by Martha Quetsch
Elburnâ€”In testing treated wastewater at Elburn’s plant in June, village engineers found a fecal chloroform violation. Village Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said fats in the sewer system could be the culprit.
â€œThey believe it relates back to fats, oils and greases getting into the tank,â€ Nevenhoven said.
The engineers, from Baxter Woodman, addressed the problem by increasing the chlorine in the wastewater, Nevenhoven said.
â€œWe are watching it closely so it doesn’t happen again,â€ Nevenhoven said.
He said restaurant owners must prevent grease from getting into the sewer system by using fat traps.
â€œThe restaurants have to pay people to haul the grease away,â€ Nevenhoven said.
The Kane County Health Department and licensed plumbers check the traps when they are installed to make sure they work properly.
â€œThe grease traps are there, but if they are not cleaned, not emptied, off the grease goes,â€ Nevenhoven said.
The village cannot check the traps unless they are outside the restaurants and unless it hires a licensed plumber to do the check.
Village trustee Ken Anderson suggested that the village increase public education about the need to keep grease traps clean.
updated 7/24/2009 at 2:11 p.m. CST Village president said in July 23 email building was under contract, now sold (not rented) Trustee’s son’s application granted, 2 others pending by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The Elburn Village Board changed an ordinance on Monday to allow a liquor license to be issued for a new tavern in a building, at 107 N. Main St., that was owned by Village President Dave Anderson, even if he has an indirect interest in the business.
â€œGood common sense says everyone in the village has an indirect interest in the business,â€ Anderson said Wednesday.
The previous ordinance would have prohibited a liquor license for a business in which Anderson or any village trustee had direct or indirect interest. The change approved by village trustees Monday removed the reference to indirect interest. Anderson said the language change in the village liquor code mirrors the wording in the state’s liquor code. Anderson said he does not have a direct interest in the tavern business planned for the space he said July 23 he sold to Kevin Schmidt.
Anderson sold the building Thursday, July 23 to Kevin Schmidt, attorney Bob Britz said.
Also on Monday, the Village Board approved two ordinances allowing for the establishment of three new liquor licenses in the village, but not granting them to applicants.
After the board meeting closed, Deputy Liquor Commissioner and trustee Bill Grabarek approved an application for one of the licenses, for Schmidt’s bar, Village Attorney Bob Britz said. The license will allow the bar to sell beer, wine and hard liquor.
Applicants for the other two liquor licenses are Michael Rafferty, for the Riley Boys Tavern planned for the former Emma’s Pub at 117 Main, and Rosati’sâ€”for a new restaurant space near Jewel-Osco at Route 47 and Route 38. Rafferty is seeking a license to sell beer, wine and hard liquor, and Rosati’s is seeking a license to serve beer and wine.
Rosati’s and Rafferty still must sign the letter of understanding with the village before Liquor Commissioner Dave Anderson can grant them the other new liquor licenses, village officials said.
Kevin Schmidt’s father, trustee Jerry Schmidt, voted during the July 20 Elburn Village Board meeting for an ordinance allowing for a liquor code language change, and for an ordinance creating a second available Class A liquor license, one of which was obtained by his son after the meeting. Trustee Jerry Schmidt said Wednesday that he did not believe voting for the ordinances on July 20 was a conflict of interest. Schmidt had recused himself from voting for the creation of one of the two Class A licenses in June. Those licenses are not assigned to any business at the time they are created. The license is granted to the applicant only when the liquor commissioner approves the application and assigns the license.
â€œI didn’t think it was. I want to support my son in this project, but I have no interest in the business,â€ trustee Schmidt said.
He added that during his campaign before being elected in April, he was a proponent of bringing new businesses to the village to boost tax revenue.
A Tibetan cultural event featuring the monks of Drepung Gomang monastery took place July 17 at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center. The event, featuring traditional Tibetan ceremonial music and movement, was part of the monks’ U.S. tour to demonstrate the artistic accomplishments of Tibetan culture and to raise money for the monastery. Photo by Martha Quetsch
Planning Commission recommends village allow zoning variance by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Kane County Landscape Material & Supply owner Bruce Vajgert is seeking village permission to sell amphibious, off-road vehicles and display them outdoors on his business property, 817 E. Route 38, Elburn.
After a public hearing on Vajgert’s request Tuesday, the Elburn Planning Commission decided to recommend that the Village Board approve the special-use variance required for the vehicle sales on the property under the village zoning code.
Vajgert plans to display the vehicles next to an outdoor fireplace on the property, about 90 feet from Route 38, he said.
John Pattison, who lives near the company, asked about the possibility that the noise level would go up in the area from the vehicles. Vajgert said the vehicles have small, quiet motors.
Pattison also was concerned that the vehicles’ presence on the property could decrease the value of surrounding residences.
Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said before the village granted the special use, it would make sure that the vehicles would not cause dust, tracks, vibrations or other adverse environmental effects.
Planning Commissioner Paul Molitor suggested that the village limit the number of the off-road vehicles that Vajgert could display, and the commission agreed to recommend that the Village Board allow no more than 10 parked on an impermeable surface.
Vajgert said it is unlikely that he will display more than one or two at a time of these specialty vehicles, which have four to eight wheels and cost up to $32,000.
The Village Board will vote on Vajgert’s request at a future meeting to be announced.
Despite other cuts, Elburn budget still in red by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The village of Elburn will have to dip into its reserves to cover spending for its fiscal year 2009-10, even though it has trimmed total staff salaries.
The Village Board on Monday approved an annual budget appropriating spending up to $7.1 million, while revenues are expected to be $4.6 million.
Under the budget appropriation, the village may spend up to $1.7 million on salaries. Village Administrator Erin Willrett said salaries likely would be less than that amount, however, because the village will try to limit part-time and overtime hours.
â€œWe expect the departments to come in below what was requested/appropriated,â€ Willrett said.
Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said the $7.1 million in expenditures is the appropriated budget amount, which the village could spend but likely won’t.
Staff reductions from the village’s last fiscal year include eliminating the three building department salaries, a $73,000 commissioner job and two building inspector positions that paid $62,000 each. The village will hire a building and zoning code officer for up to $62,000.
â€œWe decided to do away with the Building Department because of economic issues,â€ Village President Dave Anderson said.
Anderson said with the building decline, the department was overstaffed. The total savings from eliminating the department is approximately $135,000. The village allocated approximately $84,000 for two new public works employees, however.
Another salary reduction is from a lower Police Chief pay. Chief Steve Smith will receive an annual salary of $81,000, compared to former Chief Jim Linane’s salary of $93,000.
As administrator, Willrett will receive a salary of $97,000 compared to the $79,000 she earned last fiscal year in her former position of community development director; Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison will receive an annual salary of $93,343 compared to his previous yearly pay of $113,000 as village administrator. The total salary reduction for these top two administrative positions was $2,000.
The village also cut back on Police Department staff, deciding not to fill two recently vacated police positions, the commander’s job formerly held by Smith, and a part-time community service officer position.
Village President Anderson said he regrets that the village could not afford to increase its police staffing this year as Smith requested.
â€œThe money is just not there,â€ he said.
Village officials attribute the deficit to declining revenue from building fees. To make up the shortage of revenue, the village may have to reduce its reserves from $5 million to approximately $3 million.
Staff pay comprises nearly 25 percent of the budget.
The salaries total this year will include $40,000 the village will remit to former Police Chief Jim Linane, which Morrison said it owes him for compensation time.
by Mike Slodki
ELBURNâ€”When any travel baseball or softball team does well, word tends to get out.
When a team like the Elburn Express wants to be something more than a team with a high winning percentage, it helps to get the word out, as well.
With the season coming to a close with this weekâ€™s area tournament in Geneva, the time is now for spreading the word about a team that wishes to be something for everyone.
â€œThe girls program is relatively young and we are trying to build a reputation for the program based on this years success,â€ U14 coach Dan Kolzow said. â€œWeâ€™re just trying to get the word out, for everyone that would like to volunteer. They donâ€™t even need to have a child thatâ€™s trying out.â€
A program that had 22 girls try out for the U14 level, the Express, which plays its game at a donated Lions Park West, wants to increase its numbers.
â€œWe lost some really good girls to other travel softball teams, and weâ€™d really like to get the community involved,â€ Kolzow said.
The season goes from May to July and already has a U16 and U12 team.
The U14 crew had nine girls return to this yearâ€™s team and were 19-12 as of last week.
â€œWe have tournament fees, equipment and gym rental, weâ€™d like the community to get involved and there are sponsorship opportunities. We want this program to be a viable option for softball and for parents to get involved and for sponsors to be active,â€ coach Scott Boan said.
The Elburn Express is open to players in the Kaneland School District. For tryout and volunteer information, look at the inside page of Sports and consult www.elburn.com/baseball/express.
Michael Weintraub, 5, of Elburn learns some magic from magician Brian Holt at the 2009 Elburn SummerFest, held Saturday at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center. See related story here. Photos by Ben Draper
Public hearing set for Monday by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The Elburn Village Board is considering two different budget proposals prepared by village staff, both with expenses that are greater than revenues.
â€œThe village of Elburn is no different from anyone else in this economy,â€ Village President Dave Anderson said.
The Elburn Village Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, July 20, at Village Hall regarding the tentative budget.
Although village revenue has declined because of fewer building permit and utility connection fees, Anderson wants to make sure the village meets its responsibilities: adequate funding to provide clean, potable water, street and wastewater maintenance, and quality police protection, Anderson said.
One budget version has income totaling $4.4 million, with expenses of $6 million. The other version has income totaling $4.6 million, with expenses of $6.8 million.
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said the budget version that has $800,000 more in expenses includes recent requests from department heads for additional personnel and equipment, and money for programs including parkway trees and downtown facade improvement. The budget version with lower expenses does not include all of the requested expenditures, Willrett said.
Both budget versions are works in progress, â€œnot set in stone,â€ Willrett said.
The village currently has $5,061,830 in its reserves, which will be used to cover the amount of the deficit in the final budget that trustees approve.
County asks state, federal government for funding by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Kane County transportation officials want the Anderson Road extension and railway overpass project built in 2011 and 2012 but cannot meet that goal unless funding for the $30 million construction project becomes available.
â€œWe currently do not have funding to build the roadway,â€ said Tom Rickert, Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT) director.
Rickert updated Elburn officials on the status of the Anderson Road project during Monday’s Village Board meeting.
KDOT officials have been negotiating with Sho-Deen Inc. about purchasing the right of way for the road extension, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said. Sho-Deen owns the property and plans a business and residential development along the proposed extended roadway, between Route 38 to Keslinger Road.
The project remains a priority for the county, KDOT official Paul Holcomb said.
â€œIt will allow for better emergency (vehicle) response and more opportunities for roadway connectivity,â€ Rickert said.
The county already has spent $2.8 million for engineering and feasibility studies, and will spend $1.4 million on additional engineering required before it can purchase the right of way.
The county received federal funding to help pay for those planning expenses. Rickert said the county has asked for construction funding from the next federal transportation bill. Also, Rickert said the county continues to request money for the project from the state.
The Council of Mayors has allocated $2.5 million for the Anderson Road project, Rickert said.
Some funding could come from local impact fees, although that source would depend upon the revival of development in Elburn, he said.
â€œTypically, with a federal project, we see the county, the village, the state and the developer trying to address some of the funding needs,â€ Rickert said.
Batavia man dies from injuries Sunday by Martha Quetsch
Elburnâ€”Two collisions occurred within two days on Route 38, one resulting in the death of a Batavia man.
At 5:16 p.m. July 12, Elburn and Countryside firefighters happened upon a crash at the intersection of Route 38 and Anderson Road. They rendered aid to four injured people including Robert G. Schipp, 74, of Batavia, who died from his injuries after being taken to Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
Elburn police investigated the accident and determined that a Toyota Prius that was southbound on Anderson north of Route 38 was struck broadside by a Ford Freestar that was westbound on Route 38. Schipp was driving the Toyota, and his wife, Mary B. Schipp, 68, was a passenger. The Ford van was driven by John G. Steele, 74, of West Chicago, and Rita K. Steele, 68, was a passenger.
Mary Schipp and the Steeles also were transported to Delnor, and were treated and released.
The crash was the second fatal accident at the intersection in seven months.
The other Route 38 accident this week was on July 10, when five people were injured, one critically, in a three-car collision between Harley and Pouley roads in Campton Hills. The crash occurred at about 10 a.m., when an eastbound Pontiac Bonneville driven by William Gallon, 43, of DeKalb, drifted over the center line and hit the rear axle of a westbound truck, Campton Hills Police Chief Greg Anderson said.
The Pontiac then hit a Volkswagon traveling west, driven by Lynn Gorecki, 23, of Maple Park.
Gallon was taken to Delnor Hospital with critical injuries, and then transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where he now is in fair condition.
Gorecki and the tow truck driver, Simon Acevedo of Carpentersville, were treated at Denor and released. Two passengers in Gallon’s car, Barbara Stephen, 58, Louquanious Henerdson, 33, both of DeKalb, were taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, where they were treated and released.
The crash is under investigation. Although it rained the morning of the collision, the weather likely was not a factor, Anderson said.
â€œIt didn’t appear to be hazardous; it was not raining heavily at the time of the crash,â€ Anderson said.
Gallon was ticketed for improper lane use and driving without proof of insurance.
Following each crash, Route 38 was closed for several hours during the investigations.
School parents plan fundraiser to help family who lost dad by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Elburn resident Michael Kovach died unexpectedly on April 27 at the age of 39, leaving behind his wife, Kathy, and their four young children. Since then, a group of parents from the children’s church and school, Holy Angels in Aurora, have taken meals to the Kovach home three times a week and organized a golf outing to raise money for the children’s care and education.
â€œI just feel like we’re truly blessed that they want to help,â€ Kathy Kovach said.
One of the Holy Angels parents is Colleen Knauf. After Michael’s sudden death, she and a few others decided to take Kathy under their wing, Knauf said. More parents have gotten involved, providing Kovach an invaluable support network.
â€œIt’s overwhelming,â€ Kovach said.
The meals the parents drop off have helped Kovach tremendously, not only financially.
â€œMaking meals is not on the top of my list when I am suddenly a single parent, trying to take care of the kids and the house and trying to be there for them emotionally,â€ Kovach said. â€œEvery day’s a struggle.â€
The Kovach children are Michael, 12; Sarah, 11; Emily, 5; and Aiden, 4. Kathy is going to the July 25 golf outing dinner with all or most of them, she said. Emily, in particular, is excited to go.
â€œShe knows they are doing it, and every time we drive past Bliss Creek she says, ‘Daddy used to golf there,’â€ Kovach said.
The Holy Angels parents group decided to have the fundraiser at Bliss Creek because Michael Kovach was an avid golfer at the Sugar Grove course, Knauf said.
The Kovach Family Golf Outing for the Kovach Education Fund
Saturday, July 25 â€¢ 1 p.m.
Bliss Creek Golf Course, Sugar Grove
18 holes of golf, including a cart,
and a steak dinner, is $100.
Dinner only is $35.
To sponsor a hole or to sign up
for the outing, call Colleen Knauf
at (847) 910-6917 or
Metra receives stimulus money for Elburn parking project by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Metra’s wish came true. On Tuesday, the railway company learned it will receive funding for the $1 million Elburn commuter parking lot expansion project from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Now Metra can move full steam ahead on the project, which will add 329 parking spaces to the west of the existing commuter lot on land the railway owns.
Metra officials announced their plan in February to double the parking lot size because of growing demand for spaces. At that time, they said the expansion would start after Metra obtained funding they hoped would come from the federal economic stimulus program.
Metra’s goal was to have the parking lot project â€œshovel readyâ€ when funds came through, so the railway began designing it five months ago. Metra also already has awarded a construction bid for the expansion, which the railway wants to finish by the end of the year, Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said.
The expanded commuter lot will include motorcycle and bus parking, and pedestrian improvements, Metra representative Dimitrius Scopas said.
The construction project will create 15-full-time jobs, according to Metra.
Village and Metra officials will hold a pre-construction meeting on Thursday, Morrison said.
This 2010 Chevy Camaro 2LT/RS, or $25,000 in cash, is up for grabs at the 2009 Elburn Days, held this year Friday through Sunday, Aug. 21-23. Tickets are $20 each and are available at various downtown Elburn locations, including Bob Jass Chevrolet, which is showcasing the prize. Just 3,500 tickets are available, and the drawing is Sunday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m.â€”winner need not be present. To purchace a ticket, call (630) 365-6481. Photo by Ben Draper
Outside event to feature childrenâ€™s games, refreshments, business vendors by Martha Quetsch
Elburn chiropractor David Foss believes the village needs another outdoor community event, especially because the 2009 Day in the Park was cancelled. So he decided to hold SummerFest at Elburn & Countryside Community Center on Saturday, July 18.
â€œI wanted to offer something for families to do together and not spend a lot of money,â€ Foss said.
Admission will be free to SummerFest, which will feature a lot of treats at no chargeâ€”from snow cones to popcorn to 5-minute manicures.
Children can jump in a giant air balloon, have their faces painted, see balloon creations, play bag toss or touch a truck. In addition, they can meet Elburn police and firefighters and see their vehicles.
Among refreshments that will be available are Smoothies from Froots of Batavia and pizza from Genoas Pizza.
Foss also is bringing in businesses to showcase their products and services at SummerFest.
â€œAside from being a fun event for families, I thought it could stimulate commerce, as well,â€ Foss said. â€œIt will be like a ‘Taste of Elburn.’â€
A sampling of area businesses slated to have booths at the event are Munchie P’s, Galena Wine Cellars, Kids Connection, Heritage Prairie Market, Rocky’s Dojo and Gym, Island Tan, Green Earth Dry Cleaners and Color Me Mine.
Foss plans to make SummerFest an annual event.
â€œThere already are people who want to have booths at the 2010 SummerFest,â€ said Foss. â€œSo there is a lot of promise for next year.â€
Family fair, business showcase
Family-oriented event featuring business vendors, refreshments, children’s activities
Saturday, July 18
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Elburn Community Center,
525 Main St., Elburn
Admission is free.
Call Vital Chiropractic at
(630) 365.9887 or e-mail
A Sunday evening accident at the intersection of Route 38 and Anderson Road led to three injuries the death of a Batavia man.
Robert G. Schipp, 74, of Batavia was killed in a two-vehicle accident when Schipp’s southbound Toyota Prius was struck broadside by a Ford Freestar van that had been traveling westbound on Route 38.
Schipp’s passenger, Mary B. Schipp, 68, along with the van’s driver, John G. Steele, 74, of West Chicago and his passenger, Rita K. Steele, 68, were all treated for injuries at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva.
The Elburn Police Department reported that the Route 38 was closed several hours during the investigation of the crash. The Elburn Police Department was assisted by the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, Campton Hills Police, members of the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team and members of the Kane County Emergency Management Agency during the investigation.
The Elburn Police Department reported that this was the second fatal crash at that intersection in the past seven months.
ELBURNâ€”The Village of Elburn, in cooperation with the League of Illinois Bicyclists, recently released its Bike to Metra Guide. The guide contains a map with preferred bicycle routes around the Metra Station, as well as bicycle and railroad safety tips.
â€œThis is another way that the village can encourage alternative transportation use,â€ said Erin Willrett, Elburn Village Administrator. â€œBy providing a guide with a map and safety tips, we are giving the residents the tools they need to achieve a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.â€
The guide was funded completely by the Public Education and Enforcement Research Study grant from the Illinois Commerce Commission.
To obtain a copy of the map, visit Village Hall at 301 E. North Street, or visit www.elburn.il.us.
ELBURNâ€“The Elburn Lions Club announced its July 2009 raffle winners.
Marilyn Gould of Elburn won $250.
Winners of the $50 raffle were Tom McCartney and Jim Gillett, both of Elburn; Vince Allegra of Hinsdale, Ill., and Ken Oâ€™Brien of Luxemburg, Wis.
Winning $25 were Dana Battles, Rob & Tom, Emil Weiss and Jeff Miller, all of Elburn; Trudy/Walley; â€œElburn Seniorsâ€ of Maple Park; Marilyn Fidler of Aurora; Julie Long, Hailey Gladd, Amy Steenson, all of Batavia; Eva Wood, Ryan Wessel and P. Mike Sheahan, all of Geneva; Brian Hauser and Jason & Jaclyn Cornell of Hinckley; Duncan Gilkey and Jenny Stanek of DeKalb; Kindra and Kristen Schumach of Yorkville; Autumn Conn of St. Charles; Bob Holland Jr. of Plainfield, Ill.; Joel McGuuire of New Lenox, Ill.; Katherine Chron of Northbrook, Ill.; Jim Gilliam of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Stan Andrie of Muskegon, Wis.; and Jr. English/Leslie Bunn of N. Charleston, S.C.
Federal budget woes spur 31-year-old Elburn resident to run for Congress by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The name â€œHastertâ€ is familiar to most local residents, as the last name of the Congressman who served District 14 for two decades.
It is also the surname of an Elburn resident running for the same Congressional seat in 2010, his son, Ethan.
Ethan Hastert, 31, moved to the village from an apartment in the West Loop. Ethan and his wife, Heidi, said they needed more space after the birth of their son, Jack, and liked Blackberry Creek.
â€œIt wasn’t that Ethan thought one day, ‘Oh, let’s move to Elburn so that I can run for Congress in District 14,’â€ Heidi said.
Ethan said they chose Elburn because it is close to the Metra station and to his parents, who live in Plano.
â€œI wanted to be near my folks and near the train,â€ said Ethan, who commutes to his job as an attorney at Mayer Brown in Chicago.
His other major recent decisionâ€”to run for Congress as a Republicanâ€”also relates to family, not just his but those throughout the country, whose futures are threatened by financial decisions federal lawmakers have made this year, he said.
Hastert said he didn’t wake up one morning and decide to run for Congress, but that it was a gradual process stimulated by his concern at the beginning of the year by the level of spending coming out of Washington.
â€œBasically, in January, you saw the national budget go from a little under a trillion dollars to more than three trillion,â€ Hastert said. â€œI used to think it was going to fall on me and my generation to pay off the national debt. But now, I look at my 2-1/2-year-old son, and I realize it’s going to be him and his generation paying these debts off.â€
Hastert is concerned that rising national debt, which could eventually exceed $20 trillion, will result in inflation that could financially cripple families, he said.
â€œFor you, me, my wife, my son, every single one of us, what that equates to is, every individual in the United States shares $37,000 worth of debt,â€ Hastert said. â€œThe only way to pay that off is to either grow the economy, and make $20.5 trillion look paltry, or you inflate your way out of it, so that means paying $150 for a loaf of bread.â€
Hastert said the nation’s budget should not be excessive when families and businesses do not have that luxury.
â€œAs a nation, we’re currently borrowing 50 cents on every dollar we spend,â€ he said. â€œIf you or I ran our household or business like that â€¦ we wouldn’t be around very long. That’s very simple.â€
For example, at his home, he would love to build a deck but said it wouldn’t be prudent spending.
â€œI would like to have a lot of things here. But right now, that is not my top priority,â€ he said. â€œI have other bills I have to pay. I don’t get everything I want. We have to start treating our national budget that way.â€
Aside from his concern about the federal debt and inflation, another reason Hastert is running is to ensure a strong Republican Party in the future that includes young lawmakers.
â€œPeople are ready for the next generation of Republican leadership to start showing themselves,â€ Hastert said.
Some might say Hastert’s inexperience could work against him in his pursuit of such an ambitious goalâ€”a U.S. Congressional seat. Hastert said he considered seeking a state lawmaker position but said he likes the people already in place.
â€œWe have a fine complement of state legislatorsâ€”two Republicans (Kay Hatcher and Chris Lauzen) who are doing a good job fighting the same problems in Springfield that we are having on the national level,â€ Hastert said. â€œSo I have no interest in running there.â€
For most of Hastert’s life, his father was a Congressman, which spurred his interest in national issues.
â€œIt’s not to say that I don’t follow state or local policies or politics; it’s just a matter of my personal interest,â€ Hastert said.
He was 9 years old when his father became a Congressman in the late 1980s. But he was just 2 when his dad first ran for the Illinois Legislature, where he served as a state representative for six years.
â€œAnd my son is 2 now, as I get ready to make a run,â€ Hastert said.
As an attorney commuting to Chicago, Hastert is away from home for 12 or more hours each day. That work schedule does not give him much time to hunt, fish or cook, which are among his favorite hobbies. Lately, he devotes his spare time to his family and to getting out and meeting voters. He said he might take a leave of absence from work to devote himself to his campaign.
Hastert started reaching out to the public even before his June 5 announcement to the Elburn Herald that he intended to run. He attends a public event nearly every day, whether a parade or a city council meeting, to introduce himself to voters and find out what issues are important to them.
â€œI like to think that I generally know what concerns people, but I don’t know everything,â€ Hastert said. â€œYou learn more by listening than talking.â€
He said bringing more fiscal responsibility to government will not be the only focus of his platform. However, overspending by lawmakers is a concern that stands out in the conversations he has had with District 14 residents.
â€œThe top thing on everybody’s mind is the economy,â€ he said.
Local candidate’s background
Ethan Hastert, 31, a Republican candidate in the race for 14th U.S. Congressional District in 2010, lives in Elburn’s Blackberry Creek with his wife, Heidi, and their son, Jack, 2.
Hastert received an undergraduate degree in business administsraton from University of Illinois in Champaign, where he met his spouse, and earned a law degree at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago.
He currently is employed as an attorney at Mayer Brown in Chicago. In his early 20s, he was an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis â€œScooterâ€ Libby.
He is the son of former District 14 Republican Congressman and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who resigned in 2007 and was succeeded by Democratic Rep. Bill Foster, through a special election in 2008.
PHOTO: U.S. Congressional candidate Ethan Hastert enjoys some down time in his backyard with his son, Jack, his wife, Heidi, and their golden retrievers, Atlas and Odin. Photo by Martha Quetsch
Document not ready for trustees’ vote as expected by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARKâ€”New village committees that Maple Park President Kathy Curtis formed after being elected in April cannot begin meeting until the Village Board approves an ordinance allowing for government structure change.
One of the new committees, Personnel and Communications, met June 22. During Tuesday’s Village Board meeting, trustee Terry Borg asked the village attorney, Pat Bond, whether the new committees could legally operate before the board approves the ordinance.
â€œNo, unless you establish them as special committees,â€ Bond said.
Curtis in May reduced the number of village committees from six to three, with the goal of streamlining work on village issues. The board planned to pass an ordinance July 7 changing the committees’ number, but because of an oversight by village officials, the ordinance was not prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, Curtis said.
The village is expected to prepare the ordinance for trustees to vote on at their next board meeting, Tuesday, July 22.
The new committees will be Personnel and Communications; Finance, Public Relations and Development; and Infrastructure.
Under village ordinance, the village may have six committees: Finance, Streets, Water and Sewer, Parks and Grounds, Police and Planning. In place for the past several years, they have not functioned since Curtis announced their disbandment.
Among tasks that the new committees face includes finding and recommending a new police chief, which will be the work of the Personnel and Communications Committee: Curtis wants that to happen by Sept. 9.
Proposed Maple Park Committees
â€¢ Personnel and Communications
â€¢ Public Relations and Development
Delay due to wayside horn company’s late paperwork by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Elburn residents throughout the village will continue to hear train whistles blaring regularly for up to six more weeks, since alternate safety devicesâ€”wayside hornsâ€”were not installed at the end of June as Elburn had expected.
The project start was delayed because the installer, Railroad Controls Limited (RCL), was late in submitting documents to the Illinois Department of Transportation needed for permission to bore under Route 47, Community Development Director David Morrison said.
RCL obtained the permit this week and likely will start the installation Monday, July 13, Morrison said.
Village officials decided in 2008 to install the horns as a safety measure so that trains do not have to blow their whistles while rolling through town. The measure received Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approval last year: With the wayside horn installation, the FRA will allow Elburn to be free, for the most part, of the train whistles heard throughout the village since locomotives started coming through in the mid 1800s.
The wayside horns will direct their sound only toward the immediate area of pedestrian and vehicular traffic near the crossings. Both the First Street and Route 47 crossings will have two wayside horns each, as well as a flashing â€œXâ€ sign posted at a height of 20 feet.
The approximately 10-day installation will be followed by a 30-day waiting period, during which Union Pacific (UP) railroad will confirm the visibility of the flashing X sign to train engineers, as well as to make sure the wayside horn’s audio component is performing properly, Morrison said.
After the wayside horns are up and running, trains will still will blow their whistles if the â€œXâ€ is not flashing, indicating wayside horn malfunction, or if the locomotive engineer sees a safety hazard, according to a letter from UP Public Affairs Director Thomas Zepler.
The village agreed in April to pay RCL $124,125 for the horns and installation at the First Street and Main Street crossings, with contract approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission and UP, which owns the crossings.
Among the many safety measures village officials studied for the past several years to meet federal regulations allowing for a whistle-free zone, the wayside horns was the least expensive, village officials said. Other ways they considered included installing a center barrier of pylons at the First Street crossing, for $400,000.
Pharmacy expected to open within two months by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The new Walgreens in Elburn will open at the northeast corner of routes 38 and 47 sometime in August or September, company spokesman Robert Elfinger said. He said the fact that Osco is right across the street did not deter Walgreens from deciding to locate in there.
â€œWe compete with other pharmacies, whether kitty corner or on the same block, all across the country. It’s not unusual,â€ he said.
Until 2007, Elburn had one drug store, Gliddons, located in downtown Elburn. Gliddons closed that year and since then, Osco has been the only pharmacy in the village.
Trustee Gordon Dierschow is excited that the village will have a second drug store, due to the sales tax it will bring and because it will be another local shopping option.
â€œIt will have everything from soup to nuts,â€ Dierschow said.
Aside from pharmacy items and a drive-through lane, the store will feature a one-hour photo lab and a food section.
Walgreeens announced more than two years ago that it planned to locate in Elburn. The developer, National Shopping Plazas of Chicago, broke ground last November. The store was expected to open sooner, but Elfinger said the construction process, from obtaining permits to building, is not always predictable.
The closest Walgreens to Elburn are in Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles.
The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
â€¢ Viviana Arias, 22, of the 600 block of Sheridan Street in Aurora, was arrested at 10:07 a.m. July 5 for driving while her license was suspended. Police stopped Arias for speeding, as she traveled north on Route 47 near South Street in Elburn.
â€¢Â Someone shot an arrow into the garage door of a residence in the 700 block of North First Street in Elburn sometime between 2 p.m. July 3 and 4 p.m. July 4. The home’s resident found the arrow, a light blue Thunder Express with a 3-foot shaft, embedded in the door.
Village will set 2009-10 spending before end of July by Martha Quetsch
Elburnâ€”Before the Elburn Village Board passes a new annual budget later this month, trustee Jeff Walter wants to make sure it allocates money for more public works department employees.
â€œThe department is seriously understaffed,â€ Walter said.
Walter said more staff is required for the many projects the department needs to tackle, including significant sewer maintenance, sidewalk and street repairs, and road restriping.
â€œThese are extremely important,â€ Walter said.
Trustee Gordon Dierschow agreed.
â€œThe Public Works Department definitely needs help. We have some serious problems that have to be taken care of,â€ Dierschow said.
Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven recently asked village officials to include $83,692 in the new budget for two new laborers.
Dierschow also wants the village budget to designate money for additional part-time police officers.
Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith asked the village to allocate money in the new budget for three additional part-time police positions; the officers would be paid an average of $20 hour with no overtime or benefits, he said. Smith also wants to hire another full-time officer who would be paid between $46,362 and $53,670.
Hiring additional staff will be a challenge for the village since its revenue has declined because of the drop in building permit fees and utility connection fees it has collected in recent months. Because of revenue constraints, Walter said he is glad that village staff are not seeking raises for 2009-10.
â€œI think it’s a very prudent move this year,â€ Walter said.
Dierschow said sales tax from the new Walgreen’s, set to open soon at Route 47 and Route 38, could help cover the cost of more employees. He said keeping expenses down in other areas will help, as well. Dierschow wants the budget to include only the most crucial public works projects this year, including repairing sidewalks that pose safety risks.
â€œWe could forgo all but the most treacherous,â€ Dierschow said.
Auras explored during ‘Spend a Day With Your Angels’ by Martha Quetsch
Elburnâ€”A psychic fair on Saturday that faced opposition in Elburn was a peaceful event, according to all those involved, include protesters, participants, patrons and police.
Scott Masa of Elburn attended the event, â€œSpend a Day With Your Angels,â€ and said he found it interesting; although others, including a children’s advocacy organization, found it disturbing.
â€œI can see where they’re coming from, how there could be different negative energies drawn out with psychic readings,â€ said Masa, a Community Center volunteer.
During the event Saturday, Jo Volkening, representative of the recently formed local organization, PAK (Parents Advocating 4 Kids), was stationed with other members of the group on the parkway in front of the Community Center, 525 N. Main St. They were seated on lawn chairs, offering free bottles of water and sharing their concerns about the psychic fair with those who would listen. Although they posted signs against the event on a truck nearby, they did not picket.
â€œWe didn’t want to be in people’s face. We didn’t want to be un-neighborly,â€ Volkening said. â€œWe wanted to be kind and to be as respectful as possible while getting a message across, to maybe rethink whether this is an appropriate venue to hold psychic events, in a place where children frequent.â€
She said PAK’s goal is to stimulate dialogue in the community about whether a psychic fair is what children should be exposed to.
â€œWe want to encourage people to go to expertsâ€”our pediatricians and psychologistsâ€”and ask them if there can be detrimental effects from exposing children to adult ideas such as contacting dead spirits,â€ Volkening said.
A vigil at the Community Center on Friday evening, coordinated by Elburn minister Gary Augustine, focused on praying that people would not be endangered by the event the following day.
Community Center Board member Jack Hansen called the Elburn police before the event to ask how he should handle any possible disruption that day and they offered to stop by periodically.
Elburn Officer Mike Molitor said in the afternoon that the psychic fair had been quiet.
â€œEverything has been going just great, no problems,â€ Molitor said.
Inside the Community Center gymnasium, fair goers and vendors were intermingling, with people receiving toe readings, palm readings, Reiki readings and psychic readings.
One vendor, Sharon Barton of Inner Strength, said she is a chronic healer specializing in â€œenergy workâ€ and â€œnegative ion technology.â€
Barton started out as a massage therapist and decided she wanted to do more for people, she said.
Now, she focuses on improving clients’ auras. She removes negative emotion with magnets by moving them over a client’s body, she said.
â€œI do that about 10 times, that emotion is dissipated,â€ Barton said.
After having an accident a few years ago, she was not healing properly, and sought the services of another chronic healer, who evened out her aura, or energy field.
â€œAn aura is multi-layered and has to be evened up. Our aura is how we connect to the divine, or our higher power,â€ Barton said.
Another vendor was Larry Zippe, a former high school teacher at Burlington Central who now is a life coach and was trained at an institute in California.
He tries to be a catalyst for people to move forward in their lives, using his intuition to help clients identify what they want from life and what is preventing them from obtaining it.
â€œThen I fly them into the future away from all the stuff here, all the circumstances, the need for approval. Now they can design their future self,â€ Zippe said
He starts out with a two-hour discovery session, during which he helps clients discover their values by seeing what brings them joy, or makes them resonate.
â€œMost people have never done that. They haven’t discovered what they really want, way deep inside,â€ Zippe said. â€œI’m your possibilities coach. Many people are stuck in a perspective; I am not. I help them parade out all these perspectives so they see they have a choice. There are many paths to the top of the mountain.â€
Like Barton, he said it’s all about aura.
â€œStaying up there, at that level, takes a lot of owning. The more freedom you have from all the traps, the more you resonateâ€”with your aura, your electricityâ€”the more energy you will have to follow your life’s purpose,â€ Zippe said.
In a booth nearby, Rebecca Sommers offered information about her paranormal investigation company called Kindred Spirits. Sommers showed visitors her carrying case of equipment she uses in her investigations for people who hire her to determine whether spirits are present in their homes.
When investigating a home, she first sees if what people believe is paranormal in the house actually is from highly charged electrical fields, she said.
â€œIt’s important to identify that there could be a logical explanation for what they’re having happen in the home. We want to seek out all those possibilities, first,â€ Sommers said.
Sommers uses an electromagnetic frequency meter to find those areas. High readings have been known to make people dizzy, paranoid and as though they are being watched, she said. She uses tape recorders, cameras and infrared meters to try and find paranormal presences, but so far they have deteceted not detected any.
â€œI have more experiences in Ireland,â€ Sommers said.
In a castle dungeon in Ireland on a past trip, she felt like someone was standing behind her, making her want to do more investigating there. Sommers conducts travel tours to castles in Ireland that are believed to be haunted. In addition, she offers classes in paranormal investigation.
Main photo: A visitor to the â€˜Spend a Day With Your Angelsâ€™ (above) at Elburn & Countryside Community Center on Saturday received a toe reading from Teri Freesmeyer. The psychic fair also featured tarot card readers, mediums, paranormal investigators and energy channelers. Photos by Martha Quetsch
Path of choice
No children were present at the â€œSpend a Day with Your Angelsâ€ psychic fair Saturday at Elburn & Countryside Community Center during the afternoon, except a few infants with their mothers and three children who were with their father picking up their mother, fair vendor and psychic reader Diane Keys said.
Keys’ husband heard about the opposition to the event and said that people should accept that not everyone believes the same things.
â€œWe all have our right to do what we want in life, and whatever path we choose, we choose, and if people don’t like it, they should just carry on with their lives and let other people do what they need to do,â€ he said.
The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
â€¢ Police found a red 20-inch Magna Imposter dirt bicycle at 2:46 a.m. June 25 in the west parking lot of John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn.
â€¢ Lindsay N. Crawford, 17, of East Fox Street in Yorkville, was ticketed for speeding and driving with a license that was invalid after the 10 p.m. curfew. Police stopped her on Route 47 south of Capes Drive in Elburn at 2:34 a.m. June 26.
â€¢ Miguel A. Perez, 22, of the 1300 block of Anderson Drive in Batavia, was arrested at 4:11 a.m. June 27 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him in the Blackberry Creek subdivision after he failed to signal a turn 100 feet before an intersection.
â€¢ Someone stole tools valued at approximately $350 from a truck in the 100-200 block of Caledonia Avenue, Sugar Grove. The theft took place sometime between 11:30 p.m. June 19 and 5:30 a.m. June 20.
â€¢ Someone stole tools valued at approximately $2,750 from a van parked on the 1-100 block of West Park Avenue, Sugar Grove. The theft took place sometime between 11:50 p.m. on June 19 and 12:20 a.m. June 20.
â€¢ Benjamin M. Locke, 20, of the 2S800 block of Red Oak Drive, Elburn, took $110 in cash from the GasMart at 201 N. Route 47.
â€¢ Someone stole a tool box, a Dell computer and a scanner from K.B. Collision & Customs at 16 Duffy Lane sometime between 9 p.m. on June 12 and 5:30 a.m. on June 13.
â€¢ Someone stole bottles of vodka valued at $46.85 from the Jewel Food Store on Route 47, Sugar Grove, between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. on June 10.
â€¢ James T. Ekis, 32, of the 0-100 block of W. New York Street, Aurora, was charged with Driving under the Influence at 1:53 a.m. on June 8. Ekis was driving west on Galena Boulevard and turned south onto Route 47.
â€¢ Trevor J. Staehely, 21, of the 900 block of Pembridge Place, Sugar Grove, was charged with intoxication and profanity at 2:40 a.m. on June 6.
Directional horns at crossings will reduce train-whistle blares by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Wayside horn installation is expected to begin at Elburnâ€™s two downtown freight train crossings Monday, June 29, village officials said.
The project is the result of village officialsâ€™ multi-year quest for a way to rid the village of train whistles.
Village trustees agreed in April 2008 to pursue the wayside horn project and later received Federal Railroad Administration approval of the safety measure allowing the village to be a whistle-free zone.
The wayside horns will direct their sound only toward the immediate area of pedestrian and vehicular traffic near the crossings. Trains still will blow their whistles if the wayside horn lights are not functioning, or if the locomotive engineer sees a safety hazard.
The village agreed in April to pay the company Railroad Controls Limited $124,125 for the horns and installation at the First Street and Main Street crossings, and then obtained Illinois Commerce Commission approval for the project with the crossingsâ€™ owner, Union Pacific railroad.
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said she did not know whether vehicular traffic would be affected by the horn installation project.
Among the many safety measures village officials studied as ways to comply with federal regulations allowing for a whistle-free zone, the wayside horns was the least expensive, village officials said.
Another measure they considered was installing a center barrier of pylons at the First Street crossing, but they found the potential cost of $400,000 to be prohibitive.
Village-hired engineer will monitor horn project
The villageâ€™s Public Works Committee on Monday recommended that the village pay Hanson Engineering $7,995 to manage and monitor the wayside horn construction and installation project performed by the company Railroad Controls Limited.
The committee also reviewed the scope of the companyâ€™s role in the 10-day project and agreed that if construction takes longer than 10 days, the village should pay Hanson an additional $550 per additional day for construction monitoring.
Village officials said Hanson will provide daily construction management of work performed by RCL and its subcontractors to make sure it conforms to plans and specifications. Hanson also will monitor and witness the testing and start-up procedures with the Union Pacific (UP) railroad.
The contract with Hanson will require Village Board approval.
Others say â€˜A Day With Your Angelsâ€™ OK by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Some village residents, including a minister, are disturbed about an event that will bring psychics and mediums to the Elburn & Countryside Community Center Saturday, saying its focus is dangerous.
However, Denise Vanvliet, who is organizing the event, said â€œA Day With Your Angelsâ€ will be entirely positive.
â€œNo devil worship, nothing like that,â€ said Vanvliet, massage therapist and owner of Intuition Institute, a community center business tenant.
â€œA Day With Your Angelsâ€ will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Community Center, 525 N. Main St. Vendors and exhibitors will include people offering aura readings, palm readings and Reiki mini-sessions to enhance a personâ€™s energy flow, Vanvliet said.
Gary Augustine, pastor of the Evangelical Fellowship Church in Elburn, does not want children who might be at the community center to be exposed to â€œthe dark side of spiritism and the demonic.â€ He and other church representatives have gathered together for community-wide prayer meetings since hearing about the event, and they will hold one on Friday at 8 p.m. in the Community Center gymnasium to pray for protection against the dangers they believe it will present.
On Saturday, a group of parents will be at the event representing Parents Advocating 4 Kids (PAK) to suggest with signs and literature that the community center where children congregate might not be the best place for a psychic fair, just as you might not want a shark exhibit in a water slide pool for kids, Augustine said.
The children who will be at the Community Center that day include those attending martial arts and dance classes, which are held in other areas of the building, Community Center Board member Jack Hansen said.
Hansen said he does not see anything wrong with allowing the event to take place at the Community Center, since nothing the vendors and exhibitors plan to do is illegal. The Community Center will receive a rental fee for â€A Day With Your Angelsâ€ and for the prayer meeting on Friday.
â€œWe welcome both of these kind of events. They bring people to the community center,â€ Hansen said.
â€œDay With Your Angelsâ€ also will feature clothing and handbag vendors, and Paisanoâ€™s pizza.
Village Board will consider requests during budget process by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The Elburn Village Board should allocate money for new public works staff, storm sewer repairs, a dump truck and a salt dome, among other expenditures when it establishes its 2009-10 budget, said Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven.
Nevenhoven presented the Public Works Committee on Monday with a list of new items he recommended the board include in the next budget.
â€œEverything on this list is a need, not a desire or a wish,â€ Nevenhoven said.
Among those needs are $100,000 for storm sewer repairs on Read, Reader, Pierce and North streets; $40,000 for a one-ton dump truck; and a dome to cover the villageâ€™s road-salt stores, Nevenhoven said.
The new 4-by-4 dump truck equipped with a salt spreader would replace two older, smaller vehicles. The salt dome would allow the village to store more salt so it would be available if market shortages occurred; in addition, the stored salt would be protected from the effects of the weather: Currently, the salt store is covered with tarps secured with tires and is not fully protected.
â€œIt turns into a solid rock and takes a lot of effort to make it usable each year,â€ Nevenhoven said.
Nevenhoven also wants the village to spend $83,692 for two new laborers. The public works department has one foreman and five laborers for landscaping and for keeping up village streets, sidewalks, and sewers, which are in need of significant maintenance.
â€œThey are working their tails off. They are doing the job very well, but they need help,â€ Nevenhoven said.
The Village Board will approve a new budget by the end of July. Meantime, village committees are reviewing lists of proposed new expenditures from department heads.
Another new expenditure on the public works proposed budget is $10,000 to paint and restore the Prairie Park pavilion, which trustee Gordon Dierschow said he will support.
â€œItâ€™s good that we allocate money for that,â€ Dierschow said.
He said the 10-year old structure needs improvement.