Em Miller writes

Subscribe now. Don't miss the FULL WEBSITE, coming September 2012.

Tag: Algonquin

Starting a new year, new schedules in School District 300 (Sun-Times Media)

ALGONQUIN — Take time to laugh. Take time to think. Take time to feel.

And lower your expectations. Although that probably doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Those were the messages delivered by heavily tattooed motivational speaker Jeff Yalden, who has been a coach on the MTV show “Made,” to students during an all-school assembly Monday at Jacobs High School.

“Our expectations are too high. What if we go through life and we go through the year and we lower our expectations and focus on the objective?” Yalden said.

“If you do that, you can take control of your life, you can take control of your attitude, you can take control of your choices.”

That assembly came on the first day of the 2012-13 school year, as Jacobs set its objective — the same three points of “Eagle Pride” it stresses every year, according to Associate Principal Bo Vossel: “Be respectful. Be responsible. Be ready.”

It also came as Community Unit School District 300 remakes the schedule this school year for its three high schools, which also include Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville and Hampshire High School in Hampshire.

For the rest of the story, read Starting a new year, new schedules in School District 300 (Sun-Times Media).

For some of students’ personal objectives and Superintendent Michael Bregy’s objectives for the Carpentersville-area school district, read Students, staff share some goals for new school year (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.


Hundreds gather to cheer Evan Jager’s appearance in Olympic finals (Sun-Times Media)

ALGONQUIN — The live Internet stream had frozen several times during the 3,000-meter men’s steeplechase race, to groans from the more than 300 people who packed out Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar on Randall Road to watch the Olympic event.

But the crowd cheered instead as television screens around the restaurant froze on the one glorious moment Algonquin native Evan Jager cleared one of seven water jumps in the race, landing ahead of the pack.

Jager finished sixth after several Kenyan and Ethiopian runners sprinted to the lead and the unthinkable happened: defending Olympic champion Brimin Kapruto of Kenya fell in front of the 23-year-old American.

And Kevin Christian, head cross-country and assistant track coach at H.D. Jacobs High School, said, “You can’t complain about sixth in the world.”

“He led it, and it was great, and he’s only going to get better. He’s got one or two more Olympics, and he’ll go, and he’ll only get better.”

Christian had helped organize the community gathering Sunday afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings, just across Randall Road from the sign at Jacobs. On Sunday, it read, “Evan Jager / 2007 HDJ grad / 2012 Olympian.”

He had been assistant cross-country coach when Jager was a junior at Jacobs, and, he said, he had suggested the track star try steeplechase when he went away to the University of Wisconsin, an event that is not run in Illinois. He since has followed former Wisconsin coach Jerry Schumacher to Portland, Ore., and joined the Oregon Track Club.

For the rest of the story (as well as a photo gallery, video and an explanation of the steeplechase), read Hundreds gather to cheer Evan Jager’s appearance in Olympic finals (Sun-Times Media).

For sports coverage of Evan Jager’s Olympic finish, read Olympics: Evan Jager finishes sixth in steeplechase (Sun-Times Media).

The case for beer: Local breweries finding success with popular summer beers (Sun-Times Media)

According to the Washington-based Beer Institute, annual beer consumption in Illinois dropped from 53 to 50 six packs per person between 2007 and 2011.

While that may be the case, my colleague Mike Danahey noted, there remains a growing number of places that are offering smaller batches of quality product — and are taking a larger portion of the market share. I contributed to his article this weekend about local breweries finding success with popular summer beers, interviewing Village Vintner Winery & Brewery in Algonquin.


The appeal of a beer in the summer is obvious to Steve and Bob Boyer, the brothers behind Village Vintner Winery & Brewery in Algonquin (thevillagevintner.com). It’s cold and refreshing.

Village Vintner added craft brews to its repertoire in late May when it expanded from a winery in Carpentersville to a winery, brewery and restaurant just up Randall Road at 2380 Esplanade Drive, near Algonquin Commons. That makes it just the third combination winery/ brewery in Illinois and the only one in the Chicago area, Steve Boyer said.

The brewmaster went from brewing 10 gallons of beer at a time, just for fun, to two 100-gallon batches a day, filling the brewery’s three 200-gallon fermenters, so “there will be some adjusting.” But, he said, “So far, so good.”

First up at Village Vintner were No Doubt Stout, English Red Ale and Vanilla Cream Ale. Recently joining them were IPA-, Hefeweizen- and Belgian Wit-style beers.

Steve Boyer recommended the Hefeweizen or Belgian Wit, both light, wheat beers, as perfect summer brews. The Hefeweizen in particular is “light and citrusy and lower in alcohol,” he said. Compared to other Hefeweizens, Village Vintner’s is “a little bit more of the clove than the banana, but a nice balance.”

But Boyers, who oversee restaurant operations at Village Vintner, have noticed one thing already this summer: “It’s not always the light beer,” Steve Boyer said. “People don’t care anymore.”

One guest beer that’s been popular at Village Vintner is Robert the Bruce, a Scottish ale by 3 Floyds’s Brewing Company in Munster, Ind., the brothers said. That’s a dark, malty beer, hard to find on draft in the area.

And, they said, customers have raved about the brewery’s own Vanilla Cream Ale, light and sweet and not unlike the brew at the former Prairie Rock Brewery in downtown Elgin.

“Everybody from Elgin remembers Prairie Rock. It’s been getting rave reviews,” Bob Boyer said.

For the rest of the story read The Case for Beer: Local breweries finding success with popular summer beers (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Andrew Nelles for Sun-Times Media.

Jacobs grad shines as model on ‘Fashion Star’ (Sun-Times Media)

Lauren Gish isn’t the only woman to wear “Fashion Star” designer Orly Shani’s zip-off convertible mini skirts, purchased by Saks Fifth Avenue in the first episode of the NBC reality competition.

But she was the first.

Gish, an Algonquin native and 2007 graduate of Jacobs High School, is a model on “Fashion Star,” which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

“I don’t have a bad thing to say about ‘Fashion Star.’ It was such an incredible, fun, rewarding, blessing experience,” she said.

The show is part “Project Runway” and part “The Voice,” with three fashion celebrities — Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos — mentoring 14 unknown designers to find the next big brand in fashion. Each week, the designers are challenged to create new fashions, which then are bid on by buyers from Saks, Macy’s and H&M.

For the rest of the story, read Jacobs grad shines as model on ‘Fashion Star’ (Sun-Times Media).

For more, watch the “Backstage with Lauren” video on the “Fashion Star” website.

Norovirus blamed as almost 500 Dist. 300 children absent (Sun-Times Media)

Norovirus blamed as almost 500 Dist. 300 children absent (Sun-Times Media)