Category Archives: Local News

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Local business supports leukemia research

New Dimensions Weight Management will host an open house at 2600 Keslinger Road in Geneva from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, to benefit the the Friends of Jason Gould Foundation for leukemia and lymphoma research.

There will be specials for new and old clients, and several vendors will be present. Free drawings will be held every 30 minutes, and food will also be available.

Call Sandy Gould at New Dimensions at (630) 262-1477 for more information.

Proceeds from the open house will support Jason’s Hogfan Party fundraiser, to be held at the St Charles Moose on Saturday, Sept. 12. The event will support the cancer research center at Ohio State University, specifically for leukemia and lymphoma research. Visit

Proceeds from the open house
will support
Jason’s Hogfan
Party fundraiser
St Charles Moose
Saturday, Sept. 12
The event will support
the cancer research center at
Ohio State University

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center offers afternoon of fun

The LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, a provider of non-medical support at no cost for people living with cancer, will host an afternoon of fun and fantasy on Saturday, June 13, from noon to 3 p.m. for children who have been diagnosed with cancer, or for those who have a family member with cancer.

This event is free, but registration is required by Wednesday, June 10. Call (630) 262-1111 to register.

“This is a dress-up party for children dealing with cancer themselves or in their families,” said Susan Mielke, LivingWell special events coordinator. “All of our participants are encouraged to bring children, grandchildren and friends.”

Attendees may dress up, in fantasy clothes or any outfits that make them feel like royalty to match the castle theme.

“We will have a magic show, a clown doing balloon sculpture, art projects, pet therapy dogs, face painting, cookie ‘castle’ decorating, pizza, castle cake and ice cream and more,” Susan said. “This wonderful ‘dress-up’ party for our little ones came from Shannon Fairlamb, a cancer survivor and a LivingWell friend. We are so excited to offer this magical afternoon.”

LivingWell is located at 1803 W. State St., in Geneva, and online at LivingWell is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and can be contacted at (630) 262-1111.

KHS mourns loss of senior

by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland High School senior Andie Christoffel was to graduate on Sunday, his whole life ahead of him. Instead, the 18-year-old passed away on Monday afternoon in a hospital in Rockford, the result of injuries caused when a train hit him on Saturday night.

An employee of the Union Pacific Railroad called 911 at about 10:45 p.m. on Saturday to report the sighting of a figure on the tracks west of Somonauk Road in Cortland. When the Cortland police arrived at the scene, they found Christoffel, who was badly injured.

He was taken to Kishwaukee Hospital by the DeKalb City Fire Department, and then airlifted to a Rockford hospital, where he died on Monday.

Cortland police are working with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and Union Pacific Railroad police to investigate the incident.

“It’s a very, very unfortunate tragic incident,” Cortland Police Chief Russ Stokes said.

Kaneland School District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said a representative of the family informed the school of Christoffel’s condition on Sunday morning. A school official spoke to a member of his family on Monday.

Although the graduating seniors are officially finished with school, the school administration has invited them back to talk with other students, teachers and counselors as they feel the need. McCormick said that Christoffel also had a good mix of friends in the upper classes, as well as in his own class.

A staff person from Conley Outreach has been available at the school.

“We are most pleased to have a resource like that in the community,” McCormick said. “I’m saddened we use it as often as we do.”

In another Kaneland tragedy, high school seniors Blake Denton and Jeff Malewig, both from Sugar Grove, died in a car crash in December 2008 while on their way to the high school.

Kaneland High School Assistant Principal Diane McFarland remembered Christoffel on Wednesday.

“Andie was artistic, creative, compassionate and smart,” she said.

After the Northern Illinois University tragedy last year, McFarland said Christoffel was one of the students who spearheaded putting together a memorial poster for the students.

“He was incredibly compassionate and had an amazing gentle spirit,” McFarland said. “His incredible sense of humor and style will be missed.”

Andie attended the Fox Valley Career Center, where he took graphic arts and high-level computer classes.

Nikki Larsen, the Graphics Communications teacher, was one of his teachers at the career center.

She has been working with the students this week to create a T-shirt and a memorial poster for him.

“She has been a haven for a lot of his friends,” McFarland said.

Ice cream man sentenced for child sexual exploitation

by Susan O’Neill
A former ordained Presbyterian minister and substitute high school teacher has been sentenced to a jail term and ordered to undergo specialized sex offender probation for displaying his genitals in the presence of a small child in 2007.

Douglas R. Jones, 48, of the 100 block of Middle Avenue, Aurora, was driving an ice cream truck for an Aurora-based company in the Walnut Woods Subdivision in Sugar Grove in July 2007 when a resident, the father of a 3-year-old boy, said he saw Jones expose himself. The father said his son was walking toward the ice cream truck parked at the end of his driveway.

Jones was arrested minutes later near a swimming pool in the Prestbury Subdivision.

Jones was sentenced last week by Kane County Circuit Judge Robert B. Spence to 30 months of sex offender probation and a term of 15 days in the Kane County Jail for his conviction of sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony. Jones will serve his jail term over a number of weekends.

Jones was convicted on Jan. 13 by a Kane County jury.

He had no prior record and had been a substitute teacher in the East Aurora School District.

Under the terms of his probation, Jones is required to participate in individual and group counseling and is prohibited from being in possession of pornography or accessing Internet sites containing pornography and being in or near adult bookstores.

He is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with any children, as well as from living, working or loitering near a school, park, playground, library or any other place primarily used by children under age 18. He must maintain a daily activity log of his whereabouts at all times.

Jones must register as a convicted sex offender for the next 10 years, and the state will seek to have Jones’ teaching certification revoked.

According to a press release from the State’s Attorney’s Office, Judge Spence stated he was troubled that the offense was against a stranger and a very young child. He said he believed Jones was a moderate risk to re-offend and that the jail term was necessary to remind Jones that he must “fully participate and cooperate” with the terms of the probation.

“He can’t have contact with kids anymore,” Sugar Grove investigator John Sizer said. “That was what we wanted.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys Danielle Bechtold and Pam Monaco prosecuted the case.

Bankrupt developer still plans huge project

Welch Fields delayed by Chapter 11, housing market
by Martha Quetsch
Kirk Homes still plans to build the 350-acre Welch Fields development in Elburn even though the company filed for bankruptcy May 13.

“We are not abandoning the project. We have put quite a bit of work and money into it,” Kirk Homes President John Carroll said. “But we will be a bit preoccupied for awhile with our (Chapter 11) reorganization plan, which is complex.”

Kirk Homes proposed the project six years ago for farmland along both sides of Route 38 just west of Route 47. The development plan includes commercial development and 950 residential units, including single-family homes, attached single-family dwellings, duplexes and townhomes.

So far, Kirk Homes has done preliminary engineering and plat planning for Welch Fields. Village officials and Kirk Homes representatives last met on Feb. 3 to discuss the Welch Fields project. Since then, the village has not received notice from the company regarding any changes in its plan to develop Welch Creek, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

It might be a few months or longer before the company pursues preliminary planning approval of the project from the Elburn Planning Commission, Carroll said.

Carroll is uncertain when the company will proceed with the next step-pre-annexation approval-because of the housing market decline.

Before the village annexes Welch Fields, Kirk Homes must agree to help pay for expanding Elburn’s wastewater treatment facility to service the additional homes it brings, village officials said.

“Getting our arms around the wastewater treatment contribution will be a big issue,” Carroll said. “We will work it out with village officials, it will just take time.”

Streamwood, Ill.-based Kirk Homes was founded in 1978 and has developed more than 50 neighborhoods in the Chicago area.

Werdins share World War II memories of Kaneville

by Susan O’Neill
On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7, 1941, Kaneville resident Lynette Werdin was helping with lunch dishes and listening to music on the radio.

“The music stopped and said that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor,” she said. “Where’s Pearl Harbor, we wondered.”

Werdin and her husband Dave told the audience gathered for the Memorial Day services at the Community Center on Monday what it was like to live in Kaneville during World War II.

“It was all really scary,” she said. “We had been feeling secure with the Atlantic Ocean between us and the war. We didn’t feel threatened until Dec. 7.”

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor took place in 1941, Hawaii was not yet a state. For all four years of the war, Werdin said she was a teenager in high school. She was about to get a geography lesson every day as a result of the war.

Werdin’s grandmother lived with them, and she would listen to news of the war on the radio every night. In the morning, she would show the rest of the family all the places on the map where the war had taken place the night before.

There were places Werdin had never heard of before, such as the Solomon Islands, the Coral Sea and Midway, Okinawa and New Guinea. Werdin still has the maps, with all the arrows and other markings on them.

“There was such rotten news every day,” Werdin said.

She recalled when rationing began in Kaneville, with items such as dairy products and cheese, meat, coffee, sugar and chocolate. She said her mother used to save little bits of sugar to make birthday cakes for her and her siblings. They were only allowed one pair of leather shoes a year.

Gasoline and tires were the worst things, she said. There were ration cards and stamps. They were limited to just a few gallons a week. As a teenager, she was disappointed when they didn’t have enough gas to get to Sandwich to go roller skating.

With four years during which no tires were made, she said they would often see people on the side of the road fixing flat tires.

Women came out of the kitchens, put on their hard hats and went to work in the war plants. At 16 years old, Lynette went to work on Saturdays and Sundays at Burgess-Norton Manufacturing Company in Geneva. She made 35 cents an hour, $3 for an eight-hour day.

Kaneville residents who were not working would go to Troxel every day and watch for airplanes. They were the air patrol, and protected Chicago from air strikes.

Werdin said that for all four years, no one knew if the United States would win the war. The rumor was that if Japan and Germany won, they would split the U.S. down the middle at the Mississippi River. Japan would take one side and Germany the other.

“We were so relieved when we got word that the war was over,” she said.

Dave Werdin’s job started with the end of the war. Dave spent a year in Japan after the war, helping to rebuild the cities that had been destroyed there.

“Everyone was so sick of killing and destroying,” he said. “World War I taught us a lesson. It bred hatred and this gave us Hitler. The troops weren’t done when the war was over. There was a peace to win.”

PHOTO: A World War II cannon with replica shells was decorated with flowers for the Memorial Service at the Kanevile Cementery on Monday in honor of the day’s events. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Park District wants feedback on 10-year plan

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove Township Park District residents will have a chance to comment on the Park District’s 10-year master plan before it is approved at the next District Board meeting on Monday, June 8.

The plan includes evaluations and suggestions for improvements of each park and its existing structures and suggestions for standards for future parks. Improvements to current programs and recommendations for future programming are also included.

Last year, the Park District Board hired an outside firm, Leisure Vision, to find out what residents wanted from their Park District and what recreational opportunities were important to them.

Responses from a survey sent to district residents, input from community members and staff in a number of focus groups, as well as an independent evaluation of the condition of the parks was used to create the plan.

Residents said that biking and walking trails were the most important to them, with an indoor fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, golf course and driving range and playgrounds also among the most-desired recreation facilities. Adult fitness and youth sports programs, swimming and golf lessons, and leagues and special events, were the programs chosen most important.

Park District Director Greg Repede said that early childhood programming is also a growth area for the district. While there is no funding currently to build a recreational facility there is no need for one at this point, he said. Sugar Grove Park District residents enjoy resident-level fees at Fox Valley Park District facilities such as the Vaughan Center.

“The consultants said that based on the resources, we’re doing extremely well with what we have,” Repede said.

Repede said the next step would be for the board to go through the plan to prioritize what can be done. He emphasized that residents should not consider the plan a springboard for a referendum.

“We’re not proposing anything except to approve the plan,” Repede said. “It’s a blueprint for the future.”

A copy of the plan is available for public vieweing at the Park District office on Main Street.

Keslinger Plaza developer violates ordiances

by Martha Quetsch
Elburn village officials want the Keslinger Plaza commercial project to proceed, but before that can happen, the developer must comply with village ordinances.

On Nov. 17, 2007, the Village Board approved Grobmar Investments’ final plan for three of its four commercial lots on the northwest corner of Keslinger Road and Route 47.

Since then, the village has not received any payments from Grobmar to bring its escrow balance up to the $20,000 amount required by ordinance. The balance currently is $8,160.

The village previously required Grobmar to maintain a $10,000 balance, but doubled it in November because the developer was seriously delinquent, Community Development Director David Morrison said Tuesday.

Elburn requires developers to maintain a specified escrow account balance to ensure payment of any village expenses related to their projects. In addition, the developer violated the Subdivision Control Ordinance by failing to record the development plat with the county within three months after village approval.

Village officials notified Grobmar in a letter May 20 of the escrow delinquency and the violation, encouraging the developer to comply with its ordinances so that Keslinger Plaza can be developed.

Signed by Village President Dave Anderson, the letter said, “The Village would like to see this project continue to move forward.”

The Elburn Herald phoned Grobmar president Ken Marino Wednesday morning about the developer’s intentions, but he did not return the call before the newspaper’s production deadline.

Village-required escrow accounts
Escrow funds maintained by developers cover Elburn’s costs related to the “considerable review” for development and rezoning projects, Community Development Director David Morrison said during the Development Committee meeting Tuesday.

“We want to make sure the residents of Elburn do not have to pay the costs of development,” Morrison said.

Morrison said the village’s escrow account requirement ensures the village is covered for its costs “in case the developer walks away.”

Village officials plan to bill developers including Grobmar Investments whose escrow balances are delinquent.

County resident dies as result of complications related to H1N1 flu

A Kane County resident died Thursday from complications due to the H1N1 flu virus, the Kane County Health Department reported today. The death is the third linked to the virus in Illinois.

In addition to having the H1N1 virus, the 42-year-old man had underlying medical conditions. Due to privacy concerns, the Health Department will not release any further information about the case.

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to this family,” said Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert. “With the case numbers rising across the state and the country, it’s tragic but not unexpected that we would see this happening in our county. We know the virus is in our community and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and our families. People with chronic medical conditions need to take special care to protect themselves from influenza.”

The total case count at this time in Kane County 35.

Everyday actions people can take to stay healthy are:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Stay home if you’re sick.

Lions host annual motorcycle ride June 7

The Elburn Lions Club will host its 10th anniversary Motorcycle Ride on Sunday, June 7.

The 80-mile “open road” ride through scenic country roads will begin and finish at Elburn Lions Park, 500 S. Fillmore St., Elburn. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Elburn Lions Park. Bikes embark between 9 and 11 a.m.

Vendors, food and beverage will be available throughout the day. Upon returning to Lions Park, all will be entertained by the musical group 61 Beale Street. The event will last until 4 p.m. Additional events will include a huge 50/ 50 raffle, a Poker Walk in the Wark and an Ironhorse Rodeo.

All motorcyclists are welcome and encouraged to attend.

This is a charity event hosted by volunteers to benefit Leader Dog, Camp Lions, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Illinois and Christmas Gifts for Needy Kids, which purchases Christmas gifts for local DCFS youths.

Additional information can be obtained at


Members of American Legion Post No. 630 march from Elburn Lion’s Park to Blackberry Cemetery in Elburn during the village’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday. Photo by Bob Schilling

S.G. Chamber hosts ‘Living Green’ seminar series

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a series of breakfast seminars designed to help consumers learn more about going green—its benefits, its costs, and what would work best for their circumstances.

Seminar III, originally scheduled for May 7, has been postponed until noon on Thursday, June 11, at the Sugar Grove Fire District on Municipal Drive. Admission is $15 or two for $25, and includes lunch.

For more information or to register, call (630) 466-7895 or visit

Library seeks recipes from community

Town & Country Public Library
320 E. North St., Elburn • (630) 365-2244

Library seeks recipes from community
The Friends of the Town and Country Public Library is putting together a cookbook in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of the library, including recipes submitted by members of the community. The cookbook will be available in August.

Interested residents can submit their recipes to

Read on the Wild Side
Read on the Wild Side is the theme of the Town and Country public Library’s 2009 summer reading program.

Summer reading is a 10-week program, and runs from Monday, June 1, through Saturday, Aug. 8.

Wild animals from Big Run Wolf Ranch will be at the library at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, to kick off the summer of events.

The calendar for summer reading programs is available at

Early liquor sales allowed for motorcycle event

by Martha Quetsch
Elburn Lions Club and Knuckleheads Tavern will sell liquor on Sunday morning, June 7, the day of the Elburn Motorcycle Run.

An Elburn ordinance prohibits liquor sales before noon on Sunday. However, the Village Board unanimously agreed Monday to allow the bar to sell alcohol and the Lions Club a temporary exemption because the event benefits charities.

The Lions hold a public party at Lions Park in conjunction with the motorcycle ride, and Knuckleheads opens early. The Lions will start selling alcohol at 11 a.m. the day of the event, and Knucklheads will start at 10 a.m.

Pay attention, please

High school restricts cell phone use
by Lynn Meredith
The experiment to allow students to carry cell phones—even though they are required to be turned off—during school hours has not worked.

“We’ve had more and more issues with cell phones this year,” Assistant High School Principal Ian Smith said. “The students are texting, taking pictures and videos, sharing answers on tests and surfing the Internet during class.”

The school will go back to what it did previously and not allow students to carry the phones on their persons. They will be allowed to use them before and after school.

If caught using the phone, the student will be given detention and the phone confiscated for the day for the first offense with penalties increasing for subsequent offenses.

Vehicle tax stickers due

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

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

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

Lunch Bunch gathers June 2

The Kaneville Lunch Bunch will meet at noon on Tuesday, June 2, for a lunch of mixed green salad with barbecue chicken, cheesy potatotes, beverage and dessert.

The cost is $5, and the gather will take place in the village room at the community center in Kaneville. Call Food For Thought at (630) 557-2220 for a reservation.

Natural history field class set for Bliss Woods

Naturalist Mary Ochsenschlager will lead a field class on the natural history of Bliss Woods in Sugar Grove on Thursday, June 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The fee is $10 per person. The class is part of the Learn from the Experts series of adult ecology classes sponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the St. Charles Park District, the Geneva Park District and the Fox Valley Park District.

Ochsenschlager, recently retired from the St. Charles Park District, is an active steward at Bliss Woods and has in-depth knowledge of the site. The class will include an overview of the geologic history of the area, the changing landscape, its flora and fauna, and restoration management of the site.

Bliss Woods Forest Preserve is located at 5S660 Bliss Road, Sugar Grove. To register, call (847) 741-8350 or e-mail

Conley Outreach offers Friendship Night

Friendship Night, a self-help group for grieving adults, will meet Thursday, May 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Great Lakes Leadership Campus, 526 Main St. in Elburn. This month’s topic will be “The Stages of Grief … Will It Ever End?” Light refreshments and a time for informal sharing follow the group discussion.

For more information, call Conley Outreach at (630) 365-2880.

Andrew Christoffel fund established

A memorial fund has been established in memory of Andrew Christoffel at Old Second Bank in Elburn. Friends, family and those touched by his loss may contribute to the fund, which will used to help the family with medical and funeral expenses. Checks may be written to the Andrew Christoffel Memorial Fund and sent to the Andrew Christoffel Memorial Fund, Old Second Bank, 749 N. Main St., or at PO Box 8018, Elburn, IL 60119.

Editorial: How much is a victory worth?

Four years ago, the Kaneland School District was on the verge of losing all extra-curricular activities, including athletics, due to lack of funding.

Voters passed a referendum to preserve athletics and clubs, as well as a large number of academic programs not considered part of the core curriculum.

Voters again passed a referendum in February 2008, this time for construction costs for a new middle school, work on the existing middle school, and other improvements throughout the district.

Fast forward to today, and the Kaneland School District just voted to leave the Western Sun Conference following the 2009-2010 school year and join a new conference consisting of several current WSC schools, as well as schools farther to the west and south (see related story), the farthest of which is 112 miles away.

It is clear that there was not enough support from WSC schools for the conference to remain, making the district’s decision to formally announce its pending departure from the conference one of obvious necessity.

However, the choice of a new conference seems odd when budgets are so tight that staff has to be reduced, field trips have to be cut, the current middle school will not remain open as the new one opens its doors for the 2009-10 school year, and general cost-cutting must occur throughout the district.

It seems odd that there was not more consideration given to the increase in costs when Kaneland athletics teams will add six teams to the conference that are more than 50 miles away.

Based on the comments we have printed in our stories about the switch, the decision was largely based on the fact that Kaneland will face more equitable competition because the new conference will consist of schools closer to Kaneland’s enrollment than the WSC. With similar enrollment numbers, Kaneland will have an easier time facing competition more at its level.

No one can deny that this is a good thing for Kaneland athletics, at least in terms of wins and losses.

However, is this good for the district’s financial picture?

School Board member Cheryl Krauspe, who voted in favor of the move to leave the WSC but was the only dissenting vote to join the new conference, said she was told the increased cost would be between $400 and $800 per sport. With 16 sports, that means the estimated annual cost increase is between $6,400 and $12,800. Certainly, when talking about total budgets in the millions of dollars, a few thousand is really a negligable amount.

Yet, was there any discussion as to how many field trips could be reinstated with around $10,000; or if the money could instead be used to prevent a reduction in materials for any number of programs negatively impacted by the district’s financial situation? Was there significant discussion on the impacts of traveling upwards of two hours to, and two hours from, a sporting event? Athletic events less than a half hour away can sometimes last late into the evening. Now imagine a two-hour return drive.

On the surface, it seems there is a small increase in the expenses, and the traveling impacts may be negligable; but at the same time it would be nice to know that officials are consistently looking for ways to reduce costs, not increase them—at least until Kaneland’s finances are sound enough that it can afford to use the new middle school as a second school, not merely to replace the old one. To paraphrase a famous saying, a few thousand here and a few thousand there, and pretty soon we are talking about real money.

We are glad disbanding the WSC did not leave Kaneland twisting in the wind on its own; and we are glad Kaneland will face equal competition, which will naturally lead to more victories.

Yet, there is something off-putting when academics take a financial hit while an increase in athletics is justified because it will translate into more victories.

We were glad to see Krauspe question the costs of the decision, if for nothing else than to ensure that the questions were raised, the information shared, and the district moving forward after being reminded that even a few thousand dollars can have a large impact; whether on the playing field or in the classroom.

Heading west

Kaneland to join new western conference
by Lynn Meredith
Kaneland will join some of its traditional rivals and leave others behind when it becomes part of a new conference starting in the 2010-11 school year.

On Tuesday, the Kaneland School Board unanimously voted to leave the Western Sun Conference (WSC). In a 6-1 vote, it approved joining a newly formed conference that includes schools to the west and south.

DeKalb, Yorkville and Rochelle, schools similar in size to Kaneland, have already followed suit and voted to join the new conference, leaving the WSC non-existent.

“The Western Sun Conference as it is will no longer exist at the end of next school year,” Superintendent Charlie McCormick said. “The WSC will not continue as it is.”

If Kaneland had remained with its traditional rivals, Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, it would have been the smaller school in the conference. In the new conference, Kaneland will play schools that comprise the North Central Illinois Conference Reagan Division. The new conference will include Sterling, Ottawa, Dixon, Geneseo, Morris, LaSalle-Peru and Streator, in addition to DeKalb, Sycamore and Rochelle.

School Board member Cheryl Krauspe voted against joining the new conference. She said she supports the athletic program, the athletes and the teams, but feels that adding travel expenses to an already strapped budget is not something she can support.

“The decision to join the new conference is a tough one for me, because this board in the last few years has had to make hard decisions. We’ve been cutting field trips and teachers and paraprofessionals and supplies and all kinds of things. At this time to increase the travel budget for a new athletic conference doesn’t make sense to me,” Krauspe said. “I remember four years ago when we almost lost our athletic program, and I feel a future responsibility that we don’t get back to that point.”

Athletic Director Leigh Jaffke said that expenses and missed school will be kept to a minimum. Kaneland may still get a chance to play Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia in non-conference games in certain sports, but not all sports.

“The change will enable Kaneland teams to compete on a more level playing field against similarly-sized schools,” Jaffke said.

Letter: Time for change

As our community continues to live with the growing pains of a rural area going urban at the speed of light, one can’t help but wonder how we can develop our students with our present means.

Our superintendent provides our School Board with tough decisions on items such as expansion projects, curriculum and staffing, to name a few. Everyone seems to be tightening their belts, with the exception of the teacher’s union.

Back in the 1920s, unions were created to protect/fight for laborers from poor working conditions, a fair wage, benefits and the like. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the teachers union is still concerned with a fair wage, working conditions and also pensions, tenure and the next contract.

Has the executive board of the teachers union come forward and offered to defer their salary increases? Did the teachers union fight for their teachers that have paid their dues and still were let go? Or has the teachers union been steadfast to maintain tenure and pensions? If we want to maintain the highest quality of teachers, allow them to work at their highest potential and pay them accordingly.

Installing a merit system of pay will attract teachers who are excited about their job of teaching our kids. In turn, our kids will learn, they will be motivated to excel and they will be challenged by teachers who love what they do. The teachers win too. The top performers will earn top pay, and the ones who don’t, won’t.

As our schools prepare for the upcoming school year with overcrowded classrooms, worn classroom materials and some teachers going through the motions, teachers need to ask themselves if they are doing it for the kids or doing it for their retirement. If it is for the retirement, get rid of your union and do your job for our kids.

Jack Augusty, Elburn

Letter: Reforms need to be passed

With only two weeks to go, still no action in the Illinois Legislature on the 34 needed reforms to state government proposed by the bipartisan Illinois Reform Commission. The delay has the appearance of the fate of past reforms: “Wait it out” until the Legislature recesses for the year, thus killing them.

Whether you are Republicans or Democrats, these needed reforms to clean up Illinois government will have a beneficial effect on your lives and your pocketbooks.

Time is getting short. To learn more, visit the Reform Commission’s website, Then call or e-mail state representatives Tim Schmitz and Kay Hatcher—Schmitz at (630) 845-9590, email; Hatcher at Tell them you want them to vote yes on the reform package.

Also, tell them you want them to vote yes on Senate Bill 600, to return to GOP voters the right to vote for Republican State Central Committeemen, a right already enjoyed by Democrat voters. The current Republican system to select Central Committeemen has allowed a group of rascals to control the Illinois GOP for over 20 years, and must be changed. Good government must begin at the party level.

Dennis C. Ryan
Western Kane County
Republican Organization
Supporters of SB 600

Letter: We need funds for Corn Boil fireworks

The Sugar Grove Lions Club has been busy placing donation cans in local Sugar Grove businesses and municipal buildings in hopes of raising funds for the best darn fire works display for this year’s Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

Fireworks will be displayed on Saturday, July 25.

Fireworks donations by individuals or businesses are most appreciated and needed and can be mailed in at any time for the 2009 firework display to: The Sugar Grove Corn Boil, P O Box 225, Sugar Grove, IL 60554. Checks can be made payable to: Sugar Grove Lions.

If your business would like to become a Corn Boil sponsor, or if you or your group would like to volunteer for the actual event, call (630) 466-5166 and a volunteer will get back to you. The complete schedule for the July 24-26 event can be found at

Pat Graceffa
Sugar Grove

Doggone it … naming a pet should be simple

by Gwen Allen
There are few things in life that are truly easy, but naming a pet, at least for most people, is definitely one of them.

For instance, you rarely see people buying $20 pet name books to determine their meanings, like they do for babies. And most pet owners don’t scour the Internet looking for a perfect name in fear that the wrong one will cause ridicule and future psychological problems.

Nope, the true beauty in naming a pet is you can choose anything. Be as creative, uncreative or crazy as you want and they will still love you unconditionally.

Sometimes naming a pet is as easy as looking at them. An aggressive dog could most certainly pull off the name Killer, while a cat with white paws is a dead ringer for Socks.

Owner of Happy Tails Pet Spa in St. Charles, John Quillman, said pets that come through his doors have names that are all over the place, but that he has noticed cats with more original names.

“With dogs, there are lots of Max or Mollies, but I have heard cats called Moulder from X-Files, Versace or Tommy Salami, which is my cat’s name,” Quillman said, laughing.

He said one of his favorite pets, named Toby, is a Yorkie whose owner is a cowboy.

“I think it (his name) comes from a country singer,” Quillman said. “But Toby is his little buddy, and it just fits him.”

Dr. Cechner at the Elburn Animal Hospital said in the past 16 years, she has seen many different pets with many different names, but very little consistency.

She has had a cat named Bunny, a female cat named Dave and a male cat named Princess.

“A lot of times the kids name them, but cats names can go one way or another, sometimes masculine, sometimes not,” Cechner said. “Now dogs seem to have a little more masculine names.”

Some of her patients also have offbeat names, like a dog named Dioge. But she said there are still a lot with more traditional names, like Tigger for cats and Bailey, Harley or Buddy for dogs.

Then, for whatever reason, there are pets with two or three names.

“Sometimes when they come in they have multiple names; my own pet is Sam Simone,” Cechner said. “He came as a Simon and my son didn’t like the name and wanted to change it. We said he couldn’t do that to him, so we added Sam.”

Naming a pet should be a fun endeavor, not a chore. An easy choice is picking a feature and naming them after it (i.e. fluffy, scrappy or spot). Creatively look to poetry, your favorite novel, or an icon. An offhand name can be interesting too, but that may take more time to contrive.

Whatever your choice, just be sure that you like it, because you are sure to coo, call or sometimes even scream it for many years to come.

Kaneland: Student Tragedy

Update: Donations may be sent to Old Second Bank, c/o Andrew Christoffel Memorial Fund, 749 N. Main Street, PO Box 8018, Elburn, IL 60119.

From >>
It is with great sadness that we inform you about the tragic events of one of our graduating seniors, Andrew Christoffel. With limited details available, the Kaneland High School crisis team will formulate a plan to support students and staff that will be affected by this news. Conley Outreach will be sending staff to the high school on Tuesday to be part of our crisis team. Most likely the gathering place for students will be the high school library. We are also concerned about the seniors who are no longer attending school, but who may be affected by this tragedy and very well may need a place to go in the next few days. We certainly welcome them to return to school for support.

Conley Outreach has provided information regarding teens and grieving at its website Students, teachers and parents may find this information useful.

Please keep Andie’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. We will update you as we have more information to share.

Conley pamphlet on Teen Grief >>

Long-time SG resident, naturalist will serve on Park District Board

by Susan O’Neill
Former St. Charles Park District naturalist and Kane County Plan Commission Chairman Mary Ochsenschlager will join the Sugar Grove Park District Board in June. Ochsenschlager, who has lived in Sugar Grove for 34 years, said she looks forward to being able to contribute in her own community.

Ochsenschlager, who retired two years ago, said she joined the Kane County Plan Commission in 1980 because she came to realize how important land use decisions were to the environment, and how important the people who make those decisions are.

“It gave me a chance to learn and perhaps to have some sort of an impact, to help both land protection and development be more compatible,” she said.

Although her work on the Plan Commission came to an end in 2007, Ochsenschlager continued her stewardship of the land through serving on the Kane-DuPage Soil and Water Conservation District Board, an entity involved in erosion control and helping to set policy for the district.

She teaches classes for Master Naturalist certification in a program co-sponsored by the St. Charles and Geneva Park districts, the Kane County Forest Preserve and the Fox Valley Park District.

Closer to home, she became a volunteer steward for Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, heading up monthly work days to clear out invasive plants and brush.

“I’m interested in open space issues, parks and recreation,” she said. “I am interested in environmental issues, but I don’t have a specific agenda. I’d like to see where I can contribute.”

Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede said he and the other board members were impressed with Ochsenschlager’s sincerity and her expertise. They interviewed her and one other candidate before appointing Ochsenschlager.

“I’m also impressed with her knowledge of Park District operations, her contacts in the community and the extensive work she’s done in the county,” he said.

Ochelschlager will be sworn in at the Park District Board’s June 8 meeting.