Tag Archives: Dave Anderson

Bid dispute delays Well No. 3 repairs

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—The Elburn Committee of the Whole on Monday tabled a recommendation to award a public works contract to the lowest bidder after objections from a labor management organization and questions from the board on the vast difference in the bids.

“There’s too much disparity (in the bid amounts),” Trustee Jeff Walter said. “It sends a red flag.”

The Public Works Department went out for bids for work needed on Well No. 3 that includes pulling the existing pump and motor, bailing the well and testing and chlorination of the well. An alternate bid included replacing the pump or rebuilding the motor, depending on the amount of deterioration workers find.

Rempe-Sharpe & Associates, Inc., the Geneva consulting firm that helped coordinate the bids and will monitor the project, estimated the project would cost $80,660, and $44,580 for the alternate bid. After reviewing the bids, the firm recommended awarding the contract to Municipal Well & Pump, a Wisconsin company it has worked with before, saying it found no reason not to recommend them.

Municipal bid $43,364.88 for the job with $26,600 for the alternate work. Water Well Solutions of Elburn bid $49,809 and $47,339 for the alternate. Layne Christensen Co. of Kansas bid $53,879 with $64,655 for the alternate. Representatives from all three bidders were at the meeting.

But Michael Lingl, a field supervisor for Indiana/Illinois/Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, did find a reason to disagree with that recommendation. Lingl handed each of the trustees a packet containing letters from recent decisions reportedly made by other area municipalities, showing contracts went to the second lowest bidder instead of to Municipal, which came in as the lowest.

Lingl also referred to letters of complaint that allegedly were filed against Municipal for failure to pay prevailing wages in 2006 and 2008, saying the company is under investigation by the Department of Labor.

“We’re contending there’s a non-responsible bidder among the people (bidding),” Lingl said.

Municipal’s project manager, Craig Allen, responded to the allegations, saying the answers to all of the questions pertaining to any violation issues already were sent to Rempe-Sharpe.

Mayor Dave Anderson said he would much rather work with a local business such as Water Well Solutions, but saving money has to be considered.

“We’re spending taxpayer dollars,” Anderson said. “We are responsible for every penny of taxpayer dollars that come to us.

“I would love to do it here in town, but I can’t advocate that.”

With that, Anderson called for a motion to put the recommendation on the next Village Board consent agenda to award the bid to Municipal as the low bidder. But Walter again questioned the disparity in the figures.

“I’m still not getting my head around some of these figures,” Walter said. “Some of these numbers are way out of line for me.”

Trustee Bill Grabarek agreed, and said with the dispute presented to the board, no one has had a chance to examine the information.

“I sure don’t want to spend taxpayer money until I get my head wrapped around what is an objection on what was the low bid,” he said.

With that, the board voted to put the item on the agenda at the next Village Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 7, for further discussion and a final decision, so work can begin without any further delay.

Village gets $100,000 grant for land use updates

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—After initially being approved to receive a $15,000 grant to update the village’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the Chicago Metroplitan Agency for Planning decided that wasn’t enough, and awarded the village of Elburn a full grant in the amount of $100,000.

“I think it’s marvelous,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

The village started talking about updating the plan two years ago. Village Administrator Erin Willrett went to work trying to secure grants to fund any proposed changes and got approval for the smaller amount. Anderson said the board now is in the process of establishing the intergovernmental agreement with CMAP and is talking about planning firms that will help in the process.

Anderson mentioned he’s heard some comments around town from taxpayers letting him know they don’t believe in grants.

“From my seat, these grants are our money, the taxpayers of Elburn,” he said. “(It’s) our money coming back to us. I think this is a tremendous benefit to the village.”

Village says goodbye, wishes Nevenhoven safe trip to Afghanistan

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday took a moment to recognize Superintendent of Public Works John Nevenhoven, who attended his last board meeting before leaving for active duty in Afghanistan.

Village President Dave Anderson read an open letter addressed to Nevenhoven which began, “Dear John,” causing the room to erupt with laughter as Nevenhoven himself quipped, “I’ve gotten those all my life.”

But the mood soon turned somber, as an emotional Anderson, on behalf of the entire board, wished him a safe journey as he begins a new tour of duty as Navy Lt. Nevenhoven, “an esteemed member of the United States Navy.”

The letter expressed the board’s appreciation to Nevenhoven’s sacrifice and also that of his family on his second trip to the Middle East.

“Please know that while your efforts will undoubtedly help those in Afghanistan, the impact of your valiant service will also be felt right here at home,” Anderson read, “as your work will ensure that we in the great United States of America, retain the freedoms we so often take for granted each day, and at the same time hold so dear to our hearts.”

Anderson commended Nevenhoven’s talent, drive and motivation as the village’s public works superintendent. He finished with a quote from Mark Twain: “Throw off the bowlines. Sail away, from the safe harbor and catch the trade winds in your sails.”

“I wish you Godspeed for a safe trip, and a most successful endeavor,” he concluded.

Anderson promised to offer any assistance to Nevenhoven and also to his family during his absence.

Nevenhoven expects to be away for about 13 months and will be reporting for duty on Oct. 21.

Last downtown lot still on the market

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Advertised as the “last buildable lot on Main Street in Elburn,” the parking lot at Shannon and Main is getting a few nibbles, but so far, no buyers.

“I’ve had two or three calls and there’s one party in particular that seems to be interested,” said Marvin Vestuto, owner of Vestuto Real Estate Corporation, the property’s broker. “It’s a nice corner, a very attractive corner, one of the last ones I know of in the area.”

The vacant lot, which has been owned by Community Congregational Church for about 10 years, mostly has been used by employees in the area and some shoppers. Listed for $249,900, the property has been on the market since July.

Church moderator Sharon Lackey said it was put up for sale because it was time-consuming to maintain, especially in winter with snow removal.

“It took a lot of time and effort into clearing it off appropriately for public safety,” she said. “We just decided that we would rather spend our time on mission work for the community.”

Vestuto, who lives in unincorporated St. Charles and is a 30-year member of St. Gall Catholic Church, which is located kitty-corner from the lot, said he’d like to see the city make an offer.

“My personal feeling is it would be an ideal piece of property for the city,” he said. “If somebody else bought this thing, then the parking goes away, and then where are you going to park?”

But Village President Dave Anderson said he hates to see an empty lot right on Main Street, and would prefer to see another business to expand the downtown district. He mentioned the success of Geneva’s Third Street, which has a thriving business district.

“You can’t find a parking place; they’re busy,” Anderson said. “That’s what we want.”

Anderson said there is parking in the area to accommodate the Main Street businesses.

“We’ve got both sides going north and south on Main Street,” he said. “We’ve got tons of parking. You’ve got to walk a little bit.”

The Village Board is not all in agreement. Trustee Jeff Walter said the village should look into parking possibilities downtown.

“We really need to look at all that parking, which is private property,” Walter said. “It could very easily become private and then you’re not going to be able to park on it.”

While the matter has been discussed informally, the Village Board has yet to take any action to address downtown parking.

The lot is listed as nearly 17,700 square feet and zoned B-1 for commercial use. The village’s building code describes the B-1 zoning to include “the most desirable use of land” to protect and strengthen the economic base of the village.

While Lackey is hopeful the property will sell, she’s being cautiously optimistic.

“We’re kind of waiting for an actual offer,” she said. “We’re not getting too excited about anything when people just ask about it.”

New job title for PW Superintendent as he heads off to serve

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven is leaving late next month, heading off to a “temporary job” about 6,000 miles away on the other side of the world.

His new title will be Navy Lieutenant Nevenhoven as he heads off to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty. He expects to be away for 13 months, with a report date of Oct. 21. For his first trip to the Middle East in 2006, Nevenhoven had only about two weeks to get ready.

“I’m not sure which is worse, the scrambling or anticipation,” he said.

Nevenhoven’s job will be here when he returns from serving his country, something he said gives him great peace of mind.

“The support that the Village Board and administration have shown has been tremendous and reduces my stress level,” he said. “I’m thankful for that.”

Village President Dave Anderson said the village will survive during his absence.

“Our well wishes go with John and his family,” Anderson said.

“I really do appreciate what the village has done for me,” Nevenhoven said. “When you serve part-time and your part-time job calls you and takes you away for 13 months, your full-time employer isn’t always real pleased about it.”

He said he works with “a great bunch of people” in the Public Works Department and wouldn’t be able to do this without their support.

Being called to duty is always stressful for families. Nevenhoven said he and Melissa, his wife of 19 years (their anniversary is Sept. 5), sat down with their two boys, Ryan, 12, and Jack, 3, to tell them their daddy will be gone for a while. Ryan remembers the last time his father was away.

“We sat him down and told him I’m going back over again, and of course he wasn’t all that pleased about it,” he said. “I think he’s starting to come to terms about it a little bit better, but obviously, as the date gets closer, the anxiety ramps up.”

Nevenhoven’s new job will be as the logistics officer for a provincial reconstruction team.

“With reconstruction teams, you’re assigned to a particular area and help the local elders to govern themselves,” he said. “It’s not so much you’re there to do it for them, but to help them with how to do these things to become self-sufficient.”

He said he’s a supply officer for the Navy, but that other branches of the military often tap into certain skill sets that are deemed valuable. During the last tour, Nevenhoven worked on logistics for the Army. He said he’s not sure whether he’ll be assigned to an all-Army group, or all-Navy.

To keep in touch with his family, Nevenhoven plans to bring along a laptop. He said where you are determines what kind of wireless access is available.

“If you’re closer to the major cities, such as Kabul or Kandahar, your access to that kind of infrastructure is greater,” he said. “The further you get out into the hinterlands, obviously, you don’t quite have that robust of a connection.”

But having the connection to “back home” has its downside.

“It’s one of those things where, yes, it’s nice to hear the voices and hear what’s going on,” he said. “But I’ve seen it happen where they (soldiers) get caught up in the day-to-day problems of what’s going on 6,000 miles away and then become incredibly frustrated.

“They can’t do it; you can’t help, you’re just not there,” he said.

Nevenhoven also credits his friends and neighbors whom he said will be there to take care of things at home if there’s a problem with the house or the cars.

“Life goes on,” he said. “My wife is wonderful. She’s been through this before. She’s smart, she’s independent, and can get things done.”

Nevenhoven said during his last tour, he found that the local people he worked with have the same basic desires that we do in this country.

“They want to live without fear, want to be able to raise their families, be able to work and be able to worship the way that they want to,” he said.

“If we can help them develop the tools to be self-sufficient,” he added, “I think it would be worthwhile.”

Not ready for publication

After two years, village employee manual still work in progress
by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—After paying $5,000 to a consulting firm two years ago to come up with a workable employee manual, Elburn officials have decided it’s back to the drawing board.

“it’s not very well organized; there are, I think, some glaring errors, there’s some language that’s just not right, and I think there are some things that are missing,” Village President Dave Anderson said about the manual.

Anderson said he spent last weekend going over the notes and changes suggested by Village Administrator Erin Wilrett, who admitted she’s at her wits end with the manual that has been picked over since the project began in 2009.

“I’ve been working on it for over two years now, and I’ve been spinning my wheels,” Wilrett said. “Frankly, I need a new perspective.”

Anderson suggested the project be turned over to Village Attorney Bob Britz.

“It’s (the manual) not put together very well,” Anderson said. “There’s no ethics statement. I think all of us, the board and all employees, should be required to sign.”

Britz suggested a total scrap of the document and said he’d need a little time to come up with an estimate of how much it would cost for him and his firm to redo it. Britz said he’s worked on several others and had a few examples.

“I’m for more brevity in a personnel manual,” he said.

He said he’s seen some that are unnecessarily verbose, reiterating law and redundant. From a legal standpoint, he said, a personnel manual provides consistency and protects everyone on the payroll.

The village paid $5,000 up front to Aurora consulting firm Sikich in 2009 and have been working on revising the manual ever since. Anderson said the firm worked on a similar project for the village of South Elgin.

No mention was made as to where the money would come from, and the board is waiting to hear back from Britz on cost estimates to get the job done. In the meantime, copies of the edited version will be sent to the board members for review.

“We want to be precise, brief and to the point,” Anderson said.

Elburn Station plans unveiled

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—Despite being somewhat sweltering at Lion’s Park pavilion Tuesday night, even with the fans on, a group of Elburn residents listened to development plans for Elburn Station during an open house.

Village President Dave Anderson and several trustees were on hand to chat with residents about the plan, which has been a matter of discussion for months.

The proposed plan by ShoDeen, a familiar name around Kane County responsible for the Village at Mill Creek and numerous commercial developments in the Fox Valley, would encompass the area between Route 38 to the north and Keslinger Road to the south, and west of Pouley and Anderson roads.

Elburn Station, when complete, would entail 2,281 total units consisting of single family, apartments and townhomes. Some commercial development is also included in the plan at Pouley and Anderson, at Route 38 and Anderson, and at Hicks Road in the center.

However, the Anderson Road extension is at the top of the list.

“It’s the backbone,” ShoDeen project manager Bob Skidmore said. “Once that occurs, Anderson Road will start the project.”

Skidmore said Phase 1 would include approximately quarter-acre single family lots backed up to the Still Meadows subdivision.

“The goal is to work south to north, starting with the Phase 1 single-family units,” he said.

The proposed Phase 1 would also include some open space, he said, a retention pond, future wells and a water treatment site.

Some residents questioned whether the economy would warrant such a development, especially with so much excess inventory vacant on the market. Skidmore said once Anderson Road is started, development would proceed based on viability.

Anyone with questions about the proposed development should call the village administrator at (630) 365-5062.

Cheaper electric rates coming to Elburn

Elburn—Elburn Village Administrator Erin Willrett is reviewing bids for an electric power provider as the village gets ready to purchase electricity at a reduced bulk rate and will make a recommendation to the board next week.

“The bottom line is the residents of the village of Elburn will save money,” Village President Dave Anderson, said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Voters approved a referendum on April 15 allowing the village to join neighboring municipalities, such as Sugar Grove, in offering residents a choice other than ComEd. Under the program, all ComEd customers in Elburn, both residential and small commercial retail, will automatically be included in the plan unless they opt-out, which they may do at any time.

ComEd will continue to maintain the system and they are the ones to call if power goes out, regardless which plan residents choose.

“The bills will still come from ComEd, your maintenance will still be from ComEd,” Willrett said. “I plan to announce the winning proposal next Monday at the earliest.”

ComEd is also bidding, but Willrett said it doesn’t appear they will be the lowest bidder. Once a provider is chosen, village residents will receive a letter explaining the program and be given a chance to opt-out of participating.

Population growth means new police commission for Elburn

Photo: Wayne Beyerhof, Judy Van Bogaert, and Wiley Overley are sworn in as the new Elburn police commission. Courtesy Photo

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Three Elburn residents were named as the village’s new police commission, now that the village has more than 5,000 residents; 5,602 to be exact, according to the 2010 Census.

Wiley Overley, Judy Van Bogaert and Wayne Byerhof were sworn in as the new commission, after being appointed by Village President Dave Anderson.

Illinois state law requires the establishment of a police commission when the population exceeds the 5,000 mark for municipalities with an existing police department.

The commissioners were appointed by Village President Dave Anderson, who said there were enough applicants to make a decision.

“We had three people who were top of the line, and those are the three we felt should have that position,” he said.

Police Chief Steve Smith welcomed the addition of a new police commission to help him in his job.

“They will be the ones to ensure a proper process for hiring and any major disciplinary action that is taken (against police officers),” he said. “The standardization of how everything is done will be nothing but a benefit for the village and the Police Department.”

Smith said the commission will help ensure fewer mistakes in hiring or discipline by having somebody else take an unbiased look at everything, of which Anderson was in agreement.

“It’s not left to one person to discipline or hire,” Smith said.

Each of the appointees has a history of community service. Van Bogaert, who is a bookkeeper at Kaneland, has volunteered through the Lions for Elburn Day. Byerhof was on the police force for 52 years and also served as village treasurer. Overley is a long-time member of the Elburn American Legion Post 630.

Commissioners receive a $1,000-per-year stipend. The first Elburn Police Commission meeting is Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall.

Protecting community funds—for now

Mayors visit capitol to keep state from cutting village funds
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—With Local Government Distributive Funds (LGDF) in jeopardy of elimination, a group of mayors and village presidents made a show of force in Springfield to urge lawmakers not to eliminate the distribution of that money to municipalities. They succeeded in that the issue was never brought up to the Senate in this session.

The money in these funds is income tax collected from residents of each municipality, a portion of which is sent back to the towns to be used to pay for crucial services like snow removal, police protection, and other daily services. According to Village President Dave Anderson, the LGDF monies make up 30 percent of Elburn’s budget.

Two weeks ago, Anderson and three other village presidents from the Metro West Council of Government, from Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties, drove to Springfield for a press conference at the Capitol. They met with 35 other mayors and village presidents in the Illinois Municipal League office before going before the cameras and reporters.

“A potential cut in LGDF would affect every municipality in the state of Illinois,” Anderson said. “There were (mayors and village presidents) from Springfield, Rock Island—from all over the state.”

The idea to eliminate LGDF was first brought up last summer, and the group wanted to let legislators and the public know what could happen if it was eliminated. Anderson wrote letters to both state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-25) and state Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-50) to get their support.

Minutes before the press conference began, Anderson said the chairman of the group of municipal leaders that set up the press conference tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he would speak.

“She said, ‘You’re not from a home-rule community, so why don’t you get up and speak?’” Anderson said.

A home-rule community is one with a population of at least 25,000 that thereby has the authority to establish additional taxes to help make up for the loss of funds like LGDF. A community like Elburn cannot establish additional taxes without an election.

“It would be a double whammy for communities that are not home-ruled. If this goes through, we lose 30 percent of our operating funds. And we have no way of making that up,” Anderson told the press in Springfield. “We have already made our cuts.”

Both the police and fire unions stood side by side with the group of municipal leaders. Their departments would be some of the first to be cut if the funds weren’t available.

Ultimately, the issue never came to a vote because it never was brought up. But the victory for municipalities is tenuous.

“What I’m scared of is that this is ‘for now,’” Anderson said.

Elburn names first police commissioners

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board approved the appointments of three commissioners to the first Police Commission in the history of the village. Illinois law requires the village president appoint a commission 30 days following the official notification that the village has exceeded 5,000 residents.

Village President Dave Anderson appointed Wayne Byerhoff, Wiley Overly and Judy Van Bogart to the Police Commission.

Anderson said that he chose Byerhoff because of his expertise in police procedure, Overly because of his American Legion and military experience, and Van Bogart because of her business experience.

The commission is responsible for hiring, firing and discipline issues within the Police Department. This autonomous body reports to the board but is not bound by the board’s consent in police matters.

The new commissioners will draw for who serves one year, who serves two years and who serves three years. After the first year, one person will be appointed each year in May.

Anderson recommended, and the board approved, compensation of $1,000 per year per commissioner, roughly equivalent to what the Fire District pays its commissioners.

“They’ve got some tasks ahead of them. They’re going to have their hands full,” Anderson said.

The Police Commission will itself appoint a pension committee of six members who must be chosen by specific rules and regulations as to their competencies and who must take continuing education credits yearly.

Local resident advocates against distracted driving

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—Just about every facet of Ryan Anderson’s life has revolved around the Elburn area: he was born here, grew up here, and worked here at Northern Fs Inc., after he graduated high school. His father, Dave Anderson, is the mayor of Elburn.

But there’s something else in Ryan’s life that he wants to make a local staple: a stance against distracted driving, which led Anderson to join an organization known as the Crash Coalition.

Crash (Coalition for Responsibility and Accountability on Streets and Highways) is a public charity that seeks to educate the public about the potentially deadly consequences of driving while distracted. The organization also provides assistance to victims, as well as their families, of accidents that are a result of distracted driving.

Anderson, now 34, was one of 14 people injured in a multi-car accident on May 23, 2009, at Route 47 and Smith Road, when then-24-year-old Alia Bernard of Aurora crashed her car into the back of Anderson’s Honda Civic. The impact of the crash pushed Anderson’s vehicle into oncoming traffic, where it collided with a group of motorcyclists—two of which, Wade and Denise Thomas of St. Charles, were killed.

Bernard is facing two charges of Aggravated DUI and two charges of Reckless Homicide with a Motor Vehicle. Her next court date is Thursday, June 9.

As a result of the accident, Anderson suffered numerous cuts that required stitches, a broken orbital socket that also related to an unconfirmed CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluid) leak, and two herniated discs in his lower back.

“After my accident, I was frustrated with the laws, the legal system, and trying to find out how ways that distracted driving, as a whole, could be changed,” Anderson said. “I was reading up on articles and came about the “nail polish” crash up in Lake Zurich (Ill.).”

The “nail polish” crash, which occurred three weeks before Anderson’s accident, involved a motorist who struck and killed a motorcyclist, 56-year-old Anita Zaffke.

Reading about the “nail polish” crash led Anderson to begin speaking with Greg Zaffke, president and founding board member of the Black Nail Brigade (the organization that would eventually become Crash Coalition), sometime around the one-year anniversary of the accident at Route 47 and Smith Road. Anderson immediately took to the group and began attending meetings and distracted-driving-related court cases. He is currently a Crash Coalition board member.

“I just did anything I could to help the organization,” he said.

Greg Zaffke said he defines distracted driving as multi-tasking actions—visual or cognitive—that result in drivers effectively driving blind and risking the lives of everyone on the road.

“It has been shown in studies and statistics that distracted driving is comparable to, and often more dangerous than, drunk driving,” Zaffke said. “Yet there is a huge disparity in the rate of prosecution and the severity of sentencing between DUI and non-DUI traffic fatality crashes. That must change if our society is going to change its perception of the serious dangers of distracted driving. These are 100 percent preventable deaths, and more attention needs to be given to holding the offenders fully accountable within our legal system for their negligent and reckless actions behind the wheel.”

According to Zaffke, the Crash Coalition’s initiatives are broken down into three categories: charity (establishing funds for victims of distracted crashes), advocacy (victim advocates and court monitoring) and awareness (education, awareness programs and events).

“We support more frequent application of current reckless homicide statutes, as well as the addition of a negligent vehicular homicide statute to fill the major gap between minor traffic fines and reckless homicide (which is a felony),” he said. “Too many people are killed on our streets, and typically the only consequence for the offenders is petty traffic court.”

Anderson said the Crash Coalition is really just starting to get its message out.

“For every second you travel while not looking at the windshield, your car can travel half the length of a football field, so imagine what can happen in that time,” he said. “People need to understand, because (distracted driving) has been a huge problem for a long time.”

Guest editorial: Help protect community funds

by Dave Anderson
Elburn Village President

In 1969, the first-ever state income tax was authorized by the governor and state legislature in the state of Illinois. Before being enacted, an agreement was reached that essentially stated that if municipalities would not enact an income tax of their own, the state of Illinois would send a portion of the income tax collected back to them, based upon the municipality’s most recent census statistics. This process is commonly known as the Local Government Distributive Fund, or LGDF.

LGDF monies are extremely important to municipalities, as they aid in providing necessary and vital services within the community, such as police protection, snow plowing, and other services provided on a daily basis by police and public works employees. And the return of these funds from the state to the municipalities seems only fitting, as the source of the funding is our fair share of the income tax dollars that we all pay as residents of Illinois. In Elburn’s case, LGDF funds comprise roughly 30 percent of our general budget fund, which equates to about $130,000.

This year, a 66 and 2/3 percent income tax increase was passed by the governor and state legislature, with the municipalities slated to receive no portion of the increased funds collected. The legislation that was passed actually decreased the municipal share of LGDF funds from 10 percent to 6 percent. And there is current discussion taking place in Springfield that would further reduce, or even entirely eliminate, the distribution of LGDF funds to municipalities in the future.

The issue, it seems to me and many others, is one of spending—not income. In the last two years, the Village of Elburn has reduced staff and expenses by close to $300,000. The Board of Trustees, along with the administration staff, has worked diligently to determine which services provided by the village are critical and must continue without interruption, as well as identifying those areas where budget cuts could be made without negatively impacting the well-being and quality of life of our residents. Although these decisions are always arduous and difficult to make, Elburn has and will continue to do its part in this regard.

I cannot stress enough that any action taken by Springfield to reduce or eliminate LGDF funds will not be seamless to our residents. On the contrary, such action will have a major effect on the village of Elburn’s ability to provide the level of service that our residents have come to expect from us, and will impact activities that serve as the underpinnings of the pride we take in ensuring that Elburn remains an ideal place to live, work and play.

In short, to withhold or eliminate any portion of the taxes paid by our residents—which is due to come back to us, as originally agreed upon many years ago—is wrong.

I urge our citizens to make your voice heard by calling, e-mailing or writing your state representatives to let them know your feelings regarding the adverse impact this legislation will have on your community.

State could sink village budget

Anderson calls for community support to keep village funds
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Village President Dave Anderson will head to the state capital in Springfield this week to voice his concerns about pending legislation, and he called for the community to join in and express their views as well. The proposed legislation would rescind the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), which gives back to municipalities a portion of the income tax collected by the state.

Anderson encourages citizens to call or e-mail representatives to make it clear that this legislation would adversely affect Elburn and communities like Elburn whose populations have tipped the 5,000 mark.

“E-mail (state Senator) Chris Lauzen. Write him a letter. E-mail (state Representative) Kay Hatcher. Write her a letter. This should not be happening. We have a group here (the Village Board) that’s been pretty financially astute in dealing with issues as they come up. This is going to be tough,” Anderson said.

He said that if the legislation passes, it will keep over $130,000 that was collected in income taxes from Elburn residents, the equivalent of 30 percent of the village’s budget.

“It’s your money coming back to you if you live in the village of Elburn. The village of Elburn provides snowplowing, water and sewer … The state of Illinois doesn’t provide it,” he said. “We’re not going to plow snow at two inches. We may not plow it at six inches …We’ve got to pay our bills. We’re not going to put ourselves in debt.”

The LGDF was established in 1969, when municipalities agreed with then-Gov. Oglive to support a state income tax on the condition that municipalities receive back a portion of monies collected from their residents.

Our local representatives
State Representative Kay Hatcher
50th District
Springfield Office: (217) 782-1486
District Office: (630) 553-3223
info@kayhatcher.us

State Senator Chris Lauzen
25th District
Springfield Office: (217) 782-0052
District Office: (630) 264-2334
chrislauzen@lauzen.com

Put a lid on it: recycle without being blown away

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—A group of Blackberry Creek subdivision resident-volunteers picked up 50 bags of refuse that had blown from recycling containers on just one clean-up day last weekend.

As a member of that group, Elburn Trustee Jeff Walter joined with the rest of the Elburn Village Board to take a closer look at Elburn’s Trash and Nuisance Ordinance. Guess what they found? It turns out the law currently on the books calls for lids on all refuse—and that includes recycling bins.

Only one problem—the containers provided by the garbage collection companies do not have lids. The result is that on windy days—frequent in this part of Illinois—plastic bags and newspapers litter the streets of Elburn.

“At the last minute, people place their newspapers on top (of the bin), and they blow away. They place their plastic bags on top, and they blow away,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

The board was supportive of the ordinance that required recycled items to be controlled. The only discussion was how to go about letting the residents of Elburn know that they need to make some changes.

“Give the Police Department some authority to give out P-tickets,” Walter said. “For somebody who is being neglectful, I wouldn’t be opposed to saying that the trash at the curb has to be bundled or otherwise (controlled).”

Trustee Jerry Schmidt agreed that enforcement was the way to go to get the problem under control as soon as possible.

“If you get just one ticket, that’s it: (You’ll change),” Schmidt said.

With the law already on the books, enforcement could conceivably start right away. Village Administrator Erin Willrett wanted the board to understand that they were agreeing to using police staffing hours in service of this ordinance, and that could use up a certain amount of time. Walter suggested a compromise.

“We don’t have to crack down right away. We could start with knocking on doors or leaving warnings first,” he said.

Other members wanted to highlight education over enforcement by taking the approach of educating the public first before enforcing the law.

“I’d like to continue with the educational format,” Ken Anderson said. “You can’t change human behavior by continuously enacting laws.”

Ken Anderson and Willrett expressed concerns that people might discontinue recycling if they cannot use their existing bin. Willrett plans to get the information to the public in the village’s June newsletter.

“There are ways to phrase it by saying that we are a green community and encourage recycling. We want to minimize refuse going into landfills, and the downsides to doing that are that on windy days, the trash is blowing all over,” Ken Anderson said. “If we see a change in people’s habits, then we know we’re going in the right direction.”

In the end, the Board decided to first get the information out to Elburn residents about the need to put a lid on their recycling containers. They would then begin enforcing the ordinance. They also may talk with the garbage collection companies about taking back the old containers.

“I’d like to see the entire community do (what BBK did with their clean-up day) a few times a year,” Dave Anderson said. “(Otherwise) we’re expending taxpayers’ money somewhere down the line to clean up.”

Recycling must be
contained from blowing

To comply with the ordinance currently in effect, all recycling must be contained in a way that prevents it from blowing away. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to provide a covered container.
1. Residents can modify their existing containers with a lid in any way that keeps papers and bags from blowing away. That might mean covering the items with netting or placing items in a tied plastic garbage bag.
2. Residents can purchase garbage cans with lids for recycled items.
3. Residents can rent or purchase 65-gallon containers with lids from the garbage collection companies.

Good, not-so-good news

The good news
According to census data, the village of Elburn grew by nearly 20 percent since its last census, from 4,700 to 5,602.

The not-so-good news
The state may rescind a program in which the state returns a portion of state-collected income taxes back to local municipalities. According to Village President Dave Anderson, this could eliminate $114,000 from the village budget.

Census shows village grew significantly; state may harm village finances
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—At its meeting on Monday, the Elburn Village Board received news that the official census report from the state lists Elburn with 5,602 residents—up from 4,700 at its last census. Board President Dave Anderson said that the number is higher than anticipated. With that number in mind, he made the board aware of two sets of pending legislation that could greatly impact the village if passed.

The first proposed legislation would rescind the Local Government Distribution Fund (EGDF), that gives back to municipalities a portion of the income tax collected by the state.

“At 5,602 (population), we should be receiving more (tax money) than the 4,700 (population) number,” Anderson said. “We would be getting $114,000. Folks, that’s 30 percent of our entire budget. Lopping off that kind of money (from our budget would) be very, very painful.”

The EGDF was established in 1969, when municipalities agreed with then Governor Oglive to support a state income tax on the condition that municipalities receive a portion of monies collected from their residents.

Currently, the state of Illinois is three months behind in its payments, not just to Elburn, but to all municipalities.

The second proposal is to allow businesses to credit their sales tax in places other than where they are located. Anderson opposes this piece of legislation on the grounds that whatever sales tax is extended in your community should stay in that community.

“Both items, the EGDF and the sales tax, is just our own money coming back to us,” Anderson said.

Elburn passes budget with 4-1 vote

Sticking point for ‘no’ vote was personnel raises
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board officially passed its 2011-12 fiscal year budget in a special Village Board meeting Monday. The vote was 4-1, with Ken Anderson opposed and Jerry Schmidt present but abstaining.

“We have an ending balance from last year of $5,325,902. That’s $1.1 million to the positive,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “This year’s budget, we probably won’t have as many line changes. We ended up with $280,000 more in the bank than we started with this fiscal year.”

The budget includes a 2 percent raise for all personnel, except administrators, and a contract-mandated raise of 3 percent for police.

Trustee Ken Anderson voted “no” to the budget on the issue of providing raises to village employees during these tough financial times.

“I appreciate everybody and the hard work they do for the village of Elburn. I would love to be able to (give the raises), but the time now is not the time to do it,” Ken Anderson said. “I’m trying to be fiscally responsible and continue to be ready for difficult times. Salaries are a major expense.”

Ken Anderson said that a variety of things could happen this year, such as the state not matching funds. Others believed that the village is in good shape.

“We have a cushion now in case we have something like a well issue,” Trustee Jeff Walter said. “We have enough to help us through a difficult time.”

The board also passed a supplemental budget appropriation that provides for the expenditure of funds not foreseen at the time the budget is adopted. The appropriation for this fiscal year is 1.2 percent over the budget.

Budget ready for vote

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—A public hearing was held on Monday at Village Hall for appropriating monies for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The final vote will take place at a special board meeting on Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

The proposed budget shows income exceeding expenses. The total beginning balance is $4,672,540 with a total village income of $4,492,451 and expenses of $4, 452,644. That projects the total ending balance to be $4,712,347.

“This is the fourth time through the budget. We’re looking at a budget that’s on time. We’ve stuck to our schedule, and there’s a surplus to it. Good work,” Trustee Jeff Walter said.

Village President Dave Anderson said that the board decided two years ago to get the village what it needed and also stay within the budget. He said the budgeting process has become much more sophisticated.

“We’re like a stamp: we have to stick with what we’re doing until we get where we’re going. Over the past two years, we’ve set a trend, a modus operandi, for down the road. We’ve made tremendous strides,” Anderson said. “I can’t give enough credit to … all the folks within the village (staff).”

It’s budget time at Village Hall

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Now is the time of year when village officials are putting the finishing touches on the budget for the next fiscal year. Now is also the time for citizens to learn what is being proposed and the reasons for it. Elburn residents will have that opportunity at a public hearing on Monday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.

At the public hearing, residents will have a chance to provide feedback to the board before it votes on the budget on April 25. The budget ordinance will be published and available for public viewing prior to the vote.

As currently proposed, the budget is showing an increase in its balance of $70,000 from last year. With a beginning balance of $4,584,520, income estimated at $4,492,451, and expenditures estimated at $4,423,419, the budget shows the village coming out ahead.

“I am duly impressed with the hard work of Steve Smith in the Police Department, John Nevenhoven in Public Works, Erin (Willrett, village administrator), Katy, Mike Greenen and everybody,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

The village has also received the tentative levy numbers that indicate what property taxes will be for the coming year.

“The rate went up by .03 cents,” Anderson said. “On looking at my own rates, I see that it’s almost identical to what it was a year ago.”

The village got an increase but not the full amount they requested, something that is quite usual with tax levies.

Village to select of new auditor

Elburn—The Village Board will place the approval of a new auditor on the consent agenda at next Monday’s Village Board meeting.

Officials received six proposals and selected Lauterbach and Amen, LLP as village auditor for 2011 and 2012 with the option of two additional years. The reason for the change is that the village wants to change from a modified cash basis to the accrual method or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that is in place in most municipal governments.

“It’s time that the village go to the accrual method,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “Most all governments are on that method. We’re one of the last ones still on cash basis.”

The firm has extensive experience with municipalities, including Sugar Grove.

Elburn residents to decide on electric source

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—Elburn voters will be asked to decide whether to allow the village of Elburn to purchase electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers from other suppliers than ComEd. The village has already been purchasing power on the open market for the last four years for water pumping and street lighting power.

“I look at this as a win-win opportunity for all of our residents,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “They may, at any time, go back to ComEd to provide electrical power.”

If voters approve the referendum on the ballot April 5, the village will be allowed to bid for lower electric rates for residents. Residents may opt out of the program and continue to receive their power from ComEd.

Anderson was the owner of The Grocery Store and was able to buy electricity at a lower rate with membership in the Illinois Food Retailers Association. The same situation is available, he said, if the entire village is able to negotiate with those that provide power.

“It would be, in my opinion, wrong not to allow our residents to make a decision on this issue,” Anderson said.

The referendum reads:
“Shall the Village of Elburn have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

For more information, contact the village of Elburn offices at (630) 365-5060.

Hatcher introduces bill to amend the IL pension code

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Illinois House Rep. Kay Hatcher may have introduced a bill that would save money for taxpayers in small towns, but she credits Elburn Village President Dave Anderson with the idea.

House Bill 1901 amends the Downstate Police and Downstate Firefighters articles of the Illinois Pension Code. Currently, once a municipality reaches a population of 5,000—which Elburn has now done—it is required to pay into the downstate fund. This bill gives first-time eligible municipalities a choice: either follow the statute and pay into the Downstate Police and Downstate Firefighters pension fund, or stay with their current fund, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).

“This gives local communities, in cooperation with fire departments and police departments, a chance to temporarily stay with IMRF, rather than (be required to) move to the downstate pension fund,” Hatcher said. “It’s a chance for everyone to take a deep breath and look if this is the way to go.”

Anderson said that he asked her to sponsor a bill that would allow communities like Elburn to have an option in regards to their police and fire pensions. This bill would only affect the police and not the fire because the fire is a separate taxing district, not a department.

Hatcher said that with the economy tight, communities that break the 5,000-population mark will be helped in their transition, adding that it’s a smart way to handle a crisis.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” she said. “The best part is that it can be reversed whenever (the municipality) wants to. It’s a smart way for the community and its employees to plan for retirement.”

On Feb. 22, the bill was assigned to the Personnel and Pension Committee for consideration.

Anderson said the bill, if passed, will benefit Elburn.

“It will cost taxpayers less money,” he said.

Rocking the Reading Cafe

by Lynn Meredith
Kaneland—Enter the Reading Cafe at Blackberry Creek Elementary School on the second floor overlooking the library, and you won’t see a typical classroom, or library for that matter. You’ll see a place where kids can kick back and get excited about reading.

Lime green shag rugs cover the floor, flanked by bright yellow cabinets and turquoise and lime green curtains. Paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, and artwork adorns the walls, along with posters of the Jonas Brothers and Tony Hawk. Bean bag chairs, a futon, pillows, stuffed animals, and, yes, books, contribute to the dorm-like atmosphere. And then there’s the bright orange leather couch.

“That orange couch was the piece de resistance,” Literacy Specialist Linda Zulkowski said.

Zulkowski, along with fellow teacher Terri Konen, brought the idea to the school after attending an inspiring professional development workshop.

The purpose of the reading cafe is to motivate kids to read inside and outside of school. By having an energizing and fun place to come for reading activities, kids associate reading with fun.

“The ultimate goal is to promote reading outside of school, to choose to do it out. We hope they will be engaging more here in school and getting hooked on books,” Zulkowski said.

The cafe opened in October. Each teacher has a designated time if they choose to use the room. They can also sign up for open times. They use the room to read aloud to the students, to give students independent reading time, or even to reward the kids.

“They love this room. It’s being used often by teachers as a reward. The reward is getting to read,” Zulkowski said. “ It’s so different. You don’t expect to see something like this in a school.”

After attending a workshop presentation by Steven Layne, a professor at Judson Univeristy who has written a book on motivating students to read, Konen and Zulkowski first thought of it as a professional development goal. It soon became a whole building and school improvement goal. They went to the PTO to see if it could help, perhaps by donating a couch or small items. Instead, the PTO gave them $2,000 to fund the entire room.

After a shopping trip to IKEA for the bright furnishings and cool outfitting, the plan was to keep the room a secret from the kids and give hints that something was coming.

“We had a huge kick-off,” said PTO President Kathy Webster. “We blacked out the windows of the room and had a countdown from 20 to zero of what is in the mystery room. We really pumped it.”

The unveiling was a ribbon-cutting, whole-school assembly. Music teacher Brandon Fox even wrote a song about it. Webster then had the idea to involve the community by having a month of community leaders come in to read to the students and talk about how they use reading on their jobs.

The month of February began with a Ronald McDonald assembly. Elburn Mayor Dave Anderson, Ben Conley of Conley Funeral Home, Dr. Wayne Larsen, a veterinarian from Kaneville, Pat Hill, owner of Hill’s Country Store, Pastor Lou Quetel from Geneva, Dwayne Nelson from the Town and Country Library and Bryan Janito all participated.

“It was a big deal for us,” Zulkowski said. “We had fun shopping for it, we had fun watching the kids when they first saw it, and we have fun seeing the kids actually reading.”

Finding funds for fun

Village considers how to update playground at community center
by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—The Village Board gave the OK for village officials to apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in order to replace playground equipment at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center playground. The grant would reimburse the village 50 percent of what it spends on equipment.

“If we spend $100,000, we get $50,000,” said Jenna Cook, a Public Works Department employee who has been researching the grant.

Cook inspects all the equipment annually to appraise its condition. She said that the community center’s playground has been getting close to not passing the inspection. It is 25-year-old equipment that is outdated and rusting, she said.

Cook presented three options for replacing the equipment and removing the sand that has become infested with underground wasps. The first option, for $50,000, would make the playground half the size it is now. The second option would reduce its size by about a third and cost $70,000. The third option, for $100,000, would be a one-to-one replacement.

The playground is used by two classes of pre-school and day care in the summer. The wasps have stung the children, and there’s no way to get rid of the pests without removing the sand and replacing it with wood fiber or rubber chips.

“From the safety standpoint, we’ve got to do something,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “But to what extent do we want to commit funds?”

The Parks Fund currently has about $25,000 in it. Board members were in agreement that they wanted to look into the third option because it provides the best for the community.

“If we’re going to do it, let’s do it up right,” Trustee Jeff Walter said. “There are places (other funds) where we can get the money and get it done for the community.”

The grant is not due until July 1, giving the board time to consider how to find the funding it would need to purchase the playground equipment.

Village approves Elburn Station concept plan

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Elburn Village Board on Tuesday evening voted 5-1 to approve the Elburn station development’s concept plan. Jeff Walter was the sole vote opposing the plan.

Village Hall was filled with concerned citizens during the meeting in anticipation of the vote on whether to approve the concept plan for Elburn Station.

Sho-deen, Inc. of Geneva has been in talks with the village since 2005 about developing the land around the Metra station, north to Route 38 and south to Keslinger Road along an extended Anderson Road. The plan was originally approved in 2008, but when Sho-deen revised the plan to remove the commercial portion on Route 38 in October 2010, the Planning Commission voted not to recommend approval, and the resolution was tabled.

Citizens voiced concerns ranging from the impact on already devalued housing prices, to how the infrastructure can sustain the influx of new residents, to the intangibles that make a community unique.

“I purchased because of what Elburn is,” said resident Rocky Ruck. “If I wanted Naperville, I would have done that.”

Kane County Association of Realtors President-elect Christopher Tenggren said that housing inventory in Elburn is in the years, not the months, and that the community is still reeling from the Blackberry Creek project developed by B&B.

Others voiced concerns about rentals attracting more transient people to the community and burdening on already over-taxed school system.

“I’m concerned about the number of rentals and the impact on the schools,” said Bonnie White. “They are a financial burden that won’t be bringing in tax dollars.”

On the minds of Kane County and the village is $18 million in federal and state funds that are slated to be used to complete the Anderson Road overpass. Those funds could disappear, according to Catherine Hurlbut, chairman of the Kane County Division of Transportation, if progress is not shown in developing this area around Metra.

Approving the concept plan is step one. The next steps are to approve a preliminary plan and to annex the land surrounding the project. Currently, four property owners, including Sho-deen, would need to be annexed to the village before work on the bridge could continue.

“This concept plan is the bird’s eye view,” said Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

Dave Patzelt, Vice President of Development at Sho-deen, Inc., presented the changes that have been implemented in the plan since October.

“Even though the Planning Commission rejected a version, we took their comments as constructive criticism and made changes,” Patzelt said.

The changes to the original plan include lowering the density by reducing the number of multi-family houses originally proposed, adding additional green space, implementing a lift station, moving the fire station north, mirroring the townhomes on the west of Anderson south of Route 38 with townhomes to the east, changing multi-family houses to mixed-use spaces and providing vehicular access from Metra to downtown.

The number of housing units north of Metra has been reduced from 585 to 416. South of the tracks, the number has changed from 1,920 to 1,865. The increase in commercial space since October is now 70,000 square feet. Both village officials and Patzelt emphasized that the plan will change over the 20 years it will be in development.

“This is a concept plan. That’s all it is. It’s (the plan’s build-out is) 20 years, and it will change,” Anderson said. “We’ve talked to the (Elburn and Countryside) Fire District, the (Kaneland) School District, the (Town and Country Public) Library District, the Kane County Department of Transportation, the Kane County Development Department. Everybody, as of two weeks ago, has signed on.”

Guest speakers at BC Elementary

Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary hosted Elburn and Kaneland community members in the Reading Cafe. Wednesday featured Elburn Village President Dave Anderson reading the book “Thomas’s Sheep and the Great Geography Test” by Steven L. Layne to three third-grade classes. Other readers include employees of the Town and Country Public Library, Elburn Town and Country Fire Protection District and the Elburn Police Department. Photo by Mary Herra

Committee discusses impound fee

Elburn—The Elburn Village Board on Monday discussed an ordinance regarding the seizure and impounding of vehicles in connection with offenses such as drugs and DUIs.

Those arrested would pay $250 in administration fees in addition to towing and storage costs as determined by the towing company.

“We need to cover our costs,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “We’re responsible for the vehicle until a licensed towing company arrives.”

The impounded vehicle will only be released to its owner when all fees are paid in full.

Above and beyond

Public service becomes priority during blizzard
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Elburn firefighters, police officers, snow plow drivers, neighbors, Good Samaritans and a guy on a snowmobile rose above and beyond the usual to help those in need during Tuesday’s blizzard. They rescued stranded travelers, responded to emergencies that may have saved lives and kept the roads passable as long as possible during Tuesday’s blizzard.

The snow started falling Tuesday around 2 p.m., and by 9:30 or 10 p.m., the roads were too dangerous even for the snowplows. But Metra was still running, and a late train was due to arrive.

“We knew we had to keep the roads open as long as possible,” Public Works Director John Nevenhoven said. “We stayed out longer than the county and the state because we knew people were coming home from work.”

When the plow tried to keep the Metra access road open, it itself got stuck with cars backed up behind.

“It became a bit of an ordeal. We couldn’t let people onto the access road, so what do you do with the people getting off the train? We opened up the emergency access off Kansas and escorted them to the warming station at the Fire Department,” Nevenhoven said.

He drove carefully up the hill at 10 mph, keeping from going off the embankment by the streetlights that shone through the winds and snow.

According to Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan, about 15 to 20 people took shelter at the station in town, and five to six people at Station 2. Many spent the night. One man was not able to leave until Wednesday afternoon, when his road was finally opened up. Jewel donated food to the warming station.

“I was one of a group of ‘refugees’ that were stranded after arriving late at the Metra or were simply forced to abandon their vehicles,” Sycamore resident Dennis O’Sullivan shared with the Elburn Herald via e-mail. “All of the firemen were extremely welcoming and helpful during the storm that required their full attention. I can only hope they know our appreciation for the use of their fire house, the food and the gallons of coffee.”

The firefighters not only warmed stranded travelers, one, with the help of a member of a local snowmobile club, rescued a couple in their home in the middle of the blizzard. Nick Webb and his fiance Courtney were awakened in the middle of the night by their Golden Retriever, Dusty, and discovered their house was filled with carbon monoxide gas. They quickly opened all the windows and called the Fire Department.

“I thought for sure we would never see the Fire Department, or at least not for a few hours or the next day. It was between three and four o’clock in the morning with windows open and the snow blowing through the screens into our home,” Webb said. “Then in less than half an hour an Elburn fireman named Joe-I believe a 24-year old on call-and a member of the Elburn snowmobilers club came racing down the middle of the street.”

The couple was told to leave the house because the levels of carbon monoxide were three times the acceptable level.

“We are so fortunate, and so grateful to the firefighter and the snowmobiler that came out immediately. Thanks again to everyone involved. I can’t say enough,” Webb said.

Another woman is grateful for the snowplow driver, Andrew Stratton, who came to her rescue when she fell down outside her home on Conley Drive as it was getting dark on Wednesday.

“He (Stratton) saw an elderly lady lying at the end of her drive and stopped the plow to come to her assistance,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “He put his jacket on her, got her into her house, called the paramedics and waited until they arrived. He may have saved that lady’s life. Their job is to drive the trucks and plow snow. That shows the character of our employees.”

Eventually that night, even the rescuers needed to be rescued when one of the fire trucks got stuck.

“People helped get us out. One guy plowed a path to get us back to the station,” Callaghan said.

Anderson attributes the efforts to the small-town values that Elburn is known for.

“The cooperation of the Fire Department, the Police Department, the village employees, those who ran the plows and those who didn’t was awesome. That’s the small-town feel. You can have a small town even in a large city. Small town is an attitude,” Anderson said.

Village, Shodeen address remaining issues

Elburn—Representatives for the Shodeen development planned for Elburn between Route 38 and Keslinger met with the Planning Commission, Kaneland School District, Kane County Department of Transportation and the Fire District. Village President Dave Anderson said that all of the issues raised by the Planning Commission and the Village Board have been addressed, including amendments to the commercial development and the number of houses.

“Things are moving along. We’ve had an excellent working relationship with Shodeen. We’re keeping our fingers crossed in the next month or so,” Anderson said.

On the cutting edge

Delnor Hospital’s da Vinci Robot improves outcomes
by Lynn Meredith
Geneva—“Scapel, please” is no longer the only word in surgical procedures. Until recently, surgery was performed either by drawing a long incision and exposing the organs, or it was performed laproscopically by drawing a small incision but using relatively rigid instruments. Now a third option is available: a surgeon-controlled robot that can perform complex surgery with great precision.

Members from the Elburn Chamber of Commerce toured Delnor Hospital in Geneva at an after-hours event on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Dr. Jonathan Song, chairman of the Delnor Robotics Committee, gave a presentation and showed a video on the da Vinci system.

“It was a great opportunity to show chamber members first hand what the da Vinci can do,” said Brian Griffin, director of marketing and public relations at Delnor. “We were trying to highlight how the da Vinici is bringing a whole new level of high-tech, minimally-invasive surgery to the area. People will not have to go to a major medical center. They can get it right here in the Elburn area.”

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System performs minimally invasive surgery using three wristed arms that are fully controlled by the surgeon who is standing on a surgical platform right next to the patient. The fourth arm is a high-definition 3-D camera that magnifies the view of the surgical site 10-12 times. The incision created by the surgery is 1-2 cm long.

With wrists that rotate a full 360 degrees, the robot has increased range of motion, dexterity and access. The robot replicates the surgeon’s movements in real-time. It cannot be programmed to perform any procedures on its own, and view of the site is an actual image, not a virtual one.

Many more types of surgery can be performed using the robotic system than with laproscopy. The robot has performed hysterectomies and prostate surgeries, endometrical, throat and other cancer surgeries, uterine fibroid removals and mitral valve prolapse surgeries. It has even removed a kidney using this method. The benefits of this option have been clinically proven, Griffin said.

“It’s of great benefit to patients. There is less risk of infection, shorter recovery times and less pain. They can get back to day-to-day activities sooner. We’re talking about two days versus two weeks,” he said.

In the case of throat cancer, in particular, surgery may be able to be performed without an incision, thereby avoiding scarring and disfiguration and preserving the larynx.

This system gets its name from Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist who is known for his use of great anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details in his paintings.

Photo: Elburn Chamber of Commerce members toured the new addition to Delnor
Community hospital and were shown a presentation of the Da Vinci Surgical robot. Talking after the presentation are (left to right) Chief Nursing Officer Lore Bogolin, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Delnor President Tom Wright. Photo by John DiDonna

Boy Scout Park: the orphan by the tracks

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Walk by the open lot northeast of the tracks on First Street, and you’ll see glimpses of a space that was once Boy Scout Park. It began as a project to beautify an empty space that the village didn’t need. Now the village is considering selling it.

“It’s sitting there as an orphan right along the railroad tracks,” Trustee Bill Grabarek said. “It was purchased as the cornerstone of a governmental campus. We wanted to enlarge the municipal campus, but that use turned out to not be viable.”

The village paid approximately $200,000 for the lot and house. The house was subsequently torn down when it was clear it couldn’t be used due to structural issues. The question then became what to do with this piece of land that could not be used as originally hoped.

“It’s not big enough for a parking lot. It’s not big enough for a skate park,” Grabarek said. “It’s right by the tracks. There’s issues of safety with the trains right there. It’s not attractive.”

The Village Board discussed the possibility of selling the property.

“It’s a piece of property that the village should not own, has no need for, has no reason for,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “Now’s as good a time as any (to sell). For the past year and a half that I’ve been in office, it has not been an asset to the taxpayers or the village of Elburn.”

Should the board decide to sell the property, it cannot set the price, according to state statutes, but it can set a minimum price. The village can either accept sealed bids, or it can have the land appraised by a state licensed appraiser and conduct a private sale or public auction.