Tag Archives: Pat Hill


Hill’s Country Store promotes epilepsy awareness

KANEVILLE—Hill’s Country Store, aka the “Purple Store,” in Kaneville, is participating in the Great Purple Cupcake Project for the second consecutive year, from now through Sunday, March 30, at the store’s location, 2S133 Harter Road.

The project is organized by the Anita Kaufmann Foundation in support of Purple Day, March 26. People all over the world participate in the project in an effort to raise epilepsy awareness.

Alexa Hill, daughter of Hill’s Country Store owners Pat and Cliff Hill, introduced the cupcake project to the store last spring during her senior year of college at Aurora University. Alexa said she discovered the purple-laden endeavor while researching for her Capstone project.

“Last year, when I was researching a business plan and the marketing needs for a bakery for my Capstone project, I came across the Great Purple Cupcake Project,” Alexa said. “I thought it would be a great idea to support since my mom’s cousin, Jimmy, died of an epileptic seizure. He didn’t know he had epilepsy.”

The color purple is used to symbolize and promote epilepsy awareness, so it was only fitting that the Purple Store get involved with the cupcake project.

As the store’s manager, Alexa bakes pies and cookies on a regular basis. Naturally, she handled all the cupcakes for the fundraiser project, baking chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting, as well as purple-cupcake-shaped sugar cookies, all for $1 each.

The store will also have educational bookmarks available, explaining the steps that should be taken when a person is having an epileptic seizure. Alexa added purple paper cupcakes to the project so that donors can have their name on a cupcake-shaped sheet with the dollar amount they contributed. All proceeds will go to the Anita Kaufmann Foundation. The paper cupcakes will be displayed around the store, along with coloring sheets kids have decorated for the store’s coloring contest.

Coloring contest sheets can be picked up at the store and submitted through the end of this week. The girl and boy winners will be announced next week. Updates on the project and pictures from the week can be found on the Hill’s Country Store Facebook page.

“It means a lot to me to support epilepsy awareness, especially because of Jimmy,” Alexa said. “I would like for everyone to know about it.”


Photos: A night at the races

Elburn Chamber of Commerce Winter Dinner, “A Night at the Races,” was held at the Elburn Lions Club Saturday. Pat Hill (left) of Hill’s Country Store received the Member of the Year Award, and Annette Theobold (right) of Paisano’s Pizza received the Business of the Year Award.

Janelle Ream of Ream’s Elburn Market, with a show of approval for her winning horse.
Janelle Ream of Ream’s Elburn Market, with a show of approval for her winning horse.
Peg Bendowski shows off her Kentucky Derby-themed race hat.
Peg Bendowski shows off her Kentucky Derby-themed race hat.

Kaneville looks forward to 2014

KANEVILLE—Kaneville Village President Pat Hill’s list of goals for 2014 are straightforward and to the point. There are road improvements she would like to complete this next year, concerning the resurfacing of Merrill Avenue and Lovell Road in Kaneville.

Hill also plans on continuing to fix the problem with water flowing into ditches from the Ravlin subdivision, located on the southwest portion of Kaneville. She plans to monitor the situation throughout the year, as well, and repair drainage ditches as needed.

One of Hill’s biggest accomplishments for 2013 was saving the post office from closing in town, and now for 2014, one of her goals will be maintaining the revenue of the post office to keep the store in business.

“The post office is a vital part of our community. We cannot lose it,” she said.

Town events and community camaraderie are among Hill’s goals for 2014 The Firemen’s Pancake Breakfast, Firemen’s Draw Down and Kaneville Fest, as well as fundraisers in the spring and fall (for the village’s “Cruise Night” and movie nights) are a few of the events that Kaneville has on its schedule for the year ahead.

Kaneville looks back on the year

by Natalie Juns

KANEVILLE—Kaneville Village President Pat Hill believes the village’s greatest accomplishment for 2013 was saving its local village post office.

Hill found out in early December that the village’s efforts to save the Kaneville Post Office had been heard.

“Now that it isn’t closing, we need to work hard to keep the revenue of the post office up for the upcoming year,” Hill said.

Since small, rural post offices are in danger of going out of business, the Kaneville Post Office has had to reduce its hours to stay afloat. Its current hours are now Monday through Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m, and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The Kaneville Village Board has other reasons to be proud of 2013, too.

Hill was elected Village President this past April after serving on the board as a trustee since 2006. The board has also added four new board members, Carl Hauser, Tim Christopher, Jon Behm and Nick Garifalis, Road Commissioner Dale Pierson, and four new Plan Commision members, including Henry Harwell, Paul (Griz) Stouver, Del Ward and Cliff Hill.

The board also welcomed Al Witney as its new township supervisor, and Serina Hauser as village clerk.

Progress was made in the village with the resurfacing of Merrill Avenue and Lovell Road. The village expects the project to be completed next spring.

The Village Board this year worked to notify residents of flooding in ditches located on the southwest portion of Kaneville, and of the repairs the village plans on implementing in the ditches and culverts next year.

On a social note, the village drew residents together with the lighting of their Christmas tree, donated by Strang Landscaping, during the Christmas in Kaneville event on Dec. 7.

“It was great having the Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 7,” Hill said. “We had around 20 people show up for the event, and Santa, one of the most important people, was there. The kids really enjoyed it and were also able to hang ornaments on our tree, donated by Strang Landscaping.”

Kaneville will hold fundraisers next spring and fall for future Kaneville Fest and Christmas in Kaneville events.


Old-fashioned Christmas celebration in Kaneville

by Susan O’Neill

KANEVILLE—Celebrate the season with an old-fashioned Christmas in Kaneville on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The festivities will begin at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Kaneville Community Center at Harter and Main Street roads, with the inaugural lighting of the community Christmas tree donated by Kaneville business Strang Landscaping. Community members are encouraged to bring an ornament that represents their family to place on the tree. Children from the Kaneville Community Center Child Care Center will assist in decorating the tree.

Santa will pose for pictures taken with children in attendance at the Kaneville fire barn from 9 a.m. to noon.

Jim Feece will bring his team of horses and his antique wagon and put them on display over by the historical houses across from the Fire Department. Kaneville board member Carl Hauser will drive an antique tractor as a hayrack ride for people in town.

Across the street, the historic 1840’s Farley House will be open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for visitors who wish to take a step back in time. The Christmas tree will be decorated with old-fashioned, hand-made items for the children to pick from its branches, Kaneville Historical Society Lynnette Werdin said.

A display of manger scenes donated by families in the area from their Christmases past will decorate the house.

“We try to make it a nice day, especially for the children,” Werdin said.

Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill will show her appreciation for its customers by offering free peppermint ice cream, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. The Old Second Bank’s Kaneville branch will also host a Customer Appreciation Day, with breakfast food and drinks, as well as gifts for the children, and raffle items for children and adults.

Stop by the Kaneville United Methodist Church at 46W764 Main Street Road between 9 and 11 a.m. for the church’s annual Cookie Walk. Add to your collection of Christmas goodies at the bake sale in the Kaneville Community Center gym from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And while you’re there, you might find a craft item for someone on your Christmas list.

Kaneville Public Library Director Ray Christiansen said he is looking forward to the activities at the library open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children are invited to make and take a Christmas ornament, and several times throughout the morning, children can sit and listen to a Christmas story. Music students of former Kaneville resident Elyse Napoli will play their instruments in an ongoing recital performance beginning at 10:30 a.m. Door prizes and basket raffles will be offered throughout the day.

Craft show coordinator Karen Flammond is still looking for more crafters for the sale. Those interested should call (630) 557-2854. To donate bake sale items, call Hill at (630) 557-2228.

“We’re really working hard (to make it a nice event),” Hill said.

A thank you from Kaneville Fest

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

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

Pat Hill, Kaneville Fest chair


Kaneville Fest 2013 a success in the community

KANEVILLE—Horse-drawn wagon rides, face-painting, an ice cream eating contest, a fireworks display, and many other attractions contributed to a successful 2013 Kaneville Fest. Approximately 250 area residents attended the festivities the weekend of Aug. 22-25.

“(Kaneville Fest) went perfectly,” said Pat Hill, chairperson of the Kaneville Fest Committee and owner of Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville. “It went smoothly with no flaws, just like it should have.”

Movie night, held the evening of Aug. 23 at Hill’s Country Store, featured the children’s movie “Epic,” with at least 120 viewers in attendance. The festival weekend featured a book sale at the Kaneville Public Library and community-wide garage sales. There were also several crafting stands that featured a variety of local and commercial crafts.

“There’s something for everybody to do,” Hill said.

5-B’s Catering, based in Waterman, Ill., supplied food at 2013 Kaneville Fest to support the event. There were also raffle ticket sales, and Hill sold World’s Finest Chocolate candy bars in her store.

In fact, this year’s fundraising efforts provided enough to begin supporting the 2014 Kaneville Fest.

According to Hill, the recent fundraising efforts garnered a high volume of raffle ticket sales. Raffle winners redeemed their tickets during Kaneville Fest in exchange for prizes such as golf packages, wine baskets, gift cards and certificates for local shops, Amazon Kindles and more. All Kaneville Fest prizes were donated by either individuals or businesses in Kaneville and other local communities.

“I’d like to thank all of the volunteers and everyone who made (Kaneville Fest) a great success,” Hill said.

Hill intends to create an additional full day of activities for the 2014 Kaneville Fest. During this year’s festival, local car owners created an impromptu Cruise Night, which Hill hopes to bring to the festival again next year. Other slated activities include a parade, softball games, a watermelon eating contest and a horseshoes contest.

Hill’s Country Store hosts ‘Great Purple Cupcake Project’

by Mari Parrilli
KANEVILLE—Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road, in Kaneville, is currently hosting a charity event called the “Great Purple Cupcake Project” as a way to raise epilepsy awareness.

From now until Saturday, March 30, Alexa Hill, the daughter of Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill, is baking and selling purple cupcakes and cupcake-shaped sugar cookies for $1 each, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the Anita Kaufmann foundation.

The Foundation’s mission is to educate the public against fear of epilepsy and other brain traumas. Kaufmann is a woman who suffers from epilepsy.

Alexa, 22, studies communications at Aurora University. She is doing her capstone project on the creation of a bakery, since she loves to bake and creates pies and other goods for the Country Store (aka the “Purple Store”). During her research for her project, Alexa came upon the Great Purple Cupcake Project listed on a bakery website.

“I investigated the project, and I thought it would be perfect for us, since we are the purple store and epilepsy’s color is purple,” she said.

Alexa’s charity project is unrelated to her school project, but she thought that it would be a nice program to host and take part. Hill designed fliers detailing the event, and has been busy handing them out to everyone she can think of. She also notified “anyone and everyone she knows” via email, as well as her university teachers, and also asked Hill’s Country Store employees to tell all customers about the event.

Alexas has been baking nonstop for the past few days trying to keep up with all the orders coming in. The cupcakes are either chocolate or vanilla with purple frosting, but she is also making purple sugar cookies for those who want another option.

“I also designed, on Photoshop, little purple cupcake paper cut-outs for people to just donate money if they want to, and 100 percent of their donations go directly to the foundation,” Alexa said. “I’ve gotten a lot of donations this way, as well. People have been coming into the store and donating nice amounts, and then we put up the paper cupcake on the wall of the store with their name and amount donated.”

People can pre-order the cupcakes by calling the store and coming to pick up the order at a later date. With each cupcake or cookie sale comes a bookmark or pamphlet for epilepsy education—one of which outlines the signs of epilepsy and what to do in case of seizure.

Alexa estimates her sales to be about $300 so far. Her goal is $500, and she hopes to reach it by Saturday.

For more information or to make a donation, call Hill’s Country Store at (630) 557-2228.

Kaneville Post Office to reduce hours

by Dave Woehrle
KANEVILLE—An announcement calling for reduced hours at the Kaneville Post Office was made during the Kaneville Village Board meeting on Feb. 21.

The post office, located 2S101 Harter Road, officially reduced its working hours on Saturday. The office’s revised hours are 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Village trustee Pat Hill informed the board of the United State Postal Services’ decision to move forward with hour reduction.

“For now, we’ll see reduced hours. But we’ll see what we can do to change this,” she said.

Roger Fronek, Kaneville Post Office’s officer in charge, who began working in Kaneville in March 2012, will keep his job. However, the loss of hours, he said, is a disservice to the community. Fronek on Monday noted that the mail will now be a day behind.

“People have protested, made their points, but we’re getting the short end of the stick here,” he said.

Kaneville resident and business person Joann Murdoch spent the last few months attending local meetings and writing letters to the editor in regard to the reduction in post office hours.

“I’m down there at the post office two or three times a day because I run my business from home,” she said. “Like most people, I only have a P.O. box, so I have to go in to get my mail. I’m stymied as to why they are closing, as I spend a lot of money down there.”

Kaneville residents last fall received a letter notifying them of a town meeting to discuss post office budget issues. A public forum, hosted by Huntley Postmaster Derek Strissel on Nov. 1, was held with the intention of hearing comments from residents. The comments, Murdoch said, fell on deaf ears.

“There are no reports of what we said. And I think the argument about budget cuts is artificial,” she said. “When they cut hours, the revenue will be reduced. With less revenue, they’ll cut more hours. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Kaneville Interim Village President Rick Peck said he was disappointed in the decision.

“It just feels like no one is held responsible,” he said. “We’re a small town, and our post office is a part of our identity.”

One issue Murdoch brought up was online postage. When a resident purchases postage materials online for larger packages, only 10 percent of that revenue goes to Kaneville.

“I spend $500 online a month for postage and only $50 goes to our post office here. It’s not fair,” she said.

Murdoch wrote a letter to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin expressing her postal concerns. In his response, Senator Durbin stated the USPS has reduced operating costs by $9 million over

the last three years. Durbin said the Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to give the Postal Service proper resources, and that it’s on the House of Representatives to initiate proper USPS reform.

Hill said she will meet with Congressman Randy Hultgren in the coming week to work toward finding solutions for the reduced hours.

Calendar puts Kaneville’s rich history on display

“Remember When” Kaneville 2013 Calendar
Available at the Kaneville Library, Hill’s Country Store, by calling Lynette Werdin
at (630) 557-2202 or online at www.createphotocalendars.com

KANEVILLE—At last, there is a calendar to commemorate and depict the history of Kaneville.

The “Remember When” 2013 calendar marries each month of the year to a piece of Kaneville history. Photos of the steam train and electric trolley on Harter Road adorn the January portion of the calendar, while snapshots of the Needham Blacksmith Shop are displayed in the April section.

If the month of May brings to mind Kaneville’s Decoration (Memorial) Day ceremony and parade circa 1903, this is the calendar for you.

“We’ve sold the calendar for two or three weeks now, and we’ve sold about 10 so far,” said Pat Hill, owner of Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville. “We’ve had people coming up from the area, and even Batavia, to get the calendar.”

“Remember When” was put together last summer by Kaneville resident Jeanette Wampach. She said the project was delegated to her by Kaneville resident Lynette Werdin and the Kaneville Historical Society.

Werdin even gave Wampach access to the historical society’s photo library.

“Since I was recently retired, I was able to devote time and my skills to the project,” Wampach said. “I wanted to be very careful and make sure that everything I put in there was accurate.That took a lot of time. I worked quite heavily on the overall project for about two months. The hard part was deciding which pictures would be included; the fun part was actually putting them into the calendar.”

Wampach said the public response to the “Remember When” calendar has been very positive, especially from people who lived in Kaneville but don’t reside there any longer. They’re able to see the pictures and reflect back on their time spent in Kaneville.

“I think it looks awesome. I think Jeannete did a great job on it,” Hill said. “She took hours and hours scanning pictures and finnagling it and putting it together. She probably put over 200 hours into the calendar.”

In addition to nostalgic photographs, the calendar also features great trivia and facts related to Kaneville. A glance at the February portion of the calendar reveals that Kaneville had boys and girls basketball teams in the 1920s. Spatial constraints forced the teams to play on an L-shaped court.

Several other fascinating nuggets of knowledge line the bottom of each page. The July page reveals that tug of war was once a “competitive community sport, and Kaneville’s team drew very large crowds while competing at Kaneville Days.” They were even named Northern Illinois Champs in 1932.

The calendar isn’t all fun facts and glitz, however. It contains a complete listing of village meetings, and the back page features Kaneville Township Historical Society information, community organization contacts and a weekly events summary.

So, can the public expect a “Remember When” Calendar for 2014?

“I think that’s contingent upon the response we see in actual sales, but we’re leaning in that direction,” Wampach said. “We’d like to see this become an ongoing project.”

The calendars are $20 each, and can be purchased from the Kaneville Library, Hill’s Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road in Kaneville, or by calling Werdin at (630) 557-2202.
The calendars are also available online at www.createphotocalendars.com.

Wampach said she will gladly speak with any Elburn, Sugar Grove or Maple Park residents who want to make a “Remember When”-type calendar for their village. Those interested should email Wampach at jewam@aol.com.

Kaneville Board talks Post Office hours

Calls for residents to attend Nov. 1 meeting
by David Maas
KANEVILLE—Kaneville Village Board members on Oct. 18 discussed the upcoming forum that will outline the possibility of reduced hours for the Kaneville Post Office.

The forum is slated to take place at noon on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Post Office, 2S101 Harter Road, Kaneville.

Due to a lack of funds, the Postal Service is looking for ways to cut costs. Village trustee Pat Hill believes the Kaneville Post Office is in the Postal Service’s financial crosshairs.

“It sounds like they aren’t going to close the Post Office, but that they may already be set on reducing the hours,” she said. “Everybody in the village uses our Post Office. It’s important that we do everything we can to keep it.”

Village Board members during the meeting stated that, while they understand the Postal Service needs to make cuts, it would be unfair to cut from Kaneville’s Post Office.

“Our Post Office is different then other local offices,” Hill said, “The rent for our post office is low—about $200 a month. It isn’t a big building.”

Aside from the low rent, Hill also cites their hours are already reduced.

“The Post Office is already open seven hours instead of the normal eight,” she said. “And they want to cut another three-to-four hours off of that.”

The board called on the help of Kaneville residents to show their support for the Post Office and attend the Nov. 1 meeting.

“Let’s make an effort to get as many people as we can to get out here and show their support,” interim Village President Rick Peck said.

Kaneville remembers former village president

by Cheryl Borrowdale
KANEVILLE—Bob Rodney was known to many Kaneville residents as the meticulous village president who got things done, but to his grandchildren, he was simply “Mayor Bob-Bob.”

Though he lost a two-year battle with cancer on July 20, residents and family said that he would be remembered for his role in incorporating the village of Kaneville, for serving as Kaneville’s first village president and for his devotion to his family.

The nine years he lived in Kaneville were marked by efforts to improve the community, which began almost as soon as the Rodneys moved to the village from Bolingbrook in 2003.

“Bob wanted to make a difference in the small town we chose to call home,” his wife Georgia Rodney said.

The Rodneys had chosen Kaneville as their adopted town after Bob retired from GTE Automatic Electric, where he had worked as an electrical engineer and then in management. He wanted to retire in the country, and the couple enjoyed living in a small community where their home backed up to a farmer’s field and a neighbor had horses, Georgia said.

But retirement didn’t last long for Bob, who loved being active and involved. He briefly became a freelance technical writer for Lucent Technologies, Georgia said, but she convinced him to stay home and enjoy his retirement. That’s when he started becoming involved in Kaneville politics and policies, she said.

“I think it all started when Bob would go to the Purple Store—now Hill’s Country Store—on Main Street,” she said.

He’d get up early on Sunday and head to Hill’s after breakfast, saying that he was going to get the paper, Bob’s daughter Sharon Rodney said.

“What he really did was hang out with ‘his cronies,’ as my mom would say, and shoot the breeze for hours,” Sharon said.

For Bob, it was an informal community forum.

“He and many of the other residents would discuss issues, desires for the community, problems and pluses,” Georgia said. “The ins and outs of Kaneville politics and policies—that was Bob’s delight.”

By 2006, one of the pressing issues facing Kaneville was whether to incorporate the village as a municipality, said Ray Christiansen, director of the Kaneville Library.

“There were a lot of people really pushing for the incorporation of Kaneville, and early on Bob stepped up and said he’d be interested in helping,” Christiansen said. “He got involved because they had public meetings. His was a voice that people listened to.”

Though the village had been operating like a town for more than 100 years, residents never needed to officially incorporate until neighboring villages began expanding toward Kaneville, and the town needed to define its borders, Christiansen said. Alongside Township Supervisor Leon Gramley, Bob stepped into a leadership role, researching the issue, talking to residents, negotiating the town’s boundary lines and persuading a state senator to present the application in the Illinois legislature.

When the incorporation was successful in 2007, he ran to become the village’s first president. It was a challenging position, but he thrived on it.

“Being the first president of a new village would be a challenge for anybody,” Christiansen said. “He really rose to it. Being a public official is tough, whether it’s in Kaneville or in Chicago. He did his best for his town.”

Though not everyone agreed with the decisions the new Village Board made, Bob helped get the community to discuss issues.

“He was most proud of the fact that his efforts brought many of Kaneville’s residents together, to both agree and disagree on specific village issues,” Georgia said.

Those who worked with him remembered him as a detail-oriented person who made sure things got done well.

Christiansen remembers working with Bob during the first year of his presidency to help put together documents for the village. Their offices were just across the hall from each other in the Kaneville village center, Christiansen said, and so they worked together frequently.

“There were many occasions where he would come to me for help getting information and documents,” Christiansen said. “We worked together to build the kind of library and records that a Village Board should have.”

Pat Hill, a village trustee and the owner of Hill’s Country Store, described Bob as a meticulous man who cared about getting things right.

“Bob was very precise,” she said. “If there was something that needed to be done, he got it done. He investigated it, he researched it, and he brought it back to the board.”

Hill praised his willingness to thoroughly investigate an issue before making a decision.

“He was totally the most thorough person I ever knew in my life,” she said. “We’ll miss his knowledge and his input on things (on the board).”

Christiansen agreed that Bob’s thoroughness was one of his best traits.

“He was very well organized, and even if he didn’t personally do something, he would get people engaged and try to get them to work together,” Christiansen said. “He was a very thoughtful man. He wouldn’t shoot from the hip. If he was asked a question, he would always stop and think it through, and you knew whatever answer he gave had been thoroughly considered. You didn’t always agree with him, but you knew any opinion he gave had been carefully reasoned. He always made sure that the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed and that everything was as it should be.”

Among his many contributions to the village as president, Bob represented Kaneville at the Metro West Council of Government meetings, where representatives from municipalities in Kane, DeKalb and Kendall met monthly to share concerns; discuss pending state and federal legislation; and address regional issues, such as growth, transportation and water conservation.

Hill said that Bob’s involvement in the Metro West Council helped the village determine how to resolve many of its own issues.

“He would find out about something, and he’d be very informative,” Hill said. “It helped us as we were all enacting and creating our own ordinances for the village.”

Christiansen said that he appreciated Bob’s strong support of Kaneville’s library programs.

“He was truly an advocate of libraries and reading,” Christiansen said. “When the library’s 75th anniversary was coming up, I said to him, ‘You know what would be really nice, Bob? If the Village Board issued a proclamation about it.’ And he said to me, ‘You know, I don’t think we’ve ever issued a proclamation. Let me find out how to do that.’ Not only did he do it, but he came to the anniversary celebration and spoke about his love of libraries.”

That love of reading translated into action several times.

“He and Georgia would go out of their way to find materials for the library and donate it,” Christiansen said. “When budget cuts were causing us to shut down some of our programming, he persuaded the Village Board to help keep our children’s programming running here. He believed libraries were vital to communities, and he loved this village and would do anything he could to make it a better place.”

His close relationship with his wife, Georgia, his four daughters and his seven grandchildren gave him a reputation among his colleagues as a family man.

“His wife and his daughters, they are super people,” Hill said. “And I know he really loved his grandkids.”

Georgia’s habit of always calling for her husband twice led to his being nicknamed “Mayor Bob-Bob” among his family.

“(She would be) trying to get his attention to come to dinner, help her with something or whatever, (calling) ‘Bob! Boobbbb!,’” Sharon said. “So (my son) Rhett thought his name was Bob-Bob. My sisters and I called him Mayor Bob-Bob after that—President Bob-Bob seemed too formal.”

Despite his image in the village as a careful, detail-oriented man, Sharon remembers her father as a jokester.

“He was a pun kind of guy,” she said. “His grandkids would always ask what grandma was making for dinner, and he’d say, everytime, ‘Bugs and worms! Yum!’”

He loved taking his grandchildren on rides on his John Deere, and also enjoyed fishing, woodworking, photography and old cameras.

Daughter Carol Moore said that she hoped to follow in the example her parents set.

“He was the type of guy who, when I asked him for help with algebra, one problem took all night. He would never tell me the answer; he would ‘coach’ me through it,” she said. “Of course, being young, I would get totally frustrated and irritated. I thought he wasn’t being fair. (But now) I wouldn’t trade that parenting for all the money in the world; I feel 100 percent certain that, along with my mom, he provided me with the ability to have the confidence to do whatever I want to do in life.”

Though Bob wasn’t a sentimental man, he could be counted on, Sharon said.

“I remember my dad saying to me, when I needed help from my family, ‘That’s what family is for.’ And it was the best, most true thing ever,” she said.

His loss has been hard on the whole family, Sharon said.

“He was my best friend,” Georgia said. “We did everything together—golf, fishing, home projects. We miss him.”

Raffling relief for Southern Illinois tornado victims

Photo: A Catholic church located in Ridgway, Ill., show the damage caused by a tornado that struck Southern Illinois on Feb. 29. Courtesy Photo

Kaneville store plans raffle for Southern Illinois tornado victims
by Keith Beebe
KANEVILLE—Pat Hill’s fundraising effort for families affected by the tornado that ripped through Southern Illinois on Feb. 29 began with a collection jar on the checkout counter of her business, Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville.

The Hill family’s tornado relief effort has since grown to a full-scale raffle fundraiser, thanks to Pat’s 21-year-old daughter, Alexa.

“The donation jar was a great idea, but I felt like we should do something more and get more money, so I thought we’d have some raffles and a bake sale,” Alexa said.

The Hill family first learned of the Southern Illinois tornado relief effort from Sycamore resident Lee Newtson in early March. Newtson told Pat he planned to travel to the disaster area and meet with families whose homes were destroyed by the tornado.

The disaster also claimed the lives of seven people in Southern Illinois.

“Lee came into the store on a Monday and said he was heading down to Harrisburg that Saturday. I said, ‘Jeez, what do you need?’ and he said he was trying to collect money and gift cards to take down there where the help is needed,” Pat said. “I told him I could put out a jar and see what I get by Saturday. I collected some personal hygiene items from people and also raised about $172 before (Lee) left (for Southern Illinois).”

Newtson first learned about disaster recovery at Conley Funeral Home in 1960. He trained on Chuck Conley’s ambulance service and assisted on removals, visitations and funerals. Newtson participated in disaster recovery in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as the relief effort in Joplin, Mo., following a deadly tornado that struck the area in May 2011.

“I have been able to gain support with donations from my Grace Fellowship Church of Maple Park (and) Pastor Jim Harper,” Newtson said. “Also, the Men’s Prayer Group on Saturdays, 1960 high school class mates, doctors, dentist, friends, Pat at the Purple Store (Hill’s Country Store) and acquaintances. They have all given me money, gift cards and goods to take along on the tornado recovery missions.”

Newtson worked primarily with two families—the Wynn family of Ridgway, Ill., and the Lane family of Harrisburg—during his time in Southern Illinois. He took them out to lunch, met their children and surveyed the damage done to their respective homes. The Lanes have no insurance and currently live in the basement of their tornado-ravaged home, while the Wynns are living in a makeshift camper in their friend’s driveway.

The raffle put together by Pat and Alexa Hill will go toward the two families.

“Both of those families are having a hard time, and I thought this fundraiser would be a good event to pair with the Kaneville Fire Department’s Easter egg hunt,” Pat said. “We’ll have a table set up during the event, and my son, Tyler, will be there to help out. My goal is to send each of these families a $500 check, and we’ve raised $102 up to this point.”

Raffle tickets will be sold at the fire station, 46W536 Lovell St. in Kaneville, during the Easter egg hunt, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 31. Tickets can also be purchased at Hill’s Country Store from now until Wednesday, April 14, at 3 p.m. Raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each, or six for $5.

Pat said there are at least 10 or 15 big prizes lined up already for the raffle, including a $50 Visa gift card from Old Second Bank, a $25 gift card to Ream’s Market, a $25 gift card to Sam’s Club, a gift basket from American Bank and Trust in Elburn, a gift card to Panera Bread, a blu-ray player, and a $50 gift basket from Hill’s Country Store.

As for the actual raffle drawing, Pat believes it will take place sometime during the middle of next week.

“I am thinking it will happen April 4 or 5, so we can write the checks and mail them to the families by Easter, which is April 8,” she said.

Alexa said the purchase of just one raffle ticket can make a difference in the lives of both families.

“The pictures of the damage just looked horrible, and I can’t even imagine losing all of my stuff like (these families did). If you can come out and just buy one or two raffle tickets, you’re helping them,” she said.

Kaneville looking within village for building code enforcement

by David Maas
KANEVILLE—The Village of Kaneville has been looking for a building code enforcer for many months, but budget constraints made the search more difficult. Village President Bob Rodney brought a new approach to the table during the Board of Trustees meeting on March 15.

“We’ve been looking into this for awhile,” Rodney said, “What if we look for a resident of the village to help us?”

After discussion from the trustees, they agreed it could be a possibility.

“There are many knowledgeable people in the village. I’m sure we could find someone to step up, and help us with this,” trustee Pat Hill said.

The Building Code Enforcer would make sure residents have the correct permits for the work they are doing, and if they do not have them, help them obtain one.

“It’s going to be a non-confrontational position,” Rodney said, “We’re just looking for someone to help us out.”

The village is asking for any interested residents to contact them.

“It will of course be a paid position,” Rodney said, “We will determine how much, and in what way, at a later date.”

The search continues

Kaneville discusses changes in search for enforcement officer
by David Maas
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Village Board last Thursday decided to change directions with tits current search for a Zoning and Building Enforcement Officer, while members are still trying to solidify the officer’s duties, and re-evaluate the financial aspect of outsourcing the job.

At previous meetings, the board had discussed paying over $3,000 a year for this position.

“I just don’t feel we have that amount of money,” Trustee Pat Hill said. “Residents don’t think we should be spending that much on this.”

The board has discussed other means of getting the zoning and building enforcement done, such as a pay-by-pay basis with the county, but they feel they need an individual outside the village.

“Is it expensive? Yes,” Trustee Paul Ross said. “But the reason we’re doing this is some of us have been personally accosted. We aren’t doing anything but trying to uphold ordinances.”

“We definitely need to hire an individual,” Trustee Jon Behm said.

The board then decided that they needed to look at their options.

“Let’s try to cut the previous number in half,” President Bob Rodney said. “Maybe we could go with a monthly retainer.”

“We still have to keep in mind that we need to make it worth their while to do this job for us,” Ross said.

While, for the time being, the board will be re-evaluating this position, they will also be continuing research.

“I think it’s time that we look around at neighboring communities,” Rodney said. “Let’s see how they are doing this.”

Kaneville trustees discuss zoning, building code officer

by David Maas
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Village Board last Thursday discussed the hiring of a Village Zoning and Building Code Enforcement Officer.

Also in attendance was Mike Stoffa, current Virgil Township Code Enforcement Officer, who is under consideration for the job in Kaneville.

“It is a very good idea to have an officer who doesn’t live in the community,” Stoffa said. “It makes it easier to treat everyone fairly, which is what I do.”

Stoffa made himself available to answer questions from the board, regarding what he would be doing if they hired him for the position.

“We’ve had a few residents worried about what he’d be doing,” Trustee Pat Hill said. “He wouldn’t be handing out fines left and right.”

“We’d want to do this with as much diplomacy as we could,” Stoffa said. “If I see something wrong, we’d start a process to get it resolved.”

Part of that process would be to help the residents start their projects the right way, so they are completed legally and up to code.

“Not everyone knows the ordinances,” Stoffa said. “It’s part of my job to know them and talk to residents, not fine them right away.”

While no decision has been made to hire Stoffa, the board has stated they will be compiling a history of current permits.

“The most important thing is that residents know we will be doing this fairly,” Hill said. “We aren’t looking to cause trouble.”

Kaneville to commemorate KHS baseball state champs

by David Maas
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Village Board on Oct. 20 passed a resolution to purchase signs commemorating the Kaneland High School’s Boy’s Baseball State Championship.

“It’s very important that we, as a village, celebrate this,” Trustee Pat Hill said.

The village will purchase two small signs, and two larger ones.

“We will also be updating the older signs, located on the way into the village, in order to keep those current,” Hill said.

While there is no schedule as to when the signs will be installed, the village hopes to get them up as soon as possible.

“Winning the State Championship is a huge event, and we want to show everyone we’re proud of our team,” Hill said.

Village raises funds for fireworks

by Susan O’Neill
The fundraising for the Kaneville Fest fireworks never stops. As soon as enough money is raised for this year’s display, event organizers begin working on the following year’s show.

The money donated by sponsors listed on T-shirts commemorating Kaneville Township’s 175th anniversary will help defray the costs. Pre-orders are being taken at Hill’s Country Store on Harter and Main Street roads for the shirts, which come in both children’s and adult’s sizes. A successful 5-B’s pork chop drive-through dinner event this spring helped pay for the show, and money raised through the sale of raffle tickets will also help with expenses.

“There are plenty of raffles and prizes to win,” Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill said.
Tickets are on sale at Hill’s purple store on Harter and Main Street roads in Kaneville now through Kaneville Fest, scheduled for Friday, Aug. 26, to Sunday, Aug. 28. The variety of prizes includes four Cubs tickets.

The fireworks display will once again be done by Maple Park resident and S&N Display Fireworks employee Roger Kahl. This will be the third year in a row that Kahl has presented the show.

“He has a fair price and does a great job,” Hill said. “He puts on a great show.”

Back Country Roads will play onstage behind the Kaneville Township Community Center on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m., with the fireworks scheduled for 8:30 p.m. The fireworks will last about 20 minutes, with the band playing for another hour after that, Hill said.

Another 5-B’s pork chop and chicken dinner at the end of September gets the ball rolling for next year’s event.

Kaneville installs new village sign

Kaneville—After months of planning and location searching, the village of Kaneville has finally installed its new village sign.

“That was a long haul to get the sign up,” Village President Bob Rodney said.

The board had some trouble finding a suitable spot for the sign, where it would be easily visible upon entry of the village.

“We just need to get together about finishing the project,” Trustee Pat Hill said. “We still need to discuss the landscaping.”

Before they do a grand revealing event, the board would like to install various flowers and bushes surrounding the sign.

Though they hoped to have the project done by Memorial Day, board members said they are pleased to have this project almost completed.

“The sign looks great,” Hill said. “We are all very pleased to see it up, welcoming people into Kaneville.”

Kaneville finds location for new roadside sign

Kaneville—Kaneville Village Board member Pat Hill told the board on April 21 that she had found a location within village limits to place the new roadside sign.

The previous location chosen for the sign was abandoned after it was discovered that being outside of village limits, the sign would be required to be 66 feet from the road’s center-line. At that location, it was decided that the sign would be very difficult to see.

“The new location is located on an undeveloped, half-acre open lot, owned by Ruth Lawson” said Hill, “She is very excited to be a part of this.”

The board also discussed landscaping plans for around the sign.

“There needs to be some bushes and flowers,” Trustee Paul Ross said. “Something to make it look nice.”

Also discussed were ways in which these plants would be acquired, and how the work would be done. One possibility they talked about would be to have the plants donated and installed by a local group.

If all goes according to plan, the village will have the sign installed by Memorial Day.

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.”

Fill up on holiday cheer in Kaneville

by Lynn Meredith
Kaneville—Kaneville is celebrating Christmas with all the delights of the season on Saturday, Dec 4. The village will be alive with food, gifts and entertainment.

The sight of a horse-drawn wagon carrying passengers in a leisurely tour of the town is one mark of an old-fashioned Christmas. Add to that a cookie walk at the United Methodist Church and a cake walk in the gym of the Community Center, both from 9 to 11 a.m., and the picture is complete.

Kids can find Santa at the fire barn and story time at the library on Saturday morning.

Those looking for seasonal gifts can walk the craft displays both at the library and in the gym from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hill’s store will also stock gift baskets that can be purchased.

As part of their customer appreciation, village businesses will serve snacks all morning. Hill’s Store will give out free peppermint ice cream and cocoa. Old Second Bank will have breakfast food until its noon closing.

Setting the Christmas scene, local students will provide musical entertainment at the library.

“We have a lot going on,” business owner Pat Hill said.

Citizen Police Academy gives glimpse into police work

by Tammy Swanson
KANEVILLE—After Pat Hill’s business, Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville, was burglarized more than a year ago, she wondered why it took the police so long to take fingerprints. She had many other questions about the policing process, too, and found the answers by participating in the Citizens Police Academy that the Kane County Sheriff’s Department offers.

“(Sheriff) Pat Perez told me about it. He said it would be really cool,” Hill said.

And she found that to be true.

She liked the Citizen Police Academy so much, she was disappointed when the 10-week, weekly program ended this spring.

“I looked forward to it (class),” Hill said. “I hoped it was going longer.”

She learned a lot, including the reason for the fingerprint results delay.

“Now, I know,” Hill said. “It’s backlogged. The state is so backlogged with handling everything unless it is a violent crime. Mine was just vandalism.”

The academy gave Hill look into the life of a police officer. She learned how police officers train, as well as what constitutes their daily job duties. The academy also teaches about the different divisions in the Sheriff’s Department, including K-9, SWAT, 911, crime scene investigation, evidence, corrections, patrol and criminal.

“You get to see all the aspects of everything,” Hill said.

One of the highlights of the class for Hill was to ride along with a patrol deputy and see how the officer would handle different situations.

“When we went on patrol and had to pretend to stop people, I had to stop a guy who had a gun tucked away in the front seat and he flipped me off,” she said. “I had to pretend when he was pulling the gun and say, ‘Put your hands on the wheel’ and pretend to pull my fake gun out on him.”

Participants even had an opportunity to fire real guns.

“I had never touched a gun before in my life; I had never shot a gun before in my life, and I got to in the simulator,” Hill said. “I got to do the assault rifle, the pistol and the tazer. They were so heavy. You would not believe how heavy a gun is.”

She also enjoyed the the K-9 unit class.

“They (the Sheriff’s Department) have these dogs from Hungary or Germany,” Hill said. “You have to speak to them in that language. They are trained that way.”

Participants also had a chance to drive a patrol car and wear a bulletproof vest.

In addition to all she learned by participating in the academy, the classes made Hill respect police officers more.

“I totally gained so much from it,” said Hill.

Through the academy, Hill gained insight into how risky a police officer’s role can be.

“I have a deeper appreciation for how dangerous their job is,” Hill said.

To participate in the Citizens Police Academy, a person must live or work in unincorporated Kane County, be 18 years or older, have no felony convictions or any misdemeanor arrests within a year of application.

“You have to, of course, be fingerprinted and your name is put through the database to make sure you are not wanted as a felon or anything like that,” said Hill.

The Citizens Police Academy is free and allows 20 students per session. All of the police officers who teach the classes donate their time for the program.

After graduating from the academy program, Hill decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch in Kaneville focusing on communication and education.

“We want to start (one) in the area because we had a rash of break-ins a couple months ago where locks were cut off garages and stuff stolen from sheds,” Hill said.

Next session starts Sept. 1

Wednesday nights
Sept. 1 through Nov. 3
6 to 9 p.m.

Kane County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. John Grimes, Pat Hill, and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez pose for a picture after Hill completed the Kane County Citizens Police Academy—A 10-week course offered by the Sheriff’s Department. Courtesy Photo

Kaneville loses a good friend

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Kaneville lost a stalwart member of the community last week, when life-long resident Leon Gramley passed away on Friday. Kaneville Township Supervisor, volunteer firefighter, Memorial Day committee member and Kaneville Cemetery Board treasurer were just a few of the roles that Gramley took on throughout his lifetime in Kaneville.

Add loving father, playful grandpa, thoughtful and romantic husband, and that only begins to describe the person most people in Kaneville have known for years.

Mary Niceley, former owner of the Kaneville General Store, remembers mornings when Gramley would stop by the store for a cup of coffee. People would notice his truck parked outside, and pretty soon any number of people would stop in to ask for his help with all kinds of things.

“He was always fixing something,” Niceley said. “He would say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and it would be taken care of.”

Niceley said Gramley was in charge of the Community Center in Kaneville when she was on the Library Board.

“He never raised our rent,” she said. “When the lights went out, he got them fixed. When the sidewalks needed to be shoveled, he got it done.”

Big things; little things; he took care of it all. She said one day a little boy came into the store after he had missed the school bus.

“’Come on,’ Leon said, and he gave the kid a ride to school,” she said. “It was all these little acts of kindness that go unnoticed. He didn’t do it for the glory; he did it from the kindness in his heart.”

Gramley was born on Oct. 31, 1943, in Aurora. He grew up in Kaneville and he graduated from Kaneland High School in 1962. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Vietnam War.

Taking an active part in Kaneville’s Memorial Day Service was an important honor for him. For more than 30 years, he marched in the color guard, and made sure that every veteran’s grave was adorned with a flag.

His son Stephen said that some of his best memories about his dad were when Stephen was a teenager.

“My dad was a farmer who could fix anything and a fireman who could help anybody,” he said. “My dad was ‘the guy.’ He was Superman. He could just do it all.”

In addition to being a firefighter for the Kaneville Fire Department, Leon was a paramedic for the Elburn Fire Department. Stephen remembered his dad’s pager going off in the middle of the night and he would run out the door to go help somebody. When the call was to Kaneville or someplace close by, his dad would take off in his truck, arriving at the scene before the ambulance arrived.

“It made him feel good to go and help out an elderly person alone and scared in the middle of the night,” Stephen said.

It was his work with the ambulance service that would lead him to the woman he would describe as the love of his life, Mary Fecht. A co-worker introduced the two on July 4, 1991, and they hit it off right away.

“He was very romantic and very thoughtful,” Mary said.

While they were dating, he sent her flowers every Friday. When they got engaged, he bought her a ring with two rubies that he said represented their two hearts and their love. Recently, he bought her a ring with 18 stones that represented their years together.

He and Mary were married in 1992, and they spent the years since then traveling, going to concerts, and sharing their children and grandchildren. Although they traveled all over the country, he had a special place in his heart for Disney World, where he had as much fun as his granddaughters did.

Throughout the years, he remained committed to his community. Although Gramley lived outside of the boundaries of what would become the village of Kaneville, he gave much of his time and his efforts to the village’s incorporation in 2007.

During the two-year process, he helped with legislation in Springfield that made the incorporation possible, facilitated meetings where residents helped determine their future, and encouraged others to take on leadership roles once the incorporation was complete.

Although he shouldered a lot of responsibility, Leon had a light heart. His sense of humor, his jokes and his infectious laughter will be missed by many.

His death leaves a void in many lives and in the life of the community.

“Kaneville lost a good friend. He was always there when anyone needed anything,” Pat Hill said. “I miss him.”

Photo: Leon Gramley with his wife of nearly 18 years, Mary Gramley. Courtesy Photo

Letter: Thank you for supporting Kaneville Fest

Kaneville Fest has come and gone.

The Kaneville Fest Committee would like to give a huge thank you to the following volunteers, individuals and businesses that gave their time and donations: Builders Asphalt, PCI Concrete, Paisano’s Pizza, Strang Inc., Ross Electric, JRG Construction Co., Michael J. Greenan CPA, Dan Isham, Diedre Withey, Al Withey, Linear Kinetics, Workin’ Out Construction, Russell Automotive, Kaneville Seed & Feed, Bud Snyder, Blackberry Builders, Karl Kettelkamp, Carrie Kruger, Water Sports LLC, Daniels Inc., Dawn Schleifer, Dale Pierson, Lisa Weiss, AFM Electrical, village of Kaneville, Kaneville Township, Old Second Bank’s Margie Jordan, Thunderbolt Roofing, Dunteman Turf Farm, Olson Chiropractic, Law firm of Myler, Ruddy & McTavish, Kaneville Veterinarian Service, Rich’s Auto Service, Elburn Herald, Kane Co. Chronicle, Kane Co. Sheriff, Kaneville Fire Dept., Bright Cleaners, Elmhurst Chicago Stone, Hughes Creek Golf Club, Sam’s Club, Jewel Food Store Sugar Grove, American Bank & Trust, Behm Plumbing, Midwest Quick Lube, Fisherman’s Inn, Elburn Car Wash, JT Nails, Gordon’s Food Service, Hill’s Country Store, Al Plowman, Superior Beverage, Fairview Dental, Kaneville Public Library, Elizabeth Hauser, The Ottosons, The Kucera family, Mary Ellyn at Kaneville PO, The Hill Family, The Flamand family, Emil Weiss, Mike Harnach, Tim & Jenn Weiss, Gary Lisson and his grandson, Nick Sifuentes.

To all those who donated money and participated, you helped support this community event and made it successful. Thank you.

Pat Hill, Karen Flamand,
Sandi Weiss, Paul Ross, Cathy Kovach

Kaneville ends summer with fun-filled fest

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—Kaneville residents are gearing up for an end-of-summer weekend of fun, music, food, contests and activities for all ages.

Kaneville Fest 2009, from Friday, Aug. 27 to Sunday, Aug. 29, will begin with a used book sale at the Kaneville Library on Friday and end with a softball game on Sunday afternoon.

Activities planned include a bags tournament, a walk-run through Kaneville, bingo, a junior firefighter’s water fight, and other contests and races. Everyone is invited to a free movie on Friday night, shown on the side of the Hill’s County Store, weather permitting. On Saturday, visit the craft show and find out about the local businesses at the Kaneville Community Center, then check for deals at a number of neighborhood garage sales and enjoy a pulled pork sandwich prepared by Food for Thought.

Saturday evening ends with a bang, with Maple Park resident and pyrotechnics expert Roger Kahl providing the fireworks show.

Sunday morning starts out with a community church service held at the Kaneville United Methodist Church outdoor sanctuary, and continues with a car show, a town potluck picnic (hotdogs provided), and softball game.

Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill said there are a number of other activities in the works. If there is enough interest, she hopes to have a volleyball tournament, and a petting zoo is another possibility, given enough animals and fencing. The Kaneville Historical Society may hold a few demonstrations, such as making butter and spinning yarn.

Hill said it is an ambitious list of activities, but that anything is possible with enough volunteers. She said she, co-planner Karen Flamand and others on the committee welcome any and all help.

Letter: Thanks from Kaneville basball and softball

I would like to thank Dick and Annette Theobald of Paisano’s Pizza and Grill for hosting our BBQ Fundraiser for the Kaneville Boys Baseball and Kaneville Girls Softball teams.

It was a huge success, raising over $500 for our association.

I would also like to thank all of the parents, family and friends that supported our pizza and candybar fundraiser. That was also a huge success.

Thank you again Dick and Annette for your time and generosity.

Pat Hill
Fundraising Chairperson
Kaneville Baseball

Break-in is attempted at purple store

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—The peaceful environment of Kaneville was shattered on Friday morning, along with the front window at the purple store. Sometime about 3 a.m., someone took the large antique milk jug on the side of the store and broke the large pane.

“Glass was everywhere,” Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill said. “I had to throw all the ice cream away.”

Hill said she couldn’t tell whether the person was able to enter the store. She said it didn’t look like they took anything.

She said whoever it was cut the screen in the back of the store, in an attempt to enter there, but was prevented by bars across the door.

She ran down to the store as soon as she heard what had happened.

The Kane County Sheriffs were there within 10 minutes, Hill said.

“Three squads responded,” she said. “I was impressed.”

The officers took fingerprints off of the milk jug and are going to investigate.

“They said it looked like someone was really mad,” she said.

Hill said she doesn’t understand how someone could do what they did.

“I’m always so nice to people,” she said. “I give the kids free Slushies when I empty the machine and free pizza. I feel personally violated.”

She said the upstairs tenants heard the noise, but were too afraid to do anything. The neighbor across the street told the police she saw two figures in hoodies running down Main Street.

She said the neighborhood customers who frequent the store are upset, as well. The community has come to feel a certain ownership of the store, which has evolved into a gathering place in the middle of town.

She said one of the residents wanted to put a smiley face on the boarded-up window, with the word “Why” written on it.

Katie Holloman, who works at the store, said the incident has made her somewhat nervous. She said Hill has been sending someone to the store to be with her when she is ready to close up for the night.

Hill said she was looking into a security system and possibly a camera.

“It isn’t Mayberry anymore,” she said.

Photo: A window shattered during an attempted break-in at Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville is boarded up and awaiting replacement. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Kaneville Village Board

by Susan O’Neill
Two incumbents and two new candidates are running for three positions on the Kaneville Village Board. All of the candidates said they want to be involved in the decisions that will determine the future of the village of Kaneville and maintain its rural character and friendly environment.

The two incumbents said that since the incorporation of the village, they have worked to build the foundation for the village government, created ordinances as a guide for how decisions are made and conducted a census so the village receives its appropriate tax money from the state.

Incumbent Jon Behm said the board recently approved a variance to the setback requirements on a property to allow room for a water and sewer line. Incumbent Pat Hill said the result was to enable the owner to turn a poorly laid out piece of property into a productive business in town, Linear Kinetics.

Both said the key current issue in town is to fix the sidewalks so people can safely walk around town and feel more connected as a community. The village obtained a grant to help lay the groundwork for the project.

Hill said she wants to help plan for smart growth outside and near the village, and determine how the village will provide services for the new subdivision when it is built. She has started a Neighborhood Watch Program, which will provide a more uniform way for neighbors to look out for each other.

Behm said he works well with people. He said he listens to everything and weighs all the impacts, both good and bad, before he makes a decision that will affect the village. He said being a parent has helped, because government takes longer than one thinks and it takes patience.

Hill said she wants to continue to be the voice for the community, bringing people’s concerns to the board.

The two new candidates bring their own ideas for improvements to the village.

Peck said he wants to replace the sidewalks and get the culverts cleaned out and replaced to help with the drainage, without raising taxes. He said his employment background has given him good management experience, and his education has provided accounting and business knowledge that he believes would help with decision-making and reviewing financial information.

He said he likes to pitch in and work to get things done. He said he has good family morals and beliefs and will serve where he is needed.

Garifalis said he thinks property taxes are an issue and he would like to help people understand how the money is allocated and where it goes. He said he thinks the residents are paying too much in taxes, considering they are on well and septic and have no sidewalks.

He said he would work to identify state and federal grants and other funding to assist the village. He would negotiate with the utility providers, such as waste haulers and water providers, to obtain bulk rate discounts. He wants to explore ways of generating more revenue for the village, such as holding festivals and farmer’s markets in town and leasing out the baseball fields and the gymnasium.

Garifalis said he has a broad skill set that makes him a good candidate for the job. He grew up in his family’s restaurant business, and was a manager by the time he was 17 years old. He said he started his own telecom business which installs telephone support for businesses.

He said he understands how to bring business into the downtown area. He has participated as a vendor in festivals and other events, such as the Blueberry Fest in South Haven, Mich., Greektown Fest in Chicago and the Olympics in Atlanta, Ga.

Jon Behm
Birthplace: Elgin
4 years in Kaneville
Occupation: Owner, plumbing company
Education: 2 semesters at Elgin Community College, 4-year trade school
program to become licensed plumber
Community involvement: Conducted the village census at incorporation

Pat Hill

Birthplace: Naperville
14 years in Kaneville
Occupation: Hill’s Country Store owner
Education: 2 years of college, criminal law
Community involvement: Kaneville Historical Society member, Friends
of Kaneville Library, Kaneville Baseball, Kaneville fest organizer, active
St. Gall’s church member and volunteer, past involvement with 4-H
and the Kaneville Fire Department fund-raisers

Nick Garifalis
Birthplace: Downer’s Grove
5 years in Kaneville
Occupation: Telecom sales business owner
Education: High School graduate
Community involvement: Appointed chair, temporary Kaneville Zoning
Committee, two years, Main Street Committee in Lombard to create
and organize festivals and shows to increase downtown traffic and
obtain funding from state government.

Rick Peck
Birthplace: Oak Park
Five years in Kaneville
Occupation: Telecommunications engineer
Education: Associate’s Degree in general education
Community involvement: Attends monthly Village Board meetings; helps
out neighbors and serves where he is needed.

How would you define progress?

by Susan O’Neill

Ask someone what progress means to them, and most will include the concept of “moving forward” and/or making things better in some way.

Progress as improvement
For many local residents, the concept of growth and development comes to mind when they think of progress. Some, such as Maple Park resident Julie Bauman, pre-school teacher at the Kaneville Child Community Center, see progress as furthering economic development for the surrounding areas, especially in these tough financial times.

Elburn resident Cathy Shaver said progress means making her life easier. Having a Jewel-Osco in town does that for her. She counts improvements in technology, such as cars with navigation tools, as examples of progress that help to improve people’s quality of life.

Mechanical improvements that make life easier, as well as medical discoveries that make everyone healthier, come to mind for Elburn resident Margaret Ritchie.

Sugar Grove veterinarian Craig Zabel said his definition of progress is similar to one he heard recently for success: getting closer to something one thinks is important or to a type of lifestyle one thinks is desirable.

Being a business owner in town, Zabel said he enjoys seeing growth as a sign of progress. On the other hand, he likes the small-town atmosphere that exists in Sugar Grove. Still, when he sees a development going up, he can’t help but wonder if the new residents have pets.

More services for the community mean progress for people such as Sugar Grove resident Rebecca Fritz. Additional offerings through the Park District, services for the elderly, computer services and other resources offered by the library would be progress for her.

Kaneville Library Director Ray Christiansen said he considers improving what is already in the community or an organization as progress. He said progress at the Kaneville Public Library is making sure that the services are up-to-date, with the newest books, better automation, more computers and on-line services.

Progress as a negative
Some people, such as Maple Park resident Heidi Espino, have a negative reaction when they think of progress.

“Progress means more traffic, more stores, more people,” she said. “I like things plain and simple; that’s why we moved out here.”

Espino said she and her family keep trying to stay ahead of progress. They moved to Maple Park from Geneva 15 years ago.

“Then again, I love the progress in Elburn,” she said. “I love the new library, the McDonald’s and the Jewel.”

When Kaneville resident and Hill’s Country Store owner Pat Hill thinks of progress, she thinks of highways, tons of houses, shopping centers and supermarkets, more clutter, more cars and more trouble.

Hill said she moved to Kaneville to get away from what she saw as the negative effects of progress in West Chicago. She said she does not even like driving on Randall Road because everyone is rushing to get somewhere. She said she can’t wait to get back to the slower pace in Kaneville.

“Everybody has to have a Wal-Mart in their back yard,” she said. “Everybody’s on top of each other and you can’t breathe. I found a happy place and I’m content.”

Progress as emotional growth
Several people said they think of progress in emotional, spiritual or moral terms.

Robert Allen Beauty Salon owner Allen Robert said he sees progress as a common goal that a community, family or other group of people work toward together. For example, he said a family might have goals around religious or personal moral issues.

Steel worker David Baie, who is working on the new Kaneland middle school building on Harter Road, said he sees moving in the direction of equality for women and minorities a sign of progress.

To Elburn librarian Liz Graves, progress would mean that millions of people would not be starving in Sudan and everyone would have a better quality of life, not just those with money. For her, progress is not about having better technology.

“Progress would be if we weren’t so selfish with everything we have and want,” she said.

Perspectives on growth

by Lynn Meredith
One thing people can agree on is that growth, for the time being, has slowed significantly. The economy, housing market and credit crunch have all contributed to reducing the number of homes and businesses that are coming into the Kaneland area. However, each of the four Kaneland towns has a different perspective on growth for their village.

Sugar Grove
There was a time when the village of Sugar Grove issued 200 building permits in one year. In 2008, it issued 24 permits. In the past, the village saw a rise in single-family homes, with several subdivisions being developed.

“Growth wasn’t as hot and heavy as in other suburbs,” Community Development Director Rich Young said. “ But for our relative size, we saw a lot of growth.”

One large subdivision, Settler’s Ridge, finished 117 homes with 100 lots ready to be built on and land ready to be developed. With the reversal in the economy and housing market, houses are not being built at nearly the same rate.

“Growth has fallen off significantly,” Young said. “They predict that 2009 will not be much better than 2008.”

Although three developments are still active, two that were approved but never annexed have either decided not to go forward or declared bankruptcy.

Young said that Sugar Grove has seen some activity in commercial building, with builders showing interest in future development. Still, office and commercial buildings sit empty.
The village is working with local commercial brokers to promote the village both regionally and nationally.

“We’re trying to be proactive on a limited budget,” Young said. “We should see growth ramp back up slowly and hope by the end of the calendar year of 2010 to see it start to return.”

Maple Park
For a village of 750 people, the influx of a possible 3,000 homes in two major subdivisions would change the small town of Maple Park. The village set in motion plans to improve the town well, and build a new water tower and wastewater treatment plant with the money it would receive from the developers.

In addition, the village approved two strip malls on the southwestern and northeastern corners of the intersection of Route 38 and County Line Road.

All that has come to a halt.

“With no impact fees, we’re left hanging,” said village Financial Committee Chairman Kathy Curtis. “We’re running the town on taxpayers’ money.”
For now, the village plans to paint the old water tower and apply for grants to help the aging infrastructure.

As the economy improves, so will bond prices. When that happens, Curtis said, it will be one year for developers to be able to make the improvements the town has counted on.
“It will take 10 years for us to build out,” Curtis said. “We’ll still be a small town for the next 20 years.”

In the last five years, Elburn has seen several new commercial-manufacturing buildings and new commercial and industrial businesses. The surprising twist is that most of the new businesses came to town in 2008.

Community Development Director Erin Willrett lists 14 new businesses in 2008, including Walgreen’s, Fox Valley Driving School, Green Light Driving School, Boyce Body Werks, Munchie P’s and Good Call Plumbing Services.

In past years, there were not nearly as many new businesses. In 2003, two new businesses started in Elburn. In 2004, three businesses, Curves, Genoa Pizza and American Bank and Trust opened.

In 2005, five new businesses started, and in 2006, two, Elburn Auto Repair and Jewel, came to town. Five businesses opened in 2007, and by 2008, there were a total of 28 commercial and industrial businesses that had started in the previous five years.

Currently within the village, there are five industrial parks and one potential park for the future. In Keystone Industrial Park, 48 lots exist, and nine are vacant. In Welch Creek Business Park, 10 buildable lots exist with three vacancies.

Kaneville has a plan in place for growth in the village. It’s called the 2030 plan, and calls for not just growth for growth’s sake, but for smart growth. Its Planning Commission is working with Kane County to see what that means.

“We want smart growth,” village trustee and owner of Hill’s Country Store Pat Hill said. “We want a few businesses and a few houses.”

Hill said that a subdivision on Dauberman Road had been dug in, ready for roads to be put in, but now nothing is going on. Ten lots had been sold out of a possible 40, but now only two have been sold. The other buyers either got their money back or lost it.

With acres and acres of prime black-dirt farmland around, Hill said she finds it a shame to build on the best farm land or on wetlands. She enjoys the thrill of farmers bringing in the Indian arrowheads they have found while working up the land.

Photo: Kevin Cook’s Elburn Pack and Ship was just one of the new businesses to come to Elburn in the last year. Photo by Sarah Rivers

What people want

by Lynn Meredith
“What do you want to see in your town in the future?”

That was the question posed to random and not-so-random people on the street and in the businesses of Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove and Elburn.

In a nut shell, people want their towns to be liveable, with conveniences and amenities that make life easier.

Elburn residents are looking for ways to keep the downtown vital and connected.

With Elburn part of the commuter railroad line into Chicago, Elburn resident Richard Andrzejewski would like to see better access from the train station to downtown.

“I would like access from downtown to the train, just to open it up for getting in and out,” Adrzejewski said. “It would bring more visitors to Elburn from other towns that are on the train line, too.”

Downtown Elburn is the place Peggy McCann, who has lived in the village for two years, would like to see full of stores. She and her husband patronize as many local businesses as they can, going to Ream’s Meat Market and Dave’s Barbershop, both located on Main Street (Route 47).

“I would like to see all the stores occupied downtown. Because we patronize the community, we like to shop downtown Elburn rather than anywhere else,” McCann said.

She likes the idea of having multiple stores open in downtown locations, like when Gliddon’s Drugs and the Grocery Store were both downtown, or when Sears opened in the former Grocery Store location.

“We really like it here. We’d just like to see other stores occupied. It would help out the economy and everything else,” McCann said.

A few more services in Kaneville are what Pat Hill of Hill’s Country Store would like to see.

While she knows that many people in the town would like to see a gas station, for her, the convenience store that goes along with a gas station would not be good for business.

“We need a gas station eventually; it’s inevitable,” Hill said. “But it would kill my business.”

Hill said she would like to see a pizza place instead. She also envisions an antique store and a doctor or dentist office.

“That would be very good revenue for the town, bringing people in,” Hill said.

Those polled in Maple Park said they would like to see a rejuvenation and revitalization of the town.

Librarian Suki Blake would like to see more businesses in downtown that would keep Maple Park from becoming a “bedroom community” where people sleep, but work and purchase goods in other places.

“I would like to see more community-friendly businesses so that the essence of small-town does not change in Maple Park, but that there is more offered so that people who are here will stay,” Blake said.

Blake said that little restaurants and cottage industries could survive. She doesn’t see the need for big box stores.

“We don’t need a Wal-Mart in Maple Park. There are two or three shopping centers very close by,” Blake said.

She added that an organized Park District would be a way to bring jobs to town.

Village trustee Kathy Curtis sees infrastructure repair as the key element in rejuvenating the town.

“We need to aggressively pursue revenue streams to upgrade, maintain and repair our infrastructure,” Curtis said.

She said that by repairing the streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, it not only would prevent further flooding like that which devastated the town in the fall, but would also improve the look of the town.

Curtis said two strip mall projects are approved for the southwest and northeast corners of Route 38 and County Line Road. She would like to see those fill with commercial businesses.

Residents in Sugar Grove want the convenience and tax break relief that commercial development would bring.

“I would like to see a lot more commercial coming in here to help alleviate some of the taxes,” Beth Blake of Sugar Grove said. “We’ve got residential here; now we need to get more business.”

Dunkin Donuts sounds good to her. She believes that spending her retail dollars in Sugar Grove is better than going into Geneva, Batavia or Aurora. She doesn’t want retail in the downtown area because it is residential and doesn’t “want it in her backyard, either.” She sees the acres of land farmed by local farmers as appropriate for industrial and commercial development.

“They want to try to keep it quaint, but this isn’t going to be a quaint farmer’s town anymore,” Blake said. “We’ve certainly got a lot of raw farmland around here.”

The Smiths, who moved to Sugar Grove from Hinckley, want the convenience of a lumberyard or a discount store.

“At our age, we want convenience. Quaint little shops are just way too much money,” Wendy Smith said. “But we’re really glad they’re building a new library.”

For James Mullet, he wants just two things.

“I want them to fix the potholes and get more books in the library,” Mullet said.