Category Archives: Regional

Police seek help finding assault suspect

GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County seeks the public’s help in finding a sexual assault suspect.

On Saturday, Aug. 28, police from the Forest Preserve District, Aurora, and the Fox Valley Park District responded to a 911 call that a woman had been sexually assaulted at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora.

The assault took place at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Fox Valley Park District garden plots, within Oakhurst Forest Preserve.

A 29-year-old Aurora woman stated the suspect drove into the lot while she was gardening, then walked into the garden plots and suddenly attacked her. When witnesses later drove into the parking lot, the suspect fled west on Fifth Avenue in a dark green, four-door, 1999-2000 Pontiac Grand Prix. The victim summoned them to call 911 for police and paramedics.

The victim was transported to Copley Hospital, where she was treated and released for non-life-threatening injuries. Forest Preserve District and Aurora police continue to investigate.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 30 years old, stocky build, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a bald head and no facial hair. He was last seen wearing blue jean shorts and a red shirt with white trim.

If you have info, call (630) 232-5980, or to remain anonymous, call (630) 892-1000.

Property taxes due Sept. 1

Kane County—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert reminds county residents that the second installment of property taxes is due Wednesday, Sept. 1.

If you are a new or existing homeowner and need a copy of the bill to remit payment, you may print a bill from the Internet by visiting, or by calling (630) 232-3565.

Taxpayers can make payment by:
• Mailing the payment to the Treasurer’s Office. Mail postmarked by Sept. 1 is considered on time.
• Dropping the payment off in the property tax drop box; this is available 24 hours a day. The drop box is located behind Building (A) at the Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.
• Making the payment at a participating Kane County Bank.
• Paying over the Internet by credit card or Echeck—please note there is a convenience fee for this service.

‘Hairspray’ features local talent

Fox Falley Theatre Company present ’60s tribute musical
ELBURN—The Fox Valley Theatre Company’s production of “Hairspray” features Elburn talent both on stage and behind the scenes.

Opening Friday, Sept. 10, at the Blizzard Theater in Elgin, “Hairspray” is directed by Aaron Thomann of Elburn, and is choreographed by Annette Thomann, also of Elburn. The cast is composed of more than 60 young actors from throughout the Fox Valley, including Kristin McFadden, 15, of Elburn.

“Hairspray” will take audiences back to 1962 Baltimore as Tracy Turnblad, a pleasantly plump teenager, sets out to dance her way onto TV’s popular “Corny Collins Show.” The TV studio is full of teens boasting bouffant hair and bopping their after-school hours away while the adults try to keep the music square and the dance floor segregated. A joyous tribute to the ’60s, the original stage production in New York won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including “Best Musical.”

The musical is based on the 1988 John Waters film. A remake of the original movie was released in 2007 and starred John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer.

“Hairspray” was written by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Songs include “Good Morning Baltimore,” “You Can’t Stop The Beat,” “Mama I’m A Big Girl Now,” and “Welcome To The ’60s.”

Fox Valley Theatre Company (FVTC) is a nonprofit organization for young people from ninth grade through age 20. The theater is in-residence at the Elgin Community College Arts Center.

Photo: Jeffrey Pierpoint portrays Link Larkin and Jocelyn Vanderwiel plays Linda Andrews in the Fox Valley Theatre Company production of ‘Hairspray.’ Courtesy photo

7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, 11, 17 and 18
2:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and 19
Blizzard Theater
1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin
Tickets cost $10 for adults
and $8 for students and seniors.
Purchase online at
or call the box office at
(847) 622-0300

Outside counsel appointed in Circuit Clerk, County Board dispute

Kane County—A special state’s attorney has been appointed to represent the Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Deborah Seyller as she considers whether to sue the Kane County Board over her FY2010 budget.

On Aug. 18, F. Keith Brown, chief judge of Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit, granted a motion by Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti to appoint the attorney to represent Seyller. Upon granting the motion, Brown appointed Dean Frieders of the Aurora law firm of Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson to represent Seyller.

Seyller might seek legal action because she believes the County Board has failed in its statutory obligation to reasonably fund her office.

Barsanti petitioned for the special counsel because he believes it is inappropriate for him to represent the circuit clerk in this matter and is unwilling to do so. However, Barsanti would not deny Seyller access to the courts in the matter.

By law, the state’s attorney represents county officers in legal proceedings, meaning Barsanti represents both the circuit court clerk and the County Board in court.

Lazarus House announces ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ raffle, concert

St. Charles—Lazarus House will launch its Friday, Aug. 27 “Moonlight Serenade” benefit concert, featuring Grammy-nominated songstress Margaret Carlson, with an advance “Fly Me to the Moon” raffle package.

For a chance of $20 per ticket, one person will win an adventure for two that will include, among many other treats and surprises, the following:
• One-hour airplane ride over the Chicago skyline with professional photograph of winning couple in front of plane prior to take-off, compliments of Gold Seal Photography
• Limo ride, compliments of A1 Limo
• Sterling silver and ruby necklace, compliments of State Street Jewelers
• Two gift certificates for overnight stays for two, compliments of the Hotel Baker
• Gift certificate for lunch for two, compliments of Town House Books and Cafe
• Gift certificate for dinner for two, compliments of Zaza Trattoria’s
• Two tickets to Noble Fool Theatre, compliments of Noble Fool Theatricals

Raffle ticket and event invitation details can be found at Raffle tickets may be purchased immediately. All concert and raffle proceeds will provide general-operating funds for the Lazarus House emergency shelter and outreach programs.

Raffle tickets sold prior to the Aug. 27 fundraiser will be included in the same drawing as those sold the night of the fundraiser. The raffle winner’s name will be pulled that same evening. Winner need not be present.

The benefit will be held 7 to 11 p.m. on Aug. 27 at Eagle Brook Country Club, Geneva. The evening will include a Chinese raffle showcasing “Life Experiences,” a Treasure Chest Raffle, a Money Tree Raffle and a live auction. Heavy appetizers and desserts will be served. There will be a cash bar. Tickets are $75 per person. 

Attire for the evening is dress casual. Per Eagle Brook’s dress policy, denim is not allowed. For more information, contact Community Relations Manager, Julie Van Buskirk, at (630) 587-2144..

‘Hogwild’ about a cure

Hogfan Party
Saturday, Sept. 11, 4-10 p.m.
St. Charles Moose
Adults $25,
Children age 6-15 $10
($5 more at the door);
younger than 6 free
visit the Hogfan booth at Elburn Days Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22
To donate a dessert, contact Arlene Gould at (630) 552-7765 or e-mail her

Pig roast and auction will raise money for leukemia, and lymphoma research
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—“Live for today, life is a gift” is a saying that Jason Gould lived by and one that his mother, Sandy Gould of Elburn, will take to heart as she hosts the 2010 Hogfan Party in his honor.

Jason, formerly of Elburn, died in January 2006 at age 36 after a successful bone marrow-stem cell transplant for leukemia left his system immune suppressed, and he contracted viral related lymphoma.

“Organizing this event and knowing that the proceeds will promote research that may end this complication is one of the things that has saved me since I’ve lost my son,” Gould said.

She added that the support she has received from the community, friends and family has been instrumental in helping her cope with the loss of her son, who was a husband and father.

After Jason married and had a family of his own, Gould spent less time with her son, but as his illness progressed she spent many hours at his side, watching his favorite TV programs with him and playing board games that he enjoyed.

“It was a very intense time, and the family valued every minute that we were given,” she said.

Having won his battle with leukemia, Jason was taken with lymphoma just when he felt he had found his calling as a fifth-grade teacher in Oswego. His mother commented that his personality won students over, and those with problems benefited from his attention and concern.

After his death, she received several letters from his former students, telling her how he had affected their lives. She said the letters were heartwarming and difficult to read at the same time.

Fifth-grade student Mike Morrell and his parents, Mitch and Jeanne Morrell of Yorkville, were so impressed by Jason that they offered to handle the pig roast for the Hogfan event, through their business, Upper Crust Catering.

Also helping out with Hogfan is the Moose Lodge in St. Charles, which is supplying its facility at no charge for the second time.

The Hogfan dinner will include the pig roast, lots of of side dishes and a huge array of donated desserts.

“Last year, people must have been afraid that there wouldn’t be enough, as instead of bringing two dishes apiece, they brought four and we had a wonderful assortment,” Gould said.

Several people and businesses already have offered desserts for Hogfan, one of those being LillyCakes of Maple Park.

Aside from the pig roast, the evening will feature returning speaker Dr. Rob Baiocchi of Ohio State University’s Cancer Research Center. Baiocchi has been involved in research on how viruses affect immune-suppressed transplant patients. His research team is attempting to develop a vaccine to prevent this complication.

Hogfan donations help to support his team’s research, clinical trials, FDA approval and finally getting the vaccine into transplant centers. Last year’s Hogfan event raised just under $24,000, which Gould delivered in person to Baiocchi in Ohio.

“There are no middlemen, no one else that needs to make a salary as with other charitable groups,” Gould said. “All proceeds go directly to Dr. Baiocchi’s innovative research lab at the university.”

The reason the event is called Hogfan was because Jason loved the Arkansas Razorbacks, which also led to his mother’s motto for the fundraiser, “Going hogwild about a cure.”

Gould said volunteers and sponsors still are needed for Hogfan, along with donations for the silent auctions. So far, the auction items include sports memorabilia, team jerseys and game tickets. Due to the economy, some previous sponsors have withdrawn this year, she said.

To be listed in the Hogfan event book, sponsors must sign up within the next week, as the book’s scheduled for printing Aug. 25.

Forest Preserve seeks fall seasonal employees

Kane County—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is now accepting applications for various seasonal fall positions, including two maintenance-field operations staff and one trades intern.

Applicants for positions must be 18 or older, able to work outdoors in adverse weather, possess a valid driver’s license, and able to maintain an enthusiastic, courteous, positive attitude and team spirit.

Trades positions involve building and structural maintenance and repair work, carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, masonry and roofing. Hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Maintenance-field operations seasonals will help mow and maintain picnic areas, trails, parking lots and roadways; assist with maintenance and repair of buildings and structures; operate various hand and power landscape and construction equipment; and other custodial work. First shift is 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Second shift is 12:30 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Saturday. Shifts may include holidays.

A signed, original application must be submitted to the Forest Preserve District. Fax and e-mail applications are not accepted.

For more information, see the “Employment Opportunities” section of the Forest Preserve District’s website at If you have questions, contact Human Resources Assistant Betsy Scaletta at (630) 208-8662 or e-mail The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Property taxes due Sept. 1

Kane County—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert reminds county residents that the second installment of property taxes is due Sept. 1.

If you are a new or existing homeowner and need a copy of the bill to remit payment, you may print a bill from the Internet by visiting, or by calling (630) 232-3565.

Taxpayers can make payment by:
• Mailing the payment to the Treasurer’s Office. Mail postmarked by Sept. 1 is considered on time.
• Dropping the payment off in the property tax drop box; this is available 24 hours a day. The drop box is located behind Building (A) at the Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.
• Making the payment at a participating Kane County Bank.
• Paying over the Internet by credit card or Echeck—please note there is a convenience fee for this service.

Island getaway, Michigan-style

Mackinac a destination that delights the senses
by Lynn Meredith
MACKINAC, Mich.—If the thought of slowing down this summer sounds appealing, a visit to Mackinac Island may be just the getaway you need.

My trip to Mackinac (pronounced mack-i-naw) began as I stepped off the ferry onto the island. I was greeted by the sound of horses’ hooves clopping on the pavement. I felt as though I had gone back in time to where horses drew carriages along streets lined with white picket fences, ornately trimmed “wedding cake” houses and turreted Victorian homes.

Mackinac Island rests in the waters of Lake Huron between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan in view of the “Mighty Mac,” as the Mackinac Bridge is known. No motorized vehicles are allowed, so residents and visitors alike walk, bike or ride in horse-drawn carriages. The exceptions are an ambulance, police car and snowmobiles in December when the lake freezes and locals travel to the mainland for shopping.

The ferry brings day-trippers, overnight guests, and summer residents in a quick and bouncy 15-minute trip from the mainland every half an hour. When I arrived, the town was bustling with visitors.

Tourists, called “fudgies” by locals, flock to the several fudge shops in the downtown and stroll the quaint streets amid novelty shops, bicyclists and horses.

Visitors stay in bed-and-breakfasts, small hotels and larger resorts. The best known of the resorts is the Grand Hotel. The gleaming white structure, which can be seen from the mainland on a clear day, is included on Travel & Leisure magazine’s list of “Best Hotels in the World.” It was the setting of the 1980 Christopher Reeve-Jane Seymour film, “Somewhere in Time.” You may enter the hotel through its often-photographed front porch lined with white rocking chairs but will pay an admission of $10 if you’re not a guest. After 6 p.m., women must wear dresses and men suits on the hotel grounds.

I stayed on the east side of the island at Mission Point Resort, a casual hotel away from the fudge shops and crowds. I relaxed on the expanse of lawn that fronts the shores of Lake Huron and putted a few rounds on the nine-hole putting green. Families and couples dotted the lawn as they flew kites, lounged on chairs and blankets, and walked the waterfront paths with their pets, which also are welcome guests at the resort.

Meanwhile, at the outdoor Bistro on the Green, I listened to live beach music and sampled ahi tuna, grilled asparagus, and shrimp and crab martini appetizers. I also tried the fine dining of the Chop House in the resort, where chefs prepare locally-raised meats and locally-grown produce. The restaurant’s specialties such as the 36-ounce Cowboy Filet, braised Thimbleberry Farm lamb shanks or tasty butternut squash raviloi with hazelnuts and Michigan apples. The resort’s two other restaurants offer a more casual atmosphere, serving pulled pork, barbecued ribs, fried chicken and sandwiches.

Among the many spectacular views, maybe the best is the from the mess hall-turned-Tea Room high atop the bluff where Fort Mackinac once protected trade routes in the Straits of Mackinac. You can enjoy a casual lunch on the terrace under bright yellow umbrellas and afterward stroll around the fort furnished in the style of the day when officers and their families lived there.

Another great view is from the bow of a sailboat. As I rocked on the deck of a catamaran, a freighter made its way through the straits in front of us, proving that trading is still an integral part of the Great Lakes and that freighters still have the right of way over sailboats.

Exploring the island by bike is the best way to see more of the island up close. The eight-mile trail around the perimeter follows the rocky shoreline. Bikers make frequent stops to dangle their feet in the refreshing water or picnic in the state-park property along the way. They also can stop to climb the steep wooded path to Arch Rock where the curved rock formation offers a frame of the straits seen below.

So, if good food, outdoor fun and interesting history are your pleasure, this fantasy of an island will not disappoint. For more information on Mackinac Island, visit

Cat hoarding case requires public help

Shelter seeks assistance after large-scale evacuation

KANE COUNTY—Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin, Ill., received a request from a Kane County municipality asking for help with a severe cat hoarding case.

The shelter is working with a community service officer to remove the cats from the hoarder’s home. Because of the sensitivity of this effort, the community and officer involved in this case have asked not to be identified at this time.

The estimated number of cats that need to be evacuated was at least 30 as of Tuesday evening, the shelter reported.

For assistance with this massive rescue effort, the shelter is reaching out to animal lovers.

“These animals need help, and we, as a community need to step up and help felines much more than we do, not only with this case, but with all felines in general,” Anderson Animal Shelter Executive Director Sandy Shelby said in a statement the shelter released Tuesday.

The shelter estimates that the cost for treating the cats for upper respiratory infection, spaying or neutering, vaccinating, testing for communicable diseases, and de-worming will be at least $150 per cat.

“This is stretching our budget, but we know we can’t turn our backs on these animals that desperately need to get out of this situation,” Shelby said. “We are hoping that the public will step up to the plate and help with donations of money, supplies and offers to give one of the cats a home once they have been treated and evaluated and are ready to leave the shelter.”

According to the shelter, animal hoarding is serious and occurs in communities across the United States. Thousands of animals suffer and die in squalid conditions, devoid of access to adequate food and water, living in filth and breathing acrid ammonia in the air. Many times, the smells and extreme conditions are what alert neighbors, and ultimately give law enforcement notification that something is wrong at the home of an animal hoarder.

In addition, owners of these animals usually insist nothing is wrong and that only they can care for their pets. Families and friends usually gradually remove themselves from the life of an animal hoarder as they realize that their attempts to help have failed, Shelby said.

To donate or find out more information, visit Anderson Animal Shelter, 1000 South Lafox Road, South Elgin. Or, contact the shelter at (847) 697-2880 or online at

IDOT sees record seatbelt compliance

Highway fatalities on decline for first half of 2010
Illinois—Illinois has continued to make remarkable gains in roadway safety in 2010, as the number of motorists and front seat passengers who buckle up in the state has reached a record of 92.6 percent, said Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Gary Hannig.

IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety reported the overall number of fatalities on Illinois roads is down by 16.8 percent on a provisional basis for the first six months of 2010; from 434 in 2009, to 361 in 2010.

“Since the primary safety belt law took effect in 2004, the compliance rate has climbed from 83 percent to the most recent 92.6 percent,” Hanning said. “We continue to celebrate incremental improvements to the statewide compliance rate; simply put, when more motorists buckle up, more lives can potentially be saved.”

Since July of 2003, safety belt use in Illinois has gone up 16.4 percentage points, from 76.2 percent in 2003 to 92.6 percent in the statewide survey, just completed by IDOT’s Traffic Safety Division. Prior to enactment of the primary enforcement law, police could not pull a driver over based solely on a safety belt violation. After the law took effect in 2004 and police began aggressive safety belt enforcement, safety belt use climbed to 83 percent in June of 2004, 86 percent in June of 2005, 88 percent in June of 2006, 90.1 percent in 2007, 90.5 percent in June of 2008, 91.7 percent in June of 2009 and 92.6 percent in June of 2010.

“During the past six years, we have seen the statewide compliance usage rate climb to a remarkable 92.6 percent,” said IDOT’s Traffic Safety Director Michael Stout.

Just 16 states and territories in the country attained that level of safety belt use so far. In addition to more people wearing their safety belts, traffic fatalities on Illinois roads have steadily declined since the passage of the primary safety belt enforcement law. In 2004, there were 1,454 total fatalities; in 2004, there were 1,355; in 2005, there were 1,363; in 2006, there were 1,254; in 2007, there were 1,248; and in 2008, there were 1,043 total fatalities. The year 2009 had the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1921, when there were 887.

For more information on the recent safety belt usage rate, visit

KC Sheriff’s Department seeks applicants for citizen academy

Kane County—The Kane County Sheriff’s Department is accepting applications for its fall 2010 Citizens Police Academy.

The academy starts on Wednesday, Sept. 1, and runs through Nov. 3.

The class will meet each Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m.

The class is open to any resident of Kane County, and there is no cost for joining. Participants will be exposed to all areas of the Sheriff’s Department.

Anyone interested in signing up can get an application by visiting or calling CPA Coordinator Sgt. John Grimes at (630) 208-2040.

2010 Kane County Fair, 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale results

Kane County—The annual Kane County Fair, 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale was held July 18 as the culmination of the event. Approximately 19 cattle, 69 hogs, 26 sheep and 32 miscellaneous items were sold at this year’s auction.

Numerous businesses, community organizations and individual families turned out to support the Kane County 4-H program through the annual auction.

The 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale allows interested individuals and businesses the opportunity to purchase quality animals, which were raised and cared for by Kane County 4-H’ers. Buyers may keep the animal for quality meat for their freezers or send them on to terminal markets for market reimbursement. The Blue Ribbon Sale also helps 4-H members better understand the marketing process and rewards their efforts to produce high quality animals.

The following is a summary of the champion animals (beef, swine, and sheep) that were sold:

• Grand Champion Steer, owned by Sammy Parson, Lincoln Highway 4-H Club, purchased by Woodman’s Food Market, North Aurora—$2,860

• Reserve Grand Champion Steer, owned by Rob McKenzie, Big Rock Cowhands 4-H Club, purchased by Peter A. Peterson Family Memorial, Shabbona, Ill.—$2,022.75

• Grand Champion Barrow, owned by Lauren Ott, Big Rock Cowhands 4-H Club, purchased by Woodman’s Food Market, North Aurora

• Grand Champion Market Gilt, owned by Carson Day, Big Rock Cowhands 4-H Club, purchased by Baie & Baie Trucking, Waterman., Ill.

• Reserve Grand Champion Market Gilt, owned by Tyler Ott, Big Rock Cowhands 4-H Club, purchase by Judd Trucking, Big Rock, $736

• Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb, owned by Catherine Gorenz, Lincoln Highway 4-H Club, purchased by Blackberry Station, Elburn—$925

Birds, bugs test positive for West Nile

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department learned that two birds sent in for testing last week tested positive for the West Nile Virus. One of the birds was found in the Pingree Grove, Ill., area, the other was found in the Aurora area. In addition, a pool of mosquitoes gathered in the Aurora area tested positive for the disease.

Hot dry weather and stagnant water are the two main ingredients prized by the Culex mosquito, the species most commonly associated with the disease.

Thus far in 2010, there have been no human cases detected in Kane County, nor anywhere else in Illinois. However, West Nile-infected birds and/or mosquitoes have been detected in 11 other Illinois counties.

“We saw a lot of rain in May and June that may have left pools of standing water,” Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “Along with the sweltering temperatures we’ve been seeing, it creates the perfect soup for the mosquito to lay her eggs. All of our residents should take a look around their yards to identify these potential breeding grounds and eliminate sources of standing water.”

Last year was an unusually mild summer with cool temperatures, and there were no human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Kane County. There were three cases of the virus reported in 2008. In 2007, there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002.

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.

Precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• 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. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Kane County Health Department’s website at or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at wnv.htm. People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Conley receives Excellence in Caring award

First-ever award named in his honor
AURORA—Bruce Conley received the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22 at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora.

Nancy Schmitz, a member of the Alliance, said the award was named in Conley’s honor because he embodies the spirit of caring and compassion that they would like to see in all who care for families experiencing this difficult type of loss.

“Conley was recognized for the great appreciation, and respectful, caring way he cares for babies and how parents can have the time that they want to be with their child, no matter his or her size,” Schmitz said at the ceremony. “The life stories (obituaries) that Conley writes come from the hearts of the parents as they talk to Conley about how much this little one meant to them. He has the gift of being able to put into words the heartfelt emotions of this baby’s family, and the result is a beautiful narrative that affirms the life and value of this child.”

Schmitz said when other children and siblings are present and parents are struggling to know how to help them understand this sadness, Conley and his son, Ben, always take the time to explain in a way that the child can understand what has happened, what this thing called death means, and what grief can feel like. Their questions are answered and they have a beginning at understanding this hard life lesson.

Schmitz said Conley’s caring also extends to families, in that he would meet with them in their homes as arrangements need to be made. He built on the legacy of his parents’ work as funeral directors, and developed the aftercare program at Conley Funeral Home and the Conley Outreach program to be a resource for families after their loss.

“It is truly evident that being a funeral director is not just a job for Conley, it is a calling to which he has faithfully and humbly given his best,” said Schmitz.

Conley accepted his award on behalf of his brother, Wayne, who passed away as an infant.

Conley described his brother’s short time with his family when accepting the award.

“Wayne’s brief life in this world has now changed and touched four generations of the Conley family, and the way we choose to care for infants and their families. Wayne was born in 1948 with spina bifida. My mother was kept from him so she would not ‘bond’ with Wayne, and it was believed her grief would thus be lessened. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. Both my parents suffered greatly at Wayne’s death a few months after he was born. That suffering wrought a deep conviction that no other infant, no other parents entrusted to our care would ever face the profoundly compounded grief that cultural and religious norms of the day had caused,” he said.

“In order that women like my mother could see and hold their children days after death when they left the hospital (remember this is 1948), my father literally invented ways of embalming and caring for newborns that were unheard of at the time. My mother hand sewed countless tiny infant outfits, complete with lace for the girls and trousers for the boys. The setting for parents’ viewing was, and still is, in a cozy room with a rocking chair and a fireplace and anything else that could make a parent feel ‘at home’ at the very hardest time in their lives,” Conley said. “My parents taught me all of these things, and I endeavored to improve upon them as I was called to meet the challenges of newborn death in my own career.”

Conley concluded by saying, “So as I receive this award in my infant brother’s honor, I say to all of you: for every family with whom you ‘endure weeping for the night,’ may these families and you, yourself find that ‘Joy cometh in the morning,’ for I believe with all of my heart, that there will come a day when you will see them again; and they shall be whole, and healthy and anxious to tell you how grateful they are for the care you gave when they passed through your hands and left footprints on your heart. God bless you all and thank you.”

In the future, The “Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award” will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss.

Founded in 1987, The Alliance is an interdisciplinary professional organization of individuals from organizations including hospitals, social service organizations, churches, funeral homes and hospices in the Chicago area who provide education, support and resources for individuals who care for grieving families and their babies. The members are nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, funeral directors, photographers and physicians who have a leadership role in their organization’s support program. They work with families who have experienced a perinatal loss—miscarriage, fetal death, stillborn or newborn/infant death.

Photo: (From left) Judy Friedrichs, RN, and Nancy Schmitz, RN, award Bruce Conley the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22. In the future, the award will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss. Photo courtesy of Todd Hochberg

Aurora man gets 15 years for fatal DUI crash

Kane County—An Aurora man convicted of driving drunk when he struck and killed a Batavia man who was walking his dog on the sidewalk just after dawn has been sent to prison.

Edward O. Cook, 25, of the 600 block of Galena Boulevard, Aurora, was sentenced last week by Associate Judge T. Jordan Gallagher to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Cook was convicted May 21, 2010, by Judge Gallagher of 11 counts of reckless homicide, each a Class 3 felony, 15 counts of aggravated driving under the influence (five are Class 2 felonies and 10 are Class 4 felonies), and one count of unlawful possession of a converted motor vehicle, a Class 2 felony, in the July 2009 death of 57-year-old David Long of Batavia. Cook had waived his right to a jury trial.

At about 6:45 a.m. July 29, 2009, Long was walking his dog on the sidewalk in the 1000 block of Woodland Hills Road on Batavia’s southeast side when a 2003 white Acura driven by Cook left the roadway and struck and killed Long and the dog.

Cook had been drinking, smoking marijuana and ingesting cocaine the previous night and early into the morning at a residence in Aurora and later in DeKalb. After being given a ride to the residence of an acquaintance, Cook took the car without permission. A blood sample taken at least three hours after the crash revealed that Cook’s blood-alcohol concentration was .106, and he had marijuana and cocaine in his system.

Cook had had his driving privileges revoked for a 2008 aggravated DUI conviction.

During sentencing, Judge Gallagher cited Cook’s violent and reckless past, which includes numerous drug, battery and theft charges. Judge Gallagher also cited the 2008 conviction of aggravated DUI conviction and noted that Cook was on parole from IDOC at the time of the 2009 crash that killed David Long.

In addition, the state noted that Cook had never successfully completed terms of a sentence for any of his numerous prior offenses, as well as Cook’s insistence that he does not have a drug and alcohol problem despite the presence of drugs or alcohol during many of his prior offenses.

“Anyone who has a prior conviction for DUI should not be anywhere near drugs or alcohol,” Judge Gallagher said. “I don’t know what it will take for this man to realize he has a drug and alcohol problem, but until he does I have to get him off the street.”

By law, Cook was sentenced on one count of aggravated DUI and the unlawful possession of a converted motor vehicle count. He was sentenced to 10 years for the aggravated DUI, for which he must serve at least 85 percent, and five years for the possession of a converted motor vehicle, for which he must serve at least 50 percent. Cook was given credit for 359 days served in the Kane County jail.

He had been held on $750,000 bail before his trial. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

Wildlife Center hosts fundraiser at Zanies

Center also puts out urgent call for volunteers
Elburn—The Fox Valley Wildlife Center will host a fundraising night at Zanies Comedy Club at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 5, with a show time of 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.

The night will feature Butch Bradley, who has appeared numerous times on Comedy Central. Tickets are $25 per person, and the Fox Valley Wildlife Center will receive 100 percent of the ticket sales, which will benefit the animals in their care. A two-drink minimum is required, and all attendees must be 21 and older. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (630) 377-2847.

The Wildlife Center is in urgent need of monetary donations and volunteers age 18 and older. Animal handling volunteers help with all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, from hand feeding baby mammals and birds to doing laundry and washing food dishes, and need to commit to at least one four-hour shift each week, April through September. Morning shifts are also available October through March. Support volunteers are also needed to help keep the center running. There is no specific time commitment for support volunteers.

Call the Wildlife Center at (630) 365-3800 or visit for more information.

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit volunteer organization. The center is state and federally licensed to care for orphaned and injured wild birds and mammals and is privately funded, supported entirely by membership fees, donations, grants and fundraisers.

Kane County postpones Health Department cuts

Proposal calls for slashing state-funded programs
by Keith Beebe
COUNTY—County officials on July 13 postponed making a decision on proposed Kane County Health Department budget reductions for 30 days, offering a mini reprieve for several programs and as many as 62 employees whose positions will be terminated if the board approves the cuts.

The County Board chose, instead, to seek out another way to ease the Health Department’s current financial strain without eliminating several of its programs.

“I am just hoping I can put my vote forth towards solving the problem,” Kane County Board member Drew Frasz (Dist.26-Elburn) said. “We obviously want our Health Department to be fully staffed, and we certainly don’t want to have to cut anyone.”

About half of the Health Department’s funds currently come from Illinois state grants; however, the state currently owes Kane County between $1.5 and $1.7 million for services already provided. If the budget amendment goes into effect, the County Board no longer will accept several grants for certain health programs because of the state’s inability to follow through on its financial responsibilities.

“Paul (Kuehnert, Kane County Health Department executive) is advising everyone to not rely on state funds,” Frasz said. “And if there’s no positive movement in a positive direction in the next 30 days, we’ll have to vote in favor of the cuts.”

Despite the grim outlook, Frasz credits Kane County Board member Cristina Castro (Dist. 20-Elgin) with attempting to salvage Health Department positions by pushing to postpone budget cutbacks.

“Cristina basically came up to me and said, ‘Thirty days isn’t going to make or break us,’ and I give her a lot of credit for trying to make a difference,” Frasz said.

Anticipating the possibility that the County Board may approve the proposed budget cuts, Health Department officials are working on finding other providers for clients needing certain state-grant-funded services that the County no longer would provide.

“The Health Department is working closely with the state and two federally qualified health centers (Greater Elgin Family Care Center and the Visiting Nurses Association of the Fox River Valley) to assure a smooth transition of case management services that would be discontinued by the Health Department,” Kane County Public Relations Officer Tom Schleuter said.

Grant-funded programs at risk
Source: Kane County Health Department
Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert recommended that the county reject certain state grants that fund some health programs. He said the Health Department’s budget cannot absorb the programs’ cost if the state does not come through with the money. If the County Board approves the budget revision, the county no longer will accept the state grants that fund programs including Family Case Management and Women, Infants and Children.

Kane County’s Family Case Management program has about 6,000 clients, and the Women, Infant and Children program has about 2,000 clients, many of whom both programs serve.

Delnor hits milestone in reducing infection

Geneva—Delnor reached a major milestone achieved by few other hospitals in the nation—the near elimination of two different types of hospital-acquired infections, and a reduction by half in total infections monitored as part of the hospital’s goal to improve patient safety.

One type of infection successfully prevented at Delnor is called a “central line associated bloodstream infection” (CLABSI) and can occur when a central line or large catheter is inserted into a major blood vessel to administer medications and IV fluids to patients. The second is known as a “hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,” (MRSA) infection, and is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.

Either type of infection can become serious, or even life-threatening, and can extend a hospital stay, costing thousands of dollars in additional medical expenses, as well as discomfort and hardship for patients and their families, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Keeping infections at bay
For the past 18 months, Delnor has had no hospital-acquired MRSA cases on patient units, an accomplishment the hospital credits to an initiative launched in 2008 by Delnor called “Project Zero.”

This effort was aimed at reducing all types of hospital-acquired infections, including preventing MRSA infections in the inpatient population.

“Infection rates at hospitals across the country are a big concern, and something people don’t often think about when going into the hospital,” said Steven Lewis, M.D., internist and infectious disease specialist at Delnor. “We started with a comparatively low infection rate, but were not satisfied. We take quality of care very seriously at Delnor and have excellent outcomes to prove it … Some people thought it was unrealistic that we set the bar at zero—and seemingly tried to achieve the impossible. But for CLABSIs and hospital-acquired MRSA, we’ve proven we’re able to achieve it.”

Since September 2009, Delnor has also had no cases of central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), an accomplishment the hospital credits to a collaborative initiative launched over three years ago, adopting the IHI’s 100K Lives Campaign.

Delnor leaders attribute the hospital’s success to a top-down commitment to improving quality at Delnor that starts with the board of directors and administration and extends to physicians and hospital staff, including the IV therapy team.

“The team of 14 specialty certified nurses are responsible for inserting 30 central catheters per month, which comprises 75 percent of all central lines placed,” said Nancy Moran, IV therapy and outpatient infusion services team leader. “These lines are usually placed in patients receiving care in intensive care units, medical/surgical units, newborn intensive care units and surgical areas.”

Moran said Delnor’s ability to eliminate CLABSIs is due to the hospital’s adoption of strict clinical practices. She said that the IV team, as well as physicians, are required to follow the practices for every central line inserted.

“If at any time a member of the team feels that compliance has been compromised, they will stop the procedure,” she said. “We are very strict in following the standard of care.”

There have been no CLABSIs reported in the last 9 months and only one infection in the last 18 months.

What you can do to protect yourself
Lynn Skelton, infection preventionist at Delnor, encourages patients to take a proactive role in their health care by knowing what to ask and do before a catheter is inserted:
• Ask a doctor or nurse to explain why the catheter is needed and for how long.
• Ask the care giver if they will be using all of the prevention methods, including washing their hands with soap or an alcohol-based solution and wearing sterile gloves before touching the catheter or the area around it.
• Patients should notify their doctor or nurse immediately if the bandage over a central line comes off, becomes wet or dirty, or if the area around the catheter is sore or red.
• Patients should not let family or friends who visit touch the catheter or the tubing.
• Patients should make sure family and friends clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting.

To learn more,visit for the Illinois Hospital Report Card.

Delnor Hospital, located at 300 Randall Road in Geneva, is part of Delnor Health System, which provides a broad range of health care and wellness services for the community.

Lazarus House is Marcusson’s legacy

Shelter’s founder and director steps down after 13 years’ service
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—When Elburn resident Darlene Marcusson steps down from her position as Lazarus House executive director at the end of 2010, it will not be because she can no longer handle the 14-hour days she has grown accustomed to working, or because she is interested in pursuing other employment. In fact, her reason for stepping down is about as simple as it gets.

“I’m old,” she said. “I’ll be 62 years old in September, and my husband is already retired, so I think it’s time to join him.”

Marcusson, who founded Lazarus House in 1997 and has served as executive director for more than a decade, still plans to work on a part-time basis for the homeless shelter and service provider in St. Charles.

“It’s not like Darlene is leaving for good … She’ll still occasionally be available for consultations,” said Bill Grabarek, Lazarus board member. “We know, however, that there is indeed life after Lazarus House for Darlene, and we wish her well.”

Now that Marcusson has relinquished her leadership role at Lazarus, she will have the opportunity to visit her daughter in south Florida more frequently.

“My daughter lives about halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and I miss her,” Marcusson said. “My husband and I really look forward to being able to visit her more often.”

The shelter’s current associate director, Liz Eakins, will become the new executive director at the start of 2011. Grabarek, of Elburn, said he was extremely confident about Eakins ability to handle the leadership role.

“Liz is an excellent replacement choice for Darlene, and I have no doubt that Lazarus House will continue to grow with her serving in that position,” Grabarek said.

Marcusson also has confidence in Eakins.

“Liz is well-respected by the entire staff, and I know she’ll do a wonderful job as the new director,” Marcusson said.

The Lazarus board unquestionably holds that respect for Marcusson.

“She was the driving force behind Lazarus House and was a huge reason for its overwhelming success in the service area,” Grabarek said.

Marcusson is grateful for the opportunity she was given to work closely with the community during her time as executive director, she said.

Under Marcusson’s leadership for the past 13 years, Lazarus House has assisted thousands of people in need with its 24-hour shelter, three-meal-per-day soup kitchen, personal development programs, and transitional living quarters. In addition, Lazarus House helps subsidize household budgets and connects clients with appropriate social services agencies in the area to help them regain their independence.

Marcusson believes that founding Lazarus House was her destiny and now she is completely confident in her decision to step down at the end of the year.

“I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me, but we all have an assignment in life, and I have no doubt Lazarus House was what I was meant to do,” she said.

Shelter history
Darlene Marcusson founded Lazarus House in 1997 and since then led the organization through tremendous growth. Lazarus currently has approximately 40 employees and hundreds of volunteers, and serves St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County. Following is an abbreviated history of the St. Charles organization.

• June 1, 1997: Marcusson founded Lazarus House, which began as a warm-weather shelter (June through September) for homeless individuals connected to St. Charles.

• 1998: The program expanded its service area and located at the Free Methodist Church in St. Charles as a permanent site open 365 days a year.

• July 2003: The Lazarus House Center for Transitional Living opened its doors.

• January 2006: Lazarus House received a grant for a pilot program to provide ongoing rental subsidies to qualifying low-income households in St. Charles

• October 2006: Lazarus House opened the Daytime Center for Women and Children.

• October 2008: Lazarus House opened the Community Resource Center for its our Outreach Program (homelessness prevention).


Citizen Police Academy gives glimpse into police work

by Tammy Swanson
KANEVILLE—After Pat Hill’s business, Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville, was burglarized more than a year ago, she wondered why it took the police so long to take fingerprints. She had many other questions about the policing process, too, and found the answers by participating in the Citizens Police Academy that the Kane County Sheriff’s Department offers.

“(Sheriff) Pat Perez told me about it. He said it would be really cool,” Hill said.

And she found that to be true.

She liked the Citizen Police Academy so much, she was disappointed when the 10-week, weekly program ended this spring.

“I looked forward to it (class),” Hill said. “I hoped it was going longer.”

She learned a lot, including the reason for the fingerprint results delay.

“Now, I know,” Hill said. “It’s backlogged. The state is so backlogged with handling everything unless it is a violent crime. Mine was just vandalism.”

The academy gave Hill look into the life of a police officer. She learned how police officers train, as well as what constitutes their daily job duties. The academy also teaches about the different divisions in the Sheriff’s Department, including K-9, SWAT, 911, crime scene investigation, evidence, corrections, patrol and criminal.

“You get to see all the aspects of everything,” Hill said.

One of the highlights of the class for Hill was to ride along with a patrol deputy and see how the officer would handle different situations.

“When we went on patrol and had to pretend to stop people, I had to stop a guy who had a gun tucked away in the front seat and he flipped me off,” she said. “I had to pretend when he was pulling the gun and say, ‘Put your hands on the wheel’ and pretend to pull my fake gun out on him.”

Participants even had an opportunity to fire real guns.

“I had never touched a gun before in my life; I had never shot a gun before in my life, and I got to in the simulator,” Hill said. “I got to do the assault rifle, the pistol and the tazer. They were so heavy. You would not believe how heavy a gun is.”

She also enjoyed the the K-9 unit class.

“They (the Sheriff’s Department) have these dogs from Hungary or Germany,” Hill said. “You have to speak to them in that language. They are trained that way.”

Participants also had a chance to drive a patrol car and wear a bulletproof vest.

In addition to all she learned by participating in the academy, the classes made Hill respect police officers more.

“I totally gained so much from it,” said Hill.

Through the academy, Hill gained insight into how risky a police officer’s role can be.

“I have a deeper appreciation for how dangerous their job is,” Hill said.

To participate in the Citizens Police Academy, a person must live or work in unincorporated Kane County, be 18 years or older, have no felony convictions or any misdemeanor arrests within a year of application.

“You have to, of course, be fingerprinted and your name is put through the database to make sure you are not wanted as a felon or anything like that,” said Hill.

The Citizens Police Academy is free and allows 20 students per session. All of the police officers who teach the classes donate their time for the program.

After graduating from the academy program, Hill decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch in Kaneville focusing on communication and education.

“We want to start (one) in the area because we had a rash of break-ins a couple months ago where locks were cut off garages and stuff stolen from sheds,” Hill said.

Next session starts Sept. 1

Wednesday nights
Sept. 1 through Nov. 3
6 to 9 p.m.

Kane County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. John Grimes, Pat Hill, and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez pose for a picture after Hill completed the Kane County Citizens Police Academy—A 10-week course offered by the Sheriff’s Department. Courtesy Photo

County conducts regional earthquake drill on July 8

Kane County—The Kane County Office of Emergency Management on July 8 conducted a regional, multi-jurisdictional disaster drill based on the recent earthquake that was centered in Kane County last winter.

Forty-eight police, fire, EMS, public works agencies and area hospitals participated in the discussion-based drill that focused on multi-jurisdictional incident management and interoperable communications.

“The drill was the culmination of a yearlong project to create a tactical interoperable communications plan for Kane County that will become part of the state’s interoperable communications strategy,” Director Don Bryant said. “Lessons learned from this drill will help the county and local municipalities better coordinate interagency responses during regional disaster events.”

The Kane County Office of Emergency Management conducts several drills throughout the year to support local emergency response to disasters.

Kane nabs Michael Keenan, one of its most-wanted

Kane County—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez announced Friday the capture of one of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office 10 most wanted fugitives.

Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies were notified that on July 7, Michael Keenan, 41, of Bristol, was taken into custody in Wauwatosa, Wis., and transported to the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies picked him up and transported him back to Kane County.

Keenan was wanted in connection with a 2007 home invasion in the city of Geneva. Keenan had three warrants:
• Home invasion
• Domestic battery
• Violation of bail bond

The charges against Keenan are not a 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.

Extreme heat watch issued for July 15

The Kane County Office of Emergency Management and the Kane County Health Department have issued an extreme heat watch for today. A heat watch is issued when the temperature heat index has exceeded or is predicted to exceed 95 degrees for more than three hours, with overnight temperatures remaining more than 75 degrees.

The effects of extreme heat conditions on the human body are cumulative and can lead to variety of health complications, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Residents can follow a few simple tips to keep cool:

· Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

· Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

· Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

· Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

· Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

· NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

· Infants and young children

· People aged 65 or older

· Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

· Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

More information on how to beat the heat is available by visiting

Broadway Bound event benefits Lazarus House

St. Charles—The public is invited to join the fun with Lazarus House as they enjoy an exhilarating revue of Broadway show tunes performed by local high school and college students at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16, at the Arcada Theater, St. Charles. 

Tickets are $10. Each year, Broadway Bound show earnings are dedicated to a local charity or community organization selected by group founder Mark Michelson Jr. For the second year, all ticket sales will go to Lazarus House, a community-based nonprofit emergency shelter and center for transitional living and a community outreach service provider serving people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and are connected to St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia or western rural Kane County. 

Broadway Bound was initiated in 2005 by Michelson when he assembled a group of like-minded talented students whom he had grown to know through the years in various theater groups throughout the area.

“I thought we had a fantastic opportunity to give back to the community with the knowledge and skill we gained over the course of our artistic development,” Mickelson said. “Broadway Bound is a unique outlet for the cast members to explore their personal passions … Lazarus House is a group which I feel works similarly to aid those who become engulfed with monetary restraints, which I think are the key factor in inhibiting the pursuit of an individual’s personal passions and ambitions.”

For more information, call (630) 587-2144.

Photo: Broadway Bound singers John Stombres, (from left) Amy Marik and Emory Tower, provide a sampling of their sound at a past Lazarus House Open House/Block Party. Courtesy Photo

Northeastern Illinois residents to review draft GO TO 2040 plan

CMAP seeks input on how the region might look in the future
Kane County—Kane County residents have an opportunity to provide input on the draft GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan for northeastern Illinois.

GO TO 2040 will guide growth in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties for the rest of this century. In addition to land use and transportation, GO TO 2040 also addresses the full range of quality-of-life issues, including the natural environment, economic development, housing, and human services such as education, health care, and other social services.

An open house is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.

The open house will feature a short plan overview presentation by CMAP staff, followed by a question-and-answer period. Formal public comments will also be accepted. Residents may also review the plan and submit comments on the GO TO 2040 website,

Kane County Fair returns July 14-18

Bands, bull-riding, demolition derby, carnival, pig races, 4-H and more
by Tammy Swanson
ST. CHARLES—County fairs conjure up images of costumed, racing pigs, breathtaking magic shows, bucking bulls, giant Ferris wheels, mountainous cotton candy, 4-H displays and farm animal contests. The Kane County Fair will have all these and more in 2010.

The fair will take place from Wednesday, July 14, through Sunday, July 18, at the fairgrounds on Randall Road and Route 38 in St. Charles.

The family-oriented fair offers fun for all ages, starting every day at noon. General admission is $7 and children younger than 5 are admitted free. Wednesday offers seniors free admission, and a reduced general-admission of $2. In addition, eight carnival rides cost just $10 that day.

The fair’s grandstand shows are among its highlights. The admission for all grandstand events is $10. Opening night features the U.S. Freestyle Motorcross Championship at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, fans can see the Motor Sports International Truck Pull at 7:30 p.m. with Megasaurus as a special feature.

On Friday at 7:30 p.m., cowboys will try to stay on the raging bull at the Championship Bull Riding event. The Big Hat Rodeo returns with more exciting events and two shows on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. The final grandstand event is the Demolition Derby, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to see cars charge at each other at high speeds and crash in a controlled environment. Demolition Derby shows will take place at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.

Besides the grandstand events, the fair offers free, daily shows. The Swifty Swine Racing Pigs are a fair favorite to watch. A new show this year is the Great Bear Show, educational entertainment with live bears. Grandpa Cratchet provides comedic laughs this year, and features for children include the Sheer Magic Show, the Kid Buck$ Game Show and the petting zoo.

A perennial fair favorite, the 4-H displays, will be featured throughout the fairgrounds, with the sheep, horse, poultry and swine judging on Wednesday, and the dairy, rabbit and goat judging on Thursday. The beef cattle judging and Horse and Pony Fun Day will take place on Friday, and Saturday features include the horse and pony dressage judging in the horse arena and Milking Derby at 5:30 p.m.

In addition to all of these events, families may enjoy the carnival rides and games, and a wide variety of food booths.

Download flier >>

State budget crisis forces Kane County Health Department cuts

Kane County—Faced with an unprecedented and grim financial condition in Springfield, the Kane County Health Department (KCHD) will undergo a drastic staff reduction and departmental reorganization.

According to a statement released by the department, the KCHD relies on the state for between 40 and 50 percent of its total budget and currently the state owes KCHD $1.7 million for services the Health Department has already performed. This figure continues to grow daily. KCHD Executive Director Paul Kuehnert recommended that the Kane County Board decline to accept certain state grants that require it to perform services for which the state agrees to reimburse the department, because there is no guarantee the KCHD will receive the reimbursement. The mounting debt to the state’s universities, local public school districts, mental health providers and other service providers only serves to underscore the need to take this action.

“Through a combination of cuts to our grants and the state’s irresponsible business practices, this will be the third year in a row that the Health Department has been forced to cut staff and programs,” Kuehnert said. “The cash-flow situation is dire. Without taking swift action, we will not have enough money to operate as early as this fall. We cannot and will not sugarcoat this; it will be painful. We can no longer perform the services that are required by the grants in hopes that we may, some day, receive the money the state of Illinois owes us. We will have to re-organize in order to provide core public health services that will protect and promote the health of our community.”

The Health Department will see about a 40 percent cut in its budget. Because of this, the department will not be able to maintain the same staffing levels. The workforce will be reduced from 120 full-time-equivalent positions (FTE)s today to approximately 70 FTEs by mid-August. These cuts will mean that the Health Department will cease performing many services to residents while assuring core health protection services continue to be provided.

KCHD will continue to work with state officials in an attempt to transition any discontinued Health Department programs to other providers if possible.

Water Street Studios artists to be featured at office of Congressman Bill Foster

Kane County—Water Street Studio resident artists and artist members now have a new gallery to showcase their work at: the Batavia office of the 14th Congressional District of Congressman Bill Foster.

The idea to host Water Street Studio resident artist’s work came about when Water Street Studio’s Director of Development, Jim Kirkhoff, talked with Congressman Foster’s office about the annual competition Congress holds for high school art students.

Foster’s office then invited Water Street Studios resident artists to display their work in the atrium of their building. This invitation was well received as the resident artists are always looking for ways to get involved with the community. Kirkhoff, who also agreed this was a great opportunity, commented, “They have a beautiful space with empty walls, and we have a lot of great artists who are happy to loan them work.”

While the resident artist’s work can be displayed at the office, the pieces are not for sale due to congressional rules. Every month, a different Water Street Studios resident artist or artist member will be featured.

For more information on Water Street Studios membership as well as its gallery activities, studios rental and classes, visit For questions or comments email waterstreetstudios or call (630) 761-9977.

Judge says coroner must pay own legal fees

Kane County—A judge on Friday ruled that the Kane County Coroner Charles West must finance his own legal defense of charges of official misconduct.

Associate Judge T. Jordan Gallagher ruled that West, not Kane County, is responsible for the cost of the legal expenses.  

West was indicted May 18, 2010, on five counts of official misconduct, each a Class 4 felony, for failing to perform his mandated duties while acting in his official capacity as required by Illinois law. West is accused of failing to properly dispose of a TV belonging to the estate and heirs of a deceased man.

Attorney David J. O’Connor, appointed by Judge Gallagher to argue on behalf of Kane County that the county should not be responsible for the cost of West’s legal representation, told Judge Gallagher that the Illinois Constitution prohibits the use of public money for private purposes.

“Using public dollars to litigate private matters would be a huge mistake,” O’Connor said.

Judge Gallagher agreed, but said he might be willing to revisit the matter.

The outside attorney is necessary because Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti, as part of his duties, represents county officials in legal matters. However, because the legal dispute is between two county parties, Barsanti cannot represent either party because of an inherent conflict.

West is being prosecuted by the Office of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.

The charges against West are not proof of guilt. West 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.

State focuses on heat safety in July

Illinois—Temperatures in June were hot, but the hottest part of the summer likely is yet to come. In fact, most extreme high temperature records in Illinois have been set during July, including the state’s hottest month ever recorded in July 1936.

Extreme temperatures aren’t just uncomfortable—they are also responsible for more weather-related deaths than all other weather phenomena combined.

That’s why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will focus on heat safety throughout the month of July as part of its 12-Month Preparedness Campaign.

“It’s no secret that summers in Illinois are hot, but sometimes people fail to recognize how dangerous extreme heat can be,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “When temperatures creep up into the 90s and 100s, conditions can become hazardous, particularly for children, seniors, those with special needs and pets. During July, we’ll be working to remind people of the steps they can take to stay safe.”

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Lincoln, Ill., more than 970 heat-related deaths have occurred in Illinois since 1995. That number is more than five times the combined number of deaths from tornadoes (25), lightning (15), floods (23), snow and ice storms (20) and extreme cold temperatures (95).

“When the effects of warm temperatures are combined with high levels of humidity, heat-related illnesses can develop even quicker,” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordinator Meteorologist with the NWS in Lincoln. “Keep in mind that temperatures are measured in the shade, so if you are in direct sunlight it can feel 15 degrees hotter.”

Heat-related illnesses range from heat cramps to the potentially life-threatening heat stroke. It’s important for people to recognize the symptoms of these maladies and know what actions to take if they or someone near them becomes ill. Symptoms and recommended treatment actions include:
• Heat cramps: Twitching or painful spasms, usually in muscles of legs or abdomen during or after heavy physical activity, as well as heavy sweating and thirst. Treatment includes stopping activity and resting in a cool place. Lightly stretch or gently massage muscles to relieve spasms, and give sips of cool water or electrolyte drink to sufferer.
• Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating, with cool, pale and clammy skin. Pulse is fast and weak and breathing is fast and shallow. Victim will have normal temperature or a low-grade fever. Fainting, vomiting, dizziness, nausea and headache are common. Treatment includes having the victim lie down in a cool place. Apply cool, wet cloths and give sips of cool water or electrolyte drink. Contact doctor if symptoms worsen or do not improve within 30 minutes.
• Heat stroke: High body temperature of 103 to 106 degrees. Victim will have hot, red, dry skin, and sweating may be heavy or have stopped. Breathing is fast and shallow, and other symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and confusion, with possible unconsciousness or seizure. Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical situation requiring emergency medical treatment.

Tips on how to protect yourself and others from heat-related illnesses are available on the state’s Ready Illinois website ( Some of those tips include:
• Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities during extreme heat.
• Consume plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.
• Keep lights in your home low or off, keep shades drawn and avoid using the oven.
• Closely monitor children, the elderly and those who require special care during periods of intense summer heat.
• Do not leave children or pets in a closed vehicle, even for a few minutes. On a hot day, temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140 degrees.

For other tips on staying cool and reducing cooling costs during the summer, visit the state of Illinois’ Keep Cool Illinois website at

Man arrested for threat to public official

Kane County—Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies on June 29 took a report of a threat made to an employee at the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office, located at 540 S. Randall Road in St Charles.

A male subject who identified himself as John Gareski called the Clerk’s Office and made a threat toward the clerk who answered the phone and an Assistant State’s Attorney.

On June 30, Gareski, 46, was taken into custody outside his residence in Bolingbrook, Ill. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office authorized two felony counts of threatening a Public Official against Gareski.

Gareski was transported to the Kane County Adult Justice Center and is being held on $75,000 bond.

The charges against Gareski are not a 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.