Category Archives: Maple Park

Maple Park library reopens

After closing down for two weeks of cleaning and reorganizing in early June, the Maple Park Library is again open with following summer hours:
Mondays and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 to 7 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Story Hours are on Wednesday Mornings

The library welcomes browsers, and new library director Kimberly Martin will answer any questions you may have. Maple Park is part of the Prairie Area Library System, and patrons can check out books from Maple Park as well as other Illinois Libraries.

In Marianne’s memory

Pastor Mark Meyer (far left) of Grace United Methodist Church in Maple Park, gave a blessing during a ceremony Tuesday at the Civic Center dedicating a new picnic table to Marianne Delaney, on the first anniversary of her death. Delaney was active in the community, volunteering for the Maple Park Family Fund and coordinating the annual Fun Fest parade. Among the many attendees at the ceremony was her husband, trustee Mark Delaney (pink shirt). A Family Fund raffle raised money for the cement table and resident Mike Miller donated his labor to build it. Marianne often took her grandchildren to the Civic Center playground and always wished it had a place to sit, said friend Barb Moisa. Photo by Martha Quetsch

New policy: Staff not required at board meetings

Curtis wants to formalize policies, procedures
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Under a new policy for the village of Maple Park, village employees are not obligated to attend Village Board meetings.

The Village Board approved the policy July 7.

“This eliminates the (previous) requirement for employees to attend, unless they are asked to attend,” trustee Mark Delaney said.

Village President Kathy Curtis said the employee attendance requirement was never an official policy; however, the board agreed that a policy was needed and that it should not make staff attendance at board meetings mandatory.

“We established this policy to establish/document the standard operation procedure that previously did not exist,” Curtis said.

Curtis added that village employees and residents can expect to see a pattern of formalizing policy and procedures over the next four years.

“As Maple Park anticipates growth, village hall needs to be positioned to function efficiently and effectively,” Curtis said. “Our goal is to continually improve.”

Stimulus money sought for public works project

Alternatives include applying for low-interest state loan
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park village officials hope to obtain federal stimulus money for a future water main replacement project in the village. However, they are not optimistic about their chances, so they have a backup plan.

Village engineer Ralph Tompkins said the village submitted its application to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program in April. He estimated that the ARRA program received 1,700 applications for project funding, and that 50 to 75 percent would be approved.

Trustee Terry Borg said another possible source of funding for the water main project is a low-interest (2.5 percent), 20-year loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The Village Board on Tuesday agreed to continue pursuing the IEPA loan along with the federal stimulus money, at Tompkin’s advice.

“These are state-revolving funds. There is no guarantee you will get it. But I would not recommend withdrawing the application,” Tompkins said.

Borg said a third option for paying for the $828,000 water main project would be using village funds, but that is the board’s last choice, since the project is not an emergency.

Field of Dreams Horse Rescue & Adoption membership drive

MAPLE PARK—Field of Dreams Horse Rescue & Adoption (FODHRA) is a non-profit volunteer organization located in northern Illinois. The goal is to assist horses that are “in-between” homes become healthy in mind, body and spirit. Many of the horses come to the organization with serious health problems such as malnutrition, breathing and leg issues as well as severe arthritis. Some come from owners who can no longer provide for their care. Regardless of the reason, the cost of caring for these animals is significant.

FODHRA has many volunteers who donate their time caring for the horses. However, in order to continue these efforts, FODHRA is in need of financial assistance, as they operate solely on donations. The organization is in the process of conducting their annual membership drive. Funds raised from this drive go directly to the care of the FODHRA horses. 

To purchase a membership, visit 

With the cost of membership, you will receive a Field of Dreams car window decal, a Field of Dreams tote bag and monthly updates on the equine guests.

Starting from scratch

MP’s search for police chief begins anew, targets Sept. 9
by Martha Quetsch
Maple Park—Maple Park village trustee Debra Armstrong, in charge of the search for a new police chief, said the village is starting from scratch in this endeavor.

“We are not using how we have done things in the past as a marker,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said she and other members of the new Personnel and Communications Committee are researching everything associated with the position to create a job description and salary. They intend to place the opening online and in newspapers as soon as that work is done.

“We are doing our due diligence before we post the position,” Armstrong said.

Part of that legwork will involve consulting with Kane and DeKalb counties’ sheriff’s departments about what the village should seek in a new chief.

As of yet, she does not know whether the job will be full- or part-time.

Currently, the Maple Park Police Department has a part-time officer in charge and several part-time officers.

Village President Kathy Curtis wants the committee to select a new police chief by Sept. 9.

The Maple Park Police Department has been without a police chief since village officials decided 13 months ago not to re-appoint former Police Chief Steve Yahnke.

Yahnke, while working part-time as Maple Park’s police chief, also was employed full time at the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Pat Perez opposed Yahnke’s working for both law enforcement agencies, saying he should not wear two badges.

During her campaign this spring for village president, Curtis said the lack of leadership on the former Police Committee delayed the hiring process. Curtis eliminated the committee.

Fearing for the future

Families with special-needs children worried about possible state budget cuts
by Martha Quetsch
REGIONAL—Local families with developmentally disabled children will be among those whose lives will be drastically affected if the state slashes social services funding to reduce its budget deficit.

Maple Park resident Carrie Capes’ family is one of them.

Capes’ 9-year-old son, Max, was born with a genetic disorder making him hearing and cognitively impaired, and limiting his gross and fine motor skills.

“He needs to be watched very closely, all the time,” Capes said.

For the past two years, he has received special assistance from outside caregivers and therapists who visit regularly. Because of that help, the family has been able to keep their son at home instead of in an institution.

The Capes family currently is eligible to hire people to assist them for up to $1,152 per month, through a state social service program called the Children’s Home-Based Support Services Waiver.

That is one of the social services programs that could be suspended if Illinois lawmakers do not approve an income tax increase before the end of the month.

“The threat is that home support will be eliminated,” Capes said.

Cathy Hoyda, of Sugar Grove, also employs part-time caregivers for her special-needs son, Matthew, 15, through the waiver program. Without the program, the family will have to care for Matthew on its own, because it cannot afford to hire people to help without state aid.

“We would have to go back to the way we were before. It would just be me taking care of him all the time, me tired, me crabby,” said Hoyda.

Matthew has autism and a rare seizure disorder and must be watched around the clock. Matthew often becomes frustrated and aggressive because he cannot communicate his feelings verbally, Hoyda said.

Currently, Hoyda gets a break from caregiving from two college students with skills in special education that also make Matthew’s life easier.

“He does very well with them,” Hoyda said. “They know how to handle him and communicate with him.”

This type of care, which the family has been able to afford with a stipend of up to $1,000 per month from the state waiver program, has been invaluable, Hoyda said.

Losing financial assistance that allows for that special care will affect not only the parents of these families, but their non-special-needs children, too.

Capes is worried that without in-home help for her son, she will not be able to spend any quality time with her 11-year-old son, Reilly.

“Everything has to revolve around your special-needs child,” Capes said.

Hoyda has similar concerns about her daughter, Julie, 12.

“She already does not get enough attention,” Hoyda said.

Social-services funding threat

Without extra revenue from an income-tax increase, state funding to social services including child and adult care, developmental disability funding and drug- and alcohol-treatment program funding could be cut by 50 percent, causing some to be eliminated, according to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Quinn has proposed raising the state’s 3-percent flat-rate income tax to 4.5 percent for two years to address the state’s $9.2 billion projected budget deficit for the fiscal year starting June 30.

Facing possible cuts
• Mutual Ground, a battered women’s shelter in Aurora, Batavia, and Geneva, which provides shelter, advocacy, a hotline, sexual assault counseling and treatment. A loss of state funding would force Mutual Ground to close its shelter and its 24-hour emergency hotline.

• Kane County Child Advocacy Center, which investigates and prosecutes cases of sexual abuse and serious physical abuse against children

• Senior Services Associates, Inc., which aids in the investigation and prosecution of criminals who target senior citizens

• Gateway Foundation of Aurora, which provides counseling services for children and adolescents, in- and out-patient substance abuse counseling for adults and mental health counseling

• Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), a treatment-based rehabilitation program and sentencing alternative to prison for substance-abusers with a limited criminal history

• Treatment Alternative Court (TAC), a mental-heath treatment program and sentencing alternative to prison

• Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Kids Hope United, Aunt Martha’s, Evangelical Social Services

• Local police departments and their teen outreach programs, community service centers, veteran services and mental health services

• Nine local health departments of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC) provide public health and human services programs such as Maternal and Child Health, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Family Case Management, Domestic Violence and Teen Pregnancy Prevention service to more than eight million people.

• Agencies such as World Relief—Aurora, Gateway Foundation, Hope for Tomorrow, Aunt Martha’s Youth Services, Prairie State Legal Services and the Association for Individual Development are all reporting that the pending cuts will significantly reduce services to the community.

• Hesed House, an agency serving homeless families and individuals, already has people sleeping in chairs every single night because it is out of beds.

• Association for Individual Development (AID) in Aurora serving people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues will have to cut offerings such as respite care, supported living services, psychiatric services, alcohol and substance abuse programs and early intervention to more 1,100 clients

PHOTO: Max Capes Courtesy Photo

System will ‘blast’ households about important MP events

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials want to keep residents aware of what is happening in the village, from special events to disasters. To do that, they plan to connect households to an automated notification system this summer.

Through the automated notification system, the village will be able to send announcements to every household, by their land phones, cell phones, e-mail and phone text.

“We can do unlimited ‘blasts,’ or contacts,” Trustee Terry Borg said.

However, Borg said the village will be selective about what announcements to send via the notification system, so that households are not inundated with messages.

The service will be provided by Connect CTY, the company that Kaneland School District uses for its automated notification system.

Residents will be able to provide their contact information to the Connect CTY portal linked from the village website,

Borg looked into acquiring the service for the village after some residents were disappointed that they were not informed about the risk of residential flooding during heavy rainstorms last September.

“The village needs to be in a better communicative posture with its residents,” Borg said.

The village will pay $1.91 per household for the service annually, at a total cost of less than $1,000.

A rose by any other name …

Robin Larson of Maple Park hosted a ‘Passion for Petal Gardens: Look and Discover Workshop’ on Saturday at her home on County Line Road. Larson talked about hardy flowers, roses, arbors, roots, creating new beds and a variety of other topics useful in starting and maintaining gardens in northern Illinois. The next workshop ‘Hardy Flowers and Roses in Northern Illinois’ is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29. Larson can be reached at (815) 762-7784. Photo by Leslie Flint

A California glimmer of hope for Deanna

MAPLE PARK—A girl who was paralyzed in an accident had her wish to visit the San Diego Zoo granted through Kids Wish Network and gets an extra dose of hope as well.

At the age of one, Deanna Muir was injured when a truck backed over her small body, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. In 2003, she had two rods surgically inserted into her spine in order to stabilize her back. Every year, Deanna must endure two surgeries to lengthen the rods in her spine; her latest surgery occurred this past March. She uses a wheelchair and sometimes even a golf cart for mobility and also has leg braces.

Deanna’s wish all started with a phone call from a professional fundraiser for Kids Wish Network. This charity, whose goal is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, was the one place Deanna’s parents could turn to give her something special in order to help her cope with all that she has dealt with. It was Wish Coordinator, Jen, who learned of Deanna’s wish to visit the famous San Diego Zoo; with the outstanding assistance of some fantastic sponsors, Jen organized a trip to California for Deanna and her family. This trip included tickets to the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, an amphibious Seal Tour through San Diego, dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and much more.

Every day for Deanna was packed with fun things to do and Deanna’s mother, Cynthia, was thrilled with what Jen had planned for their family.

“The trip was wonderful. Jen did everything above and beyond … we were really pleased with the accessibility of everything,” she said.

With Deanna’s wheelchair, Cynthia was worried about her daughter not having the chance to experience everything that she wanted, but her fears were allayed when Deanna proudly exclaimed that she could ride every ride at SeaWorld.

Deanna’s visit to the San Diego Zoo was enthralling for her; she was pleased with everything, especially the monkeys.

“She loved the monkeys most of all,” Cynthia said. “She made sure that we visited every monkey.”

As much as she enjoyed the zoo, Deanna’s favorite part of the trip turned out to be the touch tank in SeaWorld, where every stingray was a palpable and surprisingly smooth friend.

Not only did Deanna have a fun vacation, she also had something very special given to her in an unexpected way: hope. During the day following their jaunt to SeaWorld, Cynthia and Deanna visited Project Walk, a program dedicated to “providing an improved quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries through intense exercise-based recovery programs, education, support and encouragement.” Cynthia had chanced on this program through a news article only a week or two before the family’s departure for San Diego and called to set up a meeting during their wish trip. Once there, Deanna and her family watched therapy sessions and talked to many of the trainers about the work they do and the progress they stimulate in their clients.

“Deanna doesn’t get excited about much … she hadn’t experienced much of it before (the accident) … when she saw that other people could help her out, she got excited. There was a glimmer of hope,” Cynthia said.

With a Project Walk center in Michigan, only a few hours drive from their home, this is truly something that Deanna is ready and willing to try.
“It’s perfect!” Cynthia said.

Everything was wonderful for Deanna from the park and the zoo to the Project Walk visit and even the dinners at the Hard Rock and the California Pizza Kitchen.

“It (the wish trip) was absolutely so enjoyable,” said Cynthia. “We had such a wonderful experience.”

The Kids Wish Network thanks the following for helping to make Deanna’s wish extra special: The San Diego Zoo, Sea World San Diego, Days Hotel, Alamo Rent a Car, The Hard Rock Cafe, Old Town Trolley Tours and the California Pizza Kitchen.

Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, call (727) 937-3600 or toll free 1-888-918-9004.

For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit

MP man arrested for threat against police

by Martha Quetsch
A Maple Park man arrested for threatening to shoot and dismember a police officer is being held in the Kane County Jail on $300,000 bail.
The offender, Jose E. Blanco, 44, of the 200 block of Main St., committed this felony against a Maple Park officer at Blanco’s residence May 21, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.
Blanco also faces several misdemeanor charges related to an incident May 9 in the 100 block of Main Street in Maple Park, where he exposed himself to a juvenile for sexual arousal, tried to pull the victim toward him, and delivered alcohol to five minors.
His next court date on the misdemeanors is June 16. On the felony offense, he is scheduled to appear in court June 22.

Curtis wants new police chief by Sept. 9

New committee charged with making it happen
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—The No. 1 task for Maple Park’s new Personnel & Communications Committee will be to select a police chief.

Village President Kathy Curtis wants that to happen by Sept. 9.

She chose trustee Deb Armstrong, an experienced human resource director, to lead the committee’s process toward that goal.

“Her skill set will be essential as we define the criteria for the role of chief, screen applicants, interview and select a candidate,” Curtis said.

The Maple Park Police Department has been without a police chief since village officials decided 13 months ago not to re-appoint former Chief Steve Yahnke.

The three-month deadline to find a new police chief is ambitious, but necessary, Curtis said.

“(It) is a lot of work for a short time frame, but we can not continue to operate without a chief, so we set high expectations on ourselves,” she said.

Trustees will discuss the police chief search issue during their Committee of the Whole meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 15.

Yahnke, while working part-time as Maple Park’s police chief, also was employed full time at the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Pat Perez opposed Yahnke’s working for both law enforcement agencies, saying he should not wear two badges.

During her campaign this spring for Village President, Curtis said the lack of leadership on the Police Committee delayed the hiring process.

The Police Committee no longer exists. Curtis created three new committees to replace the former Finance, Streets, Water and Sewer, Parks and Grounds, Police and Planning committees.

In addition to Personnel and Communications, the other two new committees are Infrastructure; and Finance, Public Relations and Development.

Maple Park notes

by Martha Quetsch
Board re-appoints village clerk
The Maple Park Village Board on June 2 approved the appointment of Claudia Tremaine as village clerk for 2009-10. Village President Kathy Curtis appointed Tremaine to the position, which she has held since the early 1990s.

Group to install picnic table

The Maple Park Family Fund will pay to install a picnic table on the south playground behind the Civic Center in memory of Marianne Delaney. The Village Board approved the installation Monday.

Kids Have Fun in Summer Speech Group w/photo

MAPLE PARK—Community Therapy Services, a St. Charles provider of pediatric therapy services, offers a group called Motor Mouths every summer.

Motor Mouths is a speech group for 3- to 5-year-old children who are difficult to understand or who have delays in speech development.

A unique feature of this group is that it meets at the Blazing Prairie Stars therapy farm in Maple Park. The farm offers horses, donkeys, butterfly gardens, playground equipment and 22 acres of prairie land, which provide a motivating setting to base therapy activities.

Motor Mouths meets on Friday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30, beginning June 19. A second session of Motor Mouths starts later in the summer on Friday, July 17.

For information about signing up for this group, call Community Therapy Services at (630) 444-0077.

Curtis: Fewer committees practical, more effective

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—To streamline the work of village committees, Maple Park will reduce their number, said Village President Kathy Curtis.

After the Village Board approves an ordinance June 4 allowing for the change that Curtis proposed, the village will have three village committees instead of six. Committees include several trustees and staff members who work on village issues and bring recommendations to the Village Board.

The new committees will be Personnel and Communications; Finance, Public Relations and Development; and Infrastructure.

Currently the village has six committees: Finance, Streets, Water and Sewer, Parks and Grounds, Police and Planning.

The new committees will begin meeting after the board passes the ordinance.

Curtis also recommended establishing a Committee of the Whole (COW), made up of all trustees, to meet monthly. The first COW meeting was May 16, during which trustees talked about the three-committee structure.

Curtis said committee structure changes are practical.

“All seven of us (on the Village Board) work full time and have varying schedules,” Curtis said. “I considered how we could organize ourselves to be effective and the trustees were in agreement.”

Vehicle tax stickers due

Vehicle tax (stickers) are due by Sunday, May 31.

Each sticker is $25 per vehicle, but after May 31, a late fee of $10 is assessed. After July 31, a late fee of $25 is assessed.

Stickers can be purchased at the Civic Center, 302 Willow St., between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

MP Legion hosts fish fry buffet

The American Legion Post 312 all-you-can-eat fish fry is Friday, May 15, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. The menu includes baked tilapia, fried perch, curley fries, fried chicken, steak fries, shrimp, fried cod, baked beans, smelt and cole slaw

The fish fry is at the Legion, 203 Main St., Maple Park. Cost is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children. Carry-outs are $9

Valve needed to move water tower project forward

by Lynn Meredith
The Maple Park water tower project hit an obstacle when workers discovered that a shut-off valve was needed to allow them to drain the tank and proceed with the work.

The Village Board approved an emergency funding not to exceed $15,000 to install the shut-off valve on the water main between the water tank and the water system.

Engineers from Baxter & Woodmen said the tank must be thoroughly dry in order to paint it. It cannot be drained without shutting down the wells and cutting off water to the village. The valve would allow the tanks to be shut off and still provide water for use by residents.

“It’s important to deal with right now. There seems to be no other way that’s safe. Something has to be done sooner or later,” Water and Sewer Committee chairman Terry Borg said.

Curtis takes the reins in Maple Park

by Lynn Meredith
A crowd of Maple Park community members filled the meeting room at the Civic Center on Tuesday night to say goodbye to the village’s out-going village president and to welcome its new president.

Kathy Curtis was sworn in after Ross Dueringer conducted the old business on the agenda and said his thanks and goodbyes. He served the village for 19 years, first as a trustee, then on the Planning Commission and finally for the last four years as the president.

“I know I am leaving the village better than when I got here,” Dueringer said.

New trustees Debra Armstrong and Suzanne Fahnestock, along with incumbent Terry Borg, were also sworn in. They replace Erl Pederson and Kathy Curtis as trustees.

“I’m very honored to be here. I want to say thank you
to my supporters. I am proud of the work accomplished with
Ross Dueringer over the last four years. Together
with the help of the community and the board we can continue.”

New MP Village President Kathy Curtis

“New faces and ideas are a good thing.
Kathy is the new face of the leader of
Maple Park—and (hers) is a much prettier
face than mine. I wish her the best.”

Outgoing Village President Ross Dueringer

“Ross (Dueringer) and I have made a lot of
decisions together over the last 19 years.
Look around. We’ve got sidewalks and streets
… There was a lot of common sense used to
keep it going, to make it a good place
to raise a family.”

Trustee Roger Kahl

Library hosts Mother’s Day Craft Day

Maple Park Library
302 E. Willow St., Maple Park • (815) 827-3362

Library hosts Mother’s Day Craft Day
The library will host a Mother’s Day Craft Day for children to make crafts for their mothers on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Annual book sale set
The library’s annual book sale will be Friday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Paperback books are 10 cents, hardcover books are a quarter, and patrons can fill a bag of books for $1.
Open house honors Blake

The library will host an open house to honor Sukey Blake’s nine years of service from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.

Painting the town—green?

by Lynn Meredith
In less than a month, you will be able to see the new colors of the Maple Park water tower starting to come to life.

Balsam Green is the color the Maple Park Village Board chose for the tower, with Desert Sand for its lettering and emblem. At its meeting on April 6, the board agreed on the colors after declining to go with a costlier two-toned color scheme

“If you would go with the two-tone approach, it would cost an additional $14,000. The alternative is to select a darker color and lighter-colored emblem and save yourself $14,000,” trustee Terry Borg said.

The Water Committee debated whether or not to go with the two tones or with one color. They looked at painting the bottom a dark color and the top a light color in order to mask mold that inevitably develops on towers.

Mold shows less on darker colors but will still need to be cleaned in three to five years, Baxter & Woodmen Engineer Ralph Tompkins explained.

“You get mold because you have cool water that condenses moisture on the outside, and especially in areas where you have dust, the dust will collect on it,” Tompkins said. “You can go around to any water tower anywhere and you’ll see mold on it.”

Borg said that an inspection of the tower showed the need to do abrasive sand blasting, apply two coats of epoxy paint to the pit valve and piping and caulk the overlapping plats. The board approved the cost for the work as not to exceed $6000. Crews from L.C. United will do the work now while there is no water in the tower.

“This tower has not been painted, as close as can figure, in close to 20 years,” Borg said.

The project is expected to start around April 15.

Photo by Lynn Meredith

Fabrizius, dog earn grand champion

Olivia Fabrizius and her registered Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nia Wiesbrock Fabrizius won grand champion obedience and grand champion grooming for the second year in a row. The next show for Olivia will be at the Illinois State Fair in August. At the last year’s State Fair, Olivia and Nia placed second in state for Obedience. Courtesy Photo

Virgil Twp road referendum passes

by Lynn Meredith
For the first time since no one is sure when, Virgil Township will get more money to pay for upkeep on its roads. The rate has stayed at $.16 per $100 of estimated assessed valuation since at least 1930. The Virgil Township Road Referendum passed on April 7 by a margin of 16 votes, 213 to 197.

“I wasn’t so sure with this economy. It shocked me. It will make life a little easier,” Road Commissioner Larry Peterson said. “I want to say thanks to the voters for supporting me in our referendum. This will mean a $45,000 increase in our budget.”

Peterson cautions voters not to expect all new blacktop roads in the township. He said that the new money will free up the budget to help keep the roads from deteriorating further.

“What it’ll do is almost 100 percent go directly into roads. It will not go to increase our fuel budget or our wages,” Peterson said. “Our gravel roads need so much gravel.”

Peterson said that with 22 miles of gravel roads and costs of $11,000 per mile of two-inch thick gravel, the money is desperately needed. He said most roads would really need six inches laid down.

Winters Road will be the project this year and for the next three years. It costs $50,000 each year to blacktop one and one-tenth mile. The referendum money will pay for next year’s black-topping.

“Things are good in the township,” Peterson said. “I look forward to the next four years to be able to show some improvements.”

Books bring relief to kids in crisis

by Lynn Meredith
Children are often the forgotten participants when a crisis strikes. If a family is involved in an accident, the police are called to a domestic crisis, or there’s a fire, the parents are involved in filling out paperwork and talking with the police, but what are the kids doing?

That’s the question the Maple Park Police Department hopes to address as it participates in the “With Wings and a Halo” R.E.A.C.H program. The program supplies police officers, ambulances and other workers who arrive on the scene of a crisis with children’s books, not only to keep the kids occupied, but to put a smile on their faces.

“Books will be the new tool the Maple Park Police Department will use to communicate with children in crisis situations,” Community Relations Officer Buz Hodges said. “The department’s and the organization’s mission is to ‘put a smile on the face of a child in the time of crisis.'”

The organization is called “With Wings and a Halo” R.E.A.C.H. It began after children’s author, Paul Scott Gilbertson from Wisconsin, visited the site of 9/11 and thought of all the children affected by the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. He created the program to help kids during tragedies.

“Each squad will carry a B.A.C.K. Be a Cheerful Kid packet with 12 to 15 books to be given to children involved in a stressful incident. The books are for children from 3 to 15 years of age and are donated to the police department at no cost by R.E.A.C.H.,” Hodges said.

Through individual donations, corporate gifts, grants and direct contributions, the organization has donated 60,000 books to departments in all 72 counties of Wisconsin and parts of Illinois. They have waiting lists for donations in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

“It’s a good thing for kids in a bad situation and one more tool for our underfunded police department,” Hodges said.

Curtis wins in Maple Park by 18 votes

by Lynn Meredith
Eighteen votes decided the race for village president of Maple Park. Kathleen Curtis edged out incumbent Ross Dueringer in a 176 to 158 vote.

Dueringer won the Kane County side of the village 107 to 84, but lost on the DeKalb County side, 92 to 51. He called it “one of those things.”

“I did the best I could. I have no regrets. I was honest,” Dueringer said.

Dueringer served as president for four years and in other capacities on committees for a total of 19 years.

“I’m done. I’ve been doing it for 19 years. That’s long enough. I’ll let somebody else have a chance,” Dueringer said.

He said it was a close race, but one that was conducted with decency. Curtis agreed.

“Ross and I both worked at it and kept it clean,” Curtis said.

Curtis has served as chairman of the Financial Committee for the last four years. She looks forward to taking on the role as president and working with the newly elected trustees, Debra Armstrong and Suzanne Fahnestock.

“The talent of the trustees is phenomenal. It’s a great group,” Curtis said.

She said that her first order of business will be to call the trustees together and appoint them to committees.

April 7 Maple Park election results

The following unofficial results are courtesy of Kane and DeKalb counties. Winners are listed in bold.

Maple Park Village President

Ross Dueringer    158
Kathleen Curtis    176

Maple Park Village Board

Vote for three
Debra M. Armstrong    133
Suzanne A. Fahnestock    120
Terry E. Borg    129

Maple Park Tax referendum

Yes    88
No    234

Views on the township, by five candidates

by Lynn Meredith
With Virgil Township calling for a referendum to help repair and maintain its 30 miles of roads, it’s not surprising that the main issue on the minds of candidates for Township Board is how to get funding. Of the five candidates vying for four seats, four are incumbents.

James Diehl
With 16 years on the Township Board, and 12 years as supervisor before that, James Diehl makes keeping up with the changes that occur in local government a priority. By attending classes, conferences and special meetings, Diehl knows one thing for sure: There’s more paperwork than ever.

“I keep up on all the changes, so I know exactly what’s supposed to be done to keep things legal,” Diehl said. “The paperwork has increased immensely.”

Diehl would like to see the township buy some land and build a new facility for meetings, offices and equipment. When he was supervisor, he had been setting aside money for a township hall.

“So many things are make-shift. Some of the equipment is stored outside. We’re renting meeting space from Maple Park,” he said. “We’d like to have it all in one place.”

He envisions offices for the clerk and assessor and a meeting room for the board, along with indoor space to store the road equipment.

Getting increased revenue for the roads is another priority for Diehl. He said water drainage problems have come about in the last two or three years and need to be dealt with. He plans to attend Kane County Water Resource meetings as often as possible and find out about available resources.

“There’s not much the township can do. This way when people come to the township about their water problems, we will know where to send them,” Diehl said.

Diehl commends Highway Commissioner Larry Peterson for his work maintaining the roads with limited funds. He fears that if the road referendum does not pass, the only recourse will be to tear up hard surface roads and return them to gravel. He wants the board to keep trying until the referendum passes.

“I hope the referendum will go through. If (the board) quits trying to get it passed, then (the public) thinks (the board) is getting tired, so therefore it doesn’t need the money,” Diehl said.

Peter Fabrizius
With 16 years bringing his business experience and community involvement to serving on the Township Board, Pete Fabrizius has a vision of what the township needs now and what it will need in the future.

“I would like to see us get out of maintenance mode and start moving forward,” Fabrizius said.

But first he would like to stabilize the roads.

“We are in dire straits. We need to pass this road referendum,” he said.

Fabrizius said that the people who live on those roads want the referendum to pass, but a bigger proportion of the voters live in the villages of Virgil and Maple Park, some of whom feel it doesn’t affect them.

Another concern for Fabrizius is fiscal responsibility to the people of the community.

“I want to make sure we get the best bang for the buck and that we’re spending the taxpayers’ money wisely,” Fabrizius said.

In the future, Fabrizius would like to see equipment and buildings updated and work done on the roads and bridges.

“We have aging equipment and aging buildings. I’d like us to keep them up-to-date,” he said.

He also envisions a township building not only to store equipment, but to serve as a center for the community.

“In the big picture, I’d like to see us put up a township building. In the long-term vision we could offer a park and a community center,” Fabrizius said.

Theodore Janecek
A lifetime community member, Ted Janecek is looking forward to getting involved in local government and bringing a fresh outlook, he said. He has been self-employed in the construction business for the last 15 years, building and remodeling houses. He thinks it’s time for the younger members of the community to step up.

“I’m 35 years old and I’ve lived 31 of those years in the township,” Janecek said. “I’d like to get the younger people involved in the government.”

The roads are the biggest issue for Janecek. He recognizes the difficulty of maintaining them without enough money.

“The township is so large. It has lots of miles of roads. I’d like to see improvement on the roads, but it’s a hard time with limited funds to work with,” Janecek said.

He said that with the majority of the voting public living in Virgil and Maple Park, rural residents are at a disadvantage.

“The people who live in the country are hung out to dry,” he said.

With water drainage issues also at hand, Janecek is in favor of passing the road referendum.

He hopes that by getting involved now, he is paving the way for a time when current board members retire or go off the board.

“I want to help the future of the community. I want to bring in younger people on the board. When the older people retire, who are we going to get in there? They need to be in for a period of time; otherwise you’re throwing fresh people in without experience,” Janecek said.

Mary Kahl
For 20 years, Mary Kahl has been using her skills of prioritizing and scheduling to do the best with what the township has to offer. She wants to continue to work on the projects that the board has been tackling during the last four years.

“We’ve been trying to get a building up to put plows and equipment and offices into. The garage we have is right in the middle of Maple Park, and we’re using the Civic Center for offices,” Kahl said.

Kahl also supports the road referendum, even in a tight economy.

“We have to get the roads in order,” she said. “I hope the referendum will pass, but the way the economy is, I’m not counting on it. People can’t pay their mortgages.”

She added that where she lives in Maple Park, the people who do not use the country roads do not think the referendum affects them. Not many attend the town meetings on the subject of roads, she said.

During the last term, Kahl said they were able to obtain catastrophic insurance for general assistance, a program required by the state for people who have no home and no income. Each request for assistance must be proved and is only a last resort when all other services are exhausted. The township needed to protect itself if an extreme case arose, she said.

“In case someone got really sick, and we were found to be responsible, it could bankrupt us,” Kahl said. “We have some money but with medical costs the way they are, it would be too much.”

Kahl said they obtained the catastrophic insurance after watching developments in other places.

David Stewart
As a current trustee, David Stewart is seeking re-election to the Virgil Township Board. He has 26 years experience as a building contractor and six years experience in municipal construction with a local engineering firm. He considers it a privilege to continue to serve the community as it faces the challenges in its future.

“I will continue to seek effective and responsible solutions to the numerous township issues,” Stewart said.

Stewart said that because the township uses its funds efficiently, it is able to respond to the needs of the community.

“We maintain a level of service and response which truly symbolizes the spirit of the most representative form of local government,” Stewart said.

The issue of biggest concern to Stewart is the roads. He said that even without money to maintain the roads, the township provides adequate service.

“The township continues to operate with limited funds for the Road District, while maintaining service and efficiency throughout the township,” Stewart said.

He said the board has been instrumental in addressing drainage issues with Kane County officials and township residents. In addition, it administers General Assistance funds and services to senior citizens that provide valuable services to the community, he said.

“(I want to) thank (the community) for the opportunity to address these township issues,” Stewart said.

Fire Department hosts annual breakfast

The Maple Park Fire Department members will hold its annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at their fire station, 305 S. County Line Road, Maple Park, on Sunday, April 5, 7 a.m. to noon. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 10. Children under the age of 3 eat free.

The department will use this year’s proceeds to help purchase Advanced Life Services equipment for an ambulance, as it plans to provide ALS service beginning November 2009 with its front-line ambulance. The public is invited to show support and see the new engine the department put into service in August 2008.

Neighbors race for village president

Dueringer, Curtis will face off on April 7
by Lynn Meredith
Both candidates running for Maple Park village president have experience on the board. Both were elected to their current positions in 2005—Kathleen Curtis to the Village Board and Ross Dueringer as Village President. Now, instead of their usual roles as colleagues in the Village Board room, the two are facing off as political opponents.

Kathleen Curtis
Since Kathleen Curtis was elected to the Maple Park Village Board in 2005, she has served on every one of the board’s committees. She attributes her financial, account management and supervisory skills to her success, in particular as Finance Committee chairman.

“I want to use my skills to help the community because I care about it,” Curtis said.

The biggest issue that Curtis sees facing the village is the aging infrastructure. She said the village needs to find funding to fix and maintain streets and stormwater sewers and to build stopped revenue streams.

“We have to do whatever we can do. We have to sit down at the table and apply for every single thing that Maple Park is eligible for,” Curtis said.

Another issue that Curtis said is important is to form a committee to review the resumes and make recommendations for a police chief. She said that the lack of leadership on the Police Committee has delayed the hiring process.

“It would have been easier if we had gone into the interview process right away and not delayed,” Curtis said. “A police chief would provide leadership and goals.”

She supports the police referendum because with a minimal budget, the Police Department has had difficulty finding part-time officers and scheduling them. She advocates putting the question to the public and letting them decide.

“The board couldn’t stop arguing about money, and other departments keep suffering. Let’s put it out to the public,” Curtis said. “If it doesn’t pass, then live within the budget. It’s not that the department wants too much. We just want to know what are the priorities and how will we spend the money.”

Curtis takes credit for organizing the department budgets and introducing monthly reporting. By her keeping track of revenue streams and expenditures, the village now has a clean audit, something Curtis said it never had before.

“You get a clean audit when you know where your money is,” she said.

If elected village president, Curtis looks forward to an open communication style and working as a team with the other board members. She envisions each trustee taking up a different issue and taking ownership for it.

Curtis said that running against current President Ross Dueringer gives voters options.

“I’m willing to give this a try. Ross and I both care about the community. At the end of the day, Ross and I still are going to be neighbors. We may have different styles, but it gives the residents options. And that’s good,” Curtis said.

Ross Dueringer
When Ross Dueringer was elected village president in 2005, he took on the responsibilities that went with the job. He’s proud of what he has accomplished, knowing that he did the best he could do. He likens the role of village president to being CEO of a corporation.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, just like a small corporation. We spend a couple of million dollars every year,” Dueringer said. “I’m proud of what I’ve done. I do my best. It’s the only thing I can do.”

Dueringer cites a list of 20 specific accomplishments that he has been a part of during his term. At the top of the list are the annexation agreements that resulted in the village getting developer fees and the promise of a school for Maple Park in the future.

“I was instrumental in the annexation of land for school property with the promise from the (Kaneland) School Board that if we get enough kids, we’ll have a school here,” Dueringer said.

He said the board, under his leadership, annexed two subdivisions with 1,500 new houses, three farm properties and a retail development at Route 38 and County Line Road.

“We got developer fees that would go to the School District, the village, the fire department, the library and police. It was millions of dollars,” he said.

Also during these years, the village replaced two miles of sidewalks that were dangerous and broken, replaced the old water main, surfaced streets, hired two public works employees and a new village attorney, purchased a new squad car and truck, and got a newsletter going.

“It takes a team,” Dueringer said. “Some of it was mine. I might have gotten myself in trouble a little bit with the school, but they did annex in, and they made the commitment of a school.”

The biggest issue for Maple Park and why Dueringer wants to run again is the flooding that has plagued residents. He wants to find ways to settle the issue and drain the water away from the village.

“I hate to see people’s property damaged,” he said.

He also said the police referendum is needed, and he hopes it passes.

“When the board wasn’t able to give the police any more money, I pushed (the referendum) along. We take in $16,000 a year, but we’d like to have more,” Dueringer said. “(The officers) are not overpaid. They get $16 an hour to take a bullet.”

Dueringer also supports hiring a police chief, something that he said has been put on the back burner since the former chief’s contract was not renewed. He sees the necessity of the on-call policy even though it has problems.

“I’m not happy with it. There are not a lot of funds to do the on-call. But we’re doing the best we can,” Dueringer said.

As he looks forward, Dueringer said he hopes eventually to make progress silencing the train whistles, but until Union Pacific puts in new circuitry, nothing more can be done for now, he said.

Dueringer said that he takes the responsibility of representing the residents seriously.

“I have been honest and fair and tried to conduct myself with the idea that the village comes first and foremost. Personal gain is not my forte,” Dueringer said. “An important part of our freedom is to vote for who spends your money and represents you. I’ve done my best and that’s the only thing I can do.”

Introducing Maple Park’s trustees

by Lynn Meredith
The Maple Park Village Board welcomes two new trustees in the uncontested race for three seats, and welcomes back an incumbent. Each brings experience and a desire to serve the community as it faces challenges in the next term.

Deborah Armstrong
As national director of Human Resources operations for RR Donnelly, Deborah Armstrong, who moved to Maple Park in 2005 from West Chicago, is well acquainted with budgeting and completing projects during tough economic times.

“I have experience with budgets, projects, multi-tasking and being a change agent, especially with the economy and having to deal with plant closures. We’re doing more with less,” Armstrong said.

She said that her experience with policies and procedures will be helpful as she assists with bringing the village’s documentation up to speed. She also wants to work on communication between the board and the community by making the newsletter and website as timely as they can be.

Armstrong said flooding problems need to be resolved in order to keep residents in Maple Park and attract others to come. She wants to explore alternative ways for the village to generate money, perhaps by looking into wind farms and turbine power. Having grown up in Nebraska, she has seen a town the size of Maple Park put up wind turbines and partner with energy companies to sell electricity back to residents.

Armstrong is eager to be on the board and serve the people of Maple Park.

“I hope I can make a difference. I am interested in what the residents have to say. We can’t all get what we want—there are financial concerns—but at least people will understand the answer they get,” Armstrong said.

Terry Borg
Incumbent Terry Borg has served as village trustee for eight years. He has been part of dealing with the rapid development that the village saw in those years and the boundary lines that needed to be drawn with Cortland.

“We did all right for the residents by annexing and getting fees to protect the citizens from costs,” Borg said. “Now that we see slowed growth, we can give considered thought to how we want to grow.”

Borg said the village is continuing to search for ways to fund and organize the Police Department. He said that internal politics has slowed efforts to hire a police chief. Although he voted to put the referendum question on the ballot, he himself will not support it.

“Until this board gets our act together, until we exhaust all avenues of aid from the county, we can’t expect anybody to vote for increases in taxes,” Borg said.

Borg said that the board is in a better position than it was, and shows more professionalism. He looks forward to working together on planning for the future and standardizing policies and procedures.

“My hope is that we as a board would like to be with each other, that we would have open meetings and workshops, and that we have planning time,” Borg said.

Suzanne Fahnestock
With her first priority to preserve the quality of life she has experienced since moving to Maple Park in 2003, Suzanne Fahnestock sees the village as being at a turning point. She hopes to use her experience as a grant coordinator for the Kane County Sheriff’s department to benefit the village.

“My experience with finances, government, politics, intergovernmental relations, education and grant writing (will) help our community address (the) challenges,” Fahnestock said.

Fahnestock said the village needs to focus on strategic planning. By understanding what has and has not worked in the past, the board can get a realistic assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and use that to develop a plan of action.

With public safety, infrastructure and road issues facing the village, Fahnestock would bring her knowledge of federal and state funding to take advantage of these opportunities.

Fahnestock does not support the police referendum, stating that an increase of $16,000 does little to address the problem of public safety.

“I don’t think this is the last we will hear of the problem. I see this as a planning initiative and a serious consideration for the near future, even with additional funding,” Fahnestock said.