Letter: Cautionary tale for new mammogram guidelines

Regarding the new guidelines for getting mammograms, let me just say this:

Throughout my 30s and 40s, I routinely got a yearly mammogram just because. I didn’t have a family history, nor could I feel any lumps or bumps. I guess you could say it seemed the right thing to do considering there’s no way to prevent breast cancer. Rather, your best shot at surviving the disease is to catch it early.

What I didn’t know at the time is that 80 percent of women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history. Likewise, I also didn’t know there are different kinds of breast cancers, and the kinds you get in your 30s and 40s tend to be far more virulent, far more deadly than the kinds you get in your 50s and later.

Even though I wasn’t as informed as I should have been, I still got the yearly screening test which turned out to be a good thing. Persistence (combined with a measure of dumb luck) paid off when doctors discovered a 1.5 centimeter tumor stuck to my back chest wall while I was still in my 40s.

I’m fine now and have been for quite some time. But the end of this story could have been much different had I waited until my 50s to start getting screened.

Please take this as the cautionary tale it’s meant to be.

Kay Catlin
St. Charles
10-year-survivor

Letter: Thank you, School Board members

Nov. 15, 2009, was designated as School Board Members Day in Illinois.

Kaneland joined other school districts across the state in recognizing and thanking the members of their boards of education for the time, effort and dedication to our students. Whether it is an issue related to one student or to all 4,700 students, the Kaneland School Board members have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the welfare and education of Kaneland students.

Board members are not elected to represent specific clienteles or interests. Rather, they have the very difficult role of being trustees or stewards of the School District on behalf of the entire community. At times, this role can involve the very difficult process of balancing the varying interests of all concerned—students, staff, parents and non-parent community members. They take this responsibility very seriously.

The mission of the Kaneland Community Unit School District No. 302 is to guide and challenge all students to acquire the knowledge, skills and values that will enable them to contribute to and successfully participate in a diverse democratic society. This mission is to be accomplished through a continued partnership of students, district personnel, parents and other community members. As the board members work together, it is clear that they support this mission and seek to hold all of us accountable for our roles in achieving it.

The current members of the Kaneland Board of Education are Lisa Wiet, President; Elmer Gramley, Vice President; Cheryl Krauspe, Secretary; Bob Myers, member; Ken Carter, member; Deborah Grant, member; Diane Piazza, member.

On behalf of the entire School District and community, I want to recognize and thank the members of the Board of Education for their hard work and dedication.

Charles McCormick
Kaneland Superintendent

Letter: 2009 Halloween Fest thank you

The annual Halloween Fest, sponsored by Big Rock, Hinckley and Sugar Grove, was a great success. This year’s event was held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Plowman’s Park in Big Rock.

For 13 years, the Halloween Fest has brought together thousands of residents from surrounding communities, dozens of neighborhood organizations, and countless businesses.

This year, over 1,500 people attended our one-night-only event. The feedback from those who attended was very positive.

The Halloween Fest is run strictly with donations and volunteers. Without the generous support of so many volunteers and businesses, this free family event could not exist.

The Halloween Fest committee would like to sincerely thank everyone who assisted with this year’s event. For a list of all of the organizations and businesses that helped make the event so successful, please visit our website at www.halloween-fest.com. You will also find the history of the Halloween Fest, highlights from this year’s event and information for the 2010 Halloween Fest on our website.

Charlene Franks, Montgomery
Halloween Fest Committee

Photo gallery: KHS grad Cinto, WCC men compete at NJCAA National Meet

Kaneland grad and current Waubonsee Community College sophomore Erin Cinto (right) was the Lady Chiefs’ lone qualifier for the NJCAA Division I National Meet, placing 199th overall out of 263 runners with a time of 22:56 on the 5K course.

On the men’s side, Waubonsee’s squad placed 16th overall out of 35 teams. Drew Schmitt led Waubonsee by placing 63rd out of the 260 competitors in the field, with a time of 27:39. Greg Adelman was not far behind his teammate in 68th (27:34), Max Sliwa came in 75th (27:44) and Evan Ehrhardt placed 100th (28:09). Jared Klein and Chris Higgins, normally at the front of the Chiefs’ pack of runners, struggled to 118th (28:30) and 168th-place (29:38) finishes, respectively. Andrew Peters rounded out Waubonsee’s contingent with a 173rd-place finish (29:45).

Photos by Ben Draper

Delnor helps collect coats for the community

Geneva—Cold weather is definitely here. Many of us greet autumn’s arrival with enthusiasm, looking forward to the changing season.

But a significant number of Kane County residents do not anticipate the coming season. Crisp fall air means biting cold winter air is not too far away. For an increasing number of people, that struggle doesn’t mean rummaging through drawers trying to decide which one of several sweaters to wear. It means figuring out where they can find just one coat that will protect them from the cold.

Falling temperatures mean struggling to keep warm, and the tough economy will put even more people in need. One of the ways we can all help is through Delnor’s Giving Tree program—Coats for the Community drive. The Giving Tree is committed to collecting new or gently used clean winter coats, mittens, gloves, scarves and hats in the spirit of helping others this holiday season.

Delnor is seeking donations ranging from infant to adult sizes and will be accepting donations through Dec. 31.

Making a donation is easy; simply pull to the entrance of Delnor Hospital and the valet parking staff will take your donated items and place them by the Delnor Giving Tree located in the main lobby of Delnor Hospital. Valet is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you are among the fortunate and have an extra coat or winter clothing item that you just don’t wear any more, consider donating it to the Delnor Giving Tree—Coats for the Community drive. The coat you donate will keep someone who needs the help warm this fall and winter.

If you have any questions about Delnor’s Giving Tree and its Coats for the Community drive, contact Lynne Casey, senior marketing specialist, at (630) 208-4512.

Delnor Hospital is located at 300 Randall Road in Geneva.

KHS announces students-of-the-term

Kaneland High School named the following students-of-the-term for Term 1 of the 2009-10 school year: Annie Hodal, Tara Olson, Nick Philips, Chelsea Roberts, Kelly Shaw, Natasha Capes, Edgar Valle, Scott Burgholzer, Tyler Dungey, Angela Humphrey and Brandie Mattice.

The goal of the program is to recognize KHS students who exemplify the type of effort, commitment, character, leadership qualities and academic effort that the district desires in all Kaneland students.

Harvest season brings hunger relief

Kane County—Kane County Farmers are harvesting the 2009 corn and soybean crop and with it will provide some much needed relief to area food pantries.

Nearly 40 farm families, agricultural businesses and individual donors have raised over $10,000 in the Kane County Farm Bureau’s Harvest for ALL campaign to help restock the shelves of local food pantries. Through Harvest for ALL, producers donate a portion of the proceeds from this year’s harvest to a Kane County food pantry of their choice.

“There is definitely a need here in our area,” Kane County Farm Bureau Vice President Joe White said. “Harvest for ALL is a great opportunity for farmers and non-farmers alike to help our neighbors who rely on the food pantries in Kane County.”

White operates a grain farm in Kaneville. As part of Harvest for ALL, he will sell 100 bushels of this year’s corn crop at the grain elevator and donate it directly to the Elburn Food Pantry.

White recently joined members of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers Committee and Farm Bureau staff in distributing maps to local grain elevators.

“We’ve placed the displays and pledge forms in the grain elevator offices to give farmers a chance to join the producers who have already contributed,” he said. “We hope it makes a real connection with the grain they’re bringing in and the good that they can do by donating to the cause.”

Each HFA participant is able to choose the specific food pantry they would like to receive their donation, so they know it will help fill the need in their community.

“Hunger is a year round need,” said Major Steven Koehler of the Salvation Army in St. Charles. “We provide assistance to around 300 families every month, which amounts to around 500 bags of groceries every month.”

Koehler said that his pantry has seen the need increase lately.

“The donations we have received through Harvest for ALL are very much appreciated,” he said.

The value of all cash contributions and crops contributed or pledged thus far is well over $10,000 and includes the proceeds from an estimated 1,100 bushels of corn, 300 bushels of soybeans, 200 bushels of wheat, and an acre of hay. Donations also included vegetable plants for a food pantry community garden, fresh eggs, a vanload of fresh vegetables and $1,700 in cash. Pledges and donations have been designated to benefit a dozen local food pantries and one regional food bank.

For more information about the program, visit www.kanecfb.com and click on the Harvest for All link at the top of the page, or call the Kane County Farm Bureau at (630) 584-8660.

Rocky’s promotes first Master Sensei

Sugar Grove—Rocky’s Champion Karate Studio (C.K.S.) in Sugar Grove recently promoted its first Master Sensei, Chris Moore, 35, of Montgomery.

Moore was promoted to 5th Degree black belt after 17 years of karate instruction.

Moore grew up in Chicago and later moved to Aurora. Like many boys in his neighborhood, Chris collected comic books, watched Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris films and dreamed of being a martial arts hero.

“I realized later in life that wanting to be a hero meant wanting to be better tomorrow than I was the day before,” Moore said.

At 17 years of age, he joined the Army National Guard, where he learned self-respect, leadership, team work and the importance of physical fitness.

“I learned to be tough growing up in Chicago, but the Army taught me practical self defense,” Moore said. “My passion for martial arts began, and during Army down time, I was fortunate to train with Lo Pen, a fellow soldier and black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Muy Thai.”

At 18, More decided to take a karate class at Waubonsee Community College with long time friend Carlos Carranza. They joined Rock Troutman’s Champion Karate Studio (C.K.S.) and were immediate hooked on the sport. This began his martial arts journey that has led him to become the first Master Sensei under Master Rocky Troutman and Grand Master Ron Troutman.

Moore has been training under both Troutmans for more than 17 years, along with many other black belts that have preceded him.

“When I joined C.K.S., I knew instantly that I had found my place with martial arts” Moore said. “I have entrusted my training to the Troutmans because they understand the fine art of self defense and self development. You can feel the confidence in the Isshin-Ryu system they teach. This style of teaching is well balanced with both punches and kicks. It has a type of defensive style which is very effective with a counter-striking approach as well.”

A requirement of promotion to 5th Degree Black Belt is learning and perfecting a new weapon which has not been learned within the traditional Isshin-Ryu system, in addition to the ability to develop basic techniques and a form that can be taught to C.K.S. students.

Moore chose to study Eskrima, or Philipino “stick fighting.”

“I love this weapon because it is a dynamic extension of my arms and is super fast with surprisingly powerful techniques that keeps me two feet or further away from my attacker,” he said.

Moore has many credits to his name. He has competed in many open martial arts tournaments both locally and nationally. As a Green Belt, Chris won the 1994 A.K.A and 1995 A.O.K.A. Grand National. As a Black Belt, he won the 2000 C.K.S. Brown and Black Belt Championship, 1st Midwest Tae Kwon Do Invitational and 2nd place at 2005 A.O.K.A. Grand Nationals. He plans to continue to compete at these levels as much as possible.

“I am honored to have received the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt, especially from such a well respected martial arts school and teachers,” Moore said. “I plan to continue to improve and do my best to be a positive force for our students and represent Champion Karate Studio the way it is should be—the best.”

Supporting the troop

Boy Scout Troop 7 of Elburn recently received a donation from the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee. Troop members, families and friends shucked corn for the event for the second consecutive year. The funds will be used for new tents and needed camping gear for the troop. Pictured are front, holding the check, Connor Madziarczyk, Andrew Burroughs, Andrew Carroll and Brendan Madziarczyk. In the back are Assistant Scout Master Jay Markuson, Alex Markuson, Zack Weilgos, Nick Weilgos and Corn Boil President Kevin Geary. Courtesy Photo

Elburn could join consortium for Nicor contract

ELBURN—Elburn may join a consortium of local communities to establish a natural gas franchise agreement.

The village’s current franchise agreement with Nicor to supply gas expires in 2011.

“It will be necessary to negotiate a new franchise agreement in the coming months,” Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

The consortium began forming recently and already includes Sugar Grove. Approximately 30 communities in DeKalb, Kendall and Kane counties could take part in negotiating a contract to benefit all.

Each municipality must pay $500 to participate in the process.

The Elburn Finance Committee on Monday decided to recommend that the Village Board approve joining the consortium.

Police crack down on crossing violators

ELBURN—The Elburn Police Department recently stepped up its enforcement of railroad crossing traffic laws with assistance from a state grant.

In October, patrols issued 24 citations including one ticket to drivers crossing the railroad tracks illegally. In previous months this year, the number of citations for this offense ranged between 3 and 14.

The offender receiving the ticket drove around the crossing gates while they were still down. The other 23 violators were given warnings after they drove across the tracks before the gates were completely up and the flashing lights had not stopped. Most of the citations were at the Main Street crossing in downtown Elburn.

A Public Education and Enforcement Research Study (PEERS) grant from the Illinois Commerce Commission is funding the extra patrol hours needed for the enhanced enforcement.

Family Fund offers holiday help for families

MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Family Fund Committee is accepting applications from families who need financial assistance this holiday season.

To seek assistance for your family or if you know of another family in need, call Julie Little at (815) 827-3572 after 6 p.m.

The Family Fund Committee will provide a Holiday Assistance Application to fill out. All names and information are strictly confidential.

To be eligible, families cannot receive assistance from any other agency or organizations. The deadline for the return of application forms is Friday, Nov 20.

Kaneland Boys Cross Country 5th in state

Holm earns All State honors
by Ben Draper
Peoria—On an unseasonably warm day for early November, the Kaneland High School boys cross country team etched itself into the record books once again, placing fifth in the class 2A state finals in Peoria, Ill.

The finish bettered last years’ eighth place finish, and was the highest finish for the Knights since 1999, when they placed second in the class 1A field.

Led by junior Trevor Holm, the team featured a 36-second split between their lead runner and junior Grant Alef, Kaneland’s fifth and final scoring team member—a historic feat according to head coach Chad Clarey.
[quote]
“Today we raced to a school-record (for the state finals) 36-second pack split, bettering the 1987 (Kaneland) state champs by two seconds,” Clarey said. “The pack was outstanding today.”

Clarey was pleased with how his team faired overall.

“These boys put themselves right among the best in the school’s great history at the state finals,” he said. “Every bit of this awesome performance was satisfying.”

Holm earned personal accolades, placing 23rd overall with a time of 15 minutes, 35 seconds, which was good enough for All State—the 10th Knight in school history to achieve the honor.

“Holm got into medal contention early, held on for All State, and gave us the strong start in team points,” said Clarey.

In the 2008 state finals, Holm placed 100th, 53 seconds behind his 2009 time.

The 2009 boys cross country team after the state meet. Courtesy photo
The 2009 boys cross country team after the state meet. Courtesy photo

On Holm’s heels, seniors Dominic Furco (44th overall, 15:56), Edgar Valle (60th, 16:08) and Matt Reusche (63rd, 16:11), and junior Grant Alef (64th, 16:11) rounded out the Knights’ scorers. Seniors Logan Markuson (76th, 16:19) and Joe Levita (121st, 17:02) battled for Kaneland as the team’s sixth and seventh runners.

Belvidere North won the team title with 77 points behind individual winner Paul Zeman, followed by Normal University’s 119 and Springfield’s 132, to round out the trophy winners. Peoria Notre Dame’s 168 and Kaneland’s 192 rounded out the top five.

“We wanted to leave Detweiller Park leaving everything on the course, and with no regrets,” Clarey said. “We accomplished everything we set out to do—and five seniors will savor this day the rest of their lives. We are so grateful for all they’ve given.”

The Knights cross country team says goodbye to seniors Furco, Levita, Markuson, Jemmar Parrenas, Reusche, Nick Sinon and Valle.

file photo

D-302 asks teachers to return to table

[quote]School officials say multi-million dollar deficit requires strong action
by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland School District, faced with a $3 million projected deficit in next year’s budget, asked Kaneland teachers to renegotiate their contract ratified last year.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone,” School District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said. “It’s in line with what municipalities are doing with their employees.”

The contract negotiated between the teacher’s union and the district last year included salary increases for Kaneland teachers over a period of three years: 4.86 percent for last year, 6.21 percent for this year, and 5.6 percent for fiscal year 2010-11.

According to McCormick, next year’s increase for the teachers accounts for $1.2 million of the district’s budget. Adding in the same percentage increases for non-covered school employees brings the total to $1.5 million.

Associate Superintendent of Schools Jeff Schuler said that in order to put the financial information in perspective, people should understand that one teaching position equals approximately $50,000 in funding.

McCormick said that in the time since the tentative budget for next year was created in June and when it was finalized in October, the reduction in projected property tax income due to lack of growth and cuts in state funding created an additional $1 million deficit.

Given the magnitude of the deficit, school officials said at the Oct. 13 board meeting that nothing was off the table, in terms of where to cut. In a budget message to Kaneland staff last week, Schuler said the “easy cuts” had already been made, referring to when the district cut $750,000 from the 2009-10 budget.

McCormick said the district sent a letter to the Kaneland Education Association last week to request the reopening of the negotiations.

When the School Board voted in October 2008 to approve the contract, the vote was split 4-3, with Elmer Gramley, Jonathan Berg, Deborah Grant and Lisa Wiet in favor of the contract, and Cheryl Krauspe, Bob Meyers and Diane Piazza opposed.

“The cost difference of this agreement is likely to be felt in the quality of our educational programs, in larger class sizes, and in the decrease or loss of services or positions intended to directly benefit students … It’s hard for me to accept,” Krauspe said at the time.

After Monday’s School Board meeting, Piazza said that her vote against the contract last October had been difficult, and that in a different economy, she would not have voted that way.

“Now, I am glad I did,” she said. “That was the right decision.”

Piazza said that the board is now faced with losing good teachers, increases in class sizes and cuts in programs.

“We spent lots of time and money to get the great teachers and paraprofessionals we have,” she said. “It will be very upsetting if we have to let teachers go.”

The teacher’s union is under no legal obligation to renegotiate its contract.

KEA President Linda Kulkowski said that she and the other members of the KEA negotiating team are in the initial information-gathering stage. She said they have been in contact with the district regarding the status of the budget.

Kulkowski said they are also talking with the Illinois Education Association to obtain advice as to what their options are, as well as what the risks and benefits would be in opening up negotiations again.

At this time, there is no meeting set at which they would ask the teachers for a vote.

“In my 25 years at Kaneland, this has never happened before,” she said.

By the numbers
• $3 million deficit for 2010-11 operating budget

• Teachers’ salary increases for next year equal $1.2 of the budget

• Teachers’ contract set teachers’ salary increases over a period of three years:
4.86 percent for 2008-09
6.21 percent for 2009-10
5.6 percent for 2010-11

Michels makes it official

Sugar Grove village president says he is running for state senate
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels said Monday that he intends to run for state Senator in the 25th District.

“I’m throwing my hat in the ring,” he said Wednesday.

Michels said he is proud of what he has accomplished during the 10 years he served as village president of Sugar Grove.

Michels said that during his tenure, Sugar Grove was recognized in 2007 by Business Week as the “Best Affordable Community” in Illinois, based on low crime, affordable housing and good schools.

Sugar Grove’s bond rating was upgraded from an A to an A+ by Standard & Poor’s for its strong financial management, and Sugar Grove won the Governor’s Hometown Award this year for its Alive at 25 driver’s education program.

He said that the infrastructure and road improvements he was instrumental in bringing to the village will help foster commercial development for the area. In addition, he said his involvement with the Metro West Council of Government has helped the village identify issues at the state level, giving Sugar Grove a louder voice in Springfield.

He said it is this experience and commitment that he wants to take to Springfield.

“That experience has taught me the benefits of working with others to improve the community and the region,” he said. “The successful Solheim Cup is an example of how regional cooperation has benefited the area. As your state Senator, I will pledge to work with other elected officials in the district and the state to get things done.”

Michels said his goals, if elected, are to make Illinois a work-friendly state, get people back to work and bring back more tax dollars to the area.

Michels scheduled a campaign kick-off event for Wednesday night, to formally mark the start of his campaign.

Elburn man charged with sexual abuse

15 others arrested on drinking-related charges
ELBURN—Christopher Runde, 24, of Elburn, was arrested on Nov. 4 for criminal sexual abuse, following an investigation of an underage drinking party Oct. 30 in the 200 block of Conley Drive in Elburn.

After his arrest, Elburn police transported Runde to the Kane County Jail to await bond call.

The Elburn police investigation revealed that during the party, Runde, of the 500 block of Maple Avenue, placed his hand inside the underwear of a female victim while she was passed out and unaware of what was happening to her.

Police also discovered that Runde used his video camera to record this act. Other people at the party confronted Runde and a physical altercation ensued, during which Runde dropped his camera. Other attendees at the party retrieved the camera and the video tape was turned over to Elburn police.

Police responded to a call at 2:20 a.m. Oct. 30 that a fight was in progress at the party. The fight had ended before police arrived. Officers arrested eight people for unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor, and eight adults were arrested for unlawfully permitting a minor to become intoxicated.

The adults arrested were Jeremy Borciaardt, 21, of the 300 block of Guy Lane in Cortland; James Kluck, 21, of the 300 block of West DeKalb Drive in Maple Park; Steven Ortiz, 21, of the 100 block of Cross Street in Sugar Grove; Jonathan Ramirez, 23, of the 300 block of West DeKalb Drive in Maple Park; Andrew Serafin, 24, of the 4000 block of Guy Lane in Cortland; Jeffrey Stralka, 19, of the 1900 block of Annette Circle in Sugar Grove, and Joshua Walsh, 21, of the 100 block of Arbor Avenue in Sugar Grove.

Solving stormwater issues a top priority

MP village officials seek funding for expensive project
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Hiring a police chief, applying for grants and mitigating stormwater drainage problems still are the village officials’ top goals, Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis said.

The Village Board held a special meeting Saturday to prioritize village projects and plan for the expenditures.

Curtis said various areas of the village have stormwater challenges of different origins, and that the board has yet to determine resolutions for the expensive project.

“The preliminary cost estimate by Baxter & Woodman (the village’s engineering firm) to fix all … was $4 million,” Curtis said.

The village will need to develop a strategy for a phased approach to the repair, she said.

Money does not exist in the village coffer to address stormwater issues, so funding will have to come from government grants, which are difficult to obtain, village officials said.

“Maple Park needs every penny it can get; we are applying for every bit of money out there that we can find,” Curtis said. “Unfortunately, Maple Park has been turned down twice now for requests for the Police Department.”

Curtis said when the village applied for a police officer payroll grant, the state awarded the funds to Rockford, Ill., instead. When the village applied for an equipment grant for police radios, Kane County was awarded the money, she added.

“Monies were awarded to communities with higher crime rates than Maple Park’s,” Curtis said.

Village officials plan to submit applications for Riverboat and Community Block grants, due in January, but they have not determined specific projects yet that would be tied to those applications, Curtis said.

The board already allocated funding for the police chief salary of $48,000 in this year’s fiscal budget. The village expects to hire a chief in December.

Turkey Drop-off brings meals to local families

by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Two Maple Park churches want to make sure as many local people as possible can celebrate Thanksgiving, even those who cannot afford to put a turkey on the table this year.

Two years ago, Grace Methodist and St. Mary churches started their Turkey Drop-off, a food drive for families in need during the fall holiday.

“We wanted to do something so every family that could, would celebrate Thanksgiving with a special meal,” Grace Methodist Pastor Mark Meyers said.

This year’s Turkey Drop-off will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Anyone who would like to contribute a turkey, ham or canned goods may drop the items off during those hours at Grace Methodist, 506 Willow St., Maple Park.

Meyers said that last year, people dropped off 100 turkeys that were delivered by church volunteers to local food pantries, the Salvation Army, the Maple Park Family Fund and Kaneland schools.

“We had places for every one of them,” Meyers said.

Volunteers also take some of the food directly to families that the churches know are in need. The Family Fund and the schools are aware of other families that would appreciate the food and distribute it to them.

Turkey Drop-off
Thanksgiving food drive

10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Grace Methodist Church
506 Willow St., Maple Park
Donations of turkeys, hams and canned goods welcome.
Collection will benefit needy families
To inquire about receiving food items, call the Rev. Mark Meyers,
(815) 827-3559.
Privacy will be respected

Committee wants senior tax rebates restored

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board eliminated municipal utility tax rebates for seniors, less than two months ago. Since then, some residents have asked that the program be reinstated, village officials said.

In response, the Elburn Finance Committee recommended Monday that the board restore the rebate program, with some changes.

The committee recommended reinstating the program only for seniors age 65 and older with annual household incomes of no more than $55,000.

“We want to help the people who really need it,” committee member and trustee Bill Grabarek said.

The committee also recommended allowing the rebates only for gas and electric bill taxes, not for telephone service.

Village President Dave Anderson, who attended the meeting, agreed with making the changes before restoring the program, saying the rebates should apply only to necessary services.

“You need heat, you need light,” Anderson said.

Village officials said the reason for the changes is that some individuals abused the program in the past by requesting refunds for several different phones, and that people who could afford the utility taxes obtained rebates.

Finance Committee members, who voted unanimously Monday to recommend the board’s reinstatement of the senior utility tax rebate program, were trustees Patricia Romke, Jeff Walter and Bill Grabarek, as well as Village Treasurer Mike Greenen.

On Sept. 21, trustees Patricia Romke, Bill Grabarek, Ken Anderson and Jerry Schmidt voted to eliminate the program 4-0. Trustees Gordon Dierschow and Jeff Walter were absent from the board meeting. Village officials at that time said doing away with the program for 2009 could save more than $10,000.

Village staff will estimate what the program will cost after the eligibility changes are made, Village Administrator David Morrison said. Then, the Village Board will decide whether to approve the committee’s recommendations.

Kaneville bans video gambling

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—The village of Kaneville at its October board meeting followed suit with Elburn in voting to ban video gambling within the village limits. The vote was unanimous.

“It’s not the proper instrument within a village to raise revenues,” Village President Bob Rodney said. “We’re not making moral decisions for anyone, but we don’t wish to encourage gambling within the village—video or otherwise.”

Elburn was the first local municipality to ban the activity in September, in response to the state’s legalization of video gambling this summer.

Under the state law enacted in July, it is now legal for bars, restaurants and clubs with liquor licenses to install up to five video poker and blackjack machines for gambling, unless a municipality votes to ban it.

The state imposes a 30 percent tax on the net income from each video gambling machine within a business. One-sixth of that tax goes to the municipality.

The villages of Sugar Grove and Maple Park have not yet addressed the issue. A Kane County task force on video gambling has recommended that the County Executive Board vote on allowing video gambling in unincorporated areas within the county.

Frasz wants video gambling ban in unincorporated Kane

[quote]by Martha Quetsch
KANE COUNTY—Two local towns, Elburn and Kaneville, have banned video gambling since the state enacted a law in July allowing the activity. Now, county officials are considering whether they want to allow it in unincorporated areas.

In places without a ban, restaurants and bars that serve liquor will be able to install gambling machines as soon as the state establishes formal regulations governing the new law.

A Kane County task force recently studied the issue and recommended against enacting a ban, in a 2-1 vote. Voting against the video gambling ban were task force Chairman Jesse Vazquez of Aurora and member Bob Kudlicki of Hampshire. The other task force member present, Drew Frasz of Elburn, voted in favor of the ban.

The three were the only task force members attending their meeting at which they voted. The group appointed by Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay included County Board member John Hoscheit of St. Charles, as well as Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti and Sheriff Pat Perez, who declined to to participate in task force meetings, Frasz said.

The county’s Executive Board will review the task force recommendation before the issue goes to the County Board for a final decision.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for further debate at (future) Executive Committee and County Board meetings, and I intend to speak against video gambling,” Frasz said.

The task force met three times plus had two public hearings, one attended mainly by business and labor interests and one geared toward citizens, and social groups such as homeless shelters, churches and law enforcement, Frasz said.

The state will impose a 30 percent tax on the net income from each video gambling terminal, featuring poker, blackjack or other games. Part of that revenue will go to the municipality, or in unincorporated areas, to the county.

His reasons
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz (Dist.26-Elburn), a member of the county’s Video Gambling Task Force, is in favor of a ban on video gambling now allowed by the state. He explained his reasons as follows:

• The opposition voiced to me by people in my district was 100 percent against expanded gambling, and I received no comments from businesses in my district, asking me to support it.

• I am concerned that the Illinois Gaming Commission has stated repeatedly that they are not in a position to oversee this, and that there is no way to keep organized crime out of it.

• I am concerned that a person that has had a few drinks and whose judgment may not be at its best will end up gambling away money that would otherwise go for groceries, gas, etc., resulting in local businesses losing revenue and sales tax to the local government.

• I have said that gambling does not make money, it redistributes it. I believe that any tax benefits gained by video gambling will be negated by lost local sales tax revenue and increased costs for social programs.

• It is clear to me the overwhelming majority of the residents of my district want to preserve the small-town, wholesome, and safe quality of life that they have fostered or have moved here to share in.

Village cuts budget deficits through employee furlough days

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Residents looking for service at Sugar Grove Village Hall on Wednesday would not have found employees working – and not because it was a paid holiday for village workers.

In a move to reduce the village’s $114,000 budget deficit, the board instituted a number of furlough days for its non-union personnel, including the Veteran’s Day federal holiday, Nov. 11, and Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that furlough days will also be used by employees during the week between Christmas and the new year, Dec. 28-31.

They will be allowed to use vacation days during this period, or to take the days without pay.

A staff person will be assigned to each facility during the furlough week to answer the phone for emergency responses only. According to Eichelberger, the village typically does not have a high demand for services during that week, so closing Village Hall should not greatly impact the residents.

“It is regrettable that this decision had to be made; however, it is in the best interest of the village at this time,” Eichelberger said.

According to Eichelberger, the village took steps earlier this year to reduce the budget, including laying off four full-time employees and one part-time employee, eliminating three additional positions through attrition, and instituting a hiring freeze across all departments.

In addition, the village shifted more of the cost of health care premiums to its employees and cut a number of other budget line items, including some programs and supplies.

Given the uncertain economic future of the village, the board targeted a $100,000 maximum deficit for fiscal year 2009 – 10. With the implementation of the furlough days, the deficit is currently projected at $98,674.

“It should be noted that the projected deficit can change at any time,” Finance Director VanVooren said. “A change in state-shared revenues, reductions in utility taxes, or a bad winter are examples of items beyond the village’s control that could have a major impact on the budget. Staff will continue to monitor the budget and keep the board informed.”

The village has also taken advantage of an offer made by one of the village staff members to voluntarily work reduced hours for a three-month period during the winter when that individual’s workload is typically reduced.

Furlough days would, not include Police Department employees who are represented by the Metropolitan Alliance of Police.

Kaneville seeks new village treasurer

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—The village of Kaneville is looking for someone to replace its treasurer, Ron Ingraham, who will step down from the position at the end of the year.

Village officials are working on a description of the responsibilities of the job, which will be posted this week at the Kaneville Public Library, the village’s website, www.villageofkaneville.com, and other locations around town.

Village President Bob Rodney said the candidate should be a resident of Kaneville and have a background in finance or accounting.

According to Rodney, the pay for the position will be approximately $20 per hour, for 10 to 20 hours per month.

“It’s more of a stipend than anything,” he said. “Nobody will get rich doing the job.”

Police blotter for Nov. 13

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Elburn
• Jesseka S. Wachholder, 20, of the 100 block of Delaware Street in Crystal Lake, Ill., was arrested at 11:50 p.m. Nov. 8 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped her on Route 47 south of Swain Street in Elburn for speeding.

• Ivan Hernandez, 21, of the 800 block of Ridge Drive in Elburn, was arrested at 12 p.m. Nov. 7 for driving without having a valid license. Police stopped him in the 900 block of North Main Street in Elburn for making an illegal left turn. Hernandez also was cited for lacking vehicle insurance and registration.

• Victor Manuel Contreras-Oliva, 51, of the 1000 block of Rollview Drive in Aurora, was arrested at 8:06 p.m. Nov. 7 for driving without a valid license. Police stopped him in the 700 block of East North Street in Elburn for speeding.

• Someone found two laptop computers at 5:21 p.m. Oct. 31 the Elburn Car Wash, 120 W. Nebraska St.

• Dana Moreno-DeAlcanta, 26, was arrested at 11:43 p.m. Oct. 31 for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Police stopped her for swerving across the fog line as she was southbound on Route 47 near Stetzer Street in Elburn.

• Laura L. Beese, 29, of Locust Lane in West Chicago, Ill., was arrested for driving more than 40 mph over the speed limit. Police stopped her on Keslinger Road near Anderson Road in Elburn. She had been traveling on Keslinger Road at 92 mph.

• A resident of the 800 block of Conley Court in Elburn reported at 1:21 p.m. Oct. 22 that someone shot bb’s through her home’s window sometime during the previous few days. Police said the offender shot from the bushes outside. A tail light also was shot out on a van parked at the residence.

Sugar Grove
• Someone broke a window out of a vehicle parked in the 500 block of Brookhaven Circle on Nov. 7 between 11:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m.

• Stewart F. Johnsen, 63, of the 300 block of Hilltop Drive, North Aurora, was arrested for driving while under the influence, improper lane usage, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, at 9 p.m. on Oct. 26. He was eastbound on Route 30 at Municipal Drive.

• Someone gave an employee at the Gas Mart on Route 47 a counterfeit $20 bill in the early morning on Oct. 29.

• Jesus Perez, 20, of the 100 block of Hill Avenue, Aurora, was charged with failure to wear a seatbelt, and driving without a seat belt at 10:28 a.m. on Oct. 29.

• Daniel O. Martinez, 29, of the 800 block of S. Kendall, Aurora, was arrested for failure to appear on a warrant for a DUI arrest. He was westbound on Park Avenue.

• Jessica D. Sucilla, 24, of the 300 block of Meadows Drive, Sugar Grove, had an outstanding warrant for driving while her license was suspended.

Maple Park’s Hallowinners

Maple Park—More than 200 participants gathered at the Maple Park Civic Center for the annual community costume contest on Halloween.

The event was sponsored by the Maple Park Recreation Council, Old Second Bank in Maple Park, Maple Park Lions Club and Lincoln Highway 4-H Club.

The winners in each category are under each photo. All are courtesy photos.

Infants to 3-year-olds
1st place, Brynn Humm (cupcake); 2nd place, Ryan Needham (wolf); 3rd place, Jackson and Connor McPhartlin

4 years old-kindergarten
1st place, Bella Humm (Mary Poppins); 2nd place, Victoria Alvaravo (witch); 3rd place, Parket Violett (Woody), Brandan O’Shea (Buzz)

First and second grade
1st place, Jack Miller (Einstein); 2nd place, Ava Olsen (pirate); 3rd place, Jenny Linden (ladybug)

Third and fourth grade
1st place, Jacob Baumgarten (Darth Vader); 2nd place, Tim Fillipp (Indiana Jones); 3rd place, Michael Finnan and John Paschal (gangsters)

Fifth and sixth grade
1st place, Bryan Prado (nerd); 2nd place, Mace Jendruczek (Spartan); 3rd place, Nicole Williams (spider)

Seventh and eighth grade
1st place, Brett Dienst (Michael Jackson); 2nd place, Abby Needham (Sailor); 3rd place, Ashley Larson (Army girl)

TiggerNinth grade and above
1st place, Brittany Larson (Fairy); 2nd place, Amber Pauly (Raggedy Ann); 3rd place, Tyler Fabrizius (Tigger)

4 percent more in total taxes expected for Elburn

Village portion of individual property bills could drop
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Because of minimal expected property growth, Elburn’s total 2009 property taxes likely will be less than the village is requesting in its proposed levy.

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

“The village intentionally sets its annual levy requests on the high side to make sure it captures all new property growth,” Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

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

“We have to ask for the max to cover ourselves,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

Currently, the village’s equalized assessed valuation with growth from new construction is uncertain. The final levy approved this spring by the county will be based on actual new growth and total EAV. Last year’s EAV growth was 7.62 percent, and village officials said it likely will be lower for 2009.

“We will probably get about $654,000 (as a final levy amount),” Morrison said.

That sum is about 4 percent more than total village taxes in 2008.

Under that scenario, village’s tax rate would drop to .30 from .31, Morrison said. The lower rate would result in a $9 reduction in village property taxes for the owner of home with an EAV of $83,250 (from $261 to $252).

The Village Board will discuss the levy request at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, and hold a public hearing on the proposed levy at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.

Following the hearing, the board will forward the levy request to county.

Lack of new growth adds to school deficit

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Kaneland School District officials expect a substantial decrease in new property taxes due to the virtual standstill of residential development within the district. That decrease in revenue growth adds to the district’s budget deficit and will also translate into a higher tax bill for current district residents.

Julie-Ann Fuchs, Assistant Superintendent for Business, said that a recent estimate from the Kane County assessor puts the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of new construction at approximately $8.5 million for 2009, down from $21 million in 2008.

Fuchs said the district has typically received millions more in new money in recent years. In 2006, more than $65 million was added to the district’s EAV from new growth. This year’s projected new growth EAV of $8.5 million represents a smaller increase from last year.

Each taxing body must file its tax levy for the upcoming year prior to the last Tuesday of the calendar year. The School District is considering raising the levy to $4.12 per every $100 of EAV for their 2009 taxes, an increase of 14 cents per $100 of EAV.

This will increase the levy to a little more than $38 million, and the School District can expect to collect an additional $386,000 more in 2010 than in 2009.

For a homeowner of a $250,000 home, this will translate to an additional $116 in property taxes.

A truth-in-taxation levy hearing will take place on Monday, Dec. 14, with filing scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Donations put to good use at Kaneland

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland Foundation received a record total of close to $80,000 in grant requests and had less money to fund them than in the past.

“I wish we could’ve funded all of the projects,” Kaneland Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.

The foundation directors had some tough decisions to make, and allocated $20,941 to projects submitted by most of the district schools, including a District Choral Festival for Kaneland John Stewart, recycled plastic picnic tables for Kaneland John Shields, scientific family fun night at the middle school and a physics demonstration board for the high school.

The Kaneland High School Boosters organization donated $25,000 to support the Kaneland athletic programs, including the purchase of soccer goals, dugouts for softball and baseball, and new balls for all sports.

The Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee donated $800 to the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in appreciation for the use of its building as a cooling center.

Board passes bond resolution

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board passed a resolution on Tuesday, authorizing the district to issue general obligation capital appreciation and school building bonds, as well as to levy the property tax to pay it back. These bonds represent the remaining $10 million of bonding authority granted the district through the 2008 referendum.

According to Kaneland Assistant Superintendent Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, the downturn in the economy impacts the district’s ability to keep the tax rate constant. As more information becomes available, Fuchs said the administration will work with the district’s bond advisor to determine the appropriate time and amount of bonds that will need to be restructured in order to maintain the tax rate pledge.

The formal recommendation will be given to the board in January or February. Although the tax rate will go up, no matter how the debt is restructured, bond advisor Linda Matkowski said she does not recommend a panic restructuring.

“Eventually the equalized assessed value will start to recover,” she said. “The slow-down in building gives you some breathing room.”

One thing that will help is that the district will retain the AA rating it received by Standard & Poor’s in 2008.

Veterans Day salute

(Right) Veterans from the Elburn American Legion Post 630 marched to Memorial Park on North Street in Elburn. Waubonsee Community College hosted a Veterans Day Observance (below) that featured the East Aurora High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and a placing of a wreath by Aurora Armed Forces recruiters.
WCC_vetday_1_4CWCC_vetday_2_4C
Photos by
Martha Quetsch and Ben Draper

KC Health Department receives vaccine shipment

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department received a shipment of the H1N1 vaccine Nov. 5, clearing the way for the department to begin scheduling appointments again. The department suspended appointments scheduling last week when the supply was depleted.

Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said, “We still are in the midst of a nationwide shortage, but the vaccine deliveries are beginning to trickle in to the providers and agencies that ordered it. As we move forward, the vaccine will be available to everybody who needs it.”

The Health Department has been able to administer nearly 13,000 doses in its clinics, plus push out 4,500 doses to hospitals and emergency services providers. The latest shipment of 5,000 doses has allowed the department to fill appointments through the end of December.

Once the department receives additional shipments, it will schedule additional clinics, including those earmarked to provide boosters to children who need the second dose. Further, with additional supplies, the Health Department will push vaccine to private providers that will be able to vaccinate their at-risk patients, assuring that the vaccine is available throughout Kane County.

In addition to getting the vaccine, residents can take other steps on their own to prevent the flu, such as covering your cough, washing your hands frequently and staying home if you are sick. More information on preventing the flu is available at www.kanehealth.com. To schedule an appointment, residents may call our call center (630) 723-5414, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Family Fund Committee offers help for the holidays

Maple Park—The Maple Park Family Fund Committee is accepting families that will not be able to provide for their families this Christmas season. If your family needs assistance or you know of a family, please call Julie Little at (815) 827-3572 after 6 p.m.

The committee will provide you with a Holiday Assistance Application to fill out. All names and information are strictly confidential. Families seeking assistance cannot receive assistance from any other agency or organizations and must fill out the application form.

Deadline for the return of application forms will be Friday, Nov. 20. Late names and forms will not be processed.

This year, the Maple Park Family Fund Raffle will be held at the Maple Park Pub and Grill on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.