National Influenza Vaccination Week aims to raise awareness

Kane County—It’s never too late to get a flu shot, and what better time to protect yourself than National Influenza Vaccination Week, Jan. 10-16? The Kane County Health Department is reminding residents that, although H1N1 activity in our community is down from a month ago, it still is circulating and making people sick.

“The flu is unpredictable, and we’re concerned that we may see another upswing in cases in the next month or two,” said Paul Kuehnert, Kane County Health Department Executive Director. “History has shown that these pandemics often come in three waves; we had one wave in the spring and one in the fall. If history can be our guide, we need to be prepared for another wave as the winter progresses.”

Now that the H1N1 vaccine is widely available and being offered to everybody, it has never been easier to protect yourself. The H1N1 vaccine is available at private health care providers, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, as well as through the Health Department. Private health care providers may charge an administrative fee for the vaccine, but it is free of charge through the Health Department. To make an appointment at the Health Department, residents can call (630) 723-5414 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to getting vaccinated, 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 and at

Third county resident dies as result of complications related to H1N1

Kane County—A third Kane County resident has died from complications due to the H1N1 flu virus, the Kane County Health Department reported last week.

In addition to having the H1N1 virus, the 65-year-old St. Charles man had underlying medical conditions. Due to privacy concerns, the Health Department is not releasing any further information about the case. This is the third death attributed to the H1N1 virus in Kane County. A 42-year-old man passed away in May 2009 and a 41-year-old woman passed away in November 2009. All had underlying medical conditions.

“This is another sad reminder that the flu virus is still with us. As we have seen in the past, the flu can be especially risky for those with underlying medical conditions,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “With the vaccine now widely available throughout the county, we encourage all residents to be vaccinated. In addition to the receiving the vaccine, residents can take steps 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 For more information or to schedule an appointment, residents can call the Call Center number (630) 723-5414, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Organ donation—the gift that keeps on giving

Geneva—Approximately 82,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant. People in need have been receiving transplants from family and friends and anonymous donors for many years; however, it is rare to be an altruistic donor, one who just donates to help out their fellow man.

That is exactly what Merri Lazenby, a registered ER and trauma nurse at Delnor-Community Hospital, recently did for someone she knew only on a first-name basis.

Lazenby met Ray Andrade, security guard at Delnor, through his daily rounds in the ER.
“I’ve known Ray for some time, but just through his security rounds in the ER. One day, I saw him in the cafeteria and noticed he seemed down.”

Lazenby stopped to chat with him and found out that Andrade was in renal failure and needed a kidney. Andrade finally thought he found a family donor, but it turned out she was not a match.

Lazenby responded, “God gave me two kidneys, and I only need one; you can have the other.”

And with those words, what began as a gesture to help someone in need became a bond that will forever link these two people and their families.

Never a doubt
“It was an instantaneous decision and one I never had second thoughts about,” Lazenby recalled. “I knew I only needed one kidney to live and wanted to help Ray.”

Later that day, Lazenby told her husband she offered to donate her kidney to a man she knew only through work, and waited to hear his response.

“My husband was awesome and so supportive, but I don’t think he was sure I would actually be a match.”

With her offer now extended, the journey began. In January 2009, she completed the initial paperwork, extensive blood work and other laboratory tests necessary to see if indeed she was a compatible donor. Psychological counseling was also part of the process.

“They did every test you can imagine,” Lazenby said.

The thousands of dollars worth of blood tests, CT scans, and mental and physical examinations was covered by the recipient’s insurance.

Although the transplant team wanted to confirm that Lazenby’s kidney was healthy, “more of their concern was that my decision to do this would not do me any harm in the present or potentially in the future,” she said.

The battery of tests eventually confirmed that her motives were altruistic and her health was good. When Lazenby found out she was a perfect match months later, she recalled the entire situation as divine intervention.

“I was meant to see Ray that day in the cafeteria,” she said. “He shared his story with me for a reason, and I was able to help him. It was how it was supposed to be.”

Now, eight weeks post transplant, Lazenby is recovering well and plans to return to work in the ER within the next few weeks.

“My family and extended Delnor family have taken really good care of me. I have had great support. Everything worked out just like it was supposed to; it happened at the perfect time for both of us. And I believe I got so much more out of the donation than I gave,” she said.

Supporting life
For 25 years of his life, Delnor security officer Ray Andrade has lived with diabetes, “The condition just got worse over time and eventually affected my kidneys,” he said.

About a year and a half ago, his doctor told him that he had two choices: go on dialysis or begin the search for a kidney donor for an organ transplant. He did both.

Andrade decided to look for a donor within the family.

“My sister living in California readily offered to donate her kidney, only to find after testing that if she did, her own health would be in jeopardy.”

Andrade was sitting in the Delnor Hospital cafeteria soon after learning that his sister was ineligible to be a donor, when he ran into Lazenby and related the story.

“She told me, God gave me two kidneys; I would love to give you one of mine,” Andrade recalled. “She convinced me that she was serious—I couldn’t believe it.”

More unbelievable was that after testing, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital transplant team found that she was nearly a perfect donor match for Andrade.

“What are the odds of that? It is like she is an angel that came into my life at exactly the right moment,” he said.

On Oct. 2, they both received surgery at Northwestern. Lazenby was discharged the following day, and Andrade went home on Oct. 4.

“The new kidney is working great,” he said. “I was undergoing dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time, and will no longer have to do that. I’m free at last.”

Andrade said that he is so thankful for the successful outcome.

“Merri didn’t have to do this, but she is a perfect example of the fact that the Delnor family takes care of each other. I feel extremely blessed and will always be grateful to her,” he said.

Who can be
a living donor?

There are many different types of living donors. A living donor can be a brother or sister, a spouse, other family member or relative, friend, co-worker and even a compassionate stranger. In this case, Lazenby knew Andrade, but simply through a working relationship.

Ideally, any healthy person over age 18, who has a compatible blood type and compatible human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue typing, may be considered as a possible donor. Individuals with certain medical conditions may not be able to donate. People who donate kidneys can lead normal, active lives after recovering from surgery without any special restrictions. The body can function perfectly well with only one kidney, assuming all the testing done before donation show that the donor is healthy and has two normal kidneys.

If you would like to learn more about organ donation, contact Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a federally designated not-for-profit agency that coordinates organ and tissue donation and supports families of donors online at or by calling (630) 758-2600.

Courtesy photos

Farm Bureau volunteers deliver hunger relief donations

Kane County—Kane County Farm Bureau volunteers presented a check for $2,757.31 last week to Rita Burnham, Director of the Elburn Food Pantry.

The money is part of more than $13,000 in donations given by 45 area farm families, agricultural businesses and individual donors, who are helping restock the shelves of local food pantries this year in the Farm Bureau’s Harvest for ALL program.

Through Harvest for ALL, farmers donate a portion of the proceeds from their harvest to a Kane County food pantry of their choice, and non-farmers are able to make cash donations to do the same. The contribution made to the Elburn Food Pantry represents donations from 10 donors and includes the proceeds from the harvest of nearly 800 bushels of corn, in addition to cash donations.

According to Burnham, the funds donated through the Harvest for ALL program will be used to purchase food for the families who visit the pantry each month.

“The donations we’ve received through Harvest for ALL will help us feed a lot of hungry people during a time when our demand is very high,” Burnham said. “Many people don’t realize just how many families depend on assistance, especially in this economy.”

Volunteers from the Farm Bureau also presented representatives of the Northern Illinois Food Bank with a check for more than $5,500 for Harvest for ALL donations designated to that organization. Donations were made to 10 other food pantries in the Fox Valley, including more than $1,500 in crop proceeds and in-kind donations to the Salvation Army of St. Charles.

“The Farm Bureau is very happy to present this check to the Elburn Food Pantry on behalf of the many farmers and individuals who have contributed to Harvest for ALL,” said KCFB Vice President Joe White, who operates a grain farm near Elburn. “It’s nice to know that folks right here in our community will benefit from their generosity.”

Harvest for ALL is the first hunger relief campaign of its kind in Kane County, and has earned national recognition from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Donations and pledges made to the program thus far include the proceeds from an estimated 1,100 bushels of corn, 300 bushels of soybeans, 200 bushels of wheat, an acre of hay, vegetables from a food pantry community garden, fresh eggs, vanloads of fresh vegetables, and nearly $6,000 in cash.

For more information about the program, go to 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.

Spotlight on: WCC music program

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College’s music program has been around since the very beginning of the school. Like the art form itself, the department has continued to grow, change and innovate over the past 42 years, finding new ways to prepare students and expand its presence in the wider artistic community.

For all of its accomplishments, the music program is being recognized as part of the college’s Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition initiative.

In Waubonsee’s first college catalogue, for the 1967-68 academic year, there were seven music courses listed. Compare that to the 63 courses and performance ensembles listed in the 2009-10 catalog. The listings encompass general education courses like “The Art of Listening,” music theory courses, classroom instrumental and voice instruction, individual instruction, a musical theater practicum, performance ensembles and electronic music production.

It is more about quality than quantity, however. Waubonsee’s ensembles excel at Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and other national competitions. Several Waubonsee music alumni have gone on to successful music careers, including Kelly Barr, a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Bruce Gates, who was the lead trumpet with the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band for 20 years; Jack Waltrip, a tenor saxophonist who has played with many notable acts such as the Miles Davis Quintet; and 2008 graduate Ashley Lewis, who has found success with her bluegrass band Ashton Gap.

Waubonsee’s music program has not just maintained its quality over the years, it has also managed to stay current, and oftentimes even cutting-edge. In the 1980s, Waubonsee established its steel drum band and rock music ensemble, becoming the first community college in the state to have such groups. The program is currently embracing the new role technology is playing in this ancient art form, developing a Certificate of Achievement in Audio Production Technology. Course work for the certificate covers digital recording and editing techniques, along with electronic music production using the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI).

As students learn new and different ways to create and share music, the traditional ways remain important to both the program and the community. Audiences appreciate the free biannual concerts put on by the college’s steel drum band, chorale, jazz ensemble and rock band in the Sugar Grove campus auditorium. Students in the steel drum band appreciate the opportunity to visit local elementary and middle schools each spring to share its unique sound with local children. It has become tradition for Waubonsee’s music faculty and students to perform at local community events like the Aurora ArtWalk, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Geneva’s Steeple Walk and Yorkville’s Holiday Under the Stars.

This connection with the larger community, like many things in Waubonsee’s music department, is owed in large part to the leadership of Professor Gibby Monokoski, who has taught music at the college for 35 years. He was responsible for establishing the instrumental music component of the program and for creating the performance ensembles. He is well-known at the college for his passion and enthusiasm and well-known in the community as a performer and lecturer on music, humanities and the arts.

Fellow faculty member Dr. Mark Lathan has taken charge of the vocal performance portion of the program since becoming a full-time instructor in 2007. In addition to directing the chorale and mixed chorus, Lathan is an accomplished composer, winning both a College Television Award and a Chicago Emmy for his film scores.

Becoming a full-time instructor in 2008, Mark Popowitch is the newest member of the staff and heads up the newest aspect of the program—recording and electronic music production. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electronic computer music at Northern Illinois University before getting his master’s degree in music composition and theory from Southern Illinois University.

For more information about Waubonsee’s music program, visit music or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 2500.

Photo: Ashley Lewis is one of several successful alumni to come out of Waubonsee
Community College’s music program, which was
recognized this month as part of the school’s Placing
Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition
initiative. Lewis heads up the bluegrass band Ashton Gap.
Courtesy Photo

Fishermen’s Inn finished

For 45 years, restaurant drew customers from near and far
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—For more than four decades, Fishermen’s Inn in Elburn was a popular place for fine dining and receptions, attracting people from throughout the Chicago area with its fresh trout, scenic grounds and country atmosphere. The tradition ended Dec. 21 when the restaurant closed because of a decrease in customers in recent years.

Clifford Spence, Fishermen’s Inn president since 2005, said the economic downturn and competition from new restaurants in the area were the reasons for the closure.

“There was a steady decline in business in the last two years,” Spence said. “Every time a new place opened, our business dropped.”

Spence said he found out that Fishermen’s Inn was closing on Dec. 21, from officials at Old Second Bank, which oversaw a trust that owned the business.

“Basically, the business was dissolved,” said Spence, who worked for Fishermen’s Inn for 11 years.

Spence said the drop-off in customers started in spring of 2008, coinciding with the start of the economic recession. Fishermen’s Inn’s banquet business, which brought in one-third of the restaurant’s revenue, began to suffer as people scaled back on the size of wedding receptions and other gatherings.

By fall of that year, the situation had worsened.

“We had five cancelled weddings in one month (November 2008).”

Spence said more cancellations took place as people’s uncertainty about the economy heightened.

Among the many local people who frequented Fishermen’s Inn over the years and regret its closure is former Elburn dentist and village president, Jim Willey. Willey said he attended countless business and government gatherings at the restaurant during the 30 years he lived in Elburn.

Fishermen’s Inn also had a strong regional draw.

“People came from all over. It really had a landmark status,” Willey said. “I think they liked that it was really different.”

Fishermen’s Inn opened in 1964 in a renovated barn on Main Street Road just west of Route 47. Its founder, Orville Mercer, installed ponds behind the restaurant and stocked holding tanks with trout. The fresh fish became a restaurant specialty.

Mercer also created walkways around the ponds, where people could take a stroll on the grounds after dinner or while waiting for a reservation. Many people found Fishermen’s Inn to be a perfect place for weddings because of its picturesque setting.

Willey recalled his sister’s wedding reception there 20 years ago.

“It was a really nice place to have it,” Willey said. “The guests could go and walk around the ponds and the weeping willows.”

Aside from going to many meetings and receptions at Fishermen’s Inn, Willey often went there for dinner with his wife Cathy. He remembers one evening, while they were enjoying a meal and the view from the broad back windows, a customer jumped off the balcony into the pond and disappeared. The fire department brought divers to the scene to look for the man, who as it happened, dove in on a lark and left the scene unseen.

When his wife passed away in 2007, Willey decided to hold a memorial dinner for her at the restaurant.

“It was one of our favorite places, so it was an easy choice,” Willey said.

Willey remembers something that longtime Fishermen’s Inn manager Dick Walt would always tell customers as he regaled them with funny stories:

“He would say, ‘You may leave here a little taller, but no wider.’”

Fishermen’s Inn History
• Orville Mercer and his family started Fishermen’s Inn at 43W901 Main Street Road, Elburn, in 1964, in a renovated barn built in 1898. The Mercers lived in a house across the street.
• In 1972, the Mercers sold Fishermen’s Inn to Ralph and Ann Schleifer of Kaneville. The Schleifers later built a home in the woods behind Fisherman’s Inn.
• The Schleifers broke ground in June 1985 for a new banquet facility seating 200, to complement Fishermen’s Inn’s barn restaurant.
• A fire caused $1.4 million in damage to Fishermen’s Inn in October 1985. The blaze took firefighters nearly 24 hours to extinguish, burned the barn beyond repair and caused extensive smoke and water damage to the new banquet facility. As a result, the restaurant closed.
• In fall of 1986, Fishermen’s Inn reopened, after the Schleifers built a new barn and repaired damage to the banquet facility during the summer.
• Following Ralph Schleifer’s death in 2005, Fishermen’s Inn was turned over to a trust at Old Second Bank, which named restaurant employee Clifford Spence as president of the business.
• Fishermen’s Inn closed Dec. 21, 2009.

Photo: The rustic, scenic setting of Fisherman’s Inn in Elburn was part of its attraction as a place for weddings, private dinners and other social gatherings since 1964. Photo by Martha Quetsch

New MP police chief on board

Acosta to promote positive community, police relationship
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Michael Acosta was sworn in as Maple Park’s new police chief during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. The former Kane County Sheriff’s Department officer is looking forward to building a positive relationship with village officials, police officers and residents.

“It’s a three-pronged wheel,” Acosta said.

Acosta said he will work with the Village Board on the Police Department budget, and on policies and procedures. Among his goals is to add more officers to his squad.

Acosta acknowledged that building the department will be a process.

“Baby steps,” he said.

Acosta now oversees a department of five part-time Maple Park police officers. He plans to use his past experience in law enforcement to be a mentor to them, particularly to his younger officers.

Within the community, Acosta wants residents, especially children, to know that he and his officers are approachable and accessible. With that in mind, he plans to start several programs as soon as possible. One is a police-hosted movie night at the Community Center, complete with popcorn. Another is Storytime with a Cop at the Maple Park Library.

In addition, Acosta said he will offer a monthly forum that village residents can attend to voice concerns or bring neighborhood issues to his attention.

“I won’t always know what needs addressing unless I have this type of contact with residents,” Acosta said.

During the past week, Acosta stopped by at businesses in the village to introduce himself.

“I told them that they could call me at any time,” he said.

Top-cop background

Maple Park’s new police chief, Michael Acosta, retired from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department in 2007. During his 31 years with the Sheriff’s Department, he served as Commander of Administration, and Commander of Kane County Major Crimes Task Force. Acosta serves on the Sugar Grove Police Commission.

Maple Park Police Department operated without an officer in charge since officer Chuck Slater’s resignation in September. Slater had been officer in charge since June 2008, when village officials decided against renewing former Chief Steve Yahnke’s contract.

Library Board members available for ‘meet and greet’ next four Saturdays

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Library Board members will be available at the library for the four Saturday mornings in January to answer questions residents may have about the upcoming referendum or about the library’s services.

“People still have questions,” board vice-president Sabrina Malano said. “If all they read is the question on the ballot, it can be very confusing. People want to know what rate we are asking for, and if it passes, what the increase will do for them.”

Malano emphasized that the board members will not be there to try to persuade residents to vote for the referendum, but rather to answer their questions.

The referendum, which will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Feb. 2, will ask Library District residents for an increase in the tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of Equalized Assessed Value. For a homeowner of a $300,000 home, this would mean an additional $102 per year.

According to Board President Art Morrical, if the referendum passes, the number of hours the library is open will be increased by at least 20 hours, the collection of books and magazines will be expanded, and more programs will be offered.

If the referendum passes this time, patrons will see the value of their “yes” vote right away, Malano said.

Malano said that, because of the timing of this election, the money from the increase in the rate would become available to the library this July.

“They definitely would see an impact quickly,” she said.

According to Malano, the increase in the hours would add a couple more evenings that the library would be open for students, as well as some additional weekend hours. The additional programs would target older children, such as middle-school students and teens, as well as adults, and additional computer classes. There will also be additional meeting room availability for community groups. A “no” vote would mean more of the same.

“There’s so much more we want to offer,” Malano said. “But it’s really up to them (the district residents).”

The library will host early voting, beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 12, through Thursday, Jan. 28. Kane County election judges, who will preside over the voting, will be able to access voting information for any registered voter in the county. Anyone who lives in Kane County, with the exception of Aurora residents, will be able to cast their vote at the library, Library Director Beverly Homes Hughes said.

“Meet and Greet”
about the library referendum
with Library Board members
Sugar Grove Library lobby
Saturday, Jan. 9, 16, 23 & 30
9 a.m. to noon

To answer residents’ questions about the referendum or about the library

SG Library District Referendum
• On the ballot for Feb. 2 election
• Asks for funding increase of 10 cents per $100,000 of EAV
• Would mean total operating tax rate of 20 cents per $100 of EAV
• Impact on a $300,000 home = $102 per year
• Library would begin receiving funds in July

If the referendum passes
• Library hours would increase from 41 to 61 hours
• Library would be open on Monday, and increased hours on Fridays and Saturdays
• Sunday could be an option, based on resident survey responses
• More programs, especially for older children, teens and adults
• Decreases in check-out line delays
• Decreases in the time a book is on hold
• Availability of more copies of books, CDs and magazines; greater variety of titles
• Creation of a DVD collection

If the referendum does not pass
• No changes to current situation, in regards to hours, classes, size of collection

Sugar Grove in step with amended FOIA

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday identified four Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officers, in compliance with the updated law, which went into effect Jan. 1.

As part of the new requirements, governmental bodies are required to appoint FOIA officers to respond to all future requests for information made through the FOIA process. The Village Board named Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath, Public Works Director Tony Speciale, Police Chief Brad Sauer and Community Development Director Rich Young as the village’s FOIA officers.

The Act requires that all information held by a public body be given to anyone who asks for it, with very few exceptions. One of these exceptions is private information, such as social security numbers, home or personal telephone numbers and personal e-mail addresses. Among other FOIA changes, public information requests will not have to be written on a village-specified form and can be submitted in a variety of ways, including verbally.

The new FOIA law also requires municipalities to provide the first 50 pages of public information free of charge, and can charge no more than 15 cents for each additional page. In addition, the law requires municipalities to provide public information electronically if requested, when it is available in that format. Municipalities must also provide the requested information within five working days, as compared to seven days under the old rules.

Recent concerns raised that the e-mail addresses of e-news recipients of a public body would no longer be considered private is not something Sugar Grove residents need to worry about, Galbreath said.

“Please rest assured that the village of Sugar Grove has always taken precautions to ensure that your e-mail address is private and remains private,” Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath wrote in an e-mail to residents. Galbreath said that Sugar Grove’s E-News database is grouped by geographic area and all addresses are classified as private.

To view Sugar Grove’s Freedom of Information Act procedures, visit To view the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1), visit

Galbreath said that if anyone has questions or concerns regarding the village’s policy, she can be reached at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24.

‘Grants, grants, grants’

Village seeks county funding for roof, water main
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials are aggressively pursuing alternative types of revenue for public works projects the village cannot afford with its limited, primary source of funds, property taxes.

“Suzanne (trustee Fahnestock) has been writing grants, grants, grants,” Village President Kathy Curtis said at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.

During the meeting, the board authorized two grant applications. One application is for a Kane County Riverboat Fund Program grant of $82,230 to cover the cost of a roof replacement project at the Civic Center. The other application is from the Kane County Community Development Block Grant Program for the water main replacement project.

The cost of the water main replacement is $303,100. The village is requesting $200,000 from the Block Grant Program and will allocate $103,100 in the village budget for the project, Curtis said.

The water main project is in the northeast corridor of town and will help water flow more efficiently, which will enhance fire protection, Curtis said.

The water main replacement will improve the infrastructure between the water tower and the treatment facility by removing the flow restrictions and upgrading the size of the pipe by four inches. The project will replace some of the oldest and smallest pipe in the village from four to eight inches.

The village also applied for federal stimulus program funds through the state several months ago, money that would allow for additional water main work.

“If the stimulus packages continue and we are successful in securing a portion, we could replace the balance of the water mains in the old section of town and eliminate all the old four-inch and six-inch pipe,” Curtis said.

Finding additional sources of revenue has been a goal for the village, since the village’s proposed 2009 property tax levy is just $2,944 more than village property taxes in 2008, which totaled $273,943. Under the property tax cap, that 1.1 percent increase is all the state will allow for 2009.

Easier way to pay

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—By the end of the work week, Metra commuters will no longer have to find ever more creative ways to fold a dollar bill in order to pay for daily parking.

Metra will install an electronic payment system on Thursday, Jan. 7, that will make it easier for customers to pay the $1.25 for parking, and more efficient for Elburn police officers to collect the money. With access to two payment booths, each with four electronic payment terminals, customers will be able to more easily pay for parking as well as obtain a receipt.

Commuters will immediately be able to pay with cash, and by spring, Metra-specific debit cards will be available for purchase at the station.

“It will be as simple as an ATM to operate,” Elburn Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said.

The receipt will also include the number of the parking space they are paying for, to reduce the likelihood of paying for the wrong spot.

The current payment system requires commuters to fit $1.25 in cash into one of hundreds of narrow slots in a metal container. When they do not have the entire amount in quarters, customers find themselves having to fold a dollar bill into a size small enough to stuff through the slot. There is a slim metal stuffer to assist with the process, but banging on the container sometimes works, as well.

As frustrating as it is for commuters to fold the dollar bill, it is just as frustrating for the police officer to unfold them. According to Morrison, people have developed their own unique folding techniques, the most creative of these being origami (a Japanese method for folding paper into the shape of a crane).

“It’s a consumer-friendly move,” Village President Dave Anderson said of the change.

The cost for the conversion to the electronic payment system is approximately $100,000, and will be paid for with Elburn’s parking fee collections.

Houtz named national Cub Cadet Dealer of the Year

Elburn—Cub Cadet announced that RF Houtz and Son in Elburn was its Retailer of the Year for 2009.

For the past 75 years, RF Houtz and Son have stayed true to their promise of delivering a premium product with personalized service to each and every customer. Their dedication to customer service and the Cub Cadet brand have kept the dealership successful for the past 75 years.

“To honor their 75 years of dedicated service to Cub Cadet, we are happy to present Rob, Laura and Erika of RF Houtz and Son with the 2009 Retailer of the Year Award,” said Tom Rossman, Cub Cadet director of sales. “In this day and age, it’s tough to keep a business up-and-running for 10 years, let alone 75, but that’s exactly what the folks of RF Houtz and Son have done. They continue to show immense dedication, not only to their customers, but also the Cub Cadet brand by finding innovative and progressive ways to help their customers. Congratulations on 75 great years of dedicated service from everyone at Cub Cadet.”

RF Houtz and Son first started business in 1934, under the realization that a premium product and friendly, reliable service would always bring in customers. The dealership first took on the Cub Cadet brand in 1961, and has remained an exclusive Cub Cadet dealership ever since. Although the early store only offered Cub Cadet riding mowers, RF Houtz and Son has expanded to offer users the full line of innovative products. In its 75 years, the company has continued to grow and now operates in a new location with additional floor space, an expanded warehouse and an outdoor display area. RF Houtz and Son has continually proven that it can stand the test of time by offering innovative products alongside high quality service.

Cub Cadet’s Retailer of the Year award is given out once a year to the top dealer in the country. Dealers are selected based on their sales numbers as well as their ability to exemplify Cub Cadet’s brand attributes of innovative thinking, a progressive attitude, high performance and premium quality.

Photo: The shop crew at R.F. Houtz & Son, Inc. works on Cub Cadet mowers at the company’s North Street shop in Elburn. Photo by Ben Draper

R.F. Houtz & Son Inc.,
Open House
701 E. North St., Elburn
Friday, Jan. 15
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

(630) 365-6551

KHS seeks Hall of Fame nominees

Kaneland—To celebrate and commemorate the many accomplishments and achievements of Kaneland graduates, Kaneland CUSD #302 has formed the Kaneland Hall of Fame. New Hall of Fame recipients will be inducted at the Academic Awards Ceremony in the auditorium on May 3, 2010.

All community members, staff and friends of Kaneland are encouraged to nominate individuals or groups for one of the Hall of Fame categories. The categories include:
Service—Kaneland High School graduates who have contributed significantly to their community, state or country and have been out of school for at least 10 years.

Personal Achievement—Kaneland graduates who have been honored or recognized by their college/university, profession or peers for their success and achievements and who have been out of school for at least 10 years.

Extra-curriculars—Former extra-curricular participants in non-athletic or athletic activities who were recognized for excellence by their organization or team for at least two years. In addition, the participant(s) received honors in one or all of the following: All-Conference, District, Sectional, State or American. These nominees must have graduated from Kaneland High School and have been out of school for at least 10 years.

Commitment—Past or present staff members who worked at Kaneland for a minimum of 10 years and who, through their employment at Kaneland, have demonstrated their deep commitment to Kaneland students, parents, and/or staff.

Friend of Kaneland—Those who have given meritorious service to Kaneland and/or one or more of its schools for many years or have been a loyal friend to Kaneland and/or one or more of its schools. Kaneland staff members are not excluded from this category. However, nominations of Kaneland staff members in this category shall be for something other than what they achieved as an employee.

Teamwork—A Kaneland High School team or organization that demonstrated outstanding achievement, which may include record status or state recognition, at least 10 years prior to selection.

Any member of the community, alumni or staff member can submit names for nomination to the committee. The submission deadline date is Jan. 15. A nomination form can be obtained from Sharon Sabin in the Superintendent’s office at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109, or at Click on “Hall of Fame” under Kaneland Alumni. Individuals making nominations should send the nomination form, resume and/or biography of the individual or group and their achievements or contributions to: Hall of Fame Committee, Kaneland CUSD #302, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151.

Elburn leverages its buying power

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn joined other municipalities in northeastern Illinois in a consortium to negotiate with Nicor for more attractive terms and a new franchise agreement. The current agreement, which has been in place for 50 years, will expire in 2011.

The Elburn Village Board on Monday authorized the execution of the intergovernmental agreement that established the Northern Illinois Municipal Gas Franchise Consortium.

According to Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison, the agreement will take some time to renegotiate.

“It was a 50-year agreement, so it obviously needed to be updated,” he said.

The village also belongs to an electric cooperative made up of northern Illinois municipalities, through which it is able to leverage its buying power of electricity.

The coop will go out for its annual bid in the spring.

Folk-singer concert in Kaneland

Kaneville resident and folk-singer Lee Murdock plays a song with special guest Bob Zentz, who traveled from Norfolk, Va., to share an evening of songs and stories at Murdock’s Annual Hometown Concert on Saturday, held at Kaneland High School’s Auditorium.
Courtesy Photo

Jan. 7 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.

• Dion D. Wallace, 18, 230 Milford Lane, Bloomingdale, Ill., was arrested at 7:17 p.m. Jan. 1 on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. Police arrested him outside the BP gas station at Route 38 and Route 47 in Elburn. The officer was responding to a report from a manager at the Jewel-Osco on the same corner that several people caused a disturbance in the store and one threatened him with a physical gesture, after which they left the store and drove to BP.

• James K. Lee, 31, of 55 Sugar Lane, Sugar Grove, was arrested at 1:20 a.m. Dec. 20 for driving under the influence of alcohol and operating an uninsured vehicle. Police stopped him on Route 47 at South Street in Elburn for speeding.

• Argelia Gonzalez, 33, 307 Alyssa St., Plano, was arrested at 6:37 p.m. Jan. 1 for driving without a valid license and operating an uninsured vehicle. Police stopped her at Route 47 at Nebraska Street in Elburn for speeding.

Sugar Grove
• Fernando Rico-tirado, 26, of the 6400 block of Lacrosse Street, Chicago, was charged with improper display of registration and driving with a suspended license on Dec. 21 at 3:57 p.m. He was southbound on Route 47 from Galena Boulevard.

• James C. Lafferty, 64, of the 0-100 block of Heatherly Court, Sugar Grove, was charged with driving on a suspended license on Dec. 28 at 3:52 p.m. He was southbound on Route 47 from Galena Boulevard.

• Barbara J. Kearns, 64, of the 40W400 block of John Street, Big Rock, was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license and operating an uninsured vehicle on Dec. 29 at 5:57 p.m. She was westbound on Galena Boulevard from Route 47.

• Amanda D. Neupert, 21, of the 100 block of Washington Street, Oswego, was charged with driving on a driver’s license suspended as of Dec. 18 for financial reasons on Dec. 31 at 3:36 p.m. She was northbound on Route 47 from Galena Boulevard.

• Gerardo Cuaneti, 39, of 800 Kane Street, Aurora, was charged with driving with an obstructed windshield, due to an air freshener, and driving without a valid license on Dec. 31 at 9:12 p.m. He was eastbound on Galena Boulevard at Route 56.

• Jonathan M. Ramirez, 23, of the 300 block of DeKalb Drive, Maple Park, was found at the Gas Mart at Route 47 and Galena Boulevard on Dec. 21 at 7:05 p.m. with an in-state warrant from DeKalb County for failure to appear in court on a battery charge.

• Shane M. Weibrecht, 31, of the 400 block of Cinque Hommes Drive, Perryville, Mo., was found on an in-state warrant for failure to appear in court in DuPage County on Dec. 30 at 10:53 a.m. He was trying to sell firewood without a solicitor’s license at Mariemont Road at Atkinson Drive, Sugar Grove.

• Someone used the credit card of a Sugar Grove resident on Dec. 20 to make purchases of $177 and $88.

• Someone damaged and relocated Christmas decorations in a front yard in the 700 block of Evergreen Lane, Sugar Grove, between Dec. 23 and 24. The decorations were valued at $900.

• A 16-year-old male, of the 1100 block of Motz Street, Elburn, was charged with illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor at a home in the 1200 block of Dorr Drive, Sugar Grove, on Dec. 30 at 11:28 p.m. He was taken to Provena Mercy Hospital for evaluation, upon becoming abusive of the police officers.

Plano speaking: Boys b-ball takes 2009 Classic title

47-39 win over Rockford Christian gives Knights third-ever championship
by Mike Slodki
What does an eight-point win over Rockford Christian get you?

How about a Plano Christmas Classic Tournament win?

The 47-39 win over Rockford Christian on Dec. 30, 2009, netted the Knights their third Plano tourney win and their first since 1994.

The win put the cap on a gathering that saw coach Brian Johnson’s crew also defeat Putnam County, Sandwich and Genoa-Kingston.

“Winning the Plano tournament gives us a head of steam going into an extremely tough part of our schedule,” Johnson said. “We are very excited about what we were able to accomplish and are hopeful that the momentum that has been built will help us within the conference.

Center Dave Dudzinski was named the tournament MVP, following Seneca’s Seth Evans who won in 2008.

Ryley Bailey was also named to the all-tournament group.

Kaneand (9-2, 3-1 Western Sun Conference) got 32 points from Dudzinski, who was also 8-for-10 from the foul line. It’s the second highest point total for a Knight, behind P.J. Fleck’s 40 against Sandwich in 1999.

Kaneland and RC were tied 10-10 after one and the Knights poured it on in the second frame and led 26-16 at the break.

While Rockford Christian closed the deficit to 32-27 after three, Kaneland won the fourth quarter battle 15-12.

Kaneland hosts rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. The last meeting in Maple Park between the two squads on Feb. 27, 2009, resulted in Mike Pritchard’s evident three-point shot being ruled a two and a 54-53 loss for KHS.

Photo: Dave Dudzinski travels to the hoop during the Plano Christmas Classic. The Holy Cross signee scored 32 to lift the Knights to the title. File Photo

Plano Christmas Classic
2009 All-Tournament Team
*Dave Dudzinski – Kaneland (MVP)
*Ryley Bailey – Kaneland

Brayden Teuscher – Rockford (Christian)
Jahlil Smith – Rockford (Christian)
Scott Suchy – Genoa-Kingston
Josh DeGraaf – Morris
Kjeld Torkelson – Morris
Kyle Anderson – Newark
Robert Hearon – Plano
Brian Michaels – Hinckley-Big Rock
Tavis Gibson – Yorkville
Justin Wegener – Sandwich

The 00’s Champions
2000 Bureau Valley
2001 Bureau Valley
2002 Coal City
2003 Yorkville
2004 Seneca
2005 Seneca
2006 Seneca
2007 Hall
2008 Seneca
2009 Kaneland

Girls hoops split pair of contests at Geneva, Oswego

by Mike Slodki
It wasn’t just the weather outside that left the Kaneland Lady Knights girls basketball team cold on Tuesday night.

A five-point first half, 9-for-40 shooting from the field and a 12-minute stretch of no points all went toward sending KHS to a 68-25 loss in Western Sun Conference action.

“You have to sprint against (Geneva), and you’ve got to tip your hat to them,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They’re a very talented team, obviously, and they work very hard. We can’t expect to come in here and compete against them if we’re not going to do that.”

The Lady Knights also finished up play at the Oswego East Holiday Classic with a 55-49 win over Aurora Christian on Dec. 30, 2009.

Kaneland’s record is 4-12 with an 0-5 record in the WSC.

The Lady Vikings went out to a 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Evers’ bucket with 1:02 remaining in the quarter were the last Kaneland points until Nicki Ott’s basket with 5:19 remaining in the third made it 47-7.

The biggest lead for Geneva was 49 points, happening with 3:39 remaining in the game when it was 64-15.

The Lady Knights did manage to grab a win this week right before 2009 came to a close against the Eagles of Aurora Christian.

A 7-6 lead after one increased to 23-21 at the break. The Lady Knights increased the lead to 37-34 before taking advantage of AC foul trouble in the fourth. KHS made 14-of-22 foul shots in the frame and 23-of-38 foul shots in the game.

Mallory Carlson, who had 16 points, was 10-for-10 from the line with seven boards. Emily Heimerdinger had 10 points and four steals.

The girls suit up for host Batavia on Friday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m.

Grapplers finish fourth at Don Flavin Invite

The wrestlers improved to 15-6 in dual meets this season after a productive Don Flavin Invite in Dekalb that saw the Knights finish in fourth place.

The 11-team meet had Kaneland start off on a high note with Waubonsie Valley on Dec. 29, and also lose to Bloomington 36-35 and beat St. Viator 63-13.

On Dec. 30, the championship bracket had Kaneland beat Elmhurst’s York High School 32-29, and lose to Rockton’s Hononegah 44-18 in the semis before dropping a 40-24 decision to Naperville North.

Ultimately, Hononegah captured the title with a 41-27 win over Stillman Valley. Pewaukee High School of Wisc. beat Prospect 34-26 to take fifth place.

Against St. Viator in the opening session, falls were had by 215-pounder Ben Kovalick, 103-pound entry Esai Ponce, 112-pounder Dan Goress, 119-pounder Tyler Esposito, Deven Scholl at 125, 140-pounder Spencer Bergstrom, JT Webb at 160 pounds, 171-pounder Nick Michels and 189-pounder Keagan Mattes.

In the loss to Bloomington, Esposito earned a fall, while Davidson earned a 17-1 technical fall to keep it close.

Against York, Jimmy Boyle’s win in the heavyweight category by decision gave the Knights the three-point win.

Kaneland wrestling now gets set for a road jaunt to Sycamore on Thursday, Jan. 7, and the Sycamore Invite on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Photo: 171-pound Knight wrestler
Nick Michels had a
productive Flavin Invite, which included
a pinfall vs. St. Viator
of Arlington Heights, Ill.
File Photo

Lady Knights bowling begins ‘10 with 2 losses

by Mike Slodki
The bowlers got back into the swing of things at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb on Monday afternoon, but with a 2,560-2,220 loss to visiting Rochelle.

Kaneland followed it up with a 2,454-2,222 loss at Lisle Lines to the Lions.

Against the Hubs, Kaneland (2-5, 1-3 Western Sun Conference) saw a nice outing from junior Holly Thomas, who had a 555 series. The display was anchored by three games of 190, 203 and 162.

“She really shined today and is performing well as a leader,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.
Senior Amy Kuryliw supplied a 459 series, and Jessie McHenry added a 429 series.

Melanie Early of Lisle had a 511 series to lead the hosts against Kaneland.

Thomas performed to expectations once again with a 577 series, featuring games of 226, 181 and 170.

Molly Lambert had a 435 series, while Kuryliw had a 409 series.

The bowlers get back in the swing of things with a conference matchup at Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 7, and a home matchup with Sycamore on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Photo: Jessie McHenry of Lady Knights bowling supplied a 429 series on Monday against Rochelle. File Photo

Guest Editorial: Remembering Dutch Phillips

Editor’s note: Kaneville resident Lou Roenna gave the eulogy at the recent services of his neighbor, Dutch Phillips. Lou then submitted that eulogy as a letter to the editor. We are happy to share his thoughts on his good friend in this space in our paper.

Today we are here to say goodbye to an amazing person, Dutch Phillips, a very well respected and much loved individual.

It shows in the love and support he has received over the last two years, as he battled the insidious disease that claimed his life. It was never more apparent how much Dutch was loved and how highly he was regarded as it was over the last few weeks as his time with us grew shorter. The outpouring of love, prayers, and well wishes that he received from the dozens of family and friends who felt compelled to visit, write or call, was something to see.

We all wanted Dutch to know how much it had meant to have him in our lives, how much of an impact he had in our lives, how much we had learned from him. This was a testament to a life well lived, by a man who knew his priorities and clung to his principles no matter what obstacle life presented to him.

Dutch had that farmer’s common sense and practicality that you get from being raised on a farm. He always seemed to be doing exactly what he should be doing at exactly the time he should be doing it. He treated this disease with that same common sense. Use the time you have left for what is important, and Dutch knew what was truly important.

He loved his family dearly, his brothers and sisters, his children and grandchildren, and Jane, his beloved wife of 45 years. He was so proud of all of his family, he would just light up when he spoke about who was playing baseball, who was in what grade now, how great his children were doing. All of you meant the world to him and he loved you all dearly. He had hundreds of friends, but then Dutch made friends everywhere he went. He had a warmth about him, an ease with conversation, you always seemed to walk away feeling better after spending time with Dutch. He was the type of person that when you met him for the first time and talked for a while you felt like you had known him your whole life. That’s how it was when I first met him, like we had been friends forever. He personified an old saying I remember, “Treat your family like friends, and treat your friends like family.” He started calling me his kid brother shortly after we met; I am just one of many “kid brothers” he had adopted into his family.

To say Dutch was an avid gardener is a bit of an understatement. He was more like a farmer in need of a farm. As most of us know, he literally turned his whole yard into a vegetable garden. What wasn’t a vegetable garden had fruit trees, raspberries and strawberries. One of Dutch’s mottos was any time spent in the garden is time well spent. And quite a garden it was, with rows as straight as could be, always well kept, the plants just thriving. His excitement was contagious as he walked you around for the 25-cent tour and showed you the beans, the broccoli, the tomatoes.

How many new friends he made of strangers who passed by and told him what a great looking garden he had. “How do you do it?” “They would ask. “Do you have a minute? I’ll give you the tour,” he would tell them. Then they would get the 25-cent tour; they would also leave with a sack full of corn and other veggies. They would be strangers no more. They would be part of Dutch’s ever-widening circle of friends. They were touched by the warmth of his personality, the gesture of friendship, as all of us have experienced.
One of my favorite memories of Dutch is one that speaks to his character and how he valued people, even strangers. I was sitting on Dutch and Jane’s front porch one summer night a few years back. We were waving at the cars going past on Main Street, just enjoying a nice night. All of a sudden a car pulls up in front of Dutch’s house with a man alone and asking for directions to the nearest gas station.

He tells Dutch he is lost and his car is just about out of gas. Dutch is trying to find out what direction the man needs to go to send him in the right direction, but the man is really quite nervous because his gas tank is just about empty and he is not really being too clear about where he needs to go. So Dutch says please wait here, I’ll be right back. Off Dutch goes down his driveway, he comes back in a few seconds with a five-gallon gas can and proceeds to open the gentleman’s gas tank and pour a couple of gallons into his tank. Instantly this man who just a few moments ago was ready to have an anxiety attack calmed down. He finally was able to tell Dutch where he was trying to go. The stranger went into his pocket and pulled out a couple of dollars to give to Dutch for the gas, and Dutch in his firm but gentle way told the stranger, “No thank you.”

What Dutch said stuck with me; he said, “Please you go on; if you see someone on the road who needs help or assistance, please stop and help them; that’s how you can pay me back.” And once again someone who came in as a stranger left as a friend because of their encounter with Dutch.

We spent many nights on the porch waving at the cars as they went by, talking about life, the day’s events, plans for the future. One night I wondered out loud how many people live in Kaneville. I was looking for a number like 375 or 400. Not realizing Dutch was a counter, he starts at Harter and Main going towards Sugar Grove and starts naming the people in each house and how many people are in each house. You have the Ross’s, then the Rizzi’s, then the Ottosens, across the street you have the Alfrey’s.

I couldn’t stop him once he started. Luckily Jane was on the porch with us and stopped him before he got to the subdivision. We may well have been on the porch ‘til day break. Dutch would count anything, rows of corn, cars passing by on Main Street, how many trick-or-treaters came to the house on Halloween. But what’s funny was he knew the names, the families, and the history of the whole town. He not only named who lived in the house now but who used to live there.

We had a lot of fun and I learned a lot about gardening and even more about life from my friend Dutch. About having a set of values and living them. Finding out what’s truly important in your life and making that your priority. He was a terrific friend, a wonderful family man, a great teacher who taught not so much by what he said but by how he lived his life. He had a gentle but firm way about him. He thought through what was to be said and how it was to be said. When he learned he had cancer and how serious it was, he called me up to come over and talk. He made sure we were alone so I could feel free to cry, and I did.

But not Dutch; he was clear-eyed and as strong as I had ever seen him. He had worked it out in his mind. That farmer’s common sense and practicality kicked in. He was going to do what needed to be done, when it needed to be done. He told me how lucky he was in this life. His children were healthy and living well, he had wonderful, healthy grandchildren; he was still in love with his childhood sweetheart. He told me that he was glad it was him and not his wife, or children, or grandchildren. Why be angry, it’s here, that’s the reality of it. Why add to the weight of the disease with anger and resentment. What time is left needs to be used for what’s really important. Like taking family trips, visits with friends, making new friends, renewing old friendships, oh, and of course, working in the garden.

I thought about how I would react if the roles were reversed. My good friend grew in stature that cold January morning almost two years ago. I just have to believe that it was his attitude and courage that helped him get almost two more great years and countless more memories for all of us.

It was odd when Dutch found out he was sick. He was retiring, bought his dream farm in Missouri; he was making plans to leave the town he’d lived in all his life. When he told me his time would be short, I could only think of another old saying that man makes his plans and God sits back and laughs. I thought then that Dutch’s work was not done here. He was going to do the next right thing. He was going to teach us how a man faces a fatal disease with courage and garners the most out of the time he has left. He filled us with two years of memories we may not have gotten if he were a different kind of man. In that respect he will never leave us; he has impacted us in a way that will stay with us the rest of our days.

I’ll end with this; some people just pass through your life … others, come in, leave footprints on your heart, and you are forever changed. Dutch was just such a person.

Letter: John Dalton is a man of integrity

As we enter another campaign season, once again the call for campaign finance reform resurfaces, particularly from candidates seeking voter support and votes.

Typically, once elected, these candidates’ highly verbalized intention to advance critically needed campaign finance reform fades until the next election cycle, when they again need support and votes for their own re-election. And so it continues to the detriment of our democracy, to the disempowerment of voters.

This seemingly endless cycle of false hopes for real campaign finance reform makes it all the more exceptional for Democratic candidate John Dalton to actually take action now, while he is still a candidate. Seeking election to fill a new judgeship for Kane County, Dalton has intentionally declined donations of any size from fellow attorneys to ensure his focus as judge will be on the facts pertinent to the case rather than alliances formed from an attorney’s financial support to his campaign. It is precisely this type of common sense integrity which Kane County voters should enthusiastically support.

It’s a vital step to cultivating a culture of unbiased justice, within a judicial system desperately in need of real reform. By bringing this essential element to our courts as well as the electoral process, Dalton distinguishes himself above all other candidates.

This noble measure to vigorously step up to actually create the true campaign finance reform without imposed regulation, coupled with many stellar qualities John Dalton possesses as a qualified candidate of superb integrity, is why I am unreservedly supporting his campaign for Kane County judge. It is also the reason all voters in Kane County, regardless of party affiliation, should enthusiastically lend their support, voice and vote to Dalton.

Barbara Zaha
St. Charles

Letter: Randy Hultgren brings people together

I have been very excited to be involved with my first political campaign—that of state Sen. Randy Hultgren, who is running for Congress in the 14th District.

Randy has been a friend since we went to school together. I was a freshman and he was a popular upperclassman. Do you know what I remember about Randy?

As a freshman you know how it is, you get teased and picked on and all the rest by those cool guys who know all the ropes. Randy was different. He treated me with respect and encouragement, as an equal. That spoke volumes to me about his character and care for other people.

As a state Senator, Randy has done the same, calling people to integrity and kindness through example. I am convinced that he will offer Republicans and Democrats that want to see change and a new spirit in Washington the best representation possible.

That is how Randy lives his life. Randy also has the proven ability to bring people together, and he has worked for real legislative reforms in Springfield that have reduced government waste and lowered taxes. We need people like Sen. Hultgren with strong values and demonstrated leadership to stand up for us.

Rev. Matthew Elliott, PhD
President, Oasis International

Letter: Elburn Baseball & Softball thanks National Bank & Trust

Elburn Baseball and Softball would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the National Bank & Trust of Elburn for including our organization in this past summer’s Baseballs on Parade community art project.

Baseballs on parade celebrated the village of Elburn, past and present, and America’s pastime with local businesses and individuals decorating concrete baseballs to display throughout the summer. The project concluded with the baseballs being auctioned off during the Elburn Days festival with proceeds benefiting scholarships at Kaneland High School and the Elburn Baseball & Softball organization.

Elburn Baseball & Softball is a nonprofit organization made up entirely of community and family volunteers. Without the assistance of our great sponsors, like National Bank & Trust, the baseball and softball program would not be possible.

Thanks again to the National Bank & Trust.

Jeff McDonald
EBS President

Letter: A Christmas blessing

2009 has been a struggle for many, and I am certainly looking forward to a great 2010. With the new year upon us, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Al Negri, Elburn’s Jewel store director, for his compassion and assistance on the morning of Christmas Eve.

In the midst of a power outage and many other crises happening that busy morning, I was loading my groceries and discovered my car key was missing. I searched the store and was just standing there wondering how I was going to get to my job and how in the world I lost my key.

I must have looked quite perplexed as I was approached by a very kind store employee offering his assistance. He didn’t hesitate to offer a ride to get my spare keys and quickly found another nice Jewel employee that responded right away.

I found this act of kindness and generosity way beyond the call of good customer service. I later received a call from Jewel that my key was found. I asked the name of the very kind man (Jewel employee) and was told he was Al, the store manager.

I visit Jewel regularly and have been treated well by many Jewel employees, but this was my first opportunity to meet Mr. Negri. This true act of kindness made for a very special Christmas this year. I am sure that many others besides me have had a tough year, but I am so grateful for the wonderful people, like Al, who have made this year brighter.

Thank you so much, and happy new year.

JoAnn Colby

Public invited to pair of candidate forums

Kane County—The League of Women Voters offers two candidate forums for the public. Candidates in contested races for Kane County Sheriff, Kane County Treasurer, and Kane County Board Districts 9 and 15 have been invited to participate in a forum on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, at 7 pm at the Batavia City Hall.

Candidates in contested races for the 14th Congressional District will appear in a forum on Monday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Norris Cultural Arts Center, 1040 Dunham Road, St. Charles. Contested candidates for Illinois Senate District 25 and Illinois Representative District 50 will also participate in this forum. This forum is sponsored by the Leagues of Geneva-St. Charles, Batavia and Elgin.

The public is invited to both forums and will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates. Each forum will be moderated by a member of the League of Women Voters. The Jan. 18 forum will also include a panel of representatives from the media. At the end of the forums, audience members will be invited to meet informally with the candidates.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization which never endorses candidates. The purpose of league candidate forums is to offer the public an opportunity to hear and compare the views of candidates in an unbiased setting. Additional information may be obtained via

Murdock’s Annual Hometown Concert set for Jan. 8

KANELAND—Lee Murdock’s Annual Hometown Concert returns to the rural theme in 2011 as he welcomes southern Indiana farmer-songwriter-actor Tim Grimm as the special guest on the first Saturday of the new year.

As part of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival’s Concert Series, the concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Kaneland High School auditorium, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

Tim Grimm is an award-winning songwriter, actor and hay farmer, living and working on the family homestead—a farm originally homesteaded by a family named Needham. In the late 1990s, Tim left Hollywood and a successful acting career to focus his life on his family and his art, a conscious choice to live a life of significance rather than one of “success.” Tim’s songs are full of the rural rumblings that have shaped his life, celebrating the inextinguishable national romance with the idea of the family farm and the vanishing landscape of rural America. 

Tim’s movie appearances include “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford, and “Public Enemies” with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

Lee Murdock is known internationally as “North America’s Great Lakes Balladeer,” and also as a fluent instrumentalist on six- and 12-string guitar. In addition to the songs of Illinois history and maritime music, Murdock also has a strong affinity for Irish music and Illinois history, as well as blues, ragtime and a bit of classical guitar. Murdock and his wife, Joann, have been Kaneville residents since 1982.

Audiences at the Hometown Concert can expect a round of impromptu jamming between Murdock and Grimm in the second set. Each year, the concert opens with a short set by Lee and by the guest artist, followed by an intimate “song swap” with both artists on stage for the second set.

Lee Murdock’s Hometown Concert is an annual event which now draws people from all across the Chicagoland area. Advance reservations are not needed, but call (630) 557-2329 for directions or further information.

The Hometown Concert continues its second season in collaboration with the Kaneland District’s Fine Arts Festival. This is the second of four major events, to be followed by the free multi-stage and multi-media event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, and by the Second-annual Kaneland Community Theater production running for two weekends in July.

For more information on the Kaneland Community Arts Festival, contact Maria Dripps-Paulson, Community Liaison for the festival, at (630) 365-5100 ext 180  or .

Town and Country Public Library drawing

The Friends of the Town & Country Public Library, 320 E. North Street, Elburn, held a drawing Dec. 18 for the Happy New Year Barbie 1995 Collector’s edition and John Deere toy Monster Treads tractor. The drawing was supervised by Friends President Lori Crimmins. The Barbie was donated by Fran Kitz of Elburn in honor of her first great-grandchild. The winner was Marge Tupy of Elburn. The John Deere toy Monster Treads Tractor was donated by Hogan Walker of Elburn, and the winner was Joe Kryszak of Maple Park. All proceeds will benefit the library. Courtesy Photo

State group names KHS Illinois State Scholars

Kaneland—The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) recognized 19,345 high school students from 752 different schools from across the state as 2010 Illinois State Scholars.

Illinois State Scholar winners rank in the top 10 percent of high school seniors. Selection is based on SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or class rank at the end of the junior year.

“Excellent high school grades are tremendously important for laying the groundwork for future college success,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “Illinois State Scholars are the best and the brightest in our state’s high schools, and we salute them, their families and their teachers on this achievement.”

Earning the distinction from Kaneland were Jenna Bartel, Emily Butts, Kristyn Chapman, Megan Cline, Eric Dratnol, David Dudzinski, Joseph Garlinsky, Tara Groen, Amy Husk, Haley Johnson, Samantha Johnson, Brett Ketza, Kevin Krasinski, Micaela Lane, Logan Markuson, Melanie Mazuc, Vincent Micek, Alexandra Morefield, Joss Nicholson, Zachary Nolte, Tara Olson, Kasey Ostarello, Kylen Pattermann, Justin Phillips, Lisa Roberson, Erin Rodway, Patrick Ruffolo, Kelly Shaw, Nikki Smith, George Spirakis, Elizabeth Webb.

SG Library to host student art show in January

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Public Library in January will play host to 40 student artworks selected by the Illinois Art Education Association (IAEA) for the 2010-11 IAEA Student Show—a traveling showcase displaying the finest examples of artwork from Illinois students, grades K-12.

Betse Hauser and Sydney Stacy of John Stewart Elementary, Keely Noel of John Shields Elementary and Brandon Abordo of McDole Elementary are local students whose artwork will be featured in the exhibit.

“Last year, (the Sugar Grove Library) was approached about being the host location for the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, and that began a relationship (between the library) and the art teachers in the School District,” said Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes. “We began to have more earnest conversations about how we could participate with one another and bring art to the community.”

The library is working with the Kaneland School District and John Shields Art Specialist Erin Livermore to bring the IAEA Student Show to the Sugar Grove community, and an artist recognition event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Sugar Grove Library. There will also be a recognition at 7 p.m. for the Kaneland area students whose artwork is featured in the exhibit.

“I think it’s wonderful that there is art featured from students throughout the state, and the students from our School District have the chance to come with their families and see the artwork,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the Sugar Grove Library is an ideal location to house and showcase an art exhibit.

“Our building was built with display areas in mind, and also to encourage art teachers and art students to show their work on our walls,” she said. “It gives the people who visit the library something to visually experience, and it changes throughout the time we have different shows in place. And the moment of pride a student feels from seeing their artwork up on the wall is pretty spectacular.”

After its stay at the library, the IAEA Student Show will move on to Marmion Academy’s Dr. Scholl Gallery in February, Mattoon Middle School in March, Elgin’s Westminster Christian School in April and then Skokie’s Niles West High School in May.

“I’m looking forward to the show, and I hope certainly that people in our community will take advantage of this opportunity and encourage us to bring more (events) to the community,” Hughes said.

Kaneland’s student-artists
A group of Kaneland elementary students will have their artwork included in an art show that will travel around the state in 2011.

Kaneland’s student-artists are:
• Betse Hauser,
John Stewart Elementary
• Sydney Stacy,
John Stewart Elementary
• Keely Noel,
John Shields Elementary
• Brandon Abordo,
McDole Elementary

Leos buy service dog for local special-needs youth

Organization raises $14,000 for purchase
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Thanks to the Elburn Leos, Max Capes of Maple Park will have a new dog next summer, specially trained to assist this special-needs youth in daily living.

The Leos, a youth organization affiliated with the Elburn Lions Club, raised $14,000 this year for the dog from 4 Paws for Ability, which provides service canines for people with particularly unique needs.

Max, 9, was born with a genetic disorder making him hearing and cognitively impaired, and limiting his fine- and gross-motor skills. Leos President Alyson Rehr said Max’s mother asked whether the organization would help buy her son a guide dog. The youths were excited to help this local family.

“It’s cool for us because we see (Max) around and because we are keeping the money in the community,” said Rehr, an Elburn teenager.

Max Capes’ parents’ goal has been to keep taking care of their son at home rather than placing him in an institution, said his mother. With a service dog, that will continue to be possible.
Max received the news last month during the Leos meeting.

“I let the Leos tell him the good news…It was an amazing experience,” said Max’s mom, Carrie Capes.

The Capes family is scheduled to travel to Ohio in August for two weeks to be assigned a dog, and participate in its training with Max.

The Leos raised the funds to pay for Max’s dog by holding several fundraisers this year. Among those were selling concessions at the Lions Club fall car show,and root beer floats during Elburn Days, as well as holding several community breakfasts.

In past years, the Leos have paid for service dogs from Southeastern Guide Dogs for people with visual impairments. After the Leos decided to help the Capes family purchase a service dog for Max, they had to find an organization that would provide one that could meet his unique combination of disabilities.

4 Paws for Ability can provide Max with a dual-disability, hypoallergenic service dog trained for his specific needs, said Pam Hall, of the Elburn Lions Club. 4 Paws 4 Ability specializes in providing service dogs to individuals with several disabilities, as well as children, whereas many other organizations do not cross train and/or provide service dogs for anyone under the age of 18, Hall said.

Jan. 21, 2010 Clarification: A statement from Carrie Capes regarding the family’s goal of providing care for their son at home was made to the Elburn Herald in 2009 for a story about state funding and its impacts on local families with special needs children including Max Capes.

The Elburn Herald would like to clarify when that statement was made in order to provide accurate context of what was said and when.

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
phone (630) 365-6446

Erdmann honored as educator by peers

Teacher shaped KHS journalism program
by Martha Quetsch
Kaneland—Former Kaneland High School journalism teacher Laurie Erdmann received a lifetime achievement award from the Journalism Educators Association (JEA), topping off a career that she found both challenging and gratifying.

“I was thrilled just to be nominated,” Erdmann said. “There are so many amazing people in the JEA that I’ve admired and tried to follow the example of through the years, and to be recognized by one’s peers is unbelievably gratifying.”

Erdmann accepted the award Nov. 14 in Washington D.C. at the national convention for journalism students and newspaper advisers, co-sponsored each year by the JEA and the National Scholastic Press Association.

Erdmann taught journalism at Kaneland High School and advised its award-winning student newspaper, The Krier, for 34 years before retiring in 2008.

When she arrived at KHS in 1974, she first had to learn the process of publishing the on-campus Krier from a co-worker in the Midwest Vocational Center.

“I came into the job knowing very little and left with a wealth of knowledge and experiences,” Erdmann said.

Later, she steered the newspaper staff through the technological transition from paste-up to desktop publishing.

“When I started, we were using manual typewriters, T-squares and rubber cement; when I left, students were using iMacs and sophisticated software like InDesign to create their pages,” Erdmann said.

Twenty-five years ago, the KHS journalism program offered just a one-semester course. Erdmann helped develop it into a three-tiered, sequential journalism program, concluding in an Advanced Placement course emphasizing intensive journalistic writing.

Also during her tenure at KHS, Erdmann helped plan and implement a building addition to the school in 1998 for a journalism suite with a classroom, publications office and 20-workstation publications lab. She later supervised the establishment of an online version of the Krier.

In addition, she advised the school’s literary magazine for five years and served as board member, president and treasurer, respectively, of the Northern Illinois School Press Association during the early 1980s. In 2001, she was selected as KHS Educator of the Year.

Erdmann said her education helped her meet the challenges of building the Krier and journalism curriculum through the years at KHS. With a B.A. in English and an M.A in journalism from Northern Illinois, Erdmann received further adviser and journalistic training at University of Iowa, Indiana University and Harvard.

Under Erdmann’s leadership, The Krier frequently was recognized by regional, state and national scholastic evaluation organizations, and still operates as an open-forum, completely student-produced publication that has operated without censorship since 1974, she said.
“That’s what I’m most gratified about,” Erdmann said.

As a teacher and Krier coordinator, Erdmann emphasized journalism ethics and encouraged her students to understand the rights and responsibilities of free expression.

“When students have a voice and make the final decision, they are fully realizing their role in a democratic society—that a free press is a responsible press, and a responsible press is accountable to its readers,” Erdmann said.

One of Erdmann’s former students, Eric Ferguson, now a radio host at 101.9 FM, The Mix, said although Erdmann always encouraged students to have their own thoughts and opinions, she stressed the importance of backing them up with facts.

“She always told us to make sure you knew where you were going to take a story, otherwise you might end up painting yourself into a corner,” said Ferguson, former managing editor of the Krier. “She encouraged creativity backed with a logical thought process. I still use that model to this day.”

Photo: Retired Kaneland journalism teacher Laurie Erdmann (left) received a lifetime achievement from the Journalism Educator Association. Erdmann taught journalism at KHS and advised the award-winning Kaneland Krier for 34 years.
Courtesy Photo

Krier coordinator inspired, motivated students
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—Laurie Erdmann estimates that she worked with 4,000 students during her more than three decades at Kaneland High School.

Many of Erdmann’s students pursued journalism after high school, including Eric Ferguson, radio host at 101.9 FM, The Mix.

Ferguson, like many of Erdmann’s former students, has remained in contact with her since graduating. He remembers how she challenged him as a student.

“Her teaching style was always very engaged,” Ferguson said. “If she thought you could do more, or were just putting in a marginal effort, she would call you on it and challenge you.”

Ferguson had several journalism and English classes with Erdmann, and was managing editor of the Krier, Kaneland High School’s student-run newspaper.

Among Erdmann’s other students who have had professional journalism careers are Cali N. Bergold, former editor for Today’s Chicago Woman and writer for The New York Times; Lauren Stott, new executive editor for the Northern Star at Northern Illinois University; Suzy Lackey Ray, graphic designer for Chicagoland Gardening; Jason Chandler, editor for Campus Crusade for Christ website; and Kevin Murphy, sports editor at Eastern Illinois University.

Stott said Erdmann’s classes inspired her.

“Her classes were absolutely the reason I wanted to be a journalist,” Stott said. “The way she taught made it seem like such a fun, interesting and important job.”