All posts by Martha Quetsch

Elburn police blotter

The following reports were obtained from the Elburn Police Department. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Outstanding warrant arrest
            • Brittney S. Semeraro, 22, of the 100 block of Stetzer Street in Elburn, was arrested at 7:38 a.m. Dec. 1, on an outstanding warrant from Kane County. Elburn police stopped a vehicle in which she was a passenger on Route 47 at Keslinger Road in Elburn.

            • Elizabeth Wallen Johnstad, 38, of the 300 block of Read Street in Elburn, was arrested at 3:59 a.m. Nov. 30 on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. Police made the arrest while responding to a domestic dispute in the 300 block of Read Street in Elburn.

Driving without insurance
            James Daniel Stupek, of the 2000 block of Jonquil Place in Rockford, Ill., was arrested at 2:33 a.m. Nov. 29 for operating an uninsured vehicle and driving while his registration was suspended. Police stopped Stupek on Center Street in Elburn.

Driving while license suspended
            • Jesus O. Alcantar, 24, of the 100 block of Capes Drive in Elburn, was arrested at 4:18 p.m. for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped Alcantar on Route 47 at North Street in Elburn for driving a vehicle with tinted windows. He received a warning for that offense, and for failing to secure a child in a car seat.

            • Robert I. Vandeveire, 29, of the 1100 block of President Street in Elburn, was arrested for driving while his license was suspended at 12:38 a.m. on Nov. 24. Police stopped him on Center Street at Wright Street in Elburn for driving without a front license plate. He also was cited for operating a vehicle without insurance or evidence of valid registration.

            • Ashley Marie Striebel, 20, of the 200 block of Sixth Street in Mandar, N.D., was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol at 3:12 a.m. on Nov. 29. Police stopped her on Route 47 at Hughes Road, for disobeying a stoplight at Keslinger Road in Elburn.

            • Jonathan D. Lupei, 21, of the 43W700 block of Marian Circle in Sugar Grove, was arrested at 1:56 a.m. Dec. 14 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him for speeding, after he turned north on Anderson Road from eastbound Prairie Valley Street in Elburn.

            • Timothy E. Neubeck, Jr., 23, of the 200 block of North Leiser Street in Herscher, Ill., was arrested at 5:01 a.m. Dec. 13 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him on Route 38 east of Route 47 in Elburn after observing him crossing the center lines several times. He also was cited for improper lane use.

            • Adam C. Taylor, 21, of the 3700 block of St. Germain Place in St. Charles, was arrested at 10:50 p.m. Dec. 6 in the 500 block of North Main Street in Elburn for driving under the influence of alcohol. He also was cited for driving without a front license plate.

Property damage
            Someone drove into a village-owned lamp post at the corner of North First Street and Route 38 in Elburn on Dec. 9. A patrolman found the knocked-down post at 9 p.m.

Burglary from motor vehicle
            Someone stole a cell phone from an unlocked vehicle parked next to a business on Valley Drive in Elburn, while its owner was inside the building, at 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11.

Unlawful consumption of alcohol by minors
            Adam Joseph Gilbert, 18, of the 1400 block of South Batavia Avenue in Batavia, was arrested for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor, at 12:57 a.m. Dec. 13. Police stopped him as he was driving on Route 38 at Saddlewood Drive in Elburn.

Warrant arrest
            Michael L. LaMorte, 30, of Blue Island, Ill., was arrested on an outstanding warrant at 3:03 a.m. Dec. 21 at the Metra commuter station, 422 E. Railroad St., Elburn. The warrant from Blue Island was for a disorderly conduct offense.

Elburn 9-year-old living dream of showing dogs

Youth competes against adult handlers in prestigious rings

by Martha Quetsch

            When Corinne Kolzow was a toddler, she loved watching dog shows on TV. Since then, taking her own dog into the ring was the Elburn girl’s dream.

            “She was in a stroller, wanting to do this,” Corinne’s mother Hannah Kozlow said.

            When Corinne was about 3, her parents began taking her to see dog shows in the area. By the time she was 5, Corinne had entered her first competition at the American Kennel Club (AKC) Show at DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, showing her Havanese puppy, Yallie.

            Corinne since has built on her achievements as a handler at various shows. At Chicago’s International Kennel Club Show in 2006, Corinne showed Yallie and won in the Best Puppy category, competing against more than 20 other entrants.

            Most recently, Corinne participated in the American Kennel Club Eukanuba National Championship, the largest prize-money dog show in the world. Participation in the event in Long Beach, Calif., was by invitation only.

            The event took place Dec. 13-14, a week after Corinne’s ninth birthday. Showing her 1-year-old Havanese, Rein, she competed against adults who are the best in the sport.

            Because Corinne was the youngest handler there, she was a little nervous, she said. But she always is somewhat anxious before shows, because they are so competitive.

            “The hardest part is you have to make sure she (the dog) looks perfect,” Corinne said.

            Corinne’s mother grooms Rein before every show, but her daughter must maintain the dog’s appearance throughout the presentation.

            “I try to get everything right, like making sure her tail is set right,” Corinne said.

            For Rein’s overall appearance and structure at Eukanuba, as her breeder, owner and handler, Corinne received an Award of Excellence, which will allow her to show the dog in the Crufts Show in London.

            Corinne is the youngest person in history to win an award at Eukanuba and qualify for Crufts, the largest and oldest dog show in the world.

            Corinne gives Rein a lot of the credit for this accomplishment.

            “The judge said she thought every dog in the ring looked like a statue until she saw us. She thought Rein looked like a loving sister,” Corinne said.

            Corinne does have a sister who also shows dogs, Sarah, 10. Sarah is working her way up the competitive ladder, having qualified in presentation at Eukanuba for participation in the juniors class.

            Sarah and the rest of the Kozlow family likely will accompany Corinne in March to Crufts.

            Those interested in seeing Corinne showing Rein at the Eukanuba may watch a taping of the event on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Trustee tables park district proposal, for now

by Martha Quetsch

            Elburn village trustee Tom Burgholzer recently proposed to establish a park district made up of volunteers. However, because the district would have to levy a property tax for its support, he changed his mind.

            “There is a law that we would have to go for a tax,” Burgholzer said. “I can’t see asking people for more taxes right now.”

            Burgholzer said he is not going to drop the idea, but wants to wait to pursue it until the economy improves. Creating a park district would require an Elburn voter referendum.

            If the village had a park district, it could bring more recreational amenities to the village, such as a skateboard park, Burgholzer said.

            Burgholzer began promoting a skateboard park nearly two years ago, after receiving a residents’ petition for the project. After studying various sites for the skateboard park, trustees tabled the proposal in October.

            “We (the village) don’t have the money. And nobody could come to a consensus (on a site),” Burgholzer said Sunday.

            The estimated cost of a basic skateboard park is more than $100,000, village officials said.

            As a way Elburn could bring any new park to town without the cost, the village could require future developers to pay for them, Village President Jim Willey said.

            Elburn already has brought this idea into practice, having negotiated with Blackberry Creek developers for the designation of 202 acres of public parks and conservation land within the subdivision.

            In addition to those in Blackberry Creek, village-owned parks include Prairie Park at North and Third streets, Byerhoff Park on South Shannon Street, and Scout Park on First Street near the railroad tracks. The village also maintains the playground at Elburn & Countryside Community Center at 525 N. Main St.

            Lions Park, on Route 47 just north of Keslinger Road, is owned and operated by Elburn Lions Club with financial support from facility rentals and fundraisers.


Cash crunch puts Community Center plans on hold

by Martha Quetsch
            Businesses and individuals are not the only ones feeling the effects of a struggling economy—nonprofit organizations are as well.

            For example, the Elburn and Countryside Community Center—a nonprofit organization located at 525 N. Main St.—has plenty of plans in place for improvements and additional offerings, but given the financial situation, board members are focusing their efforts on simply being able to operate the building.

            “We’re not trying to make money. We’re just trying to stay open and offer more recreational opportunities for residents,” board member Jack Hansen said.

            “Staying open” requires renovations to the building constructed in 1927. The board has spent time in 2008 trying to find a way to replace the windows and install a different heating system to replace the boiler that has been used since the building opened.

            However, the Community Center is not planning those projects for the coming year because it cannot afford them. Meanwhile, because of the old windows and boiler, the building’s heating bill lately is “horrendous,” Hansen said. One project they were able to complete was to replace the roof, although the board was forced to pay for it by taking out a loan.

            In addition to building improvements, Hansen’s wish list includes equipping the center to be a place local youth bands could practice their music, and teenagers could gather for games and socializing. But that would require funding the center does not have, Hansen said.

            The Community Center relies on fundraisers, donations and rent from business tenants to operate. Its financial situation could worsen if it does not find new tenants for two office spaces. A first-floor space that was rented by a chiropractic business has been vacant for several months, and a second-floor business plans to move out of its renovated space on the second floor sometime in 2009, Community Center manager Laurie Studdard said.

            The Community Center most recently raised money through a silent auction during the Elburn Christmas Stroll, which it intends to hold again next year.

            Studdard will look for interesting items at reasonable prices throughout the coming year to sell for a higher price at the next the auction.

            “We keep trying to find new ways to bring in extra cash,” Hansen said.

            The Community Center Board currently is contemplating seeking monetary donations from corporations with local sites, such as Walgreens, which is expected to open this spring at Main Street and Route 38.

            The Community Center has hosted the Blackberry School of Ballet for many years. But the school began struggling financially, so last June, State Street Dance of Geneva began managing it at the request of the Community Center Board. The measure was intended to give Blackberry School of Dance a financial boost.

            Hansen hopes that goal is not thwarted by the economic decline.

            “Some people may rather buy food than send their children to ballet,” Hansen said.

            For more information, call Laurie Studdard at (630) 365-6655.


Trustees might allow garage sale signs in parkways

by Martha Quetsch

            Come spring, an Elburn resident who wants to hold a garage sale might be able to post signs on village parkways to advertise it; but only if the Village Board approves a proposed change to the village sign ordinance.

            Currently, the village does not allow people to put up signs in village rights of way without a special permit. When people violate the rule, Elburn police are obligated to take down the signs, which upsets some people.

            “It’s been a little bit of a lightning rod,” Elburn Police Chief Jim Linane said.

            Linane said his officers collect illegal garage sale signs, take them to the police station and keep them for a day or two before disposing of them; then the sign owners have an opportunity to recover them.

            Under the proposed ordinance change, directional garage sale signs up to two-by-three feet could be placed in village parkways without a permit; however, the signs still would not be allowed on state or county rights of way on Keslinger Road or Route 47, Community Development Director Erin Willrett said.

            Village officials also proposed that no balloons or banners be allowed as attachments to the signs. In addition, if a resident whose property abuts the right of way objects to the sign, it would have to come down.

            Linane suggested that the ordinance require that signs may not be up more than 24 hours before the garage sale and come down as soon as the sale is over. The ordinance change is among several possible revisions to the village sign code that trustees are reviewing.


Dec. 19 Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch

Blackberry Creek trash pickup day still Wednesday

            Elburn’s residential garbage hauler Waste Management mistakenly sent letters late last week to 200 households in Blackberry Creek subdivision stating that their trash pickup day was being changed from Wednesday to Thursday.

            The company recognized the mistake after residents called inquiring about the change. It sent letters out Monday to all affected residences and called them on Tuesday, admitting the error and letting people know their pickup day still would be Wednesday, Waste Management representative Lisa Lorenz said.

            Lorenz said Waste Management inadvertently sent the pickup-day change notices to Blackberry Creek residents when it was mailing the notice to households in another town.

Metra proposes more parking, platforms for Elburn station

            Metra is planning parking, signaling and platform additions along the Union Pacific west line between Elburn and Chicago to prepare for future ridership increases.

            Elburn village officials on Dec. 8 reviewed proposed upgrades from Metra including an expansion of the Elburn commuter station parking lot. The parking lot currently has 300 spaces and could be expanded to up to 1,300 in the future.

            Metra also plans to extend the platforms at the Elburn station to accommodate commuter trains with more cars.

            In addition, the project could include installation of a traffic signal at Keslinger and Anderson Road, which may be necessary with an increase in commuter traffic.

            Construction could take place by 2011, if Metra obtains funding for the project through a federal transportation grant.

Village may change garbage ordinance again

            Some Elburn residents believe a new village ordinance related to garbage pickup is too restrictive, and as a result, are not complying with it, village officials said.

            As a result, village trustees except Patricia Romke, said the ordinance should be revised to make it less restrictive.

            Approved in May, the ordinance states that residents may not place garbage containers at the curb earlier than 6 p.m. the day before trash pickup, and must remove the empty trach receptacles from the curb before 11 a.m. on collection day.

            Trustees are considering changing the deadlines to noon the day before for placing containers at the curb, and noon on garbage collection day to remove them.

            The village of Elburn distributed flyers in early summer to let residents know about the new ordinance. The Police Department began issuing warning notices to violators in August, and in November started issuing tickets to repeat violators, which have numbered more than 30 during the past few weeks.

            Romke said if people are allowed to place their trash and recycling at the curb at noon the day before pickup, on a windy day garbage will blow all over the neighborhood. She said if residents believe 6 p.m. is too late in the evening to carry trash containers to the curb, they should place them there early in the morning of pickup day.


Elburn officers joining police union

by Martha Quetsch

            Elburn police officers are establishing a local chapter of the Illinois Council of Police, a statewide union of law enforcers.

            Richard Bruno, Illinois Council of Police representative, said police departments have the right under state law to form a collective bargaining unit.

            “They (Elburn officers) are simply taking advantage of that option,” Bruno said. “They don’t mean it as a slight to the village.”

            On the Elburn officers’ behalf, Illinois Council of Police petitioned the Illinois Public Labor Relations Board Sept. 3 to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining with the village, Village Administrator David Morrison said.

            The petition stated that the seven officers in the proposed bargaining unit were all full-time Elburn Police Department employees holding the rank of patrol officer and sergeant.

            On Oct. 3, the Labor Relations Board certified the Illinois Council of Police as the exclusive representative of the Elburn police officers in future collective bargaining.

            Bruno said more than 90 percent of police departments in the Chicago metropolitan area are unionized.

            Elburn Police Detective Pete Pavia said he could not comment on the local union proposal at this time except to say he and his fellow officers are reviewing a bargaining unit contract drafted by the Illinois Council of Police that they will present to the village.

            Being part of the union will guarantee that the Elburn officers will be able to bargain with the village regarding pay rates, wages, employment hours and working conditions.

            As members of the union, the Elburn officers can avail themselves of the organization’s legal staff during future contract negotiations with the village.

            Bruno said regarding police salaries, the proposed contract between the Elburn officers and the village sets forth a “standardized form of compensation.” He declined to elaborate on the terms.

            “It wouldn’t be fair to disclose them, since the village hasn’t seen it (the contract) yet,” Bruno said.

            Currently, the base salary for Elburn police officers is $39,407. Depending on experience, they can start at a higher salary. The starting salary currently is determined by the Police Chief and the Village Administrator. Officers then can gradually move through six levels of salary ranges, topping out at $57,310.

            The salary range for each step increased 5 percent annually until this year, when the Village Board approved a 2.5 percent increase.

            Police administrative staff, including Chief Jim Linane and Commander Steve Smith, are exempt from union membership.


Food pantry donations keep up with rising demand

by Martha Quetsch

            The number of families served by the Elburn and Countryside Food Pantry has risen dramatically, but thanks to an increase in food donations, the pantry is keeping up with demand, said its president, Rita Burnham.

            The food pantry has served about 45 families weekly for the past few months, compared to 20 families each week during the same period last year, Burnham said.

            Typically, community members donate enough food to keep the pantry’s shelves stocked; but this summer, the pantry had to buy food from Aldi and other stores to keep up with rising demand, Burnham said.

            Burnham said she was worried that the pantry would have to start decreasing the amount of food it gives each family.

            “We were concerned, come January, about ‘How are we going to stretch this?’” Burnham said.

            However, the pantry now is well stocked, thanks to increasing donations from the community, including dozens of turkeys from the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club before Thanksgiving.

            “We are fortunate that so many people came forward,” Burhman said. “Right now, we’re set for quite awhile.”

            While Burnham was at the food pantry one day last week, she was amazed at the amount of items being dropped off.

            “The food just kept coming in,” she said.

            Food pantries throughout the area are serving more families than ever, Northern Illinois Food Bank director H. Dennis Smith said.

            The food bank, based in St. Charles, supplies pantries in several counties with low-priced food.

            In October, the number of people availing themselves of food pantries in Kane, DuPage and DeKalb counties was 29 percent higher than during the same month last year, Smith said.

            Smith attributes this increase to rising unemployment and grocery costs.

            In the three counties, food prices have risen 14 percent in the last three years and are projected to go up an additional 5 percent next year; and unemployment rose from 4.8 percent in 2007 to 6.4 percent in 2008, Smith said.

Elburn & Countryside Food Pantry

Elburn and Countryside Community Center

525 N. Main St., Elburn

(630) 365-6655

Food is given away at the pantry

from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays,

except on holidays

(then it is given the Tuesday before.)

Donations are accepted from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays; call ahead to

make sure building manager is there.


Village reviews responses to flooding survey

Engineers use information to determine causes, potential solutions
by Martha Quetsch
            Elburn officials are reviewing the responses to a village-wide survey to help them understand the nature and extent of flooding that occurred locally during the weekend of Sept. 12-14.

            The village mailed a survey to every household in Elburn in early October, along with their monthly utility bill. More than 300 people responded, Village Administrator David Morrison said.

            The National Weather Service indicated that 10.5 inches of rain fell during the event, far exceeding the normal design capacity of older storm systems, the survey stated.

            During the rainfall, some homes had sewage backup, even though Elburn’s sanitary sewer and stormwater sewer are separate. Village officials said the survey responses will help engineers to understand where problems were concentrated and to quantify the extent of the problems.

            The survey asked residents whether their homes had stormwater flooding, how the water entered the premises, whether their sump pumps failed, whether they have experienced storm water problems before and if they have installed any drainage improvements such as overhead sewers.

            The survey also asked residents whether they also had sewage backup during the rain storms and to what extent.

            Village engineers will use the information from the survey to help them determine what issues need to be addressed by homeowners and what issues the village must address, to alleviate stormwater and sewer water flooding in the future.


Willey won’t run for 4th term

Mayor led Elburn board during time of growth
by Martha Quetsch

            Since he took office in 1997, Elburn Village President Jim Willey has encouraged conversation and consensus with the goal of improving the community, he said.

            Willey, who announced Dec. 3 he will not run for re-election in April, said the many major projects undertaken by the village during his tenure required that leadership style.

            Among those was planning Elburn’s Blackberry Creek subdivision from inception, including establishing conservation principles and an historic street-name pattern into its design, he said.

            Willey consistently has promoted making the community “better, not just bigger,” negotiating with developers for impact fees and public amenities, from parks to bike paths.

            “It opens up a completely different conversation with them,” Willey said. “The important thing is that the town have a vision and ask for that. Any time I said no to a developer, the plan got better later on.”

            Another village achievement since Willey took office was bringing two new elementary schools to Elburn, Blackberry Creek and John Stewart.

            “There were big issues to work out, from location to design to impact fees,” Willey said. “Everybody had to be on board—the village, the (Kaneland) School District and the developers.”

            Since Willey took office, Elburn has replaced several million dollars worth of worn-out streets. The need for that improvement made Willey want to run for office, he said.

            “I felt very strongly we needed to work on these streets,” Willey said. “They were in very, very bad shape.”

            The street repair project also included installing sealed manholes to make the stormwater system tighter, he said.

            Among other village accomplishments during the past 11 years were bringing a commuter train station to the village, for which choosing a site and other decisions were “huge challenges” for the Village Board.

            “We had to work with so many different entities—the village, the county, state and federal agencies, and the railroad. Basically, we had to put together a five-way deal.”

            A particularly challenging task for Willey and the Village Board was meeting a federal mandate to remove radium from Elburn’s water.

            He and the trustees spent many months studying and debating several remediation methods, choosing one that could save the village millions of dollars in the future compared to other options, Willey said: installing a radium filter on each village well, including one in Blackberry Creek paid for by the developer.

            Willey said he worked hard to garner support from village trustees for the purchase of property on the north side of North Street, for Prairie Park and a new public works complex on the site to replace the former dilapidated facility on First Street at the railroad tracks.

            “The village really needed to acquire this property,” Willey said.

            Since Willey became village president, Elburn established new business complexes, including the Jewel-Osco complex and the future Walgreens center. Negotiating for village receipt of the full sales taxes from commercial developments was a must for Willey.

            “We need the revenue for our town,” Willey said.

            Making sure revenue meets expenditures will be the biggest challenge for the future Village Board under the leadership of a new president, Willey said. With the economic downturn and fewer housing starts, village revenue from building permit fees and sewer connection fees could drop significantly, he said.

            “The Village Board will have to manage the reduction in revenue, and make tough decisions about what can stay and what can go,” Willey said

            Willey said he based his decision not to run for village president for a fourth term on a promise he made to his wife Cathy, who passed away suddenly in 2006. In addition, he wants to focus on his work as director of the American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Practice, a position he has held for the past two years.

            Previously, he had a dental practice at 135 S. Main St., Elburn, for 26 years. He and Cathy raised two sons in Elburn, twins Andrew and David. Both sons are pursuing doctoral degrees, David in Slavic languages at Yale University and Andrew in classic studies at the University of Minnesota.

            Willey was a village trustee from 1995 to 1997. In his first Village Board President race, he defeated incumbent Mike Stoffa. In the 2001 municipal election, Willey defeated Jack Hansen. Willey was unopposed in the 2005 race for the office.

            Elburn resident Dave Anderson announced last month that he will be a candidate for village president in 2009.


Dec. 5 Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch

Some residents unaware of burning ban

            Elburn police issued several warnings last weekend to residents who violated the village’s new ordinance prohibiting leaf burning.

            Police Chief Jim Linane said although the village has issued informational flyers about the ordinance taking effect June 1, and local newspapers published information about it, many residents still are not aware of the change.

            “We do everything possible to educate them, but we still are missing them,” Linane said.

            Under the new ordinance approved by the Village Board in May, residents must bag their leaves and other yard waste, such as grass, trimmings and brush, for disposal.

            The village’s garbage hauler, Waste Management, picks up yard-waste bags at no additional charge to customers; however, residents must purchase them. Large, paper, yard-waste bags are available at stores, including Jewel in Elburn.

            Compost piles for organic waste are allowed under the ordinance as an alternative to bagging.

Wastewater treatment plant to have new pumps

            The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a contract with Gaskill and Walton Construction Company to replace three aging lift station pumps at the village’s wastewater treatment plant, for $80,400.

            Trustee Bill Grabarek said that unlike the old pumps, these all will be the same brand. Village officials expects to obtain and install the pumps within approximately four months.

            The village replaced another one of the plant’s four lift station pumps earlier this year, paying Mississippi Valley Pump $17,291 for the project.