Category Archives: Sugar Grove

SG Citizen Survey yields encouraging results

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the results of the village’s 2013 Citizen Survey. Results from the survey were generally positive, though residents reported dissatisfaction with economic development and cable TV.

The cable TV issue is essentially out of the Village Board’s hands, as Sugar Grove currently has a Cable Television Franchise Agreement with Mediacom.

“From the survey, we found they want more businesses and jobs. It’s all economic development,” village trustee Rick Montalto said. “As far as cable TV, maybe we should compare how many people have Mediacom now versus a couple of years ago. I dumped Mediacom this year. Now I have Direct TV (for television) and AT&T for Internet.”

An additional resident complaint pertained to the purity of the village’s water. Director of Public Works Anthony Speciale mentioned that they have brought up the purity of the water in recent years.

“Since 2007, we have improved the purity of the water from 52 percent to 72 percent in 2013,” Speciale said.

It was mentioned by several board members that although the purity level is high, it might be hard for residents to recognize the change over that many years.

Village President Sean Michels recognized that a high percentage of residents enjoy reading the village newsletter.

“I think it would be good to write a quarterly or semi-annual newsletter, since a lot of residents like reading it already,” Michels said. “More newsletters throughout the year would give us an opportunity to notify the residents of what we are doing throughout the year. Maybe, we could send it to them, as well.”

Trustee Mari Johnson brought up the idea of including a couple of pages of village information in the Sugar Grove Park District booklet.

“The Park District publishes a booklet three times a year. I think it might be a good idea to pay to have a couple of pages of village information in their booklet,” she said.

The survey results included compliments regarding Public Works’ Tree Replacement Program.

“We found that 90 percent of people would recommend Sugar Grove as a great place to live for people they know. We have a lot of happy residents,” Speciale said.

History Department recognized at WCC

SUGAR GROVE—From Waubonsee’s inception, the instruction of history has helped to define the college.

As the study of history has evolved in the decades since, the college’s History Department has evolved, as well, rising to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities offered by new technology, expanded historical perspectives and new methods of teaching.

And now Waubonsee is pleased to honor the History Department as part of its “Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition.”

The academic exploration of history appeared in Waubonsee’s very first college catalog, as the college offered five courses, including the stalwarts of American History I and II, Western Civilization I and II, and a course titled “American Heritage.”

From 1969 to 1986, Waubonsee offered students the chance to pursue Associate in Arts degrees in history. After 1986, the college no longer awarded degrees in any specific majors.

While specific degrees in history are no longer awarded, the college’s emphasis on historical instruction has only increased in the years since.

In 2013-14, Waubonsee offered 15 history courses, including 13 courses granted Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) approval. Further, nine of those 13 courses offer students credit in the IAI General Education Core curriculum.

Since 2000, Waubonsee History Department courses have expanded to offer a broad range of historical perspectives, including many new additions to the World History sequence that explore history among non-Western peoples and set themes in a global context.

Such courses include instruction on the History of Africa, the History of the Middle East, and the History of China and Japan, all of which are taught at the 200-level, requiring students to build upon mastery of freshman-level historical understanding.

Led by Associate Professor of History Dr. Timothy Dean Draper and Assistant Professor of History Dr. Amy Powers, the Waubonsee History Department has continued to evolve to, as Draper states, “bring the high ideals of academic history to the undergraduate students at our institution.”

“In the classroom, I tell students that, to the best of our ability, we are going to examine narratives of the past doing what historians do: reading history, writing history and talking about history,” Draper said.

Draper, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Ball State University and who earned a doctorate in history from Northern Illinois University in 2007, has helped set the pace and tone for scholarship in the Waubonsee History Department for more than 13 years.

When he joined the Waubonsee team, Draper said he sought to be “the pre-eminent community college historian in the state of Illinois.”

While he admits he may not have attained that height, he said that he believes he has “made a game effort to try to do so to the benefit of the college, community and state.”

Draper has served on the advisory board and board of directors for the Illinois State History Society; the founder, board member and editor of H-Illinois, a listserv on state history and culture, affiliated with Michigan State University’s H-Net for the Humanities; and book review editor for the “Journal of the Illinois State History Society.”

“My reputation has been one of the most demanding professors at this institution, but I continually have students thank me for expecting them to learn and behave as college students,” Draper said.

Powers has served at Waubonsee for more than a decade. She also earned a Ph.D. in history from NIU in 2007, in addition to a master’s degree in history from John Carroll University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Grove City College.

“People often ask me why I decided to become a history professor,” Powers said. “I respond by simply telling them that teaching history provides me with an opportunity to learn something new every day.”

Powers has received several distinctions, including recognition as the 2013 Illinois Community College Faculty Association Instructor of the Year.

“Whether I am teaching Early American History, Western Civilization, World History, or the History of the Middle East, I am constantly learning. My goal is to impart this love of learning—and love of history—to my students,” Powers said.

In addition to updating and modernizing course offerings, the History Department has also adapted current technology, pioneering the incorporation of distance learning options in curriculum. All but two of the department’s courses are available online, and the two most popular courses—American History and Western Civilization—remain in the self-paced open enrollment format.

At the same time, Draper and Powers have worked to improve history education beyond Waubonsee, as well. The professors represented Waubonsee as one of only 12 community college teams to participate in the American Historical Association’s Bridging Cultures Project. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the program, in which Waubonsee has participated since 2012, seeks to boost historical scholarship among cultures across both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Powers said the Bridging Cultures project has allowed her to “introduce new scholarship and cutting-edge methodologies” to Waubonsee students, which can, in turn, spur students to uncover insights of their own.

“I am delighted when students read a text or analyze a primary source and come up with a fresh perspective that I had not considered,” Powers said. “Whether the students are 18-year-olds fresh out of high school or middle aged adults pursuing a new career, each one brings unique insight into our study of the past.”


WCC opens new field house

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College opened the doors of its new Sugar Grove campus field house on Dec. 6. Student athletes, athletic instructors and community members gathered at the field house that day and were able to participate in the different games and interactive activities.

“Given the nature of the field house, we created a ‘game day’ atmosphere,” Waubonsee Marketing and Communications Manager Stephanie Wennmacher said. “We had our Chief cheerleaders lead off the program, and our student-athlete and coaches built an architectural rendering of the building one piece at a time. We also had a free throw and three-point contests along with a miniature golf hole for students and guests.”

The field house project was part of the original 2020 College Master Plan, which was first developed and announced back in 2001. Voters then voiced their support for the plan by approving the referenda in 2002 and 2003.

The new field house is attached to the existing Erickson Hall building on the north side of the Sugar Grove campus, and provides a number of rooms for athletic activities with a total of 59,279 square feet of space.

On the first level, there are three indoor courts and two with standard athletic flooring and one with artificial turf for soccer, baseball and softball practice. There is also an office suite for athletic staff and coaches, along with an athletic training room that includes exam and taping stations.

The second floor of the field house boasts a three-lane suspended running track, meeting room and classroom, and 2,485-square-foot dance and fitness studio.

The field house is designed to support and benefit a variety of groups and individuals from Waubonsee Community College and the surrounding community. Waubonsee’s intercollegiate and non-credit physical education, intramurals, wellness instruction and general recreation will have classes in the new field house facilities.

Student athletes from Waubonsee’s 13 different teams and cheerleading squad will practice, condition and train in the field house. There will also be a place for students who are looking to hang out on a casual level, featuring games such as ping-pong.

The baseball team will have a regulation-size field where they will be able to practice full-length catch, and the cheerleading squad will have a room tall enough for the squad to practice routines including lifting and throwing.

All of this equates to added benefits that the new facility will provide for the athletes, students and community members.

“Athletes will enjoy having more space to condition with new track and regular training schedule times. They won’t have to rearrange their schedules week to week because of the space constraints that we had in the gym.” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “More residents and groups from the community will notice that they are able to book appointments to use rooms in the field house without the schedule being completely booked because of lack of space.


Best year yet for Holiday in the Grove

Photo: Sisters Cary and Cara visit with Santa at the Sugar Grove Community House Saturday during the Holiday in the Grove. More photos are below the story. Photos by Patti Wilk

SUGAR GROVE—The Holiday in the Grove Board members described their event on Saturday as the best year they have had since the event was established.

They welcomed over three hundred guests total for their three sessions of Breakfast with Santa and had to make a food run for the fruit and orange juice that they ran out of in the morning.

Many community members braved the weather to attend the holiday event.

“We were all surprised that as many people came out on Saturday as they did with how cold it was outside. I overheard from more than one family that it was their first time out to the event, and some said they had lived in the community a few years and others that were new to the area,” said Julie Wilson, Secretary of Holiday in the Grove.

Holiday in the Grove President Diana Baker noted that one of their most meaningful and popular events turned out to be the music played by Kaneland Youth Orchestra at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

“One of the parents told me that there were two hundred kids, parents and grandparents standing in the gym listening to the Kaneland Youth Orchestra. They also mentioned that the group of middle school students of the orchestra sounded like they had been practicing and playing together for years,” said Baker.

There were many events that the board members were pleased with. They noticed that they ran out of pop, water and nachos at the John Shields Elementary School cafe, and the cake walk was such a success that they ran out of cake as well.

Youngsters were drawn to Santa at the event, and were able to tell him the toys on their Christmas list and pose for a photo with him. The board members of Holiday in the Grove are already thinking of the different items and volunteers they need for next year.

For instance, they received several requests on comment cards to bring back the horse drawn carriage rides that they had in years past. The volunteer they had for that event retired, along with his horses. The board members are also in need of a secretary for their board since Julie Wilson retired this year.

If you are interested in helping with the event next year, you can contact President Diana Baker at or visit for details on their board meetings.

Conley Outreach, Salvation Army bring Christmas Kettles to Kaneland area

ELBURN—Look for the familiar red Salvation Army kettles this November and December throughout the Kaneland and Big Rock area. Conley Outreach (the local Salvation Army Service Extension representative), together with local Scout troops, businesses, 4-H clubs, church groups and Community Care Team volunteers, will collect donations on Saturdays and the days just before Christmas outside various local businesses.

Every year, Conley Outreach receives about $3,500 from the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to help needy families pay for rent, heat, food, clothing or other necessities. Because of the current economic conditions, this money is depleted quickly. The Christmas Kettles enable Conley Outreach to raise additional money and replenish this fund. 90 percent of all the money donated in our area kettles will stay in our local Salvation Army fund. This past year over 50 families received assistance from this fund. Many more need help.

Donations can also be sent to Conley Outreach/Salvation Army Fund, PO Box 931 Elburn IL 60119. If you have a group that would like to staff the kettles one Saturday or on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23-24, in either Sugar Grove or Elburn, contact Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880.

SG seeking applicants for Board of Police Commissioners

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s Board of Police Commissioners consists of three members that are appointed by the village president with the consent of the Board of Trustees. The powers and duties of this board are limited to making recommendations on the hiring, firing and discipline of sworn law enforcement officers for the village.

This committee meets on an as-needed basis. Meetings are typically held in the evening at the Municipal Center, 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

For information, call Village Clerk Cynthia Galbreath at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24. Applications will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 13.

SG Village Board approves 2013 proposed tax levy

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday passed the proposed 2.4 percent increase for the 2013 Tax Levy with five yes votes, and two no votes from trustees Sean Herron and Kevin Geary.

Sugar Grove will collect $6.50 more from each property owner in the village. Board members participated in a discussion regarding the benefits and disadvantages of passing the proposed tax levy.

Geary said he wasn’t in favor of increasing the property taxes this year.

“I would like to see us hold the line on the tax levy. I think we need to tighten our belts,”
he said. “I want to send the message to residents that we can live in our means.”

Village President Sean Michels noted Geary’s comment, and then stated why he thought the board wouldn’t be able to keep the taxes flat this year.

“I would like nice streets and sidewalks and good quality of employees like we have,” Michels said. “In order to have that, we need to get out of the recession completely to get ahead. For this year, it’s going to require an increase; but in years to come, an increase in property taxes might not be required.”

Sugar Grove resident Joe Wolf added his two cents to the discussion.

“I understand how taxes affect us. The long-term effect on the village will deter us from not passing the tax levy,” Wolf said. “The quality of life is more important than lowering taxes. I hope you continue to use the money wisely. The $6.50 is worth taking.”

Herron then explained why he was not in favor of the proposed tax levy.

“As the newest member of the board, I walked on every single doorstep of the village,” he said. “Although, I didn’t talk to every village resident, I did speak to a lot of people. An overwhelming majority of the people said they weren’t interested in a 2.4 percent increase.”

Trustee Rick Montalto reiterated that the small tax increase wouldn’t affect residents negatively, but would help to increase the quality of life in Sugar Grove.

“The $6.50 doesn’t mean a lot. I’m afraid if we don’t levy it, people would notice the streets not being salted or new trees not being planted where other trees had died,” Montalto said. “I think the taxpayers would much rather see us taking care of the village than saving them $6.50. The problem is they look at the 2.4 percent increase and don’t realize how small of an amount that is delegated to the village board.”

Sugar Grove Village Board hosts road improvement open house

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday hosted an informal road improvement open house at the Sugar Grove Public Library.

The open house was in regard to the village’s road improvement research for Dugan Road and Route 30, as well as a two-lane roundabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane. Map displays for the roundabout and a video that explained the proper usage of a roundabout were available during the open house.

Sugar Grove Village Board members and employees from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) were available to answer questions from the public during the open house event.

“Right now we are performing studies on Dugan and US Route 30 intersection to find out where to resurface, reconstruct and add lanes,” said Marty Marsey, IDOT project manager for Dugan and Route 30. “We are also performing a study on Route 47 to Route 30 to foresee the construction needs depending on the future traffic flow.”

Village residents in attendance milled around the room and commented on the construction plans.

“I live on Granart Road, so these plans are of interest to me. I think if the roundabout will help, than they should go for it,” village resident Karen Forsell said. “Some days, I have to allow myself twice as much time when traveling to work, because I usually have to sit through three-to-four traffic lights right now.”

Village trustee Bob Bohler mentioned resident concerns regarding the train crossing near the would-be roundabout.

“I informed (the residents) that we haven’t seen the final plans, but we know that the progress in the roundabout will stop when a train comes through on the tracks,” Bohler said. “I think the roundabout is being accepted really well. I didn’t hear a negative comment.”

Village trustee Kevin Geary mentioned that other residents had ideas about creating an overpass over the train tracks.

“A couple of residents suggested that we could put in a bridge over the train tracks if the funds are available,” Geary said. “They didn’t think the roundabout would be a long term solution and that we needed an overpass.”

WCC CAD Program awarded grants to expand partnership, outreach

SUGAR GROVE—The Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CAD) program at Waubonsee Community College has been awarded two grants to help the college improve its partnership with a local high school and to improve efforts to market the program to women.

On Oct. 11, the Illinois Community College Board awarded the Waubonsee Business and Career Technologies Division a $10,000 grant to support the college’s efforts to enhance the development of dual credit CAD courses through a partnership with West Aurora High School.

Ne’Keisha Stepney, assistant dean for Business and Career Technologies, said the grant would be used to support work to align the curriculum at Waubonsee and West Aurora and to offer professional development and networking opportunities to CAD instructors at West Aurora.

The college began partnering with the high school on the dual credit offerings this fall.
The Business and Career Technologies Division also was awarded a $2,000 grant through the 2014 New Look Project at the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support.

Stepney said that grant award would be used to step up marketing efforts aimed at recruiting women into CAD programs and drafting fields.

Currently, just two women are enrolled in Waubonsee CAD courses.

Among other uses, the college will put the grant to work by empaneling focus groups to learn more about what could make CAD more attractive to female students. The grant could also be used to set up opportunities for women to hear from other women working in fields that use CAD, so women can see how CAD training might boost their careers.

Kindness Campaign aims to CARE at Park District

SUGAR GROVE—Renee Dee, founder of Peak for Kids, will bring the Kindness Campaign to the Sugar Grove Park District before-and-after-school CARE program. Dee was recently a guest speaker at the CARE programs at John Shields Elementary School and McDole Elementary School, and she plans to visit the two Kaneland elementary schools in Elburn in the next few weeks.

Kindness Campaign 2013 is a community collaboration dedicated to encouraging and promoting acts of kindness and keeping kids connected and involved in our community. Dee recently met with Karen Pritchard at the Sugar Grove Park District about the program, and the two soon developed a plan to get the message out to the CARE children.

The Kindness Campaign message, “Be Nice, Be Happy,” is on T-shirts, stickers, postcards and table tents that Renee will bring along with her when she visits the CARE programs. She said the message is a friendly, easy and simple reminder to choose to be nice.

“Being nice to others makes them happy,” she said. “And the special secret is that being nice to others makes you happy too. It also makes you strong. Practicing being nice builds your inside muscles. Some people call these muscles your heart, spirit or soul.”

The children at CARE plan to spread this message by making rubber band bracelets with the lime green and navy colors of the Kindness Campaign. When they complete a bracelet, the children will give it away with a note to someone as an act of kindness.

The Sugar Grove Park District is located at 61 S. Main St. in Sugar Grove. For more information about the Kindness Campaign, contact Dee at (630) 466-8880 or

Online learning provider names WCC Top 50 Partner

AURORA—Waubonsee Community College’s Workforce Development Department has been named among the top 50 institutional partners of ed2go, a leading provider of online learning for adults. The company works with more than 2,100 colleges, universities and other organizations across the nation each year.

Waubonsee began offering professional development courses in conjunction with ed2go in 2003. Two kinds of courses are offered; short–term courses are designed to teach a specific professional skill, while longer career training programs prepare students for a specific career field and/or certification. For added convenience, a new round of courses starts every month.

So far this year, Waubonsee has seen 80 enrollments in its short-term courses, with computer software classes being among the most popular. An additional 45 enrollments have been in the career training programs, including medical billing and coding, information technology, paralegal and pharmacy technician.

“The essence of being a Top 50 Partner College means collectively joining forces to reach communities of learners,” said Joshua Cruz, ed2go Account Manager.

For more information on Waubonsee’s online offerings through ed2go, visit

carey family 004 copy

Becoming Dylan’s ‘superhero’

Photo: Tim and Christine (Bateman) Carey with sons Dylan, 3, and Gavin, 6. The family lives in Shabbona, Ill. Photo by Samantha Garver

SUGAR GROVE—Three-year-old Dylan Carey pretends he’s a superhero during his chemotherapy treatments for the stage four neuroblastoma he was diagnosed with in July—and the family hopes that local residents will come out to help save the day for “Super D” at his fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 6.

The event, “Superheroes for Dylan,” will be a night of fun and fundraising. It will be held at Open Range Southwest Grill, located at 1 Golfview Lane in Sugar Grove, and feature a pig roast, cash bar, silent auction, raffle and 50/50 raffle. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and dinner will start at 6 p.m., with hamburgers and hot dogs also available.

Tickets are $20 and include dinner and entertainment. There will be a caricature artist and a holiday photo booth, where guests can have holiday pictures taken by a professional photographer, and “Super D” T-shirts will be for sale.

Back Country Roads, a local country band, will perform from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. For those coming just to see the band, a $10 cover charge will begin at 8 p.m.

Though the event will be raising funds for his treatment, Dylan won’t be there—he had a bone marrow stem cell transplant on Tuesday, which he needed because the cancer has metastasized from his adrenal gland into his bone marrow. He’ll spend the next 30 days in quarantine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which means he’ll be in the hospital through Christmas, and then begin radiation treatments.

His mother, Christine Bateman Carey, a 1995 Kaneland graduate and an Elburn native, also won’t be in attendance at the fundraiser—she was in a devastating car accident on Oct. 12 that landed her in the neuro intensive care unit at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill. She’s now undergoing physical, rehabilitative and speech therapies at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Her room at the RIC is just 10 doors down from Becky Nelson’s, the Maple Park native who suffered a traumatic brain injury following a hit-and-run in the Cayman Islands last July.

It’s been a shattering series of events for the Carey family, who live in Shabbona, Ill., and also have a 6-year-old son, Gavin.

“The benefit originally was just for Dylan, but now it’s obviously a family benefit,” said Tracy Rhoades Frieders, who is one of the event’s organizers. “Aside from the enormous things they already had going on, having Chris in the hospital … it’s a lot.”

When Dylan was first diagnosed in July, Chris went on unpaid family medical leave from her job at a CPA office in Geneva in order to care for him.

Dylan underwent surgery to remove the tumor on his adrenal gland and then chemotherapy. Chris took him twice a week to Central DuPage Hospital, which is affiliated with Lurie Children’s Hospital, in Winfield, Ill., for his treatments.

Dylan—a happy little boy who loves superheroes and is affectionately called “Dilly”—is still remarkably active, despite the surgeries and chemotherapy, said Dave Bateman, his grandfather and a former Elburn resident.

“He’s been coping amazingly well; it hasn’t slowed him down much at all,” said Bateman, who now lives in Oregon, Ill. “He’s been a little sick (from the chemotherapy). He was tired for two or three days, and then after that, he’s back to being a typical 3 year old. He’s really doing very well. That’s part of why they call him a superhero, because he’s doing so well with the treatments.”

The car accident on Oct. 12 exacerbated the family’s already difficult situation.

As Tim Carey, Dylan’s father, was driving south on Route 23 in Waterman, Ill., with his wife and two sons in the car, another vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with the Carey’s vehicle. Both cars overturned into a field. Tim and the boys were treated for minor injuries, but Chris and the other driver were seriously injured.

Tim, who works for the city of West Chicago and is also a volunteer firefighter in Shabbona, also had to go on unpaid family medical leave in order to care for Chris, Dylan and Gavin.

“One incident is tough, but to put both of those together is just overwhelming,” Bateman said. “And I know that the support of the community has just meant the world to Chris and Tim, and after the accident, it’s just meant the world to Tim. It’s been incredible, and it needs to continue, because it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not going to be over by Christmas.”

Tim and Gavin will be spending Christmas at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital, Bateman said, to be near Dylan. Doctors are hoping that Dylan might be well enough on Christmas to spend it in a more “home-like” setting at the Ronald McDonald House with his family, but they want him to stay close to the hospital. Chris’ parents will be spending Christmas at the hospital with her.

“It’s not what you planned on, but we thank God that both Chris and Dylan are still here,” Bateman said. “In the big picture, it’s one of the things we’ve got that we are grateful for.”

Nearly a dozen friends have stepped forward to support the Careys and plan the fundraiser, Frieders said.

Older brother Gavin cut his hair short to support his younger brother, Dylan (left).   Photo by Samantha Garver
Older brother Gavin cut his hair short to support his younger brother, Dylan (left). Photo by Samantha Garver

“(Chris and Tim) would do anything for anybody,” Frieders said. “They’re always willing to help anybody in any way they can. They are people you can count on. They’re just such wonderful people, and anybody who’s met them knows that.”

The organizers are hoping that 300 people will come out on Friday night to help alleviate the family’s financial burden. Frieders said she hopes the silent auction and raffles will help raise money to help pay the Carey’s mounting medical bills.

More than 50 items will be auctioned off, including two pairs of Blackhawks tickets, two pairs of Cubs tickets, a 2014 season pass for Hughes Creek Golf Course in Elburn, a three-night stay at Galena’s Eagle Ridge Resort, $1,000 worth of automotive wet sanding and painting at County Line Customs in Maple Park, an Amazon Kindle, a round of golf for four people at Bliss Creek, a massage package from Massage Envy, a gift certificate to Mario Tricoci, a professional photography package, grass-fed beef from Herrmann Cattle Co., and several sports jerseys, gift baskets, gift certificates, home and holiday items.

Raffle items include a 42-inch flat-screen TV, an iPad Air, gift certificates, Thirty-One purses, tire balancing, and “a ton of other items,” Frieders said.

Frieders said she hopes to raise as much as $30,000 for the Carey family, who she said have been “overwhelmed” by both Dylan’s and Chris’ illnesses.

Though the Careys have health insurance, there are co-pay fees for every doctor visit and every medication. There’s co-insurance, the percentage of hospitalization costs and treatment that the family has to pay. There are travel costs from Shabbona to two different hospitals in Chicago; parking; meals out; and, of course, there’s the lost income of both Chris and Tim.

“There are just a lot of things that aren’t covered,” Bateman said. “There’s the travel, the co-pays, the incidentals, Tim taking time off of work. When you’re on family leave, you’re not paid. And he ran out of paid days a long time ago. All of those things add up, and the bills keep coming. We don’t have any idea how much of it isn’t going to be covered by insurance. So I think there’s going to be a huge need for some financial support to help the kids cross the hurdles.”

Jaime Herrmann, one of the organizers, said that she hoped the holidays would inspire people to be generous to the family.

“These are genuinely nice, kindhearted people who have an unfortunate accident with their son, and a tragic accident, and they can use the open-hearted support of people,” Herrmann said. “This time of year, people tend to be in a giving mood. I can’t think of a more deserving family.”

More information about the Carey family and the benefit can be found at Monetary donations can also be made to the “Superheroes for Dylan” account at any Castle Bank, including the Sugar Grove branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd.

WCC Auto Body Repair Program secures ‘Makeover’ grant

SUGAR GROVE—One of the state’s best auto body repair education programs soon will get even better, after Waubonsee Community College’s program became one of four nationwide to secure a $50,000 grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

The Auto Body Repair Program at Waubonsee has been selected to receive the Foundation’s 2013 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover.

The award will allow the program to install a new, modern automotive paint spray booth in which students can learn and train using state-of-the-art equipment.

The award was announced during the annual SEMA Show, held by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, Nov. 4-8 in Las Vegas.

The competitive process drew applications from more than 125 collision repair education programs from across the U.S. The top prizes of $50,000 were awarded to just four collision repair education programs.

Waubonsee will use the grant to upgrade its auto body repair facilities, adding a new paint room and a new clear-curtained auto body paint booth, a project estimated to cost more than $48,000.

Andrew MacDonald, assistant professor of Auto Body Repair at Waubonsee, said the new facilities would allow the program to grow and expand.

He noted that the new booth will particularly allow students to gain more experience at using waterborne paints, which McDonald said are more environmentally friendly and are quickly becoming an industry standard.

“We now will have the technology to take our students into the 21st Century,” MacDonald said.

Each year, students in the program receive the opportunity to learn while repairing about 80 collision-damaged vehicles supplied by local vehicle owners.

Suzette Murray, dean for Business and Career Technologies at Waubonsee, said the new equipment should be installed before the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
Murray said the grant “allows for much-needed equipment to be installed when our ordinary budget couldn’t support the purchase.”

In a letter to the Foundation in support of the Waubonsee program’s application, Rick Jarvis, vice president of Fox Valley Auto Paints in Aurora, Ill., said the Waubonsee program is already among the best at producing students whose skills are second to none, but acknowledged new equipment could help.

“New booths would help the program get to the next level of excellence,” Jarvis said.

Between Friends Food Pantry sponsors toy, book drive

by Natalie Juns

SUGAR GROVE—Many are blessed with plenty of food, the warmth and protection of a home, and an abundance of presents around the holidays for giving and receiving. But there are people in our community who are in need of help this holiday season.

Three years ago, Rachel Rockwell-Muckerheide started the Toy and Book Drive for Mutual Ground Shelter in Aurora for abused women and children. Last year, Rockwell-Muckerheide decided to establish the Toy and Book Drive as a local charity that benefits the people registered with Between Friends Food Pantry, located at 52 Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove.

The collaboration with the Between Friends Food Pantry last year was extremely successful. The Sugar Grove community collected between 3,000 to 4,000 books and toys combined, and the donations supplied gifts for over 75 children between the ages of 3 and 18. Rockwell-Muckerheide attributes most of the Toy and Book Drive’s success to the moms in the community who collect the dropped off items.

“Once the items are all dropped off, I collect the items and bring them to the Food Pantry,” Rockwell-Muckerheide said. “People who are in need are able to register with the Between Friends Food Pantry and benefit from the Toy and Book Drive. It’s great for the people who are in need, because they are able to shop for free at the food pantry before Christmas.”

The two Thursdays before Christmas, Dec. 12 and 19, are the designated days for registered persons to pick up donated presents. The Between Friends Food Pantry is open on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Pat Graceffa, a Sugar Grove resident who volunteers for the drive, commented about the success of last year’s event.

“Thanks to the kindness of this community, the Toy and Book Drive has become very successful,” she said. “I hope people join again to make this the best year yet. Rachel is to be complimented for her hard work on this project.”

Residents and community members will be able to drop off their donations Dec. 2-9 at one of the specified drop off locations. If you are interested in contributing a donation, you can contact Rachel Rockwell at

The Toy and Book Drive is in need of items for both girls and boys, ages 3 to 18, but it currently has a shortage of items for boys. However, community members are encouraged to donate the gifts they have in mind, whether it be for a girl, boy or gender neutral.

Graceffa appointed to SG Library Board

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on Nov. 14 appointed its newest board member: Pat Graceffa, a dedicated Sugar Grove Library Friend and longtime village resident who was a write-in candidate for a Library Board seat last April.

The board opening was made possible by Library Board member Ed DeBartolo’s move to Florida. After being granted permission by the library attorney, the current board members of the Library asked Graceffa if she would like to join the board, to which she graciously accepted their offer.

“I of course said ‘absolutely’ to their request to have me as a board member,” Graceffa said. “I have been a lifelong library supporter, and I have been involved in the Sugar Grove Library Friends since I moved here 13 years ago.”

Graceffa will be sworn in as an official board member at the Library Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. After being sworn in, she will begin her duties as a board member by taking the required state test that all new board members take, completing an orientation with the Sugar Grove Library Director, and joining one of the several committees offered.

Graceffa said she is looking forward to her duties as a board member and helping with the work and plans for some of the board’s long-range projects.

“I am thrilled with my appointment to the Sugar Grove Library Board, and I promise the Library District residents that I will work hard for all of them,” she said. “The library is going in the right direction now, and we have some new board members who have brought extraordinary skills to the table.”

Graceffa said she is also dedicated to understanding the needs of the residents in regard to the selection of books and programs from the Sugar Grove Library.

“I thank our library patrons, and look forward to continuing to make sure that our library possesses the finest staff, best and most current collection, along with terrific library programs,” Graceffa said.


SG board discusses potential turnabout

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the possibility of placing a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane.

Tim Sjogren from TADI, Inc., and Tony Simmons from HR Green, were available to answer questions from the board. The tentative plans would cut off an existing part of Granart Road and veer the road south, meeting up with Bucktail Lane and US Route 30 to create a four-way intersection.

The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity. (click for larger image)
The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity.

Village President Sean Michels explained the reasoning behind the tentative plans for the turnabout.

“IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) is funding this plan for a turnabout because they believe that pulling the intersection to the south will make it safer to cross the train tracks,” he said. “They are considering a turnabout that would basically be a four-way intersection that wouldn’t stop. If there was a stop light there, drivers would potentially have to wait for the light to cycle three times in order to go through.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto commented about the unfamiliarity that the community has with turnabouts and how that could negatively affect drivers and traffic flow.

“Because turnabouts are so foreign, you could run the risk of someone coming down this road during the night in a snow storm, and they might run into a tree if they don’t know the roundabout is there,” Montalto said. “Plus, Dugan is a dark road.”

Public Works Director Anthony Speciale weighed in on the potential lighting issue.

“Currently, lighting is not in the budget, and the roundabout doesn’t require lighting,” he said.

Sjogren explained some of the benefits of putting in a roundabout rather than a stop light.

“Traditionally, you would signalize this intersection, but the rest of the day, people will have to stop if we put in a stop light,” he said. “With a roundabout, drivers won’t have to stop during an off peak. Also, accident rates plummet after the initial installment period. The reduced speeds in a roundabout help decrease accident severity and accidents in general.”

Residents interested in discussing the roundabout can attend an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Library, 125 Municipal Drive.


Photos: Toys, holiday cheer

Emily Kay Salon in Sugar Grove held its annual Holiday Open House and Toys For Tots Benefit Friday evening. The salon handed out goodie bags to the first 20 guests, held raffle drawings, offered refreshments and sampling of PRP wines. Emily Strong (right), owner of Emily Kay Salon, is a resident of Elburn. The Toys For Tots collection box at the salon is completely full of gift items for the 2013 Christmas season. If you are interested in donating, contact the salon at (630) 466-8600.

Fox Valley Labor News owner named WCC Featured Alumna

SUGAR GROVE—If there’s one thing Waubonsee Community College alumna Jennifer Rice has learned, it’s that things have a funny way of working out.

While taking a nine-year hiatus from journalism to work as a forklift operator was not Rice’s original plan, it was just the experience she needed to excel in her current role—owner and managing editor of The Fox Valley Labor News. Because of her hard work and persistence, Waubonsee is proud to honor Rice as its Featured Alumna for October.

Rice, currently a Romeoville, Ill., resident, was interested in journalism from an early age. She was on the school newspaper at West Aurora High School and wanted to attend Columbia College upon her graduation in 1990. However, she was working two jobs to support herself and so chose Waubonsee and its more
affordable tuition.

Once there, she continued her school newspaper career, earning a position as the arts and entertainment editor for “Insight,” Waubonsee’s student paper. Rice remembers the paper’s advisor and journalism instructor, Shirley Borel.

“Two nights a week, we’d be doing paste-up until 2 or 3 a.m.,” Rice said. “She usually stuck it out with us. She rarely went home.”

Rice also remembered how her high school clubs never seemed to get much coverage, and she was determined to change that.

“When you used to have to do paste-up by hand on a light table, there always seemed to be a 2-inch-by-2-inch space where nothing could really fit,” Rice said. “I tried to fill those spaces with as many club briefs as I could.”

In 1993, with her associate degree in hand, Rice could now follow her dream of going to Columbia College. She attended classes there for a while, but with the commute downtown, she was only taking one course at a time, and it was just taking too long to finish. Rice decided to wrap up her undergraduate days at Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism in 1997.

Her first job in journalism was as a reporter for the Ottawa Daily Times, covering “cops and courts.”

“There was definitely a learning curve to understanding things like motions or continuations,” Rice said. “But the other things I had learned at Waubonsee—the late hours, the basics of asking people questions.”

Rice became skilled at the court beat during the three years she covered it. But in 2001, the Daily Times absorbed another paper in Streator, and rather than shift to general assignment reporting, Rice decided to look for a different opportunity.

Unfortunately, opportunities in journalism seemed hard to come by, and so to pay her bills, Rice took a job as a forklift operator at a local distribution center. It wasn’t a job she enjoyed, but it did offer her the flexible hours she needed while taking care of her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was her mother’s death that ultimately gave Rice the encouragement she needed to continue to follow her dream. Around this time, Rice had been toying with the idea of going back to school for graphic design, but she didn’t have the money to buy a new Mac computer, especially when her PC was working just fine. Just as she was printing the last of the programs she had designed for her mother’s funeral services, her PC screen went blank; her computer was busted.

Taking that as the go-ahead sign from her mother, Rice soon bought a Mac loaded with graphic design software and enrolled at Waubonsee for the second time in her life.

“I was like a deer in the headlights at first,” Rice said. “Everyone else was so fast on the computer.”

Eventually, Rice started picking it up, and to this day, the words of Associate Professor of Graphic Design John Fu stick with her.

“I can still hear him say, ‘That’s too tight, that’s too busy,’” Rice said.

Rice was hoping to be busy in a new career after graduating with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in graphic design in 2009.

“I could now write and design, so I had an extra tool in my bag,” Rice said.

Ultimately, it was her ability to write that landed her a job as a freelance reporter at The Fox Valley Labor News in 2010. While she quickly became the publication’s only full-time reporter, the job wasn’t without its challenges.

“It was somewhat difficult, especially as a woman, to see the (inflatable) rat somewhere, walk up to the group of laborers and start talking,” Rice said. “Since unions are spread all over, some of them haven’t heard of the Labor News, but once I explain how I drove a forklift for nine years and have been in their shoes, it breaks the ice.”

Rice had worked her way up to managing editor when the paper’s owner/publisher Ed Richardson passed away this past January. When his family offered to sell her the paper, Rice had to decide between being a business owner or possibly being out of a job.

“I talked to my husband, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Rice said. “Our mantra became ‘go big or go home.’”

The July 4 issue was Rice’s first as the paper’s owner, and so far she’s enjoying the freedom of being an entrepreneur.

“It’s so crazy how everything happens,” Rice said. “Sometimes I just have to stop and think about the fact that I’m a business owner and I have all the skills to do it.”


Holiday spirit arrives in Sugar Grove

PHOTOS: Holiday In The Grove’s third annual lighting of the tree was held Saturday morning at the Sugar Grove Community Center. The Sugar Grove Fire Department chauffeured Santa Claus to do the honors in lighting this year’s tree. Santa posed for photos and guests enjoyed variety of Dave’s Coffee Cakes, coffee, orange juice and hot chocolate. Children decorated ornaments, which they hung on the tree. Photo by Lynn Logan

SUGAR GROVE—Kids, parents, grandparents, community members and even pets gathered around an extensively decorated Christmas tree on Saturday morning at the Sugar Grove Community House for Holiday in the Grove’s third annual Tree Lighting ceremony.

Although the tree was small in stature, the spirit of everyone in attendance was tremendous.

Holiday in the Grove board members wasted no time in delivering a dose of holiday spirit to the community. The board’s hard work and dedication was evident during the event, when individuals from the Sugar Grove area warmly welcomed the Tree Lighting gala.

“Our tree that we had last year died, but the Spring Bluff Nursery in Sugar Grove donated the tree that we have for the lighting this year,” said Diana Baker, president of Holiday in the Grove. “Also, Kelly Zablocki, a school bus driver for McDole Elementary School, designed the sign that we have on display, and it will be used the day of the event for Holiday in the Grove.”

Kids and pets had their picture snapped beside the tree as they waited for the lighting to commence that morning.

Sugar Grove Library Board trustee Art Morrical, along with his wife, Rogene, and their Labrador, Cody, participated in the festivities.

“We like to come out and support them at the Tree Lighting, and we also volunteer with them for Holiday in the Grove. Our dog, Cody, is very sociable and loves to be around everyone too,” said Art, who is also a volunteer for Holiday in the Grove.

Before the lighting ceremony, Cody walked up to the tree and posed for his owners for several pictures as if he was accustomed to being at photo shoots.

“He’s (Cody) getting older, and we like to make an effort to take his picture a lot. He’s used to posing,” Art said.

Everyone’s attention was drawn to the fire truck honking as Santa was dropped off at the Community House. He was a big hit among the youngsters in attendance as they showered him with hugs, doled out high-fives, and posed with him beside the tree for a picture.

“The (Sugar Grove) Fire Department always drops off Santa for the Tree Lighting. They’re involved each year, and they also help with Holiday in the Grove,” said Joy Rubo, who is a Holiday in the Grove board member.
After the lighting of the tree, kids and their parents and grandparents went inside the Community House for crafts and refreshments. Dave’s Coffee Cake and hot chocolate and juice were available for anyone interested.

“We wanted to have a sampling of Dave’s Coffee Cake today, because we are thinking of having it available at Holiday in the Grove as a fundraiser the day of the event,” Baker said.

There was also a table set up for kids to decorate ornaments with a variety of holiday themed stickers. After decorating, kids excitedly ran outside to hang them on the tree lighting evergreen. Sugar Grove village trustee Sean Herron participated and helped out with the tree lighting event with his infant son, Declan.

“I’m volunteering this year with Holiday in the Grove, and I want to help out as much as possible,” Herron said.

Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Sugar Grove Community House, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School and Sugar Grove Public Library.


Kylie Siebert named to CCIW all-conference team

ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—Augustana sophomore Kylie Siebert, a Sugar Grove native and Kaneland graduate, was recently named to the all-conference volleyball team in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. Siebert, a 5-foot-5 libero, was the lone representative for the Vikings.

She led the team this year in digs with 567 in 107 games played for an average of 5.30 per game. Her average of 5.30 digs per game is the fourth highest single season mark in school history. She also had 28 service aces and 109 setting assists as she helped the Vikings record a 16-15 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the CCIW. It was the second-consecutive winning record for Augustana, which went 20-11 a year ago.

Siebert led the CCIW in digs this past fall with 125 in 21 league matches for a 5.95 average. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the Viking Classic.

A year ago, as a freshman, she was named “Freshman of the Year” for the Vikings when she played in 107 games and had a team-high 475 digs (4.44 average) with 39 service aces and 79 setting assists. So far in her career, she has played in 214 games with 1,042 digs, which is 11th on the Augustana all-time list. She has 188 setting assists and 67 service aces.

Kylie, a business and accounting major, is the daughter of Dawn and Trent Siebert of Sugar Grove.

Levy increase?

SG Village Board announces proposed 2013 Property Tax Levy
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday announced the village’s proposed 2013 Property Tax Levy.

Village President Sean Michels said that the village is considering raising the tax levy 2.4 percent for real estate taxes in 2013. The estimated property taxes are $1,518,162 for 2013, which is $35,461 (or 2.4 percent) above the 2012 extension amount of $1,482,701.

There were different opinions expressed by Village Board members about the proposed increase in property taxes for this year.

“I would hate to have a situation where residents are getting taxed out of their homes. I would like to find out how we could remain flat (and not increase taxes) and give the taxpayer a break,” village trustee Kevin Geary said.

Other board members discussed the potential disadvantages of not approving the proposed levy on property taxes.

“It’s a double-edged sword. If you keep it flat, you won’t have the funds for certain things. You would have to cut some services to the community,” village trustee Rick Montalto said.

Geary brought up another potential disadvantage to increasing property taxes for residents.

“The real estate tax could be as much as the principal on a house if we keep compounding. If we try to remain flat, it will force us to be more creative,” he said. “It will make us think very carefully about our budget. I would really like for us to take the lead and think about keeping the tax flat this year.”

A public hearing regarding the 2013 Property Tax Levy will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Village Hall, 10 S. Municipal Drive. The Sugar Grove Village Board is scheduled to vote on the tax levy on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Sugar Grove conducting hotel feasibility study

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Community Development Director Richard Young and Village President Sean Michels announced on Tuesday that they are in the process of implementing a hotel feasibility study. They said they are looking to share the cost of the study with the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Young explained that the cost of the study for the Village Board would be $3,600, but the village is reaching out to different sources for funding. Michels commented on the community’s need for a hotel.

“Based on the citizen survey, we need to conduct the study and bring a hotel here. I would really like to get this going before we get too close to the holidays,” he said.

The Village Board has a consulting firm in mind, HVS International, which possesses expertise in hotel management and assessment and is ready to provide guidance and different services for their study. Young is in the process of going back to the EDC board to find additional funds for the village’s expenses for the study.

Waubonsee history professor named Faculty Association Instructor of the Year

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College Assistant Professor of History Dr. Amy Powers, a DeKalb resident, was honored as the Illinois Community College Faculty Association (ICCFA) Instructor of the Year at the group’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference on Oct. 11.

“I’m really honored, especially since it came from my colleagues,” Powers said. “It means a lot to me personally and professionally.”

All full- and part-time faculty in the Illinois community college system can nominate candidates for the award. Powers, who has been a member of Waubonsee’s full-time faculty since 2003, was nominated by Associate Professor of History Dr. Timothy Draper and Associate Professor of Sociology Kathy Westman.

“Teaching is about relationships and the interaction with and feedback given to students,” said Dr. Bill Marzano, Waubonsee’s dean for Social Sciences, Education and World Languages. “Based on student evaluations, Dr. Powers consistently excels in those areas.”

Outside of the classroom, Powers co-advises the college’s new History Club with her colleague Draper. The two are also among the 24 educators currently participating in “American History, Atlantic and Pacific,” an American Historical Association project designed to teach U.S. history in a more global context.


A new addition to SG Library

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry held a ribbon cutting and plaque presentation event for Mike and Vicki Morkert of Java Plus at The Book Nook, located in the Sugar Grove Public Library. The Morkerts are residents of Aurora. Java Plus has been an independent coffee shop for the past 7 years. Java Plus is holding a sampling of their coffee and tea this evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Proposed Ace Hardware location scheduled to open in SG next spring

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the proposed Ace Hardware store that will be located on the corner of Capitol Road and Galena Road. The store will feature an outdoor selling area for seasonal items, an indoor shop, a 2,000-square-foot shop designated for selling premium cat, dog and bird food, and a 1,000 gallon propane tank for filling grills.

Village Planner Michael Ferencak, and Mark Driscoll, president and CEO at DriBar Ace, LLC, were in attendance to answer questions. Driscoll discussed their plans to open the store and details about the landscaping of the property.

“I am still hoping for a spring opening. We should have the financing in place by Nov. 5,” he said. “As far as landscaping, we would also like to have shrubs in portable planters in front of the building. For the front of the store, my intention is to have it designated as a seasonal spot. For instance, we could sell mums in the fall and replace them with Christmas trees in the holiday season.”

Village Board members expressed opinions about the landscape for the outdoor area.

“As far as planters, I support the planter idea. Maybe, we can soften the building landscape by planting trees in the islands in the parking lot. This would help the customer feel a warm feeling and save the business owner some money,” village trustee Kevin Geary said.

Driscoll expressed excitement over the location’s ability to feature select pet food.

“There is a fantastic opportunity to sell premium pet food in this area,” he said. “Right now, residents have to drive to the nearest Petco or PetSmart located on Randall Road or Orchard Road to purchase premium pet food.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto suggested an idea for the Ace Hardware location.

“You should make it a one-stop shop and include grooming, as well,” he said.

Village Board President Sean Michels verbalized his overall happiness about having an Ace Hardware store in the village.

“The plans for the store look very good,” he said. “We do want great commercial stores in our community.”

EEI adds project manager to its transportation group

SUGAR GROVE—Engineering Enterprises, Inc. announces the addition of David C. Johanson, P.E., PTOE to its Transportation Group as a project manager.

Johanson brings over 15 years of professional experience in the management and design of local, state and federally funded phase I and II municipal, county, and state transportation projects, including traffic impact studies, intersection design studies, traffic signal design, road widening and resurfacing, full reconstruction and traffic planning studies. Projects included interconnect modifications and installation; street and ornamental lighting; bicycle paths; pedestrian/bicycle underpasses and retaining wall/sight screens; and ornamental landscaping.

Johanson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Illinois. In addition to his Professional Engineer licensure he also holds his certificate as a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer (PTOE), which makes him one out of 141 in the state of Illinois that hold this designation.

For additional information, visit

Waubonsee-featured students help plan campus technology

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College works hard to listen to the voices of its students, and so it is fairly common to find student representatives serving on college-wide committees. But there is nothing common about the two students currently serving on the Strategic Technology Advisory Committee (STAC).

At just 19 years old, Andrew Baron of Oswego and Devin Nelson of Aurora, have brought an impressive level of enthusiasm and expertise to the group, and so the college is proud to honor them as Featured Students for September.

STAC is a 20-member committee charged with giving advice and input in regard to the college’s Technology Strategic Support Plan, technology standards and emerging technologies. When it was time to recruit students, team member and Information Systems Instructor Tim Moriarty walked over to a nearby meeting of the Mathematical-Engineering Club and asked for volunteers. Answering the call were Baron and Nelson, past students of Moriarty’s.

“As the two students who are part of the STAC, they have presented themselves quite well and have vocalized the students’ perspective when it comes to technology initiatives at the college,” Moriarty said. “They are a credit to Waubonsee and have bright futures ahead of them.”

Baron’s future is already shaping up a bit differently than he had originally planned. Home-schooled his entire life, Baron began taking dual credit courses from Waubonsee in fall 2010. His first course was criminal justice, because he intended to pursue a career in computer forensics. However, after a counselor told him computer science may be a better entry into the field, Baron took Introduction to Programming with Moriarty and found a new passion.

“I just really enjoy the logic behind programming,” Baron said. “I can’t write code that quickly yet, but I am very organized and particular about my code structure.”

And while Baron has been impressed with some of the particulars of the STAC, including the campus’ data warehouse project, he values the general characteristics even more.

“Just getting a sense of the general business environment and decision making—that experience has been priceless,” Baron said.

Also priceless are some of the instructors Baron has had along the way, including Associate Professor of Mathematics Mark Crawford.

“He has us learn a concept first and then do problems later,” Baron said. “You really have to think, but if you’re willing, you learn so much more.”

After graduating from Waubonsee this semester, Baron plans to learn more at Northern Illinois University, where he’ll study enterprise software development. If his schedule allows it, he plans to continue serving on Waubonsee’s STAC.

Fellow STAC student representative Devin Nelson has always been interested in technology. As a student at West Aurora High School, he built computers to maximize his gaming experiences and eventually took a C++ programming class his senior year.

Having earned Waubonsee’s prestigious Gustafson Scholarship, Nelson started at the college last fall and quickly expanded his programming skills, taking advanced C++ and Java.

“Waubonsee’s teachers are very committed,” Nelson said. “Some of my friends went away to school and just weren’t getting that intimate experience with their instructors. Here teachers are in it for the passion.”

Of course, experience can be the best teacher, and Nelson is getting a lot of that while working at a local technical support company that fields calls for a variety of products and services, including Motel 6’s WiFi and Archos tablets. The company also provides user support for some interactive whiteboard products, making Nelson a valuable contributor during the STAC’s recent discussion about that teaching/learning technology.

But while Nelson has contributed his knowledge to Waubonsee’s technology efforts, he has also learned something too.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know the inner workings of technology on campus,” Nelson said. “I’ve been impressed with the number of people involved, the new projects and the stuff getting done.”

Nelson plans to graduate this spring and then move on to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to study some form of engineering.

“Both Devin and Andrew exemplify what I consider to be a great student,” Crawford said. “They are enthusiastic about their studies, insightful, and both of them have persevered through some difficult challenges. I wish them both a successful future.”

At this point, successful futures for both Baron and Nelson seem less like a wish and more like a guarantee.

SG man dies from self-inflicted gun shot wound

KANE COUNTY—A Sugar Grove man last week died as a result of injuries sustained from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Chad Marchigiani, 25, was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the head on the morning of Sept. 26 in the Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, just northwest of the preserve’s parking lot. The weapon used was found laying near Marchigiani.

Marchigiani was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where he was later pronounced deceased.

SGVB declares ‘Kindness in Kaneland Week’

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday designated the week of Oct. 13-20 as Kindness in Kaneland Week to coincide the Kaneland area’s Kindness Campaign 2013.

The Kindness Campaign is supported by Knights Against Bullying and Peak for Kids, Inc. Both groups support the promoting of kind acts and deeds throughout the community as a powerful way to bring the community together.

Kindness in Kaneland Week will feature events and community interactions that celebrate acts of kindness. Leigh Ann Reusche, director of Kindness Campaign, explained the core values of the campaign and their thought process with developing the purpose of it.

“We all have the same goals for our kids. We all want them to be responsible adults, and we wanted to do something to bring our whole community together,” she said. “One thing that could bring us all together is kindness. We felt kindness was a basis that schools could grow from as well,” she said.

A number of various families and organizations are getting involved with the Kindness campaign and finding ways to collaborate with the supporters all in an effort to promote kindness. The campaign plans to spread their ideas for different acts of kindness throughout the community via newspapers, social media and community mailings.

Reusche said that the campaign was a big hit in the community among many organizations since they established it in the spring of 2013.

“Every day that passed, more and more people came and wanted to participate. Food pantries, churches, families and fire departments came. Connections are being made within these organizations,” she said.

The supporters of the campaign hope that their efforts to spread the word about kind acts within the community will help to promote more positive interactions throughout schools, homes and places of business.

Village President Sean Michels validated the cause of the campaign while declaring the Kindness in Kaneland week.

“Thirty percent of kids are involved in bullying each year, either by being bullied or bullying other kids,” he said. “One simple act of kindness can change this and build positive attitudes and communities.”