Category Archives: Regional

KC Sheriff’s Office receives report of ‘suspicious incident’ in Prestbury

KANE COUNTY—On June 25, at approximately 4:50 p.m., a 9-year-old girl who lives in the Prestbury subdivision, located in unincorporated Sugar Grove Township, reported that a pickup truck drove near her while she was skateboarding. A male subject told her to get into the truck. She immediately went home and told her parents, who called the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies checked the area but could not locate any vehicles matching the description. The Sheriff’s Office received no additional calls of this nature.

The vehicle was a midsized white pickup truck with a silver tool box in the bed of the truck. The truck had black letters on the side and tailgate. The last letter on the Illinois license plate may have been an “S.”

The driver of the truck appeared to be alone. The girl was not able to give a description of the driver.

The Sheriff’s Office warns parents to talk to their children about stranger danger issues and, more importantly, know where their children are at all times.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Audit Hotline

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Auditor Bill Keck on June 6 announced the implementation of the Kane County Fraud and Compliance Hotline, also known as the “Audit Hotline.”

“Our goal is become more pro-active in stopping the misuse of taxpayer dollars” Keck said.

The Audit Hotline can be used by citizens, vendors and employees to identify and report financially fraudulent, wasteful or abusive practices within the Kane County Government. These reports can be phoned in to the Audit Hotline (630) 23-AUDIT (630-232-8348), emailed to, online at, faxed to (630) 208-3838, in
person or by mail to Kane County Audit Hotline 719 S. Batavia Ave., Room 100, Geneva, IL 60134.

“The Audit Hotline is another tool for increased transparency and accountability in our county government,” Keck said. “Its success will depend on the willingness of employees, vendors, and citizens to report credible information about fraud, waste and abuse in Kane County.”

The Audit Hotline is used only for reporting fraud, waste and abuse within Kane County Government. It should not be used to file complaints about a neighbor, private business or any other non-government issues.

Callers can remain anonymous, as caller ID has been removed from the Audit Hotline and no personal information is required on any form of reporting.

“We would like to see callers identify themselves so if more information is required to start or complete an investigation, we can follow-up with the caller” Keck said.

If callers decide to identify themselves, their information will be protected and kept confidential unless required to be disclosed by the law.

Examples of what should be reported:
• Theft of county resources
• Misuse of county equipment or property
• Improper activities by County officials, employees and contractors
• Payroll and expense claim fraud
• Wasteful, excessive, unnecessary or inappropriate purchases or expenditures
• Fictitious vendors/supplies or false invoicing
• Embezzlement

For more information contact the Kane County Auditor’s office at (630) 232-5915 or visit their website at

Delnor Health and Wellness Center offers hot stone massage

GENEVA—Delnor Health and Wellness Center is offering hot stone massage therapy.

Hot stone massage is a specialty massage in which the therapist uses smooth, heated stones on key points of the body. This type of massage uses traditional massage strokes while incorporating the healing effects of the warm stones.

Hot stone massage may help with:
• Alleviation of stress
• Release of toxins
• Improved circulation
• Calming of the mind and nervous system
• Deep tissue and muscle relaxation
• Treatment of tight muscles due to overexertion

Hot stone massage is available to both members and nonmembers of Delnor Health and Wellness Center. Member pricing is $110 for a 70-minute massage. Non-member pricing is $120 for a 70-minute massage.

Delnor Health and Wellness Center massage therapists are certified and trained in hot stone massage.

For more information about hot stone massage or to schedule an appointment, contact Delnor Health & Wellness Center at (630) 208-3933. TTY for the hearing impaired, (630) 208-4399.

Center brings entrepreneurs, experts together

Guests networking during the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center event at Waterstreet Studios Art Gallery in Batavia. At the FVEC event in Batavia, (below, left to right) Dr. Christina Krause from IHAP, Harriet Parker from Small Business Development Center and FVEC Organizing Committe and Maria Kuhn from IHAP.

Courtesy Photos

Harriet Parker
Illinois Small Business
Development Center
Waubonsee Community College
18 S. River St., Room 268
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 906-4143

Ernie Mahaffey
Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center

by Susan O’Neill
FOX VALLEY—Steve Gaspardo, a manufacturing engineer with 15 years of experience in the field, founded Gaspardo & Associates in 1996.

The company is a full-service 3-D metrology laboratory in Batavia.

Gaspardo, who has a number of degrees, including one in computer-assisted manufacturing, is one of about 25 Fox Valley entrepreneurs who have worked with experts with the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center (FVEC) to take their businesses to the next level.

Gaspardo patented an automated robotic scanner, ComScan, in 2011, but he needed the capital to move it forward. The FVEC team assisted Gaspardo in preparing financial statements and projections that helped him obtain the financing necessary to take ComScan to market and exhibit at the Quality Show in Chicago.

“Financial statements read like a novel,” Wessex 504 Corporation President Karen Lennon said. “It took three seconds to retell the story.”

Lennon went on to introduce Gaspardo to her favorite bankers, and he was on his way.

Gaspardo is proud of the fact that his equipment is 100 percent built-in-America, and most of it done within the Fox Valley area.

The Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center was founded about a year ago, in partnership with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College. The Small Business Development Center, under the leadership of Harriet Parker, an entrepreneur in her own right, has provided assistance to small businesses in the area for a number of years.

An average of 400 clients per year—mainly life-style businesses, such as hair salons, coffee shops, landscapers and retail stores—take advantage of the center’s services. Parker links them up with resources with the expertise they need to get their businesses off the ground.

“I consider myself a matchmaker,” Parker said.

Although Parker said she has been able to help many local small businesses, she found that there were entrepreneurs in the area who needed more than she could provide.

Last year, the SBDC received a $100,000 grant from the Small Business Association through the Small Business Jobs Act. The guidelines for the grant required that the funding be used for consulting services to entrepreneurs and it emphasized collaboration.

At the same time, a group of retired and semi-retired business people from Geneva, Batavia, and other Fox Valley communities approached Parker with the desire to provide mentoring to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

According to Parker, there are two things that are critical to the success of a new business: timing and a support network.

“When the stars align like this, you know it’s going to be good,” she said.

Parker, together with a number of entrepreneurs in the Fox Valley area, used the funding to form the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center, a virtual organization set up to bring advisors and mentors together to help entrepreneurs launch new products, expand into different markets, and implement other forms of innovations.

The FVEC celebrated its partnership with the SBDC last Thursday at an event that showcased a number of entrepreneurs who have been able to benefit from the wealth of expertise available through the center.

“The goal of collaboration between the Waubonsee Small Business Development Center and the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center is to be the ultimate dot connector,” Parker said. “We are working hard to create a network of resources that supports growing entrepreneurial businesses in meaningful ways.

HorsePower riding program helps build skills, confidence

Photo: Carrie Capes (far right) helps four-year-old Emma of Sycamore ride Tonka, a 15-year-old Belgian Cross. Helping are trainers Veronica and Karol. The program began in March. Photo by John DiDonna

by Susan O’Neill
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park resident Carrie Capes said she learned very early on with Max, her 11-year-old son with multiple disabilities, that “a child with a disability really and truly needs a village.”

“I love doing that with others,” she said.

Capes recently began providing therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities at the Fox Chase Farms horse stable in Maple Park.

The riding program is known as HorsePower.

Capes had been able to use her degree in recreational therapy while working with Max, teaching him to ride, as well as other skills that translate to his daily life. She calls what she does at the stable with Max a “work/study program” in which she gives him riding lessons twice a week. He also does barn chores, such as cleaning stalls, grooming and feeding the horses, and sweeping the stable aisles.

“He feels useful and needed and a sense of pride here,” she said. “While Max needs a service dog to navigate a trip into the grocery store, he has freedom at the barn and he is successful with his behavior. This is his happy place.”

Capes said Fox Chase Farms owner Jenise Koerner saw her working with Max, and experienced first-hand the power of horses. When Capes left another therapeutic riding job, Koerner called her to see if she would like to do her work at her barn.

“I’m new to this, but I’m a full supporter,” Koerner said.

Capes is currently working with a dozen children and adults with disabilities, using the riding to help teach her students hand-eye coordination, balance and strength, keeping their focus and other skills.

In addition to the skills the students learn, therapeutic riding helps to build their self-esteem, something that people with disabilities often have in short supply.

“It’s very empowering to lead a 1,600 pound animal to do what you want him to do,” Capes said. “It’s a great confidence builder.”

Capes recently started to work with 4-year-old Trevin, one of Sycamore resident Kalie Kuhl’s triplets. Trevin has high muscle tone in his legs, which makes walking and other activities, such as climbing up onto a couch or a chair, difficult.

Trevin’s occupational and physical therapists recommended therapeutic riding for him as a way to supplement the therapy they were doing.

“For a full hour, he is straddling the horse, which is pretty effective at stretching out the muscles in his legs,” Kuhl said. “I wouldn’t be able to replicate that at home.”

Kuhl said that, because Trevin is so young, the hardest thing is keeping him engaged in his therapy. However, with all of the external distractions involving the horse and the games Capes plays with Trevin, Kuhl said she has his full attention for a solid hour.

Because Capes uses toys, pom-poms, balls, bubbles and other non-traditional items to keep things interesting, the horses need to be well-trained and desensitized to these props.

The volunteers help with training the horses, as well as walking alongside and in front of the horse during the student’s lesson, to make sure he or she is securely on the horse and paying attention to Capes. They also pitch in with barn chores.

Marmion cadet Kyle Urbanik, a 15-year-old who has been riding horses since he was about 6 years old, is one of HorsePower’s volunteers. In the two months that he has been a side-walker, he said he has already seen the students grow and make improvements.

Many of the children have never been on a horse before, so the first challenge is to help them get over their fears, Urbanik said. One child in particular has a problem with depth perception, which made him very fearful at first. Urbanik thought it would take him months to feel comfortable, but the child was safely trotting by the third week.

“His (physical) therapists said he has made a lot of progress at school, too,” Urbanik said.

Although Urbanik’s initial goal was to obtain the service hours his school required of him, he has become passionate about what he does at Fox Chase Farms.

“I hope to change a lot of kids’ lives,” he said.

Capes said that her highest goal is to provide therapeutic riding to people with disabilities, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Our dream is to have a sliding scale,” she said. “This community is helping to make that happen.”

Capes said that area businesses and residents have been very generous in their support. Paisano’s Pizza in Elburn is helping to raise money for scholarships by giving half of every $10 ticket, redeemable for a one-item pizza, purchased between now and June 15. Their goal is to use the money to help pay for lessons for children whose families can’t afford them, Capes said. There is currently a waiting list for scholarships.

SH&D Trucking has donated $1,000 for a limestone/sand mixture to blanket the arena where the students ride. Christ Community Church has donated more than $600 for materials to build two special mounting blocks to help students get onto the horse safely. About 20 of the church’s members have committed to a work day on Wednesday, June 6, when they will help build the blocks and other tasks.

“Mounting the horse is one of the most difficult things for a person with a disability,” Capes said. “These blocks are a huge blessing. I have felt so supported by the Kaneland community.”

Carrie Capes has launched her new program, HorsePower Therapeutic Riding, at Fox Chase Farm in Maple Park. The program will teach students balance, confidence, coordination and strength. Here she helps Emma give Tonka a treat after their ride on May 14. Photo by John DiDonna

Entrepreneurs plus mentors equal success

by Susan O’Neill
FOX VALLEY—Position-Tech, a sports equipment manufacturing company created by four former Northern Illinois University students, was one of several companies featured last Thursday at an event celebrating the successes of entrepreneurs from the Fox Valley area.

The featured companies were only a small sample of the more than 25 start-ups that received business advice and mentoring through the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center and the Illinois Small Business Development Center in the past year.

Former Northern Illinois University football players Erek Benz and Dan Nicholson were still in school five years ago when they found themselves slipping around on the field. They did a little research and found that, although many improvements had been made to other types of football equipment, football cleats had not significantly changed since the 1920s.

After graduation, Benz decided to do something about that. He and Nicholson, together with college buddies Christian Anderson and David Pickard, developed a football cleat system that was proven to increase traction on the field by 20 percent.

The cleats are also customizable, depending on the position of the player and whether the desired advantage is agility, power, balance or speed. They patented the technology, founded the company Position-Tech, LLC, and with financing from family and friends, hit the road to sell the product.

Their cleats received high marks from NCAA and professional football players, who immediately saw the potential for a legal advantage over the competition. Their product won endorsements from some well-known players, including Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Earl Bennett, who became Position-Tech’s first company spokesperson.

The young men were also able to persuade Dick’s Sporting Goods to place the cleats on its website. After the cleats made eight times the revenue that Dick’s had projected, the sporting goods company rolled them out to 216 of its stores. Position-Tech’s current problem is obtaining the financial backing needed to keep up with the demand.

This is where serial entrepreneur Andrew Parker comes in. Parker is one of a number of successful entrepreneurs who provide mentoring and guidance to companies like Position-Tech through a partnership between the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center and the Illinois Small Business Development Center.

Parker and other entrepreneurs with various areas of expertise work with the founders of these start-ups, who otherwise might not be able to afford their services, to help them take their companies to the next level.

Parker said he considered it a real opportunity to work with the four former college friends.

“With early starters, it’s not about the product, it’s about the people,” he said.

The two things that attracted Parker about Position-Tech were the “cool technology” and “a CEO who listens.”

Parker said the first thing he does with his clients is a half-day strategy session to evaluate their business and determine their needs. Those needs could be to increase revenue, fix the marketing plan or work on some specific operational issues.

Parker has helped the young men rebuild their financial model from scratch. He determined that in order for their company to continue to grow, they needed an additional $1.5 million in financing. After working with them on their business pitch to investors, he went with them to their first pitch meeting. They came away from that first meeting with $250,000.

With additional advice and assistance, Benz and his team also launched an online cleat configurator web site and created a marketing strategy to penetrate the high school football market. They are positioned to expand into the Lacrosse and Rugby markets in 2014.

Another company that received critical business advice from Fox Valley entrepreneurs who have “been there,” is Benefit Performance Associates, LLC. Owners Maria Kuhn and Dr. Christina Krause had an award-winning Integrated Health Advocacy Program (IHAP) to address the health care needs of patients with multiple chronic illnesses, while significantly reducing the health care costs of employers. What they didn’t have was a clear identity and branding strategy, a dynamic sales pitch or realistic pricing that would allow them to grow.

After working with consultants from FVEC to improve their sales presentation and create a viable marketing strategy, Kuhn said they are 30 days away from signing a contract with a large benefits company in Indiana that will bring in $300,000 worth of revenue.

Illinois Small Business Development Center’s Harriet Parker could not be happier with the success of the partnership her organization has forged with the Fox Valley Entrepreneurial Center.

“There’s so much expertise out there, and the entrepreneur doesn’t have a good way to tap into that,” she said. “Our goal is to be the ultimate dot connector.”

Parker said that the mentors that sign on to the project are not in it for the money. She said many times they will work at a reduced rate or will donate their time to mentor a business.

James Brannen, who became an entrepreneur when he retired from a 25-year career in the banking business, said he is excited about the potential that exists in the Fox Valley.

“We’re trying to create a sustainable environment for businesses to grow and develop in the Fox Valley,” he said.

NIU offers residential global leadership, philanthropy camp

DEKALB—NIU is looking for dedicated and motivated students interested in having fun and learning about global leadership and philanthropy this summer. A brand-new opportunity this year, the Global Leadership and Philanthropy Camp will provide a quality college learning experience to a select group of students. Because of the camp’s very limited enrollment, parents and students should apply now before the June 1 “early bird” deadline.

The University Honors Program and the Division of International Programs have provided funding that will allow students to attend this camp for a fraction of the regular residential summer camp fee. Applications fees are $175.

“Today’s high school students are passionate and active in their schools and communities,” said Julie Ann Read, Global Leadership and Philanthropy Camp director. “The Global Leadership and Philanthropy Camp will give them the skills and experience to make a difference. Plus, they’ll have fun collaborating with other like-minded students while spending the week on NIU’s beautiful campus.”

In addition to learning from business and community leaders, campers will have a day of service during which they will visit Feed my Starving Children, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and Feed’em Soup.

The Global Leadership and Philanthropy Camp is sponsored by the University Honors Program, the Division of International Program, NGOLD: Center for NGO Leadership and Development, the Center for Southeast Asian Students, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming.

NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming is offering 11 residential and day camps for students. Camp topics include film, speech, writing, journalism, science, and leadership.

Full application packets for all camps, including the Global Leadership and Philanthropy Camp, are available for download at under the Summer Academic Camps link.

2012 Residential Camps:
Sci-Camp Engineering Amusement: Roller Coasters to Cotton Candy, June 17 – 22, for students entering grades 5-8 (Includes a day at Great America).
Creative Writing Camp, June 17 – 22, for students entering grades 9-12.
Film Camp, June 24 – 29, for students entering grades 9-12.
Speech Camp, June 24 – 29, for students entering grades 9-12.
Sci-Camp Environment and Sustainability, June 24 – 29, for students entering grades 9-12
Sci-Camp Exploring Science through Art, July 8 – 13, for students entering grades 7-9.
Sci-Camp Exploring Nature: Habitats and Environment, July 8 – 13, for students entering grades 7-9.
Sci-Camp STEM Career Investigations Camp, July 15 – 20, for students entering grades 9-12.
Global Leadership & Philanthropy Camp, July 15 – 20, for students entering grades 9-12.
Broadcast Journalism Camp, July 15 – 20, for students entering grades 9-12.

2012 Day Camp:
Creative Writing Day Camp, July 15 – 20, for students entering grades 6-8.

For more camp details please contact Mark Pietrowski, Associate Director, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming at 815-753-1456, or visit

Illinois residents urged to help combat invasive species

SPRINGFIELD—Invasive plant and animal species are threatening Illinois’ agricultural and natural lands and waterways, consequently posing a threat to the state’s economy. Governor Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation declaring May to be “Invasive Species Awareness Month” to encourage Illinois residents to learn about ways in which they can help combat the introduction and spread of invasive plants and animals in the state.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Natural Heritage reports that animals and plants not native to Illinois at the time of European settlement are considered exotic species. Many species of exotic plants are harmless and very useful in windbreaks, landscaping, and in preventing erosion. However, some exotic species do have the potential to invade natural communities and displace highly desirable native plants. Such plants are invasive species. Some invading plants have become so well established in many areas throughout Illinois that they may be thought of as native species.

“Employees of local, county, state and federal gencies and hundreds of volunteers throughout Illinois spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours every year in attempts to eradicate, manage or control invasive plants and animals on the ground and in our waterways. The Governor and conservation agencies and organizations are working to make all Illinoisans aware of the impacts of invasive species to Illinois’ diverse landscape—and the environmental and economic costs we face if we lose the battle to control them,” said IDNR Marc Miller.

Wildlife managers spend more time carefully manipulating the physical and chemical environment of plants than in direct management of game animals since plants are the major component of both the habitats and the health of animal populations dependent upon them. The invasion by exotic plant species can turn high-quality habitat into degraded and undesirable habitat for wildlife.

Management tools including biological controls, prescribed burning, mowing, spraying and physically removing the plants by hand are available, but can be costly.

Increasing public awareness of invasive species is an essential goal because prevention and early intervention are the most effective and cost efficient approaches to address the economic and ecological impacts of exotic invasive species.

For more information on Illinois invasive species awareness and management efforts, go online to the IDNR website at

Invasive species often invade and replace the native flora in a variety of ways and will sometimes out-compete the native species to the extent the native plants totally disappear from an area.

Garlic mustard and the exotic buckthorns block needed sunlight, making it impossible for many of the needed native species to survive and reproduce. Such degraded habitats can quickly become a monoculture of only garlic mustard or buckthorn, meaning no food or shelter for native fish and game. Chemical toxins inhibiting growth of all other plants nearby are produced by garlic mustard and tree of heaven; these toxins are released from their roots into the surrounding soil, thereby eliminating competition for space, water, nutrients, etc. from other plants.The eliminated native species, in some cases, are very important food plants for native game animals. Because of the extirpation of many of native plants, a number of wild areas that once supported healthy populations of deer, elk, and other wildlife are no longer prime habitat for the species in question.

Bush honeysuckles not only shade out most native plants, but they also form such thick stands of growth that hunters and anglers cannot walk through the area or see game from a blind or tree stand. Multiflora rose, with its strong thorns and tangled growth habit, forms thickets even deer and turkeys find inhospitable for protection. Such tangled growths of honeysuckle, multiflora rose and other similar invasive plants often destroy the attractiveness of what was once prime habitat for hunting, fishing, birding and mushrooming.

Chinese bittersweet and porcelain berry grow to the tops of the tallest trees in the forest, creating dense, smothering foliage – and the weight of the vines will eventually pull the trees down.

Many undesirable invasive species will compete more successfully than native flora for water, minerals, and other necessary nutrients, leading to very poor growth of the native plants. Replacement of the native flora with invasive species reduces the biodiversity of the area since invasion by only one species often results in the loss of several native species. This loss of biodiversity is of major concern to ecologists both locally and globally.

Exotic plants are introduced into new areas in a myriad of ways. The seeds of some plants pass through the digestive systems of many animals, including some birds, without being damaged. Some seeds are widely scattered by wind before germinating in habitat suitable for their growth and reproduction. Many of the smaller seeds, such as garlic mustard, are so small they are carried in the fur of raccoons, dogs, deer, horses and other animals, only to drop off as the animals move into new habitat. Others, such as leafy spurge and teasel seeds, collect on roadside mowers only to fall off farther down the road accounting for the linear distribution of some exotic plants along our roads and railroad rights-of-way.

Oftentimes, people trim plants growing in their yards and gardens without thinking about proper disposal of the still-living cuttings which are then dumped into an area where they take root. Cuttings, stem pieces, and rhizome fragments can be blown about or carried downhill in runoff after a heavy rain before finding a new place to grow. Kudzu, honeysuckles, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese Yam are just a few examples of plants that have invaded new areas in this manner.

Many of today’s exotic invasive species, such as burning bush, wintercreeper, periwinkle, Callery pear, and the ornamental figs, were grown for years before they exploded into the natural landscape and became problems. Landscapers used more than 60 species of imported ornamental figs in Florida for several decades without any problems until the

For boaters and anglers, a reminder that invasive fish, snails, plants, disease, and viruses can be transmitted by dumping bait or even just the water from bait buckets, bilges, live wells, trailers, and equipment used on the water. Administrative rules in Illinois prohibit the removal of natural water from waterways of the state via bait bucket, livewell, bait well, bilges or any other method. Regulations also prohibit removal of any watercraft, boat, boat trailer or other equipment from waters of the state without emptying and draining any bait bucket, ivewell, baitwell, bilge any other compartment capable of holding natural waters. Regulations also prohibit using wild-trapped fishes as bait within Illinois, other than in the waters where they were legally taken. To protect Illinois waters, inspect your boats and trailers for visible contamination of plants, mud, or water in bilges.

By removing, cleaning, or draining the equipment, you help eliminate invasive species from establishing in Illinois waters.

An invasive species of significant concern in Illinois is Asian carp. Unfortunately all four species of Asian carp – bighead, silver, grass and black carp – have been found in Illinois waters, likely escaping aquaculture facilities of the southern U.S. Bighead and silver carp are the focus of state, local, and federal efforts to reduce the populations and to keep this invasion from expanding into other watersheds, such as the Great Lakes.

Check the website at for updates of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee actions.

A Group Remembrance

Photo (right): The annual Memorial Day parade took place on Monday. It started at Lions Park and ended at Blackberry cemetery with a service and then folks returned to Lions Park for food and social events. Participating were American Legion Post 630, Boy Scout Troop 7 and Cub Scout Pack 107. Photo by Mary Herra

On May 24, Boy Scout Troop 7 placed over 250 flags on the graves of veterans at Blackberry Cemetery in preparation for the Memorial Day Ceremony in Elburn on Monday. Grant Wilk (above, left to right), Matt Richtman, Ryan Nevenhoven, Billy Osborne, Mike Potvin, Nick Wielgos and Mike Aderman were on hand to help. Photo by Patti Wilk
Taps are played during the placement of the memorial wreath at Blackberry Cemetery in Elburn on Monday. Photo by Patti Wilk
There was also a Memorial Day ceremony at the Government Center in Geneva (below) which honored two area soldiers who died in Afghanistan. The empty chairs represent the soldiers. Photo by Hope K. Zegiel

Kuehnert accepts position with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

KANE COUNTY—Paul Kuehnert, executive director for of the Kane County Health Department, accepted a position with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused exclusively on health and health care, as Senior Program Officer and Team Director of their Public Health Team. His last day with Kane County will be Friday, June 1.

Paul began working for the Health Department in June 2006, and was appointed by the board to serve as executive director beginning in June 2007. Since then he has provided executive leadership to three county departments: Health, Animal Control and the Office of Emergency Management. From the spring of 2010 on, he has also had responsibility for the Office of Community Reinvestment.

“Paul’s passion for public service and improving the health and well-being of our residents is limitless,” County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said. “Throughout his time with us he has focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental services, increasing both governmental and community partnerships and demonstrating the impact of public policy and systems changes on the health and quality of life of Kane residents.”

During Paul’s tenure, the Health Department responded to a number of a public health emergencies, such as the TB outbreak among the homeless population (which recently was featured in the CDC’s weekly MMWR); the H1N1 pandemic; and hepatitis A, which resulted in more than 2,000 gamma globulin shots given to a restaurant’s patrons. Further, the department was able to secure $500,000 in grants from private foundations; and the department has integrated master planning with the Development and Transportation departments.

“Paul has made a tremendous contribution to Kane County residents and Kane County government. I am pleased that he will have the opportunity to share his wealth of community health knowledge and expertise on a national level through this opportunity with the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” McConnaughay said.

Effective June 2, Barbara Jeffers will become the interim executive director for the Health Department. Jeffers, assistant director for administration, has been with the Health Department for seven years. She is responsible for high-level administrative functions, including budgeting, human resources, labor relations and facilities management. Prior to county government, Jeffers was employed by the state of Illinois for 14 years—her last appointment being the director of training and development for the Department of Human Services. She has a Masters of Public Health degree from the Northern Illinois University and a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“Barb possesses a unique set of skills and attributes that will be an asset to the Health Department during this transitional period,” McConnaughay said.

Waubonsee Interpreting Program recognized

Photo: As Waubonsee Community College Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Cassie Moore (standing) works one-on-one with a student, other members of the class continue practicing their signing and interpreting skills. The interpreting lab at the Aurora Campus includes video cameras that capture students’ performances for later review and feedback. Courtesy Photo

SUGAR GROVE—When it was established in 1976, Waubonsee Community College’s Interpreter Training Program (ITP) was the first of its kind in the state. A pioneer in the field of interpreting for the deaf, the program produced hundreds of alumni, many of whom have gone on to great professional accomplishments.

For its continuing quality and contributions to the community, Waubonsee is proud to honor ITP as part of its “Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition.”

The ITP has its roots in the Waubonsee Hearing Impaired Program, which served deaf and hearing-impaired students from community college districts across the state. With so many interpreters and teachers needed for that program, it made sense for the college to train people for the profession. An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree and Certificate of Achievement in the discipline were both approved by the Illinois Community College Board in 1976.

Thirty-six years later, the program has expanded to include a 72-semester-hour AAS degree, a 33-semester-hour Certificate of Achievement and a 24-semester-hour Sign Language Certificate of Achievement. Students in the degree program must complete two semesters worth of sign language courses before moving on to the interpreter training courses, and completion of the sign language certificate is required for entry into the interpreter training certificate program.

This rigor continues once students enter the program, with a cumulative 3.0 grade point average required to stay in the program. Plus, they must finish all interpreter training courses with a “C” or better within a three-year timeframe to complete a degree or certificate.

Over the years, Waubonsee has awarded 276 degrees in the field, along with 283 certificates. Many of these students have gone on to tremendous professional accomplishments; in fact, Waubonsee alumni have served as presidents of both the National and Illinois Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf.

As a member of the deaf community herself, Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Katie Thomas often sees graduates in professional settings.

“I often get my former students as my interpreters, so I want to be able to understand the interpreted lecture/conversations well,” Thomas said. “Also, I have an obligation to the deaf community who will be using the same interpreters that I teach. Overall, I am proud of how Waubonsee teaches students professionalism, dignity and good public relations with deaf people outside the college.”

Waubonsee students get the chance to work with members of the deaf community in both controlled classroom and actual interpreting settings. Given the interpreting program’s strong history and reputation in the community, faculty are able to bring in deaf consumers to role play with students and offer honest feedback about their interpreting skills and performance. The capstone class of both the interpreting degree and certificate is ITP 290—”The Interpreter as Practitioner,” a practicum course that allows students to apply and refine their skills in a workplace environment and also provide volunteer interpreting services at community events.

In addition to the feedback they receive from deaf consumers and professional colleagues, Waubonsee students are also able to receive specific feedback from teachers and even themselves, thanks to the CommuniCoach system. In this system, which was developed by Waubonsee communications faculty, students are videotaped during their signing performances so that instructors can pinpoint exactly where and how they can improve.

While the interpreting program offers state-of-the-art instructional methods, a variety of networking opportunities and a great pay-off, it does require a certain amount of sacrifice on the part of the students. For example, the ITP courses must be completed as a full-time day program, so students must schedule accordingly. This is something that is not lost on the ITP instructors.

“I know how much our students sacrifice to be here, and (I) see how hard they work,” said Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Dr. Lynn Clark. “It inspires me to give my all.”

Clark has been giving her all to Waubonsee’s ITP since she became a full-time instructor in 1980. She will retire at the end of the academic year with 32 years of teaching memories.

Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in counseling from Michigan State University. She earned her doctorate in psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 1989. She holds national certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and is licensed at the general-master level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.

Also holding national certification from the RID and licensed at the advanced level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission is Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Cassie Moore. Moore also holds a national education K-12 certification from RID. She joined Waubonsee as a part-time interpreter in 1989, taught part-time from 1990 to 2008, and spent eight years as a part-time counselor at the college, as well, before being hired as a full-time instructor four years ago. Moore earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communicative disorders from Northern Illinois University.

Thomas also spent time as a part-time interpreter at the college before becoming an instructor in 1995. Holding a bachelor’s degree in special education from Northern Illinois University, Thomas has been working to develop interpreting standards for the Illinois court system. She also holds national certification from RID, is licensed at the master level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, and is a member of the American Sign Language Teachers Association.

Kane launches 2nd-chance program for drug offenders

Kane County—Some low-level felony drug offenders in Kane County will have the opportunity to avoid a permanent conviction on their record, and in some cases prison, if they agree to treatment under a new program of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The office next week will launch the Second Chance Felony Drug Program for certain offenders who face a Class 4 felony charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance—up to five grams—and/or a Class 4 felony charge of unlawful possession of cannabis—up to 100 grams.

The program, which involves drug testing and treatment, would reduce court volume and keep some low-level offenders out of the prison system. By receiving counseling and treatment instead of prison, offenders would have a better chance to become clean from drugs, reducing the likelihood that they re-offend or become perpetual offenders, repeatedly returning to court and prison at great expense to the public.

“Second Chance Felony Drug Program participants will be able to focus on treatment, accountability and recidivism prevention, as well as modify their behavior, while staying out of jail or prison,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said. “The program will allow our office to focus our limited resources where they can do the most good for offenders and for society. It also will allow the lawyers in our office to concentrate on more serious cases. Offenders who face these charges annually account for a large percentage of our case load.”

“This program will not solve the drug problem in Kane County. But it will allow us to reach certain low-level drug users and get them the help they need to live drug-free and more productive lives. I have spoken with Kane County police chiefs and members of the judiciary about this program, and they agree that it has many potential benefits. They are eager for it to get started,” McMahon said.

“Our office’s Second Chance program for misdemeanor drug offenses has been tremendously successful in helping to end drug use among its participants. We are confident that this program for low-level felony drug offenders will have similar results. And we believe that the benefits to our community will be immeasurable.”

Eligibility requirements
• No prior arrest or conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance or cannabis (with the exception of one prior successful completion of supervision for misdemeanor possession of cannabis, alcohol or drug paraphernalia)
• No prior participant in the statutory TASC (Treatment Alternative Specialty Court)
• Did not commit the offense while free on bond in another case
• Cannot be active gang member, registered sex offender, or on probation or parole

Program application process
• Eligible defendants must apply for entry
• Offer to apply would be extended and application must be filed within 90 days of the first court date
• Application is screened by assistant state’s attorney and interview is conducted by Second Chance case manager
• Applications must be approved by the arresting agency and by the State’s Attorney
• If approved, applicant must enter into formal agreement with the office and make a videotaped statement as to the facts of the case

How the program works
• Fully funded by participants—$500 drug fine, $335 in court costs, $50 application fee, $25 drug test administration fee and $1,225 in program fees for total of $2,135. This could be adjusted or waived for indigent defendants.
• Participation lasts 12 months
• Participants must complete six hours of a drug education program at own expense
• Participants must submit to random drug testing (no fewer than four tests in 12 months) at own expense
• Participants who abide by all program terms will have case dismissed and may petition court to have charge expunged if they meet eligibility requirements
• Participants who do not successfully complete program terms or commit new offense will be negatively terminated and case will be returned to court for criminal prosecution

Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets

ST. CHARLES—Spring is here, and with it comes kittens. Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets (H.E.L.P.) is seeking volunteers to care for orphaned kittens in their homes. H.E.L.P. provides supplies, veterinary care, and training. These young kittens usually require bottle feeding, which must be done at regular intervals. Depending on their age, this could require feeding overnight. This is a challenging, rewarding opportunity.

Volunteers must be adults and must be able to keep the kittens in a separate room of their home. If you would like to volunteer, or for more information about H.E.L.P.’s bottle feeding program, please call Lisa at (630) 879-7130.

H.E.L.P. is a volunteer based not-for-profit organization in the St. Charles area. H.E.L.P. strives to provide medical care and a safe, happy, and comfortable living environment for as many cats and dogs possible while maintaining a high standard of care for these animals and making a best effort to ensure these animals are adopted into quality adoptive homes. More information is available on the H.E.L.P. website,

Aquascape Inc.’s Water Garden Weekend

ST. CHARLES—Aquascape, Inc, the innovative leader of water features in North America and inventor of the low-maintenance ecosystem pond, invites the public to join them for their annual Water Garden Weekend, May 19-20, at Aquascape’s headquarters, 901 Aqualand Way in St. Charles, the Water Garden Capital of the World.

The event will begin on Saturday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. with St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte leading a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Aquascape Designs Water Gardening Store. Located in the company’s atrium, the store and atrium area experienced extensive remodeling. Throughout the weekend, a range of family activities will be offered. “Ask the Expert” sessions, a decorative water feature installation, plant and fish sales, food, and activities for children are some of the highlights.

While attending Water Garden Weekend, visitors can explore Aquascape’s 250-foot-by-90-foot signature pond that replicates the Illinois watershed. A 10-foot waterfall with grotto for behind-the-falls viewing is a highlight of this spectacular water feature. Hundreds of hardy waterlilies grace the surface of the pond, reminiscent of a Monet water garden painting.

In addition to Aquascape’s signature pond on the east side of the property, attendees can stroll the AquaGardens on the west side. Ecosystem ponds, Pondless® Waterfalls, decorative fountains, pergola, outdoor seating, and a patio and deck provide plenty of inspiration for adding water features to any landscape.

For more information about Water Garden Weekend, visit or call (630) 659-2060.

Gardenology in Geneva

GENEVA—Gather ideas and dreams for your garden. Merchants in historic, downtown Geneva will host the fourth annual Gardenology. This free event takes place on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, along State and Third streets.

Gardenology advisers and vendors will bring their best ideas and garden related products to jump-start your gardening season. Experts in every horticulture field including farming, landscape design, weavers, local nurseries, a dog trainer, COD’s Hort Dept. and more will be on hand to answer questions.

Over 50 vendors will have garden-themed give-aways, merchandise, live demos, and a chance to win a beautiful watering can at each store. The restaurants are cooking up delicious, fresh-from-the-garden fare, so plan to eat with Gardenology for lunch or stay for a great night out.

Stop by the welcome tents in front of the courthouse (100 S. Third St.) or down by Geneva Jakes at Dodson’s Place (407 S. Third St.) or at The Little Traveler (404 S. Third St.) to buy tickets to win Gardenology Day raffle prizes. Tickets will be three for $1 or 20 for $5.

“Our mission is to promote, advise and provide expertise for the educational use of the public. We are all about all things gardening and are committed to providing quality sources of information about horticulture, wildlife, and useful and decorative products to encourage the public to garden for the cultural and aesthetic enrichment of their own lives, homes and community,” said organizers Deb Hilton and Sue Hadley of Country Naturals.

For more information, call Country Naturals at (630) 232-1172 or visit

Cougars Stadium gets new moniker

Kane County Cougars mascot Ozzie T. Cougar, Congressman Randy Hultgren, Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns and Fifth Third Bank officials gather at Cougars Stadium for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, officially renaming the stadium Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Photo by Ed Gordon, Edge Graphics

May 1 named TriCity Family Services Day by Batavia, Geneva, STC

GENEVA—TriCity Family Services kicked off national Mental Health Awareness Month by having a day named in its honor.

In a joint proclamation, Mayor Jeff Schielke of Batavia, Mayor Kevin Burns of Geneva, and Mayor Don DeWitte of St. Charles named May 1st TriCity Family Services Day in perpetuity, to recognize national mental health awareness month and the impact that TriCity Family Services is having on the mental health needs of the local TriCity community.

Formally approved at each city council meeting in April, the proclamation was read and celebrated at the agency on May 1, with TriCity Family Services staff, board members and Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg of Geneva in attendance.

TriCity Family Services was commended for serving all ages and all income levels with high-quality, affordable, outpatient mental health services since its founding in 1967.

Alderman Vogelsberg thanked the staff for their compassion, dedication and accessibility to community residents in need.

The celebration of TriCity Family Services Day marks the beginning of the agency’s month-long activities to promote mental health awareness in the community. TriCity Family Services will have mental health displays in the Batavia and St. Charles public libraries; visit Batavia High School health classes; host an open house honoring retiring Family Services Division Tom Dewese; host a Chamber of Commerce After Hours event; and present two evening community presentations in the month of May.

The community is invited to participate in all of TriCity Family Services Mental Health Awareness Month activities. For more information, visit the TriCity Family Services website at

Reducing the stigma

Photo: Board member Rosalie Link (left to right), Development Manager Miranda Barfuss, Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg, Board President Jim Di Ciaula, former Board President Diane Gibson and Executive Director Jim Otepka. Courtesy Photo

TriCity Family Services promotes mental health awareness
by Susan O’Neill
GENEVA—May is the month designated for Mental Health Awareness, but TriCity Family Services (TCFS) works all year long to raise awareness and the importance of mental health.

“None of us is really immune from dealing with mental health crises in our lives,” TCFS Executive Director Jim Otepka said.

According to a National Institute of Mental Health statistic, one-in-four American adults 18 and over lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. They can go on to live full and productive lives; however, many people never seek or receive help due to stigma, lack of information, cost or lack of health care coverage.

Otepka said that TCFS has an important role to play in raising the awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness. The agency offers community-centered educational programs, and agency staff conduct presentations for civic groups and organizations of all types, from mothers’ groups and Parent Teacher Organizations to church ministerial groups, as well as round tables for schools’ student services personnel.

Typical topics for the round tables include bullying, school avoidance and refusal, as well as risk factors for suicide and suicide prevention.

“Schools are 40 percent of our referrals,” Otepka said.

Counselors at TCFS offer help to students with attention disorders, depression, anxiety, incidents of self-mutilation, and for victims of bullying.

TCFS is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides mental health services to people and organizations in central Kane County, particularly those individuals and families who are uninsured or underinsured. The service area includes the cities of Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles, as well as Campton, Virgil, Blackberry and Kaneville townships. The agency offers sliding scale fees, and scholarships are available for group programs.

Approximately 90 percent of all counseling clients pay less than the full fee, nearly two-thirds of all child and adolescent clients it serves use Medicaid, and more than half of all counseling clients have reported incomes of $30,000 or less.

When TCFS was founded in 1967, teens were at the core of its services. Through the 2012 Teens Won’t Wait Project, the agency is currently working to better meet the needs of teens in the community through obtaining additional funding.

Group programs for teens include a Wilderness Challenge Program, an eight-day therapeutic adventure that provides a positive peer group experience for at-risk teens; a Young Women’s Retreat, a weekend of building self-esteem and peer support; Mindful Emotions, an eight-week class that helps teen girls strengthen their communication skills and develop healthy coping strategies; and Smart Choices, an anger management class for teens to learn new ways to handle anger that includes working with their families to help change the family dynamics.

The agency offers prevention and early intervention programs, as well as counseling, workshops and other services to promote good mental health and effective family functioning.

“Our area of specialization is working with families,” Otepka said.

He explained that gaining an understanding of the problem within the context of the family allows family members to be part of the treatment.

In addition to divorce support workshops for children, anger management for children and adults, groups for single moms and for grandparents raising grandchildren, TCFS also offers family enrichment groups, designed to build stronger ties between parents and their children and among siblings.

Offered in schools and school settings, the family enrichment groups include families sharing a meal, a discussion with the adults about parenting while the children participate in art or other forms of therapy, ending with an activity that includes both parents and children.

Simply setting aside the time to interact as a family has significant benefits, said Denis Ferguson, director of the Behavioral Health Program.

Ferguson said TCFS staff includes six full and part-time therapists for adults and six for family services.

“We also see a fair amount of couples,” he said. “That’s a key area for us.”

Ferguson explained that the philosophy TCFS staff ascribe to is that the body and the mind are interconnected, and their approach is holistic. They participate in outreach activities, such as a Children’s Wellness Fair in St. Charles and offer classes on mental health issues as part of the Batavia High School health curriculum.

The agency has recently initiated a pilot program with the Visiting Nurses Association Health Care in Aurora, in its pediatric clinics. Staff consult with doctors regarding children with physical complaints, but without a medical reason. In the first three months of the program, they have received 40 referrals for issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders (ADHD), bi-polar disorders, anxiety and depression.

Their goal is to determine if they can help people improve their general health with behavioral health programs.

“There is no health without mental health,” Ferguson said.

Treasurer sets due date for property tax bills

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert recently announced that taxpayer’s 2011—payable 2012—property tax bills were mailed out this past week.

The first installment will be due June 4, and the second installment will be due September 4.

Reports are that Net Taxable Valuation for Kane County is $13,756,090,133, with a total real estate tax extension of $1,174,127,584. You may visit to view current tax information and print out duplicate bills. Also on this website is a list of all unclaimed funds held by the treasurer.

Taxpayers can make payment by office, in the envelope provided; mailing the payment with coupon to the treasurer’s designated banks within Kane County; making the payment with coupon at the Treasurer’s Office (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays); making the payment with coupon during business hours; or by making the payment in the tax drop box, which is available 24 hours a day (drop box is located behind Building A at the Government Center in Geneva).

Note there are convenience fees for both of these services. Additional information is available on the Treasurer’s Office website,

Aurora man guilty of violating amended stalking statute

AURORA—An Aurora man is the first person to be convicted by a Kane County jury under Illinois’ amended stalking statute.

Thomas C. Adams (AKA John C. Cassimatis), 74, most recently of the 200 block of South Union Street in Aurora, was convicted by a Kane County jury on April 24 of one count of aggravated stalking, a Class 3 felony, and one count of violating an order of protection, a Class 4 felony.

On April 11, 2011, the victim filed an order of protection against Adams in DeKalb County court after their dating relationship had ended early in 2011, but Adams had continued to pursue the victim. On July 11, 2011, that order of protection was made permanent. On Sept. 8, 16 and 19, 2011, at her Sugar Grove residence, and on Sept. 15 and Oct. 18, 2011, at her Aurora workplace, Adams stalked the victim by driving past her residence and place of employment, which caused emotional distress to the victim, in violation of the order of protection and in violation of the new stalking statute.

An order of protection prohibits the defendant from stalking, harassing or having any contact with the victim.

The amended stalking statute, which took effect June 1, 2010, criminalizes certain behaviors toward others, such as driving by the victim’s home, appearing within the victim’s eyesight, showing up at the victim’s workplace, sending packages to the victim, or having any contact with the victim when these actions cause the victim emotional distress.

Associate Judge Marmarie J. Kostelny set Adams’ next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. May 30, in Courtroom 217 for sentencing. Adams faces a sentence of probation or between three and nine years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Adams had been held in the Kane County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail since Nov. 8, 2011. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

“Our thanks to the jury for carefully examining Mr. Adams’ course of conduct in its entirety in reaching this verdict,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said. “If anyone experiences this type of behavior from someone, they should not hesitate to call the police every time it happens. People should be able to feel safe in their homes and at work from unwanted behavior from others.”

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Jamie L. Mosser and Lindsay Hatzis.

Scouts aim to make the world a better place

ST. CHARLES—Saving a life, helping out after a flood or disaster, recycling community trash—these acts of kindness are what Scouting calls “good turns.” You may know that the Scouts’ slogan is “do a good turn daily.” But you may not know why. It has to do with how American Scouting came to be, and why today that phrase is at the heart of a program that gives every Scout a chance to volunteer to help the people around him or her.

It’s no surprise that the third Scout law is, “a Scout is helpful,” or that in the Scout Oath, one pledges to, “help other people at all times.” Scouting even has a Good Turn coin to apply the slogan daily.

It’s safe to say that Scouting encourages our youth to live out a set of principles. It’s also where today’s youth can find adventure.

The Boy Scouts of America, Three Fires Council, will host a day-long community showcase Scout-O-Rama—“Daily Good Turn.” It’s at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton on Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with over a hundred hands-on family activities that bring the perfect mix of unforgettable fun and import life lessons. Join us to honor the men and women on Armed Forces Day and “do a good turn” by donating a food item to our event partner, Northern Illinois Food Bank.

“All acts of volunteerism make communities better today and teach our youth lifelong lessons,” said Matt Ackerman, president and Scout executive at Three Fires Council. “We want our communities and youth to have the opportunity to learn the power of giving back. To learn more about teamwork, leadership, service and character. We want our youth to grow up to be successful at what they do, to have a sense of place, of community, to have strong values and a chance to volunteer to make the world a better place.”

Scout-O-Rama is open to the public, and tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family (four tickets or one car load). Plus, they have a variety of one-time and year-long discounts that local consumers know and use frequently, such as Legoland, Colonial Cafe, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts. Tickets are available to purchase at Cantigny Park, the Norris and Deicke Scout shops, and at all Colonial Cafe locations. Onsite parking is available at Cantigny Park, and auxiliary parking with free shuttles will be at the DuPage County Government Center, which is a half-mile north of Route 38.

Be one of the first 1,500 to stop by the booth to receive a goodie bag sponsored by Chicago Parent, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Plano Molding.

To learn how Scouting can make a difference in your child’s life or for more event information, visit or call (630) 584-9250.

Fundraiser helps Virgil woman with leukemia

CORRECTION: On Page 1A of the May 3 edition of the Elburn Herald, the date of the Pat Probst fundraiser was listed incorrectly. The date of the fundraiser is actually Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. Also, the fundraiser is to help Probst pay travel and living expenses related to her bone marrow transplant later this month.
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
phone (630) 365-6446

by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARK—It was Feb. 8, 2012, when Virgil resident Pat Probst was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of blood cells that is fast moving and affects white blood cells known as lymphocytes.

Pat began chemotherapy treatment almost immediately, and was soon experiencing treatment side effects, such as vision change and an inability to taste food. She needs a bone marrow transplant and is scheduled to receive one later this month in Madison, Wis. At that point, she’ll need to live near the hospital while she recovers from the procedure.

“The doctor said her cancer is curable, but will take a very long time to beat the disease,” said Ben Probst, who is Pat’s son.

Ben said the cost of Pat’s bone marrow transplant will not be covered by insurance. Because of this, a fundraiser for Pat will be held at Bootlegger’s Bar, Grill and Pizza, 107 Main St. in Maple Park, on Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. The event will feature a raffle including Cubs and football tickets, gift baskets and golf packages. There will also be a cash raffle, with tickets currently available at Bootlegger’s and Casey’s Gas Station in Maple Park.

“The raffle has been a couple months in the works. As soon as we learned what all of the transplant entailed, Tony and Donna (Herrington) from Bootlegger’s said they wanted to help with the benefit raffle, and have been great in doing so,” Ben said.

In addition to Pat’s acute lymphocytic leukemia, her husband, Ken, recently found out that his prostate cancer, removed a year ago, had returned. He has already begun five-day-a-week radiation treatment, while Pat continues with her four-day-a-week treatment.

“Due to mom’s blood levels and lack of immune system from the cancer, she has to be on strict diets, and risk of any infection stops her from eating many things she loves,” Ben said. “Most important, (it) stops her from seeing her grandchildren at times, who mom loves so much. She says that’s one of the hardest things for her.”

Ben said the show of support from the community has been overwhelming.

“Everyone has been great in donating … Mom says that she just wishes it could all be over and that she doesn’t want to be sick anymore. She also says she can’t believe the things people have done so far to help and the get-well cards she has received,” he said.

Anyone interested in donating to the Pat Probst fundraiser can call Ben at (815) 739-0175.

New rule for school: Whooping cough shot for 6th-, 9th-graders

KANE COUNTY—Beginning this fall, for school year 2012-13, the state of Illinois is requiring that all students entering sixth and ninth grades provide proof of a dose of the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccination in addition to the school physicals required at these grades.

Numerous outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred recently among school children in Illinois, and the numbers seem to be on the rise. While Kane’s numbers are not quite as high as some of those in neighboring counties, there have been 37 cases so far this year, compared to 54 last year.

“As we approach the end of the school year, I want to encourage parents of next year’s sixth- and ninth-graders to schedule those physicals and shots,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert. “You will be taking steps to keep them healthy and at the same time meet the school requirements.”

Because pertussis is so highly contagious, the infection often spreads rapidly through school environments. It is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may cause illness that persists for weeks to months. Pertussis does not typically cause severe illness in healthy students, but can prolong absences from school and extracurricular activities.

In addition, pertussis can be transmitted from healthy students to infants and individuals with chronic illnesses, for whom pertussis can be life threatening. Vaccinations are available from your personal physician, from one of the Federally Qualified Health Centers and from some pharmacies.

More information on the new requirement is available by visiting, by contacting your school or calling the Health Department’s Bee Wize Immunization Program at 866-BeeWize (1-866-233-9493).

“We are encouraging parents not to wait until the last minute to get the vaccination for their sixth and ninth graders,” Kuehnert said. “Now is an ideal time to make an appointment and avoid the rush.”

Protection against pertussis begins to decrease over time. This puts pre-teens, teenagers and adults at risk for the illness. To address this increase in pertussis disease among older students, proof of one dose of a booster vaccination called Tdap (for protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) is being required by the state for all students in grades six and nine. However, all students in grades six through 12 should have a record of a dose of Tdap, as it is likely to be required in the future.

Some other immunizations that also are recommended for this age group include the meningococcal vaccine, a second chickenpox shot (if they never had chickenpox disease), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series. During flu season, it is also recommended that everyone older than 6 months receive a seasonal flu vaccine.

Local country band plays Nashville

Photo: Back Country Roads, a local country music band with members from throughout the Kaneland area, recently performed in Nashville as part of a country music contest. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
Nashville—Back Country Roads, a local band in the Kaneland area that describes its music as “the big sounds of Nashville (brought) home to the Midwest,” recently brought their sound to Nashville. The band was invited to play at the Wildhorse Saloon, a three-level, 66,000 square-foot live music and dance venue.

Singer Mary Noren and guitar player Brian Miller had gone to “the Music City” several weeks earlier and dropped off electronic press kits at a few places there. The Wildhorse Saloon contacted them the following day to invite the band to participate in a “Battle for the Saddle” competition on April 25.

Each band played five songs for a panel of three judges, among whom was Michael Knox, Jason Aldean’s producer. Although the band performed well, they did not win the contest, bass player Dave Miller said.

“The experience, however, was well worth the trip,” Dave said. “It was an awesome experience to be on a stage playing to 800 to 1,000 people.”

Kaneville resident and one of the newest members of the band, keyboard player Dan Alfrey described the experience as a “whirl-wind trip,” one day down, one day to play, and the third day, back home.
“It was humbling, playing in such a large place in a town that is known for its music,” he said.

Approximately 30 to 40 people from the area traveled to Nashville to hear them play. Maple Park resident Kim Goodenough, a friend of vocalist Kyle Miller’s parents, drove them back and forth in her family’s 40-foot motor home.

“The kids are exceptional,” Goodenough said. “They play so well together. They were the only band that had people out on the floor dancing.”

Back Country Roads, also known as BCR, originated in 2009. Kyle and Noren, students together at Northern Illinois University, began singing Karaoke in some of the bars in DeKalb. Their friend Brian Miller soon joined them on acoustic guitar. The band’s first gig was for the Maple Park Fire District Women’s Auxiliary at the Maple Park Pub.

They played a few shows as an acoustic trio, but decided they wanted a bigger sound. They added Jarred Klotz on drums and Dave Miller, Kyle’s great-uncle, on bass guitar.

Soon, they were playing at various festivals and events throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Maple Park Fun Fest, Kaneville Fest, as well as Country Thunder USA in Twin Lakes, Wis. They added Hanna Mathey on fiddle and Dan Alfrey on keyboards. John Von Arx joined the group later on lead guitar.

The band plays mainly newer country music, such as Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Zach Brown Band and Jason Aldean, as well as some of the older favorites, such as Alabama and Johnny Cash, Dave said. They have a loyal following and have opened for bands such as Phil Vassar, David Lee Murphy and Darryl Worley.

More recently, they have begun writing their own music, and have their first single, called “Wake Up This Day.” They are hoping to get the song played on local stations.

“We want to be a band that other people cover,” Dave said.

BCR will perform at Country Thunder USA this summer for their third consecutive year and will open for Neal McCoy at DeKalb’s Corn Fest. They will also play at Elburn Days and the Maple Park Fun Fest.

For more information and a schedule for Back Country Roads, visit, ‘Back Country Roads’ page on Facebook or download their free Droid/iPhone app ‘Back Country Roads.’

WCC offers Career Education Scholarships

SUGAR GROVE—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering scholarships to students enrolling in a variety of career education programs during the upcoming 2012-13 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 25.

These $500 program scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. A list of qualifying degree and certificate programs and an application form can be found online at

For more information, contact Admissions at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

Police restrict access to judicial center due to ‘suspicious package’

Bomb squad opens box to find workout DVD, game, calculator
Kane County—Police restricted access to the Kane County Judicial Center Wednesday morning after a security officer was informed of a suspicious package in the parking lot.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the security officer received word of the item, and officers found a small, grey box on a landscape berm in the parking lot on the northwest side of the complex.

Due to the location of the box and inability to verify its contents without opening it, deputies and court security officers blocked off the west parking lots and diverted all traffic to the east side of the building. The Kane County Bomb Squad was called to the scene, and they were able to safely open the package and located a workout DVD, Playstation video game and a calculator. Deputies collected the box and contents as evidence, and the parking lot was reopened at approximately 9:45 a.m.

During the incident the courthouse remained open and court calls were unaffected. The Geneva and St Charles police departments assisted Sheriff’s deputies with traffic control.

Barefoot collegians

Sugar Grove resident Amy Manion (left) was among Aurora University faculty and students who walked barefoot on campus in the first “A Day without Shoes” on April 10. Manion is an information services librarian. Katy Meier (right) of Aurora is a junior nursing major and library assistant. Students and faculty collected 1,485 pairs shoes in the inaugural event to benefit students at Bardwell and Brady elementary schools in Aurora, Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora, Soles4Souls, and Crossover Running. Kris Johnson, Wackerlin Center fellow and event coordinator, said goals of the effort were to increase awareness of global poverty through experiential activities and to encourage donations of shoes. Courtesy Photo

Special Olympics 2012 Spring Games

NAPERVILLE—Families, volunteers and spectators will cheer on runners, shot-putters and other athletes as they compete in the largest area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban/Area 2 (DuPage, Kane, Kendall Counties) and Near West Suburban/Area 5 (Eastern DuPage County and west suburban Cook County).

The annual Spring Games will take place on Sunday, April 29, from 9 a.m.
until 4 p.m. at North Central College in Naperville. The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes.

At the combined Area 2/Area 5 Spring Games, approximately 670 athletes are expected to compete in track & field and power lifting. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies. Competition follows immediately and will conclude around 4 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

The running of the torch with the Flame of Hope and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games. Naperville Mayor Pradel and North Central President Dr. Wilde are the special guests.

Athletes will compete in the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 & 1500 Meter Runs, Standing & Running Long Jumps, Shot Put, Tennis and Softball Throw, High Jump, 400, 800, & 2K Walk Races, Wheelchair Competitions and Assisted Races and Power Lifting. Athletes compete in divisions by gender and ability levels.

Powerlifters from DuPage, suburban Cook and Will counties will also compete for the chance to qualify for State Summer Games by winning a gold medal at this competition.

To compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Area Spring Games, athletes must train for eight weeks. Athletes who win a gold medal at these area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games to be held June 15-17 on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. More than 3,500 athletes from around the state are expected to compete in Summer Games.

National Medication Take-Back Day at the SG Police Department

SUGAR GROVE—This program is part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The DEA works with area agencies twice a year in April and October. This one-day drop-off program will take place Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Sugar Grove Police Department, 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds—188.5 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds—nearly 500 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a public safety and health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Additionally, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Bring your medications for disposal to Sugar Grove Police Department, located at 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. The following is a list of acceptable and not acceptable items.

Acceptable items: non-controlled DEA drugs, medication samples, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medicated ointments/lotions, vitamins, and medications for pets

Non-acceptable items: thermometers, narcotics/DEA controlled drugs, IV bags, sharps/needles (see below for disposal), bloody or infectious waste and empty containers

Medication Collection

1. Leave items in their original containers. Pill bottles, blister packs, ointment tubes and leak-proof liquid containers are all acceptable.
2. Remove or black out any personal information on the label to protect your privacy.

Year-round medication
drop-off locations:

• Naperville Fire Station No. 4
Route 59 and Brookdale Road, Naperville
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays
(except on holidays)

• Fox Metro Water Reclamation District
682 Route 31, Oswego, Ill.
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday
(except on holidays)

IEMA, FEMA promote National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the first National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, April 22-28.

Throughout the week, federal, state and local agencies across the nation will encourage people to know their severe weather risks, take action to be prepared and set an example for others.

“Here in Illinois, we’ve already experienced nature’s fury this year with the deadly tornado in southern Illinois,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We can’t prevent severe weather from happening, but by being better prepared and knowing how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we can lessen its devastating impact and save lives.”

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week coincides with the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado outbreak in the central and southern states. Just one month later, Joplin, Mo., was devastated by a tornado.

In 2011, there were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries.

The FEMA/NOAA nationwide preparedness effort encourages people to:

Know your risk
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could affect you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take action
Be a ‘force of nature’ by taking the pledge to prepare at FEMA’s website. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency supply kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

Be an example
Once you’ve taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook or send a tweet. IEMA also promotes severe weather preparedness each year during March.

This year, IEMA joined with the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) to increase awareness of weather alert radios. The two organizations joined together to sponsor a month-long weather alert radio contest that drew more than 3,500 participants from around the state. Participants had to read information about weather alert radios and successfully complete a five-question quiz before registering for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be awarded by IESMA. The winners of the contest will be contacted in the near future by their local emergency management agencies.

Information about severe weather preparedness is available on Illinois’ Ready Illinois website at, on FEMA’s website at or on NOAA’s website,

KCFB celebrates 100 years, hosts family event

Photo: KCFB Information Director Ryan Klassy points out details in the carving to KCFB members Erwin Panzer, Bernice Maness and Leonard Panzer of Maple Park. The sculpture, at the corner of Randall Road and Oak Street in St. Charles, tops out at 11 feet tall and sports a Kane County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary logo. Courtesy Photo

KANE COUNTY—The seventh annual Touch-A-Tractor at the Kane County Farm Bureau attracted a steady crowd thanks to the efforts of dozens of member/volunteers. Several events at the April farm-city event helped highlight the Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration.

A tree carving on the corner of the KCFB property, facing Randall Road, made a one-of-a-kind Touch-A-Tractor experience. Professional carver Michael Bihlmaier of Marengo, Ill., turned the base of a trunk of a 120-year-old ash tree, taken down due to disease, into a towering ear of corn.

Bihlmaier used half a dozen chainsaws of varying sizes to chip away at the carving over the course of the three-day event, creating a tribute to Illinois’ number-one commodity crop.

“Ash is a very hard, dry wood so it takes a lot of time,” said Bihlmaier.

His chainsaws hummed away as onlookers waited to see what the sculpture would be. What remained when Bihlmaier hit the off switch on his chainsaw was an 8-foot-tall ear of corn, complete with curling husks that cradle over 350 individually carved kernels of corn. Good weather allowed him to finish the ear of corn before the last Touch-A-Tractor visitor left.

A Kane County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary logo was all that was left to be added when showers came late in the day on Sunday. The sculpture measures 11 feet tall, from the ground to the tallest point.

“It’s definitely the biggest ear of corn I’ve ever carved,” said Bihlmaier, who has completed hundreds of carvings.

Bihlmaier has award-winning talent, has competed in national carving competitions and is a member of the Echo chainsaw carving team. He used a grinder, dremel and other woodworking tools to add detail to the sculpture.

“We’re really impressed with the job Mike did,” said PR Chair Beth Engel of Hampshire. “The detail is so impressive. It should catch the attention of drivers on Randall Road and give them a reason to stop and see what we’re doing to promote a bright future for agriculture here in Kane County.”

KCFB also kicked off the Centennial Grove tribute program, and visitors were able to get a first-hand look at the trees available for purchase to dedicate to individuals or events.

Another first-time attraction was a 1913 Port Huron steam engine brought in by KCFB member Tom Runty. It was a huge hit with kids and adults.

“The littlest kids seem to have the best understanding of it,” Runty said. “They know it looks like a train, and of course that’s exactly the way it works, like a steam-operated locomotive.”

Runty’s first appearance at Touch-A-Tractor was perfectly timed, as the association is celebrating its centennial. The steam engine, which he bought in 1999 and spent five years restoring, is almost the same age as the Kane County Farm Bureau, which has a date of Dec. 31, 1912, on its charter. Almost every kid, and many adults, took a turn standing on the platform of the 20,000-pound behemoth.

“Because we are celebrating our 100th year, we wanted to make this Touch-A-Tractor one to remember,” said Director and PR committee member Bill Collins. “Thanks to moderate weather conditions and some exceptional equipment and displays, I think we provided a really good experience for the kids—which is what it’s all about.”

The event featured 17 antique tractors, modern farm equipment, farm animals and lots of agricultural activities for children. The weekend wrapped up with the announcement of 21 college-bound recipients of nearly $22,000 in Kane County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships, followed by the drawing of the winners in the not-for-profit’s annual Winner’s Choice Tractor Raffle fundraiser.

Attendance at the annual farm-city event was estimated at 1,500 people for the three-day event.

Ongoing construction on tap for Elburn area

Elburn/Lily Lake—Prepare for road delays through the summer as a pair of Illinois Department Transportation projects recently began.

A resurfacing project on Illinois 47 from Seavey Road to just north of Welter Road in Elburn began April 9, and will require reducing Illinois 47 to one lane during the daytime hours where construction is taking place. Flaggers will be present.

The tentative completion date is Aug. 1.

Curran Contracting Company, Inc., of Crystal Lake, is the prime contractor on the $2.4 million project.

Motorists should anticipate delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. Please obey the speed limit, observe closure signs and remain alert for workers.

Further north, the Lily Lake area will be impacted through at least mid-November as IDOT is reconstructing the intersection of routes 64 and 47. This project began April 16.

The project initially will require closing Illinois 64 just east of Illinois 47. Traffic will be detoured on LaFox Road and Illinois 38 to reconnect with Illinois 64 via Illinois 47.

Later in the construction season, Illinois 64 will reopen and Illinois 47 just south of Illinois 64 will close. Traffic will be detoured on Illinois 64 and LaFox Road to reconnect with Illinois 47 via Illinois 64.

The improvements consist of reconstructing the intersection to include left-turn lanes for all directions and a new traffic signal. The profile of the roadway also will be raised to improve drainage.

The tentative completion date is Nov. 15. Curran Contracting Company, Inc., of Crystal Lake, is also the prime contractor on the $5.1 million project.

Motorists should anticipate delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. Please obey the speed limit, observe closure signs and remain alert for workers.

Find details on other construction projects in IDOT’s District 1 at Updates on the impacts to traffic are available at