Category Archives: Sugar Grove

Past principal sparkles with new career

SG woman launches line of religious-themed jewelry
by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Melissa Crisci loved her job as a teacher and then a principal at Holy Cross School in Batavia. But when her son was born, she decided on a new path she always had dreamed about—designing and selling faith-themed jewelry.

“I wouldn’t have believed a year ago that I would own a jewelry business,” said Crisci, who owns Steeple Stones Jewelry in Sugar Grove.

For a long time, Crisci had wanted to “wear her faith” through stylish and contemporary religious jewelry to complement her business attire. However, she found pieces like that were nearly non-existent. So, she began sketching hundreds of images of jewelry that she had pictured in her mind over the years.

Her jewelry designs became reality when she took her sketches to the owner of a jewelry store and casting business in Chicago and Steeple Stones Jewelry came into being.

“It seems like just yesterday that I started drawing jewelry designs in my notebook,” Crisci said. “I knew that I wanted to create pieces with a scriptural, symbolic or inspirational meaning.”

One of her customers, Donna Weiss, said Crisci’s jewelry struck her immediately as being unique.

“When I first saw Melissa’s pieces, I knew they were special,” Weiss said. “I’ve been able to give my family and friends gifts that are eye-catching and truly represent their faith. There is nothing similar to Crisci’s designs.”

Steeple Stones Jewelry has a showroom at 6 S. Main St., Sugar Grove, plus offers in-home parties and art shows. To see Crisci’s jewelry designs, visit

Fashion show
Melissa Crisci, owner of Steeple Stones Jewelry,
is hosting a fashion show Thursday, June 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
at the Fireside Grill in Sugar Grove. The event will feature
appetizers, beverages, special offers and prizes.
Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be donated to the
Sugar Grove Food Pantry. Call (630) 688-8524 for reservations.

Photo: Melissa Crisci owns Steeple Stones Jewelry in Sugar Grove, where she displays many of the unique pieces she designed. Courtesy Photo

Homeowners must finance flooding improvements

Board approves SSA for subdivisions
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board decided on June 15 that the village will establish a special service area (SSA) in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions, which have been plagued by drainage problems.

The board voted 4-3 for the the SSA, which will allow the village to levy a special tax to subdivision property owners to finance drainage improvements.

The SSA vote was deadlocked at 3-3 before Village President Sean Michels broke the tie with a vote in favor creating an SSA similar to those the village established for other developments.

“All our subdivisions in Sugar Grove have a special service area to take care of maintenance and common areas, in case the homeowners association can’t take care of them,” he said. “In this case, Mallard Point doesn’t have a homeowner’s association, so this is a good way to distribute the cost amongst all the homeowners in that subdivision.”

Michels said the village has not yet determined costs or fees that will be associated with the SSA, which the owners of the 350 homes that fall within the area will pay.

To evaluate the drainage issue and assess initial costs for cleaning up the pond and wetlands, the Village employed a management company. The company also will perform annual maintenance to prevent further drainage issues.

Several residents adamantly expressed their displeasure Tuesday about having to bear the cost of drainage improvements.

Trustee Kevin Geary, who opposed the SSA, said he sympathized with them and asked the Village Board to reconsider its stance on the Mallard Point drainage issue.

“This issue is no different than a street that crumbles and we have to search through the budget to find an extra $200,000 to emergency patch (the) road.”

Board OKs commercial project plans

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on on Tuesday approved a preliminary planned unit development, four final planned unit developments and a special use for the College Corners commercial center at Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive.

The development consists of four buildings slated to include offices and retail space for businesses that will include a sports bar, a gas station with a possible drive-through restaurant.

June 17 police blotter

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
• Jose Roberto Sanchez Benitiz, 23, of the 200 block of Bolz Road in Carpentersville, Ill., was arrested at 7:57 a.m. June 9 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him as he was driving a truck pulling a trailer that lacked valid safety tests and a state-required emergency breakaway system.

• Richard S. Radke, 47, of Catlin Square in Geneva, was arrested at 12:23 a.m. June 13 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him for speeding on Route 47 at Capes Drive in Elburn.

• Andrew James Howard Miller, 22, of the 200 block of Carlton Mew Court in Geneva, was arrested at 3:49 a.m. June 13 for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him for speeding on Route 47 near Rowe Street in Elburn.

• Christopher A. Murre, 20, of the 200 block of Chatsworth Ave., Sugar Grove, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at 7:57 a.m. June 9. Police approached Murre after finding he was driving on a registration violation. A June 18 court date was scheduled.

• A resident of the 300 block of Smoke Tree Plaza, North Aurora, reported an array of items were stolen from a vehicle parked at Bliss Creek Golf Course sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. June 9. Among the items missing were a laptop valued at $3,026, two DVD movies, a shoulder bag and various computer programs.

• Sugar Grove police responded to a business on the 1900 block of Route 30 in Sugar Grove on June 10 when an employee reported that someone had slashed the tires of a company vehicle. The incident happened sometime between 3:15 p.m. on June 9 and 7:30 a.m. June 10.

• A resident of the 200 block of East Park Avenue in Sugar Grove reported that their vehicle was damaged during an all-day garage sale June 10. The vehicle was scratched from the drivers-side door to the rear of the vehicle while it was parked on the street during the sale. There was no damage estimate given.

Watson enjoys HOF honor, volleyball action

Former WCC coach back from AZ after volleyball trip
by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—How does Maple Park’s Don Watson reflect on Hall of Fame accolades?

Not by taking a step back.

Watson, who was inducted into the Waubonsee Community College Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet last month, also got back from Arizona this week where he was competing in Senior Nationals and the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.

A former sportswriter with the Elburn Herald, Watson also remains coach of local club volleyball and the Hinckley-Big Rock girls volleyball squad.

His hall of fame honor is a long way away from the humble beginnings of his WCC tenure, when he helped establish the Lady Chiefs volleyball program in 1977 as head coach, and remained for 14 years.

“It was an honor, in a sense that when I look at the others that went in (to the Hall of Fame) in years past, I knew all of them,” Watson said. “I was grateful and thrilled, it was a nice honor.”

Watson was also the first softball coach and led the team to its first Skyway Conference title in 1980.

“I’ve seen the Waubonsee athletic program grow a lot to where people are getting into the Hall of Fame,” Watson said. “We had some pretty good teams over the years.”

Watson began teaching a volleyball class in the 1980s and ran summer camps for high school players.

“I played with the Elgin YMCA team way back when and it was a very competitive league and that’s where I really learned the game,” Watson said.

With the new high school volleyball season set to begin shortly, Watson took the time to participate in mens volleyball for the sixth time in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix earlier this month, where the Chicagoland Masters took a bronze in the Mens’ 75 division.

“Then people ask how many teams were in the bracket,” Watson said. “But in the Men’s 75 group, it’s hard to get many people to compete. But the first and second-place teams were bigger and were better than we were.”

The group that Watson participated in also had teams from Florida, Maryland and Delaware.

The hall of famer has no plans to stop doing what he loves.

“With coaching high school, I feel I have to stay active,” Watson said. “I have to do what I try to teach and demonstrate sometimes what I’m talking about. It’s not just playing, you keep learning.”

Resident will launch teen reading, writing groups

by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett of Sugar Grove always has loved reading and writing, and in college founded a literary magazine. Now she wants to provide a place where other young writers can compose and share their works, and to assist them in honing their talents.

“I always wished I had someone to help me,” she said.

Wilson-Bennett currently is reading approximately 1,000 surveys to help her set a direction for teenage reading and writing clubs that will meet at the Teen Zone at the Sugar Grove Public Library. Local high-school and middle-school teachers distributed the surveys to their students for Wilson-Bennett. The survey also is available at the Sugar Grove Library’s website,

Wilson-Bennett wants the reading groups to focus on fun, new and trendy books. The groups will only visit the classics if that is what their members want, because they will select the titles.

She is planning a possible kick-off party during the summer, perhaps with a movie marathon showing “Harry Potter” movies or the “Twilight” series, holding the first meeting afterward.

Library Board member Julie Wilson likes Wilson-Bennett’s idea.

“It is really important to keep the younger minds involved with reading. And discussions with your peers opens doors and ideas,” Wilson said. “I think joining reading with the creative writing will only help. It is the hope of the Sugar Grove Library Board that this program will catch on and keep growing.”

In addition to starting the teen groups, Wilson-Bennett hopes to put her literary magazine experience to use, providing a showcase for local writers’ work.

“My long-term goal is for the Sugar Grove Public Library to put out a literary magazine with submissions from students and the community,” Wilson-Bennett said. “The members in the club will help me with the process, learning how to lay out pages and edit.

Drainage project requires soil boring

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on June 1 voted unanimously to approve a contract with Testing Service Corporation, allowing the company to begin boring soil in the Mallard Point subdivision.

The soil boring is needed to help determine competitive fits to trench in a 30-inch pipe, which will help relieve the subdivision’s drainage issues.

“We’re working toward the ultimate goal of correcting the drainage problems in Mallard Point,” Village President Sean Michels said.

June 11 police blotter

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• Genaro Quinones-Hernandez, 32, of the 800 block of Kate Street in Elgin, was arrested at 6:30 a.m. June 7 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him for speeding in the 200 block of South Main Street in Elburn.

• Margaret A. Turner, 33, 2400 block of Courtyard Circle in Aurora, was arrested at 5:05 a.m. June 5 for driving while her license was suspended and for lacking proof of insurance. Police arrested her after she flagged down a patrol to ask for directions in the 1000 block of South Main Street in Elburn.

• A van in a parking lot in the 800 block of East North Street in Elburn was burglarized sometime between 5 p.m. June 1 and 8 a.m. June 2. Items stolen from the vehicle included tools valued at $300 and a Comsonic Sleuth II leak detector worth $1,725.

• Marisol Maldonado, 39, of the 100 block of Main Street in Elburn, was arrested at 12:50 a.m. May 28 for driving while her license was suspended and for lacking insurance. Police stopped her on Route 47 at Valley Drive in Elburn for not having a functioning rear plate light.

• Christopher L. Grandrud, 25, of the 500 block of Gregory Avenue in Glendale Heights, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. May 29 on a DuPage County warrant based on a charge of aggravated battery. Police arrested him at a residence in the 400 block of Prairie Valley Drive in Elburn.

Sugar Grove
• A resident of the 100 block of Calkins Drive in Sugar Grove reported a jogging stroller had been stolen sometime between the evening of June 1 and the early morning hours of June 2. The stroller was valued at $250.

• A postal employee reported the theft of service disconnect for an outdoor air conditioning condenser unit June 4. The unit was housed in an unlocked casing. The specific value was unknown, but estimated to be under $300.

New ordinance regulates wind-energy structures

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on June 1 unanimously approved a renewable-energy ordinance, which will define regulations for all small wind-energy systems constructed in the village.

“Anybody that comes in and wants to put up a small wind-energy system has to meet these regulations,” Community Development Director Richard Young said. “We’re calling this a renewable-energy system ordinance because we fully intend to come back in short order with solar panel designs that we incorporated into this ordinance, and then hopefully geothermal (energy).”

The regulations cover residential and commercial districts, and require all small wind-energy structures to be no more than 50 feet high. The ordinance also requires such structures to have a noise maximum of 55 decibels and a blade-to-ground clearance of 30 feet.

The Sugar Grove Planning Commission on May 19 reviewed the renewable-energy ordinance and passed it on to the Village Board with a recommendation of approval.

Devices are ‘green’

Sugar Grove Community Development Director Richard Young said
small wind-energy systems are hardly a cost-effective option,
and simply represent a green approach to cutting down on pollution.

“Most people want to (build an electricity-generating wind device)
regardless of whether or not it’s cost-effective to them,” Young said.
“For a lot of people, it’s just about going green.”

Police blotter for June 4

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• Miguel A. Perez, 23, of the 1000 block of Pattee Avenue, Elburn, was arrested at 6:28 a.m. May 25 on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on charges of driving while his license was suspended.

• A resident of the 60 block of Banbury Road in Elburn reported that someone made three scratches on her Toyota Camry sometime between 2 p.m. May 22 and 7 p.m. May 23. The vehicle was parked in front of her residence.

• Kelly M. Sivak, 19, of the 1300 block of Lance Avenue in Elburn, was arrested at 11:28 p.m. May 24 for driving while her license was suspended. Police arrested her on Blackberry Creek Drive at Keslinger Road in Elburn, after seeing that her rear license plate light was not functioning.

• Jacob B. Pierce, 24, of the 200 block of Kansas Street in Elburn, was arrested at 7:29 a.m. May 22 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him on Route 47 north of Hughes Road in Elburn, for driving without having a front license plate.

Sugar Grove
• On May 28, an employee of the Aurora Municipal Airport informed a patrolling Sugar Grove officer that an F18 fighter jet had escorted a small aircraft to the airport, due to violating the Presidential “no-fly” zone. The employee told the officer that the Secret Service was on the way to hold the pilot and his aircraft. The pilot, Jeffrey D. Hagg of Indianapolis, stated he was flying from Indianapolis to Minnesota, was unaware of the no-fly zone, and that his radio must have been turned down too low to hear the control tower’s warnings. The case was turned over to the Aurora Police Department before the Secret Service arrived.

• A 19-year-old Elburn resident was arrested for a zero-tolerance offense after the vehicle he was driving was stopped for speeding in the early morning hours of May 29. Jordan C. Bergmann of the 1100 block of Griffith Avenue, Elburn, was stopped when a Sugar Grove police officer found him traveling at 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. After noticing the scent of alcohol on Bergmann’s breath, the officer asked him to take a breath test, which Bergmann denied. As a result, Bergmann was taken into custody.

Mallard Point drainage issue closer to resolution

The Sugar Grove Village Board on June 1 voted unanimously to approve a contract with Testing Service Corporation, allowing the company to begin boring soil in the Mallard Point subdivision.

The soil boring is needed to help determine competitive fits to trench in a 30-inch pipe, which will help relieve the subdivision’s drainage issues.

“We’re working towards the ultimate goal of correcting the drainage problems in Mallard Point,” Village President Sean Michels said.

Decision on wind devices expected

Planning Commission recommends renewable-energy ordinance
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Planning Commission on May 19 recommended that the Village Board approve a renewable-energy ordinance, which would allow the Sugar Grove Township to install a wind turbine tower at the road and bridge building on Main Street.

The Village Board may vote on the ordinance sometime next month.

“We are aiming to have it definitely voted on by the June 15 (regular board/Committee-of-the-Whole meeting), as the (wind device) moratorium ends on June 30,” Village Planner Mike Ferencak said.

Ferencak said the Planning Commission and Committee of the Whole members voiced concerns over the amount of noise generated by a wind turbine, as well as the device’s potential impact on area wildlife. Those concerns, as well as questions regarding annual or hours-of-service-based inspections, fencing requirements and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding the height of the wind turbine, were addressed in a village staff report presented during the Planning Commission’s May 19 meeting.

Ferencak said the turbine’s impact on wildlife would be minimal, and that the structure would meet FAA requirements as long as it does not exceed 50 feet in height.

The village placed a moratorium on electricity-generating wind devices last July, and then renewed the moratorium in December.

SG Village Board is bee-side itself

Village says no bee-keeping in residential areas
by Keith Beebe
Sugar Grove—The Sugar Grove Village Board on May 18 chose to not move forward on a resident couple’s application to amend a zoning ordinance currently making it illegal to keep bees in a residentially zoned area.

The residents have been keeping several thousand bees at their home in the Mallard Point subdivision, drawing the ire of at least one neighbor who believes the bees have made it inconvenient to do anything outdoors in the subdivision.

“They started out with 8,000 bees. Now, my deck is 120 feet away from these bees. It’s not a good thing,” Sugar Grove resident John Novak said. “I can’t go out on my deck, eat dinner, put a pop down (or) put a beer down without bees. I’ve got flowers around my deck, (so) the bees come. And I am allergic.”

Novak also presented three pictures of an individual handling the bees while wearing a full rubber suit.

Bee-keeping is considered an agricultural practice, which means it cannot be done in a residentially zoned area.

The Village Board listened to statements from both Novak and a bee expert who is a close friend of the couple requesting the amendment. The board took both sides of the argument into consideration before ultimately deciding to enforce the current zoning ordinance.

“I (understand) how important bees are, but I would tend to go that 8,000 bees is more designated for an Ag property and not a residential property,” Village President Sean Michels said.

Trustee Melisa Taylor agreed with Michels, adding her concern about children in the subdivision being exposed to a nearby bee colony.

“It’s not justified necessarily in the bee world, but put a bunch of bees and put a bunch of little kids around, and that right there is chaos,” she said.

May 28 police blotter

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• A side rear window of a pickup truck parked in front of a residence in the 1100 block of Berry Street in Elburn was shattered sometime between 7 p.m. May 16 and 5:40 a.m. May 17. Damage was estimated at $400.

• A chrome and purple Huffy bicycle was left for about a week in the bike rack at Town & Country Public Library in Elburn. The library turned the bicycle in on May 17 to the Elburn Police Department, 301 E. North St., where it was secured in bike storage.

Sugar Grove
• Justin A. Elfano, 19, of the first block of Augusta Court, Glendale Heights, Ill., was stopped by Sugar Grove police for traveling 73 mph in a 45 mph construction zone. Elfano was also charged with driving while his license was suspended and not having proof of insurance. Elfano was also found to have a failure-to-appear warrant out of Lombard.

• The owner of a home on the 100 block of Brompton Lane, Sugar Grove, reported on May 21 that numerous items had been stolen from the vacant home sometime in the past three weeks. Two ceiling light fixtures valued at $100 each, a ceiling fan valued at $150, a ladder valued at $25 and 10 sets of blinds valued at a total of $700 were reported missing.

• Sugar Grove police found a stone column and street sign damaged by a vehicle that left the road near Whitfield Avenue on Merrill Road May 11 near the Hannaford Farms subdivision. The vehicle had left the scene.

• Sugar Grove police arrested Matthew Longmire of the 500 block of East Altgeld St., Glendale Heights, Ill., for driving while his license was suspended on May 13. Longmire was stopped after he was observed driving around cones set up on the eastbound lane of Route 56 due to a bridge that was out on Route 56 at Golfview Drive. Longmire posted bond, and a court date for June 18 was scheduled.

• Victor M. Barrera-Algantar of the 500 block of Colorado St., Aurora, was taken into custody May 14 for driving without a driver’s license after Sugar Grove police stopped the truck he was driving due to debris blowing into the roadway. Barrera-Algantar was taken into custody, and was also found to have an outstanding warrant for deceptive practice through the Wheaton Police Department. He posted bond and has a June 16 court date.

• The parent of a Harter Middle School student reported to Sugar Grove police May 17 that their child’s iPod Nano with nearly 200 purchased songs, valued at $350, and a black sweatshirt valued at $20, was stolen from a locker that was left unlocked at the school three weeks prior.

• Someone stole an ELEMENT skateboard grindrail valued at $120 from a residence on the 300 block of Meadows Drive two- to three-weeks prior to the report on May 18.

Kane county
• A Wayne man was sentenced to probation and 180 days in jail on May 13 for a June 2009 drunken driving crash that killed a West Chicago man and seriously injured two others.

Onofrio J. Lorusso, 19, of the 4N block of Honey Hill Circle, Wayne, was given a sentence of three years probation and 180 days in the Kane County jail.

On March 31, Lorusso pleaded guilty to one count of reckless homicide, a Class 2 felony, and three counts of aggravated DUI, one a Class 2 felony and two counts Class 4 felonies. Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon accepted the plea.

Lorusso must serve 120 days in the Kane County jail this year, 30 days in 2011 and 30 days in 2012. However, the judge said that for every speech Lorusso gives on the dangers of drunken driving, his sentence will reduced by one day after 2010.

In addition, Lorusso must pay $30,061.42 in restitution to the family of the deceased.

Lorusso was given credit for time served in the Kane County jail, where he has been held since April 30, 2010.

• An Aurora man has been convicted of drunken driving in the death of a Batavia man who was killed while walking his dog on the sidewalk just after dawn.

Edward O. Cook, 25, of the 600 block of Galena Boulevard, Aurora, was convicted Friday by Associate Judge T. Jordan Gallagher of reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony, 15 counts of aggravated driving under the influence (five are Class 2 felonies and 10 are Class 4 felonies), one count of unlawful possession of a converted motor vehicle, a Class 2 felony, in the July 2009 death of 57-year-old David Long of Batavia.

Cook had waived his right to a jury trial.

At about 6:45 a.m. July 29, 2009, Long was walking his dog on the sidewalk in the 1000 block of Woodland Hills Road on Batavia’s southeast side when a 2003 white Acura driven by Cook left the roadway and struck and killed Long and the dog. Cook had been drinking and smoking marijuana the previous night and early into the morning at a residence in Aurora and later in DeKalb. After being given a ride to the residence of an acquaintance, Cook took the car without permission. A blood sample taken at least three hours after the crash revealed that Cook’s blood-alcohol concentration was .106, and he had marijuana and cocaine in his system.

Cook previously had had his driving privileges revoked for a 2008 aggravated DUI conviction, and he has never had a valid license to drive a motor vehicle.

Cook’s next court appearance was set for 1:30 p.m. July 23, for motions and sentencing. Cook faces a sentence of probation or between three and 14 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Cook remains in custody in the Kane County jail. He had been held on $750,000 bail since the crash. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

• An Aurora woman has been indicted for her role in a May 2009 crash on Route 47 in which two people were killed and several others were injured.

Alia N. Bernard, 20, of the 1500 block of West Galena Boulevard, Aurora, was indicted May 18 by a Kane County grand jury, on two counts of reckless homicide, each a Class 3 felony, and one count of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor.

Bernard surrendered May 19 at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, posted $5,000 bond and was released. Bernard was ordered to appear at 9 a.m. June 2 in Courtroom 217 in front of Associate Judge James C. Hallock.

According to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred at about 8:20 a.m. May 23, 2009, at the intersection of Route 47 and Smith Road in Blackberry Township south of Elburn. A vehicle in the southbound lane on Route 47 had stopped to turn left onto Smith Road, waiting for several northbound motorcycles to pass. Two additional southbound vehicles had stopped behind it. A fourth southbound vehicle, a 1999 Toyota Solara driven by Bernard, approached and struck the third vehicle in the rear.

The collision created a chain reaction that ultimately pushed the first vehicle into the path of the oncoming motorcycles. A 2000 Harley-Davidson Softtail struck the first vehicle, and motorcycle’s driver, Wade Thomas, 44, of St. Charles, and the passenger, his wife, Denise Thomas, 45, also of St. Charles, were killed.

According to the indictment, Bernard was acting recklessly, performing acts likely to cause the death or great bodily harm to some individual in that she operated a motor vehicle while failing to keep a proper look out and thereby caused the deaths of Wade Thomas and Denise Thomas. The indictment further states that Bernard had cannabis in her system at the time of the crash.

Bernard was given a traffic citation at the time for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. However, that charge was dropped while authorities awaited the results of toxicology tests, which took several months to be returned, and while the Kane County Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate the case.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Bernard faces a sentence of probation or two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The charges against Bernard are not proof of guilt. Bernard is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

More than 800 graduates receive degrees from WCC

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College awarded degrees to 806 graduates at the college’s 2010 commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20. The oldest member of the graduating class was 76-year-old Maybelle Harshey of Sugar Grove, while the youngest graduate was 18 years old.

Since its first graduating class in 1968, Waubonsee has conferred 15,858 degrees to local students.

Photo: Waubonsee Community College graduate Maybelle Harshey of Sugar Grove has her diploma in hand as she exits the college’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20. At 76, Harshey is the oldest member of Waubonsee’s 2010 graduating class. She earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice.
Courtesy Photo

Site offers parking since restaurant demolished

Vacant SG property owned by Jerry Rich
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The property located at 270 Main St. in Sugar Grove has experienced several changes over the last 20 years, from its days when the property was known as “The Pointe,” “Duffy’s,” and then “J.R.’s Retreat.”

It’s now known as vacant. Owned by Jerry Rich of Rich Harvest Farms and the Rich Harvest Links golf course, the property hasn’t housed an operating restaurant establishment since 2005.

The former tavern and restaurant building was torn down last fall. The empty site now serves as an overflow parking lot for St. Katherine Drexel Church during the week.

Rich’s son, James, owned the property before and opened J.R.’s Retreat in 1998. Jerry Rich took over the property from his son in 2005 after James’ plan to reintroduce the bar as Chicago West fell through.

Jerry Rich said Wednesday he currently has no plans for the property.

“Personally, I think the way (the property is)—open space with a small amount of parking for the church—is lovely,” Village Clerk Cynthia Galbreath said. “I drive by it each morning, and it has such a nice park-like setting.”

“Of course, it is always nice for the village to have a sales tax-producing business in town,” she added.

2 juveniles arrested for bomb threat

Sugar Grove—Two 13-year-old males were taken into custody at the Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove on Friday at 11:45 a.m.

An investigation revealed that the boys had made a call of a bomb threat from one of their cell phones shortly after lunch on Wednesday, May 19. The call made to the Hair Cuttery at 495 Route 47 in Sugar Grove resulted in the evacuation of the shopping plaza for two hours while police K-9 units from Kane County and Yorkville searched the plaza.

The Kane County State’s Attorney authorized one felony count for each juvenile, for disorderly conduct. Both juveniles were referred to Juvenile Court Services, where they will have to appear at a future date. After booking, each youth was released into the custody of their parents.

New bylaws for library

Friends president questions board’s process, action
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on May 13 changed several library bylaws to make it easier for the board to outline its officers’ responsibilities and to navigate a budget expected to tighten considerably during the next year, library officials said.

The changes include termination of the library’s committee system in favor of library representative positions; an addition of a second Committee-of-the-Whole meeting each month; designation of the Library Board president as a primary spokesperson for the Library Board; and a decreased limit on how much money the library director can spend without seeking board approval. Any donations to the library exceeding $100 will now require board approval, as well.

The Library Board chose to hold off on a proposed change to the bylaw affecting the library director’s personnel decisions until further review.

“We are optimistic about the library’s future, and we believe these bylaw changes will have a positive impact on our library, and allow us to more effectively accomplish what we need to in the year ahead, within the confines of our new budget,” Sugar Grove Library Trustee Sabrina Malano said.

Malano’s optimism is not a universal feeling throughout Sugar Grove, however. Friends of the Library President Pat Graceffa gave a statement during the Library Board meeting, questioning the board’s decision to replace a committee with eight library representative positions.

“How is the board more qualified than the staff we have in place?” Graceffa asked. “I would also suggest that these library representative positions eliminate the diversity of input a committee would bring to the table.”

According to Graceffa, a committee meeting to review bylaws and conduct a survey discussion was held on April 22 at a library trustee’s home instead of the Sugar Grove Public Library, where the meetings are usually held.

“This board has an agenda, and they seem to think the way they are conducting business is unapproachable,” she said. “The board president knew I wanted to attend the bylaw and survey discussion meeting held in a trustees’ home, (and) he knew I was not welcomed in that home. Nonetheless, the meeting still took place in that home instead of in our library.”

Graceffa insisted throughout her statement that she does not challenge the Library Board’s right to make changes to any existing bylaws, but asked for the board to clearly demonstrate how the approved changes could benefit the Sugar Grove community.

Sugar Grove Library Board President Art Morrical said the library representative system was chosen because of the numerous scheduling constraints the board experienced while using a committee.

“Moving to a system of library representatives allows us to hold all our meetings as regular board meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month,” he said. “That way, we can proceed with full board participation and continue moving ahead with critical budget discussions.”

Malano said the bylaw changes were implemented so that the Sugar Grove Public Library can stay current with updates made to Illinois state law, and also serve both the library and the voters who elected current library board members.

“Our goal as trustees has been, and always will be, giving our patrons the best possible library experience,” she said.

Students say moms are best in town

SG contest sponsors select three winners
by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Three local mothers received a special honor just before Mother’s Day, winning the Best Moms in Town contest.

They were among 28 moms who were nominated for the award, through essays their Kaneland middle- and high-school students wrote. The contest was sponsored by Audrey Ritchey of Tastefully Simple home parties, the Sugar Grove Public Library and the Elburn Herald.

Winner Veronica Price was nominated by her daughter Kailah. Kailah wrote that her mother is very involved with home-schooling and church activities, as well as Kailah’s soccer games and violin lessons.

“My mom gives a hug even when the person has done something bad. She gives up so many things for me,” she said.

Veronica said she felt humbled when she heard she had won.

“You never really feel you’re the best mother,” she said. “You always feel you could do better.”

The second winning mom, Pattie Pattermann, a Kaneland teacher for eighth-grade language arts, was nominated by her daughter Kylen. Kylen wrote that her mom always finds time to listen to her problems and said, “My mother’s wisdom always shines through. When I don’t want to ‘hear about it’ because I think I’m smarter than her, I get hugs. I know my mom loves me. What more can I ask for?”

Pattie said she was pleased and surprised when she won, especially since she didn’t know her daughter had submitted an essay. Besides Kylen, she has two sons, one a junior in college and one graduating this month. She said she appreciates the sponsors and their gifts and the middle school for announcing the contest every morning.

“I’m hoping that more students will participate in next year’s contest,” Pattie said.

The third winning mom, Sherri Gura of Montgomery, was nominated by her daughter Starla. Starla expressed admiration for her mother’s strength during a divorce, and the loss of her own mother, brother and her five-year-old son from cancer. Starla said that when so many other people would have fallen apart, her mother was a source of strength that kept everyone else going.

In addition to Starla, she has two college-age sons.

“I knew that they were feeling what I was feeling,” Sherri said.

The day Sherri found out she’d won a Best Mom award, she was feeling down and then got the phone call.

“I don’t feel strong, but I’m glad my daughter sees me that way,” she said.

Each winner received a beach bag worth $350 with prizes that included oil change coupons, massages, olive oil, movie tickets, chocolate, coffee, automatic toothbrushes and other gifts from local businesses, the Elburn Herald, Tastefully Simple, Longaburger Baskets and Mary Kay cosmetics. The Friends of the Sugar Grove Library chose the winners.

“It was so difficult for them to choose,” Ritchey said. “Each one of the essays brought tears to our eyes for how thoughtful and heart-warming they were. They showed that these students really appreciated their mothers.”

Beverly Holmes Hughes, library director, said, “All three of the students (of the winning moms) said they wanted to be like their mothers—that they knew being a mom was a sacrifice.”

Other nominees

In addition to winners Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sherri Gura, the other mothers whose children nominated them for the Best Mom in Town were Lisa Albrechs-Legorreoa, Julie Crabb, Margarette Darst, Laura Long, Annmarie Martons, Laura McPhee, Mrs. Packard, Marybridget Prince, Laura Remes, Jenny Reuland, Juanita Singh, Becky Staley, Kim Emmanouil, Tina Goodacre, Michelle Jurcenko, Cindy Prost, Judy Van Bogaert, Kim Wendling, Sally Alef, Kelly Rosenwinke, Cindi Strobel, Terry Lamb, Lynn McHenry and Angela Orr.

Photo: Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sheri Gura. Courtesy photos

Bomb threat closes shopping plaza for 2 hours

Sugar Grove—A bomb threat made at 12:43 p.m. on Wednesday by telephone was received by a business located in the 400 block of north Route 47.

In a coordinated response from the Sugar Grove police and fire departments, the entire shopping plaza was evacuated without incident.

Bomb and arson detection K9 units from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and Yorkville Police Department searched all businesses located in the complex. The search did not turn up anything suspicious.

Employees and customers were allowed to return to the stores at 2:45 p.m. Police will follow up on the phone call and attempt to identify and locate the caller.

Golf outing helps fund scholarships

SUGAR GROVE—The rolling fairways and sprawling greens of Bliss Creek Golf Course again will be the setting for the 2010 Sugar Grove Community Golf Outing, hosted by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The event, now in its 11th year, brings together Sugar Grove residents and local civic and business leaders for a full day of golf, fellowship and fun with the goal of raising funds for the Chamber Scholarship program and various chamber projects.

The outing gets under way Friday, June 25, at 11 a.m. with lunch, then a shotgun start for golfers at noon. The outing is followed by a steak dinner and prizes for all.

Throughout the day, various products and services—generously donated by Chamber of Commerce businesses—will be raffled off.

Co-chairs of this year’s event are local attorney and Chamber President James White, and Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels.

Proceeds from the outing support the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce’s three academic scholarships, as well as the ongoing operations of the chamber.

For more information about the 2010 Sugar Grove Community Golf Outing or the Chamber of Commerce scholarships, contact Chamber Executive Director Shari Baum at (630) 466-7895 or visit

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1991 to help advance the Sugar Grove business community and to encourage local residents to utilize the products and services of local businesses.

WCC seeks nominations for distinguished contributor, alumnus awards

Sugar Grove—Nominations are now being sought for Waubonsee Community College’s 2010 Distinguished Contributor and Distinguished Alumnus awards.

Nominations must be received by Thursday, July 1, and should be submitted to Teri Leatherbury, WCC executive assistant to the president, by calling (630) 466-7900, ext. 5703, or by e-mailing Official nominating forms are available at

The Distinguished Contributor Award annually honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions or given exemplary support to Waubonsee Community College. The person has supported the general operation of the college in either a personal or professional capacity, which has contributed to the overall growth and expansion of the college’s mission.

The nominee’s commitment has enhanced a program, the operation and/or future development of the college that went beyond the ordinary, and such results would not have occurred without that special effort. The college staff, community residents and officials or community college leaders must also recognize the person as having made an extraordinary commitment to promote the college and its mission.

The nominee must have documented evidence of contributions to the community and/or the educational community. Employees and retirees of Waubonsee Community College are not eligible to receive this award.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is an award for outstanding graduates of Waubonsee Community College. It honors a graduate who shows evidence of personal/professional support for the college, its growth, development and mission. The individual must have documented evidence of a distinguished record in their chosen profession and/or occupation; documented evidence of contributions and service to their community; and have demonstrated a continued interest in lifelong education.

Wind turbine issue tabled until May 19

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Plan Commission on May 6 postponed talks concerning a proposed ordinance that would allow for a wind turbine until its next meeting on Wednesday, May 19. The Plan Commission wants to further review paperwork regarding the issue.

The 100-foot tower, which Sugar Grove Township wants to build at the road and bridge building on Main Street, exceeds the height limit outlined in the village’s draft zoning ordinance regulating wind devices. The village originally placed a moratorium on electricity-generating wind devices last July, and then renewed the moratorium in December. The current moratorium expires June 1.

Jazzercise raises $3,000 for Back in the Swing

Sugar Grove—Area Jazzercisers raised $3,000 for Back in the Swing by staging a benefit dance-fitness class on May 1.

According to Jazzercise instructor Deb Cargola, Back in the Swing will use the donations to provide awareness, access and financial support for supportive breast cancer survivorship programs and academic medical research in the field of breast cancer survivorship.

Held at Jazzercise Sugar Grove, the event drew 72 participants. Jazzercise students and friends from Elburn, La Fox, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, St. Charles, Sycamore, DeKalb and Yorkville participated in a 90-minute class as part of the benefit. Local instructors Matt Giblin and Alan Kirkland volunteered their time to lead the high energy 90-minute class.

“The Back in the Swing organization’s goal is to empower breast cancer survivors to get back in the swing of life physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Cargola said. “Together, we will help breast cancer survivors get ‘back in the swing’ and ‘stay in the swing’ of joyful, healthy living after breast cancer.”

Rich Harvest Farms recognized for environmental excellence

Junior Golf Foundation benefits from certification process
SUGAR GROVE—The Rich Harvest Farms golf course recently achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program.

Jeff VerCautren, course superintendent, led the effort to obtain sanctuary status on this course and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. Rich Harvest Farms is the 47th course in Illinois and the 753rd in the world to receive the honor.

“Rich Harvest Farms has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Jim Sluiter, Staff Ecologist for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary programs.

To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas, Sluiter said.

These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.

VerCautren and his staff dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to these areas.

“The knowledge gained by obtaining certification was a great experience,” VerCautren said. “It opened my eyes on how to properly manage a golf course and to meet high expectations to be environmentally sound. I would advocate every course go through this process to educate themselves on how to manage their golf course while being environmentally sound.”

Part of the certification process includes outreach and education. Fortunately for Rich Harvest Farms, housed on their property is one of the largest junior golf organizations in the state. The Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, established in 1998 by course owner and architect Jerry Rich, makes its administrative home at the course.

“Our foundation is fortunate to have benefitted from some of the outreach and education efforts that are part of this certification process,” said Holly Alcala, Foundation Director. “Jeff and his staff have helped to facilitate a number of events and provided resources that have been beneficial to our junior golfers and program sites.”

That outreach effort included a group of local Girl Scouts who received a tour and educational session from VerCautren, which focused on the importance that nature plays and the environmental stewardship involved in golf. VerCautren also served as a guest speaker at a caddie training session held by the foundation, where he addressed the importance of recycling, taking care of the course and more.

Awards and accolades continue to pile up for Rich Harvest Farms and Jerry Rich. In 2009, the course was thrust into the limelight while hosting the LPGA’s 2009 Solheim Cup. After hosting a major event, one might think to take a step back or slow down. Not for Rich Harvest Farms, the facility and staff are continually moving forward.

“Our commitment to the environment and community are a priority at Rich Harvest Farms,” said Jerry Rich. “Through the golf course and the Kids Golf Foundation, we are playing our part to ensure the future.”

Identity theft incidents on the rise in SG

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Are you comfortable sharing your credit or debit card information with a waiter, sales clerk or an Internet site? If so, you might want to rethink your approach to financial privacy.

After a busy 2009 in which there were 47 cases involving identity theft in Sugar Grove, 15 incidents have already been reported in the village since the beginning of this year. And in a society where steady employment and solid wages are hard to come by, the identity theft statistic is likely to keep increasing as it becomes easier to attain an individual’s personal information.

“As the economy has gone bad, we’re seeing a lot more identity theft-type cases (in the area),” Sugar Grove Police Department investigator John Sizer said. “We had a case where a mother stole the identity of her twin boys who were in college. She’d lost her job and was desperate to keep them in school, so she set up credit card accounts in their names and essentially ruined their credit.”

Identity theft, which occurs when someone assumes another person’s identity through the exploitation of the victim’s Social Security number or credit-related information, has become more and more of a nationwide problem over the last few years—mainly because so many people in this country do the bulk of their financial transactions through credit and debit cards.

Sizer said credit card fraud is the most common identity-theft-related occurrence in the Sugar Grove area. In fact, many of the incidents happen to people whose credit card information has been compromised without them actually losing possession of the card.

“Typically, someone has cloned the information on the credit card and is selling the information to others,” Sizer said. “About 43 percent of identity theft crimes are done through finding personal information in the garbage. Just 11 percent are done through the computer.”

Some cases of identity theft in the area were the result of credit card skimming. One particular instance of skimming involved an Aurora restaurant employee who was stealing card information while on the job.

Despite the number of ways someone can steal personal information, local residents can reduce the risk of falling victim to identity theft by shredding old financial documents and minimizing credit card activity on the Internet.

Anyone who suspects their personal information has been compromised should call local police immediately.

Identity theft is a state felony offense, but the charge can be brought up to the federal level if the offense is severe enough.

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 2010-11 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 28.

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 at, or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

May 14 police blotter

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

• Local police at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, pursued a driver through residential streets off Route 47 in Elburn for several minutes before arresting him for driving under the influence of alcohol, attempting to elude police, and several other offenses.

The chase started after Elburn police checked on a 2000 GMC van that was stopped on Route 47 north of Hughes Road. At that time, police approached the driver, Daniel E. Minor, 44, of the 1200 block of Twelfth Street in Bloomington, Ill. When Minor opened the driver’s door, a beer bottle fell out of the vehicle. Minor then drove away from the officer, fleeing north on Route 47 toward downtown Elburn. Elburn officers were assisted by Kane County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Police pursued Minor through streets both east and west of Route 47, south of the railroad tracks. The pursuit then continued south on Route 47 and ended when Minor stopped south of Main Street Road and surrendered to police.

Minor was transported to Elburn Police Department, where he refused to submit to an alcohol breath test. Minor was charged with DUI, driving while his license was revoked, illegal transportation of alcohol, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, improper lane usage, disobeying a stop sign, aggravated fleeing to elude police (a felony), aggravated DUI (a felony), unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.

• Jon M. Pierce, 33, of the 200 block of East North Street in Elburn, was arrested at 8:30 p.m. May 11 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him for disobeying a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 47 and Route 38 in Elburn.

• Mireya Acevedo-Trujillo, 32, of 0N040 Rt. 47, was arrested for 4:24 p.m. May 9 for driving without having a valid license. Police stopped her on Route 47 south of Keslinger Road in Elburn for speeding.

• Emmanuel J. Cook, 20, of the 5900 block of South State Street in Chicago, was arrested at 1:31 a.m. May 7, on an outstanding warrant for retail theft in Naperville. Cook, who was on foot, flagged down a patrol car on Route 47 at Stetzer Avenue. He told the officer that his girlfriend was supposed to pick him up from the Metra station but did not. The officer checked his name and birthdate and learned of the warrant.

Sugar Grove
• A resident of the 200 block of Whitfield Drive, Sugar Grove, reported on May 5 that six American Eagle Silver dollars were taken from a car that was repossessed on April 29. At that time, the resident had the silver dollars in a plastic tube in their glove box. When they picked up the vehicle later from Reliable Recovery Specialist in Joliet, the tube with the silver dollars was gone.

• A 2006 red and black Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle was reported stolen by a resident of the 100 block of Monna Street, Sugar Grove, between May 4 and May 6.

• A resident of the 700 block of Stone Hill Court reported a wallet containing credit cards, and an iPod were stolen from a vehicle parked in the garage of the residence overnight between May 5 and May 6. The garage door was reported as being open overnight.

• Michael Jones, Jr., 24, was taken into custody by Sugar Grove police after officers ran Jones’ plates and found a warrant for his arrest out of DuPage County. Jones posted bond and a court date has been scheduled for June 16, 2010.

• A resident of the 500 block of Brookhaven Circle, Sugar Grove, reported a UPS package containing a computer was taken from the front porch on May 7. The computer was valued at $439.67.

And the best mom is …

Sugar Grove—Members of the Sugar Grove Library Friends picked the winners of the Best Mom in Town contest.

The essay contest, for students in middle and high school, fielded 28 nominations. The winning entries were Veronica Price, daughter Kailah Price, seventh grade; Sherri Gura, daughter Starla Gura, sixth grade; and Pattie Pattermann, daughter Kylen Pattermann, 12th grade.

EEI wins merit awards

Sugar Grove—Fifty-five Illinois firms were recognized for excellence in engineering before an audience of more than 250 engineers, clients and government officials at an awards luncheon in February at the Crowne Plaza, Springfield.

The firms were recognized for award-winning engineering projects in the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois’ 39th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Competition. The competition recognizes outstanding projects designed by private practice engineering firms from the state of Illinois.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc., in Sugar Grove, won Merit Awards for two projects: “Municipal Drive & Galena Boulevard Extensions,” which was designed for the village of Sugar Grove, and “Emergency Water Supply Needs Assessment,” for the village of Libertyville. Merit Awards are given for projects worthy of recognition of the engineer and the owner/client for achieving engineering excellence.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc., founded in 1974, is a consulting engineering firm that provides planning, design and construction services for water, wastewater, transportation, stormwater and GIS to municipalities, counties and state agencies throughout northern Illinois. For more information, visit

Library, Legion Auxiliary send items to the military

Sugar Grove—The Sugar Grove Library joined forces with the Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 Women’s Auxiliary to collect items to send to members of the military. The auxiliary is planning a mailing for our troops in time for the holidays.

Useful items include :
• Zip Lock Bags—must have zip closure
• Jelly—plastic jars only
• Peanut butter
• Beef jerky sticks
• Mints
• Snack cups
• Fabric softener sheets
• Febreze spray
• AT&T international calling cards
• Batteries—AA & AAA
• Disposable cameras
• Books and magazines
• Puzzle books
• Foot powder
• Hand lotion
• Eye drops
• Pain relievers
• Mouthwash strips
• Toothbrushes
• Bug spray
• Sun block
• Band-Aids
• Disposable razors
• Shaving cream

The Auxiliary has received notes from some of the recipients of the packages and express deep thanks, not only of the material things but of the thoughts and prayers from home. Please contact the Legion (630) 466-4747 if you have questions about the collection.