Category Archives: Elburn

Elburn village officials sworn in to serve

ELBURN—Village trustee-elect Patricia Schuberg was officially sworn in on Monday night, taking her place with the other board members half-way through the meeting. Schuberg was elected to the Village Board in the 2013 Consolidated Election on April 9 after having served on the Plan Commission for 15 years—six of those as committee chairperson. She said she was very excited to take on this new challenge.

Trustees Ken Anderson and Jeff Walter, who both won re-election, were also sworn in, as was Village President Dave Anderson, who was also re-elected for a second term.

Schuberg replaces trustee Jerry Schmidt, who did not seek re-election.

Schmidt, who served on the board for the past four years, said it was time for him to leave public service. He said he feels good about the progress that Elburn has made during his time in office.

“He’s been a delight to serve with,” Dave Anderson said. “Jerry has been an integral part of everything over the last four years and before that.”

The village president said he hoped to have Schmidt continue to be involved, albeit in a more informal way.

Dave Anderson also recognized Michael J. Greenen, CPA, PC, village treasurer who is leaving that position. He said Greenen has been a “real benefit” to the village, offering his advice and counsel regarding financial matters.

“He’s done an exemplary job, sometimes above and beyond,” Dave Anderson said. “We are very grateful for Mike.”

Greenen also operates a business on Main Street in Elburn, offering tax preparation and accounting services, as well as comprehensive investment planning.
According to Dave Anderson, a good amount of the rationale for establishing the position of finance director came from Greenen.

Doug Elder, who filled in for Village Administrator Erin Willrett while she was on maternity leave, was sworn in to fill the new finance director position, as well as that of village treasurer. Elder assisted the village in the creation of the recently approved 2013-14 budget, implemented on May 1.

Elder has been the village administrator, budget director and mayor of Forreston, Ill., as well as the chairman of the Ogle County Economic Development Corporation.

Anderson has said that the creation of the finance director position will free up more of Willrett’s time to focus on economic development within the village.

Village President Anderson also made official appointments to the Planning Commission,Zoning Board of Appeals, Police Commission, village attorney, village clerk, village engineer, and village staff.


Elburn mourns joyful teen

Photo: Caityln Phillips’ immediate family embraces as community members gathered on Tuesday at the intersection of North Third and Reader streets in Elburn to remember her. Caitlyn Phillips, a 13-year-old who was killed on Friday after colliding with a car while rollerblading. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

ELBURN—Caitlyn Phillips, or “Caity,” as she was known to her friends, was by all accounts a special girl. Described by those who knew her as “bubbly,” “a peacemaker” and “a precious, beautiful spirit,” the 13-year-old who loved sunshine, babies and hugs wasn’t able to stop herself from skating into the street on Friday afternoon, colliding with an oncoming car.

A seventh-grade student at Kaneland Harter Middle School, Caity was in-line skating on a steep incline on East Reader Street, near her house in the 500 block of South First Street in Elburn, at about 3:30 p.m. when she entered the North Third Street intersection. The car she collided with was driven by a 34-year-old woman, also of Elburn, who was traveling north on Third Street at the time.

The Elburn Police Department and the Elburn Fire Department responded to the incident, and the Elburn Fire Department paramedics immediately took Phillips to the Emergency Room at Delnor Hospital in Geneva. Medical personnel there pronounced her deceased at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The Kaneland School District posted an announcement on its website to the families in the area to let them know of the tragic accident. Although administrators had few details at the time, the communication stated that they wanted to extend their deepest condolences and sympathy to Caity’s family and friends.

As more people became aware of the tragedy, many came forward to offer their help, love and support. The Rev. Russ Hurst, pastor of Calvary West Church in Sugar Grove, where services will be held for Caity, said he was “inspired” by how many people were there to offer their support to her family. As Hurst met with the Phillips family on Sunday afternoon, he said there were 20 to 25 people surrounding them, with another 15 or so spilling out in the yard, because there wasn’t enough room for them all in the house.

“Sparkplug” is the word that comes to Hurst’s mind when he recalls Caity.

“Every time I saw her, she had a huge smile, and light just shone off her face,” he said. “She was always happy and hugging everyone. She lived life to the fullest, and she brought a lot of life to her family. She was a very, very special girl. She honestly was an angel.”

Hurst said Caity’s mom, Crystal, and two sisters, Jordan and Taylor, were an active part of the greeter’s ministry, helping to greet people before and after the service.

“They’re very friendly and outgoing,” he said. “A lot of the people (in the congregation) know them.”

The funeral service, which will take place at the Calvary West Church on Friday, May 3, will be a celebration of Caity’s life, and will include her favorite song, “You Are My Sunshine.”

“They (the family) want everyone to sing that song in her honor,” Hurst said.

Crystal said that Caity gave the best hugs; that you really felt her love when she hugged you. If she thought you were rushing through a hug, she would call you on it.

“She’d say, ‘Mom, that was a quickie,’” Crystal said. “She was so affectionate. She would set her alarm for 5 a.m. so that she could come in and cuddle with me before she got ready for school.”

Caity was a peacemaker. If she got into an argument with someone, she would write them a letter apologizing, even if it wasn’t her fault.

“She forgave people so easily,” Crystal said. “She was better than me. I will spend the rest of my life trying to do half of what she would want me to do.”

While Crystal struggles to understand why Caity was taken so soon, she said she is so grateful for her neighbors and friends, and people she doesn’t even know, who have sent messages of love.

“I don’t even have the words to express the love and appreciation I feel,” she said. “We’re blessed beyond words.”

The Harter Middle School Support Team arranged for additional counselors and staff for the first few days of the week to provide support to the grieving students and staff. Conley Outreach provided information regarding teens and grieving at its website,

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Caity’s name. Checks may be made to the “Caitlyn Phillips Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119.

Individuals may also deposit directly into an account set up in her name at Old Second Bank, 749 N. Main St., Elburn. Memorial tributes may also be forwarded to the P.O. Box or on the web at Arrangements were handled with care by Conley Funeral Home.

2013-04-12 08.29.10

Local kindergartners raise money to ‘make the world smile’

Photo: Elburn twins Delia (front) and Lucinda Connelly,
6, have raised over $2,700 for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity. Lucinda was born with a cleft lip and palate. She had surgery on her lip when she was two and a half months old. A second surgery was performed on her palate when she was nearly 1 year old. Courtesy Photo

by Dave Woehrle
ELBURN—Twin girls from Elburn, Lucinda and Delia Connelly, are proving the power of a kind and generous smile.

The girls, 6, have raised over $2,700 for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity.

Holly Orcutt, the mother of Lucinda and Delia, said the girls were “excited to change kids’ lives.”

Worldwide, about one in every 700 children are born with cleft lip or palate. In developing countries, there are over a million children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. A simple 45-minute surgery costs about $250 to remedy the problem. However, such funds are hard to come by in some countries.

Lucinda was born with a cleft lip and palate. She had surgery on her lip when she was two and a half months old. A second surgery was performed on her palate when she was nearly 1 year old.

Orcutt said her daughter became interested in helping others with cleft lips and palates after hearing about her grandmother, Nancy Reed, volunteering in an Atlanta 5k fun run called the “Hot Lips Hustle.”

Inspired by Reed, Orcutt took Lucinda and Delia’s interest in helping others and set up a fundraising page on Facebook.

“People have latched on to Smile Train,” Orcutt said. “Every child born with a cleft anywhere in the world should have the opportunity to live a full, productive life.”

Orcutt said public awareness of the congenital deformity is raising, and people are getting motivated to help.

“We’ve had a great response in the first few days, but we haven’t found a good, steady way to tap into more resources,” Orcutt said. “We’re still looking for support. When my daughters first started, they wanted to raise money for 27 surgeries. Now they want to pay for 200,000 surgeries. It’s a big goal. They’re even using money from their piggy bank.”

“It helps us make lots of friends with the children getting new smiles,” Delia said via email. “Once these children grow up, they will be able to help our Earth get better.”

You can donate at

Village Board agrees to Elburn wastewater treatment plant upgrade

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn village trustees all gave the nod on Monday to a $7.6 million plan to modernize Elburn’s wastewater treatment plant.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. representative Jeffrey Freeman’s presentation to the Village Board was the second step in educating the board and the public on the need for the project.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven conducted a tour of the plant, which is more than three decades old, on Saturday morning, pointing out the areas where improvements are necessary.

The improvements will modernize the plant, but will not increase its capacity, Freeman said. The improvements will allow the plant to work more efficiently and effectively.

The plan calls for the addition of a new headworks building and sewage pumping station, an automated screening system, a clarifying tank with twice the capacity of the current two tanks, and two new digesters.

Village President Dave Anderson said that the current pumping station, located 30 feet below the ground, and the small elevator that a public works employee must take to reach it, is a safety issue. When an employee is down in the pumping station alone, there is no cell phone coverage.

“You wouldn’t do it at home,” Anderson said.

The current screening process requires that a village employee manually remove the sludge from the grid twice a day, no matter what the weather. The sludge is carried away in buckets. The improvements would include an automation of this process.

In addition to the improvements recommended by EEI, the village will need to make several improvements to meet new EPA standards for phosphorus removal. These improvements account for $670,000 of the $7.6 million project.

Freeman laid out the timeframe for the project, with the design work to begin in June after the board formally approves the project. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency approval would likely take place by the end of 2013. Construction would begin in September 2014, with the target for completion set for October 2015.

The village will seek a low-interest loan from the EPA, with the project ultimately paid for with an increase in residents’ sewer rates. Freeman said it will come out to an increase of about $40 a month for an average water user, although this increase will likely be phased in over time.

The sewer rates are calculated based on the residents’ water usage, as wastewater usage is not measured. The average household uses 700 gallons of water per month.

Freeman also said that, with additional growth, the cost will come down, as it is spread among more people.

Anderson emphasized that the need for the project is not due to projected population growth.

“These improvements have nothing to do with new construction,” he said. “They have to do with operation, maintenance and upgrading of the existing plant for the existing community.”

Village Board passes annual budget

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved the 2013-14 budget, with trustee Jerry Schmidt the only “no” vote.

In a previous discussion at the board’s April 8 meeting, Schmidt said he could not vote for a budget that included funding for a police force he considers large for a village of Elburn’s size.

“I think we’re overstaffed for 5,000 people,” he said during the discussion.

The Police Department includes eight full-time officers, although one of them is currently out on leave. The amount budgeted for personnel, including part-timers and overtime, benefits and taxes, is $1.1 million.

The 2013-14 village budget calls for a total of $4.8 million of expenditures and revenues.

The budget also includes an increase in the water and sewer rates for village residents of about $6 a month.

Elburn resident dies in crash on Green Road

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn resident Marilyn Gould died in a one-vehicle crash sometime during the early morning hours of April 11.

Gould, 49, was traveling south on Green Road in a Chevy Traverse SUV, and for an unknown reason left the road several times before her vehicle came to a stop near a tree on the east side of Green Road.

Gould, who was alone in the car, was pronounced deceased at the scene. She was not wearing a seat belt.

The crash occurred approximately a mile from her home on Green Road. Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded at approximately 5 a.m. to a report of a vehicle that appeared to have been involved in a crash in the area of Green Road south of Main Street in Blackberry Township.

There were no witnesses to the crash, and it remains under investigation by Sheriff’s Detectives and members of the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team.

Gould was a manager at Schmidt’s Towne Tap for a number of years, and worked for her family’s business, Gould Cider and Apple Pressing, every fall. Gould has several family members and friends in the area.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said that Gould was a friendly person and was always smiling. He described her as a hard worker and a mom, who now leaves two children at home.

“It’s just a tragic loss,” he said. “She’s going to be missed.”

Unfinished work on Blackberry Creek begins

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Blackberry Creek residents should soon see workers making the infrastructure improvements that developer B&B Enterprises left undone in 2010.

Most of the work will take place on the east side of the subdivision, east of Blackberry Creek Drive. Several streets will be given a second layer of asphalt or blacktop to keep the exposed layer from decaying. Other projects include fire
hydrants, curbs and street lights, as well as a number of other small fixes.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said he met with representatives of the bond company on Friday, and the workers started on Monday, marking up the punch list. He said the concrete work should be done this week, “if the weather holds.”

Nevenhoven said the only thing that could hold up everything being completed on time is that the street lights need to be ordered. Improvements are expected to be done by this fall.

The village in April 2010 declared Blackberry Creek Subdivision developers B&B Enterprises, Inc. to be in material default for unfinished street and other infrastructure work, and called for more than $10 million in developer insurance bonds to pay for the improvements.

Since then, the village has been working with the bond company to complete an agreement on the necessary improvements.

“That’s the best news I’ve heard today,” trustee Jerry Schmidt said.

Schmidt is one of several village board members who live in Blackberry Creek.

Elburn’s Dewey Dash 2013 a success

by Chris Paulus
ELBURN—The Elburn Town and Country Public Library last sunday held its ninth annual Dewey Dash event, with approximately 252 participants.

The dash is a fundraising gala in which participants choose to run or walk 5k, and is named after the Dewey Decimal System, a library classification system developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876.

“Some of our patrons, who happen to be runners, came up with the idea for the fundraiser,” said Mary Lynn Alms, library director and coordinator of the event. “We use the funds to purchase our technology upgrades at the library.”

Kathy Semrick, Circulation Manager at the library, said the Dewey Dash raised over $5,000 dollars this year.

Alms has coordinated the event since its inception. Over the years, each dash has corresponded with a certain theme.

“Usually we’ve had an author’s work as a theme. In the past, we’ve had Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Dorsey Parker, James Ferber and Mark Twain,” Alms said.

This year’s theme? Fairy tales. In order to represent the theme, different quotes from fairy tales were placed on various signs throughout the course.
Participants were encouraged to wear costumes, as well. This was the first year that the event featured a costume contest, including “Best Canine Costume.”

Raffles and an international feast were also held during the dash event, with local restaurants donating food.

Village celebrates Arbor Day in Blackberry Creek

ELBURN—The village of Elburn, qualified for the 14th year as a Tree City USA, will celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree in Oak Park in the Blackberry Creek Subdivision. Oak Park is located at Patriot Parkway and Robinson Street.

The short ceremony, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, will include a reading of the “Arbor Day Proclamation,” Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem about trees, and an explanation of the importance of Arbor Day.

The Tree City designation award is a reflection of commitment to tree preservation, tree education and tree health throughout the village.

High School students recognized for Land Use Plan participation

Photo: The Kaneland students that helped with the Land Use plan were presented awards and were honored at the village board meeting. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Students recognized were: Nick Albano, Erika Carlson, Madi Jurcenko, Emily Laudont,
Caitrin Mills, Eric Meuer, Anthony Parillo, Paige Wagner and Kelly Wallner

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Kaneland High School senior Nick Albano is on the varsity baseball team. He’s also an Eagle Scout, a cross country runner on his high school team, a participant in the Model United Nations Club and a member of the National Honor Society.

KHS sophomore Caitrin Mills has always been interested in acting, beginning with middle school plays and musicals. She was chosen to play a part in “Les Miserables,” and was the stage manager for “West Side Story—Kaneland Edition” this year. She is the vice president of the TINA (This Is No Act) improvisation club, and a member of the Scholastical junior varsity team.

What the two students share is a love of Elburn, and a desire to make it even better in the future. Albano and Mills last year joined eight other KHS students in providing input to help revise the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Elburn.

The classmates on Monday were recognized for their participation by the Elburn Village Board.

Village President Dave Anderson, who introduced the students, said they made him feel good as a member of the Elburn community and as a parent.

“I wish to compliment your instructor in the selection process, because he selected a fine, fine group of students to help this community in planning for your future,” Anderson said.

Social studies teacher Mark Meyer said that Village Administrator Erin Willrett approached him about getting the students involved in the process of determining Elburn’s future. He and several other teachers then helped to identify the students. They chose two students from each class—two freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors. Because the project was to cover about a year, they decided to include only students who would still be at the school the following year.

Meyer said the students had learned in their classes about sustainable development, as well as farm land usage and water sustainability, so they were aware of some of the issues regarding growth.

Mills, who has lived in Elburn 13 of her 16 years, said that there are many things she likes about Elburn, including its small-town feeling.

She likes the fact that people can feel safe walking anywhere in town. She also enjoys the library, where she works part time.

Albano has lived in Elburn since he was born, and his family has been in this area since the early 1900s. He said that although he would like to move somewhere else for a while, he plans on coming back to live in Elburn. Albano said he loves the Metra train, because he can get to downtown Chicago in an hour.

He said he hopes ShoDeen will make the Elburn Station development inviting.

“If it ends up similar to Geneva around the train station, it’ll be really really good for Elburn,” he said.

Albano, Mills, and their classmates Eric Meuer and Jeremy Faletto, during a recent discussion agreed that it would be great to have a place in town where they could hang out, such as a coffee shop or something similar. However, Albano and Meuer said their No. 1 desire was for an amphitheater on the south side of Elburn, where they could go and listen to music.

The students said they would like to see Elburn grow, but they would like to see it expand outward around the downtown area instead of being too spread out.

Meuer said he would like more green space and more trees, especially in the downtown area. Albano agreed, saying he thinks the church parking lot would better serve the village as a park.

Faletto would like a swimming pool in town, and more restaurants that aren’t bars. Meuer said there are already enough banks in Elburn—eight in total. And Albano said a music store would be great, “something to bring people to the downtown area.”

The teens are also in agreement about what they don’t want, namely another Randall Road. They also don’t want Elburn to be like Sugar Grove, which they feel is spread out too much.

The students would prefer to avoid “a lot of town houses and suburban ‘pop-ups,’” and disconnected subdivisions such as Blackberry Creek.

“I’d like to keep the small-town feel, but to add more things to draw people—something that connects the people” Faletto said.

Albano’s mother, Sheila, said that Nick really enjoyed participating in the project. During the meeting with other members of the community, he invited some of his friends to come and give their input.

“A couple adults said they were very impressed with the kids,” Sheila said.

Although the adults and the students had some very different ideas about what they would like to see for Elburn’s future, Sheila said the kids were very respectful of the other community members.

Anderson said that some of the students asked him about why they were chosen to give their input.

“Our plan at that time was 23 years old,” he said. “Twenty-three years from now, guess what? You’re sitting where we (the trustees) are now.”

Anderson said that having the high school students involved was such a success that Images Plus, the consulting firm that created the plan, is encouraging other communities to get their high school students involved.

“Be proud of yourselves, because we’re proud of you,” Anderson said to the students.

Water, sewer rate increases to help update aging systems

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The public is invited, along with village trustees, to take a tour of Elburn’s waste-water treatment plant on Saturday, April 20, at 9 a.m.

A representative from Engineering Enterprises, Inc. will attend the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, April 22, to present information about what is needed to update and modify the plant.

Public Works superintendent John Nevenhoven said the plant is vintage 1980s, and trustees will be able to see for themselves “how it operates and how it doesn’t operate.”

Nevenhoven said during budget talks that the village has put off capital improvement projects of the water and sewer systems for so long, that it’s necessary to make that investment now.

One of the big ticket items in next year’s budget is $300,000 for engineering and other start-up work for the waste-water treatment plant modernization project.

“We very much have an ancient system,” Nevenhoven said. “These funds will get us started.”

The board held off on a vote to approve the 2013-14 budget until April 22 due to the absence of trustees Jeff Walter and Ethan Hastert at the Village Board meeting on Monday. The board, however, did approve the water and sewer rate increases that will help to pay for the infrastructure costs.

According to trustee Bill Grabarek, the money from the water and sewer rates charged to the residents goes into something called an “enterprise fund,” which means that the money coming in must cover the cost of providing the services.

Nevenhoven explained that an average customer uses 700 cubic feet, or 5,000 gallons of water per month. This customer would see an increase in their bill of about $6 a month, up from $55 a month to $61.

The new rates will take effect May 1, with the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Casey Crosby fires a pitch from the mound in 2012 action as a member of the Toledo Mud Hens. 					     Photo courtesy of Toledo Mud Hens

Ready for more

Photo: Casey Crosby fires a pitch from the mound in 2012 action as a member of the Toledo Mud Hens. Photo courtesy of Toledo Mud Hens

First big-league start whets Crosby’s appetite
by Mike Sandrolini
ELBURN—Casey Crosby certainly didn’t mind an unexpected change of plans late last May that got him to “The Show,” aka, the Major Leagues.

The former Kaneland High School star, drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2007, was to make a scheduled start for the club’s Class AAA affiliate Toledo Mud Hens in Scranton, Pa., on a Thursday night, May 31, 2012, against the Yankees’ farm team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Crosby would then travel back to Toledo after the game on the team bus overnight and meet his wife, Haley, who was driving up from Elburn, so the couple could spend some time together since the Mud Hens had a home stand that weekend.

But that was all before Mud Hens’ manager Phil Nevin paid Crosby a visit on Wednesday. Nevin informed him that his start was being pushed back to Friday, June 1. Crosby instead would be heading north to Detroit to take the place of the injured Doug Fister in the Tigers’ rotation, and thus, be making his first Major League start.

“It was a dream come true,” said Crosby, rated the Tigers’ No. 8 prospect after the 2012 season by Baseball America. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do (since I was a kid) ever since I could talk, really. My hair stood up and heart started racing nonstop after that.”

After getting the good news, he called Haley in Elburn, where the couple makes their home, but downplayed the change of plans.

“I played it off as not a big deal,” he said, “kind of joking with her that my start was being moved back to Friday because throwing against the New York Yankees was better than throwing against Scranton.”

Crosby’s mound opponent for his first big-league start was none other than C.C. Sabathia. However, Crosby said he didn’t allow the fact that he was facing one of baseball’s premier pitchers to affect his mindset before the game.

“If you treat the game bigger than it actually is, you’re going to get eaten up,” said Crosby, who interestingly was called C.C. by his youth travel team teammates because he, like Sabathia, is left-handed and his initials are C.C. “You’re already amped up because you’re there, but you want to calm yourself down. It’s the same game you’ve played as a kid. Since I was a little kid I watched him (Sabathia) pitch.”

Nonetheless, Crosby said it was quite an experience to step onto the field at Comerica Park for his first start in front of over 41,000 fans.

“Going into the stadium onto the field, just taking it in size of stadium, the cameras, it was such an uplifting feeling to know that you made it,” he said, “and doing something that pretty much not every kid can experience when they‘re older.”

Sabathia and the Yanks unfortunately got the better of Crosby and the Tigers that night, beating Detroit, 9-4. However, Crosby was back on the bump June 7, and did pick up his first Major League victory after the Tigers edged Cleveland, 7-5. He gave up three earned runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“It was great,” Crosby said regarding getting the “W.” “Everything from seeing the last out made to getting the game ball to getting a beer shower, it was an amazing day.”

Fister returned from the disabled list in mid-June, so Crosby went back to Toledo to finish out the season. He was 7-9 with Toledo last year, with a 4.01 ERA, giving up 112 hits in 125 2/3 innings while striking out 112.

Crosby is on the Tigers’ 40-man roster and spent spring training at the team’s facility in Lakeland, Fla. He pitched a total of seven innings. That might not seem like a lot to the casual baseball observer, but Crosby explained there were only so many innings to go around, given the sheer number of pitchers in camp.

“There’s so many guys in spring training that everyone needs to get their reps in,” he said. “It’s hard (to get more innings). Most of guys were around seven innings. They’ve got some solid veteran pitchers.”

Crosby pitched two innings during his final spring outing with the Tigers, giving up one hit and no earned runs vs. the New York Mets. Although Crosby was optioned to Toledo in mid-March shortly after facing the Mets, Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland said he liked what he saw from the 24-year- old.

“He started to pitch with a little more confidence in his control,” Leyland told the Detroit Free Press. “Also had a pretty good curveball, so he’s a guy we want down there stretched out. He got his feet wet a little bit last year, got a little bit of an idea what it’s about up here. That’s a good thing.”

“They just said that I showed a lot of improvement from last spring training,” Crosby said of his conversations with those in the Detroit organization prior to him going back to Toledo. “Even though I’m getting sent down doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, that (I won’t) get back into the big leagues. If I’m a guy who’s doing well down here, I’ll get the call (back up), but I just have to keep plugging away and working.”

Crosby’s curveball was rated the best in the Tigers’ farm system by Baseball America after the 2012 season, but he also possesses a fastball that’s clocked in the mid-90s.

“The main thing they told me is keep throwing strikes and not holding back with my fastball,” Crosby said. “Let it go and throw strikes with it.”

Crosby said he’ll be on a pitch count (80 to 90 pitches per start) in Toledo until late April.

“They still project me as a starter,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to spot start a game or two (this year in Detroit).”

Elburn Village Board approves Land Use Plan

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board at its April 1 meeting approved the village’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, a project approximately one year in the making.

The project was completed with the assistance of the consulting firm Images, Inc., and with input of a variety of individuals, business and community groups, students and community members, in addition to Village Board members.

The plan maps out the village’s future for the next 20-plus years, updating the previous version, which was completed 23 years ago. The plan covers territory within 1.5 miles of the boundaries of the village, and lays out areas for residential, commercial, industrial and mixed-use development, as well as where land will be set aside as open space.

The total population at build-out, including the long-term expansion of the area, is projected at 41,737. The current population of the village is 5,602.

The project was funded through a grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the regional planning organization for the counties of northeastern Illinois.

Calling it a step in the right direction, Village President Dave Anderson thanked Carrie Hansen of Images, Inc. for her time and effort, and CMAP for the funding that made the project possible.

“We just updated a 23-year-old document,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett said. “That’s huge.”

Pint-sized bar opens

Paisano’s owners to open Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill in Elburn
by Elizabeth Rago
ELBURN—Small-business owners Annette and Dick Theobald are tentatively scheduled to open the Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, located at 117 North Main St. in Elburn, in May. The couple are Kaneville residents who have teamed up with Rob and Myra Ottoson to purchase the Main Street property.

Annette and Dick are not newcomers to the restaurant business. In 2003, they opened Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, which sits across the street from the couple’s new eatery.

“At the time we opened Paisano’s, Jim and Rita Cotti opened their bar (at 117 North Main St.) and we were able to have our pizza menu on their tables,” Annette said. “The Cottis became one of our top customers. By purchasing the bar, we are able to offer our customers a place to have a pizza and a cold beverage.”

The Theobalds purchased the pub location from Jim Cotti, but state they were not originally looking to buy a bar.

Instrumental in the design and renovation of Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, the Ottosons and local tradesmen have been busy completing the punch list of changes to transform the restaurant’s interior and exterior.

“By renovating the bar, we hope to improve the historic section of downtown Elburn,” Annette said. “We feel we will only complement a night out on the town in downtown Elburn, which will bring more people more often to downtown.”

Besides pizza from the Paisano’s menu, Eddie Gaedel’s will serve burgers, paninis, mini-sandwiches such as pulled pork and roast beef, paired with salads, soup and appetizers. The bar will stock beverages like craft beers, wine, martinis and frozen drinks.

With their reputation for service, food and a vested interest in the Kaneland community, the Theobalds look forward to catering to existing customers, and hope to draw new patrons with the option to relax, have a meal and watch their favorite sports team.

Since Paisano’s has been widely supported by the community, Annette and Dick felt it only natural to anchor their efforts locally by rallying behind area businesses to provide free advertising on Paisano’s pizza boxes, sponsoring local sports teams and donating gift certificates to area fundraisers, to name a few.

So, how will Eddie Gaedel give back?

“That’s a good question,” Annette said. “We will sponsor adult softball teams and be on the lookout for organizations to donate gift certificates to. We are in the process of exploring other ways to give back to the community.”

To follow along with the renovation and launch of Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, visit!/EddieGaedelPubandGrill.

The Theobalds are happily accepting applications for experienced and certified cooks and bartenders. Interested persons can fill out an application at Paisano’s, 106 N. Main St. in Elburn, or send a direct message on Facebook at!/EddieGaedelPuband Grill.

Elburn plan commissioner wins seat on Village Board

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Patricia Schuberg said that one of her major goals for the village, now that she has won a seat on the Elburn Village Board, is to get the word out about Elburn.

“I want people to know that it’s a viable and active community, and a good place for a business to put down roots,” she said.

Schuberg, one of four candidates vying for three seats on the Elburn Village Board, ended up receiving the most votes, according to unofficial results. Schuberg received 240 votes, Jeffrey Walter received 237, and Kenneth Anderson, Jr. landed 203. Walter and Anderson are incumbents who won their bids for re-election. Michael Rullman received 116 votes.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt did not seek re-election.

Schuberg has served on the Elburn Plan Commission for the past 15 years, including six years as its chair. She believes that her experience in government and business will help her to be an effective member of the Village Board from the beginning. She said she decided to run for a board seat at this time because Elburn is at a turning point in its development.

“There is a lull in our planning cycle, and policies and decisions are being made that will set the tone for years to come,” she said.

The biggest difference she would like to see four years from now when her term is completed is more balance between rooftops and business. Schuberg said there is an ordinance for an economic development commission on the books, and she will encourage Village President Dave Anderson to get that started again.

Schuberg would like to see future development that would not just cost the current residents more, but that would bring something of value to the village.

“Let’s get those open storefronts filled,” she said.

Schuberg said she would like to see all kinds of businesses, not just retail, but offices, commercial manufacturing and more.

“A healthy economic base has a wide diversity of businesses,” she said.

Schuberg, 53, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Masters of Business Administration from Aurora University, with more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and consulting. She is currently an account manager with a textbook publisher for institutions of higher education.

She is also an active volunteer within the community. She began serving as a den leader when her two sons were in Cub Scouts, and continued on with scouting through Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts. Among other commitments, Schuberg has also been actively involved in Elburn Baseball and Softball, and she is a member of the Town and Country Library Friends.

Schuberg said it is good to know that, with the election behind her, she can get down to work and serve. She will be sworn in on Monday, May 6.

Elburn residents may see water, sewer rate increase

Village considers adding a finance director
by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Residents may soon see an increase in their water and sewer rates if next year’s budget is approved. The increase was discussed at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Based on average usage of 5,000 gallons of water a month, households will see their rates go from approximately $55 per month to $61 per month, for a total increase of $6 a month, or $72 a year, Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said.

According to Nevenhoven, about four years ago the village realized it was losing approximately $20,000 per month, due to the difference between what it cost to service residents and what the village was charging them.

In addition, Nevenhoven said that the village has put off capital improvement projects of the water and sewer systems for so long, that it’s necessary to make that investment now.

“We very much have an ancient system,” he said. “These funds will get us started.”

The big ticket items for this coming fiscal year include $130,000 for streets and storm sewer work, $120,000 for improvements in the water system and $115,000 for improvements to the sewer treatment system. In addition, $300,000 will be set aside for engineering and other start-up work for the waste-water treatment plant modernization project.

The village will review the rates each year. Nevenhoven recommended a 2 percent increase or one based on the Chicago area consumer price index, whichever is greater.

Next year’s budget also calls for the addition of a finance director. The position, if approved, will be a salaried position, with an annual salary of $79,000 for a 32-hour work week, plus attendance at board meetings.

“We can afford it now,” he said. “This year will be the most expensive year. Next year, we’ll start to get some payback.”

According to Anderson, the village will no longer have the services of a financial consultant, a savings of $14,200, and a finance director would also take on the responsibilities of the village treasurer, for an additional savings of $5,000.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said the finance director will be responsible for getting the village in good financial shape, including implementing capital asset and improvement programs.

The position will be appointed by Anderson and approved by the board.

“Let’s see how it works for a year,” Anderson said. “The person won’t be an employee; it will be a one-year appointment.”

Anderson also said that hiring a finance director will free up more of Willrett’s time to focus on economic development for the village.

The budget includes a 3 percent salary increase for village employees, and a 5 percent increase for the cost of medical benefits. The new medical plan begins in November, so the actual increase is unknown at this time.

Willrett, whose current annual salary is $99,744, will forego her 3 percent increase for the coming fiscal year.

Anderson corrected a statement he made at the previous Committee of the Whole meeting, in which he said he did not support hiring a full-time police officer. Anderson said he did not support hiring an additional full-time police officer, but he does support a full-time replacement position.

“My concern was in adding a police officer in addition to replacing the one that’s out on leave,” he said.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt still had concerns about the police budget.

“I haven’t slept much this last week,” he said on Monday. “I look at our police budget and our population. I just can’t vote for this with a clear conscience. I think we’re overstaffed for 5,000 people.”

Schmidt said he would rather see the money spent on improving the aesthetics of downtown Elburn.

“Go down to Plainfield—they’ve done a great job with their downtown,” he said. “I’d like to see some bricks and mortar at the end of the year.”

Trustee Bill Grabarek however said he did not know how to decrease the police force without putting the officers’ lives in jeopardy.

“The police are out there, putting their lives on the line,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to pull over.”

The fiscal year budget revenues are estimated at $4.5 million, not including the increases in the water and sewer rates. The expenditures are estimated at $4.8 million, which includes the finance director position and a replacement police officer position.

The budget will come before the board on Monday, April 15. The fiscal year will begin May 1.

Earning his wings






An Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Nick Albano was held March 3 at the Congregational United Methodist Church of Christ in St. Charles. The event was hosted by Nick’s parents, Phillip and Sheila Albano of Elburn. Also in attendance were friends, family, BSA Elburn Troop 7 Scouts, Scoutmasters, Committee Members, Coach Chad Clarey (KHS Cross Country and Troop 7 Eagle Scout 1989), as well as representatives from the village of Elburn, the Elburn American Legion Post No. 630, the Fox Valley Marine Detachment No. 1223 and the church pastors. Photos by Patti Wilk

A facelift for Bob Jass Chevrolet

Bob Jass Chevrolet, 300 Main St. in Elburn, is in the midst of a complete remodel, required of all of General Motors dealerships. The remodel will double the size of the location’s showroom and service area, and create a new customer waiting area and service drive. Photos by Kimberly Anderson



STS Foundation invites Elburn families to host exchange students

For more information or to view
student profiles, call STS Foundation at
or email

ELBURN—Student Travel Schools (STS) Foundation, a 25-year-old non-profit organization that promotes Global learning and leadership through cultural exchange and leadership programs for high school students, is looking for American families interested in hosting an exchange student for the 2013-14 school year.

STS Foundation welcomes families who would like to host an international exchange student including families without children, empty nesters, military families, retirees and single people. STSF families come from all over the U.S., including both rural and urban communities.

Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). Each student is supported by a professionally trained local representative from STSF who works with the family, student and local school for the entire program. Students will have their own health insurance and spending money for lunches, books, clothes and outings.

Meet some of the STS Foundation’s students:
• Samantha is from Australia. She is 15 years old and enjoys horseback riding, family activities and golfing. Samantha is an A average student, and she will come to the U.S.A. for one semester.
• Mikel is from Germany and loves playing soccer. He trains three times a week and has games on the weekends. Mikel has two younger brothers. He is looking forward to his adventure in the U.S.A.
• Bruno is from Brazil and enjoys basketball, soccer and playing the piano. He attends church regularly with his family. Bruno loves animals and young children.

These are just some of the over 400 students that STS Foundation will place with loving families for the upcoming school year. If you would like more information about hosting or to view student profiles, call STS Foundation at 1-800-522-4678 or email

Board provides its comprehensive plan footprint

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday gave its last few comments regarding the village’s comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Carrie Hansen, director of planning and government relations for Images Inc., which facilitated the creation of the plan, brought revisions that board members had requested during their last meeting with her.

The changes included the addition of the Elburn Station development, now that it has been approved and annexed. The revision also eliminated several of the commercial areas initially included on the north side of town, as well as those on the north side of Route 47 and Main Street Road. Trustee Ken Anderson had asked Hansen to eliminate the commercial use designation there, because the existence of a flood plain in the area would more than likely rule out future development there.

The area of Route 47 south of the downtown area, which had been designated single-family residential, was extended further south as commercial, also based on board member feedback.

Commercial development will take on a different form, depending on its location in the village, Hansen said. She recommended retail development at the primary intersections of Route 38 and Route 47, and Route 47 and Keslinger Road. She said that commercial uses in other locations would likely be more of the service-oriented, office-oriented and campus-type development, to be compatible with the adjacent residential areas.

New industrial development is called for in areas where it can capitalize on close proximity to regional transportation, such as the Union Pacific Railroad, Keslinger Road, Route 47 and Route 38.

Hansen also provided the board with projected population figures based on the plan, with the initial infill and primary expansion adding almost 12,000 people over the next 20 years or so. The long-term expansion would create a total population of close to 42,000 at complete build-out.

Elburn’s current population is 5,602.

“That’s not to say you’re ever going to be that big,” Hansen said to the board. “The numbers are possible if this plan gets realized.”

Trustee Bill Grabarek had some minor corrections and clarifications in the wording of the plan. He said that this was the first revision to the plan in 23 years, and includes the two largest projects the village has ever had. He said he wanted that to be precise.

Hansen said she would get the final changes to the board for its meeting on Monday, April 1.

Round two for village budget

Editor note: Trustee Bill Grabarek’s name was left off a quote attributed to him, which made it look like Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said the quote. Further, the Elburn Police are in the process of acquiring the AR-15 weapons, and did not have them as of press time. The Herald regrets these errors.

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—During a budget discussion at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Village President Dave Anderson said he does not support hiring a full-time police officer at this point in time. According to Police Chief Steve Smith, the department has been filling the shifts of a full-time vacancy with part-time officers for more than two years.

Smith said that a state statute states that a full-time vacancy may not be permanently filled with part-time officers. In addition, he said more full-time officers give the department more consistency in scheduling.

Hiring part-time officers is less expensive—the hourly rate is lower, and the village does not have to pay for benefits, vacation time, etc. However, trustee Dave Gualdoni said his concern is that if an officer is injured while on the job, the village is responsible for paying worker’s compensation for his full-time position elsewhere, as well as for his part-time position with the village.

The police department has also budgeted $7,500 for ammunition for the year, up from the projected cost of $1,371 in 2012-13, to accommodate training on new weapons. The Elburn Police Department received 10 AR-15’s from the St. Charles Police Department at no cost to the village. St. Charles obtained the weapons from a federal program dispersing excess military stock, and is currently transitioning to new weapons.

The Elburn police officers will exchange their shotguns for the AR-15’s, a military grade weapon that is more accurate, has a longer range and accommodates a 20-round magazine. The other advantage, according to Smith, is that if the bullet misses its target and hits a car window or wall, it will break apart instead of ricocheting off of it, possibly hurting an innocent bystander.

Elburn, as of press time, did not yet have the weapons.

Smith said the AR-15, known in the military as an M-16, will give the Elburn police officers more firepower, putting them on a more even playing field with what people on the street might have.

“Sometimes police find themselves out-gunned,” he said. “You don’t want to wait until that happens.”

While the frangible nature of the ammunition used in these weapons prevents innocent bystanders from being hurt, it also shatters soft tissue once it hits its target.

“I’ve never been in a gunfight or a war, but those are pretty vicious weapons. Unfortunately, there are bad guys out there, and you do want a weapon that’s effective. But how destructive do we want the weapons to be? At close range, it can blow a guy apart,” said trustee Bill Grabarek.

All sworn officers will train and become certified on the new weapons, Smith said.

Village President Anderson would like to hire a village financial director in the next fiscal year, freeing up Village Administrator Erin Willrett to concentrate on her area of expertise: economic development.

Anderson said that Willrett has spent the last four years keeping an eye on the village’s finances with the assistance of a financial consultant, but he thinks it’s time to hire a person full-time with a background in finance.

The 2013-14 village budget shows a modest increase in the village revenues, including property, sales and income taxes. What that also means, interim Village Administrator Doug Elder said, is modest increases on the expense side. The budget calls for an average 3 percent increase for village employees, as well as an increase in the cost of their medical benefits.

Anderson said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the state will decide not to revert its Local Government Distributive Fund back to 2012 levels, something it threatened to do several weeks ago.

Elder said that the board will need to decide if it is time to conduct a formal analysis of the water and sewer rates, to make sure that the village is allowing for the cost of daily operation and ongoing maintenance of the water and sewer systems.

Several board members said they wanted to bring back the village’s National Night Out, an event sponsored by the Police Department that was cancelled last year.

The bottom line on the village budget is $267,000 to the good.

The Village Board will hold a public hearing on the appropriation ordinance at its April 1 meeting. The proposed appropriation ordinance shows the maximum amount approved by the board that may be spent on specific items, while the operating budget is the day-to-day guide for how the village will spend its money.

The appropriation ordinance will be available for public inspection in Elburn Village Hall from March 28 through April 15. The Village Board will vote on the appropriation ordinance and the budget at its April 15 meeting. The fiscal year will begin on May 1.

KJS spring clothing and toy sale

KANELAND—Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Network will sponsor a spring clothing and toy sale on Friday, April 5, 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, April 6, 8 a.m. to noon, at the school, 817 Prairie Valley St. in Elburn.

Yellow and green tags indicate half-price items between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

The sale will feature gently-used spring and summer clothing, including infant wear, boys’ clothing through size 20, and girls’ clothing through junior sizes. Shoes, toys, games, puzzles, books, videos, DVDs, room decor, jewelry and sports equipment will also be available.

Admission is free. Strollers are welcome. Bring a basket to shop. Only cash and checks will be accepted.

If you are interested in selling items on consignment, or would like further information, email

Board allows video gaming in Elburn

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn village trustee Ken Anderson’s question to his fellow board members, “How does this (video gambling) improve the quality of life in Elburn?” went unanswered on Monday evening.

Instead, the board voted 5-1 to approve an ordinance allowing video gaming machines in Elburn establishments that serve liquor.

Village Board members Bill Grabarek and Jeff Walter had joined Anderson in 2009 in voting for a ban on video gaming. However, Walter, who said two business owners in town had recently approached him about revisiting the ban, brought video gaming before the board again last month.

“What concerns me is Blackberry Inn has allowed it,” Walter said at the time. “Are we going to lose customers? Are we going to lose tax dollars?”

Blackberry Bar & Grill, south of town in unincorporated Kane County, installed three video gaming machines last fall after Kane County reversed its ban on video gaming. Two more machines were delivered on Feb. 20 for a total of five altogether, the maximum allowed.
Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 10.51.12 AM
The revenue gained from video gaming is split between the bar owner, the gaming terminal provider and the state, with the bar owner and the terminal provider each receiving 35 percent, and the state receiving 30 percent. The municipality (or in the case of an unincorporated area, the county) receives one-sixth of the state’s take, or 5 percent of the total revenues.

Anderson had said he was concerned about the message that allowing the machines in town would send, as well as enabling people to gamble away money they could not afford to lose.

However, trustee Dave Gualdoni and Village President Dave Anderson said they didn’t feel they should dictate to others how to live their lives. In addition, Dave Anderson said that if people didn’t gamble in Elburn, the opportunity exists four miles down the road.

Grabarek said he had received phone calls and emails from residents asking him why he had decided to reverse his earlier stance on the machines, and stated that he didn’t want to hurt the businesses in town. He said he would like to see how it goes, and that the village could hold a referendum in a couple of years if the board members thought the issue needed to be looked at again.

Trustees Jerry Schmidt, Ethan Hastert, Walter, Grabarek and Gualdoni voted in favor of the video gaming ordinance.

Tavern owners who have a liquor license may apply for a video gaming license through the Illinois Gaming Board. Schmidt’s Towne Tap owner Kevin Schmidt—trustee Schmidt’s son—and Knucklehead’s owner Betsy Brizek have both said they would apply for the license.

The Elburn Lions Club initially considered applying for a license, but ultimately decided not to pursue it.

Blackberry Township asks for more money for roads

Blackberry Township by the numbers

58 miles
of road, 52 in blacktop, six in gravel

90 percent
of funding to maintain township roads comes from property taxes

1.9 percent
of property tax bill comes to the road district

If referendum passes, a $300,000 home owner pays an extra
$140 per year

75 percent
of Elburn is in Blackberry Township

$50 of every $100
collected comes back to the village of Elburn

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Blackberry Township Road Commissioner Rod Feece during Monday’s Village Board meeting made a plea for a referendum vote to increase the property tax levy for township roads.

According to Feece, the tax rate has been the same for 35 years, and at the current pace of overlaying one to one-and-a-half miles of road per year, he said the township has been “falling further and further behind.”

“We’re at a crucial time,” Feece said.

The township consists of 58 miles of road, 52 of which are blacktop, with six still in gravel. Feece said he hopes to increase the number of miles of blacktop maintained per year to five or six.

Approximately 90 percent of the funding to maintain the township roads comes from property taxes, with the remaining 10 percent from motor fuel taxes, Feece said. The impact of the tax levy increase on a homeowner of a $300,000 home would be an additional $140 in property taxes per year, or just under $12 a month.

Although the township has been successful in obtaining a couple of grants, the money had to be used for specific purposes, such as $210,000 to bridges and $40,000 to build a new barn.

He said he does not plan to hire any additional people, nor will he use the money to purchase extra machinery.

“Everything extra will go to paving,” he said.

Approximately 75 percent of the village of Elburn is within the township, as well as a small portion of North Aurora. Feece said that if a resident pays $100 in taxes to the township, $50 of that comes back to Elburn, and although that money that gets deposited into the general fund, Village President Dave Anderson said that it will be used for streets.

“Nobody wants to pay taxes, but if we do agree as a democracy that we will tax ourselves, it’s visible—we see the result,” Anderson said.

Board unanimously approves Elburn Station

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—A round of applause followed the Village Board’s unanimous approval of the Elburn Station agreement on Monday.

“I was 28 when we started this discussion, and now I’m 58,” Village President Dave Anderson said, referring to the fact that the board and ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt have been talking about the mixed-use development for some time now.

With nothing but “nits” to pick, according to trustee Bill Grabarek, village attorney Bob Britz said he felt confident that Patzelt would agree to the last-minute corrections.

“None of these are substantive changes,” Britz said. “He (Patzelt) agrees with the agreement as it is.”

The 484-acre development, situated around the Elburn Metra train station, will bring 2,215 total units and commercial development to the village over the next 20 years.

Now that the annexation and development agreement, the zoning ordinance and the establishment of a special services area have been approved, the next step is the construction of the Anderson Road extension and bridge.

The bridge project, which will extend Anderson Road from Route 38 to Keslinger Road and over the Union Pacific railroad tracks, must be completed before ShoDeen can begin construction of Elburn Station.

Kane County Board member Drew Frasz and Department of Transportation Director Tom Rickert were on hand on Monday, and gave a thumbnail sketch of the timeline for the bridge project. According to Frasz, the land acquisition and funding process is almost complete, and in the next few months they will be putting together bid packages.

“Our number-one goal is to move earth, hopefully by Sept. 1,” he said.

Construction will begin in 2014, and could be done by late 2014 or early 2015.

“We’re excited,” Frasz said. “Let the dirt fly.”

The road and bridge project was in jeopardy last October, due to the board’s vote to table discussion regarding the development. Frasz and Rickert had been concerned that they could lose the $22 million in federal, state and local funding for the bridge.

Grabarek made the motion to table the discussion, because he was not comfortable with a number of the elements of the plan. He, trustee Jeff Walter and other board members have since brought forward a number of issues. Walter said he has kept track of concerns that residents have brought forward, and has tried to address them.

Changes to the plan within the last few months include limiting the number of multi-family units to 400—plus up to an additional 200 as long as they are designated as senior housing—and requirements for completion of public improvements within the development.

In addition, ShoDeen agreed to share in the cost of a pedestrian bridge that will connect the development with the current downtown area.

The changes remaining on Monday night were minor, but still, Grabarek continued to seek clarification.

Frasz said that he had nothing but admiration for Grabarek and the rest of the board.

“This is the biggest decision that the board will make in decades,” he said. “This will be Bill’s legacy; that it will be done right.”

Patzelt said he is pleased that the Village Board voted for the development, and he looks forward to partnering with the village on the Elburn Station development.

“Now the work begins,” he said.

Goucher joins NB&T as vice president and commercial loan officer

ELBURN—Chuck Kaiser, senior vice president and senior lending officer at NB&T, announced that Lucas Goucher has joined the bank as vice president and commercial loan officer.

“The addition of Lucas represents a concentrated effort by NB&T to expand commercial banking services in the Fox Valley area,” Kaiser said.

Goucher has served commercial loan clients in the far western suburbs for the past 10 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, and is active in many professional and civic organizations.

He is past president of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Elburn Lions Club, a board member of the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, and sits on the village of Maple Park’s Planning Commission.

Goucher is a member of NB&T’s Elburn branch, 930 N. Main St., and can be reached at or (630) 365-8989.

Elburn Station negotiations hit a snag

One item remains before development moves forward
by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Negotiations for the Elburn Station development hit a snag Monday night when interim Village Administrator Doug Elder informed the board that ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt did not agree with the requirement that he complete area one, the section of the development with single-family homes, first.

“Dave Patzelt of ShoDeen Development said he never agreed with that, and does not agree with that, and he will not agree to that,” Elder said.

Village Attorney Bob Britz said he also spoke with Patzelt, and asked him his reasons for objecting to this requirement.

According to Britz, Patzelt had several reasons, one of which was that he doesn’t want to be prohibited from commencing development of the other areas first. Patzelt said he wants the market to determine the products he develops first.

“Basically he’s telling us he wants to build apartments first, cause that’s what the market calls for,” trustee Jeff Walter said. “That’s not the kind of development I’m looking for—at least not as the first phase.”

“I’d hate to jeopardize the development if he can’t sell single-family homes when the bridge is done,” trustee Jerry Schmidt said. “If there is a market for single-family homes, let him build that. If there’s a market for condos or apartments, let him build that. We need this development.”

Britz said he invited Patzelt to the meeting, but the ShoDeen developer didn’t want to attend.

On Tuesday, Patzelt said that there were several reasons for his rejecting the part of the agreement. First, he said that when Village President Dave Anderson came back to him a month ago with the main concerns the board had with the plan as it was, completion of area one before others could be started was not mentioned.

“This is a new problem,” Patzelt said.

In addition, Patzelt said that if he had to wait to begin a second area of construction until he had completed the first, it would take a year to 18 months to complete the roads and other infrastructure before he could begin building homes, and he would lose that momentum from one area to the next.

“Although the areas are numbered, this doesn’t imply an order for when each would get built,” he said. “For example, area one might get split into two or three phases. We may not build all 149 at once; we may start with 35 or 50 or 70.”

Patzelt said that area one includes 149 single family homes, with 70- and 80-foot-lot sizes. It does not call for single-family homes on 60-, 50- or 40-foot lots, which are elsewhere in the development.

“Area one may not have the latest and greatest current market-selling products,” he said.

As far as what the market will dictate, Patzelt said that he doesn’t know what that will be, because he can’t proceed with the actual development until the Anderson Road extension and bridge is completed, and that will take a year and a half.

“It’s not what is the market now; it’s what is the market when the bridge is completed,” he said.
Patzelt said that if the board is concerned about the multi-family units being built first, area one is not the only area without multi-family units. Areas two, three, seven, eight and nine do not include multi-family units, either.

“Why not start with one of them?” he asked.

Trustee Ken Anderson suggested the board change the requirement from the first area having to be completed to it having to be started. The modification was to be sent back to Patzelt on Tuesday.

According to Elder, this was the one remaining issue that the ShoDeen developer had. Patzelt had agreed to the other changes the board suggested, and Britz read through those changes for the board. The vote on the development has been set for the Village Board meeting on Monday, March 18.

Identical twins x 2

Photo: Dr. Ken Baumruck (left) with his brother, Keith, and Keith’s grandchildren Ethan and Alexander.
Multiple sets of twins run in the family. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn chiropractor Ken Baumruck and his brother Keith are identical twins, an occurrence that happens in only about three in every 1,000 births. By contrast, fraternal twins are born in about 32 of every 1,000 births.

So when Ken’s nephew, Brad, and Brad’s wife, Rachel, had identical twins a year ago, it was really a surprise.

“Identical twins are not genetically determined,” Ken said. “It’s very rare; a freak of nature.”

He explained that identical twins are born from the same egg and the same sperm, with the fertilized egg, or the zygote, splitting after fertilization.

“The cause is not known, but we have the same DNA,” he said.

Ken said there are so many things in which they are alike. They like the same foods, their hearing is the same. When one twin’s cholesterol goes up, the other’s does, as well. It’s the same with blood pressure.

“It’s like he’s the other half of me,” Ken said. “We can finish each other’s sentences.”

Although Ken and Keith have another brother and two sisters whom they love, Ken said it is not the same.

“He’s my best friend; he’s just like me,” Ken said of Keith. “It’s a deeper thing.”

Keith feels the same way.

“I have to talk to him once or twice a week,” Keith said. “I don’t feel right when we’re out of contact.”

Keith said that they had a lot of fun growing up together. Although their mom never dressed them alike, they did everything together. They both enjoy sports, especially hockey, and they are both Chicago White Sox fans.

“I always had a buddy,” Keith said.

Ken and Keith are both married to blondes, and their astrological signs are Taurus. The two wives are good friends.

“It’s almost like you marry the brother, too,” Ken said. “The other twin is part of the package.”
Ken’s nephew Brad works for him in his chiropractic practice. Brad said that a couple of years ago, his uncle needed some extra help, and the two meshed really well.

Identical twins are not supposed to run in families. According to website, if an individual has a parent who is an identical twin, his or her chances of having an identical twin are the same as anyone else—3 in 1,000.

Brad said his identical twins, Alexander and Ethan, have already shown similar characteristics and traits. Their weight is within one pound of each other, and their length is exactly the same, as is their head diameter. They’re already very close.

“They talk to each other without talking,” Brad said. “They’re looking at each other, and then they’ll start laughing. Doc and my dad do it, too.”

Since they were only born a little over a year ago, it remains to be seen if they will end up as close buddies like Ken and Keith.

“They’re still young, but hopefully, they’ll be like us,” Keith said.

Brad said that when his dad is at home watching a Sox game, and one of the players hits a home run, the phone rings.

“You know it’s his brother,” Brad said.

Village budget process may be affected by state financial problems

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—If Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is successful, Elburn and other Illinois municipalities will see a decrease in their share of the state income taxes in the coming fiscal year.

According to an alert from the Illinois Municipal League, the Governor’s Office is proposing to cap the LGDF (Local Government Distributive Fund) at the 2012 level of $81 per resident.

The current level for Elburn for 2013 is $90 per person, a total of $504,180, based on a population of 5,602. If the cap is implemented, Elburn’s share of the Illinois income taxes would be reduced by $11.50 per person, for a total loss of $64,423. The projection for fiscal year 2013-14 had been $95.40 per person.

“That’s a pretty big hit on our revenue,” said Doug Elder, who has taken on Village Administrator Erin Willrett’s responsibilities while she has been on leave. “The state’s unresolved financial problems have placed the LGDF at great risk.”

Calling it a “bombshell” from the state, Elder encouraged the trustees to call their state legislators and the governor to tell them that the decrease is unacceptable.

The Village Board reviewed the revenue portion of the operating budget on Monday. The water and sewer fees, which residents pay based on their usage, make up 33 percent of the village’s budget. The majority of the remainder of the revenues is made up of taxes, such as property taxes, sales tax, income tax, utility tax, court fines and others.

The equalized assessed value for the village of Elburn, on which the property taxes are based, has gone down each year since the economy took a hit in 2008.

“That’s a total loss of more than 20 percent,” trustee Bill Grabarek said.

Although the EAV has been going steadily down since 2008, property tax rates have been going up, resulting in higher property taxes on existing property owners and an overall net increase in village revenues.

The board has previously reviewed the draft budgets of the individual village budgets, and will take a look at the big picture at the March 25 meeting.

The proposed appropriation ordinance shows the maximum amount approved by the board that may be spent on specific items, and the operating budget is the day-to-day guide for how the village will spend its money.

The appropriation ordinance will be available for public inspection in Elburn Village Hall from March 26 through April 15, with a public hearing on April 1.

The Village Board will vote on the appropriation ordinance and the budget at its April 15 meeting, and the fiscal year will begin on May 1.

What’s the plan?

Web Editor’s note: The Elburn Herald incorrectly referred to trustee Jeff Walter as “Jeff Walker” in the print edition of this story. The Herald regrets the error.

Board not ready to vote on Comprehensive Plan
by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Village Board members concluded they are not ready to vote on the draft Comprehensive Plan on Monday, March 18, based on concerns regarding some of the elements of the plan.

Images, Inc., the consulting firm that created the plan, based on input from a number of groups and residents within the village, presented it to the board in a public hearing on March 4. The main concerns board members had were the placing of commercial and industrial parcels in areas far from Elburn’s central downtown area and the amount of growth the plan shows.

“That’s a substantial amount of growth,” trustee Ken Anderson said. “I just don’t know how realistic that is by 2040.”

Anderson went on to say that some of the spots identified for commercial and industrial growth have substantial soil and flooding issues, making it “very unlikely that a commercial development would be viable there.”

“So why show it?” he asked. “We’re creating the value for parcels that don’t have that value now.”

Trustee Jeff Walter had questions about how showing these uses within the Land Use plan would bind the village for the future.

Village attorney Bob Britz said that in litigating zoning matters, the courts address eight factors, with the No. 1 thing the judges look at being the Land Use plan.

Walter said he didn’t think the board was ready to vote on the plan.

“I feel that our comments have been brushed aside, with no plan for addressing any of them,” he said.

Anderson had asked Images, Inc. Carrie Hanson for population numbers, based on the elements of the plan. He said he will be interested to see what those are.

The trustees agreed that they would use the March 25 Committee of the Whole for more discussion about the plan. Village President Dave Anderson and trustee Ethan Hastert were not present at the meeting on Monday.

Heritage Prairie Farm brings weekly local produce to the community

ELBURN—Heritage Prairie Farm brings the best in local produce and eggs to the community with their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Participating in their CSA program allows the community to incorporate fresh, local, organically-grown produce into their diet. Organically fed, free-range chicken eggs are also available to add to any CSA share.

CSA members take advantage of seasonal produce, heirloom varietals of produce not available at the local grocer, and reduced carbon footprint by buying locally. Local produce also packs the highest content of nutrients by going directly from the land to your CSA box. In addition, CSA members also receive discounted prices on Heritage Prairie Farm’s monthly Farm Dinners.

Varied pick-up times and locations are available for some shares as a way to make it convenient for anyone in the community to take part in the program.

Now is the time to reserve your CSA share, as space is limited. To learn more about the program or reserve your share, visit or call (630) 443-5989.

Elburn’s ‘aqua man’

Photo: Zero Edge Aquariums and Water Features in Elburn is the designer and manufacturer of some of the most unique and stunning acrylic aquariums. Their goal is to create aquatic attractions and elements that stretch the imagination. Their products are displayed globally in residential, commercial aquariums, hotels, resorts, spas, zoological and educational settings. Above is an aquarium from the Zero Edge Classic series. Courtesy Photo

by Cheryl Borrowdale
ELBURN—Brett Perry’s 20-year obsession with coral reefs spawned his invention of the world’s only rimless, overflowing aquariums, as well as a thriving local business that sells them to everyone from enthusiasts to the queen of Thailand.

Zero Edge Aquariums, located at 810 E. North St., is new to Elburn (the business moved to town from St. Charles this past November). Perry, however, is not.

He first developed his patented rimless design here in 2002, when he owned a downtown aquatics store, A Splash of Life, which sold corals he farmed in his basement in Elgin.

“In the beginning, I was kind of a hobbyist gone crazy,” he said. “I just got infatuated with corals and growing corals.”

That infatuation led Perry to take his corals to trade shows. But since standard aquarium designs didn’t show off his corals to the best advantage, Perry decided to build his own.

He wanted one without a lid or visible rim, so that buyers could look straight down into the water and see the corals from all directions. And he thought that making the aquarium overflow would help attract attention.

“It was just a snazzy tank to sell my corals,” Perry said. “The first one was kind of lucky, and at the beginning, I didn’t realize what I had.”

But when Perry’s aquarium attracted more attention at the trade shows than the corals, he realized he was onto something. He spent five years perfecting and patenting the design, and launched Zero Edge Aquariums in 2006.

Since then, the business has relocated three times—from Bloomingdale to St. Charles to Elburn—seeking more space. His wife, Denise, joined the company in 2008, and the couple hired three employees as the business grew.

“It’s going really well,” Brett said. “We’ve been doubling every year. It’s not huge numbers, but this year, from what we can see already, we’re going to be doing twice the amount of work as last year.”

Zero Edge sells a line of standard aquariums, but the rimless variety is their specialty.

“The zero edge aquarium just flows over like an infinity pool, so that’s our signature,” Brett said. “If you think of the typical tank that has a plastic black bracing on the top, the rimless tanks don’t have anything. They’re more open and elegant and beautiful.”

That elegance has attracted customers from all over the world—Spain, Germany, Japan, Brazil—including some high-profile customers, like Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who purchased a Zero Edge aquarium to display in her bedroom. Pitbull, a rapper and host of the Spanish-language television show “La Esquina,” has one of the overflowing tanks at his home in Miami.

Though the Perrys have done very little marketing so far—the focus has been on putting the processes in place, setting up machinery and developing the product line—they’ve been doing a number of large custom orders for businesses.

“We can do custom shaping, custom forming, curved panels, any kind of shape you can come up with,” Brett said.

Among the most interesting examples, he said, is a hexagonal touch pool built for the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s “big island.” The tank, which features sea cucumbers, starfish and crabs, was designed be an outdoor attraction on the beach, and had to be rebuilt when a tropical storm wiped it out.

Zero Edge doesn’t have a showroom open to the public yet, but the company website,, has an online store that offers several different tanks. Denise said that they are looking to expand the types of tanks sold online.

“We have a new line of little desktop tanks,” Denise said. “People think of Zero Edge as overflowing aquariums, but we’ve broadened our line. We have a lot of new types of aquariums that we are starting to put into the business so people can purchase them.”

The rimless aquariums might be more beautiful, but they are suited only for certain types of fish. According to Brett, many fish need a lidded aquarium, or they will jump out of the tank. That’s one reason why Zero Edge makes several types of aquariums, suited to different kinds of fish, and is expanding its product line.

Among the planned additions are specialty jellyfish and seahorse tanks, both of which should be available in the next six months, Denise said.