Category Archives: Regional

Keeping the elderly safe during summer heat waves

Health Care Council of Illinois provides tips for protecting seniors
When temperatures and humidity rise, Illinois nursing homes go on alert. Seniors are particularly susceptible to serious health complications from hot weather, including heat exhaustion, heatstroke, sunburns and dehydration. The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), an association of nursing home professionals, offers valuable tips to the public on how to keep seniors safe and comfortable during this summer’s heat wave.

“Many seniors are on medications such as diuretics that make them more prone to the burning rays of the sun,” said Susan Duda-Gardiner, director of clinical services speaking on behalf of HCCI. “Just a short period of time in the sun can cause some major health complications.”

Based on the expertise nursing home professionals have gained in serving the elderly, the HCCI recommends everyone take the steps to protect seniors from extreme heat (located to the right).

One of the most important pieces of advice is that seniors should drink plenty of liquids during the hot summer months to make up for the loss of fluids due to sweat. Dehydration is a dangerous problem that can easily lead to hospitalization and become life-threatening to an elderly person.

As people age, their sense of thirst decreases and by the time an elderly person feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. Common symptoms of dehydration include confusion, poor skin elasticity, cracked lips, a dry mouth and a furrowed tongue.

The best form of hydration is drinking water. Stay away from drinks with caffeine because these beverages dehydrate the body. Seniors should consider carrying water bottles with them, such as those used by athletes, while spending time outdoors. On a regular basis, be sure to refill this bottle with water or a favorite non-caffeinated beverage to stay healthy. Seniors should always check with their physician to ensure that an increase in fluids is not medically contraindicated.

Sometimes seniors need reminders from family members, friends and caregivers to help them stay well-hydrated. Be sure to offer a variety of delicious beverages throughout the day to protect the health of a loved one, including offering a full glass of water to a senior when taking medications.

Tips to protect seniros from extreme heat
• Use an air conditioner to keep rooms cool. If air conditioning is unavailable, open windows on opposite ends of the house or building to cross-ventilate and increase air flow.
• Regularly attend to individuals who are most at risk for heat-related illnesses, including elderly people with heart, circulatory and pulmonary conditions. Many medicines, including those used for heart conditions, depression and allergies, also can make a person more sensitive to heat stress.
• Ensure that seniors are wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that allows the body to release heat.
• Seniors should always wear sun block when going outside, even if for a short period of time. Apply sunscreen one-half hours before heading outdoors. Not all clothes protect against sun exposure, so apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed areas, including under the sleeves and collar of a shirt or blouse.
• Wearing a hat that shades the face and covers the head is advised when spending time outdoors. Seniors who are sensitive to the sun should also cover their legs and refrain from wearing shorts.
• Seniors should always wear their sunglasses outdoors. Remember that the eyes of older people take a longer time to adjust from light to dark. When going indoors, a senior should take off his or her sunglasses before entering the building to prevent an accident. It also is a good idea to pause for several moments once inside the door, so that his or her eyes will have time to adjust to the diminished light.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is produced by the loss of normal fluids and salts in the body and results from exposure to heat, either indoors or outdoors. Some of the common symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, clammy skin; a body temperature of up to 103 degrees; weak, rapid pulse; shallow and quiet respirations; and muscles that may be tense or contracted.

Treatment includes keeping the individual quiet, resting in a cool place and increasing intake of cool, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated fluids. Consult a physician immediately if you believe an elder may be suffering from heat exhaustion.

Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a more serious heat-related illness resulting from direct exposure to high temperatures or the sun. Heatstroke commonly affects individuals who are debilitated or fatigued. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, nausea, spots before the eyes, ringing in the ears, bright red dry skin, rapid, strong pulse, and a body temperature of more than 103 degrees.

Treatment may include cooling off the individual, removing clothing, applying cool cloths, and giving him or her a sponge bath. Direct the individual to the nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible, if you notice any of these symptoms.

IDOT launches new construction website

Website offers in-depth look into IDOT construction projects
STATE—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Gary Hannig announced recently IDOT’s new innovative website, The Construction Zone Dashboard.

The website provides up-to-date information on active construction contracts, including those funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, after contract execution.

“This is one more way to offer more accessibility, accountability and transparency within our agency,” said IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig. “The public can get important information about projects in their communities in the convenience of their own home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by logging on.”

The public can search for contracts by location, IDOT District, or contractor. The website also provides a means for viewing the location of the contract on a map. It also provides information on the current status of the project as well as the location of the work, how far along the work is and an estimate of the completion date.

For more information on projects in the area, visit the Construction Zone Dashboard, at www.dot.il.gov/dashboardpublic.

$10.7 million collected from Voluntary Disclosure Program

STATE—The Department of Revenue has collected more than $4 million from mailings sent to 591 Illinois businesses as part of its ongoing effort to educate taxpayers and enforce existing tax laws. Another 119 businesses, who did not receive the mailing, came forward and paid $6.7 million in Use Tax owed under Illinois’ existing Voluntary Disclosure program.

“More than 700 taxpayers now understand their Use Tax obligation and will be reporting in the future,” said Brian Hamer, Director of Revenue. “Given this success, we are opening the program to all Illinois business taxpayers.”

As part of its Business Use Tax Voluntary Disclosure Program, the department identified likely non-filing businesses and offered them the opportunity to register for and pay four years of Use Tax (instead of six) and to avoid penalties. Two mailings generated over $4 million in voluntary payments from 591 businesses.

Any business that pays income and withholding tax but is not registered to pay Use Tax can visit the department’s web site at www.tax.illinois.gov to get more information on Business Use Tax Voluntary Disclosure and make application for the program.

In such situations, the taxpayer is required to remit the tax directly to the Department of Revenue. All states that administer sales taxes have a complementary use tax that prevents an out-of-state retailer from gaining a tax advantage over in-state retailers.

Use Tax is most commonly due when a taxpayer makes a purchase from a retailer outside of Illinois who does not collect Illinois tax. Examples include:
• A bank has office chairs shipped to it from a company in Ohio that does not collect Illinois tax. The bank owes Illinois Use Tax on the price of the chairs.
• A dentist buys tooth brushes to give patients from a New York mail order firm. The dentist owes Illinois Use Tax on the cost of the tooth brushes.
• A wholesaler that operates a warehouse in Illinois buys a fork-lift in Missouri and no tax is charged. The wholesaler owes Illinois Use Tax on the price of the fork lift.

Support after infant loss

Footprints, a bereavement program for parents and adult family members who are coping with a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death, will be presented by Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice (FVVH).

The program begins on Aug. 26 and meets Wednesday nights through Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva. There is no cost to attend the program, but registration is required by Tuesday, Aug. 18.

During the six-week program, participants will come to understand that grief is a normal, natural process and will learn the differences between how men and women grieve from a couple who lost their baby several years ago. Participants will also learn how to identify a support system to assist them in meeting their needs at this difficult time. Managing special dates and holidays will be discussed and participants will engage in discussion about considering pregnancy after loss and how they know when they are ready to move on.

Footprints sessions are led by a licensed professional and an experienced co-facilitator. The program is offered four times a year, but for those with immediate grief needs, short-term individual counseling is available between sessions. Spanish translation is available.

For more information or to register for Footprints, call (630) 232-2233, or e-mail info@fvvh.org.

LivingWell offers cancer survivor discussion

Aug. 20 presentation will address post-treatment issues
Geneva—LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, a provider of non-medical support at no cost for people living with cancer, will host a presentation on Life after Cancer: A Survivor Panel Discussion.

The presentation will take place on Thursday, Aug. 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. at LivingWell in Geneva and is open to the public. This program is free, but registration is requested at (630) 262-1111.

Join five cancer survivors for this panel discussion on the issues each faced once treatment ended and how they dealt with them. The questions addressed will include: What were their next steps? How have their lives changed? How do they deal with the fear of recurrence? What unexpected issues came up after treatment ended?

“No matter what type or stage of cancer we have had, we all have experienced a similar journey and similar fears and struggles,” said Susan Mielke, cancer survivor and panel discussion member. “Sharing our experiences helps others remember that they are ‘normal,’ and learning how one person manages those struggles can bring great insight to those who listen.”

Life after Cancer: A Cancer Survivor Panel Discussion is part of the Six-Weeks of Survivorship series focusing on optimizing health for cancer survivors.

Upcoming presentations include: Writing Your Life Story; Coping With Cancer-Related Neuropathy; Letting Go of Fear and Anger Through Meditation; Overcoming The Fear of Recurrence and I’m A Survivor … Now What? Attendees are welcome to attend any number of the presentations and are not obligated to be present for the entire series.

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center is a place where people living with cancer, their families and friends, can go for free information and support services that address the challenges of living with cancer.

LivingWell offers networking and support groups, educational programs, mind-body fitness classes, youth programs, a library, individual psychological and nutritional counseling and much more. LivingWell is located at 1803 W. State St., Geneva, and is online at www.LivingWellCRC.org.

LivingWell is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be contacted at (630) 262-1111. LivingWell is a certified 501c nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Delnor Heath System.

County offers property tax clinics

COUNTY—The Kane County Board of Review will offer nine Property Tax Clinics for Kane County taxpayers in 2009.

The clinics will:
• Help taxpayers understand how property taxes work, including an explanation of recent changes in the law.
• Dispel myths about taxes and assessments.
• Explain the appeal process, and provide the necessary forms and rules for filing appeals.
• Provide an opportunity for taxpayers to make sure they have all homestead exemptions to which they are entitled.

The first clinic will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 18, and the clinics will continue each first and third Tuesday through Dec. 15. All clinics will be held in the auditorium of Building A in the Kane County Government Center Campus on Route 31 in Geneva.

Both taxpayers and practitioners (attorneys, appraisers, brokers, etc.) are welcome to attend. For more information, call the Board of Review office at (630) 208-3818 or visit www.KaneCountyAssessments.org.

Final date for Senior Citizen Assessment freeze Oct. 1

COUNTY—The final date for the 2008 Senior Citizen Assessment freeze, taxes payable 2009, is Oct. 1.

If you did not file for 2008 and were older than 65 in 2008, total household income was $55,000 or less, and your property was owner-occupied on Jan. 1, 2008 and 2009, you should immediately contact the Kane County Supervisor of Assessement office, 719 Batavia Ave., Building C, Geneva, or (630) 208-3818.

After Oct. 1, seniors will be unable to take advantage of the assessment freeze for 2008.

Hatcher opens second local office

KANE COUNTY—State Rep. Kay Hatcher has announced the opening of a second office for 50th District residents.

The office opened Wednesday in the Batavia City Hall at 100 North Island Ave. District Director Tracy McDonnell will be available each Wednesday from 1 to 7 p.m. to aid constituents and coordinate one-on-one meetings with Hatcher.

“I’m pleased we are able to increase our district accessibility,” Hatcher said. “The Fox Valley is a diverse region, and we’re constantly searching for new ways to connect with our residents. An important part of that initiative is to offer extended evening hours to make access easier for those with traditional work schedules.”

The 50th District includes 21 townships, 15 villages and five cities. The Kane County portion includes Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Blackberry, Kaneville, Virgil and Campton townships, plus parts of Geneva, Batavia, Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery. The district serves almost all of Kendall County, excluding the northeastern portion of Oswego. Northville, Mission and Miller townships in LaSalle County are also part of the 50th District.

For more information or to schedule appointments, call (630) 553-3223.

Healing Gardens opens to public

St. Charles—Healing Gardens, a two-acre expanse of woodland and perennial gardens on Stone Hill Farm off Dean Road in St. Charles, announced its next opening date will be Sunday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The gardens are open to the public on certain dates for the purpose of enjoying the natural wooded setting and perennial gardens. The gardens are open at no cost to the public, however, donations of time or money for upkeep are welcome.

Healing Gardens is cultivated and hosted by Deborah Marqui, owner of Stone Hill Farm with her husband Buzz Marqui.

“August is a month of floral abundance,” Deborah Marqui said. “This month, for a donation of $4 to help with Healing Gardens upkeep, bring a quart size container and pick your own bouquet of garden flowers and foliage.”

Marqui, who is cancer-free from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 1996 and in remission from breast cancer since 2002, said she finds great restoration of spirit in her gardens and property and wants to share that with the public for their own rejuvenation. Visiting individuals or small groups are welcome to do as they please. No activity is required or requested. Stone Hill Farm is the home of Buzz and Deb Marqui, where they have lived since 1972, raising four children.

About Healing Gardens

37W249 Dean St., St. Charles.
(630) 377-1846
deb@dmarqui.com

2 acres of perennial gardens
in a wooded setting in St. Charles.

Open at no charge on the
second Sunday of each month from
April through October.
Donations of time or money are appreciated.

State warns people to avoid bats

Dozens of bat exposures already documented as busy bat season begins
STATE—Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold is warning Illinoisans to avoid contact with bats as we approach the time of year when bats are the most active. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois, and already this year, 37 bats have tested positive for rabies in 13 counties.

“In the last several years there have been an above average number of rabies cases in bats in Illinois. We’ve already received numerous phone calls this summer about people being exposed to bats,” Dr. Arnold said. “It’s important to remember that you should never try to approach or catch a bat in your home. Instead, call your local animal control agency for their recommendations.”

In 2008, 103 bats tested positive for rabies in Illinois.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Humans get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. If infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound, rabies can result. Without preventive treatment, rabies is a fatal disease.

“You cannot tell by looking at a bat if it is rabid. The animal does not have to be foaming at the mouth or be exhibiting other symptoms to have rabies,” said Connie Austin, state public health veterinarian. “Any wild mammal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.”

Changes in any animal’s normal behavior, such as difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. For example, rabid skunks, which normally are nocturnal and avoid contact with people, may approach humans during daylight hours. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground, or is unable to fly, is more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached but should never be handled.

Follow these tips
• Be a responsible pet owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets.

• Seek veterinary assistance for your pet immediately if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.

• Call the local animal control agency to remove stray animals in your neighborhood.

• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.

• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.

• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

Health Department supports World Breastfeeding Week

KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department supports World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, as a way to increase awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.

The Kane County Breastfeeding Coalition is a group composed of lactation consultants, nutritionists, nurses and educators who are working on a unified, county-wide message that “Breast milk is more than just food.”

The coalition has developed posters, buttons and bookmarks to initiate conversation and education regarding the message for parents and providers alike. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2009 is “Breastfeeding: A vital emergency response. Are you ready?”

Its objectives are:
• To draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide.
• To stress the need for active protection and support of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.

• To inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, governments, aid agencies, donors and the media on how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency.

• To mobilize action and nurture networking and collaboration between those with breastfeeding skills and those involved in emergency response.

The Kane County Breastfeeding Coalition was formed in recognition that parents in Kane County needed more information and more support in making choices about feeding their new babies.

Life-saving intervention
Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies—child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhea, respiratory illness and malnutrition.

Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Emergency preparedness is vital.

Supporting breastfeeding in non-emergency settings will strengthen mothers’ capacity to cope in an emergency. More information is available at worldbreastfeedingweek.org.

Dickson-Murst Farm: It’s about the kids

MONTGOMERY—When Day at the Farm is held Sunday, Aug. 23, activities and displays that are kid-oriented will once again be prominent.

“We’ve always made our events for families, but after our successful Farm Camp, we realize even more how much kids love the farm,” farm partner Ken Wolf said.

Youngsters enjoy the hayrides, especially when they are horse-drawn, but they also like sitting behind a tractor. After the rides, there are tractors to look at, and at noon, a tractor parade.

The day includes kiddie tractor pulls, too. There are classes for different age and weight groups, and girls as well as boys are encouraged to participate.

“In fact, in the past couple years the girls have done a lot of winning,” partner and event photographer Merrie Woodward said.

For children who like quieter games, there are coloring and drawing opportunities. New this year will be display of the farm “inventions,” developed by local youngsters during the recent Farm Camp, as well as a “quilt” they created out of paper. Pony rides and a petting zoo give kids a chance to meet farm animals.

Day at the Farm is a free event focused on farms and family. The Conservation Foundation, owner of the farm and co-host of the event, notes that the event will be held rain or shine, with parking available in adjacent areas.

Dickson-Murst Farm is at 2550 Dickson Road on the west side of Montgomery. It is one mile east of Route 47, two miles west of Orchard Road, between Route 30 and Galena Road.

For information or sponsorship opportunities, call (630) 272-0686.

Frasz steers project for more semi-quiet zones

County obtains state funds for wayside horn installations
by Martha Quetsch
KANE COUNTY—Kane County Board member Drew Frasz is thrilled about the progress of his proposed wayside horn installation at railroad crossings between Campton Hills and Maple Park.

He recently learned from state Sen. Chris Lauzen that the state’s 2010 budget allocated $250,000 for a county project to install wayside horns at the two easternmost crossings, at LaFox Road and Brundige Road.

“We’re really excited about it. It’s one of those rare projects that actually gets funding. So the hard part is done,” Frasz said Tuesday.

Since Frasz took office last year, the concern he has heard most from his constituents is about the noise from train whistles, particularly from people in Mill Creek subdivision, near the LaFox and Brundige crossings.

By installing wayside horns at railroad crossings, communities including DeKalb and Elburn met federal safety requirements for stopping train whistles from blaring there under most circumstances.

Frasz’ proposal is to place wayside horns at several more crossings to the west, possibly as far as Pritchard Road near Maple Park. He hopes to obtain additional state funding from future state budgets for this long-range goal.

“It will make a big impact on the quality of life in Mill Creek and to the west, as we go forward,” Frasz said.

Frasz said he will work with officials from the Kane County Transportation Committee and Department of Transportation to set up a fund in which to place the state money for the wayside horns project.

No engineering planning has been done yet for the project; that is the next step, Frasz said.

“We didn’t want to start the process until we secured funds,” Frasz said.

KDOT employees could provide the engineering work for the project, to keep costs down, Frasz said.

Lauzen credited Frasz’ initiative for securing the state funding. To support his quest for the funding, Frasz compiled a detailed, long-range prospectus for wayside horn installation in western Kane County.

“It really was his overall plan … he did a great job,” Lauzen said.

Frasz estimated that wayside horns and project engineering for each crossing will cost up to $125,000. If the cost is lower, the county could install the wayside horns at a third crossing in the first phase of the project, at Howard Road, Frasz said. Blackberry Township contributed $10,000 toward the project, as it did for the Elburn wayside horns.

Firefighters golf for scholarship fund

Annual Big Kahuna outing took place at Tanna Farms
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—An annual golf outing that raises money for scholarships also is an opportunity for local firefighters to share some time together away from the station.

This year’s Big Kahuna Classic took place Aug. 1 at Tanna Farms golf course in Geneva.

“It’s a light-hearted event, and at the same time, it raises money,” said participant Robert Cahill, a firefighter with the Sugar Grove Fire Department.

In addition to firefighters, the event’s golfers also are paramedics and other employees of local fire departments.

Cahill’s foursome, one of dozens participating in the outing, included Dave Blankenship, a Sugar Grove firefighter, Brandon Kotecki, a firefighter for the Sugar Grove North Aurora fire departments, and Bill Eby, a pilot and former Sugar Grove firefighter.

Paula Lacey, administrative assistant at the Sugar Grove Fire Department, also was part of this group. They shared some laughs, some divots and some sharp longshots and putts during the all-day event that ended with an outdoor supper and prizes.

The Big Kahuna was named after Mark Southern, the husband of a local firefighter, who passed away several years ago. Southern’s friends called him “The Hawaiian,” because he looked like a big Samoan, they said. After Southern died, Hanson and other area firefighters decided to honor his memory with an annual golf outing.

In its first year, the Big Kahuna outing raised money to help the Southern family, which includes his widow, Elburn firefighter Christine Southern. Since then, proceeds from the golf outing have funded scholarships for graduating high-school seniors with a parent employed by a fire department.

Proceeds from the Big Kahuna have funded two or three scholarships per year of up to $1,000 each, said Nancy Faber of Virgil. Faber and her daughter, Becky, cruised the course in a golf cart during the outing, selling raffle tickets.

PHOTO: Sugar Grove firefighter Dave Blankenship is poised to putt, while fellow firefighter Robert Cahill holds the flag, on a green at Tanna Farms golf course in Geneva during the Aug. 1 Big Kahuna Classic. The annual event honors Mark Southern and raises money for college scholarships. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Bomb threat received at County Courthouse

KANE COUNTY—Officials evacuated the Kane County Courthouse Friday afternoon after an employee in the Kane County Probation office received a phone call saying there was a bomb in the building.

According to a statement released from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, the incident occurred at 4:30 p.m. The normal business of the court held at the courthouse, at 37W777 Route 38, had been concluded for the day and no trials were ongoing at the time of the incident.

Sheriff’s deputies, along with members of court security and the Sheriff’s Department Bomb squad, responded to the incident.

As of the latest information provided by the department, no suspicious packages were found, and the Sheriff’s Department will be conducting an investigation into the threat.

Illinois EPA refers railroad to Attorney General for enforcement

Agency alleges environmental damage from ethanol spill
SPRINGFIELD—Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott has asked the Illinois Attorney General’s office to proceed with enforcement action against Illinois Central Railroad Co., d/b/a Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad, as a result of a recent train derailment which resulted in a large ethanol release causing fires and contamination of the waters of the state.

On Friday, June 19, 2009, a 114-car Canadian National train was traveling east from Freeport to Chicago when 14 tank cars, each of which contained 30,000 gallons of a mixture of 95-97 percent ethanol and 3-5 percent gasoline, derailed sometime between about 8:35 p.m. and 8:50 p.m., at the Mulford Road Crossing (mile post 80) in the southeast section of Rockford, Ill. and Perryville, Ill.

Twelve of the derailed cars caught on fire, and it is believed that the majority of these cars’ contents (about 360,000 gallons) were consumed in the blaze. The two other derailed tanker cars that did not burn were compromised and released their contents. An estimated quantity of 55,000 to 75,000 gallons of ethanol was released to the surrounding ballast and soils and into a nearby creek that is a tributary to the Kishwaukee River.

The response ultimately involved at least 26 fire departments. While some of the fire was extinguished by water, local fire officials determined that the best course of action was to let the ethanol burn to minimize impact on the nearby creek. The intense fire caused the death of one motorist and seven to nine others went to the hospital. About 600 homes in the surrounding half mile area were evacuated out of a concern for potential vapor releases, explosions and fire.

On Sunday, June 21, a fish kill was identified by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources into Whiteside County. The IDNR believes that the fish kill is related to the ethanol spill that originated in Rockford; however, this has not been confirmed as of this date.

The Illinois EPA has requested that the Illinois Attorney General require Canadian National perform certain activities to remedy any environmental damage. This would include implementing a sampling plan for the soils and groundwater in the area where the derailment and fire took place, as well as the path the liquid ethanol traveled from the derailed tank cars that did not burn to the creek that led to the Kishwaukee River. Canadian National must also submit all results the Illinois EPA, and perform necessary cleanups.

In addition, Canadian National must conduct a well survey of community water supply and private wells in the area, arrange for sampling of these wells and, if needed, provide an alternative source of drinking water. Canadian National should conduct sampling of dead fish to conclusively determine whether the fish kill was attributable to the release of ethanol. The Railroad must also submit an aquatic restocking plan for the Rock River and the Kishwaukee River. Canadian National should perform all necessary repairs to property damaged by the derailment.

Rogner named Assistant Director of Illinois Department of Natural Resources

SPRINGFIELD—Governor Pat Quinn named John D. Rogner the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Rogner joins the IDNR from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), where he has served since 1998 as supervisor of the Chicago field office.

“John Rogner is one of the most respected natural resource conservation professionals in the country and we are very happy to bring his knowledge, expertise, and wealth of ideas to state government,” Quinn said.

As IDNR assistant director, Rogner will serve as a liaison to the Department’s federal partners and work to rebuild its fish and wildlife programs, as well as help manage new initiatives on youth retention and recruitment. He is joining IDNR as part of an agreement with the USFWS intended to strengthen fish and wildlife programs and projects managed cooperatively by both agencies.

“I am thrilled to have John Rogner join us as we work to rebuild the Department of Natural Resources, restore public faith in the agency, and implement new ways to get more young people involved in outdoor recreation and conservation stewardship,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

Rogner has more than 25 years of experience in federal wildlife, endangered species, and wetlands programs. As USFWS field office supervisor, Rogner has developed successful habitat restoration programs and relationships with public and private organizations dedicated to wildlife enhancement in northeast Illinois. For the past 10 years, he has chaired the Chicago Regional Biodiversity Council (Chicago Wilderness), a coalition of nearly 250 environmental, scientific, and cultural organizations.

John Rogner received both bachelors (1977) and masters of sciences (1981) degrees in Biological Sciences from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Governor Quinn also announced that Illinois citizens interested in conservation issues are invited to participate in the new Illinois Conservation Congress.

“The mission of the new Conservation Congress will be to propose and advocate actions to protect and conserve the natural resources of Illinois, and ensure through professional management the sustainable use, recreational opportunities, and enjoyment of those resources,” said Miller.

The new Illinois Conservation Congress will focus on youth recruitment and retention, public access, and funding issues. Committees of the Natural Resources Advisory Board will meet with interested citizens and constituent groups this summer and fall, with the new Conservation Congress convening at the IDNR headquarters in Springfield on Oct. 24-25.

More information on public involvement opportunities through the new Conservation Congress is available on the IDNR website at www.dnr.state.il.us.

Local United Way elects new leadership, appoints five new board members

ST. CHARLES—The United Way of Central Kane County elected new leadership and appointed five new board members at its June Board of Director’s Annual meeting.

John Neil, newly elected President, Board of Directors for United Way of Central Kane County, said, “The United Way of Central Kane County is committed to making a real difference in the lives of the people who live and work in the communities of St. Charles, Elburn, LaFox, Kaneville, Campton Hills, Geneva, and Wasco. This is the time of renewed energy to continue our commitment to fund important safety net programs during this difficult economic time. The Board, Staff, and I are looking forward to building our agency’s legacy of caring and compassion in meeting the growing needs in our communities.”

Neil is the general manager at Illinois Tool Works, Ramset Division, and has served on the United Way board for the past four years. He remains very active in the community.

To complete the leadership team, Carol McIntyre is serving as Vice President of Finance for a second year. She is a social worker at Village Counseling Center. Matt Richardson agreed to serve as Vice President of the campaign. He is Vice President of Commercial Banking at Harris Bank. Clinton Anderson, Operations Manager at Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream, was elected as Secretary.

“We are fortunate to have elected leadership who can contribute to the community with enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge,” Paula Yensen, Executive Director of the United Way of Central Kane County, said. “United Way plays an important role through contributions of caring people that support volunteers and agencies’ program that help people in their times of personal crisis and local disasters. Their viewpoint will enhance our ability in serving the needs of the community and the agencies we fund.”

The five new board members are Don Russell, AT&T; Jerry Orpen, Wine Sergi; Karin Podolski, Delnor Community Hospital; Ed Brooks, DiGiovine, Hnilo, Jordon, & Johnson; and John Schnier, Lutheran Social Services Illinois.

“The five new board members are a welcomed addition. Their commitment to the Central Kane County communities will enhance our ability to continue our mission,” Neil said.

The 27 United Way member agencies’ 41 programs provide mental health, rehabilitation, youth activities, health care, domestic violence, and elderly support programs throughout the Fox Valley.

The United Way of Central Kane County is a nonprofit, philanthropic corporation dedicated to addressing community needs by strengthening local service agencies and collecting and distributing voluntary contributions that support those agencies.

For more information about United Way of Central Kane County, or about volunteer opportunities contact Paula Yensen, Executive Director at (630) 377-1930.

Busch is candidate for circuit judge

COUNTY—Associate Judge Kevin T. Busch, recently announced his candidacy to fill a vacancy in the 16th Judicial Circuit. He will be running in the February 2010 primary election and is seeking the Republican nomination for Judge of the Circuit Court. It is a circuit-wide seat. The 16th Judicial Circuit encompasses all of: Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge R. Peter Grometer.

Busch was appointed to the position of associate judge in 2008. He was in private practice for the sixteen years preceding his appointment. He started his legal career working for the Kane County State’s Attorney in May, 1984, and served as an assistant state’s attorney until October 1992. After being named “prosecutor of the year” in 1989, Busch was appointed Chief of the Criminal Division in January, 1990.

His combined twenty-four years of extensive legal experience has given Busch a balanced perspective as a judge. As a result of his professionalism, Busch received a rating of “highly recommended “ for the associate judge position, by the Kane County Bar Association.

Busch is currently the presiding judge in DUI Court. He has also heard cases in Elgin Branch Court and Small Claims Court. He is certified to hear Felony and Capital cases.

A graduate of Eastern Illinois University and The John Marshall Law School- Chicago, Judge Busch is also a current member of the Illinois Judges Association and the Kane County Bar Association.

Busch has held one elective office as, Republican precinct committeeman in Batavia Township.

Prior to his appointment as a judge, Busch had been an active volunteer in his profession for the Kane County Bar Association and the Justinian Society of Lawyers.

As a member of the community, he also volunteered for many organizations. Most notably: Grace McWayne School, PTO past treasurer; Aunt Martha’s Youth Services Board member and currently serves as Chair of the Finance Committee at Holy Cross Church in Batavia, Illinois.

Busch has been married to his wife, Mariann, for nearly twenty-two years. They live in Kane County and have two teenage children.

Ellen needs your stuff for shelter

GENEVA—Planning is underway for the 6th Annual Ellen’s Excellent Sale at 1110 Union Street in Geneva, to benefit Lazarus House.

Join 15-year old Ellen Wildman by turning extra stuff into cash for Lazarus House. Last year, this Geneva garage sale benefit raised $8,000 in just 2 days.

Ellen and family are seeking donations of furniture, household goods, sporting equipment, home decor, toys, books and tools. Clothes or computer equipment cannot be accepted. All donations are tax deductible.
The sale will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 and 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday Aug. 8.

Donations will be accepted starting August 3rd. Call Ellen at (630) 418-7816 or Amy at (630) 414-7816 for more information or donation drop off times.

All proceeds will provide operating funds to Lazarus House, a year round shelter serving men, women and children who are homeless and connected to the Tri Cities and western rural Kane County. Lazarus House also provides grant-funded financial assistance to households at risk of homelessness.

Check withholding to avoid a tax surprise, IRS advises

CHICAGO—With 2009 half over, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds Illinoisans that there is no better time to check their 2009 federal income tax withholding levels to make sure they do not face any surprises when returns are due next spring.

The Making Work Pay Credit lowered tax withholding rates this year for 120 million American households. However, particular taxpayers who fall into any of the following groups should review their tax withholding rates to ensure enough tax is withheld: multiple job holders, families in which both spouses work, workers who can be claimed as dependents by other taxpayers and pensioners.

Failure to adjust your withholding could result in potentially smaller refunds or may cause you to owe tax rather than get a refund next year. So far in 2009, the average refund amount is $2,675 and 79 percent of all returns received a refund.

Because retirees typically have withholding from their pension payments, pension plan administrators or pension payers should be aware of the optional adjustment procedure for pension withholding announced in Notice 1036-P, Additional Withholding for Pensions for 2009, found at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1036p.pdf.

Social security beneficiaries, supplemental security income (SSI) recipients, disabled veterans and railroad retirees that receive this year’s one-time $250 economic recovery payment should be aware that the Making Work Pay credit will be reduced by the $250 payment amount. They may also want to review their withholding.

“The IRS withholding calculator on IRS.gov can help a taxpayer compute the proper tax withholding, said Sue Hales, IRS spokesperson for Illinois. “The worksheets in Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Withholding? (found at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p919.pdf), can also be used to do the calculation. If the result suggests an adjustment is necessary, the taxpayer should submit a new Form W-4, Withholding Allowance Certificate, to his or her employer or adjust the amount of quarterly tax paid.”

In addition, the IRS reminds unemployed workers that the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits they receive during 2009 are tax-free for federal income tax purposes. People who expect to receive more than that should consider having tax withheld from their benefit payments in excess of $2,400. Use Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, or the equivalent form provided by the payer to request withholding to begin or end.

Taxpayers should visit IRS.gov for more information about how to adjust federal income tax withholding. The Web site also has details on various tax incentives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as downloadable forms and publications. Free tax forms and publications are also available by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

History Center plants Victory Garden

GENEVA—Geneva History Center staff and volunteers have planted a Victory Garden in front of the building at 113 South Third Street. The garden includes three earthboxes brimming with crops such as tomatoes, Swiss chard, eggplant and more, as well as a striking sign by local artist and author Gina Olszowski.

When the United States entered World War II, the government encouraged citizens to grow Victory Gardens to help with the war effort. By the end of the war, fully 44 percent of the fresh vegetables grown in the United States were home grown in family Victory Gardens.

The Geneva History Center chose to create a Victory Garden in connection with its ongoing veterans’ exhibition. In addition, the Victory Garden serves as a reminder to citizens that locally grown food conserves scarce resources and provides a source for healthy, delicious and nutritious meals.

Those wishing to view the Geneva History Center’s Victory Garden may visit the History Center during normal business hours, Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays, noon-4 p.m. through the end of the growing season.

For more information, contact Geneva History Center Educator Margaret Selakovich at (630) 232-4951.

Batavia production highlights Kaneland talent

by Susan O’Neill
Nearly half of the small cast of a locally produced play this summer share something in common—they are either Kaneland High School students or Kaneland alumni.

Elburn resident Lynn Meredith said she was surprised to find so many actors from Kaneland at the audition she went to for Shakespeare on Clark’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Meredith majored in theatre at Illinois State University after graduating from Kaneland High School. She was a cast member of the Chicagoland children’s theatre group Alphabet Soup during the 1990s, and continued her acting career when she lived in Cincinnati.

However, since she moved back to Elburn several years ago, she had not been on the stage.

When she saw the notice for auditions for the Batavia-based summer theatre production, she decided on a whim to try out. Meredith said she had been trained in Shakespeare, and had always wanted to try acting in a Shakespeare role.

She said that “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of the bard’s lighter plays, with a fairly simple plot. She plays Titania, the Queen of the Fairies.

“The costumes are gorgeous,” she said. “As a fairy, I get to wear really fun things.”

She said the cast, although young, is very talented and the actors have a good grasp of what could be seen as difficult.

“I’ve been really pleased with how it’s turned out,” she said. “It’s a good production.”

Bryan Renaud, one of her fellow actors, graduated from Kaneland High School this year. Renaud, who soon turns 18, has been acting since he was seven years old, when he appeared in a Waubonsee Community College staging of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Renaud had roles in a number of plays while at Kaneland High School, including “As You Like It” last fall. He played Lumiere, a major role in “Beauty and the Beast,” staged at the high school this spring.

He has acted with the First Street Playhouse and performed in a number of Shakespeare on Clark productions.
Renaud has a lead role in this summer’s performance and plans to attend North Central College in the fall, where he will major in theatre performance.

“Acting is my focus,” he said. “This is what I need to be doing.”

The outdoor summer theatre is sponsored through a partnership of All Dressed Up Costumes, a costume rental company, and Batavia MainStreet.

All Dressed Up Costumes owner Julane Sullivan is also the director. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the summer theatre offering staged at Clark Island.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Staged on Clark Island in Batavia

Performances:
7 p.m. on Friday, July 31
and Saturday, Aug. 1
6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2
(75-minute act; no intermissions)

www.downtownbatavia.com
www.alldressedupcostumes.com

Cast includes Kaneland alumni
Lynn Meredith
Bryan Renaud
Nikky Prusinski

Kaneland students
Kasey Ostarello
Ben Tennant
Ryan Stasell
Kevin Krasinski

Photo: The Kaneland area is well-represented in a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Shakespeare on Clark on Clark Island in Batavia. Many of the 18 members of the cast are current students of Kaneland or alumni. Pictured are some of the Kaneland students and alumni that are performing, including Nikki Prusinski, Bryan Renaud, Ben Tennant and Kasey Ostarello (Dan Bach of Batavia also pictured). The final performances of the summer are at 7 p.m. Friday, July 31, Saturday, Aug. 1, and at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Courtesy Photo

Securing good-paying jobs in Kane, Kendall, DeKalb Counties

REGIONAL—As unemployment continues to be an issue for residents of Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties, the River Valley Workforce Investment Board (WIB) has taken on the challenge of securing jobs in the area, for now and the future.

Focused on ensuring that businesses can compete in a global marketplace by helping them attain a highly qualified workforce, the River Valley Workforce Investment Board is committed to enhancing the local economy. Recently, the WIB launched Training for Tomorrow (T42), a workforce training program designed to protect the jobs of current employees while at the same time growing jobs that will be needed in the long term.

The training provided to participants is designed to improve skills so that employees can meet the needs of the current and future job market. The WIB received nearly $500,000 in federal stimulus dollars to be used for enhancing skills of the current workforce.

Workforce investment boards were created under a 1998 federal law called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), mandated to create a workforce development system that meets the needs of employers for qualified workers and increases employment opportunities for residents. The River Valley Workforce Investment Board plays a key role in the economic development of Kane, Kendall and DeKalb Counties. Bringing together myriad employment, training and educational services, the Board provides a comprehensive and easily accessed system that supports the development of a skilled, well-qualified workforce. Through its network and its oversight functions, the Board works to streamline access for businesses to a qualified pool of job applicants. Additionally the Board oversees the workforce system that provides resources and services to help recruit, train and retain a skilled workforce. The system also provides a single source for jobseekers to learn about and utilize a broad range of employment, education and related services.

Employers in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb Counties interested in the Training for Tomorrow program should contact the River Valley Workforce Investment Board at (630) 859-9923 or email munsonruth@rivervalleywib.org.

Industries targeted by T42
T42 is targeted at industries that will be the job providers of the future and whose current employees need their skills upgraded to be able to compete in a changing market. Those industries include:
• Healthcare
• Manufacturing
• Information Technology
• Agri-Business
• Transportation, Warehousing
Logistics
• Hospitality Retail
• Finance Insurance
• “Green” focused businesses

Money sought for $30 million road extension, overpass construction

County asks state, federal government for funding
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Kane County transportation officials want the Anderson Road extension and railway overpass project built in 2011 and 2012 but cannot meet that goal unless funding for the $30 million construction project becomes available.

“We currently do not have funding to build the roadway,” said Tom Rickert, Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT) director.

Rickert updated Elburn officials on the status of the Anderson Road project during Monday’s Village Board meeting.

KDOT officials have been negotiating with Sho-Deen Inc. about purchasing the right of way for the road extension, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said. Sho-Deen owns the property and plans a business and residential development along the proposed extended roadway, between Route 38 to Keslinger Road.

The project remains a priority for the county, KDOT official Paul Holcomb said.

“It will allow for better emergency (vehicle) response and more opportunities for roadway connectivity,” Rickert said.

The county already has spent $2.8 million for engineering and feasibility studies, and will spend $1.4 million on additional engineering required before it can purchase the right of way.

The county received federal funding to help pay for those planning expenses. Rickert said the county has asked for construction funding from the next federal transportation bill. Also, Rickert said the county continues to request money for the project from the state.

The Council of Mayors has allocated $2.5 million for the Anderson Road project, Rickert said.

Some funding could come from local impact fees, although that source would depend upon the revival of development in Elburn, he said.

“Typically, with a federal project, we see the county, the village, the state and the developer trying to address some of the funding needs,” Rickert said.

The extra mile

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—All-around athlete Jeremy Kenny will use his running ability in September to raise money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Kenny, who graduated from Kaneland High School in 2004, participated in football, wrestling and track while a student there. He wrestled all four years on the varsity team.

Gary Baum, his wrestling coach, said Kenny started out with a lot of ability and is one of the hardest-working people he knows.

“He has a work ethic that is unbelievable,” Baum said. “He would run to school from home (Elburn) just for the work-out.”

While pursuing a degree in physical education at Northern Illinois University, Kenny began coaching wrestling under Baum at Kaneland High School in 2006. After his first year as a volunteer, the school offered him a paid job coaching the team.

“Jeremy is a very soft spoken individual who lets his actions speak for him,” Kaneland High School Athletic Director Leigh Jaffke said. “He is a hard worker and dedicates himself completely to whatever he does.

Under his leadership, the wrestling team won regionals in 2007. That year, eight of the seniors on the team graduated, and Kenny said he has since been in the process of rebuilding the team.

“I have a lot of expectations for good things this year,” Kenny said.

Baum said he wasn’t surprised to learn that Kenny was planning to run a marathon.

“That’s a pretty massive undertaking to prepare for such an event,” Baum said.

The marathon, which takes place on Sept. 20 in Maui, Hawaii, is 26.2 miles. Kenny said that although he has not run that far yet, he has been working up to it. He recently ran 17 miles, and will soon do a 20-mile and a 23-mile practice run with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program on the Chicago lakefront.

Although Kenny doesn’t have a personal connection with AIDS or HIV, he said he has wanted to run a marathon for some time, and this allows him to have a positive impact doing something he loves.

This coming school year he will substitute teach in the Kaneland School District and continue to coach wrestling while he trains for the marathon. He currently lives in DeKalb but plans to move back to Elburn in about a month, he said.

He has so far raised $1,400, through a cash raffle he organized and from his website, http://tinyurl.com/mc3ven. His goal is $3,500.

Two crashes on Route 38, one fatal

crash_mapBatavia man dies from injuries Sunday
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn—Two collisions occurred within two days on Route 38, one resulting in the death of a Batavia man.

At 5:16 p.m. July 12, Elburn and Countryside firefighters happened upon a crash at the intersection of Route 38 and Anderson Road. They rendered aid to four injured people including Robert G. Schipp, 74, of Batavia, who died from his injuries after being taken to Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

Elburn police investigated the accident and determined that a Toyota Prius that was southbound on Anderson north of Route 38 was struck broadside by a Ford Freestar that was westbound on Route 38. Schipp was driving the Toyota, and his wife, Mary B. Schipp, 68, was a passenger. The Ford van was driven by John G. Steele, 74, of West Chicago, and Rita K. Steele, 68, was a passenger.

Mary Schipp and the Steeles also were transported to Delnor, and were treated and released.

The crash was the second fatal accident at the intersection in seven months.

The other Route 38 accident this week was on July 10, when five people were injured, one critically, in a three-car collision between Harley and Pouley roads in Campton Hills. The crash occurred at about 10 a.m., when an eastbound Pontiac Bonneville driven by William Gallon, 43, of DeKalb, drifted over the center line and hit the rear axle of a westbound truck, Campton Hills Police Chief Greg Anderson said.

The Pontiac then hit a Volkswagon traveling west, driven by Lynn Gorecki, 23, of Maple Park.

Gallon was taken to Delnor Hospital with critical injuries, and then transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where he now is in fair condition.

Gorecki and the tow truck driver, Simon Acevedo of Carpentersville, were treated at Denor and released. Two passengers in Gallon’s car, Barbara Stephen, 58, Louquanious Henerdson, 33, both of DeKalb, were taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, where they were treated and released.

The crash is under investigation. Although it rained the morning of the collision, the weather likely was not a factor, Anderson said.

“It didn’t appear to be hazardous; it was not raining heavily at the time of the crash,” Anderson said.

Gallon was ticketed for improper lane use and driving without proof of insurance.

Following each crash, Route 38 was closed for several hours during the investigations.

Kane County Fair set for St. Charles

ST. CHARLES—The Kane County Fair and Festival is scheduled for five days, July 15-19, and tens of thousands of spectators are expected again this year to enjoy America’s Great County Fair and Festival on Randall Road in St. Charles.

This is the 141st annual event, and it will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including air-conditioned 50,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall, total blacktopping of the entertainment and eating areas, new drainage throughout, new and larger areas for exhibitors and new facilities for equestrian competition and horse care.

Entertainment will be at an all time high. The $5 admission gives the fair goers continuous free shows that include The Elephant Encounter, Kids Bucks game shows, Sheer Magic shows, Swifty Swine pig races, Power Tractor pullers, Go Cart Monster truck rides, Grandpa Cratchet comedy show, Miller petting zoo and stilt walkers. Champion blue-ribbon farm animals will be on display throughout the duration of the fair, with a live auction on Sunday afternoon.

Daily gate admission also includes live band entertainment on the Miller Lite Sound Stage. Appearing will be the Buckinghams, American English, Howard and the White Boys, Sixteen Candles, Dayna Marlo, Kimi Hayes Band, Tin Horse Band, Chase Daniels and Western Star Band, Kimi Hayes Band, CAOZZ, Bruce Korosa Polka Orchestra and other exciting acts beginning at 2 p.m. each day. Show times are available at www.kanecountyfair.com.

Nightly main arena shows will feature Motor Cross champions, the International Truck Pull, the demolition derby and the Megasarus. Wild west entertainment includes the TV Champion Bull Riders, and the Big Hat Rodeo. Main arena shows require an additional admission fee.

Daily admission is $5, children 5 and under free. On Wednesday, opening day admission is $1. Thursday, seniors 62 and over receive free admission noon to 4 p.m., and seniors ride free with grandchild. Pay one price tickets are available for $20, which includes admission and unlimited ride arm band.

Food will include beer, burgers and world champion brats, ribs, pizza, corn dogs, lemonade, cotton candy, ice cream and homegrown sweet corn. This is fair and country food at its best.

The Kane County Fair and Festival is located on Randall Road in St. Charles between Routes 64 and 38 Gates open daily at noon

Rep. Foster votes to increase funds for vets

Foster votes to enhance health care of women veterans and to shore up VA funding

STATE—Rep. Bill Foster (D-14) voted recently in favor of legislation designed to aid wounded veterans and the families of those killed in service.

“As the cost of everyday items like food, housing and medicine increase, it is important to ensure that the veterans benefits earned by those who have been wounded or the families of those killed in battle can keep up with the prices of basic necessities,” Foster said. “Making sure benefits match current living expenses is simply the right thing to do for our veterans and their families.”

Foster voted in favor of S. 407, the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, which provides for an annual cost-of-living adjustment to veterans survivor benefits and disability compensation.

Foster also voted for H.R. 1211, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act. This legislation would expand and improve health care services available to women veterans. Some of the provisions of the bill include an assessment of women’s health care programs, medical care for newborn children of women veterans, enhancement of PTSD treatment for women, and the establishment of a pilot program for child care services.

“Our veterans have bravely fought to defend our country, and they deserve the support and resources they need to succeed back here at home,” Foster said. “With soldiers facing difficult conditions overseas, it is of the utmost importance that we provide both men and women with quality medical care and services so that they can lead healthy and prosperous lives.”

In addition, Foster voted for H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget and Reform Transparency Act, which provides Congress with greater ability and incentive to develop appropriation bills that best anticipate future demand for VA services. The legislation would ensure that the VA and other veteran care givers have peace of mind and stability in their budgets, allowing them to anticipate their future veteran care.

Forest Preserve District sponsors summer bike safety clinics for kids

COUNTY—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is encouraging its youngest citizens to ride safely this summer, by hosting two “bicycle rodeos,” designed to teach bike safety to children.

The first bike rodeo is Saturday, July 11, at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora. The event will take place at the lower shelter, nearest the lake. Oakhurst Forest Preserve is located at 1680 Fifth Ave. The second bike rodeo is set for Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Great Western Trailhead, south of LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles on Dean Street. Both events are from 1 to 4 p.m.

The rodeos will include helmet-fitting stations, bike safety checks, tips on how to see and be seen on a bike, how to watch for potential hazards, and use of hand signals. The rodeos will include a riding course to teach young riders how to be safe and test their skills. Bike rodeo participants must bring their own bikes and helmets to participate. Forest Preserve officers will teach the course along with volunteers from local trail and rider groups and bicycle shops.

Each child who completes the bike rodeo will receive a certificate of completion. Plus, the district will give away free back sacks to the first 50 kids who complete the rodeo at either location.

“Families should bring their bikes and helmets and enjoy our wonderful trail system with the kids, after the rodeo course,” Police Chief Mike Gilloffo said.

There is no charge for this event, but please RSVP. Call the Community Affairs Department of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County at (630) 444-3064.

Drivers urged to comply with posted speed limits

Photo radar vans click to capture speeders in work zones
STATE—The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) alongside Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Tollway want to remind motorists construction season is underway and warn that tough laws are in place to buckle down on speeders in work zones. Legislation that was signed into law back in 2004 targets drivers who openly disregard work zone speed limits and endanger the lives of construction workers and other drivers. The enforcement of this legislation has been effective in reducing work zone fatalities by over 50 percent.

“Construction season is in full effect and we want to urge motorists to comply with the posted speed limits in all work zones. We want to send a message to motorists now to slow down in work zones,” IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig said. “If you are caught speeding in a work zone, at minimum you will be looking at a fine of $375, and while some may think that’s harsh, you cannot put a price on a life.”

The law states that first-time work zone speeders, including those caught on camera, will be hit with a fine of $375, with $125 of that sum going to pay off-duty State Troopers to provide added enforcement in construction or maintenance zones. Two-time offenders are subject to a $1,000 fine, including a $250 surcharge to hire Troopers, and the loss of their license for 90 days. Tickets received in a work zone require a mandatory court appearance.

This summer, five vans will be deployed across the state. The specially equipped vans are staffed by trained ISP officers who can take photographs of drivers speeding in IDOT and Tollway construction and maintenance zones. Tickets are reviewed and approved by ISP and will be issued by mail to vehicle owners. The registered owner will not be liable if someone else is driving the vehicle. Businesses and rental companies are required to provide the driver information for any violations occurring with their vehicles. To date, over 8,000 citations have been issued across the state. In addition, drivers who hit a worker are subject for up to a $10,000 fine and 14 years in prison.

“As the work zone season is well underway, we want to remind motorists of the importance of slowing down and staying alert when workers are present,” said Illinois State Police Director Jonathan E. Monken. “In an effort to reduce fatalities and injuries, Troopers will be out in force strictly enforcing the 45 mile per hour work zone speed limit, both for the safety of construction workers and motorists. Drivers can expect to see aggressive enforcement with increased patrol cars, photo enforcement vans and motorcycle units to help save lives on our roadways during this construction season.”

The work zone speeding crackdown is just one of the ways state transportation and law enforcement are working together to accomplish that goal. In 2003, there were 44 work zone traffic-related fatalities with five workers killed. 2007 showed a consistent decrease resulting in 21 traffic-related work zone fatalities with two workers killed.

“Enforcement efforts by Illinois State Police have played a critical role in keeping workers and motorists safe during the massive roadway rebuilding and widening projects underway on all of our Tollway, and the photo speed enforcement vans are a resource that drives home the message that speeding in construction work zones is unacceptable,” said Illinois Tollway Acting Executive Director Michael T. King. “Speeding, impatience, and driver inattention are the leading factors in work zone crashes, so we need drivers to slow down and stay alert in work zones for their own safety as well as our workers.”

Under the provisions of the Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act of 2004, Illinois State Police were given the authority to use cameras to enforce work zone speed limits in cases where workers are present. It also requires that signs be posted when work zone speed limits are being enforced by camera.

IDOT and Tollway officials stress the importance of complying with work zone speed limits even when workers are not present because of the dangers posed by features such as narrow lanes, lane shifts, reduced shoulder width, obstructions and drop-offs. Most people do not realize that over 90 percent of Illinois’ traffic related work zone fatalities are motorists.

For more information regarding photo radar enforcement, visit www.dot.il.gov/workzone/workzone5.html.

Foster announces more than $16 million for Kane transportation projects

Recovery Act to fund projects in the 14th District
STATE—Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) announced additional area transportation projects that will receive funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Foster supported. Foster announced seven other Recovery Act funded transportation projects in May.

“The funding for transportation projects that was included in the Recovery Act will allow vital transportation projects to move forward, and will create jobs for people throughout the 14th District,” said Foster.

Karen McConnaughay, Kane County Board Chairman, said, “This funding is vital to Kane County so we can continue to create jobs and grow the economy. We are seeing the Recovery at work.”

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) determined which projects would receive Recovery funds. The table at right lists the projects and awarded amounts. Contracts have been awarded, and are now being executed. The projects should be underway shortly.

Project location and awarded amount
• Resurface US 30/IL 56/IL 47:
$768,300
• Resurface West Bound ramp
on US 30/ IL 56 to IL 47:
$137,002
• Resurface US 30/ IL 47 from
Prairie St. to Jericho Rd.:
$1,028,822
• Resurface US 30/ IL 47 from
Jericho Rd. to Kendall County
line: $240,515
• Resurface US 30 from IL 47 to
Orchard Rd.: $996,676
• Repair bridge on US 30 cross-
ing Blackberry Creek: $69,858
• Resurface IL 25 from IL 72 to
I-90: $1,782,911
• Widen, resurface and add
turning lanes to IL 38:
$1,910,450
• Resurface various locations in
Kane County: $1,595,801
14th District total: $16,844,300