Elburn Lions Club seeks donations for tornado victims

by Stefanie Frazier

ELBURN—The Nov. 17 tornado outbreak ripped through the Midwest, flattening homes and resulting in at least six deaths.

Many people still need help in the wake of the damage and devastation left by the tornado outbreak.

According to Elburn Lions Club member Linda Callaghan, the Lions Club is asking its members and the local community to contribute money to help victims who live in Washington and Coal City, Ill.

The club’s goal is to raise $5,000 by Sunday, Dec. 8.

Callaghan said money will go to the victims to pay for things like food, water, toiletries and lodging.

“Gosh, if every family in the Elburn, Kaneville, Sugar Grove area could donate $20, just think of the impact it would make on these communities,” Callaghan said. “That would be fabulous.”

People who want to contribute to the relief fundraising effort can write a check to Elburn Lions Club and note “Tornado Relief Fund” in the memo. Checks can be mailed to the Elburn Lions Club, 500 Filmore St.; Elburn, Ill. 60119.

A drop off box is located on the east side of the Lions Club’s building. Money can also be dropped off in an envelope noting the name of the fund.

“We’re not going to turn away a kid who wants to turn in his piggy bank and donate $11.42 or anything else,” Callaghan said.

The family of Caitlyn Phillips gathered on Sunday to accept donation money collected by Caitlyn's friends Cierra Kuipers and Katie Baird, who sold silicone bracelets in the community to help keep Caitlyn’s memory alive. The duo raised over $1,000 for the Phillips family. Kuipers (left to right); Baird; Caitlyn’s sister, Taylor Phillips; Caitlyn’s parents, Gary and Crystal Phillips, with their grandson, Noah.  Photo by Lynn Logan

‘Caity Strong’ bracelets keep Elburn teen’s memory alive

by Susan O’Neill

ELBURN—Two young friends of Caitlyn Phillips have found a way to keep the memory of their friend alive, while offering some financial assistance to her family.

Elburn teenagers Katie Baird and Cierra Kuipers were devastated when their good friend, 13-year-old Caity Phillips, died last April while roller skating in her neighborhood.

Kuipers had been friends with Phillips since kindergarten. The two attended Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, and were in the Elburn Brownie Troop together.

Phillips was such a frequent visitor to Baird’s house on the weekends, she had her own special pillow and blankets. The two enjoyed all kinds of activities together, including making a video to put on YouTube.

At Phillips’ memorial service, Kuipers and Baird heard the pastor’s words as he spoke about their friend. He said that, even though she was petite in stature, she was strong—both in her faith and in her personality. He encouraged everyone to live every day “Caity strong” to keep her memory alive.

The girls decided to have bracelets made that said “Caity Strong” on them, and to raise money for Phillips’ family by selling them to people in the community.

The girls enlisted the help of Alice’s Restaurant and Dr. Krauspe’s dental office, and also sold the bracelets at school. They ended up selling 200 bracelets and raising more than $1,000. Even though the girls asked for $3 a bracelet, people often gave much more.

“I was shocked at how many people donated money,” said Deb Baird, who is Katie’s mother. “A lot of them didn’t even take the bracelet; they just wanted to help.”

The girls met Caity’s mom Crystal Phillips at the Baird’s house to give her the check for the money they raised. They all reminisced about Caity and what a wonderful friend she was.

“She was always bubbly, and she was always able to make you feel better,” Kuipers said.

“She was always nice to everyone,” Katie said. “She was like an angel from Heaven.”

Crystal told the girls that she would like to take part of the money and start a tradition of adopting a family with a teenaged girl for Christmas. Crystal said she would like Katie and Cierra to come to the store with her to help her pick out some presents for the girl.

Katie said that Caity would love that idea.

“Caity would say, ‘Let’s do it,’” Katie said.

Kuipers said she would like to say a thank you to all the people who bought a bracelet or donated money for Caity’s family. It has turned out to be a great way to keep Caity in their hearts.

Katie said that her friend is in her prayers every night.

“I know that she is listening, and that she’s near me,” Katie said.

What we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving

It’s officially that time of year again.

Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we cut the work week short (or nix it entirely), load up on mass doses of turkey, football and shopping (preferably in that order), and then conclude festivities by breaking out the Christmas decorations and erecting a freshly-cut Christmas tree (or a fake one, if you’re into that).

All of this is, of course, in the name of the pilgrims who dined in Plymouth 392 years ago. And with Thanksgiving this Thursday, the Elburn Herald has much to be thankful for this holiday season, including …

• We’re thankful for upcoming local holiday events, including Elburn Christmas Stroll, Holiday in the Grove and Christmas in Kaneville. And we’re excited to roll out our life-sized “Kandyland” at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center during the Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6. Kandyland is a game that takes kids and adults alike through a winding path of yuletide decorations, and we never get tired of seeing the enthusiasm exhibited by its participants. Plus, candy awaits at the end of the game path. Not a bad way to conclude your trip to Kandyland, if you ask us.

• We’re thankful for the generosity of our readers and the local community as a whole. We reported last September about Maple Park native Becky Nelson and her journey back from the severe brain trauma and broken pelvis that she suffered when she was struck by a vehicle in the Cayman Islands on July 1. Becky didn’t have medical insurance at the time of her accident, and with the extent of her Medicaid coverage in question, the Nelson family and local resident Audry Buchanan got together and planned a “Help Becky Bounce Back” fundraiser to help defray some of Becky’s medical costs. Nearly 400 people attended the event, which raised $24,000. If that’s not a sign of community goodwill and “togetherness,” we don’t know what is.

• We’re thankful for the endless run of ‘80s and ‘90s films that will air all day on Thanksgiving (we’re less thankful for the fact that each movie will be four hours long as a result of commercials).

• We’re thankful for our friends and family, and for the opportunity we have to spend time with them this holiday season.

• We’re thankful for you, the reader, and the many subscribers who await our paper each and every week. It’s our belief that we’re based in the greatest community around, and it’s truly a pleasure to feature news from Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park, Kaneville and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the Elburn Herald and Kaneland Publications, Inc.

KBC PTO to host ‘Kids’ Korner Holiday Shop’

by Laura Gampfer
President, Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School PTO will host its annual “Kids’ Korner Holiday Shop” on Friday, Dec. 13, from 3:35 to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon. This fun event allows KBC students to make a holiday shopping list, budget their items, and even calculate their purchase totals with help from parent volunteers.

KBC students and their families are welcome to come in and shop for unique gifts for everyone on their holiday lists. Children of all ages can find the perfect gift for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and even pets. Gift prices range from $.25 to $13. Each gift will be sent home in its own gift bag with a label attached. All students must attend with a parent/guardian.

To preview the Kids’ Korner product line, KBC parents can visit www.Kidskornerusa.com. For more information, visit the KBC PTO website at kbcpto.org.

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

‘Keep the Wreath Red’

The Elburn and Countryside and Sugar Grove fire protection districts recently installed wreaths, which are illuminated with red bulbs.

Should a fire occur during the holiday season, in which holiday decorations are determined to be involved, one of the red bulbs will be changed to a white bulb. This will serve as a reminder to all of us of the safety precautions that should be taken during this holiday season.

We urge the residents of our communities to take time to “Keep the Wreath Red,” and eliminate unwanted fires by providing a fire safe environment at home and work.
Here are some precautions and safety suggestions:

• Fireplaces – Your fireplace is a source of warmth and heat. Before starting your fire, be sure to remove all paper and wood decorations from the immediate area. Make sure that the flue is open. Use a grate to burn materials in the fireplace. Avoid prolonged over-firing. This may ignite the structure through overheated hearth or fireplace walls where the mortar has become dried and dropped out because of excessive heat. Never use flammable liquids to light the fire, always keep the fire box area clean of ashes and embers and make sure they are completely cooled before taking the ashes or embers into a storage area. Avoid burning garbage, dried decorations, wrapping paper, etc., in fireplaces, as these burn with a very hot flame and may ignite accumulated creosote or cause damage to the chimney itself. It is also extremely important to have your chimney cleaned by a certified chimney sweep.

• Candles – The use of candles during the holiday season has increased drastically over the years. When using candles, always make sure that the candles are not close to combustible materials, such as curtains and other decorations. Make sure all of the candles are snuffed out before retiring or leaving your house.

• Lights – Christmas tree lights and other decorations set the theme for the holidays. Use only lights that have been tested for safety, identified by a label from a listing agency, such as UL. Check the labels on lights to be used outdoors to see that they are suitable for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outside. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls or other firm support to protect them from wind damage. Never use more than the listed amount of light sets per extension cords. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and do not use more than the number of light sets recommended in one circuit. Always turn off lights when you retire for the evening or leave your home. A short circuit in any electrical equipment could cause a fire. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. All lights present the problem of shock, and a casualty hazard for curious kids.

• Paper: The opening of holiday presents is always special during this time of year. Take special precautions when disposing of the wrappings. Always dispose of wrappings immediately after opening. Place trash in a metal container. Don’t burn wrappings in the fireplace. They may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.

• Trees – Artificial trees (plastic) should bear a listing label. Some unlabeled plastic trees burn with extreme vigor. Do not rely on chemical coatings or sprays to make your live evergreen flame resistant.

Follow these safety rules when shopping for a natural tree:

• A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember to check for color and scent. Feel the needles; they shouldn’t come off in your hand. A fresh tree is deep green in color and has a strong scent of pine.

• The trunk butt of a fresh tree should be sticky with sap. After you get the tree home, cut a half-inch off the trunk and keep plenty of water in the stand.

• Place your Christmas tree in a location away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Be sure that it is out of the traffic pattern and primary evacuation route in case of an emergency.

For any questions on fire safety, contact the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District at (630) 365-6855, or Sugar Grove Fire Protection District at (630) 466-4513.

Brad Reese
Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District

A thank you from Kaneville Fest

A belated thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Kaneville Fest a great success. We especially want to thank our many sponsors: Dee Withey, Schollmeyer Landscaping, Fresh Lift Cleaning Services, AFM Electrical, Alex McTavish, Russell Automotive, Behm Plumbing, American Bank & Trust, America’s Best EyeGlasses, Schmidt’s Towne Tap, Hughes Creek Golf Course, Rich’s Auto Service, Ream’s Elburn Market, Alice’s Place, 95.9 The River, Amy Reed, Blackberry Inn, Bob Jass Chevrolet, Peggy Hess, Reed’s General Merchandise, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, Mary Niceley, Sam’s Club-Batavia, Kaneville Volunteer Fire Department, Hair By Amber, Elburn Radiator and Repair, Jewel in Batavia, Honest Automotive, Napa Auto Parts, Ross Electric, Kaneville Township, The Needham Shop, Lee and Joanne Murdock, Bliss Creek Golf Course, Elburn Car Wash, Charlie & Darlene Palochko, Roger & Blanca Souders, Hill’s Country Store, Mike Pitstick, Danials Drywall, Old Second Bank, Jennie Gatske, Kaneville Veterinary Service, Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, Team Hoffman Construction, Builders Asphalt and the Village of Kaneville.

We also want to thank our many volunteers: Cathy, Jenni Myer and Margie Jordan from Old 2nd Bank; Lyla Staton, Gigi Greer, Kim Wendling, Dawn Schlielfer, Mariann O’Connell, Tyler Hill, Alexa Hill, Jen Long, Stephanie Gruber, Loretta, Jean and Jane Saul; Karen Flammond, Al Withey, and Jordan and Denise Thelander. Thank you once again, and we look forward to next year

Pat Hill, Kaneville Fest chair

Alexandra Brown


Alexandra Brown, 95, of Plano, formerly of Oswego, Ill., was called by the Lord on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. She was born Oct. 1, 1918, to the late Gus and Argiro Hatzidakis of Crete, Greece.

Her parents were visiting relatives in Burgettstown, Penn., when Alexandra was born. She was the oldest of seven children. At the age of 2, she and her parents returned to Crete.

In 1946, Alexandra returned to the United States. She married Manuel “Mike” Brown, who had emigrated in 1913 from Crete to the United States. Together they raised five children.

Mike and Alexandra owned and operated gas stations in Naperville and Aurora. Each day, Alexandra would cook homemade Greek dishes for his lunch and deliver them to the gas station. It was not uncommon to see Alexandra helping out by pumping gas and attending to their customers. She worked at Riverdale Coat Company from 1962 until her retirement in 1983.

Alexandra was an excellent cook of Greek cuisine and pastries. She so much enjoyed cooking and baking for her family and friends. She also enjoyed reading, crocheting and needlepoint. Alexandra was one of the founding members of the St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church in Aurora in 1966.

Alexandra is survived by her loving children, Manuel Brown Jr. of Somonauk, Michael (Linda) Brown of Mission Viejo, Calif., Gusty Brown of Plano, George Brown of Yorkville, and Christine (Steve Brackett) Freeland of Big Rock; her grandchildren, Kristine (Ron) Underwood, Doug (Laura) Brown, Emilie Brown, Noel, Michael (Melissa) and Lindsay Brown, Brittani, Ryan and Jessica Freeland; great-grandchildren, Dylan and Ellis Brown, and Jayda Freeland and Connor Brown.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Manuel; and her grandchildren, Stephanie Brown and Kari Clawson.

Visitation was held on Sunday at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Drive, Sugar Grove, followed by the Trisagion service. Funeral services were held on Monday at St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, Aurora. Interment will take place at the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made in Alexandra’s name to St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, 1855 East Fifth Ave., Aurora, IL 60504.

For further information, call (630) 466-1330, or visit www.healychapel.com to leave an online condolence.

SGUMC to participate in Holiday in the Grove

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove United Methodist Church (SGUMC) will host events during this year’s Holiday in the Grove event, Saturday, Dec. 7, including Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and sleigh rides from 8 a.m. to noon, and a stable display.

Stop by SGUMC for your Christmas cookies, candy and pies. Some of the best bakers in Sugar Grove are baking up a storm in anticipation of this year’s Holiday in the Grove.

Sarah ‘Sally’ Compton

Sarah “Sally” Compton, 91, of Elburn, passed away peacefully at her home Friday evening, Nov. 8, 2013, where she was lovingly cared for by her family.

As the new day dawned, Sally was greeted not only by the angels, but by her father, William, and husband, Dave, who passed within one day of each other (William on Nov. 9, and Dave on Nov. 7) many years apart. Shortly before midnight on the Nov. 8, the long-awaited reunion began and she was escorted into eternity with Dave on her left and her dad on her right.

She was born July 2, 1922, the daughter of William and Lee (Zimmermann) Bangs in Geneva.

Sally grew up in Geneva and attended Putney Boarding School in Putney, Vt. She graduated in 1942 from the School of Horticulture in Ambler, Penn. Sally returned to her roots in Geneva, where she worked at Little Traveler for many years and cared for her ailing mother. A combination of fate and cupid introduced her to a certain gentleman who possessed the other half of her soul.

Sally and David Compton were united in marriage on Aug. 16, 1952.

She is survived by three children, Mark (Patty) Compton of Oneida, Ill., Kit Compton of Batavia and Robin Urich of Elburn; five grandchildren, Krista (Greg) Peck, and their son Matthew James, of Cambridge, Ill., Kelly (Jason) Cheline of Kewanee, Ill., Craig Compton of Oneida, and Amber Urich and Rachel Urich, both of Elburn; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a loving community of friends whom she held so dear.

She is preceded in death by her parents, William and Lee Bangs; her husband, David Compton; one daughter, Becky Compton-Otto; a son, Timothy, in infancy; two brothers, Bill and Bobby Bangs; and one sister, Kay Mayer.

A memorial open house will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Following cremation, Sally will be laid to rest on the family farm.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Sally’s name to benefit The Town and Country Public Library in Elburn, specifically the “Homebound to Seniors” program, as well as “PAWS With A Cause.” Checks may be made to the “Sally Compton Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.

The family would like to thank Visiting Angels and their caring staff, especially Kristy Anderson, for their special comfort and care.

Christine Mutschler

Christine Mutschler, 91, of Aurora, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, at Seasons Hospice. She was born Dec. 25, 1921, in Rawen, Latvia, the daughter of the late Marlin and Teofily Graumann.

Christine was a member of Hope Lutheran Church. She enjoyed knitting, sewing and gardening.

Christine is survived by her son, Vern Mutschler of Hinckley.

In addition to her parents, Christine was preceded in death by her husband, Gabriel, who she married on May 8, 1953; her son, Roy Mutschler; two brothers, Ludwig and Ernest Graumann; a sister, Otily Schwartz; and a brother-in-law, Harry Mutschler.

Visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, followed by a funeral service at noon, at The Healy Chapel, 332 W. Downer Place, Aurora. Interment will take place at Spring Lake Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be directed to Hope Lutheran Church.

For further information, call (630) 897-9291, or visit our website at www.healychapel.com to leave an online condolence.

Kellan Troy Schrader


Troy and Shari Schrader of Sugar Grove announce the birth of their son, Kellan Troy. He was born Sept. 10, 2013, at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva.

Kellan was welcomed home by his twin sisters Jade and Madison, 7, and his sister Brynley, 4. The proud grandparents are Rollin and Sara Shaw of Sugar Grove, and Jerry and Caryl Schrader of Maple Park.

George Grever

George Grever, 91, was born on July 11, 1922, in rural Lake Zurich, Ill., the son of George Sr. and Martha Hapke Grever.

He was joined with Christ in baptism as an infant, and as a young teen confirmed at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Lake Zurich. He attended local elementary and high schools in Lake Zurich, and then began working full time on the family’s dairy farm. After several years of farming, George switched from food production to waste management, becoming a plumber.

In 1945, he married Gloria Homuth of Barrington, Ill., who died suddenly three years later. They had no children.

In November 1948, George met Annetta Bicknese of Itasca, Ill., when both were attendants in their cousins’ wedding. On their first date they went bowling, and although Annetta beat him (a feat she was never able to repeat), he asked her out again and proposed to her on Valentine’s Day. They were married in May 1949 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Itasca, where George became an active member, serving on various boards and committees. He also joined the Itasca Volunteer Fire Department to serve his community. George and Annetta made their home in Itasca for the next decade, and during these years their three children, Marcia, Warren and Rhoda, were born.

In 1959, George and Annetta formed a partnership with George’s brother, Harry, and his wife, Pearl, and bought a farm in Big Rock. The two families lived next door to each other on the property, gardened together and celebrated family birthdays together. Annetta and Pearl took turns driving the children to Immanuel Lutheran School in rural Hinckley until the school parents banded together to purchase a bus, which George and the other fathers then maintained and repaired.

From the Big Rock years, George and Annetta’s children remember fondly the family vacations on $20 a day (for gas and lodging, but not food, as they carried most of the food with them and picnicked in parks) to the Black Hills, the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone.

When the brothers dissolved the partnership in 1967, George and Annetta ventured out on their own and bought a farm in Kaneville Township, where they made their home until this day. During those 46 years, they were active members of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Montgomery. George again served on various church boards and committees, and also served as a trustee of the Kaneville Fire Department.

After putting their children through college and seeing them married, George and Annetta had the opportunity to travel widely, especially after Warren joined the family business. They always took playing cards along and often made friends with other travelers who played pinochle or 500. Their first major trip was to China in 1980, where George’s red hair and tall stature made him an object of curiosity. They traveled to Germany in 1984, took an Alaskan cruise, went to Australia and New Zealand, and in 1998, just months after George had heart bypass surgery, they drove to Alaska with friends they had met on the Australia/New Zealand trip. They made a trip to Europe with daughter Marcia and her husband, Wayne, and toured Israel with daughter Rhoda and her husband, Mark. Son Warren and his wife, Susan, of course, were home doing the chores and tracking the net worth of the farm with the computer program “Pig Champ,” while the “party animals” (as their granddaughters dubbed them) traveled the world.

Although he officially retired in 1987, George continued to help around the farm, especially during planting and harvesting time, until 2010, when bouncing around on farm machinery became too painful for him. Because his bad knees made climbing into the combine too much, the last years he helped with harvest. Warren used the front-end loader to get him in and out of the combine.

When they weren’t traveling, George and Annetta kept active on the farm with their his ‘n her gardens (Annetta grew strawberries, green beans, onions, and tomatoes; George grew potatoes) and his ‘n her lawn mowers.

During baseball season, they would watch the Cubs faithfully on TV or “watch” the games on the radio that weren’t televised. They would occasionally get to a game in Wrigley Field, which was usually a multi-generational affair with children, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. They played 500 and pinochle with friends from church, friends from their travels, and family members. Family gatherings, which always included lots of good food and George’s favorite dessert—cherry pie—usually ended with a game or two of pinochle. Whether playing with family or friends, George seemed to be on the winning team the vast majority of the time.

George completed his baptism and entered his eternal home on Nov. 23, 2013, after suffering a severe stroke in mid-August. He died at home, surrounded by loving family members.

George was preceded in death by his parents; five of his seven brothers, Fred, Harry, Elmer, Earl and Kenneth; five of his seven sisters, Ella, Laura, Marion, Esther and Annette; and his first wife, Gloria.

Remaining to mourn are his wife of 64 years, Annetta; daughters, Marcia Snyder (Wayne Mory) and Rhoda (Mark Schuler), and son, Warren (Susan); brothers, Robert and Orville, and sisters, Joan and Donna; two granddaughters: Rachael Williams (Matthew) and Bethany Gryfakis (Nicolas); and four precious great-grandchildren, Gavin and Tessa Williams, and Ellia and Vivian Gryfakis.

George will be sorely missed by family and many friends, but his family is thankful for 64 years of marriage, a loving family, a long life to enjoy great-grandchildren, and the assurance of his new home with Jesus, where there is no sorrow or pain.

Because both George and Annetta were educated in Lutheran schools and worked avidly to provide a Lutheran education for their children, Annetta requests that memorials in George’s honor be made to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and School, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery, IL 60538.

Visitation was held Tuesday at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate his life will take place at 11 a.m., with a time of visitation from 10 to 10:45 a.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery. Rev. Peter Hoffman, pastor of the church, will officiate, with interment at Kaneville Cemetery, Main Street Road in Kaneville.

Annetta requests that memorials in George’s honor be made and mailed to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery, IL 60538.

Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Library Friends to raffle Barbie, tractor

ELBURN—The Friends of the Town & Country Public Library, 320 East North St., Elburn are holding a raffle for Opening Night Barbie, 1993 Classique Collection or a John Deere Monster Treads toy tractor.

Barbie was donated by Fran Kitz of Elburn in memory of her husband Marty, who passed away this year. The Monster Treads toy tractor was donated by Arends Hogan Walker, John Deere dealer of Elburn. The items are on display at the library.

Tickets are $1 each, or six for $5, and are available at the circulation desk. The drawing will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at noon in the library. Winner need not be present to win. All proceeds benefit the library. The Friends are a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit volunteer driven organization.

The Friends are also holding a holiday book sale from now to Dec. 20 at the library. A selection of individually priced holiday-themed books and gift-quality books are available for purchase. The sale is located inside the front door of the library at its Book Nook.

For more information, call (630) 365-2244, or visit www.elburnfriends.org.

Graceffa appointed to SG Library Board

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on Nov. 14 appointed its newest board member: Pat Graceffa, a dedicated Sugar Grove Library Friend and longtime village resident who was a write-in candidate for a Library Board seat last April.

The board opening was made possible by Library Board member Ed DeBartolo’s move to Florida. After being granted permission by the library attorney, the current board members of the Library asked Graceffa if she would like to join the board, to which she graciously accepted their offer.

“I of course said ‘absolutely’ to their request to have me as a board member,” Graceffa said. “I have been a lifelong library supporter, and I have been involved in the Sugar Grove Library Friends since I moved here 13 years ago.”

Graceffa will be sworn in as an official board member at the Library Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. After being sworn in, she will begin her duties as a board member by taking the required state test that all new board members take, completing an orientation with the Sugar Grove Library Director, and joining one of the several committees offered.

Graceffa said she is looking forward to her duties as a board member and helping with the work and plans for some of the board’s long-range projects.

“I am thrilled with my appointment to the Sugar Grove Library Board, and I promise the Library District residents that I will work hard for all of them,” she said. “The library is going in the right direction now, and we have some new board members who have brought extraordinary skills to the table.”

Graceffa said she is also dedicated to understanding the needs of the residents in regard to the selection of books and programs from the Sugar Grove Library.

“I thank our library patrons, and look forward to continuing to make sure that our library possesses the finest staff, best and most current collection, along with terrific library programs,” Graceffa said.

Avenue J Studios to arrive in Elburn in January

Avenue J Studios will open on Monday, Jan. 6. Located in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center (ECCC), offering performing arts education classes and performance opportunities to area youth ages 3 and up.

Jennifer Madziarczyk is the founder of Avenue J Studios, and a Sugar Grove resident. She began this venture out of a love of the performing arts and the need to provide related opportunities to area youth.

Having two children very involved in performing arts, it became evident that finding opportunities for kids to learn acting skills and perform in live theatre venues was a challenge.

Avenue J Studios is different from many local youth drama programs. While most local programs focus only on acting and performance, Avenue J also offers opportunities in the creative and technical aspects of live performance. Classes include basic acting skills for ages 3 through 18, improvisation classes, puppetry, stage makeup and face painting, scenic design and props, and costume design.

Each class session ends with a showcase designed to let the students show off their talents and accomplishments. Families, friends, neighbors and the community can see the student performances, which will include scenery, props, costumes, and makeup.

Several times throughout the year, Avenue J Studios will put on large-scale plays or musicals for the public in the 200-seat ECCC auditorium. This will provide local youth the opportunity to act, sing, dance and provide the technical and creative support for full-length productions and showcase their skills and talent.

If that’s not enough, you can drop your kids off for an evening of karaoke with their friends on select Friday and Saturday evenings, giving yourself some much needed “me time.” They’ll have fun with their friends in a safe environment without the need to hire a babysitter.

Avenue J Studios also offers a wide variety of birthday parties to celebrate your special day. Children can dress up, have a tea party, pretend to be fairies or superheroes, create a puppet show, or many other activities.

You can find Avenue J Studios at 525 N. Main Street, Suite 22, Elburn. Registration for the first session of 2014 is now open and can be handled conveniently through their website at www.avenuejstudios.com or by calling (630) 770-7365. For more information, you can contact Jennifer at Jennifer@avenuejstudios.com.

Hultgren accepting intern applications for spring 2014

GENEVA—U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) recently announced that he is now accepting applications for spring 2014 semester internships in both his Washington, D.C. and Geneva offices. The position is unpaid and will run approximately from January to May. Academic credit may be available, and schedules can be flexible for those with classes or other obligations. Applicants from the 14th Congressional District are preferred.

“I have spent the last few months gaining valuable Capitol Hill experience while learning vital administrative skills,” said Alex, a current intern. “From learning office procedures and constituent services, to giving tours, to writing constituent response letters and answering their concerns promptly, I’ve honed my understanding of what it takes to run a congressional office effectively while gaining valuable insight into policy and the political process.”

Applicants should be college students or recent graduates, and will assist staff with constituent relations, policy and outreach efforts. Many duties will be administrative in nature, but interns may also be asked to staff Congressman Hultgren at meetings in the district or assist legislative staff in Washington.

Applicants should email a resume, cover letter and writing sample to email.randy@mail.house.gov and specify whether they seek a position for the Geneva or Washington, D.C. office.

Elburn to hold public hearing on tax levy

ELBURN—The village of Elburn will hold a public hearing on its tax levy request prior to the Village Board meeting on Monday, Dec. 2.

Although the amount the village is asking for, $824,000, is the same amount the village asked for the previous two years, it is more than 105 percent of what the village received last year.

After asking for a levy of $824,000 last year, the extension approved by Kane County was only $695,000, and Village President Dave Anderson said that the village is not even likely to receive that amount this time around.

Anderson said village officials ask for a higher levy amount because they know they are not going to receive the full amount from the county.

Property values have decreased significantly over the past five years, resulting in a 27 percent reduction in the village’s Equalized Assessed Value from what it was in 2008.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said that reduction is a demonstration of what “going over the fiscal cliff” meant.

“It’s 73.1 percent of what it was in 2008,” Grabarek said. “That’s how much property values and assessments have gone down.”

Anderson said that, during the same time period, there has been very little new construction to bring in more taxes to offset that amount.

“We still have to provide the same basic services and we’ve still got to pay the bills,” he said.

Anderson said the public hearing is for residents to comment and ask questions about the levy. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 6:45 p.m. at Village Hall, 301 E. North St.

Two Guys and Free Spaghetti

ST. CHARLES—Two Guys and Free Spaghetti will provide a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner with salad, garlic bread and homemade dessert to anyone who attends the church on Sunday, Nov. 24, 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. Fifth Ave. (Route 25) in St. Charles.

Carry-out is available and the building is handicapped accessible. For information, call Joe at (630) 890-6586.


SG board discusses potential turnabout

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the possibility of placing a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane.

Tim Sjogren from TADI, Inc., and Tony Simmons from HR Green, were available to answer questions from the board. The tentative plans would cut off an existing part of Granart Road and veer the road south, meeting up with Bucktail Lane and US Route 30 to create a four-way intersection.

The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity. (click for larger image)
The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity.

Village President Sean Michels explained the reasoning behind the tentative plans for the turnabout.

“IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) is funding this plan for a turnabout because they believe that pulling the intersection to the south will make it safer to cross the train tracks,” he said. “They are considering a turnabout that would basically be a four-way intersection that wouldn’t stop. If there was a stop light there, drivers would potentially have to wait for the light to cycle three times in order to go through.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto commented about the unfamiliarity that the community has with turnabouts and how that could negatively affect drivers and traffic flow.

“Because turnabouts are so foreign, you could run the risk of someone coming down this road during the night in a snow storm, and they might run into a tree if they don’t know the roundabout is there,” Montalto said. “Plus, Dugan is a dark road.”

Public Works Director Anthony Speciale weighed in on the potential lighting issue.

“Currently, lighting is not in the budget, and the roundabout doesn’t require lighting,” he said.

Sjogren explained some of the benefits of putting in a roundabout rather than a stop light.

“Traditionally, you would signalize this intersection, but the rest of the day, people will have to stop if we put in a stop light,” he said. “With a roundabout, drivers won’t have to stop during an off peak. Also, accident rates plummet after the initial installment period. The reduced speeds in a roundabout help decrease accident severity and accidents in general.”

Residents interested in discussing the roundabout can attend an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Library, 125 Municipal Drive.


Production takes KHS to ‘Almost, Maine’

Photo: KHS students Emily Laudont, as Marvalynn, and Creston Saylors, as Steve, practice at a rehearsal for “Almost, Maine.” The production took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kaneland High School. Courtesy photos

Weekend play draws hundreds to the town of ‘Almost’
KANELAND—Christina Staker last weekend made her directorial debut with Kaneland High School’s production of “Almost, Maine,” a modern-day play that has been performed by many high schools across America.

Staker, a KHS English teacher, called the John Cariani-penned play “a success.”

A total of 17 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, performed the show on the auditorium stage last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According to Staker, between 60 to 100 people attended the performances each night.

Sunday featured the lowest audience turnout, mainly due to the tornado breakout that caused severe damage to parts of Illinois and its surrounding states.

“It was sunshine at times,” Staker said. “And then downpouring at other times. I think a lot of people were probably scared off by the (tornado) warnings.”

After Staker consulted with the assistant principal, auditorium manager and technical director, it was decided that the show would go on.

KHS senior Emily Laudont played the role of Marvalyn, a character Laudont described as “defiant.”

“I think all of our work came together,” Laudont said. “From what I heard from audience reaction—from afterwards and friends that came and saw it—they said they really liked it.”

Volunteers worked the box office and sold concessions like candy, homemade cookies and packaged Oreos and Chips Ahoy. They also handed out programs and ushered folks to their seats.

The stage transformed into a mid-winter wonderland of real branches and a sparkling canvas of snow, a laundromat and a bar that featured a donated moosehead.

“Almost, Maine” had a series of nine vignettes, or short plays, that ranged between 10 to 15 minutes a piece. The scenes consisted of mostly two actors featured at a time.

“Almost, Maine” is a story that takes place in a town called Almost, where real life mixes with figurative ideas of love and loss.

“It really appeals to a wide range of audience,” Staker said. “There’s stories that it could either relate to yourself or somebody (you know) who is that person in life.”

Students played adult-aged roles during scenes that depicted different messages.

“Some of (the scenes) appeal to parents and marriage,” Staker said. “And how we tend to stop paying attention to each other, because life gets in the way. Or how we don’t often think about the other person’s feelings in a situation.”

KHS senior Maddie Heinzer played the married role of Marci, a 30-something woman featured in the “Where it Went” vignette.

Heinzer’s one-word description of the character was “stressed.” In order to play the role, she did her homework.

“I looked at neighbors that I have who have multiple kids and juggle around,” Heinzer said. “Like, my mom is a stay-at-home mom. So she has to deal with stuff with the kids. And then my dad works. So I think it’s kind of a common situation in many couples, where they don’t really pay attention to each other anymore, unfortunately.”

Magical happenings occurred in Almost. A shoe drops from the sky. A flash of green illustrates the Aurora Borealis.

Sounds of a car starting, and a snowmobile over yonder, can be heard.

And the play’s original soundtrack provided what Staker called “mood music.”

KHS student Taylor Tindall played Ginette, a character who travels the world to get back to the bench of where the one she loves—Pete, played by Dillon Lynn—was last with her.

Snow falls when the couple reunites.

Clare Laudont, mom of Emily Laudont, sat in the audience and appreciated the play.

“I was really impressed,” Clare said.

Meanwhile, KHS students are looking forward to their next production—a musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which will debut in the spring.

Staker will direct that one, as well.

“I’m looking forward to doing a musical,” she said.

 The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance.           Courtesy Photos
The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance. Courtesy Photos

Elburn amends building codes

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday passed an ordinance amending the village building and housing code, bringing it in line with the international building code for 2012.

Elburn Building Commissioner Tom Brennan said that the biggest change is that the village will no longer require water sprinklers in homes or townhouses.

Brennan said he is involved in a network of building commissioners from surrounding communities, such as Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia, and the members work to level the playing field in the area. Brennan told the board that, this way, developers are not able to play communities off of each other, or threaten to take their business elsewhere for a better deal or fewer restrictions.

“We all get on the same page,” he said.


Firefighters coordinate Elburn pantry holiday food drive

Elburn firefighters to collect donations at Elburn Jewel-Osco
Sunday, Nov. 24 • 9 a.m. – noon
Or drop off items at either Fire Station No. 1 or No. 2 now through the New Year

ELBURN—Firefighters from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will be at the Jewel Osco on Sunday, Nov. 24, collecting food items for the Elburn Food Pantry.

Matt Hanson, who has been a firefighter with the Elburn District for the past 12 years, said this is the fourth year that the Fire District has been collecting items for the pantry around the holidays.

“The holiday is just an easy time to remind people (that the food pantry can use their help),” Hanson said.

Firefighters will be stationed at the Jewel on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon to accept donations. They will have a list of the food and other items the food pantry needs, and the Jewel will assemble a display of these items, as well.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to help,” Hanson said.

The items needed are things such as canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, beans, macaroni and cheese dinners, box potatoes and rice, as well as tuna, chicken or hamburger helper, and even toilet paper and bar soap.

Last year, the firefighters collected a “huge amount of food” at the Jewel.

“We filled up a whole pickup truck,” Hanson said. “The community really rallies and has been great every year.”

Hanson said that the Fire Department is pretty active in the community, and because they are “out and about” quite a bit, they see the need.

Elburn Food Pantry coordinator Rita Burnham said that Hanson and the Fire District have been great to work with.

“They do all the work,” she said. “They pack up all the food and sort it for us, so it’s really easy. They’ve been very successful (with their drive).”

In addition to the collection at Jewel, people who wish to contribute food and other items can drop them off at either of the two fire stations in the village. If it is difficult for an individual to get to the station, Hanson said they can call the station, and “we’ll do our best to come and collect it.”

It varies each week, but Burnham said that, on average, the food pantry serves between 40 and 45 families. The pantry is located in the Elburn Community Center, and is open on Thursday evenings.

“The number always increases in the winter,” she said. “Not everyone comes every week.”

People must live in the Kaneland School District and show some proof of residency, Burnham explained. Other than that, there is no eligibility requirement.

The bags of food and other items are packed based on the size of the family, with enough food for about two days, she said.

People may also write a check to the Countryside Food Pantry and mail it to P. O. Box 654 in Elburn.
They may also drop off items at the Elburn Community Center inside the side door, next to the parking lot.

The food pantry is made possible through the support of many community groups, including a number of churches, The Elburn Lions Club, schools and local farmers, Burnham said.

“It’s a real huge effort,” she said. “Everyone is a volunteer.”


MP Turkey Drop provides way to help those in need

MAPLE PARK—During the holiday season, community members and residents alike look for opportunities to give back to their respective community.

If you are trying to find a way to donate this year, the annual Maple Park Turkey Drop could be the answer for you.

The Turkey Drop is sponsored by the Grace United Methodist Church and St. Mary of the Assumption, both of Maple Park.

The doors of Grace United Methodist Church, located at 506 Willow St., will be open on Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone interested in donating a frozen turkey or ham or canned goods that will go to local charities in Maple Park and the Kaneland community for families in need in the surrounding area.

Members of the church are also interested in items that are canned or dried goods, such as instant mashed potatoes, gravy, canned green beans, stuffing, cranberries, canned corn, canned fruit, canned cream of mushroom soup and boxed desserts.

At the event, there will also be a meal provided as a thank you for anyone who donates towards the Turkey Drop. Craft vendors and entertainment for kids in the form of a bouncy house will be at the church the day of the event.

If you are interested in hosting a vendor table, contact Heidi at Heidi.gilkey@gilkeyranch.com. There is a $10 fee included for each craft vendor table.

Both churches encourage the public to participate in the Turkey Drop to help local residents who need support from their community this holiday season.

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Elburn Village Board gives Dunkin’ Donuts the green light

ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a special use permit for the Dunkin’ Donuts to allow a drive-through in the Elburn Crossing Subdivision, clearing the way for the franchise to open in Elburn.

The restaurant will be located in front of the Jewel-Osco, in the lot at the northwest corner of Prairie Valley Street and Route 47. The front of the building will face east onto Route 47, with the drive-thru on the west side, facing the Jewel. There are also plans for an outdoor seating area to the north of the building.

The franchisee, Vishal Vagahani, operates four other stores, including one on Route 59 in West Chicago, Ill. The Elburn location will be considered a satellite store.


Photos: Toys, holiday cheer

Emily Kay Salon in Sugar Grove held its annual Holiday Open House and Toys For Tots Benefit Friday evening. The salon handed out goodie bags to the first 20 guests, held raffle drawings, offered refreshments and sampling of PRP wines. Emily Strong (right), owner of Emily Kay Salon, is a resident of Elburn. The Toys For Tots collection box at the salon is completely full of gift items for the 2013 Christmas season. If you are interested in donating, contact the salon at (630) 466-8600.

Village Board agrees to keep current meeting schedule for a full year

ELBURN—Elburn village trustees on Monday agreed to continue meeting only twice a month for now, even though half of them had previously expressed a desire to return to a weekly schedule.

Trustee Jeff Walter at the Nov. 4 meeting brought up “feeling out of the loop” and somewhat disjointed on village issues after the schedule was changed.

Trustees Pat Schuberg and Dave Gualdoni agreed with Walter, both saying that they didn’t feel the current schedule was adequate for the number of items and new development coming.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff coming up,” Gualdoni said.

Trustees Ethan Hastert and Bill Grabarek said they could see the merits of both sides, and trustee Ken Anderson said he preferred the current schedule of twice a month.

“We’re well kept in the loop,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the weekly update that Village Administrator Erin Willrett compiles for the board members keeps them up to speed on the village’s activities. He said that with the provision that any two trustees can request a special meeting in between the current ones leaves that option open, if needed.

Walter acknowledged that he appreciated receiving the agenda and the packets of information on Wednesday for this week’s meetings as opposed to Friday, giving them more time to prepare for the Monday meetings.

Village President Dave Anderson reiterated his preference for fewer meetings per month. He said he understood that the decision was up to the board, but he felt the reduced schedule has increased everyone’s efficiency.

“To meet just to meet is, in my opinion, the epitome of inefficiency,” he said. “If you have a question or need more information, you need to speak up. You’re all smart people. It’ll get done.”

All of the board members agreed to continue with the twice a month schedule for now, and to revisit the question next April.

Fox Valley Labor News owner named WCC Featured Alumna

SUGAR GROVE—If there’s one thing Waubonsee Community College alumna Jennifer Rice has learned, it’s that things have a funny way of working out.

While taking a nine-year hiatus from journalism to work as a forklift operator was not Rice’s original plan, it was just the experience she needed to excel in her current role—owner and managing editor of The Fox Valley Labor News. Because of her hard work and persistence, Waubonsee is proud to honor Rice as its Featured Alumna for October.

Rice, currently a Romeoville, Ill., resident, was interested in journalism from an early age. She was on the school newspaper at West Aurora High School and wanted to attend Columbia College upon her graduation in 1990. However, she was working two jobs to support herself and so chose Waubonsee and its more
affordable tuition.

Once there, she continued her school newspaper career, earning a position as the arts and entertainment editor for “Insight,” Waubonsee’s student paper. Rice remembers the paper’s advisor and journalism instructor, Shirley Borel.

“Two nights a week, we’d be doing paste-up until 2 or 3 a.m.,” Rice said. “She usually stuck it out with us. She rarely went home.”

Rice also remembered how her high school clubs never seemed to get much coverage, and she was determined to change that.

“When you used to have to do paste-up by hand on a light table, there always seemed to be a 2-inch-by-2-inch space where nothing could really fit,” Rice said. “I tried to fill those spaces with as many club briefs as I could.”

In 1993, with her associate degree in hand, Rice could now follow her dream of going to Columbia College. She attended classes there for a while, but with the commute downtown, she was only taking one course at a time, and it was just taking too long to finish. Rice decided to wrap up her undergraduate days at Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism in 1997.

Her first job in journalism was as a reporter for the Ottawa Daily Times, covering “cops and courts.”

“There was definitely a learning curve to understanding things like motions or continuations,” Rice said. “But the other things I had learned at Waubonsee—the late hours, the basics of asking people questions.”

Rice became skilled at the court beat during the three years she covered it. But in 2001, the Daily Times absorbed another paper in Streator, and rather than shift to general assignment reporting, Rice decided to look for a different opportunity.

Unfortunately, opportunities in journalism seemed hard to come by, and so to pay her bills, Rice took a job as a forklift operator at a local distribution center. It wasn’t a job she enjoyed, but it did offer her the flexible hours she needed while taking care of her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was her mother’s death that ultimately gave Rice the encouragement she needed to continue to follow her dream. Around this time, Rice had been toying with the idea of going back to school for graphic design, but she didn’t have the money to buy a new Mac computer, especially when her PC was working just fine. Just as she was printing the last of the programs she had designed for her mother’s funeral services, her PC screen went blank; her computer was busted.

Taking that as the go-ahead sign from her mother, Rice soon bought a Mac loaded with graphic design software and enrolled at Waubonsee for the second time in her life.

“I was like a deer in the headlights at first,” Rice said. “Everyone else was so fast on the computer.”

Eventually, Rice started picking it up, and to this day, the words of Associate Professor of Graphic Design John Fu stick with her.

“I can still hear him say, ‘That’s too tight, that’s too busy,’” Rice said.

Rice was hoping to be busy in a new career after graduating with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in graphic design in 2009.

“I could now write and design, so I had an extra tool in my bag,” Rice said.

Ultimately, it was her ability to write that landed her a job as a freelance reporter at The Fox Valley Labor News in 2010. While she quickly became the publication’s only full-time reporter, the job wasn’t without its challenges.

“It was somewhat difficult, especially as a woman, to see the (inflatable) rat somewhere, walk up to the group of laborers and start talking,” Rice said. “Since unions are spread all over, some of them haven’t heard of the Labor News, but once I explain how I drove a forklift for nine years and have been in their shoes, it breaks the ice.”

Rice had worked her way up to managing editor when the paper’s owner/publisher Ed Richardson passed away this past January. When his family offered to sell her the paper, Rice had to decide between being a business owner or possibly being out of a job.

“I talked to my husband, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Rice said. “Our mantra became ‘go big or go home.’”

The July 4 issue was Rice’s first as the paper’s owner, and so far she’s enjoying the freedom of being an entrepreneur.

“It’s so crazy how everything happens,” Rice said. “Sometimes I just have to stop and think about the fact that I’m a business owner and I have all the skills to do it.”

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Tornado relief dropbox now available at Elburn Community Center

Elburn & Countryside Community Center
525 N. Main St. (Route 47) Elburn
(630) 365-6655 ElburnCCC@gmail.com ElburnCommunityCenter.com

ELBURN—A tornado relief donation dropbox is currently available in the Elburn Herald office, located in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Suite 2. Items donated via the dropbox will go toward relief for victims of Sunday’s tornado outbreak, which devastated parts of Central Illinois, as well as parts of Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri.

The dropbox will be available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to donate food, clothing and home supplies to the dropbox. Monetary donations may also be made.

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HMS students to perform ‘Crumpled Classics’

SUGAR GROVE—With first-year teacher Mr. Collins out sick, a quirky cadre of students will take it upon themselves to pull together Harter annual “Classics on Parade,” acting out famous stories that they studied in their literature class.

The students, however, decide to make the stories relevant to today’s audiences, with comedic results. The authors are surely rolling over in their graves, and Mr. Collins is terrified of losing his job, especially when the principal calls the superintendent in the middle of the show.

Performances of “Crumpled Classics,” by Craig Sodaro, will take place in the Kaneland Harter Middle School “Cafetorium” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the door prior to the show. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students, and the doors and ticket stand will open at 6 p.m. The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters will be sell concessions before the play and during intermission.

“‘Crumpled Classics’ is very funny and entertaining, plus it gives us all an opportunity to be expressive,” said seventh-grader Gavon Hargrove, who plays the role of “Scott” in the production. “Everyone can relate to it.”


Long-range game

Photo:Senior John Pruett drives to the hoop with junior Ben Barnes right behind during Saturday’s boys basketball practice. Photos by Patti Wilk

Johnson’s crew aims for third NIB-12 title in four seasons
KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball may have 67 wins under coach Brian Johnson in his previous four years, but the lack of one specific win last February is what spurs them on.

A regional semifinal loss to Wheaton’s St. Francis High School at the IMSA Regional put an end to a season that saw a 16-12 mark and a second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII championship.

The ending of the last campaign meant Johnson said goodbye to two hard-working seniors, Matt Limbrunner and Dan Miller.

“Losing Dan and Matt is obviously a big loss,” Johnson said. “Matt was player of the year in our league and had a nice season. Dan was a leader who played outstanding defense.”

The loss of the two anchors is lessened somewhat with the return of backcourt powerhouse Drew David and senior company.

“Drew is a four-year starter. John (Pruett) is coming off an all-conference season, and Ty (Carlson) was solid throughout the year. We definitely have guys coming back that were solid contributors for us,” Johnson said.

The three are also well-versed in the clutch, having seen David crush dreams of DeKalb and Sycamore with late three-pointers last year, and Carlson beating Morris with a putback.

“They’ve gone through a lot as far as basketball is concerned. With them having been in football and baseball, they’ve been through a lot of varsity games and hopefully can add to their basketball experience,” Johnson said.

Junior Connor Fedderly also returns after having served time in the starting lineup, as does Cole Carlson.

“Connor had a nice year last year and a nice summer with his shot. Cole put in major minutes for us last year. We have some other guys that played a little bit last year,” Johnson said.

Johnson refers to assets like tower Tom Van Bogaert and Ben Barnes in his junior year.

Sophomore Dylan Vaca, thrown into the fire last year as a freshman, returns for more second-year minutes. Junior Steven Limbrunner makes his varsity entrance with a good pedigree, while junior Owen Korpela joins the squad as well.

Zach Douglas, Ryan David and Jake Gomes also join the Knight ranks for 2013 after JV experience.

In his fifth year, Johnson has gained more experience with juggling a lineup of different players and personalities.

“It’s nice that I know the kids really well and they know me. I have an idea with some guys, and there’s a competition for minutes. Some guys that may start may not finish games,” Johnson said.

Looking at the upcoming season, Kaneland is upping the ante on awareness and competition, which includes a return to the Plano Shootout over the holidays, and a return to the United Center court for the first time in four years against Geneva. The Knights also host the first-ever Kaneland Shootout in February.

“We’re trying to step up our competition, and we play in good competition over the summer. The goal is not to hide,” Johnson said.

For the NIB-12 landscape, nothing will be taken for granted.

“Every night is a solid matchup, we’re all pretty evenly matched across the board. Sycamore finished strong with a regional title. They have solid players,” Johnson said.

The season tips off on Wednesday, Nov. 27, with the Batavia Windmill Classic. Conference play begins at Sycamore, on Friday, Dec. 6.