Category Archives: Sugar Grove

McDole Parent Teacher Organization trivia fundraiser

SUGAR GROVE—There will be a fierce trivia competition, a silent auction, and the opportunity to walk away with cash and prizes at the McDole PTO’s trivia competition on Wednesday, March 12, in the Pine Room at Open Range Southwest Grill,1 Golfview Road, Sugar Grove.

A private room will open at 6:30 p.m. for food and drinks at the cash bar, with trivia beginning at 7 p.m. Teams of 8 to 10 people will compete in six rounds of trivia, followed by a final round of true/false questions. Groups will break between rounds to re-group, refill and redeem their losses with the almost-famous dollar games. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the night to winners, losers and the team with the most creative table theme. So round up your team and start brainstorming now. Come hungry and ready for a night of great fun and for a great cause.

Tickets are $15 per person during registration or $20 at the door, space permitting. For more information or to register, contact Stephanie Beattie at

Waubonsee dean elected to Elburn Lions Club Board

SUGAR GROVE—Dr. Scott Peska, dean for students at Waubonsee Community College, has been elected to serve on the board of directors for the Elburn Lions Club.

Peska, of Sycamore, has participated as a member of the Elburn Lions Club for about a year, helping to give Waubonsee an enhanced presence within the local club, the largest Lions Club in Illinois.

Peska said he was elected to the board to fill out the remaining six months of the unexpired term of another member of the board, who resigned. Peska will then stand for reelection in July.

As a member of the board, Peska will help oversee the club’s finances and its events, which annually include community festivals, charitable fundraisers, and community service projects in the Elburn area.

SG Library seeks limiting rate increase

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Public Library hopes to increase its limiting rate an additional $2.14 per month, or $25 more per year (for a home valued at $100,000), through a referendum on the March 18 ballot. The library needs additional funds to maintain the facility and grounds, support a number of current programs, departments and new programs it would like to add this year. The additional money would help the library afford the purchase of more materials in physical and downloadable formats, as well as the purchase of new computers to replace aging ones.

The library has attempted to raise the limiting rate in the past to no avail. It needs to increase that rate this year to replenish its budget. The additional several dollars per month would also extend the library’s hours.

“If the limiting rate passed during the referendum, we could have the library open every day with consistent hours,” said Library Director Carol Dolin. “Right now, we are open some mornings and some evenings. People would be able to remember our hours easily.”

The library staff is concerned with the library’s current budget.

“Our budget is almost depleted after we threw the party celebrating the library being open for 50 years,” Dolin said. “We would really like to see this referendum pass so that we can also have money to fund our summer programs.”

The library celebrated its 50-year milestone last July, and provided food, beverages and entertainment from the a cappella group Ac Rock.

The Sugar Grove library currently has the lowest limiting rate in the area, with Kaneville, Oswego, Elburn, Aurora and Batavia all possessing higher rates. With a vast amount of services offered, the library staff hopes that the public will vote to pass the referendum to ensure that the library can continue to offer a large variety of programs and materials.

Should the referendum pass, the library staff will survey the public to understand their needs and expectations for library hours, programs and materials.

Kaneland students shine in academic competition

SUGAR GROVE—Some of the brightest young minds in the Fox Valley area came to Waubonsee Community College on Feb. 4 to compete in the annual Illinois Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Competition.

More than 185 students from 13 public and private high schools vied for top honors in seven subject areas.

Top finishers in each division will move on to sectionals, which will take place in Northern Illinois University in DeKalb on March 6. The NIU Sectional also will include top finishers from similar regional competitions hosted by Elgin Community College, Highland Community College, Kishwaukee College and Rock Valley College.

The WYSE Academic Competition is organized by the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Kaneland High School topped Sandwich in the 1500 Division. Top finishers from Kaneland, by division, were Muhammad Rehman and Mary Piazza (biology), Mary Piazza and Jason Carlquist (chemistry), Axel Larsen (computer science), Mara Hernandez (English), and Ethan Witt and Ryan Koeppen (physics).

Ethan Witt advanced to sectionals in the math subject area.

Volunteer tutors sought to support adult English literacy

AURORA—The Adult Literacy Project at Waubonsee Community College is seeking volunteer tutors to help adult students increase their proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English, as well as math and other basic skills.
All training and materials are provided at no charge.

The Adult Literacy Project will offer a two-day tutor training program with sessions on Saturdays, March 8 and March 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Waubonsee’s Aurora Campus, 18 S. River St.

Alternatively, tutors can participate in a 10-hour online training session.

Prospective tutors must complete the training sessions and complete a background check before working with adult learners individually or in a classroom setting.

Tutor applications are available online at and also can be obtained by calling (630) 801-7900, ext. 4221.

Sugar Grove discusses General Fund

SUGAR GROVE—After several months of a harsh winter, the Sugar Grove Village Board has found that it’s over the estimated budget for several departments, including Public Works department, Streets, and Building and Maintenance departments.

The Village Board on Tuesday discussed the details of the General Fund.

“Back in November we were expecting to have a surplus of $100,000, but with all the expenses we’ve had with snow removal and road work, we are thinking our surplus will be $12,000,” Village President, Sean Michels said.

According to Michels, the Village Board will focus on paying for overtime in Public Works and not spending as much in other departments. The village is currently over budget on salt, as well, and will need to defer other expenses.

In regard to the village’s expenses for snow removal and related costs, it had projected to spend $170,000 in salt for this winter. The actual cost for salt this year was $200,000. The extra $30,000 in salt expenses is a testament to how much snow has fallen this winter.

Overtime expenses for Public Works was exceeded, as well. The village had originally projected to spend $10,000 in overtime, but that cost is now up to $35,000. With salt and overtime expenses, the village has a total of $55,000 over its projected budget.


McCannon benefit scheduled for March 14

SUGAR GROVE—Life for Sugar Grove resident Matt McCannon was normal and healthy up until a few months ago.

McCannon was working and leading life per usual with his wife and three children until he became sick overnight late last year. McCannon had suffered his first multiple sclerosis outbreak, and was soon diagnosed with the autoimmune disease.

With each outbreak, multiple sclerosis becomes increasingly worse and claims more muscle control. McCannon is facing new unexpected physical and financial challenges since his diagnosis. He isn’t able to work, and because of that, McCannon’s employer is discontinuing his insurance unless he is willing to pay the full price.

McCannon’s friends and the Sugar Grove community have committed to helping him during this hard time by hosting a benefit dinner on Friday, March 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course, 1 Golfview Drive in Sugar Grove.

The event will feature a raffle for two guns, one MMC Armory AR-15 and a Springfield Armory 1911 9MM. A flat-screen TV and a couple of golf outings were also donated for the raffle.

McCannon is well known throughout the Sugar Grove community as a resident who enjoys helping others around him. A life-long resident of the village, McCannon has volunteered his time for community events such as the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Holiday in the Grove, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, the remodeling and building project of a handicap ramp at the American Legion, and the planting of flags in the ground at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

“In a nutshell, he has given so much toward the needs of the community, and now it is time for the community to give back to him in his time of need,” said Rick Montalto, a Sugar Grove village trustee.

Dinner tickets for the McCannon fundraiser are available for $20 each at the American Legion in Sugar Grove, BP gas station in Sugar Grove, and also at the door the night of the event. An account has been established for donations for McCannon at Castle Bank, 36 E. Galena Blvd., Sugar Grove.

Waubonsee student dedicates success to brother

SUGAR GROVE—Mario Velazquez doesn’t know how far his college education might take him—or how far, exactly, he will take his college education.

But Velazquez is certain that his time spent at Waubonsee Community College has served as an essential link—“a bridge,” he says—connecting his past and present to the destinations he believes he will reach in the future.

“It’s like a bridge, taking you from where you are to where you want to be,” Velazquez said. “It helped me a lot, to get closer to my future.”

For his achievements and dedication, Waubonsee recognized Velazquez as the college’s Featured Student for February.

Velazquez, 23, of Aurora, launched his college career at Waubonsee in 2011, jumping right into a full class schedule packed with classes he needed to move toward his goal of becoming a math teacher.

For Velazquez, that goal was quite extraordinary.

No one in his family, he said, had ever even attended college, much less graduated.

And after high school, Velazquez said he appeared unlikely to be the first in his family to take those steps across the bridge to higher education.

“For almost two years, I dedicated my life to work without thinking of going to college,” he said.

But his brother, Francisco Marcos, wouldn’t let him walk away from the potential he saw in his younger sibling.

Velazquez said his brother would regularly ask him when he was going back to school.

“My answer always was, ‘I’ll do it next year,’” Velazquez said.

But in 2011, Velazquez’s life was shaken to the core when a fire claimed the lives of his brother, his brother’s wife, Micaela Perez, and two of their children, Jose and Francisco Marcos Jr.

At his brother’s funeral, amid an immense outpouring of support from friends, family and the Aurora community, Velazquez said he vowed to “go back to school and to get a degree no matter what.”

“I was going to do it in memory of my brother,” he said.

Velazquez recognized that the challenge could be daunting. But he also believed that even the largest obstacles can be overcome and most challenging goals achieved through persistence and discipline.

He compared it to training for a long-distance run.

“You go step by step, you know?” Velazquez said. “When you’re running, you set a goal, and then you go as far as you can, you get as close as you can.

“But then you pass that goal, and you set a new goal. It’s a beginning, then another beginning, not an end.”

To make his dream real while continuing to support himself, Velazquez pushed hard, carrying a full load of classes each semester and working 30-40 hours each week as a security officer at Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.

Last December, Velazquez achieved the first stage of his goal, earning his associate degree from Waubonsee. And along the way, he said his long-term goal also changed, morphing from a desire to teach math to a desire to eventually found and run his own civil engineering firm.

But he’s not even close to finished academically. Velazquez continues to take classes at Waubonsee this spring, to get a head start on his bachelor’s degree, which he intends to earn from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he plans to transfer in the fall.

However, Velazquez’s achievements at Waubonsee have not been limited to solid academic performance and activities in the classroom.

During his time at the college, Velazquez has been heavily involved with the Hispanic student organization Latinos Unidos. During the fall 2013 semester, Velazquez served as the club’s president, and for spring 2014 he was elected vice president.

Velazquez worked through the club to promote a number of initiatives within the community, including helping residents obtain drivers licenses and organizing events to promote cross-cultural understanding at Waubonsee and elsewhere.

“He’s very involved in the community, in the Aurora area,” said Erika Iniguez, admissions advisor at Waubonsee and faculty advisor to Latinos Unidos. “He’s recognized the support he received, and he’s always giving back.”

At Waubonsee, Iniguez notes that Velazquez uses his position to urge his fellow students on their own journeys toward their own goals. She said he is always on the lookout for new scholarship opportunities and regularly shares what he has found with other students.

And given his success in the classroom, she said Velazquez can also be found tutoring other students in math, and particularly calculus.

Iniguez said Velazquez’s success as a student is laudable. But what has really impressed her, she said, is his personal transformation.

“He has always been humble, very down-to-Earth,” she said. “And he’s still that. But he has also grown tremendously in confidence, as a public speaker and as a leader.”

She noted that in recent months, Velazquez’s achievements have been recognized by various organizations, including the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board.

From here, Velazquez said he is not entirely sure where his academic journey might take him ultimately.
He is fairly confident that he will go on to earn a master’s degree. And he may also set his sights, eventually, on a doctorate degree.

But wherever he goes, Velazquez said, he will believe that Waubonsee played an instrumental role in carrying him there.


A feast fit for the arts

Photo: The Kaneland Arts Initiative on Friday celebrated the arts with its fifth annual Fine Arts Feast at Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove. KHS art teacher Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield plays the accordion for guests in attendance. Photo courtesy Sally Jane Photography

SUGAR GROVE—Rebecca Aimone is an Elburn resident and Kaneland parent who regularly attends the annual Fine Arts Feast.

Aimone believes it’s important to attend the event.

“We need art,” she said. “And we need music. And everybody should support this. It’s a part of life.”

This year marked the fifth annual fundraiser feast at Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove. The event took place on Friday evening in the Pine Room, a space adorned with white lights and covered in smooth wood from the ceiling to the walls.

Nearly 100 supporters attended the Kaneland Arts Initiative’s (KAI) Fine Arts Feast. According to Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of KAI, $3,000 was raised at the event.

Dripps-Paulson said that KAI wants people to be “arts minded.” KAI offers the Fine Arts Festival, scholarships and performance series, and also puts money into the Kaneland School District.

“Everybody can be a sports fan,” Dripps-Paulson said. “But not everybody is an art lover. And we want to create more people who are art lovers. And by art, I mean all of the arts—fine arts, dance, all of those things.”

Laura McPhee, Board of Directors secretary and volunteer coordinator for KAI, said that the arts initiative is about community.

“It’s truly bringing the arts to every single person that is interested and wants to share that,” she said.

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to browse a variety of silent auction items ranging from Chicago Blackhawks tickets to a “Golfer’s Survival Kit.”

Raffle prizes included bookstore gift card, glass jewelry and orchestra tickets.

People dined on pasta, pizza and Ceasar salad.

Kaneland High School art teacher Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield played “Love Me Tender” on an accordion while many attendees flocked to grab desserts, including big, crisp chocolate chip cookies and tiny powdered sugar brownies.

The event also offered lots of live entertainment, as KAI representatives sang behind microphones. Dripps-Paulson had been part of the singing group she dubbed as Two and a Half Filipina. The group included her daughter Clara, 6, and Sugar Grove resident Estrellita Uzarraga.

Diane McFarlin, assistant principal at Kaneland High School, is also the artistic director of KAI. She sang for attendees during the event while Deanna Cates, president of the Board of Directors, accompanied on a keyboard.

McFarlin concluded her bit with the announcement that the KAI’s summer theatre production will be “Once Upon a Mattress.”

Uzarraga’s sons Matthew, 11, and Zachary, 8, stole the show as they bounded up on top of big boxes, stood behind tall mic stands and sang songs from “Les Miserables.”

The brothers are professional actors and have acted on Kaneland’s community stage.

“I like that you get to pretend to be someone whose life is cooler than life that could be in real life,” Matthew said of acting. “And more extraordinary.”

Matthew’s acting career has allowed him to be a different person, as well as a bear and an ogre.

“You can pretend you’re a different person and you can have a different life,” Zachary said.

The boys also know what it’s like to be on stage with the audience applauding.

“It felt like I was bringing joy into their lives,” Matthew said.

Waubonsee volunteers to provide free income tax preparation sessions

AURORA—A team of volunteers associated with Waubonsee Community College will not only help hundreds of local low- to moderate-income residents follow the law, they’ll also help them collect a bit of money due them.

The approximately 75 volunteers will also help to fuel the local economy.

That’s how George Sterling, Certified Public Accountant and instructor at Waubonsee, sees the mission of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

“Last year, we brought at least $1.5 million back into the local economy,” Sterling said. “That’s a big deal.”

This year, Waubonsee will again partner with the Center for Economic Progress to sponsor the free income tax return preparation assistance sessions for eligible members of the community.

The sessions will take place on Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from Feb. 19 to April 12 at Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora Campus, 18 S. River Street.

The site will be closed during spring break between Wednesday, March 19, and Saturday, March 22.

At these sessions, volunteers from Waubonsee and the Center for Economic Progress will help prepare and electronically file income tax returns, including those requiring the 1040 Schedule C used by small businesses and the self-employed.

Those eligible for the program include families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less, and individuals with annual incomes less than $25,000. Those seeking tax return preparation assistance at the VITA sessions should bring a copy of last year’s tax return, if they have one; Forms W-2 and 1099 from all employment in 2013; Social Security cards for all family members; and a photo ID.

The free income tax return preparation is done on a first-come, first-served basis, and the site closes when capacity is reached.

Last year, VITA volunteers at Waubonsee helped complete about 800 tax returns, generating about $1.5 million in federal income tax refunds, including about $460,000 in federal Earned Income Tax Credits, to local families, said Sterling, who together with his wife, Therese, manages the Waubonsee VITA site.

He said the sessions annually draw a strong corps of volunteers, including Waubonsee students and local CPAs from throughout the region, including the communities of Aurora, St. Charles, Batavia, Naperville, Lisle and Montgomery, among others.

For more information, contact Waubonsee Community College at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2992, email, or visit the Center for Economic Progress website at

Construction plans underway for Route 30 and Dugan Road

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board earlier this year announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is conducting a study on the road improvement plans necessary for Route 30 and Dugan Road in Sugar Grove.

IDOT is specifically studying the Route 30 corridor between the eastern part of Route 47 and the western part of Dugan Road.

The Village Board on Tuesday evening acknowledged that it has been meeting with IDOT representatives to come up with a construction plan for Route 30 and Dugan Road.

“When we last met with the representatives for IDOT, they were impressed with the progress we have made with this project,” Village President Sean Michels said.

The representatives and engineers working on this study, as well as the Village Board, are also concerning themselves with what improvements will benefit people who use those roadways during the LPGA’s International Crown event at Rich Harvest Farms in summer 2016. Plans include the paving of road shoulders on Route 30 to ensure that drivers are safer when traveling, as well as to ensure more convenience in the event that a vehicle must pull over on the side of the road.

Sugar Grove residents or anyone interested in the study can visit for more information on the areas considered for resurface, repair and lane additions. The Illinois Department of Transportation anticipates that construction will begin in 2015.

‘Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families’ roundtable discussion

SUGAR GROVE—With Illinois unemployment the highest in the Midwest and companies, jobs and families leaving Illinois, State Representative candidate Keith Wheeler is offering a plan to make Illinois more competitive.

Wheeler will host a discussion with local business leaders about the Illinois economy, and his plan “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families,” at the Fireside Grille in Sugar Grove on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 5 until 6:30 p.m.

“We will discuss what can be done do to help Illinois’ struggling job economy,” he said.

Wheeler, who is the current chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business Illinois Leadership Council, is owner of his own I.T. business, Responsive Network Services LLC. He is also the current chairman of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

“This is definitely an issue that is personal for me. As a business owner, I feel like I can relate to the struggles of the community,” Wheeler said.

Illinois Chamber President and CEO Doug Whitley and NFIB/IL Director Kim Maisch are scheduled to attend and participate in the discussion.

Taxes are a very important topic for discussion at this event. Wheeler hopes to stop the progressive income tax, as well as lower taxes overall.

“The business community in Illinois just can’t afford the progressive income tax. If elected, I will work to create a better environment in Illinois for business to thrive,” he said. “When these business are thriving, they will produce new jobs that we need in Illinois.”

Wheeler also advocates for allowing the current 5 percent income tax rate to expire and return to the original 3 percent rate.

Illinois currently has the third highest unemployment rate in the country, and the highest unemployment rate among the midwest states.

“We need to create Illinois jobs for Illinois families, which can only be done by attracting more businesses to Illinois while growing the companies who already call Illinois home,” Wheeler said.

A broad range of topics that will be discussed at the roundtable include fixing the state pension system, the effect of Obamacare on businesses, state over-spending and bill payment delays.

“I am truly excited for the opportunity to hear from fellow business owners and to share my ideas with the community. We have to turn Illinois around and make it a great place for both employers and employees,” he said.

Wheeler’s “Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families” outline:
1. Make Illinois a more affordable place to do business and stop the proposed progressive state income tax that will drive jobs to other states.
2. Clean up the pension mess by finding a balance that our state can actually afford.
3. Perform a forensic audit of state spending to clear our waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending.
4. Restore state funding to local school districts to keep promise to kids and prevent further increases in property taxes.

For more information, visit or call (630) 566-0176.

Sugar Grove adds new directors

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday added two new directors to the village staff.

Pat Chamberlin is the village’s new finance director, and will replace former director Justin VanVooren. Chamberlin is responsible for the reporting of the village’s financial activity.

Walter Magdziarz is now the acting community development director, and is responsible for implementing the correct and proper usage of procedures and codes pertaining to the planning and permitting of commercial and residential development within Sugar Grove.

Plans underway for Dugan, Granart Road improvements

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday authorized agreements regarding scheduled improvements for Dugan and Granart roads.

The first actionable item authorized an engineering services agreement for the intersection of the two roads. Village Engineer David Burroughs was in attendance for the meeting and filled the board in on the details regarding the planned construction.

“Construction for the Dugan and Granart Road intersection will take place in the summer and end early fall,” Burroughs said. “We are expecting this project to last three to four months.”

The Village Board also approved an agreement to improve the north portion of Dugan Road. Similar to the first item, this engineering services agreement will serve to fix the northern part of the road by implementing patch work and overlaying to improve the overall quality.

Construction for this agreement will begin in June and is schedule to be completed within six or seven weeks.

Fee, church team up for ‘Tooth Fairy Mission’

SUGAR GROVE—During the month of February, the Sugar Grove United Mehodist Church will have their annual “Tooth Fairy Mission” in which monetary donations, toothbrushes and toothpaste are collected for the Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove, and for the guests at Hesed House, a local homeless shelter in Aurora.

Dr. Donald Fee, who has been practicing general dentistry at Family Dental Care in Sugar Grove since 1993, and has been a long-time supporter for the Tooth Fairy Mission, is once again putting up the challenge that he will match contributions up to $500. Dr. Fee will use these monetary donations to purchase toothbrushes and travel size toothpastes at a reduced cost, greatly extending the value of the total contributions.

One of the first things neglected when one becomes financially challenged is dental care. If anyone would like to support this cause, checks payable to “SGUMC” with “Tooth Fairy” in the memo can be mailed or dropped off to the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church at 176 Main St., P.O. Box 226, Sugar Grove, IL 60554. There is also a Tooth Fairy bucket in the church fellowship room for dental hygiene items. For more information, call the church office at (630) 466-4501.

Kaneland Arts Initiative’s Fine Arts Feast

SUGAR GROVE—Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) will host the fifth annual Fine Arts Feast and Silent Auction on Friday, Feb. 21, at Open Range Southwest Grill, 1 Golfview Road, Sugar Grove.

A cash bar will open at 5 p.m., with dinner and program scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about the KAI, bid on auction items, participate in a cork pull for a bottle of wine, and contribute to the arts initiative. Your meal will be free of charge, and your donation to KAI is 100 percent tax deductible.

Seating is limited to the first 150 guests. RSVP by Friday, Feb. 14. Since alcohol will be available at the event, those who attend must be at least 21 years of age.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Maria Dripps-Paulson, KAI executive director, at (630) 365-5100, ext. 180, or For more information about KAI, visit

‘Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland area

ELBURN—’Friday Knightlife,’ a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 31 to March 21.

Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., will be open with activities like basketball, floor hockey, dodgeball, Wii, air hockey and more. Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, will also be open with a movie every Friday, computer gaming, board games, crafts, music and more.

Friday Knightlife is a community collaboration between Peak for Kids, Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library District. Peak for Kids is a new non-profit organization in Kane County dedicated to promoting enrichment and kindness. Part of Peak’s mission is to provide kids more opportunities for connection to community.

Friday Knightlife will provide kids with a safe and fun place to go and socialize. It will also provide mentoring opportunities as older, high-school-aged kids will be invited to volunteer at both facilities.

The Friday Knightlife program will provide participating parents with a Friday Knightlife “Out & About Card,” which will unlock 15 percent discounts on food and more at participating restaurants and venues in the Kaneland community.

Java Plus Cafe at Sugar Grove Public Library will also be open every Friday night from January until March, and offer 15 percent off coffee and live music by some of your favorite Kaneland area musicians.

Registration is now open at Registration forms also available on the Kaneland School District virtual backpack system. Each student will get a free Friday Knightlife T-shirt. Cost is $75 per student; $50 for one sibling, and no charge for all additional siblings. The pilot program is 10 weeks long this year. If the program is successful, the intent is to open the program up to five months next year (November through March), open more facilities and keep the price point between $35 and $55 per student.

The program will be monitored and reviewed weekly to note the kids’ preferences in terms of activities. That way, program coordinators can work to enhance next year’s program.

For more information, call (630) 466-8880 or visit Peak for Kids was the official host of the recently promoted Kindness Campaign in the Kaneland area.


Ky’s the limit

Lady Knight star-turned-college libero wins prestigious Augustana honor
ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—For a rising Kaneland volleyball program in the beginning of this decade, Class of 2012 athlete Kylie Siebert of Sugar Grove could be seen digging plenty of attempts from opponents.

After two seasons as a libero for the Division III Augustana Vikings, Siebert has dug up some high accolades.

As starting libero for the Vikings, most recently 16-15 and owners of back-to-back winning records for the first time in six years, Siebert was named Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 Augustana unit for her exceptional play.

That came on the heels of earlier namings to the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin team and All-CCIW academic all-conference list.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Siebert said on Monday. “As a libero, we sometimes get overlooked.”

From a stint on the KHS squad that won 55 matches during her varsity stay, to a rigorous college circuit, Siebert was glad to have some preparation.

“It’s a lot more commitment. You have to be mentally and physically ready, and it’s a lot different of a workload,” Siebert said.

The sophomore averaged 5.3 digs a game for the Vikings, the fourth best single season rate in program history. The former Lady Knight was also third on the team with 109 assists.

Raising her game against the rotation of capable CCIW teams was satisfying to the former Northern Illinois Big XII MVP.

“There’s teams like Elmhurst, Wheaton, North Central and Carthage. We kind of struggled and get looked at as the underdogs, so this season was a big step,” Siebert said.

Siebert, attending Augustana for a business and marketing major with a minor in multimedia journalism, doesn’t plan to rest after the nice bounty of awards.

“I’m very competitive and I push myself. I’m in a lifting program now and it’s helping out,” Siebert said.

The CCIW leader in average digs per game with 5.95 per conference tilt, Siebert is already looking to a productive back half of her college tenure after adjusting to the high level.

“The college game is very disciplined, and you have to adjust and go with it,” Siebert said. “We have a new coach next year (Kelly Bethke), and I think we can fight to get in the top half of the conference.”

Hawks honor two local high school seniors

GENEVA—The Fox Valley Hawks honored its seniors Sunday, which included an Elburn and a Sugar Grove resident.

Kaneland senior and Elburn resident Mike Potvin, an assistant captain and left wing, started playing hockey at age four, plans to attend Waubonsee Community College next year.

Mike Hill, a Sugar Grove resident and senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School, has been playing the last four years, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin/Platteville majoring in Engineering.

The hockey team, consisting of players from Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North high schools, plays at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

Ace Hardware could open in July

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday authorized an Economic Development Agreement and approved an Inducement agreement that facilitates the location of the proposed Ace Hardware store scheduled to open later this year in Sugar Grove.

Mark Driscoll, president and CEO at DriBar Ace, LLC, was present at the Village Board meeting and gave the board an update on the location’s progress. Driscoll also discussed the store’s plan to open in the summer.

“July 1 would be the best case if we are able to start construction in March, but each week that construction is pushed out, we will have to delay our opening,” Driscoll said to the board.

Driscoll also noted that the company plans on selecting a general contractor in February, and will close on the property on March 3.

With construction beginning in March or soon thereafter, Ace Hardware hopes to have its Sugar Grove grand opening before Labor Day.

When it opens, the Sugar Grove Ace Hardware location will employ between 15 and 20 people.

Waubonsee adds programs, involvement

SUGAR GROVE—The following are Waubonsee Community College (WCC) announcements for winter 2014. WCC’s campuses are located at 47 Waubonsee Drive in Sugar Grove, 18 S. River St. and 2060 Ogden Ave. in Aurora, and 100 Waubonsee Drive in Plano.

SBDC manager
elected to Illinois
Entrepreneurship Panel

Harriet Parker, Manager of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Waubonsee Community College, has been elected to the Coordinating Council of the Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association.

She will serve as the council’s secretary.

Parker, of Naperville, Ill., has more than 20 years of experience running successful start-up businesses and helping other small business owners through the SBDC.

Parker actively supports the local business community through her involvement on numerous boards and committees.

degrees, certificates

Waubonsee Community College will offer new degree and certificate programs designed to help students prepare for the demands of modern manufacturing.

On Jan. 15, the Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees approved seven new degrees and certificates in Automation Technology and Machine Tool Technology.

The new degrees will enhance the college’s cohesive package of programs related to Advanced Manufacturing, including Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CAD), Automation and Welding.

The programs will focus on Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operation, CNC Programming, Manual Machining and Advanced Manufacturing Technology, among others.

The curricular changes come in response to requests from employers who are seeking a more skilled workforce, said Suzette Murray, Assistant Vice President of Career and Technical Education at Waubonsee.

The changes come as part of Waubonsee’s continued efforts to remain on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology training. The college has added seven new Haas CNC machines and upgraded manual equipment in the college’s machining lab, thanks to a Department of Labor Trade Adjustment.

Assistance Community College and Career Training grant awarded to the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing.

The new degree and certificate programs will debut in the fall 2014 semester.

For more information on these new degree and certificate programs, contact Waubonsee’s Admissions department at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

IT manager elected
next president of
Plano Rotary

Timothy Kjaer, Information Technology customer service manager at Waubonsee Community College, has been elected to serve as the next president of the Plano Rotary Club.

Kjaer, of North Aurora, has participated in the Plano Rotary for two years, helping to enhance the visibility of Waubonsee in the Plano community after the college opened its Plano Campus in 2011.

Kjaer said he volunteered to serve as president in 2014-15, and the club’s members elected him to the post on Dec. 3.

As the club’s president-elect, Kjaer will assist the current president and receive training until the current president’s term expires June 30. Kjaer will take up the full duties of club president on July 1.

As president, Kjaer will help organize the club’s meetings, as well as help lead its fundraising efforts and projects to serve the Plano community, including raising money for scholarships and supporting civic beautification projects.

Automotive Recycling
instructor publishes article

Patrick O’Connor, Automotive Recycling Program developer at Waubonsee Community College, recently shared his insight on the future of the industry’s workforce through an article published in the bimonthly magazine of the Automotive Recycler’s Association (ARA).

In the article, titled “Driven to Learn,” O’Connor, of Algonquin, Ill., discusses both how Waubonsee created and developed its Automotive Recycling Program, and what is being done to prepare students to work in the industry in coming years.

The article was published in the November-December 2013 edition of Automotive Recycling magazine. It will be available on the website of the Automotive Recycler’s Association,

The topics also formed the basis of a presentation delivered by O’Connor during the ARA’s annual convention and expo in November in Phoenix.

Additionally, O’Connor has been invited to be a regular contributor to the magazine in a column titled, “Tomorrow’s Workforce.”

Authorities respond to severe vehicle collision

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Police officers and firefighters on Tuesday morning responded to a report of a near-head-on collision on Galena Boulevard, just east of Regency Boulevard.

The crash occurred when a Chevy Malibu, traveling eastbound on Galena Boulevard, drifted into the oncoming lane, colliding with a Volkswagen Jetta traveling westbound. According to Sugar Grove Police Chief Pat Rollins, the driver of the Malibu was trying to get control of the vehicle after it had briefly drifted onto the shoulder. Road conditions were snowy at the time of the crash, with visibility also reduced.

The driver of the Jetta had to be extricated out of his vehicle by Sugar Grove firefighters. Both drivers were then transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.


Preparation begins for the International Crown

SUGAR GROVE—The International Crown, expected to be one of the LPGA’s largest events, will take place in summer 2016 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, and the Sugar Grove Village Board is ready to do what it can to ensure that the event is a success.

The Village Board is working closely with Rich Harvest Farms staff to plan the logistics of the International Crown for the duration of the event, and is concerning itself with the specifics of directing traffic, planning for emergencies, providing water out to the estate, and supplying police security to the course and facility.

All the planning for traffic and security for the International Crown event will be similar to what the Village Board did for the Solheim Cup in 2009, also held at Rich Harvest Farms. Village President Sean Michels said the village is already making arrangements for the International Crown event.

“The Village Board and I are working with Rich Harvest Farms to ensure that the International Crown is a great event,” Michels said. “On our part, a lot of the logistics and planning will be similar to what we did in 2009 for the Solheim Cup. Our Chief of Police, Pat Rollins, worked on the Ryder Cup in Medinah, Ill., and his expertise will help us greatly for the International Crown.”

At the Solheim Cup, Illinois State Police handled the traffic on Route 30, and Kane County Sheriff managed the security on the course and the facility. The Sugar Grove Police Department acted as a backup for the event, and they also managed any minor accidents. All of these responsibilities will be similar for the International Crown.

In addition to helping coordinate the logistics of the event, the Village Board is also working closely with the consultant for IDOT who is managing the road improvement plans for Dugan Road and Route 30, in an effort to also improve the traffic flow the day of the event. The road improvement plans are being finalized, with work expected to begin this year.

Collette Frohlich

Engineering Enterprises Inc. announces addition of Frolich

SUGAR GROVE—Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI) recently announced the addition of Collette M. Frohlich, E.I. as a project engineer in the company’s Civil and Transportation groups. Collette brings over five years of professional experience and has been involved in several large scale projects around the Chicagoland area. She holds both her master and Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering from Bradley University.

“Collette started with us back in September of 2013 and she immediately hit the ground running,” said Bradley P. Sanderson, P.E., vice president. “We are happy to have her aboard and couldn’t be more pleased with her performance to date.”

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 additional information, visit

New sports bar to move into former Runway to Galway facility

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved a 2013-14 liquor license application for Round Up Sports Bar & Grill.

The restaurant will move into the building that previously housed Runway to Galway, located at 1942 Route 30 in Sugar Grove. The new owners anticipate opening the restaurant in March.

“The new owners have run a bar with a relative, but now they’re going out on their own,” Village President, Sean Michels said. They’re looking forward to coming out here.”

Board members during the meeting brought up different expectations that the village will have for the restaurant to make improvements to the building.

“I think there are lighting issues that need to be addressed. I didn’t think we did a service to Runway to Galway with how flexible we were with their lighting,” village trustee Mari Johnson said. “It was very dark and hard to tell that there was a business open. It never really popped as being an open business. By the time you saw the open sign you were past the restaurant.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto echoed Johnson’s statement regarding the location’s lighting issue.

“I agree with Mari that the lighting probably hurt the chances of Runway to Galway from succeeding,” Montalto said.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that the village will work with the owners of Round Up Sports Bar & Grill to implement the improvements.

“The owners are going to work with the village to improve some of the signing and lighting issues,” Eichelberger said. “We anticipated from the beginning that the improvements would be a multi-year process.”

Waubonsee students take first, second place in regional writing contest

SUGAR GROVE—Two Waubonsee Community College students captured the top two spots in the poetry category at the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Writers’ Competition and Festival.

Carolyn Schroeder of Geneva captured first place in the poetry category for her poem, “Crabgrass.” The win marked the second time Schroeder had placed in the competition, as she added the poetry award to her 2011 first-place short story entry, “Yellow Shoes.”

John Merrow of Plano took second place in the category for his poem, “I Smell Money.”

The works were judged during the competition and festival on Nov. 22 at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Ill.

The competition included works submitted by students from Waubonsee and seven other Skyway Conference member schools, including Oakton, Elgin Community College, Morton College, Prairie State College, Moraine Valley Community College, McHenry County College and the College of Lake County.

Students’ work was judged in four categories: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and drama.

Also attending the competition were Waubonsee non-fiction writers Kenneth Rupp and Rebecca Jimenez, Assistant Professor of English Todd Laufenberg and Student Life Manager Mary Tosch.

WCC hires two nursing instructors

Erickson, Henson added to Waubonsee staff
SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College has appointed Sharon Erickson of Montgomery and Lisa Henson of Geneva, each to the position of full-time nursing instructor.

Both Erickson and Henson bring years of experience in nursing and nursing education to Waubonsee’s program.

Erickson worked for seven years as a staff nurse at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora and as a school nurse for Yorkville Community Unit School District 115. She also has taught nursing at Northern Illinois University, Aurora University and Waubonsee.

Erickson holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Aurora University, a Master of Science in nursing education from NIU, and is pursuing a doctorate in education at NIU.

Henson worked for five years as a staff nurse at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest and at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, and for two years as an emergency medical technician in San Diego.

She has taught nursing at DePaul University and cardiac life support training courses at the University of California, San Diego.

Henson earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Science in nursing from DePaul University, Chicago.

Juarez receives Brattin Civic Youth Award

SUGAR GROVE—A Waubonsee Community College student who already has dedicated countless hours to serving her hometown of Aurora has been selected to receive the Ted Brattin Civic Youth Award.

Zayra Juarez, 19, of Aurora, was one of 10 local students honored with the award on Dec. 9, during a luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Aurora.

The award and luncheon, sponsored by the Aurora Rotary, the Aurora Navy League and Aurora University, annually recognizes Fox Valley students, ages 13-19, who have exhibited qualities of civic involvement, leadership and community service through school and community activities.

Juarez has volunteered since she was 15 years old. For the last four years, she has served in after school and summer camp programs at First Presbyterian Church in Aurora. Participants in the programs receive tutoring, mentoring and the opportunity to use the church’s gym, as well as religious instruction.

Juarez has also served as a volunteer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, walking door-to-door to help Aurora residents register to vote and supporting the coalition’s efforts to make drivers licenses available to more immigrants.

Further, she and her father have also parlayed a newfound love of bicycling into a new community service venture, launching a “recycled bicycle repair shop,” providing low-cost bicycle repair to her community.

Juarez said her experiences working in the community inspired her to major in political science, with an eye toward international law.

At Waubonsee, she serves as secretary for Latinos Unidos, a student organization providing cultural opportunities for students and fostering awareness of the richness of Latino culture. She also is active in Waubonsee’s Christian Fellowship student organization.

“This community service helped me reach my inner potential,” Juarez said. “I learned that having a voice in the community can make many changes and all for the good of everyone.”

Sugar Grove sets its hopes high for 2014

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board’s plans and projects for 2014 could warrant huge economic growth in future years.

The board will continue to lead a hotel feasibility study in 2014, originally initiated in 2013. The citizen survey prompted the board to conduct the study after there were many requests from it to bring a hotel to town. The consulting firm the board is looking at for this study is HVS International.

There are several road projects that are underway and will continue to progress in the coming year, including the Route 47 and I-88 project. They are currently in phase I of the plans to create a full interchange on Route 47 and I-88.

“For phase I, we submit the plans to IDOT Toll Highway for review, and they tell us what to modify,” Village President Sean Michels said. “We also look at the roadway and the preliminary design of the ramps and the widening of Route 47.”

The Village Board and IDOT are also working together to find out where they need to resurface, repair and add lanes for Dugan Road and Route 30. IDOT is also conducting a study to predict the future flow of traffic along Route 47 to Route 30 to plan for future construction needs.

A two-lane roundabout is also in the mix of plans to be worked on next year. Currently, the plans to construct the roundabout would include connecting Granart Road, Bucktail Lane and Route 30 to create a four-way intersection.

Road projects aren’t the only major plans for 2014. Within the board, a new beautification committee was born from the promptings of Sugar Grove resident Shawn Pjesky at a Village Board meeting last September

“The Beautification Committee is a brand-new group comprised of three people: Shawn Pjesky, trustee Sean Herron and (myself),” trustee David Paluch said. “We visited with a member from the Geneva Beautification Committee in October to get some ideas about what/how to start this project. Since our business district is not as big as Geneva’s, we are looking at a more concentrated effort in the village.”

The new Beautification Committee is planning on focusing on Route 47 and the various subdivisions in Sugar Grove, with the intention of keeping trees in the medians looking nice, and also sprucing up strip mall areas. The committee would like to receive feedback from the businesses along Route 47 to find out what they would like improved.

The group has also discussed the idea of placing planters on the sidewalk at various strip malls, with rotating plants based on the spring, summer and fall planting and blooming schedules.

“This Beautification Committee is a long-term initiative focused on elevating and improving the overall visual appearance of high-traffic Sugar Grove areas, while providing a consistent way to plan, report and organize those efforts,” Pjesky said. “We would like to be in partnership with local businesses, village leadership and community volunteers. Dedicated residents can volunteer to work on planned projects all the while helping to make a positive difference within Sugar Grove.”

In addition to programs to implement road improvement, increase economic development and beautify the town, the board is also continuing its project to implement fiber optics from Kaneland Harter Middle School to the Sugar Grove Public Library, Fire Protection District and Village Hall.

Michels remarked that the village does not have a precise completion date for this project, but it has made good progress this year.

“Once this project is completed, we would like to make the fiber optics available to businesses. It will reduce operation costs and streamline our technologies,” Michels said.

SG Village Board reflects on 2013 accomplishments

by Natalie Juns

SUGAR GROVE—When Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels reflects on the village’s 2013, he thinks of the accomplishments and progress the Village Board made this year.

Progress with the Route 47/I-88 interchange and Dugan/Route 30 resurfacing, as well as a project to implement fiber optics and the planned groundbreaking of Ace Hardware and American Heartland’s Sugar Grove locations in the spring, are at the top of his list of achievements.

“We had a great year and accomplished a lot,” Michels said. “We moved forward with the Route 47 and I-88 project. This is a $20 million project, and the state is paying for the engineering up front.”

The Route 47 and I-88 project would implement a full interchange from Route 47 onto I-88 in Sugar Grove.

The Village Board also had the roads on the east side of town resurfaced, and progressed with its plan regarding the Dugan and Route 30 project. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is currently in the midst of a study to identify when and where to resurface, repair and add lanes to the project.

Several other road improvement projects made progress in 2013, including the two-lane roundabout that will connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane creating a four-way intersection. IDOT has invested $4 million into the roundabout project.

Michels said he counts Ace Hardware and American Heartland Bank’s prospective locations in Sugar Grove on the board’s list of accomplishments. Both businesses will break ground next spring.

“Both Ace Hardware and American Heartland Bank were two major projects this year, and I know they will be great additions to the community,” Michels said.

Village trustee Mari Johnson weighed in on the vast amount of commercial businesses that moved to town and the progress made with different developers.

“I think some of the accomplishments are the Mallard Point drainage project and the sale of lots at Prairie Glen to Orleans Homes,” Johnson said. “They sold 24 homes when they were expecting to sell 10 to 12. The approval of Ace Hardware is on our list of accomplishments, along with all the new commercial businesses, including Runway to Galway, Great Clips, Java Plus, Rush Copley, Cadence Health, SLKM Enterprises, Inc., and Cross Fit of Sugar Grove. Also, the Glancer magazine office moved to Sugar Grove on Main Street, and they now have a Sugar Grove version of the magazine.”

Michels is also proud of the progress the village has made with an extension of Sugar Grove’s bike trail and pathway.

“It will be great to have a bike trail and pathway where residents can bike or walk to different stores and restaurants,” he said.

Waubonsee English professors publish essays

SUGAR GROVE—Two professors from Waubonsee Community College’s English Department recently published essays in external publications.

Ellen Lindeen, associate professor of English, wrote an essay titled “Letter to President Obama from a Loyal Supporter.” The essay was written in late summer, as the U.S. debated how to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war in Syria. In it, Lindeen urges President Barack Obama to choose a diplomatic solution.

The essay was published in September in the Peace Voice, as well as other publications, including the Salem News, Voice of the Ozarks, Joplin Independent, Las Vegas Informer, Truthout, Arizona Community Press, and Sierra County Prospect.

Kim Livingston, assistant professor of English, wrote an essay titled “Court Date.”

The essay recounts in vivid detail her thoughts and the events of a trip Livingston took to the DuPage County Courthouse with her brother, who she said had been diagnosed with a mental illness, and for whom she was asking the court to appoint her guardian.

The essay was published in the October edition of the online literary magazine, Blue Lake Review.

Waubonsee wins marketing awards

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College recently received eight awards for its marketing efforts.

The college received four MarCom Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, including two platinum awards for the 2012 Report to the Community (annual report and photography categories), a gold award for the 2013-14 Community Education event mailer, and a gold award for the “Make It Real” billboards.

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) awarded Waubonsee two Medallion Awards: a silver for its Auto Body Repair Program video and a bronze for the “Make It Real” television commercial series.

Representing marketing and public relations professionals at community and technical colleges across the U.S., Canada and other countries, NCMPR has 1,550 members from more than 650 schools.

In the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) annual Pride of CASE V award contest, Waubonsee earned a bronze for sports photography and an honorable mention for the Learning First! student publication.

CASE is the largest international association of educational institutions, serving more than 3,300 universities, colleges and schools in 54 countries. District V includes schools from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.