Category Archives: Featured

Kaneland wrestling sends Davidson, Boyle to Champaign

Photo: Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle makes his first appearance at State with the most wins in the 285-pound category of all the qualifiers in Champaign. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
Every IHSA wrestler with high aspirations has a goal of visiting Champaign in February for the State tournament.

In 2010, that group includes 145-pound Kaneland wrestler Kyle Davidson and 285-pound teammate Jimmy Boyle.

Thanks to third-place, do-or-die finishes on Saturday at the Class 2A Sterling Sectional, Kaneland will once again have a presence down at State.

A year ago, coach Monty Jahns’ crew sent down Jay Levita at 135 pounds.

Davidson (36-10) defeated Richmond-Burton’s Connor Graves in the third-place match, thanks to a 5-2 decision.

“Going into the match, I beat him earlier this year, he was wrestling good and I was wrestling good,” Davidson said. “It didn’t really kick in for a couple hours.”

Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson, a 145-pound entry, finished in third place at the Sterling Sectional. File Photo
Davidson, who improved on his 2009 total of 21 wins, faces Ishmael Rempson of Rich Central High School (32-5) in a first-round matchup. The winner faves Triad’s Josh Ballard (45-5).

Even though Davidson lacks a first-round bye traditionally given to the higher seed, Davidson is right where he wants to be.

“If it’s better wrestlers that have the bye, then they’ll be looking down on me, and I can surprise them,” Davidson said.

Boyle comes into State at 40-4, the most wins out of anyone in the heavyweight division.

“I wanted to get to State with 40 wins, and there was a lot running through my head last weekend,” Boyle said. “I had to make sure I got out there and won.”

The junior, who beat LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe by a 3-1 decision in Sterling, has a challenge in Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt (27-7) in the opener, with the right to face Springfield’s David Kasper.

“I like it because you get to wrestle right away and you’re not sitting around all day,” Boyle said.

Joining Boyle from other Western Sun schools in the 285-pound class is DeKalb’s Alex Robinson and Glenbard South’s Austin Teitsma.

Recent KHS wrestlers at State
2009-Jay Levita
2008-Jeff Stralka
2008-Sean Szatkowski
2007-Jake Goedken
2007-Quinn Jahns
2007-Sean Szatkowski
2006-Jake Goedken
2005-Marcus Goedken

Women invited to ‘Messages from the Heart’ Feb. 21

Batavia—All area women are invited to “Messages From the Heart” on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. at The Holmstad. During the “heart” season, learn the importance of taking care of your heart physically and emotionally from two women who have personally experienced significant heart health scares.

Presenters are Judy Smith, RN, director of service, excellence and outreach at Delnor Hospital, and Cindi Reuland, representing HeartSisters, a local support group, WomenHeart, a national advocacy group for women with heart disease, and Fox Valley Heart Foundation, which focuses on education and screening.

Ticket prices for the event, which includes light refreshments, are $20 for Celtic Connections members and $25 for non-members.
“Messages From the Heart” takes place in the Town Center of The Holmstad, 700 W. Fabyan Parkway. For further information, visit

Long makes Elmhurst women’s history

Updated Feb. 17, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

Lyndsie Long broke the Elmhurst College record last night at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Read about it here.

by Mike Slodki
For four seasons now, Kaneland High School 2006 graduate Lyndsie Long has been knocking down jumpers at Elmhurst College.

Very soon, she could be knocking down history.

The senior majoring in physical education has four more regular season games remaining to break the all-time scoring record for the Bluejays (14-7, 7-3 Conference). Long, of Sugar Grove, has 1,695 career points and is 86 points away from breaking it.

Elmhurst also plays in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) postseason tournament later this month.

In a loss on Saturday at Illinois Wesleyan, Long put up 26 points. In a loss to Milliikin on Feb. 2, Long scored 29, and against Augustana, she scored 24. On Jan. 23, Long matched her career-high of 33 in a win over Wheaton.

Averaging 23.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, Long needs to average 21.5 points per game for the remainder of the season, something that she hopes will happen.

“I knew this record breaking was a possibility, but I wasn’t concerned about it because I just want my team to succeed and win games,” Long said. “My brother will text me with his calculations of how many more points I need and what I need to average each game for the rest of the season to break the record, so it’s always in the back of my mind. I just need to maintain my scoring average and it will all work itself out.”

The leading scorer in the CCIW, Long is the type of player whose gifts lend themselves to the scoring crown at Elmhurst.

“Lyndsie is a very smart player,” Elmhurst coach Tethnie Werner said. “Over her career, I can see how she has matured on the mental aspect of the game. Teams come in with the game plan to bump her on every screen, double her off the dribble and at the post area. Early on she would get frustrated and that would allow her game toget off but not anymore,” Elmhurst coach Tethnie Werner said.

With Long on a torrid pace for the second-place Bluejays, the No. 2 place holder on the Kaneland girls basketball list, doesn’t find her overall game changing that much, showing the key to record-breaking might be staying the player she currently is.

“I wouldn’t say I’m playing ‘differently’, but I’m coming to realize that this is my senior year and I only have a month or so left of basketball,” Long said. “This is helping me to push not only me but my teammates to be the best we can be. I don’t play any differently knowing that I’m close to breaking the school record. When it comes time for gametime my only focus is helping my team win that game.” 

A three-time all-CCIW selection, Long has also been named named CCIW Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on three occasions this season, and if the scoring honor comes her way, it will have happened to a special player.

“Her goal is to win the game no matter who scores. Lyndsie’s game has grown so much since her freshmen year,” Werner said. Lyndsie is a great person and worked extremely hard to put herself in this position.”

In the meantime, Long and the Bluejays prepare for a clash against the North Park University Vikings in Elmhurst on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m., marking the first of three regular season games remaining.

“This team is a group of girls that love each other on and off the court,” Long said. “However, basketball is a long season so every team will hit road bumps along the way.  We are a team that can get past those road bumps quickly, which is another reason why we have been successful.”

FVCC classes provide hands-on experience

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Kaneland High School senior Kyle Straughn did not intend to become a firefighter. A couple of people he knew worked for the Maple Park Fire Department, and he began working there in 2008 as a part-time cadet on the weekends.

He signed up for the fire science class at the Fox Valley Career Center in his junior year, and his initial curiosity turned into a career opportunity. Although he learns a lot in his job with the Fire District, he said the class at the Career Center provides more in-depth training in fire fighting techniques.

Carrying and raising ladders, performing forced entry, employing search-and-rescue techniques, working with ventilation tools and practicing hose evolutions are just a few of the skills that Straughn has learned in the class.

Sugar Grove firefighter Gary Baum heads up the program at the Career Center.

Currently in his second year of the class, Straughn has taken on leadership roles during drills, gaining valuable experience in taking command and communicating effectively with his teammates.

“I’m really glad I took the class; it’s the best class ever,” he said. “It involves helping people.

This year, he also began taking the Career Center’s newly-formed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) class. He said he was glad to have the opportunity to take both classes during high school.

“As long as this is what you want to do, it’s a good time to do it,” he said.

Straughn receives dual credit for the fire science class with Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College. By the time he graduates high school, he said he will have 29 credits in fire science, and will be halfway to his associate’s degree.

The EMS class prepares him to become an emergency medical technician at the basic level (EMTB). When he completes the class, he will be eligible to take the state of Illinois EMT basic exam.

“You learn a lot about how to take care of someone properly and to keep yourself safe,” he said of the EMS class.

Straughn said taking both classes makes a lot of sense, because so many of the calls the Fire District receives are for medical emergencies. He said that he will most likely become a paramedic, as most fire departments require their employees to obtain that level of training.

The EMS class is new to the Fox Valley Career Center this year. Janelle McCornack, who also teaches a similar class at Waubonsee Community College, is the instructor. She has been a firefighter and an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the Sugar Grove Fire District since 2001.

“This (class) is the funnest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “These kids are so open; they really get excited and they think completely out of the box. It’s not like any other high school class they’ve ever taken.”

The class, similar to the fire science class, gives students an opportunity to practice hands-on skills, she said. It gives them an idea if this is something they want to do for a career.

Students learn to provide pre-hospital care for patients with a variety of medical complaints, including heart attacks, strokes and diabetic emergencies, as well as trauma patients with any type of injury. Among other skills, they learn to prepare patients with a possible spinal injury for transport, administer medications, control bleeding and administer CPR and artificial ventilation.

Kelly Walsh, the EMS Coordinator for the Sugar Grove Fire Department, helps teach the students how to conduct medical assessments. During a recent class, she gave the class a scenario, a 911 call from a 54-year-old man with abdominal pain.

The students had to talk to the patient, determine what was wrong and provide the appropriate care, Walsh said.

“Each patient you care for will teach you something,” McCornack said. “Slow down and listen to them. The best thing you can do is listen to the patient.”

During the scenario, the teachers simulated a heart attack, and the students had to do CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to care for the patient.

In March, the students will participate in 12 hours of clinical time in the emergency room at an area hospital. There are a few students in the class who want to go into pre-medicine, medical school or nursing.

“This gives them a huge head start,” McCornack said.

Feb. 25, 2010 Update: In a story on page 3B of the Feb. 11 edition of the Elburn Herald, “FVCC classes provide hands-on experience,” Kaneland High School senior Kyle Straughn’s name was spelled incorrectly. It has been fixed in this article.
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
phone (630) 365-6446

Cub Scouts pack food to feed the starving children

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—Cub Scout Danny McCully and about 40 of his fellow Scouts and family members packed enough food on Saturday to feed 73 children for a year. Cub Scout pack 347, based in Sugar Grove and Montgomery, worked at the Feed my Starving Children facility in Aurora, packing 26,568 meals to send to malnourished children in Haiti, countries in Africa and other places where children are starving.

Before they filled the 123 boxes of meals, the boys watched a video that showed children who have been helped through the Feed My Starving Children organization. Danny’s dad, Terry McCully, said the video featured a boy who was similar in age to 9-year-old Danny.

“He was skin-and-bones, and he weighed only about 20 pounds,” Terry said.

After three months of eating the meals, consisting of chicken, rice, veggies and soy and high in protein, the boy looked just like a regular boy, Danny said.

Most of this food will go to Haiti, fellow pack member Kyle Hammond said. Haiti has always been one of the countries that the food packets have been sent. Kyle said that with the recent earthquake, the food was especially needed there now.

Kyle said that he and the other boys had fun packing the food, and he thinks the children will be happy when they receive the food.
“It’s not really hard work,” Danny said. “You help people across the world.”

For more information about Feed My Starving Children, visit the website at

Photo: Cub Scouts from pack 347 help pack enough food to feed 73 children for a year. The group travelled to the Feed My Starving Children facility in Aurora, packing up 25,568 meals to send to Haiti, Africa and other places where children are starving.
Courtesy Photo

KHS boys stops Sycamore, topped by Yorkville

The Kaneland boys basketball team had a difficult first quarter before righting the ship in their last meeting with the Yorkville Foxes, but the most recent meeting on Friday had the host Foxes handing the Knights a 46-35 loss.

On Saturday, Kaneland was the beneficiary of a 27-point performance from center Dave Dudzinski in a 47-42 beating of visiting Sycamore.

After the weekend split, KHS is at 13-8 (5-6 Western Sun Conference).

Dudzinski led the Knights with 10 points against Yorkville, helped by 6-for-6 foul shooting. On the whole, Kaneland was just 12-for-22 from the charity stripe.

Kaneland led 13-9 after one, but fell behind 21-17 at the half.

Yorkville widened the gap in the third and found itself ahead 36-25 before maintaining the lead until the final buzzer.

Against the Spartans, Kaneland led 16-6 after one, while Sycamore closed within 28-20 at the halftime buzzer. While Sycamore managed to close the margin further at 37-31 after three, Dudzinski and the Knights held firm with the final five-point margin.

The Knights visit Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 13.

Photo: Knight cager Taylor Andrews tries making the best of a shot opportunity during Friday’s 46-35 loss at Yorkville. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers boast two regional champs, five move on

Fortunately for Knights wrestling, offseason plans aren’t starting just yet.

Thanks to a fourth-place finish at Saturday’s regional at Belvidere High School, five Knight grapplers are scheduled to compete at this weekend’s sectional out at the home of the Sterling Golden Warriors.

Esai Ponce (103 pounds), Devon Scholl (125), Kyle Davidson (145), Ben Kovalick (215) and Jimmy Boyle (285) will all see sectional action, with Dan Goress (112) and Dennis Brettman (130) as alternates due to fourth-place finishes.

Sycamore, with 205.5 points on the day, was crowned regional champ, while Burlington Central finished second with 160.5 points. Marengo finished third at 126.5, while the Knights had 120.5 to their credit.

The Knights finished ahead of DeKalb and Rockford East (114 points each).

Belvidere North, Belvidere and Hampshire rounded out the last three spots.

In the 103-pound class, Ponce (33-7) took Brady Weinrich of Burlington Central through a 9-0 major decision for a third-place finish.

Scholl was named regional champ after a 2-0 decision over DeKalb’s Jake Jones. The senior is now 32-6. Scholl finished fourth at last year’s regional.

Davidson (32-9) defeated Burlington Central’s Omar Awad in the third-place encounter by a 18-2 technical fall.

Kovalick (28-15) got past Rockford East’s Matdy Vongsouvanh with an 8-6 decision.

Boyle, a junior, improved to 37-3 with a first-place showing that culminated with a 3-2 win over Sycamore’s Zack Fraedrich in the final.

Kaneland tries to get all five wrestlers into the State gathering at the Sterling Sectional beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, and continuing on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.

Photo: Devon Scholl

Lady Knights drop 2 in WSC homestretch

With the regular season entering its homestretch, the Lady Knights basketball team fell to Western Sun Conference rivals Sycamore on Saturday and Yorkville on Friday.

With the 43-39 loss to visiting Sycamore and a 44-32 setback to host Yorkville, the Kaneland hoops crew finds itself sitting at 5-20 with an 0-13 record in the final season of WSC play.

The Lady Knights have two more chances to improve on their win total before Monday’s regional opener in Rochelle against the host Hubs.

The encounter with Sycamore saw Emily Heimerdinger lead the way with 12 points, while Mallory Carlson had 11.

With the score tied at 12 after the first quarter, KHS had its offense suffer and went eight minutes without scoring in between the second and third frames. Sycamore went out to a 35-19 lead and led 32-21 after three. Kaneland rallied to cut the fourth quarter deficit to four on two occasions but could get no closer.

Carlson had 11 points vs. Yorkville, but Kaneland’s night would be complicated by a 9-for-39 night from the field.

Friday, Feb. 12, sees the Lady Knights go to Sycamore, while Saturday, Feb. 13 has KHS face off with the visiting Marengo Lady Indians in a make-up game that was rescheduled due to snowy conditions.

Photo: Lady Knight Emily Heimerdinger (12) weaves through traffic during Friday’s 44-32 loss to Yorkville . Photo by Ben Draper

Mr. Kaneland this Friday

Photo: The Mr. Kaneland 2010 Court includes Jemmar Parrenas, Michael Caballero, Logan Markuson, Ben Tennant, Stuart Hopkins, Edgar Valle, Nick Sinon, Trevor Holm and Joe Herzer.

It’s Mr. Kaneland time! The boys have been hard at work learning some awesome dance numbers and preparing their talents. The event takes place on Friday, February 12 at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium. Admission is only $5.00. All proceeds from the Mr. Kaneland Event go back into our community by helping to support the Delnor Center for Breast Health. Tickets for Mr. Kaneland will be available during lunches all week in the cafeteria and at the event itself.

Earthquake shakes the area

Updated Feb. 11, 2010 at 10:53 a.m.
by Martha Quetsch
Brad Hruza of Elburn said that the 4 a.m. earthquake Wednesday was a rude awakening.

“The house didn’t just shake, it felt like it was swaying in the wind,” Hruza told The Elburn Herald. “It lasted about 10 seconds, and I thought I was dreaming until I realized everyone in the house woke up.”

Hruza said some things were falling off shelves and his computer desk.

“It was scary for a bit there,” Hruza said.

Lights in the houses in his neighborhood immediately began going on, as the earthquake woke residents. By 4:10, Hruza was on the U.S. Geographical Survey website, which already had confirmed an earthquake had occurred just before 4 a.m. in northern Illinois.

The USGS first reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.3, but later in the morning stated that the magnitude actually was 3.8.

The USGS estimated that nearly 11 million people felt “a light shaking” during the quake.

Maple Park Police Chief Michael Acosta was abruptly awakened in his Sugar Grove home at about 4 a.m. by the earthquake. He said he heard a loud thunder and crumbling sound and first thought that a car had rammed into his house.

“It felt like the whole east-side walls had moved,” Acosta said.

Acosta said some Maple Park residents initially thought that a train had derailed in the village. No one reported any property damage or injury from the earthquake.

The epicenter originally was reported in Sycamore, Ill., but later in the morning the USGS reported it to be just south of Pingree Grove, Ill. The epicenter’s depth was about three miles.

Elburn and Countryside Fire Department received several calls from residents about the earthquake, but no reports of damage or injury.

Ben Draper contributed to this article.

U.S. Geological Survey links:
Home >>
“Did you feel it?” report >>
Event website >>
Google map of epicenter:

View Larger Map

IIlinois quakes
The largest Illinois earthquake ever recorded was on Nov. 9, 1968, in southern Illinois, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake downed chimneys, cracked plaster, broke windows and overturned tombstones.

Earthquakes occur when an abrupt easing of strain occurs on a geologic fault, causing movement on the earth’s surface. The most common measure of the size of an earthquake is its magnitude-a measure of the amount of energy it releases within the earth.

Earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 to 4 occur about once a year in Illinois. Larger earthquakes are more rare in the state, approximately once in four years for a quake with a magnitude of 4 to 5 and once in 20 years for one with a magnitude of 5-6.
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Church mobilizes for Haiti relief

Lord of Life collection brings in 10,000 items
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Matt Gerke, 13, did a lot of heavy lifting at Lord of Life Church in Elburn last weekend during a massive relief collection for Haiti.

But Matt was more than willing to expend the energy because he found the cause worthy.

“I feel really bad for the people there,” he said. “They were already the poorest country in the world, and then they have an earthquake.”

The Elburn teenager spent Friday through Sunday at the church, with other volunteers helping with the collection. Matt’s job was as a mover, he said, stacking pallets with 70 boxes of relief supplies each.

Lord of Life’s 11-day collection brought in more than 10,000 items from the congregation, as well as other churches and residents. During the project, volunteers sorted and boxed donated supplies, including jars of peanut butter, bags of rice and beans, first-aid ointment, blankets, toothbrushes, tools and more.

Matt said he was impressed by the quantity of donated items, including 1,000 bars of soap from just one individual.

“It’s an awful lot of stuff,” Matt said.

Lord of Life was one of about 20 churches serving as Haiti relief collection sites for Lutheran Church Charities. After the churches take their collected supplies to a warehouse this week in Itasca, they will go by truck to Florida, where they will be sent by ship to Haiti, said collection volunteer and Lord of Life member Kathy Geiger of Elburn.

Lord of Life congregation also collected more than $3,000 since the earthquake to support humanitarian efforts in disaster-torn Haiti.

The monetary donations and supplies will be distributed through Lutheran Church- Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s World Relief/Human Care networks in Haiti.

Photo: Justin Bristle packed up canned goods for shipment to Haiti on Sunday at Lord of life Church in Elburn. He was among the many volunteers who helped with the 110-day collection at the church for Lutheran Church Charities’ Haiti relief drive for supplies needed by people in the earthquake-ravaged country. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Lady Knights defeated by WSC rival Rochelle

Unfortunately for the Kaneland High School girls basketball squad, the results of the first quarter of Friday night’s contest against visiting Rochelle failed to be duplicated.

After going out to an 8-7 lead on the Lady Hubs in Maple Park, the Lady Knights fell victim to a flurry of points in the second quarter and eventually lost 61-44.

The Lady Knights now sit at 5-18 (0-9 Western Sun Conference) with four regular season contests remaining.

Emily Heimerdinger led the way for KHS with 13 points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Kaneland was 16-for-29 from the foul line, while Rochelle was 11-for-21.

After KHS led 8-7 after one, Rochelle came back and turned a deficit into a 22-17 lead. The Lady Hubs then tacked on eight straight points to go into the locker room up 30-17.

Kaneland closed the chasm to 44-32 at the end of three before Rochelle outscored the hosts 17-12 in the final eight minutes.

Kaneland has now lost six contests in a row; the last win coming on Jan. 9 at Burlington Central.

Sophomore action had the Rochelle troops beat Kaneland 41-27 on Friday. The freshmen “A” group beat Yorkville on Saturday by a final of 46-16.

The freshmen “B” team came away with a 50-11 win over the Lady Foxes.

The Lady Knights have a varsity contest on Friday, Feb. 5, at Yorkville, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Photo: Lady Knight Tesa Alderman attempts a foul shot during Friday evening’s 61-44 loss to the visiting Rochelle Lady Hubs. Alderman had six points. Photo by Ben Draper

Bowlers end regular season, gear up for sectionals

Kaneland bowling fell just 28 points short of matching Illinois Math & Science Academy during a battle at St. Paul’s School in Aurora on Thursday afternoon.

With the 2,220-2,192 loss to the Titans, and a 2,625-2,298 loss to visiting Lisle on Monday afternoon, the Lady Knights fall to 3-10 overall in dual competition with a 1-6 mark in Western Sun Conference play.

Leading the way for KHS was an impressive performance from Jessie McHenry, who bowled a 521 series. Holly Thomas bowled a 447 series, followed by Tierra Lee’s 437.

McHenry’s games of 183, 170 and 168 were team-highs.

The JV team came out on the short end of a 1,730-1,689 result.

Sabrina Gabrielle paced the Lady Knights with a 432 series.

Aganst the visiting Lady Lions, Thomas bowled a 482 series and was buoyed by a high game of 169.

McHenry bowled a 426 series, while Kuryliw bowled a 375 series.

Left for Kaneland bowling is a trip to Four Seasons in Sycamore for the 18-team sectional on Saturday, Feb. 6. Fellow WSC schools DeKalb, Geneva, Rochelle and Sycamore are also in the sectional, along with previous opponent Huntley.

Photo by Susan O’Neill

Feb. 2 Election Results

Below are the local unofficial results from the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election. Winners names are in bold.

District Representative 14th Congressional District

Democratic candidates
Bill Foster—25,071
Republican candidates
Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren—34,472
Ethan A. Hastert—28,575

State Senator 25th District

Democratic candidates
Leslie N. Juby—8,492
Republican candidates
P. Sean Michels—9,444
Chris Lauzen—22,110

State Representative 50th District

Democratic candidates
Linda Healy—4,435
Republican candidates
Keith R. Wheeler—7,344
Kay Hatcher—8,468
Bob McQuillan—2,462

Kane County Clerk

Democratic candidates
Ghafran Chishti—12,242
Republican candidates
John A. “Jack” Cunningham—30,139

Kane County Treasurer

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
David J. Rickert—24,125
Bob Kovanic—7,347

Kane County Sheriff

Democratic candidates
Pat Perez—13,435
Republican candidates—too close to call, awaiting absentee count
L. Robert Russell—15,531
Donald E. Kramer—15,570

Kane County Board District 5

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Bill Wyatt—1,152
Melisa Taylor—1,332

Kane County Board District 25

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Bob Kudlicki—1,447
Thomas (T.R.) Smith—1,863

16th Judicial Circuit (Grometer Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
Republican candidates
Fred M. Morelli—17,910
Kevin T. Busch—28,050

16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
John G. Dalton—7,584
Michael C. Funkey—5,407
Republican candidates
Thomas Patrick Rice—5,841
Robert L. Janes—4,115
D. J. Tegeler—3,065
Leonard J. Wojtecki—5,374
David R. Akemann—12,880


Sugar Grove Library Proposition to increase the limiting rate

‘Miracle’ Meagan

Elburn family’s baby beats odds of survival
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—When Meagan Seals was born Nov. 10, 2009, her parents and doctors did not expect her to live more than two weeks. Based on her rare condition before birth, she was not expected to be able to hold up her head or even eat, much less survive.

Now, nearly three months later, Meagan is healthy and has met developmental milestones no one ever expected her to achieve.

Meagan’s mother, Luellen Seals of Elburn, was over 40 when her baby was conceived, so her pregnancy was considered high-risk. Because of that, she had ultrasounds early and found out that Meagan’s brain was growing outside of the skull, a condition called encephaloceles.

“I was just shocked. I had never heard of it before,” Luellen said. “The doctor basically said, ‘It’s not good; the kids that are born with this condition usually do not survive, and it they do survive, their prognosis is very poor. Usually they are mentally and physically handicapped. Sometimes they don’t live very long. They could live to be a year old or just a few weeks old. They just have a world of problems.’ So he was really telling us, at that point, to consider terminating the pregnancy.”

Luellen said because she did not know a lot about the condition, when she left the doctor’s office she was in denial.

“I left there crying and not knowing what to do,” Luellen said.

Luellen and her husband, Scott, decided to maintain the pregnancy, despite the odds being against the baby’s survival.

“Through my pregnancy, I felt that I just had to give it a chance,” she said. “I couldn’t live with myself if I had terminated it.”

When Meagan was born, doctors told them that she had other health issues. She also has lissencephaly, a rare formation of the brain, making it smooth; and she has microsephaly, which means the main part of her brain is missing. The prognosis was not good.

“The doctors said kids with lissencephaly usually don’t live at all or are a vegetable when they are born,” Luellen said. “They have no control of their body, they have no thought processes, they can’t drink from a bottle, they can’t do anything.”

Right after Meagan was born at Lutheran General Hospital, her brain retracted into her skull, which Luellen was told usually does not happen. Meagan still had to have surgery immediately to close the opening in her skull, however.

The surgery went well, but an MRI of her brain showed that the upper portion of her brain had never developed. The doctor said that with so much of her brain missing, Meagan would never be able to hold her head up and never be able to cry, see, hear, taste, or smell; he said she’ll never have thought processes or know who she is or who her family is, Luellen said.

Luellen said doctors told her that Meagan would come home and be like a vegetable until she dies. The prognosis was that she didn’t have enough brain to support her bodily functions, and that everything would shut down, she would have trouble breathing or stop breathing, or her kidneys would fail.

Although Meagan seemed healthy and normal after her surgery, the doctor told the Seals that those other difficulties likely would begin soon.

“They told me it would probably be quick, like I would bring her home, she would live a week or two and then die,” Luellen said.

The Seals expected to be able to take Meagan home, with hospice care, on Nov. 18. However, on Nov. 16, Luellen’s birthday, the hospital called and told the Seals that Meagan had stopped breathing and was not responding to resuscitation efforts.

“That was the phone call we got. It was just devastating. I dropped the phone, I laid on the kitchen floor and just started bawling because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Scott picked up the phone and told the doctor they would leave right away for the hospital. The hour drive to Park Ridge, Ill., was agonizing for the couple, after what they had learned, Luellen said.

After a half hour of unsuccessful CPR, Meagan had been hooked up to a CPAP, to keep oxygen flowing into her lungs.

“They told us right then that Meagan was not going to make it,” Luellen said. “They said, ‘So, go home, get everything in a row and call a funeral home.’ We basically came home and called a few places, tried to figure out what we had to do to prepare for her to die.”

The Seals also called their church, Lord of Life, and asked Pastor Phil Ressler if he would baptize Meagan at the hospital. He arrived the following morning.

“I did the baptism right there in the hospital. Meagan had all the tubes on, and her mom was holding her,” Ressler said. “We all prayed for her.”

The hospital even supplied a baptismal gown.

“We took pictures, and right after she was baptized—I didn’t see this, but everybody else in the room did, the doctors, the nurses—they said she smiled really big,” Luellen said. “I was crying so hard I didn’t even notice.”

After the baptism, the family stayed with Meagan, waiting for her expected passing. The doctor removed the CPAP and put her on a little bit of oxygen to keep her comfortable.

“Within an hour, she opened her eyes, she was looking around,” Luellen said. “She was like a totally different baby than we’d seen days before. She was just different.”

Luellen said she believes it was truly a miracle, that having her baptized was what changed her.

“I really believe that. Because she wasn’t here to stay at that point, after having that long spell of not breathing,” Luellen said.

The Seals were able to take Meagan home the next day, under the understanding that, according to all the doctors there, she was still considered terminal.

“They told us she was probably going to live a week or two, and that was going to be it,” Luellen said. “They said, ‘Just love her and enjoy the time you have with her.’ So we prepared again, but more calmly at this point because we figured, she is here, we have time now, we can do things in a more orderly fashion instead of rushing through. And ever since that day, she’s just gotten better.”

At first, Meagan was on a feeding tube, and the Seals arranged for a hospice nurse to help them at home. However, Luellen said her baby daughter has not had any breathing difficulties, which were expected.

“It’s not like I’m doubting what the doctors told me. That’s what makes it so much more of a miracle,” Luellen said. “She was seen by 10 doctors, who all said the same thing about what to expect for Meagan.”

A couple of weeks after the Seals brought Meagan home, Luellen accidentally dislodged the baby’s feeding tube and called the nurse for help to reinsert it.

Luellen told the nurse that Meagan seemed much happier with the tube out of her throat. The nurse suggested that Luellen try giving Meagan a bottle and see what happened.

“So I did, and she was fine with it,” Luellen said.

The doctor told her to continue bottle-feeding as long as Meagan was not aspirating or choking.

“They say that in itself (being able to drink from a bottle), with her not having all of her brain, is just amazing,” Luellen said.

Luellen said she realizes that Meagan likely faces physical and mental challenges in the future, but she is glad her daughter has come as far as she has in just 2-1/2 months.

“She acts like a totally normal baby now, which is not supposed to be,” Luellen said.

Luellen took Meagan out of the house for the first time recently, going to the library with two of her other three children. When they got to the library, Meagan started crying loudly because she was hot from being bundled up for the outdoors. Luellen said she was thrilled to hear Meagan’s wail.

“It was the first time I heard her really, really cry. It was a good sign,” Luellen said. “She made me cry, because it was such a milestone for her.”
Luellen said she wakes up every day wondering what else Meagan will do.

“I know she is going to have setbacks and not make her (development) goals on time-rolling over, sucking her thumb or sitting up. But she is close to some of them, now,” Luellen said. “If I lay her on the floor, she can push herself up on her hands, and she wasn’t even supposed to be able to hold her own head up. So for her to get her chest off the ground, that’s huge. And it’s actually right on time for a two-month old.”

Meagan also recently began being able to roll to one side.

“There’s a lot of things that we hope for yet,” Luellen said.

Meagan has come a long way since her release from the hospital, when doctors said she likely would not survive more two weeks. Luellen said that the doctors no longer are giving the Seals a timeframe for the expected length of Meagan’s life.

“Now they are just saying, ‘It’s in God’s hands. It’s up to God how long she is going to be here,” Luellen said.

Photo: Baby Meagan was a little sleepy after her mother, Luellen Seals, had given her an afternoon bottle. When Meagan was born, she weighed 5 1/2 pounds but lost weight after surgery to close a gap in her skull. Against all odds, she has grown to a healthy weight of more than six pounds in less than two months.
Photo by Martha Quetsch

Dying swan saved after being shot

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—A swan found nearly dead from a gunshot wound will survive, thanks to being saved by a passerby and taken to the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn.

The bird was found a few weeks ago in a retention pond on the east side of St. Charles, in serious condition.

“He couldn’t get out of the water, and he didn’t have the strength to hold up his head,” said Andrea Krueger, an animal rehabilitator at the Wildlife Center.

The bullet had gone through the swan’s belly, as evidenced by entrance and exit wounds, and the bird had been suffering from the injury for some time before being rescued.

“It was very infected,” Krueger said.

At the Wildlife Center, he received antibiotics and is nearly recovered.

“He is doing good,” Krueger said. “He will be able to leave in about two weeks.”

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is a nonprofit organization located in a former ranger house in Elburn Forest Preserve. The center rehabilitates injured wild animals so that they can be released back into their natural habitat.

The healed swan, however, will go to an individual that keeps swans in the winter and takes them to ponds in the area where they spend the rest of the year.

“We don’t know if this is a wild swan. He’s pretty tame,” Krueger said.

Since being rescued, the swan has spent his days at the Wildlife Center swimming in the bath tub and munching on lettuce and other treats in his own room. The reason the bird is kept isolated is so that he does not have too much contact with people, which could thwart the rehabilitation process, said Kaitlin Zordan, education coordinator for the Wildlife Center.

However, his progress is being closely monitored by volunteers and staff at the center.

“We want to make sure he will be able to manage on his own in the future,” Krueger said.

St. Charles Police Department spokesman Paul McCurtin said if an officer had caught someone shooting the swan, the offender would be arrested for discharging a weapon within city limits and fined up to $500. If lacking a firearm license, the offender would face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Photo: Part of the rehabilitation at Fox Valley Wildlife Center for this rescued swan is spending time in the bathtub to regain his swimming strength. The Elburn organization, including staffer Kaitlin Zordan, brought the swan back to health after he was found near death in a retention pond in St. Charles after being shot.
Photo by Martha Quetsch

St. Charles organization offers to promote Elburn

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to promote Elburn attractions in order to draw more tourists to the area.

“We’d like to bring visitors to Elburn and see them stay at St. Charles hotels,” said Egolf during Monday’s Elburn Development Committee meeting.

If Elburn officials agree to participate in a joint program, the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau will list Elburn attractions in its tourist guides at no cost to the village.

Development Committee members like the proposal and recommended that the Village Board approve it.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Committee member and trustee Jeff Walter said. “It will be some promotion we don’t have now.”

Among the Elburn entities Egolf has identified to list in the Bureau’s publications are Amazing Grace Antiques, Heritage Prairie Farm, Ream’s Elburn Market, the Metra station, the Great Lakes Leadership Campus, Elburn Days and the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club.

Egolf said the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau works with the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, which would include Elburn’s attractions in state visitors guides.

The St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau is supported by city and state funding.

KC selected for program to fight childhood obesity

Grant funds “Making Kane County Fit For Kids”
Kane County—Kane County was awarded a $360,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods for children and families in the county.

Based on a rigorous selection process that drew more than 500 proposals from across the country, Kane County is one of 41 sites selected for the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative.

Kane County’s “Fit for Kids” initiative began in 2008 in response to the fact that one in six—or 16 percent—of all Kane children under 18 years of age are obese, a rate that more than doubles for Kane’s Hispanic and African American children countywide.

RWJF funding will support the “Fit for Kids” partners in engaging community members and leaders from all walks of life across the county to develop a comprehensive assessment of the changes needed in their communities to promote healthy living and prevent childhood obesity. This health-promoting vision will be incorporated in the county’s master land use and transportation plan updates.

Expected results include the advancement of Complete Streets policies and Safe Routes to Schools in multiple jurisdictions across the county; an increased access to safe places for physical activity in urban areas; and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables through a community garden program.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected to receive this grant,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “Working together with our partners, we are committed to making it possible for all of Kane’s children to have great choices for healthy eating and active living in all parts of their daily lives.”

“To reverse this epidemic, communities are going to have to rally around their kids and provide the opportunities they need to be healthy,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Through this project, Kane County and its partners are doing what it takes to make sure children lead better lives.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a $33 million national program and RWJF’s largest investment to date in community-based solutions to childhood obesity. With nine Leading Sites chosen in late 2008, the program now spans 50 communities from Seattle to Puerto Rico. All are targeting improvements in local policies and their community environment—changes that research indicates could have the greatest impact on healthier eating, more active living and obesity prevention. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a cornerstone of RWJF’s $500 million commitment to reverse the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

Visit to learn more about the selected communities’ work and plans. Learn more about Kane County’s “Fit for Kids” program by visiting

P.J. Fleck named wide receivers coach at Rutgers

Editor’s note: P.J. Fleck was a standout athlete for the Kaneland Knights in football, basketball and track from 1995-99.
PISCATAWAY, N.J.—Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano announced Thursday that P.J. Fleck has joined the Rutgers coaching staff as the wide receivers coach.

Fleck comes to Rutgers after three seasons as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Northern Illinois. Fleck also served as the Huskies’ recruiting coordinator last year.

“We are excited to have P.J. join our football family at Rutgers,” said Schiano. “He will fit in well on our staff and we look forward to having him and his family with us at Rutgers.”

A native of Sugar Grove, Ill., Fleck spent the last three seasons tutoring the Huskie wide receivers. Two of his 2008 receivers – Britt Davis and Matt Simon – signed free agent contracts with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, following their collegiate careers.

“I am extremely grateful and super excited for the opportunity Coach Schiano has given me and my family,” said Fleck. “I look forward to joining the Rutgers football family and the entire Scarlet Nation.”

A leader on Northern Illinois’ 2003 10-win team, Fleck began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006. He worked with the Buckeye tight ends and wide receivers and assisted with the special teams in his one season in Columbus, which culminated in a trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz.

Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.

Fleck earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors for Northern Illinois in 2003 while helping NIU to a 7-0 start that included upset victories over Maryland and Alabama. As a senior, he led the Huskies with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns, a reception total that still ranks second on the school’s single-season list.

Fleck still owns the school record for career punt returns (87), is second in punt return yards (716), ranks third in career catches (179) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,162). He was a second-team Academic All-American as a senior and was twice voted team captain by his teammates.

A 2004 graduate of Northern Illinois in elementary education, Fleck is married to the former Tracie Striebel. The couple has one son, Carter Joseph (C.J.).

Fleck and his wife annually host the P.J. Fleck “Live Your Dream” Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill’s Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.

Kaneville loses a good friend

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Kaneville lost a stalwart member of the community last week, when life-long resident Leon Gramley passed away on Friday. Kaneville Township Supervisor, volunteer firefighter, Memorial Day committee member and Kaneville Cemetery Board treasurer were just a few of the roles that Gramley took on throughout his lifetime in Kaneville.

Add loving father, playful grandpa, thoughtful and romantic husband, and that only begins to describe the person most people in Kaneville have known for years.

Mary Niceley, former owner of the Kaneville General Store, remembers mornings when Gramley would stop by the store for a cup of coffee. People would notice his truck parked outside, and pretty soon any number of people would stop in to ask for his help with all kinds of things.

“He was always fixing something,” Niceley said. “He would say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and it would be taken care of.”

Niceley said Gramley was in charge of the Community Center in Kaneville when she was on the Library Board.

“He never raised our rent,” she said. “When the lights went out, he got them fixed. When the sidewalks needed to be shoveled, he got it done.”

Big things; little things; he took care of it all. She said one day a little boy came into the store after he had missed the school bus.

“’Come on,’ Leon said, and he gave the kid a ride to school,” she said. “It was all these little acts of kindness that go unnoticed. He didn’t do it for the glory; he did it from the kindness in his heart.”

Gramley was born on Oct. 31, 1943, in Aurora. He grew up in Kaneville and he graduated from Kaneland High School in 1962. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Vietnam War.

Taking an active part in Kaneville’s Memorial Day Service was an important honor for him. For more than 30 years, he marched in the color guard, and made sure that every veteran’s grave was adorned with a flag.

His son Stephen said that some of his best memories about his dad were when Stephen was a teenager.

“My dad was a farmer who could fix anything and a fireman who could help anybody,” he said. “My dad was ‘the guy.’ He was Superman. He could just do it all.”

In addition to being a firefighter for the Kaneville Fire Department, Leon was a paramedic for the Elburn Fire Department. Stephen remembered his dad’s pager going off in the middle of the night and he would run out the door to go help somebody. When the call was to Kaneville or someplace close by, his dad would take off in his truck, arriving at the scene before the ambulance arrived.

“It made him feel good to go and help out an elderly person alone and scared in the middle of the night,” Stephen said.

It was his work with the ambulance service that would lead him to the woman he would describe as the love of his life, Mary Fecht. A co-worker introduced the two on July 4, 1991, and they hit it off right away.

“He was very romantic and very thoughtful,” Mary said.

While they were dating, he sent her flowers every Friday. When they got engaged, he bought her a ring with two rubies that he said represented their two hearts and their love. Recently, he bought her a ring with 18 stones that represented their years together.

He and Mary were married in 1992, and they spent the years since then traveling, going to concerts, and sharing their children and grandchildren. Although they traveled all over the country, he had a special place in his heart for Disney World, where he had as much fun as his granddaughters did.

Throughout the years, he remained committed to his community. Although Gramley lived outside of the boundaries of what would become the village of Kaneville, he gave much of his time and his efforts to the village’s incorporation in 2007.

During the two-year process, he helped with legislation in Springfield that made the incorporation possible, facilitated meetings where residents helped determine their future, and encouraged others to take on leadership roles once the incorporation was complete.

Although he shouldered a lot of responsibility, Leon had a light heart. His sense of humor, his jokes and his infectious laughter will be missed by many.

His death leaves a void in many lives and in the life of the community.

“Kaneville lost a good friend. He was always there when anyone needed anything,” Pat Hill said. “I miss him.”

Photo: Leon Gramley with his wife of nearly 18 years, Mary Gramley. Courtesy Photo

Earthquake devastation heartbreaking for former missionary

by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—When the severe earthquake hit Haiti last week and TV stations ran footage of the devastation there, Sugar Grove resident Kaelynn Wilson said her heart was broken.

“My initial thought was … they don’t need any more problems in Haiti,” Wilson said.

She said it was emotional for her to see on screen the earthquake-torn places that she is so familiar with, having gone to Haiti five years ago on a mission with her church, Sugar Grove United Methodist.

“I saw those buildings, I went to those markets, I walked those streets, and the conditions were bad before,” Wilson said.

In 2005, Wilson, a teenager at the time, went to Haiti to help at the Grace Children’s Hospital in Port Au Prince with her church pastor, the Rev. Steve Good, and other members of their congregation. While there, she befriended a child and wrote to him regularly after returning to the U.S. until the child, who had AIDS and a cleft palate, died.

She believes awareness is crucial before people will offer their help and support to the Haitian people, particularly the country’s youngest and most vulnerable.

“Small children should not have to suffer,” Wilson said.

Wilson said if people from Northern Illinois form a mission to go to Haiti to help, she hopes to join them. Meantime, she wants to boost awareness among the American public about the Haitians’ plight, not only now, but historically. She said that the earthquake is just one more trauma on top of others that came before in Haiti, from poverty and political upheaval, to health issues including AIDS and tuberculosis.

“I am spreading the word, that if you are able to help, please do,” Wilson said. “There is so much that needs to be done.”

Photo: Sugar Grove residents, from left, Stephanie Claesson, Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett, Amanda Mendoza and Kristin Heckert, participated in one of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church’s past mission trips to Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Courtesy Photo

KHS wrestling defends home mat at Flott Invite

Four weight classes won by Knights in invite win
At the annual Flott Wrestling Invite on Saturday, the Knight grapplers saw plenty of first-place accolades come their way in an invite win.

285-pounder Jimmy Boyle, 145-pound entry Kyle Davidson, 112-pounder Dan Goress and 103-pound representative Esai Ponce all came away with top nods against the varied area competition.

Additional noteworthy mornings were had by Devon Scholl finishing second at 125 and Dennis Brettman taking third in the 130 range.

Boyle’s path to glory started with a one minute, 38 second fall over Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor, and then a 5-0 victory over Tim Vincent of Burlington Central. That led to a championship pinfall over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta with just two seconds left in regulation time.

Boyle’s record stands at 28-2.

For Davidson (27-5), his day started with a technical-fall win over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00. Davidson then pinned Burlington Central’s Omar Awad at 4:12, and then took the final match by 12-4 decision over Larkin’s Brett Barry.

In the 112-pound win for Goress (29-5), it started with a 13-2 decision over Rochelle’s Eduardo Macareno, and then continued with a 8-2 win over Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, and ended with a tech fall win at the buzzer over Bo Pradel of Oswego.

Ponce (24-6) took a 6-4 win over Addison Trail’s Luis DeLacruz and won the group with a 12-6 major decision over Elgin’s Nathan Andresen.

Scholl (25-5) beat MCC’s Tyler Hickey in 3:54 andd BC’s Johnny Major in a major decison before succumbing to Addison Trail’s Johnny Delmedico 8-3. Brettman (17-11) beat Adam Polak of St. Joe’s in a 12-4 major decision and lost to Josh Smith of PC, 7-3. In the third-place duel.

Brettman beat Larkin’s Tim Einhorn 4-2.

Other action during the past week had Geneva beat Kaneland 31-30 on Thursday and Batavia get past the Knights on Jan. 13 by a final of 32-30.

KHS now gears up for the Western Sun Conference meet at Yorkville High School on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Top photo: Kyle Davidson (145) is on his way to a technical-fall victory over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00 on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys feel better after taking two

by Mike Slodki
How do you combat a three-game losing streak at a pivotal point in the season?

How about going toe-to-toe with conference rival Glenbard South on Friday and handling a tenacious Hinckley-Big Rock squad on Saturday.

With two wins on the weekend, Kaneland improved to 11-5 and 4-3 in Western Sun Conference play.

Friday saw the Knights handle the host Raiders in Glen Ellyn by a 41-36 clip, while Kaneland also invaded Hinckley-Big Rock for a 63-49 non-conference win on Saturday evening.

Not much luck happened for the Knights or Raiders on the offensive end but KHS still led 8-6 after one and 14-12 at the half.

The Knights added to their lead and found themselves up 25-21 after the third before outscoring GS 16-15 in the final eight minutes.

Dave Dudzinski paced all scorers with 20 points, also went 8-for-9 from the foul line, accounting for all the successfull free throws on Kaneland’s end.

In Little 10-country, Kaneland led 10-7 early, but a basket and free throw tied the game at 10 for H-BR with under two minutes to go in the frame. A Dudzinski basket with 33.2 seconds to go in the quarter gave KHS a 13-12 lead but a three-pointer by Brian Michaels with 20.7 remaining and a breakaway buzzerbeater gave the Royals a 17-13 lead after one.

Hinckley kept attacking the basket and led 28-25 before Dudzinski put back a Donovan Williams trey attempt with 1:53 to go to close within 28-27 and hit another shot for a one point led with 52.9 remaining. The center hit a shot from underneath the rim to go up 31-28 with 34.9 to go while Matt Spitzzeri’s layup with 18.7 remaining closed out the scoring at 33-29.

Dudzinski hit two shots in a row and Spitzzeri nailed a shot for a 45-33 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third. The full-court press was on and H-BR called its final timeout, to the delight of the Kaneland players and coaching staff.

“We made a good adjustment in the locker room,” KHS coach Brian Johnson. “Coach Bieritz said to think about going to full-court press. If they couldn’t get Michaels, their main ball-handler the ball, they struggled a bit and our energy picked up a little bit.”

The fourth quarter featured the Knights hitting four shots in a row to nab their biggest lead of 57-36 with 5:42 to go in the game.

Dudzinski had 24 points and Ryley Bailey had 14 points for the effort.

“We knew that Michaels was their main ball-handler,” Bailey said. “We caused some of their other players to make decisions and it benefited us.”

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 22.

Photo: Inside presence Dave Dudzinski, shown here in action last week at Geneva, had a productive weekend in wins at Glenbard South and Hinckley-Big Rock. The Holy Cross signee had a combined 44 points over the weekend. File Photo

Survey finds high percent of A’s and B’s at high school

Report says data suggests 7-point scale does not put students at disadvantage
by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—In a recent study, school administrators found that nearly 50 percent of the students at Kaneland High School have an A grade-point average. Add the B grades in, and nearly 75 percent of the students are above average.

The study was conducted as an initial step in response to feedback from a number of parents in the community who asked the administration to change the school’s grading scale to make it more in line with other schools in Kane County.

Some parents said that Kaneland’s 7-point grading scale put the Kaneland students at a disadvantage when they were compared with other students from schools with 10-point scales. This could hurt them when being considered for college admissions, scholarship awards and auto insurance discounts, parents said.

In a 10-point scale, students with a score of 92 receive an A; with Kaneland’s 7-point scale, students need a score of 93 to receive an A.

Administrators conducted an informal survey of other high schools in the Western Sun Conference and the soon-to-be Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference; five of the seven schools that responded used a 10-point scale. One school left it up to each department to use either a 7-point or a 10-point scale, and another used an 8-point scale.

The survey, which looked at grade-point averages during the 2008-09 school year, found that a greater percentage of Kaneland students had an A average than the overall average of 37 percent, even though a majority of the other schools used 10-point scales.

In addition, the survey also found that the schools with the higher average of A students did not necessarily correlate with the higher ACT scores.

Although Kaneland fell third on the list in terms of A averages, its average ACT score of 20.9 falls below the average of 22 when all seven schools are included.

“The data shows there is a disconnect between grades earned and results when compared to performance,” board member Dianne Piazza said.

Administrators told the board on Monday that the initial data do not seem to support the suggestion that Kaneland’s grading scale puts the students at an unfair disadvantage.

Kaneland Superintendent Charlie McCormick said that since the administration has not reviewed at the grading scale since it was changed 15 years ago, their recommendation was to take another look at it.He said that the study should take place in the context of the curriculum department’s original plan to study grading criteria, purposes and philosophy.

The School Board voted 5-2 in favor of this recommendation.

McCormick also recommended that it follow Kaneland’s current policy that establishing a grading system is the responsibility of the administration and professional staff, and not a board decision.

“That’s why we have our curriculum directors and professional teaching personnel,” he said.

While some board members agreed that decisions about the grading system were better left to the professionals, others felt that decisions made internally would leave members of the community nowhere to go if they were still unhappy about the grading scale.

“We had a petition that came to the board,” board member Deborah Grant said.

Parents brought a petition to the board in October 2009 with 703 signatures from parents that asked the board to evaluate the current grading system this school year. The petition asked the board to consider changing the grading scale to a 10-point system rather than the current 7-point scale.

“I want our students to have the same opportunities that every other student in Kane County has, and that is a 10-point scale,” Grant said.

Board member Cheryl Krauspe said that she did not feel it was the right time to change the scale.

Board members agreed to table the administration’s recommendation for a later time.

Rising above a down economy

Metrolift succeeds despite market
By Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove-based Metrolift, Inc. President Rick Dahl credits his company’s successful journey through troubled economic waters to some strategic moves he made several years ago.

“The Chicago commercial construction market was at record levels until recently,” he said. “Two-and-a-half years ago, there were clear markers that the construction industry was too white-hot.”

Dahl said he saw the signs that it would not last. He began to see more slow-payers. Then he noticed formerly successful construction companies, such as Kennedy Homes, filing bankruptcy.

Two years ago, he began implementing cost-cutting measures. He asked his vendors to respond, and he asked his employees to work smarter, doing more with fewer resources.

While the business’ former focus was the rental of aerial lift equipment, the new direction of the company includes purchasing used equipment through auctions and banks, then fixing it up and remarketing it.

“It was good planning,” he said. “We stopped buying new equipment at the right time.”

In addition, he expanded his customer base outside of the Midwest by selling to contractors in states such as Montana, Nebraska, Missouri and North and South Dakota, where the construction industry was not as hard-hit. And Dahl said that home construction sales have actually increased recently in San Antonio.

Dahl said that his profitability goal for the past year was to make at least $1. He said he beat this goal, although he said his company is currently in the shaded gray, rather than “in the black.”

He said that 2009 was a challenging year overall, but the company has several bright spots to focus on. He explained that the wholesale division is doing extremely well, and that the rental and service businesses remain profitable despite shrinking revenues and declining rental sales.

He compared the previous business environment to farming, and said the current environment is more like hunting. He enjoys being a hunter, he said.

“I’m trying to grow in a down market. I’m more alive than ever now,” he said. “I’m wired for this. There’s so much more at stake now.”

Last winter, he recognized the need for additional space for his business. He recently added 30,000 square-feet in shop space and two acres of yard space adjacent to his existing location on Heartland Drive.

The Elburn resident opened his business in 1991, and moved his operations to Sugar Grove eight years ago. He had eight employees at the time.

At the time, his business was in tough shape and he was facing a crisis in his personal life, as well. Dahl said he turned the wheel over to Jesus.

Currently, he employs 46 people, most who live in nearby towns, such as Kaneville, St. Charles, Maple Park, DeKalb and Big Rock. His faith remains a large part of his life, and he said that God’s word leads the way for him and his business.

He regularly meets with a group of about 25 “corporate Christians,” CEOs who get together to encourage and challenge each other. One of the books he likes to hand out to people is called, “Business by the Book: The Complete Guide of Biblical Principles for the Workplace” by Larry Burkett.

He said it is the people in his organization that keep him going. He said he enjoys seeing them develop and improve. Through the recent downturn in the economy, he has managed to keep everyone on board.

“We’re all relieved that we made it through another year,” Metrolift employee Kara Sanders said. “Everybody recognizes that Rick’s investments are adding to the vision of our company for our long-term future.”

Photo: Metrolift, Inc. president Rick Dahl stands next to his inventory of aerial lift equipment in one of his lots in the Sugar Grove industrial park on Heartland Drive. Photo by Susan O’Neill

2 Republicans vie for Kane Treasurer seat

Incumbent runs on record: challenger calls for efficiency
Incumbent Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert will face challenger Bob Kovanic in the primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 2. No one is running in the Democratic race.

Photo: David J. Ricket (right) and Bob Kovanic (left)

David J. Rickert
Rickert is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently serving as the Kane County Treasurer. Prior to his election as treasurer, Rickert worked as a senior auditor for a Fortune 500 company. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve.

He said that his decision to continue in his role as Kane County Treasurer was based on his desire to continue to serve.

“I enjoy serving the citizens of Kane County,” he said. “As a Certified Public Accountant with a master’s degree in accounting and extensive computer knowledge, my background enables me to take a hands-on approach to monitoring the investments, the tax process and the financial accounting of the office. If re-elected, I plan to continue to bring my expertise and energy to making the office the best it can be and a model for others to follow.”

Rickert said his track record demonstrates his abilities with managing the county’s funds.

“Under my leadership, a diversified portfolio of government bonds, certificates of deposits, and overnight bank deposits has been developed that consistently out-performs the State of Illinois Money Market Fund (MMF) funds,” he said. “The bond fund for the county yielded more than $400,000 in additional interest income in its first year of operation.”

In addition to his focus on managing the county funds, he also strives to continually improve the efficiency of his office.

“Some of the most beneficial initiatives that I’ve undertaken to date have been joint efforts to increase efficiency,” Rickert said. “For example, a unified tax system that integrates the tax information from the Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments, and Treasurer’s Offices was implemented. This has reduced expenses and streamlined the process between the three offices.”

The offices also worked together to provide information on all aspects of property taxes that he said would be helpful to citizens, including adding an insert into each tax bill that provides useful information.

“The combination of working together and informing taxpayers about their options has been extremely successful,” Rickert said. “My plan is to keep the information current and increase these initiatives if re-elected.”

He said it was this track record that led to his recognition as the 2009 County Treasurer of the Year (Zone IV) by the Illinois County Treasurer’s Association. If re-elected, he plans to continue to expand on that record of accomplishment, he said.

“One focus for my next term will be continuing to promote teamwork,” he said. “Expanding on efforts to inform the taxpayers will also be a priority. A third main initiative will be to encourage transparency in government.”

The combination of success with managing the county’s funds, improving the office’s efficiency and promoting teamwork will be vital to the future, he said, because the challenging economy will require continued improvement.

“With the economy faltering, a big challenge for the office will be doing more with less,” he said.

In every year Rickert has served as County Treasurer, his office has remained under budget, he said.

“Due to the cost-saving measures implemented during my tenure, the Treasurer’s Office was able to comply with both a mid-year budget reduction and an end-of-year budget reduction that was mandated by the County Board,” he said.

Bob Kovanic
For Kovanic, who has a 25-year career in the private financial sector, the impacts of the difficult economy led to his decision to run for office.

“During the summer of ’09, I read several times in the newspapers and Finance Committee minutes how the incumbent treasurer, Mr. Rickert, fought against his budget being cut by the County Board,” he said. “In my opinion, given the current economic environment, all governmental departments should cut their budgets without an argument. If the taxpayers of the county need to tighten their belts to make ends meet, then so should government.”

He said that, at the time, he realized that if he were in office, he would not need to be told to cut his budget.

“I also thought to myself, ‘Why would any fiscally responsible elected official have to be told to cut their budget?’ I would certainly always do my best to save the taxpayer’s money,” he said.

Kovanic said his real-world experience would help him accomplish that goal of saving taxpayer’s money.”

Kovanic’s experience follows a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Bradley University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School. He served as a CFO and partner at TriMark Marlinn from 1984-2001, a senior financial analysit at Parmalat Bakery in 2002-03, a controller at PLM International from 2003-05, CFO at ReView Video from 2005-08, and is currently the owner of Padgett Business Services.

“I have 25 years of proven real world business experience working for profitable companies and making them better,” Kovanic said. “I am always searching for ways to improve operating efficiencies, not only with my own ideas but tapping into the true experts, the employees actually performing the daily tasks.”

Kovanic said he would improve the office by upgrading the Treasurer Office’s use of the Internet, improving office efficiencies and investing taxpayer dollars inside the county.

“(I would) use Cook County’s website as an example of what Kane County should have,” Kovanic said. “The Kane County Treasurer’s website does not make it easy to find out where to pay your taxes or how to use the Internet; this must be updated.”

He said that while he does not have a working knowledge of the procedures currently used within the Treasurer’s Office, he feels confident he can improve its efficiency.

“If the website is so outdated, I can assume the procedures are as well,” he said. “This is where my years of experience improving office efficiency can be very beneficial to the Treasurer’s Office.”

Kovanic said if elected, he would end the practice of investing taxpayer dollars outside of Kane County.

“I believe all taxpayers funds should be wisely invested within Kane County,” he said.

The biggest challenge facing the office is collecting property taxes, Kovanic said. To overcome that challenge, Kovanic suggests modernizing the website so that taxpayers can research where and how to pay their property taxes.

“Let’s make it easy for taxpayers to pay their tax online either through EFT, credit card, debit card, etc.,” he said.

If elected, Kovanic said he will not allow politics to influence his decision making.

“Honesty and working hard for the people of Kane County is the quickest and easiest way to gain the public’s trust,” Kovanic said. “I will work for the people of the county, doing what is best for them and not make decisions based upon was it best for the next election”.

KHS boys hoops going through three-game skid

Knights see setbacks against Batavia, BC and Geneva
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland High School basketball was a Ryley Bailey three-point shot away from sneaking by Batavia on Friday and potentially riding that positive wave into Burlington Central on Saturday evening.

Instead, Bailey’s running attempt went in and out of the rim and the Knights lost 42-40 to the visiting Bulldogs. Saturday had the Knights lose 65-51 to the host Rockets. The Knights also dropped a 61-51 skirmish at Geneva.

The three-game skid has Kaneland sitting at 9-5 with a 3-3 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Going into the fourth quarter vs. the Bulldogs, Kaneland was down 31-30 and gave up a basket to Ricky Clopton 34 seconds into the frame.

Bailey’s first basket of the contest followed by two Dave Dudzinski foul shots gave KHS a 34-33 leads with 5:21 remaining.

Two baskets by Batavia put the Bulldogs ahead 38-34 with 4:20 remaining, but a Steve Colombe basket on a feed by Dudzinski and a Donovan Williams shot tied it with 3:02 to go.

Bailey missed a free throw but Dudzinski’s putback with 1:53 remaining gave KHS a 40-38 lead. Two foul shots by Batavia tied the score 11 seconds later. After Kaneland worked on a possession, the ball was lost and Batavia’s Clopton was fouled driving to the hoop with 7.9 ticks left. After hitting his free throws, Bailey got the ball on a pass and lifted the unsuccessful trey attempt.

“I thought we could bring it up the sideline, try to go middle and get a layup,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Didn’t work out that way. Ryley had a nice shot, it just didn’t go in, and that happens. Those shots will fall eventually.”

Kaneland’s biggest leads of the entire night was two points.

Dudzinski’s 20 points resembled the only Knight line in double figures.

The Knights were also 8-for-12 from the charity stripe.

Against BC, Chaon Denlinger led the way with 20 points, followed by Colombe’s 13 and Dudzinski’s 11.

Kaneland led 15-14 after one quarter, but fell behind 29-20 at halftime. The Knights closed the deficit to 43-35 after three but could get no closer.

Against Geneva, KHS saw Ryley Bailey score 15 and Dudzinski score 11.

The Knights fell behind 12-9 to the Vikings after one frame and 37-21 after the second quarter. Kaneland closed within 49-34 at the end of three, but it was too late to gain any more momentum.

In sophomore action, the Knights beat the Rockets 50-35 behind eight points from Ray Barry.

KHS tries to earn a conference win at Glenbard South on Friday, Jan. 15.

Photo: Knight hoopster Ryley Bailey gets two of his team-high 15 points the hard way in Kaneland’s 61-51 loss at Geneva on Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights come back vs. BC, lose to Batavia, Geneva

Lady Knights basketball looked like it was headed for more of the same at Burlington Central, but came out with an extraordinary win.

Using the strength of defense, rebounding and a stingy fourth quarter on Saturday, Kaneland beat the Lady Rockets by a final of 42-38.

The result sat much better than Friday night’s 43-16 loss at Batavia.

KHS also lost vs. visiting Geneva on Tuesday evening by a final of 71-18.

KHS is now 5-14 with an 0-7 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Against BC, Kaneland had 10 points from Nicki Ott and seven points and seven assists from Andie Strang. Strang also had the tough defensive task of guarding Taylor Colby.

Mallory Carlson had five points and 10 boards.

KHS had a 6-3 lead after one quarter and 19-13 going into the halftime break. Burlington Central turned it into overdrive out of the locker room and outscored the Lady Knights 19-6 in the third to lead Kaneland 32-25. Kaneland came back with defense in the final frame and outscored BC 17-6 to get the four-point nod.

On Friday in Batavia, KHS fell victim to cold shooting and missed its first 15 shots en route to a 43-16 loss.

Against Geneva, the Lady Knights went just 4-for-30 from the field and 10-for-18 from the foul line. In the two most recent contests, Kaneland lost to Geneva 139-43.

Saturday also saw the sophomores lose a 34-21 battle to BC. Friday had the sophomores drop a 38-15 decision to Batavia.

Up next for the Lady Knights in varsity play is a road jaunt to Glen Ellyn, Ill. to face Glenbard South for the final time on their home floor as conference rivals. The game is set for Friday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

Photo: Kaneland’s Mallory Carlson is quickly enveloped by three Lady Vikings during Tuesday’s convincing loss to Geneva. Photo by Ben Draper

Third county resident dies as result of complications related to H1N1

Kane County—A third Kane County resident has died from complications due to the H1N1 flu virus, the Kane County Health Department reported last week.

In addition to having the H1N1 virus, the 65-year-old St. Charles man had underlying medical conditions. Due to privacy concerns, the Health Department is not releasing any further information about the case. This is the third death attributed to the H1N1 virus in Kane County. A 42-year-old man passed away in May 2009 and a 41-year-old woman passed away in November 2009. All had underlying medical conditions.

“This is another sad reminder that the flu virus is still with us. As we have seen in the past, the flu can be especially risky for those with underlying medical conditions,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “With the vaccine now widely available throughout the county, we encourage all residents to be vaccinated. In addition to the receiving the vaccine, residents can take steps to prevent the flu, such as covering your cough, washing your hands frequently and staying home if you are sick.”

More information on preventing the flu is available at For more information or to schedule an appointment, residents can call the Call Center number (630) 723-5414, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Organ donation—the gift that keeps on giving

Geneva—Approximately 82,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant. People in need have been receiving transplants from family and friends and anonymous donors for many years; however, it is rare to be an altruistic donor, one who just donates to help out their fellow man.

That is exactly what Merri Lazenby, a registered ER and trauma nurse at Delnor-Community Hospital, recently did for someone she knew only on a first-name basis.

Lazenby met Ray Andrade, security guard at Delnor, through his daily rounds in the ER.
“I’ve known Ray for some time, but just through his security rounds in the ER. One day, I saw him in the cafeteria and noticed he seemed down.”

Lazenby stopped to chat with him and found out that Andrade was in renal failure and needed a kidney. Andrade finally thought he found a family donor, but it turned out she was not a match.

Lazenby responded, “God gave me two kidneys, and I only need one; you can have the other.”

And with those words, what began as a gesture to help someone in need became a bond that will forever link these two people and their families.

Never a doubt
“It was an instantaneous decision and one I never had second thoughts about,” Lazenby recalled. “I knew I only needed one kidney to live and wanted to help Ray.”

Later that day, Lazenby told her husband she offered to donate her kidney to a man she knew only through work, and waited to hear his response.

“My husband was awesome and so supportive, but I don’t think he was sure I would actually be a match.”

With her offer now extended, the journey began. In January 2009, she completed the initial paperwork, extensive blood work and other laboratory tests necessary to see if indeed she was a compatible donor. Psychological counseling was also part of the process.

“They did every test you can imagine,” Lazenby said.

The thousands of dollars worth of blood tests, CT scans, and mental and physical examinations was covered by the recipient’s insurance.

Although the transplant team wanted to confirm that Lazenby’s kidney was healthy, “more of their concern was that my decision to do this would not do me any harm in the present or potentially in the future,” she said.

The battery of tests eventually confirmed that her motives were altruistic and her health was good. When Lazenby found out she was a perfect match months later, she recalled the entire situation as divine intervention.

“I was meant to see Ray that day in the cafeteria,” she said. “He shared his story with me for a reason, and I was able to help him. It was how it was supposed to be.”

Now, eight weeks post transplant, Lazenby is recovering well and plans to return to work in the ER within the next few weeks.

“My family and extended Delnor family have taken really good care of me. I have had great support. Everything worked out just like it was supposed to; it happened at the perfect time for both of us. And I believe I got so much more out of the donation than I gave,” she said.

Supporting life
For 25 years of his life, Delnor security officer Ray Andrade has lived with diabetes, “The condition just got worse over time and eventually affected my kidneys,” he said.

About a year and a half ago, his doctor told him that he had two choices: go on dialysis or begin the search for a kidney donor for an organ transplant. He did both.

Andrade decided to look for a donor within the family.

“My sister living in California readily offered to donate her kidney, only to find after testing that if she did, her own health would be in jeopardy.”

Andrade was sitting in the Delnor Hospital cafeteria soon after learning that his sister was ineligible to be a donor, when he ran into Lazenby and related the story.

“She told me, God gave me two kidneys; I would love to give you one of mine,” Andrade recalled. “She convinced me that she was serious—I couldn’t believe it.”

More unbelievable was that after testing, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital transplant team found that she was nearly a perfect donor match for Andrade.

“What are the odds of that? It is like she is an angel that came into my life at exactly the right moment,” he said.

On Oct. 2, they both received surgery at Northwestern. Lazenby was discharged the following day, and Andrade went home on Oct. 4.

“The new kidney is working great,” he said. “I was undergoing dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time, and will no longer have to do that. I’m free at last.”

Andrade said that he is so thankful for the successful outcome.

“Merri didn’t have to do this, but she is a perfect example of the fact that the Delnor family takes care of each other. I feel extremely blessed and will always be grateful to her,” he said.

Who can be
a living donor?

There are many different types of living donors. A living donor can be a brother or sister, a spouse, other family member or relative, friend, co-worker and even a compassionate stranger. In this case, Lazenby knew Andrade, but simply through a working relationship.

Ideally, any healthy person over age 18, who has a compatible blood type and compatible human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue typing, may be considered as a possible donor. Individuals with certain medical conditions may not be able to donate. People who donate kidneys can lead normal, active lives after recovering from surgery without any special restrictions. The body can function perfectly well with only one kidney, assuming all the testing done before donation show that the donor is healthy and has two normal kidneys.

If you would like to learn more about organ donation, contact Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a federally designated not-for-profit agency that coordinates organ and tissue donation and supports families of donors online at or by calling (630) 758-2600.

Courtesy photos

Spotlight on: WCC music program

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College’s music program has been around since the very beginning of the school. Like the art form itself, the department has continued to grow, change and innovate over the past 42 years, finding new ways to prepare students and expand its presence in the wider artistic community.

For all of its accomplishments, the music program is being recognized as part of the college’s Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition initiative.

In Waubonsee’s first college catalogue, for the 1967-68 academic year, there were seven music courses listed. Compare that to the 63 courses and performance ensembles listed in the 2009-10 catalog. The listings encompass general education courses like “The Art of Listening,” music theory courses, classroom instrumental and voice instruction, individual instruction, a musical theater practicum, performance ensembles and electronic music production.

It is more about quality than quantity, however. Waubonsee’s ensembles excel at Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and other national competitions. Several Waubonsee music alumni have gone on to successful music careers, including Kelly Barr, a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Bruce Gates, who was the lead trumpet with the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band for 20 years; Jack Waltrip, a tenor saxophonist who has played with many notable acts such as the Miles Davis Quintet; and 2008 graduate Ashley Lewis, who has found success with her bluegrass band Ashton Gap.

Waubonsee’s music program has not just maintained its quality over the years, it has also managed to stay current, and oftentimes even cutting-edge. In the 1980s, Waubonsee established its steel drum band and rock music ensemble, becoming the first community college in the state to have such groups. The program is currently embracing the new role technology is playing in this ancient art form, developing a Certificate of Achievement in Audio Production Technology. Course work for the certificate covers digital recording and editing techniques, along with electronic music production using the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI).

As students learn new and different ways to create and share music, the traditional ways remain important to both the program and the community. Audiences appreciate the free biannual concerts put on by the college’s steel drum band, chorale, jazz ensemble and rock band in the Sugar Grove campus auditorium. Students in the steel drum band appreciate the opportunity to visit local elementary and middle schools each spring to share its unique sound with local children. It has become tradition for Waubonsee’s music faculty and students to perform at local community events like the Aurora ArtWalk, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Geneva’s Steeple Walk and Yorkville’s Holiday Under the Stars.

This connection with the larger community, like many things in Waubonsee’s music department, is owed in large part to the leadership of Professor Gibby Monokoski, who has taught music at the college for 35 years. He was responsible for establishing the instrumental music component of the program and for creating the performance ensembles. He is well-known at the college for his passion and enthusiasm and well-known in the community as a performer and lecturer on music, humanities and the arts.

Fellow faculty member Dr. Mark Lathan has taken charge of the vocal performance portion of the program since becoming a full-time instructor in 2007. In addition to directing the chorale and mixed chorus, Lathan is an accomplished composer, winning both a College Television Award and a Chicago Emmy for his film scores.

Becoming a full-time instructor in 2008, Mark Popowitch is the newest member of the staff and heads up the newest aspect of the program—recording and electronic music production. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electronic computer music at Northern Illinois University before getting his master’s degree in music composition and theory from Southern Illinois University.

For more information about Waubonsee’s music program, visit music or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 2500.

Photo: Ashley Lewis is one of several successful alumni to come out of Waubonsee
Community College’s music program, which was
recognized this month as part of the school’s Placing
Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition
initiative. Lewis heads up the bluegrass band Ashton Gap.
Courtesy Photo