Clarendon Hills library and CH CO2 brings environmental education to the community


CH CO2 Lecture Series

The library and CH CO2, a non-profit organization supporting the community of Clarendon Hills with environmental education, hope that you can attend the following green programs:

 

Saturday, September 27, 10 am  Flooding Modeling

Moira Zellner, a Research Associate Professor in the Institute of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago, will share her work on how people can use simple simulations to collectively figure out how green infrastructure can help mitigate neighborhood flooding.

 

Saturday, November 8, 10 am  Greening Your Home

Kay McKeen from SCARCE will cover the basics of making your home life greener – including tips on reducing waste, green shopping, energy conservation, recycling and greener/safer cleaning.

 

Saturday, Novmber 15, 2 pm  Conservation@Home

Jan Roehll from The Conservation Foundation will share how you can support the health of our environment through the use of native plants, rain barrels and rain gardens.  Also, you will learn how native plants attract birds and butterflies, reduce  stormwater runoff and cleanse water flowing back into our rivers and streams.

 

Please register for each program individually by calling 630-323-8188 or registering online at www.clarendonhillslibrary.org.

#ClarenodonHillsRocks

The New Kid on the Block – “Talk Of The Town”


From Mike McCurry’s column in The Clarendon Courier August 21, 2014

No doubt about it: the move out of Lincoln Park was difficult. But for this family of five, packing up and leaving a beloved city home was not quite as difficult as the new challenge facing them: fitting into a new and very different community. With three children starting school in the fall (twins in kindergarten and one in preschool), the parents of this newly suburban clan had a laundry list of fresh concerns — all before they’d even unpacked their boxes!

Although Mom knew a college friend who moved to Clarendon Hills three years ago and therefore enjoyed some “insider scoop,” she still had so many questions. Thankfully, Mom found and joined the Clarendon Hills Moms email list and was able to survey her newfound friends for their advice … but she still had some doubts.

Which preschool should their four-year-old attend? Celebration? Notre Dame? Montessori? There was talk about the elementary school adding another kindergarten class. Did this mean that her kids wouldn’t experience “the” teacher who had such a following and came with so much praise? What would the first day of school look like? What should they wear? Did all the parents walk their kids to school? Would there be other new children in the kids’ classes? Would her kids fit in?

The fear of not knowing was welling up inside of these parents, and they are not alone. These scenarios and questions are going through the minds of a lot of new residents this year. If you haven’t noticed a lot of new faces in town, your children certainly will on their first day of school! We are truly blessed that our schools are so highly regarded and that so many families want their children to attend them. There is an unprecedented number of families moving into our neighborhoods this year, and our schools are one of the driving forces behind that trend. In fact, there have been over 71 homes sold in Clarendon Hills this year to date!

Of course, not all of these homes were sold to new families; many moved within the village to a larger home or downsized to a smaller home. Still, many families are moving here from out of town, and while one perk of the move is the schools, there’s another well-talked-about ingredient playing its role in the mix: our small-town charm.

What is it about our town that makes it charming? Is it the size of the buildings and the “hamlet” feeling of the neighborhoods? Is it the types of businesses downtown? Is it the winding streets or the well-manicured yards?

Many believe it’s much more than that — that it’s the people within the community that make it charming. There is just something different about folks in Clarendon Hills. I have heard it said, “Clarendon Hills isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses.” I’ve heard people like our village because “modesty is better than pretentiousness.” Clarendon Hills has a realness to it that is hard to describe. One thing is for sure: it is a friendly place where you’ll want to get connected socially, and you’ll soon feel right at home.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks #HomeRocks #CBRocks

Westmont High School projects highest graduation rate in 10 years


QUOTE

Westmont High School projects highest graduation rate in 10 years

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:49 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:55 a.m. CDT

WESTMONT – Westmont High school is projected to soon record the highest graduation rate in 10 years, according to Community Unit School District 201 officials.

About 99.2 percent of the 2014 class are expected to graduate from the high school, which held its commencement ceremony May 27, CUSD 201 Superintendent Kevin Carey said.

The 2014 graduation rate is a 5.5 percent increase from 2013, when total was 93.7 percent. Overall, this year’s graduation rate is about an 8 percent increase from the 10-year average of 91.42 percent, according to Carey, who added that the official graduation rate will be released on June 19.

While the increase is dramatic, Carey said totals are usually on par with projections, and he expects that a majority of the graduating class will attend four or two year college or university, while some students will join the military, attend a tech school or enter the work force.

“A 99 percent graduation rate is definitely great news,” Carey said. “One of the high school’s goals was to increase graduation rates, so this is a testament to the high school students, staff and administration.

“When you have an entire high school community focused on a goal, there is a higher chance of achieving it. I think the goals set by principal [Jack] Baldermann have been clearly communicated to the students and teachers are doing a fantastic job of working with students and parents to achieve these goals.”

Part of the short and long term goals that Westmont High School administration has set involves increasing “rigor,” especially in the literacy department.

Additionally the high school teachers continued meeting regularly during “professional learning communities” gatherings, in which teachers of similar disciplines meet and discuss the educational needs of students. The professional learning community gathering helped formulate across the board “exit outcomes” for each grade level, Carey said.

Carey also credits the work of Westmont High School Principal Jack Balderman, who completed his second year as leader of the school.

“Jack is somebody who is passionate, energetic and he believes strongly in the staff,” Carey said. ” He has brought a positive climate to the building. He is also creative in coming up with different strategies to support, assist and push the students. His vision is so positive and I think it has helped us see positive changes.”

______

Westmont High School graduation rate for the previous 10 years 2004 92.3 percent 2005 93.1 percent 2006 91.2 percent 2007 91.6 percent 2008 94.7 percent 2009 93.3 percent 2010 89.9 percent 2011 84.3 percent 2012 90.1 percent 2013 93.7 percent

Leaving for camp is part of the “letting go” process…“Talk Of The Town”


A few weeks ago, I took the morning off work to prepare myself for one of the most difficult car rides that I’ve ever experienced as a parent. Packing clothes and preparing the car, my wife, Amy, and I exchanged shocked looks of disbelief. We could barely believe what was happening.

No, it wasn’t a root canal, a visit to the emergency room or a trip to bail a friend out of jail. This was far worse. Our nine-year-old daughter, Abigail, was about to go away to camp for the first time. We were experiencing the continuing process of letting go.

Except for an occasional overnight at Grandma and Grandpa’s, this was to be the first time that Abbey had stayed the night outside of our home. To make matters worse, we knew that we would have no communication with her once we did the drop-off! To say that I was nervous would be a tremendous understatement. I was terrified.

If Abbey was nervous, she didn’t show it. In a stroke of irony, it was Amy and myself whose stress levels rose as we counted the days of camp on the calendar. “Four nights and five days!” we lamented to each other. “What are we going to do?!”

When the big day arrived and the three of us pulled up to the hotel (this camp was mercifully free of tents and bugs), we were greeted by a pair of college-age girls. The tension began to dissipate when Abbey saw how cute they were; one had hair almost as long as Rapunzel’s.

As we unloaded the car, the two girls greeted Abbey by name. Soon our daughter was swept away into a fairyland of long hair and giggling campers while the owner of the club introduced us to the rest of the volunteers. We were impressed that many of these girls and boys had been volunteering for years; some had traveled great distances to be there, and they all seemed to be passionate about their individual roles.  In addition to the volunteers, there was a nutritionist on staff to help educate the athletes about healthy eating.

From what we could tell, the camp was very organized. This was a huge relief to Amy, who had spent the previous two days organizing my daughter’s clothes in individual zip-lock baggies, each marked for a specific moment of her time away from us. Abbey, on the other hand, was more concerned with the other campers. All of them seemed to be greeting each other warmly, and Abbey embraced most with a long hug and a warm smile. Amy and I breathed a collective sigh of relief; we knew she was in good hands. Our car ride home was far less stressful.

The camp was run by Elite Stars, an organization that provides athletic programs for individuals with special needs. Abbey trains for their gymnastics team, which includes some of the country’s top Special Olympics athletes. This camp followed Elite Stars philosophy of training their athletes with dignity while challenging them to reach their highest potential. She spent her days at camp happily training in gymnastics and competitive dance. From what she told us, they “got up early, went to the gym and trained hard!”

Camp ended with a dance and an awards program that put the children’s talents on display. Abbey won two awards for her accomplishments, which have earned a proud place in our house. Judging by her rave reviews, she had a wonderful five days away from home.

I suppose that goes to show that Amy and I had nothing to worry about … for now. Still, I think our next step is obvious: Preparing for the continuing stages of letting go.  I, for one, am not ready to think about a college send off.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks #HomeRocks #CBRocks

“Talk Of The Town” – Tour de Clarendon Hills #ClarendonHillsRocks


From Mike McCurry’s column in the Clarendon Courier July 24, 2014

Tour de Clarendon Hills

It was one of the hottest mornings of the summer, but no one was complaining — especially after the grueling winter still fresh in everyone’s memories. Even at 5:30 a.m., the riders welcomed the steaming streets with enthusiasm. The heat of the streets matched the heat of the race.

As the five riders approached the hill, a clicking could be heard as gears suddenly began to change in preparation. Already pedaling swiftly, now the cyclists got out of their saddles and pumped their legs with fervor. The sprint had begun!

Two of the riders quickly got left behind while two others drafted off the leader up the hill, sheltering themselves from the wind to conserve energy. As the top of the climb approached, the rider in back made a final strong push. Using a slingshot move to catapult himself ahead, he shot around the pack and careened to the front, “winning” the hill.

As the pace slackened and they began to coast, the other riders laughed and poked fun at the winner — who, up until this point, had been referred to as the “Draft Weasel.” The two riders who had been left behind jokingly made excuses about being too old to race anymore. But all of them looked forward to the next hill — and the chance to prove the mettle of their pedals.

If you’re up and about at 5:30, you might see this pack of diverse cyclists that I ride with cruising through town during the week. (If you don’t see us piercing the wind on the street, you’re likely to see us shooting the breeze outside Starbucks after our ride.) Those coffee-sipping discussions often circle back to the idea of having a more official bike race in Clarendon Hills. We have the Daisy Dash; why can’t we have the “Tour De Clarendon Hills”?

Do you remember the Subrban-athalon? This was the obstacle race staged in Prospect Park last summer. Families from all over town competed, showing off their ability to carry sandbags up the sled hill, crawl under Lexus trucks and throw tennis balls through my sign with a giant hole in the middle — all while running from stage to stage in between.

These days I run into many people around town who wish we had another event like this — not only because it’s a chance to fuel our competitive nature, but because there were so many of our community members out there with their families, doing something fun and healthy!

 

Why not do more events like this in our community?

 

A few thousand miles east of our town, the Tour de France is in full swing. By Sunday the world’s elite riders will be sipping champagne as they cycle down the Champs-Élysées and make their way to the Arc de Triomphe.

I can’t help but think of a similar scenario playing out in our beautiful town. Determined cyclists of all ages zip through the intersection at Prospect and Burlington Avenue, racing for the finish. Screaming fans cheer on their friends and family members. Winded but smiling riders congregate at the finish line to congratulate each other and share in the joy of a race well-ridden. And above all, the community bonds.

Back in the early morning light outside Starbucks, the slingshot rider is all smiles. His dream of the Tour de Clarendon Hills may become a reality someday. But for now: Bring on the next hill.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks #HomeRocks #CBRocks

Tour de Clarendon Hills! Mike’s 8 homes open Sunday, 1-3pm July 27th


Ad from the Clarendon Courier

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Tour de Clarendon Hills!

Tour de Clarendon Hills!

“Talk Of The Town” – Marriage proposal makes parade unforgettable #ClarendonHillsRocks


Traditions!

“And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!”

While I don’t think Tevye the Dairyman had them in mind when he delivered that iconic line in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Fourth of July parades are a tradition that many towns across the USA enjoy. Here in the western suburbs, families from all around go to the Hinsdale parade because it’s kind of the granddaddy of parades. On every corner and sidewalk you will find people several rows deep, sitting on blankets and chairs or standing to get a glimpse of the patriotic floats. Parade parties fill the porches and lawns and countless friends and family members can be seen laughing and cheering, having returned home to celebrate a long-standing tradition.

In my memory, one particular Hinsdale parade stands out.

The crowd on Garfield Street was startled by the sound of gunfire as the 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry fired their rifles. With the haze of gunsmoke still hanging in the air, the people fell into a shocked silence. A few seconds later, the infantry strode toward the curb and the captain called out a young woman by name. As she stood up, the rest of the infantry rolled out a giant banner emblazoned with a very important message: “AMY, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Turning around in surprise, the woman discovered that a young man was kneeling at her feet, waiting for her answer.

We all have our family traditions that keep our lives in balance. In my family, we had some quirky ones for sure. When I was a kid, for instance, we used to open only one gift on Christmas Eve. I would always struggle to guess what was wrapped up in the box before opening it. Shaking a particularly enticing gift one year, I was sure it contained a gold coin that would soon be added to my collection. But when I ripped open the paper, it turned out to be fingernail clippers! My mom laughed and laughed, and my sour reaction gave birth to a slight change in our tradition: we started opening two gifts!

These days, we open all of the gifts from “RaRa” (my mom) on the eve of Christmas because my children love to celebrate in her home in Riverside. As we drive home, we can’t wait to see our town lit up with another beloved tradition: the luminarias in Clarendon Hills.

My wife is also big on tradition. In fact, we seem to have our family’s internal clock set to them. She is part Greek, and most people know that traditions run deep in Greek families. For Amy, relationships are very important, so any familiar activities we can do with family and friends are welcome and cherished. Vacations, reunions and holidays are all very important to us.

We celebrate some Clarendon Hills-specific traditions as well. Daisy Days and Daisy Dash are probably some of most important. We also love the Dancin’ in the Streets festival, the Fishing Derby at Prospect Park (coming up on Saturday, July 26 at 8:30 a.m.) and watching fireworks from Prospect Park.

Still, the most special one (to me, anyway) will always be the Fourth of July parade. My wife’s family, along with many other family and friends, always go to the same spot on Garfield between Third and Fourth streets, where that important banner was unfurled. It’s been 15 wonderful years since that young man (who looks very much like a younger version of myself) got down on one knee in front of so many people. And 15 years later, I am still so happy that she said yes!

As the fire trucks roll on, so does the tradition. And it keeps that priceless memory fresh in our hearts.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

2014-07-04 10.30.282014-07-04 10.30.352014-07-04 10.13.14

 

#ClarendonHillsRocks #HomeRocks

 

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