Hello Stockton!

Arbor Day 2017

On April 28th, the Village of Stockton celebrated Arbor Day by planting a MN Strain Redbud tree on the north side of Stockton Elementary school.


The tree was purchased from Fritz’s Nursery and Garden Center, and was planted by Mr. Fritz himself.  The elementary school’s principal, Colleen Fox, and Mrs. Busch’s preschool class was present to watch the tree-planting ceremony.


The Village’s AmeriCorps member, Johanna Lemon, corralled the preschoolers around the tree and recounted a brief history of Arbor Day – how it had started in the Nebraska Territory over 160 years ago, and was now a nationally recognized holiday.  When the history lesson concluded, each of the preschoolers had the chance to help Mr. Fritz finish planting the tree.


The students were delighted when the overturned earth revealed a fat earthworm, but made sure to avoid hitting the worm as they heaped soil on the young tree.  Finally, Mr. Fritz and the class gathered around the tree, and on the count of three, shouted “WORM” as a series of pictures was taken by onlookers.


Though the morning was chilly, the sun remained shining throughout the tree planting process.  Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained.  They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitats, among many other benefits.


The Village of Stockton is a member of Tree City USA and offers trees for terrace planting to any resident who wants one.  The Village donates the trees and the resident must commit to water and care for them.  Anyone interested in the program can contact Village Hall at (815) 947-2515.

Check It Out!

Guys, we’re famous!

Thanks to Erin Jordan for getting the word out about our awesome community.  Almost all the municipalities in Illinois get a copy of the Illinois Municipal Review, which means that Stockton is now known to hundreds of municipalities across the state!



CodeRED Alert System


Hey Stockton!

It’s that time of year again! The leaf is turning over, the baby in a diaper is pushing out the old man and the clock, and the one thing on everyone’s mind is…


Just me? Well, it *should* be on your mind too. You know why? Because things can happen anytime, anywhere, and it’s best to be prepared for them no matter what.

Take the weather, for example. As a transplant from the South, I was NOT prepared for the northern Illinois winter, or the epic rains y’all got right before fall turned frigid, and I was kinda clueless when it came to things like car accidents on Highway 20 or boil orders or road construction.

I would have liked to know about all of these things, and not in a sort of once-a-week, read-in-the-paper kind of way. I wish I’d known about them *while* they were happening, so I could know what roads to avoid, what water not to drink, and whether or not I was going to be snowed in for the weekend.

Thankfully there IS a way to get real-time updates about disasters and unfortunate occurrences happening in the Stockton area. Better yet, it’s completely FREE.

You heard me. FREE.

See, Code Red is basically a service that the Village of Stockton purchased, that allows them to send out push notifications to everyone (who is registered) about important events. Say, for example, a water main bursts. The Village would be notified, and then they would use the Code Red Emergency Alert System to notify EVERYONE (who had signed up), that there was a broken water main.

People would know, routes would be avoided, finito!

Code Red isn’t just for people with Smartphones either. Code Red can send you a text, call your cell, and even give your home phone a ring. It then tells you what’s going on (be it a water main, heavy snow, or a flood), and voila. Done. There’s even Tone Delivery, for those of you who might have hearing impairments.

You can even sign up for a sort of severity screening. Say you want to know if a life-threatening flood is coming your way, but you really don’t care to get a call about some snow. That’s fine, you can select the “heaviness” of the calls you want to receive, (emergency only, general only, or both) and that way, you’ll only be contacted when YOU want to be contacted.

My university has a similar version of Code Red, and it came in handy at the end of last year. A freaking tornado touched down not too far from Macomb while I was on my way back from Chicago, and if not for those updates about the tornado’s path and severity, I might not have gotten off the train and headed home. Luckily, because I was informed of the twister’s progress, I was able to make it home without risk or damage to myself, all because of those alerts.

So yeah, it’s definitely useful.

Getting onto the Code Red System is hilariously easy too. Just click on this link:


And enter in the information and boom! You’re done. It doesn’t ask any invasive questions and you don’t have to spend hours filling out the form. Seriously, it takes less than five minutes.

Code Red gives any user peace of mind and the ability to know about disasters or inconveniences before they happen. It’s free, it’s awesome, and I highly suggest you give it a chance.

And of course, for more information about how the system works, you can also go here:  http://www.villageofstockton.com/resources/code-red-alert-system.html

Catch ya later!


Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off Competition

The Christmas Walk took place on December 3, and it was amazing!  Stockton had lots of activities to offer, like a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Stella’s Café and Catering, Bowl for a Buck at Stockton Bowling Lanes, carriage rides around town thanks to Illinois Bank and Trust, photos with Mickey and Minnie at Creativations, sales at shops like Glad Rags, Ink and Paper, and Stockton Floral, and so much more!

And the event I had a hand in—Stockton’s First Annual, Better with Brewster, Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off Competition!

Yeah, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it sure was fun!  Fifteen participants headed to the Museum Annex bright and (semi) early on Saturday morning to deliver their decadently delicious dishes of macaroni and cheese.  The participants included a range of community members, such as retirees, students, business owners, homemakers, government officials, volunteers, and more!

The Bake Off lasted from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  We had a wide variety of dishes—some familiar (“Creamy, Dreamy, Macaroni and Cheese,” for example), some spicy (“Jumping Jack Jalapeño” and “Pepper Jack and Bacon Mac,” to name a new), some sweet (Sweet Alice’s Snickerdoodle-topped mac), some healthy (with cauliflower instead of noodles!), and some that were both strange and tantalizing (peanut butter and jelly and bacon mac and cheese!)


Altogether, the Mac and Cheese Bake Off was great.  The winners were Andy McGovern of Stella’s, Kathy Hawkins (who won the kid’s choice award!) and Lou Brandt.  Each were given a box of six, signature cheeses, (graciously donated by Brewster Cheese), and each box also contained a cheese cutter and a Brewster mug!  The Stockton Chamber of Commerce gave each of the winners a Christmas stocking full of elbow noodles, chocolate, and candy canes.  Finally, the winners each received a macaroni crown, made by yours truly.

Here are our winners with their prizes:


Organizing the Bake Off was a great chance to work directly with and within the Stockton community, and I’m grateful that so many participants decided to become a part of the event.  I hope that next year, Stockton will be able to celebrate the Second Annual Better with Brewster Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off!

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