Continue the celebration

After all of the showers, parties and wedding festivities, many couples have had enough and are ready to get on with the private celebration of their union at their honeymoon. You may feel like this is where you will be and scoff at your mother’s suggestion for a post-wedding brunch before you dash off on your honeymoon. Before you put the kibosh on the idea, consider the following.

A post-wedding brunch offers the bride and groom many opportunities. It gives them the chance to connect with guests they missed out on the day before and catch up on all of the details of the event, like little Jimmy breaking hearts on the dance floor. It also gives them the chance to personally thank all of those who assisted with the wedding preparations and those who took time off to travel to the wedding.

A post-wedding brunch also offers benefits for attendees. It gives someone like Aunt Gladys who may have wanted to be a part of the wedding festivities the opportunity to do so and provides out-of-town guests with a good breakfast before they set off for home. It also provides guests with another opportunity to connect and catch up with each other.

While some couples choose to end the public celebration of their union with their wedding reception, others choose to continue the celebration the next morning with a post-wedding brunch. Should you decide to go this route, keep it simple. The wedding is over. There is no need for you to get all gussied up and put on an elaborate affair. Most guests will be leaving for home right afterwards. Restrict invites to out-of-town guests and close family and friends and select a time for the brunch between 8 and 10 o’clock. This will give guests plenty of time to sleep in. Finally, serve a wide range of breakfast foods to suit all tastes.

A post-wedding brunch can be a fun way to unwind before you take off on your honeymoon. Give the idea some thought, and if time and budget permit, go for it!

by Tresa Erickson, MultiAd

Waubonsee selected to serve as accountability pilot site

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College is one of 40 community colleges nationwide selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to serve as a pilot site for the organization’s Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) project.

Developed by the AACC, in collaboration with the Association of Community College Trustees and the College Board, the project is designed to determine and develop appropriate and accepted performance measures for community colleges in such areas as college readiness, student progress and completion, and job preparation and employment. These performance measures will allow colleges to compare their data with peers and more accurately gauge their institutional effectiveness.

As a pilot site, Waubonsee will collect and analyze data from January to August 2011 and provide feedback to the AACC. Waubonsee was chosen for several reasons, including its commitment to continuous quality improvement, its well-defined strategic planning process and its recent Title V grant award.

Over the top

Many a young girl dreams of marrying her prince one day in a lavish wedding. Planning such a wedding requires time and money, and lots of it. The more elaborate the wedding, the higher the price tag. Experts suggest that the average price for a wedding today runs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. For many folks, the figure is staggering. For others, it is a mere pittance.

There have been many weddings that cost millions of dollars throughout history, but the most expensive to date belongs to that of Vanish Mittal and Amit Bhatia. The six-day affair was held in France in 2004 and cost $55 to $60 million. Mittal’s father, the Indian Steel Maharajah, picked up the tab for the affair, which included performances by Sha Rukh Khan and Kylie Minogue.

Next to a multimillion-dollar wedding, a $12 million wedding dress might seem like nothing. The Diamond Wedding Gown from Renee Strausse and Martin Katz Jewellers featured 150 carats of diamonds and was the most expensive in the world. It was shown at the Luxury Brands Lifestyle Bridal Show in 2006, while the second-most expensive wedding dress was shown at Dubai’s Fashion & Diamonds Show. Designed by Yumi Katsura, the gown featured a thousand pearls and one of only two five-carat white gold diamonds in the world. It was valued at $8.5 million.

For wedding cakes, nothing can top the $20 million masterpiece of Nahid La Patisserie Artistique and Mimi So. The cake appeared in 2006 at the Luxury Bridal Show in Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Decked with jewels, it was not intended to be eaten.

The tab for flowers for the average wedding can run in the hundreds of dollars, but the most expensive wedding bouquet cost way more, about $125,000. The red and white bouquet features 90 gemstones, nine diamonds and a star-shaped ruby and is on display on the sixth floor of the Ruby Plaza in Hano, Vietnam.

Money is not always an object in wedding planning. It is hard to imagine someone spending millions of dollars on a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it does happen, often with celebrities and the well-to-do. Sometimes the marriage works, and sometimes it doesn’t, begging the question if over-the-top weddings are worth it.

by Tresa Erickson, MultiAd

Must they eat cake?

The engagement is announced, the date is set, attendants are selected and now the wedding plans begin. Dresses, tuxes, ceremony site, reception site, invitations, menu, guest list, flowers, cake…

Cake? Do you have to have cake? Does every wedding celebration have the ceremonial cutting of the tiered cake? Not anymore. Tradition has given way to personal preference and unique alternatives. Choices are as varied as the bride’s and groom’s personalities.

So what are your options? They run the gamut from elaborately decorated tiers to decorated sugar cookies.

Cutout cookies can be in the shape of a heart, mini wedding cake, boat or other related theme. Flavor options include Grandma’s favorite sugar cookie recipe, gingerbread, brownies, pumpkin, sour cream—any rollout recipe that lends itself to cookie cutters. The decorated cookies can then be personalized with the couple’s names, initials or wedding date. The unique confections can be displayed on a central table, serve as centerpieces on guests’ tables or placed at each place setting.

Rather than serving cake slices, some couples opt for a tiered display of doughnuts or cupcakes. In addition to the unique presentation, one advantage to serving cupcakes or doughnuts is the variety available for individual preferences. Serving dessert is also easier since guests can help themselves to their favorite treat.

A dessert table is another popular option for the wedding meal. The couple can offer their favorite selections of cheesecake, fluff, mousse, trifle, pudding and other sweets. Displayed on varied levels of pedestal plates, the desserts create an unexpected, attractive presentation. Covering the table with coordinating fabric and interspersing small bowls of mints, candies and nuts complete the festive look.

Having a small cake on each table allows guests to serve themselves. These cakes, which can double as centerpieces, can be simply decorated eight-inch layer cakes or they can be thematically decorated—purses, hearts, ships, dresses, baseballs, etc.—to reflect the couple’s unique interests. The originality of the creations will be a topic of conversation long after the wedding day.

Not to be tossed aside, however, is the traditional tiered cake. Flavors, fillings, textures, frosting and design all work together to present a culinary delight. No longer do guests anticipate a white cake with white butter cream frosting at a wedding. Bakeries offer such a wide range of options that no wedding cake should ever be predictable.

Brides and grooms have the opportunity to add a distinctive touch to their wedding day celebration. Not only will guests remember what the bride wore, but they will undoubtedly remember how personal and unique the reception was-especially the dessert.

by Tresa Erickson, MultiAd

Mixing business with pleasure

Although fun, wedding planning can entail difficult decisions, especially when it comes to the guest list. Close friends and family are usually a given; business associates, clients and colleagues, on the other hand, are not. While some couples might find the decision a no-brainer and just nix the idea of mixing business with pleasure, others, especially those higher up the ladder, might have a much more difficult time making the decision.

When you are a high-level executive, leaving people you work with off the guest list might not be such a good idea. You should certainly invite your boss, and depending upon where you are in your career and what’s going on at work, you may need to invite business associates, clients and colleagues. If a big client is in town the weekend of your wedding and your boss is entertaining them, you may want to go ahead and invite them to your wedding. That way, your boss can attend your wedding and bring the client with them.

Before you make any decisions regarding the people you work with, you should speak to your beloved first and find out what they think. They may not be too keen on mixing business with pleasure. On the other hand, they may be in the same position as you and feel it is essential.

Once you have made the decision, you will have to determine how many people from work to invite. If you are having a large wedding and have the budget, the easiest solution may be to invite everyone. If you are more restricted, you may have to make some difficult decisions. You should most definitely invite your boss, as well as close colleagues. If you work regularly with a group of associates and clients, you may want to invite them as well.

When inviting clients, you need to be aware of the products and services they sell and accommodate for that at your wedding, if needed. If a client owns a vineyard, for example, you may want to serve some of their offerings at your wedding. Be careful that you do not serve offerings from their biggest competitor.

To avoid conflict, you may want to throw a separate party before or after your wedding for those you work with. That way, no one will feel left out.

Whatever choices you make, try not to turn your wedding into a day at the office. Remember the reason you are there and keep the mood light and the tone celebratory.

by Tresa Erickson, MultiAd

Donations needed to help community center go green

[quote]by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Elburn and Countryside Community Center received a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to help with the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system, but the grant is not large enough to cover the entire cost. So, the center is calling on the public to make donations.

“We applied for and were awarded a $90,000 grant, and we have one year to do it (install the system),” said Bill Brauer, a board member for the center.

The benefits of the geothermal system are that it lowers heating and cooling costs, sometimes up to 50 to 75 percent. Less energy is used, and fewer dollars are spent. It also produces lower emissions of all kinds, especially CO2.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation awards grant money to help local government organizations and non-profits purchase and install renewable energy technology. Their mission is to implement and improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution and energy costs to Illinois consumers.

“This grant will be instrumental in helping the center install a geothermal system for the building,” said Laura Stoddard, Elburn Community Center administrator. “We’re excited and proud to be able to install this ultimate energy system.”

Geothermal energy takes advantage of the Earth’s constant year-round temperature. In Illinois, the temperature range hovers around 50 degrees. Instead of burning a fuel, which produces emissions, geothermal uses the Earth’s free energy.

To heat a building, the system captures heat from the ground, and uses a circulation pump to move water through pipes and past a heat exchange. There, the heat is removed and distributed to the heating system.

In cooling a building the process is reversed. Excess heat is removed from the building by a heat pump and transferred to the ground loop heat exchange.

For more information, stop by the Community Center and pick up a brochure at the information desk or call (630) 365-6655.

Seniors may apply for utility tax refund

Elburn—Between Jan. 1 and March 31, anyone age 65 and older who meets certain requirements can apply to receive a utility tax refund. Seniors must earn less than $55,000 a year to receive up to 75 percent of their gas and electric bills, with a cap of $150 annually per household.

The tax refund was eliminated in September 2009, when the Village Board observed misuses and abuses in applying for the refund. It was reinstated in January 2010.

Arnold, Mildred Erickson Charitable Foundation Scholarships

Kaneland—Graduates of Kaneland and Burlington Central School District are eligible to apply for scholarships through the Arnold and Mildred Erickson Charitable Foundation, administered by The Trustees at the National Bank and Trust Company of Sycamore.

The foundation provides scholarships for Waubonsee Community College students majoring in cultural or manual arts, and also students enrolled in a duly accredited four-year college or university.

Information and application forms regarding Arnold and Mildred Erickson Foundation, INC. scholarships are available through the KHS and BCHS guidance offices, the WCC financial office, or by writing The Arnold and Mildred Erickson Foundation, INC. c/o Trust Department, The National Bank & Trust Company of Sycamore, 230 W. State St. M-300, Sycamore, IL 60178. Applications are also available at at the bank’s website, www.nabatco.com.

All application materials must reach The National Bank & Trust Company of Sycamore no later than March 1, prior to the academic year in which aid is being requested.

Lauzen sworn in as 25th District Senator

Photo: State Senator Chris Lauzen is joined by his wife, Sarah, as he is sworn in as a member of the 97th General Assembly. Courtesy Photo

SPRINGFIELD—State Sen. Chris Lauzen (R—Aurora) was sworn in as a member of the 97th General Assembly on Jan. 12. Lauzen took the oath of office with other senators who won their seats in the November elections.

“It is an honor to represent the people of the 25th Senate District,” Lauzen said. “I will work in the 97th General Assembly for constituent priorities that I have worked for in previous General Assemblies: pension reform, cutting government waste, and encouraging a positive business climate in Illinois.”

Lauzen, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, was joined for the swearing-in ceremony by his wife, Sarah.

“I am eager to get to work repealing the tax increase and reforming state government to best serve the citizens of the 25th Senate District,” Lauzen said, referring to tax increase legislation that was passed in the final hours of the previous General Assembly. “We had some success in the 96th General Assembly with major pension reforms. I will continue to build on the success we had and work to fix the major mistakes of the previous General Assembly.”

The 25th Senate District comprises portions of Kane, Kendall and LaSalle counties.

Forest Preserve District seeks summer job applicants

GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is looking for interns and summer-seasonal job candidates.

The Forest Preserve District is now accepting applications for summer employment in the Community Affairs, Natural Resources and Operations & Maintenance departments. Positions to be filled include:

• Campground attendant
• Horticulturist/garden seasonal
• Maintenance field operations seasonal
• Natural resources technician
• Summer camp counselor
• Wildlife technician

Applicants must be 18 or older, able to work outdoors in adverse weather, possess a valid driver’s license, and be able to maintain an enthusiastic, courteous, positive attitude and team spirit. All shifts may include weekends, evenings and holidays, but are limited to a 40-hour week.

Candidates must submit an online employment application, resume and two letters of recommendation to the Forest Preserve District. Letters of recommendation may be mailed separately.

For more information, see the “Employment” section of the Forest Preserve District’s website, contact Human Resources Assistant Betsy Scaletta at (630) 208-8662 or e-mail hrforest@kaneforest.com.

Village, Shodeen address remaining issues

Elburn—Representatives for the Shodeen development planned for Elburn between Route 38 and Keslinger met with the Planning Commission, Kaneland School District, Kane County Department of Transportation and the Fire District. Village President Dave Anderson said that all of the issues raised by the Planning Commission and the Village Board have been addressed, including amendments to the commercial development and the number of houses.

“Things are moving along. We’ve had an excellent working relationship with Shodeen. We’re keeping our fingers crossed in the next month or so,” Anderson said.

Directors present strategic plan update

Kaneland—The Kaneland School Board on Monday evening was presented with a strategic Response to Intervention (RTI) plan update by Directors of Eductional Services Sarah Mumm and Erika Schlichter, and Director of Special Education Fran Eggleston. The plan seeks to help evaluators identify children who may require special education services.

The new plan further outlines the criteria necessary to determine whether or not a child is eligible for special education, and also identifies several variables that can actually create the illusion of a learning disability (lack of appropriate instruction, limited English proficiency, etc.) during the evaluation of a student.

Kane County Cougars praised by Baseball America

GENEVA—With Major League camps opening in less than three weeks and baseball on the horizon, the Kane County Cougars organization received news on Tuesday afternoon that Baseball America has rated the Kansas City Royals farm system as the best in all of baseball in the soon-to-be-released 2011 Prospect Handbook.

The Cougars are the Class-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and announced a two-year player development contract with Kansas City last September, making for a “KC/KC” relationship and the most Midwest-centered affiliate the Cougars have held since the organization’s inception in 1991. The Cougars have held past affiliations with Baltimore, Florida and Oakland.

“The Royals have one of the deepest and most talented farm systems in recent memory,” said Jim Callis, Executive Editor at Baseball America. “It’s unusual to see a system with three stud hitters like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers, or four quality lefties like John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer, and the Royals have both. To show how highly we regard the Royals system, we ranked it No. 1 before the Zack Greinke trade, which netted more top prospects.”

Seven of the Royals’ Top 10 prospects will be in Major League Spring Training camp next month in Surprise, Ariz. The group includes first baseman Hosmer (ranked No.1), third baseman Moustakas (No.3) and left-handed pitcher Lamb (No.4).

The Cougars’ home opener is set for April 11 and tickets for all 70 regular season games, including group outings, season tickets and packages are on sale now.

Royal events planned for next weekend:
The Cougars will host a pair of events next weekend as anticipation for the 2011 season grows and the organization prepares for its first year as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Cougars will host a “Meet the Royals” event on Friday, Feb. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. inside Elfstrom Stadium’s Old Second Bank upper deck level. The event will provide fans a introduction to Kane County’s new affiliation with the Kansas City Royals, complete with a speakers series including Vance Wilson, first-year Cougars manager. Royals coaches are also expected to attend.

In addition to meeting members of the Royals family, fans can enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet and complimentary draft beer. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $25 for season ticket and ticket package holders. Fans can purchase tables of 8 for $200. Space is limited and fans are encouraged to get their tickets by visiting www.kccougars.com or by calling the Cougars at (630) 232-8811.

Snow removal causes more concerns

KANEVILLE—The current state of snow removal in Kaneville has caused problems, and the Village Board is still working to fix them.

“I’ve never seen these roads in such bad condition,” said Trustee Paul Ross.

There have been more complaints regarding slippery roads, some covered in ice, as well as the infrequency of the plowing.

“The contract states that there needs to be 2 inches of snow before they come plow,” said Board President Bob Rodney, “But at an inch, I think we will need to ask them to come salt.”

The board said that for now, it is a trial-and-error process. Also, they feel part of the problem may be that the company is not located in Kaneville, and as a result is not directly aware of the current state of the roads.

“We lost the personal perspective,” Ross said. “Someone that lives in the area would know when to throw down some salt when needed.”

They hope to be able to solve these problems, as they are trying to avoid canceling the current contract.

“We are going to increase communication,” Rodney said. “It is between ourselves and the contractor to work out these problems. We will see how they respond in the future.”

Alaskan adventure

Photo: Elburn resident, Tyler Schmidt, trekked 135 miles in the Alaskan wilderness as part of his Outdoor Studies major at Alaska Pacific University. Courtesy Photo

Elburnite spends 23 days in the wild
by Lynn Meredith
ANCHORAGE—With a goal in life to become an expedition guide and years of backpacking and camping experience under his belt, where else would Tyler Schmidt of Elburn go to college than Alaska Pacific University? Set in Anchorage, Alaska, close to the Chugash Mountain range, the university offers a major in Outdoor Studies that provides students with real-life experience in the wilderness. Schmidt took a class in expedition leadership, whose classroom was a 23-day trek in the wildness.

“’Outdoor Studies’ is not your typical major. Most of my classes focus on active learning in the outdoors,” Schmidt said. “Instead of taking a whole bunch of science classes, I take rock climbing and expedition leadership. We actually go out and do stuff rather than take tests on it.”

As an Eagle Scout in Troop 7 in Elburn, Schmidt had the opportunity to develop his love of the outdoors. Along with camping and backpacking trips, Schmidt was twice chosen as crew leader at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, where the scouts would backpack 80 to 100 miles.

“He always was an outdoor kid,” Tyler’s father Chuck said. “We encouraged the adventurer spirit and to do your own passion. If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.”

The 23-day expedition began with three days of planning and getting gear together. The students learned how to read the maps, how to ration out 24 days’ worth of food and decided what materials they would need for a class they each had to teach in the wild. For four credit hours, 18 students along with instructors would be dropped off in the wilderness with only 45 pounds on their backs to survive the 135-mile trek.

“We got dropped off at the side of the highway and picked up a trail for half a mile, and then just took a left turn off the trail into shoulder-high brush. We didn’t see a trail again for 23 days,” Tyler said. “We knew where we needed to be each night, we knew our trek, we knew which direction we were going, and we became expert map readers.”

With the aid of eight topographical maps, the group hiked through waist-high rushing creeks and through passes. They carried roughly seven days’ worth of food and their tents. A bush plane would twice drop off supplies, taking off and landing within a 50-foot strip.

Cold and hunger were constants on the trek, Tyler said. But with classes on foot care, bear safety and crossing rivers, the students were well-prepared when they had 14 days straight of rain, ice and snow—in August and September. They suffered cold feet from socks that would not dry out after crossing streams. Frosted-over conditions one day made it too dangerous to continue. The group sat huddled under a tarp with no floor and sipped hot liquids.

They ate rice, pasta, and even homemade pizza cooked over small MSR stoves. Since there were no trees to hang the food to keep bears away, they put the food 200 to 300 feet away from the campsite. Tyler lost 23 pounds, over the course of the trip.

“On the way back we stopped at a grocery where we could eat whatever we wanted. For my first meal I ate a gallon of mint brownie ice cream, two family-sized bags of Doritos, a box of cookies, a liter of soda, and I still wasn’t full,” Tyler said.

Through it all, Tyler saw some amazing sights: hundreds of caribou, the Northern Lights shooting above Denali and even some ill-fated planes that crashed in the wilderness.

Next on the agenda for Tyler is a course in “Glaciology,” the study of glaciers to see how fast they move and to record daily temperatures. From this 23-day trek, he now knows what he’d do different next time.

“For my future investments I’m going to get some in-camp shoes. I’m going to buy some seal-skin socks and a pair of crocs,” Tyler said.

Kaneland identifies early budget reduction targets

By Keith Beebe
KANELAND—It’s becoming clearer which areas the Kaneland School District will target in order to reduce its budget.

The Kaneland School Board on Monday was presented with a budget reduction update from Superintendent Jeff Schuler, who provided a document outlining the areas, or “cost centers,” that are slated for financial reduction in the 2012 fiscal year.

The district intends to cut projected expenditures by $1 million.

“This is just the process of reviewing all the line items in the budget in order to identify possible reductions,” Schuler said.

According to the budget reduction update, the cost centers have been simplified and narrowed down to elementary, middle school, high school and district. The projected reductions are $237,946 (23.79 percent of the targeted amount) at the elementary level, $127,911 (12.79 percent) at the middle school level, $169,884 (16.99 percent) at the high school level and $464,259 (46.43 percent) at the district level.

These figures are preliminary targets, however, and will be subjected to review before the initial cost-reduction plan is presented to the School Board on Feb. 14.

“The cost-center targets are just the starting point. As we identify cost reductions within each area, it’s highly possible that in the final cost reduction plan we put together, there may be cost centers that are either higher or lower than the initial targeted amounts,” Schuler said. “And that’s because when we put the entire plan together and look at the K-12 impact, there may be some cuts where we’ll say, ‘No, we’re not comfortable with that, but we are comfortable going further (with reductions) in one of the targeted areas.’ That certainly happened last year.”

A community forum regarding the initial list of reductions is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Harter Middle School cafeteria.

Sugar Grove discusses amendments to subdivision agreement

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Jan. 19 held a discussion and public hearing regarding proposed amendments for the Village’s Meadowridge Villas Annexation Agreement with DRH Cambridge Homes, Inc., the new developer of the subdivision.

“Cambridge was just asking for some relief from the (subdivision’s) architectural requirements,” Village President Sean Michels said. “They were mainly looking to use three-tab shingles instead of architectural shingles, but the board was pretty insistent that the developer remain with architectural shingles. This is all to protect the existing homes in the subdivision. It’s important to maintain the integrity of the existing architecture.

Michels said the new developer didn’t want to participate in the Village’s tree consortium, in which they pay the village $400 to plant trees.

“Cambridge wants to use their own nursery stock, but we’re pretty adamant they participate in the program, because we’ve got a better-quality tree,” Michels said. “And once the builder pays for them, we take over the warranty. The developer won’t have to worry about warranties or anything else to do with the tree, which is important because if they plant a tree that doesn’t survive, then we lose about two years of growing time. We want to see the trees get planted properly and grow.

Village Board authorizes grant application

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Jan. 19 voted 6-0 to authorize an application for a federal IKE grant that will fund drainage improvements in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions that have been plagued by drainage problems since late 2008.

The Disaster Recovery Public Infrastructure grant funds any projects, including sewer and storm drainage systems, created to help alleviate flooding and any additional water-related issues brought on by Hurricane Ike, a Category 4 hurricane that formed and lasted just under two weeks in September 2008.

According to village documentation, the grant will help fund a subsurface system designed to effectively collect and transport the groundwater, storm water and agricultural tile flow that have led to severe drainage problems in the two subdivisions.

“Hurricane Ike pushed up a lot of gulf moisture, which resulted in severe rain and flooding in the area,” Village President Sean Michels said. “That was really the start of the wet season which brought on a lot of ground water, and we think that’s what triggered some of the flooding in the basements of Mallard Point residents. I think it was about two months after Ike first hit that we started getting complaints about the flooding.”

Michels said the grant will help offset the cost to install a drain tile that will relieve flooding in the two subdivisions and prevent future flooding. According to village documentation, the estimated cost of the total project is $1,453, 970.

“I don’t think we applied for a particular dollar amount, but we submitted an (application) with our total cost, and the grant administrator will determine how much money will be allocated to our project,” Michels said. “Kane County’s getting up to, I think, $750,000 (in grant money), so they have the right to allocate those funds over all projects like this.”

District discusses early childhood consolidation

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday discussed a proposed move to consolidate the district’s four Early Childhood programs into just two programs for the 2011-12 school year, with the assumption that a merger of Early Childhood programs would promote scheduling flexibility, staff teamwork and efficiency in any related service.

The four elementary school buildings in the district each currently host an Early Childhood program. John Shields and Blackberry Creek Elementary are the two schools slated to have Early Childhood programs if a merger takes place, with Blackberry Creek designating a classroom to be used for students with autism.

Jan. 28 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.

Elburn
• Antonio Hernandez, 18, of Sard Avenue in Aurora, was arrested by Elburn police Jan. 21 at 12:30 a.m. for driving while his license was suspended and speeding. Elburn police stopped Hernandez when they observed him traveling 51 mph in a 35 mph zone near Capes Drive on Route 47.

• Two unidentified suspects removed three water heaters from a business on the 200 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn Jan. 14 shortly after 10 a.m. The total loss was set at $800. The suspects were described as two white males driving a smaller red pickup truck. An investigation is ongoing.

• On Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2:30 a.m., Elburn police were dispatched to the BP Amaco gas station on the corner of routes 38 and 47 after the driver of a limousine had requested assistance.

According to a press release from the Elburn Police Department, the officers learned that the limousine held 10 passengers which had been drinking and became “unruly to the point that (the driver) wanted them removed from the limousine.”

When an officer asked the subjects to exit the vehicle, two passengers, Joshua J. Quick, 22, of the 7400 block of Princeton Circle in Hanover Park, Ill., and Kimberly A. Bramlett, 21, of the 1300 block of Kingsbury Drive, Hanover Park, began arguing with each other. When the officer interevened to prevent a physical altercation, Quick shoved the officer and had to be physically restrained. Quick continued to resist officers by trying to kick the windows out of a squad car. Bramlett also shoved the same officer in an attempt to confront Quick and was taken into custody without further incident. Officers from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and the Maple Park Police Department responded and assisted the Elburn police.

The Kane County State’s Attorney authorized one count of Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer against Quick, a class 2 felony, and one count of Battery to a Police Officer against Bramlett, a class A misdemeanor.

Bramlett posted bond and was released from custody, with an initial court date set for March 5. Quick was transported to the Kane County Jail to await morning bond call.

Sugar grove
• Sometime during the overnight hours of Jan. 19, someone damaged two inflatable Green Bay Packers lawn ornaments on the 700 block of Wild Ginger Road in Sugar Grove. The inflatables were valued at $250 each.

• A resident of the 100 block of Edgewater Lane in Sugar Grove reported over $3,000 had been removed from their savings account, in $1,000 increments, on Jan. 18-20. A further $49.95 had been used to open a One Box answering service for a phone number, which police have. An investigation is ongoing.

• A resident of the 700 block of Pembridge Court reported to Sugar Grove police on Jan. 19 that someone tried to access his bank account. The victim’s bank called the victim after someone called the bank and knew the last four digits of his social security number, but not his mother’s maiden name on two separate occasions. No money was removed from the victim’s accounts.

• The Kane County state’s attorney issued a warrant for Roy L. Cornelius, 31, of the 400 block of Bliss Road in Sugar Grove, on two counts of domestic battery over an incident at occurred at his residence shortly after 3 a.m. Jan. 26.

On the cutting edge

Delnor Hospital’s da Vinci Robot improves outcomes
by Lynn Meredith
Geneva—“Scapel, please” is no longer the only word in surgical procedures. Until recently, surgery was performed either by drawing a long incision and exposing the organs, or it was performed laproscopically by drawing a small incision but using relatively rigid instruments. Now a third option is available: a surgeon-controlled robot that can perform complex surgery with great precision.

Members from the Elburn Chamber of Commerce toured Delnor Hospital in Geneva at an after-hours event on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Dr. Jonathan Song, chairman of the Delnor Robotics Committee, gave a presentation and showed a video on the da Vinci system.

“It was a great opportunity to show chamber members first hand what the da Vinci can do,” said Brian Griffin, director of marketing and public relations at Delnor. “We were trying to highlight how the da Vinici is bringing a whole new level of high-tech, minimally-invasive surgery to the area. People will not have to go to a major medical center. They can get it right here in the Elburn area.”

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System performs minimally invasive surgery using three wristed arms that are fully controlled by the surgeon who is standing on a surgical platform right next to the patient. The fourth arm is a high-definition 3-D camera that magnifies the view of the surgical site 10-12 times. The incision created by the surgery is 1-2 cm long.

With wrists that rotate a full 360 degrees, the robot has increased range of motion, dexterity and access. The robot replicates the surgeon’s movements in real-time. It cannot be programmed to perform any procedures on its own, and view of the site is an actual image, not a virtual one.

Many more types of surgery can be performed using the robotic system than with laproscopy. The robot has performed hysterectomies and prostate surgeries, endometrical, throat and other cancer surgeries, uterine fibroid removals and mitral valve prolapse surgeries. It has even removed a kidney using this method. The benefits of this option have been clinically proven, Griffin said.

“It’s of great benefit to patients. There is less risk of infection, shorter recovery times and less pain. They can get back to day-to-day activities sooner. We’re talking about two days versus two weeks,” he said.

In the case of throat cancer, in particular, surgery may be able to be performed without an incision, thereby avoiding scarring and disfiguration and preserving the larynx.

This system gets its name from Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist who is known for his use of great anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details in his paintings.

Photo: Elburn Chamber of Commerce members toured the new addition to Delnor
Community hospital and were shown a presentation of the Da Vinci Surgical robot. Talking after the presentation are (left to right) Chief Nursing Officer Lore Bogolin, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Delnor President Tom Wright. Photo by John DiDonna

WCC to provide free tax assistance

AURORA—In these trying economic times, everyone can benefit from maximizing their tax refund, but many cannot afford to hire a tax professional to help them do it. Fortunately, Waubonsee Community College can help.

This tax season marks the college’s seventh as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. Last year, the college’s students and volunteers completed more than 1,600 tax returns, refunding more than $1.6 million to low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the community.

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 29, tax assistance sessions will take place on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the college’s Aurora campus, 5 E. Galena Boulevard. The sessions run through April 18, but the site will be closed on March 16 and 19. At these sessions, Waubonsee students and volunteers help prepare tax returns and file them electronically, including the 1040 Schedule C form that small businesses use. Families can also get help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA).

Eligible for assistance are families with annual incomes of less than $50,000, and individuals with annual incomes of less than $25,000. People seeking tax help should bring a copy of their 2009 tax return, if they have one; W-2 forms and 1099s from all 2010 jobs; social security cards for all family members; and a photo ID.

For more information on Waubonsee’s tax assistance sessions, call the college’s VITA line at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2992, or e-mail VITA@waubonsee.edu. You can also visit the Center for Economic Progress’ website at www.centerforprogress.org.

Girls hoops double (OT) trouble for SYC in 47-39 win

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If you are going to play some extra basketball, you might as well get a win out of the deal.

Such was the case on Friday night in Maple Park.

Kaneland allowed Sycamore to climb back into the game in the fourth quarter, and was felled by a Kate Berlinski three-pointer with 20.3 ticks left in the first overtime. But Kelly Evers was fed a pass by Andie Strang down low for a lay-in off the glass to tie the score with under a second left and force a second OT.

Kaneland then fought its way to the line and hit 12-of-16 foul shots in the second extra frame to key a 47-39 win.

“It all just happened so fast,” Evers said. “We were trying to work the ball, and my teammates helped out so much; it was an amazing pass by Andie.”

With the win over the rival Lady Spartans, the rival Lady Knights improved to 11-13 with a 2-6 record in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Evers’ astounding night ended with 19 points and seven rebounds. Nicki Ott had nine points.

Overall, Kaneland was 12-for-44 from the field, and 22-for-33 from the foul line.

Meanwhile, Lake Kwaza of Sycamore put up a game-high 20 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.

“She wasn’t going to let that team go down,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “She’s a great competitor, and our girls stepped up and recognized that and she wasn’t going to beat us 1-on-5. We responded pretty well defensively.”

In a low-scoring first half, the Lady Knights trailed 11-7 going into the break. An aggressive approach and baskets by Emma Bradford and Evers more than doubled the scoring output to that point and gave KHS a 16-14 lead with 5:50 to go in the third.

A foul shot by Ott was soon followed by an Evers bucket with 1:57 to go in the frame to give KHS a six-point edge before the Lady Spartans closed to within 21-17 by the end of the quarter.

Sycamore tied the score at 23-all with 2:31 to go on a Kwaza putback, but McKinzie Mangers’ layup gave KHS a 25-23 edge with 59.8 ticks left before Berlinski’s two foul shots tied the score with 45.7 left to force the first overtime. Mangers’ three-try by the end was off the mark.

Down 30-28, Ott hit three of four free throws to take a 31-30 lead with 36.6 to play before Sycamore hit the trifecta to set up the final sequence in OT number one.

Trailing early in the second extra quarter, Evers hit a shot to tie the game and Strang sunk two free throws to take the lead for good at 39-37 with 1:44 to go. Emily Heimerdinger, Evers and Strang supplied the rest of the foul shots to cruise to the victory.

In the sophomore tilt, Kaneland improved to 21-1 with a 44-21 win over the Lady Spartans.

Freshmen action during the week had Kaneland beat DeKalb on Thursday, 34-23, to improve to 16-0.

The varsity troops tangle with visiting Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 12:30 p.m.

Waubonsee’s Fernandez takes Region IV Player of the Week for men’s hoops

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College men’s basketball player Danny Fernandez was named the NJCAA Region IV Division II District B Player of the Week for the third week of January. Fernandez set a Waubonsee record by making eight baskets from three-point range en route to scoring a collegiate career high of 24 points in the Chiefs’ 85-45 victory over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Oakton Community College.

The 5’9” guard made his last seven attempts from long range and finished the game 8 of 10 from beyond the arc. Fernandez also dished out three assists, grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and recorded a steal in the Chiefs’ (12-8, 3-2) lopsided win. In Waubonsee’s last three contests, the graduate of Sunset Senior High School in Miami, has nailed 14 treys while averaging 16 points-per-game.

Fernandez, who missed five games in late November and early December with a deep bruise in his right bicep, was averaging just 4.7 points-per-game prior to his recent hot streak. The sophomore tallied more points (48) in the last three games than he did in the previous 10 contests (47) he competed in this season.

Kaneland wrestling earns fourth at NIB-12 showcase

Photo: Keagan Mattes took third place to help the Knight effort on Saturday. Kaneland took fourth as a team thanks in large part to Mattes’ performance in the 189-pound group. Photo by Mary Herra

ROCHELLE—Like KHS coach Monty Jahns said a week ago, Kaneland wrestling might just be a better tournament team than a dual team at this point.

That was put into action with the Knight grapplers leaving the Rochelle mats with a top-third finish at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII tournament.

With 161 points, Kaneland earned fourth out of 12 teams. Sterling hit a total of 219, edging Sycamore by a half-point. DeKalb was third with 170.5 points, ahead of KHS.

Yorkville was fifth at 154, followed by Morris at 125.5.

Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Dixon , Rochelle, Ottawa and Streator rounded out the rest of the lineup.

The five top finishers for the Knights have been proven stalwarts through the campaign thus far.

Dan Goress took home the championship for 130, thanks to a 12-5 decision over DeKalb’s Evan Jones.

Goress went to the final after a 10-6 win over Sterling’s Dylan Devers.

In the 152-pound bracket, Kyle Davidson lost a 14-4 major decision to Sterling’s Stevie Dewitt. Davidson reached the final with an 8-2 win over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a previous pin over Rochelle’s Bradley Mendez in two minutes, 11 seconds.

At 215, Ben Kovalick got to the finals by pinning DeKalb’s Alex Roach in 3:09 and Sycamore’s Matt Copple in 2:03, before losing to Sterling’s George Canales by 12-8 decision.

Third-place nods were gathered by heavyweight Jimmy Boyle and Keagan Mattes in the 189 group.

Boyle beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt by 1-0 decision and Sterling’s Curtis Lilly in the third-place match, 3-0.

Mattes went to the third-place match by beating DeKalb’s Cullen Banta , 8-2, and solved Sycamore’s Jacob Davis in an 8-4 affair.

Kaneland boys hoops cinch 45-38 comeback win at Ottawa HS

KANELAND—History shows us that dealing with pirates was never smooth sailing.

No matter, the Kaneland boys basketball team was able to leave the Northern Illinois Big XII West stop on Saturday night with their head held high.

A prolific fourth quarter allowed KHS to beat Ottawa by a 45-38 clip, which increased their record to 10-8 and 3-2 in NIB-12 play.

Balanced scoring was paced by Daniel Helm and Chaon Denlinger with nine each.

Kaneland’s foul shooting produced a 13-for-18 night, while Ottawa’s production was only 17-for-34. Kaneland’s Zach Ringhouse came through with an eight-for-eight line at the charity stripe.

The Knights took a 13-6 lead after one quarter. Ottawa climbed back to tie the contest at 19-all at halftime, and took a 26-21 lead by the end of the third , before Kaneland’s 24-12 final frame led to a seven-point win.

In sophomore action, the Knights improved to 17-1 on the year with a 46-45 comeback win on the Pirates. Thomas Williams had 14 for KHS.

The Knights’ next challenge is hosting Rochelle High School on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m.

Letter: In defense of Scout Park

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Evidently the current mayor of Elburn has concluded that open space and small parks are not important now that our village has stopped growing and our property values are in decline. However, just a few short years ago, the Village Board was primarily focused on comprehensive planning, especially with controlling growth.

A previous Village Board decided to purchase and set aside a small park for the future. This board carefully considered the purchase, believing it was also securing the corner of what could become a future municipal campus.

That lot, now called Scout Park, was paid in full with funds that came from developer contributions, not from our village property taxes. Selling it now at a time that will most certainly create the maximum loss on the village’s investment is short-sighted.

And blaming others for trying to do the right thing under a different set of challenges than those faced today is just plain petty.

Dr. James L. Willey
Elburn

Letter: Illinois legislators unwilling to listen

With unemployment near 10 percent and no end in sight for home foreclosures, many Illinois lawmakers seem to be disconnected with reality.

Calls, e-mails, faxes and letters in opposition to an income tax increase flooded their offices for weeks, to no avail. During the final hours of the past legislative session, lawmakers decided to place a much heavier tax burden on Illinois families.

In lieu of cutting pork spending, Springfield lawmakers opted to continue to increase the insatiable demands of our growing state government.

Here are a few examples: $1 million to provide cable TV to prisoners; $6 million for the Museum of Broadcast Communications; $100 million to create an airport in Peotone; over $78 million for horseracing interests; almost half million for programs for homosexual and transgender senior citizens; $3 million to Easter Seals (Chicago/Joliet regions,); tens of thousands of our tax dollars to out-of-state universities; and the list goes on.

They are essentially taking much-needed resources away from family budgets instead of governing responsibly.

Too many legislators are unresponsive to the will of the people—the very people they represent. Illinois voters would do well to remember this lame duck session in the next election cycle.

David E. Smith
Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

Guest: Thrilled, disappointed with Girl Scout story

I was thrilled when I saw the Elburn Herald article, which featured the sale of Girl Scout cookies. As a Girl Scout leader in the Elburn/Maple Park area, I understand the importance of the organization to girls and young women, and how the sale of cookies help with setting goals, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

I was disappointed that your paper did not feature a local Girl Scout from your readership area of Elburn, Maple Park, Sugar Grove or Kaneville. Currently, there are 30 Girl Scout troops in your readership area. It would have been nice if you had selected a girl from a local troop to feature rather than a girl from Geneva. When I open my local paper, I want to read about my community and the citizens who live here.

Denise Blaszynski
Girl Scout leader
Elburn

Letter: To the Sugar Grove Library community

The Sugar Grove Public Library Board of trustees, along with the staff of the Sugar Grove Library and the Friends of the Sugar Grove Library, have decided that a referendum for operating funds not be on the April 2011 ballot, due to difficult economic times for the patrons and residents of Sugar Grove.

We feel strongly that we must recognize the economic strains on our community. The decision to wait until there is a more opportune time to run a successful referendum campaign addresses the financial constraints of our residents and the community understanding of how those additional library dollars would be useful.

There are many that wish the library could, and would, offer more to the community in terms of hours, collections and services. There are many that are without the resources to help financially support paying more for the library. Therefore, in good faith, we will postpone our desire to raise revenues for operating our library. At this time we are doing our best at providing hours and services while we work to balance keeping expenditures lean and library experiences rich.

We invite you to visit the library, patronize The Book Nook Cafe and support our Library Friends fundraising efforts.

Art Morrical, Sabrina Malano,
Julie Wilson, Robert Bergman,
Bill Durrenberger, Sheree Novotny,
Joan Roth
Sugar Grove Public Library
Board of Trustees