Category Archives: Maple Park

Police Department offers thanks for dedication

by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta on Tuesday presented six village residents with plaques to thank them for their dedication to various department-sponsored events.

“We would like to give a very special thanks to our Special Olympics fundraising organizers,” Acosta said. “Without their dedication to the department and Special Olympics, we would not have reached our goal.”

Acosta then presented plaques of thanks to Colleen and Jim MacRunnels, and George Malfatti. Not in attendance but also receiving plaques were Danna Kellett and John Threlkeld.

“According to the Illinois Special Olympics Torch Run News, we are the third highest current fundraiser,” Acosta said. “For something we have never done before, that is great news.”

The Maple Park Police Department raised over $20,000 for Special Olympics, behind only the Tinley Park Police Department and the Illinois State Police.

Also thanked was Officer Andy Rissman.

“Officer Rissman has been very dedicated to the department,” Acosta said. “And we’d like to thank him for all the hard work he put into making the Maple Park Bike Rodeo and Safety Program happen.

“We’re looking forward to next year already,” Acosta said. “We already have some plans to help us raise even more money for the Illinois Special Olympics, as well as more events for the village’s kids to enjoy.”

Fireworks once again light up FunFest

by David Maas
For 12 years, S&N Displays has been giving the people of Maple Park an explosive fireworks show as part of the Fun Fest, and they are looking to do it again.

“We’ve been doing the fireworks for the Fun Fest for 12 years now,” said Roger Kahl, of S&N Displays. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and I love giving Maple Park a show.”

The fireworks will be shot off from the east side of County Line Road, in the Squire’s Crossing subdivision.

“Living here my whole life, I’d say the best locations to see the show is by the Old Second Bank, in the Heritage Hills subdivision, or right on the baseball diamonds,” Kahl said. “There are a lot of good locations in the town.”

While most fireworks shows are set to music, this show is not.

“We just shoot off the shells, and when it’s done, it’s done,” Kahl said. “We like doing these types of shows; it’s a good time to show some of the new guys the ropes.”

Even though there is no music, S&N still promises it will be a fireworks show to watch.

“This is an all aerial show,” Kahl said. “There are no ground pieces, so it is easy to see from almost anywhere. We fire off a variety of combinations of shells, which we call cake boxes.”

The fireworks will take place on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 8:30 p.m., running for about 20 minutes.

“We really like to have a big finish,” Kahl said. “We’re going to be firing off an eight-inch shell, that explodes into three colors.”

While S&N does many local shows every year, including shows in Kaneville, Dekalb, Hinkley and Elburn, Maple Park is one of Kahl’s favorite places to shoot fireworks.

“Since I’ve lived here all my life, I know a lot of people,” Kahl said. “I get a lot of enjoyment giving the people a good show.”

Maple Park Fire Department brings firefighter experience to Fun Fest

by David Maas
In the past, the Maple Park Fire Department has hosted a Touch-a-Truck event at the Maple Park Fun Fest. This year, however, the department has decided to put on a different kind of event.

“This year we are not doing Touch-a-Truck as we have in the past,” Maple Park Fire Chief Kevin Peterson said. “We are going to do an event called the ‘Firefighter Experience’ instead.”

The department hopes this will show attendees what happens during an emergency situation, as well as educate them.

“This will consist of an extrication demonstration,” Peterson said. “We will have one or two cars that will look as though they have been in an accident.”

In order to properly convey the scene of an emergency, there will also be simulated victims.

“It will look as if people are trapped inside the vehicles,” Peterson said. “We will then show how our different extrication tools work in taking apart a car, to get victims out and into the ambulance.”

The department wants to increase the realism even further, with the possibility of a helicopter being included in the simulation.

“We are hoping to have one of the medical helicopters land during the demonstration,” Peterson said. “We would then load one of the patients into it as we would on a normal emergency scene.”

After the demonstration is over, the department’s fire units will be available for attendees to look at.

“They will be able to take a closer look, as well as see all the different tools that are carried on our trucks,” Peterson said.

The Maple Park Fire Department’s Firefighter Experience will take place at the Fire Station, as part of the Maple Park FunFest, on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Craft show displays creativity; functionality

Craft Show
Saturday, Sept. 3
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on
Main Street
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on
Pleasant Street

by Susan O’Neill
Kris Stark’s craft involves recycling bottles of different kinds—wine bottles, syrup bottles and various liqueur bottles by melting them down in a kiln and shaping them into functional items. The process is called “slumping,” and the end result is a variety of items, including mail or napkin holders, dip dishes, jewelry holders, and serving platters for cheese and other foods.

Stark, who lives in Malta, Ill., is one of a number of crafters who will sell their creations at the Maple Park Fun Fest on Saturday, Sept. 3, on Main and Pleasant streets beginning at 10 a.m. According to Cathy Lay, crafters this year are coming from places as far away as Plainfield, Roscoe, Mundelein and Streamwood. Also included are three Maple Park residents, Joan Vidlak, Peggy Reichenbach and her sister.

Streamwood residents Christina Wesoloski, David Castro and Vince Fragasso will sell their hand-made mini baggo games, a smaller version of the corn hole games typically played at beer gardens and outdoor parties. According to Wesoloski, the advantages of the mini version (11-1/2” by 6” by 2-1/4”) are that it can be played indoors when it is raining or snowing, can be played on a tabletop, and is easily stored on a shelf. It also doesn’t hurt anything if the players miss.

“The kids just love it,” she said.

According to Wesoloski, the games have a broad appeal. She said she has sold a game to a grandmother who wanted to give her small guests something to do on Thanksgiving Day, and another to a mom who sent it to her son in Afghanistan.

Kathy Olszewski’s Loose Moose Treasures include fun, light-hearted items, as the name might suggest. Olszewski decorates flip flops with polar fleece, buttons, gems and glitter; and also makes little girls’ dresses, ponytail holders and jewelry.

These items, as well as a variety of jewelry, leather goods, tie dyed items, sports memorabilia, polymer clay sculptures, paintings and stitched goods, will be on display all day on Saturday for browsing and purchasing.

Bike parade added to the Fun Fest line-up

by Lynn Meredith
This year, children will have the chance to have their own Fun Fest parade. Fun Fest has added a bike parade for kids in the afternoon before the big parade. Kids up to age 14 will have a chance to decorate their bikes and then line up to parade them down Main Street.

“This is the first year we’ve had it. It will be held earlier. It’ll start at 12:30 with decorating before that,” said Brittany Altepeter, parade co-chair. “They will go down Main Street, loop around at the end of Main and come back.”

Entrants have a chance to earn prizes for bikes decorated in two categories. They can win $25 for the bike that is decorated the most patriotic, and $25 for the bike that is decorated the most creatively.

The Fun Fest parade will begin at 6 p.m. The parade has about 70 entries consisting of local area businesses, along with clubs and organizations. Favorites such as Marilyn’s Majorettes will be on hand. Organizations like the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival will have floats. Altepeter said there will be no clowns this year.

Trophies will be awarded for the entry that is the biggest crowd pleaser and for the best motor vehicle.

“We’re hoping to get more floats this year,” Altepeter said.

Both the Kaneland High School and the Kaneland Middle School marching bands will perform. DeKalb High School marching band will also be there.

Awards will be given for the two best marching bands. Last year, Kaneland High School marching band and Burlington High School marching band were awarded the trophies.

Judges for the floats and bands will be chosen from people not closely associated with the entrants, Altepeter said.

For the last few years, Rich Ferdinand served as emcee for the parade.

7th year running for toilet bowl challenge

American Legion Post 312
The 7th Annual
Toilet Bowl Challenge

Maple Park Fun Fest
Saturday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m.
203 Main St., Maple Park

Entry fee: $15 per team
Prizes for fastest teams:
1st: $100, 2nd: $50, 3rd: $25
Prize for most original commode
and costumes: $100

For more information and entry form,
or call (630) 774-9288

by Susan O’Neill
They must be doing something right, because crowds of people come out every year to watch the Maple Park Fun Fest Toilet Bowl Challenge. Initiated seven years ago by American Legion member Pat Mudinger, the event has turned out to be one of the biggest draws of the fest.

Teams of three-two pushing and one sitting on the commode—compete for one of two categories: the fastest, and the most originally decorated commode and costumes. Beth Miller and her friends, Colleen Slowick and Amy Jendruczek, have won the Best in Show for the past three years with their various versions of “The Mother Lode.”

Three years ago, the pink-garbed ladies used a play on the words “Pretty in Pink.” Two years ago, dressed as leprechauns, they wowed the crowd with their “Pot of Gold” commode, and last year their “Greased Lightening” won the day. Miller said their theme is usually a surprise, but her hint for this year is that it has something to do with angels.

Miller’s husband, Chuck, and his buddies Lorenzo Catanag and Craig Askew, have won the speed race for the past four years.

“They had a good toilet, a stainless steel one they got from a jail,” Mudinger said. “They practiced and they knew the course—they had it down.”

But they will face a somewhat different challenge this year. Instead of racing two teams at a time against each other, this year’s race will be a timed event. Each team will have two chances to run the obstacle course.

Mudinger said he used a software program called Google’s Sketch-up to draw the course, and instead of traffic cones, the course will include hay bales set up strategically along the way.

“It won’t be as easy this year,” Mudinger said. “There will be sharp turns and a couple of curves.”

Mudinger said he would like to see a few more participants join in the race this year. Typically, about 18 people show up.

“There’s always a lot of spectators,” he said. “It has been a success. People really seem to love it.”

Country, blues rock the Fun Fest stage

by Lynn Meredith
Four bands with local roots will perform on the Fun Fest stage on Saturday and Sunday. Along with the pros, local amateurs will also get a chance to show their talent with Maple Idol and the new band showcase.

The Maple Park Idol contest will take place from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the new band showcase at 2:45 to 4:15 p.m.

Before the parade at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Hillbilly Rockstarz will perform radio-friendly country music from artists such as Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Big & Rich, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban.

Following up at 9 p.m. on Saturday is the popular Aurora rock cover band, Red Woody. The group doesn’t play from one decade but takes songs from every decade, playing the songs that people want to hear. They perform music from artists such as Journey, Lady Gaga, John Mellencamp, R.E.O., Metro Station and Tom Petty.

The winner of the Maple Park Idol will be announced at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, with the new band showcase following at 1:15 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., The Menagerie will perform. This young Sycamore band plays a wide variety of music and call themselves “a funky rockin’ soul blues band.”

Back Country Roads, a local favorite, will play at 5 p.m. on Sunday. This country music band plays Alabama, Eminem, Johnny Cash, Trace Adkins, music they call the “big sounds of Nashville (brought) home to the Midwest.”

Maple Park Fun Fest sure to please

by Susan O’Neill
Maple Park Fun Fest is fast approaching, and there are lots of things to look forward to, besides good food, good music and catching up with old friends.

The weekend kicks off with the 5K Run/Walk, Romp in the Park, with registration taking place at North Park at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. Following closely behind is the Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball games, which begin at 8 a.m. in the Civic Center Fields. The Fun Fest began as a Slo-Pitch tournament years ago, and all of the other events grew up around it. The games are played throughout the weekend, beginning at 7 a.m. on Sunday and Monday, as well.

The parade down Main Street, which takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, will feature the usual favorites, such as the Kane County Corn Growers in their midget cars and several area high school bands, including the Kaneland and DeKalb high schools’ bands, as well as the Kaneland Harter Middle School band. A new entrant this year is the Rockford Ice Hogs (Hockey Team) mascot.

This year, the young people will have their own parade: on bikes. The decorating station opens at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday on Main Street, with the line-up set for 12:15 p.m. Two $25 cash awards will be presented, one for the most patriotic, and one for the most creatively decorated bike.

A definite crowd-pleaser, the 7th Annual Toilet Bowl Challenge, begins at 1 p.m. on Main Street.

The Maple Park Fire Department will present something a little different this year. Instead of the typical touch-a-truck experience, firefighters will demonstrate how they extricate an individual trapped inside a car. According to Fire Chief Kevin Peterson, firefighters will show how their jaws of life tools are used to free someone from an automobile.

A Lifestar helicopter will be on-hand (as long as they don’t have any “true calls”) to demonstrate an airlift to a nearby trauma center.

The extrication demonstration will begin in front of the firehouse on County Line Road at 2 p.m.
Crafters and vendors begin showing their wares at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the food and beer garden opens at 11 a.m.

The American Legion serves its legendary full country breakfast, from 7 a.m. to noon on both Saturday and Sunday. Come hungry, as it is an all-you-can-eat affair cooked by the members of the Legion.

In addition to the name music talent, this year Maple Park will offer new bands and other entertainers the chance to perform on a large stage with a great sound system, said POC’s Music Store Dave Miller. Miller said he is looking for additional talent for the Maple Park Idol Competition and the New Band Showcase, held on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re still looking for some Kaneland talent,” Miller said.

Don’t forget to stick around for the fireworks show put on at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night by Maple Park’s own fireworks handler, Roger Kahl. Kahl is well-known in the area for his fireworks displays, and conducts the shows for other towns including Kaneville and others.

Hot rod diner with a twist of country

Photo: The Moon Dance Diner on Main Street in Maple Park is an old-fashioned ‘50s style eatery with a comfortable atmosphere and lots of memorabilia on the walls to look at while you enjoy your meal. The staff that keeps the Moon Dance Diner running are Angie Cano (left to right), Maryann “Mert” Weinart, owners George and Liz Georgiou, Jordan Manier and Laura Weyker. The Georgious (below) of Elburn opened the Moon Dance Diner on July 21. Photos by John DiDonna

Moon Dance Diner opens in Maple Park
by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—Where can you find homemade apple pie, homemade corned beef on a signature reuben, homemade chicken, egg and tuna salad, the best Greek salad in Illinois, burgers the likes of the Juicy Lucy and the Tummy Buster, and even diner classics like spam and eggs and fried bologna sandwiches? The answer is the Moon Dance Diner in Maple Park, operated by George Georgiou and his wife Liz.

When you enter the cozy diner on Main Street in Maple Park, at the site of the former Sanders barbershop, you enter a world of car and hot rod memorabilia. Gas and oil tin signs hang on the walls, along with old photographs of Maple Park. The barbershop and other businesses that lined Main Street in eras past are pictured. Red vinyl swivel stools sit along the wooden counter, which, along with the tables, were handmade by George out of reclaimed wood. The logo is a horse and crescent moon, appropriate because the diner was named after Liz’s horse. With room for 35 diners, the cafe is the dream of George, who grew up in a restaurant family in the city.

“I’m Greek. It’s in my blood,” George said. “Opening a diner was something I always wanted to do.”

After 25 years as a commercial and editorial photographer, he found the industry was changing, and after moving to Elburn five years ago, the commute to downtown Chicago was becoming too much. He and his wife Liz began scouting locations. Ironically, the first one they looked at in 2007 was the current location, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time. Only after almost closing a deal on a place in DeKalb did George realize what he really wanted.

“It dawned on me that that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to deal with liquor and having college kids in and out,” he said. “My goal was to service the community with a family-oriented place where seniors could come and hang out and where the prices are affordable.”

On a menu with nothing costing more than $10, George does as much scratch-cooking as possible and buys his produce from Wiltse’s. A diner in Maple Park seemed like an ideal location because, George said, people have to drive to Elburn or Cortland just to get a bite to eat.

“I want to work with the people in the community. I want to support the community, so they can have a place they can call their own,” he said. “I like the location, I like Maple Park and I love the people. We absolutely love the people of Maple Park’s support,” he said.

As fall comes around, the Moon Dance will start serving soups and chilis and may try opening a couple of nights during the week. George also would like to make the diner a destination for people out for a drive in the country. And he has one more thing he would like to see.

“My goal is to get on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,’” he said.

Moon dance Diner & Grill
309 Main St., Maple Park
Monday through Friday • 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday • 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on
Sunday • 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. breakfast only

2011 Maple Park Fun Fest Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 3
7 a.m.
Romp in the Park 5K Run/Walk
8 a.m.
Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Crafters and Vendors
(Main and Pleasant streets)
11 a.m.
Food and beer garden opens
12:30 p.m.
Fun Fest Bike Parade with
decorating station. Decorating begins at
11:30 a.m. on Main Street.
1 to 4 p.m.
Horse-drawn wagon rides
1 p.m.
7th Annual Toilet Bowl Challenge
2 to 5 p.m.
The Firefighter Experience (Firehouse)
6 p.m.
Parade on Main Street

Noon: Just For Kix Dance Group
1:45 to 2:30 p.m.
Maple Park Idol Competition
2:45 to 4:15 p.m. New Band Showcase
5 p.m. Hillbilly Rockstarz
9 p.m. Red Woody

Sunday, Sept. 4
7 a.m. to noon:
American Legion breakfast buffet
8 a.m.
Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament
8:30 p.m.
Maple Park Spectacular Fireworks Show

Noon: Debbie’s Dance Group
12:30 p.m. Maple Park Idol Winner
1:15 p.m. New Band Showcase
2:30 p.m. The Menagerie
5 p.m. Back Country Roads
8 p.m. Tractor Raffle winners announced

Monday, Sept. 5
7 a.m. to noon:
American Legion breakfast buffet
8 a.m.
Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament
8:30 p.m. Rain date for fireworks

Aug. 26 police blotter

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

Fatal accident
on Beith Road

A woman from Bloomingdale, Ill., passed away following single-vehicle accident on Sunday in Virgil Township.

Kane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call Sunday afternoon regarding a traffic crash with injuries on Beith Road near Freeland Road in Virgil.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the initial investigation indicates that a 1996 Harley Davidson motorcycle, ridden by Kathleen Skimerhorn, was traveling east on Beith Road and for an unknown reason left the roadway near a curve in the road. The motorcycle continued traveling on the grass shoulder on the east side of Beith Road. Eventually the motorcycle went to the ground. The driver, who was the only person on the motorcycle, was transported to Delnor Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased. She was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Skimerhorn was part of a group of approximately 100 motorcycles who were participating in the Friends of Mike Thomas charity poker run.

Beith Road was closed for approximately an hour while the crash was being investigated.

Former Elburn resident
pleads guilty to invading
St. Charles home

A former Elburn resident will go to prison after he pleaded guilty to forcing his way into his ex-girlfriend’s home and injuring her.

Mario M. Bocanegra, 30, with a last known address of the 2N block of Bieth Road in Elburn, agreed with the Kane County State’s Attorney on Aug. 18 to a sentence of seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to home invasion, a Class X felony.

Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon accepted the plea.

Bocanegra forced entry into his ex-girlfriend’s home on the 1-99 block of 13th Avenue on Dec. 17, 2010. In gaining entry, Bocanegra damaged the rear patio door and screen of the residence. Once inside, he argued with the victim, grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the floor, causing injury.

During the hearing, Judge Sheldon heard testimony about Bocanegra’s prior convictions for domestic battery, violating an order of protection and telephone harassment.

Based on Illinois law, Bocanegra was given day-for-day sentencing. Bocanegra was given credit for at least 219 days served in Kane County jail.

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Christina Wascher.

• Eight red signal lamps with aluminum housings valued at $2,500 were reported stolen from an open storage area on Union Pacific property on North Street on Aug. 10. Police are looking for a dark blue, full-sized regular cab pickup truck with yellor or gold writing and a ladder holder on the side that was seen in the area.

• Sometime between 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19 and 8:30 a.m. Aug.20, someone stomped a small tree in a front yard in the 200 block of East Shannon. The tree was broken off at the base. The offender also removed a cable TV pedestal cover and placed it on the trunk of the owner’s car.

• Police arrested Andrew C. Kumro, 20, of Sugar Grove, and Kristiana J. Lynch, 20, of Big Rock, after police were called about them arguing in the street on Aug. 20. Alcohol was detected and both were arrested for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.

• Police questioned Steven J. Brown, 36, of Maple Park, after he was seen hitchhiking at Keslinger Road and Route 47 on Aug. 21. Police discovered an outstanding arrest warrent out for Brown in Kane County for driving on a suspended license. Brown was unable to post bond which was set at $3,000. He was transported to Kane County Jail.

Sugar Grove
• Sugar Grove Police on Aug.16 observed a vehicle make an illegal left turn into the Jewel/Osco store on Route 47, and made contact with the driver, Jesus A. Aviles, 38, of the 300 block of Main Street in Burlington, Ill. Aviles did not have a driver’s license, but gave police his state ID card. Police then discovered there were three valid warrants—domestic battery, obstruction justice and reckless driving/fleeing/theft-out of DuPage County for Aviles. Aviles was taken into custody and charged with disobeying a traffic control device, no valid driver’s license, and no insurance. He was later turned over to DuPage County Sheriff’s Corrections.

• Sugar Grove Police on Aug.17 were dispatched to the Sugar Grove Police Department on a report of a stolen badge. Upon arrival, the victim, a retired member of the Aurora Fire Department and an arson investigator, told police that his arson investigator badge was stolen from his vehicle, as well as a black leather badge-holder wallet, an arson ID card issued by the State of Illinois, and a Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card.

Maple Park introduces TIF District to public

by David Maas
Maple Park—The Maple Park Village Board held a special meeting on Tuesday to introduce the public to their proposed implementation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

In attendance was Herb Klein, of the Jacob & Klein Law Firm, the village’s TIF lawyer. Klein did most of the speaking, as this meeting was intended to educate the public.

“We have represented many villages in setting up TIF Districts,” Klein said, “We have helped set up around 125 TIF districts in Illinois.”

Currently, the district is in its infancy, and has not yet been evaluated for qualification.

“Right now, we are still in the “study area” phase,” Klein said, “These are the areas, in meeting with the trustees, that were decided to be potential areas to include in the TIF District.”

The study area includes the downtown area of Maple Park, as well as some newer areas the village hopes will be used for future development.

“The TIF is an economic development tool,” Klein said. “It’s available to the village to help spur the local economy.”

The board explained that the TIF is not a new tax, nor does it increase property taxes.

“The only way tax rates increase is if a property is reassessed, or the existing tax rates raise,” Klein said.

The TIF is designed to give control of funds from taxes to the village, to use for various needs, such as infrastructure work or upkeep.

“What the TIF does is it preserves the base property tax, and any increase is then given to the village,” said Klein. “An example is, if the Fire Department gets $500 from real estate taxes, they will keep getting that $500 for the entirety of the implementation of the TIF District. If the tax rate rises, the village will get those additional funds. That is the increment.”

With the TIF, the board hopes to stimulate commercial, light industrial and residential economic development to help the village grow.

“We want to do this as an effort to stabilize and increase local population, employment opportunities, expand the local tax base, and manage growth in the community,” said Cathy Kurtis, Maple Park Village President.

As part of the special meeting, the community was allowed to ask questions and voice concerns. While most residents were there to learn about the TIF, some were there to voice their opposition.

“This has been brought to the board in the past, and it wasn’t passed then,” said Laurie Hyatt, former board member. “And I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”

A TIF does not require a referendum, therefore it is up to the board to decide if the TIF is passed and implemented.

“The nice thing about a TIF is that it is local,” Klein said, “If you have questions or concerns, you know who to talk to, you know all of the board members.”

A public hearing will also be held, once the plan is further along, giving residents of Maple Park the ability to voice their questions and concerns the board as a whole.

The board is hoping to have the final plan finished by Friday, Aug. 26. It could then be implemented as early as November.

Maple Park becoming Outlaw country

MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Outlaws will hold tryouts for the 14U Boys travel Team. This team will compete in the Kane County Bronco League in 2012. The season runs from mid-April through July. Players must be younger than 15 as of April 30, 2012, and must reside in the Kaneland School District. Tryouts will be held at the Maple Park Baseball Field on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. The goal of the Maple Park Travel program is to develop fundamental skills while instilling a positive attitude and good sportsmanship in a competitive environment.

For more information, contact coaches Jeff Violett at (815) 827-3664 or Tom O’Shea at (815) 827-3810.

No one hurt in barn blaze

MAPLE PARK—Maple Park firefighters and 21 other fire departments spent most of Tuesday putting out a barn fire at the Fabrizius farm, located on the 4N800 block of Meredith Road.

Firefighters combated the blaze, which began sometime around 9:05 a.m., for close to 11 hours and spent much of that time removing 7,000 bales of hay from the barn with a backhoe and skid loader.

The cause of the barn fire is still unknown. No people or animals were harmed in the fire.

Gerard and Judy Fabrizius, the owners of the barn, could not be reached for comment.

Maple Park Fire Chief Kevin Peterson said a total of 121 firefighters and EMS were used on the scene in order to stay cool and avoid fatigue while combatting the fire in weather that was already hot and humid.

“Red Cross was on the scene providing food and water, and Trans Vac provided cooling buses,” he said.

Village explores ways to raise funds

by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Committee of the Whole on Tuesday discussed the possibility of changing the Motor Vehicle License ordinance, as well as researching the possibility of implementing a gas tax.

“Right now, residents of Maple Park only need to purchase motor vehicle stickers for up to three cars,” Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis said. “We’re looking in to removing that cap from the ordinance, which would require residents to buy a sticker for every car they own.”

The board insisted that the changes it is looking into would not affect the price of the stickers.

“Every vehicle should pay,” Curtis said. “They are all using the roads, and we need funds so we can repair them.”

While this change would involve only changing the ordinance, the implementation of a gas tax would be more difficult; most municipalities that have gas taxes are home-ruled municipalities, which Maple Park is not.

“I am still researching this,” Village Attorney Kevin Buick said. “But, I’m not sure if Maple Park has the ability to implement this.”

The board also discussed the possibility of Maple Park becoming a home-ruled municipality in order to implement a gas tax, if needed.

“It would require a referendum,” Buick said. “It would give the village more control over local matters. It would be a large endeavor, but it would make things like this easier.”

If the tax were implemented, there would then be a sales tax of one-half to two cents charged for each gallon of gas sold in Maple Park.

The board discussed the possibility of choosing to get rid of the motor vehicle stickers in favor of the gas tax, if implemented, or to use both to increase funds.

“We are still researching these possibilities,” Curtis said. “Our roads need to be repaired, and we need to find the funds to do that.”

Group training

MAPLE PARK—Nine different fire departments came together for ethanol fire training on Saturday.

Hosted by the Maple Park-Countryside Fire Protection District, sponsored by Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) Railway and coordinated by the Kane County and the DeKalb County Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC), the 51 attendees received classroom instruction on ethanol and then experienced and practiced putting out actual ethanol fires during an exercise drill. The exercise drill consisted of communications, response, arrival, National Incident Command System (NIMS), mutual aid box alarm system (MABAS), staging, flowing foam, extrication, safety and other related activities. Both LEPCs were able to exercise their respective Chemical Emergency Response Plans.

The fire departments participating were Cortland, Elburn, Malta, Maple Park-Countryside, Kaneville, Kirkland, Sandwich, Somonauk and Sycamore. Major contributors to the training and exercise were Sycamore Speedway, BNSF Railway, DeKalb Mechanical, Illinois River Energy, Ideal Industries, PCCR USA, and both the Kane Co. and the DeKalb Co. LEPCs.
Photo courtesy of Darrell Coquillette

Locks of Love

10-year old Georgia Elwood of Maple Park gets her hair cut at Shear Image Salon in Elburn to donate to Locks of Love. The not-for-profit organization providing hairpieces to children who have lost their hair from a medical condition.
Courtesy Photo

Former MP entrepreneur receives U.S. Chamber award for ‘dreaming big’

Photo: Ryan Kunkel (left) the master of monkey business or vice president, and President and Owner, also known as architect of adventure, Joe Reynolds with the staff of Red Frog Events. Courtesy Photo

by Sandy Kaczmarski
MAPLE PARK—Imagine a tree house with a slide at your workplace, a rock climbing wall, and foosball. It’s a work-hard, play-hard environment that Red Frog Events Founder Joe Reynolds hopes will foster creativity, innovation and empowerment.

“That mentality plays a big role in our office culture and shows why we all love working here as much as we do,” said Reynolds, who hails from Maple Park. “And c’mon, who can complain about having a tree house and regular foosball tournaments in the office?”

Red Frog Events recently was named the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recognizing that creative atmosphere.

“It feels great to be the DREAM BIG award winner,” he said. “We are extremely proud of the unique culture we have built at Camp Red Frog, and it is a great honor to be recognized.”

The Chicago company produces three races: Warrior Dash, Great Urban Race and Beach Palooza, which are scavenger hunts in 26 cities including Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Ontario.

Reynolds had just sold his painting company in 2007 when he thought of the idea for Great Urban Race, inspired, he says, by the TV show “The Amazing Race.” The website ( explains it as a “wild urban adventure.” Teams solve 12 clues for a chance to win money and a championship entry which pays $10,000 to the winner.

“I was on vacation in Red Frog Beach, Panama, when I realized that Great Urban Race was only the beginning,” Reynolds said. “I brought in my awesome brother-in-law Ryan Kunkel to help develop a second race, Warrior Dash. Shortly after, Red Frog Events was born.”

Warrior Dash is an extreme 5K running race with obstacles, and its success prompted the team to launch Beach Palooza, which he describes as “a gnarly obstacle course on the beach.”

Reynolds said the races have been such a success because people have fun participating in them.

“We’re in the business of having fun, and that comes across at all our races,” he said.

Several other race companies have since cropped up, but Reynolds isn’t worried.

“We like to think of ourselves as the industry pioneers,” he said.

At the office, dubbed Camp Red Frog, employees are expected to play hard and work just as hard.

The “bennies” aren’t bad either. Their website ( calls it the “world’s best benefits package,” and includes unlimited vacation days; 100 percent health insurance for the employee and family; vision, life and dental insurance; and, cell phone reimbursement.

If that wasn’t enough, after being employed five years, Red Froggers can take a fully paid four-week trip with a significant other to South America, Europe, Africa or Asia.

And they get a birthday massage.

Reynolds said with three years behind them, he sees the company continuing to build on the events and making them bigger and better every year.

“We don’t plan to stop creating and producing new experiences, new events, and new ways to appeal to fans of Red Frog Events,” he said.

And, he said he’s got a few new fun ideas up his sleeve.

“We believe you’re only as good as your next idea,” he said.

Built from the ground up: Wiltse Farm

by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—Farmers markets are flourishing around the country as more and more consumers are heeding the advice of health experts to eat foods that are locally grown. This advice is nothing new to the Wiltse family of Maple Park, who have been growing and selling produce since 1914.

This Sunday, the public is invited to an open house and a chance to learn about the history of the farm and see how fresh produce is grown.

For three generations, the family has planted, tended and harvested its own produce and sold it to people of the area. Kate Wiltse grew up going to farmers markets and working in the family produce business. It all started when her grandmother decided to raise vegetables on a farm near Batavia. Her mom, Marie Wiltse, continued the tradition, selling at a stand on the farm in Maple Park. Today Marie, along with Kate, her brother Joe, and sisters Patty, Deb and Mary, all run the business. You may even say it runs in their blood.

“We say to each other that it has to (be in our blood),” Kate quipped. “Because who would do this?”

Starting in February, they begin planting seeds under greenhouse protection. The season gets busier and busier as asparagus, then strawberries, and then more and more vegetables reach maturity and are harvested. The season begins to peak around the third week in July, when the sweet corn starts rolling in. It winds down with pumpkins in the fall and ends at Halloween.

The open house will give the family a chance to talk with customers before it gets too busy with sweet corn.

“It’s a chance for people to ask questions and actually talk to us. We get so busy with sweet corn that we’re not always available,” Kate said. “All the family will come out. We can show people where (produce) comes from.”

Wiltse’s will display the equipment they use in planting and tending the plants, such as the transplanter for vegetables and the junior planter that is hand-pushed. They will explain the stages of plant growth, so that the public can begin to understand how food is grown from seed to harvest. There will also be pictures from the farm’s history.

This year the farm is adding more opportunities to pick your own vegetables. They just finished pick-your-own strawberries. They will now add U-pick tomatoes and U-pick flowers. The zinnias and snapdragons need a good rain and a couple more weeks and they will be fully ready for cutting. In the fall, pumpkins can be selected from the field also.

With the sweet corn tasseling, the 40 acres planted with sweet corn will start coming in, just a little behind schedule this year.

“Everything (in this business) depends on the weather. Last year, the sweet corn was ready on the 18th. We’re about a week behind. We had a cool spring,” Kate said.

Since putting in greenhouses 10 years ago, Wiltse’s has done more and more bedding plants, field produce and even landscaping, run by Kate’s husband, Troy Misch. They continue to learn through networking and cooperation with other growers and classes at Kishwaukee, trade shows and conferences held by the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.

After a season of growing flowers, lettuce, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, snow peas, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, onions, asparagus, strawberries, pumpkins, sweet corn and more, how does the family spend its downtime each winter?

“Clean house, clean house, clean house,” Kate joked (or maybe not). “I do family stuff and paperwork. I go to trade shows to buy seeds and see new varieties.”

Now picking:
Sweet red candy onions,
walla walla sweet onions,
yellow sweet candy onions,
cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas,
red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce,
bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce,
beets, green onions, radishes
and more

Wiltse’s Farm Produce Open House
Sunday, July 10
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
50W379 Route 38, Maple Park.
Customers and friends are welcome to stop by and meet with the
Wiltse families and share stories
and conversation of the
past, present and future.
Refreshments will be available.
For more information,
call (815) 739-6179 or visit

Emerald Ash Borer infects Maple Park trees

by David Maas
Maple Park—After the discovery that some of Maple Park’s ash trees were infected by Emerald Ash Borers, Maple Park Public Works Manager Mike Miller met with Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Scott Schirmer to discuss the situation.

“In almost all cases, there is nothing that can be done to save these trees,” Miller said. “It’s too bad, because they are some beautiful trees.”

The borer is an invasive species to North America, and has been blamed with the destruction of over 50 million ash trees in over 14 states.

“If we try to cut the trees down now, they will just move to other locations,” Miller said. “We have to wait until November or December before we can remove the trees; in cold weather the beetles become less active.”

Once removed, the trees will be burned within Maple Park. The trees can’t be moved out of the area, as a precaution to avoid spreading the beetle.

“These are some really big trees,” Miller said, “Some of them are over 100 years old; it’s a shame.”

The Village Board will look into how they will replace the trees, and which type would be best to avoid a situation like this again.

“Schirmer instructed me on how to handle the infected trees,” Miller said, “If we want him to, he would also come out and give a presentation to the board.”

Maple Park board passes debt service for water system

Maple Park—At a special meeting on Tuesday night, held before the Maple Park Board meeting, board members passed an ordinance concerning debt services for the village’s water system.

The board passed a debt services ordinance iin a 6-0 vote, although the increase will only be implemented if the village’s Illinois Environmental Protection Agency application is approved, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

The new rates rates will be applied to all who use the village’s water system. The debt service charge will be set at $6.55 per month, appropriated from the annual debt service for the water system.

The funds from the debt service charge will be used on present and future projects to improve the village’s water system.

WCC adds to its student art collection

Photo: “Confusion,” an oil painting by Edward Manning, of Geneva, is one of 17 student-created artworks purchased by Waubonsee Community College for the spring semester. The works are displayed throughout the college’s campuses. Courtesy Photo

SUGAR GROVE—During the spring 2011 semester, Waubonsee Community College purchased 17 pieces of student-created artwork to display around its campuses. Through its Student Art Purchase Program, which started in fall 2006, the college has acquired a total of 108 pieces of original artwork.

Deirdre Battaglia, of Sugar Grove and Esther Espino of Maple Park both created artwork that was chosen by the community college.

Local residents take part in 4-H dog show

MAPLE PARK—Olivia Fabrizius and Grace Fabrizius of Maple Park, of the Just Say Nay 4-H Club, participated in the DuPage County 4-H Dog Show on May 21.

For Olivia’s last year in 4-H, she won with Grand Champion obedience, Reserve Grand Champion Showmanship and Overall High Point. She also won the Versatility Championship for the second time with her AKC chocolate labrador retriever named Nia Wiesbrock Fabrizius.

Grace showed her year-old Australian Shepherd, Jade Elizabeth Wiesbrock Fabrizius, for the first time and won Grand Champion Beginning Obedience.

Local student invited to attend NRA youth summit

by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARK—Theo Mirkut, a Maple Park resident and junior at the Illinois Math and Science Academy, was recently selected by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as one of 45 students in the country who will partake in its National Youth Education Summit (YES) in Washington, D.C. in late June.

The trip is solely for outstanding high school sophomores and juniors. And while Mirkut is indeed an outstanding student, he also happens to be an experienced marksman, which probably didn’t hurt his cause much when it came to the NRA selecting participants for the seven-day event in the nation’s capitol.

Mirkut has been involved in shooting sports since he was in the seventh grade, beginning with small-bore Olympic rifle shooting and eventually graduating to both trap and pistol shooting. He currently holds a Bar 3 Sharpshooter qualification for small-bore rifle shooting, and a Marksman qualification in trap shooting. He also recently received certification to be an NRA apprentice rifle instructor.

“One of the things that the NRA looks for in the application are more well-rounded individuals. Part of the application was to write an essay on the Second Amendment, (and) part of the grand scholarship following the program is to conduct an educational program that teaches younger kids about firearm safety,” Mikrut said. “I can’t exactly speak on how my experiences have related directly to my selection to partake in the summit, (but) I can say, however, that my involvement in shooting sports, as well as shooting sports education, (has) contributed to what I believe was an extremely strong, well-rounded application.

Mirkut learned about the summit through his father’s involvement in the NRA, and said that IMSA stresses to its students that college isn’t just an option. Because the colleges Theo is interested in attending are rather expensive, he’s been consciously looking for any and all scholarship opportunities.

“The original e-mail about the summit was sent to my father, who forwarded it to me,” Mirkut said. “I was intrigued about the potential for scholarship money, as well as the experiences that the summit could offer me, which is why I chose to apply.”

Mirkut learned of his acceptance into the YES in April. Students who participate in the summit will each give a speech to NRA representatives, form groups to debate assigned topics, and take a tour of both Washington, D.C., and the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

“This summit is a huge opportunity for me,” Mirkut said. “I am excited about my acceptance, but more importantly about the experiences that I will be provided with that would not be possible normally. How many high school students get to visit Quantico on a typical vacation?”

Mirkut also knows that the summit will be as much about hard work as it will be about sightseeing.

“Overall, I think that the debates, speeches and events that have been planned out for the week are more than I ever could have bargained for,” he said. “I am proud to say that I am one of the 45 students from across the nation that will be attending the summit.”

The NRA Youth Education Summit will take place June 20-26.

MP police raise funds for Special Olympics

by David Maas
Maple Park—While being the Maple Park Police Chief is a full time job, Mike Acosta still finds time to help raise thousands of dollars for the Special Olympics.

“In the month of May, the Police Department held two fundraisers for the Special Olympics,” Acosta said.

On May 20, Acosta spent six hours on the roof of a Dunkin Donuts in Elgin, for the “Cop on Top” fundraiser, which raised over $1,400 for the athletes. On May 22, with the help of the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club, they held “Pulling For Special Olympics,” in which 164 clay shooters helped raise more than $13,000.

“I would like to thank Honest Auto, Casey’s General Stores, Vacation Land RV, and The Foster & Buick Law Group for their sponsorship,” Acosta said.

With another event coming up July 9, the Police Department is close to meeting its original $15,000 goal.

“The Wheel of Meat and More event is to benefit the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics,” Acosta said, “ We will be raffling off turkeys, hams, pork loins, steaks, sports jerseys and much more.”

Acosta also announced that the Maple Park Police Department would be listed on next year’s Special Olympics shirts due to its hard work.

“We hope everyone will come out and support us, and have fun, as we continue to raise money for the Special Olympics,” Acosta said.

Maple Park mural evokes old-time village spirit

by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARK—There is a rich history behind the stretch of Lincoln Highway that travels through Maple Park, and that history is currently represented on an interpretive mural that was installed in the heart of downtown Maple Park on May 24.

The interpretive mural, which is affixed to the west side of Village Hall, is part of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC)’s series commemorating several of the communities located along the Lincoln Highway’s 179 miles. All of the community murals were designed and painted by artist Jay Allen, president of ShawCraft Sign Co.

The Maple Park mural depicts a service station employee flanked by old-time gas pumps, a restroom sign and an ad for tires, indicative of the time period between 1913 and 1928, when three gas stations were located in the village.

“The subject of this mural is pertinent to the history of the Lincoln Highway for many reasons. As the highway developed from dirt and mud to pavement, automobile travel became a way of life,” ILHC Planning Director Sue Hronik said. “Service stations and garages along the Lincoln Highway made it their goal to accommodate motorists’ every need; not just fuel, but all the elements included in the painting.”

The multiple interpretive murals were made possible by grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Maple Park interpretive mural, which Hronik said was painted from a photo provided by the village, is the 17th of 20 murals that have been installed since January 2010. Murals have also been installed in Aurora, Geneva, St. Charles, DeKalb and Rochelle, just to name a few. Another set of murals will be installed later this month.

“It looks amazing,” Hronik said of the Maple Park mural. “As always, the talent in the artwork and detail are a true gift of Jay and his staff. Each time an ILHC mural goes up, it is such a wonderful thing for the history of the byway and the community that has accepted the gift. Maple Park’s mural is a tribute to the roadside industry of the service station, the Lincoln Highway, as well as how each of those things forever changed the American landscape.”

The murals are valued at $10,000 each, and, according to Hronik, have been well received by their respective towns.

“Some communities actually have had true unveilings, with a tarp covering the mural until an official ceremony takes place,” she said. “Public reaction is always favorable, to say the least. Every town loves their mural—it evokes considerable community pride.”

Maple Park baseball fun with pancakes

MAPLE PARK—Maple Park Baseball will host its annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, June 12, at the Maple Park American Legion. Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to noon.

Tickets are $6 per person. Children under 5 eat free. Tickets may be purchased from any Maple Park Baseball, Softball or T-Ball player. Tickets will also be available at the door. This event is sponsored by The Maple Park American Legion, Post 302. All proceeds benefit The Maple Park Baseball Association.

Village name new village clerk

Maple Park—During a special Maple Park Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Elizabeth Peerboom was appointed to the position of village clerk.

“We’re happy to welcome you, and look forward to working with you,” Village President Kathy Curtis said.

Peerboom has been appointed to the position for a period ending in April 2012. The village clerk is appointed by the village president, and is subject to an annual review.

Prior to serving with Maple Park, Peerboom worked for the city of DeKalb as the deputy city clerk.