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From the Editor’s Desk - page 2

Soup’s on

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For years it was our goal to feature a food-oriented column in the Elburn Herald, and we spent many company meetings kicking around ideas such as a dining review, weekly cooking recipes and even a Q&A with a local chef.

None of the above suggestions panned out, obviously. It’s a conflict of interest for us to review a local dining establishment, especially when we want to see each and every Kaneland area business flourish. And what if said establishment advertises with us? That’s a problem.

And in terms of running an “ask a chef” column, we simply couldn’t find the right person for the gig. Cooking is no easy task, so we couldn’t realistically expect a local chef to take time away from their business to handle a monthly column.

Well, all of that changed in November when Janet Lagerloef, owner of Sugar Grove’s The Catering Gourmets, approached us with the idea of contributing a monthly cooking column dedicated to her favorite recipes and cooking methods. And because we long sought an opportunity to feature a chef column in our pages, we couldn’t say yes to Janet’s offer fast enough.

And lo and behold, the Elburn Herald’s guest chef column was (finally) a reality.

Janet’s first two columns instructed readers on how to create the “perfect” Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, and recreate a sugar cookie recipe passed down from her husband’s great-grandmother, Mina. This month, Janet will teach you how to make a signature dish from her all-time favorite cookbook. If it tastes half as good as it looks, you’re all in for a treat.

We hope you enjoy Janet’s column as much as we do. We look forward to further featuring her recipes, tricks and cooking insight in the Elburn Herald. Bon appetit.

Editorial: Give life by donating blood

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If one of your 2015 New Year’s resolutions was to help people and be a better person, we know of a way you can put check marks on both items. And in one fell swoop, no less.

The Elburn Fire Department will host a blood drive on Saturday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fire Station, 210 E. North St., Elburn.

Look, donating blood can be a scary thing if you’re not a fan of needles (and we’d be remiss to not mention that most of us dislike the sheer thought of them), but think of it this way: it takes just a few moments to donate something that can literally change a person’s life for the better. Trust us, it’s worth it—so much so, in fact, that all blood donors on Saturday will receive a a T-shirt for their lifesaving donation. So not only can you tell people you’re a hero for stopping by the Elburn Fire Department to donate blood, you can prove it with a nifty new shirt.

Of course, those who donate blood should be sure to eat something rich in iron prior to their appointment. In case you’re wondering, iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, spinach, beans, raisins and iron-concentrated cereals (it will say so on the box). Also be sure to hydrate, and skip the alcoholic beverages the day of donation (we know, we know … but that shouldn’t be a problem if your appointment is early in the day).

To schedule a donation, call the Fire Station at (630) 365-9226 or sign up online at www.heartlandbc.org. Appointments are preferred; walk-ins are welcome.
Thank you for considering donating blood. It’s the most important gift one can give.

Editorial: Help from the community

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If you’re a frequent reader of the Elburn Herald, you’re no stranger to Elburn resident Meagan Seals, who was born in November 2009 with the rare conditions encephalocele microcephaly, anecephaly and lissencephaly (translation: she was born with the main part of her brain missing, and she has a rare formation of the brain, making it smooth).

As a result of her birth conditions, Meagan wasn’t expected to take her first breath, let alone live more than two weeks. She did both, however, and has been defying the odds ever since. And last November, she celebrated her fifth birthday.

Many of the stories we’ve written about Megan have focused on the ways the community has come through for her, including fundraisers and donated items such as an iPad and custom-built wheelchair.

Meagan continues to fight all of her medical complications, but it’s been anything but easy. She recently experienced a health setback, resulting in two emergency brain surgeries.

Meagan’s medical expenses are staggeringly high, but the good news is the community will have another opportunity to help the Seals family—parents Scott and Luellen, and their children, Ryan, Madison, McKenzie and Meagan—this time with a Meagan Seals Community Benefit on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. at Elburn American Legion Hall, 112 N. Main St., Elburn.

Tickets to the event are just $25 each, and include a meal and drink. Only 400 tickets will be sold. There will be a raffle, too, with 20 winners and a total payout of $2,500. Winners need not be present.

Ways the community can help include ticket purchase, table sponsorship, dessert and appetizer donation, help with decorations, volunteer work and monetary donation. Donations of goods and services can be dropped off at Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, 106 N. Main St., Elburn, and the Elburn Herald, 525 N. Main St., St. 2, Elburn. Event tickets can also be purchased at both locations.

For more information, contact Lynn Logan at LLogan@elburnherald.com or Annette Theobald at annerich@sbcglobal.net. You can also visit the Meagan Seals Benefit page on Facebook.

Kids say the darndest things

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We usually jump at any available chance to feature Kaneland-area youngsters in the Elburn Herald, as it never ceases to amaze us just how aware and enlightened kids are today. So when we came up with an idea last month to print New Year’s resolutions submitted to us by Kaneland elementary schoolers, well, we could hardly wait to see what the kids would send us.

And the students didn’t disappoint, either. Responses ranged from creating world (and sibling) peace and cleaning up the house to saving money and using a lemonade stand to fundraise the fight against ebola. One child even said his resolution was to weigh 82 pounds so his dad would let him play quarterback. Someone should tell that young man to enjoy his metabolism.

On a heartwarming note, several of the New Year’s resolutions we received included a goal to end bullying in 2015. That’s a huge win for Kaneland anti-bullying groups, as it’s clear that their message is getting through to so many youngsters in the School District. Keep up the great work, committee members.

It’s also important to note that we also received New Year’s resolutions from John Shields Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders. And while we were unable to print their submissions this week, we plan on featuring them in the Jan. 8 issue.

Thank you again to the Kaneland elementary schools and students who participated in our New Year’s resolution feature. As for our New Year’s resolution, we intend to feature more student-oriented holiday content in 2015, beginning with Presidents Day in mid-February.

In the meantime, Happy New Year from the Elburn Herald. We’ll see you in 2015.

Top 10 stories from 2014 on ElburnHerald.com

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Our most-viewed stories of 2014

www.elburnherald.comTragedy and new beginnings dominated our 2014 top-ten most-viewed stories on ElburnHerald.com.

The list is quite diverse in terms of specific topic, but the common theme remains: the Kaneland community is all about the people that live here. Seven of the top 10 stories are about a specific person.

Happy Holidays from the Elburn Herald

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As the holidays draw near, and another year draws nearer to a close, we want to use this space to wish the Kaneland community and everyone else a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

From fabulously-lit Christmas homes to Christmas kettles and local holiday gathering and events, no community does Christmastime quite like this one, and we’re so blessed to be a part of it. And speaking of fabulous light displays, if you haven’t already stopped by the Elburn Town & Country Public Library to see its custom light show, we strongly encourage you to do so sometime between now and the beginning of the new year. The library light show is beautiful, and a lot of hard work on the part of Campton Hills resident Brian Larsen went into its design, construction and completion.

Also, speaking of Christmas activities, we’d like to take a moment to thank the community for participating in the numerous Kaneland-area Christmas events that took place in late November and early December. The new Elburn Christmas Stroll, now the Saturday following Thanksgiving, was a well-received event, as were Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove, Maple Park’s Make and Take event, Christmas in Kaneville and the Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s inaugural Jinglepalooza gala. Is there a community that does Christmastime better than Kaneland? Perhaps, but we doubt it.

Last but certainly not least, Sugar Grove Village Board trustee Mari Johnson this week submitted a Letter to the Editor regarding the incredible spirit and character of fellow trustee Bob Bohler, who recently stepped down from the Village Board due to his declining health. Many of us at the Elburn Herald have at one time or another had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bohler, and we ask our readers and the community as a whole to keep him in their hearts and prayers as he continues his battle against cancer. We’re thinking of you, Bob.

From everyone at the Elburn Herald, have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Community comes through for Elburn resident

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We featured a story last week detailing the theft of a Christmas light projector from Elburn resident Frances Kitz, and the special meaning the device holds for Frances and her family.

Our initial hope upon running the story was that a local resident would come forth with some information regarding the whereabouts of the projector. However, there’s never a guarantee that a stolen item will turn up, even in a kind, close-knit village such as Elburn. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit that we were prepared to accept the projector’s vanishing act as permanent, going the way of Jimmy Hoffa or a vessel traveling through the Bermuda Triangle.

Well, we’re incredibly pleased to announce that Frances’ light projector was returned within hours of the public reading Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill’s story on the theft. The anonymous return didn’t include an explanation or even a note—just the projector in all its glory.

Was our story directly responsible for the item’s return to its rightful owner? We’ll likely never know, and that’s perfectly OK with us. All we wanted was for the community to step up and help out a local resident, and it went above and beyond that expectation. As a result, Frances and her family can enjoy a spectacular Christmas light show made possible by Frances’ late husband, Marty.

To the person (or persons) who returned the light, you helped make a family’s Christmas just a little bit better and a little more meaningful. And for that, we are so grateful.

And to the local community as a whole, thank you for continuing to be a tight-knit, caring, selfless group. Should we ever again need to call you to help locate something lost or stolen, we’ll know we’re enlisting the best group available.

Editorial: Community helped make Jinglepalooza a success

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We want to thank the community for their attendance and support of the Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s first annual Jinglepalooza event, held Friday evening.

The Elburn Herald has hosted its annual Candyland event—in which we create a life-sized Candyland game for area kids and those who are kids at heart—for 18 years. Up until this year, Candyland was part of the Elburn Christmas Stroll event. When that event changed dates to Thanksgiving weekend, we had to choose between forcing our employees to come in during the Thanksgiving holiday to build Candyland in preparation for the Elburn Christmas Stroll, or merge our event with the first annual Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s Jinglepalooza on the traditional first Friday of December.

We chose the latter, and we are happy to report that the attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations.

We had hundreds of children play life-sized Candyland, and there are few greater things we experience each year than a child’s eyes light up as they round the bend through our Peppermint Forest and see the entirety of Candyland before them—all in life-sized splendor.

We had hundreds of adults accompany those children, and their children’s joy was clearly contagious, as the entire evening was filled with smiles and positive comments.

We owe a lot of people a lot of thanks for helping make Candyland the best its ever been in 2014. To the Community Center’s Senior Exercise Group, we want to thank you for volunteering to help at Candyland, and we hope to see you next year. To our fellow organizations and businesses who also participated in Jinglepalooza, such as MidTown Martial Arts, Creative Beginnings Preschool, GTP Activewear, Fox Valley Wildlife Center, Jazzercise, Hope Anglican Church, Elburn Jewel, Elburn Economic Development Corporation and Elburn American Legion, we want to thank you for being wonderful partners and helping the overall event be such a success.

To all the crafters filling the gym with wonderful items, many of which already committed to next year’s event, we want to thank you for your dedication to your craft and your participation in the event.

To those who decorated a wreath for the Community Center’s wreath auction, thank you for donating your time and decorative items to help raise money for the center. As a tenant of the Community Center, we know how much every dollar counts, as the center receives no money from tax revenue or any outside source. So thank you to those who bid on the wreaths, as it is your dollars that help the building maintain itself and continue to improve.

To Santa and his elves, thank you for spending time with our community’s children; we know it’s a busy time of year, what with building all of the presents for the entire world going on, so we appreciate the time you spent with us.

To the Community Center, we want to thank you for pulling all of us together for a wonderful holiday-season evening. There are so many people behind the scenes working to make sure everything came together—volunteer administrator Kristen Damolaris, Community Center Board President Pat Leyden and the staff of Leyden Electric, as well as board members Bill Brauer, Dan Hannemann and Brian Herra, who each came and did their part to make sure the whole event was a success.

Our biggest thanks of all goes to everyone who attended, everyone who brought their children and spent their family time with us enjoying the holiday season. We can’t wait until next year!

Send us your Elf on the Shelf photos

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Each December, countless households celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday by taking in a cute little elf. He’s not just any elf, however—he’s the Elf on the Shelf. And his sole purpose is to spy on children (on their parents’ behalf, of course) and make sure they’re behaving and deserving of the presents Santa Claus will bring them on Christmas morning.

For an elf meant to help police the behavior of young boys and girls and everywhere, he sure has a hard time behaving himself at times.

And that’s where you, the Elburn Herald reader comes in. If you have photos of your elf acting out, send them to Photos@elburnherald.com or post them on the Elburn Herald’s Facebook page.

We can’t wait to see what the local elves are up to.

Editorial: Let’s get ready to Jinglepalooza

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Those in attendance last Saturday for the Elburn Christmas Stroll might have noticed that the Elburn and Countryside Community Center was absent from this year’s downtown event. Fans of the Community Center’s Stroll activities in year’s past can breathe a sigh of relief, however, as the center will host its inaugural Jinglepalooza event on Friday, Dec. 5.

Jinglepalooza’s maiden voyage comes about because the Community Center was unable put forth a slate of Christmas activities for this year’s Elburn Christmas Stroll, which was rescheduled from its usual first-Friday-in-December slot to the Saturday following Thanksgiving. So while beloved Community Center activities such as the Holiday Bazaar, sleigh rides and the Elburn Herald’s life-size Candyland game were unfortunately nowhere to be found during the Christmas Stroll, you can bet they’ll be found at the Community Center on Friday night.

Jinglepalooza will feature many family favorites including photos with Santa, the Polar Express Elf Train, life-sized Candyland, martial arts demonstrations, wildlife interaction, cookie decorating, a wreath auction, craft show and more.

Community Center visitors will have a chance to check out the fun inside and outside the center, and then ride the Polar Express Elf Train. It features a train of sleighs pulled through a maze of nearly a dozen large holiday inflatable decorations.

Fortunately for the public, the majority of Jinglepalooza’s events will take place inside the Community Center. There, everyone is invited to have a photo taken with Santa, who will be on hand to hear Christmas gift requests. Cookies will be available to decorate, and holiday wreaths will be auctioned as a fundraiser for the center.

And as mentioned earlier, Candyland and its accompanying world of Christmas treasures and life-size sweets (inedible, unfortunately) will be available in the Community Center’s dance studio. The Elburn Herald has presented this beloved event for 17 years, and it continues to get bigger and better each year.

There is absolutely no charge to attend Jinglepalooza. However, residents may stop by any Elburn bank to purchase a jingle bell to help ring in the holidays at Friday’s event.

For more information regarding Jinglepalooza or the Community Center, call ECCC volunteer program director Kristen Damolaris at (630) 365-6655.

Editorial: From the classroom to the newsroom

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by Madeline Mohatt and Shannon Gilkey
Kaneland Krier staff

As staff members of the Kaneland Krier, the chance to spend a day shadowing the staff of the Elburn Herald was a great way to expand our knowledge as student journalists.

On Nov. 11, we took over the Elburn Herald newsroom. In the midst of invasion, we were given the opportunity to observe the editors and staff who construct Elburn’s local paper every week.

We were able to broaden our editing, photography and design skills by watching the staff in action. We also noticed that things are run differently in the Krier newsroom compared to the way things are done in the Elburn Herald newsroom.

The Krier staff is made up of students all within high school grade levels. Within the staff, the students are divided into four different levels of authority, which is different from the Elburn Herald. That means someone younger and less experienced could potenitially have a higher position of authority with the Krier.

Unlike the atmosophere of the Kaneland Krier, the Elburn Herald is much more organized and collected. Our school newspaper comes out on a monthly basis, whereas the Elburn Herald is a weekly paper. This gives them an opportunity to cover more timely news on a tighter deadline—an advantage that we do not have.

Despite tight deadlines, the Elburn Herald never fails to run an exceptional paper. In regard to story ideas, brainstorming exists at the Elburn Herald and Krier. However, while brainstorming it is one of the most important aspects of production for the Krier, many of the Herald’s stories are the result of reader input and a constant dialogue with the community. Therefore, the Krier hopes to incorporate more input from the student body in issues to come.

Editorial: Helping one of our own during a time of need

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Like many of you, we received news late last week that Kaneville Village President Pat Hill is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. This week, Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill spoke with the Kaneville community to get a better sense of the next steps in Hill’s fight against her cancer. Meanwhile, the next step on our end is to encourage the entire Kaneland community to participate in two upcoming fundraisers that will benefit Hill and her family.

The first event is called “Pink Out for Pat,” and will feature Premier Designs jewelry. It will take place Saturday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kaneville Community Center, 2S101 Harter Road, Kaneville.

Pink Out participants will have an opportunity to browse through versatile, affordable jewelry, so be sure to bring your Christmas list. And if you purchase a total of $75 (before tax and shipping), you can choose another item, up to $50 in value, for just $10.

Cash or check is preferred for this event. If you can’t stop by the event, contact Tina Romas at (630) 363-5477 or tinaromas@mediacombb.net and place an order. To view an online catalog, visit www.yourjewelrygenie.mypremierdesigns.com. Access code: 1234.

The second fundraiser to assist Hill with her medical bills will take place Saturday, Dec. 6, at Fishermen’s Inn, 43W901 Main Street Road, Elburn.

Even if you’re unable to donate much to this cause, every little bit helps. Pat Hill has worked tirelessly to make Kaneville and the local community a great place to live and visit, and we urge the public to consider giving back during this time of great need.

Editorial: Oh, look: some good news

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We’d like to take a moment and step away from the ongoing story involving the Nov. 4 Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District disconnection referendum to focus, albeit briefly, on some local news.

Elburn recently saw the addition of not just one, but two coffee shops.
The first coffee shop, The Corner Grind, held its grand opening on Monday, and enjoyed a very successful debut following last week’s “soft opening.” Elburn Herald reporter Debbie Behrends this week spoke with The Corner Grind owners Tony and Ann Cobb about the new store and how and two local residents came to open a coffee shop in downtown Elburn. You can read the entire piece on page 1A.

The other coffee shop, Dunkin’ Donuts, is no stranger to America’s enjoyment of a strongly caffeinated breakfast. The Elburn location, which sits in a brand-new building just east of the local Jewel-Osco, opened its doors on Oct. 16. And ever since, countless residents have been seen piling through the doors.

If you’re a local resident who seriously enjoys a coffee fix, be sure to visit both of Elburn’s new coffee-minded stores.

And in the non-Elburn, non-coffee news, Sugar Grove officially became home to a new Ace Hardware store on Oct. 16. The store is located on Route 47, next to the Jewel Osco, and it’s hardly a one-trick pony, featuring an indoor shop and a separate section designated for the sale of premium cat, dog and bird food.

For more information on the new Sugar Grove Ace Hardware location, check out Elburn Herald reporter Natalie Juns’ story on page 5A.

So there you have it—three great additions to a great community. Now get out there and enjoy them!

Editorial: Have your say on Nov. 4

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As you likely know, our Letter to the Editor section this month has served primarily as an outlet for local residents to weigh in on a fire district disconnection referendum that will appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

On that day, voters in the northeast section of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District’s territory will decide whether they want to disconnect from the district and join the Fox River Fire/Rescue District. The portion of territory in question is home to 3,000 residents.

Just about all of the letters we’ve received regarding the disconnection referendum have been in Elburn & Countryside Fire District’s favor, with a letter from Fox River & Countryside Fire Chief Greg Benson serving as the lone exception. We expect to receive many more disconnection referendum letters from local (and even non-local) residents between now and Nov. 4, and we encourage our readers to submit a letter as a way to offer their two cents on the referendum.

However, we’ve yet to hear from an Elburn resident who is in favor of the disconnection, although a petition to disconnect from Elburn and join the Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District suggests there are approximately 128 residents who support the referendum. If any of those 128 residents are interested in sending a letter stating their reasons for backing the potential de-annexation, send it our way. We’re interested in reading your thoughts on the matter.

We also encourage all of our readers to visit the election polls on Nov. 4 and cast their General Election ballot. This week marks the debut of our General Election 2014 pre-coverage, and we look forward to bringing you information on local candidates. However, our pre-election coverage is only valuable if you vote this fall, so be sure to mark Tuesday, Nov. 4, on your calendar (or phone). When it comes to voting, you’re either in or you’re out. Make sure you’re in.

Editorial: Celebrate with some Class in a Glass

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Declining temperatures notwithstanding, October is typically an excellent month for local weekend activities and fundraisers. So if you’re looking for something fun to do on Saturday, Oct. 11, consider “classing” things up with a trip to the inaugural Class in a Glass wine-tasting event from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St. The event is presented by the Community Center and Elburn Liquors.

During the event, you’ll have an opportunity to relax, learn about wines, sample food on hand, and place orders that will be ready for Halloween.

Tickets to the event are $20 each, and available at the door. Tickets are also available at Elburn Liquors, 319 S. Main St.; the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St.; and the Elburn Herald office, 525 N. Main St.

You must be 21 years of age and have your ticket present to enter the Class in a Glass event.

Fall might’ve just arrived, but with colder temperatures on the horizon, now is certainly the time to get out and enjoy local events and fundraisers while you can still go outdoors without donning a parka. Get some friends together and put some additional class in your Saturday afternoon. It’s bound to be a great event.

Celebrate the second annual Kindness in Kaneland Week

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Last fall, we helped announce the creation of Kindness in Kaneland Week—seven days of programs and celebration meant to promote friendship, respect, happiness and, most important, anti-bullying, in the Kaneland community.

The collaboration between organizers and the Kaneland School District was unquestionably a success, as it helped put forth a message that went above and beyond any sort of ordinary “bullying is wrong” campaign. Rather, Kindness in Kaneland Week last year promoted the importance of positive interaction with everyone around us, looking for the good in people, helping those who are in need, aspiring to be the person we expect others to be, and treating everyone the way we expect to be treated.

That might all sound like a common-sense concept, but too often and too easily, society loses sight of the privilege that is life—how fragile it is, and the impact our words and actions can have on another human being. Life is short, so it makes absolutely no sense to spend it by making things tough on others. When a child is bullied or made fun of at school, they feel negative feelings—feelings of shame, humiliation and hurt. They then take that hurt home with them, and maybe, if they’re not too embarrassed, they’ll share the negative experience with a parent. And when a child hurts, their parents hurt just as much. And now that parent has to worry about their child’s emotional well-being whenever they’re away, and whether their child will be further targeted by bullies at school, on the playground, or anywhere else.

No child or parent should ever have to worry, and that’s why Kindness in Kaneland Week, and the Kindness Campaign overall, is such a powerful social device and group, respectively.

As the Kindness Campaign celebrates its first full year of making a difference, let’s help ensure that the second annual Kindness in Kaneland Week, scheduled for mid-October, is even more successful this time around. Be a leader. Be a role model. Be a friend. Be a great person. Be kind. All of that should encompass what the Kaneland community is all about.

Editorial: Get an early jump on the holiday spirit

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The month of October is hardly an appropriate time to discuss anything related to Christmas (are you listening, Wal-Mart?). Nevertheless, we want to mention that a fundraiser for Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove 2014 will take place later today.

The pork chop/chicken dinner, catered by 5-B’s, is available from 4 to 7:30 p.m. in the Sugar Grove Walgreens parking lot. This drive-thru event will benefit Sugar Grove’s upcoming Holiday in the Grove event and festivities, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Sugar Grove Community House and Public Library, among other locations.

Holiday in the Grove features several timeless activities, including Breakfast with Santa, Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, arts and crafts, a gift shop, as well as several vocal and instrumental performances at the library. The entire event is a hit year after year, and continues to run annually thanks to community interest, outstanding attendance and fundraising. So this evening’s 5-B’s dinner really is just a way to ensure that Santa has enough magic in his sled to make it to each and every breakfast session the morning of Holiday in the Grove. And without Santa, Mrs. Claus would be far too grouchy to host her Sweet Shoppe.

If you don’t already have dinner plans this evening, consider taking a trip to Sugar Grove Walgreens for a pork chop or chicken (or both) meal. The cost is $10 for a one-meat dinner, $11 for a two-meat combo, and $4 for a kids hot dog meal.

The old Christmas adage “it’s better to give than to receive” will always prove true, but with tonight’s Holiday in the Grove fundraiser, you can do both. Tis the season … sort of.

Editorial: Consider donating to the Beverly Holmes Hughes fund

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We often use this editorial space to identify key activities happening somewhere within the Kaneland community. This week, we’d like to take a moment to direct you toward an incredibly important cause currently taking place in the village of Sugar Grove.

Beverly Holmes Hughes is someone who needs no introduction around these parts. She served as Sugar Grove’s longtime library director, was the village’s 2010 Citizen of the Year, and has been involved in everything from the Corn Boil and the Chamber of Commerce to the Farmer’s Market. Simply put, when we think of Sugar Grove, she’s one of the first people to come to mind.

Hughes last summer was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme—an aggressive brain tumor with a dire prognosis. The diagnosis is even worse when you consider that she is the sole financial provider for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister, Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still minors living at home.

Several of Beverly’s friends have joined together to host a fundraiser for her and her family, called “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer.” Organizers have set up an account at Castle Bank at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove, and they are asking area families to drop off checks made out to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund. Donations can also be dropped off at a number of locations throughout Sugar Grove (for more details, see the “In the company of family, friends” story).

Unsurprising is the news that Beverly is still working despite her illness. Since she is the only one in the family with a job that provides health insurance, she must continue working, even though the tumor is affecting her ability to walk and the chemo has sapped her strength. She currently serves as the director of library services for DeVry University in Addison, Ill., and though the library has allowed her to do some of that work from home, she must still go in regularly.

After years of selflessly and continuously giving everything she has to better Sugar Grove, we kindly ask that the local community help give back to Beverly during this time of great need. Items of need range from grocery cards and easy meals, back-to-school supplies and clothes (for her children), to paper towels, liquid soap, Lysol wipes, trash bags and hand sanitizer. Gifts of fun family activities are also welcome, as Beverly is trying to spend quality time with the children while she can.

If you’re able to donate anything to the Beverly Holmes Hughes fund, we urge you to strongly consider doing so. Even if it’s the tiniest of donations, you’re still contributing to the most worthwhile of causes.

Editorial: Reflecting on the events of Sept. 11, 2001

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It’s hard to believe that today marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Stoneycreek Township, Penn. And while some historic events can lose a little bit of their cultural impact as time goes on, there’s absolutely no doubt that the horrific and terrifying images associated with Sept. 11, 2001, are as fresh in our minds today as they were 13 years ago, when an ordinary Tuesday morning turned into one of the most surreal, tragic sequences in the history of the United States of America.

This week’s Letter to the Editor section features a heartfelt, must-read entry from Mike Fagel, who was deployed as a first responder to Ground Zero in New York City for nearly 100 days following the Sept. 11 attacks. In his letter, Fagel states that he visited Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania just two weeks prior to the terrorist attacks, and had actually copied the Gettysburg address into a small pocket notebook that he eventually carried with him while deployed to Ground Zero. That address contains a particular sentence that rang especially true for Fagel as he aided the relief effort in New York City.

Further, the Kaneland community today has an opportunity to hear a firsthand account from someone who survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Joe Dittmar, one of the survivors of the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, will again share his story, this time at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

The special presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.waubonseetickets.com.

The session will offer those in attendance the chance to not only hear from one who witnessed and felt the terrorist attacks firsthand, but to remember the events of that day and reflect upon what they still mean to us today.

Dittmar was on the 105th floor of 2 World Trade Center (the south tower), attending a routine business meeting with representatives of other insurance companies when terrorists piloted an airliner into the north tower, 1 World Trade Center. He later learned he was one of only seven survivors out of 54 in attendance at the meeting on the 105th floor that morning.

While Dittmar’s presentation is steeped with facts and observations of historic proportions, it also incorporates reflections on what was learned that day and the lessons we should continue to teach.

Thirteen years later, the wounds left by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are still fresh. So when we look back on that fateful Tuesday, it’s as important as ever to remember all of those who lost their lives as a result of the attacks. As Mr. Fagel stated in his letter, “Never forget.”

We won’t.

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