Letter: Chris Lauzen deserves our thanks, and our vote

It really upset me when I heard Chris Lauzens’ opponents say that State Sen. Chris Lauzen has “done nothing for the community.”

My family and I moved to Maple Park seven years ago. I remember when the intersection on Route 38 and County Line Road was a two-way stop. At times I had hard times navigating that intersection. It’s a wonder there weren’t more tragic accidents with school buses, young and older drivers.

Chris Lauzen made it possible for our community to obtain that stop light. Chris Lauzen was also instrumental in getting a four-way stop at another dangerous intersection in our community, Route 38 and Meredith Road.

Over the years, there have been countless roadside memorials set up to honor people who have perished at that intersection. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a new roadside cross at Route 38 and Meredith.

My wife and I have children of driving age, and we feel our children are much safer with these improvement. I want to say “Thank You” to Chris Lauzen for doing so much to improve the safety of our small community.

Peter Filipos
Maple Park

Letter: KC Conservative Coalition announces endorsements

The Kane County Conservative Coalition was founded in 2002 to “support men and women for public office who best represent conservative social and fiscal values while conducting themselves ethically and responsibly.” We are filed current with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 2, voters in Kane County will be making important decisions. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric of candidates. You must research their political, business and personal records to make sure that they have the required credibility and integrity to represent you and your family in Geneva, Springfield and Washington DC.

With that in mind, the Kane County Conservative Coalition endorses Adam Andrzejewski for Illinois Governor, Jim Dodge for Illinois Comptroller, Patrick Hughes for U.S. Senate, Randy Hultgren for Congress 14th District, David Akemann for Kane Resident Judge, David J. Rickert, CPA for Kane County Treasurer, Chris Lauzen for State Senate District 25, Keith Wheeler for State Representative District 50, Melisa Taylor for Kane County Board District 5, T.R. Smith for Kane County Board District 25.

Jon A. Zahm
Kane County Conservative Coalition
Maple Park

Letter: Send someone to Springfield to represent you, not party leadership

As we head into the last few days of the primary campaign, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has released the December unemployment statistics, and Illinois is still heading the wrong way: unemployment ticked up to 11.1 percent—the highest level in more than two decades.

The current 50th District State Representative hasn’t offered any bill, solution or idea to address the loss of 475,000 Illinois jobs since she announced her candidacy in July of 2007.

Back in November, I offered a specific plan to create jobs in Illinois which has been well-received by business leaders. I’m the only candidate in this race to put forth a real plan to address what is hurting Illinois families.

I am confident that you’ll want to send someone to Springfield to represent you who isn’t beholden to party leadership, special interests or the lure of a lucrative state pension. Instead, you can send a proven leader who has a track record of delivering positive results in business and in the community.

We are all aware that state government in Springfield isn’t working. When your state is unable pay its bills, is best known for pay-to-play corruption, and is consistently near the bottom of most important economic rankings, we need to take a different course today.

My name is Keith Wheeler, and I will earn your trust to be your Republican candidate for the 50th State Representative District of Illinois.

I look forward to serving you.

Keith R. Wheeler
Republican Candidate
State Representative
50th District

Letter: Where’s Foster?

I called Congressman Foster’s office in Washington, D.C., and asked about the current health care reconciliation process.

Specifically, I wanted to know how involved my representative was in these negotiations. Eventually I was transferred to a staffer named Kyle. Kyle told me Foster was not involved in the meetings. Fair enough; there is only so much room.

I asked how he was kept in the loop by the Democratic leadership about what was going on. Kyle told me that while there are caucus calls, “Congressman Foster knows as much about what is happening as you or I do by reading the papers and watching TV.”

I want to know where my representative stands on the issues. I want a congressman that will fight for me and carry my views to congress. This is why I am supporting Ethan Hastert. Ethan understands that we can fix health care without a government takeover. Ethan’s plan to improve transparency, increase competition and curb junk lawsuits to stop the practice of defensive medicine will hold the line on cost and create options for Americans.

Still, regardless of what side of the debate you are on, is Bill Foster the type of representative the 14th District should have in Washington? Someone who apparently cares so little about health care that he doesn’t demand input into the process? I would expect my congressman to be spending a lot of time getting details, talking to other congressmen and committee heads, making sure the view of his constituents was heard.

Where’s Foster? I guess he doesn’t think this is important enough to get involved.

Kent Alcott

Letter: Ethan Hastert is a clear choice

Ethan Hastert is the best candidate for congress in the 14th District. We need to get rid of Bill Foster, and Ethan is the only one who can do it.

He has established a large organization with the means and ability to win. Ethan is a strong conservative who will fight in Washington for lower taxes, less spending, and an economic environment that will foster growth in the private sector.

Hastert has been campaigning for nine months longer than anyone else in the race. Though I was skeptical at first as to whether he could get the job done, he has convinced me he is the only one who can clean up Washington.

We have a clear choice in this election cycle: change vs. more of the same. We need the new direction that Ethan Hastert can give us.

Kelly Flesch
St. Charles

Letter: Chris Lauzen is my choice

This primary election I have decided not to vote for any incumbent candidate except for state Sen. Chris Lauzen.

Senator Lauzen is the best choice based on his integrity, experience and job performance. Not a hint of scandal or malfeasance, just a great job as our representative in the Illinois State Senate.

Clearly, Chris Lauzen is my choice for State Senator, and he should be yours as well.

Ted Rotzoll
Huntley, Ill.

IHSA releases results of fall drug testing

From IHSA.org
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has compiled the results of its Performance-Enhancing Drug Testing Program for the fall of 2009. There were zero positive test results among the 141 tests conducted by the Association during the fall sports seasons, which included girls swimming & diving, boys soccer and football. Of the 141 student-athletes tested, 117 student-athletes were tested for anabolic steroids and 24 student-athletes were tested for stimulants.

“We had intended to release the results of our fall drug testing at a later date,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman, “but felt compelled to distribute it immediately to address a proliferation of false and damaging rumors about the test results of Class 8A football state champion Maine South. It is truly unfortunate that these rumors have persisted. It is our hope that these groundless accusations will not diminish the outstanding accomplishments of Maine South High School, its football coaching staff and its players.”

KC selected for program to fight childhood obesity

Grant funds “Making Kane County Fit For Kids”
Kane County—Kane County was awarded a $360,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods for children and families in the county.

Based on a rigorous selection process that drew more than 500 proposals from across the country, Kane County is one of 41 sites selected for the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative.

Kane County’s “Fit for Kids” initiative began in 2008 in response to the fact that one in six—or 16 percent—of all Kane children under 18 years of age are obese, a rate that more than doubles for Kane’s Hispanic and African American children countywide.

RWJF funding will support the “Fit for Kids” partners in engaging community members and leaders from all walks of life across the county to develop a comprehensive assessment of the changes needed in their communities to promote healthy living and prevent childhood obesity. This health-promoting vision will be incorporated in the county’s master land use and transportation plan updates.

Expected results include the advancement of Complete Streets policies and Safe Routes to Schools in multiple jurisdictions across the county; an increased access to safe places for physical activity in urban areas; and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables through a community garden program.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected to receive this grant,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “Working together with our partners, we are committed to making it possible for all of Kane’s children to have great choices for healthy eating and active living in all parts of their daily lives.”

“To reverse this epidemic, communities are going to have to rally around their kids and provide the opportunities they need to be healthy,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Through this project, Kane County and its partners are doing what it takes to make sure children lead better lives.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a $33 million national program and RWJF’s largest investment to date in community-based solutions to childhood obesity. With nine Leading Sites chosen in late 2008, the program now spans 50 communities from Seattle to Puerto Rico. All are targeting improvements in local policies and their community environment—changes that research indicates could have the greatest impact on healthier eating, more active living and obesity prevention. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a cornerstone of RWJF’s $500 million commitment to reverse the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

Visit www.healthykidshealthycommunities.org to learn more about the selected communities’ work and plans. Learn more about Kane County’s “Fit for Kids” program by visiting www.kanehealth.com/fitforkids.htm

Kaneland offers preschool screening

Elburn—Kaneland parents are encouraged to bring their children from ages 3 to 5 years old to be screened between 8 and 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, at Faith Assembly Church, 44W555 Keslinger Road, Elburn.

The district will check development milestones, including speech, hearing and vision. Please note that this is not a kindergarten screening.

To schedule an appointment, call the Kaneland School District Office at (630) 365-5111, ext. 110.

For children younger than 2 years, 8 months, please call Child and Family Connections for Kane and Kendall Counties at (630) 761-9227, ext. 117.

Garfield Farm offers scholarship for museum administration

Kane County—Garfield Farm Museum will offer a $2,000 scholarship for graduate studies in museum administration.

Applications must be made in January.

The Garfield Farm Museum Historic Administration Scholarship Fund has been established within the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. This annual scholarship is focused on students at the master’s level or higher, pursuing degrees in historic administration, public history, museum administration or related fields of study who preferably have demonstrated a strong commitment to the preservation of historic sites through their studies, work experience, volunteer or other community activities.

Potential applicants from the southern half of Kane County and Kendall County enrolled at an accredited college or university are encouraged to inquire of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley by calling (630) 896-7800 or visit www.CommunityFoundationFRV.org.

Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva off Route 38 on Garfield Road. For information, call (630) 584-8485 or e-mail info@garfieldfarm.org.

2 dead as plane crashes in Sugar Grove

updated 1-28-10
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel was the first responder to the scene of a plane crash in Sugar Grove Township on Saturday evening.

The plane was a twin-engine Piper Aerostar, and had just taken off from the Aurora Municipal Airport headed for Denver.

Kunkel said he was in his garage at about 7 p.m. when he heard the sound of a plane flying low to the ground just before impact. He said he remembered noting that the weather was cloudy and foggy.

He said the sound of the crash was so loud that it rattled the windows in his house. After calling dispatch, he grabbed his coat, expecting to find the plane in his back yard.

Two doors down, he found that the plane had crashed into the garage of a residence north of 43W420 Old Oak Road near Route 47.

“There was flaming debris down the side of the house and a massive amount of debris in the area,” he said.

A couple of Sugar Grove police officers arrived at the scene, including one who was also a Geneva firefighter. Once they made sure that all of the occupants were out of the house, they extinguished the fire.

The people in the house included the wife of the couple who owned the house, her mother and her two children.

“The crash had so severely detonated the plane that there was no chance for survivors,” Kunkel said.

The pilot and his passenger were killed. The pilot, 37-year-old Gary Lee Bradford of Hollywood, Fla., was an instrument-rated pilot, Aurora Airport Director Bob Rieser said. His passenger, 32-year-old Drago Strahija, was from Lakeworth, Fla.

The two men had stopped in Texas prior to coming to the area on Friday night. They spent the night before taking off for Denver on Saturday.

The NTSB and FAA are continuing the investigation into the crash. There are no details available at this time regarding why the plane crashed or the events that led up to the crash. Route 47 was closed between Bliss and Merrill roads from 7 until 11:30 p.m.

“It was a very unfortunate accident,” Rieser said. “It was very fortunate that nobody on the ground got hurt.”

P.J. Fleck named wide receivers coach at Rutgers

From ScarletKnights.com
Editor’s note: P.J. Fleck was a standout athlete for the Kaneland Knights in football, basketball and track from 1995-99.
PISCATAWAY, N.J.—Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano announced Thursday that P.J. Fleck has joined the Rutgers coaching staff as the wide receivers coach.

Fleck comes to Rutgers after three seasons as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Northern Illinois. Fleck also served as the Huskies’ recruiting coordinator last year.

“We are excited to have P.J. join our football family at Rutgers,” said Schiano. “He will fit in well on our staff and we look forward to having him and his family with us at Rutgers.”

A native of Sugar Grove, Ill., Fleck spent the last three seasons tutoring the Huskie wide receivers. Two of his 2008 receivers – Britt Davis and Matt Simon – signed free agent contracts with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, following their collegiate careers.

“I am extremely grateful and super excited for the opportunity Coach Schiano has given me and my family,” said Fleck. “I look forward to joining the Rutgers football family and the entire Scarlet Nation.”

A leader on Northern Illinois’ 2003 10-win team, Fleck began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006. He worked with the Buckeye tight ends and wide receivers and assisted with the special teams in his one season in Columbus, which culminated in a trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz.

Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.

Fleck earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors for Northern Illinois in 2003 while helping NIU to a 7-0 start that included upset victories over Maryland and Alabama. As a senior, he led the Huskies with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns, a reception total that still ranks second on the school’s single-season list.

Fleck still owns the school record for career punt returns (87), is second in punt return yards (716), ranks third in career catches (179) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,162). He was a second-team Academic All-American as a senior and was twice voted team captain by his teammates.

A 2004 graduate of Northern Illinois in elementary education, Fleck is married to the former Tracie Striebel. The couple has one son, Carter Joseph (C.J.).

Fleck and his wife annually host the P.J. Fleck “Live Your Dream” Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill’s Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.

Jean B. Lettow

Jean B. Lettow, 82, of Elgin, Ill., passed away Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, at Sherman West Court, Elgin. She was born Dec. 29, 1927, in Oak Park, Ill., the daughter of Paul and Laura Westedt.

She had been a resident of Elgin for the past 25 years. She had been employed as an Avon Representative for the past 25 years.

She was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church, Elgin.

She was the devoted mother of Alan (Vicki) Lettow of Sugar Grove, and Carol (David) Bartels of Caledonia, Ill.; six grandchildren, Scott Lettow, Dana (Tim) Wagner, Lisa (David) Anderson, Stacy Lettow (Zach Moneypenny), Brad (Hilary) and Doug Bartels; six great-grandchildren, Kyle, Michaele Lettow, and their mother, Janet Tomesko, Cal, Reece, and Sydney Wagner and Brayden Anderson.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 52 years, Robert W. Lettow; and one sister, Florence O’Brien.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Laird Funeral Home, Elgin. Burial followed in Bluff City Cemetery, Elgin. Memorials may be given to Calvary Lutheran Church, Elgin.

Kaneville loses a good friend

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Kaneville lost a stalwart member of the community last week, when life-long resident Leon Gramley passed away on Friday. Kaneville Township Supervisor, volunteer firefighter, Memorial Day committee member and Kaneville Cemetery Board treasurer were just a few of the roles that Gramley took on throughout his lifetime in Kaneville.

Add loving father, playful grandpa, thoughtful and romantic husband, and that only begins to describe the person most people in Kaneville have known for years.

Mary Niceley, former owner of the Kaneville General Store, remembers mornings when Gramley would stop by the store for a cup of coffee. People would notice his truck parked outside, and pretty soon any number of people would stop in to ask for his help with all kinds of things.

“He was always fixing something,” Niceley said. “He would say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and it would be taken care of.”

Niceley said Gramley was in charge of the Community Center in Kaneville when she was on the Library Board.

“He never raised our rent,” she said. “When the lights went out, he got them fixed. When the sidewalks needed to be shoveled, he got it done.”

Big things; little things; he took care of it all. She said one day a little boy came into the store after he had missed the school bus.

“’Come on,’ Leon said, and he gave the kid a ride to school,” she said. “It was all these little acts of kindness that go unnoticed. He didn’t do it for the glory; he did it from the kindness in his heart.”

Gramley was born on Oct. 31, 1943, in Aurora. He grew up in Kaneville and he graduated from Kaneland High School in 1962. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Vietnam War.

Taking an active part in Kaneville’s Memorial Day Service was an important honor for him. For more than 30 years, he marched in the color guard, and made sure that every veteran’s grave was adorned with a flag.

His son Stephen said that some of his best memories about his dad were when Stephen was a teenager.

“My dad was a farmer who could fix anything and a fireman who could help anybody,” he said. “My dad was ‘the guy.’ He was Superman. He could just do it all.”

In addition to being a firefighter for the Kaneville Fire Department, Leon was a paramedic for the Elburn Fire Department. Stephen remembered his dad’s pager going off in the middle of the night and he would run out the door to go help somebody. When the call was to Kaneville or someplace close by, his dad would take off in his truck, arriving at the scene before the ambulance arrived.

“It made him feel good to go and help out an elderly person alone and scared in the middle of the night,” Stephen said.

It was his work with the ambulance service that would lead him to the woman he would describe as the love of his life, Mary Fecht. A co-worker introduced the two on July 4, 1991, and they hit it off right away.

“He was very romantic and very thoughtful,” Mary said.

While they were dating, he sent her flowers every Friday. When they got engaged, he bought her a ring with two rubies that he said represented their two hearts and their love. Recently, he bought her a ring with 18 stones that represented their years together.

He and Mary were married in 1992, and they spent the years since then traveling, going to concerts, and sharing their children and grandchildren. Although they traveled all over the country, he had a special place in his heart for Disney World, where he had as much fun as his granddaughters did.

Throughout the years, he remained committed to his community. Although Gramley lived outside of the boundaries of what would become the village of Kaneville, he gave much of his time and his efforts to the village’s incorporation in 2007.

During the two-year process, he helped with legislation in Springfield that made the incorporation possible, facilitated meetings where residents helped determine their future, and encouraged others to take on leadership roles once the incorporation was complete.

Although he shouldered a lot of responsibility, Leon had a light heart. His sense of humor, his jokes and his infectious laughter will be missed by many.

His death leaves a void in many lives and in the life of the community.

“Kaneville lost a good friend. He was always there when anyone needed anything,” Pat Hill said. “I miss him.”

Photo: Leon Gramley with his wife of nearly 18 years, Mary Gramley. Courtesy Photo

Earthquake devastation heartbreaking for former missionary

by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—When the severe earthquake hit Haiti last week and TV stations ran footage of the devastation there, Sugar Grove resident Kaelynn Wilson said her heart was broken.

“My initial thought was … they don’t need any more problems in Haiti,” Wilson said.

She said it was emotional for her to see on screen the earthquake-torn places that she is so familiar with, having gone to Haiti five years ago on a mission with her church, Sugar Grove United Methodist.

“I saw those buildings, I went to those markets, I walked those streets, and the conditions were bad before,” Wilson said.

In 2005, Wilson, a teenager at the time, went to Haiti to help at the Grace Children’s Hospital in Port Au Prince with her church pastor, the Rev. Steve Good, and other members of their congregation. While there, she befriended a child and wrote to him regularly after returning to the U.S. until the child, who had AIDS and a cleft palate, died.

She believes awareness is crucial before people will offer their help and support to the Haitian people, particularly the country’s youngest and most vulnerable.

“Small children should not have to suffer,” Wilson said.

Wilson said if people from Northern Illinois form a mission to go to Haiti to help, she hopes to join them. Meantime, she wants to boost awareness among the American public about the Haitians’ plight, not only now, but historically. She said that the earthquake is just one more trauma on top of others that came before in Haiti, from poverty and political upheaval, to health issues including AIDS and tuberculosis.

“I am spreading the word, that if you are able to help, please do,” Wilson said. “There is so much that needs to be done.”

Photo: Sugar Grove residents, from left, Stephanie Claesson, Kaelynn Wilson-Bennett, Amanda Mendoza and Kristin Heckert, participated in one of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church’s past mission trips to Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Courtesy Photo

Senior utility tax rebates exclude phone bills

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate the village’s utility-tax rebate program for seniors this year, with added restrictions.

Under an ordinance passed by the board, the eligibility age for recipients was raised from 61 to 65, the rebates only will be allowed for gas and electric bill taxes, not for telephone service; and only households with incomes of $55,000 or less will be allowed to receive the rebates. In addition, senior rebates will be capped at $150 annually per senior household.

The village suspended the rebates for 2009 in September because village officials said some residents abused the program by obtaining rebates for several phone per households.

Mallard Point close to flooding solutions, funding sources

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The installation of additional drain tiles to bring the current water levels down and regular maintenance of the retention pond and wetland areas should solve the flooding problems in the Mallard Point Subdivision, an engineering consultant told the Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday.

Trotter & Associates consultant Mark Bushnell, has been working since last year with engineers representing Kane County, the Rob Roy Drainage District and the village of Sugar Grove to come up with a solution to the area’s drainage issues.

He said it is likely that they will recommend placing an independent and parallel drainage tile south through the subdivision to take the unwanted water to a ditch near Jericho Road. In addition, he said that prescribed burns and other maintenance should take place on an annual basis to remove the debris and stop the further growth of vegetation.

Kane County has identified an initial potential funding source for the project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has made available $16.8 million in low-interest loans for use in public economic recovery projects.

But the money, which would be paid back at 2 percent interest, must be used before 2011. Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, who has been working with Sugar Grove to identify potential funding sources for the project, said that the target date for completion of the project must be November.

“The funding is driving the project; now is the time that we can get the money,” Frasz said.

The money to pay back the loan would likely come from the enactment of a Special Services Area (SSA) for Mallard Point residents, a tax on property owners throughout the Rob Roy Drainage District, an area that includes Mallard Point, and potentially additional grants.

However, the residents of the Mallard Point Subdivision, 20 of whom attended Tuesday’s meeting, do not feel that they should be the ones to bear the brunt of the expenses to fix the problem. Some have said that they do not feel the village of Sugar Grove and its engineers did their due diligence when they approved the construction of the development at the time. Some also want to know why the current owner of the retention pond would not be responsible for maintaining it.

But Village President Sean Michels said that the subdivision has been functioning well for the past 15 years. He said there weren’t the engineering capabilities back when the development was originally built that exist today. Bushnell pointed out that besides the village’s engineers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers signed off on much of the work at the time.

Michels said that the recent increase in rainwater may also be the cause of some of the subdivision’s current problems.

The committee of engineers should have a completed plan within the next two months, Bushnell said. The Village Board will discuss the SSA at its Tuesday, March 2 meeting.

History of the problem
Problems with the neighborhood date back to the mid-1990’s, when Mallard Point was first built. After the first builder declared bankruptcy, two others took over before it was finally completed. Difficulties determining who was responsible for what problems go back to the beginning.

Although the annexation agreement called for the establishment of a homeowners association, one was never created. A proposal to create a special services area tax on the residents to pay for the maintenance of the common property areas never went beyond the discussion stages.

Residents began approaching the village in fall 2008, when drainage and flooding issues worsened, complaining of standing water, flooded basements and excessive electric bills to continually run two and sometimes three sump pumps.

The village contracted the engineering firm Trotter & Associates in 2009 to study the problem. Mark Bushnell has been working with engineers from the Rob Roy Drainage District, Kane County and the village to come up with a plan to resolve the issues as well as a cost-sharing program.

SGUMC long term supporter of Haitians

1-28-10 Correction:
An article titled “SGUMC longterm supporter of Hatians” on page 1A of the Jan. 21, 2010, Elburn Herald, incorrectly stated that part of the money raised recently by Sugar Grove United Methodist Church would be donated to the American Red Cross. The church is not giving any of the donations to the Red Cross, but is sending all of the funds it collected to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, for the Grace Children’s Hospital and for general relief in Haiti.
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
e-mail: info@elburnherald.com
phone (630) 365-6446

by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—The Rev. Steve Good, pastor at Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, first went to Haiti 28 years ago as a college student, to study and do missionary work for several months.

Later, he encountered the Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, a decades-old facility run by Haitians, for Haitians. After becoming pastor at the Sugar Grove church 15 years ago, he introduced the congregation to the hospital.

“They really have embraced it as one of their missions over the years,” Good said.

Church members have gone to the Haiti hospital several times with mission teams. While there, they scrubbed floors and walls, put up fresh coats of paint, and socialized with the young patients. The church also has sent school supplies, medicine and other essentials for the hospital, which has a one-room school to educate patients who are well enough to attend. The congregation also has sent monetary donations to help support the hospital.

Since the earthquake last week, the church has stepped up its support, collecting about $2,000 for the hospital and for general relief efforts in Haiti during last Sunday’s services.

“It was very encouraging to see that, just on one Sunday,” Good said.

Good said that Grace Children’s was severely damaged in the earthquake, with one young patient being killed in the disaster. Patients now are being cared for outside the building, in addition to other Haitians seeking help from the facility.

In addition to raising money for Haiti, Sugar Grove United Methodist Church is conducting a collection for personal essentials that it will send to Haiti through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The church is seeking items including one-gallon re-sealable plastic bags, hand towels, washcloths, combs, fingernail clippers, bath-size bars of soap, toothbrushes, sterile bandages and toothpaste. Church members will transport these supplies to the UMCOR warehouse in Chatham, Ill.

Anyone who wants to make financial donations can do so directly online at www.umcorhaiti.org for general Haiti relief or to www.intlchildcare.org to support relief efforts through Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Checks can also be made payable to “Sugar Grove UMC” , designating Haiti Relief in the memo and mailed to Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 226, Sugar Grove, Ill. 60554. For questions, call the church at (630) 466-4501 or go to www.sgumc.net.

D-302 students give generously to Haiti

by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—What started out as a simple request for change turned into a donation of over $2,000 to help the people of Haiti after last week’s earthquake.

“It was such an outpouring of help,” student council member Mel Mazuc said.

High School social studies teacher and student council adviser Javier Martinez said he asked a few students last Thursday morning if they thought the other students might want to contribute their pocket change to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Word spread throughout the day, and student council members went to each room at the end of classes to gather the donations. They collected $1,020 in one hour.

The Student Council doubled the donation, bringing it to $2,040. The council raises money through Homecoming ticket sales, blood drives and the sale of T-shirts.

Martinez said he chose the American Red Cross to receive the donations, because it is a high profile agency with a track record, and it will be able to put the money to good use immediately.

He said the Red Cross already had a mission in Haiti before the earthquake, because of the poverty there. The money will go to basic sustenance, such as food, water and medical supplies, he said.

The students have been watching the news this past week for updates on the situation in Haiti. Tommy Whittaker said he was particularly touched by the number of orphans in Haiti.

Mazuc said there was no question about donating the money.

“That’s where it’s needed the most,” she said.

The Student Council Haiti Relief Fund is still accepting donations through the end of this week. Martinez said that if people want to contribute to help the people in Haiti, he would urge them to go to the Red Cross’ website, www.redcross.org.

With customers’ help, Walgreens expands its charitable reach

ELBURN—Following last week’s earthquake in Haiti, the Walgreens in Elburn responded to the crisis by starting a collection of helpful items for the disaster victims.

“We’re asking that people donate diapers, baby formula, hydrogen peroxide—essential-type things,” said the store’s assistant manager, Anton Larson.

The donated items do not have to be purchased at the store.

Larson said customers have generously supported the collection.

“We have gotten quite a lot of items,” he said.

So far, the donated necessities have filled more than 20 large bags that that will go to Haiti. Walgreens employees will transport the items this week to the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, a nonprofit organization in Evanston that has arranged with a major airline to transport donated supplies to Haiti.

Walgreens also is asking customers to donate $1, $5 or $10 for Haiti relief, with the money going directly to the American Red Cross for Haiti Relief, Larson said.

The Elburn Walgreens opened in September at the northeast corner of Route 47 and Route 38. Store officials recently said they plan to help the local community in ways such as offering free health screenings and informational sessions about medications.

Morelli, Busch run to replace Grometer on bench

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republicans are running against each other to fill the R. Peter Grometer vacancy in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

Fred M. Morelli
Fred M. Morelli brings more than 43 years of legal experience into the campaign. Having served as Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Assistant Public Defender in Kane County, Head Public Defender in Kane County, an Associate Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit from 1976-81, with a private practice since 1981, he said it is his breadth of experience that makes him the right person for the job.

“I have the most experience, the best work ethic, the best temperament, and have proven my abilities as judge,” he said.

He said that a key issue facing the court system is the case backlog, overcrowded courtrooms and jails, and a lack of funding to address these issues. After being appointed as an associate judge in the 16th Circuit to fill a vacancy in 1976, he said he reduced the trial backlog from nine months to just one day, while receiving a 98-percent approval rating from the bar association. He said he plans to merge his experience with the same focus on efficiency he used during those years to improve the current backlog.

“Solutions available include a willingness to work harder and more efficiently, and come up with new solutions that do not compromise the rights of litigants or further burden taxpayers,” Morelli said. “In short, a judge has to be willing to put in longer hours and hold attorneys and litigants accountable for being unprepared, as well as being prepared themselves.”

“I am seeking your vote for judge because I feel I have the most to offer,” Morelli said. “For 43 years, I have represented difficult clients with difficult problems. I have an ability to get along and an ability to find solutions.”

Kevin T. Busch
Kevin T. Busch is a current Associate Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit, having served in the post since 2008. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant State’s Attorney, the Chief of the Criminal Division in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, and was in private practice beginning in 1992.

Busch said that with nearly half of the 16th Circuit positions to be filled with new judges, it is vital that only the finest men and women fill the judicial positions.

“A Circuit Judge must be intelligent, responsible, honest and above reproach,” Busch said. “I believe that I am the only candidate to fill this vacancy that possesses all of these qualities. I also believe that it is for these reasons that I am endorsed over my opponent by (Judge) Grometer himself.”

In the most recent Illinois State Bar Association Judicial poll, over 91 percent of those polled believed Busch possessed the highest level of integrity and courtroom management skills; that is evidence, Busch said, that he has already demonstrated what is needed in the judgeship.

When Busch first began in his role as Associate Judge in the 16th Circuit, his first change was to open his court a half-hour early. This was done to “help litigants and their lawyers take care of business more easily, lessening delay and waiting time,” Busch said.

Most of all, Busch said, he intends to pool together his range of experience throughout his career to serve him in his role, should be be elected.

“(I will) approach each case with the same dedication to justice and fairness that I expected from judges as a prosecutor and as a private attorney,” Busch said.

Pair of Republicans race to face Perez

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republican candidates for Kane County Sheriff, L. Robert Russell and Donald E. Kramer, will face each other on Feb. 2 for the chance to run against Democratic incumbent Pat Perez, who is running unopposed in the primary election.

L. Robert Russell
L. Robert Russell said that he has the experience, ideas and leadership skills necessary to bring the Kane County Sheriff’s Department into the future.

“What the Kane County Sheriff’s Office needs most is a vision for the future and a leader who can implement that vision,” Russell said.

He has worked for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office since 1993, having worked in all three bureaus of the department—corrections, court security and patrol. He currently serves as the supervising liaison for the Wayne, Addison and Bloomingdale townships. He was also selected by DuPage’s sheriff to serve in search-and-rescue efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, earning a commendation for his service there.

He said it is this wide-ranging experience in a different—but local—department that has given him the skills and knowledge to help resolve what he says are reoccurring problems within the department.

“I’m a Kane County taxpayer, and I’m aware of the reoccurring problems at the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “I see solutions out there that aren’t being brought to the table. I believe the office needs a fresh perspective to deal with these immediate problems.”

One of those immediate problems Russell said he wants to address is the personnel make-up of the department. The current structure is too inefficient and harms the department’s ability to deliver the type of service required, Russell said.

“I would implement a plan to improve the efficiency and quality of service,” Russell said. “It has been revealed on several occasions that the current administration is top-heavy.”

By using the term “top heavy,” Russell said that there are too many administrators sitting in offices, and not enough officers in the field. This has a negative impact on both the budget and on the department’s ability to respond to needs throughout the county.

“We need to get the boots off of the carpet and back on the streets,” Russell said. “There needs to be a reallocation of the current personnel.”

That shift in personnel focus to make the department less top heavy will help at the budgetary level as well, Russell said. With the economic downturn affecting everyone and every governmental department, this will be a significant part of the focus of the sheriff in the coming years, he said.

“Like everybody else, my family has learned to live within our means during these tough economic times,” Russell said. “The Sheriff’s Office needs to do the same. The next administration needs to respond appropriately to the economic downturn, by staying within the adjusted budget and bringing proactive solutions to the table.”

Russell said that not only will he focus on cutting expenses and creating efficiencies to eliminate wasteful spending, he will also look at ways for the department to obtain more revenue.

“After looking at the expenses … the first thing that I would do is hire a full-time grant writer,” he said.

Currently, the administration employes a part-time grant writer, who has obtained several grants to ease budget pressures.

“How many more could have been obtained with a full-time grant writer?” Russell asked. “A full-time grant writer will pay for him or herself many times over through increased grant awards, and is a wise use of Sheriff’s Office funds.”

The effort to revise the department’s personnel structure and address its fiscal challenges must coincide with an improvement in the department’s service and response times, he said.

“People in western townships have complained of long response times—up to 30 minutes,” Russell said. “That’s unacceptable. We can improve service by partnering with the townships.”

The range of goals Russell laid out will be achieved, he said, because of his leadership abilities.

“I have led, and will continue to lead, by working problems and finding solutions,” Russell said.

Donald E. Kramer
As a more than 30-year employee of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, from June 1979 to November 2009, Donald E. Kramer said he has the experience and already-existing knowledge of the department to step in and make an impact from day one.

“I believe the Sheriff’s Office needs leadership that will provide more effective service to the citizens of Kane County,” Kramer said. “I believe that I have the skill level and experience to manage the personnel and address the core needs of the citizens while maintaining a balanced budget.”

Kramer joined the department in 1979, and was promoted to sergeant in 1986 and lieutenant in 2002. During those years, he supervised a jail shift for four years, headed a traffic division for eight years, and managed the computer network, department training, and community policy for central Kane County and civil enforcement.

It is that level of management experience and inside knowledge of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office that separates him from his Republican opponent in the primary, or the current sheriff and democratic candidate, Kramer said.

“My Republican challenger has considerably less management experience and is not familiar with the operations of the Sheriff’s Office,” Kramer said. “I also have more education and lifetime experience than the current sheriff and believe his will make a difference as the leader of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.”

Kramer said he hopes to use that experience and knowledge to restructure the department in a more efficient and effective manner, ranging from individual officers up through the management ranks. He also intends to work other law enforcement agencies to share resources and combine efforts in combating drugs and gangs, and improve traffic safety.

“I plan on building a management team that will determine the needs of the community and work with supervisors to implement successful strategies,” he said. “Upper-level management will also be more responsible for collaborating with other agencies and managing finances to achieve these goals within financial constraints.”

The biggest challenge facing whomever is elected to the position, Kramer said, is to provide for the public safety while navigating through a budget crunch that translates to a reduction in finances and personnel.

“Because there has been a significant cut in the budget and personnel, it will be necessary as sheriff to redeploy resources to address core issues that affect the greatest number of citizens,” Kramer said. “To accomplish this, I will reduce the number of specialized units and reassign personnel in order to provide the greatest amount of service to attack neighborhood crime and traffic violations.”

With all units of government facing tightening budgets, Kramer said that it will be vital for all elected officials to work together more effectively in order to provide the highest level of service while remaining fiscally responsible.

“That can only be accomplished with mutual cooperation and understanding,” he said.

All of the management, restructuring and financial decisions must be made with the public in mind, he said. Given that, he said his ultimate focus will be on maintaining—and improving—the level of service provided by the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

“I am committed to listening to the needs of citizens and addressing the issues that bring the greatest return to the safety and security of the public,” he said.

Pat Perez
Pat Perez has served as Kane County Sheriff since 2006, having previously worked for the department since 1992. He served the department as a supervisor from 1996 to 2006, and said that his time both in the department and as sheriff have given him the insight necessary to continue to improve the department.

“I have seen the growth of Kane County and strive constantly to provide the best service possible for those we serve,” Perez said. “I know from experience the quality-of-life issues that range from domestic violence to burglary to drug and gang enforcement to foreclosures and evictions.”

Perez said the department has applied a proactive application to law enforcement, rather than just react to crimes as they occur. He pointed to the 2008 move from the Geneva facility to the St. Charles facility—in which 511 inmates were transferred without incident and without an interruption of service to the public—as an example of the impacts of a proactive approach.

“We have embarked on a new era and I am honored to have been sheriff during this important time in our agency’s history,” Perez said.

Perez said that included in that new era are accomplishments such as reducing unnecessary spending, redeployment of personnel to increase the department’s efficiency, and expanding its outreach to the communities.

“I have kept the promises I made when I ran for sheriff in 2006, and will continue to lead our agency in a positive direction,” he said.

Looking forward, Perez said his most immediate priority is to navigate through the difficult economic climate facing his department in 2010. To that end, he said all decisions will be made without negatively impacting the department’s patrol functions, because that aspect of the department consists of the true first responders who have the largest impact on the citizens.

“The economic downturn has inspired us to do the very best we can with the resources we have,” Perez said.

One way to increase the resources available to the department is to focus on obtaining grant funding. He said the department has obtained more than $890,000 during the past three years, which translated to vehicle purchases, training and personnel that might otherwise not be available.

Additionally, Perez plans to continue to foster partnerships with Kane County citizens.

“Our expansion of Community Policing, Neighborhood Watch, TRIAD Senior Services, Citizen’s Police Academy and Jail Ministries are but a few of the programs that have drawn us together as a community,” he said.

That sense of community is vital to the continued improvement of the department, Perez said, adding that collaboration has already had an impact.

“Through maintaining relationships with our fellow law enforcement agencies, with elected officials at all levels and with the citizens of Kane County, we have made great strides in crime prevention and have seen a reduction in crime,” he said. “I realize that all our accomplishments are the result of group efforts.”

Smith challenges Kudlicki for seat on KC Board

by Ryan Wells
A pair of Republicans, incumbent Bob Kudlicki and challenger Thomas (T.R.) Smith, are running against each other to represent District 25 on the Kane County Board in the primary on Tuesday, Feb. 2. There is no Democrat running for this seat.

Bob Kudlicki
With eight years of experience representing the 25th District on the Kane County Board and two terms as the mayor of Hampshire, Ill., Bob Kudlicki said he has the knowledge and experience necessary to help the county through the current economic difficulties without having to raise taxes.

Kudlicki, of Hampshire, has served on eight different committees during his time on the board, something he said has been very important in helping him understand what needs to be done in the future.

“This has provided me with a great appreciation for, and knowledge of, the many county services and how to put these services towards the best interests of the 25th district,” he said.

In addition to his experience on the board, he has owned his own dry cleaning business for the past 50 years. He also has worked with various community-focused organizations, including his service as treasurer of the Hampshire Boy Scouts, his 50-year membership of the American Legion—including the past eight years as treasurer of American Legion Post 680, member of the Lions Club for the past 50 years, service as Past Commandant of the Marine Corps League—having served two tours in the U.S. Marine Corps—as well as member of the Hampshire Historical Society.

Kudlicki said his focus will be on advancing economic development and job creation within the communities that make up the 25th District. In addition, he plans on putting the 25th District in the forefront of transportation funding, listing a Route 47 interchange, Brier Hill on and off ramps, and an extension of French Road as his primary projects. He said he plans to continue working with his fellow County Board members to maintain the level of services without having to raise taxes.

“We are all concerned by the current economic downturn in our country, the loss of employment and home foreclosures throughout Kane County. This puts a considerable strain on how to provide the necessary and required services to county residents,” Kudlicki said. “When the county has only so much funding to work with, it affects all department budgets. Each of us County Board officials and department heads need to put ourselves in the others’ shoes, realize that we are all in the same situation and are working toward the same goals.”

While he intends to continue working with the other leaders within Kane County government, he will remain focused on building relationships with the residents within his district.

“I will continue my personal commitment to remain accessible to the residents of the 25th District, available for in person or phone contact, respectful and thoughtful consideration of ideas, and do my level best to provide true and forthright answers to any and all questions put to me.”

Thomas (T.R.) Smith
For Thomas (T.R.) Smith, of Maple Park, the race boils down to the economic challenges faced by the board and his desire and ability to help resolve them.

He said that while two of his top three campaign issues relate to the county’s finances, his number-one priority would be his constituents.

“(My number-one campaign issue is) representing my district and addressing the concerns of my constituents,” Smith said. “I will always be accessible for public input and consider the needs of my district and how they will be impacted when voting on county issues.”

Smith is the owner and operator of the Golden Acres Farm, and prior to that, he served as a Senior Criminal Investigations Detective in the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Chief Investigator for the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Smith served in the U.S. Army as a member of a military police unit in the Panama Canal Zone, and after his enlistment, is a Past Commander and Senior Vice Commander for the Hampshire American Legion Post No. 680. His further community service includes being a charter member of the St. Charles Borromeo, Knights of Columbus No. 13034, member of the Burlington Lions Club, member of the Legislative Committee of the Kane County Farm Bureau, and chapter director for the GW Motorcycle Riders Association.

Politically, Smith serves on the Kane County GOP Central Committee, is chairman of the Western Kane County Township GOP, and is a Republican Precinct Committeeman in Burlington Township. He has served on the Burlington Township Park Board since 1995, serving as vice president and president, and served on the Burlington Drainage Ditch Board since 1985, including service as the secretary and treasurer.

He said he plans to use the knowledge gained from his variety of experience and community service to help resolve the economic difficulties faced at the County Board level. He said the board needs to balance its budget and prioritize its spending, which includes downsizing the layers of upper management and addressing the salary structure of those management positions.

In addition, Smith said the County Board should “eliminate any future spending projects, other than additional police coverage for the unincorporated areas, until property taxes are reduced, and revenue streams are stabilized at the same numbers prior to the economic downturn,” he said.

2 Dems, 5 Republicans vie for 16th Circuit vacancy

by Ryan Wells
Seven candidates in total are running for the Kane County vacancy in the 16th Judicial Circuit—five Republican candidates (Thomas Patrick Rice, Robert L. Janes, D.J. Tegeler, Leonard J. Wojtecki and David R. Akemann) will run to see who will face the winner of a two-person Democratic race (John G. Dalton and Michael C. Funkey).

Thomas Patrick Rice
Beginning his career as a history and social sciences teacher in the St. Anne School District, Thomas Patrick Rice, of Batavia, went on to have a 25-year law career. Throughout the progression of his career, he has assumed various leadership positions, and feels that his leadership and professional experience serve him well in this race.

“I have the credentials and experience to be a circuit court judge,” he said. “I am not a politician, and frankly, believe in merit selection of judges rather than public election.”

To Rice, those qualifications mean someone who possesses extensive trial experience, pertinent life experiences and common sense.

“If you look at my resume, I believe you will see that my peers have elected me to leadership positions in every aspect of my professional life,” Rice said.

In addition, Rice said his credentials led the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint him to a Select Committee on Ethics and Civility. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law for trial advocacy at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. While serving in these roles, Rice continues to operate his private law firm.

With the recent growth experienced in Kane County, Rice said that the first priority is to determine a way to address the increasing need of the court system.

“Litigation will increase, especially that involving crime and domestic issues,” Rice said. “We have to address the expansion of the court-house along with the security issues related thereto.”

Rice said that regardless of the increase in litigation, the court must remain vigilant in ensuring that ethics are never breached.

“I think the court must be aware at all times as to the ethics and professionalism of both bench and bar, and their relationships to the public,” he said.

Robert L. Janes
Robert L. Janes, of St. Charles, has spent more than 13 years as an Associate Kane County Judge, and currently is a judge in the Kane County Family Court. That, combined with his 22 years as an attorney, is why Janes said he has the most experience of any candidate in the race.

“There is virtually no type of case that I have not handled,” Janes said.

While serving on the bench, he initiated a variety of changes and programs that saved taxpayers time and money.

“This is especially important in tough economic times,” he said.

He developed video bond calls in Kane County and Elgin courts, which sped up court time and reduced travel and manpower expenses. He also transformed the traffic and misdemeanor court calls in Kane and Kendall counties, which eliminated unnecessary waiting times for citizens to have their cases tried.

“This saved the county money by eliminating overtime for police officers waiting in court to see if they would be have to testify,” Janes said. “It also enabled the officers to be on the street rather than waiting around in court.”

He said that if elected, he plans to continue to focus on being a fair and respectful judge while implementing policies and procedures that will help streamline the legal process and ultimately save the taxpayers money.

“If I am elected circuit judge I will be in a stronger position to push for more changes that will be taxpayer friendly, because I will have a voting voice in the administration of the court system that associate judges do not have,” Janes said.

D.J. Tegeler
D.J. Tegeler, of Geneva, has been in the legal profession since 1990, and started his own practice in 1997.

He said his focus is what all people running for Circuit Judge should focus on first—the fair application of the law in relation to all people who appear before the court.

“The Court should not show favoritism toward the state or a defendant, the Court should not show favoritism toward the big corporation versus the little guy, the husband versus the wife in a divorce setting,” he said.

He said that he intends to work with the county, residents, and local agencies iin developing a unified campus for all judicial activities.

“For far too long, Kane County has been segregated between the Couny Clerk’s Office, the Courthouse, and until recently the Jail, and other necessary agencies,” he said.

He said this leads to an inefficient system that wastes too much time. Citizens wait in line for their cases to be heard in the courhouse and then drive to pay their fines at a clerk’s office. Also, bringing misdemeanor courtrooms to one location, instead of being spread to Elgin, Aurora, and Kane County, would save time and money as well, he added.

Beyond the activities within the courtroom and the move toward efficiency, Tegeler said he believes his priority should be educating the public.

“It is my firm belief that educating the citizens of the 16th Judicial Circuit as to the ramifications of their actions and helping them live better lives is imperative for all Circuit Judges,” Tegeler said.

He has already helped accomplish this by assisting in the creation of the Drug Court Rules and Regulations for the 16th Judicial Circuit. He also helped create the 2nd Chance/Diversion Program for non-violent offenders in Felony Court, as well as assist in establishing the Mental Health Court.

“I believe these types of speciality courts, which help people not commit crimes, are important and necessary in this community,” Tegeler said.

Leonard J. Wojtecki
Leonard J. Wojtecki, of Cary, has served as a judge since 2000. Prior to that, he served as a Cook County prosecutor, a former Kendall County public defender and as a partner in a private law firm.

He said that, in his 10th year as a judge, he has presided over jury trials in all three counties of the 16th Judicial Circuit. He has heard a wide range of cases, both criminal and civil, including serious felonies such as murder and home invasion, as well as large-scale civil lawsuits. For four years, he served as the sole presiding civil judge in Kendall County, where he said he heard virtually all of the civil cases in that county, ranging from probate, child support and divorce, as well as personal injury cases and business litigation.

In addition to hearing a wide range of cases, he has also helped draft local criminal court rules in Kane County.

“I think my experience matters,” Wojtecki said.

He said he will rely on his experience to perform a critical function of a Circuit Judge, that of participating in the process of selecting and appointing associate judges.

“This is important because judges should be competent and have a wide breath of exper-ience in the practice of law,” he said. “They should also have integrity and the right demeanor. As a lawyer and judge for the past 34 years, I have seen lawyers from both sides of the bench, and I believe I can contribute in a meaningful way in the decision of who is best qualified to be an associate judge. “

Circuit Judges are also involved in a wide variety of matters, including setting local court rules and judicial policy as well as organizing and administering the courts in their judicial circuit.

“I have participated in this process to a limited extent, and I think my experience and contribution would be beneficial to the judiciary,” Wojtecki said.

David R. Akemann
David R. Akemann, a lifelong resident of Kane County currently residing in Elgin, was elected twice to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, in 1992 and 1996. His legal career began in 1977, and then worked his way up in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office until his election.

He has also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Division, Special Prosecutions Bureau, where he served throughout the state as a special prosecutor and managed complex investigations, he said. He was appointed by the Illinois Attorney General as the Executive Director: Illinois Gang Crime Prevention Center, where he managed a statewide multi-disciplinary team to support the Attorney General’s efforts at preventing and prosecuting gang crimes.

Currently, he runs his private law firm in Elgin.

With his experience in both the private sector and as an elected official, Akemann said he has the unique background that will serve him best in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

“I want to be of service to the public and know this is how I can do it best,” Akemann said. “People want honest, hard-working, common sense judges who will be tough on violent, convicted criminals but compassionate when circumstances dictate. People want judges with broad experience to recognize that in cases of habitual violent offenders, punishment needs to be tough.”

He said that judges must also maintain judicial independence and remain free from social and political pressure.

“The burden of that falls to each judge to avoid associations which create a perception that impartiality is not possible,” he said. “‘Equal Protection’ is not just an empty phrase. I am the candidate that can provide these qualities for the people of Kane County.”

John G. Dalton
John G. Dalton, of Elgin, has been in the legal profession for the past 22 years.
“I’ve worked for prestigious law firms, been a Senior Vice President of a global bank and owned my own practice,” he said.

He said he is running for Circuit Judge because the people of Kane County deserve to have judges they can rely on to uphold the integrity of the law.

“I will work hard to protect the rights of Kane County citizens, remaining a fair and independent voice for the people,” Dalton said. “I will use my background as an arbitrator for 10 years and trial attorney for 22 years, to work to preserve a safe and just community.”

Dalton said that serving as judge is an opportunity to give back to the people of Kane County, and he would focus on putting in place procedures that would save the public time and money. One of his proposals would be to implement an online system that would allow residents the opportunity to pay traffic fines, seek court supervision or request a trial date without having to appear in court.

“The result would be fewer minor, routine cases heard in a courtroom, saving money for taxpayers,” Dalton said. “We’d save money on judges, clerks, bailiffs, courtrooms, etc., and the public wouldn’t have to take time away from work to spend the day in court.”

With years of community service in addition to his legal work, Dalton said his focus would continue to be on the people within the 16th Judicial Circuit. He is a former board member of the Campanelli YMCA, co-founder and former chariman of Elgin’s Speak Out Against Prejudice group, former Commissioner of the Elgin Heritage Commission’s Design Review Subcommittee, former Board Chairman and Finance Committee Chairman of Famous Door Theatre Company, member of School District U-46 Handbook Committee, as well as the Elgin Hispanic Network and Elgin Chamber of Commerce.

“I have deep roots in the community, a long record of service and I am well prepared for the challenges the bench would present, should I be fortunate enough to earn the votes of the people of Kane County and be elected judge.

Michael C. Funkey
Michael C. Funkey, a former Elburn resident and current resident of Aurora, would bring a 39-year legal career to the bench. He said that even though his career has spanned nearly four decades, he continues to learn.

Each and everyday has provided me with a new challenge and a new learning experience,” Funkey said. “As I think about my future, I know I want to continue working in the legal profession. When the seat for Resident Circuit Court Judge in Kane County became available, I realized that I want to take the experience I’ve gained as a lawyer and serve the legal profession and the people of Kane County from the bench.”

He has also served the public in a variety of ways that are beyond his legal profession. He is involved in the St. Peter, Holy Angels and St. Gall parishes, is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and serves as the attorney to the board of the Aurora Boys Baseball organization. He is also a member of the Marmion Academy Alumni Association, Rosary High School Sports Boosters, Aurora Latin America Club and Phoenix Club, volunteers at the Hessed House, served as chairman of the the Noise Abatement Committee at the Aurora Municipal Airport, and has been the annual Fund Chariman for the Provena Mercy Center for Healthcare Service.

Funkey said he is the only Democrat in the race to receive a “Recommended” rating by the Kane County Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee.

“As a Judge, I will strive to provide the same equal access to justice as I have in my private practice over the past 39 years,” Funkey said. “I have been privileged to represent clients from all walks of life—plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and corporations, husbands and wives, adults and children.”

If elected, Funkey said his top priority would be to honor the oath of the office. He would also focus on interpretting and applying the law, regardless of his personal opinion.

“The people of Kane County deserve fair and impartial rulings made in a timely manner, and I will run my courtroom as efficiently as possible and work hard to resolve disputes quickly yet properly,” Funkey said.

Elburn children learn good health habits from Tooth Wizard, Plaqueman

Elburn—Elburn children in kindergarten through third grade will learn how to take care of their teeth and the importance of good oral health from Tooth Wizard as he battles his nemesis PlaqueMan, during Delta Dental of Illinois’ Land of Smiles program at Blackberry Creek Elementary on Friday, Jan. 22.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in Illinois. According to a survey by the Illinois Department of Public Health, 55 percent of Illinois third-graders have experienced dental cavities. Among those children, 30 percent have untreated cavities and 4 percent have cavities that need urgent dental treatment.

“Since most tooth decay is preventable, we know it is important to start educating children about good oral health habits at an early age,” said Tom Colgan, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Illinois. “This program inspires a lifetime of good oral health habits and helps further our mission to improve the oral health of the communities we serve.”

Land of Smiles, sponsored by the nonprofit Delta Dental of Illinois, is a theatrical performance in which costumed characters Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan educate kids on how to get rid of what Tooth Wizard refers to as that “icky, sticky, slimy, grimy, sort of yellowy, greeny gunk”—known as plaque—which causes cavities and damages gums.

Student volunteers will help Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan demonstrate proper brushing techniques and how to floss using an oversized set of teeth and toothbrush. The characters will also discuss good and bad foods for teeth and why it is important to visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Jan. 21 Police blotter

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.

• Eleana Mashkovich, 36, of the 2900 block of Heatherwood Drive in Schaumburg, Ill., was arrested at 9:17 p.m. Jan. 16 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped Mashkovich on Route 47 at Pierce Street in Elburn for speeding.

• Genaro H. Garcia, 18, of the 1000 block of Pattee Avenue in Elburn, was arrested at 6:48 p.m. Jan. 18 for driving without having a valid license, and operating an uninsured vehicle. Police stopped him on Patriot Parkway at Berry Street for speeding.

• Angel Bahena Sotel, 27, of Maple Park, was arrested at 5:05 p.m. Jan. 16 for driving without having a valid license. Police stopped him on Keslinger Road at Anderson Road in Elburn, for speeding.

Editorial: Ensure your charitable contribution helps

By now, we have all seen the devastating impact of the recent earthquake in Haiti, and countless individuals and organizations are trying to do their part to send money and aid to those suffering.

Unfortunately, there are also those who see this tragedy as a way to take advantage of those kind-hearted people who wish to help.

Additionally, it is possible that legitimate efforts to assist the aid effort could cause logistical problems, given the sheer size of the need and the volume of aid making its way to the ravaged nation.

To that effect, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has urged residents who plan to donate to earthquake relief efforts to be on the lookout for scams and to avoid fundraising efforts that may prove counterproductive at this time.

“At this time when the people of Haiti desperately need help, I want to encourage wise giving to make sure that donations go toward legitimate causes that will directly contribute to relief efforts,” Madigan said in a recent statement. “Unfortunately, it’s common to hear of fraudulent charities taking advantage of people’s generosity in the wake of catastrophes. Before sending money, Illinoisans should ask questions, gather information about the organization and donate only when you’re satisfied that your money will be used in an appropriate manner.”

Donors who are seeking to give to the Haitian earthquake relief efforts should be wary of requests for clothing, food or other in-kind donations, which may not be appropriate. Unless the charitable organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

For example, in our page 1A story on the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church effort to raise funds, collect items and support its ongoing mission to Haiti, the church is partnered with the American Red Cross and the United Methodist Commitee on Relief. The Elburn Walgreens’ effort to collect items is part of a partnership with the Evanston, Ill.,-based Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, which has worked out a plan with a major airline to transport items in the relief effort. The Kaneland High School fundraising drive to send aid to Haiti is working with the American Red Cross.

For those considering a donation of money or items to the relief effort, Madigan’s office suggested the following tips to ensure your efforts do not go to waste:
• Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fundraising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.
• Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
• Ask questions about the charity. Donate only when your questions have been answered and you are certain your money will be used according to your wishes. Ask questions like whether the charity is registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and what percentage of the money the charity takes in goes to fundraising, administration and charitable programming.
• Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.
• Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
• Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.

Madigan encouraged donors to report suspicious solicitations to her office’s Charitable Trust Bureau by calling (312) 814-2595. The Attorney General recommended that, whenever possible, keep notes detailing the date and time of the call, the organization’s name, and the name of the solicitor. She also suggested trying to remember the “pitch” as well as any other pertinent information.

The tragedy in Haiti has pulled both the best and worst from people; let us make sure that those who are part of the worst do not take advantage of those who are part of the best.

Church News for Jan. 21

Haiti: An urgent call for help
Sugar Grove—Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, 176 Main St., invites the public to respond to the earthquake victims in Haiti by purchasing and bringing to the church new items from the following list of personal care items: One gallon size resealable plastic bags, hand towels, washcloths, combs (large and sturdy), nail files or fingernail clippers (no emery boards), bath-size bars of soap, toothbrushes (single adult-size brushes, individually wrapped), adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages, toothpaste (4.5 oz or larger—expiration date must be at least one year in future). These items will be assembled into kits and distributed in Haiti by United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

People wanting to make financial donations can do so directly online at www.umcorhaiti.org for general Haiti relief or to www.intlchildcare.org to support relief efforts through Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Checks can also be made payable to “Sugar Grove UMC,” designating Haiti Relief in the memo and mailed to Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 226, Sugar Grove, Illinois 60554.

The church is located one block west of Route 47 and one block south of Cross Street, across from the Sugar Grove Community House.

For questions, call the church at (630) 466-4501 or visit to www.sgumc.net.

Calvary Episcopal features speaker on Food for the Poor
Batavia—Calvary Episcopal Church in Batavia welcomes the Rev. W. Michael Cassell to worship services on Sunday, Jan. 24, speaking on Food for the Poor, a ministry which provides direct relief to the poor throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Cassell’s presentation is particularly timely in light of the recent earthquake devastation in Haiti, one of the countries served by the agency.

Calvary is located at 222 S. Batavia Ave., on the corner of Route 31 and Main Street.  Worship services are at 8 and 10:15 a.m. For further information, call (630) 879-3378.

KHS wrestling defends home mat at Flott Invite

Four weight classes won by Knights in invite win
At the annual Flott Wrestling Invite on Saturday, the Knight grapplers saw plenty of first-place accolades come their way in an invite win.

285-pounder Jimmy Boyle, 145-pound entry Kyle Davidson, 112-pounder Dan Goress and 103-pound representative Esai Ponce all came away with top nods against the varied area competition.

Additional noteworthy mornings were had by Devon Scholl finishing second at 125 and Dennis Brettman taking third in the 130 range.

Boyle’s path to glory started with a one minute, 38 second fall over Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor, and then a 5-0 victory over Tim Vincent of Burlington Central. That led to a championship pinfall over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta with just two seconds left in regulation time.

Boyle’s record stands at 28-2.

For Davidson (27-5), his day started with a technical-fall win over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00. Davidson then pinned Burlington Central’s Omar Awad at 4:12, and then took the final match by 12-4 decision over Larkin’s Brett Barry.

In the 112-pound win for Goress (29-5), it started with a 13-2 decision over Rochelle’s Eduardo Macareno, and then continued with a 8-2 win over Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, and ended with a tech fall win at the buzzer over Bo Pradel of Oswego.

Ponce (24-6) took a 6-4 win over Addison Trail’s Luis DeLacruz and won the group with a 12-6 major decision over Elgin’s Nathan Andresen.

Scholl (25-5) beat MCC’s Tyler Hickey in 3:54 andd BC’s Johnny Major in a major decison before succumbing to Addison Trail’s Johnny Delmedico 8-3. Brettman (17-11) beat Adam Polak of St. Joe’s in a 12-4 major decision and lost to Josh Smith of PC, 7-3. In the third-place duel.

Brettman beat Larkin’s Tim Einhorn 4-2.

Other action during the past week had Geneva beat Kaneland 31-30 on Thursday and Batavia get past the Knights on Jan. 13 by a final of 32-30.

KHS now gears up for the Western Sun Conference meet at Yorkville High School on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Top photo: Kyle Davidson (145) is on his way to a technical-fall victory over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00 on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys feel better after taking two

by Mike Slodki
How do you combat a three-game losing streak at a pivotal point in the season?

How about going toe-to-toe with conference rival Glenbard South on Friday and handling a tenacious Hinckley-Big Rock squad on Saturday.

With two wins on the weekend, Kaneland improved to 11-5 and 4-3 in Western Sun Conference play.

Friday saw the Knights handle the host Raiders in Glen Ellyn by a 41-36 clip, while Kaneland also invaded Hinckley-Big Rock for a 63-49 non-conference win on Saturday evening.

Not much luck happened for the Knights or Raiders on the offensive end but KHS still led 8-6 after one and 14-12 at the half.

The Knights added to their lead and found themselves up 25-21 after the third before outscoring GS 16-15 in the final eight minutes.

Dave Dudzinski paced all scorers with 20 points, also went 8-for-9 from the foul line, accounting for all the successfull free throws on Kaneland’s end.

In Little 10-country, Kaneland led 10-7 early, but a basket and free throw tied the game at 10 for H-BR with under two minutes to go in the frame. A Dudzinski basket with 33.2 seconds to go in the quarter gave KHS a 13-12 lead but a three-pointer by Brian Michaels with 20.7 remaining and a breakaway buzzerbeater gave the Royals a 17-13 lead after one.

Hinckley kept attacking the basket and led 28-25 before Dudzinski put back a Donovan Williams trey attempt with 1:53 to go to close within 28-27 and hit another shot for a one point led with 52.9 remaining. The center hit a shot from underneath the rim to go up 31-28 with 34.9 to go while Matt Spitzzeri’s layup with 18.7 remaining closed out the scoring at 33-29.

Dudzinski hit two shots in a row and Spitzzeri nailed a shot for a 45-33 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third. The full-court press was on and H-BR called its final timeout, to the delight of the Kaneland players and coaching staff.

“We made a good adjustment in the locker room,” KHS coach Brian Johnson. “Coach Bieritz said to think about going to full-court press. If they couldn’t get Michaels, their main ball-handler the ball, they struggled a bit and our energy picked up a little bit.”

The fourth quarter featured the Knights hitting four shots in a row to nab their biggest lead of 57-36 with 5:42 to go in the game.

Dudzinski had 24 points and Ryley Bailey had 14 points for the effort.

“We knew that Michaels was their main ball-handler,” Bailey said. “We caused some of their other players to make decisions and it benefited us.”

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 22.

Photo: Inside presence Dave Dudzinski, shown here in action last week at Geneva, had a productive weekend in wins at Glenbard South and Hinckley-Big Rock. The Holy Cross signee had a combined 44 points over the weekend. File Photo

Lady Knights fall to GS, Batavia in WSC meetings

by Mike Slodki
If only the Lady Knights could capture how prolific guard Andie Strang was in the first quarter of Friday’s contest at Glenbard South, and duplicate it for everyone game-long.

The junior connected on her first four shots and scored the first nine points for KHS in a tight first quarter, but the GS offense and rebounding took hold of the game and it resulted in a 61-32 setback for Kaneland.

KHS also suffered a 46-22 loss to visiting Batavia on Tuesday night.

The Lady Knights are now 5-15 with an 0-8 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Strang led the way with 12 points followed by Mallory Carlson with seven. KHS was 8-for-15 from the foul line and 10-for-31 from the field.

The clash started out well enough as Strang was responsible for the first nine points, including a three-pointer to go up 9-7 with 2:34 to go. After the Raiders went up 11-9, two Kelly Evers free throws with 1:35 to go tied the score at 11. A Nicki Ott foul shot with 42 seconds to go closed within 14-12 before GS used two foul shots and an offensive putback to lead 18-12 after one.

Glenbard South then outscored the Lady Knights 21-12 in the second quarter to take a 39-24 lead. The third quarter’s tempo was slowed down, but still the Raiders went out to a 47-29 lead after three.

Kaneland’s night was hurt by putting up just eight points in the second half.

“We’re a young team and we’re kind of struggling, I’m sure (GS) made adjustments,” said KHS coach Ernie Colombe. “We did a decent job on defense until the shot went up, and then you get second, third and fourth chance shots and people are scrambling. That’s were we broke down.”

Against the Lady Bulldogs, Kaneland went out to a 9-6 lead before falling victim to a 21-3 second quarter. The Lady Knights trailed 41-17 after three. Carlson led the Kaneland lineup with six points.

KHS sees more WSC action its way with a Friday, Jan. 22 game vs. DeKalb.

Mckinzie Mangers file photo