Landon Levi Cornell

Chris and Jen Cornell of Hinckley are proud to announce the birth of their son, Landon Levi. He was born May 6, 2010, at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 19 inches long.

The proud grandparents are Kathrine Gramly of Sugar Grove, and Brad and Deb Cornell of Elburn. Great-grandparents are Charlie Piper of South Bend, Ind., and Larry Cornell of Elburn.

Celia Rose Bedell

Michael and Christi (Warnick) Bedell of Elburn announce the birth of their daughter, Celia Rose. She was born March 12, 2010, at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and was 18.5 inches long.

Her grandparents are Ralph and Lois Warnick of Hartselle, Ala., Janet and James Stephens of Hartselle, Ala., and Stella Bedell of Clarksburg, W.Va.

This is the couple’s first child.

Gregory ‘Greg’ Phillip Graham

Gregory “Greg” Phillip Graham, 51, of Elburn, formerly of Lombard, Ill., passed away May 23, 2010, at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family following a long and fierce battle with cancer.

He was born Nov. 30, 1958, in Effingham, Ill., the son of Lynn and Vera Graham.

He grew up spending many years on his grandparents’ farm, and although he built his knowledge in local schools, his character was built on each acre of that farm.

Greg attended St. John’s Lutheran School and graduated from Glenbard East High School with the class of 1977. Greg found excavating and demolition work in the construction trade, working long hours but always finding time to work on various motorcycles and cars.

Greg found the love of his life just down the road from his home, but never met her until after graduation while camping with mutual friends. Tracy Gilman stole his heart while she gave him her own when they were united in marriage in 1982.

They began their new life together in Lombard for a time, where they began raising a family that would include two sons, Austin and Mason. In 1988, the family moved to Elburn, where he built the house where they would make their home.

Greg never found a motorcycle or car that he couldn’t fix up and sell for more than he paid. In recent years, a 1950 Ford brought him many hours of happiness as well as accolades when he won the First Place Friday Night Award in Lombard. His vehicle was also chosen to continue with an entry into the World of Wheels.

Greg hosted great parties and huge bonfires that originally just “happened” but quickly became an annual event that brought friends and family from around the country.

Greg was one of a kind. His strength of character that was forged on the farm combined with his infectious unique laugh and warmth of spirit made him unforgettable in every sense of the word. Gone but not forgotten, his presence can still be found in the legacy of memories he left behind for all those who loved him.

He is survived by his wife, Tracy; two sons, Mason Graham of DeKalb and Austin Graham of Elburn; five siblings, Marcia Catalano of Lombard, Kevin Graham of Lombard, Carole (Mark) Roberts of Wheaton, Ill., Jeff (Ann) Graham of Downers Grove, Ill., and Tim Graham of Lombard; his parents, Lynn and Vera Graham of Lombard; and many nieces, nephews and a family of friends who will miss him dearly.

He is preceded in death by both his paternal and maternal grandparents.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 27, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL, 60119. A funeral to celebrate his life will begin at 11 a .m., Friday, May 28, also at the funeral home. The Rev. James Ilten, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lombard, will officiate. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit the American Cancer Society. Checks may be made to the “Greg Graham Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at

Lyla Y. Johnsen

Lyla Y. Johnsen, 84, of Elburn, passed from this life to eternal life early in the afternoon on May 18, 2010, surrounded by the love of her family at Kindred Hospital in Sycamore.

Lyla was born the daughter of D. Clyde and Bessie B. (Brundige) Divine on Dec. 19, 1925, in Geneva.

She grew up in the La Fox area and attended both La Fox and Wasco schools. She graduated from Geneva High School with the class of 1942. After graduation, like many of her generation, Lyla found work at Burgess-Norton, where employees made tank piston pins in support of the war.

During her younger years on the family farm, Lyla got to know her “farm neighbor,” a 13-year-old boy named Jay Johnsen. Their farms were adjoined on a creek, and through the passing of time, friendship grew into love, and love into marriage on June 19, 1946.

They made their home with Lyla’s brother Bill and his wife until they could save enough money to have a dream farm of their own.

Lyla and Jay began farming on the Beith farm, where they farmed for three years until 1949, when Lyla and Jay moved to the Warne farm west of Elburn. There, they bought their first herd of dairy cows. In 1952, they moved to the Zeller farm on Shoefactory Road near Elgin, Ill., and farmed there until 1960, when they purchased the present family farm homestead, where Jay’s family lived when he was a boy.

Through the years they would farm many acres throughout the area. The Johnsen families eventually purchased 1,000 acres near DeKalb.

Besides working on the farm and raising her family, Lyla spent many years as a teacher’s aide at Wasco Elementary School, where many friendships were made with many generations. She also was a Sunday school teacher at United Methodist Church of Geneva.

Lyla had a giving heart and always found ways to give back to her neighbors and surrounding communities. She was a 4-H leader for more than 20 years, first with the Elgin Eagles and then with the La Fox Boys. When the boys were young, Lyla also was a Cub Scout Leader.

Her family ties were strong to the old one-room Sholes School house. Many members of her family were taught as students with her aunt, Emma Divine, being a teacher, as well. She was instrumental in the moving of the school house from Burlington and its refurbishing when it finally found its home in Le Roy Oaks Forest Preserve. When an election time came around on the calendar, she could always be counted on as an election judge.

Lyla also was a member of the Wasco Ladies’ Aid and the Aurora Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Later, she helped to organize and became a charter member of the Elias Kent-Kane Chapter of the DAR on December 10, 1980. Jay and Lyla both were active together, starting the Lords and Ladies Square Dance Club in Elgin. They also were very involved in the La Fox Farmers’ Club and the Associated Milk Producers Inc. For more than 20 years, Lyla was the superintendent of the Hobby and Crafts Building at the Kane County Fair.

Lyla had a love for travel with her sister, Merilyn, and later Jay, with destinations in every state as well as into Canada and Mexico. Lyla and Jay could always be found in the stands rooting on their children and grandchildren at nearly every single game, no matter the sport or the weather. Lyla will be missed by many and forgotten by none.

She is survived by four sons, Steve Johnsen of Denver, Colo., Rodney (Diane) Johnsen of Elburn, K.C. (Phyllis ) Johnsen of Batavia, and Todd (Linda) Johnsen of St. Charles; seven grandchildren, Marc-Paul (Melissa) Johnsen and their children, Evelyn and Leia of Denver, Colo., Grant Johnsen, Ryan Johnsen, Nicole “Coley” (Dan) Pawlikowski, Ben Johnsen, Kaitlyn Johnsen and Tara Johnsen; one sister, Lois Divine, of St. Charles; four sisters-in-law, Marcia Filip of Vancouver, Wash., and Marilyn Divine of Wisconsin, Judy Johnsen of Florida and Viola Johnsen of Geneva; one brother-in-law, Merle Johnsen of southern Illinois; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and a countryside of friends.

She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jay (2008); her parents; two brothers, Bill and Ramon; and one sister, Merilyn Divine.

Visitation was Tuesday May 25, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral service to celebrate her life was held Wednesday, May 26, also at the funeral home. Lyla’s son, Steve Johnsen, pastor of the Denver Inner City Parish, officiated, and interment followed at Garfield Cemetery, Garfield Road, Campton Township.

A memorial has been established in her name to benefit Denver Inner City Parish, and the Garfield Farm. Checks may be made to the “Lyla Johnsen Memorial” and mailed in care to P.O. Box 66, 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through her obituary at For additional information, call (630) 365-6414

Summer building projects slated

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on May 24 reviewed all of District 302’s summer projects, including door replacements at both the high school and middle school, replacement of the high school’s roof, and the creation of an athletic and maintenance storage facility at Harter Middle School.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Julie-Ann Fuchs presented the summer project schedule, and also announced that there will be about $1,047,934 remaining in the District’s capital projects fund after all projects are completed.

All summer projects are expected to be finished sometime in August with the exception of the storage facility, which is expected to be completed in January 2011.

MP man arrested in connection with Kaneville burglary

KANEVILLE—A Maple Park man was arrested after police found him in possession of a vehicle stolen in a burglary, one of 13 burglaries that took place April 30 in Kaneville.

Kane County Sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant on May 7 at 49W972 Peterson Road, Maple Park, where Dennis P. Walsh resided. They arrested Walsh on May 21 at his home, and he was charged with the following offenses:

• 3 counts of unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle a class 2 felony

• 3 counts of unlawful defacement of a vehicle ID number, a class 2 felony

• 4 counts of theft, a class 3 felony

• 3 counts of theft, a class A misdemeanor

• 1 count of criminal damage to property, a class A misdemeanor

Walsh is being held at the Kane County Adult Justice Center with a $75,000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation into the rash of burglaries in Kaneville. Sheriff’s detectives have been assisted in the investigation by all areas of the agency including patrol, special operation unit, community policing, school resource officers and a county crime analyst. Members of the Sheriff’s Citizens police academy also assisted with providing information in this case.

The charges against Walsh are not a proof of guilt. A defendant 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.

Kane County Sheriff’s Detectives along with Detectives from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Kane County Auto Theft Task Force are continuing the investigation. Anyone with information relating to this incident is encouraged to call Kane County Sheriff’s Detective Ken Johnson at (630) 208-2028.

WCC offers career education scholarships

Sugar Grove—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering scholarships to students enrolling in a variety of career education programs during the upcoming 2010-11 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 28.

These $500 program scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. A list of qualifying degree and certificate programs and an application form can be found at, or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

West Nile Virus season is here

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department is cautioning residents now that as the warm weather approaches, so does the West Nile Virus season.

Hot, dry weather and stagnant water are the two main ingredients prized by the culex mosquito, the species most commonly associated with the disease.

“As we look forward to outdoor activities this summer, we need to be mindful of West Nile Virus and take precautions for our family by wearing insect repellent and protective clothing,” Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “We’ve been lucky the last two years, because cool spring temperatures have helped to slow the spread and keep our case counts down. We can’t count on that happening again this year.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Last year there were no human cases reported in Kane County. Five were reported in Illinois. Kane saw three cases in 2008, in 2007 there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002.

About two out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, as well as death are possible. People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen.
• In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at or People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

KHS students earn honors in IWPA contest

Kaneland—Four Kaneland High School students were among the 54 honored by the Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA) during its annual High School Communications Contest.

Contest winners were recognized during an award luncheon on May 15.

Erica Brettman earned a second-place honor in the Environment category with a piece titled, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Ways to Go Green Today.”

Mel Mazuc earned second-place recognition in the Opinion category with an entry titled “He Might as Well Cause Cancer.”

Sarah Arnold earned third place in the Reviews category with “The Coolest, Funniest iPod Apps Money Can Buy.”

Austin Paulson earned an honorable mention in the Graphics category with an untitled graphic.

What his future holds

by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—Even though he has always been a planner, Charlie McCormick, Kaneland District superintendent for the past 12 years, said when he retires in June, he has no set agenda for the future. When asked what he might do, he answered, “What I want to do.”

McCormick is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, doing genealogy research—his favorite hobby—and fishing in Wisconsin from a sit-on-top kayak he intends to buy.

He also wants to spend time with friends.

“Frankly, my job has not given me a whole lot of time to do that,” McCormick said. “So, going someplace for a cup of coffee some morning and just chit-chatting with people is not anything I’ve had much opportunity to do.”

McCormick said it was not unusual for him to have to attend as many as eight night meetings a month—staff and board and community and committees—after working during the day.

He will miss the general activity level of his job and camaraderie of what he calls his “work family,” but won’t miss those night meetings, he said.

McCormick doesn’t think retirement will be much of an adjustment for him, except in one regard.

“As of 3 p.m. June 11, my opinion won’t matter anymore,” McCormick said. “I will have to get used to that.”

McCormick looks back, ahead

After 16 years planning Kaneland’s future, superintendent prepares for his own
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—If one word could be used to describe Kaneland School District during Superintendent Charlie McCormick’s 16 years with it, that word would be “growing.” One word best describes how McCormick dealt with that issue, “planning.”

“I have tried to think ahead, always anticipating several years in advance what things could be so that we don’t paint ourselves into a corner and so that we give ourselves some flexibility for the future,” McCormick said.

McCormick, who is retiring in June, came to the district in 1994, and since then the number of students and staff has more than doubled. Sixteen years ago, the district had 147 teachers and administrators, and now has 382.

At the beginning of 1994 school year, the district had 2,149 students, compared to the estimated 2010-11 enrollment of 4,674.

Intergovernmental agreement
One of the first tasks he tackled to prepare for additional expected growth was pursuing intergovernmental agreements with district municipalities to ensure developer impact fees for the schools.

“When I became superintendent (in 1998) I sort of took that on and really, what I thought what had to happen was that it’s not just the municipalities talking to us—they need to be talking to one another.”

Now, when a municipality wants to attract a developer, everything is open to negotiation except school fees.

“Those are not negotiable,’ McCormick said. “They can’t be traded off.”

Establishing the intergovernmental agreement was not easy, he said.

“It took a lot of meetings with municipalities,” McCormick said.

At two or three of those meetings, all of the trustees from all the villages were all in one room, the high school library.

Citizen advisory committees
Trying to get the word out about district issues over 142 square miles and nine communities was among McCormick’s challenges over the years, especially when referendums were at stake, he said. The district made great strides in that communication effort by establishing the citizen advisory committees, he said.

McCormick proposed the citizen advisory committees to the School Board about 10 years ago.

“I said, as long as we’re going to keep growing here, you really are going to need to have ongoing communications with the community in some form, some way,” he said.

The district created a citizens advisory committee, a facilities planning committee and finance advisory committee, all composed mostly of citizens appointed by the School Board.

“I think that structure has served the board well, because it has provided for them an ongoing entity that when we start seeing a need in a change for a facility, or a new facility, we start right there with the citizens, early,” McCormick said.

Some CAC members have served for nearly 10 years, bringing district information to the community and bringing residents’ feedback to district officials.

The advisory committees have helped inform district residents about the need for several school referendums for new buildings, McCormick said.

District growth
McCormick, of Sycamore, started as Kaneland’s assistant superintendent for business 16 years ago and became superintendent four years later in place of Dennis Dunton.

Kaneland Assistant Superintendent Jeff Schuler will take the superintendent seat this summer.

When McCormick came to Kaneland, the district had just two schools, at Meredith and Keslinger roads in Maple Park. Others throughout the district had been closed over the years as enrollment tapered off and old buildings needed costly asbestos removal.

However, by 1994, enrollment had increased at the seventh through 12 grades, housed in what is now the high school, and K-sixth at the other building.

“That’s what I walked into … growth was now happening,” McCormick said. “The district was getting bigger and bigger, swelling up against the walls.

“Part of what happens with growth, is that everything has to grow. You have to have more buildings, more lights, more teachers, more administrators, more buses-the whole thing just grows.”

School Board member Cheryl Krauspe said McCormick was a deft leader who was invaluable in a time of great change in the district.

“Charlie provided important direction in our times of managing rapid growth and due diligence in our times of economic distress,” Krauspe said. “He led with respectfulness, thoughtfulness, finesse, and the wisdom that comes from valuable experience. Kaneland is a better, much improved, more solid place because of his dedication and his distinguished career of service and leadership with us.”

Motorcycle parade will escort singer into village

MAPLE PARK—A parade of more than 50 motorcycles will escort country-music singer Lindsay Lawler into Maple Park, from Route 47 north on County Line Road, at 6 p.m. Friday, May 28.

Lawler will perform that evening at H.D. Rockers, a new tavern on the lower level of the Maple Park American Legion hall.

Tavern owner and motorcyclist Wally Elliott said the parade is to honor her appearance, as well as to recognize Motorcycle Awareness Month. The parade participants will include motorcyclists from Illinois and other states.

Nashville country star coming to MP

Lindsay Lawler will play May 28 at H.D. Rockers
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Country-music recording artist and Nashville headliner Lindsay Lawler will perform at H.D. Rockers in Maple Park on Friday, May 28.

The 5-foot 3-inch singer is known for her strong voice and energetic stage presence.

“She’s a real performer,” H.D. Rockers owner Wally Elliott said.

Elliott met Lawler through friends, and while they visited with her in December in Nashville, she promised to perform at H.D. Rockers, which opened recently in the American Legion Hall in Maple Park.

Lawler is making the Maple Park stop during a trip north to Minnesota for another engagement on Saturday.

Admission to Lawler’s H.D. Rockers event is free, Elliott said. A local band, Field Day, will open the concert at 6:30 p.m., and Lawler will take the stage at 8:30.

She will perform several sets until 1:30 a.m., mingling with the crowd before the show and during breaks, Elliott said.

Elliott expects a large crowd at H.D. Rockers on Friday night, but said that all in attendance would be able to enjoy Lawler’s show.

“We’ll keep rolling people through so everyone has a chance to see her,” he said.

Lawler has musical roots in country, gospel and Broadway styles. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Dallas, she attended University of Oklahoma, where she was music chairman in her sorority and lead singer for a rock band.

After college she moved to Los Angeles and fronted another rock band, performing at the Viper Room, Whisky A Go-Go and The Roxy. Lawler was then discovered in LA by producers Marshall and London Jones, for whom she recorded several songs that received airplay across the country.

Lawler decided to return to her country roots, and moved to Nashville, where she performs regularly at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in downtown Nashville. Among her most popular songs are “Truckers and Rodeo Crowds,” “Cowgirl Fairytale” and ”High-Tech Redneck.”

New bylaws for library

Friends president questions board’s process, action
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on May 13 changed several library bylaws to make it easier for the board to outline its officers’ responsibilities and to navigate a budget expected to tighten considerably during the next year, library officials said.

The changes include termination of the library’s committee system in favor of library representative positions; an addition of a second Committee-of-the-Whole meeting each month; designation of the Library Board president as a primary spokesperson for the Library Board; and a decreased limit on how much money the library director can spend without seeking board approval. Any donations to the library exceeding $100 will now require board approval, as well.

The Library Board chose to hold off on a proposed change to the bylaw affecting the library director’s personnel decisions until further review.

“We are optimistic about the library’s future, and we believe these bylaw changes will have a positive impact on our library, and allow us to more effectively accomplish what we need to in the year ahead, within the confines of our new budget,” Sugar Grove Library Trustee Sabrina Malano said.

Malano’s optimism is not a universal feeling throughout Sugar Grove, however. Friends of the Library President Pat Graceffa gave a statement during the Library Board meeting, questioning the board’s decision to replace a committee with eight library representative positions.

“How is the board more qualified than the staff we have in place?” Graceffa asked. “I would also suggest that these library representative positions eliminate the diversity of input a committee would bring to the table.”

According to Graceffa, a committee meeting to review bylaws and conduct a survey discussion was held on April 22 at a library trustee’s home instead of the Sugar Grove Public Library, where the meetings are usually held.

“This board has an agenda, and they seem to think the way they are conducting business is unapproachable,” she said. “The board president knew I wanted to attend the bylaw and survey discussion meeting held in a trustees’ home, (and) he knew I was not welcomed in that home. Nonetheless, the meeting still took place in that home instead of in our library.”

Graceffa insisted throughout her statement that she does not challenge the Library Board’s right to make changes to any existing bylaws, but asked for the board to clearly demonstrate how the approved changes could benefit the Sugar Grove community.

Sugar Grove Library Board President Art Morrical said the library representative system was chosen because of the numerous scheduling constraints the board experienced while using a committee.

“Moving to a system of library representatives allows us to hold all our meetings as regular board meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month,” he said. “That way, we can proceed with full board participation and continue moving ahead with critical budget discussions.”

Malano said the bylaw changes were implemented so that the Sugar Grove Public Library can stay current with updates made to Illinois state law, and also serve both the library and the voters who elected current library board members.

“Our goal as trustees has been, and always will be, giving our patrons the best possible library experience,” she said. offers close look at lawmakers

KHS grads’ website a forum for discussion
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—A new website makes it easier for people to keep track of the business their local lawmaker is conducting in the U.S. Capitol.

Think of it as Facebook for politics.

“We want PeepGov to be in the forefront of the political discussion by merely presenting what people are saying so everyone can see it,” PeepGov President and Elburn resident Nick Secrest said. “We want to help facilitate the discussion.”

PeepGov is a political database that provides streaming Congress-related information in real time, essentially bundling up the data available on any Congressperson, and providing that information in an easy-to-understand format. The website is so user-friendly that people can access the PeepGov database without even knowing who represents them in Washington D.C.

“Just (enter) your zip code and you can be brought up to speed on what your voice in Washington is saying,” Secrest said. “Everyone has busy lives, and with the technology in this day and age, it shouldn’t be hard to keep track of what is going on, but it is. PeepGov makes it simple.”

Secrest, a 2004 Kaneland High School graduate, first became interested in building a political website during the 2008 presidential election. He then enlisted the help of his two long-time friends, Brian Signorella and Nic Borg, to start building the site in March 2009. Both Signorella and Borg, who also are 2004 Kaneland graduates, have computer science degrees from Northern Illinois University.

PeepGov’s creation required more than a few personal sacrifices, as the three creators spent an entire year balancing the design of the website with their day jobs, Secrest said.

“Juggling work and my schedule has been the hardest part for me,” he said.

So far, the hard work and sacrifices have been more than worth it, as PeepGov has accumulated thousands of hits during the last two months and continues to garner attention from bloggers looking to post their material on the site. Secrest even plans to soon have candidates be an actual part of the PeepGov community.

The new website has offered Secrest, himself, a chance to keep tabs on his Congressional leaders’ activities.

“I think the main thing (PeepGov) has done for me is allow me to just keep up with what (they) are doing and saying, as well as what people are saying about them,” Secrest said. “Now I get to see what they are doing from all angles, which, up until this point, has never really been done before.”

Secrest believes streaming information is the wave of the future and was inspired by the community interaction featured on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Most political websites present too much information, which makes the information hard to find within the site,” Secrest said. “Our site brings you information in a simple and real-time way. PeepGov also rates congressional leaders and shows you who the most talked about person is and why they are important.”

Through the filters, visitors can even search by state, gender, party or most-active, and the site shows who is being talked about the most at that very moment.

Every Congressperson’s page on the PeepGov website also has a peepscore, which shows the amount of activity each page is receiving from website visitors.

“No (other) site does that,” Secrest said.

What’s next for the website looking to revolutionize the way people view and interact with their local government? Secrest believes the sky’s the limit.

“We want PeepGov to be a household name for real-time information about the people who represent you—from the federal level to the state and local level,” he said.

Students say moms are best in town

SG contest sponsors select three winners
by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Three local mothers received a special honor just before Mother’s Day, winning the Best Moms in Town contest.

They were among 28 moms who were nominated for the award, through essays their Kaneland middle- and high-school students wrote. The contest was sponsored by Audrey Ritchey of Tastefully Simple home parties, the Sugar Grove Public Library and the Elburn Herald.

Winner Veronica Price was nominated by her daughter Kailah. Kailah wrote that her mother is very involved with home-schooling and church activities, as well as Kailah’s soccer games and violin lessons.

“My mom gives a hug even when the person has done something bad. She gives up so many things for me,” she said.

Veronica said she felt humbled when she heard she had won.

“You never really feel you’re the best mother,” she said. “You always feel you could do better.”

The second winning mom, Pattie Pattermann, a Kaneland teacher for eighth-grade language arts, was nominated by her daughter Kylen. Kylen wrote that her mom always finds time to listen to her problems and said, “My mother’s wisdom always shines through. When I don’t want to ‘hear about it’ because I think I’m smarter than her, I get hugs. I know my mom loves me. What more can I ask for?”

Pattie said she was pleased and surprised when she won, especially since she didn’t know her daughter had submitted an essay. Besides Kylen, she has two sons, one a junior in college and one graduating this month. She said she appreciates the sponsors and their gifts and the middle school for announcing the contest every morning.

“I’m hoping that more students will participate in next year’s contest,” Pattie said.

The third winning mom, Sherri Gura of Montgomery, was nominated by her daughter Starla. Starla expressed admiration for her mother’s strength during a divorce, and the loss of her own mother, brother and her five-year-old son from cancer. Starla said that when so many other people would have fallen apart, her mother was a source of strength that kept everyone else going.

In addition to Starla, she has two college-age sons.

“I knew that they were feeling what I was feeling,” Sherri said.

The day Sherri found out she’d won a Best Mom award, she was feeling down and then got the phone call.

“I don’t feel strong, but I’m glad my daughter sees me that way,” she said.

Each winner received a beach bag worth $350 with prizes that included oil change coupons, massages, olive oil, movie tickets, chocolate, coffee, automatic toothbrushes and other gifts from local businesses, the Elburn Herald, Tastefully Simple, Longaburger Baskets and Mary Kay cosmetics. The Friends of the Sugar Grove Library chose the winners.

“It was so difficult for them to choose,” Ritchey said. “Each one of the essays brought tears to our eyes for how thoughtful and heart-warming they were. They showed that these students really appreciated their mothers.”

Beverly Holmes Hughes, library director, said, “All three of the students (of the winning moms) said they wanted to be like their mothers—that they knew being a mom was a sacrifice.”

Other nominees

In addition to winners Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sherri Gura, the other mothers whose children nominated them for the Best Mom in Town were Lisa Albrechs-Legorreoa, Julie Crabb, Margarette Darst, Laura Long, Annmarie Martons, Laura McPhee, Mrs. Packard, Marybridget Prince, Laura Remes, Jenny Reuland, Juanita Singh, Becky Staley, Kim Emmanouil, Tina Goodacre, Michelle Jurcenko, Cindy Prost, Judy Van Bogaert, Kim Wendling, Sally Alef, Kelly Rosenwinke, Cindi Strobel, Terry Lamb, Lynn McHenry and Angela Orr.

Photo: Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sheri Gura. Courtesy photos

KHS baseball keeps hitting at 21 wins

KANELAND—Kaneland baseball hit the 20-win mark once again and found itself with a chance at Western Sun Conference-glory if things tumble in the right direction.

At 21-11 (13-6 WSC), the Knights split a doubleheader with Sycamore on Saturday afternoon in Maple Park and beat Sycamore on Friday by a 5-2 final.

They followed the weekend’s action with a convincing 9-1 win in DeKalb on Tuesday afternoon.

Kaneland is now in a first-place tie with Geneva in conference play.

In game one of the doubleheader, an 8-7 win, Jake Tickle improved to 8-0, pitching 2.2 innings of relief, and Bobby Thorson nabbed the save.

Thorson also produced at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Jake Fiedler doubled and drove in three runs for the Knights.

Up 4-2 after three innings, Sycamore took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, before KHS scord two in the bottom of the inning. Kaneland led 7-5 in the sixth when the Spartans scored twice to tie matters, before the Knights put up one in the bottom of the sixth.

In the 6-4 game two loss, Sam Komel, in 5.1 innings, gave up six runs and struck out seven.

Joe Camaliere went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI while Thorson went 3-for-4 with a double and run driven in.

On Friday, Kaneland scored two in the first, two in the second and one in the third, before allowing two Spartan runs in the bottom of the third. Illini-bound Ty Hamer went the distance and improved to 5-2.

Fiedler went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

Against the Barbs, Thorson improved to 4-2 with a complete game two-hitter, while Thorson, Tickle and Tyler Callaghan all went 3-for-4.

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Andrews, Markuson, Sinon finish WSC boys track action with flourish

by Mike Slodki
GENEVA—Kaneland boys track ended its Western Sun Conference tenure on a nice note this past Friday in Geneva.

The exceptional finishes might pave the way for a prolific Class 2A sectional in Sterling on Friday afternoon.

Thanks to a handful of first-place finishes, the Knights garnered 120 points, enough for second place. Geneva, at 143 points, finished atop the standings.

Glenbard South (82), DeKalb (60) and Batavia (55) rounded out the top five, while Yorkville (42), Sycamore (30.5) and Rochelle (24.5) finished in the bottom third.

The first-place party began with Taylor Andrews in the 110 meter high hurdles, when he ran the stretch in 14.69 seconds. Andrews finished fifth in preliminaries.

The 4x400m relay foursome won its event with a time of 3:23.44.

Logan Markuson became the last-ever WSC champ in the 300m hurdles with a time of 39.30, winning by .22 seconds over Geneva’s Ryan Ahern.

Markuson also won the pole vault with a mark of 13 feet, nine inches.

Nick Sinon, with an effort of 42-10, won the triple jump, while also taking the high jump at 6-09.

For the frosh-soph roster that finished fourth with 78 points, several exceptional finishes came Kaneland’s way.

Dylan Pennington finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 24.81. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:08.26, finished second in the 800m run.

Knight Chad Swieca took the conference title in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.43 seconds.

Successful finishes for relay units included a second place in the 4x400m at 3:44.30 and a 4x800m first place nod with a time of 8:43.16.

Knight Marshall Farthing took a third in the high jump at 5-05 and a third in the triple jump at 37-10.5

The Knights now gear up for the Class 2A Sterling Sectional on Friday, May 21.

Lady Knights softball spends 16 innings in 2-1 win over Sycamore

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland softball got more than it bargained for this past week.

As in more innings than scheduled, quite a bit more.

On Friday, a rain makeup against rival Sycamore resulted in a 2-1 thriller that took an astounding 16 innings to resolve. KHS followed that up with an 11-inning encounter at Yorkville, but that resulted in a 2-1 loss.

With three regular season contests remaining, the Lady Knights are 15-10 with a 7-5 Western Sun Conference mark.

In the epic battle against the Lady Spartans, first baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts, who went 5-for-8, not only drove home LF Sam Hansen with the winning run with the bases loaded, but also rushed home to tie the score in the bottom of the 15th on a wild pitch.

Dimmig-Potts was glad she could come through, when KHS was down to its final strike.

“A win like this shows us we can do anything,” Dimmig-Potts said. “We just had to push through it. I saw an opportunity to score and I took it.”

CF Jordan Hester went 5-for-7 with two doubles.

The Lady Knights had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 12th and 14th innings on base hits, but Hester was gunned down by good Sycamore throws at the plate.
Pitcher Delani Vest worked the entire game and struck out eight, allowing just one run on seven hits.

In order to keep the Lady Knights in the game, coach Brian Willis noted a big improvement in one aspect of the game.

“We’re playing well defensively,” Willis said. “We’ve worked hard in practice, and it’s paying dividends in the game.”

Against the Lady Foxes, Kaneland scored on in the first, but Yorkville tied matters in the sixth and won in the eleventh.

The Lady Knights’ next challenge takes place on Thursday, May 20, vs. Batavia.

Soccer takes regional opener with 2-0 knockout

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Better the second half than not at all.

A scoreless first half for Kaneland soccer in the semifinal of the Class 2A Rosary Regional had the 15-2-5 Lady Knights flummoxed against the fourth-seeded Aurora Central Catholic Lady Chargers.

But a Sophie Blank goal just 13 seconds into the second half gave Kaneland a lead, and an Emily Heimerdinger goal with 32:19 left provided the final 2-0 margin.

Kaneland now increases its season record for wins and also a team goal with 15 wins.

The Lady Knights will now await the winner of (2) Rosary and (3) IMSA, which were set to battle on Wednesday, in the regional title game on Saturday, May 22, at noon.

This now marks the second consecutive season that Kaneland finds itself in the regional championship.

Coach Scott Parillo feels that Kaneland will need to pick up the performance.

“It wasn’t a good display at times. We didn’t pass well and we didn’t shoot well. The good thing is we won and we’re in the regional championship,” he said.

Blank’s goal got the team off to as good a start as possible for the final 40 minutes of action.

“We just needed to be aggressive, and Andie (Bruce) had a good pass,” Blank said.

Heimerdinger’s goal occurred after weaving through waves of ACC defenders and hitting the left corner.

With the Lady Knights surrendering just 15 goals thus far, and goalkeeper Jordan Ginther pitching another shutout, captain and defender Megan Gil knows the defense’s task is magnified in this “second season.”

“You just have to keep your head in the game,” Gil said. “The defense has to be strong and help the offense. We work together as a team. We’ve played a long time and we’ve come from winning only three games our freshman year. We like playing with each other.”

Photo: Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther makes a stop against Aurora Central Catholic during Tuesday’s 2-0 regional-opening shutout. Photo by Mike Slodki

Bailey UWP-bound

“I have an advantage coming from knowing the playbook; we run that offense at Kaneland,” said WR/DB Ryley Bailey, who commited to play football for Division III University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall. Bailey had 56 catches and 8 TD’s in 2009.

File Photo

Kane Coroner indicted for misconduct

Kane County—A Kane County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Kane County Coroner Chuck West on five counts of official misconduct, each a Class 3 felony.

According to the indictment, West, while performing his official duties as coronoer, failed to dispose of the personal property of a deceased individual—a Magnavox 24-inch TV/DVD/VCR. The indictment states that West allowed the TV to be taken and possessed by another person and not disposed of as required by Illinois law. Additionally, the indictment includes the act of theft, “in that he or one for whose conduct he is legally accountable knowingly exerted control over property of the heirs and estate of (the deceased),” according to a press release from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

After the indictment, a judge issued a summons ordering West to appear in court at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 27.

Charges against West are not proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial. It is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.

Guest Editorial: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Guest editorial
by Nina Finch
National Alliance on Mental Illness

At times, having a mental illness leads you to feel that your life is hopeless. It is at these times that people with mental illness need to hear that even though their lives may be challenging, they are certainly not hopeless. It is important for them to hear it from those who love them and work with them, but it is also important that society believe in their recovery.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as part of the observance, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is reviewing the positive changes in mental health treatment. Not that long ago, persons suspected of having a mental illness could be locked away, overdosed with drugs to subdue them, and removed from the lives of their loved ones. There was not much hope that professionals could offer to someone with a serious mental illness.

Although stigma remains and mental health services are under-funded, there is good news. Between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.

In fact, mental illnesses are more treatable than some diseases, such as heart disease. According to a report by the surgeon general, “With proper treatment, the majority of people can return to productive and engaging lives.”

When people with mental illnesses begin to recover, they want to be part of society, get jobs, and make plans for their future. It is more difficult to do these things if society treats them as never really having a future. If coworkers focus on the extra days that the mentally ill take off because of illness, they may not see the extra work done on other days. Coworkers may not believe that the mentally ill can handle the responsibilities of managing others, and may not include them in social activities for fear of unpredictable behavior.

Mental illnesses are serious medical illnesses. They cannot be overcome through will power and are not related to a person’s character or intelligence. It is not a matter of believing in the power of positive thinking, although changes in thinking may often be involved in the treatment process. What does help overcome mental illness is a consistent support system that does not change every election year, as well as a society that believes enough in recovery that they are willing to give the mentally ill the chance to prove that recovery is possible.

Families often feel a sense of hopelessness. They see the errors in judgment in the mentally ill, and they are afraid they will have to deal with this the rest of their lives. They don’t know where to start in getting help or even how to talk to people about what is happening. Support from friends and family reinforces recovery, and this is where NAMI comes in.

NAMI is a grassroots organization that provides support, education and advocacy for people with mental illness and their family and friends. NAMI DeKalb, Kane County and Kendall Counties (NAMIDKK), the local affiliate in this part of Illinois, started as a small group of family members looking for ways to help their loved ones. People needing help with mental health issues often reach out to NAMI because NAMI members can relate to what is happening with them.

When someone calls NAMIDKK, he or she reaches people who have been through similar experiences. The leaders of the support groups and the educational classes are all family members of people with mental illness who have been trained by NAMI to be leaders.

The leaders know what it is like to struggle to find help or experience frustration in navigating the system. The leaders of the support groups for people with mental illness have felt hopeless at one time also, but now they see that recovery is possible. They want to share that with others.

People find NAMI on the Internet, by word of mouth, or by referrals from professionals.

To find out more about NAMIDKK, visit or call (630) 896-6264.

Letter: Thank you for supporting library plant sale

Thank you to everyone in our community who supported the Friends of the Town & Country Library 7th Annual Plant Sale fundraiser, May 7 and 8.

We had over 100 dozen locally grown geraniums, gerbera daisies, tuberous begonias, ivy and coleus.

The proceeds from this sale benefit the library’s summer reading program for adults and children, as well as new materials. Over 1,300 people participated in the 2009 summer reading program. Our library continues to be a great place for everyone to expand their knowledge with a variety of media.

The Friends are a 501 (c) 3 volunteer organization created to support our library’s programs and services. Come check us out and be a “Friend.”

Joan Hansen
Executive Vice-President
Friends of the Town & Country Public Library

Letter: Frasz deserves our thanks

On Tuesday, May 11, members of the Kane County Board voted to remove the county ban on video poker machines in the unincorporated areas of the county. Western Kane County townships, including Big Rock, Blackberry, Campton, Kaneville, Sugar Grove and Virgil, comprise most of unincorporated Kane County.

The general attitude in the 10 townships of western Kane County opposes video gambling, but we are represented by only two members of the board. The other 24 board members represent the six Kane townships located along the Fox River. During the meeting, Elburn resident Jim MacRunnels noted that three of those river town board members have received campaign contributions from the pro-gambling interests, and he asked them to recuse themselves from voting.

I won’t take the space here to list how all board members voted. However, I will note the votes of three:

Bob Kudlicki of Hampshire, one half of our two-member representation on the board, voted for video gambling in November, and again on May 11.

Drew Frasz, the other half of the western Kane townships’ two-member representation on the County Board, stood up against immense pressure put upon him to vote no on placing video gambling machines in our neighborhoods.

Mike Kenyon, board member who is also chairman of the Kane County Republican Party, voted for video gambling on May 11. This is the same Mike Kenyon, who, in 2008, was a member of the Illinois GOP Platform Committee that opposed any expansion of gambling in this state.

Thank you, Drew Frasz, for voicing our concerns and defending your friends and neighbors against the pressures of the County Board and other outside interests.

Dennis C. Ryan

Letter: Open letter to Sugar Grove

I live across from the Sugar Grove Post Office, and for at least four years have watched the drainage problem at the parking lot get bigger and bigger. The water has gotten so large that I now refer to it as the “Post Office Pond,” or the “Federal Wildlife Area.”

I have heard for years that the drainage problem will be fixed, but we still have standing water in the Post Office parking lot. I am elderly and on medication for infections, and do not need to get West Nile Virus.

If the pond is not fixed, will you, the village or the post office, be responsible for mosquito spraying?

Karen McCannon, Sugar Grove

Church news for May 20

Public invited to
Two Guys, Free Spaghetti

St. Charles—Two Guys and Free Spaghetti will provide a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner, beverages, salad, Italian garlic bread and homemade dessert to anyone who comes to St. Charles’ Episcopal Church, 994 N. 5th Avenue, (Route 25) in St. Charles, on Sunday, May 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Joe Ryan and Matt Rhead know that in these difficult times, every family needs a night out together. With their friends, they have provided these dinners each month since April 2009. Carry-out is also available.

Call (630) 890-6586.

Registration open
for Rejoice Lutheran VBS

Geneva—Rejoice Lutheran Church is now registering children for its Vacation Bible School, which will be held June 14-17. The event is open to all children who were in kindergarten through fifth grade for the 2009-10 school year.

This year’s theme, “Egypt: Joseph’s Journey from Prison to Palace,” will take children on a virtual trip to ancient Egypt, where they will watch the story of how Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave and about God’s plan to save Egypt. Activities will include Bible stories, games, songs and crafts.

The cost is $20 per child or $50 per family. Register now through Sunday, May 30. Registration forms are available at the church and at

Rejoice Lutheran Church is located at 0N377 N. Mill Creek Drive in southwest Geneva. For more information, call (630) 262-0596 or visit

Hosanna Lutheran offers
Spiritual Gift seminar

St. Charles—Hosanna! Lutheran Church will host a “Spiritual Gift Seminar” on Saturday, May 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Author and Bible teacher Angela Spitzer will be the presenter. Spitzer is the co-founder and director of Lampstand Retreat Ministries, established in 1990. There is no charge for the seminar.

For more information, call (630) 584-6434, email to or visit Hosanna! is located at 36W925 Red Gate Road, St. Charles.

Rejoice Lutheran hosts
seminar on teenagers

Geneva—Rejoice Lutheran Church will host a seminar titled “Understanding the Complex World of Your Teenager,” led by an expert on adolescence and youth ministry, on Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. The seminar is free and open to the public.

If you have teenagers or will have teenagers, chances are you’ve had these questions: What is it like being a teenager today? What is my teenager really getting into? What do I do with all the technology that my teenager is involved with?

Dr. Steve Gerali will shed some light on these issues and help parents and other adults who work with youth to better understand the complex world of teenagers and how they can better care for the teens in their lives.

The seminar will be held at Rejoice Lutheran Church, 0N377 N. Mill Creek Drive, Geneva. For more information, contact Rejoice at (630) 262-0596 or visit

Elburn resident named top AU student

Andrew Price of Elburn, an Aurora University organizational management major, received AU’s Spartan Award—the school’s top student honor—at an annual Honors Convocation at Crimi Auditorium on April 23.

The convocation recognized students and faculty for academic achievements and campus contributions. AU President Rebecca L. Sherrick presided at the event.

A graduate of St. Charles North High School, Price is the son of Cathy Ling and Paul Price.

Andrew Manion, AU provost, presented Price’s award. It recognizes a student’s scholarship and service to AU and the Aurora community. Faculty choose a senior for the honor based on outstanding contribution to university life during his/her university career.

To be nominated, a student must live the core values of AU—integrity, citizenship, continuous learning and excellence—attain a GPA of 3.5 or better and exhibit exemplary character.

“This student has been well known by the faculty throughout his time at Aurora University,” Manion said. “We feel this individual embodies the qualities necessary to deserve this award. He is a gifted and dedicated student and has a genuine intellectual curiosity. He demonstrates a passion for learning both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Price was selected for the Dunham Scholar Program, Delta Mu Delta Honorary Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society for freshmen.

He has been a member of the football team for four years, served as captain of the tennis team for three years and was MVP for two years. He was named an NCAA Scholar Athlete, served on AU Sports Leadership Council, and was selected to represent AU at the NCAA Division III Leadership Conference.

Additionally, he was a peer advisor for three years, served as Pre-Law Club president and started a Phi Alpha Delta chapter at AU. His service projects include Angel Tree, a fundraiser for children whose parents are incarcerated; participated in the Wayside Cross Walk a Mile, a fundraiser for Wayside Cross Ministries; he co-led the Dunham Scholars, cooking brunch for Ronald McDonald House Charity; served as a tutor during his junior year at Herget Middle School; supported a benefit for Friends of the Park; and served as a Novak Park community volunteer, helping with landscaping, rebuilding docks and renovating the community pavilion.

Owen George Herra

Brian and Laura Herra of Elburn announce the birth of their son, Owen George, on Feb. 28, 2010, at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

He weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

The proud grandparents are Jan Herra of Elburn, and Brian and Leslie Nelson of Lily Lake.