Category Archives: Naperville Community Leader Series

10 Reasons Why I Love Naperville Magazine and You Should Too!

Naperville Magazine_edited-1by Stuart Meyer

I grew up surrounded by the publishing business.  After my father’s early career years in radio, television and working for the local daily newspaper, he began publishing his own monthly shopper newspaper in Elizabethtown, KY which circulated continuously for over 30 years.

My favorite memories were riding around with him to visit his advertisers as they were all one big extended family to us.  As I got older and after spending enough time hanging out in his design/layout office, he taught me ad design layout… the old-fashioned way as he was somewhat of a “purist”.  No computers or desktop publishing… it was all border tape, polaroids, blue lines, matte books of artwork, hot wax, plenty of typeset and manual Royal typewriters.

Given my childhood in the family publishing business, I’ve alwaysNaperville Magazine_June 2013 Cover admired the work of Naperville magazine publisher Leah Rippe in her vision and determination over the years to build and grow a true Naperville-focused monthly magazine.  The magazine’s mantra and slogan is “Your City. Your Magazine” and they are true to their word.

Here’s my top 10 reasons why I love Naperville magazine:

10)  DESIGN worthy of a higher-end lifestyle magazine publication.

9)  Lots of LOCAL CONTRIBUTORS sharing both their talents and Naperville perspectives.

8)  Seemingly endless coverage of the LOCAL CHARITABLE EVENTS AND SOCIAL SCENE IN THE NAPERSCENE SECTION.  Our favorite challenge is to search for that rare event where our friend Ray Kinney isn’t pictured.

7)  Lots and lots of GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY.

6) I learn more about all the INTERESTING PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE IN NAPERVILLE.

5) Publishing depends on advertising support and I admire the ways in which the magazine blends in BUSINESS STORYTELLING as part of the content.

4) Great FEATURE STORIES and commitment to COMMUNITY NEWS.

3) The magazine is truly presented from a true NAPERVILLE PERSPECTIVE.

2) From restaurant reviews, chef profiles to the Dining Out section, there’s always a strong FOOD FOCUS.

1) Come on… it’s ALL ABOUT NAPERVILLE!  Thanks Leah!

To subscribe to Naperville magazine and event eNewsletter, CLICK HERE

SM

Recent Visit to Naper Settlement a Reminder that Time Travel is Possible

by Stuart Meyer

Naper Settlement_Schoolhouse_FINAL

The interior of the Copenhagen Schoolhouse at Naper Settlement as it appeared in 1870. While it’s a historically accurate replica, many of the materials used are from the original schoolhouse.

Being both a filmmaker and owner of a Naperville-based production company about to move its operation into Downtown Naperville, every time I visit the grounds of Naper Settlement I continue to construct the storyline for a film which uses the Settlement as the setting.  From a production standpoint, the interiors of each building are nearly film-ready in terms of production design down to the fine details.  With just a bit of Hollywood-style magic, we could transform exteriors to a place which takes us far from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Naperville.  One day I predict we will shoot that film.

For now, anyone who doesn’t believe time travel is possible certainly hasn’t visited Naper Settlement.  Sure, you may have driven by and seen the buildings, but if you haven’t stepped foot into these magical historically-preserved spaces you are truly missing out.  The community, Naperville Heritage Society, the Museum Board and team over at the Settlement continues to do a terrific job preserving these treasures of our past bringing history to life year-round.

To the many of you who have embraced this community treasure over the years, there are many additional ways you can ensure this Naperville Legacy lives long into the future, such as (click on links):

Make a Donation for Become a Sponsor

Become a Member

Other ways to support Naper Settlement

SM

BEHIND RIBFEST – Feature-Length Documentary Film Provides All-Access Behind-the-Scenes Look at Naperville Ribfest

by Stuart Meyer

For the past 26 years, the Naperville Exchange Club has produced Naperville Ribfest as a charitable event which donates 100% of net proceeds toward the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence.  Prepare to be entertained and inspired as you journey behind-the-scenes of the Naperville Ribfest for an exclusive inside look at every aspect of this volunteer-run charitable BBQ and music festival.  Behind Ribfest  is a feature-length documentary film produced by my production company, Social Frequency Media Communications, and after making some rounds at film festivals we’ve decided to release the film online in two parts.  We hope you’ll watch and share this film with others.  Watch the film below or simply click here.

“Behind Ribfest” Documentary Film to Debut at the Naperville Independent Film Festival on September 18th

Over a year ago, I began production on a documentary film about Ribfest.  Many of us know the festival from the perspective of attendee, but few get the chance to go behind-the-scenes of everything that goes into making this volunteer-run festival a success in raising millions of dollars toward the elimination of child abuse and domestic violence.  This film follows along with the Naperville Exchange Club, the rib teams, the musical entertainment acts, the volunteers and the faces behind the festivals ultimate mission.  I’m pleased to report the film is finished and will debut on September 18th at the Naperville Independent Film Festival at 7 PM at the Ogden 6 Classic Cinemas.  As a little teaser, take a look at the promo below:

Glennette Tilley Turner Brings the Illinois Underground Railroad to Life at 2010 African American Heritage Festival in Naperville

“Heritage” is a word that is not only at the fabric and meaning of our existence, but one which carries with it tales of tradition and tragedy which are meant to never be forgotten as future generations inherit this Earth, this country and our community.

The inaugural 2010 African American Heritage Festival, which took place at the NCC Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center last weekend, was certainly an occasion worthy of joyful celebration, insightful reflection and meaningful connections.  Based upon my own experience in attending the festivities on Saturday and meeting the amazing people behind this event, my resolve to bring the larger community into the experience of this Festival was solidified.

To those who could not attend, below is a small piece of what you missed… an audio and still photo composite of author Glennette Tilley Turner talking about her own life and the Freedom Seeker’s travels through the Naperville portion of the Illinois Underground Railroad.  The video also includes an audio interview with the Festival’s Originator, Osie B. Davenport, on the story behind the Festival.

Turner’s warm soul and lifelong inquisitive curiosity has resulted in a number of books for all ages, including:  “An Apple for Harriet Tubman” (childrens book), “The Underground Railroad in Illinois”, “Running for Our Lives”, “Journeys in Courage – On the Underground Railroad”.

In addition, she is about to release a new book, entitled “Fort Mose” about the small island off the coast of St. Augustine, FL which was founded nearly a century before the Emancipation Proclamation and became the earliest settlement of emancipated slaves in our country.

I encourage you to buy these books, share these important stories with your family and make a plan to retrace the steps of the Underground Railroad in Naperville and our surrounding areas.  You can find out more about Glennette Tilley Turner and order her books at:  www.ugrr-illinois.com.

If you missed the African American Heritage Festival this year, I highly recommend that you make plans to attend next year as this is both an important event and opportunity for our community to come together, connect with each other and to explore and celebrate the unique richness of the lives, culture and history that surrounds us.

In the end, the contribution of grant money to support these enriching events is lost without the contribution of time, attention and participation by our community.  Even more, there is an amazing personal and societal reward to be gained when we travel outside of ourselves to build a deeper connection with what is the truest and most meaningful wealth within our community… our relationships with each other.   SM

Wishing Naperville Mayor George Pradel a Speedy Recovery

A photo of Naperville Mayor George Pradel from Summer 2009 during my youngest son's graduation from Safety Town

For those who may not know, our always charismatically animated Commander-in-Chief, Mayor George Pradel, suffered a mild heart attack on Wednesday based on reports from the Naperville Sun.

Based on what has been published, it appears that he is doing well.  Kudos to the cardiac team at Edward Hospital for their top notch care and expertise.  We are very fortunate to live in a community with such a top quality hospital and health care network.

To the Mayor and Pradel family, my warmest wishes and thoughts as the recovery process continues.

Pint-Size City Comes Alive During My Son’s Week at Safety Town Camp in Naperville

Safety Town 2We’ve driven past the peculiar miniature city of colorful buildings and tiny road signs many times before.  We’ve even been trick-o-treating there, but my youngest son would never have remembered as his “street legal” vehicle that Halloween was a stroller.

But 2009 was his big year to take to the scaled down streets in his environmentally green vehicle to learn all about being street safe.  That’s right, last week my little guy spent his days with volunteers from the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club and local student volunteers to learn road safety and, of course, have a little imaginary fun along the way.

For those of you who haven’t driven past the city limits of Safety Town on Aurora Ave. over by the Naperville Police Department, this particular town is a scaled down depiction of a variety of Naperville streets, including a Main Street, a familiar cul-de-sac and even a covered wooden bridge leading to the rail station.  A myriad of street signs, road signs and signals adjoin the sidewalks through safety town which serve as learning aids for the kids. 

Safety Town_PradelAfter a busy week, I was fortunate enough to have recovered enough from my London jet lag to attend the Safety Town graduation ceremony on Friday.  When I arrived, the campers were assembling in the building as Mayor Pradel’s animated energy circulated around the seated crowd with him offering up enthusiastic high fives to the older kids in attendance who had attended Safety Town in previous years.   Yes, Officer Friendly himself was one of the earliest proponents of the Safety Town Facility.

It’s too late this summer, but if you children are headed in Kindergarten in Fall 2010, be sure to sign them up for the Naperville Junior Woman’s Club Safety Town Camp next summer. 

Now if only I can find away to keep my little guy to stay pint-sized for awhile and not grow so fast.  We must all embrace these magical days.  SM