All posts by Elburn Herald

The Elburn Herald has been serving the Kaneland communities since 1908. To reach our editor, Keith Beebe, email, or call (630) 365-6446, ext. 105. To reach our owner/publisher, Ryan Wells, email, or call (630) 365-6446, ext. 107.

TAILS Humane Society joins #ILGiveBig

ILLINOIS—TAILS Humane Society has joined #ILGiveBig, a first of its kind effort in Illinois that will harness the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #ILGiveBig will inspire Illinois residents to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the causes they support, and help create a better world.

Scheduled for Dec. 2—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—#ILGiveBig will harness the power of social media to create a state-wide movement around the holidays dedicated to giving—similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are today synonymous with holiday shopping.

Seeing an opportunity to take the national #GivingTuesday movement and channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the Donors Forum, came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving in Illinois. In this first year of the campaign, the goal is to raise $12 million from 100,000 generous Illinois residents on Dec. 2.

TAILS Humane Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving DeKalb and surrounding counties. It provides a safe haven for animals in need by providing shelter and medical care for pets in need as we search for a forever home. TAILS also addresses the root cause of pet homelessness by offering low-cost spay/neuter services for pet owners. It strives to strengthen the human-animal bond in the belief that compassion for animals enriches the quality of life for all.

For more details about the #ILGiveBig campaign, visit For more details about TAILS Humane Society’s participation, visit

TAILS Humane Society is located at 2250 Barber Greene Road, DeKalb.


Tips to prepare now for severe winter weather ahead

CHICAGO—Cold temperatures, heavy snow, and treacherous ice storms are all risks of the impending winter season.

“Severe winter weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don’t take the proper precautions,” said FEMA Region V acting administrator Janet Odeshoo. “Preparedness begins with knowing your risks, making a communications plan with your family and having an emergency supply kit with essentials such as water, food, flashlights and medications.”

Once you’ve taken these steps, consider going beyond the basics of disaster preparedness with the following tips to stay safe this cold season.

Before winter approaches, add the following items to your supply kit:
Winterize your winter supply kit
• Rock salt or other environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways
• Sand to improve traction
• Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
• Sufficient heating fuel and/or a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove
• Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

Stay fire safe
Keep flammable items at least 3 feet from heat sources like radiators, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves. Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.

Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Check it on a monthly basis. Keep warm, even when it’s cold outside:
If you have a furnace, have it inspected now to ensure it’s in good working condition.

If your home heating requires propane gas, stock up on your propane supply and ensure you have enough to last an entire winter. Many homeowners faced shortages due to the record freezing winter weather last year, and this season there’s the possibility of lower than normal temperatures again. Don’t be caught unprepared.

Avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide by installing battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors.

Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.

Prevent frozen pipes
If your pipes are vulnerable to freezing, i.e., they run through an unheated or unprotected space, consider keeping your faucet at a slow drip when extremely cold temperatures are predicted.

If you’re planning a trip this winter, avoid setting your heat too low. If temperatures dip dangerously low while you’re away, that could cause pipes to freeze. Consider draining your home’s water system before leaving as another way to avoid frozen pipes.

You can always find valuable information to help you prepare for winter emergencies at Bookmark FEMA’s mobile site,, or download the FEMA app today to have vital information just one click away.


Let’s talk turkey Balancing family traditions and food safety

ST. CHARLES—As the holidays approach, special family meals take center stage, and with them come many family traditions of how to prepare and present those meals. However, some customs may contradict today’s food safety recommendations.

“Our food system, and what we know about food safety, has changed drastically in the last few decades, and that can contradict some more traditional methods of cooking the holiday feast,” said Laura Barr, Nutrition and Wellness educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties. “We hear much debate this time of year about how to thaw, prep and stuff a turkey. Too often, misconceptions of recommended practices can lead to people getting sick.”

The truth about thawing
Thawing a turkey is done in many ways, but not all methods are safe. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that a package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter for more than two hours is not ever at a safe temperature.

“There is no bacterial growth in a frozen turkey, and the danger zone for food is between 41 degrees F to 135 degrees F,” Barr said. “A product starts thawing from the outer layer first at room temperature. Therefore, the outer layer is in the danger zone for an unacceptable amount of time. It is unsafe to thaw any meat at room temperature, especially a large bird.”

Barr said there are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave oven.

The USDA advises to allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 degrees F or below, and a fully thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator one to two days before cooking it. Be careful to contain juices from the thawing turkey so as not to cross-contaminate other foods and surfaces.

“It may seem simple, but this will take some planning,” Barr said. “For example, it will take at least three days for a 15-pound turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Be sure to accurately schedule when to take out a frozen bird based on the cooking day.”

If thawing in cold tap water, water must be changed every 30 minutes until the product is completely thawed. Additionally, the product needs to be packaged in a waterproof container to prevent cross-contamination and an undesirable texture change in the meat, Barr said.

“The same 15-pound turkey would thaw in seven hours in cold water, versus three to four days in a refrigerator,” she said. “But the cold water method is more labor intensive, and you must always cook a cold-water-thawed turkey immediately.”

When using a microwave, the USDA advises to “follow microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions for defrosting a turkey.” It also recommends cooking the thawed product immediately because some areas of the food may be warm and susceptible to bacteria growth.

“However you choose to thaw, consider it a critical control point to ensure safety, taste and texture of your holiday meal,” Barr said.

The proper prep
In the past, families would start preparing their holiday birds much earlier in the food process. The bird was butchered, plucked, washed and cooked in the home, Barr said.

“Some consumers today wash poultry because the practice has been passed down through the generations,” she said. “However, running water in and over a turkey, or other poultry, is a waste of time, as it is cleaned in the packaging process.

“In fact, washing the bird at home actually increases the potential for food-borne illness, as it spreads salmonella and other pathogens in the sink and around the food preparation area. By cooking poultry thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and maintaining that temperature for 15 seconds, you will destroy any bacteria.”

Stuffing safety
There still remains the controversy about cooking holiday birds with or without stuffing.

“In support of optimal safety and consistent doneness, cooking the stuffing separately is the recommendation,” Barr said. “Following tradition, some cook the stuffing and turkey together. However, the turkey will reach doneness before the stuffing inside the bird. In this case, a probe food thermometer is essential to ensure stuffing has reached the proper internal temperature.”

If it has not maintained that internal temperature of 165 degrees F for 15 seconds, Barr said to keep cooking the turkey together with the stuffing until it does. Otherwise, the undercooked stuffing may likely contaminate the cooked meat, she said.

Critical cooling
It also is critical to refrigerate Time and Temperature Control foods (TCS) quickly after serving the meal. This includes meats, stuffing, casseroles, cooked grains and vegetables and sliced fruit. The fastest bacterial growth occurs between 70 degrees F and 125 degrees F, which is close to room temperature, Barr said.

“So, if a TCS food sits out for two hours, it is best to toss it,” she explained. “As the saying goes, ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ As bacteria multiply, so does the risk of food-borne illness. The less time TCS foods are in the danger zone, the safer the food for consumption.

“A good rule of thumb is to monitor time and temperature carefully to ensure food safety with each and every step.”

For more information on the University of Illinois Extension programs in your county, visit University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.

Christmas Kettles to Kaneland area

KANELAND—Look for the familiar red Salvation Army kettles this November and December throughout the Kaneland/Big Rock area.

Conley Outreach (the local Salvation Army Service Extension representative) together with local Scout troops, businesses, 4-H clubs, church groups and Community Care Team volunteers will collect donations on Saturdays and the days just prior to Christmas outside various local businesses. The community needs your help.

Every year, Conley Outreach receives about $2,500 from the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to help needy families pay for rent, heat, food, clothing or other necessities. Because of the current economic conditions, this money is depleted quickly. The Christmas Kettles enable Conley Outreach to raise additional money and replenish this fund. Approximately 90 percent of all the money donated in our area kettles will stay in our local Salvation Army fund.

All local kettles have a sign stating that the money will stay in the Kaneland/Big Rock area. This past year, the fund helped more than 100 of our neighbors. As winter approaches, many more will need help.

Consider making a donation when you are out shopping this month. Donations can also be sent to Conley Outreach/Salvation Army Fund, PO Box 931 Elburn IL 60119. If you have a group that would like to staff the kettles on a Saturday or Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 23-24, in either Sugar Grove or Elburn, contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880.

Holiday Spirit needs your help

KANELAND—Holiday Spirit, a joint program between Kaneland schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of organizations, businesses, churches and other groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 132 children in 54 families through the generous donations from this community. It is anticipated that the need will be just as great this year.

Individuals or groups interested in adopting a family can contact Nicole Pryor, social worker at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or You may also contact Carol Alfrey, West Towns coordinator, at or by calling (630) 365-2880.

Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last-minute gifts and gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.

Veterans Day 2014 Salute Colors

Waubonsee hosts Veterans Day observance

Photo: Members of the Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 post the flags of the United States and of the Sugar Grove Legion Post, during a Veterans Day observance Tuesday at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Photo submitted by Jonathan Bilyk to

Honors WWII veteran Arthur Sheridan
SUGAR GROVE—Arthur Sheridan regrets not stepping forward sooner.

For decades, Sheridan, an Aurora resident and U.S. Army veteran of World War II, chose to live his life after returning home from combat in Europe in the 1940s, working his job and raising his family.

However, at the age of 80, he said, he was encouraged to get involved in his community and tell the tales of his service.

Sheridan’s story begins with his decision to enlist at 17 years old, and ends with a race across Europe as a member of the 20th Armored Division, culminating in the attack on Munich, Germany, and liberation of the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

Tuesday, Sheridan, who now serves on the Aurora Veterans Advisory Council, shared his story during keynote remarks of the Veterans Day observance ceremony at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

While recounting his story, Sheridan also encouraged fellow veterans to engage in public service and encouraged those in the community to welcome veterans back into the fabric of civilian life on the homefront.

“Our veterans need advocates,” Sheridan said. “Not just so they can secure the benefits they should receive, but so we can all be remembered during our years.

“Every able-bodied veteran is ready, willing and equipped to serve his community,” Sheridan said.

The event also included parading of colors and a placement of a wreath by representatives of American Legion Post 1271 of Sugar Grove, a reading of President Obama’s Veterans Day Proclamation by Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek, and performance of patriotic musical selections, including The Star-Spangled Banner, directed by Dr. Mark Lathan, Waubonsee assistant professor of Music.

Kaneland PTA prepares Winter Wonderland Craft Show

by Violet Marquardt
KANELAND—Kaneland Special Needs PTA will host its Winter Wonderland Craft and Vendor Show on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove.

The Craft and Vendor Show will help raise funds for the PTA and also bring awareness to its cause.

Most Kaneland School District students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will attend alternative schools. And the majority of IEP students must return back to the Kaneland District after attending an alternative school. This transition can be difficult for most students, hence the reason why the Kaneland Special Needs PTA was formed.

“We wanted to include IEP students. We are working really hard to find different ways to include them,” said Tiny Murdock, president of the Special Needs PTA.

The Special Needs PTA works closely with liaisons and chairmen in every school to help bring forth more possibilities for students with an IEP. As of right now, the PTA consists of only six members: Murdock, Vice President Sarah Douglas, Treasurer Darci Davito, Secretary Gretchen Mann, Chairman of Fundraisers Pam Sorenson, and Co-Chairman of Fundraisers Katie Schutzenhofer. Despite boasting just a handful of members, the PTA works diligently to bring forth change.

“I think we are very diversified in our talents, and that’s why we work so well together,” Murdock said.

The PTA has been planning the Winter Wonderland fundraiser since Elburn Days last August.

“(Sorenson) has put hours, maybe even months, of work into this. She’s our engine behind this (fundraiser),” Murdock said.

The Craft and Vendor Show has already received many donations, either monetary or for the show itself, from local businesses such as Old Second Bank Elburn and Elburn Animal Hospital. In addition, the event will feature free childcare service, a bake sale and a visit from Santa Claus, who will stop by from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The PTA spent days posting flyers and yard signs wherever it could in an effort to spread the word about this event.

“We’re trying to get the word and awareness out as fast as we can,” Murdock said.

Although the Craft and Vendor Show will provide revenue for the relatively new PTA, the group also hopes the event will bring forth awareness and perhaps some new members.

“(Our goal) is to be there to help the people who have to learn a new language,” Murdock said, referring to families with an IEP student.

The Special Needs PTA will also host an additional Craft and Vendor Show in April for anyone who cannot make it to the November event. The PTA at the spring gathering will unveil a recipe book for families.

“We would love to make (the shows) a tradition,” Murdock said. “We’ve been told we’re an organization with a heart, and we love to hear that.”

Stepping into the light of Sugar Grove

by Shannon Halikias,
Sugar Grove Public Library director

Stepping into a new library directorship means entering a rapid learning process. A new director has to acclimate to a new community and its history, learn a unique collection, and sometimes tackle substantial administrative or financial issues. Usually this process includes meeting multiple pressing deadlines, and a new director has to hit the ground running—no training manual included. In all of our nation’s libraries, we do things a scooch differently.

What I can say so far about the Sugar Grove Public Library is that it reminds me of a lighthouse, providing the community with a beacon of culture, education, civic space and opportunity. The architecture itself, with its soaring ceilings, sturdy wooden beams, bright open spaces and comfortable nooks, communicates these concepts. This library, like the patrons it serves, has a solid backbone. It was built by folks of strong stock—a community hankering for intellectual freedom paired with common sense. Our library feels like a grand space, yet it maintains an approachability and friendliness, reminding me of the people of Sugar Grove, where people are the “can-do” kind of crowd and neighbors share a friendly hello. Like I said, freedom with sensibility.

Patrons can utilize our facility and feel their spirit open a bit, as connection to this civic institution is not only transactional but also relational. Isn’t that what a great library is all about?

Walking about the library on my first day, I discovered a bounty of wonderful spaces: a quiet reading room with comfortable chairs, a fireplace, a garden room perfect for snuggling with a book, and study rooms and tables regularly filled with patrons working and learning. Each day, amazing smells waft into my office from the Java Plus Cafe (taste the blueberry coffee—wow). I love to hear the happy bustle of children in Story Time, and though I can’t hear them as they clack the keys quietly, I am gratified to know patrons are constantly using our computers, wi-fi and online resources. Psst … did you know we even have a teen room?

I look forward to manning this lighthouse and providing for the needs of a dedicated community. Please feel free to stop by for a cookie, a hello or a personal handshake at a Meet the New Director event on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I am eager to learn how I can help your mind and spirit soar at our library.

Editor’s note

The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: From the classroom to the newsroom

by Madeline Mohatt and Shannon Gilkey
Kaneland Krier staff

As staff members of the Kaneland Krier, the chance to spend a day shadowing the staff of the Elburn Herald was a great way to expand our knowledge as student journalists.

On Nov. 11, we took over the Elburn Herald newsroom. In the midst of invasion, we were given the opportunity to observe the editors and staff who construct Elburn’s local paper every week.

We were able to broaden our editing, photography and design skills by watching the staff in action. We also noticed that things are run differently in the Krier newsroom compared to the way things are done in the Elburn Herald newsroom.

The Krier staff is made up of students all within high school grade levels. Within the staff, the students are divided into four different levels of authority, which is different from the Elburn Herald. That means someone younger and less experienced could potenitially have a higher position of authority with the Krier.

Unlike the atmosophere of the Kaneland Krier, the Elburn Herald is much more organized and collected. Our school newspaper comes out on a monthly basis, whereas the Elburn Herald is a weekly paper. This gives them an opportunity to cover more timely news on a tighter deadline—an advantage that we do not have.

Despite tight deadlines, the Elburn Herald never fails to run an exceptional paper. In regard to story ideas, brainstorming exists at the Elburn Herald and Krier. However, while brainstorming it is one of the most important aspects of production for the Krier, many of the Herald’s stories are the result of reader input and a constant dialogue with the community. Therefore, the Krier hopes to incorporate more input from the student body in issues to come.

Edward Heissler

Edward Heissler, 89, of Hampshire, Ill., passed away peacefully early Monday morning, Nov. 10, 2014, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family.

Ed was born April 27, 1925, to proud parents Joseph and Marie Heissler. He was raised in the High Lake subdivision in West Chicago, Ill.

Ed attended local schools in West Chicago, finishing his studies at West Chicago Community High School with the Class of 1944.

Edward had a good friend by the name Ted Risch, and it was through him that he met the love of his life, Adele Risch. They were united in marriage on March 26, 1949, at St. Marys Church in West Chicago. Ed and Adele spent 65 beautiful years together. They were blessed with three sons, Edward Jr., Gary and Richard.

The couple spent their first 10 years in West Chicago before selling their pretty home and following Eddie’s dream of owning a farm. They bought a farm on McDonald Road in Burlington Township, Ill., where he lived out the rest of his years.

Ed was a member of the Local 150 Union of Operating Engineers for 69 years. He worked in Chicago during the day, and pursued his love of farming by night.

Ed was a member of many clubs, from the Knights of Columbus to the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club, Will County Threshermans Association, and National Rifle Association, but most dear to his heart was being a member of Saint’s Peter and Paul Catholic Church of Virgil for over 50 years.

In 1955, Ed was at work when he was severely injured in a terrible accident. He was in the hospital for over four months, all while Adele was pregnant with Edward Jr. The accident was so severe that it took Ed Sr. over a year to be able to walk again. But through strength and determination, he did walk again, learning alongside his baby son, Edward Jr.

In 1982, Ed put down his tools and farm equipment to retire. He and Adele bought a place in Osteen, Fla., to spend their winters. While in Florida, Ed continued using his hands, but this time he surprised his family by becoming quite a wood carving artist. His favorite to carve were western characters.

Ed was a lover of music, particularly country western and big band. After retirement, Ed and Adele bought a camper and took many road trips to steam shows.

Ed’s favorite thing were his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He made up for his lack of free time as a young man by doing all he could with his grandkids. He had special nicknames for each one, and enjoyed taking them to for ice cream in Sycamore. He loved to teach them to drive on the golf cart, and in the Model T on special occasions. He would sit through any Disney movie and cartoon just to spend time with them. You could even catch Ed watching a cartoon by himself. Ed is gone from this Earth, but he will never be forgotten.

Ed is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Adele; his two sons, Gary (Lori) and Richard (Cheryl); four grandchildren, Shannon (Matt) Mellin, Lauren (Liberato) Cascone, Erica and Ryan Heissler; five great-grandchildren; a sister, Jeanette Durant; three sisters-in-law, Millie Miller, Linda Grant and Marion Grant; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and a countryside of friends.

He is preceded in death by his son, Edward Jr.; his parents, Joseph and Marie Heissler; his sisters, Loraine Evans and Catherine Perkis; his brother, Joseph Heissler Jr.; and his great friend, Ted Risch.

A visitation will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce, Elburn. A funeral Mass to celebrate Ed’s life will take place on Friday, Nov. 14, at 10:30 a.m., following a brief visitation from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., at Saint’s Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 5N939 Meredith Road, Virgil. Burial will follow mass at S.S. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Virgil.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Edwards’s name. Checks may be made to the “S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church ” for the stain glass window project, and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at

Mary Clare Zielinski

Mary Clare Zielinski, 63, of St. Charles, passed away unexpectedly at home Saturday Nov. 8, 2014, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family.

Mary was born on Sept. 4, 1951, in West Allis, Wis., to proud parents Mary Jane and Frank Gerlach.
Mary attended local schools in West Allis until fifth grade, when the family moved to Addison, Ill. Mary graduated from Addison Trail High School in 1969 and continued her studies at Elmhurst College, graduating with a bachelors in education in 1973.

Mary met the love of her life, Gregory Zielinski, while roaming the halls of Addison Trail. They were united in marriage in 1973 in the Chapel of Elmhurst College. Mary and Greg started their life together in Lombard before moving to Glendale Heights, where they were blessed with eight beautiful children, Christopher, Matthew, Elizabeth, Timothy, Jonathan, Mary Chris, Sarah and Joanna. They packed up the kids and moved a couple more times, from Virgil to Elburn, before finally settling in St. Charles.

When it came to work, Mary was a jack of all trades. Her love of children started her out as a teacher before she became a daycare provider. Mary moved on to become a bookkeeper for Nestle and continuing at Shearer and Agrella Law Firm. She was also a devoted member of St. Gall Catholic Church in Elburn for many years.

Mary was a homebody, but she liked to travel for family visits when she had a chance, spending time in Jamaica for a wedding just last year. One of her kid’s favorite trips with mom was driving to Florida to visit grandma and grandpa.

Mary loved the outdoors. In the spring, her green thumb ruled, and Mary could be found in her garden. She loved to plant vegetables; her favorite to grow was pumpkin, and she made sure to grow one pumpkin for each grandchild.

She enjoyed the simple things in life, watching birds, taking long walks and enjoying the company of others. The most important thing in Mary’s life was children. She first gave all her time and energy to her own children before finding the joy and love that her grandchildren provided her. She was blessed with nine grandchildren with whom she laughed and loved to joke.

Doing arts and crafts was a favorite pastime she spent doing with the grandkids. Mary had very special relationships with each and every one of her nine grandchildren, making sure each one felt special when they were around her. She always kept nine treats in her purse just in case all the grandkids would be around. She loved her family with all she had. She is gone now, but she will never be forgotten.

Mary is survived by her husband, Greg; children, Matthew (Stephanie), Elizabeth (Steve) Mencel, Timothy (Anne), Jonathan, Mary Chris (Bill) Lamb, Sarah (Joel Bogosh) Zielinski and Joanna (Harry Vyhnanek) Zielinski; nine grandchildren, Evelyn, Clare, Jude, Joseph Zielinski, Nathan and Cameron Mencel, Henry Zielinski, and Ethan and Lindsey Lamb; her mother, Mary Jane Gerlach; six siblings, Patrick (Leah) Gerlach, Sue Grudecki, Paul (Mary Beth) Gerlach, Joseph (Cathi) Gerlach, Frank (Val) Gerlach, Ann (Sean) McGreal; her mother-in-law, Alice Zielinski; many cousins; and a countryside of friends.

She is preceded in death by her infant son, Christopher; father, Frank Gerlach; father-in-law, Raymond Zielinski; and brother-in-law, Gary Grudecki.

A visitation was held Wednesday at Conley Funeral Home. A funeral Mass will take place Thursday, Nov. 13, with visitation from 9 to 9:45 a.m., and a Mass at 10 a.m. Private cremation will follow the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Mary’s name. Checks may be made to the “Mary Zielinski Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at

Letter: An invitation to the School Board

I am writing this as an invitation to the School Board to stop by and visit the Transportation building.

This is a building that hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Currently, we have one bathroom with four stalls and one small sink, all for over 60 employees. Our seating area is roughly 300 square feet—about the size of a walk-in closet. We have one table and nine chairs. And as of now, we have no heat, either, due to a poorly supervised construction project.

We have suggested to administration several alternatives, these being a move to the old middle school, a move off campus or even an addition to the Transportation building; all of these suggestions fell on deaf ears.

I am not asking for a referendum or any extra money from taxpayers, as this would not be necessary. Each year, we get more crowded with more drivers.

Carrying a construction background, I am thinking of turning the shed next to the tennis courts into an outhouse to help with overflow.

If you would like to see what we go through every day, just come down at 6 a.m. or 2 p.m. Just make sure you don’t need to use the bathroom when you get there.

Barry Pazin

Letter: Thank you from Keith Wheeler and family

Lisa and I, along with our entire family, are truly grateful for the support we received on Nov. 4.

Our campaign theme of creating Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families resonated with voters all throughout the 50th Representative District. As a result, I am honored by the confidence that my neighbors demonstrated by electing me as their representative in the Illinois House.

Thank you to everyone who helped the Wheeler campaign. Our team did an amazing job, and I am very proud of the hard work and positive message. As I have mentioned repeatedly throughout this election cycle, politics is a team sport. Our campaign team worked extremely well together, and it was fun for me to just be a part of Team Wheeler.

Congratulations to everyone who was victorious last Tuesday. As public servants, we have much work to do, and I look forward to working with you. To those who didn’t come out on top, please accept my congratulations for putting your best foot forward and being willing to step into the arena.

Again, I am humbled by the enthusiastic response and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Keith R. Wheeler
Illinois 50th District State Representative

Letter: Thank you from Valerie Burd

I want to thank all the people who helped me during this long year of campaigning, and all the people who voted for me on Nov. 4.

Although I didn’t win the election, I did win in many other ways—I made new friends, I learned a lot from all the people I talked to as I went door to door, and I gave almost 10,000 people a choice on the ballot on Election Day that they wouldn’t have had if a candidate wasn’t on the Democratic ticket in our district.

It was an honor to be asked to run. Thank you to all the people who took the time to vote. I congratulate all the winners and wish them the best of luck.

Valerie Burd

Letter: Thank you from Elburn & Countryside Fire District

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the residents who voted against disconnecting and transferring territory from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD) on Nov. 4.

The ECFPD has served and protected the lives and property of all our residents for over 132 years, and we appreciate your confidence in our ability to do so for many more. It is our honor to be of service, and we will continue to move our Fire District forward toward excellence.

Over the past few months, we have been humbled by the support of the communities we serve. We’d like to express our gratitude to the elected officials and residents who took such an active and vocal role in making it clear what their wishes were for their families and property. Whether you took the time to write a letter, offered your home to have an informative get-together, placed a sign on your property or quietly voted no, we truly appreciate your support.

We espectially want to thank the Elburn Fire Department Association, their membership, family and friends of the district, as well as the surrounding fire departments and their personnel, who spent countless hours of their personal time volunteering to educate anyone willing to listen, meeting with residents in the affected area, and putting up signs in support of our fire district. We’d also like to thank the village of Elburn and Lily Lake for their support opposing the disconnection.

Thank you again for having faith in us. We will not let you down.

Kelly P. Callaghan
Fire Chief, ECFPD


Halloween fundraiser gets a visit from Hughes family

Photos: Guest of honor and former Sugar Grove library director Beverly Holmes-Hughes (above, left) converses with new Sugar Grove Library Director Shannon Halikias of Naperville, Ill. Photos by Lynn Logan

Halloween fundraiser gets a visit from Hughes family
SUGAR GROVE—Along with unexpected donations and more volunteers than they knew what to do with, organizers of a Halloween fundraiser on Saturday got a visit from the beneficiary herself: Beverly Holmes Hughes.

The event, organized by Sugar Grove resident Debbie DeBoer and her family, gave kids one last chance to wear their Halloween costumes while playing games to win prizes. The single fee of $10 per child benefited Hughes’ ongoing battle with brain cancer.

“It was a crazy, busy day,” DeBoer said of the fundraiser event. “We were a little overwhelmed at first, getting everything set up.”

DeBoer said Harter Middle School teacher/coach Adam Wickness had promised 15 of his Kaneland basketball players as volunteers, but arrived with 20.

“We had about 45 children (attend), and we did really well on the raffles,” DeBoer said. “We had people without children show up with donations.”

DeBoer was delighted when one boy told her it was “way more fun” than another recent school fun fair.

“And then his friend piped up and said, ‘Way, way more fun,’” DeBoer said.

She was thrilled, also, that Hughes attended with her family to play the games and thank the volunteers.

“She (Hughes) tells me all the time she can’t believe how kind people are,” said Pat Graceffa, Sugar Grove Library Board trustee and longtime friend of Hughes’. “She looked good, and she was just thrilled. Beverly is one of the smartest people I know, but she isn’t obvious about it. She helps you figure things out, and you don’t realize until later that she’s the one who figured it out and let you believe you did it.”

Graceffa expressed her gratitude to the DeBoer family for organizing and running the event.

“It was really well-thought out. They had plans for everything,” Graceffa said. “And the kids got so excited over the small gifts they won.”

Graceffa also had a few nice words for the teen volunteers.

“The Kaneland basketball players were just terrific. They were so patient with the kids and even if the kids didn’t win, they made sure they did win,” Graceffa said with a laugh.

All proceeds from the event were deposited into the “Beverly’s Battle with Brain Cancer” fund at Castle Bank. Further donations to the fund are welcome, as well.

Letter: A response to a previous letter

Mr. Jerry Elliott often writes inflammatory Letter to the Editor submissions to share his concerns about the management of Kaneland CUSD 302, but he regularly includes erroneous information. This is unfortunate because it can mislead district stakeholders, suggesting reckless mismanagement of funds.

Nothing is further from the truth.

This letter is in response to Mr. Elliott’s most recent letter, published in the Elburn Herald on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, where he suggested that Kaneland “impulsively” hired 73 new people to its staffing plan since last year. Mr. Elliott did not mention that the great majority of any new hires are replacements for teachers and all other support staff workers that left the district for a variety of reasons, such as new jobs, retirement, personal reasons, health issues or higher salaries elsewhere.

The Kaneland Board of Education approved a little over 12.0 paid positions last spring. These positions include an administrator (.5 assistant principal/.5 special education), and 5.0 teachers (to reduce overly large class sizes in core courses and to implement a Spanish program at Harter Middle School). The remainder of the positions provide for technology support for increased use of technology in our classrooms, health assistance and study hall supervision.

Some of these positions are being restored from the deep reductions made previously, but none of these positions were acted on impulsively. Even with these additions, it is important to realize that staffing patterns continue to fall short of returning to the previous levels before the mass reductions (Kaneland is many things, but hasty in decision-making efforts and spending tax dollars is not one of them).

Mr. Elliott also found displeasure in the fact that he had to wait until the New Business portion of the board meeting to hear the levy presentation and discussion. The board’s agenda is, and will continue to be, structured purposefully to meet the best interests of any students and their families that are recognized at any meeting, so that they may leave for home as early as possible on a school night should they so choose. New Business items are part of a full board meeting agenda, and they will follow any board celebrations or recognitions.

With regard to his statement regarding the tax levy, I can appreciate the fact that Mr. Elliott does not want his taxes raised. No one does. Living in western Kane County in the state of Illinois, however, our local School District is very dependent upon the revenue provided from the local property tax process. Each year, the Board of Education decides a levy in order to receive over 75 percent of its revenue for the following year.

Within the law, the district is allowed to increase the tax levy extension no more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is an inflationary indicator of the cost of doing business. This year, the CPI has been determined at 1.5 percent. Additional money will not provide us with much to improve or grow our program offerings for students, but it should allow us to pay for the on-going operational costs of the district to maintain our current level of student programs and services.

As one of many taxing bodies, we all must respect and appreciate the financial support from our local community. The Kaneland District has shown several straight years of continued fiscal responsibility, making the tough decisions and making the hard 7.5 million dollar cuts in order to balance the budget and avoid deficit spending. In addition, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, Kaneland associate superintendent, has spent countless hours of her time to help Mr. Elliott to understand the processes involved.

We expect that the district’s financial profile score will increase from “Review” to “Recognition” when published later this year. This has been accomplished in spite of untimely payments from the state of Illinois and also prorated funds for General State Aid payments, on which we also depend. The Kaneland community should be nothing short of grateful for Dr. Fuchs’s expertise and professionalism.

Mr. Elliott often refers negatively to the personal and professional ethics and management skills of those individuals serving the Kaneland district. It is damaging, in my opinion, when inaccurate information is published that misrepresents the thorough work that is being done. The Kaneland School District strives to be financially transparent and is most dedicated to responsible, sound fiduciary management. To suggest otherwise is just wrong.

Cheryl Krauspe

Nov. 13 police blotter

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• A bike was stolen from the bicycle rack at John Stewart Elementary School sometime between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. The bike, a candy apple red Dirt Style BMX with black seat, was left unsecured overnight.
• A woman, 22, of the 42W300 block of Hunters Hill, St. Charles, on Nov. 3 reported being approached and followed in the Elburn Jewel-Osco by a tall, black man who continued to follow her east on Route 38 and onto Anderson Road.
• Cash totaling between $360 to $400 was stolen from a wallet in an unlocked car that was parked in the Jewel-Osco parking lot. The car belongs to an Elburn man, 52, of the 500 block of Main Street. One of the vehicle’s windows was open at the time of the theft.
• Alec J. Williams, 19, of the 200 block of Conley Drive, Elburn, on Oct. 29. was charged with unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Swap and Shop returns to Elburn

by Violet Marquardt
ELBURN—A local group of Christian moms, known as Authentic Moms, will host its biannual Swap and Shop event on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Elburn.

The swap event began eight years ago between a group of moms from the same church.

“We thought we could all bless each other with the items, rather than buying them,” said Nicole Dulski, who helps spearhead the event. “It wasn’t until six years ago that we decided to open it up to the community.”

On Friday, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., people can drop off their gently used items at the Community Center. However, many items have already been donated to the cause.

“We already have trailers full of stuff people have donated,” Dulski said.

Anyone is welcome to come to the Swap and Shop on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No donation is necessary in order to “shop” at the event.

“There are so many people struggling, (so) I’d love to see people come and find Christmas presents for their family and just be blessed,” Dulski said.

The swap helps many struggling families by providing them with necessities for free. Dulski said this is the most valuable experience from the swap event.

“I love to tell people about the joy (they will) receive from donating—it’s so much better than selling it and making a few bucks. Until you experience it, you don’t realize the joy you receive,” Dulski said.

Dulski has met many different people from the swap and encountered many different stories.
“I’m often brought to tears,” she said.

The Swap and Shop will simulate a real shopping experience, as there will be clothing racks and shelves, and everything will be set up just like in a store. Because they want everything to be perfect for those who come, Dulski and her friends begin setup the Thursday prior to the event.

“You have to have a lot of faithful volunteers. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love,” Dulski said.

While most of the items donated are gently used, the Swap and Shop in the past has received swankier items. One year, it received a brand new wedding dress and designer shoes that had never been worn. There is indeed something for everyone at the Swap and Shop.

With a usual 500-700 people in attendance, it’s hard to believe that anything will be leftover following the swap. However, anything that is leftover at the end of the day is donated to other ministries for the same cause.

“I’m always amazed. It feels like as soon as the shelves get emptied, they start to fill themselves back up,” Dulski said.

This is the second swap of the year. Typically, Authentic Moms have one in May and then the next one right before the holidays. And with seven daughters of her own, Dulski herself knows how beneficial the swap can be.

“I’m so blessed that, because of this swap, my girls are able to have not one, but two winter coats this year. I also find it a lot easier to let my kids be kids in clothes that I didn’t have to spend a ton of money on,” Dulski said.

The Swap and Shop seeks to benefit both the shoppers and the donators. It’s a great way to give back to the community, according to Dulski.

“It’s just such an amazing way to love on the community,” she said.

Photo: Check, please!

The grand opening celebration and ribbon ceremony for Elburn’s Dunkin’ Donuts took place Monday morning. Elburn’s Dunkin’ Donuts managers Noe Zacurias (left) of Geneva and Martin Ramirez (right) of West Chicago, Ill., present a check to band director Aaron Puckett in the amount of $500 for the Kaneland High School Music Department. In return, the Kaneland High School Band performed to show its appreciation.

Letter: Kaneland School Board raising taxes

I had the pleasure of attending the Kaneland District 302 School Board meeting on Oct. 27. The meeting started on time at 7 p.m. sharp, with several people in attendance. Pictures of student athletic participation, pictures of Europe with Kaneland High School students, criteria for selecting a new superintendent and school improvement plans were presented,
leaving the presentation of the 2014 tentative tax levy to begin at 10 p.m. Board voting and discussion began at 10:30 p.m., with very few people remaining to witness the conversations.

I think the taxation levy is one of the most important financial discussions of the School District business year. Unfortunately, the board planned the meeting’s financial discussions to be last on the agenda, as it has been for the last three years. So, you must be wondering how it turned out.

To the surprise of no one, board members deliberated a few minutes, and as they have been consistent for as long as I can remember, delivered their “tax to the max” vote with a count of 5-2, with Tony Valente and Pedro Rivas voting “no.” That “tax to the max” vote now translates into a limiting rate multiplier of 6.0832 times a home value (EAV) of $300,000, giving you and yours a $222 tax increase. And as we all know, that $222 increase will never go away from our future tax bills, so we get to pay this increase forever and ever.

The time is now 10:50 p.m. Public comment allowed me to speak of the board’s recent, impulsive hiring of people.

Salaries and benefits for district personnel account for 80 percent of the district’s operating expense. Obviously, adding more people to the payroll increases the demand for more taxation. The Kaneland School Board approved the addition of 73 people last year, with 49 of those people added since June 2014. Student population went up one person for the year. I guess the student testing results showing 45 percent of the high school students not progressing at college readiness standards might be a stimulus for more staff. Nonetheless, this is a poor state of affairs for our taxation, school system performance and management of board meetings.

I would not profess to be a great manager of schools, but I wonder about the output of this $66.5 million business enterprise as it is today.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Delores M. Jarka

Delores M. Jarka (nee Gahlbeck), 80, of Geneva, died at home on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, following a long illness.

She was born on Dec. 17, 1933, the daughter of Harry and Laura (nee Vogel) Gahlbeck. She was raised in Burlington, Ill., and graduated with the Burlington High School Class of 1951.

She started working early in life, detasseling corn in the nearby fields. She went on to work at the Elgin Watch Factory and eventually went to work at Warwick Publishing Company in St. Charles, where she remained for 28 years before retiring.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 40 years, Robert F. Jarka, and her only brother, Clifford Gahlbeck.

She is survived by her loving children, David of Buffalo, N.Y., Kathleen (William Duerr) of Batavia, Donald (Tammie) of Geneva and Edward (Karyn) of Maple Park. She also had six grandchildren she was very proud of: Will and Joseph Duerr, Brad and Adam Jarka, and Rachel and Kyle Jarka.

Visitation and service were held Sunday at Moss-Norris Funeral Home, 100 S. Third St., St. Charles.

Interment was held privately at Union Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army, 1710 S. Seventh Ave., St. Charles, or at

For additional information contact Moss-Norris Funeral Home at (630) 584-2000 or

Denis L. Bowron

Denis L. Bowron died Thursday, Oct. 30, at Greenfields of Geneva. He was born on July 26, 1937, to Clarice and Lyman “Red” Bowron on Church Street on the east side of Batavia.

His early years were spent hanging out on the Fox River with his dog Choppy, pedaling his Aurora Beacon paper route or helping with his father’s small trucking company, “Bowron Motor Service.” As a teen, he set pins at Batavia Bowl, and spent after-school hours with friends pumping gas at Spuhler’s “Pure Oil” station on Batavia Avenue.

After high school, he entered the Navy, where he learned the boiler trade in the engine room of a destroyer.

Upon his return, he married a west side girl, Nancy Wiberg, and they went on to have four children, Denise Schubkegel, Laura Kapala, Craig and Larry Bowron, and eventually 27 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

After stints at Argonne National Laboratory and Mercy Hospital, he had a 30-year career as a facility operations supervisor at Fermi Lab. He was intelligent and curious, and wondered how things worked.

He was an avid fisherman, loved music—particularly gospel music—and enjoyed refurbishing old mechanical antiques like Challenger pumps. He made bluebird houses and replanted oak savannas. He was a big man with a big heart and a fast wit, and he had an easy way with people. Denis was loved as a dad, grandpa, farfar.

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, at Bethany Lutheran Church, 8 S. Lincoln St., Batavia.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Fermilab Natural Areas at

For additional information, contact Moss Family Funeral Homes at (630) 879-7900 or


Richard “Rich” Herra

Richard “Rich” Herra, 73, of Elburn, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family. A big man with an even bigger heart, he leaves this world without a chance to say goodbye, but leaves a legacy of memories to balm our grieving hearts.

He was born May 1, 1941, the son of George and Mary (Kessel) Herra, in Geneva.

Rich grew up in Elburn and attended local schools while helping out at the family grocer on Main Street in Elburn. He was “hired out” on occasion to local farmers, helping them in the fields, season after season. He was so popular, farmers would put in their reservations for “the tall son” when he was busy. He was one of the first classes to attend Kaneland High School. Before he graduated with the class of 1961, Rich was a captain of the football team, inspiring all the “gridiron greats” to follow in his footsteps generations later.

Aug. 3, 1964, was a day to live in infamy–at least for Rich–as that was the fateful day he was introduced to Mary Fulk. They soon fell in love, and the rest was history. Their two hearts became one on Nov. 21, 1965. They began their new life together in Aurora for a time before coming back home to Elburn in 1968, where they raised a growing family. They were blessed with two children, Richard and Rhonda. Almost 49 years of marriage brought millions of both laughter and tears. But one thing was for sure: they were unforgettable.

Rich had a history of working in and for his community. He worked as a part time police officer for ten years and spent 36 years as a volunteer fireman. H & L Altepeter operated in Lily Lake, but Rich and his brother Jack had the opportunity to buy the business, and they renamed it J & R Herra Inc. After a lifetime filled with a work ethic that was second to none, Rich put down his tools and retired in 2009.

He was a lifetime member of the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club, and a faithful member of the Fox Valley Christian Church. Rich was also a proud member of the N.R.A.

Rich’s strength was legendary, and more importantly, true. He would hold the end of a 16-pound sledgehammer with one hand, and gently scratch the end of his nose as easy as holding a pencil. He also was an accomplished marksman who loved to shoot and make new friends at every club.

As a dedicated member of the Elburn Fire Department, Rich felt privileged each and every time he was able to drive the antique Model A fire truck in the Elburn Days Parade and other festive occasions. He was also a practical man, picking the date of his marriage to coincide with deer hunting season.

Although Rich had a look that could stop you in your tracks, there was no one who enjoyed a practical joke or shared an easy laugh like Rich. He once tied the shoes of a whole volleyball team together in intricate knots while they were playing a game, only to return to the bench to see Rich’s handiwork. He also was a favorite dinner companion every Friday night, taking out friends and neighbors. It was only coincidence that most of them were of the female persuasion, jokingly referred to as his “harem.” Some of his favorite spots were as far as 100 miles away.

Rich was a family man through and through, prizing them above all else. But he always had a special place in his heart for his grandson R.J. No one can Rich’s shoes, nor live up to the man who lived his life as a “gentle giant,” but we can admire the footsteps he left for us to follow and never forget the memories he left behind.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary; two children, Richard (Kandy) Herra and their son R.J., and Rhonda (Mike Fung) Herra; four siblings, D. Larry (Maxine) Herra, Leroy (Carol) Herra, Dean Herra and Darlene (Terry) Terrill; one brother-in-law, Glenn (Margie) Fulk; two sisters-in-law, Janet Herra and Ruth Fulk; several nieces, nephews, a host of “shooting buddies” and a countryside filled with friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, George and Mary; two sisters, Marie Fraunberg and Janet, the latter of which passed away in infancy; brother, Jack Herra; two brothers-in law, Jim Fraunberg and Howard Fulk; and last but never least, his favorite hunting dogs, Lady and Diamond, who were faithful hunting buddies till the end.

Visitation will take place Monday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 8 p.m., at Fox Valley Christian Church, 40W150 Main St. Road, Batavia. A funeral to celebrate his life will take place at 10 a.m., with a time of visitation from 9 to 9:45 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, also at the church. Pastors Dan Fields and Josh LaGrange will officiate, with interment to follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Rich’s name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Rich Herra Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at

In honor of Rich and his “timeless” sense of fashion, all are welcome to attend both visitation and funeral in casual dress and/or their best camouflage wear.


Elburn resident grows oversized pumpkins

by Violet Marquardt
ELBURN—For most adolescents, October is a time of costume selection, pumpkin carving and fall festivities. For Elburn resident William Huber, it’s a time to see whether or not he’s reached his pumpking-growing goal for the year.

Huber, 12, has been growing pumpkins at home for about three years. These aren’t average pumpkins, however, with most averaging well over 100 pounds.

“A bad (growing) year for him is nothing over 200 pounds,” said Huber’s father, Michael.

Giant pumpkins don’t just happen; they require a lot of patience and time. William’s devotion withstands the test—each day he pumps 50 to 60 gallons of water to his pumpkins from the creek on their property. He also commits much of his time to researching new ways to help his pumpkins grow bigger.

“He asked me last year for honeybees to pollinate the garden so we ended up ordering three pounds of honeybees,” Michael said.

William begins planning his garden almost 10 months in advance. He studies the weight of the parent seeds and determines which ones to order to produce the largest pumpkins possible. Then, at the end of April, he starts his garden inside.

William’s biggest secret to growing big pumpkins, however, is the fertilizer.

“He used to study fertilizer, and now he knows which kind does what,” Michael said.

This past year, William’s largest pumpkin was a whopping 582 pounds. His previous record was 480 pounds, and that was two years ago.

“(The other day) we were driving down Kirk Road, and people kept slowing down and stopping. I asked William to look behind us and see what was going on. He said that people kept slowing down because some guy was trying to take a picture of the pumpkin we had in the trailer,” Michael said.

William’s pumpkins are appreciated by everyone of every age, but especially by his friends.

“They think it’s pretty neat seeing all of the pumpkins,” William said.

He gives a lot of his smaller pumpkins away to friends, smaller children and those less fortunate. His larger pumpkins, however, he likes to keep and display.

“This year he wants to carve one, so I’ll have to get my saw out for that,” Michael said.

Although William’s hobby of pumpkin growing is relatively new, his love for the outdoors is something he’s had his entire life.

“He’s always looking for something to do outside,” said William’s mother, Robin. “This year he was telling us what to plant (in our garden) this year, and we just let him run with it. I love it. Once he sets his mind to something, he wants to see it through, and he learns everything he can about it, like the honeybees.”

William’s garden is not limited to just pumpkins. This past year, he was able to grow corn and zucchini, and made salsa from what he grew in his garden.

“They did more than they were expecting,” Robin said.

Gardening is a pastime that has been in William’s family for quite some time, so it’s only natural that he picked up the pastime. Michael as a youth also had a garden at his house.

“Growing up, we always had gardens. When I first moved to Elburn back in 1973, my dad asked if I wanted to grow pumpkins. I ended up growing a 104-pound pumpkin, and I entered it in Ream’s Pumpkin Contest,” Michael said.

With a passion he is so wholeheartedly devoted to, William’s parents hope to see him carry it with him for the rest of his life.

“It’d be nice to see him do genetic engineering once he’s older,” Michael said.

For now, Huber is thinking more short-term. He hopes to enter the Sycamore Giant Pumpkin Contest this year. Next year, he wants to grow a pumpkin that weighs a thousand pounds or more. And of course, he already has his plan for growing such a large pumpkin.

“I’m going to need lots of fertilizer,” William said.


Maple Park resident to compete in NBHA Worlds

Photo: Maple Park resident Catherine Gorenz speeds along on her horse, Lil Peppy. Gorenz recently qualified to compete in two divisions of the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) racing competition in Perry, Ga., in July 2015. Gorenz and her family have owned Lil Peppy since he was 6 months old. Submitted by Anne Gorenz to

by Violet Marquardt
MAPLE PARK—Catherine Gorenz of Maple Park recently qualified to compete in two divisions of the National Barrel Horse Association Barrel racing competition.
The competition will take place in July 2015 in Perry, Ga. This is Gorenz’s first year of competing as an NBHA member.

“I found out that I qualified for NBHA and Worlds after the last show of the season, (as) that’s when no one was able to accumulate anymore points and when the final standings were set in stone,” Gorenz said.

The top five contestants qualified for Worlds, and Gorenz, 16, came in second place on her 10-year-old quarter horse, Lil Peppy. Gorenz and her family have owned Lil Peppy since he was 6 months old.

“A friend told me about him. Originally I wasn’t going to buy him, but when I went to look at him, he was covered in mud and shaking. He was a pretty sad sight,” said Anne Gorenz, Catherine’s mother.

Primarily, Catherine would ride on her mare, Moon. However, the horse suffered a bone chip from a hail storm that occurred last summer. After a surgery and some recovery time, she’s doing much better. For the time being, though, Gorenz solely races with Lil Peppy.

“It was a work in process. He does it all now: barrel racing, pole bending,” Catherine said.

Coming from Champion Cutting Blood, it’s no surprise that Lil Peppy took his new position in stride. Catherine herself also has an extensive background of different riding styles.

“I learned how to ride English style, which is a lighter and different saddle than Western. I also do barrel racing and pole bending, so (Lil Peppy) doesn’t get bored,” Catherine said.

Catherine has been riding horses since she was 2 years old. But just like Lil Peppy, she didn’t start barrel racing until a year ago.

“I’m glad I just got into barrel racing, because (Lil Peppy) was never mentally prepared for it either,” Catherine said. “So we kind of started off at the same place.”

Horses have been a part of the Gorenz family for years. Anne also rode horses when she was younger on her parent’s farm in Aurora. That same farm is also where they house the five horses they own now, including Lil Peppy.

“I’ve had horses all of my life, and of course, when you’re a parent, you want your kids to do what you enjoy,” Anne said. “But really, my mom is the foundation of all of this. We definitely couldn’t have done it without her.”

Catherine’s passion for horses and competing is definitely a family effort, as everyone is involved, including her father, Ed.

“My dad comes over in the morning to feed the horses. Then my mom and I come at night to do chores. I have to give my siblings a lot of credit, too. I don’t know how many teenagers would want to spend their weekends at barrel racing competitions,” Catherine said.

Ed also dedicates a lot of his free time to looking at new horses to acquire.

“He’s always looking for new ways for me to advance,” Catherine.

Horse racing has done more than bring the immediate family closer together—it also developed a bond between Catherine and her cousin, who races horses, as well.

“My friends don’t really understand what I do, but my cousin and I have gotten really close from barrel racing,” Catherine said.

Catherine this past weekend competed at State, where her district team, comprised of her and her four friends, won the battle of the districts.

“I’d have to say my favorite part is definitely the adrenaline rush I get. And the possibility of people starting to know my name,” Catherine said. “People now will look at me and say, ‘Look, that’s the girl with the helmet,’ since I am one of the only people who wears helmets at competitions.”
To prepare for Worlds, Gorenz isn’t doing anything too specific. As of right now, she’s trying to get more consistent on her times with Lil Peppy, who can be motivated by just a few peppermints.

“It’s definitely the Peppy show before each race,” Catherine said.

Catherine doesn’t use Lil Peppy in any jumping classes. Rather, she enlists her horse Hawaii, a female, for such work.

It’s evident through Catherine’s success that all of her hard work is paying off. But for her, the achievement of making it to Worlds is just the start.

“Eventually, I’d love to make it into the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. And I’m sure every barrel racer’s dream is to make it to the National Finals Rodeo,” Catherine said.

With all of her devotion, Catherine is intent on doing great things. But what could end up helping her the most is her humble approach to each race.

“Each race is a learning experience. It’s easy to criticize yourself after every race, but I come out happy that we made it and that I’m still on my horse,” she said.

At the Worlds next summer, Catherine will compete with over 2,000 competitors in her youth division. All of them will vie for the fastest time and top prize in the competition.

“We never in a trillion years would have thought we’d make it this far, especially on a horse we’ve raised since it was 6 months old. But Catherine, she lives, breathes and sweats horses. I’m so proud of them both,” Anne said.

Oct. 30 sports recap

Kaneland Youth Football League
Playoff Consolation Round
Saturday, Oct. 25

Yorkville Black 7
@ Kaneland Silver 12

Kaneland White 26
@ Kaneland Black 8

Yorkville Red 20
@ Kaneland Black 6

Kaneland Black 28
@ Kaneland White 26 2OT

Playoff Championship Round
Sunday, Oct. 26

Kaneland White 0
@ DeKalb Orange 13

Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald?
Have your coach email them to
or fax them to (630) 365-2251.


Boys pack emerge battle-tested from Woodstock Regional

Photo: Junior Austin Kintz edged this Yorkville runner by .1 seconds to finish 13th at Saturday’s Woodstock Regional. Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to

WOODSTOCK, ILL.—Due to the clutch performance during Saturday’s Class 2A Woodstock Regional, the Knight boys cross country roster lives to run another day.

That day will actually take place at Kaneland High School this Saturday.

With a fifth-place, 125-point finish, the Knights were one of the top six regional teams, advancing to the Kaneland Sectional at the Maple Park grounds this weekend.

Yorkville’s 49 total was king for the meet, followed by Vernon Hills’ 74, Crystal Lake Central’s 76, Prairie Ridge’s 104, Kaneland and Sycamore’s 161. Burlington Central was three points shy of qualifying at 164 at the 10-team gathering.

Jake Hoffert of Yorkville was the fastest runner at 15:43, but Kaneland’s seven served its purpose. Separated by a minute and 46 seconds, the Knights were paced by Austin Kintz’s 16:46 for 13th place.

Matthew Richtman, in his first KHS postseason, was second-best on the team in 19th place at 16:56. Brandon Park ran a 17:11 (22), followed by teammate Sean Spaetzel at 17:38 (33).

Fifth-best for KHS was Mitch Reger at 17:50 (38), followed by Andrew Kantola at 17:59 (42) and Will Kuipers at 18:32 (52).

“We feel fortunate to have advanced from the most talented regional in the 2A field,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “With two state trophy teams and three other State qualifiers from a year ago, it was packed. We realize that very good teams did not advance.”

A year ago, Kaneland finished third with 109 points at the Burlington Central Regional, with Spaetzel the only returnee from the top seven.

The Kaneland Sectional is set to start the boys field at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, with teams from the Woodstock, Antioch and Belvidere Regionals.

“We are happy to head home, where we can host the Sectional and hopefully bring a peak race to the field,” Clarey said.


Girls XC goes 4th to Sectional

Photo: Freshman Andrea Wells and junior Brianna Bower work their way through a challenging Woodstock course at Saturday’s Regional. The Lady Knights qualified as a team to the sectional Saturday, which is hosted by Kaneland High School.
Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to

WOODSTOCK, ILL.—Saturday’s Woodstock Regional provided many challenges for the Lady Knight roster.

As it turns out, Kaneland excelled enough to make it to the Sectional in their backyard, by virtue of a fourth-place, 107-point output.

Ahead of host Woodstock by 16 points and Hampshire by 53, Kaneland was behind Yorkville’s exemplary 28-point score, Crystal Lake Central’s 68 and Vernon Hills’ 88.

Prairie Ridge, at 172, was 12 points short of qualifying for the Sectional.

Yorkville junior Skyler Bollinger led the entire field with a mark of 18:42. Tops for Kaneland was junior Brianna Bower with a 20:01 time for 15th place. Andrea Wells, in her first regional, was second on the team with a 20:03, good for 16th place. Not far behind in 19th was Aislinn Lodwig at 20:10. Lady Knight and former State champ Victoria Clinton was in 20th place with a 20:12 effort.

Fifth, sixth and seventh for the KHS crew were 37th place Jessica Kucera (21:32), 44th place Sarah Daley (22:03) and 51st place Grace Dodis (22:40).

“It was the best team race of the season for the girls so far,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “The top four of Brianna, Andrea, Aislinn and Victoria all ran strong races on the toughest course they have run on all year and the toughest 2A Regional in the state.”

Saturday, Nov. 1, will see the Kaneland Sectional at the high school grounds, with select teams from the Antioch and Belvidere Regionals, as well. A year ago, Kaneland finished fifth and qualified for State in Peoria, Ill., on the strength of an 18:31 effort from Clinton.

“(The Regional meet) gives us good momentum going into the Sectional,” Ecker said.

KHS Soccer v. Sterling -1

Soccer picks up 3rd regional title in 5 seasons

Loss to Wheaton Academy in sectional ends season
KANELAND—Kaneland soccer can only take what the yearly calendar gives them, but in this 2014 season, the Knights followed the odd trend of winning a regional plaque in the last three even-numbered seasons.

On Friday, the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional title match saw No. 2 Kaneland defeat No. 4 Hampshire by a 2-0 clip. Kaneland had ousted No. 3 Sycamore back on Sept. 21 in a 3-0 affair, while Hampshire had upended top-seeded Burlington Central in overtime, 3-1.

However, a Sectional opening-round loss to Wheaton Academy put a damper on things, as the Knights lost 0-3.

Kaneland finishes the season with a 13-9-2 record, and had won nine of their final 12 games.

On Tuesday, Kaneland took on the Wheaton Academy Warriors, winners of the St. Francis of Wheaton Regional, up in Hampshire for the Sectional semifinal.

Facing the rival to the north Whip-purs in Kaneland’s fifth consecutive regional final, the Knights got all they needed with two goals. First, Andres Tovar found the net thanks to a Carl Thorbjornsen assist, and with roughly 10 minutes to go before the break, Thorbjornsen capped the scoring column.

“It was a nice win for us; we controlled possession most of the game and finished a couple of shots to put the game away,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “It certainly helps when more players get involved in finishing and scoring. It makes it that much harder to mark just one player.”

The Knights couldn’t get anything going against a strong Wheaton Academy team Tuesday.

“Sectional teams usually do everything well; that is why they are there,” Parilllo said on Tuesday before the game.”We have a very tough opponent in Wheaton Academy (Tuesday), as they have finished fourth (2012) and third (2013), and they are doing very well this year. But that is why we play the game, as anything can happen. If we play well, it should be fun.”

file photo

Wrestlers compete at preseason Nationals

Photos: Kaneland sophomores Riley Vanik (above, left) and Colin Gussman (below, left) earned All-American honors at Saturday’s preseason Nationals meet in Iowa. Photo submitted by Stephanie Vanik to

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA—Six Kaneland students competed in the annual preaseason Nationals meet, which took place on Oct. 25 at the UNI-Dome at the University of Norther Iowa.

A pair of KHS sophomores earned All-American status with their efforts. Riley Vanik placed fifth in the 160-pound division, while Colin Gussman was seventh in the 170-pound division.

Also taking part in the tournament were Kaneland juniors George Strang and Austin Parks, as well as eighth-grader Nathan Orosco and seventh-grader Brenden Parks.