AU honors employees for years of service

Aurora—Local residents are among Aurora University employees recently honored for five to 35 years of service.

Employees were recognized at a third annual Fall Founders Convocation in Crimi Auditorium. Local employees recognized were Beverly Taylor of Elburn and Judith Maxwell, both with five years of service.

New features at the Marmion Christmas Tree Farm

Aurora—Marmion Abbey Farm opens Saturday, Nov. 21, daily from 9 a.m. to dusk, for those who enjoy the tradition of hunting through the pines and spruces to cut down their own Christmas tree.

The Abbey Farm has more than 120 acres of trees available for $30 to $40 each.

The Marmion Abbey Farm is located on Butterfield Road about five miles west of the routes 59 and 56 junction. Visit to download a flyer and map of the tree farm, or for more information call (630) 897-6936.

Those who have made the Marmion tree hunt a family tradition will notice some new features at the farm, including sleds for kids, a tree bailer for easy transport, as well as warming fires and free hot chocolate on the weekends. This year, the farm also offers a selection of pre-cut Michigan Fir trees and handmade wreaths.

The Abbey Farm, which began raising trees in 1957, has played a key role with Marmion Abbey and Academy. The successful business of selling Christmas trees has enabled the monks of Marmion Abbey to continue their ministries throughout our community and grow the San Jose Priory in Guatemala. The farm has also been, and will continue to be, an educational resource for the young men of Marmion Academy. Through a close partnership, the farm teaches the students of Marmion Academy about stewardship of land and the ecology of running a tree farm.

Guest Editorial: Give thanks for what we have, not what we may have lost

Guest Editorial
by Darlene Marcusson
Executive Director
Lazarus House

Lazarus House is always thankful for God’s grace and for the generous support of this incredible community, but never more so than at Thanksgiving this year. So many people are suffering in this tough economic climate, yet despite that, the community continues to rally to help their neighbors in need.

I was recently honored with the Roscoe Ebey award for humanitarian services, and I said at the awards ceremony that the award doesn’t belong to me, but rather to everyone in the community who reaches out to care for their neighbors in need. I mean that with my whole heart. There are many, many heroes in our community, from the retired volunteer bell ringer at the Salvation Army kettle to the toddler who puts their coins in the kettle rather than buying themselves a candy bar.

We are so blessed to live in a community that holds up as its core value caring for others, and Lazarus House is thankful every day to be part of that care. Please know we are blessed to have an additional rental/utility subsidy grant that can be of significant help to those who are affected by this economic downturn. Please call our Outreach Department at (630) 587-5872 to find out if this grant may be helpful for you or someone you know. Helping our neighbors stay in housing is a gift to all of us.

This Thanksgiving, let us all stop and give thanks to God for what we have left, not grumble about what we may have lost, and let us strengthen our resolve to work together as a community to care for our neighbors in need. May God bless you and your Thanksgiving.

Letter: Don’t confuse belief, opinion with fact

After reading the letter from Mr. Florian from last week’s Elburn Herald (Nov. 19), I felt the need to respond.

Mr. Florian is indeed entitled to his own opinion—but let us make sure we don’t confuse the opinions in his letter with fact. First, Mr. Florian clearly states that homosexuality is a “personal choice.” Unless there is some earth-shattering news that I am not yet aware of, there has not been a definitive answer reached in the debate of genetics versus environment in the role of homosexuality. There have been several studies done with various outcomes, but again—nothing definitive.

Mr. Florian also mentions those that are able to “revert from homosexuality through religious conversion.” It is interesting to me that in August of this year, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution that mental health professionals should avoid telling patients that their sexual orientation can be altered through therapy or other types of treatment.

Next, let us tackle the topic of the use of the word “gay” that has been “hijacked,” as Mr. Florian put it, by the homosexual community. As early as 1890, the word gay was equated with promiscuity—a “gay house” was another name for a brothel. Also, in the 1938 movie “Bringing Up Baby,” Cary Grant (while dressed in a feathery robe) speaks the line, “Because I just went gay … all of a sudden.” I would say there has been more of a pop-culture shift in the use of the word rather than a “hijacking” by any specific group.

Although it is true that young homosexual males are up to 13 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, it has also been found that those young homosexual or bisexual males are disproportionally subject to anti-gay attitudes. This, in conjunction with the self-esteem issues suffered by many teens, would certainly help explain this trend. The highest suicide rates in the United States are actually attributed to adults over the age of 65.

Mr. Florian was correct in stating that blood banks do refuse donations from males who have had even one homosexual encounter since 1977. However, they also refuse donations from any individual that has taken a form of payment for sex since 1977, has used needles to take drugs not prescribed by a doctor, was born in or has lived in any number of Central African countries since 1977, has had sex with anyone in any of these groups since 1977. Guess what—these are all risk factors for HIV. Yes, the homosexual community is one of several groups that have higher risk of HIV.

I just want to close out this letter by stating that I am not trying to start a debate with Mr. Florian or anyone else that wishes to express their beliefs on the subject of homosexuality. I can respect the fact that we are all entitled to a point of view—that is one of the things that makes our country great. However, let’s make sure that we don’t confuse belief and opinion with fact.

Andrea S. Williams

Letter: Care packages to troops continues

The American Legion Women’s Auxiliary of Sugar Grove Post #1271 has been sending boxes to the troops overseas for many years now.

Recently, on Nov. 10, we packed up yet another mailing for them; about 25 boxes were prepared by the Auxiliary volunteers and will be mailed this week.

We try to send three or four mailings per year, particularly around the Christmas holiday time. Our money for these mailings comes mostly from an event we run in tandem to the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, our annual car show. We also accept personal donations of both material goods and money; we have drop bins in the American Legion Post at 65 First St., Sugar Grove.

We take pride in the work that we are doing and have received many thank-yous from across the seas.

Beth E. Johnson
Women’s Auxiliary
American Legion Post #1271
Sugar Grove

Letter: Differences between groups need to be based on fact

Robert Florian’s letter about homosexuality references name-calling of anyone who composes a factual letter shedding a negative light on the gay lifestyle being branded homophobic.

There are certainly worse things to be called than homophobic. It’s hardly unusual to be afraid or confused about things we don’t understand. Mr. Florian should really concern himself with how we refer to people who mix facts with half truths and pure fiction.

Clearly, Mr. Florian has a unique perspective and selects his “facts” carefully. Homosexuality may, perhaps, be a choice for some, but for the majority it is not. This is indeed a fact.

The example Mr. Florian uses of a middle-aged person waking up one morning and choosing to be gay defies logic or reality. It would seem more likely than not that a middle-aged person “comes out” after having tried to conform to the societal norm of how he (or she) was raised—to be heterosexual. After years of guilt, confusion, torment, unhappiness, they decide they no longer wish to live a lie. I don’t think there’s a very long line of true homosexuals cured by religion, but those few who claim to be are certainly getting some attention. Perhaps the secondary gain will keep them straight. More likely, they’re just confused and pressured.

“Historically it (homosexuality) has proven to be a lifestyle destructive to the human race.”

I would love to see a list of legitimate citations for this “fact.” It would make an interesting thesis. The human race isn’t quite yet destroyed, but we’re working on it through overpopulation and environmental destruction.

Sorry, but neither of those are really gay-related. Of all the social problems in the world, homosexuality ranks pretty low on the list. I understand the religious condemnation, because people always rail against things they practice in secret.

How many religious or political leaders have condemned the behavior of others while disgracing themselves in private? Were the Great Depression or any of the wars throughout history caused by homosexuality? Did a gay person invent the atomic bomb? Was Hitler gay? How about the leaders of Iran or North Korea or Bin Laden? Is this where we’re supposed to jump to the conclusion that God allowed 9/11 or H1N1 because of homosexuality?

The incidence of suicide is higher for homosexuals. It is estimated that 1 in 3 teen suicides are gay or lesbian. There is a nine-fold increase in teen suicide where the teen is rejected by family. It would be no stretch to realize that being gay is stressful and being openly gay results in being subjected to all forms of abuse. Why would anyone choose to be the object of ridicule when you could choose to fit in, follow the herd and be straight? Is being gay really just the result of bad decision-making?

We heterosexuals win for the most serial murderers. There might be a higher percentage ratio of homosexual serial killers given their percentage in the population, but we win for outright numbers. The reality is that the absolute percentage of serial killers in the general population is so small that this is statistically insignificant. Forty-three percent of serial killers have had at least one homosexual experience, but not all of these were living a homosexual lifestyle (translation—not gay).

Blood banks do not exclude males who have had one homosexual contact from being blood donors. This is a pure fabrication. That would also exclude a number of heterosexual males who likely wouldn’t even admit to such a thing. I’ve been a Red Cross volunteer. There are certain patterns of behavior or circumstances (promiscuity, unprotected sex, drug use/abuse, certain chronic illnesses and prescribed drugs, recent travel out of the country) that may exclude anyone, with hepatitis being one of the greatest concerns.

It appears to me that Mr. Rosko and the GSA have avoided the trap that Mr. Florian chooses to live in. Rather than living in fear and uncertainty and believing in myths and half truths, these kids are trying to right a wrong. Young people sometimes can teach us a great deal about life if we choose to listen instead of judge.

Sadly for some, wisdom doesn’t always come with age and experience. I have been married for 24 years and am the proud parent of two teens. I am not afraid of homosexuals, and my marriage will not be diminished or have less significance because of gay marriage. I choose to be educated and informed rather than accepting what people like Mr. Florian choose to believe.

Robert B. Morgan

Letter: Don’t drop the ball on Iraq

We cannot afford to take our eyes off of Iraq as we focus more on Afghanistan. If we leave before a stable, functioning government and society have developed, we risk losing not only Iraq but all of the Middle East, including Afghanistan, to extremist and anti-U.S. forces.

Our team first traveled to Iraq in 2006 on a C-130 military aircraft, wearing personal body armor and helmets, and using an aggressive landing approach to avoid potential small arms fire.

Any movement outside the safe area, or “green zone,” required a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) convoy, with each vehicle carrying three military personnel for every two civilians. The Iraqi soldiers appeared lethargic and wore mismatched uniforms; and of their six HMMWVs, four were broken and none were fully armored.

Three years later, our team was flying to Iraq on a commercial airline. While getting around is not the same as traveling down Interstate 90, and still requires an armed security escort in bullet-proof suburbans, the improvement in security is obvious. Throughout Baghdad, we saw Iraqi checkpoints manned by HMMWVs nearly every mile. The soldiers and police were dressed in new, pressed uniforms and their equipment appeared to be well-maintained.

Overall, the security situation on the ground has greatly improved over the course of my 11 trips into Iraq. However, there continues to be random acts of violence throughout the country—acts intended to destabilize the Iraqi government—and are not necessarily targeted at Coalition forces.

Clearly, only time will tell if the government and security forces of Iraq are up to the challenge of providing for the safety and security of their own citizens.

After spending so much time on the ground in Iraq, I am able to do little more than raise a few issues and share my personal impressions. But I believe my observations are consistent with the current overall assessment of the situation in Iraq. Those observations suggest a couple of general policy prescriptions.

First, U.S. and Coalition forces have hundreds of projects underway throughout Iraq, including governance assistance efforts, economic and educational programs, and agricultural and industrial support, just to name a few. These programs must be seen to conclusion or handed off responsibly to the Iraqi government or to international non-governmental organizations. Our assistance to the people of Iraq must not be left to atrophy.

Second, how we continue to support Iraq is being, and will continue to be, watched by the world. While it is up to the Iraqi people to govern themselves, we have a moral (and very practical) obligation to continue to assist in the development of that country. How we do this will give our allies confidence in, or reason to question, our commitments to them.

The hard work of U.S. and Coalition forces has put us in a position to move forward positively in Iraq. Our nation’s interests still most definitely remain at stake; we cannot drop the ball now.

Mark Vargas
St. Charles
14th Congressional District

2009 H1N1 Flu and the Holidays

State public health director offers holiday health tips to avoid the flu
SPRINGFIELD—Millions of people travel every year during the holiday season to spend time with friends and family.

With the 2009 H1N1 flu still circulating widely in Illinois and most of the country, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, is urging people to remember four things when traveling during the holiday season:
• Travel only when feeling well
• Wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve
• Get flu vaccinations as soon as available (both seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu for priority groups)
“As we enter the holiday season, we know the H1N1 flu is a concern for many people, especially those traveling,” Arnold said. “Taking some basic preventive measures, including staying home if you’re sick, washing your hands often, covering your cough and sneeze, and getting vaccinated when possible, can greatly reduce your chances of becoming ill. Don’t let the flu ruin your holidays.”

The flu is spread mainly through person-to-person contact when an infected person does not properly cover a cough or sneeze. Holiday travel and gatherings increase the opportunity for person-to-person contact, making it an ideal way for illness to spread.

For more information about 2009 H1N1 flu and information on vaccine sites in your area, log onto Or, for non-medical questions about the H1N1 virus, call the Illinois Flu Hotline at (866) 848-2094 or (866) 241-2138 (Spanish).

Middle school hosts book fair

Kaneland—Anderson’s Bookfair Company will bring a book store to the Kaneland Harter Middle School Library Tuesday through Monday, Dec. 1-7.

The book fair will be from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on school days, and noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, during the choir and band concerts. The book fair will extend its hours until 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7.

The middle school’s student council will provide gift wrapping for any sales during the concerts for a donation.

Call Mary Miller at (630) 466-8400, ext. 77602, or e-mail

Black belt demonstration will benefit Community Center

Elburn—Midtown Martial Arts Elburn Academy will conduct a black belt demonstration at the Elburn Countryside Community Center on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.

The demonstration is a fundraiser to offset past utility and operational bills that the community center has accumulated over the years.

The Elburn Countryside Community Center is a nonprofit business. All Midtown Martial Arts black belts that are participating will donate at least $25 each for the cause.

Grand Master Richard Temmerman has operated his businesses in the Community Center since February 1993.

“The Community Center is the heart and soul of Elburn,” he said. “I feel it is appropriate to be conducting this fundraising demonstration in connection with the Elburn Christmas Walk. My business, as well as myself personally, will be making $100 donations for this good cause.”

Temmerman said he has already received many donations from his black belts, including one of $100.

“I am proud to be a business member in the Community Center,” he said. “I am even more proud of the board members and officers who operate the Community Center for the love for our community without being paid. We would like to present President Pay Leyden with the checks at the conclusion of the Demo at around 8:15 p.m.”

If anyone would like to make contributions for this cause, please send checks written out to ECCC, and send to Midtown Martial Arts, 525 N. Main St., Elburn, IL, 60119, or you may hand them in at the demonstration.

SG Chamber members step up to offer help

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sometimes people just need to be made aware of the need.

Carol Alfrey, West Towns Human Services and Conley Outreach Community Services coordinator, attended a recent Sugar Grove Chamber meeting to talk to members about the needs that residents in their community are experiencing.

“I saw a lot of interest immediately,” Chamber Executive Director Shari Baum said.

Alfrey said she used to receive one or two calls a month from people who needed help in one way or another. In the past year, the number of those calls has multiplied to one or two people a day.

“For the most part, those receiving assistance are the ‘working poor,’”unable to make ends meet despite holding down one or two jobs,” Alfrey said. “Some have experienced medical problems and do not qualify for workman’s compensation. Others are living on disability and need help with large utility bills … Others have one-time situations, such as illness, fire or loss of job for which they need assistance.”

Conley Outreach Community Services, of Elburn, is a nonprofit organization that provides and coordinates community mental health and human service programs in rural western Kane County. The organization, while small, expands its reach through understanding community needs, creating systems of support and collaborating with other community and faith-based partners.

“I’m just one part-time person, trying to spread myself around,” Alfrey said.

Alfrey said she said she wanted to encourage each business person to think about his or her company’s unique products and services, and how those can lend themselves to helping people in a specific way.

She recounted some of the stories of people in the area who have already been helped by Sugar Grove business owners: Nick Bumba, owner of Nick’s Custom Furniture in Sugar Grove, donated brand new beds and a dresser to a woman leaving an abusive relationship; Russ Wendling, owner of Rich’s Auto Repair in Sugar Grove, finds and fixes cars that he donates to people in need of transportation; and Scarpacci’s Pizza in Sugar Grove donated dinners for a time to a family whose home had been destroyed by a fire.

Alfrey said that six or seven business people came up to her after her presentation with ideas of how they and their businesses could help. The manager of a nearby hotel with kitchenettes offered to help with temporary housing, in the case of someone being displaced from their home.

A professional fundraiser offered her expertise to Alfrey in the area of raising funds for the organization. A medical insurance broker offered to donate a percentage of his previous year’s proceeds.

All of these actions and others will be part of a Chamber Cares Program, in which the chamber, in partnership with West Towns and Conley Outreach, offers opportunities for its members to work together to take an active role in supporting the community, Baum said.

‘Kane Kares’ earns national accolades

Nurse-Family Partnership program outpacesnational averages
Kane County—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s leading health care philanthropy, has recognized Kane Kares as a Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program that outpaces the national average for Nurse Family Partnership outcomes. Kane Kares is featured in an NFP video produced by the foundation and is highlighted on the foundation’s website.

Started eight years ago in Kane County, the NFP is a national, evidence-based program designed to change the lives of vulnerable first-time mothers and their babies through ongoing home visits from registered nurses. The NFP program is proven to reduce emergency room visits for accidents and injuries, reduce language delays among toddlers, and increased economic self-sufficiency.

“It is gratifying to receive this recognition from such a prestigious foundation,” said Gerry Jones, Chairman of the Public Health Committee. “The Kane County Board has made a significant investment in Kane Kares over the past eight years, and we can see the return—both in terms of dollars and in the health of these youngsters and their families.”

Kane Kares is achieving measurable results that exceed the NFP national averages:

• Only 8.6 percent of Kane Kares infants are born premature. The NFP national average is 9.7 percent and for all Kane County births the average is 10.7 percent.

• Only 7.3 percent of Kane Kares infants are born with low birth weights, compared to 10.6 percent for the NFP national average and 9.3 percent for all births in Kane County.

• Only 13.9 percent of Kane Kares toddlers 12-24 months had emergency room visits or hospitalizations, compared to 15.1 percent for the NFP national average.

The RWJF Kane Kares video can be viewed at

Garfield Farm offers Homespun Holiday Market

CAMPTON HILLS—Garfield Farm Museum will hold its annual Candlelight Reception from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6.

Visitors can step back in time and tour the historic 1846 brick tavern. There is no charge for the candlelight event, but donations will be accepted.

The museum will also hold its Homespun Holiday Market and a bake sale both days from noon to 7 p.m. For additional information, contact the museum at (630) 584-8485 or Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva off Route 38 on Garfield Road.

Delnor celebrates home health milestone

Hospital commemorates 40 years of providing home health services
Geneva—November is Home Health Care Month, and Delnor Home Health is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The program was founded in 1969 with one nurse. Today, it has grown to a staff of nearly 40, and includes 16 registered nurses, eight of whom are case managers; 15 licensed therapists; two intake specialists; a patient care coordinator; a hospital liaison; and a director.

“Home Health has seen many changes since receiving certification 40 years ago,” said Kathy Tedesco, executive director of patient care services.

Perhaps the most significant of those is the expansion of services.

“Regulations have changed, services have expanded, technology has helped improve care, and our team has grown,” Tedesco said. “Throughout all of this change, the one constant is that we have always kept the needs of our patients at the forefront.”

Home Health Care provides a personalized approach to the recovery process.

“A home health case manager coordinates a multidisciplinary team of professionals as they follow an individualized plan of care,” said Liz Wiggins, occupational therapist in the Delnor Home Health Care program.

Some of the benefits of home health care in the long-term recovery and rehabilitation process include:
• Evaluations of home safety and functional living skills can be done in the environment that the person will need to perform in.
• Persons with poor endurance may be better able to participate in treatments or exercise when they haven’t tired themselves traveling to and from a clinic for care.
• Persons who are confused may perform better in the familiar surroundings of home.
• Monitoring of vital signs and progress by licensed professionals may enable early detection of problems that could require re-hospitalization. Telehealth technologies may be used to enhance home monitoring capabilities.

Home Health can provide a cost-effective way to administer infusion therapy (IV antibiotics, pain management medications, total parenatel nutrition, etc.), with a minimal disruption of daily life. Delnor’s Home Health conducts home visits, for a variety of needs, to monitor a patient’s health and assist in the recovery process. Education is given to patients and their families to help patients stay at home, where they are often most comfortable.

“Our Home Health program is an asset to Delnor,” Tedesco said. “These services allow us to extend our care past inpatient treatment, so that the road to recovery is smooth and patients can enjoy healing at home.”

Delnor Home Health is committed to providing quality, skilled medical services to homebound patients in Kane, Kendall, Western DuPage and DeKalb counties. Services include skilled nursing, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide and medical social work. Delnor’s Home Health Care program is accredited by The Joint Commission, a nationally recognized symbol of quality, and has been nationally recognized as a Magnet designated nursing hospital. For more information about Delnor Home Health Care, call (630) 513-0370.

Delnor Home Health is located at 964 N. Fifth Ave. in St. Charles. With nearly 40 dedicated employees, they provide skilled nursing and therapy services to more than 1,000 patients per year in the central Fox Valley.

Township transfer

The Sugar Grove Township is transitioning this month to its new quarters in the old Sugar Grove Public Library building. West Towns Human Services recently relocated there, with the Sugar Grove Assessor’s office soon to follow. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Elburn Chamber of Commerce announces 2009 Christmas Stroll

Elburn—The Elburn Chamber of Commerce will host the 15th annual Elburn Christmas Stroll from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, throughout Elburn.

The Christmas Stroll will begin with the arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the village.

This year’s Christmas Stroll offers a variety of activities for all ages. Visit and have your picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Town & Country Public Library beginning at 5 p.m. Play life-sized Kandyland at the Elburn Herald. At the north end of Main Street, enjoy a host of activities sure to delight at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, including a train ride, wine tasting hosted by the Elburn Jewel-Osco, a silent auction and raffle, cookie decorating, a Midtown Martial Arts demonstration, in addition to visiting businesses on site.

The Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will host an open house with orientations on fire equipment and hazard avoidance, which are sure to entertain and to educate.

As in years past, Village Hall will be open: stop in to visit with the staff and officials who serve you and the community throughout the year. Don’t forget to stop by Great Lakes Leadership Campus to take a tour of the mansion with all of its vintage charm. Many of the downtown stores and businesses, along with Elburn’s fine eating establishments, will be open late on Dec. 4 to share refreshments and cuisine: quench the thirst and satisfy the hunger from exploring the many wonders the Christmas Stroll offers.

Free continuous heated shuttle service will be available to the Christmas Stroll events throughout Elburn, with stops at the Town and Country Public Library, on the west side of Main Street near the Elburn Herald office, on the west side of Main Street at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, and the Jewel-Osco parking lot. Maps depicting the various Christmas Stroll activities will be published in the Thursday, Dec. 3, edition of the Elburn Herald, as well as on the Elburn Chamber of Commerce website.

Make the Elburn Christmas Stroll a family tradition. For more information on the Christmas Stroll, visit

The Christmas Stroll will take place regardless of snow or cold: Santa and Mrs. Claus are quite accustomed to both.

Photo: Strollers of all ages have an opportunity to stop by the Town and County Public Library to meet Santa and tell him their Christmas wishes. This year’s stroll takes place on Friday, Dec. 4. File Photo

Lazarus House invites community to Thanksgiving feast

St. Charles—Lazarus House invites the community to join the staff, guests and their many supporters to attend its annual Thanksgiving Feast from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the Tri Cities Salvation Army, 1710 S. 7th Ave., St. Charles. Dinner will begin at noon.

Lazarus House, 214 Walnut St., St. Charles, offers safe shelter, food and support services to men, women and children connected to St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County who are homeless or at risk of becoming. It has programs available that can provide emergency assistance with rent or utilities and also an ongoing rental assistance program. For information about these programs, contact Lazarus House Outreach at (630) 587-5872.

“The feast has become an ongoing tradition of the community coming together to sit alongside of each other and share a meal,” said Darlene Marcusson, Lazarus House executive director. “Folks who are homeless or alone for Thanksgiving, as well as those who simply want to add more meaning to their holiday, see this as a chance for extended neighbors to touch each others’ lives while they enjoy a bountiful buffet from many special family recipes.”

For those able to cook, a dish to pass is appreciated. Food should arrive between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m. in a disposable container and ready to serve. Anything from cooked turkey to potatoes or vegetables is welcome. There is no cost, and everyone is invited to join for food and fellowship. Anyone who wants to bring a dish and/or dine at the feast is encouraged to call Lazarus House at (630) 587-2144.

Krier launches new website

by Ali Boan
Kaneland Krier Executive Editor

Kaneland—The Kaneland Krier has many ideas in store to make the student-run newsmagazine both more interesting and more accessible. One way the Krier’s executive staff is pursuing this goal is by setting its new and majorly improved website into action on Nov. 19.

The Kaneland Krier’s official website,, is run by Krier executive online editors Hope Zegiel and Ali Boan.

“I think the new website is a step forward for the Krier as it prepares to take the world of online journalism more seriously,” said Cheryl Borrowdale, Krier adviser. “I’m really looking forward to the staff being able to put out more frequent updates and have wider news coverage. Since journalism is becoming so tech savvy, I think it’s important for Krier students to learn those skills as well.”

Different from last year, this year’s new website has numerous options of choosing different kinds of stories, such as school news, lifestyle, trends and community/board news, and many more. Although these topics may seem familiar, as seen in the regular, monthly edition of the Krier, the website will hold completely different news.

“The news and stories you read about on the website will be different than what you read in the actual newspaper version of the Krier, because it’s stories that have been submitted just for us,” Zegiel said. “So going online will allow people to read stories written by kids at Kaneland that they’ve never read before.”

By visiting this website on a regular basis, it will allow students, parents and anybody who is interested the ability to check up on what’s happening in the community, school, columns submitted by students and stories that are strictly saved for Internet purposes.

“We’re looking forward to putting this website in action. There are a lot of big changes from last year, so we’re hoping that people will actually take time to sit down and check it out,” Zegiel said.

One of the other many things that’s taking a change for the better with the website is its image.

“The new website is so much more visually attractive,” executive editor Mel Mazuc said. “It’s way more user-friendly, and the stories will be updated much more frequently. We can only print once a month with our graphic capabilities, but it’s much faster to use a website.”

Holiday Spirit seeks public’s help

Kaneland area—Holiday Spirit, a joint program between the Kaneland schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of organizations, businesses, churches and other groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season.

Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 153 children in 62 families through the generous donations from this community. Unfortunately, the group anticipates that the need will be even greater this year.

Individuals or groups interested in adopting a family can call Nicole Pryor (social worker at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School) at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or Carol Alfrey (West Towns Coordinator) at (630) 365-2880. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase gift certificates for holiday meals. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.

Gun discharged in Elburn

A gun was discharged Wednesday evening on North Street just east of Main Street in Elburn.

Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said no one was injured in the incident, which police are investigating.

Smith said so far no one has been arrested, and he could not provide the time of the incident or any other details at this time.

Sheriff names shelter founder Citizen of the Year

by Martha Quetsch
Kane County—“How you doin’, friend?” is Darlene Marcusson’s standard greeting to everyone she encounters at Lazarus House, the homeless shelter she directs in St. Charles. That compassionate approach to community service is one reason Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez honored her with the 2009 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year Award

Marcusson, of Elburn, received the award during a ceremony on Nov. 12 for going above and beyond the call of civic duty. Perez said Tuesday that Marcusson is the embodiment of the Roscoe Ebey award and a model for others to follow.

“I have personally observed her operations at Lazarus House and the passion she has for helping those in need,” Perez said. “Her passion is also reflected in her staff as they provide care to those in need.”

As a member of Batavia Rotary, Perez helps serve dinner monthly at Lazarus House, where he has observed Marcusson in action.

“I see the care and respect Darlene provides not just to individuals, but sometimes entire families,” Perez said. “She gives people who have become homeless hope and every opportunity possible to help rebuild their lives and once again gain independence.”

Perez praised Marcusson for working with him to make sure inmates being released from custody in the Kane County Jail who are homeless know that Lazarus House is open to them.

Marcusson founded Lazarus House in 1997, starting it in a home in St. Charles. Through grants, donations and volunteers, the year-round shelter has grown to occupy three buildings at Walnut and Third streets in St. Charles, with a staff of 38.

Lazarus, which serves western rural Kane County and the Tri-Cities, offers a 24-hour shelter, a three-meal-per-day soup kitchen, personal development programs, and transitional living quarters. In addition, it helps subsidize household budgets and connects clients with appropriate social services agencies in the area to help them regain their independence.

Darlene said she credits Lazarus’ success to following her faith, running the shelter like a business, and to her husband, Sam.

“I couldn’t have done this without him, especially when we first started—I was hardly ever home,” Marcusson said.

That was 12 years ago, when she ran Lazarus as a warm-weather, night shelter with help from just a few volunteers. At the time, she worked another job full time and the couple was raising two children.

She also said Lazarus House could not have been successful without the thousands of volunteers and people who have donated money, food and other items to the facility since its inception.

“I am very greatful. I am very blessed that we have had all of these friends,” Marcusson said.

Award history
The Kane County Sheriff’s Department Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award was named for a former Aurora resident who was a decorated WW II military veteran. Ebey was murdered in 2007 by a home intruder. To honor him, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez created the award in 2008. This year, two other individuals also were recipients of the 2009 Roscoe Ebey award: Sarah Giachino and Kathy Tobusch, both of Batavia. Giachino and Tobusch are co-chairmen of Fox Valley Troop Support, Inc.

The first recipient in 2007 was Ebey’s neighbor, who held down Ebey’s murderer the night of the tragedy until Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The 2008 recipient was the Rev. David Engbarth of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Aurora.

Darlene Marcusson’s other honors
In addition to the Ebey Citizen of the Year Award, Lazarus House Executive Director Darlene Marcusson of Elburn has received other honors for her work. Some of those were the Illinois Woman of Achievement Award, recognizing her efforts in founding Lazarus House; the Civic Image award in 2002, recognizing the addition of the new Lazarus House Center for Transitional Living; the Illinois Governor’s Hometown Award in 2002, recognizing the significant contributions of volunteers in the community; the Peace Award from the Crisis Center in 2006 for work on behalf of victims of violence; the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Community Development Award in 2007 for the Lazarus House’s new Women and Children’s Day Center; and the NAMI Advocate of the Year Award in 2009 recognizing efforts advocating for those with mental health issues.

Photo: Darlene Marcusson, executive director of Lazarus House, received the 2009 Roscoe Ebey Kane County Sheriff’s Department Citizen of the Year Award for her work with the St. Charles shelter, where scriptures painted by volunteers adorn the stairwell. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Neighbors are game for fun and charity

Annual Blackberry Creek Turkey Bowl collects more food each year
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn—For many people, a friendly backyard football game is standard Thanksgiving Day fare, as much as a turkey with trimmings. Thanks to several families in Blackberry Creek, that annual tradition helps others fill their tables during the holiday season.

The Blackberry Creek Charity Turkey Bowl has taken place every Thanksgiving since 2005. The event’s founders, Jeff Walter and Mark Wilson, started the event as a way to bring friends and neighbors together for a holiday game, and thought it also would provide a perfect opportunity to collect items for the Elburn Food Pantry.

They were right. People have been as enthusiastic about the food collection as they have been about the football game, with drop-offs and participation steadily increasing.

“The first year we had about 10 or 15 players, and now we’re able to field two teams,” said Walter, who is an Elburn trustee.

The players, and friends and family members who attend the touch football game, all bring canned goods and other nonperishable food items to the south Blackberry Creek playing field before the event, which starts at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

“I just open up the lift gate on my (SUV) and as people come they throw the stuff in,” Walter said.

Turkey Bowl participants and spectators the first year filled a box with donated food, and last year collected about 200 pounds of items including cases of vegetables, baked beans and soup.

“It’s gotten better every year,” said Walter, who takes the donated food to the Elburn Food Pantry after Thanksgiving.

The pantry, located at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center, relies on many sources for food donations to help keep its shelves full, from businesses and churches to organizations and community members like the Blackberry Creek Turkey Bowl group. After last year’s holiday season, pantry coordinator Rita Burnham said in a letter to the Elburn Herald editor that all of these groups are helping to meet the ever-increasing demand in the community for food assistance.

“There still is definitely an increase in the need,” Burnham said Wednesday. “Every food pantry says that, and we’re no different.”

Last Thursday, 69 people went to the food pantry to receive bags of food, compared to the 40 clients the pantry typically serves weekly, Burnham said.

“Our numbers have really increased; if we don’t have consistent food drives it will be difficult to provide what we do.”

4th annual Blackberry Creek Charity Turkey Bowl
8 a.m. Thanksgiving
Behind Blackberry Elementary School
Bring your neighbors, friends, relatives and families
Bring a canned or dried food item for the Elburn Pantry
For more info call:
Mark Wilson, (630) 461-8126, or
Jeff Walter, (630) 365-3707

Photo: Blackberry Creek Turkey Bowl players assemble on the south soccer field at 8 a.m. every Thanksgiving to take part in a touch football game, and to collect canned goods and other nonperishable edibles for the Elburn Food Pantry. The neighborhood group welcomes spectators and participants, as well as additional food donation.
Courtesy Photo

Editorial: Those who serve the community are its backbone

Elburn resident and Lazarus House Executive Director Darlene Marcusson received the Kane County Sheriff’s Department Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award for her community service.

While she may have earned the award in 2009, it is her many years of dedicated service to those in need that endears her to those she comes into contact with, whether they be fellow volunteers and community servants or those seeking assistance.

Her past 12 years of service has been as founder and executive director of Lazarus House in St. Charles, a homeless shelter and service provider that serves the Tri-Cities and western Kane County.

During those dozen years, Marcusson turned a proposed city ordinance to outlaw vagrancy into an idea that motivated the St. Charles City Council—and those who learned of her speech before the council members—to support her efforts of creating a homeless shelter.

Marcusson’s funding began with a $200 gift from a local 10-year-old girl who wanted to do her part to serve those in need; and 12 years later, Lazarus House now occupies three buildings, including a Center for Transitional Living and a Women and Children’s Day Center.

She has received numerous awards and honors during this time, ranging for her work on behalf of victims of violence to her efforts advocating for those battling mental illness.

But if you ask Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez about why she deserves the award, he would say that the award is due to the way Marcusson treats each individual she serves. It is her consistent focus on one person, one family, at a time that stood out for Perez.

“I see the care and respect Darlene provides not just to individuals, but sometimes entire families,” Perez said to Elburn Herald reporter Martha Quetsch on Tuesday. “She gives people who have become homeless hope and every opportunity possible to help rebuild their lives and once again gain independence.”

We congratulate Darlene Marcusson on her recognition, and we know the impact she has had on those she serves, as well as those who serve beside her, has been immense.

Read through our paper each week and you will see numerous examples of people like Darlene Marcusson, who serve as the backbone of our communities by serving its members.

For Darlene and those like her, we owe you our thanks for making our communities that much stronger.

Sugar Grove opts out of Ride in Kane

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Paratransit Coalition will end its participation in the countywide Ride in Kane program shortly after the beginning of the year.

The village of Sugar Grove, in conjunction with the Sugar Grove Township, Sugar Grove Public Library and Sugar Grove Park District, signed up to participate in the transportation program in May.

Each governmental entity provided $1,000 in funding for the first year to fund rides for residents with disabilities and/or low incomes to work, health care visits, adult daycare, child daycare or programs provided by the participating members of the coalition.

Supplemented with funding from the four entities, riders were to pay $3 for the first 10 miles of the trip and $1.50 for each additional mile.

Although nine people had signed up for the services, Sugar Grove village liaison Joe Wolf said the majority of the money was being utilized by one township resident, who needed to get to his dialysis appointment three times a week. Approximately $400 per month was being spent from the fund, Sugar Grove Village Clerk Cindy Welsch said.

“The money was going to run out before the end of the fiscal year,” Wolf said.

According to Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede, the board members determined that they did not want to put additional funding into the project beyond the board’s initial commitment.

“Our mission is not really to provide transportation,” Repede said.

The Sugar Grove Park District currently partners with the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, which does provide transportation.

Repede said that Park District Board members felt the project was more closely linked to the missions of the village and the township, and that the district’s initial commitment was more to help out from an intergovernmental standpoint.

“We don’t have the ability to sustain the program financially,” he said.

Sugar Grove Township Supervisor Dan Nagel said that the township had budgeted a certain amount of money this year to support the program.

“In order to get more money, we have to take it away from somewhere else,” he said.

Sugar Grove Library District Board President Art Morrical said the hope was that more people would have taken advantage of the program.

“It did not seem like a good use of funds for just one person,” he said.

Wolf said he thought that a budget of $4,000 a year for a program such as this was not enough funding to sustain it. He pointed to Blackberry Township, which started out with $10,000 for the first year.

“You almost need that amount to ensure meeting more than one person’s needs,” he said. “I don’t think the township ever really bought into this. In good times, this kind of thing could have worked.”

Welsch said that it was too bad the program did not work out.

“The good news is that our residents look out for each other,” Welsch said.

Commercial development proposed for County Line, Rt. 38

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—A commercial development called The Maples has been proposed for the southwest corner of Route 38 and County Line Road in Maple Park, which would consist of several commercial lots of 30,000 square feet.

Integritas System of Yorkville presented the proposal on behalf of the developer, Aberdeen Properties, during the Maple Park Village Board meeting on Monday.

Aberdeen would like to develop The Maples in phases. In the first phase, the company hopes to attract small retail businesses and a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. An office rental space also would be in this phase.

Village President Kathy Curtis said that although the concept was well received by trustees, “subsequent meetings will need to take place to address the challenges surrounding water and sewer services for the development.”

The developer will not need to request new zoning or seek annexation of the site. The property already has commercial zoning and previously was annexed into the village, Curtis said.

The property was owned and platted by John Clare Developers as part of their overall subdivision. Last year, John Clare sold the commercial piece of their project to Aberdeen Properties.

This was the first time a concept plan was pitched for the property, Curtis said.

The 18-acre site for the proposed development borders the west side of County Line Road (south of Route 38), and the south side of Route 38 (west of County Line). Proposed access to the development would be from both Route 38 and County Line Road.

Designing woman

Sugar Grove resident and designer Barbara Hollmier discusses her Christmas creation with a potential customer during the Holiday Designer Showcase fundraiser at the Sugar Grove Public Library last Friday. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Your mouth to Foster’s ears

House Rep. Bill Foster listens as local residents tell of their problems with the current health care system. “I’m a big fan of getting things done, even if it involves a compromise,” Foster said on Friday about his vote on the house version of the health care reform bill.
Photo by Susan O’Neill

Maple Park receives grant for mapping

DeKalb County Community Foundation provides funds
MAPLE PARK—The DeKalb County Community Foundation (DCCF) on Tuesday presented the village a $5,000 grant to fund the development of Geographical Information Systems maps for regional planning in Maple Park.

The DCCF approved a $5,000 grant to help the village develop base and layered planning maps. The grant will be used for consulting services and work on the village’s maps to bring them up to date.

The village of Maple Park has been working with developers and engineers to plan for residential, commercial, and recreational areas. The grant funds will be used to create layers of maps that represent these areas. The village plans to work with DeKalb County to coordinate the development of these map layers and work with the county’s Development Department to plan for the future.

The grant for map services will be a great help to the village and will give us a visual aid in planning for the future development of Maple Park, said Village Trustee Suzanne Fahnestock.

The village continues to work with developers, both commercial and residential, and the new maps will be a great resource to the village in our planning efforts, said Village President Kathy Curtis.

The DeKalb County Community Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in DeKalb County by addressing community needs and expanding, managing, and distributing philanthropic resources. The Foundation distributes approximately $1 million every year in DeKalb County in support of arts and culture, education, community development, and health and human services through seven different grant-making mechanisms and programs.

Elburn village notes

Public hearing on proposed tax levy
ELBURN—The Village Board will discuss its proposed 2009 property tax levy during a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.

The village has proposed a levy of $742,317. That amount is 18.12 percent higher than the total 2008 Elburn property taxes.

The village sets its annual levy requests on the high side. Because of the state’s tax cap, if the village did not propose a levy high enough to capture all new construction, the growth would not be added to the tax rolls.

The final levy will be based on actual new growth and total equalized assessed valuation. Last year’s EAV growth was 7.62 percent, and village officials said it likely will be lower for 2009.

Following the hearing, the board will forward the levy request to Kane County. Village officials expect that the final amount approved by the county will be about $654,000, representing a 4 percent increase from 2008 in total village property taxes.

With that amount, individual property owner’s village taxes likely will be a few dollars less than last year, village officials said.

Village removes some diseased trees

ELBURN—The Elburn Public Works Department recently removed some of the small to medium sized diseased parkway trees under the village’s annual tree removal and replacement program, including several on the south side of town. Additional trees will be removed this spring as the village budget allows.

Village officials said the savings realized by having public works employees remove some of the trees will allow an additional four trees to be planted.

The village also has a 50-50 program that allows for the removal of trees more immediately than the village plans, if the property owner desires.

Most of the diseased trees are maple and ash, which have been infected by the emerald ash borer. This year, 24 trees are targeted for removal and 20 trees for planting. Many of the new trees will replace those that the village removed in the past. Replacement trees will include linden, locust, various maples and others.

Health Department receives more vaccine; partners with VNA

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department received another shipment of H1N1 vaccine and will partner with the Visiting Nurses Association to conduct a number of appointment-only clinics at the VNA’s Aurora location.

“It looks as if the vaccine supply is beginning to open up as more and more Kane providers receive shipments of the H1N1 vaccine,” Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “We are pleased to be working with VNA to make more vaccinations available by appointment to high-risk Kane residents. These appointments are for any Kane resident who meets the high-risk criteria—not just VNA patients. There will be no charge for these vaccinations at the VNA, just like at the Health Department.”

The Health Department is also providing nearly 5,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine this week to local obstetricians, pediatricians and community health centers that will be able to provide the vaccine directly to their most at-risk patients.

Dependent upon vaccine supply, the Health Department’s partnership with the VNA of the Fox Valley will provide H1N1 vaccination to another 1,500 residents each week in special H1N1 flu clinics that will be held in Aurora. The Health Department is currently providing nearly 1,200 H1N1 vaccinations each week by appointment at its Elgin and Aurora locations. Kane residents can call (630) 723-5414 for an H1N1 vaccination appointment for themselves or their children.

H1N1 vaccine is still being prioritized for residents who are most at risk for H1N1 influenza. The most at-risk groups are:
• pregnant women
• persons who live with or provide care for infants aged under 6 months (e.g., parents, siblings, and daycare providers)
• health-care and emergency medical services personnel
• persons aged 6 months to 24 years
• persons aged 25 to 64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.

Residents can take steps to help prevent the spread of the flu virus by covering their cough, washing their hands, and staying home if they’re sick. More information about the H1N1 and seasonal flu is available at