Category Archives: Elburn


Young entrepreneur Carlson takes on odd jobs

ELBURN—Got a job that needs doing but you don’t have the time, the energy or the right tools? It’s a good bet that Cole’s Odd Jobs has all of the above to complete that job.

Recent Kaneland High School graduate Cole Carlson said he started his Cole’s Odd Jobs business as a high school sophomore, but kicked it into high gear this summer. He has a number of friends ready, willing and able to help him get jobs, big or small, done in a timely manner.

“This summer, my mom helped me start a Facebook page, but our best advertising is word-of-mouth and referrals,” Carlson said. “I always give a client five or six business cards and ask them to tell their friends about us.”

One client who does just that is Teresa Keenan of Stone Tower Properties in Geneva. Not only does Keenan employ Carlson’s crew for work around her own home, she has them working at properties she has listed for sale.

“Initially, they moved some heavy furniture for me; nothing got scratched, broken or damaged in any way,” Keenan said. “Since then, they’ve cut grass, done edging and weeding, cleaned up vacant properties.

“They are super-responsible and reasonably priced,” she said. “We rave about them. I give them a checklist and they let me know when it’s done.”

Campton Hills resident Tom Gancer echoed Keenan’s sentiments.

“They did a bunch of landscaping for us,” Gancer said. “They work hard, and you definitely get your money’s worth.”

Keenan said she likes the fact that a young businessman is learning valuable skills like time management and budgeting.

A high school football player, Carlson is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse to play collegiately and study civil engineering. His clients needn’t worry, though—Carlson said his younger brother, Chase, will continue in his footsteps. Along with his brother, Cole has recruited several friends to help with his business, including Tyler Slamans, Drew David, Jaumaureo Phillips, Kevin Dawrant and Brady Feece.

For more information, find Cole’s Odd Jobs on Facebook, or call him at (630) 258-4144.

Community Congregational Church accepting donations

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church in Elburn is now accepting donations for its Elburn Days rummage sale. The church is happy to take the following: belts, jewelry, bicycles, knick knacks, books, purses, DVDs and VHS tapes, puzzles, framed pictures, seasonal items, furniture, stuffed animals, tools, games and toys.

Drop-off times are Saturdays through Aug. 9 at the church’s north entrance only. Contact Carl Diesel at (630) 272-9501 to schedule your drop-off time. No clothing or TVs will be accepted. Furniture must be under 30 pounds unless approved by Leah Miller. For more information or to seek approval for heavy furniture, call Leah at (630) 365-6335.

St. Gall Church accepting rummage sale donations

ELBURN—St. Gall Church is currently accepting donations for its annual rummage sale. Donations can be dropped off from now through Sunday, Aug. 10, during the following times: Monday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Donations are must be gently used, clean items. And if it takes more than two people to carry it, it is too large.

St. Gall is located at 120 W. Shannon St., Elburn. For more information, call the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030.

Community Congregational hosts activities during Elburn Days

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church has a lot going on this year during Elburn Days. Along with its usual indoor Rummage Sale and Sloppy Joe lunch, there will be vendor booths along Route 47 and in the parking lot north of the church building. The event will also feature an eclectic mixture of vendors that have everything from crafts to resale, and antiques to non-profit organizations, as well as fingernail painting for the kids. Some vendors will be there all three days, and others for just one day. If you can, check out the parking lot each day to see who’s there.

Also, mark your calendars for these special events:

Thursday, Aug. 14—Pre-Elburn Days Rummage Sale, lunch and outdoor vendors.

Friday, Aug. 15—JoJo the Clown will appear from 1 to 3 p.m. to make balloon objects and do face painting; Colonial Ice Cream and its famous truck will sell ice cream cups from noon to 4 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 16—Enjoy the music of St. Charles’ Al and Sue Duo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Rummage Sale and vendor hours are Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Community Congregational Church is located at the corner of Shannon Street and Route 47 in downtown Elburn. Contact the church office at (630) 365-6544. For vendor questions, contact Karen Diesel at (630) 308-5397. For Rummage sale questions, contact Lea Miller at (630) 365-6335.

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Zero Edge, PetSmart donate tank to Delnor

ELBURN—A 180-gallon aquarium from Zero Edge Aquariums in Elburn is now easing the anxieties of sick children at the Lurie Children’s Outpatient Center, part of Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva.

“For pediatric patients, for the kids who come in, it’s often a traumatic situation, so in a lot of ways an aquarium is a distraction,” said Christopher King, spokesperson for Cadence Health. “It’s something comforting, and it just kind of eases the anxiety of being at a hospital.”

The tank, which was installed in the outpatient center’s waiting room on June 21, was presented to Delnor by PetSmart, as part of the PetSmart Gives Back program.

Brian Travilla, PetSmart’s district manager for the region, said that each district does one project a year to give back to the community.

“We have a very strong belief at PetSmart that pets inspire us and make us better people,” Travilla said. “I think big corporations should really work to enrich people’s lives locally, and it’s a wonderful feeling as a district manager to do something to help kids.”

The project was the brainchild of Nathan Brooks, the manager of PetSmart’s Bloomingdale, Ill., store. Brooks suggested the idea and did all the groundwork with Zero Edge and Delnor, Travilla said.

“We feel strongly that when kids go in for treatment and can interact with fish, it calms them down,” Travilla said. “We were fortunate enough to work with Zero Edge to give them a great fish tank. The walks in the children’s wing are decorated with an aquatic theme, with waves and sea turtles painted on the walls. So the tank was a perfect fit.”

PetSmart chose Elburn-based Zero Edge Aquariums to create the aquarium because of a belief in supporting local businesses, Travilla said.

Zero Edge is known for producing high-end rimless, overflowing aquariums that have been purchased by celebrities such as Pitbull, a Miami-based rapper, and even Queen Sirikit of Thailand. But the company also produces a variety of standard aquariums and custom aquariums. Delnor representatives chose the kind of aquarium they wanted, said Aaron Sinclair, director of sales and marketing at Zero Edge, and selected a 180-gallon rectangular aquarium, as well as white cabinetry to house the aquarium.

The aquarium was formally presented to Delnor Hospital at a ceremony on June 25, Sinclair said, and a check for $5,000 was given to the president of the hospital. Several physicians from the pediatric unit attended to thank PetSmart and Zero Edge for the aquarium.

The $5,000 donation covered the cost of the aquarium, the cabinetry, a filtration system, and the tropical fish now living in it, Travilla said.

“It’s a great donation, and I think it’s one that shows the importance of working with the community and the importance of giving back,” King said. “Most importantly, the kids will be able to experience it. That’s the real value—the warm environment that the tank creates.”

Zero Edge Aquariums is located at 810 E. North St. in Elburn. For more information, visit

Electricity rates increase, but less than with Com Ed

ELBURN—Elburn residents will see an increase in their electric bill in September, but those in the village’s aggregate program will still pay less than if their contract was with Commonwealth Edison.

According to a press release from Village Administrator Erin Willrett, increased prices from energy suppliers is due to a large increase in capacity charges, which all suppliers must pay to ensure they can meet demand, a rise in cost for the actual power, due to the winter’s “polar vortex,” as well as a huge drawdown of the nation’s natural gas supplies, a large component of electric generation.

Through a municipal electric aggregation savings program established by the village in 2011, Elburn recently sought competitive bids and contracted with the lowest bidder, FirstEnergy Solutions, at a rate of $.0732 per kWh to begin in September. That rate will be good for a three-year term ending September 2017. The current rate for those in the program is $.0476 per kWh.

First Energy’s new rate of $.0732 per kWh compares favorably with Com Ed’s rate of $.07596 per kWh, effective on June 1, plus or minus a floating “Purchased Electricity Adjustment” that varies monthly. According to Willrett, Com Ed’s current rate, including the adjustment, is $.0788 per kWh.

Through the aggregate savings program, approved by the public in a referendum three years ago, the village has been able to save the average participating household $561, resulting in a cumulative village-wide savings of $1,015,000 since 2011.

According to Willrett, eligible resident and small commercial accounts will receive an “opt out” notice from the village, informing them of program details. No action is needed if they wish to be enrolled in the program, as that will happen automatically.

Residents in the program would automatically be switched to ComEd if their rate were to go lower, Willrett said.

Residents enrolled with other suppliers will not automatically be enrolled, but may join the program by calling FirstEnergy Solutions at 1-888-651-5200 and asking for the Elburn program and rate of $.0732. They should check to see if they are subject to an early termination fee.

Residents with questions about the program may call FirstEnergy or the village’s electric aggregation consultant, NIMEC, at 1-800-727-3820. When calling NIMEC, leave your phone number and you will be contacted within 24 hours.

Story edited at 7:15 a.m. July 26, 2013.

Village reaches agreement on Blackberry Creek sign

ELBURN—With building in Blackberry Creek Subdivision gaining momentum, village trustees on Monday agreed to a sign outside the subdivision to market lots and homes to potential buyers.

The agreement, reached by village trustees in response to a request for the sign by Orleans Homes, calls for the sign’s message to highlight Blackberry Creek as a “good place to live,” that would direct potential buyers to a website with links to sellers.

Orleans Homes’ initial request to the village was for a 20-foot-by-10-foot double-faced sign along the road outside the subdivision to advertise lots for sale that would list the names of four to eight builders, including Orleans Homes. Orleans Homes currently owns 45 lots within Blackberry Creek.

At the board’s July 8 Committee of the Whole meeting, Village Administrator Erin Willrett told the board that village staff was in opposition to granting this request.

She said that the intent of the original annexation agreement was that B&B Enterprises, Inc., the original developer of Blackberry Creek, would be in charge of the sign. B&B has since pulled out of the area, leaving the development a little more than halfway built out.

Willrett said Village Attorney Bob Britz was concerned that granting the request could lead to many signs along Hughes and Keslinger Road, as other builders would come forward with the same request.

While village trustees were in favor of promoting the subdivision, they were also concerned that other builders and owners, including current residents, might also want to market their homes.

“What happens if a homeowner wants to sell their house, and they want to put up a sign?” trustee Bill Grabarek asked on Monday.

In addition to links to builders, the website would include a “for sale by owner” link to individual homeowners, for which they could pay a monthly fee.

“We do not wish to leave anybody out,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said she also wanted to make sure that all the current residents were in agreement with the sign, and suggested that they obtain a statement to that effect from the homeowners associations.

Orleans Homes Director of Acquisition Rick Zirk, who brought the initial request to the board during the previous Committee of the Whole meeting, said he thought this was a good solution.

“I like this idea,” agreed trustee Ken Anderson. “We’ve got stuff going on, and I’d like to get something out there to let people know.”

Invasive plant management in Blackberry Creek

Board accepts proposal for work around ponds
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday voted to accept a proposal from a DeKalb land management company to begin invasive plant management around naturalized ponds in the Blackberry Creek subdivision.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said that although Encap, Inc. was the only bidder on the project, its fees were reasonable. The proposal from the company was based on hourly fees. Nevenhoven said the company has previously done work for the village, with good results.

“Encap’s a reputable company,” Nevenhoven said. “I trust their work, and I think they’ll do a good job.”

Although the village had budgeted $85,000 for the project, Nevenhoven told the board that he didn’t want to spend that much on the work.

Trustee Ken Anderson agreed, saying that because of where they were at in the growing season, the cost would be less than that.

“Usually you start in March,” Anderson said.

Anderson suggested that, in addition to the board receiving reports of how much is being spent each month, it get an update on Encap’s work in the subdivision.

“It would be a good education for the board on what a good prairie looks like,” he said.


Inaugural Elburn Chowdown a success

ELBURN—The weather, the people, the board of directors—everything and everyone came together to make the inaugural Chowdown at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center a success.

The event, which took place on Sunday, served several purposes—it was a community picnic, a tool to help build awareness in the Community Center, and also the kickoff for the “Adopt-A-Window” program.

Volunteer program director Kristen Damolaris said she was incredibly happy with the turnout for the event.

“It’s more than I expected,” she said. “And the generosity of the sponsors has been incredible.”

Along with a visit from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, music, martial arts demonstrations and a chance to put a picture on a wanted poster or an Elburn Herald front page, a pig roast meal was available thanks to a number of sponsors.

“The whole (Community Center) board was here, and the turnout was more than I expected,” Damolaris said.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” board member Brian Herra said.

Board president Pat Leyden credited Damolaris and Leslie Flint of the Elburn Herald, a tenant in the community center, with putting the event together.

“They came to us with the idea, and the board gave their blessing,” Leyden said. “We need to have more events like this.”

Leyden said proceeds from the event will benefit ongoing renovation of the building.

“It’s going slowly,” Leyden said.

Ryan Wells, Elburn Herald owner and publisher, and a Community Center board member, said events like the Chowdown are good for visibility.

“There’s a misconception that the Community Center is publicly funded,” Wells said. “There is no tax money helping us out.”

The event also served to kick off the center’s “Adopt-A-Window” campaign. With more than 60 windows that need to be painted, caulked and resealed, funding is needed. Windows may be adopted for $100 each, and sponsors will be recognized with a plaque in the building’s front foyer.

Before the Chowdown ended, Damoloris said she had four window adoptees, and was confident in several more.

For more information on available office space, renting space for events or meetings, or to adopt a window, contact Damolaris at (630) 365-6655.

Unloaded Right Guard

Elburn Lions make donation to help small town rebuild

Photo: Elburn Lion and District 1-J Vice District Governor Chris Halsey (right) hands boxes of Right Guard deodorant to Gifford Lion Roy Roberts and other Lions Club members, including District 1-E Governor William “Butch” Guennewig (in background) of Arcola, Ill., in late March at St. Paul Lutheran Church’s community pantry. The deodorant is a gift from the Elburn Lions Club, which has also pledged to send a truckload of Dial soap. Photo submitted by Tim Evans/Rantoul Press

GIFFORD, ILL.—If you ever wonder where your money goes when you spend it at an Elburn Lions function, a recent donation the Lions made in Gifford, Ill., provides a clear answer.

The tornadoes that devastated parts of downstate Illinois last November caught the attention of the Elburn Lions Club, and members began a fundraising effort to do what they could to help.

Lions Linda Callaghan and Kristen Damolaris made posters, sent press releases to local newspapers and placed donation drop boxes at businesses around town. They were able to raise a total of $4,600 through these donations, and the Elburn Lions Club contributed an additional amount to make it $10,000.

Although the destruction in downstate Washington, Ill., was the most widely publicized, Elburn Lion and Illinois District 1-J District Governor Chris Halsey discovered that the town of Gifford, a small rural town of approximately 900 residents, had suffered significant losses, as well.

Halsey made a trip to Gifford last winter to do some research on the damage, and brought back images of homes that had been damaged, as well as empty lots where houses had been. Nearly 30 homes had been destroyed and more than 40 had experienced major damage.

Halsey learned that the tornado had also damaged the town’s main water supply, wiping out its water tower and water treatment facility. Through the winter, portable water treatment equipment was set up in a tent heated with propane to keep it from freezing.

“It was pretty devastating at first,” said Maureen Ackerman, wife of Gifford mayor Derald Ackerman.

Halsey made another trip to Gifford in March to present the check to Mayor Ackerman. Ackerman, who is also a Gifford Lions Club member, accepted the check on behalf of the town.

“Since it was from one Lions Club to another, we were pretty confident that it would be dispersed appropriately,” Elburn Lions Club Secretary Chuck Galauner said.

Ackerman said that the Gifford Lions Club has set up a tornado relief fund through a local bank, where the money has been deposited. A committee will distribute the funds to people in need as they go about getting their homes rebuilt and redone.

“It was such a rough winter; it was hard to get anything done then,” Ackerman said. “But things are starting to look up and a lot of homes are now being rebuilt.”

Elburn discusses Blackberry Creek signage concerns

ELBURN—Elburn officials had “a lot more questions than answers” on Monday regarding a builder’s request to place marketing signage outside the Blackberry Creek subdivision.

Orleans Homes Director of Acquisition Rick Zirk attended Elburn’s Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss Orleans Homes’ request for approval to install a 20-foot by 10-foot double-faced sign along the road outside the subdivision to advertise lots for sale. Orleans Homes currently owns 45 lots within Blackberry Creek.

Orleans Homes’ request is for the sign itself to be builder-neutral, highlighting Blackberry Creek as a “good place to live,” with room at the bottom of the sign for the names of four-to-eight builders, including Orleans Homes.

“As you can imagine, directing prospective buyers to the site is critical to the project’s success,” Zirk stated in a recent memo to Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

However, Willrett said that village staff was in opposition to granting this request. She said that the intent of the original annexation agreement was that B&B Enterprises, Inc., the original developer of Blackberry Creek, would be in charge of the sign. B&B has since pulled out of the area, leaving the development a little more than half built out.

Willrett said village attorney Bob Britz was concerned that granting this request could lead to many signs along Hughes and Keslinger Road, as other builders would come forward with the same request.

Zirk, citing that the annexation agreement allowed for such signs to be placed by the “owners,” argued that Orleans Homes had paid for the assignment of those rights, and should be considered different from other builders who might own only one or two lots.

But trustee Jeff Walter, also a Blackberry Creek resident, took issue with Orleans Homes’ characterization of the facts.

“There’s a lot of landowners; there’s no developer out there,” Walter said.

Walter said that he and other Homeowner Association members were in favor of a sign, and that they were interested in seeing the rest of the development built out. However, he said they didn’t want to give preference to one builder over another. In addition, he said he wanted to make sure there was money set aside to take down the sign, once it was no longer needed.

“How do you make it fair to all the developers?” trustee Pat Schuberg asked. “I don’t know how you do that.”

Trustee Bill Grabarek said that the original annexation agreement had not contemplated the situation as it now exists.

“It’s not fair for the development community to be denied the right to a sign,” he said.

Village President Dave Anderson asked that trustees submit their thoughts and concerns regarding the situation to Willrett.

“We’ve got a lot more questions than we have answers,” he said. “This is new for all of us.”

Local village officials gather for Metro West barbecue

ELBURN—The Metro West Council of Government held its annual barbecue meet-and-greet on June 26 at the Elburn Lion’s Club. The event served as a time for lead members of Metro West to get together and learn about the outcomes of the Illinois legislative session from Metro West lobbyists.

The Metro West Council of Government is an association of municipalities in the western suburbs of Chicago. The council serves Kane, Kendall and Dekalb counties, and acts as a voice for each small, or large, municipality within those counties. Some of those small municipalities include Elburn, Maple Park, Kaneville and Sugar Grove.

After an hour of networking, the event kicked off with an introduction by Elburn Village President Dave Anderson.

“Since I’ve been president, we’ve had good weather, good food, and good company in Elburn,” said Anderson, jokingly referring to the village as “the heart of Kane County.”

Standing in the room were mayors, alderman, village trustees, village presidents, city managers, county board members, administrators and a couple of lobbyists. The group included Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis, Kaneville Village Board President Pat Hill, Elburn village trustees Ken Anderson, William Grabarek and Patricia Schuberg, Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels and Sugar Grove village trustee Mari Johnson.

After dinner, Steve Morrill and Curt Fiedler of Morrill and Associates, a government relations firm, spoke to the group and gave a summary of the Illinois legislative session. Fiedler hit on the major policies that graced Springfield this year. Fiedler said that there is strength in numbers and that Metro West has gained legislative strength over the years.

So why do little municipalities like Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park and Kaneville need to pay dues and be a member of a non-profit association like Metro West? Elburn Village Administrator Erin Willrett sees it as a very useful tool.

“Metro West represents us downstate when we can’t afford to send our own lobbyist to advocate for us,” she said. “It’s a way for municipalities to share the cost and be represented as one voice.”

Willrett’s sentiment is mirrored in other local municipalities, as well. Because Metro West represents many municipalities in Springfield, it’s important for the public to understand exactly what Metro West does and how it represents the citizens of its covered municipalities.

“I think it’s very important for elected officials to understand what Metro West does. Therefore, it’s very important for citizens to know and to stay in contact with their local representatives,” Curtis said.

For more information about Metro West Council of Government, visit


Local firefighters burn donated house for training

After using a donated house to train in for about a year, firefighters from Elburn and Countryside, Kaneville and Big Rock trained with live fire before burning the house to the ground on June 28.

“We’ve been training in the house for well over a year,” said Elburn and Countryside Assistant Fire Chief Tate Haley. “We’ve done search and rescue, ventilation and learning how to work a hose through the house.”

During the final training exercise, Tate said they set small fires inside the house, in various rooms, until it was no longer safe, and then just allowed the house and garage to burn to the ground. The exercise originally was scheduled for last fall, but concern for the dry crops in the adjoining farm field postponed the event.

513 Haley said his department invited the other area departments for the experience. Sugar Grove firefighters planned to join the final exercise until a death took precedence, and they bowed out.

With the exception of being called to the scene, Saturday’s training exercise, primarily for new recruits, was treated as a real fire call. Several of the more experienced firefighters were on the scene as early as 6 a.m. boarding up the windows in the house after placing wooden pallets and hay bales inside to burn.

“The pallets feed the fire and the hay creates a lot of smoke,” said Kaneville firefighter Harry Meyer as smoke wafted from cracks around the plywood covering the windows.

Recruit Jameson “Sonny” Horn has completed the fire training academy, but he said this was his first live fire in a house. The 19-year-old from Sugar Grove, an Elburn and Countryside recruit, intends to be a professional firefighter.

“Training is going well,” Horn said as he geared up for his first turn in the house. “But you’re always just a little nervous going into a fire.”
Kaneville recruit Steve Shaulis admitted he, too, was a little nervous, but “it was kinda cool.”

Joe Miller, another Elburn-Countryside recruit, was in rehab even though he hadn’t been in the house.

“Rehab is a safety check,” said Jim Werner, an Elburn and Countryside firefighter-paramedic. “We hydrate and check vitals, and make them stay here until their vitals come back to normal.

“We’ll sweat a bit today,” Werner said of his colleagues wearing about 50 pounds of turnout gear. “We just want to make sure we’re not burning out our people, for lack of a better term.”

Photos by Patti Wilk

Elburn Days booths available at Community Congregational

ELBURN—There are still vendor booths available on the Elburn Community Congregational Church parking lot (north side of the church) for Elburn Days, Aug. 15, 16 and 17.

The church during the festival will host an indoor rummage sale, crafts for sale and a sloppy Joe lunch.

Booths are 10 feet by 10 feet. All spaces are asphalt. Canopies may be used, but must not hang over the allotted space, and cannot be grounded to the asphalt. No electrical outlets are available. All vendors are responsible for providing everything they need for their display. The hours for the outdoor venue are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Booth spaces are $30 per day, or $75 If the space is rented all three days. Non-profit organizations may rent a booth for $25 per day or $60 for all three days.

Spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All renters must fill out an application and pre-pay for their space. Once your application is submitted and your payment is received in full, your space will be reserved. All applications and checks must be received by Friday, Aug. 1. No refunds unless the day of rental is rained out.

For more information or to receive an application, contact Karen Diesel at (630) 308-5397.

Elburn man falls victim to IRS scam

ELBURN—An Elburn man was recently the victim of a scam by someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said on Tuesday.

The victim was a 33-year-old male who lives on the 700 block of N. First St., and the incident took place at 11:30 a.m. on July 3.

“This scam has been going on in the area for some time now, although this is the first report we’ve had in Elburn,” Smith said.

An individual called the victim at home, claiming to represent the IRS, and told him he owed $2,500 in back taxes. The individual told him to get the amount in cash and deposit it into a specific account at a Bank of America branch. The person also told the victim that the Elburn Police Department had a warrant for his arrest due to a charge of owing back taxes, and that he would need to deposit $2,800 into another specified account at the bank in order to avoid going to jail.

“We’re still working with bank security on this,” Smith said.

However, from cases like this that he has heard about from police officers in other departments, Smith said it is hard to track these things down.

“These people can make it look on your caller ID as though the phone calls were coming from for example, the police department,” he said. “Also, they use throw-away cell phones, so there’s no way to backtrack the original call.”

In addition, Smith said the bank accounts used are temporary ones, and opened using false information.

“The money is probably out of the country by now,” he said.

Elburn Lions July 2014 Calendar Raffle winners

ELBURN—The following people won $25 in the Elburn Lions July 2014 Calendar Raffle: Eugene & Floyd, Brendan Thomas, Jan & Butch, Kristen Stern, Living Well Health Center and Ron Algrim, all of Elburn; Bob Diehl of Maple Park; Elissa Stone of La Fox; Jackie Collin of DeKalb; Ginny Jones of Sycamore; Cheryl Lee, Dave Judd, Sue Hill and Cindy Dierschow of St. Charles; Bryan Hartsock and Ed Stuehm of Geneva; Stan Allen and Nora J. Fisher of Batavia; Betsy Wisdom and Joanne Zimmerman of of Aurora; Julie Hougas of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Ron Burklow of Genoa, Ill.; Tom Nawa of Clarendon Hills, Ill.; Johny Hendrix of Cary, Ill.; Scott Pirkins of Lemont, Ill.; Chris Lentz of Chicago; and Vince Allegra of Hinsdale, Ill.

The $50 winners were Jan & Butch, Alyx & Grandpa Reynolds, and Anna Mainhart, all of Elburn. The $250 winner was Melissa Braswell of Genoa.

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Community Center to host Chow Down July 13

ELBURN—Take a look at the family calendar. Nothing scheduled for Sunday, July 13?

Bring the whole gang to the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., for an old-fashioned community picnic known as the Chow Down. Most of the available events, which will appeal to entire families, are free.

Scheduled from noon to 6 p.m., the event will include a DJ, bags, volleyball, touch-a-truck and a pig roast dinner for $10 per person, according to Chow Down Committee Chair Leslie Flint, one of the many tenants of the community center.

“All of the money raised that day will go to community center projects,” Flint said.

Kristen Damolaris, the Community Center’s volunteer program director, said most of the businesses in the center are participating in some way.

Creative Beginnings Preschool will offer a coloring activity for the kids; Midtown Martial Arts, which has been in the building almost 20 years, will conduct a 50/50 raffle and demonstrations; the Elburn Herald and Kaneland Publications Inc. will host a front-page makeover and funny photo booth.

Other tenants include H&R Green, Inc. Board, GTP Activewear and Screenprinting, Jazzercize and Yoga with Lynn.

“We’re always looking for more tenants; we have suites available,” Damolaris said.

She said the building will be open for the day to showcase the improvements already made.

“We’ve painted floors and cleaned from top to bottom,” Damolaris said.

All funds raised will be added to the parking lot fund and used for “long overdue updates,” she said.

The event also will kick off the center’s “Adopt-A-Window” program. Damolaris said she is seeking participants to adopt a window and pay a small fee to have it painted, caulked and resealed.

“We’re trying to get the building updated so we can start doing more for the community,” Damolaris said. “We want to bring the community back to the community center.”

Elburn Idol accepting applications

ELBURN—The Elburn Days Community Stage is currently accepting applications for the Elburn Idol singing competition. The contest is open to anyone age 9 and older.

There are four different age groups: Junior (9-12), Teen (13-15), Senior (16-18) and Adult (19 and up). Each age division will have a winner that receives a $50 cash prize and an invitation to sing on the Main Stage later that weekend.

An application and instructions can be found at Questions can be sent to

Elburn Days booths available

ELBURN—There are still vendor booths available on the Elburn Community Congregational Church parking lot (north side of the church) for Elburn Days, Aug. 15, 16 and 17.

The church during the festival will host an indoor rummage sale, crafts for sale and a sloppy Joe lunch.

Booths are 10 feet by 10 feet. All spaces are asphalt. Canopies may be used, but must not hang over the allotted space, and cannot be grounded to the asphalt. No electrical outlets are available. All vendors are responsible for providing everything they need for their display. The hours for the outdoor venue are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Booth spaces are $30 per day, or $75 If the space is rented all three days. Non-profit organizations may rent a booth for $25 per day or $60 for all three days.

Spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All renters must fill out an application and pre-pay for their space. Once your application is submitted and your payment is received in full, your space will be reserved. All applications and checks must be received by Friday, Aug. 1. No refunds unless the day of rental is rained out.

For more information or to receive an application, contact Karen Diesel at (630) 308-5397.

Letter: Thank you for continued blood drive support

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Elburn blood drive on June 26 was shut down early for the safety of all participants. We apologize for the inconvenience to those affected. For those who were unable to get the gift card premium, call Kay Swift at (630) 365-6088 to arrange the receipt of your card.

We sincerely thank all who were able to donate or who planned to give at another site when we stopped taking donations in Elburn. If anyone needs to discuss this issue further, call Kay or Heartland representative Sheri Ranaford at (630) 723-2550.

Again, thank you for your continued support of the blood donor program for the Elburn area. The next drive will be on Thursday, Oct. 2, at the American Legion hall, 2 to 6:30 p.m. Have an enjoyable summer.

Kay Swift
Blood drive coordinator, Elburn Post 630 American Legion Auxiliary


Elburn business not compliant with state requirements

ELBURN—During a recent compliance visit to a massage business in town, Elburn police found that the business’ personnel did not have the proper licensing from the state in order to offer massages at the site.

According to Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith, a license from the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations is required in order to perform massages.

Elburn Building Commissioner Tom Brennan said he accompanied a police officer to the Asian Spa Massage business at 151 E. Route 38, Suite E, on May 27, and found the business to be in compliance with Elburn zoning laws.

However, according to Smith, the police made a subsequent visit to the business on May 28 to inform them that they may not offer massages until they possess the appropriate state licensing.

Smith said that the department has had “plenty of complaints” and “several inquiries” over the past several months regarding the business.

According to Smith, the police can’t tell the business that it has to close, only that it can’t offer massages.

Although there is an illuminated open sign on the business, Smith said when the police conduct their regular rounds, there is either no one there or the doors have been locked.

Smith said the building owner came into the department several weeks ago to find out more about what the business needed in order to operate legally.


Recent Kaneland grad finds success on a different track

ELBURN—Elburn resident Michael Geringer is finding a whole new way to get around—really well.

Geringer, a recent member of the Kaneland High School Class of 2014, is finding he can burn rubber on the go-kart circuit.

The 17-year-old talent, who turned pro in September, won his first national race as part of the US Pro Kart Series. Geringer, as part of Praga North America, took the field at Michiana Raceway Park in North Liberty, Ind., back on June 24.

Geringer, showing his skills in the Leopard 125 Pro class, and previously taking to tracks as an amateur, still keeps his capacity for awe.

“I was a little surprised at how well I did,” Geringer said. “It was a 40-car field, and at regionals the week before, I did good, but I expected a top-five.”

Having competed in national races in North Carolina, and sticking closer to home as part of regionals racing like the Route 66 Spring Series, Geringer is out on an island on the track, relying only on his kart and training.

“I try not to think about it too much, you just try to get up there. I won a Route 66 Regional championship last year, and I’m glad to be with the new team. They help out a lot,” Geringer said.

Elburn resident Michael Geringer won the 125 Pro category at Michiana Raceway Park in North Liberty, Ind. Photo submitted by Pranga North America to
Elburn resident Michael Geringer won the 125 Pro category at Michiana Raceway Park in North Liberty, Ind.
Photo submitted by Pranga North America to

Having raced and gotten into the circuit with the help of his father, Michael, Geringer’s accomplishments speak for themselves, but he’s also aware that goes for the rest of the field.

“The last race had the top karts separated by .05 seconds, and everybody there brings the best,” Geringer said.

Geringer has his eyes on bigger tracks as the year progresses.

“There’s three more regionals near here, and two more nationals, and I really want to go to Supernationals (USA Supernationals XVIII in late-Nov.) which are at the Rio in Las Vegas,” Geringer said.

Geringer is attending Waubonsee Community College in the fall with eyes on transferring to a four-year institution for mechanical engineering.

Michael Geringer, 17, is a recent Kaneland High School graduate, and will attend Waubonsee Community College in the fall. The Elburn native is sponsored by Pranga North America. Photos submitted by Pranga North America to
Michael Geringer, 17, is a recent Kaneland High School graduate, and will attend Waubonsee Community College in the fall. The Elburn native is sponsored by Pranga North America.
Photos submitted by Pranga North America to

Exchange students seeking host families in Elburn

ELBURN—Visiting students ages 15-18 from around the world, including Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand, are seeking host families in and around Elburn for the 2014-15 academic school year. Host families are needed for the fall semester and full school year.

Host families (traditional families, singles, empty nesters, etc.) serve as mentors and a home base for their student. Visiting students participate as active members of the family and integrate into their host’s daily routines and traditions just like any other family member. Hosting an international student is a great way to explore a new culture and promote a sense of lifelong learning and adventure.

“Every year, Illinois plays host to hundreds of talented, top-of-their-class students with the lifelong dream of studying in America,” said Joseph Bissell, iE-USA’s regional director. “Our state’s hospitality and prominent focus on academic enrichment makes it an ideal environment to develop cultural exchange and promote international diplomacy on a local level.”

iE-USA, the sponsoring program, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and understanding through intercultural and academic exchange. iE-USA is certified by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel and strictly adheres to all U.S. Department of State Student Exchange Program regulations and guidelines.

Exchange student participants undergo an extensive application and orientation process in their home country prior to being accepted into iE-USA’s program. Each student is responsible for his/her own spending money and full health insurance coverage.

To learn more about how to make the dream come true for an international high school exchange student, contact Illinois representative Emily Rolin at or (269) 625-4662. Host families may review prospective student profiles online at Families interested in hosting this year must apply by Friday, Aug. 15.


Avenue J Studios, Peak for Kids move to North Aurora

Photo: Monday night saw performers from Avenue J Studios rehearsing for the upcoming show “Willy Wonka, Jr.” Sugar Grove resident Lexi Holt, 12, will play Mrs. Bucket.
Photo by Lynn Logan

SUGAR GROVE—Avenue J Studios and Peak for Kids are teaming up to create a studio for students.

The studio would offer kids a variety of activities on a regular basis. Jennifer Madziarczyk of Avenue J Studios and Renee Dee of Peak for Kids are Sugar Grove residents who have lived on the same street for the last 12 years, but they only met within the past year.

Both Dee and Madziarczyk have kids who attend Kaneland schools. They are passionate about serving the Kaneland School District through their organizations. After meeting, they realized that it would be perfect for them to work together, according to Dee.

“Jennifer empowers youth through performing arts, and I empower youth through a variety of healthy community programming and events,” Dee said. “It made perfect sense for us to create an alliance. It was a natural evolution.”

Initially, they had hopes of staying in Sugar Grove. According to Dee, the duo presented their first formal proposal to the Sugar Grove Village Board in April. After receiving no formal answer, they decided to search for an alternate location that could house their organization.

“We really wanted to be located here,” said Dee. “Our heart was in Sugar Grove. We were never able to secure a good and easily accessible location since we never received a formal response from the Sugar Grove board.”

After some thorough investigation, Dee and Madziarczyk discovered a building that would work well for them, located on the west side of North Aurora at the Orchard Road and Gateway corridor. Their new building is located in a shopping center next to State Farm and Carmax, located at 208-210 Genesis Drive. The new location is around 2,600 square feet and will provide adequate space for Avenue J Studios and Peak for Kids as they continue to grow and expand the programs they offer. Their expected move-in date is Friday, Aug. 1.

“This new location in North Aurora will be an amazing space for us,” Dee said.

Madziarczyk commented on how the new space will provide them with the opportunity to offer more to the community.

“We will have an office by day and activities by night,” Madziarczyk said. “We are thinking of offering a preschool, yoga for moms during the day, theatre camps, music and voice lessons, strings and guitar lessons, birthday parties, and more in the evening.”

There will be a reception area, a large studio, an open activity room, and three music rooms in the new location, according to Madziarczyk.

“We will also have what we call ‘Epic Friday Night Lights’ at this location that will be geared toward artsy activities,” Dee said. “It will have a creative twist. This new location will attract people from all over, but our main focus is the Kaneland area.”


In the name of the father

Photo: Elburn Hill Church pastor Gary Augustine teaches a Malachi Dads course at Stateville Correntional Center in Joliet, Ill., which aims to teach inmates a Christian approach to fathering, and fathering from a distance. Photo submitted by Gary Augustine to

Augustine teaches parenting course to prison inmates

ELBURN—Gary Augustine has entered Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Ill., weekly for the past three years with a single purpose: transforming prisoners into good fathers.

Augustine, the pastor of Elburn Hill Church, works with New Life Corrections Ministry in Aurora to teach Malachi Dads courses at Stateville on Wednesday mornings. The course focuses on teaching a Christian approach to fathering and teaching inmates how to father their children from a distance.

“It is an attempt to help fathers in prison parent their children from prison, and to try and build a relationship that will prevent them from following their father’s footsteps and ending up in prison,” Augustine said. “The goal is to help parents parent from a distance, such as reading a book for a kid and recording it, so that a child, especially a young child, can hear their father’s voice.”

He noted that more than 2 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated father—and statistically, those children are seven times more likely to end up in prison themselves. They are also more likely to drop out of school, run away from home, and have a host of other problems.

Augustine teaches the Malachi Dads program with Tom Beatty, the director of New Life Corrections Ministry. The program includes 10 weeks of Christian-based parenting classes, followed by another 10 weeks of character development classes.

“The goal is to develop some of the kinds of character qualities they need to be good role models to their kids,” Augustine said. “So the first thing is to be a disciple of Christ, but there’s all kinds of things: controlling anger, learning to be generous and hospitable, making sure your yes is your yes and your no is your no, doing what you say you’re going to do, getting control over drugs and alcohol.”

He emphasizes that being a good father takes courage.

“In order to be a father, you have to be willing to live courageously, and that’s a very difficult thing to do. Let’s suppose you have a situation where you need to honestly confront something. That could ruin a friendship; it could affect your career. But integrity is a huge thing,” Augustine said. “It can’t just be something I teach my kids. I have to actually model it. They have to see me be honest even when I’m going to lose something big, because the truth is the truth, even if it is going to hurt me.”

Though the program is scheduled to last 20 weeks, Augustine allots 26 weeks for each one, since frequent lockdowns at Stateville cause classes to be cancelled. He often drives to Joliet only to be turned away at the gate house due to a sudden lockdown.

“The thing about the prison system is that you never know,” Augustine said. “You might show up and they say, ‘No class today.’ Things come up, and so you go back the next week and pick up where you left off.”

Augustine said that a passage in the Bible, Matthew 25:35-40, prompted him to begin ministering to men in prison.

“Matthew talks about five things Jesus says. He says, ‘When I was hungry and thirsty, you gave me something to drink,’ and he ends with, ‘When I was in prison, you visited me.’ And (the disciples) say, ‘When did we do all that?’ And Jesus said, ‘Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me.’ So we decided as a church to be involved in all five of those things.”

Some have been easy, Augustine said, like working with a food pantry to serve the hungry and providing clothing to those in need. It took him longer to discover a way to minister to prisoners, but he says that it is among his most fulfilling work.

Nearly all of the men he works with in prison, he said, have never had fathers themselves and have had few positive role models in their own lives.

“Most of the prisoners have never really been taught a lot of these things,” Augustine said. “They grew up without fathers and surrounded by gangs. And the men say to me, ‘Man, I wish I would’ve known these things at 16.’ And I say, ‘At 16, you wouldn’t have believed it, because you were already in gangs. You needed to hear it at 12.’ And that’s why family breakdown is so devastating.”

The stories of the men are heartbreaking, he said. One was an alcoholic at age 7. Another had a mother running a gambling ring who would disappear for days. Few were proficient readers before they were arrested, though many have become strong readers through prison education programs.

“They don’t have any information about what it means to be an adult. What they understood was that you have to take what you can get,” he said. “The common scenario is that none of them had fathers, so we’re trying to teach them what it is to be a father.”

Stateville has nearly 4,000 inmates, but Augustine has had only 130 in his courses thus far. The seminar is voluntary, and the warden restricts the number of participants in Augustine’s weekly classes to 20 for security reasons.

The men that he has met, though, are very motivated to learn, he said.

“There’s a humility there because they know that they have no answers and that they have screwed up their lives in major ways,” Augustine said. “You recognize that you yourself have failed and that society has concurred with that by putting you in prison, and you think to yourself, ‘Oh, man, I need a different approach.’”

Though not everyone appreciates Augustine’s efforts, he said, most of the men thank him and see the program as valuable. Some participants have long sentences and are unlikely to ever see their children outside prison again.

Augustine described one convicted murderer—“a tough-looking dude”—as one example of a changed man.

“He said to me, ‘I realize I didn’t understand how to deal with my daughter, and this has given me more tools. Now that I’m seeing it from a different point of view, I’m able to see it better,’” Augustine said.

New Life Corrections offers programs at several prisons throughout Illinois. Malachi Dads is also taught at the Kane County, DuPage County and DeKalb County jails, and the group also offers a condensed two-day version in prisons downstate. Augustine taught the condensed version at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, Ill., in October, and he is seeking approval to teach the two-day condensed version at Stateville in order to reach more men.

What drives him, he said, are the children and the hope that he can break the cycle of incarceration—or, as the Bible puts it, that the sins of the father will not be visited onto the sons unto the third and fourth generations.

“The problem that these guys are having, for the most part, is the fact that they either had no fathering or poor fathering,” Augustine said. “You would solve crime in this country with one thing: teaching fathers to be real fathers.”

Sirens not just for tornadoes anymore

ELBURN—The next time you hear a siren in Elburn, it may not be a tornado warning.

Earlier this year, village trustee Dave Gualdoni, who works with the village’s Community Emergency Response Team, and Police Chief Steve Smith, revised the village’s outdoor warning siren policy to include the siren’s use for severe thunderstorm warnings issued by the National Weather Service, with winds of at least 70 miles per hour or golf-ball-sized hail.

Gualdoni, who had come to Village Hall to set off the siren during a recent severe weather event, told Village Board members that he wanted to get the word out to residents about the change, as well as to answer any questions or concerns they had about the policy. Some residents had been confused about the use of the siren, when there had not been the possibility of a tornado.

Gualdoni said he was not only concerned about residents’ safety in the case of a tornado, but also that strong storms, especially those with lightening, high winds, and large hail, could pose a danger, especially for those out in an open ball field.

Board members were in general agreement about the policy change. Trustee Bill Grabarek asked if the siren might also be used for other emergencies, such as a derailed train and possible hazardous material spill.

Trustee Pat Schuberg said that, just as every family should have a plan for what to do and where to go in case of an emergency, it would also behoove the village to have a plan.

The siren is tested on the first Tuesday at 10 a.m. of each month to ensure that it continues to work properly.

updated Monday, June 30, 2014 @ 1:00 p.m.

Village clarifies parkway maintenance responsibilities

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved an ordinance that would require property owners to maintain village parkways adjacent to their property. This would include mowing the grass, keeping driveways in good repair, as well as keeping the frontage parkway free from weeds, rubbish and debris.

Building Commissioner Tom Brennan told board members at the June 2 Committee of the Whole meeting that the ordinance was necessary to clear up any ambiguity.

The maintenance of parkway trees is an exception to these requirements, and trustee Pat Schuberg asked that a cross reference be included to clarify that.


Cummins’ victory lane continues through summer

ELBURN—For the city of Buffalo, NY, it’ll be nice to have a bonafide winner in its midst. The football thing hasn’t worked out.

Enter Kaneland Harter Middle School athlete Mabel Cummins, soon to enter eighth grade.

Already one of the elite bowling talents in her age group, the busy Cummins heads to the United States Bowling Congress Youth Open Championships on Saturday-Sunday, July 12-13, followed by the USBC Junior Gold Championships Friday, July 18, in Buffalo, NY.

All she did was win the Girl’s U-12 division at the 2014 Illinois Pepsi Youth Bowling Championships in Bloomington, Ill., to qualify for the Gold gathering, which comes with paid entry and travel stipend.

Working five to six games a day, five to six days a week with accomplished professionals and the support of her family, Cummins is learning to deal with the pressure, and is able to plow through, like when she averaged a 201 score through 12 games in Bloomington and at a recent pro-am gathering in Tampa, Fla.

“They made cuts at State, and I made out of the top of all of those,” Cummins said. “I was number one. It’s a lot more games we’re bowling and a different format, which I like. I did want to win, I admit that. I told myself ‘you’re going to go out there and do the best you can.'”

She’s even had a little fun in the past year of competition.

“When we go to tournaments, we go to fun places. We’re going to go see Niagara Falls,” Cummins said. “We go to different attractions like Busch Gardens in Florida. That was pretty cool.”

‘We typically go to museums or amusement parks,” father Ray said. “Things that she’s never seen. That’s the biggest attraction to team USA.”

The Team USA Junior Developmental squad, which represents the United States at international competitions, is a consistent, strike-fueled repertoire away, short of their being an Olympic opportunity.

“That’s her next goal,” Ray said. “That team travels around the world on behalf of America like an Olympic team would. They get to see things like the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower.”

With a year of hefty competition behind her, Cummins’ game feels different, and better to boot.

“I feel my physical game has improved, and I have a lot more speed. My mental game has also improved,” Cummins said.

The Buffalo gathering includes 2,000 bowlers across seven bowling centers, and Cummins aims to stand out.

“I’ve never bowled at Junior Gold before. It’s my first time. I’d like to get used to the lane and figure out the bowling pattern.”

“Kids show up used to where they bowl, and are overwhelmed. These are PBA-caliber conditions, and they fall hard,” Ray said.

Whether its Buffalo or at the July BPAA Women’s All-Stars Pro-Am in Rockford, Ill., Cummins has had more time this past year to have more confidence in her game.

That’s good news for her, bad news for the unfortunate pins in her wake.

“I’ve already qualified for Junior Gold, and I made most of my spares at the PEPSI,” Cummins said. “If you tell yourself, ‘don’t do this’ somewhere around there, you’ll do it because you’re focusing so hard,” Cummins said.


Dunkin’ Donuts Elburn location breaks ground

ELBURN—Dunkin’ Donuts broke ground in late May for its new restaurant and drive-thru location on the Jewel-Osco property in Elburn. Although the restaurant was initially set to open sometime this spring, discussions between Dunkin’ Donuts and the Jewel-Osco held up construction until now.

The plan, submitted by Dunkin’ Donuts to the village of Elburn in November, showed the location of the restaurant in front of the Jewel-Osco, in the lot at the corner of Prairie Street and Route 47, with the main entrance off of Prairie Street. However, according to Elburn Building Commissioner Tom Brennan, Elburn Jewel-Osco instead wanted the entrance at the north-south street between Prairie Street and the National Bank and Trust. Brennan said there will also be a second entrance at the north end of the property that will line up with an aisle in the Jewel-Osco parking lot.

Calls to Elburn Jewel-Osco were not returned as of press time.

Architect Diane Duncan of Gleason Architects, who represented Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee Vishal Vagahani at village meetings, said the discussions regarding the final location for the entrance were recently resolved, and Dunkin’ Donuts is currently moving forward with construction. She said construction should take about four months, with the store opening likely to take place in September.

Vagahani operates four other Dunkin’ Donuts locations, including a store on Route 59 in West Chicago.

Elburn Idol accepting applications

ELBURN—The Elburn Days Community Stage is currently accepting applications for the Elburn Idol singing competition. The contest is open to anyone age 9 and older.

There are four different age groups: Junior (9-12), Teen (13-15), Senior (16-18) and Adult (19 and up). Each age division will have a winner that receives a $50 cash prize and an invitation to sing on the Main Stage later that weekend.

An application and instructions can be found at Questions can be sent to


Parish prepares for Pentecost with candlelight prayer vigil

Photo: Members of St. Gall Catholic Church recently held a vigil in celebration of Pentecost. Courtesy photo by Donna Doherty submitted to

ELBURN—With new ministry comes new ideas, and St. Gall Catholic Church bore witness to a new idea on Friday.

During a discussion about Pentecost and its importance to the church as a whole, Rev. Tim Siegel envisioned a prayer service—a vigil—just prior to the celebration of Pentecost.

“I thought it would be neat to do something unique and different during the celebration of the birth of the church,” Siegel said. “The idea of a vigil came to my mind. A vigil is usually at night, with lots of candles.”

Parishioner Heather Sidman was among the group that helped to plan the special service.

“Something like this helps us to come together as a community, to pray together, rather than just attending Mass,” Sidman said.

“It gives us some enthusiasm and energy, and I think everyone got something out of it,” she added.

Siegel has been the spiritual leader at St. Gall for just a few days shy of two years.

“This parish is a wonderful community,” he said. “But we belong to the larger church in the world. We’re celebrating our little place in the big picture.”

Siegel said the service is significant because of the spirituality of the people, adding it’s a very generous spirituality.

“People really care about St. Gall, their great memories of the past and real hope for the future,” Siegel said.

Among the prayers were some relating to a tangible and important goal, according to Siegel.

“We need the faithfulness of the entire church community, because we’re hoping to build a new facility in the next few years, maybe three or four,” Siegel said.

Built in the mid-1920s, Siegel said the building was erected at time when churches had a lot of steps. “They were built higher to be more prominent in the community and to look like a more worthy place to worship God. That was the architecture of the day,” he said.

Not only is the building showing signs of age, Siegel said handicapped accessibility is the larger issue.

“It’s more than a medical issue; it’s very much a civil rights issue,” Siegel said. “The church is supposed to be available for all people at all times, but because we have so many steps, we lack ease of access.”

Siegel said the lift, installed many years after the church was built, is not the answer to accessibility issues.

“It’s not reliable, it breaks down and with a lack of access, we’re excluding some very important people from worship,” Siegel said. “A church looks more like a place to worship if everybody can be there.”