Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

Letter: Romke is someone who listens to residents

I met Patricia Romke when she was going around the neighborhood with her campaign signs. We got into a lengthy discussion about Elburn and the directions it’s going to have to choose in the future.

We disagreed on a lot of things, but we listened to each other and were generally working toward a consensus when time constraints forced us to discontinue until a later date. What a novelty. A politician that actually listens to a taxpayers’ opinion instead of acting like they are under divine guidance.

An example is easy. We discussed the flooding problems in parts of town, and she was surprised to learn that about three million gallons of water run through (both) my neighbor’s and my own yard during heavy rains. Actually, it is close to four million gallons from the last one, but I had to review the gallons in an acre foot of water, as my memory was rusty. Within a few days, a couple guys from the village were here to follow up. Perhaps something will finally get done. We’ll see.

Now for the best one. We are in total agreement that the people who earn money have the right to decide how to spend it. It is the government’s job to provide the environment for citizens to prosper; it is not their job to tell us what to pay for to foster their projects and influence or enrich their pals. I think we need referendums on these things so the people express their will, not some proclamation that it has been decided by a half a dozen board members because they know best.

It is for these reasons that I ask you to join me in supporting Patricia Romke for mayor of the village of Elburn.

Wayne Whiteside
Elburn

Letter: Looking forward

During the last 15 years, Elburn has experienced tremendous growth. One of the consequences of that growth has been the virtual division of the village into three distinct areas, each with their own distinct culture and needs.

Prior to 1980, if you said you lived in Elburn, you likely lived within three or four blocks on either side of the rail line and three blocks east or west of Route 47. Beginning in the early 1990s, however, the Prairie Valley, Prairie Highlands and the Theis Property annexations created substantial development within the village’s newly expanded northern border. The continued build out of the Blackberry Creek subdivision, though temporarily slowed, will drive our population growth in our southern area for many years.

As your village president, I promise to work to unify our village by providing greater transparency in government. This will be accomplished through improved communication on our website, through the newspapers and inserts in water bills; it is important to provide a clear message about what the village is working on and, when fitting, obtain feedback.

Our residents should have a more user-friendly website. We will provide more information to include, but not be limited to, proposed new developments, infrastructure needs within the various areas of our village, compliance with new legislative mandates, changes to local ordinances and upcoming events.

By enhancing Internet accessibility, I would like to encourage more participation in the process. Most of our younger residents go to the web to get news and information, and while we have used our village website as a communication tool, it could be enhanced to provide more up-to-date information about ongoing projects and more timely posting of minutes from our meetings.

I would like to see a more prominent link on the website for the Town and Country Library, the Elburn Chamber of Commerce and the Community Center. The Friends of the Library are planning several activities, including a plant sale in May, and they are also working on a community cookbook. Our police department has established a CERT (citizens emergency response team) through grant money from FEMA. Participation in this program is voluntary, and what better way to get to know your neighbors and become prepared for an emergency in the process? You can go online to sign up for these sessions.

When a town grows as fast as Elburn did during the last 10 years, it is a given that there will be some pain associated with that growth. The needs of our newest residents are decidedly different than those of our more seasoned residents. We should be sensitive to both of those sectors.

While the economy has impacted almost everyone, it has now presented us with an opportunity to come together as a village. Many residents have expressed interest in a park district; there are many young families who are looking for such amenities, and I will pledge my support to those residents and work with interested citizens to promote such a referendum during the next term. While it may be several years before we have an Elburn Park District, there is nothing to prohibit a park board composed of volunteers to study the needs of our citizens by gathering input from the entire community. We may be able, at some future date, to be annexed into an adjoining park district through future development.

During the interim, I will continue to encourage participation and support for those amenities that we have now—always looking forward, never back.

Patricia Romke
Candidate
Elburn Village President

Letter: Understanding the facts is vital to informed vote

Getting the facts is important to the informed voter. Offering facts about the library is one of the responsibilities we have as library trustees.

We hope to clear up some critical misconceptions about the Sugar Grove Public Library referendum. Here are three essential points that we hope will help.

First, the 2004 building referendum was successful. It established a separate fund of money to pay for the new building, not to operate it. Our new library is currently under construction and will open in August 2009. The board is required to spend money from the bond on the construction of that library only. Those funds cannot be used to operate the new building. The new building will have meeting rooms available for groups of all ages, and a cafe and coffee bar housed internally. Voters should also know that this new building has seen many reductions in order to be fiscally sound.

Secondly, the current referendum seeks a rate increase in order to operate the new building. The library has not had a rate increase since being established in 1963. With approved funds, we will provide more hours of service, expand programs, increase our collection, provide more Internet service and access to information and create jobs in our community.

Finally, the money available to operate the new building is the same amount of money available to run the current building. This amount barely covers our current needs. The difficulty is shrinking funds and a larger building.

Join us March 21 and “Get the Facts” at the Sugar Grove Public Library. Trustees and our director will be on hand between 2 and 4 p.m. at the library, 54 Snow St., to answer questions about the upcoming referendum. We look forward to helping you become an informed voter for the upcoming election.

Robert Bergman
Art Morrical
Sabrina Malano
Sheree Novotny
Carol Olsen
Jim Raht
Julie Wilson
Sugar Grove Public Library Trustees

Letter: Experience is the best teacher

I have learned through experience that basic issues never really change for a municipality of any size.

Storm water removal, sewers, streets, residential and commercial development/growth, water system infrastructure, public safety and finances were as much of a concern 10, 20, 30 years ago as they are today. These issues may move up or down as priorities, but they will always be issues.

I believe now, as I did when I served on the Elburn Village Board, actions must be taken expeditiously to rectify problems as they arise, to plan accordingly and, to the best of our abilities, anticipate future “what if” scenarios to avoid issues before they become problems.

During my service with the village of Elburn, we built a new wastewater treatment plant, installed new storm sewers and water mains and established, under my motion, the first village of Elburn Planning Commission from which the Prairie Valley development was begun, as was the subdivision west of Lion’s Park and the industrial development on east North Street.

During my service with the Kane County Regional Planning Commission, we established the 2020 Land Use Plan, which has been updated to the 2030 Land Use Plan.

During my service as a member and president of Kaneland’s (District 302) School Board, we were faced with a number of difficult and controversial situations, including the closure and consolidation of four elementary schools because of declining enrollment and budgetary constraints.

During my service as a member of Delnor Hospital’s Board of Directors, we merged two hospitals into one healthcare system, constructed and ultimately expanded a new hospital, built the Health & Wellness Center, built the Cancer Center, re-developed the original Delnor site into an assisted living community and constructed the Delnor Medical building in Elburn.

During my service as Blackberry Township Supervisor, we expanded the Town Hall, established a tuition reimbursement program for those students of Blackberry Township enrolled in Fox Valley Recreation programs, took over ownership and responsibility for Blackberry Township Cemetary, joined the Ride in Kane program, providing transportation to those who are unable to secure an Illinois drivers license, and we constantly adapted and incorporated an ever-growing road district, with the number of township miles more than doubling, and the number of assessed land parcels more than tripling.

And during my years as a small business owner in downtown Elburn, I managed budgets, a building, suppliers, vendors, employees and customers.

Experience is the best teacher, and I will draw upon these experiences to best support, promote and guide the village of Elburn. But it is also from experiences that I developed a number of relationships with an extensive network of local citizens, county officials and state leaders. I won’t pretend to have all of the answers, but experience has taught me where to go when I don’t.

Tuesday, April 7, is Election Day, and I seek the support of all village of Elburn residents. More importantly however, I ask that you vote. The right to vote is one of the most precious rights we, as American citizens, have, and I urge everyone to show up at the polls and make their choices known.

Dave Anderson
Candidate
Elburn Village President

Letter: Thank you, Lions

I would like to thank the Elburn Lion’s Club for hosting the Elburn campaign forum on Sunday, March 1.

The community is fortunate to have so many qualified and civic-minded individuals willing to serve the village.

I would like to personally endorse Ken Anderson for the position of trustee. I have known Ken for many years and he is an honest, professional family man who is active in his church and community. As a full-time employee of Kane County, Ken’s background and education in environmental and water management issues, as well as his experience in working with the public, would make him an ideal village trustee.

Drew Frasz
Kane County Board
District 26

Letter: Dave Anderson offers decades of service

On April 7 we will support Dave Anderson for the position of President of the Elburn Village Board.

Dave has been a long-time ambassador for Elburn and the entire Kaneland community. He is a life-long resident and graduate of Kaneland High School.

Having operated Gliddon’s Drug Store for over 25 years—just across the street from Dave and his father’s grocery store—we have had the opportunity to see first-hand his enthusiasm and support for our village.

Dave brings decades of retail business experience, community service and government involvement with him in his run for office. He has been an active member of St. Gall’s Parish and the Elburn Lions Club.

As past President and three-term member of the Kaneland School Board, he volunteered his time to prepare meals for the children of Kaneland grade schools at the end-of-the-year picnics at Lion’s Park in Elburn. Dave has experience in local and county politics. He is a former Elburn trustee and past chairman of the Elburn Zoning Board of Appeals, and has also served on the Kane County Regional Planning Commission and the Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals.

For the past 27 years, he has been on the board of Delnor-Community Hospital, holding the positions of Chairman of the Hospital Board of Directors for two terms and Chairman of the Delnor Health System Board of Directors for two terms. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Delcom Board of Directors. Dave has been a long-term Supervisor of Blackberry Township, a position from which he will step down to run for village office.

In conclusion, we urge your support of Dave Anderson for the next Village President of Elburn. We believe he has the common sense, business and governmental experience to lead Elburn responsibly into the future.

Ken and Mary E. Gustafson
Elburn

Letter: For Dave Anderson, it is about public service

I have been a life-long resident of Blackberry Township and currently serve as the Highway Commissioner in Blackberry Township. I have never had the need to write a letter to the editor prior to the experience I had last week while in Elburn.

As I was leaving a local gas station, I was asked, “Why would Dave Anderson leave the position of Blackberry Township Supervisor and run for Mayor of the Village of Elburn—a position that would pay about half of what he is currently making?”

My response was simple, having worked with David for the past 12 years. I said, “It has never been about the money with Dave. It is about public service.”

Working with Dave has truly been enjoyable and I will miss his leadership and forward thinking. The village of Elburn’s gain is the township’s loss.

Rodney Feece
Elburn

Letter: Wilcox is a great neighbor, friend

Bonnie Wilcox is a great neighbor; she’s lived in Blackberry Township for 10 years. Bonnie Wilcox is a great friend; she’s there when you need her. Bonnie Wilcox has the experience and knowledge to assess fairly; she has more than 20 years experience.

Bonnie Wilcox is running for Blackberry Township Assessor. We encourage residents to join us and vote for Bonnie on April 7.

Bill and Laurie Ferry
Elburn

Letter: Dave Anderson truly cares

I am writing to support Dave Anderson for mayor of Elburn. When I first ran for office in 1992, everyone said that Dave Anderson was the person to know in Elburn. I found out that Dave was Mr. Elburn—he knew everyone in town and the surrounding area; he was well-informed about local and state issues; and he truly cared about the village and its residents.

Through my 16 years in the legislature, I worked with Dave in his capacity as Blackberry Township Supervisor, and found him to be a man of great integrity. Dave listens carefully to people and also is open to the ideas and opinions of others. All of these attributes clearly demonstrate why Dave is the best person to lead Elburn. Please vote for Dave Anderson for Elburn Mayor.

Patricia Reid Lindner
Former State Representative

Letter: Thank you for tax assessment seminar

I want to thank the Blackberry Township Assessor Uwe Rotter for hosting his monthly seminar on tax assessments and how it affects your real estate bill.

Assessor Rotter explained how the state of Illinois requires all township assessors to value your home based on the sales of simular homes during the previous three years. The law does not allow him to consider foreclosure and short sales. Therefore, the real estate crash in 2008 will not affect your assessments until next year.

I was surprised to find out next year, even if all assessments are lowered, your tax bill will not decrease unless the taxing bodies (schools, county, city, etc.) lowers the amount of money they request.

Assessor Rotter explained when he was appointed assessor two years ago, the previous administration implemented an office policy that assumed all Mill Creek residents had finished basements. Therefore all of Mill Creek residents tax bills increased. Assessor Rotter reversed this office policy which had resulted in lower tax bills for the homeowners without finished basements.

Assessor Rotter holds these seminars at the Blackberry Township office, located on Main Street. The seminars are on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of these seminars in order to better understand your assessments and tax bills.

Dave Richmond
Batavia

Letter: Thank you, Lions, for meet the candidate forum

I want to publicly thank the Elburn Lions Club for hosting the “Meet The Candidates” forum and luncheon held recently.

What an outstanding opportunity for the community to come out and meet the candidates who want to be the next generation of Elburn leaders. The spaghetti was excellent, as were the five-minute presentations given by all of the candidates. A democratic form of government allows its citizens, actually requires its citizens, to be involved, and more importantly, to be heard. Without citizen input and participation, a democracy fails. It was exciting to hear the other candidates and their thoughts on the future of our village.

Equally as stimulating and challenging were the questions that were brought to each of the candidates during the question-and-answer session. Overall, a great experience. And I think all who attended will remember the three questions: Is it good for Elburn, is it good for Elburn and is it good for Elburn? Thanks again to the Lions Club for doing something that truly is good for Elburn.

Jeff Walter
Candidate, Elburn Village Trustee

Letter: Trying to save teachers’ jobs

This is driving me crazy! With our economy tanked, we need to preserve jobs. I am still trying to save teachers jobs at Kaneland School District 302.

I believe there is a way to do this if the teachers and the School Board work together. I have not had any confirmed information that the teachers rejected my suggestion briefly outlined in my letter to the editor (Feb. 19, 2009) but I have been told it was discussed and rejected. At the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Feb. 26, 2009, Kaneland Administration stated they were still planning to terminate teachers.

At the School Board meeting held on Feb. 9, 2009, there were discussions about finding ways to improve cash flow. While some cash could be found to help cash flow caused by a shortfall of about $1,500,000 attributed to state funding commitments not made, it would be insufficient to prevent the termination of some of the teachers.

However, the School Board could show good faith in making a commitment to follow the advice of their financial expert, which would provide cash. From what I heard, the cash made available would not have any negative impact on operating expenses, but it could be used for teacher’s salaries if the School Board chose to do so.

My take on this situation is the School Board could follow the advice of their financial expert and the teachers could elect to defer the salary increases granted during the last negotiations. Thus, teacher’s jobs would be saved. All are winners; most of all are the students.

H. Jack Hansen
Elburn

Letter: Planning, preparation keys to successful village

Planning and preparation are the keys to careful management of the continued pressures of growth on Elburn. In the late-90s, Elburn was still a sleepy little farm town, but ever since the millennium, the westward expansion of development has become a force to be reckoned with.

Elburn has grown from just under 2,000 residents in the late-90s to an official census count of 4,721. When the next census is taken, that number will surely surpass the 5,000 mark. The Planning Commission and the Village Board have worked diligently over the last 15 years with the developers, both commercial and residential, to form the village into what it is today. The vision of “better, not just bigger” has been the mantra we have held to.

The village’s policy to allow development only within Elburn’s “Emerald Necklace” borders of Welch Creek, Blackberry Creek and Virgil Ditch, before annexing any land beyond this, allows us to keep and carefully manage our growth within those natural boundaries.

Aggressive land acquisition has become the bane of some of our neighboring communities—a trap we have been careful to avoid. No land is annexed into our village until a carefully negotiated pre-annexation agreement is entered into with a developer to insure that sufficient impact fees for essential services and other amenities are provided, that the development is consistent with our sense of place and community and that the build-out will be constantly monitored through staged phases as a planned unit development.

Developers are always encouraged to present their plans knowing that they must meet these guidelines. We, as your elected village officials, are committed to developing with thoughtfulness and diligent attention to the impact we will have on our present residents and on our future generations. While the housing market has slowed, our commercial development continues to remain healthy. Route 47 continues to be our primary retail corridor, while North Street is home to our governmental bodies. I encourage every citizen to go to the Village Hall or Elburn’s website and take a look at some of the existing and proposed developments.

Thoughtful planning and preparation, these words will continue to serve us well as we cross in to the second decade of the second millennium.

Patricia Romke
Candidate
Village President of Elburn

Letter: Disappointed in lack of attendance at candidate forum

Patricia Romke, I was at the Elburn Candidate Forum on Sunday and was very surprised that you did not attend.

They said you were out walking to get your message out.

All I know is that there were about 70 Elburn folks there to hear from the candidates, and you were not there. I can tell you that the three votes in my household will not be going your way. If you were too busy to take one hour out of your walking to talk to concerned folks, we got your message.

Life is full of choices, and you made a bad one by not attending Sunday’s event. To the rest of the candidates that attended, thank you for your willingness to serve and sharing your valuable time with the voters. And Patricia, I didn’t see you at my door, (and) I was only gone for an hour-and-a-half.

Jim MacRunnels
Elburn

Letter: Thanks for opportunity to meet the public

I just wanted to thank the Elburn Lions Club for hosting the spaghetti lunch held at Lions Park on Sunday, March 1.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself and to speak as a candidate for the Blackberry Township Assessor. What a great way to meet the candidates. Thank you again, Lions Club, you are the heart of Elburn.

Bonnie Wilcox
Candidate
Blackberry Township Assessor

Letter: Mediacom demonstrated good customer service

For the record, I am not an employee of Mediacom, nor am I related to anyone at Mediacom.

I switched to Mediacom service-phone, cable, and Internet-in December from AT&T and a satellite company because I was able to get a very good combined deal saving me money and ending the blackouts when snow or heavy rain affected my satellite service.

I had a minor installation problem-technical in nature. Converter box and TV not in sync-480i vs 720p-whatever that means, and a billing installation problem. A second repair man dispatched the next day recognized the box/TV incompatibility problem and was able to fix it with a couple clicks of the controller, and carefully explained to me how to access the menu features if needed. Note: The box has to be turned off.

After not getting satisfaction from a service rep or his supervisor at the call center (replying to) my billing problem, I asked for and was promptly given the direct number to a Mediacom Vice President. I left a detailed voice message that evening and was pleasantly surprised when she called back early the next day, apologized, and had already fixed the bill to my satisfaction, and then some.

I’m retired now, but spent the last 30 years of my career managing customer service call centers and order fulfillment operations, so I believe I’m pretty well qualified to judge customer service performance. People answering complaint calls and service techs sometimes make mistakes or aren’t always as well trained as they need to be. The measure of good customer service, however, is how well the follow through, if needed, works. My experiences so far with Mediacom problem resolution have been very satisfactory. As a former customer service pro, I’m a very good complainer when I have a problem, but always go out of my way to compliment when I’m pleased by satisfactory and prompt problem resolution.

Bob Terry
Sugar Grove

Letter: Thank you for helping me through a difficult time

I was involved in a serious accident on Hughes Road on Feb. 12. I would like to thank many people that made this horrible experience a little bit more comfortable.

As soon as the accident happened, witnesses stopped, called 911 and gave the police their statements. An EMT also witnessed the accident. He was not working, but comforted me, took my pulse and talked to me until the ambulance came. When the police and ambulance did arrive, it took a long time to cut me out of the car. During that time, two Elburn paramedics climbed into my car, full of glass, sat with me, evaluated me, treated me, but most importantly tried to calm me, as I was very scared.

I, of course, did not get anyone’s name in the confusion. I do not know how to thank everyone that helped me that day. Finally, I received excellent care at Delnor Hospital. Their calm, comforting approach aided me in dealing with my injuries.

Last, but not least, I drove Hughes Road every day to work. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I knew that I would get in an accident someday on that road. I will no longer drive on that road. I beg that those of you who drive on Hughes Road will slow down and observe the speed limit. The man that hit me was driving way too fast and will deal with the consequences for that.

I am so thankful that the accident happened on a day when my three small children were not in the car. I am badly injured, but fortunately, I will recover. Others may not be as lucky if drivers do not start to realize that this road is potentially very dangerous if speed limits are not observed.

JoAnne H. Smith
Elburn

Letter: Thank you for supporting us

We would like to thank our families, friends and neighbors, Jewel-Osco in Sugar Grove, Orchard Valley Community Church, the Kaneland Community and neighboring communities, Blake’s many friends, classmates, students and staff at Kaneland High School and Middle School, for your overwhelming support and generosity as a result of our tragic loss of Blake. Your continuing thoughts and prayers have helped us to endure this inconceivable loss.

We are thankful that we were given 17 years, 4 months and 20 days with Blake, and we are so proud of him. When Blake was not going to school or working at Jewel, he enjoyed life to the fullest with his many interests including baseball, basketball, football games with friends, fishing, going to movies, golfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, bowling, dinners at Buffalo Wild Wings and watching Green Bay Packer games. He truly embraced the many things life had to offer.

Academics came easy to Blake. He was focused on a career in financial accounting, planning to attend Waubonsee College for two years and then on to the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Blake was intelligent, had a great sense of humor, was level-headed, caring, honest, responsible, respectful and mature beyond his years. Hearing time and again about Blake’s great smile and laugh and the positive impact he had on so many people he came in contact with has been a true testament of his great character.

Blake set an impeccable example for his younger brothers to follow. They looked up to him so much.

We all miss him terribly, and we know many of you do as well. It’s difficult to express how truly thankful we are to all of you for your heartfelt support and generosity, and we’re amazed by the strength and character exhibited by the classmates who had to endure this double tragedy of two friends, Jeff and Blake. Our only comfort now is knowing that Blake lived a wonderful life, which was far too short, and has left us with many wonderful memories. Life will never be the same for us, but we know Blake’s smiling down on us all now from Heaven.

The family of Blake Allen Denton
Sugar Grove

Letter: An introduction

I have heard that many people in Elburn don’t know who I am. I would like to clear up that misconception. I have been a resident since 1997.

During the time that I have lived in Elburn, I have seen the town grow from a population of about 2,000 to just under 5,000 residents today. Two years ago, the suggestion was made that I should consider running for Village Board. (This was a couple of weeks before petitions were due).

I personally went out and obtained signatures, submitted those petitions and received the most votes in my first election. I have served for almost two years and during that time, I have cast some unpopular votes (one was against last year’s budget and the COLA and step raises for employees). It is difficult to make hard choices, but in today’s economy they are necessary choices.

My vision for the future of government in Elburn is to continue to make decisions based on what is good for the majority. Our town has changed significantly over the last 10-plus years; we are at the end of the line for Metra, and that represents opportunity.

We need to focus on making the coming years a time of preparation for the rebound in our economy. Yes, I am optimistic about our return to growth and prosperity, as individuals, as a village, and most of all, as a country. It will take some tough decisions, and I believe, input from all sectors of our community. We need to be responsive to our seniors and to our young families alike.

I welcome the input of all citizens; I am ready to listen and I encourage you to continue to come to the meetings and to share your ideas.

Patricia Romke
Elburn
Candidate for Village President

Letter: Come out and meet your candidates

There are nine candidates campaigning for four positions (one mayor and three trustees), a man and a woman facing off in the mayoral race, and seven candidates vying for three trustee positions.

Elburn—you’ve got a race on your hands. But more than a race, you’ve got human interest in your community. These nine candidates have stepped up to the plate to represent your best interests in the community.

What are their plans for Elburn? How will they impact you as a resident or you as a taxpayer? There is a way to find this out.

Come to Elburn Lions Park on Sunday, March 1, at noon, enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner and listen to each of the candidates. Each candidate will speak for five minutes. There will be a question and answer session after the candidates finish speaking, so bring your neighbors and come down for an informational afternoon and a delicious spaghetti dinner.

The cost is just $6 per person. Please call in reservations so that we know how much food to prepare. The number is (630) 365-6315, and we have voicemail. These nine candidates have stepped up, so come on down and show your support for them.

Chris Halsey
Elburn Lions Club

Letter: Sugar Grove hosts blood drive March 2

Someone needs you. There is an immediate need for all blood types, most especially O-negative and B-negative types, (which are) running low. You may donate your much appreciated blood on Monday, March 2.

The Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary, along with the Sugar Grove Fire Department, will host their blood drive at the Sugar Grove Fire Department. The drive is located at 25 Municipal Drive from 3 – 7:30 p.m.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Please call Joy at (630) 466-7190 or Kathy at (630) 466-4634 to make your appointment or for more information.

Did you know three lives can be saved with one pint of donated blood? Please take time to give the “gift of life.” Someone needs you.

Joy Rubo
Blood Drive Coordinator
Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary

Letter: Let’s get rid of Illinois tollways

As long as we are talking about raising the gas tax at the fuel pump, let’s pay a few cents more and get rid of the toll booths on Illinois’ highways. I have found that the Illinois Tollway Authority is taking us for a ride on what they think is their highway.

Referring to the toll authority budget, they are predicting that the income for 2009 from the toll/tax and other sources will be $680 million. Of the two services that drivers are most concerned about, the authority will pay out $63.9 million for engineering (road maintenance) and $23.4 million for state police. And there is a $210 million payment toward the outstanding bonds.

If my math is correct, that leaves $382.7 million for operating expenses and other expenditures that there would be no need for if there were no tollway system in Illinois. Let me give a few examples: $11 million for enterprise resource planning (whatever that is); $7.5 million for information technology systems; $17.7 million for electronic tolling systems (just a few years ago the authority spent over $500 million on this system). Money left over goes into a slush fund to be used any way the toll authority director or our governor sees fit. In 2006, impeached Gov. Blagojevich moved $44.7 million from this fund to the state treasury.

The toll authority will never run short of funds for favorite projects, as they can raise the toll/tax anytime they want without any approval of our elected legislators in Springfield. By getting rid of the toll booths, tollway users would save millions of toll/tax dollars and there would no longer be a haven for corruption at the toll authority headquarters in Downers Grove. Turn these roads over to the Illinois Department of Transportation; they can do a better job at a lower cost.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Letter: Troop 7 celebrates anniversary

Boy Scout Troop 7 of Elburn is celebrating its 85th anniversary at a special Court of Honor to be held March 1, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Kaneland High School cafeteria.

If you are a past Scoutmaster, Eagle Scout or Committee Chairman and would like to attend as our guest, please call Bruce Aderman, Troop 7 Committee Chair, at (630) 365-5507 for more information.

The troop would like to include as many Troop 7 Eagle Scouts and past leaders as possible in this special occasion. A meal will be served, and recognition of attendees and troop members will be featured in the ceremonies. Come join us for a memorable event.

Sawyer Rego
Elburn

Letter: Teachers union should defer pay increases

Perhaps this letter is premature. However, I feel compelled to express my thoughts in writing.

I’m trying to save jobs. Twice before, I have verbally suggested that the Kaneland School Board approach the teacher’s union to ask for them to defer the pay increases granted during the last negotiations. I’m sure it did not fall upon deaf ears, but I never had the opportunity to attend a union meeting to address the issue with them.

First, let me explain where I’m coming from. I’m a great believer in community, as exemplified by my volunteer efforts at the Kaneland Citizen’s Advisory Committee and Elburn and Countryside Community Center. Elburn and (its) surrounding area is (a) community, (a) community where neighbor helps neighbor and organizations work toward building relationships with each other, be it government or private.

The last time I expressed my opinion was at the School Board meeting, where the room was overflowing with teachers and their representatives.

Teachers: In my opinion, now is the time to show your community spirit. Please don’t wait for the School Board to announce the specific jobs that are being cut. Be proactive and pre-empt the School Board; How can they refuse? Step up to the plate and offer to defer those increases that were negotiated in the last contract until such time as our economy improves. The emphasis is on deferred, not given up. Jobs will be saved (hopefully certified jobs), so there will be no reductions of class sizes; programs can continue; and best of all, the entire community will benefit.

H. Jack Hansen
Elburn

Letter: With thanks, I will step down as Blackberry Township Supervisor

Township government is closest to the people and is responsible for, but not limited to, roads, property assessment and general assistance.

Most townships, Blackberry in particular, accept the responsibilities and do so with little notoriety or fanfare.

Within the next few weeks, I will be leaving the office of Blackberry Township Supervisor.

I would like to publicly issue my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the board of trustees that served during my 14-plus years in office, namely Edward Dunteman, Jim Feece, Jim Michels, Tim Norris and Harley Veldhuizen; the township clerks, Elverna Strausberger, Carol Herra and Lisa Hodge; the road commissioners, Al Bergquist and Rod Feece; the supervisor of Blackberry Cemetery, Fred Dornback; and the assessors, Karen Becker and Uwe Rotter.

Some of the highlights of change that have taken place in the township in the last 14 years, in no special order, are the Harley Road bridge construction, an increase of more than 20 miles of roads in the township, an increase in the township from 2,000 to more than 6,000 parcels of land, the assuming of responsibility for Blackberry Township Cemetery from the Masonic Lodge, a new addition and kitchen to the town hall, establishment of a sign shop, and others. These changes, I am proud to say, took place without any increases in tax levies to our taxpayers.

We also established a tuition reimbursement program for those parents within our township that have children enrolled in the Fox Valley Special Recreation programs.

We work closely with Elburn Baseball to lease and construct the ballfields at McNair Field. We worked with the Kaneland Football group to find an emergency field for their games and practices when the decision was made to leave Elgin.

We, last year, joined the Ride in Kane Program to benefit not only our seniors, but those within our township who are unable to drive.

The Assessor’s Office has changed from one desk, one person, to a full office of two full-time and two part-time people under Uwe Rotter. Uwe saved the township thousands of dollars through his computer knowledge and ability to purchase office furniture for little cost. He is also starting property tax education seminars to aid taxpayers in understanding property tax bills and assessments.

I am extremely proud of our accomplishments and the people I have worked with.

David L. Anderson
Blackberry Township Supervisor
Elburn

Letter: Let’s work together to make Elburn the best it can be

I have served on the board of trustees for Elburn for almost two years.

During this time, I have seen the explosion of growth and the slowing market that we are now experiencing. During this time, many good things have happened in Elburn. We have a state-of-the-art Jewel and a number of businesses that have joined the village.

The Walgreen store at Route 38 and Route 47 will be yet another major retailer soon joining the ranks. The downturn in the economy has slowed the growth, but definitely not stopped it. Keslinger Plaza has been approved and will provide a dynamic entrance to the village at Keslinger and Route 47. NBT, one of the newer businesses, has played a major role in supporting village activities such as Day in the Park and National Night Out Against Crime.

Now you have an opportunity to make a choice. When you cast your ballot on April 7, please take a moment to think about the future, because our opportunity lies in the future and we must welcome the opportunity to challenge ourselves to meet adversity with enthusiasm, to greet each day as a chance to make our lives better, to look forward, not back, and to work together to make Elburn the very best it can be.

Patricia Romke
Candidate for President,
Village of Elburn

Letter: Elburn Bunco for Breast Cancer will go on

We are happy to announce that four ladies have stepped up to chair the 2009 Elburn Bunco for Breast Cancer. The event will continue to be held at Lion’s Park in Elburn and will go back to being a two-night event. The 2009 event is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.

For more information on the 2009 event, to donate goods or services, to volunteer to work on one of the committees or volunteer your time during the event, please contact Mary Hardy at (630) 365-6029 or millergirlusa@yahoo.com.

Continue to check the Elburn Herald website for information and registration materials that can be printed out for our 2009 event. The 2009 committee includes Mary Hardy, Nora Kohlert, Jeannine McDonald and Kandi Stark.

The current committee would like to thank the community for their support over the past five years. We have been blessed with the tremendous support we have received from our community. Because of that, we are extremely proud to say we have sent a total of $63,091.85 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Thank you.

Debbie Homesley,
Cindy Rowland,
Cathy Thomas
Elburn

Letter: Maple Park needs volunteers to step up

Maple Park is a large area, not just a small town, and mailing addresses cover many miles. I just wanted to point that out with the news of the latest arrests of “Maple Park” residents.

That being said, my family moved to the town at a time when the Village Board meetings were being held in a trustee’s basement, and a successful local restaurant/bar was being forced out of business because organized crime was dictating what entertainment was being offered there.

Maple Park has grown a great deal since the early-’70s, and some growth has been for good and some for bad. By the ’80s, we had a local “pornography bust” of a neighbor. By the end of the ’90s and into the new century, we had local bar card games become syndicate gambling, after an earlier time of being a place where money out of Chicago was laundered (yes, did many of you even realize that?).

Even with these problems, Maple Park is still a good community to live in and raise families. The Village Board now meets regularly in public. The trustees, for the most part, have the good interest of the community at heart. It is time for more old and new citizens to step up and take responsibility for the day-to-day operations of our village.

Ross Dueringer stepped up at a critical time and has worked hard to listen to and reflect everyone’s opinions. It is hard to please everyone all the time. He is tired and would like to step back.

As in many communities that have growth, there is a pull between the long-time residents and the newcomers. Are you concerned about having a good atmosphere for ourselves and our children?

If we practice good family values and volunteerism, it will be reflected in the community, as well as in the direction our community goes into the future. Please do something positive to improve where we live. New ideas can blend with older ones for a positive outlook. Volunteer your time and energy to keep more positive messages coming out of Maple Park.

It truly does take a village to do what needs to be done.

Ruth Cain
Maple Park

Churches were overlooked in food pantry thank you

Regarding the Letters to the Editor in the Jan. 29 issue of the Herald, I was miffed by a glaring oversight on the part of the Board President of the Elburn Countryside Food Pantry.

While thanking “Individuals, Scout troops, schools and businesses” who donate to the Food Pantry, no mention was made of the churches of our community who play a large role in supporting the pantry.

I cannot speak for our friends in the other religious communities of our area, but the parishioners of St. Gall have a long-standing reputation for helping the Elburn pantry and certainly deserve recognition for their generosity.

The families of St. Gall conduct a monthly food collection for area needy families. Our parishioners help staff the food pantry. And in the past, we have also contributed funds to purchase essential food items for the pantry. Our support, as I am sure is the case with other churches of our community, is not seasonal, but ongoing.

I find it ironic that the associate executive director of the Conley Outreach Community Services, in a “thank you” letter in the same Jan. 29 issue of the Herald, directly above the Food Pantry missive, would mention area churches while the food pantry head knowingly or unknowingly chose to omit a “thank you.”

In closing, let me point out that this letter is in no way meant to take away from the fine work the Elburn Food Pantry is doing. In these hard times, the Food Pantry does a vital service. And we, as a faith community, are committed to continue supporting the pantry.

Rev. Karl P. Ganss
Pastor
St. Gall Church

A story of giving

As VNA of Fox Valley’s Volunteer Coordinator, I see the generosity of people every day. This year, I was humbled by the extent of that generosity and I would like to take a moment to share a story of giving that came from so many very special people in the Fox Valley region.

VNA of Fox Valley has partnered with the community to bring holiday cheer to our hospice and home health patients for over 10 years. For the second year, Jake’s Bagels and Alden of Waterford agreed to host our Giving Stocking Program, and they were joined this year by Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville. With the support of their customers, residents and staff, we were able to brighten the holidays for all of our patients and their families.

Each patient received a basket with a gift purchased by a community member, along with handmade cards from the students of St. Rita of Cascia and holiday crafts and cards made by East Aurora High School students. The joy those baskets brought to our patients was beyond words! The look in their eyes as they received these gifts would have melted the heart of Scrooge himself.

On behalf of VNA of Fox Valley and the families we serve, I want to extend again our deepest thanks to everyone involved in this effort. Special thanks to Char and Joseph Jacobs of Jake’s Bagels, Kathy Beedle of Alden of Waterford, Pat Hill of Hill’s Country Store, Mary Rockwood and the student council members of St. Rita of Cascia and Sara Nied Henion and the students of East Aurora High School, and to all the customers, residents and staff who gave so generously. You brought the Christmas Spirit to life.

Linda Reiter
Aurora

In praise of J.R. Herra staff

I doubt those from J.R. Herra who responded to our call that Friday morning had any idea they’d not eat a decent meal or see their families until the following Monday evening.

What we all thought was nothing more than a routine service call to restore heat to one of the four units at the “First and Shannon Building” evolved into a temporary property name-change to the “Disaster on First.”

It was discovered that a section of the pipes in the heating system had frozen in the face of sub-zero temperatures. Thawing the affected pipe was no easy task, requiring extended hours of crawling through ridiculously tight spaces, then repairing the damage in multiple locations. Every time we all thought things were under control, something else went wrong. The domino effect was beyond belief.

Herra’s technicians never gave up, making sure heat was maintained in the balance of the units as everyone brain-stormed to find solutions to the frustrating and elusive challenges.

Building co-owner Bob Klock of Klock Building Reconstruction, together with myself as an agent for Farmers Insurance, have worked with countless contractors and vendors over nearly the last three decades. It is no exaggeration when I say that the ownership, management and field techs of J.R. Herra, Inc. go above and beyond the industry standard in servicing their customers.

Each of our companies are members of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, and we all are vested in the Elburn Community. To me, this likely underscores the value of doing business here in town, where folks really do take pride in their work.

Thank you so much to all who were on site. It was back-breaking, tedious work in awful conditions, at the worst possible times of the day and the worst days of the week. If not for your dedication, our losses would have been catastrophic.

Denise Klock
Elburn

Kaneland FFA leaves mark

Kaneland FFA was sure to leave their mark in 2008. The club participated and competed in many different activities, ranging from dairy, horse, crop and land-use judging, to horticulture and speech contest, to the annual FFA livestock and project fair.

In July, Kaneland took part in the Section 6 livestock and project fair. The chapter did extremely well, walking away with numerous honors.

Winning Grand Champion honors included Sarah Carson with her crossbred steer, Sally Gorenz with her market lamb, Holly Hartmann with her pen of two market gilts, Charlene Steininger with her steer, Katie Weiss with her fresh flower arrangement, and Sally Gorenz with her crossbred doe.

Achieving reserve champion honors include Kelsey Fletcher with her horticulture display, Sally Gorenz with her fish and wild life project, Holly Hartmann with her single market gilt (and also) a mixed market pair of hogs, Trent Pierson in soybeans, and Charlene Steininger with her junior heifer.

As a chapter, Kaneland FFA was awarded the School Exhibits award in the swine, beef and rabbit divisions.

On Sept. 19, Kaneland participated for the first time ever in the Section 6 horse judging contest. With a team consisting of Sally and Joe Gorenz and Olivia and Grace Fabrizius, the team clinched third place. Olivia finished 11th place overall, and Sally took home 16th place.

Shortly after, the horticulture team consisting of Kelsey Fletcher, Allie Grossmann, Alyse Olson and Charlene Steininger won first place at the Section 6 Horticulture contest. Kelsey earned first place overall, with Allie receiving third, Alyse eighth and Charlene 13th.

After hosting the Section 6 land-use judging competition at Kaneland, a team comprised of Trent Pierson, Chase Bornemann, Scott Dienst, Tyler Burgin and Derek Noadine earned eighth place. Thank you to the Gramley family for lending us the use of your fields, and to Mr. Pierson for donating your time, and Kane-DuPage Soil Conservation Office for their expertise.

Deciding to venture a bit from the norm, Kaneland decided to try their hand at the Section 6 Dairy Products contest. Coming out strong in the end, and surprising themselves, the team took home first place. Sally Gorenz finished third, Katie Weise fourth, Grace Fabrizius sixth, Tyler Burgin seventh and Olivia Fabrizius 10th.

Later that evening, the team went out to celebrate with a stop at Culvers for some “dairylicious” ice cream.

The last contest of ‘08 was the Section 6 speech challenge held at Sycamore High School. J.C. Gillette took home fourth place in the prepared speech division, and Sally Gorenz finished second in the impromptu section.

Other than a stellar year with judging competitions and contest, Kaneland FFA was very successful with their second annual harvest. The success, fun and rewards would have not been achieved without the help of many families, individuals and companies: Feldott Family, Dienst Family, Pierson Family, Elburn Co-op and Hintzsche Fertilizer.

Thank you again to all of these individuals, families and companies who put forth their time, hard word and efforts to making this year’s season a huge success.

Kaneland FFA looks forward to a new year of which will bring more contest, competitions and excitement.

Sally Gorenz
Kaneland FFA Reporter