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Editorial/Opinion - page 30

Letter: Fine Arts Creative Center taking next steps

in Letters to the Editor by

Fine Line Creative Arts Center has a long history in the Fox Valley community. Located on five acres in rural St. Charles, our campus is comprised of two buildings set in the midst of a beautiful prairie.

Our century-old barn houses the business offices, a supply shop, textile studios and the Dempsey Gallery. Our newer facility, the Kavanagh Building, includes four spacious teaching studios and a large, open, light-filled gallery space.

Primarily an education facility, we offer classes and workshops in textiles, painting, ceramics, metals, and glass, taught by our talented faculty and nationally recognized visiting artists. Fine Line has operated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts center at its current location since 1986. We are located in a residentially zoned area, and operate via a special use permit restricted by Kane County. This permit dictates our days and hours of operation, as well as the number of students we can accommodate. We have grown, but because our access is through a subdivision, we have not been able to expand the special use permit.

The purchase of a piece of property to the south of us has recently been completed, with the land intended for use as a new entrance to Fine Line off Bolcum Road. With this plan in place, we petitioned Kane County for a revision to our permit allowing for extended hours, a larger student population and new signage at our entrance (on front cover). This request received unanimous approval.

Now, the only thing holding up use of the new permit is completion of the driveway.

The property is purchased, zoning is secured, now we need the capital to complete the project. This driveway is more than just new paving; it is a key that unlocks a world of new opportunities to fulfill our mission.

The driveway is just phase one of our ultimate goal. Phase two includes restoring more prairie space, connecting to the Fine Line Prairie and Conservation Area, plus creating an outdoor sculpture gallery.

For more information, please visit www.fineline.org.

Robin Kittleson
St. Charles

Letter: ‘K-Train’ derails Bulls

in Letters to the Editor by

Watching Derrick Rose’s knee give way was heartbreaking. Franchises struggle when the franchise player goes down. Let’s see … and there was (also) the toe, the knee, the groin, the ankle and the back. Can’t anyone connect the dots or, rather, body parts? Only two possibilities could have occurred … maybe both together.

The K-Train or Kinetic Chain was weakened. That is the coordinated movement that naturally occurs in synchronized moving parts. The foot/toe is connected to the ankle bone, connected to the leg bone, which is part of the knee, connected to the thigh bone, which is connected to the hip/groin, which is connected to the back bone. The old song had it right. What they didn’t sing about is when one joint gets out of timing with another, something is going to give. This is a common occurrence regardless of age, and it’s not just for athletes.

Foot and ankle injuries can migrate up the chain to the knee. Foot and ankle problems can move all the way up to the back eventually. However, the back injury, even if it is just stiff or sore, can migrate down the whole leg (Kinetic Chain). The back is the engine to the lower limb K-Train Chain.

Eventually, some joint (the knee in this case) will give out. The point being, this is a common occurrence. It occurs in high school students during a season, or in seniors over decades. The K-Train goes off the rails one car at a time. Focus is on the immediate derailment if no one connects the dots, and other cars go off the rails.

The other reason is incomplete healing of any part of the chain, setting the person up for the next injury.

The result can be more cars off the rails and rails mangled (Rose). Then you’re done for the season or for the playoffs. Maybe you end up with a trick knee from cheerleading or football.

Ten years later it’s a back problem; 20 years later you go to a podiatrist for a foot problem, and 40 years later you have a hip replacement. Really? Connect the dots.

Dr. James W. McCoy, D.C.
McCoy Chiropractic, Sycamore

Guest Editorial: State launches ‘Start Seeing Motorcycles’ campaign

in From the Editor's Desk by

Josh Kauffman
Guy Tridgell
Illinois Department of Transportation

With motorcycle riding season officially under way, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police, Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA), and A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) teamed up to kick off the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign across the state and urge all motorists to share the road. Governor Pat Quinn also demonstrated his strong support for motorcycle safety and issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois.

“As the weather improves and riding increases in popularity, more motorcyclists are hitting the roads,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “With that in mind, passenger cars and trucks need to be attentive and make sure they ‘share the road.’ A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, therefore every driver needs to proactively look for them before changing lanes or merging with traffic.”

Now throughout the rest of the riding season, motorists will be reminded to “Start Seeing Motorcycles” in an effort to help keep motorcyclists safe. Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they strictly follow the rules of the road.

IDOT also reminded motorcyclists of their responsibilities as well. They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear a DOT-approved helmet and other brightly colored protective gear.

“Whether you are traveling in a vehicle or riding on a motorcycle, safety should be the number-one priority,” said Illinois State Police Commander Scott Abbott. “As we prepare for the spring and summer months, motorists are reminded to watch for motorcycle traffic and obey all traffic laws, especially those pertaining to speed and lane changes,” he added.

“May is Motorcycle Awareness Month,” said Carleen Grant, coordinator for A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois. “A.B.A.T.E. strives each year to educate both motorists and motorcyclists to be aware, not only during the month of May, but all year. Motorcycles are everywhere. 144 motorcycle fatalities across the state last year is tragic. To lose even one life is unacceptable. Through A.B.A.T.E.’s comprehensive Safety and Awareness program, we hope to help bring those statistics down. Remember, it only takes a moment to “Look Twice To Save A Life’”.

Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 16 percent of total fatalities within Illinois in 2011. Statistics show a motorcyclist is more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.

IDOT offers the following tips for drivers in an effort to help keep motorcyclists safe on Illinois roadways.

• Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle
• Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane
• Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections
• Always use your signal well before changing lanes or merging with traffic
• Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—motorcycle signals frequently do not auto-cancel and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before proceeding
• Increase your following distance—three or four seconds—when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency
• Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop quicker than cars
• Never drive while distracted

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
• Participating in a free IDOT motorcycle training class
• Making sure they are properly licensed
• Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions
• Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-approved helmet
• Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it
• Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity
• Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers
• Never driving while impaired

IDOT also offers free Cycle Rider Safety Training courses statewide for motorcycle riders to acquire additional safety knowledge and training. Approximately 21,000 riders are expected to receive training this year. For more information about class schedules of the Cycle Rider Training program, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign or safety tips, please visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.

Editorial: ‘Be excellent to each other’

in From the Editor's Desk by

For years following the 9/11 tragedy, high-level government officials continued to remind the public to “stay vigilant” whenever they were asked what the general public can or should do while going about their daily lives.

I am sure that many of you heard someone else—or even yourself—wonder what that actually meant. Was it just a serious-sounding phrase to make the public feel like they could contribute, or was there an actual behavior expected of us?

Years later, we as a public are still trying to “stay vigilant,” and we would like to use two recent examples of this concept as a way to explain that “staying vigilant” does not always mean be on the look out for the next terrorist attack, and it does mean that sometimes, what you point out while “staying vigilant” might turn out to be nothing. Either way, vigilance (defined as “Keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties”) is something members of close-knit communities have always done and should always continue to do.

Last week, Elburn Herald Assistant Editor Keith Beebe wrote a story about Sugar Grove resident and Village Board member Mari Johnson. She was aware that she had an elderly neighbor who was in poor health and lived alone. Because of that awareness, she noticed that she hadn’t seen him in several days, as well as noticing that his home began to seem vacant.

She had a feeling something was wrong, and ultimately checked his mailbox to see if anyone had been gathering his mail. It was full, so she tried her neighbor’s front door. The door was open, so Johnson and her husband entered and found her neighbor on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, unconscious.

She called the paramedics, and he was taken to the hospital. Ultimately, Johnson learned that doctors believe he may have been on his floor for up to two days, and would not have survived if he had not been found soon.

That is “staying vigilant”; that is looking out for one another; that is the perfect definition of what it means to be part of a community.

The other example occurred Wednesday, and while the situation ultimately turned into nothing, it is still a good example of “staying vigilant.” On Wednesday morning, someone noticed a grey box near the parking lot of the Kane County Judicial Center. That person notified a Judicial Center security officer, and from there the police response took over. Because officers were unable to determine what the box was or what was inside it, they notified the bomb squad. At the same time, they routed traffic away from the area—while all Judicial Center activities remained on schedule—and a safe perimeter was formed.

Ultimately, the bomb squad was able to open the box, and it was full of regular, everyday things—a DVD, a video game, a calculator.

So while nothing came of that act of vigilance other than an opportunity for law enforcement to effectively practice their response, this is a good example of “staying vigilant.”

There is an understandable inner voice that says “I’m sure it’s nothing” when people are faced with the choice of reporting something that seems not right. However, the concept of vigilance means that people should listen to the other inner voice, the one Mari Johnson and the the individual who reported the box at the Judicial Center heard, the one that says, “Something feels wrong, and I should not ignore it.”

Sometimes it turns out to be a simple grey box with a DVD and a video game inside of it. But sometimes it might turn out to be a neighbor whose only chance of survival is that someone else listens to that inner voice and takes action.

Even if it is not a potential life-or-death situation, acts of vigilance are, in actuality, acts of caring for each other by looking out for each other. We may not all be able to donate significant sums of money or tons of nonexistent free time, but we can all care for one another—we can all “stay vigilant.”

Letter: McDole PTO to host trivia night

in Letters to the Editor by

The McDole PTO in Montgomery will host its first annual trivia night at Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove on Saturday, May 5, at 6 p.m.

Like every organization trying to raise money in this financial climate, the need to think outside of the box to raise money to support our school has become increasingly challenging. The PTO struggled for weeks trying to think of something really intriguing for its spring fundraiser, and inspiration knocked on the door one night during a PTO meeting. The PTO, the fourth-grade teachers and school administration came up with a plan that would be fun, unusual and get people to come out and raise money for the PTO: trivia night.

From trivia night’s inception, the fourth-grade teachers started pounding the pavement seeking silent auction donations. McDole Assistant Principal Kevin Gordon offered his services as the evening’s emcee, and trivia night was well received by the rest of the staff and administration at McDole.

Open Range in Sugar Grove jumped on board immediately, offering the PTO a place to host the event, staff and even a percentage of the profits, for which we are extremely grateful. The community at large has generously donated items to our silent auction, and table reservations have been filling up.

I have always been proud to be co-president of the PTO and to work closely with the PTO Board, the administration and the school staff, but this event has reinforced for me that McDole is a special place for our kids, and when we all work together we can do great things for them. I would like to thank each and every person who has spent their coveted time working hard to make this event a success, and the almost 60 businesses and individuals who have donated so many items to be auctioned off in our silent auction.

Our principal, Martne McCoy, donated the students’ most desired auction item, “Principal for the Day” package. Other auction items include Cubs tickets, Kane County Cougar tickets, golf at Mill Creek, pampering items (Massage Envy, Hair Cuttery, emily kay Salon, Great Clips, Ziza nails, Mary Kay), Stephanie Hulthen Photography session, garden products (Midwest Ground Cover, We Grow Dreams Greenhouse), sports (World Gym, Fit Mama, Finish Line), kids items (Family Fun Center, American Girl, a kids electric ride-in car, collectible toys and Barbies), home party packages (Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Thirty One Bags, Creative Memories, Longaberger, Barefoot Children’s Books and more), food items (Fireside, McDonald’s, Jimmy Johns, Schmidt’s, Graham’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, All American BBQ, etc.).

We have everything in place for an amazing night. Now we are asking the community to come out and support our event. Come out and play trivia, bid on a basket, play 50/50 games or just get a drink.

For more information or questions, email info@mcdolepto.org. Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to what we hope will be a great night!

Michelle Moser
McDole PTO co-president

Letter: Sugar Grove talks trash

in Letters to the Editor by

The village of Sugar Grove and Waste Management were pleased to roll out the expanded refuse contract, which now includes a refuse toter. The delivery of the toters to all village residents is complete; however, it appears they have created several questions.

1. Will there be an increase in the monthly charge for refuse?
2. What do I do with my old refuse containers?
3. What if the containers is too large for my household?
4. Who owns the toters and what do I do if they break or are stolen?
5. Why did I get this toter?
6. How do I dispose of items properly?
7. Will there be an increase in the monthly charge for refuse?

1. There is no increase in the village’s rate for refuse service. The rate for 2012 will remain at $20.50 monthly. Additionally, for those of you who have been renting a toter from Waste Management, that charge will no longer be assessed.

2. There are a few options for your old refuse containers. You can put a note on them for the refuse hauler to dispose of them (they will be recycled), or you can label them with a permanent marker or a label (available at village hall) and use them for landscape waste.

3. If you received a large toter and are a senior or live alone and would like a smaller one, call Waste Management at 1-800-796-9696 to arrange to have it exchanged.

4. Both the recycling and the refuse toters are owned by Waste Management; please do not write your house number on either. If you move, please leave both toters at the home.

If a toter breaks due to normal wear and tear, Waste Management will repair or replace the toter. Residents can call 800-796-9696, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for routine repairs or exchanges. Toters that become damaged through misuse or negligence will be replaced at the homeowner’s expense.

5. The wheeled refuse toter was chosen for a few reasons. They will keep the village cleaner as they do not tip easily or have separate lids. This will help contain refuse on windy days and keep the wildlife out. They will also help keep costs down as they are automatically emptied, eliminating the need for Waste Management personnel to lift the toters, thereby preventing injuries. Additionally, as the toters are larger and hold more they will reduce the number of containers that need to be emptied, saving time.

6. Disposing of items can be confusing in part due to disposal regulations. Electronics must be recycled; white goods have long been banned from landfills; yard waste has to be disposed of at a composting facility; and not all items that appear to be recyclable are. If you are confused about what type of container to use, what you can recycle, wonder how to dispose of electronics (or what the difference between a white good and an electronic device) please check out the links below.

• Refuse should be placed in the Waste Management toter with the Green Lid
• Recycling should be placed in the Waste Management toter with the Yellow Lid
• Landscape waste should be placed in brown paper yard waste bags, or a container clearly labeled yard waste. Brush and branches must be in bundles no longer than 4 feet and tied with biodegradable string or twine; no wire
• White goods are picked up 2 times a year. Watch the website and the village newsletter for dates
• Electronics—see the list published by Kane County. Do not place them in with regular recycling

Make sure all your refuse, recycling and yard waste is at the curb by 6 a.m. on your regularly scheduled pick-up day. Please note that Waste Management generally will return for a missed pickup; however, a return fee may be assessed.

Cindy Galbreath
Village clerk, Sugar Grove

Letter: Thanks from the Kaneland Foundation

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kaneland Foundation wishes to thank Cooking for Kids sponsors Engineering Enterprises, Inc., Ross Electric, Inc., Fox River Foods, Inc., the Elburn Herald and the Kane County Chronicle, along with the Kaneland madrigal singers and featured chefs Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler, KHS Principal Chip Hickman II, HMS Principal Bryan Zwemke, Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels, Elburn Mayor Dave Anderson, Maple Park Mayor Kathy Curtis, Ream’s Elburn Market, Chico’s Tacos, Eldon and Sandy Gould, Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, Hughes Creek Golf Club, Dr. Harry Krauspe DDS, Hill’s Country Store, Made from Scratch, and Muchie P’s Eatery.

Thank you for making this fundraising event an enjoyable and worthwhile event for chefs and participants. All monies raised benefit the students of Kaneland District 302.

Beth Sterkel
Kaneland District Office

Guest Editorial: Trying to make a difference every day

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Kevin O’Boyle
CASA Kane County volunteer

When I retired in February of 2010, I thought about one of my favorite videos that my company would show to new management featuring Lou Holtz. At the end of the video, Lou said that the bottom line was at the end of the day everyone had to ask themselves, “Did I make a difference today?”

During my last year at work, everyone would ask me what my plans were when I retired, and I would respond, I am not sure but I just want to be able to make a difference. I feel very blessed to have found an organization like CASA Kane County, where all of us are helping to make a difference in the lives of children.

The first child assigned to me in my role as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) has had a huge impact on me, and I would like to share a small part of his story. When Kyle, age 10, was assigned to me, he had been admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Cognitive Disorder. When I read his history and the abuse he had suffered, it was no surprise to me that he was diagnosed with these disorders. CASA Kane County provides excellent training, but I didn’t know how I could help him since I did not have any training to help me deal with these specific disorders. I decided that when I met Kyle, I would just do the best I could.

Kyle was released from the hospital before I had a chance to visit him, and he was sent to a group home. When I planned my first visit, I did not know what to expect. What I found was an articulate and intelligent child who enjoyed creative and artistic activities. I also found that since Kyle was not allowed any contact with his family, for a variety of reasons that he had no control over, he had an immense desire for a relationship with others, especially his CASA.

Over the past two years, I have developed a great relationship with Kyle. A lasting memory of mine is when I visited him on Thanksgiving. One of the kids in the group home was sitting while the other kids were playing basketball. I went over and introduced myself, and he said, “I know who you are, you are Kevin, Kyle’s CASA, and he talks about you all the time.” He then looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Could you be my CASA?”

When I had Thanksgiving dinner with my family later that day, I shared that story with my family. I can honestly say it was the most meaningful Thanksgiving I have ever had. That is what is so great about being a CASA. We get as much, or more, out of the experience than the children we are helping.

As for Kyle, I am happy to report that he is doing great. The group home staff said that since Kyle had improved so much in all areas, they were recommending that he was ready to be placed with a foster family. Kyle moved in with a wonderful foster family in the middle of November.

What a difference a year can make if the child has hope for their future. That is what CASA’s do—we give children hope for their future. As one of our CASA volunteers said, “It is about helping a child replace a life of hurt with one of hope.”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Last year, CASA Kane County served 512 children who had been either abused or neglected. The organization’s goal is to always have a CASA volunteer for every abused and neglected child. CASA Kane County attends many civic events, and its volunteers speak at several local churches. Many people approach our volunteers afterwards and say that they appreciate the great work that we do, but they don’t think they could do it. If you ask any CASA volunteer, they will tell you they also had concerns in the beginning, but now that they have made the decision to serve as a CASA volunteer, it has been one of the best decisions they have ever made. It is truly a life changing experience.

If you or anyone you know would like to help make a difference in the life of a child, please contact CASA Kane County at (630) 232-4484. You can also get more information about CASA Kane County by visiting their web page at www.casakanecounty.org.

Letter: Thanks for giving the gift of life

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary of the Daniel Simpson Post No. 630 would like to thank everyone who gave the gift of life on April 12, 2012. It is gratifying to see these people, time after time, donating blood for our community. When you see them, tell them “thank you” for a job well done.

The donors were Arthur Anderson, Wesley Anderson, Craig Bahe, Dr. Ken Baumruck, Barbara Blank, Linda Bubser, Leroy Bubser, Allison Buri, Mary Coffey, Suzanne Dillon, Patrick Duffy, Albert Frohling, Sandra Gould, Eldon Gould, Ken Gustafson, Steven Hall, Deborah Hannemann, Daniel Hannemann, Steven Hauser, Larry Hemmelgarn, Janet Herra, Dawn Kuefler, Peter Kuefler, Joseph Lanthrum, James Long, Mark Lund, Patricia Mills, Matthew Orzolek, Patricia Pattermann, James Schnaitman, Nancy Schnaitman, Larry Schramm, Grayce Seablom, Albert Smith, Kayla Staley, Rebecca Staley and Robert Weihofen.

Also, a thank you goes out to the Auxiliary Committee that coordinate with Heartland Blood Centers: Carrie Petrie, Kay Swift and Helen Johnson.

Please mark your calendars for the next drive on Thursday, June 14. We would love to see more volunteers rolling up their sleeves and donating blood.

Thank you.

Kay Swift
Elburn American Legion Auxiliary
Daniel Simpson Post No. 630

Letter: 13 years in a row

in Letters to the Editor by

The village of Elburn has again been qualified as a 2011 Tree City USA. Thanks to the support of the village trustees and the work of the village Tree Board, this is the 13th consecutive year that this honor has been bestowed on the village. The Tree City USA program is a nationally sponsored certification program created and managed by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.

Our village is committed to preserve the quality of life and the welcoming vistas along our neighborhood streets, which are only made possible by the many stately trees that line them. The community is also very supportive of continuing efforts to maintain trees in our open space and park areas, where families can gather and recreate. Trees are the defining elements that make these open spaces and parks so enjoyable, and they offer many benefits, not only to the users of the space, but the overall environment. The Tree City USA designation awards is a reflection of commitment of tree preservation, tree education and tree health throughout the village.

There are seven important reasons to plant trees: they conserve energy, help clean the air, provide habitat for songbirds, can increase your home’s value, help keep our rivers and streams clean, fight global warming, and enhance the aesthetics of our community.

Join us Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. at the Prairie Park, located on the corner of North Street and 3rd Street in Elburn, to celebrate Arbor Day and the importance of trees in our everyday lives. Join your village officials, the Tree Board, the Cub Scouts, and others in planting two trees in the park. There will be a short ceremony reading the Arbor Day proclamation, Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem about trees, and an explanation of the importance of Arbor Day.

Erin Willrett
Village Administrator

Letter: Thanks for attending the April 19 dinner

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 630 would like to thank everyone who attended the American Legion Auxiliary spaghetti supper on April 19 at the Elburn American Legion Hall. We appreciate your loyalty and support for our fundraising dinner.

Many thanks to those auxiliary members and volunteers who served as cooks, servers, cashier, cleaners, and thanks to those who donated desserts. Thanks to the Elburn American Legion members who gave us assistance, also.

Without your support and help, we could not donate to the important programs that help so many. We look forward to seeing you again in the fall.

Marleah Anderson, Public relations
Elburn American Legion Auxiliary No. 630

Letter: Thank you for coming together to help Illinois tornado victims

in Letters to the Editor by

Wow! What can I say but thank you. I would like to thank everyone who came out in support of our Tornado Relief Fundraiser at Hill’s Country Store a couple of weeks ago. We raised over $2,150.

Each family received their check and box of Easter presents for their children in time for Easter. They were overwhelmed by our generosity. Thank you especially to everyone who donated baked goods and purchased raffle tickets.

I especially want to thank Dave Kovach and the Kaneville Volunteer Fire Department for allowing us to sell tickets at the egg hunt, Lee Newtson for letting us know about the families in need, and especially my mom Pat and my brother Tyler for helping me organize and run the event.

A very special thank you to all of our very generous sponsors: Northside Pub, Russell Automotive, Bob Jass Chevrolet, Hill’s Country Store, Ream’s Elburn Market, American Bank and Trust, Old Second Bank, Panera, Rich’s Auto Service, Sam’s Club in Batavia, Schmidt’s Towne Tap, Oberweis, Bootleggers Pizza, Handmade Jewelry By Mary Niceley, Paisano’s Pizza, Blackberry Inn, The Swissotel in Chicago, and to our numerous anonymous donors. Thank you once again for supporting the Lane and Wynn families of Ridgway and Harrisburg, Ill. They will be forever grateful to all of us.

Alexa Hill

Letter: Thanks for attending local ribbon cutting

in Letters to the Editor by

As Ambassador and Ribbon Cutting Event Coordinator for the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, I thank everyone that responded to my request to celebrate the ribbon cutting for Chico’s Tacos in Elburn.

There were many chamber members, village officials, customers and casual visitors, some of whom were just curious to know what I had been raving about.

Thank you, each and every one of you.

Would you like to become a member of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce? You do not need to be a business or work for a business; you can become an individual member. You do not even need to be a resident of Elburn. Attend one of our monthly meetings (they are free) to view, first hand, everything that makes the chamber a dynamic organization. You will be enlightened and want to become a member. You can sign up right there for a membership. Our next meeting dates are noon on May 3, at Schmidt’s Tavern, and 7:30 a.m. at the Town & Country Public Library on June 7.

H. Jack Hansen

Letter: Help! Your votes are needed to help a very special young lady

in Letters to the Editor by

I have entered a special needs student of mine in a contest. Kiley has cerebral palsy and currently suffers from daily seizures, which makes life very difficult for her at times. The winner of the contest receives a three-day trip to Morgan’s Wonderland, which is an adaptive amusement park. This would be an experience of a lifetime for Kiley.

The contest is sponsored by PCI Education, Dell, Morgan’s Wonderland and an online community called WeAreTeachers. The winner is picked through online voting.

So if you have a moment, we’d really appreciate you going online and voting for Kiley. You can vote one time per e-mail address; vote from every e-mail address you have. Have your friends and family vote; the more votes she has the better chance she has to win. It would really mean a lot to us to have your vote and support. So pay it forward and just go to www.weareteachers.com/morgans-wonderland, and follow the directions. Search by student—Kiley—or teacher—Poterek. The contest runs through April 24.

Sue Poterek
Special Education Teacher
Kaneland Harter Middle School

Guest Editorial: Building on the values of No Child Left Behind

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Eric Smith
Eric Smith is a fellow in Education Policy at the George W. Bush Institute

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

Yet the law is still making the news, as several states are applying for waivers from the law. Some school officials have found it difficult to meet the law’s standards requiring that every student—even those that are poor or in minority groups—make progress each year.

NCLB might need some tinkering. As the discussion about reauthorization continues, it’s vital for students and the future of this country that the core principles of accountability, transparency and equality be preserved.

The George W. Bush Institute recently released 10 “principles” that serve as guidance for state accountability. These principles show how to build on the foundation established by NCLB and then further improve the key areas of standards, student groups, parental choice, and college and career readiness.

Over the last decade, the United States has witnessed a dramatic improvement in student performance—especially among previously underserved students at the lowest socioeconomic rungs. Those gains were in large part the result of strong accountability systems, which forced states and school districts to pay more attention to underserved students.

Indeed, one key principle of a strong accountability system is that schools need to be measured against concrete goals to reduce the achievement gap between student groups.

To meet those goals, schools need information in the form of annual tests, and they need that information broken down across various groups, like English Language Learners and African-American students. This data shows where disparities exist.

Another key principle of a meaningful accountability system is that data needs to be published, publicly available, and in a format that non-experts—i.e., parents—can understand the results.

Parents and educators need to know not just how the average student in a school performs, but how the most disadvantaged students are being educated. As accountability has taken hold, we have seen how important it is to measure the performance of traditional subgroups. We are also learning that another critical angle is reviewing the performance of the lowest performing students, referred to as a “super-subgroup” in some states. No school should be rated as high-performing if it doesn’t show gains in the performance of all subgroups.

The nation’s emphasis on public accountability has led to a significant improvement in core students skills. For instance, research from Northwestern University shows that the legislation is responsible for raising math achievement by six to nine months for fourth-graders, and four to 12 months for eighth-graders.

These gains help us ensure that every student graduates from high school ready to do college-level work or start a satisfying career.

Disadvantaged children have seen the greatest gains. African-American children increased their National Assessment of Education Progress scores by 21 points in mathematics between 2000-2011. That’s two grade levels of improvement.

The Brookings Institute has looked at the effect of accountability and concluded these systems have had a “positive effect” on elementary student performance and that much of the gains are “concentrated among traditionally disadvantaged populations.”

Brookings also found that when schools are more accountable to those they serve, students become more engaged in their own education. Specifically, researchers noted marked increases in teacher-reported measures of student engagement, which includes things like attendance rates, timeliness and intellectual interest.

Another essential principle of strong accountability systems is state intervention when schools don’t see achievement rates rise. And the most intensive interventions should occur in schools whose students don’t reach grade-level standards.

In that vein, school choice is an important option for students. Every single student deserves a quality education. It is simply not acceptable for a parent to be forced to keep their child in a failing school in the hope that the local teachers and administrators will eventually clean up their act.

States generally want to be creative, and federal legislation isn’t standing in their way of doing that. Officials are empowered to employ tools beyond the standard choice policy of vouchers, including innovative reforms like allowing students in low-performing schools to get connected with high-quality educators online.

The George W. Bush Institute’s principles call on states to build on the current foundation, apply the lessons learned, and provide parents with an even broader array of choices if their child is trapped in a persistently low performing school.

Recently, President Obama declared that “the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone. Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.”

That’s exactly right. But that doesn’t require abandoning the core principles of accountability, transparency and equality.

Guest Editorial: Equal Pay Day

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Nancy Dietrich
There’s no doubt that women have made great strides the past 50 years.

“Help wanted—male/Help wanted—female” ads are a thing of the past. Women can get a mortgage without having a male co-signer. More women are seeking higher degrees in nontraditional fields like medicine and law than ever before. However, we still have work to do before we can say women have reached equality. One of the most visible discrepancies between men and women is in wages. On average, women must work more than three months longer to make the same wages as men. Equal Pay Day, the date when women’s wages catch up to men’s from the year before, is being observed April 17.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make 77 cents for every dollar men make. Many reasons have been cited for this disparity, including women’s career choices and women taking time out of their careers to raise children. However, research by the American Association of University Women shows that just one year out of college (when most women have not yet had children), women in the U.S. working full time are already earning only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also show that women make less money in almost every occupation tracked, meaning that even in traditionally female occupations, women still make less money than men. So, one can’t explain the discrepancies solely on women’s choices.

Double standards still exist regarding appropriate behavior by women and men in the workplace, which contributes to lower wages and fewer promotional opportunities for women. Research by Hannah Riley Bowles, associate professor at Harvard, revealed that when women asked their bosses for a raise, it was typically looked at negatively; yet being assertive about asking for more money is continually cited as one of the things women need to do to reduce the wage gap. Research discussed in the book “Delusions of Gender,” by Cordelia Fine, also shows a “Catch-22″ situation: If women behave in an assertive fashion on the job, they’re considered too aggressive. Yet, if women don’t show qualities like confidence or ambition, they are seen to not have the right qualities for a leadership position.

In other examples of gender bias cited in Delusions of Gender, a study asked 100 university psychologists to rate the resumes of “Dr. Karen Miller” and “Dr. Brian Miller,” fictional applicants for a tenure track university position. Although the resumes were identical except for the name, Brian was perceived to have better qualifications for the position than Karen, by both male and female evaluators. Similarly, another researcher noted that in a study with men who had sex changes (from women to men), many immediately enjoyed greater respect and recognition, including one man who heard a colleague praising his boss for “getting rid of Susan” and hiring this new man, who he thought was much more competent. These internal, often unconscious, biases serve to keep the glass ceiling for women firmly in place.

So what can we do about it? Here’s how to help Equal Pay Day become a thing of the past:

1. Vote. Support legislators who support equal pay for equal work policies.

2. Support salary transparency, including lifting the “gag rule” that exists in many companies (the gag rule means employees are not allowed to disclose their wages to other employees). Making all salaries public would go even further to discourage wage discrimination.

3. Women: Negotiate your salary, starting from your first job. You’ll be a pioneer, meaning there may be some negative fallout at first. But as more women negotiate, it will become seen as part of the normal hiring process.

4. We need to be more aware of our own attitudes about appropriate gender roles, and confront bias when we see it. For example, if you perceive a woman as being too aggressive, ask yourself, “If this were a man, would I consider this behavior too aggressive?” As noted above, internal bias with which we’re socialized can penalize women (and in different situations, men), so we need to become aware of and change this within ourselves.

Let’s work together to make Equal Pay Day the same day for women—as it is for men.

Dietrich is co-president of the Champaign-Urbana branch of American Association of University Women, and is a member of the AAUW Voices Project. She lives in Urbana, Ill.

Letter: Syverson thanks voters for re-election support

in Letters to the Editor by

I would like to thank the voters for the confidence they placed in me in our recent Illinois primary election. I also express gratitude to all the volunteers who worked so hard in helping get our message out: that Illinois needs a leaner, smarter and more responsible government, since it was “American Exceptionalism” which made our country and this state great—not government.

If Illinois is to become the economic engine it once was, then it can only happen by improving our jobs climate and growing our way out of the financial difficulties we find ourselves in. For that to happen, responsible and difficult adult decisions need to made in Springfield, and that’s what I am committed to do.

Senator Dave Syverson
34th District

Letter: Yellow school bus may become endangered species in Illinois

in Letters to the Editor by

Remember when we walked three miles to school every day, uphill both ways through snow, sleet, hail and torrential rain? School children in Illinois may soon return to those good old days. The bad news is we no longer live in “Leave It to Beaver” times, and safety is the overarching reason for public schools to continue providing bus transportation for students.

The yellow school bus may become an endangered species in Illinois, considering the 42 percent cut to state funding for public schools transportation in the past three years and the ominous clouds forming over the state’s education budget for next year. No one can argue with the emphasis on maintaining funding for the classroom, but the ability to safely transport children to school remains a basic fundamental of educating students.

From a purely political standpoint, cuts to school transportation clearly have far less impact in Chicago than they do downstate where many school districts cover more than a hundred square miles. Even in the state’s largest cities, the path to school often includes railroad crossings or busy highways, not to mention child predators.

There are those who believe it’s the responsibility of parents to get their kids to and from school. Setting aside the fact that many families depend on both parents working full time, there are logistical factors that make parents dropping their children at the school door virtually impossible in many school districts.

Most schools were not designed for hundreds of vehicles dropping off children; most were designed with lanes for relatively few buses. Factor just 30 seconds for a parent to pull up, say goodbye and drop off their children. How long would that process take for just 100 cars? 200? 300? Also consider the safety concerns with that much traffic while children are arriving or departing school.

From an overall economic perspective, the cost of bus drivers, fuel and insurance is less than the fuel cost for hundreds of vehicles making that daily trip.

The notion that local districts should shoulder more of the transportation costs ignores the fact that local taxpayers already pay a portion of the transportation bill. The state already has cut General State Aid to schools, and leaders in the House and Senate are talking about shifting the state’s portion of pension costs for teachers to local districts. Illinois already ranks among the nation’s highest in local school funding and among the lowest in state funding for public education.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has proposed changing the formula for transportation from the current reimbursement formula to an “efficiency” formula based on either per-student or per-mile funding. Recognizing that this is an attempt by ISBE to retain at least some funding for transportation in the current political and economical atmosphere, this would be a paradigm shift in funding that would result in “winners” and “losers” among school districts. Still, it is something that should be carefully considered if it rewards efficiency.

The ISBE proposal also allows for school districts to charge parents a fee to transport their children, and ISBE data indicates the cost for transporting one child for a year averages about $500. Realistically, what school board would want to assess such a fee on parents who already pay school taxes? Districts could not even assess the fee on families whose students are enrolled in the free-and-reduced lunch program, a growing population in many districts.

Certainly, districts should look at all feasible options to lower costs, and most districts have been involved for years in cost-cutting initiatives like bid purchasing, contract bargaining and shopping for the lowest insurance costs. Districts that have not already done so may need look at more of a mass transit business model. For example, door-to-door service may need to be replaced by establishing bus stops at strategic locations. In some districts, that could result in fewer buses, fewer miles and fewer drivers.

There was a recent story about a school district in Missouri (Bayless School District near St. Louis) that eliminated its bus transportation two years ago only to see 150 students move to neighboring districts that provide bus transportation. The district actually ended up losing more money in state aid than the bus transportation cost.

The story underscores how important school transportation is to parents. The yellow school bus long has been a fundamental, vital part of our public education system. It is not a luxurious benefit for children or parents. It remains the safest, most efficient way to transport our children to school.

Brent Clark, Ph. D.
Executive Director
Illinois Association
of School Administrators

Letter: Congrats to Republican nominees

in Letters to the Editor by

Congratulations to the Republican nominees in the contested March 2012 Primary, representing Kane County or parts thereof: Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, Auditor Terry Hunt, Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell, Coroner Rob Russell, State Senate District 25 Jim Oberweis, State Senate District 33 Karen McConnaughay, State Senate District 35 Dave Syverson, Board District 2 Sal Abbate, Board District 10 Susan Starrett, Board District 11 Mike Donahue, Board District 16 Mike Kenyon, Board District 19 Kurt Kojzarek, Board District 21 Rebecca Gillam, Board District 22 Doug Scheflow and Judicial Subcircuit 2 John Walters.

These nominees will join nominees from uncontested contests to form the local Republican team in the general election. For the candidates who were not successful, there will always be opportunities in the Republican Party.

William Keck
Kane County Auditor
Sugar Grove

Editorial: The downtown deadline approaches

in From the Editor's Desk by

If nothing changes, on April 15 at 12:01 a.m., the parking lot in downtown Elburn will close.

It is owned by the Community Congregational Church in Elburn, and has been used for general public purposes for years. Employees of the downtown businesses often use it, residents of the apartments above some of the businesses use it, customers to downtown businesses use it, and many of them are not even aware that it is owned and maintained not by the village of Elburn, but rather, by the church on the other side of Shannon Street.

Last year, the church made the decision to sell the property, and while there have not been any takers as of yet, the church recently made the decision to close the lot to public use. Originally, the church intended to close the lot in March, but elected to extend the closure by one month while the village and the downtown businesses attempted to determine a path forward to try and keep the lot open.

That month is almost up, and while a specific path forward has yet to be determined, there are steps that have been taken that could lead to that path. However, before much more of significance can occur, an appraisal of the property must be conducted to determine if the church’s current asking price of $250,000 is in line with, or near, an independent assessment of the property. On Monday, the village formally decided to move forward with that appraisal.

For years, the Community Congregational Church has been gracious enough to keep the lot open for general public use. Having nearby, convenient parking has been vital to the survival of those downtown businesses that remain after the economic mega-dip that occurred in 2008, and it remains vital as the downtown business district has begun to show signs of recovery.

The entire community—and specifically the downtown business district—owes the Community Congregational Church a debt of gratitude for the support they have provided over the years. At the same time, we ask that the church make the difficult decision to continue that support by extending their closure deadline a little bit further—to allow for the appraisal to be completed and the potential paths forward to be fully explored.

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