Batavia author, Suicide Hotline volunteer to sign new book
As the Batavia Chamber of Commerce's executive director from 2004 to 2014, Roger Breisch did a lot of things to help the city's businesses and build an overall sense of community.
In the back of his mind, however, he was often wondering how humans were going to advance forward in a quickly changing world. It was a bit of a contrast in thought patterns, but Breisch was also greatly affected in his thinking through his volunteer work on the national Suicide Prevention Hotline.
The eventual result of the mental tug-of-war was Breisch's self-published book titled "Humanity's Journey Home: Surrendering to the Wholeness that is Gaia."
The book's recent availability on Amazon comes after what Breisch calls "30 years of tinkering" with ideas for a book that examines our journey into the future.
"The book talks about the tough times our species is going to go through -- and 10 or 15 years ago someone might say it isn't as bad as Roger is making it out to be," Breisch said.
"You look at the world now with everything we are facing with climate change, hurricanes, forest fires and religious intolerance. It's a book for this time, actually," he added.
Breisch, who still lives in Batavia, will participate in book signings from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 23, at Limestone Coffee & Tea in downtown Batavia and from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at K. Hollis Jewelers, 147 S. Randall Road.
Carrying a master's degree in mathematics gave Breisch the logic he needed to examine what the human race would be dealing with, but he points to the 4,000 hours he has spent as a volunteer on the national Suicide Hotline as what "really underpins the book."
"Much of what we know about human wisdom is based on the human suffering we go through on an individual basis," Breisch said. "It is the journey into the depths, and coming out on the other side as wiser, kinder and more generous."
Breisch relates that line of thinking in the book with Pocchama, an Indian goddess for the Earth, seeking a way for humans to follow a brighter path. And he senses what a key roadblock might be.
"What I am suggesting here is that we kind of grab for all of the resources we can get, without caring for anyone else," Breisch noted.
Breisch is pleased to finally complete the book and is hoping for others to find it to be both difficult and uplifting at the same time.
"It's not an easy book, it's a tough book," Breisch said about the future of Homo sapiens. "The first line in the book is 'The species Homo sapiens is lost.'"
But there is a way back, Breisch insists. He's seen it happen often during the estimated 11,000 phone calls he has taken on the Suicide Hotline over the past 19 years.
"We don't fix people on the Suicide Hotline, but we help people find their way forward because they have to find their own way," he said. "Telling them what to do is not helpful, but working with them about what to do next is."
In that regard, it is just as important to Breisch that we make note here of September being Suicide Prevention Month and that the hotline number is (800) 273-8255.
A hotel replacement?
As St. Charles city planners prepare to learn about and weigh in on another development pitch for the empty Charlestowne Mall property, we can't help but think the initial pitch by developers at least potentially brings back hotel space we lost with the Pheasant Run closing.
Plans from Krausz Companies Inc. call for a new hotel, some townhouses, apartments and a community center and pool for the residents, while Von Maur, Classic Cinemas 18, Cooper's Hawk restaurant and the Starbucks would operate as separate entities.
It's too early to think a final solution to the empty mall has truly surfaced, but let's at least say this: We like what we see on paper so far and anything is better than continuing to drive by that mall property and pine over what used to be.
Early feedback on social media brought up some nice ideas, but those touting more retail development instead have to do one thing first: Tell every young adult, teen and others to stop their online shopping habits and convince them that driving to a physical retail location is the best thing for jobs and community development.
And then tell the mall owners, potential retailers and city planners how that went.
We like our shacks
From one shack to another.
Chums Shrimp Shack is coming to St. Charles in the building at 2115 W. Main St. that formerly housed Beef Shack.
A couple of "shacks" will line that part of Main Street now, as Beef Shack is moving just a few buildings west to be at the corner of Randall Road and Main Street.
For Chums, the move into St. Charles means it will leave its current location in East Dundee, where it has operated since 2019.