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Senior Justin Diddell place first at the Belvidere Regional

In proper position

Photos courtesy of Stefanie Vanik
Third-place at tough sectional paves way for potential state berths
KANELAND—Call them the lucky seven.

After a third-place finish at the Class 2A Belvidere Regional, however, the rest of the field at this weekend’s Pontiac Sectional might see their fortunes run out, once they face the Knights.

Paced by heavyweight regional king Justin Diddell, the Knights’ 124-point total was good for third in the nine-team setup.

Sandwich took the regional with 174 points, followed by rival Sycamore’s 130. Belvidere (122.5) and Marengo (92.5) rounded out the top five. Belvidere North and Boylan Catholic of Rockford tied for sixth with 80. Burlington Central and Joliet Catholic brought up the rear with 34 and 31, respectively.

A year ago at the Sycamore Regional, the Knights finished second and also advanced seven.

While the regional championship mantle was less full this go-around, the Knights still maintain enough to do damage the rest of this postseason.

Besides Diddell, the Knights plan to brandish 160-pound second-placer Austin Parks, 170-pound runner-up Tom Price, and third-place grapplers Adam Mish (113), Riley Vanik (145), George Strang (152) and Zac Parker (182).

Diddell’s day began with a :41 second fall over Deon Roby of Belvidere, with the finals going the Knights’ way after a 1-0 edging of Sycamore rival, Devin Knight.

Parks beat Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin by 12-0 major decision in his semi challenge before falling to capable Sandwich Indian Rigo Fraire by 3:45 pinfall in the final.

Price, who has had a productive first year as a transfer, got past Boylan’s Austin Middleton by 1:01 stick and Marengo’s Brandon Dierkes by 1:34 pinfall. In the finals, Price was upended by Sycamore’s Austin Armstrong in 51 seconds.

In the 113 category, Mish found his way to the consolation bracket, where he pounded Belvidere wrestler Jonathan Sanchez in a 15-2 major decision.

Vanik, getting a taste of the postseason attrition as a freshman, beat Spartan counterpart Andrew Larsen 14-6 in a major decision win. After a semifinal loss to Boylan’s Joey Bartolino and a consolation slot, Vanik recovered by beating BC’s Ray Coklan in 3:05 and beat Hilltopper Cameron Haney in a 17-10 slugfest for the invite to next weekend.

Strang wrote his ticket for this weekend by placing third in the 152-pound category. Beginning with a 13-7 win over Sandwich foe Jesse Brunoehler, Strang was then defeated by Sycamore’s Michael Ernster, 3-0. In the consolation bracket, the Knight recovered with a 3:17 pin of a Marengo opponent before outlasting BC’s Christan Quiles in a 4-3 final.

Parker’s journey began with a 6-2 win over Belvidere’s Gage Brewer, but after a tech fall loss to Sycamore’s Christopher Malone, the KHS sophomore beat BC’s Kyle Blankenburg by 7-3 count before solving Brewer once again in 5-2 fashion.

The Knights’ journey for statehood continues on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, on the Pontiac High School grounds with the eligible qualifiers from the LaSalle-Peru, Geneseo and East Peoria Individual Regionals.


Crews controls fate after Regional

Photo: The 2013-14 KHS bowlers competed as a team one final time Saturday at the Metea Valley Regional in Aurora. The team included senior Michelle Bohanek (from left), junior Rena Wojciechowski, junior Katie Hill, freshman Grace Lindgren, junior Dominique Lee and senior Christie Crews. Photo by Mary Paulson

AURORA—Whenever the end comes for Kaneland bowling in 2013-14, it’s going to have a different feel and look.

That’s because senior Christie Crews is still going and has a chance to qualify for the State tournament in two weeks.

At Parkside Lanes in Aurora, Crews represented Kaneland well as part of the Metea Valley Regional, managing to qualify for the Freeport Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 15.

After Kaneland finished with a middle of the pack 4,183 to finish sixth, Crews’ singular total of a 908 series put her in eighth of 10 individual qualifiers for the weekend.

The top individual total went to Metea Valley junior Jordan Newham, who bowled a 1,378.

The four qualifying schools for sectional play were Metea Valley at 5,620, St. Charles North at 5,472, St. Charles East at 4,671 and Larkin at 4,383.

The 2014 regional marked the first time for a new postseason format. Normally, the bowling landscape would go from sectionals to State, and the top two teams plus two additional individuals would advance. Now with regionals, the top four teams plus 10 individuals go to sectionals. Four teams and five additional individuals stand to advance out of Freeport.

“Christie just happens to be one of the first to go through the new format,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “She did not have any spectacular scores last Saturday, but most of the girls who bowled the really high scores were on the top four teams—the four teams who qualified for the Sectional. The format was designed in part to accommodate bowlers who are not necessarily on one of the top teams.”

While the Lady Knights have never managed to advanced to State, the school has advanced four qualifiers, most recently Tannya Serrano in 2003.

“The past few years, it has taken close to a 220 average at the Sectional to qualify as an individual for State. It will probably be close to that again this year, so Christie will need to have a spectacular day up in Freeport this Saturday. Regardless of outcome, we are proud of her, and she is proud to represent us,” McKnight said.

Additionally, the Lady Knights closed out regular season play on Feb. 5, in Lisle. The Lady Lions dropped KHS to 3-10 in dual action with a 2,226-2,191 result. Junior Dominique Lee had a team-high 498 series, while also having a team-best 184 game.

Crews continues at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, with other competitors from the Rockford East and Sycamore Regionals.


Emerging victors

Photo: Senior John Pruett continued his torrid scoring streak, putting up 26 points Friday at Rochelle, and following that up with 28 more against West Chicago Tuesday evening. Fellow senior Tyler Carlson (23) was the team’s high-scorer with 33 points against Rochelle. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Whatever questions exist concerning the fortunes of Kaneland boys basketball, the offense doesn’t have to be included.

Dealing with an athletic West Chicago lineup on Tuesday in a road jaunt, the Knights withstood the floor-spreading attack and emerged with a 71-65 win.

That came on the heels of a successful Friday trip to Rochelle, where KHS ran to a 91-67 win over the host Hubs.

Kaneland enjoys a 12-7 record with a 3-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

The Knights’ win on Joliet St. in West Chicago proved considerably more agreeable than the 54-43 Wildcat win from a year ago.

Kaneland resisted several lead changes and 27 points from scoring threat John Konchar by utilizing John Pruett’s 28 points, including 14-of-17 shooting from the foul line in the win.

“I’m just coming out here, and it’s my senior year, and this could possibly be the last time I play basketball, in high school for sure, at least,” Pruett said. “I’m just going to try to end it with a bang.

An even first quarter ended with West Chicago up 13-11, and the close tempo held for much of the second quarter when Pruett’s three-pointer with 2:25 to go in the half gave KHS a 24-22 lead. After a WC three, Pruett came back with a three-point play with 1:14 to go for a 27-25 lead. An offensive putback on the other end tied the affair. Drew David’s bucket with 43.4 to go put the Knights back on top, 29-27, but a Wildcat three with 29.7 ended the scoring at 30-29 for the first half.

The third quarter saw West Chicago get out to a five-point lead during one stretch, but the Knights were helped by two foul shots from Pruett, a foul shot from Tyler Carlson and a putback by Carlson in a 49 second stretch to lead 49-45 at the end of three.

A Pruett three 21 second into the quarter gave the Knights a seven-point edge at 52-45, but WC wouldn’t go away, missing just three shots in the quarter and going six-for-nine from the charity stripe.

Kaneland saw its lead grow to eight with 2:26 to go at 66-58, but a WC trey with 1:59 left closed it to 66-61. Two Pruett foul shots with 1:14 left made it 68-61 before a Wildcat trifecta and a foul shot cut it to 68-65 with 48.5 left.

With the Wildcats potentially able to tie the score on the next possession, the senior cornerstone David’s quick steal of a pass led to a foul and two free throws with 19.9 left. The pair gave the Knights a 70-65 lead which iced the contest.

“(The steal) was huge,” Pruett said. “Drew is a four-year starter. Whenever we need him, he’s always coming through. Free throws, threes or steals, he’s always doing what we need to do.”

“The boys were a little more comfortable, and that was a game we were going to have to play hard,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “There’s no let-up in them, and I thought the boys responded. They played hard and they played physical.”

Against the Hubs, Kaneland was helped by a 33-point night from Carlson and 26 from Pruett in the win. Pruett also went 12-of-18 from the foul line.

Kaneland and Rochelle were deadlocked at 18 after one, and the Knights led 36-29 at the halftime buzzer. Up 65-52 after three frames, Kaneland poured it on and outscored the Hubs 26-15 in the fourth.

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Knights head to Yorkville for NIB-12 play, and Saturday, Feb. 15, brings Kaneland’s first Day and Night of Hoops with six varsity and sophomore games featuring storied programs.

Kaneland tips off against Hillcrest in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.


local couple to open Elburn coffee house

Photo: Tony and Ann Cobb of Elburn recently purchased the building at 2 S. Main St. in Elburn, and plan to open The Corner Grind coffeehouse there in early May. Ann will run the store, and source its coffee beans from Cafe Moto in San Diego. The Cobbs also own Riverview Banquets in Batavia. Courtesy photo

ELBURN—When residents begin enjoying lattes and cappuccinos in downtown Elburn’s first coffeehouse later this spring, they can thank Sage and Dutch—two boxers who love to visit the Elburn Forest Preserve several times a week.

Elburn residents Tony and Ann Cobb recently purchased the building at 2 S. Main St., the former location of the Made from Scratch bakery, after repeatedly passing it as they took their dogs to the preserve.

“The location kind of just called to us,” Tony said. “There’s a park at the end of that block, and I saw the for sale sign and looked in the window.”

When he saw that the building already had a full commercial kitchen—a siren call to a professional chef and the owner of Riverview Banquets in Batavia—he “fell in love” and had to have it.

The couple plans to open a coffeehouse, The Corner Grind, in the location in May.

“What we’re really hoping for is that it becomes Elburn’s coffeehouse, somewhere that you can come in and grab a cup of coffee, a cappuccino or a specialty drink. Everybody’s looking for a place to go in downtown Elburn, so pop in and hang out,” Tony said.

In addition to a full menu of coffee and specialty coffee drinks, The Corner Grind will also serve a variety of baked goods, sandwiches and snacks.

The menu is still being developed, but it will include a variety of scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins, bagels, high-end deli sandwiches, paninis and salads. Desserts like lemon pound cake, shortbread cookies and brownies will also be offered.

“We’re still kind of testing things out, so at this point, the menu’s kind of up in the air,” Tony said.

Both Cobbs are experienced restaurant owners. Tony attended culinary school and worked at several area restaurants, including Mill Race Inn and Chianti’s in Geneva, before opening his own restaurant, Riverview Banquets, in Batavia in 1997, where he’s been hosting weddings and events ever since. Ann joined him soon after, managing the business’s 25 employees and doing all of the baking and desserts.

Right now, the couple is working on developing new recipes for the coffeehouse and is on a quest to develop the perfect dough for the baked goods.

“We don’t want to go too crazy with tons of stuff,” Ann said. “We just want to pick a few things that are really good and get people there for that. It’s all trial and error right now. We’re in the testing phase. We try different recipes and make them, and then we take them from there and tweak them a little bit.”

To keep everything fresh and local, they are sourcing many of their ingredients from local farmer’s markets, she said.

Though the coffeehouse preparation is now in full swing, with a tentative opening date of early May, the Cobbs didn’t initially plan to open a store at all.

Tony wanted the commercial kitchen in order to expand Riverview’s catering business further west; the storefront was just a bonus area they planned on renting out.

Yet the more they thought about it, the more the storefront seemed like an irresistible opportunity for a new business venture.

“We started kicking ideas around,” Ann said. “I said to my husband, ‘You know what Elburn really needs?’ And he said ‘a coffeehouse.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly what I was thinking.’”

With relatives already in the coffee business—Ann’s family owns Cafe Moto, a coffee roasting business in the San Diego area—the idea just seemed like a natural fit.

“I kind of fathom it like this,” Tony said. “Downtown Elburn has pretty much everything you need: a bar scene, a meat market that’s awesome, good food. But downtown, there’s really no place to go to just sit and have a good cup of coffee. It’s not like St. Charles or Geneva; downtown Elburn is its own community. Yet my wife and I, we have to go somewhere else if we want to enjoy a latte.”

Ann will be running the coffeehouse herself, while Tony continues managing Riverview. She’s sourcing the coffee beans from Cafe Moto, which obtains the beans from sustainable farms—many of them Fair Trade certified or organic—and roasts them in small batches to ensure freshness. Though Moto’s coffee beans are a little more expensive, Ann said the difference in quality will be worth it.

“We really want The Corner Grind to become a warm, inviting place,” she said. “We really want it to be a local coffeehouse. We want somewhere for people in Elburn to go, and we think the downtown is looking so nice with Ream’s and all the other businesses. We want to enhance the downtown more.”

Since the Cobbs know how tough the restaurant business can be, they decided having the kitchen pull double duty was the best option.

“The kitchen that’s been put in there (by the previous owner) is totally overkill for a coffeehouse,” Tony said. “We want to use it for some other things to make it worthwhile.”

Photo by Patti Wilk
Photo by Patti Wilk

The dual nature of the business will help make it more financially viable, Ann said.

“We know we’re not going to make millions in the coffee business,” she said. “But we think the catering will help support it. Tony loves the kitchen and is so excited. He just wants to get cooking in there. And honestly, I always loved being in the kitchen, and so I’m excited about it.”

The Corner Grind is tentatively scheduled to launch on May 1. It’ll be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, and closed on Mondays. The hours may expand, Ann said, if there’s enough demand.

Plans underway for Dugan, Granart Road improvements

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday authorized agreements regarding scheduled improvements for Dugan and Granart roads.

The first actionable item authorized an engineering services agreement for the intersection of the two roads. Village Engineer David Burroughs was in attendance for the meeting and filled the board in on the details regarding the planned construction.

“Construction for the Dugan and Granart Road intersection will take place in the summer and end early fall,” Burroughs said. “We are expecting this project to last three to four months.”

The Village Board also approved an agreement to improve the north portion of Dugan Road. Similar to the first item, this engineering services agreement will serve to fix the northern part of the road by implementing patch work and overlaying to improve the overall quality.

Construction for this agreement will begin in June and is schedule to be completed within six or seven weeks.


Photos: Kaneland Knights National Signing Day

The ten athletes sign certificates of accomplishment as the plan on competing for their various colleges next season.
The ten athletes sign certificates of accomplishment as the plan on competing for their various colleges next season.









On Wednesday morning, ten standout Kaneland High School athletes signed their national letters of intent in front of a packed KHS gym that included parents, coaches, students and more. The event, run by athletic director Rudy Keller, featured KHS coaches speaking about the athletes.

Click here to view all photos (349 total) >

All cylinders

KHS continues to roll in duals, ends regular season with close win vs. Batavia

BATAVIA—It doesn’t matter the caliber of opponent—Kaneland wrestling makes sure the foe has its mat work cut out for it.

The latest example was a 37-32 win over former conference rival Batavia at the Bulldogs’ refurbished fieldhouse on Friday.

The notch in the Knights’ favor cements their dual record for the 2013-14 season at a stellar 15-7, up from 13-13 last year and 11-12 in 2011-12.

“As a dual team, we’re a little bit better than the last two years,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “The frosh/soph guys are doing great, and the upperclassmen are hanging in there.”

The win also bests last year’s 42-30 regular season ender in Maple Park to Batavia. Two years ago saw Kaneland earn a tiebreaker in a 31-31 contest.

There were wins aplenty for KHS, beginning at 106 pounds, with Austin Kedzie pinning Mike Orlow at 1:57. Matthew Redman took a 12-11 decision in the 126-pound battle, followed by an 11-2 major decision for 132-pound entry Hayden Patterson.

At 138 pounds, Dane Goodenough earned a 60-second pinfall over Marc Goodin, while teammate Riley Vanik took the 145-pound mantle in 2:06. George Strang took a 3-2 decision over 152-pound rival Eric Wallerstein, while Austin Parks won the 160 match over Derek Nutley, 11-6 and fellow Knight Tom Price worked to a 3:35 pinfall at 170 to complete the Kaneland run.

“It’s a solid team,” Jahns said. “They are constantly improving, and we have guys like (285-pound) Justin Diddell leading the way with 28 wins. Our goal is to get down to Champaign (Ill., site of dual team finals).”

Up next for the Knights is postseason territory on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Belvidere Regional. Teams include Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Joliet Catholic, Marengo, Boylan Catholic, Sandwich and Sycamore. Last year’s postseason journey yielded a 145-pound State crown for graduate Dan Goress.


Starts and stops

Photo: Sophomore Ryan David had six points for the Knights at DeKalb Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—It was a game that had two near-misses.

Unfriendly weather had shelved the Kaneland boys basketball team to Elgin outfit St. Edward on both Jan. 30, and Thursday before finally settling for a Friday tip-off.

With no elements in their way, the Knights worked toward a 65-55 victory.

After yet another makeup contest on Tuesday in DeKalb, the Knights sat at (10-7, 2-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The Knights have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.

The DeKalb contest was originally set for Saturday, while the Knights have yet another makeup contest against visiting Sycamore scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, from Jan. 24.

Senior John Pruett continued his high-level of play in 2013-14 with a 29-point evening, followed by classmate Tyler Carlson with 17.

The Knights also benefited from 32 chances at the foul line, allowing for 16 baskets from the charity stripe for a 50-percent night.

KHS and the Green Wave were deadlocked at 13-all before Kaneland stormed to a 30-21 advantage at halftime. Kaneland led 45-36 after three before stretching the lead with a 20-19 fourth frame.

Against DeKalb, Pruett had a game-high 23 points, but DeKalb had four players in double-digits, as the Barbs used a 19-13 opening quarter to pave the way for a 76-70 win over visiting Kaneland. Tyler Carlson had 19 points and Cole Carlson had 15 for the Knights in the loss.

Kaneland continues the NIB-12 tour with a trek to Ogle County on Friday, Feb. 7, against Rochelle, in what continues a five-game road swing.

Bowl against bullying

Event seeks to teach participants to “be happy”
AURORA—Local adults will soon have a chance to go out, bowl and have fun while learning, too.

“Bowling Against Bullying” is a collaborative endeavor hosted by Kindness Campaign, Nick Edward Haben Foundation and Peak for Kids. The event will take place Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Parkside Lanes in Aurora.

The idea of this fundraising event is to have fun and promote kindness. According to Renee Dee, founder of Peak for Kids, Inc., the groups hope to use some proceeds from the bowling event for Kindness in Kaneland Week and Sugar Grove Corn Boil ideas.

“Basically, we thought it was a good kickoff event for both of our organizations,” Dee said. “(The organizations) are brand new, so it was a nice way to network and get to know everybody and have everybody know who we are and what we do.”

Marc Ebert, owner of Sign FX in Sugar Grove, a planning committee member for the “Bowling Against Bullying” event. He said that the event is a good networking possibility for local business owners.

“It kind of helps get the word out about the bullying,” Ebert said. “If it can come to light by talking about it—that’s kind of our M.O. It’s just, if we can get people to start talking about it, then something good happened. And maybe it can come to light and then so people don’t have to hide with it anymore.”

Jeff Bean, president and founder of Act on Bullying, will speak at the event about the dangers of the cyber bullying epidemic.

Those who attend “Bowling Against Bullying” can munch on pizza, drink soft drinks and bowl. A cash bar of beer and wine will also be available during the event.

Gave Ortiz of Go 4 It Entertainment will DJ the event. Dee said she wants the music to be about “being nice and being happy.” She anticipates hearing Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” during the event.

“I hope everybody will be dancing,” Dee said. “I’m meeting with the DJ. He’s got all sorts of little tricks that he does with the audience.”

There will even be some dance contests during “Bowling Against Bullying.” Attendees will also be able to place bids on silent and live auction items. Auction prizes include a week-long cabin in Wisconsin, and Chicago Cubs tickets. Raffle prizes include Kane County Cougars tickets, a beauty basket and restaurant gift certificates.

Author Amy Logan, a Joliet resident, will be in attendance to bowl and chat with attendees. She will also announce her book, “A Girl with a Cape.”

Trivia, led by DJ Ortiz, will center around bullying, community and kindness.

Those interested in attending the event can register by Friday, Jan. 31, by visiting peakforkids.org.

Individual tickets are $30 and include bowling, shoes, pizza and soft drinks. A registered group of 10 will get two lanes for some five-against-five bowling.

People can also count on more collaborations between Peak for Kids and groups from the Kaneland area and beyond. Dee said that there will be a leadership forum, performing arts projects and sport dedications to kindness.

“All of those specifics will be coming out in the next few months,” she said.

Meanwhile, the upcoming “Bowling Against Bullying” event is the current focus.

“I think (people) should (attend the event) because they believe that bullying is stoppable,” said Maria Dripps-Paulson, a committee member for the event. “And they want to be a part of that movement.”


Boy Scouts demonstrate creativity in Pinewood Derby

Photo: The Elburn Boys Scouts Pack 107 went all out with its creations for this year’s Pinewood Derby event, held at the former middle school building on Meredith Road on Friday. From Nascar and Spongebob to LEGO and Minecraft, the imaginations were endless. Joshua Duncan (below), 8, of Elburn, picked a Lego set as his prize from Friday night’s name drawing. Photos by Lynn Logan

MAPLE PARK—The Elburn Boy Scouts Troop 107 gathered together on Friday for a lighthearted and fun night of racing homemade cars in the Pinewood Derby.

This year’s Derby was conveniently located in the former Kaneland Middle School on Meredith Road in Maple Park, adjacent to the Kaneland High School property where Troop 107 holds its regular meetings. In years past, the Scouts held the Pinewood Derby at Family Life Church of Elburn on Keslinger Road.

A month and half prior to the racing event, Elburn Scouts Troop 107 and all other Pinewood Derby participants receive a racing kit that consists of a block of wood, four wheels and four axels. With the help of a friend or a parent, the Scouts turn these nine pieces of material into a car or car-like structure that reflects their respective interest.

Chuck Miller, a longtime volunteer for the Boy Scouts, notices each year that the kids really get creative with the assembling of their cars.

“A lot of the kids look around their own homes for ideas,” Miller said. “Their cars reflect their interests at the time. I’ve seen traditional racing cars, cars in the form of tanks, sharks, coffins, Swiss Army knives, an Elburn Herald paper, Thomas the Train, Minions from “Despicable Me,” Minecraft characters and many more.”

When it comes to the racing of the cars, each participant receives four chances to race their homemade car down a 30-foot aluminum track that has a timer connected to it. After each participant races their car four times, their total time for each heat is added up and the winners are announced.

From the Tiger group, in first grade, Nathan Z. from Den 8 received first place out of 16 cars. From the Wolf rank, in second grade, Ethan W. from Den 10 received first place out of 20 cars.

From the Bear rank, in third grade, Joshua S. from Den 7 received first place out of 20 cars. And from the Webelos, in fourth and fifth grade, Andrew S. from the Bacon Ninjas Den received first place out of 33 cars.

Out of 89 total cars, Joshua S. from Den 7 in the Bear rank, received first place.

A full list of winners will be available on Pack 107’s website, www.elburnparck107.org, later this week. And every Boy Scout comes home from the event with a door prize even if their car didn’t place in the event.

Each year, the pack leaders and volunteers noticed how the Pinewood Derby encourages camaraderie and sportsmanship among the Boy Scouts.

“The Pinewood Derby is one of our largest and most popular events where the Boy Scouts really get a chance to demonstrate their craftsmanship,” Miller said. “The Derby also promotes sportsmanship and healthy competition among the boys. All of the Scouts get really excited to race their cars especially the younger kids who are participating for the first time.”

Photos by Lynn Logan:


Editorial: School’s out … for winter?

The month of January is when students are supposed to return to school and begin their second semester, not enjoy multiple four-day weekends almost immediately following the conclusion of Christmas break. Yet that’s exactly what has happened this winter, thanks to two separate cold fronts that have turned the Kaneland community, its surrounding areas and much of the country into one giant ice cube.

Yeah, this winter has been a doozy. According to Channel 9 meteorologist Tom Skilling, winter 2014 ranks as the 12th-coldest (and fifth-snowiest) of the 143 examples on record. It has produced the second-most number of days with 0-degree-or-below temperatures (18). Of course, winter 2014 doesn’t have anything on some of the devastatingly cold winters that occurred during the 1970s, but it’s been bad enough to force four school cancellations this month. And there might be more on the way.

We recently spoke with Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler about the process that goes into cancelling school, and unsurprisingly, temperature and road conditions are the two main factors that determine whether or not school will be in session. According to Schuler, there isn’t a set temperature that forces the School District into closure for the day. Rather, the district looks at a combination of temperature and wind chill to determine whether it’s safe to open school. Road conditions are trickier to gauge, as the the Kaneland School District covers about 140 square miles.

“Clearly during snow events, we look at the conditions of the roads,” Schuler said. “If we determine that we can’t get students to school safely, then we make a decision. It is important to remember that we have about 140 square miles in our district. Weather and road conditions may not be exactly the same in all areas. When we make a decision, is is based on the safety of all students and areas.”

For those of you wondering what happens to cancelled school sessions, five emergency days (to make up for potential cancellations) are identified whenever a school year’s calendar is approved. According to Schuler, the only time Kaneland students might actually miss a day of school is if the School District uses all five of its emergency days.

“In that case, there is some language in the school code that allows you to only make up the first five days,” Schuler said.

When cancelling school, District 302 makes the decision no later than 5:30 a.m. the day of the school session. However, for the four school cancellations this month, Kaneland made the call the day prior to the school session, thanks to a weather forecast dominated by sub-zero temperatures. Ultimately, Kaneland’s goal is to give parents as much notice as possible while also helping the School District ensure that it has the accurate information necessary to make the best decision.

Still, four school cancellations in a month indicates the severity of the arctic fronts that have swept through a good portion of this country. It’s certainly unlike anything we’ve experienced, and we’re not alone in that assessment.

“This has been an interesting month. I think the weather patterns have been very unusual—something I have not experienced in my time as a superintendent,” Schuler said. “The decision to close school is not an easy one, as I understand that it impacts lots of families. However, our goal is to keep students safe, and that is always the basis for every decision we make to cancel school.”

It can’t be an easy decision to cancel an entire school day, but given the unbelievably harsh weather we’ve experienced this winter, Kaneland was right to shelve four January school sessions.

Besides, with emergency days available, why take the risk?

The cast of “The Laramie Project” includes Justin Schaller (back row, from left), Ben Mitchinson and Patrick Murphy; Rebecca Hof (middle row), Pamela Gianakakos, Sabrina Massa, Laszlo Reed, Peter Lopatin and Trisha Mills; Douglas Orlyk (front row) and Caitrin Mills. Photo courtesy of Sally Jane Photography

‘The Laramie Project’ debuts on Kaneland stage

‘It’s a powerful, powerful production.’
KANELAND—The play “The Laramie Project,” presented by Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) and partnered with the Kindness Campaign, did not open on its expected opening day last Friday, due to frigid weather. However, the show was back on Saturday and Sunday.

Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of KAI, said the cancellation was justified.

“It was windy,” she said. “And the drifts—if the wind blew always the exact same direction, we’d be fine. Because it (kept) changing—at one point it was north and then it kind of came from the west—we just couldn’t keep up with the drift.”

Dripps-Paulson said Saturday had a turnout numbering in the 50s. Sunday had about 40 people.

“I believe that every person that came and saw the performance was moved by the performances,” Dripps-Paulson said. “It’s a powerful, powerful production.”

The drama played out on the intimate stage of Kaneland High School’s Black Box Theatre, depicting the feedback from the townspeople in Laramie, Wyo., following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998.

Shepard was a gay college student who was driven to a remote area outside of Laramie where he was tied to a fence and beaten with a pistol.

“The Laramie Project” consisted of 11 cast members. According to Dripps-Paulson, six cast members were adults and five were Kaneland High School students. The youngest in the show were two freshman. “The Laramie Project” also showcased the acting talents of Kaneland School Board member Peter Lopatin and Pamela Gianakakos, who is a first-grade teacher at McDole Elementary School.

Each cast member played numerous roles—typically between six and eight characters.

Diane McFarlin, assistant principal at Kaneland High School and artistic director of “The Laramie Project,” referred to “The Laramie Project” play as a community project.

“We feel strongly that as part of what we try to do in bringing art to the community, that this was an important piece to spur and inspire really good conversations regarding acceptance and certainly kindness for all,” McFarlin said.

KAI and the Kindness Campaign lead an audience discussion following each performance.

“Certainly from our talk-back sessions that we had this weekend, our kids have experienced some feelings of not feeling very safe in school if they’re different,” McFarlin said. “It’s important to see that there are all kinds of people in this world. And everyone has a right to be safe and be accepted in our community.”

What can audiences learn from “The Laramie Project”?

“Out of great tragedy there is hope. Always,” Dripps-Paulson said. “So I think that would be a strong and good message for people to learn from. And I would hope that it would open up some conversations among people to see what true acceptance is.”

‘Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland area

ELBURN—’Friday Knightlife,’ a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 31 to March 21.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Diddell wins conference crown

Team places sixth
STERLING, ILL.—Sterling High School housed quite the collection of wrestling talent on Saturday, as Kaneland found out firsthand.

Earning some individual glory and having to deal with capable talent in both Northern Illinois Big XII divisions, the Kaneland Knights wrestling squad finished in sixth place with 112.5 team points.

The kings of the conference turned out to be Yorkville with a total of 237 points, followed by Geneseo with 219.5. Rounding out the top five schools were DeKalb at 180, Sycamore at 127.5 and LaSalle-Peru at 120. After Kaneland, Sterling finished seventh with a 110 score, and Ottawa took eighth at 96. Morris, Rochelle and soon-departing Dixon and Streator completed the lineup with 67, 60.5, 37 and 21, respectively.

A year ago, Kaneland finished fifth at the NIB-12 meet in Sycamore.

The Knights saw one of their own get to the first-place promised land, as 285-pound juggernaut Justin Diddell owned his weight class, much like graduate Dan Goress did a year ago at 145.

Austin Parks managed a third-place finish in the 160-pound category, and teammates Matthew Redman (126) and Nick Mish (106) took fourth-places for their afternoon effort.

Other KHS action featured Adam Mish (113) managing a fifth, while Zach Parker (170) and Riley Vanik (145) took sixth places.

For Diddell, action began with a win over L-P foe Jon Hewitt in 31 seconds, and a semifinal win over Geneseo’s Nick Verbeck in 3:49. In the heavyweight final, DeKalb’s Alex Roach fell victim to a Diddell pinfall in 3:21.

In the 160-pound landscape, Parks began with a win over L-P rival Mike Milasuski by 1:02 fall before falling to Yorkville Fox Tyler Wilkinson in 2:51. Parks recovered in the consolation semi by beating Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin in 2:30 before acing Cole Hunzeker of Geneseo in the third-place match by a final of 7-2.

Redman beat Logan Mathey of Sycamore, 5-2 to kick things off, before losing to Geneseo’s Hunter Grau by 20-5 count. In the consolation semifinal, Redman recovered sufficiently to beat Dixon’s Jake Johnson by 8-0 major decision. In the third-place match, Redman fell to DeKalb foe Izaiah Webb, 15-13.

Nick Mish began the day with a loss to Geneseo’s Tumbo Tumbarello by 8-4 count, and then regained composure by beating Morris’ Tony Menozi in 5:11. Moving on to the consolation semi, Mish beat Sterling host Tyrone Long in :41 before losing to Yorkville’s Hunter Vester by 4-0 count.

Ahead for the Knight roster is the traditional end-of-regular season tussle with former conference rival Batavia in the Bulldogs’ newly refurbished fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31.

Photos by Patti Wilk:

Lady Knights endure weekend conference loss

KANELAND—It hasn’t been an easy stretch for KHS girls hoops.

Kaneland girls basketball has had just one opportunity to play a game in Maple Park since Dec. 10, and had lost three in a row coming into Saturday afternoon’s contest in Ogle County against the host Lady Hubs of Rochelle.

Getting revenge for the six-point KHS win on Dec. 10, Rochelle was able to quiet the Lady Knights in a 65-55 affair, Kaneland’s first game in eight days.

“We have had players sick or missing with a school activity conflict at least once per week,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. We sent four players home from the Dixon Tourney with the flu. Throw in the weather and it has been tough to find a consistent rotation. We have had a lot less practice time due to the weather. It impacts conditioning and also impacts skill development.

“The good news is the players are working real hard to get better and are a fun group to be around each day.”

Kaneland is now 9-12, losers of four in a row, and 2-3 in the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape with eight regular season games left on the slate.

The Lady Knights were 20-of-55 from the field on the contest, and 5-of-10 from the free throw line. Amber Winquist-Bailey led the Lady Knights with 16, followed by Ally Van Bogaert’s 15 and Kelly Wallner’s 10. The perimeter game picked up with three three-pointers each from Winquist-Bailey and Van Bogaert.

Rochelle got out to an 11-8 lead after the first frame and was up 25-22 at the halftime break before extending the margin to 46-38 at the end of the third. The Lady Knights were outscored 19-17 in the fourth.

Kaneland’s Friday contest against visiting Sycamore was postponed to Friday, Feb. 14. On Friday, Jan. 31, the Lady Knights travel to Yorkville for conference play and the first meeting of the 2013-14 season between the two rosters.


Ky’s the limit

Lady Knight star-turned-college libero wins prestigious Augustana honor
ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—For a rising Kaneland volleyball program in the beginning of this decade, Class of 2012 athlete Kylie Siebert of Sugar Grove could be seen digging plenty of attempts from opponents.

After two seasons as a libero for the Division III Augustana Vikings, Siebert has dug up some high accolades.

As starting libero for the Vikings, most recently 16-15 and owners of back-to-back winning records for the first time in six years, Siebert was named Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 Augustana unit for her exceptional play.

That came on the heels of earlier namings to the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin team and All-CCIW academic all-conference list.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Siebert said on Monday. “As a libero, we sometimes get overlooked.”

From a stint on the KHS squad that won 55 matches during her varsity stay, to a rigorous college circuit, Siebert was glad to have some preparation.

“It’s a lot more commitment. You have to be mentally and physically ready, and it’s a lot different of a workload,” Siebert said.

The sophomore averaged 5.3 digs a game for the Vikings, the fourth best single season rate in program history. The former Lady Knight was also third on the team with 109 assists.

Raising her game against the rotation of capable CCIW teams was satisfying to the former Northern Illinois Big XII MVP.

“There’s teams like Elmhurst, Wheaton, North Central and Carthage. We kind of struggled and get looked at as the underdogs, so this season was a big step,” Siebert said.

Siebert, attending Augustana for a business and marketing major with a minor in multimedia journalism, doesn’t plan to rest after the nice bounty of awards.

“I’m very competitive and I push myself. I’m in a lifting program now and it’s helping out,” Siebert said.

The CCIW leader in average digs per game with 5.95 per conference tilt, Siebert is already looking to a productive back half of her college tenure after adjusting to the high level.

“The college game is very disciplined, and you have to adjust and go with it,” Siebert said. “We have a new coach next year (Kelly Bethke), and I think we can fight to get in the top half of the conference.”

Hawks honor two local high school seniors

GENEVA—The Fox Valley Hawks honored its seniors Sunday, which included an Elburn and a Sugar Grove resident.

Kaneland senior and Elburn resident Mike Potvin, an assistant captain and left wing, started playing hockey at age four, plans to attend Waubonsee Community College next year.

Mike Hill, a Sugar Grove resident and senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School, has been playing the last four years, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin/Platteville majoring in Engineering.

The hockey team, consisting of players from Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North high schools, plays at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

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Hoops for Heroes Feb. 15

Kaneland to host inaugural Day and Knight of Hoops
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland Boys Basketball announced the Hoops for Heroes inaugural Day and Knight of Hoops, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Six premier varsity/sophomore basketball programs—Kaneland, St. Charles North, Hillcrest, Elgin Larkin, North Chicago and Peoria Richwoods—sporting deep traditions in basketball, community, service and youth sports, will be showcased throughout the day.

In addition to the great action on the court, the event will also have plenty of off-court entertainment as well, including:

• Exhibition games by the Kaneland Youth Basketball and Cagers programs
• Kaneland Pep Bands filling the place with sound
• Team cheers and spirit for all teams, by Kaneland Youth Cheer
• Food and drink by the Kaneland Sports Boosters
• Customizable event clothing, to capture the memories
• 50/50 Raffle with winners all day and “Knight” long
• Draw down raffle following the hoops at Maple Park’s Bootlegger’s Bar and Grill with a $2,000 Grand Prize

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, to honor and empower wounded veterans.

In addition to attending the event, sponsorship opportunities are available as well,

For more information or to donate, click here.

Kaneland Blackberry Creek to host Bingo, auction

ELBURN—Are you ready for some Bingo?

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO will host Family Bingo and Auction Night on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary, 1122 Anderson Road, Elburn.

Blackberry Creek Elementary teachers will take to the stage to call out Bingo information via microphone. Game players will be seated in the school gymnasium.

Julia Galvan, a third-grade teacher at Blackberry Creek, will be one of the event’s five bingo callers. Can attendees expect to hear any teachers use a game show host voice?

“No,” Galvan said. “I’m just planning to just be myself.”

The Family Bingo and Auction Night event is the first of its kind for the Blackberry Creek PTO. According to Lisa Brown, chairperson of the event, money raised during Family Bingo and Auction Night will go to the PTO. Money earned by the PTO goes toward providing classroom supplies, technology purchases, field trips, assemblies, movie nights and a spring dance.

“It’s definitely an opportunity for families to enjoy an evening together and show their Kaneland spirit,” Brown said.

The gymnasium will reflect Kaneland’s school colors of black, silver and white. Silver stars will have landed on plastic tablecloths. And there will be plenty of black and silver balloons.

Magic Matt, a magician otherwise known as Matthew Scherer, will be on the scene to entertain guests. He’ll perform what Brown calls “interesting magic tricks,” and also create balloon animals.

Attendees will have a chance to win Bingo prizes, including Paisano’s Pizza and Grill certificates, Funway roller skating passes and up to $20.

Popcorn, cake pops, lemonade and water will be available for purchase during the event.

Those up for a silent auction can bid on 15 different Kaneland staff time donations. Items include “Games with Mrs. Galvan,” “The Music Man with Mr. Fox,” “Dinner with Mrs. Bateman” and “Hot Chocolate and a Book with Mrs. Tierney.”

Kindergarten teacher Autumn Gilchrist will donate “Pedicures with Mrs.Gilchrist,” designed for up to two of her kindergarten students to enjoy some “girl time.”

“This gives the child an opportunity just to have all of your attention squeezed into an amount of time while having a fun and enjoyable, relaxing experience together,” Gilchrist said.

Meanwhile, Maryann Lisberg, a Blackberry Creek parent volunteer, plans to bring her family to the event and has a reason why people should also attend.

“I just think that it would be a lot of fun, and it’s something for the family to do together,” Lisberg said.


Kaneland cancels all after school activities Jan. 24

From Kaneland.org:
All activities after school this evening have been cancelled, including all athletic events at the middle school and high school. We will follow regular dismissal times in all of our schools, but are concerned about potential driving conditions after 5:00 p.m. as a result of the predicted snow this evening. This cancellation does include the Friday performance of the Laramie Project. Any person with a Friday reservation will be contacted for details regarding the cancelled performance.

Harter Middle School Jazz Band to perform at State

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
KANELAND—Each year, a select few middle school jazz bands are given the high honor of performing at the annual Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) Conference in Peoria, Ill. This year, the Kaneland Harter Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Rebecca Andersen, was chosen to perform at State. The jazz band, comprising of seventh- and eighth-grade student musicians and one sixth-grader, will travel to Peoria on Friday, Jan. 24, to perform.

The selection process began last January after Andersen attended the 2013 conference. Andersen submitted an audition tape of the jazz band to the ILMEA to be considered for a performance at the 2014 conference.

“The make-up of the band last year and the larger number of seventh graders who were in the band led me to believe that this year’s band could be something special,” Andersen said.

In order to prepare for the conference, the students rehearsed weekly since school began in August and also met during Thanksgiving and winter break. Kaneland High School band director Aaron Puckett and Burlington Central High School band director Jim Struyk also worked with the jazz band to perfect their songs and sound. The songs that the jazz band will perform are “Phat Kat,” “Blues in the Night,” “Whoopin’ Blues,” “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Song for my Father,” and “Shake, Twist and Jump.”

“This is a huge honor for both our district and this group of students,” Andersen said. “I’m pretty sure this is the first time a Kaneland group has been selected to perform at the conference.”

Andersen said that the group of students is very excited to perform, and they realize what a great opportunity this will be to showcase their talents.

The Kaneland Harter Middle School Jazz Band performs throughout the year at concerts, pep assemblies, local sporting events and jazz festivals. Funds were provided by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, Andersen Plumbing & Heating, and Quinlan & Fabish to cover a portion of the trip’s expenses. Kaneland Harter Middle School is located at 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.


‘Carrie’s going to be missed’

Photo: Longtime Elburn resident Carrie Petrie (pictured with her daughter, Cara, and granddaughter, Abby) passed away on Jan. 9. Petrie was involved with the Elburn American Legion’s Women’s Auxiliary, played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years and helped run the Elburn Community Blood Drive. Her absence has been felt by many in the community. Photo submitted by Cara Bartel to info@elburnherald.com

Community mourns passing of longtime Elburn resident
ELBURN—The passing of lifelong resident Carrie Petrie on Jan. 9 has left a hole in the community of Elburn.

“You never replace someone like Carrie,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “You can get someone to take over her responsibilities, but you never replace her. Carrie’s going to be missed.”

Anderson said his first experience with Petrie was years ago when he and a date stopped in at Robert’s Drive-In in Geneva to get a bite to eat. The restaurant was two-thirds full, and Petrie was not only the waitress who took their order and served them, but the cook who made their meal, as well as the cashier who took their money.

That take-charge, “let’s get it done” kind of attitude has defined her throughout her life, whether she was helping out on the family farm, placing flags on the graves of the veterans for Memorial Day, cooking spaghetti dinners at the American Legion, or managing the Elburn Community Blood Drive every year.

Carrie was the oldest girl in her family. According to her sister Cecelia, Carrie could run a tractor at an early age. During the war, when so many of the men were overseas, she said Carrie was a big help around the family farm. She could drive the horses as well as a set of mules.

“Dad said she was the best hired man he ever had,” Cecelia said.

Carrie, like many of the young girls in her day, wrote to the soldiers fighting overseas during World War II to keep them from being lonely. Grover Petrie from Sycamore was her choice of a pen pal because she thought he had nice handwriting.

When Grover came home from the war, and he and Carrie met, courted and married. They remained committed to caring for the men and women who had served their country.

Grover joined the Elburn American Legion, and Carrie became a charter member of the Women’s Auxiliary. She and the other wives were actively involved in the current American Legion building.

“That kitchen didn’t magically appear,” said Kay Swift, the Petrie’s neighbor. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into that building. The ladies were there right beside the men, holding lunches and catering dinners to raise the money.”

The Legion’s spaghetti dinners featuring Carrie’s “private (sauce) recipe,” became an annual event. Swift, who helped out with the dinners, said Carrie had everything so well organized, it didn’t seem to be such a big chore.

Carrie had initially set up the kitchen with a place for everything and everything in its place. Village attorney and Vietnam veteran Bob Britz said that Carrie held everything together.

“I don’t think she was ever in the service, but she would have made a good drill Sergeant,” he said with a laugh.

Together with Britz, Carrie played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years. Carrie would read the names of each veteran who had passed away, as well as reciting the poem “Flanders Field” each year. Until several years ago, when the Boy Scouts took over the job, Carrie and a crew of volunteers during the week prior to the service would place flags at the gravesite of every veteran buried in Elburn.

Her dedication and service to veterans included weekly trips to Elgin Mental Health Center, where the 30 or so veterans there would receive packets of gum, cookies, hot chocolate or coffee and other treats that Carrie and other Legion members assembled.

She always felt that no matter what their circumstances were, the veterans deserved the respect and gratitude for the service they gave to their country, Kay Swift said.

“She was a very good motivator,” said Swift, who for the past eight years had helped Carrie run the Elburn Community Blood Drive.

Swift said that when she could no longer donate blood due to a heart condition, she asked Carrie what she could do instead.

“Have I got a job for you,” Carrie responded. And Swift became the blood drive coordinator.

Helen Johnson has known Carrie and her sisters since they were little girls. She said her dad would take the “Gum girls” along with them to basketball games and county fairs, and to Maple Park to make cider.

When Carrie married Grover, they were the first ones to travel to Hackensack, Minn., for their honeymoon, Johnson said. That first trip was the beginning of 40 years of summer fun with family and friends.

“We all cooked together and the guys went fishing,” Johnson said.

Carrie continued to make the drive up to their cabin after Grover passed away. As recently as this past summer, she made the long trip herself, even though her son, Neal, had also passed away, and it was getting harder for her to get in and out of her car.

On her way home, Carrie met her sister Cecelia and her husband Norbert Lund for dinner. Cecelia recalled the numerous nice things that Carrie has done for others.

She used to pick up Cecelia’s daughters and drive them to work at the restaurant in Wasco where she worked, so they could experience what it was like to have a real job. They were able to work their way through college, she said.

“We’re all very proud of her, and all her years of hard work and dedication,” Cecelia said.


Preparation begins for the International Crown

SUGAR GROVE—The International Crown, expected to be one of the LPGA’s largest events, will take place in summer 2016 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, and the Sugar Grove Village Board is ready to do what it can to ensure that the event is a success.

The Village Board is working closely with Rich Harvest Farms staff to plan the logistics of the International Crown for the duration of the event, and is concerning itself with the specifics of directing traffic, planning for emergencies, providing water out to the estate, and supplying police security to the course and facility.

All the planning for traffic and security for the International Crown event will be similar to what the Village Board did for the Solheim Cup in 2009, also held at Rich Harvest Farms. Village President Sean Michels said the village is already making arrangements for the International Crown event.

“The Village Board and I are working with Rich Harvest Farms to ensure that the International Crown is a great event,” Michels said. “On our part, a lot of the logistics and planning will be similar to what we did in 2009 for the Solheim Cup. Our Chief of Police, Pat Rollins, worked on the Ryder Cup in Medinah, Ill., and his expertise will help us greatly for the International Crown.”

At the Solheim Cup, Illinois State Police handled the traffic on Route 30, and Kane County Sheriff managed the security on the course and the facility. The Sugar Grove Police Department acted as a backup for the event, and they also managed any minor accidents. All of these responsibilities will be similar for the International Crown.

In addition to helping coordinate the logistics of the event, the Village Board is also working closely with the consultant for IDOT who is managing the road improvement plans for Dugan Road and Route 30, in an effort to also improve the traffic flow the day of the event. The road improvement plans are being finalized, with work expected to begin this year.


Body of work

Boys track assistant coach accepts award
KANELAND—For two decades, Rob Bieritz has been a part of the fabric of Kaneland track.

Two weeks ago, he was awarded some hardware for his work.

Bieritz, a Batavia resident and a Class of 2001 graduate of Kaneland High School, was one of several honorees by the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association as a recipient of the Dave Pasquini Assistant Coach Award. The award can only be awarded to a coach once in their lifetime, and is for extraordinary effort as an assitant coach for either track and field or cross country.

Bieritz, along with Glenbard South’s Ryan Crissey, Evanston’s George Woodridge, Chicago’s Jones rep Ben Mahon, Neuqua Valley’s Michael Rossi and Sterling’s Tom Depasquale, were honored at a social in Downers Grove, Ill., on Jan. 10.

KHS boys track coach Eric Baron informed the track staff of the honor through email; fitting because Baron is also a winner of the award, along with Randy Olesen.

The award is named after former Glenbrook South High School coach Dave Pasquini, who died of cancer.

“You look at what coach Baron has done and what Randy has done, and all the way back to Ralph Drendel, and it’s as much them surrounding me,” Bieritz said.

Starting assistant track work in 2006 under Baron, Bieritz was influenced as a coach, but first an athlete, under the Kaneland success factory.

“You can’t put a description as to what the coaches taught me, but you try to resemble what they’ve done as much as you can,” Bieritz said.

Bieritz has been able to interact with current coaches as a Knight athlete and a KHS mentor in the lanes.

“Every coach I’ve had, guys like Tom Fedderly and Chad Clarey and others, you learn from them and take what you want,” Bieritz said.

The former 300m Intermediate Hurdles state qualifier has noticed differences in his coaching approach and now has eight years of track nuances to look back with.

It’s all the better for the perennial Class 2A medal threat.

“You try not to coach in general, you have to coach toward each different kid. What you try could affect a kid differently, and you have every style of kid. They’re all different,” Bieritz said.

The award, for assistant coach achievement, was given out before the annual ITCCCA track clinic held at Oak Park-River Forest High School. It could be fitting that an award that went to Bieritz comes shortly before a clinic, signifying that an assistant coach’s work is never done.

“You have to be able to bust your butt at this, so the kids can bust theirs and see the rewards,” Bieritz said. “When the kids see what the rewards are, that’s what it’s all about.”


Wrestlers continue to roll

Photo: Riley Vanik throws his opponent to the mat during Saturday’s Tournament at KHS. Vanik took second place in the 145-pound bracket. Zach Parker (below) was Kaneland’s lone tournament champ, winning the 182-pound bracket. Photos by Patti Wilk

KHS takes second at Flott, hands Morris convincing loss
KANELAND—Kaneland High School wrestling is 16-7 in dual competition, which is a decent story in itself.

It’s the convincing way the grapplers have won 16 of 23 duals that has been the main detail.

Before KHS battled its way to a second-place finish at its own Flott Memorial Tournament on Saturday, the Morris Redskins learned firsthand what talent the Knights bring to Northern Illinois Big XII duals, with Kaneland on top 45-15.

At the Flott gathering in Maple Park on Saturday, the Knights’ 170.5 point total was 18.5 points behind Central Suburban Conference mainstay Niles North’s champion-worthy total. At 155 points, Larkin was third, followed by Elgin in fourth at 148 points. NIB-12 rival Rochelle was fifth at 130.5 points, while Plainfield North brought up the rear with 103.5 points.

The Knights had one first-place entry on the afternoon in the form of 182-pound Zach Parker, as well as seven others with a second-place finish.
Parker defeated Niles North’s Zac Khaya by 4:35 pinfall and stuck Rochelle’s Eli Keating with a 60-second pinfall in the championship final.

The plethora of second-place honorees on the Kaneland side began with 113-pound entry Adam Mish, who beat Larkin’s Edgar Trejo by 7-0 count before dropping a 9-5 final to Hub Jeff Board. At 126 pounds, Matthew Redman finished second by beating Niles North’s Maykel Potros 6-1 and losing to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic in 1:15. 138-pound asset Dane Goodenough took second by beating Larkin’s Joey Rahn in :54 and Plainfield North’s Dan Valenzio in 5:08, before losing to Joe Pazmino of Niles North 5-3.

Riley Vanik of the 145-pound group mowed through Niles North’s Joe Broton by technical fall before dropping a 12-4 major decision to Rochelle’s TC Hager in the final. At 160 pounds, it was Zach Russell finishing as runner-up after a 3:56 solving of Niles North’s Thomas Gaul and 11-8 loss to Elgin rep Devin Syavong. Tom Price of the 170-pound range began with a 1:17 pin of Plainfield North’s Bryan Bott, and beat Larkin’s Victor Cuevas in :38 before losing by DQ to Plainfield North’s Mark DiNardo in the final. In the heavyweight category, Justin Diddell beat Elgin’s Ariel Barraza in :38 and Niles North’s James Edmond by 4-3 count, before losing to Plainfield North’s Nick Wolf in 1:27.

In the dustup with the Redskin rivals, Kaneland got on a roll early with a 7-2 win for Parker over Ryan Kowalczyk and a 195-pound win for Cullen Murray over Morris’ Victor Toissant, 10-3. After a forfeit, Diddell picked up the slack with a 2:45 pinfall over Andrew Faught to begin a five-match win streak for KHS. Nick Mish won a 10-4 decision over Tony Menozi at the 106-pound mark, followed by Adam Mish at 113 pounds taking a 6-1 decision over Morris’ Andrew Smith. KHS teammate Jacob Shearer, at 120 pounds, took a 1:39 pin, followed by Matthew Redman winning his 126-pound match with Dominic Byerly just 34 seconds before regulation ended.

“I don’t really know what to say, we’re just having a really good year and we have a young team,” Redman said. “We’re succeeding with it.”

The Knights ended up with three more victories in the form of Luke Eggenberger at 132 pounds over Morris’ Hunter Herman (2:42 pin), Vanik with a 6-0 win over AJ Vota, and a 1:17 Russell pin over Ryan Olsen.

It was a satisfying win for the group, especially on Senior Night.

“It was nice for the seniors and for the underclassmen to get the pins where they needed them,” KHS coach Monty Jahns. “It was huge and fun. It’s been a really good year so far.”

Ahead for the Knights crew: the Northern Illinois Big XII meet housed by Sterling on Saturday, Jan. 25.


KHS stops streak on lanes

Photo: Kaneland High School seniors Christie Crews (left) and Michelle Bohanek enjoy one of their last few games as seniors. Photo by Patty Wilk

Bowlers celebrate win, seniors
KANELAND—It was bound to happen, and lucky for Kaneland, it happened with some time left in 2013-14.
Stopping a five loss skid, Kaneland earned a win over the host IMSA Lady Titans on Thursday in non-conference competition.

The 2,080-1,863 win for the Kaneland Lady Knights crew at St. Paul’s in Aurora marked the first dual win for the black-clad roster in exactly five weeks.

KHS followed that up with a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup against visiting Rochelle at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb on Tuesday and ended up on the losing end of a 2,666-2,296 affair.

Kaneland is now 3-8.

In the win over IMSA, noteworthy series came at the throws of junior Dominique Lee at 447, senior Michelle Bohanek at 432 and junior Rena Wojciechowski at 421. Top games were from Lee at 179 and Wojciechowski at 170.

“We did have some good, consistent bowling last Thursday at IMSA,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “The conditions are always a challenge at St. Paul’s Lanes, but we went in there with a good attitude and the idea that we could do well, regardless. It paid off, as most of the girls bowled at or slightly above their season averages.”

Against Rochelle, top series came from Lee at 421 and Bohanek at 411, with Lee notching the top games at 156 and 150. Wojciechowski also rolled a 150.

On Wednesday, Kaneland bowled at Ottawa, and lost to the hosts 2,733-2,537.

The Lady Knights continue their regular season homestretch with the NIB-12 meet on Monday, Jan. 27, at Dixon Plum Hollow Lanes, hosted by Streator.


Photos: Cheerleaders @ NIB-12 Competition

It was a high-flying Sunday in Morris, as the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference cheerleading squads travelled to the home of the Redskins for the annual NIB-12 Conference Cheerleading Competition. The Lady Knights left with a ninth-place showing as a team, but featured All-Conference athletes in Mattie Garrison, Denise Gombar and Nicole McClellan. KHS also recieved two all-conference honorable mentions for Alexis Lund and Jessica O’Donnell. Freshman Amber Evans (above, left to right), sophomore O’Donnell and freshman Rylee Born show their Kaneland spirit at Sunday’s NIB-12 Competition at Morris High School.


Downed in DeKalb

Photo: Senior Kelly Wallner was the high scorer for the Lady Knights with eight points against a strong DeKalb squad. Photo by Mary Paulson

DEKALB—Kaneland girls basketball, despite being 9-11 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), has managed to hang tough in many of its 20 contests thus far.

When they end up of the wrong side of a result, such as Friday night in DeKalb, the Lady Knights know they’ve been on the court with tough teams in their own right.

In the Lady Knights’ lone contest of the week, DeKalb handed KHS a 41-25 loss on the strength of a prolific first half.

The Lady Barbs’, winners of their 13th game of 2013-14, held Kaneland to a rough 10-of-38 evening from the field. Kaneland’s top scorer was frontcourt asset Kelly Wallner with eight points. DeKalb junior Madelyne Johnson supplied a game-high 14 points.

Kaneland was also just 4-of-10 from the foul line on the DeKalb hardwood.

KHS kept it somewhat close and trailed 15-10 after the first eight minutes, before managing just two points in the second quarter and falling in a 29-12 hole. In a slower-tempo third quarter, KHS closed it to 33-18 before the final frame.

“The girls did an excellent job defensively holding DeKalb to 41 points,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They have a lot of weapons. We have struggled shooting the ball this season and we had a rough night shooting on Friday. The effort is there, we just need to knock down some shots.”

The other teams in the NIB-12 landscape are shaping up to how Colombe saw.

“We felt like the conference would be very strong and it is. DeKalb is the defending champ and is until someone else takes it from them. They feature two girls who are D1 recruits. Sycamore has arguably the top player thus far in conference in Bailey Gilbert, and they play very well as a team,” Colombe said.

The girls deal with Sycamore at home on Friday, Jan. 24, and will try to halt a three-game skid.

Kaneland will not continue with intergovernmental consortium

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted against continuing onto the next phase of an online and blended learning intergovernmental consortium with neighboring school districts.

The only board members who voted to continue with the consortium were Board Secretary Gale Pavlak and Peter Lopatin.

Board members had previously given a literal thumbs up to collaborate with four other districts, including Indian Prairie 204, Wheaton-Warrenville 200, Naperville 203 and Batavia 101.

Erika Schlichter, director of Kaneland Educational Services for grades 6-12, had written a report about the consortium.

“The objective of the consortium was to design a collaborative, high quality online/blended program that would expand educational options for students in our districts,” Schlichter wrote.

The consortium’s Phase One took place last September through December.

The consortium had contracted with Evergreen Consulting Group. The cost to the Kaneland School District for its Phase One involvement is $4,835.

Schlichter’s report noted that Phase One objectives included development of a mission and guiding principles, and a strategic plan of goals, as well as creation of an implementation schedule this month, with courses to launch in August.

The report noted that to become a voting member, each district would have to pay $85,000 as an initial investment, while an initial proportional amount would be $11,450. The total first-year investment would then be $96,450.

“It’s unfortunate,” board member Teresa Witt said. “I would love to have the money laying around to support it. I just don’t see that I could allocate that kind of money.”

Schlichter acknowledged that the specifics of Phase Two is something “hard to be definite about.”

Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler spoke favorably on working with the consortium.

“I see it as a new path,” Schuler said.


Carey family reunited following rough 2013

Photo: The Carey family, Tim, Dylan, Chris and Gavin, at home together just days after being reunited on Dec. 26. Courtesy Photo

SHABBONA, Ill.—When 3-year-old Dylan Carey was finally reunited with his mother, Christine Bateman Carey, on Dec. 26, he wrapped himself around her legs and wouldn’t let go.

Neither he nor his 6-year-old brother, Gavin, had seen her in three months.

Dylan, who has been undergoing treatment for a stage four neuroblastoma, had spent a month in quarantine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago after a bone marrow transplant. Chris, who suffered head trauma in a car accident on Oct. 12, had been hospitalized at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, undergoing physical, rehabilitative and speech therapies.

Their reunion was “just really awesome,” Dave Bateman, Chris’ father, said.

“Dylan sat down on the couch and glued himself to his mom’s leg. He was just stuck there,” Bateman said. “There were some tears, some adjustments, and then time to play a little bit. Chris tires easily, and that’s to be expected, but the reunion was incredible. She was so glad to be home with the boys, and the boys were glad to see mom. It is the answer to a whole lot of prayers, I can tell you that.”

It was a rare moment of joy for a family that’s been twice touched by tragedy: Dylan’s diagnosis in July with neuroblastoma, a tumor of the adrenal gland that had metastasized into his bones, and the car accident in October that landed Chris in a neuro intensive care unit.

Chris, a 1995 Kaneland graduate and an Elburn native, was already on unpaid family medical leave from her job, as she shuttled Dylan to doctors’ appointments, surgeries and chemotherapy. After the accident, her husband, Tim Carey, also went on unpaid family medical leave to care for his wife and sons, living at Ronald McDonald House to be with Dylan during his surgery and month-long quarantine.

Their medical bills are sky-high. Their incomes have disappeared. The situation prompted friends and community members to raise over $38,000 for the family at the “Superheroes for Dylan” fundraiser in Sugar Grove on Dec. 6.

It was an outpouring of support that the family is grateful for, Bateman said.

“The one thing I want to make sure comes through is the absolute and incredible gratitude that Chris and Tim have for all the support they’ve had,” Bateman said. “The fundraiser, the girls who put on that fundraiser … there were people supporting them before the accident, but after, there was hardly a day that one of her friends didn’t come spend with her in the hospital. It’s been an incredible support from friends and community, and I know they want to express their gratitude for that, and I certainly do.”

Though Chris and Dylan are now home, both are still undergoing intensive treatment.

Dylan is starting targeted radiation therapy and travels to Central DuPage Hospital for radiation treatments five days a week.

“We’re a long ways from being done,” Bateman said. “There’s still a lot of pieces that need to get put together, but the doctors are optimistic about Dylan. I think I used the word earlier, ‘cautiously optimistic,’ and I still am, but I’m more optimistic than cautious at this point in time.”

Chris is traveling to Cadence Health in Aurora for additional rehabilitative therapies twice a week. She’s made dramatic progress since the accident, but she still has further to go, her father said.

“All the tubes are out,” Bateman said. “She can eat and converse, but her memory is not so great. She gets lost once in awhile, where she’ll come out of the woods, but for the most part she’s very conversant. She does not remember any part of the accident, and that’s a good thing. I told Chris, ‘The mind has the amazing ability to block some things, and it’s OK, your mind’s protecting
you from that.’ Everyday she remembers more people. It’s putting things in perspective.”

Chris was highly motivated to recover, Bateman said, because she wanted to go home and start caring for Dylan and Gavin again.

“For Chris, it was, ‘What do I need to do to go home?’ She really worked very hard at it, and she realizes there’s still a way to go, but she’s planning on having a full recovery,” Bateman said. “But we also know that it’s not going to be overnight. It could be more than a year before she’s back to normal, but you achieve a little more normalcy every day.”

Tim’s step-sister, Rachel Saltz, has come to stay with the family for the month, helping take Dylan and Chris to treatments and take care of Gavin, who is back in school. The family is trying to adjust to the dramatic changes in their lives, Bateman said.

“It’s just an ongoing process of getting reacquainted,” he said. “You’ve got a family that has been totally devastated over the last six months, and it’s a matter of adjusting to the new reality. It’s never going to be quite like it was. It’s going to be close, but never quite the same. I give (Tim) an immense amount of credit, simply to be able to weather that storm. As he said, ‘You do what you have to do.’ And that was Chris’ attitude before she was hurt: ‘I can’t change what it is, but I can work on my attitude, and my attitude is that we’re going to get through this.’”

The family is still in need of financial help, he said, and additional fundraisers are being planned. Though the Carey family has health insurance, there are co-pay fees for every doctor visit and every medication, as well as co-insurance, the percentage of hospitalization costs and treatment that the family has to pay. Chris’ three-month stay in the hospital was particularly costly, Bateman said, and the bills for her treatment and Dylan’s treatments are just starting to arrive.

Yet despite the challenges, Bateman said he felt hopeful.

“I feel just overwhelming gratitude,” he said. “It’s the answer to prayers that we are so grateful for. And I’m going to be a little selfish and say, we need continued prayers because we’re certainly not done yet. We’re not out of the woods, but we’ve seen some clearings.”

Monetary donations can be made to the “Superheroes for Dylan” account at any Castle Bank, including the Sugar Grove branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd.


HorsePower to host 2nd annual bowling fundraiser

ST. CHARLES—HorsePower Therapeutic Riding, a not-for-profit organization in Maple Park, will host its second annual bowling fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Charles Bowl, 2520 W. Main Street in St. Charles.

There will be two bowling sessions during the event, with one from noon to 2 p.m., and the other from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.horsepower.ticketleap.com/bowling. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids who are age 10 and under. There will be no charge for children under the age of 3.

Non-bowlers are also encouraged to attend with a reduced ticket rate of $15. There is an unlimited amount of tickets available for non-bowlers.

The fundraiser will feature silent auctions, cupcake sales, jewelry sales, pizza and a 50/50 faffle.

Carrie Capes, program director and co-founder of HorsePower, hopes to raise $17,000 at the event on Saturday. The money raised will help to purchase lesson equipment and benefit the students HorsePower currently has on scholarship, while also allowing for more scholarships.

“Our scholarships put kids and adults up on a horse when they normally wouldn’t be able to take lessons,” Capes said. “We currently have seven students who are on scholarship now, and we hope to have fourteen students on scholarship this year.”

There are 35 students who currently take riding lessons at HorsePower. Students who have a physical, mental, emotional or cognitive disability benefit in a huge way from horse riding lessons, gaining communications skills, physical stability and emotional empowerment.

HorsePower Therapeutic Riding was co-founded by PATH certified instructor Capes and Wholesale & Correspondent Lending Officer Justin Yahnig in March 2012 with the hope that people with disabilities would experience the healing and empowerment that comes from a horse.

Anyone interested in donating to HorsePower can visit their website at www.horsepowertr.com and click on the donate button.


Feeling the freeze in Burlington Central

Photo: Senior forward Brittany Kemp contests a Morris shot Jan. 9. Kemp had four points against the Lady Redskins, but came back with a team-high 11 points Monday at Plano. Photo by Marshall Farthing

Rockets’ wide-open style dooms Lady Knights in between Morris win, Plano loss
BURLINGTON, Ill.—Kaneland girls basketball was on the run often on Saturday at Burlington Central.

Usually, it was to rush back to either side of the floor or trying to deal with Burlington Central’s long-range game, led by Samantha Pryor’s 21 points and three three-pointers, and Shelby Holt’s three treys.

The long night ended with a 54-33 loss. Preceding that, the Lady Knights beat rival Morris on Thursday by a final of 57-45 in Maple Park, but dropped a 44-41 result on Monday to the team responsible for their 2013 regional ouster, host Plano.

Kaneland is now 9-10, with a 2-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.

Post presence Kelly Wallner led the KHS charge with 15 points against Burlington Central, but the next-closest Lady Knight output was Caroline Heimerdinger with six.

Two quick buckets for Wallner gave KHS an early 4-3 lead just 47 seconds into the contest, but BC found its footing and hit two threes and used a high shooting volume for a 17-6 lead at the end of one. Kaneland ended up missing its last five shooting opportunities of the quarter and were 2-of-6 from the line and just 6-of-16 from the charity stripe on the day.

BC made it through a 21-6 run into the second quarter before Heimerdinger and Wallner came up with buckets to close within 21-10 with 5:33 to go in the half. With baskets from Amber Winquist-Bailey and Wallner, the Lady Knights were able to close within 21-14 with 3:47 to go. The Lady Knights could get no further, and BC closed the half out on a 10-5 run.

The only field goal for the Lady Knights in the third was an Ally Van Bogaert hoop with 5:54 to go to close within 36-22, and BC lead 43-23 at the third-quarter buzzer. The Lady Rockets outscored Kaneland 11-8 in the fourth quarter to close it out.

“(BC) played good defense, obviously,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We took some shots that were a little rushed. It was a combination of those and being a little inexperienced, I think. Obviously, we played at their temp and that was from start to finish.”

In the win over the rival Lady Redskins, Wallner had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Van Bogaert had 13 points and Caroline Heimerdinger pitched in 10 in the winning cause. The Lady Knights went 17-of-50 from the field and went to the line 40 times, hitting 21 opportunities. KHS was up 16-9 after one and 29-11 after two quarters before solidifying a 37-23 lead after three frames.

In the loss against Plano, Brittany Kemp led the way with 11 points and Heimerdinger added nine herself. Kaneland stayed competitive along Route 34 and led 12-7 after one and 24-21 after the first half. Up 35-34 after three, the Lady Knights fell victim to an 0-for-18 cold streak and allowed Plano to emerge with the three-point edge. KHS was 13-of-51 from the field and 12-for-24 from the foul line.

On Friday, Jan. 17, the Lady Knights head to DeKalb to try and separate from the pack in NIB-12 action.