Category Archives: Sugar Grove

Pilots bring dogs to local families

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—A local family helped a dog complete a long, life-saving journey that began in a Georgia shelter, continued through a rescue flight that landed in Joliet, Ill., and culminated in a good night’s sleep in the animal’s new Sugar Grove home.

The Novacks, parents Mark and Staci and their two daughters, are a Rover Rescue foster family who picked up the black and white chihuahua on Sunday during the Geneva PetSmart’s Adoption Day.

The dog’s journey was supported by multiple volunteers and nonprofit organizations. The rescue flight was through a program called Pilots N Paws.

Jon Wehrenberg, a retired businessman and a Pilots N Paws pilot from Knoxville, Tenn., met Elisa Crawford from Rover Rescue at the Joliet Regional Airport on Sunday morning. The passengers in his Cessna 210 were 17 dogs from a Georgia shelter, where, because of overcrowding, they would have been euthanized.

Wehrenberg said he began transporting dogs from shelters to rescue organizations two years ago, when friend and Pilots N Paws co-founder Debi Boies needed to get a dog from Tallahassee, Fla., to its new home in Tennessee. Six months later, they founded Pilots N Paws, and since then, he has recruited nearly 1,000 pilots to help transport the dogs.

“(Transporting the animals) by car is hard on them,” he said. “It’s hard to find enough people, and you end up with relays of an hour or more at a time.”

Jon Wehrenberg
Jon Wehrenberg

By flying the dogs, the entire trip takes about two hours. The animals are not moved, and they end up getting fairly relaxed during the ride. He said he has flown 320 dogs from high-kill shelters to places where the dogs will be offered a new life.

Wehrenberg said the need is so great because in many places, especially in the South, spaying and neutering is not a common practice, and shelters end up with more dogs than they can care for. He said that in Knoxville alone, they euthanize between 70 and 100 dogs a day.

Once Wehrenberg landed in Joliet, the chihuahua and the other dogs were transferred into the care of Rover Rescue.

The Aurora-based organization specializes in rescuing dogs from shelters and abusive homes and placing them in new homes. The organization coordinates with a network of dog foster families, which includes local families from Elburn, Maple Park and Sugar Grove, like the Novacks. The organization also works with local PetSmart stores, which regularly provides space for Rover Rescue to bring in animals for an Adoption Day.

Rover Rescue President Kelly Janulis said that although her organization has been working with Pilots N Paws only a short time, she is grateful to Wehrenberg and all the other pilots who donate their time, their plane and their fuel to save these dogs.

“A life is a life is a life,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s from Illinois or Georgia.”

She said that Pilots N Paws makes it much easier to save more dogs and bring them to a loving home.

Two of the 17 flown in on Sunday have already found permanent homes, while the remaining 15 reside in temporary foster homes.

The Novacks, one of the Rover Rescue foster families, have two other rescue dogs at home. Mark said they brought one of the dogs home when she was pregnant, and have since adopted out her five puppies.

He said that initially, it was hard for his daughters to give the puppies up for adoption.

“But they know if we kept all of them, we couldn’t offer another dog a home,” he said.

People who wish to adopt a dog can find pictures of them along with descriptions of them and their temperaments on the Rover Rescue website, and can make arrangements to visit the dog at the foster care home to see if it is a good fit. They can also come to a PetSmart adoption event to meet the dogs.

Novack said that he and his wife talk with the prospective adopters to ensure that the dog and its future family will be a good match.

“Usually there’s a dog out there that’s a good fit for every family,” he said.

While a dog awaits adoption, the foster home family can provide a natural environment in which the dogs will thrive, and socialize and train the dog, making it more likely that the adoption will be successful.

For more information about Rover Rescue or to view adoptable pets, visit

Top photo: A Rover Rescue dog up for adoption at Sunday’s Adoption Day at the PetSmart in Geneva gets a big hug from foster home family member Staci Novack. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Aspiring zoologist does summer stint at zoo

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Veronica Seawall spent part of her summer vacation letting children feel the thickness of a snow leopard’s fur pelt, demonstrating the size of a lion’s skull, and fitting her entire hand into a polar bear claw.

Veronica, a resident of Sugar Grove and a 15-year-old Kaneland High School sophomore, joined 130 other high school students who participated in the Youth Volunteer Corps at the Brookfield Zoo this year.

A session of Career Cruising, a computer program that lets students assess their skills and explore how they might use them, confirmed for Veronica that her future belonged in a career with animals. Since one of the careers she identified was zoology, her mom, Christy, did some research at the Brookfield Zoo and found the program that would give Veronica a great learning and work experience.

Christy, a professional career coach, said she was impressed with the selection process. There is much interest in the program and just 30 to 40 openings each year.

“It was a pretty extensive screening process,” she said.

Veronica filled out an application, answered several essay questions and obtained three letters of recommendation. Then she was chosen to participate in a group interview with a number of other applicants. When she was accepted into the program, she took part in a week-long training and orientation before she began her job as an interpretive guide.

She spent each day at the zoo stationed at three of 15 different exhibits, showing visitors animal fur pelts, skulls and other artifacts give zoo guests a real sense of the characteristics of the animals they were viewing.

She was able to share facts she learned in training, such as that a lion sleeps 22 hours a day and eats only twice a week. But more than simply lecturing, Veronica said she was able to engage young people in discussions about the animals and their habitats.

“It was a great opportunity for me to learn, and I met tons of new people,” she said.

Although she has not yet formally studied zoology, Veronica said she has completed projects at school that are related. She said she learned that zoologists have an interest and involvement in conservation, and they might either become educators to the general public or conduct animal research in the wild or library.

She hopes to pursue this career path further and said she will return to the program next summer.

The program lasts from mid-June through early August, and requires a commitment to work at one of two upcoming events at the zoo, Boo at the Zoo or Holiday Magic. She said she plans on being there for both of them.

Find out more about the Chicago Zoological Society’s educational programs at Brookfield Zoo

Sept. 24 SG village notes

Library receives special liquor permit for fundraiser
The Village Board on Sept. 15 granted a special liquor permit for the Sugar Grove Library Friends to feature wine at a fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 13. The event will include a wine tasting, and people will be able to purchase bottles of wine, as well.

According to Library Friends President Pat Graceffa, proceeds from the sale will go to support library programs and materials.

Village hosts joint meeting of taxing bodies
The village will host a joint meeting of the Sugar Grove community taxing bodies this fall, with a tentative date of Oct. 27. This gathering has taken place annually since 2004, with representatives of taxing bodies sharing information with each other regarding grants and other revenue sources as well as voicing their concerns.

Sept. 24 area 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.

• James R. Parsons IV, 31, of the 1000 block of Rushmore Drive in DeKalb, was arrested at 12:10 a.m. Sept. 16 in the Metra train station yard at 422 Railroad Ave. in Elburn, on two outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court.

Police responded to a report that Parsons was intoxicated and harassing a Metra employee.

The warrants were from Glendale Heights, Ill., and DuPage County.

• Six teenagers were arrested for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor at 11:05 p.m. Sept. 19, at a home in the 42W900 block of Hughes Road in Elburn.

Those arrested were a 17-year-old juvenile of the 1200 block of Dorr Drive in Sugar Grove, a 17-year old juvenile of the 17000 block of Barber Greene Road in Sycamore, Jordan C. Bergman, 18, of the 1100 block of Griffin Avenue in Elburn, a 17-year-old juvenile of the 42W900 block of Hughes Road in Elburn, and two 16-year-old juveniles.

Sugar Grove
• Someone shot out a car window in a driveway on the 300 block of Mallard Lane, Sugar Grove, at 5:50 p.m. on Sept. 11. The cost of the window is $500.

• Gabriela Mendoza, 20, of the 500 block of Terry Avenue, Sugar Grove, was charged on Aug. 27 with driving with a suspended license, speeding at 74 mph in a 55 mph zone and illegal transportation of liquor. She was driving southbound on Route 47 near Waubonsee Community College. She was later charged in a separate incident on Sept. 10 at 12:04 p.m. with driving on a suspended license. She was driving southbound on Route 47 near Galena Boulevard.

Maple Park
• The Kane County Grand Jury on Sept. 8 indicted Walter Brown, of the 600 block of Center Street in Maple Park, for retail theft. St. Charles police arrested Brown earlier this year for the crime.

The indictment is not proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

SG Board evaluates budget after first quarter

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board’s discussion about the budget probably mirrored conversations taking place in kitchens throughout the country.

“There’s less money coming in, and more money going out,” Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger told the board. “Just like at home, you have to figure out how to bring more money in or where to cut expenses.”

The village expects to receive $22,500 less than budgeted and to spend $2,700 more than budgeted from the general fund, resulting in a total deficit of $62,000, Eichelberger said. Next year looks even worse, with a projected deficit of approximately $155,000.

Deficits for the waterworks and sewerage funds are expected to total $158,000 for this year, but to improve next year to approximately $65,000.

“Any more cuts (in expenditures) may start to affect services,” Eichelberger said. “How comfortable are you with that?”

Although trustee Tom Renk said he thought the village should continue to look at staff reductions, trustee Rick Montalto said he disagreed with cutting any additional staff, especially police or public works employees.

“We’re cutting services if we cut any more staff, and that’s a wrong way to go,” Montalto said. “We need staff to consider additional revenue sources.”

Eichelberger said that the board would be surprised by how relatively little impact the reduction in staff earlier this year had on expenses.

Trustee Melisa Taylor said she did not want to impact residents negatively with any increased revenue sources. Eichelberger suggested there were things they could consider that would not hurt the majority of residents.

Charging towing fees when police have to tow a car could bring in a considerable amount of money, he said. The village could charge up to $200 per car, and if the police towed 100 cars per year, the money could add up.

“You’re not getting towed unless you’re doing something wrong,” he said.

Overweight truck enforcement could raise money as well as reduce wear and tear on the road, Montalto said, but Police Chief Brad Sauer said that the police force was already stretched to capacity.

Eichelberger reminded board members that the general fund still has a balance of $1.1 million. He suggested that this could be the rainy day for which the village had built up its reserves.

“I think (trustee) Bob (Bohler) should bake more pies and have a bake sale,” trustee Mari Johnson joked.

Bohler was a two-time winner this year at the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market’s second annual pie contest.

Village Board discusses developer fee reduction

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—With one new housing permit applied for this fiscal year, the Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed reducing developer fees to stimulate residential growth.

Prairie Glen developers The Windham Group approached village staff several months ago regarding short-term reductions and deferrals of fees. Village Board members said in August that they were generally favorable toward some type of short-term adjustment of fees, and asked staff to explore the idea further with the developer.

Some trustees, such as Tom Renk, Kevin Geary and Mari Johnson, said they thought a minimum 50 percent reduction in fees across the board seemed like a good way to stimulate residential and thus commercial growth.

“We’ve got a lot of nothing right now,” Renk said. “Look at it as a partnership with our builders. We’ll do a better job of filling all the commercial (property). It’s a signal to the development community. It takes us back to where we were going three years ago with a vengeance.”

Trustee Bob Bohler said the village should look at commercial incentives instead, reminding the board that Prairie Glen still has 23 acres of empty commercial property.

“I’m not convinced this is going to stimulate residential development,” he said. “Commercial developers have money.”

Representatives of other local taxing bodies, such as Kaneland School District, said they wanted more time to review the concept. The School District has the most at stake, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said.

Depending on the agency and the development, the village collects land-cash, capital impact and transition fees for other agencies. In the case of Prairie Glen, these fees total approximately $8,500.

The topic will come before the board again at a future meeting.

Emerald Ash Borer visits SG

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has infected a number of village trees, requiring the Public Works Department to cut down 22 trees.

The majority of the trees were in the Windsor Pointe and Windstone subdivisions. Streets and Properties Supervisor Geoff Payton said he anticipates that another 15 to 22 trees will need to be cut down.

Payton said that although the village would not cut down trees on private property, if residents feel they might have a EAB problem, they can call the Sugar Grove Public Works Department at (630) 466-7503. If he feels it is warranted, he will recommend they call in a certified arborist to confirm the existence of the disease.

Village plants parkway trees

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board on Tuesday authorized the planting of parkway and median trees along Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard. The village will work with the Suburban Tree Consortium to supply and install the trees.

Village staff chose 13 different species of trees, based on criteria such as salt tolerance, wind resistance, hardiness and overall appearance. The species include oaks, maples, hackberries, hawthorn, juniper and crab.

The cost for the project is estimated at $34,320, including delivery, installation, bracing and mulching of the trees. The project will be paid for with bond money dedicated to the Municipal Drive project and will be offset with grant revenues.

All the news that’s fit to say

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Michelle Cunningham, a 13-year-old resident of rural Elburn, took advantage of an opportunity to practice being a television anchor this summer.

A participant in the Waubonsee Community College TV News Camp for Kids, Cunningham learned how to interview subjects, write and tell a story, work with state-of-the-art digital television production equipment, and use a computer to perform linear editing.

The seventh-grader said she took the class because she wanted to learn what is was like to be behind the scenes of a news show. She and others in her class found their own stories, conducted the research, took the camera around campus to interview people at Waubonsee, and volunteered for the role they each wanted to play in the news production. The show aired on Fox Valley TV Channel 17 soon after the class.

In addition to her anchor role, Cunningham researched and reported on two stories, one about a local candidate from Aurora who announced his candidacy for President Obama’s former Senate seat, currently held by Roland Burris, and a lighter piece on an American Idol contestant.

“It was cool that we could talk about real stories that were happening,” she said.

Teacher Mike Rennels, Manager of Public Access Programming for Waubsonsee, said he chose a newscast for the class because it has all the elements of TV production. The students, ranging from 11 to 14 years old, learned how to take a story and get to the point of the what, who, when and where, making it shorter for television.

“They impressed me with their knowledge,” Rennels said.

Because the first-time summer class had only six students, Cunningham said she received a lot of attention.

“He (Rennels) explained everything really well,” she said. “He taught us step by step.”

Cunningham said her family and friends watched her on TV when the show aired.

“They really liked it,” she said. “It was really fun to see how it all came together. It was cool to see the kids doing all the different parts.”

Rennels conducts a similar course for adults during the regular school schedule. Upon completion of the class, titled Public Access Television Production Training, students are certified to create public access television programs that will air on Fox Valley TV or serve as crew members for other productions using FVTV equipment and facilities.

For more information about the adult class, visit and click on Community Education Classes. The TV News Camp for Kids will be available again next summer.

WCC receives honor from GFOA

SUGAR GROVE—For the 10th consecutive year, Waubonsee Community College received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

The award recognizes excellence in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. Waubonsee is one of 16 community colleges in Illinois to receive the award for fiscal year 2008, and one of just 62 colleges and universities in the U.S. to receive it. All Illinois colleges receiving the award this year were community colleges. Overall, Illinois ranks first in number of college and university awards received, and fifth in total number of awards received.

According to a GFOA panel, the college’s comprehensive annual financial report met the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and an understanding of its financial affairs.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Waubonsee adds new library program

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Library Technical Assistant Associate in Applied Science Degree and Certificate Program is among the new offerings at Waubonsee Community College this year. Three of the program’s classes are offered this semester, including an introduction to technical services, as well as reference and research strategies.

Until this semester, the closest community college that offered this degree or certificate was the College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Library Technical Assistants Merrill Poloian and Michelle Drawz, employees of the Sugar Grove Public Library, obtained their certificates at COD.

“It’s beyond checking out books,” Poloian said. “It’s the ins and outs of behind-the-scenes of the library.”

Poloian said the classes address the more technical aspects of library science, such as cataloging, technology services, creating a web page, and buying audio and media equipment.

Through the program, students also learn what questions to ask to find out what patrons are really looking for; how to choose the right books for the library’s collection based on the district’s demographics; and how to create displays, programs and events, based on the community’s population and its interests.

After students finish the classes, they complete an internship at a library other than their own to gain practical experience.

Town and Country Public Library Circulation Supervisor Cathy Semrick said that three people who work at the Elburn library have the LPA certificate.

Semrick said the library staff are thrilled that Waubonsee is offering the program.

“COD is just far enough that it makes it hard,” she said. “Several staff have expressed interest (in the Waubonsee program).”

Elburn employee Deb Smith, who works in technology services, said the certificate teaches all aspects of the library.

“It makes you well-rounded,” she said. “It introduces you to some things that you don’t already know.”

According to Noblitt, the programs offered at Waubonsee are designed to serve students who want to enter the library field, as well as those currently working in it. He said the Technology in Libraries course will be especially helpful to those in the field who want to update their skills and stay current in the evolving profession.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the five-county area served by Waubonsee employs 1,003 library technical assistants, with 38 average annual job openings.

“Working in a library setting is an extremely rewarding career that is solidly in demand,” said Mary Edith Butler, Dean for Communications and Library Services. “Today’s library staff works with more than just books. This is a career field that encompasses a great deal of technology and cutting-edge equipment, along with the great books.”

WCC sees second year of big increases in enrollment

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Enrollment at Waubonsee Community College continues to rise, with this year showing a double-digit increase over last year.

According to Waubonsee Community College spokesperson Jeff Noblitt, there are nearly 15 percent more students at the Sugar Grove, Aurora and Rush-Copley campuses taking classes this fall compared to 2008, when enrollment showed a 9.5 percent spike over the previous year.

This year, the total number of hours taken is more than 16 percent over fall 2008, on top of a 9.9 percent increase in hours over the year before, a trend that began six years ago.

More are becoming full-time students, Noblitt said.

“It’s partially driven by the economy,” he said. “The economic downturn has resulted in lost jobs and the need to go back to school to retrain for better jobs.”

“People have either lost their jobs, had their hours cut or are fearful of losing their jobs,” he said. “They see education as the way to boost their career.”

Noblitt said the college has also seen an increase in the number of traditional college-age students, as more begin their college career sat a two-year school before, transferring to a four-year college at the end of the second year.

“This way they can stay on track with their college education, and it saves a lot of money,” Noblitt said.

Noblitt said President Barack Obama made community colleges an important factor in what he feels will pull the economy forward. In addition, Vice-President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, has been a visible advocate of a community college education since the president took office.

People are also becoming more knowledgeable about what a junior college can offer, Noblitt added. With smaller class sizes and a more nurturing environment, the beginning student is more likely to succeed.

Increase in numbers of students enrolled at Waubonsee
2004-2005 2.4 percent
2005-2006 0
2006-2007 0
2007-2008 9.5 percent
2008-2009 14+ percent

Waubonsee to host job fair Sept. 18

SUGAR GROVE—The 8th annual Working for the Fox Valley Job Fair will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, in the Academic and Professional Center of Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The event is free and open to the public. Job seekers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes.

For more information and to view a list of participating employers, visit

Given the current unemployment rate, this year’s fair is taking on an increased importance. It is part of Waubonsee’s larger “Brighter Futures” initiative, which seeks to provide resources and strategies to help district residents thrive in a challenging economy. Visit to view a list of other upcoming events and free services.

The Working for the Fox Valley Job Fair is the result of a collaborative partnership among First Transitions of Oak Brook and Partners of the Illinois workNet Center, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Kane County Department of Employment and Education, and Waubonsee Community College, under the umbrella of the River Valley Workforce Investment Board.

Interpreters for the hearing impaired are provided by Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Basking in the glow of Solheim Cup

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—More than 120,000 people from 49 states, as well as other nations, visited Sugar Grove during the week of the Solheim Cup. Five years of planning culminated in an international event that everyone is likely to remember for years to come.

The impact from the event was felt far from Sugar Grove. Trustee Kevin Geary said he was in a restaurant recently in San Diego wearing his Sugar Grove Corn Boil T-shirt, and a woman came up to him to ask about the Solheim Cup.

“She said from the TV, that Sugar Grove looked like a lovely place to be,” Geary said.

The Solheim Cup organizers, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), offered free admission to anyone who brought four items of non-perishable food for the new Sugar Grove Food Pantry. Trustee Melisa Taylor, organizer for the food pantry, said that more than 1,500 pounds of food was collected that day.

Taylor added that when Prom Catering, the catering service that provided the food for the Solheim Cup, realized what was happening, they donated six large vehicles of food they had not sold during the days. Taylor said she and others were able to bring tons of food to Hesed House, Lazarus House, Interfaith Food Pantry and the Kendall County Food Pantry.

She said it was gratifying that the people organizing an international event such as the Solheim Cup were cognizant of the community in which the event was held.

Village President Sean Michels said that more than 8,000 hotel rooms in the Fox Valley area were booked for the event, and 1,900 articles were written that mentioned the Solheim Cup and Sugar Grove.

“The economic impact on Sugar Grove was huge,” Taylor said.

Board tables SSA decision until November

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Nearly 150 Sugar Grove residents attended Tuesday’s public hearing addressing the ongoing flooding in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions. The turnout was so large, village officials relocated the meeting to the fire station.

Ultimately, the Village Board decided to table a vote that would have allowed the village to establish a Special Services Area (SSA) to address the flooding issues.

Residents who attended the Tuesday night meeting spoke out against the formation of an SSA, with many saying the board is rushing to this decision without knowing how much the special tax will cost them.

There are approximately 250 residences in Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks combined.

In a letter to the residents, the village stated that the SSA tax for a $200,000 home could be as much as $1,000 per year, but officials do not yet have enough information to determine the costs.

“This feels a little premature to me,” Kyle Luetgert said. “If you don’t know how much it’s going to cost, why are we here now?”

Residents said they were concerned about their ability to pay the additional tax, especially given the current economic climate.

“A lot of people are out of work,” Mary Farley said. “I’m up to here with financial issues. Your timing is the worst possible.”

Others said they thought the village had some culpability in the subdivision’s problems, dating back to when the village approved building on land that was destined to flood.

Blair Peters told the board that he blamed the village for allowing the retention pond to be built when it did not meet specifications, and releasing escrow funds to the builder that should have been used to fix the problems.

“Now you’re asking us to trust you that you’ll do this properly,” Peters said. “We need more information. Some residents have already paid thousands of dollars to fix their own flooding problems.”

In fact, if the SSA is enacted, this will only cover the cost of maintaining the retention pond. Funding to repair the broken drainage tiles and lay a large drain tile from the Mallard Point Subdivision south to Jericho Road could end up the responsibility of property owners throughout the Rob Roy Drainage District, an area that includes Mallard Point. This would mean additional fees charged to the residents.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said he understood the residents’ frustrations, and that village officials began discussions about the SSA in order to keep the process moving forward. Funding for the studies and preliminary work has so far been paid by the village.

“The village is being proactive,” Village President Sean Michels said. “People in the village came to us last October and wanted us to do something to fix the problems. We have been moving forward with this. You all have to have some faith in us. We were elected by the residents of the village. We have a responsibility to them, as well.”

The board agreed to discuss the issue again at its Nov. 17 meeting, when Trotter & Associates Mark Bushnell said he hopes to have the study completed.

History of the problem
Problems with the neighborhood date back to the mid-1990s, when Mallard Point was first built. After the first builder declared bankruptcy, two others took over before it was finally completed. Difficulties determining who was responsible for what problems go back to the beginning.

Although the annexation agreement called for the establishment of a homeowners association, one was never created. A proposal to create a special services area tax on the residents to pay for the maintenance of the common property areas never went beyond the discussion stages.

Residents began approaching the village last fall, when drainage and flooding issues worsened, complaining of standing water, flooded basements and excessive electric bills to continually run two and sometimes three sump pumps.

The village contracted the engineering firm Trotter & Associates to study the problem. The study so far has identified blockages in the water flow through the retention pond and broken and missing field tiles, as well as the possibility of naturally-occurring underground springs as factors that could be contributing to the flooding problems.

Village Board approves final phase of Mallard Point study

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board approved the final phase of a study conducted by Trotter & Associates that will outline improvements required to alleviate the majority of existing drainage concerns within the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions. (see related story).

The project will include an evaluation and recommendations regarding the existing wetland facility, a maintenance plan for the storm water management facility, and a summary of findings combining all of the recommendations into one comprehensive plan.

The village hired Trotter & Associates in February 2009 to conduct a comprehensive study of the issues affecting drainage within the two neighborhoods. A final draft report of the findings is expected by mid-November.

The total cost of the study conducted so far, plus what was approved on Tuesday night, will total slightly more than $40,000, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said. So far, the village has paid for the entire cost of the studies.

Board approves additional work on I-88, Route 47 study

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Village Board on Tuesday authorized an addendum to the feasibility study for the potential Interstate 88 and Route 47 interchange. The addendum increases the scope of work to include an analysis of the various configuration alternatives. The cost to complete the additional work is $12,500.

“The project turned out to be much more complicated than anybody thought or expected,” Village President Sean Michels said.

Village officials began discussions on the project with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Kane County Division of Transportation and the larger landowners near the interchange in March 2007, and the actual study was approved in March 2008.

The initial contract was for $196,000, with the village paying $50,000 toward the study. The other funding came from additional sources, including Crown Development and other developers eager to develop the surrounding property.

Crown Development, one of the landowners, agreed to front the additional $12,500 in an effort to keep the project going, with the assumption that if the property is annexed into the village, the developer will receive financial consideration from the village.

Assessment changes published for Sugar Grove and Virgil townships

From the Kane County Board of Review

The 2009 assessment changes for Sugar Grove and Virgil Townships were published today, Sept. 3, 2009 in the Elburn Herald.

To obtain information about a Sugar Grove Township property, call (630) 466-5255 or visit

To obtain information about a Virgil Township property, call (815) 827-3383 or visit

To obtain complaint forms and a copy of the Rules and Procedures of the Kane County Board of Review, call (630) 208-3818 or visit

Pursuant to state law, the deadline to file 2009 assessment complaints for properties within St. Charles, Sugar Grove, or Virgil Townships is Oct. 5, 2009. No 2009 complaint for property in these three townships can be accepted after that date.

Former SG man charged with damage to cars

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove police arrested former Sugar Grove resident Stephen Dale Matthews on Aug. 19 for criminal damage to property, after he reportedly damaged 29 vehicles in the Sugar Grove area on the morning of Aug. 6.

The majority of the damage was in the form of scratches from a stone or other sharp object to vehicles parked on Arbor Avenue, Calkins Drive, Bristol Court, Chelsea Avenue, Bedford Avenue, Cross Street and Rolling Oaks Drive. There was also a smashed mailbox.

Profanities and derogatory descriptions of individuals were scratched into the hoods, trunks and sides of the cars. Some of the scratches were fairly deep, and will require the replacement of the automobile panels. Damage done to the cars ranges from $400 to $3,100 per car, for a total of about $20,000.

Matthews, 18, currently lives in the 200 block of West North Street in Dwight, Ill., where police there are investigating similar damage done to vehicles. He was charged with criminal damage to property, a class 4 felony, for the vehicle with more than $3,000 in damage, and criminal damage to government-supported property, a class 3 felony, for damage done to a vehicle owned by Kane County and driven by Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez.

There was also one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property for the mailbox. Additional charges are pending as the department receives estimates from other victims whose cars were damaged. Citizens are encouraged to get an estimate for damages and file a police report with the Sugar Grove Police Department if they believe their cars may have been involved in this incident.

Matthews is currently out of jail on a $25,000 bond. His first court date is Friday, Aug. 28.

American Girls

Rich Harvest Farms site of 16-12 win for U.S. over Europe at Solheim Cup
by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland, will have a tough road ahead if it wants to compare to the extravaganza put on in Sugar Grove this past week.

However, the site of the 2011 Solheim Cup has plenty to jump off from after an entertaining 16-12 win by the U.S. over Europe in Sugar Grove.

An estimated 120,000 visitors over the four-day period of play saw noteworthy golfers like Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel up close, and witnessed pride for country by a red, white and blue-clad United States squad that successfully retained the Solheim Cup title at Rich Harvest Farms.

After beginning with fourball and foursomes on Friday, Sunday was down to singles competition.

Pressel retained the Solheim Cup for the U.S. Team with a 3-up victory over Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist to clinch the week. Pressel chipped to two feet and had her par putt conceded to give the Americans a 14-11 lead to clinch the 2009 Solheim Cup.

The high level of competition and skill was apparent throughout the clash, and U.S. golfers Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Pressel and Wie finished undefeated in head-to-head play, while Diana Luna and Janice Moodie did so for Europe.

For many fans throughout the week, it was a chance to see Europe’s best up close, and for those across the Atlantic, it was a similar opportunity to hit the local links.

Spain’s Tania Elosegui (1-2 in singles) tried to put it in perspective on Thursday.

“I think everyone is going to be nervous tomorrow, even the Americans. I think, I don’t know, I think everyone is going to be nervous on the first tee. But that’s something that we have to manage to handle.”

With the Junior Solheim Cup taking place at Aurora Country Club the same weekend, Europe coaching staff member Jonas Lilja of Sweden relished the experience.

“It’s a chance to be able to play great courses and well-arranged tournaments. Definitely a great experience,” Lilja said.

After Ireland, the Solheim Cup returns to the U.S. to Parker, Colo., in 2013.

Photo: U.S. team captain Beth Daniel raises the Stars and Stripes after successfully defending the Solheim Cup title with a 16-12 team win that concluded on Sunday.
Getty Images

Young golfers a focus at Solheim Cup

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Members of the Northern Illinois University Golf Team helped golf professionals teach nearly 200 young golfer hopefuls how to perfect their swings at Tuesday’s Ronald McDonald House Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour Junior Clinic. The clinic took place on the driving range of Rich Harvest Farms, the site of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

Damilola Oyeyipo, a student from the Latin School in Chicago, said she received some tips during the afternoon that will help her game. Oyeyipo said she recently began to play golf, and participated in a caddy program this summer at the Park Ridge Country Club.

“It’s really fun,” she said.

NIU Assistant Coach Ashley Anast said the young golfers came to the clinic from all over the country, as well as Canada. For three hours, they worked with golf pros and the NIU “Husky Helpers” at the driving range.

“You could tell they were all having a blast,” Anast said.

NIU women’s golf coach Pam Tyska, an LPGA golf professional for more than 30 years, said that Rich Harvest Farms is home to the NIU team, courtesy of owner Jerry Rich, an NIU alumnus.

“He’s been kind enough to let us practice here,” Tyska said.

In return, the team members help with the Kids Golf Foundation in November and February, during their off season. The Kids Golf Foundation, established in 1998 by Rich and Don Springer, introduces children between the ages of 5 and 15 to the sport of golf, its fundamentals, rules, history and etiquette.

However, Holly Alcala of the Hook-A-Kid-On-Golf Foundation of Illinois said the intangibles are the most important things the program can offer.

Alcala said that often, the youngsters walk away with other benefits such as patience, a boost in their self-confidence, an increase in their ability to concentrate and an understanding of the rules of good sportsmanship.

“If they come away with these other things, we’re just as happy,” she said.

Tyska said Rich places a high priority on introducing young people to the sport, and that to her knowledge, no other Solheim site has had a program of this magnitude for young people.

NIU team members will work as ball spotters later in the week, when the tournament begins, she added.

3rd-graders strike out for stroke

Awareness, early intervention key in childhood stroke
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove third-graders Alex and Amanda Malawski threw out the first pitch at the Schaumburg Flyers baseball game on Thursday, Aug. 13, as a part of a Strike out for Stroke event. The activity was a fundraiser and awareness event connected with the Alexian Brothers Hospital’s support group for stroke supporters.

Alex and Amanda, born 11 weeks premature, both suffered strokes when they were born. Due to the strokes, each has a mild case of cerebral palsy. Alex’s muscles on his left side were affected, as were Amanda’s muscles on her left side.

“They’ve been in therapy since they were born,” said Lori, their mom.

Lori said she joined a support group for parents dealing with childhood stroke when she found out about it from a flyer on a doctor’s office desk. The group, Childhood Stroke and Hemiplegia Connections of Illinois, has been a tremendous help to her.

Lori said that although some parents are afraid to find out what might be wrong with their child, the biggest thing that she and her husband have learned in speaking with other parents is the importance of early intervention.

She said some parents are afraid to find out what might be wrong with their child.

Her husband went to Washington, D.C. in 2006 to lobby Congress and to Springfield this year regarding raising the awareness of childhood strokes and the importance of hospital guidelines for what signs to look for to recognize a stroke in a child.

Lori said that Kaneland John Shields Elementary School has been wonderful in working with her to obtain what she needs for her children, but that other people might not be that lucky.

She encourages parents to join a support group, because it is easy to feel lost when they encounter this problem.

“People are not alone,” she said. “My husband and I feel seasoned in all of this. You need to ask for what you need for your kids.”

Through the Fox Valley Special Education Program and the Kaneland School District, Alex and Amanda are involved in a number of physical activities that have also helped them, including as Sunshine through Golf, a tennis camp, a swimming team and adaptive sports, such as water skiing.

They both got the ball across the plate, Lori said of the baseball event. Alex’ pitch was very dramatic, as he began with a big wind-up.

“It was really exciting and nervous,” Amanda said. “My whole family was there cheering for me.”

“She’s very competitive,” Lori said of Amanda. “She won’t let this get in her way.”

Photo: Alex and Amanda Malawski of Sugar Grove, accompanied by pitcher, Carmen Pignatiello of the Schaumburg Flyers, threw out ceremonail first pitches before the game on Aug. 13 at Alexian Field. Photo by Mike Slodki

Risk factors for pediatric stroke include:
• Sickle-cell disease
• Congenital or acquired heart disease
• Head and neck infections
• Head trauma
• Dehydration
• Maternal history of infertility
• Maternal preeclampsia
For more information about pediatric strokes and support groups, visit

Solheim rookies excited to be here

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—U.S. Solheim Cup team member Kristy McPherson said they haven’t had a chance to see much of the area since they arrived earlier this week, but she’s not complaining.

“They’ve been keeping us here, but it’s not a bad place to be,” she said.

McPherson was referring to the spacious grounds of Rich Harvest Farms golf course in Sugar Grove, where later this week the team will play the European women’s team.

“I really wanted to go to Lollapalooza, but oh well,” Michelle Wie said.

The Solheim Cup, a prestigious international team event in women’s golf, features the best women professionals from the United States against the top European-born players from the Ladies European Tour (LET).

McPherson said the last time some of the team members came to practice at Rich Harvest Farms, they went to a Cubs game, but not this time.

“They’ve been keeping us pretty busy,” she said.

When they are not practicing, McPherson said the team members have been spending their time horseback riding, fishing, visiting owner Jerry Rich’s car museum, biking around the property or engaging each other in putting contests and table games, such as ping pong.

The three rookies, Brittany Lang, McPherson and Michelle Wie, said they were excited to have the chance to play in this tournament with the other, more seasoned players for whom they have much respect.

“She (Captain Beth Daniels) was always my idol,” McPherson said. “I always looked up to her, and when I found out she was going to be the captain, that just gave me more motivation to want to be on this team.”

Growing up in South Carolina, McPherson said that she grew up watching Daniels play.

“It’s a dream come true,” McPherson said. “The coolest thing is just hanging out with 11 cool girls that are just good friends, and for one week every two years, we get to play with each other, pull for each other and have each other’s backs and play for our country together.”

At 19, Wie is the youngest member of the U.S. team. She has set multiple records during her junior and amateur careers, beginning at age 10, when she became the youngest to qualify for the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in 2000.

Chosen as a captain’s pick, Wie said she was honored and thankful that Captain Beth Daniels picked her for the team.

“I’ll do my best not to let her down,” she said.

Photo: Fellow Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Solheim Cup team player Kristy McPherson (left) listens as Michelle Wie responds to a question during a press conference at the Solheim Cup event on Tuesday at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Waubonsee to offer U of I Agriculture classes

SUGAR GROVE—Local students can now take agriculture classes offered by the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at Waubonsee Community College’s tuition rate, thanks to a new partnership called the ACES ACCESS program. The program will offer four of the university’s introductory agriculture courses to local community college students through distance learning. The first course of the program, Introduction to Animal Science, will begin Monday, Aug. 24.

The online course will be taught by a University of Illinois instructor and will require students to travel to the Champaign-Urbana campus for two Saturday laboratory sessions. Students completing the course will earn four semester hours of college credit that can be applied to an associate degree at Waubonsee and also transfer to four-year universities with agriculture programs.

To learn more or to register for the course, visit or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 2319.

KC Sheriff’s Dept. makes traffic plan for Solheim available on website

SUGAR GROVE—In preparation for the Solheim Cup golf event, August 17-23, the Kane County Sheriff’s Department has made the normal traffic plan available on This event will take place at the Rich Harvest Farms near the Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove and expects to bring approximately 90,000 people to the area. In an effort to inform area residents of the roadways that will experience higher than normal traffic this map has been made available. Sheriff Pat Perez encourages all area residents to take the opportunity to review the map and expected traffic patterns. The map will remain on the web site through the event.

The map shows the expected normal traffic route; however there may be circumstances that necessitate this route being modified. In the event there is a modification to the route, an additional press release will be sent out. In order to access the map from the website, click on the 2009 Solheim Cup tab on the departments home page.

During the event there will be directional signs on the routes, with Illinois State Police stationed along the route to steer traffic.

Ready for the Solheim Cup

Village completes prep for 30,000 visitors per day for golf event
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Village President Sean Michels said Sugar Grove is ready for the onslaught of visitors that begins on Monday, Aug. 17, when the 2009 Solheim Cup comes to town.

“The police departments are coming together; even the weather looks like it’s going to cooperate,” Michels said on Tuesday.

Michels and other village officials have been pushing hard to have the local road construction complete before the start of the prestigious international event. The Solheim Cup features the best female golfers in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in the United States against the top European-born players in the Ladies European Tour (LET).

The event, which takes place at Rich Harvest Farms at Dugan Road off of Route 30 in Sugar Grove, will run from Monday, Aug. 17, to Sunday, Aug. 23. Organizers estimate the number of visitors each day at approximately 30,000. Hotels in Aurora, Naperville and beyond have been booked for months.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has been extremely cooperative, Michels said. The Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension was completed a couple of weeks ago.

The spectator guide for visitors to the event directs them to drive west on Interstate 88 and take the Route 56 exit into town. IDOT has promised that the repaving of Route 56 will be complete before the event, something Michels did not think was possible just a few weeks ago.

In addition, IDOT workers have been seen painting the steel bridges over routes 47 and 56 and mowing the grass bordering the roads in an effort to spruce up the area for visitors.

Village trustee Melisa Taylor said it probably did not hurt to mention the rumor that Olympic site selection committee officials will attend the Solheim Cup, to see how Illinois handles an international sporting event.

The Solheim Cup has been in the planning stages since 2004.

“It always seemed so far off,” Michels said. “It’s hard to believe it’s finally here.”

Long Time: Girls hoops great gives back

by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—It wasn’t too long ago that Lyndsie Long was running up and down the court draining three-pointers against the likes of Batavia and Geneva, for highly successful Kaneland Lady Knight basketball squads.

The problem for opposing teams is that she still runs up and down the court at the college level, making life miserable for College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin teams.

However, during this week, she’s taking her tempo down a notch in an effort to teach. Long is hosting her first basketball camp for girls at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove.

“I want to be a P.E. teacher, and I obviously want to coach basketball,” said Long, entering her senior year at Elmhurst as a P.E. major. “I’ve done a few camps this summer and thought that maybe I should try to do my own camp, and I set it up with the (Sugar Grove) Park District.”

Long scored over 1,500 points for those noteworthy Lady Knights clubs, along with teammates Kelsey Flanagan and Jessica Lund, and in 2005 helped lead Kaneland to a sectional championship contest.

Long eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for Elmhurst back in January for coach Tethnie Werner’s roster and was the first Bluejay to be named to an all-region team from and is a three-time all-CCIW member.

What better player for area girls to learn the game from?

“In my Kaneland days, I think I was more set on one aspect of the game. Now, I know the whole game, and I’ve learned so much from college players and coaches,” Long said.

Long’s Bluejays were 14-11 in the 2008-09 season.

Photo: Current Elmhurst College Bluejay and former Kaneland Lady Knight Lyndsie Long emonstrates some skills on Monday during her basketball camp, which takes place this week at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School. Photo by Mike Slodki

Owls bring people together

Contributed by Janet Doherty of Sugar Grove
Sugar Grove/Elburn—I know I have always talked about how wonderful it is to live in a rural setting and today was no exception. During the past several weeks we have been listening to two Great Horned Owls carry on conversations through the night and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.

Our neighbors, Brian and Cindy Babka, have been following the pair of juvenile owls around our neighborhood since the first time they heard the screeching. Brian armed himself with a high-powered light and tracked the birds to the many rooftops of their neighbors. Other families in the neighborhood have joined in and taken an interest in the pair of owls, following them around just to get a glimpse of their beauty. Little did my neighbor, Michele Bruno, know she would get an up-close and personal meeting with one of the two owls.

On the morning of Aug. 5, as she walked around the house, she noticed the large, brown bird floating in her pool. Its head was not submerged and it was still alive, neck deep in water. Not knowing what to do, Michele called her neighbor over to help assess the situation. The two immediately started calling rescue agency after rescue agency only to find none of them were able to help and if they might have been able to assist, it would have been too late to save the bird. Fearing they could further injure the bird or injure themselves, Michele luckily tracked down Sugar Grove Police Officer, Tom Barna.

Officer Barna called for assistance and another officer arrived on the scene. Together the two officers were able to rescue the owl from the water by placing a noose over the bird’s neck and gently placing it into a lidded box. Knowing just what the owl needed, Officer Barna called the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, who then graciously took the scared, drenched owl into its care. A few hours had passed and our curiosity could not be contained, we needed to know what happened to our neighborhood owl. We called the Fox Valley Wildlife Center and listened to the hours but didn’t understand that the hospital is not open to the public. Upon seeing the faces of our kids huddled around the doorway, the staff couldn’t help but provide us with a picture of our friend in his cage. They gave us as much information that they could about his condition.

We learned that the owl must have been trying to catch something to eat out of the pool and for some reason ended up getting his feathers too wet. The wet feathers prevented him from getting out of the water and basically held him hostage until he was rescued. The owl was dehydrated and scared but for the most part he was completely healthy. No broken wings or any maladies to worry about. The hospital staff plans on keeping the owl for approximately a week and then releasing it back into the wild. One of our biggest concerns was that this young owl would desperately miss his sibling back at Hannaford Farm. So we kindly requested that when he is ready for life back in the wild suburbs, that he could be released back where he was found.

No, not back at the pool but back at the barn where we believe the owls are living.

To everyone’s delight they staff of the Fox Valley Wildlife Center agrees with this philosophy and hopes to have him returned home as soon as our friend the owl is eating his mice and gaining strength again.

Many people had a hand in insuring this animal was saved from certain death and we are all personally thankful. It is fortunate that we have a place like the Fox Valley Wildlife Center that cares for wounded animals. A special thank you goes to the Sugar Grove Officers who put aside normal protocol and rescued this beautiful animal. In turn they helped a scared homeowner who had run out of options and then thoughtfully brought our neighborhood owl to a place where it could be cared for.