, but we also lose people for various reasons," said membership chairwoman Glenna Walton of St. Charles. "This year will again be interesting after the COVID problems, so we just don't know."

The group will host a Get Acquainted Coffee at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19 at Arcedium Coffeehouse in St. Charles. Those interested in the get-together should RSVP by calling (831) 238-6712 or via email at by Monday, Aug. 16.


Club membership forms are available on the group's website at

The group also chooses a charity to support each year, in which members can donate to a cause. This year, the group chose to support the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

"Our main goal is socializing," Walton said. "The charity is important, but it is not a main purpose of the club."

Bring on sushi

That prime corner location at First and Illinois streets in St. Charles has another restaurant open for business.

After years of business for Wok 'N Fire, the site at 181 S. First St. is now home to the moto imoto restaurant, specializing in Asian dishes and sushi.

The bar setting inside is an eye-catcher and this operation should fit right into the look and feel along First Street these days.

And a sushi burrito

The word has been out for job openings for kitchen staff, servers and a bartender for the Pho Xichlo restaurant in Geneva.

This place boasts of a sushi burrito, which sounds like it should tempt sushi lovers into trying it.

Before officially opening at 507 S. Third St., Pho Xichlo seems to be another new eatery that will have to navigate what the COVID-19 virus is doing, as well as whether people are ready to get back to work.

Tea tops it off

I've always preferred tea more so than coffee, but never gave much thought to the notion that maybe a place that serves only tea would be popular.

It seems Sharetea is ready to test that possibility with its new location at 3689 E. Main St. in St. Charles.

The menu at Sharetea covers all of the bases with various fruit-flavored teas, a variety of milk teas, some brewed teas and signature concoctions like lime, mango, peach and strawberry mojito.

It may not have the advantage of foot traffic it might get in a downtown setting, but Sharetea should do well in serving the various businesses in the nearby industrial zones of St. Charles, in addition to shoppers going to nearby stores in that east side retail strip.

Dinner on the roof

It happened while I was in a deep sleep on my recliner, so when the loud screams occurred around 11 p.m., I thought it was part of a bad dream.

I woke up, saw our dog sitting up and figured maybe she was the one having a dream and possibly howling.

The next day, while sitting on my deck and glancing up at my roof, I noticed pieces of something that looked like moss near the peak and a vent. But there was a lot of it.

I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look and -- gulp -- it appeared to be an animal of some sort torn to shreds. Thus, that most certainly was the screaming that woke me up the night before.

Two thoughts crossed my mind. First, there is no way I should be on our steep roof, so how would I clean this up? Second, what if the hawk or owl that had his dinner on my roof tore up some shingles as well?

As they have for other problems, G. Klemm Roofing in Geneva solved both issues by sending its roofing repair specialist to look things over.

That specialist, Steve Borodaj, declared the roof in good shape and that the food of choice this time was likely a squirrel for that hungry hawk or owl. He said he's seen this sort of thing plenty of times on roofs throughout the Fox Valley.

The bird of prey was quite efficient, too. There wasn't much left up there other than fur, so at least my roof wasn't going to become the next science experiment for a hoard of flies.

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