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Editorial/Opinion - page 10

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.

Editorial: Take the ‘labor’ out of Labor Day weekend with Maple Park Fun Fest

in From the Editor's Desk by

We’ve reached that time of year when kids are back to school and Labor Day weekend is staring us in the face. And that means, yes, summer—for all intents and purposes—is over. Kaput. Fin.

Well, summer’s not “completely” over. We still have one more local summer festival—Maple Park Fun Fest—to enjoy before officially bidding adieu to summer 2014. And anyone who knows what Fun Fest offers each and every year knows that it’s a great way to send off the summer in style (likely to return only after we endure another polar vortex).

This year’s festival will take place Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, Maple Park.

The festival will feature its annual run/walk, the Romp in the Park, and its annual Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament, which can be found throughout the weekend at the Maple Park Civic Center field. Meanwhile, the popular crafters and vendors show will take place on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The third annual Bags Tourney will take place at the North Park in town, across from Washington Street, at 10:30 a.m. The food and beer garden will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Just for Kicks Dance Group will perform a dance routine on Main Street at noon on Saturday. And the annual bike parade for kids will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Main Street.

Following the bike parade, a Kid Zone craft table will be available from 1 to 3 p.m. on Main Street. The annual Toilet Bowl Challenge will commence on Saturday, 1:30 p.m. on Main Street. If you haven’t yet seen this event, make some time to go and check it out on Saturday afternoon. The team names are typically both clever and hilarious, and some of the toilet-mobiles (or whatever you want to call them) are surprisingly quick. Believe us, you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, free events are an important part of Fun Fest, and balloon animal artist Andrew Noyszewski will be on hand at the Fun Fest on Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. on Main Street.

The annual Maple Park Fun Fest Parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Main Street.

Musical entertainment is always a big part of Saturday’s activities. Several bands are scheduled for Saturday’s mainstage, including Not By Chance at 3:30 p.m., Chemically Imbalanced at 5 p.m. and headliner Red Woody at 9 p.m.

Sunday will feature an abundance of activities, as well. The American Legion Breakfast Buffet will be held from 7 a.m. to noon.

And there’s the Fun Fest Car Show, which will take place at 10 a.m. on Main Street.

The Maple Park Fire Department will host a Water Challenge at the Fire Station at 1 p.m. A number of bands will also perform Sunday on the mainstage, including Party Doctors at 2:30 p.m., Shooter Whiskey at 4:30 p.m. and Back Country Roads at 7 p.m.

Fun Fest raffle winners will be announced at 8 p.m., followed by Fun Fest’s tour-de-force fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. We continue to be amazed by the pyrotechnic displays put on each year by Sugar Grove, Kaneville and Maple Park during its respective summer festivals. So if you for some reason missed out on Kaneville Fest’s jaw-dropping fireworks show last Saturday, atone for that mistake by taking a trip out to Maple Park for the Fun Fest fireworks on Sunday night. It’s always an outstanding show.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate (or mourn) the end of summer than with a weekend spent at Maple Park Fun Fest. So make sure you get out there this Saturday, Sunday and Monday for what is certain to be a great time.

Editorial: A big thank you to the community

in From the Editor's Desk by
photo 4

Photo: Mike Schramer tried something new with his Bobcat this year. He helped build berms around each court to contain the water that Chief Kelly Callaghan (below, right) provided. Without the continued support of the community and these volunteers, programs and events like the mud volleyball tournament wouldn’t be possible. We thank them for all they do. Photos by Ben Draper

Another Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament is behind us, and by all accounts, it was our best one yet. We had around 350 players on 48 teams, spanning six courts, playing upwards of six hours.
IMG_6293
Thanks to our players, the Elburn Herald raised enough money to fully support two scholarships for Kaneland students.

While we are grateful that so many came out to play volleyball while digging, bumping and diving in the mud, we are even more grateful to the numerous members of our community who helped make it all happen.

Our biggest thanks goes to the Elburn Lions Club, who lets us come in and dirty the place up on the Sunday of Elburn Days every year. The tournament would have no home if it wasn’t for the Lions, so we owe a huge thank you to everyone on the club.

The ground would be in horrible, unplayable shape if it wasn’t for the effort of Dale Pierson and his son Trent of Kaneville. As soon as the truck and tractor pull ends on the Saturday of Elburn Days, they bring out their disc and tractor to help set the stage for all of the work that follows.

New this year were individually-graded courts. Thanks to Mike Schramer in his bobcat tractor and Kyle Hall with his grade laser, each of the six courts was individually leveled, surrounded by berms. This helped each court retain more of its water, which of course translates into more mud and more fun.

Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.
Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.
Of course, those newly designed courts would only look nice and remain dry if not for the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. Thank you for all of that water, which transforms those courts into a muddy playland for all of us who can’t resist letting our inner child out to play in the mud with about 350 of our closest friends.

The tournament wouldn’t happen at all if not for the organization and significant efforts of our own Leslie Flint. She has spent countless hours over the years transforming the tournament from a “what if” idea into a reality, then turning that reality into the event it has become. This year was the best yet, and we owe her a thanks for everything she does. She’s always the first one to begin working on the tournament (months in advance), and the last one to finish the clean-up of all the equipment after everyone else has gone home.

In addition to the above, there are a number of people who helped in a wide variety of ways, from making the shirts (thank you, Steve Gliddon at GTP Activewear), to supplying the music all day long (thank you, Tim Sivesind at Prism Light DJs), to helping set up the courts and nets (thank you, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Charlie Snow), to helping things move forward on the day of the tournament itself (thank you, Natalie Malczyk, Carly Malczyk, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Keith Beebe). And, there were a number of players themselves who helped keep the courts mud-filled as the day wore on; especially Corey Shaw and Dan Ralston, who took time out in between games to do some on-site digging by hand.

Like all successful community events, it requires a large number of people to come together and do their part to make things happen. To each and every one of you who helped, who played, or who just came and watched, thank you for making the 2014 Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament its best yet. We can’t wait to make the 2015 version even better.

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.

Letter: Thanking craft fair participants, volunteers

in Letters to the Editor by

What a beautiful weekend for a craft fair. And on that note, The Elburn Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a big thank you to all the wonderful and talented crafters that participated in this past weekend’s Elburn Days event.

We had 25 talented vendors out at Lions Park to display their beautiful goods—many of which have been with us for several years now. We also welcomed many new faces to our event, and with their success over the weekend, we look forward to seeing them all back again next year. We are grateful to everyone who helped with and supported our crafters at our event this year.

CeCe Rocha
Elburn Chamber of Commerce, Sidewalk Sale Committee

Celebrate the 85th installment of Elburn Days

in From the Editor's Desk by
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Elburn Days website >>

Elburn Days on Facebook >>

Schedule of Events >>

The 85th installment of the Elburn Days festival will take place this weekend, Aug. 15-17, at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore Ave., Elburn. This year’s event will include entertainment, a 5K run, a car raffle, mud volleyball, a carnival, a beer tent, live entertainment, a parade and so much more. And if it’s anything like previous Elburn Days events (and it will be), Elburn is in for quite a good time this weekend.

Ensuring that said good time goes on without a hitch is pretty tedious work, however. Preparing anything at the scale of Elburn Days, which draws an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 visitors, is a logistical challenge. The festival lasts just three days, but the Lions spend an entire year preparing for it. Elburn Days is their largest fundraiser of the year and raises the majority of the organization’s funds for its charity work with the visually impaired.

More than 50 chairpeople plan various events, from the beer garden to the pie-eating contest to the sanitation, attending monthly meetings and sending regular email updates to Dave Broz, this year’s Elburn Days chairperson. Hundreds of people from the Lions Club and the community also volunteer to work the actual festival.

As for the hot dogs and brats—another popular food item available at Elburn Days—they come from Ream’s Meat Market in Elburn, which is making about 2,800 brats and 3,000 hot dogs for this year’s Elburn Days installment.

Ream’s makes hot dogs and brats in batches of 100 pounds each, he said, and the order for Elburn Days is about 1,000 pounds and takes 10 batches. Just making that many takes a couple of mornings, he said, before they go into the smokehouses to cook.

Mainstage entertainment is a big part of Elburn Days, and this year’s lineup includes Back Country Roads on Friday, Arra on Saturday, and Mike and Joe on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of Sunday, the Elburn Herald’s mud volleyball tournament will take place at noon, with check-in at 11:30 a.m. The event will feature 48 teams on six courts, battling for mud volleyball supremacy. The event is just as fun to watch as it is to actually do, and that’s a good thing, as the event is sold out in terms of participating teams.

A parade, good music and food, a 5K run, a carnival, mud volleyball and countless other activities. What more could a festival goer ask for? We’ll see you this weekend at Elburn Days 2014. Enjoy the event, everyone.

Letter: Make some memories at Elburn Days 2014

in Letters to the Editor by

As the summer winds to a close, we can look back at some mild weather and hopefully some good times. Whether this summer was what you had hoped for, or whether it wasn’t, this weekend brings one last opportunity to make some memories.

As the chairman of the Elburn Days Festival this year, my summer memories have been humbling. I have had the great privilege of working alongside the fine people who make Elburn Days happen. It has been an amazing story of teamwork, dedication and people helping other people.

I would like to thank all of the folks who have been—and will be—volunteering at Elburn Days this weekend. Although it is often said that “we couldn’t do it without you,” there are no better words. Thank you.

I would also like to thank our sponsors, whose financial support we depend on. We couldn’t do it without you, either. Thank you.

When the parade kicks off Friday night, our community will come together for one last summer weekend—an opportunity to relax, have fun and perhaps make memories to last a lifetime. For those of you we see at the festival this weekend, I hope Elburn Days is everything you wish it to be, and that it lives up to this year’s theme, “Anything is possible when you follow your dream.”

On behalf of the Elburn Lions Club, thank you again to everyone who makes Elburn Days possible. See you this weekend at Lions Park.

Lion Dave Broz
Elburn Days 2014 chairman

Letter: Thank you to Sidewalk Sale participants, volunteers

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a generous thank you to all the participants and volunteers of this past weekend’s Sidewalk Sale event in downtown Elburn, and to the many who came out to support it.

Vendors such as Serenity Scarves, Splat Toys, Thirty-One, Premier Jewelry Designs, Accessorize Me Kelley, KeKe’s Sweet Shop, Costco, Olympia Chiropractic, Santschi Tree Service and Pure N Herbal all set up tent space to promote their goods and services. We also saw many of our local downtown merchants like Ream’s Elburn Market, Beautiful U ReSale Shop, Paisano’s, Tri-City Coin, Eddie Gaedel’s and Soaring Heart Vintage join in with lunch and merchandise specials for the weekend’s event.

In addition, an extended thank you goes out to Ream’s Elburn Market for allowing us to place a portable restroom in their parking lot as a convenience to our vendors and attendees of the event. We appreciate all the help and support from everyone who was involved with making this event successful. Thank you.

CeCe Rocha
Elburn Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sidewalk Sale Committee

Letter: Kaneland ‘ready to operate’? Not so fast

in Letters to the Editor by

Superintendent Jeff Schuler said he is leaving the Kaneland schools “ready to operate.” Several School Board members express their appreciation (choking back tears at times) of his service and accomplishments as he leaves for his new job with the Wheaton-Warrenville School District.

Unfortunately, the respective school business details warranting such “love” between board members and Mr. Schuler are somehow missing in their candid dialogues.

Academic growth was good, according to our School Board majority, but not exemplary under Illinois standards. McDole Elementary PK-fifth-grade reading growth dropped to 98 percent, and barely met the average of 100 percent in Math. The High School students tested at 53 percent ready for college course work. We taxpayers are spending $11,563 per student to provide for our children’s education under Mr. Schuler’s direction, and the total will be increasing next year. We should expect all students’ learning growth to at least be average and increasing in improvement, corresponding with spending rates.

Mr. Schuler’s leadership is suggesting next year’s budget to be $66.5 million, or an increase of 7.1 percent. Financing this increase will be a 9.5 percent increase to our tax bill. Student enrollment has dropped by 12 in 2012 and 190 in 2013 for a 4.2 percent decrease, but at the same time Mr. Schuler increased his 2013-14 employee count (817) by 15 people to 832, or 1.8 percent. Employee salaries and benefits account for 80 percent of the School District’s expenses. Our district’s pension obligation is about $230 million as of now.

Such high increases in taxation have surpassed the PTELL Law guidelines of 5 percent tax caps. Within the last two years, the Illinois Board of Education Association lobbying group (Alliance) has successfully managed our state politicians to temporarily remove the tax cap from the Transportation Fund within our school system. Their lobbyist instituted another law to allow money to be transferred out of the “uncapped” Transportation Fund to the “capped” General Fund. This is another form of “backdoor referendum” in which the taxpayer has “no say” protection as to limits on taxation.

Mr. Schuler and staff are very aware of these changes in the law. In order to pay for the additional staff employed and non-open bid contracts this year into next, the district must rob from the Transportation Fund, and the law allows them to do it.

The intended money in the Transportation Fund is desperately needed to maintain the safety of the bus fleet. The district must bus children living over 1.5 miles from their assigned school. The district’s in-house maintenance staff of two mechanics and two garage stalls is appalling to expect our transportation team to keep our fleet up to standards. The 60-plus bus driver’s assigned meeting room and informational center will not house more than 15 people at one time. The shared single his/her restroom will not meet local health code compliance or decency of person’s self-respect. This transportation system is a picture of gross neglect by our school administration and board members, as well.

I will not labor the point of educational performance standards and administrator’s ability to manage any further. My experience is not a “love” tribute to Mr. Schuler, but an opinion of “unfortunate” to be a child in this school system.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Letter: Williams death a great loss, like so many others

in Letters to the Editor by

The recent death of actor/comedian Robin Williams by a suspected suicide was probably a shock for most of us. Often seen as a hyper, “always on” personality, he apparently was haunted by the mental illness known as severe depression.

In Illinois, almost 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from the biological disease of mental illness. Fully two-thirds of people who are mentally ill do not even seek treatment, mostly due to the stigma that the disease carries with it.

We may never know what led to Williams’ decision to end his life, or if he sought help, or was afraid of what people would think. All we can do now is to try and prevent this unnecessary loss on a local level. Each of us can listen—really listen—when a friend tells us he or she is having a really bad day. We can tell them it is OK to get help when you need it, just like any other medical condition, like diabetes or cancer.

We can assist them by getting them to seek the help they need from professionals in the field.

Locally, we are blessed to have two expert resources. Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) specializes in the issues involved in suicide. They can be reached at (630) 482-9696. The Association for Individual Development (AID) operates the Crisis Line of the Fox Valley with trained staff and volunteers. Their number is (630) 966-9393.

Every loss by suicide is a preventable tragedy. Please do your share to stop the next one.

Jerry Murphy
Executive Director, The INC Board, NFP

Letter: Make some memories at Elburn Days 2014

in Letters to the Editor by

As the summer winds to a close, we can look back at some mild weather and hopefully some good times. Whether this summer was what you had hoped for, or whether it wasn’t, this weekend brings one last opportunity to make some memories.

As the chairman of the Elburn Days Festival this year, my summer memories have been humbling. I have had the great privilege of working alongside the fine people who make Elburn Days happen. It has been an amazing story of teamwork, dedication and people helping other people.

I would like to thank all of the folks who have been—and will be—volunteering at Elburn Days this weekend. Although it is often said that “we couldn’t do it without you,” there are no better words. Thank you.

I would also like to thank our sponsors, whose financial support we depend on. We couldn’t do it without you, either. Thank you.

When the parade kicks off Friday night, our community will come together for one last summer weekend—an opportunity to relax, have fun and perhaps make memories to last a lifetime. For those of you we see at the festival this weekend, I hope Elburn Days is everything you wish it to be, and that it lives up to this year’s theme, “Anything is possible when you follow your dream.”

On behalf of the Elburn Lions Club, thank you again to everyone who makes Elburn Days possible. See you this weekend at Lions Park.

Lion Dave Broz
Elburn Days 2014 chairman

Letter: Thank you to Sidewalk Sale participants, volunteers

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a generous thank you to all the participants and volunteers of this past weekend’s Sidewalk Sale event in downtown Elburn, and to the many who came out to support it.

Vendors such as Serenity Scarves, Splat Toys, Thirty-One, Premier Jewelry Designs, Accessorize Me Kelley, KeKe’s Sweet Shop, Costco, Olympia Chiropractic, Santschi Tree Service and Pure N Herbal all set up tent space to promote their goods and services. We also saw many of our local downtown merchants like Ream’s Elburn Market, Beautiful U ReSale Shop, Paisano’s, Tri-City Coin, Eddie Gaedel’s and Soaring Heart Vintage join in with lunch and merchandise specials for the weekend’s event.

In addition, an extended thank you goes out to Ream’s Elburn Market for allowing us to place a portable restroom in their parking lot as a convenience to our vendors and attendees of the event. We appreciate all the help and support from everyone who was involved with making this event successful. Thank you.

CeCe Rocha
Elburn Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sidewalk Sale Committee

Letter: Kaneland ‘ready to operate’? Not so fast

in Letters to the Editor by

Superintendent Jeff Schuler said he is leaving the Kaneland schools “ready to operate.” Several School Board members express their appreciation (choking back tears at times) of his service and accomplishments as he leaves for his new job with the Wheaton-Warrenville School District.

Unfortunately, the respective school business details warranting such “love” between board members and Mr. Schuler are somehow missing in their candid dialogues.

Academic growth was good, according to our School Board majority, but not exemplary under Illinois standards. McDole Elementary PK-fifth-grade reading growth dropped to 98 percent, and barely met the average of 100 percent in Math. The High School students tested at 53 percent ready for college course work. We taxpayers are spending $11,563 per student to provide for our children’s education under Mr. Schuler’s direction, and the total will be increasing next year. We should expect all students’ learning growth to at least be average and increasing in improvement, corresponding with spending rates.

Mr. Schuler’s leadership is suggesting next year’s budget to be $66.5 million, or an increase of 7.1 percent. Financing this increase will be a 9.5 percent increase to our tax bill. Student enrollment has dropped by 12 in 2012 and 190 in 2013 for a 4.2 percent decrease, but at the same time Mr. Schuler increased his 2013-14 employee count (817) by 15 people to 832, or 1.8 percent. Employee salaries and benefits account for 80 percent of the School District’s expenses. Our district’s pension obligation is about $230 million as of now.

Such high increases in taxation have surpassed the PTELL Law guidelines of 5 percent tax caps. Within the last two years, the Illinois Board of Education Association lobbying group (Alliance) has successfully managed our state politicians to temporarily remove the tax cap from the Transportation Fund within our school system. Their lobbyist instituted another law to allow money to be transferred out of the “uncapped” Transportation Fund to the “capped” General Fund. This is another form of “backdoor referendum” in which the taxpayer has “no say” protection as to limits on taxation.

Mr. Schuler and staff are very aware of these changes in the law. In order to pay for the additional staff employed and non-open bid contracts this year into next, the district must rob from the Transportation Fund, and the law allows them to do it.

The intended money in the Transportation Fund is desperately needed to maintain the safety of the bus fleet. The district must bus children living over 1.5 miles from their assigned school. The district’s in-house maintenance staff of two mechanics and two garage stalls is appalling to expect our transportation team to keep our fleet up to standards. The 60-plus bus driver’s assigned meeting room and informational center will not house more than 15 people at one time. The shared single his/her restroom will not meet local health code compliance or decency of person’s self-respect. This transportation system is a picture of gross neglect by our school administration and board members, as well.

I will not labor the point of educational performance standards and administrator’s ability to manage any further. My experience is not a “love” tribute to Mr. Schuler, but an opinion of “unfortunate” to be a child in this school system.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Letter: Williams death a great loss, like so many others

in Letters to the Editor by

The recent death of actor/comedian Robin Williams by a suspected suicide was probably a shock for most of us. Often seen as a hyper, “always on” personality, he apparently was haunted by the mental illness known as severe depression.

In Illinois, almost 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from the biological disease of mental illness. Fully two-thirds of people who are mentally ill do not even seek treatment, mostly due to the stigma that the disease carries with it.

We may never know what led to Williams’ decision to end his life, or if he sought help, or was afraid of what people would think. All we can do now is to try and prevent this unnecessary loss on a local level. Each of us can listen—really listen—when a friend tells us he or she is having a really bad day. We can tell them it is OK to get help when you need it, just like any other medical condition, like diabetes or cancer.

We can assist them by getting them to seek the help they need from professionals in the field.

Locally, we are blessed to have two expert resources. Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) specializes in the issues involved in suicide. They can be reached at (630) 482-9696. The Association for Individual Development (AID) operates the Crisis Line of the Fox Valley with trained staff and volunteers. Their number is (630) 966-9393.

Every loss by suicide is a preventable tragedy. Please do your share to stop the next one.

Jerry Murphy
Executive Director, The INC Board, NFP

Reaffirming our objectivity

in Editorial/Opinion/From the Editor's Desk by

We’ve recently fielded some public comments regarding our stance (and perspective) on the situation involving the Kaneland School District and Superintendent Jeff Schuler, who will become the superintendent of schools in the Wheaton-Warrenville School District on Sept. 2. Therefore, we’d like to use this space to explain our philosophy when it comes to reporting on any topic, regardless of whether controversy is present.

When it comes to reporting, our stance at the Elburn Herald is this: we don’t have a stance. It’s our duty to report everything that happens in the Kaneland community, but it’s not our place to tell our readers what to think or how to feel about a particular issue. Rather, we’re here to simply pass on the facts to our readers so that they can make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions. That’s also why you won’t see us endorse candidates at election time. We want our reporting to be the written equivalent of Switzerland: neutral, objective and mercilessly honest.

Of course, the irony here is that we’re using the editorial page—an actual forum for opinion—to reaffirm our objectivity. But all we’ll do here is simply state that we hope the Kaneland School Board can forego the fighting and finger-pointing currently found at its meetings, and instead hunker down and work together to identify a new superintendent and continue to improve Kaneland’s budget concerns. Because everyone who serves on the Kaneland School Board should have the same goal: to help put forth the best-quality education possible for every child in the district.

And if you can do that without shouting, even better.

Letter: A thank you to Citizen of the Year gift basket donors

in Letters to the Editor by

On behalf of the village of Sugar Grove and the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, we would like to express our gratitude to the following donors for their support of the Citizen of the Year gift basket: American Heartland Bank and Trust, Avenue J Productions, Big Fat Soap, Castle Bank, Elburn Herald Newspaper, Engineering Enterprises Inc., Glancer Magazine, Oberweis Dairy, Old Second Bank, Open Range Southwest Grill, Peak for Kids, Source Therapeutic Massage, Illinois Rep. Kay Hatcher, Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Sugar Grove Farmers Market, Sugar Grove Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, Sugar Grove Firefighters Association, Sugar Grove Firefighters Union Local 4748, Sugar Grove Library Friends, Sugar Grove Park District, TV 17, United Methodist Women Quilters, village of Sugar Grove, Waste Management, Waubonsee Community College and West Physical Therapy.

Your generosity has provided heartfelt appreciation for the contributions that have been made to the community by this year’s recipient, Wayne Parsons. It was my pleasure putting together all of the items to ensure a fantastic treasure trove of items.

Mari Johnson
Sugar Grove village trustee

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.

Editorial: Ringing in the start of festival season with Sugar Grove Corn Boil

in Editorial/Opinion by

Heat, humidity and bugs getting you down this summer? Fear not, as we’re on the doorstep of yet another summer festival season meant to celebrate the four major municipalities in our coverage area. And the fun will kick off this weekend with the beloved Sugar Grove Corn Boil, July 25-27 at Volunteer Park.

The Sugar Grove Corn Boil has been a summer tradition since 1967, and it started as a simple community picnic, with each family bringing a dish to pass, games for the whole family, and the day ending with a street dance at the American Legion.

Nearly 50 years later, we know the Corn Boil for its family-friendly atmosphere, carnival rides, live entertainment, top-notch fireworks show and, last but not least, great corn.

Each year, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee spends months and months planning for July’s Corn Boil event. In fact, December is the only month that the Corn Boil Committee takes a break from its year-long planning, according to Corn Boil President Jean Lindsay. And last year’s Corn Boil event was record breaking, thanks in part to a very successful Sunday at the festival.

The committee hopes to have an even bigger year this time around.

In terms of this year’s musical entertainment, some of the bands in the lineup for this year’s music are local bands. The other bands are from all over.

There will be a jumbotron again this year, which will make it easier for people to watch the bands from a distance. The sponsors of the Corn Boil pay for the jumbotron by slotting in advertising in between the music. The Corn Boil will limit the amount of commercials in order to have it be tasteful.

In an effort to raise money for the fireworks, the Corn Boil Committee has set up a PayPal account on its website, sugargrovecornboil.org/entertainment/fireworks, for residents, community members or anyone else interested in helping contribute to the cost of the Corn Boil’s fireworks display.

And the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee is still raising money for the annual fireworks. According to Lindsay, there are places of business around the village of Sugar Grove that will accept donations. The committee is expecting to have the fireworks show last for around 15 to 20 minutes, which is the same amount of time as last year’s show.

During the Corn Boil, there will be fireworks donation buckets located on the shuttles that transport people from the parking lot to the actual event.

There are bigger sponsorships available for those looking to donate to the fireworks display. People interested in donating or receiving sponsorship can contact the committee by visiting the Sugar Grove Corn Boil website and clicking on the contact tab.

All donations for the fireworks are tax deductible. This year, the fireworks will be held on Saturday, July 26, beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The Corn Boil Committee also anticipates having the biggest raffle in the history of the Corn Boil event.

“Our sponsors have been great this year,” Lindsay said. “We’re only selling 1,000 tickets. Tickets are $5 a piece, and we are already selling them. We’ll have items such as a 55-inch HD Samsung Smart TV, laptops, White Sox tickets, Cubs tickets, Bears tickets and Paramount Theatre tickets.”

Whether you want to listen to live music, enjoy some drinks with friends in the beer garden, take the kids on some carnival rides, eat your weight in corn or catch one of the best firework displays in the state of Illinois, you belong in Sugar Grove this weekend for the annual Corn Boil. Great corn, great friends and great pyrotechnics—is there anything better in life?

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