Category Archives: Regional

Garfield Farm Museum announces scholarship

CAMPTON HILLS—Garfield Farm Museum announced its annual $2,000 scholarship for graduate studies in museum administration, which now includes historic archaeology. Applications must be made by Monday, Jan. 31.

The Garfield Farm Museum Historic Administration Scholarship Fund has been established within the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. This annual scholarship is focused on students at the masters level or higher, pursuing degrees in historic administration, archaeology, public history, museum administration or related fields of study who preferably have demonstrated a strong commitment to the preservation of historic sites through their studies, work experience, volunteer or other community activities.

Ron Yenerich, a friend and donor to Garfield Farm Museum, is underwriting the scholarship.

The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (formerly known as the Aurora Foundation) handles all the administration of the scholarship funds and applications. Potential applicants from the southern half of Kane County and Kendall County enrolled at an accredited college or university are encouraged to inquire of the Community Foundation by calling (630) 896-7800 or visiting CommunityFoundationFRV.org. Outstanding candidates that live in close proximity to the valley in Will, DuPage or northern Kane County, will also be given due consideration.

The successful candidate will also be given special consideration if she or he later applies for the Garfield Farm Museum’s Graduate Student Internship Program.

For information call (630) 584-8485 or e-mail info@garfieldfarm.org.

9 charged in narcotics trafficking investigation

Kane County—A lengthy joint investigation into cocaine distribution in Aurora, conducted by the North Central Narcotics Task Force (NCNTF), with assistance from the Aurora Police Dept., the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office, ended last month with the arrests of the nine subjects who are facing felony narcotics charges.

Those charged are:
• Manuel V. Carranza, 24, of Montgomery, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X felony), Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 1), Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Class X).

• Roberto C. Hernandez, 27, of Aurora, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X), Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 1), False Report of Stolen Motor Vehicle (Class 2), and Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4).

• Eddie L. Hernandez, 19, of Aurora, charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon within 1,000 feet of a School (Class 3), and Unlawful use of a Weapon (Class 4).

• Guadalupe Gil, 22, of Montgomery, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X), and Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 1).

• Helen M. Finneran, 40, of Lombard, Ill., charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X).

• Jose A. Nunez-Martinez, 36, of Aurora, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class 1), and Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 4).

• Jose M. Baez, 26 of Aurora, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 4).

• Rodolfo Gallardo Jr., 19, of Aurora, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class 1), and Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class 4).

• Gabriela E. Hernandez, 17, of Aurora, charged with False Report of Stolen Motor Vehicle (Class 2).

According to NCNTF Director Bill Backus, during the course of the investigation, which NCNTF started in April 2010, undercover agents reportedly conducted numerous hand-to-hand purchases of cocaine from Carranza in Aurora. During negotiations to purchase multiple kilograms of cocaine, NCNTF agents learned Carranza had sources of supply that had the means to smuggle cocaine into the United States from Mexico.

In July, NCNTF requested assistance from both the Aurora Police Department and the Chicago office of the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations. Over the course of the next several months, law enforcement personnel from all three agencies conducted extensive covert surveillance on multiple suspects and obtained several telephone intercepts (“wire taps”) to gather additional information on their alleged operations.

Backus said that information obtained during the surveillance and wiretaps was forwarded to law enforcement agencies in other states, which resulted in additional investigations. He could not elaborate on further details because the investigations are ongoing.

According to Backus, the investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately $415,000 in U.S. currency, as well as three vehicles, a handgun and more than three kilograms of cocaine. Agents are also pursuing the forfeiture of one residence. Based on the evidence obtained during the investigation, authorities allege Carranza, Roberto Hernandez and Eddie Hernandez were all involved in the distribution of multiple kilogram amounts of cocaine throughout the Aurora area. The additional subjects were purportedly involved in further distribution of the cocaine in smaller amounts.

In addition to the subjects listed, Backus said charges are being reviewed on more individuals involved in the case, and additional arrests are expected in the future.

All subjects charged in this investigation are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Leaders of tomorrow begin today

by Lynn Meredith
Geneva—Practicing leadership skills can never start too early. Annabelle Letizia, 7, of Geneva is off to a good start. As part of the Girls Scout Emissary Program, she is actively involved in promoting the project the Girl Scouts are most known for: selling their famous cookies.

Besides wanting to sell as many cookies as she can in order to win an iPod Touch and help her troop do fun things, Annabelle acts as a representative of the Girl Scouts when community groups and the media ask about the various projects that the Scouts are up to.

“It’s really a two-way street,” said Annabelle’s mom, Jeanne. “It’s a great experience for her, and it helps with the Girls Scouts’ biggest goal: turning girls into leaders in the community.”

Annabelle went through a training program that included young Scouts like her all the way up to high school aged scouts. She is very clear about the purpose of the Emissary Program.

“It’s to help us learn to be a leader. There are five things we should learn: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics,” Annabelle said.

Her mom said she’s just having fun with the whole experience and doesn’t necessarily realize what she’s learning from it.

“I thought (the program) would be perfect for Annabelle. She’s always been very good at speaking with adults. She may have had the jitters the first time she spoke with the media, but it’s been interesting,” Jeanne said.

For Jeanne, it’s been fun to relive her own days as a Scout in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when having two older sisters made it difficult to sell as many cookies as she’d have liked.

“But the cookies haven’t changed,” Jeanne said.

Thin Mints are the top seller according to Annabelle, but her favorite are Samoas. She’s quick to point out that while some of the money the troop raises goes to the Girl Scout Council of Illinois, the rest goes to troop #4057 (Geneva), which she hopes will be used for a sleep-over field trip at Brookfield Zoo.

Although Annabelle is well on her way to achieving those leadership skills the Girl Scouts aim for, her mom says it’s been fun to see her grow in the experience.

“It’s fun as a parent to see her use her communication skills and to gain self-confidence,” Jeanne said.

The deadline to place an order for cookies is Tuesday, Jan 25.

CASA Kane County receives $500,000 grant from The Dunham Fund

GENEVA—CASA Kane County, a local nonprofit organization serving abused and neglected children in Juvenile Court, was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from The Dunham Fund in support of its planned Grow a Healthy Child Program & Operational Endowment Campaign.

The first $100,000 represents an outright lead gift to the campaign that will be accompanied by a challenge and matching grant of 40 cents for every additional dollar raised by CASA, up to a maximum of $400,000 toward the organization’s overall campaign goal of $5 million.

CASA is the sole provider of trained Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem volunteers serving more than 500 children each year.

The Dunham Fund could provide up to 10 percent of the overall campaign goal that CASA has set to support the agency’s programs and services. The endowment will support educational resources for volunteers, volunteer supervision and case management, and the program’s Transitioning Youth Initiative, which provides resources for foster youths as they reach independence. All funds raised from CASA’s Grow a Healthy Child Program & Operational Endowment Campaign will be invested in one or more endowment funds at the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley and elsewhere. The interest generated from the two endowments will be used to support the ongoing program development and operational needs of CASA Kane County’s advocacy programs for the children it serves.

CASA Kane County has been appointed to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in juvenile court since 1988. Over the past seven years, the organization has also been appointed to all private guardianship cases involving minors. The organization estimates that 500 children will be served this year, a number that has increased annually since 2007, resulting in the need to recruit and train additional Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers each year.

For information, visit www.casakanecounty.org.

Jan. 14 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.

Elburn
• Aashik R. Thakkar, 19, of the 1200 block of Kings Circle in West Chicago, Ill., was charged on Jan. 9 at 1:15 p.m. with operating an uninsured vehicle, driving while his license was suspended and no front license plate. Thakkar was also arrested on a warrant out of DuPage County for failure to appear in court on traffic charges. Thakkar posted bond.

Sugar Grove
• George E. Caputo Sr., 63, of the 100 block of Brompton Lane in Sugar Grove, was arrested Jan. 8 at 9:22 a.m. for disorderly conduct and public intoxication at the Sugar Grove Jewel-Osco.

• Jenelle H. Dail, 23, of the first block of Walnut Street, Carpentersville, Ill, turned herself into Sugar Grove police on an outstanding warrant Jan. 8. She was unable to post bond and was charged with unlawful use of a credit card and receiving the credit card of another. She was transported to the Kane County Jail to await a bond hearing.

• Michael J. Caponi, 32, of the 1100 block of Hecker Court in Elgin, Ill., was arrested shortly after 3 p.m. on Jan. 10 for driving on a suspended license and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kane County
• The Kane County Sheriff’s Department announced on Jan. 5 that Kane County Court Security Officers discovered on Dec. 30, 2010, that an inmate had spent the night in a holding cell at the Kane County Courthouse on Route 38 in St. Charles.

The cell is not normally used to house inmates when court is not in session. On Dec. 29, 2010, the inmate, Husan Smith, had been sentenced by Judge Sheldon to four days in the Kane County Adult Corrections Center. After he was located, Smith was taken to the Kane County Adult Corrections Center and did not require medical attention.

Kane County Sheriff Patrick Perez has ordered the Office of Professional Standards open an investigation into the incident. Smith was released from custody on Jan. 1, 2011.

Due to the pending nature of the investigation, no further details are available for release.

• A Sugar Grove resident, James M. Carroll, 27, was pronounced deceased at an area hospital following a traffic accident on Jan. 3.

At 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 3, Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area of Corron Road south of Bowes Road in unincorporated Plato Township for a report of a traffic crash with injuries.

The initial investigation indicated that a 2010 Audi, driven by Carroll, was traveling north on Corron Road and for an unknown reason left the roadway. When the Audi re-entered the road it crossed over the center line and entered the southbound lane of traffic. Upon entering the southbound lane of traffic, the Audi struck a 2010 Mitsubishi head on. The Mitsubishi was traveling south on Corron Road.

The drivers of both vehicles were the sole occupants of their vehicle. They were both transported to St. Joes hospital in Elgin.

The driver of the Mitsubishi, Jeremy G. Lindsay, 30, of Algonquin, Ill., was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, no tickets have been issued and it does not appear that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Elburn man indicted for beating toddler

Kane County—An Elburn man and St. Charles woman were indicted Tuesday for their role in the October beating of her toddler.

James C. Cooper, 27, with a last known address on the 700 block of North First Street, Elburn, was indicted today by a Kane County grand jury, on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, and three counts of endangering the life or health of a child, each a Class A misdemeanor.

Cooper was charged by complaint in late October with one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony.

Cathleen Koch, 28, with a last known address on the 1500 block of Main Street, St. Charles, was indicted by a Kane County grand jury on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, six counts of obstructing justice, each a Class 3 felony, and six counts of endangering the life or health of a child, each a Class A misdemeanor.

The incident took place Oct. 27, 2010, in a hotel room in the 1500 block of East Main Street, St. Charles, where Cooper, Koch and the child had been living for several months.

According to the indictments, Cooper knowingly caused great bodily harm to the toddler in that he applied violent force to her body; that the child was placed in circumstances that endangered her life; and that Koch provided false information to authorities about the incident.

Prosecutors said that the offense was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty and upon proof of that fact could seek an extended sentence for Cooper.

The charges against Koch are based on an allegation that she is legally responsible for the abusive acts of Cooper, her paramour.

The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized that parents have a common law duty to protect their children from known threats, such that, under certain conditions, the omission to act will give rise to criminal liability.

The indictment states that although Cathleen Koch did not personally strike her child, she knew of a serious and immediate threat to the welfare of her child and that her failure to intercede on her child’s behalf makes her legally responsible for the injuries inflicted by Cooper.

Cooper was taken into custody Oct. 29, 2010, in Batavia. He remains in custody in the Kane County jail on $3 million bail. His next court appearance has been set for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, in Courtroom 319 in front of Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon.

Following the indictment, a warrant for Koch’s arrest was issued and her bail was set at $100,000.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Cooper could face a sentence of between six and 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and Koch could face a sentence of between six and 30 years in IDOC.

The charges against Cooper and Koch are not proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

KC sets No-Refusal New Year’s Eve plan

KANE COUNTY—To combat the often deadly problem of drunken driving, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office will collaborate with multiple Kane County municipalities to crack down on impaired driving on New Year’s Eve.

The sixth No-Refusal operation conducted in Kane County will be the first by new State’s Attorney Joseph H. McMahon, the first in Kane County on New Year’s Eve and the first in Kane County since U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on more states to use the strategy to help diminish drunken driving.

“Drunken driving is an unnecessary hazard on our roadways that often ends with tragic results. As state’s attorney, I have a responsibility not only to prosecute DUI offenders, but also to educate the public not to drive when they drink,” McMahon said.

McMahon said he would not announce which municipalities will be working with Kane County.

“Ideally, we will not have to use this tool. However, those who continue to ignore the personal and public consequences of drinking and driving should know that we are prepared to use all available and lawful resources to combat impaired driving on our roadways,” he said. “It is my hope that throughout the year, people will refrain from drinking and driving. But it is especially important at this time of year when so many friends and family are traveling that our roadways are as safe as possible.”

Through the No-Refusal strategy, law-enforcement officers are able to expedite the normal DUI booking process. With guidance from an assistant state’s attorney, police officers can quickly obtain a search warrant to compel a motorist suspected of DUI 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 might face additional sanctions.

“Drunk driving remains a leading cause of death and injury on our roadways,” Secretary LaHood said. “I applaud the efforts of the law enforcement officials who have pioneered the No-Refusal approach to get drunk drivers off our roads. And I urge other states to adopt this approach to make sure that drunk drivers can’t skirt the law and are held accountable.”

Secretary LaHood strongly endorsed the No-Refusal initiative and applauded states already employing this strategy to get drunk drivers off of their roads, including Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, Idaho and Arizona.

It is against the law in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Yet, data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that 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.

According to NHTSA data, in 2009 in Illinois, alcohol was a factor in 42 percent (381) of the state’s 911 traffic fatalities. Of the total fatalities, 62 deaths were attributed to a driver with a BAC between .01 and .07, 319 deaths were attributed to a driver with a BAC of .08 or greater and 213 deaths were attributed to a driver with a BAC of .15 or greater.

Making a million meals in a weekend

by Lynn Meredith
St. Charles—Who said it can’t be done?

Christ Community Church (CCC), with campuses in St. Charles, Aurora and DeKalb, took a stab at packaging one million meals for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) on two weekends in December. It’s likely that they succeeded because they had 4,500 volunteers to help them do it.

With 17 shifts of approximately 180 packagers, CCC put into play a well-organized and executed packaging event that included church members, their friends and other organizations that wanted to help.

“It’s an opportunity for people to bring their friends and neighbors,” said Larry Stratton, director of Community Impact for CCC. “People want to serve, but they don’t always know what the opportunities might be. It’s my job to create an on-ramp for people to go into the community.”

Dave Young of St. Charles and 10 of his Sprint co-workers from Itasca, Ill., decided to package meals for FMSC for their office Christmas party instead of going out to celebrate. They teamed up to package the meals as a group.

“I take any opportunity to serve,” said Sprint employee Mark Adams of Bolingbrook, Ill.

Tanglewood neighbors Jennifer Pecor and Katy Balon from Batavia came out for a second year in a row, bringing kids and friends to work the two-hour shift.

“It’s a good bonding experience with the team,” Pecor said.

Dawn Stover from Elburn worked with her Bible study group from CCC for the second year. Working as a group with each team member having a job to do, they put together meals in plastic bags.

Each package consists of six meals made with four ingredients. The meals were designed by Cargill and the University of Minnesota to meet all the nutritional requirements for one day, so that children living in extreme poverty can continue to grow and develop.

Volunteers scooped cup servings of chicken flavoring, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and white rice, and poured them down a funnel into a plastic bag. The bag is then weighed, sealed and boxed for secure shipment to places like Haiti, Uganda and the Phillipines.

“We partner with 67 countries that have specifically asked to receive food,” FMSC worker Bethany Schwartz told the assembled volunteers during the orientation. “This is part of a long-term solution to help train artisans and farmers, not a one-time fix. We don’t use machines. Machines aren’t going to change the world. You are.”

FMSC announced that it recently broke the 100 million meal mark for the fiscal year.

FMSC packages meals six days a week at their warehouses in Aurora and Schaumburg, Ill. Each month CCC sends a group of volunteers to package meals at the Aurora site.

“It’s a huge opportunity for people to be involved directly with helping the poor,” Stratton said.

Elburn businessman sues County Board chairman

by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—An Elburn resident filed an injunction against Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay regarding pay raises given out to county officials.

James MacRunnels, an Elburn businessman and Kane County Board chairman candidate in 2008, filed the injunction on Dec. 14. The lawsuit alleges that McConnaughay, throughout her tenure as County Board chairman, has provided pay raises to 14 county officials and employees without seeking approval from either the Executive Committee or County Board.

The lawsuit identifies IT Executive Director Roger Fahnestock, former Development Department Director Phil Bus, HR Management Executive Director Shelia McCraven, Finance Executive Director Cheryl Patelli, Health Department Executive Director Paul Keuhnert, Deputy Director of Transportation Tom Rickert, Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong, former Economic Development Director Chris Aiston, Facilities, Subdivision and Environmental Resources Director Tim Harbaugh, Family Health Division Director Theresa Heaton, Water Resources Director Paul Schuch, Network Services Director Robert Shive, IT Chief Financial Officer Bill Lake and Community Health Assistant Director Michael Isaacson as the officials who have been given pay raises or had their salary established by McConnaughay without Executive Committee or County Board compliance.

“I would like (Karen McConnaughay) to admit that she violated county statutes by giving out these pay raises,” MacRunnels said. “I asked my County Board member if he was aware of these raises, and he was not aware (of it). At that point in time, I said the only action I have as a citizen is to get involved and file the suit against her.”

MacRunnels said he believes McConnaughay should have to admit to newspapers and all 90,000 households in Kane County that she gave out unauthorized pay raises.

“That’s punishment enough, but she needs to step up and do that,” he said.

The lawsuit cites a Kane County code that establishes the Executive Committee’s jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to the compensation of all members of the County Board, the rules of order of the County Board, fees, salaries, clerk-hiring for and in all departments of the county, and the amount of the salary and per diem compensation of all county officers not otherwise set by law.

“MacRunnels is talking about a county code where the Executive Committee sets the salaries for the executive directors,” McConnaughay said. “Back in the early ’90s, the Executive Committee delegated that responsibility to the employee’s review, and the setting of salaries to the County Board chairman and to the respective committee chair.”

McConnaughay also said she doesn’t think the lawsuit has any merit.

“The state’s attorney will represent the chairman’s interest in this (matter),” she said.

Sugar Grove Village Board re-approves IGA with Kaneland

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday evening voted for the second time in two weeks to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Kaneland School District. Just like the last board vote on Dec. 7, it took a tie-breaking vote for the Village Board to authorize the agreement.

Trustee Bob Bohler’s vote in favor of the IGA broke a 2-2 deadlock between board trustees and allowed the Village Board to approve the agreement with a vote of 3-2. As a result, Sugar Grove will enter into a one-year Intergovernmental Agreement with the Kaneland School District, with Sugar Grove developers paying 60 percent of the capital-impact and transition fees issued by the School District.

The Village Board was forced to re-vote on the issue after it was determined that former Trustee Melisa Taylor’s vote during the Dec. 7 meeting was null and void due to Taylor being sworn in as a Kane County Board member prior to that Village Board meeting. Because Taylor voted in favor of the IGA, the nullification of her vote brought the board’s decision back to a 3-3 tie (Village President Sean Michels had been the tie-breaking vote). Therefore, a re-vote on the IGA was deemed necessary.

Several board trustees restated their concern that the current school impact fee structure was based on a model that was out of date. Trustee Bob Bohler asked Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler, who was in attendance, if Kaneland could guarantee a finished Dalstrom study within the next year, to which Schuler said, “Absolutely.”

“I’m pleased and appreciative of Sugar Grove’s interest in being part of the Intergovernmental Agreement. I think it’s important for the Sugar Grove residents, and I think it’s important for all the Kaneland school residents that we remain unified,” Schuler said. “I absolutely anticipate that (the new research) is going to happen, and what that research will do is affirm the data that drives the (Dalstrom) model, with the concept being that new growth should pay its fair share of the cost of educating kids.”

Michels said he was relieved to have a new IGA in place despite his reservations with the current fee structure.

“I think we have an obligation to our residents of Sugar Grove and the whole district to have a fee in place so at least the communities know that we are watching out for the School District,” he said. “Sugar Grove realizes that controlled growth is good for us and for the region, and that’s where a lot of the board and myself are having issues with this impact fee agreement, because it does keep a large portion of the fees on the high side.

“I can live with this agreement because it’s only one year in length, and we’re going to be working towards a new fee schedule over that year,” he said.

For the love of snow

The 2010 DeKane Sno-Trackers Annual Fundraiser was held at the Maple Park American Legion on Dec. 4. Funds collected from the dinner and raffle go to promote snowmobile education and safety and donations to local charities. People can contact the snowline at (630) 585-3650 or go to www.ilsnowmobile.com and follow the link to DeKane. Courtesy Photo

Lazarus House offers community Christmas Brunch

ST. CHARLES—Lazarus House invites the public for food and fellowship at its annual Christmas Brunch on Christmas Day at the Free Methodist Church, 214 Walnut St., St. Charles. Dining will begin at noon.

This brunch is like an extended family potluck, and the more family, the merrier. For those able to cook, a dish to pass is appreciated. Food should arrive after 11:30 a.m. in a disposable container and ready to serve at noon. Entrees, side dishes and appetizers are all welcome. If you’d like to attend and/or bring a special dish, a courtesy e-mail to info@lazarushouseonline.com or phone call to Lazarus House at (630) 587-2144 with your plans is appreciated, but not required.

“This time of year, we get many calls from people who want to help,” Executive Director Darlene Marcusson said. “We welcome volunteers to bring food and share fellowship at our brunch. This brunch is such a gift to our guests because it allows them to blend in with others and not stand out as homeless on this joyous day.”

People who wish to help in other ways are asked to consider a gift of financial assistance. Cash contributions and gift cards to superstores are greatly appreciated, especially given the current state of the economy.

Delnor’s Giving Tree provides coats for the community

Geneva—Cold weather is definitely here, and for an increasing number of people, that means figuring out where they can find just one coat that will protect them from the biting cold. Falling temperatures mean struggling to keep warm, and the tough economy puts even more people in need. One of the ways we can all help is through Delnor’s Giving Tree—Coats for the Community drive.

For the month of December, The Giving Tree is committed to collecting new or gently used clean blankets, winter coats, mittens, gloves, scarves and hats in the spirit of helping others this holiday season. All items collected will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Making a donation is easy—simply pull to the entrance of Delnor Hospital, and the valet parking staff will take your donated items and place them by the Delnor Giving Tree located in the main lobby of Delnor Hospital. Valet is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you are among the fortunate and have an extra coat, winter clothing item or warm blanket that you just don’t use any more, please consider donating it to the Delnor Giving Tree—Coats for the Community drive.

For more information, call (630) 208-4512.

Geneva Park District ice rink information

GENEVA—In a continued effort to improve customer service and consolidate its resources to enhance your recreational offerings this winter, the Geneva Park District will open a new outdoor ice complex at Wheeler Park.

Located on North Street/Route 31 in Geneva, the outdoor ice complex will consist of two sheets of ice, one dedicated for general skating and one for hockey.

The rinks will be fully equipped with retainer boards and water tight reflective liners. In addition, a warming shelter is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and/or school holidays, with lights available until 10 p.m. daily.

Please note that skating will no longer be available at Jaycee and Sunset Park.

For more information, call (630) 232-4542 or visit www.genevaparks.org

Web of winter snowmobile trails

by Lynn Meredith
Regional—Little do we know when the weather is warm and the ground is clear that a web of trails surrounds the Kaneland community. The De-Kane Sno-Trackers, a club of about 45 snowmobile enthusiasts, mark and groom the 20 miles of snowmobile trails when the snow is deep enough.

Snowmobilers can ride on the Great Western bike path from Wasco to Sycamore, take some spur trails on Peplow near the Elburn Coo-op, ride through Maple Park and to the gas station in Cortland, and possibly end up at Mott’s in Hinckley.

“You can actually ride from here to Lake Superior, from Presque Isle to Hinckley,” said club member Jerry DeBruyne. “But there’s no trail into Elburn unless you ditch-ride on Route 47, and that’s illegal.”

As part of the Illinois Association of Snowmobilers, the local club is interested in promoting snowmobiling as a safe and family-friendly sport. Since DeBruyne joined in 1979, he has seen more kids getting involved. He wants to dispel misunderstandings of what it’s all about. He will join with other members to become part of the Forest Preserve’s safety patrol.

“They will provide us with a vest, and we’ll act as Forest Preserve officers. If we see somebody doing something wrong, we can pull them aside and explain how they might be giving snowmobiling a bad name with their actions,” De Bruyne said. “We can ask them to stop or call a Forest Preserve cop to help. Also, if we see someone in trouble, we can help them out.”

The club will also be allowed for the first time to mark the bike path. Two snowmobilers were killed a few years ago where the trail dips. Now, the club can put up signs indicating caution, speed limits and bridge ahead.

The De-Kane Sno-Trackers gather for meetings once a month to plan outings both locally, such as a Poker Run to raise money for needy families, or a three- to four-day overnight trip into Wisconsin.

“The advantages of being in the club are that you get to know the trails. You help put the trails in and mark them. You’re not just riding out in a field,” DeBruyne said. “Also, it’s family-oriented. You meet a lot of people, and there’s socializing.”

The trails open Wednesday, Dec. 15. The drag pulled by a tractor to groom the trails will be out as well as the truck track. The $40,000 truck track purchased in 1989 was paid for by state grants. The club receives occasional money, but it’s very sparse, according to DeBruyne.

The real appeal for club members is the things you see while you’re out on the trail.

“I like seeing the wildlife. I’ve seen wolves, bears, eagles, deer. Once I saw an albino deer. It’s spectacular the things you see late at night when it’s quiet and so clear,” DeBruyne said.

The DeKane Sno-Trackers

• Formed in 1972,
with 148 members at its peak

• Membership dues of $25 per year

• Meets the first Tuesday of every
month from September to April

• Any land owner who is willing
to let the club cross their
property, please call
(630) 303-8269

TAILS hosts adoption event at Geneva Commons

Photo: Marley is a two-year-old lab mix available for adoption a TAILS Humane Society. Courtesy Photo

GENEVA—This holiday season, local animal shelters Animal Care League and TAILS Humane Society encourage animal lovers to adopt a furry new family member in time for the holidays. Adoptable dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available at the Jingle Paws Adoption Event Saturday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This adoption event will be located in the retail space between LOFT and J.Jill at Geneva Commons.

“We are very grateful to Geneva Commons for providing us with a location to hold our adoption event” said Tom Van Winkle, Animal Care League’s executive director. “With volunteers from TechPro and assistance from Wet Nose, ACL and TAILS hope to find forever homes for at least 50 pets at the Jingle Paws Adoption Event.”

Each year, thousands of homeless pets enter animal shelters in the Chicagoland area. Most pets are relinquished to shelters because of owner-related issues such as economic difficulties and divorce. These dogs and cats are highly adoptable and make wonderful companions, easily adapting to their new families. The Jingle Paws Adoption Event will provide prospective adopters with a large selection of healthy, spayed/neutered, vaccinated pets to choose from.

“The holidays are a great time to adopt,” said Beth Drake, executive director of TAILS Humane Society. “With time off from work, most people have more time to spend with their pets during the holidays than they do most of the rest of the year. As long as adopters ensure that their home is pet friendly, we encourage adoptions during the holiday season. We plan to have adult dogs and cats, as well as puppies and kittens, available for adoption at the Jingle Paws event.”

For more information, contact Animal Care League at (708) 848-8155 or visit online www.animalcareleague.org. You can also reach TAILS Humane Society at (815) 758-2457 or online at www.tailshumanesociety.org.

Deer hunting continues with archery, firearm seasons

SPRINGFIELD—Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 98,700 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season on Nov. 19-21 and Dec. 2-5, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced this week. A total of 99,419 deer were taken during the 2009 firearm season.

The preliminary second-season (Dec. 2-5) harvest total was 30,663, compared with the 33,293 deer taken by hunters during the second segment of the season in 2009. This year’s preliminary first-season (Nov. 19-22) deer harvest was 68,037, compared with a first-season harvest of 66,126 in 2009. The preliminary harvest totals include deer taken in all counties in which firearm deer hunting is permitted, as well as at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County.

“Harvest results for this year’s firearm deer seasons were remarkably similar to last year,” said Paul Shelton, IDNR Forest Wildlife program manager. “Fifty-one counties saw increases in harvest, while 49 counties declined. Management efforts aimed at controlling deer herds while maintaining recreational opportunities are paying off.”

Preliminary reports show that Pike County once again topped the county deer harvest totals for the firearm season as hunters took 3,130 deer. Other top county harvest totals were Fulton (2,495), Adams (2,468), Jo Daviess (2,285) and Randolph (2,192).

Deer hunters in Illinois still have opportunities to take to the field in the coming weeks. The archery deer season continues through Jan. 16, 2011. The three-day Illinois muzzleloader-only deer season concluded this past week (Dec. 10-12), while the firearm, antlerless-only deer season and special CWD deer season are Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011.

Permits for both late winter and special CWD seasons are now available over the counter through DNR Direct license and permit agents.

Permits for the late-winter season will be issued in two categories based on deer management needs in individual counties. For 12 select counties with a need for significant increases in deer harvest, hunters will be able to purchase late-winter permits without limit. In 58 other counties open for the late-winter season, hunters will be limited to purchasing one deer permit. There are 27 counties closed for the late-winter season.

As in years past, unfilled 2010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth and landowner firearm permits will be valid for the late-winter season provided that they were issued for an open county, but only antlerless deer may be taken.

Visit www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/ ResidentLateWinterAntlerlessDeerHunting.aspx for more information.

Successful hunters should report their harvest by 10 p.m. on the same calendar day the deer was taken by calling 1-866-452-4325 or by accessing the online check-in system at www.dnr.state.il.us/vcheck.

Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago Counties and a portion of Kane County west of Route 47 can participate in the seven-day special CWD deer season on Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011, to help control deer densities and the spread of chronic wasting disease. Special CWD season antlerless-only permits are available over the counter for $5.50 each at participating DNR Direct license and permit vendors.

In addition, hunters with unfilled 2010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth firearm deer season or archery deer permits valid for one of the open counties may use those permits to hunt during the CWD season. Hunters using unfilled permits from the 20010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth or archery season for the CWD hunt may take deer appropriate for that permit (antlerless-only or either-sex). There will be no manned check stations during CWD season. As in the late-winter season, harvest must be reported via telephone or online. Successful hunters are encouraged to have any adult deer tested for CWD by taking it to a cooperating meat processor.

Campton Hills joins Toys for Tots campaign

Campton Hills—The Campton Hills Police Department announced that it is partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Toys for Tots program.

Toys for Tots’ mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children. According to the Toys for Tots website, “the primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.”

The Campton Hills Police Department will be a drop-off point for these toys. Of particular need are toys for children 8 to 14 years of age. Anyone wishing to donate to this program may drop off unwrapped new toys at Campton Hills Police Department/Village Hall, 40W115 Campton Crossings Drive, Unit B, Campton Hills; or call (630) 584-0330.

Toys should be dropped off by Friday, Dec. 17.

Anyone who has a toy for a needy child and is unable to come to the Campton Hills Police Department may contact the nonemergency number and make arrangements for someone to pick up the toy.

More information can be found at www.toysfortots.org or by contacting Chief Dan Hoffman at (630) 584-4242.

Marklund clients to perform their Holiday Spectacular

GENEVA—In celebration of the holidays, Marklund’s Developmental Training Program presents its Holiday Spectacular at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14, in the multipurpose room at Marklund Hyde Center, 1S450 Wyatt Dr., Geneva. Development training clients will perform a medley of scenes from holiday plays.

The program is free and the public is invited. Children are also welcome to attend. Following the performance, the audience is invited to meet the cast and enjoy refreshments.

Marklund provides compassionate care of infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The performance is modified creatively for Marklund’s clients to provide maximum participation with the use of adaptive devices such as switches and augmentive communication tools that provide extraordinary tactile and audible feedback to people living with developmental disabilities. Also, participation is enhanced by singing and playing musical instruments.

Performing provides Marklund clients a sense of normalcy and a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Each enjoys feeling part of something fun and meaningful, and performing provides valuable experience with talking devices, voices and standing devices.

“The Holiday Spectacular shows the true dedication of Marklund clients and staff,” said Vicki Reyes, certified occupational therapy assistant. “I’m truly touched by the amount of heart that is invested into the play and the hundreds of smiles that are a result. Every year, the production gets bigger. Enthusiasm runs high as everyone puts in tireless effort and dedication to make the play a success.”

“This show is a great opportunity for our friends and neighbors to see what great actors our clients are,” said Vicki Krystof, director of development at Marklund. “The audience can experience how Marklund believes in our clients’ artistic capabilities and how we work to see them succeed in all areas, including a holiday production. This is one play that will bring the holiday spirit and sincere smiles to the audience as well as to our clients.”

For more information, call Krystof at (630) 593-5482 or go to www.marklund.org

Lead on: NIU student teams up with a Leader Dog

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—For 10 years, Cory Lipsett, who is visually impaired, used a cane to help him find his way around obstacles that he encountered in his daily life. He also used a Treker GPS system to find locations. Neither of these options available to those whose vision is impaired could compare to his current companion, Ragin the guide dog.

“Basically, for 10 years, I used a piece of graphite. It keeps you safe to a point, but it’s not what you want. You’re thinking, ‘there’s got to be something better than this,’” Lipsett said. “A dog is the next step from a cane for more mobility purposes.”

Ragin is a two-year-old German Shepherd that has been trained by Leader Dogs for the Blind, a Michigan-based training program that matches and trains guide dogs for the visually impaired. Lipsett was recommended by the Elburn Lion’s Club and is their first recipient. Lipsett spoke to the club Monday at the monthly dinner and presentation.

He described, with a good dose of humor, that the process of getting a guide dog is not quick, mainly because recipients have to be at a level of independence where they can navigate for themselves. Being independent is something that Lipsett has been focused on all his life.

“It’s a long process. I started mine in fifth grade when I learned things like how to cross the street safely. Then in high school, I learned getting on the train and going into Chicago, taking CTA buses and cabs to get wherever,” Lipsett said. “I have to be able to travel safely. He (Ragin) is not a horse—I wish he were sometimes—but he isn’t. He won’t just take you where you want to go.”

As a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, Lipsett lives in the dormitory and has a roommate. Ragin lives in the room with them.

“The day-to-day life of a college student is simple. Ragin gets food and water first thing in the morning. After that it’s work time,” Lipsett said. “Then he’s on my time. He gets harnessed up, and we go to class. He knows which door I like to go in and even knows where I sit. It’s nice when they start to learn your schedule.”

When Ragin isn’t working, he is out of his harness, either sleeping on Lipsett’s roommate’s bed or chasing his tail. Lipsett hopes to procure a key to the tennis courts so he can throw the ball for Ragin and give him more play time. Ragin also enjoys observing the people around him.

“He likes to people watch. He stares at them. Then his ears go up and his nose goes down,” Lipsett said.

Jim Lipsett, Cory’s father, points out that a guide dog is not a pet. His job is to help Cory avoid obstacles in their path. Since Cory got Ragin six months ago, he has been able to travel at night, giving him more confidence.

“It’s peace of mind. Traveling at night was always a concern for me,” Cory said. “Last year I avoided night time travel. But this year (with Ragin), it’s no different than getting around during the day.”

Leader Dogs for the Blind has been around for 70 years. Each year, more than 270 students attend a 26-day residential training session to be paired with a guide dog. In Lipsett’s class, students ranged in age from 16 to 87 years old. The dogs they were paired with ranged in size from 40 to 70 pounds.

The puppies are raised in private homes from the time they are seven weeks old until they are over a year old. They are taught basic obedience and house manners. Also, they are exposed to a variety of public places with different types of people, animals and events.

When the dog is paired with a recipient, the two begin to learn about each other during training and at home.

“When you’re done with training, it’s really the half of it. The real work begins when you get home,” Lipsett said. “An effective guide dog team is when he knows what he needs to do all the time, and I know what I need to do all the time. This is when the dog can truly work: he’s in his groove and knows what’s going on.”

When Ragin is working, people are asked not to pet him.

“It distracts him and gets him unfocused. It changes his mindset from working to wanting to solicit attention,” Lipsett said.

Because they are together all the time, when they are not for some reason, Lipsett feels the loss.

“It feels weird not to have him with me,” he said. “It’s like something is supposed to be there and it’s not.”

Lions’ monthly dinners
The Elburn Lions Club hold monthly dinners and presentations on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, Dec. 29,
the director of Tails Humane Society
from DeKalb will speak.

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011,
a program on bullying will be presented by
the Center for Rural Psychology.

Cash bar opens at 6 p.m., and dinner is served at 6:45. Dinner reservations are required.

For more information and
to make dinner reservations, call (630) 365-6315.

IDOT upgrades travel website

SPRINGFIELD—The latest on winter driving conditions, ongoing road construction, traffic volumes on state routes and the status of future projects is more accessible at the new and improved www.gettingaroundillinois.com, unveiled this week by Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation strives to provide the best in customer service,” Hannig said. “The relaunched Getting Around Illinois site makes it easier than ever for the public to tap into a wealth of travel information compiled by IDOT staff.”

The site, featuring an interactive, multilayered map of Illinois, pulls together information from a variety of IDOT bureaus. A couple of mouse clicks is all it takes to find updated construction information, average daily traffic counts and projects contained in IDOT’s multiyear plans. Users also can map their trips to include stops at various points of interest across the state, including gas stations, restaurants, hotels, schools, government offices and museums.

Since its inception five years ago, www.gettingaroundillinois.com remains a mainstay with travelers and weather forecasters for its road conditions updated every 10 minutes. During the winter, the site receives an average of 50,000 hits a month.

The redesign incorporates a modernized map, highlighted by new aerial imagery and expanded points of interest. In addition, the site offers improved access to data critical for the commercial trucking industry, such as information about weight restrictions on local roads and bridges.

The revisions to the site were developed by IDOT and GIS Solutions in Springfield using popular mainstream technologies.

Second City celebrates the holidays at Pheasant Run 

ST. CHARLES—If annoying holiday films, dreaded family gatherings and over-played Christmas songs fail to get you in the holiday spirit, The Second City certainly will when they bring their Dysfunctional Holiday Revue performance and additional New Year’s Eve show to Pheasant Run Resort, presented by Noble Fool Theatricals (soon to be Fox Valley Repertory in 2011).

Founded in Chicago in 1959, The Second City has become the premier training ground for the comedy world’s best and brightest.  Their alumni list reads like a who’s who of American comedy, including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and countless others.

Not only will an evening with The Second City provide audiences with the chance to see comedy stars in the making, but they will also have the opportunity to see hilarious satire and cutting-edge improvisation—all with a special holiday slant. It’s a fast-paced, interactive comedy revue filled with style and wit—where even Rudolph is fair game. Strong adult language and themes. Not recommended for children or young teens.

Dysfunctional Holiday Revue performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10 and 17; and Tuesday, Dec. 21. Tickets are priced at $39.  Dinner and overnight packages are available.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Dysfunctional Holiday Revue at 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31.  Tickets are $50 and include show tickets, party favors and champagne. Overnight party packages are also available.

Pheasant Run Resort is located at 4051 E. Main St. in St. Charles. For tickets, call the Pheasant Run Box Office at (630) 584-6342 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Additional performance information can be obtained at www.noblefool.org.

2010 Fox Valley Toys for Tots campaign

FOX VALLEY—The Fox Valley Toys for Tots campaign, authorized by the Toys for Tots Foundation, is underway with toy drop-off locations throughout the Fox Valley. The 2010 program is accepting new unwrapped toys (but please, no loose or out-of-the-original-packaging stuffed or plush-type toys, due to contamination concerns) to benefit the less fortunate children in the area. Our collection period will end on Dec. 19.

Cash or check donation are also accepted which help to purchase additional toys as needed. (Checks should be made out to “Toys For Tots” or “Toys for Tots Foundation.”)

On behalf of those children, I would like to thank each and every one of the donors who gave so generously last year, whether with toys or funds. We are hoping for a successful 2010 campaign this year.

For additional information or to find a local drop off location near you, please call Don Haines at (630) 377-7328 or visit www.foxvalley toysfortots.com. You can also e-mail info@foxvalleytoysfortots.com or visit the National Toys for Tots site at www.toysfortots.org.

Mannheim Steamroller performs Christmas show at Paramount

AURORA—Mannheim Steamroller celebrates a quarter-century of being America’s favorite holiday music artist with their 25th Christmas Anniversary Tour. The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis comes to the Paramount Theatre at 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, for two shows only. Grammy Award winner and mastermind behind the group, Davis will direct and co-produce two tour ensembles of Mannheim Steamroller. The shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects in an intimate setting.

With more than 35 million albums sold, Mannheim Steamroller is the No.1-selling Christmas artist of all time and one of the top fifty best-selling artists of the last two decades, outselling prominent artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sting, REM, Barbara Streisand and Bon Jovi. Composer and creator Chip Davis started Mannheim Steamroller more than 30 years ago with his Grammy Award-winning Fresh Aire series

The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. Tickets range between $59.50 and $69.50 and can be purchased by phone at the Paramount Theatre Box Office, (630) 896-6666, or at any TicketMaster ticket outlet. The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis is sponsored by Schmidt McDonald’s of Aurora, Oswego and Yorkville and the Kane County Chronicle. For more information, visit the Paramount Theatre online at www.ParamountAurora.com.

Delnor Giving Tree to help collect baby supplies

GENEVA—For the month of November, Delnor’s Giving Tree will partner with Mutual Ground, a not-for profit organization located in Aurora that provides shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Mutual Ground depends on the generosity of the community for many day-to-day needs.

Women, ages 20 to 34, and adolescent girls are at the highest risk for domestic violence.

To do their part to help, Delnor is collecting baby supplies, including diapers, baby food, baby formula, juice boxes, baby shampoo, diaper rash ointment, pacifiers, bibs, bottles, sippy cup, baby clothes and car seats. For a complete list, please go to delnor.com and look under the “What’s New” section for the Giving Tree.

An actual Giving Tree, located in the Delnor Hospital atrium, allows for employees to easily drop off their contribution. And for community members, making a donation is simple. Just pull in to the entrance of Delnor Hospital and the valet parking staff will take donated items and place them by the Delnor Giving Tree. Valet is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information please contact Lynne Casey at (630) 208-4512.

Young voices bring gifts of cheer and joy

ELGIN—Come celebrate this holiday season with the Elgin Children’s Chorus at Christmastide Carols, the first concert of their 25th Anniversary Celebration. The performance takes place at 3 and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.

This concert features holiday favorites, three melodies arranged by founder and Music Director Jay Kellner, a raffle for the opportunity to conduct the chorus and an audience sing-along.

The Treble Choir, directed by Lisa Bettcher, will begin the program with a performance of “Minka,” a Russian Folk Song, arranged by Jill Ann Jones; “Velvet Shoes” by Randall Thompson and “Have a Merry One!” by Mary Lynn Lightfoot.

Under the direction of Elizabeth Ellis, Intermezzo Choir will perform “Ye Shall Have a Song” by Sally K. Albrecht; “The Snow Begins to Fall” by Andy Beck; “Do You Hear What I Hear” arranged by Audrey Snyder; “Bidi Bom” by David Eddleman and “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas,” the holiday standard, performed with a little choreography, arranged by Mark Hayes.

Mr. Kellner will conduct the Chamber Choir as they perform “Three Noels” by Clare Grundman; “Three Christmas Chorales” from the “Christmas Oratorio” by Johann Sebastian Bach; “Le Sommeil de l’Enfant Jesus,” a traditional French Carol, arranged by Ron Jeffers and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” a holiday favorite, arranged by Don Besig.

To purchase tickets visit elgin.edu/arts or call the Elgin Community College Arts Center at (847) 622-0300. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Special group rates are available.

The Elgin Children’s Chorus is an in-residence ensemble at the Elgin Community College Arts Center. The program is also supported in part by grants from the Grand Victoria Foundation, EFS Foundation and the Cornelia A. and Florence B. Palmer Foundation.

Firearm deer season resumes

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reports that hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 68,037 deer during the opening weekend of the 2010 Illinois firearm deer season, Nov. 19-21. The seven-day firearm season will conclude on Dec. 2-5.

The preliminary total for the first three days of the 2010 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 66,126 deer during the 2009 deer season, and 71,894 deer during the opening weekend in 2008. The top county harvest totals last weekend were reported in Pike (1,957), Adams (1,741), Fulton (1,721), Jo Daviess (1,640) and Randolph (1,520).

Hunters harvested 99,493 deer during the entire seven-day firearm deer season last year. The preliminary first-season figures reported for each county include those deer taken on special hunt areas within that county, as well as on private land.

The IDNR has issued more than 370,000 firearm deer hunting permits for the 2010 season. Most hunters register their deer harvest online through the IDNR web site or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties can take their deer to county check stations (by 8 p.m. on the day of harvest) where the IDNR registers the deer and conducts sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Approximately 60 percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, identical to the first weekend of the firearm season in 2009.

The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 10-12. The split late-winter antlerless-only firearm deer season and the special CWD deer season are Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011. The state’s 2010-11 archery deer season continues through Jan. 16 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season, Dec. 2-5).

Snowflake Shuffle 5K set for Dec. 4

Geneva—TriCity Family Services will present the annual Snowflake Shuffle 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Dec. 4, in the Mill Creek Subdivision in Geneva. More than 300 people participated in the Snowflake Shuffle last year, and with this year’s additional Youth Mile event, even more are expected.

The course is USATF certified. Split times will be given at every mile, and finish line management and timing services will be provided by Race Time. Awards will be presented to the top three males and females in each five-year age division.

Event check-in begins at 7 a.m., with the Youth Mile event starting things off at 8 a.m. The 5K race and walk will begin at 9 a.m. Check-in is located at the Mill Creek Clubhouse, 39W525 Herrington Drive, Geneva. Pre-registration fees are $25 for adults, $15 for children and teens, and free for children age 5 and younger. The fee for the Youth Mile, for children age 14 and younger, is $10. Participants will receive a goody bag and Snowflake Shuffle long-sleeve T-shirt. Day-of-registration fees are $5 more, and shirts are not guaranteed. All proceeds benefit TriCity Family Services.

For information, visit www.tricityfamilyservices.org or call (630) 232-1070.

St. Charles parade honors community leaders

Elburn resident, Lazarus House founder, named parade Co-Grand Marshal
ST. CHARLES—Darlene Marcusson, Elburn resident, founder and executive director of Lazarus House, as well as Alderwoman Betsy Penny, were named by the Downtown St. Charles Partnership (DSCP) as Co-Grand Marshals for the 2010 Electric Christmas Parade. The parade takes place on Main Street in downtown St. Charles on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 5:30 p.m.

“Both women, who recently announced plans to retire from their respective positions, have made a positive and lasting impact on the St. Charles community,” said Jennifer Faivre, Executive Director of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, the group responsible for organizing the parade. “It seems very fitting that they are honored at this event, the purpose of which is to create the sense of community spirit that both women so deeply embody.”

Marcusson founded Lazarus House in 1997 in response to the need she saw for a shelter in her own community. While serving on the Board of Directors for Hesed House, she discovered that there were people from the St. Charles community travelling to either Aurora or Elgin to seek shelter during the winter months. In addition, those facilities would close in the summer, forcing people to come back to St. Charles and sleep on public benches.

At that point, Marcusson made it her mission to create a place within the community where people could seek safe shelter. At first, she wasn’t sure that she could garner the community support to make her vision a reality, but soon came to realize that her fears were unwarranted.

“I have never seen such kindness and generosity,” Marcusson said of the people of St. Charles. “This community has been amazing in embracing our mission.”

When asked about being Co-Grand Marshal with Betsy Penny, Marcusson said, “I am pleased and honored to be serving in this capacity with my dear friend Betsy Penny.”

Penny, who is no stranger to community service, met Marcusson while she was working to open Lazarus House and became a founding member. Today, Penny not only sits on the board of Lazarus House, but she volunteers several days a week providing tutoring services to individuals working toward their GED.

Penny will retire as Alderwoman at the end of her current term, a position that she has held for over 15 years. She says that she took on this role because she feels a calling to serve her community, which she does in many capacities. In addition to Lazarus House, Penny volunteers her time with St. John Neumann’s Eucharistic Ministries, Kiwanis Club and Kane County Relay for Life. Penny has also been an integral part of the Electric Christmas Parade for the last 13 years by serving on the parade committee.

“My motto is ‘Faith, Family and Friends,’” said Penny of what drives her. “I believe that people are the most important commodity in our world.”

Marcusson and Penny will ride together in the parade, the culmination of the Holiday Homecoming festivities that start at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, with Lighting of the Lights in Lincoln Park. The events kick-off on Saturday, Nov. 27, with a free holiday movie and concert. Afternoon events include horse-drawn sleigh rides in Lincoln Park and visits with Santa at his house on the 1st Street Plaza.

Holiday Homecoming plans underway in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES—The Downtown St. Charles Partnership recently announced plans for its 2010 Holiday Homecoming festivities, including the much-anticipated Electric Christmas Parade. This annual tradition in downtown St. Charles is held the weekend after Thanksgiving, and for 15 years, has marked the official kick-off to the holiday season for residents and visitors.

The festivities begin on Friday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m. with Lighting of the Lights in Lincoln Park. With the help of some children from the crowd, Mayor DeWitte will flip the switch that illuminates both Lincoln Park and Main Street, as holiday music is performed by the St. Charles North and St. Charles East Chorale groups. Santa and Mrs. Claus are scheduled to make a special appearance, as well.

The events begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. with a free holiday movie and concert at the Arcada Theatre. The family-friendly movie is followed by the concert at 2 p.m., which features young, local performers who take the stage to showcase their talent.

On Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m., families can enjoy free horse-drawn sleigh rides in downtown St. Charles. Also, children can stop and visit Santa’s House on the 1st Street Plaza from noon to 4 p.m. Santa will be available to children every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 19.

The culmination of the festivities occurs at 5:30 p.m. with the Electric Christmas Parade. The procession takes place on Main Street between 6th Street and 4th Avenue. Entrants consist of floats, large inflatable balloon characters and other decorated vehicles, in addition to music and, of course, a lot of lights.

“We are delighted to continue this beloved holiday tradition on Main Street,” said Jennifer Faivre, Executive Director of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership. “This two-day Holiday Homecoming event is a celebration of the holiday season in our home or community. Events like this one create wonderful memories and a sense of place for people.”