Good News Sunday: Morton Arboretum to plant 1,000 trees throughout the suburbs

Morton Arboretum to plant 1,000 trees throughout the suburbs

  • The Morton Arboretum will celebrate its centennial year with the April launch of a 1,000-tree planting initiative.

    The Morton Arboretum will celebrate its centennial year with the April launch of a 1,000-tree planting initiative. Courtesy of the Morton Arboretum

 
 
Updated 1/9/2022 8:28 AM

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

A couple of shovels, a patch of dirt, preferably in a no-mow zone, and some tiny seedlings are what you might expect from an Arbor Day ceremony.

 

But the Morton Arboretum in Lisle has loftier expectations.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day -- and its own centennial year in 2022 -- the arboretum will begin a tree-planting spree across seven counties this April.

"What better way for us to celebrate our huge milestone birthday of 100 years than a big community tree-planting," said Murphy Westwood, the arboretum's vice president of science and conservation.

The arboretum aims to plant more than 1,000 trees throughout Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties to improve an urban forest threatened by climate change and invasive species.

For the full story, click here.

Friends surprise former Elgin High School secretary to celebrate her 88th birthday

Susan Fortner came out of the front door of her Elgin home Dec. 31 to find over 50 well-wishers gathered to help her celebrate her 88th birthday. It was organized by friend and former EHS teacher Melisa Creighton, left.
  Susan Fortner came out of the front door of her Elgin home Dec. 31 to find over 50 well-wishers gathered to help her celebrate her 88th birthday. It was organized by friend and former EHS teacher Melisa Creighton, left. - Rick West | Staff Photographer
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Susan Fortner of Elgin often jokes with friends that the whole world celebrates her birthday on Dec. 31.

It may not have been the whole world, but you wouldn't have known it by her reaction to the crowd that surreptitiously gathered Friday on her front lawn to wish the beloved former Elgin High School secretary a happy 88th birthday.

"I'm overwhelmed," Fortner said. "There aren't any real words I can say. I just love every one of the people here, and I can tell you a story about all of them."

The surprise was organized by friend and former EHS teacher Melisa Creighton.

"She was the heartbeat of Elgin High School," Creighton said. "She always had a smile for every teacher, for every parent, for every visitor to the school.

"You always left her desk feeling better."

Fortner was the secretary to five principals for 37 years before retiring in 2017. She was the 2013 winner of the Kane County Regional Office of Education "support staff of the year" award.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For the full story, click here.

Friends, strangers step in to bake Christmas cookies for grandmother who couldn't

It was five days before Christmas and Neil Hemmer's family was facing a holiday challenge: For the first time in Hemmer's memory, there would be no Christmas cookies from his grandmother.

Hemmer said his 82-year-old grandma baked 300 or more treats each year to "make our Christmas season feel magical," until recent health issues made that impossible.

"It's one of her favorite traditions," he said. "I can't remember a single Christmas without Grandma's Christmas cookies."

Hemmer, 27, took to the Facebook group Everything Arlington Heights to inquire where he could buy holiday cookies.

Instead of the bakery suggestions he expected, Hemmer received sweet responses from friends and strangers who wanted to share their homemade goodies with his grandmother.

Lori Henkels was the first of eight bakers to volunteer, offering to make up a tray for his grandmother from the more than 250 cookies she baked using her mother's treasured recipes.

"This woman reached out and started an avalanche of good will," Hemmer said. "As a family, we could not be more thankful."

He spent four hours collecting dozens of cookies donated by eight people. Two, including Henkels, he knew from childhood. The others were strangers.

For the full story, click here.

Wheeling's Mike Moran honored with village's citizenship award

Mike Moran of Wheeling has been honored with the village's George Hieber Citizenship Award.
Mike Moran of Wheeling has been honored with the village's George Hieber Citizenship Award.

A longtime member of Wheeling's fire and police board is the latest recipient of the village's George Hieber Citizenship Award.

Mike Moran has served on the panel since 2000. It oversees the hiring of Wheeling's police officers and firefighters.

Moran also has supported a camp for children and teens who survived severe burns by leading fundraisers for the effort run by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance.

"Mike Moran consistently displays an admirable concern for the welfare of others and shows a commitment to making Wheeling a better, safer, and kinder place to live," the official resolution honoring Moran reads.

Moran was announced as the 2022 award winner during Monday's village board meeting.

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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