Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Impressed with Aleburn

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce gets a “thumbs up, five stars” for their Aleburn event.

Saturday’s event deserves special recognition. Billed as a fun afternoon for the whole family, Swing Assembly, an 11-piece band, took the prize. This band was terrific. They were brought to Elburn by none other than our famous Randy Ream; you know, our great meat market guy—Ream’s Market. Randy joined the band with his saxophone too. And Marie, the vocalist was outstanding. Marie’s words, as she sang, were actually understandable. She has great diction. None of that screeching most often heard by many modern-day vocalists. I compare her to others that have made it big; like Barbara Streisand and Diana Krall. Check this band out at www.swingassembly.com.

The event had a truck, a tractor and fire engines, all of which could be climbed on and explored by the children. They, too, had a ball.

Then there was the bags tournament enjoyed mostly by adults but engaged some teenagers too. Michael and Gina Greenen were a couples team. They looked good even if lefty Michael’s toss couldn’t find the hole in the target.

The food and drinks were outstanding. Reams again stood out with their brats and franken brats. Paisano’s, as always, had a wonderful reuben sandwich. American Legion were there to help quench ones thirst. To top it all off, there was Party Animals with their homemade desserts. If you haven’t tried their desserts, give them a try.

All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon. Thank you, Elburn Chamber of Commerce. Joan and I will be anxiously waiting for the next Chamber event. The chamber’s website will be getting our attention frequently, www.Elburn.com. We think this event was the brainchild of Leslie Flint of the Elburn Herald.

Joan and Jack Hansen
Elburn

Letter: Thoughts about the ‘former recession’

Economists, politicians and pundits proclaim “The recession’s over … the recession’s over!”

If the recession is over, why don’t the rest of us feel better? If the experts are indeed telling the truth, why isn’t there more evidence beyond their “happy talk?”

So many of my constituents are unemployed, losing their homes, falling even farther behind on crippling credit card debt, and we’re scared, angry and some are becoming desperate. “Jobless recoveries” are esoteric and frankly worthless for those whom I serve.

Ben Bernanke assures us that the bailouts worked, and got reappointed. Tim Geithner has slowed the breathtaking pace of government takeovers of private enterprises, and I trust is now paying his own taxes. Vice-President Joe Biden claims that the $787 billion so-called stimulus package “is not only working, but is exceeding expectation” by “having created or saved between 500,000 and 750,000 jobs this year,” but who really takes Mr. Biden seriously?

I’m trying not to shout “You lie,” but our current administration seems to be proving the adage, “Politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose.” It seems like a better place to begin a true recovery is by telling the truth—Americans can handle it.

You can either believe what politicians and powerful bureaucrats say or you can trust what you actually see for yourself. The facts, as my Illinois constituents see them, do not confirm the Alice in Wonderland/Bernie Madoff blow sunshine at ‘em until the money runs out.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate is over 10 percent in 15 states, with high-taxing states like Michigan at 15.2 percent, California at 11.6 percent, and Illinois at 10.3 percent. The jobless rate, including those who have stopped looking, is now 16.8 percent.

Congress was pushed to pass the stimulus quickly with the promise that, if they did, unemployment would remain below 8 percent in 2009. Shouldn’t nearly $1 trillion of taxpayer money have more and a better effect than just another broken promise?

According to the Census Bureau, median U.S. household income dropped 3.6 percent to $50,303 last year, the sharpest drop since 1967, and sent income to its lowest point in 12 years. Professor Sheldon Danzinger, at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center, points out that second years of recessions are typically worse and predicts a drop of 5 percent or more this year.

We are told by the Fed that the banking system has been stabilized, but $49 billion of bad loans were written off in just the past 90 days, up 85 percent (almost double) from one year ago. Delinquent commercial loans for construction and land are now 21.2 percent in Chicago, with delinquent mortgages at 6.1 percent, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. I shudder to think about the impact of consumer credit card loan defaults.

With bad loans piling up, the FDIC has increased the number of endangered banks in jeopardy of closure to 416. Barron’s Financial News reports that FDIC’s insurance fund has fallen to $10.4 billion, setting the stage for the government agency to borrow up to another $500 billion from the Treasury. Taxpayers now and in the future will again be on the hook.

Yet, even with a scorching stock market rally that has increased the S&P 500 Index by more than 50 percent since March, why has the financial sector, the beneficiaries of the first Bush bailout with our money, gained roughly 140 percent during that same vainglorious stretch?

The taxpayer-sponsored Cash-for-Clunkers Program proved a boon to the U.S. economy, but an even greater godsend for Asian automakers. You and I financed 700,000 new car purchases with Asian car companies selling 41 percent (Toyota with 19.4 percent), U.S. car companies sold 39 percent of the total, and European manufacturers taking the rest. China is currently tooling up to enter the American market in the next wave with a big chunk of money provided by multibillionaire Warren Buffet.

Dollars-for-Dishwashers is the next artificial, debt-fueled stimulus program ready to be rolled out. Our children and grandchildren will pay back billions in debt incurred so that our friends and neighbors can buy washing machines, central air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters and heat pumps. Politicians and bureaucrats will justify this largesse by requiring the Energy Star rating for environmental efficiency.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 20 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for jobs landed one by graduation day, compared to 51 percent of 2007 graduates.

But most of all, the impact of the political and economic turmoil of the last two years is reaching deeply into the psyche and social fabric of our fellow countrymen. More people are delaying marriage and home-buying, turning to carpools just to get stuck in ever-worsening traffic, staying put but fighting constantly escalating property taxes rather than moving to new cities. The White House says that it’s a “plausible scenario” that by Thanksgiving, 50 percent of us could catch H1N1 flu and 90,000 Americans could die from it. Do you wonder why suicides are increasing?

If it were my decision alone to set our priorities, next to our spiritual health, I would focus on jobs rather than medical healthcare. With higher income, more people and employers can afford healthcare.

Sarah and I have always believed and taught our children that incentives matter: work hard, treat others respectfully, stand against corruption, rein in your appetites and productive results will occur.

Is it selfish for those of us who follow the rules and find it hard enough to take full responsibility for our own families’ actions and welfare to resent being forced by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi government, elected by the majority of Americans, to pay for other people’s mortgages, buy their clunkers, and soon their appliances?

Let’s face it, we are being coaxed into accepting the notion that “less bad” news is good news. We were promised better than this during the campaign more than a year ago, i.e. better economic conditions and a new era of bipartisan leadership. It is obviously not here yet; we are patiently hoping for change.

Senator Chris Lauzen
25th District

Letter: Lions offer Stones and Bones Festival

Saturday, Oct. 3, is the first ever Elburn Lions Stones and Bones Festival.

The title gives nothing away about what it is, except the mystique of it. Quite simply, it means “Stones,” turkey testicles, and “Bones,” barbecue baby back ribs.

Those two items are on the opposite ends of the culinary scale, so we’ve put brats and hot dogs in between.

So much for the culinary part of the title; now for the festival part. There will be a bags tournament from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or whenever we finish the double elimination. The cost of this is $30 per two-person team in advance, or $35 per two-person team the day of, if there are any spots left. 60 percent of the entry fee will be given back as prize money. Boxes and bags will be provided by the Lions club. Rules will be posted at the registration table and on the field. I’m told that some of the best throwers in this area have signed up.

There will be a community garage sale for anyone that would like to sell items from their home. A $15 fee will get you a 10-foot-by-10-foot space to sell your treasures. You keep the money from your sale, and unsold items must leave with you at the end of the day. A $25 fee will get you a similar-sized space if you are a vendor or crafter.

We have a variety of crafters and vendors for your shopping pleasure. Crafters, vendors and community garage sale participants can still secure a space by calling Cindy Halsey at (630) 466-0341. Our website is www.elburnlions.com.

Live country music will be provided by Back Country Roads from 1 to 4 p.m. Our own Ron Algrim is the head barbeque chef and has a masterful crew that will be preparing your meal. Carry-out half- and full-slab rib dinners will be available by calling (630) 365-6315, but then you’ll miss the music and all the fun.

We have the pleasure of having the gentleman and his cook that drew hundreds of people every year to Huntley, Ill., for a taste of his famous turkey “fries.” We want ours to be as lip-smacking good as theirs.

This is a fundraiser for the upkeep of our 26-acre park, so that your family may play baseball and football, picnic, or use the playground. We look forward to serving you this Saturday, and don’t forget our car show this Sunday, Oct. 4.

Chris Halsey
Elburn Lions Club

Letter: Where were the “facts?”

I would like to know where Jeff MacKenzie got some of his “facts” for his long-winded article to Congressman Foster because some of his information is wrong or just bizarre.

I can’t attest to any agreements between Congress, insurance, AMA, etc., but that is certainly what lobbying is all about. You must contribute money and lobby to be heard.

It is certainly important to communicate either as an individual or an organization with Representatives and Senators in order for them to have facts on which to base decisions. Unfortunately too many of them are for sale and write or support legislation than enriches their campaign or helps them keeps their job rather than doing what they should be doing.

I think most of us who are savvy about health care pricing are aware of multiple tiers, not just three. Medicare and Medicaid tend to pay less than the cost of the value of what they receive. Insurance companies try to follow suit and negotiate to pay 40-60 cents on the dollar. The uninsured price is often negotiable with most providers if there is actual intent to pay. The goal of a government or public option is not, nor should it be, to pay less than the value of the care provided. Neither should the goal be to shift anyone into the public option from private insurance without some type of penalty.

There is plenty of competition in the health care industry. There isn’t much competition in the insurance industry. There is no price collusion between providers and insurers. That would be illegal. Providers are free to accept or decline any insurance they choose. Why should any provider accept payment from any insurer that pays less than the value of the services rendered? Unfortunately, with Medicare and Medicaid, there isn’t much choice. I think we’d all like to see the price structure simplified and all third party reimbursers forced to pay the same price. A big problem now is that you can’t even be sure insurance will cover a procedure after they have preapproved it.

The burden that the insurance industry has placed upon the user and the provider is untenable. Health care providers spend a small fortune employing people to deal with reimbursement and collections. Insurers make a game out of paying late because that extra day or two of interest is more money in their pocket. Insurers can be penalized for late reimbursement but the penalty is woefully inadequate.

Jeff stated that doctors need to be salaried but the question I have is, by whom? Since most doctors are self-employed, how would they be salaried? They have huge overhead with office expenses and staff. Doctors just don’t make that much money anymore. Consider that most go to school for 6-8 years. That’s followed by a residency and perhaps a fellowship. What salary would you think that would be worth, especially when you have to be on-call? Many doctors graduate with a debt in excess of $100,000. What incentive is there to work hard, perhaps 60 hours-per-week for a meager salary? Would you work long days and take call weekends and holidays?

I’m fascinated by the claim that doctors are taking kickbacks and rebates on drugs and services. What legitimate basis can you provide for these claims since these acts are illegal? There was much that went on years ago that never should have been allowed. I’m sure there are still some who take what they can get under the table, but to make a generalization that all doctors are on the take is just not true.

Jeff also doesn’t realize that continuing education is mandatory. What does he mean by “take place in Podunk, NJ or not at all?” Would you want a doctor caring for you who had no additional training in the 10 or 20 years since graduating from medical school? Health care is not static and new procedures, techniques and equipment are constantly being introduced. My mother received care (briefly) after a stroke from a marginally competent physician who was clueless about modern medicine and thought she had Parkinson’s. Fortunately she survived because of attentive family members. She’s doing well fifteen years later and does not have Parkinson’s.

The supply of doctors isn’t so much carefully controlled by the AMA as it is by the market and the desire of people to subject themselves to years of training for declining reimbursement. The government has increased the supply of qualified caregivers by expanding training programs for nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwifes. The problem now is that with the tanking of the economy, the loss of jobs and benefits, it’s not so easy for some of these highly trained, skilled folks to even find a job after graduation.

I think we can all agree that pharmaceutical companies gouge us all. They spend a fortune on advertising trying to get people to believe they should take a pill for every ache or ailment. And of course it must be brand and not generic because drug companies want us to believe that the 3 cent pill is grossly inferior to the $3.50 pill even when made by the same company. The other farce is to combine two generic drugs to make a new “brand” drug and charge a huge markup. As for salespeople, some sales network is necessary as with any business. You can’t sell a product without educating people about its use, especially if it’s a drug.

I think some the biggest issues in health care fall into a number of categories:
1. Denial of insurance for pre-existing conditions.
2. Affordability of insurance.
3. Limits on deductibles.
4. Excessive profit margins by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and other products marketed for health care. Does a CEO really need to make $40-50 million or more in salary and benefits?
5. People needing care who opt not to carry insurance when they can afford it and opting not to pay for care received.
6. People who simply can’t afford insurance or health care.
7. Limited ability to get reasonable insurance as an individual.
8. Limited insurance options and portability of policies.
9. Too much red tape and decision-making power with insurance companies.
10. Transparency of actual costs vs. charges.

There are so many facets to the current health care dilemma. Any solution that mandates lower salaries for health care workers is going to result in fewer providers or providers of lower caliber. We are already expected to do too much with too little. How many other jobs demand absolute perfection but reimburse with the convoluted system that we use in health care?

Bob Morgan
Elburn

Letter: Response to MacKenzie health care letter

I read Jeff MacKenzie’s letter on Sept. 17 in the Elburn Herald and would have a hard time finding anything as negative as what he wrote and in fact, had a hard time reading it period. His statements below are in quotes.

“Migration to the government price—a profoundly lower price—is exactly what I need.”

Obama has never shown us concrete premiums for his plan. But a possible comparison is the Illinois insurance plan CHIPS. It’s state insurance for people who can’t get insurance elsewhere. Yes, that’s right, there already is government health care available.

But a family of four, parents in their 40s, two children under age 19, would pay $870 per month, with a $5,000 deductible each. My husband and I, both age 62, would pay a total of $1,624 per month with a $5,000. deductible. This gives you a factual premium cost of a healthcare plan run by the government.

Obama says the insurance will be paid for by those who use it, not out of taxpayer’s money. First of all, we know taxpayer money is already earmarked to be used.

And hurrah for you, Joe Wilson, yes Obama lied. Nothing will change with a government plan because those who can’t afford it still won’t be able to pay for insurance coverage. Except now they’ll be fined by the government for not buying it. We all know that government red tape will make it just about impossible for someone to prove that they can’t afford the premiums and avoid the fine.

“Pricing”: Jeff said doctor income needs to be substantially reduced. I have a friend who’s a doctor, and with the participating provider deductions from insurance companies, his income has consistently gone down over 25 years of practice. In other words, the more expertise he has, the less he gets paid. Doctors go through a long period of education before they can start making money. If the doctor is good, and especially if at times our very lives are in their hands, they deserve to be paid very well.

One year ago, I had cervical spine surgery in which the surgeon cut through the front of my neck, moved my esophagus and vocal cords to the side and filed down deformed bone that if left alone, would have possibly severed my spinal cord and paralyzed me from the neck down. A good orthopedic doctor found the problem and besides him, I consulted with two excellent neurosurgeons, before choosing the doctor who did my surgery.

There was no choice in the matter if I didn’t want to risk paralysis, and I had to trust that my doctor, the nurses and support staff, including a second neurosurgeon who assisted at the surgery, would bring me through. I had to trust that the anesthesiologist whose hands I was in would know what to do if I had a reaction, since I am extremely sensitive to medications and had never been under general anesthetic before.

The total bill for everything was $99,278.12. I can’t visualize what every minute of my five-hour surgery entailed and I don’t want to. No one involved received 100 percent of their share of the $99,278.12. My main surgeon’s bill was reduced by Blue Cross by 31 percent for his 35 years of expertise working around my spinal cord for five hours.

His “assistant” neurosurgeon received less than $1,000. If he’d had to step in for any reason, or simply because he “assisted,” he was worth a lot more than that.

I never experienced a headache or vomiting from the anesthesia mix that the anesthesiologist designed. He was paid $1,887 for keeping me alive for five hours.

My physical therapist restored all movement to my arms, shoulders and neck after the trauma of the surgery, and Blue Cross reduced his and his facilities payment by 50 percent. The nurses at the hospital stayed by my side, administered medication and checked on me every 10 minutes from the moment I hit my hospital room. For their excellent care, the use of pre- and post-surgical rooms, the operating room and all medications, including two nurses who stayed with me 100 percent of my time before, during and after surgery, the hospital’s bill was reduced by 29 percent.

The radiologists, labs and pathologists charged a total of $313.70 for their services, but only received $71 total. A total of $67,812.65 was written off by Blue Cross as a PPO reduction. I would say that doctors income has already been substantially reduced.

“The general public trusts their doctors—I’m not sure why.”

If a doctor has been successful in making you well or has handled a successful surgery, why wouldn’t you trust him/her?

“Medical liability should be eliminated.”

Here’s an example of why it shouldn’t: My husband had a friend who died of cancer at age 24. He had a growth on his thigh the size of a baseball. He was in a car accident and the surgeons needed to do a bone graft in his back. They took bone out of the leg with this baseball size growth and put it in his back. He died a short time later when the cancer therefore spread like wildfire. His young wife was left with medical bills which she figured she’d never pay off in her lifetime. What happened to him was not a simple mistake—it was gross negligence and his wife should have been able to sue and get some help with those bills.

Any doctor can make a mistake, just like any office worker can. But when something turns out to be gross negligence by a doctor, the injured patient or their remaining family have a right to compensation. Where the courts have failed us is when they’ve allowed huge payments on minor or non-negligence suits. The ones that, however, are justified, deserve to be paid.

“The pharmaceutical industry would have us believe that their high prices are necessary to support research. Far too little of their spending is on research” and “Pfiser has a single drug from which they get $68 billion a year.”

Please inform us of the drug’s name and how you got this information so I can research it. C’mon, Elburn Herald. When I did research for a letter in which I commented on building an Aldi’s near my house and included several hours of research on area stores that I carried out, you refused to publish the research as “you had no way of knowing if it was true.” But you publish an outlandish figure like $68 billion on this guys word?

“Healthcare costs the average American more than $10,000 per year.”

Again, show me where you got this statistic. I’m 62 years old and never in all my years of illness and minor and major surgeries have I ever paid out $10,000 in one year.

“A short time ago I voted for Democrats.”

Ah, finally we know where the problem is.

I’m a former employee of both a pharmaceutical company and a hospital, and a patient who has had several surgeries and here’s what people need to think about.

1. Let’s say you have a brilliant daughter who gets a masters degree in chemistry and biology. She’s hired by a pharmaceutical company as part of a team to work on a cancer drug. What should she and her team members each be paid? What is the cost of lab space, equipment and support staff (such as me, who sat for hours typing drug reports for the FDA)? The team works for seven years minimum. Finally the drug is approved by the FDA for human testing. In the cross section of people who offer themselves as guinea pigs, only 1 percent suffers a serious side effect and so the FDA approves the drug. The public loves the drug company at this point.

Once on the market, a larger percentage of patients experience the serious side affect, or new ones appear, and the company decides that it would be cheaper to take it off the market than to pay lawsuits and to risk anyone else from having the side effects. They now have no profit whatsoever on the drug and the people who could have benefited no longer have this drug available.

Now the drug company is an evil monster. (Read the excellent book “The Killers Within,” by Shnayerson/Plotkin, to see the costs to fight the current antibiotic-resistant bacteria problems. The Chicago Tribune’s business section recently wrote that Baxter Labs is investing $435 million into Alzheimers research.)

Let’s say they work several more years on this drug, and the serious side effects have been addressed. At this point the drug company has made no profit. And let’s say the drug company must now charge $100 per month for the drug in order to cover costs and make enough of a profit so that they can now work, for seven years on other promising drugs.

But countries with socialistic medicine, such as Canada, decide $100 is too much, and will only let them charge $80. To make up the difference the company must charge Americans $120. Thus our higher drug costs.

President Bush understood this and was vilified as siding with the evil drug companies when he tried to make it illegal to buy drugs in other countries.

The drug companies are trying to help us, not hurt us. Over the years they have created thousands of drugs which have made life easier and saved lives. When they release a drug, there is always the fear a side effect will rear its ugly head. All the side effect warnings on the package inserts need to be taken very seriously before you pop any pill, including an innocent seeming aspirin, into your mouth. They cannot control how each individual body handles a drug. These drugs are, in fact, very expensive to create and manufacture.

2. The insurance companies may be profit makers but they are not the devil. Why are we so against a profit when that is exactly what we wished all the companies like AIG had produced?

By offering lifetime payout limits and not covering pre-existing conditions immediately, insurance companies can offer cheaper plans to employers. This is how they stay competitive. Obama says he won’t allow insurance companies to have lifetime payout limits and that they’ll be forced to cover pre-existing. This sounds good in a speech before Congress and the nation, however, where will the money come from as the insurance companies costs skyrocket? How will employers pay the higher price for this? And Obama never tells you that they will cover a pre-existing condition after a waiting period, usually six months.

3. Few people know that when Congress enacted President Bush’s Medicare drug program that private insurance companies were no longer allowed to offer drug policies to Medicare patients. The government program couldn’t survive if it had private competition. Government backed healthcare will have the same problem.

4. That illegal aliens wouldn’t be able to buy Obama’s insurance only leaves them in the same place—ER visits where they can’t be turned away. We will all continue to pay their expenses. Since they are illegal, the government won’t even be able to fine them for not having insurance.

5. A solution: When your children graduate from high school or college and are no longer covered on your plan—get them their own individual coverage immediately while they’re still young and in good health. There are many different plans available through Blue Cross alone that can be viewed at www.bcbsil.com.

If they never let it lapse, they will never be without coverage despite an illness or job loss. My son has had three jobs. Two of them didn’t offer any insurance at all. The one that did offered an insurance policy that wasn’t as good as the individual policy he took out immediately after college. Through 14 months of unemployment he had full insurance coverage. We need to get our young people on individual policies immediately

6. Having worked as an insurance verifier at a hospital, I saw the number of people who didn’t have adequate insurance, or who had Medicaid that paid very little. I spent a great deal of time fighting with insurance companies so they’d cover patients. The hospital was often underpaid for their actual costs. That in turn, goes on others bills so they can afford to stay open. What happens when the government reduces all payments?

I also saw how, despite their discounts and PPO reductions, insurance companies usually do pay for necessary surgery. I saw that HMO’s are often flawed as they often deny patients much needed care because their primary doctor makes poor decisions.

When you think of Obama’s health plan, think HMO. And think that the government will find a way to reduce all payments to the point where expert doctors and their staffs, can no longer afford to do what they do so well. Our healthcare system will decline.

I’ve heard of people from countries with socialized medicine waiting months to get a doctor visit or medications, or being denied tests that were crucial to a solid diagnosis. A nurse at the hospital at which I worked brought her mother here from Ireland because their socialistic medicine could not supply a life-saving drug for six months, but she could get it here in one day.

This is because of the current healthcare that is, in fact, so good here. Some writers have claimed that other countries pay 13 percent of their income for healthcare and that it is a lower rate than we pay here. You have to look at all of their taxes. On the Internet, you’ll find that countries such as Norway charge as high as 75 percent of income for their socialism. Who’s to say what part of that goes to healthcare? My husband doesn’t pay anywhere near 13 percent for our insurance.

7. Finally, a note on Medicare. I see the government trying to chip away at it. Medicare was created because all people who retired were suddenly without health insurance after leaving their jobs. This left a vast amount of people who had earned their way suddenly in a dire situation.

Every legal American currently living has paid into Medicare, (along with, actually, many illegal aliens). The actual costs for co-payments and deductibles aren’t cheap once you get it. And when people say that the elderly cost so much more than everyone else with all of their medical problems, I want them to consider all of the health and accident issues caused by young careless drivers and anyone who is drug and alcohol addicted. Take a look at your medical insurance and you will probably find that insurance covers more for drug and alcohol addiction that it does for someone seeking help for other mental conditions.

What about babies who would have never survived before but now do because of expensive medical procedures? Get off the backs of senior citizens, whose age-related issues you will inherit one day. Age discrimination is rampant in the healthcare discussion.

Obama constantly brings up the inflated figure of 30 million people without insurance. A Google search shows that about 250 million Americans do have insurance.

The recent protest against our president’s speech to schoolchildren shows that more and more Americans are now distrusting a man who they should have distrusted before they voted him into office. Just because he can go on TV and have the last word doesn’t make that word truthful or right. People at town hall meetings are screaming for the same reason we all do—you scream when you aren’t being heard.

The fact that even Obama’s democrats are having a problem with his health plan shows that they either truly see all it’s faults or that maybe, just maybe they’re finally hearing us.

Paula Coughlan
Elburn

Letter: Chamber thanks volunteers, vendors for farmers market season

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry extends sincere thanks to all of the volunteers and vendors who worked so hard to make the 2009 Sugar Grove Chamber Farmers Market our best season ever.

The Farmers Market is an important element of our rural community that helps to establish a sense of identity, while serving the community by making fresh farm products, crafts, and specialty items available in one convenient location.

The chamber especially thanks Pat Graceffa, Mari Johnson, Don Meisinger, Andy and Tina Cella, Scott Risch and Dan Neely, whose dedication, hard work and friendly attitude help make the market a pleasant experience for everyone.

Our vendors deserve special kudos as well. For 17 weeks, they set up their booths before 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, greeted the patrons with a smile, and offered great products until noon. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and is an essential aspect of the market’s success.

In addition, the chamber thanks all of the patrons of our market for their loyalty and commitment to supporting the market and its many vendors and special activities. Even on rainy Saturday mornings, many of our patrons braved the nasty weather to make the rounds at the market.

Shari Baum
Executive Director
Sugar Grove Chamber

Letter: Elburn emergency responders take extra step

This past Friday, Sept. 25, my husband was outside on a gorgeous day here in Elburn stacking firewood.

Enjoying the weather, whistling a tune, he suddenly felt his back spasm and collapsed to the ground, unable to move. He was in pain but he could talk well enough—husband can always talk—and soon enough we decided that the best course of action was to get him to Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

We placed a 911 call, and I was shocked that approximately two minutes later—at least it felt that way to me—the paramedics were at our door. Talk about a fast response, I’m still amazed.

The medics were kind and attentive to my husband and soon realized that they were going to need help to move my husband. The dear man was in so much pain, he yelled where ever he was touched. The medics decided to handle him with utmost care.

Therefore, they decided to call in the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District for backup assistance. The next thing I know, firemen were at my door, helping to secure my husband safely and comfortably out the door and into an ambulance.

After speaking with my husband briefly in the ambulance, I turn around to see all the firemen loading and finishing the stacking of wood that had caused my husband all this attention in the first place.

My heart broke just a little to see such kindness and compassion in this day and age where, most of the time all you see is jealousy, anger and resentments.

I am sincerely hoping that the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District members that came out too to help us, and the medics as well, get an extra treat in the goodie bags this season for they all sure deserve it. Thank you so much again.

Lola Salamon
Elburn

Letter: Thank you for attending Aleburn

I would like to thank everyone who attended our second annual Aleburn.

The weather was perfect, and attendance was double what it was last year. A very special thank you to Ream’s Elburn Market for sponsoring the 10-piece big band, they were a favorite to young and old.

In addition I would like to thank Dan at Cambridge Electric, Hogan Walker, Blackberry Township, Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District, and all of the volunteers who helped make this event a success. Monies raised will be set aside for next year’s fireworks celebration on July 11, 2010.

Bill Brauer, Elburn Chamber

Editorial: Kaneland moves closer to No Child Left Behind compliance

Kudos to the Kaneland High School administration, teachers—not to mention the students—for boosting their achievement test scores fairly significantly from the 2008 school year to the 2009 school year.

As part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, states determine what percentage of students must score high enough to “meet or exceed” the state standard. In Illinois, that number, referred to as adequate yearly progress (AYP), is the benchmark in which schools should exceed. The difficulty is that, based on the act’s premise of literally leaving no child left behind, the AYP number increases each year until it reaches 100 percent by 2014.

Illinois’ AYP started at 40 in 2003, and reched 70 in 2009. Kaneland High School surpassed AYP in each of the three tests (reading, math, science) until 2007. That year, AYP was 55, and Kaneland’s science score was 50. In 2008, AYP increased to 62.5 and KHS failed to meet that level in each of the tests.

This year’s AYP is 70, and despite the continuing increase, KHS did exceed the standard in reading, and while it missed the mark in both math and science, it significantly improved in both areas.

The reading score was the highest achieved by KHS since this form of tracking began in 2003. Math and science both showed their second-highest scores in the same time period.

This demonstrates that Kaneland has much to be proud of, and yet also demonstrates that it continues to face an ever-increasing challenge as the standards continue to rise.

Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill wrote in a page 1 article in this week’s edition that the district administration is developing strategies to increase those scores further this week, and will present its strategies at the next School Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 28.

Because KHS has failed to achieve AYP for two consecutive years, it remains in the state’s academic watch list. The development and implementation of an improvement plan is part of the state’s requirement that such a plan be created by the district and approved by the School Board.

In each consecutive year of not achieving AYP, the district will have to recreate its improvement plan, and eventually—should KHS fail to meet AYP for a sixth year—the district would be required to implement a district restructuring plan.

What all this means is that the district and school should be proud that it significantly improved its test scores this past year, but it should also recognize that this year’s improvement was but one step in the right direction. The standards will continue to increase, and this year’s improvement should not be looked at as unique, but rather, as the beginning of a new trend.

This year demonstrated that a solid plan and dedicated educators and students can make a sizeable improvement. Now is the time for them to do it again.

Letter: Thanks to Wiltse Greenhouse and Farm for donation

As chairperson for the Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School Grounds Beautification Committee, I would like to thank Kate Wiltse of Wiltse Greenhouse and Farm in Maple Park for her generous donation of mums for our planter. We greatly appreciate your interest in helping to make our school look its best.

I would also like to remind everyone that the annual Fall Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at John Stewart. Any parents, students or community members who are willing to volunteer any amount of time are encouraged to attend and help beautify our school grounds.

Kelly Durbala
Elburn

Letter: Hogfan Party update and thanks

Just thought I would let you know the results of Jason’s Hogfan Party on Saturday, Sept. 12. We sold 262 pigroast tickets and may have already outgrown the Moose.

Arlene Gould had amazing sides to go with a really delicious pig roast by T’s Roasting of Sugar Grove. The 30-foot dessert table was a sight to behold. I just can’t thank all of you who donated desserts. I guess people were worried that we would not have enough, so they brought four.

We had so many donations of raffles and silent auction and you could have gott en incredible deals. The Hogwheel was a major hit and we will expand that next year. We gave away a flat screen digital television, a $400 Bike from the Bike Rack, a Wii console, American Girl Doll and much, much more.

Dr. Rob Baiocchi from Ohio State University flew in for the whole event and spoke to the group about where their money was going and the lack of funding currently by the NIH. He is one of the top cancer researchers at Ohio State University Cancer Research Center in Columbus, Ohio. One person was so impressed with his talk that she immediately wrote a check for $1,000. Dr. Rob also explained how the cancer vaccine that we are supporting this year in Jason’s behalf is beginning clinical trials and in animal trials, it is preventing PTLD (the lymphoma Jason got that is caused by the Epstein Barr virus that all of us have). This is one of the worst complications of any kind of transplant, and it will hopefully be eliminated in the next couple of years. He just couldn’t thank us enought for our support.

Recently, I got an email from Dr. Mike Caligiuri, the head of all transplant centers in the United States and the Head of Ohio State University Cancer Center, and he wanted to thank us for the fundraiser and the support. He said we are in the funding that will eliminate the complication that Jason died from and that thousands will die from still this year.

Jason was there in spirit, and that contributed to the overall spirit of the event. We on the committee for this year’s Hogfan Party will have a few more of you joining us next year simply because you were so impressed with the commitment you saw from all. All of Jason’s family, friends and the committee for Friends of Jason Gould thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support, donations of raffles and silent auction items, coming and sharing the time with us, and of course for your financial donations, no matter what amount.

It looks like we will have raised around $24,000 with donations still coming in every day. I had a goal of $20,000-30,000 for our first year. And we raised that in the current economy and not really having any corporate sponsors yet. Once we pay expenses, we will send a check to Ohio State University (actually we will take it out in person). We are hoping to still increase the amount we are sending and will close out this year’s event the middle of October. I know that there were some of you who were going to donate, and you still have time. We really need your support. You can donate on Jason’s website all year using PayPal or you can send checks to Sandy Gould, P.O. Box 467 Oswego, IL 60543. Checks are payable to Friends of Jason Gould Inc. Your donations are tax deductible. 100 percent of net proceeds will go to the research. I think that Ohio’s cancer research is some of the most innovative, brilliant and successful in terms of outcomes, new chemo therapies, integrative therapies in all kinds of cancer.

I hope you will consider supporting us by sending your donation in any amount. Those $10-25 contributions add up like you can’t believe. For those of you who are getting this who already contributed, you will get an official thank you letter for tax purposes, etc. from us in the next week or two.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This has been the most gratifying collaberative effort in the name of Jason Patrick Gould who wanted to pursue this dream himself and now we are simply fulfilling his wishes.

We are “Hogwild About a Cure.”

Sandy Gould
Committee for Friends of Jason Gould, Inc.

Letter: Parents as Advocates fall retreat for moms coming soon

There is something exciting I plan each fall and wanted to let my friends and family know about it. Many of you know that when Max was two, my friend Karol Peters and I started a support group for Kaneland-area parents who are raising children with disabilities.

We named the group Parents As Advocates, and we strive to help families become stronger in their roles as advocates for their children. We meet over breakfast at Papa G’s one Saturday morning a month to network, offer support and learn from guest speakers. We have social events throughout the year, and share information/resources via our e-mail group lists.

Four years ago I felt God put a great idea in my mind, so I went with it and PAA hosted its first-ever “Fall Retreat for Moms” over in the John Stewert Victorian Mansion in Elburn. It was a smashing success with 44 moms who are raising children with special needs in attendance. Now, fast forward to our fourth annual retreat. On Friday through Sunday, Oct. 16-19, Parents As Advocates is hosting an expanded two-night retreat for up to 75 area moms who have children with disabilities.

These ladies very rarely have the opportunity to get away on their own and focus on themselves. As you can imagine, mothering a child with special needs is a tremendous blessing, while at the same time, it is a challenge few can handle without some very trying times. Our mission is to provide these moms with an experience that will “recharge their batteries” and allow them to return to their families with a renewed sense of purpose and encouragement. Our theme this year is “Intermission from your Three Ring Circus”.

To make this retreat a success, we are leaning on others in the community for help. How can you help? I have some suggestions …

You could make a donation to our “Love Baskets.” Each mom will be surprised to receive a beautiful basket brimming with little goodies, gift certificates, products and coupons when she arrives at the retreat. No item is too small to be accepted for the baskets, and anything you feel you could contribute would be very much appreciated.

Or, you could make a donation to be given away as a door prize. For example, last year we had donations which included everything from house-cleaning gift certificates, to court-side Bulls tickets, to digital cameras, to Motorolla phones to dinner and movie gift certificates, and everything in between. Nothing is too small or too big.

If you frequent a business that provides a “pampering” service (manicure, hair styling, massage, etc.) you could let them know about our retreat and ask them to donate their time. We will have rooms set up where the moms can receive some free and much needed pampering. Most of these moms pamper themselves in this way either rarely or never, so you can imagine what an appreciated treat this will be for them. We are also seeking volunteers to come in and give manicures on Saturday afternoon from 4 to 5 p.m. Last year we had about 10 volunteers, and we need that many for this year too.

Another way to help is by making a monetary donation which would go toward giving scholarships to those moms who cannot afford the $170 registration fee. Raising a child with a disability entails an endless stream of expensive doctors, therapists and medications. There are several moms who would like to come but do not have the money to spend on themselves. A monetary contribution would allow us to include these deserving ladies. Thanks so very much to those of you who have already donated scholarships. The recipients were so thrilled.

Currently, we are about two-thirds full with 43 registered moms. If you know of someone who can benefit from this type of retreat, please have them contact me at capesfamily@verizon.net.

Thanks very much for all of your support in the past for Parents As Advocates. May you be richly blessed for it.

Carrie Capes
Maple Park

Letter: 2009 Elburn Days Thank You

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who visited the Elburn Chamber of Commerce booth in the Commercial Tent during Elburn Days. We would also like to thank everyone who attended the Sidewalk Sale, Flea Market and Craft Show during Elburn Days.

Thank you to Dr. Ken Baumruck and the Elburn Days Committee for your volunteer hours prior to the event. Thank you to Ted and Liz Memmoli, ATM Enterprises, Ltd. for sponsoring the Chamber Float. Thank you to all those that were on the float—Dr. Ken, Polly Ruzic, Kathy Frelich, Barb Lange, Lori Innocenti, Andy Pavlovich, Nathaniel, Giovanni, Cody and Zack. Thank you to Leslie Flint of the Elburn Herald for designing the signs for the Chamber parade walkers to carry. Thank you to the parade walkers for handing out the candy. Thank you to the members for giving of your time to help man the Elburn Chamber of Commerce booth during Elburn Days. Thank you to Rudy and the gang at Kountry Kettle for collecting the coffee cans used for the Elburn Dollars collection.

Thank you to CeCe Rocha, National Bank & Trust, and Polly Ruzic, Welcome Home, for their work on the Sidewalk Sale, Flea Market and Craft Show. Thank you to the volunteers that helped with the Sidewalk Sale, Flea Market and Craft Show. Thank you to the Community Congregational Church for allowing the Elburn Chamber of Commerce to use their parking lot to host the Flea Market Area. Thank you to the businesses in downtown Elburn who participated in the Sidewalk Sale during Elburn Days.

Thank you to the Elburn Lions Park for allowing the Elburn Chamber of Commerce to host the Craft Show in Lions Park.

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce is a volunteer-driven organization committed to serving local businesses and helping to foster a spirit of community in the Elburn area. We provide opportunities for members to promote their businesses, share ideas and to meet other business leaders.

Lori Innocenti
Elburn Chamber of Commerce

Editorial: Government must slash budgets, not services

Read through our paper this week, and you will see that just like the vast majority of businesses and families, governmental bodies are also looking at how to tighten their budgetary belts.

Virtually everyone is in a situation in which they must figure out how to do the same or more with less.

On the homefront, people are simply looking at every possible way to spend less money. The first things to go are things considered unnecessary expenses, and if that is not enough, then families are forced to determine what things are less necessary than others—and then those are the things to go next.

Among businesses, a similar thing has occurred. Companies are cutting out every expense that does not impact their ability to serve their customers. If that is not enough, then a combination of salary and/or staff cuts are next, and they are forced to try and find a way to still serve their customers with less resources to do so.

Among governmental bodies at the federal level, they just run up deficits; and at the state level, they simply fail to pay on their vendors in any form of timely fashion.

However, municipalities do not have the same luxuries, as they cannot run up massive debt, and essential functions—like schools, police and fire—will cease to function if no money is available.

Therefore, without the ability to spend money it does not have, or to pay people it owes with IOUs, municipalities must treat their budgets similar to families and companies. If a family does not have access to enough money, there is simply no option when a bill comes due. If a business has no cash on hand and a vendor chooses to call in a debt or a payroll is due, that company may fail.

Each of our local units of government is facing these challenges, and they all have expressed a desire to meet the challenge without negatively affecting their ability to provide the services they are responsible for providing.

We hope that since these local taxing bodies are facing challenges that are similar to those faced by local families and businesses, that their responses and decisions are also similar. Anything not considered a necessary expenditure should be delayed.

Prior to making changes that harm a governmental body’s ability to serve the taxpayers—such as eliminating positions or cutting back on services, we hope to see the types of cost-cutting measures that occur every day in the private sector.

Salaries should be looked at and cut or renegotiated. For example, the recent pay raises for Kaneland educators accounts for a $1.2 million budget item, and the district’s entire deficit is $761,000. Salaries for the department heads at each municipality should not be safe from a decrease either.

Families have to make do with less income; business owners and employees are facing cutbacks, before services are harmed, it is time to take a look at the pay of those in the public sector.

Letter: Better way to use money for Prairie Parkway?

Last week I attended the Prairie Parkway event, but it doesn’t make sense to me. I drive to and from work every day on Route 47. Why not use the Prairie Parkway funds to widen Route 47? I heard Congressman Foster talk at this event about funding and the Stimulus Act. What he forgets is that mismanaged tax money comes out of our pockets. The people commuting every day get the short end of the deal. Mark Vargas, the Republican challenger for the 14th District was also there. I really liked his idea of a jobs task force instead of more roads to nowhere.

Aaron Priebe
Huntley, Ill.

Letter: Thank you from MP American Legion

We’d like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the Legion over Labor Day weekend during the Maple Park Fun Fest. We hope everyone enjoyed the music, food and fellowship. To the many family and friends of our legion membership, thank you for volunteering your time over the entire weekend to help make sure we had a successful beer garden and food booths and breakfast.

Bob Neisendorf
Commander
Maple Park American Legion Post #312

Letter: Remembering Al Bergquist

Elburn lost one of its best-known residents with the recent passing of Al Bergquist. Al was many people rolled into one: farmer, family man, motorcyclist, township road commissioner, Republican precinct committeeman and master storyteller, with a personal history filled with great stories to tell.

Al was famous in the motorcycle world. At any cycle event I attend, when asked where I live, I answer “Elburn, Illinois,” and the next question is always: “Elburn! Do you know Al Bergquist?”

I first know Al in 1969-70 when I covered Sycamore Speedway’s cycle racing for local newspapers. Perhaps my happy friendship with Al came through our mutual interest in the world of motorcycles. Al rode and raced motorcycles for many years, was a champion dirt track and enduro racer, and a life member of the American Motorcyclist Association, for which he was also a referee for enduro events. In Al’s “flat truck” days, he rode Indian motorcycles for Bob “Tuner” Hansen, on of motocycling’s greats, who later prepared bikes for Dick Mann, the greatest all-around motorcycle racer America has ever produced. You had to be tops to ride for Bob Hansen! I have been told Al could have been U.S. pro motorcycle champion but he had a farm to run, and, as much as he loved racing, farm and family came first. He was proud of having raced against many of American’s best, and remained friends all his life with his great competitors, Wayne Pierce of DeKalb, Bill Baird (six-time U.S. National Enduro Champion) from Sterling, Ill., and the great Dick Mann.

When racing became part of his past, Al turned to long-distance road riding, touring much of the U.S. with Joan on their Honda Gold Wing trike. He was a rider almost to the end, and was well-known and respected for his motorcycle expertise by several generations of riders.

Many were the stories and many the cups of coffee Al shared with friends, neighbors and motorcycle travellers across the tables of Elburn’s Kountry Kettle Restaurant. He was a man whose opinions were as strong as the coffee he drank.

He will be sorely missed.

Dennis C. Ryan
Elburn

Letter: Thank you from Bergquist family

The family of Al Burgquist wishes to thank everyone for all of their expressions of sympathy and prayers. We would also like to thank Pastor Phil Ressler of Lord of Life Church for all of his kindness and support, Conley’s for everything they did to make it a beautiful celebration of his life, and Vitas Hospice for their care during the last days of his life.

Joan Bergquist
Elburn

Editorial: Kaneland makes reasonable decision in midst of controversy

The controversy surrounding President Obama’s speech to schoolchildren on Tuesday provides a good lesson in the difference between constructive public discourse and debate that serves no purpose.

Ultimately, the speech was made available in text format ahead of time, and the speech itself proved to be a non-political discussion focusing on inspiring children to take responsibility for their own education.

The fears that many people had—that the speech was designed to indoctrinate children with a particular political philosophy—proved unfounded, yet those who had concerns about their children watching the speech in school and taking part in the post-speech teachable moment should not be discounted.

Those on both sides of the controversy should take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at the situation logically and think through a number of questions before one side begins attacking the other side.

• Is it a bad thing for the President of the United States to try and inspire schoolchildren?

• Is it a bad thing for parents and schools to want to screen the speech prior to showing it to their children and students?

• Is it necessary to immediately assume all communications from any politician are political in nature, but at the same time is it OK, and even healthy, to remain skeptical of all politicians?

Locally, the Kaneland administration faced two problems in reaching a decision whether or not to broadcast the speech. The primary reason was the logistical and technological issues raised by trying to ensure that every student had access to the speech at the same time. The secondary reason was that the majority of feedback from parents indicated they were philosophically against the idea of the district broadcasting the speech live to all students.

So what Kaneland did was elect not to broadcast the speech, but make it available for teachers and parents in order to share parts or all of it with their students or children in the best manner that they see fit.

This seems like a reasonable decision; it is far more reasonable than to require that it be viewed by all students, as well as the opposite side, which would be to not allow teachers to use the speech in the classroom should it coincide with the students’ studies.

These types of decisions are best made at the most local level possible. In this case, that is between parents and their families, and between families and their children’s teachers.

Many parents may feel it is perfectly appropriate and worthwhile to use the speech during a school unit focusing on civics or communication that involves middle or high schoolers, but may not feel it is appropriate or worthwhile for their 5-year-old to listen to instead of story time.

Regardless of what anyone else thinks, it is what each parent feels is appropriate and worthwhile for their child that is most important. Even if Kaneland had the logistical and technological means to broadcast the speech simultaneously to every student at Kaneland, the decision not to broadcast the speech live but make it available to individual families and teachers would still be reasonable.

Letter: Elburn Lions Club thanks Elburn Days sponsors

The Elburn Lions Club would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous donations of services and contributions.

A-1 Concrete Leveling & Foundation Repair
All American Stage & Sound
American Bank & Trust Co
Aurora Tri State
Bob Jass Chevrolet
Bob’s Repair & Golf Cart Sales
Bur Oak Group, Inc.
Collision Centers of America
Computer Network Management, LLC
Country Automotive, Inc.
Delnor Hospital
Dr. Robert Davidson, DDS, PC
Drs .Horton & Vranas, DDS
Elburn Coop
Elburn Herald
Elburn Radiator & Repair
Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
Eyes on Elburn, Ltd.
Fifth Third Bank
Fleck & Uhlich, Inc.
Fox River Foods, Inc
G. Snow and Sons
Hill’s Country Store
Hobby Town
Hodges Westside Truck Center Inc
Hogan Walker, LLC
Horton Farms Inc dba Campton Excavating
Hughes Creek Golf Club
Inboden’s Meats, Ltd.
Inner Harmony Massage Therapy
Investcom Inc
J & R Herra Plumbing & Heating
Joe Dieter & Sons, Inc.
Knuckleheads Tavern
Lafarge
M & M Dance
Mediacom Communications Corp.
Meijer
Metrolift
Midwest Window & Supply
Old Second Bank
Packaged Concrete, Inc.
Paisano’s Pizza & Grill
Photocraft, Inc.
Platinum Plumbing, Inc.
Schenk Custom Builders
SH & D General Trucking, Inc.
Site Utility Construction, Inc.
Skinner Amusements, Inc
Terry’s Lawn Service
The Chronicle
The Morse Group
Tri County Coins & Collectibles
U.S. Specialty Packaging
United Visual, Inc.
VanBogaert Excavating & Enterprises, Inc.
WSPY FM 107.1

With the generous support of people like you, we will be able to continue serving our community as well as assist in providing services worldwide.

Thank you again for your continual support of the Elburn Lions Club,
Lions Pam Hall, Steve Hall, Cheryl Lee,
Al Lee, Allison Durham, Dennis Schenk,
and Nancy Wilkison
Elburn Days 2009 Sponsorship Committee

Letter: My dog—Gretel

You came and left—you brought so much happiness to all.

You can never know how I miss our walks through the grass.

We think you were 12 years old, but with your grease for life, you would be 6.

Now at this time I, too, have gotten older, so there will be no more wet, cold nose; will be no more dogs.

When I saw the look you gave me as you were crying out in pain, I felt I must do something—Our lives are always full of decisions—this was the most difficult I ever had. We loved you. When I saw in your last moments of life utter helplessness—I did wonder how I could do such a terrible thing.

It was the only thing we could do—It was done for your sake. Now perhaps you will be able to be with our beloved Becky, running through the grass.

Thank you for the fun you gave everyone—Rest in peace.

Go get that chipmunk.

Your eternal friend—perhaps we will meet again.

David Compton
Elburn

Letter: Another successful Elburn Days—Thanks, Elburn!

Yet another summer has flown by and ended with a festival that we look forward to all year long.

While Elburn Days may be over, it will not be forgotten anytime soon. Families have created new memories, new friends have been made and old friends reconnected. The community came together once again to support the Elburn Lions.

We cannot thank you enough!

I’d like to personally thank the employees of the Village of Elburn, Elburn Police Department, Explorers and Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District once again for your professionalism, strong work ethics and pride that shines through for the Village of Elburn and its residents. I may not be a resident in town, but I can appreciate the great amount of effort it takes to create a safe, caring environment for all to enjoy.

For those of you that may not know, the annual three-day festival, Elburn Days, is hosted by the Elburn Lions Club. The Lions Club is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. All the volunteers that make this annual event such a huge success have gone back to work, soaked their sore feet, massaged their achy backs and have caught up on lost sleep. We are proud to say that “We Serve” our community and even prouder to say your contribution greatly advances our efforts to make it possible for us to do so! We look forward to volunteering at many more events and hope you continue to join us in all our future endeavors.

With the generous support of the community, we will be able to continue serving our community as well as assist in providing services worldwide. Worldwide, Lions clubs are recognized for their service to people who are blind and visually impaired. The Lions are the largest service organization in the world, and Elburn is the largest Lions Club in Illinois.

Today, Lions extend their commitment to sight conservation through countless local efforts, as well as through their international Sight First program, which works to eradicate blindness. Lions also collect and recycle eyeglasses for distribution in developing countries year-round. In addition, Lions make a strong commitment to young people through many youth programs. Lions also work to improve the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes education, conduct hearing programs and, through their foundation, provide disaster relief around the world.

Our community projects include many well-known projects, starting with providing a beautiful 27-acre park with handicap-accessible playground and facilities for use by children of all ages year-round, as well as sponsoring Elburn Days. Also, a drive by the park on a summer night will demonstrate the park packed full of local youth and their families utilizing our three baseball fields and open space to practice and play softball, baseball and football.

We also do many, less-visible projects, like helping families in need, donating to the local food pantry, awarding scholarships to deserving Kaneland graduates, providing an annual special holiday dinner for seniors, providing facilities annually for Kaneland elementary school picnics, and donating street name signs for Elburn and the new subdivisions around Elburn.

There is always a need whether it be in our community or across the country. I challenge you to join us. We can never have too many hands guiding us along the way. New members are always welcome. For more information on how you can help make a difference in the lives of so many in our community, we invite you to visit our website, www.elburnlions.com. You can find information there on our upcoming events for this year and volunteer opportunities.

While I reflect on all we do as Lions members, it truly makes me smile knowing that we have a whole community behind us. Thank you to our families and friends, as well as community members who generously support our activities and volunteer their time to make our events successful.

Thank you, Elburn!
Pam Hall
Elburn Lions Club

Editorial: Close out the summer festival season in Maple Park

School has begun, the days are getting shorter, and we have reached the final week of local festivals.

Summer is a busy time for community volunteers, since each town has its own summer festival. The Sugar Grove Corn Boil was in July, Elburn Days and Kaneville Fest were in August, and now Maple Park’s Fun Fest is set to run from Friday through Monday, Sept. 4-7 (see Maple Park Fun Fest coverage in this week’s edition).

The festival that began as a Labor Day weekend softball tournament has evolved, grown, shrunk, and regrown over the years, and this year is promising to be more than worth attending.

The Maple Park Fun Fest begins Friday evening with performances on the main stage from a pair of area bands, CAOZZ and Red Woody. Saturday features a run/walk, the beginning of the softball tournament, a craft show, the annual toilet bowl races, parade, and more live performances from area bands. Sunday features a buffet breakfast and day two of the softball tournament, and concludes with fireworks at night.

Sunday closes out the festival with a breakfast and the culmination of the softball tournament.

As we have stated throughout the summer, our local community festivals are perfect ways to either connect, or re-connect, with your fellow community members.

The summer festival circuit is nearly over, and soon there will be no more chances to get outside, gather with your neighbors, and take part in a community-wide, multi-day festival. We hope you take this last opportunity of the year.

9/3 Editorial Cartoon
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Letter: Festival Performance Series begins Sept. 12

Each year, over 3,000 people gather for a full day of encouraging young people’s involvement in arts endeavors and challenging youth to develop their abilities.

Free to the public, the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival will take place on Sunday, April 18, 2010. It has been my joy to watch our community continue to embrace this wonderful event year after year.

I would like to thank our 2009 Corporate Sponsors for their commitment at last year’s festival: Midwest Window & Supply, Ottosen Britz Kelly Cooper & Gilbert, Ltd., Casey’s General Store, Elmhurst Chicago Stone Co., M.A.C. Excavating, Inc & Steel Buildings, The National Bank & Trust, Ross Electric, Inc., Waubonsee Community College, Elburn Chiropractic & Acupuncture, LePrinte Express, Maple Park Supply, Inc., Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, Co., Quinlan & Fabish Music Co., Sen. Chris Lauzen, State Street Dance Studio, Valley West Sandblasting & Painting, Inc., Village Bible Church, Vons Electric, Inc, Builder’s Asphalt, LLC, Campbell Concrete Construction, Inc, Castle Bank, Country Automotive and Harry F. Krauspe, DDS. Without this very special continuing commitment, our festival would not be the success it is today.

A new and exciting addition to the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, is the Festival Performance Series, which brings full-length quality performances to the Kaneland High School Auditorium at a fraction of the cost patrons pay in nearby Chicago suburbs.

Tickets are now on sale for our very first performance. We hope that you will join us on Saturday, Sept. 12, to see The Magic of the Spellbinder. This is a performance appropriate for ages 5 to 105, and all who attend will be amazed at the skill of this illusionist.

Ticket order forms can be found on the Kaneland website, as well as in all of the Kaneland School District buildings.

I look forward to seeing you all at this wonderful community event.

Maria Y. Dripps-Paulson
Executive Director of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival

Letter: A tacky display by the village

During the week of the Solheim Cup, did anyone else notice how very tacky and unprofessional the village of Sugar Grove displayed our American flag?

Our beautiful flag was displayed around the stem of the water tower, just under the ball, and didn’t even wrap all the way around.

The flag should have been displayed off a pole, instead of wrapping it like wrapping paper and then realizing you ran out.

Tom Scales
Sugar Grove

Letter: Gambling law a gateway to self-destruction

Thanks to Gov. Quinn and our state lawmakers, Illinois has a new gambling law which allows up to five video gambling machines in local establishments where liquor is served. We will soon have mini-casinos in our favorite restaurants throughout Illinois.

There are good reasons why dozens of local municipalities are considering banning this type of gambling—also known as the crack cocaine of gambling. A leading study from Australia in 2000 concluded that for every 80 video gambling machines, $2 million was drained from and “damaged the local economy” each year.

Numerous machines make it hard to regulate, and almost impossible to monitor, to prevent underage gambling. Experts estimate between 7 to 11 percent of the teen population are already compulsive gamblers.

The average adult compulsive gambler is one year of salary in debt before they seek help. At a time when Illinois’ unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent, can we afford to exploit the citizens of this state by creating more gambling addicts?

Moreover, video gambling machines turn recreational gamblers into compulsive ones within a year, compared to nearly four years for other kinds of gambling.

There is no skill required. With the help of prepaid cards, gamblers are no longer required to put money into the machines with each play. Now, hundreds of bets are placed within an hour simply by lifting a finger.

Like a slowly spreading cancer, poker machines will sweep into the culture of Illinois. This is a recipe for human disaster.

Our state government is looking for extra revenue to cover the shortage, in part due to the out-of-control spending that continues without restraint. Maybe there is a way to do it quickly and fairly; maybe there isn’t. But one thing is for sure: Depending on the losing fortunes of the citizens of Illinois is not the answer.

David E. Smith
Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

Letter: KHS looking for garden-fresh fruits and veggies

Kaneland High School’s Family and Consumer Science Department is looking for garden fresh vegetables and fruits. If you have any garden vegetables or fruits that you are not going to use, please keep us in mind.

If you are tired of your fresh fruits and veggies, please drop them off at the high school for room B100, or send them with your children and we will put them to good use.

We are also looking for pumpkins. We are going to make fresh salsa, pizza sauce and other goodies.

Judy W. Fabrizius
Kaneland High School

Letter: In support of Fox Valley Driving School

We wanted our son to have the best experience learning to drive. We homeschool so we chose to send him to a private driving school. There were two options in town, so we contacted both of them. Fox Valley Driving responded to our inquiry immediately.

The other one never got back to us. We decided to go with Fox Valley Driving and were pleased to find out all of the teachers and driving instructors are active or ex-police officers. Who better to teach our children to drive.

A bonus was that we were supporting an Elburn family with a new business. It is hard to start a business and have the competition come into town. We encourage you to support a local family.

John and Mary Soto
Elburn

Letter: Thank you for supporting Ellen’s Excellent Sale

The sixth annual Ellen’s Excellent Sale to benefit Lazarus House was held on Aug. 7 and 8. The mega-sale actually began when I was nine, and was inspired by a church trip to the local St. Charles shelter. It has been such a rewarding experience to see the sale grow from a 9-year-old girl with a pan of brownies in her driveway, to a street-wide spectacular with nearly 50 volunteers.

That being said, there is no way on earth that we could have accomplished the sale without the support of our amazing community.

We would like to give a big thank you to our sponsors and supporters that made Ellen’s Excellent Sale a success: 7-Eleven, Ace Hardware, Advantax, Allied Waste Management, Aldi, Amazing Grace Antiques, the city of Geneva, Competitive Edge Graphics and Promotions, First Baptist Church of Geneva, GFX International, Ken’s Autobody, the Law Offices of Timothy Dwyer and Royal Family Kids Camp Fox Valley. Thank you so much for everything.

In just two days, truly miraculous things happened in our street. Such acts of support and generosity are too rare in our community. These wonderful outpourings of love included:

• A plethora of volunteers who helped price and organize a week before the sale, including Kristin, a wonderful girl who we had never met before, who tirelessly helped to price and organize before and during the sale.

• Our wonderful friends who helped to tarp and disassemble the sale in a torrential downpour. We didn’t hear one complaint, and actually had fun doing it.

• Many shoppers overpaid. A $10 bill for a $2 purchase was not uncommon.

• One lovely woman came to shop and rummage though all the stuff. She proclaimed proudly she had come every year and bought a few bags full of things. She was so gracious and lifted everyone’s spirits.

• One woman came to help us pack everything up in the rain. She even got a babysitter just so she could help us.

• A special thanks to Ace Hardware for providing tents and manpower to set them up during the rain. Also a huge thank you to Allied Waste Management for providing garbage pickup for the over 10 yards of water-damaged goods and garbage.

Despite the rain, we were able to raise $7,500 for Lazarus House.

None of this could have happened without our friends and neighbors who eagerly gave their time, energy, talents and money. The super local press coverage also raised awareness of the sale and the cause behind it.

As said by John Wesely: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

I believe we took a giant leap toward this goal during the sale. It lifts our spirits to see the excellent generosity and support of our community.

Ellen Wildman
Geneva

Editorial: Kaneville Fest—a celebration of community

Residents of the village of Kaneville have long considered themselves a community, long before the village was recognized as such by the state, complete with official borders and a government entity.

We recall that for years before the village’s incorporation in 2006, we would often receive news items, letters to the editor, and other communications signed by residents, complete with “of the village of Kaneville.”

They are a perfect example of how a community does not need official designation to be one. They have long recognized that the word community means far more than what can be defined by a unit of government.

In fact, nine years ago and for several years before that, the community of Kaneville held a festival each summer to create an opportunity for residents to get together and have fun.

However, for the past eight years, there has been no summer community event that has drawn community members together. And yet their sense of community continued and even strengthened; culminating with their decision to pursue incorporation as an official village.

And now that they are a community in both spirit and law, members of the community are bringing back that annual summer festival.

Kaneville Fest will run from Friday through Sunday, Aug. 28-30, complete with book sales, volleyball games, picnics, an outdoor movie, and much more.

If you have lived in Kaneville for long, you know about the strong sense of community that thrives there. For you, this event will be a celebration of that.

If you are new to Kaneville or live in a different village, then you are invited to visit the festival and become a part of that community.

The long-term residents of the village of Kaneville and the pre-2006 community of Kaneville are proof that borders do not define communities, people do.

Therefore, if you are reading this, you are a member of the community, and we hope to see you there.

Letter: Tired of Democrat’s lies

I am so tired of the lies that we are hearing from Obama and the Democratic party concerning the so-called Health Care bill. When you hear them talk, they constantly deny what the bill actually says. If this bill passes, it will interfere with your entire way of life. It is so socialistic that we will not recognize the freedom that we now have.

Why do we not have our representatives here having town meetings? Why do we have a Senator from Ohio appearing here trying to convince us that this is a great bill? We can read what is in the bill for ourselves and as we have found out, the bill does not match the words they say. I wonder why my representative, Bill Foster (D), phone (630) 406-1114, e-mail bfoster@mail.house.gov, will not hold a town hall meeting to explain why he thinks this bill is so good for us? For instance, on page 16 of the health bill, is a provision that makes individual private medical illegal. Or why on page 30 does the bill say a government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you will get—and unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process.

Page 425 of the bill states that the government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time. Apparently when you die.

One more page of the 1,018-page bill is page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (Read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN). Health care for all illegals in this country is also a part of this bill. You need to get a copy of this bill for yourself. Go to http://blog.flecksoflife.com/ and get yourself a copy of the main points of each of the 1,018 pages, or print out the whole bill for yourself.

Folks, this is not my America. this is not the America many of us served and are proud of. You need to educate yourself. This so-called “health care” bill will make you think we are living in a socialistic country. You need to call your representatives to make your opinion known. Here are a few phone numbers and e-mails: Obama’s White House, (202) 456-1111, and president@whitehouse.gov and vice.president@whitehouse.gov. Biden’s number is (202) 224-8391. Senator Richard Durbin’s (D) phone number is (202) 224-2152 or (312) 353-4952 and e-mail is dick@durbin.senate.gov.

Once again, all of you need to get involved because the final bill that will probably come out of this mess will affect everything about you for the rest of your life. The people in Congress have forgotten that they work for us, and we need to get them back on track.
Remember, we have a primary election coming up in February 2010, and a November election in 2010. All the people responsible for creating such a boondoggle need to be replaced.

Richard H. Sharp
Geneva

Letter: Thank you, Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market

Thank you so much to the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market for letting me sponsor and participate in the Farmer’s Market Dog Days of Summer event on Aug. 15. We had a fantastic turnout and hope everyone had as much fun as my husband, Russ, and I did. We met so many incredibly wonderful people, as well as people we already know, and enjoyed seeing everyone.

We are so proud to live in a community that is filled with such warm, friendly people; the community truly has a big heart and shows it.
A sincere thank you to Tina Cella, Pat Graceffa, Mari Johnson and all the volunteers for making us feel so welcome from the minute we arrived. We are so impressed with how well the Market is organized and all the vendors in attendance.

A special thanks to Cody, Finnegan, Dugan, Moose, Bella, Horseshoe, Indy, Bo and all the dogs that came out in the hot weather with their humans to be with us.

As a side note, after the Farmer’s Market we stopped for a quick lunch at the Book Nook Cafe and wow! The food was outstanding, to say the least. If you haven’t been yet, make it a point to. You won’t be disappointed in the Book Nook Cafe or our new, beautiful library!

Millie Molitor
Millie’s Pet Sitting & More