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Beautiful ways to take care of Naperville

A. George Pradel will receive an honorary degree from North Central College.
A. George Pradel will receive an honorary degree from North Central College.

Hello, residents and friends of Naperville. Have you had a chance to take a stroll along the Riverwalk or in any of our parks this summer? To see the beautiful landscape that the Park District so meticulously maintains every day is wonderful.

I recently drove out to the garden plots on West Street and took a few minutes to chat with people who are growing all types of vegetables and flowers. What fantastic stewards of our environment. It made me step back and appreciate the beautiful weather and the dedication of the people in Naperville who care for our land and nourish their plants — and teach the next generation to do so. It is so very heartening. Thank you, Naperville, for your continued commitment to Mother Earth.

This summer, I’ve already had one experience that I will remember fondly for years to come. In late May, North Central College’s staff surprised me when they said I would not be giving my usual welcome address to the Class of 2013 at the June 8 commencement. I thought maybe I had done or said something wrong in the past, so of course I inquired about the change in routine. I was shocked when they said I would be sitting on stage to receive my honorary doctor of laws degree.

I was so humbled by this gesture — in fact, I was speechless. What a positive connection between the city and North Central College. There are so many wonderful people in this world that could be chosen for this honor, and it made me feel proud to be recognized. I must admit, it’s fun to hear people come up to me and say, “Hey, Doc, I got a pain in my neck!” Of course, I have to remind them that I’m a doctor of law. What a wonderful day in my life. I have to thank City Manager Doug Krieger for giving the commencement welcome in my place and Councilwoman Judith Brodhead who provided my credentials.

This summer has also given me the chance to rub elbows with movie star Paul Sorvino while he’s in town filming “Precious Mettle.” They’ve filmed in several locations throughout the city, including a house near the downtown train station and other local establishments. What an honor to have movies being made in Naperville. Sorvino is what I would call a “next-door neighbor” kind of guy. He’s played some tough-guy roles in movies such as “Goodfellas” and TV shows such as “Law and Order,” but when you get to know him, he really is one good fella.

We’ve also received accolades from actor Russell Crowe in recent weeks. Back when “Man of Steel” was in production, Crowe stayed in the area to prepare for this film. He swam at our beach, ate at our restaurants and got in shape in our city. He certainly loved the Apple store and said we had more ice cream shops per square mile than anywhere else he could think of. I’m glad he enjoyed his time here and that he loves our city just as much as I do.

Finally, with Independence Day a mere memory, let’s remember to keep those who fought for our freedom in our hearts and minds. We’re at a time in history when we’re losing a lot of our World War II veterans. If you know of any living veterans from this war, and there are certainly a few still living in our area, please call my office at 630-420-6018 so that I can thank them again for their service. It is because of them that we are free.

Thank you, Naperville, for all that you do. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember to be safe.

 

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