KHS announces Illinois State scholars

MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School Principal Chip Hickman is pleased to announce that 36 Kaneland High School students have been recognized as 2012-13 Illinois State Scholars.

The following students represent Kaneland High Schools 2012 Illinois State Scholars:

Lauren Allen, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Lauren Companiott, Brian Edward, Eric Eichelberger, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Elizabeth Howie, Nicole Ketza, Benjamin Kovalick, Jacob Mazuc, Kayley McPhee, Anna Novotny, William Osborne, Alexa Reger, Karyn Ribbens, Josias Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Alejandra Salinas, Melissa Schmidt, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Valerie Tockstein, Marissa Villafuerte, Savannah Webb, Nicholas Wielgos, Richard Williams, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt, Erin Woodill

The prestigious award, given annually by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), recognized 17,515 high school students from across the state as this year’s State Scholars.

Illinois State Scholar winners rank in the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 773 different high schools across the state. Selection is based on SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or class rank at the end of the junior year. High school
guidance counselors work in conjunction with ISAC to determine the winners.

“Illinois State Scholars represent the best in educational excellence in Illinois,” said John Sinsheimer, ISAC interim executive director. “The Commission applauds their success and salutes their families and the teachers at Kaneland High School on this achievement.”

I’ll be home for Christmas

Photo: Jessie Miles, a member of the 870th MP Company in Afghanistan, is scheduled to return home to Elburn by Christmas. Courtesy Photo

Elburn resident to return home for Christmas after first tour of duty in Afghanistan
by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Marshall Miles said when his 22-year-old daughter Jessie comes home to Elburn in a few weeks, just in time for Christmas, there are no special plans.

“We’ll have a ‘Welcome Home Jessie’ party, but she just wants to be home and be with family,” he said.

Miles said his daughter, a 2008 Kaneland graduate, has been deployed in Afghanistan since last December. He’s been flying yellow ribbons for her since she left.

While he’s anxious for her to be home for Christmas, he said she is dealing with the loss of a close member of her combat unit. Sean Walsh, 21, of San Jose, Calif., was killed by a rocket shortly before the squad was to go on their last patrol.

“She’s heartbroken about that,” he said of Walsh’s death. “There are six people in a squad. He was her battle buddy. That’s the person that has your back.”

Miles said Jessie has seen a lot of combat, and has earned an active combat badge. Walsh was killed Nov. 18. The squad was to go on their last patrol Nov. 27.

“It’s a real tragedy; he was the only child and his mom was a single mom,” Miles said. “It’s really heart-wrenching.”

Jessie spent more than a year at Waubonsee Community College following high school graduation, then signed up for the National Guard. She moved to Hollister, Calif., and even worked on security for then-Governor Schwarzenegger. She was activated for duty last year.

He said it takes a while for the soldiers to actually make their way back home, and last he heard she was still in Baghran waiting to go back to Kuwait before heading stateside.

Miles said his daughter wants to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder on the G. I. Bill when she gets back home. He said she wants to learn to fly helicopters.

“She’s really a bright, talented girl,” he said. “She can do any job the Army has.”

When asked if he ever thought his daughter would become a soldier, he replied, “Never.”

“She’s been fearless,” he said. “She’s taken on every weapon. And she loves being on patrol, up on the truck.”

Classic spa with trendy twist

Photo: Emily Strong checks the inventory at her new salon in Sugar Grove. Photo by John DiDonna

by Lynn Meredith
SUGAR GROVE—Starting a salon and spa is a dream come true for Kaneland graduate and Elburn resident Emily Strong. With its grand opening in November, the emily kay salon offers Aveda spa and salon services in a fresh environment.

Strong has been obsessed with hairstyling since she was 3 years old. A babysitter taught her not only how to tie her shoes, but also how to braid hair. She was hooked. By the time she was in fifth grade, she knew she wanted her own salon. Armed with a cosmetology license, a business management degree and years of experience as a stylist, she created emily kay salon.

“It’s my dream come true. I wake up and can’t believe I have this salon,” she said. “I love it. I had an idea pictured in my head of what I wanted.”

The salon is decorated in soft tones of purple and turquoise with a lot of white. Large pedicure chairs and wooden manicure tables create a relaxing environment. A massage and facial room invites peace and tranquility.

“I wanted the warm and inviting atmosphere that all Aveda salons have, but with a young and trendy twist,” Strong said. “Finding the perfect location was key.”

The salon features haircuts and color, manicures and pedicures, facials and waxing. The stylists are all Aveda certified. Hair, skin, body and cosmetic products can be purchased in the store. Aveda, which is produced in Minneapolis, is all natural. Its packaging is all-recycled materials, and it is produced using all-wind energy.

Facials include such appealing treatments as the Botanical Skin Resurfacing, Perfecting Plant Peel, Enbrightenment Discoloration and the Outer Peace Acne Treatment. Spa manicures and pedicures provide the little extras of hot towels, customized exfoliation and treatment masques.

Clients who refer a friend will get $20 off their next service and so will their friend. During the month of December, buy $60 in gift certificates for services and receive $20 in services for yourself.

The experienced staff enjoys the benefits of starting fresh at a new salon.

“It’s like we’re all in this together as a team,” Strong said. “We’re all excited and pumped up to get it started.”

Local resident warns of potentially severe winter weather

See also: Get ready for a colder and wetter winter

Photo: Infrared satellite image of the “Groundhog Day Storm” of 2011, taken at 8 p.m. EST Feb. 1. Nine of our top ten biggest snowfalls have occurred during La Nina winters. Photo courtesy of NASA (Public Domain)

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—There have been only five years since 1884 where the Chicagoland area didn’t experience measurable snowfall before Dec. 9.

One of those years is 2011.

Despite this alarming statistic, recently stated by WGN Weather Producer Bill Snyder, Chicagoland could be in for some serious weather over the next several months. According to Brad Hruza, an Elburn resident and National Weather Service-certified storm spotter, the United States will enter a La Nina winter—a weather phenomenon that occurs when ocean temperatures are unusually cool in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, affecting global weather patterns—for the second consecutive year.

“In our location in Illinois, we tend to have colder temps for extended periods of time during La Nina. The effects on the climate vary quite a bit, as we saw last winter, with the high snowfall totals around the Chicago area,” he said. “La Nina seasons are very hard to predict snowfall amounts for, but I was talking to a friend at WGN news a few weeks back, (and he said) nine of our top 10 biggest snowfalls have occurred in La Nina winters.”

A Greenland block, which Hruza said existed almost all of last winter, could possibly set up again over the next several months. In a Greenland block, warmer air is pulled up toward that country and blocks weather systems from continuing east.

“The systems will ride east and hit the block, move north and then northwest and come right back around and keep certain areas cold and snowy. We had a few systems last winter that would hit the block and go into Canada and come right back around and hit us again,” Hruza said. “There are signs this could happen again, but again we will not know for another month or so. This winter could be just as bad as last winter in terms of cold and snowfall, especially if the Greenland block returns.”

Even if the snowfall total over the next few months doesn’t approach last year’s amount, it is important that everyone take necessary precautions to prepare for severe weather. Hruza recommends paying attention to local news and weather reports and carrying winter safety kits in your home (non-perishable foods, extra batteries, radios, candles, lighters, matches and a three-day supply of water) and vehicle (gloves, blankets, hats, flares and a flashlight). Also have a cellular phone on hand to call for help in case of emergency.

If your vehicle becomes stuck during a blizzard, do not keep your car running. Carbon monoxide can fill your car if the exhaust gets blocked by heavy snow, and you could also run out of gas. Instead, clear any snow away from the exhaust and then start your car every so often to warm it up and keep the battery from dying in the cold.

“During the first few snowfalls, it takes most people time to get back into winter driving mode. Slow down, take your time and never follow too close to the person in front of you. In extreme cold, you may hit black ice—invisible ice that looks like the pavement is wet—and slide out of control,” Hruza said.

And if you’re just out in the cold, be sure to keep your head, hands and feet covered to prevent frostbite; take frequent breaks while shoveling snow; and don’t let children play in snow near a road.

“Vehicles can slide in bad conditions and go off the road. The way I teach is to not let children play on the other side of the sidewalk closest to the road. They all should stay on the house side of the sidewalk,” Hruza said.

School Board approves 2011 tax levy

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted 6-0 to approve the 2011 tax levy.

Board member Tony Valente was absent from the meeting.

The total 2011 tax levy is $48,571,877, with an operating levy of $39,614,417 and a bond and interest fund of $8,957,460. According to a document from Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, superintendent of business, the 2011 levy represents a 4.46 percent and 9.23 percent increase over the taxes extended in last year’s operating fund and bond and interest fund, respectively. The document states that the money received from the tax levy will help to provide programs, services, operating costs and other expenditures for the 2012-13 school year.

The total operating levy consists of the education fund ($32,318,927), operations and maintenance fund ($3,896,490), transportation ($1,854,000), working cash ($103,000), municipal retirement ($463,500), Social Security ($669,500) and special education ($309,000).

“By approving the levy tonight, it will allow me to file with the county clerk. The county clerk, throughout the winter, will hear revisions from the Board of Review and things like that for assessments,” Fuchs said.

Amounts will be finalized after the tax appeal process concludes in spring 2012. The district will begin to see that money the following June.

Fuchs said the levy includes a balloon amount that ensures the district will receive all available tax dollars, under the property tax cap law, should she undershoot any of her estimated figures. In her document, Fuchs states that she adjusted the 2 percent balloon amount down to 1.45 percent, since the education fund levy amount would exceed its maximum amount with a 2 percent balloon in place. As a result, the balloon amount was distributed to other levy funds.

The document also states that levy request is slightly lower than the tentative levy approved by the board last month.

Girl Scout snacks available at Sugar Grove Council Shop

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Northern Illinois Girl Scouts of America have a fall product program intended to help young girls develop and foster the ability to make decisions, set goals, interact with others, manage money and adhere to business ethics.

To help teach these life skills, the organization is currently selling some pretty tasty gourmet treats at the Sugar Grove Council Shop amd Service Center, 200 New Bond St. Items available at the shop include sugar-free chocolate truffles, mint treasures, Zen crunch mix (wasabi peas, sesame sticks and an assortment of nuts), chocolate-covered pretzels and raisins, peanut butter dreams, malted milk balls, deluxe pecan clusters, honey-roasted peanuts, whole cashews and a fruit-slice assortment. There’s something available for just about every snack-food fan.

“All of our gourmet food items are between $5 and $10, which makes for a budget-friendly holiday gift-giving strategy,” said Ann-Marie Soderstrom, public relations manager for Girl Scouts of Illinois. “A lot of customers love our chocolate-covered pretzels in a schoolhouse tin, which is a perfect holiday gift for teachers.”

According to a Northern Illinois Girl Scouts of America press release, the fall program is meant to teach scouts important life skills and help them earn money for troop activities and service projects that take place before the Girl Scout Cookie Program every winter.

“This opportunity allows customers to purchase delicious gourmet food items for the holidays, all while supporting local Girl Scouts,” Soderstrom said. “My favorite is the deluxe pecan clusters, which feature gooey caramel and delicious pecan clusters dipped in mouth-watering chocolate.”

School board approves card swipe system

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted 6-0 to approve the purchase and installation of a card swipe security system for Kaneland Middle School and all four elementary schools.

Board member Tony Valente was absent from the meeting.

According to a document from Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, the card swipe system will allow administration to better control access to each school building, especially during non-school hours.

The cost to purchase and install the security system is $63,021—a quote proposed by Pentegra Systems.

Voters to decide on home rule status with March referendum

ELBURN—Elburn voters will be asked whether to allow the village to become a home rule unit with a referendum on the March 20 primary ballot.

What that means is giving local officials the ability to make some decisions that directly affect the community, shifting the responsibility away from the county and even the state.

Municipalities may become home rule units by referendum. When a community reaches a population of 25,000, they automatically gain home rule status (Elburn’s population is just over 5,500). Illinois’ constitution describes home rule as “the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.”

Village President Dave Anderson said he originally discussed the possibility of the referendum with Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

“I’m not against it, per se, but I think it’s something I’d really like to spend some time on,” Anderson told the Committee of the Whole. “I don’t think we should rush it onto the March ballot. We can put it on (the ballot) in the fall.”

But Trustee Bill Grabarek said home rule would give the village greater control over issues such as apartment inspections requiring certain standards to be met, especially with the prospect of the ShoDeen development of Elburn Station.

“It would give us certain powers that we may sorely miss as we slog through this economy,” Grabarek said. “We would have certain ordinances that could address inspections of the (ShoDeen) apartments. We have nothing right now.”

Grabarek said he’s done some reading on the issue and that he hasn’t seen any “craziness” regarding taxing powers under home rule. However, Anderson expressed concern over the perception of home rule taxing powers.

“It (home rule) can very quickly come off smelling like that’s how the village is going to get more money,” he said.

Trustee Jeff Walter said he was more concerned with issues involving apartment inspections and being able to do some things on properties they can’t do now.

“It’s going to be a long time till we see these lots built out,” he said. “If we get another subdivision started with one-half done, who knows? There’s a lot of things that home rule makes sense for.”

But Anderson questioned the idea of building inspections.

“You’re gonna need bodies (to do the inspections),” Anderson said. “Where’s the money gonna come from?”

Grabarek said adopting home rule is something municipalities do as a self-protective measure.

“We’re kidding ourselves as to what amount of civilization we want,” he said. “All we’re gonna be faced with without home rule, and the powers that it gives us, is a slow decline until we get down to gravel seats and two people in public works, and one person here.

“It gives us options that we don’t have to exercise, but they are there if necessary,” he said.

Trustee Ken Anderson pointed out that more voters are likely to come out in November since it is a presidential election year.

There was a consensus to go forward with getting the referendum on the primary ballot. The committee agreed to a special Village Board meeting on Dec. 27 to formally approve the referendum to meet a Jan. 3, 2012 filing deadline.

It will be the second referendum on the March ballot put out to Elburn voters who will also decide whether to approve a new property tax to pay for police pensions.

More information on home rule can be found in an educational brochure by the Citizens Advocacy Center online at

Gill gets thanks for support of fundraiser

Sarah Stoffa (right) got to thank country singer Vince Gill personally at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet for his generous support of the “Eyes on a Cure” fundraiser for Ocular Melanoma research in memory of her mother. Gill actually called Sarah’s mother, Shirley, while she was in the hospital shortly before she died. The singer donated some autographed CD’s and photographs that were auctioned off. The fundraiser took in $22,000. Courtesy Photo

Enjoy a safe Holiday Season

SPRINGFIELD—The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal urges everyone to pay special attention to Christmas decorations to avoid any potential dangers. Christmas tree lights, old extension cords, and fresh cut trees without proper care could lead to fires and serious injuries.

“This is a joyful time of the year where many families gather to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the traditional Christmas tree or other decorations, but we remind people that those days are also a high season for house fires,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “It’s imperative that our families maintain a safe setting and be well informed about fire safety during the holidays.”

Here are a few tips to keep the holidays safe:

Christmas trees
• If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
• If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, space heaters or lights.
• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the room or going to bed.
• After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.

Christmas lights
• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
• Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands safe to connect.
• Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

• December is the peak month for home candle fires, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day representing two of the top five days for associated fires. More than half of all candle fires start when they are placed too close to combustible household items (i.e. curtains, lamp shades, other fabrics, and plastic) and holiday decorations (i.e., trees, garland, stockings, wrapping paper, and wrapped/boxed gifts).
• Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. If you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12” away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.
•Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces.
• Avoid using candles in the bedroom, where two of five U.S. candle fires begin, or other areas where people may fall asleep.
• Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.
• Always put candles out before leaving the room.

For more information about fire safety and prevention, visit or

Lions Park December winners

ELBURN—The Elburn Lions Park raffle winners for December are:
$25 winners: Gordon Dierschow, Elburn; Joe Fidler, Geneva; Gordon Dierschow, Elburn; J.B., Geneva; Scott Karas, Elburn; Jennifer Krug, Chicago; Tera Zimmerman, Aurora; Vincent Campagna, North Aurora; Bryce Breon, Batavia; Dan Wessel, Geneva; Trevor Lipsett, Batavia; Bernie & Floyd, Elburn; Ashley Myers, Plainfield; Bill McCartney, Elburn; Keith Hougas, Crystal Lake; Rick Scidmore, Sycamore; Mike Schramer, Elburn; Rick Ekstrom, Hampshire; James Gillett, Elburn; Ron Algrim, Elburn; Brad Novak, Geneva; Bill Cole, Oswego; Dally Johnson, St. Charles.

$50 winners: Kelly Taken, Sycamore; Uwe Rotter, Elburn; Arin Schrader; Sandy Poust, Coupeville, Wis.; Eugene & Floyd, Elburn.

$150 winners: Curt Meredith, Elburn; Jerry Schie, Geneva

$500 winner: Jerry Parisek, Elburn

Aurora woman could face prison time for role in fatal 2009 motorcycle crash

ST. CHARLES—An Aurora woman awaits sentencing that could include prison time for her role in a deadly crash on Route 47 that killed two area motorcyclists and injured several others nearly three years ago.

Alia N. Bernard, 27, pleaded guilty and will return to court Feb. 8, 2012, to learn if she is sentenced to probation or between six and 28 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. She remains free on a $5,000 bond.

On May 23, 2009, Bernard was driving southbound on Route 47 when she allegedly struck a vehicle stopped behind two others setting off a chain reaction that pushed the first vehicle into the path of a group of oncoming motorcycles. Wade Thomas, 44, and his passenger and wife Denise Thomas, 45, were both killed when Wade’s Harley Davidson motorcycle struck a vehicle that was pushed into his path.

Toxicology tests show that Bernard had cannabis in her system when the crash occurred.

Get ready for a colder and wetter winter

See also: Local resident warns of potentially severe winter weather

CHICAGO—The National Weather Service is forecasting that this winter will be “colder and wetter than average.”

Long range weather forecasts from AccuWeather show the Chicago area could see 50 to 58 inches of snow this winter, compared to the 56 inches of snow received last winter. This is all due to a persistent La Nina weather pattern.

With these predictions in mind, the Kane County Office of Emergency Management has enhanced the County’s severe winter storm plans to include new technologies and procedures to better coordinate a county-wide response while improving communication with the public.

To provide effective planning coordination prior to the onset of a severe winter storm the OEM will conduct county wide briefings with municipalities to share pre-storm related information from the National Weather Service and collaborate on a county-wide response.

During the storm, the OEM will use an emergency management program that will serve as a central depository for up-to-date, real-time information that can be shared among County and municipal officials. This will help to improve the decision making process and better coordinate resources in response to the storm.

The OEM will use a number of new tools to inform the public including utilization of the “emergency alerts” and “road closures” feature on the County’s new website and the use of social media such as Twitter (@KaneCountyOEM). Informational releases to the media will also be used to keep the public informed.

Send holiday video greeting to the deployed

AURORA—Senator Chris Lauzen invites local military families with active servicemen and women to record and send a free personalized holiday season video greeting to their deployed family members.

Through the generosity of the Illinois Center for Broadcasting in Lombard, Ill., military families can record a free professional digital message that will be transmitted via Facebook to their loved ones during this Christmas season.

For more information, call Senator Lauzen at (630) 264-2334. Recording appointments can be scheduled with Illinois Center for Broadcast through Friday, Dec. 16.

Chris and Sarah Lauzen are the proud parents of two sons serving in the United States military. USMC Capt. Ted Lauzen is a pilot stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Their third son, US Navy Ensign Hans Lauzen, is currently deployed onboard the USS Kidd in the Western Pacific Ocean.

“As a parent of a deployed serviceman, I know how excited our son will be to see and hear his family at what can often be a very lonely time for soldiers far from home,” said Senator Lauzen. “We will tell Hans how much we love him, how much his service is appreciated and that there’s a package with his favorite Christmas cookies on its way.”

Senator Lauzen sends his heartfelt thanks to the Illinois Center for Broadcasting for their generous offer to our military families.

Girls basketball maintains early-season roll in Sycamore

Photo: Kelly Evers (34) dives for the ball on Sycamore’s court during Friday’s tight 40-36 Kaneland victory. Evers was tied for the team lead with eight rebounds. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—It was an important early-season battle in Sycamore between two squads that had gotten off to relatively hot starts in 2011-12.

With Kaneland and Sycamore girls basketball only having lost a combined three games heading into Friday night, the meeting would provide an early-season barometer to the progress made.

With a 40-36 comeback win in Spartan-land, the KHS barometer is still at a decent pressure.

Kaneland also hosted the Lady Barbs from DeKalb on Tuesday, only to fall in a 42-33 affair.

Still, Kaneland is still maintaining its best start since the 2005-06 season, at 7-2 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against the Lady Spartans, Ashley Prost led the way with 13 points and eight boards. Teammate Allyson O’Herron had eight points, including two key threes. Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza had a game-high 17 points. KHS was 15-for-44 from the field, and just 8-for-24 from the foul line.

Down 14-13 headed into the second half, Kaneland got off to a blazing start in quarter three. Prost had three buckets, and O’Herron and Emma Bradford hit Kaneland’s first five shot attempts, deadlocking the game at 24-24 with 4:54 remaining. O’Herron’s second-straight three off a steal gave KHS a 27-24 lead with 3:45 left. Brooke Harner’s two free throws and a Lauren Zick basket gave KHS its biggest lead at 31-24 with 46.7 left, and Sycamore hit two foul shots before the end of the frame to make it 31-26 at the buzzer.

Sycamore rallied once down seven, and tied the game in a 33-second span. The Lady Spartans took a 36-35 lead, but Lexee Guerra’s foul shot and an O’Herron basket gave KHS a two-point edge with 1:47 to go. Guerra hit two more free throws to cement the win.

“Offensively, we’re still a work in progress, and we’re still learning how to get the ball to people in the spots they want to get it,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Tonight, we battled through some foul trouble, but we played tough D and moved the ball on offense.”

The sophomores lost to Sycamore 26-24.

On Tuesday, Prost paced the Lady Knights with 11 points, and Bradford added 10 in the losing cause. KHS was 13-for-34 from the field.

DeKalb led 15-12 after one frame, and 23-21 at the half before stifling the Lady Knights 33-23 after three.

In a 28-25 sophomore win, Caroline Heimerdinger had 11 points to help the Lady Knights improve to 6-1.

Meanwhile, the freshmen troops improved to 7-1 with a 36-10 victory over the host Lady Barbs. Katrina Paulick had 10 points.

KHS heads to Dixon on Saturday, Dec. 17, followed by a 10-day break leading up to the Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

Bowling gets first win of 2011-12

Photo: Kaneland’s Christie Crews has emerged as a strength on the bowling squad. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While it’s been slow goings at the beginning of this still-new season, the Kaneland bowling unit keeps knocking down pins, and knocked down enough to nab its first win of the season on Dec. 7, against visiting Geneva. Thursday saw Streator get the best of the Lady Knights, while Monday had IMSA take care of KHS, cementing the Lady Knights at 1-7 on the season. Tuesday had Morris beat visiting Kaneland in a conference affair.

Through the first eight matchups, a common theme is the emergence of varsity newcomer Christie Crews.

“She’s been the big surprise for us,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.” She’s leading the team in average and another pleasant surprise is Amanda Strayve. They’ve turned in some consistently good scores for us.”

In the 2,222-2,144 win over the Lady Vikings, it was Crews’ 520 series and Strayve’s 473 series that put KHS in a winning position. Top games were had by Crews at 190 and 187, and Strayve’s 177.

Streator’s 2,776-2,357 win in DeKalb was despite the best efforts of Crews’ 469 series and Seleana Isaacs’ 401 series. Top games were bowled by Crews at 201 and Strayve at 161.

Facing the Lady Titans, the Lady Knights fell 2,192-2,128. Crews’ 454 and Isaacs’ 448 were top series, while Isaacs’ 175 and Crews’ 166 were the highest game totals for Kaneland.

Against Morris, the Lady Knights’ meeting at Echo Lanes with their counterparts went to the opposition, 2,929-2,323.

Isaacs bowled a 487 series, followed by Crews with 413. Isaacs and Crews had top games at 193 and 149, respectively.

“We need to get the kids to think of each frame individually,” McKnight said. “Do the best you can and not focus on what has happened.”

Ahead for the Lady Knights is the Lisle Invite on Saturday, Dec. 17, and a meeting with NIB-12 crossover opponent LaSalle-Peru on Monday, Dec. 19.

Kaneland wrestlers eclipsed by DeKalb

KANELAND—Against the visiting DeKalb Barbs, KHS was hoping for its own indoor version of Friday Night Lights.

As it stood, DeKalb made sure the Knight grapplers had a disappointing night in a 41-28 Northern Illinois Big XII tussle.

Kaneland’s mark on the young season is 2-6, and 0-2 in NIB-12 action.

WIns for the Knight total were provided by personnel like Steve Gust, who won 7-1, Esai Ponce, who took a 5-0 win in the 126-pound match, and 182-pound entry Matt Price, who took a 13-7 win.

Pinfalls were secured by 113-pound Connor Williams in three minutes, 23 seconds, 138-pound Dan Goress in 4:19 and 220-pound representative Ben Kovalick.

KHS prepares for a battle in Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Boys hoops puts clamp on Spartans, H-BR

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Miller fights for control of the ball in the second period when Kaneland traveled to Sycamore on Saturday. Kaneland dominated, winning 70-42. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball is enjoying a three-game win streak dating back to last week—all three of the double-digit variety.

Coming into this week, the Knights held court with victories in Sycamore and Hinckley.

The Knights are now 5-3 on the season (2-0 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Expanding a tight halftime lead, the Knights went into overdrive against rival host Sycamore on Saturday.

In the 70-42 win over the Spartans, Kaneland welcomed 22 points from Marcel Neil, 14 from teammate Thomas Williams and 10 from Trever Heinle.

The Knights also launched six three-pointers, including three from Neil.

Sycamore produced no players in double figures.

The Knights’ 9-5 lead after the first frame increased to 26-20 at the halftime buzzer. Then, Kaneland turned it on in the third for a 51-31 lead after three quarters before adding a 19-spot in the fourth.

In sophomore action, Sycamore got past Kaneland 47-44 to drop the Knights to 4-2.

Along Route 30, the varsity Knights enjoyed a Tuesday win by getting off on the right foot, going up 14-2 after the first quarter, and holding a 31-17 advantage at the half.

Kaneland extended its sizable lead to 49-33 before the contest wound down.

The Knights were helped by Matt Limbrunner’s 13 and Thomas Williams’ 12.

The sophomore Knights also beat their H-BR counterparts, 61-26.

The varsity crew heads for a meeting against DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 16, in Maple Park.

KYSO signup a couple clicks away

ELBURN—Soccer enthusiasts between the ages of 4 and 17 years old can register online to play the KYSO spring season, which runs from April 28 through June 9. The registration deadline is Jan. 31, 2012. The fee, which includes a jersey, shorts and socks, is $85 for the first player and $60 for additional players from the same family. Register at

KYSO has open registration that serves players across northern Illinois. KYSO philosophy means everyone gets to play, coaches use positive coaching and training, and sportsmanship is promoted both on and off the field. All practices and games are located to the east of Kaneland High School.

Consider coaching your child’s team. Training is provided. Registration accommodates special needs players from ages 5-16, who play with “Buddy” assistance. The fee is $35.

Guest Editorial: A good day to celebrate freedom

Courtesy of Ken Paulson
Ken Paulson is the president of the First Amendment Center and a founder of 1 for All.

It’s the holiday that got away.

Today is the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, a critical turning point in the history of this country and one that transformed this nation forever. Still, you won’t find any Bill of Rights greeting cards in local stores.

It’s not that Americans are short on patriotism. In fact, we celebrate Veterans Day, Constitution Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Washington’s Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Independence Day.

Contrast that with Dec. 15. Has anyone ever wished you a Happy Bill of Rights Day? Have your children ever participated in a Bill of Rights pageant? Not likely. As a nation, we’ve completely lost sight of Bill of Rights Day.

There was certainly a lot of enthusiasm for it in 1941 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed it a federal holiday. There was a huge celebration in New York City, with actress Helen Hayes reading the Bill of Rights and opera star Rise Stevens singing the National Anthem. All of this was capped off with a gala event at the Waldorf Astoria.

Roosevelt saw the celebration of the Bill of Rights as a weapon in America’s war against totalitarianism, describing these freedoms as a threat to the Nazis.

“To Hitler, the freedom of men to think as they please and speak as they please and worship as they please is, of all things imaginable, most hateful and most desperately to be feared,” Roosevelt said.

This nation does an outstanding job of celebrating Independence Day, but too often loses sight of how the Bill of Rights guarantees our collective freedom.

In fact, the first generation of Americans refused to ratify the Constitution until they received an assurance that there would be a set of guarantees—to be embodied in the Bill of Rights—that would protect them from a strong central government. Without the Bill of Rights, there would be no Constitution. Without the Constitution, this would be a dramatically different country.

The Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution:
The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech, press, religion, and the rights of assembly and petition.
The Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms.
The Third Amendment is a bit dated, but bars the government from quartering troops in our homes.
The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees due process, protects us against self-incrimination and prevents the taking of our land without appropriate compensation.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to legal counsel in criminal proceedings.
The Seventh Amendment gives us the right to trial by jury in civil matters.
The Eighth Amendment protects us from cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail.
The Ninth Amendment says that even though some rights are spelled out in the Constitution, it doesn’t mean that other rights don’t also belong to the people.
The Tenth Amendment says that any powers not granted to the United States by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the public.

It’s a remarkable list that has held up well over more than two centuries. Together, these amendments preserve personal freedom and protect us against tyranny. We need to appreciate—and celebrate—these freedoms.

To that end, a coalition of educators, artists, authors, journalists and librarians a little more than a year ago launched 1 for All, a national campaign to build understanding of the First Amendment and its role in a free society.

The nonpartisan campaign ( offers teachers lesson plans, provides grants to colleges so they can hold First Amendment festivals and symposia and encourages all Americans to learn more about these fundamental freedoms.

While some of us who have made our living in the news business are particularly partial to the First Amendment, it’s important that we honor and protect the entire Bill of Rights. Weakening any one amendment weakens them all.

Today is a good day to spend a few minutes talking to children about why the Bill of Rights sets this nation apart from all others. All Americans should be proud of this singular achievement.

Roosevelt had it exactly right that day in 1941 when he said, “No date in the long history of freedom means more to liberty-loving men in all liberty-loving countries than the 15th day of December, 1791.”

“On that day 150 years ago, a new nation, through an elected Congress, adopted a declaration of human rights which has influenced the thinking of all mankind from one end of the world to the other.”

Now that’s something worth celebrating.

Letter: Sugar Grove Corn Boil wraps up 2011 and prepares for the New Year

As we head into colder weather and the holiday season, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil is probably the furthest from most people’s minds. However, for the year-round Corn Boil elves, the festival is always on our minds. In wrapping up the past event while preparing to send out our requests for sponsorship for the 2011 Corn Boil, we wish to take this moment to thank all of our past sponsors.

We encourage you to shop with and support our retail sponsors, and they will be able to continue to support us in the future.

The following is our list of all of our 2011 generous sponsors (not all are retail): We thank WSPY TV/Radio, Mediacom, The Daily Herald, Genoa Pizza & Genoa Italian Concessions, Hinds Express, J&S Construction, Kane County Chronicle, Metrolift Inc., Provena Mercy Medical Center, Sugar Grove Fire Protection District, Sugar Grove Police Department, The Village of Sugar Grove, Waste Management, The Elburn Herald, Harris Golf Cars, Hix Brothers Music, Volkman Insurance Agency, Blue Peak Tents, Castle Bank, Healy Chapel, McDonalds, Mickey Wilson Weiler Renzi & Andersson, P.C., SignFX, Waubonsee Community College, Advanced Realty, Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Old Second National Bank, The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Holiday Inn-Aurora, Hollywood Casino, Jewel Osco, KB Sales Inc., Microtax, Delnor Glen Senior Living, Flow -Technics, Beacon News, Dave & Deborah Paluch, NICOR, Pepsi Beverages Co., St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, Sams Club, Lynfred Winery, JA Flight Svcs, Aquascape, Chicago White Sox, Papa Saverio’s Pizzeria-Aurora, Jewelry By Design-Louise Coffman,, Wiedner & McAuliffe Ltd., Zanies Comedy Club, Bliss Creek Golf Course, Hollywood Blvd, Paramount Theatre, Bristol Renaissance Faire, Fox Valley Winery, Lumanair, Source Therapy, Play N Trade-Aurora, Ziza Nail Spa, Whirly Ball, Fireside Grille, Volkman Insurance-Dave Ritchey, Colonial CafО, Miche Bags-Audrey Ritchie, Chicago Wolves, Tinseltown Theatres, K. Hollis Jewelers, Burgin Farms, Sears Portrait Studio-Aurora, Buffalo Wild Wings, Kane County Cougars, and last but definitely not least, Patrick’s Fine Food & Spirits.

The next Sugar Grove Corn Boil will mark the 45th anniversary of this annual event. Please support your community by helping to plan this special event in 2012. Beginning in January, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil meetings will be held the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Library, 125 S. Municipal Sugar Grove. The dates for the next event are July 27, 28 and 29.

The Sugar Grove Corn Boil is a volunteer-run community event featuring three family-friendly, fun-filled days. For more information, please visit , follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or you may call the Sugar Grove Events Hotline at (630) 466-5166.

Beverly Hughes
Corn Boil committee member

Letter: Elburn Chamber of Commerce Christmas Stroll

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce Christmas Stroll was a great success with over 1600 people participating. We would like to thank all the businesses who helped make this happen.

A special thanks goes out to the following businesses who donated the prizes for the scavenger hunt: Mardi Gras Lanes, Los Rancheros Mexican Restaurant, Old Second Bank, DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau, China Garden (Wasco), Luau Coffee, China Garden (Elburn), Old Towne Pub and Eatery, Subway, Jalapeno Nacho, Little Caesars Pizza, Noodles & Company, Panda Express, I-Hop Restaurant, Chipotle Mexican Grill, DeKalb Dairy Queen, Wasco Dairy Queen, Paisano’s Pizza, Hy-Vee, Inc., LaFox Martial Arts, Walgreens, Schmidt’s Towne & Tap, Northside Pub and Ream’s Elburn Market.

We could not have done this without the support of these businesses. Thank you.

Cindy Gurke, Administrator
Elburn Chamber of Commerce

Church news for Dec. 15

Christmas Eve and
Christmas Day services
at Grace UMC

MAPLE PARK—Grace United Methodist Church, 506 Willow St. in Maple Park, will have a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 9:30 p.m. Christmas Sunday morning services will be held at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend.
For more information, contact Nancy Olsen at (815) 827-3359.

Hosanna! Lutheran Church
celebrates Advent

ST. CHARLES—Hosanna! Lutheran Church will celebrate the season of Advent with a special message series—“Countdown to Christmas Through the eyes of Others,” every Wednesday evening through Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m.
The series focuses on “The Shepherds” on Dec. 14, and “The Stable Keeper” on Dec. 21. Holy Communion will be celebrated at all services.
Everyone is invited to attend. For more information, contact the church office at (630) 584-6434, e-mail Welcome@ or online at Hosanna! is located at 36W925 Red Gate Road (entrance just east of Randall Road).

Hosanna! Lutheran Christmas services
ST. CHARLES—Hosanna! Lutheran Church will host Christmas Eve worship services on Saturday, Dec. 24. A children’s service (great for families with small children) will be held at 3 p.m.; a contemporary service will be held at 5 p.m.; and traditional services will be held at 9 and 11 p.m. There will be a Christmas Day service on Sunday, Dec. 25, at 11 a.m.
Holy Communion will be celebrated at all five services, while handheld candles will be part of Christmas Eve worship at 5, 9 and 11 p.m. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend.
For more information contact the church office at (630) 584-6434, visit or e-mail
Hosanna! Lutheran Church is located at
36W925 Red Gate Road (entrance just east of Randall Road) in St. Charles.

Christmas Cookie Sale
MAPLE PARK—St. Mary’s of Maple Park annual Christmas Cookie Sale will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Novak Center on County Line Road in Maple Park.
Homemade cookies will be sold for $6 per pound. Choose your own cookie. Advance orders for assorted cookies may be placed until Dec. 14. For more information or advance orders, call Anne at (815) 827-3302.

Jean Adair Nelson

Jean Adair Nelson, 73, of Oswego, formerly of Sugar Grove, passed away Wednesday evening, Dec. 7, 2011, at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora.

Jean was born Aug. 18, 1938, in Aurora, the daughter of Ernest and Eleanor (Adair) Beutien.
She grew up in Aurora and attended local schools. She graduated from West Aurora High School in 1956, where she excelled in gymnastics as well as music, playing the violin and piano. Following graduation, Jean attended Wesley Nursing School, now a part of Northwestern University, where she was a “straight-A” student. After getting her RN, she crossed paths with Richard H. Nelson.

She and Rich couldn’t wait to get married and escaped the trappings of a traditional wedding when they were united in marriage on June 9, 1957, in Crown Point, Ind. Shortly afterward, Richard was drafted into the United States Army. Rich and Jean welcomed a son, Martin, the following year before making the family complete with the arrival of their second son, Mark, in 1962.

The family moved several times over the years, making their homes and their living on several farms in Sugar Grove and Kaneville. Jean would continue to make her home in Sugar Grove following Rich’s passing in 1994 before moving to Oswego six years later in 2000.

Jean worked briefly for a surgeon in Boston, where Rich was stationed for a time. Later, she worked for Fred Quick Auctions as a bookkeeper, but retired from what is now Mooney and Thomas, after 35 years.

Jean and Rich were both members of the Aurora Loyal Order of the Moose. Later she became an active member of several “senior groups” including those in Yorkville and Oswego.

Jean was “always on the go.” She was always looking for fun and adventure with family and friends, but her zest for life never left her much time to spend at home. Jean preferred to travel, often visiting friends and family no matter where they called home. In her younger years, she and Richard took family trips, including the family dog, instilling in the children a love for travel.

Later, after she retired, she often took scooter trips with her life-long friends. She also travelled with the many senior groups to which she belonged. Whether it was by bus, plane, train or boat, she was made memories with every mile. Jean and her “bingo friends” also travelled to games throughout the United States, sometimes playing 12 hours straight.

She wasn’t a stranger to the local casinos or Las Vegas, either, preferring penny slots over the other games, but she always made time for the theater. Whether it was local community theater or professional, the stage called to her like nothing else could. Next to family, there was nothing more important to Jean than the beloved dogs that made a home in her heart.

She is survived by two sons, Marty Nelson of Oswego, Ill. and Mark Nelson of Cortland; one brother, C.J. Beutien of South Bend, Ind.; several nieces, nephews and a community of friends that will miss her dearly.

She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, maternal grandparents, and one sister, Paula Pearson.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m., with a funeral service to celebrate her life at noon, on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St. in Elburn. Rev. Steve Good, pastor of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, will officiate and interment will follow at Sugar Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Jean Nelson Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at where you can also find her full life story.

Singing Greetings

Local residents were among Aurora University student singers presenting annual Christmas concerts at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in Crimi Auditorium on Dec. 4. University Chorale members Brooke Gramm, Plainfield (from left); Felicia Camacho, Plainfield; and Sarah Ward, Sugar Grove. The University Chamber Choir, University Chorale, AU Flute Ensemble and a new men’s quartet were showcased under the direction of Lisa Fredenburgh. Artist-in-residence David Schrader was featured on the university organ and harpsichord. Courtesy Photo

Voters to decide on new tax to pay for police pensions

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Voters in Elburn will be asked to approve a new property tax levy to pay for pensions for police officers. If approved, the new tax would be a separate line item on property tax bills.

Previously, police pensions were paid out through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), but when the village population went over 5,000 residents (5,502 to be exact) after the 2010 census, an Illinois law went into effect, requiring the pensions be paid under the downstate pension system and forcing the formation of a police commission.

“We have four rates—insurance, IMRF, we have audit and we have corporate,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “The specific rate for IMRF may be used for nothing other than IMRF. It must be used for that purpose.”

Anderson said asking for the tax levy was “a bit of protection for the taxpayers” since the additional tax would be listed as a separate police pension line item on tax bills.

While taxpayers can vote against the levy, it would not eliminate the need for the new tax.

“It’s up to the taxpayers to make the decision, but if they should so decide that this referendum does not pass, it does not eliminate the liability for the village of Elburn,” Anderson said. “Then that money comes out of the corporate fund.”

Anderson said the village has to do this, “there’s no argument about paying it.”

If passed on the March 20, 2012 election, Anderson said the soonest property owners in the village would see the new tax on tax bills would be May 1, 2013.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett said she would likely include information on the upcoming referendum in the February water bills sent to residents.

Village approves IGA for electronic message board

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday voted 6-0 to authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for an electronic message board.

The electronic board would replace the sign on the northwest corner of Route 47 and Cross Street. According to the IGA, cost participation and usage rates for the board are as follows: Village of Sugar Grove—$8,000; Sugar Grove Community House—$4,000; Sugar Grove Township—$4,000; Sugar Grove Fire Protection District—$4,000; Sugar Grove Park District—$12,000.

A document from Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger states that the sign’s name panel would say, “Welcome to Sugar Grove” without a logo. The sign will require a variance from the village’s sign code to allow the message center to be in the upper half of the sign, which is necessary because of the wall slated to be installed between Route 47 and Sugar Lane for intersection improvements scheduled for next year.

Sugar Grove Village approves 2012-13 tax levy

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday voted 6-0 to approve the tax levy for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

According to Finance Director Justin Vanvooren, the village will levy for $2,409,640, which is a 75 percent increase from last year’s tax extension of $1,376,937; however, the village expects to only receive about $1,402,000 from the county, resulting in an increase of roughly $25,000 from the previous tax extension. Because of a tax cap of 1.5 percent, the village can only increase last year’s tax extension by $20,654, with an additional amount of between $4,000-5,000 coming in from new construction.

When divided up among every housing unit in the village, that rough estimate of $25,000 translates to an increase of about $5 to $7 per household.

“That does not take into account changes in the EAV (equalization assessed valuation)—up or down—or governmental bodies. That’s just for the village,” Vanvooren said. “(The tax cap) does not include new houses or new commercial buildings that are built during the year or in construction, so that’s why we add on that additional amount beyond the 1.5 percent—to make sure that we catch that money.

Residents review Elburn Station plans for 23-year project

Jan. 12, 2012 Update: On page 1A of the Dec. 8, 2011, edition of the Elburn Herald, Sho-deen representative David Patzelt’s name was spelled incorrectly.
We apologize for the error.
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
phone (630) 365-6446
fax: (630) 365-2251

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—An overflow crowd showed up at Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting, which included a public hearing on a tattoo parlor opening at 109 E. North St.—it passed—and a request for a sign variance for Napa Auto Parts—that was approved, too.

But the real reason the room was so crowded was a public hearing on the latest proposal by Shodeen for the Elburn Station development between Keslinger Road and Route 38.

Following a presentation by Shodeen representatives, the Planning Commission opened the public hearing.

Shodeen representative David Patzelt emphasized that the project is long-term and could take 23 years or longer to complete, depending on the economy.

“We’re certainly not going to build homes if there’s nobody to buy them,” Patzelt said.

The actual development won’t begin until the extension of Anderson Road is complete. The first phase is single-family homes along the unincorporated Still Meadows subdivision south of the tracks to Keslinger Road.

The preliminary plans revealed that some previous concerns were addressed as far as density and open space are concerned. About 35 percent of the development will be open space, and the density is now approximately 2,400 units, down from 3,257. It includes expanded commercial development at Anderson Road and Route 38, and south near Keslinger Road.

The plan includes about seven miles of recreational paths, bike paths and bus transportation throughout the development and the village.

Homeowners from Blackberry Creek and the adjacent Still Meadows subdivision asked questions about traffic patterns and expressed concerns about speeding commuters through what are now quiet streets.

The revised plan addressed stormwater issues and expanded a water retention area. All engineering aspects have been approved by village engineers.

Due to the volume of remaining residents with questions and comments relating to the project, the public hearing will be continued to Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.

Maple Park puts question for energy aggregation on March Ballot

by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Village Board on Tuesday passed an ordinance to include a vote on energy aggregation on the ballot in the upcoming election.

“All in all, this is a good thing for the village, and its residents,” Trustee Terry Borg said.

Energy aggregation would allow the village to go through an outside broker to enter in an opt-in service with an energy supplier to save residents on their energy bill.

“Maple Park will not be alone in this discussion,” Village Attorney Kevin Buick said. “Many municipalities will have this on their ballots next spring.”

The next step for the village is to find a broker to represent them to the various energy suppliers.

“We have started research and gathering information to help us,” Village President Kathy Curtis said. “We have some time to make the decision.”

Because this ordinance allows for the question to be put on a ballot, and it is ultimately up to the residents vote and decide on pursuing, the Village Board is looking for ways to educate the public.

“If we settle on a broker before the election, it is possible they could come in and help us hold public hearings for the residents,” Curtis said.

The question for energy aggregation will appear on the March 20, 2012, election ballot.