WCC Chiefs’ Basketball Camp

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College will offer a basketball camp for boys and girls from fifth grade through those entering their senior year of high school. The inaugural Chiefs’ Basketball Camp is set to run Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21, for boys and girls in grades 5 through 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. A camp for boys and girls in grades 9 through 12 will be conducted beginning Monday, July 15, and going through Friday, July 19, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day. Both camps will be held in the Erickson Hall Gymnasium on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus.

Lead Instructors for the camps will be Waubonsee Men’s Assistant Coach Rick Robinson and Women’s Head Coach Dana Wagner. There will be a daily emphasis of basketball techniques and fundamentals; with demonstrations, group drills and individualized instruction pertaining to one-on-one play, team play, post-position play, shooting drills, ball handling and defensive skills.

The cost for the five-day camp is $150 for each participant, who will each receive a “Hoops Camp” T-shirt. Campers will also be given awards for three-point shooting, free throw shooting, one-on-one competition and a daily Hustle award. Those interested can register online at www.waubonseetickets.com, or call the Waubonsee Athletic Office at (630) 466-2524.


2013 Spring Athletic Banquet Awards

The Kaneland High School Athletics Department on Thursday, June 6, announced the award winners for varsity high school athletics.

Below are those winners.

Knight Award

for three-sport athletes:
Ashley Castellanos—Cross Country,
Basketball, Track and Field;
Sarah Grams—Tennis, Basketball, Softball;
Brooke Harner—Tennis, Basketball, Soccer;
Dan Miller—Golf, Basketball, Baseball
Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Grams
Male Athlete of the Year: Matt Limbrunner
Female Birkette Award: Sarah Grams
Male Birkette Award: Dan Miller

2013 Spring NIBXII
All Conference

Girls Track:
Brianna Bower, Ashley Castellanos, Victoria Clinton, Christina Delach, Allie Heinzer, Jessica Kucera, Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Lauren Zick, Abby Dodis, Kyla Goodine, Kaltrina Ismaili, Rachel Steinmiller, Elle Tattoni
Boys Track:
Dylan Kuipers, Kory Harner, Tanner Andrews, Nate Dyer, Brandon Cottier, Brandon Bishop, Ben Barnes, Isaac Swithers, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Dylan Nauert
Girls Soccer:
Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek, Madi Jurcenko, Courtney Diddell, Sage Schlehofer
Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron, Lanie Callaghan, Lexi Roach, Paige Kuefler
Matt Limbrunner, Dan Miller, Tyler Carlson

2013 Boys
Track and Field Awards

MVP—Track: Dylan Nauert
MVP—Field: Tanner Andrews
Drendel Award: Jay Markuson
Conor Johnson, Kory Harner, Brad Kigyos, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, John Meisenger
Ron Probst Award: Ben Barnes
All Conference:
Dylan Kuipers, Kory Harner, Tanner Andrews, Nate Dyer, Brandon Cottier, Brandon Bishop, Ben Barnes, Isaac Swithers, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Dylan Nauert
State Qualifiers:
Conor Johnson and Kyle Carter—
4x800m, 4x400m Relays;
Luis Acosta—4x800m Relay;
Nathaniel Kucera—4x800m,
4x400m relays, 400m Dash;
Brandon Bishop and Brandon Cottier—
4x100m Relay, 200m Dash;
Ben Barnes—4x100m Relay;
Dylan Nauert—4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay,
110m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles;
Tanner Andrews—Triple Jump;
Marshall Farthing—High Jump;
Nate Dyer—Shot Put;
Dylan Kuipers and Kory Harner—Pole Vault

2013 Girls
Track and Field Awards

MVP: Ashley Castellanos, Lauren Zick
Most Improved:
Murphy Garcia, Kyla Goodine
Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos,
Abby Dodis
State Qualifiers:
Brianna Bower—3200m Run;
Victoria Clinton—1600m Run;
Ashley Castellanos—Triple Jump,
4x400m Relay;
Amanda Lesak—4x800m Relay,
4x400m Relay;
Sydney Strang—4x800m Relay;
Lauren Zick—4x400m Relay, Long Jump;
Christina Delach—Pole Vault;
Allie Heinzer—4x400m Relay;
Jessica Kucera—4x800m Relay;
Aislinn Lodwig—4x800m Relay

2013 Varsity Girls
Soccer Awards

Jordan Ginther, Anne Marie Giese,
Brooke Harner
Most Improved Player: Emily Grams
Rookie of the Year:
Sage Schlehofer, Kiandra Powell
Coach’s Award:
Courtney Diddell, Heather Ortiz,
Delaney Stryczek
Lady Knights Award:
Michelle Ortiz, Brittany Olson,
Madison Jurcenko
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Ginther
All Conference:
Sage Schlehofer, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek, Madison Jurcenko, Courtney Diddell
All Conference-Honorable Mention:
Kiandra Powell

2013 Softball Awards
Defensive Player of the Year:
Hayley Contorno
Offensive Player of the Year:
Allyson O’Herron, Lexi Roach
Lady Knight Award: Lexi Roach
Captains: Allyson O’Herron, Lanie Callaghan
NiB-12 All Conference:
Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson
O’Herron, Lexi Roach, Lanie Callaghan
All Conference Honorable Mention:
Sarah Grams, Ellissa Eckert
Conference MVP: Allyson O’Herron

2013 Boys Baseball Award
Mr. Kaneland Baseball: Dan Miller
MVP Offensive: Matt Limbrunner
MVP Defensive: Joe Pollastrini, Dan Miller
Most Improved Player: Tyler Bellock
NIBXII All Conference:
Matt Limbrunner, Dan Miller, Tyler Carlson
All Conference Honorable Mention:
Joshua Cohrs, Tyler Bellock

Norma M. Crawford

Norma M. Crawford of Elburn passed from this life to eternal life on June 10, 2013, at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family.

Norma was born Sept. 6, 1924, in Burlington, Ill., the daughter of Chris and Loretta (Haderer) Axelsen, in Burlington.

Norma attended local schools until graduating from Burlington High School with the class of 1942.

On Jan. 7, 1950, she married her first love, Mayne Jensen. They spent the next 49 years making a lifetime of memories before Mayne’s passing on Aug. 10, 1989.

Norma was one of the lucky ones who were able to find love yet again. She married her friend of 40 years, Howard Crawford, on Sept. 12, 1990, at St. Gall Catholic Church in Elburn. Howie’s family became hers, and she always treated them as her own. On Jan. 17, 2008, her heart was broken yet again when she lost Howie.

Over the years, Norma lived in Geneva, Elgin and Elburn. Many can remember when she worked at Wyatt Morris’ grocery store in Elburn, which was located on the site that is now Schmidt’s Towne Tap.

For many years, she also worked for the Kane County Clerk’s Office in Geneva, where she provided birth and marriage certificates for many couples. She also helped many people while working on the Voter Registration Van.

Norma was a devoted member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles.

One of her joys was tending to her yard, always keeping it perfectly cut and totally free of any sticks. Neighbors always laughed when they saw her outside after winter because they knew spring was around the corner.

Norma loved spending time and playing cards with Mary and Rich. Anyone close to Norma knew that she loved garage sales, always finding gifts for the whole family. If there were roosters, angels, bunnies or toddler toys—or if she found one of her famous sweatshirts—they surely became hers.

There was nothing more special to her than her family and friends. She loved spending time with each of them, never taking any second for granted. Norma especially loved heading out to dinner with them, as it always brightened her spirit because then she would not have to cook. One of her favorites was a fried chicken dinner from Culver’s.

She is survived by her daughters, Susan (Jerry) Black of Geneva, and Wendy (Brian) Ellis of Granite City, Ill.; four grandchildren, Chris (Krista) Black of Glendale, Ariz., Julie (Adam) Nicolai of Lombard, Ill., Maggie Kline of Alton, Ill., and Katie (Oyvind) Barstad of Eidsvoll, Norway; four great-grandsons, Xander and Max Nicolai, and Danny and Ryan Kline; two great-nieces, Rebecca (Norman) Gratz and their children, Haley and Norman, all of Poplar Grove, Ill., and Jacquelyn (Rob) Allen and their children, Alainna and Sophia, all of Hampshire, Ill.,; and a host of dear friends from the tri-cities, Elgin, Hampshire and Elburn.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Monica(Lloyd) Kiesler, her first husband Mayne Jensen; and her second husband Howard Crawford.

A memorial visitation will take place Friday June 14, at 10 a.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A memorial service celebrating Norma’s life will follow visitation at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Pastor Chienyu Jade Yi, interim pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles, will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to benefit the Elburn Fire Department, which helped Howie whenever needed. Checks may be made to the “Elburn Fire Department” 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 www.conleycare.com.

Mary Jane Ellis

Mary Jane Ellis, 62, of Geneva, formerly of Elburn, passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family, on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, following a long battle with cancer that eventually took her body, but never her spirit.

She is survived by her loving husband, Jack Ellis; five children, Ricky Seals, Susan (Joe) Schumacher, Debra Anne Ellis, Denise Renee Ellis and Deanna Katherine Ellis; five grandchildren, Cecily Seals, Samantha Jo Ellis, Jessica Renee Schumacher, Jayson Brandon Schumacher and Emma Elaine Schumacher; four siblings, Jim Hewitt, Bill (Mary) Hewitt, Dee Heunsser and Marlene Hewitt; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a countryside of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Clara Hewitt; her father and mother in-law, William and Sophie Ellis; one sister, Lois Carr; one sister-in-law, Anne Hewitt; two brothers-in-law, John Richards and Russ Heunsser; as well as several aunts and uncles.

Following cremation, private services will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to benefit cancer research. Checks may be made to the “Mary Jane Ellis 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 www.conleycare.com.

Mary Jane Ellis

Mary Jane Ellis, 62, of Geneva, formerly of Elburn, passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family, on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, following a long battle with cancer that eventually took her body, but never her spirit.

She is survived by her loving husband, Jack Ellis; five children, Ricky Seals, Susan (Joe) Schumacher, Debra Anne Ellis, Denise Renee Ellis and Deanna Katherine Ellis; five grandchildren, Cecily Seals, Samantha Jo Ellis, Jessica Renee Schumacher, Jayson Brandon Schumacher and Emma Elaine Schumacher; four siblings, Jim Hewitt, Bill (Mary) Hewitt, Dee Heunsser and Marlene Hewitt; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a countryside of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Clara Hewitt; her father and mother in-law, William and Sophie Ellis; one sister, Lois Carr; one sister-in-law, Anne Hewitt; two brothers-in-law, John Richards and Russ Heunsser; as well as several aunts and uncles.

Following cremation, private services will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to benefit cancer research. Checks may be made to the “Mary Jane Ellis 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 www.conleycare.com.


Powerhouse Day Camp

ELBURN—Powerhouse Day Camp will take place the week of June 24-28, 9 a.m. to noon at Family Life Church, 44W555 Keslinger Road, Elburn.

The camp is for children ages 5 to 13, and costs $35 per child.

To register, visit www.krdaycamp.com or mail a registration form and check to Family Life Church, P.O. Box 902, Elburn, IL 60119.

Photo from KTDayCamp.com

Going Green for God

LILY LAKE—Going Green for God (all about recycling, reducing and reusing) will take place Monday through Friday, June 17-21, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake.

The cost of the week-long event is $20 for the first child, and $10 for each additional child. This event is for children ages 3 to fifth grade.

Kaneland educators honored at the Kane County Educator of the Year Awards

KANELAND—Five Kaneland district educators were recently nominated for Kane County Educator of the Year Awards, and two of the nominees took home awards at the Educator of the Year banquet held on May 3 at the Q Center in St. Charles.

The Educator of the Year Award is meant to honor education professionals who exhibit excellence and devotion to students and teaching.

Kaneland nominees for the year 2013 included: Pam Berth of Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School as Secretary in the Support Staff Category; Mark Meyer of Kaneland High School as Teacher in the High School Category; Rachael Wilson of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School as Fourth-Grade Teacher in the Elementary Category; Kris Weiss of Harter Middle School (HMS) as Middle School Assistant Principal in the Administrator Category; and Patti Reeder of HMS as Eighth-Grade Teacher in the Middle School Category.

Weiss and Reeder, two long-time educators in the Kaneland School District, both received awards in their respective categories. Weiss was honored as the leading Kane County Administrator of the Year, while Reeder was designated as the Kane County Middle School Teacher of the Year.

HMS Principal Bryan Zwemke has worked with both Weiss and Reeder, and knows both educators well.

“(Kris is) student-centered in all of her decisions (and) exemplifies the Kaneland tradition of excellence,” he said.

Zwemke said Reeder was deserving of the award due to her “problem-solving approach” and her first-rate ability to incorporate common CORE math standards into the school curriculum.

“Both Kris and Patti possess an understanding of what needs to get done right now, but understand that they’re building for the future,” Zwemke said.

Kaneland candidates for Kane County Educator of the Year Awards were nominated by fellow faculty members, and the leaders in each category were selected by an advisory board. The formal awards ceremony was sponsored by the Kane ROE.

Kaneland community makes it happen for Sports Boosters

by Ryan Delahanty
President, Kaneland Sports Boosters

As the 2012-13 Kaneland school year draws to a close, it provides the perfect time to reflect on the past school year and the accomplishments of our Kaneland student-athletes. Kaneland High School and Harter Middle School have enjoyed another stellar sports year that includes: undefeated seasons; conference, regional and sectional championships; and several State champions.

The Kaneland Sports Boosters are happy to play a small part in helping our student-athletes and their teams succeed on the field, on the court and on the track, and wherever life takes them.

This year, the Sports Boosters have achieved some major milestones. I am proud to announce that we have raised over $70,000 this year and donated back over $60,000 of those same funds. The donations include capital purchases, like our investment in the soccer team’s covered bench structures, new glass backboards for the basketball programs, and large, pest-proof storage containers to keep our outdoor padded equipment safe during the winter.

The donations include special equipment for the coaches and programs, like the weighted training bags for the wrestling program, training bases and pitching machines for the softball program, and the ImPACT concussion assessment program for our high school athletes.

The donations also include the funding of every team and individual that qualified for a trip to State. These State trip donations totaled over $11,000, and included over 100 middle school and high school athletes.

And finally, the donations include helping others, from the $1,000 yearly donation we make in the Memory of Margaret Flott to the Special Olympics, to the $6,500 in academic scholarships that we awarded recently to nine graduating Kaneland seniors.

These donations are only possible because of the generous support of the Kaneland community. Many Kaneland area businesses and supporters contribute funds, goods and services to our annual fundraisers, which include the Castle Spirit Challenge, The Dodge Test Drive Event and our Spring Trivia Night.

Concessions and Spirit Wear sales contribute a large amount to our fundraising as well, so please continue to enjoy a Ream’s pork chop or hot dog, a slice of Paisano’s pizza or a bag of popcorn provided by Hintzche Fertilizer during the sporting seasons.

Finally, we would not be the organization we are without our generous volunteers. We depend on volunteers to make it all happen. With over 100 dues-paying booster member families (largest group in our history) and other volunteers, we spent countless hours in concession stands, in booster trailers, and setting up fundraisers to help raise funds to support our student-athletes and their sports programs.

We invite you to get involved with the Kaneland Sports Boosters, too. Visit and like our Facebook Page, “Kaneland Sports Boosters,” to get the latest information and updates. You can join our email list by visiting www.kanelandsportsboosters.com. And most importantly, you can join the Kaneland Sports Boosters and volunteer your time and talents to help support all Kaneland athletes.

Whether you have a high school, middle school or elementary school athlete, a family of Kaneland graduates or just love supporting the Knights, you are the perfect person to be a sports booster.

Publisher’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: Summer—84 days and counting

by Jill Pertler
Columnist, “Slices of Life”

I love being a mom—365 days a year … or nearly that many.

Motherhood is a daily (and middle-of-the-nightly) event, but it’s right around this time each year I find myself contemplating the value of my role in providing guidance, direction, leadership and healthy snacks to my children. After decades of soul-searching, I think I finally understand why.

Summer vacation.

School let out last week. We are on the 10th day of summer break and I woke this morning with the realization we have a full 84 consecutive days remaining before this escapade of ours is over. One week down, 12 to go. I did the math and numbers don’t lie.

They’ll spend their mornings and afternoons here—24/7. Day in, day out. Eating in the family room. Playing basketball in the driveway. Eating in their bedrooms. Not flushing. Eating in the screen porch. Creating their own definition of what it means to make a bed. Eating—anywhere but the kitchen. Discarding various items of clothing in the yard because they got hot. Eating—again. Running outside in their stocking-feet because they can’t find their shoes. Eating—still. And so on.

For the next three months (84 days, but who’s counting?) I will be two steps behind them, trying to keep the refrigerator full and the laundry pile empty, while summer reading assignments pile up like cereal bowls in the sink, crumbs on the counter and flip flops by the back door. At first, I will make efforts to keep up with this entity called summer, but will gradually give in and come to accept a life that includes disheveled hair, disheveled beds and disheveled schedules.

The season is meant for fun. I understand this. I embrace this. I’m just not sure, sometimes, if I could ever be fully prepared for the unabashed, uninhibited warm weather glee that emanates from my offspring June through August. Better put, how many Reese’s wrappers found in the laundry is too many? Can there be too many? I guess I should be thankful they were empty. Chocolate stains are difficult. Then again, I could’ve used a little sugar pick-me-up.

While we’re still in the infant stages of summer (audible sigh), the excitement’s already started at our house and I’m not referring to the joy generated this morning when I discovered toothpaste globs in the sink.

This weekend while I was running errands, they called to say they’d broken a window. This honesty might have been perceived as virtuous in a different scenario. I wasn’t concerned with virtue; I was concerned with shards of glass. Every mother knows it isn’t summer until a window gets broken. At my house, the season has officially begun. I am proud I didn’t lose my cool or yell and scream into the phone. Instead, I asked the smart and savvy question: Interior or exterior pane? I didn’t inquire about bleeding or injury, because my mom-tuition told me it wasn’t necessary. (No one was screaming in the background.)

Good news. Turns out the crash site involved an interior window, which automatically puts the project at a lower priority for fixation. Bad news. It was the same window my husband replaced about a month ago – when the boys broke it the first time. I knew this latest collection of broken glass was going to make my husband appreciate being a father just as much as I love being a mother. God bless the children for reaching out and meeting our needs in such unexpected and unwarranted ways.

Lost shoes. Candy wrappers in the laundry. Unmade beds. Summer reading looming in the last dark corners of August. Broken windows. I don’t mind any of it—much. But don’t tell my kids. They think 84 days is a really long time, and although I pretend to agree, I understand this is all so fleeting.

Broken windows are easily fixed. You get a new pane of glass and put it where the old, broken one was and you’re good to go—sparkling and bright like new tennis shoes on the first day of school.

Children aren’t panes of glass (nor are they pains in the glass). They grow up. You can’t put them back to where they were again because that place is gone with the setting sun. Today is all you’ve got. So, you work to make it a good one—all 84 of them.


Batavia Farmers’ Market moves to new location

BATAVIA—The Batavia Farmers’ Market will soon relocate to the rejuvenated area of North River Street, between Wilson and State streets.

“The decision to relocate was based on many factors, including the ability to expand the market for a larger variety of vendors, amenities such as electric outlets, the beautiful aesthetics of a pedestrian friendly plaza in the center of our vibrant downtown and positive feedback and support from surrounding businesses,” said Jennifer Echert, a member of the MainStreet Board of Directors.

Opening day for the Batavia Farmers’ Market is Saturday, June 8, with the season running for 19 weeks, plus BatFest on Saturday, Oct. 19. Market hours for the public are 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information, visit www.downtownbatavia.com or call (630) 761-3528.

Komel studies abroad in Jamaica

ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—Casey Komel of Elburn was one of 19 Augustana College students who traveled to Jamaica during winter recess to complete service learning. The students had the opportunity to learn and teach alongside young Jamaicans at the Alpha Schools of central Kingston.

Komel is a senior majoring in biology and biology education.

Krauss named to Bryan College dean’s list

DAYTON, TENN.—Wendy Krauss of Sugar Grove was among 173 undergraduates named to the Bryan College dean’s list for the spring 2013 semester.

Wendy, daughter of Mark and Donna Krauss of Sugar Grove, was recognized for outstanding academic achievement. Students earn dean’s list recognition by recording a grade average in the top 25 percent of grades by students in the traditional undergraduate program for that semester.

Sutherland graduates with honors from the University of Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Greg Sutherland, a 2008 graduate of Kaneland High School and a 2010 graduate of College of DuPage, graduated cum laude from University of Rochester on May 19. He was awarded a B.A. with highest distinction, Russian Studies; received the Mildred Burton Award for Excellence in Language Majors; was elected to the Dobro Slovo National Slavic Honor Society; and completed the U of R Take Five Scholars Program, which enrolls select undergrads for a tuition-free fifth year of study.

Additionally, Sutherland completed the 2011 Summer Language Intensive Program at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, and the 2012 Intensive Summer Program in Advanced Russian at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. He served as the elected president of Iota Chapter, The Order of St. Anthony Hall/Fraternity of Delta Psi.

Sutherland was awarded a meritorious FLAS Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education to attend graduate school at Duke University, Department of Eurasian, Slavic and Russian Studies.

Kaneville Village President Pat Hill is using the sign outside her store, Hill’s Country Store, to urge residents to write letters to the USPS and their congressmen, asking for the post office’s hours to be increased.                                   Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

Residents, USPS weigh in on reduced Kaneville post office hours

KANEVILLE—Frustration over the reduced hours at the Kaneville post office has been rising, as residents struggle to pick up their mail and do business, and Village President Pat Hill wants to do something about it.

The post office, located at 2S101 Harter Road, had its hours slashed in February to just four hours a day, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and is among 13,000 offices nationwide facing reduced services as the U.S. Postal Service struggles with declining first class mail volume and nearly $50 billion in debt.

Kaneville resident Joann Murdock said that the reduced hours have affected her business, Artists of Note, by lengthening her turn-around time for customers. Since she now has to wait until the afternoon to get her mail, it’s difficult to turn around orders, bills and invoices before the office closes again at 4:30.

Hill said that a lot of people have been coming into her store, named Hill’s Country Store but better known as “the purple store,” and complaining about the reduced hours. Many local businesses have been affected, she said, including her own.

Kaneville resident Joann Murdock (left) hands Kaneville Postmaster Roger Fronek several packages a day for her business, Artists of Note. The reduced hours have affected her business and increased her turn-around time for customers. Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale
Kaneville resident Joann Murdock (left) hands Kaneville Postmaster Roger Fronek several packages a day for her business, Artists of Note. The reduced hours have affected her business and increased her turn-around time for customers.
Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

“We’re all crabby,” Hill said. “(Residents and business owners) can’t mail things out. They have to have it mailed out in the morning, and they can’t wait until the next day to get it out because it’s time-sensitive stuff. So they go to the Elburn post office or the Sugar Grove post office, and we’re losing the revenue (at the Kaneville post office).”

The reduced hours are just part of a pattern of recent changes that are causing many residents to worry their office might close, she said.

First, the office’s equipment was downgraded last fall, which made providing services slower and more labor-intensive. Then the hours were reduced in February.

And now, postmaster Roger Fronek is being transferred to Elburn and replaced with a new employee who will be paid less and will not receive benefits.

It’s a series of events that has intensified worries among residents that the USPS will close the office and the close-knit town will lose its identity, Kaneville resident Dan Isham said.

“It seems like it’s the first step in phasing it out altogether,” Isham said as he picked up his mail from his P.O. Box. “It will hurt the community. I’ve had a P.O. Box for a long time, and I like having it instead of delivery. I like having the same postmaster, who knows me by sight and I know him by sight.”

Kaneville Village President Pat Hill is using the sign outside her store, Hill’s Country Store, to urge residents to write letters to the USPS and their congressmen, asking for the post office’s hours to be increased.                                   Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale
Kaneville Village President Pat Hill is using the sign outside her store, Hill’s Country Store, to urge residents to write letters to the USPS and their congressmen, asking for the post office’s hours to be increased. Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

Hill is encouraging residents to contact the USPS and their congressmen about the issue—the sign outside her store, at the intersection of Harter Road and Main Street in Kaneville, urges residents to write letters this week—and is hoping that if enough people ask for the hours to be expanded again, it will make a difference.

“Our goal is to get our post office back up to at least six hours a day because we do have the revenue,” she said. “We want a full-time postmaster back.”

Fronek said he heard complaints from customers daily about the cutbacks and understood residents’ concerns.

“They want their Kaneville identity is what this comes down to,” Fronek said. “Basically a community is based on their town having a ZIP code. It’s important to a lot of people. This is a tight-knit community, and they are proud of their identity. They’ve been here since 1836, and a lot of them think that if the post office were to close, they would just become a blip on the radar screen.”

Though the hours and equipment have been reduced, Fronek said he knows of no plan to close Kaneville’s office, and that the decision to reduce hours was actually an encouraging thing.

“(USPS) said they would compromise the hours but not close the office, which I think was encouraging. The people on the street are very skeptical, but I’ve been told that they are reducing the hours in order not to close offices,” he said.

Decisions about the Kaneville post office’shours and future are made by officials at USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to USPS spokesperson Beverly Howard, and all of it is driven by workloads. There are currently no plans to close Kaneville’s office or any other post office in the country, she said.

“I do know that the hours have already been reduced, but so far as we know, those are all the changes that are being made,” Howard said. “There’s nothing in process to close the particular office, based upon the workload that the office has been receiving.”

Howard said many customers from across the country had contacted USPS and expressed worry that their offices would be closed and their addresses would be changed to accommodate new delivery routes. Part of the decision to reduce opening hours rather than the number of offices was to prevent people from having to change their addresses, she said. She noted that closing post offices, which would route mail through another town’s office and potentially change some customers’ mailing addresses, would be a logistical nightmare since many towns have streets with the same names, such as Main Street, and that USPS’s databases were not designed to handle that overlap.

Reduced hours at thousands of offices nationwide will save USPS about $2 billion a year, mostly in personnel costs, Howard added.

Fronek said that USPS made decisions about which offices should have reduced hours based on mail volume and on the amount of revenue.

“Volume-wise, I can see them reducing Kaneville’s hours,” Fronek said. “But revenue-wise, Kaneville pulls its weight. We do deserve to be here, whether it’s for four hours or six hours or eight.”

Despite low volume, Fronek said that the Kaneville office makes money or breaks even on a daily basis in part because the village charges the post office very low rent—just $600 a month—and provides it with free water.

“We’re not Chicago. We’re not going to get the revenue of a big city,” he said. “But this community set it up so that it’s dirt cheap to have this office.”

He estimated that rent and electricity cost just $30 a day for the office. Personnel costs are the biggest expense, he said, but those will be reduced in a few weeks, when he is transferred back to his home office in Elburn and his replacement, a new employee who can be paid a lower wage and isn’t given benefits, arrives.

Fronek said that while he will miss Kaneville and its residents, he doesn’t mind being transferred back to the Elburn office. He already works at the Elburn office in the mornings, he said, before the Kaneville office opens.

“It’s not like I’m losing a job,” he said.

Yet the personnel changes upset Murdock, who said that Kaneville deserved to have a postmaster.

“We’ve been notified that they have hired a new person, new to the postal service, and they aren’t going to be a postmaster,” Murdock said. “We’re going to have a person who has never worked in a post office before. And I’m not the only one who mails international packages and things that require insurance, things that are so complex that I have to ask someone at the counter. How am I going to ask someone who has only two weeks of training? As far as I see it, they are preparing to shut us down, and even if they are not preparing, they are doing everything they can to make us fail.”

Reducing the hours creates a downward spiral of revenue, she said, because the inconvenience pushes residents into going to other post offices to buy stamps and send mail. That causes revenues to drop further and gives USPS administrators in Washington, D.C., more justification for closing the office.

“I can’t see how taking away the equipment we need to sell stamps is going to support sales,” Murdock said. “I believe that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Part of the problem, Murdock said, is also that too many of Kaneville’s postal services have been divided out among other local post offices, which further reduces its revenue.

“The Kaneville post office is here and serving this community, but Maple Park, Elburn and Big Rock all have a piece of this post office and none of them want to give it up. Kaneville has been thrown to the dogs,” she said.

Since the Kaneville post office does not have its own delivery route, both the Elburn and Maple Park offices deliver to parts of Kaneville, and Big Rock’s office now routes some of the mail that gets delivered to Kaneville P.O. Boxes, she pointed out.

“The post office is looking at every office and their revenues to see who to cut down,” Murdock said. “We are Kaneville. We are a village, but Elburn has a piece of our revenue; Big Rock has a piece of our revenue. We want it to be Kaneville’s revenue. The people here are saying, ‘We want our address to be Kaneville, not Elburn or Maple Park.’ It might have made sense in 1932, when the population was a lot lower. But this is not 1932.”

Howard said she worries that USPS’ moves might lead to closure were understandable.

“I can understand why someone might want to draw those conclusions,” Howard said. “We’re hoping that there’s some kind of break or legislation that will move forward and have us not have to make these difficult decisions and adjustments. But if we still have to continue to do business and make cuts, then (closing offices) might be the next step. That’s not something that’s decided locally. That comes from headquarters.”

Yet Murdock thinks locals should have some say.

“It just doesn’t make sense for someone out in Washington, D.C., or Springfield to say, ‘You don’t need your post office and you don’t need your town name in the address either,’” she said. “We call and call, and we can’t find anyone to talk to about this. I’m not doing this for politics, I’m doing this because I’m afraid we’re going to lose our (Kaneville) address. We don’t want the Kaneville post office to go away.”

Accidental firearm discharge at St. Charles Sportsman’s Club injures 10

BLACKBERRY TWP.—Kane County Sheriff’s Deputies, as well as Elburn Police, Firefighters and EMS, on Tuesday evening were dispatched to the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club, 44W471 Keslinger Road in unincorporated Blackberry Township, on a report of a gun that had accidentally discharged and injured several people.

An initial investigation indicates that a member of the club was preparing to put his 12-gauge shotgun away and put what he thought was a snap cap into the gun. A snap cap is used to save the firing pin of the gun while it is being stored.

The member pulled the trigger while he had the gun pointed at the floor, causing the shotgun to discharge, as he had put a live shotgun round into the gun instead of the snap cap. The buckshot from the live shotgun round went into the floor and bounced up and out and struck several people who were in the clubhouse.

Three people, including a 31-year-old male from West Chicago, Ill., a 60-year-old male from Somonauk, Ill., and a 14-year-old male from Geneva, were transported to Delnor-Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Seven people were treated at the scene and released, including the 69-year-old male from St. Charles who discharged the shotgun.

An initial investigation suggests that the incident was accidental in nature. As a result, it’s unlikely that any charges will be sought in relation to the incident.

Village saves on new dispatcher contract

ELBURN—Fees for dispatch services from Tri-Com Central Dispatch in St. Charles have significantly decreased, for an annual rate of $79,976, down from the previous rate of approximately $97,000.

According to Village Administrator Erin Willrett, the decrease was due to the increase in the number of communities in the area taking advantage of the services. The Village Board on Monday approved the new service contract with Tri-Com for the fiscal year 2013-14.

Tri-Com, a governmental agency formed in 1976 by Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles to provide emergency communications services to these communities, currently takes all 9-1-1 calls for the residents of Elburn and a number of other fire and police departments in the area.

Elburn Police respond to possible suicide

ELBURN—Elburn Police on Sunday responded to a report of a possible suicide at a residence on the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn.

Upon arrival, police learned that the body of one of the house’s residents, Brandon T. Hampel, 30, had been discovered by another of the house’s residents, who then called 9-1-1 to report the incident.

Elburn and Countryside Fire Department personnel and paramedics responded to the scene to assist police. The Kane County Coroner’s Office is also assisting with the death investigation and will conduct toxicology testing.


Sugar Grove Medallion has been hidden

SUGAR GROVE—The sixth annual Corn Boil Medallion Hunt is on. This year’s medallion has been hidden within Sugar Grove Township. The person who finds the medallion will be recognized during the Sugar Grove Corn Boil 2013 opening ceremonies, scheduled to take place on Friday, July 26. The victor will also receive a $50 cash prize.

Clues as to the medallion’s whereabouts will be available in the Elburn Herald between Thursday, June 6, Thursday, July 26 (or until the medallion is found). Clues will also be posted weekly on Thursdays, beginning June 6, on the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Website, www.sugargrovecornboil.org.

The medallion is not hidden on private residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural property. It is not hidden on a golf course, in a cemetery or on church property. It is not buried. It is not located under water or in a building. It is not located in a hazardous area, and tools will not be required to locate it.

The Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee requests that participants respect all property as they look for the medallion. If you find the medallion, make contact with the designated person as directed in the information found with the medallion. Have a happy medallion hunt.

You are also invited to partner with the Corn Boil Committee to help make the 2013 Corn Boil an even bigger success. As a Corn Boil sponsor, you will show your support for the community as well as promote your business. Visit www.sugargrovecornboil.org for the details needed to choose your sponsorship level and receive the corresponding benefits. The sooner you make your commitment, the greater your benefit.

Sugar Grove Corn Boil: where friends and family come together to have fun. The upcoming Corn Boil will mark the 46th anniversary of this annual event. The Corn Boil is a volunteer-run community event featuring three family-friendly and fun-filled days.

SG approves survey contract

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved a contract with the National Research Center to conduct a survey this fall. The total cost of the survey is $13,800, which is $1,200 under budget expectations.

Village Clerk Cynthia Galbreath briefed the board on the survey process.

“We had our last survey in 2007,” she said. “Many of the same questions will be used, as the survey was well-received by the citizens and the board. It’s been a good tool in helping us serve the community.”

Key Driver Analysis (KDA) is a new feature in the upcoming survey. KDA is tool borrowed from the private sector, where purchasing choices often are motivated by services that are neither the most obvious nor chosen by the consumer.

In other words, the KDA is a way to prioritize municipal amenities based on citizen consumption.

Survey questions concerning local issues such as overnight parking policy, garbage removal fees and storm water improvement funding will also be included in the survey process.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said the survey will include three open-ended questions for residents to give more specific feedback to the city. There will also be an online option for the survey.

Trustee Robert Bohler questioned the specific wording of Question No. 2, which reads: “If the village were to reduce services due to financial constraints, to what extent do you support the following changes?” Bohler said that no such reduction of services was being discussed in the budget, so it was a non-issue. He also said the survey should include citizen communication preference with the village of Sugar Grove.

Galbreath and Eichelberger noted Bohler’s suggestions.

Trustee Kevin Geary raised questions about the quantifiable aspects of the survey.

“What exactly are we doing with the data?” Geary asked. “I’d like to refresh the survey from 2007 so we can see if we’re meeting local needs in the community.”

Eichelberger agreed, but noted the bulk of the questions are standardized from state and federal levels.

Galbreath added that the survey is a four-month process.

“Nationally, the response rate is only 20 percent. In our last survey, however, we had 34 percent,” she said “We know people want to share their thoughts, so this survey is necessary.”

The board’s feedback will be taken into consideration, and the survey will be revised again before it is sent to the public.

Sinkholes brought to SG’s attention

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday was informed of the presence of several sinkholes in the Windsor Point subdivision.

Resident Gayle Deja-Schultz said there are six sink holes in her neighborhood.

“Some are almost 6 feet deep,” Deja-Schultz said. “What is the repair status here? Since school’s been out, they’ve been a new attraction for kids. I saw one kid climb into one, and he almost disappeared. That’s how deep they are.”

Public Works Director Tony Speciale commented on the sinkholes.

“We have repaired some in that subdivision. We put up barricades. This goes back to certain infrastructure issues,” Speciale said. “I didn’t know we had that many (sinkholes).”

Deja-Schultz said some neighbors were taking matters into their own hands, using wood palettes to cover the holes. She said the improvised barricades were attracting even more kids.

“I’m surprised you guys didn’t know about this,” she said.

Village Attorney Steve Andersson encouraged immediate action.

“I would say that short-term solutions, such as using plywood and palettes to cover the holes, are the wrong way to go,” he said. “This gives a false sense of safety. We need a long-term solution.”

Deja-Schultz said all of the sinkholes were on the parkway, many near fire hydrants and sewer drainages. She said police caution tape was around many of the sink holes, but that more could be done.

“There are many barricades in place already,” Speciale said. “The storm sewers could be the problem due to recent heavy rains. We will certainly follow up on it.”

VB approves changes in water use restrictions

ELBURN—With summer close at hand, Elburn residents should take note of the village’s current and modified water use restrictions

The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved several changes to the village ordinance, which will bring the current ordinance in line with guidelines established by the Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA), a regional alliance of five counties and roughly 80 municipalities.

The changes include the prohibition of laying sod, lawn seeding and new landscaping from July 1 through Aug. 31. Residents must still obtain a permit for sod laying and seeded lawn installation. Also new is the prohibition of the use of pumps or other mechanical devices to remove water from any village stormwater pond.

Currently, a number of residents have set up pumps along village stormwater ponds to obtain water for their personal use. According to trustee Jeff Walter, there are a number of issues with this practice, not the least of which is allowing a few residents to utilize a publicly-owned asset. In addition, he said there is a concern regarding the effect of draining the ponds on the rest of the water system, as well as just the aesthetics of the situation.

The modifications also give the village president the power to issue additional restrictions when the water supply has been affected by a prolonged dry period or drought, increased water demand or other causes.

Time restrictions for watering are still in effect, with even-numbered homes allowed to water on even numbered days and homes with odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days. Watering is allowed between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 6 and 9 p.m. Watering with a handheld hoses or watering cans, washing cars, and filling wading and swimming pools under 50 gallons are not time or day restricted.

The NWPA is encouraging all municipalities within the area to implement similar water restrictions, especially as the use of water impacts shared groundwater aquifers.


Editorial: It’s garage sale weekend in Sugar Grove

What really signals the arrival of summer in the Kaneland community? Hot weather and barbecues? Inflated gas prices? The Chicago Cubs officially falling out of postseason contention? All three options are certainly valid, but a more accurate (and certainly more welcome) barometer might be Sugar Grove’s annual community-wide garage sales.

Coordinated by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry the past two years, the community-wide, two-day garage sale event allows local residents to peruse numerous sales within the village. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and comb the area for great deals and special items.

This year’s Sugar Grove garage sales will take place Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in obtaining a Sugar Grove garage sale map can find them at the following locations:
• Sugar Grove Community Building, 141 Main St.
• Castle Bank, 36 E. Galena Blvd.
• BP Gas Station, 109 S. Route 47

Those seeking further information should call (630) 466-7895 or visit the chamber website, www.sugargrovechamber.org.

The Sugar Grove garage sale two-day event is the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of June, the end of the school year, the start of the weekend and maybe, just maybe, the arrival of summer.

Why wait until June 21 when you can indulge in summer fun right now? After all, humidity and barbecues are already in season, and the Cubs are right on schedule.

Enjoy garage sale weekend in Sugar Grove, everyone.

Letter: Is the USPS setting up the Kaneville post office to fail?

This past Saturday, I went to my local Kaneville Post Office and I purchased $196.88 in postage stamps. Two years ago, this would have been a simple matter, because two years ago, the Kaneville Post Office had old, but useful, equipment. Last Saturday, the man behind the counter had to run three different adding machine tapes to total my order, because the U.S. Postal Service has taken away all the computerized sales counter equipment. Now they have a credit card swiper and nothing else at the counter.

In two weeks, the US Postal Service will send to Kaneville a first-timer on the job—a “casual” employee (their term) to be “in charge” of the Kaneville Post Office … all by herself … with just a couple weeks of training.

Our community would like to have quality useful equipment in our understaffed—and very profitable—office. But, for some reason, the U.S. Postal Service in Huntley, Ill. or Argo or Washington, D.C. or somewhere, has decided to get rid of the computerized equipment in Kaneville and leave us with an old calculator and a credit card scanner.

Last week, I asked the temporary window clerk who usually works the Big Rock office, “Are we going to get new equipment to replace that which they took away?” She said, “No.” She also said that Kaneville is a very profitable office. So why are they taking away our resources? Do their bosses in Washington want us to fail?

They have taken away our equipment, old though it was. Now they are replacing an experienced part-time worker with a brand new hire.

I’m sure we will like this person, but what are they thinking? A new hire, with two weeks of training, alone in a busy office with no experience and no equipment? Kaneville’s revenues are sufficient to pay for an experienced person. The U.S. Postal Service is making stupid mistakes, and we are feeling the pain here in Kaneville.

Meanwhile, back at the United States Postal Service, nobody is accountable, and it is time for a watchdog to call them out. USPS won’t tell us who made this decision. They won’t tell our community how or who to appeal to. Hear us in Washington, D.C. Hear us, Senator Durbin. Hear us, Mark Kirk. Hear us, Randy Hultgren. Hear us, neighbors. Keep buying stamps at Kaneville’s post office. Money talks—even small money. Join us in telling the post office that neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor mis-management from on high should sabotage our constitutional right to full postal service.

Joann Murdock

‘Dreamcoat’ on the Kaneland Auditorium stage

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival

The Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) is pleased to announce the summer 2013 production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s iconic musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble gum pop and rock ‘n’ roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

This production will take place at the Kaneland Auditorium, on the campus of Kaneland High School, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 12-14 and July 19-21. The show will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday performances, and 2 p.m. on Sunday performances.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/senior citizens, and $25 for a Family Ticket. The popular Family Ticket admits all family members currently living in one household for the price of $25. Preschoolers will be admitted for free. Tickets are now on sale at www.kanelandartsfestival.org.

Congratulations to the following cast members who will be on stage for our fourth annual summer theatre production: Teresa J. Arnold, Cornelius Marr, Steve Hommowun, Beth Hitzeroth McDonald, Robyn Lycan, Nicole DiSandro, Trisha Mills, Steven Mills, John Gibbas, Peter Lopatin, Paul Cepynsky, Tucker DeBolt, James Tockstein, Beau Ott, David Gotfryd, Ross Cortino, Ben Mitchinson, Dominic LaSalle, Mace Jendruczek, Alyssa Gibbas, Vivian Gibbas, Rebecca Hof, Alex Herbert, Katie Kenkel, Sydney Luse, Sally McClellan, Melanie Marr, Christine N. Stevens, Teresa Witt, Katelyn Blaszynski, Caitlin Carlson, Amanda Eckstrom, Ben Gibbas, Ethan Gibbas, Riley Gibbas, Allison Gotfryd, Abigail Heinicke, Paige Krueger, Lorelai Marr, Rohan Marr, Sabrina Massa, Libby Mattern, Betsy Mills, Natalie Mills, Ally Mitchinson, Jillian Mitchinson, Cyrena Pierce, Jade Sadowski, Erica Witt and Tim Gibbas.

A show this big is never successful without volunteers. Jobs needed thus far are set builders, set painters, a props manager and much more. Those interested in helping in some manner with the production should email maria.drippspaulson@kaneland.org or Laura McPhee at laura.mcphee@kaneland.org.

Other opportunities to help with the production can also be helpful for your business. We are currently taking order for businesses to purchase ad space in our program. To buy ad space in the program, please contact Maria Dripps-Paulson.

Information regarding the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival can be found at the KCFAF’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kcfaf302, as well as the KCFAF webpage, www.kanelandartsfestival.org.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.


Garfield Farm Museum begins summer hours

CAMPTON HILLS—June is officially the start of the summer tour season at Garfield Farm Museum. Walk-in tours are available from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays through September.

Visitors to the farm can escape the complexities of modern life and travel back to a time before television, the Internet and smart phones. During the tour, interpreters in period clothing will show visitors what life was like back in the 1840s. Highlights include rare breed farm animals, historic barns and the 1846 brick tavern.

Tours are $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 12 and under. For more information, contact the museum at (630) 584-8485 or info@garfieldfarm.org. Garfield Farm Museum is located on Garfield Road in Campton Hills.

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Hometown Hall of Famer

The Kaneland School District last week inducted Kerry Rink, pictured here from her days as a Kaneland High School cross country runner, into its Hall of Fame in the Personal Athletic Achievement category. Rink was a three-sport athlete at Kaneland, standing out in cross country, track and basketball. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS athlete inducted into District Hall of Fame
by Mike Sandrolini
ELBURN—Kerry Rink received a phone call out of the blue a couple of months ago from Dr. Jeff Schuler, superintendent of Kaneland Community School District 302.

Needless to say, she was pleasantly surprised to hear from him.

Schuler gave Rink, one of the most successful athletes in Kaneland High School history, the word that she had been selected for induction into the Kaneland School District Hall of Fame.

“That was kind of nice,” said Rink, who starred in track and field, basketball and cross country during her four years at Kaneland from 1984-88. “I was just honored that I was going to be inducted.”

Rink was officially inducted last week during Kaneland’s Senior Athletes’ Night. Members of her family, including her mother, Gerry, and her father, Richard—her varsity high school basketball coach—attended the ceremony.

“I think it’s a great honor,” said Richard, who coached the Knights during the 1980s, first as an assistant and then as head coach. “They finally got her in there, and she deserves to be in there. It’s good that they did it (induct Kerry) in front of the seniors to see what can be done by their athletes.”

Legendary career
Although she excelled in each of the three aforementioned sports, what Kerry accomplished on the track is legendary around the area. She was the Class A 800m state champion three consecutive years, and capped her stellar career by setting the state 800m record in a preliminary heat at a meet in 1988.

She then broke that record during the finals en route to the championship.

Her state record in the 800 stood for 19 years.

In addition, Kerry ran on the Knights’ 4x400m and 4x800m relay teams, the latter of which also set a state record and won a Class A title. The Knights captured the overall Class A team crown in both 1987 and 1988.

In cross country, she was a three-time all-state runner and placed third overall at the 1987 state meet, which at that time was not divided into classes.

Kerry’s track and field prowess landed her a scholarship to the University of Kentucky, where she achieved All-American status her freshman year.

She unfortunately ended up tearing the medial meniscus ligament in her right knee during her sophomore year while running for the UK cross country team. Kerry ran track the following spring, but the injury didn’t allow her to compete in either cross country or track her junior and senior years.

However, Kerry did graduate from UK with honors, and then went on to earn her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“I’m proud of the way she handled things on the court and off,” said Richard, who is an assistant boys basketball coach at Hinckley-Big Rock and was a sixth-grade teacher at Kaneland Middle School until his retirement in 1999. “I’m proud of the way she handled herself and came back and got her master’s degree after all the adversity.”

Kerry had been living and working in Los Angeles for the past seven years, but recently moved back to the area to be closer to her family. She now works in occupational therapy in DeKalb.

Rarely did a day go by in the Rink family when either Kerry or one of her five siblings—four brothers and a sister—wasn’t taking part in a practice, game or meet.

Kerry’s oldest brother, Patrick, wrestled and played football at Kaneland.

Her sister, Amy, was the starting point guard on Kaneland’s 1982 Class A state champion basketball team. Kerry’s two older brothers, Mike and Danny, each played football and basketball and ran track, as did her younger brother, Greg.

Gerry and Richard Rink had three of their children going to high school at the same time.

“I wish the microwave (oven) had been invented a few years earlier,” Richard said with a laugh. “There was someone in sports all the time. My wife and I used to parcel out watching games. She’d go to one event and I’d go to another. It was somewhat chaotic sometimes, but it worked out.”

Richard, of course, didn’t have to attend Kerry’s basketball games because he was her coach. Coaching one’s daughter or son isn’t unusual, yet Richard was always wary that he didn’t treat Kerry differently from the rest of her teammates.

“It was fun coaching her,” he said, “but it was kind of hard when you coach your own kid. You maybe have to be harder on your kid than you would on the other kids; otherwise it looks like favoritism. But I thought she was a very good player, and she did quite well for herself.”

That she did. Kerry was an all-state player in 1988 and tied a school record for most points scored in a quarter (17). She shares that record with Beth Creamean, a former two-sport star (basketball and softball) at DePaul University.

“It was hard sometimes because I didn’t know whether to call him Dad or coach,” Kerry said, “But I’m honored to have him as a coach. It was a good experience overall. We had a good team.

“He was a great coach and still is. I learned quite a lot from him. He helped me with my shooting and defense, and think I was the basketball player I was because of him.”

Kerry lists her parents and siblings as being among her biggest influences, both on and off the field and court.

“I went to school, went to practice, studied and went to bed (during high school),” said Kerry, a straight A student at Kaneland. “I was very serious and very driven. They were always good about telling me, ‘It’s OK if you get a B (in a class).’ They tried to help take the pressure off me a little bit, but I put a lot of pressure on myself from within (to succeed).

“My parents had a big influence on me, and my siblings did, too. I come from a very sports-minded family. My sister was an influence, as well, because she was a really good point guard.”

Kerry also mentions Lea Ann Machais, her sister’s teammate on the 1982 championship team; Pat Sheetz, the head track and field coach during her varsity career at Kaneland; Doug Ecker and Tom Todd, who also coached her in track and cross country; and Mr. Davis, her favorite high school teacher, as inspirations.

“My teammates inspired me, too,” she said. “There were a lot of different personalities and talents (on those teams).”


Trophy case closed

Kaneland emerges with NIB-12 All-Sports Trophy
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—You’d be hard pressed to argue with the facts.

The facts say Kaneland High School athletics had an exemplary year in athletics for the 2012-13 calendar.

As a result, the Knights and Lady Knights were able to secure the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Sports Trophy for the season.

Kaneland’s 78.5 total was the same as West Division counterpart Geneseo.

In the 2011-12 year, KHS was second overall with 78.5, compared to DeKalb’s 79.

In the conference setup’s first season in 2010-11, the Knights finished second in the East with 68, compared to DeKalb’s 70 and Sterling’s 75.5 in the West.

Kaneland’s conference crowns came in football, golf, volleyball, boys basketball, softball, boys track and girls track.

In the rest of the East setup, Yorkville came in second at 72, followed by DeKalb at 66.5, Sycamore at 64, Morris at 48 and Rochelle at 38.

The West set-up had Geneseo, followed by Sterling at 72.5 and Ottawa at 64.5. LaSalle-Peru (63), Dixon (51) and Streator (35.5).

Dixon and Streator are vacating their NIB-12 spots at the end of the 2013-14 athletic season. Rochelle will then move to the West to create balanced, five-team divisions within the conference.

Dixon and Streator were the only institutions with no team conference titles in 2012-13.

Boys track going the Midwest Distance

Two Kaneland runners compete at Benedictine
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not content with the productive goings-on at Eastern Illinois University two weekends ago, Kaneland High School track members Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera, junior State medalists, have more work to do.

On Saturday, June 8, the two members of the Class 2A 4x800m relay champion foursome travel to Lisle, Ill., to compete at the 2013 Midwest Distance Festival, hosted by Benedictine University.

The second annual festival switches locations from the Joliet, Ill.-based Memorial Stadium.

The track tandem set a school record in Charleston, Ill. at the Class 2A State gathering along with junior teammates Luis Acosta and Conor Johnson with a time of 7:50.26.

Carter and Kucera are one of 16 athletes competing in the 800m run, which had a qualifying time of one minute, 56 seconds. Carter’s leg of the State run was 1:54.46, while Kucera’s entry was 1:54.40, fifth and ninth in the entire field, respectively.

Carter is not approaching the event any differently now that he is, by definition, one of the best in Illinois at what he does.

“I still get nervous before these things,” he said. “You never know what could happen. I just have to go in and see and run my own race.”

The two Class of 2014 members helped spur on a sixth-place team finish for boys track with 24 team points.

Slated to witness the race are the two runner’s families and KHS coach Eric Baron.

Lady Knight Victoria Clinton will also compete in the girls 2-mile run.

The festival consists of five events for the boys and three for the girls, along with a co-ed 5,000m run. The top three runners will be medaled after each event.

Benedictine University is located at 5700 College Rd. in Lisle, Ill.