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Editorial/Opinion - page 25

Letter: A thank you to those who participated in Christmas in Kaneville

in Letters to the Editor by

I would like to thank everyone who participated in our annual Christmas in Kaneville event on Dec. 1. Thank you to all who came out to support us and enjoy the day.

I would especially like to thank the Kaneville United Methodist Church for their cookie walk, Kaneville Volunteer Fire Department for hosting Santa, Santa and his helpers for donating their time, George and his horses, Gloria Stewart and Heidi Withey of Halogen Lighting for taking and donating our Santa pictures, the Kaneville Public Library for their musical program and crafts, Old Second Bank and Hill’s Country Store for their customer appreciation, and all the crafters with their special talents for the craft show.

On behalf of the Kaneville Township Historical Society, I would like to thank all our bakers who gave us one of the biggest bake sales we’ve ever had. Thank you to Robert Krajecki for the beautiful painting raffled off on that day to raise funds for the Historical Society. Margie Cleveland was our hometown winner of the painting.

To all our historical volunteers—Sheryl Behm, Margie Cleveland, Jeanette Wampach, Pat Hill and Lynette Werdin—thank you for your
help.

As a final note, make sure to get your copy of our 2013 calendar, “Remember When,” before they’re all gone.

Karen Flamand
Kaneville Township Historical Society

Letter: Mental health facility closures the real culprit behind recent shooting sprees

in Letters to the Editor by

In an interview with CBS Chicago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters that the recent closures of mental health facilities “is harming people with mental illnesses who should be patients instead of inmates, and the victims of their crimes that could have been prevented.”

With the recent rash of shooting sprees, everyone’s attention has immediately turned to gun control. Some argue for tighter restrictions, and others argue to allow citizens to conceal carry. I have a unique view on the subject: it doesn’t matter.

Attempting to control violent, senseless killings by enacting more gun laws is like trying to prevent drunk driving by controlling the sale of cars. Anyone who makes detailed plans to gun down a group of defenseless strangers obviously has a mental illness. This should be our focus.

Across the United States, state public mental health budgets have been slashed at least $4.35 billion from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). The Huffington Post writes, “Twenty-nine states reported they’ve had to close more than 3,200 inpatient beds for mentally ill people over the last four years.” Frighteningly, just months after the NIU shootings in DeKalb, Kishwaukee Hospital, the hospital that serves the DeKalb area, closed its inpatient psychiatric care unit.

Mentally ill citizens have increasingly fewer and fewer resources and attention than ever in recent history. As a registered nurse of 20 years, I have watched as people in need of this vital care slip between the cracks of our social safety net and end up using the emergency department for their mental healthcare needs—a place ill-designed to assist in this matter. They come to us to refill their psychiatric medications, they come to us when they feel out of control with anxiety and panic attacks, and they come to us when they become suicidal. All they receive, however, is either a prescription with no real psychiatric care or a 6-24 hour wait in the crowded, noisy emergency room while social services attempts to find them placement in the packed inpatient psychiatric units.

What’s worse is many more end up in the penal system where they receive no appropriate treatment, and they each cost taxpayers between $20,000-50,000 a year, depending on the state.

The mentally ill are treated as less-than-human by their more stable counterparts. There has always been a stigma associated with this illness, and now the government has turned their backs on them. We are all, as a country, paying for that slight. Dozens of mass shootings have marred our countryside, causing untold grief and fear. When will we wake up and realize mental health care funding affects us all?

It’s time to stop looking at these shootings as a cry for gun control and see them as you would accidents caused by drunk drivers. Laws that restrict everyone’s use of a vehicle and/or ability to obtain a driver’s license will not stop drunk drivers from killing innocent people. However, helping them with their substance abuse problems will.

The free market may not see the value in taking care of our mentally/emotionally ill neighbors, but I’m sure everyone can agree it is worth funding programs that would prevent the senseless violence that took the lives of 20 first graders. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Let’s get to the source of the problem, which is the mental state of the shooters, not the weapons they wield.

Tara Scharlau
Maple Park

Letter: A thank you from the Elburn Chamber’s beautification committee

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce’s beautification committee wishes to thank the following people for their help in volunteering with the winter decorations: Tyler and Pat Hill, Wasco Nursery, and Brownie Troop 4036 from Kaneland John Stewart School. Downtown looks great, and we could not have done it without all of your help.

Jamie Jump
Office Administrator
Elburn Chamber of Commerce
www.elburn.com

Letter: A thank you from Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630

in Letters to the Editor by

Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630 would like to express a heartfelt thanks to the donors at the recent Elburn Community Blood Drive. We had 31 volunteers and collected 29 pints of blood.

Thank you to Arthur Anderson, John Anderson, Laurel Beatty, Robert Biddle, Barbara Blank, Jordyn Boley, LeRoy Bubser, Allison Buri, Kelly Callaghan, Albert Frohling, Dennis Girard, Sandra Gould, Kenneth Gustafson, Steve Hall, Pamela Hall, Deborah Hannemann, Daniel Hannemann, Janet Herra, Megan Herra, Cheryl Krauspe, Dawn Kuefler, Peter Kuefler, Mark Lund, James Schnaitman, Larry Schramm, Grayce Seablom, James Staley, Rebecca Staley and Robert Weihofen.

Please thank these neighbors and friends, as you are out and about this holiday season, for caring enough to give the gift of life.

Also, a thank you to Auxliary volunteers Carrie Petrie and Helen Johnson. A special thank you to the American Legion Post 630 for the use of their building to make this special event possible.

Please mark your calendars for the next drive, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. No appointment needed. We’d love to see you there. Happy holidays.

Kay Swift
Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630

Editorial: Holiday hope serves as light during our darkest hour

in From the Editor's Desk by

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been too many examples of horrific, senseless violence resulting in the deaths of innocent people. These are the kinds of acts that shock people in this country to their very core and force them to reconsider everything they think they know about the world around them.

Many of us remember the anguish and horror we felt when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed on April 19, 1995. Many of us—students and parents alike—were forever scarred by the murderous events that transpired at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999. Many of us felt time stand still when the Twin Towers and Pentagon were attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. Many of us gasped in horror when Virginia Tech University experienced a mass-shooting tragedy on April 16, 2007, and were reduced to tears when Northern Illinois University—an institution right in our own backyard—experienced a similar tragedy 10 months later.

Those same feelings crept up again last summer when a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., transformed into a mass-shooting nightmare. And then those feelings came slamming back without warning last Friday when Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., became the setting for a horrific and simply unspeakable shooting spree that took 26 innocents lives—20 of whom were children no older than 7 years of age.

The Sandy Hook tragedy occurred at a time when this country is typically readying itself for Christmas and the holiday season as a whole. In the wake of such a heartbreaking event, many of us are no longer thinking about Christmas and New Year’s, presents and party hats, pie in front of the fireplace and champagne at midnight. How does one celebrate the holidays when they know there are families in Colorado and Connecticut who are now dealing with the reality of life without their child or loved one? How could we celebrate anything—much less a time of year built on cheer and goodwill—under these circumstances?

On the contrary, we believe that this country needs the holiday season now more than ever as an opportunity to begin the healing process by way of spreading both holiday hope and genuine kindness. This is a time when we should all stop and take a moment to appreciate everyone—family, friends, neighbors, even enemies—in our respective lives. At a time of year when the shopping is hectic and tempers are toxic, we must forgo the angry and petty behavior and instead strive to be the person who can help get others through a dark time such as this. At a time when finances can run slim, we need to take a step back and realize how fortunate we are to have our loved ones either within arm’s length or just a phone call away. There are people in this country who, as of last Friday, can no longer enjoy such a seemingly simple pleasure.

We’ll certainly see several debates come about as a result of the Sandy Hook tragedy—debates regarding gun control and practices concerning mental disorders. Those debates are bound to be hot-button issues. However, they shouldn’t prevent us from being decent to each other. In fact, nothing at this point should prevent us from being decent to each other.

At a time like this, the relationships we keep shouldn’t just be the most important thing—they should be the only thing. And that’s why it’s so important to use this holiday season as a time to heal, regroup and get in back in touch with the things that really matter in life.

Here’s to a happier 2013.

Letter: Elburn Leo Club helps serve veterans

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Leo Club recently served a Veterans Day dinner for our local veterans, and provided 86 care packages for veterans currently receiving treatment at the Hines VA Hospital.

The Elburn Leo Club is an extension of the Elburn Lions Club. We are a youth group of service-minded individuals ranging in age from 13-18 years old. We also have junior Leo Club members ranging in age from 8-12 years old. Our mission is to make a difference through leadership, experience and opportunity.

We are continuing with our appreciation to veterans by adopting a platoon of approximately 300 Navy sailors. We need your help with this service project to benefit the deployed troops. We are seeking donations of products, as well as cash donations to help offset the expenses associated with purchasing and shipping the items requested. Donations will be accepted until Monday, Dec. 31.

We are seeking donations of the following items: coffee grounds or Keurig pods, single flavor packets for water bottles, candy, toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, Ream’s Elburn Market beef jerky and sausage sticks (set them know it is for the troops so they can package it properly), etc.

If you will be making a cash donation, please make checks payable to Elburn Leo Club.

We also would like to send well wishes from home and support for their service. Please consider writing a letter with words of encouragement and support for the troops. We will enclose the personal letters with the care packages to show our appreciation for their service and dedication to our country. Mail donations and letters to: Elburn Leo Club, Attn: Pam Hall, 500 Filmore St., Elburn, IL 60119.

Call (630) 365-6315 to make arrangements to drop off donations at Elburn Lions Community Park (500 Filmore St., Elburn).

To learn more about our group, visit www.elburnlions.com or email pamh@elburnlions.com.

Pam Hall
Elburn Lions Club president,
Elburn Leo Club advisor

Letter: Illinois public schools achieve despite challenges

in Letters to the Editor by

As the leaders of organizations representing public school administrators, principals, teachers and school board members in Illinois—the education professionals and the people working on the front lines in our public schools—we feel it is important to respond to the recent “report card” issued by the private group Advance Illinois.

While we agree with Advance Illinois that we need to continue to strive to improve public education, we do not agree that an arbitrary “grade” of C- is an accurate depiction of what is going on in our public schools and, as such, it inappropriately erodes public support for education.

More than half of Illinois schools serve concentrations of at least 40 percent disadvantaged students, up from 35 percent 10 years ago, and the report notes “in the face of this demographic shift, Illinois’ academic performance improved modestly in the core subjects of reading and math” across all demographic and economic groups. The report states that Illinois has improved its national ranking as other states facing similar demographic change declined.

Included in the data but never mentioned publicly is this fact: When it comes to the percentage of students demonstrating college readiness on all four benchmarks on the ACT test, Illinois was No. 1 among the nine states in the nation that administered the ACT to all of its graduating class of 2012. It’s apples to oranges to compare Illinois with states where the test is mostly taken only by college-bound students, but even compared to that group Illinois ranked 12th in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Education released its graduation report just last week for the 2010-11 school year, and Illinois ranked 10th nationally with a graduation rate of 84 percent, just 4 percent from the top spot.

We would be the first to say that we must improve on closing the achievement gaps in Illinois. Having said that, the new federal report showed that, with regard to graduation rate, Illinois ranked eighth for Black and African American students (74 percent), seventh for Hispanic/Latino students (77 percent), seventh for White students (89 percent), 11th for Limited English Proficient students (68 percent) and ninth for Economically Disadvantaged students (75 percent).

This has been achieved despite the fact that Illinois ranks at or near the bottom in the nation in state funding for education, and has suffered an 11 percent cut in General State Aid and a 42 percent cut in transportation funding in the past three years.

We agree with Advance Illinois on many of the issues facing public education, such as the value of a strong Early Education program and the fact that the growing poverty problem is one of the biggest issues facing public education. We hope that the education reform package and Common Core Standards will be thoughtfully implemented to support, not just rank, principals and teachers so that teaching and learning improve.

Regardless of the arbitrary grade we are given, or even if we rank No. 1 in a particular category—as we do in the percentage of the graduating class of 2012 that meets all four ACT benchmarks for college readiness—we know we have more to do. As the names at the bottom of this letter attest, administrators, principals, teachers and school board members jointly remain committed to improving the quality of education for the children of our state.

Dr. Brent Clark
Executive Director
Illinois Association of School Administrators

Dr. Michael A. Jacoby
Executive Director
Illinois Association of
School Business Officials

Jason Leahy
Executive Director
Illinois Principals Association

Roger L. Eddy
Executive Director
Illinois Association of School Boards

Cinda Klickna
President
Illinois Education Association

Daniel J. Montgomery
President
Illinois Federation of Teachers

Letter: A thank you from the Pazin family

in Letters to the Editor by

We would like to thank the greatest family, neighbors, friends and strangers for their thoughts and prayers through this most difficult time these past weeks. It means so much to us.

As far as our daughter Erin, we are thankful she is here with us today. We know that faith, hope, love, time and, of course, the continued prayers and support we have received, will be the only thing to get her through this.

And most of all, please continue to keep Zach’s father and mother, Mike and Dee Dee Bingham, in your prayers.

May God bless Zach. We love you and we will miss you.

Barry, Patty, Julia, Shannon and,
most of all, Erin Pazin

Editorial: A thank you to residents for making Kandyland 2012 a success

in From the Editor's Desk by

The Elburn Herald would like to say thank you to everyone who participated in the Kandyland event during the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Friday evening. This was our first Kandyland at our new location in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, and we were unsure of how local residents would respond to a world of life-sized candy and wonder in the Community Center’s dance studio.

That sense of uncertainty proved unnecessary, as public turnout for the event was phenomenal, making it one of the most successful Kandylands in recent memory.

The change in venue actually turned out to be an excellent perk, as many residents were able to attend the Holiday Bazaar in the Community Center gymnasium, and then scoot over to play Kandyland next door. Location wasn’t the only change made to Kandyland this year, either. New wrinkles in the Kandyland experience, including a green “instant win” piece and a white “wild card” piece, made the game a little fresher and more fun. These changes were clearly popular with the kids who participated, as the expression on their face was as joyous as ever.

Those expressions are absolutely the reason we continue to host Kandyland each year. To know that we’ve helped make the Elburn Christmas Stroll a little more fun for local residents—children and adults alike—gives us a feeling of warmth, appreciation and purpose that lives on long after the Christmas Stroll ends and our Kandyland trees and props are put away for the year.

We would like to give a special thank you to the Elburn and Countryside Community Center for helping us continue on the Kandyland tradition within our new digs. The staff here was incredibly helpful and supportive from set-up to tear-down, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

A very special thank you goes to Elburn Herald Design Director Leslie Flint, who always strives to put together the best Kandyland yet. Flint puts countless, grueling hours into coordinating and staging Kandyland each year, and she is absolutely the heart and soul of the event. We shudder to imagine what Kandyland would look like without Flint’s input and design know-how.

As the Elburn Christmas Stroll gives way to the rest of the holiday season, we prepare ourselves for Christmas and New Year’s while also keeping an eye on December 2013. Needless to say, we can’t wait for the next installment of Kandyland.

Guest editorial: Celebrating the First Amendment

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Ken Paulson, president and CEO of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University

The hardest line to sing in the “Star-Spangled Banner” is also the most important. “O’er the land of the free …” with its character-building high note, has been the bane of even professional singers.

That’s probably appropriate. Becoming “the land of the free” wasn’t all that easy, either.

On Dec. 15, America will commemorate the 221st birthday of the Bill of Rights, the most extraordinary and influential guarantee of individual freedoms in world history.

Every school kid knows that this nation was founded on freedom, but sometimes we lose sight of the details. Building a nation from scratch, promising a democracy and ensuring certain inalienable rights were all both ambitious and unprecedented. And though we declared our liberty in 1776, it wasn’t until the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 and the commitment to specific individual freedoms in the Bill of Rights in 1791 that we were truly on our way to a more perfect union.

Over time, the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly helped abolish slavery, secure the vote for women and establish equal protection for all. Yet surveys show that only 4 percent of Americans can identify all of these core freedoms. A majority, when asked, can come up with only freedom of speech. That is particularly disappointing when you realize how rare these guarantees are globally.

In recent weeks:

• In China, a tweeted joke about a popular horror-movie series and an upcoming Communist Party Congress led to an arrest on charges of supporting terrorism.

• In India, the Information Technology Act criminalizes the posting of “any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character.” The restriction was applied last month to two women for a post and “Like” on Facebook.

Repression, censorship and attacks on minority faiths are commonplace worldwide. Even nations that regard themselves as free and open societies often fail to protect controversial ideas and viewpoints.

In the U.S., our guarantees are so vibrant and effective that we tend to take them for granted. Unfortunately, complacency isn’t good for a democracy.

In an effort to build greater appreciation for First Amendment freedoms, a coalition of educators, journalists, artists and others have come together to form “1 for All,” an educational campaign. The First Amendment Center, Knight Foundation, American Society of News Editors, McCormick Foundation and the Newseum have teamed up to help a new generation of citizens more fully appreciate these freedoms.

Part of that effort is a scholarship competition which began on Saturday and will continue through Saturday, Dec. 15 (the First Amendment’s birthday). Students are encouraged to tweet about their favorite of the five freedoms, becoming eligible to compete for a $5,000 scholarship. Details can be found at 1forall.us.

The next time you hear the national anthem wind down to that final line, and before you restore your cap and pick up the beer cup, you might want to say a quiet thanks for the many who made “land of the free” more than a hard line to sing.

Whether fighting on our front lines or taking a stand for equality and justice, whether carrying a rifle on a foreign shore or a protest sign on Main Street, millions have made this land of freedom possible through their sacrifices and commitment.

Now that’s something worth singing about.

Letter: Disagrees with Kaneland tax levy resolution

in Letters to the Editor by

Susan Ericson, director of tax extension for the Kane County Clerk Office, recently indicated that she and her staff employ almost the exact 4.3 percent formula, as stated by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, Kaneland assistant superintendent for business, to determine 2012 tax extensions.

I find Ericson’s office to be fair, high degree of integrity, and honorable in deployment of their duties to all entities within our community—taxpayers and districts alike.

Now comes Kaneland District 302 tax levy resolution of Oct. 29, 2012. This document requests a capped levy/extension of $42,004,470, which equates to an 8.62 percent increase from 2011.

Without much analysis, it is easy for the reader to see 8.62 percent is twice Dr. Fuchs’ estimate of 4.3 percent, and well above the 5 percent PTELL Cap. This resolution will also raise my District 302 Personal Property Tax Bill by 11.8 percent, or a little less than triple the 4.3 percent quoted. My 2011 District 302 tax extension presently represents 71 percent of my total Personal Property Tax Bill.

Such disparity of quoted targets to taxpayers vs. actual ending levied dollars must damage the envelope of trust and integrity expected of Kaneland public officials and education administrators. Only the deployment of unlawful taxation techniques of “manual override” and “balloon” can account for such (“we must maximize”) variation.

The deployment of such logic toward taxation, impact fees, intergovernmental agreements and bonding now begs the question of what other elements of public education administration are being manipulated beyond inflationary normalcy? What impact does it have on small business and jobs within our community? A person or families living on fixed incomes cannot absorb such gouging of the taxpayer.

Request: Reduce Kaneland School Board of Education’ Tax Levy Resolution of Oct. 29, 2012, to the quoted 4.3 percent overall increase in total taxes due. Stop exorbitant hedging of the taxation system.

Jerry Elliott
Aurora

The right way to ring in the Christmas season

in From the Editor's Desk by

Of all the great debate topics in this country (Pepsi or Coke, Bears or Packers, G.I. Joe or Transformers, etc.), perhaps the most underrated is the question of when the Christmas season should officially commence.

Some people believe Christmas becomes a priority the moment they begin putting away Halloween decorations; others wait until the day after Thanksgiving to tee off on all things Christmastime. Neither date is technically wrong (though it’s certifiably weird to hear Christmas music in McDonald’s on Nov. 1). However, we believe November should belong to turkeys and autumn colors, not snowmen and mistletoe.

And that means the Christmas season should officially dawn in early December, which just so happens to be the time when Elburn and Sugar Grove host their Christmas Stroll and Holiday in the Grove festivities, respectively.

Holiday in the Grove will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 a.m., and offer plenty of family-friendly activities at the Sugar Grove Community House and John Shields Elementary School.

Santa will be on hand at the Community House to have breakfast with children and adults alike at 8, 9, 10 and 11 a.m. Games and crafts will also be available. Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, meanwhile, will feature fun crafts and a Holiday Shoppe where kids can stealthily get their Christmas shopping done.

The Sugar Grove Public Library will get in on the holiday action at 9 a.m. with teen-approved crafts, face-painting, pizza and holiday movies, a chance to read to therapy dogs, and afternoon performances by Western Lights and Kaneland Madrigals.

Six days after Holiday in the Grove, Elburn will get a chance to spread some holiday cheer with its annual Christmas Stroll on Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. throughout downtown Elburn.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will appear at the Town and Country Public Library and have their picture taken with children in attendance. Elburn Fire Protection District will offer a safety house and tree-burning demonstrations. Conley’s annual “Blessing of the Manger” dedication will take place at Route 47 and Pierce Street. Elburn Hill Church will present a Christmas Cafe, and the Citizen Emergency Response Team Trailer will be on the Main Street in front of American Bank & Trust, offering up balloon creations. Participants can also head over to the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, where Jewel-Osco employees will be on-hand to enjoy some cookie and wreath decorating for the kids.

Plenty of fun will be had at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, with a Holiday Craft Bazaar presented by the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, as well as our own life-sized Kandyland game for children, adults and everyone in between. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel to dwell in Kandyland and feel dwarfed by giant-size decorative candy bars, this is absolutely the game for you. Best part: every participant is a winner.

A visit to either (or both) of these village events should be enough to convince anyone that December is the right month to commence dreams of a winter wonderland. And with the turkey and Black Friday super-doorbuster deals in the rear view mirror, it’s officially time to focus on ringing in the Christmas season.

Letter: Elburn Food Pantry thanks Fire Department

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Countryside Food Pantry sincerely thanks the Elburn Community Fire Department and Lt. Matt Hanson for organizing and collecting food on Nov. 17 at the Jewel/Osco. The amount of food donated by local residents was just tremendous. Thank you to everyone involved for their kindness.

Rita Burnham
Coordinator, Elburn Countryside Food Pantry

Letter: Kick off your holiday season with the Elburn Christmas Stroll

in Letters to the Editor by

Start your holiday season off by attending the annual Elburn Christmas Stroll on Dec. 7, hosted by The Elburn Chamber of Commerce.

The stroll will consist of a number of Elburn businesses participating by having activities at their establishment for the holiday season. The Elburn and Countryside Community Center will host the Holiday Bazaar and a silent wreath auction. Many business located in the community center are also putting on special events, such as Kandyland, hot chocolate stations, Santa Train and much more.

During the stroll, you can find Santa at the Elburn Town and Country Public Library for a photo.

Visit www.elburn.com for a map of all the activities. For more information, call (630) 365-2295 or email info@elburn.com.

Jamie Jump
Chamber office administrator

Letter: A thank you from the Elburn Fire Department

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Fire Department would like to thank our community for the support shown last weekend at our annual food drive. With your help we collected a truck full of food.

As the holiday season continues, we will offer food drop-off locations at Elburn Fire Station No. 1, 210 E. North St. (630) 365-6855, and No. 2, 39w950 Hughes Road (630) 262-9911.

If residents are not able to get out and need a pick-up, please contact either station and we will do our best to pick up your donation. All items collected will be taken to the Elburn Food Pantry.

Matt Hanson
Lieutenant, Elburn Fire Department

Editorial: Many reasons to give thanks on Thanksgiving

in From the Editor's Desk by

It’s funny how one’s perception of Thanksgiving will develop during their life.

For many children, the Thanksgiving holiday represents a nice, long break from school, as well as the opportunity to consume some pretty tasty food in honor of the pilgrims who dined in Plymouth almost 400 years ago. Maybe these kids will get a chance to see a movie and do some shopping with their parents on Black Friday; maybe they’re excited to see the holiday parades that typically take place the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

For teens and young adults, Thanksgiving can take on an entirely different life. There’s still a mighty long break from school, but with the great food comes the opportunity to watch a Detroit Lions loss (in horrific fashion, typically; sometimes to the extent that their players have no choice but to repeatedly stomp on players from the opposing team), and a flavor-of-the-week act performance during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys game. If these teens and young adults are hardcore football fans, they’ll resist post-dinner sleepiness just enough to watch the third game of the day. Otherwise, they’re either off with friends for the night or planning out an unbeatable Black Friday shopping strategy with family members.

At some point, however, a person will realize that, while it’s nice to spend Thanksgiving overdosing on football, turkey and ‘80s film marathons (no truth to the rumor that TBS is legally obligated to air “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Adventures in Babysitting” on the fourth Tuesday in November each year), the true meaning of Thanksgiving lay in the company we keep on that day.

Thanksgiving, stripped to its core, is about more than simply giving thanks for what we have; rather, it’s about giving thanks for those who we have in our lives—the people who help us keep perspective and understand that friendship is indeed the richest currency in existence. This was what the pilgrims celebrated when they dined on that fateful day in 1621, and it’s an example that still carries validity centuries later.

Friends and family make it possible to endure a heavily edited airing of “The Breakfast Club.” Most important, they make it OK to overeat and then overeat some more.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to appreciate the most important people in your life, and revel in the fact that your loved ones appreciate your presence in their life, as well.

After all, your friends and family aren’t coming over to watch the Detroit Lions lose, they’re coming over to spend the holiday with you.

Letter: Kane County recycling extravaganza a ‘thundering success’

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kane County recycling event on Nov. 10, in celebration of America Recycles Day, was a thundering success. Close to 150,000 pounds (an equivalent of 75 tons or 10 semi-trucks full) of material was collected for reuse and recycling from over 1,600 residents throughout the six-hour event.

Materials brought in for reuse and recycling included: five semi-trucks of electronics and scrap metal; two box trucks of shredded documents; a 20-foot roll-off of latex paint, one semi-truck each of styrofoam and books; 57 bikes; two wheel chairs; lots of crutches; a large box truck of clothes, shoes, hats, and toys; an SUV-full of reusable office and school supplies, and a few musical instruments.

The free confidential document shredding service was hugely popular, with over 17,000 pounds of paper shredded and recycled.

There will be another event in the spring, so if you didn’t make this one, keep your eye on the Kane County Recycles website, www.countyofkane.org/pages/recycling, for the April event announcement.

Jennifer Jarland
Recycling coordinator, Kane County

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