WCC fall baseball info

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College will host a fall baseball hitting and game league for high school players who are not participating in any fall high school sports. This IHSA approved league is the area’s longest-running and most economical fall league. Over 2,000 players have participated throughout the past 26 years, with hundreds going on to compete at the collegiate level.

The league is scheduled to run from Tuesday, Aug. 30, through the end of September. Games will be played on every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of September, beginning at 4:30 p.m. each day. All games will be played on Waubonsee Community College’s baseball diamond in Sugar Grove, and all players signed up are guaranteed playing time. Each of the eight game days will provide players the opportunity to use Waubonsee’s outdoor hitting facility that features two astro-turfed batting cages and multiple hitting stations.

Individuals interested in playing should attend an organizational meeting on Monday, Aug. 29, at 4:30 p.m. on the Sugar Grove campus. The meeting will take place in Room 219 of Erickson Hall, Waubonsee’s gymnasium, with a $60 fee due at that time. For more information, contact Waubonsee baseball coach Dave Randall at (630) 466-2527.

Editorial: No reason, no re-election

Two weeks ago, the Sugar Grove Library Board surprised the community when it voted 4-2 to terminate the employment of 21-year Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes.

No reason was given at the time, and two weeks later, no reason has still been provided.

Even when approximately 75 local residents attended Thursday’s Library Board meeting to support Hughes and to ask for the board’s rationale for its decision, no reason was given.

All that is known is that Hughes was told that the Library Board wants to move in a new direction.

What that direction is, no one knows. What made the board determine that Hughes would not be able to adequately serve in her job in that new direction, no one knows.

What is known is that Hughes has been a true community servant for the past 21 years. Her leadership in the library has helped it transform from what it was—a library with limited material and program offerings in a tiny space— into what it is—a vibrant center of the community that offers a lot while spending a little.

Yet, her involvement has consisted of far more than “just” as the library’s director. Elburn Herald reporter Keith Beebe wrote about the initial community reaction, as well as detailed the broader involvement she has had in the community, on the front page of our July 21 edition. Her involvement in the community has been so robust for so long that there is not room in this space to begin to describe it; the best we can do is summarize it. She has been a centerpiece in the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil committee, the League of Women Voters, the local farmer’s market, and just about any other event or organization that supports Sugar Grove citizens.

In short, whenever the community has needed her, she has not only been there, but has been a leader. It would not be an exaggeration to say she has been a cornerstone of the Sugar Grove community, as evidenced by the 2010 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year Award she received at last year’s Corn Boil festival.

And on Thursday’s Library Board meeting, the community was there for her.

The unfortunate thing is that the board has not responded to their constituents’ requests for a reasoning for its decision. Likewise, no clarification has been made as to this “new direction” they suddenly have called for.

In the absence of a concrete reason, speculation has arisen within the community. Reporter Susan O’Neill’s story this week includes a suggestion from two community leaders that the reason behind the decision was purely personal, and that Hughes suffered from a hostile work environment following her decision to terminate the employment of a board member’s friend in 2010.

Was this a retaliatory firing, or are there reasons that the board feels are legitimate for why they ended the employment of a community leader?

One of the two board members who voted against Hughes’ termination, Bill Durrenberger, said he doesn’t think there was a real reason for the firing.

Given the lack of any statements from the board clarifying their decision or their future direction, nothing is clear, other than the fact that the board’s communication with the public it serves leaves much to be desired.

They are community servants, too, and when the public demands an answer, they should feel obligated to provide one. While it may be true that Beverly Holmes Hughes worked at the pleasure of the Library Board, the board members need to be reminded that they work at the pleasure of the voters of the Sugar Grove Public Library District.

And unless those four board members who voted to terminate Hughes’ employment change their demeanor and provide clear, rational and legitimate reasons for their decisions, we believe the voters should give them a dose of their own medicine come election day.

Letter: Don’t put that trash around my trees

Please hear my plea. I’ve recently learned that the village is planning to spread landscaper’s trash (some might call it mulch/wood chips, etc.) around the trees in the parkways. Save taxpayer’s money; this trash is not necessary. Further, the last time this was done, the people doing it did it wrong—they piled it up around the trunks, which promotes spider roots sapping the water from the surface of the ground, depriving the real roots of the necessary water.

I know you want our village to be a Tree City U.S.A. However, there are better ways to spend taxpayer’s money, like the tree pruning being done and planting young trees on Arbor Day.

If you ignore my plea, please don’t put that trash around the trees at my residence.

H. Jack Hansen

Letter: Boy Scout Summer Camp Pt. 2

Besides taking Merit badges at Camp Freeland Leslie in Oxford, Wis., the Boy Scouts of Troop 41 did a variety of other things for the week they were at summer camp.

Every night—Monday through Thursday—there was an open swim from 7 to 8 p.m. down at the lakefront. Every day, the boys that were 13 years or older had a chance to do High Adventure. For example, Thursday, the boys had an opportunity to go spelunking. Also, the camp had a climbing wall the Scouts could use. On this wall, there was a contest to see who could climb it the fastest; the prize was a “golden” carabineer.

The boys also had a chance to do a couple of nature walks on paths throughout the camp.
Wednesday night, instead of an evening program, there was an O.A. callout, (O.A. stands for Order of the Arrow). To get in this group, the Scouts needed to have been elected by their fellow Scouts.

On Thursday morning, a couple of boys and leaders went to the lakefront at 6 a.m. to swim a mile. Mile swimmers from Troop 41 were leaders Mr. Hal Wright and Mr. Dave Seraphin; the Scouts were David Barnhart and Mark Wojak.

During Thursday’s evening program there was CPR training for the boys who needed to learn CPR for their Merit Badges. The boys also had the chance to do human foosball.

These are the extra activities the boys did at C.F.L. For information on joining Troop 41, contact Scoutmaster Dave Seraphin at (630) 466-4913.

Mark Wojak
Scribe, Troop 41

Letter: An open letter to Representative Hultgren

Bush tax cuts and grocery shopping
I do all the grocery shopping for our household. Several weeks ago, I bought my favorite cranberry juice for $3.25. The next time I went to the store, it was on sale for $2.50. I stocked up, of course. It remained on sale for two weeks. When it went off sale, the price went back up to the $3.25. I don’t consider that a price increase; it just went off sale.

This past Saturday, I wanted to pick up some more juice, and the price was $3.50. Now, that is a price increase. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire (as the Sunset Provision Congress voted for) is not increasing taxes. Maybe Congress should do the grocery shopping for their family for eight weeks so they can see how this on-sale/off-sale price increase works in the real world. Ask anyone who does the family shopping; I’m sure they would be of the same opinion on grocery store pricing.

The Republican stance: Don’t raise taxes on the job creators
The Bush tax cuts have been in place for 10 years. I really don’t see jobs being created, at least not in the United States. Don’t blame government regulations on stifling job growth. The recent examples of the “Big Branch Mine” coal mine disaster, the B.P. oil explosion and spill, and the most recent oil line rupture in Montana is proof enough our regulations and system on fines are not strong enough.

Do we really want to cut food safety programs and trust business to do the right thing? Can an unregulated, free market really be safe for our citizens? The Chinese don’t seem to have much regulation or controls on safety and quality. Remember when they added melamine to dog and cat food to boost the protein assay and many pets died as a result? They did the same thing to baby formula. Is this the level of regulation we are aiming for?

Paying for war
It seems to me that when you have larger expenses (two wars, etc.), you have to bring in more money. If I want to replace my 2005 car with a 2012, I need more revenue, not less; I don’t cut back my hours at work. I might have more energy, more free time and feel better not working quite as much, but I’ll have less money to make car payments with. To compensate for the reduced income, since I cut my hours, do I stop paying my health insurance policy? That would save a bundle of cash right now to pay for the car, but maybe not be so good for my long-term health or financial health, for that matter.

The reasons for the deficit being this high include the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Bush tax cuts and the Prescription Drug Bill—none of which were paid for.

Do I want to pay higher taxes? Not really. Do I think we can afford to keep spending and not try to raise more money? No. Do I think we can cut the deficit by spending cuts alone? Of course not. You can’t cut the social safety net to shreds. Do the Republicans think I’m an idiot? Maybe they do, or maybe they think I have a very short memory.

Two friends of mine live in a rural community. Rob lost his job with a heating and cooling company. Now he works as a short-order cook. His wife, Lynn, is a school bus driver. They each make $10 an hour at their jobs. They have a 10-year-old son, Evan. Can they afford to pay more taxes? No. Can they afford to lose Evan’s state kids healthcare insurance? They would be able to get by, yes, but it might not be so good for Evan’s health, short term or long term.

Recently, Sen. Sessions said that having millionaires pay higher taxes to save the economy was “rather pathetic.” Sen. Hatch suggested that the poor do their fair share. Really? Where would Rob and Lynn find the money? Why don’t you ask those who have done so well these last 10 years to pay a bit more? Charge the regular price for juice, not sale price for perpetuity.

I am truly disgusted with what I see in Washington. The greed and hypocrisy is beyond anything I could have dreamed of. Congressmen standing on the floor in the House of Representatives, railing against the stimulus package, voting against it, but then showing up at ribbon cutting ceremonies in their districts, praising the jobs that were created by the stimulus.

In Washington, the focus is nothing more than getting and retaining power. Congress is looking out for the interests of those contributors who fund their campaigns. You don’t really seem to care about the rest of us. It is my family who help pay your government salary, pension and healthcare insurance. Our checks to your campaign coffers just aren’t big enough to justify any attention to what we need. In the last election cycle, the Republicans ran on “creating jobs.” There have been no job bills. Most of the bills that were passed were focused on social issues. I don’t see a job bill or any new jobs that the 112th Congress has created.

Raising the retirement age and Medicare age eligibility
Raising the retirement age for general office workers might be okay, but what about people who work at hard labor jobs, construction, waitressing, nursing, etc. Your body wears out—doesn’t Congress understand that? Are they so insulated from life that they don’t know that people do hard, physical labor or are on their feet all day? To secure the financial health of social security, lift the cap and stop raiding the trust fund. That seems to be a no-brainer for me.

Raising the Medicare eligibility age is just going to hurt more people. So many people in their 50s have been laid off. In this economy, who is going to hire an older worker? They require higher salaries, and their health insurance costs are higher. Most employers hire cheaper, younger people or go out of the country, where labor is cheaper.

I have many friends who are self-employed, unemployed or underemployed, and are trying very hard to stay healthy and praying they don’t get sick. They are counting the days until Medicare kicks in because they can’t buy health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, or they just can’t afford it. There are ways to fix Medicare without hurting seniors. How about negotiating for lower drug prices, for instance? Oh, I forgot, it’s the pharmaceutical companies that write the big checks to election campaigns.

Carol Green

Janice Mott Barton

Janice Mott Barton, 83, died peacefully in her home from an extended illness in Huntley, Ill., on Aug. 1, 2011, surrounded by her loving family.

Born March 8, 1928, in Geneva, to Richard Merritt and Margaret Hinds Mott, she graduated from Rockford West High School in 1945 and attended Northwestern University.

Janice married her soulmate, W. Forbes Barton, known since her childhood, in 1968. They celebrated their love for each other for 31 years until his death in 1999.

After growing up in Rockford, Ill., Janice moved to Arlington Heights in 1961, where she resided until 1999. She finished her remaining years in Huntley, Ill. Her favorite place was always with her family, especially at their vacation home in Lac Du Flambeau, Wis. Evening pontoon boat rides watching a Northern Wisconsin sunset were a cherished event.

Janice began working for Universal Oil Products as a bookkeeper in 1974, where her sharp financial talent enabled her promotion to chief accountant. From 1983 until her retirement in 1991, she worked for EPC as chief accounting manager.

Janice was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Alumni Association, Junior League and various bridge clubs. She was a member of Forest Hills Country Club and loved playing golf. She was also a very accomplished musician. Her most notable achievement, in addition to raising her family, was performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at age 15 as a featured pianist with the Rockford Civic Symphony Orchestra.

Survivors include three children: Steve Williams and his wife, Peggy, from Jacksonville, Fla., Bob Williams and his wife, Karen, from Broken Arrow, Okla., Peggy Williams Langeness and her husband, Troy, from Elburn; and six grandchildren: Barbara Williams of Edwards, Colo., Scott Williams of Jacksonville, Fla., Lisa Williams of Jacksonville, Fla., Rick Williams of Stillwater, Okla., and Bobby and Jimmy Langeness of Elburn. Janice was preceded in death by her husband, Forbes Barton; her parents, Richard and Margaret Mott; and her three brothers, James, Richard Jr., and Robert Mott.

A family interment service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford, Ill., followed by a memorial luncheon at noon and memorial service at 2 p.m. at Kaneville United Methodist Church, 46W764 Main Street Road, between Harter and Dauberman roads in Kaneville.

Memorial contributions are welcome at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1907, Chicago, Illinois 60675-1907 and the Salvation Army, 290 W. Crystal Lake Ave, Crystal Lake, IL 60014-5847.

Special thanks go to Julia Kuettner, Janice’s caregiver for the last two years. Julia’s compassion, humility and caring devotion to Janice has made her a member of the family in the hearts of her children. Also, thanks to the faith community of Kaneville United Methodist Church for their prayers and support.

Arrangements by The Healy Chapel 370 Division Dr. Sugar Grove, IL. For further information please call (630) 466-1330 or visitwww.healychapel.com to sign the online guestbook.

Amy Miles Messmore

Amy Miles Messmore, 60, of Montgomery passed away peacefully
early Monday, Aug. 1 following a series of health challenges. Amy
lived her life with family and friends close to heart giving all that
she could to those lives that she touched. As wife and mother, aunt
and daughter, grandmother and friend, Amy raised immediate and
extended family with a caring touch, compassionate heart, and flair
for fun. She was active in the community as a young woman in La Grange,
Ill. with the historical society, scouting, and helping children of
need at the Cossitt Elementary School ( named after her
Gr.Gr.Grandfather and village founder F.D. Cossitt ). Amy was
passionate about animals and art and enjoyed sharing these experiences
with others. She started a hobby farm in Elburn. and shared her
experience with friends involved in 4H, Girl Scouts, and Horsemanship.
As an accomplished hobby artist, Amy produced numerous sculptures,
figurines, ornaments, paintings, and writings with a common theme of
love and happiness. She encouraged others to craft in self-expression
at her side and worked therapy as the Art Director at King-Bruwaert
House retirement home. Amy is greeted in eternity by her husband
Curtis L. Messmore, her parents Belle & Marshall G. Miles II, and her
brother Marshall G. Miles III. Waiting to embrace again are children
Emily and Adam Messmore, Daughter-in-Law Elizabeth Messmore,
grandchildren Caleb, Elizabeth, Cindy, and Noah Messmore, Sister Judy
Miles, In-Laws Dr. Harry and Marilyn Messmore, and countless close
friends and relatives whom loved Amy dearly.

A remembrance celebration is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 20 from noon to
4 p.m. at the Bristol Bay Clubhouse, 4582 Rosenwinkle St. Yorkville.
This is a casual celebration of Amy’s life with family,
friends, music, pictures, food, and stories from everyone. Children
are welcome and there is a swimming pool to use weather permitting.
Contact Adam at amessmore@gmail.com for more information if needed.

Fossil Man

Photo: Tom Cesario of Sugar Grove is known as the ‘Fossil Man’ by the Elburn quarry, because he comes to scope out fossils. He travels all over Illinois and the country looking for fossils and is part of the Chicago Palentologist Association. Here he holds a dinosaur bone, which is part of
his vast collection. Photo by John DiDonna

Sugar Grove resident houses rare collection that spans the ages
by Lynn Meredith
SUGAR GROVE—If you ever had any doubt that life on this planet dates back far beyond the dinosaurs, far beyond the glaciers that swept through our part of the country and far beyond five geological extinctions, all you have to do is take a look at the extensive fossil collection amassed by Tom Cesario of Sugar Grove. Known as the “Fossil Man,” Cesario houses rare and extremely old fossils of plant and animal specimens, along with all sorts of whimsical dinosaur collectibles, in his basement.

“I like the old stuff,” Cesario said. “I collect from before the extinction.”

One of five extinctions of life on the planet, this one occurred between the Triassic and Permian periods, or about 250 million years ago. At this time, dinosaurs—while not in this immediate vicinity, which was 60 feet under the ocean—roamed the earth. When the extinction wiped out the dinosaurs, it took all but a small selection of plants and animals with it.

“Only about five percent of what grew at the time made it past the extinction,” Cesario said.

The remains of those species can be found in the fossils that fill up a long wall in Cesario’s basement. He has cabinets with pull-out drawers and maps of the sites where the rocks were found. Every inch of the basement study is filled with fossils of whale bones, shark teeth, shrimp, mollusks, tortoise shells, bison skulls, sloth hip bones, ferns, seeds, jellyfish, starfish, even the ripple marks of the ocean: the selection is too numerous to name, but apparently not to number. Each and every rock is numbered and referenced to its plat in a scientific book and filed in notebooks.

Cesario has been collecting fossils since he was 5 years old, from the day he and his brothers found some old coffee cans filled with shells, rocks and minerals, and fossils in an alley in Berwyn, Ill. He has made learning about fossils his life study and has come up with some tremendous finds.

“This fish is the rarest. There are only three known of that type,” he said. “These stromatolites are the oldest. These are 600 to 700 million years old. They still grow in parts of the world.”

He has some sponges that are very rare and 430-500 million years old, the largest shark spine ever found, and leaches that are 320-350 million years old. The list goes on, but some finds are worth quite a lot, like some fossilized wood from Brazil.

“This goes by the ounce. Cocaine is cheaper than this,” he said.

As he pulled out one drawer of concretions, plants and animals that got covered with iron and steel 300 million years ago, he commented on its value.

“This drawer could put your kid through college,” he said.

Finding these fossils is a long process that requires patience and hefting ability. Cesario has spent a good deal of his time at Mazon Creek at the site of strip mines in Coal City and Braidwood. They used to be lush pickings, but now they have become overgrown or were developed into real estate. Now he takes a boat out to two islands that remain to continue to hunt.

In order to get to the fossils, he has to collect likely rocks into buckets, bring them home and leave them outside to freeze. Then he has to haul the buckets down to the basement sink to thaw them. He repeats the process until they start to crack, and then he taps them apart. The imprint of the plant or animal is on the inside of the rock. To get an idea of how many rocks he must go through, he’s had 100 to 175 five-gallon buckets of rocks in a year. His peak year was 1988, when he collected 176 buckets of rock.

“For every 100,000 rocks I go through, I get one fossil. For every million rocks I go through, I get one amphibian,” Cesario said. “For every 100 buckets of rock, I have 60 buckets of scrap that gets dumped into foundations.”

He has found two amphibians in his career.

Although he has no formal training, his basement also houses an elite collection of reference books, such as geological surveys from 1889, books on the evolution of insects and the fossils of Mazon Creek.

“They don’t even print stuff like this anymore,” he said.

Cesario is happy to talk about all that he has learned over the years. He even inspired one young girl to become a paleontologist.

“She came out hunting from the time she was about 8 years old. You could tell she had the bug,” Cesario said.

For him, the field will never lose its appeal, and his basement will continue to make room for more.

“There’s a lot of mystery in this. We’ll never know everything,” he said. “When I open these things, I’m the first person (first human being) to see that imprint.”