Category Archives: Elburn

Board approves 3-year garbage contract

ELBURN—The village of Elburn adopted a new agreement with garbage hauler Waste Management on Monday.

Under the three-year agreement the Village Board approved on Monday, the cost per month, per household, for refuse, recycling and yard-waste pickup service will be $14.97 as of Oct. 1. The current monthly rate is $14.81.

The rate will go up each year by the same percent as the Consumer Price Index, which was 1.6 percent this year.

During the Aug. 2 board meeting, trustees asked village staff to compare Waste Management’s proposed fees and services with those other companies charge. Their research showed Waste Management would offer the village the best deal.

“If we go out to bid, we’re not going to get the same package,” Trustee Bill Grabarek said.

First police union agreement has no-strike clause

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a first-time contract between village and the Illinois Council of Police, the Elburn Police Department’s full-time officers’ collective bargaining unit.

Negotiations between the village and the Illinois Council of Police for the Elburn officers’ first union contract began after the officers announced their plan to unionize in December 2008.

The purpose of the agreement, which extends through October 2011, is to provide for the appropriate wage structure, hours of employment, working conditions, benefits and grievance procedures within the Police Department.

The agreement includes a no-strike clause. It also ensures that officers may take up to eight sick days and requires that they be paid for 12 holidays each year. Officers may roll over up to 160 unused sick-days’ pay.

Additionally, the agreement guarantees that officers receive 10 to 20 paid days off annually, depending upon the number of years they have been employed by the Police Department.

The board approved the contract in a 4-3 vote. Trustees Gordon Dierschow, Jerry Schmidt and Ken Anderson voted against the contract. Village President Dave Anderson cast the deciding vote to break the tie.

Trustee Ken Anderson said the contract’s terms for compensation will pose village budget challenges. The agreement requires 1 percent raises for all officers annually. In addition, it allows officers to accumulate up to 80 hours of compensatory time, for which they will be paid 1 1/2 times their regular wage. The contract also ensures that officers will receive time-and-a-half pay for court appearances during times they are not scheduled to work.

“It’s not just wages for earnings,” Trustee Anderson said. “We are going to have to have reserves sitting there to deal with the contracts.”

Trustee Anderson said he appreciates the work the Police Department does in the community, but wants the village to be fiscally responsible.

Trustee Jeff Walter voted for the agreement, but acknowledged that it will cause the village financial challenges in the future.

“There is no doubt that this will affect other areas of the budget,” Walter said.

‘Hogwild’ about a cure

Hogfan Party
Saturday, Sept. 11, 4-10 p.m.
St. Charles Moose
Adults $25,
Children age 6-15 $10
($5 more at the door);
younger than 6 free
visit the Hogfan booth at Elburn Days Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22
To donate a dessert, contact Arlene Gould at (630) 552-7765 or e-mail her

Pig roast and auction will raise money for leukemia, and lymphoma research
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—“Live for today, life is a gift” is a saying that Jason Gould lived by and one that his mother, Sandy Gould of Elburn, will take to heart as she hosts the 2010 Hogfan Party in his honor.

Jason, formerly of Elburn, died in January 2006 at age 36 after a successful bone marrow-stem cell transplant for leukemia left his system immune suppressed, and he contracted viral related lymphoma.

“Organizing this event and knowing that the proceeds will promote research that may end this complication is one of the things that has saved me since I’ve lost my son,” Gould said.

She added that the support she has received from the community, friends and family has been instrumental in helping her cope with the loss of her son, who was a husband and father.

After Jason married and had a family of his own, Gould spent less time with her son, but as his illness progressed she spent many hours at his side, watching his favorite TV programs with him and playing board games that he enjoyed.

“It was a very intense time, and the family valued every minute that we were given,” she said.

Having won his battle with leukemia, Jason was taken with lymphoma just when he felt he had found his calling as a fifth-grade teacher in Oswego. His mother commented that his personality won students over, and those with problems benefited from his attention and concern.

After his death, she received several letters from his former students, telling her how he had affected their lives. She said the letters were heartwarming and difficult to read at the same time.

Fifth-grade student Mike Morrell and his parents, Mitch and Jeanne Morrell of Yorkville, were so impressed by Jason that they offered to handle the pig roast for the Hogfan event, through their business, Upper Crust Catering.

Also helping out with Hogfan is the Moose Lodge in St. Charles, which is supplying its facility at no charge for the second time.

The Hogfan dinner will include the pig roast, lots of of side dishes and a huge array of donated desserts.

“Last year, people must have been afraid that there wouldn’t be enough, as instead of bringing two dishes apiece, they brought four and we had a wonderful assortment,” Gould said.

Several people and businesses already have offered desserts for Hogfan, one of those being LillyCakes of Maple Park.

Aside from the pig roast, the evening will feature returning speaker Dr. Rob Baiocchi of Ohio State University’s Cancer Research Center. Baiocchi has been involved in research on how viruses affect immune-suppressed transplant patients. His research team is attempting to develop a vaccine to prevent this complication.

Hogfan donations help to support his team’s research, clinical trials, FDA approval and finally getting the vaccine into transplant centers. Last year’s Hogfan event raised just under $24,000, which Gould delivered in person to Baiocchi in Ohio.

“There are no middlemen, no one else that needs to make a salary as with other charitable groups,” Gould said. “All proceeds go directly to Dr. Baiocchi’s innovative research lab at the university.”

The reason the event is called Hogfan was because Jason loved the Arkansas Razorbacks, which also led to his mother’s motto for the fundraiser, “Going hogwild about a cure.”

Gould said volunteers and sponsors still are needed for Hogfan, along with donations for the silent auctions. So far, the auction items include sports memorabilia, team jerseys and game tickets. Due to the economy, some previous sponsors have withdrawn this year, she said.

To be listed in the Hogfan event book, sponsors must sign up within the next week, as the book’s scheduled for printing Aug. 25.

Golf club granted longer Sunday liquor sales

Board denies longer hours for taverns
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday granted only one of two businesses’ requests for longer liquor-sale hours on Sunday.

The board approved a liquor-code change that will allow Class F businesses, including Hughes Creek Golf Club, to sell alcohol starting at 8 a.m. on Sundays. Club manager Heather Espe recently requested the change so that golfers could purchase an alcoholic beverage during early Sunday morning games at the club. Previously, the liquor code required Class F license holders to wait until noon to sell alcohol.

The board passed the liquor-code change 5-1, with Trustee Gordon Dierschow voting no. Dierschow said he did not feel comfortable expanding the Sunday liquor-sales hours for a business that rents its site from a taxing body. Hughes Creek rents the club property from the Kane County Forest Preserve.

The board turned down a request from Kevin Schmidt, owner of Schmidt’s Towne Tap, for an ordinance change that would allow his bar and other Class A license holders to sell alcohol starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays rather than noon, so that football-watchers could buy drinks before the Sunday game kickoffs. The vote was 3-3, with trustees Bill Grabarek, Patricia Romke, and Ken Anderson voted against it. Village President Dave Anderson declined to cast a tie-breaking vote, recusing himself from both the discussion and the vote, citing a possible conflict of interest. Due to the tie vote, the measure failed to pass.

Grabarek cited his concern about the proximity of the downtown bars to churches. Romke declined to comment.

Trustee Anderson cited his concern about Schmidt’s and two other bars’ May 20 violation of the liquor code. Illinois State Police arrested bar servers for selling alcohol to minors during an undercover sting that day at Schmidt’s, Rosati’s and Riley’s American Bar & Grill.

“We issued four new licenses this year. Three were clipped for selling to underage buyers,” Trustee Anderson said. “I would personally like to see that resolved first.”

The taverns face possible fines of $500 or more from the state for those violations, but the village has not penalized the bars for the local violations.

Kevin Schmidt said he did not think the vote was fair or smart.

“You can drink out there (at Hughes Creek) at 8 a.m. but not uptown at 11 a.m.,” Schmidt said.

Trio earn martial arts medals

Three black belts representing Midtown Martial Arts in Elburn won medals competing in the forms competition at the United States National Taekwondo Federation’s 17th International Taekwondo Championships. The competition was held at Triton College in River Grove, Ill., on July 30 through Aug. 1. Pictured from left to right are Kim Sloat Cote, first-place gold medal—women’s 4th degree black belt division; Nancy Long, first-place gold medal—women’s senior 2nd degree black belt division; Ryan Hartson, 3rd place, bronze medal—3rd degree teenage division. Pictured in back is Grand Master Richard Temmerman, owner and president of Midtown Martial Arts in Elburn.

Courtesy Photo

Village will extend waste contract

by Ryan Wells
Elburn—With the village of Elburn’s contract with Waste Management set to expire at the end of September, officials explored options at the Aug. 2 Village Board meeting and decided to extend the current agreement.

Per the original, five-year agreement, signed in September 2005, the village and Waste Management could continue the agreement for three, one-year terms. The rate, currently at $14.81 per residence per month, will by subject to a cost-of-living adjustment equal to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“Given their level of service, I’d be all for extending the three years,” Bill Grabarek said.

Grabarek moved that the board pursue a three-year extension to the agreement, using CPI to govern rate changes. The measure passed 4-2, with Kenneth Anderson and Jerry Schmidt voting no, and trustee Jeffrey Walter absent. Village President Dave Anderson voted yes.

Also before the vote, Trustee Kenneth Anderson suggested that the village extend the contract one year, using CPI, and then re-evaluate the agreement near the end of the extension.

The extended agreement will retain provisions of the current contract including residents’ access to unlimited recycling in cans that do not exceed 35 gallons or 50 pounds in weight; residents’ ability to purchase their own recycle cans, obtain them from the village or rent them directly from Waste Management; and residents ability to use Waste Management stickers to label self-purchased cans for recycling pick-up.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett met with Waste Management Municipal Marketing Director Matt Hernandez in July, and the discussion concluded with several options from which the board could choose.

The option the board selected was for the village to extend the agreement for three years and base any future rate change on CPI.

Willrett explained that the current year’s CPI is 1.6 percent. Last year, CPI was a negative number, but the year before that the CPI was 4.6 percent.

“With CPI at 1.6 percent this year, the gamble is on the second year; what’s it going to be?” Village President Dave Anderson said.

Another option for the village was to extend the agreement for three years at an annual, fixed-rate change of 3 percent. The new costs per resident per month would have been $15.25 in year one, $15.70 in year two, and $16.17 in year three.

The village also could have extended the agreement one year, choosing either the 3 percent or CPI rate of increase, or the village could solicit outside bids from other organizations. Before the board voted, Schmidt suggested taking the latter course.

“I think the service (provided by Waste Management) has been great, but I think we should shop around too,” Schmidt said.

Willrett said that when soliciting bids prior to the existing agreement, the village received proposals from three companies, with Waste Management being the lowest.

Good dog!

Alyssa Koch praises her dog, Cali, a young pit bull, during the dog and puppy training class at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center on July 28. The class is held by Terri Byerly of SitStay Dog Training. Photo by John DiDonna

‘Troubled bridge’ over Welch Creek

This summer at Good Grief Day Camp, children bereaved by the death of a parent or sibling learned a lot about crossing bridges on their own unique grief journey. Temporary repairs to the rustic bridge were completed just in time for camp, but much more needs to be done.

If it sounds like a project you might enjoy, Conley Outreach is seeking volunteers and donations to finish improvements by fall. Volunteers and donors will have the opportunity throw their own ‘creek rocks’ or carve a name in a bridge board as part of the re-opening ceremonies. In the new year, Conley plans an innovative Grief Walk for adults and families who will utilize the newly repaired bridge.

For more information, call Carol Alfrey, executive director, Conley Outreach Community Services, at (630) 365-2880 or send an e-mail to

Courtesy Photo

Photo gallery: 2010 Summer Bash Dance

Chassidy Mangers (right) gives a corsage to Amber Spaetzel during the Summer Bash formal dance for children with disabilities and their siblings at the Blackberry Township Municipal Building on July 30. Chassidy, a Kaneland High School graduate who is studying speech and language at Augustana College, organized the event. She had hep from her sister, McKinzie, her father, Bill, and several volunteers. Photos by John DiDonna

Village to improve communication about weather, safety emergencies

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn officials plan to make sure residents know when they hear the outdoor emergency siren why the village is sounding it.

When the village activates the siren, the Elburn and Countryside Fire Department and TriCom are swamped with calls from residents wanting to know the reason, Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan said. Because the Fire Department does not activate the alarm, it does not always have that information, said Callaghan, who asked the village to improve communication about emergencies when it sounds the alarm.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said she will look into the possibility of offering a special phone number people may call for information about an emergency when they hear the siren. The highest-ranking official at Village Hall is responsible for activating the siren in a weather or civil emergency, and that person also would record a message for the phone line giving information about the emergency.

In addition, the village will post more information about the siren on the village website, Willrett said.

During the Public Safety Committee meeting Monday, village officials discussed these initiatives, which village employee Dave Gualdoni said he supports.

“I think public education is the biggest problem,” said Gualdoni, who listens to spotters’ transmissions and checks weather radar to make sure the village knows when to sound the siren.

Gualdoni also believes every household should have a weather radio. Willrett said the village website also could link to other websites with information about weather radios.

The village sounds its emergency siren when it receives confirmed storm-spotter reports of a tornado, a funnel cloud or a rotating wall cloud; severe thunderstorms with winds of 70 mph or greater, or golf-ball size or larger hail; and civil emergencies such as a train derailment resulting in a toxic spill.

The village does not provide an all-clear signal. Instead, it recommends that residents be indoors and monitoring local media reports or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio for storm or civil emergency information.

At 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, the village tests its siren.

Warning tones
Severe weather threat: steady tone for 3-5 minutes

Civil emergency: slow rise and fall tone for 3-5 minutes

Emergency expense ordinance recommended

ELBURN—Under a proposed ordinance that the Elburn Finance Committee recommended on Monday, the village administrator would be able to use a village credit card to pay for emergency expenses of more than $5,000 and would not have to seek contractor bids for those projects.

The Village Board expects to vote on the committee’s recommendation on Monday, Aug. 16.

Village assists neighbor in need

Elburn—The Elburn Police Department recently helped another department from the area after a flood ravaged its fleet of squad cars, Police Chief Steve Smith said.

Following severe weather during the weekend of July 24 and 25, the Bellwood Police Department lost 18 squad cars due to flooding.

On July 26, the Elburn Police Department received a communication through the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System that the Bellwood department was in need of temporary assistance.

“They lost 18 squads due to a flood, and asked for loaner squads,” Smith said. “Elburn provided one on temporary loan.”

The unit that Elburn provided to Bellwood is an unmarked detective squad car. The car was delivered on July 28 and will help the Bellwood Police Department carry on with normal police functions until it can obtain permanent squad cars.

Police Dept. assesses its equipment needs

by Ryan Wells
Elburn—As part of the village’s efforts to start the budgetary process early for the next fiscal year, each department is tasked with submitting its preliminary capital-expenditures list to the Village Board for review.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven presented his list during a Public Works meeting last week, and Police Chief Steve Smith presented his during the Aug. 2 Village Board meeting.

“This is an initial, very rough estimate on things,” Smith said. “We are not intending to buy squad cars this fiscal year, which is hopefully a plus.”

On the list for the next fiscal year is an estimated expenditure of $20,000 for general equipment including radar units and office equipment and for the replacement of deteriorating squad emergency equipment such as light bars, sirens and radios.

“They’ve reached the end of their useful life; they are deteriorating,” Smith said. “The radar should have been replaced several years ago.”

Smith estimated that needed body-armor replacement would be a $12,000 expense. He said that the bulletproof vests should be replaced every five years, and that this expenditure would cover body armor for approximately half of the force.

The Federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership grant refunds 50 percent of the cost to the village after it makes the purchase, which means $6,000 would be reimbursed for the $12,000 initial purchase.

Trustee Bill Grabarek asked if the body armor moves with officers who work part time in Elburn and full time in another department.

Smith said that if an officer works full time somewhere else, the vest would usually go with the officer.

“Most part-time officers in Elburn are not currently working full-time somewhere else,” he said.

Smith estimated $15,000 is needed to begin the replacement of the department’s office furniture. He said that many of the desks no longer work and chairs are falling apart.

“With the exception of the two desks in the Records section, all of the existing desks and office chairs, file cabinets, etc. need to be replaced,” Smith wrote in his report.

A to-be-determined amount of money will be needed to replace the in-squad computers. In the document presented to the board, Smith stated that the village’s contract with Tri Com requires that all in-squad computers be Primary Mobile Data Client compatible by May 1, 2012. Currently, Elburn officers are unable to make use of the information systems available through Tri Com.

“With that in mind, other funding sources are currently being pursued to accomplish well before the deadline,” Smith wrote in the report.

The department obtained one computer funded with a federal grant. The grant gave the state of Illinois money to provide 450 squad-car computers to police departments in the state, not including counties’ law enforcement agencies or larger cities’ police departments. Elburn requested five computers, and the state received approximately 1,000 requests for the computers.

“So, we got one,” Smith said.

Protecting volunteer protectors

Elburn officials struggle with insurance and liability issues for police volunteers
by Ryan Wells
Elburn—As part of the effort to appoint voluntary auxiliary officers in the village, Elburn officials faced the question of insurance and liability during Monday’s Village Board meeting.

The volunteer officer program, known as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), is supported by federal grant money and has been providing training since this spring. The program trains volunteers to provide traffic control assistance during community events, as well as an increased village emergency and disaster response.

Village administrator Erin Willrett said the program has received positive feedback, with approximately 12 individuals taking part in the training so far, and one or two working at an event at a time.

The questions of insurance and liability create an uncertainty that could threaten the program.

“The issue is, do we want to turn away volunteers because we’re not sure how they are covered?” Willrett said.

The issue of liability is fairly straightforward, Village President Dave Anderson said. Issues of liability govern the volunteers’ actions while representing the village, and in those cases, the village would be liable. This circumstance would be covered under the village’s liability insurance.

The issue that remains unresolved is one of worker’s compensation insurance and coverage.

“If there was a surgeon who volunteered, and God forbid something happened and he or she could no longer perform surgery, who’s liable (for the lost wages)?” Anderson asked.

Willrett said she contacted the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association (IMLRMA) for clarification on this issue and the response did not provide a definitive answer.

The e-mailed response from Jason Neiman, IMLRMA claims and litigation manager, stated that a municipality’s workman’s compensation insurance generally is not intended to cover volunteers. However, the final decision on each case is left up to a worker’s compensation commission or an arbitrator.

“The general leaning of the commission seems to be in favor of compensation,” Neiman wrote in his e-mail.

Elburn officials expressed unease with the lack of a clear, definitive answer.

“I’m uncomfortable with this level of murkiness,” Trustee Bill Grabarek said.

Police Chief Steve Smith said the CERT volunteers have become an important part of the department.

“One problem is that the KCOEM (Kane County Office of Emergency Management) have been used so much, they’ve pulled in their horns as to what they do and where they go,” Smith said. “If it’s an incorporated area, they’re not going to come unless they have to.”

He explained that the federal Department of Homeland Security will have requirements come into effect for municipalities in general, as well as those specific to communities that contain mass transit, like Elburn’s rail line.

“There are things we are not going to be able to do with the size of our department, and we have to rely on volunteers,” Smith said.

Besides the regulatory pressures, Smith said the ability to have more people available more quickly in the event of a disaster is important.

“If something serious happens, we need a stop-gap,” he said.

Through the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, officers from neighboring departments could be called for assistance during an emergency in Elburn.

“But it takes time to get people here,” Smith said. “CERT helps in the short-term.”

In a disaster scenario, CERT volunteer officers would be used to help evacuate areas, shut down streets, and set up and maintain temporary shelters, among other activities.

“We have a wonderful group of people volunteering, and we want to protect them and the village,” Anderson said.

Willrett will explore pricing on private insurance that could provide the coverage needed. In addition, Willrett will re-explore the village’s current insurance and investigate a suggestion that the village pay volunteers a nominal, fixed amount in order to consider them a paid employee, she said.

Elburn Idol seeks youth, adult entrants

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Judges already are reviewing DVDs from singers hoping to win the first place prize of $50 in the 2010 Elburn Idol competition.

The deadline for audition DVD submissions is Friday, Aug. 9.The contest for the finalists will take place at noon on Saturday, Aug. 21, during Elburn Days at Lions Park.

The contest has three divisions: youth, teen and adult, said Michelle Miller of M&M Dance Studios, who coordinates the contest for the Elburn Lions Club. Three judges, including music teachers and vocal coaches, view the DVDs as they come in and choose three finalists for each age category.

“We really would like to encourage singers from all age groups to send in their DVDs,” Miller said. “We’ve only averaged eight to 10 entries the last two years and would really like to see upwards of 20 in each age group.”

The contest is open to everyone, not just Elburn residents.

“We created Elburn Idol so talented singers in the area would have a venue to showcase what they can do,” Miller said.

So far, no adults have submitted applications this year or for the past two contests. Miller hopes that changes this year.

“This is a great chance to showcase their talents,” Miller said. “We really wish that we could have some adult entrants.”

The contest winners may choose to sing as the opening acts for Elburn Days bands during the weekend.

Application forms are available on the Elburn Lions website, A song recording and a clear picture of the applicant’s face is required. Mail to Elburn Days Idol Contest, 213B W. Nebraska, Elburn IL 60119.

Local 4-H’er Buddy Hass, advances to state competition

La Fox—Buddy Hass, of rural Elburn, won the Kane County Master Showmanship competition held during the 2010 Kane County Fair.

This competition was a new opportunity for local 4-H’ers in Kane County. He now advances to the state competition to be held Wednesday, Aug. 11, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Junior Livestock Barn on the Illinois State Fair Fairgrounds in Springfield.

The Master Showmanship Contest recognizes 4-H youth who have excelled at showing animals county-wide. They are judged on their handling of each of three species of animals: beef, sheep and swine. Then they are quizzed by a judge on their knowledge of animal husbandry and livestock productions. One winner is named for each species, and scores for all three species are tallied to determine the overall winner.

2010 marks the 11th year for the state contest. Farm broadcasters in Illinois started it as a way to recognize outstanding youth and provide a state forum for the competition.

Conley receives Excellence in Caring award

First-ever award named in his honor
AURORA—Bruce Conley received the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22 at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora.

Nancy Schmitz, a member of the Alliance, said the award was named in Conley’s honor because he embodies the spirit of caring and compassion that they would like to see in all who care for families experiencing this difficult type of loss.

“Conley was recognized for the great appreciation, and respectful, caring way he cares for babies and how parents can have the time that they want to be with their child, no matter his or her size,” Schmitz said at the ceremony. “The life stories (obituaries) that Conley writes come from the hearts of the parents as they talk to Conley about how much this little one meant to them. He has the gift of being able to put into words the heartfelt emotions of this baby’s family, and the result is a beautiful narrative that affirms the life and value of this child.”

Schmitz said when other children and siblings are present and parents are struggling to know how to help them understand this sadness, Conley and his son, Ben, always take the time to explain in a way that the child can understand what has happened, what this thing called death means, and what grief can feel like. Their questions are answered and they have a beginning at understanding this hard life lesson.

Schmitz said Conley’s caring also extends to families, in that he would meet with them in their homes as arrangements need to be made. He built on the legacy of his parents’ work as funeral directors, and developed the aftercare program at Conley Funeral Home and the Conley Outreach program to be a resource for families after their loss.

“It is truly evident that being a funeral director is not just a job for Conley, it is a calling to which he has faithfully and humbly given his best,” said Schmitz.

Conley accepted his award on behalf of his brother, Wayne, who passed away as an infant.

Conley described his brother’s short time with his family when accepting the award.

“Wayne’s brief life in this world has now changed and touched four generations of the Conley family, and the way we choose to care for infants and their families. Wayne was born in 1948 with spina bifida. My mother was kept from him so she would not ‘bond’ with Wayne, and it was believed her grief would thus be lessened. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. Both my parents suffered greatly at Wayne’s death a few months after he was born. That suffering wrought a deep conviction that no other infant, no other parents entrusted to our care would ever face the profoundly compounded grief that cultural and religious norms of the day had caused,” he said.

“In order that women like my mother could see and hold their children days after death when they left the hospital (remember this is 1948), my father literally invented ways of embalming and caring for newborns that were unheard of at the time. My mother hand sewed countless tiny infant outfits, complete with lace for the girls and trousers for the boys. The setting for parents’ viewing was, and still is, in a cozy room with a rocking chair and a fireplace and anything else that could make a parent feel ‘at home’ at the very hardest time in their lives,” Conley said. “My parents taught me all of these things, and I endeavored to improve upon them as I was called to meet the challenges of newborn death in my own career.”

Conley concluded by saying, “So as I receive this award in my infant brother’s honor, I say to all of you: for every family with whom you ‘endure weeping for the night,’ may these families and you, yourself find that ‘Joy cometh in the morning,’ for I believe with all of my heart, that there will come a day when you will see them again; and they shall be whole, and healthy and anxious to tell you how grateful they are for the care you gave when they passed through your hands and left footprints on your heart. God bless you all and thank you.”

In the future, The “Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award” will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss.

Founded in 1987, The Alliance is an interdisciplinary professional organization of individuals from organizations including hospitals, social service organizations, churches, funeral homes and hospices in the Chicago area who provide education, support and resources for individuals who care for grieving families and their babies. The members are nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, funeral directors, photographers and physicians who have a leadership role in their organization’s support program. They work with families who have experienced a perinatal loss—miscarriage, fetal death, stillborn or newborn/infant death.

Photo: (From left) Judy Friedrichs, RN, and Nancy Schmitz, RN, award Bruce Conley the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22. In the future, the award will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss. Photo courtesy of Todd Hochberg

Friends show ‘neighborly love’ for Seals family

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—When Meagan Seals of Elburn was born nearly seven months ago, her parents and doctors did not expect her to live more than two weeks. Her mother Luellen said Meagan has been a miracle baby, not just surviving but thriving to a degree no one imagined was possible. However, she still faces significant challenges.

Meagan was born with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age. Children with microcephaly often have developmental issues. She also has encephalocele, another rare disorder that prevents a baby’s skull from closing completely before birth. After Meagan was born, she had surgery to reinsert brain tissue and close the gap.

When Meagan was born, doctors also said the top part of her brain was missing. However, when Meagan had an MRI when she was 6 months old, the test showed that her upper brain was there.

“Her doctor believes she is a living miracle,” Luellen said.

Based on the conditions she does have, Meagan was not expected to be able to hold up her head or even drink from a bottle. But she surprised everyone when she could do both soon after her parents took her home.

Despite these miraculous milestones, Meagan is not able to sit up and faces many other developmental challenges in the future, her mother said.

“The doctors say she might get to a 2-year-old level,” Seals said. “They don’t think she will ever talk or walk.”

Earlier this summer, Meagan began experiencing up to five full seizures and 30 to 50 smaller spasms daily and had to be hospitalized. This month, she is receiving injections of a serum that costs $30,000 per vial. She still has the seizures but not every day.

Meagan’s parents’ goal is to provide her with whatever medication, medical equipment or therapy that will help her to develop as much as she possibly can.

Although their health insurance covered many of the hospital expenses for Meagan, the Seals still owe thousands of dollars in medical bills. In addition, they are concerned that insurance will not pay for equipment that will help Meagan in the future, such as a feeding chair that would support her in a sitting position, and water therapy.

Since Seals must care for Meagan full-time and the family has only her husband’s income, she is grateful that several of her friends are hosting a fundraiser Friday, Aug. 6, at Old Towne Pub and Eatery, to help with those expenses.

“It just shows that there are people in the world with good hearts,” she said. “It’s neighborly love.”

One of the fundraiser organizers is the Seals’ neighbor, Kim Cole. She wants to help raise awareness of Meagan’s condition and to raise money to help the Seals family.

“Meagan will have a life time of medical needs and expenses,” Cole said. “It’s more than the family is able to cover on their own. I am hoping the community will pull together and help them to help her.”

Fundraiser for Baby Meagan

Friday, Aug. 6 • 6 to 8 pm
Old Towne Pub & Eatery
201 W. State St., Geneva

Raffles and silent auctions
Tickets cost $25 per person

For reservations,
call Ali at (630) 605-1007 or
Jen at (630) 437-1985

Send donations to
“Praying for Baby Meagan”
Old Second Bank, P.O. Box 8018,
Elburn IL 60119-8018

Village will prioritize public works projects

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn village officials approved a new annual budget less than two months ago and already have begun working on one for 2011-12. The reason for the early start is so they can determine what expenses are absolutely necessary and the village can afford.

Village officials’ first step in next year’s budget planning has been reviewing proposed capital expenditures from village staff, including Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven.

“This is going to be the hardest part of the budget (process), because we will have to get a clear idea of what the (Village Board’s) priorities are,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett said during Monday’s Public Works Committee meeting.

Nevenhoven said his 2011-12 budget request list is “heavy on the water side.” Among items on the list is replacing collapsed sections of clay-tile storm sewer pipe under Route 47 at Pierce Street, for $25,000.

“At some point, that is going to give way, and we need to get in there,” Nevenhoven said.

A more expensive project that Nevenhoven listed as one the village should do next year is maintenance of the north water tower, at a cost of $101,259 plus engineering expenses.

Aside from those water-related capital projects, the village needs to spend $40,000 on road improvements in 2011-12, Nevenhoven said. Because of budget constraints, the village will not replace the sub-base on most roads slated for improvement. Instead, crews will grind down the streets’ surfaces and replace the asphalt.

“It is more cost-effective,” Nevenhoven said.

The Public Works Committee will review Nevenhoven’s budget request and recommend to the Village Board the projects they believe the village should undertake next year.

Businessman takes sump pumps into 21st century

Device calls, e-mails owner of any operation failures
by Keith Beebe

ELBURN—Who would have thought the term “necessity is the mother of invention” could actually apply to a sump pump? Yet, that is exactly what happened when Dan Gierke had a need for a backup sump pump.

“We found there wasn’t much of a choice out there, and having an electronics and computer programming background, (I) decided to put something together,” said Gierke, who owns Nexpump in Elburn.

Gierke invented a sump pump that calls and e-mails its owner if any part of the pump is failing to operate. The pump also performs self-tests every 12 hours on its battery condition, notification module and even the phone line, greatly minimizing the risk of flooding and water damage.

“Say the water sensor on sump pump units besides ours becomes disconnected or damaged,” Gierke said. “Well, you are not made aware of this condition, and the sump pump will never turn on (because) it can’t sense the water. (Our sump pump) has a second sensor that will take over and also lets you know there’s an issue.”

The pump’s artificial intelligence comes from its use of state-of-the-art micro controllers, which allow the pump to think critically and make decisions. The unit will cycle its pumps if any of the water sensors are not functioning and will even act as a virtual water sensor if all of the actual sensors are disabled.

Also, as if the notification system wasn’t enough, the unit also has an LCD display that will list any issues the pump is experiencing.

“We think we have taken the sump pump to the next level with advanced electronics, software that has been refined over the years, and taking a ‘what happens when’ attitude, meaning we try to figure out what we can do to minimize the risk of flooding when conditions are changing for the worst,” Gierke said.

Gierke said that the public has shown strong interest in the advanced sump pump, which is available in plumbing-supply stores in Illinois and on the Internet.

“Our dual pump has come through during worst-case scenarios for many people, and I think our support is by far the best in the industry,” he said. “We’ve started where the industry left off and took sump pumps into the computer age.”

Meeting millipedes

Elburn resident Maxwell Peters, 6, enjoys meeting a millipede during a “Nature Detectives” class at Aurora University July 19-25. Also pictured is, Karen Anderson of Yorkville, class teacher. In addition to millipedes, Pam Otto, St. Charles Park District educator, showed a tarantula spider, walking sticks, and hissing cockroaches. The nature study was among mini-classes for PreK-8 students in the Young Scholars program sponsored by the Packer Foundation. Courtesy Photo

Planning Commission needs new member

ELBURN—The Elburn Planning Commission has a vacancy since the resignation this month of one of its seven members, Mark Wilson. Village officials announced on Monday that residents are welcome to apply for the position. For more information, call Village Hall at (630) 365-5060.

Mosquito control includes larvicide, resident efforts

ELBURN—The Elburn Public Works Department placed larvicide pellets in stormwater catch basins in the village to combat mosquito infestations. The pellets kill mosquito larvae, which is more cost-effective than spraying for mosquitoes when they emerge, Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said during Monday’s Public Works Committee meeting.

Nevenhoven said residents can do their part by eliminating standing water in their yards (including water in cups or other open receptacles) because it provides a breeding ground for mosquito’s.

Wildlife Center hosts fundraiser at Zanies

Center also puts out urgent call for volunteers
Elburn—The Fox Valley Wildlife Center will host a fundraising night at Zanies Comedy Club at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 5, with a show time of 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.

The night will feature Butch Bradley, who has appeared numerous times on Comedy Central. Tickets are $25 per person, and the Fox Valley Wildlife Center will receive 100 percent of the ticket sales, which will benefit the animals in their care. A two-drink minimum is required, and all attendees must be 21 and older. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (630) 377-2847.

The Wildlife Center is in urgent need of monetary donations and volunteers age 18 and older. Animal handling volunteers help with all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, from hand feeding baby mammals and birds to doing laundry and washing food dishes, and need to commit to at least one four-hour shift each week, April through September. Morning shifts are also available October through March. Support volunteers are also needed to help keep the center running. There is no specific time commitment for support volunteers.

Call the Wildlife Center at (630) 365-3800 or visit for more information.

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit volunteer organization. The center is state and federally licensed to care for orphaned and injured wild birds and mammals and is privately funded, supported entirely by membership fees, donations, grants and fundraisers.

Village will close street temporarily

ELBURN—The village of Elburn will close east North Street from First to Main streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3. The Village Board on Monday approved Knuckleheads Tavern’s request for the closure, to allow for hundreds of motorcyclist patrons to park in the street that day outside of the tavern before a charity bike run.

Businesses ask for expanded liquor-sales hours

[quote]by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Two Elburn business operators want the village to expand the number of hours they can sell alcohol under the current municipal liquor code.

Kevin Schmidt, owner of Schmidt’s Towne Tap in downtown Elburn, asked the Village Board on Monday for permission to open his bar at 11 a.m. on Sunday instead of at noon as currently allowed under his Class A liquor license.

Currently, restaurants, clubs and taverns may not sell alcohol on Sundays until noon. However, liquor stores in the village may sell packaged liquor starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Schmidt said since the village allows liquor stores to sell alcohol Sunday morning, bars should have the same privilege.

“I want to be able to open the doors (of Schmidt’s, a sports bar) at 11 a.m., for the pre-game shows,” Schmidt said.

Also on Monday, Hughes Creek Golf Club manager Heather Espe requested that the village allow clubs that hold a Class F liquor license, including Hughes, to begin selling alcohol at 9 a.m. on weekdays and at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We have golfers who want a beer or a bloody Mary at the (course) turn,” Espe said. “It would be a nice added bonus for us, since our competitors (Bliss Creek Golf and Tanna Farms golf clubs) can do it.”

Trustee Jerry Schmidt said he supports both the proposed Class F and Class A liquor code changes.

“I think it’s good for Elburn,” Schmidt said.

Trustees Gordon Dierschow and Patricia Romke also said they support allowing the earlier liquor sales.

If the Village Board approves the Class F and Class A ordinance changes, all businesses in the village that hold those liquor licenses would be affected, not just Schmidt’s and Hughes Creek.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said he is hesitant about permanently allowing the sale of liquor at bars before noon on Sunday, as opposed to just permitting a temporary variance during football season.

Grabarek said that before the board votes on the proposed liquor-code change for Class A licenses, he wants to gauge community sentiment about the issue.

“Do they really want the bars to open at 11 a.m. (Sunday)?” Grabarek asked.

The Village Board possibly will vote on the proposed changes on Monday, Aug. 2.

Liquor stores in Elburn, which hold Class C liquor licenses, would not be affected by either proposed liquor-code change.

Police, fire chiefs agree on burn permit changes

ELBURN—The Elburn Police Department currently issues burning permits for outdoor fires. However, Police Chief Steve Smith suggested during the July 12 Public Safety Committee meeting that the Elburn & Countryside Fire Department should do the inspections for burn permits.

“We are inserting the Police Department and the village administration into something we don’t know as much about,” Smith said.

Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan agreed and said the Police Department still would enforce burning code violations.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said village staff will bring the issue to the Village Board for a possible change in the municipal code allowing for the Fire Department to conduct burning permit inspections.

“I think it’s a great idea to work together,” Willrett said.

Account would allow for credit card payments

ELBURN—Elburn village officials plan to obtain a merchant services account from a local bank. With such an account, the village could accept credit card payments from residents for various municipal bills and from commuters for Metra parking fees.

Village Treasurer Michael Greenen reported to the Finance Committee Monday that he is working with banks to negotiate the best rate for the merchant services account.

Lazarus House is Marcusson’s legacy

Shelter’s founder and director steps down after 13 years’ service
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—When Elburn resident Darlene Marcusson steps down from her position as Lazarus House executive director at the end of 2010, it will not be because she can no longer handle the 14-hour days she has grown accustomed to working, or because she is interested in pursuing other employment. In fact, her reason for stepping down is about as simple as it gets.

“I’m old,” she said. “I’ll be 62 years old in September, and my husband is already retired, so I think it’s time to join him.”

Marcusson, who founded Lazarus House in 1997 and has served as executive director for more than a decade, still plans to work on a part-time basis for the homeless shelter and service provider in St. Charles.

“It’s not like Darlene is leaving for good … She’ll still occasionally be available for consultations,” said Bill Grabarek, Lazarus board member. “We know, however, that there is indeed life after Lazarus House for Darlene, and we wish her well.”

Now that Marcusson has relinquished her leadership role at Lazarus, she will have the opportunity to visit her daughter in south Florida more frequently.

“My daughter lives about halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and I miss her,” Marcusson said. “My husband and I really look forward to being able to visit her more often.”

The shelter’s current associate director, Liz Eakins, will become the new executive director at the start of 2011. Grabarek, of Elburn, said he was extremely confident about Eakins ability to handle the leadership role.

“Liz is an excellent replacement choice for Darlene, and I have no doubt that Lazarus House will continue to grow with her serving in that position,” Grabarek said.

Marcusson also has confidence in Eakins.

“Liz is well-respected by the entire staff, and I know she’ll do a wonderful job as the new director,” Marcusson said.

The Lazarus board unquestionably holds that respect for Marcusson.

“She was the driving force behind Lazarus House and was a huge reason for its overwhelming success in the service area,” Grabarek said.

Marcusson is grateful for the opportunity she was given to work closely with the community during her time as executive director, she said.

Under Marcusson’s leadership for the past 13 years, Lazarus House has assisted thousands of people in need with its 24-hour shelter, three-meal-per-day soup kitchen, personal development programs, and transitional living quarters. In addition, Lazarus House helps subsidize household budgets and connects clients with appropriate social services agencies in the area to help them regain their independence.

Marcusson believes that founding Lazarus House was her destiny and now she is completely confident in her decision to step down at the end of the year.

“I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me, but we all have an assignment in life, and I have no doubt Lazarus House was what I was meant to do,” she said.

Shelter history
Darlene Marcusson founded Lazarus House in 1997 and since then led the organization through tremendous growth. Lazarus currently has approximately 40 employees and hundreds of volunteers, and serves St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County. Following is an abbreviated history of the St. Charles organization.

• June 1, 1997: Marcusson founded Lazarus House, which began as a warm-weather shelter (June through September) for homeless individuals connected to St. Charles.

• 1998: The program expanded its service area and located at the Free Methodist Church in St. Charles as a permanent site open 365 days a year.

• July 2003: The Lazarus House Center for Transitional Living opened its doors.

• January 2006: Lazarus House received a grant for a pilot program to provide ongoing rental subsidies to qualifying low-income households in St. Charles

• October 2006: Lazarus House opened the Daytime Center for Women and Children.

• October 2008: Lazarus House opened the Community Resource Center for its our Outreach Program (homelessness prevention).