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What was your reaction to the Drew Peterson verdict?

--Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgSure, there was a media blackout at last night's World Leaders Forum at Judson University, where former President George W. Bush spoke. But the 1,600 who were expected to attend were encouraged to tweet their reactions to the former president's speech, at least according to a tweet from the university:

@JudsonU (Judson University): This is a historic day for Judson as we begin our inaugural World Leaders Forum! Live tweeting is encouraged! Hashtag: #worldleadersforum.

While one student told me cell phone signals appeared jammed inside Judson's Lindner Fitness Center, at least a few were able to post during the event. Here were some of my favorites:

valfisk08 (Valarie Fisk): "I have one peice of advice for you: fill the potholes!" -george w bush to the mayor of elgin. #Worldleadersforum @judsonu

bknight77 (Brad Knight): It's a sweet hymn. Of the sermon gets a little boring, look it up! -Bush #worldleadersforum (Editor's note: Nobody I asked afterward remembered which hymn Bush had been talking about!)

bknight77 (Brad Knight): "No one knew Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. Everyone knew I ate the stupid pretzel!" -Bush #worldleadersforum

Lelagurl (Lela DeLong): "Read alot and don`t get drunk!" #GeorgeWBush giving advice to 13 year olds wanting to be president one day. #wlf @judsonu

HannaKsays (Hanna Koenig): Key to leading org. is to be honest about what you don't know. Surround yourself with smart ppl who you trust-G.W.Bush #worldleadersforum

deedee_k (Ashley McCambridge): In a conference full of go-getters, ushers are pretty futile. #worldleadersforum #volunteering

For live tweets from major Elgin-area events, breaking news and more, follow your Reader's Reporter on Twitter at @couriernews.

-- Emily McFarlan (@mcemilywrites), Reader's Reporter

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgI've never seen anything like it. Administrators who have been with school districts for more than 30 years said they'd never seen anything like the crowd at this week's two special school board meetings to consider cutting 363 teachers to clear the way to restructure middle and high schools in Carpentersville area Community Unit School District 300.

In case you didn't get to see it, here's a quick video I nabbed on my smartphone Wednesday, before the board narrowly approved those cuts:

After the vote, students vowed to "continue the riots" every day. And on Thursday, video started popping up on YouTube of student walkouts at all three District 300 high schools: Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Jacobs High School in Algonquin and Hampshire High School.

While I can describe to you 1,000-plus students walking out of a school building, chanting and carrying signs, on YouTube, you can see the students in their own video. You can hear them in their own words. So I've started a playlist on YouTube of videos from this week's meetings and protests:

If you have posted or seen other videos, share those here in the comments, so I can add them.

-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgIn case you haven't heard, Snowmageddon is coming. The Snowpocalypse. Or, as I like to call it, Snowverreaction.

Although, we'll see. Already, a light dusting of fluffy, white death is covering the ground here in Elgin. And the National Weather Service is forecasting the blizzard will bring at least a foot of snow through Wednesday afternoon to the Chicago area.

Meantime, we have some advice from the Kane County Sheriff and area municipalities in today's paper -- "Sheriff: Stay out of the weather & out of the way" -- and many more winter weather resources on our website. That includes:

  • Emergency closings (Elgin Community College already has announced it is closing at 2 p.m. today and reopening Thursday.)
  • Radar
  • Current conditions
  • Road conditions

We also want to see your photos of the snow, once it comes, or even your preparations for the Snowpocalypse. You can submit your photos here, using this easy form on our website.

AND we want to know: How bad will this storm actually be? Click here to vote in our poll: "POLL: Are you preparing for a major winter snowstorm?"

Not to mention, I'll be glued to our social networking sites as soon as the snow starts to fall. You always can share your stories and photos with us:

We'll run them in Thursday's paper.

Meantime, stay warm. Stay in! And drive safely.

-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

PHOTO: Bri by the Lake

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Thumbnail image for emily.jpgWho is Bri?

Is she a high-school or college student, posing for her senior portraits? Is she an actress or model, for her professional headshots? Or maybe an author? Will we be seeing this photograph on the book jacket of the next New York Times best-seller?

Bri by the Lake

Photos of the mysterious and lovely Bri appeared in the photo stream for The Courier-News Flicker group this fall. There she was by the lake, by the bridge. Always with the same dazzling smile.

If you're Bri (or navyb0b, who posted the photos), share the story behind your photos with us! And if you're on Flickr, share your photos in The Courier-News Flickr group, and we'll post some of them here on the blog.

-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reader

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgRemember The Courier-News Flickr group?


Well, back before we had this easy-squeezy-lemon-peasy photo submission site, we started a Flickr pool so you could submit your photos for publication in our Our Towns pages. We still get submissions once in a while, and while you need to go this route (sorry!) to get your photos in our pages, it's still an awesome place to share your photos of our towns with other Web-savvy readers.

Like this one, by user vidular...

Stearn Road Corridor Bridge (New Fox River Bridge)

Check it out! Join the group. Share your photos.

And let's make this a regular thing, shall we?

-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

elgin watch list.pngThe Watch List is a weekly list of all those things we're watching, things we're loving, things we're talking about in the newsroom this week, in general.

EVERYBODY!!! Come and see how good we look! The Courier-News staff will be the People of the Week at Villa Verone, starting at 6 p.m. at the downtown Elgin bar and restaurant, 13 Douglas Ave. Reporter Mike Danahey's even made a Facebook event for the occasion. Come and meet us, have a drink and support a good cause! -- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

Have you seen the Blue Moose Family at Platt Hill Nursery on Randall Road in Carpentersville? (Picture to come.)

Or any other great Christmas decorations, in general?!


Post links to photos of your Christmas decorations here, or e-mail them to Between the Bylines editor Emily McFarlan at! -- Katie Anderson, Staff Writer

-- The Courier-News Staff

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgWe're not just telling you who won yesterday's election. We're also telling your Election Day stories here on the blog.

Here's another reader report from Laurie Faith Gibson-Aiello of Elgin...

Laurie Faith Gibson-Aiello

I began my election day at 4:15 a.m. -- ready to help out my friend and Judicial candidate John Dalton at the Metra stations by 5 a.m.

LFGA Election.JPG

There we stood, in below-freezing weather, greeting all the folks at the rush hour trains from 5:15 a.m. to 7:24 a.m., outside, smiling, talking, having a pretty good time with the folks at the Big Timber stop. Randy Hultgren's team showed up for the last two trains, with Randy hanging inside the coffee shop for warmth before coming out to try to greet potential voters.

I am proud that after 6 a.m. I saw many "I VOTED" stickers on the folks catching the train. These folks were up early and voting to carry on their American workday.

More of Gibson-Aiello's story, after the jump!

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgLike everybody else, as the election results rolled in last night, we wanted to know who won.

But that's not all. We didn't just want to hear the candidates' side of the election story, or the Kane County Board of Elections' side of the story -- we also wanted to hear yours. And while we heard from the county there were few complaints about the election process, mostly about signage, what we heard from you was there were some ridiculously long lines at area polling places and a few other "interesting anomalies."

Reporter Katie Anderson has that story in today's paper ("Kane voter turnout spors long waits at Elgin-area polls").

Here are a few more from our readers, in their own words...

Danise Habun

Danise Habun of Elgin knows she is the only Danise Habun in Kane County, but yet when she tried to vote at about 10:15 a.m., she was told that she had already voted by absentee ballot.

"I always vote on election day," Habun said.

At the polling location, Elgin Community Church, the judges said the computer they had showed she had voted, but a call to the Kane County Clerks office said she hadn't. Eventually, a technician was able to override the info in the computer and allow her to cast her vote anyway.

The judges said other people had had problems voting, too, Habun said, but she didn't get into what the problems were.

Once she was done, Habun said, she filed a complaint at Kane County. She then posted her story on Facebook.

And, she said, "I had some interesting responses about the anomalies that have occurred in our area with voting today."

-- Janelle Walker, Freelance Writer

More reader reports, ways to share your experiences, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgDON'T FORGET TO VOTE!!!

Not sure where your polling place is? Find your polling place on these sites we've listed before on Between the Bylines.

Not sure who to vote for? It's not too late! We've gathered resources here to help you make an informed decision, too.

Then join our conversation!

Share your voting experiences with us here in the comments, by e-mail, on Facebook or by using the hashtag #CNVote2010 on Twitter (see results above). Then follow @couriernews on Twitter as we stay up late, eat a lot of pizza and live-tweet election results all night, starting at about 5 p.m.

This is like the night before Christmas for us. We're excited. And we hope you are, too!

Happy Election Day!

-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter

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