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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jul 14

Fox River Cleanup in Batavia a clear success

Posted to BataviaPlus City Profiles by Christopher Cudworth

City of Batavia hosts Fox River cleanup

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Jun 28

Tri-Com is ready when you call 9-1-1

Posted to BataviaPlus Regional by Christopher Cudworth

IMG_6813The world is now so full of amazing technologies and connected services it is almost impossible to imagine how it all works. When your phone seems to know that you’re going home before you do, and your car can park itself, what else is there for us to do but go along?

Yet sometimes life turns itself inside out. Real life emergencies can come about in an instance. That’s when we need the services we depend upon to be simple-to-use, reliable and accessible.

In America, we’re trained from an early age to call 9-1-1 in emergencies. That education works: there are an estimated 240 million calls made to 9-1-1 each year.  Across the country there are systems are set up to connect dispatchers to emergency services providers such as police, ambulance and emergency responders. The communities of Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles, South Elgin, Elburn, North Aurora, Sugar Grove and the Waubonsee Community College campus are all served by Tri-Com, an organization (1) dedicated to handling and dispatching calls to emergency services.

In good hands

Tri-Com handles approximately 130,000 calls and  98,000 dispatches each year. That’s an average of 365 calls per day, and 268 dispatches in the five communities it serves. Just as important as fielding those calls is the manner in which services can be coordinated between police, fire and medical teams.

As such, Tri-Com leverages technologies and systems designed specifically for regions where towns share borders. Tri-Com is a member of an organization called the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. The Tri-Com website states, “There are currently 48 divisions throughout Illinois and 4 divisions in Wisconsin. MABAS allows Tri-Com to communicate with and receive assistance from many non-Tri-Com fire agencies during major incidents.”

Heading up this organization requires deep experience and insight into how emergency systems are managed. Recently Tri-Com promoted Nicole Lamela to Director of Tri-Com Central Dispatch. She has spent 22 years of her career at Tri-Com in numerous positions of increasing responsibility. These include telecommunicator, supervisor, CAD administrator, deputy director and interim director.

Growing responsibility

As population has grown in the Fox Valley area served by Tri-Com, the volume of calls to 9-1-1 has continued to increase. But some of the effectiveness of Tri-Com depends upon everyday citizens to know how and when to make a beneficial 9-1-1 call.

It starts with learning how to be a good witness. The Tri-Com website shares insights on how and what to observe when making a 9-1-1 call whether the situation is about someone you know or a complete stranger. 
Their Be A Good Witness page is therefore a good primer for anyone to know.

Tri-Com was formed in 1976 and has ably served the Tri-Cities for more than 40 years and likely more than 40M calls to 9-1-1. We might take such technology and convenience for granted. But we shouldn’t. The number of lives saved may be countless, and when you’re the person who needs 9-1-1 assistance it is good to know there are Tri-Com professionals ready to help.

(1)    Tri-Com is a cooperative arrangement voluntarily established* by its Original Members (Cities of St Charles, Geneva and Batavia) pursuant to an Intergovernmental Agreement (“IGA”) authorized by Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, 1970, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, 5 ILCS 220/2 (1) 5 ILCS 220/2 (1) et seq. of the Illinois Compiled Statutes for the purpose of providing communication services for police, fire, ambulance and other emergency communication systems for the mutual benefit of the members of the venture; to provide such services on a contract basis to other public agencies; and to provide a forum for discussion, study, development and implementation of recommendations of mutual interests regarding communications, information systems, statistical matters and criminal justice, fire safety, emergency medical and telephone emergency request systems, public safety information communication and data processing within portions of Kane, DuPage and Kendall Counties, Illinois.


Jun 19

Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry: making life normal for many

Posted to BataviaPlus Voices by Christopher Cudworth

Batavia Pantry tooSee those shelves filled with food at the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and Clothes Closet? It's all donated and processed for distribution to members of the community in need of groceries for daily nutrition. 

See, hunger in Batavia doesn’t look like bloated stomachs or skin and bones.  It is more often about making a choice between paying the electric bill, the medical bill or going to the grocery store.  It is part of the stress of trying to get the bills paid and the home duties done while you parent and work. It’s just like all of us but there is ZERO room for error in many households.

Unexpected financial emergencies put many people in a bind.

  • You get a flat tire and then what?  How do you get to work?  If you skip work to fix the car, you lose that day’s income and maybe the job itself.  You come to the food pantry until the car is fixed.
  • Your tooth hurts and the cost of the dentist bill causes you to be late on rent again. You get an eviction notice.  You need to pay the landlord or lose your home, so you come to the food pantry because every last penny needs to pay the landlord.
  • Your wife left you and the four kids.  It was tight before and now the family has one less job. You go to the food pantry because the kids need healthy food and clothes.
  • There is a new baby and the baby needs diapers, which aren’t cheap. You come to food pantry because we have the food you need to feed a growing family.
  • You live in a $500,000 house with your husband and kids with two nice cars and all the fixings.  Everything is working well until someone loses a job, there is a major medical problem and someone can’t work.  Income drops.  Expenses rise.  Debt payments remain the same.  You come to the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet until income rises or the house and overhead can be cut.
  • Divorce brings folks to the pantry until expenses and lifestyles are settled.

For others, the supplementary services provided by the pantry and clothes closet are a regular part source of support. There is no particular triggering event. Here are a few examples:

  • You are retired on a fixed income.  You know exactly how much money there is to go around. You come to the food pantry monthly for full service shopping, every Saturday for extras and sometimes midweek for bread and apples.  You’re not here because it’s an emergency. You are here because your budget won't work without these supplementary groceries.
  • You are working over 40 hours a week at minimum. Paychecks don’t cover the expenses so you are a pantry regular as well: once a month, every Saturday.

The pantry and clothes closet helps folks hold it together, be part of their community and carry on a life that has normalcy.


Over the course of the year, the pantry and clothes closet serve close to 700 families.  They are welcome to receive full service grocery shopping once a month (almost a week's worth of groceries) and clothes shopping twice a month. Yet most only take what they need. Some we serve only once. On average, clients visit 11 times a year. That includes about 6 visits to the food pantry and 5 visits to the clothes closet.  

Of the individuals we serve, 40% are children, 52% are adults, and 8% are elderly. The volume of food and clothing that goes in and out of our little building each month is amazing.  

We rely on the help of150 volunteers a month process both clothing and food donations. In May alone our volunteers processed 52,000 pounds of food donations

This article for Voice was provided by Betsy Zinser, Executive Director of the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and Clothes Closet. 

Batavia PantryThe Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and Clothes Closet is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, volunteer agency directed and operated by community and local church volunteers residing throughout the greater Fox Valley area. It is also a member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Those who visit and use the Food Pantry are our neighbors and friends, people with disabilities, seniors, low income families, and families whose member(s) have lost their jobs.

Once a client/family has been 
certified they may use the Pantry once a month. In addition, all clients may come during the last half hour of operation on any day the Pantry is open for produce and bakery items. The Pantry is also open to all clients each Saturday morning, see right column for hours and available items.
The Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry has been open for over 30 years. It is currently serving over 1,200 individuals each month. This would not be possible without the active support of community volunteers and donors who so selflessly donate their time, effort, and money. Our pantry requires 900 worker hours each month to fill our client shopping hours and food collection and stocking needs.