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Park district to test autonomous lawn mowers at 3 parks; deadline for Naperville art competition set for April 11; NAMI DuPage hosting fundraiser for mental

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The Naperville Park District will be testing the use of autonomous electric lawn mowers this month in three parks: White Eagle Park, 3140 White Eagle Drive; Kingshill Park, 4271 White Eagle Drive; and Monarch Park, 1585 White Eagle Drive.

The district has contracted with Havenshine Technologies Inc., based in Naperville, which will provide the mowers and staff to supervise the mowers in each park.

“We are researching the use of autonomous mowers and we are impressed by their safety, efficiency and potential for improving our overall maintenance of turf fields,” Director of Parks Tim Quigley said in a news release. “This spring we will be evaluating this new technology on a contract basis.”

A contract staff member will always be present to oversee the mower, which is programmed for the specific site, uses GPS and has sensors to detect obstacles and shut down the mower if needed, the release said. Staff can also turn off the mower at any time with a remote switch.

In the future, the district could use multiple autonomous mowers simultaneously at a park for greater efficiency, which will help fill in gaps due to the current labor shortage, the release said.

The deadline to enter the Naperville Art League’s annual public art competition is 4 pm Tuesday, April 11.

Submissions can be 2D or 3D pieces done in the theme “Chromethesia,” or sound evoking colors, shapes and movements, a news release said.

Original pieces will be on display from April 18 to May 6 at the Naperville Fine Art Center and Gallery, 508 N. Center St.

Awards will be presented April 23 in two age categories — high school or college student and adult. There will be the best of shows, awards of excellence and honorable mentions presented, the release said.

Contest entry forms can be found at www.napervilleartleague.com or picked up at the Fine Art Center.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness DuPage, which provides mental health resources and programs for DuPage County residents, will host a fundraiser at 5:30 pm Saturday, May 6, at the Naperville Marriott, 1801 N. Naper Blvd.

The Shine a Light Gala will feature a surf-and-turf dinner, a magician, silent and live auctions, cash raffles, dancing and more.

Proceeds will benefit NAMI DuPage’s services, such as mental health education for middle and high school students, support groups, educational classes and social and recreation programs. The organization serves more than 20,000 people each year.

Tickets are $175 for the first ticket and $160 for each additional ticket. A table of 10 can be purchased for $1,550 before April 14 and $1,600 after April 14.

For more information, go to namidupage.org/shine-a-light-gala.