Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Sugar Grove blood drive

Your blood donations are urgently needed. Please strongly consider donating blood on Monday, Sept. 9, at the Sugar Grove Fire Department, 25 Municipal Drive, from 3 to 7 p.m. The shortage of every given blood type can change.

The Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary, along with the Sugar Grove Fire Department, will host the blood drive.

We welcome walk-ins, but encourage appointments. Call Joy at (630) 466-7190 or Kathy at (630) 466-4634 for further information or to make your appointment.

We deeply appreciate your urgently needed blood donation. Thank you for donating the “Gift of Life.”

Joy Rubo
Blood drive coordinator
Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary

Letter: New 70 mph speed limit should apply to Metro Chicago

The recently signed 70 mph speed-limit bill begins to undo the damage done by the national 55 mph limit established in 1973. Illinois had a 70 mph speed limit 40 years ago and it was not just for rural interstates. Most state highways, even two-lane highways, had limits higher than the 55 mph still in place on metro Chicago’s interstates.

After reading the recent Illinois speed-limit bill and discussing it with sponsor Jim Oberweis, it is clear to me that the bill was intended to cover, and should apply to, metro Chicago for the same reasons that it makes sense downstate. The speed limit for all metro Chicago interstates will revert to 70 mph unless IDOT produces an engineering study proving the new limit unsafe. County boards may also be able to block the new limit.

If IDOT abides by the traffic engineering principles espoused by other transportation and police departments across the country and around the world, it is nearly certain that the findings would dictate a speed limit of 70 mph (or higher) for metro Chicago expressways, with the possible exception of those inside the city limits.

IDOT and the county boards should stand aside and allow metro Chicago limits to revert to 70 mph. All the evidence indicates that there would be no negative impact on safety. In fact, the opposite is true. Overall metro Chicago highway safety would be improved. Here’s why:

• Nearly 90 percent of fatalities occur on secondary roads. Only 11 percent of fatalities occur on Illinois interstates, including metro Chicago. So, those big fatality counting signs over the tollways are telling us about the risk after we exit.
• Higher speed limits on interstates help draw traffic away from secondary highways which are more dangerous, thus increasing overall road safety. This is always a key point, but even more so in metro Chicago, since roads like Interstate 355 and Interstate 294 charge tolls. There is already a big incentive to take the more dangerous secondary highways, such as old 53 and Route 59, for example.
• For decades, traffic engineers have promoted establishment of speed limits based on 85th percentile speeds—the maximum speed at which 85 percent of motorists travel when unencumbered by traffic or enforcement. Well informed state police and transportation departments around the world advocate this approach. The position taken by IDOT is inconsistent with its peers.
• Speed limits have very little impact on the pace of faster traffic—most drivers, including the police, ignore under (and over) posted limits.
• When limits are under-posted there is one group of drivers who travel at careful and prudent speeds and another group which tries to adhere more closely to the law. Higher interstate speed limits improve safety by reducing speed variance, road rage and weaving.
• Under-posted speed limits breed disrespect for all laws, especially traffic laws. This leads to speeding in construction zones and on secondary roads and other bad behavior. When IDOT has no credibility on speed limits it reduces their credibility on warnings about texting, cell phone usage, etc.
• Under-posted speed limits leave drivers bored, unengaged and distracted. Since driving does not demand their full attention, drivers talk on the phone and even text while driving … because they can. Texting is probably not an issue on the autobahn.
• Even with increased speed limit, Illinois interstates and other highways are still posted at or below the limits which were in place in 1973 (pre-55). Since then, the handling capability and safety equipment on vehicles has improved dramatically such that limits of 80+ should be the norm for rural interstates as in many other parts of the industrialized world. An increase to 70 should not be cause for any concern.
• Insurers and others who profit from speeding tickets tend to cite studies which count the raw number of fatalities rather than looking at the rate per mile driven. The actual fatality rate has fallen steadily for decades during times of both rising and falling speed-limits.
• Higher limits reduce congestion and may actually save fuel by allowing drivers to keep a steadier pace.

One final point makes this a rather urgent matter for Chicago area drivers. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, unlucky drivers who “go with the flow” of average traffic speeds could end up paying a $1,500 fine and go to prison for 6 months. If nothing changes, that will be the penalty for going 81 mph in metro Chicago (26 over the 55 limit).

This Class B Misdemeanor penalty would be OK if the speed limit was 70 mph. In that case, 96 mph could lead to jail time. With heavy-handed penalties like this, it is absolutely critical that Chicago area interstate speed limits be set properly. We all know the 55 limit is a bad joke, and the notion of going to jail for 81 is asinine. It’s time we put an end to it.

Steve Doner
Former Illinois Chapter coordinator
National Motorists Association

Editorial: Celebrate summer’s twilight at Maple Park Fun Fest

We’ve used numerous editorials this summer to remind our readers that while summer in the Kaneland community begins in June, it reaches a different gear come late July with the kickoff of local festival season—the first of which is, of course, Sugar Grove’s beloved Corn Boil gala.

Festival season then pauses for a few weeks before ramping back up with Elburn Days and then Kaneville Fest, both of which offer plenty of entertainment and fun for all ages.

Last but not least is this weekend’s Maple Park Fun Fest—a festival that takes the summer out with a bang and provides the community with three days of activities (5k run/walk, vendors, street sales), a softball tournament (complete with customized hayrack seating just past the outfield wall), first-rate entertainment on the main stage and a spectacular fireworks display.

Sponsored by the Maple Park American Legion Post 312, the 2013 Maple Park Fun Fest will take place Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, Aug. 31, to Monday, Sept. 2. And this year’s event promises to be a great one.

If you are looking for some healthy competition, in addition to the Men’s Slo-Pitch Tournament, the Fun Fest weekend offers a “Romp in the Park” 5k Run/Walk, the second annual Bags Tournament, and the ever-popular Toilet Bowl Challenge. For the last nine years, residents have been dressing up toilet bowls and racing them down Main Street in Maple Park, making for one of Fun Fest’s most memorable moments. Cash prizes and bragging rights for “Most Original Team” will be awarded following the event.

Looking for a more low-key weekend? How about strolling around town enjoying the Craft and Vendor Show on Main and Pleasant streets, or indulging in the food and beer garden? Creative folk and fruit lovers alike will appreciate the first “Mel’n ball” watermelon decorating contest, sponsored by the Maple Park Lions Club. Residents can also kick back and enjoy the Fun Fest Parade on Main Street and entertainment on the main stage, including the “Just For Kix” dance group, the Knights of Columbus’ “Minute-To-Win-It” game show, and musical acts such as Chemically Imbalanced and Billy Croft and the 5 Alarm.

Children can burn off some energy at the zip line or on the inflatables by Jumpy Jumpers, or enjoy magic from Andrew Noyszewski of KIDZMAGIC. Kids can also decorate their bikes and wagons at the “decoration station” and show off their creativity by marching in the Bike and Wagon Parade.

Sunday festivities include the American Legion breakfast buffet and the Maple Park Car Show, sponsored by the Maple Park American Legion. The Frantic Fueler, a 250 mph front engine NITRO dragster, will be featured at the show. On the main stage Sunday will be musical acts Shooter Whiskey and Back Country Roads.

The Fun Fest fireworks show will take place on Sunday evening. Festivities will wind down on Monday—Labor Day—with the conclusion of the Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament.

Sure, this weekend will be summer 2013’s last gasp, but there isn’t a better way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend and the arrival of September than with Maple Park Fun Fest.

For more information or to view the Maple Park Fun Fest schedule, visit

Editorial: Check out Kaneville Fest this weekend

One of the best things about living in the Kaneland community is that we’re rewarded with three straight weekends of festival entertainment. And following a very fun and very successful Elburn Days fest last weekend, we have Kaneville Fest 2013 to look forward to.

On Saturday, Aug. 24, the village of Kaneville will continue making memories and expanding upon its biography with its annual Kaneville Fest—a celebration made possible by generous donors of the community, and one that has been around for decades.

This year’s festival will begin on Thursday, Aug. 22, with a pre-book sale at the Kaneville Library located at the Dave Werdin Community Center, 2S101 Harter Road, Kaneville. Belgium horses will be on site from George Lawyer Belgium Horses, weather permitting. The community garage sale will run during the fest at various locations throughout the village. A complete list of addresses is available at Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road in Kaneville.

You can also check out the movie night on Friday, Aug. 23, at Hill’s Country Store. Movie night takes place rain or shine, and always features a kid-friendly flick. Cartoons will begin at 8 p.m. The movie, “Epic,” will start at 8:30 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. Free pizza from Paisano’s and popcorn from Rich’s Auto Service will be available, as well as $1 slushies and ice cream, and free raffle prizes for kids.

Saturday, Aug. 24, is the “official” date for Kaneville Fest. And that means those in attendance will have plenty of activities to choose from.

Ready your spoons for an ice cream eating contest sponsored by Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream. Entry is free for all ages. Sign up is at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the contest kicking off at 3 p.m.

Dinner will be served from 5 to 7:30 p.m. by 5B’s Catering of Waterman, Ill. Cost for dinner is $5 for children and $11 for adults. Grilling up pork chops since 1975, 5 B’s Catering serves old-fashioned home cooking with a country flair.

Hill’s Country Store will also have a tent set up with drinks, slushies and ice cream available for fest attendees to enjoy.

Live music will be provided from 6 p.m. to dusk by the band Red Woody. Following the band will be the Kaneville Fest fireworks show, supplied and carried out by Maple Park resident Roger Kahl and his crew of pyrotechnicians.

All tickets related to the event are available for purchase prior to Aug. 24 at Hill’s Country Store. All money raised or donated by the many raffles, pork chop fundraiser and 50/50 contest is used to offset the cost of the event, fireworks and entertainment.

There isn’t a better way to follow up last weekend’s awesome Elburn Days event than with a festival like Kaneville Fest—an event that features literally something for everyone. We highly recommend you pay the festival a visit and get a look at the things that make Kaneville such a great village.

Letter: Donations make a difference for Boy Scout Troop 7

On behalf of Boy Scout Troop 7, we’d like to send a huge thank you to our local businesses, organizations and community members for helping to make our pancake breakfast during Elburn Days a success. Whether it was through a monetary donation, an in-kind donation, or you came and ate pancakes to support us, you helped Troop 7.

We are a very active Troop that goes camping at least once a month, participates in numerous service projects, and believes in the ideals of Boy Scouts to help boys grow into mature and responsible men. The Troop is totally funded by the fundraisers we do over the year, and your support enables us to provide quality equipment and memorable outings for the boys. Thanks again for helping keep Boy Scouts affordable by supporting us in our fundraising efforts.

Matt Linden
Boy Scout Troop 7

Letter: Thank you Elburn Lions Club

We want to personally thank Chris Halsey, Steve O’Neil, Larry (the electrician) Dave -Security & the great group of Elburn Lions Club Volunteers who give so much of their time to this Community for hosting a wonderful Elburn Days. Thank you for all of your help with set up & tear down and for making this a great weekend for the entire surrounding communities.

Sincerely-The Hill Family
Cliff, Pat, Alexa & Tyler
Hill’s Country Store

Letter: A thank you from the Elburn Leos

On Aug. 5-6, the Elburn Leo Club hosted their first Safety Camp for kids. Over the two-day camp, the 34 participants learned about fire, weather, railroad, firearm, bicycle and roller skating safety. The topics of basic first aid, 911, stranger danger, decision making and drug and bullying awareness were also covered.

The Elburn Leos would like to thank the following organizations for their participation: Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, ECFPD Explorer Post, Elburn Police Department, Kane County Sheriff’s Department, Kane County Office of Emergency Management, Operation Lifesaver, Delnor/Cadence Health, DeKalb 911 Dispatch, DeKalb’s Barbed Wire Betties, the Rockford Rage and the Rockford Ragdolls.

The Leos would also like to thank the community volunteers who stepped up to help and the Elburn Lions Club for their continued support. We are looking forward to many more camps in the future.

Lara Broz
ELC Safety Camp chairperson

Editorial: Elburn Days week is upon us

Time flies when you’re having fun, huh? It’s already mid-August; Kaneland students go back to school next week; the weather is getting cooler; and football (at every level) is just around the corner. Summer: blink and you’ll miss it.

Summer isn’t over just yet, however. In fact, three great local festivals stand between us and the harsh reality that autumn is en route: Kaneville Fest, Maple Park Fun Fest, and the festival that will bring countless people to Elburn Lions park this weekend, Elburn Days.

The 84th annual Elburn Days will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16-18, at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore St., Elburn.

Admission to the festival is free, and the food is tasty. Enjoy events and activities for everyone, be it the young or the young at heart, starting with the Elburn Days parade, which will kick off the festivities on Friday night, Aug. 16, and include bands, fire engines, antique cars, clowns, tractors, local business and club floats. The parade starts at Reader Street and Route 47 and continues southbound, ending on South Street at the Elburn Lions Park.

In addition to rides and traditional carnival merrymaking, the Elburn Lions Club has brought together the finest area vendors, businesses and talent to celebrate this year’s festival. Featured live on the Community Stage will be performances by young local community members and the “Elburn Idol” competition. Also on the stage will be the Ice Cream Eating Contest sponsored by Colonial Cafe, which has room for 84 participants. Free dance classes, a hula hoop contest and the Kaneland Cheer Team will entertain festival goers. A coloring area has been added this year to allow tired attendees to sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment while indulging in some creative fun.

In the live music department, ‘80s rock specialist Arra will perform on Friday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturday, local country act Back Country Roads will perform from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, popular rock act 7th Heaven will perform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Local artists will perform at the beer garden, hosted by the Elburn Lions Club, and will be adjacent to the main stage.

The Elburn Lions Club will raffle off a new 2013 Chevy Z SS Camaro 400 HP (or $30,000) on Sunday evening. On display at Bob Jass Chevrolet in Elburn, tickets are $20 and are available from local Elburn merchants, Lions Club members or at Elburn Days in the ticket booth.

While admission to the festival is free, the Elburn Lions Club is requesting a $2 per car donation for parking to help offset costs and maintain the 25-acre park.

Children ages 12 and up are invited to join in on the fun of the Truck and Tractor Pulls ($5 admission) on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For those over the age of 18, Bingo is sure to stir up some healthy competition.

Running and walking enthusiasts can look forward to the 24th annual 5k Run/1m Fun Run/Walk on Saturday at 8 a.m., and volleyball fans are invited to participate in the Mud Volleyball tournament on Sunday at noon. Check-in for mud volleyball is at 11:30 a.m.

If you are looking for treasures, the Rummage and Bake Sale at St. Gall Church will take place Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Proceeds will benefit St. Gall’s Parish needs. There will also be a craft show on Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A sidewalk sale and flea market will take place Thursday, Aug. 15, noon to 8 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in downtown Elburn. The sale is based on local and home-based businesses. The craft show, sidewalk sale and flea market are sponsponsored by the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, and are sure to quench your thirst for a good find.

The Friends of the Town and Country Public Library will sponsor a book sale and HobbyTown USA will host the eighth annual St. Charles/Elburn Days Dirt Races on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Anticipate the pulled pork, friendly conversation and entertainment, sponsored by the Elburn Lions, during the 2013 Elburn Days. Profits acquired from this event will be donated to the Elburn Lions charity initiatives like glaucoma screenings, programs to aid the visually and hearing impaired, juvenile diabetes research, and local literacy campaigns.

“We Serve”, the Elburn Lions motto, is the perfect reflection of the 2013 strategy to educate community members about literacy. The Lions Reading Action Campaign Program stresses the importance of reading and is a grass roots effort to address the specific needs related to illiteracy in the Kaneland community.

For more information about Elburn Days visit

Letter: A thank you from National Night Out

We would like to thank our local police and fire departments, service organizations, non-for-profit groups, local businesses, sponsors and volunteers for participating in our seventh National Night Out at the village of Campton Hills.

Our community residents and their families were provided entertainment, education and information about our village services, special programs and local small businesses. As a result of everyone’s generosity and participation, we enjoyed our most successful National Night Out ever.

Chief Daniel Hoffman and the Campton Hills Community Relations Committee

Letter: Maple Park Fun Fest set to kick off on Saturday, Aug. 31

The Maple Park Fun Fest is scheduled to kick off Saturday , Aug. 31, at 7:30 a.m., and run through Monday, Sept. 2. The festival brings live music, a craft show, car show, parade, Toilet Bowl Races, food vendors, 5k run/2-mile walk, bags tournament, a spectacular fireworks show and much more.

New additions to the fest this year include kids activities. Children of all ages will be entertained with KidzMagic by Andrew Noyszewski on stage Aug. 31 at 2 p.m., followed by a Minute-To-Win-It game show hosted by the Knights of Columbus. Jumpy Jumpers, Inc., will provide inflatables and a kids zipline. The bike and wagon parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m.

Parade, craft show and car show participants are currently being accepted. For registration information and a complete schedule of events, visit

Beth Miller
Maple Park Fun Fest Committee

Editorial: Kaneland looks to social media to connect with community

The Elburn Herald on Monday had the privilege of attending a media breakfast hosted by Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler and School Board President Cheryl Krauspe. The friendly, informal get-together was a vehicle for the School District to present its new social media strategy to members of local media that were in attendance at the breakfast, including Hawkview, Aurora Beacon News and The Kane County Chronicle.

In case you haven’t already guessed, Kaneland’s social media strategy entails the School District distributing its information via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, with the name of strengthening communication by reaching a “broader community audience” and “increasing public engagement.”

In other words, this strategy will allow Kaneland parents, local residents and students to receive District 302-oriented news via some of their favorite social networking sites—not too shabby of an idea, considering the countless hours we spend on these sites during a given day. We might as well do something productive while we’re searching for Tweets confirming that Justin Bieber and his girlfriend are still together.

Here’s why the Kaneland social media strategy is a winner, though: social media has become a go-to information tool for those who crave breaking news. When people want to hear about specific news as it is breaking, they don’t turn on the television or the radio; they hop on the computer and comb Twitter for tweets (posts) from the news media members they follow on the site; they log on to Facebook and tab specific pages for information.

Say you follow Anderson Cooper on Twitter. That means your Twitter feed (the rolling post box that sits on the right of Twitter’s site page) will blossom into an oasis of breaking news from Anderson Cooper whenever something important happens in the world … or when he feels like tweeting his thoughts on popular culture, foods he likes and dislikes, whether he’s concerned about “sharknado,” etc. Essentially, Twitter allows you to take the information pipeline and customize it based on your personal interests. Therefore, you receive only what you want to see. Some people only subscribe to the Twitter feeds of sports beat writers so they can be among the first to know about breaking news; others are only interested in what Rush Limbaugh and Conan O’Brien tweet. And now in addition to your favorite media personalities, athletes and celebrities, you’ll be able to follow Kaneland School District 302 on Twitter, which will funnel any and all Kaneland-related news into your Twitter feed. Simple. Efficient. Effective.

And sure enough, we learned during the media breakfast that Twitter will serve as Kaneland’s go-to tool for disseminating important information and links posted elsewhere. Facebook will be used to share school achievement information, event announcements, deadline reminders and links to external coverage (perhaps from yours truly). Both sites will be used to disclose school closings and bus information.

Last but not least, Tumblr will serve as a way for parents, students and other members of the community to view items that stem from every school in District 302, including classroom projects, special events and student and staff successes. Consider it a personal look at the students and staff that make each and every Kaneland school unique.

And in case you’re wondering, the social media sites will support current district informational tools such as KCNewsletter and Konnect Mobile Application.

“We have been working on the development of a social media strategy since spring,” Schuler said following the breakfast. “It will allow us an additional avenue for delivering timely and relevant information to our families. This is consistent with our communications goal as we continue to look for opportunities to enhance two-way dialogue communications with our communities. As far as the next steps, we want to do what we are doing well and will then look at next steps.”

Letter: A thank you to those who donated Citizen of the Year gift baskets

As the volunteer who worked on behalf of the village of Sugar Grove and the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce in acquiring the donations for this year’s Citizen of the Year gift basket, I wanted to express my appreciation to all who donated items for the Citizen of the Year gift basket. Your donations went a long way to make the gift basket a wonderful treat for our 2013 Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year donations: certificate redeemable for Citizen of the Year shirt (donated by SignFX), Pampered Chef pitcher (Marguerite Ledone), handmade necklace and earrings set (Camille Givler), $15 gift card for dairy store (Oberweis Dairy), Glancer magazine two-year subscription, custom-crafted holiday cards and two passes for Breakfast with Santa (Julie Wilson), Anderson Fitness Studio $50 certificate (Amy Anderson), handmade quilt (United Methodist Church Quilters), $25 gift certificate (Open Range Grille), T-shirt and water bottle (Kaneland Sports Boosters), handmade bracelet and earrings set (Louise Coffman), $20 gift certificate (Calamity Jane’s), notepad and piggy bank (American Heartland Bank and Trust), $25 Jewel gift card (Steve Andersson; Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson), $25 gift card for Runway to Galway (Fairel Anne Designs), $25 program certificate (Sugar Grove Park District), golf outing poncho/blanket (Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce), certificate for a one-year newspaper subscription (Elburn Herald), $25 gift card (Reuland’s Food Service), Sugar Grove baseball hat and pin (village of Sugar Grove, small thermal tote and $10 gift certificate (31, Alysia Schramka), and a water cup and tote (Aurora Convention and Visitor’s Bureau)

I hope everyone will consider patronizing our area businesses that continually step up and support so many of our local events with donations.

Mari Johnson
Sugar Grove village trustee

Community Corner: Many hands make the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival a success

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

Fourteen years ago, the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) was produced by two Kaneland elementary art teachers who received approximately $200 from their parent-teacher organizations in order to hire artists and musicians to present the arts to families within the school district.

That two-hour arts celebration has grown into the largest event that the Kaneland School District produces annually, bringing in about 3,000 patrons in a seven-hour span.

Anyone who has attended a performance produced by the KCFAF would have been witness to the people working behind the scenes to make each event a success. This fine group of over 150 volunteers is led by Volunteer Coordinator Laura McPhee, who is not only friendly and positive, but a leader who matches willing and sometime unwilling people to the perfect job.

On behalf of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival and Laura McPhee, it is a pleasure to thank these amazing people by name for their time and dedication to the Kaneland Community: Karen Heinicke, Kit Compton, Nicole Cortino, Anna Lopatin, Cathy Shaver, Spencer Serwin, Carol Alfrey, Cory Nordine, Sue LaSalle, Jo Ann Krueger, Rebecca Hof, Teresa Arnold, Bill Mitchinson, Sara Mitchinson, Stephen Hommowun, Tammy Eckstrom, Denise Blaszynski, John Purnell, John Purnell Jr., Becky Cormier, Anne DiSandro, Nicole DiSandro, Trisha Mills, Betsy Mills, Caitrin Mills, Natalie Mills, Steve Mills, Britt Mattern, Sarah Burke, Jacqueline McClellan, Nicole McClellan, Robyn Lycan, Valerie Massa,Shannon Clair, Ally McPhee, Kayley McPhee, Alan McPhee, Noah Treadway, Edward Swiderski, R.J. Herra, Robert Pettry, Rhyanna Pettry, Kyle Roethemeier, Joe Blaszynski, Kate Blaszynski, Tim Hommowun, Lindsey Skoney, Ben Lopatin, Trish Main, Emma Stubitsch, Tom Kirkland, Lori Poczekaj, Mildred Dorwaldt, Colleen Ryan, Joann Murdock, Maria Dripps-Paulson, B. Tryon, Deanna Cates, Bailey Cates, Bob Cates, Laura Baker, Heidi Gilkey, Shannon Gilkey, Lori Grant, Nika Plattos, Brett Evola, Ingrid Luse, Ryan Koeppen, Sam Villano, Beau Ott, Sally McClellan, Rita Johnson, Philip Dripps, Teresa Witt, Scott Witt, Erica Witt, Ethan Witt, Elliot Witt, Myra Sampson, Jenny Sampson-Trynoski, Kyra Trynoski, Alex Herbert, Abigail Heinicke, Peter Lopatin, Diane McFarlin, Beth McDonald, Charlene Ryan, Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield, Sandra Edwards, Chris Carlson, Amber Urich, Kalani Tovar, Jordan Wolf, Aaron Zanis, Beth Miller, Madeline Hoskinson, Sabrina Massa, Jennifer Matias, Christian Andrzejewski, Rachel Benson, Lisa LeMaire, Ben Mitchinson, Mace Jendruczek, Jillian Mitchinson, Ysabelle Simbol, Gloria Swain, Charia Bolden, Heather Schaaf, Ally Mitchinson, Debbie Clifford, Julie Meyer, Jim Frigolett, Paige Wagner, Nicole Partipilo, Lucas Sauber, Steve LeMaire, Jordan Wolf, Susan Hurst, Dana Davies, Lisa Rodriguez, Cameron Pieczynski, Jon Turyna, Patrick Turyna, Jim Tockstein, Demi Graham, Pattie Pattermann, Paige Krueger, Jess Woodward, Maureen Gattorna, Grace Gattorna, Colleen Grigg, Athina Gerodias, Kevin Kassinger, Mason Pieczynski, Katie Hunt, Eileen Ruppel, Dymond Lesak, Shevon Ramirez, Susan Hazen, Natalie Hazen, Buki Ayegbusi, Laurel Anderson, Regan Healy, Kevin Healy, Katilyn Dukes-Martinez, Corey Beck, Connor McGinnis, and Wendy Beck.

With the amount of volunteers, we are hopeful that no name was missed, and thankful for anyone who helped this year. This month marks the 15th season of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, and we look forward to a fabulous year of showcasing the arts.

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

Editorial: An NFL rule change that would make sense

Raise your hand if you like to watch football.

We’re guessing that most of the people reading this currently have their hand in the air, and for good reason: football is an incredible sport that blends brute strength with speed and fluidity; high drama with a level of grit that simply doesn’t exist in other sports.

And let’s face it: we love the big hits that often occur during a football game. Pregame and halftime shows have segments solely dedicated to showing the biggest hits of the week.

Problem is, those big hits—the ones that are so entertaining for us viewers —aren’t nearly as enjoyable for those who happen to be on the receiving end of them. Add in the fact that the NFL currently has a substantial problem regarding the use of human growth hormone (HGH) and other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) among its players, and suddenly you’re talking about hits that just aren’t big.

They could be deadly.

Last week, we talked about how PEDs had nearly brought the game of baseball to ruin. Like Major League Baseball, the NFL has a long history of athletes who juiced to set themselves ahead of the pack in terms of strength, speed and durability. The big difference between the sports, obviously, is that one is a game in which guys try to hit a ball as hard and as far as possible, and the other is a game in which very large men try to hit each other, often at full speed and sometimes at angles that result in horrific injuries: torn knee ligaments, dislocated fingers and shoulders, broken bones, concussions and, if you’re former New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, paralysis.

Now, don’t get us wrong—we’re not advocating less hitting in football, nor are we even suggesting that further rule changes should go into effect in order to protect players. Trust us, the NFL has done plenty to make the game safer, and some might say that the league has turned obsessive in its approach to take injuries out of the game. That’s a debate for another day, though.

Rather, what we’re simply suggesting is that, in a league built on bone-rattling hits, it might be a good idea to make sure players are playing up to their body’s full capability, not a superhuman level made possible by HGH use. It hurts enough to be tackled by a guy running full speed; imagine what it feels like to be hit by a guy running at a speed similar to that of an automobile.

Think about it: on any given Sunday you’ll see a 250-pound linebacker flattening a running back who was unfortunate enough to get to the second level of defense without any sort of blocking or protection. Let’s say that the linebacker runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and bench presses about, oh, 400 pounds or so. You’re basically talking about an automobile on cleats at that point. Humans aren’t supposed to be able to consistently absorb such an accelerated level of contact.

And we wonder why concussions are rampant in the modern NFL. We wonder why our favorite players can’t make it through an entire season without breaking their collarbone or tearing their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Accidents are a way of life when it comes to contact sports, but take the PEDs out of the game and watch how certain aspects of the game will change. Players will move slower and won’t look like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. They’ll also take longer to heal from their injuries. Will these results make the NFL more exciting? Of course not. But it will put the league’s players on a more-level playing field, so to speak.

Those players will also be much more likely to get up after taking one of those big hits that football fans love to see.

Thank you for a great soccer season

The Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization (KYSO) thanks the soccer community for its help in making a great spring 2013 season.

KYSO is a volunteer organization bringing recreational youth soccer to boys and girls ages 4-17, with nearly 300 players participating on 32 teams. Our coaches, volunteers, parents, referees and sponsors make this happen and are the key to the kid’s success and enjoyment of the game of soccer.

A special thanks to sponsors and community organizations for their support, including Kaneland School District, Sugar Grove Park District, Jewel-Osco, The Elburn Herald, Hill’s Country Store, Paisano’s, Genesis Orthopedics, Rush Copley Convenient Care, Spring Bluff Nursery, Rich’s Auto Service, White & Ekker, RichWrap, Wireless Zone, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Elburn Auto Repair, Mill Creek Dental and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

KYSO also congratulates the 23 recreational players who are advancing into the Kaneland United Soccer Club competitive travel program.

KYSO is looking forward to starting the fall season in mid-August and is currently registering players at

Tom Guernon
Director of marketing and development, KYSO

Letter: A thank you to KCFAF and STPS volunteers

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers who have committed several hours of their time to help the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival and Summer Theatre Performance Series. On June 22, KCFAF had over 70 volunteers serve as room and hall captains during the Granquist Music Competition, held during Geneva’s Swedish Days. The Granquist Music Competition is the largest music competition in Illinois ( Volunteers gave up eight hours of their day to assist the music judges during the competition. We are pleased to say that the Granquist family was very pleased with our help.

The past two weekends, KCFAF presented “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in the KHS auditorium. Once again our volunteer numbers were astounding. From helping to set up, working the box office, ushering our guests, even cleanup, we were covered in all areas during the six performances.

I am overwhelmed by the generosity and commitment to service in our community. It is with deep gratitude that I thank so many. We have had student volunteers from our local scouting troops, middle school students, high school students, as well as a large adult population, who donated more than just their time. They helped with costumes, props, set and even brought in snacks and water bottles to keep the performers happy and hydrated. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to help support our series. While there are too many volunteers to list, please go to our website,, to see a complete list of our dedicated volunteers.

A special thank you must be given to Cathy Shaver and Spencer Serwin for spending the entire day at Granquist and running the box office for all six “Joseph” performances.

Laura McPhee
Secretary, Kaneland High School

Editorial: Take the PEDs out of sports for good

If you’re someone who regularly follows sports, you’re likely familiar with the Ryan Braun fiasco that reached its (likely) conclusion earlier this week. If you’re someone who doesn’t follow sports, well, you’re probably wondering who Braun is and what he did wrong.

Braun is a left fielder for Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, and a pretty good one, at that—so good, in fact, that he was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2011—a season in which he batted .332, hit 33 homers and knocked in 111 runs. Only 27 years of age at the time, Braun looked the part of a budding MLB superstar and, more importantly, a role model.

Of course, reports of Braun using a “banned substance” began to find their way onto ESPN and the Internet. And just like that, an ultra-memorable season was reduced to a big “so what?” in the wake of a performance-enhancing drug scandal. It’s the same old song and dance for Major League Baseball—a league that has constantly searched for ways to up its marketability following a 1994 strike-shortened season that nearly turned off baseball fans for good. Of course, anger and resentment on the part of fans was cast aside in 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa “resurrected” the game by flat-out destroying Roger Maris’ then-record of 61 home runs (McGwire pounded 70 HRs that year, Sosa with a more modest 66). As a result, baseball in the late 1990s turned into a virtual home run derby every night, and the fans ate it up with a spoon. It wasn’t long before we were all witnesses as Barry Bonds and his incredibly swollen cranium slammed 73 home runs in 2001.

Then we started to hear rumors that the fabulous home run displays brought to you by Big Mac, Slammin’ Sammy and Bonds weren’t simply the result of improved hand-eye coordination and countless, grueling hours spent in the weight room. Nope, those noteworthy campaigns were aided by something else.


After getting over their initial shock upon hearing the news that many of their heroes were cheaters, baseball fans eventually wised up and turned their backs on those who cheated the game in the name of the long ball and the fastball. Remember Eric Gagne? He converted 84 consecutive save opportunities for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 2002 and 2004, and picked up the 2003 Cy Young for his trouble. He was also named in the Mitchell Report, which documented the use of performance enhancers in baseball. If you’re a closing pitcher and you go practically two years without blowing a save, you should be considered a legend. Gagne, rather, is just another name listed on a report of players who indulged during baseball’s “bigger, faster, better” era. Sad, but not nearly as sad as how any of Gagne’s fans felt upon hearing the news that their idol is just another name on a long list of players who have disgraced the game of baseball.

The good news is that it feels like baseball is seeing progress in terms of getting human growth hormone out of the game. The league isn’t anywhere close to being considered “clean,” as evidenced by Braun’s 65-game suspension, as well as the upcoming suspension for the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez (remember when A-Rod was considered a squeaky-clean kid who just so happened to be the youngest to reach the 400 HR club?), but the league’s current “deadball” era suggests that the game is on its way back to where it needs to be. Let’s hope that’s the case.

Next week, we’ll examine the HGH issue that currently exists in the NFL.

Guest Editorial: A return to the garden

by Jill Pertler, Slices of Life columnist

The older I get, the more I realize life ebbs and flows like the tide—rising, receding, coming in, going out. What is possible at high tide is impossible at low tide, and so on. This rhythm and change remains with us as we traverse through our days, months, years and seasons.

This summer, I returned to the garden. I’d taken a respite from having the earth between my fingers for nearly a decade. I’ve always loved putzing in the soil and enjoyed a fair amount of success with the hobby in my younger years. Until, like a vigorous crop of weeds, the hobby of raising kids sort of took over and I found it necessary to put my gardens aside—for the time being.

All the earth’s a stage and this summer, I reprised my role of gardener; it’s a bit part, really. No more than a supporting character. Mother Nature is the true headliner. Still, it felt good to rehearse my lines and get my hands dirty.

This summer I returned to the garden. During my absence the Earth did not change; I did.

In my youth, I dreamed of long-stemmed, vibrant blossoms. Foxglove. Delphinium. Lupine. Hollyhock. I planned and planted elaborate perennial beds where flowers would bloom in harmony throughout the growing season, providing a spectacular and well-directed symphony of color. Ta dah!

The years have made me older and perhaps wiser, but certainly more practical. This summer I returned to the garden—not to one of exotic blossoms—but rather one of vegetables. Beans, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers stand sentry in the beautiful black dirt in my back yard. The stage is theirs and they’ve been cast as leads in this season’s production. The spotlight is on them.

Life ebbs and flows. I have returned to the garden, but it is different this time. I delight as my seeds sprout in simple, straight rows—radish, beets and spinach. I worry when a tomato plant droops. I thin seedlings, and mourn the tiny plants that must be written out of the script in order to make room for their neighboring co-stars’ growth.

I used to dream of a full-spectrum of colors decorating the yard; now my goal is filled mason jars stacked on the pantry shelves in the basement.

Youth is flashy. Thrilling. Trendy. All about the show. It is a good time—fun and exciting.

As life unfolds, youth gives way to experience. Showy transforms into something perhaps less ostentatious, but something worthwhile and just as satisfying. Putting a bouquet on the table is different than putting a salad on the table, but one is not more valued or valuable than the other. A 20-something me never would have predicted that pulling the first radish of the summer could be exhilarating. But it was.

Watching a show from the front row is different than watching from the nosebleed seats. Life is like that. Our perspective changes according to our current status and predicament. It is a newness we can count on, like the tide—a promise that tomorrow will be different from today.

Thank goodness. Think about how boring life would be if it weren’t.

Letter: Support Kaneville Fest

I am involved in fundraising for this year’s annual Kaneville Fest celebration. We are having a wonderful fireworks show, and have one of our local bands booked, Red Woody. They will play before the fireworks show. The donations will go toward offsetting the cost of the fireworks and band.

Prior to the band and fireworks, we will have a 5B’s porkchop fundraiser on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Kaneville pavillion. We are also looking for prize donations for our many raffles we will have to raise money for the event.

I am asking for your help in donating whatever way you can. We realize, with the economy being the way it is, that things may be difficult, but we look forward to whatever support you can provide.

If you should have any further questions or require any further information, please feel free to contact me at (630) 853-9717 or (630) 557-2228. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Kaneville Fest is Saturday, Aug. 24, so please hurry and send your donations in by Monday, Aug. 5, or earlier. Please send your donations to P.O. Box 53, Kaneville, IL 60144.

Thank you for your consideration. Kaneville Fest couldn’t go on without the generosity of donors like yourself.

Kaneville is 177 years old and growing.

Pat Hill
Kaneville Fest committee chair

Editorial: Here comes 2013 festival season

It seems like just yesterday we were bidding adieu to a successful, memorable 2012 festival season here in the Kaneland community. It was a farewell to the days of cotton candy and carnivals, bands on the mainstage and vendors lined up for as far as the eye can see. Goodbye summer, hello fall (a season otherwise known as “winter jr.” if you happen to live in the Midwest).

Of course, the somber conclusion to last year’s festivals is long behind us. It’s now July. The humidity is borderline unbearable. Our grass looks overgrown moments after we’re finished mowing it. Gas prices are … well, they’re actually pretty reasonable right now. But aside from that little detail, the facts stated above can only mean one thing: summer festival season is almost here. And from the looks of it, this year’s offering will be a good one.

The first of the “big four” festivals, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, will kickoff two weeks from this Friday, and with it will come lots of corn, great live entertainment, activities for kids and, of course, a first-rate fireworks spectacle.

This year’s Corn Boil slate will include performances by 7th Heaven and Hi Infidelity, an appearance by former Chicago Bulls all-star Bob Love, a KidsZone to keep youngsters busy, and an endless supply of corn. There’s even a rumor that Lord Stanley’s Cup will make its way over to the Corn Boil, but we’ll see about that. Either way, the weekend of July 26-29 promises to be a memorable one for the Sugar Grove community.

Next up on the festival circuit will be Elburn Days, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16-18, at Lions Park, 500 Filmore St., Elburn. The three-day event will feature a Friday night parade, carnival and food vendors, beer garden, truck and tractor pulls, car raffle, mud volleyball tournament, RC car racing and demos, 5k run, craft show, commercial tent, pork chop and chicken dinner and more.

The classic rock cover band Arra will take the Elburn Days main stage on Friday, 8 to 11 p.m. Country band Back Country Roads will perform on Saturday, 7:30 to 11 p.m. The group 7th Heaven will perform on Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Elburn Days festivities will be flanked by Kaneville Fest, which will take place Saturday, Aug. 24, in the park next to the Kaneville Community Center, and feature crafters, 50/50 raffles, a pork chop dinner fundraiser, fireworks and live entertainment. The village will also host garage and book sales Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22- 24. A movie night will take place on Friday, Aug. 23. The film will be shown on the side of Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road, Kaneville. The event will feature donated pizza and popcorn, as well as prizes for children.

Last but not least, Maple Park’s 2013 Fun Fest will take place Saturday through Monday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2 (Labor Day weekend), and feature signature activities such as an arts and crafts show, car show, 5k fun run, parade, men’s softball tournament, toilet bowl races, food vendors and a beer garden. Kid activities will include a bike parade and fire station for Touch-A-Truck
There will also be a band stage set up in the heart of downtown Maple Park. Musical acts Chemically Imbalanced and Billy Croft and the 5 Alarm will take the stage on Saturday evening. Shooter Whiskey and local country act Back Country Roads will take the stage on Sunday afternoon.

There are so many great local events coming up, and we’ll be with you guys every step of the way, detailing each and every festival with its own guide. Here’s to a wonderful, fun-filled 2013 festival season.

What summer theatre means to me: how theatre shapes a community

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

I grew up on summer theatre.

My parents would take us to see Shakespeare plays in Spring Green, Wis., and at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, Ill. Each year on vacation in northwest Michigan, we would catch the small community of Bayview’s annual summer production and watch Summer Stock performances on the campus of North Central College.

My imagination centered around the storylines of “King Lear,” “As You Like It,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and my sister and I would rehearse musical numbers in every role of “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music.”

One continual memory of mine is of the actors we would see playing different roles from
year to year on the various stages we visited. Sometimes a particular actor would have a leading role and the next summer she would be in the chorus. We would watch children become teens, directors become actors, musicians and crew return annually, and actors work on and offstage, as we continued visiting the communities with theatre. I believe it was this ongoing changing of roles, loyalty of staff and collaborating teamwork that helped shape my idea of community.

Having produced almost 14 years of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF), and now approaching the fourth production of our summer theatre performances, I have come to see how Kaneland really defines community. Years of collaborating with teachers, artists, and community members has made the KCFAF and its events a true entity and valued collaborator within the Kaneland Community. Our summer theatre productions are a true example of community, uniting actors, crew and musicians from various school districts and communities all joining on the Kaneland Auditorium stage in our love of theatre.

This year, the KCFAF will present Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s iconic musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

The production will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 12-14 and July 19-21, at the Kaneland Auditorium on the campus of Kaneland High School. The show will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday performances and 2 p.m. on Sunday performances. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/senior citizens and $25 for a Family Ticket. The Family Ticket admits all family members currently living in one household. Preschoolers are free. Tickets are now on sale at Information regarding the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival can be found at the KCFAF’s Facebook page: and the KCFAF’s

I hope you will join us as we continue our summer theatre in the Kaneland Community. This show is particularly appropriate for all ages. I invite you to consider making the KCFAF’s theatre production a summertime tradition for your family and friends.

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

Local musicians attend fine arts camp

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

When thinking of summer camp, many things comes to mind—making s’mores around the camp fire, canoeing, hiking, mosquito bites, poison ivy, and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face. For the many Kaneland students who have attended a music camp this summer along with hundreds of fellow music students, these couldn’t be further from the truth.
A typical day at a music camp consists of individualized instruction, small and large ensembles, rehearsals and music theory, followed by evening activities and entertainment. At the conclusion of music camp, a concert or performance is often scheduled for the students to show off their new-found talents or skills to family and friends.
Within the Chicagoland metropolitan area and surrounding states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan, there are dozens of music-related camps on either college campuses or privately-owned arts education institutions. These programs focus on music, art, theatre, dance or creative writing. Some of the camps are for commuters; while others house the students in dorms for anywhere from five to 10 days. Traditionally, music camps are taught by renowned professional and collegiate musicians, as well as award-winning music educators who provide motivational and music training for middle and high school students.
Located on 1,300 acres within the Manistee National Forest is Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, a nonprofit organization that provides a summer fine arts camp and international exchange programs in music, art, dance and drama. Two Kaneland students just returned home after spending 13 days at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Junior Ryan Koeppen shared that the days were long, starting at 6 a.m., and included five or more hours of rehearsals each day.
“Rehearsals were pretty intensive,” Koeppen said. “We spent three or four days just note crunching.”
Students at Blue Lake study a variety of music styles and practice sight singing, breath management, tone production, stage presence, diction and basic musicianship.
Koeppen learned various vocal techniques in order to be “an actor” while singing, which facilitates telling a story to the audience through music.
“It was such an awesome experience. I met so many new people, worked with experienced and intelligent instructors, and gained so many skills and memories that I will never be able to forget,” Koeppen said.
Several Kaneland students were part of a saxophone quartet, brass quartet or jazz combo camp during June at Imperial School of Music in Geneva. Meeting weekly gave the students the opportunity to play with music students from St. Charles East, Geneva and West Aurora High Schools while performing a variety of music such as classical and jazz. One Kaneland High School student attended NIU’s Jazz Camp while another attended Elmhurst College’s Jazz Combo Camp, which gave them both the opportunity to improve their performance skills and focus on specific techniques for playing jazz, as well as improving their knowledge of music theory.
This year’s two KHS Marching Band drum majors will be attending Smith Walbridge Drum Major Clinic at Eastern Illinois University in mid-July. Founded in 1949, Smith Walbridge was the first camp in the United States to specialize in instruction related to various marching band activities. This six-day program will focus on conducting, showmanship, fundamentals of drill design, leadership and motivational techniques.
Attending a summer music camp is a wonderful opportunity for Kaneland students to improve music skills, continue playing during the summer months, perform with students from other schools and, more importantly, have fun. Many of the students who participated said that the skills they learned at music camp can only benefit Kaneland’s successful music program.

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


Editorial: Happy Independence Day

The Fourth of July. It’s a holiday that celebrates America’s independence, and it also serves as the ideal time to give in to our pyromaniac tendencies and light off some fireworks (safely, of course). It’s a day to get together with friends and family and suffer through oppressive heat and humidity while enjoying the finer things in life: cookouts, baseball, soccer, swimming, boat rides, etc. The term “summer” encompasses the bulk of three months, but no day within that time frame encompasses “summer” like July 4. It is the most identifiable holiday of the season, and rightfully so.

The Fourth of July is a holiday dressed up in red, white and blue, stars and stripes. But it’s easy to overlook just why America celebrates on July 4 each and every year: It was 237 years ago that America’s founding fathers put forth a statement declaring that the 13 American colonies would cease to be part of the British Empire and instead become actual states. Thus, July 4 is a day that represents the right of freedom in America; a day where we celebrate our independence as a country. And there’s a reason why many rights movements and campaigns have cited the Declaration of Independence as a prime source of inspiration: its signing is the ultimate example of a group taking a unified stand with the conviction that its beliefs were right and deserved to be acknowledged.

So enjoy this Independence Day with the knowledge it’s a holiday meant to celebrate America’s existence and its citizens’ right to enjoy freedom. And whatever activities you choose to partake in this Fourth of July, please make sure that they are of the safe variety. It’s what our founding fathers would’ve wanted.

Letter: A thank you from KHS wrestlers

The Kaneland High School wrestlers want to take a few moments and thank the Kaneland community for its generosity and support in helping the wrestling team’s cause of attending Malecek Wrestling Camp in the Wisconsin Dells. The wrestlers themselves logged over 422 hours of service in the community, excluding all the help the coaches and parents lent them along the way. As a result, the team was able to send 25 wrestlers this year to learn new skills to positively impact the Kaneland High School wrestling program.

Michelle Parks
Knights Wrestling Club

Editorial: ‘Lemonade for life’

by Mark Underwood
Neuroscience researcher, president and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience

On cold, dreary, overcast days, do you dream about trading the chilly weather for a gorgeous day under azure blue skies and perfect temperatures?

That wishful thinking is a positive way to look at the world. The good news is it’s more than wishing you had better weather—positive thoughts are good for your mental and physical health.

Wishful thinking can help you get through many challenges of everyday life. How we handle these challenges can affect our overall health. Use a positive approach by taking the bitter moments of life and mix them into your “lemonade pitcher.”

Make a virtual pitcher of lemonade out of bitter lemons and you’ll be doing yourself a favor in more ways than one. For one thing, you’ll be protecting yourself from the harmful effects of stress.

No fancy shoes or
special equipment needed

Stress is nearly impossible to avoid. As we age, the effects of stress take a greater toll on our health and can disrupt our sleep. Positive thinking is not just window dressing for a problem; it is a management technique and potentially a lifesaver.

Effective stress management is an important life skill for all of us to learn how to incorporate into our daily routines.

Why do positive thinkers often experience health benefits? Several studies have suggested that people with positive outlooks are able to cope better with stressful situations and that reduces the harmful effects of stress on your body.

It’s also thought that people who put a positive spin on life tend to live healthier lifestyles. They tend to get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

These are other direct benefits from optimistic thinking:
• Increased life span
• Greater resistance to common colds
• Lower rates of depression
• Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

One of the great things about thinking happy thoughts is that you can do it without special equipment or training. Anybody can focus on positive thinking. It takes some practice, but the more you make a conscious effort to think positively, the easier it becomes.

You can pull up a mental image of something whenever you need a quick antidote to the day’s stress —whether you are in the park, on the train, or in between meetings.

What you may be missing

In today’s world, many of us lead busy hectic lives. We’re running from one thing to another, and consequently, we may neglect our emotional well-being and that’s when we can start to feel rundown and negative.

It is common knowledge that inactivity, lack of exercise or poor sleep can lead to feeling down. Everyone feels overtired and sluggish at one time or another. You may even feel like your memory is slowing down.

“Call, email, text your mind”
with mental boosts

Optimistic thinking is about finding good in negative situations, keeping an open mind when things go wrong, and approaching challenges with a focus on positive outcomes.

We all have some narrative running in the back of our minds. If your internal dialogue is negatively based and often focused on failure, chart a new course.

Here are some ways you can do that:

• Listen for negativity. Find one place in your daily routine where you often run into negativity. Listen for the internal voice emerging with potential news of failure. Ignore it. Change the channel and find a new internal voice saying, “This could work.”
• Live for wellness. When you feel good you’re much more likely to want to avoid negativity and not get bogged down in muddy thoughts. Exercise has a profound effect on ability to cope with stress. It elevates our moods and helps fuel positive thinking.
• Learn to laugh. Laughter is one of the most enjoyable ways to let the day’s stressors melt away. Humor has been studied extensively for its major effect on our wellbeing. As social beings we thrive with positive contact with others. Positive people are contagious.

Performing Arts Boosters’ first year a successful one

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

In early June, Kaneland High School bid farewell to the graduating class of 2013, of which 21 students were in choir and 17 were in band, with three involved in both. This is an amazing group of talented young people with incredibly bright futures who brought continued success to the Kaneland music and theatre programs. They will be greatly missed.

Some of these students will pursue a career in music, while others will study fields such as bioengineering, mathematics, English, veterinary medicine and computer science.

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, too, had a very successful first year as an organization. Our four original Executive Board members grew to seven. We held a few successful fundraisers, one of which was the well-attended Knight of Performances. The support that we received from the directors, parents and members of the community was very humbling.

With the money raised this year, the Boosters were able to support the students and directors in a variety of ways. Some of the items purchased this year included: recording equipment and a music-sorting rack for the KHS choir; a new drum major podium for the KHS Marching Knights; and a hand-held recording device for the KHMS Band Department. With a private donation to the Boosters, the Marching Knights will be able to purchase new plumes for their uniforms.

In addition, the Boosters helped to fund music-related trips, such as the KHMS Mattina Brass performance at the Chicago Slaughter game; the KHMS band performance at the Chicago Wolves game; and the KHMS Treble Choir performance at the Kane County Cougars game.

Every graduating band and choir member received an award and certificate that was funded in part by the Boosters. The Boosters awarded 14 individual scholarships to students involved in band, choir and theatre. Funding was also provided to students attending Madrigal and Drum Major camps. Attendance at these camps is vital to the continued success of Kaneland’s music program.

Lastly, we are grateful for our parent volunteers. Whether it was helping with candy sales at a football game, providing meals during the spring musical’s tech week, working at theatre box office coordinated by the Boosters, or providing lunch for our music directors during Teacher Appreciation Week, parents supported our organization whenever asked.

If you’d like to learn more about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, please send an email to or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. There are many exciting opportunities and ways you can support Kaneland’s band, choir and theatre students.

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

Kaneland community makes it happen for Sports Boosters

by Ryan Delahanty
President, Kaneland Sports Boosters

As the 2012-13 Kaneland school year draws to a close, it provides the perfect time to reflect on the past school year and the accomplishments of our Kaneland student-athletes. Kaneland High School and Harter Middle School have enjoyed another stellar sports year that includes: undefeated seasons; conference, regional and sectional championships; and several State champions.

The Kaneland Sports Boosters are happy to play a small part in helping our student-athletes and their teams succeed on the field, on the court and on the track, and wherever life takes them.

This year, the Sports Boosters have achieved some major milestones. I am proud to announce that we have raised over $70,000 this year and donated back over $60,000 of those same funds. The donations include capital purchases, like our investment in the soccer team’s covered bench structures, new glass backboards for the basketball programs, and large, pest-proof storage containers to keep our outdoor padded equipment safe during the winter.

The donations include special equipment for the coaches and programs, like the weighted training bags for the wrestling program, training bases and pitching machines for the softball program, and the ImPACT concussion assessment program for our high school athletes.

The donations also include the funding of every team and individual that qualified for a trip to State. These State trip donations totaled over $11,000, and included over 100 middle school and high school athletes.

And finally, the donations include helping others, from the $1,000 yearly donation we make in the Memory of Margaret Flott to the Special Olympics, to the $6,500 in academic scholarships that we awarded recently to nine graduating Kaneland seniors.

These donations are only possible because of the generous support of the Kaneland community. Many Kaneland area businesses and supporters contribute funds, goods and services to our annual fundraisers, which include the Castle Spirit Challenge, The Dodge Test Drive Event and our Spring Trivia Night.

Concessions and Spirit Wear sales contribute a large amount to our fundraising as well, so please continue to enjoy a Ream’s pork chop or hot dog, a slice of Paisano’s pizza or a bag of popcorn provided by Hintzche Fertilizer during the sporting seasons.

Finally, we would not be the organization we are without our generous volunteers. We depend on volunteers to make it all happen. With over 100 dues-paying booster member families (largest group in our history) and other volunteers, we spent countless hours in concession stands, in booster trailers, and setting up fundraisers to help raise funds to support our student-athletes and their sports programs.

We invite you to get involved with the Kaneland Sports Boosters, too. Visit and like our Facebook Page, “Kaneland Sports Boosters,” to get the latest information and updates. You can join our email list by visiting And most importantly, you can join the Kaneland Sports Boosters and volunteer your time and talents to help support all Kaneland athletes.

Whether you have a high school, middle school or elementary school athlete, a family of Kaneland graduates or just love supporting the Knights, you are the perfect person to be a sports booster.

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

Editorial: Summer—84 days and counting

by Jill Pertler
Columnist, “Slices of Life”

I love being a mom—365 days a year … or nearly that many.

Motherhood is a daily (and middle-of-the-nightly) event, but it’s right around this time each year I find myself contemplating the value of my role in providing guidance, direction, leadership and healthy snacks to my children. After decades of soul-searching, I think I finally understand why.

Summer vacation.

School let out last week. We are on the 10th day of summer break and I woke this morning with the realization we have a full 84 consecutive days remaining before this escapade of ours is over. One week down, 12 to go. I did the math and numbers don’t lie.

They’ll spend their mornings and afternoons here—24/7. Day in, day out. Eating in the family room. Playing basketball in the driveway. Eating in their bedrooms. Not flushing. Eating in the screen porch. Creating their own definition of what it means to make a bed. Eating—anywhere but the kitchen. Discarding various items of clothing in the yard because they got hot. Eating—again. Running outside in their stocking-feet because they can’t find their shoes. Eating—still. And so on.

For the next three months (84 days, but who’s counting?) I will be two steps behind them, trying to keep the refrigerator full and the laundry pile empty, while summer reading assignments pile up like cereal bowls in the sink, crumbs on the counter and flip flops by the back door. At first, I will make efforts to keep up with this entity called summer, but will gradually give in and come to accept a life that includes disheveled hair, disheveled beds and disheveled schedules.

The season is meant for fun. I understand this. I embrace this. I’m just not sure, sometimes, if I could ever be fully prepared for the unabashed, uninhibited warm weather glee that emanates from my offspring June through August. Better put, how many Reese’s wrappers found in the laundry is too many? Can there be too many? I guess I should be thankful they were empty. Chocolate stains are difficult. Then again, I could’ve used a little sugar pick-me-up.

While we’re still in the infant stages of summer (audible sigh), the excitement’s already started at our house and I’m not referring to the joy generated this morning when I discovered toothpaste globs in the sink.

This weekend while I was running errands, they called to say they’d broken a window. This honesty might have been perceived as virtuous in a different scenario. I wasn’t concerned with virtue; I was concerned with shards of glass. Every mother knows it isn’t summer until a window gets broken. At my house, the season has officially begun. I am proud I didn’t lose my cool or yell and scream into the phone. Instead, I asked the smart and savvy question: Interior or exterior pane? I didn’t inquire about bleeding or injury, because my mom-tuition told me it wasn’t necessary. (No one was screaming in the background.)

Good news. Turns out the crash site involved an interior window, which automatically puts the project at a lower priority for fixation. Bad news. It was the same window my husband replaced about a month ago – when the boys broke it the first time. I knew this latest collection of broken glass was going to make my husband appreciate being a father just as much as I love being a mother. God bless the children for reaching out and meeting our needs in such unexpected and unwarranted ways.

Lost shoes. Candy wrappers in the laundry. Unmade beds. Summer reading looming in the last dark corners of August. Broken windows. I don’t mind any of it—much. But don’t tell my kids. They think 84 days is a really long time, and although I pretend to agree, I understand this is all so fleeting.

Broken windows are easily fixed. You get a new pane of glass and put it where the old, broken one was and you’re good to go—sparkling and bright like new tennis shoes on the first day of school.

Children aren’t panes of glass (nor are they pains in the glass). They grow up. You can’t put them back to where they were again because that place is gone with the setting sun. Today is all you’ve got. So, you work to make it a good one—all 84 of them.


Editorial: It’s garage sale weekend in Sugar Grove

What really signals the arrival of summer in the Kaneland community? Hot weather and barbecues? Inflated gas prices? The Chicago Cubs officially falling out of postseason contention? All three options are certainly valid, but a more accurate (and certainly more welcome) barometer might be Sugar Grove’s annual community-wide garage sales.

Coordinated by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry the past two years, the community-wide, two-day garage sale event allows local residents to peruse numerous sales within the village. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and comb the area for great deals and special items.

This year’s Sugar Grove garage sales will take place Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in obtaining a Sugar Grove garage sale map can find them at the following locations:
• Sugar Grove Community Building, 141 Main St.
• Castle Bank, 36 E. Galena Blvd.
• BP Gas Station, 109 S. Route 47

Those seeking further information should call (630) 466-7895 or visit the chamber website,

The Sugar Grove garage sale two-day event is the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of June, the end of the school year, the start of the weekend and maybe, just maybe, the arrival of summer.

Why wait until June 21 when you can indulge in summer fun right now? After all, humidity and barbecues are already in season, and the Cubs are right on schedule.

Enjoy garage sale weekend in Sugar Grove, everyone.

Letter: Is the USPS setting up the Kaneville post office to fail?

This past Saturday, I went to my local Kaneville Post Office and I purchased $196.88 in postage stamps. Two years ago, this would have been a simple matter, because two years ago, the Kaneville Post Office had old, but useful, equipment. Last Saturday, the man behind the counter had to run three different adding machine tapes to total my order, because the U.S. Postal Service has taken away all the computerized sales counter equipment. Now they have a credit card swiper and nothing else at the counter.

In two weeks, the US Postal Service will send to Kaneville a first-timer on the job—a “casual” employee (their term) to be “in charge” of the Kaneville Post Office … all by herself … with just a couple weeks of training.

Our community would like to have quality useful equipment in our understaffed—and very profitable—office. But, for some reason, the U.S. Postal Service in Huntley, Ill. or Argo or Washington, D.C. or somewhere, has decided to get rid of the computerized equipment in Kaneville and leave us with an old calculator and a credit card scanner.

Last week, I asked the temporary window clerk who usually works the Big Rock office, “Are we going to get new equipment to replace that which they took away?” She said, “No.” She also said that Kaneville is a very profitable office. So why are they taking away our resources? Do their bosses in Washington want us to fail?

They have taken away our equipment, old though it was. Now they are replacing an experienced part-time worker with a brand new hire.

I’m sure we will like this person, but what are they thinking? A new hire, with two weeks of training, alone in a busy office with no experience and no equipment? Kaneville’s revenues are sufficient to pay for an experienced person. The U.S. Postal Service is making stupid mistakes, and we are feeling the pain here in Kaneville.

Meanwhile, back at the United States Postal Service, nobody is accountable, and it is time for a watchdog to call them out. USPS won’t tell us who made this decision. They won’t tell our community how or who to appeal to. Hear us in Washington, D.C. Hear us, Senator Durbin. Hear us, Mark Kirk. Hear us, Randy Hultgren. Hear us, neighbors. Keep buying stamps at Kaneville’s post office. Money talks—even small money. Join us in telling the post office that neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor mis-management from on high should sabotage our constitutional right to full postal service.

Joann Murdock