Category Archives: Elburn


Dudzinski plays final home game for Holy Cross

Photo: Holy Cross senior Dave Dudzinski was honored prior to his final home game for the college Saturday. He was joined on the court by his sister Katy (from left) brother Robbie, father Dave Sr., mother Barbara, Holy Cross head coach Milan Brown and Holy Cross Athletic Director Nathan Pine.
Photo courtesy Holy Cross media relations

WORCESTER, MASS.—Elburn native and Holy Cross senior forward Dave Dudzinski recorded 20 points and five rebounds in his final regular season home game of his collegiate career. The lone senior on the team, he was honored before the game Saturday against Boston University.

Dudzinski leads the Crusaders in numerous statistical catagories this season, including games started (30), minutes (947), field goals (163), free throws made (112), rebounds (225), rebound average/game (7.5), total points (458) and points average/game (15.3).

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A little vintage A lot of heart

Photo: Kristy Simon, owner of Soaring Heart Vintage, behind the sales counter. Photo by Patti Wilk

New Elburn local opens store on Main Street
ELBURN—Kristy Simon has always been a collector of vintage and antique things. She said her grandmother, an artist, encouraged in her an appreciation for an older time and sensibility.

“It sparked an interest in me,” she said.

Simon recently opened Soaring Heart Vintage at 119 1/2 N. Main St. in Elburn.

She met her husband, who grew up in Sycamore, when they were both living in Chicago. Although Kristy appreciates the culture, the fashion and the energy the city has to offer, she and her husband wanted to live in a small town where life was affordable and crime was low.

The Simons five years ago moved out to Elburn, where they have two dogs and a cat, a backyard, and where they take time to breathe and enjoy a slower pace.

Several summers ago, Kristy began holding mini-barn sales once a month, and developed somewhat of a following for her items. When the opportunity presented itself for her to move into the storefront on Main Street, she jumped at the chance.

“I love Elburn,” she said. “I want to be part of the local community, and more than just as a resident.”

Kristy said her inventory is mainly mid-century, with items such as costume jewelry, home decor and furnishings, creatively arranged throughout the store. She said she enjoys staging and styling the items almost as much as the thrill of the hunt for unique merchandise.

“You never know what you’re going to find in some dusty corner in an old, gross basement,” she said.

Not surprisingly, one of Kristy’s favorite shows on television is American Pickers, a program about two antique hunters who find treasures in old barns, backyards and basements.

“I would love to meet them,” she said.

Kristy said that you learn over time what you are looking at.

“I love to know the history of something, so when I see something I’m not familiar with, I research it,” she said. “I am pretty particular about what I buy. People can tell when you absolutely love what you’re selling.”

Her criteria for buying an item is that she would personally buy it for someone or that she would have it in her own home.

Kristy likes to offer a mix of things, to give people a variety of things to look at. She said she tries to keep her prices reasonable, because she never wants someone to say they would like something but they can’t afford it.

She offers items from local vendors mixed in with her merchandise, such as hand-made fabric purses, homemade soaps and skin care products, and embellished vintage jewelry. She plans to offer a selection of old vinyl records soon, and was meeting recently with a collector to discuss his vinyl collection.

“Vinyl has made a total comeback,” Kristy said. “I love old music, and I like to listen to it on vinyl. I love the crackle; it just sounds different.”

She decorates for the holidays, and during the month of February, old-fashioned valentines with parts that moved were strewn in and around the more stable items. A collection of small quilted hearts attached with clothes pins to a long swatch of crinoline fabric captured the imagination.

“The space itself is so old,” Kristy said. “With the high ceilings and everything, my stuff just fits in the space.”


Focus on photos

Photo: Jan Baumgartner with her camera and her “winter wonderland” photo setting in the background. The scene is just one of several photo rooms she’s created in her studio. Photo by Patti Wilk

ELBURN—Jan Baumgartner, one of the newest members of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, is working hard to turn her photography business into a full-time venture.

Her journey to get to this point hasn’t traveled a straight line, and she recently reflected back on pivotal points and people who had an impact on where she is today.

When Baumgartner arrived at Kaneland High School more than 20 years ago, she was in the lower half of her class. She had always been artistic, but she did not see herself as college material.

“I didn’t see myself going to college,” she said. “I didn’t think I was smart enough.”

But then she found herself in Richard Ross’ college-track science class. Although she tried to switch out of the college track, he kept talking her out of it.

“He saw potential in me, and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste,” she said.

Three years of science classes with Ross taught Baumgartner to be curious about the world around her and to explore to find out how things worked.

“It was all about learning to take chances and not give up so easily,” she said.

Year later, when she found herself at Waubonsee Community College, these skills and this confidence would serve her well.

Armed with a B.A. in French, Baumgartner’s goal was to teach. The advisers she spoke to at Northern Illinois University suggested she pick up some required courses in art and history at Waubonsee.

She ended up falling in love with drawing, and took classes in art and photography, painting and drawing in her pursuit of an Associate’s Degree in art.

While she was there, she had an opportunity to intern with a graphic artist and photographer in Waubonsee’s marketing and communications department.

“That experience was very pivotal for me, to see that I could have a creative profession and to be compensated for it,” she said.

Her learning curve took a steep turn upwards when the woman she was studying with died suddenly. Baumgartner jumped in and took on many of the woman’s responsibilities.

She learned how to operate the department’s 35 mm camera in time to cover some very important public events. When the college made the transition from a black-and-white darkroom to a digital environment, Baumgartner was given the responsibility for doing the research and making the equipment purchasing decisions.

“There were lots of learning opportunities,” she said.

The next eight years with Waubonsee offered her a very broad and deep experience, with the college’s execution of its master building plan. Her responsibilities included managing digital assets, creating photo displays, building things out of foamcore and the layout of publications.

Although she had done much learning on the job, Baumgartner felt that she wanted to focus in on photography, and she left Waubonsee and the Midwest to attend the Hallmark School. The course was the “boot camp” of the industry, Baumgartner said, and she learned portraiture, the basics of metering, commercial table-top photography, as well as many other skills and techniques.

Armed with her array of skills and a deeper confidence, Baumgartner came home to create her own business. She does fine portraiture, corporate photography, high-end retouching, graphic design, small-business marketing, as well as some social media marketing and creating websites.

“It’s like a small ad agency in a box,” she said.

As she works to grow her business, Jan Baumgartner Photography, she looks forward to the day when she can bring on board other professionals.

“Ideas are the currency, and what I miss from Waubonsee is other team members,” she said. “I gravitate toward a free flow of ideas.”

She also looks forward to becoming an active member of the Elburn business community, and has joined the Chamber of Commerce toward that end.

For more information about Baumgartner, visit her website at

A celebration of life for Carrie Petrie

Carrie E. Petrie, 87, of Elburn, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Oak Crest Retirement Center, DeKalb.

Carrie graduated from Elburn High School with the class of 1944, and was a longterm local resident and volunteer.

A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Elburn American Legion Post No. 630, 112 N. Main St., Elburn, starting at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to benefit Carrie’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Carrie Petrie Memorial” and mailed in case of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may be forwarded to the family at the same address or on the web at




Tough love

‘Roar’ Comedy Central-Style roast for Chris Halsey
Wednesday, March 12
Elburn Lions Park 500 S. Filmore St., Elburn 6 p.m.
$25 donation per person RSVP by Friday, Feb. 28, at (630) 365-6315

Friends, colleagues to ‘roast’ Elburn Lion Halsey 
ELBURN—”Fun-loving” and “big hearted” are words mentioned quickly whenever Chris Halsey’s friends and fellow Lions Club members are asked to describe him. But it’s not long before they start talking about his leadership.

Those leadership skills will soon come to his biggest test thus far, when he takes on the role of District Governor for Lions Club District 1J. As District Governor, Halsey will have responsibility for working with the 63 Lions Clubs in the district, mentoring and providing leadership for the club’s presidents.

But before he takes on that mantle, his fellow Lions Club members, as well as anyone else who wants to pile on, will have one last opportunity to show a little disrespect to Halsey, the longtime Elburn Lion, at a roast in his honor.

The event, a Comedy Central-style roast, or “Roar,” will take place on Wednesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at Lions Park, 500 S. Filmore St. in Elburn.

The fundraiser, a $25 donation per person, will raise funds for the extensive travel Halsey will undertake during his term as district governor.

Among the “roasters” is Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, who will join in the fun remotely from his vacation in Arizona.

Anderson has known Halsey since they were in grade school, and he said the two have always been friends. Anderson said that he has nothing but the utmost love and respect for Halsey, with the admission of, “Oh man, did we have fun.”

“I could tell you a million stories,” Anderson said.

And that’s just the idea.

“I’ll probably be red-faced through all of it, but that’s OK,” he said.

Halsey said he’s looking forward to seeing all of his friends and some former classmates. He knows they will pull out all the stops on anecdotes about his life, from the time when he had light red curly hair to the present time, with his shaven “Mr. Clean” look.

Halsey said he probably won’t be able to dispute most of the stories, but noted that sometimes the story gets bigger with each telling, including John Stoffa’s version of the time Halsey started a “small-scale riot” outside of McDonald’s, when he stepped in to defend a disabled boy who was being harassed by some other kids.

But when it comes to his involvement with the Elburn Lions Club, Halsey gets serious for a moment.

“The greatest thing in the world is to be able to help somebody less fortunate than you,” he said.

The Elburn Lions Club certainly has given him that opportunity. The Lions Club’s primary mission is to help the blind and visually impaired, locally through providing service dogs to individuals, as well as internationally through providing vision screening and glasses to people around the world.

The Lions are also involved in a variety of other activities to improve their communities and help people in need, such as assisting the hearing impaired, as well as working with diabetes awareness and education, environmental projects and youth programs.

Halsey, who has been a member since 1996, has made many contributions to the club, initiating such fundraisers as Bingo and a club motorcycle ride, as well as a free spaghetti dinner. He is a key organizer for the annual Lions-sponsored Elburn Days community festival, working tirelessly throughout the event to make it the success that it is.

With 185 members, the Elburn club is the largest in the state, as well as the most active in raising money for the various charities they support. They also work hard to maintain the 26-acre park where three ball fields serve Elburn baseball teams, and children can play on handicapped-accessible playground equipment.

“The Elburn Lions Club works as a team; we work well together and we get a lot done,” Halsey said.

Halsey will have the distinction of being the first Elburn Lions Club member to be chosen district governor. As the governor of one of 11 districts in the state, he will travel approximately 30,000 miles during his year-long term, visiting clubs and attending club events, as well as the international convention in Toronto.

His goal for his term as governor is to help ensure that club presidents are effective leaders, and he hopes to work with them toward that end. Halsey said the last two clubs that folded within the district were due to a lack of leadership, and he hopes to help others develop those strengths.

Friend and past district governor Leo Smith of South Elgin, Ill., said that Halsey will make an outstanding governor. He said that being a district governor is a big honor and a whole lot of work, and that Halsey is definitely up to the task.

“He’s up-front with everyone, and he tells it as it is,” Smith said. “He knows what he’s talking about, and he’s a good leader all the way around.”

Halsey said that everyone is welcome to attend the Elburn Lions Roar to enjoy a great meal and hear some interesting stories. To attend the event, RSVP to (630) 365-6315 by Saturday, Feb. 28.

Elburn holds hearing on application for benefits

Elburn Village Board on Tuesday held a Public Hearing regarding former police officer Steven Furlan’s application for benefits related to an injury sustained while on duty in December 2008.

Furlan was performing a safety check at the Elburn Lions Club building when he fell on a patch of ice and hit his head. His physician, as well as three additional physicians chosen by the pension board, has determined that, Furlan is now unable to perform his duties as a police officer due to that incident. Furlan was awarded a duty-related disability pension by the pension board, and is currently requesting for further benefits under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act.

Elburn Village Attorney Bob Britz said that the standard for approving a disability pension is different from that needed for benefits under the public safety act. The benefits he would be entitled to under this act would be payment of medical benefits for himself and his wife, as well as for any dependent children.

The board asked for a copy of an 89-page transcript of the pension board’s hearing and findings, to review prior to any further discussion of Furlan’s case.

Lions February Calendar Raffle winners

ELBURN—The following won $25 in the Elburn Lions Park Calendar Raffle for February 2014: Jan & Butch; ATM & Tar (c/o Reynolds), Terry Lamb, Linn Dierschow, Kyle McKittrick, Greg Algrim, Bill Osborne, David and Laura Broz, Tara Dresmal and Stacy Groesch, all of Elburn; Lynn Alms and Richard and Joyce Bauer of Maple Park; Kay Probst of Sycamore; Laura Lindoo of Montgomery; Melissa Merkel of Yorkville; Mark Renner of Geneva; Casey & Matt Ackerman of West Chicago, Ill.; James & Sandra Peterson of Genoa, Ill.; Donna & Tom Kalsow of Huntley, Ill.; Chuck & Debbie Lane of Tinley Park, Ill.; Judy & John Worthan of Elgin, Ill.; Tom Nawa of Clarendon Hills, Ill.; Russ & Rosemary Gschwind of Chicago; and Jean Diehl of San Diego.

The $50 winners were Evelyn McMains of Geneva, Michele Horton of St. Charles, and Larry McGough of Colorado Springs, Colo. The $100 winner was Rich Janick of Sugar Grove.


Anderson: Elburn’s future is bright

ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson believes that the future of Elburn looks bright, with residential building picking up, a number of new businesses in town, and more to come.

Anderson on Feb. 6 gave his State of the Village address at the February Elburn Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting at the Blackberry Masonic Lodge on Main Street.

Anderson recounted the village’s achievements of 2013, including the annexation and approval of the Elburn Station development, which will double the size of the village; the update of the village’s comprehensive Land Use Plan; and the beginning of construction on the Anderson Road extension and bridge over the railroad tracks in town.

The Union Pacific has petitioned for a third rail that would go from Chicago to Omaha, Neb., which means more trains, he said.

“We need them, but we also want to get from one side of the village to the other,” he said.

The Anderson Road bridge will provide an alternative to motorists, as well as for emergency vehicles that need to get through town. The Elburn and Countryside Fire District has plans for a new fire station on the north side of Route 38, providing better access to Route 38, 47 and Anderson Road.

The village last year also hired a Finance Director, Doug Elder, whom Anderson said has already provided much benefit to the village during its financial and budgetary process. Anderson also said the village has ended each of the last three years with more money than at the beginning of the year.

“Wants are many; needs are few, and we are doing what we can to meet the needs in 2014,” he said.

This year, the village will refurbish and paint the north water tower, as well as update and improve the wastewater treatment plant.

Anderson recounted a number of businesses that located in Elburn last year, including the Lighthouse Academy child care facility, Accelerated Rehabilitation, Brianna’s Pancake House and Eddie Gaedel’s Grill and Pub. And the way was paved for a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant and drive-thru to open in 2014.

Anderson said he sees the Chamber working to bring more ancillary businesses to town. The village has received several inquiries about a hardware store, and Anderson said he’s got his heart set on a florist shop.

Chamber Administrator Peg Bendowski said that of all the calls she gets regarding businesses in town, No. 1 is for a florist, with a bakery and a taxi service numbers two and three.

Anderson said he recognizes that transit is an issue, and he is looking to bring a pedestrian bridge to town that will connect the train station and the surrounding development with the village’s downtown area.

Blackberry Township Supervisor resigns

BLACKBERRY TWP.—Blackberry Township Supervisor Dennis Ryan resigned his position last week, following numerous disagreements with township trustees on a variety of issues.

“I’m sorry to have to do this,” Ryan said on Tuesday. “There were just too many disagreements as far as policy.”

Ryan said that he was consistently outnumbered 4-1 in votes on issues.

One issue that had recently become problematic was regarding a lease the township had on McNair Field. The lease, which expired in 2013, was with Burr Ridge company Transmission Relay Corporation, and included a provision that granted use of 5 of the 20 acres for Kaneland area athletic leagues in exchange for a fee of $1 per year. According to officials, the checks were never cashed.

The township has been in the process of attempting to renegotiate a lease with the owners. Ryan was to follow up with the owners during the past month, but according to trustee Harley Veldhuizen, he had not contacted them.

Ryan said he did not agree with the township’s involvement with the property, and felt that the trustees were trying to create an “under the table” park district, without a referendum.

After the township meeting on Tuesday, trustee Tim Norris said that Ryan had been “out of his element” and that the position had been “more than he could handle.”

Norris defended the township’s involvement with the Kaneland athletic groups and McNair Field.

He said the township was simply enabling the local clubs to use the field. According to Norris, the township holds the lease for the property, but the clubs have done all the work on the field.

The township is now trying to come up with a reasonable dollar amount of rent per acre for the new lease. He said the township pays the rent and the liability insurance, and the clubs do everything else.

Trustee Jim Michels is taking the lead on the communication with the owners.

“We’re stepping in the right direction for Youth Baseball,” trustee Veldhuizen said.

Trustees on Tuesday unanimously voted to accept Ryan’s resignation and then tabled a decision to appoint a successor to replace him until the March meeting.

“The township has 60 days to replace him,” Township Road Commissioner Rod Feece said.

Ryan has only been in the position about a year, so unless the township has a special election, residents will have to wait another three years to elect someone else.

Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Big turnout for Troop 7 pancake fundraiser

Photo: Elburn Boy Scout Troop 7 had a good turnout for its annual pancake breakfast Sunday morning at the Elburn American Legion, in downtown Elburn. AJ Smith, 4, of Oswego went out to breakfast with his grandpa Ray Smith of Elburn at the Legion. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

ELBURN—Despite below-freezing temperatures, the surrounding community poured some of its time and money into the Boy Scout Troop 7 pancake breakfast on Saturday morning at the American Legion in Elburn.

This year, Troop 7 welcomed a great turnout for its winter fundraiser. The Scouts served over 250 people, and 100 percent of the profits will remain with the troop.

“This was a very good turnout for February,” said Troop 7 volunteer Kent Roethemeier. “Last year we didn’t have as many people come out.”

There are several other fundraisers Troop 7 hosts throughout the year, including an August pancake fundraiser on the Saturday of Elburn Days, where the Scouts usually receive a turnout of 400 guests. Troop 7 also helps out other groups with cooking and serving duties for other fundraiser activities.

For example, in June the Boy Scouts will participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by serving pancakes to the participants.

The Troop 7 Saturday pancake fundraisers, along with its other events, are all in an effort to support the Boy Scouts. The Scouts operate on donations throughout the year to pay for certain things such as the rental fee for their storage unit, deposits at multiple campsites, equipment, utensils for cooking, tent repairs and funding for the boys in Troop 7.

Much of the funds the Scouts raise help pay for the 12 camping trips that they embark on each year. They will travel to Shawnee National Forest in March for a short backpacking trip, where they will learn how to survive in the elements. That smaller trip will prepare them for a week-long survival back packing experience in Philmont, New Mexico, in 2015.

“Our goal when we are out camping is to get the boys outdoors and away from their everyday lives,” Scout Master Matt Linden said. “We want them to experience how to survive in the wilderness. They also learn CPR and first aid. These camping trips give them a break from things like video games.”


Photos: A night at the races

Elburn Chamber of Commerce Winter Dinner, “A Night at the Races,” was held at the Elburn Lions Club Saturday. Pat Hill (left) of Hill’s Country Store received the Member of the Year Award, and Annette Theobold (right) of Paisano’s Pizza received the Business of the Year Award.

Janelle Ream of Ream’s Elburn Market, with a show of approval for her winning horse.
Janelle Ream of Ream’s Elburn Market, with a show of approval for her winning horse.
Peg Bendowski shows off her Kentucky Derby-themed race hat.
Peg Bendowski shows off her Kentucky Derby-themed race hat.

local couple to open Elburn coffee house

Photo: Tony and Ann Cobb of Elburn recently purchased the building at 2 S. Main St. in Elburn, and plan to open The Corner Grind coffeehouse there in early May. Ann will run the store, and source its coffee beans from Cafe Moto in San Diego. The Cobbs also own Riverview Banquets in Batavia. Courtesy photo

ELBURN—When residents begin enjoying lattes and cappuccinos in downtown Elburn’s first coffeehouse later this spring, they can thank Sage and Dutch—two boxers who love to visit the Elburn Forest Preserve several times a week.

Elburn residents Tony and Ann Cobb recently purchased the building at 2 S. Main St., the former location of the Made from Scratch bakery, after repeatedly passing it as they took their dogs to the preserve.

“The location kind of just called to us,” Tony said. “There’s a park at the end of that block, and I saw the for sale sign and looked in the window.”

When he saw that the building already had a full commercial kitchen—a siren call to a professional chef and the owner of Riverview Banquets in Batavia—he “fell in love” and had to have it.

The couple plans to open a coffeehouse, The Corner Grind, in the location in May.

“What we’re really hoping for is that it becomes Elburn’s coffeehouse, somewhere that you can come in and grab a cup of coffee, a cappuccino or a specialty drink. Everybody’s looking for a place to go in downtown Elburn, so pop in and hang out,” Tony said.

In addition to a full menu of coffee and specialty coffee drinks, The Corner Grind will also serve a variety of baked goods, sandwiches and snacks.

The menu is still being developed, but it will include a variety of scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins, bagels, high-end deli sandwiches, paninis and salads. Desserts like lemon pound cake, shortbread cookies and brownies will also be offered.

“We’re still kind of testing things out, so at this point, the menu’s kind of up in the air,” Tony said.

Both Cobbs are experienced restaurant owners. Tony attended culinary school and worked at several area restaurants, including Mill Race Inn and Chianti’s in Geneva, before opening his own restaurant, Riverview Banquets, in Batavia in 1997, where he’s been hosting weddings and events ever since. Ann joined him soon after, managing the business’s 25 employees and doing all of the baking and desserts.

Right now, the couple is working on developing new recipes for the coffeehouse and is on a quest to develop the perfect dough for the baked goods.

“We don’t want to go too crazy with tons of stuff,” Ann said. “We just want to pick a few things that are really good and get people there for that. It’s all trial and error right now. We’re in the testing phase. We try different recipes and make them, and then we take them from there and tweak them a little bit.”

To keep everything fresh and local, they are sourcing many of their ingredients from local farmer’s markets, she said.

Though the coffeehouse preparation is now in full swing, with a tentative opening date of early May, the Cobbs didn’t initially plan to open a store at all.

Tony wanted the commercial kitchen in order to expand Riverview’s catering business further west; the storefront was just a bonus area they planned on renting out.

Yet the more they thought about it, the more the storefront seemed like an irresistible opportunity for a new business venture.

“We started kicking ideas around,” Ann said. “I said to my husband, ‘You know what Elburn really needs?’ And he said ‘a coffeehouse.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly what I was thinking.’”

With relatives already in the coffee business—Ann’s family owns Cafe Moto, a coffee roasting business in the San Diego area—the idea just seemed like a natural fit.

“I kind of fathom it like this,” Tony said. “Downtown Elburn has pretty much everything you need: a bar scene, a meat market that’s awesome, good food. But downtown, there’s really no place to go to just sit and have a good cup of coffee. It’s not like St. Charles or Geneva; downtown Elburn is its own community. Yet my wife and I, we have to go somewhere else if we want to enjoy a latte.”

Ann will be running the coffeehouse herself, while Tony continues managing Riverview. She’s sourcing the coffee beans from Cafe Moto, which obtains the beans from sustainable farms—many of them Fair Trade certified or organic—and roasts them in small batches to ensure freshness. Though Moto’s coffee beans are a little more expensive, Ann said the difference in quality will be worth it.

“We really want The Corner Grind to become a warm, inviting place,” she said. “We really want it to be a local coffeehouse. We want somewhere for people in Elburn to go, and we think the downtown is looking so nice with Ream’s and all the other businesses. We want to enhance the downtown more.”

Since the Cobbs know how tough the restaurant business can be, they decided having the kitchen pull double duty was the best option.

“The kitchen that’s been put in there (by the previous owner) is totally overkill for a coffeehouse,” Tony said. “We want to use it for some other things to make it worthwhile.”

Photo by Patti Wilk
Photo by Patti Wilk

The dual nature of the business will help make it more financially viable, Ann said.

“We know we’re not going to make millions in the coffee business,” she said. “But we think the catering will help support it. Tony loves the kitchen and is so excited. He just wants to get cooking in there. And honestly, I always loved being in the kitchen, and so I’m excited about it.”

The Corner Grind is tentatively scheduled to launch on May 1. It’ll be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, and closed on Mondays. The hours may expand, Ann said, if there’s enough demand.

Elburn housing plan would address shortfall

ELBURN—Elburn officials recently created an affordable housing plan, based on the village falling short of the state’s required 10 percent affordable housing, per the most recent census data.

At 9.7 percent, Elburn is just three thenths of a point shy of the 10 percent affordable housing goal established by the 2004 Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act. The Act, created to address the lack of moderately priced housing in many communities, requires that those communities of 1,000 residents or more who fall short of the 10 percent goal come up with an affordable housing plan to address the deficiency.

Although Elburn’s deficiency is small compared to some other communities, village officials said they felt that having adequate affordable housing fits with the village’s vision for itself.

Trustee Bill Grabarek, who has agreed to help steer the plan, said he feels strongly that Elburn should be a place where individuals of all ages and levels of economic status can afford to stay within the village to live out their entire life-span.

Whether an individual has spent their childhood in Elburn and is looking for a place to live when they graduate, or older families who have recently retired and want to remain here, or local government workers, such as teachers, fire-fighters or police officers who want to live where they work, Grabarek said there should be affordable rental units or other housing for them.

With a population of 5,461 and total units of 1,659, the village’s current total affordable housing units is 161. Meeting the standard would mean increasing the number of those units to 166.

“I would ask the board to approve the plan,” Grabarek said. “It sends a message out that we believe in inclusion and want to allow people to stay within the village.”

Village considers lease agreement for cell tower

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday discussed a lease agreement with AT&T for a cell tower to be placed at the well No. 5 site in Blackberry Creek.

AT&T will pay $2,250 a month in rent, with an annual increase of 3 percent. The initial term of the lease is five years, with four automatic renewals of five years each, for a total of 25 years.

In addition to the rent, the village will receive from AT&T a start-up bonus of $7,000, and AT&T will pay for the village’s related engineering and attorney fees.

Village sets schedule for budget process

ELBURN—Village of Elburn Finance Director Doug Elder on Monday laid out the timetable for the village’s 2014-15 budget process. A tentative budget, which outlines village priorities for the coming year, will be available for public inspection at Village Hall by mid-April, with a public hearing set for Monday, April 21. The fiscal year will begin on Thursday, May 1.

Elburn hopes to change road designations

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a recommendation to change the classification of certain roads within the village from that of a local road to a major collector.

The designation would make the specified roads eligible for additional funding to maintain them. The recommended roads are Prairie Valley Street from Main Street to Anderson Road, North Street from Main Street to Anderson Road via Dempsey Street, and Blackberry Creek Drive from Hughes Road to Keslinger Road.

Approval by several more levels of government is required, including Kane County and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Elburn to approve contract for water tower painting, other maintenance

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday discussed a project for painting and other maintenance and improvements to the Prairie Valley North elevated water storage tank scheduled this summer.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said that although the project will take place in the next fiscal year, in order to schedule the project for the summer timeframe, the engineering and bidding process must take place now.

“A lot of things will be done in addition to painting,” Nevenhoven said. “It won’t only be pretty on the outside, but also pretty on the inside, where it really counts.”

The $238,920 project includes exterior and interior painting, corrosion protection, new railings, electrical improvements and other necessary updates. Engineering Enterprises, Inc. will provide engineering services for the project at a cost of $50,000.

“We’re due on this,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

The project agreement will be on the Village Board’s agenda on Monday, Feb. 17.


Boy Scouts demonstrate creativity in Pinewood Derby

Photo: The Elburn Boys Scouts Pack 107 went all out with its creations for this year’s Pinewood Derby event, held at the former middle school building on Meredith Road on Friday. From Nascar and Spongebob to LEGO and Minecraft, the imaginations were endless. Joshua Duncan (below), 8, of Elburn, picked a Lego set as his prize from Friday night’s name drawing. Photos by Lynn Logan

MAPLE PARK—The Elburn Boy Scouts Troop 107 gathered together on Friday for a lighthearted and fun night of racing homemade cars in the Pinewood Derby.

This year’s Derby was conveniently located in the former Kaneland Middle School on Meredith Road in Maple Park, adjacent to the Kaneland High School property where Troop 107 holds its regular meetings. In years past, the Scouts held the Pinewood Derby at Family Life Church of Elburn on Keslinger Road.

A month and half prior to the racing event, Elburn Scouts Troop 107 and all other Pinewood Derby participants receive a racing kit that consists of a block of wood, four wheels and four axels. With the help of a friend or a parent, the Scouts turn these nine pieces of material into a car or car-like structure that reflects their respective interest.

Chuck Miller, a longtime volunteer for the Boy Scouts, notices each year that the kids really get creative with the assembling of their cars.

“A lot of the kids look around their own homes for ideas,” Miller said. “Their cars reflect their interests at the time. I’ve seen traditional racing cars, cars in the form of tanks, sharks, coffins, Swiss Army knives, an Elburn Herald paper, Thomas the Train, Minions from “Despicable Me,” Minecraft characters and many more.”

When it comes to the racing of the cars, each participant receives four chances to race their homemade car down a 30-foot aluminum track that has a timer connected to it. After each participant races their car four times, their total time for each heat is added up and the winners are announced.

From the Tiger group, in first grade, Nathan Z. from Den 8 received first place out of 16 cars. From the Wolf rank, in second grade, Ethan W. from Den 10 received first place out of 20 cars.

From the Bear rank, in third grade, Joshua S. from Den 7 received first place out of 20 cars. And from the Webelos, in fourth and fifth grade, Andrew S. from the Bacon Ninjas Den received first place out of 33 cars.

Out of 89 total cars, Joshua S. from Den 7 in the Bear rank, received first place.

A full list of winners will be available on Pack 107’s website,, later this week. And every Boy Scout comes home from the event with a door prize even if their car didn’t place in the event.

Each year, the pack leaders and volunteers noticed how the Pinewood Derby encourages camaraderie and sportsmanship among the Boy Scouts.

“The Pinewood Derby is one of our largest and most popular events where the Boy Scouts really get a chance to demonstrate their craftsmanship,” Miller said. “The Derby also promotes sportsmanship and healthy competition among the boys. All of the Scouts get really excited to race their cars especially the younger kids who are participating for the first time.”

Photos by Lynn Logan:

Elburn Lions January Calendar Raffle winners

ELBURN—The following won $25 in the Elburn Lions Park Calendar Raffle for January 2014: Bill McCartney, Phillip and Grandpa, Lynda Singer, Kevin Claesson, Bryan Van Bogaert, Gordon Dierschow (twice), Nancy Wilkison, Terry Lamb, Eleanor Dierschow, Eugene & Floyd, Tom Mahan and Tammy Osborne, all of Elburn; Elburn Seniors of Maple Park; Monica Block of Sycamore; Eric Lins of St. Charles; Brenda & John Quinn of Aurora; Linda Lee and Angelena Rivera of North Aurora; Angela Balk of South Elgin, Ill.; Snuffy Smith of Elgin; Dale Downing of Woodstock, Ill.; Bill Curran of Cary, Ill.; and Ken Lanier of Elmhurst, Ill.

The following won $50: Roy Cruz and Living Well Health Center of Elburn; Aleah Meyer of Maple Park; Karen Muehlfelt of St. Charles; and Ken Lanier of Elmhurst.

Bruce Voight of Batavia won the $500 raffle prize.

‘Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland area

ELBURN—’Friday Knightlife,’ a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 31 to March 21.

Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., will be open with activities like basketball, floor hockey, dodgeball, Wii, air hockey and more. Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, will also be open with a movie every Friday, computer gaming, board games, crafts, music and more.

Friday Knightlife is a community collaboration between Peak for Kids, Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library District. Peak for Kids is a new non-profit organization in Kane County dedicated to promoting enrichment and kindness. Part of Peak’s mission is to provide kids more opportunities for connection to community.

Friday Knightlife will provide kids with a safe and fun place to go and socialize. It will also provide mentoring opportunities as older, high-school-aged kids will be invited to volunteer at both facilities.

The Friday Knightlife program will provide participating parents with a Friday Knightlife “Out & About Card,” which will unlock 15 percent discounts on food and more at participating restaurants and venues in the Kaneland community.

Java Plus Cafe at Sugar Grove Public Library will also be open every Friday night from January until March, and offer 15 percent off coffee and live music by some of your favorite Kaneland area musicians.

Registration is now open at Registration forms also available on the Kaneland School District virtual backpack system. Each student will get a free Friday Knightlife T-shirt. Cost is $75 per student; $50 for one sibling, and no charge for all additional siblings. The pilot program is 10 weeks long this year. If the program is successful, the intent is to open the program up to five months next year (November through March), open more facilities and keep the price point between $35 and $55 per student.

The program will be monitored and reviewed weekly to note the kids’ preferences in terms of activities. That way, program coordinators can work to enhance next year’s program.

For more information, call (630) 466-8880 or visit Peak for Kids was the official host of the recently promoted Kindness Campaign in the Kaneland area.

Hawks honor two local high school seniors

GENEVA—The Fox Valley Hawks honored its seniors Sunday, which included an Elburn and a Sugar Grove resident.

Kaneland senior and Elburn resident Mike Potvin, an assistant captain and left wing, started playing hockey at age four, plans to attend Waubonsee Community College next year.

Mike Hill, a Sugar Grove resident and senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School, has been playing the last four years, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin/Platteville majoring in Engineering.

The hockey team, consisting of players from Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North high schools, plays at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

Kaneland Blackberry Creek to host Bingo, auction

ELBURN—Are you ready for some Bingo?

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO will host Family Bingo and Auction Night on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary, 1122 Anderson Road, Elburn.

Blackberry Creek Elementary teachers will take to the stage to call out Bingo information via microphone. Game players will be seated in the school gymnasium.

Julia Galvan, a third-grade teacher at Blackberry Creek, will be one of the event’s five bingo callers. Can attendees expect to hear any teachers use a game show host voice?

“No,” Galvan said. “I’m just planning to just be myself.”

The Family Bingo and Auction Night event is the first of its kind for the Blackberry Creek PTO. According to Lisa Brown, chairperson of the event, money raised during Family Bingo and Auction Night will go to the PTO. Money earned by the PTO goes toward providing classroom supplies, technology purchases, field trips, assemblies, movie nights and a spring dance.

“It’s definitely an opportunity for families to enjoy an evening together and show their Kaneland spirit,” Brown said.

The gymnasium will reflect Kaneland’s school colors of black, silver and white. Silver stars will have landed on plastic tablecloths. And there will be plenty of black and silver balloons.

Magic Matt, a magician otherwise known as Matthew Scherer, will be on the scene to entertain guests. He’ll perform what Brown calls “interesting magic tricks,” and also create balloon animals.

Attendees will have a chance to win Bingo prizes, including Paisano’s Pizza and Grill certificates, Funway roller skating passes and up to $20.

Popcorn, cake pops, lemonade and water will be available for purchase during the event.

Those up for a silent auction can bid on 15 different Kaneland staff time donations. Items include “Games with Mrs. Galvan,” “The Music Man with Mr. Fox,” “Dinner with Mrs. Bateman” and “Hot Chocolate and a Book with Mrs. Tierney.”

Kindergarten teacher Autumn Gilchrist will donate “Pedicures with Mrs.Gilchrist,” designed for up to two of her kindergarten students to enjoy some “girl time.”

“This gives the child an opportunity just to have all of your attention squeezed into an amount of time while having a fun and enjoyable, relaxing experience together,” Gilchrist said.

Meanwhile, Maryann Lisberg, a Blackberry Creek parent volunteer, plans to bring her family to the event and has a reason why people should also attend.

“I just think that it would be a lot of fun, and it’s something for the family to do together,” Lisberg said.

Harsh winter affects village salt supply

ELBURN—High winds, cold temperatures and lots of snow are depleting Elburn’s supply of salt, and salt already ordered has been slow to arrive.

According to Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven, the village has already used more than 300 tons of salt. During a normal year, the village uses about 425 tons for the entire season.

There was some salt left over from last winter, he said. This year, the village has received 280 tons from its supplier, Cargil, and had been waiting for an additional 50 tons, ordered on Dec. 2, that finally arrived a few days ago. Another 150 tons was ordered on Jan. 10, but the company has been weeks behind on its deliveries.

Nevenhoven said the Public Works employees have been judicious about their use of the salt, focusing on the intersections, where drivers need to be able to stop safely.

When asked if he thought the village would run out of salt, he said he could not predict the future.

“Tell me what the weather is going to be for the next six weeks,” he said. “It’s all weather dependent.”

However, he said that this is his sixth winter with the village, and they have not run out yet.

Snow removal has also been challenging, with more snow than there is at times space in which to pile it.

“We use a front-end loader and push it back as much as we can,” he said. “It’s important to keep the sight lines open.”


‘Carrie’s going to be missed’

Photo: Longtime Elburn resident Carrie Petrie (pictured with her daughter, Cara, and granddaughter, Abby) passed away on Jan. 9. Petrie was involved with the Elburn American Legion’s Women’s Auxiliary, played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years and helped run the Elburn Community Blood Drive. Her absence has been felt by many in the community. Photo submitted by Cara Bartel to

Community mourns passing of longtime Elburn resident
ELBURN—The passing of lifelong resident Carrie Petrie on Jan. 9 has left a hole in the community of Elburn.

“You never replace someone like Carrie,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “You can get someone to take over her responsibilities, but you never replace her. Carrie’s going to be missed.”

Anderson said his first experience with Petrie was years ago when he and a date stopped in at Robert’s Drive-In in Geneva to get a bite to eat. The restaurant was two-thirds full, and Petrie was not only the waitress who took their order and served them, but the cook who made their meal, as well as the cashier who took their money.

That take-charge, “let’s get it done” kind of attitude has defined her throughout her life, whether she was helping out on the family farm, placing flags on the graves of the veterans for Memorial Day, cooking spaghetti dinners at the American Legion, or managing the Elburn Community Blood Drive every year.

Carrie was the oldest girl in her family. According to her sister Cecelia, Carrie could run a tractor at an early age. During the war, when so many of the men were overseas, she said Carrie was a big help around the family farm. She could drive the horses as well as a set of mules.

“Dad said she was the best hired man he ever had,” Cecelia said.

Carrie, like many of the young girls in her day, wrote to the soldiers fighting overseas during World War II to keep them from being lonely. Grover Petrie from Sycamore was her choice of a pen pal because she thought he had nice handwriting.

When Grover came home from the war, and he and Carrie met, courted and married. They remained committed to caring for the men and women who had served their country.

Grover joined the Elburn American Legion, and Carrie became a charter member of the Women’s Auxiliary. She and the other wives were actively involved in the current American Legion building.

“That kitchen didn’t magically appear,” said Kay Swift, the Petrie’s neighbor. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into that building. The ladies were there right beside the men, holding lunches and catering dinners to raise the money.”

The Legion’s spaghetti dinners featuring Carrie’s “private (sauce) recipe,” became an annual event. Swift, who helped out with the dinners, said Carrie had everything so well organized, it didn’t seem to be such a big chore.

Carrie had initially set up the kitchen with a place for everything and everything in its place. Village attorney and Vietnam veteran Bob Britz said that Carrie held everything together.

“I don’t think she was ever in the service, but she would have made a good drill Sergeant,” he said with a laugh.

Together with Britz, Carrie played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years. Carrie would read the names of each veteran who had passed away, as well as reciting the poem “Flanders Field” each year. Until several years ago, when the Boy Scouts took over the job, Carrie and a crew of volunteers during the week prior to the service would place flags at the gravesite of every veteran buried in Elburn.

Her dedication and service to veterans included weekly trips to Elgin Mental Health Center, where the 30 or so veterans there would receive packets of gum, cookies, hot chocolate or coffee and other treats that Carrie and other Legion members assembled.

She always felt that no matter what their circumstances were, the veterans deserved the respect and gratitude for the service they gave to their country, Kay Swift said.

“She was a very good motivator,” said Swift, who for the past eight years had helped Carrie run the Elburn Community Blood Drive.

Swift said that when she could no longer donate blood due to a heart condition, she asked Carrie what she could do instead.

“Have I got a job for you,” Carrie responded. And Swift became the blood drive coordinator.

Helen Johnson has known Carrie and her sisters since they were little girls. She said her dad would take the “Gum girls” along with them to basketball games and county fairs, and to Maple Park to make cider.

When Carrie married Grover, they were the first ones to travel to Hackensack, Minn., for their honeymoon, Johnson said. That first trip was the beginning of 40 years of summer fun with family and friends.

“We all cooked together and the guys went fishing,” Johnson said.

Carrie continued to make the drive up to their cabin after Grover passed away. As recently as this past summer, she made the long trip herself, even though her son, Neal, had also passed away, and it was getting harder for her to get in and out of her car.

On her way home, Carrie met her sister Cecelia and her husband Norbert Lund for dinner. Cecelia recalled the numerous nice things that Carrie has done for others.

She used to pick up Cecelia’s daughters and drive them to work at the restaurant in Wasco where she worked, so they could experience what it was like to have a real job. They were able to work their way through college, she said.

“We’re all very proud of her, and all her years of hard work and dedication,” Cecelia said.

Photo: A strong draw

The Elburn Fire Department on Sunday held a raffle drawing for HorsePower Therapeutic Riding. The raffle winners were Roger Fronek (1st place, $4,675), Bob Ushman (2nd place, iPad Mini) and Jean Milz (3rd place, Amazon Kindle). The raffle altogether raised $22,071.32. HorsePower Board of Directors Chairman John Cain (left to right), Max Capes, Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith and HorsePower Director/co-founder Carrie Capes.


Carey family reunited following rough 2013

Photo: The Carey family, Tim, Dylan, Chris and Gavin, at home together just days after being reunited on Dec. 26. Courtesy Photo

SHABBONA, Ill.—When 3-year-old Dylan Carey was finally reunited with his mother, Christine Bateman Carey, on Dec. 26, he wrapped himself around her legs and wouldn’t let go.

Neither he nor his 6-year-old brother, Gavin, had seen her in three months.

Dylan, who has been undergoing treatment for a stage four neuroblastoma, had spent a month in quarantine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago after a bone marrow transplant. Chris, who suffered head trauma in a car accident on Oct. 12, had been hospitalized at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, undergoing physical, rehabilitative and speech therapies.

Their reunion was “just really awesome,” Dave Bateman, Chris’ father, said.

“Dylan sat down on the couch and glued himself to his mom’s leg. He was just stuck there,” Bateman said. “There were some tears, some adjustments, and then time to play a little bit. Chris tires easily, and that’s to be expected, but the reunion was incredible. She was so glad to be home with the boys, and the boys were glad to see mom. It is the answer to a whole lot of prayers, I can tell you that.”

It was a rare moment of joy for a family that’s been twice touched by tragedy: Dylan’s diagnosis in July with neuroblastoma, a tumor of the adrenal gland that had metastasized into his bones, and the car accident in October that landed Chris in a neuro intensive care unit.

Chris, a 1995 Kaneland graduate and an Elburn native, was already on unpaid family medical leave from her job, as she shuttled Dylan to doctors’ appointments, surgeries and chemotherapy. After the accident, her husband, Tim Carey, also went on unpaid family medical leave to care for his wife and sons, living at Ronald McDonald House to be with Dylan during his surgery and month-long quarantine.

Their medical bills are sky-high. Their incomes have disappeared. The situation prompted friends and community members to raise over $38,000 for the family at the “Superheroes for Dylan” fundraiser in Sugar Grove on Dec. 6.

It was an outpouring of support that the family is grateful for, Bateman said.

“The one thing I want to make sure comes through is the absolute and incredible gratitude that Chris and Tim have for all the support they’ve had,” Bateman said. “The fundraiser, the girls who put on that fundraiser … there were people supporting them before the accident, but after, there was hardly a day that one of her friends didn’t come spend with her in the hospital. It’s been an incredible support from friends and community, and I know they want to express their gratitude for that, and I certainly do.”

Though Chris and Dylan are now home, both are still undergoing intensive treatment.

Dylan is starting targeted radiation therapy and travels to Central DuPage Hospital for radiation treatments five days a week.

“We’re a long ways from being done,” Bateman said. “There’s still a lot of pieces that need to get put together, but the doctors are optimistic about Dylan. I think I used the word earlier, ‘cautiously optimistic,’ and I still am, but I’m more optimistic than cautious at this point in time.”

Chris is traveling to Cadence Health in Aurora for additional rehabilitative therapies twice a week. She’s made dramatic progress since the accident, but she still has further to go, her father said.

“All the tubes are out,” Bateman said. “She can eat and converse, but her memory is not so great. She gets lost once in awhile, where she’ll come out of the woods, but for the most part she’s very conversant. She does not remember any part of the accident, and that’s a good thing. I told Chris, ‘The mind has the amazing ability to block some things, and it’s OK, your mind’s protecting
you from that.’ Everyday she remembers more people. It’s putting things in perspective.”

Chris was highly motivated to recover, Bateman said, because she wanted to go home and start caring for Dylan and Gavin again.

“For Chris, it was, ‘What do I need to do to go home?’ She really worked very hard at it, and she realizes there’s still a way to go, but she’s planning on having a full recovery,” Bateman said. “But we also know that it’s not going to be overnight. It could be more than a year before she’s back to normal, but you achieve a little more normalcy every day.”

Tim’s step-sister, Rachel Saltz, has come to stay with the family for the month, helping take Dylan and Chris to treatments and take care of Gavin, who is back in school. The family is trying to adjust to the dramatic changes in their lives, Bateman said.

“It’s just an ongoing process of getting reacquainted,” he said. “You’ve got a family that has been totally devastated over the last six months, and it’s a matter of adjusting to the new reality. It’s never going to be quite like it was. It’s going to be close, but never quite the same. I give (Tim) an immense amount of credit, simply to be able to weather that storm. As he said, ‘You do what you have to do.’ And that was Chris’ attitude before she was hurt: ‘I can’t change what it is, but I can work on my attitude, and my attitude is that we’re going to get through this.’”

The family is still in need of financial help, he said, and additional fundraisers are being planned. Though the Carey family has health insurance, there are co-pay fees for every doctor visit and every medication, as well as co-insurance, the percentage of hospitalization costs and treatment that the family has to pay. Chris’ three-month stay in the hospital was particularly costly, Bateman said, and the bills for her treatment and Dylan’s treatments are just starting to arrive.

Yet despite the challenges, Bateman said he felt hopeful.

“I feel just overwhelming gratitude,” he said. “It’s the answer to prayers that we are so grateful for. And I’m going to be a little selfish and say, we need continued prayers because we’re certainly not done yet. We’re not out of the woods, but we’ve seen some clearings.”

Monetary donations can be made to the “Superheroes for Dylan” account at any Castle Bank, including the Sugar Grove branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd.


Submitted Photo: Snow Wars

Elburn resident Dave Nosek and his kids built this “Jabba the Hutt” snowman on Sunday out of mailboxes, mini-snow shovels and hockey sticks. Photo submitted by Sarah Nosek

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Elburn Lions Park Calendar Raffle winners for December 2013

ELBURN—The following won $25 in the Elburn Lions Park Calendar Raffle for December 2013: Linn Dierschow, Jim Thomas, Bears & Packers, Kevin Knight, Mike Bryan, Heather Todas, Tom, Ken and Ron, Alyx and Grandpa Reynolds, and Phil Gladd, all of Elburn; Judi Stojan of Sugar Grove; Elburn Seniors of Maple Park; Andy Van Bogaert of Elgin, Ill.; Mary Sandoval of North Aurora; Linda Wiss of Bartlett; Mark Renner and Brad Novak of Geneva; Larry Holland Jr. of Somonauk, Ill.; Karen Gholson of Oswego, Ill.; Vince Allegra of Hindsdale, Ill.; Greg Eder of Sycamore; Nancy and Jerry’s of Aurora; Kristin Hedges of Diamond, Ill.; and Dennis Markley of Delavan, Wis.

The $50 winners Del Ward and Kathy Hawbaker of Elburn; Kendel Gilkey of DeKalb; and Butch and Jan C. The $150 winners were Meghan Britz of Elburn and Jenna Millen of North Aurora. The $500 winner was Ken Hougas of Naperville, Ill.


Fishermen’s Inn to reopen as event center in 2014

Photo: Fishermen’s Inn in Elburn, closed since 2009, will reopen as an event center in 2014, featuring a silo that will serve as the main entrance. The Fishermen’s Inn building was purchased in October 2012 by Mark and Patricia Southern. Courtesy Photo

Restaurant has already booked 40 weddings prior to its grand reopening

by Natalie Juns
ELBURN—When Elburn’s Fishermen’s Inn closed back in 2009, the community lost a place where people could gather together for reunions, get-togethers, banquets and weddings. Five years later, Fishermen’s Inn is back with a completely updated facility.
Mark and Patricia Southern, the new owners of Fishermen’s Inn, purchased the facility in October 2012 with the intention of renovating it while still preserving its original barn style. The Southerns are accepting reservations for weddings and events, and already have 40 weddings booked for this year.
The Southerns plan to open Fishermen’s Inn to the public on certain holidays, but they aren’t sure of the specific dates just yet.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback on our website (,” Mark said. “People are excited that Fishermen’s Inn is reopening, but they think that it won’t be open to the public. We do want to include the community, and our plan is that we will be open on holidays for the public. We are hoping to open on Easter day to the public.”

There will be three banquet rooms in Fishermen’s Inn: The Veranda on the lower level and the Great Room and the Loft Room on the second level. The Great Room will be sided with historic barn siding from the Kane County area. Outlooking the Great Room, they will have a 3,000-square-foot brick patio bar that is expected to open the middle or later part of 2014.

Beyond the patio bar, there are interconnected brick pathways that wind up to the ceremony site behind the restaurant. In preparation of the weddings they will host, the Southerns last fall planted 20,000 tulip bulbs next to the ceremony site and by the pathways.

The Southerns are in the midst of building a silo that will be the main entrance from the parking lot on the west side of the building. The entrance will feature a curved circular ceiling with a sweeping staircase that will drop off visitors at the second level between the restaurant’s Great Room and the Loft Room.

Mark’s sister, Linda Hagen, and Patricia are managing the marketing, promoting and corresponding side of the new Fishermen’s Inn. Those who are interested in booking a wedding there can call (630) 365-9697 for more information.

“The word has spread, and we are looking forward to the grand re-opening,” Hagen said. “We are also thrilled to provide it and give back to the community this way. People will enjoy reliving their memories and creating new ones with their families.”

Elburn Village President looks toward 2014 with optimism

ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson sees growth and improvements for Elburn in the coming year.

After three years with only two building permits for new homes in each of those years, 2013 will likely end with eight permits.

“I’m optimistic we’ll meet or exceed 2013’s results in 2014,” Elburn Building Inspector Tom Brennan said. “I’ve been taking phone calls regarding submissions.”

Things set in place in 2013 will serve as the foundation for growth and development in 2014. A reduction in the development fees for Blackberry Creek Subdivision has already facilitated the purchase of more than a dozen lots.

Approval of the Elburn Station development paved the way for the Anderson Road extension and bridge project, which began in 2013 and will continue through 2014.

Anderson said he wants to make some decisions this year regarding a pedestrian walkway that will connect the new development around the train station with the downtown Main Street area.

Questions that need to be resolved are where the walkway will be located and whether it will be under or above ground.

Anderson and the board in 2013 appointed a new group of business owners and other stakeholders to form an Economic Development Commission for Elburn. With Village Administrator Erin Willrett as the moderator, the group met twice in 2013.

Anderson said the goal of the group is to advance economic development for Elburn, whether that is working to enhance current businesses or to motivate new businesses to come to town.

“Their goal is to think outside the box,” Anderson said.

Anderson envisions Main Street with full store fronts, with the focus on businesses that bring sales taxes and businesses that build traffic. He sees the village aiding in whatever way it can.

“We’ve got some things that businesses would want, a good customer base and a per capita income,” Anderson said.

He would like to see sidewalk repair in 2014, as well as new street lighting.

He would like to build on the improvements that the business community has already accomplished, such as the expansion of Bob Jass Chevrolet, the new facade for Eddie Gaedel’s and Ream’s Elburn Market’s purchase of the parking lot across Main Street from the store.

Anderson said that villages don’t control growth, but they can mold it into what will appeal to the lifestyles and desires of their residents. He said that the Land Use Plan, completed in 2013, will provide the guidelines for the ideals and desires of the community.

“The next 10 years we’re going to see some major upgrading and positive changes in the (structural) face of Elburn,” he said.

Elburn moves forward in 2013

by Susan O’Neill

ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson doesn’t like to call things the village gets done “accomplishments.”

“We’re just doing our job,” he said.

Even so, the list of items on the “Elburn doing its job” list in 2013 is quite long.

Tops on the list of village items completed this year is the approval of the Elburn Station development.

“That took the most time,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he is pleased with the process of how the decisions were made regarding the development plan.

“Everybody had the opportunity to put forth their opinion,” he said. “And when we voted, it was unanimous.”

The approval of the ShoDeen development included the annexation of numerous acres into the village surrounding the Metra station, from Keslinger Road to Route 38. The development will include single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes, apartments and condominiums, as well as commercial, industrial and service components.

“This process was a huge undertaking, and took more than 10 years to accomplish,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett wrote in a letter to village officials and staff.

The Elburn Station approval paved the way for construction to begin on the Anderson Road extension and bridge, something long sought after and celebrated by village officials.

The village this year hired a finance director, who has already begun streamlining the financial processes, allowing the village to work “better and smarter,” Anderson said.

The addition of Finance Director Doug Elder, who took on Willrett’s responsibilities while she was on maternity leave last year, has been a big positive for the village, according to Anderson.

Elder has also taken on the responsibilities of the village treasurer position, as well as the Pension Board treasurer. He led the fiscal year budget process, as well as the budget act ordinance, educating the board and staff members along the way.

The addition of Elder will free up some of Willrett’s time to focus more on the economic development of Elburn. A newly-appointed Economic Development Commission was created, which has met several times this year with a focus on future business development for the village.

A number of new businesses opened this year in Elburn, including Accelerate Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, Windy City Muscle Cars, Brianna’s Pancake House, Eddie Gaedel’s Grill and Pub, Lighthouse Academy Day Care, G.E.D. Pizza, E&S Fish Company, Beautiful U Re-Sale Shop, American Family Insurance, Focal Point Waxing Studio and Electrical Conduit Construction.

The Village Board approved a special use permit for a drive-through restaurant, paving the way for a Dunkin’ Donuts location in the Elburn Crossing shopping center.

“Sales tax money, jobs and real estate taxes. It’s all about bringing people to Elburn,” Anderson said.

With the help of a $100,000 grant, the village updated the Elburn Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the first update since 1990. The year-long effort included input from the community, elected and appointed officials, as well as an energetic group of Kaneland High School students.

This plan will provide the guidelines for future growth within the village.

With the help of an increase in the water and sewer rates in the village, work has begun on the modernization of the waste water treatment plant.

Several procedural items were completed, including amending the village building and housing code and the 2013 update to the codified ordinances.

Although Anderson is reluctant to call them accomplishments, he said he is pleased with what the village has completed this year, as well as staying within the budget.

“I’m very, very pleased with the staff within the village,” he said. “What a great, great group of people.”

He also said that there have been more and better discussions with the Village Board, with everyone contributing and coming to consensus on issues.