DeKalb County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Since opening in 2005, the Midwest Museum of Natural History in Sycamore has welcomed more than 122,000 visitors to learn about the natural world through biology, geology and anthropology.  The museum has a new executive director, Jessica Landau.


Training conference to help nonprofits

A conference that will offer training, networking and professional development for nonprofit staff, volunteers and board members will be held from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. July 25, at Faranda’s Banquet Center, 302 Grove St., DeKalb. 

The ninth annual Nonprofit Day conference is organized by the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP), which is a program of the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Training will focus on topics such as leadership, volunteer management, marketing, conflict resolution and fundraising. 

Attendees must make reservations by July 20, and online registration is available at Attendance is free for DCNP members, and $30 for nonmembers, payable at the door by check or cash. Questions can be directed to Ben Bingle, DCNP director, at 815-748-5383 or


Museum names new executive director

A person with 10 years of museum experience is the new executive director of the Midwest Museum of Natural History in Sycamore.

Jessica Landau has experience in fundraising, educational programming and curatorial work. She comes from the Wildwood Nature Center in Park Ridge, Ill., where she was lead instructor. She also curated several exhibits as the associate curator at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyo.

Landau received her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow, where she examined taxidermy in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Her knowledge specialties include natural history and the way animals are depicted in images and objects.

While executive director at the museum, Landau will continue her doctoral studies in art history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Food being collected for youngsters’ summer lunches

Downtown Sycamore businesses are collecting food for local children through July 15.

The seventh annual Out of School Food Drive’s goal is to feed children who rely on school breakfasts and lunches but might not have access to food when school is out for the summer.

Business owners are requesting peanut better, canned fruits, soups, cereals and canned meals, and also baby food, diapers and monetary donations. 

Christian Connection, 337 W. State St., is the collection point. 

All donations will be given to the Sycamore Food Pantry, which is housed at the Sycamore United Methodist Church, 160 Johnson Ave. 

Several downtown businesses are offering exclusive deals with food donations, including $1 off admission at Midwest Museum of Natural History, one free stock name card at Made Just for You, discounts at Sweet Earth, Garden Market and Whimsical Perspective, free ice cream toppings at Princess Alex Ice Cream and free mini cupcakes at Cassie’s Corn Crib Café.  


IVT ensemble to present concert

An ensemble group from Indian Valley Community Band will perform a concert at 6:30 p.m. July 20, at Knights Park, 1001 N. Latham St., Sandwich.

The public is invited to this free event, which is part of the Music and Movie in the Park series sponsored by the Sandwich Park District.

After the musical performance, the movie “Coco” will be shown on the big screen. Both of these events are held outdoors, so attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets.

For more information about Indian Valley Community Band, go to its Facebook page, contact any band member or leave a message at 815-786-6752. 


‘Annie’ lead goes to DeKalb girl

A 10-year-old DeKalb girl will take to the footlights in the title role in Kaneland High School’s production of “Annie.”

Gianna Gooden, 10, will appear in Kaneland Arts Initiative’s production of “Annie the Musical” at 7 p.m. July 13, July 14, July 20 and July 21, and at 2 p.m. July 15 and July 22. The high school is at 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park.

The sixth-grader at Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb will sport her own black, curly hair instead of the role’s signature red locks.

Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of Kaneland Arts Initiative, has put together an ethnically diverse cast and jettisoned some trademarks of the play, which is based on a longtime favorite comic strip. Cast members come from throughout the Kaneland and DeKalb areas, with ages ranging from 8 to adult.

The story takes place during the worst part of the Great Depression in 1933. Annie is an 11-year-old orphan who believes that her parents will one day come back for her. Meanwhile, she ends up in the care of billionaire Warbucks, taken in so the businessman can improve his image.

A pit orchestra will provide the music, complete with violins, cellos, bass, piano, percussion, trumpets, trombones, flutes and clarinet. Familiar songs include “Tomorrow,” “Hard Knock Life” and “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.”

Kaneland School Board member Peter Lopatin will play Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Alex Herbert of Maple Park will play Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage.

Tickets can be purchased online at for $8 to $12.50 or at the door for $10 to $15.


–DeKalb County News Briefs–