Aurora U. scholar-athletes recognized

Area residents were among Aurora University student-athletes cited for scholarship at an eighth annual recognition luncheon.

The AU faculty athletic committee hosted the event at the University Banquet Hall.

Doug Kieso, faculty athletic representative and associate professor, presided. Lora de Lacey, vice president for student life and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, congratulated scholar athletes. Mark Walsh, AU athletic director, presented recognition certificates.

Athletes recognized were sophomores through seniors or transfer students at AU for at least a year, and with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Among those in the Kaneland School District honored were Andrew Price for football and tennis, Erin Lapp for golf and Kristen Swiech for track and cross country.

Kaneland’s eleven

The Kaneland Travel Baseball 11U team won the Streamwood May Sling tournament held May 8-10 by beating the Aurora Starz 11-3 in the championship game. Bottom row: Brett Conard, CJ Wehrmann, Austin Kintz, Jacob Bailey, Ryan David. Middle row: Mitchel Groen, Matt O’Sullivan, Jordan Bock, Jake Marczuk, Michael Stanley, Brandon Murabito. Back row: Coach Groen, Coach Murabito, Coach Vaca, Dylan Vaca, Coach Conard. Courtesy Photo

Letter: Time for change

As our community continues to live with the growing pains of a rural area going urban at the speed of light, one can’t help but wonder how we can develop our students with our present means.

Our superintendent provides our School Board with tough decisions on items such as expansion projects, curriculum and staffing, to name a few. Everyone seems to be tightening their belts, with the exception of the teacher’s union.

Back in the 1920s, unions were created to protect/fight for laborers from poor working conditions, a fair wage, benefits and the like. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the teachers union is still concerned with a fair wage, working conditions and also pensions, tenure and the next contract.

Has the executive board of the teachers union come forward and offered to defer their salary increases? Did the teachers union fight for their teachers that have paid their dues and still were let go? Or has the teachers union been steadfast to maintain tenure and pensions? If we want to maintain the highest quality of teachers, allow them to work at their highest potential and pay them accordingly.

Installing a merit system of pay will attract teachers who are excited about their job of teaching our kids. In turn, our kids will learn, they will be motivated to excel and they will be challenged by teachers who love what they do. The teachers win too. The top performers will earn top pay, and the ones who don’t, won’t.

As our schools prepare for the upcoming school year with overcrowded classrooms, worn classroom materials and some teachers going through the motions, teachers need to ask themselves if they are doing it for the kids or doing it for their retirement. If it is for the retirement, get rid of your union and do your job for our kids.

Jack Augusty, Elburn

Letter: Reforms need to be passed

With only two weeks to go, still no action in the Illinois Legislature on the 34 needed reforms to state government proposed by the bipartisan Illinois Reform Commission. The delay has the appearance of the fate of past reforms: “Wait it out” until the Legislature recesses for the year, thus killing them.

Whether you are Republicans or Democrats, these needed reforms to clean up Illinois government will have a beneficial effect on your lives and your pocketbooks.

Time is getting short. To learn more, visit the Reform Commission’s website, www.reformillinois.org. Then call or e-mail state representatives Tim Schmitz and Kay Hatcher—Schmitz at (630) 845-9590, email ilrep49@sbcglobal.net; Hatcher at gophatcher@ameriyech.net. Tell them you want them to vote yes on the reform package.

Also, tell them you want them to vote yes on Senate Bill 600, to return to GOP voters the right to vote for Republican State Central Committeemen, a right already enjoyed by Democrat voters. The current Republican system to select Central Committeemen has allowed a group of rascals to control the Illinois GOP for over 20 years, and must be changed. Good government must begin at the party level.

Dennis C. Ryan
Secretary
Western Kane County
Republican Organization
Supporters of SB 600

Letter: We need funds for Corn Boil fireworks

The Sugar Grove Lions Club has been busy placing donation cans in local Sugar Grove businesses and municipal buildings in hopes of raising funds for the best darn fire works display for this year’s Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

Fireworks will be displayed on Saturday, July 25.

Fireworks donations by individuals or businesses are most appreciated and needed and can be mailed in at any time for the 2009 firework display to: The Sugar Grove Corn Boil, P O Box 225, Sugar Grove, IL 60554. Checks can be made payable to: Sugar Grove Lions.

If your business would like to become a Corn Boil sponsor, or if you or your group would like to volunteer for the actual event, call (630) 466-5166 and a volunteer will get back to you. The complete schedule for the July 24-26 event can be found at www.sugargrovecornboil.org.

Pat Graceffa
Sugar Grove

Doggone it … naming a pet should be simple

by Gwen Allen
There are few things in life that are truly easy, but naming a pet, at least for most people, is definitely one of them.

For instance, you rarely see people buying $20 pet name books to determine their meanings, like they do for babies. And most pet owners don’t scour the Internet looking for a perfect name in fear that the wrong one will cause ridicule and future psychological problems.

Nope, the true beauty in naming a pet is you can choose anything. Be as creative, uncreative or crazy as you want and they will still love you unconditionally.

Sometimes naming a pet is as easy as looking at them. An aggressive dog could most certainly pull off the name Killer, while a cat with white paws is a dead ringer for Socks.

Owner of Happy Tails Pet Spa in St. Charles, John Quillman, said pets that come through his doors have names that are all over the place, but that he has noticed cats with more original names.

“With dogs, there are lots of Max or Mollies, but I have heard cats called Moulder from X-Files, Versace or Tommy Salami, which is my cat’s name,” Quillman said, laughing.

He said one of his favorite pets, named Toby, is a Yorkie whose owner is a cowboy.

“I think it (his name) comes from a country singer,” Quillman said. “But Toby is his little buddy, and it just fits him.”

Dr. Cechner at the Elburn Animal Hospital said in the past 16 years, she has seen many different pets with many different names, but very little consistency.

She has had a cat named Bunny, a female cat named Dave and a male cat named Princess.

“A lot of times the kids name them, but cats names can go one way or another, sometimes masculine, sometimes not,” Cechner said. “Now dogs seem to have a little more masculine names.”

Some of her patients also have offbeat names, like a dog named Dioge. But she said there are still a lot with more traditional names, like Tigger for cats and Bailey, Harley or Buddy for dogs.

Then, for whatever reason, there are pets with two or three names.

“Sometimes when they come in they have multiple names; my own pet is Sam Simone,” Cechner said. “He came as a Simon and my son didn’t like the name and wanted to change it. We said he couldn’t do that to him, so we added Sam.”

Naming a pet should be a fun endeavor, not a chore. An easy choice is picking a feature and naming them after it (i.e. fluffy, scrappy or spot). Creatively look to poetry, your favorite novel, or an icon. An offhand name can be interesting too, but that may take more time to contrive.

Whatever your choice, just be sure that you like it, because you are sure to coo, call or sometimes even scream it for many years to come.

Local student earns 2nd at writers conference

Shannon Unick, of Elburn, won second place in the poetry division with her poem, “The Skeletal Structures of Space Remaining,” at the April Skyway Writers Conference at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.

Melanie Hatch of Maple Park and Watler Howard of Sugar Grove, were other local students participating in the event.

Unick’s winning poem is included in the 2009 edition of “Horizons,” Waubonsee’s literary magazine. Copies are available on campus or by contacting Todd Laufenberg, English instructor, at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2748.

Western Illinois announces dean’s list

Nearly 2,000 undergraduate students enrolled at Western Illinois University were named to the Spring 2009 Dean’s List.

Locally, Jodi Blatner and Kate Stralka, both seniors from Sugar Grove, were named to the list.

To receive this award, an undergraduate student must earn at least a 3.6 grade point average on a scale of 4.0 equals an A in 12 credit hours of graded courses; pass-fail hours are not counted.

Local students win at state SkillsUSA contest

An Elburn Waubonsee Community College student was among four students from the college who earned awards at the recent Illinois SkillsUSA competition in Springfield.

Jill Potvin of Elburn placed first in interactive preschool bulletin board and third in preschool teaching assistant.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

Strobel graduates from Naval Academy

U.S. Navy Ensign William C. Strobel, Jr., son of William and Debra Strobel of Elburn, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on May 22, 2009, and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Ensign Strobel successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Ensign Strobel completed a four-year, total immersion program where a strong, balanced academic program, focused on the educational needs of the Navy and Marine Corps, is superimposed on a strict, professional military training environment emphasizing the development of leadership skills. Ensign Strobel was consistently ranked in the top 15 percent of his class and enjoyed being a member of the Men’s Glee Club, Barber Shop Quartet, Catholic Choir and Academy theater.

Following graduation, Ensign Strobel has been assigned to Naval Nuclear Power Training School in Charleston, S.C., where he will train and then proceed to a naval base, where he will begin service aboard a submarine. Ensign Strobel is a graduate of Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora.

Ryan Christopher Wetters

Ryan Christopher Wetters, 22, of Geneva, fell asleep at his home in Geneva only to wake in his Heavenly home Monday, May 25, 2009.

He was born June 24, 1986, the son of Brian and Kathy (Booth) Wetters in Tallahassee, Fla.

Ryan’s father worked for BP Amoco, which had the family growing up in several towns. Ryan spent the first several years in Bainbridge, Ga., before moving to Marietta, Ga., in 1992. The family then settled in Geneva in 2000.

Ryan graduated from Geneva High School and continued his education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where he studied economics and political science.

Following graduation in December of 2008, Ryan began working in the family business, Right At Home in Batavia, as business manager. He also spent many Saturdays working at the Mill Creek Market.

He was a member of Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva and proud alumni of Geneva High School Football.

Ryan enjoyed fishing with his friends at all the Mill Creek ponds, but most recently took the family boat and several friends to Lake Heideke, near Morris, Ill. He, along with many of his friends, was an avid Cubs fan and spent many hours of joy and sorrow at the “Friendly Confines.”

Ryan loved the Atlanta Falcons and never bowed to the pressure of converting to a Bears fan. He also was a “CSPAN junkie,” venting daily and putting his political science education to good use. Though he left without being able to say goodbye, Ryan leaves behind a legacy of memories for those left behind to cherish.

He now leaves his loving parents, Brian and Kathy of Geneva; one brother, Alex Wetters, a student at Iowa State University; a close group of friends, including his best friend, Bernie Potkanowicz, of Geneva.

He now joins his maternal grandparents, Lee and Lotchie Booth; and his paternal grandparents, Dale and Jane Wetters, who preceded him in death.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 29, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, 227 East Side Drive, Geneva, on Saturday, May 30, at 11 a.m. The Rev. Carl Gray, pastor of the church, will officiate, and private family interment will follow in Tired Creek Cemetery near Cairo, Ga., at a later date. For those unable to attend, a video of the service will be available at www.conleycare.com the following day.

A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the “Ryan Wetters Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through www.conleycare.com.

Frank W. Trafidlo

Frank W. Trafidlo, 94, of Elburn, formerly of Downers Grove, Ill., passed away May 21, 2009, at the Oak Crest Nursing Center in DeKalb.

He was born Sept. 26, 1914, in Chicago, to the late Walter and Mary Trafidlo.

Frank was a retired tool and die engineer and member of the International Association of Machinists Union.

He is survived by his loving children, Ron Trafidlo, Bonnie (Jack) Mack, and Connie (Doug) Lee; his caring grandchildren, Lisa (Dave) Williams, Debbie (Marc) Zolnierowcz, Sherri Mack (Steve Quiaoit), Ron (Neidi) Mack, Jenny (Paul) Evatt, Darcie (Bill) Carlson, Doug Lee Jr., Shawn Lee, Stacey (Mike) McClanahan, and Shelley Lee (Andy Barshinger), and his great-grandchildren Kyle, Nick, and Adam McClanahan, Kennedy Barshinger, Jessica, Alison, Melissa and Sara Williams, Kevin and Zack Zolnierowcz, Stephanie Mack, Christopher and Gabriella Mack, Hannah and Tanner Evatt. Frank is also survived by his sister-in-law, Frances Trafidlo; and two nephews, and a niece.

He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Jeanne Trafidlo; his brother, Edward Trafidlo; and his sister, Evelyn Zabielski.

Visitation and the service was May 26 at the Toon Funeral Home,4920 Main St., Downers Grove.

Interment Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Ill. For further information, call (630) 968-0408 or visit www.toonfuneralhome.com.

Duane R. Brandt

Duane R. Brandt, 74, of DeKalb, passed away Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora.

He was born July 27, 1934, in Barrington, Ill., the son of Norman E. and Opal K. (Clinge) Brandt. Duane married Laura J. Thorson on July 2, 1955, in Hinckley.

Duane was a veteran of the United States Army, serving in the Signal Corps in Germany. He was employed at Chicago, Burlington and Northern Railroad for 13 years and Nicor Gas Company for more than 20 years. Duane was a member of the Sycamore Moose Club and the Sycamore Elks club.

He is survived by his wife, Laura; his children, Scott (Penny) Brandt of Earlville, Ill., Kathy (John) Hutchison of Somonauk, Ill., Lisa (Greg) Smith of Sycamore; five grandchildren, Nick, Scott and Stephanie Brandt, Johnny and Jarrett Hutchison; one great-grandson, Scott Brandt; one sister, Cris Corderman of Barrington, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A private family memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 28, with the Rev. Roy Nelson of First Lutheran Church in DeKalb officiating. Interment of cremated remains will be at a later date.

In lieu of flowers a memorial is being established for Duane R. Brandt in care of the Anderson Funeral Home, Ltd., P.O. Box 605, DeKalb, IL 60115. For information, call Anderson Funeral Home at (815) 756-1022.

Andrew ‘Andie’ J. Christoffel

Andrew “Andie” J. Christoffel, 18, of Elburn, passed away on May 25, 2009.

He was born Sept. 20, 1990, the son of Jim and Sally (Cobb) Christoffel in Aurora.

Andie grew up in Elburn and attended local schools and was scheduled to graduate with the class of 2009 at Kaneland High School in Maple Park.

Andie enjoyed graphics and art, and excelled at his classes at Kaneland High School. Eventually he hoped to attend the Art Institute of Chicago for graphic design.

His heart was open to many kinds of music, and that passion fueled his other desire to be a DJ, naming himself Rev. Mayhem. He was gifted with a talent for using technology and especially adept at mixing songs. He loved mashing the beat of one song with the lyrics of another to make a one-of-a-kind song that was all Andie. His favorite bands included HIM, Crystal Castles, Depeche Mode, Kill Hannah and 69 Eyes, but his favorite songs changed with the day.

Andie’s sense of humor could catch you off guard and make you laugh in spite of yourself. His gift of laughing at himself and at his many stunts entertained family and friends on a daily basis.

Along with all the joy and laughter, there was another side to Andie that many people didn’t see and one that he controlled privately. It was during the last few years that his control began to slip, and despite all the love and support from family and friends, he withdrew into himself to a point where there was no light to guide him. In time, the spiral deepened to a point where in one moment, he forgot all those who loved him and chose to end his life. Nothing he did in those last moments change the wonderful son, brother and friend that so many came to know and love. His memory will forever live in the echoes of his laughter, the reflection of his smile and the thousands of memories he made with all those who knew and loved him.

Andie also lives on in those fortunate few who were able to live because of the gift of life he gave through organ donation.

He now leaves his parents Jim and Sally; four siblings, Dave Christoffel, Amy Christoffel, Stephanie Christoffel and Maizy Christoffel; paternal grandfather, Jack Christoffel; maternal grandparents, Richard and Margaret Cobb; several aunts, uncles and many cousins and a close circle of friends.

He now joins his paternal grandmother, Ruth Christoffel; and his step-father, Jim Maltar, who preceded him in death.

A memorial visitation was June 2. Funeral services will be private and interment will occur following cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the “Andie Christoffel Memorial Fund” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through www.conleycare.com.

Rejoice Lutheran offers VBS June 15-19

Registration is now under way for Rejoice Lutheran Church’s 2009 Vacation Bible School, which will be held the week of June 15-19.

All children who were in kindergarten through fifth grade during the 2008-09 school year are welcome to this year’s VBS, which is following the theme “Jesus Recycles Our Hearts.”

VBS will be held at Rejoice from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday through Thursday, June 15-18. The Friday, June 19, session will be held at Heritage Prairie Farm and Market.

Registration and medical forms may be downloaded from www.rejoiceinthemission.org. The cost is $20 per student or $50 per family.

Rejoice Lutheran Church is located at 0N377 North Mill Creek Drive in southwest Geneva. For more information, call (630) 262-0596 or visit www.rejoiceinthemission.org.

Fox Valley Christian hosts women’s retreat

Fox Valley Christian Church, 40W150 Main St., Batavia, will host “Sweet Life Cafe,” a women’s retreat, on Saturday, May 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost for this one-day retreat is $15 per person and includes a journal, devotional kit and many other items to take home. Ladies can bring their own sack lunch or register for a supplied lunch box ($8 extra).

For more information and/or registration, contact the FVCC church office at (630) 208-8484.

St. Paul Lutheran hosts dodgeball tournament

St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Aurora will host a dodgeball tournament and 5K/1K run the weekend of May 29-31.

The dodgeball tournament starts Friday at 4:30 p.m. and runs all weekend.

On Saturday, the 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. and the 1K starts at 9:30 a.m. There will also be a carnival on Saturday. For Dodgeball Team and 5K/1K fees and applications, along with more information, call (630) 896-3250.

Sugar Grove UMC begins outdoor summer worship

Nashville recording artist Virginia Hill will share her message in music on Sunday, June 7, to start the summer worship series at Sugar Grove United Methodist Church.

Every Sunday in June, July and August, the first worship will be at 8 a.m. at an open-air pavilion recently built on the church’s 40 acre campus at 4S633 Harter Road.

The second worship service will be 9:30 a.m. at 176 Main St. in Sugar Grove.

For more information, call (630) 466-4501 or visit www.sgumc.net.

Church offers event to provide help

Join the Kaneville United Methodist Church, 46W764 Main St., for “Finding Security in an Insecure World,” on Saturday, May 30, from 5 to 7 p.m., for an evening of hope, help, and healing.

Light supper, music, prayer and information about area financial and employment resources will be provided. Agency representatives will also be available to talk one on one with people about their situations.

If you have questions or would like more information, call (630) 557-2353 or e-mail kumcoffice@yahoo.com.

Kaneland: Student Tragedy

Update: Donations may be sent to Old Second Bank, c/o Andrew Christoffel Memorial Fund, 749 N. Main Street, PO Box 8018, Elburn, IL 60119.

From Kaneland.org >>
It is with great sadness that we inform you about the tragic events of one of our graduating seniors, Andrew Christoffel. With limited details available, the Kaneland High School crisis team will formulate a plan to support students and staff that will be affected by this news. Conley Outreach will be sending staff to the high school on Tuesday to be part of our crisis team. Most likely the gathering place for students will be the high school library. We are also concerned about the seniors who are no longer attending school, but who may be affected by this tragedy and very well may need a place to go in the next few days. We certainly welcome them to return to school for support.

Conley Outreach has provided information regarding teens and grieving at its website www.conleyoutreach.org. Students, teachers and parents may find this information useful.

Please keep Andie’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. We will update you as we have more information to share.

Conley pamphlet on Teen Grief >>

Long-time SG resident, naturalist will serve on Park District Board

by Susan O’Neill
Former St. Charles Park District naturalist and Kane County Plan Commission Chairman Mary Ochsenschlager will join the Sugar Grove Park District Board in June. Ochsenschlager, who has lived in Sugar Grove for 34 years, said she looks forward to being able to contribute in her own community.

Ochsenschlager, who retired two years ago, said she joined the Kane County Plan Commission in 1980 because she came to realize how important land use decisions were to the environment, and how important the people who make those decisions are.

“It gave me a chance to learn and perhaps to have some sort of an impact, to help both land protection and development be more compatible,” she said.

Although her work on the Plan Commission came to an end in 2007, Ochsenschlager continued her stewardship of the land through serving on the Kane-DuPage Soil and Water Conservation District Board, an entity involved in erosion control and helping to set policy for the district.

She teaches classes for Master Naturalist certification in a program co-sponsored by the St. Charles and Geneva Park districts, the Kane County Forest Preserve and the Fox Valley Park District.

Closer to home, she became a volunteer steward for Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, heading up monthly work days to clear out invasive plants and brush.

“I’m interested in open space issues, parks and recreation,” she said. “I am interested in environmental issues, but I don’t have a specific agenda. I’d like to see where I can contribute.”

Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede said he and the other board members were impressed with Ochsenschlager’s sincerity and her expertise. They interviewed her and one other candidate before appointing Ochsenschlager.

“I’m also impressed with her knowledge of Park District operations, her contacts in the community and the extensive work she’s done in the county,” he said.

Ochelschlager will be sworn in at the Park District Board’s June 8 meeting.

Food pantry will open in Sugar Grove

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove residents were so generous with donations when their neighbor Melisa Taylor asked them to “Fill up Their Doorstep” last December that she decided to take it one step further. With so many people finding it hard to make ends meet in today’s economy, Taylor decided to start up a food pantry in Sugar Grove.

“There’s no reason in today’s society that people should go to bed hungry,” she said.

Taylor and a crew of children and other parents collected hundreds of pounds of food, warm clothing and pet supplies before the Christmas holidays to contribute to the community Holiday Spirit program. She said the number of people who donated inspired them to continue.

Once again, people have stepped forward to help. The first contribution came from an unlikely source—the old Kane County jail. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez donated about 1,000 feet of shelving that might have otherwise been destroyed when the old building is torn down.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. donated space in a back corner of its building to house the operation. Volunteers, including Sugar Grove resident Jim Eckert, are currently cleaning out the space, painting the floors and the walls and working out the logistics.

Taylor has also made an initial contact with the churches in the area, where she hopes to find people willing to volunteer their time once the pantry opens.

According to Kaneland Food Pantry President Rita Burnham, there is a great need in this area. Burnham said two years ago, the Kaneland Food Pantry, located in Elburn, serviced 10 to 12 families a week. That number is currently up to an average of 40 families per week.

Taylor said the need is so great everywhere that she does not see the Sugar Grove Food Pantry in competition with the Kaneland location or others in the area.

Visitors to the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market, which begins Saturday, June 6, are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for the new food pantry. Taylor said she hopes to have the pantry up-and-running a few months from now.

Club may post temporary signs

Lions, Hughes Creek granted variances to new ordinance
by Martha Quetsch
The Elburn Village Board granted exceptions Monday to its brand-new sign ordinance.

The board will permit Hughes Creek Golf Club to display a six-foot banner during its May through September season, and the Elburn Lions Club to post trailer-mounted signs for five events during the year.

Under the village’s sign ordinance approved in April, the signs are not allowed. However, the board granted variances for the Lions and the golf club.

Trustee Patricia Romke suggested that golf club operator Heather Espe erect a permanent sign in the future at the club on Hughes Road. The club has posted the banner with its name and offerings for many years, but the banner now is prohibited by the sign ordinance.

Espe said a permanent sign might be cost-prohibitive.

“This is an expensive venture. We just got a three-year lease (from the Kane County Forest Preserve, which owns the golf course property) but I don’t want to buy a sign if we won’t be there beyond three years.”

New village trustee Jerry Schmidt said the board should look at revising the new sign ordinance.

“We have to help our businesses,” Schmidt said.

The Lions will be permitted to post temporary signs at locations including Route 47 and South Street and Route 47 and Stetzer Street, to advertise events such as its summer farmer’s market, Day in the Park and Elburn Days. The events benefit charities.

Elburn police blotter

The following reports were obtained from the Elburn Police Department. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Property damage
• Someone scratched a door on a Saturn parked in a driveway in the 800 block of North First Street in Elburn, sometime on May 8. The vehicle owner reported the damage at 4:45 p.m. that day.

• Several mailboxes in the 400 to 800 block of North First Street in Elburn were pulled out of the ground and one was broken sometime during the night, a resident reported at 5 a.m. May 9.

• Someone struck the fence around the garbage receptacle at Alice’s Place, 208 S. Main St., causing $150 in damage. The restaurant’s owner reported the damage at 12:01 a.m. May 1, saying it occurred sometime between Jan. 1 and May 1.

Driving without a license
• Erika G. Perez-Aguilar, 32, of the 500 block of Moodey Drive in Joliet, was arrested at 12:03 a.m. May 9 for driving without having a valid license and operating an uninsured vehicle. Police stopped her on Route 47 near Capes Drive in Elburn for speeding.

Outstanding warranet arrest
• Simone R. Currie, 19, of the 4000 block of Hedgerow Court in Plainfield, was arrested at 12:39 a.m. May 15 on an outstanding warrant from DeKalb County for criminal trespassing. Elburn police stopped Currie for speeding, on Route 47 at North Street in Elburn.

Driving while license suspended
• George W. Rhear, 46, of the 400 block of South Lombard Avenue in Lombard, was arrested at 11 a.m. May 14 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him for speeding, on Route 47 near Stetzer Avenue in Elburn.

DUI
• Jacob L. Bauserman, 19, of Thornridge Drive in Elburn, was arrested at 2:55 a.m. May 10 for driving under the influence of alcohol and on two outstanding Kane County warrants, one for failure to appear in court on a drug paraphernalia possession charge and the other related to a marijuana possession charge. Police stopped him for speeding, on Route 47 at North Street in Elburn. He also was cited for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Elburn officials briefed on ‘sunshine laws’

Presentation held on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings acts
by Martha Quetsch
Most Elburn village officials attended a presentation Saturday regarding the so-called “sunshine laws,” which ensure public access to public meetings and documents.

Village President Dave Anderson asked village staff members and trustees to attend the meeting about the Illinois Open Meetings (OMA) Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“I believe that this is extremely important,” Anderson said.

Village attorneys Brian O’Connor and Bill Thomas gave the presentation during a special meeting of the Committee of the Whole. They said it is imperative that the village follow OMA and FOIA requirements.

The attorneys said consequences for violations include sanctions, fines and jail time. In addition, a violation would negatively impact the village government’s reputation.

“A violation is a black eye on local government…it indicates they are hiding something,” Thomas said.

The state’s attorney’s office typically investigates alleged OMA and FOIA violations.

Under the OMA, if three members of the Elburn Village Board (the majority of a quorum) gather and discuss any village business, whether in-person or by video, e-mail, phone, chat rooms or instant messaging, it is a public meeting for which an agenda and public notice is required, Thomas said.

“That could be three trustees at a dinner party, talking about village business,” Thomas said.

He advised public officials to be cautious.

“In order to avoid any appearance of violating the Open Meetings Act, you need to look around and see who else is there whenever you are going to discuss village business,” Thomas advised the trustees.

Electronic communication has broadened the scope of public meetings, Thomas said. He suggested that public officials be careful when using this type of communication.

“Our advice is to be as conservative as possible,” Thomas said.

Under FOIA, an e-mail that includes a mention of any village business could be subject to exposure in its entirety, even if it contains a personal message, too.

“Be careful, those e-mails going out there could become public record,” Thomas said.

FOIA dictates that any document, even a draft, is subject to public exposure if it is mentioned during a public meeting, O’Connor said.

Those attending the presentation included village trustees and many staffers. New trustee Jerry Schmidt said the presentation was worthwhile.

“I learned a lot, especially about the Open Meetings Act,” Schmidt said.

New Village Administrator Erin Willrett was not at the meeting. Anderson said he granted her request for absence due to personal reasons.

County to facilitate solution to village flooding

by Susan O’Neill
A meeting about the flooding in Mallard Point scheduled for the beginning of June cannot come soon enough for resident Mike Schoenberger. Schoenberger described himself as the “latest casualty in Mallard Point” during a Village Board meeting on Tuesday.

Schoenberger, who lives on Brook-haven in the subdivision, told board members that in the past week and a half, he has been pumping 150,000 gallons of water a day in a futile attempt to keep his finished basement dry.

During previous meetings with the village, Mallard Point residents have complained of standing water, flooded basements and excessive electric bills to continually run two and sometimes three sump pumps.

During the construction of Mallard Point Subdivision in the early 1990s, the developer improved an existing wetland for use as a storm water management facility. A developer bankruptcy, the lack of a homeowners association and other problems continued to plague the subdivision.

The recent heavy rains have brought the situation to a head.

Earlier this year, the village hired Trotter & Associates to conduct a study of the problem. Engineer Mark Bushnell found mud and overgrown vegetation blocking the water flow from the subdivision, causing the neighborhood’s drainage problems and flooding. Bushnell estimated the area has 17 acres of excess storm water.

The village has removed a large amount of the vegetation to allow the water to drain slowly to the south. However, the spring’s heavy rains have worsened the problem, creating more flooding and rendering useless the acres of farm land to the south.

Paul Schuch, Kane County’s Director of Water Resources, will facilitate the discussion during the Wednesday, June 3, meeting of village officials, the Rob Roy Drainage District Board, Trotter & Associates and Tom Huddleston, an expert on drain tiles, to try to find a solution to the problems.

“The county deals with this issue on a county-wide basis,” Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said.

Karen Romero, a neighbor of Schoenberger, said she is becoming more and more frustrated with the situation.

“It’s a health issue,” she said on Tuesday. “I’m at the point where I’m going to call the Health Department.”

Preschool students give Brightest Stars an A+

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove resident Linda Ray may be only 3 years old, but she knows what she likes. Linda started classes at the Brightest Stars Preschool in March.

“There isn’t a day that my daughter doesn’t come home raving about Miss Amy,” Jan Ray said.

“Miss Amy” is Amy Peters, educator and owner of the Brightest Stars Preschool, located in Sugar Grove. The preschool opened in September 2008 with morning and afternoon classes.

While some other preschools and day care centers are seeing a recent drop in their enrollment, Peters said that if anything, she is gaining students. She said she thinks it is because her classes are educational.

“Parents will give up other things to continue with their child’s education,” she said.

Peters’ goals for the children are to help them gain the skills, confidence and independence that will prepare them for kindergarten, and supplement the learning experience of half-day kindergartners.

Although the parents like Brightest Stars because the children are learning, the children like it because they are having fun.

Peters sings and plays the guitar and other instruments, and incorporates music and movement, as well as puppets and sign language, into many of the activities she does with the children.

“I love seeing them light up and they don’t even realize they’re going to learn,” she said.

Interspersed with the music, the children have opportunities to explore the computer, learn basic math skills, create art projects and practice writing.

Parents may choose the combination of days their child attends the school, as well as how many days per week, based on availability.

Linda recently attended a session Peters offered free of charge at the Sugar Grove Public Library. The theme was spring, and focused on birds and flowers and rain.

Youth services manager Sarah Barbel said Peters added two sessions so everyone could participate.

“There’s always a big waiting list (for her programs),” Barbel said.

Peters said she will offer monthly programs once the new library is open, and has scheduled two summer sessions through the Sugar Grove Park District as part of her community outreach.

“I always say after each session, ‘I don’t know who had more fun—me or the kids,’” Peters said.

Brightest Stars Preschool
474 Division Drive
Sugar Grove
Sessions are Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 – 3 p.m.
For more information, call 466-8668 or visit
www.brightest-stars.com.

PHOTO:
Miss Amy combines music and movement for preschoolers at Brightest Stars Preschool in Sugar Grove. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Village grants Catholic church temporary use extension

by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday extended a temporary-use permit granted to the St. Katharine-Drexel Catholic Church for its parish office and weekday morning worship facility at 264 S. Main St.

The original permit, granted in December 2008, required that the church reapply by the end of April.

Approximately 15 to 20 parishioners attend weekday morning services and about 40 to 60 attend occasional weekday night services. This is more than the 10 and 40 initially estimated when the original temporary use was requested.

However, since there is adequate parking for now at the vacant restaurant site and its parking lot down the street, the village granted the extension until April 30, 2011, or when the church moves to another site. If parking becomes no longer available at the vacant restaurant site or parking lot, the church will either have to find alternative parking or relocate to another site.

The church continues to use Kaneland John Shields Elementary School for weekend services on Saturdays and Sundays under a separate special-use permit. Approximately 250 people attend weekend services each week.

The Archdiocese anticipates completing construction of the new facility in unincorporated Sugar Grove Township in 2010.

Village passes new cable ordinance

Staff to meet with MediaCom to discuss problems
by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved a cable franchise ordinance for new cable companies wishing to locate in Sugar Grove.

Separate from the agreement the village currently has with MediaCom, the village’s main cable provider, the ordinance spells out standards for current and anticipated technical, facility, procedural and operational, franchise and customer service issues.

Also included in the ordinance are recommendations gathered from a customer survey and a community-wide village meeting regarding services that MediaCom provides.

“The survey showed that people are not happy with their MediaCom service,” Sugar Grove Finance Director Justin VanVooren said during the discussion of the ordinance at the May 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Village staff will meet with Media Com representatives on Thursday, May 21, to discuss problems and issues residents would like to have resolved prior to the renewal of the Media Com’s contract with the village later this year.

“We’ll use the ordinance as a starting point,” VanVooren said.