Category Archives: Regional

Kane sets property tax due dates

Kane County—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert announced that taxpayer’s 2009 property tax bills, payable 2010, will be mailed out on or before Monday, April 26.

The first installment will be due June 1, and the second installment will be due Sept. 1.

Starting Friday, April 23, you may visit to view current tax information and print out duplicate bills. Also available on this website is a list of all unclaimed funds held by the treasurer.

Taxpayers can make payment by:
• Mailing the payment to the Treasurer’s Office, in the envelope provided,
• Making the payment at any one of the designated banks within Kane County,
• Making the payment during business hours in the Treasurer’s Office (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except holidays),
• Dropping the payment off in the property tax drop box, which is available 24 hours a day. The drop box is located behind Building A at the Government Center in Geneva.
• Credit card or Echeck over the Internet. Please note there are convenience fees for both of these services. Additional information is available on the Treasurer’s Office web site

40th annual Earth Day is April 22

by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans assembled in streets and parks to demonstrate against the environmental pollution that was rampant across the country then. Just a few months later the same year, the federal government established the Environmental Protection Agency, which Earth Day helped to bring about, said Daniel Ward, Waubonsee Community College honors biology professor.

“I see the establishment of the EPA as a direct result of the concern the American public displayed for how the environment was being damaged,” Ward said. “People wanted clean air, clean water and clean land. They did not want their health or their children’s health to be affected because the environment was being used/abused in ways that disregarded its importance to all. There was an outcry that something had to be done, that some form of regulation needed to occur.”

President Richard Nixon and Congress responded to that outcry and created the EPA, said Ward, who was 9 years old on the first Earth Day and living in the Midwest, in rural Missouri. He remembers the sorry state of the environment at that time.

“My grandfather was an outdoorsman, (and) I remember the damage being done to the local rivers and lakes, as well as the woodlands near my home,” Ward said. “Wildlife was disappearing because of habitat destruction and improper dumping of toxic chemicals by industry.”

He remembers seeing fish kills on local rivers and streams into which businesses had dumped toxic water.

“You have to remember there were no laws that governed dumping of wastes or introduction of chemicals into the air,” Ward said. “Businesses and people could do what they wanted without regard to their impact.”

Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, proposed the nationwide protest to force the issue of pollution control on the national agenda, according to In 1995, Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role as Earth Day founder.

Nelson organized the first Earth Day as an “environmental teach-in” in response to the many college protests against pollution that were taking place at that time, and it grew from there as more people from diverse groups became involved, Ward said.

Be aware of census-form scam

Social security number not one of the questions
by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—There are 10 questions asked on the 2010 Census form, but if you find the question, ‘What is your Social Security number?’ don’t answer it. This is the advice of Sugar Grove investigator John Sizer, who recently met with a Sugar Grove resident who completed such a form and sent it in.

The Elburn Herald is withholding the resident’s name to protect his privacy and due to the potential that he could become a victim of identity theft.

The resident, who uses a post office box, received a notice in his mail that he would soon be receiving a census form. A few days later, an official-looking form did come in the mail, and the man answered all of the questions, including the one about his Social Security number, and sent it back to what he thought was the Census Bureau.

Not so, according to the 2010 Census Form website.

“The Census Bureau never asks for your full Social Security number,” the site states.

Sizer, who has recently seen quite a bit of identity theft activity in Sugar Grove, said that he had just heard about this particular scam on the radio when the Sugar Grove resident walked in.

“Hopefully he’s caught it quick enough,” Sizer said.

Sizer’s advice for the man was that he should begin monitoring his credit card and other accounts. By law, individuals are entitled to a free credit report every year, he said.

In such a situation, any of the three major credit check companies will put a flag on your account for 90 days, he said. They would notify him right away if there is some unusual activity on any of his accounts.

“Right now, we don’t know if he’s a victim,” Sizer said. “So far, they haven’t used it to set up any accounts in his name.”

Sizer said he told the man that if he sees any out-of-the-ordinary activity in his accounts, he should come back to the station and Sizer would begin an investigation.

If you think you might have been contacted by someone pretending to represent the Census Bureau, the Chicago Regional Census Center may be contacted at (312) 454-2700.

While being alert to potential scams, each household is required by law to complete a census form and send it in with a postmark of Friday, April 16. Census workers will begin going door-to-door on Saturday, May 1, to those households that have not sent in a completed form.

More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to tribal, state and local governments each year, based on the information from census data, as well as decisions on what community services to provide. According to the website, this year’s form is one of the shortest in United States history, consisting of only 10 questions and taking 10 minutes to complete.

Ready, set, spell

State Rep. Kay Hatcher announces state senior spelling bee
Yorkille—State Rep. Kay Hatcher and Senior Services Associates announce the 2010 Illinois State Senior Spelling Bee.

Seniors are encouraged to bring out their inner “smarty-pants” by signing up for the 2010 Illinois State Senior Spelling Bee. The Association of Illinois Senior Centers and the Illinois Department on Aging have encouraged Senior Centers and other senior service providers, from the smallest town to the largest city, to participate.

Locally, the contest will be held at the Beecher Community Center, 908 Game Farm Road, Yorkville on Monday, April 26, at 10 a.m.

Participating seniors must reside in Hatcher’s 50th District.

Local winners will advance to the regional semi-finals. The state finals will be held at the Illinois Building at the 2010 Illinois State Fair on Senior Day, Monday, Aug. 16, 2010.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register by Monday, April 19, with State Rep. Hatcher by calling (630) 553-3223.

Forest Preserve to auction used equipment to the public

GENEVA—Think of it as an annual garage sale — if you own a really big garage.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is auctioning off some of its used, broken and/or replaced equipment to the public. Items go on display Thursday, April 1, at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 Route 31, South Elgin, Ill. Items may be inspected during preserve hours, sunrise to sunset.

This year, 35 items are up for auction. Among them are two dump trucks, six pick-up trucks, a former police vehicle, a tractor and various mowers and other equipment. Items are sold as-is, with no warranty, actual or implied.

Bids should be addressed to the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, 1996 S. Kirk Road, Suite 320, Geneva, IL 60134. All bids should be placed in a sealed envelope, one bid per envelope. The bid should contain the item number, the amount bid for the item, and the name, address and telephone number of the bidder. The outside of the envelope should contain the item number and the name of the bidder.

Sealed bids are due at Forest Preserve headquarters by 2 p.m. on Friday, April 23. Bids received after that will not be opened. Successful bidders will be notified by telephone and must pay for winning items with cash, money order or bank check. No personal checks will be accepted.

Purchasers have until Friday, May 7, to purchase and remove items. Any items not purchased and/or removed by that date will be considered forfeited.

Proceeds from the sale of used assets are returned to the District’s General Fund. Last year, the used equipment sale brought in $75,000.

For more information on the District’s used equipment sale, call (630) 232-5980.

Boy Scout exhibition extended at Geneva History Center

Geneva—This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. The Geneva History Center is celebrating the occasion with a new exhibition, Scouting: A Century of Values.

Working with the Three Fires Council, local donors and volunteers, the Geneva History Center displays a collection of images and items from Geneva’s Scouting history. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, it will remain open to the public through June.

Since the opening of Scouting: A Century of Values, Geneva History Center educator Margaret Selakovich has provided more than 30 guided tours of the exhibition to local and regional Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops. The tour includes not only the history of the Boy Scouts, but also insight into the five Boy Scout core values and how these values pertain to our own lives.

Participants will view the uniforms, manuals, badges, awards, pins and artifacts that have been part of the Boy Scout movement for the past 100 years. The exhibition provides an opportunity for Scouts to participate in a History/mystery scavenger hunt, a hands-on knot tying activity and will be able to get their picture taken with Boy Scout founder Robert Baden-Powell.

Tours are available after school, evenings and weekends. Call (630) 232-4951 to schedule a tour.

The Geneva History Center is located at 113 South 3rd St., in the heart of Geneva’s historic downtown area. The exhibition can be visited from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Rep. Foster announces health insurance reform provisions that will immediately go into effect

Foster attends signing ceremony to see legislation become law
Washington, DC—Congressman Bill Foster (IL-14) announced provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act that went into effect Tuesday after attending the White House Signing Ceremony to witness President Barack Obama sign the legislation into law.

“Today, now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is law, key provisions of this health insurance reform will go into effect, and families and small businesses in the 14th District will begin to benefit,” Foster said. “For example, seniors will start to see the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ close, small businesses can receive tax credits to make employee coverage more affordable, and young adults will be able to stay on their family insurance plans until the age of 26.”

The Senate was scheduled to begin consideration of the legislation containing the improvements to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Tuesday. This legislation passed the House on Sunday evening.

“I was proud to support a package of changes in the House that would improve the Senate health-insurance reform bill, and I urge the Senate to quickly pass these improvements,” said Foster.

The following benefits will be available in the first year after enactment (this year) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Note: This list reflects what is in the Senate bill, which is now law, not the reconciliation language, which is currently pending in the Senate.)
• The Medicare Part D “donut hole” will begin to close by raising the ceiling on the initial coverage period by $500 in 2010. It will also guarantee 50 percent price discounts on brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries in the coverage gap.
• Small businesses that choose to offer coverage will be eligible for tax credits of up to 50 percent of premiums to make employee coverage more affordable.
• Young adults will be allowed to stay on family policies until age 26.
• $5 billion is provided in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. Coverage under this program will continue until new exchanges are operational.
• Early retirees will have immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for them—this re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.
• Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on benefits, and will restrict the use of annual limits.
• Insurance companies cannot rescind insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.
• Group health plans are prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher-wage employees.
• Standards for insurance overhead will be established to ensure that premiums are spent on health benefits. It will also require public disclosure of overhead and benefit spending and require premium rebates for insurers that exceed established standards for overhead expenses.
• Assistance will be provided to states that establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility.
• All health plans will implement an effective appeals process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims, and will adopt uniform descriptions of plan benefits and appeals procedures and will use uniform forms and claims processing processes to reduce costs.
• A new website will be created to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options.

League of Women Voters seek support for Fair Map Amendment

Kane County—You may see some individuals around town with badges saying, “Ask Us How To Improve Illinois Politics.” It is all part of a final push on the part of the League of Women Voters to solicit petition signatures to put the Fair Map Amendment on the November ballot.

Kane County voters can receive information from League members and sign petitions at the St. Charles Library on Thursday, March 25, between 3 and 7 p.m., at Caribou in Geneva on Friday, March 26, between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., and at the Little Owl in Geneva on Saturday, March 27, between noon and 2 p.m.

The Fair Map Amendment to the Illinois constitution would change the process for drawing up the districts from which state legislators are elected. The amendment would move the legislative map drawing power from incumbent legislators to an independent commission to be selected and guided by stringent, established criteria. The amendment would also mandate greater transparency during the mapping process, calling for open public meetings of the commission.

Statewide, the goal is to obtain 500,000 petition signatures by Thursday, April 15, to ensure getting the Fair Map Amendment on the November ballot. In addition to the League of Women Voters, the amendment is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Better Government Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau, Common Cause–Illinois, and Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

For additional information or sign a petition, contact the League of Women Voters of Geneva-St Charles,

Sheriff’s Department accepts scholarship applications

Kane County Sheriff Patrick Perez is accepting applications for the Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship.

Each year, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association announces it will be awarding more than $53,000 in college scholarships throughout the state of Illinois to students wishing to pursue higher education during the 2010-11 academic year. The scholarships are to be applied to tuition, books and fees only. The student must be enrolled full-time at a certified institute of higher learning within the state of Illinois.

Perez will award one scholarship in the amount of $500. There are no restrictions on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin. The only limitations are as follows:
• Applicants must be Illinois residents
• Scholarships must be utilized at initiations of higher learning within the state of Illinois
• Students must be enrolled as a full time student during the 2010-11 school year (excluding summer session)

Applications are available by calling Dawn Barsanti at (630) 208-2003 or at Applications are to be returned to the Sheriff’s Office in the student’s permanent county of residence and must be postmarked by April 12.

Farm Bureau offers ‘Touch-A-Tractor’ event

St. Charles—Mark your calendar for the annual Touch-A-Tractor event Friday through Sunday, March 26-28, at the Kane County Farm Bureau, Randall Road at Oak Street, St. Charles.

The public is invited to attend on Friday, March 26, from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Touch-A-Tractor offers activities for all ages. Kids can participate in hands-on activities, ride pedal tractors, shell corn, visit the farm zoo, plant seeds, play in a kiddie pool full of corn, and sit in the seat of a real tractor or combine. Local farmers and friends of the Farm Bureau will be on hand to answer questions about the machinery and explain how this equipment helps farmers get crops from the field to your table.

Fay’s BBQ will offer pork barbecue or catfish dinners on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help the nonprofit KCFB Foundation raise funds for literacy and scholarship programs. A kid’s hot dog meal is also available. Call the Farm Bureau at (630) 584-8660 to pre-order. Catfish and pork chop dinners are $12 when reserved and paid by March 23, or $13.50 at the door. Hot dog meals are $4.

On Sunday, March 28, the winning ticket will be drawn in the Farm, Food and Fuel raffle. The first-prize winner will be able to choose a John Deere Gator TS 4×2 or $5,000 in cash. Second prize is $100 in groceries every week for a year, and third prize is $50 in gas every month for a year. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office until the time of the drawing. Proceeds benefit college scholarships and Ag-in-the-Classroom programs.

5th Annual
Kane County Farm Bureau

Kane County Farm Bureau
Randall Rd at Oak Street
St. Charles
Friday March 26, Noon to 7 p.m.;
Saturday March 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Sunday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Delnor’s Giving Tree makes birthdays brighter

Geneva—Birthdays are a celebratory time in most children’s lives. They often mean parties, presents and fun. But for many children living in poverty, birthdays pass without any recognition.

In fact, one in six children in the U.S. lives in poverty. When a family can’t even afford food or shelter, they certainly can’t afford birthday gifts.

Delnor Hospital wants to help change that with this month’s Giving Tree, and everyone in the community can help do their part as well. For the entire month of March, the Delnor Giving Tree is working with the Cheerful Givers organization to provide toy-filled birthday bags to food shelves and shelters.

In 2009, 37,531 less fortunate children were able to experience the joy of receiving a birthday gift from their parents because of Cheerful Givers. The organization believes that this simple gesture boosts self-esteem, enhances self-worth, and strengthens bonds in families. Since 1994, it has donated over 300,000 birthday gift bags to children in need.

“Cheerful Givers provides more than birthday bags, it celebrates those lives that matter,” said Robin Maynard Steele, founder of the Cheerful Givers organization. “The birthday bags are a symbol of the unconditional love that we have for our anonymous neighbors in need and their children. They warm the heart of the volunteer who made it. And when this gift is met with a parent’s tears of joy, we know that this one little birthday bag is going to warm the world in the hands of a child.”

Wrapping up smiles and warm wishes
“Cheerful Givers seemed to be a perfect fit with Delnor’s mission to help the communities we serve,” said Shari Motylinksi, patient advocate at Delnor Hospital. “I read an article about the organization a few years ago and how it touched so many lives; I really wanted to be a part of it. This is the second time Delnor has been involved with Cheerful Givers. It is very heartwarming when a child can unwrap a present for their birthday they would otherwise not have received, both for the parent and the child.”

Be part of the giving
Delnor is asking for toy donations, including items like books, plush toys, balls, puzzles, stickers, crayons even cake mixes and balloons. For a complete list, please visit and look under the “What’s New” section for the Giving Tree.

At the end of the month, Delnor will host a bag blitz and put the items into bags. They will then be distributed to St. Peter’s Food Pantry, St. Charles Salvation Army and Batavia Interfaith Pantry.

The Giving Tree, located in the Delnor Hospital atrium, allows employees to easily drop off their contribution. For community members, making a donation is simple; just pull into the entrance of Delnor Hospital and the valet parking staff will take donated items and place them by the Delnor Giving Tree. Valet parking is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information

If you have any questions about Delnor’s Giving Tree or the Cheerful Givers organization, contact Lynne Casey, senior marketing specialist, at (630) 208-4512.

Delnor Hospital, located at 300 Randall Road in Geneva, is part of Delnor Health System.

Agency on aging seeks residents from Kane for advisory council

Kane County—The Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging seeks a Kane County resident or person employed in Kane County to represent the county on its Advisory Council.

The position is for the remaining year of an unexpired term, and the appointee will then be eligible for a full three-year term.

The primary qualifications required for this volunteer position are a sincere interest in benefiting senior citizens and a desire to make the public aware of the services available to seniors. Interested persons should contact Dawn Chapman at the agency by Friday, March 19, at P.O. Box 809, Kankakee, IL 60901, or by phone at (815) 939-0727 or 1-800-528-2000.

Agency on aging seeks Kane resident for advisory council

Kane County—The Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging seeks a Kane County resident or person employed in Kane County to represent the county on its Advisory Council.

The position is for the remaining year of an unexpired term, and the appointee will then be eligible for a full three-year term.

The primary qualifications required for this volunteer position are a sincere interest in benefiting senior citizens and a desire to make the public aware of the services available to seniors. Interested persons should contact Dawn Chapman at the agency by Friday, March 19, at P.O. Box 809, Kankakee, IL 60901, or by phone at (815) 939-0727 or 1-800-528-2000.

Corrections officer indicted in fatal DUI crash

Kane County—A state corrections officer has been indicted on drunken driving charges in a 2008 fatal two-vehicle crash that occurred while he was on his way to work.

Reginald Hearon, 50, of the 3500 block of Boyer Lane, Plano, Ill., was indicted March 2 by a Kane County grand jury on three counts of aggravated DUI, each a Class 2 felony, and one count of reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony.

At about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 2, 2008, Hearon was driving a 1997 Ford Econoline van east on Fabyan Parkway in Blackberry Township when he attempted to pass vehicles in a posted no-passing zone, a two-lane stretch between Hughes Road and Main Street. Hearon’s eastbound van entered the lane for westbound traffic and struck head-on a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer driven by 53-year-old Craig Smith of St. Charles. The Blazer was westbound on Fabyan Parkway. Smith died at the scene. 

Hearon works as a guard at the Illinois Youth Center at St. Charles.

The investigation revealed that Hearon had an unlawful amount of alcohol and codeine in his system at the time of the crash that impaired his ability to drive.

After the indictment, Associate Judge James C. Hallock signed a warrant for Hearon’s arrest and set his bail at $500,000. Hearon surrendered March 3 to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Hearon faces a sentence of between three and 14 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The charges against Hearon are not proof of guilt. A defendant charged 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.

Defendants plead guilty to role in leaving Elburn youth’s body

Originally published on March 9, 2010, updated March 11, 2010 at 10:50 a.m.
Victim found in 2007
in Chicago alley

Three co-defendants pleaded guilty this week to their roles in an incident in which an Elburn teenager’s body was left in a Chicago alley in 2007, with one facing a sentence of four years in prison. The mother of victim Michael York attended every court hearing in the case during the more than two years since his body was found.

“With each appearance, she was forced to relive the day she received word that her son was found dead in a Chicago alley,” said Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly Orland, who prosecuted the case. “I am pleased that we finally can provide closure to Michael’s mother and two sisters.”

One defendant, Nathan L. Green, 23, of Maple Park, agreed on Feb. 5 with the Kane County State’s Attorney to a sentence of three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to York before his death at age 17 on Dec. 15, 2007.

On that day, Green and York were together in the residence of Lindsey Parker, 24, of St. Charles, along with Jordan Billek, 19, of Maple Park. Green delivered an amount of heroin to York, which he ingested. York became seriously ill after ingesting the heroin, later lost consciousness and died. In the mid-morning hours of Dec. 16, Parker discovered York deceased in a guest bedroom. After Parker, Green and Billek discussed how to remove York’s body from Parker’s home, Billek and Green drove the body to Chicago and abandoned it in an alley on the city’s west side. No one called 911.

York’s body was discovered by a passerby, who called Chicago police. The autopsy was performed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Authorities ruled the cause of York’s death as “undetermined,” which is why no one was directly charged with York’s death.

Billek agreed on March 4 with the Kane County State’s Attorney to a sentence of 24 months probation in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of obstructing justice, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. On March 23, 2009, Billek was stopped by Aurora police for a traffic violation. During the subsequent investigation, police discovered an amount of heroin in Billek’s vehicle.

Parker agreed on March 4 with the Kane County State’s Attorney to a sentence of 24 months probation in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of obstructing justice.

Green also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault, for the Nov. 4, 2009, assault of a corrections officer while he was in the Kane County Jail. Green’s sentence breaks down as three years in IDOC for the heroin delivery charge and one year for the assault charge. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Kane County Associate Judge Allen M. Anderson accepted the plea agreements.

Anderson chided each defendant for the selfishness of their actions and reminded them that their futures are in their own hands. When given a chance to speak, Parker remained silent, but Billek apologized to York’s mother.

“This is an all or nothing proposition,” Anderson told Parker. “You will succeed or you will fail. If you fail, you could find yourself in jail. If you succeed, you won’t see me again.”

To Billek, Anderson said, “If you rely upon drugs, you’re likely to be back. I hope you get this right. I don’t want to see you back here.”

Billek’s sentence breaks down as 24 months probation for each count. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

As a condition of probation, Billek and Parker must continue treatment for heroin addiction.

Local artists exhibit works at Hauser-Ross Eye Institute

Sycamore—Hauser-Ross Eye Institute will host a reception for three local artists, Dave Zoberis, Steve Tritt and Michelle Bringas, at 2240 Gateway Drive, Sycamore, on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Each artist has a unique interpretation that highlights the beauty of local surroundings. The public is invited to view the new installation and meet the artists during the reception. Light refreshments will be provided.

The subject matter of Zoberis’ watercolors include the common scenes you may pass by every day as you go to work, school or take care of errands. He translates these images in watercolors that have a deeper meaning of life and existence. He refers to his style as “representative impressionism.” Dave said he feels it is important to preserve the meaning of our “everyday.”

The local landscape also inspires Tritt. He builds his work with layers of paint to create abstract works of art that are inspired by rural landscapes. Each painting is built up by the materials he chooses, which add to the depth and texture of he finished image.

“In my paintings, I try to put an acre of paint on a small surface. With each composition I create areas of color and texture using the Illinois landscape as my model,” Tritt said.

His current installation at Hauser-Ross is a reflection of winter and solitude with glimpses of color reflected from the sky.

Bringas’ vision is expressed from behind the lens of her camera. This is a medium she enjoys because it gives her the opportunity to capture local vignettes she discovers on her travels each day.

“Photography causes me to be regularly in touch with the beauty that lies in everyday encounters,” she said.

She will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of her pieces sold at Hauser-Ross to the Brandon T. Bringas memorial fund.

The exhibit will be open at Hauser-Ross Eye Institute from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and will run until May 25. For more information, contact Jennifer Bennett at

Patient, dentist partner to help Hesed House

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—Karen McCannon, a member of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, will once again partner with Dr. Donald Fee, a Sugar Grove dentist, to provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for residents of Hesed House. The drive, initiated by McCannon several years ago and endorsed by Fee, promotes the National Dental Health Month of February.

According to Fee’s practice manager Laura Bickhaus, for every dollar up to $500 collected by members of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, Fee will match that amount with dental supplies purchased at cost from his vendors. The end result will be $1,000 worth of dental supplies, or 3,000 toothbrushes and travel-size toothpaste containers for the people of Hesed House.

Hesed House Director and Sugar Grove resident Ryan Dowd said he is grateful for the dental supplies donated for his clients.

“In my 10 years of experience, when people get evicted, they grab their clothes and their wallets, but most people forget to grab a tooth brush,” Dowd said. “It’s difficult to get a job or even just to maintain your basic dignity if you can’t brush your teeth.”

Bickhaus said she understands that Hesed House is at capacity, and the practice is happy to help in this way. She said that McCannon, one of Fee’s patients, has two sets of wings—her angel wings and her tooth fairy wings.

Foster announces $7.5 mil funds for NIU health IT

Funding will create jobs, improve health care system, he says
Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) joined NIU President John Peters, NIU project team members and local health care providers on Monday to announce that Northern Illinois University (NIU) will receive a Regional Extension Center award worth $7.5 million over two years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The funds will help advance the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (health IT). This funding is made possible by the federal stimulus, which Foster voted for.

“Advancements in health IT significantly improve our health care system by reducing the costs of maintaining and tracking medical records, increasing efficiency and reducing medical errors and duplicative tests,” Foster said. “I am pleased that the stimulus will allow NIU to take a leading role in the use of health IT by our area health care providers, as it will greatly benefit doctors and patients alike.”

The award will allow NIU to create a Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) that will assist doctors to adopt health information technology. NIU estimates that this project will directly create or retain 105 jobs, and will indirectly create or retain an additional 35 jobs. HHS granted a total of $375 million in stimulus funds that will go to an initial 32 nonprofit organizations to support the development of regional extension centers (RECs). The regional extension centers are expected to provide outreach and support services to at least 100,000 primary care providers and hospitals nationwide within two years.

“We are excited to play a role in advancing this important health care initiative,” said NIU President John Peters, who noted that it fits well with other initiatives being spearheaded by the university.

The REC will work primarily with priority care providers—family practitioners, doctors of internal medicine, pediatricians and obstetricians who serve Medicare /Medicaid patients and other underserved populations. Those physicians provide about 80 percent of the nation’s health care, but only about 20 percent of them currently utilize electronic health records systems.

State bombshell could double deficit

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—State budget woes will soon become Kaneland’s problem, as the district’s budget shortfall could grow to nearly $5 million.

Late last week, the administration learned of the Illinois State Board of Education’s published budget scenarios for the coming fiscal year, which would translate to a loss of state aid of up to $2.2 million for 2010-11.

Facing a potential loss of state funding ranging from $1.4 million to $2.2 million, the Kaneland School District will need to come up with a plan for next year’s budget that will include further reductions in teaching positions, Kaneland School District administrators told the School Board on Tuesday.

The School Board’s recent discussions regarding proposed budget cuts addressed the initial $2.6 million budget deficit. The additional shortfall in funding from the state could nearly double that number, creating a hole in the budget as high as $5 million, administration officials told the School Board on Tuesday.

With a total budget of $48 million, the potential cuts would make up a full 10 percent of the district’s budget.

Although Kaneland officials have not been given any specific information about funding cuts from the state of Illinois, a call placed to the district’s financial advisers, PMA, confirmed that they had heard the same projection.

“It is important to know that while all of this information is still preliminary, it is the first time Kaneland has seen a real number representing a potential loss in state funds,” Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Jeff Schuler said.

District Superintendent Charles McCormick said that the district must develop contingency plans within the next month that would address the huge potential shortfall, given that any personnel cuts for next year must be communicated by March 22.

Using a worst-case scenario, McCormick said that if the administration could come up with $700,000 in non-teaching cuts, it would still require that they find another $1.5 million cuts in teaching staff. With each teaching position averaging $50,000, this would be the equivalent of cutting 30 additional teaching positions.

“The state is in abysmal condition,” he said. “We’d better plan accordingly.”

The board will discuss the proposed reductions in force that will give them the flexibility to respond to the state funding crisis. The board will discuss the plan, what school officials are calling phase two, at the next School Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 22.

Senior citizens reminded about tax deferral program

Kane County—Real Estate Tax Deferral applications are available through the Kane County Treasurer’s Office. This program permits qualified senior citizens to defer all or a portion of their real estate taxes.

Once completed, these forms should be returned to the Kane County Treasurer’s Office on or before March 1.

To qualify, a Senior Citizen must:
• Be 65 or older by June 1, 2010
• Have a total household income of $50,000 or less
• Have lived on the property for at least three years
• Not owe any delinquent property taxes
• Have homeowners insurance.

If you have a mortgage, you should also submit proof that your agreement allows you to participate in the Senior Tax Deferral Program.

Forms may be picked up at the Treasurer’s Office located at 719 Batavia Avenue, Building (A), in Geneva or they may be obtained by mail. People needing assistance or advice may contact Della Winckler at the Treasurer’s Office at (630) 232-3565.

Ladies Night Out to benefit Mutual Ground

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—More than 25 vendors invite potential customers to enjoy an evening of appetizers, wine-tasting, massages and more at the Bliss Creek Golf Club on Thursday, Feb. 11, while contributing to a good cause. According to Sugar Grove resident and Tastefully Simple home-based vendor Audrey Ritchie, a majority of the vendors participating have agreed to contribute a percentage of the evening’s revenues to Mutual Ground, an organization located in Aurora that provides shelter and support to abused women and children.

Ritchie said she hopes to raise at least $1,500 during the free entry evening for Mutual Ground. Last year, Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn cut state funding to domestic violence programs by 10 percent and to sexual abuse programs by 20 percent. The impact to Mutual Ground was a decrease in funding from the state of $90,000 out of $725,000 it receives from the state.

Mutual Ground Executive Director Linda Healy said that in these tough economic times, it is wonderful to see someone from the community take on a fundraising effort of the size and scope that Ritchie is doing.

“We’re excited and pleased,” she said. “She’s really done such a marvelous job, especially with marketing of the event.”

Mutual Ground stats

Mutual Ground provided
more than 20,000 hours of
counseling and almost
12,000 nights of shelter
to more than
1,700 clients in 2009

“Love is in the Air Ladies Night Out”
Bliss Creek Golf Club
Open Range Southwest Grill
1 Golf View Lane, Sugar Grove
Thursday, Feb. 11
5:30-9:30 p.m.
To raise funds for Mutual Ground

For more information:
Call (630) 363-2113 or e-mail


Domestic violence
and sexual abuse statistics

• One-half of all married women in the
United States are physically abused at
some time in their marriage
• A woman is beaten every 10 seconds
• One in 10 teenagers will be involved in a
violent dating relationship before
graduating high school
• Abused women comprise 20 percent of
all women presenting injuries at hospital
emergency rooms
• Battering often occurs during pregnancy
• Domestic violence cuts across all
socioeconomic backgrounds regardless
of race, religion, or level of education
• A woman is raped every five minutes
• One-third of all rapes occur in a
woman’s home
• One-third of Mutual Ground’s sexual
assault program clients are children
between the ages of 3-13
• Only 7 percent of sexually abused
women report a rape, making the actual
number as high as 2 million per year in
the U.S.
Source: Mutual Ground website,

MP man pleads guilty in Elburn teen’s death

Updated Feb. 11, 2010
Kane County—A Maple Park man has pleaded guilty to providing heroin to an Elburn man who later was found dead in a Chicago alley, as well as assaulting a corrections officer at the Kane County jail.

Nathan L. Green, 23, of the 20900 block of Oak Lane, Maple Park, agreed with the Kane County State’s Attorney to a sentence of four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony, and one count of aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony.

The sentence breaks down as three years in prison for the heroin delivery charge and one year for the assault charge. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Associate Judge Allen M. Anderson accepted the plea.

On Dec. 15, 2007, Green, co-defendants Jordan D. Billek, 19, of the 8N block of Grand Arbor Lane, Maple Park, and Lindsey Parker, 24, of the 4000 block of Royal Fox Drive, St. Charles, and 17-year-old Michael York of Elburn were together in Parker’s St. Charles residence. Green delivered an amount of heroin to York, which he ingested. York became seriously ill after ingesting the heroin, and his dead body was found the next day in an alley on the west side of Chicago. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of York’s death as undetermined.

Because authorities were unable to determine the cause of York’s death, no one was charged with his death.

On Nov. 4, 2009, while in the custody of the Kane County Adult Justice Center, Green assaulted a Kane County corrections officer who was engaged in the execution of his official duties.

During sentencing, Judge Anderson told Green that, “What brought you here today was your callousness and disregard for the world around you. It is my hope that you are different when you come out of prison. You haven’t done well so far.”

By law, Green was given day-for-day sentencing. He was given credit for 94 days served in the Kane County jail while being held on the assault charge, and credit for 381 days served in the Kane County jail while being held on the heroin delivery charge.

“More than two years after his death, I am pleased that we finally can start to bring justice to Michael York, and start to give closure to Michael’s mother and two sisters,” said Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly M. Orland, who prosecuted the case.

Billek and Parker each are charged with one count of obstructing justice, a Class 4 felony. The cases are pending. The next court appearance for each is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 4, in Courtroom 311.

The charges against Billek and Parker 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.

Church mobilizes for Haiti relief

Lord of Life collection brings in 10,000 items
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Matt Gerke, 13, did a lot of heavy lifting at Lord of Life Church in Elburn last weekend during a massive relief collection for Haiti.

But Matt was more than willing to expend the energy because he found the cause worthy.

“I feel really bad for the people there,” he said. “They were already the poorest country in the world, and then they have an earthquake.”

The Elburn teenager spent Friday through Sunday at the church, with other volunteers helping with the collection. Matt’s job was as a mover, he said, stacking pallets with 70 boxes of relief supplies each.

Lord of Life’s 11-day collection brought in more than 10,000 items from the congregation, as well as other churches and residents. During the project, volunteers sorted and boxed donated supplies, including jars of peanut butter, bags of rice and beans, first-aid ointment, blankets, toothbrushes, tools and more.

Matt said he was impressed by the quantity of donated items, including 1,000 bars of soap from just one individual.

“It’s an awful lot of stuff,” Matt said.

Lord of Life was one of about 20 churches serving as Haiti relief collection sites for Lutheran Church Charities. After the churches take their collected supplies to a warehouse this week in Itasca, they will go by truck to Florida, where they will be sent by ship to Haiti, said collection volunteer and Lord of Life member Kathy Geiger of Elburn.

Lord of Life congregation also collected more than $3,000 since the earthquake to support humanitarian efforts in disaster-torn Haiti.

The monetary donations and supplies will be distributed through Lutheran Church- Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s World Relief/Human Care networks in Haiti.

Photo: Justin Bristle packed up canned goods for shipment to Haiti on Sunday at Lord of life Church in Elburn. He was among the many volunteers who helped with the 110-day collection at the church for Lutheran Church Charities’ Haiti relief drive for supplies needed by people in the earthquake-ravaged country. Photo by Martha Quetsch

St. Charles organization offers to promote Elburn

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to promote Elburn attractions in order to draw more tourists to the area.

“We’d like to bring visitors to Elburn and see them stay at St. Charles hotels,” said Egolf during Monday’s Elburn Development Committee meeting.

If Elburn officials agree to participate in a joint program, the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau will list Elburn attractions in its tourist guides at no cost to the village.

Development Committee members like the proposal and recommended that the Village Board approve it.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Committee member and trustee Jeff Walter said. “It will be some promotion we don’t have now.”

Among the Elburn entities Egolf has identified to list in the Bureau’s publications are Amazing Grace Antiques, Heritage Prairie Farm, Ream’s Elburn Market, the Metra station, the Great Lakes Leadership Campus, Elburn Days and the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club.

Egolf said the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau works with the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, which would include Elburn’s attractions in state visitors guides.

The St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau is supported by city and state funding.

Garfield Farm offers scholarship for museum administration

Kane County—Garfield Farm Museum will offer a $2,000 scholarship for graduate studies in museum administration.

Applications must be made in January.

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 master’s level or higher, pursuing degrees in historic administration, 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.

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 of the Fox River Valley by calling (630) 896-7800 or visit

Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva off Route 38 on Garfield Road. For information, call (630) 584-8485 or e-mail

Jan. 14 village notes

Community supports 4-H raffle for charity
MAPLE PARK—Lincoln Highway 4-H club held a drawing for Ream’s Elburn Market gift certificates on Jan. 11. Wayne Parchert, employee of Elburn Co-Op and a Lincoln Highway 4-H club parent, did the honors of drawing the winners’ names.

The winner of a $250 Ream’s Meat Market gift certificate was Andy Lyons of Esmond, Ill. Winning a $100 Ream’s Elburn Market Gift Certificate was Elaine Doty of Sugar Grove. The recipients of the two $25 gas cards donated by Casey’s of Maple Park were Kelly Snyder of Elburn and Heidi Gilkey of Maple Park.

Lincoln Highway 4-H Club will donate the raffle proceeds to local, charitable organizations.

Technology upgrades at Village Hall
MAPLE PARK—The village of Maple Park will purchase new software allowing it to develop a server for storing information.

The Village Board approved the expenditure of $738 for the software at its Jan. 5 meeting.

The new software will complement other technology additions at Village Hall, including 12 computer monitors and four printers recently donated by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Parking permits available for residents near Metra
ELBURN—The village of Elburn has announced that residents of the neighborhood on the southeast side of Elburn near the Metra station should pick up their 2010 Resident Parking Protection District permits at Village Hall, 301 E. North St.

The village created the parking protection district three years ago to deter commuters from parking in the neighborhood near Metra to avoid the commuter lot fee.

The following streets comprise the parking protection district: Nebraska Street (First Street to Third Street); Kansas Street (First Street to the east end); South Street (First Street to Third Street); Third Street (Nebraska Street to South Street); Second Street (Nebraska Street to South Street); First Street (Union Pacific Right-Of-Way to Oak Drive); and Oak Drive (from First Street to the east end).

Police issue tickets to commuters who park on those streets but will not ticket vehicles bearing the parking protection stickers. Residents of the neighborhood also may obtain parking stickers for visitors, so that their vehicles are not ticketed.

Volunteers sought for Mental Health Board
VIRGIL TOWNSHIP—Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Inc., the local mental health authority for seven townships in southern Kane County, is looking for a Virgil Township resident volunteer to serve on the township community mental health board.

This person must have an interest in the issues of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse. Meetings are three times a year to review how the local mental health levy serves Virgil Township residents and to provide input on needed community services. No fundraising and no compensation is involved.

Contact Jerry Murphy or Marti Cross at (630) 892-5456 for more information.

Kaneville Library cancels meeting, announces appointments
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Public Library Board of Trustees canceled its scheduled meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 12. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Kaneville Village Meeting Room.

The board also announced the appointments of Library Director, Ray Christiansen, as the district’s Freedom of Information Act Officer, and Board Vice-President Mary Niceley, as the district’s Open Meetings Act Compliance Officer. Both appointment became effective on Dec. 7, 2009.

Kaneville Classics hold Christmas party
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Classics 4-H met on Dec. 28 and held its Christmas party, played games and exchanged gifts. The group’s next meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 25, at the Kaneville Comminity Center at 5:30 p.m.

Fishermen’s Inn finished

For 45 years, restaurant drew customers from near and far
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—For more than four decades, Fishermen’s Inn in Elburn was a popular place for fine dining and receptions, attracting people from throughout the Chicago area with its fresh trout, scenic grounds and country atmosphere. The tradition ended Dec. 21 when the restaurant closed because of a decrease in customers in recent years.

Clifford Spence, Fishermen’s Inn president since 2005, said the economic downturn and competition from new restaurants in the area were the reasons for the closure.

“There was a steady decline in business in the last two years,” Spence said. “Every time a new place opened, our business dropped.”

Spence said he found out that Fishermen’s Inn was closing on Dec. 21, from officials at Old Second Bank, which oversaw a trust that owned the business.

“Basically, the business was dissolved,” said Spence, who worked for Fishermen’s Inn for 11 years.

Spence said the drop-off in customers started in spring of 2008, coinciding with the start of the economic recession. Fishermen’s Inn’s banquet business, which brought in one-third of the restaurant’s revenue, began to suffer as people scaled back on the size of wedding receptions and other gatherings.

By fall of that year, the situation had worsened.

“We had five cancelled weddings in one month (November 2008).”

Spence said more cancellations took place as people’s uncertainty about the economy heightened.

Among the many local people who frequented Fishermen’s Inn over the years and regret its closure is former Elburn dentist and village president, Jim Willey. Willey said he attended countless business and government gatherings at the restaurant during the 30 years he lived in Elburn.

Fishermen’s Inn also had a strong regional draw.

“People came from all over. It really had a landmark status,” Willey said. “I think they liked that it was really different.”

Fishermen’s Inn opened in 1964 in a renovated barn on Main Street Road just west of Route 47. Its founder, Orville Mercer, installed ponds behind the restaurant and stocked holding tanks with trout. The fresh fish became a restaurant specialty.

Mercer also created walkways around the ponds, where people could take a stroll on the grounds after dinner or while waiting for a reservation. Many people found Fishermen’s Inn to be a perfect place for weddings because of its picturesque setting.

Willey recalled his sister’s wedding reception there 20 years ago.

“It was a really nice place to have it,” Willey said. “The guests could go and walk around the ponds and the weeping willows.”

Aside from going to many meetings and receptions at Fishermen’s Inn, Willey often went there for dinner with his wife Cathy. He remembers one evening, while they were enjoying a meal and the view from the broad back windows, a customer jumped off the balcony into the pond and disappeared. The fire department brought divers to the scene to look for the man, who as it happened, dove in on a lark and left the scene unseen.

When his wife passed away in 2007, Willey decided to hold a memorial dinner for her at the restaurant.

“It was one of our favorite places, so it was an easy choice,” Willey said.

Willey remembers something that longtime Fishermen’s Inn manager Dick Walt would always tell customers as he regaled them with funny stories:

“He would say, ‘You may leave here a little taller, but no wider.’”

Fishermen’s Inn History
• Orville Mercer and his family started Fishermen’s Inn at 43W901 Main Street Road, Elburn, in 1964, in a renovated barn built in 1898. The Mercers lived in a house across the street.
• In 1972, the Mercers sold Fishermen’s Inn to Ralph and Ann Schleifer of Kaneville. The Schleifers later built a home in the woods behind Fisherman’s Inn.
• The Schleifers broke ground in June 1985 for a new banquet facility seating 200, to complement Fishermen’s Inn’s barn restaurant.
• A fire caused $1.4 million in damage to Fishermen’s Inn in October 1985. The blaze took firefighters nearly 24 hours to extinguish, burned the barn beyond repair and caused extensive smoke and water damage to the new banquet facility. As a result, the restaurant closed.
• In fall of 1986, Fishermen’s Inn reopened, after the Schleifers built a new barn and repaired damage to the banquet facility during the summer.
• Following Ralph Schleifer’s death in 2005, Fishermen’s Inn was turned over to a trust at Old Second Bank, which named restaurant employee Clifford Spence as president of the business.
• Fishermen’s Inn closed Dec. 21, 2009.

Photo: The rustic, scenic setting of Fisherman’s Inn in Elburn was part of its attraction as a place for weddings, private dinners and other social gatherings since 1964. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Public invited to pair of candidate forums

Kane County—The League of Women Voters offers two candidate forums for the public. Candidates in contested races for Kane County Sheriff, Kane County Treasurer, and Kane County Board Districts 9 and 15 have been invited to participate in a forum on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, at 7 pm at the Batavia City Hall.

Candidates in contested races for the 14th Congressional District will appear in a forum on Monday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Norris Cultural Arts Center, 1040 Dunham Road, St. Charles. Contested candidates for Illinois Senate District 25 and Illinois Representative District 50 will also participate in this forum. This forum is sponsored by the Leagues of Geneva-St. Charles, Batavia and Elgin.

The public is invited to both forums and will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates. Each forum will be moderated by a member of the League of Women Voters. The Jan. 18 forum will also include a panel of representatives from the media. At the end of the forums, audience members will be invited to meet informally with the candidates.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization which never endorses candidates. The purpose of league candidate forums is to offer the public an opportunity to hear and compare the views of candidates in an unbiased setting. Additional information may be obtained via

Pet stores now required to disclose animal health history

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is reminding the public about a new law effective Jan. 1, 2011, designed to protect consumers by requiring pet stores, animal shelters and animal controls to disclose certain information before they sell or adopt out cats and dogs.

“Consumers have a right to know where an animal was bred or whether it has chronic medical problems before they buy it,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “This new law strengthens the state’s Animal Welfare Act and makes sure consumers receive the information they need to make an informed purchase decision.”

Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 5772 (Public Act 96-1470) into law last August. It requires pet stores, animal shelters and animal controls to disclose the following information on or near an animal’s cage:

• Retail price, including additional charges
• Breed, age, date of birth, sex and color of the dog or cat
• Details of vaccinations and health history
• Name, address and identification number of the breeder
• Details of any inoculation or medical treatment received while at the facility

Consumers also must receive a copy of the information at the time of purchase. The law recognizes animal shelters and animal controls, which often care for strays, may not possess an animal’s complete medical history and allows them to estimate some information.

Currently, pet stores are required to disclose this information if it is requested by the consumer, but it is unclear when the information must be disclosed. Thus, some pet stores do not share it until after the sale is final.

H1N1 vaccine available for all residents

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department will begin scheduling appointments for the H1N1 vaccine for all Kane County residents, now that the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that all Illinoisans will be eligible to receive the H1N1 flu vaccination.

The IDPH announcement also mentions that pharmacies that have ordered vaccine should be able to provide H1N1 flu vaccinations in the coming weeks.

“This is good news for Kane County and means more people will be able to be protected against the H1N1 virus just as we head into the worst of the flu season,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Health Department. ”With hospitals, clinics, private providers and soon your local pharmacy with their own supplies, all residents over the age of 6 months will have access to the vaccine. Now that the supply is abundant, we encourage everyone to consider getting vaccinated.”

Residents may call the Health Department’s Call Center at (630) 723-5414 to make an appointment.

Hesed House director still believes in miracles

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove resident Ryan Dowd makes no small plans. Ask the director of the Aurora-based Hesed House what his goals are for the organization, and his answer is simple.

“We’re trying to save the world,” he said with a smile.

Dowd began his first paid work for Hesed House 10 years ago this month, as a part-time employee in the emergency shelter.

The shelter, the second largest of its kind in Illinois, provides an overnight place to stay, take a shower, do laundry and receive a meal.

In addition to providing a person’s basic emergency needs, however, Hesed House also provides a myriad of services that help to identify and break through the person’s individual barriers that prevent them from escaping the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Whether it is mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse, a medical or legal issue or something else, a case manager will work with the individual and other professionals to help the person create a plan.

“The idea is to help the person develop a plan to get out of here,” Dowd said.

A less tangible goal for both Dowd and the agency as a whole is to allow people keep their dignity throughout the process.

“Poverty doesn’t have to be undignified,” he said. “It’s just a lot harder. And with extreme poverty, it’s almost impossible.”

He said that the ways through which he attempts to treat the individuals who come to Hesed House with dignity are, on the surface, all the little things.

“You don’t have to say yes to everything people ask for,” he said. “But you can say no in a way that preserves an individual’s sense of self-worth and self-value.”

Remembering people’s names and using them, trying to shake as many hands as he can, and trying to remember people’s birthdays are just a few of the ways he tries to do this.

Allowing someone to do something for him is another. His favorite time of the day is the morning, when the person who empties his waste basket comes to his office.

People who spend the night are expected to do chores and take on some responsibilities. It may seem like a little thing, he said, but it’s an opportunity for that individual to give him something.

“I am thankful that every morning he and I have the opportunity to trade places where he has what I need, and the only payment I can offer is my gratitude,” he said.

As for saving the world, he said the fact that there are 16 new people who show up at Hesed House each week motivates him to help 17 people to move on.

“If we just did that, we would end homelessness in five years,” he said.

If that seems naive, Dowd would say that in the 10 years he has been with Hesed House, he continues to see miracles. There is the person that seems like he will never get it right, who all of a sudden does.

He also feels that God looks out for Hesed House in a myriad of ways.

For example, although the food pantry has run out of food for a period of time, they have never had to turn anyone away. Just when things look bleak, someone will show up with a truckload of food. A man with size 14 feet needs a pair of shoes, and in the next clothing donation is a pair of size 14s.

Dowd marked his 10-year anniversary with Hesed House on Dec. 1. He celebrated by recalling the beliefs that originally brought him to Hesed House and that, 10 years later, keep him coming back.

• One person really can change the world.
• Every person is of equal value, even if their bank accounts aren’t.
• The average person can, and will, save another’s life if given the opportunity.
• Good triumphs over evil, eventually, if good has the courage to persist and suffer through persecution.

Hesed House, located in the old incinerator building on River Street in Aurora, is a one-stop shopping mall of nonprofits serving poor and homeless persons. Located within Hesed House
is Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, Inc., one of the largest food pantries in Illinois; Aurora Soup Kitchen, Inc., which serves nutritious meals to families and individuals in need; and Public Action
to Deliver Shelter, Inc., which has multiple residential and non-residential programs for homeless families and individuals.

Hoffman named Campton Hills police chief

Campton Hills—Campton Hills Village President Patsy Smith announced the appointment of Daniel Hoffman as the Campton Hills Chief of Police.

Hoffman will oversee the department, which employs six full-time and eight part-time police officers.

“The entire Village Board is delighted to have Chief Hoffman join us,” Smith said. “Rarely do you find a person with the combined capabilities in management, interpersonal communications and field experience that Dan brings to the organization.” Hoffman replaces former Police Chief Greg Anderson, who resigned in November.

Hoffman was hired as an Aurora police officer in 1979, where he served as a patrol officer and school resource officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 1990, where he oversaw patrol operations, narcotics/special operations and the investigative services bureau, before being promoted to lieutenant in 2004.

As a lieutenant, Hoffman oversaw patrol operations and administrative services. In 2007, Hoffman was promoted to police commander, where he oversaw three lieutenants, 10 sergeants, 75 officers and a civilian staff. Hoffman remained in this position until his retirement in July 2009.

In addition to his police career, Hoffman currently serves as the president of the Aurora Police Pension Fund, is a board member of the Aurora Police Credit Union, and a board member of Hesed House. He has been active in other community organizations as well.

An official swearing-in ceremony has yet to be scheduled.