Why you're seeing more skunks in Kane County this summer

 
 
Posted8/30/2017 2:57 PM
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  • No, you're not just imagining it -- there are more skunks in your neighborhood this summer. "When we have a mild winter, wildlife across the board is up," said Kane County Animal Control director Brett Young. "It's not just skunks, it's the raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks too."

    No, you're not just imagining it -- there are more skunks in your neighborhood this summer. "When we have a mild winter, wildlife across the board is up," said Kane County Animal Control director Brett Young. "It's not just skunks, it's the raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks too." Daily Herald File Photo

Warning: This column item is a real stinker, so you may want to hold your nose.

It's hard to beat the fresh air that comes into your home after throwing open the windows on a cool summer night. It almost always equates to what we call a "great sleeping night."

It works that way, unless, of course, that air suddenly turns into the scent of butyl mercaptan. Most of us simply know this as "skunk spray."

And it seems we've had a Pepe Le Pew (remember that cartoon character?) wannabe in our neighborhood, delivering that knee-buckling scent easily within range of my snoozing nostrils.

We haven't had to deal with actually being sprayed by Pepe, nor has our dog fallen victim to the ghastly attack of skunk spray, which comes flying out of two glands on either side of this critter's anal opening. That figures.

In thinking we just had to deal with a wandering Pepe this summer, my wife tells me one of the ladies in her exercise class has a nest of these close cousins to a weasel under the deck at her home.

When she called the county's animal control to see about having the skunks removed, she got an answer that wasn't uplifting.

She was told the east side of Geneva "is overrun by skunks" and that if a batch were removed, another would surely come to take their place.

"The skunk numbers are up because we had a mild winter," Kane County Animal Control director Brett Youngsteadt confirmed. "When we have a mild winter, wildlife across the board is up. It's not just skunks, it's the raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks too."

A mild winter and an early warming trend resulted in mating season "kicking in sooner" and higher numbers in all wildlife, Youngsteadt said.

You have to feel for the animal control folks on this one. Think about that for a minute. If your job description including helping to remove skunks, wouldn't it make sense to just tell people they are hard to get rid of at this time?

After all, does anyone really want to encounter an angry skunk at the same place more than once?

Still, my response would likely be: Please remove this particular skunk. I will take my chances on whether the "vacancy" sign on the nest would attract others.

A ballpark paradise:

Anyone who has attended a Kane County Cougars game knows you can't go wrong with the food offered at the concession stands.

The producers of "Food Paradise," a show on the Travel Channel, apparently agree. They were in town recently filming a segment on the food at Northwestern Medicine Field during a Cougars game.

"We don't know for sure which food items they were trying or will feature, but we believe the show will be aired sometime in early 2018," Cougars spokesperson Jacquie Boatman said.

If the TV crews went with what the Cougars themselves tout as their top menu items, viewers will most certainly learn about the signature burger The El Jefe or a fan favorite, the Chicken and Waffle Cone.

The El Jefe is served at the Glenmark Burger Cart on the home plate concourse and it features a burger patty stuffed with jalapeño and Monterey Jack cheese and topped with Pepper Jack cheese, pork belly, chipotle macaroni and cheese, pork carnitas, and honey mustard.

Carnegie doors open:

It's been more than a decade since the doors at the original Carnegie Library on Fifth Avenue at the St. Charles Public Library have been opened for an event. In that regard, it's probably about time.

The library will open the doors to this historic room for a screening of "the best of" the Geneva Film Festival from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. The evening will feature five independent films, following a 6 p.m. reception.

Those wanting to register to attend can call the reference desk at (630) 584-0076, ext. 1 for the event, which is part of the St. Charles ArtsFest.

The Geneva Film Festival is an annual event operated through the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission.

Deep roots for art:

As for the St. Charles ArtsFest, which runs from Friday through Sept. 17, this is an event that keeps the arts in the forefront of St. Charles while somewhat paying tribute to its past cultural efforts.

About 20 years ago, the city put on a monthlong St. Charles Arts and Music Festival for several years that was such a massive summer undertaking that it was staged only every other year.

In the "off" year, organizers would plan unique fundraising events to raise money for the festival. Some of the world's finest singers and musicians would make their way to St. Charles, putting it squarely on the cultural arts map.

The current ArtsFest, the brainchild of the ambitious and energetic St. Charles Arts Council, brings back that same feeling by covering as many bases as it can so there is something for everybody.

The ArtsFest will include an opening/artist gallery reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Bourbon Street area of Pheasant Run Resort, various film screenings and the St. Charles Jazz Weekend. All of the information you need is on the St. Charles Arts Council website.

* dheun@sbcglobal.net

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