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TAILS Humane Society joins #ILGiveBig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tips to prepare now for severe winter weather ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Let’s talk turkey Balancing family traditions and food safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


KHS students honor war history during service trip

Photo: The group poses in front of an American M-4 Sherman tank in Bastonge, Belgium.
Photo submitted by Javier Martinez to

KANELAND—A group of Kaneland High School (KHS) students in June experienced a historical adventure overseas.

The group of 17 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, plus 10 adult chaperones, embarked on a service trip and spent seven days in Europe, visiting France, Belgium and Germany.

KHS Social Studies teacher Javier Martinez coordinated the trip.

“Hopefully (the students) learned a little bit about the history of the places we visited, learned about the history of some of the battles on the battlefields we visited, and took away a better appreciation for the sacrifices of the American soldiers during World War I and World War II,” Martinez said.

Students on the trip cleaned marbled white headstones in a World War I cemetery at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Chateau-Thierry, France.

According to Martinez, the students and chaperones cleaned between 1,300 and 1,400 headstones. They used buckets filled with soap and water, and scrubbed with brushes.

“I didn’t feel it was work,” said Tim Wachter, a KHS junior and Elburn resident. “I felt it was just something I needed to do and take care of. I felt that these people needed to be honored—that if there was anything on the headstones, we should clean it off for them to respect them.”

KHS graduate Mike Gorenz said a big part of the trip was made great because he was with his dad, Ed.

Mike also learned a lesson in Europe in regard to those who served in the military.

“Always be thankful for what those guys did for us,” Mike said. “Especially on Omaha Beach (on D-Day, June 6, 1944) and all of the battlefields that we went to. Just everything they had to sacrifice for what we do. All of the things we have today.”

Martinez noted that students saw WWI and WWII battlefields in France and a WWII battlefield in Belgium. The group toured a concentration camp in Germany, an experience Martinez referred to as “somber.”

Students also had a chance to travel up a lit Eiffel Tower in Paris and practice some French words. Wachter, along with other students, knew some useful words, including “bonjour” for hello and “merci” for thank you.

According to Wachter, Belgium had “very good french fries” that could be dipped in mayo or a sauce like a spicy mayo. In France, he noticed that ice cream shops had strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries or chocolate ice cream with chocolate bits added.

“It was a great experience that I definitely won’t forget for the rest of my life,” Wachter said. “I felt that I was able to see all of the historical aspects (and) the cultural aspects in a way I wouldn’t be able to, had I just been reading about it or hearing about it at home.”

Christmas Kettles to Kaneland area

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Spirit needs your help

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

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

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

Fundraising year winds down for Maple Park Police

MAPLE PARK—As the Illinois Special Olympics fundraising year comes to a close, the Maple Park Police Department is taking inventory and feeling proud.

The Police Department has been fundraising all year, hosting events and raising money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois. So far, the Police Department has raised nearly $78,000, just shy of its $100,000 goal.

“Last year, we raised $63,000; we’ve already beaten that number this year, and it isn’t even over yet. We’re really fired up,” said Law Enforcement Torch Run volunteer coordinator Jim MacRunnels.

The Maple Park Police Department in late October hosted a free event in Maple Park as a thank-you to Torch Run donors, sponsors and the village of Maple Park for all of their help with the Special Olympics. The event was called “Maple Park Hogwild for Special Olympics,” and it featured four bands and free food, including a whole hog donated from Johnson-Pate Pork out of DeKalb. The event was free, but there was an auction of goods that were donated to the Police Department.

“For a free event, we still raised $4,700,” MacRunnels said.

The Maple Park Police Department will wind down their efforts for now, but only briefly, because the new fundraising year will soon begin. The Police Department’s goal will be even bigger for next year, and it will kick off fundraising in 2015 with the annual “Polar Plunge” event on March 8.

The Polar Plunge will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. at Loon Lake, located in Silver Springs State Park in Yorkville. The event is an opportunity for people to support the Special Olympics by taking a “plunge” into the freezing waters of Loon Lake. Participants are required to raise $75 in donations in order to participate. Prizes will be awarded for differing levels of money raised.

“Our goal this year is to have 40 people participate in the Polar Plunge,” MacRunnels said. “We always want to do better than we did last year, so we are really trying to get people out. We know the cause is right, and we are pretty encouraged.”

For more information on how to sign up for the Polar Plunge, visit the Maple Park Police Department’s fundraising page on Facebook.

School Board approves tentative levy

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday approved a tentative levy.

All but Valente and Rivas on Oct. 27 gave a thumbs up to having a tentative levy budget prepared by Kaneland Associate Superintendent Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs.

According to Fuchs’ report, this year’s tentative tax levy features a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 1.5 percent, Equalized Assessed Value at 1.0 percent and new construction growth at $3,400,000.

The total tentative operating levy amount is $43,208,567. Fuchs’ report noted that the School Board could expect to receive approximately $824,000 more than the 2013 levy, or a 2 percent increase.

“The existing taxpayer can expect to pay approximately 2 percent more than in 2013,” Fuchs wrote in her report.

Elburn resident Mark Weintraub spoke during public comment about the 1.5 percent CPI.

“It’s such a small amount of money,” Weintraub said, urging the School Board to vote positively on the levy. “It’s money, but what is a better investment (than) in our children?”

Board members voiced their opinions prior to voting on the levy increase.

“We’ve got to slow down the spending,” Valente said. “It has to stop somewhere. It stops with us saying, ‘Let’s find a better way.’”

School Board Vice President Teresa Witt referred to Fuchs’ example of the difference from 1.5 percent to 0 percent in CPI. The estimated difference for a $200,000 home value is $60, while the estimated difference for a $300,000 is $89.

“$89 doesn’t even pay for my family to go to Chili’s,” Witt said. “There’s no question we need to levy the same amount.”

School Board member Veronica Bruhl pointed out that the price of the district’s health care will increase, and questioned where she wanted to “take more cuts of the district.”

“Everything has its buck,” Bruhl said. “I see that now.”

Rivas also weighed in on the tentative levy

“I want to think of other taxpayers,” he said. “They vote us to be their vote and voice. I don’t want to say no. I want to find a medium.”

A number of Kaneland teachers at the meeting spoke about the learning happening in their classrooms with the new technology provided by the district. Sarah Linden, third-grade teacher at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, offered a comment regarding the School Board’s support of the levy.

“You have done a great thing for our kids,” Linden said.

Veterans Day John Stewart Nov 2014-1-8

Veterans honored at John Stewart Elementary ceremony

A flag-raising ceremony took place at John Stewart Elementary School Tuesday in honor of Veteran’s Day. Artwork and letters to veterans (right) were displayed in the school’s hallway. John Stewart students (below) wave their American flags during the ceremony. Photos by Laura Gampfer

ELBURN—Like any good military operation, there was a back-up plan for inclement weather at John Stewart Elementary (JSE) School Tuesday.

JSE Art teacher Heidi Gilkey, coordinator of the school’s Veterans Day flag-raising ceremony, said the assembly was moved into the gym because of the cold rain that fell on Tuesday.

The 15 veterans that arrived for breakfast and to be recognized on stage didn’t mind the weather a bit. George Morris of Elburn American Legion Post 630 called the whole experience rewarding.

“It really got to me, standing on the stage and seeing all the kids waving flags and smiling,” Morris said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Morris said he looks forward to attending the ceremony every year, and this year he was able to take many of the poems and letters written by the students back to the post to share with his fellow legionnaires.

Gilkey said a lot of preparation goes into the Veteran’s Day flag-raising event—from the writing to the patriotic artwork created by the kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

“After breakfast, we sit and talk with the veterans who come for breakfast,” Gilkey said. “They have so many wonderful stories to share with us.”
Veterans Day John Stewart Nov 2014-1-2
Although they don’t have time to tell their stories during the assembly, each veteran in attendance is asked to give his or her name, branch of the military in which they served, and dates of service. After the ceremony, Gilkey said some will talk with individual classes.

After the Boy Scouts posted the colors, several Kaneland High School band members were on hand to play some patriotic selections, including “The Star Spangled Banner” and a rendition of “Echo Taps.”

“It was magnificent,” Gilkey said.

Later that afternoon, Gilkey said the fourth-grade classes presented a concert of patriotic songs at an assembly.

“They do a medley of the songs representing the different branches of the military and ask people who served in each branch to stand during their song,” Gilkey said. “They had a really big crowd this year.”

Morris, who joined the Army after high school graduation, said he was a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division from 1948 to 1952. Attending more than one ceremony on Tuesday, he said it was a “busy but nice day.”

“It’s very humbling to be part of the John Stewart ceremony,” Morris said. “It’s just a great feeling to see the young people interested.”


Community goes pink for Pat

Photo: Tina Romas of Sugar Grove on Saturday hosted a Premier Designs fundraising party with all proceeds going to her friend, Pat Hill. Photo by Lynn Logan

KANEVILLE—She’s a little embarrassed by the attention, but Pat Hill’s friends—and she has a lot of them—are coming out in force to support her in a time of need.

Among those friends is Tina Romas of Sugar Grove, who conducted a “Pink Out for Pat” Premier Jewelry Designs party in the Kaneville Community Center on Saturday. She figures she and Hill have been friends for about 12 years.

“She just gives and gives and gives,” Romas said of her friend, who is battling cancer. “If she can do something to help someone else, she does.”

So Romas set up the jewelry show—on short notice—to sell anything from elegant to blingy and everything in between, and donate her commission to Hill.

“I don’t help others to get something in return,” Hill said. “I just do what I can because I can.”

Although daughter Alexa Hill simply says no comment when asked about her mother’s condition, a Facebook page called Pink for Purple has been established to support Hill in her battle with breast cancer.

Since she was losing her dark brown hair because of her treatment, the owner of Hill’s Country Store said she just gave in and had her head shaved on Friday. She ran errands on Saturday wearing a cute hat decorated with rhinestones.

“It’s too cold already to be bald,” she added with a laugh. “I answered the door at home this morning without a hat on, and think I scared the person at the door.”

Along with a “food train” to provide meals for Hill’s family, other fundraisers have been scheduled.

On Nov. 23, a local group of women, Girls Gone Tri, will host a walk that begins and ends at Hill’s Country Store. The event will also include a raffle with an extensive list of prizes. More information is available on the Pink for Purple page on Facebook, or at

Another benefit is scheduled at Fishermen’s Inn on Saturday, Dec. 6, following the Christmas in Kaneville gala. Planning is underway for the Fishermen’s Inn event, and more information can be found on The Give Back to Pat Benefit page on Facebook.


Sugar Grove business offers therapeutic massage

Photo: A Time of Knead is located at 40 Terry Drive, Sugar Grove. Photo by Lynn Logan

SUGAR GROVE—A Time of Knead, a professional therapeutic massage business located at 40 Terry Drive in Sugar Grove, opened its doors on Oct. 1. The business shares a location in the same building as Rocky’s Dojo, across the street from Fireside Grille on Route 47.

Kari Meloun, owner of A Time of Knead, is a 2012 graduate of the Therapeutic Massage Degree Program at Waubonsee Community College, where she also earned an associate degree in applied science for therapeutic massage in August 2012.

Meloun worked as an independent contractor at Emily Kay Salon in Sugar Grove prior to starting up her own massage business.

“I was working for a year as an independent contractor at Emily Kay Salon in Sugar Grove, and was contemplating starting my own business for a while,” Meloun said. “The opportunity of renting space became available, and I opened my office Oct. 1.”

A number of massage packages are offered on A Time of Knead’s website,, including therapeutic massages of different time lengths, hot stone massage, chair massage, on-site chair massage, prenatal massage. Outcalls are also available by request.

“I offer custom massages, and when I offer a 60-minute massage, it’s the full 60 minutes,” Meloun said. “I also offer 30 minutes and 90 minutes. I like to make sure my clients are not rushed and get the maximum benefit of each session they come to see me for. I incorporate different techniques to tailor (the experience) and help each individual client meet their goal. It’s not just Swedish massage techniques, but also perhaps deep tissue, reflexology, stretching, etc.”

Meloun’s passion for therapeutic messages stems from her desire to help people.
“What makes me so passionate about massage therapy is that I love helping people,” Meloun said. “This is such a rewarding career. I get to work directly with people, and they look forward to coming to see me. It’s so rewarding when you see the progress that your clients make, whether it be decreasing pain or frequency of headaches, managed stress or increased range of motion. I really love it.”

Educating her clients and the community about the benefits of message is another one of her passions. Meloun enjoys teaching people about the positive impacts of therapeutic massage and how it can help them with their own life.

Meloun’s parents are a big part of the reason behind her decision to open up her own business. Their motivation and inspiration gave her the determination she needed to create A Time of Knead.

“Both my parents are my main inspiration for starting my business,” Meloun said. “My dad has been a small business owner for the last 27 years. My mom, I hadn’t realized at the time before she passed, how much she inspired me. But she was always there for me, always supportive. She bragged about me and was so proud when I graduated high school, went to college, got my first associate degree in science, went into the massage program and got licensed. She would always brag about my accomplishments, and after she passed, I realized all of this. I still feel her looking down on me with a smile and her pride and approval.”

Meloun will be at the Kaneland Special Needs PTA event on Saturday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harter Middle School, where she will offer free chair messages and a special promotion for everyone who books an appointment there. A Time of Knead’s holiday specials will also be revealed at the PTA event.

For more information, check out a A Time of Knead’s Facebook page.

Equine Humane Center hosts Farm, Tack Festival

MAPLE PARK—The Illinois Equine Humane Center in Maple Park last month hosted its annual Farm Festival and Tack Sale.

The center is located on the grounds of Promise Equestrian Center. The event featured face and pumpkin painting, crafts and activities, a tack and supply sale, and pony rides. Baked goods, beverages and lunch were offered at the event, as well.

“Attendance was affected by the weather being cold and overcast, but we had a lot of kids turn out,” said Gail Vacca, president of Illinois Equine Humane Center. “We had a great day.”

The goal of the event was to raise money for the 16 horses currently at The Illinois Equine Humane Center.

“We’re wanting to raise funds for the horses and have people adopt the horses that are up for adoption,” said volunteer Sharon Thorsen. “Our adoption prices range from $500 to $1,000. Many of these horses are either ex-race horses, or they come from places where they were abused or malnourished. Many of the places couldn’t afford to take care of them.”

According to Vacca, a couple of people will turn in applications for adoption of horses as a result of the festival. All of the horses available for adoption were rescued and rehabilitated by the Illinois Equine Humane Center so they could eventually find a loving home.

Anyone interested in adopting a horse from the Illinois Equine Humane Center can visit and read about each horse and their respective story. Pictures of the horses are also included with each written description.

Veterans Day 2014 Salute Colors

Waubonsee hosts Veterans Day observance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Kaneland Krier takes over the Elburn Herald

Kaneland Krier staff editors on Tuesday visited the Elburn Herald office to take part in World Teenage News Takeover, a month-long initiative meant to encourage news companies to hand over some editorial and creative control to young people. The Krier members during their visit learned editing and web design techniques, and had an opportunity to write this week’s Elburn Herald editorial. Krier editor Shannon Gilkey (left) works with Elburn Herald Sports Editor Ben Draper.

Kaneland production offers ‘shout out’ to education

KANELAND—The Kaneland Arts Initiative’s (KAI) inaugural production of “Shout Out! Excited about Education” will take the Kaneland High School auditorium stage on Monday, Nov. 17.

The show will feature 11 cast members from the Kaneland community. KAI Executive Director Maria Dripps-Paulson said she knows the upcoming production is different from what KAI has featured in the past.

“It’s very different from what we’ve done before,” Dripps-Paulson said. “It is a series of live readings that are read by the author about a certain topic. And of course, our topic is education.”

Dripps-Paulson is one of the cast members, along with her son, Philip, a sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School. Other “characters” include first-grade teacher Pamela Gianakakos, author Kelly Standing and Kaneland graduate/playwright Nic Wehrwein.

Additional cast members include a Kaneland mom, paraprofessional, secretary, high school student and an octogenarian.

According to a news release, Ellen Weidner, the oldest cast member, is self-described as an “82-year-old creative optimist.”

KAI Artistic Director Diane McFarlin will be the evening’s emcee, introducing cast members one by one. Each person will have their time under the spotlight, reading from a notebook about an educational experience.

Maria noted that topics include school experiences, how one is employed in education, people in education who made a difference in their lives, what was learned in graduate school, and how people learn.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at or at the door prior to the show. The event will kick off at 7 p.m.

Maria said Philip will talk about a particular teacher during his part in the show. She remained mum on the teacher’s identity.

“People can come and find it out,” Maria said, noting that Philip has a “cleverly written speech.”

The audience can expect to learn more about the cast, as well.

“It’s fun to get to know the cast members through their writing,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Kaneland PTA prepares Winter Wonderland Craft Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stepping into the light of Sugar Grove

by Shannon Halikias,
Sugar Grove Public Library director

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s note

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

Editorial: From the classroom to the newsroom

by Madeline Mohatt and Shannon Gilkey
Kaneland Krier staff

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

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

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

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

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

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


Camiliere impresses behind center

Former Knights QB thriving as Elmhurst College senior
ELMHURST, Ill.—Down 14-0 at halftime, the Elmhurst Bluejays offense needed to get their team back on track. The quarterback, a senior and second-year starter, capped off drives of 83 and 99 yards with touchdown passes. However, the team just ran out of time, losing to Millikin 21-14.

Kaneland football fans should be familiar with who’s lining up at the quarterback position for Elmhurst.

Sugar Grove native and Class of 2011 Knight Joe Camiliere, starter for three Knight gridiron playoff teams, earned College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Player of the Week honors after a win over North Park University, and has had a career year in his second season of starting responsibilities.

Camiliere, an All-State signal-caller for the 2010 Kaneland squad that earned a Class 5A semifinalist spot, and a starting outfielder for the 2011 Class 3A champion baseball team, feels he’s at a high after some initial bumps and injuries last year.

The quarterback who had to adjust to the play of high school football as a sophomore six years ago has picked up differences on the Division III level.

“The level of competitiveness is a little different,” Camiliere said. “Everybody on a college team was ‘that guy’ on their high school team and the one to go to. I think as you come in as a freshman, it’s a lot of accepting that and learning.”

First-year head coach Ron Planz is glad to have Camiliere carry out the plans, resulting in a year when adjustments can be excused.

“We look for leadership, and someone who can get into the huddle and be somebody that leads by example and who does things right. That’s number one for someone who’s our quarterback,” Planz said.
Working with Camiliere has also been fruitful for members of the coaching staff who work even more intensely on the offensive side.

“You’re going to need a guy that’s going to want the ball in his hands in the pressure situations,” offensive coordinator Kyle Derickson said. “We have someone right now that will get it done.”

The Bluejays senior has passed for 1,329 yards through seven contests with
Camiliere continued on page 3BCamiliere
continued from page 1B
eight touchdowns to boot, in a better position than the early 1-2 stretch.
‘We’ve got athletic guys up front and at skill positons that we like to use. We didn’t start out the year well at all. There was a tough loss to Lewis, a tough win the next week and then a loss to University of Chicago. At the bye week, we just kind of sat down as a group. Nobody panicked or needed to change this or that and the coaches didn’t change anything up. We knew we needed to correct,” Camiliere said.
“We looked for ways that were easier for Joe to get things and worked on that. That’s where you’re seeing the success now through conference. We’ve done a really good job of making sure we’re utilizing his skill set,” Planz said.

Throwing for a season-high 262 yards in a 28-0 shutout of the NPU Vikings back on Oct. 18, Camiliere knows his skills can help the Bluejays attack in the pivotal last third of the 2014 regular season.

“It’s a similar system, and it changes up a little bit, and we do some different things up front and use our speed,” Camiliere said.

In his second year of starting and fourth year of seeing action in the CCIW and around the Midwest, Camiliere has his favorite venues to sling the ball besides his own Langhorst Field.

“As of right now, it’s Illinois Wesleyan (in Bloomington, Ill.). Being able to go down there and walk on that field is something. The 2.5 hour bus ride after a win was great. Carthage (in Kenosha, Wis.) is great, too,” Camiliere said.

With no set plans to play on at any level, the talent that tossed such memorable touchdowns, like the quarterfinal winner to Tyler Callaghan against Vernon Hills in Nov. 2010, is enjoying this final three-game regular season stretch.

“I think this last month will be the last for playing football,” Camiliere said. “Coaching would definitely be something I would enjoy, but I don’t know if it’s something I would get into right away. The game of football has definitely been a big part of my life.”

Earlier in the season, the Bluejays football squad enjoyed a four-game win streak, rallying from early troubles for a current 5-4 overall record. Elmhurst closes out the regular season at home against North Central Nov. 15.
Photos courtesy of Elmhurst College Sports Information director Kevin Juday

KHS cross country sectionals Nov 2014-1

Bower finishes her cross country season at State Meet

PEORIA, ILL.—Kaneland junior Brianna Bower on Saturday stood on the 100 yard long starting line for the start of the IHSA Girls 2A State Cross Country Championships. Looking out toward the wooded hills at the south end of Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., was a familiar sight for her, as was seeing the entire circumference of the historic 3-mile course ring lined shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 30,000 spectators.

To Bower’s left and right were 175 runners representing 25 advancing teams, and another 35 individual runners who, like her, had punched their tickets to Peoria by being one of the top-seven individual finishers from a non-advancing team at their Sectional.

This was Bower’s third trip to the big dance, where she had placed 32nd as a freshman and 37th last fall as a sophomore, on Lady Knights teams that placed sixth and fifth, respectively. What wasn’t familiar was being in the starting box without her teammates. The previous weekend, Kaneland had fallen one spot short of the fifth and final team qualifying place for the State meet at their Sectional championship, despite running their best race of the season and beating five ranked teams.

So for the first time in her cross country career, Bower was running solo in her silver and black Kaneland Knights checkerboard jersey.

Her focus was on placing in the top 25—a feat that would earn her All-State honors.

The weather earlier in the week in Peoria had been dry, so the footing was firm at this historically fast course. But the conditions were frigid with temperatures in the mid-40s and gusty winds, resulting in a wind chill near 30 degrees.

Bower has a condition known as “exercise-induced asthma” (or E.I.A.), which is a constriction of the airways in the lungs during exercise. It causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing during strenuous exercise. E.I.A. is not uncommon among endurance athletes, and it is often triggered or accentuated by cold temperatures. For Bower, it’s like trying to run 3 miles with a belt cinched tightly around her throat. There are inhalers she can, and does, use to ease her condition.

“Brianna got out well and was placed in the top 20 at the halfway mark, then slowed and gradually fell back more than 50 places. I knew right away she was having asthma issues,” head coach Doug Ecker said.

Despite her breathing issues, Bower on the final 600 yard uphill finishing straightaway moved up more than 10 places to finish 57th in the field of 210 of the state’s best 2A runners with a time of 18 minutes, 34 seconds. Bower ran 18:33 last year and 18:09 in 2012.
File Photo

School Board approves assistant softball coach resignations

Kristyn Crawford
Kristyn Crawford
Andrew Franklin
Andrew Franklin

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted 6-1 to accept the resignations of two Kaneland High School assistant softball coaches.

Board trustee Tony Valente was the lone “no” vote. He spoke about the two coaches, Kristyn Crawford and Andrew Franklin, during the meeting.

“We’re losing the majority of our staff,” Valente said.

Valente also mentioned former softball head coach Brian Willis. The School Board on Sept. 29 voted and approved Willis’ release from his coaching position.

Willis had said that a harassment charge was filed against him in May 2014.

“After an investigation, it was found to have no basis,” Willis read from a statement at the Sept. 29 meeting. “The root of the complaint was because an athlete was not playing as many innings as the parents thought she should. And they had to come up with something, thus the harassment charge.”

Valente on Monday called it “troubling” to lose three coaches at the high school, and noted that the coaches are “phenomenal teachers.”

Valente also said he was tempted to call the coaches, but decided to “stay off the dance floor.”

Kaneland Interim Superintendent Renee Goier said that the resignations were due to “personal reasons.”

Letter: An invitation to the School Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barry Pazin

Letter: Thank you from Keith Wheeler and family

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

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

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

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

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

Keith R. Wheeler
Illinois 50th District State Representative

Letter: Thank you from Valerie Burd

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

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

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

Valerie Burd

Letter: Thank you from Elburn & Countryside Fire District

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly P. Callaghan
Fire Chief, ECFPD


Halloween fundraiser gets a visit from Hughes family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter: A response to a previous letter

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

Nothing is further from the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Krauspe

Nov. 13 police blotter

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

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


Elburn’s Fire District remains intact

Photo: Fox River Fire/Rescue Chief Greg Benson (right) speaks to those in attendance at an informational meeting on Oct. 29 at Fox River Station No. 1 in Wasco. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information to residents, like Vince Kelley (below), who live in the petition area regarding the Referendum to Disconnect and Transfer to Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. Representatives from the Elburn Fire Protection District were also in attendance at the meeting. The referendum question appeared on Tuesday’s General Election ballot, and failed by a vote of 1,292-443. Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—The boundaries of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will remain intact after residents on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to reject a fire district disconnection question on the General Election ballot.

Approximately 60 percent of the 2,919 registered voters in the affected area made it to the polls, with 74 percent of those voting to stay with the Elburn Fire District, according to unofficial results on the Kane County election website.

“The turnout was amazing,” Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan said on Wednesday. “I’m glad the voters got a chance to speak out, and I’m glad they decided to keep the department that has been providing them quality service for many years.”
Callaghan went on to say that he was sorry that all the taxpayers in the area had to be burdened with all the mailers and meetings over the past several months.

“I’m sorry they had to go through all of this,” Callaghan said. “I don’t think this ever should have happened.”

The referendum question asked if the territory bound by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north should be disconnected from the Elburn Fire District to join the Fox River Fire/Rescue District. The question was placed on the ballot after 128 of the residents in the affected area signed a petition last summer requesting the disconnection.

The matter went before a Kane County judge, who determined that the question should be put to the voters during the General Election.

“I’m glad they decided to keep us,” Callaghan said.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said the outcome was positive for the Elburn Fire District, as well as for the majority of people within the affected area who were caught off-guard. He said he was glad that so many people showed up to vote.

“This is the kind of election you want,” he said. “You don’t want 18 percent of the voters making decisions for the 100 percent.”

A call to the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District went unreturned as of press time.

Familiar face fills Hastert’s Village Board seat

ELBURN—The person appointed to take trustee Ethan Hastert’s seat on the Elburn Village Board will be a familiar face to many: former trustee Craig E. Swan.

Swan previously served on the board for 14 years, from 1995 until 2009. After filling in for a half-term and three additional terms, Swan decided not to run again.

Hastert announced at the Oct. 20 Village Board meeting that he would have to step down from the board, as he and his family bought a home outside the boundaries of Elburn.

Although Village President Dave Anderson joked that he chose Swan to save money on a new nameplate (Swan still had his old one), Anderson said he thought long and hard before making the choice.

Anderson said he received several calls from people interested in the spot. However, he said with only five months until the next election, he didn’t want to give anyone the upper hand in the upcoming campaign.

He said he’s known Swan for 60 years, and served with him on the Elburn Board during the 1970s.

Once he was sworn in, Swan took his seat, placed his nameplate in front of him and smiled.

“I’m happy to be back in this seat,” he said. “If there’s anything I can do to help, call me.”

Swan said he’d be happy to discuss anything residents would like to bring to him.

“I’ll promise only one thing,” he said. “I’ll do the very best I can for you.”

After the meeting, Swan, 70, said he didn’t have any plans at this time to run for the seat next April. He said he was always willing to step forward if he could be of help to the village.

Swan said he has seen many changes since he left the board, and is looking forward to working with all of the other current board members.

“It’s an exciting time for the town,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be on the board.”

He reiterated his offer to answer any questions from residents. He said if he didn’t know the answer, he would find out.

“It’s the people’s money,” he said. “You just do the best you can for everybody. You do what you took the oath to do.”

Swap and Shop returns to Elburn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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