New Elgin chamber committee to help minority businesses; ECC forensic team wins bronze awards at national event; Batavia campaign to educate shoppers on new bags

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The Elgin Community College Forensics Team had a strong showing at the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in Bethesda, Maryland, where more than 50 schools competed.

Students Aleah Janae of Elgin, Hannah Carpenter of Streamwood and Damian Hacz of Hampshire brought home individual and team awards and coach Tim Anderson received the Collie-Taylor Fellowship Award for outstanding coach of the year, a news release said.

The team received a bronze medal in Individual Event Sweepstakes and Overall Sweepstakes. Carpenter received a bronze medal in Speech to Entertain and Process Interpretation.

Janae received a bronze medal in International Public Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking, making her the most decorated competitor in the ECC forensics team’s history, with six national medals, the release states.

Rise Jones, founder and executive director of Hamilton Wings, and Mary Nappier, national operations support manager of Stanley Steemer, are heading the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce's BRIDGES committee to help advance Black, Latino and other minority-owned small businesses.  - Original Credit:

The Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce and Elgin Development Group has started a committee called BRIDGES to help advance Black, Latino and other minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurial leaders.

The committee is led by Rise Jones, founder and executive director of Hamilton Wings, and Mary Nappier, national operations support manager of Stanley Steemer.

BRIDGES is an acronym that stands for building businesses; resourcing; incorporating; developing; growth; expanding; strategic, strength and success.

For more information, call 847-741-5660.

Batavia has launched a campaign to remind shoppers to bring their own bags to local stores to avoid the retail single-use bag fee which takes effect in the city July 1.

The Batavia City Council voted in November 2022 to implement the fee.

Through the website, social media posts, city newsletters, posters, stickers and other materials, shoppers can learn about the environmental impact of non-reusable bags, as well as details about the new fee and tips for making reusable bags part of a shopping routine, officials said as part of the Bring Your Own Bag campaign.

“We hope to see a significant reduction in the consumption of single-use bags in our community. This measure can reduce pollution of our land, water and water and will reduce the use of fossil fuels needed to produce single-use bags,” said Carolyn Burnham, a member of the Batavia Environmental Commission, in a press release about the new campaign. “To make the biggest impact, we encourage everyone to use the bags they already have when they shop.”

The retail single-use bag fee is 10 cents for any non-reusable bag provided by a retail establishment that is larger than 5,000 square feet, officials say. There are several retailers excluded from the fee, including restaurants, pharmacies, and bags for produce, meat and bakery items. For more details on the fee, go to

Retailers will collect the 10-cent fee, retaining four cents and remitting six cents to the city of Batavia, officials said.

Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley will host a free tutor training workshop from 6:30 to 9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 9, 11, 16 and 18, at the St. Charles Public Library, 1 S. Sixth Ave.

Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley helps adults communicate in English by matching them with trained volunteer tutors one on one, group officials said.

Once tutors are trained, they will meet their learners for one hour each week at a time and location that is convenient, most often public libraries.

The program needs 30 volunteers to help the 30 adults who are waiting to learn, officials said.

Volunteers do not need a teaching background or a second language to be effective, said group officials. The workshop provides materials and instructions so anyone can help, according to organizers.

For more information about the workshop or to register, go to or call/text 630-584-4428.

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