Meet the new Who–better than the old Who? Better, you bet!

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By Tom Siebert

The Who don’t do drugs anymore, their mad-genius drummer and brilliant bassist having sadly succumbed to overdoses in 1978 and 2002, respectively. And it has been decades since the visionary, explosive rock band closed their concerts by nihilistically destroying their instruments.

But last night, a renewed Who elevated their storied songs to stratospheric heights before more than 25,000 fans at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, during the Chicago-area stop of their 31-date Moving On symphonic tour.

Rock giants Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend fronted an astonishing musical assemblage comprised of their stellar seven-piece backing band and a magnificent 48-piece orchestra, some of them local musicians, conducted by Keith Levenson and arranged by David Campbell.

“Thanks for coming out tonight,” Mr. Townshend said to the frozen people who braved 50-degree weather to see the fabled performers. “We’ll try to warm things up a bit.”

That they did. The first elegant eight songs were from 1969’s “Tommy,” The Who’s groundbreaking rock opera about an emotionally and physically challenged boy who becomes a pinball wizard/pop guru.

Mr. Townshend, who turned 74 the other day, wrote the famed concept album to heal from his own childhood sexual abuse.

And the original guitar hero seemed to still be playing his instrument as a catharsis, hunching over it, attacking the strings, and flying his fingers up and down the frets–then standing survivor-tall with his trademark windmill power-strumming.

Mr. Daltrey, now 75 and a survivor himself of meningitis and throat cancer, sang the soaring refrain from “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me” with vigor and vulnerability, pointing at members of the Tinley Park throng.

“Listening to you, I get the music. Gazing at you, I get the heat. Following you, I climb the mountain. I get excitement at your feet. Right behind you, I see the millions. On you, I see the glory. From you, I get opinions. From you, I get the story.”

The delighted crowd got the story, the glory–and the lyrics right–singing along, smiling, and tearing up with emotion.

It was an eclectic audience that spanned at least three generations: Baby Boomers who perhaps first listened to Who albums in smoke-filled dorm rooms; their adult kids, who are all right; and younger aficionados, who were likely introduced to the band’s iconic songs from the opening credits of TV’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” trilogy.

About 10,000 fans sat in the reserved seating section of the scenic outdoor amphitheater, while another 15,000 or so huddled on blankets or beach chairs in the sprawling lawn area, bathed in the sparkling colored lights streaming from the titanic stage.

The gifted orchestra somehow made violins sound like guitar solos and inserted majestic flourishes to The Who’s writ-large songs with cellos, bassoons, French horns, a harp, and timpani.

After the “Tommy” set, the orchestra exited the stage, leaving the core band members to thrill the crowd with legendary rock standards.

Mr. Daltrey good-naturedly noted the cold wind blowing in his face and shouted out, “Don’t you people know it’s nearly summer?!”

His band mate of 55 years added: “We love Chicago. Everyone seems to be so warm and friendly, except the ones who aren’t so warm and friendly–just like home.”

The showstopper of the enchanted evening was a surprising acoustic rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” an epic song from 1971’s classic “Who’s Next” album.

The frigid fans, many of whom were dressed as if they were at a Chicago Bears game in mid-December, warmed up by standing, dancing, and chiming in word for word–including the song’s cynical, lyrical conclusion about the political revolution of the late 1960s: “Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!”

Mr. Daltrey, whose performing skills include singing, mike tossing, tambourine banging, and harmonica playing, donned an acoustic guitar and strummed credibly during “Eminence Front,” a mesmerizing electronic funk from 1982’s “It’s Hard” album.

A violin-driven version of 1971’s “Behind Blues Eyes” gave added drama and depth to the bittersweet ode to codependency.

Roger and Pete were joined together on stage by violinist Katie Jacoby, vocalist Billy Nichols, and regular band members Simon Townshend on guitar, Loren Gold on keyboards, Jon Button on bass, and drummer Zak Starkey–whose father, Ringo Starr, used to play with a little band called The Beatles.

The Who could not and did not perform all of their many greatest hits. I was disappointed that they did not do “You Better You Bet,” a quirky love song whose ironic, yearning verses have been heard on rock radio since 1981.

But this was no loose “Freebird” type of concert. No, it was an immovable feast of precisely measured music that required exquisite timing among the 55 master musicians who often shared the stately stage.

The massive symphonic assault of the senses was at once thrilling and even more chilling than the Windy City weather.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night was achieved by just Pete and Roger dueting a pretty offering of “Tea & Theatre,” from their 2006 album “Endless Wire.”

“Two of us–we will have some tea,” sang Mr. Daltrey, wearing a black down jacket and raising a cup of tea to Mr. Townshend as the moving ballad drew to a close.

Watching this emotional scene, I could not help but recall The Who’s star-crossed history. As children, they played in the rubble of post-war Britain.

Mr. Townshend has said his melancholy lyrics and scorched-earth sounds grew out of his Cold War generation’s growing up under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

Then, on Sept. 7, 1978, their comedic, dynamic drummer Keith Moon died in his London flat after consuming 32 tablets of clomethiazole, which had been prescribed to ease his alcohol withdrawal.

Many more losses came on December 3, 1979, when 11 young Who fans were stampeded to death prior to a concert at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. The horrific tragedy led to nationwide bans on festival seating, where the first to enter music venues got the spots closest to the stage.

And original member John Entwistle, who was voted the greatest bass player ever in a Rolling Stone magazine readers’ polls, died at age 57 from a cocaine-induced heart attack in a hotel room in Paradise, Nevada, on June 27, 2002.

So the change, well, it had to come. Last week, Mr. Daltrey cussed out a fan in Nashville for lighting up a joint, saying that he was allergic to marijuana smoke and it adversely affected his voice.

But through it all, the band played on, right up to last night’s mega-gig at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.

The third act of the two-and-a-half-hour, 24-song show featured orchestrated numbers from The Who’s 1974 magnum opus, “Quadrophenia.”

The highlight was that album’s “Love Reign O’er Me,” which began with a dramatic piano interlude by Mr. Gold and reached rock ‘n’ roll high heaven with Mr. Daltrey’s up, up, and away wailing of the chorus line.

I attended The Who’s allegedly final U.S. concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1982. And if their lead singer has lost a step or note, I couldn’t tell.

The same goes for Mr. Townshend. He seems to be ever exploring the sonic depths of his guitar. And they have a new CD coming out later this year.

The encore was the anthemic “Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland),” propelled by Ms. Jacoby’s stunning violin solo.

Most everyone yelled out on cue rock’s most-famous last line, “They’re all wasted!”

If you missed this once-in-a-lifetime performance, The Who will be destroying audiences at venues across the nation throughout the summer and fall, including a concert on September 8 at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

But wherever they play, from Woodstock to the Super Bowl to Tinley Park, The Who’s still on first.

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Posted in Concert Review, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, The Who, Tinley Park, Tom Siebert | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Shark Tank’ star Mark Cuban jaws about health, happiness at Judson University’s World Leaders Forum in Elgin

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By Tom Siebert

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team, took some bank shots at President Trump on Tuesday, but dribbled away from whether he will wage his own independent campaign for the White House.

Speaking before the World Leaders Forum at Judson University in Elgin, the star of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank” took stances on several simmering political issues but stopped short of announcing his own third-party candidacy for president.

“My legislative priority is to win a playoff game,” Mr. Cuban quipped, referring to the Mavs’ missing the NBA postseason for the past three years, and drawing laughs among the more than 400 people jammed into Herrick Chapel at the Christian college.

About his rags-to-riches journey, he said: “I’m just a grinder. I always have been. I didn’t get a small, million-dollar loan from anybody.”

That was an indirect reference to Mr. Trump’s self-narrative about how his father lent him the money that launched his lucrative real-estate business, although a recent New York Times investigation concluded that the president’s paternal assistance amounted to many more millions.

Mr. Cuban, who told CNBC last Tuesday that he was considering a presidential run, was interviewed by Mark Vargas, a 2004 Judson graduate, health-tech entrepreneur, conservative opinion writer, and former U.S. Department of Defense adviser on rebuilding war-ravaged economies through private and foreign investment.

The two Marks talked substantively about healthcare reform, gun control, income inequality, reaching diverse business markets, and even artificial intelligence (AI), which Mr. Cuban predicted will radically change the world’s economy in the same way that computers, the internet, and social media did.

“Vladimir Putin thinks so,” Mr. Vargas noted.

“I’d like to hear what Putin has to say about Helsinki,” joked Mr. Cuban, alluding to the Finland summit in July 2018 when the Russian leader spoke privately for two hours with President Trump.

But most of the hour-long conversation focused on the guest’s success story, which began with him selling garbage bags door to door at the age of 12.

“I was fired from a software store, living with five other guys, and feeling stressed and stuck,” he recalled. “I wanted to control my destiny, and starting my own company was the only way to do that.”

Mr. Cuban started several successful companies, including MicroSolutions, a computer consulting service that he sold in 1990 to CompuServe, and Broadcast.com, a sports radio website that was sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion.

He elicited enthusiastic applause twice after asking the audience if they watched “Shark Tank,” the long-running series that allows aspiring entrepreneurs to make business presentations to a panel of five investors that includes Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O’Leary.

And the reality-TV celebrity regaled the audience with impressions of two television characters from his youth, Fred Sanford of “Sanford and Son” and Sergeant Schultz from “Hogan’s Heroes.”

“I thought he was super funny,” said Judson freshman Carista Richie, who is majoring in Christian ministry. “And very knowledgeable.”

Graduate student Taylor Hilliard, who plans to work on his master’s degree in biomedical services at the university this fall, was particularly interested when Mr. Cuban spoke about the prospect of AI leading to more-accurate health diagnoses.

“The focus of medicine should be on the patient, and I want to be a part of that,” he asserted.

The World Leaders Forum resumes on October 8 when author, attorney, and diplomat Caroline Kennedy will be the keynote speaker at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

The daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy will be interviewed by conservative commentator Eric Metaxas, host of a nationally syndicated radio show.

The format will be similar to last year’s World Leaders Forum, which featured a lively but civil discussion between Democrat Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, and Republican Newt Gingrich, ex-speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Previous keynote speakers at the forum were former President George W. Bush, ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, then-President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

To purchase tickets for the fall event, visit JudsonU.edu.

Located in Elgin since 1963, Judson University offers a Christian, liberal arts and sciences education through its bachelor of arts degrees for more than 60 majors, minors, graduate programs, and online, as well as certification and accelerated adult degree programs.

Proceeds from today’s event support entrepreneurship and diversity scholarships for Judson students.

“My advice to students entering the workforce is that you don’t need to find the perfect job right away,” Mr. Cuban concluded. “Take that first job, find joy in the moment, approach it as a learning opportunity, and get smarter every day.”

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New movie ‘The Public’ mirrors the harsh realities of homelessness

1*fWXaB_I2XVJuVd_3m5j9UQ.pngBy Tom Siebert
Assistant director for community relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County

For the past four years, I have had the high but humbling privilege of writing about the area’s homeless community and those with huge hearts for helping them.

But for the grace of God, as well as the generosity of family and friends, I would be writing about homelessness in the first-person singular tense.

This issue hit home locally when Emilio Estevez–the writer, director, producer, and star of “The Public”–screened his new film last month to residents of Aurora’s Hesed House, the second-largest homeless shelter in Illinois, at the Cinemark Tinseltown USA movie theater in North Aurora.

“The Public” is a bold, brilliant movie that touches on several hot-button topics of our time: policing, dirty politics, fake news, mental illness, the opioid crisis, and the occupy movements.

But this educating and entertaining film is mostly about the homeless, writ large and lengthily.

Mr. Estevez, who inherited the social conscience of his father, actor-activist Martin Sheen, demonstrates that when it to comes to homelessness, he gets it–and gets it right.

For the past nine years, Kendall County PADS has been providing the local homeless with nutritious meals, overnight housing, and access to social services during the six colder months of the calendar.

“The Public” perfectly depicts the challenges that our PADS guests face on a day-to-day basis.

The film focuses on an eclectic group of about 100 homeless citizens who occupy the main Cincinnati library after closing hours, during a record-breaking cold night when all the city shelters are full.

Similarly, the public libraries in Oswego, Montgomery, and Yorkville are often havens for the homeless. They read books, newspapers, and magazines, in addition to using the computers to seek employment or connect with families or friends. And during the recent harsh winter, many area public buildings became warming centers.

In the movie, the homeless ride the Cincinnati Metro trains, sometimes with no particular place to go but to escape the cold.

In sprawling Kendall County, which has no public transportation, PADS partners with private transit firms to take guests to and from its seven shelter sites, and back and forth from their jobs for those who have them.

During two subfreezing nights last winter, Kendall Area Transit was forced to shut down. However, KAT kept its PADS routes open, so the guests would not have to walk in the big chill.

Citizens become homeless for myriad reasons that often overlap. Some just lose their jobs like “The Public” character Smutts, played by Michael Douglas Hall.

Addiction is also a major factor, as personified in the movie by Jackson, actor Michael Kenneth Williams, who is shown openly drinking alcohol in the occupied library.

Others suffer from emotional challenges like Big George, poignantly portrayed in the film by Chicago rapper-philanthropist Che “Rhymefest” Smith.

At Kendall County PADS sites, social work interns from Aurora University help the homeless find employment, treatment options, 12-step programs, and permanent housing.

In “The Public,” Mr. Estevez plays bleeding-heart librarian Stuart Goodson, who is reminiscent of Anne Engelhardt, the executive director of Kendall County PADS. Anne knows every shelter guest by name and need.

Mr. Goodson tries to give Jackson money and even gives Big George the eyeglasses off his face so that he can stop seeing “lasers” and see his way out of the sit-down situation.

Much of “The Public” centers on the police riot response to the library siege, with Alec Baldwin playing crisis negotiator Bill Ramstead, who is simultaneously searching for his own missing, opioid-addicted son among the homeless.

Locally, Kendall County law enforcement works closely with PADS. Sheriff Dwight Baird is a member of our board of directors.

Sheriff’s deputies could arrest homeless citizens for vagrancy but they instead give them the choice to be taken to a PADS site. The sheriff’s department also handles PADS’ laundry, having it washed at the county jail.

In the movie, the TV news media wrongly reports that the peaceful demonstration is a hostage crisis. Members of the Cincinnati community bring bags and boxes of food to the area outside the sieged library.

That outpouring of kindness is matched here by the Kendall County Food Bank, which partners with PADS, as well as area residents who donate clothing, hygiene items, and other supplies to our sites at six churches and a Christian academy.

Finally, just as we are not shown the ultimate fate of the homeless in “The Public,” we don’t know where many of our PADS guests will go when the shelter season ends this Saturday.

The hope is they will find permanent places to live before the sites re-open in mid-October, but if they don’t, Kendall County PADS will be there for them.

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‘The Best of Enemies’ is an inspiring movie about racial redemption

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By Tom Siebert

It is the summer of 1971 in post-Civil Rights Act America. But many cities from Biloxi to Boston hadn’t yet gotten the memo that segregated schools were illegal, based on the landmark Brown versus Board of Education ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.

One of those places is Durham, North Carolina, where an electrical fire badly damages an all-black elementary school, igniting a community furor over whether the displaced children would be allowed to attend classes in the same building as white students.

That is the true premise of “The Best of Enemies,” an edifying film that lengthily and arduously answers the innocent question that little Marilyn Atwater asks her single mother Ann: “Mommy, where are we going to go to school now?”

Ann Atwater was a battle-weary, tough-talking, black advocate. She was also a force of nature, and actress Taraji P. Henson’s portrayal of her is a tour de force that may earn her an Academy Award, one of the few acting honors she did not win for her stoic performance in the excellent “Hidden Figures.”

Ann first shows up in the movie pulling a phone receiver out of a city councilman’s hand in his office and hitting him in the head with it because he wasn’t listening to her. In a later scene she angrily turns around the swivel chair of a white councilman who had turned his back on her because she and her fellow fair-housing petitioners were black.

“What we’re talkin’ about is damn important and you gonna listen to us!” she shouts at the bespectacled, bewildered city lawmaker.

The U.S. civil rights movement was admirably led by a high-minded, silver-tongued orator, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But it also needed down-to-earth “sistahs” such as “Roughhouse Annie” Atwater, as she was dubbed, to courageously clean up the primordial sleaze of institutionalized racism at the local level.

The astonishing untold story of “The Best of Enemies” is that the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic terrorist organization, was still infiltrating and influencing the civic and business life of cities like Durham as recently as the early ‘70s. To call the Klan a “white supremacist” group would be a misnomer because they hated not just African Americans but Jews and Catholics as well.

The KKK of that era had stripped off their white hoods and robes but could no longer get away with lynchings and cross burnings. However, in Durham town at that time, the Klan still retained enough clout to sway a city council vote in favor of a white slumlord, and to use a flimsy code violation to shut down a hardware store that was managed by a black man, who was also a Vietnam War veteran.

And the Klansmen could still commit atrocious acts of terrorism. They shoot up the home of a young white woman rumored to be in an interracial relationship. This harrowing scene is filmed in slow motion, as if it were straight out of a Sam Peckinpah Western.

The president of the local Klan is C.P. Ellis, who also runs a whites-only gas station in town. Actor Sam Rockwell, who won an Oscar last year for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” plays Mr. Ellis convincingly as the monster he was as well as the redeemed man he was to become.

His transformation begins with a random act of kindness, not by him but by Ms. Atwater. Mr. Ellis and his wife Mary, played by Anne Heche, have an intellectually challenged son who lives away from home in a mental health facility.

Ann manages to secure a private room for the Ellis’ son in the facility, so that he can be more comfortable and less likely to experience emotional outbursts. This Good Samaritan turn leads to Mary visiting and bonding with Ann, and leaves C.P. wondering why his bitter enemy would do something so nice for his family.

Enter Bill Riddick, a judge-appointed negotiator specializing in the “charette,” a deadline-driven series of meetings designed to peacefully settle community disputes. Mr. Riddick, portrayed by Gambian-English actor Babou Ceesay, is the unsung hero of the film who keeps a calm demeanor amidst the histrionics of the warring factions.

Both Ann and C.P., who had feuded for years, reluctantly agree to co-chair the 10-day, 12- member charette, in which a two-thirds majority of votes are needed to recommend school desegregation to the city council.

So for a brief, shining time, Durham becomes a functioning democracy, with a few stops and starts.

Ann prevents some African American men from destroying a KKK display at the meeting hall. And in a particularly horrific scene, a couple of Klansmen break into the home of a female member of the charette. One holds up a baseball bat, and the other apparently assaults the woman sexually, in order to terrify her into voting against desegregation.

Meanwhile, during one of the meetings, a black minister suggests damping down the heated discussions by ending them with gospel singing. Mr. Ellis, a churchgoer himself, wanders into the all-black worship service.

Ann waves a small Bible at him. “This here does the talking for me.”

“I have a Bible,” he responds.

“Well, then, you ought to know … same God made you made me,” she asserts.

That appears to be C.P.’s transformative moment. But no one knows for certain how he will vote on the racial equality issue, least of all himself.

Director Robin Bissell masterfully builds up tension to the dramatic final vote, tautly capturing the nervous and sweaty white and black faces on opposite sides of the meeting hall, as each member of the charette walks up to the podium to announce and cast their ballots on pieces of paper.

And as Hollywood would have it, Mr. Ellis’ vote is the decisive one.

Some critics have falsely assailed this movie, claiming that it is too slick and simplistic, and that an unapologetic Klansman could not have become a repentant hero so quickly. But Bill Riddick, who is still alive, has confirmed the basic facts of the film.

And while the story is about race, it is not black and white in its moral nor morality. Both the protagonist and antagonist behave badly at times, spitting out racial epithets and profanities. But they each do great good, too.

Moreover, the real-life Ms. Atwater and Mr. Ellis, who are shown in vintage interviews during the closing credits, remained friends for more than 30 years. She gave a eulogy at his funeral in 2005, before passing away herself in 2016.

Finally, movie audiences across the country are casting their votes in favor of this fine film. They are cheering Ms. Atwater as she goes up against the white-privileged establishment, tearing up at the emotional denouement, and applauding at the end of the movie.

Posted in Movies, Sam Rockwell, Taraji P. Henson, The Best of Enemies, Tom Siebert | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dallas Mavericks owner and ‘Shark Tank’ star Mark Cuban set to speak at Judson University’s World Leaders Forum

Marl Cuban

By Tom Siebert

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and one of the stars of ABC-TV’s long-running “Shark Tank” show, will be the inaugural guest of a new discussion series, as part of the prestigious World Leaders Forum at Judson University in Elgin.

The billionaire investor and entrepreneur will be interviewed by Judson alumnus Mark Vargas, a well-known business and political adviser, on Thursday, May 16, at the university’s Herrick Chapel.

“Mark Cuban is one of the most recognizable and inspiring business leaders of our time and we’re tremendously excited to welcome him to Judson,” said university President Gene Crume, adding, “We are fortunate to count Mark Vargas among our alumni and are excited for him to host conversations with great leaders to inspire creativity and entrepreneurship in our community.”

The goal of the World Leaders Forum is to offer Judson students and the Chicagoland community an opportunity to be inspired by significant global thought leaders.

Recent forum speakers have included former President George W. Bush, ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, then-President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

Last year’s event featured a lively but civil discussion between Republican Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Democrat Howard Dean, ex-governor of Vermont.

And on October 8, presidential daughter and diplomat Caroline Kennedy will be interviewed by conservative radio host Eric Metaxas at a World Leaders Forum sponsored by the university at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

The new World Leaders Forum series, called “Conversations with Mark Vargas,” will focus on business, politics, life lessons, successes, failures, and finding inspiration.

Mr. Vargas, a 2004 Judson graduate, has served as a U.S. Department of Defense adviser on rebuilding war-torn economies through foreign and private investment. He is also a political opinion writer whose articles have appeared in several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.

“I’m honored to call Mark Cuban a friend, and I’m delighted that he accepted my personal invitation to join us in May as we launch this new and exciting speaker series,” said Mr. Vargas.

Located in Elgin since 1963, Judson University offers a Christian, liberal arts and sciences education through its Bachelor of Arts degrees for more than 60 majors, minors, graduate programs, and online courses–as well as certification and accelerated adult degree programs.

Proceeds from this World Leaders Forum event will fund entrepreneurship and diversity scholarships for Judson students interested in business. Ticketing and sponsorship information may be obtained by visiting judsonu.edu/WLFConversations.

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Caroline Kennedy tapped to keynote Judson University’s 2019 World Leaders Forum

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By Tom Siebert

Author, attorney, and diplomat Caroline Kennedy has been selected as keynote speaker at Judson University’s 2019 World Leaders Forum.

She is the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and served as U.S. ambassador to Japan under former President Barack Obama.

“Judson University is honored to welcome ambassador Kennedy to our community for an important discussion about values, political courage, and service,” said Judson president Gene Crume. 

Ms. Kennedy, a prominent progressive, will be interviewed by culturally conservative commentator Eric Metaxas, host of a nationally syndicated radio show.

The format will be similar to last year’s World Leaders Forum, which featured a lively but civil discussion between Democrat Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont; and Republican Newt Gingrich, ex-speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Previous keynote speakers at the forum included former President George W. Bush, ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, then-President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

Because of the increasing popularity of the event, it will not be held this year at Judson’s Elgin campus. Instead, the forum will take place at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, at 7 p.m. on October 8.  A VIP reception will precede the program at 5 p.m.

Ms. Kennedy was the first female ambassador to Japan, facilitating the U.S. military’s return of land on Okinawa to that country, advocating for the participation of Japanese women in business and politics, and playing a pivotal role in President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima.

She has authored, co-authored, or edited more than a dozen books on American history, politics, constitutional law, and poetry. She also serves as president and director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and is a member of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Metaxas is a bestselling author, whose works include  “Martin Luther,” “If You Can Keep It,” “Bonhoeffer,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Miracles.” A senior fellow and lecturer at the King’s College in New York City, he is host of Socrates in the City, an acclaimed series of conversations on “life, God and other small topics,” which featured Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell, TV talk-show host Dick Cavett, and British theologian Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, among many others.

Said Judson president Crume: “By hosting this conversation with Eric Metaxas and Socrates in the City, we are presenting our campus and community with an opportunity to consider life’s biggest questions.”

The goal of the World Leaders Forum is to offer Judson students and the Chicagoland community an opportunity to be inspired by significant thought leaders.

Proceeds from the event will continually fund the Judson Leadership Scholars program, innovative entrepreneurial activities, and ongoing operations of the World Leaders Forum, as well as benefit the higher education of youth in foster care by providing programs and educational opportunities at Judson University.

Tickets to the 2019 World Leaders Forum program and VIP reception are available to the public starting April 1. For ticketing and sponsorship information, visit www.WorldLeadersForum.info.

 

 

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Kendall County community poured out heart, help to PADS guests throughout harsh winter

By Tom Siebert
Assistant Director for Community Relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County

Last December the weather in the Chicago area was relatively mild, with daytime temperatures soaring into the upper 30s and even the 40s throughout the month.

That was a welcome start to the winter for guests of Kendall County PADS, who often have to seek warmth during the day, after departing the overnight shelters that the homeless support group provides during the colder months of the calendar.

On Christmas Eve, PADS volunteers were given the night off to attend worship services and spend time with their families. So the homeless guests were housed that night at the Super 8 motel in Yorkville, compliments of the Knights of Columbus from St. Patrick Parish, also in Yorkville. They also received free movie passes from NCG Yorkville Cinemas.

Students from Cross Lutheran School in Yorkville donated socks, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to PADS guests. And they surprised a young homeless girl with Christmas gifts at the shelter site at Cross Lutheran Church. The girl was also given a DVD player and movies from Tracy Ams and her colleagues in the cardiovascular and intravenous therapy departments at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

The homeless receive a lot of attention during the holidays but their challenges often increase during the new year, points out Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS.

“People live in homelessness long after the lights are turned off and decorations are put away,” she said. “They struggle even more as the weather turns cold and winter days drag on.”

But as the wintry weather grew harsher in January, the kindness of the community kicked in on behalf of its homeless neighbors.

During two particularly brutally cold nights, Kendall Area Transit, which partners with PADS, was forced to shut down. However, KAT agreed to keep its PADS routes open, so the guests would not have to walk to and from the shelters in frigid conditions.

Area residents demonstrated their compassion for the homeless in many other ways during the often cold and snowy days of January and February.

Becky Grace of Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group, organized a PADS donation drive from staff, clients, and friends. Donated were haircut vouchers, prepaid laundromat cards, gift cards for fast food restaurants, and generous amounts of paper products for two shelter sites with kitchen facilities.

Modern Dentistry of Yorkville also donated 150 bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. The hygiene items were shared between PADS guests and clients of the Kendall County Community Food Pantry. And Boombah in Yorkville contributed dozens of sports bags, which are given to guests who need them to carry their possessions.

Throughout the winter, warming centers are set up for the Kendall County homeless at the Beecher Community Center, Yorkville; Senior Service Associates, Yorkville; Caring Hands Thrift Shop, Yorkville; Fox Valley YMCA, Plano: Kendall County Health Department, Yorkville; Kendall County Public Safety Center, Yorkville; Newark Fire Barn; Montgomery Village Hall; Oswegoland Park District; Oswego Public Library; Oswego Police Department; Plano City Hall; Plano Community Library; Walmart Supercenter in Plano; Yorkville Public Library; and St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville.

For the past nine years, overnight guests of Kendall County PADS have received a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packed lunch to go. They also receive assistance with employment, social services, and housing referrals.

The shelters are open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. through April 20 on:

• Sundays at Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville
• Mondays, Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway, Yorkville
• Tuesdays, Harvest New Beginnings church, 5315 Douglas Road, Oswego
• Wednesdays, Parkview Christian Academy, upper campus, 202 East Countryside Parkway, Yorkville
• Thursdays, Trinity United Methodist Church, 2505 Boomer Lane, Yorkville
• Fridays, Church of the Good Shepherd, 5 West Washington Street, Oswego
• Saturdays, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 53 Fernwood Road, Montgomery

The homeless support group has more than 550 volunteers who serve at least four hours once per month, some more frequently. Volunteers are currently needed on the 3 a.m.–7 a.m. shifts on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Ms. Engelhardt singled out several volunteers who have met emergency shift needs, serving extended hours at the shelters. They are Dick Velders, Greg Wehrs, Carolyn Krisciak, Pat Millen, Kristie Vogel, Ang Zenofio, and Ilaine Jessup.

PADS of Kendall County is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) group funded by donations received from grants, gifts, individuals, organizations, and businesses. Those who wish to donate or volunteer may call (630) 553-5073 or visit the website at kendallcountypads.org.

“All of our regular volunteers continue to come every month, some multiple times per month, to quietly and humbly serve the homeless people,” Ms. Engelhardt said. “Our season of giving by the volunteers in PADS continues every night for 26 weeks.”

PADS

 

 

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