Courier News Latest news from Courier News Online en-us (Editor) Courier News 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Lifting the shroud off mental illness and addiction ]]>

It’s an awful sort of ride, the kind you fear might never end. The roller-coaster of life in a household plagued with addiction or mental illness, or both, isn’t something I’d wish on anybody. And while it can be a tiny bit irritating that pretty much every month is an “official” observance of something (case in point: the pink hue that will predominate in October, to spotlight the very real need for breast cancer awareness and research support), there’s a certain urgency about Recovery Month, of which we’re smack in the middle right now. Declared official all across the state … ]]> Tue, 15 Oct 2013 07:13:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Town Talk: Eric Burdon, Joan Jett rock out memories at Festival Park ]]> Lead story image

I’m not a huge concertgoer. If I’m going to go to a show, it is going to be someone I want to see for a reason — often for what that artist meant to me at point in my life. And Joan Jett and the Blackhearts filled that requirement. I wanted to see the show Saturday at Festival Park in Elgin, put on by the Grand Victoria Casino for its first “GVC Rock N Roll Jackpot Concert Series,” because I remember recording “I Love Rock and Roll” onto cassette tape from the radio. I remember, as a teenager in North … ]]> Sat, 28 Sep 2013 06:08:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Glunz Beer Expo serves up craft brews and the hopsters who love them ]]> Lead story image

I headed out of Elgin Monday afternoon to attend Global Beer Expo XIX at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Always a fine time, the expo offers a chance for bars, restaurants and retailers to sample beers in the Louis Glunz portfolio and for writers to see what might be new in brews. Glunz is marking its 125th year and was Beverage World Magazine’s Distributor of the Year for 2012. If that weren’t enough to whet your whistle, any visit to the Stephens offers opportunity to glimpse the Hummel collection of the late Rosemont mayor for which the building … ]]> Tue, 28 May 2013 19:35:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ They blinded me with science: My stint as a judge at the Discovery STEM Expo ]]> Lead story image

Way back when she was in high school — in a time before people had color television, even — Mimi Locknar’s science project was good enough to earn her a spot in a big fair at McCormick Place in Chicago. The experiment involved seeing if different types of music would impact how mice performed running mazes. The project left Locknar’s mother squeamish, perhaps from the incessant sounds of Chubby Checker and Beethoven coming from the basement, and definitely from having tiny white rodents taking up temporary residency in the family home. Come the big day, things were going smoothly until … ]]> Tue, 28 May 2013 18:00:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Monster jamming nice with nachos ]]> Lead story image

Operas. Musicals. Rock concerts. Jazz fests. Golf tournaments. Punk clubs. Irish bars. Absurdist dramas. Russian baths. Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls, and Notre Dame games. Curling. Ski jumps. Cirque du Soleil. MythBusters. A 5-hour Elgin city council meeting. Even pro wrestling. I’ve been to all of the above, but until last Saturday I had never attended a Monster Jam monster truck show. I have some cheese product left in my ears to prove it. I used what I had left from my plate of the aptly named Monster Nachos to protect my hearing from the roar of the engines. Okay, … ]]> Tue, 12 Mar 2013 06:19:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Unanswered questions about candidate questions from Elgin activists OCTAVE ]]> Lead story image

The first candidates forum for the Elgin City Council elections apparently will be held Jan. 12 and hosted by the activist group OCTAVE. According to Facebook posts, the event is to run from 6 to 8 p.m. that Saturday at the New Covenant Church, 865 Parkway Ave. There are 13 candidates vying for four four-year council seats April 9, and another nine are running for a two-year spot. Those nine will be cut to two after a Feb. 26 primary. I’m getting tired and confused just writing this, so imagine what it will be like hearing — or trying to … ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2013 06:06:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gathman: Avoiding disaster on the road a split-second decision ]]> Lead story image

Soldiers say that “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” When artillery shells and mortar fire are raining down on your head, exactly where each will land — 6 feet away where it will be absolutely harmless? Right inside your hole, where you’ll be blown to bits? — is so random and unpredictable that each infantryman’s life depends very obviously on sheer luck, or the will of God, or maybe some celestial wrestling match between God and the devil. But after some recent events on the highway, I’m beginning to think that there also should be no atheists in the … ]]> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:44:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ward: A heavy toll for Hostess and members of its bakers union ]]> Lead story image

I know you all love to label me with the “L” word (liberal), but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only am I willing to take on the hippies (local left-wing activists), but you’re about to discover just how much I’ve come to loath labor unions. Those collectives certainly served a gallant purpose in their day, but instead of making things better, they’ve supplanted the unholy corporate bosses they were intended to resist. And there’s no better example of this than the Hostess company’s recent semi-untimely demise. I understand you left-leaning readers want to blame management for the … ]]> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 06:10:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Stop throwing civility under the school bus ]]> Lead story image

Whenever my favorite retired teacher and I get into a school bus discussion, she invariably exclaims, “Jeff, school buses are a combat zone.” My automatic response is always a self-assured, “Mmmm hmmm.” I’m not saying that the number of incidents is greater than when I rode the yellow tube, but I am saying the severity of those “events” has risen to a truly terrifying level. To wit, last week, Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Tom Leonard alerted parents to an incident of criminal sexual abuse that allegedly took place on a middle school bus in early October. The allegations, reported … ]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 10:21:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Times when mercy goes too far ]]> Lead story image

Judges. When all else fails, we the people turn to these impartial arbiters as a last resort. Because, in the long line of citizen-government transaction phases we’ve been discussing, it’s judges who are the ultimate stewards of fairness and balance. Hence, the lady with the blindfold and scales that patiently stands in every courtroom, And it’s the fact that these women and men in black must stand firm on that final defensive line that makes their job so difficult. I may openly disagree with Judge Thomas Mueller’s tolerant approach to infamous 37-year “home improver” Cliff McIlvaine of St. Charles, but … ]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 06:08:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ No point in council taking issue with this ]]> Lead story image

Since I can’t remember a series of news stories laying out like they have the past month, let’s not tempt the journalistic fates by questioning our good fortune. If you’ve been keeping track, our ongoing theme has been the appropriate give and take as it applies to citizen-government interactions. After all, we want to do our best to maintain that delicate balance. And one of the critical facets we haven’t quite covered yet is a responsible, responsive and focused government body. If your city council consistently goes off on tangents, or worse, panders to the public at every possible turn, … ]]> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 06:09:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ Anybody ask for a frappuccino with that flea bath? ]]>

Since we’re on a roll, let’s continue with our theme of the previous weeks. What we’ve essentially been discussing is exactly what makes for a successful, statute-driven city council/citizen/law enforcement interaction. The first requirement is an ordinance with teeth. If no one takes you seriously you’re finished before you start (see the saga of Cliff McIlvaine in St. Charles). The second is the appropriate application or necessary revision of that injunction. Of course, the spirit of the law should always trump the letter. The third is a state’s attorney who, while wielding that big stick, understands he’s dealing with names … ]]> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 06:09:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Saving taxpayer money, for mercy’s sake ]]> Lead story image

Since we’re already on the subject, let’s continue with our law and order theme of the past two weeks. First we discussed the plethora of problems with Elgin’s new social hosting statute intended to hold parents accountable for underage drinking parties. Then we covered how Mayor Don DeWitte got those rogue St. Charles bars to address their overserving problem by threatening to close ‘em down an hour early. It was a thing of beauty. But before you get the impression that I’m not the liberal you often and erroneously accuse me of being, while I generally like my laws to … ]]> Fri, 16 Nov 2012 06:08:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Raising a toast to this overserving solution ]]> Lead story image

To just read about it makes me want to wax poetic. While most municipalities muck around in the municipal mindset, which generally consists of spending our money as fast as they can and thinking inside the box, the city of St. Charles just dealt a death blow to that far too common aldermanic mentality. If you recall, on Aug. 24 we covered the fact that Mayor Don DeWitte was not amused by the local bars that had chosen to ignore his clear and concise May 2012 warning regarding the evils of overconsumption. After a particularly egregious first August weekend, which … ]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 06:07:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ These penalties for parents not much more than a fine mess ]]> Lead story image

You know I’m a sucker for a handwritten note. As all manner of technological advances render cursive obsolete, it’s a real treat to receive a non-digital missive. And this reader’s particular quandary was the ease with which so many of today’s parents slough off responsibility for their delightful little darlings. She was specifically referring to the Aug. 12 incident in which an off-duty Chicago police officer shot and killed Elgin resident Christopher Middleton after he attacked the officer for clipping his unsupervised 4-year-old daughter with his motorcycle. And I truly wish I had some sort of reasonable response, but all … ]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 06:09:45 -0500