Letter: Cast a ‘yes’ vote for the Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum

Urban sprawl has rapidly encroached on our way of life in Kane County. Our roads have become steadily more congested; crime rates have been rising; our taxes have soared as we’ve helped build needed schools, as well as more sewage facilities and police, fire and other public services.

On April 5, however, we have an opportunity to take charge and control some of the adverse effects of this urban sprawl by supporting the Kane County Forest Preserve District’s Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum. Why? Because open space is an effective tool in controlling sprawl.

Some folks may be reluctant to vote for any tax increase, no matter how slight. But I ask you, if you think you cannot afford this very modest increase of less than $1 per month, how will you be able to afford the tax increases that will be needed if that same land is developed instead of preserved? The larger your tax bill, the more you need to support this open space referendum. It’s a good investment, and it’s important to protect this land for future generations.

Plus, now is the time to purchase land as it is selling for a faction of the value it was just a few years ago. There are several “deals” from willing sellers.

Please join me in casting a “yes” vote for the Kane County Forest Preserve District’s Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum on April 5.

Sue Harney
Dundee Township Supervisor
Sleepy Hollow, Ill.

Letter: Rising gas prices a nuisance

With gas prices increasing faster than Usain Bolt running the 100m dash, I’d just like to let you know that my bike will be getting more miles than my car once the weather gets over 55 degrees.

Last week, I gave the kind lady at the gas station $35 and expected a nearly full tank. In return, she gave me a smile and only three-quarters of a tank. At first, I thought there was a mistake, but then I looked closer and saw that gas was up to $3.59. Back in the day, that could get my grandparents a whole week at the movies—with popcorn. The gas prices have become so expensive that a new phobia has been created for the fear of gas pumping—and I can say I suffer from it.

Now, I know the hike in prices isn’t because I didn’t clean my room or because President Obama likes playing cruel jokes on us. The unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa play a huge role in our suffering. With the turmoil only getting worse, will I soon have to fork over my college savings account to buy enough gas to get me home from school? Okay, well, maybe not my entire savings account, but my entire week’s job earnings is realistic. Thanks, minimum wage.

All I know is that this spring and maybe even in the summer, we’re going to have to deal with those pesky bikers riding on the road. Just make sure you honk or wave at me.

Ryan Noel
Junior
Kaneland High School

Letter: Thank you from the Blackberry Creek Dinner Dance and Silent Auction Fundraiser Committee

On behalf of the Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School PTO Dinner Dance and Silent Auction Fundraiser Committee, we would like to thank everyone who generously supported the third annual Dinner Dance and Silent Auction Fundraiser. The donations from families, community members, businesses and KBC teachers and staff will help the KBC-PTO expand and enrich our children’s education and experiences. We are grateful to live in such a caring and generous community.

Sue Erickson, Susan Hazen
and Beth Woods, Co-Chairs
Laura Gampfer, Melissa Lundberg,
Laura Marler, Jenn Rosati,
Lisa Siblik and Annette Theobald
Committee Members

Letter: A thank you from a Kaneland wrestling parent

The Kaneland Knight’s wrestling team and their families would like to extend their thanks to those who donated their time and/or gift certificates (especially Tower Car Wash in Batavia, Massage Envy in Geneva, JT Nails, Calamity Jane’s, The Sugar Grove Animal Hospital, Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, and the Kovalick family) to support the wrestling basket that was auctioned off at the Sports Booster’s Knight of Fun event. It was a hit, and your support is greatly appreciated.

Cindy Rogers
Sugar Grove

Letter: Referendum will protect open-space land

Since 1999, the Kane County Forest Preserve District has purchased more than 10,000 acres of high-quality, ecologically important land with the proceeds from three open-space bond referenda. We have the opportunity to further protect our natural character by voting “yes” again on April 5. Passing this referendum would allow the Forest Preserve to purchase an additional 1,500 to 2,000 acres and qualify us for additional matching grant funds to protect even more land.

For only around $1 per month for an average Kane County home, the new protected open spaces will hold down tax increases required to build, staff and run new schools, police and fire stations and water treatment plants. Taxes from new residential property do not cover the cost of the increased services required, which means that open space is the ultimate tax cap.

Furthermore, now is the time to purchase land from willing sellers as land prices are at their lowest in years. There are beautiful open spaces throughout Kane County for sale at very low prices that would make wonderful forest preserves. The time to act is now.

Open space is not a luxury; we must urgently protect it now. Kane County’s natural areas cannot be replaced, only preserved. Please join me in protecting our natural assets by voting “yes” for the Kane County Forest Preserve Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement referendum on April 5.

Jon Duerr
Co-Chair
Kane County Neighbors for Open Space, Clean Water and Clean Air
St. Charles

Dolores (Bannister) Hart Turk

Dolores (Bannister) Hart Turk, 78, passed away March 15, 2011, after suffering a stroke in her Sycamore, Ill., home.

She was born Feb. 23, 1933, at home in DeKalb, to Charles W. and Esther (Lindeberg) Bannister. In June 1953, she married Clyde Francis Hart, Jr., and they made their home in DeKalb for 38 years. Clyde preceded her in death in 1991.

In 1994, she married Joseph Eugene Turk of Sycamore, who had lost his wife Margie of 40 years. When Joe and Dolores married, Father Timar said “Together these two already have 78 years of marriage experience.” Dolores was very happy to join the large Turk family of Joe’s eight children. She actively enjoyed watching 24 grandkids and six great-grandkids grow.

She worked in the financial field for over 40 years and was the first female vice president for DeKalb Savings and Loan, where she retired after 32 years. She then worked for Blunt, Ellis and Lowe (now known as Wachovia Securities) for eight years. She was actively involved in the DeKalb community, serving two terms as president of the DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club and was a board member of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for 10 years. Dolores served as an officer and president of the Fox Valley Savings and Loan Counsel and was on the advising committee for Kishwaukee College and on the local Credit Bureau Advisory Committee.

Dolores enjoyed sewing with her ladies club and for her granddaughters, as well as entertaining in her home. Everywhere she went, she ran into people she knew. She attended over a thousand of the grandkids’ concerts and sporting events, at times cheering for Sycamore and other times for Kaneland—and sometimes for both teams at once.

She is survived by her husband, Joseph; brothers, James Bannister (children: Kathy, Jeff, Pat and Hope) and Ron Bannister (children: Ron Jr., Russell and Tracy); sister-in-law, Margie (Hart) Bedner (children: Kim, Randy and Kathi); several cousins; her step-children, James (Rose) Turk, Pamela (Philip) Burke, Barbara (Carson) Landis, Charles (Nancy) Turk, David (Linda) Turk, Kathy (Kevin) Claesson, Diane (Scott) Buzzard and Rosalie (Michael) Miller; 24 grandchildren; and six great-grand children.

In addition to her beloved Clyde, she was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Charles Bannister (his surviving children: Brenda Kay, Becky, Rhonda and Randy); brother, George Bannister (his surviving children: Cindy and Dolores Ann); an infant sister; and three special aunts, Agnes (Lindeberg) Hayes, Ruth (Lindeberg) Olson Neitzel and Minnie (Lindeberg) Johnson.

Visitation was held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, at Anderson Funeral Home in DeKalb, and at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 18, at Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore, followed by funeral services at 10 a.m. Rev. Dr. Janet Hunt officiated the service. Burial followed at Fairview Park Cemetery in DeKalb.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Dolores (Bannister) Hart Turk Memorial Fund, in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115.

Martha Catherine Kirchmann

Martha Catherine Kirchmann, 95, of the Sycamore and DeKalb areas, peacefully went home to her Lord on Monday, March 21, 2011.

Martha was born on Feb. 22, 1916, the daughter of Henry and Susanna (Hamsmith) Butt. Growing up in the Virgil/Maple Park area, Martha was a bright, self-assured and independent child. She attended grade school in both South Burlington and S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Virgil. Working her way through high school, she graduated from Maple Park High School with the class of 1937.

She was united in marriage on Oct. 24, 1937, to John H. Kirchmann at the Holy Angels Church in Aurora. After they were married, they resided in Aurora before moving to Roselle, Ill. In 1946, they moved to South Burlington, where they spent a good part of 20 years enjoying their family. Raising 12 children was no small task with 18 loads of laundry every Monday and everyday household chores without the luxury of modern-day amenities.

Martha enjoyed organic gardening, planting fruit trees and her beautiful flower beds. Many happy hours were spent singing in her kitchen while canning her bounty from her 1 acre garden. Canning 100 quarts of pickles and 300 quarts of beans, her pantry was always full. Cooking a meal for Martha meant two quarts of everything. Martha was famous for her pies, and a pie was never complete without adding a little rhubarb or currant.

In 1963, John and Martha moved to a small farm in Clare, Ill. The farm was up a half mile lane, where she enjoyed the peace and solitude in the country. With the family half grown, life was easier now, and there was time for Martha to enjoy her gardening and raising chickens and geese. Martha was widowed in 1968, with six children remaining at home.

In 1979, she moved to Maple Park, where she continued to garden and plant an orchard. This is where Martha discovered a new love, china painting. She excelled at china painting, winning ribbons at the Sandwich Fair. Martha was a member of the Fox Valley China Art Guild and the World Organization of China Painting Teachers, passing the gift of art onto her children and grandchildren. All Martha’s descendants were blessed with beautiful heirloom pieces that will be passed on for generations to come. She was also a member of the Kane County Home Extension.

In later years, Martha moved to Sycamore to be closer to her children. Playing cards and bingo was a favorite pastime, as well as vacationing with children and grandchildren. At the age of 94, Martha loved the time spent with family and was game for anything, including 4-wheeling.

She was a member of SS Peter & Paul of Virgil, and also a member of St. Mary’s of Sycamore and active in her faith. The love of her life was her family and her heartfelt devotion to her grandchildren and her great-great grandchildren.

She is survived by 10 children, Kathleen Geen (Arthur) Port Richey, Fla., Germaine VanDerheyden (Tony) St. Charles, John Henry Kirchman Jr. (Carol) of Hinckley, Ernest Kirchman (Martha) of Minnesota, Sharon Voyles (Lester) of Rochelle, Ill., Paulette Tewksbury (Tim) of Sycamore, Diane Long (Vernon) of Maple Park, Josephine Susina (William) of Clare, Andy Kirchmann (Deborah) of Sycamore, and Susanna Smith (Jim) of Sycamore. Martha’s legacy includes 36 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren, with five more expecting, twins included. Martha is also survived by four sisters, Mary Gudek (Edward) of Woodsville, N.H., Isabelle Butt of Elgin, Ill., Jane Usczienski of Elgin, and Lucy Mogler of Sycamore.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John Henry Kirchmann, Sr.; one son, Edward Lee; two daughters, Janet Walk and Jean Hardt; and one son-in-law, Harold Hardt; her parents; six brothers, Charles, Henry, Robert, John, James and Arthur; and one sister, Anne Faber.

Visitation will be on Friday, March 25, from 2 to 8 p.m., with a wake service to begin at 4 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St. Elburn. The funeral will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, with a high Mass at S.S. Peter & Paul, Virgil. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, will officiate and interment will follow at S. S. Peter & Paul Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to be given to masses. Checks may be made to the “Martha Kirchmann Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memorials may also be forwarded to the family through the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.

Sugar Grove awarded Emerald Ash Borer Reforestation Grant

SUGAR GROVE—The village of Sugar Grove was recently awarded an EAB Reforestation Grant through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus on behalf of the United States and Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The receipt of this grant will allow the village to begin to replace parkway trees that were lost due to Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and to continue to remove ash trees that are dead, in severe decline or pose a significant risk of hosting the EAB. The village will work with the Suburban Tree Consortium to plant as many native species as possible. The replacement program is scheduled to begin late April/early May. The majority of plantings will be in the hardest hit area: the Windsor Pointe Subdivision.

On July 1, 2008, the Illinois Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Sugar Grove. Unfortunately in 2008, the economic conditions changed, and while the village continued to remove trees infected by EAB, the parkway tree replacement program had to be suspended. The grant will allow reforestation efforts to resume.

To date, 2,088 of the village’s parkway trees have been inventoried, with 607 of those being Ash species (approximately 30 percent). The Natural Path Urban Forestry completed this inventory to determine the number of ash trees village-wide and the anticipated impact of the infestation. This monitoring approach gives the Village the ability to modify the EAB response plan should new information or techniques become available to halt the EAB infestation or to save already infected trees.

While the village’s Public Works Department cannot remove infected trees on private property, the streets and properties supervisor will meet with any resident that is concerned about an ash on their property and recommend what action may be necessary.

For further information on the EAB, or if you suspect you have an EAB infestation, e-mail publicworks@sugar-grove.il.us or call (630) 466-7508. Information on the Emerald Ash Borer can also be found at www.sugar-grove.il.us/Dept_PW/EmeraldAshBorer.htm.

Rep. Hatcher backs spending cuts; demands state live within its means

SPRINGFIELD—State Rep. Kay Hatcher is backing spending cuts that will force the state to live within its means. Hatcher (R-Yorkville) last week helped pass a resolution in the Illinois House that will reduce the state’s revenue estimate, leading to significant cuts in state spending.

“Families and businesses are struggling, and have been forced to make tough decisions and tighten their belts to get by. For years, my House Republican colleagues and I have been demanding that the state do the same,” Hatcher said. “Today, the House took a very important step in that direction by passing a resolution that will force the state to set realistic revenue projections and reduce spending.”

House Resolution 110 creates a fiscal framework for Fiscal Year 2012 budget negotiations. The resolution establishes an FY12 revenue estimate of $33.2 billion, which is $2 billion less than Governor Quinn’s spending proposal. The governor’s introduced budget would increase General Revenue Fund spending to $35.4 billion, a 5 percent increase over FY11. By establishing a lower revenue estimate of $33.2 billion, HR 110 will require the governor and General Assembly to make several billion dollars in cuts to state spending. HR 110 passed the House on a vote of 112-0.

“The fact that this crucial resolution had strong bi-partisan sponsorship and support in the House makes me very hopeful that we are finally on the path to putting together a responsible state budget that reins in excessive spending, and at last forces the state to live within its means,” Hatcher said.

Hultgren announces Congressional Art Competition

GENEVA—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced the start of the 2011 Congressional Art Competition for the 14th District, where the winner’s artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. for one year.

“The Congressional Art Competition provides me the opportunity to showcase the talent of high school student constituents and acknowledge this region’s gifted young artists,” Hultgren said. “I look forward receiving entries from students throughout the 14th Congressional District.”

The Congressional Art Competition was created in 1982, and hundreds of thousands of high school students have been able to participate at the local level over the years. Each Congressional District has one winner whose artwork goes to Washington D.C., and each winner also receives a roundtrip ticket to Washington D.C., compliments of Southwest Airlines.

Entries for the competition are now being accepted and must be submitted to Rep. Hultgren’s district office in Dixon or Geneva by Monday, April 25. The entry only needs to be framed if it is selected as the winner to be hung in the U.S. Capitol.

For any additional questions or to obtain a copy of the guidelines and student information/release forms, visit www.house.gov /house/ArtGuidelines.shtml or contact Ruth Richardson at (630) 232-7104.

Waubonsee to host campus tour event

SUGAR GROVE—Individuals interested in enrolling at Waubonsee Community College are invited to attend “Experience Waubonsee” on Tuesday, March 29, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

Attendees will tour the campus, meet faculty and staff, and get a taste of college life.

For more information or to RSVP, go to www.waubonsee.edu, visit or call the Admissions Department at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

Local families needed for cultural exchange students

KANELAND—ASSE International Student Exchange Programs is seeking local families to host boys and girls between the ages of 15 to 18 from a variety of countries around the world.

Students come with an enthusiasm to practice their English and experience American culture: food, sports, shopping and more. They will also share their own culture with host families. Host families welcome these students into their family, not as a guest, but as a family member, giving both the students and families a rich cultural experience.

In addition, students have pocket money for personal expenses; and full health, accident and liability insurance. Students are academically selected for the program, and host families can choose their students from a wide variety of backgrounds, countries and personal interests.

To become a host family or to find out how to become involved with ASSE in your community, please contact Nancy Calegan at (815) 210-4429 or contact the Midwest Regional Office at 1-800-736-1760.

Fine Arts Festival gives update

The Kaneland School Board on Monday evening was presented with an update and preview of the 2011 Kaneland Fine Arts Festival by Maria Dripps-Paulson and the Fine Arts Festival Committee. The festival will be held Sunday, April 10, at Kaneland High School, and will feature performing artists, hands-on workshops and visual artist demonstrations.

Ongoing programs offered for those dealing with cancer

SYCAMORE—The following events are held at the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Cancer Center. For more information, call (815) 748-2958 or visit www.kishhospital.org/programs.

The Men and Caregivers Networking Breakfast
The Men and Caregivers Networking Breakfast is an opportunity for oncology patients and caregivers to give and receive support and share information. The free group is open to all those with cancer for discussion over breakfast; no registration is required. The group meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, from 9 to 10 a.m. at The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

Caring Through Food
Do you or a loved one have cancer? Are you concerned about getting the proper nutrients and maintaining a healthy diet? Join Becky Sisler, registered dietitian, for Caring Through Food, to learn tips, strategies and simple recipes that nourish and care for those with cancer. Caretakers and patients are welcome. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital. This group is free, and registration is required.

Women with Cancer Network
Women with Cancer Network is an opportunity for women with similar experiences to give and receive support, and share information. Participants can learn from each other, meet new people, have discussions, and listen to presentations. The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital. The group is free and no registration required.

Better Business Bureau warns of fraud

Chicago—Reports of the enormous damage from the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan last week resulted in damage to the Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S., and it has prompted many Americans to consider making donations to charities that provide relief to survivors.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises potential donors to be cautious, because fraudulent charities and individuals often crop up to take advantage of their sympathy for victims of natural disasters.

“Natural disasters are an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of generous Americans at all times. However, when a tragedy happens, they are the first to help victims. However, this generosity can be used by scammers, and potential donors must be extremely careful with whom they entrust with their donations. Be especially careful to check with the BBB and others agencies prior to writing that check,” said Steve J. Bernas, BBB president and CEO. “Donors should be certain their money goes to competent relief organizations that have the knowledge and experience to handle the huge challenges of providing assistance in a disaster zone.”

The best way to help is to donate money to a reputable humanitarian organization with a history of providing assistance in disasters and other crisis situations.

For more information about charities go to www.give.org or www.bbb.org When making a donation of any kind or entering into an agreement to obtain services, the BBB encourages consumers to follow certain guidelines, including:

• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of environmental organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

• Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

• Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status.

• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

• To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

• Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use such tactics.

• Be aware of whom you are dealing with when providing your personal and financial information. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

• Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.

• Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.

• Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.

• Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Be wary of spam messages and e-mails that claim to link to a relief organization. After the tsunami disaster in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti last year, many websites and organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.

• Find out if the charity has a presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs.

• Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.

• Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations may not be appropriate. Unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

• Legitimate charities websites end in .org rather than .com.

• Depend on respected experts to evaluate a charity. Be cautious when relying on recommendations by people such as bloggers, because they may not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. The BBB provides a Wise Giving Guide to charities at www.bbb.org. The guide shows which charities meet the BBB’s stringent standards.

NIU announces fall 2010 graduates

Northern Illinois University announced the awarding of undergraduate and graduate degrees at its fall 2010 commencement ceremonies held in December.

Graduates from the area receiving undergraduate degrees include Jon Gustafson, Micaelyn Janke, Brian Kuhar, Erika McIlnay, Rebecca Merfeld and Amanda Ritter, all of Elburn; Ashley Schultz of Maple Park; and Jake Bower, Anthony Canzoneri, Jonathan Easto, Emily Ernzen and Janelle Harner of Sugar Grove.

Graduate degrees were awarded to William Beith, Alicia Lisowski, Jaclyn Self and Shaun Wenz, all of Elburn; and Amy Blake, Kristyn Crawford, Ryan Crawford, James Kelly, Tony Valente and Dawn Wantuch, all of Sugar Grove.

Kranz, Baumgartner to wed

Rodney and Beth Kranz of Sugar Grove announce the engagement of their daughter, Bonnie Leanne Kranz, to Matthew Austin Baumgartner, son of Keith and Karen Baumgartner of Sugar Grove.

The bride-to-be is a 2005 graduate of Kaneland High School and 2009 graduate of Illinois State University with a bachelors degree in Psychology. She is currently employed as a supervisor in the finishing department at Ace Graphics, Inc. in Naperville.

The future groom is a 2004 graduate of Kaneland High School. Matt is employed as a parts and service technician at Nadler Golf Car Sales, Inc. in Aurora.

The couple will marry in June at The Danada House in Wheaton, Ill.

Aurora University announces dean’s lists

Aurora University announced the names who are part of the fall semester dean’s list.

The high-honors list recognizes students who attain a 4.0 grade-point average.

Named to the high honors list are Ashley Clinton, Samantha Dixon, Joshua Gould, Lindsay Hansen, Carol Smith, all of Elburn; and Michelle Galloway, Veronica Haenisch, Scott Malewig, Elizabeth Marsh, Lisa McConkey, Erin Neumann, all of Sugar Grove.

Forest preserve to hold meetings on space referendum

GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County invites the public to attend information meetings on the upcoming Land Acquisition and Preserve Improvement Referendum.

The Forest Preserve Commission will hold various meetings throughout Kane County to provide information and answer questions about the April 5 ballot question. The district is asking voters whether it should borrow and sell $30 million in general obligation bonds.

The money would go to acquire and preserve forest and natural lands; protect wildlife habitats; enhance flood control; improve hiking and biking trails, fishing and other recreational areas; provide forest and wildlife education programs; and improve forest preserves, wetlands and prairies.

A bond amount of $30 million would be expected to cost the average household in Kane County $13.20 annually over 20 years, or $1.10 per month.

Meetings currently scheduled include:
• Monday, March 21, 7 p.m. at the West Dundee Fire Department, 100 Carrington Dr., West Dundee, IL.
• Tuesday, March 22, 7 p.m. in the Geneva Public Library, 127 James St., Geneva.
• Thursday, March 24, 7 p.m. at the Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave., St. Charles.

Visit www.kaneforest.com. There will be a list of public meetings available.

Cancer center benefit raises $300,000 for charity

Geneva—On Saturday, Feb. 19, Ed and Karen French hosted the 6th Annual Winter Wine Festival, benefiting the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center. The evening not only entertained the guests, but also brought in a record amount of contributions for the charity.

“We are so thrilled at the generosity of our community. This year’s benefit brought in the highest total ever, which reached $300,000,” said LivingWell’s Development Director, Susan Mielke. “Our deepest thanks go to the many people and organizations that have made this possible.”

Highlights of the benefit included champagne and caviar served in Karen French’s boutique-like master closet; a sushi bar by Wok ‘n Fire in the three season’s room, and performances by DMaC, the DePaul Men’s acappella group.

Chef John Riedle of A Private Affair catering organized the cuisine, which included appetizers and desserts from the leading restaurants of the Fox Valley; Sommelier Debra Metzinger coordinated the wine and champagne, poured by top wineries and restaurants; Scott Mackay of 95.9 The River emceed the event with entertaining commentary, while the auctioneer, David Goodman, kept the bidding at a rousing pace throughout the live auction.

“Every year, I am amazed at how our development team, led by Susan Mielke and Jennifer Sommers, and their amazing volunteer committee outdo themselves. We are so thankful to Ed and Karen French, who hosted this magnificent event, and to all of our sponsors, donors and volunteers who supported this event,” said Nancy Vance, executive director of LivingWell. “If it weren’t for the tremendous generosity of our entire community, LivingWell would not be able to grow at the rate that we have over the past five years. We are now able to offer over 50 programs and services, all free of charge, to thousands of cancer survivors and their families.”

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center is the one place in the Fox Valley region where people living with cancer, their families and friends, can go for information and support services that address the challenges of living with cancer free of charge to the participants. LivingWell offers networking and support groups, educational programs, mind-body fitness classes, youth programs, a library, individual psychological and nutritional counseling and much more. LivingWell is located at 1803 W. State St., in Geneva, and online at www.LivingWellCRC.org.

Elburn Lions Club invites community to Sunday Open House

Elburn Lions Club Open House
Sunday, March 20
Noon to 3 p.m.
Lions Park
500 Filmore Street
For more information about this and other events, visit the website at www.elburnlions.com.

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Members of the Elburn Lions Club promise good food, fellowship and information at an open house this Sunday to learn about the events the club sponsors throughout the year, the charities it supports, and how community members can get involved.

The club’s 169 adult members and 25 youth and young-adult members make it the largest non-governmental service organization in the state of Illinois, Elburn Lions Club President Uwe Rotter said.

Open to all of the youth in the community, Junior Leos includes children from 8 to 11 years old, and Leo Club members are from 12 to 18 years of age.

“It’s a great way to teach kids about volunteerism and helping people in the community,” Leos Club advisor Pam Hall said.

The young people also learn public speaking, how to organize projects and how to run their organization, Hall said.

Together with the Leo Club and the Junior Leos, Elburn Lions Club members provide help as it is needed within the community, whether it is the purchase of a service dog for a community member or raising money to pay for the medical bills of a local resident.

The club offers additional local support by providing the use of its ballfields to the Elburn Baseball Association, as well as sponsoring monthly community dinners to raise awareness of various community programs and issues.

On a global level, the Elburn Lions Club’s support of Lions Club International provides glasses, vision screenings, medication and surgery to people in need in third world countries, Hall added.

While their fundraising is serious business, members also like to have a good time, Rotter said. The Elburn Lions Club-sponsored Elburn Days Parade and weekend event in August is its largest fundraiser of the year.

Friday Night Bingo is just one of the smaller events the club sponsors throughout the year that not only raises money and awareness for the charities it supports, but provides entertainment and fun for the community.

In addition to educating the community about what the Elburn Lions Club is and what it does, Rotter said he hopes the open house will encourage others to join them.

“It takes a lot of people to make all this happen,” Rotter said. “It’s exhilarating to see people have fun, and to see where the money goes. We want to do more of these things.”

2010 Elburn Lions Club’s
charitable donations:

• Companion dog for Max Capes
(4 Paws for Ability)
• Ski for Sight
• Low Vision Viewers to local citizens
• Camp Lion & Lions of Illinois Foundation
• Teddy Bears for Conley Grief Center
• Carol & Steve Herra Benefit
• Elburn Community Emergency
Response Team
• Kaneland Public Fire Safety
• Elburn Food Pantry
• Wounded Warrior Project
• Glasses & eye exams for local children
• St. Galls Church
• Lions International
• Helping Hands
• Elburn Senior Dinner
• Northern Illinois Food Bank
• Campaign Sight First II
• West Towns Human Services Network

8-period format discussed

The Kaneland School Board on Monday evening was presented with an update on the high school schedule change to an eight-period format by Director of Educational Services Erika Schlichter.

According to a document presented by Schlichter, the schedule will transition to the new format for the 2012-13 school year. The document also notes the completion of student scheduling and creation of scheduling plans for eighth-graders and current high school students has been completed, as well as the assessment of potential material costs associated with the schedule change.

Village approves IGA with Rob Roy Drainage District

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board voted 5-0 to authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2 to aid storm water drainage improvements for the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions.

According to a document from Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger, the agreement will detail the understandings between both parties regarding the design and installation of the improvements, the disconnection of the two subdivisions from the Rob Roy Drainage District, and the voluntary contribution of funds from the village to the Drainage District.

“(The agreement) does include a small contribution from the village to the Drainage District in recognition of some of the work they did to assist us on our project,” Eichelberger said.

The document states that the cost to develop and implement the agreement, including attorney consultation and engineer services in the preparation and disconnection process, and the contribution to the Drainage District, is estimated at $35,000. That cost will be allocated as part of the overall project cost, which is estimated approximately between $1.4 and $1.8 million.

Priorities, numbers needed to make a decision about water rate hike

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Discussion at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting centered on the need to have capital projects prioritized and numbers clarified in order to make a decision whether water and sewer rates should be increased.

The proposed increase would increase a current bill of $46.60 to $47.14, or 1.4 percent. The water rate per 100 cubic feet would go from $3.50 to $3.55, and the sewer from $2.60 to $2.64.

Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said that the estimated revenues from the rate increase in 2010 were less than anticipated.

“The total shortfall is just over $54,000 of what we estimated revenues to be. We didn’t get as much money as we thought we were going to get, but we looked at the other side (expenditures) and found ways to reduce spending,” Nevenhoven said. “We stopped the bleeding we’d been experiencing the last couple of years.”

Last year’s large rate increase came at a time when the village was losing over $20,000 each month. Prior to that increase, water rates hadn’t been raised since the 1980s and sewer rates since the 1990s.

Usage fell following the rate hike with the system pumping 4 million gallons less than prior to the increase.

“With the increased rate, people think about it when they turn on their faucets. That’s why revenues are short,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

The board discussed raising the base rate, which is currently $5 for both sewer and water. This money is used for capital improvements such as painting the water tower and replacing blowers. Additionally, a portion of the sewer revenue, approximately $1.10, is dedicated to repaying a $240,000 bond from Kane County. It will take 10 years to pay back the bond.

Trustee Jeff Walter emphasized that operational costs may not remain stable if people turn off their water to cut costs and that increasing the base charge makes sense. Bill Grabarek agreed.

“I’m hesitant to ask for a 1.4 percent increase in water bills,” he said. “I’d rather mess with the capital, not the operating money. I’d prefer to look at what it would be with the base charge (increase).”

In order to know how much money is actually needed, the board needs to know what projects have priority and what criteria is used. Also, village officials need to be able to inform the public that a rate hike is on the horizon. So, for the increase to be in effect by May 1, notification would need to be in the April 1 water bills.

“On Monday (at the village board meeting, March 21), you will see a project list and the staff-pick projects and recommendations,” Willrett said.

D302 Board honors Illinois State Scholars

The Kaneland School Board on Monday evening honored 31 students who were recognized as Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for outstanding academic achievement.

The honored students are Grant Alef, Elaine Cannell, Jessica Corbett, Lauren Crites, Lacey Eberle, Collin Ellingwood, Ariana Espino, Brock Feece, Drew French, Danielle Frost, Emily Heimerdinger, Lindsay Jurcenko, Joseph Kenkel, John Kintz, Jordan Krawczyk, Amanda Lamp, Alexandra Leonhard, Jessica Lubic, Mark Merfeld, Katie Meuer, Sarah Morgan, Keara Palpant, Karissa Pitstick, Amber Platt, Hannah Schuppner, Danielle Thomas, Holly Thomas, Samantha Wantuch, Amanda Whiteside, Thomas Whittaker and Carl Zagel

Students must be ranked in the top 10 percent of their class (based on ACT/SAT score and class rank) to be eligible for the Illinois State Scholar honor.

Kaneland finalizes budget reduction

Editor’s note:
In the “Kaneland finalizes budget reduction” story on page 1A of the Thursday, March 17 edition, a paraphrased statement by Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe was published as, “The budget reduction work was challenging, but cooperative and simple.” The statement should have read, “The budget reduction work was challenging, but cooperative and sensible.”
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
e-mail: info@elburnherald.com

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—After nearly three months of financial projections, targeted cost centers and budget analysis, the Kaneland School District on Monday presented the School Board with its finalized cost reduction plan for the 2012 fiscal school year.

The reduction plan, which the School Board approved with a unanimous vote of 7-0, will cut $1,005,477 in district expenditures at the elementary, middle school, high school and district level. Despite the financial belt tightening, Superintendent Jeff Schuler said no school employees were lost as a result of the budget cuts, because all eliminated positions were offset by district retirements.

Schuler had repeatedly stated at School Board meetings since early January that the district’s main goal was to cut expenditures while trying to minimize the impact of reductions on student programs.

“I think that, for the most part, we were successful in that goal, although any reduction in staff, supply or purchased service is going to have some impact on our education services for students,” he said. “If it did not (have an impact), then we should not have been spending that money to begin with. I believe that Kaneland has been responsible and strategic in the use of our resources, so any cost reductions are going to be challenging.”

One of the cost reduction plan’s more difficult cuts is the elimination of two LRC director positions at the elementary level, which will leave the two remaining LRC director positions to each oversee two of the district’s four elementary buildings. These particular cuts were discussed by the School Board at its meeting on Feb. 28.

Board President Cheryl Krauspe said the budget reduction work was challenging, but cooperative and sensible.

“(It’s) hard to think positive when you think budget cuts, but we’ve got a vision that recognizes some harsh realities,” she said. “We are not in the practice of hand wringing and feeling sorry for ourselves; there is not enough time for that. We need to invest all of the resources that we have in the best possible way, and that’s moving forward.”

According to a memorandum presented by Schuler, the cost reduction plan will reduce $200,845 at the elementary level, $128,149 at the middle school level, $181,842 at the high school level, and $494,641 at the district level.

There is, however, one positive aspect that Schuler was able to take from the grueling cost reduction process.

“If there is a silver lining in the cost reductions, it is the fact that the district staff and administration have been very creative in our ability to accomplish more with less,” he said. “We have sought new ways to allocate resources-especially in operational areas-that have allowed us to maintain our focus on teaching and learning. We have not just maintained during this financial crisis, we have continued to innovate and improve.”

Minimized cuts

Despite the financial belt tightening, Superintendent Jeff Schuler said no school employees were lost as a result of the budget cuts, because all eliminated positions were offset by district retirements.