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Sunday, April 21, 2024

March Editor’s Notes


More than a few times, when the calendar changes to March, my thoughts race back to New Year’s Day 1993. That day my cousin, Candyce Krumwiede, welcomed me on my first visit to Naperville, a time I’d arrived to look for a new home for our family. By March 3, our three children were enrolled in District 204 schools. Soon after, they were taking piano lessons at North Central College.

When one of my new neighbors learned about my passion for local culture and history, she encouraged me to apply for a part time PR job at Naper Settlement when Peggy Frank was the executive director. I wasn’t really looking for a job, but I thought it might be a good way to meet folks. I applied. To my surprise, I was hired. And I must admit that’s where I met many of Naperville’s most interesting people—past and present.

Naperville Heritage Society member Peg Yonker in her white tennis togs comes to mind the day she stopped by my office with a warm welcome. Soon after, sitting around the table in the Administrative Office Building, Rita and John Harvard shared the Cock Robin story. Rita also included me in her dream for a performing arts center at North Central. Soon after, Naperville Municipal Band Conductor Ron Keller enlightened me with the history of the Memorial Day Parade. Rita also introduced me to Riverwalk Commission Chairman Cliff Preston who encouraged my joining the Riverwalk 2000 committee to help with fundraising for the Riverwalk extension from Washington to Hillside as well as Fredenhagen Park.

From there to here and there!

Then one day about five years later, I received a call from Bob Smith, then-DuPage editor at the Daily Herald. Bob had been receiving my press releases for several years. He checked my interest in writing a weekly column called “Around Naperville” in the Neighbor section. I thought, “Sure. Why not?”

That’s when faxes (remember them?) and phone calls (remember them?) with tips about upcoming events began bombarding me. I recognized more local ink could help promote good news, small businesses and the can-do spirit of this community. I talked with my favorite local printer, Ray Kinney, about starting a community monthly newspaper. He said without a web press, he couldn’t print it; yet, Ray connected me with a little company that could.

The Naperville Jaycees Last Fling was featured on the first cover of Positively Naperville. (PN File Photo)

During Last Fling 2001, Positively Naperville arrived on the scene. With permission from the Jaycees who were featured on the cover, a couple of neighborhood kids distributed the paper along the parade route. Believe it or not, that morning I arrived downtown without my camera. To my surprise and delight, I observed dozens of folks along Mill Street reading PN. That’s when the idea to “Catch someone reading PN” began.

Back when PN was launched in September 2001, most pages were black and white such as this first “house ad” that appeared to help promote the first sponsoring advertisers. (PN File Photo)

Then 11 days later, the World Trade Center was demolished by terrorists. I dug my heels into the ground, more determined than ever to go forward with good news about this remarkable community.

Not long afterward, I met arts advocate Bev Frier. She candidly told me she’d been one of the spectators reading PN at the Labor Day Parade who thought PN would never make it.

Bev’s comments have resonated through the extreme ups and downs of keeping the printed word alive these past 21 years while trying to meet commitments during often challenging and uncertain times.

And let me digress to another memory at Colonial Café when several women in a nearby booth were wondering loudly about Positively Naperville. One woman was certain PN was published by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Another speculated we were another publication by the Naperville Sun. I was too shy to correct them.

Every small independent business, whether nonprofit and for-profit, is challenged to meet obligations of paying staff and vendors to keep moving forward with the art of service. Since our founding, it’s been our mission. More than ever, we appreciate all the kind words and community support that comes our way.

Don’t miss this month’s centerfold in print!

As we’ve mentioned more than a few times during this 21st year of going forward with PN, it’s been interesting (and sometimes embarrassing!) to flip through pages of old issues and look back at how far we’ve come. April 2003 was the first year we accepted political advertising during the Consolidated Election. Right there on page 9 was a campaign ad to “Re-Elect Mary Ellingson” who ended up serving three terms on City Council through 2007. A decade later, we were reminded that 28 interested residents had picked up petition packets for City Council for the 2013 Consolidated Election! By the final filing date, only 12 candidates turned in their packets.

Right now all candidates are welcome to request a post for “meet and greet” events that link to “Get to know” the candidates at www.positivelynaperville.com, a service this publication also began in 2003.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned and pay attention as the candidates for City Council, boards of education, park district commissioners and COD trustees discuss issues and put forth ideas for the good service they aim to provide. Check out PN’s March centerfold in print. Be informed before Early Voting begins in person at the Naperville Municipal Center and other Naperville locations on March 20.

And begorra! Be sure to be an educated voter before Consolidated Election Day ends at 7PM Tues., April 4.

–Stephanie Penick, PN Publisher

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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