Tag Archives: Melisa Taylor

5.

Photos: An inside look

Illinois 4-H students on Tuesday made their annual spring trip to the Kane County Government Center so that they could learn more about government and see it in action. The students arrived at the Government Center at 8:30 a.m. and then attended the Forest Preserve 9 a.m. and County Board meeting at 9:45 a.m. About half of the County Board was shadowed by the 4-H’ers. Afterward, the 4-H students had lunch with County Board members at the U of I Extension Office. Jessica Poust (right), a Maple Park resident and junior at Kaneland High School, shadowed Kane County Treasurer and CPA Dave Rickert. 4-H members Maddie Marucco (below) of St. Charles and Erik Dunteman of Big Rock shadowed Kane County Board member and Sugar Grove resident Melisa Taylor.
1.

Election: Kane County Board District 5

The race for the Kane County Board District 5 Republican nomination in the March 18 General Primary Election will come down to incumbent Melisa Taylor and challenger Bill Lenert

Bill_LenertBill Lenert
Bill Lenert believes Kane County Board members are entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the interests and desires of the residents of Kane County.

Lenert on March 18 will seek the board’s District 5 seat and the opportunity to represent its 22,000 residents.

“I would work to ensure that our taxpayers receive the best possible return on every tax dollar they spend,” he said.

In order to accomplish this, Lenert, a Sugar Grove resident, said he will listen to the needs and desires of his constituents to make sure the board is utilizing its county resources in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible to improve the daily lives of its residents.

Lenert has a wife, Mary; three kids, Katie, Bill and Mike; and six grandchildren. He’s been a small-business owner in Kane County for over 29 years, and has seen the way that burdensome regulations and high taxes can cripple business expansion and job growth in our community. He owns Lenert Insurance Agency in Aurora.

“I believe the same sound, fiscal principles that I have utilized personally and in my business should be implemented by our County Board to ensure responsible and proper use of our taxes,” he said.

Lenert believes that being a first-time candidate for political office will provide the citizens of District 5 with a new voice on issues impacting our local community.

“I am running because I know I can be an asset to the County Board in working to make our community an even more desirable place to live and work,” he said.

He also believes his business, educational (M.B.A., Illinois Benedictine University), and community leadership experience distinguish him from his opponent. Over the past 30 years, Lenert’s been an active community participant, serving as co-chair of the successful 2004 West Aurora School District Referendum, co-chair of the successful 2013 Saint Katharine Drexel “Open Wide Your Hearts” building campaign, board member of the Rockford Diocese Finance Council since 2006, as well as former president of the Holy Angels School Board, and former board member of the Aurora Family Counseling Service.

“These experiences allow me to offer a fresh perspective to the County Board that is most reflective of the desires and needs of our residents,” Lenert said. “My professional demeanor will make me a more effective representative in working with community leaders and our taxpayers to serve the needs of the residents of District 5.”

If elected, Lenert’s top three priorities will include lowering taxes, extending Metra to Sugar Grove, and promoting more jobs and better wages.

“I fully support maintaining a frozen property tax levy indefinitely,” he said. “It is imperative that our County Board members continue to exercise sound fiscal management in eliminating financial waste to lessen the ever increasing tax burdens placed upon our residents.”

In terms of the Metra-to-Sugar Grove project, Lenert sees the improvement of transportation as a critical component to the economic well-being of any community. And by extending Metra to Sugar Grove, he believes the citizens of District 5 will be provided with a convenient means of transportation that is lacking.

“Accomplishing this goal will connect our residents with surrounding suburbs and Chicago, making District 5 more attractive to commuters and businesses alike,” he said. “In order to promote more jobs and better wages in Kane County, we must attract new businesses to our community. Having been a lifelong Kane County resident and local business owner, I have developed relationships with many successful individuals and businesses in our community. My ability to comfortably conduct myself in a professionally diplomatic manner makes me the best candidate to attract new development and business opportunities to District 5.”

Lenert sees an environment of professional collaboration and mutual respect between County Board members and department directors as critical to the successful operations of the county, and believes its leaders must be able to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner if they wish to work together to improve the quality of life for residents.

“My business and community experiences allow me to best professionally, competently and diplomatically represent the interests of District 5,” he said. “Additionally, our community leaders must make themselves available to address the needs and concerns of their constituents. If elected, my constituents can expect to be treated with the same respect and attentiveness I have provided to my insurance clients for the past 30 years. I will make every effort to promptly respond to their questions and concerns and will work to make sure their needs are properly addressed.”

Lenert defines his motivation for seeking the District 5 County Board seat with a simple reason.

“I believe that my experiences as a lifelong Kane County resident and local business owner will assist the County Board in working collaboratively to improve the quality of life for all Kane County residents,” he said.

Melissa_TaylorMelisa Taylor
Kane County Board District 5 member Melisa Taylor sees the role of community volunteer as essential to public service.

As founder of Sugar Grove’s Between Friends Food Pantry, Taylor’s seen firsthand the obstacles and pain felt in families in the 5th District and elsewhere throughout Kane County.

“(That) is forefront in my mind when I take a vote or a position on issues affecting us,” Taylor said. “I have worked with taxpayers to ask our assessor why she is raising our assessments when our taxes are going nowhere but up. I think about our fiscal condition when I ask difficult questions. Why can’t we merge these services and make our government work more efficiently?”

As a community volunteer, Taylor became involved with educational issues while raising two daughters with her husband, Rich. Before long she was elected to serve as a trustee on the Sugar Grove Village Board.

“As I realized that our county government demanded an independent voice, free from influence, nepotism and conflicts, I moved toward consideration of a County Board seat,” she said.

Elected to the County Board in fall 2010 and re-elected in 2012, Melisa has helped residents battle local flooding problems, and she’s worked hard for an expanded commercial development along Randall Road. She said she wants to avoid additional costs to business owners when they want to develop in Kane County.

Taylor said the average American family statistically has $3,000 in average savings, so every penny that they give to the county as taxpayers to government, especially locally, makes the County Board’s responsibility to them serious and sacred.

“Our job as County Board members is to remember that we must stand up, do the right thing and ensure that we are always aware that our allegiance is to our districts, and that our job is to work cooperatively with those on the board to ensure that our district is well represented,” Taylor said.

Taylor also believes she’s done her best to stay involved in district outreach activities, including volunteerism, local public service, church expansion and rebuilding. She was involved in finding an alternative building while St. Katherine’s Parish was under construction, and served on the Solheim Cup Committee. She also helped the county veteran’s coordinator to organize the Veteran’s Honor Day at the Kane County Wall honoring service men and women.

“I enjoy staying in touch with people in the 5th District,” she said.

Taylor has traveled downstate to represent her district, organized tax appeal meetings, and she’s assisted in sending messages out about subdivision, village and township needs. She’s also made it a priority to question “needless county waste and spending.”

“I have never denied that I investigate, inquire and want to ensure that my constituents know that the money they give to their county government is being utilized for solid projects, plans, and programs, which will serve the needs of the district,” Taylor said. “My investigations seek to ensure that my peers and I work cooperatively so valuable projects sought in our district are met favorably by my colleagues.”

Taylor also notes that she believes she has no personal conflicts that may interfere with her decisions to represent the people in her district.

“My opponent does have clear conflicts of interest, which would arise during voting and decision making as a board member,” Taylor said. “Being a childhood friend of the county chairman, a major donor for (Kane County Board Chairman Chris) Lauzen’s campaigns and also his longtime insurance agent means he will likely follow his lead in any issue and vote as told to. My opponent’s son also works for the law firm representing the county chairman, the County Board and the Forest Preserve, which also brings up more issues of nepotism and pay-to-play politics.”

If re-elected, Taylor wants to focus on the completion of the Route 47/I-88 interchange by working as a team with local, state, federal and private entities, and she’s also interested in the extension of Dauberman Road, stressing the need to re-establish communication and teamwork to explore the process and the possibility of any potential outside financing.

Taylor also wants to continue working with Metra on its Sugar Grove extension by progressing talks in order to keep the project on the forefront of the company’s project list.

“If re-elected, Taylor pledges to research the issues and ask the appropriate questions, and said she supports her fellow board members to do the same.

“I pledged when I took office that I would remain vigilant in regard to needless spending, consolidate government service when needed and treat your money as if it is the last dollar available. This has not always been popular, but my resolve is to do whatever is right for my district. They are my employers, and my dedication to them is my first priority.”

Michels kicks off re-election bid with fundraiser

Photo: A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean.
Photo by Patti Wilk

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—A heavy, unseasonable rainstorm wasn’t enough to prevent more than a hundred people from attending Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels’ campaign kickoff fundraiser at Bliss Creek Golf Course’s Pine Room on Jan. 29.

Michels, who will run for re-election against village trustee Kevin Geary on the April ballot, has served as village president since 1999.

“I’m impressed with the turnout,” Michels said during the fundraiser. “We’ve been utilizing Facebook and other social media outlets to get our campaign rolling by connecting with more people, and it’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces coming out to show support.”

Michels’ family, friends and constituents socialized, ate pizza and discussed local issues during the two-hour event. Michels’ father, Jim, said the event was “a real shot in the arm” for the campaign.

“This is a contested election, so you can’t take anything for granted,” he said.

The event was co-sponsored and supported by Cordogan Clark and Associates, IBEW Local 701, Plumber/Pipefitters Local 501, Schram Construction, Producers Chemical and Morton Private Wealth Strategies.

Michels said his campaign will focus on his experience and accomplishments, and his continued vision for a better Sugar Grove. A pamphlet created by Friends of Sean Michels highlights his economic record during the recession, and notes that the village since 2007 has reduced its staff by 20 percent by implementing smarter technology.

“Lower governmental costs translate into lower taxes,” Michels said.

Michels also mentioned his work in creating the 25-acre Sugar Grove Sports Complex on Wheeler Road. A potential stop at Rich Harvest Farms for the 2016 LPGA Tour is also in discussion.

If re-elected, Michels plans to address target issues such as reducing real estates taxes, creating an impact fee agreement with the Kaneland School District, attracting more businesses to the Route 47 corridor, constructing a retirement apartment complex and establishing a Metra Station in Sugar Grove.

Michels addressed the crowd at around 6:30 p.m.

“I want to thank all of you for coming out tonight to show your continued support, but we are not done by any means. We need to establish a vision for the future, and we can only do this as a community,” he said.

Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor, a former Sugar Grove village trustee, said the election should be interesting.

“Both candidates are great men, and I think both would do a good job,” she said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”

Trustees Rick Montalto, Robert Bohler and David Paluch endorse Michels.

Michels spoke briefly of Geary during a pre-fundraiser phone call, noting how drainage problems in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions have become a “political issue.”

“That situation was quite a fiasco because of certain individuals who would not compromise, but the issue has been resolved,” Michels said. “As far as Geary, I just don’t know what his message and plans are other than to cut spending, which is something I’ve done for years.”

A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean. Photo by Patti Wilk
A fundraiser was held to re-elect Sugar Grove Village President P. Sean Michels on Jan. 29 in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. Attendees included Sugar Grove and surrounding area residents, Sugar Grove Village Trustees, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner. The Michels family is (left to right) Madelyn, Sophie, Nick, Abby, wife Valerie and Sean.
Photo by Patti Wilk
P. Sean Michels (right) in conversation with Tom Weisner, Aurora Mayor, and Bob Bohler (center), Sugar Grove village trustree. 		   Photo by Patti Wilk
P. Sean Michels (right) in conversation with Tom Weisner, Aurora Mayor, and Bob Bohler (center), Sugar Grove village trustree. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kathy Morton, Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, having a laugh with Sean. 						   Photo by Patti Wilk
Kathy Morton, Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, having a laugh with Sean. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kim Jablonski (right), Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, came to enjoy the evening and also picked up a few campaining signs for her yard.                             Photo by Patti Wilk
Kim Jablonski (right), Sugar Grove resident and Sean Michels supporter, came to enjoy the evening and also picked up a few campaining signs for her yard. Photo by Patti Wilk

Between Friends collects $25,450

SUGAR GROVE—Former board trustee and current Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor attended the Sugar Grove Village Board meeting on Oct. 16 and stated that the Between Friends Food Pantry organization recently gathered $25,450 in donations for food. Taylor also mentioned that the local Jimmy John’s restaurant donates old bread every Thursday, while Jewel-Osco in Sugar Grove pulls food off its shelves on Thursday to donate to the food pantry.

Election 2012: Kane County Board, District 5

Pair of candidates both seek to serve as tax money watch dogs
Republican incumbent Melisa Taylor is running for her second term representing District 5 on the Kane County Board. She faces Democrat challenger Norman Martin, who brings a background of public service as a former member of the United States Air Force and as a retired member of the Illinois State Police.

Melisa Taylor
Republican
Taylor plans to continue the same priorities as what originally led her to run for the office two years ago—serving as a steward of county taxpayer money.

“I initially ran for Kane County Board to help more than just Sugar Grove,” Taylor said. “With a Kane County budget of over $70 million, I felt it important to oversee where our tax money is being spent.”

To serve in that watchdog role, she said she plans to continue looking into every process within every department of the county, searching for the most efficient ways to obtain cost savings. She also is focused on the Kane County Animal Control Department.

“I will also continue to assist with the restructuring of the Kane County Animal Control Department to ensure that our pets are treated and sheltered with the utmost of care,” she said.

Another priority is continuing her efforts to freeze Kane County property tax levies.

“It is important that our government reflects the utmost respect for the contribution of each taxpayer,” Taylor said.

Knowing that these goals will require the input of the other members of the Kane County Board, she remains dedicated to developing strong relationships with her fellow board members.

“It is necessary to work with the other board members, and therefore I will continue to foster working relationships with the other board members, whether experienced or new to the board,” she said.

Overall, her efforts are economy-focused.

“The role of a Kane County Board member is to be the steward and watchdog of the revenue generated within Kane County to ensure the money is used to the benefit of all Kane County residents, homeowners and business owners,” Taylor said.

In addition to her efforts to help increase efficiencies and freeze tax rates, she also plans to help her constituents, one person at a time if need be.

“(I) will continue to advise residents of the Kane County services that are available to help them with assistance through these trying economic times,” she said.

Norman Martin Sr.
Democrat
While new to politics, Martin is not new to public service. Following his discharge from active duty in the Air Force, Martin served a full career as a police officer for the Illinois State Police, ultimately serving as Regional Commander, policing and patrolling Kane County for 13 years.

He chose to run for office because he sees a need for change at the county level, and he feels his past experience can help him directly address his concerns.

“As a taxpayer and resident, I am concerned about how our tax dollars are being spent, how responsive our elected officials are to the constituents they serve,” Martin said. “I want to use my knowledge and experiences to help ensure our county is doing the best it can to provide quality services to its customers who live, work and trade in the county and do so in a responsible and efficient manner.”

He said his first priority would be to control taxes, either keeping them the same or lowering them if possible. To help reduce the cost of government, he said the county should explore private/public partnerships.

He also wants to focus on making government act in an ethical manner.

“One that is responsible to its constituents. One that holds self and all county employees accountable for the consequences of their actions. One that governs transparently, and is a good steward to the assets and affairs of the county,” Martin said.

He also wants to help improve the quality of life for Kane County residents by promoting safe communities and developing a business-friendly climate.

“That will attract activities that support job creation,” Martin said. “(We need to) create sustainable, environmentally friendly policies and business practices.”

Addressing those priorities will require regular and effective communication with the residents within Martin’s district, something he looks forward to.

“I will work closely with my constituents to ensure the issues and concerns are clearly understood and their interests are properly represented. If elected, I pledge to use every resource available to me to help the county prosper,” Martin said. “Above all, I will operate with honesty and integrity at all times.”

Letter: Terry Hunt for Kane County Auditor on March 20

After participating and attending many political election events throughout this election season, I have come to respect Terry Hunt for his goals, his work ethic and his unconditional respect for others.

Terry Hunt has the best combination of education along with experience and has demonstrated commitment to service as our Kane County Auditor. With Terry’s accounting degree and proven record of success as a financial professional for 37 years, including being a local, small business owner, I believe he is meant to be our auditing watchdog. Terry’s unbiased commitment to service in our county has been something we, as taxpayers, deserve and expect from our auditor.

I agree with our current Kane County Auditor Bill Keck saying that Terry Hunt will serve us well as Kane County Auditor. Please consider joining me as I vote for Terry Hunt on Tuesday, March 20.

Melisa Taylor
Sugar Grove
Kane County Board Member
District 5

SG village members reflect on 2010

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—When Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels looks back on the village’s achievements in 2010, images of completed roads and golden arches will easily come to mind.

“We got a lot more accomplished (in 2010) than I think people realize, getting road projects like Esker Drive and Division Drive done, which obviously helps traffic patterns and helps move people around the community,” he said. “And the fact that McDonald’s is coming here says a lot about the village. We’re being recognized by retailers (who see) that Sugar Grove is a good community to be in, and we have some growth that they want to be a part of.”

The completion of Esker Drive means drivers will have a second access point to Harter Middle School. And Division Drive now connects with Galena Boulevard, which will give some people the option to completely avoid Route 47 if they desire.

And a McDonald’s in Sugar Grove has been on the wish list of several board trustees for over a decade, including Mari Johnson, who hopes the franchise will be open by its estimated date of June 2011.

“I’m hoping McDonald’s really sticks with their timetable. They say to build from the ground up only takes 10 to 12 weeks,” she said. “McDonald’s said they were hoping to approve everything in their budget in January, then they would go out to bid and then break ground at the end of March or beginning of April, and then be open in the beginning of June. It seemed like a pretty aggressive timetable.”

The Sugar Grove McDonald’s will be built on the southeast corner of Park Avenue and Route 47.

2010 in Sugar Grove wasn’t just about completed roads and a fast food franchise that has served billions of people, though, as Michels also praised former trustees Melisa Taylor and Mary Heineman for their work with the Between Friends Food Pantry and the village’s comprehensive bike trail plan, respectively.

“Mary has taken a myriad of ideas and put it into a written document that we can use to work off of towards the future,” he said. “(She) and her staff have done excellent work.”

Johnson said she was pleased with the completion of several punch-list items in the Prairie Glen and Walnut Woods subdivisions, and the agreement to gradually improve Mallard Point’s drainage problem.

“We have the agreement signed with the county, and they’re going to run a huge drain pipe from Mallard Point all the way down to the creek in Jericho Grove,” she said.

Despite the numerous successes of 2010, however, Michels sees the final approval for a McDonald’s franchise as the most important event of this year.

“We finally got McDonald’s to see the prospect of Sugar Grove, and really worked hard to get them here,” he said. “I think this McDonald’s will have a huge ripple effect and will bring other retailers to Sugar Grove.”

Sugar Grove Village Board re-approves IGA with Kaneland

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday evening voted for the second time in two weeks to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Kaneland School District. Just like the last board vote on Dec. 7, it took a tie-breaking vote for the Village Board to authorize the agreement.

Trustee Bob Bohler’s vote in favor of the IGA broke a 2-2 deadlock between board trustees and allowed the Village Board to approve the agreement with a vote of 3-2. As a result, Sugar Grove will enter into a one-year Intergovernmental Agreement with the Kaneland School District, with Sugar Grove developers paying 60 percent of the capital-impact and transition fees issued by the School District.

The Village Board was forced to re-vote on the issue after it was determined that former Trustee Melisa Taylor’s vote during the Dec. 7 meeting was null and void due to Taylor being sworn in as a Kane County Board member prior to that Village Board meeting. Because Taylor voted in favor of the IGA, the nullification of her vote brought the board’s decision back to a 3-3 tie (Village President Sean Michels had been the tie-breaking vote). Therefore, a re-vote on the IGA was deemed necessary.

Several board trustees restated their concern that the current school impact fee structure was based on a model that was out of date. Trustee Bob Bohler asked Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler, who was in attendance, if Kaneland could guarantee a finished Dalstrom study within the next year, to which Schuler said, “Absolutely.”

“I’m pleased and appreciative of Sugar Grove’s interest in being part of the Intergovernmental Agreement. I think it’s important for the Sugar Grove residents, and I think it’s important for all the Kaneland school residents that we remain unified,” Schuler said. “I absolutely anticipate that (the new research) is going to happen, and what that research will do is affirm the data that drives the (Dalstrom) model, with the concept being that new growth should pay its fair share of the cost of educating kids.”

Michels said he was relieved to have a new IGA in place despite his reservations with the current fee structure.

“I think we have an obligation to our residents of Sugar Grove and the whole district to have a fee in place so at least the communities know that we are watching out for the School District,” he said. “Sugar Grove realizes that controlled growth is good for us and for the region, and that’s where a lot of the board and myself are having issues with this impact fee agreement, because it does keep a large portion of the fees on the high side.

“I can live with this agreement because it’s only one year in length, and we’re going to be working towards a new fee schedule over that year,” he said.

Sugar Grove approves IGA with Kaneland

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday night voted 4-3 in favor of a one-year Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Kaneland School District. Sean Michels’ vote broke a 3-3 deadlock between board trustees.

As a result, developers in Sugar Grove will pay only 60 percent of the capital-impact and transition fees issued by the School District—a compromise that was struck after the Village Board tabled the IGA vote at its Nov. 16 meeting in order to have further discussions with the district.

“We need to protect the School District by imposing some impact fees, because that’s how they get money to (develop) their schools and fund bricks and mortar,” Michels said. “(The village) has expenses, and if we get more development, then maybe we’ll get more retail stores that will bring in more tax dollars. We’re trying to generate development in the community and still take care of the School District, and it’s a fine line.”

Several board trustees touched upon that fine line during the meeting, as Mari Johnson and Rick Montalto both stated they would move forward with the IGA despite still having some reservations with the numbers proposed by the School District.

“In the spirit of cooperation, and the fact that our agreement is expiring in a few short weeks, I think it’s probably better to go forward on the faith that what we’ve been told by the School District is actually true,” Montalto said.

Michels said the board is looking out for village residents and the future of the village.

“We need to work with the School District, and they need to appreciate what we’re doing at the same time. Even developers have acknowledged that a good school system is what sells lots,” he said.

Trustees voting in favor of the IGA extension were Michels, Johnson, Montalto and Melisa Taylor; against were Tom Renk, Kevin Geary, and Bob Bohler.

Crash victim recovering after several surgeries

Youth hit by truck suffered life-threatening injuries
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Julio Gallegos didn’t know what to expect on Aug. 11, 2010, when he received word that his 13-year-old son Uriel had been involved in an accident while riding his bike across Route 47 in Sugar Grove.

“I was hoping that it wasn’t really serious and that Uriel just had a few broken bones or something,” said Gallegos, of Sugar Grove. “But when I got to the hospital, I knew right away that it was serious.”

Uriel was struck by a truck almost immediately after a van traveling south on Route 47 clipped the back of his bicycle and caused him to lose control. He was rushed to Provena Mercy Hospital in Aurora before being airlifted to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., where he was listed in critical condition with a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, shattered pelvis, broken femur, extensive road rash and severe head trauma.

Although the majority of Uriel’s body was broken, his spirit remained just fine. Despite the life-threatening injuries he suffered just six weeks ago and numerous surgeries he’s undergone since the accident, Uriel is expected to make a complete recovery. He may even be walking again in a couple of months.

“(My family’s) been through a lot, but we’re seeing signs of improvement (in Uriel’s health) and taking everything day by day,” Gallegos said.

Sugar Grove Village Board trustee Melisa Taylor heard about Uriel’s accident and wasted no time providing the Gallegos family with assistance.

“Uriel’s mom, Maria, stayed by his side the entire time he was at Park General (Hospital). And Julio, who works in the West Aurora School District, was driving back and forth to the hospital while also taking care of their other three boys,” she said. “I figured their gas expenses must be huge with all of that driving, since Park General is north of O’Hare (Airport).”

Taylor opened a Castle Bank account for the Gallegos’ so that people could donate gas cards or make donations to help pay the family’s bills. She also stocked the Gallegos’ pantry with food, started a support page for him on Facebook and worked with the family’s neighbors to help gather school supplies for Uriel’s brothers.

“I was just trying to worry about the everyday life that this family didn’t have time to worry about,” Taylor said. “Uriel needed his mom and dad, so our goal was to just help them out.”

The Kaneland School District staff also made a significant effort to show its support for Uriel, working with several of his fellow students to make a poster wishing him a happy 14th birthday, which he celebrated shortly after his accident.

Uriel is currently confined to a wheelchair while he begins the arduous task of rehabilitating his legs back to full health. There’s no doubt he has a very grueling couple of months of physical therapy ahead, but considering everything he’s overcome since that fateful August afternoon, it’s easy to believe he’ll pass this test with flying colors.

“The kid is a walking miracle, and I don’t use that term lightly,” Taylor said. “He’s (14) years old and his body is very strong, but the stars really aligned for him that (August) day.”

Cupboard almost bare at Sugar Grove Food Pantry

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—The shelves at the Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove are not empty, but they are a lot less full than they were just a few weeks ago.

When the food pantry opened in Sugar Grove three months ago, it was serving 11 families. According to Sugar Grove resident and Village Board member Melisa Taylor, 67 families are currently obtaining food from the Sugar Grove location. Taylor came up with the idea for a local food pantry.

“Churches are letting their members know,” Taylor said. “They’re learning more about the food pantry.”

In addition to more families in need coming to receive food, donations have fallen off somewhat since the holidays, she said.

“I’m so grateful for what people have already done, but this is a year-round thing,” she said. “People are still losing their jobs. Every week, there are new people.”

Taylor said that the people who show up at the pantry, located in the rear of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. in Sugar Grove, would rather not have to be there. She recalled a family who came last week, where the parents had been out of work for six months to a year.

“They’ve used all their resources and savings, and now they’re officially in trouble,” she said. “They’ve been trying to stand on their own two feet, and now they need help.”

Fellow Sugar Grove resident Pat Graceffa had some advice for people who think that in order to help, they have to give a lot. Thinking in this way makes it seem so overwhelming, that they might end up not helping at all, she said.

“Things are very tough for everyone, so please only help if you are able to, but all donations of even a can of soup are truly helpful and appreciated more than you know,” she said.

Taylor said that donations of money can go a long way, as well. The food pantry purchases items such as milk, butter and eggs from the Sugar Grove Jewel Food Store for less than a regular customer would pay. In addition, food pantry volunteers can purchase food at a significant discount from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

According to its website, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, a non-profit, 501(c)(3), chartered by the state of Illinois to provide food to those in need, acquires donated food and financial support from retailers, manufacturers, corporations, community resources, and individuals. NIFB distributes the food to hungry people through a network of more than 520 non-profit food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other food assistance sites in 13 northern Illinois counties.

“As a member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, we can purchase needed food items at greatly reduced rates,” Taylor said. “For example, $2 at the food bank buys eight boxes of name brand cereal. Make your donation go further and let us do the shopping.”

Donation drop-off locations
• Sugar Grove Animal Hospital
• Green Acre Cleaners
• Sugar Grove Village Hall
• Sugar Grove Library
• Old Second Bank
• Sugar Grove Remax
• Aurora Candlewood Suites
• Kaneland McDole
Elementary School
• Sugar Grove United
Methodist Church

Most-popular items
• Spaghetti sauce
• Pastas
• Pancake mix and syrup
• Boxed dinner mixes
• Canned fruits
• Canned veggies
• Juices
• Breakfast cereals
• Baby food
• Sugar and flour
• Soups and stews
Personal care, household items
• Laundry detergent
• Dish soap, cleansers
• Baggies, garbage bags
• Diapers (infant, adult)
• Shampoo, conditioner
• Soap, other toiletries
• Tissues, toilet paper
• Feminine products

Beloved pets need a home and food too, so pet food donations are also appreciated.

You may mail your tax-deductible donation to Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove, P.O. Box 509, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

For more information, please call (630) 466-0345 or visit www.sugargrovefoodpantry.org.

The food pantry is located in the back of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., at 52 Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove.

Feb. 2 Election Results

Below are the local unofficial results from the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election. Winners names are in bold.

District Representative 14th Congressional District

Democratic candidates
Bill Foster—25,071
Republican candidates
Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren—34,472
Ethan A. Hastert—28,575

State Senator 25th District

Democratic candidates
Leslie N. Juby—8,492
Republican candidates
P. Sean Michels—9,444
Chris Lauzen—22,110

State Representative 50th District

Democratic candidates
Linda Healy—4,435
Republican candidates
Keith R. Wheeler—7,344
Kay Hatcher—8,468
Bob McQuillan—2,462

Kane County Clerk

Democratic candidates
Ghafran Chishti—12,242
Republican candidates
John A. “Jack” Cunningham—30,139

Kane County Treasurer

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
David J. Rickert—24,125
Bob Kovanic—7,347

Kane County Sheriff

Democratic candidates
Pat Perez—13,435
Republican candidates—too close to call, awaiting absentee count
L. Robert Russell—15,531
Donald E. Kramer—15,570

Kane County Board District 5

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Bill Wyatt—1,152
Melisa Taylor—1,332

Kane County Board District 25

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Bob Kudlicki—1,447
Thomas (T.R.) Smith—1,863

16th Judicial Circuit (Grometer Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
None
Republican candidates
Fred M. Morelli—17,910
Kevin T. Busch—28,050

16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County Vacancy)

Democratic candidates
John G. Dalton—7,584
Michael C. Funkey—5,407
Republican candidates
Thomas Patrick Rice—5,841
Robert L. Janes—4,115
D. J. Tegeler—3,065
Leonard J. Wojtecki—5,374
David R. Akemann—12,880

Referendum

Sugar Grove Library Proposition to increase the limiting rate
Yes—925
No—1,920

Community will benefit from Solheim Cup event

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—The village of Sugar Grove is well-positioned to meet visitors attending the Solheim Cup, village trustee Melisa Taylor said on Tuesday. Taylor told the other board members that the village’s expo tent is in a good location on the grounds of Rich Harvest Farms, where the Solheim Cup will be held.

Taylor said that every person who enters Rich Harvest Farms to attend the event will have to walk past the Sugar Grove tent. Locally based water garden company Aquascape, Inc. has agreed to build a water feature in front of the tent, to capture people’s attention.

The Solheim Golf Tournament, which features the best female players from the United States and Europe, will be held at the Sugar Grove golf course the week of Aug. 17-23. Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) planners estimate that thousands of national and international travelers will attend the prestigious event.

Taylor, one of the village’s liaisons to the planners of the Solheim Cup, said that during the planning process, the LPGA has been very gracious with those in the community.

To assist the newly formed Sugar Grove food pantry, she said LPGA organizers agreed to let visitors into the first practice day on Monday, Aug. 17 at no charge, if they bring at least four canned food items for the food pantry.

The Kaneland golf team will raise funds for the team by parking cars during the event, and the culinary class at Kaneland High School will have the chance to work along with the Solheim Cup’s executive chef.

“The (LPGA) has been extremely good to our entire community,” Taylor said.

In an effort to assist the newly formed Sugar Grove food pantry, LPGA organizers agreed to let visitors into the first practice day on Monday, Aug. 17 at no charge, if they bring at least 4 canned food items for the food pantry.

Food pantry will open in Sugar Grove

by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove residents were so generous with donations when their neighbor Melisa Taylor asked them to “Fill up Their Doorstep” last December that she decided to take it one step further. With so many people finding it hard to make ends meet in today’s economy, Taylor decided to start up a food pantry in Sugar Grove.

“There’s no reason in today’s society that people should go to bed hungry,” she said.

Taylor and a crew of children and other parents collected hundreds of pounds of food, warm clothing and pet supplies before the Christmas holidays to contribute to the community Holiday Spirit program. She said the number of people who donated inspired them to continue.

Once again, people have stepped forward to help. The first contribution came from an unlikely source—the old Kane County jail. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez donated about 1,000 feet of shelving that might have otherwise been destroyed when the old building is torn down.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. donated space in a back corner of its building to house the operation. Volunteers, including Sugar Grove resident Jim Eckert, are currently cleaning out the space, painting the floors and the walls and working out the logistics.

Taylor has also made an initial contact with the churches in the area, where she hopes to find people willing to volunteer their time once the pantry opens.

According to Kaneland Food Pantry President Rita Burnham, there is a great need in this area. Burnham said two years ago, the Kaneland Food Pantry, located in Elburn, serviced 10 to 12 families a week. That number is currently up to an average of 40 families per week.

Taylor said the need is so great everywhere that she does not see the Sugar Grove Food Pantry in competition with the Kaneland location or others in the area.

Visitors to the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market, which begins Saturday, June 6, are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for the new food pantry. Taylor said she hopes to have the pantry up-and-running a few months from now.

Flooding still problem for Mallard Point

2/12 updated: On page 7A of the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of the Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove resident Tom Scales’s comments were misconstrued. The flooding he referred to while describing children losing their shoes while walking on the grass was on the local baseball field, not in the yard of his home.

by Susan O’Neill
More than 100 residents of the Mallard Point subdivision in Sugar Grove attended a meeting on Tuesday called by the Village Board to listen to flooding and drainage concerns. One by one, the residents located their lot on a map of the subdivision and told their specific problems.

Most said they had sump pumps that either never shut off or that run every few minutes. A number of residents said their basements flood every time it rains; others said they have yards with pools of standing water.

Tom Scales said there is so much flooding in his yard that his children lose their shoes in the grass the day after a rain.

For some, the problems have been ongoing. According to an Elburn Herald article in June 2000, resident Laurie Geary said that she and her husband had already had extensive work done to solve the drainage and flooding issues.

“Ten sump pumps later, we discovered our dream house is built on a water aquifer,” she said then.

For others, like Leo Brown, the problems are just beginning. Brown, who has lived in Mallard Point for 10 years, said his sump pump had cob webs in it for the first eight years. He said now it goes on all the time, with a substantial increase in his electric bill as well.

Problems with the subdivision date back to the mid-1990s, when Mallard Point was first built. After the first builder declared bankruptcy, two others took over before the development was finally completed. Difficulties determining who was responsible for what problems go back to the beginning.

Although the annexation agreement called for the establishment of a homeowners association, one was never created. There was also some discussion about establishing a special services area. This would have meant Mallard Point residents would have been charged an additional tax that would pay for maintenance of the property and other outstanding issues, but that did not take place, either.

According to Village President Sean Michels, the development was built with inappropriate grading, causing many of the flooding and drainage issues.

Brad Sauer, who owns the property directly to the south of the subdivision, said that Mallard Point’s drainage problems have destroyed the crops and made that land, once farmed, unusable.

“I know some people think I’m the bad guy,” he told the crowd gathered on Tuesday. “I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the problem, so I’m with you. I want this problem fixed, too.”

Karen Romero, who lives on Brookhaven Circle, attended the Jan. 6 Village Board meeting to see if she could get any assistance from the village. Romero told the board her basement had flooded three times since the beginning of 2008.

She said when she initially approached village staff in October 2008, she was told the problem was a leak in the water line on her property, and it was her responsibility to fix it. She said it wasn’t until she had someone dig up her entire lawn that she discovered it was not where the problem was. She said she has been through three sump pumps and now the sewer line is backing up into her basement.

Romero said that so far, she has spent about $5,000 trying to fix the problem on her own. The last tradesperson she hired told her it was a drainage issue.

“I just don’t want other people to have to pay all this money like I did,” she said.

Trustee Kevin Geary, who owns a home in Mallard Point with his wife Laurie, said he did not feel the village had been responsive to Romero’s concerns and those of other Mallard Point residents. He and village presidential candidate Perry Clark held a meeting with residents several weeks ago.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from everyone,” Geary said. “My opinion is that the village did not want to be bothered with it.”

Village attorney Steve Andersson said the Village Board has asked him to research what the rights and responsibilities are for both the village and the landowners, including the Mallard Point residents and Sauer.

Although several residents said they wanted a timeframe in which the village thought the problem could be solved, village officials were reluctant to set one.

Trustee Mary Heineman said she has spent 12 hours so far talking to people and reading through previous meeting minutes to get a better sense of the problems. She asked the residents for their patience while the village takes steps to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions.

“While I know you all want a timeline, we don’t know the extent of the problem, so we can’t determine how long it will take,” trustee Melisa Taylor added.

Andersson said he will review the annexation agreement, and work with the engineers to determine the problems, as well as attempting to determine what is village-owned and what is not.

The Village Board is expected to approve a contract with the engineering firm Trotter & Associates at its next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 3, to evaluate the problems.