Waubonsee announces fall semester president’s list

Waubonsee Community College announced its president’s list for the fall 2009 semester, which includes full-time students who earn a 4.0 semester grade point average.

From Elburn: Rachelle Branca, Amanda Briggs, Brandon Clement, Ashley Clinton, Erin Flanagan, Lauren Gould, Alexa Hill, Gail Muranyi, Nicole Ristick and Theresa Terpstra.  

From Maple Park: Alexandra Domar and Jacquelyn Wells.

From Sugar Grove: Richard Banik, Sarah Harant, Anna Hofmeyer, Alyssa Rowland and Ashley Wilczynski.

Parrilli, Bobowiec to wed

Charlotte and Tim Parrilli of Maple Park announces the engagement of their daughter, Elizabeth Kathleen Parrilli, to Ryan Bobowiec, son of Vicky and Randy Bobowiec of Friendship, Wis.

The bride-to-be is a 2003 graduate of Kaneland High School and is employed at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva as a registered nurse. The future groom graduated from Kaneland High School in 2001 and is currently employed by Kane County. He also has a band called “The Employees.”

The wedding ceremony will be held on Sept. 18, 2010, in Wisconsin.

KHS boys basketball golf outing news

The Kaneland High School boys basketball program is having its first golf outing on Saturday, June 12, at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove, to bring athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses together.

The fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Thanks to the support of local businesses and donations, a variety of prizes will be available in the raffle. There is also scheduled to be a silent auction with prizes. The golf outing will be scramble and cost $400 for a foursome and $35 for the dinner.

Those interested in playing, sponsorship or making a donation, contact Brian Johnson at (630) 365-5100 ext. 347 or brian.johnson@kaneland.org.

KHS boys track sets team mark at Byron

Kaneland boys track had itself a productive indoor meet in Byron on Saturday.

The outing produced 101 points, a Kaneland team indoor record at that particular meet.

The Knights were just five points behind Hononegah for first place in the 15-team event.

Rockford Jefferson (79), Freeport (46) and Burlington Central (37) rounded out the top five.

Kaneland’s Nick Sinon had himself a stellar afternoon, finishing first in both the triple jump with a mark of 41 feet, zero inches, and the high jump with a 6’8” tally.

Teammate Jemmar Parrenas finished second in the pole vault with a result of 12 feet even, half a foot behind Freeport’s Elliot Hollis.

Wading through preliminaries and semifinals, Logan Markuson and Taylor Andrews finished 1-2 in the 55 meter hurdles.

Markuson ran 7.75 seconds in the final, followed by Andrews’ 7.86.

On the distance side of things, Knight Matt Reusche finished third in the 3200 meter run with a a time of 10:21.10.

Kaneland’s relay foursome of Sean Paulick, Dominic Furco, Clayton Brundige and Jake Ginther took fifth in the 4×800 race with a time of 8:53.26.

In the 400m dash, Markuson and Andrews once again excelled, with Markuson winning the event at 52.56 and Andrews following in fifth at 55.66.

KHS representatives Derek Bus (2:02.10) and Edgar Valle (2:02.66) finished first and third, respectively, in the 800m run.

The Knights also did well in the 1600m run, with Trevor Holm taking third at 4:40.44 and teammate Joe Levita finishing fifth at 4:42.24.

Brandon Cottier of Kaneland took sixth in the 200m dash with a time of 25:02, and the Knight contingent of Bus, Tommy Whittaker, Valle and Markuson won the 4×400 relay.

KHS Varsity Boys Track All-time Top Point Leaders
• 4) Logan Markuson—499.25
• 37) Nick Sinon—242
• 152) Taylor Andrews—114.75
• 172) Edgar Valle—104
• 277) Matt Reusche—59.5

Chiefs baseball hits Florida

VERO BEACH, Fla.—Defensive mistakes cost the Waubonsee Chiefs in their 2010 season opener as they fell 14-6 to Team Ontario on the historic grounds of Holman Stadium at the Dodgertown complex.

Waubonsee officially made six errors that led to seven unearned runs. However, the Chiefs also misplayed a few other balls during the course of the 9-inning contest, played on the former Spring Training home field of the Los Angeles Dodgers for more than 50 years.

Robert Mrozinski led Waubonsee’s offense by going 3-for-3 with a double, a run batted in and two stolen bases. Carlos Rivera also doubled and scored twice, while Camden Decker and Henry Duque each smacked doubles in the loss. Starting pitcher Chris Jordan deserved a better fate, allowing only three earned runs over four innings of work. The sophomore struck out four and walked just one. Mike Hoffman also tossed four innings and surrendered four earned runs, while Jesse Pena threw a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.

PALM BAY, Fla. —The Chiefs committed four costly errors in a 7-4 loss to Fergus Falls (MN.) Community College at the Palm Bay Regional Park Complex. Waubonsee’s miscues led to five unearned runs for the Spartans in the night time contest, offsetting 16 strikeouts by Chiefs’ pitchers.

Randy Niles struck out seven and yielded only one earned run, yet left the game with Waubonsee trailing 6-2 in the fourth inning.

The right-hander also walked five and hit other hitters while giving up four hits. Tyler Lobdell came on in relief and struck out eight, walked three, gave up only two hits and one earned run over four innings of work.

Meanwhile the Chiefs offense managed just seven hits, all singles, while leaving nine runners on base. Ryan Adams went 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored to lead Waubonsee hitters. Carlos Rivera finished the game 2 for 5 with a run scored and a stolen base.

Editorial: Public’s right to know requires vigilant protection

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
—Barack Obama

This week is considered Sunshine Week, a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Both quotes above represent essential truths to the importance of open and transparent government. While our democracy is founded on the concept of checks and balances, an informed public serves as the ultimate check and balance against the government itself.

Yet, the public’s power can only exist if two conditions are met: 1) the public has access to information about the government and how it operates; 2) the public cares enough to protect its access and to remain informed.

To help meet the first condition, we are lucky to have initiatives like Sunshine Week, which is led by the American Society of News Editors. Visit www.sunshineweek.org for more information about this initiative and the importance of its mission. We are also lucky to have organizations like the Illinois Press Association (IPA), which works tirelessly to protect the First Amendment and access to information in our state.

While Sunshine Week and the IPA are media-focused, the reality is that their efforts are on behalf of the people, and not just the press. This is because the true power of the First Amendment and access to information is held by the public.

These rights should not be taken lightly, nor for granted. The entire basis of American independence—and later, of American Democracy—is that our rights are not granted by government, which implies those rights can also be taken away by government. Rather, our rights simply exist, and government is prohibited from intruding upon them.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
—U.S. Declaration of Independence

While our Founding Fathers articulated these rights as the foundation of our society, history has shown that even our government is not immune to a desire to limit our unalienable rights and freedoms. It is that very nature of our government that places so much importance on transparency and access to information, because it is the public’s access to public information that allows us to protect the rights our nation was founded upon.

We must remain focused on ensuring that our access is not limited or our speech restrained. The quote from our current president, Barack Obama, articulates the need for an engaged and aware public.

Yet, at the same time, a recent Associated Press review of federal access and transparency noted that denials of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests among the 17 major federal agencies has increased by 50 percent, as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, the total number of FOIA requests decreased.

What this means is, anyone can make a campaign pledge or say the right things in a speech, and anyone can say that their administration will be more transparent than the last; but the proof is in the action. The proof must exist in deed, and not just word. And because it is significantly easier to pledge transparency than it is to achieve it, the public must remain vigilant and aware of what they have access to today, as well as what they should gain access to tomorrow.

This is not just a federal issue. It is just as important to focus on local government.

Local governments do not experience a fraction of the scrutiny the federal government does, making it easier to—intentionally or not—erode the public’s access to information. Add to that the differences in Sunshine laws from state to state, and the overall system becomes exponentially more complex.

This combination of bureaucratic complexity and difficulty in turning words into deeds means that public scrutiny is what ultimately will preserve the rights that are endowed by our creator.

Letter: Spring Break celebration for TriCity Family Services

On Friday, March 5, 2010, TriCity Family Services hosted its 21st Annual Benefit and Auction.

The event theme was “Spring Break” this year, offering a beach and party atmosphere for the 177 individuals who attended.

The ballroom at the Eaglebrook Country Club in Geneva was transformed into a sunny beach shore for the evening, where attendees enjoyed extensive silent and live auctions, a split-the-pot raffle, live D.J. spinning tunes by request, and a “Toss for the Cause” bean bag game.

The event netted just over $41,000, which is under the $50,000 the agency was hoping to raise.

Our supporters are really increasing their direct donations to TriCity Family Services and cutting back on attending and spending money at fundraising events. We still have lots of fun, raise some good money, and gain new friends and supporters from these events, but they are not the big revenue generators that they used to be.

The loyal cadre of supporters who attended the Spring Break Benefit, along with some new friends of the agency, brought great energy to the room and made generous contributions and purchases to ensure that the four-decade-old agency continues to serve the mental health needs of the community.

The need for TriCity Family Services counseling services on a sliding-fee scale are in great demand at this difficult economic time. The agency remains committed to making their programs and services affordable to area residents in need, particularly those uninsured or underinsured individuals and families for whom outpatient mental health services in the private practice sector are out of reach financially.

Nearly 90 percent of all counseling program fees at TriCity Family Services are based on the sliding scale, and more than half of all clients receiving counseling services pay less than $40 per session. TriCity Family Services continues to ensure that no one is ever denied services on a basis of ability to pay.

The agency would like to thank Presenting Sponsors of the event: Harris Bank, Exelon Nuclear, and Nicor.

Miranda Barfuss
Director of Development
TriCity Family Services

Letter: Love horses? Be a volunteer

Blazing Prairie Stars, a therapy farm in Maple Park, is looking for volunteers 16 and older who have at least one year’s experience with horses and enjoy working with children.

Blazing Prairie Stars is a provider of horse-assisted therapy and other programs in the natural environment for children who have disabilities. Volunteers are needed for one- to two-hour shifts on Monday and Wednesday mornings to serve as horse leaders and side walkers during the therapy sessions. Volunteers can also help with grooming, tacking, and other barn chores.

Please call Carrie Capes at Blazing Prairie Stars (630) 365-5550 to learn more about this exciting volunteer opportunity. Join our inspiring team of volunteers, therapists, and horse professionals.

Carrie Capes
Maple Park

Agency on aging seeks Kane resident for advisory council

Kane County—The Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging seeks a Kane County resident or person employed in Kane County to represent the county on its Advisory Council.

The position is for the remaining year of an unexpired term, and the appointee will then be eligible for a full three-year term.

The primary qualifications required for this volunteer position are a sincere interest in benefiting senior citizens and a desire to make the public aware of the services available to seniors. Interested persons should contact Dawn Chapman at the agency by Friday, March 19, at P.O. Box 809, Kankakee, IL 60901, or by phone at (815) 939-0727 or 1-800-528-2000.

Dewey Dash in Elburn will kick off race season

file photo
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Gene Stern of Elburn has participated for the past several years in the Dewey Dash, a 5K event that Town & Country Public Library sponsors each spring.

Stern said he likes that the race is early in the year.

“It’s a good motivator to get started,” he said.

Stern runs many different Chicago-area races from spring through fall. Elburn’s terrain is good training ground for the race season, he said. Since he runs on his own regularly in the village, he knows that it’s just not flat farmland.

“There are some pretty big hills in Elburn, which might surprise runners who are not from here,” Stern said.

The routes for the Dewey Dash and for the Elburn Days 5k, which Stern runs in August, both include plenty of those inclines, he said.

Stern rose to the challenge last year, coming in second in his group (men 30-39) in the Dewey Dash, with a time of 20:53.7.

This year, Stern is battling a minor injury, but still would like to take part in this year’s event on April 11.

“I’m really hoping I will be there,” Stern said.

He said the Dewey Dash will help him gear up for the Rockford marathon in May.

6th Annual Dewey Dash
5K run to benefit
Town & Country Public Library
Sunday, April 11
7:30-8:30 a.m. Race-day registration
8:30 a.m. 5K starts
9 a.m. 1-mile run/walk
320 E. North St., Elburn
Post-run snacks
USATF-certified 5K course
Register online at
Proceeds will help the library
purchase three electronic
bulletin boards

Kaneland Foundation offers music, fun

Kaneland—The Kaneland Foundation will offer an evening of music and fun from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 20, at the Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove.

The event will include performances by local bands Red Woody and Back Country Roads.

Proceeds will benefit the students of the Kaneland School District.

Tickets are $20 and available by calling (630) 365-5111, ext. 109, (630) 774-8574 or (630) 881-3240.

KHS presents ‘Guys and Dolls’

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School drama department will present “Guys and Dolls” at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 21.

The play will be performed in the high school auditorium, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park.

Tickets are $6 for adults, and $3 for children and students.

Livingwell Cancer Resource Center offers lymphedema program

GENEVA—From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, a provider of non-medical support at no cost for people living with cancer, is offering a program on Preventing and Managing Lymphedema.

Lymphedema is a side effect of treatment that many cancer survivors face. Presenter Sangeetha Balusu, occupational therapist at Edward Hospital, will talk about the standard treatment for lymphedema and will highlight the newest treatment options that can help manage your lymphedema. Learn where to go for help in addressing treatment related to this side effect.

This presentation is open to the public and free of charge, although registration is required. Call (630) 262-1111 to register.

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center is the one place in the Fox Valley region where people living with cancer, their families and friends, can go for information and support services that address the challenges of living with cancer free of charge to the participants.

LivingWell offers networking and support groups, educational programs, mind-body fitness classes, youth programs, a library, individual psychological and nutritional counseling and much more.

LivingWell is located at 1803 W. State St., in Geneva, and online at www.LivingWellCRC.org. LivingWell is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be contacted at (630) 262-1111.

LivingWell is a certified 501c non-profit organization and an affiliate of Delnor Heath System.

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
1803 W. State St., Geneva
(630) 262-1111

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Rural asthma study launches in Midwest

New technology tracks where, when attacks occur
Regional—This week, Madison-based Reciprocal Sciences, with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is launching a new study to learn more about the problem of rural asthma in the Midwest. The study follows a recent report by the CDC that rates of asthma in rural areas have been underestimated.

“Our analyses of national survey data suggest that asthma is as prevalent in rural areas as in urban areas,” said Teresa Morrison, medical epidemiologist in the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch at CDC. “Our goal is to document patterns of asthma symptoms among rural residents in Midwestern states, and learn more about possible environmental exposures that potentially lead to asthma attacks.”

In the past, studies have relied on interviews and questionnaires to collect data on asthma. But now, volunteers who live in rural areas in the Midwest will be able to record their symptoms when and where they happen, using an innovative tool that Reciprocal Sciences unveiled last year. The device, called the Spiroscout, is a GPS-enabled inhaler that pinpoints the exact geographic location and time when the inhaler is used.

“For the first time, scientists will have definitive information about exactly where and when rural residents have symptoms,” said study director David Van Sickle, PhD, “and we can use that to identify important patterns in the disease.”

Participants in the six-month study will also be testing additional asthma management tools developed by Reciprocal Sciences, including a text messaging system designed to help people with asthma remember to take their daily medication.

Participation in the study is limited to 150 participants. Interested individuals can call (608) 554-0750, e-mail info@reciprocalsciences.com, or visit the website at ruralasthma.net for more information.

$5M IEPA loan sought for treatment plant

Larger facility needed for future development
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials want to make sure the village’s wastewater treatment system is adequate for future development. However, meeting that goal will require $5 million.

That is the estimated cost of a new wastewater treatment plant, which will have more than twice the capacity of the existing one, said the facility designer hired by the village, Jeremy Lin of Lintech Engineering.

At Lin’s urging during Tuesday’s Maple Park Infrastructure Committee meeting, village officials decided to apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency by the March 31 deadline for a loan funded by federal economic stimulus money.

Lin said that applying now is crucial because of the competition for funding.

“It (the application) is something that has to get done,” Lin said. “You have to get on the list.”

The IEPA application review process could take some time because of the backlog of applications for the funding from municipalities and counties throughout the state, Lin said.

“You’re probably not likely to get the money this year, but possibly next year,” Lin said.

If approved for the funding, the village would be able to borrow the money for little or no interest, and would pay the IEPA back through future developer contributions, village officials said.

The larger wastewater treatment plant will be needed before a 469-home development planned by John Clare Ltd. can be built at County Line Road and Route 38.

“With another development (in Maple park), the existing treatment plant would not have sufficient capacity,” Lin said.

John Clare Ltd. recently obtained a five-year extension from the village for the project but still plans to build when the economy improves.

The new wastewater treatment plant will have up-to-date technology, including computer monitoring of flows, blower and screening buildings, a holding tank and a pump station.

Village officials want to build the new plant near the existing one on Maple Park Road, which consists of an aerated lagoon employing dated technology.

First Street work officially finished

ELBURN—The village of Elburn will remit a final payment of $126,922 for the First Street reconstruction to the insurance company that coordinated the project’s completion.

The village hired a contractor in 2007 to install the improvements for more than $750,000. The company left some of the work unfinished, said village officials, who relied on the contractor’s insurer, Traveler’s Casualty and Surety Company of America to complete the project.

The First Street project included resurfacing several blocks of First Street in downtown Elburn and installing drainage improvements between North Street and just south of Lilac Street. The village paid for the project with motor fuel taxes.

Village engineers from Rempe-Sharpe & Associates, Inc. confirmed on Feb. 26 that all the remaining work was completed by the Travelers-hired contractor and its subcontractors.

Trustee: ‘We want to get this town up and running’

Downtown business revitalization is goal
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Village officials want to help improve and promote downtown Maple Park by collaborating with local businesses.

“We want them to know that we want to get this town up and running and that we are not ignoring them,” trustee Pat Lunardon said.

Lunardon took a first step toward that goal recently, obtaining permission from Old Second Bank officials for local businesses to post a sign on the bank’s property at Route 38 and County Line Road directing people north to the center of Maple Park.

“I truly believe people drive through (on Route 38) and have no clue there is a downtown,” Lunardon said.

To make downtown Maple Park a more vital destination, village officials intend to work with current business owners on improvement strategies and with prospective owners on start-up issues.

Village officials’ next step is to host a business workshop on March 23. The event is open to the public and will feature speakers from agencies that help businesses through education and other assistance.

In addition, village officials will be present to talk to people about strategies for downtown revitalization. The event will include a review of economic development activity in Maple Park and a discussion of programs and policies affecting local businesses.

“We thought it would be great if people could sit down together and talk about these issues,” Lunardon said.

Trustee Suzanne Fahnestock, who helped arrange for the workshop presentations, said the speakers will focus on a variety of topics including financing, productivity, business plans, resources and technology.

“That kind of information could be very helpful for businesses in Maple Park,” Fahnestock said.

Local Business Workshop

Tuesday, March 23 • 7 p.m.
Maple Park Civic Center
upstairs board room

Guest Speakers:
Bill McNew, Kane County Dept.
of Employment and Education; Colleen Aeppli, 1st Institute Training and Management; and
Harriet Parker, Waubonsee
Community College Small Business
Development Center

Questions? Call (815) 827-3309

3 Kaneville firefighters lauded for service

Photo: Kaneville Fire District Lt. Jim Long (left) has been with the district for 26 years, while Deputy Chief Dan Koebele (center) and Chief David Sigmund have each served for 25 years. Courtesy Photo
by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Three Kaneville firefighters were recognized recently for their years of service to the Kaneville Fire District. Lt. Jim Long has been with the district for 26 years, and Chief David Sigmund and Deputy Chief Dan Koebele have each served for 25 years.

For all three emergency responders, service to the community is a prime motivator for their dedication to the all-volunteer fire department.

“Most people want to help, in some way,” Long said.

Sigmund, who obtained his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification quite a while ago, took the class again a few years ago when Kaneville began working more closely with the Big Rock Fire District.

Sigmund said that more than half of the Kaneville firefighters are trained as EMTs, which allows them to do everything medical except transport a victim from the scene. When an incident takes place in Kaneville, they are able to arrive quickly, take the person’s vital signs and have a head start on what needs to be done by the time Big Rock arrives with the ambulance.

The fact that they continue to learn new things, even after all these years, is appealing to them, as well.

“We all learn and train together and work together,” Long said.

The crew meets at the fire house every Tuesday night for training in some aspect of firefighting or emergency medical care, and most take additional classes at other times during the year.

The camaraderie that exists between them is also something that keeps them coming back, year after year.

“They’re all top-notch people,” Koebele said of his fellow firefighters.

Koebele, who was a police officer for the city of Aurora for 32 years before his retirement six years ago, was a patrol sergeant when he left the force.

“Supervising is the same, whether you’re fighting fires or bad guys,” he said with a laugh.

He said that Kaneville is one of the few remaining all-volunteer fire departments in the state, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He said they can change it if they want after he leaves, but he likes the idea of an all-volunteer operation under his watch.

According to Koebele, it is a major commitment, but one that each individual takes willingly.

The Kaneville Fire District coverage area is 36 square miles, which includes approximately 1,250 residents.

State: ‘There is no money’

Kaneland, state officials discuss financial woes
KANELAND—A meeting with State Representative Kay Hatcher (Dist. 50) on Monday confirmed what Kaneland School District officials already knew—school funding from the state will be severely cut.

“The legislators used the word ‘insolvent’ to describe the state’s financial situation,” Kaneland School Board president Lisa Wiet said. “They said, ‘There are no miracles. There is no money.’”

School Board member Diane Piazza said that the state’s deficit equals 40 percent of its budget, which will have a huge impact on schools and other recipients of state funding.

“Unfortunately, it simply reinforced that our Phase Two plan is not only practical, but needed,” District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said. “It continues to look like a realistic plan.”

Hatcher and State Rep. Roger Eddy, who is also a part-time superintendent of a small rural school district, met with school district superintendents, board members and other school officials within Hatcher’s district to make sure that districts were not ignoring the reality of the situation.

“She (Hatcher) said, ‘You need to plan for a loss in state revenue,’” Wiet said.

Hatcher confirmed that there is the potential of up to a $2.2 million shortfall from the state for the Kaneland School District, Wiet said.

“They are aware of the difficulty it puts us in, but they didn’t do anything to suggest a solution to that,” Wiet said.

Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler said that Hatcher and Eddy do not expect anything to change prior to the elections in November. Their recommendations for school districts included borrowing money, cutting expenses, and doing whatever necessary to prepare for the shortfall in funding.

Kaneland administrators have begun working on what they are calling Phase Two of the cuts to address the shortfall in funding from the state. While they are analyzing staffing needs in various areas of the district, they will move forward to release 110 first-, second-, third- and fourth-year teachers to provide them with the flexibility they will need.

The Phase Two reduction has to be finalized by May 24, he said. That gives the School District 45 days prior to the end of the school year to notify teachers.

Schuler said that, ultimately, approximately 30 teachers will lose their jobs. The administration will be able to call back the remaining teachers once they understand the impact of the state’s shortfall, which he said could take them into the summer.

Prairie burn gives lesson in good stewardship

Photo: The Rev. Steve Good’s son, Spenser, keeps the fire at bay during the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church’s prairie burn, which took place on the church’s new building site on Harter Road last Saturday. Photo by Susan O’Neill

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—Members of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church and others experienced a first-hand lesson in caring for God’s creation when they participated in a prairie burn on Saturday.

The Rev. Steven Good said that burning the prairie on land that will house the church’s future building not only has an ecological benefit, it encourages people of faith to act as good stewards of God’s earth.

The controlled prairie burn gets rid of old plant material, allowing the sunlight to reach the native plants and warm the soil, helping them to compete with the weeds, Good said. The denser native plants provide a habitat for local wildlife, where they can rest, hide and eat.

The longer root system of the native plants also helps to filter out chemicals, cleaning the water on its way to the Blackberry Creek, also located on the property, he added.

Nearly 30 people, including a number of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, joined Good and his parishioners to help with the sixth annual burn at the church’s new future site on Harter Road.

“We got the job done and everybody was safe,” Good said.

Committee recommends higher water-sewer charges

Village Board to vote on proposal at March 15 meeting
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn Village Board members in recent weeks have debated the best way to raise water and sewer revenue, with ideas ranging from charging a customer fee to hiking usage rates. On Monday, they decided the village should do both.

The Committee of the Whole recommended that the village establish a $10 base fee ($5 for water and $5 for sewer) and increase usage rates to $6.10 per 100 cubic feet ($3.50 for water and $2.59 for sewer).

The Village Board will vote on the recommendation during its next meeting, Monday, March 15.

Elburn officials determined in February that the village needs to charge more for water and sewer service because of rising costs, declining revenue and an aging water and sewer system needing repairs,

“It’s a bitter pill that we have to swallow, but it’s been neglected for so long,” Trustee Patricia Romke said Monday.

The village has not raised its water and sewer rates in many years. Currently, the sewer usage rate is $2 per 100 cubic feet, and the water rate is $2.69 per 100 cf.

Trustee Bill Grabarek did not agree with the Committee of the Whole’s recommendation Monday. Grabarek said the proposed increases in water and sewer charges would impact low users on limited incomes, including seniors and single people, the hardest. He believes that the village should raise usage rates more and charge a lower base fee.

“My feeling is (when the Village Board votes on the recommendation), I’m probably going to say ‘nay,’” Grabarek said.

In addition, the reserve fund that the village draws on to pay for water and sewer capital improvements has dwindled. By the end of the fiscal year this June, that capital fund will total just $53,000, compared to $543,000 five years ago, Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said. Several major water and sewer projects needed this year alone will cost more than $100,000.

With the rate increase proposed Monday, annual water and sewer operations, costing $1.15 million, could “break even” in 2010-11; the hike would boost revenue by about $303,000 annually, Nevenhoven said.

Monthly water and sewer operating revenue has fallen short of operating costs by about $25,000 monthly for more than a year, Nevenhoven said.

The $10 base fee would raise more than $150,000 annually for the water and sewer capital improvement fund, village officials said. Their goal to build up the fund to be able to pay for future unexpected and planned projects, including painting two water towers for $400,000.

How much would
water-sewer bills go up?

The following chart shows estimated increases in monthly water and sewer bills for households and businesses if the Village Board approves the new base fee and usage rates proposed on Monday.
Current bill  /  Proiected bill
$10    $16.10
$10.38    $22.17
$14.07    $28.24
$18.76    $34.32
$23.45    $40.38
$42.21    $64.66
$70.35    $101.08
$93.80    $131.43
$150.08    $204.27
$178.22    $240.69

District, teachers agree to discuss budget crunch

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland Education Association (KEA) and the School administration released a joint press release on Tuesday, stating that the teachers union initiated a request to engage in informal conversations with Kaneland officials regarding the 2010-11 budget.

KEA President Linda Zulkowski said the impending state shortfall, which would lead to the release of approximately 30 teachers, brought the membership to a change of mind in terms of discussing its contract. The KEA in February announced its decision not to reopen negotiations with the Kaneland administration regarding teachers’ salaries.

The KEA negotiated a three-year contract with the Kaneland District in October 2008. The contract included salary increases for Kaneland teachers over a period of three years: 4.86 percent for last year, 6.21 percent for this year, and 5.6 percent for fiscal year 2010-11. This last salary increase is the discussion Kaneland administrators asked KEA to reopen.

“The purpose of these (informal) discussions is to determine if there is a way to mitigate the negative effects of budget reductions on students,” the joint statement stated.

There is not yet a date set for these discussions.

Kaneland cuts $3.1 million from budget

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday approved $3.1 million in cuts to next year’s budget, and there is more to come. The round of approved cuts are considered phase one of a multi-phase plan to address a budget deficit that is expected to range between $2.6 million and close $5 million.

The administration advised the board at its Feb. 22 meeting that the district could experience up to $2.2 million in reductions in state funding, which would add to the already-existing $2.6 million budget shortfall.

Phase-one cuts not only addressed the initial $2.6 million deficit, but began to address the additional shortfall. The additional cuts include a wage freeze for all administrative and non-union staff and delaying the purchase of any new technology within the district.

Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler noted that the cuts in personnel in phase one will not translate into current teachers losing their jobs, due to 11 teachers retiring at the end of this school year.

Schuler said that the phase-one cuts would not result in increased class sizes.

The vote was 7-0 to approve the cuts, with School Board President Lisa Wiet making the motion “with regret.”

Phase One Budget Reduction Plan
• Cuts 23 positions
— 10.6 certified (teaching) positions
— 9.5 support positions
— 2 administrative positions
• Elimination of fifth grade band
• Replacement of middle school competi-
tive sports with intramural sports
• Elimination of 11 high-school clubs
• Elimination of 10 athletics coaches in
high school sports
• Salary freeze for administrative and
support staff
• Delaying technology purchases for
the year
• Elimination of after-activity bus service
• Elimination or reduction in purchase of
new library books
• Reduction in supplies

Read with a cop

Maple Park Police and the Maple Park Library hosted its first ‘Story with the Chief’ on March 1. Police Chief Mike Acosta read the children’s classic ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ in celebration of author Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was March 2. Each child was given a snack and small puppet and had an opportunity to wear a Maple Park Police cap and dress blouse. Children also met Officer Andy Rissman, who helped with the event. Seventeen children and several of their parents attended. Courtesy Photo

Corrections officer indicted in fatal DUI crash

Kane County—A state corrections officer has been indicted on drunken driving charges in a 2008 fatal two-vehicle crash that occurred while he was on his way to work.

Reginald Hearon, 50, of the 3500 block of Boyer Lane, Plano, Ill., was indicted March 2 by a Kane County grand jury on three counts of aggravated DUI, each a Class 2 felony, and one count of reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony.

At about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 2, 2008, Hearon was driving a 1997 Ford Econoline van east on Fabyan Parkway in Blackberry Township when he attempted to pass vehicles in a posted no-passing zone, a two-lane stretch between Hughes Road and Main Street. Hearon’s eastbound van entered the lane for westbound traffic and struck head-on a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer driven by 53-year-old Craig Smith of St. Charles. The Blazer was westbound on Fabyan Parkway. Smith died at the scene. 

Hearon works as a guard at the Illinois Youth Center at St. Charles.

The investigation revealed that Hearon had an unlawful amount of alcohol and codeine in his system at the time of the crash that impaired his ability to drive.

After the indictment, Associate Judge James C. Hallock signed a warrant for Hearon’s arrest and set his bail at $500,000. Hearon surrendered March 3 to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Hearon faces a sentence of between three and 14 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The charges against Hearon are not proof of guilt. A defendant charged is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

March 12 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.

• Rogelio Gaytan, 34, of the 1100 block of Grove Street in Aurora, was arrested at 9:37 a.m. March 5 for driving while his license was suspended. Police stopped him on Keslinger Road near Blackberry Creek Drive for speeding.

Sugar Grove
• Tami S. Jendrzejczyk, 41, of the 700 block of Marine Drive, Dixon, was charged with a felony, driving with a revoked license at 4:49 p.m. on Feb. 21. She had been arrested for driving while her license was revoked on six previous occasions. She was northbound on Route 47 at Park Street.

• Dana K. Bushnell, 24, of the 200 block of Maple Street, Sugar Grove, was charged at 4:57 p.m. on Feb. 21 on an in-state warrant for failure to appear in Kane County court. She was in the first block of Sugar Lane, Sugar Grove.

• Eleazar Perez, 33, of the 1300 block of Monomoy Street, Aurora, was charged with driving without a valid driver’s license and an obstructed windshield at 8:29 p.m. on Feb. 22. She was eastbound on Galena at Gordon Road.

• Calvin H. Ferguson, 41, of the 8300 block of S. Phillips Avenue, Chicago, was arrested for driving with a suspended license at 5:13 p.m. on Feb. 27. He was at Route 47 and Cross Street.

• Tracy R. Porterfield, 37, of the 7800 block of S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, was arrested on three failure-to-appear warrants from the Aurora Police Department at 5:13 p.m. on Feb. 27. She was at Route 47 and Cross Street.

• Ryan M. Rieger, 20, of the 200 block of W. South Street, Elburn, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia at 8:36 p.m. on Feb. 28. He was on the 400 block of Route 47.

• Alysa A. Barry, 30, of the 100 block of Meadows Drive, Sugar Grove, was arrested for driving with an obstructed windshield and a suspended driver’s license, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cannabis (less than 2.5 grams) at 3:36 p.m. on March 1. She was northbound on Route 47 at Cross Street.

• Christina S. Colon, 30, of the 2700 block of Prairie View Lane, Aurora, was arrested 5:52 p.m. on March 1 for disobeying a stop sign and arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court on a battery charge in DuPage County. She was westbound on the Route 56 ramp at Galena Boulevard.

• Christopher A. Cantu, 30, of the 300 block of Maple Street, Sugar Grove, was arrested at 1:51 p.m. on March 2 on a failure to appear warrant from Kendall County. He was in the 300 block of Snow Street.

Kindergarten registration, literacy fair set for March 13

The 2010 Kindergarten Registration and Literacy Fair will take place on Saturday, March 13, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Kaneland High School cafeteria. Students who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2010 should attend.

Parents should bring the original and a photocopy of identification, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, proof of residency and payment for fees, approximately $110. For more information, contact Director of Curriculum Sarah Mumm at (630) 365-5111, ext. 112.

WCC announces fall dean’s list

The Waubonsee Community College dean’s list celebrates excellence in full-time students who attain a minimum 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0. The dean’s list honors the following students for the fall 2009 semester at the college: from Elburn, David Bartel, Zachary Bohnenkamp, Jonathan Britz, Edward Chaney, Morgan Coburn, Ryan Dwyer, Joshua Gould, Erica Hankes, Erin Hanold, Amanda Hilton, Christopher Hosey, Adam Lindoo, Joseph Long, Nicole Prusinski, Ryan Rieger and Jana Roderova; from Maple Park, Madeline Brennan, Meghan Dienst, Danni Garcia, Rachael Herrick, Amanda Kummerow, Wojciech Mietka, Caitlin Nudo, Robert Sbarboro, Lindsey Stover and Samuel Swithers; and from Sugar Grove, Daryl Barnett, Melissa Breon, Erin Cinto, Emily Cui, Brooke Czekala, Brittany Dexter, Riley Hayman, Jenna Ivkovich, Bridget Kennedy, Zachary VerVynck and Paul Wood.