Happy holidays from the Elburn Herald

From all of us at the Elburn Herald to all of you, merry Christmas and happy New Year.

The year 2009 has been one of challenges for many—a difficult economy has led to an increase in unemployment and stress; and the uncertainty for the future can lead to a bittersweet holiday season.

Yet, we found that as the challenges of the year progressed, we found more and more instances of people focusing more on true value, rather than merely on money and “stuff”—we found stories about people focusing on family and friends, neighbors, those in need—in other words, more people are placing more focus on people and relationships, rather than just on things.

So, as people sit around their holiday dinner tables or gather for their New Year celebrations, we understand that underneath the good cheer there may be a measure of stress or worry.

We hope that many of the stories and people that have shown up in our pages this year can help inspire you to overcome those potentially negative feelings the same way they inspire us. They help remind us what is important, and that true value is not something that is merely measured with numbers.

We hope that as you enjoy your holidays and celebrations, the knowledge of why you are celebrating and the thoughts of what is truly important take center stage.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Surprise visitors

Paige Robinson, 15, of Sugar Grove, was minding her own business at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield on Friday when three characters—Santa Claus, SpongeBob and Ronald McDonald—burst into her room. Judging by her smile, the intrusion appeared welcomed. Courtesy Photo

Knights hoops gains footing against Rochelle

by Mike Slodki
The game itself had a tough time getting started for Kaneland.

Even before the visiting Rochelle Hubs stormed out to an initial halftime lead, the game was originally shelved from a Dec. 8 starting point due to cold temperatures.

The Knights finally got their footing against their Western Sun Conference foe and came away with a 69-55 win on Dec. 16.

The win raises Kaneland’s record to 5-2 with a 3-1 record in WSC play.

Center Dave Dudzinski had a career-high 29 points on the night, eclipsing his previous career-high of 27, also achieved against the Hubs.

Chaon Denlinger also supplied 16 in the win.

The Knights also went 13-for-24 from the foul line.

Rochelle went up early after the first eight minutes by a 16-15 score, and led Kaneland 32-26 at the break.

Kaneland roared back with a 21-11 third quarter to go up 47-43 at the end of the third before outscoring the Hubs by 10 in the fourth to pull away.

Lower-class action this past week featured the Knights losing a 51-46 meeting with Yorkville on Friday, despite Bryan VanBogaert scoring 12. Rochelle got the best of the sophomores on Dec. 16 by a 50-47 clip. Trever Heinle had 12 in the effort.

Next up for the Knights is the 47th annual Plano Christmas Classic that has Kaneland the No. 1 seed in the gathering. Coach Brian Johnson’s crew is set to face the Putnam County Panthers on Saturday, Dec. 26, at 10:30 a.m. and will face either Sandwich or Hinckley-Big Rock on Monday, Dec. 28, at either 9 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.

Photo: Knights guard Ryley Bailey makes a mad dash for the ball on Dec. 16 in a 69-55 win over the rival Hubs. Photo by Ben Draper

47th Annual Plano Christmas Classic
Dec. 26-30, 2009

Saturday, Dec. 26
• 9 a.m. (8) Sandwich vs. Hinckley-Big Rock
• 10:30 a.m. (1) Kaneland vs. Putnam County
• 12:30 p.m. (4) Genoa-Kingston vs. Hall
• 2 p.m. (5) Yorkville vs. Coal City
• 3:30 p.m. (2) Newark vs. Somonauk
• 5:30 p.m. (7) Forreston vs. Morris
• 7 p.m. (6) Seneca vs. Plano
• 8:30 p.m. (3) Rockford Christian vs. Mendota

Kaneland could face either Sandwich or Hinckley-Big Rock
on Monday, Dec. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the championship bracket,
or 9 a.m. in the consolation bracket.
Championship Game is Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m.

In 2008: Kaneland finished 3-1 in the 59th E.C. Nichols Tourney
in Marengo. The Knights beat Hampshire 51-43 in the fifth-place game.
Winnebago beat Chicago’s Bogan high School by a final of 67-49
to win the Marengo gathering.

Wrestlers drop WSC clash with Yorkville, compete in Chicago

Knights earn one win out of four in busy week; prepare for DeKalb trip
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wrestling saw its prolific dual meet streak end on Thursday night vs. Yorkville, but still managed to get one win out of three opponents at a dual meet on Saturday.

The Knights lost to Yorkville 43-19 in front of the home fans, and then traveled to St. Patrick High School in Chicago, where they lost 37-27 to Argo, 43-27 to St. Patrick and beat Kelly 39-21.

Kaneland now sits at 12-3 in dual competition.

Against Yorkville in the 171-pound clash, Nick Michels took a fall from Brian Mogle in one minute, 24 seconds. Jimmy Boyle, at 285 pounds, beat Seth Gonzalez with a pinfall in 2:30. 125-pounder Deven Scholl won a major decision, 11-3 over Chris Watts, and Dennis Brettman won a 6-1 matchup over Brian McCue in 130-pound action.

On Saturday, Kaneland got noteworthy wins over Summit’s Argo High School thanks to Dan Goress at 112 pounds (1:38 pin) and Boyle (3:34 pin). Joe Levita won a 2-0 battle at 135 pounds, and Kyle Davidson won his 145-pound matchup with a 9-2 outing.

Against St. Patrick, the Knights got pinfall wins from 140-pound entry Spencer Bergstrom at :57, Davidson at 4:31 and Boyle at 5:09.

In the lone win of the morning, 103-pounder Esai Ponce won a 15-0 outing, and Goress won a 10-2 meeting. Davidson had himself a 17-0 tech fall win, and 152-pounder Chris Sabal won a 3-1 match. Michels won his match by sticking a pin at 1:43. Keagan Mattes, at 189 pounds, won a 11-1 match. Ben Kovalick won his 215-pound match at 4:59, and Boyle went the distance in a 7-5 win.

The Knights wait until Tuesday, Dec. 29 to face top Midwestern competition. That’s when they’ll travel to DeKalb and join the Don Flavin Invite hosted by the Barbs.

Photo: 103-pound wrestler Esai Ponce, shown here in action on Dec. 5, managed a 15-0 win over his Chicago Kelly opponent on Saturday. File Photo

Elburn Baseball and Softball parent meeting

In 2009, Elburn Baseball and Softball had 38 teams, six travel teams and its first-ever all-girls t-ball team. The organization is anticipating as big a turnout as last year’s 500-kid total.

Elburn Baseball & Softball is in need of new faces to fill some of the volunteer positions for the upcoming 2010 season. Any help that you or your family are willing to give benefits the kids in the program. All duties are important to the success of the 2010 season. Duties that do not get filled will not get done. Some positions can use more than one person.

Join EBS for a parent meeting on Monday, Jan.11, 2010 at 7 p.m. located at Lions Park in Elburn.

Frosh/soph girls hoops action

On Dec. 16, the sophomore Lady Knights took to the floor against Elgin at Burlington Central and came away with a 54-19 win. Kylie Siebert led the way with 16 points, while Allyson O’Herron had six of her own. The Lady Knights had a 26-9 lead at the half and 45-12 after three quarters.

The sophomores also went the distance with Yorkville in Maple Park, and came away with a 54-48 overtime loss on Friday. The Lady Knights and Lady Foxes were tied at 46 after the first four quarters. Lexee Guerra led the Lady Knights with 16 points, while O’Herron added 11.

In other sophomore action, Saturday saw Burlington Central beat KHS 40-35 despite 11 points from O’Herron.

Meanwhile the freshmen beat Sycamore 37-15 in a “B” outing. Ashley Castellanos had 19 points in the effort.

The “A” freshmen beat the Lady Spartans on Saturday by a 31-19 score thanks to 11 points from Sarah Grams.

Oswego East Holiday Classic Dec. 26-30, 2009

Saturday, Dec. 26
• 9 a.m. East Aurora vs. Aurora Christian
• 10:30 a.m. South Elgin vs. Addison Trail
• 12 p.m. (1) Plainfield North vs.
Aurora Central Catholic
• 1:30 p.m. (4) West Chicago vs.
Plainfield East
• 3:30 p.m. (2) Lemont vs. Larkin
• 5 p.m. Plainfield Central vs.
Downers Grove South
• 6:30 p.m. (3) Oswego East vs. Kaneland
• 8 p.m. Andrew vs. Joliet Central

Kaneland faces either Andrew or Joliet Central on Monday, Dec. 28, at 8 p.m. in the championship bracket, or 5 p.m. in the consolation bracket. Championship Game is Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

In 2008: Kaneland finished 2-1 in an abbreviated Holiday Classic.
The Lady Knights beat Brooks Prep of Chicago 37-35 in the third-place consolation game. Driscoll Catholic beat Oak Park-River Forest by a final of 58-47 to win the Classic.

Mardelle L. Voigt

Mardelle L. Voigt, 80, of Elburn, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, at her home and passed from this life to the next, meeting her husband Vern in time to be truly “home” for Christmas.

She was born Nov. 29, 1929, the daughter of Willard and Dorothy (Henning) Murbach in Oak Park, Ill.

Mardelle grew up in Oak Park and attended local schools. She graduated with the class of 1948 from Oak Park Township High School. Following graduation, Mardelle continued her education at a local business school in Chicago, where she studied bookkeeping.

Mardelle worked for several companies in the Chicago area, including Borden Ice Cream Company and the Federal Reserve Bank. In 1972, Mardelle began working for the Little Traveler in Geneva for what was only supposed to be six weeks. Later in 1988, Mardelle worked her way to be the general manager and was in charge of purchasing. She would accumulate a history of over a dozen trips to England in search of the perfect antiques to bring home.

It was Christmas time in 1957, and Mardelle attended a party where she met her future husband, Vern Voigt, who was home for the holidays from working in Alaska. Eleven months later in November 1958, they were married and soon headed back up to Alaska, as a family, to finish the work he started previously. Upon completion, they headed to Elburn to construct their new home, where they eventually settled. The family traveled extensively with Vern’s job and worked in many places throughout the world, including England.

Mardelle was an avid reader of anything she could get her hands on, especially Danielle Steele romance novels and mysteries. Although Mardelle traveled for work extensively, she also took many trips just for pleasure, with destinations across the United States and abroad, such as Ireland and Germany. When home, traveling around her social circles made each day go by faster.

Mardelle was a member and past Worthy Matron of Eastern Star and the American Legion Auxiliary.

She now leaves one daughter, Catherine (Jeff) Mathews of Maple Park; one grandson, Bill (Alison) Donovan of St. Louis; one granddaughter, Bethany M. Donovan of Maple Park; one great-granddaughter, Kyla Rachas of Maple Park; one brother, John (Marti) Murbach of Florida; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

She now joins her parents; her husband, Vern; and one son, James “Jimmy,” who passed away as a toddler in 1955, who preceded her in death.

Friends called Monday, Dec. 21, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn.

A funeral service to celebrate her life was held at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, with the Rev. David Bateman officiating. Interment followed at Chapel Hill Gardens Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name. Checks may be made to the “Mardelle Voigt Memorial” and mailed to P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.

Mike F. Del Medico

Mike F. Del Medico, 51 , of St. Charles, died suddenly Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. Mike will be remembered for the man that he was, the memories that he made and the love that he gave to family and friends. Although his life ended, his spirit lives on in all those who both knew him and who will miss him.

Mike was born on Oct. 12, 1958, the son of Paul and Diane (Rossi) Del Medico in Junction City, Kan.

Mike’s childhood was surrounded by generations of family who lived in Chicago. Following his schooling, auto body restoration caught his attention, and his career as a technician began in the local shops around the suburbs of Chicago.

Mike met the love of his life, Monica, in 1975 at the age of 16. Their two hearts became one on June 7, 1980, and their family became complete with the birth of their son Michael in 1981. Over the years, they made their home in many places throughout the suburbs, finally settling in St. Charles in 1992.

Mike’s passion for cars led to the opening of his first auto-repair business in 1982. His most recent and sustained venture was the opening of Mastercraft Autobody in Wauconda, Ill., in 1992.

In Mike’s spare time he loved to hunt and fish, and he also enjoyed many years as a member of the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club.

Mike was a perfectionist at heart and took incredible pride in everything he did. No one was more special to Mike than his son, and he was quick to share his accomplishments with everyone he met. He also made Michael his unofficial apprentice, teaching him the skills required to both renovate their home and complete minor car repairs and upkeep over the years.

Mike also had a special relationship with his nephew Matthew, whom he treated as a second son as he guided him through the trials of life. As a playful jokester, Mike loved to laugh, and his smile consistently brightened rooms. “Big Mike’s” heart was made of gold, and his generosity was unwavering. He will be missed for many reasons, but his life and memory will be cherished forever.

He now leaves his wife Monica; his son, Mike (Lindsay Wasenko) Del Medico; his mother, Diane Del Medico; two brothers, Paul and Mark Del Medico; his paternal grandparents, Frank and Philomena Del Medico; his mother-in-law, Marcie Vazquez; many aunts and uncles, including Mary (Frank) Donato; several brothers- and sisters-in-law, many nieces, nephews, cousins and a vast quantity of people who were lucky enough to call him friend.

He now joins his father; his grandfather, Steve Rossi; father-in-law, Gilbert Vazquez; and brother-in-law, Christopher Kapusta, who preceded him in death.

Visitation was from 3 to 9 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn on Friday, Dec. 18. The Elburn Fire Department honored the family with a Catholic wake service. A funeral to celebrate his life was Saturday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Mission Catholic Church, 6N491 Crane Road, St. Charles. Private family interment will occur at a later date following cremation.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities, including Illinois Children’s Burn Camp and the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center. Checks may be made to the “Mike Del Medico Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or at www.conleycare.com.

Frank Anthony Lo Destro

Frank Anthony Lo Destro, 88, died peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 20, in his Elburn home.

He was born Sept. 23, 1921, in Chicago.

He was an entrepreneur and held many positions over his life, mainly in the building materials industry. On Dec. 8, 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, where he was assigned to the First Marine Division. He saw action in the first offensive against the Japanese at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. His tour of duty also included New Guinea, Cape Gloucester, Talasee and Pelileu in the South Pacific.

On Dec. 2, 1950, he married Erminia Panozzo, and they were happily married until her death on May 30, 1990.

He is survived by children Frank (Hope) Lo Destro, Peter (Cheri) Lo Destro and Michele (Roderick) Kelly; grandchildren, Tricia, Paula (Dennis) Paben, Julie, Bonnie, Brent (Natalia), Grant, Chana, Sonya, Brina; Katherine, Patrick and Peter; and great-granddaughter, Samantha.

Visitation was from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec 22, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Mass began at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at St. Gall Catholic Church, Elburn. Interment was in Resurrection Cemetery, Geneva.

Church News for Dec. 24

Elburn Hill Church holds service on Christmas Eve
Elburn—Elburn Hill Church, 506 N. Main St., announced that its Christmas Eve service will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 24.

Pastor Gary Augustine said the family-style celebration will focused on stories of hope.

“Down through the years both in the Bible and in the lives of people, God has met the needs of struggling people,” Augustine said. “Take an hour Christmas Eve to reignite your hope. Christmas is not about the past, but the future. The stories of Christmas have the power to turn this season into a lens that sees life in a truly hopeful way.”

For information, call (630) 365-9064 or visit www.ElburnHillChurch.org.

St. Gall announces Christmas, New Year’s schedule of services
Elburn—In order to accommodate the large number of families attending Mass on Christmas eve, Thursday, Dec. 24, St. Gall Church in Elburn will provide two 4 p.m. Masses, one in the church and one in the parish hall.

The pastor, Fr. Karl Ganss, will preside at the hall Mass, and Fr. William Etheredge, a priest from Aurora Central Catholic High School, will officiate in the church. Children from the parish will present a Christmas pageant at each of the 4 p.m. Masses.

Other Christmas Eve Masses include a 6 p.m. Mass, preceded at 5:30 p.m. by carols, and a 10 p.m. Mass with music provided by the combined choir. The 10 p.m. Mass will be preceded by Christmas carols, beginning at 9:30 p.m. Masses for Christmas Day are at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.

Masses for Saturday, Dec. 26, and Sunday, Dec. 27, follow the regular weekend schedule.

The New Year’s schedule will consist of three different Masses to observe the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary. The first liturgy will be a Mass of anticipation on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 4:30 p.m. Masses for New Year’s Day are at 9:30 and 11 a.m.

For information, call (630) 365-6030.

Bethany Lutheran announces Julotta Service
Batavia—Bethany Lutheran Church, 8 S. Lincoln St., Batavia, will host its annual Julotta (Swedish/English) service in the sanctuary on Christmas day at 8 a.m.

Magnus Hilbo of Northpark, Ill., will officiate the service in Swedish and English. In addition, Holy Communion will be served.

This traditional Swedish service has been a part of Bethany’s history for more than 100 years. There will be a Swedish breakfast following the service.

For more information, call (630) 879-3444.

Rife, Chite to wed

James and Nancy Rife of Elburn announce the engagement of their daughter, Allison Ann Rife, to Mark Michael Chite, son of Anthony and Deborah Chite of Olney, Md.

The bride-to-be is a 2001 graduate of Central High School in Burlington and the University of Maryland. She is employed by the Loudoun County Fire & Rescue Department as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.

The future groom is a 1999 graduate of Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, Md., and the University of Maryland. He is employed by the Hyattsville City Police Department as a police officer.

The wedding ceremony will be May 7, 2011, in Elgin, Ill.

Letter: Richard Temmerman and students deserve our thanks

Something awesome happened at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Elburn Christmas Stroll. Richard Temmerman and his students held a black belt demonstration to raise funds for the operating expenses at the Community Center. This group of people banded together and raised over $1,200 and donated it all to the Elburn & Countryside Community Center.

Owner of Mid-Town Martial Arts, Master Temmerman has been a tenant in our building for many years. His loyalty has been consistent throughout his years here. Always looking out for the center and looking for ways to improve it, he has been an active participant in keeping the Community Center a vital part of Elburn and the surrounding communities.

Because we are a nonprofit, privately funded organization, help like this is exactly what we need. We as a volunteer board of directors strive to continue to offer programs and activities to the community. With the economy such as it is, it is not always an easy task.

We are extremely grateful to Master Temmerman and his students, parents and everyone else that was involved with this fundraiser.

We welcome and appreciate any and all efforts offered to us through fundraisers, donations and volunteerism.

Once again, we would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Mid-Town Martial Arts, Master Temmerman, students, parents, donors etc. We are certainly inspired by all of you.
Pat Leyden
William Brauer
Kathy Johnson
Jack Hansen
Dan Hanneman
Clara Stonecipher
Elburn and Countryside Community Center
Board of Directors

Letter: Thank you from the family of Skip Mennerick

To all of our friends, customers, patients, colleagues and the Elburn community: Thank you for your support, encouragement, meals, kind words and gifts following the death of my husband, Skip Mennerick. We have been amazed by your generosity to the Skip Mennerick Memorial benefiting Cole and Kiera’s education and continue to receive letters and cards of support and encouragement.

Thank you to the Elburn emergency medical responders like Greg Algrim and the others whose names I don’t know, who showed up that day. Doug Keifer, thank you for going above and beyond what could have been expected as an EMT, for holding my hand in the ambulance and for staying with me and comforting me when I lost it. Thank you to officer Dave Wright and the other officers for staying with my kids when I couldn’t, and for giving them little bears to hold. Thank you to the chaplain at Delnor for quietly standing by my side in the trauma room.

Conley Funeral Home is made up of some of the most amazing people. We are so blessed to have such a place in our community. I especially want to acknowledge Ben Conley for knowing just what I needed to hear in the midst of a very trying day, and to Jeanne Fabrizius and Tigger Flint for giving me what I needed before I knew I needed it.

Thank you to our church home, Rejoice Lutheran in Geneva, and Pastor Lou Quetel for caring for us, for providing an amazing tribute at Skip’s memorial service and the beautiful luncheon that followed. Thank you to the executives from Cub Cadet Corporation in Ohio who made the trip to honor Skip and his dedication to his work.

Dec. 23 would have been Skip’s 30th birthday. Although we are still reeling from the loss, we celebrate the life we had with Skip and look forward to the day we will see him again in heaven.

I, along with the Houtz and Mennerick families, are deeply grateful and proud to be a part of a community that supports its own in such a caring way.

Erika Mennerick
and Houtz and Mennerick families

Letter: Thank you for help during Christmas Stroll

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those that helped in our very successful gingerbread house raffle at the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Dec. 4.

I wish to thank the donation of the two gingerbread houses from Party Animals’ Cindy Thul of Elburn and the Fresh Market of Geneva. I would also like to thank Dr. Ken Baumruck and Pam Schneider from Elburn Chiropractic and Acupuncture of Elburn, for the promotional of the raffle tickets, and making signs, etc.

A big thanks to Dave’s Barber Shop’s Dave Rissman of Elburn, for displaying our gingerbread house and selling the raffle tickets.

Also, thanks to our Legionnaires and their wives for the dedication to this cause. Thank you to whom I may have forgotten to mention.

These proceeds will send holiday wishes to warm the hearts of our soldiers, who might be far away from home.

The winners of the gingerbread houses are Harley Veldhuizen of Elburn, and Diane Johnson.

George Morris
American Legion Post #630

A snowy Christmas in Illinois is rare

State climatologist says White Christmas not very common
Illinois—Every year in December, weather forecasters are asked the age-old question: Will we have a white Christmas this year? An analysis of Illinois’ history shows the chances are slim, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey.

Based on averages of past reports of snow on the ground on Christmas mornings from 2001-08, Illinoisans living in the northern part of the state have the highest chance at 30 to 50 percent.

Site averages indicate that Rockford and Chicago have just a 38 percent chance this year. For the remainder of the state at various cities, the chance of a white Christmas is about 14 percent.

The chance of a snowy Christmas has decreased in the past decade, compared with the 1971 to 2000 time period. Angel attributed this to the abundance of snow in the 1970s, and the mild winters in the early 21st century.

The Christmas Day with the most snow on the ground in recorded history was 1951, according to long-term records. Aurora had an incredible 31 inches piled up that day from 12 days of nearly non-stop snow and temperatures below freezing.

Nearby sites reported significant amounts, including Midway Airport with 17 inches, Wheaton with 19 inches, Peotone with 21 inches, Geneseo with 16 inches, and Aurora with 15 inches. Other parts of northern Illinois had impressive amounts as well, including Morrison and Dixon, both with 25 inches, and Paw Paw with 27 inches.

This month, the National Weather Service predicts a normal amount of precipitation for December and an increased chance of colder than normal temperatures, which may boost the chance for snow. Still, the dream of awakening to glistening treetops on Dec. 25 is unlikely to come true.

“To have a guaranteed white Christmas in the Midwest, you have to travel to Hibbing or International Falls in Minnesota, or Marquette or Sault Ste Marie in Michigan,” Angel said.

The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

Photo courtesy Stock.sxc.hu

Library announces raffle winners

Elburn—The Friends of the Town & Country Public Library, 320 E. North St., Elburn, held a drawing Dec. 12 for the 50th anniversary Toys R Us collectors edition Barbie and John Deere toy tractor Model 8330. The drawing was supervised by William Grabarek, President of the Friends.

Barbie was donated by Fran Kitz of Elburn, and the toy tractor was donated by Hogan Walker of Elburn. The winning tickets were drawn by Caitlin Young, library page. The winner of the Barbie is Anna I. of Elburn, and the winner of the John Deere toy tractor is Ryan P. of Elburn.

All proceeds benefit the library’s children’s department. The Friends are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

Red Cross regions merge

Fox River chapter merges with Greater Chicago chapter
Kane County—This week, the Fox River Chapter of the American Red Cross Board of Directors approved the merger of the Fox River Chapter into the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Chapter, effective January 1, 2010. The Fox River Chapter office will remain open as the Kane County Community Center for the American Red Cross.

“The American Red Cross is about to take an exciting step forward in our effort to increase our region’s capacity to respond to disasters and fulfill our mission in the Kane County area,” said Fran Maher, CEO, American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. “Our office in St. Charles will remain open, fully staffed and committed to expanding American Red Cross services to prepare for, prevent and respond to disasters throughout Kane County.”

“The merger is a win/win for both chapters, and for the American Red Cross,” said Jim Powell, Chairman of the Board, Fox River Chapter. “By centralizing our administrative functions in the Greater Chicago chapter, we will be able to create greater efficiencies and apply the savings to address our citizens’ critical needs.”

When a disaster threatens or strikes Kane County, the Red Cross provides food, shelter, and clothing to address basic human needs. The American Red Cross also provides training courses such as first aid, CPR/AED, babysitter safety, water safety and disaster preparedness education to help people live safer and healthier lives. The American Red Cross hosts blood drives in the region, as well. These services will continue and are expected to expand when the merger occurs.

The American Red Cross relies on the generous support of Kane County and elsewhere in the Chicago metropolitan area to provide services. You can give by visiting www.chicagoredcross.org/donate.

Lazarus House offers Christmas brunch

St. Charles—Lazarus House invites the public for food and fellowship at its annual Christmas brunch on Christmas day at the Free Methodist Church, 214 Walnut St., St. Charles. Dining will begin at noon.

The brunch is potluck; for those able to cook, a dish to pass is appreciated. Food should arrive after 11:30 a.m. in a disposable container, ready to serve at noon. Appetizers, side dishes and entrees are all welcome. People who aren’t sure what they want to bring may call Lazarus House at (630) 587-2144 to find out if there are specific needs.

“We are always grateful for people who want to help,” Executive Director Darlene Marcusson said. “We welcome volunteers to bring food and share fellowship at our brunch. This brunch is such a gift to our guests, because it allows them to blend in with others and not stand out as homeless on this joyous day.”

People who wish to help in other ways are asked to consider a gift of financial assistance. Cash contributions and gift cards to superstores are greatly appreciated, especially given the current state of the economy.

Lazarus House provides food, safe shelter, case management and support services to homeless persons in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County. It currently provides ongoing rental assistance to 47 households monthly. Persons needing shelter should call (630) 587-2144. Persons seeking rent or utility assistance should call (630) 587-5872.

Last fiscal year, the shelter served 382 different persons, an average of 63 per day, and approximately 68,000 meals. The Outreach (homeless prevention) program helped 58 households with one-time rental assistance and 54 households with ongoing rent subsidies.

Career center announces students of the month

Kaneland—The following Kaneland High School students were named students of the month for November at the Fox Valley Career Center: Lindsey Dodis, Graphic Communications I; Olivia Emmanouil, Emergency Medical Technician; David Fischer, Welding I; Megan Hanlon, Graphic Communications I; Lauren Malawski, Early Childhood II; Kevin Mendoza, Electrician I.

Fox Valley Career Center recognizes Students of the Month throughout the school year. In order to receive this honor, students are selected by their program instructors because they demonstrated the ability to do excellent work and to accomplish goals for their particular career training program during the previous month. Further, these students also exhibited a positive attitude, willingness to work with others and willingness to learn.

St. Charles announces winning entries in Christmas parade

ST. CHARLES—The Downtown St. Charles Partnership, organizers of the St. Charles Electric Christmas Parade, revealed this week that this year’s parade had a record turnout, with approximately 15,000 people estimated to be in attendance.

From the nearly 80 entries in the Downtown St. Charles Partnership’s annual Electric Christmas Parade, a panel of independent judges determined the top three winners in each of three categories: Children’s, Not-for-Profit, and Business.

“The judging seems to get more difficult each year,” said Darlene Riebe, a volunteer with the Downtown St. Charles Partnership who coordinates the judging process. “Everyone really gets into the spirit of the event, and each year we see more organizations and businesses creating really outstanding entries.

“The point totals were extremely close this year; for example, in the Business division, the award winners ranked within fractions of a point from each other.”

Riebe said that a panel of three judges use a five-point system to rate the parade entries on originality, their use of lights, and creativity.

The winners in each of the categories for 2009 are: Children’s, Cub Scout Pack 151, first place; Cub Scout Pack 146, second place; Cub Scout Pack 108, third place; Not-for-Profit, LIFE Church, first place; Chicago Corvette Club, second place; Bob Wulff’s RV, third place; Business, Thunderbolt Roofing, first place; Autopractor, Inc., second place; Filling Station Pub & Grill, third place.

All nine winners have been invited to a special awards presentation before City Council in January.

Officer suspended for firing warning shots

Action prohibited by police department
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—An Elburn police officer was disciplined this week for firing warning shots, which is prohibited by the police department.

Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said Wednesday that he suspended the officer for two days following a month-long internal investigation into an incident in downtown Elburn Nov. 18.

Smith did not disclose the officer’s name, but said he worked part-time, two or three shifts each month.

“This (keeping the employee’s name confidential) is standard practice in internal investigations; it would be different if there had been criminal charges filed (against the officer),” Smith said.

Smith removed the officer from active duty a month ago; the officer will return to active duty following the disciplinary suspension.

The Elburn Herald previously reported the incident, stating that an officer had discharged his weapon the evening of Nov. 18 in the 100 block of East North Street while attempting to apprehend a suspect who had fled on foot from the Metra station from a North Central Narcotics Task Force investigation officer. Smith said he would not offer other information about the incident until he finished his investigation.

On Wednesday, Smith announced he had concluded his internal investigation and provided the following summary of the incident with additional details:

“At 9:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, an Elburn police officer attempted to apprehend a male subject in the 100 block of East North Street. A short physical altercation ensued and the subject broke free from the officer. In an attempt to halt the subject, the officer, using his duty weapon, fired three to four warning shots in the air. The subject did not stop, and was not located after more than an hour of searching for him.”

The suspect was not apprehended, but there was no indication of any kind that the subject posed a threat to anyone, including the police, Smith said.

In its firearms training, the Police Department has taught its officers that warning shots are prohibited, which has been the standard practice of the Elburn Police Department for at least the past four years, Smith said.

The rule, however, is not in the department’s procedures and policies manual, which the village is updating.

“We have been working on rewriting our policy and procedure manual since I was appointed chief (in May 2009); the use-of-force policy is just one of many policies that are being reviewed and revised,” Smith said. “We have a goal to complete the majority of them by the end of January 2010.”

School officials lay out timeline for announcement of budget cuts

by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—Kaneland School District administrators, faced with a reduction in property tax income and cuts in state funding, have been working with the district’s main areas of operation to come up with cost-saving measures to reduce a $2.6 million projected deficit in the 2010-11 budget.

Given the magnitude of the deficit, school officials said that “nothing is off the table.”

McCormick said they are looking at cuts across the board, in personnel, travel, staff development, supplies, programs and services. The areas of operation that have been involved in the budget discussions include classroom instruction, transportation, technology, maintenance, administration, support service and food service.

“We’re going to make decisions that we don’t want to make,” Board President Lisa Wiet said.

The result will be a comprehensive district plan for budget cuts, which the administration will initially introduce to the School Board at its first meeting in January.

“The sooner you deal with the deficit, the better,” District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.

Budget cuts timeline
Dec. 15: Board formally directs administration to
balance the 2011 budget

Jan. 11: Administration introduces general budget deficit
reductions to the School Board

Jan. 25: Administration lays out more specifics

Feb. 8: Public hearing scheduled, during which members of the
community have an opportunity to provide feedback

March 8: Administration identifies personnel actions for
budget deficit reduction*

March 22: Administration’s final report

*According to the Illinois School Code, notices of job cuts must take place in
March in order to be implemented by the end of the school year.

District attempts to balance budget amid unknowns

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—As Kaneland School District officials work to chop away at the $2.6 million deficit in the budget for 2010-11, they are dealing with several unknown variables. The expected revenues, which already are lower this year, based on slow growth and a record-low consumer-price index, may be dealt an even-bigger blow by the state of Illinois.

“There’s revenue—what the state is expected to provide to us, and then there’s cash—when we get it,” District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.

Projected revenues for the 2010-11 school year are based on a number of assumptions, which include local property and corporate taxes, as well as funding provided by the state and federal government. Next to property taxes, Kaneland’s second largest source of revenue is the General State Aid (GSA) from the state.

Although the state has so far made its GSA payments, there is uncertainty about state categorical programs funding, including when and even if it will come.

State categorical funding, the school district’s third largest source of revenue, funds special education programs, transportation, and supports a few block grants. Although the district expects a total of $4.8 million this year, the state so far has only paid $6,700 of that amount.

Last year, the district finally did receive all the funding owed it from the state, but not until June or July, after the school fiscal year was over. At that, the state was only able to honor its commitments statewide by borrowing $1 billion.

This year, the state was assisted by $550,000 it received from the federal government through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Next year, that funding goes away. When this money is no longer available, there is no plan in the works to replace it with state level income.

“Revenue sources are down across the board,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Julie-Ann Fuchs said. “Unfortunately, there’s no good news on revenue.”

The other uncertainty relates to expenditures. With salary costs, the majority of the district’s expenditures ($29.5 million of the $47.2 million budget), the administration went back to the teacher’s union to ask it to renegotiate its contracted raise for next year.

The negotiated 5.6-percent salary increases for the teachers for next year equal $1.2 million of the budget.

According to McCormick, the administration does not expect to hear back from the Kaneland Educators Association until after the beginning of the year.

“We’re likely to receive some response in January,” he said. “We have to proceed with the numbers we have.”

Budget cuts timeline
Dec. 15: Board formally directs administration to
balance the 2011 budget

Jan. 11: Administration introduces general budget deficit
reductions to the School Board

Jan. 25: Administration lays out more specifics

Feb. 8: Public hearing scheduled, during which members of the
community have an opportunity to provide feedback

March 8: Administration identifies personnel actions for
budget deficit reduction*

March 22: Administration’s final report

*According to the Illinois School Code, notices of job cuts must take place in
March in order to be implemented by the end of the school year.

Parents concerned about effects of cuts

by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—A group of about 20 concerned parents met on Dec. 7 to discuss the pending budget cuts for the Kaneland School District.

Although Patrick J. Crimmins, father of two students at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School and one student at the Kaneland Harter Middle School, is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Finance Advisory Committee, he said he wanted to start an advocacy group that was more independent than those groups.

“We don’t want to argue about the reductions after they have been made,” Crimmins said. “We would like to have information further ahead of time—as early as possible.”

Crimmins said the district has been working on cost reductions since August, and the public will not have access to any information about the cuts until Jan. 11 and Jan. 25. The meeting set for public input is on Feb. 8, which Crimmins said does not give them a lot of time to process the information before providing feedback.

Crimmins said the cuts made now will impact the district for the next 10 years.

“We have a lot of interest in the outcome,” he said.

Kaneland School Board President Lisa Wiet attended the group’s meeting on Dec. 7. She said she was able to clear up a few misunderstandings.

“We understand that parents are concerned,” Wiet said. “We are interested in communicating to parents in any forum that we can.”

District offers early retirement

Offer is part of Kaneland’s deficit-reduction plan
by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—The Kaneland School District is offering a $10,000 incentive to staff members covered by the Kaneland Education Association if they retire a year earlier than planned. This one-time offer is one of the measures the district is taking to help reduce the budget deficit.

Those certificated staff who had given notice to retire at the end of the 2010-2011 school year are eligible to take their retirement at the end of the 2009-2010 school year and receive $10,000. In addition, the employee will receive either $100 or $200 per month, depending upon years of service, to pay for insurance premiums. This amount will be paid directly to the Teachers Retirement System until the employee is eligible for Medicare.

The district estimates that the amount of cost savings per teacher will be between $40,000 and $50,000, according to Associate District Superintendent Jeff Schuler. There are 13 teachers with a retirement letter on file for next year.

“A lot of the teachers set to retire at the end of next year are at the top of the salary schedule,” Schuler said. “We saw it as a win-win.”

Madrigals usher in the joy of the season

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland High School cafeteria was transformed into a medieval castle last weekend, when family, friends and fans attended the school’s 32nd annual “Madrigal Christmas Feaste.”

Entering the doors of the high school, members of the audience stepped back in time and place for a few hours of entertainment, feasting and merry-making. While they enjoyed a meal fit for a king or queen, prepared by local caterer Food for Thought, they settled in for an afternoon or evening of the joy of the season.

Audience members could easily imagine they were guests of English nobility sometime in the 16th century, when madrigal singing was a private form of entertainment within castles and country homes. More than 90 students played various roles in the performance, which included a brass and a recorder ensemble, servers, pages, court jesters, troubadours, minstrels, beggar women, as well as the madrigal singers.

Preparation for the performance began in the spring, when auditions were held. Rehearsal began in earnest in the fall, as members of the madrigal class began to learn their roles. In addition to the semester-long class, students attended a team-building weekend retreat in Oregon, Ill., in November, where they played games, learned more about each other as people and bonded as a group, madrigal singer Chloe Bluml said.

Chloe’s mom and Samantha Vasquez’s mom sat at a front table together on Saturday afternoon, taking in the show, and passing notes to their daughters on-stage. As part of the entertainment, parents wrote notes of encouragement and humor to their children and receive responses back. Students sent missives to each other, and notes also flew between members of the audience.

“The pages are kept pretty busy,” said Brent Eichelberger, Madrigal singer Eric’s father.

Brent is a somewhat seasoned spectator at the madrigal dinner, having come to see his children perform for the past five years. His involvement is likely to continue, as his youngest daughter, Caroline, a freshman, began her participation this year as a server.

Many parents and others volunteered their time to make the show a success, from helping out in the kitchen to sewing the costumes. Much care was taken with the details of the Elizabethan costumes, as well as with the complex and intricate musical pieces.

Armed with only a pitch pipe, the madrigal group sang most of its songs a capella. Although musical director Brian Kuntzman observed them from the back of the cafeteria, the students were so attuned to each other and the music by the time of the performance, their voices blended together beautifully and came in right on cue.

The event was an emotional experience for many of the students, Brent said. For the seniors, this was their last musical performance in their high school careers. For him and his family, the event was a highlight of the Christmas season, and was an inspirational way to get into the spirit of the season, he said.

Photos by Ben Draper
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Villages on top of snow, ice

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN/MP—Winter weather started locally just recently, but with a vengeance, so local Public Works employees already have put in a lot of work to keep the streets clear of snow and ice.

“We have logged 96 hours of plowing, used 31 tons of salt, and driven over 800 miles,” Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said Tuesday.

The village of Elburn has seven vehicles with snowplows. For whatever plowing and salting that is necessary, the village relies on six full-time public works employees and two more village staff members on an as-needed basis.

When snow falls or conditions become icy, the first streets they attend to are the main ones.

“We plow the main streets first, i.e. Prairie Valley, First and Third streets, South Street, North Street, Liberty, Patriot, Blackberry Creek Drive and Anderson Road (not an all-inclusive list),” Nevenhoven said. “We also focus on the areas around the schools.”

In Maple Park, Public Works Superintendent Eric Pinion is in charge of plowing and de-icing the village streets, with help from one other employee. Pinion starts plowing from the south side of the village and the other staffer begins on the north side.

“We meet in the middle,” Pinion said.

So far this season, they have spent about 26 hours behind the wheel of village trucks equipped with plows. Those include two pickups, and a 1-ton and an 8-ton truck for heavy snow.

Pinion said although the village has just two people to plow, they handled the big snowstorm last week fairly well, since the bad weather did not last long.

“It was a heavy snow to move. Fortunately, we had a melting right afterward,” he said.

Both villages’ plowing vehicles are equipped for spreading salt. Nevenhoven and Pinion said salt is in good supply this year, and they do not anticipate any shortages. The village of Elburn budgeted $25,000 for road salt this winter season. Pinion said Maple Park does not designate a certain budget amount for road salt, but village officials always approve any salt expenditure that is necessary.

Photo courtesy Stock.sxc.hu

Village will permit more prominent business signs

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn will now allow large, hanging signs at downtown storefronts to attract more people to those businesses.

The Village Board approved an ordinance change to permit an 8-square-foot hanging sign in front of Kevin Schmidt’s new tavern at 107 N. Main St.

“With a sign such as this, the visibility is increased so much more,” Village President Dave Anderson said during the Village Board meeting Dec. 7.

Schmidt had asked the board for a variance from the village’s eight-month-old sign code, which prohibited hanging primary business signs. He presented the Village Board with the design for the cantilevered sign for his bar, Schmidt’s Towne Tap.

Trustees liked Schmidt’s design so much they decided to change the ordinance to permit such a sign for any downtown business without a variance. During a special meeting Monday, they amended the sign code to reflect that decision.

With the ordinance change, Schmidt will be able to put up his sign before opening the fourth week of December. Schmidt told trustees last week that he wanted to install the sign before the opening.

The amended sign code will allow businesses to have hanging signs of up to eight square feet, compared to the two-square-foot hanging signs permitted previously, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

MP man convicted of threatening officer

Maple Park—A Maple Park man has been convicted of threatening a police officer.

Jose E. Blanco, 45, of the 200 block of Kane Street, Maple Park, was convicted this week by Circuit Judge Thomas E. Mueller, of one count of threatening a public official, a Class 3 felony. Blanco waived his right to a jury trial.

On May 21, 2009, Blanco told a Maple Park police officer that he was upset that another Maple Park police officer had not yet provided Blanco with a copy of a police report, taken two days earlier, about damage to his vehicles. Blanco threatened the officer who took the report, saying he would disarm the officer, shoot him in the head, use one of his three knives to decapitate him, bury his body in a farm field where it would never be found and that he had received special training to commit such an act while in the El Salvadoran army.

Judge Mueller set Blanco’s next court appearance for 9 a.m. Jan 18, 2010, for motions and sentencing. Blanco could be sentenced to probation or to between two and five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Blanco had been held in the Kane County Jail since his arrest on $100,000 bail. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Scott Schwertley and Mark Stajdohar.