Beans & Leaves

Ethel Berger, owner of Beans & Leaves

Ethel Berger, owner of Beans & Leaves

In the past year, I have noticed a trend that I find encouraging–Long Grove restaurants being opened or purchased by Long Grove residents. There is something very heartwarming about seeing our own citizens caring about our historic downtown and stepping in to be invested in seeing it succeed. The Chatterbox, Long Grove Café, and Broken Earth Winery are all recent examples of this, as is the new owner of Beans & Leaves, Ethel Berger.

Ethel, along with her husband and two daughters, has lived in Long Grove for about two years. They most recently moved from Buffalo Grove, but Ethel has spent her life in many different places around the globe. She was born in the Philippines and came first to the United States to attend college in Washington D.C. Ethel started her career working for World Bank, and followed with a move to California for a job in the software industry. Eventually deciding that her life needed a new direction, she sold everything she owned and moved to Italy to attend culinary school. Ethel pursued this career as a chef at Club Med resorts, with Fairmont Hotels, and also worked as a personal chef. She moved back to the United States with intentions of returning to Europe, but fate intervened when she met her husband Tim.

Fast forward several years, to a busy Mom dropping off her girls at the Montessori School in Long Grove, and stopping by for a cup of coffee at Beans & Leaves. As a regular customer, Ethel was familiar with the business and when former owner Karen Krahn decided it was time to move on, the timing was just right for Ethel. She anticipates making only minor cosmetic changes for now, while slowly making the business her own. One thing that will continue is the tradition of live music. Supporting musicians is important to Ethel as she serves on the board for Landowska Harpsichord Society in Chicago, which provides a Foundation to encourage new and young musicians.

Please join me in welcoming Ethel as one of our newest Long Grove merchants. Stop by for a cup of coffee or tea on your next drive through the crossroads, and get to know this neighbor who is playing a role in helping our downtown make a comeback.

Old Glory in Barnwood

Artist Marie Roth poses with Aaron and I on Flag Day, 2014.

Artist Marie Roth poses with Aaron and I on Flag Day, 2014.

In honor of Flag Day this past weekend, and Father’s Day this coming weekend, I thought it would be fitting to post the story behind this picture. It was taken on June 14, 2014, and Father’s Day fell on the following day. Local artist Marie Roth had given a program in downtown Long Grove’s Fountain Square, entitled “Old Glory in Barnwood.” Among her many artistic endeavors, Marie crafts replicas of historical American flags out of wood recycled from old barns, many of them right here in Lake County. After her presentation, members of the Long Grove Historical Society gave tours of our restored 1850’s farmhouse, and walking tours of the historic downtown. That explains my husband Aaron’s unusual costume in the photo above. Marie is a member of our local Art Guild, which is a part of the Long Grove Arts and Music Council. At the time, the Art Guild had a gallery space and many of Marie’s flags were on display. We were so taken with her art that we were motivated to purchase the flag shown above for my Dad, Bill Killian, as his Father’s Day gift last year. He loved it, and it is now hanging in his home office, where he enjoys seeing it every day. So for those of you interested in American history, here are a few facts about this flag:

This 21 star flag of the United States became the official flag on July 4, 1819, recognizing the admission of Illinois to the union on December 3, 1818. It was with the admission of Illinois that Congress declared that a new national flag would be unfurled for the first time on the July 4th following the admission of each new state. This flag is painted on flooring from a barn built on Molidor Road in Grant Township, Lake County, Illinois circa 1867. In the German style of barns, it was built to house dairy herds on the first floor. The second floor of the barn was accessed by a dirt ramp, and was where the family lived and worked and where supplies were kept.

Lions Club Reaches a Milestone

Downtown Long Grove Merchants Ryan Messner (L) and John Kopecky(R) preview a Lion's fundraising idea.

Downtown Long Grove Merchants Ryan Messner (L) and John Kopecky(R) preview a Lions fundraising idea.

Congratulations are in order to the Lions Club of Long Grove for recently reaching a significant milestone. Since they were first organized in 1983, the club has donated a cumulative total of over $800,000 to local and international charitable causes. That’s fantastic! During a recent chat with local Lion John Kopecky, who is a Past-President of the club, I learned that the organization was started in 1913 by Helen Keller. She is the inspiration behind the Lions long-standing support of charitable causes benefitting sight and sound. As far as local charities, the Long Grove club supports many area food pantries including those in Waukegan, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, and Vernon Township. They are an annual contributor to the Long Grove Arts & Music Council, helping bring free local concerts to our community. Other agencies they have helped include: Omni House, Center on Deafness, Misericordia, and many, many other worthy causes. The Lions Club does all this with the help of 47 members, headed up this past year by Jeff Taylor as President, and Craig Cosik taking the lead as the new incoming President. To do all these good works, the Lions must continually raise funds, and they have done this in the past by sponsoring the “Lion’s Den” concession tent near the covered bridge at the Long Grove festivals. Candy Days in September and the annual Golf Outing in October help bring in needed funds as well. New this coming year is a plan to sell Long Grove T-shirts. I am very impressed by the generosity this group has shown both to our community, and the international community at large. Well done, Lions Club of Long Grove, and best wishes as you work to reach your next charitable goal!

That’s So “Long Grovian”

Our Village Hall is very "Long Grovian"

Our Village Hall is very “Long Grovian”

Having served on the Village Board for the last four years, I have noticed a curious term that pops up from time to time. It is generally used by someone outside of our community as a description. Something or someone is identified as being very “Long Grovian,” and it has taken me a few years to properly nail down what that actually means. Is this an insult or a compliment? And I’m not really sure I can accurately identify the characteristics, but in an attempt to clarify, here goes…

Something is “Long Grovian” if it has a quaint, rural appeal. A resident wrote to me recently and used the term “pastoral” repeatedly. While I’m not aware of any shepherds tending to their flock here in town these days, I think this is a reference to our abundance of open space. Having large, wooded lots and many ponds and prairies in our backyard vistas gives a certain feel to our area that is certainly not typical of suburbia. Our low density lends a calm and bucolic feel to our neighborhoods, and the occasional deer or coyote crossing the roads adds to the rustic charm. To love Long Grove is also to have an appreciation of local history. Many of the buildings in our downtown crossroads date from the late 1800’s, and our covered bridge was constructed to appear as if it belongs to that era as well. Our Village Hall (pictured above) is a renovated tavern from the 1850’s, and gives a distinctive impression about our community to all who visit. But our “Long Grovian” ways mean that many things they did not have in the 1800’s are still absent today:  public restrooms, wheelchair accessible buildings, wireless fire & sprinkler systems, city sewers, stoplights, and Lake Michigan water, to name a few.

Someone is “Long Grovian” if they embrace this agrarian vibe, along with a certain sense of self-sufficiency that comes along with it. An appreciation of nature and wildlife is necessary as well. I’m describing the kind of person who upon discovering racoons in the yard, would be inclined to feed them rather than immediately call the relocation specialists. Recently, a group of residents petitioned the Board to be allowed to keep chickens in our Village, and we do still have a few horse properties scattered about. True “Long Grovians” embrace our minimal government philosophy, and many place a high value on free will and understand that a certain degree of volunteerism and community involvement is required to operate with such a small municipal staff. I am also going to go out on a limb and say that many “Long Grovians” are viewed as economical, in a Mid-western thriftiness sort of way. I believe we also have a reputation of being stubborn about the protection of our green spaces, and for resisting urban sprawl and the related development that comes along with. But our unique character is seen as very compatible with the arts and artistically minded individuals, and this lends a distinctiveness to our historic downtown and to our festivals.

So how “Long Grovian” are you? I know many residents who would say they find nothing in this blog entry that remotely describes them. I will admit that I fit some of the stereotypes, but certainly not all. And in reality, there is no such thing as a “Long Grovian.” We are a collection of individuals who have chosen this community for a variety of very good reasons, many of which having nothing to do with wildlife and old buildings. Maybe it is the great schools, proximity to your job, O’Hare, or Chicago. Whatever it is that attracted you to Long Grove and keeps you here today, that is part of the attribute that makes you a true “Long Grovian.”

And The Survey Says…

Richard Dawson, host of TV's "Family Feud"

Richard Dawson, host of TV’s “Family Feud”

In my younger days, staying home from school on a sick day meant catching up on the daytime game shows that I never had a chance to watch. Wow, I’m really dating myself here, because this was even before we could record shows on the Betamax! Well anyway, my favorite game show was “Family Feud,” hosted by TV star Richard Dawson (who remembers “Hogan’s Heroes”?) I loved the idea that they could survey groups of people on various questions, and make a game about guessing the most popular answers. Anyone who uses social media today knows that surveys are still popular, and we’ve probably all had our email inbox invaded by a “survey monkey” at one time or another. The Village hopes that your enthusiasm for participating in surveys is not a thing of the past, because we are getting ready to mail out an important set of questions in the next week. As much fun as it was on the show to watch contestants guess the answers, the Village Board would prefer to KNOW your opinions on current issues in Long Grove.

This summer, the Trustees will be making some very significant decisions and I hope that you will add your voice to the process. We have just finalized a resident survey that will be sent to all Long Grove households. The goal of this survey is to help inform the Board of the feelings of the residents regarding various aspects of community character and values that will be reflected in the update of our Long Grove Comprehensive Plan. This plan is similar to a “blueprint” and helps guide staff and elected officials in the ongoing shaping of our Village, especially in regards to zoning, open space, commercial development, infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements. The Village Board would like to know your thoughts on these important topics, so please take the time to fill out and return the survey when you receive it.  While we won’t have the excitement of a TV host dramatically revealing the answers to us…”And the Survey Says….”we will have a valuable prize instead–community participation.