John Edward ‘Ed’ Leuer

John Edward “Ed” Leuer, 82, of Sugar Grove, formerly of Elburn, passed away Monday, March 4, 2013, at Provena McAuley Manor.

He was born March 24, 1930, in Geneva, the son of Peter and Kathryn (Lyness) Leuer.

Ed grew up in Elburn and attended Elburn Elementary. He graduated from Marmion Military Academy, where he won the top award in History. He graduated with the class of 1948.

Ed met the love of his life in the heart of his faith while singing in the choir at St. Gall Catholic Church. What began as friendship bloomed into love, and before long they were united in marriage on Oct. 28, 1950.

They began their new life as man and wife on Marie’s family farm on Hughes Road, where Ed tilled the land and tended cattle. A year later, the family grew by two when twin girls, Yvonne and Yvette, were born, and the family moved to Sugar Grove. They weren’t finished growing, however, as Timothy, Mark, Patrick, Daniel, Kathleen, Stephen and Lisa followed to make the family complete.

Ed worked on local farm lands, as well as fields in Minnesota, for 40 years until he walked away from the land he loved so much. He didn’t venture far as he went from farming to buying cattle to, later, appraising real estate.

In order to keep up with all of his business dealings, he sported the first car phone in the area—a monstrous block of technology in the 1960s.

As cattle buying died out in the 1970s, he and Marie opened Leuer Realty in Elburn in 1976. Thousands of farming families found a friend in Ed, who specialized in appraising the land of his youth. His son Dan joined him in the late 1990s, and Ed then transitioned into retirement (in name only). The reality was that he still came to the office every day making sure the benefit of his wisdom was available at a moment’s notice.

In 2009, Alzheimer’s came to call, bringing an end to Ed’s realty reign, but never his love of his family, his business and his community.

Ed was a faithful member of St. Gall Catholic Church, as well as their Men’s Group. He also donated thousands of hours to the Elburn Lion’s Club, lining up the parade that passed his office front for many years. Ed was the president of the Aurora Board of Realtors, and an officer of the Realtors Land Institute.

Ed was an avid racing fan—especially stock cars—and was a regular at Bob Jo Speedway in Sycamore, Ill. Boats and fishing also peaked his interest—both at local fishing holes, as well as at their home on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where they spent many winters.

He loved to walk everyday but on the occasion when he stopped moving long enough to sit down, Ed loved to tuck into the nearest suspense novel.

Ed had the “gift of gab” and loved to regale anyone with a story about anything, many times with a thread of truth thrown in for good measure. He was a regular at several local coffee shops, catching up with the latest and greatest news about town, and seemed to know just about everyone. You couldn’t even buy a newspaper in a neighboring state without running into a friend of Ed’s.

Everything Ed did was done with conviction. His work ethic was second to none, and was passed down to his children and grandchildren, whom he loved with all his heart.

He is survived by his loving wife Marie; nine children, Yvonne Keifer, Yvette (Jim) Hogan, Tim Leuer, Mark (Fran) Leuer, Pat (JoAnn) Leuer, Dan (Sherry) Leuer, Kathy (Bob) Herrejon, Steve (Anna Durso) Leuer and Lisa (Rick) Reuter; 19 grandchildren, Doug (Renee`) Keifer and their children, Madison and Brennan, Jeff (Jamie) Keifer and their children, Jillian and Jayden, Marty (Stephanie) Keifer, Stephanie (Andy) Lank and their children, Kinley and Finn, Patrick Leuer, Ryan Leuer, Sara Leuer, Aaron (Vanessa) Leuer and their daughter Lilly (with one on the way), Alisha (Steve Arce) Leuer, Gabriella Herrejon, Alex Herrejon, Ben Herrejon, Adam Leuer, Caroline Leuer, Matt Leuer, Kyle Leuer, Elisabeth Reuter and Jacob Reuter; three brothers, Howard (Carole) Leuer, Tom (Marilyn) Leuer and Joe (Toni) Leuer; many nieces, nephews and truly a countryside of friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Kathryn; two brothers, Fr. Mark Leuer and David Leuer; and one son-in-law, Bill Keifer.

Visitation and a wake service were held Monday at Conley Funeral Home. A mass to celebrate his faith was held Tuesday, with visitation preceding the service. Fr. Tim Seigel, pastor of the church, officiated. Interment took place at St. Gall Cemetery, Elburn.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit Ed’s favorite charities, including Alzheimer’s Association. Checks may be made to the “John Edward Leuer Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or to, where you can also find Ed’s full-life story.

Tracey Lynn Madden

Tracey Lynn Madden, 45, of Schaumburg, Ill., passed away Friday morning, March 1, 2013, at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., after a courageous fight with melanoma.

She was born on Dec. 9, 1967, at Community Hospital in Geneva to William B Jeter and the late Karen Lynn Jeter. Tracey graduated from Kaneland High School in Maple Park in 1986, and continued on to earn a bachelor’s degree in interior design from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.

Tracey had a passion for her work in the floor covering and tile business, and most recently worked for Douglas Carpet One in North Aurora. She was an active member of the Yorkville and Oswego Chambers of Commerce and their leads groups.

In her free time, Tracey loved swimming, boating on Lake Michigan, riding Harley Davidsons, walking her dog and spending time with all of her terrific friends. In 2012, Tracey was elected as the Membership Director of the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club.

She is survived by her husband, John Thomas (Dirty Dog) Madden; father, William B. Jeter; brother, Thomas William (Red) Jeter; and sister-in-law, Debra Lynn Jeter; her beloved dog Whiskey; other relatives and many friends.

Tracey was preceded in death by her mother, Karen Lynn Jeter (Magill).

A memorial gathering will take place on Friday, March 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Well Church, 33W835 Cherry Lane, Geneva. A service by Pastor Jim Popavich will follow at 4 p.m. A celebration of life will be held this summer at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor, Ill. The date has yet to be announced.

To those within the circle of Tracey’s life who enjoyed her never-ending spirit, amazing smile and laughter, and who shared her many joys of life along with her, be at peace and know she loved you all and had a special place for you in her heart.

Paul Louis Kussman

Paul Louis Kussman, 66, passed peacefully into God’s arms on Friday, March 1, 2013, after a short, courageous battle with cancer.

He was born Nov. 7, 1946, in Chicago, the son of Louis H. and Katherine (Seidl) Kussman. He grew up in Melrose Park, Ill., until joining the Navy in 1965.

Paul served two tours of duty with the SeaBees in Vietnam, followed by duty on the U.S.S. William R. Rush destroyer in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic oceans. He belonged to American Legion Post No. 377 of Post Lake, Wis.

On Jan. 15, 1972, he married the love of his life, Barbara L. Walesh, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Two Rivers, Wis. They then made their home in Illinois, where Paul worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company as a cable splicer technician until his retirement. The family then moved to Wisconsin in 1994.

He was most proud of creating a large loving family. He loved the outdoors, riding his motorcycle, and sitting at the beach with his wife, enjoying the peace and ever-changing moods of Lake Michigan. Most of all, he loved spending many happy hours with his grandchildren.

In addition to his wife Barbara of 41 years, he is survived by his six favorite children: Louis Kussman and his fiancee, Jenny Homesley, of St. Charles, Ill., Martha Randall of Sycamore, Ill., Theresa (Jeff) George of Aurora, Virginia “Ginger” (Scott) Bohman of Francis Creek, Wis., Elizabeth (Curt) Arkens of Mishicot, Wis., Dianna (Dave) Biely of Two Rivers; 13 grandchildren, Kylee and Travis Randall, Gretchen and Julianna George, Taylor, Sydney and Grasyn Bohman, Wyatt, Carson and Porter Arkens, Cole and Beau Biely, and Bella Homesley.

He is also survived by his sister, Mary Lou Ball of Elk Grove Village, Ill.; numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews; and best friend, Frank Croschere of Surprise, Ariz.

He now joins his parents; two brothers, Lenny and Bobby Kussman; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Russel and Salome (Sally) Walesh; and sister-in-law, Kris Walesh, all of whom preceded him in death.
His funeral Mass was held at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church in Two Rivers, where full military rites were accorded by V.F.W. and American Legion Posts of Two Rivers.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be used to support the missionary efforts in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family by visiting

The Klein & Stangel Funeral Home and All-Care Cremation Center of Two Rivers is assisting the Kussman family with further arrangements.

Editorial: Maple Park, Sugar Grove introduce candidates to the public

Maple Park on March 6 hosted a Meet the Candidates event at the Maple Park Community Center as a way to introduce its Village Board candidates to residents. Public turnout for the event wasn’t what Village President Kathy Curtis and staff had hoped for (less than 10 residents were in attendance), but that didn’t stop the candidates from discussing their individual platforms and vision for the village.

Brian Kinane, who is running for a four-year seat on the Village Board, told the Elburn Herald that he thought all of the candidates were sincere in their statements regarding the village of Maple Park. Curtis said that it was exciting to have seven people vying for five open seats on the board.

Despite the lackluster attendance number, we applaud Maple Park for putting forth the effort to give residents a chance to meet and interact with the candidates who could very well represent the village after next month’s election. It is our hope that more residents will attend future Meet the Candidates events in Maple Park and embrace the opportunity to see and hear village candidates as they define their platform and explain how it can benefit the village. When it comes to elections, the more information on the table, the better. That’s why any village’s Meet the Candidates event is so important, and that’s why Maple Park should absolutely continue to host such an event.

Sugar Grove held its Meet the Candidates event on Tuesday evening at the Sugar Grove Community House, and offered the opportunity for residents to hear from candidates running for seats on the Fire Protection District, Park District, Library Board, Kaneland School Board, Community House, Waubonsee Community College Board, Township and Village Board. Village president Sean Michels and his challenger, village trustee Kevin Geary, were also on hand to introduce themselves to the public in attendance and offer their thoughts on topics such as re-entering an intergovernmental agreement with the Kaneland School District and their overall vision for the village.

“We have to keep moving forward, and I think we have that vision in place. We have our long-range plan that shows where we want retail development, business development, our train stations, things like that,” Michels said during the event. “We need to continue to bring in businesses and rooftops so that we can see this vision grow.”

The event also provided residents with a look at the candidates running for township supervisor (Harry Davis, Scott Jesseman, Curt Karas and Tom Rowe), and Village Board trustee (Robert Bohler, Gayle Deja-Schultz, Sean Herron, Stephanie Landorf and Rick Montalto).

“People want to see growth within the community. I personally don’t only want growth, but I want to see responsible growth in the community,” Deja-Schultz said during the Q & A portion of the event. “That means businesses that come (to the village) are good for our community.”

The Elburn Herald had the privilege of co-sponsoring the Meet the Candidates event with the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and would like to thank the chamber and Sugar Grove residents for making Meet the Candidates night a success.

We also want to say congratulations to both Maple Park and Sugar Grove for choosing to give its residents a chance to learn more about the candidates whose names will appear on the ballot next month. When a village makes the effort to educate the public about its candidates, everyone wins.

Letter: In support of Graceffa for SG Library Board trustee

I am writing in support of Pat Graceffa for a six-year trustee position on the Sugar Grove Public Library Board of Trustees.

For most people reading this letter, Pat Graceffa will need no introduction or endorsement. She is the past president and the long-time driving force behind our Sugar Grove Library Friends group, a group that has provided tens of thousands of dollars of assistance to our library in recent years.

Other than the library director, and perhaps a few long-time members of the library’s board of trustees, no one has attended as many library board meetings over the past decade as Pat. She truly loves our library, and has continually worked to make it the best it can be.

Pat’s volunteer work in Sugar Grove extends well beyond her long-time, unusually active involvement with the library. She devotes much time to making our Corn Boil festival and our Farmers Market successful.

She is the unofficial Sugar Grove “Town Crier,” periodically sending her email community news blast to hundreds of folks who are interested in hearing what is going on in our wonderful community. Much of the news in her email blast promotes library events and information.

In recognition of Pat’s remarkable contributions to our Sugar Grove community, she was named the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year in 2009—an extremely well-deserved honor.

Although I am writing this letter strictly as a private citizen, for the past several years I have had the honor of serving as a library trustee, and consequently I have been able to observe Pat Graceffa’s contributions to our library from that perspective as well. I have made the statement many times that there is no one on this planet that is more qualified for, or deserving of, a position on the Sugar Grove Public Library Board of Trustees than Pat Graceffa.

Due to an unfortunate turn of events, you will not find Pat Graceffa’s name listed on the ballot for the six-year trustee term. Rather, you will have to vote for her as a write-in candidate.

I urge all of my friends, neighbors and fellow residents of the Sugar Grove Public Library District to vote for Pat Graceffa for six-year trustee. For more information about Pat Graceffa and her write-in candidacy, please visit her website at

Bill Durrenberger
Sugar Grove

Letter: A thank you from the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters and Knight of Performances Planning Committee

On behalf of the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters and the Knight of Performances Planning Committee, I want to express our gratitude to the many individuals and businesses that made our recent Knight of Performances Barbecue fundraising a success.

Thank you to many parents, family members and neighbors who attended our first, and hopefully annual, event; our caterer, BBQ Express of Somonauk; the many spectacular middle and high school student performers; Kaneland Harter Middle School for the use of the cafe for the event; Brian Kowalski, Lori Grant, Rebecca Andersen and Dan Zielinski for their ongoing support; all of the parents and students who volunteered to help at the event with their time and/or baking abilities; Joan Rule for her assistance; Aaron Puckett, Bryan Kunstman, April Rames and the administration for their support; and the Harter Middle School custodial staff.

In addition, Kaneland is fortunate for the generosity of the following businesses and individuals who donated items for our basket raffle: Bootleggers, Calamity Jane’s, Castle Bank, Chicago Bears, Bryan Kunstman, Chicago White Sox, Curves, Da Capo Music, Delnor Wellness Center, Andersen Plumbing & Heating, Dr. Harry Krauspe, All Things Art by Erin Livermore, Fireside Grille Restaurant, Lynfred Winery, A Salon, Hill’s Purple Store, Don Beebe House of Speed, Imperial School of Music, Jewel (Elburn and Sugar Grove), Kane County Cougars, Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, Lori Grant, Sara Mitchinson, Mitch and Carol Kida, Ninah Herrero of Bakeries Most Wanted, Old Second Bank, Jewelry by Paige, Paisano’s, Paramount Theatre, More Polish Pottery, Ream’s Elburn Market, RichWrap, Snap Fitness, St. Charles Gymnastics Academy, Stage Coach Theatre, Starbucks, Hair Director’s, A Nailology, The Art Box, 101.9 FM The Mix WTMX/Chicago, Thirty-One and Estrellita Uzagarra, Tom and Eddie, Trillium Health & Wellness, Walgreen’s (Elburn and Sugar Grove), Harris Golf Carts, Cheryl Krauspe, Bath & Body Works, and P&M Sewer and Water, Inc.

Last but certainly not least, we thank the parents and family members for supporting the band, choir and theatre programs at Kaneland. To quote Plato, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

Letter: A thank you to those who donated blood

We sent out an S.O.S. because someone urgently needed each of you. We deeply appreciated your response.

A thank you for the success of our blood drive goes to the Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary, the Sugar Grove Fire Department, Heartland Blood Center staff and of our other volunteers who work so hard.

To our special donors goes a big thank you: Clayton Akey, Jane Alabastro, David Barnhard, Brian Carpenter, Paul Carter, Charles Crisci, Matt Curtin, Jon Diaz, Susan Diaz, Lee Drendel, Nancy Felella, Elise Fichtel, Kevin Filip, Mary Filip, John Girolamo, Carrie Guerra, George Hannemann, Dustin Hawkins, Louis Jaeger, Laura Keske, Tiffany Larsen, Ed Malert, Bonnie Mateas, Robert Matthews, Jacqueline McClellan, Sally McClellan, Nick Michels, Sean Michels, Pat Morey, Raymond Navarro, Patrick Perez, Bill Perkins, Jenny Perkins, Nika Plattos, Julie Scherer, Brian Schiber, Jen Schmidt, Dawn Simmons, Don Sommerville, Andrea Strobert, Chris Steenwyk, Jeff Steenwyk, Renee Tonioni, Michael Wilger, Julie Wilson and Annette Wood.

We deeply appreciate those who attempted but were unable to donate blood. The next Sugar Grove blood drive is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9.
Joy Rubo
Blood drive coordinator, Sugar Grove

Kaneland United Soccer volunteers with Wayside Cross Ministries

by Laura Musuras, Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization
Several members of the boys Kaneland United Soccer Club (KUSC) on Jan. 19 spent part of their weekend helping the residents and staff at Wayside Cross Ministries in Aurora.

The players and several parent chaperones sorted, stocked and organized clothes and supplies in the church’s warehouse and community store. Wayside Cross Ministries is an 85-year-old Christian-based organization that assists men, women and children with shelter, job training, meals, and counseling services, all with the goal of creating financial and socio-economic independence.

Kaneland Travel Club Director Brad Simmons said its important for the players to be well-rounded, and to realize the importance of volunteering and helping others.

“They need to understand that being a good person goes beyond playing sports and the importance of giving back to others,” Simmons said.

To honor players who volunteer at least three hours of time to a group, KUSC awards a Community Service patch. The patches are intended to recognize the kids and promote volunteerism throughout the entire club.

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 Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Knights Wrestling Club sends pair to State

Photo: Colin Gussman gets his hand raised in victory at the Sectional Tournament in Rochelle, Ill.
Courtesy Photo

Kaneland—The Knights Wrestling Club (KWC) capped off its season by sending two of its team members down to the state finals.

Prior to that, the team sent 29 to Regionals, held at Sycamore High School in February. KWC left the Regionals with three individual champions: Cayden Parks, Caden Grabowski and Colin Gussman.

In addition, the club also had 10 Section qualifiers with Jace Black, Brandon Bryan, Max Gagne, Tommy Kumar, Brenden Parks, CJ Girolamo, Noah Duffey and Gussman.

Sectionals were held at Rochelle High School on March 2. Gussman took third place at 138 pound Senior Division, and Tommy Kumar took third place at 156-pound Novice Division. Those third-place wins earned them a spot at the IKWF State Championships, held March 8 and 9 in Rockford, Ill.

At the state finals, Kumar took eighth overall at the 156-pound Novice Division. Gussman did not place in the state tournament.

Swing shift | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Shortstop Trever Heinle saves the ball from going into the outfield on a high throw while a Yorville player steals second during Kaneland’s home game against Yorkville last season. File Photo

Kaneland nine ready to reach previous heights
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If Kaneland baseball has its way, the past stands to serve as the prologue to something bigger and better.

After a thrilling 3A title win at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., to end 2011, the Knights were upended in the regional semifinal by Northern Illinois Big XII rival DeKalb to conclude 2012.

All the varsity crew from the championship victory have departed, but the imprint from that amazing moment is still felt by current call-ups to the varsity crew.

“All of those players from the state team have graduated now,” seventh-year KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “It means a lot to these juniors and seniors who were in the stands watching how special that run was to State; something they strived to support. They know what it takes without being able to call themselves champs, yet.”

Returning to the varsity ranks from a 24-11 season are Kyle Pollastrini, Matt Limbrunner, Zach Martinelli, Joe Pollastrini, Ty Bellock, Matt Kucera, John Hopkins, Josh Cohrs, Dan Miller, Lane David and Clarke University-bound Blake Sowell.

Newly donning a varsity jersey in 2013 are seniors Austen Davis, Nick Albano, Jake Parry and Josh Sitterly. Juniors are Joe Komel, Tyler Carlson, Curtis Thorson, Lucas Wolski, Nate Hopkins, Nick Henne and Nick Stahl.

It’s up to the new varsity group to strike out the bad taste left by last year’s earlier-than-preferred exit.

“The DeKalb loss was exactly what happens when you think you are owed something that you haven’t gone out and earned,” Aversa said. “We have used that as an early coaching point, but we are now well past that, and those problems from last year are long gone. We are now back to business as usual, focusing on our fourth conference championship in a row.”

Despite the field being covered in snow, which can result in cabin fever, the players are getting their cuts in whenever they can, including evening practices.

“I haven’t seen another group work as much and soak up as much as these kids have. You can just see the burning desire that they all have. Not having to talk about the intangibles of hustle, heart, desire and will makes all the difference in this group,” Aversa said.

With the start of the campaign looming, Aversa’s current projections have an outfield three of Kyle Pollastrini, Martinelli and Miller. Bellock, Kucera, Nate Hopkins and Lucas Wolski would bring depth.

The infield would look like John Hopkins at the hot corner, Joe Pollastrini at shortstop, a platoon of Sowell, Carlson, Davis and Sitterly at second base, and Limbrunner at first. Komel will see time at first and designated hitter, with Carlson seeing time at third along with Parry.

The arms for Kaneland prove to be one of the major strengths of the club with John Hopkins, Limbrunner and Sowell as the top three. Komel will look to shut down late-inning threats in relief. Kyle Pollastrini, Thorson and Stahl also provide depth out of the bullpen. Sitterly, Albano, Joe Pollastrini, Bellock, Nate Hopkins, Davis and Henne could also see key mound-time before the year is out.

Threats hit the NIB-12 landscape with all eyes on KHS, and Aversa is aware of the talent from the area.

“Sycamore and Yorkville are the two who I think are loaded this year, with DeKalb close behind. Morris is always tough, and Rochelle has some talent coming up,” Aversa said. “We will be ready, and the road for conference has to go through Maple Park. It has for the past three years, and until we don’t finish in first, we will continue to think that way,” Aversa said.

The season kicks off in Maple Park on Monday, March 18, against Machesney Park’s Harlem High School. The first NIB-12 East Division matchup is set for Monday, April 8, at Rochelle.

KHS Baseball Roster

Name Projected positions
Nick Albano P
Ty Bellock OF/P
Tyler Carlson IF
Josh Cohrs
Lane David
Austen Davis IF/P
Nick Henne P
John Hopkins IF/P
Nate Hopkins OF/P
Joe Komel IF/DH/P
Matt Kucera OF
Matt Limbrunner IF/P
Zach Martinelli OF
Dan Miller OF
Jake Parry IF
Joe Pollastrini IF/P
Kyle Pollastrini OF/P
Josh Sitterly IF/P
Blake Sowell IF/P
Nick Stahl P
Curtis Thorson P
Lucas Wolski OF

Spring journey | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Kaneland’s Allyson O’Herron slides safely into third during the regional championship game last year.
File Photo

Softball squad eyes extending goal beyond regional title
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—With two-thirds of its Regional Championship lineup returning, the KHS softball team is preparing to show what it can do when Opening Day 2013 arrives.

That core of the team knows what it’s like to come back when the chips are down, like in last year’s Regional Championship win over Yorkville. Yet, they’ll have to do it without some of last year’s key players.

Gone are the likes Northern Illinois Big XII MVP and current Northern Illinois Huskie Delani Vest and reliable backstop McKinzie Mangers, but fellow all-NIB12 members Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Aly O’Herron and Lexi Roach solidify this year’s lineup.

In fact, most of the lineup from last year’s 31-7 team will return, and they will apply the experience gained from advancing all the way to the Belvidere North Sectional semifinal last May.

Fourth-year coach Brian Willis was at the helm for the first regional title win for the school in seven years.

“There’s no question that team was special last year, and they accomplished a lot of things,” Willis said. “They won 31 games and a regional, but they (the 2013 team) still have goals they want to achieve. We did lose some key players, and every school goes through that, but we have several girls coming back that are anxious to get back out on the field.”

The lineup looks to combine success and hunger.

“We have girls that will use last year as a motivating factor for this year,” Willis said.

Returning captain O’Herron patrols shortstop.

“I’m biased, but I think she’s one of the best shortstops in the entire area,” Willis said.

Junior Hayley Contorno returns at first with Rosary’s loss continuing to be a KHS gain on defense. Sophomore Kuefler moves from third to her natural position of catcher, and will try to duplicate her middle-of-the-order success at the plate. All-conference junior Roach and junior Callaghan patrol the outfield and help with the bats, with senior Sarah Grams back for an outfield job, as well. Callaghan looks for a full-strength year after missing half of 2012 with injuries, yet she still hit over .500.

Second-base will be a platoon, and freshman Meg Cohrs will start at third.

Senior Ellissa Eckert, junior Allie Miller and sophomore Anissa Becker shore up the pitcher’s circle, with Eckert having the more sizable throwing experience.

“Replacing somebody like Delani will be very difficult, but you could have someone step up and be a surprise this year; that’s sports,” Willis said.”This is their opportunity to shine.”

Fellow members of the Lady Knight roster include outfielders junior Caroline Heimerdinger, senior Morgan Newhouse, junior Megan Frascona, senior Taylor Krawczyk and junior Kaley Martens.

Infielders include junior Maddy Hester and senior Kristin Gabrielson.

The Lady Knights begin 2013 on Friday, March 15, at Jacobs High School in Algonquin, Ill. A spring break softball trip takes the team to Louisville, Ky.

KHS Softball Roster

1 Caroline Heimerdinger OF Jr
2 Sarah Grams OF Sr
3 Maddy Hester IF Jr
4 Allyson O’Herron IF Sr
6 Lanie Callaghan OF Jr
8 Allie Miller IF/P Jr
14 Haley Contorno IF Jr
16 Meg Cohrs IF Fr
18 Paige Kuefler IF/C So
21 Morgan Newhouse OF Sr
24/44 Anissa Becker P/IF So
26 Megan Frascona OF/P Jr
27 Taylor Krawczyk OF Sr
31 Kristin Gabrielson IF Sr
37 Kaley Martens OF Jr
50 Ellissa Eckert IF/P Sr
70 Lexi Roach OF Jr

Immense size, talent | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Kaneland’s Nate Dyer throws the discus a conference-best 148 feet, 9 inches, at the NIB-12 Conference track meet last season at DeKalb High School. File Photo

Largest team in school history gears up for ’13
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland High School boys track head coach Eric Baron has more reasons than ever before to feel good about his team’s prospects for the coming season.

Despite the loss of key personnel like Sean Carter, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf, the Knights return by and large an immensely talented group with State experience.

That gets Baron eager to get things going, despite the snow-covered outdoors.

“For the indoor meets, we’ve been running mostly freshmen and sophomores, and the group of freshmen that we have just amaze me,” Baron said. “They are just so talented. I have a great group of juniors and seniors, but I have a group of freshmen that might be more talented than they were. The phrase is ‘reloading,’ but I don’t think we’re reloading anymore.”

Kaneland finished second in the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things a year ago, and took its fourth straight sectional crown before sending 11 athletes to the big dance in Charleston, Ill. Five finalists achieved All-State honors and will serve an important role in 2013.

Members of the all-State 4×200 relay squad of senior Dylan Pennington, junior Brandon Bishop and senior Brandon Cottier provide a boost, with junior Dylan Nauert taking on relay duties and hurdle responsibilities.

“Cottier and the other sprinters have gotten the job done and have State medals. Bishop has come out of the gate, as well. Dylan and those two have the relays looking very solid,” Baron said.

Distance qualifiers from a year ago include senior Conor Johnson, junior Nathaniel Kucera and junior Kyle Carter, who set a school record in State prelims.

Kory Harner returns in the vault category after qualifying the last two years.

Nate Dyer returns with national experience, besides a Charleston trip, while Cottier also lent speed to the sprint categories.

“Last year, all three relays medaled, Dylan Nauert medaled, Nate Dyer didn’t, but he was a sophomore and what he’s been doing is unheard of, so I don’t worry about him,” Baron said.

Distance personnel also used to State competition include Luis Acosta in the junior class.

Ben Barnes and Isaac Swithers could see major event time on the sophomore level, while Baron pointed out Brandon Cruz as someone who could make an impact on the freshman class.

Field events look to be a certain strength in 2013.

“We have a very talented group of throwers, and more than we’ve ever had. I think that’s going to continue. Dyer is the workhorse of the group in the shot and disc, and could be knocking on the door of school records when it’s all said and done,” Baron said.

Baron also mentioned junior Shane Jorgensen as having stepped up big a year ago.

“We tied for first at Kane County because Shane had a huge night,” Baron said. “Jaumareo Phillips has had a huge offseason and has been throwing consistently, and Alex Snyder has been throwing well.”

Senior Marshall Farthing returns in the high jump and triple jump, while senior Tanner Andrews lends his jumping expertise to the Knight contingent, with junior Dalvell Triplett triple jumping in 2013, as well.

Kaneland plans on using its massive roster to its advantage.

“This gives us a lot of flexibility. If we have an injury, we’re not going to miss a bit. Injuries can be very devastating to a team, and I don’t see that being an issue. We’re just so deep,” Baron said.

The first outdoor meet for KHS is the East Moline U-High ABC meet scheduled for Saturday, April 6, while the Peterson Prep is housed by Kaneland on Saturday, April 20. The Kane County Meet is set for Friday, May 3, at Burlington Central, and the Northern Illinois Big XII meet is the following Friday at Dixon High School.

KHS Boys Track Roster

Luis Acosta 11
Brian Anderson 9
Tanner Andrews 12
BenBarnes 10
Alex Baumgartner 12
Brandon Bishop 11
Ryan Bower 11
Sam Bower 11
Kyle Carter 11
Julian Cook 9
Brandon Cottier 12
Brandon Cruz 9
Phil Cutsinger 11
John Delach 9
Andy Delgado 9
Mark Dhom 9
Nate Dyer 11
Dan Evers 11
Marshall Farthing 12
Drew Franklin 9
Alex Gil 12
Mike Gorenz 11
Mitchell Groen 9
Kory Harner 12
Cole Hookham 9
Brandon Huber 12
Conor Johnson 12
Shane Jorgensen 11
Brian Kemp 9
Brad Kigyos 12
Brandon Kigyos 10
Austin Kintz 9
Gary Koehring 11
Nathaniel Kucera 11
Will Kuipers 9
Dylan Kuipers 11
Joe Kuipers 12
Tyler Kurzrock 9
Andrew Lesak 10
Matt Lyons 10
Jay Markuson 12
Jared Matthys 9
Stephen McCracken 12
John Meisenger 12
Nick Messina 12
Brayden Miller 12
Dylan Nauret 11
Mitchell Nelson 10
Kyle Osborne 9
Brandon Park 10
Freddy Paulina 9
Ryan Paulson 12
Connor Pennington 10
Dylan Pennington 12
Connor Peterson 9
Jaumaureo Phillips 11
Triston Powell 9
Giovanni Regalado 9
Mitchell Reger 10
Mike Rinella 9
Tanner Robertson 9
Brock Robertson 11
Jacob Robitske 10
Jakob Rodriguez 9
Matt Rodway 12
Zach Selmer 12
Tyler Slamans 11
Haven Smith 10
Alex Snyder 11
Sean Spaetzel 9
Felipe Speraggi 9
Gus Stott 12
Logan Strang 9
Isaac Swithers 10
Zach Thielk 10
Jackson Thomas 11
Dalvell Triplett 11
JR Vest 11
James Walker 10
Ryan Weber 9
Seth Weiss 12
Spencer White 9
Chris Wido 12
Zack Wielgos 11
Sam Wolf 9
Nicholas Wolski 9
Nathaniel Zitko 11

Back On ‘TRACK’ | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Ashley Castellanos (right) put in good work last year at the Jill Holmes Invitational, including winning this 100 meter dash. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For Kaneland girls track, each season is a like a new generation. As athletes advance through their careers, they gain experience and attain success, and then pass down what they’ve learned to the younger athletes just starting on their own paths.

“The girls have always had a good work ethic, for the 28 years I have been here, and that is due to younger girls learning from the older ones by their actions and approach to practice and meets,” long-time KHS head coach Doug Ecker said.

There are many lessons to be learned from the successes of last year. Kaneland will see one state finalist return to the fold, as well as five other state qualifiers. Add to that an individual Northern Illinois Big XII Conference Champ, and Ecker has plenty of reasons to feel good about this year’s prospects.

Returning from a trip downstate to close out last season are Sydney Strang, an 800 meter State Finalist, distance runner Maggie Brundige, sprinter Kaltrina Ismaili, distance runner Jessica Kucera, distance/hurdler Amanda Lesak, and jumper/sprinter Lauren Zick. In addition, NIB-12 shot put champ Elle Tattoni returns as well, to help form a solid core of team leadership. Even beyond those who advanced in the postseason last year, Ecker said there are already plenty of examples of upper classmen helping the younger members of the team.

“We are proud of all the girls. We have seen leadership from Zick, Ismaili, Ashley Castellanos and the senior distance runners,” Ecker said.

New additions to the varsity mix could be in line for big things in 2013, with the onset of freshmen sprinters Olivia Galor and Allie Heinzer.

“(Galor and Heinzler) give us good depth in the sprint and sprint relays, something we have not had in a long time,” Ecker said.

Shoring up the middle distance and distance ranks, according to Ecker, are cross country strengths Brianna Bower, a freshman, and sophomore Victoria Clinton.

The Lady Knights will do their best to hang with the conference rivals, and looks to be in good standing to to so.

“It is early, but the conference seems to be balanced this year. Yorkville has their distance crew and an All-State transfer in the jumps and sprints. DeKalb will be strong, and Sycamore is improved. Geneseo is always strong in track and will be this year, as well,” Ecker said.

Kaneland takes to the outdoor meets in 2013 on Tuesday, April 2, in Burlington, along with fellow visitor Oregon. The noted Jill Holmes Invite occurs on Saturday, April 6.

KHS Girls Track Roster

Carly Bartholomew 9
Brianna Booton 9
Brianna Bower 9
Maggie Brundige 12
Angelia Carbonara 12
Erika Carlson 11
Ashley Castellanos 12
Victoria Clinton 10
Christina Delach 11
Laken Delahanty 12
Abby Dodis 12
Noelle Espino 9
Olivia Galor 9
Ashley Garcia 9
Murphy Garcia 10
Kayla Girolamo 9
Kyla Goodine 11
Samantha Havlin 10
Jordan Hedgren 9
Allie Heinzer 9
Kaltrina Ismaili 10
Brittany Kemp 11
Lilah Klingensmith 9
Sarah Kolzow 9
Jessica Kucera 10
Amanda Lesak 12
Aislinn Lodwig 10
Sydney Luse 12
Hallie Miles 9
Madeline Mohatt 9
Alexia Orosco 10
Nicole Partipilo 10
Lauren Pence 10
Anna Piazza 11
Natasha Ring 12
Kaprice Sanchez 11
Sophia Sandquist 9
Julia Schaefer 9
Sam Sommerville 9
Rachel Steinmiller 11
Sydney Strang 11
Elle Tattoni 10
Amy Vanderschaaf 9
Lauren Zick 11

Turning the corner kick 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Kaneland opened its season last year at home against Geneseo. Brittany Olson (above) looks to pass in the second half. File Photo

After 4 trips to Regional finals, KHS looks to advance further
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—For four consecutive years, the Kaneland Lady Knights soccer contingent has made it to the regional final match, only to lose to Crystal Lake Central in 2009 and 2012, and Rosary in 2010 and 2011.

With the loss of just four seniors from a year ago, a talented returning core and a stellar work ethic, KHS coach Scott Parillo expects big things from the group that finished 12-6-1 (7-2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

So does the team itself.

“They talk about it (the regional championship), but they want to do well during the season and build up to the opportunity to play in the regional finals,” Parillo said.

The strength of the lineup begins with team captain and future Purdue athlete Jordan Ginther in goal.

(She’s) shown great leadership. She hates losing and has kind of instilled that in the players. We had a very intense practice (Monday) and the teams hated losing in the drill; bodies were flying around, it was great fun,” Parillo said.

Shoring up the rest of the lineup are defenders and seniors Anne Marie Giese and Brooke Harner. Junior Jess Coia, junior defender Delaney Stryczek, junior midfielder Michelle Ortiz, junior forward Brittany Olson, and sophomore midfielders Madi Jurcenko, Courtney Diddell and Heather Ortiz will also return to lead the team.

This current group of returners hold a big role in the larger picture, especially concerning the newcomers.

“I think they have showed them how to work hard in practice, to give everything they have and still have fun and joke around when it’s needed,” Parillo said.

Entering the mix are new varsity athletes like freshman mid Kiandra Powell, freshman defender Sage Schlehofer, sophomore mid Emily Grams, freshman mid Gabby Cano and freshman defender Nicole Koczka.

“The girls really seem to get along well, they look like they are having fun and they are working very hard in practice,” Parillo said.

In order for the team to be in the NIB-12 thick of things, KHS will have to keep up with some talented outfits.

“The conference will be very competitive. DeKalb and Sycamore look very tough, Yorkville is really starting to pick up steam, Morris is very competitive, as is Rochelle. I would definitely say DeKalb and Sycamore seem to be the teams to beat. The other teams could surprise people though. We have our work cut out for us,” Parillo said.

The season begins on Tuesday, March 19, in Aurora against IMSA, with the first conference tilt on Tuesday, April 2, vs. DeKalb.

KHS Girls Soccer Roster
# Name Position YR.
1 Jordan Ginther Keeper 12
5 Kiandra Powell Mid/Fwd 9
6 Sage Schlehofer Defense 9
7 Heather Ortiz Mid/Fwd 10
8 Anne Marie Giese Def/Mid 12
9 Courtney Diddell Mid/Fwd 10
10 Michelle Ortiz Keeper/Mid 11
12 Madi Jurcenko Mid/Fwd 10
13 Delaney Stryczek Mid/Fwd 11
14 Jessica Coia Mid/Fwd 11
15 Brittany Olson Mid/Fwd 11
16 Emily Grams Mid/Fwd 10
17 Gabby Cano Mid/Fwd 9
18 Brooke Harner Defense 12
19 Nicole Koczka Def/Fwd 9

Tickets for ‘West Side Story’ available

KANELAND—Advance purchase tickets are now on sale for Kaneland High School’s performance of “West Side Story—School Edition.” Performances will take place Friday and Saturday, March 15-16, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 17, at 2 p.m., in the Kaneland High School auditorium.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and children. A “Family Plan,” which allows all immediate family members living in the same household to attend for one price, is available for $25. KHS students and staff, as well as children who don’t need a seat, can attend at no cost. Patrons with special needs or questions about ticketing can email Kaneland’s performance of “West Side Story—School Edition” is pre- sented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and is being per- formed entirely by students.

Tickets can be purchased online with a cred- it card through the Kaneland Web Store, which is accessible through

Heritage Prairie Farm brings weekly local produce to the community

ELBURN—Heritage Prairie Farm brings the best in local produce and eggs to the community with their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Participating in their CSA program allows the community to incorporate fresh, local, organically-grown produce into their diet. Organically fed, free-range chicken eggs are also available to add to any CSA share.

CSA members take advantage of seasonal produce, heirloom varietals of produce not available at the local grocer, and reduced carbon footprint by buying locally. Local produce also packs the highest content of nutrients by going directly from the land to your CSA box. In addition, CSA members also receive discounted prices on Heritage Prairie Farm’s monthly Farm Dinners.

Varied pick-up times and locations are available for some shares as a way to make it convenient for anyone in the community to take part in the program.

Now is the time to reserve your CSA share, as space is limited. To learn more about the program or reserve your share, visit or call (630) 443-5989.

Marmion Academy Math Team State qualifiers for 7th consecutive year

NAPERVILLE, ILL.—The Marmion Academy Math Team competed in the ICTM Regional Competition at North Central College on Feb. 23. The team finished in second place in the Regional, losing only to five-time state champion University of Chicago Lab School.

Marmion placed ahead of Montini, St. Francis, Lisle and Nazareth, and is currently ranked No. 4 in the state in Division 2A. This gives the Cadets their seventh consecutive berth as a whole-team qualifier in the ICTM State Finals, which will take place Saturday, May 4, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Marmion’s math team is coached by Marmion mathematics teachers Joseph Large (team moderator), Debbie Wilkinson, John Salomone, and Carol Kinzer.

A complete list of this season’s highlights and individual winners can be found at

FVCC announces Students of the Month for January

KANELAND—The following Kaneland High School students were named Fox Valley Career Center “Students of the Month” for January 2013: Luke Farris, Fire Science I; Nick Messina, Game Programming Technologies; Morgan Newhouse, Early Childhood I; Nikolas Hale, Small Engines.

In order to receiver this honor, students are selected by their program instructors for having demonstrated the ability to do excellent work and accomplish the goals for their particular career training program during the past month. Further, these students have also exhibited a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and work with others.

Rescued horses continue recovery

by Cheryl Borrowdale
MAPLE PARK—By the time the Kane County Sheriff’s deputy arrived to evict Richard and Monica Goshen from their rental home in Maple Park on Jan. 11, one of the Goshens’ horses was dead.

The body of a black filly—perhaps a year old—lay on the floor of the barn, her hair matted and filthy. Two more mares stood nearby, one so emaciated that her ribcage was clearly outlined under her hair and her hip bones jutted out.

And as 18 people, including landlords Henry and Arlona Fredrickson, moved the Goshens’ belongings out of 8N215 McGough Road and alongside the edge of the road—piling everything from chairs to ladders to a Polaris snowmobile into a great stream of debris—Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Seidelman called Kane County Animal Control and the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS) of Woodstock, Ill., to rescue two more horses.

It was the end of a court-ordered eviction of the Goshens, a lengthy process that started in October 2012 when the Fredricksons began proceedings for non-payment of rent, but it was also the beginning of an Animal Control investigation into potential animal cruelty. No charges have been filed, but Animal Control forwarded the case to the Kane County State’s Attorney in February.

The Goshens moved into the house in Maple Park in September 2011. Richard, who is originally from Red Rock, Texas, calls himself “Tex” and owns a contracting business called Carpentry Plus. A Texas federal court convicted him of conspiracy to manufacture narcotics—methamphetamine—in 2005 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, with credit for time served, and three years’ probation; the court later extended his probation to ten years.

In a voicemail message, Richard said that no horses had been rescued from his home in Maple Park.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about. I have all my horses, no horses were rescued, and I ride them every day,” he said in the message. Subsequent attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Yet according to police, the Goshens originally had six horses on the property, as well as several pigs, a chicken and a peacock, but the couple took three of the horses and the other animals with them. The three horses they left behind—one dead, one emaciated and one in good health—were “strays” that they couldn’t take with them, Richard told Seidelman, according to the police report.

“A case like this, obviously we don’t know what happened,” Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office said. “We have a deceased horse, but we don’t know how that horse died, and as police officers, we’re not qualified to determine how it died.”

The filly had been dead for a day or so by the time the eviction began on Jan. 11. Henry Fredrickson said he found the carcass inside his barn, near the automatic watering tank.

“You could tell that it had thrashed around quite a bit at the end,” he said. “It was laying flat on its side; looked very thin. The hair was pretty gruff. The two ladies who came out (from HAHS) for it, they were able to tip it over by themselves. It didn’t weigh a lot.”

The other two horses were in the same barn, Fredrickson said, but there was no food within their reach when he arrived to help evict the Goshens. Two bags of alfalfa feed were in another room, “isolated away from the animals,” he said, and a half-bag of feed was given to the two surviving horses while Seidelman called Animal Control and the HAHS.

Though the dead filly and one of the surviving mares were emaciated, whether the animals were starving or suffering from another health condition is the subject of Animal Control’s investigation. Tom Schlueter, the Kane County Health Department’s public relations officer, said no information about the investigation has been released because the case is ongoing. The State’s Attorney’s office had no comment.

In the days leading up to the eviction, Seidelman made two unannounced visits to the property—one on Jan. 8, the other on Jan. 10. On both occasions, he reported, all six horses were standing in the pasture and eating.

“I saw food in the pasture, and although the two younger horses appeared thin, they were eating,” Seidelman reported. “Richard (Goshen) said that he thought they might have worms or some other medical problem, and they were not gaining weight.”

The dead horse was autopsied by veterinarian Jane Davis on behalf of Animal Control, though she said she was not authorized to release the results. Both surviving horses were immediately evaluated by a different veterinarian when they arrived at the HAHS facility in Woodstock.

“One of the horses was in very bad condition,” said Tracy McGonigle, executive director of the HAHS. “Our vet scored her as a 1.5 on a 9-point body condition scale, and that scale goes from 1, (which is) extremely emaciated or near death, to 9, (which is) overweight. The horse was weak, and she actually was pretty friendly. She’s a nice horse.”

The other surviving horse scored a 4 on the body condition scale—a score of 5 is the ideal weight for a horse—and McGonigle said it was clear that at least one of the animals had access to food.

Though McGonigle said that it didn’t appear that the thinner horse had received “adequate nutrition,” she cautioned that several health conditions can cause horses to lose weight or have difficulty eating.

“Starvation is a rule-out diagnosis,” she said. “Blood tests have to rule out any underlying diseases, like cancer, that may cause problems. It appears she just wasn’t given adequate food, but you can’t just look at a horse and say, ‘Oh, that’s why.’”

Blood tests performed by HAHS veterinarians ruled out cancer and other illnesses, McGonigle said, though the horse did have mild leukocytosis, a white blood cell count above the normal range, which she said was frequently a sign of an inflammatory response to an infection or to emotional stress. The tests also showed the horse was slightly dehydrated and had low glucose levels. The mare also had a significant heart murmur, something that McGonigle said was sometimes found in animals with poor nutrition.

“So far, it doesn’t look like there was anything underlying. It just appears that she wasn’t getting enough food,” McGonigle said.

The horse, which has been on a refeeding program since it arrived at the HAHS facility, is now out of the acute danger period, she said.

“She’s been gaining weight, and (is) double blanketed because of this (cold) weather,” McGonigle said. “She’s still in danger, but she’s not in an acute danger period any more. Usually, I really get scared about seven days after we start refeeding them, because you lose a lot of them at that point because it taxes the organs a lot. But so far, so good.”

She expects both animals to be fully rehabilitated and eventually adopted, though it may take up to a year before the weaker of the two is healthy enough.

The HAHS regularly takes in horses suffering from starvation and is currently caring for 58 horses, McGonigle said. She estimates that food and basic veterinary care for each horse costs $3,292 annually. Those costs are why the HAHS has seen an increase in the number of cases since the recession began.

“The hay prices, people who may not know how to properly care for horses, the economy, people losing jobs and not being able to afford horses, all of these contribute,” McGonigle said. “I am purchasing hay right now for $7 a bale, and a horse eats a bale a day. The average cost of caring for a horse is $737 a year, and that’s just the basics—trimming their hooves every six to eight weeks, worming and deworming them, etc. That doesn’t include the cost of food.”

The HAHS accepts donations to help fund their care of abandoned and rescued horses. Anyone interested in donating, volunteering at their facility or adopting a rescued horse can visit for more information.

Elburn’s ‘aqua man’

Photo: Zero Edge Aquariums and Water Features in Elburn is the designer and manufacturer of some of the most unique and stunning acrylic aquariums. Their goal is to create aquatic attractions and elements that stretch the imagination. Their products are displayed globally in residential, commercial aquariums, hotels, resorts, spas, zoological and educational settings. Above is an aquarium from the Zero Edge Classic series. Courtesy Photo

by Cheryl Borrowdale
ELBURN—Brett Perry’s 20-year obsession with coral reefs spawned his invention of the world’s only rimless, overflowing aquariums, as well as a thriving local business that sells them to everyone from enthusiasts to the queen of Thailand.

Zero Edge Aquariums, located at 810 E. North St., is new to Elburn (the business moved to town from St. Charles this past November). Perry, however, is not.

He first developed his patented rimless design here in 2002, when he owned a downtown aquatics store, A Splash of Life, which sold corals he farmed in his basement in Elgin.

“In the beginning, I was kind of a hobbyist gone crazy,” he said. “I just got infatuated with corals and growing corals.”

That infatuation led Perry to take his corals to trade shows. But since standard aquarium designs didn’t show off his corals to the best advantage, Perry decided to build his own.

He wanted one without a lid or visible rim, so that buyers could look straight down into the water and see the corals from all directions. And he thought that making the aquarium overflow would help attract attention.

“It was just a snazzy tank to sell my corals,” Perry said. “The first one was kind of lucky, and at the beginning, I didn’t realize what I had.”

But when Perry’s aquarium attracted more attention at the trade shows than the corals, he realized he was onto something. He spent five years perfecting and patenting the design, and launched Zero Edge Aquariums in 2006.

Since then, the business has relocated three times—from Bloomingdale to St. Charles to Elburn—seeking more space. His wife, Denise, joined the company in 2008, and the couple hired three employees as the business grew.

“It’s going really well,” Brett said. “We’ve been doubling every year. It’s not huge numbers, but this year, from what we can see already, we’re going to be doing twice the amount of work as last year.”

Zero Edge sells a line of standard aquariums, but the rimless variety is their specialty.

“The zero edge aquarium just flows over like an infinity pool, so that’s our signature,” Brett said. “If you think of the typical tank that has a plastic black bracing on the top, the rimless tanks don’t have anything. They’re more open and elegant and beautiful.”

That elegance has attracted customers from all over the world—Spain, Germany, Japan, Brazil—including some high-profile customers, like Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who purchased a Zero Edge aquarium to display in her bedroom. Pitbull, a rapper and host of the Spanish-language television show “La Esquina,” has one of the overflowing tanks at his home in Miami.

Though the Perrys have done very little marketing so far—the focus has been on putting the processes in place, setting up machinery and developing the product line—they’ve been doing a number of large custom orders for businesses.

“We can do custom shaping, custom forming, curved panels, any kind of shape you can come up with,” Brett said.

Among the most interesting examples, he said, is a hexagonal touch pool built for the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s “big island.” The tank, which features sea cucumbers, starfish and crabs, was designed be an outdoor attraction on the beach, and had to be rebuilt when a tropical storm wiped it out.

Zero Edge doesn’t have a showroom open to the public yet, but the company website,, has an online store that offers several different tanks. Denise said that they are looking to expand the types of tanks sold online.

“We have a new line of little desktop tanks,” Denise said. “People think of Zero Edge as overflowing aquariums, but we’ve broadened our line. We have a lot of new types of aquariums that we are starting to put into the business so people can purchase them.”

The rimless aquariums might be more beautiful, but they are suited only for certain types of fish. According to Brett, many fish need a lidded aquarium, or they will jump out of the tank. That’s one reason why Zero Edge makes several types of aquariums, suited to different kinds of fish, and is expanding its product line.

Among the planned additions are specialty jellyfish and seahorse tanks, both of which should be available in the next six months, Denise said.

DeKane Equipment Corp. celebrates 40th anniversary

Photo: Russ Ruh in 2013 will celebrate 40 years of partnership within DeKane Equipment Corporation. Here, he is pictured in front of a company tractor.
Courtesy Photo

by Elizabeth Rago
BIG ROCK—In 1972, Hinckley-Big Rock High School junior Russell Ruh, commonly known as Russ, was hired by partners Robert Hardekopf and Merle Thorson to work in the Service Department of Big Rock Implement Company. With one slip of a gear case, young Russell’s life would not only land him in crutches, but also behind the counter taking inventory of implement parts. Recognizing Russ’s natural knack for managing parts, Robert decided to keep his enthusiastic young employee permanently in the Parts Department.

Forty-one years later, Russ Ruh celebrates the 40th anniversary of his partnership with Hardekopf, James Shrader, Mike Johnstone, Peter Kaus and Brent Shrader of DeKane Equipment Corporation. Adding to the foundation of rich local history in Big Rock, most do not know that DeKane Equipment Corp. first came into existence in 1880.

Before the turn of the century, a gentleman by the name of Levi Davis started a general store establishment, located by what was previously the bandstand (presently the big gazebo) by the big rock on Route 30. Levi’s General Store stocked coffee, sugar, and tea, all of which were delivered via horse-drawn covered wagon. A small ledger book documenting transactions, including livestock taken in as trade for goods offered was found in the 1950’s by future owner, Robert Hardekopf, among stacks of old papers and items from previous owners. Robert brought the ledger book to owner, Carl Thurow, insisting the worn records were too valuable to discard. Carl kept the journal, and incidentally, it has never been seen since.

Since the general store began, ownership changed hands and names three times, and by 1954, Hardekopf and Thorson solidified the current future of the company, Big Rock Implement.

Sixty-five years later, Robert Hardekopf is still walking through the doors of DeKane Equipment, almost half the lifetime of the business itself.
So, what has kept this historic company flourishing since 1880?
“Hard work, quality product lines and consistent superb customer service,” Ruh said. “Companies like DeKane are few and far between now. We work with customers in a 50-mile radius with farm, construction and consumer (lawn and garden) equipment.”

Establishing roots in a small community such as Big Rock also means supporting local organizations and families. DeKane Equipment Corp. staffs 20-25 area employees, has been a major contributor to the Big Rock Fire Department and annually participates in the Big Rock Plowing Match.
“It all starts with establishing a positive personal relationship,” Ruh said of DeKane’s successful past. “Our customers like and trust us because we offer competitive prices, on-site repairs, and if you have a problem, we fix it the first time.”

As the landscape of the Kaneland area has changed over the years, DeKane has stretched its farm equipment service both out west and to the east of Big Rock, and offers Versatile tractors; lawn and garden equipment like Stihl
lawn and garden products; Kubota tractors; Cub Cadet mowers and tractors; Woods; Grasshopper; Scag; Dixon equipment; Honda mowers; generators and Troy Bilt tillers. An ever-evolving business, DeKane Equipment Corp. has come a long way from selling sugar and coffee, but their consistent message of providing customers with high-quality products and friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy staff members remains true.

DeKane Equipment Corporation will host a 40th anniversary celebration on May 18 at 47W619 US Route 30. The festivities will be suitable for all ages.
For more information about DeKane Equipment Corporation, or to find out more about the 40th anniversary celebration, call (630) 556-3271 or visit

Video gaming vote postponed

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson on Monday put off voting on the video gaming issue, due to the absence of two trustees. Jerry Schmidt was on vacation, and Ethan Hastert was called out of town for work.

Elburn resident Al Herra still had some feedback for the board on the issue.

“Before you vote on this, you should think about who wins,” Herra said. “It’s not the community that wins.”

Herra said that the people who lose their money at video gaming end up not having it to spend at other businesses. Calling it a redistribution of the money in town, he said that the only winners are the state of Illinois and the bar with the machines.

The Village Board first considered video gaming in 2009, when trustees implemented a ban on it in the village of Elburn. Although Walter was in favor of the ban at that time, he said that since then, the state has clarified the rules for how it would work.

In addition, Kane County has since reversed its ban, allowing the Blackberry Bar & Grill south of town to install machines last fall. Some of the trustees said they were concerned that Elburn’s dollars would be spent outside of town, including places such as the bar and grill.

Blackberry Bar & Grill owner Pam Moutray said she has been pleased with the results since they installed the machines. They had three put in last fall, and recently added two more, for the five machine maximum.

Moutray stated that she knows some people have concerns that the machines will attract “seedy” people, but said that has “absolutely not been the case.”

“We have husbands and wives who come in together, and they are happy to have some place to go,” she said. “They’re happy to have a neighborhood place to spend their money.”

Moutray said she is also pleased with the revenues the machines are bringing in.

“Our cut has met our expectations and then some,” she said.

The revenue gained from video gaming is split between the bar owner, the gaming terminal provider and the state, with the bar owner and the terminal provider each receiving 35 percent of the revenues, and the state receiving 30 percent. The municipality receives one-sixth of the state’s take, or 5 percent of the total revenue.

Sugar Grove has also lifted its ban, but will hold a citizen referendum on the issue in the spring. The referendum is non-binding and advisory, which means the board is not required to change anything, based on the results of the vote.

Elburn resident Fred Houdek also had some feedback for the board on video gaming, and said he feels that bringing video gaming to Elburn doesn’t really fit with the values of the Elburn residents, and that it “sends the wrong message.”

“I don’t think we’re the ones that are going to profit,” he said.

Schmidt’s Towne Tap owner Kevin Schmidt and Knuckleheads Tavern owner Betsy Brizek have both said they would install the machines in their bars. Although the Elburn Lions Club initially considered video gaming at its facility, Park Board Treasurer Tim Klomhaus said that they had ultimately decided against it.

Anderson did not say when the video gaming issue would be brought before the board.

Elburn Public Works Superintendent honored at Blackhawks game

Photo: Elburn Public Works Director John Nevenhoven smiles with his wife Melissa and son Ryan at the Blackhawks game on Feb. 15. John was one of two veterans honored prior to the game. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven served in the United States Navy for nine years of active duty before going on to college and marrying his wife Melissa. When the World Trade Center was hit on Sept. 11, 2001, their son, Ryan, was six years old.

John said he wanted to do something to contribute to his country. He knew he couldn’t do it fulltime, so he joined the Navy Reserves in November 2001. He serves one weekend a month, as well as participating in two weeks of training every year at Scott Air Force Base outside of St. Louis. He was deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2006, and was set to go again in 2011, but his tour was cancelled at the last minute.

John has been a big hockey fan since he was in high school, and he and his family frequently watch the Blackhawks play. Melissa noted that before each game, two service members are honored, one active duty and one veteran.

She did some research, and through the USO found a contact to suggest John for the honor. That was in August 2011. The family recently received a call from a representative of the Blackhawks to set the date, and on Feb. 15, John, Melissa and Ryan showed up at the United Center at the appointed time.

John said he was escorted to the penalty box, where he stood next to Jim Cornelison, who performs the national anthem before each game. John and a veteran from the U.S. Army walked out onto the ice and saluted the flag while 21,000 fans cheered through the entire song.

“It was kind of neat to hear that crowd,” John said. “I’ve been to tons of hockey games, but this was a different feeling. Seeing those people cheering the national anthem; it’s an incredible event to be a part of, whether you’re on the ice or in the stands.”

Melissa said the whole thing was quite overwhelming, seeing John out there in his uniform.

“It was very emotional,” she said. “We’re very patriotic to begin with. I’m so extremely proud of him and our service members in general. It’s not just about John.”

What made the event even more special was that the event occurred on Ryan’s 14th birthday.

“He was pretty excited and proud,” Melissa said. “It was such a great way to celebrate.”

John is a member of the United States Transportation Command, which monitors and tracks all pieces of Department of Defense equipment shipped around the world. Whether it’s tanks or bullets, blankets or anything else that service members need during their deployment, Scott Air Force Base is the world-wide logistics hub.

Melissa said that when John joined the reserves in 2001, she stood behind his decision because she knew it was important to him. They didn’t know at the time that he would be called up to go to Afghanistan. However, she said the family has a good local support system, and when John had to leave, they made it through his time away.

“It was difficult, but we were able to email and internet chat and talk on the phone,” she said. “We were very lucky. I kept so busy that I didn’t have time to dwell on it. You do what you have to do.”

Now John has one more reason to thank his wife.

“I always wondered how the Blackhawks chose the service members,” he said. “Melissa should get the Wife of the Year award.”

Public Hearing held for comprehensive plan

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Residents had an opportunity to provide feedback on Elburn’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan during a public hearing on Monday.

The Village Board will vote on the plan, which describes Elburn’s vision for the next 20 years, at its March 18 meeting. During the same meeting, the board is also scheduled to vote on the annexation agreement for ShoDeen’s Elburn Station development. Should the board approve the Elburn Station development, those plans will be incorporated into this existing plan for the village.

Carrie Hansen, Images Inc. director of planning and government relations, said that over the past year, she and her co-workers met with various village stakeholders, including seniors, members of the business community, community service providers, high school students and the general public, to obtain input on their preferences for the future of Elburn.

The plan is to be used by the village as a guide for future development for the next 20 years, Hansen said. However, she said it is not meant to be a static recommendation, and it is also meant to be flexible.

“It is a dynamic document,” she said.

Hansen began the public hearing with a summary of the plan. She highlighted people’s focus on Elburn’s strong sense of community character, which she said is a “big, big thing.”

“It’s why people live here, stay here and come back here,” she said.

She also said that agriculture is a huge part of Elburn’s history, and that there is a strong commitment to maintaining at least a portion of the land for agriculture, even as the village grows.

The board members gave their comments on the plan first.

Trustee Ken Anderson expressed his concern about designating areas in the outer reaches of the planning area, such as the intersection of Main Street Road and Route 47, for commercial development. He said that given the village’s priority for infilling land closer in to the center of town, he was concerned that it might create speculation among developers and a value to the area that it doesn’t have.

Hansen said that the three phases of development are clearly defined, beginning with the initial infill and redevelopment, then primary expansion and, finally, long-term potential growth. She said that the outer stretches of the planning area (a mile and a half out from the corporate boundaries) are clearly marked for long-term growth.

Anderson said that the original plan called for 22,000 residents, and he wanted to know how many this plan calls for. Hansen said there are many variables that could impact that number, including whether the Elburn Station is approved, as well as varying potential densities for the areas slotted for residential development. Hansen said she would work up an estimate.

Village President Dave Anderson said he wanted to show that public parking in the downtown area is a clear priority, with buildings facing the street and parking available on the back side.

Anderson also mentioned that the Union Pacific has plans for a third rail that will run all the way to Omaha, Neb., adding significantly more train traffic through the downtown area.

Several residents had comments on the plan, including Alan Herra, who said he would like to see additional large parks available for children and their sports, similar to the Lions Club Park. He said that, although there is a lot of Kane County Forest Preserve space, it is mostly reserved for passive uses, such as hiking.

Hansen said she thought that the Forest Preserve District might be open to discussions regarding the future use of its land, and noted that the plan calls for between 6.5 and 10.5 acres of open space for every 1,000 acres.

“You really have a significant amount of high quality natural resources,” Hansen said. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in this area.”

Anderson said that if individuals have additional concerns about the plan, they should contact Hansen or Doug Elder, the consultant filling in for Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

The plan is available for viewing on the village’s website,

Every drop counts

SG Blood Drive1
George Hannemann (above) and Annette Wood (below) of Sugar Grove donate blood at the Sugar Grove Fire Department on Monday. The blood drive was hosted by the Fire Department and Sugar Grove Firefighters Auxiliary.
Photos by Kimberly Anderson

SG Blood Drive2

Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters finds local support

by Dave Woehrle
KANELAND—A sold-out crowd is expected for the A Knight of Performances barbecue dinner on March 9, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Kaneland Harter Middle School, as nearly 380 tickets were sold prior to the cut off date of Feb. 26.

That’s almost a 200 percent increase in sales, according to Denise Blaszynski, president of Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters. Blaszynski wrote a piece for the Elburn Herald’s Community Corner on Feb 21 after only 83 tickets had sold, and said the response from the community has been “overwhelming,” and that over $1,000 has been raised from dinner tickets sales alone.

Admission to the event is free; however, a $12 dinner ticket will get you a full meal of either chicken, a pork chop or pulled pork, with a side of coleslaw, apple sauce, and a dessert.

A Knight of Performances will include choir, band and drama acts from both the high and middle school. In total, 50 students in total will perform, and HMS Choral and Drama Director Brian Kowlaski decided to include more middle school performers than in previous years.

The showcase will feature instrumental performers on flute, sax, guitar and cello. Brass bands and jazz bands from both schools will also perform.

The raffle items will include Chicago White Sox and Chicago Wolves tickets, a three-month

gym membership to Delnor Health and Wellness Center, local art lessons, and tickets to “Fiddler on the Roof” at Paramount Theatre.

Local merchants also donated baskets, such as Walgreens, Hill’s Purple Store in Kaneville, and A Salon in Elburn. In total, over $3,000 in merchandise was donated. The raised money will go to both schools’ choir, band, and theatre needs.

Blaszynski stressed the importance of music in school.

“Several studies have shown music students tend to score higher on standardized testing,” she said. “Also, a great sense of camaraderie is made among the students. It makes the transition from middle school to high school easier when band and choir students know upperclassmen. It’s a very close-knit group.”

Blaszynski also gave credit to Elburn and Kaneville, as well as the entire Kaneland community, for their generosity.

“I can’t believe it. We are fortunate to have a community that supports arts,” she said. “We hope this event continues to grow in the coming years.”

re-’Fleck’-tions from a head coach

KHS alum P.J. Fleck prepares for 1st season as head coach in major college football
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When asked about former Knight wideout P.J. Fleck, former assistant and current Kaneland High School head football coach Tom Fedderly said, “No one is going to outwork P.J.”

“I don’t know about anyone else, I just try to outwork myself,” Fleck said on Monday.

That could be what led to the Sugar Grove native’s rise through the ranks among NFL and college football staffs. His rise culminated in becoming the youngest head coach in major college football on Dec. 18, when he took over the top spot at Western Michigan University at the age of 32.

He replaced eight-year head coach Bill Cubit, who had been fired after a 51-46 stint leading the Broncos.

After starring for Kaneland High School and Northern Illinois University, and then making the NFL as a member of the 2004 San Francisco 49ers, Fleck entered the coaching ladder as a graduate assistant with Coach Jim Tressel’s Ohio State Buckeyes.

Fleck then went on to be wide receivers coach at NIU and Rutgers before following former Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2012 season.

Fleck has plenty of mentors who have made an impact on him as he prepares for his first season in Kalamazoo, Mich.

“Anytime you’re a coach at any level, you’re built by who you were with,” Fleck said. “I’m all of those guys.”

Fleck’s aspirations always included being a head coach at some level. A chance to lead a program with plenty of Midwestern talent and belonging to a conference with ample television coverage gives him a stage to show what he can accomplish.

“People looked at Nick Saban when he first started coaching and said he had never been a coach before,” Fleck said. “Now it’s wondering if he can win another national championship. You can’t be a head coach until you get the job.”

Assembling the Broncos’ football staff provided a boost to the first-year coach.

“I was excited to assemble my kind of coaching staff. In my short career, I’ve been around a lot of coaching staffs, and now it’s my chance. Every year, you kind of re-invent yourself until you become a head coach,’ Fleck said.

Fleck tries to lead the program back to a winning season, last seen in 2011 when the Broncos went to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and finished third in the MAC West Division.

The Kaneland grad is also getting the head coach/father dynamic down, as the birth of his second child, daughter Paisley, came just 24 hours before he officially took the Broncos’ helm.

“I love it, and somehow I have more energy,” Fleck said. “You have to be able to manage your time, and this has made me a better husband and father.”

The 15th head coach in Western Michigan history has plenty of fans in his corner locally, as Fedderly saw early on what Fleck was capable of accomplishing.

“Just watching him mature and become the man that he is just makes me really proud. He’s just a really good friend and good friend of our family. To see him work his way up as he did and become a head coach at 32 is unbelievable,” Fedderly said.

With mere months remaining before the start of his first season, Fleck reflected on the the biggest change he has experienced thus far in his new role.

“You are the final decision maker. I’ve always wanted to be that. You listen to the coaching staff and hear what they have to say and at the end of the day, you make the best choice,” Fleck said. “Greg (Schiano) was the best I’ve ever seen at making decisions.”

Having to start somewhere, Fleck has reached a pinnacle at his first head coaching stop.

“People have always doubted me at every stop,” Fleck said. “It’s happened my whole life, and I love it.”

Fleck and his WMU team kick things off in East Lansing, Mich., against the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, Aug. 31.







SU Rutgers


Dudzinski named All-Patriot League

Worcester, Mass.—Holy Cross junior forward Dave Dudzinski, of Elburn, has been selected to the 2012-13 All-Patriot League second team in men’s basketball, as voted by the conference’s head coaches.

Dudzinski, a graduate of Kaneland High School, has averaged a team-best 15 points, 6.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game this year, while hitting 47.9 percent (157 of 328) of his field goal attempts and 82.4 percent (103 of 125) of his free throws. He finished the regular season ranked fourth in the league in scoring, fourth in rebounding, fourth in free throw percentage, eighth in blocked shots and ninth in field goal percentage.

Dudzinski has led the team in scoring 15 times this year and scored in double-figures 25 times. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 831 points, 439 rebounds and 68 blocked shots, while connecting on 49.2 percent (305 of 620) of his field goals and 80.3 percent (188 of 234) of his free throws. Dudzinski currently ranks sixth all-time at Holy Cross in career free throw percentage.

Parillo makes the cut

Kaneland—Kaneland soccer standout Anthony Parillo was recently selected to be in a pool of 125 juniors who play high school soccer to participate in the All-American game Dec. 14, 2013, after their senior season in Philadelphia.

If Parillo makes the cut to the final 75 players, he is automatically a McDonald’s All-American selection. If he makes the final pool of 40 players, he will play in the All-American Game.

Softball umpires needed

Wasco—Wasco Girls Fastpitch is now accepting applications for 10U and 12U umpires for the 2013 spring/summer softball season.

Games start the first week of May and continue until the end of June. Weekday games start at 6 p.m., and Saturdays have games all day.

Umpires must be 14 years of age or older. Free training is provided. For more information and an application, visit and click on Documents Tab.

Thunder gives back

The Northern Illinois Thunder 18U and 16U softball teams came together at the Northern Illinois Food Bank to volunteer and separate food for the local food pantries. They sorted over 8,000 pounds of food, which is enough to provide 6,500 meals for those in need. Courtesy Photos

NI Thunder 2013 NIFBC

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Cagers take 2nd place

cagers pic
The Kaneland Cagers 6 Black Team finished in second place in the Grayslake Youth Feeder Tournament on Feb. 23 and 24. The team also finished first on Feb. 10 in the Woodstock ‘Groundhog Day’ Tournament, going 3-0 with wins over Woodstock, Elgin Larkin and Marian. The team included coaches Jeff McDonald, Brian Schaefer and John Marshall; and players (back, from left) Wyatt Peeler, Nick Panico, Andrew Hahn, Sheldon Bartman, Declan McDonald and Chase Carlson and John Schaefer (bottom, from left), Spencer Brown, Zach Denning and Will Marshall.
Courtesy Photo