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Community Corner

Community Corner: A place where seniors make friends and grow

in Community Corner by

by Susan Oppenborn
Administrative assistant, Elderday Center

William Shakespeare once said, “A friend is one that knows you as you are and understands where you have been, accepts what you have become and still gently allows you to grow.“ At Elderday Center, we promote the idea that everyone has something important to contribute to the world. And through connecting with others, being active and making new friends, we stay vibrant and young at heart. By accepting who we are and what we have become, we can live fuller and more rewarding lives at home and in the world at large.

Celebrating 25 years this year, Elderday Center specializes in dementia and age-related illness care. Our program is unique because our specialized day program promotes cognitive stimulation and socialization, which can help slow the progression of dementia, minimize depression, and increase the overall quality of life. As the only community-based not-for-profit adult day program in the Tri-Cities, Elderday Center uses evidenced-based techniques to engage senior citizens affected with these diagnoses.

From the moment our seniors walk through the Elderday Center door, every activity has a therapeutic value. Each activity is selected with care to keep bodies, brains and spirits healthy and actively engaged. Year after year, our program has been shown to slow the progression of cognitive and bodily decline so our clients’ lives are enriched and they can remain in their homes with their families longer.

The Elderday Center program offers a wide variety of services and activities in which our clients can participate: daily exercise, seated yoga, field trips, intergenerational activities, games, crafts, special entertainment, lively discussions of current events, music and pet therapy, a hot lunch and two nutritious snacks, daily nurse monitoring, professional case management and much, much more. We are committed to providing the highest quality of care for each and every senior in our program. It is our intention every day to make a direct and meaningful impact on the quality of life for both our clients and their caregivers.

If you know a senior citizen suffering from dementia, alzheimers, depression, or isolation and think Elderday Center might be a good fit, or you’d like to learn more about our programming, call us at (630) 761-9750 or visit us online at www.elderdaycenter.org. We are located at 328 W. Wilson St., Batavia. We always welcome tours and guests.

And for those who would like to support our efforts, we will hold a fundraising event on June 9, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Panera Bread location on Wilson Street in Batavia. Just visit our website and print out the Panera coupon, and up to 20 percent of the day’s proceeds will be donated to Elderday Center. Just have breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner at Panera and support our seniors through your purchase. We will also host an open house at Elderday on Tuesday, Aug. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. for anyone interested in learning more about us and touring our facilities.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

So much to do at the Elburn Community Center

in Community Corner by

by Ryan Wells, Elburn and Countryside Community Center Board member
The Elburn and Countryside Community Center has a ton of things going on this spring and summer, and we want to let the community know how to get involved.

First, it is important to point out that the center receives no tax funding, so everything is paid for by the rent of the building tenants, any money generated from the various events at the center, and the generous donations of various members of the community.

The next upcoming event at the center is the Class in a Glass Wine Tasting from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. Tickets are a $15 donation if paid in advance, or $20 at the door. The tasting will consist of a variety of wine vendors from Geneva Wine Cellars and food provided by Costco. Tickets are available at the center or in the Elburn Herald office. This is the second time the center has hosted this event, and this year’s event promises to be significantly larger.

Following that, a group of local residents will come together to put on the semi-annual Swap Shop on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. The Swap Shop is a way for families of all sizes and experiencing any need to come in and shop for free. Over the years, many families who were once on the receiving end of the Swap Shop have since made sure to help on the giving, whether it be by donating items back to the event or volunteering their time. It is a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward. If you are in a position to help others, or take advantage of a variety of clothing and other household items if you find yourself facing a budget crunch. Items can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and shoppers are welcome to browse and go home with anything they need from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The center installed two sand volleyball courts on the grounds last year, and this year’s sand volleyball league is ready to kick off on Monday, May 4. Contact Leslie Flint at ElburnVolleyball@gmail.com for more information. It’s a great way to get together, have some fun, and work on your skills to prepare for the Elburn Herald’s annual Mud Volleyball tournament during Elburn Days.

Later in the summer, the center’s annual Chow Down picnic will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, July 12. More details will be available as the event draws closer, but it is a great day to come out, enjoy a picnic lunch provided by the center, and take advantage of the variety of activities and amenities available at the center.

Inside the building, there are a number of ongoing improvement projects that will continue throughout the spring and summer. Last year’s window fundraiser will lead to the replacement and improvement of a large number of the aging windows throughout the building. Flooring will be replaced and improved in a number of places in the building, and upgrades and maintenance will continue to occur throughout the building, including the bathrooms and dance studio.

Outside, you will notice some improvements to the ballfields. The center has partnered up with the Kaneland Youth Softball League this season, and their volunteers have put in a lot of time to get the fields into playing shape.

And as always, there will be a variety of additional and ongoing events and activities at the center as well, from men’s basketball leagues to Jazzercise and yoga classes.

We are always looking for more help, more volunteers, more tenants and donations of any size. With no park district in Elburn, we would love to continue to modernize the center and its grounds to help fill that hole as long as the community wants to use it.

For information about anything at the community center, feel free to call the center’s office at (630) 365-6655 or the Elburn Herald’s office at (630) 365-6446.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: Portrait of a Soldier at Sugar Grove Library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Library director, Sugar Grove Public Library

Memorial Day is a holiday created for honor, a day for remembering the service and dedication of our armed forces currently serving as well as ones that have sacrificed in ways most of us cannot possibly imagine.

A couple of years ago, an Army friend of mine said he felt that though we had a swell of patriotism after 9/11, that wave receded and we forget that our people, our fellow Americans, are still engaged and serving—a calling for a love of country that transcends politics. Knowing these sentiments, it is with great pleasure that I invite our community and local vets to the Sugar Grove Library to view the Illinois Portrait of a Soldier exhibit. I think most of us do not forget; therefore pausing on a day of respect is important. We remember.

The library will be hosting the Portrait of a Soldier exhibit for two weeks, May 23 to June 4. We cordially invite our community, families of service members, officials and honorable veterans to a reception on Saturday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you would like to be invited to speak at the reception or assist in sponsoring refreshments, call the library or email shannon@sugargrove.lib.il.us.

The Portrait of a Soldier exhibit contains over 300 hand-drawn sketches of fallen Illinois soldiers serving Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Each sketch was drawn from a portrait of the soldier, with the original sent to the family and a copy archived in this collection. The moving exhibit includes service members that have given the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11—some portraits with biographical information. This exhibit is free to our library and maintained by the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs through the governor’s office.

Displays of materials on Armed Forces, as well as military fiction from our collection, will be available to our patrons. We invite you to enjoy the exhibit, moments of powerful reflection and resources from our collection to mark the occasion. The gift of service is to be celebrated, as our freedoms are indeed not free.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: ‘Is it orphaned?’

in Community Corner by

by Donna Tate
Director of Education Programs, Fox Valley Wildlife Center

Among the nearly 3,000 animals the Fox Valley Wildlife Center takes in each year, the majority are the wild babies. Sometimes these new lives come to us with obvious signs of injury or trauma that necessitate human intervention. Other times, the demise of the mother is either obvious or witnessed and orphans are left needing care. What if you come across a baby, but neither scenario applies? How do you know if an animal is truly orphaned?

The first thing to remember is that a baby’s best chance of survival is with its own mother. While we strive to provide the best care possible, constantly assessing current protocol, adjusting formulas and keeping tabs on new research, there are often elements that can not be duplicated. The best course of action is to try to reunite the family.

There is a prevalent myth circulating that if a baby animal is touched by a human, they will be rejected by the parent because of the scent. This is simply not the case. Most animals are very good parents, searching days for wayward offspring. The presence of a human, the largest predator they will see, is far more fear-inducing. With this in mind, let’s take a look at situations that frequently arise.

The nests of the eastern cotttontail are very shallow depressions in the ground, covered by dead grass and fur from the mother’s belly. Bunnies found underneath this very thin layer, with ears flattened to the head and eyes closed, are totally reliant on the parent. The locations of these nests are generally out in the open without any kind of shelter or protection. It is not unusual to have one in the center of your front or backyard. Before firing up the lawn mower for the season’s inaugural trim, take a walk around your property to prevent any accidents. Sometimes a dog or cat will unearth a nest of newborns. If there are no obvious signs of injury and the babies were merely scattered, they can be placed back in the nest and re-covered with the original material. A laundry basket, or the like, can then be placed over the area for protection from your pet.

Concern arises when a nest has been discovered and no mother appears to be visiting the babies. Many people do not realize that the cottontail mom will only come back to her young at dawn and dusk in an effort to keep predators at bay. If watching the nest for her return is not possible, flour can be spread around the nest area to capture her footprints. If you have kept watch or placed flour and there is no evidence that the babies are being cared for, then, and only then, should the babies be considered orphaned. If you spy bunnies with erect ears and open eyes traversing your yard, even though they may be only 3-to-5 inches long, they are on their own and require no assistance.

In the case of squirrels, many fall from trees during storms or are displaced by routine yard work. Trimming trees or bushes can topple young to the ground. If there is no obvious trauma and the den or nest location is known, the baby can be placed back. If the baby’s home can not be found, locate a box and place a heat source, such as a hot water bottle covered with a blanket or towel, inside. Position the baby on top and wait. The mother very often will search for and take the baby back to the den. If the baby is injured, or after waiting the mother does not retrieve it, then intervention is necessary.

Nestlings—the small, often slightly bald-looking offspring of birds—often find themselves in similar circumstances. The youngsters many times will still have their eyes closed. If the baby is not injured, simply replace in the nest, if it can be located. If home can not be found, a substitute can be fashioned from an empty margarine or whipped topping tub. Place soft tissue, rags or grass in the clean container and deposit the baby on top. Take the container with the nestling back to the location where the baby was found and leave it there. If the mother does not return, then the baby can be deemed an orphan.

Another avian frequently seen is called a fledgling. This bird will look almost like its adult counterpart, but isn’t ready to fly. The parents will be nearby as the baby hops about—making attempts to become airborne—but are still feeding him on a regular basis. This young bird requires no assistance if there is no imminent danger in the area. If necessary, he may be moved to the low branch of a tree or bush to remain out of harm’s way.

Although we do not rehabilitate adult white-tailed deer, we do accommodate the fawns. These mothers also only feed their young at dawn and dusk. The fawns wil be well-hidden during the day as the parent feeds nearby. A good method of determining if this animal needs assistance is to look at the ears. One of the first signs of dehydration is a curling in of the tips and sides. This is an indication that the mother has been absent for too long a time and probably will not return.

When wild babies are encountered, it is natural to want to help. Reuniting the young with the mother is always the best course of action, but can require significant patience. Contact the Fox Valley Wildlife Center with questions on these or any other situations regarding living with our wild neighbors. We are here to help.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: Boosters prepare for upcoming Knight of Performances gala

in Community Corner by

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

For many, watching the Oscars is something to look forward to every year. From the red carpet, the actors and the movie clips to the musical performances, the fashion and glamour, the Oscars is the Super Bowl for some of us non-athletes.

This year, one of the most talked-about performances was Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” medley. Many had no idea she started her illustrious career on the high school stage.

On Saturday, March 14, the community will have the opportunity to see and hear some of Kaneland’s finest middle and high school performers on stage at the third annual Knight of Performances, sponsored by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters. Beginning at 5 p.m., this event will showcase nearly 40 acts, including students who are either performing a vocal or instrumental solo or ensemble, KHMS Mid-Knight Special, KHS jazz combos, a junior cellist, and actors from this year’s KHS spring musical, “Shrek.”

The evening will also include a basket drawing, silent auction and barbecue dinner. The event will take place at Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove.

The Knight of Performances committee has worked diligently to acquire many wonderful items for the basket drawing and silent auction, such as: one reserved parking space for a KHS student for the 2015-16 school year; tickets to Les Miserables, the Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, Kane County Cougars and Raging Waves; local restaurant and business gift certificates; wine and beer baskets; music lessons; Elgin Symphony Orchestra tickets; Disney Frozen basket; Vera Bradley and Kate Spade merchandise; hand-crafted jewelry by local artist Bessie Tockstein; and much more. The biggest, most-coveted prize of all is a one-day Walt Disney Park Hopper pass for four. All money raised at this event will directly benefit the students involved in the band, choir and theatre programs at Kaneland High School and HMS.

Guests will enjoy barbecue from 5Bs Catering in Waterman, Ill. Dinner options include a pork chop, chicken or combo dinner, or a kid’s hot dog meal. A vegetarian option will also be available. All dinners include side dishes and a choice of homemade dessert, including pie in honor of Pi Day.

The community is invited to attend this event. Attire is casual; no need to get out your designer dress. For a dinner order form, send an email to info@knightmusic.org or visit www.knightmusic.org.

If you would like additional information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters or how you can help with this event, find us on Facebook or send an email to president@knightmusic.org. While not every movie wins an Academy Award, each student who performs on stage is a winner in our minds. Do we have a future star in our midst? Come join us and find out.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Selection of best board members ‘critically important’

in Community Corner by

by Renee Goier
Kaneland School District interim superintendent

In the next few weeks, Kaneland community voters will select four members of the Kaneland Board of Education. Four members represent a majority of the seven member board, and selection of the best board members is critically important to the success of our community’s schools.

I have had the privilege of working with very talented and successful board members throughout my career. Successful board members do share some important characteristics that are supported by recommendations from the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) and other experts, such as Jim Burgett, author of “The Art of School Boarding.” I am hopeful that information about the work of school boards and the qualities desired in school board members will help voters select the best board members possible. Our community and students depend on your vote.

Before considering board member qualities, it is important to know what boards of education actually do. First and foremost, boards of education act as a group with no single member having power. They clarify the purpose of the district through vision and goal setting, and they govern the district through policy. Board members work within a highly regulated system, and they must understand the legal responsibilities and limits that guide their work. They employ and supervise one person, the superintendent, who they entrust to carry out their vision and policies in the day to day operation of the district.

Their relationship with the superintendent is extremely important for ensuring success of the district. In order to be successful, boards of education connect with the community by representing all stakeholders.

Good school boards are made up of individuals who understand their role. They work as a team. That does not mean that they always agree. In fact, some of the best boards I know have tough and thoughtful discussions that consider many alternative options. When they do not agree, they strive for consensus. They conduct their discussions civilly and exhibit respect for each other. Once the vote is taken, they all work to support the decision, even if they did not initially agree.

Good board members spend time learning about the district. They prepare for every meeting by studying the board materials before the meeting and asking questions of staff when they need more information. That work takes time. Board members make tough decisions. Their decisions are not always popular with every stakeholder group, but they make those decisions after careful study of the issue.

In order to successfully do this work, board members must be able to work on a team, keep an open mind and engage in give-and-take discussions to arrive at consensus. They must be willing to spend time studying, learning and doing the homework required to take part in the meetings. They have respect for the needs and feelings of others and have a well-developed sense of fair play. They understand the importance of their role and understand that the board is responsible for seeing that the business of the district is run by highly skilled professionals. These board members come from many different backgrounds that represent the community they serve. It is not necessary to have any additional expertise in education to be a good board member.

It is my sincere hope that voters will carefully consider the candidates for the Kaneland Board of Education and vote for the candidates who have the qualities desired in a good board member.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: ‘News of the new’ at Sugar Grove Library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Library director, Sugar Grove Public Library

We are off with a bustle in 2015, finding ways to maximize our services for the convenience of our patrons at the library. As such, we would like to share a few bits of “news of the new.”

In an effort to encourage the free flow of materials and resource sharing, area library directors in our consortium voted to remove hold restrictions on new materials. Sugar Grove patrons may now place holds on new materials from other libraries, and we will readily share our materials. Translation: Our patrons have access to many more fresh, hot books than our tiny budget could buy, and our patrons will always be in line for “our” hot titles first. See a staff member to learn how to place holds on books, as it can be done in the library or from our catalog 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We have a new transfer station at the library to convert home movies to DVD. Patrons may bring their VHS tapes and convert content to a DVD free of charge. Bring your own DVD to use, or purchase one for $1 at the Circulation Desk. DVD-R format discs should be used, and plan for the “run time” of your VHS tapes as it transfers in real time.

After you have transferred your material, use our editing computer loaded with Adobe Premier for movie editing. The addition of the transfer station will allow patrons to relax in the library while digitizing their memories. The station is first-come, first-serve, and copyright restrictions apply.

When you are visiting our community technology lab and running out of battery charge for your phone, tablet, or idevice, feel free to use the charging station. A variety of plugs are tethered to a holding station, allowing patrons to work on our computers while getting an energy boost. Please note, patrons are responsible for monitoring their technology and must not leave devices unattended.

Our Zone section for pre-teen and teens (generally sixth grade and above) has (ta da) gaming! Each week, an age-appropriate Wii or PlayStation game will be loaded onto the game center. Zoners may check out the controllers at the Circulation Desk using their library card, and they can use the system for one hour at a time. While in the Zone, feel free to use our facility to study or check out our collection of fiction and manga.

A special thank you for donations provided by the Corn Boil Committee, as their support makes our advancements possible. If you are interested in providing funding for our collection, advancement, a memorial donation, or providing funds for items on our wish list, let me know and I will be happy to match our needs with your interests. Enjoy the new!

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: Getting to know Fox Valley Wildlife Center

in Community Corner by

by Donna Tate
Director of Education Programs, Fox Valley Wildlife Center

On the grounds of the Elburn Forest Preserve sits a small, unassuming white house. And behind the closed doors of the converted ranger facility, the Fox Valley Wildlife Center is hard at work.

Kane County’s only state and federally licensed wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility originated from a concern for the welfare of wildlife. Opening its doors in 2001, the center has grown to treat over 3,000 animals each year. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we receive no federal or state funding, and rely solely on the generosity of public donations and revenue from education programs and fundraisers. Our staff consists of two amazing animal care professionals, seasonal help and volunteers.

Though not open to the public, ill, injured and orphaned wildlife are admitted 365 days a year. We accept all wild animals with the exception of skunks, bats and adult white-tailed deer. Approximately 90 percent of the patients we receive have been impacted by man in some way: altering or damaging an animal’s environment, dog or cat attacks, poisonings, auto and window collisions—the unfortunate list goes on and on. The remaining 10 percent are victims of naturally occurring disease or predatory conflict.

The work involved in the feeding and care of our charges is a labor of love—often messy, sometimes exhausting and emotionally taxing, it is always rewarding. Each life that passes through our doors is treated with dignity, regardless of the outcome. In the coming weeks, I will share stories from our center. You will meet some of the patients whose lives intersect with our own, as well as the challenges involved in training our newest education ambassador: Talulah, the wild turkey.

Interested in contributing to our mission of helping wildlife in need? We hold volunteer training orientations once a month. Choose from animal care and support positions, as well as more in-depth experiences as an intern.

Also consider attending events such as our wildlife baby shower, barn sale or open house. We have an extensive menu of education programs that travel to your school, Scout troop, birthday party and more. Further information on these and other events can be found at our website, www.foxvalleywildlife.org/. Additionally, you will find helpful information on wildlife, as well as other fun and informative articles, by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/FoxValleyWildlifeCenterInsider, and following us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/FVWildlife. I hope you will join us.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Community Corner: Find your career path at the library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Sugar Grove Public Library director

Over the holidays, I had the occasion to meet a 20-something young man who was confused about what he is actually meant to do with his life. This is not an uncommon condition for many young adults who are looking to find their “next” after graduating from college or returning from the military. Or maybe they face this dilemma when they are just trying to find a job that sustains life or at least helps move them out of mom and dad’s basement.

In the age of a rapidly changing job market, this condition is also not uncommon for folks of all ages, as careers are made, changed or transitioned each day.

I found my passion for libraries in my 20s as I left a career in media and went to the library each week to research career options. One day, I looked up and around and pondered, ”What do I have to do to work in a library?” It was a “wow” moment for me, and I found myself heading into a career in libraries—a career in which part of my work is to provide resources to help others “find themselves,” as well. And my, how libraries do contribute to economic recovery by providing a place for others to better themselves in a myriad of ways.

Now I love being able to offer help to others who are finding or even wandering on their career paths. Research can be as simple as strolling through the non-fiction stacks to browse subjects and match ideas to occupational handbooks, or as complex as using test study books to prepare for grad school entrance exams. Our online databases can assist researchers as scholarly articles can be obtained on a virtual treasure trove of subjects—precise information that is easily searchable in the library or from home.

We have patrons utilizing our technology lab for research or completing job applications on a daily basis, and navigating online employment applications forms can sometimes be tricky. Let us help. The ability to use printers, scanners, wi-fi printing and copiers—all while having an enjoyable place to work and grab a cup of coffee—makes the library an asset to job seekers, as well as business owners who just need a quiet place to work out of the office or on the go.

No matter what stage of your career path you are on, I invite you to let us help you find your way.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Answering the public’s many questions

in Community Corner by

by Renee Goier
Kaneland interim superintendent of schools

“Out of retirement and ready to work on behalf of the children of Kaneland.”
That was my focus in September when the Kaneland Board of Education appointed me interim superintendent. I will fill that role on a part-time basis for this school year. Most of my responsibility will be to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, to ensure that the School District meets all regulations and mandates, and to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible.

One other important task assigned to me by the Board of Education is to assess the status of the district, and to define its strengths and needs. To accomplish that goal, I find myself asking many questions, and many questions are being asked of me. In the remainder of this school year, I hope to publish and post answers to frequently asked questions. Any questions can be sent to me at renee.goier@kaneland.org.

School districts are complex entities. They are first and foremost learning institutions that are entrusted with the education of many children. In addition, a school district is often the largest employer in a region. Kaneland schools serve multiple communities, and the board and staff work diligently to meet the expectations of all of those communities. It is often difficult to find the common ground of multiple stakeholders.

School districts are also businesses. This time of year the business of schools is focused on levy, financial projections for the future and preliminary budgets. A question often asked of me is, “How do school districts conduct business?” The answer is complex, so I will approach it in multiple steps and will address only one aspect at this time. Look for more answers to this question in the future.

The business of school districts is highly regulated by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois General Assembly. Much of the work of the school board and administration is determining the best way to meet needs of students while working within regulations and mandates.

School district funds, or revenue, come from three general sources: local, state and federal. In Kaneland, local property taxes and family-paid student fees contribute approximately 80 percent, the state contributes approximately 17 percent, while the Federal government contributes approximately 3 percent.

With regard to spending, our primary costs are related to personnel, which is about 70 percent of the budget. These costs include salaries and benefits for teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, health aides, cooks, secretaries, coaches and administrators. The other 30 percent of the budget is typically spent on supplies and materials; capital projects, such as paving, technology, purchased services including custodians and snow removal; and tuition for students that require special services.

Kaneland has earned the highest financial rating from the state of Illinois. This improvement in rating has been achieved in the last few years through careful financial management and creation of adequate fund balances to meet emergencies.

Stay tuned for answers to questions regarding additional business practices, personnel, board of education responsibilities and programs for students and staff.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

The spirit of giving at the library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Library director, Sugar Grove Public Library

The spirit of giving is alive and well at the Sugar Grove Library in actions and deeds.

This month we are collecting non-perishable items for Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove. Patrons may freely donate, or we will waive $1 in fines for every quality non-perishable item collected. Not only does this endeavor meet the mission and values of service in a public library, but it affords our community an opportunity to get involved.

A food pantry provides supplementary assistance to individuals and children that may be experiencing temporary job, health or economic challenges. In our community, donating to our food pantry is a way for neighbors to provide a dignified “hand-up” to their neighbors in a most gracious way.

Actions of giving are also evident in our community, as five volunteers responded to our call for help and signed up to assist us. Hooray! As the Sugar Grove Library has an extremely tight budget, we need to strengthen our volunteer ranks in order to continue to provide services and resources to our patrons. We would greatly welcome additional volunteers for book shelving duties, grounds and landscaping, minor administrative assistance and even “experts” in their fields who would like to present a public program of a cultural nature. Feel free to stop by and let us know if you would like to give, as we will compensate you with smiles and gratefulness.

We hope our patrons also feel the spirit of giving within our walls. This month, our cozy fireplace is running on cold days, book displays are paired with seasonal decorations, holiday programs are presented, and Mike even has yummy imported chocolates in the Java Plus Cafe. It is indeed a month of sharing, and we wish you delightful holidays in all of your homes.

Please visit us for your material needs, whether you are traveling for the season or are snug in your bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.
Happy holidays, and thank you for giving and letting us give to the community.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Performing Arts Boosters give thanks

in Community Corner by

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

Often overshadowed by turkey, pumpkin pie and watching football, taking time to reflect on why we’re thankful is truly the meaning of Thanksgiving. The moment that Thanksgiving ends, the frenzy for holiday shopping begins and we forget why we are thankful.

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters is thankful for the support and dedication of parent and student volunteers, Kaneland teachers and administration, and local businesses and organizations that have helped us this year.

The Boosters would like to express their overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to the volunteers for sharing their time and talents with our organization. From the heat and humidity of a late summer evening, which quickly changed to a mad rush to get out of a thunderstorm, to the cold, damp nights in October, our volunteers stood by as we sold candy—and lots of it—at our home football games.

We could not have done all of this without the behind-the-scenes work from our very own Robin Urich. Robin coordinated the Booster football candy sales and is on the Booster Executive Board. In addition, she has spent countless hours over the course of several years volunteering in the KHS Band uniform room, hours spent sewing and repairing uniforms, organizing the uniform room, chaperoning, and caring for the band. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for her.

The Boosters are grateful to be in a district and community that supports the arts, and grateful to partner with local businesses. We are pleased to announce a partnership with Old Second Bank in an effort to raise funds for the band, choir and theatre programs the middle and high school. The Boosters and Old Second Bank invite business and community members to help make a difference by contributing to our annual fundraising drive for the future success of our band, choir and theatre students. With an in-kind donation from KPI of Elburn, annual giving campaign letters were sent to area businesses.

For those who donate, the Boosters will publicize your business or organization as one that supports the performing arts in the schools, and our ongoing efforts to enrich the schools’ offerings. We will also accept anonymous donations. For more information, send an email to president@knightmusic.org or call (630) 365-5272.

We’re grateful for the quality music education our students receive from outstanding music directors every time they enter the band or choir rooms. This is evident with the recent nomination of KHS Choral Director Bryan Kunstman as the Kaneland High School nominee for the 2015 Kane County Educator of the Year.

A large part of the selection process is a book of letters and pictures, which will be judged by the Kane County Regional Office of Education to select the recipient. If you are a current or former student of Mr. Kunstman, or parent of one, you are invited to write a letter of support to be added to the nomination book. Pictures may also be included. Please include your reasons, such as attributes, accomplishments, personal anecdotes, etc. The deadline for these letters is Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. You can send the letter and/or pictures via email to lori.grant@kaneland.org.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Stepping into the light of Sugar Grove

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias,
Sugar Grove Public Library director

Stepping into a new library directorship means entering a rapid learning process. A new director has to acclimate to a new community and its history, learn a unique collection, and sometimes tackle substantial administrative or financial issues. Usually this process includes meeting multiple pressing deadlines, and a new director has to hit the ground running—no training manual included. In all of our nation’s libraries, we do things a scooch differently.

What I can say so far about the Sugar Grove Public Library is that it reminds me of a lighthouse, providing the community with a beacon of culture, education, civic space and opportunity. The architecture itself, with its soaring ceilings, sturdy wooden beams, bright open spaces and comfortable nooks, communicates these concepts. This library, like the patrons it serves, has a solid backbone. It was built by folks of strong stock—a community hankering for intellectual freedom paired with common sense. Our library feels like a grand space, yet it maintains an approachability and friendliness, reminding me of the people of Sugar Grove, where people are the “can-do” kind of crowd and neighbors share a friendly hello. Like I said, freedom with sensibility.

Patrons can utilize our facility and feel their spirit open a bit, as connection to this civic institution is not only transactional but also relational. Isn’t that what a great library is all about?

Walking about the library on my first day, I discovered a bounty of wonderful spaces: a quiet reading room with comfortable chairs, a fireplace, a garden room perfect for snuggling with a book, and study rooms and tables regularly filled with patrons working and learning. Each day, amazing smells waft into my office from the Java Plus Cafe (taste the blueberry coffee—wow). I love to hear the happy bustle of children in Story Time, and though I can’t hear them as they clack the keys quietly, I am gratified to know patrons are constantly using our computers, wi-fi and online resources. Psst … did you know we even have a teen room?

I look forward to manning this lighthouse and providing for the needs of a dedicated community. Please feel free to stop by for a cookie, a hello or a personal handshake at a Meet the New Director event on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I am eager to learn how I can help your mind and spirit soar at our library.

Editor’s note

The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Support the Family Bingo Knight and Silent Auction

in Community Corner by

by Kimberly Bartkowiak
Secretary, Kaneland Blackberry Creek
Elementary School PTO

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek (KBC) PTO feels very fortunate to have the support of our local community for our fundraisers.

Fundraising allows us to purchase great items for our students and school, such as playground equipment, library books, iPads, assemblies, field trips, bike racks and much, much more.

We will hold our second annual Family Knight Out and Silent Auction on March 7, 2015. This event, for KBC families, will include free admission and Bingo, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction items, classroom basket auctions, and teacher-donated items and events. It is a guaranteed fun night out for our KBC students, parents, and siblings.

We are currently looking for donations of goods or services to use in our silent auction. Sporting goods, event tickets, memorabilia, electronics, services, products and gift certificates are all examples of great silent auction items. Monetary donations to sponsor this event are always welcome, too.

So, if you or someone you know is able to support this great event, contact us. For donation forms and more information, visit the KBC PTO website at kbcpto.org, or email us at kbcpto@gmail.com. All donations are tax exempt and are due by Feb. 23, 2015.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburn-herald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Arts Initiative gets ‘Excited about Education’

in Community Corner by

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative

The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) is opening its 2014-15 season with a unique event celebrating education.

“Shout Out!—Excited about Education” is a series of live readings written and read by individuals sharing their educational experiences. The event is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Kaneland Auditorium. Tickets will be $5 each for this event.

The Shout Out!—Excited about Education performance will coincide with the National Education Association’s American Education Week (Nov. 17-21) and celebrates all things education. Approximately 15 cast members will represent all parts of education, from students to teachers, custodians to school board members, parents, grandparents, and anyone who has been inspired by their educational experiences. Their stories will make you laugh, cry and remember why education is vital, exciting and wonderful.

Producer Maria Dripps-Paulson and Director Diane McFarlin are looking for individuals, ages 11 to 111 years old, to write a 5-minute speech about their educational experience. The speech should be centered around the individual’s experience and should be appropriate for all ages. Auditions will be held on Sunday, Oct. 5, beginning at 1 p.m. in 10 minute increments in the Kaneland High School Auditorium. Contact Diane McFarlin at diane.mcfarlin@kaneland.org to schedule an audition time. Cast members will be chosen based on diversity and best fit for the show. Other time obligations include two rehearsals and the performance.

Auditions for the winter show, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” will begin Monday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Kaneland High School Black Box Theatre. Contact kai@kaneland.org if you have questions regarding the auditions. Mark your calendars now for the performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 23-25, in the Black Box Theatre.

The KAI is thrilled to serve the community with professional arts programing for an exciting 16th season. Check out other amazing arts opportunities offered on our website, www.kanelandartsinitiative.org, as well as our Facebook page, facebook.com/KanelandArtsInitiative.

Community Corner: Town & Country offers genealogy, local history programs

in Community Corner by

by Amy Vidlak Girmscheid
History and Genealogy Collection Coordinator, Elburn Town & Country Library

In memory of Almer Gliddon, a life-long Elburn resident, the Elburn Town & Country Public Library hosts a lecture series biannually, in May and October.

The next installment of the Gliddon Local and Family History Series will be held Sunday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. Marsha Peterson-Maass, forensic genealogist, lecturer and teacher, will present “A 60 minute Crash Course: Beginning Genealogy Using Accredited Methods.” This lecture is a fun look at accredited basics and research methodology, and is suitable for everyone.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll take away a sense of what you need to be doing in your research. If you’re an experienced genealogist, you might be surprised to discover how much of the accredited methodology you only “sort of knew,” and that knowing the accredited research precepts can actually help revitalize your current search.

This is a free event. Seating is limited, so contact the library to make reservations.

The Library’s Family History Interest Group meets the third Thursday of each month, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. A typical meeting includes training and time to work on current projects. This group is computer based. Feel free to bring your laptop and questions.

The Historical Collection is in need of a few good volunteers to work with special projects. Current projects include transcribing oral histories, indexing collections and more. If you have some time to spare and are interested in volunteering, contact Amy Vidlak Girmscheid at agirmscheid@elburn.lib.il.us or (630) 365-2244.

Finally, the library is always looking for new and significant items related to the history of the Elburn area to add to the Historical Collection. Materials pertaining to local businesses, families, schools, etc., are welcome.

Have questions about the Historical Collection or related activities? Feel free to contact agirmscheid@elburn.lib.il.us.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Kaneland students spend summer pursuing musical endeavors

in Community Corner by

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

For most teenagers, summer vacation means trips to the mall, hanging out with friends and catching up on sleep. This summer, many Kaneland music students sacrificed some of their free time to engage in musical endeavors.

The Kaneland community is ideally situated within driving distance of dozens of music- or theatre-related camps held on college campuses or at privately-owned arts education institutions. These programs or camps focus on music, art, theatre, dance or creative writing. Some are for commuters; while others house the students in dorms for anywhere from five to 10 days.

Traditionally, music camps are taught by prominent professional and collegiate musicians, as well as award-winning music educators who provide motivational and music instruction for middle and high school students. Several Kaneland students used their Booster scholarships to help pay for attendance at these camps. As many students will attest to, attending a music camp also helps motivate them for the upcoming school year and beyond.

This past July, five KHS choir students spent the day at Sing! Workshop for teens, hosted by the St. Charles Singers. Their day was spent focusing on vocal technique and listening skills necessary to good ensemble singing. The students worked with the most experienced and talented chamber singers in the area, including our KHS choir director, Mr. Bryan Kunstman.

A concert in the evening concluded the day’s events. In addition, Kunstman held a Madrigal/IMEA Camp for his choir students. In the morning session, students prepared for the upcoming IMEA audition on Oct. 7 at Addison Trail High School. The afternoon session for Madrigal students was filled with preparing scales, triads and chord progressions, and to develop tonal skills. Students also learned a few songs for this coming year to practice for perfection.

Our KHS drum majors dedicated part of their summer to attend drum major camps. In mid-July, our two newest KHS drum majors attended the Smith Walbridge Drum Major Camp at Eastern Illinois University. Founded in 1949, Smith Walbridge was the first camp in the United States to specialize in instruction related to various marching band activities. More than 300 students from all over the country attended this camp led by instructors from top college marching band programs.

The six-day program included morning sessions on marching basics, focusing on pedagogy of teaching; learning sets of commands and perfecting them with squads; elective classes; twice-daily conducting classes; and sessions on leadership and motivational techniques. It was an exhausting week, yet both KHS drum majors shared they had the time of their lives. The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters funded part of the tuition associated with this camp. Our second-year drum major, who attended Smith Walbridge last year, attended the State Summer Symposium Drum Major Camp, held at Illinois State University. This weekend workshop integrated modern and traditional techniques with score study and leadership training. It’s a safe bet that our KHS Marching Band is in good hands.

For decades Kaneland has been considered football country. Yet there’s been another group training hard—the KHS Marching Knights. High school band members spent two weeks (40 hours the first week and 16 hours the second week) with band directors Aaron Puckett, Rebecca Andersen and guest directors prepping for the upcoming marching season—and it’s a lot more than just learning the school fight song.

Bright and early on Aug. 4, 100 band members arrived to spend the first two mornings without their instruments, learning marching basics, position of attention, different exercises and drills—all the formations and movements that will be part of their field show. Following a brief lunch break, students broke into groups representing sections of the band, including woodwinds, brass, drumline and color guard to rehearse the music for the show. At the conclusion of each day’s events, the band would come together to rehearse all music, and then it would be back outside for more marching.

This fall, the KHS Marching Knights will appear at all home football games, march in four parades, and participate in one marching exhibition and three competitions.

While our KHS Marching Knights were busy on the field, another band camp was held at Harter Middle School for incoming sixth-grade musicians. During camp, students attended 45-minute classes with sixth-grade Band Director Dan Zielinski, grouped by instrument type, every morning for two weeks. This offered students an opportunity to get “up and running” on an instrument, which resulted in faster progress, as well as increased interest, effort and success (also, this camp was just plain fun).

The Kaneland Music program will undoubtedly benefit from the time and effort these students have put in over the summer months. Community members are invited to attend concerts, exhibitions and field shows throughout the year. This information can be found on the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters’ Facebook page.

For more information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, send an email to: info@knightmusic.org. The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters is a registered 501c3 organization.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburn-herald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Join Kaneland Sports Boosters at Knights Under the Lights tonight

in Community Corner/Sports Boosters by

by Joel Redman, Kaneland Knights Sports Boosters – President

Please come and join the Kaneland Knights Sports Boosters on Thursday, August 21st, from 4:00-9:00 for the annual Knights Under the Lights at Peterson Field, Kaneland High School.

Come out and welcome the Kaneland Knights fall sports teams and coaching staffs. There will be football scrimmages, concessions, and music by the 2014-15 Kaneland High School Marching Band.

We will also be participating once again with Brian Bemis Auto Group, in holding the Knights Under the Lights Test Drive Fundraiser. Any 18 and older with a valid driver’s license can test drive one of several automobiles, and raise $20 for the Kaneland Knights Sports Boosters.

This money goes directly back to all of our sports programs with purchases of necessary equipment. We’re looking forward to seeing all of you for an evening of seeing old friends and welcoming our new athletes.

Community Corner: KBC, PTO to sponsor ‘Run for Fund’

in Community Corner by

by Kimberly Bartkowiak, KBC- PTO secretary
In an effort to promote health and wellness among the students at Blackberry Creek Elementary School, the Kaneland Blackberry Creek (KBC) PTO will partner with Blackberry Creek School to sponsor a “Run for Fund” as our fall fundraiser this year.

Our Early Childhood program will participate on Thursday, Sept. 25, and our kindergarten through fifth grade will participate on Friday, Sept. 26.

The Run for Fund is an outdoor run-a-thon /walk-a-thon. This is a fun event that will get our kids moving and raise money for our school at the same time. Students will collect donations to support their running and walking efforts, and they will be eligible for prizes when they collect $20 or more in donations. Consider supporting a student you know.

The funds we raise at this event will help fund our PTO for the entire year. Last year’s fundraisers allowed us to fund grade-level field trips, sponsor assemblies, purchase iPad minis, library and classroom books, math/reading/language programs, literacy enrichment, physical education equipment, classroom, art and music supplies, and many more needed items for our students and our school.

We would like to thank the many KBC parents, families and friends that have supported our students at the Run for Fund. Their support allows the KBC PTO to continue to provide educational materials and experiences for our KBC students. For more information, visit kbcpto.org.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Summer Reading Grand Finale at Town and Country Library

in Community Corner by

by Dwayne Nelson
Youth Services and Reference librarian
Town and Country Public Library

Town and Country Public Library will host its annual Summer Reading Grand Finale on Friday, Aug. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. This evening marks the culmination of the library’s “Paws to Read” Summer Reading program. Bring a friend. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Throughout the evening, library volunteers will serve hot dogs, pizza, chips and water. A Zoo to You petting zoo will bring in goats, sheep, a donkey, a llama, ducks, bunnies and chicks. Children and adults can pet and feed the animals. Stop by the Sparkles Entertainment booth. They will paint an awesome design on your face or arm.

Truly Remarkable Loon (www.trloon.com/ library/index.html) will return to the library to perform his “Read Books and Juggle Everything Else” comedy juggling show. This is an outdoor performance, so bring a lawn chair or blanket.

The next show is indoors. Chris McBrien (www.magicstoryteller.biz) and his zany puppet friends will entertain you with his “Wild and Wacky Pet Show.” Chris will mix magic and storytelling while his puppets Dewey Duck, George the Giant, among others, amaze you with their antics.

Unscheduled Tour (www.facebook.com/UnscheduledTour) will appear for the first time at the library. Unscheduled Tour features Audry Buchanan, Rich Cardia and Greg Torrence—three friends who will play your favorite rock, country and blues from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. This will be an under-the-sky performance.

Don’t forget the Elburn Days Parade on Friday, Aug. 15. Library staff will march in the parade and hand out “Watson” balloons. Watson, the library’s mascot, will also be at the library to hand out balloons.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@ elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

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