Tag Archives: Lisa Hodge

Neighbors split on possible Pouley Road closing

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—About nine people, including two township trustees, showed up at a public meeting to express their opinions about possibly closing the at-grade crossing at Pouley Road, if requested by Union Pacific once the Anderson Road bridge is complete.

Lisa Hodge lives on Denali Road in Native Prairie and said she’d like to see the crossing closed not only because of the increased traffic from the train station, but because of the train whistles.

“The issue is they (train engineers) totally lean on the horn when they’re coming by Pouley Road,” Hodge said. “So we’d like to see it closed for the sound.”

The Bergquist family lives just north of the tracks on Pouley and disagreed with the idea of closing the roadway. They want it to stay open.

“I just don’t like having one way out,” Joan Bergquist said. “I hate to see it closed.”

She said in the winter, the drifting snow often closes the north end of Pouley, forcing them to travel south across the tracks. Despite living right alongside the tracks, she said the train whistles aren’t a problem.

“We don’t even hear the whistles any more,” she said. “You get used to them.”

Her daughter Vicki said that safety is her main concern.

“Getting onto (Route) 38 sometimes is impossible in the wintertime,” she said. “Pouley Road to the north drifts shut and you can’t get through.”

Joan’s brother Norm and his wife Diane also said they wanted to see the road remain open.

Jan Jorstad, who lives on the old part of Pouley Road south of Keslinger, wants to see the crossing shut to preserve the historic heritage of the Compton farm. She and her neighbors formed the Pouley Road Preservation Society to protect the area.

“When I moved here, I fell in love with Pouley Road,” Jorstad said. “We’ve tried to preserve this wonderful country feeling we have around here because of all the development. We are all for that closing.”

She said closing the crossing would reduce the volume of traffic on the unpaved portion south of Keslinger Road.

Denny Hawks lives just north of the Bergquists and is concerned about how he’s going to move his farm equipment if the crossing is shut down.

“I farm, and moving machinery down Route 38 is just a pain, so we take everything down Keslinger Road,” he said.

Fred Dornback, Blackberry Cemetery sexton who chaired the meeting, emphasized that the meeting is just a preliminary effort to gather public input.

“There’s no known agency or group saying we need to close Pouley Road,” Dornback said. “If and when it happens is contingent on the completion of the Anderson Road bridge.”

That’s something Dornback doesn’t expect to happen for a while.

“In my opinion, we’re looking to the middle of this decade before a car crosses that road if all the stars align,” he said. “There’s a lot more to do.”

Despite plans for the Elburn Station development that begins with the completion of the Anderson Road bridge, there remain unresolved issues regarding easements and right-of-way between six landowners that would be affected before the bridge work would begin.

Highway Commissioner Rodney Feece explained that the process for closing the crossing would start with Union Pacific filing a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission, which ultimately would make the decision. The township successfully stopped such an effort in 2004 when the railroad petitioned to close the crossings at both Pouley and Brundige roads. He said in case the issue comes up again, he wants to have public comments available to present.

Blackberry Township will accept public input for the next 90 days. Comments can be e-mailed to roads@blackberrytwp.com or mailed to the office at 43W390 Main Street Road, Elburn.

A tree for Al

Elburn—The Blackberry Township Board of Trustees honored the 20 years of dedicated service that Al Bergquist gave with a tree planting and dedication of a granite stone marker in front of the township offices.

Bergquist served the township as highway commissioner, from 1977 to 1997, the time of his retirement. He continued to plow for the township for years after he retired.

Bergquist passed away on Aug. 29, 2009, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was laid to rest in a family lot in Blackberry Township Cemetery in Elburn. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, as well as three siblings.

The Blackberry Township Board of Trustees Supervisor David Richmond, Town Clerk Lisa Hodge and Highway Commissioner Rod Feece dedicated the maple tree and engraved granite stone on Sept. 28. Trustee James Feece represented the board.

Photo: Pictured at the dedication are Jim Feece, Rod Feece, Joan Bergquist, David Richmond and Lisa Hodge. Courtesy Photo

‘Beauty and the Beast’ a beauty of a production

by Susan O’Neill
Disney’s musical “Beauty and the Beast” has been Kaneland High School senior Samantha Eichelberger’s favorite show since she was a little girl. By the time she was 3 years old, she knew the words to all the songs. She said she felt a real connection to Belle, the main character in the story, with whom she shared a love of reading.

“I would say, ‘Look, mommy, she likes to read, too,’” she said.

When she got older, she developed an even greater appreciation for the music. So when she was chosen to play Belle in the high school’s production of Beauty and the Beast, she was thrilled.

The students of Kaneland High School performed the musical last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All three days were well-attended, and Sunday was a sold-out show. In full costume, the cast joined a room full of little boys and girls for a brunch before Sunday’s matinee. Some of the children dressed up like their favorite characters, and posed for souvenir pictures with the actors.

“I love the little kids,” cast member Emily Kenkel said. “They’re so in awe.”

Kenkel, who played Mrs. Potts, was dressed like a tea-pot, with one arm for the handle and the other to pour. She said she had a lot of fun with her role as an inanimate object.

This was Kenkel’s last high school production. She graduates this spring and said she will likely become a music teacher. She said she was happy that her last play was such a huge production.

And a huge production it was. Many of the actors had several costume changes during the performance, some as many as three. There were also a number of set changes, as well.

Everything worked flawlessly. Ilene Carter, the director, said that high school junior and stage manager Scott Dykstra had everything under control.

She said he was very disciplined during the rehearsals and performances. He would not allow any chatter over the seven headsets he had going to give everyone direction.

“It was amazing the way he pulled everything together,” Carter said.

Bradley Staker, who played The Beast, not only played one of the lead roles, but also put a lot of time into helping build the sets. He also assisted with the lights “and all the fun stuff,” he said.

Staker said the role of The Beast fit him, because his friends consider him a big cuddly beast. He said he has been singing since the second grade when he sang a solo in the children’s Christmas concert at his church.

“I’ve been singing ever since,” he said.

He began performing in musicals in high school and is a part of the Madrigals and the boy’s choir. Although he is a junior, he has already decided he will major in music education in college. He wants to teach choral music.

Gaston, also known as Kevin Krasinski, said Beauty and the Beast was a part of his childhood, as well. He said it was nice to reminisce while they rehearsed for the performance.

He said playing Gaston was exciting for him, and he was really able to lose himself in the character. Krasinski is 6’1” tall, and similar to Gaston, he has a large presence.

“I’m like Gaston in that I carry myself in a big manner,” he said. “Gaston has a big personality and he is boastful. They always know he’s in the room.”

Krasinski said he has been acting since he was in eighth grade, when he tried out for a play and ended up with the role of Daddy Warbucks. He said he realized then how much fun it was. He also started singing when he was very young.

When he was in sixth or seventh grade, he started to pursue music more seriously. He joined the Midnight Special, the concert choir and the Madrigals, and began performing in musicals.

The other main cast members are Chloe Bluml as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Brock Feece as Lefou, Joey Kenkel as Maurice, Belle’s father, Kathryn Lanute as Chip, Bryan Renaud as Lumiere, Kendall Renaud as Cogsworth, Jake Rosco as Monsieur D’Arque and Bessie Tockstein as Babette.

Mike Panegouleas is the narrator, James Tockstein is the young prince, Taylor Carlson and Danielle Rose played the enchantress, and the silly girls were played by Emma Anderson, Natalie Sweica and Samantha Vazquez.

In addition to the students who played the leads and other larger parts, Carter said there were many others who helped to make the production a success.

“The chorus members worked just as hard rehearsing,” she said. (The musical number) “Be Our Guests” is 12 minutes long.”

The chorus began rehearsing the music under musical director Bryan Kunstman the week of Jan. 9, and students began work on the sets with technical director Chad Carlson at about the same time. Carter said for the high school orchestra to learn that much music in that short of a time was a tribute to orchestra director Aaron Puckett.

Carter, who teaches theatre at the high school, said they were lucky to have choreographer Paula Frasz work with the cast. Frasz is a professor of dance and choreographer at Northern Illinois University.

Lisa Hodge was in charge of the costumes, and Carter said she made the changes look effortless from the audience. She said parents helped in every capacity.

“We had the right combination of people to make the quality happen,” she said.

Eichelberger said she definitely had fun during this performance and particularly enjoyed coming out on stage in the yellow dress.

“I could hear the kids going, ‘Ooooh,’” she said. “My mom said the little girl behind her said, ‘She’s so pretty.’ I felt like a princess.”

Letter: Thank you, Dave Anderson

We would like to say “thank you” to Dave Anderson, who will be leaving the township in a month to pursue other interests.

All of us have been influenced by Dave’s input on issues pertaining to the township and our individual areas. Dave has always been there when we needed him.

One of the qualifications that impressed all of us was that Dave never micro-managed. His forte is that he knows how to pick or endorse good people to get the job done.

Dave has always been forward-thinking. He has been the initiator for increased services, like the “Ride for Kane” program, which provides transportation for folks in our area that have no driver’s license and rely on this option. We will miss working with him.

Good Luck, Dave.

Lisa Hodge, Township Clerk
Rod Feece, Township Road Commissioner
Uwe Rotter, Township Assessor