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Bowlers get back into strike of things

Photo: Junior Dominique Lee gets a high five from junior Rena Wojciechowski Saturday. Lee was awarded medals for fourth place individual high game for the morning round, and first place for individual high series in the afternoon round at the IMSA Tournament. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—With its first action of 2014, Kaneland looked to do some damage in three road outings.

On Jan. 8, Kaneland sauntered down to LaSalle-Peru for a Northern Illinois Big XII crossover battle with its West division foe, where L-P took a 2,879-2,375 win. Thursday saw a loss against its Sycamore rival, 2,917-2,494. Meanwhile, Saturday saw the usual January trip to the IMSA Invite, where Kaneland finished sixth of 15 squads, with Marengo taking the day.

The top series on the Kaneland side against L-P were managed by Dominique Lee at 450 and Christie Crews at 476.

Against Sycamore, Lee managed a 490 series, while Crews bowled a 476, and teammate Rena Wojciechowski took a 479.

“The extended Christmas Break took a toll on our performances at LaSalle-Peru and Sycamore last Wednesday and Thursday, but things went better on Saturday. Most of the girls did better on Saturday, and Dominique’s performance was particularly noteworthy,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

At IMSA, Lee’s total of 447 included games of 223 and 224 for a first-place prize in her afternoon round division. Teammate Michelle Bohanek also took a first-place medal in her division, bowling a 333 series (games of 187 and 146). The afternoon session paired off bowlers based on their season averages. After Marengo, Ottawa and Trinity filled out the top three slots.

Kaneland has dropped five duals in a row, and is still looking for its first head-to-head win since Dec. 9. The Lady Knights sit at 2-7.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a dual against the IMSA Lady Titans on Thursday, Jan. 16.

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Knights contain Cadets

Photo: Kaneland varsity boys basketball coach Brian Johnson and his team honor senior Drew David for breaking the program record for most games played. David has played in over 87 games for the Knights varsity basketball team as of Tuesday against Marmion. Photo by Mary Paulson

Late FTs down Marmion in busy three-game week
AURORA—While the Kaneland High School boys hoops squad would have preferred a clean sweep of the week, two out of three will do fine for now.

On Tuesday off of Butterfield Road in Aurora, the Knights got two late free throws from Tyler Carlson to down the host Marmion Academy Cadets 49-47. That dramatic result took some of the sting out of a Saturday road loss to Burlington Central in a 67-43 result, while Friday night had a 42-41 comeback win over the invading Morris Redskins after a Carlson basket with under a second remaining.

The KHS record improved to 9-5, and 2-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.

The Knights went out to an early 12-5 lead as Marmion struggled to find its shot, and KHS took advantage of turnovers. A John Pruett basket and two Carlson free throws gave KHS a 23-11 lead at halftime. The lead ballooned to 37-22 with 1:59 left in the third before Marmion went on a 12-1 run to end the frame, thanks in part of a late basket and two foul shots due to a technical foul on head coach Brian Johnson.

In the fourth, Pruett fouled out, after being responsible for the only field goal the Knights would make in the quarter. Kaneland would go 9-of-12 in the fourth from the charity stripe, including Carlson going 7-of-8. His front-end shot with 2:45 to go made it 43-40 with 2:45 to go, and two more would give KHS a 45-40 lead with 1:57 left. Another later pair made it 47-44 with 1:02 remaining before a game-tying three try for Marmion athlete Michael Sheehan with 51.2 left tied the score.

With time running out, Carlson was fouled on an offensive putback try with 1.3 to go. After nailing both tries, Tom Van Bogaert stole an inbounds heave to end it.

Pruett and Carlson each had a game-high 16 points for Kaneland.

“(Tyler) made some big free throws, and he was running a play that we run for John, and he was able to execute on that. We ran it earlier and John was able to get a look. It probably helped having Ty down there,” Johnson said.

With Pruett’s exit and Marmion’s comeback, Kaneland handled the in-game adversity well, according to Johnson.

“Having Drew (David) and John in foul trouble and having guys do things they weren’t used to doing, and that puts a lot of pressure on the other guys and I thought they handled it pretty well,” Johnson said.

Against BC, Carlson’s 13 points was the only double-figure total. Kaneland was down 14-10 and 33-23 after the first half concluded. The Rockets pulled away to lead 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Carlson had a game-high 18 points in the Morris outing, followed by Pruett’s 14. David (8 points) and Cole Carlson (2) were the only other Knights to find the scoring column. The Knights led 8-7 after one and pulled away some, 19-11 at the half, before the margin closed to 31-25 after three.

After this latest stretch, the Knights roster is home against rival Yorkville on Friday, Jan. 17.

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Becky comes home

MP native returns five months after surviving horrific accident
MAPLE PARK—There weren’t many Christmas presents under the tree for the Nelson family this year, but nobody cared—Dave and Peggy Nelson got to bring their daughter, Becky, home from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago instead.

“We stayed away from too many gifts this year because we put the money into Becky,” said Anne Carson, Becky’s aunt. “We just got her some little stuff, some pencils and some games, because she’s got some younger cousins and we can play with her. She likes to draw, so she got a sketchpad.”

Becky came home to her parents’ dairy farm in Maple Park just two weeks before Christmas and is doing really well, Carson said, though she had to be taken to the emergency room on Christmas day to have an IV reinserted.

A hit-and-run accident in the Cayman Islands on July 1 had left Becky in a coma for nearly five weeks, with a traumatic brain injury and a shattered pelvis. It was a doubly nightmarish scenario because Becky had no health insurance at the time, wracking up huge medical bills while her parents struggled to get her transferred to a hospital in the Chicago area. Despite several brain surgeries and a hip surgery, as well as months of rehabilitation, she still has another surgery and more than a year of rehabilitation ahead of her.

Yet Becky’s progress has been significant, Carson said. Though she is still in a wheelchair and has a feeding tube, she has regained much of her speech.

“She can carry on a conversation with you, she knows everybody, she knows who you are, (and) she can help you do things,” Carson said. “Sometimes her speech depends on whether she’s tired or not, so (the therapists) are working on that to make it more clear. We’re around her all the time, so we can understand her fine.”

Becky is starting to write words again, Carson said, and can write her own name and other people’s names.

Her memory has also returned.

“It seems like everything’s working in her brain, and it seems that she remembers things really well,” Carson said. “Her memory’s totally working. She’ll remember stuff, (such as) something she did with her grandma, who died years ago, and things from her childhood.”

Therapists come a few days a week to continue her treatment at home. Becky is still receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy. A nurse makes regular visits to check her feeding tube, as well.

Another cranioplasty will be scheduled soon, Carson said, to put a metal plate in Becky’s head. Surgeons had to remove a portion of Becky’s skull after the accident to relieve the pressure on her brain, and the plate will replace the missing bone. Doctors initially put the plate in on Oct. 31, but removed it again when Becky developed an infection, leaving Becky with a soft, unprotected spot on her head.

“Medically, it’ll be nice to not have to worry about bumping that anymore,” Carson said.

If the family has a New Year’s resolution, Carson said, it’s to see that Becky keeps making progress.

“I think the next big step is to get her walking again,” Carson said. “She had to stay off the hip for three months (while it healed), so that was a long time she wasn’t putting any weight on her legs. They were doing therapy with her (at the RIC), and she was doing pretty well with the parallel bars, but it’s been harder at home because we don’t have the same equipment for her to do therapy on.”

Carson said the family was overwhelmed with gratitude for the community support. The Nelsons still have some funds remaining from the $24,000 raised at the Help Becky Bounce Back Fundraiser on Oct. 20 in Kaneville.

“Sometimes you have to fight with (Medicaid) about getting stuff paid, but so far that’s working OK,” Carson said. “The money is in the fund for extras and if something isn’t covered, but so far we haven’t spent it all yet. Money-wise, it’s much better.”

Now that Becky is home, several family members have volunteered to help care for Becky during the day, Carson said, which has allowed Peggy to return to work at Old Second Bank in Elburn a couple days a week.

“We just appreciate everybody’s help. With (the community’s) help, we were able to get her home, and Becky’s really grateful to everybody who’s been helping her. She’s always saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re awesome.’ She’s aware of people who have sent her cards and asked about her,” Carson said.

For updates on Becky’s progress, follow the Help Becky Bounce Back page on Facebook.

Off-roading at McDole CARE

Montgomery—“Climb big rocks, go up steep hills and get muddy.”

That doesn’t sound like something a parent would encourage his or her children to do, but that is exactly what Bryan Adams tells his children.

Adams is an off-roader. He is a member of a fast-growing club called Chicagoland Dirty Deltas Jeep Club. The club started just two years ago with nine members and, at last count, has 440 off-roading enthusiasts. According to Adams, the off-roaders like their rides bumpy, rocky and muddy. In fact, the rougher the road, the better.

Adams and four other members of the Chicagoland Dirty Deltas Jeep Club recently shared their passion for off-roading with the children of the Sugar Grove Park District CARE program during a special presentation at Kaneland McDole Elementary School in Montgomery. Adams’ children, Addie and Riley, attend the CARE program.

Mike Faltz, Caitlin Mate, Ryan Coleman, Pete Kovaevic and Adams all drove their Jeeps to the school so that the children could see how these vehicles are different from a typical car. The children learned words like “skid plates,” “roll cages,” “snorkels,” “hydraulics” and “winches.” They were treated to a slide presentation and a video showing Jeep owners tackling all sorts of challenges from climbing steep terrain to driving through a huge culvert.

The club members said they try to get together monthly to off-road. Sometimes, Faltz even hosts events on his farm. To see what off-roading is all about, check out Mike’s YouTube video titled “Fun at the Farm with the Dirty Deltas.”

The children at CARE learned a lot about the sport of off-roading. They also learned that getting a little bit dirty is all part of the fun for kids of any age.

New sports bar to move into former Runway to Galway facility

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved a 2013-14 liquor license application for Round Up Sports Bar & Grill.

The restaurant will move into the building that previously housed Runway to Galway, located at 1942 Route 30 in Sugar Grove. The new owners anticipate opening the restaurant in March.

“The new owners have run a bar with a relative, but now they’re going out on their own,” Village President, Sean Michels said. They’re looking forward to coming out here.”

Board members during the meeting brought up different expectations that the village will have for the restaurant to make improvements to the building.

“I think there are lighting issues that need to be addressed. I didn’t think we did a service to Runway to Galway with how flexible we were with their lighting,” village trustee Mari Johnson said. “It was very dark and hard to tell that there was a business open. It never really popped as being an open business. By the time you saw the open sign you were past the restaurant.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto echoed Johnson’s statement regarding the location’s lighting issue.

“I agree with Mari that the lighting probably hurt the chances of Runway to Galway from succeeding,” Montalto said.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said that the village will work with the owners of Round Up Sports Bar & Grill to implement the improvements.

“The owners are going to work with the village to improve some of the signing and lighting issues,” Eichelberger said. “We anticipated from the beginning that the improvements would be a multi-year process.”

Friday Knightlife to return to Kaneland community

KANELAND—Friday Knightlife is back.

The program, which ran from fall 2009 to spring 2011, has been resurrected thanks to the community collaboration of Peak for Kids, Inc., Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library.

According to Renee Dee, founder of Peak (Promoting Enrichment and Kindness) for Kids, the purpose of the Friday Knightlife program is to give Kaneland-area youths, grades four through eight, with more opportunities to connect with fellow students and other people in the community.

Dee said that the program is necessary to have in the Kaneland community.

“There’s nowhere else for these kids to go on Friday nights,” Dee said. “There’s no movie theatre, there’s no mall, there’s no open community center, there are no libraries open. There’s nothing.”

Dee pointed out that even children occupied with sports can find a little bit of free recreational time through Friday Knightlife.

“Kids are lacking (free time) in their lives nowadays. They don’t have it at school, especially in the middle school. They have 20 minutes for lunch. That’s it.”

Students who attend Friday Knightlife will have three hours to have fun on Fridays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Jan. 10 to March 21. Elburn and Countryside Community Center will have activities like basketball, dodgeball, floor hockey, Nerf football, Wii, ping-pong, air hockey, Guitar Hero and crafts.

Dee also plans to include karaoke and “weekly appearances” or “special attractions.” There may even be a presenter stopping by to demonstrate worm composting.

“People put the worms in the drawer, and the worms eat up all of your leftover table scraps and turn them into dirt,” Dee said. “So it’s just an environmentally safe type of activity.”

Dee is thinking up another possible plan—a Valentine’s Dance with live music.

Sugar Grove Public Library’s Friday Knightlife activities will include family-friendly movies, games, bracelet making, computer gaming, Wii, puzzles, dancing and music.

Dee plans to have Kaneland High School dance team volunteers create choreography for girls who want to dance. Meanwhile, teen volunteers are needed to help in the music selection department for Friday Knightlife.

“I’m a very conservative parent,” Dee said with a laugh. “So it will definitely be conservative but still fun. And we’re hoping to have some music going loud at the Elburn Community Center the whole time.”

Students who attend can purchase a cheese pizza slice for a dollar from Elburn’s own Paisano’s Pizza and Grill. Water and potato chips will also be available.

KHS students will be on site to offer mentoring during Friday Knightlife.

Meanwhile, parents can make Friday nights date nights, as they will receive a FKL (Friday Knightlife) Out and About Card that entitles them to 15 percent off food at local restaurants, including Open Range and Blackberry Bar & Grill. Those wanting a cool treat can head to Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville to buy one ice cream and get another free ice cream.

Java Plus inside the Sugar Grove Library’s Book Nook Cafe will offer 15 percent off coffee to FKL cardholders. Attendees can see Kaneland area musicians perform. Local band These Paper Hands will perform 7 to 8:30 p.m. this Friday.

To make this program come together Dee collaborated with Sugar Grove Library Director Carol Dolin and Bill Brauer. Brauer is the former head of Friday Knightlife.

Dee would like to eventually expand Friday Knightlife so that it runs from November to March and costs less. The current cost for 10 weeks of Friday Knightlife is $75 per student, or $125 for two or more siblings. The deadline for payment is Friday, Jan. 10. Those wanting to attend any program the night of the event can pay $10 at the door.

Interested teens who want to volunteer or are simply looking for further information can contact Dee at (630) 935-7834.

Meanwhile, Clayton Hannula, an eighth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, expressed interest in attending Friday Knightlife.

“It kind of sounds fun,” he said. “Maybe having a little hang out with a couple of my friends. Maybe going out, just seeing a movie.”

Fellow eight-grader Annie Dydas said she’s also open to checking out Friday Knightlife.

“It’ll be really fun if everyone can get their group of friends to go,” she said. “Similar friendships will be made. People will enjoy themselves and want to come back.”

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Fishermen’s Inn to reopen as event center in 2014

Photo: Fishermen’s Inn in Elburn, closed since 2009, will reopen as an event center in 2014, featuring a silo that will serve as the main entrance. The Fishermen’s Inn building was purchased in October 2012 by Mark and Patricia Southern. Courtesy Photo

Restaurant has already booked 40 weddings prior to its grand reopening

by Natalie Juns
ELBURN—When Elburn’s Fishermen’s Inn closed back in 2009, the community lost a place where people could gather together for reunions, get-togethers, banquets and weddings. Five years later, Fishermen’s Inn is back with a completely updated facility.
Mark and Patricia Southern, the new owners of Fishermen’s Inn, purchased the facility in October 2012 with the intention of renovating it while still preserving its original barn style. The Southerns are accepting reservations for weddings and events, and already have 40 weddings booked for this year.
The Southerns plan to open Fishermen’s Inn to the public on certain holidays, but they aren’t sure of the specific dates just yet.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback on our website (fishermensinn.fishermensinnelburn.com),” Mark said. “People are excited that Fishermen’s Inn is reopening, but they think that it won’t be open to the public. We do want to include the community, and our plan is that we will be open on holidays for the public. We are hoping to open on Easter day to the public.”

There will be three banquet rooms in Fishermen’s Inn: The Veranda on the lower level and the Great Room and the Loft Room on the second level. The Great Room will be sided with historic barn siding from the Kane County area. Outlooking the Great Room, they will have a 3,000-square-foot brick patio bar that is expected to open the middle or later part of 2014.

Beyond the patio bar, there are interconnected brick pathways that wind up to the ceremony site behind the restaurant. In preparation of the weddings they will host, the Southerns last fall planted 20,000 tulip bulbs next to the ceremony site and by the pathways.

The Southerns are in the midst of building a silo that will be the main entrance from the parking lot on the west side of the building. The entrance will feature a curved circular ceiling with a sweeping staircase that will drop off visitors at the second level between the restaurant’s Great Room and the Loft Room.

Mark’s sister, Linda Hagen, and Patricia are managing the marketing, promoting and corresponding side of the new Fishermen’s Inn. Those who are interested in booking a wedding there can call (630) 365-9697 for more information.

“The word has spread, and we are looking forward to the grand re-opening,” Hagen said. “We are also thrilled to provide it and give back to the community this way. People will enjoy reliving their memories and creating new ones with their families.”

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Knights renew UC rivalry with Geneva

Photo: Senior Cole Carlson tries to recover a rebound in the first quarter of Kaneland’s 54-51 loss to Geneva at the United Center Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Late 3-pointer dooms Knights; KHS closes Plano tourney as 9th-place team
CHICAGO—It’s been the home site of three Bulls championship-winning seasons, and two previous meetings between former conference rivals Kaneland and Geneva.

On Saturday, the United Center housed the first meeting of the Knight and Viking boys hoops teams in nearly four years and saw momentum ebbs and flows until a late three-pointer from Nate Navigato with 3.7 seconds left from Geneva cinched a 54-51 loss for Kaneland. Geneva has won all three meetings at the United Center, including December 2008 and February 2010.

Kaneland (7-4) also ended its Plano Christmas Classic tour on Dec. 30, with a 47-42 win over Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Dixon.

Against Geneva, Tyler Carlson had a game-high 21 points, while John Pruett had 16.

Carlson found himself with minimal adjustment to the NBA setting on Saturday.

“Just with the backdrop on the hoop,” Carlson said. “It’s kind of hard to judge how to shoot it and see how far away you are. You see bleachers instead of walls back there but we had a pretty good adjustment.”

Down 37-33 going into the fourth quarter, and down by as much as 10 with two minutes left in the third, Kaneland went to work after ending the third frame on a long-distance heave by Carlson.

A basket by Drew David and two baskets with a pair of foul shots from Pruett had Kaneland in a 42-39 lead with 4:53 to go.

Pruett hit two foul shots to extend the lead to 44-41 with 3:59 to go, and Ryan David’s two free throws broke a tie with 2:55 to go to make it 46-44. Geneva and Carlson traded a foul shot to make it 47-45 with 2:27 remaining. The Vikings would score five in a row to take a 50-47 lead with 1:16 remaining, and Pruett’s free throw with 56.8 to go would close it to 50-48.

After Geneva hit the back end of two foul attempts for a 51-48 lead with 44.6 to go, a play drawn up for Carlson had the senior connecting on a three-point try with 17.1 remaining.

With Geneva connecting on the late trifecta, the Vikings fouled David with 2.3 seconds left. With David missing two straight, Connor Fedderly grabbed the errant attempt and missed a three try from the corner that ended the tight contest.

Kaneland had led 13-12 after the first quarter and was down 20-19 at the half.

“We had some big moments, and it was nice to see the guys compete against a team and a coach I think very highly of,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We competed and wanted to get the win, and it just didn’t happen.”

Johnson stressed to the team beforehand to treat Saturday’s contest like a home game.

“Yesterday, we were able to get into Aurora University and practice on a bigger floor, and I thought our wind was good and were able to press a little bit, and everybody played hard,” Johnson said.

Geneva didn’t miss a shot in the fourth quarter and was 8-for-11 from the charity stripe.

In the Plano Christmas Classic finale for Kaneland, Carlson had a game-high 19 points, while Pruett had 17 of his own. The Knights were up 12-6 after one and 20-17 at the half before nursing a 34-25 lead at the end of three.

The Knights host the visiting Morris Redskins, the 2013 Plano Christmas Classic runner-up, on Friday, Jan. 10.

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Waubonsee’s Wagner feels good about collecting 200

Waubonsee Community College head women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner celebrated her 200th victory recently. She is a 1992 Kaneland graduate that went on to play at Aurora University. Courtesy/File Photo

Kaneland alum’s milestone victory paves way for memorable year
SUGAR GROVE—To illustrate how Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner approached a milestone 200th coaching victory, which occurred on Dec. 8, it was almost an afterthought.

“(Sports information specialist) Steve Moga told me before the season that I was going to get it, and I forgot about it for awhile,” Wagner said. “It was a road victory and the girls and team moms got together and signed a frame picture they took. It was a nice surprise.”
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The 73-68 win over the St. Ambrose University varsity team is one of many highlights so far for the 9-5 Lady Chiefs, featuring former Kaneland standouts Sarah Grams and Brooke Harner.

“These girls work hard and buy into the system, and it pays off,” Wagner said. “It’s been a good year for the transition game, and the way we run the floor has been great.”

In her 15th year, Wagner will step down at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, as Waubonsee has enacted a rule that coaching positions will be for non-full-time staff members.

“It’s bittersweet, which is why it’s nice to have this good year. We’ll move onto the next phase, and I’m excited for the future,” Wagner said. “I’m excited to go on a different path.”

Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager, runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and is facilities coordinator for the hoops squad’s home, Erickson Hall.
With Erickson Hall undergoing renovation to hold a 59,000-square-foot fieldhouse, Wagner’s duties involve that heavy undertaking that benefits Waubonsee athletics in the long run.

“It’s great for recruiting when you walk these kids through the facility. It’s going to be unbelievable, that building will be my ‘real job’ and take up a lot of time after this year,” Wagner said.
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Not only involved in area basketball, since her days as a player at Kaneland, Wagner has worked with many standouts that have seen her evolve as player and coach.

“When I got this job, the first person I coached was Dick Rink (former KHS girls basketball head and assistant coach). I asked him to be my assistant coach after that, and I think we tried adding the number of games he and I had been involved with. It was too many,” Wagner said.

A member of Kaneland’s Class of 1992, Wagner was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball. She then went on to star for Aurora University as a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year three times. Wagner remains the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693.

With 200 victories, and more looked for as Waubonsee makes its way through Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference action and beyond, Wagner can not only look over a memorable moment, but a memorable coaching tenure. The accomplished coach will just be in the market of bettering WCC rather than just a girls’ roster.

“You have girls that come in here and want to play and don’t want to spend a lot of money, be closer to home, and get their gen-eds done,” Wagner said. “A lot of area girls basketball teams are getting better and starting younger. The hard work pays off. I’m moving on, and looking at the positive.”

Slimming them down

KHS grapplers take close win from Plano, fall to Mundelein
KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling has had holes in its lineup in recent years, with some close wins going the other way that could have been in the pocket of the Knights.

This year, the six minutes of aggression is paying off more and more, showing itself in duals like Saturday’s encounter with Class A State qualifier Plano off of Route 34 that ended in a 30-29 win.

On Friday morning, Kaneland traveled to Richmond-Burton for a meet featuring multiple schools and fell to Lake County outfit Mundelein 48-16, but beat Woodstock 36-22 and Richmond-Burton 39-16.

Kaneland was 14-7 after the win over the Reapers and loss to Mundelein. The Knights were 10-11 after the same amount of meets a year ago.

In the win over Plano, it was Nick Mish taking a pin in the 106-pound match in 3:51 and Adam Mish sticking a pinfall at 113-pounds with just 27 ticks left in regulation. Matthew Redman managed a pinfall at 2:42 to claim 126-pound bragging rights, while Hayden Patterson won a 6-5 matchup at 132 pounds.

The final two victories of the dual went to George Strang at 152 pounds, thanks to a 5-3 squeaker, and transfer Tom Price at 170 pounds, winning in 3:24.

In the gathering that flipped the calendar to 2014, 160-pounder Austin Parks earned a 1:17 pin, while Price took a pin in 1:20. Redman also won a major decision by 8-0 count.

In the win over Woodstock, Parks took a 13-6 decision at 160. After several forfeits, Jacob Shearer of KHS took a major decision in 11-0 fashion in the 120-pound match. Redman solved his Silver Streak opponent with a 15-0 tech fall, and Dane Goodenough solved his 138-pound challenge by 1:09 pinfall.

Facing off against the host Richmond-Burton unit, Strang won a 7-0 decision, and Price won a pinfall in 3:09. A flurry of forfeits paved the way for Shearer’s 1:43 pin in the 120-pound match.

Kaneland had Northern Illinois Big XII competition scheduled for tonight at Rochelle.

Sugar Grove sets its hopes high for 2014

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board’s plans and projects for 2014 could warrant huge economic growth in future years.

The board will continue to lead a hotel feasibility study in 2014, originally initiated in 2013. The citizen survey prompted the board to conduct the study after there were many requests from it to bring a hotel to town. The consulting firm the board is looking at for this study is HVS International.

There are several road projects that are underway and will continue to progress in the coming year, including the Route 47 and I-88 project. They are currently in phase I of the plans to create a full interchange on Route 47 and I-88.

“For phase I, we submit the plans to IDOT Toll Highway for review, and they tell us what to modify,” Village President Sean Michels said. “We also look at the roadway and the preliminary design of the ramps and the widening of Route 47.”

The Village Board and IDOT are also working together to find out where they need to resurface, repair and add lanes for Dugan Road and Route 30. IDOT is also conducting a study to predict the future flow of traffic along Route 47 to Route 30 to plan for future construction needs.

A two-lane roundabout is also in the mix of plans to be worked on next year. Currently, the plans to construct the roundabout would include connecting Granart Road, Bucktail Lane and Route 30 to create a four-way intersection.

Road projects aren’t the only major plans for 2014. Within the board, a new beautification committee was born from the promptings of Sugar Grove resident Shawn Pjesky at a Village Board meeting last September

“The Beautification Committee is a brand-new group comprised of three people: Shawn Pjesky, trustee Sean Herron and (myself),” trustee David Paluch said. “We visited with a member from the Geneva Beautification Committee in October to get some ideas about what/how to start this project. Since our business district is not as big as Geneva’s, we are looking at a more concentrated effort in the village.”

The new Beautification Committee is planning on focusing on Route 47 and the various subdivisions in Sugar Grove, with the intention of keeping trees in the medians looking nice, and also sprucing up strip mall areas. The committee would like to receive feedback from the businesses along Route 47 to find out what they would like improved.

The group has also discussed the idea of placing planters on the sidewalk at various strip malls, with rotating plants based on the spring, summer and fall planting and blooming schedules.

“This Beautification Committee is a long-term initiative focused on elevating and improving the overall visual appearance of high-traffic Sugar Grove areas, while providing a consistent way to plan, report and organize those efforts,” Pjesky said. “We would like to be in partnership with local businesses, village leadership and community volunteers. Dedicated residents can volunteer to work on planned projects all the while helping to make a positive difference within Sugar Grove.”

In addition to programs to implement road improvement, increase economic development and beautify the town, the board is also continuing its project to implement fiber optics from Kaneland Harter Middle School to the Sugar Grove Public Library, Fire Protection District and Village Hall.

Michels remarked that the village does not have a precise completion date for this project, but it has made good progress this year.

“Once this project is completed, we would like to make the fiber optics available to businesses. It will reduce operation costs and streamline our technologies,” Michels said.

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.

Elburn Village President looks toward 2014 with optimism

ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson sees growth and improvements for Elburn in the coming year.

After three years with only two building permits for new homes in each of those years, 2013 will likely end with eight permits.

“I’m optimistic we’ll meet or exceed 2013’s results in 2014,” Elburn Building Inspector Tom Brennan said. “I’ve been taking phone calls regarding submissions.”

Things set in place in 2013 will serve as the foundation for growth and development in 2014. A reduction in the development fees for Blackberry Creek Subdivision has already facilitated the purchase of more than a dozen lots.

Approval of the Elburn Station development paved the way for the Anderson Road extension and bridge project, which began in 2013 and will continue through 2014.

Anderson said he wants to make some decisions this year regarding a pedestrian walkway that will connect the new development around the train station with the downtown Main Street area.

Questions that need to be resolved are where the walkway will be located and whether it will be under or above ground.

Anderson and the board in 2013 appointed a new group of business owners and other stakeholders to form an Economic Development Commission for Elburn. With Village Administrator Erin Willrett as the moderator, the group met twice in 2013.

Anderson said the goal of the group is to advance economic development for Elburn, whether that is working to enhance current businesses or to motivate new businesses to come to town.

“Their goal is to think outside the box,” Anderson said.

Anderson envisions Main Street with full store fronts, with the focus on businesses that bring sales taxes and businesses that build traffic. He sees the village aiding in whatever way it can.

“We’ve got some things that businesses would want, a good customer base and a per capita income,” Anderson said.

He would like to see sidewalk repair in 2014, as well as new street lighting.

He would like to build on the improvements that the business community has already accomplished, such as the expansion of Bob Jass Chevrolet, the new facade for Eddie Gaedel’s and Ream’s Elburn Market’s purchase of the parking lot across Main Street from the store.

Anderson said that villages don’t control growth, but they can mold it into what will appeal to the lifestyles and desires of their residents. He said that the Land Use Plan, completed in 2013, will provide the guidelines for the ideals and desires of the community.

“The next 10 years we’re going to see some major upgrading and positive changes in the (structural) face of Elburn,” he said.

Road improvements and police service main Maple Park priorities for 2014

MAPLE PARK—Village President Kathy Curtis recently said that the village in 2014 will continue to build on the momentum it gained last year, with the emphasis on road improvements and police service.

High on the list for 2014 is the continuation of street maintenance within the village. Additional sections of Willow and Pearl streets will be paved in the coming year—part of the ongoing initiative to improve the village’s infrastructure.

The Village Board in 2014 will review the fee structure for development, in anticipation of new growth. Curtis said she has seen empty lots being purchased around the village, and the expectation is that building will soon begin again in Maple Park.

The Maple Park Police Department will continue to increase the hours of its police force, as it has done each of the last four years. Curtis said Chief Mike Acosta’s goal is to continue to increase police presence in the village until it is a full 24-7 on-duty department.

“We have a bright future,” Curtis said of the village.

Editorial: Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014

We used much of last week’s issue of the Elburn Herald to allow local elected officials to reflect on what their respective municipality achieved in the year 2013. This week, we’re featuring the same elected officials as they project what’s in store for their respective municipality in the upcoming year, as well as any and all of their projects, goals, concerns, expectations, etc.

We’re featuring year previews this week as a way to kick off 2014, and we’re incredibly excited by the prospect of spending another year with you, our reader, and the Kaneland community as a whole. It’s hard to believe that 2013 is already over, but if the new year is anything like the previous one, we’re in for an intriguing election season, as well as forward strides for all local municipalities. Unfortunately, if 2014 is anything like the previous year, we’re in for a crummy spring, a miserably hot summer and a non-existent autumn.

On second thought, here’s to hoping that 2014 improves upon the previous year.

Happy New Year from everyone at the Elburn Herald.

Girls hoops makes way through holidays

Seventh-place finish in Ottawa, 2-2 finish at Dixon
KANELAND—It took a while to get going on the final day of the Ottawa Christmas Tournament on Dec. 23, but it did end on a winning note for KHS girls basketball.

Placed in the silver (second place) pool after the first day of competition, Kaneland two Mondays ago began with a 45-38 loss to Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Geneseo before coming from behind to beat the Rockford East E-Rabs 59-47 to clinch seventh place.

Kaneland finished the tournament 2-2. It then went on to the KSB Dixon Holiday Classic for the first time and lost to Stillman Valley last Thursday 46-39, beat Freeport’s Aquin 45-28 on Friday, and lost to Aurora Christian 37-32 before finishing with a double overtime win over Pekin, 66-63, in a Saturday twinbill.

Kaneland is now 8-8 after a .500 tournament tour and after its first 16 contests, closing out the 2013 portion of the calendar.

Against Geneseo, Ally VanBogaert had a team-high 11 points, but the Lady Knights were plagued by a scant four points in the fourth quarter in the loss. With Kaneland just 16-for-52 from the field, the Lady Knights were down 10-7 before taking a 23-22 lead at the break. In the second half, Kaneland and Geneseo were tied at 34 after the third before the contest turned.

In the win over RE, Van Bogaert had 21 points, a career-high, and eight boards. Post players Kelly Wallner and Brittany Kemp had 11 points each.

Looking to end the afternoon in Ottawa on a winning note, The E-Rabs slammed the Lady Knights with six of seven late shots made in the first quarter to go on a 13-0 run in the last 3:51 of the quarter, leaving KHS in a 15-9 hole.

After missing their first seven shots of the second quarter, the Lady Knights solidified and got a putback from Wallner, a shot and free throw from Caroline Heimerdinger, two foul shots by Kemp and a bucket by Van Bogaert to close within 26-19 after being down 16 points.

Heimerdinger hit two foul shots, followed by a Van Bogaert three and a Katie Brinkman, to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:09 left in the half. Morgan Weber’s bucket with 40.2 to go gave Kaneland a 29-27 lead going into the half.

Tied at 35 in the third, Wallner made a basket sandwiched by two Van Bogaert conversions to go up 41-35 with 1:27 left in the frame. A Van Bogaert three with three ticks left upped the lead to 44-37 before the buzzer.

“We knew it was time to pick it up and time to get going, and not to get too confused in what we were doing,” Wallner said. “Especially with our offense, we practice it a lot and work it, inside and out, and are more patient.”

Rockford East’s shooting luck ran out and Kaneland ran its lead to 15 at 56-41 with 1:04 to go in the game before the end.

“Their team has a couple players that are tough to guard, and we had some girls in foul trouble,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We could have gotten out of sync for a few minutes. Our staff is real happy with how they bounced back. Obviously, as a team we try to win every game, but we’re also growing in the process.”

In Dixon, the seven-point loss to the Cardinals of Stillman Valley was highlighted by nine points each from Brinkman and Camri Conley. The Lady Knights committed 23 turnovers and were just 16-for-55 from the field.

In the win over Aquin, Wallner, Conley and Amber Winquist-Bailey each had nine points to lead the charge. Wallner also had 10 boards. KHS stifled the Bulldogs to the tune of a 21-8 second half that saw Kaneland hold the opponent to just two second-half field goals.

Against the Lady Eagles, Wallner submitted a double double with 11 points and 11 boards in the loss and Conley had five steals.

Aurora Christian led 23-13 after the first two frames. Down 27-18 after three, the Lady Knights cut the deficit to three but could get no closer.

In the extra-time win over Pekin, Kaneland went to court without five players due to illness and injury, but were led by Weber’s 16, Bailey Crimmins’ 13 and Rachel Miller’s 12.

Down 19-16 after one and 36-32 at the half, KHS closed within 45-43 before tying it up going into the first OT at 56 all. Kaneland and Pekin were tied at 62 after the first extra session before KHS pulled away.

Kaneland tips off 2014 with a Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, outing vs. visiting Yorkville.

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Christmas Classic begins with minor holiday hangup

Photo: Senior Tyler Carlson had averaged 16.5 points per game at the 2014 Plano Christmas
Classic. The Knights lost their first game last week, but won three straight to place ninth in the tournament. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights get back on track against Genoa-Kingston, Mendota
PLANO—For one to survive and advance in the historic setting of Plano Christmas Classic, in its 51st year, a team has to get off on the right foot.

In the tournament opener on Dec. 26, the No. 4 seed Knights boys basketball team (7-3) suffered a 57-50 loss to the No. 13 seed Newark Norsemen of the Little Ten Conference.

The Knights then battled No. 5 seed Genoa-Kingston, which had lost to No. 12 Aurora Christian in yet another minor upset, on Friday afternoon, ending in a 52-40 comeback win.

After Friday’s result, the Knights battled Mendota on Saturday and eked their way to a 65-64 win.

Kaneland then defeated Dixon to claim ninth place on Monday. In 2012, Kaneland finished in fourth place overall, and won it all in 2009, its first year back to the tournament after holiday stops in DeKalb and Marengo.

Against the perennial small-school powerhouse Newark on Thursday morning, the Knights were led by guard Tyler Carlson with 15 points and forward John Pruett with 14. Backcourt general Drew David had 11 points to supplant the effort.

For Newark, the brother combination of Jack Clausel (19 points) and Will Clausel (16 points) made life difficult for the Knights on the heels of holiday celebration.

Kaneland was 23-for-65 from the field during the loss, including a mediocre 9-for-33 in the second half.

The Knights led 16-10 after the first eight minutes of play, and fell victim to an offensive barrage from the Little Ten stalwart, trailing 31-29 at the halftime horn. Newark powered through even more in the third frame and took a 43-35 lead before Kaneland closed the margin slightly in the loss.

On Friday in action against the Cogs, Carlson had 15 points, while David and Pruett each supplied 12. KHS was 20-for-53 from the field and 17-for-24 from the foul line. G-K was led by Tommy Lucca’s 13.

Two three-pointers by David and a keen bucket down low from Pruett helped give Kaneland an early 12-6 lead in the first quarter, but a free throw and three-pointer closed it on G-K’s end to 12-10 by the end of the frame.

Connor Fedderly hit a three to break a tie and make it 15-12 with 5:25 left in the half, breaking a five-minute scoring drought. G-K then converted on five consecutive shot opportunities and led 22-20 with 1:01 remaining. The Cogs then hit the back end of a pair of free throws to go up 23-20 at halftime.

The third-quarter tide turned fairly quickly when Pruett’s bucket, David’s try and Ryan David’s basket gave Kaneland a 27-23 lead just 1:10 into the frame.

Carlson put in a putback for a 31-25 lead with 2:05 to go before G-K made its only field goal of the quarter, a trifecta, to close within 31-28 with 1:28 to go before Pruett’s free throw pair with 38.4 to go stretched the lead before the buzzer at 33-28.

The fast-break tempo that Kaneland used to its benefit soon gave way to ball control, peppered by a three-pointer and putback by Carlson and a basket by Cole Carlson to make it 40-28 with 6:07 to go. KHS made 10-of-12 foul shots down the stretch to get the lead to much as 13 at 48-35 with 1:07 to go.

David and crew noticed the difference in on-court performance.

“We made good plays, it gave us one-on-one momentum,” David said. “We come into each game, you don’t really have time to change things too much. But when you get on the floor, you definitely have to adjust.”

After the loss to Newark, the G-K game was a little more like it.

“We need to be more fundamentally sound because of the way we played yesterday, we turned the ball over a lot. I thought the kids did a good jonb handling pressure in the second half and handling the ball in the fourth quarter. They extended the lead and held it toward the end,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

Against the Mendota Trojans, the Knights found themselves down 27-12 after one, and 45-35 at the half buzzer before turning on the comeback afterburners and closing to within 53-46 after three and outscoring the Trojans 19-11 in the fourth.

The Knights were paced by Ryan David’s 16, Drew David’s 15 and Tyler Carlson’s 12.

The Trojans were led by James Carroll with 28 points, 24 hours after setting a tournament record with 42 points in over Forreston.

Monday had Kaneland scheduled to face Dixon in the tournament finale for the Knights with ninth place on the line. The Knights never trailed after a 12-5 opening quarter. Tyler Carlson’s 19 points and Pruett’s 17 points let KHS. Ryan david had 8 points over NIB-12 west team.

On Saturday, Jan. 4, the Knights begin the second half of their schedule with a trip to the United Center in Chicago for the first time since February 2010, against Geneva at 2 p.m.

Editor note: This story has been updated from the originally published version with information from Monday’s game vs. Dixon at the Plano Christmas Classic.

Elburn moves forward in 2013

by Susan O’Neill

ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson doesn’t like to call things the village gets done “accomplishments.”

“We’re just doing our job,” he said.

Even so, the list of items on the “Elburn doing its job” list in 2013 is quite long.

Tops on the list of village items completed this year is the approval of the Elburn Station development.

“That took the most time,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he is pleased with the process of how the decisions were made regarding the development plan.

“Everybody had the opportunity to put forth their opinion,” he said. “And when we voted, it was unanimous.”

The approval of the ShoDeen development included the annexation of numerous acres into the village surrounding the Metra station, from Keslinger Road to Route 38. The development will include single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes, apartments and condominiums, as well as commercial, industrial and service components.

“This process was a huge undertaking, and took more than 10 years to accomplish,” Village Administrator Erin Willrett wrote in a letter to village officials and staff.

The Elburn Station approval paved the way for construction to begin on the Anderson Road extension and bridge, something long sought after and celebrated by village officials.

The village this year hired a finance director, who has already begun streamlining the financial processes, allowing the village to work “better and smarter,” Anderson said.

The addition of Finance Director Doug Elder, who took on Willrett’s responsibilities while she was on maternity leave last year, has been a big positive for the village, according to Anderson.

Elder has also taken on the responsibilities of the village treasurer position, as well as the Pension Board treasurer. He led the fiscal year budget process, as well as the budget act ordinance, educating the board and staff members along the way.

The addition of Elder will free up some of Willrett’s time to focus more on the economic development of Elburn. A newly-appointed Economic Development Commission was created, which has met several times this year with a focus on future business development for the village.

A number of new businesses opened this year in Elburn, including Accelerate Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, Windy City Muscle Cars, Brianna’s Pancake House, Eddie Gaedel’s Grill and Pub, Lighthouse Academy Day Care, G.E.D. Pizza, E&S Fish Company, Beautiful U Re-Sale Shop, American Family Insurance, Focal Point Waxing Studio and Electrical Conduit Construction.

The Village Board approved a special use permit for a drive-through restaurant, paving the way for a Dunkin’ Donuts location in the Elburn Crossing shopping center.

“Sales tax money, jobs and real estate taxes. It’s all about bringing people to Elburn,” Anderson said.

With the help of a $100,000 grant, the village updated the Elburn Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the first update since 1990. The year-long effort included input from the community, elected and appointed officials, as well as an energetic group of Kaneland High School students.

This plan will provide the guidelines for future growth within the village.

With the help of an increase in the water and sewer rates in the village, work has begun on the modernization of the waste water treatment plant.

Several procedural items were completed, including amending the village building and housing code and the 2013 update to the codified ordinances.

Although Anderson is reluctant to call them accomplishments, he said he is pleased with what the village has completed this year, as well as staying within the budget.

“I’m very, very pleased with the staff within the village,” he said. “What a great, great group of people.”

He also said that there have been more and better discussions with the Village Board, with everyone contributing and coming to consensus on issues.

SG Village Board reflects on 2013 accomplishments

by Natalie Juns

SUGAR GROVE—When Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels reflects on the village’s 2013, he thinks of the accomplishments and progress the Village Board made this year.

Progress with the Route 47/I-88 interchange and Dugan/Route 30 resurfacing, as well as a project to implement fiber optics and the planned groundbreaking of Ace Hardware and American Heartland’s Sugar Grove locations in the spring, are at the top of his list of achievements.

“We had a great year and accomplished a lot,” Michels said. “We moved forward with the Route 47 and I-88 project. This is a $20 million project, and the state is paying for the engineering up front.”

The Route 47 and I-88 project would implement a full interchange from Route 47 onto I-88 in Sugar Grove.

The Village Board also had the roads on the east side of town resurfaced, and progressed with its plan regarding the Dugan and Route 30 project. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is currently in the midst of a study to identify when and where to resurface, repair and add lanes to the project.

Several other road improvement projects made progress in 2013, including the two-lane roundabout that will connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane creating a four-way intersection. IDOT has invested $4 million into the roundabout project.

Michels said he counts Ace Hardware and American Heartland Bank’s prospective locations in Sugar Grove on the board’s list of accomplishments. Both businesses will break ground next spring.

“Both Ace Hardware and American Heartland Bank were two major projects this year, and I know they will be great additions to the community,” Michels said.

Village trustee Mari Johnson weighed in on the vast amount of commercial businesses that moved to town and the progress made with different developers.

“I think some of the accomplishments are the Mallard Point drainage project and the sale of lots at Prairie Glen to Orleans Homes,” Johnson said. “They sold 24 homes when they were expecting to sell 10 to 12. The approval of Ace Hardware is on our list of accomplishments, along with all the new commercial businesses, including Runway to Galway, Great Clips, Java Plus, Rush Copley, Cadence Health, SLKM Enterprises, Inc., and Cross Fit of Sugar Grove. Also, the Glancer magazine office moved to Sugar Grove on Main Street, and they now have a Sugar Grove version of the magazine.”

Michels is also proud of the progress the village has made with an extension of Sugar Grove’s bike trail and pathway.

“It will be great to have a bike trail and pathway where residents can bike or walk to different stores and restaurants,” he said.

Maple Park does a lot with a little in 2013

by Susan O’Neill

MAPLE PARK—Maple Park accomplished a number of things in 2013 despite having a small budget.

“We have awesome people,” Village President Kathy Curtis said.

Curtis described Maple Park as a “do-it-yourself community,” making good things happen with limited resources.

One of the events this year that brought out the best in Maple Park residents was the Crazy Quail fundraiser for Special Olympics. Hosted by Maple Park resident Dean Goodenough, the successful event raised $5,000 for Illinois Special Olympics, pushing the Maple Park Police Department past its 2013 goal of $50,000 and making it the top fundraiser of Illinois law enforcement organizations.

“I’m very proud of the effort,” Curtis said. “It brought a lot of good energy to the Maple Park community.”

Thanks to Captain Nick Louis and his organization, the Airline Pilot’s Historical Society (APHS), the children of Maple Park have new playground equipment to play on in the park near the Maple Park Civic Center. The APHS picked out and purchased the equipment, and Maple Park’s Public Works Department installed it.

Curtis said the equipment, designed for children ages 10 and younger, gets a lot of use and looks great.

Progress continues on the Civic Center building, including the remodeling of the gymnasium. Curtis said a good cleaning, a paint job and a new curtain have made the room more presentable. Tuckpointing on the outside of the building continues, with the village doing a little more each year.

The village was the recipient of additional security cameras for Village Hall again this year, which monitor the building and keep a handle on vandalism.

Curtis last year said that Maple Park’s chief goal for 2013 was to be sustainable, provide quality service on a tight budget and plan maintenance projects to avoid emergency situations, and road improvements were a part of that maintenance. The village used $183,000 from the road and bridge fund on a paving project for portions of Willow, Pearl and Palmer streets.

Several village accomplishments are significant, in that they’ve been a long time coming. After many discussions over the past 10 years, village officials at the beginning of December signed a boundary agreement with the village of Cortland.

“It’s pretty historic,” Curtis said. “It speaks volumes about both boards.”

Curtis said that both boards were unanimous in their vote to seal the agreement.

“Everybody put their difference aside, and we finally got it done,” she said.

Another agreement that spent a long time in the works was the village’s acceptance of Heritage Hill’s park and pond area. After working with the developer for a number of years, the village has taken over the maintenance of the park.

“It’s shaping up to be a really nice park,” Curtis said.

Families have donated trees and benches in memory of loved ones, leading to the park’s name, Memorial Park.

Curtis is also pleased to see consistent attendance at the Police Department’s drop-in center. Set up to provide a place for the young people in Maple Park to go, the drop-in center offers games, movies and music, all under adult supervision. Curtis said there are about 30 young people there every Friday night.

Village Clerk Liz Peerboom initiated a village Facebook page this summer, where important village information is communicated to residents.

Curtis said that Peerboom is a valuable employee, keeping herself well-educated in what is needed to accomplish her responsibilities. This year, she completed the requirements to become a certified municipal clerk.

The village this year hired a new building inspector, who has begun to educate residents on village codes and property maintenance issues. The village also appointed three new Plan Commission members, for a full seven-person commission. The three new members are newer residents, whom Curtis said can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the table.

Curtis said she’s beginning to see lots being purchased, and the village is working to get things in place in anticipation of future building.

“We have a bright future,” Curtis said.

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.

NTS Web Graphic

Track Santa with the Elburn Herald

Elburn Herald readers: NORAD needs your help!

If you spot Santa in the area, we need you to report it here or on our Facebook page. That way, we can all help NORAD triangulate Santa’s position. Use the map below or visit NORADSanta.org track him. You can also keep your eyes to the skies, so do your part!

Santa typically comes to the Kaneland area between 9 p.m. and midnight (although he sometimes comes later than that—it’s his schedule, so he gets to set it), so make sure you’re tucked in and asleep.

Remember: “He knows if you are sleeping, he knows if you’re awake …”

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Follow the Knights at the Plano Christmas Classic

PLANO—The Kaneland boys basketball team will take on the field at the 51st Annual Plano Christmas Classic this week.

The varsity Knights enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed, and while the tournament started Monday, the Knights’ seed earned them a bye. Their first contest will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. vs. the winner of No. 13 Newark and Hinckley-Big Rock. The sophomores played Streator Monday, and will face either Mendota or Morris, depending on Monday’s outcome.

To follow the Knights as they take on the talented field, visit RockCreekBall.com and follow the link to the 2013 Christmas Classic. There you’ll find updated stats and brackets for the varsity and sophomore levels.

2.

Bright lights in the village

Local resident wins national recognition for Christmas lights
CAMPTON HILLS—Brian Larsen recently received national acclaim for a Christmas display he calls a “labor of love.”

“Some guys collect Corvettes and Porsches,” Larsen said. “I do Christmas lights.”

The 37-year-old father of three on Monday won a nation-wide contest for the Christmas light display on his home in Campton Hills. Larsen, who owns Countywide Landscaping, began decorating his house when he bought it in 1996. Back then, the display was just “regular static lights,” he said.

When Larsen was a boy in nearby Batavia, he and his family used to go on tours of other people’s Christmas lights. “Heavy into Christmas,” he and his family would also go Christmas caroling and enjoy other holiday activities.

“Christmas is a big part of my life,” he said. “And when I got my own house, I had the freedom to do what I wanted.”

A few years ago, he began to get ambitious and competitive with his displays.

People began showing up in their cars to get a look—and a listen—to the light display he had synchronized with bombastic Christmas music. Each year, he would add more lights and different kinds of decorations. He said he stopped counting lights three years ago at 778,000.

His Beith Road home became a destination for people in the area, as they would arrive as it got dark and park along the road near his house, at times becoming quite a crowd. He said just knowing that people are out there enjoying it puts a smile on his face.

Self-taught in the science of synchronizing music to the lights, Larsen said he’s “one of those geeks who sits up at night watching YouTube,” which is how he picked up the skills.

“It’s a big community,” he said. “Putting lights to music has really taken off. Everybody’s doing it.”

He has 30 programmed songs, 20 of which he’s using this year. He said it takes him about 80 hours to program a song.

This year, he was approached by the creators of the TV show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” to take part in the nationwide contest.

Michael Maloney and Sabrina Soto, hosts of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” were the judges for “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” and the object of the program was to create the most spectacular outdoor display in just three weeks.

Putting in 15-16-hour days with the help of his friends, he accomplished in 21 days what typically takes him three months. The camera crew was there for about eight days, and after that, they used time-lapsed photography to capture the work-in-progress.

Larsen said that this year’s display is by far his favorite. He added 1,200 strobe lights and estimates that by now, there are about 1 million lights in all. There are 37 lighted trees and 24 programmable panels of lights of text and graphics featured on the sides of the house.

The lights are all energy-efficient LEDs, so his electric bill is only about an extra $200 a month while the display is active.

This year, Larsen also paved a parking lot for viewers to get in off of the street, and his father set up a concession where he can sell pulled pork and beef sandwiches, hot dogs and hot chocolate. The lot can fit 50 cars.

Larsen said he plans to continue doing the displays as long as he is physically able. He loves people’s reactions to the light show. He said that a man proposed marriage to his girlfriend out in front of the lights a few nights ago. And elderly people show up in buses on a regular basis to view the light show.

A few years ago, a man who had recently lost his job told Larsen that the lights made him feel better.

Winning the contest will gain him $50,000. When asked what he’s going to do with the money, he said he was going to hire someone to take down the lights.

“There’s no glory in taking them down,” he said with a laugh.

Photos by Lynn Logan

SG Citizen Survey yields encouraging results

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the results of the village’s 2013 Citizen Survey. Results from the survey were generally positive, though residents reported dissatisfaction with economic development and cable TV.

The cable TV issue is essentially out of the Village Board’s hands, as Sugar Grove currently has a Cable Television Franchise Agreement with Mediacom.

“From the survey, we found they want more businesses and jobs. It’s all economic development,” village trustee Rick Montalto said. “As far as cable TV, maybe we should compare how many people have Mediacom now versus a couple of years ago. I dumped Mediacom this year. Now I have Direct TV (for television) and AT&T for Internet.”

An additional resident complaint pertained to the purity of the village’s water. Director of Public Works Anthony Speciale mentioned that they have brought up the purity of the water in recent years.

“Since 2007, we have improved the purity of the water from 52 percent to 72 percent in 2013,” Speciale said.

It was mentioned by several board members that although the purity level is high, it might be hard for residents to recognize the change over that many years.

Village President Sean Michels recognized that a high percentage of residents enjoy reading the village newsletter.

“I think it would be good to write a quarterly or semi-annual newsletter, since a lot of residents like reading it already,” Michels said. “More newsletters throughout the year would give us an opportunity to notify the residents of what we are doing throughout the year. Maybe, we could send it to them, as well.”

Trustee Mari Johnson brought up the idea of including a couple of pages of village information in the Sugar Grove Park District booklet.

“The Park District publishes a booklet three times a year. I think it might be a good idea to pay to have a couple of pages of village information in their booklet,” she said.

The survey results included compliments regarding Public Works’ Tree Replacement Program.

“We found that 90 percent of people would recommend Sugar Grove as a great place to live for people they know. We have a lot of happy residents,” Speciale said.

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WCC opens new field house

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College opened the doors of its new Sugar Grove campus field house on Dec. 6. Student athletes, athletic instructors and community members gathered at the field house that day and were able to participate in the different games and interactive activities.

“Given the nature of the field house, we created a ‘game day’ atmosphere,” Waubonsee Marketing and Communications Manager Stephanie Wennmacher said. “We had our Chief cheerleaders lead off the program, and our student-athlete and coaches built an architectural rendering of the building one piece at a time. We also had a free throw and three-point contests along with a miniature golf hole for students and guests.”

The field house project was part of the original 2020 College Master Plan, which was first developed and announced back in 2001. Voters then voiced their support for the plan by approving the referenda in 2002 and 2003.

The new field house is attached to the existing Erickson Hall building on the north side of the Sugar Grove campus, and provides a number of rooms for athletic activities with a total of 59,279 square feet of space.

On the first level, there are three indoor courts and two with standard athletic flooring and one with artificial turf for soccer, baseball and softball practice. There is also an office suite for athletic staff and coaches, along with an athletic training room that includes exam and taping stations.

The second floor of the field house boasts a three-lane suspended running track, meeting room and classroom, and 2,485-square-foot dance and fitness studio.

The field house is designed to support and benefit a variety of groups and individuals from Waubonsee Community College and the surrounding community. Waubonsee’s intercollegiate and non-credit physical education, intramurals, wellness instruction and general recreation will have classes in the new field house facilities.

Student athletes from Waubonsee’s 13 different teams and cheerleading squad will practice, condition and train in the field house. There will also be a place for students who are looking to hang out on a casual level, featuring games such as ping-pong.

The baseball team will have a regulation-size field where they will be able to practice full-length catch, and the cheerleading squad will have a room tall enough for the squad to practice routines including lifting and throwing.

All of this equates to added benefits that the new facility will provide for the athletes, students and community members.

“Athletes will enjoy having more space to condition with new track and regular training schedule times. They won’t have to rearrange their schedules week to week because of the space constraints that we had in the gym.” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “More residents and groups from the community will notice that they are able to book appointments to use rooms in the field house without the schedule being completely booked because of lack of space.

Editorial: Christmas joy through giving a toy

We often hear about the spirit of Christmas and how it’s better to give than to receive. However, in today’s world of Black Friday punchout sales, an overflowing marketplace of technological gadgets and “hot Christmas gifts of the season,” and those obnoxious commercials featuring overpriced “luxury” automobiles wrapped with a big bow, it’s so easy to forget about the reason why Christmas exists in the first place: to bring joy to the loved ones in our life through both gesture and gift. And not just any gift, but rather gifts that are from the heart and not just the wallet.

Times are still hard in this country, though, and that means people do not have the privilege to wake up to a Christmas tree surrounded by neatly wrapped presents. It’s a sad truth that an overwhelming group of parents in this country do not have the financial means to give their children the Christmas morning they deserve. And when you consider that truth from the child’s perspective, it’s simply heartbreaking.

Imagine a child in this community waking up on Christmas morning with the understanding that their home wasn’t a stop on Santa’s route, even though they were extra good all year long, and even though they asked for so very little. No child should have to feel that way on what is supposed to be the most joyous of mornings. Yet so many do.

Several groups within the Kaneland community hold children’s clothing and toy drives as a way to help make it a special Christmas for every child in the area. We ask that you seriously consider donating at least one toy this holiday season. It’s the most selfless act possible, and even a little can mean so very much to an underprivileged child in this area.

If you’re interested in donating a toy or gift item, call your village hall and ask them if the village has a toy dropbox available.

There are other ways to give back this holiday season. Holiday Spirit, a joint program between the Kaneland Schools and Conley Outreach/West Towns, is in need of groups to adopt local families in need this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Spirit provided assistance to 160 children in 63 families through the donations. The program anticipates that the need will be just as great this year.

Those interested in adopting a family can contact Kaneland John Shields Elementary social worker Nicole Pryor at (630) 466-8500, ext. 108, or nicole.pryor@kaneland.org or West Towns Coordinator Carol Alfrey at (630) 365-2880 or conleyor@conleyoutreach.org. Visit www.conleyoutreach.org to download the donation form. Monetary donations are also needed to purchase last minute gifts and for gas gift cards. Checks payable to Holiday Spirit can be sent c/o Conley Outreach, P.O. Box 931, Elburn IL 60119.

The Sugar Grove Food Pantry is also accepting toys and donated goods through Monday, Dec. 23, at its drop spots located at the Green Acres dry cleaning next to Sugar Grove Jewel, Village Hall, Sugar Grove Animal Hospital, Old Second National Bank and Castle Bank.

Remember, a little bit of time and money on your end can go toward making sure that this Christmas is the best one ever for a local child. And that’s true happiness on what should be the most joyous of holidays.

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Air supply

Photo: Junior Ben Barnes scored a team-high 16 points in Kaneland’s 83-63 rout of Rochelle Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knight boys hoops runs wild on rival Hubs
KANELAND—Five players managing a double-figure night should be a harbinger of good things for one’s basketball lineup.

In the case of Kaneland, it meant terrible things for visiting Rochelle last Friday night.

With a strong output from personnel like John Pruett (14 points) and Tyler Carlson (11 points), along with 16 from reserve Ben Barnes, 14 from Dylan Vaca and 10 from sub Ryan David, the Knights flew to an 83-63 win over the Hubs.

Kaneland’s first challenge of the week, coupled with Tuesday’s 63-38 win against Hinckley-Big Rock, raised its record to 4-2, and 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

KHS held firm in the victory despite being trumped in foul line opportunities by a 26-12 margin.

“The goal was to keep (Rochelle) to one shot so we could keep it and run,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I thought we did a good job with that. Our three-point shot wasn’t falling, and you have to make them work on defense and tire them out, and we beat them on transition.”

Kaneland stormed out to a 7-0 lead just 2:10 into the contest until Rochelle solidified and used three three-pointers to go up 11-10 with 2:49 left in the quarter. A basket by Drew David, a reverse layup by Carlson and a bucket by Ryan David set Kaneland back on top 16-11 with 1:47 to play in the frame. Later, a putback and foul converted by Carlson and a putback by Barnes with 44.5 to go closed the scoring at 22-13 for the first quarter.

Shots by Drew David, and a foul shot coupled by a steal and hoop from Ryan David, completed a 13-6 run for a 29-19 lead with 5:31 left in the half. A short flurry by Rochelle closed the margin to 33-27 with 2:48 remaining before two Vaca foul shots and a Vaca hoop brought the lead to eight. Two Carlson foul shots and a Hub foul try closed the scoring at 39-31 before the buzzer.

The third quarter represented a pleasant turn of events for the hosts, as Ryan David, Carlson, Vaca and Pruett were responsible for six successful shots in a row en route to a 51-33 lead after a 12-2 run with 4:22 to go in the frame.

Cole Carlson’s bucket with 52.5 left in the third gave KHS a 60-39 lead before the Hubs scored the last five points of the quarter.

Barnes and Vaca alternated fast break buckets to score the first eight points of the frame and seal the Friday contest. A Connor Fedderly three try with 4:24 to go gave the Kaneland unit its biggest lead of the contest at 75-50.

“We just try to get it and run; that worked in the first half and we tried it again, and we had some key stops on defense,” Tyler Carlson said.

With Carlson and the upperclassmen tasked with a laundry list of duties, the routine is continuing to sink in on the floor.

“So far I think we’re alright, we’re trying to fill in the leadership role. Drew is doing a great job and he’s a four-year starter. John and I are just trying to get that leadership role down,” Carlson said.

At Hinckley-Big Rock, the Knights stormed to a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and didn’t look back. John Pruett led the team with 16 points, and Tyler Carlson 15 points. Vaca had 14 points.

The boys don’t suit up until Thursday, Dec. 26, when they begin their fourth stay at the Plano Christmas Classic, which is entering its 51st year. Kaneland enters as the No. 4 seed and is scheduled to battle either No. 13 Newark or Hinckley-Big Rock at 10:30 a.m.

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Girls basketball looks to sleigh field at 2 tourneys

Photo: Junior Ally VanBogaert and the Lady Knights basketball team trek to Ottawa and Dixon during the holiday break. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights hitting double shot of Ottawa and Dixon gatherings
KANELAND—At 4-4, the Lady Knight girls basketball roster will hit the court running come this Saturday, Dec. 21.

KHS will have to hope the 11-day layoff won’t cause any problems once the Ottawa Holiday tournament houses their skills for two days of competition.

Last season marked the first time Kaneland went to the Ottawa tournament after a six-year stay at Oswego East’s setup. The Lady Knights finished eighth out of 12 squads and exited the downtown Ottawa setup with a record of 9-5.

Joliet Catholic beat Ottawa in the championship encounter, with Yorkville earning third overall.

Kaneland begins the event in Pool D along with schools Pontiac and Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Streator at Kingman Gym. The Lady Knights begin play against Pontiac on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 4:45 p.m., before taking the court again at 7:30 p.m. against the Lady Bulldogs.

The battle for top team honors continues the following Monday, Dec. 23, with teams assured of a morning and afternoon or evening contest against one of the three pool equivalents.

Pool A consists of Ottawa, Rockford East and Sandwich. Pool B is LaSalle-Peru, Lincoln-Way West and Morris, and Pool C is Kankakee, Geneseo and Yorkville.

After Ottawa, Kaneland heads to another West division stop in the form of soon-departing Dixon High School and its 16-team KSB Dixon Holiday Classic.

KHS tips off against Stillman Valley on Thursday, Dec. 26, at noon, with the next challenge on Friday, Dec. 27, at either 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. vs. either Sterling or Freeport’s Aquin. The final night of play is Saturday, Dec. 28.

Other familiar schools in the setup include Rochelle, which plays Oregon in a first-round encounter, and Aurora Christian, which plays Dunlap.

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Pride in Platteville

Photo: Elburn native Ryley Bailey had 86 catches for 1,047 yards for UW-Platteville’s football team this season. It was a school record for catches, and only the second time in school history a receiver recorded over 1,000 yards in a season. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS pass-catcher Bailey continues high level of play for UW-Platteville

KANELAND—A local buzz for something like the Division III football playoffs can be excused, especially with the deep semifinal run from Naperville, Ill.-outlet North Central College.

Look deeper, and you’d see even more reason to follow.

Kaneland High School Class of 2010 member Ryley Bailey, who played both sides of the ball for Knight playoff contenders in 2008 and 2009, also made a playoff run in D-III for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-P) Pioneers football roster.

UW-P, with the senior Bailey, made it to the second round before losing to North Central, 52-24, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, Ill., to finish at 10-2, which tied a school win record.

“It was just a great feeling,” Bailey said. “It was a great group of guys and an amazing feeling, and it wouldn’t have happened without guys like Quinn (Buschbacher, fellow Kaneland football alum) and (quarterback) John Kelly.”

Bailey, of Elburn, was also one of six Pioneers this month to get a D3Football.com 2013 All-West Region award for outstanding play.

Helping Bailey throughout his Pioneer tenure was the similarity to Kaneland’s noted spread offense.

“I fit right in, which was kind of unique for me I was the receiver that kind of went across the middle. They needed me to do the dirty work in there, because I’m not as fast as the other guys.”

Doing the dirty work this year yielded 86 receptions for 1,047 yards, on his way to becoming the second Pioneer in school history to record over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The senior receiver averaged 7.17 receptions per game for 87.2 yards per game.

His 86 catches also set a new school record and ranked fourth most in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

The wideout came in with accomplished skills, but resolved to pick up his game this season to help make a postseason run.

“You had to stay focused. You had to be ready to do the little things. It was tough this year because of all the hype. We really had a target on our back,” Bailey said.

The Pioneers, paced by assets like Bailey, Buschbacher (28 catches) and Trevor Whitehead (81 catches) in its wide-open offense, had a season to remember, only to end in DuPage County.
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Despite that, Bailey, a first-team all-WIAC member, was able to hold his head up, even catching two touchdowns in the season-ender.

“I’ll remember that game, and I was rooting for (North Central) on Saturday when they lost (41-40 to Mount Union in D-III semifinals). That and the win over Wisconsin-Oskhosh, where we got a late field goal to get us into the playoffs, were what I’ll remember. Those were really emotional,” Bailey said.

Bailey isn’t done with the Wisconsin setting yet, as he works toward his degree.

“I’d like to still be around the football (progam) up here and help the team and the receivers,” Bailey said. “I know football, and football’s been good to me.”