Tag Archives: Ticker


WCC’s Wagner garners 200th career coaching victory

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball head coach Dana Wagner collected her 200th career coaching victory as the Lady Chiefs hung on to defeat the St. Ambrose University Junior Varsity 73-68 on Sunday, Dec. 8. Waubonsee improved to 9-3 overall on the season as it won its fourth in a row.

This season is Wagner’s 15th year overall leading Waubonsee’s basketball program. Under her guidance, 22 players have been named Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Teamers. The Lady Chiefs have finished second in the ISCC three times during her tenure, including two years ago when they won a school-record 11 straight games.

Wagner also directed Waubonsee’s volleyball program for two seasons and was the softball head coach for 11 years, helping guide the 2007 team to the ISCC title and a then record-setting 33-win season.

Additionally, Wagner was named the ISCC’s Female Coach of the Year for 2005-06.

A 1992 graduate of Kaneland High School, where she was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball, Wagner went on to star for Aurora University. She was 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 an unprecedented three times. The Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693 points, Wagner’s number 40 jersey was retired upon the conclusion of her last game, and she was inducted into Aurora’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

In addition to her coaching duties, Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager. She also runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and serves as facilities coordinator for the college’s gymnasium, Erickson


Bringing some muscle to Elburn

Blackberry Creek resident opens Windy City Muscle Cars

ELBURN—When Nicolas Cage’s brand new Bentley Continental GTC went up for sale as part of the Hollywood star’s bankruptcy, Tom Scardamaglia snapped it up.

It’s sitting in his showroom at Windy City Muscle Cars, his new specialty car business at 217 Paul St. in Elburn, and Scardamaglia thinks he’ll be able to sell it for about $250,000.

“Because it was celebrity owned, it’s got history,” Scardamaglia said. “It’s the most high-end car we have. I bought it from a dealership out in Las Vegas called Celebrity Cars, who acquired it through (Cage’s) bankruptcy attorney.”

The Bentley is just one of more than a dozen specialty cars in Windy City’s showroom at the moment. Most of the others, Scardamaglia said, are classic muscle cars—a 1966 GTO convertible, a 1969 Camaro Z11 pace car, a 1970 Chevelle that’s been restored to concourse quality, as well as newer Camaros and Mustangs. All are more moderately priced than the Bentley, with the least expensive car in the showroom, a 1988 Mustang GT, priced below $10,000.

Though the muscle car showroom is located in Elburn, Scardamaglia considers it a “web dealership” rather than a traditional car dealership. He expects potential customers will come from all over the world, and he’s been doing a lot of online marketing to attract them.

“I’m targeting, essentially, a pre-qualified customer who knows exactly what they want,” he said. “They’re car enthusiasts and purists, the people who go through the car to make sure every nut, screw, bolt, everything is correct, that all the original numbers match. It could be someone from St. Charles, but with the Internet and international car sales, I can be dealing with someone from Poland or Sweden or the Philippines.”

Windy City Muscle Cars has only been open for a month, so Scardamaglia hasn’t made many sales yet, but he’s receiving inquiries from his website, windycitymusclecars.com, from far-flung places. Only 20 percent of the visitors to his website are from Illinois, he said, and he’s been fielding calls from potential customers as far away as Poland.

“The trend with people these days is that anywhere from 12 to 14 hours is spent online, researching and narrowing down the cars they want to buy, and less time is spent in person at the dealership. Especially with the customers I’m dealing with, the out-of-state people, they’ll never even set foot in the showroom.”

Scardamaglia chose to open Windy City Muscle Cars in Elburn because “it made sense,” he said. He and his wife, a teacher at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, live in Elburn.

“I really like the small-town feel of Elburn, and back when I moved into Blackberry Creek, it was a brand new subdivision and the train station had just come into town. I felt like the community was bound for some growth,” he said.

A friend owns the building he opened his showroom in, and the location, in a warehouse not far from the railroad tracks, makes it easy for him to ship cars by rail to anywhere in the country. For overseas customers, he can ship the cars to New York or California, where they can be loaded onto a boat and sent anywhere in the world.

Though the business is new, Scardamaglia has almost 20 years of experience working in the auto industry. He started off working at a detail shop in St. Charles, detailing high-end cars, and purchased that business from the owner. Later, he worked at a car dealership, doing sales, handling the financial paperwork and managing the inventory.

Windy City specializes in muscle cars, but Scardamaglia will work with customers to obtain any kind of car they’re seeking. He also offers several other services, including restorations, appraisals and consignments.

“We’re full service. I don’t want to spread myself too thin, because I’d rather be good at a few things. For restorations, I do the disassembly and assembly, and I try to use as many local vendors as possible in regard to bodywork and sheet metal work and painting. I’ve got guys who will detail cars, if you need detailing done. Some people need their car appraised, and sometimes with an accident, the insurance adjustor won’t know how to value (a specialty car) properly, and you can get a third-party appraiser. Somebody’s saying, ‘can you put a value on this car?’ If you want a full-blown appraisal, I can help you get one from a certified appraiser,” he said.

For those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling a car, Scardamaglia will sell the car for them on consignment, marketing the car online and dealing with the potential customers.

He also offers indoor and outdoor storage for cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles. The indoor storage is climate-controlled to offer protection from the elements, and the outdoor storage can be accessed by customers 24 hours a day.

Windy City Muscle Cars is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays by appointment only. For more information, visit windycitymusclecars.com or call (630) 365-5697.


Remembering Tom

Photo: Myrna and Bill Smar (top row) with Raulene and Tom Kuebelbeck. Courtesy Photo

ELBURN—Bill Smar is an Elburn Lions Club member who works on publicity.

Recently, Smar thought about his late friend Tom Kuebelbeck.

“Well, I was at the club,” Smar said. “And I was just looking around and I said, ‘I wonder how many folks are actually here because of Tom?’”

Kuebelbeck and Smar worked at FAA on the Aurora site as supervisors.

Kuebelbeck had been an Elburn Lions Club member, former president, served on the park board and sponsored several people to become members of Elburn Lions Club and recruited numerous folks to pitch in and lend a hand.

Elburn Lions Club assists blind and visually impaired people and supports charitable causes. Elburn Days is the club’s biggest fundraiser.

Kuebelbeck died in 2009. However, he is still very much remembered.

“When he introduced me to the folks at the club—and you just see the interest and engagement in making things better for the community,” Smar said. “And especially for those that can’t see and seeing impaired.”

Jim Lipsett, Elburn Lions Club member, had also worked with Kuebelbeck at FAA.

Lipsett has a son, Cory, 23 years old, senior at Northern Illinois University. He is visually impaired.

Cory had cancer in the retinas of his eyes as a baby.

Kuebelbeck learned about Cory’s situation.

“He actually came up to me and he said, ‘Hey, if your son Cory—if he ever needs a guide dog, just let me know,’” Lipsett said.

A guide dog can cost $40,000. Thanks to Kuebelbeck and the Elburn Lions Club, Cory has a guide dog named Ragin.

Raulene Kuebelbeck, widow of Tom, reflected on her husband’s life.

“He enjoyed life, enjoyed being with people,” she said. “He had a wonderful work ethic. He was pretty flexible—but not always. And he felt you should always give people a shot at something.”

Kuebelbeck gave his time working the grill for club-sponsored catered events and picnics.

He could be seen grinning while grilling up tasty pork chops and chicken. As for the pork chops, Smar revealed it has a “bunch of different spices and salts.”

“There was nothing better than having the perfect pork chop,” Raulene said.
“When the pork chops and the chicken were all done, to have that meat turn out great was the ultimate. And that’s it for all of the guys that work on that grill.

When they get out there and start grilling—that is what they do.”

Dan Hannemann, Elburn Lions Club member, remembers the man as someone who gave encouragement.

“Anytime I’m down at that club, I think Tom Kuebelbeck’s standing next to me,” Hannemann said. “He’s still there and we’re working side by side. That is how much of a force he was in my opinion. His presence was down there.”


Best year yet for Holiday in the Grove

Photo: Sisters Cary and Cara visit with Santa at the Sugar Grove Community House Saturday during the Holiday in the Grove. More photos are below the story. Photos by Patti Wilk

SUGAR GROVE—The Holiday in the Grove Board members described their event on Saturday as the best year they have had since the event was established.

They welcomed over three hundred guests total for their three sessions of Breakfast with Santa and had to make a food run for the fruit and orange juice that they ran out of in the morning.

Many community members braved the weather to attend the holiday event.

“We were all surprised that as many people came out on Saturday as they did with how cold it was outside. I overheard from more than one family that it was their first time out to the event, and some said they had lived in the community a few years and others that were new to the area,” said Julie Wilson, Secretary of Holiday in the Grove.

Holiday in the Grove President Diana Baker noted that one of their most meaningful and popular events turned out to be the music played by Kaneland Youth Orchestra at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

“One of the parents told me that there were two hundred kids, parents and grandparents standing in the gym listening to the Kaneland Youth Orchestra. They also mentioned that the group of middle school students of the orchestra sounded like they had been practicing and playing together for years,” said Baker.

There were many events that the board members were pleased with. They noticed that they ran out of pop, water and nachos at the John Shields Elementary School cafe, and the cake walk was such a success that they ran out of cake as well.

Youngsters were drawn to Santa at the event, and were able to tell him the toys on their Christmas list and pose for a photo with him. The board members of Holiday in the Grove are already thinking of the different items and volunteers they need for next year.

For instance, they received several requests on comment cards to bring back the horse drawn carriage rides that they had in years past. The volunteer they had for that event retired, along with his horses. The board members are also in need of a secretary for their board since Julie Wilson retired this year.

If you are interested in helping with the event next year, you can contact President Diana Baker at pichadnj@sbcglobal.net or visit www.holidayinthegrove.com for details on their board meetings.


Frigid weather keeps crowds down, but spirits high at Elburn Stroll

Photo: The 19th Annual Elburn Christmas Stroll took place throughout Elburn Friday evening. A crowd gathered around to watch the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District firehouse demonstrate a live burning of a Christmas tree. More photos are below the story. Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Fewer people showed up for the Elburn Christmas Stroll because of the frigid weather, but those who did made it a great night.

“The weather was terrible, and attendance was down, but the people that showed up were so amazing,” said Kristen Damolaris, Elburn Community Center Activities Director.

Damolaris said the vendors and everyone all pulled together, crafters referred shoppers to each other, and everyone promoted the wreath auction. Several children from the business community sold Light up the Center paper light bulbs, raising $77 for the center.

The Elburn Leos kept the children entertained, and Jewel-Osco employees helped them decorate cookies. The Fox Valley Wildlife Center was a big hit with its full-sized hawk.

“People were 100 percent in support of the center,” Damolaris said. “It really felt like a community. The building came alive.”

Town & Country Library Youth Services Director Dwayne Nelson said the library staff and their visitors “had a blast, as always.”

Music from the Kaneland High School Madrigal Singers, as well as the Reamtet jazz quartet, set the festive tone for the night, as children participated in the many activities available and waited in line to have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The crowds were a little light because of the extreme cold, but in all, the library had about 800 visitors, and “it was a great night,” Nelson said.

It wasn’t too cold for the Fire District’s Christmas trees to go up in flames, as the firefighters conducted their safe tree-handling demonstrations.

Back by popular demand this year were the reindeer, from the North Pole by way of the Summerfield Farm and Zoo in Belvidere, Ill. The two reindeer, together with their elf handlers, greeted visitors outside the Lighthouse Academy Child Care Center. Children and adults were thrilled to pet the animals who help Santa bring all those presents to children around the world.

The Elburn Christmas Stroll continues its family tradition of kicking off the holidays within the community.


KHS’ Madrigal Feaste: a 36-year tradition

Photo: KHS senior Kayla Hedgren performs a solo during the KHS Madrigal performance at the Sugar Grove Library Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

MAPLE PARK—The Kaneland High School Madrigal Feaste performances are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. All performances will be held in the Kaneland High School cafeteria, 47W326 Keslinger Road in Maple Park, where a meal will be served.

The Madrigal production involves nearly 100 Kaneland students who combine their talents in music and drama to celebrate the holiday season. Ticket orders for this reenactment of a 10th century English madrigal feaste are currently being accepted. To order tickets online, visit the Kaneland District 302 website, www.kaneland.org.

Madrigal singing came to England from Italy in the late 16th century, and was used as private entertainment at the castles and country homes of English nobility. The Kaneland Madrigals replicate this tradition by dressing in authentic looking costumes and singing Old English and traditional Christmas carols. In addition to the four dinner performances, the Kaneland Madrigals make numerous appearances in the Fox Valley area throughout the holiday season.

The Kaneland Madrigal Singers is under the direction of Bryan Kunstman. The group is composed of students who were selected from the award-winning Kaneland High School Chorus, and many were also chosen to sing with the IMEA District IX Chorus.

For more information, contact Kaneland High School at (630) 365-5100, or visit www.kaneland.org.


Tickets still on sale for United Center matchup with Geneva Jan. 4

The Kaneland boys basketball team will be playing Geneva at the United Center, before the Bulls game against the Atlanta Hawks, on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $65 and will get you admission into the Kaneland vs. Geneva game as well as the Bulls vs. Hawks game at 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at Kaneland High School’s Debbie Theis at deborah.theis@kaneland.org, and will be on sale until Dec. 20.


Close encounter

Photo: Senior John Pruett went 3/4 at the foul line, and finished with seven points against Sycamore Friday night. Photo by Mary Paulson

Sycamore bests KHS boys to complete Friday sweep
KANELAND—Knight boys basketball dropped to 2-2 in the still early time-frame of the 2013-14 hoops season, thanks to an old foe.

After the initial trek to the Windmill Classic in Batavia yielded a satisfactory 2-1 record, Kaneland began Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play on Friday along Spartan Trail, only to lose the conference opener by a 41-38 result and begin its quest for three conference crowns in four years in dubious fashion.

Facing Sycamore on their home court, senior backcourt asset Drew David was the only Knight to reach double figures with 13 points that included three three-pointers.

Fellow senior Tyler Carlson had eight points in the losing effort.

Sycamore led after the first quarter by a score of 15-13 and led 22-19 after the halftime buzzer, before holding firm in the second half and leading 31-28 after three. The squads exchanged 10 points apiece in the final frame.

The Spartans’ effort was amplified by seven successful trifectas.

Kaneland immerses itself in conference play yet again with a matchup against Rochelle on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m.

Road warriors
Friday’s home game against Rochelle will be the final time the Knights boys basketball team will play on their home court in 2013, with the total road span of 27 days away, reaching the second week of January. With trips to Hinckley-Big Rock and the Plano Christmas Classic filling out the remainder of December, a matchup with Geneva at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 4, 2014 will kick off the new year before they finally host Morris Jan. 10.


Stuck at Sycamore

Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley attempts a free throw Friday night at Sycamore. Photo by Mary Paulson

Kaneland girls basketball drops conference outing
KANELAND—Lady Knights basketball is always up for a conference battle with rival Sycamore.

On Friday evening, however, the KHS attack was knocked down.

Using a high degree of back door passes and converting in the paint, the Lady Knights fell victim to host Sycamore in a Northern Illinois Big XII opener by the final of 50-37.

Kaneland is now 4-4 (1-1) after its first games in seven days, while also dropping a 50-46 decision to visiting Antioch on Saturday afternoon.

In the conference tipoff, Ally Van Bogaert led the Lady Knights with 10 points, with KHS just 14-of-44 from the field and 8-of-18 from the charity stripe. Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert managed a game-high 23.

Kaneland never led against the host Lady Spartans, only tying it on its first basket by Brittany Kemp 1:43 into the game. A basket by Amber Winquist-Bailey with 3:11 to go closed within 9-7, but Sycamore used two free throws and a three from Gilbert to close the first quarter scoring at 14-7.

A basket and two foul shots from Sycamore completed a 9-1 run before a Kemp bucket and Winquist-Bailey hoop closed it within 18-12 with 5:12 remaining in the half.

Toward the end of the quarter, a Bailey Crimmins baseline shot closed the margin to 21-16 with 1:57 to play before two more Sycamore buckets ended the first half at 26-16.
In the third quarter, a Van Bogaert basket with 6:29 left, making it 28-20, was as close as the Lady Knights would get, with Sycamore riding its hot hands and closing the frame out with an 11-7 run.

Kaneland converted on four-of-six foul shots in the fourth but could only cut it to 43-33 with 5:28 to go, thanks to a Van Bogaert hoop. Sycamore saw its lead balloon to 15 with 4:45 to go at 48-33.

“(Sycamore’s) a good team and Bailey Gilbert’s a good player,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We tried to key on her, and she made shots. She had 23 tonight, and she didn’t miss much. We’ve been trying to work on our defense.”

In the weekend clash with the Sequoits, the Lady Knights saw a team-high 11 from Van Bogaert, and Kelly Wallner was one point away from a double double with nine points and 10 rebounds. KHS led matters 21-15 after one before Antioch rallied to tie the game at the half, 26 all. The visitors took a 35-34 lead after the third frame before icing the contest in the fourth.

On Tuesday against Rochelle, the Lady Knights defeated the visiting Hubs 44-38. KHS was paced by Wallner’s 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Van Bogaert supplied 11 rebounds and seven points, while Caroline Heimerdinger had seven points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Kaneland has a 10-day break before keying up for the Ottawa Holiday Tournament beginning on Friday, Dec. 20.

Junior Adam Mish pinned his Sycamore opponent in 1:38 Thursday at NIU.

Wrestlers go Huskie-size over Sycamore, beat Lemont

Photo: Junior Adam Mish pinned his Sycamore opponent in 1:38 Thursday at NIU. Sophomore Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—Venues may change, but victories are still as sweet anywhere.

Kaneland traveled to NIU’s Convocation Center last Thursday to battle rival Sycamore before the college-age Huskies took the mat that evening, and got things off on the right foot with a slim 33-29 win.

Saturday saw a trip to Lemont, where the Knights handed the Indians a 49-18 shellacking.

Kaneland is now 5-1 on the season (1-0 in the Northern Illinois Big XII).

After a forfeit win for Kaneland, 113-pounder Adam Mish had his hand raised against the Spartans after a 1:38 pin. Sycamore would win the next bout before the 126-pound match went Matthew Redman’s way by 3-2 count.

Dane Goodenough took his 138-pound challenge with a 10-1 major decision over Jesus Renteria. Two Sycamore wins closed the Kaneland margin just before Austin Parks won a 16-0 technical fall at 160-pounds.

Sophomore Austin Parks won by technical fall, beating his Sycamore opponent 16-0 Thursday at NIU. <em><figcaption class=Photo by Ben Draper” width=”300″ height=”250″ class=”size-medium wp-image-32911″ /> Sophomore Austin Parks won by technical fall, beating his Sycamore opponent 16-0 Thursday at NIU. Photo by Ben Draper

Sycamore would rally for three consecutive match wins before KHS retook the lead for good on a forfeit and a heavyweight win for powerhouse Justin Diddell by 7-2 decision.

Facing Lemont in a Saturday affair, wins were plenty for the Kaneland attack. At 106 pounds, Austin Kedzie won a major decision in 11-2 fashion, while Mish earned a pin in 1:47. Jacob Shearer won his 120-pound outing by virtue of a 5:20 pin, as well.

At 132 pounds, Luke Eggenberger won his challenge by 14-12 decision, followed by 152-pounder George Strang winning his match, 3-2.

Parks won his 160-pound encounter by 2:32 pin, followed by 170-pound teammate Tom Price’s pin in 2:32. The remaining wins, besides two forfeits, went to Zach Parker at 182 pounds by 4-3 decision.

Kaneland was set to trek to Crystal Lake Central to take on the hosts and Cary-Grove on Wednesday, and Thursday, Dec. 12, sees a conference tussle with the DeKalb Barbs outfit in Maple Park.


Bowlers beat IMSA, lose close matches

Photo: Junior Katie Hill (above) bowled a 405 series for the Lady Knights Thursday. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—Margins are relatively close, but the Lady Knight bowlers housed at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb would like to pick up a few more wins sooner rather than later.

After opening up last week with a loss to Sterling, the Lady Knights faced Lisle High School on Dec. 4, and lost 1,993-1,927 in a Northern Illinois Big XII-Interstate Eight Conference meeting in DeKalb. Kaneland then lost to visiting Dixon in the last meeting between the two squads as conference mates by a 2,826-2,362 total.

After competing in the Dundee-Crown tourney on Saturday, Kaneland broke into the win column Monday against Illinois Math and Science Academy, where it won 2,251 to 1,970.

Kaneland sits at 1-3 after Monday’s matchup.

Against the Lady Lions, Christie Crews was team-best with a 427 series, while Dominique Lee had a 393 series herself. High game was bowled by Crews at 153.

Facing off against the rival Duchesses, the high series for the Lady Knights was accomplished by senior Michelle Bohanek at 429, followed by Lee at 422. High game was Bohanek’s at 168. Dixon’s Maggie Thomas had a meet-best 546 series.

At the Dundee-Crown tourney KHS took sixth out of 12 teams with a day-long total of 2,572, with D-C winning the day at 3,182.

KHS coach Jim McKnight recognizes challenges ahead, but feels the girls could be able to meet what’s on the horizon.

“We have some tough matches coming up against Streator and Morris, so it’s nice to go into that kind of competition on the upswing,” McKnight said. “Even though our numbers are small, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can be competitive on any given day. What we need now are some consistently high games and series from three or four of the girls on the same outing.”

McKnight got his wish for more consistency against IMSA Monday, where the Lady Knights won all three games to post a convincing win over the visiting Titans. Crews led the way with a high game of 190 and a high series of 482. Bohanek (465) and Rena Wojciechowski (461) and Lee (443) all bowled series over 400, while Katie Hill (375) and Grace Lindgren (351) also competed for KHS.

Wednesday had Kaneland battle Streator in a NIB-12 crossover before a trek to Morris on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

SG Village Board approves 2013 proposed tax levy

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday passed the proposed 2.4 percent increase for the 2013 Tax Levy with five yes votes, and two no votes from trustees Sean Herron and Kevin Geary.

Sugar Grove will collect $6.50 more from each property owner in the village. Board members participated in a discussion regarding the benefits and disadvantages of passing the proposed tax levy.

Geary said he wasn’t in favor of increasing the property taxes this year.

“I would like to see us hold the line on the tax levy. I think we need to tighten our belts,”
he said. “I want to send the message to residents that we can live in our means.”

Village President Sean Michels noted Geary’s comment, and then stated why he thought the board wouldn’t be able to keep the taxes flat this year.

“I would like nice streets and sidewalks and good quality of employees like we have,” Michels said. “In order to have that, we need to get out of the recession completely to get ahead. For this year, it’s going to require an increase; but in years to come, an increase in property taxes might not be required.”

Sugar Grove resident Joe Wolf added his two cents to the discussion.

“I understand how taxes affect us. The long-term effect on the village will deter us from not passing the tax levy,” Wolf said. “The quality of life is more important than lowering taxes. I hope you continue to use the money wisely. The $6.50 is worth taking.”

Herron then explained why he was not in favor of the proposed tax levy.

“As the newest member of the board, I walked on every single doorstep of the village,” he said. “Although, I didn’t talk to every village resident, I did speak to a lot of people. An overwhelming majority of the people said they weren’t interested in a 2.4 percent increase.”

Trustee Rick Montalto reiterated that the small tax increase wouldn’t affect residents negatively, but would help to increase the quality of life in Sugar Grove.

“The $6.50 doesn’t mean a lot. I’m afraid if we don’t levy it, people would notice the streets not being salted or new trees not being planted where other trees had died,” Montalto said. “I think the taxpayers would much rather see us taking care of the village than saving them $6.50. The problem is they look at the 2.4 percent increase and don’t realize how small of an amount that is delegated to the village board.”

Elburn VB passes 2013 levy

ELBURN—The Village Board on Monday unanimously approved a 2013 tax levy of $824,000, following a public hearing with no comment.

Village President Dave Anderson said that, dividing the property tax amount residents pay to the village, the amount would come out to about $8 per week. For this, the village provides police protection, snow removal, street and sidewalk repair, and tree maintenance.

Although the amount levied, or requested—$824,000—is the same amount Elburn has requested the previous two years, the village expects that Kane County will approve a smaller amount, based on previous experience.

The board also approved levies for residents within the village’s Special Assessment Areas, which will pay for water management facilities, including the maintenance of storm water basin areas within those specific boundaries.

Elburn residents save money on electric bills

Village negotiates on their behalf with competitive bidders
ELBURN—Elburn residents who took advantage of an electricity savings program the village initiated in 2011 have saved an average of about $40 per month on their electricity bill during the last two years.

Elburn had been one of the first communities in the area to initiate an aggregation savings program in the spring of 2011. The village saved residents $435,000 in the first year.

When the village went out to bid again a year later and selected a two-year-term with FirstEnergy, the rate was even lower than the first year. The fixed rate of 4.72 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) is a significant savings versus the Commonwealth Edison rate, which as of November 2013, was 6.005 cents per kWh, a 21 percent reduction.

With approximately 2,200 of the 2,500 households participating in the plan, the total savings the village realized since its inception is $864,000.

Village President Dave Anderson said that residents have Village Administrator Erin Willrett to thank for their lower bills.

Willrett said in a release that all residents are welcome to join at any time by calling FirstEnergy at 1-888-651-5200, and request the Elburn fixed rate of 4.72 cents. There is no fee to join or to leave the program.

According to Willrett, those enrolled with other suppliers should check with their current supplier to determine if they are subject to an early termination fee before joining the village’s program.

The ComEd supply rate is expected to rise in June 2014 due to increased capacity charges. The Elburn rate will remain fixed through August 2014, at which time the village may again go out for bid for competitive rates.

Q: How can I confirm who my electric supplier is?
A: Look at your ComEd bill under “Electricity Supply Services.” If you are in the village’s aggregation program, your bill will state “FirstEnergy” and a rate of $0.04720. If not, you are either enrolled with another supplier or receiving the ComEd “default” rate.

Q: How will my electricity delivery service change if I sign up for the aggregate program?
A: Residents will continue to receive delivery services from ComEd, and will receive one monthly bill generated by ComEd. Outages should still be reported to ComEd.

carey family 004 copy

Becoming Dylan’s ‘superhero’

Photo: Tim and Christine (Bateman) Carey with sons Dylan, 3, and Gavin, 6. The family lives in Shabbona, Ill. Photo by Samantha Garver

SUGAR GROVE—Three-year-old Dylan Carey pretends he’s a superhero during his chemotherapy treatments for the stage four neuroblastoma he was diagnosed with in July—and the family hopes that local residents will come out to help save the day for “Super D” at his fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 6.

The event, “Superheroes for Dylan,” will be a night of fun and fundraising. It will be held at Open Range Southwest Grill, located at 1 Golfview Lane in Sugar Grove, and feature a pig roast, cash bar, silent auction, raffle and 50/50 raffle. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and dinner will start at 6 p.m., with hamburgers and hot dogs also available.

Tickets are $20 and include dinner and entertainment. There will be a caricature artist and a holiday photo booth, where guests can have holiday pictures taken by a professional photographer, and “Super D” T-shirts will be for sale.

Back Country Roads, a local country band, will perform from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. For those coming just to see the band, a $10 cover charge will begin at 8 p.m.

Though the event will be raising funds for his treatment, Dylan won’t be there—he had a bone marrow stem cell transplant on Tuesday, which he needed because the cancer has metastasized from his adrenal gland into his bone marrow. He’ll spend the next 30 days in quarantine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which means he’ll be in the hospital through Christmas, and then begin radiation treatments.

His mother, Christine Bateman Carey, a 1995 Kaneland graduate and an Elburn native, also won’t be in attendance at the fundraiser—she was in a devastating car accident on Oct. 12 that landed her in the neuro intensive care unit at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill. She’s now undergoing physical, rehabilitative and speech therapies at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Her room at the RIC is just 10 doors down from Becky Nelson’s, the Maple Park native who suffered a traumatic brain injury following a hit-and-run in the Cayman Islands last July.

It’s been a shattering series of events for the Carey family, who live in Shabbona, Ill., and also have a 6-year-old son, Gavin.

“The benefit originally was just for Dylan, but now it’s obviously a family benefit,” said Tracy Rhoades Frieders, who is one of the event’s organizers. “Aside from the enormous things they already had going on, having Chris in the hospital … it’s a lot.”

When Dylan was first diagnosed in July, Chris went on unpaid family medical leave from her job at a CPA office in Geneva in order to care for him.

Dylan underwent surgery to remove the tumor on his adrenal gland and then chemotherapy. Chris took him twice a week to Central DuPage Hospital, which is affiliated with Lurie Children’s Hospital, in Winfield, Ill., for his treatments.

Dylan—a happy little boy who loves superheroes and is affectionately called “Dilly”—is still remarkably active, despite the surgeries and chemotherapy, said Dave Bateman, his grandfather and a former Elburn resident.

“He’s been coping amazingly well; it hasn’t slowed him down much at all,” said Bateman, who now lives in Oregon, Ill. “He’s been a little sick (from the chemotherapy). He was tired for two or three days, and then after that, he’s back to being a typical 3 year old. He’s really doing very well. That’s part of why they call him a superhero, because he’s doing so well with the treatments.”

The car accident on Oct. 12 exacerbated the family’s already difficult situation.

As Tim Carey, Dylan’s father, was driving south on Route 23 in Waterman, Ill., with his wife and two sons in the car, another vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with the Carey’s vehicle. Both cars overturned into a field. Tim and the boys were treated for minor injuries, but Chris and the other driver were seriously injured.

Tim, who works for the city of West Chicago and is also a volunteer firefighter in Shabbona, also had to go on unpaid family medical leave in order to care for Chris, Dylan and Gavin.

“One incident is tough, but to put both of those together is just overwhelming,” Bateman said. “And I know that the support of the community has just meant the world to Chris and Tim, and after the accident, it’s just meant the world to Tim. It’s been incredible, and it needs to continue, because it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not going to be over by Christmas.”

Tim and Gavin will be spending Christmas at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital, Bateman said, to be near Dylan. Doctors are hoping that Dylan might be well enough on Christmas to spend it in a more “home-like” setting at the Ronald McDonald House with his family, but they want him to stay close to the hospital. Chris’ parents will be spending Christmas at the hospital with her.

“It’s not what you planned on, but we thank God that both Chris and Dylan are still here,” Bateman said. “In the big picture, it’s one of the things we’ve got that we are grateful for.”

Nearly a dozen friends have stepped forward to support the Careys and plan the fundraiser, Frieders said.

Older brother Gavin cut his hair short to support his younger brother, Dylan (left).   Photo by Samantha Garver
Older brother Gavin cut his hair short to support his younger brother, Dylan (left). Photo by Samantha Garver

“(Chris and Tim) would do anything for anybody,” Frieders said. “They’re always willing to help anybody in any way they can. They are people you can count on. They’re just such wonderful people, and anybody who’s met them knows that.”

The organizers are hoping that 300 people will come out on Friday night to help alleviate the family’s financial burden. Frieders said she hopes the silent auction and raffles will help raise money to help pay the Carey’s mounting medical bills.

More than 50 items will be auctioned off, including two pairs of Blackhawks tickets, two pairs of Cubs tickets, a 2014 season pass for Hughes Creek Golf Course in Elburn, a three-night stay at Galena’s Eagle Ridge Resort, $1,000 worth of automotive wet sanding and painting at County Line Customs in Maple Park, an Amazon Kindle, a round of golf for four people at Bliss Creek, a massage package from Massage Envy, a gift certificate to Mario Tricoci, a professional photography package, grass-fed beef from Herrmann Cattle Co., and several sports jerseys, gift baskets, gift certificates, home and holiday items.

Raffle items include a 42-inch flat-screen TV, an iPad Air, gift certificates, Thirty-One purses, tire balancing, and “a ton of other items,” Frieders said.

Frieders said she hopes to raise as much as $30,000 for the Carey family, who she said have been “overwhelmed” by both Dylan’s and Chris’ illnesses.

Though the Careys have health insurance, there are co-pay fees for every doctor visit and every medication. There’s co-insurance, the percentage of hospitalization costs and treatment that the family has to pay. There are travel costs from Shabbona to two different hospitals in Chicago; parking; meals out; and, of course, there’s the lost income of both Chris and Tim.

“There are just a lot of things that aren’t covered,” Bateman said. “There’s the travel, the co-pays, the incidentals, Tim taking time off of work. When you’re on family leave, you’re not paid. And he ran out of paid days a long time ago. All of those things add up, and the bills keep coming. We don’t have any idea how much of it isn’t going to be covered by insurance. So I think there’s going to be a huge need for some financial support to help the kids cross the hurdles.”

Jaime Herrmann, one of the organizers, said that she hoped the holidays would inspire people to be generous to the family.

“These are genuinely nice, kindhearted people who have an unfortunate accident with their son, and a tragic accident, and they can use the open-hearted support of people,” Herrmann said. “This time of year, people tend to be in a giving mood. I can’t think of a more deserving family.”

More information about the Carey family and the benefit can be found at mysuperdylan.com. Monetary donations can also be made to the “Superheroes for Dylan” account at any Castle Bank, including the Sugar Grove branch at 36 E. Galena Blvd.

Kaneland educators, staff honored by ASQ

KANELAND—Two teams from Kaneland schools were recently honored at the American Society for Quality Education Conference in Milwaukee, Wis. As a part of their annual conference, ASQ recognizes teams of educators who have worked together to advance an idea that improves the quality of education for students. Each of the teams was recognized for their superior team work, innovative ideas and for the impact on student learning.

The team of middle school educators, including Bryan Zwemke, Britt Mattern and Marci Lapinskas, were honored with a Finalist Level Award for their project titled “Preparing Students for the Middle School Transition.” The presentation focused on celebrating the success of the middle school transition, and presented the process used to develop a comprehensive transition program, including fifth-graders visiting the middle school, “Step-Up Night” and the Jump Start Program.

The middle school transition centered on receiving feedback from students, parents, fifth-and-sixth-grade teachers and K-8 Administration to develop a path for students and parents to enter the middle school prepared academically and socially.

Our elementary team of Sarah Mumm, Kelly DeGaetano, Shelley Hueber, Laura Garland and Martne McCoy were honored with the Merit Level for their project titled “Hiring the Right Teachers” that presented a session on unique hiring processes using the panel interview techniques at the Quality Education Conference. The team shared their knowledge of the panel interview process, as well as the impact on student achievement. The team was also awarded the National Merit Level Team Excellence Award.

George Strang

Wrestlers battle through tough stops

Photo: 152-pound George Strang won 6-4 in overtime over Andrew Ives of Wheaton-Warrenville South Saturday. Photo by Stephanie Vanik

KANELAND—It could have been a rude awakening to the start of the 2013-14 season for Kaneland Knights wrestling, but the KHS lads acclimated themselves serviceably.

Saturday in Maple Park saw a quad with Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South, while Nov. 26 had a trip to the Quad Cities area.

In their home digs, Kaneland beat BC by a 55-21 margin, while handing WWS a 49-21 drubbing before solving Freeport 58-18

Things got off to a nice start against the rival Rockets, with Jacob Shearer winning a 15-0 technical fall in the 120-pound bout. Following that, 132-pound entry Matthew Redman won a 5-2 matchup to pad the Kaneland lead to 14-3. At 160, Austin Parks won by technical fall, 20-5, while 170-pounder Zach Parker won by pin over Kyle Coffland in 1:37. To cap the initial tussles, heavyweight Justin Diddell earned a pin in 1:34. KHS also took away five forfeits.

In the sizable win over the NIC-10 representative Pretzels, seven forfeits paved the way for wins by: Luke Eggenberger in the 132-pound match (10-0 major decision), Riley Vanik in the 145-pound match (1:58 pin) and Tom Price in the 170-pound match (1:59 pin).

Facing the DuPage Valley Conference stalwart Tigers, the Knights went out to an early 15-0 lead, thanks to a win by 106-pounder Nick Mish in 1:57, 113-pound Adam Mish’s 8-7 win and Shearer’s 1:19 pin.

Vanik would later earn a win by 3:13 pinfall. At 152 pounds, George Strang needed overtime, but earned a 6-4 win.

When any mistake could mean your downfall, Strang kept his cool.

“I definitely was cautious when I was wrestling, but I put everything on the line, and I had the mentality of really wanting to go out there and beat him,” Strang said. “The first couple of moments I felt him out and wanted to know how he wrestled. I knew when he got onto my leg I had to do something. I could hear the crowd going ‘spin, spin, spin,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”

Parks won a 17-8 major decision at 160 points, while Price won his bout in 1:57 and Diddell closed out the win with a 1-0 triumph.

In the opening gathering at East Moline U-High, Kaneland lost to Moline by a final of 57-16, with Vanik (6-4), Parks (4:51 pin) and Redman (4-3) earning the lone wins.

Ahead for KHS wrestling is a Thursday, Dec. 5, meeting with Sycamore out at Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center.

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Vanik


Knights do well at Windmill

Photo: Sophomore Dylan Vaca led the Knights with 19 points against Batavia Nov. 27. Photo by Patti Wilk

Season opener sees OT win vs. Batavia; KHS splits other two games
BATAVIA—It’s an early idea, but it’s a bright one in terms of how Kaneland High School boys basketball could do this upcoming season: you’ll never be able to count them out, to be sure.

Trying to put together another winning season, coach Brian Johnson’s crew trekked to Batavia for the Ken Peddy 38th annual Windmill City Classic on Thanksgiving eve and came back from double digits to earn an 81-74 overtime win.

Friday had the Knights edged by Englewood of Chicago by a scant 54-50 margin before once again taking charge on Saturday evening and beating St. Francis by a final of 66-48.

Kaneland is now 2-1 to begin the season.

In the opener, sophomore Dylan Vaca had a team-high 19 points, while seniors John Pruett and Drew David had 18 each. Senior Tyler Carlson added 14 to the winning effort.

Canaan Coffey of Batavia had a game-high 26 points.

After keeping in step with the host Bulldogs with a 13-13 score after one frame, Batavia took control with a hot perimeter game to go up 35-28 at the half.

It looked dire for Kaneland in the fourth, with Batavia up 63-50 with 5:36 remaining. Then, buckets from David and Carlson started to fall to slim the lead. A Carlson three closed it to 64-61 with 2:30 to go, and he would soon follow with a three-point play to close it to 66-64 with 1:38 to go in regulation.

Vaca was fouled on a three-point try and would sink all the shots to close within 68-67 with 35.6 to go. After two Bulldog free throws made it a 70-67 game with 34.2 left, David drained the last basket of regulation from behind the arc to tie the score with 19.4 and send it to overtime.

Kaneland stifled the Bulldogs on the offensive end in overtime, while David hit a baseline jumper to give the Knights their first lead since quarter one at 72-70, 63 seconds into the extra frame. Carlson’s three and a foul shot by Connor Fedderly made it 76-70, effectively sealing the deal as KHS went 6-for-10 from the foul line.

Vaca’s three foul shots put the Kaneland roster into a chance to catch up in what was his first sophomore outing.

“It felt good to get out there and run and shoot the three,” Vaca said. “They fell in the second half. It was a big deficit, and we just had to find a way to come back.”

The team effort was evident and paid off, according to Johnson.

“Dylan made some big shots, and we were fortunate that he made the free throws. (Batavia) shot unbelievably well. We just got lucky and got a few turnovers. Carlson did an excellent job on the glass and he played really hard, and Drew just seems to come up with big shots a lot.”

Against Englewood of Chicago, Pruett had 18 points and David had 11 in the loss. Down 31-17 at halftime, KHS made a valiant comeback to close within 37-36 after three before its foes held firm.

In the win over St. Francis, Vaca paced the Knights with 21 points—the only Knight in double figures—while Kaneland went 21-of-28 from the line. Up 35-27 at halftime, Kaneland expanded the lead to 54-36 after three before the final margin.

On tap for the Knight hoopsters is a trip to Sycamore on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.

Photos by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights aim for higher court at IC Catholic

KANELAND—No first-place plaque would come their way, but the Lady Knights hoops talent would still make a fine showing.

After an initial win over Luther North two weekends ago to top things off, the Lady Knights would win two out of three contests to improve their mark to 3-2 for the season and 3-1 for the tourney.

On Nov. 26, Kaneland achieved its second straight rout with a 73-27 win over Elmwood Park, before losing to Nazareth Academy of LaGrange Park, Ill., on Nov. 27. The Lady Knights righted the victory ship by outlasting Wilmette, Ill. outpost Regina Dominican on Friday in double overtime.

“The IC Tournament gave us a chance to see where we need to improve,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We feel like we have some work to do defensively and also with our rebounding.”

Against Elmwood Park, KHS saw nice production from Ally Van Bogaert with 14 points and Kelly Wallner with 10 points herself. The outing had all 13 players get in the scoring column. KHS was 32-of-60 from the field, but 5-of-13 from the foul line.

Kaneland blazed out to a 29-18 lead after the first eight minutes of play, and kept EP to one point in the second quarter on the way to a 45-19 halftime edge. Kaneland outscored its foe 27-4 in the third to truly put the contest out of reach.

The Lady Knights would be tripped up by the Roadrunners of NA in a 57-40 outing, despite 17 from Van Bogaert, but the Kaneland charge would return in a tight match with RD to end the tourney and clinch second place, 45-37.

Senior backcourt presence Caroline Heimerdinger had 14 points to lead KHS, which went 15-of-44 from the field. Amber Winquist-Bailey had nine boards on the evening.

After being deadlocked at 17 all for halftime, KHS took a slim 23-20 lead before RD evened it up by the buzzer at 29 all. The score was tied at 36 at the end of the first overtime session before the Lady Knights ran away with the bout and outscored RD 9-1.

“We were happy that we finished off the double OT game with a ‘W.’ Regina is coming off a trip to the sectional finals last year and was a good test for us. It was nice to have this group get the opportunity to close out a game. We have a lot of players who are in key roles for the first time so that experience should pay off down the road,” Colombe said.

Friday, Dec. 6, has the Lady Knights venturing to Sycamore for the beginning of Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Kaneland preschool screening Dec. 13

KANELAND-Kaneland School District Special Services will conduct a preschool screening on Friday, Dec. 13, at MorningStar Church in Aurora, for students who may qualify for special education services.

If you reside within the Kaneland School District, and suspect that your child, ages 3-5, has any delays in developmental milestones, then you are encouraged to attend.

This is not a kindergarten screening. In addition, Child and Family Connections will be available, upon request, to screen children from birth to age 3 for suspected developmental delays.

If you have any questions regarding Kaneland’s Early Childhood Services, or you would like to schedule an appointment for a screening, call Stacy Krisch at the Kaneland Special Services Office, (630) 365-5100, ext. 158.

Blessing of the Manger tradition carries on at Conley Corner

ELBURN—The Conley Funeral Home and Conley Outreach Community Services invite the Kaneland community to join in the annual Blessing of the Manger on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Conley Corner, during the Elburn Christmas Stroll. The life-size manger scene has been a Conley tradition since the early 1950s, when Chuck Conley built the first one on the funeral home lawn.

Now located on the corner of Pierce and Main, the manger features hand-painted figures and a motion-activated recording of the Christmas story, narrated by Bruce Conley and other Conley staff.

The Blessing, which takes place each year during the Elburn Christmas Stroll, includes short readings, music and candle lighting.


‘Drew’ grit: Senior signal-caller earns pinnacle All-State honor

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Who knew that suiting up for the Aurora Superstars 10 years ago would lead to this?

For Knights senior Drew David, toiling away in the organized tackle football ranks eventually led to being tabbed the starting quarterback three years running for Kaneland High School football. With that responsibility came numerous all-conference honors and a State semifinalist trip in 2011.

Last week, David was named to the Class 5A 2013 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-State Team.

“I was on my way to first period, and coach (Tom) Fedderly found me in the hallway and handed me the paper that said I was an All-Stater,” David said. “It was pretty surprising.”

Having thrown 84 touchdowns in his varsity tenure, good for sixth all-time in the state, and rushing for 14 touchdowns on his own, Fedderly was not surprised at the season-long culmination.

“That kid is just a student of the game,” Fedderly said. “We put a lot on his shoulders, especially this year. The bigger the game, the calmer he was.”

Leading the Knights offense to three winning seasons and two undefeated regular season campaigns meant an entire body of work for the Association to look upon, including an impressive 2013 outing.

“I’m not saying it was an expectation, but it was a pretty big honor. You just work for it,” David said.

David, who threw for over 7,200 yards in his varsity time, noted one instance in particular to encapsulate his Kaneland stay.

“It was the comeback win over Morris to end my junior year (Oct. 19, 2012),” David said. “It was finally playing with all my buddies, and we got a conference championship, and it was a team effort.”

With such rival skill players like Evan White of Rochelle and Ben Niemann of Sycamore also making the All-State squads, it speaks to the fierceness of the Northern Illinois Big XII, as well.

“You see all the All-Staters from the conference, and it tells you how good it is week in and week out,” Fedderly said.

While not entirely sure what lies ahead, David is exploring options to schools large and small for the 2014-15 school year.

Whether David walks on at a bigger program or plays at a larger role in a Division III outfit, Fedderly can easily relay what a team would be getting.

“They’ll get a very good student and a good kid,” Fedderly said. “Not only an All-Stater, but a quality person.”

Elburn Leos to present Breakfast with Santa Dec. 1

ELBURN—The Elburn Leos Club will host Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 1, from 8 to 11 a.m. at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore St.

The all-you-can-eat meal will consist of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, pastries, orange juice, coffee and milk. The cost of the meal is $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-12. There is no charge for children ages 2 and under. You can have a made-to-order omelette for an additional $2. Bring your camera and take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Between Friends Food Pantry sponsors toy, book drive

by Natalie Juns

SUGAR GROVE—Many are blessed with plenty of food, the warmth and protection of a home, and an abundance of presents around the holidays for giving and receiving. But there are people in our community who are in need of help this holiday season.

Three years ago, Rachel Rockwell-Muckerheide started the Toy and Book Drive for Mutual Ground Shelter in Aurora for abused women and children. Last year, Rockwell-Muckerheide decided to establish the Toy and Book Drive as a local charity that benefits the people registered with Between Friends Food Pantry, located at 52 Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove.

The collaboration with the Between Friends Food Pantry last year was extremely successful. The Sugar Grove community collected between 3,000 to 4,000 books and toys combined, and the donations supplied gifts for over 75 children between the ages of 3 and 18. Rockwell-Muckerheide attributes most of the Toy and Book Drive’s success to the moms in the community who collect the dropped off items.

“Once the items are all dropped off, I collect the items and bring them to the Food Pantry,” Rockwell-Muckerheide said. “People who are in need are able to register with the Between Friends Food Pantry and benefit from the Toy and Book Drive. It’s great for the people who are in need, because they are able to shop for free at the food pantry before Christmas.”

The two Thursdays before Christmas, Dec. 12 and 19, are the designated days for registered persons to pick up donated presents. The Between Friends Food Pantry is open on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Pat Graceffa, a Sugar Grove resident who volunteers for the drive, commented about the success of last year’s event.

“Thanks to the kindness of this community, the Toy and Book Drive has become very successful,” she said. “I hope people join again to make this the best year yet. Rachel is to be complimented for her hard work on this project.”

Residents and community members will be able to drop off their donations Dec. 2-9 at one of the specified drop off locations. If you are interested in contributing a donation, you can contact Rachel Rockwell at rrockwell98@yahoo.com.

The Toy and Book Drive is in need of items for both girls and boys, ages 3 to 18, but it currently has a shortage of items for boys. However, community members are encouraged to donate the gifts they have in mind, whether it be for a girl, boy or gender neutral.


Old-fashioned Christmas celebration in Kaneville

by Susan O’Neill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elburn Lions Club seeks donations for tornado victims

by Stefanie Frazier

ELBURN—The Nov. 17 tornado outbreak ripped through the Midwest, flattening homes and resulting in at least six deaths.

Many people still need help in the wake of the damage and devastation left by the tornado outbreak.

According to Elburn Lions Club member Linda Callaghan, the Lions Club is asking its members and the local community to contribute money to help victims who live in Washington and Coal City, Ill.

The club’s goal is to raise $5,000 by Sunday, Dec. 8.

Callaghan said money will go to the victims to pay for things like food, water, toiletries and lodging.

“Gosh, if every family in the Elburn, Kaneville, Sugar Grove area could donate $20, just think of the impact it would make on these communities,” Callaghan said. “That would be fabulous.”

People who want to contribute to the relief fundraising effort can write a check to Elburn Lions Club and note “Tornado Relief Fund” in the memo. Checks can be mailed to the Elburn Lions Club, 500 Filmore St.; Elburn, Ill. 60119.

A drop off box is located on the east side of the Lions Club’s building. Money can also be dropped off in an envelope noting the name of the fund.

“We’re not going to turn away a kid who wants to turn in his piggy bank and donate $11.42 or anything else,” Callaghan said.

Graceffa appointed to SG Library Board

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on Nov. 14 appointed its newest board member: Pat Graceffa, a dedicated Sugar Grove Library Friend and longtime village resident who was a write-in candidate for a Library Board seat last April.

The board opening was made possible by Library Board member Ed DeBartolo’s move to Florida. After being granted permission by the library attorney, the current board members of the Library asked Graceffa if she would like to join the board, to which she graciously accepted their offer.

“I of course said ‘absolutely’ to their request to have me as a board member,” Graceffa said. “I have been a lifelong library supporter, and I have been involved in the Sugar Grove Library Friends since I moved here 13 years ago.”

Graceffa will be sworn in as an official board member at the Library Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. After being sworn in, she will begin her duties as a board member by taking the required state test that all new board members take, completing an orientation with the Sugar Grove Library Director, and joining one of the several committees offered.

Graceffa said she is looking forward to her duties as a board member and helping with the work and plans for some of the board’s long-range projects.

“I am thrilled with my appointment to the Sugar Grove Library Board, and I promise the Library District residents that I will work hard for all of them,” she said. “The library is going in the right direction now, and we have some new board members who have brought extraordinary skills to the table.”

Graceffa said she is also dedicated to understanding the needs of the residents in regard to the selection of books and programs from the Sugar Grove Library.

“I thank our library patrons, and look forward to continuing to make sure that our library possesses the finest staff, best and most current collection, along with terrific library programs,” Graceffa said.


SG board discusses potential turnabout

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday discussed the possibility of placing a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane.

Tim Sjogren from TADI, Inc., and Tony Simmons from HR Green, were available to answer questions from the board. The tentative plans would cut off an existing part of Granart Road and veer the road south, meeting up with Bucktail Lane and US Route 30 to create a four-way intersection.

The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity. (click for larger image)
The village of Sugar Grove is currently considering a plan to place a two-lane turnabout that would connect Route 30, Granart Road and Bucktail Lane and create a four-way intersection. The turnabout, once installed, may reduce accident rate volume and severity.

Village President Sean Michels explained the reasoning behind the tentative plans for the turnabout.

“IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) is funding this plan for a turnabout because they believe that pulling the intersection to the south will make it safer to cross the train tracks,” he said. “They are considering a turnabout that would basically be a four-way intersection that wouldn’t stop. If there was a stop light there, drivers would potentially have to wait for the light to cycle three times in order to go through.”

Village trustee Rick Montalto commented about the unfamiliarity that the community has with turnabouts and how that could negatively affect drivers and traffic flow.

“Because turnabouts are so foreign, you could run the risk of someone coming down this road during the night in a snow storm, and they might run into a tree if they don’t know the roundabout is there,” Montalto said. “Plus, Dugan is a dark road.”

Public Works Director Anthony Speciale weighed in on the potential lighting issue.

“Currently, lighting is not in the budget, and the roundabout doesn’t require lighting,” he said.

Sjogren explained some of the benefits of putting in a roundabout rather than a stop light.

“Traditionally, you would signalize this intersection, but the rest of the day, people will have to stop if we put in a stop light,” he said. “With a roundabout, drivers won’t have to stop during an off peak. Also, accident rates plummet after the initial installment period. The reduced speeds in a roundabout help decrease accident severity and accidents in general.”

Residents interested in discussing the roundabout can attend an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sugar Grove Library, 125 Municipal Drive.


Production takes KHS to ‘Almost, Maine’

Photo: KHS students Emily Laudont, as Marvalynn, and Creston Saylors, as Steve, practice at a rehearsal for “Almost, Maine.” The production took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kaneland High School. Courtesy photos

Weekend play draws hundreds to the town of ‘Almost’
KANELAND—Christina Staker last weekend made her directorial debut with Kaneland High School’s production of “Almost, Maine,” a modern-day play that has been performed by many high schools across America.

Staker, a KHS English teacher, called the John Cariani-penned play “a success.”

A total of 17 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, performed the show on the auditorium stage last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According to Staker, between 60 to 100 people attended the performances each night.

Sunday featured the lowest audience turnout, mainly due to the tornado breakout that caused severe damage to parts of Illinois and its surrounding states.

“It was sunshine at times,” Staker said. “And then downpouring at other times. I think a lot of people were probably scared off by the (tornado) warnings.”

After Staker consulted with the assistant principal, auditorium manager and technical director, it was decided that the show would go on.

KHS senior Emily Laudont played the role of Marvalyn, a character Laudont described as “defiant.”

“I think all of our work came together,” Laudont said. “From what I heard from audience reaction—from afterwards and friends that came and saw it—they said they really liked it.”

Volunteers worked the box office and sold concessions like candy, homemade cookies and packaged Oreos and Chips Ahoy. They also handed out programs and ushered folks to their seats.

The stage transformed into a mid-winter wonderland of real branches and a sparkling canvas of snow, a laundromat and a bar that featured a donated moosehead.

“Almost, Maine” had a series of nine vignettes, or short plays, that ranged between 10 to 15 minutes a piece. The scenes consisted of mostly two actors featured at a time.

“Almost, Maine” is a story that takes place in a town called Almost, where real life mixes with figurative ideas of love and loss.

“It really appeals to a wide range of audience,” Staker said. “There’s stories that it could either relate to yourself or somebody (you know) who is that person in life.”

Students played adult-aged roles during scenes that depicted different messages.

“Some of (the scenes) appeal to parents and marriage,” Staker said. “And how we tend to stop paying attention to each other, because life gets in the way. Or how we don’t often think about the other person’s feelings in a situation.”

KHS senior Maddie Heinzer played the married role of Marci, a 30-something woman featured in the “Where it Went” vignette.

Heinzer’s one-word description of the character was “stressed.” In order to play the role, she did her homework.

“I looked at neighbors that I have who have multiple kids and juggle around,” Heinzer said. “Like, my mom is a stay-at-home mom. So she has to deal with stuff with the kids. And then my dad works. So I think it’s kind of a common situation in many couples, where they don’t really pay attention to each other anymore, unfortunately.”

Magical happenings occurred in Almost. A shoe drops from the sky. A flash of green illustrates the Aurora Borealis.

Sounds of a car starting, and a snowmobile over yonder, can be heard.

And the play’s original soundtrack provided what Staker called “mood music.”

KHS student Taylor Tindall played Ginette, a character who travels the world to get back to the bench of where the one she loves—Pete, played by Dillon Lynn—was last with her.

Snow falls when the couple reunites.

Clare Laudont, mom of Emily Laudont, sat in the audience and appreciated the play.

“I was really impressed,” Clare said.

Meanwhile, KHS students are looking forward to their next production—a musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which will debut in the spring.

Staker will direct that one, as well.

“I’m looking forward to doing a musical,” she said.

 The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance.           Courtesy Photos
The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance. Courtesy Photos


Firefighters coordinate Elburn pantry holiday food drive

Elburn firefighters to collect donations at Elburn Jewel-Osco
Sunday, Nov. 24 • 9 a.m. – noon
Or drop off items at either Fire Station No. 1 or No. 2 now through the New Year

ELBURN—Firefighters from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will be at the Jewel Osco on Sunday, Nov. 24, collecting food items for the Elburn Food Pantry.

Matt Hanson, who has been a firefighter with the Elburn District for the past 12 years, said this is the fourth year that the Fire District has been collecting items for the pantry around the holidays.

“The holiday is just an easy time to remind people (that the food pantry can use their help),” Hanson said.

Firefighters will be stationed at the Jewel on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon to accept donations. They will have a list of the food and other items the food pantry needs, and the Jewel will assemble a display of these items, as well.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to help,” Hanson said.

The items needed are things such as canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, beans, macaroni and cheese dinners, box potatoes and rice, as well as tuna, chicken or hamburger helper, and even toilet paper and bar soap.

Last year, the firefighters collected a “huge amount of food” at the Jewel.

“We filled up a whole pickup truck,” Hanson said. “The community really rallies and has been great every year.”

Hanson said that the Fire Department is pretty active in the community, and because they are “out and about” quite a bit, they see the need.

Elburn Food Pantry coordinator Rita Burnham said that Hanson and the Fire District have been great to work with.

“They do all the work,” she said. “They pack up all the food and sort it for us, so it’s really easy. They’ve been very successful (with their drive).”

In addition to the collection at Jewel, people who wish to contribute food and other items can drop them off at either of the two fire stations in the village. If it is difficult for an individual to get to the station, Hanson said they can call the station, and “we’ll do our best to come and collect it.”

It varies each week, but Burnham said that, on average, the food pantry serves between 40 and 45 families. The pantry is located in the Elburn Community Center, and is open on Thursday evenings.

“The number always increases in the winter,” she said. “Not everyone comes every week.”

People must live in the Kaneland School District and show some proof of residency, Burnham explained. Other than that, there is no eligibility requirement.

The bags of food and other items are packed based on the size of the family, with enough food for about two days, she said.

People may also write a check to the Countryside Food Pantry and mail it to P. O. Box 654 in Elburn.
They may also drop off items at the Elburn Community Center inside the side door, next to the parking lot.

The food pantry is made possible through the support of many community groups, including a number of churches, The Elburn Lions Club, schools and local farmers, Burnham said.

“It’s a real huge effort,” she said. “Everyone is a volunteer.”


MP Turkey Drop provides way to help those in need

MAPLE PARK—During the holiday season, community members and residents alike look for opportunities to give back to their respective community.

If you are trying to find a way to donate this year, the annual Maple Park Turkey Drop could be the answer for you.

The Turkey Drop is sponsored by the Grace United Methodist Church and St. Mary of the Assumption, both of Maple Park.

The doors of Grace United Methodist Church, located at 506 Willow St., will be open on Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone interested in donating a frozen turkey or ham or canned goods that will go to local charities in Maple Park and the Kaneland community for families in need in the surrounding area.

Members of the church are also interested in items that are canned or dried goods, such as instant mashed potatoes, gravy, canned green beans, stuffing, cranberries, canned corn, canned fruit, canned cream of mushroom soup and boxed desserts.

At the event, there will also be a meal provided as a thank you for anyone who donates towards the Turkey Drop. Craft vendors and entertainment for kids in the form of a bouncy house will be at the church the day of the event.

If you are interested in hosting a vendor table, contact Heidi at Heidi.gilkey@gilkeyranch.com. There is a $10 fee included for each craft vendor table.

Both churches encourage the public to participate in the Turkey Drop to help local residents who need support from their community this holiday season.

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