Letter: Vote for Fred Dornback in the April 9 election

This letter is to endorse Fred Dornback for the position of Blackberry Township Supervisor in the April 9 election. He is experienced, responsive, resourceful and committed.

Fred has chosen to run as an independent for the position of township supervisor. He is no stranger to Blackberry Township, as he has lived here for almost 40 years, has served as moderator at the annual town meeting for many years, and has served as the superintendent of the cemetery ever since it was acquired by the township from the Blackberry Cemetery Association in 2007.

In addition, Fred has a significant track record of achievement with other organizations. After a successful career as a school psychologist, Fred has served as a volunteer at Delnor Community Hospital, is a founding board member (and current board member) of the Living Well Cancer Resource Center, and was the “Volunteer of the Year” of the Chicago Land’s American Red Cross.

Fred has performed many good deeds for other people. Fred is generally nonpolitical, and is always there to give a helping hand. Please lend your support to elect Fred Dornback on April 9, 2013.

Jim Michels, Blackberry Township trustee

Letter: Support Sean Michels on April 9

In reading the candidate profile in last week’s Elburn Herald I noticed that they published all of the school’s that Sean has attended, but did not include the degrees that Sean has worked so hard to earn.

Sean received a finance and an economic degree from Illinois State University. He then went on to Aurora University and earned a Masters in Business Administration.

These degrees, along with the 20 years Sean spent in the banking industry, have helped him manage the multi-million dollar budget of the village. Compare this to his opponent, who has taken course work at the College of DuPage and real estate classes at Waubonsee.

The fact that the village managed to earn an A+ rating by Standard & Poor’s in 2008 is a testament to the financial leadership that Sean has been able to provide with his strong finance background. This leadership included cutting staff by 20 percent and reducing expenses by 25 percent since 2008.

This type of leadership is needed for Sugar Grove. Please vote for Sean on April 9.

Monty Jahns
Sugar Grove

Letter: In support of Pat Schuberg for Elburn village trustee

Why vote for Pat Schuberg?

In my opinion, it’s not a question of “Why should we vote for Patricia Schuberg?” but “Why would we not?”

In my 20 years of village service, I only have once before endorsed any candidate for village office. In this election, however, I must offer my endorsement of Patricia Schuberg, as I know she would be a superlative village trustee.

I have known Pat and her family for over 20 years. She has served with me on the Elburn Planning Commission. Our families have worshipped together, and she and I have worked together at Lazarus House.

She is a woman who, without ego or search for praise, has worked to keep Elburn as that special place to live, as well as serving our larger community.

She is a woman who, selflessly, has worked to shepherd her sons and many of our other young men to achieve the highest of ethical goals through our Scout programs.

As a woman of faith, she has helped those less fortunate through Hesed House, Lazarus House and Feed My Starving Children.

If you want a trustee who understands the complexity of careful management of village revenues and services, her MBA will well serve all of us.

If you want a trustee who understands the need and benefits of retail growth, having been a small business owner herself, she will work to strengthen Elburn’s business community.

If you want a trustee who intimately understands growth and land development, her 15 years on the village Planning Commission—six years of which she led that body as its chairperson—then you should cast your vote for Pat.

Please join me on April 9 and elect Pat Schuberg to the Village Board.

Bill Grabarek
Elburn Village Board trustee

Letter: Facts regarding Michels speak for themselves

Come April 9, my vote will go to Sean Michels for Sugar Grove village president. The facts speak for themselves.

Today, under the leadership of Sean Michels, the village of Sugar Grove is on sound financial ground despite several years of tough
economic challenges.

Under Sean Michels:

• The village proactively reduced the budget as a result of the economic downturn without significant reductions in village services. The village budgeted $6,487,934 for fiscal year 2006–07. The budget for fiscal year 2012-13 is $4,183,664. The village reduced the budget in a time when we all have to do the same.

• Disciplined, balanced budget management has led to a steady increase in surplus vs. deficit. The village had a net increase in its general fund balance of $314,000 under Sean’s leadership. The village projects another surplus in fiscal year 2012-13

• The surplus has helped drive the improvement and maintenance of infrastructure. The village transferred over $1 million of additional surplus over the same 10 years to the Infrastructure Capital Projects Fund for road maintenance projects.

• Success in acquiring grants is driving even more infrastructure improvement at no cost to village residents. Since fiscal year 2008-09, the village obtained and utilized $5.6 million in grants to complete over $10 million in road projects. This year, the village is planning to utilize over $1 million in grants. These are state and federal funds that help to build the village of Sugar Grove’s infrastructure. These improvements directly benefit residents and this community without further taxing our pocketbook.

• Under Sean, residents are shouldering less of the tax burden. Non-residential equalized assessed value (EAV) has increased from $16.8 million in fiscal year 2006-07 to $32.2 million in fiscal year 2012–13. This 100 percent increase in EAV comes from new businesses and growing businesses within the village, and provides the village with a tax source other than residential.

• Commercial tax revenue is up 636 percent in 10 years. In addition to providing new non-residential property taxes in the village, commercial development has also been the impetus to increased sales tax revenue. The village received $172,851 in state sales tax in fiscal year 2002-03, and is projecting state sales tax of over $1,100,000 in fiscal year 2012–13. This is a compounded average growth rate of almost 20 percent annually.

• Objective third-party ratings amplify the progress. The village obtained its first bond rating of an A in May 2006 from Standard & Poor’s. The rating was increased to an A+ in June 2008. This rating validates the village’s strong financial picture and provides the village with a better borrowing rate, if necessary.

This information is readily available to all interested. The village’s website is informative; the village staff helpful.

Further, as a village trustee for four years; I’ve seen much. I’ve seen Sean’s leadership and work ethic, and am living the outcomes of that leadership. At the same time, I sat next to Kevin Geary and saw him deliver little, show no leadership or even take a productive role in decision making. It was shameful to think that he was voting on behalf of the village on many issues that he hadn’t taken the time to understand, rather reaching rash judgment based on his gut. I do not want that person as the leader of our community or to give him an opportunity to undo the progress we have made as a village.

Sean has a vision of the village of responsible growth, assessing the needs of the residents today and the residents of tomorrow seriously with a strong leaning toward fiscal responsibility. This vision and his core values have served us well in both good economic times and bad, and they will continue to serve us well into the future. Just look at the facts

This is an election where voter turnout will be extremely low with no national or state selections. Every vote will count. Please cast yours for Sean Michels on Tuesday, April 9.

Mary Heineman
Sugar Grove

Letter: Supporting Pat Schuberg for Elburn village trustee on April 9

I am writing this letter of endorsement for the Elburn Village Board for Patricia Schuberg. I have worked with Patricia for many years and many projects, including Metra, Jewel, Blackberry Creek and Walgreen’s, just to mention a few.

Patricia’s service to the Elburn Planning Commission over 12 years has been outstanding. This is a woman who truly cares deeply about Elburn and its future. She will bring years of experience and wisdom to the Village Board. Her ability to work with and to build consensus is second to none.

Elburn would be well served to have Pat on its Village Board. I encourage you to vote for Pat Schuberg for Elburn Village Board on Tuesday, April 9.

Jeffrey Metcalf
Chair, Elburn Planning Commission

Letter: A comment on the conduct of the present Sugar Grove Township administration

At last year’s Nov. 5 Sugar Grove Township meeting, I stood before the administration, stating how incredible I thought their actions (calling in the Sugar Grove Police Department) were toward the past supervisor, Dan Nagel, who had resigned his post. Here we are today, April 2013, and they have continued with their incredible behavior.

The very people who have contributed their time and dedication to this community are the very targets of this administration.

Mr. Nagel dedicated over 38 years of service to the township, recently upgraded the township building and office to its new location, assisted the new Public Library financially by buying the building, relocated our assessor’s office to a larger location, remodeled and rented the old assessor office, put in a new senior citizen meeting room, purchased and updated the old bus barn for storage to the Scouts and others, and assisted the Mental Health Department to relocate to a central location. Nagel and Jerry Murphy were ahead of their time by providing mental health locally. What does this administration do? They try to put Mr. Nagel in jail.That is really special.

Then there is Marlene Wagner (in her late 70s) who for seven years worked as the township bookkeeper. She recently put in an up-to-date township authorized bookkeeping software and running simultaneous old and new systems to avoid any loss of data. She passed six state audits with excellent rating. What does this administration do? They accused her of being untrustworthy, soiled her personal reputation, and are now in the process of removing the very accounting system that achieved such high ratings. She is so damaged that every time I discuss this matter with her, she breaks down in tears.

I can’t forget poor Lil Adams. She has spent her entire adult 80-plus years attending to the Sugar Grove Community House. Many of her hours worked were voluntary, rearranging her personal time, to provide for people’s events at the Community House. She was recognized as Honoraria by the community for her great service. What does this administration do? They gave her a tongue lashing that put her in bed for two weeks. She is still not over it.

Betty Jo, the township bookeeper after Marlene, watches the behavior of this administration and resigns. Smart girl. She was replaced by a male bookkeeper.

In summary, it is very apparent to me that this administration is divisive toward women, and especially senior women. Their actions are a poor representation of our community, and it appears they intend to take no prisoners as they ransack what others have built for this township government.
Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Waubonsee adds laboratory technology program

SUGAR GROVE—The Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees on March 20 approved one new degree and two new certificates in the field of laboratory technology.

Set to debut in fall 2013, the laboratory technology program is designed to prepare students for employment in non-health-care related laboratory settings, such as agriculture, consumer protection, environmental protection, food processing, manufacturing or pharmaceuticals. Laboratory technicians use specialized instruments and techniques to assist in conducting experiments, researching and developing new products, performing quality tests, and producing a chemical or biological product.

At 60 semester hours, the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Laboratory Technology is comprehensive, requiring general education courses in English, communications and math. It also requires courses in chemistry, biology and the new laboratory technology discipline, including Introduction to Laboratory Technology, Applied Microbiology, Introduction to Analytical Chemistry and Introduction to Instrumental Analysis.

The 17-semester-hour Certificate of Achievement in Basic Laboratory Technology pairs the introductory lab course with courses in biology, chemistry, computers and math, while the 18-semester-hour Certificate of Achievement in Biology Laboratory Technology is comprised of two biology courses, two laboratory technology courses and an introductory chemistry course.

Several local employers provided input throughout the program development process, including Monsanto Seed Technology Center, Profile Food Ingredients, Nalco, FONA International, Institute of Tribology and Coatings, Fox Metro Water Reclamation District, NanoInk, Inc. and NanoProfessor, DVI Aviation, McCrone Associates, Benetech and Hooke College of Applied Sciences.

The laboratory technology program was developed with a $2.8 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant from the Department of Labor.

For more information, visit www.waubonsee.edu/lbt.

Holocaust commemoration at Temple B’nai Israel

AURORA—Temple B’nai Israel’s annual Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Commemoration will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, at the temple, 400 N. Edgelawn. The community is invited to remember the more than six million men, women, and children who perished during one of history’s darkest times.
Temple B’nai Israel is located at 400 N. Edgelawn Drive in Aurora.
For more information, call (630) 892-2450.

District 302 seeks Kaneland Foundation, CAC, FAC members

KANELAND—Kaneland Community School District 302 seeks to add members to its Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC), Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) and the Kaneland Foundation.

The mission of the CAC is to improve Kaneland schools by advising the administration and Board of Education regarding educational and other issues facing the district.

Members study and deliberate problems, issues and questions of concern to the district and report the results of their studies to the elected officials who serve on the Board of Education. The CAC also advises the Board of Education regarding policies of the district and facilitates cooperation and communication in educational matters between the school and the community.

The mission of the FAC is to improve the education of the children, youth and adults of the district by monitoring financial issues and trends facing the district and advising the Board of Education regarding them.

The Kaneland Foundation is a non-profit organization that has contributed for decades to the educational needs of the students of Kaneland District 302. Its mission is to support academic excellence through innovation. Foundation members meet several times during the
school year and host an annual golf outing held in September of each year.

In preparing to add members to these committees and to the Foundation, know that the selection committees will seek representation from the various attendance areas within the Kaneland community. The district seeks a cross section of opinions and educational perspectives with a general ability to work constructively with others. More than 50 percent of Kaneland households have no school-aged children in them, and those households should be represented on these.

To learn more about membership on the CAC, FAC or the Kaneland Foundation, contact Beth Sterkel at the Kaneland District Office, (630) 365-5111, ext. 109, or beth.sterkel@kaneland.org.

Applications are due Monday, April 15.

Update given regarding Settler’s Ridge bond case

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Attorney Steve Andersson on March 19 provided a legal update to the Village Board regarding the court case against the developer of the Settler’s Ridge subdivision.

The village is seeking $5.5 million in unpaid bond fees.

Kimball Hill Homes, a private builder founded in 1969, built 110 houses in Settler’s Ridge in 2005. When the real estate market collapsed in 2007, Kimball Hill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“At that point in 2007, the village wasn’t sure what would happen in Settler’s Ridge,” Andersson said. “It took two years for Kimball’s case to get through the courts. Then the real headache began.”

The land is owned by TRG, a commercial real estate investment firm from California, and LCP Settlers Ridge Development of Texas.

In 2010, Kimball Hill was officially declared in default by Sugar Grove. The bond money, however, was not paid back.

“By December of 2012, after several court appearances, it was clear Kimball was playing games and delaying the process with appeals,” Andersson said.

Kimball Hill ended up making a counterclaim against LCP and TRG, which the court eventually dismissed.

Prior to a court appearance on March 15 of this year, Anderson was able to use what is known in law as “discovery,” a pre-trial civil procedure to obtain evidence by the opposing party in order to establish self-evident statements in regard to liability.

“The idea here was to get Kimball to admit things that (are) almost impossible to deny at this point, in order to be granted a summary judgment,” Andersson said. “Hopefully, these multiplying court costs will make them come to the table to finally settle these matters. But as anyone involved with the court systems can tell you, these things can take a long time.”

The attorney fees for the village thus far are $59,000, but that cost is being split with the village of Montgomery, as it is also seeking reimbursement from Kimball Hill Homes, Andersson said.

Village President Sean Michels said he felt for the residents of Settler’s Ridge, because some residents complain of poor roads and sidewalks.

“This is taking a long time, and some of the roads in the area are getting bad. We can fill in pot holes and help out where we can, but this has been a tough time for the people of Settler’s Ridge,” Michels said. “They have been patient, and I hope they know we’re moving in the right direction in the legal process.”

Andersson and Michels said any other changes in regard to the case would be brought to the attention of the Village Board and the Homeowner’s Association of Sugar Grove.

STS Foundation invites Elburn families to host exchange students

For more information or to view
student profiles, call STS Foundation at
or email info@stsfoundation.org

ELBURN—Student Travel Schools (STS) Foundation, a 25-year-old non-profit organization that promotes Global learning and leadership through cultural exchange and leadership programs for high school students, is looking for American families interested in hosting an exchange student for the 2013-14 school year.

STS Foundation welcomes families who would like to host an international exchange student including families without children, empty nesters, military families, retirees and single people. STSF families come from all over the U.S., including both rural and urban communities.

Host families provide three meals a day and a bedroom (either private or shared). Each student is supported by a professionally trained local representative from STSF who works with the family, student and local school for the entire program. Students will have their own health insurance and spending money for lunches, books, clothes and outings.

Meet some of the STS Foundation’s students:
• Samantha is from Australia. She is 15 years old and enjoys horseback riding, family activities and golfing. Samantha is an A average student, and she will come to the U.S.A. for one semester.
• Mikel is from Germany and loves playing soccer. He trains three times a week and has games on the weekends. Mikel has two younger brothers. He is looking forward to his adventure in the U.S.A.
• Bruno is from Brazil and enjoys basketball, soccer and playing the piano. He attends church regularly with his family. Bruno loves animals and young children.

These are just some of the over 400 students that STS Foundation will place with loving families for the upcoming school year. If you would like more information about hosting or to view student profiles, call STS Foundation at 1-800-522-4678 or email info@stsfoundation.org.

Waubonsee Featured Alumnus works in global food industry

SUGAR GROVE—You may not know Waubonsee Community College alumnus Paul Sestak by name. You may not have heard of the international company in which he holds an ownership stake—Golden State Foods. But if you’ve eaten a hamburger from McDonald’s or added sauce to your taco at Taco Bell, you’re familiar with Golden State’s work.

For all of his accomplishments in the global food industry, Waubonsee is proud to recognize Sestak as its Featured Alumnus for March.

Before he was working on the international business stage, Sestak was a local boy, growing up in Aurora in a family that was committed to community service. His father, Dr. Michael Sestak, worked as the assistant superintendent for the East Aurora School District, and as such, was involved in the original feasibility study for and founding of Waubonsee.

It’s no wonder then that upon graduating from East Aurora High School, Sestak chose to start his collegiate career at Waubonsee, just as his mother and three of his four siblings had done.

“Using the two-year college experience as a stepping stone was perfect for me,” Sestak said. “It gave me time to adjust and grow.”

After earning his associate degree in 1984, Sestak headed to the University of Illinois with the plan of becoming a veterinarian.

“I had always been kind of a farm kid who liked animals,” Sestak said. “There were farms around where I grew up, and I worked at one up the street for a while.”

As luck would have it, on the other side of Sestak’s rented duplex in Champaign lived a woman whose son-in-law ran Eisner Food Stores, which would later become Jewel Food Stores. This man became a mentor to Sestak, so when veterinary school didn’t work out, he took his bachelor’s degree in animal science and put it to work as a buyer/merchandiser of poultry and perishables at Jewel.

After building up his skills and reputation on the retail side of the food business for 10 years, Sestak was recruited by a food supplier to McDonald’s. His work there eventually led to the unique opportunity of serving as a corporate strategic consultant to McDonald’s.

“That opportunity was like winning the lottery in terms of life experience and skill-building,” Sestak said. “I gave a ton, but I also gained a ton of knowledge in return.”

The strategy team dealt with everything from supply chain management—a special area of expertise for Sestak—to acquisitions.

Sestak’s combination of general industry knowledge and specialized knowledge about McDonald’s business practices helped him land a job at Golden State Foods, where he has worked for the past 10 years. The company handles food processing and distribution for more than 25,000 restaurants around the world, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell and KFC.

As the vice president of Compliance and Program Development/Distribution, Sestak deals with business processes, customer requirements, government regulations and safety issues.

“I assess, standardize, educate, measure and report,” Sestak said. “I drive the effort to put the systems in place to help others succeed in their roles.”

Sestak invests time in understanding not just the work, but the people who do the work, at Golden State.

“I’ll jump on a rig or work in a distribution facility,” Sestak said. “I really want to understand what each of our associates’ jobs entail and what it means to them.”

Golden State executives model a strong work ethic but also a strong commitment to philanthropy. The GSF Foundation was established in 2002 to help children and families in need in the areas where GSF associates live and work. Sestak and the other associates donate a portion of theirpaychecks to the Foundation and volunteer their time to help others in need in their local community. Donating to and being involved in the Foundation is obviously voluntary, but more than 80 percent of the company’s employees choose to help in some way. And every dollar of their contributions goes directly to help those in need.

Sestak helps the future generation of business leaders by guest lecturing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Colleges of Business at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois. Sestak earned his Master of Business Administration Degree from Aurora University in 1996.

Committed to his local community, Sestak spent six years as chairman of the Planning Commission in Big Rock, where he and his wife Lisa and their three children live. His oldest son Michael currently attends Waubonsee as part of the prestigious Gustafson Scholarship Program.

Local Eagle Scout recognized at Sugar Grove meeting

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Board trustees on March 19 recognized Eagle Scout David Chandler Barnhart with an official proclamation.

“Whereas, Boy Scouts of America is a vital force in the development of our youth through its many programs, which encourage the ability of its members to do things for themselves and others, and whereas, one of the major objectives in the scouting program is to develop citizenship through community involvement and services projects, Barnhart earns the distinction of earning his Eagle Scout Award,” Village President Sean Michels read to the board.

Barnhart then received a standing ovation from Village Board trustees.

Barnhart, who serves Sugar Grove’s Troop 41, worked extensively to improve the Conley Outreach program at the Kaneland Area Clothing Closet.

Scoutmaster Dave Seraphin was on hand to lend support. Seraphin said he’s given out about 35 Eagle Scout Awards in his time with the Boy Scouts, but added that what Barnhart has done in Sugar Grove is “truly remarkable.”

Barnhart wrestles competitively at Kaneland High School, and hopes to join the Marines when he graduates.

“We appreciate your commitment for the Sugar Grove community. You should be very proud of your accomplishments,” Michels said to Barnhart. “You will serve your country well into the future.”

WCC student trustee named Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College student trustee K.C. Vogt, an Aurora resident, was recently named a Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar.

Vogt received the $1,000 scholarship based on his grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service. In addition to serving as Waubonsee’s student trustee, he is also the chair of the Illinois Community College Board’s Student Advisory Committee (ICCB-SAC).

A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Vogt maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA as a biology major, with plans to eventually go on to medical school to become a gastroenterologist.

Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and administered by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the academic team recognizes 50 gold, 50 silver and 50 bronze scholars from community colleges around the nation.

More than 1,800 applications were received this year.

KHS’ Miller named to Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois class of 2013

KANELAND—Kaneland High School senior Daniel Miller was recently selected as one of 135 members of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois class of 2013.

The program is highly competitive and seeks the best and brightest youth interested in a teaching career. The number of nominations received by the program exceeded 1,200.

Miller will enroll at Illinois State University with a major in elementary education.

Local residents inducted into Waubonsee honor societies

SUGAR GROVE—The following local residents were recently inducted into Waubonsee Community College honor societies:

• Alpha Beta Gamma—Nicholas Webb of Elburn, John Cruz and Cristina Shorkey of

• Alpha Sigma Lambda—Marion Bond and Alice Brinda of Montgomery

• National Technical Honor Society— Amanda Meyer, Megan Scott and Theresa Smith of Elburn; Nickolas Felbinger, Nicholas Fornero and Victoria Martin of Sugar Grove; Travis Hurd, Amanda James, James Kopin, Mary Mawyer, Georgina Nunez and Cristina Shorkey, all of Montgomery

• Phi Theta Kappa—Shaela Collins, Adam Grams, Amanda Meyer, William Osborne, Justin Salazar and Megan Scott, all of Elburn; Lauren Allen and Emily Neely of Sugar Grove; Ariel Geraghty, Vernon Gochee and Tara Martin of Maple Park; Marisa Ascencio, Marion Bond, Alice Brinda, Melissa Claussen, Leeza Corirossi, Pedro Diaz, Cheyanne Harmon, Jacob Hood, Julie Horne, Amanda James, James Kopin, Mary Mawyer, Georgina Nunez, Kaeli Penry, Justin Rethwisch, Tomasz Sobieraj, Tara Wagner, Alexis Wainwright, Karly Whittington, Yoseph Willis and Daniel Zambrano, all of Montgomery.

• Salute Veterans National Honor Society—Johnathan Richards, of Sugar Grove; Pedro Diaz, James Kopin and Sandra Delverde of Montgomery.

Watson hits Hall of Fame

Local sports writer to be inducted into Kaneland Hall of Fame
by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Don Watson will be inducted into the Kaneland Hall of Fame this spring as a “Friend of Kaneland.” His connection with the Kaneland District and its athletic teams goes back to the early 1970s, when he and his family moved to Elburn.

Sports coverage for the Kaneland athletic teams was virtually non-existent when Watson arrived in town. The Elburn Herald would sometimes have only a paragraph or two in its weekly coverage, and the daily papers were busy covering the larger schools in Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles.

Watson had two boys in sports—one a swimmer, the other a diver—and as a proud father, he wanted to acknowledge their accomplishments. He approached Louise Cooper, owner, editor and publisher of the Elburn Herald at the time, with the idea of writing about the Kaneland sports events.

Cooper told him that if he wrote something, and there was space for it, the paper would print it.

“I had never done anything like this previously,” Watson said.

His college degree was in business, with minors in psychology and music.

Watson began by covering the boys’ basketball season in 1974, and his first article about the Sycamore King Korn Tournament, titled “Knights shucked in Korn Tournament,” ran in the Dec. 5 issue.

“It was the beginning of a journey that covered a span of 28 years for this part-time sports writer,” Watson said. “I was able to be a witness to some of the most memorable Kaneland sports teams and tell the community about their accomplishments.”

During that time, boys and girls track both won two state championships, as did the boys cross-country team and the girls basketball team. Kaneland also documented two back-to-back undefeated football teams in 1997 and 1998.

Pattie Patterman, now a language arts teacher at Kaneland Harter Middle School, was a sophomore on the Kaneland girls basketball team in 1982, when it won the state championship. She played basketball all four years, and was on the varsity team during her sophomore, junior and senior years.

“I have such fond memories of Don,” she said. “He was more like a member of the team than just a reporter. He knew everyone personally and he was with the parents in the stands.”

Patterman said that Watson not only wrote about the star players who scored the most or had the most rebounds, but also documented whoever had a good game that night, whether it was handling the ball or registering steals.

The girls team knew that the community was strongly behind them. According to Patterman, you couldn’t drive anywhere without seeing team signs in yards.

Patterman will be the one to introduce Watson at his induction ceremony. She said she is happy to be able to honor someone who was such a supportive part of her high school years.

“He continued to be there throughout my whole high school experience,” she said. “If we were there, he was there. He was a very positive influence.”

Watson didn’t just write about sports; he was instrumental in establishing a women’s athletic program at Waubonsee Community College. He established the Lady Chiefs volleyball program at Waubonsee Community College in 1977, and served as head coach for the next 14 years. His teams finished in the Skyway Conference’s top three at least seven times during that stretch.

Watson helped to establish the women’s softball program, as well, and coached the team to victory in the Skyway Conference in 1980. He was inducted into the WCC Hall of Fame in 2010.

He also coached the girls volleyball team at Hinckley-Big Rock High School for 13 years.

Watson was quite an athlete himself, and at 50 years of age began playing on an Illinois volleyball team that went on to compete in nine straight Senior Nationals. He also played with the team in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix.

Watson continues to be an inspiration to young people in the area. When he turned in his last story to the Elburn Herald, the paper honored him with the title “Sports Editor Emeritus,” and established a scholarship in his name. The Elburn Herald Donald L. Watson Scribe Award is a journalism-specific award in honor of his development of sports coverage for the Elburn Herald.

Watson said he was happy that he could give the athletes at Kaneland an outlet for their accomplishments, and a place where they could go and read their names in the paper.

“It was a fun gig,” he said.

Visiting Bunny in style

Lily Wennemar, 3, of Maple Park, poses with the Easter Bunny at Saturday’s Easter Egg Hunt at the Maple Park Library.

Awaiting the Egg Hunt

Counting & Sorting Eggs

Little ones racing to get eggs
Alyson and Samantha Malo, and Audrey Walker, count their eggs and inspect the contents at the Maple Park Easter Egg Hunt at the Maple Park Library Saturday.

Photos by Kimberly Anderson

Board provides its comprehensive plan footprint

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday gave its last few comments regarding the village’s comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Carrie Hansen, director of planning and government relations for Images Inc., which facilitated the creation of the plan, brought revisions that board members had requested during their last meeting with her.

The changes included the addition of the Elburn Station development, now that it has been approved and annexed. The revision also eliminated several of the commercial areas initially included on the north side of town, as well as those on the north side of Route 47 and Main Street Road. Trustee Ken Anderson had asked Hansen to eliminate the commercial use designation there, because the existence of a flood plain in the area would more than likely rule out future development there.

The area of Route 47 south of the downtown area, which had been designated single-family residential, was extended further south as commercial, also based on board member feedback.

Commercial development will take on a different form, depending on its location in the village, Hansen said. She recommended retail development at the primary intersections of Route 38 and Route 47, and Route 47 and Keslinger Road. She said that commercial uses in other locations would likely be more of the service-oriented, office-oriented and campus-type development, to be compatible with the adjacent residential areas.

New industrial development is called for in areas where it can capitalize on close proximity to regional transportation, such as the Union Pacific Railroad, Keslinger Road, Route 47 and Route 38.

Hansen also provided the board with projected population figures based on the plan, with the initial infill and primary expansion adding almost 12,000 people over the next 20 years or so. The long-term expansion would create a total population of close to 42,000 at complete build-out.

Elburn’s current population is 5,602.

“That’s not to say you’re ever going to be that big,” Hansen said to the board. “The numbers are possible if this plan gets realized.”

Trustee Bill Grabarek had some minor corrections and clarifications in the wording of the plan. He said that this was the first revision to the plan in 23 years, and includes the two largest projects the village has ever had. He said he wanted that to be precise.

Hansen said she would get the final changes to the board for its meeting on Monday, April 1.

Dog-gone good time

Saturday’s Doggie Easter Egg Hunt gave local pet owners a chance to socialize their pooches, and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. The event was held in front of the Sugar Grove Park District office, and immediately followed a Kids Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by American Heartland Bank and Trust of Sugar Grove. Courtesy Photos




Round two for village budget

Editor note: Trustee Bill Grabarek’s name was left off a quote attributed to him, which made it look like Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said the quote. Further, the Elburn Police are in the process of acquiring the AR-15 weapons, and did not have them as of press time. The Herald regrets these errors.

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—During a budget discussion at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Village President Dave Anderson said he does not support hiring a full-time police officer at this point in time. According to Police Chief Steve Smith, the department has been filling the shifts of a full-time vacancy with part-time officers for more than two years.

Smith said that a state statute states that a full-time vacancy may not be permanently filled with part-time officers. In addition, he said more full-time officers give the department more consistency in scheduling.

Hiring part-time officers is less expensive—the hourly rate is lower, and the village does not have to pay for benefits, vacation time, etc. However, trustee Dave Gualdoni said his concern is that if an officer is injured while on the job, the village is responsible for paying worker’s compensation for his full-time position elsewhere, as well as for his part-time position with the village.

The police department has also budgeted $7,500 for ammunition for the year, up from the projected cost of $1,371 in 2012-13, to accommodate training on new weapons. The Elburn Police Department received 10 AR-15’s from the St. Charles Police Department at no cost to the village. St. Charles obtained the weapons from a federal program dispersing excess military stock, and is currently transitioning to new weapons.

The Elburn police officers will exchange their shotguns for the AR-15’s, a military grade weapon that is more accurate, has a longer range and accommodates a 20-round magazine. The other advantage, according to Smith, is that if the bullet misses its target and hits a car window or wall, it will break apart instead of ricocheting off of it, possibly hurting an innocent bystander.

Elburn, as of press time, did not yet have the weapons.

Smith said the AR-15, known in the military as an M-16, will give the Elburn police officers more firepower, putting them on a more even playing field with what people on the street might have.

“Sometimes police find themselves out-gunned,” he said. “You don’t want to wait until that happens.”

While the frangible nature of the ammunition used in these weapons prevents innocent bystanders from being hurt, it also shatters soft tissue once it hits its target.

“I’ve never been in a gunfight or a war, but those are pretty vicious weapons. Unfortunately, there are bad guys out there, and you do want a weapon that’s effective. But how destructive do we want the weapons to be? At close range, it can blow a guy apart,” said trustee Bill Grabarek.

All sworn officers will train and become certified on the new weapons, Smith said.

Village President Anderson would like to hire a village financial director in the next fiscal year, freeing up Village Administrator Erin Willrett to concentrate on her area of expertise: economic development.

Anderson said that Willrett has spent the last four years keeping an eye on the village’s finances with the assistance of a financial consultant, but he thinks it’s time to hire a person full-time with a background in finance.

The 2013-14 village budget shows a modest increase in the village revenues, including property, sales and income taxes. What that also means, interim Village Administrator Doug Elder said, is modest increases on the expense side. The budget calls for an average 3 percent increase for village employees, as well as an increase in the cost of their medical benefits.

Anderson said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the state will decide not to revert its Local Government Distributive Fund back to 2012 levels, something it threatened to do several weeks ago.

Elder said that the board will need to decide if it is time to conduct a formal analysis of the water and sewer rates, to make sure that the village is allowing for the cost of daily operation and ongoing maintenance of the water and sewer systems.

Several board members said they wanted to bring back the village’s National Night Out, an event sponsored by the Police Department that was cancelled last year.

The bottom line on the village budget is $267,000 to the good.

The Village Board will hold a public hearing on the appropriation ordinance at its April 1 meeting. The proposed appropriation ordinance shows the maximum amount approved by the board that may be spent on specific items, while the operating budget is the day-to-day guide for how the village will spend its money.

The appropriation ordinance will be available for public inspection in Elburn Village Hall from March 28 through April 15. The Village Board will vote on the appropriation ordinance and the budget at its April 15 meeting. The fiscal year will begin on May 1.

Sugar Grove candidate open house

Sugar Grove candidates on March 24 met with local residents during a candidate open house at the Sugar Grove Community House. Fire Protection District candidate John Guddendorf (above, left), Library Board candidate Ed DeBartolo (below) and Gayle Deja-Schultz (below, right) were on hand to mingle with members of the public in attendance.
SG_Candidate_OH_2 Courtesy Photos

KHS’ Worldwide Youth in Science, Engineering team headed to State

KANELAND—Kaneland High School’s Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) team will head to state on Tuesday, April 9, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The team’s run began in February, when it received first place in the regional hosted by Waubonsee Community College. The team then took second place in the Northern Illinois University sectional.

Sharon Beck has served as WYSE team advisor since 1997. This is the second time her team has qualified for State.

The WYSE team includes: Tucker DeBolt (English, math), Kate Dray (chemistry, English), Chris Farrell (physics, English), Sean Flamand (physics, English), Kerri Groen (math, biology), Nicole Hanlon (English, biology), James Lim (math, physics), Beau Ott (physics, English), Mary Piazza (biology, chemistry), Muneed Rehman (biology, chemistry), Nathaniel Snyder (math, biology), Ryan Straughn (math, chemistry), Jordan Thelander (math, chemistry) and Ethan Witt (math, physics).

Hill’s Country Store hosts ‘Great Purple Cupcake Project’

by Mari Parrilli
KANEVILLE—Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road, in Kaneville, is currently hosting a charity event called the “Great Purple Cupcake Project” as a way to raise epilepsy awareness.

From now until Saturday, March 30, Alexa Hill, the daughter of Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill, is baking and selling purple cupcakes and cupcake-shaped sugar cookies for $1 each, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the Anita Kaufmann foundation.

The Foundation’s mission is to educate the public against fear of epilepsy and other brain traumas. Kaufmann is a woman who suffers from epilepsy.

Alexa, 22, studies communications at Aurora University. She is doing her capstone project on the creation of a bakery, since she loves to bake and creates pies and other goods for the Country Store (aka the “Purple Store”). During her research for her project, Alexa came upon the Great Purple Cupcake Project listed on a bakery website.

“I investigated the project, and I thought it would be perfect for us, since we are the purple store and epilepsy’s color is purple,” she said.

Alexa’s charity project is unrelated to her school project, but she thought that it would be a nice program to host and take part. Hill designed fliers detailing the event, and has been busy handing them out to everyone she can think of. She also notified “anyone and everyone she knows” via email, as well as her university teachers, and also asked Hill’s Country Store employees to tell all customers about the event.

Alexas has been baking nonstop for the past few days trying to keep up with all the orders coming in. The cupcakes are either chocolate or vanilla with purple frosting, but she is also making purple sugar cookies for those who want another option.

“I also designed, on Photoshop, little purple cupcake paper cut-outs for people to just donate money if they want to, and 100 percent of their donations go directly to the foundation,” Alexa said. “I’ve gotten a lot of donations this way, as well. People have been coming into the store and donating nice amounts, and then we put up the paper cupcake on the wall of the store with their name and amount donated.”

People can pre-order the cupcakes by calling the store and coming to pick up the order at a later date. With each cupcake or cookie sale comes a bookmark or pamphlet for epilepsy education—one of which outlines the signs of epilepsy and what to do in case of seizure.

Alexa estimates her sales to be about $300 so far. Her goal is $500, and she hopes to reach it by Saturday.

For more information or to make a donation, call Hill’s Country Store at (630) 557-2228.

Girls track makes case at IWU

Illinois Top Times outing sees 11th-place finish for indoor
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Illinois Indoor Track Championship Top Times Track and Field held on Saturday marks the unofficial state meet for indoor track competition.

Kaneland girls track made sure to officially put a stamp on the festivities in a nice send-off to the indoor slate.

The Class AA gathering at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. saw KHS nab 11th place overall with a finals point total of 19 points, tied with downstate Mahomet-Seymour.

Carbondale was first overall with 36 points, followed by Chicago fixture Lindblom with 30. Area rival Marengo was third with 26, followed by Burlington Central with 25.5. Nearby Hampshire was seventh with a total of 23.5.

The Lady Knights made their presence known in several events, beginning with the 60 meter dash. Junior Lauren Zick placed eighth with a time of 7.96 seconds, after earning seventh in the preliminary heat with a 7.97.

Kaneland did well for itself in the demanding 3200m run field, with freshman Brianna Bower taking fourth at 11:26.46, and senior teammate Abby Dodis taking ninth at 11:48.27.

In the 4x400m relay, Kaneland’s entry worked toward a fourth-place nod with a time of 4:08.82, and the 4x800m counterpart took 11th with a time of 10:10.79.

The Lady Knights saw Zick at it again in the field categories, with a mark of 18 feet, five inches in the long jump, just an inch behind Lakes’ Brittani Griesbaum.

“I thought that everyone who competed did well,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “We had indoor personal bests from almost everyone. Brianna Bower in the 3200 meter run and Lauren’s long jump stand out. Abby Dodis in the 3200 meter run was a big breakthrough for her. We are relatively healthy and ready for some good weather for the outdoor season,” Ecker said.

The outdoor season commences for KHS on Tuesday, April 2, at Burlington Central, in a triangular also featuring Oregon.


Election: Sugar Grove Village President

Incumbent squares off with long-time village trustee
Incumbent Sean Michels will face a challenge for his Sugar Grove village president seat from board trustee Kevin Geary.

Michels_SeanSean Michels
Sugar Grove Village President

• Kaneland High School graduate
• Illinois State University graduate
• Aurora University graduate
• Sugar Grove Park District Board from 1995 to 1997
• Village Board member from 1997-1999
• Elected village president in 1999

• A continued effort to reduce real estate
taxes for residents
• Establishment of an intergovernmental agreement
with the Kaneland District
• Make an effort to complete developments
in which its developers have gone bankrupt

Sean Michels has spent the better part of two decades serving the public through various elected offices. A graduate of Kaneland High School, Illinois State University and Aurora University, Michels’ served on the Sugar Grove Park District Board from 1995 to 1997, and then served as a Village Board member for two years before he was elected village president in 1999.

Michels is the project manager for McCue Builders, Inc., and he has involved himself in the community via roles such as Park District coach and Sunday school teacher. He’s also a former Metrowest Council of Mayors Board member.

As president of Sugar Grove’s growing community, Michels defines his role as keeping the village moving forward in a positive progressive manner while being fiscally conservative.

“It is important to remember that the decisions that are made today will have a long lasting impact on how the village develops into the future,” Michels said. “This simple truth is why the Village Board and I have focused on our Land Use Plan and other planning documents to ensure that as we grow, our decisions will fit together in the long run.”

Michels believes that the long-term vision of Sugar Grove’s future development will help set short-term goals that are necessary to keep the village moving forward to meet any long-term goals, but cautions that the village must not overextend itself financially; rather, it must live within its annual budget. He notes that the village has earned a solid ranking of A+ by Standard and Poor’s, thanks to the fact that the village adheres to its annual budget.

Michels said he seeks re-election because he has the desire to make Sugar Grove the best community to live, work and raise a family. He works on that goal nearly every day by thinking about the next steps the village can take to attract new business, as well as what improvements can be made to make the quality of life better for village residents.

“I enjoy talking to the residents to find out what they like and what they think we need to improve on in order to make Sugar Grove a better place,” he said. “I understand that everyone wants to pay lower taxes, so I work hard to bring in new business to help reduce taxes, and to improve our quality of life.”

Michels believes he’s the best candidate for village president because of his passion for Sugar Grove and the goals he has set for it—both short and long term. His short-term goals include an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District, and completion of the Route 47/I-88 interchange as a means to keep taxes down. Michels’ long-term goals involve the introduction of fiber optic to each home and business in the village, and a Metra station—moves that he believes would make Sugar Grove a premier community in the future.

“I truly believe this is what separates me from my opponent,” Michels said. “My goals lead the village to a brighter future. He simply does not have goals for the future of the village.”

If re-elected, Michels’ priorities for the village will include a continued effort to reduce real estate taxes for residents; establishment of an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District; and an effort to complete developments in which its developers have gone bankrupt.

“The village has been willing to work with the bond companies or banks to get necessary improvements done so that their obligations are completed and the lawsuits can be dropped,” Michels said. “The problem is that some of the groups feel it is cheaper to go to court than it is to make the improvements. We realize that the residents of the subdivisions are caught in the middle, but the village is also caught in a predicament.”

According to Michels, if the village makes the improvements, it will relieve the bank from paying the village back. But if improvements are not made soon, significantly more money will need to be spent because the road base will fail and need to be completely replaced.

“We continue to meet with any potential developer that offers to come in and take over these projects, understanding that it is better to get work done than make the lawyers rich,” Michels said.

If given the choice to write, pass and implement any single ordinance without opposition, Michels said he’d move forward with the Kaneland IGA.

“This will help keep taxes down for all of the residents of Sugar Grove by having new development pay for itself,” Michels said. “Developers will pay the impact fee to have a good school district, because developers know that a good school district sell homes.”

A video gaming referendum will appear on Sugar Grove’s April 9 General Election ballot. Michels believes video gaming isn’t as big an issue as the media has perpetuated in recent months.

“The people on both sides of the issue are very passionate, but most of the people do not seem to have an interest one way or the other in video gaming,” Michels said. “I believe the public will decide if gaming is popular or not by whether they visit the establishments that have gaming. (Otherwise), they avoid those places that have gaming.”

Michels said it’s hard to ask the state to fund capital projects if the village does not participate in the part of the funding program.

“I do not condone gaming, but I am in favor of video gaming to help our local businesses survive,” he said.

In terms of local business, Michels is pleased with the recent retail and commercial growth that the village has experienced over the past four years. He believes additional retail and commercial development is always needed to diversify the village’s tax base.

“The village continues to work to bring more business into Sugar Grove by actively soliciting businesses to locate in town through the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation and expediting the development review process,” he said. “The village has also extended critical infrastructure to commercial areas to make property ‘development ready.’”

And then theres the Route 47/I-88 interchange project, an addition that Michels said would be a critical improvement not only for Sugar Grove, but the region, as well.

“(The) project will be a catalyst for new commercial development that will help diversify the tax base for Sugar Grove residents,” he said. “In cooperation with the village of Elburn, city of Aurora and Congressman Randy Hultgren, the village has worked hard to get funds, once earmarked for the Prairie Parkway, to be reallocated to fund this interchange. It is with great optimism (that) a decision to fund this interchange will be made in the next few months.”

Kevin Geary Press PhotoKevin Geary
Sugar Grove Village trustee and Candidate for Sugar Grove Village President

• College of DuPage, Waubonsee Community College
• Real Estate Broker/Managing Broker Licensure
• Sugar Grove Park District’s assistant baseball coach
• Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board
• Sugar Grove Village Trustee since 1999
• Volunteers on several other groups

• Diversification of the tax base for village residents
• Transportation improvements
• Achieveing open and honest government
• Move meeting start time to 7 p.m. for commuters

The first 23 years of Kevin Geary’s professional career were spent in telecommunications, where he held a number of professional positions, such as technical training specialist, customer service representative, and quality control process and metric engineer.

He’s spent the last 14 years serving the public as a Sugar Grove Village Board trustee.

“With my diverse background, I would like to bring my quality control, customer service, and business experiences to the table and apply my outstanding business skills to our village projects, programs and residents’ needs,” he said.

Geary’s education background includes coursework taken at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., as well as real estate sales licensure coursework at Waubonsee Community College. He furthered his education with a real estate broker licensure in 2005 and a real estate managing broker licensure in 2012. He’s required to continue his education bi-annually.

Geary has spent the last decade working and building his own real estate and property management business. He has operated in civic roles such as Sugar Grove Park District’s assistant baseball coach from 1996 to 1999; a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board of Directors for over eight years; a Downtown/Main Street Re-development Committee member; Sugar Grove Corn Boil Board of Directors member for over 13 years; an associate member of the Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation; and Holiday in the Grove volunteer.

Geary defines the role of village president as one to create a spirit of cooperation that brings benefits to the community and respect for the region.

“The village president is responsible to ensure the goals of the community are met in a measureable way, shares the outcome of annual evaluations and posts the results of any accolades and or corrective actions to be taken,” he said.

Geary said he cares a great deal for Sugar Grove, as well as his friends and neighbors throughout the community.

“I believe the best way to lead a community is to get involved, and the best way to really capture the needs of our community is to listen,” Geary said. “Public officials need to work together as a team. There is no ‘I’ in Geary.”

The long-time trustee is campaigning on the platform of achieving open and honest government, and said one giant step toward that goal would be the village funding video recording and online streaming of board meetings so that the taxpayers can stay informed on the issues before the board.

Geary also wants to move meeting start times to 7 p.m. in order to allow commuting residents a chance to attend meetings and “participate in the democratic process,” and said he has an additional goal to bring exceptional customer service and best practices back to the village.

Geary’s additional campaign priorities include diversification of the tax base for village residents over the next four years, and transportation improvements.

“(Transportation improvements) are not only a life safety issue, but a community development issue, as well,” he said. “With the abandonment of the Prairie Parkway project, Sugar Grove must seek as much funding as possible to aid in the improvement of our roadways that also support economic growth and ensure the safety of all who travel to and through our community.”

Geary said Sugar Grove’s first-class community and unique geographic location, coupled with world-class events and attractions (i.e. Rich Harvest Farms) put the village at a great advantage over its surrounding communities.

“There are several important projects that could benefit from Prairie Parkway funds, such as the addition of a full interchange at I-88 and Route 47, road improvements to the portion of Route 47 that is also Route 30, and Route 30 west to Dugan Road,” he said.

In addition to live streaming Village Board and Planning Commission meetings, Geary wants to “get Sugar Grove moving again.” He believes the best way to achieve that would be to do an assessment of village assets.

“I have been told that within our area, we have access to Fortune 100 and 500 business executives,” Geary said. “I would host a round table where these individuals would help the village determine Sugar Grove’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for commercial growth and development.

If he were given the choice to write, pass and implement any single ordinance without opposition, Geary said he’d target the continued awarding of no-bid engineering contracts to a preferred vendor with close ties to the village president.

“Under my administration, I would require a common sense bid process and see to it that the process is followed,” Geary said. “This process will allow the residents to see who is bidding, what they are bidding, and that the village is being responsible with the taxpayer’s money.”

In terms of Geary’s stance toward video gaming in the village, he said Illinois has made provisions within the law to ensure that local municipalities and their citizens have the opportunity to do what they feel is best for their community.

“After listening to the public comments (regarding video gaming), there was no clear direction given from the residents for whom we serve,” Geary said. “Per the discussion at the board meeting, I voted to suspend gambling at that time, with the intent that a referendum could be drafted and the community could vote on this highly debated issue. In my opinion this is democracy at work, and is the only way to truly determine the will of our community. At my urging, the Village Board has placed the (video gaming) question on the spring ballot.”

One area where Geary differs from his political opponent is the question of whether Sugar Grove should re-enter an IGA with the Kaneland School District.

“While some would say the popular answer would have to be in the affirmative, supporting the IGA, I believe the village in these unsure times will need every tool in its toolbox to get residential development moving again. I would further say that the village has over 20 years surplus of platted lots that have fees attached.

Geary said he would much prefer to talk about how to diversify the tax base for the residents, which he believes can be accomplished through commercial and industrial development.

“These types of developments can account for a significant part of our property tax base, and it doesn’t negatively impact our schools or other governmental services,” Geary said. “Additionally, if these businesses are a point of sale, sales tax dollars can be gained. This, in turn, would lessen the burden on the already overtaxed homeowner without having to reduce village services or programs.”

KJS spring clothing and toy sale

KANELAND—Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Network will sponsor a spring clothing and toy sale on Friday, April 5, 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, April 6, 8 a.m. to noon, at the school, 817 Prairie Valley St. in Elburn.

Yellow and green tags indicate half-price items between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

The sale will feature gently-used spring and summer clothing, including infant wear, boys’ clothing through size 20, and girls’ clothing through junior sizes. Shoes, toys, games, puzzles, books, videos, DVDs, room decor, jewelry and sports equipment will also be available.

Admission is free. Strollers are welcome. Bring a basket to shop. Only cash and checks will be accepted.

If you are interested in selling items on consignment, or would like further information, email KSTClothingSale@gmail.com.


Knight coach Johnson named IBCA All-Star coach

Photo: KHS head coach Brian Johnson works with his team during this past season’s action.
File Photo

Exhibition to take place at Illinois Wesleyan University this June
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In theory, you always have a chance to witness hoops talent up close as a basketball coach.

In coach Brian Johnson’s case, the chance to do so will be right in front of his face this summer.

The four-year Kaneland High School boys basketball coach was informed last week of his appointment to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association 3A/4A All-Star Game, held at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center on June 29.

Johnson, who has won two Northern Illinois Big XII titles with the Knights roster in the last three years, said he is humbled by the opportunity and recognition.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Johnson said. “Some of those coaches that have been down there are legends.”

The IBCA has a committee select the North and South Teams, with I-80 as the boundary. The teams will be selected from a pool of senior All-State teams, with around 25 players total.

“I had been approached by the IBCA to come on as coach; I had done some stuff for them in the past,” Johnson said. “It had been brought up a couple of months ago.”

Johnson saw the Knights’ season end at the hands of St. Francis of Wheaton last month in the IMSA Regional, but his coaching prowess will be called on to manage some top-tier talent.

“We get down there on Friday and see the different players, and have a couple practices before Saturday’s game,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s trail to head coach involved Dundee-Crown High School, where he worked as an assistant, and the North coaching staff will carry significance.

“Lance Huber will be an assistant coach; he gave me a shot at Dundee-Crown and helped out so much to get me where I am today,” Johnson said.

In the midst of summer league action, Johnson will have a responsibility with quite the spotlight, but with the honor bestowed and the all-star talent at his disposal, the Knights’ sideline roamer is keeping the stress at bay.

“I’m going to go down there and have a good time,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be fun.”

The festivities in Bloomington, Ill., are also scheduled to feature a similar 1A/2A All-Star Game that same weekend.

Boys track shows good timing

Illinois Prep Top Times sees KHS 10th overall
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s something to be said for making the best of your surroundings.

With weather being less than cooperative and the boys track team getting antsy, the Knights ventured to the Illinois Top Times Indoor Track Championship, housed by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.

The final send-off before the outdoor campaign begins in earnest had the Kaneland outfit take 10th overall with a total of 15 team points and tied with Lakes High School of Lake Villa, Ill.

It was downstate Cahokia with a runaway 95 points, followed by Bloomington’s 54 and Chicago’s North Lawndale Charter’s 33 that rounded out the top three.

Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII school Sycamore finished in a three-way logjam for seventh with 16 points.

The KHS 4×400 meter relay foursome finished in second place with a time of three minutes, 29.75 seconds, 2.59 second behind Cahokia, and the 4x800m relay team took fourth overall at 8:18.72.

In the high jump, Kaneland’s Marshall Farthing tied for ninth with a six-foot effort.

Capping off the noteworthy totals for the Knights’ unit was Nate Dyer, who finished seventh overall with a shot put try of 51-07.

KHS coach Eric Baron is now quickly putting the excursion to Bloomington in the rearview mirror in order to concentrate on the outdoor destinations.

“Our performances were OK,” Baron said. “Dyer stood out with a new personal best, (and) Kyle Carter ran two nice legs in both relays for us.”

Kaneland’s outdoor journey begins at the East Moline United Invitational on Saturday, April 6.


Change coming to NIB-12

With Dukes, Bulldogs out, conference braintrust elects for smaller divisions
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Within the last decade of Kaneland athletics, the Knights have called several landscapes home.

Once able to call the sprawling Suburban Prairie Conference North Division home, the Knights moved to the new Western Sun Conference.

After four years, a new set-up emerged for the fall of 2010 in the form of the two-division Northern Illinois Big XII.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, the Knights will still be able to call the conference home, but the ambiance will be a tad different.

Dixon and Streator officially elected to vacate the conference at the end of the 2013-14 academic year, following a meeting of conference principals.

The conference’s athletic directors had previously met in early March to discuss proposals and forward them to the principals.

Dixon, with an enrollment of 803 students, has elected to move to the Big Northern Conference, after originally joining the NIB-12 from the defunct NCIC.

Streator, at 876 students, mulled several options as the southernmost school in the school grouping. It was invited to join the Interstate Eight Conference in February.

Both schools came from the West Division, meaning conference shuffling or addition had to take place.

The March 15 meeting of the conference Board of Controls put in motion the switch to a 10-team conference with two five-team divisions.

The larger East consists of DeKalb, Kaneland, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville, while West play features Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Rochelle and Sterling.

“Our attempt is to ensure the competitive and long-term health of the Northern Illinois Big XII conference,” Rochelle principal and conference president Travis McGuire said. “All topics, avenues, and positions were discussed and contemplated through this process. We will continue to look to expand our conference as we move forward.”

The new alignment becomes the lay of the land for football, with proposals still to be had for the other sports for conference crossover play.

Football’s schedule situation would involve the standard two crossover games, meaning the 2014 schedule would feature three non-conference games.

Kaneland football would have to secure three season-opening foes in 2014, with Chicago’s Brooks Prep and Elmhurst’s Immaculate Conception signed to one-year deals for 2013.

“In football, it’s such a big deal to play schools your own size and to get non-conference teams to play you,” KHS football coach Tom Fedderly said. “I think they were listening to ideas and were looking for teams to come in. Maybe one day, smaller schools can come into the conference. We’ll see what happens later with sports like basketball.”

Waubonsee’s Heiss inducted into NJCAA Hall of Fame

Danville, ILL—Waubonsee Community College’s long-time head men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was recently inducted into the NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame at the Division II National Tournament Banquet.

“It’s an honor, but it’s not just my honor. A lot of people have helped me get to this point,” Heiss said. “I didn’t do it by myself. Obviously, my name is on that plaque, but a lot of people at Waubonsee, the administration, athletic director Dave Randall, my assistant coaches and all the players, have helped make this possible.”

Heiss began coaching the Chiefs in 1986 and has built the program into a perennial power over the last 28 seasons. He has led Waubonsee to victory 552 times, an average of nearly 20 wins per season for almost three decades. Heiss currently is 17th among active junior college coaches on the NJCAA’s win list. Under Heiss’ guidance, the Chiefs have won 20 or more games 15 times, and tallied 19 wins on four other occasions. His squads have won 11 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) titles with 63 of his players being named First Team All-Conference, including eight league MVP Awards. In 2008 Heiss became the ISCC’s all-time record holder for career wins with his 191st victory, and currently has 249 wins and counting.

Heiss has led Waubonsee to five Region IV titles and five subsequent berths in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, finishing seventh in 1991. Heiss has been selected as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year five times, while the ISCC has tabbed him with that honor nine times. Previously Heiss has been inducted into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2006), the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame (2009), the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame (2010) and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame (2010).

Heiss was an All-Upstate Eight Conference performer for Aurora West in 1980, when his team finished third in the state. He went on to play at Eastern Wyoming Junior College, leading the NJCAA Region IX in scoring as a sophomore. Heiss then transferred to Bemidji (MN) State University, where he was All-Northern Sun Conference his final two years. Heiss later played for the Utah Jazz rookie team in the Pro-Am League in the summer of 1986.

Off the court, Heiss earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Bemidji (MN) State University and his master’s degree from Chicago State University. Heiss has been a full- time faculty member in Waubonsee’s Physical Education Department since 1992, and was instrumental in the establishment of Waubonsee’s S.T.A.R. program, an academic monitoring and tutoring program for student/athletes. Additionally, Heiss has guided the Chiefs’ golf program for the last 21 years, orchestrating three ISCC titles and a Region IV crown, while helping 32 golfers reach All-Conference status. A life-long resident of Aurora, Heiss has three children, D.J., Danielle and Demi.