Each week, we talk with a few Naperville residents about trending topics in a new feature we call Naperville Answers. This week, our respondents discuss their favorite Olympic memories, Naperville's smart grid system and more.
Our three contributors are:
- Ron Hume, Executive Director of 360 Youth Services
- Natalia Dagenhart, Naperville resident and frequent Sun contributor
- Mary Rakoczy, Multimedia Associate for the Naperville Public Library
Q. What was your favorite Olympic event to watch and why? Did you have an event or athlete that you followed closely?
Hume: Let’s see favorite event, has to be curling, it has all of the action, suspense and excitement of watching a chess match if you don’t know the game! Actually I like most events that move fast, skeletons, bobsleds and any of the downhill skiing events. Favorite athlete I think is Noelle Pikus-Pace in the women’s skeleton, she made an incredible comeback, has a family, and was dealing with a concussion, what determination!
Dagenhart: My favorite Olympic event to watch is figure skating. I have loved watching this sport since I was a child, and at age 12 I even tried to teach myself to ice skate and did better than some of my friends, but of course it didn’t go further than that. I closely follow a young Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia. She is brilliant and has a tremendous future. I think she is very talented and already achieved a lot. Yes, she doesn’t always show the best results, as it happened, for example, during the Olympic figure skating short program, but don’t forget that she is only 15. I am sure at her next Olympics she will definitely win.
Rakoczy: Admittedly so, I am not the biggest Olympics follower. It’s kind of embarrassing because the only concrete facts about the Olympics I know are to stay clear of Tonya Harding and keep my eyes open for gold medalist Evan Lysacek every time I am in Naperville.
However, thanks to my two in-the-know grandmas, I have always been easily able to keep up with the latest on gold medal winners. And for the past three Sunday nights, I have enjoyed watching and then falling asleep to the Olympics. Watching Olympic ice skating with my soon-to-be-mother-in-law and my guy Keith is even more relaxing than watching “Antiques Roadshow.” I really loved watching Meryl Davis and Charlie White ice skate. Their effortless ice skating inspired me to not be afraid of stepping on the icy blacktop this week.
Q. Naperville’s smart grid system has been a hot button issue lately as the city announced it was filing a lawsuit against one vendor for failing to meet contracted obligations. What do you think of the smart grid system? Would you consider using it? Do you have any concerns about the program?
Hume: I believe my house has already been converted and the really cool thing is I now glow in the dark, so I use a lot less power at night to light the room I’m in. Seriously, with all the cell phones, GPS devices and the like around I really doubt that the smart grid is going to cause more harmful radio wave emissions that all the other devices, and most of us won’t spend much time with our ears pressed up against our electric meters.
Dagenhart: When I worked on television in Russia back in 2000, I made nine shows related to housing and utilities issues in the city of Izhevsk. One of the topics that I had to work on was actually related to something very similar to smart grid system. It was something very new for everyone and my role was to actually introduce it to the viewers and to highlight all the pluses of it. The thing is that if everything is done in a right way, this system is great and helps people to save money on electric bills by making adjustments and choosing how much power they use. I guess, in the situation that occurred in Naperville certain people didn’t do their job well and now this very useful project is being delayed.
Rakoczy : Since working for a local newspaper and covering the Naperville area for about five years, I have been following the smart grid system project for some time. I know there has been extreme contention surrounding the initiative. Even though I know the background, I don’t know the ins and outs of the system. I live in the northern suburbs, and since my town hasn’t implemented the smart grid system, I can’t really speak to how I would feel if one was installed in my home.
Q. As everyone from here to Mars knows, this winter’s been particularly harsh for the Midwest. The Sun recently compiled a list of winners and losers in Naperville this winter. Which do you think you are? Have you enjoyed the winter as a nice change of pace or hated it as an annoying curveball?
Hume: I am so done with winter, I know we live in the Chicago area but I am just not a fan of subzero temps and mounds of snow, call me a wimp I guess. I am looking forward to that rare horticultural event that we may have this spring; the May dandelions will actually be coming up through the snow, go figure.
Dagenhart: Being a Russian person, of course I like winter. I like taking walks when it’s not very cold and when beautiful snowflakes dance in the air. I like fresh air and always enjoy looking at the trees covered in snow. However, this winter is too much even for me. It is mostly very cold and seems like it will never end. Plus, in suburbs you have to drive everywhere, and driving in snow is very difficult. In Russia I never drove a car and it was easy being just a passenger or riding public transportation.
Rakoczy: I usually am Suzy Snowflake during the winter season — enjoying the shimmering snowflakes and breathing in the crisp winter air. But this year, Ol’ Man Winter can take a hike. The highest anxiety about this winter is worrying about driving. I’ve had my fair share of spinouts and near rear ends, so I can’t say I get excited about getting behind the wheel when snow is coming down.
But the one thing that gets me through this winter is to think of every day like Christmas. I know it sounds corny, but sometimes when I slosh outside I just pretend like it’s Christmas day. The snow doesn’t seem that bad when I have that feel-good mindset.
Q. Pick two celebrities to be your parents (retroactively from when you were a child). Who are they and why? Are you the same person today?
Hume: Okay so I just couldn’t resist thinking of the strangest combination I could imagine; how about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Can anyone imagine what children of that pair would turn out to be like? Sorry mom and dad no comparison there at all…
Dagenhart: I don’t know many celebrities from those times, but if I would be able to choose, I would choose Yuri Gagarin for my father because of his strong and at the same time kind personality, and Marilyn Monroe for my mother because of her beauty, talents and feminine nature. Of course, today I am not the same as these two great people, but I think I have some of their characteristics
Rakoczy: I could never imagine myself with any other parents than the two best parents I have now. My mom and dad are the greatest parents I could ever ask for, so I really wouldn’t want to think of any other people raising me. They are my heart, my forever and my soul, and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have grown up with them and now be best friends with them.
But! If I have to choose two celebrities, I think I would pick Christopher Walken and Dolly Parton as my dad and mom. Walken is a naturally funny, offbeat, down-to-earth person who happens to be a great dancer. He would get me, know how to make me laugh and teach me how to two-step — just like my dad. And having Dolly Parton as a mom would set me up for success to become a genuine individual who has a positive attitude about life — just like my mom has instilled in me. Dolly is upbeat, knows how to have a fun time and has her own theme park, so she would be a home run of a mother right there.
If I had to choose an uncle and aunt, give me David Bowie and Cyndi Lauper. Imagine what a concert that would be, and as their niece I would get an all-access backstage pass.