Holiday Express heads to Blackberry Farm
The Holiday Express train is welcoming all aboard during the first three weekends in December at Blackberry Farm for its Yuletide celebration, with thousands of glittering lights, festive activities and the jolly presence of Santa throughout.
For eight days in December, the holiday spirit comes to life from 2 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 3-4, Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 16-18, when the decorated train will run continuously around sparkling Lake Gregory. Friday hours are 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 16.
More than 60,000 Christmas lights (3½ miles worth) will illuminate the sparkling pioneer village, with shooting stars flashing above Blackberry Creek and holiday cartoon characters (Frosty, etc.) gracing the tour of Lake Gregory.
“Thousands and thousands of twinkling lights — from the ticket window to the train depot and all along the walkways — turn Blackberry Farm into a winter wonderland,” said facility supervisor Sandie Gilmer. “It’s a holiday spectacle to be experienced, and a truly memorable outing.”
Santa and his elves will be at Blackberry Farm each weekend, collecting children’s wish lists at the Early Streets Museum. There’s a sleigh full of other activities, including crafts, music, food and “reindeer” training.
The Adventure Playground will be decorated and ready for action. Visitors can also enjoy hay wagon rides while being entertained by carolers and storytellers. Also, volunteer carolers (individual and group) are welcome; call (630) 897-1550 to schedule.
As a new convenience, advance tickets can be purchased online for all Holiday Express dates.
All-access admission to Holiday Express is just $5 per person (children under 2 free). Blackberry Farm is located at 100 S. Barnes Road in Aurora, just south of Galena Boulevard about one half mile west of Orchard Road. For more information, call (630) 892-1550.
Cookie Walk tins available
Oswego’s Christmas Walk is almost here, which means it’s annual Cookie Walk time as well. Purchase a tin now for $10, and on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can take the tin to participating downtown merchants to fill it with delicious, freshly baked cookies.
Tins are available for $10 cash at the following locations: Floral Expressions & Gifts, Page’s Popcorn, & Hudson Design House. On Dec. 3, if any tins are left they will be sold only at Floral Expressions. Limited quantities are available, so get your tin early. For more information, call Floral Expressions at (630) 551-4438.
Police sergeant honored as Inspiring Woman
The Oswego Police Department has announced that Sgt. Page Bond was recently honored by the Inspiring Women of Oswego with their First Responder award. Inspiring Women of Oswego is a committee of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce.
Bond was selected to receive the Police First Responder Award for her dedicated work in the administration of the Sex Offender Registration and Apprehension Team (SORAT). In addition to her duties as a Patrol Sergeant, she is responsible for the monitoring of registered sex offenders in the village of Oswego.
Although Illinois laws govern the registration and monitoring of sex offenders, Bond has developed the Oswego Police SORAT into a comprehensive program that goes beyond what the law requires of sex offender monitoring in efforts towards keeping the children and citizens of Oswego safe.
This includes completing monthly checks when yearly checks are the minimum requirement and a community notification program in which nearby residents are notified when new sex offenders move into their neighborhood.
Since being in charge of the SORAT program, new statutes have been passed that now require a similar registry for those convicted of murder and other violent acts against youth. Bond has applied the same principles of the SORAT program towards the monitoring and registration of these individuals as well.
Bond “has shown great leadership for the SORAT team and the Oswego community should feel confident” in knowing that registered sex offenders and other required registrants are being monitored by the Oswego Police Department, often above and beyond the minimum requirements of the laws that govern the, according to the police department.
Bond started her career with the Oswego Police Department in 1998, after previously working at another police department. During her employment with the Oswego Police Department she has served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, detective and in 2009 was promoted to sergeant.
Students win AP Scholar Awards
One hundred and ten students from Oswego High School (OHS) and 138 students from Oswego East High School (OEHS) have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievements on AP exams.
This number is up from last year, when 79 OHS students and 69 students at OEHS won.
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP exams. About 20 percent of the 2.1 million students worldwide who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award
The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP exams.
Five Oswego East students earned Advanced Placement’s highest honor: National AP Scholar. These students are Jacob Heiser, Ibtesam Kamal, Prerana Mitta, Ryan Tims, and Patrick Ubelhor. This honor goes to students who receive an average score of 4.0 on all AP exams taken and scores of 4.0 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
Annual Rockin’ Christmas Celebration
Plano will kick-off the holiday season with the Annual Plano Rockin’ Christmas celebration on Friday, Dec. 7. The three-day event will begin on Friday with the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting at the Historic Train Depot in downtown Plano. The awarding of the “Ross Greiter Memorial Spirit Award” will also be part of the evening program.
Then head over to the Plano Community Library to see Santa. Please be sure to bring your own camera to take a photo of your child with Santa. Numbers will be passed out to hold your place in line, but the wait may be long.
The purpose of the Rockin’ Christmas celebration is to focus on the “Spirit of Giving” that is representative of the season. Last year, due to the contributions from area residents, Rockin’ Christmas provided food boxes to over 300 families in Plano.
In the days leading up to and including the three day of Rockin’ Christmas, citizens are asked to donate non-perishable food items and/or cash contributions to provide for families in need this holiday season. Cash contributions go toward the purchase of perishable food items, such as turkeys, hams, milk, and butter.
Individuals wishing to volunteer to help with the collection, packing and distributing of food boxes should contact the Plano Area Chamber of Commerce at (630) 552.7272. For a list of food drop-off locations, contact the Plano Area Chamber of Commerce. Monetary contributions can be mailed to the Plano Area Chamber of Commerce, 7050 Burroughs Ave., Plano IL 60545. Please make checks payable to Rockin’ Christmas Fund.
Heartland Blood Center seeks donations
On Thursday, Dec. 8 from 3 to 7 p.m., Heartland Blood Center will be at Senior Services Associates, 908 Game Farm Road in Yorkville. This blood drive is sponsored by the Yorkville Lions Club.
Call Bill at (630) 553-0695 or sign up online at www.heartlandbc.org. Walk-ins welcome and needed to help save patients’ lives at our local hospitals. Bring a photo ID and eat a good meal before donation.
Business Owners invited to Kick-off Student Field-Experience Program
Yorkville High School and the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce invite local business owners to enjoy a delicious, warm, complimentary breakfast on Dec. 15 while helping Yorkville High School celebrate the kick-off of its newly-approved Field Experience program.
This exciting school-to-career partnership opportunity aims to match select junior and senior students with businesses in their field of interest as part of the student’s semester course offerings.
Business owners are encouraged to attend to learn more about this exciting opportunity to prepare District 115 students for career success while enjoying breakfast from 8-9 a.m. in the YHS library.
Reservations requested by December 9 to Yorkville High School Business Teacher Melissa Wojowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details are available on the District 115 website, www.y115.org.
— Kendall County News Briefs —