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Park district receives $250k donation for new pavilion; new stores, businesses to open at Fox Valley Mall; Exchange Club announces Ribfest trophy contenders – Chicago Tribune

The beneficiary of the Frank J. Rus trust is donating $250,000 towards the construction of a new pavilion and site improvements at Naperville Park District’s Knoch Knolls Park.

The Frank J. Rus trust in 2021 donated nearly 40 acres of land to the park district, creating the Frank Rus Preserve at Knoch Knolls Park.

The new pavilion will be used for the park district’s outdoor educational and recreational programs and to provide space for residents to picnic. It is proposed for the south side of the DuPage River, accessible from the bike and pedestrian bridge, park district officials said.

Last week, the park board approved a resolution that begins a 60-day consideration period to name the pavilion the “Frank J. Rus Pavilion.”

Four new businesses are coming to Fox Valley Mall on Route 59.

They include a pop-culture retailer called Box Lunch; Dream Academy of Dance Arts, a dance studio that offers programs for all ages; Sweet Treasure, a store that sells candy by the pound; and Deaf Welcome, a professional sign language service.

Box Lunch and Deaf Welcome are set to open in June, with Dream Academy and Sweet Treasure to follow in July, mall officials said.

Seven rib vendors will be serving ribs and competing for the champion’s trophy at the Exchange Club of Naperville’s Ribfest, scheduled for June 17-20 at the DuPage Event Center and Fairgrounds in Wheaton.

Armadillo’s Rib & Que Company, Howling Coyote BBQ, Johnson’s BBQ, SaltCreek BBQ, Texas Outlaw BBQ, Uncle Bub’s BBQ and Blazin Bronco BBQ are confirmed for the annual event, which will be held for the first time since 2019, the Exchange Club said in a news release.

The rib vendors are a mix of local and nationally-known restaurants, some of which have won various honors at prior Ribfest events.

Local vendors are Armadillo’s Rib and Que Company, Salt Creek BBQ and Uncle Bub’s BBQ.

Texas Outlaw has won more than 300 awards in various fests nationwide and is a four-time Ribfest winner. Uncle Bub’s BBQ from Westmont in 2018 won best sauce, best ribs and kid’s choice awards at Ribfest. Salt Creek BBQ from Batavia has placed in Ribfest’s top three multiple times.

United Way of Will County has launched the 2-1-1 Helpline, a free, 24-hour information and referral hotline for health and human services in Will County.

The helpline allows Will County residents to call, text or go online at https://uwwill.org/211 to receive an immediate referral to a variety of resources, including mental health services, addiction support and rehabilitation, and crisis counseling.

Other services include supplemental food programs, shelter and affordable housing options, employment and education support and financial support.

Since the United Way of Will County announced plans for the program in February, they have assembled a database of 445 total agencies and 2,130 services, all based in Will County. They are still adding resources, and interested agencies can apply at https://uwwill.org/211.

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