Elburn village notes

by Martha Quetsch

Youth baseball group wants field signs

            Elburn Baseball and Softball officials want to erect two signs at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center playing fields to promote the organization and highlight its sponsors.

            Club representative Steve Woods asked the Elburn Village Board Dec. 15 to approve the request for the signs, which he said would be about four-by-six feet in size and made of thick, corrugated plastic.

            Village trustees said before they OK the signs, they want to see a picture showing what they would look like, and have village staff draft an agreement related to the signs’ maintenance. Woods said the signs would remain in place during the organization’s season, between May 1 through Sept. 9.

Higher village property taxes won’t  increase homeowner bill

            The Elburn Village Board on Dec. 15 approved the amount it will ask the county to levy in village property taxes for 2008, $947,530.

            Trustees OK’d the proposed levy following a public hearing.

            Village officials do not expect the county to approve that amount. Last year, Elburn trustees asked the county to levy $953,502 in village property taxes for 2007; the eventual amount the county approved was $687,451.

            Each fall, the village typically asks the county for a higher levy than it can expect the county to bill in village property taxes the following May, because annual new growth for the year still is uncertain.

            Elburn’s total property value has risen an average of 16.9 percent annually since 2003. If a municipality underestimates EAV growth in its property tax levy request, it will lose the opportunity to place all of the actual new property value on the tax rolls.

            Even if the county approves a higher levy for Elburn this year, the village portion of property tax bills for 2008 likely will be lower than last year, village officials said.

            The reason is that this year, the village will finish paying off a bond it issued in the past to pay for water and sewer system improvements, resulting in a lower village property tax rate.

Commission approves wayside horns for Elburn

            Elburn is another step closer to ridding the community of train whistles, since the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the village’s wayside horn proposal Dec. 3.

            Village officials in July asked the ICC to authorize installation of the wayside horns at the First Street and the Main Street railroad crossings in Elburn as a measure to silence Union Pacific Railroad locomotive whistles in town.

            The total cost of the wayside horn project for both crossings, including engineering and consultant fees, equipment and installation, is approximately $300,000, less than other options village officials proposed in the past to meet federal safety requirements for a quiet zone.

            The village will order the wayside horn system equipment and proceed with installation when they receive it.

Lady Knights nab third place in OE consolation

            The Lady Knights finished their Oswego East Holiday Classic stay on a winning note, but just barely last Tuesday.

            In the battle for third place in the consolation bracket, Kaneland held off a charging Brooks Prep squad 37-35 to close out the gathering and finish 2-1.

Kaneland could be in the midst of stacking some wins and is now 3-8 with an 0-3 Western Sun Conference record as it closes out 2008.

            Kaneland won despite shooting just 12-for-43 from the field and getting outscored 14-5 in the fourth quarter.

            Working in the Lady Knights’ favor was a good night of 12-for-18 from the foul line and 19 steals. The end came when Katie Hatch (team-high 11 points, three rebounds, three steals) hit two free throws with 10 seconds remaining.

            Kaneland and the Eagles were tied at 6-6 after one with KHS leading 17-11 at halftime. The Lady Knights took a 32-21 lead before the tight conclusion.

            Eight Lady Knights entered the scoring column, with Sara Rose and Alyssa Galvan scoring six points apiece.

            In the championship, Driscoll Catholic defeated Oak Park-River Forest 58-47 on Dec. 23.

            The Lady Knights begin 2009 with a home encounter against Yorkville on Saturday, Jan. 3.

Elburn deals with economic downturn

Finances in forefront in 2008

by Martha Quetsch

            The community of Elburn showed confidence on some fronts and restraint on others in 2008, reflecting optimism as well as uncertainty about the economy.
Smoking ban effect evident
            A new state law prohibiting smoking in businesses started Jan. 1, leaving some local restaurant and tavern owners wondering what effect it would have on them.

            For Blackberry Inn in Elburn, the smoking ban led to more food sales and less bar business this year.

            “We have had a lot of new customers who wanted to try our food for a long time but didn’t come in before because we were a smoking establishment,” manager Dawn Faber said. “But when the kitchen closes, it’s dead.”
Village, county officials make choices
            Also in January, Elburn trustees hired Erin Willrett as the village’s first community development director, for an annual salary of $73,000.

            “Ms. Willrett will work with developers, business owners and stakeholders to assist in implementing the Village Board’s policies on carefully managed growth,” Village Administrator David Morrison said at the time of the hiring.

            Meantime, the health of the economy was declining, with housing starts dropping, meaning less revenue for Elburn from utilities connection and building fees.

            Nevertheless, in July, the Elburn Village Board approved 4.1-percent pay raises for all village employees and even more for some staff. However, trustees Patricia Romke and Gordon Dierschow voted against the pay hikes because they were more than those received by average people in the private sector this year.

            Citing the same reason, local resident Drew Frasz, right after being appointed to the Kane County Board, voted against a similar pay raise for county employees. Frasz won in the Republican primary against incumbent Jan Carlson, who stepped down after his defeat, leaving his position open. The board appointed Frasz to fill the District 14 position in May.
Recreation spending decisions made
            Using money from its limited recreation fund, the Village built a new tot lot at 215 W. Shannon St. this summer, naming it after after former village police chief and longtime local public servant Wayne Byerhof. The village purchased the Byerhof Park site, formerly a residential lot, two years ago for $165,000. The village spent more than $50,000 on site preparation and playground equipment for the tot lot, the first park on the northwest side of the Elburn.

            During October, the Village Board also tabled a proposal for a skateboard park in Elburn because of its more than $100,000 cost. Trustees said the remaining money in the recreation fund could cover the cost, but the village might need it for other purposes because of expected financial constraints.
Business changes occur
            Bucking the belt-tightening trend, Party Animals expanded its business in downtown Elburn, moving in October to a larger location a couple of doors down to the former Gliddon’s Drug Store location at 116 B. Main St. There, Party Animals offers its children’s celebrations and a new coffee shop.

            The downtown lost two businesses this year, Sears and Emma’s Pub and Cantina. Emma’s gave up its liquor license in May after the Police Department cited the restaurant for illegal gambling. The Sears appliance store at 107 N. Main St., Elburn, closed in October after less than two years in business.

            Four months earlier, a longtime Elburn business changed hands. Ehlers Lawn & Recreation sold its 51-year-old family business to another John Deere dealer, Hogan Walker.

            Despite the economic downturn, Walgreens continued with its plan to build on the northeast corner of Route 38 and Route 47. The store is expected to open this spring.

            Likewise, two planned developments pushed forward, Keslinger Plaza and Elburn Station. Village officials in September approved design plans for the first phase of Keslinger Plaza, a commercial development whose site is at Keslinger Road and Route 47. Elburn Station, a Sho-Deen Inc. development, received Village Board approval of its concept plan in July.

Whistle ban measure approved
            In April, village trustees agreed to pursue the least costly method to silence train whistles in the village in compliance with federal safety regulations. They decided installing wayside horns at the First Street and Route 47 rail crossings were the solution. The wayside horns will cost an estimated $100,000 per crossing, compared to $400,000 for a previous proposal—to install a center barrier of pylons at the First Street crossing, village engineers said.

            “It won’t be a quiet zone, but it will be a better situation than we have now,” village trustee Craig Swan said.
When it rains, it pours
            More economic uncertainty faced the village after unusually heavy rains in September led to sewer system backups in the village. The village is conducting a study of residential sewer systems to determine the cause and potential cost of resolving the situation. 

            The village’s new public works superintendent, John Nevenhoven, will be among village staff members working on the study. Village trustees hired Nevenhoven in September to replace Art Sanchez, whom they asked to retire four months earlier, saying they needed someone more experienced in the position. Nevenhoven was assistant village manager in Huntley from 2004 to 2005. The village is paying Nevenhoven $78,500, compared to Sanchez’ $88,993 final salary.
Hold-ups hit home
            Citing possible financial hardship on the part of the robbers, FBI statistics show that recently, bank hold-ups have risen significantly. An Elburn heist was among several area bank robberies this year in towns including Union, Huntley and Campton Hills.

            Thanks to the FBI, the village of Elburn did not have to bear the entire cost and burden of investigating the bank robbery that happened March 25 at Fifth Third Bank. Elburn police and the FBI are continuing to cooperate in trying to apprehend the “Backpack Bandit.”

            “We are just still waiting for some lab reports. The case is still under investigation,” Elburn Police Chief Jim Linane said Monday. “We’re still making progress, but it’s slow.”

Knight boys finish strong at Marengo tourney

            For a holiday stop, Kaneland boys basketball would probably recommend Marengo this time of year.

            After beginning the 59th Annual E.C. Nichols Tournament with a loss to Bogan last week, Kaneland rebounded with three consecutive wins to clinch fifth place. On Tuesday, Dec. 23, the Knights handled F.W. Parker High School of Chicago 74-53, defeated North Boone High School of Poplar Grove 55-43 on Saturday morning, and then handled Hampshire 51-43 on Saturday night.

            KHS now sits at 5-4 (0-2 Western Sun Conference) and ends 2008 on a winning note.

            Against Parker, Dave Dudzinski and Ryley Bailey contributed with 18 points apiece, and Ryan Blake had nine points.

Bailey had the long-range touch with four three-pointers.

            The Knights led the Chicago group 22-17 after one, and poured it on in the second quarter to go up 42-25 at the half. The Knights maintained the lead at 56-38 after three before the final frame.

            KHS began with a 21-9 first quarter vs. the North Boone Vikings and held on for a 31-21 lead at the half. Slowing the temp for a 40-26 lead after the third, Kaneland held on for the 12-point win.

            Dudzinski had a game-high 17 and Brody Root added 13.

            Against the Whip-purs, Kaneland stormed out to a 20-7 lead after the first eight minutes, and lead 28-19 at the half. Hampshire closed within 38-33 going into the final quarter before Kaneland held on.

            The Knights were once again led by Dudzinski with a team-high 17 with Bailey adding 11 with the help of three treys.

            Winnebago won the tournament for a fifth consecutive year thanks to a 67-49 win over Bogan. Sycamore took third place.

            After the Knights were set to battle Geneva at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, they prepare to tip-off 2009 with a home clash against Yorkville on Saturday, Jan. 3.

Student artists receive awards

by Lynn Meredith

            Six elementary students from Kaneland schools received awards for their art work and the opportunity to have it displayed in a traveling art show throughout the state.

            The Illinois Art Education Association judges works of art submitted from kindergartners through 12th graders. From the more than 500 works submitted, 40 are chosen. Kaneland has six of those awards, something that Superintendent Charlie McCormick said has been a regular occurrence.

            “As long as I can remember, since I came in 1994, Kaneland has had at least two and sometimes eight in the traveling gallery that goes around the state,” McCormick said. “That says a lot about the depth and quality of our art program here at Kaneland.”

            Bonnie Whildin, in her 24th year as an art teacher, said the competition is done through blind judging. The judges do not look at the schools, but they just choose the work that they like.

            The winners are Riley Capes for weaving, Jack Penniall for contour drawing, Allie Pyle for weaving, Kyla Rachas for winter shapes, Lauren Sparber for watercolor, and Jeffrey Wachter for cut-outs.

            The art show will be displayed in Dixon in January and February and Algonquin in March.

School Board adopts ‘08 tax levy

            The School Board proposed a 2008 operating levy of $38,153,948 on Dec. 15. That total is composed of approximately $31 million for the education fund, $3 million for the operations and maintenance fund, $1.4 million for the transportation fund, and the remainder for the retirement, Social Security, special education and working cash funds.

            The tax rate will go down slightly because the equalized assessed valuation projections for Kane County are estimated to be $1 million higher than earlier estimates. This levy represents a 12.1 percent increase over the taxes extended in the operating funds last year.

Lulu Loshbough

            Lulu Loshbough, 95, of Elgin, passed away Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008, at the Pine View Care Center in St. Charles. In the season of her Savior’s birth, Lulu was “called home for Christmas” to join her daughter, Judy Clauss and brothers, Edward and Richard Stepina. 

            She was born Feb. 26, 1913, in Chicago, the daughter of Frank and Edna (Spitz) Stepina. Lulu grew up in Chicago, and at age 15, began working at Progress Engraving to help support herself and her siblings. In later years, she was employed with the Sears company, where she proudly recalled learning to operate a computer. 

            On  July 27, 1935, Lulu was united in marriage to Raymond Loshbough in Cicero, Ill., and they made their home in Chicago. As the years passed, they lived in many different places and eventually Lulu settled herself in Medinah, Ill. Her fondest recollections were of “faith and family.”

            While living in Itasca, she was very active at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday school. Later, in Roselle, Ill., she took great pride in becoming a lector at Trinity Lutheran Church. More recent years brought her further west to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church near Plato Center. While making her home with her daughter Judy, Lulu made her “faith home” at St. Peter’s, where she continued to love teaching and being part of a growing church.
            A woman who found the secret to remaining young at heart, Lulu always enjoyed learning new things—including her enthusiasm for learning line dancing at 90-years-old. Though life was not a “rose garden,” Lulu learned to bloom where she was planted, and in her own words, “I just ask the Lord every morning to come into my heart and then I have joy all day.”

            She is survived by one son, Robert (Eileen) Loshbough of Vail, Ariz.; a son-in-law, Walter (the late Judy) Clauss of Plato Center, Ill.; four grandchildren and their families, Brian (Pat) Clauss of Elgin and their children, Natalie, Nathan and Clint; Sherry (Gordon) Gehrke of Maple Park, Bob (Joanne) Loshbough Jr. of Tucson, Ariz., and Rich (Jeannette) Loshbough of Elgin; three great grandchildren from Brian and Pat: Natalie (John) Seper, Nathan Campbell (Fianc`ee Kelly Riha) and Clint Clauss; two great-greatgrandchild from Natalie and John: Christopher and Ian Seper; three siblings, Frank (Mary) Stepina of Fla., Clarence Stepina of Ill. and Dorothy (Al) Simon of Fla.

            In addition to her parents and her husband, Raymond, she is preceded in death by their daughter, Judy Clauss; and her two brothers, Edward and Richard Stepina. 

            Her funeral service and visitation were combined on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Plato Center, Ill. Friends called at visitation hours from 11 a.m. until 12:45 pm. The funeral service began at 1 p.m. and  concluded with committal services at Lily Lake Cemetery, Route 47, Lily Lake.

            A memorial has been established in Lulu’s name to benefit her church  as well as other favorite charities.  Memorials checks may be made to the  Lulu Loshbough Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.    Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or  through her obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information call (630) 365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.

3 Kaneland administrators will take on new roles

by Lynn Meredith

            The Kaneland School Board approved changes to administrative staffing for the 2009-10 school to adjust for the the planned retirement of Assistant Superintendent of Business Tom Runty and Director of Special Education Marilee Green.

            Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs will replace Runty as the Assistant Superintendent of Business. She has worked with the Business Office for several years and has been involved in many of the key operations of the district. Fuchs holds a doctorate in Curriculum Leadership and masters degrees in Education Administration and Secondary Education.

            Fran Eggleston will replace Marilee Greene as Director of Special Education. She has served as principal of McDole Elementary since the school opened. She has a background in Special Education and has taught at all three levels.

            Martne McCoy will replace Eggleston as principal of McDole, where she currently is serving as Assistant Principal. She has been an assistant principal at three of the district’s elementary schools and has taught early childhood and elementary levels.

Elburn police blotter

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

Outstanding warrant arrest
            • Brittney S. Semeraro, 22, of the 100 block of Stetzer Street in Elburn, was arrested at 7:38 a.m. Dec. 1, on an outstanding warrant from Kane County. Elburn police stopped a vehicle in which she was a passenger on Route 47 at Keslinger Road in Elburn.

            • Elizabeth Wallen Johnstad, 38, of the 300 block of Read Street in Elburn, was arrested at 3:59 a.m. Nov. 30 on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. Police made the arrest while responding to a domestic dispute in the 300 block of Read Street in Elburn.

Driving without insurance
            James Daniel Stupek, of the 2000 block of Jonquil Place in Rockford, Ill., was arrested at 2:33 a.m. Nov. 29 for operating an uninsured vehicle and driving while his registration was suspended. Police stopped Stupek on Center Street in Elburn.

Driving while license suspended
            • Jesus O. Alcantar, 24, of the 100 block of Capes Drive in Elburn, was arrested at 4:18 p.m. for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped Alcantar on Route 47 at North Street in Elburn for driving a vehicle with tinted windows. He received a warning for that offense, and for failing to secure a child in a car seat.

            • Robert I. Vandeveire, 29, of the 1100 block of President Street in Elburn, was arrested for driving while his license was suspended at 12:38 a.m. on Nov. 24. Police stopped him on Center Street at Wright Street in Elburn for driving without a front license plate. He also was cited for operating a vehicle without insurance or evidence of valid registration.

            • Ashley Marie Striebel, 20, of the 200 block of Sixth Street in Mandar, N.D., was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol at 3:12 a.m. on Nov. 29. Police stopped her on Route 47 at Hughes Road, for disobeying a stoplight at Keslinger Road in Elburn.

            • Jonathan D. Lupei, 21, of the 43W700 block of Marian Circle in Sugar Grove, was arrested at 1:56 a.m. Dec. 14 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him for speeding, after he turned north on Anderson Road from eastbound Prairie Valley Street in Elburn.

            • Timothy E. Neubeck, Jr., 23, of the 200 block of North Leiser Street in Herscher, Ill., was arrested at 5:01 a.m. Dec. 13 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped him on Route 38 east of Route 47 in Elburn after observing him crossing the center lines several times. He also was cited for improper lane use.

            • Adam C. Taylor, 21, of the 3700 block of St. Germain Place in St. Charles, was arrested at 10:50 p.m. Dec. 6 in the 500 block of North Main Street in Elburn for driving under the influence of alcohol. He also was cited for driving without a front license plate.

Property damage
            Someone drove into a village-owned lamp post at the corner of North First Street and Route 38 in Elburn on Dec. 9. A patrolman found the knocked-down post at 9 p.m.

Burglary from motor vehicle
            Someone stole a cell phone from an unlocked vehicle parked next to a business on Valley Drive in Elburn, while its owner was inside the building, at 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11.

Unlawful consumption of alcohol by minors
            Adam Joseph Gilbert, 18, of the 1400 block of South Batavia Avenue in Batavia, was arrested for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor, at 12:57 a.m. Dec. 13. Police stopped him as he was driving on Route 38 at Saddlewood Drive in Elburn.

Warrant arrest
            Michael L. LaMorte, 30, of Blue Island, Ill., was arrested on an outstanding warrant at 3:03 a.m. Dec. 21 at the Metra commuter station, 422 E. Railroad St., Elburn. The warrant from Blue Island was for a disorderly conduct offense.

Wrestling deals with tough first day of Flavin Invite

by Mike Slodki

            Kaneland wrestling’s usual late-Dec. venture to DeKalb’s High School’s Don Flavin Invite proved to be difficult but a valuable learning experience.

            Against a 16-team field with many top teams, KHS fell to Stillman Valley 47-33, West Aurora 50-23 and Woodstock 34-21. The Knights’ dual meet record ending 2008 is 5-10. Kaneland was set to grapple with Shepard on day 2 of the invite.

            In the loss vs. Stillman Valley, J.T. Webb stuck a 4:46 pin at 160 pounds. A.J. Wagner nabbed a 2:32 pinfall at 215 pounds. Matt Weaver also took home a 7-2 decision at 130 pounds.

            Vs. The Blackhawks, Jay Levita (135) earned a 6-5 win, and Cody McGinnis stuck a 2:55 pin at 152 pounds. Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle also earned a pin at 2:42, indicative of his progress lasting the whole season.

            “Jimmy’s improved the entire season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “He’s really worked hard on his motion and driving and he’s done what we’ve asked the team to do and that’s wrestle hard for six minutes.”

            “The coaches have really worked with me and shown me how to be aggressive,” Boyle said.

            Levita (9-7 decision), Wagner (6-3 dec.) 112-pounder Tyler Esposito (3:51 fall), 119-pounder Josh Kuefler (5-2 dec.), 125-pounder Deven Scholl (5-3 dec.) and 140-pounder Kyle Davidson (6-3 dec.) all took home wins vs. Woodstock.

Mary ‘Lou’ Smith

            Mary “Lou” Smith, 73, of Earlville, Ill., passed away Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008. She was born Aug. 30, 1935, in Oak Park, Ill., the daughter of the late Clarence and Mary Irmis.

            Lou is survived by her husband, Gerald Smith; sons, Perry (Lisa) Smith and Timothy (Laurie) Smith; five grandchildren; and sister, Linda Shaw.

            Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Sandra O’Day.

            Visitation was held Dec. 29, 2008, at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Dr., Sugar Grove, IL 60554. Burial will take place in Stone Lake, Wis.

            Memorials may be made to the American Brittany Rescue-Lou Smith, c/o Deborah Lary, 114 Marlin Ct., Centryville, MD 21617 or the American Cancer Society, 143 First St., Batavia, IL 60510.

            For further information, please call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to leave an online condolence.

Never fail a ‘get fit’ resolution again

by Gwen Allen

            Many Americans will resolve to be healthy and fit in the New Year, some will succeed, but unfortunately more will fail. The problem is this resolution requires many small changes to achieve a much larger goal.

            Erick Dodendorf, who is a personal trainer and co-owner with Brian Monaghan of Fitness Together in Geneva, said the biggest mistake made by those who vow to “lose weight” or “get fit” are, “They jump in the deep end without knowing how to swim.”

            “Another problem is there is a lot of pressure with new year resolutions, people tend to be too hard on themselves and do too much too quick, so they are more likely to fail,” Dodendorf said. “This is a lifestyle change (not a quick fix), so with a little education first, they are more likely to stick with it and see results.”

            Before starting an exercise plan, he said people should consult a professional or at least do some research. Then set a plan that includes many small goals, or benchmarks, to achieve the bigger goal. An example is a small goal to exercise just 10 minutes every other day, eventually leading up to five days a week.

            It is also important to understand that exercise is a part of life that needs to happen every day, in one way or another. Whether it’s in the form of jogging, playing outdoors with the kids, shoveling the driveway or going to the gym.

            Dodendorf recommends alternating three and a half hours of aerobic activity and an hour and half of anaerobic (muscle toning) exercise a week just to maintain fitness.

            “The trick is to keep challenging yourself, while staying within your limits,” Dodendorf said. “If you stay realistic and are accountable for yourself, then you will be successful.”

            Though exercise is a key component in a healthy lifestyle, it alone cannot fulfill a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or become fit. Nutrition is important, too.

            Sandi Hunter, a registered dietitian for Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, said people fail with diets in much the same way that they fail with a fitness program, because they try to do too much too quickly.

            Hunter said people jump into fad diets, and while they may work temporarily, they do not offer permanent results. So she said it is best to forget the word “diet” altogether and focus on nutrition.

            What does this mean? Good nutrition comes from all five food groups, with just a little tweaking. Instead of their unhealthy alternatives, opt for whole wheat, lean cuts of meat, healthy fats (olive, canola oil or fish oils), low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables. Try to stay away from trans and saturated fats.

            “Don’t think of it as something restrictive, just think of it as being more healthy,” Hunter said. “It’s really about making better choices.”

            And don’t worry about an occasional cookie or brownie; Hunter said a healthy diet allows for a splurge here and there. Once you have achieved your ideal weight, she said a good rule of thumb is to make good choices 80 percent of the time while making moderate choices 20 percent of the time.

            If it is difficult to remember your choices, keep a journal. Record your eating and exercise habits and remember that in the end, it boils down to a simple math problem.

            Eat more than you burn off and you will gain weight, eat less then you burn off and you will lose weight.

            So instead of a resolution that vows to lose weight, set one to get healthy, remain optimistic and unpack those skinny jeans, because you may need them again.

Growth shifts from homes to stores

by Susan O’Neill

            With a struggling economy in the background, the village of Sugar Grove saw a shift of focus in 2008. In previous years much effort was spent planning for residential growth, but this year it was spent on bringing commercial projects into the village.
Sugar Grove is recognized
            Sugar Grove began the new year by celebrating BusinessWeek.com‘s choice of the village as the best affordable suburb in Illinois. Sugar Grove was picked as a relatively affordable community that offers the lowest crime rate, finest schools and the best quality of life for the money in the state.

            Sugar Grove learned in June that Standard & Poors upgraded the village’s bond rating from an A to an A+.

            Settler’s Ridge, Sugar Grove’s conservation development, earned a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the Chicago Wilderness Corporation Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its landscaping and innovative water works systems. The water works system also received the Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association Chicago Metro Chapter.
The economy and growth
            The Settler’s Ridge Subdivision was dealt a blow in April when developer Kimball Hill Homes requested bankruptcy protection. The development, which was to include 2,678 homes, was put up for sale after only 100 residences were built. Kimball Hill announced it would go out of business at year’s end.

            New home starts dropped significantly, leading the village to renegotiate annexation agreements with developers of projects in progress.

            Although residential development lagged in Sugar Grove in 2008, commercial development continued to move forward.

            “It’s been a busy year,” Village President Sean Michels said. “There has been $65 million in investment in the village.”

            Multiple commercial/office developments either opened or expanded, and many new businesses opened, ranging from two new preschools to a family practice physician and other retail outlets, locations like The Landings, Sugar Grove Center and the Capital Professional Center saw growth throughout the year.
Municipal development
            Groundbreaking for the new Sugar Grove Public Library building took place on May 3, although voters rejected a measure to increase the tax rate to increase the library’s operating expenses.

            The Sugar Grove Fire District moved nine firefighters to the Oswego Fire District station on Galena Road in July to meet response time standards in the area from the station on Route 30 and Municipal Drive.
Airport growth
            Growth is taking place at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove as well, with two companies opening new locations: one in December and another slated for 2009.
New church in village

            The Rockford Diocese created the first new Roman Catholic parish in almost 20 years in Sugar Grove this year. The St. Katharine Drexel parish holds weekend masses at the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School until a church can be built on land donated by the Jerry Rich family. The parish priest, Fr. Robert Jones, began in time to conduct Advent services on Nov. 29.

            What began several years ago as a plan to build a new separate village hall and police facility based on population projections of 60,000 plus was ultimately reduced at year’s end to the reconfiguration of the Police Department reception area for increased protection and safety of police personnel.
            Construction also began this year on the Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension, and plans moved forward for the extension of the village’s water main out to the Kaneland Harter Road Middle School.
SG joins county program
            The Sugar Grove Village Board approved a measure to join Ride in Kane, a county-wide program to provide transportation to eligible residents in need. With participation by the Sugar Grove Township, Park District and Public Library, the village will receive $4,000 from the Regional Transportation Authority. Services will begin July 1, 2009.
Future growth
            Robert Arthur Land Company in October brought plans for an active adult community to the Village Board for its feedback. The 190-acre development would include a mix of single-family homes for active adults and rental apartments and condominiums targeting adults over 55 on land originally set aside for the Settler’s Ridge development.

            Village officials reviewed plans in November for a Walgreens store scheduled to open in 2009 at the northwest corner of Route 47 and the Galena Boulevard extension. Attorney James White said the developer, the Daly Group, LLC, hopes to attract some big-box stores to the development.

            Michels said there are a couple of other smaller retailers, including an auto service center and a small hardware store that the village is talking to for possible location in the Prairie Grove Commons, south of Galena Boulevard and west of Route 47.

            The village hopes to take advantage of potential infrastructure funding that may be available in 2009 through the new federal administration’s stimulus package. Village staff submitted two infrastructure projects to the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus for the Harter Road water main extension and the Municipal Drive extension from Galena Boulevard to Wheeler Road.

            Michels said the village is still working on a full interchange at I-88 and Route 47. There is currently a feasibility study underway for the interchange and that is going well, he said.

            According to Michels, when the construction market begins to pick up again, Sugar Grove should be in a good position to take advantage of it with the essential infrastructure in place.

Elburn 9-year-old living dream of showing dogs

Youth competes against adult handlers in prestigious rings

by Martha Quetsch

            When Corinne Kolzow was a toddler, she loved watching dog shows on TV. Since then, taking her own dog into the ring was the Elburn girl’s dream.

            “She was in a stroller, wanting to do this,” Corinne’s mother Hannah Kozlow said.

            When Corinne was about 3, her parents began taking her to see dog shows in the area. By the time she was 5, Corinne had entered her first competition at the American Kennel Club (AKC) Show at DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, showing her Havanese puppy, Yallie.

            Corinne since has built on her achievements as a handler at various shows. At Chicago’s International Kennel Club Show in 2006, Corinne showed Yallie and won in the Best Puppy category, competing against more than 20 other entrants.

            Most recently, Corinne participated in the American Kennel Club Eukanuba National Championship, the largest prize-money dog show in the world. Participation in the event in Long Beach, Calif., was by invitation only.

            The event took place Dec. 13-14, a week after Corinne’s ninth birthday. Showing her 1-year-old Havanese, Rein, she competed against adults who are the best in the sport.

            Because Corinne was the youngest handler there, she was a little nervous, she said. But she always is somewhat anxious before shows, because they are so competitive.

            “The hardest part is you have to make sure she (the dog) looks perfect,” Corinne said.

            Corinne’s mother grooms Rein before every show, but her daughter must maintain the dog’s appearance throughout the presentation.

            “I try to get everything right, like making sure her tail is set right,” Corinne said.

            For Rein’s overall appearance and structure at Eukanuba, as her breeder, owner and handler, Corinne received an Award of Excellence, which will allow her to show the dog in the Crufts Show in London.

            Corinne is the youngest person in history to win an award at Eukanuba and qualify for Crufts, the largest and oldest dog show in the world.

            Corinne gives Rein a lot of the credit for this accomplishment.

            “The judge said she thought every dog in the ring looked like a statue until she saw us. She thought Rein looked like a loving sister,” Corinne said.

            Corinne does have a sister who also shows dogs, Sarah, 10. Sarah is working her way up the competitive ladder, having qualified in presentation at Eukanuba for participation in the juniors class.

            Sarah and the rest of the Kozlow family likely will accompany Corinne in March to Crufts.

            Those interested in seeing Corinne showing Rein at the Eukanuba may watch a taping of the event on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Sugar Grove village notes

by Susan O’Neill

Progress made on water main extension project
            The Village Board accepted three public utility and drainage easements on Dec. 16 to pave the way for the construction of a public water main connecting to the new Kaneland middle school building on Harter Road. The easements are three of many needed to extend the water main to Route 47 and Wheeler Road.

Board grants special-use permit for parish office
            The Village Board approved a temporary special use permit to allow the newly formed St. Katharine Drexel parish to utilize the building at 264 Main St. for the parish office. Parish priest Fr. Bob Jones will also perform daily Masses in the building during the week. Saturday and Sunday Masses are currently held at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School. The special-use permit is effective until May 1, 2009.

Park District plans for future

by Susan O’Neill

            Local residents surveyed by the Sugar Grove Park District said that biking and walking trails are the recreational facilities most important to them.

            The Park District Board hired an outside firm, Leisure Vision, to find out what residents wanted from their park district and what recreational opportunities they value. Answers from the 301 survey respondents, input from community members and staff in a number of focus groups, as well as an independent evaluation of the condition of the parks will be used to create a Park District Master Plan.

            In addition to the biking and walking trails, an indoor fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, golf course and driving range and playgrounds were among the most-desired recreation facilities. Adult fitness and youth sports programs, swimming and golf lessons, and leagues and special events were the programs chosen most important.

            According to Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede, the plan could be completed during the first quarter of 2009. However, that doesn’t mean the Park District will be taking on any major projects in the near term.

            “The problem we’re having is the same problem everyone else is having, enough money to pay for everything,” Repede said.

            The Park District’s tax rate is 14 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, which Repede said is one-third to one-fourth the size of every other park district in Kane County.

            “We don’t generate tax dollars for capital improvement, but we do the best we can by working with the School District and the Community House,” Repede said. “Somewhere down the road, there is a need for a community center. But this isn’t the time to talk about a referendum.”

            Although the Sugar Grove Park District does not have the resources to provide these types of facilities for its residents, an agreement with the Fox Valley Park District allows Sugar Grove residents to use the Fox Valley facilities at the resident rate, a substantial savings. Nearly 70 percent of the people who answered the survey said this agreement is important to them.

            Park District Board President Kevin Johnson said the agreement with the Fox Valley District has worked out quite well. It allows Sugar Grove residents to access activities and facilities that Sugar Grove doesn’t have. Golfers have access to several golf courses within the Fox Valley District. Fitness enthusiasts have access to the Vaughan Athletic Center, with its many activities and equipment, including several swimming pools.

            Repede said the Sugar Grove Park District is limited in its funding, but he and the board members are always looking to expand programs in growth areas wherever possible.

            “Community growth is at a standstill,” Repede said. “Everyone is waiting for the housing market to turn around. Right now we’re in a holding pattern, but we will continue to look for cooperative things to meet the needs.”

            Johnson said they should have a better idea by the end of spring what the plan for the coming years will be. He said they have to determine what people want and what the population will support.

Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice announces January programs

Kane County—Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice announced the following programs for the month of January. All programs are free, but registration is required at (630) 232-2233 or info@fvvh.org.

Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Pathways, a seven-week group addressing issues faced by those who have lost a life partner. Emotional support is offered as well as assistance with accepting the death and dealing with grief. The program will be held on Wednesdays from Jan. 6 to Feb. 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.

Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers M.A.L.E.S. (Men After a Loss Expressing themselves Safely), a program for men who experienced the loss of loved one. M.A.L.E.S. provides an opportunity for men to freely express their thoughts and feelings with other men. Coffee and donuts are provided. The group meets Saturday, Jan. 9, and the second Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.

Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Footprints, a unique program supporting parents and adult family members who are coping with a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death. It meets Mondays, Jan. 11 to Feb. 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.

Herbie’s Friends
Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Herbie’s Friends, a program where family members who have experienced a loss can share their thoughts, feelings and stories. Families with children ages 5 to 18 enjoy a meal together, followed by activities led by trained facilitators. It meets Mondays, Jan. 11 to Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, 227 East Side Drive, Geneva.

New volunteer orientation
Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers new volunteer orientation for anyone interested in volunteering with FVVH. Learn about the history of the agency, volunteer opportunities and more. An interview is required prior to attending the program on Wednesday, Jan. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva. Free but registration is required at (630) 232-2233, info@fvvh.org.

Next Step
Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Next Step, monthly drop-in support group allowing those who have lost a spouse or significant other to discuss grief issues in a welcoming and nurturing environment. Participants will develop skills that will assist them in adapting to the life changes they are experiencing. This is the next step after participating in a previous grief support group. See www.fvvh.org for 2010 topics. It meets Thursday, Jan. 14, and the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at FVVH offices, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.

Understanding Chemotherapy and Radiation
Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Understanding Chemotherapy and Radiation, presented by Nancy Waalen, R.N., on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.

Our Grief Journey
Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice offers Our Grief Journey, a six-week program assisting those who have experienced the death of a loved one through education and group support. It is held on Mondays from Jan. 25 to March 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at FVVH, 200 Whitfield Drive, Geneva.