Category Archives: Local News

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Youth sports to benefit from Forest Preserve purchase

BLACKBERRY TWP.—Thanks to the Kane County Forest Preserve, Elburn and Kaneland community sports teams will have an expanded field for softball and baseball, soccer, football and lacrosse.

Kane County Board District 18 Representative Drew Frasz attended last week’s Blackberry Township meeting to announce the purchase. The land, originally owned by the Gum family, was sold to the Forest Preserve by Donald Westlake, who was married to Helen Gum Westlake until her death in 2012.

The 62 acres is located on Bateman Road, south of and adjacent to McNair Field, where Elburn’s Youth Baseball and Softball team has played for years. The Forest Preserve paid $10,000 an acre for the land, for a total of approximately $620,000. The closing on the property took place Sept. 30.

The Forest Preserve will enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Blackberry Township, which will coordinate the development and construction of the field with the leagues.

The township has for some time carried an annual line item of $10,000 in its budget for youth sports, Blackberry Township Supervisor Fred Dornback said. He said the township would coordinate the use of the space, and will grade and seed the site, as well as providing rudimentary roads and parking areas.

Then it would be up to the youth sports groups to develop and maintain the fields, he said.

“We won’t be spending any new tax money,” Dornback said. “We’re in the facilitating business.”

Frasz said that he saw a lot of opportunities for people to donate their talent and time. He said the Forest Preserve sees this as a “citizen-led effort.”

The township will apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. If it receives the grant money, those funds, together with local fundraising and individual and company donations, will be used to make the necessary improvements.

One of the Forest Preserve’s requirements will be for portions of the property restored to prairie, with walking trails and benches for anyone to use. In addition, Dornback said one of the wishes of the township, going back to when Dave Anderson was the supervisor, is to have a common area where a family can get together to play volleyball, or kids can play pick-up games.

“When I was a kid, that’s how we did it,” Dornback said.

McNair Field had been leased by Blackberry Township from the Transmission Relay Corporation since it purchased the land in 2003. The lease had granted the local athletic leagues the use of five of the corporation’s 20 acres, located south and east of the intersection of Bateman and Rowe roads. The 10-year lease expired in April 2013.

Although the township negotiated a new lease with the owners, it was a short-term agreement.

“This will take away the fear of losing the land,” Frasz said. “It gives more long-term stability.”

Click to view larger map
Click to view larger map

Photo: Maple Park High School Class of 1952 reunion

The Maple Park High School Class of 1952 held its 62-year reunion on Oct. 11 at Sorrento’s in Maple Park. There were eight class members and six guests present for the dinner and social time. Bernie Ziegler (back row, from left), Wendell Dienst, Dick Carlson, Orval Peterson and Stuart Burgess; Alice (Lindbloom) Hintzsche (center row); Charlotte (Needham) Clarke (front row) and Inez (Pierson) Kenneway. Letters were received from Rose Mary (Keifer) Jacobson, Janet (Askelson) Hartman, Art White, Pat (Olsen) Holman, Ethel (Albert) Busch and Sally (Roger) King.
Photo submitted by Stuart Burgess to 525 N. Main St., Suite 2, Elburn.

Kaneland interested in potential STEM school partnership

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Oct. 15 voted 6-0 to move from an exploratory phase to an interest phase regarding the John C. Dunham Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Partnership School.

The School Board in August expressed interest in exploring a partnership with the STEM school, and later sent partnership representatives a letter indicating Kaneland School District’s interest in becoming involved with the partnership school.

According to a district news release, the partnership school’s development stage is marked with collaboration between business, public school, higher education and non-profit professionals.

“The completed course of study will infuse manufacturing, engineering and design principles into the student learning experiences,” the release stated.

Partners include Google, DuPage Children’s Museum, Caterpillar, Nicor Gas and SciTech Hands-on Museum.

Mike Purcell, Kaneland director of Educational Services 6-12, noted that the board’s vote is not a commitment.

“We are not committed to anything,” Purcell said.

This year, nearly 150 students from the West Aurora, East Aurora and Indian Prairie school districts attend STEM at Aurora University. The students range from grades third through eighth,

Purcell said that the district would “mirror” what other districts are doing in regard to student selection, which would involve use of a lottery system. The expectation is that interested students will apply for STEM.

“We want to be as fair and equitable as possible,” Purcell said. “We want to open the doors.”

The School Board expects to receive more information regarding the potential partnership.

According to the news release, the cost of the partnership will be calculated at the lowest per-pupil-rate of all school districts participating. The report added that total cost will be offset by the Kaneland staff assigned to the partnership school. The release states that transportation for Kaneland students will fall on the School District.

School Board President Cheryl Krauspe noted what she’ll look for when the matter comes back to the School Board.

“I’d like to see what other districts are doing,” she said.

Editorial: Oh, look: some good news

We’d like to take a moment and step away from the ongoing story involving the Nov. 4 Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District disconnection referendum to focus, albeit briefly, on some local news.

Elburn recently saw the addition of not just one, but two coffee shops.
The first coffee shop, The Corner Grind, held its grand opening on Monday, and enjoyed a very successful debut following last week’s “soft opening.” Elburn Herald reporter Debbie Behrends this week spoke with The Corner Grind owners Tony and Ann Cobb about the new store and how and two local residents came to open a coffee shop in downtown Elburn. You can read the entire piece on page 1A.

The other coffee shop, Dunkin’ Donuts, is no stranger to America’s enjoyment of a strongly caffeinated breakfast. The Elburn location, which sits in a brand-new building just east of the local Jewel-Osco, opened its doors on Oct. 16. And ever since, countless residents have been seen piling through the doors.

If you’re a local resident who seriously enjoys a coffee fix, be sure to visit both of Elburn’s new coffee-minded stores.

And in the non-Elburn, non-coffee news, Sugar Grove officially became home to a new Ace Hardware store on Oct. 16. The store is located on Route 47, next to the Jewel Osco, and it’s hardly a one-trick pony, featuring an indoor shop and a separate section designated for the sale of premium cat, dog and bird food.

For more information on the new Sugar Grove Ace Hardware location, check out Elburn Herald reporter Natalie Juns’ story on page 5A.

So there you have it—three great additions to a great community. Now get out there and enjoy them!

Letter: Thank you for 31 wonderful years

It is with a heavy heart that I write the following words: Dr. Robert Hansen DDS passed away earlier this month, following an 18-month battle with cancer.

I had the honor of serving as his Office Manager for the past 31 years, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that he was a wonderful person who truly loved and appreciated the community.

Dr. Hansen filled each day with happiness; in fact, he was well-known by his patients for always having a smile on his face. His smile was due to the fact that he loved his job, he loved the people he interacted with each day, and he truly loved Elburn. He always talked to me about how much he liked the small-town atmosphere in Elburn, and he always appreciated how pleasant everyone was to work with.

Dr. Hansen opened his office on Feb. 23, 1983, on Shannon Street, and we spent the next 31 years there, watching the community grow and evolve.

He was an excellent dentist, not only because of how skilled he was with his craft, but also because of how infectious his smile was, and how much his laid-back approach to life improved the lives of those with whom he interacted.

Because of how connected with the community he became over the decades, it was no surprise that he received an outpouring of love and support during his 18-month battle. We both appreciate the community for all of the cards, phone calls and prayers that came his way.

Although his battle ended on Oct. 2, his presence is still felt, and he would have wanted me to pass along his thanks to the community in general, for serving as a wonderful home to both of us, as well as to a number of specific individuals.

Thank you, Dr. McSweeney, for driving down all the way from Barrington, Ill., these past 18 months, helping serve our patients when Dr. Hansen was unable to. Thank you, Dr. Lazzara, Dr. Stith, Dr. Allaway, Dr. Drancik and Dr. Dietz, for reaching out and helping so many times. Thank you to so many of the doctors and staffs in the area for reaching out. There are so many more of you that it isn’t possible to name everyone.

And while there are so many from the Elburn and surrounding communities to whom we both owe thanks, there is one thank you that only I can give:
Thank you, Dr. Hansen, for 31 great years. You’ll be forever missed.

Sharon Fisher
Office manager, Practice of Dr. Robert Hansen, DDS

Letter: Reasons to vote no regarding fire disconnection

I am writing this letter as a concerned citizen regarding the potential disconnection from the Elburn Fire Department to the Fox River Fire Department.

I have spent vast amounts of time researching this proposal and have come to the conclusion that it would be crazy to switch from Elburn to Fox River Fire/Rescue. There has been a lot of information being spread regarding this situation—some factual, some mythical, and some “factual opinion.” I’d like to list some facts that will be causing me to vote “No” for disconnection.
1. Fox River is in debt, Elburn is not. Fox River has millions in debt (depends on whose number you look at). They also have been running a negative balance in their operating accounts since inception (nearly 10 percent), so that debt continues to grow. All this information is verifiable through the newpapers and Fox River’s website.
2. Elburn’s trucks carry more water and pump more water. The area in question for disconnection is largely non-hydrant neighborhoods and properties. Elburn fire trucks have 5,000 gallons of water immediately available on initial alarm, and then another 5,000 gallons of water on reserve, waiting for standby. This is the most available water that any fire department in the area has to work with. This information is verifiable by calling and inspecting the local fire departments themselves.
3. Elburn staffs more people each and every day. Between all three of their stations, Elburn staffs 12 firefighters and paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fox River staffs eight. This is verifiable through the department’s fact sheets.

The decision is obvious. If you want a cut-rate fire department, then vote yes. If you want the best fire department, then vote no. My neighbors and I will be voting no in favor of keeping the better fire department.

Vincent Kelley

Letter: Let’s get the facts straight

I am writing about the disconnection from the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District to the Fox River Fire/Rescue Protection District. Having served 35 years on the Elburn Fire Department—the last 11 as fire chief—I believe you should vote “no” if you live in the affected area.

Elburn has no debt, has been in service for 132 years, and does not charge for fans, generators, portable pumps and the little extra things.

Fox River has over $4 million in debt, has been in service less than four years, and can charge extra for the use of fans, portable pumps, generators and little things.

In the case of a resident on oxygen and the electricity goes out, Elburn would go out with a generator at no charge. If a resident had water in his basement, Elburn would go out with a portable pump at no charge.

I hope the residents of this area involved in the disconnection know all the facts before they vote.

Marty Strausberger
Retired Elburn fire chief

Letter: Stay committed to Elburn Fire District

I have lived in the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District for more than 77 years. I have grown to know the members of our Fire District staff and their families. The department has visited our schools, marched in parades and come to our neighborhood parties. But most of all, when any of us have been in need, they have been there to protect us, doing everything they could to save lives and property.

I have always felt that our Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District has been a source of great pride. I have watched while they gently have helped families through loss and suffering.

Now there is this start-up Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District, which thinks they can just step in and take the place of these wonderful, dedicated people. Don’t think that the members of our Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District won’t be hurt by this. They will. We need to continue to support our firemen and women.

Don’t be fooled by the promise of lower taxes. Most of us are educated enough to realize that a promise like that seldom comes true. You never think that you will have to call 911 for your own home or family, but if you do, it is nice to know that we have a well-staffed, well-equipped fire department in Elburn, committed to our safety.

Let’s stay committed to them as they have to us for 133 years. Vote against the Fox River referendum to disconnect.

Jim Feece

Letter: Previous letter renders several opinions without facts

I read again with interest the letter from Tim Lyons published in the Elburn Herald on Oct. 9. This letter was from an individual identifying himself as a Batavia Fire Department Lieutenant. Lt. Lyons is also reportedly the brother-in-law of Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan. The letter contained several inaccurate statements and misinformation regarding Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District.

Lt. Lyons renders several opinions that have no factual or professional basis. Lt. Lyons provides the impression that he has conducted extensive investigation into Fox River operations and equipment, but to my knowledge has never visited either station to substantiate his statements. He expresses three main areas of concern: contract personnel, apparatus and level of firefighter professionalism.

Lt. Lyons expresses concern over the use of private sector or contracted personnel. Batavia Fire Department also uses contracted personnel to staff both ambulances in Batavia. Contracted ambulance personnel are also used in Geneva, St. Charles and other area departments. Personnel are contracted by the TriCity Ambulance Association through Paramedic Services of Illinois,

Lt. Lyons’ assertion that Fox River’s contract personnel are not well-trained would also reflect negatively on Batavia’s use of similar personnel in similar capacities. Similar to Fox River, Batavia ambulance personnel work part-time for the department as firefighters.

Lt. Lyons also brings forward concerns about apparatus that Fox River staffs. As testified in trial, while Fox River currently does not have ALS engines, we do have three ALS ambulances—two of which are located at the station that would serve the disconnected area.

Lt. Lyons makes a confusing reference to “standard” water tender. Fox River has a 2,000 gallon tender in each station. Lt Lyons may be confused on water tenders, because Batavia does not list any in its apparatus and instead uses Elburn for water in the rural areas. Fox River utilizes a small rescue squad similar to Batavia for specialized equipment. Fox River also has an extensive amount of hazardous materials equipment and access to additional highly trained personnel through the MABAS Division 2 Hazardous Materials Response team. This collaborative effort provides more equipment and personnel than any one department could individually. It is also more fiscally responsible to share infrequently used response assets.

Lt. Lyons notes Elburn EMT’s have expanded scope practice, which provides a limited number of interventions and medications to a standard EMT. However, Fox River requires that each station have a minimum of three paramedics on duty at each station, and have higher range of skill and capability in all areas covered by expanded scope EMTs.

Lt. Lyons next offers a totally unsubstantiated opinion indicating that Fox River personnel are unqualified, and implies that only Elburn’s firefighters are dedicated and hardworking. This is an unfortunate affront to equally dedicated, professional and hardworking firefighters not only from Fox River, but from other area fire departments.

Having spent 30-plus years in the fire service, and a decade serving on the Batavia Fire Department as a firefighter and officer, I was surprised by Lt. Lyons comments. His inaccurate and misleading comments do not reflect the professionalism or operations of the Batavia Fire Department, nor any of the men and women of all area departments who serve honorably and also honor the service of others.

In addition, Denise Klock’s most recent letter makes the serious allegation that Fox River response times have led to needless loss of property and death. Her allegation is taken very seriously and will be fully investigated. I have attempted to contact Klock at her business phone, but received a message that she is unavailable for an extended period of time.

Additional efforts to contact Klock in order to identify the facts of her allegations will be made; findings will be forwarded to the appropriate entity, which may include the EMS Medical System director or state’s attorney as facts are determined.

Greg Benson
Fire Chief, Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District

Letter: Dispensing with the myths

I was pleased to read the letter in the Oct. 16 Elburn Herald publication, written by Fire Chief Greg Benson of the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District regarding the district’s proposed takeover of a significant portion of the Elburn and Countryside Fire District’s service area.

In his letter, Benson states, “…we would welcome the opportunity to provide truthful information …” Excellent. Because the facts, as put forth in his writing, are nothing more than ‘factual opinion.’

While the residents in the affected area have listened patiently to Fox River’s sales pitch as to how much better they believe they are, the fact remains that none of us were out shopping. Those who serve on the Elburn department are our friends; our neighbors. They contribute to our community in a multitude of ways. They are not strangers, they are us.

In the interest of true transparency, let us take some of the smoke out of the air.

We can set aside the equipment inventory and personnel training, as those topics have been beaten into the ground. We can set aside response times, as Elburn’s long-planned third station finally has its temporary home, therefore negating any need for Fox River in that particular service area.

That said, please tell us, Chief Benson, exactly why is it that Fox River wants our properties in their district?

Let us dispense with the myth that “the residents asked for us.” The residents have no authority to draw a map that outlines such a vast area. Exactly who drew that map, and what criteria was used to determine the boundaries? Revenue from property taxes?

If the residents asked for you, why was your board president, James Gaffney, personally out obtaining signatures on the initial petition? If the residents asked for you, why was a political operative from Batavia the person to obtain the majority of the 128 required signatures?

Let us dispense with the myth that “Fox River’s top priority is public safety.” If that were the case, Mr. Gaffney would not have been present at the Lily Lake Village Board meeting to oppose permitting for the Elburn Fire Station in that town, which is Elburn’s current service area. If that were the case, Mr. Gaffney would not have been present at the Elburn Village Board meeting asserting the Elburn board had no business supporting their own fire department.

That clearly leaves us with no one to benefit from the proposed disconnection except for Fox River Fire/Rescue, and that benefit is clearly financial. Unfortunately, what the Fox River Board sees as a benefit is so short-sighted, it is sad.

Fox River already is responsible for properties that extend beyond Kane and into DuPage County, yet they seem to feel they can increase their territory without experiencing additional operating cost, thus somehow they may be able to pay down the existing $4.5 million in debt. It doesn’t matter if borrowing is a common practice, as has been stated. Overextending is also common practice. Just have a look at the foreclosure statistics.

We are proud of the Elburn fire department. As a community and through our taxes, we together have saved up the needed funds and look forward to the long anticipated completion of our new station.

Sorry we are not able to help you pay your bills, but thanks for asking. We will be at the polls.

Denise Klock

Letter: Endorsing Burd for 50th State District Representative

This is a letter of endorsement for 50th District candidate Valerie Burd. Val has served in other elected positions in our area, including president of the Metro West Mayors Association. She cares about our area and has qualified experience in government.

Val has been a longtime supporter of outgoing 50th District Representative Kay Hatcher. Val and Kay are both moderates in their political views. Val Burd will answer to the voters of our district, not the Tea Party.

Please vote for Valerie Burd in the Nov. 4 General Election. She will protect the interests of children, property owners and retired people, and she will do a better job in Springfield. Vote for Burd.

Bob Allen

Vote against Nov. 4 disconnection referendum

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, some of the voters in the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will have the option to choose whether to disconnect from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District and join Fox Fiver Fire and Countryside Fire Protection District, or stay with Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District as their fire and EMS provider.

For the past 132-plus years, Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District has been your fire and EMS provider. On Oct. 1 of this year, Elburn Fire Protection District opened Fire Station No. 3 in Lily Lake to better serve the northern end of the Fire District, while a new Fire Station No.1 is being constructed and relocated to Route 38 and First Street in Elburn to better serve the village of Elburn and the surrounding rural areas.

Both the opening of Fire Station No. 3 and the new Fire Station No. 1 have been done with no tax increase and no mortgage; therefore, no new debt. Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District has been planning for both of these for some time, so money has been set aside.

In addition to the new stations, money is continuously set aside for fire and ambulance replacement, and other fire and EMS supplies that typically need to be updated over time. There are no loans, no GO Bonds, no mortgages and, again, no debt.

Firefighter/paramedics of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District go through a testing process like other full-time departments, i.e., St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia. At the time of application, applicants must be an Illinois-certified Firefighter II, an Illinois Paramedic, and have successfully passed a physical exam prior to beginning the testing process.

Applicants must then pass a written test. A score is totaled, which determines whether individuals may be interviewed by the board of commissioners, and another score is totaled after that score. Merit points are awarded for military service, etc. Criminal history and background checks will be performed. And if hired, the individual will be put through Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District’s own firefighter-training academy so they can become familiar with rules and regulations and operations of the department.

Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District uses contract firefighters. The district contracts with a company, and that company supplies the firefighters. While they may have a minimum standard, you don’t have any background on any of the firefighters or paramedics. The standards for contract firefighters and paramedics are far from what Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District expects from its firefighter/paramedics and paid-on-call personnel.

Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District has more equipment available at all times, as well as specialty teams such as Hazardous Materials, Trench Rescue, Fire and Arson investigators, and more.

If two of Elburn Fire Department’s ambulances are out on calls, a Tri-City ambulance is automatically dispatched to Elburn Fire Department Station No. 2 and will respond to any ambulance request within Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District until either Elburn Fire Department’s third ambulance is staffed, or one of the other Elburn ambulances becomes available. So Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District is never without ambulance coverage.

Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District is a member of Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), where all surrounding fire departments can work together under a joint agreement when additional help is needed. In addition to belonging to MABAS, Elburn Fire Department has automatic mutual aid with other surrounding fire agencies, where the other fire departments are automatically dispatched to assist Elburn—depending on the type and nature of the incident—and Elburn is automatically dispatched to assist these same fire departments with their incidents. Some of these departments are: Maple Park, Kaneville, Sugar Grove, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Fox River. Automatic aid is not un-common for any fire department, and it is not unique just to Fox River and Countryside Fire Department.

As a former paid-on-call member of Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, I firmly believe that the quality of care that the department provides is second to none. Firefighters and paramedics treat patients and property with dignity and respect as if it were their own.

By voting against the disconnection, you will keep the same high quality of service that you have always had; you will continue to have the most current and up to date equipment and highly trained staff; you will incur no additional debt; and you will rest easy knowing that skilled professionals will be there when you need help the most.

Please vote against the disconnection.

Michael Anderson

Dad Pic 1

A final request

Maple Park family’s wish to view advance Hobbit screening goes viral
MAPLE PARK—Scott Stouffer has one last wish: that he might be able to see the final film in the Hobbit trilogy with his family before he dies.

Stouffer’s daughter Jessy is on a mission to convince director Peter Jackson to give her father an early screening.

Jessy and her siblings, Katie and David, have started a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #HobbitMovieLastRequest to catch the attention of Jackson and the production studios, hoping that the studio will make an exception.

Scott, who has a neuroendocrine cancer that has not responded to treatments, is not expected to live to see “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” when it is released in theaters this December, but he has been a long-time fan of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.

The family began watching the films together each Christmas after the first film, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” was released in theaters in December 2001. Every holiday since, the family has had a movie marathon. The latest Hobbit film will be the sixth based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series.

“We always have to start at the beginning with the first one,” David said. “It is a lot of movie-watching, but we do it over a couple of weeks.”

“He has been a big fan of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, and he’s read all the books,” Jessy said. “He started talking to us (kids) about the Lord of the Rings movies when they first started coming out, and we’d have family discussions about it afterward—what didn’t go with the books, what everyone thought—and this campaign is just to do something nice for him and have a memory for the rest of our lives.”

The family made the plea in an emotional video on YouTube, which has been gaining traction on social media, with thousands of upvotes on Reddit and tweets on Twitter. Several commenters have said they passed the request on to people they know at Weta Studios, a New Zealand-based production company working on the film, and others who might have connections.

Though the Twitter campaign is unusual, it is not without precedent. Director J.J. Abrams showed an early cut of “Star Trek: Into Darkness” to a man dying from leukemia in 2012, granting the request three days after that social media campaign took off.

Unlike that campaign, though, this one is meant to be a surprise. Scott is unaware his children are doing this on his behalf, Jessy said, and the goal is to surprise him with something wonderful. She conceded that it might be hard to keep it a secret with all the media attention the campaign has gotten, but noted that her father is not on social media and spends little time online these days. He’ll only find out, she thinks, if someone tells him, and she’s intercepting all the phone calls at home to try and prevent that.
Family Pic 1
“He’s unaware of the campaign at this point,” David said. “We’re trying to figure out when we might tell him. It’s hard to say what his reaction will be. I don’t think he’ll see it coming. We just knew it was one of his dreams to see the movie, and I think he would be very encouraged to know people are pulling for him.”

Getting an early screening is a long shot, Jessy said, but just making the attempt feels like they are doing something good for their father.

“We’re just trying to fulfill a wish and create a memory, and even if it doesn’t work, we have the memory of trying to do something good for someone who deserves it,” she said. “We know that each day we have is precious, and we try to fill it up with things the best we can, whether it’s watching a movie together or cracking jokes together.”

Scott, who has worked at Equitto Electronics in Aurora, Ill., for more than 20 years, is an elder at the First Baptist Church of Sycamore.
Family Pic 2
“My dad, I can’t begin to tell you what an amazing guy he is,” David said. “He’s one of those dads who’s always been there for us no matter what. There are so many things I want people to know about him: what a family man he is, how he is a man of the Lord, how he has been optimistic through this whole ordeal.”

That ordeal began in November 2012, when Scott was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. He had surgery to remove the tumor and most of his liver, but the tumors have been aggressive, and neither chemotherapy nor treatments designed to cut off the tumors’ food supply has stopped them from growing. Since the treatments were not effective and had strong side effects, doctors recommended discontinuing them in April, Jessy said.

The reaction on social media has mostly been positive, Jessy said.

“We’ve had people really trying (to get Jackson’s attention), people sympathizing with us, saying that if they could have one last memory with their dad, they would do something special,” she said. “We’ve had others say that it’s not worth it and we’re stupid for trying. We’re trying not to listen to that. We’re doing this for my dad, for the memory, for one last thing we all get to do together.”

Courtesy photos


Sugar Grove readies new library director

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Public Library will welcome Naperville resident Shannon Halikias as its new library director when she officially begins her duties on Monday, Oct. 20. Halikias is eager to start in her new position as director.

“I’m thrilled about the Sugar Grove library director position,” Halikias said. “I’m looking forward to stepping in and getting to be in different roles as a director. When I saw the Sugar Grove position was open, I was very excited. I hope to serve Sugar Grove for a number of years.”

Halikias brings 15 years of library experience to her new position. She has served as a children’s librarian and a branch coordinator at Aurora Public Library, a director for Lisle Library District, and has also taught library-related topics at College of DuPage and Waubonsee Community College, including Readers Advisory, Adult Programming and Library Work Place Skills. Halikias received her master’s in library science from North Carolina Central University.

Halikias believes her new role as library director will be a great fit for her, and she will be able to serve the library in a variety of different roles. And since the library director position isn’t full time, it will provide Halikias with a flexible schedule and allow her to continue teaching on the side at College of DuPage and Waubonsee.

The Sugar Grove Library Board will soon meet with Halikias to discuss its different goals for the library and for her position.

“I have found the members of the Library Board to be friendly, dedicated to quality resources and services, and unified in their desire for supporting the value of the library,” Halikias said. “I look forward to working with a supportive board that is understanding of the role and mission we play in the lives of citizens.”

Halikias would also like to shift focus off of the library’s current finances and draw attention to the what the library contributes to the community.

“Residents need to know what they’re supporting,” Halikias said. “For every $1 that residents give to the library through taxes, they get a $4 return in the form of programs, activities, technology and more.”

Even though Halikias lives in Naperville, she’s no stranger to the Sugar Grove area.

“I’m familiar with Sugar Grove, and I feel that there is a sense of togetherness where neighbors know neighbors,” she said. “The community also has access to great jobs, being in a prime area west of Chicago. I think this is an area we’ll see explode growth-wise.”

Halikias said she looks forward to serving the Sugar Grove sommunity as the library’s director, and feels she can make a positive impact.

“I want to be very accessible to patrons,” Halikias said. “I want them to feel comfortable (and) bring their ideas and thoughts to me.”

Former pastor’s wife charged with attempted murder

MONTGOMERY—Pamela J. Christensen, 47, of Montgomery, has been charged with six counts of attempted first degree murder, three counts of aggravated battery and three counts of aggravated unlawful restraint, stemming from an incident that took place in late September.

A Montgomery Police press release states that police responded to a home in the 2300 block of Patron Lane on Sept. 25 after receiving two 911 hang-up calls. According to police, responding officers determined that Christensen tried to poison her three daughters, ages 12, 16 and 19, with a mixture of household chemicals. The daughters reportedly refused to drink the poison.

The press release also states that Christensen stabbed two of her daughters. All three daughters were transported to Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, where they were treated and released to a grandparent.

Christensen was transported to Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora for self-inflicted stab wounds.

Christensen is the estranged wife of Vaughn Christensen, who is the former pastor of the Heritage of Faith Church in Sugar Grove. The church’s website is currently unavailable; calls to the church’s phone number went unreturned.

According to Montgomery Police, Pamela said she was sending the girls “home to meet Jesus Christ” because she had received text messages from her estranged husband stating that the world was ending and she needed to prepare the family to meet Jesus.

Just a month prior to the Sept. 25 incident, Pamela served Vaughn with a restraining order, stating that he had become increasingly violent toward her and their children.

Filed on Aug. 29 in Kendall County, the order stated that Vaughn had threatened to harm himself and the children. Police confirmed they had responded to the home several times.

The couple filed for divorce on Sept. 10 in DuPage County.

Pamela on Oct. 8 was released from the hospital to the custody of Montgomery Police and transported to Kendall County Adult Corrections.

Pamela appeared during bond call on Oct. 9 and was held on $1 million bond. She is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on Oct. 16. During that court date, the judge will explain to Pamela the charges against her, and her rights.

Election: 50th District State Representative

Candidates Keith Wheeler (Republican) and Valerie Burd (Democrat) on Nov. 4 will vie for the seat of 50th District State Representative

Keith Wheeler
Keith Wheeler sees the role of 50th District Representative as the people’s representation in the General Assembly in Springfield.

“While the General Assembly is seen primarily in its role of making laws, a state representative is also a resource for constituents when it comes to state government issues, problems and concerns,” he said.

Wheeler on Nov. 4 will seek the 50th District Representative seat.

Wheeler currently owns Responsive Network Services, LLC., and serves as a Bristol Township trustee and Bristol 5 Republican Precinct committeeman. He’s also a past board chairman for Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, board chairman for Kendall County Food Pantry, Illinois Leadership Council chairman for National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), current board treasurer for Oswego Bears Youth Football and Cheer Pop Warner program, District 308 Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee member.

As a small business owner in Illinois, Wheeler said he has seen first-hand the damage that Springfield has done to the Illinois business community.

“Employers, jobs and families are leaving Illinois at a frightening pace. In my past role as board chairman of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and current board chairman of the Illinois Leadership Council for NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), I hear from fellow business owners that Illinois is not competitive as we should be. Unemployment in Illinois is too high and is among the highest in the Midwest. We see it locally by the increase in the demand for food at local food pantries. I pay close attention to this in my role as the Kendall County Food Pantry board chairman. I am running to help create and support Illinois jobs for Illinois families—that’s actually the theme of my campaign.”

Twenty-three years as a small-business owner means that Wheeler signs the front of paychecks; not just the back. It also means he understands what job creators are dealing with in today’s business climate. He believes he has a pulse on the business community and has working relationships with the organizations that understand what needs to change in order to improve the business and hiring climate in Illinois.

And as a parent with young children, Wheeler’s eye is on the future.

“We need to make Illinois a state with an education system of which we are proud and that we can count on for preparing the next generation for success here in Illinois,” he said.

If elected, Wheeler’s priorities will include job creation, a focus on state spending and pension reform.

“While our state has been struggling to pay its bills and we suffered through a 67 percent increase in income taxes, the Democrats in Springfield increased state spending instead of paying off the outstanding bills,” Wheeler said. “This is the wrong approach to improving the balance sheet of the state of Illinois. We need to examine runaway Medicaid fraud and perform a forensic audit of state spending to root out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending.

In regard to pension reform, Wheeler believes the only way to truly solve the pension mess would be to move to a defined contribution system so that payment to and on behalf of the employee will be complete at the same time the employee is working.

“For this reason, I will support massive expansion of the new defined-contribution program that was introduced in the recent pension bill,” he said.

An important step Wheeler would like to lead with is creation of a bipartisan Small Business Caucus to give the job-creating small business community in Illinois a louder voice in Springfield.

Wheeler created a plan called “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families” in order to make the state “more competitive and give companies, entrepreneurs and hard-working citizens a reason to make Illinois their home.” The outline of Wheeler’s plan includes:
• Make Illinois a more affordable place to do business—stop the progressive income tax which would raise taxes on 85 percent of Illinois families
• Clean up the pension and bill payment mess in Springfield
• Perform a forensic audit to clear out waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative state spending
• Restore state funding promised to local school districts to keep our promise to our kids and prevent further increases in property taxes

Valerie Burd
Valerie Burd will compete for the 50th District Representative seat on Nov. 4.

Burd, a 25-year resident of Yorkville, served on the Yorkville City Council from 1998 to 2011, with nine years as Ward 2 alderman and four years as mayor. She’s currently on the Environmental Advisory Board for the Kendall County Health Department, a member of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk’s Woman’s Advisory Committee, and a member of the Board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society. She was recently appointed the Public Guardian and Public Administrator for Kendall County. She’s also a member of the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Green Committee.

Burd defines the role of 50th District Representative as a two-way job.

“First, a representative needs to listen and be accessible and available for his or her constituents to help resolve issues,” she said. “Second, a representative needs to keep residents of the district informed on what is happening in Springfield—how it affects them. A state representative is one of 118 people filling that role in Springfield, so people running for this spot need to focus on working with people on both sides of the aisle if they want to get something done. Collaboration is the key.”

Burd said she was a long-time supporter of Kay Hatcher, who is the current 50th District Representative.

“When I learned she was retiring, I was concerned that her position might not be filled by someone like Kay— a pro-choice, socially moderate candidate,” Burd said. “When I was asked to run, I decided that I would go forward and give people that choice in the November election.”

Burd said her decision to run for office stems from her love of this country, its constitution and the political process. She said she hears many people saying negative things about politicians—wanting to kick them all out of office. But when she looks back on this country’s history and sees the leaders who have stepped forward when they were most needed to solve problems, she said she has to feel that God has blessed this country and its citizens many times. “There are many good people, Democrats and Republicans, working to solve the problems we are facing,” Burd said. “We need to support these people, not the ones who are trying to tear us part. This is our government, created by us, and we are responsible for it.

Burd believes she is the best candidate for 50th District Representative because, as a former alderman and mayor of Yorkville for 13 years, she understands the needs of local municipalities and the residents in the district. She said she had the opportunity to talk to many people, listen to their comments and try to help them solve their problems.

“I served on Metro West Council of Government and the Metropolitan Council of Mayors, where we studied many of the problems Springfield is still facing today—like how to better fund education and pension reform,” Burd said. “I also am the owner of a small business and have been very involved with the local chamber and was formerly on the board of the Yorkville Economic Development Commission. I am not driven by an ideology. I am used to working with people on both sides of the aisle to find solutions to problems.”

One of the administration accomplishments Burd is most proud of is the consortium created by Yorkville’s Plan Commission. Plan Commission members from Yorkville and adjacent municipalities worked together and helped each other with planning issues. According to Burd, this helped heal the distrust that had been created by a previous administration and plans to site a landfill in Yorkville.

If elected, Burd’s priorities as 50th District Representative include job growth, a fairer property tax system, and working to fix Illinois’ financial problems. In terms of job growth, Burd said she intends to support and encourage existing and new education programs that help retrain the workforce for jobs that are available now and in the near future. She also intends to support infrastructure improvements, work with local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and local elected officials in their efforts to attract new businesses and help retain existing businesses. Her other listed priorities affect job growth, she said.

“Kane and Kendall counties have some of the highest property tax rates in the U.S.,” she said. “This hurts us when we are trying to attract businesses to our area. The property tax is inequitable—it hurts people on fixed incomes and those who have lost their jobs, and it is passed on to businesses in high rental costs. We can’t just promise to cut taxes, because the taxes are needed to fund schools, municipalities, libraries, park districts, etc. Encouraging taxing bodies to cut their costs is one way to go, but during the recession, many of these taxing bodies made deep cuts. The only option is to look for alternate ways to fund some of them.

Burd said Illinois’ financial crisis is discouraging businesses from coming to the state. According to one report she’s read, as much as 70 percent of Illinois taxpayers’ dollars goes to pay for pensions.

“This needs to continue to be addressed, but people receiving pensions need to be represented at the table for the discussion,” she said. “We need to cut waste from our budget, but we don’t need to spend money on any audits or litigation. We need to carefully review all budgets and all expenditures, and hold employees accountable. But we need to ensure that education and infrastructure and other necessary programs are funded. If it were easy, it would have been solved already.”

Burd and her husband, Paul, have five children, three of whom are currently on active duty. Valerie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism, with a minor in political science, from Northern Illinois University. She worked as a newspaper reporter, was managing editor of two weekly newspapers for the Naperville SUN, was a marketing director for a Batavia architectural firm, and worked in Waubonsee Community College’s Public Relations department. She currently owns Positive Media Solutions, Inc., a Yorkville marketing firm that does community guides, maps, advertising pieces and photography.

According to Burd, her campaign has received endorsements from the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood and Personal Pac.

Schmidt’s Towne Tap cited for serving after hours

ELBURN—Schmidt’s Towne Tap in Elburn was cited for serving alcohol after hours during the Elburn Days festival in mid-August.

Elburn Police Officer Jeff Herra was driving past Schmidt’s at 3:06 a.m. on Aug. 16 and saw people inside drinking alcohol, an hour past the bar’s closing time of 2 a.m. Schmidt’s liquor license allows the bar to serve liquor only until 2 a.m.

Schmidt’s Towne Tap owner Kevin Schmidt came outside the bar to speak with Herra. Schmidt told the police officer that everyone inside were his employees, and that they were “cleaning up, eating pizzas and drinking a few beers before they went home.”

Schmidt told Herra that he wasn’t aware of the restriction, and that it had not been a problem before.

When Schmidt was reached this week for comment, he said he wanted to make sure that people understood that the bar was not open for business and that he was not selling the alcohol.

Schmidt said that the bar is very busy during Elburn Days, and it usually takes an extra hour to clean up. There were 12 to 14 people working that night.

“It was employees only who were cleaning up,” he said. “We were having a few beers and the doors were locked. I’ve done it every year (during Elburn Days).”

Elburn Deputy Liquor Commissioner Bill Grabarek wrote the Sept. 3 letter citing Schmidt and walked it over to him at the bar.

The citation included a $500 penalty.

According to Grabarek, Schmidt asked for a “pass.” But Grabarek said that Schmidt had admitted he was serving beers, so he had to issue the citation.

“A liquor license is a privilege, not a right, just like your driver’s license,” he said.

After some discussion, Grabarek reduced the fine to $250. According to the letter, the penalty will be “held in abeyance” provided no further violations occur within 12 months of the date of the letter.

Grabarek noted in the letter that “the vitality of Elburn and its businesses is critically important to us.” He wrote that Schmidt’s establishment “has become one of the cornerstone destinations that make Elburn a special place visit.”

The letter further states that the village is grateful for Schmidt’s “commitment of capital, time and faith in our village,” and “we … trust this present incident can be resolved as proposed.”

Elburn Liquor Commissioner and Village President Dave Anderson owns the building in which Schmidt’s is located. Because he has a financial interest in the building, Anderson recused himself from the situation in order to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

Grabarek this week compared the abeyance to someone receiving supervision from a traffic ticket. He also clarified that the restriction on serving alcohol after hours does not depend on whether or not it is being sold.

“It doesn’t matter if they sell it or it’s free,” he said.

However, Grabarek noted that the bars in Elburn are fairly quiet, and that this situation doesn’t compare to those in the news in St. Charles.

“We don’t have issues with public drunkenness or bar fights,” he said.

Letter: Getting the facts straight

I read with interest the letter from an area resident published in the Elburn Herald on Oct. 2, 2014. The letter contained several inaccurate statements and misinformation regarding Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. The intent of this response is to provide accurate information.

Contrary to the letters’ assertion, the writer has never requested a face-to-face meeting with our district. And in fact, we would welcome the opportunity to provide truthful information regarding the resident-initiated referendum that will be voted as part of the Nov. 4 election.

Change tends to bring out strong emotion. The proposed disconnection, coupled with the well-documented tensions between the Elburn firefighters union and management, makes the situation even more emotional. But the facts are what matter. Fox River and Elburn both have state-of-the-art equipment and well trained personnel. Just as important, residents should understand the extent of apparatus and equipment sharing many fire departments utilize on a routine basis. With the exception on Aurora or Elgin, no fire departments in Kane County respond to major incidents without the use of mutual or automatic aid. Fox River is well-equipped for rural operations and has established aid with departments such as South Elgin, Pingree Grove, Burlington, etc.

In addition, Fox River is a member of Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) Division 2, providing access to specialized assets from around the state. Fox River has two Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances stationed at Station No. 1 on Route 64, and 22 of our firefighters are also paramedics. Fox River’s ALS capability is comparable with area departments and has been proven numerous times during responses to critical Emergency Medical Service (EMS) incidents.

Fox River has borrowed to acquire capital resources such as fire stations and apparatus. While the total debt outstanding is $4.5 million, annual debt service costs are budgeted first every year to maintain a balanced budget, and do not pose a threat to the district’s future financial position. More importantly, Fox River residents have benefitted immediately from the increased services provided at the cost of 2.5 percent interest amortized over time. Borrowing in this fashion is common for local governments’ capital needs, and has allowed the district to add critical resources sooner rather than accumulating large budget surpluses and excessive reserves through years of high tax rates.

An example of this tax swelling effect is Elburn’s construction of their new $12 million station with tax money extracted over 10 years. Fox River’s borrowing to construct and staff two stations for millions less in a shorter timeframe allowed the tax rate paid by residents to remain lower. Elburn’s debt-free philosophy has actually resulted in a much higher cost to the taxpayer for over a decade. During tax year 2013, Fox River’s rate was $0.27, compared to Elburn’s $0.79. Taxpayer saving could range from $300-$1,000 annually, depending upon the value of your home.

Fox River has received a protection class code of 3/6 to reflect areas covered by hydrants versus rural unhydranted areas. Elburn currently has a lesser rating of 4/8b. Fox River’s better rating can drop homeowner’s fire insurance costs by up to 20 percent, according to leading insurance underwriters in the area. This information in in direct conflict with the letter writer’s statements.

The writer also inaccurately states that Fox River charges an hourly rate for equipment called to a scene. Fox River does not charge an hourly rate for routine responses. Fox River has established a rate schedule consistent with state allowances for purposes of cost recovery on a hazardous material or illegal activity resulting in response. These are both prudent and fiscally responsible to ensure that taxpaying residents do not suffer extreme costs due to illegal or malicious acts.

Both departments bill for EMS response, with Elburn anticipating $375,000 in revenue and Fox River $280,500 in the 2014-15 budget year. These amounts are shown in current appropriations ordinances adopted by the respective districts.

Response time is a critical component of providing emergency services. It has become even more important with the changes in fire dynamics and behavior resulting from newer building materials and synthetic materials in our homes. Flashover, or simultaneous ignition of all contents in the room, can occur within three to four minutes of fire ignition. The American Heart Association (AMA) continues to emphasize a response time of four to six minutes for victims in cardiac arrest. Survivability drops dramatically beyond six minutes. Perhaps the most important component of response time is a resident’s distance from the fire station. Fox River has demonstrated that it can serve the petition area more quickly than Elburn, and in many cases, with a dramatic drop in response time.

I can’t comment on why the 128 petitioners sought to disconnect. Seeking a higher level of service at a lower cost may have been a primary factor. This would be consistent with an area district dropping Elburn’s contract EMS service in 2006 and going with another department due to service and cost concerns.

If the proposed disconnection is approved by the voters in the petition area, the resulting change will provide increased public safety and a lower tax burden to the residents. This is not speculation; merely the facts.

Greg Benson
Fire Chief, Fox River & Countryside Fire/
Rescue District

Letter: Consider the facts regarding disconnection referendum

I am writing in regard to the situation in the northeast areas of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. As a Kane County Board Member, former firefighter and 31-year resident of the ECFPD, I urge residents who are being asked to de-annex from the ECFPD into another fire district to consider some important facts.

The ECFPD is a 132-year-old organization that has state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and personnel. Most importantly, the ECFPD has no debt, even with new facilities under construction and a modern fleet of equipment.

If you vote to leave the ECFPD and be serviced by the other service provider, you will, as a taxpayer, leave a zero-debt situation to assume over $5 million in debt.

Many governmental bodies have struggled with down revenues over the last few years, but hostile takeovers of areas that have been well-served by fiscally responsible agencies is not something I support. And I hope the affected residents will agree.

Andrew Frasz
Kane County Board District 18 representative

Letter: Go away, Fox River & Countryside Fire District

As information continues to surface regarding the substandard emergency services provided by a privately-owned company who call themselves Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue, the impact of this politically initiated land-grab for-profit scheme has gone from concerning to terrifying for the effected residents.

Fox River’s pathetic response times have led to needless loss of property and even death. It is bad enough that they cannot locate a scene without GPS, but they are so clueless as to their service area, they don’t even know when they are supposed to bring along water to douse the flames.

Interestingly, the majority of the signatures on the petition to disconnect were obtained by a person who lives some 12 miles outside of the affected area. This person is happily served by Batavia Fire District; why was she knocking on doors?

It is stated that only those within the boundaries of the disconnect can vote on the referendum. At first glance, that seems to make sense. But what about the poor folks that currently are serviced by Fox River? I wonder if they are looking forward to their already-inept Fire Department equipment and contract labor to be spread thinner, yet.

Elburn Fire has three stations, state-of-the-art equipment and the highest-trained firefighters and medics. We want our fire department. Go away, Fox River, and take your $4.5 million in debt with you.

Folks, mark your calendar, set your iPhone for a reminder, and get to the polls on Nov. 4 as if your life depends on it … because it does. If the 99 percent vote “against,” it won’t matter one bit what the 1 percent wanted to take from us.

Denise Klock

Letter: Say no to fire district territory takeover

Our neighbors—one a 22-year resident—will be voting against the proposed territory takeover by Fox River & Countryside Fire Protection District from the current Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District.

Fox River & Countryside Trustee President Jim Gaffney stated in a Nov. 22, 2010, Daily Herald article that the Fire Protection District was “strapped for cash” going into its opening. The article states that “trustees already expect to run out of money within the next couple of years.”

A major reason for our vote against the disconnection is because of Fox River & Countryside Fire District’s current financial debt. Just one example of the debt is the outstanding bonds and all the interest that is being paid out on a regular basis. For being less than four years old, your large debt shows lack of financial responsibility. What will happen to the taxes of your current district if this referendum doesn’t pass?

The current residents should know that there is no guarantee those millions in the “red” will ever go away. The people of the Elburn Fire District who live within the proposed territory takeover need to know the whole picture: that they would be taking on this debt. They also need to be informed of the extra fees, in addition to their taxes, for services rendered by Fox River. Where does this money that is collected in fees go? Elburn Fire District does not charge response fees, nor itemized fees for personnel time, equipment and vehicles on the scene.

Elburn Fire District is showing the community that it is currently providing our families and properties the solid and responsible financial handling of our tax dollars, just as they always have. We are urging everyone in the area affected to please vote against this referendum.

Monica Del Medico, Kevin and Sandy Hagen, Larry Katkus, Mitch Katkus, Mary Jo Dorn, Gary Dorn, Kevin Koffenberger and Deanna Koffenberger
Campton Hills

Editorial: Have your say on Nov. 4

As you likely know, our Letter to the Editor section this month has served primarily as an outlet for local residents to weigh in on a fire district disconnection referendum that will appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

On that day, voters in the northeast section of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District’s territory will decide whether they want to disconnect from the district and join the Fox River Fire/Rescue District. The portion of territory in question is home to 3,000 residents.

Just about all of the letters we’ve received regarding the disconnection referendum have been in Elburn & Countryside Fire District’s favor, with a letter from Fox River & Countryside Fire Chief Greg Benson serving as the lone exception. We expect to receive many more disconnection referendum letters from local (and even non-local) residents between now and Nov. 4, and we encourage our readers to submit a letter as a way to offer their two cents on the referendum.

However, we’ve yet to hear from an Elburn resident who is in favor of the disconnection, although a petition to disconnect from Elburn and join the Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District suggests there are approximately 128 residents who support the referendum. If any of those 128 residents are interested in sending a letter stating their reasons for backing the potential de-annexation, send it our way. We’re interested in reading your thoughts on the matter.

We also encourage all of our readers to visit the election polls on Nov. 4 and cast their General Election ballot. This week marks the debut of our General Election 2014 pre-coverage, and we look forward to bringing you information on local candidates. However, our pre-election coverage is only valuable if you vote this fall, so be sure to mark Tuesday, Nov. 4, on your calendar (or phone). When it comes to voting, you’re either in or you’re out. Make sure you’re in.

Letter: Thank you to Run for Fund supporters

On behalf of the Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO, we would like to thank all those who were a vital part of our recent Run for Fund fundraiser. We would like to specially recognize Meijer and Dick’s Sporting Goods for their donations of raffle prizes, along with the Elburn Herald for their continued support. With the help of these companies, our fundraiser was a huge success.

We want to thank all the staff at Blackberry Creek ElementarySchool, and the parents, who volunteered to help assist in the event. We are also very grateful to those who sponsored our students. Your support of their efforts is beyond appreciated.

This was a fun event that encouraged physical health for our children and raised money for our school at the same time. The money raised from this event benefits all students at the school and will go to support our physical education, literacy, computer, art, music and library programs.

Kimberly Bartkowiak
Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO secretary

Letter: Corn Boil Committee donates to community

This year, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee is proud to be able to give back $14,000 to various community groups and organizations after a successful event this summer. Corn Boil President Jean Lindsey on Oct. 16 will present the donations to a variety of community organizations. The Corn Boil meeting and presentation ceremony will be begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Sugar Grove Township Building, Snow and Main streets in Sugar Grove.

This year, the Corn Boil Committee is pleased to recognize and present a financial donation to the following organizations: Between Friends Food Pantry, Big Rock Park District, Calvary West Church, Clown Ministry, Community Christian Church, Elburn Boy Scout Troop, Fox Valley Career Center, John Shields Elementary School, Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Kaneland Drum Core, Peak For Kids, St. Katharine Drexel Church, Sugar Grove Community House, Sugar Grove Historical Society, Sugar Grove Park District, Sugar Grove Township Senior Center, Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, Sugar Grove Veteran’s Park, Village Bible Church of Sugar Grove, the Sugar Grove Library, and Conley Outreach/West Town Human Services Network.

The next Sugar Grove Corn Boil will mark the 48th anniversary of this annual event. Please support your community by joining in and helping to plan this special event in 2015. Beginning in January, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil meetings will be held the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Township Building. The Corn Boil is a volunteer-run community event featuring three family-friendly and fun-filled days.

For more information about the 2015 Corn Boil, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Pat Graceffa
Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee

Letter: Elburn American Legion Auxiliary honored for donation

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary was honored recently at the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Illinois convention as the unit with the third-largest monetary donation to the National Veterans Creative Arts Program (NVCAP). Elburn Unit 630 received a certificate of appreciation.

The purpose of the NVCAP is to recognize veterans for their creative accomplishments, and to educate and demonstrate to communities throughout the country the therapeutic benefits of the arts.

The NVCAP helps to keep veterans’ minds and fingers nimble and sharp. Participation increases veterans’ sense of self-worth and helps to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. It relieves boredom and gets the veterans out of their rooms and into social environments.

Elburn Unit 630 was proud to be able to donate $300 of “Poppy Days” money, collected from the Elburn community street donations and mailed donations, to the NVCAP. It is important for VA hospitals and VA centers to be stocked with craft kits, such as model cars, model airplanes, paint-by-numbers sets, leather tooling, lacing, stitchery crafts, etc. Because of the generosity of the Elburn-area community during the annual May Poppy Days event, the Elburn unit was able to help fund the art and craft supplies that are a need for the NVCAP.

Since 2000, the American Legion Auxiliary has played a key role in the NVCAP as a co-sponsor with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Leah Anderson
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630, Elburn


Dancers against cancer

Photo: Dreams Dance Academy in La Fox this month will offer a cancer fundraiser raffle to coincide with October’s standing as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All academy visitors are invited to purchase raffle tickets for one of several gift baskets available, donate loose change in the school’s collection jar, and recognize loved ones affected by cancer on the pink ribbon wall.
Photo submitted by Jenny O’Brien to

La Fox dance company holds cancer fundraiser
LA FOX—Students and staff at Dreams Dance Academy give back to the community on a regular basis, but October’s give-back is near and dear to Jenny O’Brien’s heart.

The dance school owner and director has been touched by cancer twice, and she believes most people have been at some time.

“My mother Geralyn was diagnosed with breast cancer about 16 years ago, and then again in January of 2013,” Jenny said. “She’s doing great now.”

But because Jenny knows the difficulties of the battle against cancer, she was thrilled when three of the dance moms suggested a cancer-related fundraising raffle during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Through the entire month, Jenny is inviting all visitors to the dance school to purchase raffle tickets for one of several gift baskets, to drop their loose change in a collection jar at the front desk, and to recognize loved ones affected by cancer on the pink ribbon wall.

“All these things are open to the public; they aren’t just for my students and their families,” Jenny said.

All proceeds will be donated to the Living Well Cancer Research Center in Geneva, where Geralyn, an esthetician, runs the skincare program, providing facials and advice, as well as training others.

“Stress shows up first on your face,” Geralyn said. “We try to simplify what patients are using during treatment, and then work with them after treatment to repair and restore the skin.”

She said the center is a great resource providing body, mind and spirit support for patients and caregivers alike.

“A lot of doctors are now connected with the center, but it doesn’t look like a hospital or a medical facility,” Geralyn said.

Because she and her dancers give back to the community, Jenny is hoping the community will help Dreams Dance Academy win a $150,000 grant from the Chase Mission Main Street Grant program. She said only about 45 more votes are needed to move to the next level of competition.

“This grant would help me create my dream facility for my quickly growing studio, and be able to do more giving back to the community,” Jenny said.

To vote for Dreams Dance Academy, visit, and click the link on the home page just under the words in the news. More information on the fundraiser and classes can be found on the website as well, or you can call (630) 262-5051.

Community plans fundraiser event for Holmes Hughes

SUGAR GROVE—Friends of Beverly Holmes Hughes, Sugar Grove’s former library director, will host a Halloween “Fund-Fair” on Nov. 2 to raise money for the Hughes family.

The event is one more opportunity for children to don their Halloween costumes and have some fun. It’s also an opportunity for community members to help raise money for Hughes, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor, in May 2014.

Hughes, who was named Sugar Grove’s Citizen of the Year in 2010 for her extensive contributions to the community, will receive chemotherapy for the rest of her life.

Though the tumor has stripped her of her ability to walk, and the chemo leaves her exhausted, she is continuing to work as DeVry University’s director of Library Services in Addison, Ill., because she is the sole support for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still living at home.

The fundraising event, which will be held at the Sugar Grove Community House from 1-3 p.m., features a variety of Halloween games and crafts designed for children 10 and under.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to come together in the community,” event organizer Debbie DeBoer said. “The kids are going to have a great time, and we’re doing something for a great cause. Everything we raise is going straight to Bev.”

For a $10 entry fee, children can play as many games as they like, and win or lose, each child collects a prize at each game. The games are designed so that children as young as age 1 can participate, DeBoer said.

The DeBoer family is providing all of the games and prizes, and Sugar Grove Library trustee Pat Graceffa has rented the space at the Community Center, so 100 percent of all proceeds will go directly to the Hughes family.

Activities include balloon darts, a duck pond, guessing games based on touch, a zombie toss, a shooting game, skeleton bowling, a spider ring-toss, and a milk pin throw. Klicks by Katee, a Kaneville photography business run by Katee Werrline, has also donated a photo booth where children and families can take unlimited free photos of themselves for the first two hours of the event.

DeBoer is hoping that at least 200 children will turn out for the fundraiser, but the Community Center can hold up to 600, so she’s buying more prizes just to be sure.

“They win a prize for each game they play, and when they win something, it’s very fun and motivating,” DeBoer said. “They win stretchy skeletons at one game, a sheet of stickers at another, a spider ring at another. It’s fun collecting the prizes, and they want to get them all.”

Like many who know Hughes, DeBoer first met her through the library, where DeBoer volunteered in the used bookstore.

“(Beverly) lives life the way I wish I could. She just takes care of so many people—she’s taken in those children; she takes care of the community. How can you not help her? Knowing what she’s done for the community, I couldn’t turn my back to this,” DeBoer said. “To me, she’s an important person in our community, and as I like to teach my sons, if we can make a little bit of difference and make one month less stressful for this family, we should.”

An ongoing fundraiser, “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer,” is continuing to collect funds to help the Hughes family through an account at Castle Bank. Monetary donations can be made to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund at any Castle Bank location, including the local branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove.

Sugar Grove trustee Mari Johnson is urging community members to donate to the Hughes fund.

“Why do you donate to anything?” Johnson asked. “Because you feel an affiliation or an affinity toward that cause. Personally, I’ve known Beverly for over 20 years, and I think that through what she did at the library, all those years, she touched a lot of people’s lives.”

DeBoer was one of those people Hughes touched through her work at the library.

“I just really enjoyed taking my boys (to the library) and teaching them about literature and books, and (Beverly) tried so hard when we had the (old) little library, and she tried so hard to get the new building up and running,” DeBoer said. “I just appreciate her efforts.”

Donations of money, gift cards for groceries and gas, disinfecting supplies, clothes and school supplies for the family’s four children, and other items can be dropped off at the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce Office, 141 Main St., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; at 923 Spruce St., Sugar Grove; at 1916 Annettes Circle, Sugar Grove; or at 865 Boyce Road, Sugar Grove.

For updates and more information, follow the Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer page on Facebook.

Elburn passes resolution opposing Fire District disconnection

Fox River Fire District reps attend meeting to object
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday passed a resolution opposing the disconnection of a portion of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD), despite objection from Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District representatives in attendance.

A referendum question that asks whether the territory in question should be annexed into the Fox River Fire District will come before voters in the proposed disconnection area on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

Fox River District Board President Jim Gaffney and Fire Chief Greg Benson, along with attorney Ken Shepro, attended the Village Board meeting to protest board approval of the resolution.

Shepro told the Village Board that a governmental body should not expend funds on any public question. According to Shepro, the board’s passage of the resolution amounts to the board attempting to influence citizens to vote against the referendum.

“Clearly the purpose of this resolution is to influence the outcome of the referendum,” Shepro said. “Otherwise, why would you pass it?”

Village President Dave Anderson said that people will read the resolution and form their own opinion on the issue. He said that the resolution simply states that the board opposes the de-annexation, that it doesn’t get into politics and it doesn’t urge voters to vote in a particular way.

According to Gaffney, a group of citizens from the area in question, which is bound by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north, came to them saying that they weren’t comfortable with the service they were getting from the Elburn department. In response, he said, district officials helped them with a petition to detach themselves from the ECFPD.

The petition was signed by 128 residents in the area this summer, and a Kane County judge determined that the question should be put to the voters. Approximately 3,000 residents live in the area that would be affected.

Gaffney said the Fox River District can provide the same services to these residents, and at a lower rate. He said he thought the board was doing its residents a disservice by telling them to spend more money than necessary for fire protection services.

Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan attended a Village Board meeting last month to let village trustees know about the situation and to ask for their endorsement.

Callaghan told the board that the disconnection would mean a significant loss of revenue for the Elburn Fire District—the area in question is 10 percent of its square miles and 21 percent of its assessed value. The Elburn Fire District’s expenses would stay the same, and Callaghan said the disconnection would place a financial hardship on the district.

After listening to Fox River officials’ objections on Monday, village trustee Bill Grabarek said that he thought the disconnection could diminish Elburn’s ability to fulfill its obligations to protect the health, safety and welfare of Elburn residents. He asked that wording to that effect be added to the resolution.

The board then unanimously voted to approve the resolution. Trustees Ethan Hastert and Ken Anderson were absent, but Dave Anderson said they had participated in the decision to create such a resolution.

The Elburn Fire District is in the process of building a new station at Route 38 and Anderson Road. The district also opened a temporary station in the Lily Lake area on Oct. 1, while it continues to look for property for a permanent spot. Elburn Fire District officials say the Lily Lake station will allow them to respond more quickly to residents in that area.

Sugar Grove denies BP consumption, gambling license

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday voted 5-1 to deny a request for a liquor license that would allow on-site alcohol consumption and facilitate video gaming at the BP Gas Station located on Route 47 in Sugar Grove.

Village Board trustee Robert Bohler was not present.

Village trustee Kevin Geary was the sole board trustee for the on-site consumption and gambling license. Other board trustees spoke about their concerns and the potential problems the license could cause for the community.

“As much as I love the BP, and I’m there for coffee everyday, I’m opposed to (the license),” Village Board trustee Rick Montalto said. “I did a poll about it, and everyone I talked to was opposed to it.”

Village President Sean Michels expressed his concern of on-site consumption taking place at BP Gas Station with John Shields Elementary School located nearby.

“I don’t see it being a great thought,” Michels said. “It’s just the thought that someone could come in and have a couple of drinks and drive off and be so close to the school. Personally, I’m opposed to it. This disagreement won’t set us apart. The BP is great for the community.”

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger also voiced his apprehension regarding on-site consumption in gas stations.

“We have some concerns with consumption-on-site with gas stations, like we have brought up (previously),” Eichelberger said. “At some point, the village will hit a saturation level.”

There are currently three locations in Sugar Grove that have video gaming machines on premise, bringing in a combined total of $700 a month. Of that total, $100 goes toward the village.

Geary reasserted his support of the on-site consumption and gambling license.

“This is exactly what I argued about,” Geary said. “The public said that this is what they wanted. I promote business, and the public said yes to it.”


An honest gesture in Maple Park

Photo: The Honest Boot Golf Outing proceeds were presented to Maple Park Library Director Kimberly Anne Martin (second from left) on Friday. Presenting the check were Dennis Lexa (from left) of Honest Automotive, Bootlegger’s Pizza, Grill and Bar owner Tony Harrington, and coordinator Rich Ferdinand. Photo submitted by Dennis Lexa to

Maple Park—Proceeds from the Sept. 13 Honest Boot Golf Outing were presented to Maple Park Library Director Kimberly Anne Martin on Friday. Also in attendance for the check presentation were Dennis Lexa of Honest Automotive, Bootlegger’s Pizza, Grill and Bar owner Tony Harrington, and Honest Boot coordinator Rich Ferdinand.

The 2015 golf outing will have a new name: Honest Boot Custom Golf Outing, as Ray Lynch of County Line Customs in Maple Park has joined as a sponsor. The event will benefit the Boots and Hooves (Wounded Warrior) program on Beith Road.

Everyone involved with the Honest Boot Golf Outing would like to thank the golf hole sponsors, those who donated raffle prizes, Tony and Donna Harrington and Dennis Lexa for the food donations, as well as the golfers, for making this year’s fundraiser a success.

Elburn Lions October calendar raffle winners

ELBURN—The following people won $25 in the Elburn Lions Park October 2014 Calendar Raffle: Phil Van Bogaert, Chris Mondi, AAM and TFR, Denise Goode and Marilyn Long, all of Elburn; Brian Breen and Chris and Cindy Halsey, all of Sugar Grove; Elburn Seniors of Maple Park; Holly Zoch of La Fox; K.M. Kresse of Virgil; Nora J. Fisher and Bryce Breon of Batavia; Bob Geiken and Judy Ridgeway of Geneva; Dally Johnson of St. Charles; Carmen Rivera of North Aurora; Ron Burklow of Genoa, Ill.; Tim Johnson of Waterman, Ill.; Ken Hougas of Naperville, Ill.; Gary Lungren of Elgin, Ill.; Colleen Zbilski of Wheaton, Ill.; Sam Palumbo of Hillside, Ill.; Frank and Fran Modelski of Darien, Ill.; Andy Patellaro of Earlville, Ill.; Jack McNulty of Green Island, N.Y.; and Cari Pickerel.

The $50 winners were Karna Gladd and Pat Dallesasse of Elburn, Liam Cornell of Hinckley, and Tricia and Camilo Reynoso of Palatine, Ill. The $100 winner was Jesse and Jan Halsey of Elburn.

Maple Park withholds action on circus amendment

MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Village Board on Tuesday withheld action regarding a vote to regulate carnivals within the village.

The original purpose of the amendment was to regulate carnivals and circuses as to prevent animal cruelty that is often seen in the circus environment. Village Attorney Kevin Buick advised the board to use other routes for regulating circuses specifically.

“If animal abuse is the main concern, there are nationwide model ordinances you could use as an alternative to simply banning all circuses or carnivals,” Buick said.

The issue will be further discussed at the Maple Park Committee of the Whole meeting later this month.