Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Thank you from the family of Skip Mennerick

To all of our friends, customers, patients, colleagues and the Elburn community: Thank you for your support, encouragement, meals, kind words and gifts following the death of my husband, Skip Mennerick. We have been amazed by your generosity to the Skip Mennerick Memorial benefiting Cole and Kiera’s education and continue to receive letters and cards of support and encouragement.

Thank you to the Elburn emergency medical responders like Greg Algrim and the others whose names I don’t know, who showed up that day. Doug Keifer, thank you for going above and beyond what could have been expected as an EMT, for holding my hand in the ambulance and for staying with me and comforting me when I lost it. Thank you to officer Dave Wright and the other officers for staying with my kids when I couldn’t, and for giving them little bears to hold. Thank you to the chaplain at Delnor for quietly standing by my side in the trauma room.

Conley Funeral Home is made up of some of the most amazing people. We are so blessed to have such a place in our community. I especially want to acknowledge Ben Conley for knowing just what I needed to hear in the midst of a very trying day, and to Jeanne Fabrizius and Tigger Flint for giving me what I needed before I knew I needed it.

Thank you to our church home, Rejoice Lutheran in Geneva, and Pastor Lou Quetel for caring for us, for providing an amazing tribute at Skip’s memorial service and the beautiful luncheon that followed. Thank you to the executives from Cub Cadet Corporation in Ohio who made the trip to honor Skip and his dedication to his work.

Dec. 23 would have been Skip’s 30th birthday. Although we are still reeling from the loss, we celebrate the life we had with Skip and look forward to the day we will see him again in heaven.

I, along with the Houtz and Mennerick families, are deeply grateful and proud to be a part of a community that supports its own in such a caring way.

Erika Mennerick
and Houtz and Mennerick families

Letter: Thank you for help during Christmas Stroll

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those that helped in our very successful gingerbread house raffle at the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Dec. 4.

I wish to thank the donation of the two gingerbread houses from Party Animals’ Cindy Thul of Elburn and the Fresh Market of Geneva. I would also like to thank Dr. Ken Baumruck and Pam Schneider from Elburn Chiropractic and Acupuncture of Elburn, for the promotional of the raffle tickets, and making signs, etc.

A big thanks to Dave’s Barber Shop’s Dave Rissman of Elburn, for displaying our gingerbread house and selling the raffle tickets.

Also, thanks to our Legionnaires and their wives for the dedication to this cause. Thank you to whom I may have forgotten to mention.

These proceeds will send holiday wishes to warm the hearts of our soldiers, who might be far away from home.

The winners of the gingerbread houses are Harley Veldhuizen of Elburn, and Diane Johnson.

George Morris
American Legion Post #630

If you can’t give money or food, please give your time

by Diana Baker
Between Friends Food Pantry volunteer

Ask most of us to describe our Thanksgiving weekend and we would probably use at least four of the following words: “Faith, family, friends and food.” Our local Sugar Grove food pantry is working hard to gear up for the holidays and the cold winter months ahead, and they could use your help with all those words, especially the last one—food.

A donation to the Sugar Grove Between Friends Food Pantry is a valuable gift in whatever form it may take. There are many ways the supporters of the food pantry can help. Consider these easy ways to help: Donate food, donate your time or make a monetary donation to Between Friends Food Pantry.

Donate money by contributing as an individual or an organization or by becoming a food-pantry sponsor. Donate food, either as a corporate donor, a neighborhood subdivision, a charitable organization activity or as a family or individual. If financially you are unable to help with money or food, donate time by exploring volunteer opportunities at a special event or at the food pantry facility. They can use some of your time to help unload, organize, pack and help serve the families who come for assistance.

The holidays are upon us—join in the spirit of giving and help your neighbors. The individuals, families, single parents and children you choose to help can be people with disabilities, the elderly living on fixed incomes, people who have lost their jobs and are out of work temporarily. They are people in our neighborhoods. They are people like us.

If you need assistance of the food pantry or would like to help us, please go to our website at: www.sugargrovefoodpantry.org or contact Melisa Taylor at (630) 466-0345 or e-mail her at taylormmt@yahoo.com. Monetary donations can be made out to Between Friends Food Pantry and mailed to P.O. Box 509, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

Letter: Seeking info on former KHS students

I am a teacher at Kaneland High School, and one of the projects I have my students participate in is the writing of a five-year letter. The students write about themselves, their families, their goals and their present thoughts of their lives.

I take the letters, put them away for five years, and mail them back to the students to show them how much their lives have changed and developed.

I mailed off the letters for the sixth time this past November. Unfortunately, I have received some letters back.

The names of the students that I am looking for are: Alysa Barry, Melissa Henderson, Dayna Sepuheda, Stephanie Howard, P.J. Ruff, Jeffrey Chiang, Alex Tomhaue, Charlene Walker, Rebecca Rissman, Kevin Phillips, Laura Rittenbery, Megan Lane, Angelica Demind.

If any of these people would still like their five-year letter or know where these people are, they can contact Judy W. Fabrizius at Kaneland High School at jfabrizi@kaneland.org or (630) 365-5100, ext. 340.

Judy W. Fabrizius
Kaneland High School

Letter: Unsure why school was not cancelled due to cold

Negative twenty degrees. That’s cold, no matter who you are, and it seems even colder when you’re outside waiting for that yellow bus to take you to school.

On Dec. 10, that’s exactly what Kaneland students had to deal with. The air was cold itself, but when that wind blew; it made you really think why we had school.

And why should we? I know that the school says that at 40° below zero is when they can cancel school, but isn’t that just a little too cold?

The students at my bus stop were outside with me that day, waiting to get out of the frigid air. There were moans and groans, but those were drowned out by the sound of teeth chattering uncontrollably. To make matters worse, the buses were late because they were driving slow and cautiously because of the bad road conditions. The main roads, like Route 47 and Keslinger, may have not looked bad, but back roads, like Harter and Watson, were badly plowed and made driving harder than they were already. Some streets in subdivisions hadn’t even been plowed that morning.

It also had to be hard on the bus drivers that are capable of getting kids to school safely in that type of weather. My bus driver rarely looked back at us to see what we were doing, because he was too preoccupied in keeping his eyes on the road. He ended up getting us to school safely, but other people didn’t get where they needed to be quite as safely as we did. I remembered seeing at least two cars stuck in snow or in a ditch, and I heard over the radios that the bus drivers use that there was an accident on Route 47, and that it looked bad.

So that brings me back to the main question in my article, why was school in session? At 20° below zero, liquids can freeze over very quickly. Ice covered my driveway, my sidewalk and my road, and I’m certain that other roads were just the same. The ice made driving conditions very dangerous, and it was just flat out freezing out there. I also wonder whether our school sends teachers out to drive to test the roads to make sure that they aren’t dangerous, because if they do, I really want to know what they thought of the roads that morning.

I guess I just really want to know why. Why did we have school that day? Why were we made to wait for our bus in sub-zero temperature?

But who knows. Maybe, to our district employees who make the decisions, it wasn’t that bad out. Maybe everything the students say are merely exaggerations. I don’t think that those are true, and neither will the other students that had to wait outside for their buses.

Ryan Noel
Kaneland High School student
Sugar Grove

Letter: Hope and change

I am scared. I have a job, but for how long? My country has freedom, but for how long? Businesses as a whole have been under assault for more than a year now.

We were sold an idea from a so-called charismatic man—hope and change. The definition of hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. The definition of change: to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.

Let us now look at these two ideas more closely.

Those on the left (progressives, liberals, blue dogs, or whatever they call themselves now) had hoped that Barak Obama would get us out of Iraq and close down Guantanamo Bay. They hoped that, unlike past presidents, Obama would keep all of his over 200 campaign promises. They hoped that by passing Obama’s “stimulus” package, supposedly created to foster job growth, that unemployment would not get above eight percent.

We are still in Iraq, and Obama has continued George W. Bush’s plan since entering office and has even introduced his own surge in Afghanistan—no change. Gitmo is still open, as it should be—no change. Over 90 percent of Obama’s campaign promises have not been met and several already discarded—no change, which is a good thing.

There was no stimulative effect from the bill Obama pushed, a majority of the money has not even been utilized, and the unemployment rate has reached as high as 10.2 percent—negative change.

During the election, we had two foreign wars that were controversial. We also, toward the end of an election cycle that seems to get longer every presidential election, had a deteriorating economy that showed signs that it was going to get worse before it got better. Amazingly, our healthcare system was working—as well as more Americans. We now hope that the economy and employment don’t get worse and want the government to change its focus to jobs and away from taking away our freedoms.

Charisma means a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people. I want a leader for the greatest nation on Earth that influences the people by his actions and accomplishments, not by how he gives a speech.

David Selenis
Maple Park

Editorial: Community focuses on giving, not receiving

As the holidays approach each year, concerns are often raised that the season has become too materialistic and commercialized.

Spend any amount of time watching the inundation of commercials and how early in the year retail outlets begin setting up for the season, and it is easy to see how that concern exists.

Yet, read through this week’s edition—as well as many past weeks—and it seems clear that a tremendous amount of our local residents feel the focus should be more on giving than on receiving.

Whether it is children donating their own money to help purchase necessities and holiday gifts for families in need, such as those in the story on page 1A by Susan O’Neill; or the packed house attending the Maple Park Family Fund raffle and fundraiser, like in the photo series on page 6A taken by Martha Quetsch; or the farmers donating money to local 4-H members while waiting for their turn at the Elburn Co-Op, featured in the story on page 5A, it seems as through every week there are numerous examples of local residents helping each other.

It is heartening to see that as needs increase, so does the response from those who can give.

Letter: Open house raffle winners give back

The Wendling family of Sugar Grove was the grand prize winner of $1,000 credit on their account at the open house held in early November at the Sugar Grove Animal Hospital.

The Wendlings, owners of Rich’s Auto and Towing in Sugar Grove, generously donated half of their winnings to clients who are struggling financially to care for their pets.

Sugar Grove Animal Hospital’s open house on Nov. 7 was a success, with an estimated 600 guests visiting our facility. The afternoon started with a ribbon cutting ceremony from the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, where the hospital received a plaque commemorating the day.

The Hagberg family of Sugar Grove won a credit of $500, and Mari Johnson won $250, for credit toward medical care for their pets. Various raffle winners of several vendor bags included the Ireland family, the Higgins family and Amoni family.

The free toenail trims went over well with around 250 pets, including two guinea pigs and a ferret receiving pedicures that day.

It was great to see familiar faces and all of our potentially new clients. A special thank you to everyone who helped make this a success, including Amy Weiland of Amy Weiland Pet Photography, for all the pictures she took, Cindy Morettin of SuperDogz training for the dog agility demonstration, Bark Busters, Millie’s Pet Sitting and Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets (H.E.L.P.) for their bake sale; Connie Wilson for making the hospital look sparkling clean, Annette Ray for manning the popcorn machine, among many other random tasks; Melia Newby for all of her hard work; and to all of our families for being so supportive.

For further information, contact the Sugar Grove Animal Hospital, 110 Main St., Sugar Grove, by calling (630) 466-7387.

Julie Wortman
Sugar Grove Animal Hospital

Letter: Corn Boil donates proceeds

On Oct. 15, 2009, Corn Boil President Kevin Geary presented $8,000 in donations to a variety of community organizations.

Corn Boil 2009, held the weekend of July 24, 25, and 26, was a success. All the bills have been paid, the seed money for the 2010 event is banked, and the committee is pleased to share the proceeds with local organizations.

The Corn Boil meeting and presentation ceremony was held at Engineering Enterprises, Inc., 52 Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove.

The recognized groups include the Kaneland cheerleaders, Big Rock Park District, Sugar Grove Clown Ministry, Boy Scout Troop #7, and the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

They were each recognized for their activities, which ranged from time and effort of their members in husking corn for two full days, cooking and selling corn, and cleaning up the park.

The Kaneland High School Art Department was recognized for assisting in the design of the medallion. The Medallion Hunt has been a two-year tradition which helps generate excitement about the Corn Boil in the weeks before the event.

Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, Sugar Grove Community House and Sugar Grove Park District were recognized for sharing their facilities with us for the days of set-up and then throughout the event. The committee made a donation to the fireworks fund for the Sugar Grove Lions Club. This year, they increased the budgeted amount for the 2010 fireworks contribution.

Between Friends Food Pantry and the Sugar Grove Historical Society were recognized for their contribution to the community.

The next Sugar Grove Corn Boil will mark the 43rd anniversary of this annual event. Please support your community by helping to plan this special event in 2010. Beginning in January, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil meetings will be held the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at Engineering Enterprises, Inc., 52 Wheeler Road, Sugar Grove.

The dates for the next event are July 23, 24 and 25. The Sugar Grove Corn Boil is a volunteer run, community event, featuring three family-friendly and fun-filled days.

For more information about the 2010 Corn Boil, please visit www.sugargrovecornboil.org, or you may call the Sugar Grove Events Hotline at (630) 466-5166. Look for Corn Boil 50/50 drawings at a variety of community events, including Holiday in the Grove and the Farmers Market.

Beverly Holmes Hughes
Library Director
Sugar Grove Public Library

Letter: Witnesses have to get involved

This is my first time writing a letter to you, but I wanted to comment on the bystander incident that happened at Richmond High School in California last month, in which a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped and beaten.

The worst thing about it? Many people saw it and didn’t do anything. It’s sad to say, but as many as 15 young men stood and watched, and some even took videos with their cell phones. To make matters worse, it happened just outside a school during the homecoming dance, the last place where something like that should happen.

This is one example that proves that people can be violent and uncivilized. I still can’t believe that we are living in a civilized society where so many people are apathetic. Whatever happen to the saying that “one person can change the world”? Or that “a crime against one innocent is a crime against all mankind”? It really says something about human beings.

I can’t imagine what the girl is going through. She was in the hospital in critical condition and her name has not been released.

Here’s what I have to say about this horrifying incident: the witness who does nothing is just as bad as the person who does harm.

Marina Alcantara
KHS student

Letter: Think before you tweet

The new craze sweeping across the world, and even Kaneland High School, is Twitter. Twitter is a social networking site that, when used correctly, can be a great way to keep in touch. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t understand the proper way to use it, and update or ‘tweet’ about everything that happens to them in the two minutes since they’ve tweeted last.

I will admit I’m an avid Twitter user. I’m interested in what bands are performing where, and I also follow the Obama account to keep myself updated.

But, I’m sorry, no one needs to know that you have just brushed your teeth. I repeat: no one. It has gotten out of hand; it’s impractical and unnecessary.

Do not fear, though, there is a correct way to Tweet: Appropriate Twitter behavior includes tweeting only every hour, or a greater time span, and posting things such as “I’m going to (insert a place of importance),” “Go Knights/Bears/ Cubs/etc.,” or a light-hearted joke.

And the wrong way? It’s inappropriate to tweet every 10 seconds, or to post things such as the singular smiley face, whatever your cat just did, or that your boyfriend is cute.

So, when logging on to Twitter, really let what you’re about to say sit in your mind. Is it important? Is it relevant? If not, just click off the site.

Think before you tweet.

Madeline Haag
KHS student

Letter: Looking for a tax deduction?

While many friends and community members make frequent donations of books, videos and other materials to the Kaneville Public Library for adding to our collections, exchanges with other libraries, or for its annual book sales, many people are unaware of other tax deductible donations that can be made to the library.

Cash donations, paid newspaper and magazine subscriptions, or paying for items from the library’s “wish book” of equipment and furniture needs are obvious examples, but other in-kind contributions can be made as well.

Books, audio and video recordings, computer software and other library-related items are, of course, always welcome, and the library accepts such donations year round, not just in the weeks leading up to a book sale.

The library will accept gently used office equipment such as file cabinets, calculators, typewriters or adding machines.

Art works for inclusion in the library’s collection of paintings and prints are always considered.

Used electronics, such as televisions, video game consoles (with games and controllers), video players, cassette and CD players, computer equipment and printers are acceptable as donations, so long as they are in working condition, are particularly welcome. Non-working electronics can be dropped off at the library for re-cycling, but we ask people to call before dropping things off as storage space is sometimes at a premium.

The library does not provide appraisals for donations, but will provide donors with letters of acknowledgement to help them in calculating their donation’s worth at tax time.

For additional information, questions about specific donations or directions to the library, contact Ray Christiansen, the Library Director, at (630) 557-2441.

Ray Christiansen
Library Director
Kaneville Public Library

Editorial: Kick off the season with us at Kandyland

For many in the area, the Christmas holiday season kicks off with the first weekend of December, when Elburn hosts the annual Elburn Chamber of Commerce Christmas Stroll and Sugar Grove hosts its annual Holiday in the Grove.

This year, the Christmas Stroll is set for Friday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. throughout Elburn. Holiday in the Grove follows the next day, on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Both events feature a community-wide variety of family-friendly events, activities, and of course, visits with Santa.

At the Elburn Herald, we look forward to the Christmas Stroll because it gives us an opportunity to transform our office into a life-sized winter wonderland styled after the Candyland board game. Kandyland draws hundreds of children and their parents each year, and Elburn Herald Design Director Leslie Flint, the mastermind behind our decorative schemes each year, is preparing to ensure that this year is our best yet.

In addition to playing life-sized Kandyland, Santa will hold court at the Elburn Town and Country Public Library, a number of demonstrations, activities and food are available at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, and a business expo will be held in the Elburn Village Hall—not to mention all of the individual offerings available in many businesses throughout Elburn.

The following morning, Santa will be on hand for breakfast at the Community House in Sugar Grove to open the Holiday in the Grove festivities.

There are plenty of additional events throughout the day at the Community House, such as a Coffee with the Mayor, Village President Sean Michels, a Fun Fair and children’s crafts. The Sugar Grove United Methodist Church will feature Santa’s Sweet Shoppe for those with a sweet tooth, the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School will offer a crafter and vendor fair, as well as a Kids Holiday Shop, and the Sugar Grove Public Library will host its annual used book sale throughout the day.

We hope to see you at Kandyland as we kick off the holiday season, and we urge you to visit the rest of the events during the Elburn Christmas Stroll and Sugar Grove Holiday in the Grove.

See you on Friday!

Letter: OK to be upset with harder grading scale

Is it so wrong for a sophomore girl in high school who’s dealing with the stress of school, boys and zits to be a little upset that her grading scale is harder than what seems like everyone else’s? I don’t think it is.

Today in high school, it’s normal for a student to have three to four hours of homework a night. Balancing that with sports, family, extracurricular activities and friends is really difficult. So I think that if a student is doing all of their homework and actually trying, not having a grading scale that can show how hard they’re working is wrong.

Let’s say that a student at Geneva High School and I take the same exact test; we studied the same, got the same questions correct, and we both got our test back at 92 percent. The fact that she could be so excited she got an A and I’m disappointed that I got a B is simply not OK. We both did the same work, both tried just as hard and that person is rewarded with an A.

I propose that Kaneland takes on the grading scale that most every other school in the district has; not only because it would make the Kaneland students lives easier, but also because then it would finally be fair.

Kyle Prost
KHS student

Letter: Everyone has the right to love

Upon reading that Maine has rejected same-sex marriage, I was angered at the closed-mindedness of the voting generation. As more states take same-sex marriages and rights to the polls, I become more hopeful that one day our country can finally give up on discrimination.

Everyone has the right to love, and no one should have a right to take that away. There is nothing wrong with someone wanting to pledge and promise their love of another. With the amount of hatred that our country experiences daily, what right do we have to determine what “marriage” should be?

One of the main arguments is that marriage has always been considered to be between a man and a woman. However, without change, life today would be nothing like it is. People disagree because that’s how they were raised, and it’s what they were taught. As today’s younger generation grows, there is hope that, sometime in the near future, same-sex marriage will become something accepted nationwide, and that everyone can have the opportunity to be with the one they love, despite sexual orientation.

Same-sex marriage will not harm anyone, and it’s not violating anyone’s personal rights. However, by denying someone the right to marry whoever they want, you’re denying them their personal rights.

Samantha Wantuch
KHS student

Letter: Thank you for serving our nation

I would like to give a big thanks to veterans for serving our country. Secondly I would like to thank the organization of Honor Flight Chicago, which took my grandfather and hundreds of WWII veterans to Washington D.C. for a day.

Not only did they take these veterans to D.C. for a day, the whole trip was no cost to them. Their day included going to the WWII memorial, other war memorials and points of interest in D.C. I believe this is such a wonderful thing to the men and women who have served us and kept us free.

I know personally that it made my grandfather so joyful to be able to see the memorial built to honor him and memorials built to honor others.

Honor Flight goes above and beyond. When the veterans land back at Midway they have a ceremony, which includes the Chicago Fire Department Bagpipers, all five branches of the service are represented, and other things to give the veterans a warm welcome home. You could see that this brought tears to the eyes of many veterans and their family and friends.

In all, I would like to give the veterans a big thanks for everything they have and continue do for us and for Honor Flight for honoring them.

Anna King
KHS student

Letter: Hazing is a huge problem

Hazing has become a huge problem in general among high school students over the past years. According to insidehazing.com, millions of high school students are partaking in some sort of hazing activity each year. About 48 percent of those teens report being subjected to hazing activities. This is unacceptable.

Is it really too much for students to welcome their peer newcomers with open arms? We need to be supporting each other, and if not that, then at the very least learning to accept them.

I am strongly opposed to hazing. I realize it is often an initiation ritual, but I find it awful and immature. After reading some of the high schools’ hazing activities that have gone on all around the country, I realized that this is a much bigger problem than I had originally thought. The fact that peers are forcing peers to do harmful and sometimes illegal activities is very unfortunate as well.

There is a strict line between harmless initiation and hazing. Although I don’t hear of much hazing at Kaneland, that’s not to say that it doesn’t take place. However, whether hazing is always going on at Kaneland or has never before, I hope students learn ways to prevent it and eventually put a stop to it for good.

Erica Brettman
KHS student

Letter: Government ignores those it governs

Good versus evil, right versus wrong, fundamentalist versus idealist. You can take meaning from a written or spoken word, but what is the true meaning?

At this time of thanksgiving, we have to look at where we are and find out what is truth and what is fiction. Many people have a great fear about the current government—the overstepping of a central government. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

What are the progressives trying to do to health care? They are trying to rework the facility of the government, again, to institute that it is the responsibility of the government to dole out health care to every American citizen at the expense of the “rich” through excessive taxes.

I do not see the federal government being the arbiter of my health care, nor do the majority of the people. I do believe that the citizens of this nation are responsible for themselves, a point of pride over many decades. At the same time, we, as a nation, have always taken care of those less fortunate. This has not been a dictate of a central government but a belief that has stemmed from the founding of our country, a founding that included a belief in God and as stated in the Declaration of Independence, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

At this point, the individuals chosen to govern have decided to ignore those that they govern and could well find out that we are still ruled at the pleasure of those governed. We do have the right to bear arms, but nowhere in our founding documents does it state that we have a right to federally subsidized healthcare. A reshaping of our healthcare is not inherently a bad thing, as long as a free market is the basis by which we make our corrections.

President Obama promised hope and change during the election, and so far we have lost hope in our economy and he may well see a tidal wave of change come the elections in 2010 and 2012 because of the extreme policies he, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid has passed since the elections of 2008.

David Selenis
Maple Park

Letter: Thank you, Bruce Conley

Most people know of Bruce Conley as the shoulder to cry on, but I will forever know him as the go-to guy when my family needs help.

It was the summer of 2004 when I first met Bruce Conley. The reason I met him is the same reason why most people meet him: I had lost someone out of nowhere, someone I loved and cared for so much. That person just happened to be my dad.

Back in 2004, I was only 11 years old, so I had never heard of Bruce Conley and his tender heart. As a child, we drove past the Conley Funeral Home all the time when we would pass through Elburn. But never in a million years would I think that our family car would be parked in the funeral home parking lot. But life hands you surprises, and my car did end up parked in the parking lot outside the Conley Funeral Home.

So there I was, staring at that building, knowing that my dad was somewhere inside. I remember being so scared of seeing him. I didn’t know what to think. I knew my family wasn’t ready for this.

But as we started walking toward the front doors, there was a man with the door open, waiting for us. He had a big smile on his face, and this great feel about him. He gave my mom a big hug and introduced himself to us as Bruce Conley, director of this funeral home. He took my family downstairs and he explained to my older brother, my younger sister and I what had happened to my dad and where he was now. He explained everything so tenderly, so we would understand. It was so easy to understand when he was telling us what happened. I remember thinking that he was so confident in what he said. He explained to us not to be scared, but to cherish the great times we had with my dad, and be grateful to see him one last time.

Bruce Conley helped my family for the few days when our lives seemed to be falling apart. While our family and friends seemed to slip away and leave, Bruce Conley and the Conley Outreach family was there to help us along the long road to dealing with grief.

So after everything that Mr. Conley did for my family, I was devastated to hear about him having cancer. I was sad, but I realized I wasn’t sad about not talking to him or seeing him again, because I’d had my time with him. But I was mostly sad for the people who have yet to meet Bruce, and for the people who will never be able to have a helping hand from Bruce.

This letter is for Bruce Conley. I’d like to thank him, and share my little memory of Mr. Conley with everyone to see how truly wonderful he is.

Meggen Southern
KHS student

Guest Editorial: Give thanks for what we have, not what we may have lost

Guest Editorial
by Darlene Marcusson
Elburn
Executive Director
Lazarus House

Lazarus House is always thankful for God’s grace and for the generous support of this incredible community, but never more so than at Thanksgiving this year. So many people are suffering in this tough economic climate, yet despite that, the community continues to rally to help their neighbors in need.

I was recently honored with the Roscoe Ebey award for humanitarian services, and I said at the awards ceremony that the award doesn’t belong to me, but rather to everyone in the community who reaches out to care for their neighbors in need. I mean that with my whole heart. There are many, many heroes in our community, from the retired volunteer bell ringer at the Salvation Army kettle to the toddler who puts their coins in the kettle rather than buying themselves a candy bar.

We are so blessed to live in a community that holds up as its core value caring for others, and Lazarus House is thankful every day to be part of that care. Please know we are blessed to have an additional rental/utility subsidy grant that can be of significant help to those who are affected by this economic downturn. Please call our Outreach Department at (630) 587-5872 to find out if this grant may be helpful for you or someone you know. Helping our neighbors stay in housing is a gift to all of us.

This Thanksgiving, let us all stop and give thanks to God for what we have left, not grumble about what we may have lost, and let us strengthen our resolve to work together as a community to care for our neighbors in need. May God bless you and your Thanksgiving.

Letter: Don’t confuse belief, opinion with fact

After reading the letter from Mr. Florian from last week’s Elburn Herald (Nov. 19), I felt the need to respond.

Mr. Florian is indeed entitled to his own opinion—but let us make sure we don’t confuse the opinions in his letter with fact. First, Mr. Florian clearly states that homosexuality is a “personal choice.” Unless there is some earth-shattering news that I am not yet aware of, there has not been a definitive answer reached in the debate of genetics versus environment in the role of homosexuality. There have been several studies done with various outcomes, but again—nothing definitive.

Mr. Florian also mentions those that are able to “revert from homosexuality through religious conversion.” It is interesting to me that in August of this year, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution that mental health professionals should avoid telling patients that their sexual orientation can be altered through therapy or other types of treatment.

Next, let us tackle the topic of the use of the word “gay” that has been “hijacked,” as Mr. Florian put it, by the homosexual community. As early as 1890, the word gay was equated with promiscuity—a “gay house” was another name for a brothel. Also, in the 1938 movie “Bringing Up Baby,” Cary Grant (while dressed in a feathery robe) speaks the line, “Because I just went gay … all of a sudden.” I would say there has been more of a pop-culture shift in the use of the word rather than a “hijacking” by any specific group.

Although it is true that young homosexual males are up to 13 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, it has also been found that those young homosexual or bisexual males are disproportionally subject to anti-gay attitudes. This, in conjunction with the self-esteem issues suffered by many teens, would certainly help explain this trend. The highest suicide rates in the United States are actually attributed to adults over the age of 65.

Mr. Florian was correct in stating that blood banks do refuse donations from males who have had even one homosexual encounter since 1977. However, they also refuse donations from any individual that has taken a form of payment for sex since 1977, has used needles to take drugs not prescribed by a doctor, was born in or has lived in any number of Central African countries since 1977, has had sex with anyone in any of these groups since 1977. Guess what—these are all risk factors for HIV. Yes, the homosexual community is one of several groups that have higher risk of HIV.

I just want to close out this letter by stating that I am not trying to start a debate with Mr. Florian or anyone else that wishes to express their beliefs on the subject of homosexuality. I can respect the fact that we are all entitled to a point of view—that is one of the things that makes our country great. However, let’s make sure that we don’t confuse belief and opinion with fact.

Andrea S. Williams
Elburn

Letter: Care packages to troops continues

The American Legion Women’s Auxiliary of Sugar Grove Post #1271 has been sending boxes to the troops overseas for many years now.

Recently, on Nov. 10, we packed up yet another mailing for them; about 25 boxes were prepared by the Auxiliary volunteers and will be mailed this week.

We try to send three or four mailings per year, particularly around the Christmas holiday time. Our money for these mailings comes mostly from an event we run in tandem to the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, our annual car show. We also accept personal donations of both material goods and money; we have drop bins in the American Legion Post at 65 First St., Sugar Grove.

We take pride in the work that we are doing and have received many thank-yous from across the seas.

Beth E. Johnson
President
Women’s Auxiliary
American Legion Post #1271
Sugar Grove

Letter: Differences between groups need to be based on fact

Robert Florian’s letter about homosexuality references name-calling of anyone who composes a factual letter shedding a negative light on the gay lifestyle being branded homophobic.

There are certainly worse things to be called than homophobic. It’s hardly unusual to be afraid or confused about things we don’t understand. Mr. Florian should really concern himself with how we refer to people who mix facts with half truths and pure fiction.

Clearly, Mr. Florian has a unique perspective and selects his “facts” carefully. Homosexuality may, perhaps, be a choice for some, but for the majority it is not. This is indeed a fact.

The example Mr. Florian uses of a middle-aged person waking up one morning and choosing to be gay defies logic or reality. It would seem more likely than not that a middle-aged person “comes out” after having tried to conform to the societal norm of how he (or she) was raised—to be heterosexual. After years of guilt, confusion, torment, unhappiness, they decide they no longer wish to live a lie. I don’t think there’s a very long line of true homosexuals cured by religion, but those few who claim to be are certainly getting some attention. Perhaps the secondary gain will keep them straight. More likely, they’re just confused and pressured.

“Historically it (homosexuality) has proven to be a lifestyle destructive to the human race.”

I would love to see a list of legitimate citations for this “fact.” It would make an interesting thesis. The human race isn’t quite yet destroyed, but we’re working on it through overpopulation and environmental destruction.

Sorry, but neither of those are really gay-related. Of all the social problems in the world, homosexuality ranks pretty low on the list. I understand the religious condemnation, because people always rail against things they practice in secret.

How many religious or political leaders have condemned the behavior of others while disgracing themselves in private? Were the Great Depression or any of the wars throughout history caused by homosexuality? Did a gay person invent the atomic bomb? Was Hitler gay? How about the leaders of Iran or North Korea or Bin Laden? Is this where we’re supposed to jump to the conclusion that God allowed 9/11 or H1N1 because of homosexuality?

The incidence of suicide is higher for homosexuals. It is estimated that 1 in 3 teen suicides are gay or lesbian. There is a nine-fold increase in teen suicide where the teen is rejected by family. It would be no stretch to realize that being gay is stressful and being openly gay results in being subjected to all forms of abuse. Why would anyone choose to be the object of ridicule when you could choose to fit in, follow the herd and be straight? Is being gay really just the result of bad decision-making?

We heterosexuals win for the most serial murderers. There might be a higher percentage ratio of homosexual serial killers given their percentage in the population, but we win for outright numbers. The reality is that the absolute percentage of serial killers in the general population is so small that this is statistically insignificant. Forty-three percent of serial killers have had at least one homosexual experience, but not all of these were living a homosexual lifestyle (translation—not gay).

Blood banks do not exclude males who have had one homosexual contact from being blood donors. This is a pure fabrication. That would also exclude a number of heterosexual males who likely wouldn’t even admit to such a thing. I’ve been a Red Cross volunteer. There are certain patterns of behavior or circumstances (promiscuity, unprotected sex, drug use/abuse, certain chronic illnesses and prescribed drugs, recent travel out of the country) that may exclude anyone, with hepatitis being one of the greatest concerns.

It appears to me that Mr. Rosko and the GSA have avoided the trap that Mr. Florian chooses to live in. Rather than living in fear and uncertainty and believing in myths and half truths, these kids are trying to right a wrong. Young people sometimes can teach us a great deal about life if we choose to listen instead of judge.

Sadly for some, wisdom doesn’t always come with age and experience. I have been married for 24 years and am the proud parent of two teens. I am not afraid of homosexuals, and my marriage will not be diminished or have less significance because of gay marriage. I choose to be educated and informed rather than accepting what people like Mr. Florian choose to believe.

Robert B. Morgan
Elburn

Letter: Don’t drop the ball on Iraq

We cannot afford to take our eyes off of Iraq as we focus more on Afghanistan. If we leave before a stable, functioning government and society have developed, we risk losing not only Iraq but all of the Middle East, including Afghanistan, to extremist and anti-U.S. forces.

Our team first traveled to Iraq in 2006 on a C-130 military aircraft, wearing personal body armor and helmets, and using an aggressive landing approach to avoid potential small arms fire.

Any movement outside the safe area, or “green zone,” required a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) convoy, with each vehicle carrying three military personnel for every two civilians. The Iraqi soldiers appeared lethargic and wore mismatched uniforms; and of their six HMMWVs, four were broken and none were fully armored.

Three years later, our team was flying to Iraq on a commercial airline. While getting around is not the same as traveling down Interstate 90, and still requires an armed security escort in bullet-proof suburbans, the improvement in security is obvious. Throughout Baghdad, we saw Iraqi checkpoints manned by HMMWVs nearly every mile. The soldiers and police were dressed in new, pressed uniforms and their equipment appeared to be well-maintained.

Overall, the security situation on the ground has greatly improved over the course of my 11 trips into Iraq. However, there continues to be random acts of violence throughout the country—acts intended to destabilize the Iraqi government—and are not necessarily targeted at Coalition forces.

Clearly, only time will tell if the government and security forces of Iraq are up to the challenge of providing for the safety and security of their own citizens.

After spending so much time on the ground in Iraq, I am able to do little more than raise a few issues and share my personal impressions. But I believe my observations are consistent with the current overall assessment of the situation in Iraq. Those observations suggest a couple of general policy prescriptions.

First, U.S. and Coalition forces have hundreds of projects underway throughout Iraq, including governance assistance efforts, economic and educational programs, and agricultural and industrial support, just to name a few. These programs must be seen to conclusion or handed off responsibly to the Iraqi government or to international non-governmental organizations. Our assistance to the people of Iraq must not be left to atrophy.

Second, how we continue to support Iraq is being, and will continue to be, watched by the world. While it is up to the Iraqi people to govern themselves, we have a moral (and very practical) obligation to continue to assist in the development of that country. How we do this will give our allies confidence in, or reason to question, our commitments to them.

The hard work of U.S. and Coalition forces has put us in a position to move forward positively in Iraq. Our nation’s interests still most definitely remain at stake; we cannot drop the ball now.

Mark Vargas
St. Charles
Candidate
14th Congressional District

Editorial: Those who serve the community are its backbone

Elburn resident and Lazarus House Executive Director Darlene Marcusson received the Kane County Sheriff’s Department Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award for her community service.

While she may have earned the award in 2009, it is her many years of dedicated service to those in need that endears her to those she comes into contact with, whether they be fellow volunteers and community servants or those seeking assistance.

Her past 12 years of service has been as founder and executive director of Lazarus House in St. Charles, a homeless shelter and service provider that serves the Tri-Cities and western Kane County.

During those dozen years, Marcusson turned a proposed city ordinance to outlaw vagrancy into an idea that motivated the St. Charles City Council—and those who learned of her speech before the council members—to support her efforts of creating a homeless shelter.

Marcusson’s funding began with a $200 gift from a local 10-year-old girl who wanted to do her part to serve those in need; and 12 years later, Lazarus House now occupies three buildings, including a Center for Transitional Living and a Women and Children’s Day Center.

She has received numerous awards and honors during this time, ranging for her work on behalf of victims of violence to her efforts advocating for those battling mental illness.

But if you ask Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez about why she deserves the award, he would say that the award is due to the way Marcusson treats each individual she serves. It is her consistent focus on one person, one family, at a time that stood out for Perez.

“I see the care and respect Darlene provides not just to individuals, but sometimes entire families,” Perez said to Elburn Herald reporter Martha Quetsch on Tuesday. “She gives people who have become homeless hope and every opportunity possible to help rebuild their lives and once again gain independence.”

We congratulate Darlene Marcusson on her recognition, and we know the impact she has had on those she serves, as well as those who serve beside her, has been immense.

Read through our paper each week and you will see numerous examples of people like Darlene Marcusson, who serve as the backbone of our communities by serving its members.

For Darlene and those like her, we owe you our thanks for making our communities that much stronger.

Letter: H1N1 rumor-mill is its own epidemic

I was ecstatic to see a recent editorial piece in the Elburn Herald called, “Take H1N1 seriously, but do not panic.”

Ever since the swine flu epidemic has begun, the disease itself is not the only thing that has been spreading like wildfire. Rumors about H1N1 have brought the public to hysteria, causing extreme paranoia and simply outlandish gossip.

Here at Kaneland, every person out sick has “swine flu.” Once you are absent for more than a week, you’ve died from it. And worst of all, the symptoms are ranging from a stuffy nose to serious intestinal problems, none of which are actually true.

In this editorial, the Herald discussed the actual facts, from who the vaccine is available to, to which symptoms we should look out for, to how much we should actually be worrying.

To this, the response is not to panic. The piece states that although this flu season is exceptionally worrying, every flu season should be concerning, and that each person should be correctly informed and prepared. The editorial even tells us how to stay healthy without having to carry Lysol with us at all times.

The point is that everyone, especially those whom are still under the impression that this disease can be contracted through pork products, should read this editorial. The public needs to be informed that there isn’t death waiting in every handshake, cough or sneeze.

Elaine Cannell
Kaneland High School
Krier reporter

Letter: Thanks from Elburn Post 630

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

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 would also like to thank the Girl Scout troop that helped us in the dining room. We appreciate the community and our loyal members for their participation in our money-making events. Without your help, we could not make our donations to the important programs that help so many.

We hope to see everyone again at the spring supper.

Cara Bartel
Treasurer
Elburn American Legion Auxiliary #630

Letter: Cautionary tale for new mammogram guidelines

Regarding the new guidelines for getting mammograms, let me just say this:

Throughout my 30s and 40s, I routinely got a yearly mammogram just because. I didn’t have a family history, nor could I feel any lumps or bumps. I guess you could say it seemed the right thing to do considering there’s no way to prevent breast cancer. Rather, your best shot at surviving the disease is to catch it early.

What I didn’t know at the time is that 80 percent of women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history. Likewise, I also didn’t know there are different kinds of breast cancers, and the kinds you get in your 30s and 40s tend to be far more virulent, far more deadly than the kinds you get in your 50s and later.

Even though I wasn’t as informed as I should have been, I still got the yearly screening test which turned out to be a good thing. Persistence (combined with a measure of dumb luck) paid off when doctors discovered a 1.5 centimeter tumor stuck to my back chest wall while I was still in my 40s.

I’m fine now and have been for quite some time. But the end of this story could have been much different had I waited until my 50s to start getting screened.

Please take this as the cautionary tale it’s meant to be.

Kay Catlin
St. Charles
10-year-survivor

Letter: Thank you, School Board members

Nov. 15, 2009, was designated as School Board Members Day in Illinois.

Kaneland joined other school districts across the state in recognizing and thanking the members of their boards of education for the time, effort and dedication to our students. Whether it is an issue related to one student or to all 4,700 students, the Kaneland School Board members have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the welfare and education of Kaneland students.

Board members are not elected to represent specific clienteles or interests. Rather, they have the very difficult role of being trustees or stewards of the School District on behalf of the entire community. At times, this role can involve the very difficult process of balancing the varying interests of all concerned—students, staff, parents and non-parent community members. They take this responsibility very seriously.

The mission of the Kaneland Community Unit School District No. 302 is to guide and challenge all students to acquire the knowledge, skills and values that will enable them to contribute to and successfully participate in a diverse democratic society. This mission is to be accomplished through a continued partnership of students, district personnel, parents and other community members. As the board members work together, it is clear that they support this mission and seek to hold all of us accountable for our roles in achieving it.

The current members of the Kaneland Board of Education are Lisa Wiet, President; Elmer Gramley, Vice President; Cheryl Krauspe, Secretary; Bob Myers, member; Ken Carter, member; Deborah Grant, member; Diane Piazza, member.

On behalf of the entire School District and community, I want to recognize and thank the members of the Board of Education for their hard work and dedication.

Charles McCormick
Kaneland Superintendent

Letter: 2009 Halloween Fest thank you

The annual Halloween Fest, sponsored by Big Rock, Hinckley and Sugar Grove, was a great success. This year’s event was held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Plowman’s Park in Big Rock.

For 13 years, the Halloween Fest has brought together thousands of residents from surrounding communities, dozens of neighborhood organizations, and countless businesses.

This year, over 1,500 people attended our one-night-only event. The feedback from those who attended was very positive.

The Halloween Fest is run strictly with donations and volunteers. Without the generous support of so many volunteers and businesses, this free family event could not exist.

The Halloween Fest committee would like to sincerely thank everyone who assisted with this year’s event. For a list of all of the organizations and businesses that helped make the event so successful, please visit our website at www.halloween-fest.com. You will also find the history of the Halloween Fest, highlights from this year’s event and information for the 2010 Halloween Fest on our website.

Charlene Franks, Montgomery
Halloween Fest Committee

Editorial: Time for Kaneland to make the tough decisions

Our page 1A story about Kaneland School District’s decision to ask the teacher’s union to renegotiate its contract should not come as a surprise to anyone.

The district faces a $3 million deficit in next year’s budget; $1.2 million of that based on the teacher’s raises agreed to in last-minute negotiations in October 2008 to avert a threatened strike. After receiving 4.86 percent raises last year and 6.21 percent raises this year, Kaneland Education Association (KEA) members are scheduled to receive 5.6 percent next year.

Even if the teacher’s union agreed to a total salary freeze for the next two years, Kaneland would still face an approximate $1.8 million deficit. According to Associate Superintendent of Schools Jeff Schuler, the “easy cuts” were made when the district cut $750,000 from the current year’s budget.

Therefore, all that remains are the kinds of cuts that negatively impact students; whether that be in actual teaching positions, programs, extracurricular activities, etc. These are the types of cuts that could increase class sizes, reduce or eliminate non-core, elective classes, and reduce or eliminate extracurricular activities—clubs and athletics.

Following the conclusion of last year’s contract negotiation, KEA Chief Negotiator Lynn McHenry said, “We recognize the economic times, but we would like to be competitive with our neighbors.”

If it is true that KEA members recognize the current economic times, then we hope they also recognize that they are among the vast minority of workers who were guaranteed a raise this year and next year. In fact, the majority of workers would love to know that their jobs will simply exist next year without some form of a cut—whether that be in salary, hours or benefits.

We recognize that it is important for Kaneland teachers to receive equitable pay to districts surrounding us—but we also recognize that each district is unique and must have its own salary structure, especially in the current economic environment. Each neighboring district has a unique situation, in terms of population, student growth, tax base, facilities, programming, etc. Given that, then each district should expect to have a unique salary structure, and if the ultimate goal is to educate students to the best of their abilities, we hope to see the KEA at the bargaining table in the very near future. We also hope to see every employee of the district willing to share whatever sacrifice necessary to ensure that the students experience the least sacrifice of all.

Letter: Everyone should pay more attention to bullying

In every high school, students feel that they have to impress or be different to fit in while dealing with drama and rumors.

Whether they like the same sex, wear too much makeup, play on the football team, enjoy art, are a part of the cheerleading team, listen to rap, wear skinny jeans, talk differently, or even state their own beliefs, they will get judged for it. No matter how many clubs and organizations are developed at Kaneland High School to make you feel like you belong somewhere, nothing will prevent things being said about someone.

In reality, we all attend the same school and we should all get along. Though it may seem like what happens in high school won’t matter when you’re older, it will affect who you are and how you will act as you get older. Throughout the rest of your life, we are bound to experience social issues and social causes; this isn’t just made for high school. High school is giving us insight to how we can prepare ourselves for the future and how we should be able to act when we face these problems.

Teens may feel the need to bully because of their home life or past experiences. I may not know everything about everyone at Kaneland, but I’m positive a portion of the students at Kaneland have some sort of issues in their life. Students may feel that when they have to deal with issues at home, they have to somehow take their anger or their emotions out on someone at school. They may also have suicidal thoughts built up inside of them, so they feel the need to bully others.

Researchers at Yale University looked into 13 different countries about bullying. “When we see kids who are targets of bullying, we should ask them if they’re thinking about hurting themselves,” a researcher said. It is said that out of all the studies that researchers from Yale observed between the countries, it showed connections between being bullied and suicidal thoughts among children. According to studies, bullying is common and can affect anywhere from nine percent to 54 percent of children. Not only should this information be directed toward students, but adults should also be paying attention to bullying and their children.

No one wants to be the nerd who gets shoved into the locker because he’s on the chess team or the girl who gets excluded from lunch, because no one will let her sit at their table. Every day at Kaneland I see bullying affecting other students. If students are bullying others, they should realize how much it could affect the other person, not about how cool he/she looks doing it.

Kaneland provides counselors for every student, where they are able to go in and talk to get advice, help or ideas. By visiting a counselor, they may be able to guide you through what you’re feeling and be able to help and prevent you from bullying.

Students in the entire Kaneland School District should take serious thought into what bullying really is. Ask yourself: is it worth bullying other students because you have your own problems? Is it worth taking the time of day to bother someone else because you want your popularity level to go up? Everyone attends school to learn, not to be picked on because of who they are.

Katherine Lucarelli, KHS student
Sugar Grove