Category Archives: Sugar Grove

SG crime rate down 30 percent in 2012

SUGAR GROVE—Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) submitted to the FBI by Sugar Grove Police reveal a significant reduction in crime in 2012.

The FBI collects UCR data from over 17,000 law enforcement agencies in order to study and monitor crime trends. Of the eight designated Part I Crimes that make up the UCR, Sugar Grove saw the greatest reduction in theft, trending down from 56 cases in 2011 to 35 cases in 2012.

SG Police receive DUI enforcement grant

SUGAR GROVE—The Kane County DUI Task Force on Feb. 14 awarded the Sugar Grove Police Department $8,200 for DUI enforcement. This funding will be used to pay officers on special DUI patrols scheduled at dates and times when the village experiences a greater likelihood of impaired drivers on the roadways. The special enforcement dates include, but may not be limited to the following:

• NCAA Basketball Championship
(Final Four)
• Independence Day (4th of July)
• Labor Day
• Thanksgiving eve
• New Year’s Eve
• Super Bowl Sunday
• St. Patrick’s Day

These DUI patrols may not have been possible without the assistance of the Kane County DUI Task Force.

“With over 32 percent of traffic accidents that involve fatalities, it was found that the offending driver was impaired, (so) it is vital that our officers remove and deter intoxicated motorists,” Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels said. “Therefore this funding assists our officers in completing this important goal.”

Laurene Geary to run for SG Township Board as write-in candidate

by Elizabeth Rago
SUGAR GROVE—At a young age, Laurene Geary learned from her parents the importance of giving back to your community.

A resident of the Sugar Grove community since 1996, Laurene is rather familiar with area politics, and that’s a big reason why she’s running for Sugar Grove Township Board as a write-in candidate. Her husband, Village Board trustee Kevin Geary, has provided a considerable amount of inspiration.

“Kevin always gives 110 percent to everything he does, be it family, being a trustee and being a friend,” Laurene said. “I couldn’t let him have all the fun.”

With two open vacancies on the SG Township Board, Laurene felt compelled to step in. Due to the combination of being immersed in the community by positive exposure from her husband, and the fact that her parents raised her to give back and participate within the area in which she lives, it was only natural that Laurene have the urge to fill one of the vacancies.

“My parents raised us to be proud of the work you do and community you live in,” Laurene said. “I love being involved with the residents, from working at the Sugar Grove Library to being involved with Holiday in the Grove.”

In the role of township trustee, Laurene sees her service and support of area seniors and the Senior Center to be of the upmost importance. Located at 54 Snow St., the Senior Center offers information about adult-oriented recreational opportunities, and allows residents to receive social service assistance. Seniors regularly enjoy fellowship in the form of cards, board games, bingo, fitness activities and crafts.

Believing in smaller, more effective government, Laurene wants to create a Share-A-Ride or a possible Pace transportation for residents around town, and sees the role of township trustee as being part of a team, just as the township residents are part of the team.

Listening to township residents and being readily available to inquire about services or address concerns about the township, Laurene hopes to make Sugar Grove village offices more available to those they serve.

“This role of being a Sugar Grove Township trustee will be another way for me to be involved with the wonderful residents who like to give their time to the community,” she said. “I especially love serving the town and the township by participating in annual events like the Sugar Grove Corn Boil and Holiday in the Grove.”

Coyote sightings in Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE—Coyotes have been seen in the Sugar Grove area. More sightings are reported at this time of the year because coyotes typically mate in February or early spring. During mating season, coyotes—especially males—may be more visible. Coyotes generally are seen at night; however, they can also be seen at daytime during the summer months.

While some may enjoy the chance to see wildlife, most people would prefer that this type of wildlife remain in the wild and not in their neighborhoods. To help keep your neighborhood wildlife-free, the best thing you can do is to take precautions and not encourage coyotes and other wildlife to come near your home.

A coyote’s diet consists mainly of small rodents, deer, rabbits and fruit. However, they will take advantage of other available food sources. They can be attracted to garbage and pet food. Coyotes can also be attracted to birdfeeders because the birdfeeders attract rodents and squirrels. Coyotes may attack outdoor domestic cats for food or because they are viewed as a competing predator. It is less common for coyotes to attack small dogs or medium- to large-sized dogs. Dogs are usually attacked when they are not accompanied by people. Attacks on larger dogs may occur during mating season, which usually occurs in February through April.

Take precautions to help keep coyotes at in the wild and out your neighborhood:
• Don’t feed any wild animals such as raccoons or deer, as this encourages coyotes, too.
• Don’t leave food outside for stray animals.
• Keep cats and small dogs in the house, or always accompany them when they are outside.
• When walking your pets, keep them on a leash.
• Secure your garbage
• Keep your yard clear of debris and brush

While some residents may call for the removal of all coyotes in the area, research has shown that once coyotes are removed, others quickly replace them.

However, if there is a nuisance coyote on your property that you would like removed, the following individuals are licensed through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to provide residential trapping/removal services for coyotes:
• Brad Lundsteen – Suburban Wildlife Control, (630) 443-4500
• Gary Zirves – Illinois Wildlife Control, (815) 337-2719

Note that trapping and removing a coyote is illegal in Illinois without the proper permits. A property owner or tenant must obtain a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit to trap and remove most species of wildlife.

Sugar Grove Presidential Candidates debate

P. Sean Michels – Sugar Grove Village President
Kevin Geary – Sugar Grove Village Trustee

Moderated by Keith Beebe, Editor of the Elburn Herald
Filmed Wednesday, February 13 at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center

The Elburn Herald on Feb. 13 hosted a Sugar Grove village presidential debate between the incumbent, Sean Michels, and his challenger, village trustee Kevin Geary.

Both participants met at the Herald’s new location, 525 N. Main St., in Elburn, and proceeded to spend the next 40 minutes debating topics such as government transparency, village growth and business, video gambling, the Mallard Point/Rolling Oaks drainage issue, and the possibility of re-entering an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District.

The Herald hosted the debate as a way to kick off its role as co-sponsors in this year’s Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates Night, which will take place on Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Community House, 141 Main St.

The debate between Michels and Geary was video recorded as a way to provide Sugar Grove residents with a fair and quality look at the two village president candidates in action. The entire video will be available on our website,, beginning Friday.

Michels has served as village president since 1999, the same year Geary first took office as village trustee.

Debate Rules and Opening Statements

Question 1:

“Village trustee Geary has said that his campaign is based on the platform of offering open and honest government in order to be accountable to the people served by that body, creating a business-friendly climate within the village. What is the current business climate in the village, and what would you do to improve it? Also, define the current state of growth in Sugar Grove.”

Question 2:

“Define your interpretation of local government transparency. Do you believe Sugar Grove has maintained a consistent and thorough level of transparency. If not, what needs to happen for the village to reach and maintain a higher level of transparency?”

Question 3:

“The Village Board in 2011 chose to not renew its intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District. What was your stance toward the Kaneland IGA at that time, and what would it take for you to consider re-entering an IGA with the School District?”

Question 4:

“You have suggested in the past that the money for the Route 47/I-88 interchange project go toward the improvement of the cloverleaf at the intersection of Routes 47 and 56. Do you still believe the cloverleaf improvement should take precedent over the initial interchange project? If so, why?”

Question 5:

“Why should the village of Sugar Grove allow video gambling?”

Question 6:

“Village trustee Geary, you have been an outspoken critic of the drainage issue in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions. Do you believe the Village Board acted swiftly and accordingly in its attempt to work with Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2 and solve the drainage issue? What would you have done differently?”

Closing Statements:

Full Video (39:44)

Village Board reviews Pace vanpool program

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday witnessed a short presentation from Mary Robb, Community Relations representative for Pace, regarding the availability of Pace’s Vanpool Incentive Program in Kane County and the surrounding counties, as well.

The Vanpool allows several people who are headed to the same destination to share a Pace van or car and split the cost of the commute.

“(The vanpooling service) is available in six counties in Illinois: Kane, Will, Cook, Dupage, Lake, and McHenry,” Robb said. “You can work or live in any of the six counties. It’s strictly for employees to get to work.”

According to a brochure handed out by Robb during the board meeting, the vanpool service consists of passengers and voluntary drivers paying a flat monthly rate of $58 in addition to a security deposit from the primary driver and the passengers. The flat monthly rate covers fuel, maintenance, insurance, tolls, roadside assistance and van washes.

In return, the driver receives a fuel credit card, maintenance credit card, reimbursement for weekly van washes, and an I-PASS transponder for routes where it is required.

The vans are also wheelchair accessible. More information about where rides are currently available, how to sign-up, and what other benefits are available can be found at:, and

SG Police invest in new fleet vehicles

by Elizabeth Rago
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Police Department recently invested in its mission, “To affirmatively promote a feeling of security and safety for every member of our community,” with the addition of three Ford Interceptors, a vehicle specifically designed for law enforcement professionals. The purposeful features included in the new vehicles promote an extra element of safety for the 21-officer force and the Sugar Grove community.

The 2013 Ford sedan model features a 3.5L V6 engine, as well as braking and suspension systems created specifically to perform with advanced control under the daily stress law enforcement vehicles typically undergo.

Sugar Grove Police Sgt. Tom Barna has been pleased with the operation of the vehicles thus far, especially on the windswept highways of Sugar Grove. A self-activating system built within the Interceptor evenly distributes torque, allowing the car to anticipate inclement conditions, providing traction before the wheels of the vehicle start to slip.

“The all-wheel drive of the Interceptor handles well in the winter weather we have recently experienced, compared to the slipping that we experienced in our other vehicles,” Barna said.

Keeping officers safe when responding to calls in situations with dangerous road conditions is just one of the 2013 Ford Interceptor’s strengths. Offering stability, protection and efficiency in several capacities, including Level III ballistic front-door panels, police-tuned suspension and a high-volume cooling system, the Interceptor boasts all heavy-duty components and a focus on driver control, comfort and capability.

Protecting officers and investing in quality equipment goes hand in hand with Sugar Grove’s mission to provide a safe, comfortable environment for its citizens. The 2013 Ford Interceptor will reinforce that mission statement

The Sugar Grove Police Department recently took delivery of three Ford Police Interceptors . 	            Photos by Patti Wilk
The Sugar Grove Police Department recently took delivery of three Ford Police Interceptors . Photos by Patti Wilk
Sgt. Tom Barna and Sgt. Gary Fineli took time out to get the cars ready to be photographed. The interior driver's side is loaded with on-board video surveillance and computer and radio systems.
Sgt. Tom Barna and Sgt. Gary Fineli took time out to get the cars ready to be photographed. The interior driver’s side is loaded with on-board video surveillance and computer and radio systems.
The on-board rifle mount is located over the right shoulder of the driving officer and is securely mounted.
The on-board rifle mount is located over the right shoulder of the driving officer and is securely mounted.

‘Meet the Candidates Night’ for Sugar Grove elections

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Elburn Herald invite the community to the “Meet the Candidates Night” on Tuesday, March 12 at the Sugar Grove Community House, 141 Main Street, Sugar Grove. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Individuals seeking office with the Village of Sugar Grove, the Township of Sugar Grove, the Sugar Grove Public Library, the Kaneland School Board, the Sugar Grove Fire District, the Sugar Grove Park District, and the Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees will all be invited to attend the event and will have a chance to introduce themselves. Candidates for the Village President, the Village Board, and the Township Supervisor races will also participate in a special Q & A time. Before the event, community members will be able to submit questions for the candidates that might be used during the Q & A, with the understanding that time for questions will be limited.

Admission to the event is free. Community members will have an opportunity after the event to meet and speak with candidates. Candidates will be allowed to display and distribute political materials.

This event is being held prior to early voting so that everyone will have the opportunity to hear from candidates before casting ballots. The early voting runs March 25 through April 6, with April 9 being Election Day.

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry has at its focus the Sugar Grove business community. With the interests of its members and community in mind, the Chamber has hosted the “Meet the Candidates Night” for over 20 years, and is pleased to welcome the Elburn Herald as a co-sponsor this year.

For more information on this event, please contact Shari at (630) 466-7895.

Photo: Winter tan

Couture Tan in Sugar Grove opened in December 2012. On Thursday, they held a ribbon cutting and customer appreciation day at the new business on Route 47. There were beverages, appetizers and special incentives to sign up for tanning. Guests included Rick Montalto Sugar Grove village trustee (left to right), Nick and Amanda Carico, owners, Anna Hoffman, manager, Carly McCue, associate, P. Sean Michels, Sugar Grove village president, Rich Young, Sugar Grove Community Development director, and Steve Ekker, Sugar Grove Chamber. Photo by Patti Wilk

LPGA returns to Sugar Grove

Rich Harvest Farms to host 2016 LPGA International Crown event
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove resident and businessman Jerry Rich will soon take it up a notch for those who enjoyed the excitement of the Solheim Cup in 2009.

Rich’s private golf course, Rich Harvest Farms, will host the newly created International Crown in 2016. The event is a global Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournament that will feature not just the best female golfers from the United States and Europe, but from Asia and other countries around the world.

“At the Solheim Cup we had the largest event (the LPGA) ever had,” Rich said. “We had 120,000 people in Chicago—the greatest golf city in the world. Maybe this (new) event won’t approach the Ryder Cup that we just had at Medinah, but it will be huge.”

The International Crown is a match play tournament that will begin next year. The tourney will feature teams from eight countries competing for the crown that will signify the world’s best golf nation. Each of the eight countries will be represented by four players.

The four-day tournament will net the winners a total purse of $1.6 million, $100,000 of which will go to each member of the winning team.

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels said that convincing the LPGA to hold the international tournament in Sugar Grove was due in large part to how successful the Solheim Cup had been.

Michels said Rich didn’t waste any time beginning the conversation with the LPGA. The day after the Solheim Cup was over, Rich was already talking with LPGA representatives about the possibility of hosting another LPGA event.

When Michael Whan became LPGA Commissioner in 2010, Rich brought him to Chicago.

“I told him, ‘We’ve got to do something special,’” Rich said. “The greatest players aren’t just from America. They’re from Asia and around the world.”

If teams for the International Crown were selected according to the current Rolex Rankings, South Korea, U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and England would battle for the inaugural title next year.

“The International Crown will take women’s golf to the next level and allow fans to rally behind their homelands,” Whan said. “This is the first time we’ll pit country versus country for global bragging rights. In sports, there is simply nothing greater than wearing your nation’s flag, fans singing your national anthem, and bringing the crown home.”

Top-ranked American professional golfer Stacy Lewis agrees with Whan’s sentiment.

“Representing your country is the ultimate thing,” she said. “Getting announced on the first tee when you are representing the USA, it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s a goal of mine to be in the event.”

Rich Harvest Farms, owned and co-built by Rich, is a private, members-only club consistently ranked on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The 18-hold course has been described as a 1,820-acre showcase of nature and agriculture.

“With the experience we garnered from the Solheim Cup, we’ll be able to make the 2016 event even bigger and better,” Michels said. “It’s great for Sugar Grove and it’s great for the region. We will be working with the Aurora Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to ensure that local businesses benefit.”

The inaugural tournament will debut in July 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., located just outside of Baltimore.

Sugar Grove Historical Society February meeting

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Historical Society’s February meeting will take place Monday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Bliss House, 259 Main. St.

The featured program will be “Veterans Park,” presented by Cliff Barker.

Bliss House is open every Tuesday, 1 to 4 p.m. “Sin-Qua-Sip: History of Sugar Grove Township” is available at the house for $24.

Michels kicks off re-election bid with fundraiser

Photo: A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean.
Photo by Patti Wilk

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—A heavy, unseasonable rainstorm wasn’t enough to prevent more than a hundred people from attending Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels’ campaign kickoff fundraiser at Bliss Creek Golf Course’s Pine Room on Jan. 29.

Michels, who will run for re-election against village trustee Kevin Geary on the April ballot, has served as village president since 1999.

“I’m impressed with the turnout,” Michels said during the fundraiser. “We’ve been utilizing Facebook and other social media outlets to get our campaign rolling by connecting with more people, and it’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces coming out to show support.”

Michels’ family, friends and constituents socialized, ate pizza and discussed local issues during the two-hour event. Michels’ father, Jim, said the event was “a real shot in the arm” for the campaign.

“This is a contested election, so you can’t take anything for granted,” he said.

The event was co-sponsored and supported by Cordogan Clark and Associates, IBEW Local 701, Plumber/Pipefitters Local 501, Schram Construction, Producers Chemical and Morton Private Wealth Strategies.

Michels said his campaign will focus on his experience and accomplishments, and his continued vision for a better Sugar Grove. A pamphlet created by Friends of Sean Michels highlights his economic record during the recession, and notes that the village since 2007 has reduced its staff by 20 percent by implementing smarter technology.

“Lower governmental costs translate into lower taxes,” Michels said.

Michels also mentioned his work in creating the 25-acre Sugar Grove Sports Complex on Wheeler Road. A potential stop at Rich Harvest Farms for the 2016 LPGA Tour is also in discussion.

If re-elected, Michels plans to address target issues such as reducing real estates taxes, creating an impact fee agreement with the Kaneland School District, attracting more businesses to the Route 47 corridor, constructing a retirement apartment complex and establishing a Metra Station in Sugar Grove.

Michels addressed the crowd at around 6:30 p.m.

“I want to thank all of you for coming out tonight to show your continued support, but we are not done by any means. We need to establish a vision for the future, and we can only do this as a community,” he said.

Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor, a former Sugar Grove village trustee, said the election should be interesting.

“Both candidates are great men, and I think both would do a good job,” she said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”

Trustees Rick Montalto, Robert Bohler and David Paluch endorse Michels.

Michels spoke briefly of Geary during a pre-fundraiser phone call, noting how drainage problems in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions have become a “political issue.”

“That situation was quite a fiasco because of certain individuals who would not compromise, but the issue has been resolved,” Michels said. “As far as Geary, I just don’t know what his message and plans are other than to cut spending, which is something I’ve done for years.”

A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean. Photo by Patti Wilk
A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean.
Photo by Patti Wilk
P. Sean Michels (right) in conversation with Tom Weisner, Aurora Mayor, and Bob Bohler (center), Sugar Grove village trustree. 		   Photo by Patti Wilk
P. Sean Michels (right) in conversation with Tom Weisner, Aurora Mayor, and Bob Bohler (center), Sugar Grove village trustree. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kathy Morton, Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, having a laugh with Sean. 						   Photo by Patti Wilk
Kathy Morton, Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, having a laugh with Sean. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kim Jablonski (right), Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, came to enjoy the evening and also picked up a few campaining signs for her yard.                             Photo by Patti Wilk
Kim Jablonski (right), Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, came to enjoy the evening and also picked up a few campaining signs for her yard. Photo by Patti Wilk

Geary hosts Town Hall meeting

Photo: Sugar Grove Village President candidate Kevin Geary held a Town Hall meeting on Jan. 31 at the Sugar Grove Community House, and spent the majority of the event fielding questions and concerns from village residents. Geary will oppose current Village President Sean Michels on the April 9 ballot. Courtesy Photo

by Mary Parrilli
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove village president candidate Kevin Geary hosted a Town Hall meeting on Jan. 31 in order to meet with village citizens and field their questions and concerns.

Geary, a resident of Sugar Grove since 1996, has served on the Sugar Grove Village Board since 1999.

“My goal is to engage people in government. I want people to participate, and to make the government their government,” Geary said. “I believe in an open and honest system.”

Village resident J.R. Mooney spoke first during the forum.

“Where is the town? Sugar Grove lacks understandable ‘townness,’” he asked.

Geary agreed, suggesting various ways to remedy the situation, including the recommendation that people participate in more town events, like the annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Geary acknowledged the significance of this problem, adding that it’s “worth it to look into more solutions.”

Business in Sugar Grove was another concern mentioned during the meeting.

“Yorkville seems to bring in a lot of business, Kevin. Should Yorkville be a model for Sugar Grove?” village resident Tom Spry asked.

Geary replied that, although Yorkville is a good model for business, it is essential to recognize that its economy was damaged by the national economic downturn, due to the mass housing buildup in the area, and many businesses were hurt. According to Geary, Sugar Grove is approximately 90 percent residential, which is about 10 percent less than the typical healthy city.

Geary also discussed the idea that updating the road system in Sugar Grove could facilitate commercial growth and make life easier for commuters. He suggested using federal funds to improve the U.S. roads in Sugar Grove, and advocated revisiting the idea of the Prairie Parkway.

“Why isn’t anyone bringing up the obvious lack of ethical practice that has been done in this town involving the current administrator, who gave $9 million to his dad’s business?” Mooney asked. “To me, that was unconscionable. The people better wake up and fix this, and make this honest, open and ethical.”

Village President Sean Michels’ father, Jim, is the president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI). The firm has done engineering work for the village of Sugar Grove.

Geary stated that he would initiate, create and implement a system based on processes.

“By creating a strict process, just like a recipe for a chocolate cake, we can ensure sound results,” he said.

Geary said he wants to create a bidding process, and pass an ordinance along with it.

The recurring topic of the night was government transparency and accountability.

“I want more transparency, period. How do we do that, Kevin?” asked Sean Herron, a candidate for Sugar Grove village trustee.

Geary suggested many possible routes, such as putting all village actions on the website, recording video for each session and posting it online, and webcasting board meetings.

Several guests asked what actions it would take to get Geary elected, noting that there were not enough people in the room to make that happen. Geary suggests knocking on doors, educating themselves and their neighbors, and speaking up.

Sugar Grove resident Michelle Scales said she hosted a small get-together for coffee at her house and had Geary attend to speak to the group. She suggested that other people could do this, too.

During the meeting, Geary emphasized that he is riding on a platform of open, honest government, citizen participation, leadership and the maxim of “we the people.”

Waubonsee named national finalist for AACC Award of Excellence

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College is among a select group of finalists in a prestigious new program designed to recognize innovation and promising practices among two-year colleges nationwide.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) established the Awards of Excellence this year and will award them annually. Winners in each of five categories will be named Tuesday, April 23, in San Francisco during the AACC annual convention, an event that attracts close to 2,000 educators, policymakers, corporate and foundation representatives each year.

Waubonsee President Dr. Christine J. Sobek was recognized in the Emerging Leadership category, which honors AACC member CEOs who have developed exemplary systems of leadership and professional development, and created a campus culture that proactively supports employee career and leadership advancement for all campus personnel. Other categories include: Student Success, Exemplary CEO/Board, Advancing Diversity and Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership.

Under the leadership of Dr. Sobek, Waubonsee has developed a culture of engagement that proactively supports administrator, faculty and staff professional development. She promotes leadership through the development and expansion of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, as well as administrative in-services, growth of cross-functional teams, expansion of the President’s Cabinet membership, and ongoing resources for active participation by administrators, faculty, and staff in local, state, regional, and national associations and conferences.

Dr. Sobek regularly mentors new Illinois community college presidents and makes leadership presentations throughout the district. Waubonsee also launched an innovative Leadership Academy for employees in 2011 that fosters leadership development throughout the college community.

Criteria for the Awards of Excellence are designed to reflect best practices in areas that relate to recommendations of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national, blue-ribbon group of education experts that issued its report last spring. In the report, members of the commission described a redesigned community college of tomorrow—one that would “reinvent the student
experience” and help “reclaim the American dream.”

“Over an 18-month period, the 21st-Century Commission provided a bold and forward-thinking blueprint for the community college of the future,” said Marie Gnage, chair of the AACC Board of Directors. “With these new awards, AACC intends to elevate community colleges that are in the vanguard of progressive practices. The awardees will receive national visibility, but the spotlight on their exemplary practices will ultimately benefit all community colleges.”

Finalists for the AACC Awards of Excellence were chosen by a specially-appointed committee of the association’s board of directors, based on specific criteria.

Citizens Police Academy

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez is now accepting applications for his spring 2013 Citizens Police Academy. Anyone
who works or lives in Kane County is welcome to apply. The academy will start on Wednesday, April 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., and run for 10 consecutive Wednesdays.

For a copy of the application and more information about the Sheriff’s Citizens Police Academy, visit

Cadence Health office to open in Sugar Grove

by Cheryl Borrowdale
SUGAR GROVE—When the new Cadence Health medical office opens this spring, it’s likely to both improve residents’ quality of life and draw more businesses to the area, Village President Sean Michels said.

Offering primary care and physical therapy, the office will initially have two or three physicians available by appointment only. The standalone office will be located at 414 Division Drive in Sugar Grove, though many of the details are still being hammered out, according to Christopher King, spokesperson for Cadence Health.

“A lot of it will be dictated based on community need,” King said. “We’re still some time away from (knowing) what the actual office will look like.”

According to King, the move is a good fit for Cadence, which operates both Delnor and Central DuPage Hospital.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for Cadence to expand our services to the Sugar Grove area, and that will allow us to offer residents high-quality care,” King said. “It’s a way for us to expand our footprint into that area.”
It’s also a good fit for Sugar Grove, according to Michels.

“It’s really just another nice amenity for our residents to be able to go to local doctors,” he said. “We don’t have many medical facilities (in Sugar Grove), so they are fulfilling a need. It’s a quality-of-life issue for parents, since they can take their kids to the doctor without missing a half day of school.”

Michels credited the developments to both good land planning and the growth of other area businesses. Extending Galena Boulevard provided a major intersection for developers to build on, and connecting Galena with Park Avenue provided better traffic flow for businesses. The opening of Jewel-Osco and Walgreens in the area helped attract more customers and more businesses to the area, he said.

According to Michels, Cadence has asked Osco’s pharmacy to stock crutches and other supplies that physical therapy patients may need, and the new Walgreens is already exceeding expectations for the number of prescriptions filled at the store.

Better health services are likely to fuel more growth in the village. An assisted living facility is finalizing plans to build on the north end of Wheeler Road, and another developer is considering building age-restricted apartments nearby for seniors, Michels said. Both housing options would be within walking distance of Jewel-Osco, Walgreens and Cadence’s medical offices.

“It fits in well with (Kane County’s) 2040 health initiative, where you can have people walking to get their groceries and to their pharmacy and to their doctor,” Michels said.

Michels said Sugar Grove’s demographics also make expanded senior housing options a good fit for the area.

“We have a lot of middle-aged families here, and the idea is that you could bring your parents to an assisted living facility in Sugar Grove so you can live near them,” he said. “I think it helps out our community as well.”

Michels said he hopes that the new Cadence facility would fuel even more growth.

“A lot of time it sort of feeds on itself,” he said. “We have Rush-Copley and the Cadence Health offices, and then users come in there. Maybe a coffee shop or a Dunkin’ Donuts might want to open up and serve the people who are coming in and out.”

Graceffa to run for SG Library Board as write-in candidate

by Elizabeth Rago
SUGAR GROVE—The odds of winning as a write-in candidate for an election are pretty slim, yet despite Sugar Grove resident Pat Graceffa’s application for the Sugar Grove Library Board being declared as “incomplete” because it was lacking the Statement of Candidacy, she is confident in her sincerity as a write-in candidate to serve library patrons and community members.

A resident of Sugar Grove since April 2001, Graceffa had been president of the Sugar Grove Friends of the Library and a library volunteer for 10 years. Taking the time to immerse herself into the community on a platform of reading and literacy, Graceffa gained knowledge as a Library Friend speaking to patrons that frequented the community facility.

The Library Board is looking to fill two 6-year term vacancies with incumbant Robert Bergman and Edward DeBartolo officially on the ballot, and Pat Graceffa as a write-in candidate. Anthony Oliver is on the ballot for the 4-year-term, and Louise Coffman for one 2-year term.

“Write-in campaigns are very hard to win, and I understand that, but the process is simple,” Graceffa said. “The Kane County Election website even has a virtual video that can show you how to write in a candidate in on the ballot. Remember, there are election judges at every polling station, and if you are not sure of how to write in a candidate, you can ask for help. The spelling of the name does not have to be exact but it has to be reasonably close. “John Smith” for Patricia Graceffa won’t work, but “Pat Gracefa” would probably do the trick.”

The mission of the Sugar Grove Library—“To actively participate in the development of a strong, literate and well-informed community by serving as a cornerstone of learning, and as the heart of our community”—hits home for Pat, as she is a life-long user and supporter of the public library system.

“The library invites the young and old, rich and poor, readers and non-readers to use our library and its materials,” Graceffa said. “For me, the library symbolizes the freedom we have in this country to form ideas, learn different points of view, speak our mind, and to read whatever it is we want to read with no explanation required. I admire the contribution of the many previous library trustees who have served on the Sugar Grove Library Board. This community has a history of being built from volunteer labor. I hope to build on that history.”

In a day and age when a massive amount of information can be found online, the misconception that public libraries serve as only an outlet for borrowing literature is far from true. A refuge for community members who need access to computers and free Internet to search for jobs, speakers are commissioned to present patrons with the necessary tools to write cover letters, create resumes and provide tips for working through the interview process.

The library is also a place to showcase community art, culture and talent and acts as an educational facility and a community center for seniors, where they can meet with their friends and neighbors, attend programs to help save on energy bills or assist with tax preparation.

“It’s hard for me to understand why anyone in our district would not support the library, because it does so much for so many in our community,” Graceffa said. “Your local tax dollars are the best dollars you will ever spend, because they stay here and help you and your neighbors. You have a right to know and understand how your dollars are spent, and it is the board’s responsibility to explain it to you if you have a question.”

Regardless of whether or not she is elected to be a part of the Sugar Grove Library Board, Graceffa will continue to believe in the powerful and positive impact public libraries have on their communities.

“The library is not obsolete,” Graceffa said. “I want to help in making our community library to be the very best it can be for library district patrons.”

Candy company honors Walker, SG Food Pantry for area service

Photo: On Thursday Pam and Ernie Bolen, owners of Mamie’sToffe in Plano and their son, Josh (far left), gave the Sugar Grove Food Pantry and Julie Walker (in green) their “Random Acts of Candy” award for all they do for the community. Melisa Taylor (right) is the executive
director of the Food Pantry. Courtesy Photo

by Mary Parrilli
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Food Pantry volunteers on Jan. 24 were honored for their service by Mamie’s Toffee of Plano.

Ernie and Pam Bolen, the owners of Mamie’s Toffee, gave out two handmade awards—one, a box of Mamie’s candies, went to Julie Walker of Sugar Grove; the other, a tray of various food items, went to the entire Sugar Grove Food Pantry.

The Bolens created an awards system, “Random Acts of Candy,” with the intention of honoring community members who go above and beyond. Community members nominate awardees via Facebook.

Marguerite Ledone, a Pampered Chef Consultant and friend of the Bolens, nominated Walker, who volunteers at the Sugar Grove Food Pantry, and goes above and beyond for her community in other ways, as well.

“(Julie) is an amazing woman, to me,” Ledone said. “(She) runs the Sugar Grove Community House, she fosters dogs, she transports dogs from Joliet to Batavia, and to top it all off, she is a mother of two and a wife.”

The Bolen’s decided to honor Walker and the rest of the food pantry team, and went to the food pantry location to present their gifts.

Walker was sick with the flu, and it took some convincing on Ledone’s part to get her into the shelter that night. Walker ultimately showed up for a few minutes.

“It was a quick ceremony. A few words were said, thanks given, pictures taken and food enjoyed,” Ledone said.

It was quite literally a short and sweet evening at the Sugar Grove Food Pantry.

“Ernie and Pam recognize that their community helps tremendously with the success of their business, and they wanted to give something back. That’s why they started Random Acts of Candy,” Ledone said.

Rush-Copley Convenient Care opens in SG

AURORA—The new Rush-Copley Convenient Care in Sugar Grove, located at 472 N. Route 47, will open on Friday, Feb. 1. The center will be the only healthcare resource open every day in Sugar Grove.

“We are proud to serve the healthcare needs of Sugar Grove and surrounding communities with our new Convenient Care center,” said Barry C. Finn, president and CEO. “Medical care, where and when it is needed most, will now be closer to home for many area residents.”

Rush-Copley Convenient Care’s board-certified primary care physicians treat a variety of health conditions, from sniffles and sore throats to minor burns and broken bones. The center features diagnostic services including X-ray and laboratory services. Rush-Copley Convenient Care also offers school and sports physicals.

The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

For more inforamtion, visit

Local teens receive Brattin Civic Youth Award

AURORA—Last December marked a significant month for Sugar Grove resident and Rosary High School junior Julia Hoyda. A tenacious and conscientious volunteer, Julia is dedicated to adding memorable moments to her teenage years by serving others in her community, and was recently awarded the Brattin Civic Youth Award at the 43rd annual Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Luncheon.

This particular Civic Youth Award is honored to Fox Valley youth in memory of Aurora businessman Ted Brattin, who was involved in the founding of the Aurora Navy League Council and the Aurora-Naperville Rotary Club. Ten youth showing auspicious leadership and prominent service to the community in the style of Brattin were presented with the award in an event hosted by the Aurora Navy League, the Aurora-Naperville Rotary Club and Aurora University.

Of the 10 recipients of the Brattin Civic Youth Award, Julia Hoyda and Kaneland High School senior Nicole Hanlon reside in the Kaneland community. Exhibiting qualities of citizenship, service and leadership comes naturally to Julia and Nicole, as both have been busy advocating simultaneously as accomplished students and community service supporters. Julia, an active member of the Girl Scouts for the last 11 years, serves as a camp aide and an enthusiastic volunteer of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA).

“I’m due to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” Julia said. “To qualify for this highest honor, you must create a project that improves your community. I combined my love for the outdoors, the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association and my brother to inspire me to create this program.”

Julia wants to spread the word and inspire others to realize that people just like her brother (who is autistic and has a seizure disorder) are people, too. It takes a tenacious and patient person to see 80 hours of planning turn into a successful community project. The summer of 2012, Julia brought her vision to life as she led an outdoor program for adults participating in the FVSRA. The program consisted of leading and assisting clients in activities like fishing, gardening and painting a fence for a chicken coop. Julia’s program was such a success among the clients, the FVSRA is gearing up for its second season this spring.

“It was amazing to see the smiles on the client’s faces,” Julia said. “I want everyone to know that just because someone has a disorder doesn’t mean they aren’t cool or like to have fun.”

In addition to her work with the Girl Scouts and Fox Valley Recreation Association, Julia is an honor student and student ambassador at Rosary, a member of the Marmion marching and jazz bands, and participates in Debate and Latin clubs.

“I am wowed that I can make a difference in the lives of others,” Julia said.

Hanlon, an Elburn resident, is also making a significant impact on her community. A World Youth in Science and Engineering team member, soccer player and active youth leader at St. Gall Catholic Church, Nicole’s community service resume is not lacking in supporting organizations that make a difference.

“Nicole is a natural leader,” said Laura McPhee, Kaneland High School secretary. “I nominated her because she has this innate sense of stepping in to help anyone at a moment’s notice.”

In addition to Hanlon’s rigorous academic schedule, she tutors her peers as a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with organizations like the Aurora Golden K Kiwanis Club and Heartland Blood Center.

“She never hesitates to step up and be an example … I believe Nicole thrives on excellence and encourages her peers to be the best they can be,” McPhee said.

The work Julia and Nicole carry out within the Kaneland community brings to light the fact that teenagers today are making a grassroots effort everyday to improve their world. As Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”

Parson celebrates 40 years with SG Fire Dept.

Photo: Sugar Grove Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Parson (left) shakes hands with Chief Marty Kunkel after he is presented with an award for 40 years of service. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Fire Department on Jan. 6 held a surprise party for Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Parson in honor of his 40th year working for the Fire Protection District.

The party took place at the Sugar Grove Municipal Building and was open to his family and friends, as well as the public.

Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel, who was present at the ceremony, said about 75 people attended the event. Wayne was headed to the Fire Department for training when he encountered the surprise party.

“We had some cake and ice cream for him, and a little award ceremony. We invited his friends and family. He was extremely surprised. His wife knew about it too,” Kunkel said.

Kunkel also spoke about his professional and personal relationship with Parson. The two have known each other since Kunkel was Aurora’s fire marshal.

“I’ve been here for about eight years. When I came in, Wayne was assistant chief. He was instrumental in my development in learning about the history of the Fire District,” Kunkel said.

Wayne is also involved with the Sugar Grove Fire Prevention Bureau.

“We perform building inspections in the area and we help public schools and (Waubonsee Community College) with their fire prevention presentations and demonstrations,” Parson said. “We’re involved anytime the schools do anything regarding fire safety or prevention, really.”

The bureau also helps out with Fire Prevention Week with the other communities, including Elburn and Kaneville. The next big event for the bureau is the Health and Wellness Fair in the Waubonsee’s Academic and Professional Center.

“We work with some of the hospitals from the area. We go over smoke detectors and other general protocol to make your house safer,” Parson said.

Windsor West subdivision inquires about landscape development plan

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday was approached by Linda Wischnowski, the association manager of Association Partners Inc., and Carol Jolley, secretary of Windsor West Communities, in regard to the state of the landscape development plan for the Windsor West subdivision.

The Board of Directors of the Windsor West Community Association (WWCA) has requested approval of a change to the subdivision’s landscaping plan, which was included in the 2004 improvement of Windsor West. The landscape plan was modified to include upland prairie on the condition that it be re-implemented at a future date. The WWCA is requesting that the board leave the premises as is with only grass.

“The Board of Directors solicited a response from 247 association members regarding their preference. Sixty-one homeowners responded, and 60 of those homeowners indicated that they wanted to leave the park ‘as is,’” Wischnowski said.

Comments from the association members included: “Taking one-third of the open space for prairie grass would make the park much less usable for kids that want to fly a kite, play football, soccer or baseball, etc., in the park,” and “Prairie grasses have their place in Bliss Woods, but not in the community parks.”

The Board of Directors also authored a letter thanking the Village Board for consideration, and asking that it approve the landscaping plan for Lot 185 in the Windsor West Community Association as it currently exists.

Trustee Thomas Renk was absent from the meeting.

West Physical Therapy, SG Legion assemble packages for area servicemen

SUGAR GROVE—West Physical Therapy’s Sugar Grove and Geneva locations collected items in December 2012 to put in care packages to send to local servicemen and women stationed overseas. Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271 assembled and shipped the care packages to provide a reminder of home.

Sugar Grove American Legion President Cliff Barker and American Legion Auxiliary President Lin Marcucci joined Patient Care Coordinator Jayne Holley on Jan. 12 at West Physical Therapy’s Sugar Grove location, and were presented with many bags and boxes. Items such as writing materials, entertainment items and personal hygiene products were boxed by the Sugar Grove Legion Auxiliary members.

Mailings are done up to four times a year, as items are donated, and all cash donations are earmarked to cover shipping expenses.

For more information or to donate, contact the Legion Auxiliary at (630) 466-9700.

Waubonsee works to help students complete credentials

SUGAR GROVE—When Waubonsee Community College students stop by a special “Graduation Station” at the Sugar Grove Campus next month, they’ll receive information on how to apply for a degree or certificate online, and watch clips of the college’s annual graduation ceremony.

What they won’t see are all of the behind-the-scenes projects the college has undertaken to ease their paths across the stage, and at the same time, answer the national and state calls to completion.

Since the 2009 launch of its Project Graduation initiative, Waubonsee has nearly doubled the number of its students earning a complete certificate or degree—from 1,271 completers in 2009 to 2,411 in 2012. Such progress can be attributed to a variety of factors.

“Project Graduation has allowed us to take a hard look at a variety of different factors that influence student success and completion,” said Dr. Deborah Lovingood, executive vice president of Educational Affairs/Chief Learning Officer. “Some of the things that grew out of the initiative were greater accessibility, optimized curriculum and streamlined services.”

With the opening of new comprehensive campuses in downtown Aurora and Plano in 2011, Waubonsee students can now earn a complete degree at three of the college’s four campuses.

Those degrees require less time and expense than they used to. After examining all of the transfer and occupational associate degree requirements, the college decided to revise most of them in order to maximize transferability and get students out into the workforce more quickly.

In addition to modifying its academic programs, Waubonsee has also improved graduation-related student services. An online degree audit tool is now available, allowing students to track their own progress toward completion, as well as analyze “what-if” scenarios for a few different programs. The certificate and degree application process, formerly done via paperwork and in-person meetings, was also moved online for student convenience.

Waubonsee is even helping transfer students who left the college short of completion, thanks to new “reverse transfer” agreements with Northern Illinois University, DePaul University and Roosevelt University.

“These agreements allow students who transferred from Waubonsee to complete their associate degrees at the same time they are earning the baccalaureate,” Lovingood said. “A seamless transfer process that goes both ways serves everyone and demonstrates the interdependence of our institutions.”

All of these steps have been taken because college credentials matter to students’ futures.

“Finishing a certificate or associate degree can be very motivating for students,” said Kelli Sinclair, dean for Counseling and Student Support. “We encourage students to feel good about it and mark that success with their family. Plus, credentials help students earn more in the job market. Employers are often looking for a complete credential rather than a list of courses taken.”

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2011 unemployment rate for individuals with associate degrees was 1.9 percent lower than those who had some college credit and 2.6 percent lower than those with only a high school diploma. Degree holders make an average of $2,500 more each year than their peers without a degree, and $6,700 more each year than those with only high school diploma.

With numbers like this, it’s no wonder that the issue of college completion has become such a hot topic at the national and state levels. President Barack Obama sounded a call to action in 2009 in the form of the American Graduation Initiative, with a goal of producing an additional five million community college graduates by 2020.

This national call was echoed by the State of Illinois as Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon toured the state’s 48 community colleges in 2010-11 and then released her “Illinois Community Colleges: Focus on the Finish” report. That report set the goal of increasing the proportion of working-age adults with meaningful career certificates and degrees from today’s 41 percent to 60 percent by 2025.

WCC to offer free career readiness assessments to local companies

AURORA—Waubonsee Community College’s Workforce Development Department is offering local companies the chance to assess the career readiness skills of their current and/or prospective employees, all at no charge.

The first 20 companies to sign up by the deadline on Thursday, Jan. 31, can arrange for as many as 20 individuals to be assessed and earn the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), developed by ACT.

With questions based on real workplace situations, the four assessments gauge skill levels in mathematics, locating information, reading for information, and soft skills areas such as work discipline, teamwork, customer service orientation and managerial potential. Knowing
employees’ foundational strengths and weaknesses allows companies to hire, train, develop and retain a better workforce.

“Some candidates may not have direct experience in the job they’re applying for, but the NCRC can demonstrate whether they have the
talents, natural abilities and personality to be effective in the workplace,” Waubonsee Business Developer Debbie Talaska said.

To take advantage of this free testing opportunity, call Talaska at (630) 906-4172, email or visit

Adult Literacy Project seeks volunteer tutors

AURORA—Waubonsee Community College’s Adult Literacy Project is seeking volunteers to tutor adult students in reading, writing and speaking English, as well as math and other basic skills. All training and materials are free.

Located at the college’s Aurora Campus, 18 S. River St. in Aurora, the Adult Literacy Project will offer a tutor training program that meets Saturdays, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Prospective tutors must complete both sessions before working with adults one-on-one or in a classroom environment.

Tutor applications are available online at or by calling (630) 801-7900, ext. 4221.

Oswego man arrested for attempted sexual abuse in Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE—Jeffery D. Bernard, 51, of the 100 Block of St. George Lane in Oswego, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on Tuesday. A warrant was issued for Bernard on Dec. 18, 2012, charging him with attempted criminal sexual abuse and battery stemming from an incident that took place last August.

The victim said that Bernard, on Aug. 13, 2012, followed her from her place of employment in Montgomery to a remote area in Sugar Grove. According to the report, Bernard stopped the victim and then made physical contact with her that was of a sexual nature. She was able to get away when another vehicle approached.

Bernard was taken to Kane County Jail, where he was held on $10,000 bail.

SG Village Board approves temporary use of video gaming machines

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Hall on Tuesday was host to approximately 55 residents—some local, some from nearby villages—for the Sugar Grove Village Board’s discussion and vote regarding a proposed ordinance to temporarily allow video gaming in the community until the issue is included as a referendum on the April ballot.

The board voted 4-2 to approve temporary use of video gaming, with yes votes coming from trustees Bob Bohler, Rick Montalto, Mari Johnson and David Paluch. Trustees Kevin Geary and Thomas Renk voted no.

If the use of video gaming machines is rejected in the referendum, the license for use of the machines will be revoked.

Several members of the public in attendance spoke about the video gaming issue during comment, with many of the arguing points centered around ethical, moral, religious, political and economic grounds.

“For every dollar the state raises in gambling revenue, it costs the state $3 in social costs. We’re talking increases in bankruptcies, crime, divorce, unemployment, DUIs, foreclosures and, of course, a decrease in property values,” said David Smith, a representative of the Illinois Family Institute. “It’s not good public policy to bring gambling into your community, because what you’re doing is exploiting your own citizens to gain a revenue source.”

Vickie Haddaway, pastor of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, said that the UMC, in general, stands against gambling of any form.

“We feel that there’s already enough places for people to go, and we feel there’s already enough gambling in our state,” she said. “This preys on those who don’t have the resources, and all it does is diminish their capacity to enable themselves to better themselves.”

Some of the speakers in support of the machines spoke from a stance on economy.

“If we don’t level the playing field for the businesses in our community to make them competitive with other businesses that are surrounding our community, then those dollars will go elsewhere,” Sugar Grove resident Felice Coffman said.

Many American Legion members and supporters attended the meeting to support the use of machines.

“It is an equal footing for every business in town. You can’t just throw a protective bubble over Sugar Grove and pretend like our residents aren’t going to gamble—they just won’t gamble here,” said Cliff Barker, chaplain of the Sugar Grove American Legion. “Beer is legal in this town. So are cigarettes and so are lottery tickets. We could be a dry county. We could pass an ordinance. It wouldn’t stop alcohol sales— they’d just go elsewhere.”

Board members during the meeting expressed concern regarding the Sugar Grove American Legion’s economic situation. At the Village Board meeting on Dec. 18, Barker said the Legion would likely be out of money before the April referendum.

“I think we do (the veterans) a disservice when we take the position that to support them, we must immediately support gambling in Sugar Grove,” Sugar Grove resident Barb Nassaf said. “It is also a disservice to the people in Sugar Grove who are scheduled to vote on this topic within months. To open the back door to gambling now would be a slap in the face to the voting process here in Sugar Grove.”

Renk and Geary both said they thought the video gaming decision should wait until the April referendum. Paluch and Montalto, citing concern about the Legion’s economic status, said they hoped the machines would bring in revenue for the Legion.

“We appreciate the comments from both sides—people in favor and against video gambling,” Village President Sean Michels later said. “People are passionate on both sides. However, it’s important to realize that we’re talking about a maximum of $2 per bet. Video gaming is allowed in other towns, so we do need to balance the fact that we’re trying to allow our businesses to be competitive with nearby businesses.”

SG village trustees look ahead to 2013

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The year 2013 could be a fruitful one for the village of Sugar Grove.

Several village trustees expressed their strong interest in creating an interchange to Interstate 88 off of Route 47 near Waubonsee. The trustees are working with the state to get a grant to begin the project.

Village President Sean Michels and trustee David Paluch were excited to get started with an internet connection over fiber project.

“Hopefully 2013 will be the year where we bring in high speed internet over fiber, so we can attract bigger businesses that need the faster data speeds,” Paluch said. “It would also be great for our residents to take advantage of the fastest data speeds available.”

The village is currently working with MediaCom to get that project started.

Trustee Kevin Geary said he hopes to expand Route 47 to four lanes all the way to Kendall County, and would like to utilize the newly constructed road by Walgreen’s to bring in more commercial business.

“I would like to expand and bring in a greater balance with commercial real estate,” Geary said.

Village trustees also acknowledged that there are some older neighborhoods that need care in terms of streets and other infrastructure repairs. Michels that that the village could use the surplus that came in from the commercial real estate taxes to help make these repairs: “We got approximately a $200,000 surplus in the year 2012, and we were able to put a lot of that money in the local roads.”

Sean mentioned that one of his hopes is the construction of a Metra station in Sugar Grove. He is working with the chairman of Metra this week and hopes to begin laying the groundwork for that.

The new year will arrive with some concerns, as well. Paluch expressed his concern about the country’s economic situation.

“With the economic situation in the state and the country, we have no idea what will happen,” Paluch said. “But great moments come from great opportunity, and no matter what happens,

Paluch said the past couple of years have been tough for the village, as well as millions of Americans.

“We managed to make it through these tough times and make improvements in our village,” he said. “Hopefully the next year will be a little better for everyone.”

‘Three Stooges; Four Refreshments’ benefit for SG Senior Center

SUGAR GROVE—A “Three Stooges; Four Refreshments” benefit for the Sugar Grove Senior Center will take place Saturday, Jan. 19, 5 to 9 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Community Building, 141 Main St.

Homemade chili, hot dogs, popcorn and soda will be available for purchase. The cost of admission is $1. Proceeds will go to the senior center’s monthly potluck lunch gatherings.

For more information, call (630) 777-7961. You can also send a donation to: Sugar Grove Senior Center, P.O. Box 216, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

SG Village Board revives video gaming talks

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Dec. 18 held a discussion regarding the implementation of video gaming in various locations throughout the community.

Jay Spoden, owner of Tiger Amusements, began the meeting with elaborating on the profitability and the negligible amount of problems when the gaming machines were used in other surrounding communities such as North Aurora.

“We have not heard any complaints of people hanging around or about the maintenance of these machines,” Spoden said.

In reference to a total gathered from a few surrounding locations, Spoden stated that approximately $12 million was gambled last month—$1 million went to the state, and $200,000 went to select municipalities.

A few members of the American Legion showed up to express their concern that the legion is doing poorly financially. Many members compared their financial situation as “on their last leg,” and stated that they may not be there anymore. American Legion members support the gaming machines because of the vast amount of profits that these machines have brought in the past, and feel that it will help sustain the American Legion.

Ladies’ Auxiliary representative Lynn Marchi echoed that sentiment.

“If this does not happen, then we will not be able to do our annual car show or send cards to the troops,” she said, mentioning the two events that provide good services for the community and a good sources of revenue, as well.

Members of surrounding towns attended the meeting to express opposition to the use of gaming machines. John Zahn of Batavia made the point that the bars could “potentially lose money because those that would be inclined to put their money into the machines would otherwise be inclined to spend the money on drinks and food.”

Some board trustees had abstained their vote in order for the citizens of the community to be able to have a vote on it in April’s referendum. The trustees that abstained—Rick Montalto, Kevin Geary, Tom Renk and David Paluch—pressed the need for the people’s say in the situation, and the use of democracy. Other trustees, including Bob Bohler, were frustated by the abstentions.

“These gaming machines have existed in the Legion for decades, and now it’s only an issue because it’s become a political issue,” he said.

Montalto offered a compromise that would allow Legion members temporary use of the machines until the board holds a referendum on the issue in April. If the community supports the use of the machines, they will maintain their license. If not, then the Legion and other businesses would have some time to remove the machines from their locations.