Local residents earn North Central College dean’s list honors

NAPERVILLE, ILL.—The following local residents were recently named to North Central College’s dean’s list of scholars for the 2013 fall term: Elaine Cannell, Sarah Hodge, Nicholas Lynch, Evan Michalic, Melissa Schmidt and Ashley Swanson, all of Elburn; and Lauren Companiott, Drew French, Brooke Patterson, Amanda Peterson and Courtney Trnka, all of Sugar Grove.

To be eligible for the dean’s list, undergraduate students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.6 for the term while enrolled as full-time students.

Builders in Blackberry Creek obtain reduction in fees

Village sees growth picking up
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a reduction in impact fees that several builders had requested for lots within the Blackberry Creek subdivision.

The Village Board earlier this year approved the fee reduction for Blackberry Creek back to 2006 levels, as a way to put the subdivision on equal footing with Shodeen’s Elburn Station development. The board retained the right to approve each request individually.

The fees are meant to cover police, public works, fire, ambulance and library services until the first property taxes for each home are paid. The lag time is between 12 and 18 months.

Shodeen developer Dave Patzelt was among those requesting the reduction in fees. Patzelt has purchased one lot in Blackberry Creek, and is in the process of buying three more.

Joe Segobiano, representing Hudson Burnam and Steve Atchison of Orleans Homes, requested the fee reduction for 45 lots. Hudson Burnam currently owns the lots, and Orleans Homes is scheduled to close on them this week, Elburn Building Commissioner Tom Brennan said.

Devin Dunn of Old Oak Homes requested the reduction in fees for one lot on Dodson Avenue.

“It’s nice to see activity out there,” Brennan said. “It’s good to hear the sounds of construction.”

Village President Dave Anderson agreed.

“My guess is that, after the beginning of the year, we’ll see even more,” he said.


Bright lights in the village

Local resident wins national recognition for Christmas lights
CAMPTON HILLS—Brian Larsen recently received national acclaim for a Christmas display he calls a “labor of love.”

“Some guys collect Corvettes and Porsches,” Larsen said. “I do Christmas lights.”

The 37-year-old father of three on Monday won a nation-wide contest for the Christmas light display on his home in Campton Hills. Larsen, who owns Countywide Landscaping, began decorating his house when he bought it in 1996. Back then, the display was just “regular static lights,” he said.

When Larsen was a boy in nearby Batavia, he and his family used to go on tours of other people’s Christmas lights. “Heavy into Christmas,” he and his family would also go Christmas caroling and enjoy other holiday activities.

“Christmas is a big part of my life,” he said. “And when I got my own house, I had the freedom to do what I wanted.”

A few years ago, he began to get ambitious and competitive with his displays.

People began showing up in their cars to get a look—and a listen—to the light display he had synchronized with bombastic Christmas music. Each year, he would add more lights and different kinds of decorations. He said he stopped counting lights three years ago at 778,000.

His Beith Road home became a destination for people in the area, as they would arrive as it got dark and park along the road near his house, at times becoming quite a crowd. He said just knowing that people are out there enjoying it puts a smile on his face.

Self-taught in the science of synchronizing music to the lights, Larsen said he’s “one of those geeks who sits up at night watching YouTube,” which is how he picked up the skills.

“It’s a big community,” he said. “Putting lights to music has really taken off. Everybody’s doing it.”

He has 30 programmed songs, 20 of which he’s using this year. He said it takes him about 80 hours to program a song.

This year, he was approached by the creators of the TV show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” to take part in the nationwide contest.

Michael Maloney and Sabrina Soto, hosts of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” were the judges for “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” and the object of the program was to create the most spectacular outdoor display in just three weeks.

Putting in 15-16-hour days with the help of his friends, he accomplished in 21 days what typically takes him three months. The camera crew was there for about eight days, and after that, they used time-lapsed photography to capture the work-in-progress.

Larsen said that this year’s display is by far his favorite. He added 1,200 strobe lights and estimates that by now, there are about 1 million lights in all. There are 37 lighted trees and 24 programmable panels of lights of text and graphics featured on the sides of the house.

The lights are all energy-efficient LEDs, so his electric bill is only about an extra $200 a month while the display is active.

This year, Larsen also paved a parking lot for viewers to get in off of the street, and his father set up a concession where he can sell pulled pork and beef sandwiches, hot dogs and hot chocolate. The lot can fit 50 cars.

Larsen said he plans to continue doing the displays as long as he is physically able. He loves people’s reactions to the light show. He said that a man proposed marriage to his girlfriend out in front of the lights a few nights ago. And elderly people show up in buses on a regular basis to view the light show.

A few years ago, a man who had recently lost his job told Larsen that the lights made him feel better.

Winning the contest will gain him $50,000. When asked what he’s going to do with the money, he said he was going to hire someone to take down the lights.

“There’s no glory in taking them down,” he said with a laugh.

Photos by Lynn Logan

SG Citizen Survey yields encouraging results

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the results of the village’s 2013 Citizen Survey. Results from the survey were generally positive, though residents reported dissatisfaction with economic development and cable TV.

The cable TV issue is essentially out of the Village Board’s hands, as Sugar Grove currently has a Cable Television Franchise Agreement with Mediacom.

“From the survey, we found they want more businesses and jobs. It’s all economic development,” village trustee Rick Montalto said. “As far as cable TV, maybe we should compare how many people have Mediacom now versus a couple of years ago. I dumped Mediacom this year. Now I have Direct TV (for television) and AT&T for Internet.”

An additional resident complaint pertained to the purity of the village’s water. Director of Public Works Anthony Speciale mentioned that they have brought up the purity of the water in recent years.

“Since 2007, we have improved the purity of the water from 52 percent to 72 percent in 2013,” Speciale said.

It was mentioned by several board members that although the purity level is high, it might be hard for residents to recognize the change over that many years.

Village President Sean Michels recognized that a high percentage of residents enjoy reading the village newsletter.

“I think it would be good to write a quarterly or semi-annual newsletter, since a lot of residents like reading it already,” Michels said. “More newsletters throughout the year would give us an opportunity to notify the residents of what we are doing throughout the year. Maybe, we could send it to them, as well.”

Trustee Mari Johnson brought up the idea of including a couple of pages of village information in the Sugar Grove Park District booklet.

“The Park District publishes a booklet three times a year. I think it might be a good idea to pay to have a couple of pages of village information in their booklet,” she said.

The survey results included compliments regarding Public Works’ Tree Replacement Program.

“We found that 90 percent of people would recommend Sugar Grove as a great place to live for people they know. We have a lot of happy residents,” Speciale said.


Photos: Singing for Santa

Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn held its first-grade holiday program on Dec. 6 in the school gym. Parents and other family members were welcome to attend. Mrs. Brubaker and staff guided students through a variety of holiday songs to share with the audience. John
Stewart first-graders (above) delighted family and other guests with their performance. Caeden Strack (right) made a good Santa Claus during the class’ afternoon performance.

History Department recognized at WCC

SUGAR GROVE—From Waubonsee’s inception, the instruction of history has helped to define the college.

As the study of history has evolved in the decades since, the college’s History Department has evolved, as well, rising to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities offered by new technology, expanded historical perspectives and new methods of teaching.

And now Waubonsee is pleased to honor the History Department as part of its “Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition.”

The academic exploration of history appeared in Waubonsee’s very first college catalog, as the college offered five courses, including the stalwarts of American History I and II, Western Civilization I and II, and a course titled “American Heritage.”

From 1969 to 1986, Waubonsee offered students the chance to pursue Associate in Arts degrees in history. After 1986, the college no longer awarded degrees in any specific majors.

While specific degrees in history are no longer awarded, the college’s emphasis on historical instruction has only increased in the years since.

In 2013-14, Waubonsee offered 15 history courses, including 13 courses granted Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) approval. Further, nine of those 13 courses offer students credit in the IAI General Education Core curriculum.

Since 2000, Waubonsee History Department courses have expanded to offer a broad range of historical perspectives, including many new additions to the World History sequence that explore history among non-Western peoples and set themes in a global context.

Such courses include instruction on the History of Africa, the History of the Middle East, and the History of China and Japan, all of which are taught at the 200-level, requiring students to build upon mastery of freshman-level historical understanding.

Led by Associate Professor of History Dr. Timothy Dean Draper and Assistant Professor of History Dr. Amy Powers, the Waubonsee History Department has continued to evolve to, as Draper states, “bring the high ideals of academic history to the undergraduate students at our institution.”

“In the classroom, I tell students that, to the best of our ability, we are going to examine narratives of the past doing what historians do: reading history, writing history and talking about history,” Draper said.

Draper, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Ball State University and who earned a doctorate in history from Northern Illinois University in 2007, has helped set the pace and tone for scholarship in the Waubonsee History Department for more than 13 years.

When he joined the Waubonsee team, Draper said he sought to be “the pre-eminent community college historian in the state of Illinois.”

While he admits he may not have attained that height, he said that he believes he has “made a game effort to try to do so to the benefit of the college, community and state.”

Draper has served on the advisory board and board of directors for the Illinois State History Society; the founder, board member and editor of H-Illinois, a listserv on state history and culture, affiliated with Michigan State University’s H-Net for the Humanities; and book review editor for the “Journal of the Illinois State History Society.”

“My reputation has been one of the most demanding professors at this institution, but I continually have students thank me for expecting them to learn and behave as college students,” Draper said.

Powers has served at Waubonsee for more than a decade. She also earned a Ph.D. in history from NIU in 2007, in addition to a master’s degree in history from John Carroll University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Grove City College.

“People often ask me why I decided to become a history professor,” Powers said. “I respond by simply telling them that teaching history provides me with an opportunity to learn something new every day.”

Powers has received several distinctions, including recognition as the 2013 Illinois Community College Faculty Association Instructor of the Year.

“Whether I am teaching Early American History, Western Civilization, World History, or the History of the Middle East, I am constantly learning. My goal is to impart this love of learning—and love of history—to my students,” Powers said.

In addition to updating and modernizing course offerings, the History Department has also adapted current technology, pioneering the incorporation of distance learning options in curriculum. All but two of the department’s courses are available online, and the two most popular courses—American History and Western Civilization—remain in the self-paced open enrollment format.

At the same time, Draper and Powers have worked to improve history education beyond Waubonsee, as well. The professors represented Waubonsee as one of only 12 community college teams to participate in the American Historical Association’s Bridging Cultures Project. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the program, in which Waubonsee has participated since 2012, seeks to boost historical scholarship among cultures across both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Powers said the Bridging Cultures project has allowed her to “introduce new scholarship and cutting-edge methodologies” to Waubonsee students, which can, in turn, spur students to uncover insights of their own.

“I am delighted when students read a text or analyze a primary source and come up with a fresh perspective that I had not considered,” Powers said. “Whether the students are 18-year-olds fresh out of high school or middle aged adults pursuing a new career, each one brings unique insight into our study of the past.”

Schmidt’s wins approval for earlier hours

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved an ordinance to allow Schmidt’s Towne Tap on Main Street in Elburn to open for business and serve alcohol inside and in its outdoor garden beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29. The regular hours for serving alcohol on Sunday are 11 a.m.

Owner Kevin Schmidt requested the one-day approval so that Schmidt’s can have a tailgate event prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. The game will begin at noon.

Blackberry Township working to renew lease on Elburn Youth Baseball field

BLACKBERRY TWP.—The Blackberry Township Board hopes to renegotiate a lease that will allow Elburn Youth Baseball to continue playing at McNair Field.

The previous lease negotiated between Blackberry Township and Burr Ridge company Transmission Relay Corporation had lasted 10 years. The lease granted local athletic leagues the use of five of the corporation’s 20 acres located south and east of the intersection of Bateman and Rowe roads in exchange for a fee of $1 a year.

Transmission Relay Corporation had purchased the property in 2003. Located in unincorporated Kane County, the property is zoned for recreational open space. According to Village President Dave Anderson, who was Township Supervisor at the time of purchase, the agreement the new owner made with the previous owners was that it was to be used for athletic fields for Kaneland area athletic leagues.

When the new owners applied for a zoning variance from Kane County to install a tower on the property, the variance was granted on the condition that it would continue to be used for athletic fields.

Elburn Youth Baseball volunteers had begun the process of expanding the field’s parking lot when they received a call telling them to hold off on the expansion. It was then that the baseball organization members realized the lease had expired on April 30 of this year.

Blackberry Township Supervisor Dennis Ryan and Road Commissioner Rod Feece initiated a meeting with owner Lynn Limanowski on Nov. 20 to discuss the renewal of the lease. Feece said the meeting was cordial, and that Limanowski was receptive to the baseball organization continuing to use the field. However, he said she was not open to the property being used for football activities.

A call to Transmission Relay Corporation was not returned by press time.

Sign-up for baseball begins on Saturday, Feb. 1, and Blackberry Township officials said their plan is to get the lease in place before then. They said they will schedule a special meeting for Thursday, Jan. 2, to discuss the issues, and then meet with the property owners before their first regular meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 14.


WCC opens new field house

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College opened the doors of its new Sugar Grove campus field house on Dec. 6. Student athletes, athletic instructors and community members gathered at the field house that day and were able to participate in the different games and interactive activities.

“Given the nature of the field house, we created a ‘game day’ atmosphere,” Waubonsee Marketing and Communications Manager Stephanie Wennmacher said. “We had our Chief cheerleaders lead off the program, and our student-athlete and coaches built an architectural rendering of the building one piece at a time. We also had a free throw and three-point contests along with a miniature golf hole for students and guests.”

The field house project was part of the original 2020 College Master Plan, which was first developed and announced back in 2001. Voters then voiced their support for the plan by approving the referenda in 2002 and 2003.

The new field house is attached to the existing Erickson Hall building on the north side of the Sugar Grove campus, and provides a number of rooms for athletic activities with a total of 59,279 square feet of space.

On the first level, there are three indoor courts and two with standard athletic flooring and one with artificial turf for soccer, baseball and softball practice. There is also an office suite for athletic staff and coaches, along with an athletic training room that includes exam and taping stations.

The second floor of the field house boasts a three-lane suspended running track, meeting room and classroom, and 2,485-square-foot dance and fitness studio.

The field house is designed to support and benefit a variety of groups and individuals from Waubonsee Community College and the surrounding community. Waubonsee’s intercollegiate and non-credit physical education, intramurals, wellness instruction and general recreation will have classes in the new field house facilities.

Student athletes from Waubonsee’s 13 different teams and cheerleading squad will practice, condition and train in the field house. There will also be a place for students who are looking to hang out on a casual level, featuring games such as ping-pong.

The baseball team will have a regulation-size field where they will be able to practice full-length catch, and the cheerleading squad will have a room tall enough for the squad to practice routines including lifting and throwing.

All of this equates to added benefits that the new facility will provide for the athletes, students and community members.

“Athletes will enjoy having more space to condition with new track and regular training schedule times. They won’t have to rearrange their schedules week to week because of the space constraints that we had in the gym.” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “More residents and groups from the community will notice that they are able to book appointments to use rooms in the field house without the schedule being completely booked because of lack of space.

Editorial: Christmas joy through giving a toy

We often hear about the spirit of Christmas and how it’s better to give than to receive. However, in today’s world of Black Friday punchout sales, an overflowing marketplace of technological gadgets and “hot Christmas gifts of the season,” and those obnoxious commercials featuring overpriced “luxury” automobiles wrapped with a big bow, it’s so easy to forget about the reason why Christmas exists in the first place: to bring joy to the loved ones in our life through both gesture and gift. And not just any gift, but rather gifts that are from the heart and not just the wallet.

Times are still hard in this country, though, and that means people do not have the privilege to wake up to a Christmas tree surrounded by neatly wrapped presents. It’s a sad truth that an overwhelming group of parents in this country do not have the financial means to give their children the Christmas morning they deserve. And when you consider that truth from the child’s perspective, it’s simply heartbreaking.

Imagine a child in this community waking up on Christmas morning with the understanding that their home wasn’t a stop on Santa’s route, even though they were extra good all year long, and even though they asked for so very little. No child should have to feel that way on what is supposed to be the most joyous of mornings. Yet so many do.

Several groups within the Kaneland community hold children’s clothing and toy drives as a way to help make it a special Christmas for every child in the area. We ask that you seriously consider donating at least one toy this holiday season. It’s the most selfless act possible, and even a little can mean so very much to an underprivileged child in this area.

If you’re interested in donating a toy or gift item, call your village hall and ask them if the village has a toy dropbox available.

There are other ways to give back this holiday season. Holiday Spirit, a joint program between the Kaneland Schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 160 children in 63 families through the donations. The program anticipates that the need will be just as great this year.

Those interested in adopting a family can contact Kaneland John Shields Elementary social worker Nicole Pryor at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or nicole.pryor@kaneland.org or West Towns Coordinator Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880 or conleyor@conleyoutreach.org. Visit www.conleyoutreach.org to download the donation form. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last minute gifts and for gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.

The Sugar Grove Food Pantry is also accepting toys and donated goods through Monday, Dec. 23, at its drop spots located at the Green Acres dry cleaning next to Sugar Grove Jewel, Village Hall, Sugar Grove Animal Hospital, Old Second National Bank and Castle Bank.

Remember, a little bit of time and money on your end can go toward making sure that this Christmas is the best one ever for a local child. And that’s true happiness on what should be the most joyous of holidays.

Barry L. Tischhauser

Barry L. Tischhauser, 61, of Athens, Tenn., formerly of Virgil, passed away peacefully on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, at his home surrounded by the love and care of his family.

He was born Feb. 15, 1952, in Sycamore, the son of Norman and Joyce (VanStone) Tischhauser. Barry grew up in Virgil and attended local schools, graduating from Kaneland High School in Maple Park. After high school, he worked with his dad as a mechanic at Norm’s Service in Virgil.

In April of 1978, he was united in marriage to Donna Clayton. Barry and Donna began their new life together in Athens, where they would spend the next 35 years together. Barry worked at a number of jobs through the years, including a time as a carpenter. He was employed by Robinson Enterprises for over 15 years. Whatever the job, Barry was a “jack of all trades” whose talents were in his hands. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed countless hours with his Harley-Davison and many an hour with a fishing pole in his hands.

Barry and Donna were blessed with twin daughters, Elizabeth and Amanda. Though they were very small when they arrived, it did not take long for them to win their daddy’s heart. Grown now, with children of their own, Barry loved being “Papaw” to Nathan, Aaron and Savanah. The lights of his world, he leaves them with countless and treasured memories.

He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Donna Tischhauser of Athens; his daughters, Elizabeth (Mark) Boesen, and son Aaron, of Woodstock, Ill., and Amanda Walker and special friend, Brandon Smith, and their children Nathan and Savanah, of Athens; four brothers, Dennis Tischhauser of Virgil, Robin Tischhauser of Minnesota, David (Judy) Tischhauser of Genoa, Ill., and Greg (Carla) Tischhauser of Las Vegas, Nev.; one sister, Ena Carlson of DeKalb; his father-in-law, Kenneth Clayton, also of Athens; special friends, Richard “Nutty” McNutt and Ray Revis; a number of nieces and nephews; and a lifetime of friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Norm and Joyce Tischhauser; his mother-in-law, Susie Clayton; and his brother-in-law, Keith Carlson.

A celebration of Barry’s life was held Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at Christ Community Church, in Athens. The Rev. Carlos Peterson officiated.


Air supply

Photo: Junior Ben Barnes scored a team-high 16 points in Kaneland’s 83-63 rout of Rochelle Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knight boys hoops runs wild on rival Hubs
KANELAND—Five players managing a double-figure night should be a harbinger of good things for one’s basketball lineup.

In the case of Kaneland, it meant terrible things for visiting Rochelle last Friday night.

With a strong output from personnel like John Pruett (14 points) and Tyler Carlson (11 points), along with 16 from reserve Ben Barnes, 14 from Dylan Vaca and 10 from sub Ryan David, the Knights flew to an 83-63 win over the Hubs.

Kaneland’s first challenge of the week, coupled with Tuesday’s 63-38 win against Hinckley-Big Rock, raised its record to 4-2, and 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

KHS held firm in the victory despite being trumped in foul line opportunities by a 26-12 margin.

“The goal was to keep (Rochelle) to one shot so we could keep it and run,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I thought we did a good job with that. Our three-point shot wasn’t falling, and you have to make them work on defense and tire them out, and we beat them on transition.”

Kaneland stormed out to a 7-0 lead just 2:10 into the contest until Rochelle solidified and used three three-pointers to go up 11-10 with 2:49 left in the quarter. A basket by Drew David, a reverse layup by Carlson and a bucket by Ryan David set Kaneland back on top 16-11 with 1:47 to play in the frame. Later, a putback and foul converted by Carlson and a putback by Barnes with 44.5 to go closed the scoring at 22-13 for the first quarter.

Shots by Drew David, and a foul shot coupled by a steal and hoop from Ryan David, completed a 13-6 run for a 29-19 lead with 5:31 left in the half. A short flurry by Rochelle closed the margin to 33-27 with 2:48 remaining before two Vaca foul shots and a Vaca hoop brought the lead to eight. Two Carlson foul shots and a Hub foul try closed the scoring at 39-31 before the buzzer.

The third quarter represented a pleasant turn of events for the hosts, as Ryan David, Carlson, Vaca and Pruett were responsible for six successful shots in a row en route to a 51-33 lead after a 12-2 run with 4:22 to go in the frame.

Cole Carlson’s bucket with 52.5 left in the third gave KHS a 60-39 lead before the Hubs scored the last five points of the quarter.

Barnes and Vaca alternated fast break buckets to score the first eight points of the frame and seal the Friday contest. A Connor Fedderly three try with 4:24 to go gave the Kaneland unit its biggest lead of the contest at 75-50.

“We just try to get it and run; that worked in the first half and we tried it again, and we had some key stops on defense,” Tyler Carlson said.

With Carlson and the upperclassmen tasked with a laundry list of duties, the routine is continuing to sink in on the floor.

“So far I think we’re alright, we’re trying to fill in the leadership role. Drew is doing a great job and he’s a four-year starter. John and I are just trying to get that leadership role down,” Carlson said.

At Hinckley-Big Rock, the Knights stormed to a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and didn’t look back. John Pruett led the team with 16 points, and Tyler Carlson 15 points. Vaca had 14 points.

The boys don’t suit up until Thursday, Dec. 26, when they begin their fourth stay at the Plano Christmas Classic, which is entering its 51st year. Kaneland enters as the No. 4 seed and is scheduled to battle either No. 13 Newark or Hinckley-Big Rock at 10:30 a.m.


Girls basketball looks to sleigh field at 2 tourneys

Photo: Junior Ally VanBogaert and the Lady Knights basketball team trek to Ottawa and Dixon during the holiday break. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights hitting double shot of Ottawa and Dixon gatherings
KANELAND—At 4-4, the Lady Knight girls basketball roster will hit the court running come this Saturday, Dec. 21.

KHS will have to hope the 11-day layoff won’t cause any problems once the Ottawa Holiday tournament houses their skills for two days of competition.

Last season marked the first time Kaneland went to the Ottawa tournament after a six-year stay at Oswego East’s setup. The Lady Knights finished eighth out of 12 squads and exited the downtown Ottawa setup with a record of 9-5.

Joliet Catholic beat Ottawa in the championship encounter, with Yorkville earning third overall.

Kaneland begins the event in Pool D along with schools Pontiac and Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Streator at Kingman Gym. The Lady Knights begin play against Pontiac on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 4:45 p.m., before taking the court again at 7:30 p.m. against the Lady Bulldogs.

The battle for top team honors continues the following Monday, Dec. 23, with teams assured of a morning and afternoon or evening contest against one of the three pool equivalents.

Pool A consists of Ottawa, Rockford East and Sandwich. Pool B is LaSalle-Peru, Lincoln-Way West and Morris, and Pool C is Kankakee, Geneseo and Yorkville.

After Ottawa, Kaneland heads to another West division stop in the form of soon-departing Dixon High School and its 16-team KSB Dixon Holiday Classic.

KHS tips off against Stillman Valley on Thursday, Dec. 26, at noon, with the next challenge on Friday, Dec. 27, at either 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. vs. either Sterling or Freeport’s Aquin. The final night of play is Saturday, Dec. 28.

Other familiar schools in the setup include Rochelle, which plays Oregon in a first-round encounter, and Aurora Christian, which plays Dunlap.

Wasco Diamonds 14U clinic set for Dec. 28

ELBURN—The Wasco Diamonds will present a 14U clinic on Saturday, Dec. 28, at the softball diamond located at 707 Herra St. in Elburn.

A pitching and catching clinic is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is $25. An all-skills clinic is from 9-11 a.m. for 10U players and from 1-5 p.m. for 12U and up players and costs $45. To sign up for both clinics is $60. A T-shirt is included in the cost.

For information on registration, email britkoss14@aol.com. Registration ends Friday.

Softball tryouts, clinics approaching fast

WASCO—Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball (WGFSL) registration for the 2014 Spring/Summer season begins Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Registration is open to all girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are no out-of-district fees.

Players develop their skills with the emphasis on fun. Games are played in the evenings and some Saturdays in St. Charles.

Practices start in April and conclude late June/early July. Players may register online at WascoFastpitch.com, download a mail-in registration form, or call (630) 513-1200.

WGFSL also offers All Star teams, the Wasco Warriors. The Warrior participate during the in-house season, in addition to several area tournaments without the year-round commitment and expense of full time travel all the while gaining great experience for the more advanced player. All Star tryouts are Sunday, Jan. 12.

WGFSL, in partnership with Elite Sports Training Center of St. Charles is also offering clinics that includes hitting, speed-agility-quickness, pitching and hitting prior to the start of the season.

For more information about WGFSL or the clinics, visit WascoFastpitch.com.


Pride in Platteville

Photo: Elburn native Ryley Bailey had 86 catches for 1,047 yards for UW-Platteville’s football team this season. It was a school record for catches, and only the second time in school history a receiver recorded over 1,000 yards in a season. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS pass-catcher Bailey continues high level of play for UW-Platteville

KANELAND—A local buzz for something like the Division III football playoffs can be excused, especially with the deep semifinal run from Naperville, Ill.-outlet North Central College.

Look deeper, and you’d see even more reason to follow.

Kaneland High School Class of 2010 member Ryley Bailey, who played both sides of the ball for Knight playoff contenders in 2008 and 2009, also made a playoff run in D-III for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-P) Pioneers football roster.

UW-P, with the senior Bailey, made it to the second round before losing to North Central, 52-24, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, Ill., to finish at 10-2, which tied a school win record.

“It was just a great feeling,” Bailey said. “It was a great group of guys and an amazing feeling, and it wouldn’t have happened without guys like Quinn (Buschbacher, fellow Kaneland football alum) and (quarterback) John Kelly.”

Bailey, of Elburn, was also one of six Pioneers this month to get a D3Football.com 2013 All-West Region award for outstanding play.

Helping Bailey throughout his Pioneer tenure was the similarity to Kaneland’s noted spread offense.

“I fit right in, which was kind of unique for me I was the receiver that kind of went across the middle. They needed me to do the dirty work in there, because I’m not as fast as the other guys.”

Doing the dirty work this year yielded 86 receptions for 1,047 yards, on his way to becoming the second Pioneer in school history to record over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The senior receiver averaged 7.17 receptions per game for 87.2 yards per game.

His 86 catches also set a new school record and ranked fourth most in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

The wideout came in with accomplished skills, but resolved to pick up his game this season to help make a postseason run.

“You had to stay focused. You had to be ready to do the little things. It was tough this year because of all the hype. We really had a target on our back,” Bailey said.

The Pioneers, paced by assets like Bailey, Buschbacher (28 catches) and Trevor Whitehead (81 catches) in its wide-open offense, had a season to remember, only to end in DuPage County.
Despite that, Bailey, a first-team all-WIAC member, was able to hold his head up, even catching two touchdowns in the season-ender.

“I’ll remember that game, and I was rooting for (North Central) on Saturday when they lost (41-40 to Mount Union in D-III semifinals). That and the win over Wisconsin-Oskhosh, where we got a late field goal to get us into the playoffs, were what I’ll remember. Those were really emotional,” Bailey said.

Bailey isn’t done with the Wisconsin setting yet, as he works toward his degree.

“I’d like to still be around the football (progam) up here and help the team and the receivers,” Bailey said. “I know football, and football’s been good to me.”


KHS grapplers can’t grab hold in tough week

Cary-Grove, CLC, DeKalb dish Kaneland losses
KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling had done well so far this season, but they can be sure to run into a wall of tough opponents for days at a time, as was the case this past week.

On Thursday, the 9-4 Knights took it on the headgear against visiting DeKalb in Maple Park by a 44-18 clip, while Dec. 11 saw a trip to Crystal Lake Central end with losses to both the host Tigers and the Trojans of Cary-Grove, 43-30 and 39-24, respectively.

Against DeKalb, wins came courtesy of personnel like Nick Mish at 106 pounds with a pin at 4:46.

Teammate Dane Goodenough stuck a pin in the 138-pound meeting in 3:31, providing a bright spot in the hard-luck conference loss.

“I saw he was slacking a bit so I was able to get inside control and got the fireman’s and kept driving. Once I saw that, I capitalized and pinned him through that,” Goodenough said. “Most of us thought we weren’t going to start as good as we did. Even with our few losses now, we’re still up there.”

The final pin of the night went to 170-pound entry Tom Price, who won his match in 1:42.

“I thought our kids wrestled hard, but we needed a little more fire when we hit the mat. They didn’t give up, they just didn’t come out with a lot of emotion. We wrestled well against Sycamore, but after DeKalb, there’s some work to do,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

In the 15-point loss to C-G, 285-pound Justin Diddell earned a 1:24 pin, while Adam Mish won his 113-pound encounter in 1:18. Goodenough won his bout by 9-3 margin, and Riley Vanik emerged victorious in the 145-pound bout by 6-2 tally.

In the 13-point setback against CLC, Diddell earned another pin in 2:44, while Matthew Redman won a 126-pound encounter in 1:42. The final two wins on Kaneland’s side were Vanik’s 8-1 decision and George Strang’s 5-3 win at 152 pounds.

Friday, Dec. 20, sees a trip to Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville in Kendall County.

Bowlers sunk by Streator, Morris

Photo: Senior Christie Crews has been a leader for the Lady Knights bowlers this season. She bowled a 414 series against Streator and a 434 against Morris in recent action. File Photo

KANELAND—Sometimes you’ll just run into a bowling roster that has a better night in them.

It happened to Kaneland bowling on Dec. 11, against visiting Streator at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, and it happened on Tuesday at Echo Lanes in Morris against the Lady Redskins.

Against the Northern Illinois Big XII foe Streator, the final was 2,526-2,178. Morris had a stellar Tuesday in its home element, smothering Kaneland by a 3,577-2,328 margin.

Kaneland is now 2-4 after six duals.

Against the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Knights found themselves paced by Christie Crews’ 418 high series, and teammate Dominique Lee’s 414.

Facing Morris, Crews supplanted the effort with a team-high series of 434, and Lee had a 423.

Crews, a senior, has supplied nice totals for the Lady Knights, but knows it takes more than that for the KHS to hope for a third win soon.

“There’s several things we need to do,” Crews said. “Getting a high game is almost all by chance. You can work as hard as you want. All the girls getting a high game at the same time is great if you can do it, but good luck. It’s great if it happens, and if it doesn’t, at least you get some more practice.”

High game went to Lee on the evening with a 156.

“I still think we’re going to be competitive. We had a bit of a slump. If we had bowled like we did against IMSA against Streator, we would have won. But we’re hanging in there and we have another tough match against DeKalb, and we’re looking forward to a nice tournament on Saturday (Lisle Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 21),” head coach Jim McKnight said.

Kaneland tries to climb back toward .500 on Thursday, Dec. 19, against DeKalb.

Dec. 19 sports recap

JV Bowling
Dec. 11 vs. Streator—The Lady Knights only had two competitors, so no team score was kept. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 323 series with a 132 high game, while Natalie Barnhart bowled a 282 series with 125 high game.
Dec. 17 @ Morris—Grace Lindgren bowled a 314 series, with a 119 high game, while McDuffee bowled a 291 series (105 high game) and Barnhart bowled a 270 series (119 high game). No team score was kept.

Boys Soph. Basketball
Dec. 13 vs. Rochelle—The Knights earned a 68-47 win over visiting Rochelle Friday. Jake Marczuk led KHS with 16 points, while Tanner Robertson had 11 and Mark Lilly had 11. Fellow Knights Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had seven points, while the trio of Jason Edwards, Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had four points.
Dec. 17 @ Hinckley-Big Rock—The Knights routed the host Royals 63-36 Tuesday. Lilly led the team with 16 points, while Robertson (12) and Groen (10) were also in double-digits. The sophomore boys are now 5-1, 2-0 in NIB-12 play.

JV Wrestling
Dec. 14 KHS JV Tournament—The JV wrestlers faired well in their own tournament on Saturday.
The Knights had three grapplers earn individual championships. At 98 pounds, Austin Kedzie won by fall over Mark Wuerfl of Batavia in :32. Johnathan Terry defeated Lukasz Skoczen of Plainfield South 5-2 to win the 170 pound A division. Colin Gussman won a 6-4 decision over Wheaton-Warrenville South’s John Bikulcius in the 145 pound A division.
Earning runner-up status on the day for KHS were Hayden Patterson in the 132 pound A division and Mitchell Jones in the 138 pound A division.
Cullen Murray of Kaneland placed third in the the 182 pound division, while Jordan Hoffman placed fourth in the 132 pound B division.
Preston Havis (113 pounds) and Ben Long (170 pounds B) each earned fifth-place medals, while Ben Smith (152 pounds A) was sixth.


WCC’s Wagner garners 200th career coaching victory

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball head coach Dana Wagner collected her 200th career coaching victory as the Lady Chiefs hung on to defeat the St. Ambrose University Junior Varsity 73-68 on Sunday, Dec. 8. Waubonsee improved to 9-3 overall on the season as it won its fourth in a row.

This season is Wagner’s 15th year overall leading Waubonsee’s basketball program. Under her guidance, 22 players have been named Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Teamers. The Lady Chiefs have finished second in the ISCC three times during her tenure, including two years ago when they won a school-record 11 straight games.

Wagner also directed Waubonsee’s volleyball program for two seasons and was the softball head coach for 11 years, helping guide the 2007 team to the ISCC title and a then record-setting 33-win season.

Additionally, Wagner was named the ISCC’s Female Coach of the Year for 2005-06.

A 1992 graduate of Kaneland High School, where she was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball, Wagner went on to star for Aurora University. She was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year an unprecedented three times. The Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693 points, Wagner’s number 40 jersey was retired upon the conclusion of her last game, and she was inducted into Aurora’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

In addition to her coaching duties, Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager. She also runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and serves as facilities coordinator for the college’s gymnasium, Erickson

Letter: A response to the Kaneland School Board’s vote to raise taxes

As the Bible tells us, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to be silent and a time to speak.

I attended the Kaneland School Board meeting of Dec. 9, at which time the final resolution vote to levy taxes to the district took place. Two board members voted “no” to the resolution and five voted “yes” to raise mine and your property tax payments to the school by 9.5 percent. Several people in attendance testified as to the hardships they are suffering due to our economic conditions and appealed to the board for tax relief. The “yes” members claimed the loss of taxation compounding would be too expensive for the board to change its position of “tax-to-the-max” now and in the future. Obviously, the majority of this board could not come to terms with “this is a time to embrace and a time to refrain.”

I am reading that the Kane County Board has held its levy to “no increase.” The same is true with several local townships, cities and park districts. These local boards have embraced the economic conditions of lower work hours, no wage increases, companies shutting down or leaving the area and 22 percent of district home mortgages underwater. A Chicago Tribune article from Dec. 5 states that U.S. firms have begun an era of corporate urbanism. Why? Cities are aiding these moves with tax breaks and lower downtown rents prized by a young, educated workforce. Our school district is seeing this same exodus by a reduced (144) student enrollment of 4 percent this year. Even with fewer children in the halls of our schools, this board could not embrace the timing of refraining from past taxation behaviors or reveal the student enrollment decline to the public as a part of the tax levy discussion.

This School Board and administration seem to choose “a time to be silent” when it comes to revealing critical information to the public. The yearly financial audit of the School District’s financial statements and supplemental information has not been released to the public. The fiscal year 2012-13 ended June 31, 2013, and now five months later is still a financial secret.

Another critical report was the Standards & Poors Feb. 13, 2013, District Bond Ratings Report. This report pointed out the combined educational and O&M fund’s cash assets at the end of fiscal 2012 were nearly $25 million, or 53 percent of expenditures. Per the report, “The large discrepancy between the fund balance and the cash assets is due to the district deferring its spring and fall property tax receipts for use in the next fiscal year, which decreases the educational fund balance accordingly (about $18 million in 2012). Most Illinois school districts that use modified accrual accounting only defer property taxes due in the fall. The working cash fund, an alternate source of liquidity, held $590,000 at the end of 2012, up from $117,000 at the end of fiscal 2008.”

The reader might ask themselves, how does this Standards & Poors reported manipulation of funds differ from the scandalous 2001 Enron Corporation’s deceptive and unethical practice of hiding money and/or debt? I guess you would judge for yourself. The District 302 fall property tax receipts for this 2013 year is $20,720,450, and is maybe being deferred to next fiscal year’s business along with the $26,803,011 spring distribution, totaling $47,523,461.24. I do know this is big money to be moving around with no transparency as to financial audit oversight. Some of these School Board members are choosing “a time to be silent” about deferring millions of dollars of our tax money, and at the same time executing a levy that will result in an increased tax lien against yours and my property in January 2014. The Kaneland School Board’s withholding of the 2012-13 financial audit is aiding and abetting such practices by the Kaneland School District Administration. It is certainly a time for board members to do more “grandstanding” in defense of taxpayers and continue to ignore the “10-to-15-minute-long flippy-flop diatribes” some residents spew forward. Of course, some board members have relatives working at the school, so they aren’t likely to say much and differ from the majority. It is only $47 million, so why speak up? There might be retaliation?

School Board member Tony Valente did speak of retaliation by the school. He warned of manipulation of class location and other actions taken against the public and or individuals for speaking or voting against the School District. We have witnessed some brave mothers who are so distressed financially, they are willing to speak out and let themselves or their children become a target for bullying by this institution. This is truly a tragedy in our community.

There is a time for everything. Now is the time to prepare for the next School Board election. All taxpayers are more than qualified. You earned the money to support this school and you certainly are qualified to direct the spending of that money. Common sense rules will be far and above the actions I have reported in this article. The board members presently representing Sugar Grove are doing the work expected by the majority of their constituents. I would hope district seniors, on fixed incomes, will take a hard look at the persons representing them in their cities.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

‘Family Knight In’ at Paisano’s

ELBURN—Place any order at Paisano’s Pizza and Grill on Friday, Dec. 19, and Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO will receive 10 percent back in donation. Just present or mention the “Family Knight In” coupon when you pay for your order, and Paisano’s will take care of the rest. Go to paisanospizzagrill.com for a complete menu. Valid all day for pick up or delivery.

The Longest Night

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove United Methodist Church will host The Longest Night Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the church, located at 176 Main St., Sugar Grove.

The Longest Night Service is a time to experience a meditative worship service that takes time for remembering, sharing our hurting places with God, and preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ. God’s Word comes to shines light in our darkness.

A light meal will take place before the service at 6:15 p.m.

For more information, call (630) 466-4501 or email sugargroveumc@sbcglobal.net.

‘Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland community

Elburn—’Friday Knightlife,’ a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 10 to March 21.

Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., will be open with activities like basketball, floor hockey, dodgeball, Wii, air hockey and more. Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, will also be open with a movie every Friday, computer gaming, board games, crafts, music and more.

Friday Knightlife is a community collaboration between Peak for Kids, Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library District. Peak for Kids is a new non-profit organization in Kane County dedicated to promoting enrichment and kindness. Part of Peak’s mission is to provide kids more opportunities for connection to community.

Friday Knightlife will provide kids with a safe and fun place to go and socialize. It will also provide mentoring opportunities as older, high-school-aged kids will be invited to volunteer at both facilities.

The Friday Knightlife program will provide participating parents with a Friday Knightlife “Out & About Card,” which will unlock 15 percent discounts on food and more at participating restaurants and venues in the Kaneland community.

Java Plus Cafe at Sugar Grove Public Library will also be open every Friday night from January until March, and offer 15 percent off coffee and live music by some of your favorite Kaneland area musicians.

Registration is now open at www.peakforkids.org. Registration forms also available on the Kaneland School District virtual backpack system. Each student will get a free Friday Knightlife T-shirt. Cost is $75 per student; $50 for one sibling, and no charge for all additional siblings. The pilot program is 10 weeks long this year. If the program is successful, the intent is to open the program up to five months next year (November through March), open more facilities and keep the price point between $35 and $55 per student.

The program will be monitored and reviewed weekly to note the kids’ preferences in terms of activities. That way, program coordinators can work to enhance next year’s program.

For more information, call (630) 466-8880 or visit www.Peakforkids.org. Peak for Kids was the official host of the recently promoted Kindness Campaign in the Kaneland area.


Bringing some muscle to Elburn

Blackberry Creek resident opens Windy City Muscle Cars

ELBURN—When Nicolas Cage’s brand new Bentley Continental GTC went up for sale as part of the Hollywood star’s bankruptcy, Tom Scardamaglia snapped it up.

It’s sitting in his showroom at Windy City Muscle Cars, his new specialty car business at 217 Paul St. in Elburn, and Scardamaglia thinks he’ll be able to sell it for about $250,000.

“Because it was celebrity owned, it’s got history,” Scardamaglia said. “It’s the most high-end car we have. I bought it from a dealership out in Las Vegas called Celebrity Cars, who acquired it through (Cage’s) bankruptcy attorney.”

The Bentley is just one of more than a dozen specialty cars in Windy City’s showroom at the moment. Most of the others, Scardamaglia said, are classic muscle cars—a 1966 GTO convertible, a 1969 Camaro Z11 pace car, a 1970 Chevelle that’s been restored to concourse quality, as well as newer Camaros and Mustangs. All are more moderately priced than the Bentley, with the least expensive car in the showroom, a 1988 Mustang GT, priced below $10,000.

Though the muscle car showroom is located in Elburn, Scardamaglia considers it a “web dealership” rather than a traditional car dealership. He expects potential customers will come from all over the world, and he’s been doing a lot of online marketing to attract them.

“I’m targeting, essentially, a pre-qualified customer who knows exactly what they want,” he said. “They’re car enthusiasts and purists, the people who go through the car to make sure every nut, screw, bolt, everything is correct, that all the original numbers match. It could be someone from St. Charles, but with the Internet and international car sales, I can be dealing with someone from Poland or Sweden or the Philippines.”

Windy City Muscle Cars has only been open for a month, so Scardamaglia hasn’t made many sales yet, but he’s receiving inquiries from his website, windycitymusclecars.com, from far-flung places. Only 20 percent of the visitors to his website are from Illinois, he said, and he’s been fielding calls from potential customers as far away as Poland.

“The trend with people these days is that anywhere from 12 to 14 hours is spent online, researching and narrowing down the cars they want to buy, and less time is spent in person at the dealership. Especially with the customers I’m dealing with, the out-of-state people, they’ll never even set foot in the showroom.”

Scardamaglia chose to open Windy City Muscle Cars in Elburn because “it made sense,” he said. He and his wife, a teacher at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, live in Elburn.

“I really like the small-town feel of Elburn, and back when I moved into Blackberry Creek, it was a brand new subdivision and the train station had just come into town. I felt like the community was bound for some growth,” he said.

A friend owns the building he opened his showroom in, and the location, in a warehouse not far from the railroad tracks, makes it easy for him to ship cars by rail to anywhere in the country. For overseas customers, he can ship the cars to New York or California, where they can be loaded onto a boat and sent anywhere in the world.

Though the business is new, Scardamaglia has almost 20 years of experience working in the auto industry. He started off working at a detail shop in St. Charles, detailing high-end cars, and purchased that business from the owner. Later, he worked at a car dealership, doing sales, handling the financial paperwork and managing the inventory.

Windy City specializes in muscle cars, but Scardamaglia will work with customers to obtain any kind of car they’re seeking. He also offers several other services, including restorations, appraisals and consignments.

“We’re full service. I don’t want to spread myself too thin, because I’d rather be good at a few things. For restorations, I do the disassembly and assembly, and I try to use as many local vendors as possible in regard to bodywork and sheet metal work and painting. I’ve got guys who will detail cars, if you need detailing done. Some people need their car appraised, and sometimes with an accident, the insurance adjustor won’t know how to value (a specialty car) properly, and you can get a third-party appraiser. Somebody’s saying, ‘can you put a value on this car?’ If you want a full-blown appraisal, I can help you get one from a certified appraiser,” he said.

For those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling a car, Scardamaglia will sell the car for them on consignment, marketing the car online and dealing with the potential customers.

He also offers indoor and outdoor storage for cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles. The indoor storage is climate-controlled to offer protection from the elements, and the outdoor storage can be accessed by customers 24 hours a day.

Windy City Muscle Cars is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays by appointment only. For more information, visit windycitymusclecars.com or call (630) 365-5697.

Elburn Food Pantry benefits from Kane County Farm Bureau

ELBURN—The Elburn Food Pantry is just one of the 20 food pantry recipients of donations from Kane County Farm Bureau members.

The Farm Bureau, through its Harvest for All and other hunger relief programs, has recently surpassed its goal of providing the equivalent of 1 million meals to local food pantries and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. As of Dec. 10, the number reached 1,092,781 meals, according to Farm Bureau representative Ryan Klassy.

The Farm Bureau initiated the Harvest for All program in 2009, after the country’s economy had taken a significant downturn.

“Hunger relief has always been a strong point for the Farm Bureau, and members interested in helping the community wanted to find a way to make an impact on people finding themselves in need of food,” he said.

Farmers and other agribusiness members make a pledge to set aside a percentage of their profits, the proceeds from a specific amount of acreage or the revenue from a certain number of bushels of corn. One farm donates eggs, another gives a portion of his vegetable harvest, and another grows green beans.

“As farmers, we’re in the business of producing food, and this is all about helping people who don’t have enough to eat,” said Kane County Farm Bureau President Joe White at the benefit dinner to celebrate the Farm Bureau’s 100-year anniversary.

Each farmer designates where he wants his contribution to go. The Kane County Corn Growers Association, the Elburn Coop and White, are just a few of the local individuals and organizations that donate to the Elburn Food Bank.

According to Elburn Food Pantry coordinator Rita Burnham, the Food Pantry gets its donations from individuals, organizations’ food drives, churches, local businesses, the Lions Club and others. A good portion of the money the pantry receives comes from the Kane County Farm Bureau.

“The Farm Bureau has been a huge, huge benefit to us,” Burnham said.

Burnham said that the food pantry purchases some of its food from ALDI, milk from Jewel-Osco, and other stores, depending on which ones have the best prices at the time.

Working in conjunction with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Farm Bureau is able to stretch its dollars even further to provide meals for those in need. The NIFB, with its access to food donated from grocery stores, as well as its buying power and network, has the ability to turn each dollar into six meals.


Remembering Tom

Photo: Myrna and Bill Smar (top row) with Raulene and Tom Kuebelbeck. Courtesy Photo

ELBURN—Bill Smar is an Elburn Lions Club member who works on publicity.

Recently, Smar thought about his late friend Tom Kuebelbeck.

“Well, I was at the club,” Smar said. “And I was just looking around and I said, ‘I wonder how many folks are actually here because of Tom?’”

Kuebelbeck and Smar worked at FAA on the Aurora site as supervisors.

Kuebelbeck had been an Elburn Lions Club member, former president, served on the park board and sponsored several people to become members of Elburn Lions Club and recruited numerous folks to pitch in and lend a hand.

Elburn Lions Club assists blind and visually impaired people and supports charitable causes. Elburn Days is the club’s biggest fundraiser.

Kuebelbeck died in 2009. However, he is still very much remembered.

“When he introduced me to the folks at the club—and you just see the interest and engagement in making things better for the community,” Smar said. “And especially for those that can’t see and seeing impaired.”

Jim Lipsett, Elburn Lions Club member, had also worked with Kuebelbeck at FAA.

Lipsett has a son, Cory, 23 years old, senior at Northern Illinois University. He is visually impaired.

Cory had cancer in the retinas of his eyes as a baby.

Kuebelbeck learned about Cory’s situation.

“He actually came up to me and he said, ‘Hey, if your son Cory—if he ever needs a guide dog, just let me know,’” Lipsett said.

A guide dog can cost $40,000. Thanks to Kuebelbeck and the Elburn Lions Club, Cory has a guide dog named Ragin.

Raulene Kuebelbeck, widow of Tom, reflected on her husband’s life.

“He enjoyed life, enjoyed being with people,” she said. “He had a wonderful work ethic. He was pretty flexible—but not always. And he felt you should always give people a shot at something.”

Kuebelbeck gave his time working the grill for club-sponsored catered events and picnics.

He could be seen grinning while grilling up tasty pork chops and chicken. As for the pork chops, Smar revealed it has a “bunch of different spices and salts.”

“There was nothing better than having the perfect pork chop,” Raulene said.
“When the pork chops and the chicken were all done, to have that meat turn out great was the ultimate. And that’s it for all of the guys that work on that grill.

When they get out there and start grilling—that is what they do.”

Dan Hannemann, Elburn Lions Club member, remembers the man as someone who gave encouragement.

“Anytime I’m down at that club, I think Tom Kuebelbeck’s standing next to me,” Hannemann said. “He’s still there and we’re working side by side. That is how much of a force he was in my opinion. His presence was down there.”


Best year yet for Holiday in the Grove

Photo: Sisters Cary and Cara visit with Santa at the Sugar Grove Community House Saturday during the Holiday in the Grove. More photos are below the story. Photos by Patti Wilk

SUGAR GROVE—The Holiday in the Grove Board members described their event on Saturday as the best year they have had since the event was established.

They welcomed over three hundred guests total for their three sessions of Breakfast with Santa and had to make a food run for the fruit and orange juice that they ran out of in the morning.

Many community members braved the weather to attend the holiday event.

“We were all surprised that as many people came out on Saturday as they did with how cold it was outside. I overheard from more than one family that it was their first time out to the event, and some said they had lived in the community a few years and others that were new to the area,” said Julie Wilson, Secretary of Holiday in the Grove.

Holiday in the Grove President Diana Baker noted that one of their most meaningful and popular events turned out to be the music played by Kaneland Youth Orchestra at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

“One of the parents told me that there were two hundred kids, parents and grandparents standing in the gym listening to the Kaneland Youth Orchestra. They also mentioned that the group of middle school students of the orchestra sounded like they had been practicing and playing together for years,” said Baker.

There were many events that the board members were pleased with. They noticed that they ran out of pop, water and nachos at the John Shields Elementary School cafe, and the cake walk was such a success that they ran out of cake as well.

Youngsters were drawn to Santa at the event, and were able to tell him the toys on their Christmas list and pose for a photo with him. The board members of Holiday in the Grove are already thinking of the different items and volunteers they need for next year.

For instance, they received several requests on comment cards to bring back the horse drawn carriage rides that they had in years past. The volunteer they had for that event retired, along with his horses. The board members are also in need of a secretary for their board since Julie Wilson retired this year.

If you are interested in helping with the event next year, you can contact President Diana Baker at pichadnj@sbcglobal.net or visit www.holidayinthegrove.com for details on their board meetings.


Frigid weather keeps crowds down, but spirits high at Elburn Stroll

Photo: The 19th Annual Elburn Christmas Stroll took place throughout Elburn Friday evening. A crowd gathered around to watch the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District firehouse demonstrate a live burning of a Christmas tree. More photos are below the story. Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Fewer people showed up for the Elburn Christmas Stroll because of the frigid weather, but those who did made it a great night.

“The weather was terrible, and attendance was down, but the people that showed up were so amazing,” said Kristen Damolaris, Elburn Community Center Activities Director.

Damolaris said the vendors and everyone all pulled together, crafters referred shoppers to each other, and everyone promoted the wreath auction. Several children from the business community sold Light up the Center paper light bulbs, raising $77 for the center.

The Elburn Leos kept the children entertained, and Jewel-Osco employees helped them decorate cookies. The Fox Valley Wildlife Center was a big hit with its full-sized hawk.

“People were 100 percent in support of the center,” Damolaris said. “It really felt like a community. The building came alive.”

Town & Country Library Youth Services Director Dwayne Nelson said the library staff and their visitors “had a blast, as always.”

Music from the Kaneland High School Madrigal Singers, as well as the Reamtet jazz quartet, set the festive tone for the night, as children participated in the many activities available and waited in line to have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The crowds were a little light because of the extreme cold, but in all, the library had about 800 visitors, and “it was a great night,” Nelson said.

It wasn’t too cold for the Fire District’s Christmas trees to go up in flames, as the firefighters conducted their safe tree-handling demonstrations.

Back by popular demand this year were the reindeer, from the North Pole by way of the Summerfield Farm and Zoo in Belvidere, Ill. The two reindeer, together with their elf handlers, greeted visitors outside the Lighthouse Academy Child Care Center. Children and adults were thrilled to pet the animals who help Santa bring all those presents to children around the world.

The Elburn Christmas Stroll continues its family tradition of kicking off the holidays within the community.