Articles written by Ken Knutson


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  • Car wash demise not family's entire mission

    Ken Knutson|Updated Jun 12, 2024

    Fuller’s Car Wash may be willing to close down to settle a lawsuit over the tragic death of 14-year-old Sean Richards of Hinsdale last summer. But Sean’s family said there’s more at stake for both loved ones and the village at large than simply shuttering the business. The latest developments in the matter emerged at Tuesday night’s village board meeting after Sean’s father Brian rose to speak during public comment. After thanking the village for placing jersey barriers outside the car wash exit to prevent vehicles from ente...

  • Local woman looks back on century's harvest

    Ken Knutson|Updated Jun 12, 2024

    Blowing out 100 candles is no small feat. That is unless one employs a hand fan, as Hinsdale's June Franc did when she celebrated becoming a centenarian on May 31. "I'm full of hot air," Franc quipped while sitting on her front walk surrounded by a lush garden. She and her late husband, Harold, started tending their plot on the village's north side in 1958 as Ohio transplants. Harold's engineering career had brought the young family west, and they were smitten by Hinsdale's...

  • Girls lacrosse takes third at state

    Ken Knutson|Updated Jun 7, 2024

    For the sixth straight season, Hinsdale Central girls lacrosse finished among the state's elite. A 10-7 win over Lake Forest Saturday in the third-place game on Central's Dickinson Field avenged a 7-9 loss to the Scouts back on March 14, the first game of the season. It also helped salve the disappointment from the Devils' Friday night defeat to eventual state champ Loyola Academy in a hard-fought contest. "We definitely showed up in (the Lake Forest) game, and felt like we...

  • Ask an expert - THERESA GOODRICH, AUTHOR

    Ken Knutson|Updated Jun 5, 2024

    Why should we visit national parks? Theresa Goodrich recounted a memorable encounter with a group of locals while camping in Badlands National Park several years ago. "Bison just walked right through the field where our tent was pitched," she said, describing the behemoths' use of a picnic table as a scratching post. "A bunch of us were up early and standing on one side of our vehicles because on the other side the bison were having their breakfast." Such out-of-the-ordinary e...

  • Student athlete profile - Aidan Hernandez

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 29, 2024

    Aidan Hernandez Hinsdale How was finishing your Central tennis career with a state title? It feels good. A team title is really great, and especially since it was (head coach John) Naisbitt's last year and a great way to send him off. What do you remember about freshman season? It was a very new experience for me. We had a shortened season because of COVID. I was playing football, too, and football was moved to spring so the two seasons overlapped and it was pretty chaotic. Wh...

  • Creative outlet

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 29, 2024

    Photographer Mike Baker started out by training his lens primarily on subjects he thought would have broad appeal. As he matured as a visual artist, he refocused on images that most captured his own interest. "After a while I felt like I wasn't really growing that much, so I started shooting the things that I like to shoot," Baker said, noting that the shift has given him a signature style. "Now people can say, 'That looks like something Mike Baker would do.' " Baker will be...

  • Teen gains insight on caring for one's neighbor

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 29, 2024

    Hinsdale's Molly McGarry was not familiar with the concept of philanthropy when she began her studies at Nazareth Academy. She is now, thanks to her participation in Community Memorial Foundation's Young Community Changemakers program. Upperclassmen from area schools are invited to apply for the program, known as YC2, designed to educate and empower local youth to become the next generation of philanthropists by sharing their time and treasure for the common good. "We learned...

  • 'Gingerbread house' is heritage to savor

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 29, 2024

    Having breathed new life into an historic R. Harold Zook-designed home several years earlier, Hinsdale's Mimi Collins was well-versed on the celebrated local architect. But Zook's 1920s-built cottage-like dwelling at 4 E. Fifth St. was not on her project wish list when it hit the market last year. After all, Collins had just gone to market with the 7,000-square-foot-plus Roaring Twenties château on Park Avenue that she'd spent two years rehabbing. "I had no intention of...

  • Richards makes his last lap at state

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 22, 2024

    As the Hinsdale Central girls track and field team was completing the final leg of its season Saturday at the IHSA state final at Eastern Illinois University, head coach Pat Richards was wrapping up his 34-year tenure. "It's been a long but a good road," said Richards, who watched his Red Devils compete valiantly but come up short of registering points this year. "Not the way I wanted to go out." He acknowledged that the depth of talent in Illinois right now is the most he's...

  • Ask an expert - WILL KUSAK, CENTRAL STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 22, 2024

    What does commencement mean to you? Hinsdale Central student body President Will Kusak will perform his final duty in that role - and as a Red Devil - serving as an emcee of tonight's commencement ceremony. The roughly 600-strong class of 2024 had no in-person eighth-grade graduation due to COVID, and embarked on its high school journey split in halves to promote social distancing on campus. "We were labeled as an 'A day' kid or a 'B day' kid, and that just caused such a stir...

  • Community leans on governmental branch

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 22, 2024

    Hinsdale Seventh-Day Adventist Church wants to improve access for the disabled and the elderly to its building at 201. N. Oak St. by creating a new drive area. But a mature tree occupies the parkway where the driveway would go, a healthy and structurally sound tree that village staff has determined does not meet the criteria to grant the church’s application for removal. Enter the Tree Board. Consisting of Hinsdale Trustees Alexis Braden, Michelle Fisher, Matt Posthuma and Scott Banke, who serves as board chair, the body a...

  • Incentive program finds willing market

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 15, 2024

    Historic homes in Hinsdale that in the past might have fallen victim to the wrecking ball are being saved thanks to village measures to promote preservation. The historic overlay district established in 2022 and the voluntary incentives like zoning relief and matching grant funds that go with district eligibility have persuaded a number of homeowners to remodel rather than raze, officials attest. "It seems like the zoning relief in and of itself was enough, in some cases, to...

  • Student athlete profile - Isabella Walls-Rodriguez

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 15, 2024

    What was your goal heading into your senior soccer season? Just trying to make it far as we can in the season and postseason and building a team where we can actually achieve that. When did you start playing soccer? I started when I was about 7. My family was living in Turkey, and I was the only girl on my first soccer team there. And then you moved to Italy? Yes. I was part of the first girls soccer team at my school there. It’s always good to just be a part of something new. How is youth soccer different in the States? T...

  • Summertime soundtrack

    Ken Knutson and Pamela Lannom|Updated May 15, 2024

    The western suburbs will soon be alive with the sound of music. The season of live outdoor concert series is right around the corner, blending the joy of good tunes with the delight of summertime weather. Watch future issues for more information on Hinsdaleans' favorite summer concert series, Uniquely Thursdays. Here are a few others in the area to check out. • Cantigny Park's Summer Concert Series runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Sundays from May 26 to Sept. 1 (no concert June 23). T...

  • Teacher retires with memories to treasure

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 15, 2024

    Madison School's Nancy Kramer may lead a second-grade class, but her handle among students references her other pursuit: the Dog Teacher. "Because I foster dogs and train dogs and rescue dogs," she explained. "My world is dogs." After 35 years, Kramer is leaving the world of elementary education. She admits her farewell tour leading up to retirement has been emotional at times, but light on packing since she was able to clean out her three decades worth of stuff last spring...

  • D181 board OK's tentative spending plan

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 15, 2024

    The Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 Board approved a tentative 2025 operating budget of $77.8 million Monday night, just about $4 million more than the current year’s total forecast expenses. Mindy Bradford, assistant superintendent of business and operations, presented the proposed spending plan, reporting that revenues are predicted come in at $86.7 million. Salaries and benefits constitute the single biggest expense at $61.8 million. Bradford said the budget accounts for the raises in the new teachers c...

  • Local products show college mettle

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 8, 2024

    As the competitive spring high school seasons are winding down for local senior student-athletes, several former sports standouts from Hinsdale have reached the end of their college journeys. Most notably is Kiran Amegadjie, former Hinsdale Central and Yale University star offensive tackle who was chosen 75th overall by the Chicago Bears in last month’s NFL Draft. “It’s surreal,” he told The Hinsdalean this week about joining the professional ranks with his hometown team. W...

  • Ask an expert - LEVI BROWN, CHMS PRINCIPAL AND ENVIRONMENTALIST

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 8, 2024

    What does it take to be a Green Ribbon school? As a rookie social studies teacher in Fairfax, Va., Levi Brown was troubled that his school was not recycling paper. "I took empty copy paper boxes and sent an email to all the staff asking if I could put a box in their rooms" to collect discarded paper, recounted Brown, principal of Clarendon Hills Middle School. A great plan, until he realized the school had no recycling dumpster. "I went around and got them and piled them all i...

  • Fuller's to get higher-grade bollards

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 8, 2024

    Commercial-grade, crash-tested bollards will be installed at Fuller’s Car Wash, according to Hinsdale officials, replacing previously erected protective fixtures that critics argued were insufficient to prevent another collision like the one that claimed the life of 14-year-old Sean Richards last summer. At Tuesday’s village board meeting, Village President Tom Cauley reported that the manufactured bollards are the kind used at schools, hospitals and other institutions and designed to stop a 5,000-pound vehicle going 40 mil...

  • Walk the Walk for Mental Health

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 1, 2024

    The calendar has strode into May, a month of cherished celebrations and events, including the 18th annual Walk the Walk for Mental Health on Sunday, May 19, at The Community House, 415 W, Eighth St. in Hinsdale. The one-mile color walk promotes mental and physical wellness and the availability of mental health services as well as ending the stigma associated with discussing mental health with friends, family and community. Dan Janowick, The Community House's executive...

  • Resident guides others in blooming through art

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 1, 2024

    Artist InJung Oh finds commonality between creative exchanges and linguistic acquisition. "I approach art as a language through which you get to learn different things and are exposed to different things," the Hinsdale resident said. Helping young people become proficient in understanding art - and, by extension, one another - led her to organize the Spirit of Life painting workshop this Saturday, May 4, at the Hinsdale Public Library (see Page 26 for details). The program...

  • Greenspon retains D86 president's post

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 1, 2024

    A call by Hinsdale High School District 86 teachers last week for new board leadership went unheeded as Cat Greenspon was unanimously reappointed as board president on Monday. The 6-0 vote at the special meeting in Hinsdale South's cafeteria for the annual election of board officers took place before a considerably smaller audience than had gathered at the same location April 25 for the regular meeting. Members of the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association had turned out...

  • Student athlete profile - Parker Matthews

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 1, 2024

    Parker Matthews Hinsdale How long have you played lacrosse? I started playing lacrosse in fourth or fifth grade, and I've been playing ever since, My older sister (Riley) played, too. I did club lacrosse for a little, and then I stopped when I started playing high school. We have a lot of offseason activities, so I feel like it's just been pretty constant play, with just a couple months off. What do you enjoy about the sport? I enjoy the teamwork aspect of it. I'm also a...

  • Waters chafes at cost of transparency

    Ken Knutson|Updated May 1, 2024

    Is a school district able to limit the number of Freedom of Information Act requests it processes? Hinsdale High School District 86 Board member Jeff Waters posed that question at the April 25 board meeting as he expressed concern at the financial and human resources needed to maintain access to information the public is legally entitled to under the Freedom of Information Act. “What do districts do, if anything, to combat excessive FOIA requests, both from the press and community members?” Waters asked administrators. As at...

  • Village seeks downtown parking road map

    Ken Knutson|Updated Apr 24, 2024

    Hoping to optimize parking use in Hinsdale’s central business district, the village has enlisted a consultant to evaluate various facets of the complex issue over the next few weeks. “We’re just trying to figure out if we’re using the spaces as best as we possibly can,” Hinsdale Deputy Police Chief Tom Lillie said. Visitors to the downtown know well the challenge of finding a parking spot at peak times. Even after the addition of the parking deck and its nearly 200 spaces (and more than 300 when the middle school’s...

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