Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

Guest Editorial: Celebrate Arbor Day April 30

Guest Editorial
by John Rosenow
Arbor Day Foundation
Founder, chief executive

We might think about majestic trees, precious wildlife, and clean, fresh air. We probably don’t think about the water we drink.

We should.

When you turn on your faucet this Arbor Day, take a moment and think about the important role trees play to make sure what comes out of the tap is healthy and clean.

Most people know that trees produce oxygen that we breathe and clean the air by acting as giant filters, removing harmful particles and pollutants. But you may not be aware that trees work just as hard to protect and purify our water sources, including those that provide drinking water for millions of Americans every day.

Trees improve water quality by slowing rain as it falls to the earth, and helping it soak into the soil. They also prevent soil from eroding into our waterways, reduce stormwater runoff, and lessen flood damage. They serve as natural filters to protect our streams, rivers, and lakes.

Forests in the United States are the source of drinking water for more than 180 million people, 59 percent of the U.S. population. Forests help protect vital water sources such as sparkling mountain streams filled with melting snow, healthy reservoirs and lakes, and our nation’s vast web of rivers.

Our forested areas are shrinking at an alarming rate. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that more than 40 million acres of private forest could be lost in the next 40 years.

Why is that important to us? As U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “While most Americans live in urban areas, most of us depend on rural lands, particularly forest lands, for clean water and a healthy climate.”

One example of an urban area that depends on forested land for water is New York City. In the late 1990s, New York City leaders balked at a $6 billion water treatment system and instead opted to go with natural landscape management to clean the water it receives from the Catskill/Delaware watershed in upstate New York. The focus is on creating conservation easements along streams and reservoirs, and protecting forest lands to keep sediment and runoff from entering the water supply.

The watershed provides most of New York City’s daily supply of drinking water, more than 1 billion gallons each day. New Yorkers enjoy some of the cleanest, healthiest drinking water in the world.

Millions of Californians rely on crystal-clear water flowing from Plumas and other National Forests to quench their thirst. Melting snow and rain water flow from the Plumas into the Feather River and eventually winds up in the Sacramento River. Water from the Plumas relies on the entire ecosystem, which includes trees, to keep it pristine until it reaches taps throughout central and northern California. This is just one example of how our national forests help clean the water.

These solutions are an alternative to manufactured water treatment systems, and are beneficial in so many ways. Unfortunately, the conventional response is too often to pay for expensive artificial treatment systems rather than rely on natural resources.

One way to protect and clean our water supply is to plant trees, and the need to replant our nation’s forests is vitally important. The U.S. Forest Service has identified a backlog of 1 million acres in national forests alone that are in need of replanting because of damage from recent wildfires, insects and disease.

There is no substitute for clean water. Water is a vital resource that we rely on every day. We can’t create something else to take its place.

But we can plant trees.

We enjoy trees for many reasons—their shade on a warm day, the energy they save when they’re planted around our homes, the bountiful food they provide, the songbirds they bring close by.

Remember the role trees play in keeping our drinking water clean. As you celebrate Arbor Day this year, don’t take your clean drinking water for granted when you turn on the tap. America’s trees worked hard to help deliver that refreshing glass of water.

Letter: Auxiliary spaghetti supper a success

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary No. 630 would like to thank everyone that made the April 22 spaghetti supper a success again.

We appreciate the community that came out to support our fundraiser. Many thanks go out to the members who worked and/or donated desserts.

We also thank the Elburn American Legion members that helped us, as well. We appreciate the community and our loyal members for their participation in our moneymaking events. Without your help, we could not make our donations to the important programs that help so many.

We hope to see everyone again in the fall.

Cara Bartel, Treasurer
Elburn American Legion
Auxiliary No. 630

Letter: Sharing fond memories of Wayne Stevens

I enjoyed the article about Wayne Stevens. I have a lot of fond memories over the years of working with Wayne on various projects. He is truly a credit to the emergency services. I am writing to amplify certain aspects of his career, of which a lot of people might not be aware.

Emergency medical providers in the Elburn Herald area answer to an entity concerning medical care issues. That entity is called Southern Fox Valley Emergency Medical System based out of Delnor Hospital.

Wayne has been an integral part of that system for years. I cannot remember him holding an official leadership position with the system; he might at some point have. But Wayne has provided significant informal leadership and influences over the system and their policies for years. In lots of organizations, there are those people that just make the organization work, and that was Wayne. For years, he was instrumental in making Southern Fox an effective system. He has been a big part in keeping the system current and progressive. I share this information for a reason.

While it is true that the people served by the Elburn Fire Protection District should be very thankful for his service, so should others. Because of Wayne’s involvement in the system, and his constant desire to improve emergency medical care by all providers in the Southern Fox System, other people in our area, served by other agencies have received the benefits of his efforts. Wayne probably does not realize himself the impact that he has had on providers throughout the area.

Congratulations on your retirement, old friend. A good job, well done.

William T. King, Jr.
Sugar Grove

Mike Slodki’s 2010 Mock Draft

by Mike Slodki
1. St. Louis – QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma.
2. Detroit – DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.
3. Tampa Bay – DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma.
4. Washington – OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma St.
5. Kansas City – LB Rolando McClain, Alabama.
6. Seattle – OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma.
7. Cleveland – S Eric Berry, Tennessee.
8. Oakland – LB Jason Pierre-Paul, S. Florida.
9. Buffalo – OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa.
10. Jacksonville – DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech.
11. Denver – RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson.
12. Miami – NT Dan Williams, Tennessee.
13. San Francisco – QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame.
14. Seattle – S Taylor Mays, USC.
15. NY Giants – OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland.
16. Tennessee – CB Joe Haden, Florida.
17. San Francisco – OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers.
18. – Pittsburgh – G Mike Iupati, Idaho.
19. Atlanta – C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida.
20. Houston – S Earl Thomas, Texas.
21. Cincinnati – WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma St.
22. New England – LB Sergio Kindle, Texas.
23. Green Bay – CB Kyle Wilson, Boise St.
24. Philadelphia – DE Everson Griffen, USC.
25. Baltimore – LB Brandon Graham, Michigan.
26. Arizona – LB Sean Witherspoon, Missouri.
27. Dallas – DT Jared Odrick, Penn St.
28. San Diego – RB Jahvid Best, California.
29. NY Jets – OT Rodger Saffold, Indiana.
30. Minnesota – CB Patrick Robinson, Florida St.
31. Indianapolis – DT Terrence Cody, Alabma.
32. New Orleans – LB Jerry Hughes, TCU.

Editorial: Earth Day, EPA deserve credit for clean-up

There is certainly an ongoing debate on the concept of climate change, but one thing that all sides of the debate can agree on is that the 40th anniversary of Earth Day is important, and needs to be recognized.

Prior to 1970, the public began to demand cleaner air, water, and land. A few months after Earth Day that year, President Richard Nixon in Congress moved to establish the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the first Earth Day was recognized.

That year proved pivotal in transforming the nation from one that demontrated a lack of care for the environment to one in which recycling is the norm and not the exception, people can trust their drinking water, and air quality is vastly superior compared to back then.

The EPA led to an amendment to the Clean Air Act, setting national air quality, auto emission and anti-pollution standards.

The Safe Drinking Water Act allowed the EPA to set standards for the quality of public drinking water. Money was set aside to clean up hazardous waste sites.

Just about any interaction with the environment is now safer due to the EPA, and public awareness about the environment is certainly heightened because of Earth Day.

No one can dispute that these are vital improvements that have touched our daily lives and improved and prolonged the lives of millions Americans and millions more to come.

Yes, there is a debate about climate change and if human activity has any impact on it. The EPA website certainly places the organization on one side of that debate.

“Beginning late in the 18th century, human activities associated with the Industrial Revolution have also changed the composition of the atmosphere and therefore very likely are influencing the Earth’s climate,” its site states.

With the climate change debate and a growing distrust in the federal government serving as context, it is reasonable to conclude that many people may now place less value on the EPA and what it has accomplished.

We hope that all people, regardless of their stance toward the federal government in general and the climate change debate specifically, can look past the political polarization of the day and recognize the EPA and its accomplishments, and think about how it has helped you and your family, and take a moment to think about the planet and its environment.

Regardless of whether or not you believe man is causing the globe’s climate to change, it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to return to the days where paint was full of lead, rivers were full of waste, and the air was full of pollution.

Letter: Visit Pouley Road and see part of Dave Compton’s legacy

The south end of Pouley Road has been a pride and joy for Dave Compton and his family for more than 70 years.

In 1993, Dave started planting flowering crab trees along the road to enhance the beauty of one of the last gravel roads in Kane County.
Over the years, he planted by hand almost 100 trees. Please take time out of your busy schedule and slowly drive down the road to admire God’s beauty … the trees are in full bloom and gorgeous. Enjoy.

Sally Compton
Kit Compton
Robin Urich
Elburn

Letter: Seniors: Avoid home repair scams

The purpose of this letter is to remind senior citizens that spring time is often when they could become a victim of a home repair scam.

Here is how it works: A door-to-door salesman offers to do repair work for much less than the market price. He demands a large down payment and full payment before the work is completed. When asked, he cannot provide references except that he has done other work in the neighborhood. If the work is done at all, it is usually done poorly.

Here is what to do: Do not even open your door to contractors or salesmen unless you know them or have asked them to stop by. Never agree to have repair work done until you have checked a contractor’s background and references. Never sign anything unless you have read and fully understand what it is. If you notice anyone going door to door in your neighborhood who appears suspicious, call the police.

To report an actual scam, contact the Office of the Attorney General and/or call the Senior Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-5377.

Helen J. Baker
Member
Elder Abuse Committee
of the 16th Judicial Circuit
Family Violence Coordinating Council

Letter: Schmidt’s Town Tap revitalized downtown Elburn

As former Elburn residents, we have been amazed at the renewal that has occurred in the downtown area with the addition of a new bar and grill, Schmidt’s Town Tap.

Formerly, there was little or no activity on Main Street (Route 47), with few pedestrians visible on these quiet village streets. We have had several occasions to visit and eat at Schmidt’s during the winter and spring months, all with the same result.

Formerly empty parking spots along the street are now full. People who seemingly know each other congregate outside the restaurant and visit. The restaurant itself is very appealing with a lodge-like motif staged in highest quality construction.

This is no surprise as the owner is Kevin Schmidt, lifelong Elburn resident and custom home builder. The menu, food, spirits and service are top notch and affordable.

But perhaps the most distinctive feature is that patrons seem to know many of the people there. It has become a central gathering place for families and customers of all ages for all types of occasions.

Once again, downtown Elburn has the vitality and appeal we associate with small-town America. Schmidt’s is the new place “where everybody knows your name.” Bravo to the village of Elburn for this wonderful small business revitalization. We will be coming back again and again.

Janet and Paul Lueck
Elgin

Letter: Rep. Foster needs to engage with constituents

Why does Rep. Foster have so many people writing letters to the editor for him? Is this a new type of free campaigning?

One thing never mentioned in these letters is that he never comes out of his office to explain what a great health plan he has supported. While all the letters say he listens to his constituents, he did not hear the multitude who opposed this expensive program; or that he will never present his support for the health bill to a group face to face.

Many of the details in this health bill are being exposed, brought to light for the public, and the public sees that these details are not good.
I have attended meetings in front of Rep. Foster’s office, and he never comes out to explain this so-called wonderful bill, nor does one of his staff come out to us to explain things, much less how we will pay for all of it.

Rep. Foster, if you plan on getting re-elected, you better start facing us and telling us why your health plan should have our support. While some update of our current health care needs some tweaking, this bill of the Democrats has nothing to do with improvement.

Mr. Foster, you had better do a clearer explanation of this bill or you will not be re-elected.

Richard H. Sharp
Geneva

Editorial: KEA, district do the right thing

In a classic case of “better late than never,” the Kaneland Education Association (KEA) agreed to defer raises slated for the 2010-11 school year by one year.

This delay in the 5.6 percent raises for union members will eliminate $1.1 million in next year’s budget deficit, allowing the Kaneland School District to reinstate the 30 positions that were previously slated to be cut, as well as all of the sports, clubs and activities that had been on the chopping block.

Kudos to everyone involved in this latest round of negotiations and its outcome.

While we share the happiness of those involved that the cuts have been averted, we continue to wonder what led to the KEA’s change of heart.

Previously, the KEA had declined an invitation to re-open the negotiations.

Was it the reality of seeing 100 of its members receiving pink slips and a verbal commitment that approximately 70 of them would be offered a position for the following year?

Was it the additional uncertainty caused by the state’s budget mess, and its impact on Kaneland School District funding?

Was it simply that as time went on, the depth of the budgetary problems became better understood?

Or, did something else happen—some other piece of information that was revealed, some other communication that occurred?

While right now is the time to be thankful that both sides came together to help protect next year’s quality of education, the programs and the staff that would have been cut, it will be important to learn the answers to these questions before the next time the contract is up and the finances look grim.

The economy is still struggling and the state’s finances are still a shambles. The district’s finances are neither strong nor stable, and there is no clear indication what the state will do long-term with its school district funding obligations.

With that in mind, the $1.1 million in raises will occur prior to the 2011-12 school year, and the KEA contract will be up prior to the 2012-13 school year.

It is hoped that the answers to these questions will be revealed early enough to both learn and apply the lessons necessary to prevent the district from getting to this point again.

It does no one any good to believe they will not have a job next year while still trying to educate students this year. It does no one any good for students to temporarily believe that certain programs and clubs will no longer exist. It does no one any good to believe that the district’s cuts will have to be so severe that educational quality will be hampered.

We hope both sides learn from what led to this recent resolution and apply it to the future before education is placed at risk and district morale is damaged across the board.

Letter: Global warming dilemma

Fifty years ago I was teaching and preaching about global warming and its catastrophic effects on our climate. It is obvious that nothing has changed.

Our political leaders still clamor for votes at the expense of our environment. Decisions are dictated by the economy. If the economy is good, they get the votes; and that’s it.

Now, our president is promoting off-shore drilling. How disappointing. This is definitely not the answer. More use of fossil fuels will only exacerbate our global warming dilemma.

I always tried to teach a very important value. Sometimes we don’t want to do something, but it is the right thing to do. It is definitely time for all Americans to do the right thing and possibly change many of our ways for the sake of a better world for future generations.

Let’s begin with conservation. If we eliminate 50 percent of the things we don’t need, we wouldn’t miss them. For the most part, it is our wants and not our needs that do most of the harm to our environment.

What if everyone drove the speed limit? We would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels considerably and at the same time reduce carbon emissions.

Instead of more and more fossil fuels, let’s turn to the sun for our energy. If we do, it will shine down upon all of us and generations to come.

It is time to stop the fossil fuel industry from dictating our future, which could very well be catastrophic. Just think what we could do with all the money that will be spent on retrieving oil from below the Gulf and instead use it to develop solar and other alternative sources of energy.

Finally, let’s do the right thing, even though it may cause us some discomfort.

Earl Montgomery
Sugar Grove

Letter: What kind of Illinois do you want to live in?

I ask this question, not rhetorically, but as a concerned resident of Illinois. What kind of state do you want to live in?

Do you want to live in a state where:
• 70,000 people, including 4,200 children, are at risk of losing needed mental health services?
• 4,000 persons with mental illness will be displaced from residential settings and transferred back into nursing homes?
• School districts are laying off thousands of teachers and staff?
• 19,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities sit on a waiting list?
• 30,000 individuals with disabilities will lose direct services?
• Our community-based mental health and developmental disability systems are ranked last in the nation?
• Thousands of Illinois jobs in education and human services will be sacrificed in the name of cutting out non-existent “fat”?

All of the above are potential or current consequences of a historically underfunded state education and human services system. No one likes paying taxes, but no one wants to live in the worst state in the nation either. If we don’t pay for these services at the state level, we will pay for it locally through higher real estate taxes, overflowing jails and crowded emergency rooms.

It is time for our state legislators to get to work, stop running for re-election and to devise a means of adequately funding education as well as services for our most vulnerable neighbors with disabilities. It is time for them to go back to Springfield and make Illinois a state we can all be proud of.

Jerry J. Murphy,
Sugar Grove

The latest government takeover: Public notices

Guest editorial
Illinois Press Association

Taxpayers have seen their fair share of government takeovers the past few years. The auto industry, Wall Street banks, student loans, healthcare, the list goes on and on. All of these takeovers originated in Washington D.C. However, there is an ominous government takeover looming right here in Illinois, one that is not in the best interest of the citizens of Illinois.

One important piece of the foundation of our democracy is openness, or transparency, in government. Taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing and how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. Publication of public notices, or legal notices, is an important part of government reporting back to their constituents, or the citizens’ of Illinois.

Since before the days of Abraham Lincoln, newspapers in Illinois have served as an independent third party conduit between taxpayers and their government for the dissemination of public notices. Important information regarding tax increases, zoning issues, fines and penalties, financial statements, court proceedings, water quality reports and much more are required by Illinois statute to be published in newspapers.

However, under a new proposal pending in Springfield, specifically Senate Bill 3336, government believes it is now OK to circumvent your right to know. They have found a better and less expensive way to “post” public notices. Their answer: a government takeover of certain public notices. That’s right, this legislation would, for the first time in the history of Illinois, allow a government body to completely bypass the taxpayers and, instead, post critical taxpayer information on their own website, rather than in a newspaper that is published in the government body’s area.

SB3336 contains no independent third party verification, no certificate of publication from the newspaper that the information actually got published, and no accountability which, unfortunately, is the way government seems to like to operate these days.

It gets even worse. This bill also makes more ominous changes specifically designed to keep you, the taxpayer, in the dark. For example, guess what was conveniently left out of the legislation? You guessed it, any frequency or time requirements that would mandate how long or how often government must post this vital information on their website. Under the proposed legislation, it could be 10 days, 10 hours, or even 10 minutes. It is alarming that however long the notice remains publicly available would be solely at the discretion of the public body posting its own notices.

Proponents of this legislation claim that it is narrow in its scope because it only applies to ordinances which “impose any penalty or make any appropriation.” That’s limited in scope alright—to precisely the two things that taxpayers care most about, specifically how much a fine might cost or how their tax dollars are being spent.

This proposal is the quintessential reason why government should not be allowed to report on itself and clearly demonstrates why government needs to remain transparent and not try to serve as both judge and jury in the business of public notices. Aside from the inherent conflict of interest, this legislation makes little sense for a state that is trying to rid itself of an image of pay-to-play politics, public corruption, unbridled graft and imprisoned governors.

At a time when Illinois politics and government should be more and more open and transparent, SB3336 flies in the face of accountability to citizens and taxpayers. It is important that you let your state representatives know this. Please pick up the phone and let them know that you oppose Senate Bill 3336 and any future attempts to lessen government transparency through the takeover of public notices. Public notice information should continue to be disseminated and available to the public through the traditional tried-and-true method of publication in local newspapers.

The Illinois Press Association, with headquarters in Springfield, is the largest state newspaper association in the United States with more than 500 daily and weekly newspaper members.

Letter: Reflections on a protest

As I was sitting in my car watching the protesters at the Aurora’s Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, I was thinking to myself how hard it must be for a young woman to decide to seek information or even have to decide to have an abortion.

On top of this important, private decision, she now has to listen to harassment and insults by religious fanatics as she enters the clinic.

I believe in the right to protest as long as it does not interfere with the woman’s right to choose and the right to privacy.

Do you think that the protesters’ God would approve of such behavior? I think not!

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Letter: In support of defense attorneys, Ron Dolak

The recent news story about the attack on court-appointed attorney Ron Dolak exemplifies the difficulty of the job of being a criminal defense lawyer, particularly a court-appointed criminal defense lawyer.

Our Constitution and American way of life mandate that any individual charged with a crime, no matter how unpopular, is entitled to a legal defense by a licensed attorney. That right attaches not only to people who can afford an attorney but also to those who can’t. Lawyers in private practice usually can choose their clients. Sometimes the court will appoint a lawyer to a case. Appointed lawyers do not have the luxury of choosing their clients. Public defenders never have that luxury.

I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 40 years. I have gotten along well with 99.99 percent of my clients. Occasionally, a lawyer gets a client who, no matter what you do, it is either not good enough or the wrong thing. The lawyer who has been hired has the option of firing the client. The appointed lawyer must make do with what he is given.

The job is difficult enough in that sometimes it seems the general public doesn’t realize that no matter whom the individual or what the alleged crime, the representation by a criminal defense lawyer is not only necessary but mandated by our laws, courts and Constitution. Ron Dolak and all appointed lawyers, particularly public defenders, are to be complimented on their patience and perseverance. Without their willingness to work with unpopular clients charged with unpopular offenses, the criminal justice system would break down. Without their willingness to work with sometimes difficult individuals, the criminal justice system would grind to a halt.

Lawyers practicing in the criminal justice field often deal not only with sometimes hostile clients looking for someone to blame other than themselves, but also with a public which sometimes does not seem to understand that when the criminal defense lawyer fights for the constitutional rights of his or her clients, that criminal defense lawyer is guarding the Constitution for all of us. That holds true for any lawyer who takes on any unpopular cause.

My compliments are extended to Ron Dolak, the public defenders, and all criminal defense lawyers who accept appointments.

Fred M. Morelli, Jr.
Aurora

Editorial: You have received your U.S. Census forms, or maybe not

If you have not received your U.S. Census form in the mail by now, do not expect to receive one.

According to Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, there are many local residents who will not receive a form because they receive their mail at a P.O. box. However, there are some residents who do access their mail from a P.O. box that will receive the form.

So how do you know if you are on the “to receive” or “not to receive” list?

You don’t. Simply put, if you have received your form already, then you were on the “to receive” list. If you haven’t yet, then now you know you were on the “not to receive” list.

According to Anderson, there is no pattern or rationale provided when trying to find out why some received the forms and some did not.

The only consistent thing about the census is that everyone does need to be counted. An accurate head count determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives allocated to each state, as well as determining the allocation of federal funds for various community services and construction projects. It also determines funding levels for various local and state governmental entities.

Not only is it important that everyone respond to the census, it is required by law.

Therefore, if you have received your census form in the mail and not replied, please do so prior to May 1. If you never received your form in the mail, then there are various places in your community in which you can pick one up.

In Elburn, forms are available at the Elburn Herald office, 123 N. Main St.; Town and Country Public Library, 320 E. North St.; Elburn Post Office at 815 N. Main St.; and Elburn Village Hall, 301 E. North St.

If you do not live in Elburn and also find yourself on the “not to receive” list, you should contact your village office to find out where to find one.

For more information, contact the village of Elburn at (630) 365-5060 or visit www.elburn.il.us; the village of Sugar Grove at (630) 466-4507 or visit www.sugar-grove.il.us; the village of Maple Park at (815) 827-3309 or visit www.villageofmaplepark.com; or the village of Kaneville at (630) 557-0037 or visit www.villageofkaneville.com.

Letter: Community proves how wonderful it is

Twenty years ago, when I married and moved to Elburn, I knew I had found a special community—a great place to raise a family.

One year ago, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since January, it seems I’ve spent more time in Loyola Hospital than at home.

The most wonderful thing is at no time have I ever had to worry about the well-being of my children. The community once again has stepped up to help a family in need. Someone is always there to make sure my girls have a ride to or from practice. Some donated their time to ride with Megan so she got enough hours to get her license—congrats Megan.

Thank you to the wonderful staff at John Stewart Elementary for providing meals for the last two months. Thank you to Elburn Express Baseball/Softball for all the ways in which you have supported us. And thank you to all the families too countless to mention, whether you sent cards of well wishes, made donations, dropped off a meal, took care of my children, stopped by to visit, or remembered us in your prayers.

We thank you for your kindness, and it means more to us than you will ever know.

Carol A. Herra
Elburn

Letter: Not proud of Congressman Foster

In response to the letter “Proud of Congressman Bill Foster,” by Frank Imhoff of the Elgin Township Democrats, I would like to give my response to Congressman Foster’s “yes” vote concerning the Health Care Reform Act.

I am deeply disappointed with his “yes” vote for “Obamacare.”

Congressman Foster has fallen lock step with the Obama cry for socializing the United States of America. Democrats will not be happy until all of us are totally beholding to the great givers in Washington. This bill will cause a tremendous burden on our children and grandchildren, as they will be the ones who will bear the burden of paying for this socialistic takeover of our nation’s health care.

And I believe that we will suffer with the quality and availability of our care. It appears to me that Bill Foster does not represent the hard-working people of his district when he makes such a wrongheaded decision. He merely follows his masters in the House of Representatives and the White House; or is he just one more of the liberal left who knows exactly what the masses need?

Remember, Bill Foster is of the same party that has given us Chicago-style politics in this state and the nation. Chicago is running in the red, and we all know what is happening in Springfield—more debt than we can cope with. Now he is helping to drive our once-great nation into the ground.

I would like to encourage all the people to call Rep. Foster and let him know that he is to represent us, not his party mantra. Citizens of this district need to vote Foster out of office and replace him with someone who does not take marching orders from the Democrats in Chicago, Springfield or Washington, D.C.

Bob Strzepek
Maple Park

Letter: Paws All Day In Elburn

On Saturday, June 12, Elburn and the surrounding areas will be treated to a new event at the Elburn Lions Park.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Paws All Day In Elburn will be a day-long celebration of dogs and cats, their owners and their abilities, and lots of family fun.

Although this event is new to Elburn, the response has been huge, and we are looking forward to a rewarding, educational, fun and event-filled day.

Vendors will be attending with apparel for pets and their people, all kinds of supplies, healthy pet food, crafts and decor.

There will be shelter and rescue groups on the premises, showcasing animals looking for “forever“ homes, with various live demonstrations throughout the day.

In addition to shopping for your furry family member, local pet-related businesses will be on hand. Find a groomer, pet-sitter, trainer or boarding facility near you.

At this event, you can find out how to get involved with service, therapy and reader dog organizations. Does your dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog?

Admission and parking for this event are free. Contests, raffles, events and displays will be ongoing. Lunch will be available, provided by the Elburn Lions Club.

We still have room for more vendors. If you have a pet-related business, service or product and would like to join us for this event, please visit www.PawsAllDayInElburn.com for full details, or call (630) 885-2732. There is an early bird discount for vendors if your application is received by Monday, April 12.

You may also sponsor our event. Sponsors donating $50 will have their business name printed on our banner; $75 donations include publication of your business name, phone number, website and/or other information in our brochures; and a $125 sponsorship will include both the banner and the brochure. All sponsorships will be listed on our website. Sponsorship will help with the cost of the event, and a portion of all proceeds from the day will go to Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet foundation.

Dr. Jane’s foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, establishment, maintenance and management of animal rescue groups committed to rescuing homeless animals all over America.

Because of the high number of animals expected to participate in this event, for liability reasons, and for the safety of all, the public is asked to leave their pets at home.

Lori Thuestad
PetTender, Elburn

Letter: Sugar Grove donors response

Your blood donations were so needed and so important, and on March 1 you responded.

Our blood drive was a huge success, due in part to the Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary, the Sugar Grove Fire Department, the Heartland Blood Center staff, and all of our extra helpers.

We send a special thank you to our donors for sharing the gift of life: Carolyn Abruzzo, Jeff Babich, Shawn Beyer, Kate Boehmer, Steve Boehmer, James Budzyn, Jennifer Calabrese, Perry Clark, Clara Cooper, Pat Davis, Lee Drendel, Jick Eckert, Tara Evers, Steve Good, Denise Goress, Mark Goress, George Hannemann, Susan Hayden, Jack Holleran, Mike Janco, John Jandovitz, Jane Johnson, Laura Keske, Ted Koch, Kim Kriceri, Sally McClellan, Suzanne McCracken, Sean Michels, Brandon J. Mires, Lisa Molitor, Russell Molitor, Jennifer Mourousias, Clarance Nolan, Crystal Quiroga, Jan Ray, Andrew Reynolds, Judy Rios, Brian Schiber, Erin Schiber, Damon Schultz, Christy Seawall, Don Sommerville, Christine Steenwyk, Jeff Steenwyk, Andrea Strobert, Marisa Tenorio, Renee Tonioni, Rachel Warren, Dana Weber, Molly Wolf, Annettee Wood, Dan Wurtz, James Zablocki, Scott Zaeske, Steve Zick.

We also deeply appreciate those who attempted but were unable to donate blood. The next Sugar Grove blood drive is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 13.

Joy Rubo
Blood Drive coordinator
Sugar Grove

Editorial: Kaneland’s budget-crunch reality sets in

All of the budget talk, all of the numbers, all of the discussion on potential cuts became reality this week when the Kaneland School Board authorized the dismissal of 118 teachers and professionals (see related story).

These include 24 in their first year, 37 in their second, 33 in their third, and nine of the 42 Kaneland teachers and professionals in their fourth year. In addition, 15 part-time teachers also received their dismissals.

For many of these educators and professionals, approximately 60 to 70 of them, the silver lining is that they will still have a job at Kaneland in the fall. However, they will not know if they are part of the “many” who could return to Kaneland until later in the year.

The reason the district authorized the dismissal of more staff than they will ultimately need is due to contractual obligations and the need for district flexibility. The district must notify certified staff at least 45 days prior to the end of the school year that their contracts will not be renewed the following year. While Kaneland finalizes its cuts and drills down to what specific positions should be re-filled, the district has the flexibility to select from the group.

The difficulty of this type of scenario is that those who are dismissed now will not know if they have a job to come back to, and there is little they can do until they find out.

The additional difficulty is that to remain in their career field, they would be entering a job market that is seeing similar staff reductions throughout the region and the state.

In many ways, this is no different than someone losing their job in the private sector. With unemployment rates so high, there are simply too many qualified applicants for too few available positions.

This is the unfortunate reality of today’s economy and the result of government budgets that were not sustainable even when the economy was surging.

It is easy to look at all of these numbers and—whether it is unemployment numbers or school budget numbers—and forget that those numbers represent real people.

That changes when the dismissal letters are actually sent, and one begins to consider the impact that letter has on the teachers, their families and their students.

“They (teachers and other professionals) went into the profession because they were passionate about students, and we will lose that. That’s the tragedy,” Kaneland School Board member Cheryl Krauspe said during Monday’s meeting.

Letter: Happy with Congressman Foster’s availability

Like Cody McCubbin, I too took time away from my family in order to attend “Congress on Your Corner” in Elburn on March 6.

This is the third event I have been able to attend with Congressman Foster since he has been in office. Although the time with him is limited, I greatly appreciate the fact that he even shows up to do these events. Personally, I like the private one-on-one session. Not all people are comfortable speaking publicly in town hall meeting formats.

Beginning around 2002 through the end of his term, I began calling then-Congressman Hastert’s office to find out about town hall meetings or any event I might attend to speak to him about my concerns.

I was repeatedly told “he has nothing scheduled.” At the same time, I would read about the local fundraisers he was having. Although Mr. McCubbin is unhappy about Foster’s chosen format, Foster’s availability has been far greater to his constituents than his predecessor, and we didn’t have to attend a fundraiser to see him.

Carol Green
Elburn

Letter: Sentimental reflection on the loss of extra curricular activities

I write this with the given that education comes first.

I don’t get to the meetings out of fear I am not educated enough—because there are always two sides—and for anyone that knows me, knows I am not afraid to speak passionately about things I believe in. That being said, I will just write about what I do know. It is not about taxes, budgets or teachers’ salaries, but community.

On the Friday night while sitting at the final Regional Basketball game at KHS, you could not only see a sense of community, but you could hear it. As the final buzzer rang in my ears, I sensed sadness; not because our team played a good game and came up short, not because the seniors just finished another chapter in their lives, but a sense of loss in the community.

Taking away sports (or any extra-curricular) at the lower levels (seventh through 10th) no doubt will weaken our athletic programs over the next few years. In general, will KHS see a final “regional” game in a few years? If not, where will we—the community—go for a night out?

We come out not only to cheer on our team, but to socialize with our community. The very young to the senior citizens gather in one place and root for one team. This is true of musicals and games. It is an inexpensive “night out” for families like mine that don’t have kids in high school yet.

It is a place where we can practice some basic manners that seem to escape our younger generation: Don’t be rude, be aware of those around you, include everyone, respect your elders, and even help a mom who has a toddler that just lost something under the bleachers. It is a place for the kids at all the elementary schools to get a glimpse of each other and make some new friends. The game/performance is a place where the team parents sit together and maybe even make life-long friendships. It is a place where a retired school-bus driver or teacher can come back and be sure to see a familiar face.

This is a place to let my 13-year-old spread her wings with her friends on the other side of the gym, but under the watchful eye of me and some of my community. It is a place where I can sometimes visit with the man that taught me the love of the game at a summer camp.

Sports (and all extra-curriculars) allow the students a different type of learning that cannot be taught out of a book. Working together as a team teaches us life lessons. These lessons carry as far, or possibly further, in life than a+b=c.

There are many great teachers in my past, and I can even remember some of the names, but I can remember all of my coaches’ names (good or bad). Thinking of this reminds me of my freshman year at college where I was to play basketball, but had to make a painful decision to quit and work for financial reasons. I am best friends with my mom, but the night my roommate suited up for the first game, I walked to the end of the hall with a hand full of quarters and called my high school basketball coach and cried. I have called that coach many times over the years.

So thank you to those coaches who have taught us to compete together as a unit, to win or lose with grace, for teaching us to perform as one voice in competition or entertainment.

As I write this letter it is 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, we are on the way to a volleyball tournament. The sun is rising as we pass the Harter Middle School and I wonder will Kaneland’s next great musician or athlete be walking in those halls come Monday morning? Will we ever know? Will a Bonnie Bray or Rick Schairer be able to mold them into today’s Dudzinski?

I smile and think back to last night at a pizza place in Batavia, where Dave and Robbie Dudzinski must have been having a brother’s night out. There was a father of a young boy that said, “Look son, there is Dave Dudzinski!” The boy smiled at his father, and they walked up and said “Hi” to Dave. I think the dad was as awestruck as the son.

Extra-curriculars are expensive, what they teach and the community they build is priceless.

Laurie Hannula
Kaneville

Letter: New legislation will improve accountability

Republicans in both the House and Senate have been consistently communicating with Governor Quinn to bring his attention to public opinion on the state budget and other critical issues.

Their ideas, combined with your suggestions submitted through www.reinventillinois.com, have identified hundreds of key proposals that could help restore fiscal responsibility to our state.

I’d like to share one of my pieces of legislation that I believe will change the financial face of our state.

Each year, the Illinois Comptroller is mandated to provide a report to the General Assembly and the people of Illinois on expenditures made by each state agency. This Comprehensive Annual Financial Report covers July 1 to June 30, and is printed and filed once all department reports are received and audited by the auditor general.

The report that covers July 2008 to June, 2009 has not yet been filed. That’s right—funds spent 20 months ago are still not publically accounted for. Why? Because all departments do not provide their information in a timely manner for audit. Could you balance your checkbook not knowing what you had spent for nearly two years? My bill will change that.

This week, House Bill No. 6267 received unanimous approval from the House of Representatives. It creates specific deadlines; all reports must be received for review by the auditor general by Oct. 31, and the Comptroller must provide an official report by Dec. 31. To encourage a timely response, state agency directors’ salaries may be withheld until they submit the required information. Government must be accountable to the people.

The budget deficit in Illinois is not simply a result of the national economy. We must work in a bi-partisan manner and find common sense solutions to get our state back on the right track. That means reforming government and retooling how this state does business. It means creating a budget that is both responsible and treats our residents with dignity; not an easy task.

It is an honor to serve as your State Representative. I welcome and encourage additional suggestions at info@kayhatcher.us.

State Rep. Kay Hatcher
50th District
Yorkville

Letter: Proud of Congressman Bill Foster

I’m proud that Congressman Bill Foster voted in favor of health-care reform legislation passed in the House of Representatives.

The lies and scare tactics have been intense. Vast amounts of money have and will be spent to discredit the very people who have bravely worked to fix a system that thrives by restricting or denying health care rather than providing it.

Please take a good look at what the new rules really do and do not do. Small businesses get tax credits to provide coverage for their employees. That should help them keep employees in these tough economic times. Children with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied insurance, and there won’t be lifetime limits to their coverage. A little girl’s illness won’t bring her whole family financial ruin.

There are plenty of reasons not to improve the current health-care system. Unfortunately, they have little to do with health care. The reforms Congressman Bill Foster endorsed will provide us all a healthier future.

Frank Imhoff
Chairman
Elgin Township Democrats
Elgin

Letter: Delnor continues to improve patient care

Recently, while (I was) visiting a friend who had just returned home from a long weekend stay in the cardiac care unit at Delnor Hospital, she exclaimed, “Ginny, the nurses were so competent.”

She proceeded to explain the rapid assessment that was made upon her arrival, the medication adjustments and careful monitoring she received there. I also witnessed first-hand the care my daughter was given a year ago when she suddenly fell ill at home and was taken by ambulance to the Delnor emergency room. She spent three days in intensive care and two more days in a regular room. The thorough assessment she received by the doctors and the wonderful care she received from the nursing staff was remarkable and laid the groundwork for a complete recovery.

As a member of the Patient Partnership Council at Delnor, I have learned a lot the last few years about Delnor and their continuous efforts to provide excellent patient-centered care. The Patient Partnership Council is a group composed of staff members and prior hospital inpatients and outpatients, as well as family members of patients. The purpose of the council is to serve as a formal mechanism for involving patients and families in policy and program decision making at Delnor Hospital.

At each monthly meeting, we have learned about an aspect of hospital operations. While we have learned about Delnor, the hospital staff (members) have learned about us and are now inviting former patients to participate in hospital committees or task forces to share our view of the subject being discussed from the patient perspective. The transparency this requires is rarely seen in large institutions, and I believe is attributed to Delnor’s leadership, especially Tom Wright, President and CEO of the Delnor Health System.

Delnor Hospital was recently awarded the prestigious Planetree Designation. It is the only hospital in Illinois with this credential and is one of nine in the United States. Planetree is devoted to promoting a better patient experience, empowering patients and families through information and education, and encouraging healing partnerships with patients and caregivers. Planetree promotes the core values of service, respect, integrity and compassion.

I am proud to volunteer on this council and felt the community should be made aware of Delnor’s continuous efforts to provide excellent health care to our community.

Ginny Temple
St. Charles

Letter: Lauzen’s Legislative Top Ten

Until Governor Quinn and ruling majorities in the House and Senate reduce Medicaid eligibility to the national average, dramatically reform and fund public employee pensions for future and current employees, secure spending flexibility on billions of federal so-called stimulus dollars, and conduct a hard scrubbing for efficiency of every agency and program in state government, Illinois will continue the budget “death spiral” that is causing employers to evacuate with their jobs, senior citizens with assets to relocate to other states, and bond rating companies to double-downgrade the financial prospects of 12.9 million Illinoisans.

To avoid wearing out my welcome by replaying budget and job-creation solutions that I have repeatedly proposed here and in Springfield, I will devote this article to “Lauzen’s Top 10” legislative initiatives that I am proposing this Spring on your behalf:
1. What’s good for the goose: 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”
According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the People, through at least two-thirds of their state legislators, can call for a convention strictly limited to enact this provision. (SJR111)
2. Eliminate pensions for members of the Illinois General Assembly: If you really want to affect term limits, remove platinum-plated benefits. Citizen legislators should not be incentivized like professional politicians or state workers in the permanent bureaucracy. (SB2920)
3. Stop gerrymandering legislative districts: Support the League of Women Voters “FairMap” referendum to end the practice of legislative leaders protecting the status quo by selecting their constituents, rather than constituents fairly electing their representatives.
4. Cut unfunded mandates to schools and local governments: Especially during a time when those running state government are behaving like deadbeats, immediately reduce all the unnecessary regulation that pumps up bureaucracy and waste. If you’re not going to send the money, hold back all that advice. (SB3000)
5. Saved you $10M of wasteful spending: Senator Dale Righter and I killed legislation in Senate floor debate on March 10 that would have given a $10 million payback of your tax dollars to four casinos (not Aurora or Elgin) between 2006 and 2009.
6. Ban political robocalls: Eliminate the exception for politicians to the “Do Not Call” list procedures. (SB3135)
7. Fair assessments for property taxes: County assessors must include foreclosures, short sales and other distressed situations in determining the true value of real estate. (SB3334)
8. Eliminate redundant elementary-school districts within a single high-school district: By referendum, residents would choose a single high school district that their elementary school district children would go to. This consolidation would not close schools, it would combine redundant administration—improving curriculum coordination and saving an estimated quarter of a billion dollars statewide per year. (SB2281)
9. Term limits for legislators: Republican Governor Nominee Senator Bill Brady and I would prohibit representatives from serving more than five consecutive terms and senators from more than three terms. (SJRCA 77)
10. Reform public-employee pensions: Eliminate double-dipping into multiple public-pension systems; raise age for collecting public pensions to 62 years old from 50 and 55; cap benefits at six-figure annual income of $100,000; reduce annual cost-of-living increases; calculate benefits based on average of highest eight of last 10 years (rather than in many cases, last day of service); and, fully-fund what is promised. These provisions will save you tens of billions of dollars over the next 20 to 30 years. (SB2825, SFA 1)

The next step on each of these proposals is to get the maximum number of senate co-sponsors to increase support for passage. Call me at (630) 264-2334, if you would like to help.
Senator Chris Lauzen
25th District
Aurora

Editorial: Public’s right to know requires vigilant protection

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
—Barack Obama

This week is considered Sunshine Week, a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Both quotes above represent essential truths to the importance of open and transparent government. While our democracy is founded on the concept of checks and balances, an informed public serves as the ultimate check and balance against the government itself.

Yet, the public’s power can only exist if two conditions are met: 1) the public has access to information about the government and how it operates; 2) the public cares enough to protect its access and to remain informed.

To help meet the first condition, we are lucky to have initiatives like Sunshine Week, which is led by the American Society of News Editors. Visit www.sunshineweek.org for more information about this initiative and the importance of its mission. We are also lucky to have organizations like the Illinois Press Association (IPA), which works tirelessly to protect the First Amendment and access to information in our state.

While Sunshine Week and the IPA are media-focused, the reality is that their efforts are on behalf of the people, and not just the press. This is because the true power of the First Amendment and access to information is held by the public.

These rights should not be taken lightly, nor for granted. The entire basis of American independence—and later, of American Democracy—is that our rights are not granted by government, which implies those rights can also be taken away by government. Rather, our rights simply exist, and government is prohibited from intruding upon them.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
—U.S. Declaration of Independence

While our Founding Fathers articulated these rights as the foundation of our society, history has shown that even our government is not immune to a desire to limit our unalienable rights and freedoms. It is that very nature of our government that places so much importance on transparency and access to information, because it is the public’s access to public information that allows us to protect the rights our nation was founded upon.

We must remain focused on ensuring that our access is not limited or our speech restrained. The quote from our current president, Barack Obama, articulates the need for an engaged and aware public.

Yet, at the same time, a recent Associated Press review of federal access and transparency noted that denials of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests among the 17 major federal agencies has increased by 50 percent, as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, the total number of FOIA requests decreased.

What this means is, anyone can make a campaign pledge or say the right things in a speech, and anyone can say that their administration will be more transparent than the last; but the proof is in the action. The proof must exist in deed, and not just word. And because it is significantly easier to pledge transparency than it is to achieve it, the public must remain vigilant and aware of what they have access to today, as well as what they should gain access to tomorrow.

This is not just a federal issue. It is just as important to focus on local government.

Local governments do not experience a fraction of the scrutiny the federal government does, making it easier to—intentionally or not—erode the public’s access to information. Add to that the differences in Sunshine laws from state to state, and the overall system becomes exponentially more complex.

This combination of bureaucratic complexity and difficulty in turning words into deeds means that public scrutiny is what ultimately will preserve the rights that are endowed by our creator.

Letter: Spring Break celebration for TriCity Family Services

On Friday, March 5, 2010, TriCity Family Services hosted its 21st Annual Benefit and Auction.

The event theme was “Spring Break” this year, offering a beach and party atmosphere for the 177 individuals who attended.

The ballroom at the Eaglebrook Country Club in Geneva was transformed into a sunny beach shore for the evening, where attendees enjoyed extensive silent and live auctions, a split-the-pot raffle, live D.J. spinning tunes by request, and a “Toss for the Cause” bean bag game.

The event netted just over $41,000, which is under the $50,000 the agency was hoping to raise.

Our supporters are really increasing their direct donations to TriCity Family Services and cutting back on attending and spending money at fundraising events. We still have lots of fun, raise some good money, and gain new friends and supporters from these events, but they are not the big revenue generators that they used to be.

The loyal cadre of supporters who attended the Spring Break Benefit, along with some new friends of the agency, brought great energy to the room and made generous contributions and purchases to ensure that the four-decade-old agency continues to serve the mental health needs of the community.

The need for TriCity Family Services counseling services on a sliding-fee scale are in great demand at this difficult economic time. The agency remains committed to making their programs and services affordable to area residents in need, particularly those uninsured or underinsured individuals and families for whom outpatient mental health services in the private practice sector are out of reach financially.

Nearly 90 percent of all counseling program fees at TriCity Family Services are based on the sliding scale, and more than half of all clients receiving counseling services pay less than $40 per session. TriCity Family Services continues to ensure that no one is ever denied services on a basis of ability to pay.

The agency would like to thank Presenting Sponsors of the event: Harris Bank, Exelon Nuclear, and Nicor.

Miranda Barfuss
Director of Development
TriCity Family Services

Letter: Love horses? Be a volunteer

Blazing Prairie Stars, a therapy farm in Maple Park, is looking for volunteers 16 and older who have at least one year’s experience with horses and enjoy working with children.

Blazing Prairie Stars is a provider of horse-assisted therapy and other programs in the natural environment for children who have disabilities. Volunteers are needed for one- to two-hour shifts on Monday and Wednesday mornings to serve as horse leaders and side walkers during the therapy sessions. Volunteers can also help with grooming, tacking, and other barn chores.

Please call Carrie Capes at Blazing Prairie Stars (630) 365-5550 to learn more about this exciting volunteer opportunity. Join our inspiring team of volunteers, therapists, and horse professionals.

Carrie Capes
Maple Park

Editorial: Thank you, Elburn firefighters and Nicor

On Saturday afternoon, I received a voicemail that made a series of worst-case scenario images come to mind as I returned the call to the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District.

Ultimately I learned that our building in downtown Elburn had a gas leak, and I was needed to provide the firefighters with access to the building. I live 30 minutes away, so the firefighters had a fair bit of time to wait for me.

I arrived assuming that they would be a bit impatient, wanting to get inside to either give the “all-clear” or to take whatever action necessary.

The opposite proved true. As I approached them with an apology on my lips, they each responded with a kind smile and apologized to me for bringing me to the office on a weekend. Here, I am the one that should be thanking them, and their focus is on thanking me.

While waiting for a crew from Nicor to arrive, I expected the firefighters to leave and return to their station. It was not terribly cold outside, but it was chilly enough that unless one was required to, there would be no reason to stand still outside.

Yet, the firefighters remained on the scene for at least another hour after Nicor confirmed they were on the way.

Each of the firefighters who responded to the call were friendly and gracious, and represent the type of people I would want to respond to scene if I was involved in an incident of real significance.

Here is just a small example of the type of people we have serving the community. When I told them that my oldest son, who is 4, thought I was “big-time” because I got to go to work to meet “real firefighters,” they immediately responded by giving me a plastic firefighter helmet for both him and his little brother.

The firefighters also remained on the scene until Nicor showed up and determined that there was enough of a leak to warrant an immediate resolution.

Once Nicor was on the scene, I was able to see another round of excellent service and graciousness.

I had to return later that night and remain well past midnight, and the Nicor crew chief was there. As they gave me the all-clear to lock up the building, the crew supervisor thanked me multiple times and apologized for keeping me away from home. Again, another example of someone thanking me at a time when I should be the one giving thanks.

When I returned the following day at mid-morning, the Nicor crew supervisor was still there, approaching 20 hours straight at the scene. When I saw him I assumed he would appear haggard and tired, likely impatient to leave and get some rest.

Instead, he remained as friendly as the first moment he arrived at the scene, and continued to thank me and apologize for the inconvenience.

Ultimately, we had to close the office on Monday due to lack of heat as the Nicor crew ran a brand-new connection to the building. And as the week has gone on, the crew has returned to restore the property back to how it was before the entire incident began.

This small occurrence demonstrates how much of an impact someone can have with a kind word and a smile; they can turn something negative into a positive and make us thankful that we have these types of people to rely on should something really bad happen.

Thank you, Elburn firefighters; and thank you, Nicor.

Ryan Wells
Editor