Category Archives: Regional

Enjoy the good stuff close to home

by Gwen Allen
The next time you’re in the mood for a concert, play or sporting event, rather than going to Chicago, take a look to the west. Often overlooked, the Dekalb Convocation Center is not only home for over 200 sporting and entertainment events annually, but is only a short distance away. Though built to serve Northern Illinois University, it has served people from the entire region since it opened in August 2002, said the center’s director, John Gordon.

With an estimated 300,000 people visiting the center each year, the $36 million multipurpose facility has easily earned its keep by offering a wide variety of events that cater to a broad audience, he said.

“Since it opened it has always had revenues over expenses, and that’s a directive we continue to set every year,” Gordon said. “We have a marketing department that goes to a lot of concerts and trade shows; our name is out there, we just are working at keeping it out there.”

He said many annual events visitors have come to expect add to the center’s success.

“We have a lot of staple events, such as six job fairs (annually), an annual farm show, the high school playoffs, a dog show, and then of course the commencement ceremonies for the university,” Gordon said. “We also try to do between seven to 11 concerts a year, but with the economic times the way they are, a lot of facilities are down in concerts. We are just spoiled by Chicago because a lot of bands go through here; there is a lot of traffic.”

Though they attract their fair share of “B” events, he said the center has consistently hosted many “A” list concerts.

“We definitely have had our Carrie Underwoods; we sold out on John Mayer, Dave Chappelle and Rascal Flatts,” Gordon said. “We do well at selling out the larger events, but they generally (still) do well everywhere.”

With 10,000 seats in the center, it isn’t difficult to host the larger events. Rather, it’s more difficult knowing what large events will fill all or most of those seats. To do that, Gordon said there is an open line of communication among himself, the students and community as a whole.

“I try to keep a pulse on the students and the people in the community to see what they are interested in,” Gordon said. “Sometimes I get e-mails, other times they leave a message. I have even had people stop me at the grocery store or while I’m getting my hair cut to share their ideas.”

Though entering its slow season, the center still has a lot on its plate for future events.

“We are working on a pretty big country show that we hope to announce in April, and we are working on some rock shows for April too,” Gordon said. “There is a possibility for a Motown show in the future too.”
The center offers “All Access,” a free online membership that allows users to get new event notifications and discounts at www.niuconvo.com.

The Dekalb Convocation Center is located at 1525 Lincoln Highway, Dekalb. Call the ticket office at (815) 752-6800 or call Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212. Athletic tickets are available through NIU Athletics at 1-800-332-HOWL or at the Convocation Center box office.

Photo: The DeKalb Convocation Center is a $36 million multipurpose facility that opened in August 2002. The center offers a wide variety of sports and entertainment events and attracts about 300,000 people each year. Courtesy Photo

Farm Bureau earns national recognition

Kane County Farm Bureau (KCFB) has been recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation for its “Discover the Bounty of Kane” program, which was a part of the Federation’s “County Activities of Excellence” program.

KCFB worked with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), area farmer’s markets and direct farm marketers to develop a website, www.bountyofkane.org, where consumers can find local farm products. The website includes an interactive map that takes visitors to the website or e-mail of each producer with just a click of the mouse.

KCFB also printed and distributed 50,000 post cards with the website address and a list of farmer’s market dates and locations. A brochure that lists the farmer’s markets, along with 36 different producers in Kane County, is also available, and includes a map and list of product offerings.

“This award is an honor, not only for Kane County, but for Illinois agriculture as a whole,” IDOA Director Tom Jennings said. “It proves once again, that our great state is setting the pace in innovation and forward thinking in this rapidly changing industry.”

The project was supported by the Illinois Farmers’ Market Advertising Grant Program, which provides farmers markets up to $7,500 to help with advertising and promotional expenses. The funds are awarded to the Illinois Department of Agriculture through the Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

The Farm Bureau shared its successful effort in an exhibit at American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 90th Annual Meeting in San Antonio in January. KCFB’s project was recognized along with 14 others submitted by county farm bureaus across the nation. This year marks the third consecutive year the local group was singled out for national recognition for its program efforts.

“These programs represent the best and the brightest ideas of Farm Bureau,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Annual meeting is a great time for county Farm Bureau leaders to learn about programs that really shine in education, member services, policy implementation and public relations.”

The Discover the Bounty of Kane postcards and brochures are available at the Kane County Farm Bureau at 2N710 Randall Road in St. Charles or online at www.bountyofkane.org.

Field of Dreams Bunco Night

Bunco Night is Friday, March 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Campton Township Community Center, 5N082 Old LaFox Road, Campton Hills. Bring a friend or team, or come and meet some new friends. Tickets are now available.

Cost is $25 per person, or $100 for a team of four.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (847) 431-6302

Field of Dreams hosts Bunco tournament

Field of Dreams Horse Rescue & Adoption, a local nonprofit, all-volunteer horse rescue barn in Elburn, is hosting a Bunco Tournament on Friday, March 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Campton Township Community Center.

The community center is located at 5N082 Old LaFox Road In Campton Hills, near the intersection of Route 64 and Old La Fox Road. Organizers are looking for teams and individual players to compete for cash and raffle prizes. Registration is $25 per player.

To register, call Chris Biederer at (847) 431-6302.

Kaneland W.I.N.S. meets March 17

Kaneland W.I.N.S. (Women-Insight-Networking-Service) will meet on Tuesday, March 17, at the Mill Creek Golf Club, 39W525 Herrington Drive, in Geneva. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m., with lunch and a presentation to follow, ending at 1 p.m.

The title of this month’s presentation is “Building Your Brand: How to Become an Expert in 90 Days or Less.” Scott Metcalfe, president of Empire Consulting, blends wit and humor to help his audience develop their businesses through improving selling and marketing skills.

As a part of its mission, Kaneland W.I.N.S. has a service project each month. The service project for the March meeting is Girl Scouts. Members are asked to donate art supplies for use at summer camp.

The purpose of each month’s 50/50 raffle is to fund a Scholarship awarded to a female graduate of Kaneland High School who is planning to attend Wabaunsee Community College the following year.

Walk-ins are welcome. Call (630) 945-7086, or e-mail membership@kanelandwins.org. Seminar cost is $18 for members and $25 for guests.

Upcoming programs can be viewed at www.kanelandwins.org.

Fox Valley Park District Job Fair set for March 14

The Fox Valley Park District will hold its annual job fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 14, at the Prisco Community Center (150 W. Illinois Ave.) in Aurora.

One of the largest employers in the area, the Park District will be hiring several hundred employees to fill seasonal and part-time positions. Candidates at the job fair will be able to interview one on one with district supervisors who are hiring.

Candidates can get a head start by visiting www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org to peruse job descriptions and download/print an application form.

Participation keeps Virgil church vibrant for 100 years

Church plans events to celebrate milestone
by Lynn Meredith
In keeping with its tradition of an active and involved parish, St. Peter and Paul Church is celebrating its centennial year with a host of events that call on parishioners to contribute their time, talents and memories.

One of those activities is the creation of a quilt made of blocks designed and created by individual families.

“We wanted to do more than events,” said Mary Newhouse, a member of the Centennial Committee. “We wanted participation. What better way to participate than to contribute a quilt block?”

Of the church’s 200 families, 60 created a block. Some blocks have the family name stitched on them. Some have pictures, and some have remembrances of one sort or another.

The parish’s new pastor, Father Perfecto Vasquez, suggested that the quilt be designed to be part of the altar cloth for the celebration in June. Instead of a square, the quilt is a long rectangle shape.

The centennial celebration will culminate on June 28 with a community mass followed by a dinner. To make it even more special than the many potlucks and dinners the Virgil church is famous for, this one will be catered.

“Virgil is known for its potlucks and funeral luncheons,” Newhouse said. “We’re having (the centennial dinner) catered, so we don’t have to work. We don’t want some of us stuck in the kitchen. We want to enjoy it.”

All year long, the parish has been keeping its families aware that this is the 100th year of the church through special announcements and special events.

“We’ve had an in-house awareness campaign with weekly petitions for all the people who have worshipped here over the last 100 years,” Newhouse said.

A member who is an artist designed a logo that will be used for invitations. It pictures a church in the center with a piece of wheat around the edge to indicate the rural community.

In October, the church held an auction instead of its traditional turkey raffle. Once again, the parishioners stepped up to contribute. Each individual family created a themed basket to be auctioned off. Some of the themes were movies, Legos and New Year’s Eve.

“I got a pair of white mink earmuffs and hot chocolate from a parishioner who is a mink rancher,” Newhouse said.

Father Vasquez got in on the act, donating his cooking skills for a dinner at the rectory for six to eight people. That service alone brought in $1,000.

“It’s not every day that your pastor will cook dinner for you,” Newhouse said.” And he’s a really good cook.”

All in all, the church auctioned 52 items and raised $5,000.

The Snow Ball Dance in January kicked off 2009 and was followed by a spaghetti dinner and a chili-Bingo night. Both events were designed for families and involved the Christian Education students.

The last event before the June centennial is a May celebration of Mary Mother of God. Father Vasquez plans a procession from the school to the church.

“He has brought the spirit back to Virgil. He loves to do partying. He loves to do things,” Newhouse said. “We’re happy to be celebrating. Virgil is a tiny town and the people are proud of it.”

Photo: In celebration of its 100-year anniversary, a quilt is being sewed at SS Peter and Paul church. Sixty families have participated in the designing of the quilt. Here, (from left) Millie Diehl, Mary Anderson, Anna Pecoraro, Glory Martin and Sue Juns work on the quilt. Photo by Sarah Rivers

TIMELINE
Prior to 1879—Virgil Catholics attended
St Mary’s Church in Lodi (Maple Park)
1879—15 Catholic families send a
committee to petition Chicago Diocese about
having a church of their own. They construct
St. Peter and Paul Church on two acres.
1881—A school is built.
1909—The current church and rectory is
constructed on four acres donated by
John Sauber. The Rt. Rev. Msgr.
Charles S. Nix is its first pastor.
1913—A new school is built.
1942—A fire destroys the sacristy and its
contents, causing $10,000 in losses.
1953—The old school is torn down and a
new one built. the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nix
returns to lay the cornerstone, 32 years
after leaving as the church’s first pastor.
1964—Two classrooms and an office are
added to the school.
1971—St. Peter and Paul School
closes in June.
1983—The closed school is opened
as a youth center.
1999—Organist Fran Berens retires
after 30 years.
2001—Parish enrollment is 230 families.
2009—The parish celebrates its Centennial.

WCC students give new Student Center good reviews

by Susan O’Neill
Students visiting the new Student Center’s Café and Coffee Bar and using its other amenities on Monday morning agreed that the new building is a definite plus for students. Whether they were meeting friends between classes, accessing the WiFi or the bank of computers, the students said the new center is a welcome addition to campus life.

Waubonsee students and moms, Jennifer Kenneavy and Amy Mabrey, dropped their young daughters off at the Waubonsee Magnet Place Pre-school at 9 a.m. on Monday and stopped in at the new Café and Coffee Bar until their 10 a.m. classes.

Kenneavy, a North Aurora resident who is studying sociology at Waubonsee, said she usually comes to the student center to have coffee and read and catch up with homework before class.

Mabrey, an Oswego resident who is taking the basic science classes required for a nursing degree, typed on her laptop.

“I’m typing something to e-mail to my teacher,” she said. “I don’t even have to print it out.”

The entire building is Wi-Fi-accessible, allowing students to access the Internet and their e-mail from anywhere.

The two women used to go to the old student center in the Dickson building before this one was built last year. They both said the new building, completed in time for the new semester, is much better.

“The quality of the food is so much better,” Kenneavy said. “They use fresh ingredients and the coffee is good.”

Situated in the center of campus, the building has numerous windows that look out onto a wooded area of mature oak trees.

Batavia resident Jason Castillo, who is working on two majors, comes to campus every day. Castillo said the new Student Center is very open and bright. He also likes the color scheme.

Kimberly Marzullo travels from Leland to campus on Mondays and Wednesdays to take the first two years of general requirements toward a teaching degree. She sits at one of the computers in the lobby available to students.

She spends the hour she has between classes catching up with friends and family members on Facebook. She has a computer at home, but said these are so convenient.

When she is not using a computer, she sits in the lounge and does homework between classes. She said it is calm and quiet there.
“This (center) makes you feel like you’re really at a college,” she said.

These comments reflect much of what Waubonsee Community College President Dr. Christine Sobek, other school officials and involved students hoped to accomplish with the new center. Sobek presided over a party celebrating the grand opening of the center on Friday.

Designing the space took approximately seven months, according to Dr. Deborah Lovingood, executive vice president of educational affairs and chief learning officer.

“It was a successful and positive experience,” said Lovingood. “We ended up with a beautiful and inspirational design that we hope will motivate students to achieve greatness.”

The 58,000-square-foot, $17 million building located in the middle of campus was also designed to be the figurative heart of the campus. The new building provided the opportunity to house under one roof all of the most important student-centered activities and services.

Several of the service departments’ staff said they have already experienced an increase in traffic since the move. Career Services manager Teri Cullen said the number of people her department has seen has doubled since December.

Students used to have to go to three buildings on opposite ends of the campus to access the services they currently find in the new building.

The “one-stop-shopping” design of the new building includes a gathering spot for students to meet and hang out, as well as a place to add a class, obtain career counseling, pay a bill, join a club or apply for financial aid.

The student center is the last of four buildings recently added to the campus as part of the school’s 2020 college master plan. During the past three years, the college has opened a campus operations building and a new 46,590 square-foot science building with state-of-the-art technology, as well as a 56,000-square-foot academic and professional center.

Funding from two successful college referendums in 2002 and 2003 supported the construction of the new buildings and made implementation of the plan possible.

Waubonsee Community College is Illinois’ second fastest-growing community college, Sobek said. With that growth, the college has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of full-time students, as well as the number of traditional age students. Sobek said these students are looking for a more engaged student experience and more student activities.

Having everything they need in one place will allow new students to hit the ground running, she said.

“We hope it will be a vibrant hub for student life for many years to come,” Sobek said.

Photo: Waubonsee Community College unveiled its new 58,000-square-foot Student Center Friday at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus. In addition to being a one-stop shop for students with a cafe, coffee bar, computer workstations and free wireless Internet, the building also houses the college’s admissions, registration, financial aid, counseling, and other core student-service departments. Photo by Mary Herra

Maple sugaring event held March 15

Come celebrate one of the sweetest signs of spring-maple sugaring-with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

The group will perform the time-honored tradition of maple tapping Sunday, March15, at Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn. This fun, free event runs from noon to 4 p.m.

Naturalists will demonstrate how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap. We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup. During the “Sugarin’ Time” hike, you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees. Plus, we’ll explore the art, science and folklore of the “sugar bush,” or maple grove, from early Native American times to the modern sugaring industry. You won’t want to miss this popular family-friendly event.

The Maple Sugaring Festival is cosponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and the local Slow Food organization. For more information, call (847) 741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.

Raging Waves Job Fair Saturday, Mar. 7

Raging Waves waterpark is holding a job fair on Saturday, March 7 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn about nearly 400 summer employment opportunities including managers, cashiers, lifeguards, parking attendants, landscapers, custodians, food service workers – and many more. Applications can be found on the Raging Waves website at www.ragingwaves.com.

All positions require that the applicant is 16 years old before May 25, 2009.

Annual African American Health Fair set for March 7

The Kane County Health Department encourages participation in the fourth annual African American Health Fair, set for Saturday, March 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at West Aurora High School, 1201 E. New York St., in Aurora.

The fair is free and open to the public. Participants can listen to distinguished experts speaking on a variety of topics. Presentations, health screenings, exhibits, raffle prizes and entertainment will be provided during the day.

There will be a special guest appearance by Dr. Damon Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Pubic Health. Dr. Arnold is scheduled to make a statement at 8:30 a.m. on Kidney Awareness Month by the Kidney Mobile Unit.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Crawford, who will speak about the prevention of chronic kidney disease. Other speakers include Lorna London, Ph.D, who will speak about stress management, Chad and Tabia Earl, certified fitness trainers from DuPage Fitness & Rehabilitation to speak about healthy eating and physical fitness; Pastor Julian E. Spencer from Main Baptist Church in Aurora to speak about promoting spiritual health. Emcee for the occasion will be Servant George Rayford, pastor of New Community Baptist Church.

This year for the first time, Girl Scout Troop 761 will host Children’s Health Fair and will have Girl Scout patches available for participants. Health screenings will be conducted from 8 to 11 a.m.; 12-hour fasting is required. The National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Mobile will be onsite to perform blood pressure checks and kidney screenings. Provena Mercy Medical Center will perform glucose and cholesterol screening, and Aunt Martha’s Healthcare Network Mobile Unit will conduct prostate screenings for men.

Health presentations will begin at 11 a.m. A continental breakfast and hot lunch will be provided, as well as lots of raffles and giveaways.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Toya Johnson at (630) 518-8379 or Toya_Johnson@provena.org.

Teams forming for annual Bridge Walk

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center’s annual Bridge Walk is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at Fabyan Park on the Island.

The 5K walk along the Fox River is to help raise funds and awareness for LivingWell Cancer Resource Center. Proceeds from the walk will be used to support the more than 30 free programs and services LivingWell offers to cancer patients, cancer survivors and their loved ones.

There will also be a special 10-Step Celebration Walk for anyone with a cancer diagnosis to symbolize that cancer does not define who they are. Anyone unable to walk in the 5K because of the effects of cancer are welcome to join in the Celebration Walk. This special event allows all those who wish to take part in this special day to do so at their own comfort level.

If you are interested in participating on a team, starting your own team, or for more information, call Sue Mielke at (630) 262-1111, or smielke@livingwellcrc.org. All community members are welcome to participate.

Last year, the Bridge Walk had nearly 1,100 walkers, raising more than $180,000. Each participant had a story to share about how cancer affected their life and their loved ones. People walked in honor or in memory of their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children, as well as friends, neighbors and coworkers. LivingWell participants and cancer survivors participating in the Bridge Walk ranged in age from 6 months to 82 years young.

Senator to address environmental, energy issues

Sen. Chris Lauzen will address environmental and energy issues at the Batavia Public Library Monday, March 9, at 7 p.m. The public is invited.

Sponsored by the Sierra Club, this informal town hall type gathering gives the public a chance to discuss important issues with the Illinois Republican senator.

Sen. Lauzen will present a short speech followed by an open exchange with the audience. The floor will be open to any environmental topic, including alternative energy, global warming, clean air and water, wildlife and park management. Coffee and refreshments will be served. For more information, call (630) 466-1808.

Crisis Line offers operator training opportunities

The Crisis Line of the Fox Valley, a program of the Association for Individual Development, is experiencing high call volumes.

In response to this need, the organization is actively searching for potential candidates to handle calls.

A free, nine-week Crisis Line Training is being offered, beginning Thursday, March 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 1230 N. Highland Ave., Aurora. Students will be trained to handle a broad spectrum of calls, ranging from persons that are isolated and lonely to emergencies requiring crisis intervention.

Topics covered during this training include, communication skills, crisis intervention, suicide, mental illness, domestic violence, sexual assault, mandated reporting and community resources.

For questions or to register, call Cheryl at (630) 966-4304.

Pair charged with firing at moving vehicle

by Lynn Meredith
An adult and a juvenile turned themselves in after being charged with firing shots into a moving vehicle in unincorporated Maple Park. No one in the car was injured. The two were charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card. The adult male was further charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

On Jan. 31, Kane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report that a vehicle may have been struck by an object in the area of 9N046 McGough Road in rural Maple Park. They discovered that a bullet had struck the driver’s side front fender.

The officers spoke to James A. Thorne, 18, of 9N046 McGough Road and located a .22 caliber rifle at his residence. Deputies further identified a 15-year old male from Sycamore who was at the residence at the time of the incident.

Thorne turned himself into the Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 23. His bond has been set at $35,000. Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department said the charges were bumped up to reckless discharge of a firearm because there were people in the car.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has referred the 15-year-old’s case to Juvenile Court Services.

Villages seeking industry

Larger employers bring jobs, could lead to more people, retailers
by Martha Quetsch
Local village officials agree that industry is just as important as retail and residential growth to the area’s economy.

“You have got to have a variety of elements. One feeds off the other,” Maple Park Village President Ross Dueringer said.

MP wants manufacturing jobs
Industry would be great for Maple Park, Dueringer said. But he does not foresee it coming in the near future.

“We have been open to listening to any light industry, but haven’t been approached by anyone. Unfortunately, the last few years, everything has been at a standstill.”

The village lost one longtime company that was located on County Line Road just north of Route 47, a business that made steel shelving, when it moved to Aurora, Dueringer said.

An industrial park was proposed for Pritchard Road about two years ago, but the village could not agree with the developer about annexation terms, Dueringer said.

With industry in town, residents could work locally, and the village would gain property taxes with the new growth without burdening schools like residential development does, Dueringer said.

Dueringer believes industry could attract more retail to the village, too.

SG is industrious
Sugar Grove officials in recent years have been committed to boosting industrial growth in the village. The reason is to increase the number of local jobs, which starts a positive chain reaction, said Perry Clark, former Economic Development Corporation director in Sugar Grove.

“Jobs drive population, and a larger population attracts retail businesses,” Clark said.

Sugar Grove currently has two general locations with industry. One is the 110-acre Waubonsee Corporate Center at Heartland Drive and Route 47, and the other is at Route 30 and Dugan Road.

Until a few years ago, the business park at Heartland and Route 47 was struggling, with just a 30 percent occupancy.

Through the efforts of the village and the EDC, including business incentives and recruitment, the park was redeveloped and renovated, and since has grown to house about 50 companies.

“It used to be a dilapidated, run-down industrial park. We got a lot of complaints from residents about it,” Clark said. “Over a two-year span we grew that industrial park to what it is today.”

The Route 30 and Dugan Road area, comprising 130 acres, also has about 50 businesses. Most are light-industrial companies, Village Planner Mike Ferencak said.

Sugar Grove’s comprehensive land-use plan features other areas village officials want developed partly as industrial property. Those are along both sides of Interstate 88 east of Route 47, and around the Aurora Municipal Airport on West Route 30, Ferencak said.

With the goal of drawing even more industry to Sugar Grove, the village is extending Municipal Drive north of Route 30 and extending Galena Boulevard west to meet it. With that improvement, village officials hope Sugar Grove attracts more large companies like HondaJet, which recently decided to locate its Midwest operations at the Aurora Municipal Airport.

Kaneville has first industry
The first industrial company in Kaneville opened in 2008, Linear Kinetics, which produces customized automation systems such as computer-based robotics for manufacturers.

It is the only industry in Kaneville, but village officials would like their town to have more, and so would Kaneville residents, based on their responses to a survey by the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission, formed after the town incorporated in 2006, asked residents what type of development they wanted in Kaneville. About 55 percent of respondents said that industrial and commercial development were important to them, Village President Bob Rodney said.

But they want limited, light-industrial expansion.

“Residents have indicated they don’t want to turn (Kaneville) into a big manufacturing complex,” Rodney said.

Luring additional industry to Kaneville will not be easy, because the village does not have the resources to supply water or sanitary sewer connections, Planning Commission Chairman Joe White said.

White said Planning Commissioners will talk in the coming months to the village’s development consultant about what areas to designate for industry in the new comprehensive plan.

If Kaneville is able to attract industrial companies in the future, the location the village likely will steer them to is along the proposed Prairie Parkway route, in the proximity of the gravel pits, White said. In preliminary discussions about industrial growth, village officials said they did not think industry would be a good fit elsewhere, near residential neighborhoods.

Elburn ready for more
The village of Elburn also welcomes industrial growth, promoting the town’s business centers and buildings on its website, www.elburn.il.us. There, it lists several industrial parks located in Elburn with space still available, either ready to occupy or to build.

One of those is the 12-lot Welch Creek Business Center just north of Keslinger Road on Stover Drive and Herra Street, built in 2006. Its developer, Drew Frasz, said Welch Creek currently has just two vacancies. Others include Columbine Industrial Park, in the area of Keslinger and Thryselius Drive, and Keystone Industrial Park, on Dempsey, Hicks and Paul streets.

Among the many businesses located in these parks are auto repair shops, including the new Boyce Auto Werks in Keystone, custom machining firms, filtration specialists and window and lighting companies.

In addition to the business parks in Elburn, several buildings offering industrial space are located at scattered sites in the village, such as 724 Hicks Drive and 747 Herra St.

The village does not plan unlimited industrial growth, but its comprehensive land-use plan does designate additional land for business parks including a large, undeveloped swath along Keslinger south of Route 47. Village Administrator David Morrison said it already is zoned for manufacturing and commercial use, so a future industrial developer will not have to obtain a zoning change.

“It’s what we call ready to go,” Morrison said.

Village officials made sure four years ago that Welch Creek had manufacturing and commercial zoning, too, rather than a special use.

“That really expediates development,” Morrison said.

Did you know …
about these two local companies that provide products and services to the U.S. military?

Hy-Tek Manufacturing Inc.
1998 Bucktail Lane
Sugar Grove
Hy-Tek Manufacturing Co. Inc. designs and produces specialized products for industrial, commercial and government markets. Clients that Hy-Tek has provided engineering or manufacturing services to include the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and NASA. Among Hy-Tek’s products is an explosion-resistant design for military applications of its computers.

Controlled Force
609 Thryselius Drive
Elburn
Controlled Force provides anti-terrorism tactical training programs that teach techniques to police and government agencies for how to respond to personal, physical threats. Its clients include the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Security Forces. The company’s products include Freddy S.T.A.T., a simulation tactical advanced trainer.

Crisis Line offers operator training opportunities

The Crisis Line of the Fox Valley, a program of the Association for Individual Development, is experiencing high call volumes.

In response to this need, the organization is actively searching for potential candidates to handle calls.

A free, nine-week Crisis Line Training is being offered, beginning Thursday, March 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 1230 N. Highland Ave., Aurora. Students will be trained to handle a broad spectrum of calls, ranging from persons that are isolated and lonely to emergencies requiring crisis intervention.

Topics covered during this training include, communication skills, crisis intervention, suicide, mental illness, domestic violence, sexual assault, mandated reporting and community resources.

For questions or to register, call Cheryl at (630) 966-4304.

Local company brings clean water to African village

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove resident Ed Beaulieu can give his customers in the United States plenty of reasons why it is a good idea to capture rainwater and use it for their gardens.

Beaulieu created the rainwater harvesting system for Aquascape, Inc. On a recent trip to Ghana, in West Africa, Beaulieu and his team demonstrated how the system, with a few modifications, can literally save lives in a developing country.

Aquascape is a St. Charles-based company that specializes in water gardens, including ponds, fountains and waterfall features. Recently the company diversified its product line to include rainwater harvesting systems. The systems capture, filter and store rainwater for future irrigation of plants and lawns.

Beaulieu said the use of rainwater not only saves money on water bills, it keeps the water from ending up in sewer drains, picking up pesticides and other pollutants along the way. Eventually, the polluted water ends up in our streams and rivers, creating dead zones where fish and other living things cannot survive. The aquifers that supply our water are not being recharged, and many areas are running out of water, including some in the United States, he explained.

Women and young girls in the Ghanian village of Kuve spend hours each day collecting water from the nearby Volta River, Kuve’s only source for water, said Aquascape, Inc. owner Greg Wittstock’s wife Carla, president of the Aquascape Foundation.

The water they bring back to the village is filled with bacteria and is not safe for drinking. Carla said it carries water-borne diseases and many children die before the age of five.

“They don’t know it’s not normal to have stomach pains and diarrhea,” she said.

Carla said that Aquascape, Inc. makes its living from water and does very well. To discover that so many people do not even have access to clean drinking water is a huge disparity that does not seem right.

Team Ghana members (below) included (front row) Karen and Dayton Wright, (left of plaque, from left) Tim Muttoo, Isaac Ferrell, Alan Schell (right of plaque) Al Lentz, Lauri Mitchell, (behind plaque, from left) April Dugan, Tim Bottoms, Ed Beaulieu, Keith Robinson, Roberto Cosme, Dale Vnuk, Carla Wittstock, Bob Blasing and Glenn Ferrell.
Team Ghana members (below) included (front row) Karen and Dayton Wright, (left of plaque, from left) Tim Muttoo, Isaac Ferrell, Alan Schell (right of plaque) Al Lentz, Lauri Mitchell, (behind plaque, from left) April Dugan, Tim Bottoms, Ed Beaulieu, Keith Robinson, Roberto Cosme, Dale Vnuk, Carla Wittstock, Bob Blasing and Glenn Ferrell.
Carla learned of the need in Ghana through the IN Network, a Christian organization in Michigan that connects partners in evangelism, discipleship and community development. IN Network recently built a school in Kuve, but the school was without water and electricity.

Beaulieu, vice-president of Aquascape’s foundation, said the foundation worked with the Canadian company Genieye Systems, Inc. to create a rainwater harvesting system that uses Genieye’s ionization manifold to purify the water. The ionization system, powered by a solar panel, allows it to work in places without access to electricity, such as Kuve.

“That’s when we nailed down a very simple solution to a complicated problem,” Carla said.

Carla and Greg Wittstock, Greg’s mother Lauri Mitchell, Beaulieu and two other Aquascape employees, Roberto Cosme and Tim Bottoms, joined a number of water landscape contractors from around the country in January to build a rainwater harvesting and purification system for Kuve’s new school.

The team of 15 paid their own way to Ghana and worked alongside the local villagers. Beaulieu said that word of what they were doing spread to nearby villages and each day, more and more people showed up to watch, and then to help.

He said that because Ghana was a British colony, English is widely spoken, making communication with the local people easy.

“We created some great bonds,” Carla said.

Beaulieu said the women carried 90,000 pounds of sand, the equivalent of two semi-trucks full, on their heads for use as back-fill.

The rainwater is captured from the roof of the school, and the pump is power by a solar panel on the roof. Beaulieu said the workers ran into a problem when they realized the building was pitched 16 inches in the wrong direction. They had to dig an underground trench in hard, packed-down clay to reroute the water and add 200 more feet of piping.

Beaulieu said that luckily, their top contractors were involved in the project.

“They have a never-say-die attitude,” he said.

When they were finished, they hooked everything up to the solar panel to charge a 12-volt car battery that operated the switches to activate a small electric pump. The pump moved the water through the ionization system, sterilizing it and killing off any pathogens and bacteria.

When it came time to test the system, the local women pitched in again, carrying 1,500 gallons of water from the river on their heads.

“The women definitely hold their own,” Carla said.

The villagers held a dedication ceremony on the last day to honor the workers. Carla said they built a beautiful dedication plaque and gave all of them hand-woven scarves to wear during the celebration.

Beaulieu said it was a wonderful feeling to provide 500 children with safe drinking water. He said that even though it is a simple system, it will capture 100,000 gallons of water a year.

With a clean supply of water, the school will be able to provide a meal each day for the children. Not only will it save lives, but the hours it will save the women every day can now be used to create more economic opportunities for themselves, and more children will be able to go to school.

“It was an amazing experience,” Beaulieu said. “The people were wonderful. The sights, the sounds, the smells and the temperature; it’s one of those trips that words and pictures can’t do justice.”

Since they have been home, Beaulieu said they have spoken about their trip and their hopes for the future at several Rotary clubs and other organizations. He said they would like to go back to Ghana, and they have talked about building the systems in Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Kenya.

“There are lots of people interested in working with us,” he said. “We’re a successful company, and I would love to leverage our strengths and give back to others less fortunate. There’s a huge, huge need.”

For more information about the Aquascape Foundation, visit www.aquascapeinc.com/aquascapefoundation or call (630) 659-2064.

For more information about IN Network, visit www.innetworkusa.org.

Top photo: Members of the Ghanian village of Kuve (above) gather around the new rainwater harvesting system that will capture, filter and store clean water for daily use. Courtesy Photos

Sheriff’s Department release sketch of Mill Creek attempted abduction suspect

From the Kane County Sheriff’s Department
The Kane County Sheriff’s Department released a sketch of the suspect in an attempted abduction in the Mill Creek Subdivision west of Geneva.

The incident took place on Feb. 16 at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the area of Brundige and West Weaver Ct.

A male white subject approximately 20-30 years old with brown eyes and red hair approached a 9-year-old boy and asked if he wanted to go to bible study with him. When the boy said no, the subject exited his vehicle and grabbed the boys bicycle. The 9-year-old was able to free the bicycle and ride home. The subject got back in his car and left the area. He was last seen traveling north on Brundige towards Keslinger Road.

The subject was driving a newer model dark green Mustang GT with red seats and a decal of a baseball going through the back window.

The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone who has information to please call the Kane County Sheriff’s Department at (630) 232-6840.

Health Dept. looks to keep hearts healthy

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are Kane County’s—and the nation’s—number-one killer. The Kane County Health Department wants residents to know that since 1963, February has been proclaimed American Heart Month as a way to raise awareness of the battle against these diseases.

With the knowledge that obesity and being overweight are contributing factors to chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, the Health Department’s “Making Kane County Fit for Kids initiative is taking direct aim at the problem.

“We launched Fit for Kids a year ago as a comprehensive, coordinated, community-based initiative,” Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “We are seeking to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in Kane County and reduce the incidence of chronic diseases.”

More information about the Fit for Kids initiative is available by visiting www.kanehealth.com/fitforkids.html.

The Kane County Coalition for Health and Wellness also is working to improve heart health. One of its initiatives is the Campaign for Wellness, designed to help companies, groups and organizations become as healthy as possible. Coalition members are available to visit organizations and discuss wellness programs.

The coalition has published an action-based guide that provides the tools any organization needs to create its own program. The guide can be downloaded free of charge at www.kanehealth.com/coalition.htm.

Blackberry Twp. offers taxpayer workshop

Beginning in February, Blackberry Township Assessor Uwe Rotter will hold monthly taxpayer workshops every fourth Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Blackberry Township building, 43W390 Main Street Road, Elburn, through 2009.

At these meetings, taxpayers will learn about the property tax cycle, how assessments are developed and the appeal process. They will have the opportunity to address specific questions concerning their property and ask any other property tax-related questions.

Many Blackberry Township residents took advantage of the Revised Assessment process with their assessor. About 570 Blackberry taxpayers contacted the office within the 30-day period after the assessments were posted in the local newspaper for the 2008 tax year.

“We need to start early and educate larger groups,” said Rotter. “This will allow us to focus on individual property assessment concerns when time is critical for all Blackberry taxpayers.”

The number of requests is expected to increase for the 2009 property tax year. Rotter envisions bringing his presentation to libraries or community centers to reach more Blackberry Township taxpayers.

For more information, contact Uwe Rotter at (630) 365-6580.

Food company donates to local food bank

Homemade Gourmet is hosting 24 canned-food drives in February around the country, including one in Big Rock.

During the company’s Taste & Talk event on Friday, Feb. 20, Homemade gourmet consultants and others interested in the company will gather to taste the new spring/summer food line. Admission is a canned good.

The Texas-based Homemade Gourmet offers a line of more than 100 food mixes and beverages distributed through a network of homebased consultants.

Homemade Gourmet’s Rebecca Genglerwill be on hand to answer questions. Guests who attend will receive a free food sample to take home and enjoy with their family. The Big Rock-area Taste & Talk will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at Rebecca’s Home, 400 Jefferson, Big Rock.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rebecca at (630) 556-4259.

County technology committee addresses environmental issues

The public is invited to learn about the new Kane County Environmental and Energy Technology Committee.

Join the group on Thursday, Feb. 19, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the St. Charles Library, lower level, to hear from Thomas Van Cleave, chair of the new committee created to address the environmental issues facing Kane County. Joining him will be Karen Kosky, watershed engineer.

For more information, call (630) 365-2138.

Possible attempted child abduction in Mill Creek Feb. 16

From the Kane County Sheriff’s Department
The Kane County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a report of an attempted child abduction that occurred in the Mill Creek Subdivision west of Geneva. The incident took place on Feb. 16 at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the area of Brundige and West Weaver Ct.

A male white subject approximately 20-30 years old with brown eyes and red hair approached a 9-year-old boy and asked if he wanted to go to bible study with him. When the boy said no, the subject exited his vehicle and grabbed the boys bicycle. The 9-year-old was able to free the bicycle and ride home. The subject got back in his car and left the area. He was last seen traveling north on Brundige towards Keslinger Road.

The subject was driving a newer model dark green Mustang GT with red seats and a decal of a baseball going through the back window.

The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone who has information to please call the Kane County Sheriff’s Department at (630) 232-6840.

Crash sends 3 to hospital

by Susan O’Neill
Three motorists were taken to the hospital following a head-on collision Monday morning on Route 47 north of Jericho Road in Sugar Grove.

The driver of a red Pontiac Grand Am, Jacqueline Ann Gross, 18, of the 1-10 block of Marlin Drive in Oswego, was headed northbound on Route 47 on her way to Waubonsee Community College when her car crossed the center line at 6:50 a.m. and struck a beige 2001 Honda Accord.

The Honda was pushed onto the shoulder of the road where it was struck again by a green 1997 Toyota Highlander. The driver of the Honda was Martin Biernat, 36, of the 700 block of Easton Lane, Elk Grove Village, and the driver of the Toyota was Joshua J. Blomberg of the 100 block of Sutton Ave., Sugar Grove.

All three drivers were taken to Provena Mercy Hospital in Aurora. Blomberg was released Monday afternoon and Biernat was treated and released Monday night. Gross remained in the intensive care unit as of Tuesday afternoon.

Sugar Grove police investigator John Sizer said that conditions on the road were clear and dry and, according to witnesses, all of the drivers were traveling at or below the speed limit. There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol involved.

Sizer said that Gross did not remember anything of the accident, nor did she recall anything from the time she left her house that morning. He said that is not unusual in a crash such as this with a traumatic injury.

“We may never find out what happened,” he said on Tuesday.

No citations were issued, and the investigation is ongoing. None of the three cars were carrying passengers.

Courtesy photo

Treat people right, and profit will follow

Area business owner takes people-centric approach

by Susan O’Neill
For Montgomery business owner Karl Stanton, it’s all about the people.

Stanton, owner of a ServiceMaster and MerryMaids franchise in Montgomery, said he started out with the company cleaning toilets while he was still in high school. From his job with the janitorial services franchise to the corporate offices to his own franchise ownership, he said the people he encountered along the way gave him many opportunities and encouraged him in many ways.

Now, years later, he tries to provide the same encouragement and opportunities to his employees that helped him on his path of success.

One of his first supervisors involved him in the operations of the business, teaching him about sales and giving him opportunities to supervise others and obtain additional experience. She sent him to classes where he gained not only knowledge but exposure to other people in the business.

These experiences eventually led him to a job at the company’s corporate headquarters, then in Downer’s Grove. She supported his move, taking him shopping and helping him pick out professional clothes for his new role.

While at the corporate office, he had the opportunity to develop a system of operations that is currently used company-wide. When the corporate offices were relocated to Memphis, he moved there, and began training franchisees around the country.

His manager there pushed him into the spotlight and made sure he was given credit for his ideas. Not only did he help to nurture Stanton’s career, he befriended him and his family. Stanton said his children call him Grandpa Jack.

When Stanton found he was traveling with his job more than he liked with a family at home, he decided to move back to Illinois and worked at the regional office supporting area franchises. When several franchisees retired, they sold their businesses to him.

Again, the people he worked with supported him in his decisions, and helped make the transition go smoothly. They gave him the flexibility he needed to start the business and contributed half the cost of his financial plan.

Stanton said the care with which his managers and colleagues have treated him has not been by chance. ServiceMaster founder Marion E. Wade had a strong personal faith that he translated into a set of company values.

Wade saw every individual employee and customer as being made in God’s image and worthy of dignity and respect. Helping each employee reach his or her own potential through training and development became a cornerstone of the company’s mission. His idea for the business was that, if you do these things, the profitability will follow.

Stanton said he follows these same principles in dealing with his own employees. Michelle Pierson is currently the operations manager for the MerryMaids side of his business. Pierson was working at his wife’s health club when Stanton first met her. His wife had noticed her there, and saw that she had potential.

Stanton offered Pierson a job, and she started out with the company in a clerical position. Pierson said Stanton gave her the opportunity to learn new things and take on more and more responsibility. She said that through his coaching and belief in her, Stanton has helped her gain the confidence to do things she never thought she could do.

“I don’t ever want to let him down because of how he has treated me,” she said. “I treat his business as if it’s my own.”

Pierson said that when she began working for Stanton, she had one child entering school and a new baby at home. In addition to helping her grow and develop professionally, Stanton gave Pierson the flexibility in her job that she needed to care for her family as well.

“He’s a family man and understands that family comes first,” she said.

She recalled being in the middle of a large project at work when her daughter’s school called to say her little girl was sick. She said Stanton went to pick up her daughter from school.

“I’ve never met anyone like him,” she said. “I plan on working for him as long as he’ll have me.”

She described Stanton as an honest person who always does the right thing, and wants his employees to do the right thing, as well. She said that when you always do what is right, there are times that the business does not profit.

“We believe in second and third chances,” she said.

Pierson said that she and others in the company do things for their employees that traditional businesses might not do. She said they have purchased airline tickets for employees to visit out-of-town parents when they were ill and have provided help to employees in other ways.

She said they develop personal relationships with their employees, treat them like family and do everything they can to make it a good place to work for everyone.

Although Stanton acknowledges that there may be times when they are taken advantage of, he said the concept has done wonders for the business overall.

The ServiceMaster Clean business provides residential and commercial cleaning, and restoration, cleaning, documentation and other services after fires, floods and other disasters. The MerryMaid business provides customized residential cleaning services.

His franchises have doubled their revenues and profits during the time he has owned them.

Pierson said she strives to be more like Stanton in the way that she deals with her employees.

“My management skills are in progress,” she said.

Stanton said that seeing Pierson and his other supervisors handle situations in the way that he would, even when he is not around, makes him feel he has done a good job with them. He said it is important to him and to the company as a whole to create an environment where people feel trusted and valued for who they are.

Within this type of environment, which he referred to as one of grace, he said people feel safe, and they sense that who they are is OK, even though they know great things are expected of them.

“It’s taking a Biblical principle and applying it to a business setting,” he said.

Two years ago, Andrew Meyers was a waiter at a chain restaurant when Stanton’s wife Kelly noticed him. She overheard another customer of his ask him for a newspaper. Although the restaurant did not have any on-hand for customers, she watched Andrew run across the street to buy a paper for the gentleman.

Andrew said that Kelly asked him if he wanted a job because she saw that he had initiative. He was on probation at the time for a juvenile offense, but Stanton decided to give him a chance. Although it involved working closely with his probation officer and other inconveniences, Stanton said hiring Andrew two years ago was a good decision.

“He’s an excellent employee,” Stanton said. “The customers love Andy; we knew they would. He’s going to school to become an auto mechanic and he’s trying to buy a house. Those were the opportunities I got, so I’d like to see that for Andy.”

Meyers said that he enjoys working for Stanton. He said Stanton expects a lot from everybody, but he takes a personal interest in the people who work for him. He said that Stanton has allowed him to schedule his work hours around his classes at school.

Meyers currently has plans to get married and feels he is making a good life for himself. Stanton is happy to have played a part in that.

ServiceMaster Clean
& MerryMaids
Franchise owner Karl Stanton
1554 Crescent Lake Drive
Montgomery
(630) 896-0030

Sugar Grove joins Ride in Kane

Services to begin by May 1

by Susan O’Neill
The Village Board agreed Tuesday to participate in the county-wide Ride in Kane program, in conjunction with the Sugar Grove Park District, the Sugar Grove Public Library District and the Sugar Grove Township. The group named itself the Sugar Grove Paratransit Coalition.

Participation in the program is expected to begin May 1.

Each governmental entity will provide $1,000 in funding for the first year of the agreement. The Sugar Grove Library District will review rider applications and approve them based on criteria established by the coalition.

Ride in Kane submits a bill quarterly for services. If the allotted $4,000 is used up before the end of the year, the board members of the coalition can decide not to contribute additional funding and withdraw from Ride in Kane at that time.

The intergovernmental agreement will come before the Village Board on Tuesday, Feb. 17, for its approval.

Qualifications for eligibility
• Inability to obtain a driver’s license due to age or disability
• Low income residents with no other available transportation

Riders will pay $3 for the first 10 miles of the trip and
$1.50 for each additional mile.

Rides shall be provided for the following purposes
• Work
• Health care visits
• Dialysis
• Rehabilitation
• Adult daycare
• Child daycare
• Programs provided by the members of the coalition

For further information, potential participants may contact
Village Clerk Cindy Welsch at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24.

Court proceedings continued in death case

by Martha Quetsch
Court cases for three people indicted Jan. 13 in connection with the 2007 death of 17-year-old Michael York of Elburn have been continued so that their lawyers can gather information for their defense.

Meantime, police are continuing their investigation and are seeking tips from anyone with knowledge of what happened the weekend of Dec. 14 (2007), when York died, St. Charles Police Sgt. Jerry Gatlin said.

The individuals charged in connection with the incident are Jordan D. Billek, 18, of Maple Park, on one count of obstructing justice; Lindsey Parker, 23, of St. Charles, on one count of obstructing justice; and Nathan L. Green, 22, of Maple Park, on one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony, and one count of obstructing justice.

Billek’s case was continued from last Friday until March 11 for purposes of discovery, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office. Green’s next court date is Friday, Feb. 13; Parker’s is March 17.

On Jan. 21, Billek surrendered at the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. On Jan. 22, Green was taken into custody by Kane County Sheriff’s deputies in Chicago. Parker surrendered to authorities at the St. Charles Police Department.

Green pleaded not guilty Jan. 30 in front of Kane County Judge Robert Spence. Green remains in the Kane County Jail, having not posted bond on $100,000 bail.

Parker and Billek have not yet been arraigned or entered pleas. Billek posted $2,000 bond on $20,000 bail and was released shortly after his arrest, as was the case for Parker, who posted $500 bond on $5,000 bail.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office alleges that Billek, Parker, Green and York were together at Parker’s St. Charles home. York injected heroin supplied by Green, and 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 York to Chicago and left his body in an alley on the west side.

York’s body was discovered by a passerby, who called Chicago police. Cook County authorities were unable to determine a cause of death, which is why no one at this time has been directly charged with York’s death.

Sgt. Gatlin has received several calls about the case, but most of the information they supplied was not directly related to it.

Anyone with information should call Sgt. Jerry Gatlin at (630) 443-3739.

Big Rock to build central sewer system

by Susan O’Neill
The village of Big Rock has determined what kind of sewer system it wants to build. Now, it just needs to find the money to do it.

According to Applied Technologies engineer Jim Smith, a shallow groundwater table and aging septic systems converged over time to create higher-than-acceptable levels of pollutants in Big Rock Creek.

When a complaint was filed with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Kane County officials stepped forward to assist the village in finding the money to address the problem. The $22,500 study, conducted by Smith, was paid for in part with a Kane County Community Investment Initiatives Program the village received in October 2008.

Smith said he evaluated a number of alternatives before recommending a central recirculating sand filtration system. The system, in which waste water is circulated through a two-foot bed of sand a number of times before entering an ultra-violet-light disinfection system, is the simplest to operate and the most environmentally friendly, Smith said.

“No chemicals are needed; it’s all natural,” he explained. “It’s basically what nature does, only we speed it up by about 100 times.”

Sandy Bell, chairman of the village’s Drainage Committee, said the system will serve Big Rock’s central residential and business district, where lot sizes are between one-quarter and one-half acre. The next steps will include defining the specific area involved, creating what is called a facilities planning area (FPA), and obtaining approvals.

The village must also find additional funding for the project, which will cost approximately $3.4 million, Smith said. Possible funding sources Bell has checked into include a United States Environmental Protection Agency grant, Kane County block grants and IEPA community grants.

Although for now, the treatment system will serve the small downtown area, Smith said the system is modular, and can easily be expanded if needed.

The village of Big Rock was incorporated in 2001 to keep other villages from expanding into Big Rock Township and promoting what it considered rapid growth.

“Big Rock has never looked to develop aggressively,” trustee Dean Hummell said. “We would like to see the farmers keep farming, but we have to be realistic. Growth is going to come. We’re just trying to be more proactive, rather than reactive.”

Winter hike through forest preserve

Families are invited to a Saturday, Feb. 14, hike through Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia.

Naturalist Jaclyn Olson will lead the group on Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Please call (847) 741-8350 to register. Although the hike is free, please let us know in advance if you plan to attend. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Dick Young Forest Preserve is located on Nelson Lake Road, off Main Street and west of Randall Road in Batavia. Visit www.kaneforest.com.