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Editorial/Opinion - page 16

Letter: Blackberry Township Sports Facility Committee meeting

in Letters to the Editor by

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP—The Blackberry Township Sports Facility Committee will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 6:15 p.m. at Blackberry Town Hall, 43W390 Main Street Road, Elburn.

Lisa Hodge
Blackberry Township clerk

Letter: A thank you from Elburn Food Pantry volunteers

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Food Pantry volunteers want to thank the Elburn Jewel food store and its customers for their donations that provided 50 ham and turkey meals for the pantry’s clients this Christmas. We live in a great community, and the pantry is deeply grateful to everyone who contributed. Thank you so much.

Rita Burnham
Elburn Countryside Food Pantry

Community Corner: Exciting KAI events for the new year

in Community Corner by

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative

The Kaneland Arts Initiative wishes everyone a Happy New Year filled with prosperity and joy, and invites everyone to its upcoming events of the new year in the Kaneland Auditorium.

As the Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI, formerly the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival) strives to promote professional quality arts in Kaneland, it is pleased to launch its inaugural performance of the Winter Theatre Production, “The Laramie Project,” presented by KAI in partnership with the Kindness Campaign. Performed in the Kaneland Black Box Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-26. “The Laramie Project” is a drama that depicts the account of the townspeople in Laramie, Wyo., after the tragic death of Matthew Shepherd.

Tickets are available for “The Laramie Project” by calling (630) 365-5100, ext. 180. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. Seating is very limited in the Black Box Theatre at Kaneland High School, so KAI recommends advance ticket purchases. Tickets will be general admission seating. Please note: subject matter featured in “The Laramie Project” is sensitive, and appropriate age recommendations are for middle school aged students and older. The Kaneland Arts Initiative and the Kindness Campaign will lead a discussion after each performance for interested audience members.

Finally, KAI is pleased to welcome The Cavern Beat back to the Kaneland Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. with special guests, the Kaneland Harter Middle School MidKnight Special. The primary mission of The Cavern Beat is to bring to life the excitement of The Beatles’ original recordings and live performances from the Cavern Club era onwards. Critics the world over have agreed that the group has the sound, energy, and excitement of The Beatles, second to none. Ray Johnson of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, commented that The Cavern Beat has “the finest Beatles harmonies I have ever heard.”

Information on all KAI events is available at www.kanelandartsinitiative.org or by calling (630) 365-5100, ext. 180.

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: Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014

in From the Editor's Desk by

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

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

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

Happy New Year from everyone at the Elburn Herald.

Letter: A letter to Beith Road residents

in Letters to the Editor by

I want to thank all of the neighbors on Beith Road over this holiday season. My family was one of thousands who came out to see the Larsen Light Spectacular. I can absolutely understand your frustration and annoyance regarding the traffic. I want to thank you for your hospitality. The display brought joy and wonderment to many. The “wow” factor was undeniable. I hope you will continue to support this endeavor. The Larsen’s may get the headlines (well deserved), but please know you are also appreciated.

Ann Carlson (and family)
Kirkland, Ill.

The most wonderful time of the year

in From the Editor's Desk by

Christmastime. It’s the season when we celebrate friends and family, gifts and tasty desserts, freezing weather and ugly holiday sweaters.

It’s the season where we take a moment to reflect on the year as it comes to an end, and begin to make plans so that we can better ourselves in the new year.

It’s the season of tree decorations, classic holiday music and the inexplicable need to dress up pets like elves and reindeer.

For us, Christmastime is the perfect time to say thank you to our readers for helping make our holiday season such a joyous one. We enjoyed meeting with residents who visited the Elburn and Countryside Community Center during the Elburn Christmas Stroll, and we had so much fun entertaining the parents and children who participated in this year’s Kandyland. For us, 2013 was a fantastic year, and we look forward to better serving the Kaneland community in 2014.

Merry Christmas from the Elburn Herald.

Editorial: Christmas joy through giving a toy

in From the Editor's Desk by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter: A response to the Kaneland School Board’s vote to raise taxes

in Letters to the Editor by

As the Bible tells us, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to be silent and a time to speak.

I attended the Kaneland School Board meeting of Dec. 9, at which time the final resolution vote to levy taxes to the district took place. Two board members voted “no” to the resolution and five voted “yes” to raise mine and your property tax payments to the school by 9.5 percent. Several people in attendance testified as to the hardships they are suffering due to our economic conditions and appealed to the board for tax relief. The “yes” members claimed the loss of taxation compounding would be too expensive for the board to change its position of “tax-to-the-max” now and in the future. Obviously, the majority of this board could not come to terms with “this is a time to embrace and a time to refrain.”

I am reading that the Kane County Board has held its levy to “no increase.” The same is true with several local townships, cities and park districts. These local boards have embraced the economic conditions of lower work hours, no wage increases, companies shutting down or leaving the area and 22 percent of district home mortgages underwater. A Chicago Tribune article from Dec. 5 states that U.S. firms have begun an era of corporate urbanism. Why? Cities are aiding these moves with tax breaks and lower downtown rents prized by a young, educated workforce. Our school district is seeing this same exodus by a reduced (144) student enrollment of 4 percent this year. Even with fewer children in the halls of our schools, this board could not embrace the timing of refraining from past taxation behaviors or reveal the student enrollment decline to the public as a part of the tax levy discussion.

This School Board and administration seem to choose “a time to be silent” when it comes to revealing critical information to the public. The yearly financial audit of the School District’s financial statements and supplemental information has not been released to the public. The fiscal year 2012-13 ended June 31, 2013, and now five months later is still a financial secret.

Another critical report was the Standards & Poors Feb. 13, 2013, District Bond Ratings Report. This report pointed out the combined educational and O&M fund’s cash assets at the end of fiscal 2012 were nearly $25 million, or 53 percent of expenditures. Per the report, “The large discrepancy between the fund balance and the cash assets is due to the district deferring its spring and fall property tax receipts for use in the next fiscal year, which decreases the educational fund balance accordingly (about $18 million in 2012). Most Illinois school districts that use modified accrual accounting only defer property taxes due in the fall. The working cash fund, an alternate source of liquidity, held $590,000 at the end of 2012, up from $117,000 at the end of fiscal 2008.”

The reader might ask themselves, how does this Standards & Poors reported manipulation of funds differ from the scandalous 2001 Enron Corporation’s deceptive and unethical practice of hiding money and/or debt? I guess you would judge for yourself. The District 302 fall property tax receipts for this 2013 year is $20,720,450, and is maybe being deferred to next fiscal year’s business along with the $26,803,011 spring distribution, totaling $47,523,461.24. I do know this is big money to be moving around with no transparency as to financial audit oversight. Some of these School Board members are choosing “a time to be silent” about deferring millions of dollars of our tax money, and at the same time executing a levy that will result in an increased tax lien against yours and my property in January 2014. The Kaneland School Board’s withholding of the 2012-13 financial audit is aiding and abetting such practices by the Kaneland School District Administration. It is certainly a time for board members to do more “grandstanding” in defense of taxpayers and continue to ignore the “10-to-15-minute-long flippy-flop diatribes” some residents spew forward. Of course, some board members have relatives working at the school, so they aren’t likely to say much and differ from the majority. It is only $47 million, so why speak up? There might be retaliation?

School Board member Tony Valente did speak of retaliation by the school. He warned of manipulation of class location and other actions taken against the public and or individuals for speaking or voting against the School District. We have witnessed some brave mothers who are so distressed financially, they are willing to speak out and let themselves or their children become a target for bullying by this institution. This is truly a tragedy in our community.

There is a time for everything. Now is the time to prepare for the next School Board election. All taxpayers are more than qualified. You earned the money to support this school and you certainly are qualified to direct the spending of that money. Common sense rules will be far and above the actions I have reported in this article. The board members presently representing Sugar Grove are doing the work expected by the majority of their constituents. I would hope district seniors, on fixed incomes, will take a hard look at the persons representing them in their cities.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Letter: Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters contribute to tornado relief fund

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters on Dec. 4 sent a check to the Washington Community High School Tornado Relief Fund for the band and drama departments. The Boosters thank the Kaneland performing arts community for its generous donations for the students who have suffered such great loss.

In addition, the Boosters will donate our proceeds from the 50/50 raffles held at the December holiday concerts to the WCHS Tornado Relief Fund. It is my privilege to be a part of this organization.

Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

Editorial: Thank you for supporting local Christmas events

in From the Editor's Desk by

No one does a Christmas celebration quite like the Kaneland community, and last weekend gave us a chance to experience holiday excitement and cheer via Elburn’s Christmas Stroll, Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove, Kaneville’s Christmas in Kaneville and Maple Park’s Make and Take event.

All four events were spectacular (as usual), but what really continues to impress us is the Kaneland community’s high level of support and turnout in regard to local Christmas events. Friday’s Elburn Christmas Stroll was a well-attended event throughout the village, despite frigid temperatures. And Saturday’s Christmas in Kaneville and Holiday in the Grove festivities brought out local residents of all ages for some holiday fun, including breakfast with Santa Claus, and the opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts.

Just another successful year for local Christmas events we’ve come to know and love.

Each of the four Christmas-themed events represent local groups putting in countless hours of planning and development in order to pull off a one-of-a-kind Christmas spectacle that appeals to everyone while embodying the uniqueness of the village it calls home. The work that goes into putting on Elburn Christmas Stroll, Holiday in the Grove, Christmas in Kaneville and Maple Park Make and Take, is staggering, and that’s why it’s so important to get out there and show support by attending these local events. We want to give out a big thank you to everyone who took time out this weekend to attend at least one or two of our local Christmas spectacles. And if you managed to attend all of them, give yourself a pat on the back—you represent your community well.

On our end, it’s truly a joy to cover and photograph each event every year. And we’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities. For us, it isn’t officially Christmas season until the local Christmas spectacles are underway. And with that, we’re now on the fast track to Christmas and the end of the year.

Thank you again for making this year’s local Christmas events so memorable.

Letter: Enough already with the taxes

in Letters to the Editor by

As many before me have expressed opinions and concerns about taxes for Kaneland area residents, I also would like to put my concerns out there.

My husband and I have been longtime residents of this state. We have watched the government push their lack of organization and corruption cost on “us,” the tax payers. We work hard to organize our finances so we can be self-sufficient in our old age, aka “retirement”—retirement that is a joke by itself, because most of the hardworking Americans will never be able to retire. You, the county, ask for more money! Shame on you! Before all is said and done, Kane County will be nothing but foreclosed-on homes, abandoned to rot. We are among the top highest-taxed counties in the state.

The schools are the builders of our children’s future, but lack of our School Board’s ability to budget our money is causing the system to fail. Their lack of professionalism and lack of the skills to run our children’s future education just proves we have the wrong staff in the office. House cleaning is a must in order for our money to be distributed with a budget that works.

I read a past Letter to the Editor in the Elburn Herald, challenging school administration to live with families and learn how to budget money (“bring your own food and toilet paper” was a great add-in). I applaud the person who wrote that letter. We, the American family, could show you how to handle our money with intelligence and honesty. It is so easy to mishandle money that you have not worked for; we need people who know the value of a dollar to do the budget for our schools. I know a group of families who could do a better job than what has been done in the past. I refuse to pay anymore school taxes that will be mishandled. I will vote “no.”

I feel for those who are struggling to make ends meet just to live in this county, which was their home for decades. Most of these people are on fixed incomes and struggling to keep their heads above water. They worked hard to complete the American dream, and this is being taken away from them.

Our senior citizens, along with citizens who have no children in the school system, are paying taxes for a school system that is broken. Where does all of our money go? High salaries for staff that are not manager qualified? Where does it go from here? Do you even care? I, along with many others, would like some answers now.

Barbie Stover
Elburn

Letter: Farley House open during Christmas in Kaneville

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kaneville Township Historical Society will have the Farley House open during Christmas in Kaneville on Saturday, Dec. 7. Every year, we try to have different displays from the community and surrounding area. Last year, we had quilts and their connections to families in the area. This year, we would like to display mangers. We are asking the community if they would let us display a special manger that is in their family. They don’t have to be from Kaneville—just part of your family’s tradition. They could be from a different country or unique by what material they are made from. Please include a notecard with your name and description of your manger.

If you would like us to display your manger for the day, let us know. You can contact Lynette Werdin at (630) 557-2202, or Karen Flamand at (630) 557-2854. We will set up on Friday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m. at the Farley House. We can also arrange for a pick-up of your manger.

Karen Flamand
Kaneville

KAI’s newest initiative

in Community Corner by

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative

Rehearsals are about to begin on the Kaneland Arts Initiative’s newest project: the Winter Theatre Production.

As the Kaneland Arts Initiative (formerly known as the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival) strives to promote professional quality arts in Kaneland, it is pleased to launch its inaugural performance of the Winter Theatre Production, “The Laramie Project,” presented by KAI in partnership with the Kindness Campaign. Performed in the Kaneland Black Box Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-26, “The Laramie Project” is a drama that depicts a pivotal event in our nation’s history.

According to www.tectonictheaterproject.org, “in October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wy. Five weeks later, Moises Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town. From these interviews they wrote the play ‘The Laramie Project,’ a chronicle of the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder. ‘The Laramie Project’ is one of the most performed plays in America today.”

Casting auditions took place in the middle of November, and KAI and the dynamic production team of director Diane McFarlin, technical theatre director Chad Carlson and scene designer Emily VanDelinder-Birchfield, are pleased to announce the cast of The Laramie Project: Pamela Gianakakos, Trisha Mills Rebecca Hof, Ben Mitchinson, Peter Lopatin, Patrick Murphy Sabrina Massa, Doug Orlyk, Caitrin Mills, Laszlo Reed and Justin Schaller.

Tickets are available for purchase by calling (630) 365-5100, ext. 180. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. Seating is very limited in the Black Box Theatre at Kaneland High School; KAI recommends advance ticket purchases. KAI is pleased to be producing its first event in the Black Box Theatre, a space that is both versatile and intimate. Tickets will be for general admission seating.

Please note that subject matter in “The Laramie Project” is sensitive, and appropriate age recommendations are for middle-school-aged students or older. The Kaneland Arts Initiative and the Kindness Campaign will lead a discussion after each performance for interested audience members. More information can be found at www.kanelandartsiniative.org. Kaneland Black Box Theatre is located on the campus of Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. Enter through Door 32 on the north side of building.

Prior to The Laramie Project, KAI is thrilled to produce Lee Murdock’s annual Hometown Concert, featuring guest artists Joe Filisko and Eric Noden. Murdock’s concert will take place on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kaneland Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students ages 8 and up. Anyone under the age of 8 will be admitted free of charge. More information on Lee’s performance and his guest artists can be found on www.leemurdock.com and www.rootsduo.com.

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: ‘Cupcake Wars’ winner shares tips for gluten-free holiday desserts

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Ginny Grimsley, News and Experts
If there’s one downside to fabulous, food-filled holiday celebrations, it’s the gurgles and groans of post-feasting indigestion.

“We assume it’s because we overate, but for a lot of people, that pain and sick feeling may not be about how much you ate but what you ate,” said Kyra Bussanich, three-time winner of The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” and author of a just-released recipe book, “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle.”

“About 2 million Americans have celiac disease—an auto-immune reaction to gluten, the protein in wheat,” said Bussanich, whose painful symptoms became life-threatening before she was finally diagnosed with the illness. “Most of those people aren’t diagnosed though, because the symptoms look like so many other intestinal ailments.”

People with celiac disease must completely avoid gluten, which is also in rye and barley, to avoid a case of painful and gut-damaging indigestion. But as Harvard Medical School reported earlier this year, avoiding gluten also appears to help people with less serious digestive issues.

“It really does seem to provide some improvement in gastrointestinal problems for a segment of the population,” said Harvard assistant professor Dr. Daniel Leffler.

For Bussanich, a chef, there was no choice—one speck of gluten would make her ill. But she refused to give up pastries, cakes and other treats, so she perfected gluten-free varieties. Her award-winning desserts left their flour-based competition in crumbs on “Cupcakes Wars” in 2011 and 2012, and she was a runner-up on the show’s “Cupcake Champion.”

Bussanich offers these tips for whipping up gluten-free baked goods this holiday season:
• If you’re following a recipe, don’t substitute the listed flour or starch with another type unless you’re familiar with its properties. There are many different types of gluten-free flours and starches, including millet, sorghum and sweet white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Each has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, millet flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is well-suited for goods with a hearty texture. Sweet white rice flour holds moisture well and is good for recipes that have a slight gumminess to them. Potato starch is light and good for fluffy cakes.

• Use eggs and butter at room temperature. Eggs are often used as a binder, the protein that substitutes for the missing gluten. Eggs and butter are both easier to work with when used at room temperature, and room-temperature egg whites whip up fluffier. If you forget to pull the butter out of the refrigerator beforehand, heat it for 7 to 12 seconds in the microwave. Put cold eggs in warm (not hot) water for 30 to 60 seconds.

• Don’t overwork batter and dough with xanthan gum in it. Corn-based xanthan gum is often used as a stabilizer and thickener in gluten-free baked goods, sauces, dressings and soups. Once this ingredient is added, overworking the dough can give it a slimy, gummy texture, and cause it to lose flavor (a good substitute for xanthan gum is ground psyllium seed husk).

• Heat higher, cream longer for lighter cakes. One complaint people sometimes have about gluten-free baked goods is that they’re too dense. To prevent this, try setting the oven temperature 25 degrees warmer than you would for flour. This will cause the butter in the recipe to release its water as steam, which helps the cake rise quickly. Also, cream eggs and butter together longer—about 10 minutes—than you would for flour cakes.

Try some gluten-free desserts and maybe your holidays will be indigestion-free this year, Bussanich said.

“If your recipe doesn’t turn out wonderfully the first time, don’t give up,” she said. “I promise you, anyone can make delicious gluten-free desserts. It just may take a little practice.”

What we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving

in From the Editor's Desk by

It’s officially that time of year again.

Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we cut the work week short (or nix it entirely), load up on mass doses of turkey, football and shopping (preferably in that order), and then conclude festivities by breaking out the Christmas decorations and erecting a freshly-cut Christmas tree (or a fake one, if you’re into that).

All of this is, of course, in the name of the pilgrims who dined in Plymouth 392 years ago. And with Thanksgiving this Thursday, the Elburn Herald has much to be thankful for this holiday season, including …

• We’re thankful for upcoming local holiday events, including Elburn Christmas Stroll, Holiday in the Grove and Christmas in Kaneville. And we’re excited to roll out our life-sized “Kandyland” at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center during the Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6. Kandyland is a game that takes kids and adults alike through a winding path of yuletide decorations, and we never get tired of seeing the enthusiasm exhibited by its participants. Plus, candy awaits at the end of the game path. Not a bad way to conclude your trip to Kandyland, if you ask us.

• We’re thankful for the generosity of our readers and the local community as a whole. We reported last September about Maple Park native Becky Nelson and her journey back from the severe brain trauma and broken pelvis that she suffered when she was struck by a vehicle in the Cayman Islands on July 1. Becky didn’t have medical insurance at the time of her accident, and with the extent of her Medicaid coverage in question, the Nelson family and local resident Audry Buchanan got together and planned a “Help Becky Bounce Back” fundraiser to help defray some of Becky’s medical costs. Nearly 400 people attended the event, which raised $24,000. If that’s not a sign of community goodwill and “togetherness,” we don’t know what is.

• We’re thankful for the endless run of ‘80s and ‘90s films that will air all day on Thanksgiving (we’re less thankful for the fact that each movie will be four hours long as a result of commercials).

• We’re thankful for our friends and family, and for the opportunity we have to spend time with them this holiday season.

• We’re thankful for you, the reader, and the many subscribers who await our paper each and every week. It’s our belief that we’re based in the greatest community around, and it’s truly a pleasure to feature news from Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park, Kaneville and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the Elburn Herald and Kaneland Publications, Inc.

KBC PTO to host ‘Kids’ Korner Holiday Shop’

in Community Corner by

by Laura Gampfer
President, Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School PTO will host its annual “Kids’ Korner Holiday Shop” on Friday, Dec. 13, from 3:35 to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon. This fun event allows KBC students to make a holiday shopping list, budget their items, and even calculate their purchase totals with help from parent volunteers.

KBC students and their families are welcome to come in and shop for unique gifts for everyone on their holiday lists. Children of all ages can find the perfect gift for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and even pets. Gift prices range from $.25 to $13. Each gift will be sent home in its own gift bag with a label attached. All students must attend with a parent/guardian.

To preview the Kids’ Korner product line, KBC parents can visit www.Kidskornerusa.com. For more information, visit the KBC PTO website at 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.

‘Keep the Wreath Red’

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn and Countryside and Sugar Grove fire protection districts recently installed wreaths, which are illuminated with red bulbs.

Should a fire occur during the holiday season, in which holiday decorations are determined to be involved, one of the red bulbs will be changed to a white bulb. This will serve as a reminder to all of us of the safety precautions that should be taken during this holiday season.

We urge the residents of our communities to take time to “Keep the Wreath Red,” and eliminate unwanted fires by providing a fire safe environment at home and work.
Here are some precautions and safety suggestions:

• Fireplaces – Your fireplace is a source of warmth and heat. Before starting your fire, be sure to remove all paper and wood decorations from the immediate area. Make sure that the flue is open. Use a grate to burn materials in the fireplace. Avoid prolonged over-firing. This may ignite the structure through overheated hearth or fireplace walls where the mortar has become dried and dropped out because of excessive heat. Never use flammable liquids to light the fire, always keep the fire box area clean of ashes and embers and make sure they are completely cooled before taking the ashes or embers into a storage area. Avoid burning garbage, dried decorations, wrapping paper, etc., in fireplaces, as these burn with a very hot flame and may ignite accumulated creosote or cause damage to the chimney itself. It is also extremely important to have your chimney cleaned by a certified chimney sweep.

• Candles – The use of candles during the holiday season has increased drastically over the years. When using candles, always make sure that the candles are not close to combustible materials, such as curtains and other decorations. Make sure all of the candles are snuffed out before retiring or leaving your house.

• Lights – Christmas tree lights and other decorations set the theme for the holidays. Use only lights that have been tested for safety, identified by a label from a listing agency, such as UL. Check the labels on lights to be used outdoors to see that they are suitable for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outside. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls or other firm support to protect them from wind damage. Never use more than the listed amount of light sets per extension cords. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and do not use more than the number of light sets recommended in one circuit. Always turn off lights when you retire for the evening or leave your home. A short circuit in any electrical equipment could cause a fire. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. All lights present the problem of shock, and a casualty hazard for curious kids.

• Paper: The opening of holiday presents is always special during this time of year. Take special precautions when disposing of the wrappings. Always dispose of wrappings immediately after opening. Place trash in a metal container. Don’t burn wrappings in the fireplace. They may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.

• Trees – Artificial trees (plastic) should bear a listing label. Some unlabeled plastic trees burn with extreme vigor. Do not rely on chemical coatings or sprays to make your live evergreen flame resistant.

Follow these safety rules when shopping for a natural tree:

• A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember to check for color and scent. Feel the needles; they shouldn’t come off in your hand. A fresh tree is deep green in color and has a strong scent of pine.

• The trunk butt of a fresh tree should be sticky with sap. After you get the tree home, cut a half-inch off the trunk and keep plenty of water in the stand.

• Place your Christmas tree in a location away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Be sure that it is out of the traffic pattern and primary evacuation route in case of an emergency.

For any questions on fire safety, contact the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District at (630) 365-6855, or Sugar Grove Fire Protection District at (630) 466-4513.

Brad Reese
Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District

A thank you from Kaneville Fest

in Letters to the Editor by

A belated thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Kaneville Fest a great success. We especially want to thank our many sponsors: Dee Withey, Schollmeyer Landscaping, Fresh Lift Cleaning Services, AFM Electrical, Alex McTavish, Russell Automotive, Behm Plumbing, American Bank & Trust, America’s Best EyeGlasses, Schmidt’s Towne Tap, Hughes Creek Golf Course, Rich’s Auto Service, Ream’s Elburn Market, Alice’s Place, 95.9 The River, Amy Reed, Blackberry Inn, Bob Jass Chevrolet, Peggy Hess, Reed’s General Merchandise, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, Mary Niceley, Sam’s Club-Batavia, Kaneville Volunteer Fire Department, Hair By Amber, Elburn Radiator and Repair, Jewel in Batavia, Honest Automotive, Napa Auto Parts, Ross Electric, Kaneville Township, The Needham Shop, Lee and Joanne Murdock, Bliss Creek Golf Course, Elburn Car Wash, Charlie & Darlene Palochko, Roger & Blanca Souders, Hill’s Country Store, Mike Pitstick, Danials Drywall, Old Second Bank, Jennie Gatske, Kaneville Veterinary Service, Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, Team Hoffman Construction, Builders Asphalt and the Village of Kaneville.

We also want to thank our many volunteers: Cathy, Jenni Myer and Margie Jordan from Old 2nd Bank; Lyla Staton, Gigi Greer, Kim Wendling, Dawn Schlielfer, Mariann O’Connell, Tyler Hill, Alexa Hill, Jen Long, Stephanie Gruber, Loretta, Jean and Jane Saul; Karen Flammond, Al Withey, and Jordan and Denise Thelander. Thank you once again, and we look forward to next year

Pat Hill, Kaneville Fest chair

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