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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.

Community corner: A thank you and an opportunity

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative
The fifth annual Kaneland Arts Initiative Fine Arts Feast, held on Feb. 21, was by all accounts a resounding success. Approximately $5,000 was raised by the guests attending the event, as well as individuals interested in becoming arts patrons of the organization.
Highlights of the evening were the announcement of the summer musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” performances by Diane McFarlin, Trisha Mills and Tom Kirkland. And the awarding of many raffle and silent auction items.
Special performances were given by Matthew (11) and Zachary (8) Uzarraga who began their theatre careers in Kaneland Arts Initiative productions and now are acting and modeling professionally in the area. Zachary this past fall portrayed Tam in the Paramount Theatre (Aurora) production of “Miss Saigon” and received rave reviews. In 2013, Matthew performed in the Jeff Award nominated musical “Oliver!” at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook, Ill. Matthew can be seen as Gavroche in Drury Lane’s upcoming performance of “Les Miserables” from March to June.
The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) would like to extend a genuine and heartfelt thanks to chef Greg Slager, his family, and the Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant located in the Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. For five years, chef Greg has donated the dinner, as well as the use of the beautiful Pine Room, at no cost to the Kaneland Arts Initiative, making the evening truly 100 percent profit for the Kaneland Arts Initiative. KAI would like to encourage families and individuals to support the Open Range Southwest Grill restaurant by enjoying a meal at the wonderful, family-owned business.
As KAI begins to prepare for the 15th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival on Sunday, April 13, it is pleased to announce a new partnership with Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation (CCWF) of Geneva. Artists and their families in the Kaneland School District are encouraged to participate in the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation art contest. CCWF is a not-for-profit organization that provides public awareness and education, professional education, parent and caregiver psycho-social support groups and services, and related children’s sessions and materials, on empathy, positive communications and strong relationships. The CCWF mission is for every child and adolescent to be supported by a caring network of parents, caregivers and professionals within loving, non-violent families and peaceful communities.
CCWF, in partnership with KAI, is pleased to announce the Changing Children’s Worlds art contest. The purpose of this contest is to collect quality artwork that represents the International Child Development Foundation guidelines that are the central principles of the CCWF mission. All students in the Kaneland School District are encouraged to enter this contest. Artwork submitted will be judged by a panel of representatives from CCWF and KAI. Eleven pieces will be chosen and become a part of CCWF’s permanent art collection. Artwork will be displayed at the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, and winning students will be recognized at an upcoming School Board meeting. Full details can be found on the KAI website,

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.

Not too late to get a flu shot

KANE COUNTY—The Health Department continues to offer a walk-in flu clinic at its Aurora office, 1240 N. Highland Ave. Clinic hours are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. No appointment is necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that flu activity is still elevated across the country and recommends that if you haven’t received your flu vaccine yet, you should do so now.

The Health Department accepts many insurance cards. Call the Health Department’s “Bee Wize, Immunize” phone line at (866) 233-9493 or at (630) 264-7665 to learn if your insurance is accepted, or you can log on to the Health Department website at Bring your insurance card with you. Without insurance the cost of the vaccine is $15, payable by check or cash.

Public health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza, especially pregnant women, young children, people 65 years of age and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.

The Kane County Health Department provides a wealth of information about influenza at You will find the weekly report that details flu-like illness activity in Kane County, a locator map for additional locations where you can receive the vaccine, educational materials and more.

Waubonsee student dedicates success to brother

SUGAR GROVE—Mario Velazquez doesn’t know how far his college education might take him—or how far, exactly, he will take his college education.

But Velazquez is certain that his time spent at Waubonsee Community College has served as an essential link—“a bridge,” he says—connecting his past and present to the destinations he believes he will reach in the future.

“It’s like a bridge, taking you from where you are to where you want to be,” Velazquez said. “It helped me a lot, to get closer to my future.”

For his achievements and dedication, Waubonsee recognized Velazquez as the college’s Featured Student for February.

Velazquez, 23, of Aurora, launched his college career at Waubonsee in 2011, jumping right into a full class schedule packed with classes he needed to move toward his goal of becoming a math teacher.

For Velazquez, that goal was quite extraordinary.

No one in his family, he said, had ever even attended college, much less graduated.

And after high school, Velazquez said he appeared unlikely to be the first in his family to take those steps across the bridge to higher education.

“For almost two years, I dedicated my life to work without thinking of going to college,” he said.

But his brother, Francisco Marcos, wouldn’t let him walk away from the potential he saw in his younger sibling.

Velazquez said his brother would regularly ask him when he was going back to school.

“My answer always was, ‘I’ll do it next year,’” Velazquez said.

But in 2011, Velazquez’s life was shaken to the core when a fire claimed the lives of his brother, his brother’s wife, Micaela Perez, and two of their children, Jose and Francisco Marcos Jr.

At his brother’s funeral, amid an immense outpouring of support from friends, family and the Aurora community, Velazquez said he vowed to “go back to school and to get a degree no matter what.”

“I was going to do it in memory of my brother,” he said.

Velazquez recognized that the challenge could be daunting. But he also believed that even the largest obstacles can be overcome and most challenging goals achieved through persistence and discipline.

He compared it to training for a long-distance run.

“You go step by step, you know?” Velazquez said. “When you’re running, you set a goal, and then you go as far as you can, you get as close as you can.

“But then you pass that goal, and you set a new goal. It’s a beginning, then another beginning, not an end.”

To make his dream real while continuing to support himself, Velazquez pushed hard, carrying a full load of classes each semester and working 30-40 hours each week as a security officer at Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.

Last December, Velazquez achieved the first stage of his goal, earning his associate degree from Waubonsee. And along the way, he said his long-term goal also changed, morphing from a desire to teach math to a desire to eventually found and run his own civil engineering firm.

But he’s not even close to finished academically. Velazquez continues to take classes at Waubonsee this spring, to get a head start on his bachelor’s degree, which he intends to earn from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he plans to transfer in the fall.

However, Velazquez’s achievements at Waubonsee have not been limited to solid academic performance and activities in the classroom.

During his time at the college, Velazquez has been heavily involved with the Hispanic student organization Latinos Unidos. During the fall 2013 semester, Velazquez served as the club’s president, and for spring 2014 he was elected vice president.

Velazquez worked through the club to promote a number of initiatives within the community, including helping residents obtain drivers licenses and organizing events to promote cross-cultural understanding at Waubonsee and elsewhere.

“He’s very involved in the community, in the Aurora area,” said Erika Iniguez, admissions advisor at Waubonsee and faculty advisor to Latinos Unidos. “He’s recognized the support he received, and he’s always giving back.”

At Waubonsee, Iniguez notes that Velazquez uses his position to urge his fellow students on their own journeys toward their own goals. She said he is always on the lookout for new scholarship opportunities and regularly shares what he has found with other students.

And given his success in the classroom, she said Velazquez can also be found tutoring other students in math, and particularly calculus.

Iniguez said Velazquez’s success as a student is laudable. But what has really impressed her, she said, is his personal transformation.

“He has always been humble, very down-to-Earth,” she said. “And he’s still that. But he has also grown tremendously in confidence, as a public speaker and as a leader.”

She noted that in recent months, Velazquez’s achievements have been recognized by various organizations, including the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board.

From here, Velazquez said he is not entirely sure where his academic journey might take him ultimately.
He is fairly confident that he will go on to earn a master’s degree. And he may also set his sights, eventually, on a doctorate degree.

But wherever he goes, Velazquez said, he will believe that Waubonsee played an instrumental role in carrying him there.

Hartmanns named Illinois Pork Producer Family of 2014

Maple Park—The Gerald and Nancy Hartmann family of Maple Park was recently recognized by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) as the 2014 Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year at the Illinois Pork Expo in Peoria.

The award recognizes a pork producer family who has done an outstanding job in promoting pork and has exemplified leadership skills at the county, state and national levels. The award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health and Rantoul Foods.

Gerald & Nancy have three children—Jeff, Doug and Andrea—and six grandchildren. Jeff is married to Sari and they have two children – Noel and Brice. Noel is married to Mike Fabian. Doug and Cathy’s family consists of their son Dan, his wife Ashley, their daughter Holly and her husband Logan Sellers. Andrea Thurwangler has two children, Christian and Rachel.

“The Hartmann Family is an excellent example of the We Care principles for their care of their animals, the environment, their community, and their family,” said Todd Dail, pork producer from Erie, Ill. and current IPPA President. “Like many successful family businesses, the Hartmanns have had to adapt their farm to changing market conditions to remain efficient and viable, while being good stewards of the land and a valuable member of their community.”

The Hartmann family has been an integral part of pork production in DeKalb County for more than 60 years and has shown continued dedication and commitment to the pork industry. Through the years, they have strived to adapt to change and grow their business, while being good stewards of the land and a valuable member of their community. They have accomplished this by working closely together as a family with many members playing an important role in their continued success.

The Hartmanns have a rich family heritage in farming and pork production. Gerald started raising hogs at 12 years old on his family’s dairy farm. After graduating from Iowa State University, he returned home and expanded his pork production. In 1962 Gerald and Nancy started raising hogs on their own until they were joined by their sons Jeff and Doug.

In 1985, after their sons graduated from college and returned to the area near the family farm, Gerald and Nancy incorporated their hog farm. Nancy was key to the operation by managing the bookkeeping from 1962 to 2001, when their daughter Andrea joined the family farming operation as the bookkeeper. Upon graduating from college, Gerald and Nancy’s grandson Dan joined Hartmann Farms Inc.

The Hartmanns are the true definition of a modern family farm and have worked in multiple facets of pork production. Their main farm is a 60-sow farrow-to-finish facility. They also raise weaned pigs on a second farm. The Hartmanns own 270 sows in a sow center in which bi-monthly they get 1,000 weaned pigs. In total, they market 20,000 hogs a year. Hartmann Farms employs a farrowing, breeding, and finisher manager to care for all the different stages of the operation. They also farm 5,800 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, and employ two truck drivers to haul all the grain and to help with field work.

Many members of the Hartmann family are involved in the farm. Gerald serves in a consulting capacity and works on budget and taxes. Jeff has responsibilities for transportation and maintenance and serves as the crop specialist. Doug serves as the general manager of the farm. Dan is responsible for wean to finish, nutrition and feed. Andrea handles the bookkeeping and payroll and records. All family members have pitched in to help when needed over the years.

Like many good pork producing families, the Hartmanns have always been active in promoting pork and the pork industry. Gerald was instrumental in the formation of the DeKalb pork producer group and persuaded neighboring hog producers to join in the voluntary check-off program. Another organization founded because of his dedication to farming is the DKM COOP, a farm input purchasing coop, which is part of Midwest COOP.

Being involved in the DeKalb Area Pork Producers is a family tradition for the Hartmanns. Their family has been active in the county group for 48 years with many family members serving in numerous leadership roles. Gerald served on the board from 1966 to 1968. Nancy served on the DeKalb Area Porkettes from 1980 to 1982. Jeff served as secretary and was on the board from 1985 to 1990. Sari served on the DeKalb Area Pork Producer Board from 1995 to 1998 and was involved in the DeKalb Area Porkettes from 1983 to 1987 serving as vice president. She was also president of the DeKalb Area Association of Women in 1986 and was the DeKalb County Pork Queen in 1980. Doug was on the DeKalb Area Pork Producer Board from 1991 to 1997 serving as treasurer, vice president and membership chairman. Dan is currently on the board and has served as vice president and is currently president of the county group. Andrea is also currently serving on the board and has served as secretary. Holly and Christian have served as county pork ambassador.

Over the years, the Hartmanns have cooked more than their fair share of pork chops. Family members have been active in many of the county group activities, including the Salvation Army Ham donation, numerous cooking demonstrations, Pork King Cook-off Contest, Farm Bureau Family Fun Day, NIU Ag Day, Harvest lunches, DeKalb 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Drive Thru, and the pork promotion at DeKalb High School football games.

Family members have also been involved at the state level. Doug has volunteered at the Western Open Golf Tournament pork chop tent and served as an IPPA State Delegate. Dan volunteered at a “Da Burger” event, promoting ground pork to Bears fans, and has served as an IPPA State Delegate. Holly has volunteered in the IPPA Birthing Center during the Illinois State Fair.

Giving back to the community and agricultural industry has always been a trademark of this family. Church, school and local civic organizations have all been blessed with the Hartmanns dedication of their time and talents. Members of the Hartmann family have served on school boards, Fire Department Board, township trustee, Snowmobile Club Board, Sycamore Jr. Farmers Board, Ag and FFA advisory Board, PTO, Farm Bureau Board, Corn and Soybean Growers Board, 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale Board, Sports Boosters, Ohio Grove Grange and many others. They have also been volunteers at school, Ag in the Classroom, church, 4-H, FFA, county and state fair activities, softball and soccer coaching staffs, and two mission trips to Haiti.

The Hartmanns have donated hogs to support numerous community activities including: Navy Seal Foundation Fund Raiser, Neighborhood Picnic, Maple Park Legion Labor Day event, Maple Park Fire Department pancake breakfast, The Ev. Church of St. John pancake breakfast, local restaurant “Bacon-Pa-Looza” event and “Support our Superhero Dylan” cancer fundraiser.

Family members have received numerous awards for their achievements. Gerald received the Superior Pork Award and was also awarded the Master Farmer in 1993. Doug received the Pork All-American Wward. Sari was the first runner-up for the Illinois State Pork Industry Queen and received the Elanco’s Belleringer Award and Pig Pushin’ Award. Dan and Holly both won the Illinois State Fair Superior Young Producer Pork Award. The family won the Illinois Conservation Farm Family award presented by the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation.

“The Hartmann family is dedicated and committed to a life long journey of success in the pork industry,” Dail said. “As a close farming family, they not only work together to create a strong business, but deeply and sincerely care about pork production and the community in which they live.”

Maple Park Police first in Special Olympics fundraising

by Mary Parrilli
MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Police Department in early February was awarded with the Flame of Hope Trophy at its annual Special Olympics Kickoff event. The Police Department received the trophy because it raised more money for the Special Olympics than any other agency for in Illinois last year, with a grand total of $63,000. And since 2011, the Police Department has raised over $120,000 for the Special Olympics.

The kickoff event was held in Bloomington, Ill. on Feb. 7. Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta and other community members attended the opening to represent Maple Park and personally accept the Flame of Hope Trophy.

“(The money was raised by) visiting community events and selling Special Olympics merchandise and raffle tickets,” Acosta said. “Some of those community events included Elburn Days, Fun Fest, community breakfasts and various other type of craft and gun shows.”

Maple Park’s interest in the Special Olympics stems from community member Colleen MacRunnels, who worked for the state of Illinois Department of Corrections in St. Charles. MacRunnels began to raise money for the Special Olympics in 2007.

“After retiring, (Colleen) wanted to continue to promote Special Olympics,” Acosta said. “She and I and the village president, Kathleen Curtis, met in 2011, and the Maple Park Police began its partnership with Special Olympics of Illinois.”

The trophy is currently on display at the Maple Park Village Offices, but in the coming weeks will begin to travel around for display in local businesses. The Police Department wants the trophy to be showcased throughout the town to show its gratitude to community members for their donations. So keep an eye out for the Flame of Hope Trophy as it makes its way around town.

“Once you get involved and see the difference (you can) make in someone’s life, you are hooked,” Acosta said.

Williams announces Gengler as undersheriff

KANE COUNTY—Kevin Williams, Republican candidate for Kane County Sheriff, recently announced Aurora resident Pat Gengler as his choice to be undersheriff.

Gengler has over 17 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as the patrol lieutenant and public information officer. He has experience managing patrol operations, investigations, and internal affairs.

In his role as public information officer, he has been able to open the lines of communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the community. A cornerstone of Kevin’s campaign has been to build partnerships with the Kane County community, and having Pat on board with his public relations experience is a vital link to making it all work.

Gengler also has experience in labor management relations, serving as a past union vice president and as a member of the Sheriff’s negotiations team. Pat’s tireless work ethic and ability to “get things done” has earned him the respect of his co-workers within the Sheriff’s Office, as well as other agencies throughout Kane County.

According to Williams, it was never a secret that he wanted Pat to serve as his undersheriff, should the voters choose him to become the next sheriff of Kane County. He believes Gengler shares the same energy and passion for serving the citizens of Kane County, and also understands that the most important asset of the office are the employees, and in order to succeed the Sheriff’s Office must build a professional team that understands the needs of Kane County residents.

Harter Middle School students qualify for Illinois Junior Academy of Science Fair

DEKALB—Students at Kaneland Harter Middle School are solving problems, thinking independently and raising the bar for future science classes.

On Feb. 13, Kaneland eighth-graders gathered to showcase their science projects at the second annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Science Fair. Out of the 343 student projects, 68 were selected to compete in the school science exposition. Fifty judges consisting of community members, Kaneland administrators and School Board members, and parents rated the inquiry-based projects according to several criteria developed by professionals affiliated with the Illinois Junior Academy of Science. Of the 68 local exhibitors, 37 will advance to the regional competition of the Illinois Junior Academy of Science (IJAS) Fair at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in March.

Students developed their own projects, completed independent research, performed various experiments, analyzed data and formed conclusions based on their findings. The creative, insightful projects ranged from an analysis of local water quality to developing biodiesel fuels to detecting background radiation. “It’s up to each student to design a unique project,” said Ryan Wlodek, teacher and science fair coordinator

“The unit of study prepares students to problem solve, think critically, and apply their knowledge to new situations. It’s teaches kids how to think,” Wlodek said. “Teaching kids content is important; however, it is also necessary to teach critical thinking skills to prepare them for future careers that do not exist and problems that have yet to be encountered.”

In some cases, students proved their hypotheses correct, but in others they were shown to be false. In every instance, student exhibitors demonstrated a deep understanding of their research and easily communicated their findings to judges and spectators. As one student put it, “I definitely aimed as high as I could. I enjoy physics and chemistry and found this project to be fun and exciting.”

On March 22, the excitement will continue as the following Kaneland students attend the IJAS Regional Science Fair at NIU with other students in the region: Alex Montalbano, Kaitlyn Becker, Ian Stoll, Rachel Wozniak, Robbie Dudzinski, Jessica Tiv, Jessica Shell, Zach Farris, Bella Vargas, Ysabelle Simbol, Amanda Eckstrom, Jeff Wachter, Autumn Georgi, Katie Moore, Ava Mandele, Brennan Hare, Olivia Goodenough, Drew Gould, Tim Rosko, Lexi Abruzzo, Sam Webster, Trevor Cannon, Bryce Burton, Hunter Smith, Carson Wallace, Bridget McCracken, Alyssa Lech, Gabrielle Faletto, Peyton Heiser, Trevor Jones, Nicholas Rauwolf, Brian Bartholomew, Ben Purcell, Grant Schaaf, Robert Berrios, Sandra Gale and Tiffany Castracion.

Sports recap

Sophomore Boys Basketball
Feb. 19 vs. Geneva—It was a tough night at KHS, with the sophomores falling 53-29 to visiting Geneva. Jack Marczuk led the way with 12 points, while Tanner Robertsen supplied six and Mitchel Groen had five.

Feb. 21 at Morris—The Knights bounced back in Morris Friday, and improved their sparkling NIB-12 Conference record to 8-1 with a 57-48 win over the Redskins. Marczuk led the way with 16 points, followed closely by Robertsen’s 15 and Mark Lilly’s 13. Kevin Fajardo had seven and Groen had six points, as the Knights improved their overall record to 18-6. Next up, the Knights host DeKalb Friday night 5:30 p.m.

MLB Spring Training amps include Cougars alumni

GENEVA—With warm thoughts of Major League Baseball spring training now underway, many former Kane County Cougars are gearing up for the 2014 season with their respective big league clubs. This year’s Cougars team has yet to be finalized as Cubs minor leaguers open camp at the organization’s new spring training complex in Mesa.

Building on 2013
Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera (’01 Cougar) is the two-time reigning American League MVP. Cabrera underwent off-season surgery to repair core muscles damaged by a groin tear that hindered the end of his 2013 season. Cabrera is attempting to become the first player to win three consecutive AL MVP awards.

Quite a few former Cougars, including Cabrera, were involved in the MLB postseason last fall. Oakland pitchers Sean Doolittle (’07) and Dan Straily (’10) will be counted on heavily in 2014 as Oakland tries to defend the American League West division. Doolittle appeared in 70 games out of the A’s bullpen last season and Straily started 27 games.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Adrian Gonzalez (’01) bagged another season of 100 or more RBI for the sixth time in the past seven seasons as the Dodgers won the National League West for the first time since 2009.

Pittsburgh pitcher Vin Mazzaro (’06) contributed to Pittsburgh advancing to the postseason for the first time since 1992.

San Diego pitcher Huston Street (’04) recorded 33 saves last season, his highest total since saving 35 games in 2009. Street is 36th in big league annals with 234 career saves. Padres teammate Tyson Ross (’08) was a rotation regular for San Diego for much of the summer, posting a 3.17 ERA in 35 games.

A change is in order
Pitcher A.J. Burnett (’98) was signed by Philadelphia shortly before spring training. Burnett pitched with Pittsburgh last season, starting at least 30 games for the sixth straight season and winning 10 or more games for the ninth straight season.

Pitcher Ian Krol (’10) made his big league debut with Washington last season and was dealt to Detroit this past off-season. Krol made 32 relief appearances with the Nationals last season.

Pitcher Ronald Belisario (’02) signed with the White Sox after spending the last several years with the Dodgers.

Infielder Jemile Weeks (’08) was dealt to Baltimore after spending his entire professional career with Oakland.

Veteran infielder Alex Gonzalez (’96) has been invited to Baltimore’s spring training camp.

Outfielder Michael Choice (’10), who made his big league debut last season with Oakland, was dealt to Texas and could break camp with the big league squad.

Pitcher Ryan Webb (’05) was signed by Baltimore after making a career high 66 appearances with Miami last season.

Other storylines
Former Cougars manager Rick Renteria (’99) is the first-year manager of the Cubs. Renteria will be working with and evaluating several Cougars from last season’s team who were invited to big league spring training camp, including Albert Almora and Armando Rivero. Catcher John Baker (’03) has been invited to Cubs big league camp as well.

Pitcher and former first round pick Kyle Zimmer (’12) was invited to Kansas City Royals big league camp.

Pitcher Bo Schultz (’10) was invited to Arizona’s big league camp and like Zimmer, are both aiming to make their big league debuts.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett (’00) missed much of last season due to surgery and is hoping to bounce back this season.

Pitcher Ryan Dempster (’96) won’t pitch for Boston this season, citing medical reasons and the desire to spend more time with his family. Dempster and pitcher Andrew Bailey (’07) were part of Boston’s World Series Championship team last season.

Inaugural Day and Knight event raises over $5,000

KANELAND—On Feb. 15, nearly 1,000 basketball players and fans filled the gym at Kaneland High School as the boys basketball held its inaugural Day and Knight of Basketball to benefit Wounded Warrior Project. Varsity and sophomore basketball programs from Hillcrest, North Chicago, St. Charles North, Peoria Richwoods and Larkin (Elgin) joined the Knights in thrilling the crowd with galactic three-pointers, stifling defense and thundering slam-dunks.

Most important, the event celebrated our nation’s veterans as proceeds went to Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower wounded veterans.

“It was a really special event. In addition to great basketball action and bringing the community together, we celebrated veterans and recognized those who serve. This is an important lesson to reinforce with the players, parents and fans. Thanks to the volunteers and sponsors that made it happen,” said KHS head coach Brian Johnson.

More than 100 sponsors—businesses and individuals—made the event possible. Net contributions of more than $5,000 dollars will go to Wounded Warrior project. And the event website will remain open and accept donations –

The event organizers plan to hold the second annual event in February 2015.

Church news for Feb. 28

Mardi Gras party at
Community Congregational

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church of Elburn will hold an all-ages Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. Costumes are encouraged.
There will be games, crafts and prizes for children and adults. Proceeds from the youth-led event will be used to build disaster relief kits that will be distributed by Church World Service. The suggested admission donation is a kit item or $2.
For more information or a list of the disaster relief kits items, call the church office at (630) 365-6544. Community Congregational Church is located at 100 E. Shannon St., the northeast corner of Shannon Street and Route 47.

Barbecue fundraiser at United Church of Christ
BIG ROCK—English Congregational United Church of Christ in Big Rock will have a barbecue fundraiser on “Fat Tuesday,” March 4, from 4:40 to 7 p.m. You will have the option to dine in or carry out a pulled pork barbecue sandwich, beans, coleslaw and a corn muffin, all prepared by South Moon BBQ of Hinckley. The cost of the meal is a $10 donation. A kids hot dog dinner will also be available for a donation of $2.
United Church of Christ is located on the corner of Third and Rhodes streets in Big Rock, and the meal will be served in the back of the church.
For information or to reserve your tickets, call (630) 556.3986. Tickets will be limited at the door.

St. Gall announces Ash Wednesday schedule
ELBURN—Catholic tradition considers Ash Wednesday as the first day of Lent. Lent is a time for fasting, abstinence from meat and prayer in preparation for Easter. Masses to observe Ash Wednesday will take place on Wednesday, March 5, at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and ashes will be distributed during Mass. A Word Service will be held at 12:10 p.m., including distribution of ashes.
Ashes will also be distributed at 4:30 and 6 p.m. during Religious Education classes.
All are invited to attend. For more information, contact the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030 or visit

Chili Supper at Kaneville United Methodist Church
KANEVILLE—Kaneville United Methodist Church’s Men’s Group will host its 17th annual Chili Supper on Saturday, March 15, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the church, 46W764 Main St., Kaneville.
There will be all sorts of chili, from mild to wild. Hot dogs will be available for children in attendance, and live music will be provided by The Good Ol’ Boys.

Day of Recollection at Marmion Academy
AURORA—All are invited for a day of prayer, meditation, and reflection of the teachings of Pope Francis at Marmion’s Day of Recollection on Saturday, March 15, on the Marmion Campus, 1000 Butterfield Road in Aurora.
Fr. Marcos Rivas OSB of Marmion Abbey will speak about Pope Francis’ theology and challenges to the Christian world. The goal of this Day of Recollection is to meditate on the Pope’s words and actions in a non-controversial environment.
For more information or to register, visit

St. Gall’s
St. Patrick’s Day dinner

ELBURN—St. Gall Church’s St. Patrick’s Day Turkey Dinner will take place on Sunday, March 16, at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Parish Hall, 120 W. Shannon St., Elburn The event will be a sit-down, home-cooked dinner that includes turkey, real mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, rolls, cranberry, cole slaw, Irish soda bread and lots of pies to choose from for dessert.
The turkeys are supplied by Ho-Ka (Howard Kauffman) Turkey Farm in Waterman, Ill., and the turkeys are raised free range and minimally processed with nothing added.
The cost of the meal is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children ages 6-12, and free for children ages 5 and under. Carry outs are available at the American Legion Hall in downtown Elburn for $10. Tickets will be available at the door.
For additional information, contact the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030.

Hodge, Hanson to wed

Jerry and Lisa Hodge of Elburn are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kelsey, to Isaac Hanson, son of Barry and Cindy Hanson of Hastings, Minn.

The bride-to-be is a 2008 Kaneland High School graduate and a 2012 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology. She is currently working on her doctorate in microbiology at the University of Georgia.

The future groom is a 2008 graduate of Hastings High School in Hastings, and a 2012 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. He is currently a medical student at Campbell University in North Carolina.

Kelly and Isaac met in Biology class and sang in the UW Masters singers choir together. The two Badger fans will marry on July 12, 2014, at the Olbrich Gardens in Madison.

Mary L. Whildin

Mary L. Whildin, 96 of Aurora, passed away Feb. 22, 2014, at Jennings Terrace after each member of her family was able to see her one last time and say goodbye.

Mary was born Jan. 8, 1918, on the family farm near Maple Park, the daughter of Eben and Edith (Reed) Rowe.

Mary graduated from Kaneville High School in 1935 and then attended Northern Illinois University, where she received her teacher’s certificate. In the early years she taught in a one-room schoolhouse, and later taught throughout the Kaneland School District.

She was united in marriage to Wayne Whildin on Nov. 22, 1939. They made their home in Big Rock until 1945 and then moved to Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove, where they farmed until retiring to the west side of Aurora in 1972.

After her husband’s death in 1980, Mary remained very active. She enjoyed reading, volunteering at Copley Hospital, playing bridge, membership in the Aurora Women’s Club, traveling with friends and spending time with her family. She was an active member of First Baptist Church in Aurora for 40 years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne; her parents, Eben and Edith Rowe; along with her brother, John Rowe.

She is survived by one son, John (Linda) Whildin of Elburn; three grandchildren, Brandon (Susan) Whildin of Elburn, Courtney (Darren) Lackey of Geneva and Michael Whildin of Elburn; along with six great-grandchildren, Ian, Aidan and Evan Whildin, and Grant, Macey and Reese Lackey.

Visitation was held Wednesday at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove. Funeral services will take place on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 10:30 a.m. at The Healy Chapel.

Private interment will take place at West Big Rock Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to First Baptist Church in Aurora.

Guest Editorial: Seven tips for protecting your identity and money

by Harold Valentine, News and Experts
At least 110 million consumers were affected by the hack involving Target and Neiman Marcus retailers. Whether or not millions more will have their identities manipulated and finances ruined within the coming months due to more breaches of security at other stores is anyone’s guess, said identity theft recovery expert Scott A. Merritt.

“By necessity, I became an expert on identity theft. My information was stolen in 2006, and in repairing the damage, I learned some not-so-obvious ways we can all protect against identity theft in the first place,” said Merritt, who is the CEO of Merritt & Associates and author of “Identity Theft Do’s and Don’ts.”

Merritt’s problems began quickly. While disputing financial charges and dealing with resulting business problems, in 2007 he was stopped for a traffic violation and arrested on a false outstanding felony warrant. He immediately knew why.

“I had to enlist my U.S. congressman and convince the state police, NCIC, FBI and Secret Service that I didn’t commit the felonies. For a few years, I had to prove that the prints did not match the false record in question. After legal action, however, I was able to have this corrected.”

Unfortunately, the millions affected by the recent hacks may be dealing with similar repercussions in the years ahead, he said.

Before you become a victim of identity theft, Merritt offers seven ways to guard against it.
• Understand how and where it happens. Identity theft is like being robbed when you are away from home; most thefts occur in places where you do business every day. Either a place of business is robbed, a bad employee acts improperly or a hacker breaches the office through the computer.
• Secure your wallet’s information. Photocopy everything in your wallet: photos, credit cards (front and back), membership cards—everything. Put the copies in the order the cards are arranged in your wallet, staple the pictures and place them in a strong box or safe.
• Make sure your information is consistent. For all of your identity and financial documents, make absolutely sure, to the smallest detail, that all of your personal information is accurate and consistent. Discrepancies such as using your middle initial on some documents, and not others, or having different addresses, can wreck havoc in proving your identity, and can compromise your credit score.
• Secure your digital habits and data. Change your passwords at least twice a year on a non-scheduled basis—don’t be predictable. Have a strong firewall if you shop online, and only access sites that are protected by a strong firewall and high industry standards. Access accounts of a financial nature only from your personal computer.
• Protect your banking information. While in the bank, keep account numbers and other data out of sight, and avoid stating account numbers, Social Security numbers and similar information out loud. When planning a bank visit, have items such as deposits and withdrawal slips prepared in advance.
• Account for your interactions with vendors. Every time you speak to someone with whom you do business, write down the time, date, name and the purpose or outcome of the call. If an identity theft occurs on the vendor’s end, you will be able to reference these prior conversations effectively. Be sure to note any animosity or reluctance from the vendor.
• Don’t carry around your birth certificate or Social Security card. Unless it’s necessary, keep those vital items in a safe, or at least a firebox. If you know someone is going to need a copy of your tax returns or your driver’s license, for example, make the copies ahead of time. This avoids the need for a firm’s employee to leave the room with such information.

“Of course, you can greatly reduce being a victim of such recent hacks that occurred at the major retailers by using cash more often,” Merritt said. “But if you’re going to use credit, use a card from a national bank or a national credit union and never a debit card. No exceptions.”

Community Corner: A different kind of March Madness

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

March Madness to most means the events surrounding the single-elimination Division I college basketball tournament. But to the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, March Madness is a horse of a different color.

On Sunday, March 2, the community will have the opportunity to see and hear some of Kaneland’s middle and high school musicians on stage at the second annual Knight of Performances, sponsored by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters. Beginning at 2 p.m., this event will showcase more than 40 acts, including students who are either performing a vocal or instrumental solo or ensemble, Harter Middle School (HMS) Mid-Knight Special, HMS Jazz Band, Kaneland High School (KHS) combos, a rock band, and actors from this year’s KHS spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

The afternoon will also include a basket raffle and barbecue dinner. The event will take place at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.

The Knight of Performances Committee has worked diligently to acquire many wonderful items for the basket raffle, such as: one reserved parking space for a KHS student for the 2014-15 school year; Chicago Cubs tickets; “Rent” tickets; local restaurant and business gift certificates; wine and coffee baskets; music lessons; Elgin Symphony Orchestra tickets; Disney princess basket; Thirty-One, Vera Bradley and Tastefully Simple merchandise; hand-crafted jewelry; and much more. All money raised at this event will directly benefit the students involved in the band, choir and theatre programs at KHS and HMS.

Guests will enjoy barbecue from 5B’s Catering in Waterman, Ill. Dinner options include either a pork chop, chicken or combo dinner, or a kids hot dog meal. A vegetarian option will also be available. All dinners include side dishes and a choice of homemade dessert. There are still a few openings for volunteers for the afternoon. If interested, send an email to

And if we weren’t busy enough, the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters are teaming with the high school music directors to coordinate the Illinois High School Association’s 2014 Solo & Ensemble Music Contest, hosted this year by Kaneland. On Saturday, March 8, more than 850 music students representing 20 area high schools will attend the event at Harter Middle School.

This is both an honor and a huge undertaking to host such a prestigious event. The Boosters will coordinate the volunteers and operate a concession booth serving both breakfast and lunch items. Many volunteers will be needed for either two- or four-hour time slots throughout the day for jobs such as: concessions, room monitors, hall monitors, score runners, welcome table, and to donate items to be sold at our Booster-run concession booth and to feed the judges. If interested, send an email to info and we’ll place you in a volunteer position.

To top off our busy month, the Boosters are coordinating the box office ticket sales and volunteers needed for the KHS spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Show dates and times are 7 p.m. on Friday, March 21, and Saturday, March 22, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 23. The musical pays tribute to the jazz-age shows of the 1920s. It all begins when a musical-theatre fan plays his favorite album on his turntable, and the musical comes to life in his living room. Cast of characters include a reluctant bride, a groom on skates, a tap-dancing best man, a womanizing gigolo, gangsters posing as bakers, and an intoxicated chaperone. Tickets are on sale now. To order, simply visit the Kaneland website at

If you would like additional information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters or how you can help with any of these events, find us on Facebook or send an email to Come join in the March Madness fun.

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.

Letter: A thank you from Scout Pack 107

Elburn Cub Scout Pack 107 held its annual Blue and Gold Banquet, with a great “survival” theme, on Feb. 16 at the Lincoln Inn in Batavia. The purpose of the Blue and Gold Banquet is to celebrate the pack’s anniversary, thank pack leaders and other adults who have helped the pack, and to inspire leaders, Scouts and parents as they complete another great year of scouting activities.

Pack 107 would like to thank the Elburn Herald, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, Colonial Cafe and Dick’s Sporting Goods for their generous support of this year’s banquet. Their donations were greatly appreciated by all of Pack 107’s “survivors.”

Laura Gampfer
Elburn Cub Scout Pack 107

Letter: A thank you from Carrie Petrie’s family

Words cannot express my appreciation of the many friends and family who have remembered us these past weeks. God came to take my beloved mother, Carrie Petrie, on Jan. 9. Her pain is gone. What comfort her many friends have given us these past days. Your love has helped us beyond words.

Our humble “thank you” seems so inadequate, but it comes from the bottom of our heart. Thank you to Pastor Michael Small from UCC in Hackensack, Minn.; to the wonderful eulogy from Jim Schnaitman and Mary Coffey representing the American Legion family; Carl Diesel for the beautiful solo of mom’s favorite songs. Many thanks for the Elburn American Legion No. 630 and Elburn American Legion Auxiliary No. 630 for attending and helping, and for the dinner they served. And thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the life of a woman who loved you all.

My family was so warmed to see such a large crowd to celebrate her humble life. Love to you all.

Steve, Cara and Abby Bartel

Letter: Supporting Wheeler for 50th State Representative

As a local businessman, I know the struggles each of us face every day. Unemployment and underemployment are causing hardworking residents to look to other states for good-paying jobs to provide for their families. Illinois used to be a great place to start a small business. Now it has become a highly taxed, anti-business, high-unemployment state. We need to get Illinois back on its feet and make it a state we can feel proud of again.

To do that, we need strong leaders with smart ideas. Keith Wheeler is just such a man. Let’s put Keith Wheeler to work in Springfield. With thoughtful dedication, Keith is a man who will get things done for our state. Vote on March 18 for Keith Wheeler for 50th State Representative.

Kevin Geary
Sugar Grove

Letter: Sugar Grove Library seeks Limiting Rate Increase

The Sugar Grove Public Library District seeks a Limiting Rate Increase on the March 18, 2014, ballot.

The library has tried many times but has never increased its limiting rate, which is far below comparable libraries in the area. The Limiting Rate Increase would allocate a greater proportion of the budget to support library operations and maintenance. Currently the greater proportion pays on the building bonds.

For a home with a Fair Market Value of $100,000 or EAV of $33,333 the cost will be $2.14 per month.

Check out the library’s website,, for a link to a narrated slide show and brochure of important information before you vote. Or stop by the library for more information on how the library will use the additional funding. Library staff and trustees welcome your input.

Register and vote early at the library.

Merrill Poloian
Assistant director, Sugar Grove Library

Letter: In support of Wegman

I recently received a mailer from Mark Davoust, candidate for Kane County Clerk, stating that if elected, he would propose to consolidate the Recorder’s Office with the Clerk’s Office to save the taxpayers money. If he were serious in that endeavor, he would have already done this, as it is the County Board who decides to bring up the issue.

I would like to address my observations on this matter, since a 10-year veteran of the County Board apparently doesn’t understand budgetary matters.

The Recorder’s Office generates revenue for the county, including GIS and the state. The Kane County Recorder’s Office is not part of the county tax levy. While the Recorder’s Office is probably the most efficient office in the county, coming in under budget each year, the Recorder’s Office is self-sufficient, relying only on user fees that are generated when documents are recorded. Everyone pays taxes, but user fees are paid only by those who use the services (record documents).

Additionally, as we have seen, county department heads and/or managers are more highly compensated than elected officials—in some cases by as much as $50,000—and who are appointed and not elected by the public.

In summary, Sandy Wegman, recorder, is fiscally responsible and does a great job managing the office. This appears to be more of an election gimmick than a good faith effort.

Don Fraas
West Dundee, Ill.

Hultgren announces Congressional Art Competition

GENEVA—U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) has announced the start of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition for high school students from the 14th District of Illinois. The winner’s artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for an entire year.

“The 14th District is filled with talented young artists,” Hultgren said. “Every year, I am impressed by each entry and enjoy highlighting the work of our district’s artistic high school students to visiting constituents touring the Capitol.”

The Congressional Art Competition was created in 1982, and hundreds of thousands of high school students participated. One winner is chosen from each district, and the winner’s artwork is then sent to Washington, D.C., for display in the U.S. Capitol. However, submitted artwork will be hung at Water Street Studios for a reception announcing the winners, so make certain that your artwork is “ready to hang.” If selected, winners will be required to frame their piece for display in the Capitol Building. Each winner will also receive a roundtrip ticket to Washington, D.C., compliments of Southwest Airlines.

Last year, Avie Churchwell of Geneva was chosen as the winner from IL-14. Her winning piece, “Tea Party for One,” is currently one of those featured on the Congressional Art Competition website.

Entries for the competition are now being accepted and must be submitted to Rep. Hultgren’s district office by Friday, April 4. The entry only needs to be framed if it selected as the winner to be hung in the U.S. Capitol. The district office is located at 1797 W. State St., Suite A, in Geneva.

For any additional questions or to obtain a copy of the guidelines and student information/release forms when they become available, visit the official Congressional Art Competition Website or contact Ruth Richardson in Rep. Hultgren’s office at (630) 232-7104.

Waubonsee volunteers to provide free income tax preparation sessions

AURORA—A team of volunteers associated with Waubonsee Community College will not only help hundreds of local low- to moderate-income residents follow the law, they’ll also help them collect a bit of money due them.

The approximately 75 volunteers will also help to fuel the local economy.

That’s how George Sterling, Certified Public Accountant and instructor at Waubonsee, sees the mission of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

“Last year, we brought at least $1.5 million back into the local economy,” Sterling said. “That’s a big deal.”

This year, Waubonsee will again partner with the Center for Economic Progress to sponsor the free income tax return preparation assistance sessions for eligible members of the community.

The sessions will take place on Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from Feb. 19 to April 12 at Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora Campus, 18 S. River Street.

The site will be closed during spring break between Wednesday, March 19, and Saturday, March 22.

At these sessions, volunteers from Waubonsee and the Center for Economic Progress will help prepare and electronically file income tax returns, including those requiring the 1040 Schedule C used by small businesses and the self-employed.

Those eligible for the program include families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less, and individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000. Those seeking tax return preparation assistance at the VITA sessions should bring a copy of last year’s tax return, if they have one; Forms W-2 and 1099 from all employment in 2013; Social Security cards for all family members; and a photo ID.

The free income tax return preparation is done on a first-come, first-served basis, and the site closes when capacity is reached.

Last year, VITA volunteers at Waubonsee helped complete about 800 tax returns, generating about $1.5 million in federal income tax refunds, including about $460,000 in federal Earned Income Tax Credits, to local families, said Sterling, who together with his wife, Therese, manages the Waubonsee VITA site.

He said the sessions annually draw a strong corps of volunteers, including Waubonsee students and local CPAs from throughout the region, including the communities of Aurora, St. Charles, Batavia, Naperville, Lisle and Montgomery, among others.

For more information, contact Waubonsee Community College at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2992, email, or visit the Center for Economic Progress website at

A celebration of life for Carrie Petrie

Carrie E. Petrie, 87, of Elburn, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Oak Crest Retirement Center, DeKalb.

Carrie graduated from Elburn High School with the class of 1944, and was a longterm local resident and volunteer.

A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Elburn American Legion Post No. 630, 112 N. Main St., Elburn, starting at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to benefit Carrie’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Carrie Petrie Memorial” and mailed in case of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may be forwarded to the family at the same address or on the web at




Kaneland chess team shines in IHSA tournament

Photo: The 2014 Kaneland Chess team at the IHSA State Tournament last weekend. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—Kaneland High School sophomore Spencer Serwin’s first chess match on Friday ended in a loss.

That was OK, though, because he went on to win the remaining six games at the IHSA State Chess Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Peoria.

More than 1,500 Illinois high school students gathered at the Peoria Civic Center to play in 40th annual tournament. The 139 teams, made up of eight players per team, played seven games to determine the top teams in the state.

“I’m very proud of our team,” coach Ken Dentino said. “This tournament is the culmination of (the KHS chess team’s) season. We also had a great showing at the conference tournament a few weeks ago.”

Four boards placed third: sophomores Drew Doyle at Board 3, Spencer Serwin at Board 5 and Duncan Kreidler at Board 7. And two players placed in the tournament open: freshman Ryan St. Peter took first while fellow frosh Charlie Falkner took fifth.

“We are in a tough conference,” Dentino said, noting that Lisle’s Benet Academy and Aurora’s Illinois Math and Science Academy are in the conference. Both teams have a strong history in chess.

“We are better for (having them in the conference),” Dentino said.

This year the Benet team took second place at state; IMSA took 11th place. The Kaneland team took a very respectable 42nd place.

The Kaneland team is made up of eight boards, with the better players, playing at the lower boards.

District 302 seeks to add committee members

KANELAND—Kaneland Community School District 302 seeks to add members to its Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC), Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) and the Kaneland Foundation.

The mission of the CAC is to improve Kaneland schools by advising the Administration and Board of Education regarding educational and other issues facing the district. Members study and deliberate problems, issues and questions of concern to the district and report the results of their studies to the elected officials who serve on the Board of Education. The CAC also advises the Board of Education regarding policies of the district and facilitates cooperation and communication in educational matters between the school and the community.

The mission of the FAC is to improve the education of the children, youth and adults of the district by monitoring financial issues and trends facing the district and advising the Board of Education regarding them.

The Kaneland Foundation is a non-profit organization that has contributed for decades to the educational needs of the students of Kaneland District 302. Their mission is to support academic excellence through innovation. Foundation members meet several times during the school year and host an annual golf outing held in September each year.

In preparing to add members to these committees and to the Foundation, know that the selection committees will seek representation from the various attendance areas within the Kaneland community. It seeks a cross section of opinions and educational perspectives with a general ability to work constructively with others.

More than 50 percent of Kaneland households have no school-aged children in them, and those households should be represented on this committee. If interested in learning more about membership on the CAC, FAC or the Kaneland Foundation, contact Beth Sterkel for an application at the Kaneland District office at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109, or Applications are due Tuesday, April 1.

‘Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families’ roundtable discussion

SUGAR GROVE—With Illinois unemployment the highest in the Midwest and companies, jobs and families leaving Illinois, State Representative candidate Keith Wheeler is offering a plan to make Illinois more competitive.

Wheeler will host a discussion with local business leaders about the Illinois economy, and his plan “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families,” at the Fireside Grille in Sugar Grove on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 5 until 6:30 p.m.

“We will discuss what can be done do to help Illinois’ struggling job economy,” he said.

Wheeler, who is the current chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business Illinois Leadership Council, is owner of his own I.T. business, Responsive Network Services LLC. He is also the current chairman of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

“This is definitely an issue that is personal for me. As a business owner, I feel like I can relate to the struggles of the community,” Wheeler said.

Illinois Chamber President and CEO Doug Whitley and NFIB/IL Director Kim Maisch are scheduled to attend and participate in the discussion.

Taxes are a very important topic for discussion at this event. Wheeler hopes to stop the progressive income tax, as well as lower taxes overall.

“The business community in Illinois just can’t afford the progressive income tax. If elected, I will work to create a better environment in Illinois for business to thrive,” he said. “When these business are thriving, they will produce new jobs that we need in Illinois.”

Wheeler also advocates for allowing the current 5 percent income tax rate to expire and return to the original 3 percent rate.

Illinois currently has the third highest unemployment rate in the country, and the highest unemployment rate among the midwest states.

“We need to create Illinois jobs for Illinois families, which can only be done by attracting more businesses to Illinois while growing the companies who already call Illinois home,” Wheeler said.

A broad range of topics that will be discussed at the roundtable include fixing the state pension system, the effect of Obamacare on businesses, state over-spending and bill payment delays.

“I am truly excited for the opportunity to hear from fellow business owners and to share my ideas with the community. We have to turn Illinois around and make it a great place for both employers and employees,” he said.

Wheeler’s “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families” outline:
1. Make Illinois a more affordable place to do business and stop the proposed progressive state income tax that will drive jobs to other states.
2. Clean up the pension mess by finding a balance that our state can actually afford.
3. Perform a forensic audit of state spending to clear our waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending.
4. Restore state funding to local school districts to keep promise to kids and prevent further increases in property taxes.

For more information, visit or call (630) 566-0176.

Getting in their shots

Late-season run brings Lady Knights mark to 13-14
KANELAND—Four out of five isn’t bad.

In fact, it might be coming at the right time for Kaneland girls basketball.

After a five-game losing skid that lasted from Jan. 11-31, the Lady Knights began righting their victory ship two weeks ago with a win at Morris. After two more conference wins, the Lady Knights’ final regular season week featured a 52-39 loss to visiting DeKalb last Thursday, and a regular season finale win over Sycamore on Senior Night, 40-35.

The uptick in play means the Lady Knights final regular season tally sits at 13-14 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The homestretch set up the IHSA Class 3A Plano Regional grouping, which was set to feature Kaneland facing Plano on Wednesday, with results unavailable for press.

With the postseason still remaining, the Lady Knights finished the regular campaign with a losing record for the first time since the 2010-11 slate, which ended 13-16, with the last loss coming at the hands of Wheaton Academy in the playoffs.

Kaneland had executed consecutive winning seasons, most notably a sectional final appearance in 2011-12.

In the double-digit loss to DeKalb, Kaneland was led by Kelly Wallner’s 12 points. KHS was 11-of-35 from the field, and 15-of-22 from the foul line on the evening.

DeKalb stormed out to a 16-5 lead and kept a 23-12 lead going into the locker room. Kaneland was able to close to 37-30 by the end of the third before the Lady Barbs added to their lead with a 15-9 fourth frame.

In the five-point win over the Lady Spartans on Valentine’s Day, which secured a regular season split between the two schools, Kaneland was paced by Caroline Heimerdinger’s 14 points. The total included a six-for-six stretch on free throws in the final two minutes. Wallner had seven points to go along with her 13 rebounds.

KHS was 11-of-33 from the field and 15-of-20 from the foul line.

The Lady Knights led 10-6 after the first eight minutes and 17-13 at the half. Sycamore inched closer and trailed just 26-24 before KHS held firm.

The postseason journey for third seed Kaneland held a familiar obstacle in the Plano Regional setting in the form of the host Lady Reapers, the No. 2 seed.

A year ago in the Burlington Central Regional semi, Kaneland was a missed three-pointer away from pulling off a stellar fourth-quarter comeback from 15 points down in a 52-51 loss.

Last year’s Plano crew finished at 22-7, compared to 14-14 in 2013-14.

The winner was set to face either No. 1 Sycamore, No. 4 Rochelle or No. 5 Sandwich in the regional final on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.


Kucera to run track and field at Stanford

Kaneland High School senior Nathaniel Kucera announced Feb. 12 that he would continue his track & field career at Division 1 Stanford University of the Pac-12. The stand-out 800m runner had a breakout 2013 season, highlighted by his anchoring the school-record breaking 4x800m relay that won the Class 2A state title. He was also on the state runner-up 4x400m relay and placed ninth in the 400m dash. In June, he used a massive surge in the final 200m to win the 800m at Midwest Distance Festival in Lisle, Ill. with a blistering time of 1 minute, 51.33 seconds. File Photo

Feb. 20 sports recap

Freshman Girls BBall
Feb. 8, 10, 12 @ NIB-12 Tournament—The Lady Knights finished their 2013-14 season with a fourth-place showing at the NIB-12 Freshman Tournament, held at Rochelle Twp. High School. KHS won their first two games—38-35 over LaSalle-Peru and 33-30 over Sycamore—before falling to Rochelle in the quarterfinals. KHS lost the third-place game to Ottawa 54-28.

Sophomore Girls BBall
Feb. 13 vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their 37-20 win over DeKalb. It was their final game of the 2013-14 season. Kristen Siebert led the team with 10 points, while Meg Cohrs and Kylie Modaff each had six points. Kiandra Powell had five points, Sophie Sandquist had four points and Jenna Harvell and Nichole Koczka each supplied three points. The Lady Knights ended the season with a 14-11 overall record, and an even 5-5 record in NIB-12 conference play.

Sophomore Boys BBall
Feb. 14 at Yorkville—The Knights beat their Route 47 bretheren 48-42 behind Mark Lilly’s 14 and Jake Marczuk’s 10 points. Joe Laudont had seven points for the Knights, while Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had five points. Jason Edwards had four points and Tanner Robertson had three points.

Feb. 15 vs. Hillcrest—The Knights dropped just their fifth game of the season against a strong Hillcrest team 72-46. Violett had 10 points, while Mitchel Groen had nine, while both Marczuk and Matt Vanenborn each had eight points and Robertsen had three.

Feb. 18 vs. St. Charles North—The Knights earned their 17th win with a 73-66 triumph over the North Stars. Marczuk led the way with 18 points, while Lilly had 15, Robertsen and Laudont each had 12, Groen had nine and Hansen had seven. The team is 17-5 overall, with a 7-1 conference record.

Coaches share memories

We asked Kaneland coaches that were once athletes at KHS to share some of their favorite memories from their playing time and coaching careers:

Michael Thorgesen
Michael Thorgesen
Q) What is your favorite memory as an athlete at Kaneland HS?
A) “Simply playing and competing with great friends and great coaches for four years. The homecoming victory against Batavia was a fun one.”
Q) What is your favorite memory as a coach at Kaneland HS?
A) “Its tough to choose; I’ve been extremely lucky to be around some very special moments in just a short period. From the 2011 playoff run and semifinal game against Montini, to witnessing two state placers, including a state champion last year in wrestling. Both stick out the most to me.“

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Romano, Robinson to wed

Joe and Karen Romano of Lisle, Ill., are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Christina, to Doug Robinson, son of Doug and Maureen Robinson of Sugar Grove.

The bride-to-be is a 2001 graduate of Naperville North High School and a 2005 graduate of North Central College. She is a patient account liaison in Physician Billing at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and also acts in plays and musicals around the city.

The future groom is a 2001 graduate of Kaneland High School. He is a team lead and trade support specialist in futures and options trading with JPMorgan Chase.

Christina and Doug will marry at the DoubleTree Suites in October of 2014. The two currently reside in Chicago with their pug, Kingsley.