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Limestone 7-year-old celebrates birthday at KCHF as 'Director for a Day'

Many 7-year-old girls would wish for a puppy for their birthday. Leona Langlois wished to provide puppies with treats for her birthday.

Instead of having a birthday party for her seventh trip around the sun, Langlois opted to celebrate with a visit to the Kankakee County Humane Foundation. On Saturday, the Limestone resident and some friends visited KCHF, where Langlois became the foundation’s first “Director for a Day.”

“I don’t think I’ve heard the shelter that full of giggles in a long time,” said KCHF director Jordan Chapman.

Because the shelter is by appointment only, people don’t typically get a chance to come in and hang out with the animals. When Leona’s mom, Rachel, told Chapman that her daughter had no interest in a party and just wanted to be with the shelter animals, Chapman extended the invitation to Leona and her friends.

“When we asked Leona what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said, ‘I don’t care, just something with animals,’” recalled Rachel. “So in came Jordan to the rescue with the coolest 7-year-old birthday girl’s dream, ‘Director for a Day.’”

“Leona had a blast. She had the biggest grin on her face the entire time,” Chapman said.

Being that Saturday’s temperature was in the 70s, Leona and her friends were able to play games outside that involved stuffed animals.

Inside, the kids spent a lot of time in the cat room. While they enjoyed human treats of cupcakes, they let the dogs in on the fun by providing them with fancy dog cookies. The group even got to witness a potential adopter come in for a meet-and-greet with one of the dogs, and saw the shelter’s work first-hand.


This wasn’t Leona’s first exposure to the shelter, as her family has long-rescued pets from KCHF.

“She has always been animal-obsessed, but even more so animal-welfare-obsessed,” said Rachel.

“We’ve been fostering animals throughout her whole life so she has always had an up close and personal view of the reality of animal rescuing. She’s a smart girl and knows how to rescue responsibly.”

Rachel said that her daughter and Chapman quickly bonded over their love of animals, and that “Jordan has always welcomed Leona into the shelter and has been really encouraging of Leona’s passion of animals.”

“Jordan even invited Leona to come practice her new skill of reading to all the cats at the shelter,” Rachel said.

The latest addition to the Langlois family was Sugar, a bully/pit, who was rescued from KCHF and “also happens to be Leona’s BFF.”

When reflecting on the day spent at the shelter with seven of her closest friends, Leona said that her favorite part “was getting to feed the puppies and petting all the kittens in the cat room.”

“She loved being able to be a part of the behind-the-scenes of the shelter,” said Rachel. “Her friends were just as excited to be able to play with all the adorable four-legged creatures.”

“I’m already very concerned with how we will ever top this birthday.”

Rachel Langlois, Leona’s mother, is a freelance photographer for the Daily Journal.

The Well does well on opening weekend

MANTENO — While Recharge Coffee Co. has left the building, coffee is still on the menu at 47 1/2 W. Second St. in Manteno.

The Well in Manteno celebrated its grand opening on Saturday and sold a whopping 669 drinks over the course of 12 hours. For those who like math, that equates to nearly 56 drinks per hour — just shy of one drink per minute.

“We felt overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Tiffany Parpart, who owns the business with her husband, Shawn. With help and input from their three kids, Parpart described it as “a family affair.”

“[The kids] sacrificed a lot for this, too,” Parpart said. “My son wants to be a barista and help.”

Parpart has had the dream of opening a coffee shop for the greater part of a decade. After Recharge moved into different markets, leaving the space in Manteno open, she knew it was time to take the plunge.

“When they decided to leave, I just knew I had to make a concept for the community,” she said, sharing that construction was about a nine-month process.

When it came to naming the business, Parpart shared that she looked to God for inspiration. Eventually, she decided to base the name off a Bible story of a “woman at the well.”

“In that time, a well signified a place where people would gather,” said Parpart, noting that is what she wanted for the shop. “We wanted it to be a place where people gather and can fill their cups.”

And when talking about those 669 cups from Saturday, Parpart said that the most popular options were standard lattes, caramel lattes and cold brew. When asked about her favorite, she named the lavender hot chocolate.

“We’re grateful for the acceptance we’ve received and the outpouring of support we’ve received from everybody is just amazing,” Parpart said of the community. “The community has done so much to support us and share [content] on Facebook and Instagram.”

More information on the coffee shop can be found at Parpart said they plan to eventually have online ordering.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Solar farm limits discussed at PZA meeting

Toward the end of last week’s Kankakee County Planning-Zoning-Agriculture Committee meeting at the county administration building, it was discussed whether a cap could be put on the amount of solar farms in the county.

Delbert Skimmerhorn, manager of planning and GIS for Kankakee County, said the topic was first broached at the Oct. 11 County Board meeting. He said a cap or limit couldn’t be placed on the number of special use permits for solar farms because it’s part of the ordinance.

“If the standards are met, everyone has the right to apply for that special use permit,” Skimmerhorn said. “Each permit must be judged on its own merits. By setting any type of limit prior to a public hearing, you are basically pre-judging the application before it’s ever even heard.”

Skimmerhorn added that in the future a limit might be needed, but right now a very small portion of farmland has been dedicated to solar farms. Of all the solar farms the county either has in operation now or has approved, it is only .08% [less than 1%] of all available farmland in Kankakee County.

“The best way to do that, and it’s probably not a popular opinion, would be through comprehensive planning, addressing those types of issues,” he said. “Our current comprehensive plan does not mention anything at all about solar farm development or any other renewables.”

Skimmerhorn said it’s his recommendation that the PZA sends the issue to the Regional Planning Commission to be discussed.

County Board and PZA member Chad Miller, who is also manager of Kankakee County Farm Bureau, shared information on what surrounding counties have done in regards to the number of solar farms.

Miller said Livingston County is considering a moratorium on solar development to allow the county to review its comprehensive plan. Will County is looking at an acreage cap at somewhere around 3%. DeKalb County imposed a 12,000-acre restriction on solar development.

Lee County imposed a moratorium on wind and solar developments to allow the board to review its ordinances. In LaSalle County, the LaSalle County Farm Bureau has a policy to oppose any solar project where the LESA score is above 200. [A LESA score above 224 is considered prime farmland.]

Miller added that Kankakee County ranks No. 2 in the state for production of specialty crops such as vegetables, melons and potatoes; No. 6 in nursery greenhouse for culture inside production; and No. 8 in poultry and egg production. Also, Illinois ranks No. 1 in the nation for soybean production and No. 2 for corn.

“We want to make sure Kankakee County remains a contributor to the state’s agricultural successes, so I think that’s maybe where some of this thought is coming from when we see farmland being removed from production,” he said.

Miller said he thinks this solar farm will be renewed at the end of the 30-year agreements and likely won’t ever return to agriculture production.

“I do understand concerns for energy production, but also concerns for food production, but also concerns for property rights,” he said. “So all these things must be taken into consideration, but we want to make sure Kankakee County remains a vibrant agricultural and industrial community.”

Bradley Bourbonnais Rotary puzzle available for sale

The Bradley Bourbonnais Rotary Club is selling a limited-edition jigsaw puzzle. Titled “Reflections-Shapiro Tower,” the picture features the 60-foot tall Shapiro clock tower rising over the fall foliage and is reflected in the Kankakee River.

The 504-piece puzzle, when completed, will measure 16 inches by 20 inches. The picture is courtesy of Sharlene Parr, the winner of the puzzle contest held earlier this year.

Puzzles can be purchased from any BB Rotarian and are available at the Kankakee County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau retail store, Stefari Café, Joy’s Hallmark, Rubber Rose Books, and the Village of Bourbonnais office. Retail price is $29.95 plus tax where applicable.