Editorial: Local terrorism expert shares his insights


As word spread of the death of Osama Bin Laden Sunday, the vast majority of us turned to the news to find out more. For Sugar Grove resident and terrorism expert Mike Fagel, he prepared to go on the news.

Moments after President Barack Obama concluded his speech Sunday night confirming the death of Osama Bin Laden, Fagel appeared on the NBC Channel 5 Special Report to provide his insight on the event and its aftermath.

He then made several more media appearances over the next 24 hours, and said that his primary points remained the same for each.

“The topic was the same,” Fagel said. “The price of freedom is vigilance, not vigilantes. If you see something, say something. Go about your daily lives with caution and awareness, but not panic.”

Fagel is a Department of Homeland Security Analyst and a Homeland Security Instructor at Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and Benedictine University in Emergency Planning and Public Policy. He has spent years as a FEMA reservist responding to many crises, ranging from hurricanes and ice storms to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center.

So, to say he is an expert on these things might be an understatement.

“I teach at Northwestern, NIU and Benedictine in their homeland security operations,” Fagel said. “I get a sense of accomplishment, training the responders of tomorrow.”

The insights Fagel shared with us can hopefully help us as we struggle to comprehend what the death of Osama Bin Laden really means, as well as our struggle with the range of thoughts and emotions his death has brought back to the surface.

He said that as a World Trade Center responder, he witnessed first-hand the impacts of that day on those who lost loved ones, and those, like him, who responded to the scene.

“The World Trade Center (attack) took a toll on 3,000 families and created a hollow feeling where their family members once were,” he said. “That will never go away.”

Being on the scene at Ground Zero has given him a perspective far different from those of us who experienced it either second hand or by watching it on the news.

“It pushed the mortality to the forefront, where I worked as a scene safety officer for the FDNY for nearly three months,” he said. “The impacts on my co-workers were subtle at first. I stay in touch with two of my teammates these last 10 years on a weekly basis. We all feel a deep sadness, but a sense of pride in what we did together.”

In the 10 years since that awful day, which led our nation to briefly unite in our grief and outrage, much has changed. Fagel explained that those early emotions faded with time.

“Americans changed during 2001, but their tears dried up as we moved farther and farther away from 9-11,” Fagel said.

That former unity could again be seen Sunday night, as spontaneous gatherings formed at the White House, Ground Zero, and other locations throughout the nation. Fagel recalled his initial reaction to the news.

“I was cautiously optimistic when I heard, but was concerned that the retaliation factor may be in the offing,” he said.

As time passed, those concerns increased.

“I became more concerned that as the world became more aware of the ramifications of the event, the other elements, cells, copycats and such may use this opportunity to create havoc,” he explained.

Global travel alerts were issued later Sunday night, and we were repeatedly told about the possibility of a retaliatory attack. For many, those warnings led to a growing unease in the following days. While Fagel agreed with the need for concern, he said that we also need to remember what we have working for us.

“The intelligence community is working 24/7 to keep America and its allies safe,” he said. “It is a daunting task, but, with the proper support, it is manageable.”

Our reactions to Sunday’s news will continue to evolve as time passes, and the relative unity that returned Sunday night has already begun to fade due to skepticism, cynicism, political battles and general distrust expressed by so many in the past few days. While that evolution of thought and emotion will be unique to each one of us, we all share something beyond the pettiness and politics that separates us. Fagel said that in the years between 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden’s death, he worked with people from all over the globe from every background conceivable. Despite all of the differences he saw, he found something we all share.

“I have learned that we are all people under the same hopes, fears and options.”

Letter: Elburn American Legion to distribute memorial poppies

Elburn American Legion Auxiliary members and volunteers will be in downtown Elburn distributing memorial poppies on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21, in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans.

The poppy has become a nationally-known and recognized symbol of sacrifice, and is worn by Americans to honor those who served and died for their country. The wearing of a poppy means “honor the dead and help the living.”

The handmade poppies are crafted by disabled veterans, and the production activity provides physical and mental therapeutic benefits for the veterans. Donations received by the American Legion Auxiliary volunteers for the poppies are used extensively to assist and support veterans and their families through service programs.

In November 1918, Ms. Moina Michael bought a bouquet of poppies and handed them to businessmen where she worked, and she asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen. In 1923, the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion family in memory of the soldiers who fought on the battlefields during World War I.

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary volunteers look forward to a successful “Poppy Days” program May 20-21, and greatly appreciate the community’s generous support and participation.

Leah Anderson, Cara Bartel
Elburn American Legion
Auxiliary #630

Letter: 2011 Boy Scout Spring Camporee

On the weekend of April 15-17, Boy Scout Troop 41 from Sugar Grove and other local troops participated in a camp out known as the Spring Camporee at Lyons Farm in Yorkville. Despite bad weather, rain, sleet, snow and windy conditions, the boys still had a wonderful time. There were good meals, team building games, skits and a church service.

For information on joining Boy Scout Troop 41, please contact Scoutmaster Dave Seraphin at (630) 466-4913.

Mark Wojak
Troop 41 Scribe
Sugar Grove

Dean Harms

Dean Harms, of Elburn and Post Lake, Wis., died Thursday, April 28, at AGI Health Care in Crandon, Wis. He was 81 years old. He was born on Sept. 26, 1929, in Aurora, son of the late Fred and Ruth (Minor) Harms. He married Laurine Amfahr on Sept. 13, 1952, in Mendota, Ill.

He was born and raised in Aurora, where he graduated from East High School. After marriage, he moved to Elburn, where he worked at his father’s auto dealership, Harms Chevrolet. He purchased the dealership from his father in 1969, and owned and operated it until 1994.

He owned a cabin on Upper Post Lake since 1972, where the family enjoyed many vacations and holidays. After retirement, Post Lake became his second home, and golf his primary pastime.

He was a member of the Harry Athletic Club in Aurora. He served as a volunteer, trustee and past president of the Elburn Fire Department. He was member and past president of the Elburn Lions Club, a member of Antigo Bass Lake Country Club and was a hole-in-one golfer.

Mr. Harms enjoyed fishing in Wisconsin and Canada, hunting crows and pheasants, playing pool and cards, waterskiing and snowmobiling. His travels took him to Europe, the Caribbean and many golf resorts.

Survivors include his wife, Laurine; a daughter, Carol (Ken) Brooks of Elcho, Wis.; three grandchildren, Steve Brooks and fiancee Nichole Valuch of Hartland, Wis., Laura Brooks of Milwaukee, Wis., and Ryan Brooks, a student at UW Stout; and a son-in-law, Ron Heuertz of St. Charles.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Nancy Heuertz.

A funeral service was held on Monday at 11 a.m. at Bradley Funeral Home, with Rev. Jack LaMar officiating. Burial took place in Elcho Cemetery. Visitation was Monday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be left at www.bradleyfh.com.

Wellness Concepts’ Women’s Health & Weight Loss Symposium

Symposium on
‘Women’s Health and Weight Loss’
Saturday, May 14
10 am-2 pm
Wellness Concepts conference room
2075 Foxfield Road, St. Charles.

Registration fee is $15 per person.
Food and refreshments will be provided
at the noon break.
Call (630) 587-4338, ext. 1

ST. CHARLES—Feeling fat, frumpy and frazzled? Confused about the pros and cons of various weight loss programs? Would you like to learn how to overcome your adrenal balance, restore your thyroid and lose weight?

If so, Martin Plotkin, MD, and the staff of Wellness Concepts invite you to join them for a symposium on ‘Women’s Health and Weight Loss’ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Wellness Concepts conference room, 2075 Foxfield Road, St. Charles.

Registration fee is $15 per person. Food and refreshments will be provided at the noon break. Call (630) 587-4338, ext. 1, to sign up. Limited seating is available.

The seminar will be divided into three parts and presented by Karen Connolly, a certified nutritionist, and Dr. Plotkin. Plotkin is a licensed physician, surgeon and educator with over 45 years experience in areas of medical practice that are truly multi-dimensional and unlikely to be matched by other medical doctors.

In addition, state-of-the-art MicroNutrient Testing will be available.

“Join us to learn how to avoid the pitfalls and detours of weight loss, while we provide you with a science based informational and guidance program to ensure your journey is an adventure, rather than an arduous task,” Plotkin said.

Bring a friend to receive a $10 gift card. For more information, visit www.wellnessconceptsllc.com.

2011 Garfield Farm Museum Awards Dinner

ST. CHARLES—Garfield Farm Museum will hold its annual Garfield Farm Museum Awards for historic and environmental preservation on Saturday, May 7, at 8:30 p.m. at the Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne.

These awards recognize individuals and groups whose efforts parallel the museum’s three themes: history, farming and the environment.

The Gifford Park Association of Elgin, Ill., Charles Greenhill of Lake Zurich, Ill., and Dan and Tina Larsen of LaFox are the 2011 winners of the Historic Preservation Awards. Barbara Reed Turner of Long Grove, Ill., will receive an Environmental Preservation Award.

The evening begins with a reception and dinner at 6:45 pm. Dinner is $50 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the museum at (630) 584-8485 or info@garfieldfarm.org. Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, off Route 38 on Garfield Road.

WCC scholarships

SUGAR GROVE—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering scholarships to students enrolling in a variety of career education programs during the upcoming 2011-12 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 27.

These $500 program scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. A list of qualifying degree and certificate programs and an application form can be found online at www.waubonsee.edu/scholarships. For more information, contact Admissions at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

Memorial Walk for families grieving infant loss

ELGIN—Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice, a nonprofit organization offering support for those with life-threatening illnesses and the bereaved, will hold a Memorial Walk for families who are grieving the death of a baby on Saturday, May 7, at 9 a.m. at Bluff City Cemetery Office, 945 Bluff City Blvd., Elgin, Ill.

All family members and friends who have been affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or infant losses are invited to participate in this remembrance service and planting of a tree. Participants are encouraged to bring small memorial items such as pictures, letters, an infant’s toy or any other meaningful item they wish to place in an infant-sized casket, which will be buried during the service. Presiding over the service will be Provena Saint Joseph chaplain Arlene Metcalf and Sherman Hospital chaplain Neris Diaz-Cabello. Coffee, hot chocolate and donuts will be served after the service.

The walk will take place regardless of weather. It is offered in conjunction with Provena Saint Joseph and Provena Mercy Hospitals, and Bluff City Cemetery. There is no charge, but advanced registration is requested at (630) 232-2233.

All programs and services of Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice are offered free of charge to residents of Kane and Kendall counties, and parts of DuPage, Cook, and McHenry counties. For more information on the agency, see www.fvvh.org.

Kaneville finds location for new roadside sign

Kaneville—Kaneville Village Board member Pat Hill told the board on April 21 that she had found a location within village limits to place the new roadside sign.

The previous location chosen for the sign was abandoned after it was discovered that being outside of village limits, the sign would be required to be 66 feet from the road’s center-line. At that location, it was decided that the sign would be very difficult to see.

“The new location is located on an undeveloped, half-acre open lot, owned by Ruth Lawson” said Hill, “She is very excited to be a part of this.”

The board also discussed landscaping plans for around the sign.

“There needs to be some bushes and flowers,” Trustee Paul Ross said. “Something to make it look nice.”

Also discussed were ways in which these plants would be acquired, and how the work would be done. One possibility they talked about would be to have the plants donated and installed by a local group.

If all goes according to plan, the village will have the sign installed by Memorial Day.

Aurora Airport manager to be inducted into aviation hall of fame

by Keith Beebe
AURORA/Sugar Grove—Bob Rieser began working for the city of Aurora in May 1971 as a summer college intern while working toward a degree in civil engineering.

Forty years later, he will be the first professional airport manager to be inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

The Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame is a part of the annual Illinois Aviation Conference, which will be held this year on May 24 and 25 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield. The conference features programs, guest speakers and other tools to help show what is currently going on in the world of aviation.
[quote]
Rieser, who serves as manager and director of aviation at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, is one of four people who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. He said he was both pleased and surprised when he found out in late January that he would be inducted this year.

“It’s an honor to be inducted, and it’s very nice to be acknowledged by your peers in the industry,” Rieser said. “There’s no better form of flattery, especially if you look at the guys who are in there ahead of me. It’s an honor to be in that group of distinguished people in aviation.”

This was also Rieser’s first time being nominated for the Hall of Fame. According to Rieser, nominees do not typically make it through the screening process the first few times they are nominated.

“I guess I met the criteria,” he said. “The biggest thing they look for is what you do for aviation in Illinois outside of your job, and I guess I’ve done that.”

According to an Illinois Aviation Conference press release, Rieser’s skills, love and devotion to general aviation have opened many doors of opportunity to the aviation community for those who want to be part of it. The release states that Rieser has supported EAA Chapter 79 in flying over 14,000 children as part of the Young Eagles program, and has hosted the Chapter One Aerobatic Competition, the North American Trainer Association formation seminars, the Moleaires line control model airplane competition, and the USAF Reservists.

The press release also states Rieser’s devotion to aviation and dedication to Illinois airports qualifies him to join the ranks of notable inductees in the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

One of the first projects Rieser was assigned to work on 40 years ago was the construction of a runway extension. After that, he finished his college training, earned his degree at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and went to work for Aurora, building projects as a civil engineer. Then, everything came together for Rieser one day in 1978.

“The then-airport manager apparently went to the mayor, who was Jack Hill, and said he wanted to take a three-month leave of absence. The mayor walked up into the engineering part and said, ‘OK, he’s going to be gone for three months; who wants to look after it while he’s gone?’ And I stuck my hand up,” Rieser said. “That was it. He just said, ‘Take care of it while you do your other stuff.’”

Rieser then officially began splitting his time between civil engineering and managing the airport in 1981, and then moved into the full-time airport manager position three years later. Rieser is currently the longest-standing airport manager for a public airport in the state of Illinois.

He also believes he still has plenty of important work still ahead of him.

“I want to keep working, and I see some good surprises coming up around here this next year,” he said.