Category Archives: Elburn

Dempsey honored at Marmion benefit

ELBURN—The 47th-annual Salute to Youth Dinner, Marmion Academy’s annual black-tie benefit, recently brought together friends of Marmion to honor the students of the Class of 2009.

This year’s benefit, April 25 at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, Ill., raised more than $180,000, which will benefit the educational programs of the Academy’s college-preparatory curriculum.

Besides honoring the Class of 2009, the evening was dedicated to Gerard Dempsey of Elburn, Dr. Edward Garrity of Aurora and Jerry Hammes of South Bend, Ind., recipients of Abbey Affiliate Membership.

Affiliate Membership is a special sharing in the mission, good works and prayers of the monks of Marmion. First conferred in 1980, just 22 men have been so honored with this unique recognition.

For more information on this event, as well as next year’s Salute to Youth Dinner, call (630) 897-6936, ext. 244.

Community center receives great day of service

Church helps Elburn center with repairs it can’t afford
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—When Christ Community Church members asked whether they could send a team to fix up the Elburn & Countyside Community Center on the congregation’s Great Day of Serving, Center Board member Jack Hansen welcomed the offer.

Twenty-five people from the church spent Saturday improving the building at 525 N. Main St., inside and out.

“It was really remarkable how everybody pitched in and got so much done,” Hansen said.

The St. Charles church contacted the Community Center board in April to see what work was needed at the building, which houses Blackberry School of Dance and other recreation programs.

Hansen mailed the church a wish list of nearly 20 major and small repairs and maintenance projects for which the center has no available funds.

On the Great Day of Serving, church members of all ages did many of the projects on the list, as well as others. Hansen said when volunteers were finished with one task, they went to him right away to ask what else they could do.

Elburn village trustee Ken Anderson participated in the event, along with his daughter, Savannah, 8.

Anderson said he was glad the church chose the Community Center to be among the recipients of this year’s Great Day of Serving, seeing the building as an asset to the community.

“It has businesses and organizations located within its walls, and residents continue to utilize the facility for a variety of uses and benefits,” Anderson said.

The Andersons were among 1,500 members of Christ Community who volunteered various services to people and organizations countywide on the Day of Serving.

At the Community Center, they painted the community room, a scuffed wall, a stairway and railings; disinfected railings and door knobs; and cleaned mirrors and chalkboards.

In addition, the team volunteers planted flowers, pulled weeds and spread new mulch outside; replaced plywood covering old gym windows on the back of the building; cleaned the dance studio and gym floors; and patched a ceiling hole.

The church paid for all the materials used in the improvements except for the mulch, which was donated by Kane County Landscape Material and Supply of Elburn. In addition, it spent more than $12,000 for a new hot water heater, which was installed by Good Call Plumbing in Elburn.

Christ Community intends to go back to the Community Center on one of its monthly service Saturdays to paint ceiling spots, after obtaining a lift truck or scaffolding for the job.

“We got more done than we expected (on the Day of Serving), but we’re not finished yet,” church member Michelle Nielsen said.

Remaining building needs
The Elburn & Countryside Community Center’s goal is to be a recreational and social hub in the village. Unfortunately, the 80-year-old building needs many repairs that its nonprofit board, which relies mostly on donations, cannot afford.

The building has undergone several improvements lately, thanks to the manpower and materials offered by Christ Community Church on its Day of Serving June 13, as well as from a recent grant for a parking drainage project from Community Center of the Fox River Valley.

However, several projects remain to be done at the building that once was a high school, said Community Center Board member Jack Hansen, including the following:

• Buy, install new locks on entry doors
• Obtain funding for new windows
• Evaluate cost and fundraising for new boiler system
• Tuckpoint outside walls
• Stain and seal auditorium cement floors
• Update alarm system
• Install sound system
• Buy, install new printer/ scanner/copier/computer

Photo: Jack Hansen by Martha Quetsch

Village establishes a second Class A liquor license

Officials with conflicts of interest did not vote Monday
by Martha Quetsch
The Elburn Village Board established a second Class A liquor license Monday following Kevin Schmidt’s recent application for that type of license for a bar at 107 N. Main St.

A Class A license permits a bar to sell liquor for consumption on site and packaged liquor.

Schmidt said he wants to obtain the liquor license before proceeding with the plan for his business. His application requires approval by the Liquor Commissioner and Village Board.

Just before the discussion and vote on the matter, Village President and Liquor Commissioner Dave Anderson appointed, with Village Board consent, a Deputy Liquor Control Commissioner, trustee Bill Grabarek.

Anderson appointed Grabarek and did not take part in the discussion and vote regarding increasing the number of Class A licenses because he owns the property where Schmidt wants to open the business.

“I will be excusing myself because of conflict of interest,” Anderson said.

For the same reason, trustee Jerry Schmidt, Kevin Schmidt’s father, also excused himself from the discussion and vote about the second Class A license.

Grabarek and the board agreed to make the new license available through an ordinance it approved Monday. They are expected to decide in the near future whether to grant the license to Schmidt.

The village previously had one Class A license, held by Knucklehead’s Tavern. Elburn reduced the number of available Class A licenses from two after Emma’s Pub & Cantina closed in 2008; Emma’s shut down after the village called a hearing in 2008 to suspend the business’ liquor license because of illegal gambling on the premises.

Attorney will review regulations
Kevin Schmidt asked village officials whether under the Class A liquor license he is seeking for a bar in Elburn, children may eat there even if liquor sales exceed food sales, he said.

Officials at the Elburn Village Board meeting Monday were not certain if it is allowed under the current municipal liquor ordinance. So Village Attorney Bob Britz said he will study the ordinance to make that determination.

Trustee Jeff Walter said he hopes children are allowed in establishments like the one Schmidt plans.

“It’s a big point right now, having restaurants where we can take our families,” Walter said.

Schmidt wants to open the bar at 107 N. Main St.

Well’s barium removal device to be replaced

Increasing water flow in sewer system shortens filter’s life
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn will replace the radium and barium removal device from one of its wastewater treatment plant wells next week at a cost of $66,640.

The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved the expenditure, recommended by Public Works Superintendent .

Nevenhoven said as the amount of water going through the sanitary sewer system has increased in recent months, so has the level of radium passing through the filtration device on Well No. 3; with that, the device’s useful life was shortened.

“It (the replacement) was needed sooner than anticipated,” Nevenhoven said.

Tests in April indicated the barium level of water passing through Well No. 3 exceeded the 2 mg. per liter allowed by law.

Public Works staff have been examining the village sanitary sewer lines to determine how stormwater has been infiltrating its lines during heavy rainfall. The village has separate sanitary and stormwater sewers

The excess flow so far has not reduced the efficiency of the radium and barium removal devices on the village’s other two wastewater treatment wells. The village installed the filtration devices in 2006 to comply with environmental regulations.

Elburn man pleads not guilty to drug charges

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Mark L. Burger of Elburn pleaded not guilty June 10 to several drug-related charges, including illegally storing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Burger, 41, of the 1400 block of Melbourne Street near Blackberry Creek Elementary School, remains free on a $10,000 bond he posted last December after being indicted for the alleged offenses, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.

He entered the plea during his arraignment in Kane County Circuit Court.

The State’s Attorney’s Office alleges that Burger illegally stored drugs containing methadone in his house, with intent to deliver them, in March 2008; that Burger illegally acquired and delivered a controlled substance containing hydrocodone in February 2008; and that between January 2006 and April 2008, Burger at various times illegally possessed large amounts of drugs containing methadone and hydrocodone with the intent to deliver.

He allegedly obtained the drugs from a St. Charles pharmacy where he worked.

Under state law, a controlled substance must be stored at an address registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Following the indictment six months ago, Burger surrendered to police and posted bond on $100,000 bail. His next court date is July 9 in Courtroom 311 of the Kane County Judicial Center in front of Judge Allen Anderson.

The indictment includes three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, one a Class X felony, one a Class 1 felony and one a Class 3 felony; three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, one a Class 1 felony and two Class 4 felonies; unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school, a Class X felony; two counts of unlawful acquisition of a controlled substance, each a Class 4 felony; and one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 3 felony.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Burger could be sentenced to up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch

Commuters may pay for parking with debit cards
The village of Elburn plans to install machines at the Metra station that will allow commuters to pay for parking with their debit cards.

The village will pay for the $99,000 electronic pay system with funds from its Metra parking fund, composed of money it has collected in commuter parking fees.

The Village Board voted Monday to seek a project contractor through Metra’s bid process for the Elburn commuter lot expansion. However, the lot expansion will be a railroad expense, for which it is seeking federal funding.

Currently, commuters from Elburn must deposit cash in drop boxes to park in the commuter lot.

Morris firm will conduct annual audit
Elburn trustees approved a proposal June 1 from Macchietto Roth & Company to provide the village’s annual audit services for a sum not to exceed $8,000. The village has used the Morris, Ill., firm yearly since 2000.

Elburn police blotter 6-18

The following reports were obtained from the local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• A pedestrian reported at 6:20 p.m. June 12 seeing a man exposing himself and masturbating while he was sitting in a gray Ford Crown Victoria parked on the side of Walker Drive near Snow Street in Elburn. She also said she had seen the same vehicle parked there several times recently.

• Felipe Ramirez-Uscanga, of the 100 block of Woodlawn Avenue in Aurora, was arrested at 6:03 p.m. June 12 for driving without a valid license or vehicle insurance, and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. Police stopped him for speeding, as he was southbound on Route 47 at Swain Street in Elburn.

• Jose M. Valles, of the 500 block of South Lincoln Street in Aurora, was arrested at 9:30 p.m. June 14 for driving without a valid license. Police stopped him for speeding, as he was southbound on Route 47 near the railroad tracks in Elburn.

Houtz’ 75th Anniversary

R.F. Houtz owners Rob Houtz (pictured) and his son-in-law Skip Mennerick, hosted their Elburn business’ 75th anniversary June 13, in Keystone Park on North Street, where the company moved last fall. The company originally sold combines, planters and other farming equipment; but in 1968, it began carrying and servicing outdoor maintenance machinery including the International Harvester line of Cub Cadet equipment. Since Houtz’s grandfather opened the company, it has been located on the same street, most recently at 245 E., North.
Photo by Martha Quetsch

Lions announce raffle winners

Elburn–The Elburn Lions Club has announced its June 2009 raffle winners.

Steve and Jan Hauser of Hinckley won $100.

Winners of the $50 raffle were Tom Mahan of Elburn, Sandy Gould of Maple Park, Mark Hougas of Sugar Grove and Joh Healy of Mt. Prospect, Ill.

Winning $25 were Harry Neely, Eugene and Floyd, E. Jablonski, Country Automotive, Bob Burkholder, Norm and Dianne Berquist, Betty Weston, and Jim Gillett, all of Elburn; Elburn Seniors of Maple Park; Bob Motta and Kolt O’Donnell, both of Sugar Grove; Hayley Decker of Aurora; Penny Meyer of Big Rock; Larry Scaletti and Jennie Lienau, both of Geneva; Sheri Bauman and Ed Drafke, both of Hinckley; Don Thorpen and Krissi Maggs, both of Montgomery; Bob Guzlus of Orland Park, Ill.; Agnes Hessler of Oswego; Meghan Conn of St. Charles; Melissa Merkel, and Greg and Katie Rink, all of Yorkville; and Stacey Lange of Kentwood, Mich.

Day in the Park cancelled due to lack of funds

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Chamber of Commerce has hosted a fireworks display and Day in the Park each summer since 1997. But this year, the organization will not put on the celebration because of a shortage of sponsorships, Chamber President Bill Brauer said Tuesday.

“We regretfully decided to pull the event. We waited as long as we could, hoping for a last-minute donation,” Brauer said.

The chamber needed $15,000 to $20,000 for the fireworks and Day in the Park it had planned for July 5 at Lions Park.

“To have the event, you need that kind of funding, and we weren’t even half-way there,” Brauer said.

The Day in the Park typically features entertainment, carnival games and food, followed by the evening fireworks.

Costs are for bands, set-up, sound system, park rental and the fireworks, which is the biggest expense, Brauer said.

Chamber member Leslie Flint said the fireworks already had been scaled back in recent years because of cost. The organization used to spend $20,000 on the display alone.

The economy kept some consistent sponsors from helping out.

“They said they couldn’t do it this year,” Brauer said.

Photo: Residents take in the 2007 Day in the Park fireworks display. The event, which has been held for 12 years the Sunday after the 4th of July at Lion’s Park in Elburn, was canceled this year due to lack of funds. File Photo

Teen accused of death cover-up back in jail

Billek violates his bond terms by drinking
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Jordan Billek, 18, of Maple Park, is in Kane County Jail for violating terms of the bond he posted six months ago after his arrest connected to the death of Elburn teenager Michael York.

Judge Allen Anderson raised Billek’s bond to $60,000 as a penalty for drinking alcohol at least twice in May. Billek was taken into custudy following a court hearing on the violation Wednesday and is trying to come up with the $6,000 he needs for bail, Kane County State’s Attorney spokesman Chris Nelson said.

The State’s Attorney’s Office asked Anderson to increase or revoke his bond because of the violations.

Billek is one of three people indicted in January on charges connected to 17-year-old York’s death and its cover-up Dec. 16, 2007. Their court cases are pending.

Billek was indicted on one count of obstructing justice; Lindsey Parker, 23, of St. Charles, on one count of obstructing justice; and Nathan Green, 22, of Maple Park, on one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony, and on one count of obstructing justice.

According to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, Billek, Parker and Green were with York at Parker’s home when York injected heroin supplied by Green, and later lost consciousness and died. After Parker, Green and Billek discussed how to remove York’s body from Parker’s home, Billek and Green drove York to Chicago and left his body in an alley on the west side, where it was discovered by a passerby.

Following the indictments, Billek surrendered at the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, posted $2,000 bond on $20,000 bail and was released; Parker surrendered at the St. Charles Police Department, posted $500 bond on $5,000 bail and was released; and Green was taken into custody by Kane County Sheriff’s deputies and remains in the Kane County Jail, having not posted bond on $100,000 bail.

Billek’s next court date is Thursday, July 23.

Lions Ride takes a bath

Rain keeps bikers away from annual charitable fundraiser
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn—Timing is everything, at least for outdoor events that depend on good weather. Unfortunately, at the time of the Elburn Lions Ride charitable fundraiser Saturday, it was pouring outside.

“The rain couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said Lions member Joe Kryszak, who manned the registration desk at Lions Park in Elburn.

“People get up, they’re having breakfast and they’re looking outside and the rain’s coming down. It’s not the best environment to ride a bike,” Kryszak said.

Just 20 motorcyclists came out for the 50-mile scenic ride, for which registration was from 9 to 11 a.m. Among them was Art Bensen of Schaumburg. He bikes in the Lions event every year with friends.

“I like that it’s for a good cause,” he said.

The event’s profit helps to support club charities such as assisting needy, hearing-impaired and blind individuals. Kryszak said that amount would be down this year because of the poor turnout.

“We’re definitely going to take a bath. But you can’t fight the weather,” he said.

When weather is good, the Lions Ride has drawn as many as 500 bikers. With each participant paying $15 and riders $10, the Lions collect nearly $10,000 when attendance is that high. The club also sells raffle tickets during the event, this year offering a 50-50 cash drawing.

Some of the money pays for the band and park set-up, but the rest goes to club causes including buying seeing eye dogs for individuals in need. But with the cost now being about $28,000 for dog, the club will not be able to purchase one in the near future, Kryszak says.

Saturday was not the first time bad weather spoiled a Lions fundraiser. The club’s biggest event, Elburn Days, was rained out in 2007, so the club’s charitable coffer took a hit that year.

“But it is what it is. It’s just one of those things,” Kryszak said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Photo: Art Benson of Schaumburg was one of just 20 bikers who braved the rain to participate in the Elburn Lions Ride for charity Saturday. Photo by Martha Quetsch

3 new liquor licenses requested

New pubs, Rosati’s want to sell alcohol
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Three Elburn businesses, including Rosati’s and two pubs that could open downtown this summer, asked the village for liquor licenses.

One petitioner, Kevin Schmidt, plans to open a sports bar and grill at the former The Grocery Store site at 107 N. Main St. He said it would have tables for eating and nearly 30 seats at the bar.

During the Public Safety Committee meeting Monday, Schmidt asked if the village would waive its requirement that a business be primarily a restaurant, rather than a bar, to sell liquor while allowing children to eat there.

“I would think you could make an exception, so that kids with parents could eat at the tables. Otherwise you could have some angry citizens in Elburn,” Schmidt said.

The village allows Papa G’s to sell liquor in its restaurant, which has many families with children as customers, because the majority of its sales come from food, Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said.

Michael Rafferty is remodeling the former Emma’s restaurant space at 117 Main St., where he intends to open an Irish pub and restaurant in August. He is seeking a license to sell beer, wine and spirits.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said they could petition the village separately for permission to have children in a business whose sales are mostly from alcohol.

Rosati’s owner A.J. Hussein plans to move his carryout business at 107 Valley Drive in two months to a larger site in the Jewel complex across the street. He wants to sell beer and wine in the new dine-in eatery.

The Village Board will decide whether to grant the liquor licenses after reviewing an ordinance drafted by staff allowing for the new licenses.

Police chief asks for more officers

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith wants the village to restore Police Department staffing to nine full-time officers, and create three new part-time police positions.

On Monday, Smith asked the Public Safety Committee to recommend including the additional Police Department salary expenditures in the village’s 2009-10 budget.

The department has had eight full-time officers since the village promoted Smith to police chief in May. Under the previous police chief, Jim Linane, Smith was the department’s commander; that position is now vacant.

Smith said by filling the full-time vacancy, the department’s three patrol shifts would be staffed by full-time officers at a level that has existed for four years, which he said is necessary to ensure officer safety and response time.

Smith also said he wants to add three more police officers to the department’s part-time staff, which currently has eight officers.

Smith cited several reasons he wants to increase the number of part-time police. He said the availability of the department’s current part-time officers is becoming more limited due to the requirements of their full-time jobs elsewhere.

In addition, the village’s police responsibilities have increased, he said. For example, this year, the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management Agency will not be able to help with police services during the Elburn Days festival, because the officers will be needed at the Solheim Cup in Sugar Grove the same weekend, Aug. 21-23.

“I’d like to bring in experienced part-time officers for Elburn Days,” he said.

Community Development Director David Morrison agreed with Smith.

“The cost is minimal, and in the interest of public safety, I would recommend it,” Morrison said.

The cost for three more part-time officers would be up to $900 for uniforms plus an average pay of $20 hour, with no overtime or benefits, Smith said.

Depending upon experience, the additional full-time officer would be paid between $46,362 and $53,670 with benefits, Smith said.

The committee agreed to recommend the budget allocation, but it will be the Village Board’s decision whether to increase police staffing when it approves the new budget before July 31.

Current staffing—Elburn Police Department
• Full-time Police Chief
• Part-time Deputy Chief
• One full-time investigation officer
• Two full-time patrol sergeants
• Four full-time officers
• Eight part-time officers

Attempted murder charges filed in Pouley Road incident

ELBURN—An Aurora man was charged with attempted murder at his home after police discovered a male near Elburn who had been shot multiple times.

On May 29 at approximately 2:20 a.m., the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and local police responded to the area of Keslinger Road and Pouley Road east of Elburn for a report of an injured subject in the roadway. It was discovered that the subject, a 22-year-old male Hispanic from California, had been shot multiple times. He was transported form the scene by the Town and Country Fire Department ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries. The victim has subsequently been released from the hospital.

Investigators from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department Investigation Division looked into the incident and identified Manuel Ramirez as the suspect.

Ramirez was located and taken into custody near his residence in the 1100 block of Sullivan Road in Aurora June 2. Detectives then executed a search warrant at his residence. During the search, detectives located a 9mm handgun and 1,814 grams of suspected cannabis.

On June 4, Ramirez was charged by the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office with attempted murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, armed violence and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

Ramirez is being held at the Kane County Correctional Center awaiting a bond hearing.

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

Township gives $10k for wayside horns

by Martha Quetsch
Blackberry Township Supervisor David Richmond presented a $10,000 check to the village of Elburn on behalf of the Township Board June 1, to help pay for the village’s wayside horn project.

“It’s our way of saying, from the township, ‘Thank you for taking the lead. We believe that what is good for the village is good for the township,’” Richmond said.

The Federal Railroad Administration approved the wayside horns as a safety requirement to allow Elburn 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 project will cost the village approximately $200,000.

Elburn police blotter

The following reports were obtained from the Elburn Police Department. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Stores comply with tobacco law
• A 17-year-old decoy agent working with the police attempted unsuccessfully to buy tobacco May 29 at each of the five businesses in Elburn that sell it.

Found to be in compliance with the law prohibiting the sale of tobacco to underage customers were Elburn Mobile, Elburn Liquors, Village Liquors, BP Amoco and Jewel-Osco.

The Police Department conducts the compliance checks periodically, through a grant from the state’s Kids Can’t Buy ‘Em Here program.

Rash of car burglaries
• Elburn police are investigating numerous vehicle burglaries that have occurred in Elburn within the past few weeks, most in the Blackberry Creek subdivision within several blocks of the Anderson Road and Independence Avenue intersection.

All of the burglarized vehicles were unlocked. Among items stolen have been GPS units, satellite radios and cash.

The police asked that anyone with possible information regarding the burglaries call Det. Pete Pavia, (630) 387-8737.

Rock pile pillaged
• Someone stole a pile of fieldstone rocks used for landscaping from property on West Reader Street in Elburn. The property owner reported the theft on May 30, and said the rocks were worth $200.

Speeder attempts to elude police
• Jacob R. Spohn, 19, of the 1100 block of Beed Avenue in Elburn, was arrested at 2:03 a.m. May 25 for speeding and attempting to elude police.

Police attempted to stop Spohn after seeing him speeding east on Keslinger in Elburn. Spohn did not stop although police followed him with lights flashing, into Blackberry Creek subdivision to a driveway on Beed.

Home burglarized, drugs stolen
• Someone broke into a house on Shannon Street sometime between 1 and 6 a.m. on May 23 and stole prescription pills including Alprazolam and pain medication. The home’s occupants reported the burglary and said they knew the suspect.

The suspect entered the house through an upstairs window. Police are investigating the incident.

DUI
• Michael S. Sheehan, 36, of Hinkle Lane in Schaumburg, Ill., was arrested at 1:22 a.m. May 23 for driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving without vehicle insurance. Police stopped him as he was southbound on Route 47 between North and Kansas streets in Elburn, for improper lane use.

Student from Germany stays with Elburn family

ELBURN—The home of Mark and Miriam Howlett will host Carlos Hufschlag from Bornheim, Germany, who will arrive in August and attend Kaneland High School in the upcoming school year. Hufschlag’s visit is through the SHARE! Program.

The SHARE! Program has several exchange students needing host families for the upcoming school year. The students are 15 to 18 years old, speak English, have their own spending money and medical insurance. The host family provides a home away from home.

For more information on the program, visit www.sharecentral.org, or call (815) 357-8344.

No longer a sex offender: Man’s conviction now based on misdemeanor

by Martha Quetsch
Thomas L. Maurer, of Elburn, no longer must register as a child sex offender, which he had to do since 2004, when he was convicted of soliciting sex from a child.

Maurer, 67, pled guilty to the offense five years ago. However, on May 27, he negotiated a new guilty plea with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office on a lesser crime, a Class C misdemeanor assault.

“His (initial) conviction was reversed,” said Maurer’s attorney, Daniel Hofmann.

Kane County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Chris Nelson confirmed that the court accepted the new plea.

The misdemeanor conviction does not require Maurer to be registered on the state’s public record of child sex offenders’ names addresses, Hofmann said.

Hofmann said his client agreed to plea to a misdemeanor instead of being retried, as he previously requested.

“It was something he could accept,” Hofmann said.

Maurer was arrested in 2004 during a police sting operation in the 1400 block of Covington Court in St. Charles, where he had arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl, who actually was an undercover adult officer. He was convicted of soliciting sex from a child and sentenced to 24 months of specialized sex offender probation.

In 2006, Maurer asked for a retrial, saying medication he took for Parkinson’s disease at the time of the crime caused a lack of impulse control, according to court documents. Kane County Circuit Court Judge Grant Wegner turned down his request in 2008, stating Maurer did not show other hypersexual behavior alleged to be side effects of the medication, Requip.

Maurer appealed the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court, which ruled on April 12 that he could be retried in Kane. The higher court ruling stated that at the time of his original guilty plea, the possible side effects of Maurer’s medication were not known.

The prosecutor with whom Maurer negotiated the new plea was unavailable to comment about why the State’s Attorney’s office decided not to retry the case and instead accepted a guilty plea on a lesser charge.

The charge on which Maurer was convicted could be changed to a misdemeanor because the offense involved a significant attempt to insult or provoke, Hofmann said.

“The contact he made with the undercover police officer met that (Class C misdemeanor assault) stipulation,” Hofmann said.

Maurer served two years of probation after his 2004 conviction and will not face another sentencing based on his new plea, his attorney said.

“His sentence is considered served,” Hofmann said.

Maurer had been a part-time photographer for the Elburn Herald at the time of his arrest.

Ethan Hastert makes it official: He will run for Congress in 2010

By Martha Quetsch

Ethan Hastert, 31, told the Elburn Herald Friday that he intends to run for his dad’s former congressional seat next year.

“There is hunger for change. I believe 2010 is the year to do it,” Hastert said.

Ethan Hastert, a Republican and the son of former District 14 Congressman and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, had been considering entering the race for the past few months. He said he will issue a press release Monday or Tuesday stating he intends to run.

“In talking to people in the district, I found that many of them share my disappointment in what is coming out of the Democratic Congress including an unprecedented level of spending,” Ethan Hastert said.

Hastert, of Elburn, is an attorney at Mayer Brown in Chicago. When he was in his early 20s, he was an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

Current District 14 Rep. Bill Foster’s current two-year term expires in 2010. Foster, a Democrat, won the seat in a special election held in early 2008 after Dennis Hastert resigned the position before end of his term.

Foster has not announced whether he will seek re-election .

“… Congressman Bill Foster is focused on working to solve the problems our families face and get our economy moving again—he is not thinking about elections right now,” Shannon O’Brien, Foster’s Communications Director said Monday.

Stormwater sewer lines have blockages, obstructions

Remediation planned, larger pipes may be needed
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn is stepping up efforts to alleviate residential flooding that is becoming worse, particularly on the near west side of town, during heavy rainfall.

Blocked stormwater sewer lines through which rainwater cannot flow are believed to be the cause.

Public works staff have recently been televising sewer lines with a robotic camera on the northwest section of the village, and flushing out obstructions. But sometimes that is not possible. While televising a stormwater sewer pipe near Reader and Pierce streets, crews found a total blockage.

“They ran into black and we were not able to televise further,” Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said during the Public Works Committee meeting May 26.

Nevenhoven said flushing did not work to clear the sewer-line clog.

“It is solid,” he said.

Nevenhoven said the village needs a larger storm sewer to service that area, which experienced pooling and ponding near storm drains during rainfall in recent months. The existing pipe is six inches in diamater.

Stormwater flooding and residential sewage backups hit the older parts of Elburn hardest, specifically the northwest side and the Cambridge subdivision.

Jerry Jefferson, a Cambridge Avenue resident, told the Village Board Monday that property on both sides of his street often has major flooding.

“When we get a heavy rain, half of my backyard fills,” Jefferson said.

He said his yard never flooded until about three years ago. Trustee Jerry Schmidt visited Jefferson’s property recently and believes that the stormwater sewer line is obstructed by tree roots that have grown into it over time.

Jefferson asked what steps the village will take to alleviate the problem. Village President Dave Anderson said village crews will try to clear the stormwater sewer lines this summer.

Trustee Gordon Dierschow said if public works crews cannot cut the roots out, more drastic measures will be necessary.

“They will have to dig them out—a tree could have to come down, fences will have to be removed,” trustee Dierschow said Monday. “There will have to be heavy restoral.”

During the upcoming annual budget planning process, village officials will consider allocating money for larger sewer pipes where needed, they said.

While televising pipes on the northwest side, public works staff so far have not found any major cracks or collapses in the stormwater and sanitary sewer lines.

“For the most part, the pipes looked like they were in good condition,” Nevenhoven said.

Taking a look
The village of Elburn is using a robotic camera to televise its sewer lines to determine the cause of residential flooding and sewage backups during heavy rainfall. The village has separate sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. Televising has found stormwater pipe blockages, but so far has found no major cracks in the sanitrary sewer lines where stormwater could infiltrate those pipes.

Village wants more payment options for commuter parking

Monthly passes, credit-card machines under consideration
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—In response to commuters who want to pay for Metra parking with a credit card, Elburn officials want to install machines for that purpose at the commuter station. They also want riders to be able to buy monthly parking passes.

Currently, riders parking at the Elburn station must buy a $1.25 daily ticket, paying with cash deposited in payment bins at the station.

Trustee Jeff Walter, who commutes by train to work, said he has heard from many fellow riders that they wish they could buy a monthly parking pass and hang a placard on their mirrors showing they paid.

“Commuters talk about it all the time,” Walter said during the Elburn Development Committee meeting May 26.

Under the village’s contract with Metra, riders may only purchase daily tickets. However, the contract could be modified, Village President Dave Anderson said during Monday’s board meeting.

Installing credit card payment machines at the train station would cost more than $100,000, an expense the village would bear, not Metra, Anderson said.

“We have the money,” Anderson said Monday. “And we agreed in committee that it’s something we want to do.”

The credit card payment system could be put out to bid with Metra’s parking lot expansion project, Anderson said. Metra plans to double the size of the lot in Elburn, to more than 600 spaces.

Village may sell excess equipment on eBay

Three patrol cars among items to be sold
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson wants the village to sell equipment it no longer uses, and said eBay is the way to go.

“If we haven’t used something in at least a year, we should get rid of it,” Anderson said.

He said among “excess equipment” the village could sell on eBay—an online shopping market—are three patrol vehicles that village police no longer drive because of their high mileage.

Staff members are compiling the list of equipment that the Village Board will decide whether to declare surplus and try to sell on eBay, Community Development Director David Morrison said.

When Anderson was Blackberry Township Supervisor, the township sold two surplus trucks on eBay. The Township Board authorized the sale by passing a resolution, and the Village Board soon will do likewise.

“We want to get it done this summer,” Anderson said.

Anderson said if the police cars sell on eBay, the village will put the money into its general operating fund.

Other items village officials might put on eBay are unclaimed bicycles the Police Department has collected, Anderson said.

National Bank & Trust shreds 14 tons

ELBURN—A record 28,000 pounds (14 tons) of paper was shredded at The National Bank & Trust Company’s 4th annual Community Shred Day held on May 16 at the Main, DeKalb Market Square and Elburn branch locations.

Area residents were invited to bring personal documents to a “shredding drive-through,” where they were promptly destroyed safely and for free by Accurate Document Shredding, a mobile shredding specialist. NB&T employees were on hand to unload boxes and bags, so attendees did not have to leave the comfort of their vehicles.

“We are pleased to be able to offer much-needed identity theft protection and recycling service to the communities we serve,” said Michael Cullen, NB&T President and CEO. “The overwhelming response demonstrates how valuable this service is.”

14 tons of shred is equivalent to saving 295 cubic feet of landfill space, 238 trees, 5,320 gallons of oil, and 98,000 gallons of water.

NB&T plans to hold another shred event sometime this fall.

Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch

Volunteers sought for beautification project
The village of Elburn is seeking volunteers to maintain planter boxes in public areas throughout the village, including the Metra station. Tasks include planting, weeding, watering, and cleaning out the planters for the turning of the seasons. If interested, contact Janet McGowan at Village Hall by phone at (630) 365-5062 or by e-mail at jmcgowan@elburn.il.us.

Commitee reviews facade improvement program
Elburn officials are considering increasing the village’s contribution for downtown property owners’ facade improvement projects.

Development Committee members on Tuesday talked about raising the $5,000-per-building contribution limit. They also discussed boosting the total budget for the facade program so that more property owners can take advantage of it.

The village established the downtown facade improvement program a few years ago, but so far, just two property owners have taken advantage of it: Express Evaluations, 17 S. Main St., in 2007, and Elburn Dentist Richard Stewart this year, for his office building at 135 S. Main St.

Committee member Ken Anderson said he wants the village to promote the facade program more on the village website by highlighting how those two businesses improved their buildings’ exteriors with village financial assistance.

The village’s Finance Committee will discuss the issue further.

Village to seek sidewalk project funds
Elburn will seek government grants to repair and install sidewalks in various areas of the village, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

She and other members of the Development Committee discussed the issue on Tuesday. Willrett said village employees walked every sidewalk in the village to find where improvements, or new sidewalks, are needed.

“We were finding 2-1/2-inch gaps; holes that were 4 inches deep. We highlighted urgent areas for repair and areas without sidewalks,” Willrett said.

Willrett recommended that when funds are available, potentially hazardous sidewalks should be fixed first.

Community center announces open gym

The Elburn and Countryside Community Center announces open gym time for the summer.

The gym will be available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Please check in at the office upon arrival. There is a $1 fee per person, and parents are requested to stay to observe their children.

Additionally, the center asks that interested individuals call in advance, as the gym may be rented out ahead of time.

For more information, visit www.elburncommunitycenter.org.

Bankrupt developer still plans huge project

Welch Fields delayed by Chapter 11, housing market
by Martha Quetsch
Kirk Homes still plans to build the 350-acre Welch Fields development in Elburn even though the company filed for bankruptcy May 13.

“We are not abandoning the project. We have put quite a bit of work and money into it,” Kirk Homes President John Carroll said. “But we will be a bit preoccupied for awhile with our (Chapter 11) reorganization plan, which is complex.”

Kirk Homes proposed the project six years ago for farmland along both sides of Route 38 just west of Route 47. The development plan includes commercial development and 950 residential units, including single-family homes, attached single-family dwellings, duplexes and townhomes.

So far, Kirk Homes has done preliminary engineering and plat planning for Welch Fields. Village officials and Kirk Homes representatives last met on Feb. 3 to discuss the Welch Fields project. Since then, the village has not received notice from the company regarding any changes in its plan to develop Welch Creek, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

It might be a few months or longer before the company pursues preliminary planning approval of the project from the Elburn Planning Commission, Carroll said.

Carroll is uncertain when the company will proceed with the next step-pre-annexation approval-because of the housing market decline.

Before the village annexes Welch Fields, Kirk Homes must agree to help pay for expanding Elburn’s wastewater treatment facility to service the additional homes it brings, village officials said.

“Getting our arms around the wastewater treatment contribution will be a big issue,” Carroll said. “We will work it out with village officials, it will just take time.”

Streamwood, Ill.-based Kirk Homes was founded in 1978 and has developed more than 50 neighborhoods in the Chicago area.

Keslinger Plaza developer violates ordiances

by Martha Quetsch
Elburn village officials want the Keslinger Plaza commercial project to proceed, but before that can happen, the developer must comply with village ordinances.

On Nov. 17, 2007, the Village Board approved Grobmar Investments’ final plan for three of its four commercial lots on the northwest corner of Keslinger Road and Route 47.

Since then, the village has not received any payments from Grobmar to bring its escrow balance up to the $20,000 amount required by ordinance. The balance currently is $8,160.

The village previously required Grobmar to maintain a $10,000 balance, but doubled it in November because the developer was seriously delinquent, Community Development Director David Morrison said Tuesday.

Elburn requires developers to maintain a specified escrow account balance to ensure payment of any village expenses related to their projects. In addition, the developer violated the Subdivision Control Ordinance by failing to record the development plat with the county within three months after village approval.

Village officials notified Grobmar in a letter May 20 of the escrow delinquency and the violation, encouraging the developer to comply with its ordinances so that Keslinger Plaza can be developed.

Signed by Village President Dave Anderson, the letter said, “The Village would like to see this project continue to move forward.”

The Elburn Herald phoned Grobmar president Ken Marino Wednesday morning about the developer’s intentions, but he did not return the call before the newspaper’s production deadline.

Village-required escrow accounts
Escrow funds maintained by developers cover Elburn’s costs related to the “considerable review” for development and rezoning projects, Community Development Director David Morrison said during the Development Committee meeting Tuesday.

“We want to make sure the residents of Elburn do not have to pay the costs of development,” Morrison said.

Morrison said the village’s escrow account requirement ensures the village is covered for its costs “in case the developer walks away.”

Village officials plan to bill developers including Grobmar Investments whose escrow balances are delinquent.

Lions host annual motorcycle ride June 7

The Elburn Lions Club will host its 10th anniversary Motorcycle Ride on Sunday, June 7.

The 80-mile “open road” ride through scenic country roads will begin and finish at Elburn Lions Park, 500 S. Fillmore St., Elburn. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Elburn Lions Park. Bikes embark between 9 and 11 a.m.

Vendors, food and beverage will be available throughout the day. Upon returning to Lions Park, all will be entertained by the musical group 61 Beale Street. The event will last until 4 p.m. Additional events will include a huge 50/ 50 raffle, a Poker Walk in the Wark and an Ironhorse Rodeo.

All motorcyclists are welcome and encouraged to attend.

This is a charity event hosted by volunteers to benefit Leader Dog, Camp Lions, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Illinois and Christmas Gifts for Needy Kids, which purchases Christmas gifts for local DCFS youths.

Additional information can be obtained at www.elburnlions.com.

Remembering

Members of American Legion Post No. 630 march from Elburn Lion’s Park to Blackberry Cemetery in Elburn during the village’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday. Photo by Bob Schilling