Community Close-Up

We continue our occasional series "Community Close-Up" in a village in transition. Since 2006, Elburn has been the last stop on the Metra line to and from Chicago. Annette Collier is one of those riders willing to sit on a train for an hour and a half. She lives in DeKalb, but her family lives in Chicago. Collier sometimes brings her young daughter to keep her company, but today it's just her and her headphones. The Elburn Metra stop has helped ease crowding at the Geneva station. It's also...

The northern Illinois town of Plano stood in for Smallville in the Superman movie released in 2013. While residents have embraced the recognition that came with the film, they want everyone to know the town is more than a Hollywood backdrop. Drive into Plano and you can see the connection to the movie on the city’s welcome signs as you enter. Right under “Birthplace of the Harvester” – a reference to the fact that the McCormick reaper was perfected here in the 19th century – it says ...

This fall, the city councils of Sterling and Rock Falls met in a rare joint session to give final approval to a merger of their two fire departments. Gary Cook is the Chief of the new Twin City Joint Fire Command. He says the merger was the logical end result of an organic process, one that’s been going on for some time. “Our automatic aid agreement was signed 15 years ago. So we had since worked forward from that point. We’re polishing what we’d already been doing. We’re just taking to...

Our occasional series "Community Close-Up" continues in Sterling/Rock Falls. City leaders on both sides of the Rock River are building on the theme "Two Cities, One Community." School pride isn't the only dividing line between these two cities, but Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott says things are changing. "When I went to coffee shops [people said] 'glad to see you guys talking. That should have been done a long time ago. There are so many things we can all benefit from,' " Wescott said. "We...

We continue our series "Community Close-Up" in a town known for its sense of adventure. The founder of Polo named it after Venetian explorer Marco Polo. Today, the rural city of 2500 holds onto a strong bank of memories, thanks to longtime residents. On a recent Tuesday, a dozen women gather for an hour-long exercise class inside the Polo Senior Center. They start with sitting exercises and bounce foam balls off of their knees. The Fit For Life class is for anyone who may have gone through...

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