Orthopedic advancements at Delnor

GENEVA—Imagine repairing a hip through a few small surgical incisions, or using a patient’s owned cleansed blood cells to heal damaged tissue. These orthopedic advancements have become a reality and are being performed at Delnor Hospital in Geneva by Vishal Mehta, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at the hospital. Dr. Mehta is one a handful of surgeons in the Central Fox Valley performing these state-of-the-art procedures.

“Over the past seven to 10 years, we have experienced significant advances in the field of orthopedic surgery. The procedures I perform today on my patients are life changing,” Mehta said. “Revolutionary orthopedic procedures that are now available at Delnor include arthroscopy of the shoulder, knee and hip; shoulder and reverse shoulder replacement; cartilage transplantation and platelet rich plasma treatments.”

Keeping the Joints Moving
Arthroscopic technology has allowed orthopedic surgeons to perform surgery without having to make large incisions, a once common practice.

“When athletes and non-athletes of all ages require surgery, there are many new procedures to help them regain mobility and strength with a quicker recovery time,” Mehta said.

Some advanced arthroscopic procedures include hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to treat conditions initially only operable by traditional open surgery.

This procedure is performed using two or three small surgical incisions and allows the patient to resume their active lifestyle in a shorter period of time. Hip arthroscopy is done on an outpatient basis and corrects tears or bone impingement in the hip. Other revolutionary procedures include total shoulder replacement, where the joint surfaces are replaced with a plastic socket attached to the shoulder bone and a metal ball with a stem attached to the upper arm; and reverse total shoulder replacements, where the socket and metal ball are switched.

“Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost. When this happens, painful bone-on-bone arthritis develops. Most people get the replacement only when they can no longer tolerate the pain,” Mehta said.

Reverse shoulder replacements can be used to treat the arthritis that accompanies irreparable rotator cuff tears where previously there was no good solution. This generally requires only one or two days in the hospital. A rehabilitation plan also follows, generally for about 10 to 12 weeks.

To really understand the benefits of such advancements in orthopedic surgery, ask Elgin resident Delores Gammon. Delores, a self-described average but avid golfer, underwent two total shoulder replacements: the first in November of 2009 on her left shoulder, and then again in October 2010 on her right shoulder.

“I was experiencing very little mobility and lost a lot of range of motion due to advanced arthritis. I was having trouble lifting my arm, reaching a shelf, and most importantly, swinging my golf club,” she said.

Her experience with Mehta and Delnor was positive and she was impressed from the beginning.

“I was comfortable with Dr. Mehta; he explained everything to me in detail, what I could expect with the surgery and rehabilitation,” she said.

When Delores began experiencing extreme pain in her left shoulder, she scheduled an appointment with Mehta. After a second opinion with a physician at a university teaching hospital in Chicago, she decided Delnor was the way to go.

“I liked being closer to home and knowing I could get the same advanced orthopedic procedure at my local hospital,” she said.

Delores had a two-day hospital stay with both shoulder replacement surgeries, followed by three months of outpatient rehabilitation. Both shoulder surgeries were successful, and Delores is anxiously waiting for spring to begin golfing again.

“I am really glad Dr. Mehta was my surgeon and that I had my surgeries at Delnor. I could not have had better care. Now I am anxious to get back on the golf course; with my two new shoulders, I expect to be the most improved golfer in our ladies’ league.”

Cutting-Edge Transplants
In addition to surgery, transplants are some of the newest and most advanced ways of treating orthopedic injuries, including those for knee cartilage and the use of platelets in tissue regeneration.

In a cartilage transplant, the meniscus, or shock absorber in the knee, is worn down through injury or general wear, and painful arthritis can result. Tissue is removed from a cadaver—similar to the process of organ donation. That tissue is then surgically inserted into the joint of a person with reduced cartilage, where it can form new cartilage that attaches itself to surrounding bones. Unlike with organ transplants, rejection of the new tissue by the recipient is not a concern.

Another advancement in orthopedics is the use of platelet-rich plasma, in which a patient’s own blood elements are used to stimulate a healing response within a damaged tissue or joint. Blood is comprised of many types of cells (red, white, plasma and platelets). Research has proven that, in addition to helping blood clot, platelets are activated by injured tissues and consequently release growth factors.

“These growth factors stimulate a powerful healing response in the body. By injecting these healing components into injured/damaged tissue, the body’s natural healing capacity is accelerated. This may lead to a more rapid and efficient tissue recovery,” Mehta said.

All of these state-of-the-art procedures are being performed on the avid athlete as well as the average citizen.

“Orthopedic injuries can sideline you temporarily, but new techniques are helping patients get back in the game of life faster than ever,” Mehta said.

Kaneland staff members recognized by state arts group

KANELAND—March 17 was a joyous celebration of the arts—not only for the state of Illinois, but arts in the Kaneland School District.

March 17 was the Annual Illinois Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE) Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. The IAAE chooses recipients from a list of nominees submitted by various people in the fine arts. Dr. Charles McCormick, former Kaneland School District superintendent, and Bonnie Whildin, art specialist at John Stewart Elementary School, both received recognition awards.

McCormick received the recognition award for School Administration and attended the ceremony with his wife, Jennifer. Whildin was originally nominated in the category of Arts Educator, but was honored as an Art Exemplar instead. Art Exemplar is a new category created by the IAAE for recipients who exemplify art excellence in various fields.

Whildin attended the ceremony with her husband, Mike, and received a round of applause after her first sentence, “I love telling people that I am an art teacher.”

The Kaneland honorees were presented their awards by Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF). Also in the audience supporting the honorees were Kaneland High School Assistant Principal and KCFAF committee member Diane McFarlin, and Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School Principal Laura Garland. Both recipients were further honored by receiving a certificate of congratulations by state Rep. Kay Hatcher.”

Cops read to the kids

Sergeant “Buz” Hodges and Chief Mike Acosta came to the class to read the book “The Little Engine That Could.” Along with the reading of the book, the officers brought stickers and coloring books and candy to the children. “This is a great program and we look forward to numerous visits to schools in our community,” said Chief Mike F. Acosta. “We, as well as the children, enjoyed the visit.” Courtesy Photo

Waubonsee earns Tree Campus USA status

Photo: Student volunteers used hand-held GPS technology and GIS mapping software to identify and plot the locations of 400 trees on the college’s 243-acre main campus. Courtesy Photo

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College earned Tree Campus USA recognition for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. Waubonsee is one of 113 colleges and universities nationwide and just 12 Illinois colleges to receive this designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for 2010.

The status is awarded based on five core standards of tree care and community engagement, which include: establishment of a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

Waubonsee held its first Arbor Day tree planting event last April and plans to repeat it again this year. Also ongoing is the service-learning project, which took the form of a Sugar Grove Campus tree inventory.

This past fall, student volunteers used hand-held GPS technology and GIS mapping software to identify and plot the locations of 400 trees on the college’s 243-acre main campus. Remaining trees will be inventoried in upcoming semesters, and the resulting interactive map will serve as an invaluable tool to Campus Operations staff as they manage the college’s natural resources.

The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in the fall of 2008, with the planting of trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States. Twenty-nine schools were named a Tree Campus USA in 2008, and in three years, the number of schools has more than tripled.

Elburn board avoids water rate increase

Scaling back project list preserves rates at least through end of year
by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—It looks as if residents won’t have to face a water/sewer increase—for a while, at least.

Superintendent of Public Works John Nevenhoven told the Elburn Village Board Monday that to complete all the projects on his wish list, water rates would have to increase from $5 to $15 a month.

“Realizing that is not going to be practical, I’ve identified two of the five (projects) that would absolutely, positively have to be done this coming year,” Nevenhoven said.

The two projects he recommends completing this year will cost $126,000, something he says can be done within his current budget.

One of the projects is to rebuild and service well No. 3 at a cost of $65,000. The well was last serviced in 2002, and recommendations are that it be serviced every six or seven years.

“With something like a well, we’d much rather do it on our terms than on the well’s terms,” he said, meaning to repair it now before it breaks down.

The other project is interior service on the North Tower, coming in at $61,000, which was last serviced in 1996. The tower doesn’t need to be serviced as frequently as the well, but Nevenhoven said it’s at a point where repairs need to be done.

As the board discussed expected balances at the beginning of the fiscal year May 1, Village Administrator Erin Willrett pointed out an ordinance that requires the budget to be reviewed every year, but that the board is not tied to a fiscal year.

“We could start the review of water/sewer capital and look at the list of projects throughout the year, and make that recommendation effective as of January 1,” she said.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt said that with the current budget, it appears that three projects could be approved right now and without having to consider raising rates.

Village President David Anderson said the board could go ahead with the two projects suggested, and wait until January to decide to do another project if funds are available.

“I kind of like that,” he said. “I think this gives us a better perspective.”

Anderson said the board has a “fiduciary responsibility to maintain and operate the water and sewer systems.”

Trustee William Grabarek agreed, and said by deciding next January, the board would have eight more months for more careful planning.

“It would give us a better ability to look at our budget come January on these capital projects and make a decision at that time,” he said.

Nevenhoven is moving ahead on the two projects already budgeted for, and Willrett said she will reintroduce these budget concerns next fall so the board can better assign priorities and take a look at the rate structure.

MP referendum asks residents to keep tax

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Maple Park—Maple Park residents could be faced with hefty tax increases to replace a revenue stream to fund needed capital improvements if the No Tax Increase referendum fails to pass on April 5.

“If voters say yes, we can continue to collect the tax we’ve been using to pay off bonds and use it to pay for needed capital improvements,” Village President Kathy Curtis said.

A bond issue from 20 years ago is about to be paid off and would mean lower property taxes for homeowners, but Curtis said now the village faces $10 million in needed improvements without any way to pay for them. By continuing to collect the tax after the bonds are paid off, Curtis said there would be little impact on homeowners who already are contributing with their property taxes.

“We have one gas station, and there’s no commercial property in town,” Curtis said. “The village operates on property taxes.”

Despite aggressively seeking government grants, Curtis said most of them require matching funds. She said without continuing to collect the tax, village officials would be forced to find other sources of revenue, which could mean a hefty increase in water and sewer rates.

Curtis said anyone with questions about the referendum should feel free to call her cell phone at (815) 209-7666, or to contact any of the board of trustees, whose numbers are on the village of Maple Park’s website, www.villageofmaplepark.com. A fact sheet about the referendum is also at www.villageofmaplepark.com/facts.pdf.

The referendum reads: “Shall the debt service extension base under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for the Village of Maple Park, DeKalb and Kane Counties, Illinois, for payment of principal and interest on limited bonds be established at $91,100 for the 2011 levy year and all subsequent levy years, such debt service extension base to be increased each year by the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the consumer Price Index during the 12-month calendar year preceding the levy year?”

March 25 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.

Sugar Grove
• Sugar Grove police on March 15 performed a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling 70 mph on Route 56. The driver of the vehicle identified himself as “Willow” William D. Kennedy. Police detected a strong smell of cannabis emitting from the vehicle, and upon discovering that a warrant was out for Kennedy for Possession of Cannabis in DeKalb County, had the driver exit the vehicle. Police then discovered a driver’s license belonging to Herman Davis Jr. lying on the floor of the car, at which time the driver admitted he was Davis, 23, of the 1900 block of Yale Avenue, Chicago Heights. Police then discovered a large baggie in the vehicle containing 101 grams of cannabis and took Davis into custody. Davis was charged with speeding, obstructing identification, driving while license suspended, and felony possession of cannabis.

• Sugar Grove police on March 20 performed a traffic stop on a motorcycle traveling 77 mph on Route 47 while having difficulty keeping the bike in a straight line. Police detected the smell of alcohol on the breath of the driver, Gerald W. Williams, 50, of the 15700 block of McGirr Road in Hinckley, and told Williams he would be subjected to field sobriety tests. Williams refused the tests and requested that police that just arrest him. Williams was taken into custody and charged with speeding 77 mph in a 55 mph zone, DUI, operating uninsured vehicle, and driver’s license not on person.

• Sugar Grove police on March 22 performed a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling northbound on Route 47 that was registered to someone with a suspended driver’s license. The driver of the vehicle, Eliezer E. Nieves Jr., 38, of the 200 block of Elm St. in Elgin, Ill., was confirmed as having a suspended license and was taken into custody. Police then discovered a cooler-type lunch box in the vehicle containing a wooden smoking box and a substance that Nieves admitted was cannabis. Nieves was issued one traffic citation for driving while license suspended and two ordinance citations for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cannabis.

• Jennifer Medlin, 26, of the 1000 block of North 2nd Street, Ashton, Ill., was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of theft on March 22 at 8 p.m. She is charged with attempting to take home additional prescriptions from Walgreen’s in Elburn, where she is employed.

Voters asked to help forest preserve add more land

by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—Kane County residents voting on the April 5 ballot will have the option to approve the Forest Preserve District Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum, which would give the district $30 million to acquire land and perform capital initiatives.

The Forest Preserve District’s website states that the $30 million in general obligation bonds will go toward acquisition and preservation of forests and natural lands, protection of wildlife habitats, enhanced flood control, improved hiking, bike trails and fishing, and improved forest preserves, wetlands and prairies.

Land acquisition entails the addition of land to existing preserves and acquirement of land for new forest preserves, while capital projects include tasks such as resurfacing trails and renovating facilities.

Kane County forest preserves currently cover a total of 18,752 acres.

The Forest Preserve District previously issued referendums in 1999, 2005 and 2007 (those referendums were for $70 million, $75 million and $85 million, respectively), so why is there a need for a referendum in 2011? The district’s answer is simple: it believes land prices are at their lowest in years.

“We’re estimating being able to buy the same amount of land with $30 million that we were able to buy with that $85 million (a few years ago),” said Monica Meyers, executive director of the Kane County Forest Preserve District. “If the referendum passes, we’ll be going in as the only land buyer for a while, and that creates some opportunity—prices are low, there’s no competition to make prices go up, and we know there’s a lot of land on the market.”

The referendum’s impact on taxpayers would be $13.20 for a household in a $268,000 home (the average cost of a house in Kane County) each year over a 20-year period, which amounts to $1.10 every month.

According to Meyers, the issue of timing and the economy were both prime factors when the district was discussing whether or not to go through with the Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum. And though land prices have never been better, the district is still committed to maintaining a rapport with Kane County taxpayers.

“The district’s always had a philosophy of, ‘If we’re going to do these programs, we’re going to send them out for the public to vote on them,’” Meyers said. “We’ve got a master plan in place, and we’re moving forward with that program as long as the taxpayers tell us they want us to move forward with it. We’re going to ask for their permission.”

Investigation leads to pair of drug arrests

Photo: Ronnie McLarrin (left) and Thomas Skowronski (right).

MONTGOMERY—On March 17, the North Central Narcotics Task Force (NCNTF) concluded a two-month undercover investigation into illegal drug distribution with the arrests of Ronne McLarrin, 37, and Thomas Skowronski, 19, both of Montgomery.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., NCNTF Agents executed a search warrant in the 300 block of Webster St. in Montgomery at the residence of both McLarrin and Skowronski.

McLarrin was charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (Class 3 Felony, 1 count), Unlawful Possession of a Cannabis with the intent to Deliver (Class 4 Felony), Unlawful Possession of Cannabis (Class A Felony), and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class A Misdemeanor). Skowronski was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Stolen Weapon (Class 2 Felony), Unlawful Use of a Weapon without FOID (Class A Misdemeanor), and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class A Misdemeanor).

Agents located and seized approximately an ounce of cannabis and one rifle, which had been reported stolen. The recovered weapon located by agents aided the Montgomery Police to charge Skowronski with a recent unsolved residential burglary. NCNTF agents were assisted in this investigation by the Montgomery Police Department, as well as the Illinois State Police. McLarrin and Skowronki were transported to the Kane County Jail, where they were incarcerated, awaiting a bond hearing.

“While this investigation did not involve a large amount of illegal drugs, the activity was causing concern and issues in the surrounding neighborhood,” NCNTF Director Bill Backus said. “The quality of life for the residents in the area is definitely improved with these arrests.”

If anybody has any information regarding illegal narcotic activity, please call the NCNTF at (630) 264-4335 or visit www.ncntf.org.

The charges against McLarrin and Skowronski are not a proof of guilt. The 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.

Elburn residents to decide on electric source

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—Elburn voters will be asked to decide whether to allow the village of Elburn to purchase electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers from other suppliers than ComEd. The village has already been purchasing power on the open market for the last four years for water pumping and street lighting power.

“I look at this as a win-win opportunity for all of our residents,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “They may, at any time, go back to ComEd to provide electrical power.”

If voters approve the referendum on the ballot April 5, the village will be allowed to bid for lower electric rates for residents. Residents may opt out of the program and continue to receive their power from ComEd.

Anderson was the owner of The Grocery Store and was able to buy electricity at a lower rate with membership in the Illinois Food Retailers Association. The same situation is available, he said, if the entire village is able to negotiate with those that provide power.

“It would be, in my opinion, wrong not to allow our residents to make a decision on this issue,” Anderson said.

The referendum reads:
“Shall the Village of Elburn have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

For more information, contact the village of Elburn offices at (630) 365-5060.

‘My Life with James Bond’

Raymond Benson, the fourth official James Bond novelist, presented a lecture, “My Life with James Bond,” on Tuesday evening in the Academic and Professional Center at Waubonsee Community College. Benson was chosen by Ian Fleming Publications in 1995 to write new Bond novels. His first effort was published in 1997, and was followed by five full-length original novels and three film novelizations, including “The World is Not Enough” and “Die Another Day.” Photo by John DiDonna

Voters to decide whether to bid for cheaper power rates

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Sugar Grove—Sugar Grove voters will be asked whether to allow the village to negotiate power supply rates on their behalf in a referendum on the ballot April 5.

“It’s a good opportunity to save some money,” Mayor Sean Michels said.

Residents now can opt out of using ComEd, but Michels said few people have taken advantage of the option. He said negotiating power on behalf of residential and small commercial retail customers could save as much as 15 percent on electric bills.

The state passed a law allowing cities and villages to bid for cheaper energy supplies on behalf of residents. Sugar Grove residents are receiving electricity at a fixed rate from ComEd.

If approved, residents would still receive electricity from ComEd, and also continue to benefit from ComEd’s customer service, including outage response, while paying less through competitive rates negotiated by the village.

The referendum on the ballot reads: “Shall the Village of Sugar Grove have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program?”

The village has been purchasing power in this manner for the last four years for water pumping and street lighting, which is delivered by ComEd.

Sugar Grove UMC offers community spaghetti supper

Sugar Grove—The Sugar Grove United Methodist Church will host a Benefit Community Spaghetti Supper on Saturday, April 2, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Community House at 141 Main St. in Sugar Grove.

All are invited to break bread and enjoy fellowship with friends and neighbors while enjoying a spaghetti supper, garden salad and dessert. This benefit fundraiser is part of the annual missions’ campaign carried out by Sugar Grove United Methodist Church.

Free-will donations provided by this event support four of its mission aims, including eradicating poverty by engaging in ministry with the poor. If you have any questions, call (630) 466-4501.

Planning Commission recommends two agenda items, continues two others

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Planning Commission on March 16 reviewed four items on its agenda, including petitions for the relocation of Division One Fitness, expansion of Scot Industries’ current location on Route 30, and expansion of Producers Chemical Company to a facility located on Bucktail Lane.

Producers Chemical, a company in Batavia that distributes liquid and dry industrial chemicals, wants to buy a building located in an industrial area on Bucktail Lane and use it as a facility. The company’s request for a special use and variance was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission with a vote of 7-0, and will be presented before the Village Board at its regular board/Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, April 5.

The building in question was at one time a dry wall distribution facility.

“We did have several people in the audience who were supportive of the use. Frankly, they were employees of Producers Chemical, and three of them were actually Sugar Grove residents,” Community Development Director Richard Young said. “A couple folks who were adjacent property owners didn’t necessarily object to the use, but just had concerns about what the safety procedures would be.”

Young said the Producers Chemical representatives answered those questions and have an extensive safety procedure in place.

“(These chemicals) would just be concentrated in one location, because they bring in bulk material and then repackage it for smaller distribution,” Young said. “They don’t actually manufacture anything on-site.”

Division One Fitness was included on the agenda because of the proposed move from its current location on Route 47 to the Heartland Business Park in order to have more room for expansion. The fitness club’s request for a special use was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission with a vote of 6-0, and will be presented before the Village Board at its regular board/Committee of the Whole meeting on April 5.

The Scot Industries item on the agenda was continued, by a vote of 7-0, to a special Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 30. The company is requesting a variance for a 90,000-square-foot expansion of its current building.

Young said the item was continued because the Planning Commission is still waiting for some additional information from Scot Industries.

“The existing building has a setback variance that does not meet material elevation requirements in the current zoning ordinance, so they needed two different variances that would go along with expansion,” he said.

The Planning Commission also voted, 7-0, to continue the village’s request for a zoning ordinance text amendment. The item will be reviewed by the Planning Commission at its special meeting on March 30.

“We’re working on some text amendments to include some questions that have come up over the last year or so with temporary uses, vendors, outside stores—that type of thing,” Young said. “It’s a text amendment that will be a part of the zoning ordinance in the future.”

Challenger Lighting CEO elected to WCC Foundation Board

Sugar Grove—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation elected Bonnie Proctor, CEO and principal of Challenger Lighting Company, to its board of directors. Her term runs until 2013.

A resident of Elburn, Proctor is no stranger to working for the cause of education or to Waubonsee as an institution. She has served on the Kaneland School Board and helped raise funds for local schools and students as president of the Kaneland Foundation.

Proctor completed coursework at Waubonsee before going on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Aurora University and a master’s degree at Benedictine University.

The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to obtain funding for scholarships and provide educational opportunities and services to students and citizens of Waubonsee’s district. For information, contact Kathy Richards, director of Fund Development, at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2316.

‘Two Guys, Free Spaghetti’

St. Charles—Two Guys and Free Spaghetti will provide a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner, beverage, salad, Italian garlic bread and homemade dessert to anyone who attends the monthly event held at St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. 5th Avenue (Route 25) in St. Charles on Sunday, March 27, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Guests come from all over the mid-Fox Valley to enjoy the fellowship and food. Carry-out is available. The building is handicapped accessible. For information, call Joe at (630) 890-6586.

Ecker’s crew has young, old as formula for success

Photo: Andie Strang has established herself as a threat at any distance and looks to finish her Kaneland tenure with a flourish. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Here comes Lady Knights track.

If the early practice sessions and indoor season were any indicator, many a girl in KHS garb will be finishing quite well in 2011 races.

Second-year head coach Doug Ecker is eager to see what the large roster can do, with a mostly healthy lineup.

“The indoor season was encouraging,” Ecker said. “The most encouraging thing is all the distance runners are healthy and we’ve been consistent,” Ecker said. “When we get outside, we’ll have to have a little more depth.”

So far, the three big names to pop up are senior Andie Strang in the distance and relay events, senior Brooke Patterson in pole vault and triple jump and freshman Lauren Zick in sprints and long jump.

“We knew Lauren was fast, she has the temperament and she’ll do what the coaches ask her to do. She listens well,” Ecker said.

Sophomore and state qualifier Ashley Castellanos has excelled in the jumps, as well.

Gabby Aguirre returns and looks to make a mark in the jumps.

With a Division II career ahead of her, Strang is ready to go for the distance events, but Ecker believes a challenge lays ahead.

“This conference is going to be brutal for distance. She can run extremely well one meet and get fifth in the mile. You have so many good distance runners,” Ecker said.

Sydney Strang and Kris Bowen also look to add to the distance ranks for Kaneland.

For relays, the 4x800m team could be in store for big finishes. The Strang sisters, Bowen and Castellanos, will all see time in that event along with Jessica Stouffer. The 4x200m has Sydney Bilotta and Ariana Espino ready to go with Patterson.

Kaneland looks to continue the pole vault excellence.

“Brooke is very good and works very hard, and Sydney Luse has worked very hard, and Shannon Wallace will give us some depth, too,” Ecker said.

Junior Nicole Ketza looks to rise in the weight events after a good late-season run.

Kaneland is still looking for young hurdlers to take the reins in that event.

The stronger each event is, the better for the Lady Knights in the new Northern Illinois Big XII scheme.

“Our conference is maybe one of the better conferences in the state. You throw in every event, we are really solid,” Ecker said.

Girls track captures indoor conference crown

KANELAND—If there was one surefire way to gear up for the outdoor season, Kaneland found a way on Saturday in Sterling.

With 79 team points in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference indoor meet, the KHS girls won the gathering and were crowned champs, bringing the indoor season to an end.

Geneseo finished second with a total of 72 points, and Dixon took third with 64 points.

The Lady Knights were rolling in the exceptional finishes, paced by senior Brooke Patterson’s 10 feet, six inch pole vault. Patterson added to her first-place vault with a second-place triple jump effort of 35-05.5.

Teammate Ashley Castellanos took fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 32-06.

Kaneland’s 4×800 meter relay unit finished second with a time of 10 minutes, 22.66 seconds.

Freshman Lauren Zick finished third in the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.56, and also took second in the 400m dash (1:00.15) before winning the 200m dash with a time of 27.07.

Senior constant Andie Strang took the 1600m run mantle with a time of 5:25.85, less than two second better than Geneseo’s Emily Ford.

In additional relay action, the Lady Knights took fourth in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 4:27.01.

Knights baseball hit field fully depth-charged

Photo: Knights baseball has the luxury of Kyle Davidson for work in the infield. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Some talented players at key positions and the last-ever Western Sun Conference regular season title made for some good memories for Kaneland baseball in 2010.

It was the regional opening loss to Hampshire that ended the season at 23-13 that left a bad taste in fifth-year coach Brian Aversa’s mouth .

“We’re definitely using that last game from last year as some incentive,” Aversa said. “We want to get moving into this season and use that as a driving force. On days when the weather isn’t cooperating and the field’s wet, the guys are really focused on what’s at stake this year.”

KHS baseball will have to be focused on competition in the Northern Illinois Big XII, after five seasons in the defunct Western Sun Conference.

“With football and basketball, it’s kind of our turn to get to that point where we are one of the top teams in this new conference,” Aversa said. “Sycamore is going to be strong, DeKalb was right there at the end, anything can happen.”

Kaneland looks to do itself favors at the plate, and although former Knight Jake Tickle’s 19-game hit streak won’t be available, Aversa likes his options.

“Drew French looks like he’s going to take Jake’s spot this year, and you have other solid people like Bobby Thorson and Joe Camaliere who can also get big hits,” Aversa said.

The Knights look for big things from their rotation, capable of eating up many an inning.

Thorson, a senior, will see time on the hill, as will junior Drew Peters and the senior French. Senior Sam Komel also provides an arm, as does junior Bryan Van Bogaert (pitcher of a perfect game in summer league action). Look for the Knights to lean on junior Tom Fox and senior Kyle Davidson in a pinch on the mound, as well.

Elsewhere around the Maple Park diamond, juniors Jordan Jones and Tyler Heinle are looking for an angle to the catcher’s spot.

Komel and Thorson stake the claim at first, while senior Brian Dixon mans second base. Davidson looks to patrol shortstop, with Trever Heinle also seeing innings at that spot, with French, Fox or Komel at third.

Senior Corey Landers takes care of leftfield, and Camaliere patrols center. Personnel like Jake Razo and John Kintz look to see innings at the rightfield corner.

Kaneland’s first conference action takes place against Dixon on Saturday, April 9. The regular season concludes on Monday, May 23, at St. Charles East.

Talent, effort goes the distance for Knights

Photo: Trevor Holm remains a key component of the Kaneland High School boys track success the last several years, especially in the 1600m run. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a high ceiling for Kaneland High School boys track in 2010, and by the end of the season in Charleston, Ill., it turned into a celebration.

A second-place finish in the Class 2A State meet and a State championship in two events were reason to party, and Kaneland hopes to extend it.

But, it’ll have to come with a lot of preparation, which fifth-year coach Eric Baron has already started on.

“It started at track camp in June, and we took a look at what we have coming back,” Baron said. “We looked at areas we need to strengthen. It’s a reloading program. We lost a lot of good seniors. I think the group of freshmen that’s coming in might be better than the group that just left, talent-wise.”

In terms of sprints, Tommy Whittaker’s name will come up early and often.

“Tommy is not only going to win a lot of races, he is just a tremendous leader,” Baron said. “It’s a senior class of seven. Their leadership is outstanding.”

Whittaker, Taylor Andrews, Matt Spitzzeri and Trevor Holm will be counted on to give that frosh-soph class some leadership.

“It’s gone on since before I was coach. You listen to the upperclassmen because they’ve been through the wringer,” Baron said.

Sprints and hurdlers will see an Andrews presence, who competed side-by-side with new Golden Gopher Logan Marcusson.

The entire 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays return to give KHS an added boost, fresh off a Charleston trip last year.

Brandon Cottier, Andrew Essex, Curtis Secrest and Quinn Buschbacher also look to contribute. Sophomore Dylan Pennington is also expected to make the most of his time on the track.

Holm takes care of the distance question.

“Trevor could be an All-Stater in pretty much any event we decide to go with,” Baron said.

Baron touted freshmen Luis Acosta and Kyle Carter as pleasant surprises in the early goings, especially in relays.

In the field, Frankie Furco has high jumped over six feet in indoor competition.

A young jumper looking to help the Knights is Marshall Farthing, also excelling in indoor action.

Spitzzeri in triple jump looks to make the State meet after missing by 1.5 inches last year.

“Matt Cowans is coming in in great shape off of basketball and is jumping real well,” Baron said.

Kaneland remains quite young in the throws and looks to several underclassmen to step in to spots previously held by personnel like Phil Christensen.

“There’s the potential for several Phil Christensens in our throwing crew right now, like Alex Snyder and Nate Dyer and Tom King,” Baron said.

On Saturday, April 9, the Knights begin the outdoor season at East Moline United. The Peterson Prep is hosted at KHS on Saturday, April 23.

KHS boys earn second in inaugural NIB-12 indoor tussle

STERLING—At Westwood Track in Sterling, Ill., it was prime time to see how Kaneland boys track measured up against the rest of the Northern Illinois Big XII slate. As it turns out, when it comes to indoor clashes, Kaneland was pretty good.

With 81 team points, the Knights finished second only to Yorkville’s 88 point total.

Dixon (64), Sterling (57) and Rochelle (46) rounded out the top five. Ottawa, Geneseo, Sycamore, LaSalle-Peru, Streator, DeKalb and Morris filled out the six-through-12 slots.

The accolades came quite often for KHS, beginning with Matt Spitzerri’s third place in the triple jump (39-5.5) and Marshall Farthing’s fourth place in the same event (39 feet).

The 4×800 relay team for KHS finished first at eight minutes, 36.29 seconds.

In the 55 meter hurdles, anticipated assets Taylor Andrews won the race (7.95) and teammate Chad Swieca (8.62) finished third.

The 4x200m relay finished second at 1:35.76, just .13 behind the Dukes’ unit.

Tommy Whittaker finished second in the 400m dash with a time of 52.16, and classmate Trevor Holm finished first in the 1600m run with a time of 4:37.77.

Kaneland’s Curtis Secrest took fourth at 24.48 seconds in the 200m dash.

To close out the honors, KHS won the 4x400m relay event with a time of 3:35.16.

Softball hopes ‘young guns’ are consistent

Photo: Senior Rilee Vest will be an offensive leader for the 2011 Lady Knights softball team. Vest will also see more time behind the plate, catching for a pitching staff that head coach Brian Willis hopes will find some consistency. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the younger core of softball players will get a chance to get some more playing time in 2011.

Kaneland looks to avenge a regional championship loss to Sycamore and get back to the heights of a 20-11 season of a year ago.

They’ll have to replace three valuable seniors of a year ago, and 13 wins from former pitcher Delani Vest.

“We are still young, and only two seniors here,” said second-year coach Brian Willis. “This team will be a lot like last year’s team. Hopefully somebody will surprise with pitching. Offensively, we’ll be fine, defensively we’re a work in progress.”

Luckily, the two seniors on the team are noted contributors: Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts, whom Willis regarded as quality catchers who supply offense.

“We have pitchers that can throw the ball well, but we are looking for some consistency,” Willis said.

In the mix for the pitchers’ circle is junior Alexis Villarreal, junior Katy Dudzinski and sophomore Taylor Velazquez.

McKinzie Mangers plays the third baseman role as a junior, highly touted sophomore Allyson O’Herron is at shortstop, freshman Allison Miller debuts at second, and Potts at first.

The outfield shows the returning Samantha Hansen, a junior, while freshman Lanie Callaghan takes the centerfield slot and junior Brittney Miller in right.

Shoring up the infield is junior Sarah Kitz and freshman Lexi Roach.

Willis mentioned Miller and Hansen as players that eased into varsity roles last year and will make the most of their opportunities in 2011.

Kaneland hopes the lineup comes together in the midst of the new Northern Illinois Big XII arrangement.

“It gives us a lot to live up to, and I hope softball can play up to the level of the other sports who have done well in conference,” Willis said. “We’ve simplified a lot of things offensively and defensively, where they might have been too complicated a year ago. I think that’s going to help us.”

Lady Knights soccer splits first kicks

KANELAND—Looking to capitalize on strong finishes in consecutive seasons, the Lady Knights soccer crew began with a new look and an unfortunate opening result.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights began their very first Northern Illinois Big XII conference campaign west on Interstate 88 and lost 5-0 to the Geneseo Lady Leafs.

The Lady Knights rebounded with a 3-2 win at IMSA on Tuesday.

The Lady Knights were set to host Rosary on Wednesday and host NIB-12 crossover rival Ottawa on Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m.

New-look Lady Knights try to start 2011 on right foot

Photo: Sam Wantuch participates in preseason ball drills for the Lady Knights. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a season to remember, and an ending to forget.

Kaneland would love to have the regional championship loss to Rosary High School back. The season which ended at 15-3-5 under soccer coach Scott Parillo and a cohesive senior unit had a chance for redemption in 2011.

However, it will have to come with quite the new look.

With last year’s celebrated senior core gone, as well as last year’s freshman sensation in goal Jordan Ginther (playing club soccer in Naperville, Ill.), the Lady Knights break ranks as fluid as can be.

“Jordan was classy enough to tell us in advance and we had time to cry and get that out of the way,” Parillo joked. “Hopefully, she’ll be back next year. We need to replace seven starters. They’re working hard out here, and it should be exciting.”

But, the solid strengths begin with team captain and senior Emily Heimerdinger at midfield/forward, who will go down as having one of the most prolific careers in KHS girls soccer history.

“She’s not a secret anymore. She was no longer a secret at the end of her freshman year. She’s going to be similar to a point guard out there. What she may not get in goals, she’ll maybe contribute in assists and she’ll be a real leader,” Parillo said.

Returnees joining Heimerdinger that are no stranger to big-game soccer include Amy Fabrizius at goalie/defender and Sophie Blank at goalie/midfield.

Returning to a bigger role after a 2010 with limited varsity action include the likes of Abby Bend (mid/forward), Sam Wantuch (defense/mid).

Also providing a spark are returning mid/fwd Katie Taylor, def/mid Anna Heinrichs and mid/foward Taylor White.

“The girls are up to the task, the coaches are up to the task, and we hope the girls gel as quickly as last year,” Parillo said.

New on the varsity ranks for Kaneland are def/mid Amber Winquist-Bailey, mid/forward Brittany Olson, mid/fwd Jessica Coia, mid/fwd Delaney Stryzek, midfielder Delaney Stryzek, goalie/midfielder Michelle Ortiz, midfielder/forward Shelby Fredricksen, def/mid Valerie Tockstein and defender Anne Marie Giese.

With two matches already under their belt, the Lady Knights begin the Northern Illinois Big XII East Division slate on Wednesday, April 6, against Sycamore. The regular season concludes on Tuesday, May 10, in Rochelle.

Editorial: Why you generally do not see endorsements in our paper

With the April 5 election approaching, we have fielded numerous questions on who we plan to endorse, and in general, if we plan to endorse anyone.

The answer is, we generally do not endorse any candidate in elections, nor do we generally endorse a position on referendums. The reason is, we feel it is the newspaper’s place to present information to allow the voter to make what they feel is their best choice, not to try and influence that voter with our opinion.

We do allow ourselves the opportunity to make an exception to this policy, when we deem a particular referendum vital to the community’s interest. For example, we endorsed the passage of a past Kaneland School District referendum that, if it had failed, would have led to the dismantling of the district’s sports and extra-curricular programs.

Barring those types of situations, which are very rare, you will not see an endorsement for a candidate or a position on a particular referendum taken by our staff in our pages.

At a time when the public legitimately questions the lack of general objectivity within the news media, it seems difficult to understand why any outlet would let down the wall between fact and opinion when writing about elections.

Yes, there is a place for opinion writing in newspaper; editorials and op/ed pieces, plus readers’ letters to the editorials, each provide the opportunity to share their opinions.

However, it is one thing for an opinion writer to take a stance on an issue or situation, and it is another for that same writer to, in effect, tell readers why they should vote a particular way in a particular election.

When a media outlet advocates for a particular candidate prior to an election, the outlet’s readers and/or viewers can legitimately question that outlet’s ability to remain objective in its coverage prior to the election, as well as its coverage afterward.

Since it is not a newspaper’s place to advocate for anything, nor is it to influence the news, and since there would be legitimate reasons to question that paper’s ability to objectively report the news after advocating for a candidate or position, more problems are created than resolved if an endorsement is made.

Letter: In support of Ethan Hastert for Elburn Village Board

I am writing today to encourage the residents of Elburn to vote for Ethan Hastert for Elburn Village Board. I have known Ethan for a number of years and I am confident he will be a great asset on the Board.

Elburn has many challenges as do many other communities. We need bright and common sense trustees to lead us into the future. Ethan is smart and has very keen insight into those future challenges that we will face.

He is also someone that can work very well with other trustees as well as the village president and staff. He is a very thoughtful father and husband who care’s very much about our community as he raises his young family.

In my view this is what it is all about. Caring about your community and wanting to get involved. These days it is getting harder and harder to get good people to run for office.

When it happens I say take them up on it.

I have lived in Elburn for many years. I served on the Village Board for 8 years. I am currently the Chairman of the Elburn Planning Commission and I encourage you to support Ethan for Village Trustee on April 5.

Jeffrey Metcalf

Letter: Elburn Lions, Leos open house a success

I want to thank the community for making the Elburn Lions and Elburn Leos Open House a great success. The response exceeded our expectations.

I also want to thank the staff of the Elburn Herald for their continued support in covering our events. We look forward to adding many new volunteers to both the Elburn Lions and our youth group, the Elburn Leos. This will ensure that future Lion events, like Elburn Days and the Elburn Days Parade, will continue for our community. It also means that our local charities, such as the Elburn Food Pantry, Low Vision Viewers to local citizens, glasses and eye exams for local children, Ski for Sight for the blind, and so many others, will continue to benefit from our activities. And that is what it is all about.

I am looking forward to see all of you during Elburn Days. This year’s motto will be “Elburn Lions Connecting to the Community and the World.”

Uwe Rotter
Elburn Lions President

Letter: A thank you from St. Gall Catholic Church

St. Gall Catholic Church would like to extend a grateful and heartfelt thank you to the entire community for supporting our 128th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Turkey Dinner. It was so wonderful to see so many members of the community come together to support our event.

Specially, we would like to thank Ream’s Meat Market, the American Legion, Community Congregational Church, the Elburn Lion’s Club, Elgin Corrugated Box and Food for Thought Catering.

Without all of the support of the community a successful event like this could not happen and we, St. Gall, are very much appreciative.

Father Karl Ganss
St. Gall Catholic Church

Letter: In support of Shodeen

I encourage everyone to support the development proposed by Shodeen.

It is extremely important that a grade separation at the Union Pacific Railroad be built within the shortest time available. Shodeen has a plan, and the preliminary concepts have been approved by the Elburn Village Board. The current plan includes an overpass (grade separation, i.e. bridge) at the Union Pacific Railroad. The pylons have already been built to accommodate the bridge.

I would encourage interested persons to drive through Des Plaines, Ill., Mt. Prospect, Ill., and Arlington Heights, Ill., to observe what I envision Shodeen has in mind. Those are beautiful developments and have created a center for business, condominiums, apartments, senior living and some affordable living.

For those opposed to the development, I offer a different perspective. In 1909, Daniel Burnham proposed a plan for the Chicago area that included a bypass, which more recently has been named the Prairie Parkway. The Prairie Parkway includes parts of Route 47. Let’s suppose for a moment that the Prairie Parkway would come right through Elburn. Route 47 would become four lanes and the sidewalks would disappear.

To get some idea of how that would look, walk along Route 64 in St. Charles. At one corner there is barely room for one pedestrian and certainly no room for a mommy with a baby stroller, creating a serious safety hazard. Do you want that? It could also demand that a grade separation be constructed at the railroad crossing, which more than likely would be an underpass.

We need the Anderson Road/Shodeen development now. It will also serve as a bypass
for traffic. When Anderson Road was built, it was constructed so it could be a four-lane roadway to accommodate additional traffic, especially trucks that now lumber through downtown Elburn.

Also, be sure to support candidates for village trustee who will move the Shodeen development forward.

H. Jack Hansen

Letter: Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum makes sense

One of the most cost-effective methods of protecting our water resources and drinking water is by preserving the lands along our creeks, streams and rivers. Few resources are as primary to our survival as clean water.

If you have read articles on the effects of pollution, you are well aware of the millions of taxpayer dollars required to clean up a single river. Protecting watershed lands now is much cheaper than cleaning up polluted water later.

For about $1 per month, homeowners can help protect our streams and drinking water resources. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County wants to add open space, particularly along our vital county waterways. Our homes, driveways, roads and parking lots have created more impervious surfaces. This means we can expect to see increases in storm water runoff. Preserving open space for the future allows the storm water to soak into the ground and be cleansed as nature intended.

Offering us a chance to pay a little for “an ounce of prevention,” the Kane County Forest Preserve will be holding a small Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum on April 5 for $30 million. This would allow us to permanently protect an additional 2,000 acres of our natural areas and watersheds. And now that land prices are at their lowest in decades, now is the time to purchase land from willing sellers.

We need to remember that forest preserves not only provide recreational opportunities, they also help ensure a clean water supply and control the effects of storm water runoff. I urge voters to vote “yes” on April 5 to help our Forest Preserve District acquire more critical open space in Kane County and help keep our water clean.

Charlie Zine
Conservation Chairman,
Valley of the Fox Sierra Club Group

Letter: In support of Gale Pavlak

I am sending this to show my support for Gale Pavlak who is a candidate running for Kaneland School Board.

Since I’ve known Gale, she has been an upstanding citizen who gives her time freely to our community, schools and church, and then finds time for helping out her family, children and grandchildren. She would indeed make a great asset to the board.

Susan Kurtin