Elburn & Countryside Community Center
525 N. Main St. (Route 47) Elburn
(630) 365-6655 ElburnCCC@gmail.com ElburnCommunityCenter.com
ELBURN—A tornado relief donation dropbox is currently available in the Elburn Herald office, located in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Suite 2. Items donated via the dropbox will go toward relief for victims of Sunday’s tornado outbreak, which devastated parts of Central Illinois, as well as parts of Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri.
The dropbox will be available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to donate food, clothing and home supplies to the dropbox. Monetary donations may also be made.
ELBURN—Fireworks may return to Elburn in 2015, and both the Chamber of Commerce and the Elburn Lions Club have formed committees to revive the Day in the Park festival.
The fireworks were scuttled in 2008 for financial reasons, sending many families to neighboring towns for Fourth of July festivities.
But three residents—Chamber Vice President Dan Murphy, Lions Club President David Broze and village trustee David Gualdoni—have been working together behind the scenes for the past six months to bring back Day in the Park.
If the festival returns, it will be held the weekend after the Fourth of July—potentially either July 11 or 12—at Elburn’s Lions Park.
“A lot of people go out of town on a holiday weekend,” Murphy said. “We want people to be able to celebrate in their community. So we probably would want to have (the fireworks) the weekend after the Fourth.”
Broze, who is heading up the Lions’ fireworks committee, said that although there was a lot of enthusiasm about the idea, bringing back the event is both logistically and financially complicated.
“It’s kind of like playing dominoes,” Broze said. “You’ve got to get everything lined up.”
Hosting fireworks costs between $10,000 and $15,000 each year, Murphy said, and coming up with that money has been a major hurdle to bringing the event back.
The Chamber is considering ways to raise enough money to fund the first year, including doing fundraising and potentially using some of the money it raises during its annual golf outing, Murphy said. After that, Day in the Park will have to pay for itself.
“Previously, there wasn’t a lot of (financial) success with Day in the Park,” Murphy said. “It was hard to pull people in for all day, but we’re thinking about things that will draw people in and create fireworks revenue. We’d like to be able to earn enough that it’s self-sustaining.”
One of the major concerns, he said, is that the Chamber and the Lions Club do not lose money on the event, as they did in prior years.
Since the fireworks themselves will be free, Murphy said, Day in the Park has to have other activities that would bring in money, such as food vendors and live bands. The committees are working to determine what activities might help raise revenue, Broze said, and few specifics have been decided.
“The only thing that really we have a consensus on is that we are open to looking at (reviving Day in the Park),” Broze said.
Broze said the other challenges were largely logistical. Large events like Day in the Park require a lot of planning and time, including getting approval from the Village Board, arranging for the Police Department to do traffic control and for Public Works to post signs, schedule activities, bring in portable bathrooms, arrange clean-up and garbage removal, and find enough volunteers to work the event, he said.
Right now, Broze said, the main thing that the Lions Club needs in order to bring fireworks back to Elburn is volunteers. The fireworks committee currently has five or six members and needs more, he said.
“The challenge is just time. That’s really what it comes down to. We’re all volunteers, the folks down at the Chamber are volunteers, (and) in my opinion, our village trustees are also volunteering a lot of their time outside of the meetings. We’re all working after hours and during lunchtimes to make this happen,” Broze said. “You only get so many dinners with your family and, you know, time is always our biggest obstacle. That can be overcome if you have more volunteers. Something that might take one person years to do can be achieved in several months if you have a team together.”
Murphy told the Village Board in September that the Chamber was considering bringing back the festival, but nothing has been presented to the board for action yet, Gualdoni said.
“I hope it comes back; it’s a nice family-friendly event,” Gualdoni said. “I know the Lions Club and Chamber are working on it. We’ll see what they come up with.”
He agreed that getting enough volunteers to plan and fundraise was a challenge.
“The problem is that you can’t get people to commit to work it,” Gualdoni said. “A lot of (people in Elburn) are from out of town, and a lot of people are just busy. It’s like anything else in life. Some people will go above and beyond. Some people are busy with their own lives.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to help bring back Day in the Park can contact Broze at (630) 465-8890.
ELBURN—Look for the familiar red Salvation Army kettles this November and December throughout the Kaneland and Big Rock area. Conley Outreach (the local Salvation Army Service Extension representative), together with local Scout troops, businesses, 4-H clubs, church groups and Community Care Team volunteers, will collect donations on Saturdays and the days just before Christmas outside various local businesses.
Every year, Conley Outreach receives about $3,500 from the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to help needy families pay for rent, heat, food, clothing or other necessities. Because of the current economic conditions, this money is depleted quickly. The Christmas Kettles enable Conley Outreach to raise additional money and replenish this fund. 90 percent of all the money donated in our area kettles will stay in our local Salvation Army fund. All local kettles have a sign stating that the money stays in the Kaneland and Big Rock area. This past year over 50 families received assistance from this fund. Many more need help.
Consider making a donation when you are out shopping this month. Donations can also be sent to Conley Outreach/Salvation Army Fund, PO Box 931 Elburn IL 60119. If you have a group that would like to staff the kettles one Saturday or on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23-24, in either Sugar Grove or Elburn, contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880.
A ceremony to honor veterans took place at 8:50 a.m. Monday by the flagpole on the campus of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn. The school’s students and staff, the Elburn Legion, the Fox Valley Concert Band, and Boy Scout Pack 107 participated in the event.
Boy Scout Pack 107 (above) helps local veterans unfold the flag.
Wiley Overly (above) from Elburn American Legion, kicks off the ceremony. Wiley served in the Army during the Vietnam era and the National Guard.
Collin Miller (above), a John Stewart third-grader, takes the podium to say a word to veterans for their job well done.
John Anderson (above), an Army veteran from the Vietnam era who resides in Batavia, salutes during the ceremony at John Stewart, where his granddaughter attends school.
Students and staff (above) raise flags to salute veterans.
ELBURN—North Aurora resident Sue Gremo said she initially found out about the Swap Shop through an Elburn Herald article, and decided to go to look for home schooling materials. What she found was friendship.
Gremo and her friend were off in a corner, talking about Gremo’s niece, whom she had recently lost to suicide. They were both crying. Nicole Dulski approached them and asked if she could pray with them.
The women bonded in that moment.
Gremo ended up joining one of Dulski’s Bible study groups, and this year, she is volunteering at the Swap Shop on Friday to sort and get things ready for Saturday’s sale. Gremo said she loves the idea of the Swap Shop, and she is looking forward to getting more involved.
“You know someone’s going to use something you don’t need,” she said.
Dulski explained that the rule of thumb for a donation is that it should be in good enough shape that you would not be embarrassed to give it to a friend.
“It’s an opportunity for families to pass on items to others that they don’t need anymore,” Dulski said. “The majority of the people who donate are just ordinary people, and when they give, they find that they get back so much more. It’s an opportunity to love other people and the blessings that stem from there.”
The idea of a Swap Shop began about six years ago with a local Christian mothers’ group called the Authentic Moms. The group of women, who attend several different churches and participate in various local Bible study groups, get together on a regular basis for a meal, fellowship and to support each other as moms.
According to Dulski, an Elburn resident, the swapping began informally among the women. Children are always growing out of things and mothers can always use one thing or another for their children.
A few years ago, the group decided to open up the swap to the broader community, Dulski said. This year will be the third annual pre-Christmas Swap Shop. Held in the gymnasium at the Elburn Community Center, the event has grown, with more people coming and more people giving each year.
The moms in this group feel it is their responsibility as Christians to help others in this way. They are inspired by the scriptures that tell them to love others, both in word and in deed, and especially the following Bible verse 1 John 3:16-18.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word and talk but in deed and truth.”
“I’m amazed at God and what he does,” she said. “We couldn’t do this without an army of people. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, every single time.”
Dulski said the email list of families who want to participate has grown to about 150.
“People are contacting me,” she said. “Complete strangers are giving up their whole Friday, or offer to help on Saturday.”
Dulski said that she and the other moms have been collecting items for the past month or so. They have completely filled a trailer, as well as half of her garage.
This year, a number of people from her church, Valley Brook, have offered to help. Church members meet in the Blackberry Creek School on Sundays.
“These people set up and take down an entire church each week,” Dulski said with a laugh. “They’re good people to have help.”
On Friday, a number of volunteers will show up first thing in the morning to accept additional items from people dropping them off. They will stay to neatly fold the children’s clothes and sort them by size, and set up toys, video games, DVDs, children’s furniture and other items around the room.
On Saturday, moms (and dads) will walk past the bounty, searching for Christmas presents for their children, or for an item that would fill a need or a want.
Although it is called a Swap Shop, people don’t need to bring something in order to take something, although many people do. No money is exchanged, nor any credit cards taken. Whatever someone feels they need or want, they are welcome to take it home.
Dulski said that she recently talked to a woman who works at a business in Elburn. The woman had come to the Swap Shop last year, and this year, is donating some items.
She told Dulski that her husband had lost his job last year, and if it hadn’t been for the Swap Shop, they wouldn’t have had any toys for their children for Christmas.
Dulski said it’s also a joy in her heart that her children are learning that it’s not all about what you have.
“It’s an opportunity to introduce another generation to the spirit of giving,” she said.
For many, the holiday season begins the moment Halloween ends (the fact that local stores are already carrying holiday lights and decorations confirms this). And now that Oct. 31 is in the rear-view mirror, the Elburn Fire Department is kicking off the holiday season offering the Kaneland community a chance to give back in a subtle-yet-awesome way.
The Fire Department this holiday season will collect food and additional household items for donation to the Elburn Food Pantry. Any local residents who are able to help the Fire Department stock the Food Pantry are encouraged to make some sort of item donation at either the pantry’s location in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Elburn Fire Station No. 1, 210 E. North St., or Fire Station No. 2, 39W950 Hughes Road, Elburn.
What items are needed for donation? Great question. The Food Pantry is in need of items including macaroni and cheese, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, canned pasta meals, bar soap, boxed potatoes, toilet paper, etc. And if you’re unable to swing by the designated donation locations, give the Fire Department a call, and they’ll have a representative swing by your home and pick up the donated items. Simple, right?
Members of the Fire Department will also set up shop in front of the Elburn Jewel on Sunday, Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon, to collect donations. And during the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6, the Fire Department will host its annual Open House event at Fire Station No. 1. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned good for donation.
So there you have it. It may be early November, but we’re already approaching the season of giving back. And with so many opportunities to donate an item or two to the Food Pantry during the holidays, we’re confident that the Fire Department’s donation effort this year will be a successful one. You, of course, can help make that a reality by contributing to the Food Pantry’s cause.
ELBURN—The Dunkin’ Donuts franchise is one step closer to coming to Elburn, after the Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended approval for a drive-thru.
The restaurant would be located in front of the Jewel-Osco, in the lot at the northwest corner of Prairie Valley Street and Route 47, otherwise known as lot three in the Elburn Crossing Subdivision.
The front of the building would face east onto Route 47, with the drive-thru on the west side, facing the Jewel. There are plans for an outdoor seating area to the north of the building.
The architect, Diane Duncan from Gleason Architects, represented franchisee Vishal Vagahani at the Plan Commission on Tuesday. After a public hearing solicited no negative comments, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval for the special use application to allow the drive-thru.
The request for the special use next goes to the Village Board for approval.
Plan Commission member Sue Filek said it was good to see lots of room for the cars, stating that the parking lot and the drive-through for the Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 64 in St. Charles always seems so crowded.
Vagahani operates four other stores, including one on Route 59 in West Chicago, Ill. The Elburn location would be considered a satellite store, with the majority of the donuts made at the West Chicago location. However, fresh muffins would be made in Elburn.
Duncan told the commissioners that she will work closely with the village’s Building Commissioner, Tom Brennan, on the colors for the building’s facade.
“We want to be in harmony with the existing stores,” she said.
Duncan said there are currently no plans for a Baskin Robbins connected to the restaurant, but the building has the potential for such an addition in the future.
The Plan Commission had only one question for Duncan.
“When?” asked Plan Commission member John Krukoff.
Duncan said that once the approvals and plans are all in place, the actual construction should take about three months.
“It’s all good,” Plan Commission Chair Jeff Metcalf said. “We’re halfway there.”
“We appreciate that (Vagahani) picked Elburn,” Krukoff said. “Too bad he won’t be open for the Christmas walk.”
ELBURN—Holiday Spirit, a joint program between the Kaneland Schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 160 children in 63 families through the donations. The program anticipates that the need will be just as great this year.
Those interested in adopting a family can contact Kaneland John Shields Elementary social worker Nicole Pryor at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or email@example.com or West Towns Coordinator Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.conleyoutreach.org to download the donation form, or click here. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last minute gifts and for gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.
ELBURN—Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School will hold a Veterans Day celebration on Monday, Nov. 11, with an 8:50 a.m. celebration near the school’s flagpole, and an afternoon assembly at 2:40 p.m.
During these events, area Boy Scouts will raise U.S. colors, Girls Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and fourth-graders will perform their annual Choral Concert. Members of the Elburn Legion will speak, and several students will read thank you notes and poetry.
John Stewart Elementary invites and encourages veterans to join the school for its morning flag-raising ceremony and end-of-day assembly. For more information, email Heidi Gilkey at email@example.com.
Question whether meeting twice a month is enough
ELBURN—The move for the Elburn Village Board to meet twice a month instead of four times a month has caused some trustees to feel “out of the loop,” as noted during some of the discussions that took place on Monday.
During a presentation by Finance Director Doug Elder on a proposed property tax levy for the village, trustee Jeff Walter said he was concerned that he didn’t know how village staff had arrived at the amount Elder presented.
Trustees eventually unanimously approved the proposed levy amount for $824,000 and set a public hearing for Monday, Dec. 2, at Village Hall. The public hearing is necessary because the amount is more than 105 percent of the previous year’s extension of $695,000.
However, the discussion preceding the vote revealed the discomfort of several of the trustees due to the increased time between the meetings and the amount of time they have to review the information prior to the meetings.
“It seems like we’re going into this without much discussion,” Walter said. “We have a number here on paper and I’m not sure where this number came from. It’s like, ‘Here’s the number, guys. Let’s vote on it.’”
Up until last summer, the Village Board met on the first and third Mondays of the month, with the Committee of the Whole meetings scheduled for the second and fourth Mondays.
The Committee of the Whole meetings are when discussion regarding items before the board takes place. The Village Board meetings are where votes are taken to approve those items.
A few months ago, the board began meeting twice a month on the first and third Mondays, with both the Committee of the Whole and the Village Board meetings taking place on the same evening.
Trustees receive the packet of information on the Friday prior to the Monday meetings, which Walter said leaves little time for them to review the items and prepare.
“I’m not feeling like we’re in the loop anymore,” Walter said. “We should be coming in here completely prepared to vote on the issues. We really need time to digest this stuff.”
Village President Dave Anderson mentioned the weekly report that Village Administrator Erin Willrett sends out to board members, encouraging them to call her or other staff members with questions. He noted that he was at Village Hall every day.
“And I’m not,” trustee Dave Gualdoni responded. “Some of this stuff needs to be discussed by everyone at this table, and it’s not.”
Trustee Bill Grabarek said that meeting only twice a month during the summer made sense when not as much was happening, but now that the village is seeing more activity, meeting more often might be warranted.
Trustee Ken Anderson, who works for Kane County, said they meet once a month, and keep up with issues through the use of executive summaries.
Dave Anderson said he prefers meeting less frequently, because it allows Village Administrator Erin Willrett to be more efficient, with less time preparing for board meetings and more time to do her job.
Grabarek said he could see both sides of the issue. However, he stated that he could see an advantage to meeting four times a month.
Since trustees Ethan Hastert and Pat Schuberg were not in attendance at the meeting, the other board members agreed to continue the discussion when they could all participate.
Magic Matt appeared at the Elburn Town and Country Public Library on Oct. 30, to do a magic show and Halloween balloon twisting for the kids. He presented them with the Spooky Fun Magic Show. Here, he presents the “Do you have the wand? No, you don’t. I thought you had the wand” trick as he magically takes the wand from Rosie Lagattolla.
ELBURN—Decades in the planning, construction is set to begin on the Anderson Road bridge as public officials put shovels in the ground on Monday.
The shovels symbolized breaking ground on the project that will provide an overpass to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Officials from all levels of government, from village to federal, gathered at the construction site near the intersection of Anderson Road and Prairie Valley Street in Elburn for Monday’s ceremony.
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said reaching this point in the project is the result of hard work, cooperation, collaboration and compromise, along with a heavy dose of federal, county and state funding.
The project will extend Anderson Road, which currently ends at Prairie Valley Street, to Keslinger Road to the south, as well as build the bridge, which will provide an alternate to crossing the railroad tracks on Route 47 through Elburn.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, Lauzen, Kane County Board member/Transportation Committee Chair Drew Frasz and Kane County engineer Carl Shoedel were among those who spoke at the event.
State Rep. Kay Hatcher, ShoDeen Inc. president Dave Patzelt, Kaneland School District Superintendent Jeff Schuler and Elburn trustee Bill Grabarek were among those in attendance.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said he could remember when there were no bridges over what was then the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. There was just a rickety old bridge over Harley Road, he said.
The progress that the Anderson Road bridge exemplifies is the result of the foresight and cooperation of governmental partners, Anderson said.
Kane County Engineer Carl Shoedel earned a round of applause when he said that, while happy to see this progress, he will be even more excited when the road and the bridge is open to traffic, and the project is completed on time and under budget.
Martam Construction, Inc., together with Herlihy Mid-Continent Company, was awarded its $14.4 million bid on the project, approximately 25 percent less than the engineer’s original project estimate of $19.8 million.
Breaking ground this fall will give it time to freeze and thaw throughout the winter, leaving it ready for construction to begin by spring, Frasz said. He anticipates the project to be completed by late 2014 or early spring 2015.
Frasz said that there was a time in the past year when completion of the project was in question. Patzelt owned the property necessary for the right-of-way for the bridge, and annexation of this land for ShoDeen’s Elburn Station development was a prerequisite to the construction of the bridge.
But Frasz said that in the end, Patzelt and the village were able to come to an agreement on the development. He credited village trustees, and Grabarek in particular, for their careful consideration of the details of the project.
Anderson extolled the positive outcomes that will take place as a result of the bridge, including increased connectivity and accessibility to the Metra station, the industrial park and the downtown area, as well as the safety and welfare of the people within the community.
Anderson said that when the bridge is finished, a bike and pedestrian pathway will provide access to county forest preserves Elburn Woods and Johnson’s Mound.
He reflected that the project had involved generations of elected officials.
“It was all of us,” Anderson said, mentioning the Kane County Board, the Transportation Committee with Frasz’s leadership and Jan Carlson before him, former Elburn Village President Jim Willey, as well as former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert, who brought the federal dollars home to Kane County.
“This was started before us,” Anderson said. “We were fortunate enough to be a part of it.”
The build-out of the Elburn Station development will begin once the bridge has been completed.
“The bridge will provide for the efficient movement of traffic, and will be a catalyst for positive development of the entire region,” Anderson said.
Twenty years from now, we’ll be astounded how much activity and how much traffic this bridge will have,” he added.
ELBURN—Village Board members and staff on Monday raised concerns regarding the village’s social media policy for its employees.
The policy was added to the village’s employee personnel policy manual during the past year, and came up for discussion during an annual review of the updates.
Trustee Jeff Walter wanted to know if the policy applied to board members and other elected officials.
One restriction in particular that troubled him was one in which employees were prohibited from identifying their employer.
Walter said that he uses his Facebook page to campaign for re-election.
“When my Facebook page says ‘Re-elect Jeff Walter, village trustee,’ I’m identifying myself as an employee of the village,” Walter said.
Trustee Dave Gualdoni said he wondered about the legality of the restriction.
“It seems to me it violates First Amendment rights,” he said.
Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said that the purpose of his LinkedIn account was to network.
“I can’t tell people I work here?” he asked. “That’s the whole purpose (of LinkedIn).”
While Walter said he didn’t think the village would want to prevent employees from posting positive images of the village, Village Attorney Bob Britz said the policy is to “control the not-so-positive images.”
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said the intent of the policy is to prevent employees from discrediting the village. She said that there have been no issues with the policy since it was implemented last November.
Britz explained that the policy, while not perfect, lets everyone know what is expected, and any disciplinary action would therefore not be seen as “arbitrary and capricious.”
He said he is very sensitive about First Amendment rights, but that it was necessary for the village to have some type of policy in place.
Village President Dave Anderson said he didn’t think that the policy applied to board members and other elected officials.
“Representing the village (as an elected official) is one thing; working for the village is another,” Anderson said.
Anderson asked board members to send their comments and concerns to Willrett for a follow-up discussion.
“I don’t want to get into something like a ‘Code Napoleon,’ where everything is forbidden unless expressly permitted,” trustee Bill Grabarek said.
ELBURN—Holiday Spirit, a joint program between the Kaneland Schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 160 children in 63 families through the donations. The program anticipates that the need will be just as great this year.
Those interested in adopting a family can contact Kaneland John Shields Elementary social worker Nicole Pryor at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or firstname.lastname@example.org or West Towns Coordinator Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880 or email@example.com. Visit www.conleyoutreach.org to download the donation form. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last minute gifts and for gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.
Blackberry Creek Elementary School students on Friday had the unique opportunity to see a Velomobile (Hybrid Bicycle) up close and in action. Fourth-graders study inventions and ideas over the course of their year as part of their science curriculum. English Language Learners (ELL) Director/teacher Katie Henigan, and Josh, a student, team taught lessons to all fourth-grade students last week. The lessons focused on the invention of the hybrid car, and the Velomobile. Mr. Joe Bassett, President of Dawn Equipment Company, in Sycamore, and his wife Rachael, shared their experience and knowledge of hybrid cars, and the Velomobile bicycle car, with students during the presentation. Courtesy Photo
ELBURN—“Things are moving forward” in Elburn, said Building Commissioner Tom Brennan at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The number of new residential building permits for 2013 is at double the number for 2012, with the potential for more before year end. Granted, that number is four for 2013—twice the two from 2012. But the number was stuck at two back to 2010, with only one in 2009.
According to Brennan, that’s going in the right direction. Commercial development has been almost at a standstill since 2008, with only one new commercial permit in 2009, and none since. But that may change soon, as well.
Brennan said that Dunkin’ Donuts may soon be coming to Elburn. The business would be located in front of the Jewel-Osco on Route 47, to the south of the BP Amoco gas station.
Dunkin’ Donuts representatives will soon stand before the Elburn Plan Commission for a special-use permit, because the store will include a drive-through option.
Last but not least, ground was broken for the Anderson Road bridge project on Monday. Village President Dave Anderson said the contractors, Elgin-based Martam Construction and Herlihy Mid-Continent of Romeoville, Ill., indicated it would take 220 working days to complete the construction of the new bridge and roadway, “including the stoplights and everything.”
To put things in perspective, Anderson said there are 900,000 cubic yards of earth that will need to be moved altogether.
The project includes the extension of Anderson Road from Keslinger to Route 38 and construction of a bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Elburn.
County officials have said that breaking ground this fall will give it time to freeze and thaw throughout the winter, leaving it ready for construction to begin by spring. They anticipate the project to be completed by late 2014 or early spring 2015.
Once the bridge construction has been completed, work on the Elburn Station development can begin.
ELBURN—Eddie Gaedel Pub & Grill in downtown Elburn will soon sport a new look, thanks in part to facade improvement money the Elburn Village Board has agreed to grant to the owners.
The official vote to approve the $10,000 grant application will take place at the Nov. 4 Village Board meeting. However, the board members on Monday expressed support for the upgrade they said will greatly improve the look of the front of the building.
Owners Rob and Myra Ottoson submitted plans to the board for the upgrade, which includes new windows and doors, siding and an awning, leaving only the roof as it currently is. The awning will replace the current sign.
The village’s Facade Improvement Program is money set aside to assist in paying for improvements made to the exterior of commercial establishments within the Old Town Elburn Business District (along Main Street).
The program provides up to a maximum of one-half of the approved contract cost of eligible improvements up to $5,000 and up to 20 percent of the facade reimbursement or $1,000 for the cost of architectural services. Since both the building and the business are owned by Ottoson, he has asked for a total of $5,000 times two, or $10,000.
The budget for the project is $20,750, and an additional $2,100 for architectural drawings and consulting.
“There’s a payback here,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “Thank you for your imagination and your creativity.”
Ottoson said he would like to begin the work as soon as possible, and if the board approves the grant at its Nov. 4 meeting, they will start on the project on Nov. 5. The Ottosons and Annette and Dick Theobald bought the building and the business and opened the restaurant earlier this year.
KANEVILLE—Nearly 400 people came to Sunday’s Help Becky Bounce Back Benefit, with people packing the Kaneville Community Center’s gym to make frantic last-minute bids in the silent auction and then spilling outside to bid on live auction items.
And when the crowd melted away, Anne Carson sat down to tally how much had been raised to help pay the medical bills of her niece, Becky Nelson, the Maple Park native who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a hit-and-run accident in the Cayman Islands on July 1.
Becky, who had no health insurance, was in a coma for five weeks and will need two years of rehabilitative therapies as she relearns how to walk, dress herself and recover other daily functions. Medicaid will cover only 80 percent of her medical bills, leaving her and her family to pay the rest.
No one knew how much to expect—but the $24,000 raised exceeded all expectations.
“We were overwhelmed by how generous everyone was,” Carson said.
When Elburn resident Audry Buchanan, one of the organizers, heard the total from Carson, she pulled her car over to the side of the road and cried.
“Oh my God, I cried,” Buchanan said. “I was driving to Chicago, and I stopped en route and cried. $24,000? I was screaming in my car. I could not believe it, not in my wildest dreams. And I thought, ‘What a tribute to small towns.’”
The hottest auction item was a pair of front-row seats for the upcoming Nov. 11 Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers game, which went for $1,000 to Pete Peterson and Reece Bend, both from Shabbona, Ill. The two friends joked that they’d better get some Bulls jerseys before the game.
Yet they were just two of the many who bid on and bought 72 silent auction items, 18 live auction items and 33 bucket raffle items.
John and Darcy Weidner made the winning bids on two pies made by Mary Pritchard, the wife of Illinois State Representative Bob Pritchard. The Weidners, who own a farm in Virgil and have known the Nelson family for over 35 years, paid $120 per pie.
“We don’t want people thinking we’re rich or hoity-toity,” Darcy said. “(The Nelsons) are good farming family friends of ours. We came with an amount in mind to donate, and we bought something, that’s all.”
That spirit of community pervaded the event, something that thrilled Peggy Nelson, Becky’s mother.
“It’s been awesome,” Peggy said. “There was a huge turnout and a lot of support for Becky from friends, from family, from the community. We’ve had awesome people donating items, and it really helped to bring in people. And it’s just great to see this work being done for Becky.”
Though Becky has a long recovery ahead of her, Peggy said that she is making steady progress. A cranioplasty is scheduled for Oct. 31 to put a plate in her head, which will replace a section of skull removed during an earlier surgery. Once the plate is in, Becky will no longer have to wear a protective helmet.
“She has good days and bad days, but she continues to improve all the time,” Peggy said. “She’s talking more clearly. Before, it was hard to understand her, but she’s trying hard to articulate. And her sense of humor is still there. She makes little comments to me. The other day, I said, ‘I’m sorry, Becky, I couldn’t understand you.’ And she joked, ‘Mommy, focus!’ That’s the teacher in Becky that we know and love.”
Since Becky is a preschool teacher and once worked at the Kaneville Community Childcare Center, the family-friendly fundraiser featured games and crafts for kids.
Dozens of people volunteered their services, including DJ Ricky Nilsen, a Kaneland High School classmate of Becky’s who helped emcee the event; Josiah Jones, who performed his juggling act; Bruce Sims of Long Eared Livery Service, who provided mule-drawn wagon rides; Steve Almburg of Almburg Auctions in Malta, Ill., who conducted the live auction; Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville, which sold food and donated 10 percent of the proceeds; and Paisano’s Pizza in Elburn, which donated pizzas.
Nilsen said that he’d heard about Becky’s plight through Facebook and wanted to do something.
“Everyone needs to get together to do something. It’s how I feel about Kaneland as a whole. You need to do something as a community,” he said.
Elburn resident Lauren Steers, a seventh- grader at Harter Middle School, helped run the slingshot game and was among many young people who volunteered at the event. Though Steers had never met any of the Nelsons, she heard about the benefit from her mother, Nancy, and offered to come.
“I just felt like doing something for the community,” Lauren said. “So my mom and my brother and I, we all came. You get volunteer hours (at school) for it.”
Support for Becky also came in the form of bracelets from Taylor Schmidt, a 9-year-old girl from Aurora. Schmidt, whose mother works at Old Second Bank in Elburn with Peggy, made blue-and-white rubber band bracelets—“The blue is for the ocean”—and plans to give one to Becky once her doctors allow her to wear jewelry again.
Kaneville Village President Pat Hill, who has been selling fundraising bracelets and collecting donations at her store, said she was pleased with the community’s response.
“I’m very happy with the turnout,” Hill said. “The gym was packed. They’ve been coming and going. Becky’s a sweet girl, and she deserves our help. We’d all want someone to do the same for us. We take care of each other.”
Additional fundraisers may be planned, Buchanan said, because Becky’s medical bills will continue to rise. The next event is on Nov. 10 at Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill at 117 N. Main St. in Elburn. The restaurant—a new eatery from Dick and Annette Theobald, the owners of Paisano’s—will donate 10 percent of the day’s sales to the fundraising effort and will host a 50/50 raffle.
To follow the continuing fundraising effort and get updates on Becky’s progress, like the Help Becky Bounce Back page on Facebook.
“All you can say is thank you,” Peggy said. “It’s wonderful to see how much everybody loves Becky.”
ELBURN—Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith was recognized on Monday night for his support of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Staff Sargent and part-time Elburn police officer Ben Pepich.
Pepich, who recently returned from a one-year deployment, nominated Smith for the “Patriotic Employer Award.” Pepich, who has been a police officer with the Elburn department for three and a half years, said that he has had “nothing but support” from Smith regarding his military service.
Smith received the award from Michael Holub, a Department of Defense representative and public affairs director for the Department’s Illinois Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Village President Dave Anderson after the presentation signed a Statement of Support publicly recognizing the important role of the National Guard and Reserve.
Pepich explained that many of his fellow Marine reservists have had a lot of problems with their employers, and that he has never had that experience in Elburn.
“He doesn’t second-guess me,” Pepich said.
Pepich suggested that Smith’s perspective may come from the fact that he is a former Marine.
“Chief Smith is happy for me to learn valuable skills that will make me a better police officer for the organization,” Pepich said. “Chief Smith has made me feel secure and proud of being in the Marine Corps Reserve.
Calling Smith a “solid leader,” Pepich said he felt appreciated by Smith and that he didn’t have any fear of losing his job.
“It’s a two-sided street,” Anderson said. “We’re very proud, and I think (Steve) should be proud.”
Former KHS standout Drendel having a ball at Normal West
KANELAND—You’ll have to excuse area volleyball fans if there is some positive sentiment for another team besides Kaneland High School.
That’s because the incoming Normal West Wildcats program comes into the usual late October Spikefest competition with a bit of Kaneland presence itself.
The visitors are coached by Class of 2005 Lady Knight Kelsey Drendel, who continues to add to the Drendel line of coaching capability, along with her coaching legend father Ralph and brother Andy, who currently helps staff cross country and track and field at Kaneland.
Kelsey, a former volleyball standout at Kaneland and a former Division I asset for Northern Illinois, is in her second year of coaching NW. She also coached Kaneland sophomores from 2008-10 under former varsity head coach Todd Weimer.
“When I was applying everywhere for jobs, my parents told me to apply in Unit 5 (Normal West’s district), because they went to ISU and I have some family in the Bloomington-Normal area,” Kelsey said. “I was super pumped when I got the video interview and was convinced I bombed it, but they called me back for a second interview. This is my third year teaching here, and I’m loving it.”
For Kelsey, the Bloomington-Normal landscape gives her some comfort, being not too dissimilar to the Elburn and Tri-Cities area.
“I do think it’s similar to Kaneland and kind of like the St. Charles area. It reminds me of a suburb but without the traffic, long travel times, and everything is way cheaper,” Kelsey said.
Her family tree so heavily involved in coaching also seemed to give her a leg up on the sideline.
“Growing up with my parents both highly involved in their schools definitely made an impact on my decision to coach. I knew I wanted to be a head coach when I was in high school. Seeing my Dad coach at track meets and basketball games was always so cool and I knew I wanted to follow in those footsteps,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey’s also loving the fortunes of her Wildcat lineup, who before Tuesday were 18-2-1 and undefeated in conference at 7-0, on the cusp of a conference title.
“I didn’t like know in August things would be going as well as they are, but I knew we had a lot of potential,” Kelsey said. “The girls have done an awesome job of taking on the challenge of long practices, conditioning, tough rivalry matches. It’s kind of been an uphill ride the entire season.”
In her first season, NW went 22-13-1 and made it to the Class 4A Normal Sectional Championship before bowing out.
As a young coach, Kelsey still has the presence of mind to accumulate coaching influences throughout her playing and assistant coaching days.
“I have been influenced by every coach I’ve had. I kind of made it a point to remember things I liked or didn’t like all through college so I could apply it when I started coaching. Kris Weiss was a big influence on me especially for learning how to build a team atmosphere. My club coach Joe Brudzinski was a huge influence on me and always pushed us to the limit,” Kelsey said.
“I really owe a lot to Ron Sweet,” Kelsey added. “He gave me the opportunity to continue playing volleyball after my freshmen year at Western Illinois when I had no confidence at all. He also showed me that we can work hard on the court but also have a lot of fun. He opened up the door for me to start coaching at Club Fusion in Rockford, Ill. Not only have I been influenced by the coaches I’ve played under, but also the coaches I have coached with or against,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey and company head to Maple Park for Spikefest, which provides an ample tune-up for what’s ahead next week in the postseason, and add to what’s been a rewarding experience.
“We try and take every opportunity we can to get better whether it’s practice or a match,” Kelsey said. “My team and I have had a lot of fun this year and there are some personality traits that they have picked up from me and vice versa. I’m super-dorky and they have become a little more nerdy every day, which is awesome. They do a great job of focusing and working hard but while also having fun because of that. It’s been a really fun year for sure.”
ELBURN—The Elburn Community Congregational Church would like to announce the winners of the 2013 Elburn Days raffle.
The winner of the American Girl Doll, donated by the Norm Berquist family, was Nancy Zak of Elburn. The winner of the remote control car, donated by the Jeff Johnson family, was D. Turner of Broadview, Ill.
The church would like to thank all who participated, and wishes to see them again next year.
Elburn Police Dept. supports those who serve in the guard or reserve
ELBURN—The Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, recently recognized Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith with the ESGR Patriotic Employer Award in recognition of his extraordinary support of a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
The Patriotic Employer Award is presented after ESGR receives a nomination from a Guardsmen or Reservist. Benjamin Pepich, a part-time police officer for Elburn, nominated Chief Smith for recognition. Ben is a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, and when preparing his narrative for this award he wrote, “My employer is outwardly supportive on my military service, and I know that he supports me and my actions with the Marine Corps Reserve. Chief Smith is happy for me to learn valuable skills that will make me a better police officer for the organization. Chief Smith has made me feel secure and proud of being in the Marine Corps Reserve.”
The award was presented by Michael Holub of the Illinois Committee of ESGR with thanks for the continued support of the men and women in uniform, who play a critical role in our security at home and around the world. According to Holub, The Patriotic Employer Award publicly recognizes employers who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees who, like the Minutemen before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve.
Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation s National Guard and Reserve units. The village of Elburn now joins thousands of employers who have demonstrated their support of service in the National Guard and Reserve through full compliance with the statutory requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and ReEmployment Rights Act (USERRA) law.
After the award presentation, Elburn Village President David L. Anderson signed a Statement of Support for the village of Elburn.
“On behalf of our state chair, I would like to thank (Village President) Anderson for publicly recognizing the important role of the National Guard and Reserve by signing a Statement of Support,” Holub said. “When an employer recognizes and appreciates the value of service in the Guard and Reserve it is a welcome show of support to our men and women in uniform.”
With the signing of the Statement of Support, the village of Elburn joins other employers in pledging that:
• They fully recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act or USERRA.
• Their managers and supervisors will have the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
• They appreciate the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists, and Veterans.
• They will continually recognize and support our country s service members and their families in peace, in crises and in war.
DEKALB—The NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has selected faculty member James E. Erman of Elburn as one of four faculty honorees to receive a 2013 Distinguished Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Award. The awards celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of outstanding individuals in each category.
In making the award, the college cited Erman’s many decades of distinguished service to NIU as Presidential Research professor; Distinguished Research professor; interim director of the Institute for Nanoscience, Technology and Engineering; president of the Northern Illinois Research Foundation; interim vice president for Research; chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus; and Chair Emeritus.
Erman earned his undergraduate degree in physical chemistry from University of California Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His post-doctoral work included a National Institutes of Health Fellowship in biophysics and physical chemistry with the Johnson Research Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania, and a position as senior research scientist with Chevron Research Corporation.
Erman came to NIU in 1970. In 1988, he was named a Presidential Research Professor, and then served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1998-2006. During his final year as chair, external research funding exceeded $1 million, and the number of undergraduate majors involved in research projects soared. Under his guidance, the number of chemistry majors increased from 87 in fall 2000 to 143 by fall 2005.
An early advocate of engaged learning, Dr. Erman helped create the context for NIU’s current emphasis on mentored research as a key aspect of the undergraduate experience.
After retiring, Erman not only continued to mentor students, but also maintained his research and publishing agenda. In addition, he answered NIU’s call to put his wisdom and experience to work again in key leadership positions. In 2008, he agreed to fill a “short-term” assignment as the interim vice president for Research and Graduate Studies—that appointment ultimately stretched through 2010. Other administrative duties included serving as president of the Northern Illinois Research Foundation (2009-10) and as interim director for NIU’s Institute of Nano Science, Engineering and Technology (INSET) (2010-11) during periods when both institutions were undergoing significant reorganization.
Throughout his career, Erman contributed to the college and the university in all areas—research, teaching, service, administration and program development. He is highly regarded in his field and widely recognized by the scientific community. His research grants have totaled over $2.2 million from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He received the NIH Research Career Development Award, an extremely competitive and prestigious award reserved for only top-notch scientists. In addition, he has given the plenary lecture at the international meeting of The Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, an invitation reserved for the best in the field.
Erman helped put NIU on the map as a leading center for research, scholarship and learning. The recognition brought to the institution and the college as a result of his research, lectures, teaching and service are immeasurable and make him most deserving of this distinguished recognition.
Dean Christopher McCord presented the 2013 awards on Friday, Oct. 11 at a reception, dinner and program held in Altgeld Auditorium on NIU’s DeKalb campus.
ELBURN—The playground at the Elburn Lions Club Lions Park is getting a facelift and a retrofit, thanks to the club’s fundraising efforts and those of the volunteers doing the work.
The project began last year, under the guidance of the Elburn Lions past president Pam Hall. Hall said that the Lions Club fundraising events throughout the year helped to fund the $25,000 project to update the equipment to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, provide needed maintenance and add some new equipment.
Hall said the current playground was built 25 years ago. Without a park district within the village, the park and the playground over the years have provided a place for children in the community to come and play, whether or not their parents are Lions Club members.
“A ton of kids come and play on the playground equipment,” Hall said. “It gets a lot of use.”
Hall explained that in addition to providing services at a regional and national level, as well as around the world, one of the goals of the Lions Club is to give to its local community. The updating of the playground is one way the club is doing that.
“We’re putting money back into the community,” she said.
Hall said that things have changed in the last 25 years, and the ADA standards that existed then have changed. The new equipment will meet the new ADA standards.
She said that during the first year or two, club members will be working on maintenance-type things. They began by dismantling part of the playground, moving the ramp and changing the railings and steps.
For his Eagle Scout project, Elburn Eagle Scout Jacob Sheehan will put in place all new timbers and do the edging around the playground. He and his fellow scouts will be working on that the weekend of Oct. 25-26.
Club volunteers will be pouring the asphalt for the sidewalk in November, which will allow people in wheelchairs better access to the playground. The Leos Club helped to raise the money for the sidewalk, as well as purchasing three sensory panels and a chimes maze that will be added with people with disabilities in mind.
LAWRENCE, KAN.—Molly Speckman of Elburn was recently named a 2013-14 student leader by the University of Kansas’ Student Housing.
Leadership in the halls includes resident assistants for KU’s eight residence halls, proctors and food board managers for 12 scholarship halls, and top officers for the four housing government organizations. Speckman was one of more than 175 KU students selected for the positions. She is currently a resident assistant in Oliver Residence Hall.
The 27th Annual Toy and Food run sponsored by the DuKane ABATE chapter of Illinois kicked off from Knucklehead’s Tavern in Elburn on Sunday. The run supported 13 different charities, and featured over 1,200 motorcycles. Riders head down Route 47 on their way to Batavia for the Toy Run. (Gallery will load below)
Gordon Dierschow is happy to show off his brand new Chevy Equinox that he purchased from Bob Jass Chevrolet in Elburn. Courtesy Photo
ELBURN—Oct. 6 marked Elburn residents Gordon and Eleanor “Linn” Dierschow’s 62nd wedding anniversary. Married while stationed in Missouri in the United States Army in 1951, the couple stayed down south for four months together.
Returning to St. Charles where Eleanor worked as a registered nurse at the Delnor Hospital, the couple raised two children after Gordon finished his time in the service.
In celebration of their 62-year marriage, the couple recently ordered themselves a Chevy Equinox from Bob Jass Chevrolet on Main Street in Elburn, to be delivered shortly after their anniversary. Lifelong Ford owners, Gordon explained he wanted to buy Chevy this time because of convenience and the fact that he wanted to support a local business.
“I picked the car and Linn picked the color,” said Gordon. “It’s called ‘Silver Ice.’”
His loyalty and dedication far surpasses just buying a car from a local automotive dealer. Gordon has been spending his time between the West Chicago American Legion Post 300, acting as a co-chair of New Year’s Eve parties; coordinator of the Elburn Road Race and Scavenger Hunt; and the Elburn Lions. In fact, 2013 marks Gordon’s 46th year with the Lions.
The Lions Club of Elburn is a part of the worldwide organization of groups of individuals who aid the blind and visually impaired.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with the Lions Club, mowed a lot of lawns at Lions Park, and been to a lot of Elburn Days,” Gordon said. He also installed the first water pipes buried into the Lions Park’s North Pavilion.
In 1994, Dierschow was awarded the prestigious Melvin Jones award, which is the highest form of recognition that a Lion can receive, and named a Lifetime Award recipient.
The Dierschows have been thriving since 1951, and while life has changed, Gordon has some marital advice for young couples today.
“As one of five children, I was raised in a very conservative family,” he said. “My mother used to say, ‘If you don’t have the money, you don’t need it.’”
Gordon and Linn have two grandchildren, and anticipate driving them around town in their new Chevy Equinox.
ELBURN—The Elburn Lions had a beautiful day on Sunday for its fall classic All Wheels (car and motorcycle) Show.
This year was the 20th year for the event. Committee member Dan Purcell’s father started the show in 1993, when it was part of Elburn Days. This year’s show was held at Lions Park, just south of the downtown Elburn area.
“There were more than 300 cars, and there was a nice variety,” Elburn trustee Dave Gualdoni said.
According to Purcell, there were more than 340 vehicles registered, and about 400 on display. For the fifth year in a row, the Lions Club brought in independent judges to judge the vehicles.
Each year, there is a contest called the “Best of the Best,” among cars that have won best of show at a previous show. Purcell said it’s quite competitive, with owners spending from $70,000 to a couple hundred dollars to build interesting and rare cars.
New to the event this year was a pumpkin decorating contest. The contest gave the Leos and other young people a chance to participate in the activities. Sponsored by Kuipers Family Farm, the contest kicked off the day, and winners were chosen mid-afternoon.
Village President Dave Anderson said the show was good for the village of Elburn, and noted that the event brought a lot of people to town.
“The town was very active on Sunday,” he said. “Elburn wouldn’t be Elburn without the Elburn Lions Club and Lions Park.”
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday addressed the $7,400 of additional costs to next year’s budgeted health insurance premium by reducing the village’s contribution to each employee’s health care savings account (HSA).
The premium to keep the same health insurance plan for the 18 full-time village staff will go up 16 percent as of Nov. 1, as opposed to the 5 percent increase that had been budgeted. Rather than change the plan or require the employees to contribute to the cost of the premium, the Village Board agreed to reduce the amount it contributes to the HSAs from $1,500 to $1,100 per employee per year.
The village currently pays 100 percent of the premium for individual coverage and 50 percent of family coverage. The plan has a high deductible—$2,500 for employees and $5,000 for families—so the village contributes an additional amount to each employee’s HSA. Money from the HSA can be used by the employee for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including deductibles and co-pays.
Calling the decision “fair and equitable,” Village President Dave Anderson said that it won’t “affect anyone’s check or coverage.”
Although trustee Ken Anderson approved the change, he said that at some point, the village should begin asking its employees to contribute to the cost of their premiums.
“I don’t know too many employers who pay the entire premium,” Anderson said. “That’s the real world now.”
The plan coverage goes from Nov. 1, 2013, to Oct. 30, 2014.
The Village Board also increased the amount in the budget for the police pension from $100,000 to $224,970 for the 2013-14 fiscal year. When the budget was first created, village staff did not have the information needed for a good estimate of the actual cost, so they set the amount at $100,000 as a place-holder. The $224,970 will get the village caught up with its contributions.