Public invited to volunteer restoration workdays

Join a Kane County Forest Preserve District volunteer steward at a workday this May and help preserve, protect and restore the natural resources of Kane County.

Call District Volunteer Coordinator Julia Bourque at (630) 762-2741 to confirm scheduled dates and times. No experience is necessary; adults must accompany children. Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather, wearing work gloves and closed-toes shoes.

Forest preserves and their workdays for the month include:
• Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove: Saturday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Campton Forest Preserve in St. Charles: weekends, call for dates and times.
• Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia: every Tuesday from 1-3 p.m.
• Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva: Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn: Thursday, May 28, from 1-3 p.m.
• LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles: Tuesday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Meet at the parking lot near the Great Western Trail head. Heavy rain or snow cancels.

Mother’s Day carriage ride offered at Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm will feature horse-drawn carriage rides to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 10.

“Carriage rides are a beautiful, time-honored tradition, and a wonderful way to honor Mom on her special day,” said Blackberry Farm supervisor Sandy Smith.

The carriage rides will be offered between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each carriage ride can accommodate 15 people.

Visitors to Blackberry Farm can ride the steam-engine replica train to the Pioneer Cabin, where carriage rides will begin and end. The carriage rides will travel along the east side of Blackberry Farm past sections of Lake Gregory and Blackberry Creek.

An admission fee to get into the park is required. Entry is $4.25 for resident adults, $3.75 for resident children or seniors, $7 for nonresident adults and $6 for nonresident children or seniors.

For more information, contact Blackberry Farm at (630) 892-1550.

Garfield Farm sets rare breeds show

Garfield Farm Museum will hold its annual Rare Breeds Livestock and Poultry Show and Sale on Sunday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Breeders are invited to exhibit their animals at the museum with a chance to meet other breeders and prospective buyers. Pens, water and bedding are provided by the museum; just bring feed and any information, displays, products, demonstrations or lectures related to the breeds being shown. There are no registration fee for exhibitors.

In addition to seeing the animals, visitors and exhibitors can tour the 1846 Teamster Inn and Tavern, watch demonstrations of sheep shearing, wool spinning, or enjoy refreshments from Inglenook Pantry. Garfield Farm Museum is five miles west of Geneva, off of Route 38 on Garfield Road.

Call (630) 584-8485 or e-mail

David Rickert named treasurer of the year

At the April 28 meeting of the Illinois County Treasurer’s Association in Springfield, Ill., Kane County Treasurer David Rickert was named Zone IV Illinois County Treasurer of the Year.

Rickert, a licensed certified public accountant, has served as Kane County’s Treasurer since first being elected in 1998. He also holds degrees from Elgin Community College and Northern Illinois University, and a graduate degree in accounting from Roosevelt University.

Some of his accomplishments as treasurer include operating under budget for 10 years; establishing an investment bond fund for the county that yielded over $400,000 of additional interest income in its first year of operation; implementing positive pay for check disbursements, which greatly reduces the risk of check fraud; producing a property tax guide in cooperation with the County Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments and Township Assessors; helping to bring a unified tax system to Kane County replacing an antiquated mainframe system; installing a 24-hour drive up drop box for property tax payments; seting up a credit card/E-check online payment system for property taxes; providing property tax information over the Internet; and producing a tax bill insert to provide information of additional tax exemptions available to taxpayers, which was done as a joint effort with the Supervisor of Assessments office.

Treasurer Rickert said he was honored to be selected by his peers for this award and plans to continue making improvements to the treasurer’s office.

Elburn Chamber offers pork chop fundraiser

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce asks residents to support the Day in the Park fireworks fund by purchasing pork chop dinners on Thursday, May 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Stetzer Ave.

Each dinner consists of two chops, coleslaw, baked beans, apple sauce and biscuit for $13, or order two for $25. The dinner is drive-through only and orders are requested by Friday, May 15.

Letter: With apologies, and thanks, to the Kaneland School Board

In the recent past, I wrote a letter to the editor about a cash flow problem at Kaneland School District 302. I wanted to save teachers jobs, so I advocated the teachers defer their pay increases and the School Board defer payment of principal on a bond, paying only the interest until such time as the cash flow problem improved.

Subsequently, I learned that the bond (officially known as “Certificate of Participation Agreement”) was issued under the condition that repayment would be made from impact fees because the money received from the bonding company could only be used for capital improvements (the capital improvements at the time were for additions to the John Stewart and Blackberry Creek schools). Further, there would be an additional interest payment of $346,611 and the indebtedness would not be finalized until 2016, an addition of two years.

I apologize if I created the impression our School Board was not acting in the best interest or preserving teacher’s jobs. They were between a rock and a hard place and their options were extremely limited. They acted in a proper manner to use taxpayer’s money judiciously. Thank you Kaneland District 302 School Board.

H. Jack Hansen

Letter: Open letter to KYSO players, coaches and parents

Due to the current epidemic of swine flu crossing America and as close as Aurora and Batavia, KYSO has taken a, hopefully, preventive measure in the passing of swine flu.

Effective immediately, all teams at the end of your games are not to shake hands with opponents or the referees. Instead, tell your teams to give a nod of the head and say nice game. All referees will be notified of this change as well as you, the coaches.

For Travel Coaches playing in the IWSL league, I would ask that you notify the opposing coaches and referees of KYSO’s and Crusader Soccer Club’s new policy prior to the game until this tragic epidemic is over or is contained. Although we do not know all the ways the flu can be contracted, we are trying to take steps to prevent the passing of this dangerous flu to our young players. Please notify your players and parents of this change at your next practice or game.

Symptoms include fever of more than 100 degrees, body aches, couching, sore throat, respiratory congestion and in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea. Seek emergency care for children if they exhibit fast breathing or have trouble breathing; bluish skin; not drinking enough fluids; not waking up or interacting; flu symptoms that improve but return with a fever and worse cough and rash.

In adults, warning signs include difficulty breathing; pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen; sudden dizziness; confusion and severe or persistent vomiting.

No vaccine specifically protects against the swine flu. The human flu shot given every winter will not help.

If you should have any concerns or comments you may reply to me or any other KYSO board member. All board member numbers and E-mail can be found at under the contact section.

Keith Koester
Director, Risk Management
Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization

Letter: Thanks to Conley

Heartfelt thanks to all who participated in the recent Conley Farm work day. We were overwhelmed by the number of friends, neighbors and colleagues that converged that morning, despite the overcast skies and drizzle.

The amount of work done in a relatively short amount of time to prepare the shed, gardens and grounds for our summer Conley Outreach programs was truly amazing. A special thanks to Paisano’s for donating lunch for the volunteers and to Midwest Ground Cover and Schollmeyer Landscaping for donating the equipment and materials used in the creek bed project.

On behalf of Bruce, Kris and the entire Conley family, thank you for your ongoing support. The outpouring of love manifested through your physical labor and words of encouragement has touched us all more than you will ever know.

Carol Alfrey
Conley Outreach Community Services

Seek help to avoid foreclosure

by Gwen Allen
As in any recession, times are hard on everyone, but for some homeowners it may seem almost hopeless. From the loss of a job to higher living costs or the inability to refinance, they are starting to accept foreclosure as an inevitable.

But there is hope, and the best part is, it is free and does not affect your credit. Nonprofit housing counselors, approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are available to all homeowners. They not only offer guidance government’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan in loan modification or refinancing, and financial counseling to help minimize future distress.

“Though helpful in their right, counselors aren’t miracle workers”, said Dale Steichen, a financial counselor for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Elgin Family Service Association (CCCS).

If homeowners wait too long, there may be no way to help save them. Steichen said it takes about 10 months to foreclose, but after just the third missed payment, the mortgage company hires an attorney and additional fees start compounding the problem.

“If they are still in the house there is hope, but ideally I want to see them before it’s broken,” Steichen said. “Once you’re late on payments, you’re running the clock. Most people get an inkling something is wrong before they get behind, either from cut hours at work or they start to get behind on bills; that’s when they should see a counselor.”

Like an ostrich, he said people hide their heads, hoping the problem will go away instead of facing it. But if you’re a homeowner, even if you can afford your payment and pay on time, you could still be at risk, Steichen said.

“Everybody who has a mortgage will be in trouble, because we live in a global economy,” Steichen said. “People are losing jobs and buying less; it comes back to affect everyone. Another problem is that too many people are going into this mortgage crisis with too much debt.”

Either with a counselor or not, the first step in preventing home loss is establishing a plan, and this begins with a budget, he said.

“I recommend looking at your budget first and cutting all your non-essentials, this includes cell phones, eating out and any other entertainment,” Steichen said. “A $200 (monthly) deficit is workable and can be reworked by a budget. It’s about managing the money you have, that’s the key, not making more money.”

If a deficit remains after a budget is set and the nonessentials are cut, then it may be time for a more aggressive plan. Talk with your mortgage company and ask for a loan modification or refinance. If they are unresponsive, Steichen said it is completely acceptable to ask for your loan investor group’s (i.e. Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac, FHA) contact information. While he said the mortgage company has “little to lose”, the loan investor has more at stake and may “squeeze” the mortgage company into cooperation.

“They (the mortgage company) typically will stall them (homeowners) out, and that is where I come in; I can get the refinance or loan modification and help them save their home,” Steichen said. “I will also access a client’s unsecured debt and look at interest rates. I can work with creditors to lower the interest rates so that more money goes to the principal.”

Again, time is crucial. He said the entire process, whether done alone or with a counselor, can take anywhere from three to four months for a refinance or loan modification. So seek help way before the bank serves you with an eviction notice, or the loss will be much greater than lawyer fees; it may cost you your home.

“The biggest problem is that most people don’t know their options and that is what I’m here for,” Steichen said. “Our job is to make homeowners informed.”

For more information, contact CCCS at 1-888-790-2370 or

HUD’s tips to avoid foreclosure

1. Don’t ignore the problem.
The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and lose your house.

2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem.
Lenders do not want your house, they have options to help.

3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.
The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options and ongoing mail may include important notice of pending legal action. Failure to open your notices will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.

4. Know your mortgage rights.
Find your loan documents and read them thoroughly, know what your lender will do if you can’t make your payments. Research foreclosure laws and time frames in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.

5. Understand foreclosure prevention options.
Information about foreclosure prevention (called loss mitigation) options can be found on the Internet at

6. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low cost housing counseling nationwide. Counselors can help you understand your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need this assistance. Find a HUD approved counselor near you or call (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339. 7. Prioritize your spending.
After health care, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Delay payments on credit cards and other “unsecured” debt until you have paid your mortgage.

8. Use your assets.
Use assets such as a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy for cash to help reinstate your loan? Get a second job. These actions demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.

9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies.
You don’t need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help-use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender, but at a significant fee. Contact a HUD approved counselor for free help.

10. Don’t lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams
If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately and you sign a document to appoint them to act on your behalf, you may be signing over your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms or get help from a professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional, or a HUD approved counselor.

Keeping an eye on your health

by Gwen Allen
It’s a fact: With age, our bodies deteriorate. Our eyes are no exception. In fact, most people over the age of 60 require some sort of assistance with reading glasses or bifocals.

Though common, one age-related eye disease is often overlooked. Age-related macular degeneration is a medical condition usually of older adults resulting in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field, and is estimated to affect some 9 million Americans’ vision every year, robbing them of some of life’s simplest pleasures.

“The amount of people it affects in the U.S. alone is more than the entire population in New York City,” said Guy Eakin, director of research grants for Macular Degeneration Research at the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF). “This means that it affects more people than the top 13 cancers. The problem is a lot of people have it and don’t know it yet.”

With a simple eye exam, Eakin said patients can begin a road to maintain the vision they have left and slow down, if not stop, the disease all together. As the number one cause of legal blindness, macular degeneration demands public awareness, he said.

“It is life affecting, because people can’t drive and they are at an increase risk for injuries,” Eakin said.

Though it cannot be reversed, he said it is critical to catch it at its earliest onset.

“We are leaders in this research; we have helped develop therapies that can regenorate and restore some vision, slowing the progression to a degree of almost halting it,” Eakin said. “But people need to talk to a professional as soon as possible and ask them to schedule a baseline eye exam (to benefit from therapy).”

He said macular degeneration is particularily scary, because it affects direct vision.

“The major difference between this and glaucoma is that with glaucoma you get tunnel vision and still fairly have a clear central field,” Eakin said. “But with macular degeneration you lose central vision while the periphial vision is maintained.”

To understand this concept, he tells people to make a circle with their forefinger and their thumb, this takes away periphial vision similiar to glaucoma. For macular degeneration, Eakin said make a fist and put it in front of your eye; this blocks central vision leaving only periphial vision.

“This just gives you an idea of what it’s like, but it is not something that can be self-diagnosed, and every person is different and needs each eye tested individually,” Eakin said.

It is mostly genetic and more dominant in white individuals. He said there is evidence to support that the disease can be triggered by controllable factors within a persons lifestyle.

Smoking, high blood pressure and prolonged sun exposure all seem to lend to higher rates of macular degeneration.

Dr. Alyce Hofmann of Elburn Eyecare said the biggest way to offset macular degeneration is good preventative eye care.

“Anyone who works outside or recreational athletes need to wear the proper eye protection,” Hofmann said.

She said this means looking for glasses that say at least 80 to 90 percent UVA and UVB protection.

“Nothing will protect 100 percent, but any prescription glasses you get probably already have this clear coating on them,” Hofmann said. “It’s not the tint of the eyeglasses that protect its the UV clear coating, so you could have clear lenses as long as they have this coating they will protect your eyes.”

Hofmann also recommends vitamin supplements along with a healthy diet to maintain healthy eye function and delay complications.

“Once supplement that I recommend is Lutein; you can purchase it over the counter, I think it is the biggest thing to help circulation and blood flow to the back of the eye,” Hofmann said. “Nothing will really prevent it, but it could delay its onset.”

With regular eye care appointments, Hofmann recommends one a year for anyone over 40-supplements and an overall healthy lifestyle, the affects of the disease on future generations should diminish, she said.

“Overall, awareness is starting to grow, people in their 40s and 50s are watching their aging parents and starting to ask me about the disease,” Hofmann said. “So hopefully with increased awareness it will become less of a problem.”

For more information on macular degeneration visit or

Country Covenant Mother’s Day Worship

Country Covenant Church and interim Pastor Paul Bischoff invite the public to a Mother’s Day worship service led by the Lonesome Theologians on Sunday, May 10.

Adult Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring your Bibles and be ready for good study and discussion. Children’s Sunday School is held during the church service.

Wednesday evening study group continues with RockSolid at 7 p.m., a study of church beliefs and doctrines.

Tickets are now on sale for the Fay’s Barbeque dinner fundraiser on Saturday, May 16, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $13 at the door. The money raised is used to send campers to summer camp.

Country Covenant Church is located at Route 47 and McDonald Road, Campton Hills. Call (847) 464-5381 or check

Calvary Episcopal hosts Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Women are invited to the first annual Mad Hatter Tea Party on Saturday, May 9, at 3 p.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church.

The day will include refreshments served by the men of the parish, who will also provide entertainment. Prizes for the best hats in a variety of categories will also be part of the fun.

Proceeds from the event will help fund Calvary’s outreach to Mutual Ground, a local shelter for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. A suggested donation of $10 per person for the event is requested, and advance reservations are required. A reservation form may be found at

Calvary is located at 222 S. Batavia Ave., at the corner of Route 31 and Main Street. Call (630) 879-3378.

Sugar Grove UMC invites public to dedication

The public is invited to the dedication of a new open-air steel pavilion at the future site of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, 4S633 Harter Road, on Sunday, May 17, at noon. The site is part of the church’s 40-acre campus, located west of Route 47 and Waubonsee Community College.

The pavilion is to be dedicated in memory of Cathy Brouch Kroe.

Everyone is also invited to a “planting party” on Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. The group will plant native flowers and grasses around the pavilion, in memory of Richard and Margaret Raymond, and at the church’s nearby three-acre native prairie.

For more information, call (630) 466-4501.

Best Swine Flu preparedness starts with simple prevention practices

Among the best “offenses” available against the Swine Flu is good old-fashioned hand washing.

That’s right-hand washing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control in Washington, D.C., the single-most important thing people can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others is to wash their hands.

Why? Because some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes up to two hours or more on surfaces like cafeteria tables, door knobs and desks. Still, other germs can be carried by people, animals or equipment and transmitted to food. The results can be deadly.

As important as hand washing is, research has shown people do not wash their hands as often as they think they do. One particularly unsettling “Handwashing Observational and Telephone Survey” was done in August 1996, for the Bayer Corporation Pharmaceutical Division in association with the American Society for Microbiology. Although 94 percent of telephone respondents (1,004 adults) claimed they always washed their hands after using the restroom, a subsequent observational survey of 6,333 adults in public restrooms (New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and San Francisco) found that only 68 percent, in fact, actually did wash their hands.

Similar results were found in a study of middle and high school students. As reported in the American Journal of Infection Control (1997), this particular study found only 58 percent of female students and 48 percent of male students washed their hands after using the bathroom.

Although it would be easy to assume society has come a long way in the decade since, millions upon millions of school and work days are still lost simply because people don’t wash their hands often or well enough.

“Given how contagious Swine Flu is proving to be, the best first line of defense is to wash your hands well several times a day,” said Douglas Weigand, interim executive director for the Fox River Chapter of the American Red Cross, St. Charles.

The chapter has “Clean Hands Saves Lives” information available for both adults and children. To request a copy, call (630) 443-8844 or visit the chapter offices at 121 N. 2nd St., Suite G. in St. Charles. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Buck receives scholarship

Hope College student Jenna Buck of Elburn received the Joyce M. Morrison Voice Scholarship at the annual Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 23.

The award is presented annualy to the most promising freshman vocalist who has expressed an intention to pursue a career in classical voice, as determined by the chairperson of the voice division of the department of music.

Bruckner, Engstrom to wed

Susan Bruckner and Kevin Engstrom of Denver, Colo., are engaged to be married. The wedding ceremony will be June 19 at Blue Lake Ranch outside of Durango, Colo.

Susan’s parents are Kathleen and Palmer Tibbetts of Franklin, Wis., and Larry Bruckner of Durango, Colo. She is a 1995 graduate of Greendale High School in Greendale, Wis., and a 1999 graduate of Colorado State University. Susan received her Masters Degree in Community Counseling from Adams State College in 2008. She is a counselor and the owner of Elder Wellness, LLC in Denver.

Kevin’s parents are Ellen Engstrom of Elburn and Rodney Engstrom of DeKalb. He is a 1995 graduate of DeKalb High School and a 2000 graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Kevin received his Masters Degree in Education from Prescott College in 2007. He is a science teacher at PS1 Charter School in Denver.

June Elizabeth (Harris) Toft

June Elizabeth (Harris) Toft, 87, of Maple Park, passed from this life to eternal life in the early morning hours of Tuesday April 28, 2009. She was born in Chicago on May 3, 1921, to Thomas and Evelyn (Mathey) Harris.

June grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended local schools. Following school and during the war, June helped make hand grenades at a local factory.

June married Alex Einear Toft on Jan. 6, 1940, in Hinsdale, Ill., and made their home in Downers Grove. While Alex worked outside of the home, June worked to make their house a home and raised their daughter, Barbara. Later she worked for various factories but spent a majority of her working years at Marshall Fields in the drapery department.

June and Alex found a home on several acres in Maple Park in 1991. It was a perfect location for Alex to continue his passion for horses and for June to expand her gardening. Sadness came in 2000 when Alex passed away, and until recent days, June continued to make her home in Maple Park.

June had a heart for gardening and hands for knitting. Her garden was always full of delicious vegetables and gorgeous flowers, and she had a legacy of priceless handmade afghans made for her great nieces and nephews. In her younger years, she could be found dancing at local ballrooms, and later, June’s favorite pastimes included driving the tractor and mowing the lawn.

She is survived by one granddaughter, Heather (Don) Harner of Plainfield; two siblings, Jean Murphy of Mokena, Ill. and Robert Harris Jr. of Ill.; many nieces and nephews, including Beverly (Tom) Wakolbinger of St. Charles, Thomas (Barbara) Harris of Two Sisters, Ore., Alan (Miriam) Harris of Sunnyvale, Calif., Jackie (David) Rubin of Oxnard, Calif. and William (Diane) Boyd of Bolingbrook, Ill.; many grand-nieces and nephews, including Tiffany (Roberto) Ortiz of Bolingbrook, Ill., and several great-grand nieces and nephews; one special friend and companion, Wesley Landmeier, and a family of friends.

She now joins her parents, husband Alex, daughter Barbara, one brother, and three sisters, who preceded her in death.

Visitation was Monday, May 4, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate her life was also May 4, with cremation following.

A memorial will be established in June’s name. Memorials checks may be made to the June Toft 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 her obituary at

John F. Krbec

John F. Krbec, 76, of Republic, entered eternal life Thursday afternoon, April 23, 2009, at Marquette General Hospital in the loving care of his family. He was born May 25, 1932, in Chicago, the son of Frank and Anna (Mann) Krbec.

John was raised in Northlake, Ill., and graduated from the Leyden Township School. He entered the U.S. Army in 1951, serving with the 5th Regiment Combat Team during the Korean Conflict.

Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Illinois, where on Nov. 29, 1959, he married the former Pamela M. Coan in Westchester. The couple spent their honeymoon deer hunting. John and Pam resided in Elburn for a time, raising their son, Scott.

For over 30 years, John was employed as a supervisor with Illinois Bell Telephone, retiring in 1989.

In the early ’50s, John began making trips to the Upper Peninsula, Mich., to deer hunt. He fell in love with the natural beauty and solitude of the region and, in 1990, John and Pam moved to Republic.

A talented watercolorist for more than 28 years, John found the beauty of the Upper Peninsula offered a wealth of inspiration for his creative talent. He exhibited frequently, was a member of the Lake Superior Art Association, and for many years, featured his work at Art on the Rocks. He was also a competitive archer, developing his skill while in service, and was an original member of the Chicago Bow Hunter’s Association. His other passion was antique tractors, and he was a member of the Northwoods Antique Tractor Club.

John is survived by his loving wife, Pam; son, Scott (Laura) Krbec of San Antonio, Texas; his grandchildren, Aidan, Mackenzie, and Brigid Krbec of San Antonio, Texas; two brothers, James (Jean) Krbec of Phoenix, Ariz. and Jerry (Bonnie) Krbec of Toledo, Ohio; several nephews, his canine springers, Abby and Wendy; feline companion, Keri; and old pals, Big Red, Red Baron, Snoopy and Little Orange Peel that were the core of his tractor passion. John was preceded in death by his parents.

The family received relatives and friends at the Fassbender Funeral Home on Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. A Service of Remembrance followed at 4 p.m. with Rev. William Payne, family friend and neighbor, officiating. Internment will be in a national cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the American Cancer Society or the Marquette County Humane Society, 84 Snowfield Road, Negaunee, MI 49866.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Michael Andrew Kovach

Michael Andrew Kovach, 39, of Elburn, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, April 27, 2009. He was a loving and dedicated husband, father, son, brother and friend to all. Words cannot express the love he had for his family.

Mike was a graduate of Waubonsee Community College and Illinois State University and owned his own business. He was an avid golfer and bowler, often competing in the nationals tournaments. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Mike was a passionate conservative Republican and loved political debates. He loved doing home remodeling projects and looked forward to purchasing the new tools and equipment required.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine (Burton) Kovach; his children, Michael, Sarah, Emily and Aidan; his parents, Albert and Kathleen Kovach; his sister, Krysta December; his brother, David (Catherine) Kovach and their children, Alexander, Jarod and Levi; his grandparents, William and Helen Hergenroether and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Mike was preceded in death by his grandparents, Albert and Julia Kovach.

A funeral mass was held Monday, May 4, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Angels Church, Aurora. Msgr. Martin Heinz was the celebrant. Visitation was held Sunday, May 3, at the Healy Chapel, 332 W. Downer Place, Aurora, where a liturgical wake service was held at 6 p.m. Interment was at Sugar Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family for the children’s educational fund.

For more information, please call (630) 897 9291 or visit to sign the online guestbook.

Jack Lee Keeney

Jack Lee Keeney 75, of St. Charles, died Friday, May 1, 2009, at home with his loved ones at his side. He was born March 1, 1934, in Seattle, Wash., the son of Ronald and Marian (Foss) Keeney.

He proudly served in the United States Army.

Jack was the founder of Foremost Fastener Company in Addison, Ill. He was a member of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, where he and his beloved late wife, Jackie served.

Jack was a loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and will be deeply missed.

Jack is survived by his loving children, Kevin (Diane) Keeney of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kim (Jim) Fitzpatrick of Elburn and Sharon (Mike) Haas of Huntley; his precious grandchildren, Kristi (Doug) Hull, Jack Keeney, Sarah (Jim Ohman) Keeney and Luke Keeney, Chris and Sean Fitzpatrick, Erica, Anna, Samantha, and Caitlin Haas; and his first great-grandchild, Alyssa Olhman; his brothers, James Keeney of Sioux Falls, S.D. and Gerald Keeney of Portland, Ore., and his sisters, Jean Ann (Walter) Nicaise of Kennewick, Wash. and Karen (Richard) Pacialick of Buffalo, Minn.

In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jackie, on July 11, 2008, and his sister, Judith Keeney.

A visitation and service to celebrate his life were held Monday, May 4, at the funeral home.

Burial will be private.

Contributions in Jack’s memory may be made to Hesed House, 659 South River, Aurora, IL 60506
For more information, call (630)584-2000 or visit

Paul M. Einwich

Paul M. Einwich, 52, of Sycamore, passed away at his home in Montello, Wis., on April 30, 2009.

He now leaves his loving wife, Donna Einwich; six children, Ronald (Peggy) Hendry of Bloomingdale, Angela (Randal) Nelson of Kingston, Ill., Mitch (Kim) Hendry of Maple Park, Trish (Michael Sciabaras) Hendry of Maple Park, Jenni (James Jordan) Einwich of North Aurora, Jason Einwich of Montello, Wis.; nine grandchildren; four siblings, Jayne (Michael) Jordan of Elburn, Peter (Terry Ingold) Einwich of Cortland, Julia (Mark) Stanhibel of Rodando Beach, Calif., and Victoria (Joe) Monks of Chandler, Ariz.; his mother, Lorraine Einwich of Elgin; many nieces, nephews, and his best friend, Jerry “Bo” Bowgren.

He now joins his father, George; and grandmother, Margaret Martin, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was held on Sunday, May 3, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A mass to celebrate his life was held Monday, May 4, at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Virgil.

There was a visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, officiated and interment followed at Lily Lake Cemetery. For those unable to attend the service, a video of the service will also be available in on-demand form at no charge on the website.

A memorial has been established in his name to benefit S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Checks may be made to the “Paul Einwich 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 For a full length life story obituary, please go to

2009 Kaneland Prom Court

The theme for the 2009 Kaneland High School Prom was “Big City, Bright Lights.”
The prom court was as follows: (from Ledft) Brad Frabrizius, Meghan Krajewski, Joe Spitzzeri, Kristen Hamer, Mike Jenny (Prince), Sara Rose (Princess), Emily Kenkel (Queen), Curtis Lubic (King), Lindsay Gierke, Christian Dillon, Dana Zimmer and Charlie Miles.

Man pleads guilty in sexual assault of Elburn girls

A Wheaton man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two young girls in Elburn.

Francis G. Nolen, 34, of Box Elder Avenue in Wheaton, Ill., was sentenced to 25 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and one count of criminal sexual assault, a Class 1 felony.

Associate Judge Leonard J. Wojtecki accepted the plea.

Between January 2007 and March 2008, Nolen had inappropriate sexual contact with two young girls he was babysitting in their Elburn homes. The incidents were at separate times in separate locations. The victims were younger than 13.

According to Illinois law, Nolen must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence. Upon his release from ICOD, Nolen must register for life as a predatory sexual offender.

Nolen was given credit for 392 days served in the Kane County Jail, where he had been held on $500,000 bail since his arrest.

The case was investigated by the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, and prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Christine Bayer.

Police impersonator story a hoax

by Susan O’Neill
The woman who claimed to be a victim of a robbery conducted by a man impersonating a police officer has confessed that the incident never took place.

Sugar Grove investigator John Sizer said they brought the 32-year-old Yorkville resident in on Wednesday night for further questioning when the investigation revealed inconsistencies in her story.

She was charged on Thursday afternoon with disorderly conduct, a Class 4 felony, for filing a false police report.

“It may just be a sign of the times,” Sizer said.

The woman and her husband had both recently lost their jobs. With a family of three children including a new baby, the woman sold her jewelry for money to pay her bills. She made up the story about the robbery to cover up her plight.

“It was more of a crime of desperation,” he said. “I don’t think she had any idea it would attract this much attention.”

Sizer said if there is something good that came of this, it is that the system worked well to get the word out.

“The media response was phenomenal,” he said. “The public response was overwhelming. We had calls from all over the place. Virtually everyone we talked to was aware of it.”

Sizer said they received dozens of leads and the department followed up on them. The down side was the number of man hours spent following this complaint.

“We were taking this thing very seriously,” he said.

C. Darwin Cooper

C. Darwin Cooper, 80, of Campton Township, passed away at his home, surrounded by the love of his family, Saturday, May 16, 2009.

He was born in Belvidere, Ill., on July 20, 1928. Darwin attended public schools until his junior year of high school. He then attended and graduated from a private school, Wheaton College Academy. During his elementary and secondary school years, he excelled in basketball, cornet in the high school band, and studied piano.

He developed his piano skills throughout his lifetime, and it was a source of many hours of enjoyment. Classical music played a very significant part of Darwin’s life that evolved into his love for symphonic music, opera and recitals. At retirement, he learned how to play a pipe organ and installed a full-size, three-rank pipe organ in his basement.

He graduated from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., in 1950 and majored in education. During his college years, he was proficient in basketball and baseball.

He was united in marriage to Pauline Blomberg on Sept. 12, 1951.

Upon graduation, he taught junior high and high school for six years in Illinois and Iowa. In addition to teaching several classes, Darwin became principal during his third year at a school in Savanna, Ill. He also had unique experiences in a small consolidated school in Iowa, grades 1-12, where he taught history, English, coached boys basketball and baseball. He also coached girls basketball, which was very popular in Iowa at that time. Never one to sit idle, he also directed the high school band and taught private piano lessons.

After six years of teaching, Darwin turned to the business world for employment. He worked 10 years for Automatic Electric Company, part of GTE, in Northlake, Ill. There he served as manager for the Customer Order Processing Department. Later, he began working with National Starch and Chemical Company, where he worked for 24 years until his retirement in January of 1991. His position at National Starch was very challenging as well as rewarding and involved managing 10 customer service and sales offices in the Midwest and the West Coast.

Darwin was a lifelong practicing committed Christian. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake for 40 years, where he served in many leadership roles, including church council, finance and adult education. He also sang tenor in the choir.

Darwin was a person with many passions and achievements. One unusual accomplishment was that he built his own family home. He did 90 percent of the work himself during nine months in 1964, all while working full time at a challenging job.

At the early age of 11 he developed a life long passion for railroading, and took many photographs and collected a large amount of railroad materials and publications, especially during the age of steam. He researched railroad history and published the findings in six railroad historical society magazines.

The study of history was always a passion, especially American history and specifically Abraham Lincoln. His library consisted of volumes of books and included the most ever written about Lincoln in the past 50 years.

Darwin considered the last 15 years of his life to be the most rewarding of all. It was during this time that he was awakened to the fact that his faith demanded concern for the disadvantaged persons in our world and to advocate for them in the public policy arena. This resulted in many editorials in the papers and visits to his legislators. He was particularly proud of his involvement in the establishment of Lutheran Advocacy, which is an attempt to awaken Lutherans in their responsibilities to put their faith in action and to advocate for public policies to aid the disadvantaged.

Above all else, his family will miss him as a loving husband and father and the integral part he played in his loving close knit family.

He now leaves his loving wife of 57 years, Pauline Cooper; three children, David Cooper and his wife, Eileen Conway of Fairfax, Va., Phillip Cooper and his life partner, Susan Urban of St. Charles, and Jonathan Cooper and his wife, Kris Cooper, of St. Charles; five grandchildren, Erin, Rhiannon, Jeremy, David and Sarah; one sister Iona Sunden of Coloma, Wis., nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

He now joins his parents, Clarence and Mildred (Fonken) Cooper, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was Tuesday, May 19, at Grace Lutheran Church, Lily Lake. A memorial service was held following visitation. Rev. Ernst Rex, pastor of the church, officiated. Private family interment was held following cremation.

For those who were unable to attend the service, a video of the service is available at For more information, please call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.

A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the Darwin Cooper Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through