The beloved apple cider donuts made a return appearance to Long Grove this past weekend.
For the past three years, I have made a determined effort to eat healthier, and I have tried to avoid the types of bakery items that you see pictured above. However, the Long Grove Confectionery’s locally famous apple cider donuts are only available one time a year, so I allowed myself to have one. Well, maybe more than one (lets just say several) of these cinnamon-sugary balls of deliciousness were consumed, and I was not the only one indulging!
Apple Fest once again graced the historic cross roads of Long Grove this weekend, and it was a perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. Many others felt the same, based on the large number of festival attendees I saw on Saturday. The Kids Zone on Towner Green was packed with squealing, happy youngsters tossing beanbags, climbing hay bales, and chasing ethereal pieces of whimsy conjured up by the “Bubble Man.” I received a complimentary apple-scented soy candle with the purchase of my pretty new necklace, and who doesn’t just love getting something for free? Every merchant that I talked with was upbeat and had a smile on their face: Craig, Tobin, Rachel, Maggie, Pam, Ryan, John, Matt & Meghan–just to name a few. We stayed into the evening to take in some of the great music and an added plus was running into some neighbors and getting the chance to catch up. It was altogether an enjoyable experience.
But let’s get back to the important thing–the food! Besides the aforementioned donuts, apples were consumed in the form of caramel apples, apple martinis, and apple sangria. And I must say it was worth the splurge. Today I’m back on the healthy eating bandwagon, with gratifying apple-tinged memories to carry me through until next year.
The covered bridge stage featured the band “Infinity” along with the debut of our new festival welcome sign.
Rotarians Jonathon Mintz, Robert Mintz, and Aaron Underwood at the September 12, 2015 Heritage Run.
We are enjoying some truly lovely late summer/early fall weather here in Long Grove right now. This also held true for the morning of September 12th, as Mother Nature gifted the Rotary Club of Long Grove, Kildeer, and Hawthorn Woods with a perfect day for their annual Heritage Run/Walk. This event, in it’s 18th year, raises between $50,000. to $100,000. for as many as 12 different local charities. Community members and charity supporters get to participate in a fun race starting and ending in our historic downtown, and everyone is included in the post-race pancake and sausage breakfast. It’s a win -win for the Rotary, the community, and the charities, but it does take a massive amount of work to pull this event off successfully every September. Besides helping at the registration table and walking the course, I also had the honor of handing out the medals during the awards ceremony again this year. Thanks go to all the Rotarians who make this happen, and congratulations to all the winners!
Speaking at a local community event this spring.
Last week the Village Board gave me a new title. I will be the last Village President to serve Long Grove in a voluntary capacity. The Trustees have decided that starting in 2017, when my current term expires, this position will become salaried. Granted, it’s not much at $14,400 a year. But for the first time since our Village was incorporated in 1956, our Mayor will be paid.
This change came about quickly. Personally, I was surprised that this was even being considered, especially as it conflicts with the policy set forth in our Comprehensive Plan. The rationale given is that making the position paid will encourage more candidates to run for the office in future elections.
I think it takes a special kind of person to want to step up to the responsibility and challenge of holding any elected office. One who is at heart a public servant, and who has the ability to put what is best for the community ahead of what is best for themselves. And one who is willing to pay a personal price in being vulnerable to public scrutiny without any recourse. The best sort of individuals will do this without needing to be motivated by money or perceived power. The Village deserves to have that type of citizen in this role.
I agree with the need to have money set aside in a budget for expenses that are incurred while representing the Village. It has become increasingly necessary for our Village President to interact and serve with other local, county, and state officials on issues that encompass the entire metropolitan Chicago area. Long Grove is no longer an island amongst suburbia. However, the Trustees were clear in their desire for this compensation to be a salary or stipend, without any “strings attached” to turn in receipts for validation.
Putting my own thoughts and concerns aside, I remain a firm believer in majority opinion, and so I accept this change and will support going forth with the wishes of the Board. Time will tell us if a future Mayor just voted himself a salary.
Long Grove resident and Chicago Bears player Martellus Bennett with two young fans at the Chatterbox.
I have had the opportunity to meet some very fun and unique individuals since becoming Village President, and one of those is Long Grove resident Martellus Bennett, a player for the Chicago Bears. I first met Martellus at one of our local restaurants, the Chatterbox, where he often drops in with his wife and daughter. The self-professed “Black Unicorn” has been collaborating with Chatterbox chef Matt Bassitt over the summer on a signature burger that reflects aspects of his eccentric personality. I was lucky enough to be present this past Friday here in Long Grove for the official launch of The Black Unicorn burger.
Martellus wanted to create a burger so big that most people couldn’t finish it. It features bison meat (big and lean like the athlete he is) and dinosaur kale as a nod to his other nickname “The Orange Dinosaur.” Add to that green tomatoes and Cajun cheddar (in homage to his Southern roots), thick slices of smoked bacon, onion rings, and barbeque sauce made with Crown Royal, a favorite drink. According to chef Bassitt, “Everything on the burger has sweetness, but is still a little spicy. We wanted to show (Bennett’s) two sides. He’s a nice guy, but he has a fire to him.”
I must confess that I could not eat the whole thing, but it was delicious! Only 83 burgers were sold on Friday, in reference to Bennett’s number 83 jersey. The player himself was on hand to greet customers and sign footballs for young fans sampling his latest creation. Personally, it was a fun evening spent with friends and neighbors in one of Long Grove’s best gathering spots. And thanks to The Black Unicorn burger, we have one more great reason to visit!
Residents Charlie Wachs and Aaron Underwood prepare to sample The Black Unicorn burger.
The newly dedicated Heroes of Freedom Memorial in Wauconda.
This morning I had the honor of attending a dedication ceremony for the new Heroes of Freedom Memorial in our neighboring community of Wauconda. Frank Bart, Mayor of Wauconda extended a personal invitation to me to attend, and I am so grateful that I took the opportunity. This memorial has been years in the making, and is a tribute to those who sacrificed so much on September 11, 2001 and for those who have served in the years since in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Global War on Terrorism. The impressive memorial features a 19 foot tall beam from the World Trade Center North Tower, set on a Pentagon base, surrounded by four benches representing each of the four hijacked planes that crashed that morning. The memorial was constructed entirely with donated items, labor, services, and funds from Wauconda and the greater community.
Mayor Bart, himself a veteran, opened the ceremony which featured patriotic music from local bands and choirs, along with remarks from dignitaries. Three members of the NYFD traveled to Illinois to attend this service and speak of their experiences that day. Kirk Morris, a Gold Star father of Marine PFC Geoffrey Morris, spoke on behalf of all families who have lost loved ones to this cause. The Morris family has contributed greatly in the creation of this memorial. Dylan Morris took on the management, design and installation of the landscaping as his Eagle Scout project, and as a tribute to his fallen brother. He traveled to Shanksville, PA with his father to bring back soil from the crash site to be used in the raised flower beds.
I was most moved by hearing the words of Lt. Colonel Ryan Yantis, who is a 9/11 Pentagon Survivor. His personal story and remembrances, along with his encouragement to all of us to “continue to do what is right, to do what you can in your own life to serve our country,” was touching and inspiring. Today’s ceremony was an expression of honor, love, and support and I am humbled to have been able to participate.
Long Grove house explosion, April 2014
This past Tuesday a tragedy occurred in Fox Lake, a neighboring community in the northern part of Lake County. An on-duty police officer, Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, was shot and killed while pursuing three suspects, who still remain at-large. The fallen officer was a married father of four sons, was well-known and respected in the community for his dedication to working with local youth in the police Explorers program, and was affectionately nicknamed “G.I. Joe.” He was a 30-year law enforcement veteran who was set to retire as soon as this month, according to Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit. As a fellow mayor, I have had the honor of getting to know Donny, and my heart goes out to everyone who is touched by this shocking loss. Mayor Schmit has the difficult challenge of helping his entire community heal from this sudden event, one that made the headlines of national newscasts.
A sudden event happened in Long Grove in April of last year, one that also made the national news. Without warning, a house in Royal Melborne subdivision exploded, leaving nothing but a fiery crater and scattering debris for miles. But for the grace of God, no one was seriously injured. However, eight additional families needed to be evacuated from their homes, and many more in the immediate area sustained moderate to minor damage. Visiting the disaster site the next morning was sobering and felt like something out of a movie set. That weekend, many community members and groups reached out to me and to the Village to offer assistance and support to the families affected by this shock. One year later, everyone seems to be back on their feet with repairs underway if not already completed. But to this day, I am still giving thanks that I did not have to help my community endure the loss of life that could have so easily happened.
The job title of Mayor includes many duties, some obvious and many unforeseen. Comforting a community in the wake of a tragedy is one role that we all hope to never have to assume. Mayor Schmit will be spending the holiday weekend paying his respects and helping his residents cope with the aftermath of this past week’s sad events. I know that his inherent kindness and compassion will serve him well in this regard. The people of Fox Lake will lean on one another and join together to honor Lt. Gliniewicz.