DeKalb County News Briefs

Chronicle Media Staff

A motorist tries to change a tire on the muddy Lincoln Highway near DeKalb. The clamor for good roads that resulted in the Good Roads Movement will be the topic of a lecture March 28 to be held at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore.




NIU panel discussion explores ‘screen time’ for children

A panel discussion at Northern Illinois University will focus on the benefits and drawbacks of children’s “screen time” with digital devices such as cellphones, tablets and TVs.

NIU’s College of Education will host the panel as part of its spring Community Learning Series from 6-7:30 p.m. March 23 in the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center, 231 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb.

The panel is called “The Digital Lives of Children: Giving Screen Time a Closer Look,” and will be moderated by Dan Klefstad, host of Northern Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” news program. Panelists will include Danielle Baran, clinical psychologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital; John Burkey, superintendent of Huntley School District 158; Susan Goldman, psychology and education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Thomas Kim, principal of Huntley Middle School in DeKalb; Jennifer McCormick, fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary School in Sycamore; and Jason Underwood, assistant director of NIU Outreach eLearning.

WNIJ-FM 89.5 is the media sponsor of the event, which is free and open to the public. A networking reception is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m.


Concert band to honor professor at spring concert


The Kishwaukee Concert Band will present its spring concert, directed by Dave Lehman, at 3 p.m. March 19, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

The free concert is sponsored by the band to honor the memory of Thomas Sims of DeKalb, an internationally known researcher, professor of biological sciences at NIU and former Kishwaukee Concert Band member. Sims played French horn in the band for about 10 years. He also played in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, DeKalb Municipal Band and Kishwaukee Brass Quintet. His research focused on the petunia genome and its DNA, and he was involved in many community organizations and played an active role in improving community life in DeKalb.

The Kishwaukee Concert Band is in its 15th season. It is made up of volunteers older than 18 who have played a percussion or wind instrument in the past and enjoy playing. Rehearsals are held at 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb. No auditions are necessary. For more information, go to


District to screen preschool youngsters


DeKalb Community Unit School District 428 will provide screenings for children from birth to preschool age from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. March 16 and 8:30-11:30 a.m. March 17 at the Early Learning and Development Center, 1515 S. Fourth St., Door 31, DeKalb. The free screening will take about an hour and will include education, speech/language components, and vision and hearing. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, call (815) 754-2361.






‘Good Roads’ movement stories to be told


Before interstates and federal highways were distinguished by numbers – Route 30 or I-55, for instance – they were christened with colorful names. The Lincoln, Dixie and Mississippi Valley highways, the Alton Way, Swastika Trail and Corn Belt Route were all memorable roads that carried people across the state. From 1913 on, these were among the 51 named highways developed in Illinois. The highway systems in Illinois are only 100 years old, and were born as the result of fierce debates and an incessant clamor for “good roads.”

From the 1890s until World War I, there is a fascinating combination of stories about road-building, named highways and the Good Roads movement. Join the Sycamore History Museum on March 28, to hear Larry McClellan discuss this part of local, regional and national history. He will share his stories about the Good Roads movement at 7 p.m. at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore. Admission is $5.

McClellan helped create Governors State University in University Park and served as professor of sociology and community studies and held a variety of administrative positions. In the mid-1970s, he was mayor of University Park, then named Park Forest South. He was selected by the Illinois Humanities Council for 2013-14 as an Illinois Roads Scholar lecturer on the history of Illinois highways.

In retirement, his consulting, research and writing focus on historic highways, the Underground Railroad in Illinois and on regional history south of Chicago. He is currently completing book manuscripts on “To the River, the Remarkable Journey of Caroline Quarlls” [freedom seeker from St. Louis], and “Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois,” and on regional history south of Chicago.

This program is possible through a grant from the Mary E. Stevens Concert & Lecture Fund. For information, call (815) 895-5762 or email