Category Archives: Elburn

Folk singer first in library summer series

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—The Elburn Town and Country Public Library will host four free concerts on the lawn behind the library on July 15 and 29 and Aug. 5 and 19.

The library has held a concert annually at the end of the summer reading program in the past, but this is the first year it is offering the four-concert series.

“The attendance was always good for the year-end concert, so I thought this year I would also try having four concerts with a variety of music styles,” series coordinator Cathy Korthals said. “These concerts are being held to entertain and thank our patrons.”

Attendance is free for the concerts, which the library pays for with help from the Friends of the Library fundraisers.

Anyone is welcome to attend. Concert-goers may bring their own chairs and refreshments. Attendees may sit anywhere on the grass and if the crowd is large, people may sit in Prairie Park, located east of the library.

The library owns the garage behind (to the north of) the library and the bands will be set up in the driveway there, Korthals said.

Parking is in the library parking lot and overflow parking can use the Village Hall lot since the village offices will be closed.

The library is open until 9 p.m. Concert-goers may step inside to cool off and are also welcome to use the bathroom facilities. If it rains, the concert will take place inside the library. For more information, call (630) 365-2244.

Summer Concert Series
6:30 p.m. outdoors behind
Town & County Public Library
320 E. North St., Elburn

July 15 — Mark Dvorak will present folk songs on
his guitar and will have sing-alongs.

July 29 — Latin jazz

Aug. 5 — The Midnight band plays oldies, classics and
current hits, covering songs from
Frank Sinatra to Bon Jovi

Aug. 19 — Running Fox, a four-piece Blue Grass band

Day in the Park, fireworks are back

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Because of public support, the Elburn Chamber of Commerce can once again host its fireworks and Day in the Park at Lions Park, with this summer’s event taking place Sunday, July 11.

The fireworks had run continuously since 1997, but when there was not enough funding in 2009, the chamber could not hold Day in the Park.

This year, the chamber got the word out that the event would not return unless it could raise enough money for the fireworks. People responded generously, attending the chamber’s porkchop fundraisers and donating money in canisters at downtown Elburn businesses. [quote]

“The public was more aware that they wanted it (back) this year,” said Day in the Park Committee Chair Leslie Flint.

As a result, the chamber raised most of the $10,000 needed to stage the fireworks and will make up the balance through Day in the Park vendor-booth rentals and parking fees.

New at the event will be a health fair. In addition, a SummerFest sponsored by Dr. David Foss of Vital Chiropractic will feature water balloons, a bubble station, Baggos and corn toss, a magician and balloon artist, face painting, coloring, the Smoke House by the Elburn Fire Department and finger printing. By having a Fun Card stamped by each vendor, kids will receive free popcorn and snow cones and admission to the fun station with a moon jump.

Among the festival’s food vendors will be Suzie’s Fun Foods and Hill’s Country Store.

Flint said approximately 2,000 people attend the event each year, with people watching the fireworks at the park at dusk and lining the sidewalks to see the show with their neighbors.

Admission at the park is free, with a $5 parking charge.

Storms bring more animals to wildlife center

Additional funding, volunteers, supplies currently needed
by Tammy Swanson
ELBURN—Have you ever wondered who helps the baby raccoons whose mother was run over by a car, the infant opossums trapped in a window well or the ducklings searching for their mother? These wild animals are given a second chance at life by the Fox Valley Wildlife Center (FVWC) in the Elburn Woods Forest Preserve.

Recently, the center has been inundated with baby birds because of the heavy rain in June. The birds include robins, cedar wax wings, sparrows, morning doves and starlings. Especially hard-hit have been mallards; the center has cared for 170 ducklings this summer.

“This year, because of all the storms, we do have lots of tiny baby birds because of the high winds,” said Andrea Krueger, FVWC vice president. “We have a huge (number) of mallards here. With the bad weather, the baby birds get separated from the mom.”

In addition to storms, another type of event brings baby mallards to the center in the summer—fireworks.

“On the Fourth of July with the fireworks on the river, the mom is there with her babies,” Krueger said. “She’ll fly away often and the babies are left there. She’ll come back, but maybe she won’t be able to find the babies. It’s a very sad thing.”

Once the baby birds are at the center, they need constant feeding. Some babies need to be fed water and formula with a syringe as often as every 10 minutes to keep them alive.

The center’s goal is to raise the babies until they are able to be released into the wild.

“(With) the birds, we do a gentle release. When they are able to fly and find their own food, we just open the door and they leave when they are comfortable,” Krueger said.

The center also must make sure that mallard ducklings have sufficient waterproofing before the center releases them into a river, which takes time.

“That could go into late summer or fall before they are all waterproof,” Krueger said. “Waterfowl have a gland at the base of their tail that secretes oil. You’ll see them rubbing their neck up against their glands and they rub it all around their whole body and that waterproofs them.”

Since opening its doors in 2001, the FVWC has helped heal and release thousands of animals back into the wild. The nonprofit organization relies entirely on fundraisers, donations, memberships and grants to cover the cost of its services.
FVWC is in great need of more funding this year because of so many animals in need.

“We do get a lot of donations, but we still have a lot of expenses,” Krueger said. “We were at Swedish Days (in Geneva) and we were expecting to do really good, and we didn’t, so we are in dire need now.”

For just one raccoon, the cost to rehabilitate it is $50. The center feeds the raccoon formula for five weeks, and vaccinates it against rabies, distemper and parvovirus. The animal stays at the center three to four months. For one duckling, the cost for care is $30. Each duckling is fed greens and waterfowl chow, and also stays at the center three to four months. To care for a fawn for three months costs about $40.

Aside from monetary donations, the center always needs more animal food and supplies. Its wish list includes fresh produce such as spinach, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. The center can also use live bugs like meal worms and wax worms, and welcomes donations of office supplies, medical supplies, blankets, pet dishes and household goods.

In addition, volunteers for a variety of tasks are always in great demand.

“They can do animal handling. They can do laundry, dishes, preparing food and taking care of the educational animals,” said Krueger.

For more information about making donations, volunteering, membership or helping wild animals and birds, please contact the FVWC at Elburn Woods Forest Preserve, 45W061 Route 38, Elburn, IL 60119, (630) 365-3800 or

Benefit Night
Zanies Comedy Club
at Pheasant Run Resort
in St. Charles

Thursday, Aug. 5.
8 p.m.
Comedy Central performer
Butch Bradley

Tickets cost $25 per person
and 100 percent of the ticket sales will benefit the
Fox Valley Wildlife Center

Photo: Fox Valley Wildlife Center volunteer Mike Beck feeds a rescued bird at the Elburn facility. Photo by Tammy Swanson

Baseball trial proceedings to begin

Family’s lawsuit alleges Elburn sports organization was negligent
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—The pretrial conference in a lawsuit against the Elburn Baseball and Softball organization is set for Friday, July 9, with Kane County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Sullivan presiding.

The lawsuit, which Daryl and Wendy Kemp of Elburn filed in the Kane County Circuit Court in April 2009, claims the nonprofit baseball league neglected to provide proper supervision during an April 21, 2008, practice that resulted in Kemp’s 11-year-old son being hit on the hand with a bat swung by a teammate.

The lawsuit claims the boy suffered scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress and inability to live a normal life as a result of his injury. The Kemps are seeking in excess of $50,000 to cover damages, medical expenses and court costs.

Baseball Association Secretary Pete LaSalle declined to comment on the lawsuit. Daniel J. Kordik, the Kemp’s attorney, did not respond to phone calls from the Elburn Herald this week.

Elburn Baseball and Softball is an organization that is entirely volunteer-based.

Village may fine for illegal discharge into sewer

ELBURN—A new municipal ordinance in Elburn prohibits illicit connections and discharges into the storm sewer system and allows the village to fine violators up to $750 and require them to pay all violation abatement costs.

The Elburn Village Board approved the ordinance on Monday. The ordinance defines illicit connections as any drain or conveyance that allows non-storm-sewer water discharge to enter the storm drain system including wash water from indoor drains and sinks, sewage and processed wastewater.

Sweatt dealt to Maple Leafs in Versteeg trade

For those hoping that one day they would see Elburn-bred Bill Sweatt putting on the Indian head sweater of the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, commence disappointment.

However, there now exists an opportunity for the Colorado College graduate to make inroads to the National Hockey League another way: through Toronto.

The Blackhawks, in an ongoing attempt to navigate out of salary cap difficulties, included the 2007 second-round draft pick’s rights in a trade that sent playoff asset Kris Versteeg to the Maple Leafs for Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.

Sweatt, who scored 15 goals and 33 points in 39 contests for the Tigers in his senior season, was an economics major.

Sweatt participated in the Blackhawks prospect camp in 2008 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Ill. and in 2009 at Johnny’s Ice House in Chicago.

The 21-year old was selected 38th overall in 2007, just 37 picks behind Stanley Cup hero Patrick Kane.

In other Sweatt news, Bill’s older brother Lee will compete for a spot with the Vancouver Canucks after signing in May. Lee spent the 2009-10 season in Europe.

Bill Sweatt
Left wing
Born: Sept. 21, 1988
Selected 38th overall by Blackhawks in 2007

Photo: Elburn native Bill Sweatt, shown here at a previous Blackhawks prospect camp, was dealt June 30 to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Kris Versteeg in the continued restructuring of the Stanley Cup Champions’ roster. File Photo

Elburn woman indicted in 2009 fatal crash

Updated July 3, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.

An Elburn woman has been indicted in a March 2009 crash that killed a McHenry County man.

Linda L. Knotts, 45, of the 300 block of Dempsey Street, Elburn, was indicted June 29, 2010, by a Kane County grand jury, on one count of reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony, one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony, one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class 2 felony, and one count of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor.

After the indictment, Associate Judge James C. Hallock signed a warrant for Knotts’ arrest and set her bail at $500,000.

Knotts surrendered at about 2 p.m. Friday at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the indictment, on March 20, 2009, Knotts was driving south on Illinois Route 47 in Kane County with cocaine in her system and was in possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine. Knotts exceeded the posted maximum speed limit and failed to decrease speed to avoid an accident while maneuvering a curve and approaching a hill crest, attempted to pass vehicles in a no-passing zone, created a hazard for other drivers, passed vehicles in a no-passing zone and struck a vehicle driven by 54-year-old William McKenzie of Marengo, Ill., causing McKenzie’s death.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Knotts could be sentenced to probation or between three and seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The charges against Knotts are not proof of guilt. Knotts is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Related: Marengo man dies in 2-car crash near SG March 26, 2009

Summer doldrums cure

Keslinger Road Day Camp offers faith-based fun
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Are your children already saying they’re bored this summer? Relief is in sight at the Keslinger Road Day Camp.

The camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, July 26-30, at Faith Assembly Church on Keslinger Road in Elburn, one-half mile west of Route 47.

Camp leader Adam Hammond has held similar programs at the Crossroads Christian Youth Center for eight years, with up to 150 children in attendance. This is the first year the day camp will take place in Elburn.

“We felt it was time to offer day camp to the Kaneland area,” he said.

The deadline for registration is Monday, July 5. Attendance is capped at 80 children.

The nondenominational, faith-based camp will feature creek-walking, cook-outs, skits, water wars, craft, games, playground, sports, Bible stories, competitions with prizes, and swimming at both the Crossroads Christian Youth Center on Route 30 in Big Rock and at Splash Country in Aurora.

Photo: Camp leader Adam Hammond tries to catch up to Jordan Boyd during a flag football game. Courtesy photo

Coffee, confection, connection

Downtown Elburn cafe has a new identity
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—The Mad Hatter Cafe’s grand opening on Sunday offered children a chance to decorate their own cupcakes, which drew many families to the event at Party Animals, 118 N. Main St., Elburn.

The Mad Hatter Cafe offers customers a place to sip an espresso and connect with WiFi service on their laptops at the colorfully painted tables in front of the shop, and it even provides deluxe coffee service to your car.

The cafe originally opened as part of the Party Animals themed party store in 2008, but many people did not realize it was there.

“People knew us for the parties and supplies we offered, but didn’t realize that we also have a coffee cafe at the front of the store,” said Cindy Thul, shop owner. “So we’re giving the cafe its own identity.”

Besides expresso, the newly named Mad Hatter Cafe offers several flavors of Italian coffee, fruit smoothies made with fresh ingredients, teas, muffins, cakes, biscotti and cupcakes. Customers with a sweet tooth also may enjoy Thul’s homemade chocolates and fudge, or pick from the 1950s-style penny candies farther back in the store. In addition, Thul is adding donuts to the menu. All of her desserts are made fresh, using recipes passed down from her grandmother and great-grandmother.

Realizing that many people want coffee and dessert on their way to work or the Elburn Metra station, Thul will take orders out to customers’ cars if they call ahead. Besides on-street parking, there is a large lot behind the store where patrons can enter through the cafe’s back door, or pull up in their cars to pick up their orders.

Also in the Mad Hatter Cafe are coffee cups to purchase along with tea pots and other serving dishes. Patrons may buy placemats for restless children to color. While there, families can browse through Party Animal’s large selection of merchandise—dolls and accessories, puppets, games, puzzles, pinatas, stuffed animals and helium balloons.

Party Animals offers 19 different themed parties in a colorfully decorated room with a velvet-lined throne for the person of honor.

Mad Hatter Cafe
inside Party Animals
118 N. Main St., Elburn
Parking available on Main Street or
in the lot in back of the café.

(630) 365-2898
(call ahead for car deliveries)

Tuesday-Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
closed Mondays

photo by Ben Draper

Loan sought for emergency generator at plant

Village concerned outages could cause sewer crisis
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn this week applied for a $539,000 government loan to pay for an emergency generator for the wastewater treatment plant, to prevent residential sewer backups during power outages.

The village is seeking the low-interest loan from Kane County’s $16 million Recovery Zone Bond Program financed by the federal government.

The emergency generator has been on the village’s wish list for more than a year. In January 2009, Village engineer Bill Gain told the Village Board, “It is imperative that Elburn install a power generator at its wastewater treatment plant to prevent residential sewage backups during a power outage.”

He said then that if there were a power outage, the plant would be without power for its lift stations, possibly for 12 hours or more.

Gain’s prediction proved correct. On June 18, a severe storm led to electrical outages in Elburn and throughout northern Illinois. The village’s wastewater treatment plant on Thrysilius Drive had no electricity for 13 hours starting at 3:30 p.m.

Reporting on the incident to the Village Board Monday, Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said public works personnel reacted quickly and set up gas-powered pumps to move the influent into the oxidation ditches at the plant. They also borrowed an additional pump from the city of Geneva.

“That put us over the top and prevented us from flooding out,” Nevenhoven said.

Nevenhoven said the village received no reports of sewage backing up into basements.

“It came close,” Nevenhoven said.

Nevenhoven said the village will find out in September or October whether the loan for the emergency generator is approved.

The village would have 10 years to pay off the loan, at 3 percent interest, and the federal government would reimburse the village 45 percent of the interest it paid, Nevenhoven said.

Proposal prohibits non-rainwater in storm system

ELBURN—Elburn village officials proposed amending the municipal code to prohibit illicit connections and discharges to the storm sewer system and to fine violators.

The proposed ordinance amendment defines illicit connections as any drain or conveyance that allows non-storm-sewer water discharge to enter the storm drain system including wash water from indoor drains and sinks, sewage and processed wastewater.

Bob Jass goes to bat for Elburn Baseball, Softball

Elburn—This summer, Bob Jass Chevrolet in Elburn invested support in Elburn through a partnership with the Elburn Baseball & Softball organization.

Bob Jass Chevrolet provided baseball equipment, instructional clinics, a monetary donation, and an opportunity to raise an additional $10,000 in funds through a Chevy vehicle giveaway-fundraiser. The effort by Bob Jass Chevrolet is part of the Chevy Youth Baseball initiative occurring throughout the nation from March through July 2010.

“Chevrolet has a long history with baseball at the national level. We wanted to bring that excitement and commitment to youth baseball, in the communities where our customers and their families live,” said Bob Jass, owner of Bob Jass Chevrolet. “Youth baseball has always played an important role in Elburn, so we are thrilled to support our kids in a meaningful way.”

Bob Jass Chevrolet presented each team with equipment kits complete with equipment bags, baseball buckets, dry-erase coach’s clipboards and Chevy Youth Baseball T-shirts. The sponsorship includes clinics with experienced instructors from former MLB/MiLB players and coaches, or the Ripken Baseball professional staff.

In addition, Jass presented monetary donation checks totaling $750 to Peter LaSalle, Elburn Baseball & Softball board member. The league also will have the opportunity to raise additional funds for their use as part of a Chevy Youth Baseball Fundraiser.

Sponsored leagues across the country have each received 2,000 fundraiser entry tickets to distribute for a suggested donation, and the league will keep 100 percent of the proceeds raised. At the end of the fundraiser, there will be five winners of a Chevy Equinox or Chevy Malibu vehicle of choice (up to $30,000 in value), and in each participating market there will be a secondary prize of a home entertainment center valued at $1,000.

Elburn Chamber of Commerce craft show and flea market participants wanted

ELBURN—The Elburn Chamber of Commerce is looking for crafters and vendors to join their annual craft show and flea market.

For those who wish to a vendor for the flea market or sidewalk sale, the dates are Friday, Aug. 20, and Saturday, Aug. 21. The Sidewalk Sale will take place in downtown Elburn.

For those who wish to join in on the festivities as a crafter for the craft show, the dates are Saturday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, Aug. 22, and will be held at Lions Park.

Applications are available at, by clicking on the Elburn Days link.

For more information on the craft show and flea market, or about the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, call (630) 365-2295 or e-mail

Storm chaser

Thrill and goodwill are motivators for Elburn man’s hobby
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—Brad Hruza was fascinated by clouds and storms while growing up in Iowa. And his interest in inclement weather only grew stronger when he was exposed to an abundance of lightning and tornadoes after moving to Illinois in 1985.

“I’ve always loved bad weather, and I spent a lot of time in my youth following the rain,” he said.

Hruza’s fondness for stormy weather eventually led him to his ultimate labor of love—storm chasing, which he has done for the last 15 years. While most people will try to find shelter below ground during a severe storm, Hruza prefers to get dangerously close to storm clouds and tornadoes to take pictures of them.

Hruza also became a National Weather Service-certified storm spotter last spring.

Not everyone understands his unusual hobby.

“People ask why I (chase storms) and what the point is,” Hruza said. “My only response is, if I can save just one life by helping to get a 10-second-earlier warning to them, then that makes every second I have ever chased worth it. I do it to help save lives and property.”

One thing Hruza doesn’t chase storms for is money. He volunteers, without pay, to get up close and personal with disastrous weather for the Skywarn Spotter Network. And he currently has plenty of time to spot and chase storms, having a disability since January 2009 when a 616-pound entertainment center fell on his foot while he was helping a friend move.

Hruza originally wanted to become a meteorologist but managed to sit through only one class at Northern Illinois University before deciding meteorology wasn’t going to work out for him. Hruza wanted to see storms and twisters in-person, not just on radar.

Hruza, now 34, moved to Elburn in 2005. Living in the area has given him the opportunity to chase some formidable storms, one of which was a tornado that swept through Dwight and Streator, Ill. two weeks ago.

“I traveled down there to see the devastation. I actually walked around taking photos right in the middle of the destruction,” he said. “It was heartbreaking. People just didn’t know what to do.”

“My first thought in Dwight was that their situation was horrible,” Hruza said. “Not only did (the tornado) hit a populated area, but it was dark out. No one could see it coming. Thankfully, no one died.”

Hruza also found a particular memento in Dwight that perfectly embodied how a dangerous storm can change everything in a few moments.

“I looked down at my feet and there was a ripped-in-half picture of a newborn baby. My first thought was how people always say there are things that can never be replaced, and this is what they meant by that,” he said. “I took the picture, telling myself that this is one memory someone lost that I could not let be lost forever.”

While there is plenty of goodwill in Hruza’s storm-chasing motives, he admits he really enjoys the scary, thrilling aspect of the work, too.

“It’s a definite rush, and it’s really hard for me to explain exactly what it feels like,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing, though.”

Village grants Mediacom temporary contract extension

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday temporarily extended Mediacom’s now-expired cable T.V. franchise agreement until September while the village negotiates the company’s next contract. But not all board members were in favor of the extension.

Trustee Jeff Walter said he did not want the village to extend Mediacom’s contract even temporarily unless it were changed to require better customer service.

“Their (Mediacom’s) service is not what it should be,” Walter said Tuesday.

The village is working along with Sugar Grove on negotiating their next contracts with Mediacom that they hope include better cable rates and more channels for residents. Both villages hired cable consultant Stu Chapman to negotiate the contract. Village Administrator Erin Willrett said Chapman is expected to negotiate the longer-term contract by September.

She added that it was Chapman’s recommendation to extend Mediacom’s contract into September, while negotiations on the next contract are finishing up. Willrett agreed with his advice.

“We could do nothing, but the possibility is, do we want them (Mediacom) to walk away?” Willrett said.

Walter said he would like to see village staff more actively pursue another vendor. He added that he would like to meet Chapman and talk to him about the issue.

“I would like to find out why we are in this position,” Walter said. “Everybody seems to think they (Mediacom) have us over a barrel, but I don’t know that I agree.”

A 2009 village survey in Elburn indicated many residents are unhappy with their cable service from Mediacom. Village officials said they plan to renew the company’s franchise contract, however, because they have no other option since no other cable providers have sought the Elburn franchise.

Village officials said Chapman has asked other cable companies to come into the village, but was told installing new lines is cost prohibitive.

Trustee Ken Anderson said Elburn may not be able to attract another cable provider because its population is too low.

Mediacom has held the village’s cable T.V. franchise for more than 10 years. In recent years, some residents have chosen to obtain service through a satellite dish rather than from Mediacom. Approximately 51 percent of Elburn households currently are Mediacom subscribers. Mediacom currently does not provide service to some areas of the village, including Blackberry Creek.

Any company providing cable service in Elburn must be franchised by the state or the village. AT&T has the state franchise for providing cable, but so far has chosen to offer cable service in more populated areas than Elburn.

The Sugar Grove Board on May 4 also approved temporary extension of the village’s cable franchise agreement with Mediacom, through Sept.7.

Elburn Farmers Market won’t open this year

ELBURN—The Elburn Farmers Market will not take place this summer because not enough vendors signed on for the weekly event at Lions Park, said coordinator Jim Gillett of the Elburn Lions Club.

For the past three years, the Elburn Farmer’s Market was open every Sunday from mid to late June through early October.

The event’s profits contributed to operation and maintenance costs for Lions Park.

Photo gallery: A caring place to live

A benefit for the family of Steve and Carol Herra, who is battling lymphoma, took place last Saturday at the Elburn Lions Park.
The well-attended event featured raffles, a pig roast, and a live auction. Cheryl Lee (left) holds a potted plant while it is offered at
auction. Photos by Mary Herra

Young artists’ creations are showcased

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN/SG—Six-year-old Adam Wold showed an artistic side early on, said his mother, Jenny Wold of Elburn.

“He’d make things from what he rummaged from our recycling bin,” she said. “He created string set ups in his room to slide things on and open doors.”

One such creation—a castle made from egg cartons—is among Adam’s art that is on display at Sugar Grove Public Library through Friday, June 25, along with works by other students of The Art Room.

Because of her son’s talent and interest in art, Adam’s mom enrolled him in classes at The Art Room, in the instructor Jeaneatte Rehmel’s Elburm home.

An acrylic painting of a lion is one of Adam’s creations in The Art Room display at the library this month. He said his teacher helped him with the details.

“I was supposed to draw it inside a cage, but I wanted him outside,” he said. “So Miss Jeannette had me look at pictures to see what it was like where lions live.”

Adam’s parents display more of his art in the family’s house. Moving his hands over a colorful painting of a pirate ship shooting at a boat, Adam told how Rehmel helped him create this piece.

“Miss Jeannette explained that I needed to make the boat being fired on smaller, so that it would seem far away,” Adam said. “My hardest part was drawing the cannon so it would look like it had turned sideways so it could aim at the boat.”

Adam is particularly proud of the ladder he had drawn up to the crow’s nest. He said it was “one of the harder things to get the way I wanted it.”

His ship painting will be on display at another art show at the Sugar Grove Public Library in late fall.

Another painting he did at The Art Room, of a lighthouse, features beams of light glowing at the top, on a dark sky-blue background, showing Adam’s love for color.

In a follow-up to his lion painting, Adam is currently working on a painting of a gazelle.

“I’m going to keep drawing animals that live in the same place,” he said.

Art show
thru Friday, June 25
Sugar Grove Public Library,
125 S. Municipal Drive
Featuring works by students
of The Art Room
The public may view the display
during regular library hours:
Tue.–Thu., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fri. and Sat., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Photo: An acrylic painting of a lion is among Elburn 6-year-old Adam Wold’s creations on display at the Sugar Grove Public Library this month. A student of The Art Room in Elburn, Adam plans to produce a series of wild-animal paintings. Courtesy Photo

Groomers, others organize Lions Park event

by Keeth Beebe
ELBURN—Six local pet-minded businesswomen organized Paws All Day in Elburn on June 12 at Lions Park in Elburn to introduce local dog and cat owners to the wealth of services available to keep pets healthy.

“We wanted to put this together because our area has a tremendous amount of things to offer for dog and cat owners,” co- organizer Lore Thuestad said. “Some people are not aware of how many services are offered here, This whole event has been geared towards the health of the animals—healthy food, regular grooming and training. Really, it’s just a celebration of dogs, cats, their abilities and the people that love them.”

Thuestad and the other organizers, Linda Nash, Joan and Amy DeGroot, Audrey Ritchey and Diana Holtz—all work in pet-related fields. Thuestad has an in-home pet care business; the DeGroot’s own the pet grooming salon Amy’s Wild Hairs in Maple Park; Holtz is a pet groomer; and Nash and Ritchey work as representatives for a holistic dog food company.

Photo by Ben Draper

Paws All Day in Elburn highlights pet health

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—A Great Dane named Smokey nuzzled his handler, Jennifer Ratcliffe, as she spoke to visitors from a booth at Paws All Day in Elburn on Saturday.

The event in Lions Park was an opportunity for Ratcliffe to let people know about Great Dane Rescue Midwest. Ratcliff represented the organization, which found Smokey in a Chicago animal shelter after he had spent a life of forced dog fighting, bearing scars on his face and neck from the cruel treatment he experienced.

“These Great Danes come to us for a variety of reasons—divorce, lost jobs, house foreclosure, relocation and other situations where the owner can no longer provide shelter,” Ratcliffe said.

Another booth at Paws All Day in Elburn was for The Leader Dogs for the Blind, whose representative, Carroll Jackson, drove to Elburn from Jacksonville, Ill. to participate. Jackson said the organization has been in existence for 71 years.

“We just graduated our 14,000th dog in March,” he said.

Other booths at Paws All Day in Elburn offered information from pet-adoption organizations and pet groomers.

The event’s organizers plan to bring back the event annually. They hope it will grow every year and that future vendors will include more pet-rescue groups and low-cost spay and neuter organizations.

Photo: Smokey the Great Dane. Photo by Ben Draper

Chief wants speedier solution to weed issue

ELBURN—Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said the village should no longer send repeat notices to property owners who fail to comply with the village weed ordinance.

The Village Board is expected to vote on his recommendation Monday, June 21.

If the board approves it, in the future the village will send one notice to a violator, and if the violation continues, it will issue a citation. Court fines for this violation can be as high as $750.

So far this year, the village has contacted 40 households throughout Elburn about their violations, and 90 percent of those have complied, Smith said. Most of the remaining violations are in Blackberry Creek subdivision, on vacant properties.

Trained auxiliary officers would aid Elburn police

[quote]by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn village officials want to appoint voluntary auxiliary officers who will be available to assist the Police Department with traffic control and emergency and disaster response.

Under a proposed ordinance, the village would be able to appoint people as auxiliary officers after they received training from the village’s Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) program.

“It isn’t like the Old West anymore, where you could deputize anyone and form a posse,” trustee Bill Grabarek said during Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting, for which he is chairman.

Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said having auxiliary officers on hand for emergencies would be extremely helpful.

“We (the Police Department) have only got two officers on duty at any one time,” Smith said. “We don’t have the number of bodies, the staffing to provide extra officers during accidents and weather-related emergencies.”

The ordinance would allow the village to appoint auxiliary officers who would not have arrest power, weapons or emergency vehicles.

The volunteers would not wear police uniforms but would have distinctive garb such as polo shirts identifying them as auxiliary officers. They also would receive reflective vests and flashlights. The village would pay for those items with C.E.R.T. grant money.

“It sounds like we’d be pretty fortunate to have them. They would not cost the village any money and they would be performing a service, a great service,” Trustee Jerry Schmidt said.

The pool of auxiliary officer applicants will come from this year’s seven-week C.E.R.T. program, which finishes up on Thursday and included instruction in fire suppression, disaster first-aid and psychology, search and rescue, terrorism and weather. Elburn Police Department and Elburn and Countryside Fire Department conducted the training.

Morrison resigns from village administration

updated June 16, 2010 @ 7:24 p.m.
Morrison led village staff during period
of extensive growth, development

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—David Morrison, a longtime top administrator for the village of Elburn, has resigned.

Morrison, who was village administrator for more than a decade and assistant village administrator for the past year, submitted his resignation in writing on June 10 to Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

Village President Dave Anderson on the following day said that he did not request Morrison’s resignation.

Asked whether he was surprised at Morrison’s announcement, Anderson said, “Yes and no. I thought that he might be looking.”

Anderson said Morrison did not inform the village of his future career plans. The Elburn Herald has attempted unsuccessfully to reach Morrison to inquire about his plans and reason for resigning. Morrison left Village Hall the day of his resignation, Anderson said.

During Morrison’s tenure as village administrator until last May, the village experienced a doubling of its population, and significant residential and commercial development including the Jewel-Osco and Walgreen’s corners and the Blackberry Creek Subdivision.

When Anderson took office in May 2009, he demoted Morrison to the position of assistant village administrator.

Willrett was community development director for 16 months, reporting to Morrison, before Anderson named her village administrator.

Anderson said Wednesday that the village currently does not plan to hire another assistant village administrator.

Summer reading can reap rewards

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Reading has many benefits, from enjoyment to education, but the Town & Country Public Library is offering even more rewards for participants in Scare Up A Good Book.

That is the name of the library’s summer reading program this year at the Elburn Library. Through fun events and incentives, the program encourages children, teenagers and adults to read more from June through August.

Last year’s summer reading program, Read on the Wild Side, had approximately 1,000 youths and 400 adults participating, and coordinator Dwayne Nelson expects similar participation this year.

Nelson said the free program is so popular because it offers a different theme each year and prizes for those who complete their reading—10 hours for children, four books for teens and three books for adults.

Participants may read whatever books they want, but they also may choose titles from the Scare Up a Good Book program list, such as murder mysteries for adults, graphic novels for teens and monster stories for children, which are not too scary, Nelson said.

“I have a bibliography of scary titles,” Nelson said.

Participants who finish by the last day of the program, Aug. 14, receive a $10 gift card from Barnes & Noble book store and are eligible for raffle prizes including a Raging Waves water park season pass, an annual family pass to Brookfield Zoo, tickets for a party of 15 to Randall 15 theater and two Chicago Sky tickets.

Those who read even more than what the program requires are eligible for other prizes, such as pizzas from Paisano’s and ice cream cones from Alice’s Place.

Among the other businesses who donated the prizes are Paisano’s, Raging Waves, Alice’s Place, Sugar Grove Family Fun Center and Kuipers Family Farm.

In addition to the prizes, the program offers special events throughout the summer, from concerts to magic shows (see events list).

Nelson uses the theme that the Committee of Illinois Librarians suggests each year for public library summer reading programs.

“I follow it because the programs are well-thought-out and fun for kids,” Nelson said.

Elburn residents may sign up for the program anytime this summer.

Scare Up A Good Book
Following are some of the special events scheduled for this summer at Town & Country Public Library, 320 E. North St., Elburn.
• Tom Lichtenheld (bestselling author)
Drawing & Writing Workshop
Thursday, June 24, 1 p.m.
• Dave Herzog’s Marionettes
Monday, June 28, 6:30 p.m.
• Young Rembrandts (8th-12th grades)
Thursdays, July 15-Aug. 12, 11:15 a.m.
• Mr. E. & Maggie Magic Show
Friday, July 30, 11 a.m.
• Reid Miller presents “Bump In the Night!”
Monday, Aug.9, 6:30 p.m.

John Deere store honors 30-year employee

Mechanic Steve Bagg found his calling while a teenager
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Over a piece of Steve Bagg’s anniversary cake, decorated with trees, farmland, and of course, miniature tractors, the 30-year John Deere employee recounted how he, as a kid, was very interested in football and baseball, until he discovered tractors and fell in love with working on them at age 15.

The cake was provided by Hogan-Walker John Deere dealership in Elburn, which celebrated Bagg’s three decades with the company this week.

Bagg, the store’s longtime mechanic, is surprised that he has stayed in the same job since he was 19.

“I would have never guessed back then that I’d still be here, doing what I love,” Bagg said. “I sure never thought I’d end up being the longest-time employee.”

For Bagg, working on tractors is not just a job. His interest in machinery continues after work hours when he goes home to work on farm equipment for the fun of it, he said. He has a passion for antique gas engines and old tractors and has restored a rare 1915 Challenge upright and his dad’s 1957 John Deere 720 diesel.

Bagg learned how to fix tractors from two mentors. One was his father George, a grain and cattle farmer, known for being able to make anything out of anything, and who once rebuilt a farm tractor to have a road speed of 80 mph. When Bagg went to work at the Elburn store as a teenager, he learned more from master mechanic Marty Straussberger.

Bagg has been a mentor, too, teaching new employees at the Elburn dealership. He also belongs to the North Eastern 2 Cylinder Club and the Northern Illinois Steam Engine Club, sometimes serving as director of both.

Bagg has managed the shop from time to time, but when the position was offered to him permanently he declined, opting to stay in the shop to work on machinery.

“I really like people but am happiest when I’m working with them one-on-one, versus trying to be a boss over all of them,” Steve said.

As the business grew, changing hands and changing focus from farm equipment to commercial and consumer equipment, Bagg attended many John Deere classes, always scoring at the top of his class. In a time when electronics are replacing diagnosticians, Bagg can sometimes tell you what is wrong and how to fix equipment faster than a computer.

“A lot of our John Deere training is now done on computer, right here at the store,” Steve said. “I don’t mind doing work on the computer, but use it only as much as I have to, such as ordering parts. I prefer to just be out there working on the equipment.”

Store manager Noel Phillips complimented his lead technician.

“Steve is a soft-spoken, hard-working man who gives 100 percent all day,” Phillips said. “He has given back what was shared with him and applied his knowledge to the benefit of a grateful employer and community. Please stop by to congratulate Steve.”

Photo: Steve Bagg, longtime mechanic at Hogan-Walker John Deere in Elburn, specializes in fixing tractors, a skill he has honed since he was a teenager. Photo by Martha Quetsch

State’s financial crisis affects municipalities

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Village President Dave Anderson said Monday he is concerned about the state’s delay in income-tax disbursements to municipalities when the village already faces budget challenges.

The state is more than three months behind in disturbing the income-tax money it owes municipalities throughout Illinois, Anderson said. For Elburn, that amounts to up to $130,000, Anderson said.

“It’s not a pretty picture,” Anderson said.

State Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-25th) blames the current and past state administrations.

“The Blagojevich and Quinn administrations have gradually and consistently destroyed the fiscal condition of the state of Illinois,” Lauzen said.

Lauzen does not believe the state will solve the financial crisis that led to the delay in income-tax disbursements anytime soon.

“In my financial opinion, it will take us at least three to four years to correct this condition, after we fire the people responsible, in November, for gross neglect,” he said.

Anderson and mayors from other Illinois municipalities discussed the issue of the tardy disbursements during the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus meeting June 4.

“Everybody left there grinding their teeth,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the village will survive the crisis by continuing to cut its budget, although no specific expenses are slated for reduction yet.

Another potential challenge looms
ELBURN—Under state law, if the 2010 U.S. Census determines that the village’s population is more than 5,000, the village must establish a police commission and hire an actuary, which could cost the village more than $100,000 annually, Anderson said.

“Property owners’ taxes would have to pay for this,” Village President Dave Anderson told the Village Board.

A special U.S. special census determined the village’s residents numbered 4,696, and village officials believe the population currently could exceed 5,000.

Commisioner to decide penalty

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Village Liquor Commissioner Dave Anderson said he is not sure if the village will penalize three Elburn businesses that violated the village liquor code by selling alcohol to minors on May 20.

Schmidt’s Towne Tavern, 107 N. Main St., Riley’s Classic Bar & Grill, 117 N. Main St., and Rosati’s, 860 N. Main St., received citations for violating the state liquor code by selling liquor to underage, undercover buyers in a state-agency sting May 20. The illegal sales also violated the village’s liquor code.

Anderson said the village has yet to receive official notification of the citations from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, which conducted the sting. When he does, Anderson will decide whether the village should review the local violations.

“If they are adjucicated by the state, it could be a double jeaopardy situation,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he would not preside over any village hearing related to Schmidt’s offense, since he did not grant that tavern’s liquor license. Trustee Bill Grabarek likely would; Grabarek served as the liquor commissioner granting the Schmidt’s liquor license last year because of Anderson’s conflict of interest as the owner of Schmidt’s building at that time, Anderson said.

The village typically follows progressive discipline in cases of liquor-code violations, starting with a fine for a minor infraction, and more for serious or repeat infractions, Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said. Penalties could range from a liquor-license suspension of one or more days to a license revocation. He said it is up to liquor commissioner to look at all the circumstances, decide how serious the violation was and what, if any, penalty the business will receive.

“The local liquor commissioner has broad discretion in dealing with these matters,” Morrison said.

Elburn residents indicted for dumping in Fox River

Chicago—Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced criminal charges this week in connection with the chemical dumping that resulted in a fish kill in a creek that leads to the Fox River in May.

A Kane County grand jury returned an indictment of D Y Trade, Inc., a South Elgin recycling business, its chief executive officer, Yu Tan Zheng, 34, of Elburn, and An Hong, 32, of Elburn, an employee at the business, on one felony count each of water pollution and additional charges of misdemeanor water pollution.

The criminal charges are the result of the collaborative efforts of the Attorney General’s Office, the South Elgin Police Department, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the South Elgin Fire Department, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard.

“As a result of the thorough investigative efforts of all of these law enforcement agencies, we were able today to obtain this indictment and will move swiftly to hold this company and these individuals accountable for violating the criminal environmental laws,” said Attorney General Madigan.

The Attorney General’s office coordinated the multi agency investigation after South Elgin Police received a complaint from an area resident on May 15 that he had discovered foam and dead fish in his backyard pond and the nearby creek, which is located near the D Y Trade facility at 670 Sundown in South Elgin.

Arriving at the scene, a South Elgin police officer observed an individual at the business allegedly pouring the contents of a blue plastic drum into a storm drain at the D Y facility. The drain flows to a creek, which empties into the Fox River. A sampling of the material taken from the storm drain has been identified as an industrial cleaner toxic to fish and slow to biodegrade.

Based on today’s indictment, the defendants will receive a summons requiring that they appear in court on July 9. The public is reminded that these are merely charges and the defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. Felony Water Pollution is a Class 4 Felony punishable by up to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and a $25,000 fine for each day of violation.

The Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Bureau Chief, Paula Becker Wheeler, and Assistant Attorney General Colette Kennedy will prosecute the case. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office is assisting with the prosecution.