Category Archives: Local News

What is going on in your town

Waubonsee adds new library program

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Library Technical Assistant Associate in Applied Science Degree and Certificate Program is among the new offerings at Waubonsee Community College this year. Three of the program’s classes are offered this semester, including an introduction to technical services, as well as reference and research strategies.

Until this semester, the closest community college that offered this degree or certificate was the College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Library Technical Assistants Merrill Poloian and Michelle Drawz, employees of the Sugar Grove Public Library, obtained their certificates at COD.

“It’s beyond checking out books,” Poloian said. “It’s the ins and outs of behind-the-scenes of the library.”

Poloian said the classes address the more technical aspects of library science, such as cataloging, technology services, creating a web page, and buying audio and media equipment.

Through the program, students also learn what questions to ask to find out what patrons are really looking for; how to choose the right books for the library’s collection based on the district’s demographics; and how to create displays, programs and events, based on the community’s population and its interests.

After students finish the classes, they complete an internship at a library other than their own to gain practical experience.

Town and Country Public Library Circulation Supervisor Cathy Semrick said that three people who work at the Elburn library have the LPA certificate.

Semrick said the library staff are thrilled that Waubonsee is offering the program.

“COD is just far enough that it makes it hard,” she said. “Several staff have expressed interest (in the Waubonsee program).”

Elburn employee Deb Smith, who works in technology services, said the certificate teaches all aspects of the library.

“It makes you well-rounded,” she said. “It introduces you to some things that you don’t already know.”

According to Noblitt, the programs offered at Waubonsee are designed to serve students who want to enter the library field, as well as those currently working in it. He said the Technology in Libraries course will be especially helpful to those in the field who want to update their skills and stay current in the evolving profession.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the five-county area served by Waubonsee employs 1,003 library technical assistants, with 38 average annual job openings.

“Working in a library setting is an extremely rewarding career that is solidly in demand,” said Mary Edith Butler, Dean for Communications and Library Services. “Today’s library staff works with more than just books. This is a career field that encompasses a great deal of technology and cutting-edge equipment, along with the great books.”

Tickets on sale for Festival Performance Series

MAPLE PARK—The Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) is launching a new performing arts series this fall, including The Magic of the Spellbinder on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Kaneland High School Auditorium.

The Magic of the Spellbinder is the inaugural performance of the Festival Performance Series and tickets are on sale now.

Walter King, Jr., a.k.a. The Spellbinder, has entertained audiences across the country from the 2009 Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival to the Mirage and Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

The Spellbinder has exclusive experience and training in theater, film, and special effects. The Spellbinder is an African American Illusionist-Magician, who has performed with stars like Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Hudson, and the Temptations.

This show is appropriate for people 5 and older. For more information on the Spellbinder, visit

Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens, and $23 for a family ticket. A family ticket admits all the family members who reside in the same residence.

Purchasing presale tickets is encouraged. Ticket forms are available in all of the buildings of the Kaneland School District as well as the Kaneland website at

Questions and comments can be directed to Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, at (630) 365-5100, ext. 180.

Ticket winners for the Magic of the Spellbinder
MAPLE PARK—The Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival announced the following ticket winners for the Magic of the Spellbinder, the inaugural event of the Festival Performance Series on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Kaneland High School Auditorium.
• Bridget Hankes-Ixpata
• Brandi Tyse
• Carol Harvell
Participants entered their names in a drawing at the Sugar Grove Farmers Market, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, and KanevilleFest to win free tickets to the Sept. 12 event. Tickets are now on sale for this event and forms are available at the main offices in all of the Kaneland School District buildings as well as online at

Paisano’s owners seek help for building spruce-up

Village committee recommends $10,000 facade grant
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Annette Theobald and her husband take pride in the building they own at 106 N. Main St., Elburn, a 1930s structure that once housed a bank. Since 2003, it has been the site of their business, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill.

“It has a lot of history and charm, and we just want to keep that up,” Theobald said.

The Theobalds recently spent $9,000 to replace the upstairs windows, and plan several thousand dollars more in other exterior enhancements. To help pay for the project, they are seeking a grant from the village’s downtown facade improvement program.

With the financial assistance from the village, the Theobalds will be able to install new doors and siding, and paint, Annette told the village’s Development Committee on Aug. 24.

“We are focusing on the most needed repairs,” Annette said.

The village established the downtown facade improvement program a few years ago. So far, two property owners have taken advantage of it: Express Evaluations, 17 S. Main St., in 2007, and Elburn Dentist Richard Stewart this year, for his office building at 135 S. Main St.

The maximum grant amount under the village budget is $5,000 per property owner or tenant doing the facade improvements. Because both Express Evaluations and Richard Stewart were both owners and tenants of the buildings, the village awarded each a $10,000 grant.

The Development Committee decided Monday to recommend that the Village Board approve the same amount for the Theobald’s project.

Walter said the Theobalds should receive the $10,000 amount, because it has been the village’s practice to fund $5,000 each to the landlord and tenant, and combine those payments should the landlord and tenant be the same person.

Paisano’s occupies the building’s first floor, and owns two apartments on the upper level.

WCC sees second year of big increases in enrollment

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Enrollment at Waubonsee Community College continues to rise, with this year showing a double-digit increase over last year.

According to Waubonsee Community College spokesperson Jeff Noblitt, there are nearly 15 percent more students at the Sugar Grove, Aurora and Rush-Copley campuses taking classes this fall compared to 2008, when enrollment showed a 9.5 percent spike over the previous year.

This year, the total number of hours taken is more than 16 percent over fall 2008, on top of a 9.9 percent increase in hours over the year before, a trend that began six years ago.

More are becoming full-time students, Noblitt said.

“It’s partially driven by the economy,” he said. “The economic downturn has resulted in lost jobs and the need to go back to school to retrain for better jobs.”

“People have either lost their jobs, had their hours cut or are fearful of losing their jobs,” he said. “They see education as the way to boost their career.”

Noblitt said the college has also seen an increase in the number of traditional college-age students, as more begin their college career sat a two-year school before, transferring to a four-year college at the end of the second year.

“This way they can stay on track with their college education, and it saves a lot of money,” Noblitt said.

Noblitt said President Barack Obama made community colleges an important factor in what he feels will pull the economy forward. In addition, Vice-President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, has been a visible advocate of a community college education since the president took office.

People are also becoming more knowledgeable about what a junior college can offer, Noblitt added. With smaller class sizes and a more nurturing environment, the beginning student is more likely to succeed.

Increase in numbers of students enrolled at Waubonsee
2004-2005 2.4 percent
2005-2006 0
2006-2007 0
2007-2008 9.5 percent
2008-2009 14+ percent

Waubonsee to host job fair Sept. 18

SUGAR GROVE—The 8th annual Working for the Fox Valley Job Fair will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, in the Academic and Professional Center of Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The event is free and open to the public. Job seekers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes.

For more information and to view a list of participating employers, visit

Given the current unemployment rate, this year’s fair is taking on an increased importance. It is part of Waubonsee’s larger “Brighter Futures” initiative, which seeks to provide resources and strategies to help district residents thrive in a challenging economy. Visit to view a list of other upcoming events and free services.

The Working for the Fox Valley Job Fair is the result of a collaborative partnership among First Transitions of Oak Brook and Partners of the Illinois workNet Center, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Kane County Department of Employment and Education, and Waubonsee Community College, under the umbrella of the River Valley Workforce Investment Board.

Interpreters for the hearing impaired are provided by Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Blast from the past

This picture was recently rediscovered in a box of assorted items originally found in the Elburn Grade School Boiler Room in 1970 by Mark Strong. No information regarding the artist or framed picture was found with it. District officials hope that any Elburn Herald reader who has information about the picture or the artist will call Sharon Sabin at the Kaneland School District offices at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109.
Courtesy Image

Golfers edge Spartans, fall to Marengo Indians

For now, everything’s coming up snake-eyes for the Kaneland High School golfers.

The Knights are 1-1-1 in dual competition, but came away with a tight win against rival Sycamore on Tuesday at Hughes Creek. That followed a 167-174 loss to Marengo on Thursday.

The win over Sycamore went Kaneland’s way after both teams were tied at 166. But the top four scores for Kaneland out-performed Sycamore’s top four entries.

Heroes for KHS included Hayden Senese (41), Troy Krueger (41), Tyler Hochsprung (42) and Hayley Guyton (42).

Sycamore’s Alex Schultz golfed a 37.

The JV Knights lost to the Spartans by a 175-188 mark. Top scores for Kaneland included Mitch Gemini’s 45 and Luke Kreiter’s 46.

Against Marengo, Guyton shot a 40 to get medalist honors, while Krueger and Josh Schuberg shot 43 each. Zach Douglas managed a 48. Marengo’s Jake Tucker keyed the Indians’ win.

The JV crew took care of business against the Indians with a 190-198 win. Knight Rhys Childs rose to the occasion with a 45 score, followed by Gemini’s 46, Ryan Goodenough’s 49 and Kreiter’s 50.

Photo: Josh Schuberg in action Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

Residents may sign up for phone alert services

MAPLE PARK—The village of Maple Park launched the Connect-CTY service, its new village-to-resident notification system. With this service, village leaders can send personalized voice messages to residents and businesses within minutes, with specific information about time-sensitive or common-interest issues such as emergencies and local community matters.

The village will use the Connect-CTY service to supplement its current communication plans and augment public safety/first responder services.

The village invites residents to participate in the service by providing their contact information. To sign up, click the Connect-CTY image on the village of Maple Park website:

Basking in the glow of Solheim Cup

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—More than 120,000 people from 49 states, as well as other nations, visited Sugar Grove during the week of the Solheim Cup. Five years of planning culminated in an international event that everyone is likely to remember for years to come.

The impact from the event was felt far from Sugar Grove. Trustee Kevin Geary said he was in a restaurant recently in San Diego wearing his Sugar Grove Corn Boil T-shirt, and a woman came up to him to ask about the Solheim Cup.

“She said from the TV, that Sugar Grove looked like a lovely place to be,” Geary said.

The Solheim Cup organizers, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), offered free admission to anyone who brought four items of non-perishable food for the new Sugar Grove Food Pantry. Trustee Melisa Taylor, organizer for the food pantry, said that more than 1,500 pounds of food was collected that day.

Taylor added that when Prom Catering, the catering service that provided the food for the Solheim Cup, realized what was happening, they donated six large vehicles of food they had not sold during the days. Taylor said she and others were able to bring tons of food to Hesed House, Lazarus House, Interfaith Food Pantry and the Kendall County Food Pantry.

She said it was gratifying that the people organizing an international event such as the Solheim Cup were cognizant of the community in which the event was held.

Village President Sean Michels said that more than 8,000 hotel rooms in the Fox Valley area were booked for the event, and 1,900 articles were written that mentioned the Solheim Cup and Sugar Grove.

“The economic impact on Sugar Grove was huge,” Taylor said.

Board tables SSA decision until November

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Nearly 150 Sugar Grove residents attended Tuesday’s public hearing addressing the ongoing flooding in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions. The turnout was so large, village officials relocated the meeting to the fire station.

Ultimately, the Village Board decided to table a vote that would have allowed the village to establish a Special Services Area (SSA) to address the flooding issues.

Residents who attended the Tuesday night meeting spoke out against the formation of an SSA, with many saying the board is rushing to this decision without knowing how much the special tax will cost them.

There are approximately 250 residences in Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks combined.

In a letter to the residents, the village stated that the SSA tax for a $200,000 home could be as much as $1,000 per year, but officials do not yet have enough information to determine the costs.

“This feels a little premature to me,” Kyle Luetgert said. “If you don’t know how much it’s going to cost, why are we here now?”

Residents said they were concerned about their ability to pay the additional tax, especially given the current economic climate.

“A lot of people are out of work,” Mary Farley said. “I’m up to here with financial issues. Your timing is the worst possible.”

Others said they thought the village had some culpability in the subdivision’s problems, dating back to when the village approved building on land that was destined to flood.

Blair Peters told the board that he blamed the village for allowing the retention pond to be built when it did not meet specifications, and releasing escrow funds to the builder that should have been used to fix the problems.

“Now you’re asking us to trust you that you’ll do this properly,” Peters said. “We need more information. Some residents have already paid thousands of dollars to fix their own flooding problems.”

In fact, if the SSA is enacted, this will only cover the cost of maintaining the retention pond. Funding to repair the broken drainage tiles and lay a large drain tile from the Mallard Point Subdivision south to Jericho Road could end up the responsibility of property owners throughout the Rob Roy Drainage District, an area that includes Mallard Point. This would mean additional fees charged to the residents.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said he understood the residents’ frustrations, and that village officials began discussions about the SSA in order to keep the process moving forward. Funding for the studies and preliminary work has so far been paid by the village.

“The village is being proactive,” Village President Sean Michels said. “People in the village came to us last October and wanted us to do something to fix the problems. We have been moving forward with this. You all have to have some faith in us. We were elected by the residents of the village. We have a responsibility to them, as well.”

The board agreed to discuss the issue again at its Nov. 17 meeting, when Trotter & Associates Mark Bushnell said he hopes to have the study completed.

History of the problem
Problems with the neighborhood date back to the mid-1990s, when Mallard Point was first built. After the first builder declared bankruptcy, two others took over before it was finally completed. Difficulties determining who was responsible for what problems go back to the beginning.

Although the annexation agreement called for the establishment of a homeowners association, one was never created. A proposal to create a special services area tax on the residents to pay for the maintenance of the common property areas never went beyond the discussion stages.

Residents began approaching the village last fall, when drainage and flooding issues worsened, complaining of standing water, flooded basements and excessive electric bills to continually run two and sometimes three sump pumps.

The village contracted the engineering firm Trotter & Associates to study the problem. The study so far has identified blockages in the water flow through the retention pond and broken and missing field tiles, as well as the possibility of naturally-occurring underground springs as factors that could be contributing to the flooding problems.

Village Board approves final phase of Mallard Point study

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board approved the final phase of a study conducted by Trotter & Associates that will outline improvements required to alleviate the majority of existing drainage concerns within the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions. (see related story).

The project will include an evaluation and recommendations regarding the existing wetland facility, a maintenance plan for the storm water management facility, and a summary of findings combining all of the recommendations into one comprehensive plan.

The village hired Trotter & Associates in February 2009 to conduct a comprehensive study of the issues affecting drainage within the two neighborhoods. A final draft report of the findings is expected by mid-November.

The total cost of the study conducted so far, plus what was approved on Tuesday night, will total slightly more than $40,000, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said. So far, the village has paid for the entire cost of the studies.

Students receive break on hot lunch

by Susan O’Neill
Students at the middle school and high school saw a decrease in their cost for a hot lunch from $2.50 to $2 when school started. This benefit comes from an overage in the net cash reserves for the food service program, according to guidelines in the federally-funded program.

The school food service account is required to limit its net cash resources to an amount that does not exceed three months’ average expenditures for its nonprofit school food service.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs, one significant advantage of this change is that the hot lunch program is a well-balanced and nutritional meal consistent with the district’s wellness policy. By reducing the price, students may be encouraged to select a healthier choice for their lunch, she wrote in a memo to the board.

Weeds grow problem in Elburn

Village Development Committee recommends more enforcement
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—With property foreclosures rising and home construction declining, many lots in Elburn have been left vacant, untended and taken over by weeds, village officials said.

“We’re noticing more and more complaints about weeds,” Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said during the Aug. 24 Development Committee meeting.

The village has been lenient about enforcing its weed ordinance in the past. Since the problem has gotten worse, particularly in Blackberry Creek, Elburn officials are considering boosting enforcement.

“I think we are going to have to step in … vacant lots look like nobody owns them,” said committee member Gordon Dierschow, a village trustee.

Committee member Jeff Metcalf, a Planning Commissioner, also wants the village to start enforcing its weed ordinance, since the problem could worsen in Blackberry Creek as property foreclosures continue there, which he expects.

Without enforcement, the spread of weeds could destroy the environment, committee member Jeff Walter, a trustee, said.

“We’ve got to do something,” Walter said.

The village ordinance prohibits grass and weeds that are a foot high or more. It allows police to notify violators that they must cut the grass or weeds within 10 days. If the violator does not comply, the village may mow the property and charge its owner for the cost. If the violator does not pay the bill within 60 days, the village may place a lien on the property.

“Eventually, a lot, hopefully, would sell and you can collect the lien,” Morrison said.

Walter said that although the village is reluctant to file a lien, it must hold property owners responsible.

“It’s a burden to other homeowners because some property owners choose to ignore village ordinances,” Walter said.

Another measure the village could utilize is to take the owners of neglected properties to court for violating village ordinances and recover village mowing expenses, Morrison said.

“You need to be able to recoup the costs,” he said.

The Village Board will discuss the proposal to boost ordinance enforcement at a future meeting.

Firefighters hope residents ‘Fill the Boot’

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Local communities have a long history of supporting the Elburn Fire Department, which is asking for help again this month with its Fill the Boot campaign, firefighter Matt Hansen said.

On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians will stand in traffic at three local intersections, conducting a Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for the Elburn and Countryside Fire Department.

Fire Department employees will be stationed at the intersections of Route 47 and Route 38, and at North and South Millcreek and Fabyan Parkway with their uniform boots in hand, accepting donations.

The department will hold the Fill the Boot campaign this year instead of the Elburn Days raffle it has conducted annually for many years. The raffle helped the department purchase new technology, such as thermal imaging cameras, as well as enhance its training program, Hansen said. The department did not hold the raffle this year because with the state of the economy, it was not able to obtain enough donated prizes from local businesses.

Hansen said he hopes the Fill the Boot campaign will make up for the lack of a raffle this year. The proceeds could help the department buy automatic-lift cots for its ambulances in the future, at a cost of about $10,000 each. Hansen said that with the cots, firefighters would reduce their risk of back injuries. He said the most common injury firefighters sustain on the job is to their backs, from having to lift beds with patients into the ambulance.

The department participated in the national Fill the Boot campaign a few years ago, and residents were extremely supportive, Hansen said. The department donated the proceeds to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Elburn Food Pantry, Fox Valley Hospice and other charitable causes. The department will use some of the money it raises from Fill the Boot this year for charitable donations as well, Hansen said.

Cross country complete double-win at home

Lady Knights run over W. Chicago, W. Academy

ELBURN—Kaneland girls cross country found a surefire way to get some of those opening-race jitters out of the way.

Just win.

At Elburn Woods on Tuesday, the Lady Knights’ 31-point total out-performed West Chicago (34) and Wheaton Academy (77).

While West Chicago’s Kelsey Sauner won the course with a 15 minute, 25 second effort, Lady Knight Andie Strang finished second at 16:12. Teammate Kris Bowen finished fourth at 16:36, while Maggie Brundige was fifth at 16:43.

Abby Dodis of KHS finished eighth at 17:03, while Shelby Koester took 12th at 17:29. Ashley Castellanos rounded out the top six for Kaneland with a time of 18:35.

Upcoming challenges for the Lady Knights include the Oregon Invite on Saturday, Sept. 5, and a trip back to Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Sept. 8, against East Aurora.

Photo: Lady Knight Kris Bowen (16:36) provided support for the winning effort on Tuesday against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.
Photo by Ben Draper

Boys XC handles visiting rosters

ELBURN—Ask Matt Reusche what kind of day he had on Tuesday at Elburn Woods.

Better yet, ask West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.

Reusche’s course-winning effort was key for Kaneland’s victory at the boys cross country race hosted by Kaneland on Tuesday.

Reusche’s 16 minute, 42 second effort was paramount in helping Kaneland (27) beat the Wildcats (34) and the Warriors (77) and get the season off to a favorable start.

Following Reusche for KHS was Logan Markuson, who took third with a time of 17:06. In sixth place was Edgar Valle at 17:27.

Joe Levita finished eighth at 17:46, and teammate Grant Alef took ninth at 18:22.

Tyler Howland rounded out the top six Knights finishers with a 18:59 effort, good for 13th overall.

The frosh-soph troops beat West Chicago on Tuesday, as well, by a 15-68 score.

The top three finishers were Clayton Brundige (14:15), Nate Rehkopf (14:22) and Jake Ginther (14:31).

Coming up for the cross country crew is a home matchup with East Aurora on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Abandoned, stray pets a public expense

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Paying for a pet’s care is becoming increasingly more difficult for some people to afford. As a result, the number of abandoned animals is rising, which results in increasing costs for communities.

“Some people just can’t keep them (their pets),” Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said. “People are cutting expenses and that unfortunately is sometimes one of them.”

Every time police pick up a stray pet, Elburn must pay approximately $150 to have it transported to and housed at the Kane County Animal Control Center, unless the owner claims it from the center, Smith said. In that case, the owner pays the costs charged by the center.

The center’s director, Mary Lawrie, said the facility is housing more stray pets lately whose owners do not claim them. One factor in this increase is that lately, many people can no longer keep their pets because they have been evicted or their houses have been foreclosed on, Lawrie said.

Aging pets are sometimes abandoned because their owners cannot pay for the animal’s needed medical care or cover the expense to have a veterinarian put down the animal.

Some people do not claim their lost animals because their household budgets are too strained by the cost of pet food and routine vet bills.

When Elburn police find a lost or abandoned pet, they first check to see if it has an ID chip, using a chip reader at the police station. If it does not, they place the animal in an outside holding area at the police station for the day so that the owner has an opportunity to recover the animal. If no one picks up the pet, the animal is impounded by the Kane County Animal Control Center, which keeps them in its shelter until they are adopted or accepted by a rescue agency, Lawrie said.

For people who do not want to give up their animals but cannot afford their care, the center helps them find sources of donated pet food and supplies.

“We want people to be able to keep their pets,” Lawrie said.

Animals found recently in Elburn
Within one month this summer in Elburn, police reported three stray or abandoned pets that were not claimed:
• An aged, yellow Labrador mixed-breed dog was found abandoned in a cage next to the fenced K-9 holding area behind the Elburn police station at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 14.

• Police picked up a stray, small, old, nearly blind, beagle-type dog at 9:45 a.m. July 15 in the 1300 block of Independence Avenue in Elburn.

• Someone left a black and tan terrier-mix dog in a cage in front of Elburn Animal Hospital early in the morning on July 14.

Board approves additional work on I-88, Route 47 study

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board on Tuesday authorized an addendum to the feasibility study for the potential Interstate 88 and Route 47 interchange. The addendum increases the scope of work to include an analysis of the various configuration alternatives. The cost to complete the additional work is $12,500.

“The project turned out to be much more complicated than anybody thought or expected,” Village President Sean Michels said.

Village officials began discussions on the project with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Kane County Division of Transportation and the larger landowners near the interchange in March 2007, and the actual study was approved in March 2008.

The initial contract was for $196,000, with the village paying $50,000 toward the study. The other funding came from additional sources, including Crown Development and other developers eager to develop the surrounding property.

Crown Development, one of the landowners, agreed to front the additional $12,500 in an effort to keep the project going, with the assumption that if the property is annexed into the village, the developer will receive financial consideration from the village.

Macy’s Museum Adventure Pass program at the Kaneville Library

KANEVILLE—Venture into an aardvark den and master a mythical maze. Come face to face with a human-headed winged bull and sit peacefully in a Japanese garden.

The pass to these adventures, and many more, is already in your hands. Kaneville Public Library card holders can receive free admission to 17 museums and cultural institutions throughout the Chicagoland area. The passes will be available for the whole year.

This opportunity is made possible by a generous contribution from Macy’s, in partnership with the DuPage Library System.

Visit the library to pick up a one-week pass for the museum of your choice. Each museum is contributing four weekly passes, for two or four free admissions, depending on location. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Patrons can only check out passes from their home library. One Museum Adventure Pass may be checked out per adult patron, per loan period.

For a full listing of participating institutions and for check-out guidelines, go to, or call the library at (630) 557-2441 for more information.

Underground Railroad quilt speaks volumes

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—The Underground Railroad quilt Karen Heinberg made for a community raffle is steeped in history, the Kaneville resident said.

During the mid-1800s, the Underground Railroad was a network of free blacks and sympathetic whites who cooperated to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Runaway slaves would often travel as much as 10 miles a day for as long as four or five months. Their journey to freedom went through wilderness areas and hostile territory.

The network of individuals used a series of “safe houses” in which fugitives could hide on their way to the northern states. Heinberg said that historians have found former safe rooms during excavations of old homes in St. Charles and other parts of the Fox Valley.

She said there were often ships docked in Cleveland that would take the runaways across Lake Erie into Canada, where they would be assured their freedom.

Because these escapes had to be planned and executed in secrecy, there was little open discussion within the network. The Underground Railroad relied on secret communication methods that had been developed over generations.

According to legend, Underground Railroad quilts were made with various symbols and patterns that, when hung in someone’s back yard, would signal which homes were safe, what direction people should travel in, and other critical information for their dangerous endeavor.

Since it was common for quilts to be aired out frequently, no one would be suspicious when they saw the quilts displayed this way.

Symbols included such things as a bear’s paw, which communicated that the fugitive should take a mountain trail, following the path made by bear tracks. These trails would lead them to water and food. A bowtie meant that they should dress in disguise, or put on a change of clothes.

A picture of the quilt and the raffle tickets are available at the Hill’s Country Store. Proceeds from the sale of the tickets will be given to the Kaneville Historical Society to paint the Benton House. The Benton House, which is located across the road from the Kaneville Fire Station, represents the many Benton family descendants who remain in the area.

The winner of the quilt will be chosen at the Kaneville Christmas celebration in December.

Quilt raffle
Raffle tickets for a chance to win the Underground Railway quilt are for sale at Hill’s Country Store on Main Street Road in Kaneville.

Tickets are $3 apiece or two for $5.

The winner will be chosen at the Christmas in Kaneville celebration in December.

Proceeds to go to the Kaneville Historical Society.

Assessment changes published for Sugar Grove and Virgil townships

From the Kane County Board of Review

The 2009 assessment changes for Sugar Grove and Virgil Townships were published today, Sept. 3, 2009 in the Elburn Herald.

To obtain information about a Sugar Grove Township property, call (630) 466-5255 or visit

To obtain information about a Virgil Township property, call (815) 827-3383 or visit

To obtain complaint forms and a copy of the Rules and Procedures of the Kane County Board of Review, call (630) 208-3818 or visit

Pursuant to state law, the deadline to file 2009 assessment complaints for properties within St. Charles, Sugar Grove, or Virgil Townships is Oct. 5, 2009. No 2009 complaint for property in these three townships can be accepted after that date.

Women show warmth for U.S. soldiers

Knitters make helmet liners for troops in Afghanistan
by Martha Quetsch
Maple Park—When Karen Dowd learned to knit two years ago, she realized she had a talent for it. Since then, she has parlayed that skill into a patriotic pursuit.

At the suggestion of her husband, Maple Park American Legion Adjutant Tom Dowd, she formed a group last year to knit helmet liners for U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan.

“He always teased me about my knitting and said this would be a worthwhile way to spend my time,” Karen said.

She has found the project more than worthwhile.

“It has been extremely rewarding,” Karen said.

The helmet liners are designed to keep soldiers warm in the bitter-cold climate in the Afghanistan mountains.

“They put them on under their helmets so their heads stay warm, and they do not lose as much body heat,” Karen said.

To start up the project, she first found several knitters willing to pitch in and an affordable yarn supplier in Indiana. Then she found someone to make sure the helmet liners reached soldiers in Afghanistan: Maple Park Legion member Dennis Andersen.

Andersen, a former U.S. military reservist, currently is serving in Afghanistan, having signed up again for six years of active duty.

“He and I communicated online, and he said he knew a unit that could use the helmet liners,” Karen said. “We sent them to him, and he distributed them.”

Last year, the group knitted 70 helmet liners and sent them to Andersen. The soldiers who received them were so grateful, they sent the knitters a certificate of thanks and a flag that had flown over one of their missions.

Karen obtained the pattern and yarn specifications from the U.S. government. She said the liners must be made of a certain type of wool yarn. The yarn cost for the first batch of 70 liners was $300, which the Maple Park Legion covered. The group since then has raised money for yarn through donations at the Legion’s Friday fish fries. With those contributions, the knitters recently were able to buy enough yarn for 36 more helmet liners.

The government also requires the liners to be only certain colors—black, gray or tan.

In addition to Karen Dowd, the knitters include Norma Reynolds, Kay Dawn Towers, Rosie Krups and Rachel Neviell.

The Legion has paid the cost for mailing the helmet liners to Afghanistan.

Photo: Karen Dowd (left) and Norma Reynolds knit wool helmet liners at the Maple Park American Legion Tuesday. Monetary donations for more yarn for the local project will be accepted during Fun Fest at the Legion Hall. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Sept. 3 Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch
Board OKs off-road vehicle sales, display
The village of Elburn will allow Kane County Landscape Material & Supply owner Bruce Vajgert to sell amphibious, off-road vehicles and display them outdoors on his business property, 817 E. Route 38, Elburn.

The Village Board on Aug. 17 approved Vajgert’s request for a special-use variance required for the vehicle sales on the property under the village zoning code.

“I think it’s a good fit for Elburn. It’s good for business, and they keep up the property well,” trustee Jerry Schmidt said.

Vajgert said it is unlikely that he will display more than one or two at a time of these specialty vehicles, which have four to eight wheels and cost up to $32,000.

The Elburn Planning Commission recently recommended that the Village Board approve the variance for Vajgert’s business.

Village struggles with blocked storm sewer
The Elburn Public Works Department and outside companies hired recently by the village tried to clear tree roots and debris from a storm sewer pipe in the Cambridge subdivision, but so far they have met with little success.

The roots and debris impede stormwater flow in the subdivision on the southwest side of the village, leading to residential property flooding during heavy rain.

So far, crews have used various methods to resolve the problem, including placing chemical solutions into the pipe. Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said the substance is “an organic chemical” that is supposed to break up material blocking the flow.

“I did not see any noticeable improvements,” Nevenhoven said during the Aug. 24 Public Works Committee meeting. He added that there is flow in the pipe, but it is tremendously slow.

Nevenhoven said if the pipe cannot be cleared, the village will have to open it up, which would involve digging into residents backyards.

Village to buy spare parts for wayside horns
The village of Elburn will spend $13,841 on spare parts for its new wayside horn system.

The Public Works Committee approved the expenditure on Aug. 24. The company that provided the wayside horns, RCL Controls, recommended having the spare parts, Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison said.

“The advantage is that you have the parts on hand if something goes wrong,” Morrison said. “The disadvantage is the cost.”

The village owns, operates and maintains the wayside horn system. It includes stationary horns at the railway crossings on First Street and on Main Street in downtown Elburn. The system was installed this summer as a safety measure allowing for the reduction of train whistles in the village.

Area Police Blotter for Sept. 3

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.

• Eric J. Grozavescu, 19, of the 300 block of High Street in Wauconda, Ill, was arrested at 4:50 a.m. on Aug. 29 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped Grozavescu as he pulled into the Jewel-Osco parking lot in the 800 block of Main Street in Elburn, after seeing that his rear plate light was out and observing that he stopped at the green light at Route 38 and Route 47. Grozavescue also was cited for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.

• Someone stole a dark green, Free Spirit bicycle from outside a residence in the 900 block of Kendall Street in Elburn, between 5 and 6 p.m. Aug. 26. The bike is valued at $50.

• Items valued at $550 were stolen from an unlocked vehicle parked in a driveway in the 700 block of West Highland Drive in Elburn, sometime between midnight and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27. The burglar took a Garmin GPS device, an iPod and power chargers.

• Timothy A. Wright, 31, of the 400 block of North Third Street in Elburn, was arrested at 12:21 a.m. Aug. 25 on two outstanding warrants. Police responded to a domestic dispute at Wright’s residence, and the dispatcher informed the officers of the warrants, one from Aurora for a DUI offense and another from Kane County for retail theft.

• On the morning of Aug. 28, a two-car crash occurred when the driver of one of the vehicles failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Meredith Road and Route 38, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. A 2004 Toyota Sienna, driven by Jan Dabrowski, 77, of Florence, Colo., was westbound on Route 38 approaching Meredith Road. A 2009 Chevrolet Prizm was being driven by Susan Phillips, 60, of Sycamore, southbound on Meredith Road. Philips entered the intersection to continue south and was struck by Dabrowski, who failed to stop at the stop sign. No one was injured and no citations were issued. Both cars were towed from the scene.

• Aidan J. Gonzales, 18, of the 1300 block of Indian Trail in Aurora, was arrested at 4:38 a.m. Aug. 22 for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor and driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him on Shepherd Lane near Prairie Valley in Elburn for failing to signal 100 feet before turning.
n Sugar Grove

• Someone picked all of the apples off of a tree at a home in the 200 block of Exeter Lane sometime between 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 10 a.m. on Aug. 22.

• Someone took items, including an outdoor rug, a bench and several flower pots off of the porch of a burned out unit in the 200 block of Capital Drive sometime between 6 p.m. on Aug. 19 and 8 p.m. on Aug. 20.

• Joon M. Lee, 20, of the 700 block of Fairfield Way, North Aurora, Victor M. Ortiz, 19, of the 400 block of Farm Trail, Woodstock, and Juan A. Villalva, 19, of the 500 block of McHenry Avenue, Woodstock, were arrested at 10:35 p.m. on Aug. 13 for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor in the parking lot of the Sugar Grove Community Center, 163 N. Main St., Sugar Grove.

• Someone damaged a decorative block on the Sugar Grove Park District building sometime between Aug. 24 and 25, leaving damaged, displaced or broken marks consistent with skateboards using it as a side rail. The estimated amount of the damage is $500.

• Gabriela Mendoza, 20, of the 500 block of Terry Avenue, Aurora, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of alcohol by a minor at 10:18 a.m. on Aug. 27.

• Someone used a credit card on Aug. 30 belonging to a Sugar Grove resident in the 0-100 block of Rolling Oaks Road, totaling up purchases of $266.99.

• Robert B. Lloyd, 58, of the 800 block of Longview Court, Sugar Grove, was charged with reckless driving at 10:48 a.m. on Aug. 31. He was driving northbound on Route 47 south of Rolling Oaks Road.

• Someone drew anti-Semitic and other graffiti on a traffic sign at Green Heron Lane and New Bond Road. The graffiti, consisting of a swastika and a phallic symbol, was reported on Sept. 1.

Maple Park
• Jonathan Judge, 17, and James Thorne, 19, of Maple Park, have been in the Kane County Jail for more than a week, having failed to post bond on charges related to incidents of criminal damage to property. Maple Park Police Officer Chuck Slater said Judge and Thorne were arrested during the third week of July after an investigation determined they caused $1,700 in damage May 5 to five vehicles parked in front of a house in the 200 block of Kane Street, a Class 4 felony. Slater said the offenders mixed cooking oil, green peas and other kitchen ingredients and poured the substance into the vehicles’ gasoline tanks. They also slashed the vehicles’ tires. Judge also was arrested for three crimes in July: throwing a rock through a front window of the same house in the 200 block of Kane Street, through front windows of a residence and a camper in the 300 block of Main Street, and through a window of a home in the 900 block of Main Street. Judge lives on County Line Road in unincorporated Maple Park, and Thorne is a resident of the 200 block of Center Street in Maple Park. Thorne was 18 at the time of his offense.

Editorial: Close out the summer festival season in Maple Park

School has begun, the days are getting shorter, and we have reached the final week of local festivals.

Summer is a busy time for community volunteers, since each town has its own summer festival. The Sugar Grove Corn Boil was in July, Elburn Days and Kaneville Fest were in August, and now Maple Park’s Fun Fest is set to run from Friday through Monday, Sept. 4-7 (see Maple Park Fun Fest coverage in this week’s edition).

The festival that began as a Labor Day weekend softball tournament has evolved, grown, shrunk, and regrown over the years, and this year is promising to be more than worth attending.

The Maple Park Fun Fest begins Friday evening with performances on the main stage from a pair of area bands, CAOZZ and Red Woody. Saturday features a run/walk, the beginning of the softball tournament, a craft show, the annual toilet bowl races, parade, and more live performances from area bands. Sunday features a buffet breakfast and day two of the softball tournament, and concludes with fireworks at night.

Sunday closes out the festival with a breakfast and the culmination of the softball tournament.

As we have stated throughout the summer, our local community festivals are perfect ways to either connect, or re-connect, with your fellow community members.

The summer festival circuit is nearly over, and soon there will be no more chances to get outside, gather with your neighbors, and take part in a community-wide, multi-day festival. We hope you take this last opportunity of the year.

9/3 Editorial Cartoon

2009 Maple Park Fun Fest

Friday, Sept. 4
• 6:30 p.m. CAOZZ, featuring Brian Stover performs on the main stage on Main Street
• 8:30 p.m. Red Woody performs on the main stage on Main Street
Saturday, Sept. 5
• 7 a.m. Romp in the Park Run/Walk
• 8 a.m. Baseball at the Civic Center
• 9 a.m. Crafters
• 1 p.m. Toilet bowl race
• 2 p.m. Methodist Church praise band
• 3:30 p.m. Back Country Roads performs on the main stage on Main Street
• 5 p.m. Miller Hometown Band performs on the main stage on Main Street
• 6 p.m. Fun Fest parade
• 9 p.m. Hi Infidelity performs on the main stage on Main Street
Sunday, Sept. 6
• 7 a.m. Legion buffet breakfast
• 8 a.m. Baseball at the Civic Center
• 8:30 p.m. Fireworks
Monday, Sept. 7
• 7 a.m. Legion buffet breakfast
• 8 a.m. Baseball at the Civic Center

Fireworks highlight Fun Fest skies

by Susan O’Neill
This year marks the beginning of a second decade of fireworks at the Maple Park Fun Fest.

Maple Park resident Roger Kahl, who is in charge of the fireworks show on Sunday night, is a Department of Natural Resources licensed explosives expert. Kahl sets off the fireworks displays for other festivals in the area, including his most recent gig at Kaneville Fest the weekend of Aug. 29-30.

Kahl and his crew, including Allen Kahl and John Grommes, took the safety class 11 years ago through their employer, S&N Display Fireworks.

Some of their wives have taken the class as well, and they assist with unwrapping and loading shells, as well as clean-up.

The fireworks show is staged at Squire’s Crossing subdivision on County Line Road. It takes place Sunday night, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Looking good for 34

All ages can enjoy Maple Park Fun Fest on Labor Day weekend, although the most action might be had by something in its mid-30s, the annual softball tournament.

Back again at Fun Fest on Labor Day weekend is the Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball tournament at the Civic Center fields.

The games begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5. Sunday’s games start at 8 a.m. on Sept. 6, while the finals begin at 8 a.m. on Labor Day.

The tournament is double-elimination, with 14 teams signed up so far. First prize in the tournament is set for $350 dollars, with second place nabbing $250 and third place getting $150.

The 2008 version of the tournament was taken by AM Lumber over Those Guys.

Fun(fest) run

Romp in the Park early Saturday
by Ben Draper
It’s been a cool summer—not ideal for backyard swimmers, but great for summer running.

The 11th annual Romp in the Park will likely feature cool temperatures for a second-straight year, with a high temperature only projected to reach 75 degrees.

The annual event, which takes place during the Maple Park Fun Fest on Saturday, Sept. 5, features two races.

At 8 a.m., the 5K kicks off at the corner of Washington and Kane streets. Last year’s 5K winner was Scott Peterson with a time of 19:46.

The 5K features seven age groups: under 15, 15-18, 19-25, 26-35, 36-50, 51-60, and 61 and over.

The two-mile walk/run gets going right after the 5K, at 8:10 a.m.

The two-mile walk/run has four age groups: under 14, under 30, under 60, and 60 and over.

The 5K entry fee is $10, or $13 on race day. The 2-mile walk/run is $7, or $10 on race day.

Race-day signup runs from 7 to 7:50 a.m.

The first 100 registrants will get a free Romp in the Park T-shirt. All participants receive a ribbon.

For more information on the event or to register, visit in_the_park.pdf. A signature from a parent or guardian is needed for anyone under 18.