All posts by Dave Woehrle

Dave Woehrle is a freelance reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at

Sugar Grove purchases new police cars

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on July 2 approved the purchase of three new police vehicles.

Three 2014 Inceptor Sedans, two unmarked and one marked, will be purchased from Currie Motors at the cost of $24,249 each. After appropriate modifications including lights, radios, laptop computer, radar and partition, the total cost is $89,920.

The proposal was in accordance to the fiscal year 2013-14 budget. The vehicles are replacing others which have suffered maintenance problems. The “retiring” vehicles each have over 120,000 miles.

Trustee Robert Bohler questioned the motion, as he said he noticed many squad cars are often unused and sitting in the parking lot.

“I just want to make sure the rotation is ample and necessary,” Bohler said.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger explained the decision.

“These new vehicles will have a much longer life cycle due to the low mileage we anticipate,” Eichelberger said. “We talked it through, and we thought about going with other vehicles, but the same basic vehicle was the best. Since it has the same equipment, it’s easier to repair.”

Former Sugar Grove Police Chief Richard Moser explained the rotation of the vehicles.

“For patrol, it’s two officers to one car. Each car runs two out of three shifts, so it runs for 16 hours a day, then the car rests,” Moser said. “It works out pretty well, but the wear and tear does add up.”

Sugar Grove patrolman saves life while on vacation

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Board trustees on July 16 were told of the heroic actions of Sugar Grove patrolman Brett Thoele, who saved the life of a drowning man in Branson, Mo.

Newly appointed Police Chief Patrick Rollins explained Thoele’s heroic actions to the Village Board.

Last June, while vacationing with his family at Moonshine Beach on Tablerock Lake in Missouri, Thoele and his father-in-law heard calls for help on the beach. Thoele spotted a young man 150 yards out, struggling to stay afloat.

“The beach was full, about 200 people stood by, but Brett, a good swimmer, decided to actually help,” Rollins said. “He and his father-in-law saw a third party swim out to help, but that third party was pushed under by the panicking swimmer.”

The third party “changed his mind” about helping the swimmer after being submerged, but did get a raft to help the rescue operation.

Thoele swam to the struggling swimmer and was submerged three times before giving the victim “a helpful elbow to the face,” a common practice for lifeguards to stun and subdue a panicking swimmer. Thoele brought the victim to shore with the help of the raft.

The victim regained his breath again on shore as other emergency staff arrived.

“Even though he was on vacation, he fulfilled the role of hero,” Rollins said. “That really says a lot about him as a man and a police officer. This is the positive image that people should associate with our police force.”

Thoele, who has served on the Sugar Grove Police Department since May 2006, was on hand at the meeting with his wife and three children, and received a Police Meritorious Award for his actions.

Sugar Grove recognized for financial reporting

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board at its July 16 meeting received a Certificate of Achievement in Excellence for Financial Report from the Government Finance Officers Association.

This is the 12th year Sugar Grove has received the award.

The award represents achievements of the Village Board and staff for its governmental accounting and presentation skills. Sugar Grove satisfied nationally recognized guidelines in its last fiscal statement.

The village remained in the black in its last fiscal year, creating a small surplus.

Finance Director Justin VanVooren was the person primarily responsible for the award. Village President Sean Michels thanked VanVooren for his diligent work in number crunching.

“It’s difficult to go through the budget line by line like we do, but it’s good to exercise transparency and be recognized for that,” Michels said.

SG board honors 2 residents

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday gave proclamations of appreciation to residents Stan Schumacher and Lil Adams for their community service.

President Sean Michels read the proclamations, which gave an overview of their volunteer work.

Schumacher served 28 years at the Sugar Grove Community House, spearheading youth sports programs such as the Northern Illinois Thunder Softball Team. He’s known for his love of nature and his work to outfit the Community House with ample trees and landscaping features.

Adams served at the Sugar Grove Community House for 36 years, and oversaw numerous projects and Community House improvements. Michels noted during the proclamation that Adams shoveled snow and maintained the building so it was always open for use with scout meetings, weddings, and luncheons.

“Adams is a true example of the spirit of voluneteering,” Michels said.

Schumacher and Adams received standing ovations from those at the meeting.

Schumacher said he was honored for the recognition.

“I appreciate all the years I’ve spent working at the community house,” he said. “The young adults group has especially been rewarding. We’ve got some good people on the board who will continue to think of it as their home, as we always did.”

Board trustee Robert Bohler said Schumacher and Adams put forth the most efforts on behalf of local youth.

“You guys really created the Park District programs for all these years,” Bohler said. “A lot of memories were created. The community appreciates those memories.”