Category Archives: Local News

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Needham elected co-president of Aurora Noon Lions

SUGAR GROVE—Michele Needham, executive director of Human Resources at Waubonsee Community College, was recently selected to serve as co-president of the Aurora Noon Lions Club.

Needham, of Plainfield, Ill., will share the presidency with Aurora lawyer Herbert Steinmetz for the 2014-15 year.

Needham’s responsibilities will include helping oversee the club’s events and philanthropic efforts, including raising funds and materials in support of the Lions’ efforts to assist those with impaired vision, impaired hearing and diabetes, as well as helping local schoolchildren obtain eye exams and eyeglasses.

The Aurora Noon Lions Club is marking its 90th year.

Needham has been a member of the Aurora Lions since 1993. She previously served as president of the club in 2000.

Hultgren supports legislation to protect community banks

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) this week voted to support two bills, which will relieve community banks from excessive regulations and protect their ability to lend to Illinois homeowners. H.R. 4042, the Community Bank Mortgage Service Asset Capital Requirements Study Act of 2014, and H.R. 5148, the Access to Affordable Mortgages Act of 2014, both passed the House Financial Services Committee (FSC), of which Rep. Hultgren is a member.

“Without healthy community banks, many responsible Americans—including my constituents in the 14th District of Illinois—could not own a home,” Rep. Hultgren said. “These banks lend based upon their customer relationships, which means they can often serve the borrowers that the larger banks may turn down. These bills provide some relief for community banks that are struggling under the weight of often unnecessary regulations.”

H.R. 4042 requires federal oversight agencies to study capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets at certain banks, including all small- and mid-sized banks, and delays the application of certain capital requirements for six months after completing the study. Easing regulations on community banks can free up their ability to lend to customers, such as small businesses and farmers.

H.R. 5148 exempts certain high-risk mortgages valued $250,000 or below from federal appraisal requirements. This eases compliance burdens on lenders and increases credit access for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

Rep. Hultgren previously signed a letter urging the Federal Reserve to appoint a community banker to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, ensuring their interests are represented.

Rep. Hultgren also cosponsored a number of bills that have offered regulatory relief to community banks, including:

• Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 2673), which amends the Truth in Lending Act to define as a “qualified mortgage” a residential mortgage loan made by a creditor so long as the loan appears on the balance sheet of such creditor. This bill passed the FSC on May 22, 2014, by a vote of 36-23.

• Mortgage Choice Act of 2013 (H.R. 3211), which modifies the definition of “points and fees” for the purposes of determining defining a qualified mortgage. H.R. 3211 passed the House on June 9, 2014 by a voice vote.

• Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2014 (H.R. 4521), which exempts community banks and credit unions with assets below $10 billion from escrow requirements for loans held in portfolio, and amends the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to increase the “small servicer” exception threshold to 20,000 annual loans (up from 5,000). H.R. 4521 passed the FSC by a vote of 43-16.

Rambish to serve on Mutual Ground Board

SUGAR GROVE—Dr. Medea Rambish, Dean for Developmental Education and College Readiness at Waubonsee Community College, has been selected to serve on the board of directors for Mutual Ground in Aurora.

Rambish, a North Aurora resident, will serve a two-year term on the board. This will mark her first term on the board. In that role, she will serve on the board’s Finance Committee and will help oversee Mutual Ground’s annual Walk for Hope fundraiser.

Rambish said she applied to serve on Mutual Ground’s board because she strongly supports and agrees with the organization’s purpose and mission.

“I wanted to help any way I can,” Rambish said.

Founded in 1975, Mutual Ground provides shelter and other services, free of charge, to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Greater Aurora, Southern Kane and Kendall counties. It stands as one of the largest and oldest domestic violence shelters in Illinois.

Dental visits a good habit to start

NAPERVILLE, Ill.—While two-thirds of Illinoisans visit the dentist at least once a year, nearly half of them have gone three years or more without seeing the dentist.

“According to the Delta Dental of Illinois Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, most Illinoisans visit the dentist at least once a year, and those who do are more likely to report their oral health as good or better versus those who are in a dentist’s chair less frequently,” said Dr. Katina Spadoni, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Still, a lot of people take a break from routine dentist visits at some point in their lives.”

More than half of Illinoisans say they have felt fear or reluctance regarding a dental visit. Most said they had a bad past experience or were afraid to find out what care they needed. Younger Illinoisans ages 18 to 44 have felt more apprehension than those 45 years and older.

“Regular dental visits are part of important preventive care,” Spadoni said. “It’s good to stay in—or get back into—the habit of visiting a dentist. Your dentist can help you determine how often you need to visit, and preventive care is key to help avoid more comprehensive and costly treatment.”

For people with existing oral health problems, such as gum disease, or medical problems like diabetes or dry mouth, one dental visit a year may not be enough, according to Spadoni. For those at higher risk of developing oral problems, three or four visits a year may be best.

“On the other hand, if you have low risks, you will not need the same level of preventive treatments or exams,” Spaldoni said.

One way to stay in the habit is to find a regular dentist. One in five Illinoisans do not have a regular dentist, while nearly half say they’ve beenusing the same dentist for three years or more.

It’s more refreshing than a relief

Despite the fear and reluctance many Illinoisans feel in going to the dentist, most say they feel refreshed after doing so.

“More often than not, you feel good walking out of a dentist’s office,” Spadoni said.

For more information about how you can improve your oral health, visit deltadentalilblog.com.

Elburn Seniors trip—Deadline Aug. 11

ELBURN—Elburn Seniors will take a trip on Tuesday, Aug. 19, to Isle Of Capri Casino in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The cost of the trip is $38. Participants must sign up no later than Monday, Aug. 11. Everyone over the age of 21 is welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Marge at (630) 999-6444 or call (630) 466-9066.

Summer Reading Grand Finale Aug. 8

ELBURN—Town and Country Public Library will host its annual Summer Reading Grand Finale on Friday, Aug. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the library, 320 E. North St., Elburn. The evening will mark the culmination of the library’s “Paws to Read” Summer Reading program. Bring a friend. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Library volunteers will serve Ream’s National Grand Champion beef wieners, Paisano’s pizza, chips and water. A “Zoo to You” petting zoo will bring goats, sheep, a donkey, a llama, ducks, bunnies and chicks. Children and adults can pet and feed them.

Stop by the Sparkles Entertainment booth and get a design painted on your face or arm.

Truly Remarkable Loon (www.trloon.com/library/index.html) will return to the library to perform his “Read Books and Juggle Everything Else” comedy juggling show at 5 p.m. This is an outdoor performance, so bring a lawn chair or blanket.

The next show is indoors at 6 p.m. Chris McBrien (www.magicstoryteller.biz/) and his zany puppet friends will entertain with his “Wild and Wacky Pet Show.” Chris will mix magic and storytelling while his puppets Dewey Duck, George the Giant and others amaze you with their antics.

Unscheduled Tour (www.facebook.com/UnscheduledTour) will appear for the first time at the library for a 7 p.m. performance. Unscheduled Tour features Audry Buchanan, Rich Cardia and Greg Torrence, three friends who will play your favorite rock, country and blues from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. This will be an under-the-sky performance.

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Schuler to leave Kaneland

Will become Wheaton-Warrenville superintendent

KANELAND—Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler last week agreed to become the new superintendent of schools for the Wheaton-Warrenville School District.

Schuler, 42, a Plainfield resident, has worked in the Kaneland School District for eight years—the last four as superintendent. He previously served as an assistant superintendent for human resources and an associate superintendent.

Schuler said that Tuesday, Sept. 2, will be his first day at Wheaton-Warrenville. In the meantime, he will continue to serve as Kaneland superintendent.

Schuler recently had been named a finalist for the Wheaton-Warrenville job. He informed the Kaneland School Board that he would accept the invitation to become Wheaton-Warrenville’s superintendent of schools should the position be offered to him.

Schuler did not seek out the Wheaton-Warrenville position. Rather, he said that he received a call and was invited to interview with the district.

“The decision had nothing to do with Kaneland,” Schuler said. “Obviously Kaneland is a phenomenal school district and a great opportunity. Wheaton is bigger—there’s about 13,500 students, 20 schools. Candidly, it just was a really exceptional opportunity for me.”

Schuler’s salary as Kaneland superintendent is $194,000. His base salary at Wheaton-Warrenville School District will be $225,000.

Schuler reflected on what he was proud of while the Kaneland superintendent. His noted accomplishments include working to advance student achievement and expanding student opportunities at Kaneland High School. He also expressed admiration for the administration team, as well as the district’s instructional and support staff.

“Those are all things for which I’m exceptionally proud,” he said.

Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe recently weighed in on Schuler’s exit.

“I understand that it’s only natural when a young professional, as talented and recognized in the educational field as Dr. Schuler was, would be contacted by others who may wish to attract him as a candidate,” Krauspe said. “I was not surprised when I learned that he had risen to the level of finalist for the Wheaton position, because there is quite a lot that would impress the Wheaton-Warrenville community.”

The Kaneland School Board will now work to find its next district superintendent.

“The Board of Education will take these next important steps in a superintendent selection very carefully, thoroughly and thoughtfully,” Krauspe said.

Schuler expressed his confidence that the Kaneland schools are “ready to operate,” even though he will exit the district soon after its new school year begins on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

“I’m going to have the same feelings about leaving this position, whether it’s two weeks into the school year or the middle of the summer,” Schuler said. “I would feel the same way.”

Sugar Grove United Methodist Church on July 1 welcomed its new pastor, CheonEui Oh, his wife, Sim, and their children, Ethan (middle), Elena and Elijah. CheonEui graduated from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea, in 2004, and journeyed to the United States the following year to continue his religious education. He graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2009, and became a provisional pastor and ordained elder in 2011 as a part of the Northern Illinois Conference. 
Photo submitted by Marguerite Ledone to NJuns@elburnherald.com

United Methodist Church welcomes new pastor

SUGAR GROVE—Pastor CheonEui Oh on July 1 was welcomed as the new leader of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church.

Pastor CheonEui, his wife Sim, and three kids Ethan, Elena and Elijah, are now a part of the United Methodist Church, where they hope to spread the name of their new church out into the community.

The United Methodist Church has had interim pastors from February to July of this year. Rev. Richard Mayor has been helping to pastor the church during that time, according to Administrative Assistant Marguerite Ledone.

“We’re trying to get our congregation more stability because we’ve been without a pastor for so long,” Ledone said. “He’s (Pastor CheonEui) been pulling us all together. I have a very good feeling about it.”

Pastor CheonEui is very familiar with the Methodist Church, especially since he was raised in a pastor’s family. His father served as a pastor at a Methodist Church in South Korea.

CheonEui graduated from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, in 2004. Cheon Eui journeyed to the United States in 2005 to continue his education at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. He graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2009 and became a provisional pastor and ordained eldor in 2011 as a part of the Northern Illinois Conference.

Orangeville United Methodist Church and Afolkey-Bethel United Methodist Church are the two churches that CheonEui previously served as pastor. According to the United Methodist Church press release, Pastor CheonEui would like to learn new strategies, approaches and programs to better serve God and the United Methodist Church as it continues to grow.

As a part of his new role as pastor, CheonEui has been meeting with different people in the Sugar Grove community to become more acquainted.

“Pastor CheonEui is trying to get our name out there in the community,” Ledone said. “He attended the senior luncheon to meet with those folks, and he also went to the Corn Boil, where he was introduced to (Village President) Sean Michels. He also had a meet and greet with other pastors in the area recently.”

Worship service times at United Methodist Church will remain the same through August. There is an outside worship service at 8 a.m. at 4S633 Harter Road in Sugar Grove and an inside worship service at 9:30 a.m. at 176 Main St. in Sugar Grove. September through May worship services are scheduled for 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. at 176 Main St.

For more information, contact Marguerite Ledone at (630) 466-4501.

Robert Ybarra of Montgomery can be seen patrolling the sidelines as Illinois High School Association football officials every Friday night.

Courtesy Photos

Upon further review: Experienced local IHSA officials take time to get it right

KANELAND—It could be that the best officiating crew in any high school sport is the one you barely notice.

That’s ironic, considering the countless officials that make up the Illinois High School Association landscape go through painstaking time and material to keep up with their particular sport.

Some of those officials can claim themselves part of the area, even though their trade takes them all over northern Illinois, and even to State finals.

IHSA football has seen the likes of Montgomery representative Robert Ybarra and former Elburn resident Ed Reier for a combined six decades of action.

Those gentleman that patrol the sidelines and keep 22 capable athletes in order on Friday nights go through offseason prep that rivals the intensity of teams like the Knights’ playbook study.

Ybarra, who has been tabbed to officiate two IHSA State football championship games, not only keeps up on the rules, but also passes on what he has learned in approved seminars and clinics.

“I was in Peoria last week and running a clinic and going to be in Forreston, Ill., on Aug. 9 to train and educate other officials. These IHSA-approved clinics give them the opportunity to learn,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra is sometimes asked to give nine different presentations at summer officiating clinics, dealing with aspects of football like the passing game, kicking game or penalties.

“When you’re asked to present to 100 people, you have to be an expert on these aspects of the game,” Ybarra said.

Being an expert goes a long way for the 23-year gridiron vet Ybarra, who earned spots in previous title games through a power rating system handed down by IHSA assessors.

“You get rated each game, and get points, and you attend rules clinics every summer which gets you points, as well,” Ybarra said.

There’s no magic to what Ybarra has been able to do leading into each season.

“You have to stay on top of the rules and communicate with your crew and the coaches and be prepared. You have to know the rules and have your philosophy and definition of penalties. There could be a game where it’s a 30-8 game, and talent and players enter into it the most, but another completely different crew could have their take on a rule and it’d end up being a different score,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra would like to see what other opportunities lay out there and work his way up one day.

“You need to join the Midwest Football Officiating Alliance, which puts you in with Division III games, and I’d like to work my way up to the Big Ten,” Ybarra said.

To appreciate Ybarra’s journey as a weekend warrior in black-and-white, just look at an early age.

“I would run around with my older brothers and I just wasn’t fast enough,” Ybarra said, “So, during football games they asked if I wanted to blow the whistle and that’s how it all began. There was an ad in the paper for an IHSA football clinic and I thought ‘why couldn’t I do that?’”

Reier, of Arlington Heights, Ill., but a recent decade-long resident of Elburn, has a little more experience and an eye for how the game has changed.

“The players are faster and stronger, and we have to keep up with them more,” Reier said. “We have to respond to that. As I age, it gets tougher.”

Reier, working for a landscaping company in Skokie, Ill., keeps going as an official like he has every year since the early 1980s.

“The thing is, these kids don’t age. We get older, and a different set of kids come in. But there are things I’ve improved at, like response time,” Reier said.

Reier’s expertise has brought him all over the northern half of the state.

“I’ve been all over. Recently, I’ve done games in Rockford, been out by Lincoln-Way, done games at Kaneland and gone all the way to Lake Forest,” Reier said.

Much like training camp that begins in under two weeks, Reier is preparing to get busy.

“We meet next week for an IHSA clinic to go over and review the rules again. There’s a lot that goes on. More and more teams are running the spread offense, and in the pre-game meeting, coaches will ask how we’ll rule a certain play,” Reier said.

Reier and his whistle-wearing brothers have goals that are similar to the kids wearing helmets: do their best every week.

“Our goal as a group is do our best week to week for the IHSA,” Reier said. “There’s nothing like a full stadium on a Friday night.”

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson has been at it for 40 years as part of the IHSA track and cross-country scene, at the front lines of the usual Kaneland staples like the Peterson Prep and Jill Holmes Invite.

“In the beginning, you didn’t have to belong to the IHSA officials group, but about 23 years ago, that became a prerequisite,” Anderson said.

Track is a sport that has more constant edges than others, but Anderson notices changes nonetheless.

“I think the safety procedures taken have really come into effect,” Anderson said. “I remember landing pits being sand or sawdust, and now they are cushioned.”

Anderson also thinks technology has impacted today’s track as much as any other sport.

“Before, it was just ear and the eye once they crossed the finish line, and now you have stop watches, chips and automatic time stop. It’s been positive,” Anderson said.

Also like other sports, Anderson and the other officials at huge meets need to keep up on the rules of the road, so to speak.

“The rulebook has definitely gotten thicker, but you have to keep up with it. The technology and the rules and structure of the meets have made things quicker, as well. That’s good for everyone, especially the fans,” Anderson said. “We go to a clinic once a year and get tested once a year.”

An official can see the best side of kids and the not-so-good side after wins and losses, but Anderson can vouch for the latest crop of kids in his field.

“The last two or three years, the kids have been great,” Anderson said. “Both the boys and girls side has been polite and respectful. It’s a constant sport and their demeanor is great when I speak to them.”

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson has been involved with Illinois High School Association track and field for 40 years, and can be found at Kaneland staples including the Peterson Prep and Jill Holmes Invite.                       File Photos
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson has been involved with Illinois High School Association track and field for 40 years, and can be found at Kaneland staples including the Peterson Prep and Jill Holmes Invite. File Photos
The 2016 International Crown Launch luncheon took place Friday at Hotel Arista in Naperville, Ill. The actual event will take place in 2016 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. LPGA golfer Anna Nordqvist was at the luncheon to share her experiences about being in the LPGA. 

Photo by Tiffany Kufler

Luncheon creates excitement for 2016 International Crown

NAPERVILLE—Hotel Arista in Naperville, Ill., hosted a luncheon on Friday, Aug. 1, to launch the summer 2016 International Crown Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event, scheduled to take place at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.

LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan spoke about the dynamics of this completely new event.

“We will have four players on each team from the best eight countries in the world,” Whan said. “You can’t have one good golfer. You have to build golfing teams to win the crown. We will announce the countries in December, but the players could change on the way to Rich Harvest Farms in 2016.”

The International Crown will present a global showcase of women’s golf and will occur on every even year. For the second edition of the International Crown at Rich Harvest Farms in 2016, Calamos and Rolex will contribute to the event as ambassador sponsors.

The inaugural International Crown debuted this year at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., the week of July 22-27. According to Whan, the new event is structured in a different format that promotes team effort as the four players on each team rely on each other for advice and support, as there are no coaches or captains.

“There is a nervousness and excitement that comes with playing for a team while the country is watching,” Whan said.

According to Whan, they expected to sell the eight TV rights for the eight countries that were represented in the 2014 International Crown, but they ended up selling 166 rights.

“It was so far beyond our expectations,” Whan said. “It’s very rare to bring a new legacy to a sport. In 2016, we want to give Chicago the Olympics it didn’t get.”

The LPGA would like to inspire younger girls, when they’re watching the International Crown on TV, to be on the team someday, according to Whan.

Anna Nordqvist, a professional women’s golfer, was present at the luncheon on Friday and spoke about her experience as a player on Team Sweden at the first edition of the International Crown in Maryland.

“It was a cool experience,” Nordqvist said. “There was no leader on the team. You listen to what everyone had to say, and everyone feels like a part of the team. We got really close to each other and everyone feels important.”

Rich Harvest Farms is a private, members-only club consistently ranked on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The 18-hold course has been described as a 1,820-acre showcase of nature and agriculture. It hosted the LPGA’s Solheim Cup event in 2009.

The International Crown, made by Tiffany & Co., weighs 20 pounds, and is nearly 2 feet tall. It took 140 hours of labor for the sterling silver, and 25 hours in a woodshop to create.   Photo by Tiffany Kufler
The International Crown, made by Tiffany & Co., weighs 20 pounds, and is nearly 2 feet tall. It took 140 hours of labor for the sterling silver, and 25 hours in a woodshop to create.
Photo by Tiffany Kufler

Reaffirming our objectivity

We’ve recently fielded some public comments regarding our stance (and perspective) on the situation involving the Kaneland School District and Superintendent Jeff Schuler, who will become the superintendent of schools in the Wheaton-Warrenville School District on Sept. 2. Therefore, we’d like to use this space to explain our philosophy when it comes to reporting on any topic, regardless of whether controversy is present.

When it comes to reporting, our stance at the Elburn Herald is this: we don’t have a stance. It’s our duty to report everything that happens in the Kaneland community, but it’s not our place to tell our readers what to think or how to feel about a particular issue. Rather, we’re here to simply pass on the facts to our readers so that they can make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions. That’s also why you won’t see us endorse candidates at election time. We want our reporting to be the written equivalent of Switzerland: neutral, objective and mercilessly honest.

Of course, the irony here is that we’re using the editorial page—an actual forum for opinion—to reaffirm our objectivity. But all we’ll do here is simply state that we hope the Kaneland School Board can forego the fighting and finger-pointing currently found at its meetings, and instead hunker down and work together to identify a new superintendent and continue to improve Kaneland’s budget concerns. Because everyone who serves on the Kaneland School Board should have the same goal: to help put forth the best-quality education possible for every child in the district.

And if you can do that without shouting, even better.

Corn Boil awards 2014 scholarships

SUGAR GROVE—As part of Sugar Grove Corn Boil 2014 festivities, Sugar Grove Chamber President Steve Ekker on Friday announced the awarding of the 2014 Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry Scholarships.

Christine Crews received a $500 scholarship for a Graduating Female High School Senior and will attend Waubonsee Community College. Michael Deja received a $500 scholarship for a Graduating Male High School Senior and will attend Waubonsee Community College.

Both recipients were selected because of their understanding of the vital importance of community service as well as statements on their high school academic status, extra-curricular activities, and community service or community involvement.

The chamber offers these scholarships in an effort to recognize and support home grown potential. A generous donation from the Sugar Grove Fire Fighters Association also helped fund the 2014 scholarships.

The annual Scholarship Fair will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Township Community Building, 141 Main St. Learn from organizations and schools about their scholarships. Hear speakers regarding “Completing a FAFSA Form, Doing an Internet Search for Scholarships, and Writing a Scholarship Essay.” The event is free and open to the public for both students and parents.

Heritage Prairie Farm earns organic certification

ELBURN—Heritage Prairie Farm is now Certified USDA Organic by EcoCert ICO. Heritage Prairie Farm’s Certified Organic products include their line of MicroGreens sold in Whole Foods Market locations region-wide, and Blue Goose Market in St. Charles.

Their certified organic produce is available through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, or for purchase through their Heritage Prairie Market store on site, or the Wheaton French Market, which they participate in on Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., April through November.

Certified organic produce is also featured on the wood fired pizza menu, available every Wednesday June through September, and at once-a-month Farm Dinners. Organic produce is also featured on the menu of several wedding receptions throughout the year celebrated on the farm. For information on farm events, visit www.heritageprairiefarm.com/farm_events.htm.

Fall CSA shares are still available for this year, the information can be found at www.heritageprairiefarm.com/csa.htm, and current store hours for Heritage Prairie Market can be found on the store webpage at www.heritageprairiefarm.com/farmstore.htm.

During summer months, the store is open Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fresh produce that is available will vary depending on harvest. Heritage Prairie Farm grows over 250 varieties of 40 different vegetables.

Heritage Prairie Farm is located at 2N308 Brundige Road, Elburn. For more informations, call (630) 443-5989.

Every arm is needed this summer

AURORA—Heartland Blood Centers, an independent medical organization serving 57 hospitals in a 12-county region in Illinois and Indiana, asks all healthy individuals to “roll up their sleeves” and give blood in August. The need for blood is constant, especially in the summer months, when eligible donors have even less time in their busy schedules to give. If you have not yet made your summertime blood donation, you are urged to do so this month.

“Summertime is historically the time of year when blood centers across the country struggle with their blood inventory levels. We are no exception,” said Dennis Mestrich, CEO and president with Heartland Blood Centers. “Holidays, vacations, weddings, and other celebrations keep many regular donors from giving blood in the summer months. This compounds our challenge to collect the blood needed to maintain safe and adequate blood inventories.”

In the United States alone, someone needs blood every two seconds. This could be a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker or person you may never know. They all have one thing in common—the need for a lifesaving blood donation. Each and every day there are patients who depend on the transfusions of red blood cells, platelets and plasma to stay alive—including those with cancer, leukemia, and victims of accidents and other traumas. Blood and blood products cannot be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer blood donors who take an hour to attend a blood drive or visit a donor center.

“We not only need our loyal blood donors to continue to donate in the summer, but we need new blood donors every day to help replace those donors who are no longer eligible to donate,” Mestrich said. “We ask that all healthy community members visit a mobile blood drive or center location this summer to share their good health with others by donating blood. If you are unable to donate blood, please consider sponsoring a blood drive with us. We provide all the tools you will need to host a successful event.”

As a “thank-you” gift, blood donors will receive a $5 Subway gift card when they donate at any Heartland Blood Centers mobile or center location in August. Some blood drive or center locations may have an alternative “thank-you” gift to give.

For a list of convenient donation locations, visit www.heartlandbc.org for a Heartland center or community blood drive near you.

Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level.

To be a blood donor, individuals must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with written parental permission; weigh at least 110 pounds; be symptom free of cold, flu and allergies; and be in general good health. Donors who have traveled outside the United States within the past 12 months should contact Heartland at 1-800-7TO-GIVE to determine eligibility.

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D302: Superintendent Schuler leaves for D200

The Kaneland School District announced the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler effective Sept. 2, 2014.

At a special meeting Monday, the Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 voted in favor of hiring the Kaneland superintendent.

In a press release release, D302 Board President Cheryl Krauspe said the District is sad to see Schuler leave Kaneland, but recognized the reasons he was sought after as well as the professional opportunity the new position presents. “We are proud of our accomplishments under Dr. Schuler’s four years of educational leadership,” she said. “He is leaving us in a good position. We believe that the strong leadership team built by Dr. Schuler, in partnership with the Board of Education, and our strong committed staff will ensure that our strategic focus remains steadfast – to continue inspiring excellence for all students as we graduate them college, career and community ready. We will continue to move forward.”

Schuler was selected by the D200 board following an extensive interview process.

“We were very fortunate to have several highly qualified candidates apply for the position,” D200 Board President Barbara Intihar said. “Of all the candidates, Dr. Schuler’s proven ability to connect with the community, promote student learning, and build instructional leadership within the staff – all recommendations of the ENGAGE 200 initiative – stood out most clearly. Those qualities, plus his experience navigating fiscal and operational challenges in a complex unit school district, led us to choose him as our next superintendent. We welcome him to District 200, and we look forward to a long professional relationship with him.”

The Elburn Herald will have more on this story in our Thursday, Aug. 7 edition.

Links:

D302 Press Release >>

D200 Press Release >>

 
Video from D302:

School Board approves 2014-15 tentative budget

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday agreed to the 2014-15 school year tentative budget.

School Board trustee Tony Valente was the lone “no” vote. Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe was absent from the meeting.

Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for Business, reviewed the tentative budget during the meeting. According to the report, the tentative budget totals $66.5 million. The Education Fund has a projected deficit of $3 million.

Two funds have surpluses, including the Operations and Maintenance Fund at $115,000 and the Transportation Fund at $1.9 million.

A big chunk of the budget is funded from property taxes that were levied last December. The only two board members who consistently voted against the tax increase were Valente and Pedro Rivas.

Fuchs pointed out that transferring money to the Education Fund isn’t currently necessary. However, she added that a transfer might be needed next school year. She explained that if equalized assessed value (EAV) goes up, the ability to levy is greater; if the EAV is the same or lower, that means a larger transfer is needed next year.

“This year, you’re fine,” she said to the board.

Valente called the idea of transferring funds to go into the Education Fund “backdoor-ish.”

“To me, it is not only unethical, it’s despicable,” he said.

Valente added that the law was broken from a “moral perspective.”

School Board member Peter Lopatin weighed in on the issue of transferring money from the Transportation Fund.

“I don’t believe that there’s an intentional sleight of hand here,” he said.

Fuchs said that the legislature has recognized the need to transfer money and has extended the ability to do so through 2016.

“We’re not alone,” she said.

Fuchs said that it would not be legal to have a referendum.

“We can’t go out because we’re so far out in debt,” she said, noting that the district has about $189 million in debt.

There will be a public hearing on this budget at the Sept. 8 School Board meeting. The board will take a vote on the budget.

Future-1

A look to the future

In the final installment of its three-part series, the Elburn Herald takes a look at the projects set to define the future of Sugar Grove

Big-dollar infrastructure projects are the basis of the future Village President Sean Michels envisions for Sugar Grove, which he hopes will become a destination community rather than a commuter community.

The list of projects is ambitious—a full I-88 interchange at Route 47, a new data center, fiber optic cables, expansion of the park district’s facilities, new police and fire stations, and even a potential Metra station—and all are aimed at making Sugar Grove a more attractive place for businesses and residents alike.

“Hopefully, we’d see the expansion of our business park so that Sugar Grove is more of a destination community as opposed to a commuter community,” Michels said. “Just bringing in opportunities for employment, that’s really where we think the interchange will be critical, because it opens up a vast amount of property that is ideal for development, basically Route 47 east to Bliss Road. The fact that we’d have ramps in both directions, and we have a good community college that provides a good workforce, and we have the water and sewer capacity … the big result is that you have people working close to home, and it also diversifies your tax base so that residents don’t have to shoulder it all.”

Sugar Grove is seeking to capitalize on its location, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said, which is one of the best in the far-western suburbs.

“I think the thing about Sugar Grove that is the same whether (the economy) is booming or not booming is our location. It gets back to location, location, location,” Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said. “While we certainly don’t have a Metra station (yet) and that’s a long way off, our access to I-88 is great. That’s one of the things our existing residents love about it, the access that Sugar Grove has. As soon as you get a little bit to the north or south, you start adding 15, 20 minutes before you can even get to the tollway.”

Within five years, Michels expects to see the completion of a full I-88 interchange at Route 47. Financing is already in place, he said, but the Illinois Department of Transportation has to sign off on the engineering agreement before construction can start. Phase I engineering should be done in two years or less, Michels said.

“We anticipate it will promote a variety of different developments, both residential and commercial, on the north side,” Michels said.

The interchange will cost between $20 million and $32 million to build. Sugar Grove and Kane County will contribute $3 million of that money—how to split that amount is still under discussion—and the remainder will come from the tollway and the state.

“There’s not a firm date (for completion) right now, but a reasonable time table will be around 2018,” Eichelberger said. “Obviously, we hope it moves as quick as it can, but I think that’s a fair target. It could be 2017, or if there are unforeseen circumstances, 2019.”

Michels foresees the interchange bringing more retail development and growth to Sugar Grove, and the village is working to put infrastructure in place to make it attractive to businesses, including a potential new data center and fiber optic cable line to provide high-speed Internet capacity.

A fiber optic line already goes to Harter Middle School and the Sugar Grove Public Library, and the village is working with both to extend that cable to the village hall and elementary school.

“We’re hoping to get a sizeable grant to bring that in next year, and we hope (the fiber optic cables) will bring in more businesses,” Michels said.

Fiber optics would allow businesses to move large quantities of data, Michels said. As an example, it would allow medical facilities like the new Cadence Health to send CAT scans and MRIs for remote viewing by specialists at other facilities, he said. Having that capacity is important for attracting businesses to the area.

“We hope to get a data center up by I-88, and we have redundant sources of power, so we’d have very high voltage electric,” Michels said.

Within 15 to 20 years, Police Chief Pat Rollins expects that a new Police Department building will be constructed—something that has been long delayed. Land at the northwest corner of Route 30 and Municipal Drive, across from the Fire Department, was purchased before the recession and architectural drawings created, but the plan stalled when the economy did.

Though the village is moving its administrative and finance departments to 140 S. Municipal Drive this fall to give the Police Department room to expand, that fix is temporary, Rollins said.

“Eventually, when there’s the opportunity in the village, we’ll look at the architectural drawings and see what can be done,” Rollins said.

Other village services plan future expansions, as well.

The village’s transportation plan, provided by Director of Public Works Anthony Speciale, suggests that two to four more fire stations should be built. Land for a second fire station has already been purchased by the village—a 2.5 acre plot at 650 Denny Road—but construction was put on hold by the recession. A third station would potentially be located in the southeast section of Sugar Grove.

New Sugar Grove Park District facilities are already in the works. The Park District received a $400,000 grant last year to transform open space near Harter Middle School into a community park with sports fields and a playground, and it’s also in the process of acquiring more land, including a parcel near the Aurora Airport and another on Wheeler Road in Aurora, which Sugar Grove would have to annex.

“We’re taking small strides, but we’re always trying to improve our bike trails and pedestrian trails for people. In our community surveys, that’s always an important goal of our residents, to have places to get outside. It’s a way for people to escape and put their troubles behind,” Michels said.

Within 20 years, Michels hopes to see the extension of the Burlington Northern rail line from Aurora to Sugar Grove. The village has already identified a 20-acre parcel along the Burlington Northern railway, west of the proposed Municipal Drive extension, as the ideal location for a station.

It’s an ambitious goal, and whether the line will ultimately be extended to Sugar Grove is uncertain. The project is still in the discussion phase, Michels said, and Kendall County is also lobbying the Regional Transportation Authority to have the line extended there.

“Financing, the big things, still have to take place,” Michels said. “They would have to add a third rail through downtown Aurora, and they’d have to send a second rail west. There’s a spur by the Fox Valley Park District office. We’ve been talking to our Metra rep and our RTA rep to promote this. The complicating factor is that Kendall County wants to have Metra expanded there, primarily into Oswego and Yorkville, but they aren’t part of the RTA tax.”

Many of these projects are fueled by—and hinge on—official projections that Sugar Grove’s population is going to explode. Projections from the Northern Illinois Planning Commission predict that Sugar Grove’s population will increase to 62,742 people by 2030, a nearly 600 percent increase in just 16 years.

Yet Eichelberger said he believes the pace of growth will be more moderate than that.

“We did long-term population projections, and at one point in time, there was a projection of 60,000 residents ultimately,” he said. “It really gets back into a question of time frame. If we want to talk 50 years, 100 years, those numbers seem arguably realistic. If you just look at land area and assume a kind of typical development plan, yeah, people start talking about populations of 40, 50, 60,000 or more. But in the next five to 10 years? Certainly not that. In our last census (in 2010), we were right around 9,000 people, and in 2014 those numbers haven’t changed much at all. By 2020, if we have 50 homes a year, you’re only talking another 750 people. It wouldn’t be crazy to say 1,500 people if housing starts to pick up a little.”

Four housing developments in Sugar Grove stalled following the 2008 collapse of the housing market, and building is just starting to resume, Eichelberger said. The village issued permits for 25 new homes in 2013 and projects “about the same” for 2014.

One of the stalled subdivisions, Prairie Glen, was purchased by Orleans Homes last year and has resumed building. Another, Hannaford Farms, was just recently purchased from the bank by a new developer and should resume building soon. Meadow Ridge Villas, an age-restricted housing development for those 55 years of age and older, will put up models this fall.

But the biggest of the developments, Settler’s Ridge, has been purchased from the original developer by a bond company that hasn’t completed the required public improvements. The village has been tied up in a lawsuit for three years with the bond company.

Eichelberger said that though the village is confident it will win the suit, it doesn’t expect the suit to be resolved until 2016—and then the public improvements will have to be finished before construction can resume.

“So much of it really depends on the overall economy and what that does to the housing market,” Eichelberger said. “We’re going to see some of the growth, but it’s a bigger question of how much. Maybe 200, 300 permits (for new houses) a year over time.”

The Village Board isn’t rushing development, Eichelberger said.

“The board has really held to their standards of what they wanted, residential and commercial,” Eichelberger said. “They aren’t going to do something just to get the growth.”

1.

Parson named Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Fire Marshal Wayne Parson was honored and celebrated as the Sugar Grove 2014 Citizen of the Year during Corn Boil opening ceremonies on Friday.

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels spoke about Parson’s reliability and work ethic during the opening ceremony of the Corn Boil. Michels also mentioned Parson’s loyalty to his job and ability to find solutions to problems.

“He’s always in his uniform,” Michels said. “He reviews plans for us. He does a world of good for the village. Wayne Parson is our fire marshal in Sugar Grove, and he is our Citizen of the Year. He has a great personality and is happy to help in any way he can. He doesn’t find problems; he finds solutions.”

Parson has worked for the Sugar Grove Fire Department for 42 years, and has called Sugar Grove home for the past 47 years. He is currently the Fire Department’s assistant chief, as well.

Parson has searched out ways to help others and dedicated his life to positively impacting other people his whole life. Sugar Grove Chamber President Steve Ekker was present at the ceremony and recanted a brief story about Parson.

“People tend to put an “s” at the end of Wayne’s last name,” Ekker said. “Wayne once told me, ‘Think of what it would be like if there were two of me!’ “I told Wayne, ‘We would be doubly blessed.’”

Over the course of Parson’s time in Sugar Grove, he has been involved with Sugar Grove baseball organizations, the Historical Society, the American Legion, the Lions Club, the Corn Boil, the Boy Scouts and many other groups.

Woodworking is a big hobby for Parson.

“I have a woodshop where I do a lot of woodworking in my free time,” Parson said. “I make shelves, cabinets and all kinds of things, including yard art for decorations and for Christmas.”

Parson helps with Corn Boil every year, too.

“Wayne helps me every year with the bike parade, along with the Fire Department,” said Karen McCannon, who is also known as Sugar Grove’s JoJo the Clown.

People from all over the community embraced Parson and congratulated him on being named the Citizen of the Year. He received many congratulations and kind words Friday night, and explained that he was honored to receive the award.

“It’s quite an honor,” Parson said. “If you look at the list of people who have won this award, it’s quite an elite group of people here in Sugar Grove.”

3.

Campaign encourages residents to ‘Shop Elburn First’

ELBURN—The Elburn Economic Development Commission is working on a “Shop Elburn First” campaign to encourage residents to spend their money in town and “break the habit” of heading to Randall Road to shop.

Commission members, made up of business owners and representatives, said they want to appeal to citizens’ civic pride to support the existing businesses in town.

“If you want all these things in your town, you’ve got to use them,” said Patrick Leach, president of Control Plus, Inc., at the commission’s meeting on Monday.

The commission would use banners, window decals, newspaper ads, shopping bags and more to create public awareness of the goods and services offered in Elburn.

“When they’re pulling out of their driveway, we want them to think about going to Elburn instead of driving east,” Leach said.

Elburn Chamber of Commerce member Ben Westfall, who attended the meeting at the commission’s request, pointed out some problems he saw with the Shop Elburn First campaign.

He shared with the group lists he had come up with of items people could find in Elburn, as well as those they would not.

The list of things they could not find in Elburn was longer than the list of what they could.

“People are already shopping in Elburn,” he said. “There’s just not that much available.”

The commission, created by the village in November 2013, has the mission to “assist in the attraction, retention, maintenance and revitalization of economic and community growth within the village.”

The group’s short-term goals, in addition to the Shop Elburn First idea, are to attract businesses to the empty spaces in town, such as a florist, specialty food stores and others; form a group of volunteers to help with clean-up, landscaping, painting and basic repair of the downtown area; and bring back a farmers market.

Longer-term goals include downtown beautification and pushing for better parking in the downtown area.

In order to accomplish these and other goals, members said they would need a budget, something the group currently does not have.

“If you don’t have a budget, you’re not going to go anywhere,” said Joe Kryszak, president of JDW Institutional Paper and an active member of the Elburn Lions Club.

The group discussed ways of raising money, including asking the village for a small budget, as well as approaching the chamber, the Lions Club and local businesses for assistance.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said that because the village has a limited budget, the board must “pick and choose” what it is able to do.

“I can’t tell you we have money to spend; we don’t,” Willrett said.

One of the ways the group discussed saving money on the Shop Elburn First campaign, as well as to generate interest, is to hold a contest to create a logo for the campaign.
3.
The group plans to attend the Aug. 4 Village Board meeting to ask for the village’s financial support.

Kaneland High School 2014-15 information

KANELAND—The following information is in regard to Kaneland High School’s upcoming 2014-15 school year.

School fees: School fees must be paid or postmarked by Wednesday, Aug. 20. Office hours on Aug. 20 are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Checks should be made payable to Kaneland District 302. Call the school office at (630) 365-5100, ext. 206, if you need to arrange a payment plan.

Freshman orientation: Orientation is Tuesday, Aug. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. You will have an opportunity to find lockers and run through a practice schedule.

Start of school: Kaneland High School will begin a full day of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The school day will begin at 7:35 a.m. Students should have paper and pen/pencils with them on the first day of school. Teachers will instruct students what the school supply requirements will be for that particular class. Hot lunch and a la carte lunch items will be served.

Student parking: Parking fees for the 2014-15 school year will be $180; daily parking will be $4. Seniors may reserve parking spots by coming to the High School office between Monday, Aug. 11, and Friday, Aug. 15, between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Junior may reserve parking spots by coming to the High School office anytime between Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Parking tags will not be sold prior to Aug. 11. The Parking Hang Tag Request form is available on the Kaneland High School webpage under “Documents—School Documents.”

Schedules: Students schedules will be available online by Aug. 11. The student’s locker number and combination will also be available on Konnect. Counselor assignments for the 2014-15 school year are Special Services—Ms. Beck, A-D—Ms. Shore, E-K—Ms. Lamica, L-RI—Mr. Franklin, RJ-Z—Ms. Mecic.

Bus routes: Transportation information will be posted for all K-12 students in Konnect after Aug. 14 regarding pick-up and drop-off times. The transportation information is updated twice daily. At the start of the school year, you will want to view it the night before school starts to ensure there have not been any changes to your child’s route.

Lunch accounts: The school has a computerized “debit” payment system that allows it to accomplish several important things that are of benefit to you and the students. Time in line at lunch is reduced, and all purchases are logged so parents can inquire what food items their child has purchased. Students may give a check (payable to Kaneland High School) or cash to the cashier. A check for multiple students must be given to the receptionist in the High School Office, with the memo line indicating how much should be credited to each student’s account. You may also visit the webstore at www.kaneland.org to pay with credit card. Students need to have their ID to purchase lunch.

Picture days: Picture days for underclassmen will take place Aug. 26-27 at the High School. Look for picture forms to be coming home in the mail from HR Imaging. Seniors will be photographed for their ID cards. Senior should call Root Studios at (800) 433-1766 if they have not yet scheduled their senior portrait sitting for the yearbook.

Open House: The faculty and staff of Kaneland High School invite all parents to attend the Parent Open House program on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The purpose of this program is to provide parents with the opportunity to meet their child’s first-semester teachers and become familiar with the curriculum by following an abbreviated version of their child’s schedule. The program will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., with a general welcome meeting in the auditorium.

Voter registration: All parents and residents of the Kaneland District are encouraged to register to vote. You can register at any of the schools in the district on school days between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Newsletter: Kaneland High School publishes a bi-monthly parent newsletter that is posted and available on the High School website. If you do not have Internet access and would like to receive the newsletter by U.S. Mail, call (630) 365-5100, ext. 204.

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Young entrepreneur Carlson takes on odd jobs

ELBURN—Got a job that needs doing but you don’t have the time, the energy or the right tools? It’s a good bet that Cole’s Odd Jobs has all of the above to complete that job.

Recent Kaneland High School graduate Cole Carlson said he started his Cole’s Odd Jobs business as a high school sophomore, but kicked it into high gear this summer. He has a number of friends ready, willing and able to help him get jobs, big or small, done in a timely manner.

“This summer, my mom helped me start a Facebook page, but our best advertising is word-of-mouth and referrals,” Carlson said. “I always give a client five or six business cards and ask them to tell their friends about us.”

One client who does just that is Teresa Keenan of Stone Tower Properties in Geneva. Not only does Keenan employ Carlson’s crew for work around her own home, she has them working at properties she has listed for sale.

“Initially, they moved some heavy furniture for me; nothing got scratched, broken or damaged in any way,” Keenan said. “Since then, they’ve cut grass, done edging and weeding, cleaned up vacant properties.

“They are super-responsible and reasonably priced,” she said. “We rave about them. I give them a checklist and they let me know when it’s done.”

Campton Hills resident Tom Gancer echoed Keenan’s sentiments.

“They did a bunch of landscaping for us,” Gancer said. “They work hard, and you definitely get your money’s worth.”

Keenan said she likes the fact that a young businessman is learning valuable skills like time management and budgeting.

A high school football player, Carlson is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse to play collegiately and study civil engineering. His clients needn’t worry, though—Carlson said his younger brother, Chase, will continue in his footsteps. Along with his brother, Cole has recruited several friends to help with his business, including Tyler Slamans, Drew David, Jaumaureo Phillips, Kevin Dawrant and Brady Feece.

For more information, find Cole’s Odd Jobs on Facebook, or call him at (630) 258-4144.

Kaneland wraps up 2014 Summer Theatre Production

KANELAND—That’s a wrap for Kaneland’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress.”

The recent “Once Upon a Mattress” performances marked Kaneland Arts Initiative’s fifth annual Summer Theatre Production at Kaneland High School. There were six performances in all during two weekend slates.

Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of KAI and producer and pit orchestra director of “Once Upon a Mattress,” called the productions “successful.”

“I was very proud of our work this summer,” she said. “I feel like every aspect of the production, from the pit to the the cast of characters (and) the crew, all came together a little earlier than we have in the past.”

Dripps-Paulson said there were around 600 people who attended the performances. She considers that to be a low number for turnout.

“If you ask me, what was disappointing about the week, with the run, or the show or whatever—it really wouldn’t have anything to do with the cast and crew (or) the pit. It was just that we had low attendance,” Dripps-Paulson said.

General admission was $10 a ticket. Dripps-Paulson dismissed the idea that ticket cost was a reason for people not seeing the the show, which is based on the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”

“It’s never the admission price,” she said. “$10 a ticket is really cheap to go see any production. I mean, productions down the street in other cities nearby us are more than $10.”

She added that a Family Ticket is $25. The Family Ticket allows a family living in one household to see the production for one low price.

“There’s a bunch of people who are walking in for free or half-price on that ticket,” Dripps-Paulson said. “So it’s not the ticket price. People don’t know the show very well.”

Last year’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” had more than double this year’s crowd.

This year’s production featured people ranging from 11 to 69 years old in the cast. Cast members were mostly from the Kaneland area, with some from St. Charles, Elgin, Ill., Hoffman Estates, Ill., Yorkville and Geneva.

The cast also included KHS graduates, such as last school year’s Mr. Kaneland Mitch Bateman, and Alec Kovach. Kaneland School Board member Peter Lopatin and Kaneland teachers Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield and Pamela Gianakakos also acted in the Summer Theatre Production

Gianakakos, who played a princess from the swamp named Princess Winnifred, sang a solo called “Shy.”

At one point during the show, a large cage rolled out with Erica Johnson, 15, as The Nightingale of Samarkand. Erica’s mom, Brenda Johnson, is a Maple Park area resident.

“She was a bird with an attitude,” Brenda said of Erica.

Meanwhile, Diane McFarlin, artistic director of KAI and director of the summer musical, had spoken about her hopes for the cast before she knew who they were. She wanted them to bring out the best in themselves, and for them to get out of their comfort zones “to be all they wanted and more.”

Following the conclusion of this year’s Summer Theatre Production, McFarlin confirmed that her initial hopes for the cast had been met, and she was pleased with the product.

“We always say at the very beginning of the project that this is different,” McFarlin said. “And we want to make it different than just community theatre. We want to elevate it to a more advanced level and want it to be the best it can be.”

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Derks, Palmer win 2014 Corn Boil 5K

228 runners test themselves on the streets of Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE—Andy Derks made it two-for-two at the 2014 Corn Boil 5K.

After winning the event in 2013 with a time of 16 minutes, 12.1 seconds, the Sugar Grove resident won the event again this year with a time of 16:15.9.

“I moved to Sugar Grove last year, and thought it would be fun to do a race in my new hometown,” said Derks, who is also the cross country coach at Plainfield North High School. “I plan all summer to do it, but I just like to use it as a hard workout and part of my marathon training.”

Derks plans on competing in the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Yorkville resident Lena Palmer was the overall female winner. A former all-state runner with the Lady Foxes in cross country and track, the current Aurora University runner was surprised she was the female winner.

“I was pretty shocked that I won because the year that I did run it (2011), there was a lot of competition,” Palmer said. “The race didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, but it was still a pretty good race.“

Overall, 228 runners completed the race, ranging from 4-year-old Tess Muth of Yorkville (219th place; 47:33.6) to 74-year-olds Tyger Johnson of Dakota, Ill., (30th place; 23:04.7) and Phyllis Wells of Aurora (207th place, 43:25.5). The event has averaged over 257 runners per year since 2002, with the fewest running in 2002 (123) and the most in 2009 (355). The 2014 race had the fewest runners since 2010’s 224.

“We were down a little,” said Karen Pritchard, Superintendent of Recreation for the Sugar Grove Park District. “This year we didn’t have our Park District running club in the event.”

The running club brought in approximately 30 more registrations for the event.

“Maybe people thought it was going to rain,” Pritchard said. “I really thought we would have bigger numbers this year.”

Even with the slight dip in numbers, enthusiasm for the event hasn’t diminished in the eyes of Derks.

“I hope to continue to run the Corn Boil 5K every year,” Derks said. “I love the laid back atmosphere. I love the fact that I can roll out of bed and go sign up 30 minutes before the race.”

Rev. Perfecto Vasquez

Maple Park church welcomes Rev. Vasquez

MAPLE PARK—St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Maple Park has a new spiritual leader in the Rev. Perfecto Vasquez.

Vasquez took the helm on July 1, and was installed formally on Wednesday by Bishop David J. Malloy. He also pastors SS. Peter and Paul in Virgil.

Vasquez replaces the Rev. Dennis Morrissy, who has moved to St. Mary in Elizabeth, Ill., and St. John the Evangelist in Hanover, Ill.

Vasquez emigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1969, and joined the Rockford Diocese in 1998.

Coming to the priesthood after earning a master’s degree in transportation engineering and working in transportation for the city of Chicago, Vasquez said he believed he could better serve his fellow man in the church.

“I realized there is a need to work in the church to help people,” Vasquez said. “I thought I could better serve the community by being a minister. Instead of doing transportation planning here on Earth, I thought I could help transport people to God’s kingdom.”

At the Maple Park church just shy of three years, Morrissy said there was an urgent need prompting his move.

“It just depends on the needs of the church at any given time,” Morrissy said. “The issue is, we need more priests. If we had more, we wouldn’t need to move as often.”

Morrissy said the communities of Elizabeth and Hanover are about eight miles apart, and combined have about the same number of families as the Maple Park church.

For more information about St. Mary of the Assumption, at 123 S. County Line Road in Maple Park, visit www.stmarymaplepark.org.

Community Congregational Church accepting donations

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church in Elburn is now accepting donations for its Elburn Days rummage sale. The church is happy to take the following: belts, jewelry, bicycles, knick knacks, books, purses, DVDs and VHS tapes, puzzles, framed pictures, seasonal items, furniture, stuffed animals, tools, games and toys.

Drop-off times are Saturdays through Aug. 9 at the church’s north entrance only. Contact Carl Diesel at (630) 272-9501 to schedule your drop-off time. No clothing or TVs will be accepted. Furniture must be under 30 pounds unless approved by Leah Miller. For more information or to seek approval for heavy furniture, call Leah at (630) 365-6335.

St. Gall Church accepting rummage sale donations

ELBURN—St. Gall Church is currently accepting donations for its annual rummage sale. Donations can be dropped off from now through Sunday, Aug. 10, during the following times: Monday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Donations are must be gently used, clean items. And if it takes more than two people to carry it, it is too large.

St. Gall is located at 120 W. Shannon St., Elburn. For more information, call the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030.

Community Congregational hosts activities during Elburn Days

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church has a lot going on this year during Elburn Days. Along with its usual indoor Rummage Sale and Sloppy Joe lunch, there will be vendor booths along Route 47 and in the parking lot north of the church building. The event will also feature an eclectic mixture of vendors that have everything from crafts to resale, and antiques to non-profit organizations, as well as fingernail painting for the kids. Some vendors will be there all three days, and others for just one day. If you can, check out the parking lot each day to see who’s there.

Also, mark your calendars for these special events:

Thursday, Aug. 14—Pre-Elburn Days Rummage Sale, lunch and outdoor vendors.

Friday, Aug. 15—JoJo the Clown will appear from 1 to 3 p.m. to make balloon objects and do face painting; Colonial Ice Cream and its famous truck will sell ice cream cups from noon to 4 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 16—Enjoy the music of St. Charles’ Al and Sue Duo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Rummage Sale and vendor hours are Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Community Congregational Church is located at the corner of Shannon Street and Route 47 in downtown Elburn. Contact the church office at (630) 365-6544. For vendor questions, contact Karen Diesel at (630) 308-5397. For Rummage sale questions, contact Lea Miller at (630) 365-6335.

Letter: A thank you to Citizen of the Year gift basket donors

On behalf of the village of Sugar Grove and the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, we would like to express our gratitude to the following donors for their support of the Citizen of the Year gift basket: American Heartland Bank and Trust, Avenue J Productions, Big Fat Soap, Castle Bank, Elburn Herald Newspaper, Engineering Enterprises Inc., Glancer Magazine, Oberweis Dairy, Old Second Bank, Open Range Southwest Grill, Peak for Kids, Source Therapeutic Massage, Illinois Rep. Kay Hatcher, Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Sugar Grove Farmers Market, Sugar Grove Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, Sugar Grove Firefighters Association, Sugar Grove Firefighters Union Local 4748, Sugar Grove Library Friends, Sugar Grove Park District, TV 17, United Methodist Women Quilters, village of Sugar Grove, Waste Management, Waubonsee Community College and West Physical Therapy.

Your generosity has provided heartfelt appreciation for the contributions that have been made to the community by this year’s recipient, Wayne Parsons. It was my pleasure putting together all of the items to ensure a fantastic treasure trove of items.

Mari Johnson
Sugar Grove village trustee

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Sugar Grove ‘on the cusp’ for growth

In part two of its three-part series, the Elburn Herald takes a look at the current state of Sugar Grove, and the individuals set to lead the village into the future

SUGAR GROVE—When Sugar Grove Village Board member Mari Johnson and her husband Kevin came to Sugar Grove in 1987, the population was less than 3,000. There were regular community events, salad luncheons through the Methodist Church, the Fire Department’s annual pancake supper, as well as the Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

“It was everything you would expect in a small town,” she said.

Mari and Kevin liked what they saw. There were opportunities to volunteer, and ways to get involved as much or as little as you wanted. Many of the people they met during that time were also new to the community.

“You literally knew almost everyone in town,” she said. “We knew it was a place we could stay, a place where you could make a difference.”

SG_5K She and her husband jumped in with both feet. They started attending the Sugar Grove Community Club meetings, and soon were helping out with the Corn Boil for the coming year.

Through their children’s involvement in sports, they got involved with the Sugar Grove Baseball Association. Kevin started coaching with the T-ball team, and began helping out with the annual 5k run. Eventually he would serve on the Park District Board.

Mari was elected to the Village Board, where she will soon celebrate 20 years as a village trustee.

“I love it here,” she said. “I’m so glad we came to Sugar Grove.”

Sugar Grove recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the village’s incorporation. The “old timers” scheduled their reunion to coincide with the celebration, and Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels addressed the group.

“This is a great attendance,” Michels said. “If I can just say two words, ‘Thank you.’”

Michels told the group that the decisions they had made 50 or more years ago set the tone for the ones that are made today. He said it made him proud to represent the village of Sugar Grove. He added that he and others are trying to do things today that will make the residents proud 50 years from today.

“It’s a testament that a number of kids that I graduated with have moved back here,” he said.

Michels, a Village Board trustee in 1997, was elected to the position of village president in 2001. He lives in Sugar Grove with his wife Valerie and their four children.

Sugar Grove has seen significant growth since the turn of the century. In just the 10 years between 2000 (census 3,936) and 2010 (census 8,997), the village has more than doubled.

Although growth came to a standstill after the economy took a nosedive in 2008, things are beginning to move again.

According to Michels, Sugar Grove is once again poised for growth.

“Sugar Grove is right on the cusp, to transition from a small town to a medium-sized community,” Michels said.

Johnson’s questions, similar to those many Sugar Grove residents are asking, is “How much growth is good?” and “How big can the village get, and yet retain that close-knit feeling?”

“It gets harder and harder to do,” she said. “The village is more spread out, there are more people, there’s more going on. It’s kind of a balancing act.”

Johnson said that there have been a number of positive additions to the town in the past 10 years or so. Jewel-Osco and Aldi coming to town has been “huge,” she said.

“Now people spend most of their food dollars here in town,” she said. “That’s really important.”

McDonald’s coming to town was also a big deal, especially to the younger residents.

Michels likes to tell the story that when he would teach Junior Achievement at the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, the most-asked question he got from the students was, “When are we going to get a McDonald’s?”

“We tried for years (to get McDonald’s to come to Sugar Grove),” Johnson said.

She said that McDonald’s had looked at four different sites over the span of 15 years before they finally decided to build in Sugar Grove.

“Demographics are so important,” she said. “It’s all a numbers game. Now the owners tell me it’s the busiest place they have.”

Residential growth is also beginning to move forward again. Construction in the Prairie Glen subdivision across Route 30 from the airport, which had come to a halt during the downturn, is once again seeing new homes go up. There are also plans in the works for senior and assisted living apartments, so that as people get older, they can stay in the community.

Sugar Grove will soon have its own Ace Hardware store, also a huge milestone for the town.

Johnson said she is proud of the way the village has managed development, making the improvements to the infrastructure, including water quality and the sewer system, that are necessary to support growth.

Village officials also created architectural requirements for development, so they could hold developers to high standards for buildings.

“We wanted to make sure that what was built was something the village could be proud of, something that would stand the test of time,” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”

Millie Molitor, who moved to town in 2002, said Sugar Grove still feels like a small town to her. She knows a lot of people in her neighborhood of Windsor Pointe, and she feels there is a sense of community there.

In addition, she said she has met many great people through her pet-sitting business.

“It’s a great community,” she said. “I’ve met some incredibly wonderful people. It seems that when there is someone who needs something, so many people rally together. It’s quite amazing.”

In the time since she and her husband have been here, she said she has seen a lot of changes for the good. The road improvements, such as Galena Boulevard and Municipal Drive, have been a positive thing for business growth, and she said that the village is looking at other ways to bring more businesses to town.

Residents do feel that they have a stake in the game, and are not afraid to make their opinions known. Several years ago, when Raging Waves was considering locating its water park in Sugar Grove, the Windsor Pointe community came out in force. After 13 hours of public comment, mostly against the water park locating across the street from the subdivision, Raging Waves decided to set up shop in Yorkville instead.

Molitor feels that Sugar Grove is growing at a good pace without overdoing it.

“Everybody wants the tax relief, but nobody wants to be another Randall Road,” she said.

Community involvement continues to be a hallmark of everyday life in Sugar Grove.

Sugar Grove resident Mary Ochsenschlager, after a lifetime of advocating for environmentally sensitive growth through her position on the Kane County Plan Commission and educating the general public through her work with the St. Charles Park District as its first naturalist, is focusing her talents and energy closer to home.

Ochsenschlager leads monthly workdays in Bliss Woods, where she and other volunteers work to clear out invasive plant species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard that are threatening to crowd out the area’s native wildflowers and woodland grasses.

According to Ochsenschlager, Bliss Woods is one of the finest remaining remnants of Kane County’s natural forests.

“This ecosystem serves as the home to native birds, butterflies and other mammals, many of which people never see and do not even know that they should care about them,” Ochsenschlager said. “It’s a living museum.”

She said the workdays are an opportunity for rigorous exercise, a chance to meet others who share the love of nature, while she and others are helping to maintain an area with an interesting natural, cultural and geological history.

She has also joined the Sugar Grove Park District Board, where she contributes her time and talents.

Karen McCannon, who moved to Sugar Grove to join her husband many years ago, said that she had to learn about volunteerism from her husband’s family.

McCannon, along with many other ways of contributing to her community, was one of the women who created and distributed a local newspaper beginning in the 1970s.

McCannon as "JoJo" (in yellow)
McCannon as “JoJo” (in yellow)
More recently, McCannon has taken her volunteering in a particularly joyous direction: she went to clown school and became a clown. Jo-Jo, as she calls herself, has brought her clown ministry to her work with the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, as well as spending many Saturday mornings making children laugh and painting their faces at the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market.

Jo-Jo’s legacy also includes, together with her grandchildren, leading a bicycle parade for the Fourth of July. Her “Clown Victoria,” a golf cart decked out in red, white and blue, has become a staple for the Fourth of July in Sugar Grove. Her granddaughters, Alyssa and Sammi, whose idea it was for the parade in the first place, are accepting the baton to carry on as Jo-Jo’s health concerns make it difficult for her to continue.

Together with McCannon, her grandchildren are also regulars at the Between Friends Food Pantry, created by Melisa Taylor, another Sugar Grove leader and volunteer.

Taylor’s children, Madison and Danielle, are also at the forefront of her work with the food pantry. They came up with the idea for the food pantry after some very successful food and clothing drives in several Sugar Grove neighborhoods. The food pantry has taken off since its inception in 2009, with many neighborhood people, as well as businesses, volunteering and making contributions.

Although Sugar Grove has grown, it’s clear that volunteerism is not only alive and well, but is also being carried on by the children.

“Volunteerism is what builds community,” Oschenschlager said. “People who volunteer are invested in their community.”

Gallanis

Kaneland grad publishes first novel

CRYSTAL LAKE, ILL.—Peter Gallanis, a 1980 Kaneland High School graduate, remembers the moment he knew he wanted to become a writer.

It happened while he was sitting in then-KHS teacher Laurie Erdmann’s journalism class.

Gallanis went on to take classes at Waubonsee Community College, the Loop College and Northern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. After finishing his education, Gallanis worked for various newspapers in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Tribune.

“I have great memories of my high school years at Kaneland,” said Gallanis, who served as editorial page editor of the KHS newspaper during his senior year and was involved in school plays, cross country, track and wrestling.

In terms of writing inspiration, Gallanis said he became fascinated with the 1993 Brown’s Chicken Massacre, in which seven people were killed during a robbery at the Palatine, Ill., store location.

After a series of calendar-related coincidences, fascination turned to obsession and eventually led to the publication of Gallanis’ first novel, “The Reporter: Part 1—Rise and Fall.”

A fictionalized account of the Brown’s Chicken case and some of the people surrounding it, Gallanis’ tale is one of unrequited love, murder and betrayal that threaten to undo an ambitious, young reporter covering the story that could make his career.

“I had the distinct feeling someone was trying to tell me something,” Gallanis said of the process that went into writing the book. “I believe it’s God’s will that I tell this story.”

Weaving his story around the facts of the Brown’s case, Gallanis created characters based on people he’s known, including the real-life sister of one of the victims.

Gallanis saw the sister of one of the Brown’s Chicken Massacre victims in a TV interview and was impressed with her composure in the face of the horrific crime. Not long after that, he met the young woman—she happened to be a friend of the woman who is now his wife.

“My story, in part, is about a young woman who would volunteer to ‘throw the switch’ (enact the death penalty), and then comes back to ask for mercy for her brother’s murderer,” Gallanis said. “I was moved by her compassion.”

Originally conceived as one novel, Gallanis said it got too long so he split the story into two books. He said he is putting the final touches on book two.

Gallanis said many of his characters are based on people he knows. While his protagonist, Nic, shares some of his own background, Gallanis said the primary similarity is their Greek heritage.

“Nic is a combination of James Dean, Bob Woodward, Michael Corleone and Hawkeye Pierce,” he said. “He’s a figment of my imagination, but I wanted to pay homage to my Greek culture more than insert my own personality.”

Published by Abuzz Press in Bradenton, Fla., “The Reporter: Part 1 – Rise and Fall” is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle versions. Gallanis can be found on Facebook, where he also has created a page for the fictional Palatine Star newspaper.

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Zero Edge, PetSmart donate tank to Delnor

ELBURN—A 180-gallon aquarium from Zero Edge Aquariums in Elburn is now easing the anxieties of sick children at the Lurie Children’s Outpatient Center, part of Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva.

“For pediatric patients, for the kids who come in, it’s often a traumatic situation, so in a lot of ways an aquarium is a distraction,” said Christopher King, spokesperson for Cadence Health. “It’s something comforting, and it just kind of eases the anxiety of being at a hospital.”

The tank, which was installed in the outpatient center’s waiting room on June 21, was presented to Delnor by PetSmart, as part of the PetSmart Gives Back program.

Brian Travilla, PetSmart’s district manager for the region, said that each district does one project a year to give back to the community.

“We have a very strong belief at PetSmart that pets inspire us and make us better people,” Travilla said. “I think big corporations should really work to enrich people’s lives locally, and it’s a wonderful feeling as a district manager to do something to help kids.”

The project was the brainchild of Nathan Brooks, the manager of PetSmart’s Bloomingdale, Ill., store. Brooks suggested the idea and did all the groundwork with Zero Edge and Delnor, Travilla said.

“We feel strongly that when kids go in for treatment and can interact with fish, it calms them down,” Travilla said. “We were fortunate enough to work with Zero Edge to give them a great fish tank. The walks in the children’s wing are decorated with an aquatic theme, with waves and sea turtles painted on the walls. So the tank was a perfect fit.”

PetSmart chose Elburn-based Zero Edge Aquariums to create the aquarium because of a belief in supporting local businesses, Travilla said.

Zero Edge is known for producing high-end rimless, overflowing aquariums that have been purchased by celebrities such as Pitbull, a Miami-based rapper, and even Queen Sirikit of Thailand. But the company also produces a variety of standard aquariums and custom aquariums. Delnor representatives chose the kind of aquarium they wanted, said Aaron Sinclair, director of sales and marketing at Zero Edge, and selected a 180-gallon rectangular aquarium, as well as white cabinetry to house the aquarium.

The aquarium was formally presented to Delnor Hospital at a ceremony on June 25, Sinclair said, and a check for $5,000 was given to the president of the hospital. Several physicians from the pediatric unit attended to thank PetSmart and Zero Edge for the aquarium.

The $5,000 donation covered the cost of the aquarium, the cabinetry, a filtration system, and the tropical fish now living in it, Travilla said.

“It’s a great donation, and I think it’s one that shows the importance of working with the community and the importance of giving back,” King said. “Most importantly, the kids will be able to experience it. That’s the real value—the warm environment that the tank creates.”

Zero Edge Aquariums is located at 810 E. North St. in Elburn. For more information, visit zeroedgeaquarium.com.

Electricity rates increase, but less than with Com Ed

ELBURN—Elburn residents will see an increase in their electric bill in September, but those in the village’s aggregate program will still pay less than if their contract was with Commonwealth Edison.

According to a press release from Village Administrator Erin Willrett, increased prices from energy suppliers is due to a large increase in capacity charges, which all suppliers must pay to ensure they can meet demand, a rise in cost for the actual power, due to the winter’s “polar vortex,” as well as a huge drawdown of the nation’s natural gas supplies, a large component of electric generation.

Through a municipal electric aggregation savings program established by the village in 2011, Elburn recently sought competitive bids and contracted with the lowest bidder, FirstEnergy Solutions, at a rate of $.0732 per kWh to begin in September. That rate will be good for a three-year term ending September 2017. The current rate for those in the program is $.0476 per kWh.

First Energy’s new rate of $.0732 per kWh compares favorably with Com Ed’s rate of $.07596 per kWh, effective on June 1, plus or minus a floating “Purchased Electricity Adjustment” that varies monthly. According to Willrett, Com Ed’s current rate, including the adjustment, is $.0788 per kWh.

Through the aggregate savings program, approved by the public in a referendum three years ago, the village has been able to save the average participating household $561, resulting in a cumulative village-wide savings of $1,015,000 since 2011.

According to Willrett, eligible resident and small commercial accounts will receive an “opt out” notice from the village, informing them of program details. No action is needed if they wish to be enrolled in the program, as that will happen automatically.

Residents in the program would automatically be switched to ComEd if their rate were to go lower, Willrett said.

Residents enrolled with other suppliers will not automatically be enrolled, but may join the program by calling FirstEnergy Solutions at 1-888-651-5200 and asking for the Elburn program and rate of $.0732. They should check to see if they are subject to an early termination fee.

Residents with questions about the program may call FirstEnergy or the village’s electric aggregation consultant, NIMEC, at 1-800-727-3820. When calling NIMEC, leave your phone number and you will be contacted within 24 hours.

Story edited at 7:15 a.m. July 26, 2013.