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Elburn Herald | Sugar Grove Herald

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Editorial/Opinion - page 29

Guest Editorial: Warmer weather equals more calls to the Poison Center

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The Illinois Poison Center is a non-profit health service that provides the people of Illinois with comprehensive and trusted information and treatment advice on potentially harmful substances via a free, confidential 24-hour hotline staffed by specially trained doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Illinois—While there are many year-round hazards that result in calls to the Illinois Poison Center, the summer presents a unique array of potential exposure opportunities as people spend more time outdoors. During the summer season, calls to the Illinois Poison Center traditionally increase up to twenty percent.

“There are many factors that can explain this increase in calls: warmer temperatures, summer vacations, and families spending more time outside,” says Dr. Michael Wahl, Medical Director of the Illinois Poison Center. “It is important that individuals are extremely diligent during this time of year to ensure they remain safe and free from poison exposures.”

As the temperature outside continues to rise, it is critical that families are aware of the potential hazards the summer may bring. According to the experts at the Illinois Poison Center, there are five substances that elicit an increase in calls during this season:

Sunscreen: Most sunscreen exposures occur when a child accidentally swallows the substance or licks their hands after it’s been applied. Although sunscreen is minimally toxic, only adults should apply sunscreen to children. Be sure to keep containers sealed and out of the reach and sight of children.

Insect Repellents: A common type of insect repellent is DEET. It comes in various formulations: aerosol sprays, pump sprays, sticks, creams and lotions. When used properly, DEET products are safe and effective in preventing bug bites. However, there are case reports of serious toxicity including vomiting, fever, coma and seizures following chronic over-application or large acute ingestions of DEET products.

Pool Chemicals: The most common pool chemicals involved in accidental poisoning are those that contain chlorine. Chlorine fumes are a significant respiratory irritant. Always take caution when using these chemicals: open and use them in a well-ventilated area, wear eye and skin protection, and never sniff a chemical to see how potent it is or mix chemicals unless specifically directed by product labels.

Plants: Most leaves or berries (indoor and outdoor) are not significantly toxic if ingested. However, there are a few plants that can pose a serious risk if eaten by small children. Examples include: Yew berries (irregular heart rhythms, seizures), Foxglove or lily of the valley (irregular heart rhythms, slowing of the heart), and Pokeweed (vomiting, diarrhea, headache).

Bites and Stings: Most insect or spider bites result in minor local effects, but some (such as black widow and brown recluse spiders) can cause potentially serious injuries. Non-venomous snakebites are a nuisance, but venomous snake bites (such as massasauga and copperhead) can cause serious symptoms and often require hospital admission and an anti-venom treatment.

If you or someone you know has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance (i.e. medication, household cleaners, beauty/automotive products, etc.), call the Illinois Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. Experts are available 24 hours a day. For more information visit

Letter: Asking the CCCE to reconsider its position on parking lot

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While small, Elburn has always been a community with its own distinct identity, filled with people that supported each other. The village supported the residents and businesses, the residents and businesses supported the village, and the churches, clubs and societies supported them all. However, the proud Elburn downtown needs support, particularly the north side.

For decades, the Community Congregational Church of Elburn (CCCE) has been a strong supporter of Elburn and its residents. As a small but important part of this commitment to the community, the CCCE had allowed public parking in a 40-space lot on the southeast corner of Shannon and Main streets. This courtesy granted to the community provided meaningful and important access to the hundreds of residents who frequent the north side businesses on Main Street every week. Unfortunately, beginning this past spring, the CCCE closed the lot in an effort to sell the property. While few would begrudge the CCCE their right to attempt to sell the property, by keeping the lot closed while for sale, church leaders are doing tremendous harm to the small-business owners and patrons who rely on the lot every day, in essence turning their back on the community they have pledged to serve and support.

The difficult part for the Elburn business community and its patrons to understand is the CCCE’s unwillingness to allow access to the lot while it’s up for sale. Local business owners have offered to rent the property, but the CCCE has refused. And in doing so, church leaders have placed an unnecessary burden on the small businesses in our community during a time of tremendous economic uncertainty. After four years of a deep recession, such a cost could lead to further vacated properties in our historic downtown, which, if left unchecked, could hollow out the heart of this community for many years to come. Moreover, while it is true that there are other parking options within four blocks of the north side of the downtown area, the significant decline in revenues observed in many downtown businesses suggests these alternative lots are not considered a good alternative for local customers. In particular, Elburn’s population contains a significant number of elderly and handicapped individuals who no longer have access to these downtown businesses. These individuals are now left with no good option, given that Elburn is too small to support a public transportation system.

Moving forward, something needs to be done. For its part, the CCCE did offer to sell the lot to the village, but during these financially challenging times, the price of $250,000, which is well above the market value of the property, is unaffordable for the village. That said. the local business owners demonstrated their willingness to rent the lot, which suggests that they would also likely support paying a similar-sized tax to the village to cover the cost of purchasing the property. Such a solution would provide access to the downtown for the elderly and disabled, as well as provide much-needed relief to the struggling businesses of Main Street. I am hopeful that the village will be able to step in and help bring a quick and positive resolution to this problem before it is too late.

Lastly, I hope the leaders of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn will once again prioritize their mission to support the people of Elburn. I recognize that the CCCE needs to make hard choices as well, but unnecessarily placing a tremendous burden on local businesses and community residents (including many elderly and disabled) seems to be the opposite of everything the CCCE represents and stands for. I ask the leaders of Community Congregational Church of Elburn to please reconsider their position, and to work with the local business community and the village to open your parking lot.
James D. Cotti

Editorial: Time for the Kaneland municipalities to get on the same page

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The Kaneland School Board and the Elburn Village Board last week completed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that governs the collection of land/cash and capital impact payments that will be paid to the School District as new development enters the village.

This is a vital step toward securing a known amount of incoming fees to help offset the cost of new development to the school prior to the potential passage of the Elburn Station development in Elburn. Absent an IGA, potential existed for land/cash and capital impact payments to be on the negotiating table as part of the final negotiations for the development that would significantly add to the size of the village.

With the fee schedule now in place and agreed to by both the Elburn Village Board and the Kaneland School Board, the fees are pre-determined, and also provide a measure of stability for both parties.

The stability exists because any future developers—as well as future board members—will know in advance what the fee schedule will be, eliminating it as a negotiating point and creating a “race to the bottom” as developers try to negotiate with multiple municipalities in an attempt to find the best deal. For the existing fee schedule to decrease, the Kaneland School Board would first have to enter into an IGA with another municipality that contains the lower fees, and then, in a separate action, approve of a revised IGA with Elburn.

In other words, Kaneland would have to agree to any fee schedule lower than the one currently in place, which gives the School District a say in the negotiations for future development. Absent an IGA, Kaneland had no official voice and could merely suggest to municipalities a fee structure that the district had no authority to put in place.

Prior to Jan. 1, 2012, Kaneland had a joint IGA with all of the municipalities inside the School District, but it fell apart when Sugar Grove declined to extend it.

Hopefully, the IGA signed by Elburn and Kaneland will lead the other Kaneland municipalities to also sign on, as well. We believe that creating a situation in which school impact fees are equal throughout the Kaneland School District is vital, because scenarios in which the Kaneland municipalities use school impact fees as a bargaining tool will merely harm all existing and future residents. It will simply create a race to the bottom, risking creating a scenario in which the financial challenges faced by the School District will continue well past the existing economic slump.

We urge each of the Kaneland municipalities to consider joining the existing IGA as soon as possible.

Letter: Rude Corvette drivers ruin Saturday afternoon in Kaneville

in Letters to the Editor by

It’s a shame that a beautiful drive in the country, and a chance for a parade, turned into another day of distress and insult on Saturday afternoon.

To the Bloomington Gold Corvette Drivers who came through Kaneville again this year: Thank you to those drivers who respected our small-town way of life by driving within the 30 mph speed limit. As with most years, the first 20 minutes of the “parade” featured drivers of cars with mufflers, who were driving the speed limit. Thank you to those considerate guests in my town. They would be welcome here again. But after the first half hour, it deteriorated to a road race of roaring automobiles, doing 60-70 miles per hour within our 30 mph town borders. Every year, there are a couple hundred drivers (out of the 700 projected participants) who spoil the magic for everyone. To these very rude drivers going twice the speed limit past my home inside the village, I say, “Good riddance.”

To the Kaneville village trustee who dismissed my protestations, I say: If we issue a parade permit, formally or informally, there should be a speed limit. Parades do not travel at 60-70 mph with pedestrians at the roadside, as these drivers passing my house did for more than two hours on Saturday.

To the organizers of this event, who have ignored my written protestations and phone calls for the past four years, let me explain: I welcomed the Corvettes the first time they came to town, until the high-speed inconsiderate drivers treated my calls to “slow down” with utter disrespect. You would be welcome in my quiet little town if you were courteous. After getting the one-fingered salute from several speeding drivers roaring past my front yard, please listen to me when I say that guests like these are not welcome.

On the website, I see the acknowledged organizers of the event include the Kane County Sheriff, the St. Charles Police Department and the St. Charles CVB. So, Kane County Sheriff, what am I to think when I watch you next week stopping speeders going 45-50 mph in Kaneville, while this weekend you allowed these scofflaws with their expensive toys to invade my Saturday afternoon at 70 miles per hour with tires squealing and mufflers roaring? As sponsors of the event, I expect that passing riders should have understood that “30 mph means 30 mph.”

I hear that this event will move to Champaign, Ill., next year. I hope they treat their downstate hosts with more courtesy.

Joann Murdock

Guest Editorial: SG police responds to rumonrs of child abduction attempt

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by Investigator John Sizer,
Sugar Grove Police Department

Numerous emails are being circulated around the village and to the media regarding multiple child abduction attempts that are factually incorrect.

The Sugar Grove Police Department has not said there was a fourth attempt of child abduction.

The Sugar Grove Police are investigating three reports that are, as of this time, being classified as suspicious persons or vehicles. There was a fourth report taken by the Kane County Sheriff’s Department in Prestbury. At this time, it appears that this incident is not related to anything in Sugar Grove.

If there had been a confirmed attempt to abduct a child, the Sugar Grove Police Department would have put out a notification through the media and village email.

We do not believe that any of the incidents are related. We have four different vehicle descriptions and different descriptions of the drivers.

In the latest incident that occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, four young girls reported a dark-colored van driving slowly as it passed them. The driver never exited the vehicle, stopped or said anything to the girls. This was not an attempted abduction. Two of the reported incidents occurred on the evening prior to garbage pickup. It is possible that these subjects were simply scavengers who will frequently drive slowly though the subdivisions in search of scrap that has been placed on the curb for pick up.

The police are taking these reports seriously and will follow up on all tips and leads. We want the citizens to continue to report incidents that they feel are suspicious; however, it is not helpful to pass on information that is inaccurate and creates undue concerns or fear.

We continue to urge all citizens to contact the Police Department if they have any public safety concerns. We will follow up on all reports.

Editorial: Taking a moment to reflect

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On June 13 through June 15, newspapers from throughout the state of Illinois gathered in Springfield for a three-day convention, as well as to announce the winners of their editorial and advertising contests.

While none of us do our jobs for industry accolades, it is nice to take a step back from the production grind and reflect on the work that we can be particularly proud ofduring the previous year.

The Elburn Herald had a number of first-place honors.

In the News Reporting—Single Story category, reporter Susan O’Neill won first place with a story titled “Residents respond,” a story focused on the termination of long-time Sugar Grove Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes.

“Covering discord in a board when a long-time librarian was fired and community members backed the librarian was handled well. These are tough stories when details of decisions are not forth coming,” the judges commented.

In the Feature Writing category, reporter Lynn Meredith earned first-place honors for her story titled “History Detectives: Where is the body buried?”

“The lead paragraph kept me reading this unusual story. This could have been a “dull” story, but isn’t,” the judges commented.

The staff of the Elburn Herald collectively earned first place in the Newspaper Design category.

“Nice, clean front page. Beautiful layout throughout. Well-organized throughout. Nice crisp photos (although page 1 on Sept. 8 could use a dominant photo),” read the judges comments.

Sports Editor Mike Slodki won first place in the Sports Section category.

“The writing set this particular entry above the others in this class—the stories have strong leads and supporting material. The pages also have strong lead photos that draw the readers’ attention,” the judges wrote.

In the Best Full-Page Ad category, Design Director Leslie Flint won first place for an advertisement featuring the Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center.

“Well-designed ad sells packages to Starved Rock Lodge and Convention Center in an appealing and eye-catching way,” read the judges’ comments.

Flint also won first place in the category that considers an overall body of work: Best Ad Designer.

“Head and shoulders above the other entries. Excellent typography selection; good use of space; great individuality. Very nice job!”
the judges said.

Flint earned several additional awards during the convention, as well. She won third place in the Single Page Design category, third place in General Advertising Excellence, and fourth in Best Full-Color Ad.

Meredith added an additional award with a third-place honor in the Business/Economic Reporting.

As a staff, the Elburn Herald also won third-place honors in the Best Annual Special Section category for its Back to School section, as well as for Best Niche Publication for its new Insight publication.

As stated above, these awards are a nice way to take a step back and reflect on the things that went well. Every edition, each member of the staff puts forth their best effort, and sometimes things come together well and smoothly, and sometimes it can be a struggle to put things together.

The drive behind all of what we do is to serve our community to the best of our ability, each and every day. So while it is nice to occasionally step back and be proud of the work that the industry recognizes, our true reward is based on the connection we make—every week—with our fellow community members.

Letter: A thank you from the Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary PTO

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The Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School PTO would like to thank these local businesses for their donations to and generous support of our school’s PTO. We sincerely appreciate the kindness extended by these businesses that give back to our community and support our children’s education:

• Elburn: First Street Photos, Fox Valley Wildlife, McDonald’s, Paisano’s Pizza, Protege Pilates, Shady Hill Gardens, Something’s Cooking Custom Catering

• Kaneville: Mr. Paul Ross, Ross Electric

• Geneva: Buffalo Wild Wings, California Pizza Kitchen, Delnor Fitness, It’s a Girl Thing, Jersey Mike’s, JoAnn Fabrics, Potbelly, Tom & Eddie’s

• St. Charles: Heinz Brothers Greenhouse, Tony & Friends Art Studio

• Batavia: Chili’s

The KBC PTO Executive Board
Kathy Webster, Susan Hazen, Lola Salamon, Brandie Kottmeyer and Laura Gampfer

Letter: Concern with Elburn Forest Preserve entrance

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On Wednesday, June 6, a child was almost hurt on the Eastwood Trail at the Elburn Woods Forest Preserve by a semi truck driving down the Eastwood Trail. There were no signs, flag men or Kane County Forest Preserve employees present. A complaint was made to the Kane County Forest Preserve. The Kane County Forest Preserve feels the safety situation will be addressed with additional “ orange & black” construction signs.

I can’t think of any reason why it would be OK to mix children with semi-trucks on a narrow, winding, low-visibility trail. Yet, that is what Kane County Forest Preserve Director of Operations Mike Holan has deemed proper. Mr. Holan has also indicated there will be no sign at the Read St. Elburn Forest Preserve entrance. This is where many of the unsupervised children from Elburn enter the Forest Preserve on bicycles.

Please take whatever action you deem necessary to ensure the safety of people that enter the Elburn Woods from the Read St. entrance.

Mark Snyder
Hampshire, Ill.

Letter: FFA Leadership Conference

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The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 540,379 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,489 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

This summer, for seven weeks, more than 2,200 students will attend our Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. This seven-week event helps students develop leadership skills, identify personal strengths, develop awareness of societal differences and human needs and strategize how they can help others through community service. Each student develops a community-service initiative for their local community, with the intention of students returning home and implementing their plans.

Students come to the conference wanting to learn how to make a difference in the world. They leave knowing they can – and will. That’s exactly what Sierra Coulthard did last year.

After last year’s event, the Wisconsin high school FFA member returned home and immediately connected with Nashville-based Soles4Souls, which since 2005 has secured more than 17 million new and gently used shoes for people throughout the world. The charity shipped her a supply of shoe boxes that she placed throughout her home town of Neillsville for donations. Nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes were given to the “Sierra’s Shoes” drive.

And last month, Coulthard had the opportunity to personally deliver shoes to deserving children in Haiti.

I believe students are generally aware of global problems like hunger and poverty but many are sheltered and disconnected from what’s happening in the world. During their time at our conference., FFA members experience real-world problems and take critical steps toward personal growth and developing leadership skills they’ll need to make a difference in people’s lives, starting in their own communities.

The conclusion of each weekly session of the Washington Leadership Conference is a Day of Service, where students work together on a real, hands-on community-service project. Last year, through each week’s Day of Service, students contributed a total of $85,283 worth of volunteer labor. Students packed, sorted and distributed more than 29.5 tons of produce and shipped more than 100,000 meals overseas. This year, FFA members will volunteer more than 9,500 hours to pack and ship thousands of meals to Nicaragua to help the third-world country battle hunger.

Today’s FFA is thriving and deeply committed, through opportunities like the Washington Leadership Conference, to developing students’ potential and become leaders in our country’s No. 1 industry – agriculture.

W. Dwight Armstrong, Ph.D. CEO
National FFA Organization

Letter: Flag Retirement Ceremony

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On Flag Day, Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m, the Officers of the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion will have a Flag Retirement Ceremony.

The public is welcome to attend and are welcome to bring any worn, tattered or otherwise unusable flag for retirement.

We take great pride in the flag of our country and perform this ceremony in accordance with Legion directives to ensure proper retirement etiquette. Flags are collected throughout the year, both at the American Legion Post and at Village Hall, and are retired every year on Flag Day.

Cliff Barker
Chaplain, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 1271

Letter: Cancer Survivor Day Celebration

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LivingWell joined the community to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday. This special day was a treasured annual worldwide Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and many other countries. A cancer survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer—from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. Cancer survivors, caregivers, family members, friends, and healthcare professionals will unite in this symbolic event to show the world that having an active, productive life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.

As a community-based, community-funded, not for profit organization, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center is privileged to provide 55 free programs and services that help people live well through cancer. Programs include professionally-led support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and stress reduction classes—all free of charge.

Each year, more than 1,500 individuals attend programs at LivingWell and learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and enhance the quality of their lives.

Our unwavering commitment is to ensure people facing cancer and their families feel empowered with knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by the supportive community created at LivingWell.

Strong scientific evidence demonstrates that LivingWell’s programs and services reduce anxiety, pain, fatigue, and depression, help patients adhere to prescribed medical treatment and support their return to daily activities.

LivingWell Cancer Resource Center salutes cancer survivors for their courage, fight and determination to live full lives and stands ready to help anyone in our community affected by cancer.

For more information, visit or stop by for a tour of facility located at 442 Williamsburg Avenue in Geneva.

Nancy Vance, Executive director
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center

Letter: Sugar Grove French Market open

in Letters to the Editor by

Please join us for the annual Sugar Grove French Market, which will be held in the Sugar Grove Village Hall parking lot on Saturdays (rain or shine), from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Sugar Grove Village Hall is located at 125 Municipal Drive (Route 30 and Municipal Drive) in Sugar Grove.

Farmers are a vanishing breed. When you make a conscious decision to support your local farmers market or local farm stand you help insure that future generations will have access to the nourishing and abundant crops which our Illinois farmers work so hard to bring to our communities.

Veggies, fruits and eggs harvested within a day or two of a farmers market are fresh, crisp and loaded with flavor and nutrients. Today more than ever, it is so important to understand where and how your produce, eggs and meat have been grown.

Fruits and vegetables shipped to us from other states, and today mostly from other countries, must have tough skins that survive packing and shipping and also require the ability to have a reasonable shelf life. Only a handful of hybrid plant varieties have these characteristic so there is little genetic diversity in commercially grown plants compared to the large number of varieties our local farms still grow so as to provide us all with an array of great tasting crops all season long.

Heirloom plants used by our farmers may even someday provide the genes needed to create crops which will thrive in changing climates. Locally grown food preserves genetic diversity, and if you are opposed to eating genetically modified fruits and veggies, you can rest assured that our farm produce was bred the old fashioned way, as nature intended–GMO-free.

Buying from our local farmers preserves our open space, keeps our taxes in check and community farms support a clean environment which benefits not only us, but all area wildlife. As you build a relationship with the farmers you deal with at the market, you establish friendships based on understanding and trust.

Join us Saturdays, June through September.

Pat Graceffa,
Sugar Grove

Guest Editorial: This Father’s Day, teach your kids to manage finances

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By Jason Alderman, Visa senior director of Global Financial Education
As parents, we hope we’re doing a good job raising our children—teaching them right from wrong, instilling the desire to learn and demonstrating how to manage money responsibly. But what if they see us preaching one behavior while practicing another? What’s to stop them from following in our sometimes misguided footsteps?

As Father’s Day approaches, let me share a few things dads can do to teach their kids sound financial habits that will last them a lifetime—and point out a few bad behaviors you may not even be aware of.

Ask yourself:
• Do you avoid conversations about money with your kids because that’s how you were raised? Or because you don’t feel qualified to give advice?
• Do you pay your bills on time to prevent late fees and possible dings to your credit score?
• Do you balance your checkbook regularly to avoid overdrafts and bounced checks?
• Have you set up an emergency fund – and are you disciplined enough not to tap it for everyday expenses?
• Are you sometimes caught off-guard by bills you should anticipate?
• If your family is experiencing financial difficulties (layoff, foreclosure, massive bills), are you having age-appropriate, non-traumatic discussions about the need for everyone to make sacrifices?
• Do you complain about your job within their earshot or say you’d rather stay home with them but need to earn money? You could be setting them up to resent both work and money.
• If college is on the horizon, have you had frank discussions about how it will be financed? Have you started a college savings fund, explored student loan programs or discussed contributions they’ll be expected to make?
• When your kids constantly break or lose expensive items or run through their allowance early, do you repeatedly bail them out with no consequences?

Okay, that’s a lot of potentially negative outcomes. Let’s concentrate on a few positive actions you can take that will encourage responsible financial behavior in your kids.

Use allowances to teach your kids how to handle money wisely, not as a tool to reinforce good behavior. Track their discretionary (toys, candy) and non-discretionary (school supplies, clothes) expenses. Depending on their ages and maturity, decide which expenses they should be responsible for managing, and dedicate a reasonable amount for each category in their allowances.

A few other suggestions:
• Use allowances to teach important life lessons. For example, build in dedicated percentages they must set aside for savings, charity and investments—then involve them in choosing how the money is spent.
• When you use an ATM explain that it’s not free money, but rather has been earned and saved by you.
• To encourage saving during these times of low interest rates, offer to match their savings at 50 percent.
• Teach by example. If money is tight and you have to deny your kids non-necessary items, give up something of your own that they know you’ll miss.
• Open a 529 Qualified State Tuition Plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account to start saving for your children’s education—and let them know about it well before you start discussing college choices.

Father’s Day is when children traditionally express love for their dads. Show how much you care in return by starting them out with a healthy, realistic attitude toward personal finances.

Letter: Shocked by tax bill

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My wife and I received our tax bill last week. We were shocked, to say the least. We got a $1,500 increase from our last tax bill. We couldn’t believe it. We’re on a fixed income, and got that for an increase? Really? Many words went through my mind, but none that can be printed.

Most of my adult life I worked as a drywall finisher. This was hard, physical labor that required me to have a knee replacement and, soon, a shoulder replacement. This was just part of the job, and I accept and understand it. However, I don’t understand the reason for this non-elective colonoscopy that I just received. Upon retiring, life changed. No more getting up at 4 a.m. to go to work. The other change was to watch how we spend. There is less going out to dinner, and more having dinner on our deck surrounded by nature. There are those that retire making as much, if not more than they did when they worked—all on the taxpayer’s dime. I’m all for it if they paid for it, but not on the taxpayer’s dime. Our founding fathers didn’t make a career out of politics.

I have heard that the reason we got nailed with the maximum tax hit is that loans have come due. We didn’t have the population explosion we were supposed to have, and the bottom fell out of the job market. You should have voted for the other guy, but that’s another story. What would be wrong with re-negotiating the loans? Go to these institutions and have them re-negotiated. After all, things have changed. Boy, have they ever. Oh, I almost forgot … what if they refuse? Give the buildings back to them, and see what they do with them. I have even been told that my wife and I could get hit again next year for the same amount.

Change is coming to my wife and I again. We may have to sell our house and downsize just to live in this area. Is it really worth it to live in one of the most broke and corrupt states in America? Don’t forget to vote this fall.

Chris Halsey
Sugar Grove

Guest Editorial: A letter to the Kaneland School District community

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by Dr. Jeff Schuler
Kaneland Superintendent of Schools

As we approach the end of another very successful school year, I wanted to take a few moments to thank everyone for helping us make significant progress this year toward our mission of graduating all Kaneland students college, career and community ready. This truly was a very successful school year marked by significant growth and accomplishment in each of the key areas of our Vision 2014 Strategic Plan.

The area of teaching and learning, clearly the focus of our strategic plan, saw monumental gains. In June, the Board of Education will review learning data from the EPAS testing sequence. EPAS is the series of assessments leading to ACT that measure college readiness. Student scores in 7th through 10th grade saw significant gains in the number of Kaneland students meeting college readiness benchmarks. Additionally, Kaneland students performing in the top two score ranges increased significantly while the number of students scoring in the lower ranges remains remarkably low. This distribution would suggest that Kaneland schools are working hard to advance learning for all students rather than only focus on how many students hit a single cut score.

Student achievement data at the elementary level points to a similar trend. Local reading and math achievement data shows large percentages of students performing at or above grade level. Through the model of flexible grouping there has been an increase in instruction at each student’s learning level and increased collaboration among all staff. Students in need of intervention are receiving that support through targeted intervention programs, demonstrating an achievement distribution similar to that at the 6-12 level.

Other achievements in the Teaching and Learning area include revised core curriculum maps aligned to the Common Core Standards, new K-5 report cards aligned to the Common Core Standards, the purchase of new curriculum materials in targeted areas to support the newly aligned curriculum maps, a new Extended Day Kindergarten option shared and ready for 2012-13 implementation, a very successful 21st century skills technology pilot, a new eight-period schedule at Kaneland High School in place for 2012-2013 school year, higher participation levels in challenging Advanced Placement classes at Kaneland High School, and a coordinated effort to accelerate more students through a rigorous math sequence at Harter Middle School.

Next school year our school calendar will include three additional student attendance days, and the instructional day at the middle and high school has been extended by fifteen minutes. We will also provide staff and students with additional technology to support the 21st century instructional strategies identified through the pilot.

In the Support Services area of our strategic plan, we fully implemented a positive behavior support system at all elementary schools. Flexible grouping strategies were utilized to support core classroom instruction and more effectively differentiate instruction based on student needs. Our exceptional Response to Intervention Program was expanded to include and target some pilot interventions at Kaneland High School.

In the spring our College and Career Center opened at Kaneland High School, and will service students and families through the use of the Naviance Program.

Kaneland High School and Harter Middle School extra-curricular programs had exceptional years. Our students accomplished incredible feats on the stage, at our athletic venues, through our service clubs, at academic competitions, and in our performing arts programs.

Human Resource accomplishments include the establishment of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement in early spring, well in advance of the close of the current agreement. All Kaneland buildings were fully staffed prior to the start of the school year with appropriately certified and highly qualified professionals. Kaneland continued to offer a high quality professional development program for our staff through the effective use of institute days, school improvement days, and collaborative planning times. Collaborative professional learning time will be in place next school year at all three levels due to the new eight-period schedule at Kaneland High School.

Key accomplishments in the area of Staff and Community Relations include enhancements to our electronic communications efforts. Kaneland recently released a survey on this topic intended to provide feedback that will support the summer enhancements to Konnect, our website, and a mobile Konnect application planned for release in the fall.

Kaneland hosted many new parent evenings including a sixth grade step-up night, elementary parent curriculum preview night, substance abuse prevention night, ACT night, and extended day kindergarten night.

Next school year will be the first time we offer an extended day kindergarten program. We improved the online payment system, making it easier for parents to use the web store to make transactions.

Finally, this school year we released the document titled Six Keys to College Readiness to help parents and students monitor individual progress toward our goal of college and career readiness.

All of the accomplishments highlighted in this letter were accomplished with a balanced budget. Given the financial uncertainty of the State of Illinois, sound financial management is essential. Kaneland established a fund balance policy this year that has allowed us to weather the financial uncertainties without any short-term borrowing. For the third consecutive year, difficult financial decisions were made to reduce the budget to keep expenditures in line with revenues. Audit reports reflect sound financial and operational management.

There will continue to be financial challenges for all Illinois School Districts in the next couple of years. Kaneland will not be immune to those challenges, but is prepared to respond thanks to the agile management of our finances.

I would like to thank all stakeholders for the work you have done in support of our mission statement. Achieving the progress we have as a school district would not be possible without the support of a quality staff, motivated and capable students, strong leadership, and a very supportive community. The commitment to a quality education in Kaneland makes the achievement of our goals possible.

As we near graduation, please take a moment to congratulate the Kaneland Class of 2012. We thank you for helping to make us everything that we are as a school district and wish you well in everything that you will become as graduates of Kaneland High School. I hope that everyone has a wonderful summer.

Letter: Help the Kaneland Foundation

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kaneland Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has contributed for decades to the educational needs of the students of Kaneland District 302. Our mission is to support academic excellence through innovation.

Please consider joining us at the Kaneland Foundation’s Knight Run on Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m. The 5K and 1-mile runs will cover a flat cross country course entirely on the Kaneland High School campus.

A registration form with more information is on the Kaneland website and web store (for electronic registration).

Sponsor donations of $200 or more will be recognized on the event T-Shirt provided to all participants and volunteers who register prior to June 15. In addition, sponsors will be publicized through recognition at the event.

For more information about the Knight Run, to make a donation, become a sponsor or have a registration form mailed or e-mailed to you, contact Beth Sterkel at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109, or email or

Jeff Schuler
Superintendent of Schools
Kaneland School District

Letter: A thank you from DeKalb County Hospice

in Letters to the Editor by

DeKalb County Hospice would like to thank everyone who participated in our Tag Days on May 11 and 12. Because you gave so generously of your time and your money, you have once again made this a successful fundraiser by raising over $5,000.

Thank you to the following merchants who allowed our volunteers to stand in front of their businesses to receive donations: Hy-Vee, Brown’s County Market in Sycamore and Genoa, Ollie’s, Culver’s and Walgreen’s Drug Store in Sycamore, and Jewel-Osco in DeKalb.

Thank you to all the volunteers who gave freely of their time to collect funds, made phone calls and helped in the office. A big thanks to all of you.

Finally, thank you to the people of DeKalb County. Your support of DeKalb County Hospice through your generous Tag Day donations is very much appreciated. Your support helps us to continue to provide services to our patients and their families and friends.

Diane Hance and Val Heintz
Tag Day coordinators, DeKalb County Hospice

Editorial: Sugar Grove opened Pandora’s Box, and here are the results

in From the Editor's Desk by

The proposed Shodeen development in Elburn, referred to as Elburn Station, hit a roadblock Monday, and to be honest, that might not be a bad thing.

Elburn Station is a proposed transit-oriented development that would add more than 2,000 residential units, as well as commercial properties, in an area ranging near the Elburn train coach yard, spanning from Route 38 to Keslinger Road.

For a community the size of Elburn, this is a massive development that could nearly double the size of the village once it is complete.

The plan ground to a temporary halt on Monday when the issue of school impact fees came up for a vote—or, well, actually the lack of a vote. Village Board member Ken Anderson moved to accept an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Kaneland School District that would have put in place a fee schedule to pre-determine a fee amount paid per individual property, to be paid to the School District to offset the costs of adding school children to the district.

No one else on the Village Board seconded Anderson’s motion, so the measure died on the floor, and no agreement is currently in place.

The reason this may not be a bad thing is that it has brought to light—with a real-world example—something we warned the community about back in November 2011: that the lack of a Kaneland-wide Intergovernmental Agreement that sets equal school impact fees among all of the villages in the district will cause massive problems in the future.

Well, the future is here, and the problems have begun.

These problems only exist because developers can now use extra negotiating leverage to lower school impact fees by playing one municipality off of another.

Village Board member Bill Grabarek unknowingly stated the exact problem during Monday’s meeting when he expressed his concern with the IGA as it existed at the time of the failed vote.

“I don’t want to see a failed development because it’s cheaper to build in Sugar Grove,” Grabarek said.

Due to that fear, fees designed to offset the cost of educating new students as they move into the district are now on the negotiating table, and the ability to educate Kaneland’s children become just one of many points of debate as developers strive to increase their profit margin and villages strive to broaden their tax base. Yet, whether a child lives in Maple Park or Sugar Grove, Elburn or Kaneville, the cost to educate them in the Kaneland School District remains the same.

The risk of the fear articulated by Grabarek—that a developer would choose a neighboring village because it is cheaper to build there—would not exist if all of the municipalities inside the Kaneland School District had a district-wide IGA that sets the same schedule of impact fees.

The rationale for having a uniform set of impact fees throughout the district was laid out by Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler, also in November 2011. One bullet point from his document stated, “A Kaneland education costs the same for all students, regardless of where they reside. Deviation from Dahlstrom’s tables by any municipality impacts the School District’s ability to provide an appropriate education to all its students.”

So why was there focus placed on a district-wide IGA in November; why did we write about its importance on Nov. 18, 2011?

That is the time in which the village of Sugar Grove announced that it intended to not extend the existing district-wide IGA past Jan. 1, 2012.

For years, all of the municipalities inside the Kaneland School District had agreed to the same fee schedule in order to avoid this very problem. As the end of 2011 approached, and the time came to renew and extend the IGA, Sugar Grove elected not to do so.

That decision opened the Pandora’s Box that, in our decision, should be closed before a development of the size of Elburn Station is approved by any municipality within the Kaneland School District.

If that Pandora’s Box remains open, this issue will continue to come up, over and over again, as developers see a way to pit villages against each other. Ultimately, we will all witness a race to the bottom in terms of school impact fees. What this means is, of course, that existing residents will then be forced to subsidize the educational costs created by new construction.

Elburn Village Attorney Bob Britz on Monday urged village officials to finalize the IGA with Kaneland before passing an annexation agreement with Shodeen.

At a minimum, we strongly urge the Elburn Village Board to take that advice.

Yet, we urge all of the village boards in the Kaneland School District, as well as the School Board, to go one step further—rebuild the district-wide IGA and do whatever it takes to bring Sugar Grove back to the table. Without this action, the problems hinted at Monday will repeat regularly throughout the district, and the negative impacts will be felt for decades to come.

Letter: We have choices

in Letters to the Editor by

Whew! What did you think about your most recent property taxes? Mine went up nearly 12 percent, and I don’t like it.

We have choices about how much we get taxed, but only if we’re willing to do something about it.

In harder times, it doesn’t matter if our assessments go down … because the rate just goes up. In better times, it doesn’t matter if our rates go down … because the levy still goes up. Property taxes are directly correlated to government spending.

Our taxes constantly go up because government spending constantly goes up. Until we elect people who pledge and deliver to either freeze or reduce the spending levy, there is no hope to avoid being taxed out of our homes. Property values have substantially decreased, but our property taxes continue to increase.

I defend our county, appreciate our forest preserves, enjoy our park districts, and deeply respect our public school system. However, I will not forfeit possession of my home in exchange for spending growth in any of these government agencies.

Again, until we elect leaders who at least pledge to freeze or reduce spending that drives the property taxes, you will be taxed out of your homes—that means county board chairman, every county board member, every school board member, etc. Get county board members committed to you in writing before the election, and I will make sure that we keep the promise to live within our current means without coming to you for more.

That is at the county, Fox Valley Park District, and forest preserve levels of government. The school districts are up to you and those we elect to school boards.

I am the only candidate for county board chairman who has unambiguously pledged to freeze the county’s property tax levy. And, I enthusiastically seek the challenge to do the county administration work and will not turn this responsibility over to another unelected, highly paid government employee.

The choice is yours.

Senator Chris Lauzen

Letter: Time to work together for the good of Elburn

in Letters to the Editor by

I have had a PO Box for years in the town of Elburn. Now I see a problem that needs to be resolved in the best interest of all.

Four areas are to be considered in this problem. The town board, the business owners, the church in question and the customers.

First, I have heard it all: that the mayor does not really care. I happen to have known Mayor Dave Anderson for many years from school years to present day. I know him to be a fair and honest man who is concerned about the town. I also know that the town board has the responsibility to make decisions and vote on them. The only time the mayor has a vote is if the board ends up with a tie vote.

Second, the business owners: I am told many have offered to pay whatever the insurance and maintenance cost is to the church until such time that the parking lot is purchased or sold. No business owner is going to write a letter like this and possibly become a target for retaliation. They are willing to take money out of their own pocket to make this work.

Third, the church involved, I am told, is asking over $200,000 for the purchase price of the parking lot. As we all know, it (the parking lot) has been fenced off with post and cable. They claim that there is too much liability if they leave it open. My question there is what if someone in the dark of the night trips and falls over the low, looped cable and is injured? There is liability. Also, I am told that the property has been appraised at much less than the asking price.

Fourth, the customers (after all, they do pay the bills): How do you expect seniors, handicapped and others to walk a far greater distance in the rain, wind and heat of the summer to do business In downtown Elburn? Let’s not forget that Route 47 is going to be worked on, and that means less parking on Main Street during this work period.

The churches that I belong to have always worked to help in any way, shape or form, the members, other people and the community in God’s name. My request to all involved is that you bring to the table a willingness to arrive at a blessed compromise and continue to carry on that town of Elburn’s good name and reputation.

Lee Newtson

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