Category Archives: Regional

Nov. 11 Police blotter

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

• American Bank and Trust, located at 8 S. Main St., reported an incident on Sep. 16 of identity theft. Reports say a black female with an Arizona drivers license withdrew $4,000 and $2,000 from the savings account of the individual. The woman was able to give the correct social security number of the victim. The actual holder of the account filed a police report on Sep. 20 after her wallet was stolen from a Chicago bar on July 3. The money has been redeposited by the bank. Police are investigating.

• A complaint of “malicious mischief” was reported Nov. 5 by a resident in the 300 block of Shannon Street when six male juveniles picked up a pumpkin from the property and smashed it in the driveway.

• The BP Amoco at 940 N. Main St. reported a retail theft on Nov. 6 when a man entered the store and took an unknown quantity of nacho cheese chips, “Naked” Juice, and Starbuck’s Vanilla Frappuccino drinks and left without paying. The owner followed the man, who made an obscene gesture. Reports say he drove off in a silver 2004 Nissan Carryall with another individual. Police are investigating.

• The Elburn Car Wash, at 120 W. Nebraska St., on Nov. 2 reported $500 worth of damage to a vacuum that was apparently struck by a vehicle and broken from its concrete mounting slab. Police found blue paint on the base mount believed to be from the vehicle.

• St. Charles police arrested Robert A. Pruett, 18, of the 1100 block of Motz St., Elburn, in connection with a strong-arm robbery of a custodian at a Munhall Elementary School in St. Charles on Sep. 29. Reports say Pruett was taken into custody Oct. 26 by members of the North Central Narcotics Task force while trying to leave the state. According to reports, the custodian was attacked in the cafeteria after he heard voices. He reportedly was punched and thrown to the ground by two men who then took his wallet. Police say a third man waited inside the school. Reports say Pruett is also charged with forgery after trying to cash an allegedly forged check on Oct. 26. A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information can call the St. Charles Police at (630) 377-4435.

Sugar Grove
• Juan C. Espinoza, 31, of the 500 block of Spencer Street in Aurora, was charged with with two counts of driving under the influence (Class 4 felonies A1 and A2), and was also issued citations for operating an uninsured motor vehicle and not having a valid driver’s license, after police stopped him while traveling north on Route 47 on Oct. 30. Upon making contact with the driver of the vehicle, police detected an odor of alcohol emitting from the vehicle and asked Espinoza if he had been drinking. Espinoza told police he’d “had a few too many,” and was asked to exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. Espinoza failed all three tests and was placed under arrest.

• Israel Gonzalez Corral, 28, of the 900 block of Austin Avenue in Aurora, was taken into custody and issued an ordinance violation for possession of cannabis, less than 2.5 grams, as well as citations for over-length vehicle violation and not having a valid driver’s license on Nov. 2 after police performed a traffic stop on a tractor trailer traveling on Galena Boulevard. While making contact with Corral, police detected an odor of burnt cannabis emitting from the vehicle. Corral denied having any cannabis in the vehicle, at which time a drug-sniffing K9 dog was requested by police and brought to the scene. The K9 alerted police to cannabis that was on the floor of the vehicle and in the ashtray.

• The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a traffic crash that occurred at approximately 3:50 p.m. on Nov. 5 near Main Street and County Line roads in unincorporated Kaneville Township. The crash involved an empty semi tractor and a Chevrolet Impala.
The driver and sole occupant of the Chevy, Ryan Siebenbrodt, 30, of Des Monies, Iowa, was airlifted from the scene with apparent non life-threatening injuries. The driver of the semi, Walter Seilheimer, 66, of Sandwich, Ill., was uninjured.

Kane County
• A suspect initially charged with burglary to a motor vehicle in a Kane County forest preserve on Oct. 31 has now been charged with 16 additional counts related to motor vehicle burglaries.
Miguel A. Gonzalez, 28, of the 400 block of Franklin Boulevard in Elgin, remains in the Kane County Jail on nine felony counts of burglary to a motor vehicle and eight misdemeanor counts of theft.
Forest Preserve District of Kane County police arrested Gonzalez in Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve on Oct. 31, with assistance from South Elgin police.
More than 20 “smash and grab” burglaries have taken place in the Kane County forest preserves over the past few months, prompting district police to increase surveillance, add safety advisory signage to all preserve kiosks, and post additional safety advisory signs at frequently targeted preserves. Forest Preserve District police are now cooperating with other local agencies to see if Gonzalez may be involved in additional vehicle burglaries outside the Kane County area.

Illinois vehicle crashes involving deer continue to decline

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that collisions between vehicles and deer declined in 2010, and reminded motorists to once again be alert for deer along roadways during one of their most active periods of the year.

“Deer crashes can be especially difficult to avoid. The best measures to avoid accidents and injuries are to slow down, wear a safety belt and remain alert this fall (while) driving through areas where deer are likely to be seen,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “The encouraging news is that collisions with deer in Illinois continue to decline. We remind all motorists to take the proper steps so the trend continues.”

The number of deer-vehicle accidents dropped to 17,135 in 2010—a decrease from 18,849 in 2009 and the lowest total since 1999, according to the latest IDOT statistics released. Approximately 77 percent of the crashes occurred on rural roadways and 67 percent during periods of darkness.

Accidents involving deer were responsible for 10 fatalities in 2010, an increase from six in 2009. Injuries because of an accident involving a deer decreased from 708 in 2009 to 634 in 2010.

The top 10 counties for collisions involving deer in 2010 were:
1. Cook—562 2. Madison—475
3. Peoria—458 4. Sangamon—411
5. Will—396 6. LaSalle—364
7. Fulton—357 8. Pike—355
9. Kane—325 10. Lake—320

“It’s always a good idea to get yourself in a defensive driving frame of mind at this time of year when deer are most active,” IDNR Director Marc Miller said. “Deer move about frequently at dawn and dusk, so it’s important that motorists are aware of their surroundings during their morning and evening commutes, especially in forested or open areas.”

Suggestions for motorists to avoid colliding with deer include:

• Be particularly cautious at dusk and dawn, when deer are most active.
• Keep track of locations where deer have been spotted in the past to avoid being surprised.
• Reduce speed and be prepared to stop, especially near water, farm fields and wooded areas.
• Deer will cross the road and double back. Make sure deer have moved away before proceeding.
• Be mindful that deer will follow each other. One deer can mean others are nearby or close behind.
• Avoid swerving into traffic or off the road if deer are on the roadway. Instead, slow to a stop and wait for the deer to move along.
• Flashing the headlights and honking the car horn will encourage deer to move off the road.
• Alert other motorists to the presence of deer by tapping the brakes.

If an accident with a deer does occur, drivers and passengers should provide assistance to anyone injured. Contact local, county or state law enforcement to report the incident. Do not attempt to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway. Illinois law requires that all accidents resulting in damage of at least $1,500 to be reported to police.

The driver involved in the accident may take possession of the animal. If the driver does not want it, any Illinois resident can claim the deer. Those taking possession of the deer are not required to phone in a report and obtain a registration number for the deer, unless the deer is taken to a taxidermist or tannery. If the deer is to be taken to a taxidermist or tannery, please call the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement at (217) 782-6431 to obtain a tag before delivering the deer.

Anyone possessing the deer must keep a personal record of the date the deer was claimed, the sex of the animal, the location of the accident and the place where the deer or deer parts are stored. This information must be kept until the deer is consumed or no longer in the possession of any person. This information also must be provided to any law enforcement officer investigating the death and possession of the deer.

First 2011 West Nile case reported in Kane County

ST. CHARLES—Kane County reported its first human case of West Nile virus for 2011 this past week, a 63-year-old woman from St. Charles. Across the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting West Nile activity in people in nine other counties.

The St. Charles woman reported feeling ill in the middle of September, but she did not require hospitalization. Last year, Kane County had five reported cases, in 2009 there were none, three in 2008 and 13 in 2007. Typically, about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness.

Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death are possible. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including:

• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen.

Contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. Go to the Kane County Health Department website at or health/wnv.htm. More information is available on the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sheriff’s Charity Car/Motorcycle Raffle raises $10,000 for Special Olympics

ELBURN—The 5th Annual Charity Car/Motorcycle Show brought in $10,000 for Special Olympics and attracted 145 cars, trucks and motorcycles. This year’s show, sponsored by Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, took place on Sept. 3 at the Martin Family Farm on Green Road.

Perez will donate the proceeds from next year’s show to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Call (630) 816-9535 or (630) 377-7250 for more information.

Better Business Bureau warns of job-hunting scams

CHICAGO—If you’re looking for a job, you may see ads for staffing agencies that promise results. Many of these services may be legitimate and helpful, but others may misrepresent their services, promote outdated or fictitious job offerings, or charge high fees in advance for services that may not lead to a job. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) advises job seekers to take precaution when using staffing agencies to find a job.

“Staffing agencies can be an excellent source for finding contract, temporary and full-time positions,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “But be sure to research the agency you are working with before you hand them money or confidential information. This can filter out illegitimate companies and scams from the job search.”

If an agency has something to hide, it will use vague language and fail to clearly indicate specific details about the job. Fortunately, people are using the BBB for free referrals and to research companies before selecting a staffing agency. There has been a 27 percent increase in inquiries about placement services in the past 12 months, or 9,748 inquiries, compared to 7,634 inquiries for the previous 12 months.

The BBB recommends job seekers take these steps:

• Be cautious of any company that promises to get you a job or offers an exceptionally high salary. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Phony employers might brag about exceptionally high salary potential and excellent benefits for little experience in order to lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.
• Be skeptical of any employment-service firm that charges first, even if it guarantees refunds.
• Get a copy of the agency’s contract and read it carefully before you pay any money. Understand the terms and conditions of the agency’s refund policy. Make sure you understand what services they will provide and what you’ll be responsible for doing. Stay away from high-pressure sales pitches that require you to pay now or risk losing out on an opportunity.
• Be cautious about purchasing services or products from a firm that’s reluctant to answer your questions.
• Be aware that some listings sound like they are jobs when they’re selling general information about getting a job.
• Research the company or organization mentioned in an ad or an interview by an employment service to find out more details on the type of company where you may be placed.

For more information on businesses you can trust, visit

No-Refusal Halloween weekend

KANE COUNTY—Halloween is best known for spooky costumes and scary pranks. Unfortunately, Halloween also is becoming is one of the deadliest times of the year on roads because of drunken driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To combat the deadly problem of drunken driving, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office will collaborate with Kane County police departments as part of its ongoing effort to make Kane County’s roads the safest in the state.

The seventh ‘No Refusal’ operation conducted in Kane County will be the second conducted on Halloween. In that operation, 11 Fox Valley municipalities, the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police netted 14 drunken drivers the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2009.

This year, the Halloween ‘No Refusal’ operation will be conducted late Friday, Oct. 28, through early Saturday, Oct. 29, and late Saturday, Oct. 29, through early Sunday, Oct. 30. The operation will be conducted in multiple Kane County jurisdictions.

“This office has a responsibility to prosecute DUI offenders, and to educate the public not to drive when they drink.” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said. “With that in mind, I am only announcing when we will have the No-Refusal operation. I will not say which municipalities will be participating. We want people to enjoy themselves on Halloween weekend, but we want everyone to be able to do it safely. Historically, people tend to ramp up the partying on the weekend nearest Halloween, and that has had deadly consequences. By announcing now that we plan to enhance DUI enforcement the weekend before Halloween, we can help people to plan ahead and make responsible decisions.”

According to NHSTA’s 2009 data—the most recent available—48 percent of all highway fatalities nationwide on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31, to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) in 2009 involved a motorist with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Halloween that year was during the weekend, and the enhanced enforcement this year also will be during the weekend because Halloween this year falls on a Monday.

The initiative is designed to thwart suspected drunken drivers who refuse to submit to a breath test after an arrest on DUI charges. Through the No-Refusal strategy, law-enforcement officers are able to expedite the DUI booking process. With guidance from an assistant state’s attorney, police officers can quickly obtain a search warrant to compel a DUI suspect to submit to a lawfully requested blood or breath test as required by Illinois’ Implied Consent statute.

Illinois courts have consistently held that there is no right to refuse chemical testing when probable cause exists. Anyone who fails to submit to chemical testing after a search warrant has been obtained could face additional sanctions.

According to NHTSA data, in 2009 nationally, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, including 753 in December. The agency’s trend data has consistently shown an increase in DUI-related fatalities during the holiday season.

“We are less motivated by the opportunity to make DUI arrests than we are by the opportunity to make Kane County’s roads safer,” McMahon said. “Publicity of past No-Refusal operations has been successful in reducing the number of drunken drivers on our roadways. We hope that trend continues. Think, ‘No Refusal, No Fatalities.’”

Keep yourself (and your belongings) safe in the forest preserves

GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County reminds preserve users to keep safety in mind when visiting forest preserves, parks and other large public areas, in the wake of recent vehicle burglaries in Kane and surrounding counties.

Several forest preserves including Big Rock, Fitchie Creek in Elgin, Ill., Fox River Bluff West in St. Charles, Jon J. Duerr in South Elgin, Ill., and Raceway Woods in Carpentersville, Ill., have all seen an increase in vehicle burglaries over the past two months.

The district’s Public Safety Department said approximately 20 vehicle burglaries have taken place in the Kane County forest preserves since late August. In most cases, women have left purses inside vehicles in plain view or casually hidden. After preserve users leave their vehicles and enter the preserve, the thieves have then opened unlocked doors or smashed windows to access and take valuables. In each of the cases, the victims were away from their vehicles for less than an hour. Vehicle burglaries have also taken place at park district lots. So far, preserves and parks in Kane, DuPage, Lake, McHenry and Cook Counties have been targeted.

As a result, Kane County Forest Preserve District police officers have increased surveillance. New safety advisory signage will be added to all forest preserve kiosks. Additional signage will be posted at the aforementioned preserves, as well.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is also strongly advising preserve users to follow these safety tips when visiting the forest preserves, parks and other large public areas:
• Do not leave wallets, purses, cash or other valuables in plain sight.
• Avoid bringing valuables to a preserve, or if possible, lock them securely in your trunk before arriving.
• Lock your vehicle.
• Be alert to your surroundings—do not wear earbuds or headphones.
• Remain on designated trails and paths.
• Walk or run with a companion.
• Carry a cell phone to report problems or request assistance.
• In cases of emergency, call 911 immediately.

“We don’t want to discourage people from enjoying the forest preserves, but we do want to make them aware of these incidents, so that they are more careful and take preventative measures,” said Director of Public Safety Mike Gilloffo.

More information on public safety is available at brochures/publicSafety.pdf.

Delnor Foundation holds gala event to benefit cancer care

GENEVA—The Delnor Foundation invites all local residents to make an impact on cancer care in the Fox Valley community by attending the 2011 Gala “Footloose and Cancer Free.” Proceeds from this event, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Q Center in St. Charles, will benefit outpatient cancer services and a new facility for LivingWell Cancer Resource Center in Geneva.

“Because of these initiatives, for the one-in-three of us who will eventually receive a cancer diagnosis, thoughtful, coordinated and accessible treatment and support care will be available right in the Fox Valley,” said Craig Collins, chairman of the Delnor Foundation Board of Directors.

Geneva native Matt Rodewald, NBC Chicago reporter and anchor for 670 The Score, will emcee the evening, which will include the presentation of the inaugural Delnor Foundation Community Award honoring the Dellora A. & Lester J. Norris Foundation. Guests will enjoy the State Street Jewelers champagne bar, new silent auction bidding technology using cell phones, and dancing following dinner to the music of Nightshift Orchestra.

“This event is dedicated to all local cancer patients and cancer survivors,” Delnor Foundation Gala Co-chair Laura Grim said.

The event is sponsored in part by Fox Valley Orthopaedic Associates, SC, and Tri City Radiology. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased online at or by calling (630) 208-3896.

Kane County takes on lead poisoning with $1 million grant

GENEVA—Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren announced last week that Kane County has been awarded a $1.04 million grant to address lead-based paint hazards in area homes and to develop a county-wide Healthy Homes Program.

The county is one of only 39 jurisdictions nationwide to receive the federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local matching funds for the program, totaling $260,000, will be provided by Kane County and the cities of Aurora and Elgin.

Illinois leads the nation in the number of lead poisoned children. Next to Cook County, Kane County has the highest rate of childhood lead poisoning in the state.

Kane County’s program will provide targeted lead poisoning prevention education for parents, landlords and homeowners, and lead training for local contractors looking for work.

Kane County was selected by HUD, in part, because of its successful track-record under the Illinois Department of Public Health’s “Get the Lead Out” Program, which ran from January 2007 to September 2010. Because of this experience, the county expects the program to be up and running quickly, providing training to local contractors, education to area residents, and rehab work aimed at improving the lives and health of Kane County children.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month focuses on help for victims

KANE COUNTY—October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the color of the ribbon is purple. Mutual Ground, which provides services for victims in southern Kane and Kendall counties, is now decorated in purple ribbons. Organizations, companies and schools that would like their own purple ribbons and more information on domestic violence can call (630) 897-0084.

For many victims in an abusive relationship, seeking help is very difficult. To see what services are available, visit, or call the 24/7 bilingual hotline at (630) 897-0080.

Girl Scouts start fall program

NORTHERN ILLINOIS—The Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois Fall Product Program now gives community members the chance to donate snack items and new magazines to members of the military while helping raise funds to support local Girl Scouts.

Also new this year is a Creative Funding Opportunity (CFO) Program. Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors (grades 6-12) have the chance to connect with local business owners and explore various careers by offering businesses an online way to purchase items for corporate gift giving.

Through GSNI’s Fall Product Program, girls offer gourmet food items and magazines to family, friends and favorite Girl Scout Cookie customers. Girls will be taking orders for the 2011 Fall Product Program, Oct. 14-28. Girls also offer magazine subscriptions through door-to-door sales or online ordering. To order, ask a local Girl Scout or e-mail your order to, where it will be filled and delivered by a Girl Scout in your area.

While the Fall Product Program is not as well known as the Girl Scout Cookie Program, it is just as important to Girl Scouts. Both programs teach girls important skills ( and help them earn money for troop activities. The proceeds from the Fall Products Program help troops to fund activities and service projects that begin long before the winter Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girl Scout Product Programs also differ from traditional fundraisers by encouraging girls to work together to decide how to spend troop funds rather than dictating what the money will be used towards.

For information, visit www.girlscoutsni. org/fall_product_line.html.

FFA Chapter Grants awarded

KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Farm Bureau Foundation awarded more than $1,300 in grant funds to FFA Chapters in the county to recognize the continued contributions of students from Kane County FFA Chapters from Central (Burlington), Hinckley-Big Rock and Kaneland high schools. Each qualified for between $350 to $500 in grant funds.

This is the third consecutive year that the foundation made grants available to FFA Chapters for their help at Ag Days at Mooseheart, Touch-A-Tractor and the Kane County Fair.

The foundation selected three Farm Bureau programs to help promote leadership development skills in FFA members.

The Kaneland FFA Chapter contributed to the Farm Bureau’s Harvest for all hunger relief effort for a second year. They pledged proceeds from an acre of the harvest from their corn test plot to help stock the shelves of the Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove.

Santa teams with bikers

Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts filled downtown Elburn to the brim on Sunday to collect toys and food for those in need during the annual DuKane chapter of A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) Toy and Food Run. Once formed, the parade of bikes stretched 3.5 miles and stepped off from Knuckleheads in Elburn. (Top left) Santa visits with Wally Elliott, the DuKane Events Coordinator, outside Knuckleheads on Sunday. (Top right) State Sen. Chris Lauzen speaks before the crowd at the Batavia VFW. (Bottom left) The motorcycles begin to line up before leaving Elburn. (Bottom right) Before the group lined up, the parked bikes stretched down North Street and filled up both parking lots in downtown Elburn. Courtesy Photos

Rep. Hatcher to co-host local EMS task force hearing

FOX VALLEY—State Representative Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville) is co-sponsoring a local hearing of the House Task Force on Emergency Medical Services Funding on Monday, Oct. 17, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove Campus.

Local first responders will be able to present their funding, equipment and other needs directly to their representatives in the Illinois House.

House Resolution 230 created a 24-member bipartisan task force seeking to help EMS services in Illinois. The objective is to meet with and hear from the actual EMS providers to find out what’s working, what’s not working, and how funding and state support can be modified or improved.

The Task Force will provide a report of its findings to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2012.

The Task Force hearing is being co-hosted by Reps. Hatcher and Linda Chapa La Via (D-Aurora).

Drivers needed for senior program

KANE, MCHENRY COUNTIES—Drivers are needed for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs of McHenry and Kane Counties to help provide transportation for area senior citizens in need.

Drivers help transport those in need to doctor and other medical appointments, such as dialysis and physical therapy. This program works to match willing volunteers who drive their own vehicle as they help our senior clients, sometimes allowing them to remain in their own homes. The organization will work with your schedule and availability, and when requested, mileage reimbursement is provided.

Contact Bee Rettinger at 1-800-339-3200 or e-mail for information.

Motorcycles on parade

700 bikers ride for charity
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Motorcyclists with toys strapped to their bikes will be in town Sunday, Oct. 9, as they gather at Knuckleheads Tavern in Elburn for the DuKane Toy and Food Run to benefit local DuPage and Kane County charities. The DuKane chapter of A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education ( ABATE) has been riding for charity for 25 years, making it one of the oldest toy and food run in the country. To date, the chapter has given over $1.5 million in toys and food to over 20 different charities each year.

“I research the organizations that can benefit the most,” said Judy Kaenel, the president of the DuKane ABATE chapter. “This year the Elburn Food Pantry and the Maple Park Food Pantry are having trouble keeping their shelves stocked.”

The list of charities includes a physician from Elgin who treats families with small children for free and gives a Christmas party each year, with never enough toys to go around.

The ride will start and end at the Batavia VFW on Route 25. They will arrive at Knuckleheads starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, and take off on a cafe ride at 12:30 p.m.

“We’ll go down Route 47 to Main Street, and then head to Batavia,” Event Coordinator Willy Elliott said. “We’ll go through downtown Batavia and cross the river, and then go back to the VFW.”

Emergency vehicles and police departments will be on hand to smooth the way for the 700-plus motorcyclists to get through intersections.

“There will be a wait (for traffic), but it will be quite quick,” Kaenel said. “We’ll be handing out notes to waiting motorists, telling what this ride is all about. The slowest part will be in downtown Batavia.”

Led by Santa Claus as they come into Batavia, the bikers will be joined by several state and local representatives, including Kay Hatcher and Chris Lauzen. The representatives will either join in with their own bikes or hop on the back of one. Kaenel speculated that Hatcher may be given the honor of riding with Santa.

Once back at the VFW, the donated toys will be loaded onto flatbed trucks by helpers dressed as reindeer. What’s unique about this charity drive is that the charities themselves are invited to the event.

“You can see the people (from the charities) come up and get (the donations),” Elliott said.

Kaenel emphasized that anyone can come to the event at the VFW. While riders must register, the public can bring a donation.

“If you want to bring a big box of food, you know you’re helping a family, and it may be a neighbor or family member of your own who needs to use it one day,” Kaenel said. “That’s why it’s important to keep it in DuPage and Kane.”

The bikers and the public will be able to relax to the music of Stoker Red and browse vendors displaying leather goods and clothes, wood carving, tattoo and piercing, food, and other motorcycle centered items.

Riders come from all over northern Illinois, Elliott said. The Latin American Motorcyclists Association and other groups will be coming from Chicago. Others come from Iowa and Indiana.

What started out as a group of guys who wanted to throw a party, the DuKane Toy and Food Run grew to include 6,000 riders at its event in 2001. The purpose of ABATE is to educate the public about motorcycling and traffic safety. They visit over 100 schools and talk to the Drivers’ Education classes. They talk at senior centers to explain how to share the road with motorcycles. They work with the court in cases involving distracted drivers, such as when a driver is texting and kills a motorcyclist. They also want to protect the rights of cyclists to choose whether or not to wear a helmet, and to be able to ride into all towns without restriction.

“We want education, not legislation,” Kaenel said. “People’s ideas of bikers need changing, and we work to change them.”

Plant acorns and hickory nuts for tomorrow’s trees

GENEVA—Looking for something to do with all those acorns and hickory nuts on your lawn? The Forest Preserve District needs acorns and hickory nuts—lots of them. Its natural resources staff is collecting acorns from White and Black oaks as well as nuts from Shagbark hickories. Staff will then grow trees to later plant in the forest preserves.

If you have large, old trees that are dropping abundant acorns or hickory nuts, sweep-up the intact ones and put them in a brown paper bag. (Avoid plastic bags, as the seed could mold.) Pick out leaves, grass and twigs before bagging. On the bag, write the tree type, your address, and the date seed was collected. Seed bags may be dropped off at Forest Preserve District headquarters at 1996 S. Kirk Road, Suite 320, or call the office at (630) 232-5980 to arrange a pick-up.

White Oaks are not reproducing well in the wild due to various factors, including shading in the woods, loss of habitat and disease.The district has over 3,000 acres that need trees. Acorn and hickory nut donations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 7. Visit for more information.

Blackberry Farm hosts Pumpkin Weekends in October

AURORA—Blackberry Farm will celebrate the fall season throughout October with its popular Pumpkin Weekends.

Each weekend, including Columbus Day, Oct. 11, Blackberry Farm will be decorated in the spirit of pumpkin season. A picnic area will feature an assortment of pumpkins for purchase, and a decorating station with painting supplies is provided.

There will be carousel rides, hay rides and tours on the Pumpkin Train. Park hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $4 per person.

Due to construction that will bring a series of improvements to the grounds and facilities, the Carriage, Farm and Early Streets museums will not be open during Pumpkin Weekends. The pedal tractor course also is closed.

Each weekend features a different series of activities:
• Saturday, Oct. 8: Pumpkin activities from noon to 3:30 p.m., where visitors can decorate Halloween masks, play pumpkin Bozo buckets, pumpkin ring toss and other games.
• Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16: Scarecrow display. Come see a variety of scarecrows on display that capture the autumn spirit and showcase the creativity of local Scout troops, school groups and individuals.
• Saturdays, Oct. 22 and 29: Trick-or-Treat Walk from 10 to 11 a.m. Before the park officially opens—visitors can make their way around to nine stations, then stay after the park opens at 11 a.m. A costume contest will be held at 10:45 a.m. in front of the Huntoon House. Advanced registration required.

Flu season arrives—get vaccinated

KANE COUNTY—Autumn is the beginning of the flu season, and now is a good time to think about protecting yourself with a flu vaccine. The Kane County Health Department encourages all residents to take the time to get a flu vaccine.

To find the nearest location of a flu shot provider, visit the Health Department’s website at to find a map of local providers. Watch for regular flu season updates on its Facebook and Twitter (@KaneCoHealth) pages throughout the flu season.

Nearly everyone over the age of 6 months should get an annual vaccine. This year’s vaccine is geared toward three different influenza viruses and, no, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot.

Remember the Three C’s—cover your cough, clean your hands and contain the disease by staying home if you’re sick.

Motorcycle parade route to stop traffic on Main Street

ELBURN—Motorists are advised that on Sunday, Oct. 9, there will be some traffic disruptions on Route 47 for the DuKane ABATE 25th Anniversary Toy and Food Run. A police-escorted motorcycle parade route will leave Knuckleheads at 12:30 p.m. and head south on Route 47 to Main Street Road, where it will head east.

The route will turn on Van Nortwick and at Wilson Street in Batavia, proceeding across the river to Route 25 and ending at the Batavia Overseas Post VFW. There will be road guardians at various crossing locations. The food run collects unwrapped new toys and non-perishable food for DuPage/Kane County area food banks, shelters, foster homes and social service agencies. Watch out for motorcycles. Bring cameras and chairs to watch.

Former Elburn resident organizes fundraiser for friend’s son

by Keith Beebe
YORKVILLE—Former Elburn resident Ryan West, a 1998 Kaneland High School graduate, is currently organizing the “Helping Hunter” fundraiser for Hunter Darnell, son of Yorkville High School wrestling coach Shane Darnell.

Hunter suffers from a rare heart condition known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which occurs when the left side of the human heart is unable to fully develop.

“The Helping Hunter fundraiser is something being put together by some of the wrestling families in Yorkville, as well as some other people who know the Darnells well, in order to help Hunter and the Darnell family with the hardship they are going through right now,” West said.

West teaches and also coaches football and wrestling at Grayslake North High School in Grayslake, Ill., and was Shane Darnell’s varsity wrestling assistant the last five years. West, who now resides in Yorkville, said he and his fiance are very close with Shane, his wife Tracy and their sons Kenton and Hunter.

Yorkville wrestling coach Shane Darnell with his son, Hunter. Former Elburn resident and Kaneland graduate Ryan West has organized a fundraiser to help the Darnell family. Courtesy photo

“He and his family mean a ton to the Yorkville wrestling family. We would do everything possible to help them,” he said. “We had a fundraiser (for them) this spring that was run through the high school and some of the teachers.”

Hunter was diagnosed with HLHS in November 2008 while still in the womb. Shane and Tracy then learned that Hunter, after birth, would need three open-heart surgeries known as the Norwood, Glenn and Fontan, respectively. Hunter was born six weeks early on Feb. 20, 2009, and received a hybrid open-heart surgery six days later. According to the website, the hybrid surgery allowed Hunter to grow bigger until he was ready for the Norwood surgery.

Hunter received both the Norwood and Glenn surgeries in June 2009, and began bleeding internally just hours after the seven-hour operation. He spent five weeks in the hospital before he was able to return home. The website states that Hunter underwent another surgery at 11 months to fix his aorta, which had enlarged to the point of crushing his left pulmonary artery.

Hunter is currently suffering from severe complications that were a result of the Fontan surgery he underwent last summer.

“The complications could possibly alter the rest of Hunter’s life, and his family’s, as well,” West said.

The Helping Hunter fundraiser will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Yorkville. The event will kick off with a bean bag tournament at noon, while other activities such as a silent auction and a raffle for a 2011 Roush Ford Mustang will take place throughout the afternoon and evening. West said teams for the bean bag tournament are currently being assembled.

A chili cook-off is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., with winners determined by the votes of those in attendance. Following the cook-off, entertainment will be provided by musical acts Broken Vegas and Back Country Roads.

Anyone interested in attending the fundraiser can pre-order tickets at Admission tickets are $10 each. A beer wristband for the event is $5. Raffle tickets for the Roush Mustang can also be purchased at the website, and are $20 each (or three tickets for $50).

“We wanted to do this fundraiser as a community. It’s not about any one person,” West said. “The community as a whole, and anyone who knows Shane, Tracy, Kenton or Hunter, will tell you how phenomenal they are as a family. Anyone who knows them would be willing to give everything they’ve got to help them out, and we just want to do everything we can to help them, because we know that if we were in their situation, they would do the same thing for us.”

Police blotter for Oct. 7

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

• Police received a report on Sept. 25 that a Garmin Nevi GPS system was missing from an unlocked 2007 Jeep Limited parked on the 100 block of Corrigan Street in Elburn. Reports say the contents of the glove box were found on the driver’s seat and a purse containing money was untouched.

• Harry Tuggles, 55, and Lynwood Davis, 56, both of Aurora, were charged with theft from Union Pacific property after police were notified Sept. 28 that an LED Safe Tron railroad crossing signal light and housing were missing from a Union Pacific storage shed at Gates and the Union Pacific right of way. Witnesses said a dark colored pickup with yellow signs and writing on the doors was seen in the area, matching the description of a vehicle seen in August following the theft of signal lamps at the same location. Police discovered the vehicle near Main Street and Route 38 with Tuggles and Davis. Both posted bond and will be in court on Nov. 4.

• Thomas J. Schmit, 60, of Frederick, Md., was arrested Sept. 30 for an outstanding DuPage County warrant for failure to appear on a DUI warrant. Police responded to a fight at Knuckleheads Bar, where according to reports, Schmit was found intoxicated and bleeding. The other individual had fled the scene. Schmit posted bond and will be in court on Nov. 2.

• The Elburn Herald reported to police that an unknown company in St. Petersburg, Russia, attempted to withdraw more than $21,000 from its Elburn bank account. The bank recognized the attempt as fraudulent and did not release funds. There was no monetary loss for either party.

Campton Hills
• The Kane County States Attorney’s Office authorized multiple counts, including a Class X felony, against a Campton Hills father after injuries were discovered on the man’s 6-year-old daughter. Warrants were issued for Matthew J. Gumbel, 34, of Campton Hills, for Aggravated Battery to a Child Under 13 (class X felony) along with Aggravated Domestic Battery and Domestic Battery. Bond is set at $200,000.

The non-life threatening injuries were discovered by personnel at the child’s school. The Department of Children and Family Services were contacted, who took protective custody of the child as well as another 12-year-old living in the residence. The injuries were allegedly caused by Gumbel while disciplining the daughter.

Both children are currently in shelter care outside of the home.

October events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

GENEVA—The LivingWell Cancer Resource Center announces several upcoming events to increase awareness and to help raise funds for the center during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October:

Bunco for Breast Cancer Awareness will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m., St. Patrick’s Church, 6N487 Crane Road in St. Charles. Donation is $20 for three rounds of Bunco, appetizers, refreshments, gift bags and door prizes. To register, contact Victoria Naughton at (630) 338-8027 or e-mail

A 5K run will be held at Marmion Academy on Sunday Oct. 23, with registration at 8 a.m. and the run beginning at 9 a.m. Marmion will sell pink T-shirts and bracelets throughout the month to raise funds for LivingWell. For more information, call Crystal Krueger at (630) 327-7865, on Facebook at marmioncadetsbreastcancerawareness or e-mail Nadine at

The Arcada Theater in St. Charles presents “Tooty’s Corner, The Stage Play” on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. This is a one-time show about a group of boys and their families growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s. Part of the proceeds will be donated to LivingWell. Tickets can be purchased by calling (630) 965-1000 or e-mail For more information, go to

Kimmer’s Ice Cream Shop, 1 W. Illinois St., St. Charles, will host a “Girls Night Out” on Thursday, Oct. 28, featuring different vendors for makeup, and other accessories, with a table set up in the shop and lots of fun things to see. Ten percent of the event will support LivingWell. For the entire month of October, 10 percent of Kimmer’s receipts will be donated to LivingWell on their four “Pink” flavors of ice cream. Call Kim at (630) 762-9480.

Steel Beam Theatre fundraiser: The Kane County Scaregrounds

ST. CHARLES—St. Charles native R.J. Ogren, one of the original management artists in charge of creative control at Walt Disney World in the ‘70s and ‘80s, is the lead designer of Steel Beam Theatre’s 2011 fundraiser, The Kane County Scaregrounds, a 4,000- square-foot haunted house in 3-D, which opens at the Kane County Fairgrounds on Friday, Oct. 7, and runs weekends through Sunday, Oct. 30.

Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 11 p.m., and Sundays, 7 to 10 p. m. (closed Oct. 22). Tickets are $13, with a $15 Fast Pass (no wait) also available at and, or at the door. The Kane County Scaregrounds is recommended for ages 13 and up. Younger children will be admit- ted with an adult. Parking is free.

Kane County Farm Bureau receives national award for hunger relief effort

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Farm Bureau’s Harvest for ALL hunger relief effort was recently selected by the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) to receive one of just six Summit Awards for 2011.

The Summit Awards are the highest honor bestowed upon an organization in ASAE’s Pow- er of A Awards. The Power of A is an aware- ness campaign launched by ASAE to educate and inform policymakers in Washington and other outside audiences about the wealth of resources and expertise in the association com- munity.

ASAE recognized the value the effort has in building a stronger community. Since Harvest for ALL started in April 2009, donors have con- tributed and pledged over $50,000 to area food pantries. Twenty area food pantries and the Northern Illinois Food Bank have been chosen to receive crop proceeds, cash, vegetables, eggs and other in-kind donations.

“The generosity shown by local farmers and Farm Bureau members is impressive,” KCFB President Joe White said. “I don’t think anyone really expected the program to do this well, and it’s really a testimony to the strength of our asso- ciation and the support of our members.”

A formal award presentation by ASAE will occur at the National Building Museum in Wash- ington, D.C. in October, where the successes of the Harvest for ALL program over the past two-and-a-half years will be shared with asso- ciation executives, government officials and business and community leaders in attendance.

White said representatives from Kane Coun- ty Farm Bureau will accept the award on behalf of all the Harvest for ALL donors who are help- ing combat hunger in their communities.

“These programs exemplify the best efforts of associations committed to making a mean- ingful contribution to society,” said John H. Ganoe, CAE, Association Management Group, Inc., chair of The Power of A Awards Judging Committee. “They illustrate in a substantive, tangible way the dedication of association pro- fessionals and association members across the country and around the world who strive to help others and build a stronger America and a bet- ter world. We are honored to present these six organizations with the highest award offered in the association community.”

Visit to view a video about Harvest for ALL and to download a par- ticipation form.

Family turns heartache to helping hands

Photo: Part of the Pumpkins for a Cure team at Kuipers’ Farm getting ready to load pumpkins. Steve Rambo (left to right), Paul Zellmer, Mary Agnes, Judy Col- lignon and Sue Coari. Photo by John DiDonna

by Susan O’Neill

GENEVA—Mary Agnes and Paul Zellmer’s son, Jim Zellmer, developed Type 1 diabetes when he was just 6 years old. When he came home after six days in the hospital, he realized that this was not like the time his brother had his tonsils removed. This disease would be with him the rest of his life, and he would have to take shots every day for the rest of his life.

“Mommy, fix this,” he said.

Mary’s heart went out to her son. She knew she couldn’t make the diabetes go away. But she could do something that would help him— and the rest of the family—feel that they had some measure of control.

Paul’s parents, Iowa farmers, offered to donate a crop of pumpkins and gourds to raise money that would go to help find a cure for dia- betes. The following fall, they made $2,000 sell- ing the pumpkins and gourds on their front lawn in the Mill Creek Subdivision in Geneva.

“Everybody was so generous,” Mary said.

Seven years later, Pumpkins for a Cure is a two-day event held in front of the Kane Coun- ty Court House in Geneva. The Zellmers sell pumpkins and gourds and late-blooming mums. This year, they are ordering 11 tons of pump- kins, and there will also be specialty pumpkins available. People pay whatever amount they want.

There are all kinds of children’s activities, including a children’s raffle, a craft table, face painting, music by Jeanie B and more. Haunt- ed hay rides, a professional pumpkin carver, fall gardening and decorating tips by Master Gardener Debbie Notaro, a pet costume con- test, free hot dogs and a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers make it a whole day of fun while people contribute to a good cause.

New this year is an event called Taste for a Cure. Held in front of the Little Traveler, seven Fox Valley restaurants will serve a sample of their best desserts containing pumpkin. People may purchase $5 tickets from Mary before the event, which entitles them to taste three desserts. Tickets the day of the event are $10.

“The price is affordable,” Mary said. “A family of four can come for $20.”

Individuals can vote for their favorite in the people’s choice category, and there will also be an award for the most creative dessert. A professional panel of judges, including head judge and All Chocolate Kitchen owner Alain Roby, will determine the best dessert.

The Zellmers have created their own not- for-profit organization, the Zellmer Childhood Disease Foundation, which supports education and research projects related to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of juvenile diabetes and other chronic childhood diseases.

The organizations that receive the money include the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

During the past seven years, they have raised $250,000.

“People really do care and they really want to help,” Mary said. “The women who come, I think they are grateful that they have healthy children, and this is their way of showing that gratitude.”

The foundation uses the money to fund grants for specific research, including a current project at the University of Illinois at Chicago to develop a newer, more advanced insulin treatment.

In addition to raising money for diabetes research and education, the family has also funded over 100 scholarships to send children with diabetes to a diabetes camp sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. Jim and his younger brother Joe volunteered as junior counselors this year at one of the camps.

The children do everything that normal campers would do, except that the staff are all nurses and doctors who volunteer their time each year to provide campers with a safe camp experience. They also teach the children how to recognize when their blood sugar is low and how to give themselves their own shots.

Jim and Joe (who does not have diabetes) both attended the camp when they were younger, and they loved it so much that they wanted to give back what they feel they received.

Mary said that having a son with diabetes and all of the activities they have become involved with has been a life-changing experience for the entire family. She said it has been a great lesson in how Jim and the rest of them really can change their own destiny.




Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kane County Courthouse 100 S. Third St., Geneva

Pumpkins, gourds, fall mums and all kinds of free activities

All proceeds go to the Zellmer Childhood Disease Foundation

To purchase advance tickets for Taste for a Cure, call Mary Zellmer at (630) 479-8116

Rep. Hatcher to run for re-election

YORKVILLE—State Representative Kay Hatcher announced she will seek re-election to the General Assembly serving the 50th District, which serves approximately 600 square miles in Kendall, Kane and LaSalle counties. Hatcher is serving her sec- ond term in a district that will have new boundaries.

“Once every 10 years, legislative bound- ary lines are re-drawn to reflect changing demographics of every district in Illinois,” Hatcher said. “It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to serve the 180,000 residents in the current 50th District through January 2013. This area is the fastest growing in our state, and will be impacted by legal guide- lines that mandate a state representative serve a population closer to 105,000.”

The new legislative boundaries, currently under legal review, create a 50th District that is about one-third the size of the exist- ing district.

“The new boundaries retain the heart of the current district, uniting Kendall and Kane counties into a compact map,” she said.

Food for the needy

Aurora University cross country team members recently packed 18,615 dry meals at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. Anna Perkowski (from left) of River Grove; Matt Winterowd of Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Allie Furman of St. Charles; Drew Schmitt of Batavia; and Olivia Crump of Indianapolis, Ind. Coach Ryan Chapman said the meals packed will feed 51 children for a year. Other local student-athletes volunteering were: Ashley Mayer of Hampshire; Melissa Babos of Aurora; and Erin Cinto of Sugar Grove.

Courtesy Photo

Kane County Sheriff’s Office looking for citizen of the year

ST. CHARLES—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez is accepting nominations for the Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award.

This award was created in memory of Roscoe Ebey, who was murdered in his Aurora Township home in 2007. Ebey was a decorated World War II military veteran and a popular member of his neighborhood. It was only fitting that the first recipient was Leslie Fleming, whose selfless actions led to the capture of the person who was charged in Ebey’s murder. Perez encourages members of the community to recognize those who go the extra mile to look out for their neighbors.

Anyone wishing to nominate someone should send their nominations via e-mail to or mail to Kane County Sheriff’s Office 37W755, Route 38, Suite A, St. Charles IL 60175. Nominations will be taken until Oct. 15, and the award will be presented in November.

Nominate someone for the TriCity Family Services’ Award

GENEVA—Is there someone that you know who deserves to be recognized for their dedication to the community? Consider nominating them for TriCity Family Services’ 27th annual William D. Barth Award. Established in 1985, the Barth Award recognizes one individual who has made a significant and positive impact through community service in the central Kane County area.

There are just a few weeks left to turn in a nomination, as all nominations must be submitted in writing by Friday, Sept. 30. A William D. Barth Award Nomination Form is available, but not required, if equivalent information is submitted. A nomination form and a list of prior awardees is available on the TriCity Family Services website,

The award will be presented at the annual Barth Award Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Riverside Reception and Conference Center in Geneva.

Nominees must be individuals whose investment in the community, and concern for those living here, is shown by an ongoing involvement in community life. The award recipient will exemplify the legacy of William D. Barth, a founder of TriCity Family Services and a dedicated community leader.

Send nominations to Miranda Barfuss, TriCity Family Services, 1120 Randall Ct., Geneva, IL 60134. Via fax, send to (630) 232-1471 and via e-mail, send to For more information, call (630) 232-1070.