Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

An introduction to Kaneville’s Fire Protection District

by Brett Gobeli,
Firefighter, Kaneville Fire Protection District

What happens when multiple ethnicities, country boys and city slickers, men and women, the handicapped, retirees, college graduates and high-school-age children band together?

You get an elite group willing to face danger rather than shy away from it; willing to give their lives for someone else that they don’t even know. Our group expects no compensation, gratitude or accolades. We do it for various internal reasons. Day or night, every day of the year without exception, without hesitation, we arrive to serve a higher purpose then ourselves.

So when the big red trucks pass you by, or a car with a blue light is flashing behind you, just move over and give a smile or a wave. Not only does it give us a little boost, someday we might be headed to help you or your family members.

Oh, and the answer to the initial question is not the United Nations; it is your Kaneville Fire Department—an elite brotherhood that exemplifies expectations of all firefighters: duty, honor, and self-sacrifice.

In future papers we will write about various things going on in the department and the community, as well as what it means to be a part of a brotherhood that transcends time, countries, gender, race and cultures.

Thank you all, and be safe.

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

Letter: Concerns with the present day actions of the Kaneland School Board and administration

I could not help being disappointed to read the Kaneland School Board minutes of Jan. 14, 2013. I see administration recommended no significant cost containment measures would be needed in the 2013-14 budget development. Also was stated, no large scale manpower reductions were needed. Basis for both the above statements are in guidance of the PMA Financial Plan presentation of Dec. 10, 2012.

As the above statements are true, I really see little need for the FAC group to spend time making budget recommendations to the board. Looks like they have total confidence in PMA financial planning process. My concern with this position by the board is variations that exist from the PMA plan and the existing financial environment within our community.

Some variations from the PMA plan generating additional costs to the district:
1. Manpower: PMA projection 326.1 certified staff vs. actual 347. Manpower not presented in the plan is an additional 274-plus employees.
2. General State Aid foundation level currently $6,119 and funded at 85 percent allocation. The Aurora Beacon News on Feb. 13 reported 2012-13 GSA funding loss to Kaneland School District of $231,661 and $427,810 loss for 2013-14.
3. Salaries: PMA Assumption of FY14-18 at no annual salary increases except for teachers and retirement employees. KEA contract states teachers salary increase of 2.7% for 2013-14 plus open negotiations for 2014-15 are not presented in the PMA Plan.
4. Teachers Retirement System obligation is not included in the plan. ($223,000 per 1 percent). Michael Frances stated 1 to 9 percent could be transferred from a state responsibility to the School District’s responsibility. The School District is at 9 percent risk for $2,007,000 and unaccounted for in the PMA budget process. The state of Illinois could allocate the entire $22.3 million per year District 302 obligation to this local districts budget as rating agency pressures mount on politicians.
5. Kaneland School District cash reserves were not published by PMA Plan. Year-ending of fund balance of $8,820,167 for 2013 was presented. If this total fund balance or cash reserve is actual, why did the School Board raise our District 302 property taxes 3.83 percent when “no significant cost containment measures would be needed in the 2013-14 budget development”? Taxation-to-the-maximum culture is alive and well at our School District.

Existing financial environment within our community:
1. State of Illinois enacted General Fund Budget Plan for July 12, 2013, is appropriating $5.1 billion to Pension Contribution toward the $93 billion needed and $1.6 billion to Pension Obligation Bond Debt Service. The fiscal year ending plan is for the state to end with $3.97 billion overall budget deficit.
2. General Obligation Bond Credit Rating agencies downgraded state of Illinois to A- (one level above junk bonds). According to FITCH, “There is an irrevocable and continuing appropriation for all General Obligation debt service, and continuing authority and direction to the state treasurer and conptroller to make all necessary transfers from any and all revenues and funds of the state.” According to S & P, “The downgrade reflects what we view as the state’s weakened pension funded ratios and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels and diminish cost pressures associated with annual contributions.” According to MOODY’S, “Any meaningful pension reforms enacted in coming months are likely to be challenged in court, given the state constitution’s pension clause. This litigation threat and accompanying political pressures may once again deter action altogether or lead to reforms with little effect.”
3. Personal Savings Rate. State of Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Edward Boss, Jr., Chief Economist January 2013. Mr. Boss states, “Savings as a percent of disposable household income, that is money that households have available for spending and saving after income tax payments, has reached the lowest levels in the past 60 years with no improvement expected in the next few years.”

Now that I have shared my concerns with the present day actions of the Kaneland School Board and administration, I find myself searching for some logical and participative path to make some positive difference toward reducing financial risks. It is becoming more clear, the School District will not attempt cost containment programs as an example of fiduciary responsibility. On the contrary, please interpret the act of forced taxation investment into the School District is at least equal to the resultant lack of savings for tax payers who are scraping for disposable income.

Jerry Elliott

Editorial: Elburn Herald hosts SG village presidential debate

The Elburn Herald on Feb. 13 hosted a Sugar Grove village presidential debate between the incumbent, Sean Michels, and his challenger, village trustee Kevin Geary.

Both participants met at the Herald’s new location, 525 N. Main St., in Elburn, and proceeded to spend the next 40 minutes debating topics such as government transparency, village growth and business, video gambling, the Mallard Point/Rolling Oaks drainage issue, and the possibility of re-entering an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District.

The Herald hosted the debate as a way to kick off it’s role as co-sponsers in this year’s Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates Night, which will take place on Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Community House, 141 Main St.

The debate between Michels and Geary was video recorded as a way to provide Sugar Grove residents with a fair and quality look at the two village president candidates in action. The entire video will be available on our website,, beginning Friday.

Michels during the debate stated that the village has done a number of things to reinforce open and honest government, including posting Village Board meeting agendas and minutes online, as well as the distribution of a village newsletter and email blasts directed at village residents.

“A number of board members are involved in local activities, such as (Kaneland) Sports Boosters, Chamber of Commerce, the church (and) Lion’s Club,” he said. “Our board gets out and socializes a lot with the residents to get a feel of what’s going on.”

Asked about the element of transparency on the Village Board, Geary stated that the board has a responsibility to explain to the public “why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

“The village is not mine. The village belongs to all the citizens of Sugar Grove. Everything the village does should be done in plain view,” he said. “The law does provide for things—absolute lawsuit conditions allows for the (Village Board) to go into closed sessions; it also allows for employee issues (that) go into closed sessions. I think that this is an area that is used quite a bit … almost, maybe, (in) excess.”

On the topic of video gambling in the village,
Geary said he is neither for not against it.

“In the law that the state crafted, they left the decision up to its citizens as to whether they wanted to allow gambling within the community or not … I am for the people,” he said. “My position has always been (to) let the residents decide what they want (and) how they want to decide this issue.”

Michels said he doesn’t condone video gaming, but thinks it should be allowed to put Sugar Grove village businesses on the same playing field as other businesses in the area.

“It was disclosed today that at (the former) Blackberry Inn, they’re seeing revenue generated about $20,000 a month off of the (video gambling) machines that they have,” he said. “To the restaurant bar, they get about a 35 percent cut, which is about $7,000. Right now, that’s a significant amount of money.”

Michels has served as village president since 1999, the same year Geary first took office as village trustee.

Letter: Sugar Grove to host blood drive

Winter is here, and what a reflection it is on blood supply shortages. We need your help SOS. Please strongly consider donating blood on Monday, March 4. Each day, the shortage of every given blood type changes. Someone urgently needs each of you.

The Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary, along with the Sugar Grove Fire Department, will host a blood drive at the Fire Department, 25 Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove. You may donate from 3 to 7:30 p.m.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Call Joy at (630) 466-7190 or Kathy at (630) 466-4634 for further information or to make an appointment.

You are donating the “gift of life.” We thank you for making a difference, and deeply appreciate your much-needed blood donation.

Joy Rubo
Blood drive coordinator,
SG Firefighters Auxiliary

Letter: SG Library heads down path of change

Change is hard, but it is also good. The two newest elected Sugar Grove Library Board members have started our local library down the path of change, which was needed on this library board for some time.

Dan Herkes is a numbers guy, and without him grabbing hold of the finances, the library would never have made it through the last two years. Bill Durrenberger has embraced the Open Meetings Act and has brought order, transparency and fairness to board meetings.

The newest appointment of Anthony Oliver has brought an architectural background and contract negotiator to this team. Anthony has helped reduce costs and has kept on top of the maintenance of our building. We thank them all for their generous contributions of time and knowledge.

Hopefully the public chooses to elect Louise Coffman and Ed DeBartollo to join the board in the April 9, 2013, election. Their backgrounds in accounting and marketing, respectively, will round out this new board’s circle of expertise. Ed is a Montgomery resident who lives in the part of Montgomery served by our library.

Over the last several years, there has been some controversy regarding the Sugar Grove Library and its leadership. The library was put through unnecessary turmoil and a terrific waste of tax dollars. Hundreds of Sugar Grove Library District residents came to meetings and made their feelings known.

Thank you to all of the library supporters who came to those meetings. Never, ever let anyone tell you that speaking out at any board meeting is not good for our town image. Boards think that people don’t care because very few taxpayers show up at meetings. It is really just the opposite. Residents trust local boards when they are doing the taxpayer’s business fairly, but cross the line, and believe me—you will see people at your meeting.

As a resident, never be afraid to voice your opinion to any of our elected leaders. It is your right and, more importantly, your obligation to do so whenever you think local governed boards are not doing the job they were elected to do for our districts.

Pat Graceffa
Write-in candidate,
Sugar Grove Library Board

Talent on display at Knight of Performances Barbecue Dinner

by Denise Blaszynski,
Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters president

Kaneland talent is portrayed in many ways, through the academic clubs such as Scholastic Bowl team and chess team, the sports programs, and the growing music and drama programs.

In March, the Kaneland community will be fortunate to have the opportunity to see some of Kaneland’s finest musicians and actors during the Knight of Performances Barbecue Dinner, sponsored by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, on Saturday, March 9, at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m., this event will showcase our talented middle and high school students on stage, where their music and acting abilities will shine. More than 50 acts, including students who are either performing a vocal or instrumental solo or ensemble; Harter Middle School performers such Mid-Knight Special, Mattina Brass and Jazz Band; and Kaneland High School performers such Jazz Combos and This Is No Act (TINA), will provide entertainment for the evening.

The event will also include a basket raffle. The Knight of Performances Committee has secured many wonderful items for the raffle, such as White Sox tickets, “Fiddler on the Roof” tickets, local restaurant and business gift certificates, wine and coffee baskets, music lessons, an autographed T-shirt from a Chicago Bear, health club memberships, Thirty-One merchandise, Polish pottery, jewelry and more.

All money raised at this event will directly benefit the students involved in the band, choir and theatre programs at KHS and KHMS. Some of the items the Boosters hope to purchase with money raised include: a handheld audio recorder for the middle school, new plumes for the marching band uniforms, chorale folio cabinets, concert tuxedos and dress for the high school choir, and a drum major podium for the marching band.

Guests will enjoy barbecue from BBQ Express in Somonauk, Ill. Dinner options include a pork chop dinner, chicken dinner, combo dinner, a pulled pork sandwich or a kid’s hot dog meal. A vegetarian option will also be available. All dinners include baked beans, coleslaw, apple sauce and a choice of homemade dessert. A dinner order form is available by emailing or calling (630) 365-5272. Orders are due no later than Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Won’t you join us for a fun-filled evening? Where else can you bring your family to dine on barbecue and try your luck at winning one of the many baskets that will be raffled, all while enjoying Kaneland’s finest entertainers?

Publisher’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, contact Editor Keith Beebe at Note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: The joy of Valentine’s Day

It’s here again—the holiday that combines the anxiety of a job interview, the gift-giving doubt associated with Christmas, and the meal indecision (and follow-up guilt) experienced by most Buffalo Wild Wings patrons.

Of course we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. Twenty-four hours of chocolate, flowers, steak and lobster, and Redbox movies (rom-com’s only, naturally). Get this day right and you’ll be nominated for Significant Other of the Year. Get it wrong and, well, let’s just say it will lead to an unpleasant outcome. Our advice is that you get it right.

For such a simple, Hallmark-manufactured holiday, Valentine’s Day is easily the most nerve-wracking day of the year for any respectable male interested in keeping his girlfriend, fiance or wife. The requirements of this day seem easy enough: flowers and chocolate, a nice card (typically one that would absolutely get you de-friended on Facebook if it fell into the hands of your close buddies), a thoughtful gift (preferably one not associated with sports or super heroes), a semi-fancy dinner (pizza and drive-thru need not apply) and perhaps even a movie.

Valentine’s Day rarely goes that smoothly, however, and it seems like men experience the same problems year after year: flowers that die almost immediately, poor choice of chocolate (learn to distinguish between peanut and peanut butter M&M’s, guys), cards that are more jokey than sentimental, the purchase of a gift at the 11th hour (she will know if you put off buying her gift until the last minute, trust us), lame choice of restaurant and even more lame choice of movie.

Yes, for such a simple holiday, Valentine’s Day is even simpler to screw up.

If only we could go back to the days when Valentine’s Day was a simple, straightforward affair. As long as you had enough Valentines for your entire elementary school class, you were golden. No flowers, no real gifts, just little paper cards with friendly greetings and pictures of Care Bears (people still give out Care Bears valentines, right?).

Valentine’s Day sure is hard work in these times, but amidst all of the flowers, sugar and dinner reservations is the fact that this holiday is about man operating in his most selfless form. That’s why he’s willing to buy overpriced flowers and cheesy cards, and why he smiles relentlessly while footing a dinner bill that literally blasts his wallet to bits.

After all, Valentine’s Day is about the woman in his life, and she’s absolutely worth the money he spends and the minor embarrassment he suffers on this holiday built on love, commitment and “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” valentine cards.

So embrace this holiday, guys. Life is much simpler when you’ve been nominated for Significant Other of the Year.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Letter: Hultgren, Durbin need to help with Kaneville Post Office issue

I am writing this letter to inform you that the USPS has succeeded in reducing our little country town of Kaneville’s post office hours to four hours a day. Effective Feb. 23, the new hours will be 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The USPS is giving no consideration to the man who runs our post office now. He is highly efficient; he knows everyone, and makes sure everyone gets their mail correctly, even with the crazy Kaneville/Elburn addresses that confuse everyone.

Just recently, it was announced that the USPS will not have Saturday delivery at all, effective this August. Well, you might say, “What’s wrong with this? You still have your post office open.” This is the USPS’ first step in their plan to close our post office indefinitely. We lose our post office; we lose our identity; we lose Kaneville.

The post office is an important business center in our community. Many businesses rely on it being there. Our revenues are good. We have very little overhead unlike other post offices.

We called and repeatedly wrote letters to our congressman Randy Hultgren and Senator Dick Durbin, asking them for their help and guidance. Hultgren’s office said he has bigger things to worry about other than Kaneville’s little post office. Senator Durbin said he’s done his part; now it is time for the House of Representatives to act. Come on, gentlemen, let’s remember who put you both into office—the people. And those same people live right here in Kaneville, anxiously awaiting your help. Do something for the people of Kaneville. Help us. Give us a full-time postmaster. Do not cut our postal hours.

Please write or call congressman Hultgren and Senator Durbin and ask them to be accountable. Keep our small town alive.

Pat Hill

Letter: Where is the accountability regarding Kaneville Post Office hour reduction?

In an infinite display of their arrogance the U.S. Post Office has announced their first round of post office closings and service reductions here in Illinois, and Kaneville’s post office hours are scheduled to be cut by 50 percent in the USPS’ very first round of cuts.

Where is the accountability? Apparently, they have ignored our logical, polite and well-documented reasons and requests for delay or reconsideration of the Kaneville Post Office service cuts. They are doing this because they can, because there is no watchdog, no path for citizen appeal. That fact can be demonstrated: Kaneville’s questionnaire response was overwhelmingly high and in opposition to the service cuts (the USPS found our response remarkable. It made no impact).

We wrote letters to the regional postmaster. We received form letters in reply. Form letters that did not address our specific concerns and our unique situation.

We called, wrote letters to and visited the office of our U.S. Congressman, Randy Hultgren. Our letters went unanswered. Some of our visitors and callers were met with rude responses. “Is this about the post office? Again?” “He has more important things to work on” (they said that).

We wrote letters to Senator Durbin. He replied, and we thank you, senator, for your efforts to keep good-paying jobs from leaving Illinois. In his letter to me, Senator Durbin said the Senate passed a bill to save U.S. Post Office jobs, and “now it’s time for the House of Representatives to act and pass legislation allowing the USPS reforms to begin” (This is why it’s still important to continue to lobby Congressman Hultgren).

Where is the accountability?

Here are some facts, which we shared with the above people.
1. We asked all of the above people, “If you cannot reconsider Kaneville’s 50 percent hours cut, how about only 20 percent hours cut. And at the informational meeting, The Postmaster of Huntley stated, “These cuts will begin in February, but not every office will be cut right away. The cuts will continue over the 2013 year.” So why are we first?
2. We explained that our community has provided substantial financial support to maintain the office: very low rent, and building improvements. The overhead in the Kaneville Post Office is enviably low. Kaneville’s Post Office is profitable. Keep it open full time. Otherwise, Kaneville business will be done in other branch offices at a higher cost.
3. Our revenues in Kaneville are good. We are not the problem. If we are allowed to remain open full time, our Kaneville Post Office will be part of the solution.

Speaking of revenues: The U.S. Postal Service is not crediting Kaneville’s Post Office with all of the revenue that is serviced in Kaneville. They have decided that Kaneville’s Post Office is expendable, and they are now fudging the numbers—inaccurately—to fulfill that self-prophecy. This is incompetency.

Here are some facts: I spend more than $500 every month on online postage, which is tied to Kaneville’s Post Office, where it is dropped off daily. Only 10 percent of this postage is counted toward Kaneville’s revenue. This information was given to me by Janemarie Hoekstra when she was the postmaster in our town. Because of the post office’s pricing structure, online discounts “force” us, the large-volume package mailers in our town, to use online postage. It will be devastating to our small businesses if we are forced to go to another post office to drop packages that need to go out “today.”

In the same way that the Postal Service designed the community review process with only three unacceptable choices, they have now designed the methods for counting our revenues in a way that does not reflect the full utilization of our office.

Where is the accountability?

What can we do? We can do something. We must continue to speak up. The Kaneville address exists only if we have our Post Office, and it is an important business center in our community.

Once again, please write letters. Let’s make it a postcard campaign. Tell them, “We are appealing your decision to cut the Kaneville Post Office Hours by 50 percent on Feb. 23. Please reconsider. Delay (or cancel) these service cuts until later in the year, after a second review of our revenues and profitability. Give Kaneville a full-time postmaster, as our revenues and our service warrants this. If you must cut hours, give us seven hours a day.”

Send your postcard to: Derek Strissel, The Postmaster of Huntley, 11013 N Woodstock St., Huntley, IL 60142. Send postcards or letters to Congressman Hultgren and Senator Durbin, as well.

We can make a difference.

Joann Murdock

Editorial: Healing with horses

We’ve all heard about therapeutic horseback riding and how it can work wonders for adults and children with disabilities. However, you can’t really appreciate the miracle-like benefits of therapy riding until you hear a parent give a testamonial to the way in which equine therapy has improved their child’s condition, outlook and overall quality of life.

At that point, you understand.

That’s what happened on Saturday during Blazing Prairie Stars’ Mardi Gras fundraiser, held at Riverside Receptions in Geneva. Several volunteers and parents of clients spoke during the event—one volunteer stated that she got involved with the organization as a way to continue the work her best friend had done with disabled children prior to losing her life in a car accident last year; several parents told stories about how much their children have developed mentally and physically during their time with Blazing Prairie Stars. And every speaker echoed the same sentiment: Blazing Prairie Stars does extraordinary things for extraordinary adults and children alike.

Blazing Prairie Stars and fellow Maple Park-based equine therapy organization HorsePower Therapeutic Riding seek to help disabled adults and children rehabiliate and develop physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially through the experience of therapeutic horseback riding. Both organizations’ equine-assisted therapy has helped ease the condition of those who suffer from autism, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, bipolar and anxiety disorders, cerebral palsy, brain trauma, sensory integrative dysfunction, etc.

The results, as evidenced during Blazing Prairie Stars’ gala on Saturday, and HorsePower’s fundraiser at St. Charles Bowl on Jan. 19, are nothing short of astounding. These horses and trainers are really helping kids and adults with disabilities—every day, and in our own backyard, no less.

In addition to the occupational, physical, and speech and language therapies offered by both local equine therapy barns, participating kids and teens can also further develop by socially interacting in groups with peers and horses who are the same age.

The service and goodwill doesn’t stop there, either. HorsePower co-founder Carrie Capes last June said her highest goal is to provide therapeutic riding to people with disabilities, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Our dream is to have a sliding scale,” she said at the time. “This community is helping to make that happen.”

And just when you thought you’d seen everything.

Letter: Fine Arts Festival’s 14th season rolls on

KANELAND—After a spectacular start with the fourth annual Lee Murdock Hometown Concert, featuring guest star Anne Hills, the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival’s 14th season will continue to be an outstanding one.

This year, we invite you to participate in a fine arts activity within the Kaneland School District as we support the spectacular music, art and drama programs throughout the district. In addition, the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) will institute what we hope to be the first annual KCFAF Artist in Residence program. Funded by a grant from the Kaneland Foundation, the KCFAF Artist in Residence program brings an artist into the schools to partner with art teachers and students to inspire creation at every level. This year’s artist in residence is Eric Nye, a visual artist from Chicago.

Mr. Nye will be an artist presenting at the 14th Annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival on Sunday, April 21, where schools will show the progress that they are making working with Mr. Nye in their classrooms.

Tickets are still available for the Cavern Beat concert, which will take place at the Kaneland Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. The Cavern Beat is often compared to the jukebox for sounding so much like the real thing. Performing the music of The Beatles true to their records, every performance is as outstanding as the next, with vintage instruments, amplifiers and authentic suits in the famous Fab Four style for full effect. It is the band’s mission to replicate and bring back to life the excitement of the original recordings and live performances from the Cavern Club era onward.

This year, the Cavern Beat will be joined by choir members from the Kaneland Harter Middle School’s Midknight Special. Tickets are currently on sale at Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens. There is no charge for preschool-age children.

Adults should mark their calendars for the fourth annual Fine Arts Feast and Silent Auction, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Fine Arts Feast raises money for the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival’s events and programs, including the second annual KCFAF Fine Arts Scholarship, given to a graduating senior going into the fine arts. The fourth annual Kaneland Summer Theatre Production will be announced at the feast. Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant in Sugar Grove generously sponsors this event by providing the delicious food and lovely Pine Room for the evening.

The cost to attend the feast is free; however, throughout the evening, there will be an opportunity to hear from the committee members of the KCFAF and donate to the Fine Arts Festival through a free-will offering. A silent auction will also take place. This event is only for adults. RSVPs can be sent to

Lastly, the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival is always looking for volunteers. Consider signing up for one of our upcoming events through our festival sign-up program, Laura McPhee, volunteer coordinator for the KCFAF, will post events on the Sign Up Genius website. You’ll also find events to sign up for, including ushering, working in the box office, serving refreshments and many more jobs that make the Festival’s events a success.

Harter Middle School and Kaneland High School students can receive CORT and GIVE hours for their time working with the Festival. Questions should be emailed to

Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival

Letter: Thank you to the Elburn Lions Club

I had one of the surprises of my life on Saturday, Jan. 19, when I was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award by the Elburn Lions Club. This letter is to say thank you to the Elburn Lions Club for this recognition and also all that they have done for me, my family and the extended Elburn community over the years.

I have tried to extend the principles of Lionism that I have learned in Elburn to the other activities that I have been fortunate enough to be involved in. It was back in 1975 that I became a member of the club, and I was sponsored by Bill Callaghan. Then, as now, the club has had great leadership. Thank you, Lions, for this recognition and for the opportunity to serve.

Jim Michels

Editorial: Three-part effort needed to solve parking lot problem

Last week, we used this space to clarify the difference between editorial writing (which includes our opinion) and news writing (which does not).

We also shared our opinion on the closure of one of Elburn’s downtown businesses, and alluded to our opinion on what we feel is the primary cause for that closure: the downtown Elburn parking lot issue.

It would be easy to point the finger at one person or entity and say that he, she, or they are the reason downtown Elburn faces an additional struggle, beyond the general economic climate, due to the lack of adequate parking.

It would be easy to lay the blame solely at the Community Congregational Church’s (CCC) feet for closing the lot they privately own. It would be just as easy to point the finger at the village of Elburn for declining to purchase the lot and keep it open for downtown parking. It is also easy to blame the downtown businesses themselves for not being able to provide their own parking.

In fact, in the Jan. 10 edition of the Elburn Herald, Village President Dave Anderson expressed that point of view.

“If you’re going to open a business, it’s your responsibility to provide parking for that business. That’s not just Elburn, it’s everywhere,” he said. “In downtown Geneva, basically, the only lots that they have that the city owns are the ones by the train station. They have the on-street parking obviously, but everything else downtown are privately owned lots.”

As the former longtime owner of The Grocery Store in downtown Elburn, he should have a more realistic opinion of the situation, in our view. He knows well that the buildings in downtown Elburn, on the east side of Main Street, were not built with adequate parking behind them. In Geneva, the lots behind the downtown business exist because there was space to include them. In that part of downtown Elburn, there is no space to provide additional parking.

Besides the municipal lot located a block off Main Street, and the private lot owned by one downtown business, the east side of downtown has enough room for about six parking spaces. To enter the downtown businesses from those spaces, a customer would have to either enter through the back of the business, walk through the closed parking lot, or walk around the block to get back to the front of the downtown businesses.

Given that, even if, theoretically, downtown businesses should be responsible for providing their own parking, it is not physically possible to do so.

If the businesses themselves cannot add parking possibilities at their respective locations, then the following questions must be answered:

1) If the situation remains unchanged, is there adequate parking in downtown Elburn?
Obviously, if the answer to this is “yes,” then there is no issue and everyone is happy.
We know the answer to this question is not “yes,” because if you ask the downtown businesses (as we did), you will find overwhelmingly that those businesses need more parking in downtown Elburn.

2) Who is responsible for providing the additional parking?

The answer to this remains unclear. Even though CCC owns the currently vacant parking lot in downtown Elburn, it should be obvious that they have no legitimate responsibility to provide the downtown with parking.

All that is left, then, is either the village or the downtown businesses.

Our view is that the answer to that question is “both.”

We think the village should be supportive of all of its communities, and that includes its downtown business district. This is both a sound philosophy in general, as well as having a purely financial element.

Financially, the more successful Elburn businesses are, the less tax pressure is felt by the village’s residents.

Similarly, the downtown businesses should be engaged in the situation and willing to help the process along (and we know they are, having been one of them for years up until our recent move to the Elburn and Countryside Community Center).

This means that both entities have a role to play.

Like just about everyone, the village continues to face a budget crunch as the economy continues to struggle. It is unfair to expect the village to simply purchase the lot in order for it to remain open for the downtown business’ benefit. This would, in effect, require every Elburn taxpayer to subsidize the downtown business district.

In a time where every dollar counts, this alternative does not seem feasible.

What does seem feasible is a group effort in which the village provides the structure and administration, the downtown businesses provide the funding, and the church provides the openness to an alternative that may not be a simple outright sale of the property.

Each of the three entities—the church, the village and the group of downtown businesses—will have to be willing to come to the negotiating table with something to offer.

The church needs to offer a willingness to work out a solution that may not mean they get to sell the property outright, or at least not sell it at the value currently listed.

The village needs to offer a willingness to be engaged in the process in a real way—which means beyond the village president saying the village is not interested in helping find a solution, and beyond having a representative organize a couple of meetings (one of which a village representative did not ultimately attend, which forced members of the Elburn Herald to attend in their place, asking for and ultimately obtaining a delay in the parking lot closure).

If the village president continues to hold firm to the view that the village has provided adequate effort to secure enough parking for downtown, and that whatever else is needed is solely the responsibility of the businesses themselves, then it is time to bypass the village president and attempt to work directly with the members of the village board to find a solution. If a workable solution is available, enough votes on the Village Board makes the village president’s opinion irrelevant.

If the other two of the three parties bring their respective pieces of the puzzle to the table, then the downtown businesses need to be willing to come with money in hand.

How much money and paid over what length of time would need to be determined, but the only way forward is for downtown businesses to be willing to pay for that lot.

Maybe the village can create a TIF District or some other funding vehicle, but no matter the structure of a deal (the village’s part in the process), the acceptable terms of a deal (the church’s part in the process), the downtown businesses are going to have to be willing to pay for the deal (their part in the process).

Anything short of that, and the amount of progress made in the past several months will continue to be the amount of progress made in the future—none.

When the Elburn Herald was among the group of downtown businesses, we offered to contribute to the group effort. We know for a fact that others did, as well. More recently, Randy Ream of the Elburn Market put in a bid on the property outright, which met the church’s approval. All that remained was jumping through the hoops presented by the village’s codes and requirements, which proved to be insurmountable. Because of that, Ream pulled out of the deal, and the situation remains the same as it has since the beginning.

That dynamic will need to change if any progress is to be made.

Editorial: Editorial writing vs news writing, and our view on what is ‘progress’

(file photo)
At the beginning of this year, we wrote a story in which we talked to various Elburn village officials to find out their views and thoughts on the upcoming year (see “Elburn looks ahead to the new year” in the Jan. 3 edition of the Elburn Herald, or find it online at

In that story, they talked about the potential Elburn Station development, the potential Anderson Road bridge project and the village’s overall financial struggles.

In addition, they shared their views of the general business climate in the village.

Village President Dave Anderson pointed to a number of things that made him feel as if there were signs that the local economy is beginning to turn around. He listed a handful of examples that led him to that perception: expansion at Schmidt’s Towne Tap and Bob Jass, the pending opening of a pancake house, and the pending sale and change of the Northside Pub.

“These are all positives for the village,” Anderson was quoted as saying in our story. “Businesses have indicated they like it here, and they believe Elburn is headed in the right direction. They’re an integral part of it.”

Those two paragraphs sparked a piece of feedback that we feel warrants a clarification. The feedback (viewable on our website), states that the Elburn Herald should be ashamed to say that the closure and sale of a local business is “progress.”

We want to make two things clear: we did not state the opinion that we view the business’ closure as “progress,” and at no point did we state our opinion in that story. The simple reason is: that was a news story, and in news stories, we report the facts and opinions held by others, and keep our opinions to ourselves. We do not inject our opinions into our news coverage; we do not allow any staff member’s view to influence what stories are written, nor how those stories are written.

We simply try to seek facts and report what we find out. If someone else shares their opinion, we will report what they tell us.

Our printed opinion is reserved for this space—the editorial (and in the occasional column when it is clearly labeled as such). Anything we write in the paper outside of the editorial and occasional column is us reporting on the views, statements and facts that we find as our team finds them.

So, to be clear: we do not view the closure of the Northside Pub as an example of “progress” in the village. Incidentally, we don’t believe that was what Village President Dave Anderson was trying to say, either, but that is beside the point.

Our view on the issue is that we feel the Northside Pub owners and staff are the victims of the unresolved parking lot issue that has been going on for months in downtown Elburn (see “Church parking lot issue remains unresolved” in the Jan. 10 edition, or find it online).

As former neighbors of the Northside Pub, we know well how much harm the parking lot closure caused. We saw the initial worry turn to actual fear, then turn into tears.

This is not progress, nor a positive for the village.

Anytime a small business closes its doors for good, it is a loss for the entire community. It represents jobs lost, opportunity taken away. It means someone’s, or a group of someones’, livelihood is gone, and their lives forever changed.

We are sad at the news that the Northside Pub will soon be gone, and our sadness is nearly matched by our frustration that this turn of events did not have to happen.

See next week’s editorial for our take on the downtown parking lot situation.

Community Corner: The value of music education

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

When I was asked to write a column for the Elburn Herald promoting the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, I was thrilled. However, I had no idea where to begin.

My problem wasn’t that I was lacking ideas—I had too many. I wanted to mention that director Steven Spielberg, musician Lenny Kravitz, basketball star Vince Carter and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Allan Greenspan were once members of a high school marching band or choir. I’d reference studies that show children who receive music education score higher on standardized tests than their peers who don’t.

Study after study confirmed my belief—schools that cut arts programs end up spending more money on education while their test scores decrease. How could I tie the value of music education for our children to what the Performing Arts Boosters hope to accomplish?

Annually, Kaneland District officials are faced with maintaining a balanced budget while providing quality education for our students. Illinois is in poor shape financially, and ultimately it’s the students who are paying the price. Money that could be spent on music and art just isn’t there.

Of the approximately 1,100 students enrolled at Harter Middle School (HMS) this year, 298 are enrolled in chorus and 243 in band, with many students participating in both. At Kaneland High School (KHS), enrollment is over 1,300 with 117 participating in band and 154 in choir.

Area school districts are partnering with booster organizations to help supplement music program expenditures through fundraising endeavors. This year, the Performing Arts Boosters provided a catered meal for the KHS Marching Knights who participated in a state-wide marching band championship; purchased a music cabinet for the middle school choir room; and provided additional funds for recording equipment for the high school choir.

The HMS Mattina Brass ensemble will perform at three Chicago sporting events with the cost of tickets paid by the boosters. Currently, planning is underway for “A Knight of Performances” barbecue dinner, which will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 4:30 p.m. at the middle school, and will include choir, band and theatre student performances and a basket raffle to raise money for the ever-growing directors’ wish lists.

As the boosters continue to grow, keep in mind that every time you support a music student, you are not only contributing to the music and theatre programs, but to the district as well. You might even help to further the dreams of a future celebrity.

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

Letter: An unarmed America is an America at risk

In response to the Letter to the Editor dated Jan. 3, does the person who wrote that letter understand there are rules in the state of Illinois? You must have a Firearms Owner’s Identification (FOID) card that has your picture and information on it that matches your driver’s license. Without the FOID card, you cannot purchase any firearm or ammunition.

If the author of that letter feels hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying, ex-military patriots are “macho,” then I say thank you for the compliment.

Did you know the law in Illinois says you cannot have any more than three shells in a shotgun or a rifle? Hand guns hold a six-shot capacity.

There are many shooting clubs in Illinois and throughout the United States, some very close in proximity to Sugar Grove. Safety is stressed to the limit.

What you don’t seem to understand is that legal gun ownership is not the problem. The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects all legal gun owners. An unarmed America is an America at risk.

Willis Johnsen
Sugar Grove

Letter: Profitable American Legion is good for Sugar Grove

Two things became extremely clear at the Sugar Grove Village Board meeting on Jan. 8. The first is that the community is completely divided on the issue of legalized video gaming in Sugar Grove. One side believes that property values will plummet, gambling addiction will skyrocket and Sugar Grove will become the next Las Vegas.

The other side believes that a business-friendly community should level the playing field and allow businesses to compete fairly with businesses in the surrounding communities. I believe that no amount of debate is going to change the minds of either side. It is, was, and always will be a divisive issue. I’m willing to leave it at that.

The business in Sugar Grove that needs the playing field leveled is the American Legion Post. They cannot compete with the establishments in the surrounding communities that already have video gaming. So, until at least April, the Village Board has made it possible for the Legion to compete by allowing video gaming, pending the outcome of the advisory referendum, which will be on the ballot in the April 9 election.

The local people who spoke out against this action all prefaced their comments by stating that they support the American Legion. That is the second thing that became clear: we all support the Legion.

I am confident that each and every local pastor who spoke at the meeting will make sure on April 9 that their congregations are getting out the vote to take away the Legion’s right to fairly compete. If, as they all stated, they support the Legion, then they must support the Legion. I challenge each of them to encourage their members to join the Legion, attend the dinners or make a donation to keep our American Legion Post a healthy and vibrant part of our community. The Legion is not just another bar or club. The Legion members are active in the community and support numerous local activities and charitable causes. I cannot for the life of me see how a prosperous and profitable American Legion Post is bad for Sugar Grove.

For information about joining or making a tax deductible donation to the Sugar Grove American Legion, call (630) 466-9700. The Legion is a 501C 19 charitable organization.

Louise Coffman
Sugar Grove

Letter: Sugar Grove Lions Club seeks new members

“You can’t get very far until you start doing something for someone else.” That’s what Melvin Jones said 100 years ago, and it still applies today. Melvin Jones founded Lions Clubs in 1917. He was an insurance executive who decided to give back to the community that helped him become successful.

It’s about going home after a fundraiser with that warm feeling, knowing you made a positive difference in peoples’ lives. You’ll realize as you get older how important it is to help those in need … but why wait until you get older? You can start right now by joining the Sugar Grove Lions Club. We’re going to meet at the end of January, and you are invited if you are 18 or older. Stay tuned for the date, time and location of the meeting.

Chris Halsey
International Association of Lions Clubs

Letter: Public reaction to latest Sandy Hook shooting tragically wrong

Public reaction to the latest mass shooting is, as usual, tragically wrong. People refuse to accept the fact that the men committing these crimes care nothing for our laws.

Legislation restricting firearm ownership based on “military” appearance, caliber or magazine capacity are a fraud and a delusion, and will not prevent another Newtown, Aurora or Columbine. In fact, Columbine occurred in the middle of the 10-year federal assault-weapons ban, which demonstrably had no impact on violent crime at all.

A determined lunatic willing to murder his own mother for her guns will not be deterred by our laws.

There are only two pieces of gun-related legislation that can make the public safer and protect citizens from mass shootings by violent psychotics: first, “shall issue” concealed carry for sane, law-abiding citizens has been shown to reduce violent crime in every state that has implemented it; and second, eliminate the “gun-free” zones that criminals repeatedly target and turn into killing zones. The reality is that the delusional idealism behind the establishment of “gun free” zones by our legislators invites the bloodshed.

Tom Spry
Sugar Grove

Guest Editorial: Savvy entrepreneurs play by different rules in uncertain times

by Ginny Grimsley
National Print Campaign Manager, News and Experts

As we pass the five-year anniversary of the start of the economic recession in December 2007, many observers focus on what was lost:

• 8 million jobs
• 146,000 employer businesses
• 17.5 percent average individual earnings

But the businesses that survived the “Great Recession” and are thriving today didn’t focus on losses then, and they aren’t now, said Donna Every, a financial expert who has published three non-fiction business books and recently released her first novel, “The Merger Mogul.”

“The entrepreneurs who are successful during times of uncertainty are so because they don’t rely on the standard approaches they’d use in predictable times, and they look for opportunities—the positives—in situations that would have been considered negatives five years ago,” Every said. “It’s similar to how we deal with the weather. In places where it’s sunny most of the summer, we wouldn’t leave our house each morning packing coats and umbrellas just in case. The weather’s predictable. But in the winter and other seasons when the weather can quickly change, we head out with a different mindset.”

For businesses, switching gears to deal with inclement economic conditions involves adopting new perspectives and practices, she said.
What are some of those strategies?

• Build on what you have, not toward what you want. Instead of setting goals and then seeking out the resources you’ll need to meet them, assess what you have available and decide what you can achieve with that. This not only saves you the time and expense of pulling together resources you may not have, it also gives you the advantage of working from your business’ individual and unique strengths.

• Follow the “Las Vegas rule.” Tourists planning a weekend in Las Vegas will often set aside the amount of money they’re willing to gamble—and lose—on cards or the slots. That way, they won’t lose more than they can afford. During an uncertain economy, entrepreneurs should calculate their risks the same way. Rather than going for the biggest opportunities as you would in prosperous times, look for the opportunities that won’t require as much of your resources. Calculate how much you can afford to lose, and always consider the worst-case scenario.

• Join hands and hearts. Competition is fine when things are going well, but when times are tough, you need allies. Explore forming partnerships with other entrepreneurs so you can strategize to create opportunities together. With what your partners bring to the table, you’ll have more strength and new options to work with.

• Capitalize on the unexpected. Surprises can have positive outcomes if you handle them nimbly by finding ways to use them to your advantage. Instead of planning damage control for the next unexpected contingency, look at it as an opportunity. Get creative as you look for the positives it presents.

• When life is unpredictable, don’t try to forecast: Focus on what you can do and create now rather than what you can expect based on what happened in the past. In good times, that information can be a helpful and reliable way to make predictions, but savvy entrepreneurs don’t count on that in uncertain times.

“While the U.S. economy certainly is improving, there’s still too much uncertainty both here and abroad to go back to the old ways of doing business just yet,” Every said. “If you’ve survived the past five years, you’ve probably been relying on many of these strategies, maybe without even realizing it. Don’t abandon them yet. And if there are some here you aren’t using, work toward incorporating them, too.”

Letter: Newtown tragedy highlights two issues

The recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., while all the details are not yet known, has highlighted two issues nationwide. The first would be the need to limit access to high-power, large capacity automatic weapons. These weapons belong in the hands of trained military or law enforcement personnel, not the average citizen, no matter how patriotic.

The same rules that apply to weapons of mass destruction should apply to assault rifles and other such weapons. The NRA’s solution to place armed guards in every school is simplistic, impractical and self-serving. There have been shootings in theaters, shopping malls and beauty salons. Should we mandate armed guards at these and every other public building? Is that the vision of the world you wish to live in? I would hope not. This is a public health issue and should be treated as such.

The second issue is mental illness and how we deal with it in our society. The stigma around mental illness keeps two out of every three persons afflicted with this disorder from seeking treatment. Until we start thinking of mental illness as a biological disorder of the brain that it is, and until we get serious about prevention and early intervention, our society will not change for the better. While the great majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous (and much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators), the notorious few that are will garner all the headlines and attention.

After decades of reducing funding for community mental health services, closing mental health clinics and incarcerating the mentally ill instead of treating them, it is time to get serious about funding mental health services as we do other health issues like cancer, diabetes or obesity. The real solution to the issue should be limiting access to weapons that can kill dozens of innocent people in a short time, as well as treating mental illness as the physical disorder it is through prevention, early detection and intervention efforts.

Jerry Murphy
Sugar Grove

Editorial: Local municipalities look to build on 2012 achievements in new year

What do Elburn Station, Internet over fiber and TIF District activity have in common?

All three are projects that could very well determine whether 2013 is a successful year for the villages of Elburn, Sugar Grove and Maple Park, respectively.

In Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill’s 2013 preview for Elburn, village trustee Jeff Walter states that he and other board members have suggestions that can improve the Elburn Station plan, which could lead to the board eventually approving the item. Village President Dave Anderson added that the village should do everything possible to get the Anderson Road bridge completed.

In Sugar Grove, high-speed Internet is the holy grail, and the village is hoping to bring in an Internet over fiber connection that would put lightning-fast connection speeds at the fingertips of village residents. In Elburn Herald reporter Chris Paulus’ 2013 village preview, Sugar Grove board member Dave Paluch states the faster data speeds would help the village attract bigger businesses.

“It would also be great for our residents to take advantage of the fastest data speeds available,” Paluch said.

In Maple Park, a successful 2012 could give way to an even more fulfilling 2013 if the village sees some activity in its newly implemented TIF District. Village President Kathy Curtis cited the TIF District as an achievement for Maple Park, but said she was disappointed in the lack of activity within the TIF District.

“It is unfortunate that the TIF District has not had projects. We implemented the district with hope of generating new revenue streams to be re-invested in our infrastructure,” she said.

That inactivity could of course change in 2013. Still, Curtis said the state of the economy means that the village should move forward cautiously with the TIF District.

As for Kaneville, interim Village President Rick Peck was unavailable as of press time. A 2012 retrospective and 2013 preview for the village is currently in the works.

Here’s to a happy and successful 2013 for the villages of Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park and Kaneville. We’ll be here to document their progress every step of the way.

Letter: SG Lions Club to hold organizational meeting

There will be an organizational meeting of the Sugar Grove Lions Club at the end of January. Any men or women interested in joining the International Association of Lions Club—the largest service organization in the world—should contact a local member. The Sugar Grove community should easily have a 50-member Lions Club.

Keep watching for further information on the date, time and location of this meeting.

Chris Halsey
Sugar Grove Lions Club

Letter: Legislation needs to put an end to gun madness

What a shame that 20 little ones—mostly 5- and 6-year-olds—and six adults had to lose their lives so that a few macho men can have guns to play cops and robbers and play soldier, sneaking up on some harmless animal.

These guns are the same guns that macho men use to commit hideous crimes like the one in Newtown, Conn. These guns are the guns that children find from hiding places in their homes to accidentally kill their friends. These are the same guns that young and old alike use in taking their own lives.

The United States is known throughout the world as having one gun for almost every man, women and child in the country—315 million. Can you imagine what the world would think if we were to put one or two policemen with loaded guns at every school in the U.S., as the macho men at National Rifle Association advocate? These macho men don’t care how many people are killed or what others think as long as they have their guns.

We must have legislation to put an end to this madness.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Letter: Knights Wrestling Club news

Knights Wrestling Club kicked off a tremendous trio of tournaments once the green flag was dropped on this year’s wrestling season. They threw open the doors to Kaneland High School to host the Knights Open on Dec. 9, with over 20 members participating, many for the very first time. Out of such a strong showing, they had many place, including first-place finishes by Cayden Parks (Tots), Jack Certa (Intermediate) and Preston Havis (Senior).

The Knights then marched their way to a first-time appearance in the Hinsdale Red Devil Rumble on Dec.16. With a smaller travel group, they still made quite a splash out east, with first-place finishes by Parks and Cooper Christman (Bantam); fourth-place finishes by Certa (Intermediate) and Sam Girolamo (Intermediate); fifth-place finishes by Jack Parker (Tots), Caden Grabowski (Bantam) and Brenden Parks (Novice).

Not taking time to rest, the next stop on the list was Belvidere Bandits Holiday Brawl. Once again, being a first-time visitor to the Bandits home, Knights showed what they were about with first-place finishes by Chase Brennan (Tots), Cayden Parks and Jace Black (Intermediate); second-place finishes by Parker, Christman and Certa; Third-place finishes for Evan Ross (Tots) and Brenden Parks. Every Knight who showed placed at this tournament.

The Knights will spend the holidays in Sycamore at the Good Guy Tournament on Monday, Dec. 30. The new year will have them splitting into two to make duel appearances at Waubonsees Braves Rookie Tournament and Machesney Park’s Mid-Season Preview on Sunday, Jan. 6.

Michelle Parks
Maple Park

Top 10 of 2012: The most-viewed stories on in the past year

As web editor, I get the unique opportunity to see just how folks like you view We use Google Analytics to anonymously track how our visitors use our site, and in turn, we get to see what stories and articles were the most popular. It’s been immensely helpful as I tackle the project of redesigning going into 2013.

Our top 10 most-viewed stories from 2012 touched it all: local hot-button issues, police-related articles, community groups linking to articles about them, and what I can only call the “power of Google.”

10: ‘Miracle’ Meagan turns 3 (Nov. 15, 2012)

The 1,696-member Meagan Seals Miracle Baby Facebook Group linked to our article in November, leading to this story cracking the top 10.

9: Church moves forward with lot closure (April 13, 2012)

An early-year local issue that caused a stir in Downtown Elburn. The lot remains closed.

8: Comcast Sportsnet Chicago to air ‘IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show’ Oct. 20 (Oct. 20, 2012)

Google search traffic helped boost this press release into our Top 10. People were looking for information—specifically what channel to to tune into if they had Comcast, DirecTV, etc.

7: Aurora woman gets prison term for fatal crash on Route 47, Smith Road (Feb. 17, 2012)

Alia Bernard was sentenced to 7 years for causing a crash that killed Wade and Denise Thomas. Bernard filed a motion to reduce her sentence in March, and the Chicago Tribune reported in August her sentence was in fact reduced to 6 years. A cautionary tale that distracted driving is extraordinarily dangerous.

6: Obituary: Brett Richard Brubaker (June 14, 2012)

Overall, obituaries are our most-viewed content on Brubaker was a 1980 Kaneland graduate was very well-connected in the community.

5: Elburn Station project Chugs along (April 13, 2012)

To call this issue hot button would be an understatement. In fact, even after the issue was tabled in October, a trustee recently proposed opening up discussions in early 2013.

4: Body found on side of Meredith Road identified (July 19, 2012)

Learn more about Joyce David here.

3: Darden Restaurants grants $1,000 to Lazarus House (Aug. 12, 2012)

Turns out there are two organizations called “Lazarus House” in Jersey City, NJ., and San Francisco. People from those two locations viewed this story a lot.

2: Barefoot collgians (April 28, 2012)

It looks like the keywords “barefoot” and “library” have brought users from all over the world to what was a press release from Aurora University we published since it featured a Sugar Grove resident.

1: 2 Elburn Residents charged with cannabis trafficking (Nov. 21, 2012)

It was interesting that our top story is also the most recently-posted of the 10. A lot of search traffic led to many visitors for this regional story.

Guest Editorial: Memory and Holiday Overspending

by Mark Underwood
President and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience

In the 1971 hit song, “Sunshine,” one of the lyrics asks, “How much does it cost? I’ll buy it.” A quick sale like that is a good sale for advertisers, but may not be for your wallet.

Do you have problems resisting the lure of great sales? Do you go shopping with the intent of browsing but come home with an abundance of goods that put you in debt more than you bargained for?

The temptation to give in to greatly slashed prices, one-day-only sales, “early bird” deep discounts, free items with purchases over $100, and other such ploys to get you to buy more is prevalent and tempting over the holidays.

What can you do to enjoy the holidays but keep your spending in check?

For many people, the pattern of overspending is how they’ve been shopping all their lives. If they see something they want, they buy it regardless of the financial outcome. Until they get the credit card bills in January and wonder what got into them in December?

You can call it a lot of things—lack of wisdom, lack of planning or a lack of understanding of their family’s financial situation.

But most importantly, you should call it poor “executive function,” a term well known by scientists who refer to an ability to multi-task, make good decisions, plan ahead, prioritize your needs (versus your “wants,” as in overspending), and carefully weigh options.

A series of new research from Aberdeen, Scotland, has shown that if you have problems sticking to a plan like a holiday budget, don’t blame perpetual sales gimmicks that pop up everywhere you look. Instead of blaming the power of advertising, you could blame your lack of willpower on what’s going on with your memory.

Take control of your brain power
Wouldn’t it be great if you had more control over your finances especially during the holidays?

Research has found that poor executive function is the reason why it is difficult for some people to resist temptation and keep on track with a plan compared to people who have excellent executive function.

While executive function includes such things as planning and carefully considering options, it also includes having a prospective memory. That is defined as having a sharp recall ability to remember to do things or say “no” to other things like buying things you don’t need.

People who have poor prospective memory often don’t have sharp concentration and recall skills and that may factor in to forgetting or foregoing their budget when they go shopping.

The message is that when you take care of your brain health you will have better willpower. Cognitive performance, memory and willpower go hand-in-hand.

Put yourself on a ‘sales diet’
Holidays present challenging times for shoppers regardless of what your budget may be. It’s hard to resist pre- and post-holiday sales, many of which are fraught with urgency.

How do you exercise willpower when so many sales opportunities are offered on almost anything, any day of the week? Shoppers are constantly presented with opportunities to get deep discounts by mail, email and media advertising.

How do you take charge of your willpower so you don’t get stuck with huge credit card bills after the holidays are long gone?

Go on a spending diet and do it sooner rather than later. Here are some tips for making this holiday season a success.

With improved executive function, you will make better choices like these:

Ask yourself if you would buy a specific item if it were full price? If the answer is no, you may be reacting to a sales push instead of making a good buying decision.

Delete unsolicited sales emails or big discount offers that come in the mail. Unless you’re planning to make a specific purchase and you find out it is on sale, carefully weigh the consequences of unplanned purchases.

Make lists. Go shopping at the mall, online or to holiday events with a list of what your total budget is that day.

Jot down a maximum price that you’ll pay for holiday gifts. Keep looking at the list then stick to the plan.

Work on willpower. You can do that with healthy lifestyle habits like eating nutritious meals, cutting back on holiday sugar, exercising and getting enough quality rest.

Even the best laid plans can crumble when you feel exhausted and stressed and aren’t getting a good night’s sleep. When you have better executive function, you’ll make better lifestyle choices, and then you’re on your way to resisting temptations.

Letter: Elburn Lions Park a ‘no bullying’ zone

With all the talk and publicity about bullying, you might ask if there’s a safe place for your son or daughter. Well, there is a safe place right here in Elburn: Lions Park.

On the first Wednesday of every month, our Leo Club meets in our clubhouse. The Elburn Leo Club is open to any student in the Kaneland School District.

Our Leo Club is one of the largest and strongest in the state of Illinois. The transformation that you will see in your child is amazing. These kids and young adults go through this transformation while interacting with other kids and young adults of like minds.
The main thing that youth learn in the Elburn Leo Club is service to those less fortunate.

There is no cost to join the Elburn Leo Club. Lion Pam Hall is the Elburn Leo Club advisor. Further information about the Elburn Leo Club and its meeting time is available by calling (630) 365-6315.

Chris Halsey
Elburn Lions Club

Letter: A thank you to those who participated in Christmas in Kaneville

I would like to thank everyone who participated in our annual Christmas in Kaneville event on Dec. 1. Thank you to all who came out to support us and enjoy the day.

I would especially like to thank the Kaneville United Methodist Church for their cookie walk, Kaneville Volunteer Fire Department for hosting Santa, Santa and his helpers for donating their time, George and his horses, Gloria Stewart and Heidi Withey of Halogen Lighting for taking and donating our Santa pictures, the Kaneville Public Library for their musical program and crafts, Old Second Bank and Hill’s Country Store for their customer appreciation, and all the crafters with their special talents for the craft show.

On behalf of the Kaneville Township Historical Society, I would like to thank all our bakers who gave us one of the biggest bake sales we’ve ever had. Thank you to Robert Krajecki for the beautiful painting raffled off on that day to raise funds for the Historical Society. Margie Cleveland was our hometown winner of the painting.

To all our historical volunteers—Sheryl Behm, Margie Cleveland, Jeanette Wampach, Pat Hill and Lynette Werdin—thank you for your

As a final note, make sure to get your copy of our 2013 calendar, “Remember When,” before they’re all gone.

Karen Flamand
Kaneville Township Historical Society

Letter: Mental health facility closures the real culprit behind recent shooting sprees

In an interview with CBS Chicago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters that the recent closures of mental health facilities “is harming people with mental illnesses who should be patients instead of inmates, and the victims of their crimes that could have been prevented.”

With the recent rash of shooting sprees, everyone’s attention has immediately turned to gun control. Some argue for tighter restrictions, and others argue to allow citizens to conceal carry. I have a unique view on the subject: it doesn’t matter.

Attempting to control violent, senseless killings by enacting more gun laws is like trying to prevent drunk driving by controlling the sale of cars. Anyone who makes detailed plans to gun down a group of defenseless strangers obviously has a mental illness. This should be our focus.

Across the United States, state public mental health budgets have been slashed at least $4.35 billion from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). The Huffington Post writes, “Twenty-nine states reported they’ve had to close more than 3,200 inpatient beds for mentally ill people over the last four years.” Frighteningly, just months after the NIU shootings in DeKalb, Kishwaukee Hospital, the hospital that serves the DeKalb area, closed its inpatient psychiatric care unit.

Mentally ill citizens have increasingly fewer and fewer resources and attention than ever in recent history. As a registered nurse of 20 years, I have watched as people in need of this vital care slip between the cracks of our social safety net and end up using the emergency department for their mental healthcare needs—a place ill-designed to assist in this matter. They come to us to refill their psychiatric medications, they come to us when they feel out of control with anxiety and panic attacks, and they come to us when they become suicidal. All they receive, however, is either a prescription with no real psychiatric care or a 6-24 hour wait in the crowded, noisy emergency room while social services attempts to find them placement in the packed inpatient psychiatric units.

What’s worse is many more end up in the penal system where they receive no appropriate treatment, and they each cost taxpayers between $20,000-50,000 a year, depending on the state.

The mentally ill are treated as less-than-human by their more stable counterparts. There has always been a stigma associated with this illness, and now the government has turned their backs on them. We are all, as a country, paying for that slight. Dozens of mass shootings have marred our countryside, causing untold grief and fear. When will we wake up and realize mental health care funding affects us all?

It’s time to stop looking at these shootings as a cry for gun control and see them as you would accidents caused by drunk drivers. Laws that restrict everyone’s use of a vehicle and/or ability to obtain a driver’s license will not stop drunk drivers from killing innocent people. However, helping them with their substance abuse problems will.

The free market may not see the value in taking care of our mentally/emotionally ill neighbors, but I’m sure everyone can agree it is worth funding programs that would prevent the senseless violence that took the lives of 20 first graders. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Let’s get to the source of the problem, which is the mental state of the shooters, not the weapons they wield.

Tara Scharlau
Maple Park

Letter: A thank you from the Elburn Chamber’s beautification committee

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce’s beautification committee wishes to thank the following people for their help in volunteering with the winter decorations: Tyler and Pat Hill, Wasco Nursery, and Brownie Troop 4036 from Kaneland John Stewart School. Downtown looks great, and we could not have done it without all of your help.

Jamie Jump
Office Administrator
Elburn Chamber of Commerce

Letter: A thank you from Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630

Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630 would like to express a heartfelt thanks to the donors at the recent Elburn Community Blood Drive. We had 31 volunteers and collected 29 pints of blood.

Thank you to Arthur Anderson, John Anderson, Laurel Beatty, Robert Biddle, Barbara Blank, Jordyn Boley, LeRoy Bubser, Allison Buri, Kelly Callaghan, Albert Frohling, Dennis Girard, Sandra Gould, Kenneth Gustafson, Steve Hall, Pamela Hall, Deborah Hannemann, Daniel Hannemann, Janet Herra, Megan Herra, Cheryl Krauspe, Dawn Kuefler, Peter Kuefler, Mark Lund, James Schnaitman, Larry Schramm, Grayce Seablom, James Staley, Rebecca Staley and Robert Weihofen.

Please thank these neighbors and friends, as you are out and about this holiday season, for caring enough to give the gift of life.

Also, a thank you to Auxliary volunteers Carrie Petrie and Helen Johnson. A special thank you to the American Legion Post 630 for the use of their building to make this special event possible.

Please mark your calendars for the next drive, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. No appointment needed. We’d love to see you there. Happy holidays.

Kay Swift
Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630