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Editorial/Opinion - page 33

Editorial: Elburn Herald scholarship applications due March 1

in From the Editor's Desk by

Students that choose to pursue higher education after graduating high school are faced with a tough challenge: to achieve the goal of graduating college, they will have to potentially take on massive debt.

The Elburn Herald offers two scholarship opportunities for Kaneland seniors (or graduates) to earn $1,000 toward offsetting the cost of higher education.

The Louise Cooper Community Service Award is in memory of Louise Cooper, who nurtured the Kaneland area for over three decades as the owner, publisher and editor of the Elburn Herald. She lived the ideals of journalism, focusing on serving her readers by providing fair, balanced and responsible reporting with a community focus. Louise could best be described as a woman of integrity: a positive influence on others. She was intelligent, patient, and kind: gracious, sincere and caring; respectful and respected; often ahead of the times, but above all, trusted in the community. One $1,000 scholarship is available to a Kaneland High School senior or Kaneland graduate enrolled in a college undergraduate program. The scholarship is designed to support students who display a desire to serve their communities with integrity, compassion and courage.

The Elburn Herald Donald L. Watson Scribe Award is a journalism-specific award in honor of Watson’s development of sports coverage for the Elburn Herald. As the scribes of early journalism recorded the events of their day, Don Watson recorded the accomplishments of Kaneland High School athletes. Unable to find results of Kaneland teams in the area newsprint, Don approached The Elburn Herald in 1974 about providing such information. In December of that year, he turned in his first Kaneland sports story “Shucked in Korn Tournament,” which covered the Sycamore boy’s basketball King Korn Tournament. In his endeavor to inform Kaneland fans, he wrote about the Kaneland move into Class A and the demise of the historic Little Seven Conference. His “Knights to Kings” story recorded Kaneland High School’s first State Championship by the 1975 boys track team. In appreciation of Don’s contribution to The Elburn Herald through his sports coverage, Kaneland Publications has established this award to encourage Kaneland students to become journalistic scribes, especially in the field of sports.

If you are interested in either Elburn Herald scholarship, applications are due March 1, and should be turned into the Student Services Office at Kaneland High School.

The Herald isn’t the only local entity offering scholarships to Kaneland students. There are many local organizations that offer scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000.

For more information on either Elburn Herald scholarships, or other local scholarships, contact Maria Mecic at the KHS Student Services Office at (630) 365-5100,ext. 213, or visit www.Kaneland.org/KHS/Guidance.

Letter: A thank you to past and present members of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District

in Letters to the Editor by

Jim Feece standing with the plaque he received from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District for his many years of service as a trustee.
Photo by John DiDonna

I, James Roy Feece, wish to thank (the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District) for your support and appreciation over the 37 years as trustee and friend.

The devotion and brotherhood of each and every one of you—past and present. My life has been blessed to have worked and enjoyed the fellowship over the years from all of you. You are all very special people.

I would like to encourage every young man and woman interested in the fire and E.M.S. to follow their dream.

I will always feel honored to have been part of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (brotherhood).

James Roy Feece

Letter: In support of Kevin Burns

in Letters to the Editor by

I have known Kevin Burns for more than 30 years—since he was in high school. I know his family and his character. I have seen how he reacts to both success and adversity.

I have watched him build a sterling and prolonged record of community service—most recently in his nearly 11 years as Geneva’s second-longest-serving mayor.

In that office, he has been consistently successful in bringing together people of divergent viewpoints to craft a consensus for the betterment of the community. Through gentle prodding, leavened often with humor and always with kindness and decency, Mayor Burns has, time and again, patiently guided disagreeing partisans into working in concert.

That is leadership, and it is what we sorely need in the office of Chairman of the Kane County Board. I believe Kevin Burns possesses it in greater measure than his opponent, and so I urge you to vote for him on March 20.

Kurt Wehrmeister

Guest Editorial: Happy birthday, Mr. President; we can still learn from you

in From the Editor's Desk by

One year ago, our state celebrated the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan, a true Illinoisan, to recognize his accomplishments and celebrate the prosperity he brought to America.

As we now reflect on what would have been President Reagan’s 101st birthday this past Monday, it’s an ideal time to highlight his signature economic philosophies that our state could emulate as we attempt to navigate our way out of our own financial calamity. Ronald Reagan demonstrated the courage it takes to be an effective public servant.

I first met candidate Reagan soon out of college at Illinois State University, when he asked me to lead his Illinois campaign. My passion for politics and my understanding of his message of lower taxes and less government spending made my answer an easy “yes.” As the Illinois state director for then-Governor Reagan’s first presidential campaign in 1980, his wife Nancy and I traveled to many parts of Illinois in a station wagon with a California State Trooper to campaign.

America’s financial turnaround overseen by President Reagan after some very dismal years in the 1970s can help illuminate a way forward for our state leaders to avoid further financial problems in Illinois. Ronald Reagan governed from the perspective that economies flourish and jobs are created when taxes are lowered, regulations on job creators are lessened and government spending is reduced. He often left room for compromise to avoid gridlock, but he always stayed true to his fiscal beliefs. For the state to recover from its financial situation, leaders in Illinois should follow Reagan’s lead and adopt these same principles.

President Reagan was the only U.S. president born and raised in Illinois. He was born in Tampico, spent his formative years in Dixon and attended college in Eureka. The character he developed in Illinois would eventually position him as the most influential leader of the free world.

Happy birthday, Mr. President. Thank you for the life lessons. We in Illinois can learn from you.

Dan Rutherford
Illinois State Treasurer

Letter: In support of Christine Johnson

in Letters to the Editor by

On March 20, 2012, the residents of Illinois have some important choices to make regarding the officials that shape our government.

Illinois has been tarnished by corruption, financial problems, high unemployment, high taxes, deficit spending and misplaced priorities. We desperately need leadership in Springfield that can make a difference and establish some common sense approaches to major problems. In the race for the 35th Illinois Senate District, Republican Christine Johnson is the leader we need in Springfield. Incumbent Senator Christine Johnson has a strong record as a leader in our community, from her experience as the DeKalb County Treasurer to her involvement in various community organizations and her commitment to conservative principles. Senator Christine Johnson will support less government, lower taxes, family values, and bring integrity to Springfield.

It is important to remember that the Democratic-led Illinois legislature and the Democratic Governor Patrick Quinn raised income taxes on individuals by 66 percent, continued spending, and in 2015, if given the chance, will extend the increased income tax. At the same time, we are no better off regarding deficit spending, unemployment and unfunded pensions. It is important to note that this tax increase passed by only 1 vote in the Illinois Senate and only 3 votes in the Illinois House. The tax increase was passed by the smallest of margins, along party lines, and proves that every vote counts. We need fiscal leadership that will take control of Illinois’ finances and make the tough decisions to control spending, not increase our income taxes by 66 percent.

Christine Johnson is the fiscal leader we need in the Illinois Senate. Please join the many supporters of Republican Senator Christine Johnson for the 35th Illinois Senate District on March 20.

If you can’t wait to vote for Republican Senator Christine Johnson, you can vote early starting Feb. 9 through March 15.

Vote early for Republican Senator Christine Johnson, 35th Illinois Senate District.

See you at the polls …
Suzanne Fahnestock
Maple Park

Guest Editorial: We need to integrate people with disabilities into our communities

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois

I commended Governor Quinn on his plans to close state institutions in Tinley Park and Jacksonville. While this move is expected to save taxpayers $20 million annually, that pales in comparison to opportunities this will open for people with disabilities.

This historic change in public policy embraces freedom, independence and choice. Our current system is antiquated. Only two states warehouse more people in institutions than Illinois, and 14 states have closed all public institutions. More than 30 national studies show that community living provides the most safe and effective care. Yet Illinois ranks last in the nation in the number of available community settings.

Community living offers around-the-clock care, and unlike institutions, it allows people with disabilities a personalized care plan where they can live close to family and friends and be part of a community. This is about making sure people with disabilities enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.

Four state institutions will remain open, warehousing 1,400 citizens. This is the first phase in transitioning people with disabilities out of institutionalization and into community care and one in which we have experience.

About half of those currently living in a community setting came from an institution or nursing home. They are proud, happy and productive members of their communities and proof that it can be done. We are committed to making sure every person makes a safe, organized and enjoyable transition into community living. Working with our partner agencies, we have dedicated staff on the ground already working with families.

We applaud Governor Quinn for including stakeholder groups like The Arc in determining a responsible blueprint to move this obsolete system into one that supports people based upon their individual needs. This is a well-thought-out plan and a victory for people with disabilities and their families.

The Arc of Illinois represents more than 220,000 people with disabilities and their families. The Arc is committed to empowering persons with disabilities to achieve full participation in community life through informed choices.

Letter: Republican voters faced with a decision

in Letters to the Editor by

Republican voters will be faced with a decision in the primary election to select a new Kane County Board chairman candidate. The choices are Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns and State Senator Chris Lauzen.

The current County Board chairman, Karen McConnaughay, has decided to run for the new 33rd State Senate seat. This is a loss for Kane County but good for the people of Illinois. McConnaughay has demonstrated strong leadership with conservative fiscal responsibility that has placed the county in an excellent financial position.

The candidates have chosen different campaign strategies. Mr. Lauzen has decided to attack Karen McConnaughay’s character and reputation. He has accused her of pay-to-play politics, and when asked to prove it, he offered no evidence. During two separate debates with Burns (his opponent), Lauzen has turned his attention away from the priorities facing the county and has chosen a position of hostility and false accusations against Karen McConnaughay.

Mayor Burns has decided to demonstrate his track record of bi-partisan support and the skills to run a city with a multi-million dollar budget. Burns understands the necessity of smaller government and believes in the elimination of unnecessary regulations. Under Burns’ leadership, Geneva has reduced its spending significantly.

We don’t need divisive unproven rhetoric from any candidate; we do need well-reasoned thoughtful actions from someone who knows the issues at home in Kane County. I believe Kevin Burns has the experience, commitment and integrity to keep us on the road of success for the future of Kane County.

Mark Wissing
Republican Chairman
Geneva Township

Editorial: Sugar Grove officials, come back to the negotiating table

in Editorial/Opinion by

After years of their basements filling up with water due to stormwater runoff, the residents of the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions could see light at the end of the tunnel.

It looked like a large-scale effort requiring cooperation from a multitude of people and organizations might finally be nearing completion, and the work to resolve their issue could begin.

A solution required an extension of a drainage system through the property of three families’ farm property, and then connect to the Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2 to carry the flow of water out of the area.

To accomplish this, the village would need to obtain easements from each of the families, as well as an agreement with the Drainage District to connect to its system. In turn, the Drainage District would need to conduct its own work to ensure that it could handle the additional flow of water, which would require additional engineering work.

Every step of this multi-faceted agreement would require money, which is where Kane County’s role would come into play. The county had obtained stimulus funds and earmarked a portion of that—approximately $171,000—to help provide funding for the project—with an estimated total price tag of $1.7 million. The county would also use recovery bonds to issue a $330,000 loan to the Drainage District. Beyond that, the affected residents themselves would pay for half of the project’s cost over the next 20 years.

In short, there are many different individuals, families and government entities with a financial stake in this project, and everything was aimed at the goal of preventing stormwater drainage from flowing into the homes of those residents.

These problems are not new, nor should they be a surprise to anyone involved. According to Elburn Herald Assistant Editor Keith Beebe’s story, documentation goes back to 1992—before the subdivisions were built—that concerns existed with the development plan and the potential drainage problems the plan would create.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and the complicated negotiations to resolve the issues—issues the village should have resolved long ago—seemed to be falling into place.

That is, until earlier this month when Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels announced that the village was walking away from the negotiating table. When asked about the decision, he explained that the village could not come to terms with one of the farm families—the Sauer family—as well as with the Rob Roy Drainage District.

What is odd about this turn of events is that in both cases, the other parties expressed a significant desire to resolve the situation and had been willing to either waive some of the fees or donate a portion of the necessary easement to help move the project along.

The majority of current Sugar Grove officials were not in place when this situation was created, and Michels had just joined the board by appointment in 1995. By then, the ongoing series of bad decisions was already well under way.

So while today’s Sugar Grove Village Board is not responsible for creating this problem, they are responsible for resolving it. Walking away from a negotiation in which all involved parties want to see a resolution is not, in our view or in anyone involved other than the village, the best way forward.

We call on the village to return to the negotiating table. The Sauer family desires continued discussions, as do Rob Roy Drainage District and Kane County officials. But most of all, so do the residents of the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions—not only do they desire that the negotiations continue, they deserve it.

Letter: Perfect timing

in From the Editor's Desk by

Thursday evening, while reading the guest editorial of Kyla Kruse of the Energy Education Council, I read and took a mental note of the program guidelines before a storm, and I was personally pleased to realize that I passed probably 98.5 percent of the suggestions. I hope other Elburn Herald readers did also.

Then, the next day—Friday—we were able to “test” some of these guidelines, either in our homes or in our cars with the 5 inches of snow, all within a 8 hour time frame.

Thus, a big thank you to Kyla Kruse of the Energy Education Council and the Elburn Herald, for printing these guidelines as the Guest Editorial.

Bill Wulff
Sugar Grove

Guest editorial: Stay safe and warm during winter storms

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Kyla Kruse
Energy Education Council

Extreme winter winds, unpredictable amounts of snow and rain, and fluctuating temperatures can result in severe freezing rain, sleet and ice storms. Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down utility poles, trees and limbs—potentially resulting in power outages and property damage. In addition to shutting down power, snow and ice can make transportation dangerous, if not impossible.

All these factors make it difficult to cope with a winter storm once it hits, so preparation is essential. To prepare, the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program recommends that you have the following items on hand before a storm hits:

• Flashlights with fresh batteries
• Matches for lighting candles and gas stoves or clean burning heaters
• Wood for a properly ventilated fireplace
• Prescription medicines and baby supplies
• Food that can be kept in coolers and a manual can opener
• A non-cordless telephone and/or fully charged cellular phone
• Bottled drinking water
• Battery-powered emergency lights and radio
• A home generator can also be helpful as long as you are familiar with safe operating procedures

“To be truly prepared, you need more than supplies. You need to know what to do when a storm strikes,” advised Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. “Winter storms can cause severe damage to power lines, which creates safety risks. After a storm, avoid going outside if possible.”

Downed power lines could be submerged in snow and ice, making them difficult to identify. When outside, treat all downed and hanging lines as if they are energized. Stay away, warn others to stay away, and immediately contact your utility company. Remember that downed power lines do not have to be arcing, sparking, or moving to be “live”—and deadly.

When the power is out during a winter storm, Safe Electricity suggests these tips to stay safe:
• Stay inside, and dress in warm, layered clothing.
• Close off unneeded rooms.
• When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
• Stuff towels and rags underneath doors to keep the heat in.
• Cover windows at night.
• Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you can’t keep your home warm.

Winter storms can create hazardous and stressful conditions, but with the proper knowledge and preparation, you can stay safe and warm. For more information on winter outages, generator safety and more, visit SafeElectricity.org.

For further information and videos on electrical safety, visit www.SafeElectricity.org. Safe Electricity is a program of the Energy Education Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency, and supported by a coalition of hundreds of organizations, including electric utilities, educators and other entities committed to promoting safe use of electricity.

Letter: Seeking Kaneland graduates

in Letters to the Editor by

I am a teacher at Kaneland High School, and one of the projects I have my students participate in is writing a five-year letter.

The students write a letter about themselves, their families, their goals and their present thoughts of their lives. I take the letters, put them away for five years and mail them back to the students to show them how much they have changed and developed.

I mailed off the letters for the seventh time this past November. Unfortunately, I have received some letters back. I wonder if anyone knows where these people moved, so I can forward these letters on to them.

The names of the students that I am looking for are Jessica Snow, Ronnie Smith, Lindsay Kahl, Alejandro Herrera, Dan Henderson, Ceiarc Flowers, Alex Barron, Judith Chavez and Cindy Martinez.

If any of these people would still like their five-year letter or know where these people are, they can contact Judy W. Fabrizius at Kaneland High School at jfabrizi@kaneland.org or (630) 365-5100, ext. 340.

Judy W. Fabrizius
Kaneland High School

Editorial: Staffing changes allows us to offer more

in From the Editor's Desk by

Two weeks ago, we used this space to recap this past year at the Elburn Herald, as well as to introduce new Assistant Editor Keith Beebe.

This week, we would like to announce the change in position of former Assistant Editor and new Web Editor, Ben Draper.

Draper has been with the company for a number of years, joining the team in May 2005. He quickly emerged as a leader and has been highly valuable member of the team, splitting his efforts on photography, helping lead the editorial staff, and redeveloping our award-winning website, ElburnHerald.com.

In late 2008, we found ourselves wanting more flexibility and affordability than our former website developer could provide, we made the decision to stop paying someone else for something we could do ourselves. The problem was, we weren’t sure we actually could do it ourselves. That is when Draper stepped up and said he would figure out a way, and that is exactly what he did.

Our new site went live in January 2009, and since then we have won industry awards while seeing our online viewership increase dramatically. We are excited to unveil our new ElburnHerald.com site in the short future. We think our new site will be an even bigger step forward for us.

In fact, Draper has become so talented at developing and designing websites that we recently began offering those services to other businesses and organizations that also want the same combination of flexibility and affordability we desired when we decided to do it ourselves just a few years ago.

We obtained our first client even before we officially decided to offer those services to others when the then-new Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference hired us to create and design NIBig12.org.

Now, with our staffing adjustments complete, Draper will be able to fully dive into his new role developing websites both for the Elburn Herald and other local organizations.

Guest Editorial: Department on Aging offers tips to help seniors prepare for winter

in From the Editor's Desk by

With winter temperatures finally arriving, Illinois Department on Aging Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., reminded older adults and their families to get ready for the cold weather.

Some to-do items include things to protect their homes and their health like having the furnace checked and getting a flu shot.

“The mercury is already dropping, but it’s not too late to get ready,” Holton said. “The flu season runs through April, so a flu shot is strongly recommended for people ages 50 years and older, who are considered to be at risk for influenza. And there are some practical tips for older adults, their families and caregivers who care for them to help prepare in anticipation of the cold weather ahead.”

Seniors should make sure they set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Older persons are more susceptible to fall ill during the cold winter months. People who lower the thermostat to reduce heating bills risk developing hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature drops dangerously low. Also at an increased risk are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

It’s important to have the furnace checked to be sure that it is in good shape and heating ducts are properly ventilated. Proper ventilation is also a concern when using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove or space heater. If you use heating oil, be sure that you have enough of it.

The state has a website that offers information about how to battle winter in Illinois and about available resources so seniors aren’t left to make difficult decisions, like whether to pay their heating bills or take their prescription medications this winter. For more information on how to keep warm, call 1-877-411-WARM or log on to www.keepwarm.illinois.gov.

In preparation for cold weather, the following are some tips that seniors are encouraged to do:
• Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.
• Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.
• Eat well and drink 10 glasses of water daily; stock up on non-perishable food supplies, just in case.
• Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements now to have your medications delivered.
• Have your house winterized. Be sure that walls and attics are insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. Insulate pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces and attics that are susceptible to freezing.
• Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water supply in case pipes burst.
• Prepare your vehicle for winter. Check wipers, tires, lights and fluid levels regularly. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal. Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season. Plan long trips carefully and travel by daylight with at least one other person.
• Protect against fire. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, buy one. Make sure space heaters are at least three feet from anything flammable. Do not overload extension cords.
• Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Plan now for someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a chill and even hypothermia.

A few more tips to keep you safe
and self-reliant in case of power failure

• If you have a gas stove and it has an electronic ignition, check to see if you can light the top burners should your power go out. (If you have an older stove, you may even be able to use your oven).
• DO NOT under any circumstances use your oven to heat your home. Carbon monoxide can build up and kill you and everyone in your home. If you have an electric stove, make sure you have food that can be prepared without cooking.
• For telephone use, always have a corded phone available. Cordless phones do not work without power.
• Have a battery operated radio (weather radio is best) so you can listen to updates on weather conditions or receive instructions on what to do to keep safe, or if necessary receive information on evacuating.

For more information about programs and services to assist older adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the Department on Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966. For TTY (hearing impaired use only), call 1-888-206-1327.

Letter: Too late to complain about increasing highway tolls

in Letters to the Editor by

During the next few weeks, newspaper editors and talk show hosts will be inundated with protests for having to pay the new high toll/tax to use Illinois’ highways.

I say “too bad!” These same complainers have had many opportunities to do something about this unfair toll/tax, but could not find the time to get off their fat behinds and do something. Now they’re crying.

Arrogant Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur has said that she is not worried; ultimately drivers that try alternate routes will come back. Time will tell. For me I’m doing the alternate route and leaving the paying of this unfair toll/tax to the “Wall Street—1 percent.” I could not afford to use these roads even when they were half the price.

I have heard that Taxpayers United of America (TUA) is the only known group today working aggressively toward getting rid of the Illinois Tollway Authority, ending this unfair toll/tax and 60 years of corruption. Remember that in the 1950s, when Illinois state legislators were selling us on a tollway system, they promised that the toll authority would be gone by now and that the highways would be toll free. As soon as I get this letter written I’m contacting the TUA to see how I can help.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Letter: Elburn Chamber is renewing effort to welcome new businesses to town

in Letters to the Editor by

Elburn Chamber of Commerce is embarking on a renewed effort to welcome new businesses to Elburn, as demonstrated by the recent grand opening and ribbon cutting of Made From Scratch Pastries.

New businesses will be invited to announce their arrival by having a grand opening and ribbon cutting event. Elburn Chamber of Commerce will assist with their efforts.

Over the past couple of years, businesses have not received their due welcome to the community. These latest efforts hope to correct that. Any business opened or relocated within the past year will be invited to ask the chamber for grand opening and ribbon cutting help. We plan to play a bigger role in welcoming new businesses.

H. Jack Hansen
Chamber Ambassador,
Grand Opening Event Coordinator

Editorial: A thank you and an introduction

in From the Editor's Desk by

I entered 2011 with a sense that it was going to be a life-changing year for me, one way or another. I had been discussing the idea of buying Kaneland Publications Inc.—and thereby the Elburn Herald—off and on for years, and the discussions had essentially ran their course. It became clear to me that 2011 was going to either be the year that it happened, or it was going to be the year I had to move on and pursue other endeavors.

As the year and those discussions progressed, the difficult economy continued to place pressures on the paper. Like most media companies, we are understaffed; and like most independent small businesses, we have limited resources. That means the small staff we have do not receive the compensation or benefits as they might otherwise receive if they worked at one of the larger, corporate-owned media entities in our area.

Yet, for the most part, the staff remained loyal to the community and each other, and the community remained loyal to the paper. Very few staffers left the company, and our circulation and ad revenue numbers stabilized after shrinking significantly when the local economy went over its cliff a couple of years previously.

While everything did stabilize, the struggles continued and a thought began to grow in the back of my mind that maybe these difficulties were a sign that I should move on. Yet, while I struggled with that thought internally, I continued the pursuit of purchasing the company.

It seemed like every time I prepared to move on, something would occur to remind me of why we do what we do, strengthening my desire to put down roots here. I would connect with a reader about a story we wrote, or disagree with a government official about an editorial that we published, or see a reporter get captivated by a story or a photographer capture a moment perfectly.

For an individual, buying a hometown newspaper is more than a mere business investment, it is a public commitment that says that the paper and those who work so hard to put it together each week will continue to serve our communities for the years and decades to come.

It is not an asset acquisition based on a corporate financial decision made in a boardroom miles away, and our readers and advertisers are not merely numbers in a spreadsheet.

You are all real people with real lives pursuing your real hopes and dreams and overcoming your real challenges. Our focus is to live and/or work among you, sharing in your stories, reveling in your successes and supporting you in your challenges.

It was these realizations that kept me here through our challenges, and on Sept. 2, I was fortunate enough to purchase the company and put down those lifelong roots in the community.

I haven’t second-guessed that decision once, because I know I get to work with a great staff serving wonderful communities of people each day for the rest of my career. For that sense of peace, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to each member of the community and each member of the Elburn Herald staff.

One member of the staff deserves a special mention this week—Keith Beebe. He joined the staff a few years ago as an unpaid intern, desiring to practice the craft of journalism while strengthening his connection to the communities in which he lived.

After putting in his time as an unpaid intern, he left for a “paid gig” elsewhere. We were happy to have him return as a paid staffer last November, and he was happy to rejoin us.

Since then, he has steadily taken on new and more responsibilities. He has covered both the village of Sugar Grove and the Kaneland School District consistently, including the Sugar Grove Library District’s personnel issues that occurred at the same time as the village’s TIF District issues. He juggled both ongoing stories while also pursuing the stories about the people that make up our communities, and really showed what it means to care about the communities we cover and the coverage we provide our readers.

He spent this entire year emerging as a leader, and we are proud to say he has taken on a new role as the Elburn Herald’s Assistant Editor.

2011 was a crossroads year, and now that we’ve picked our path, we’re excited to grow and develop with you in 2012 and beyond.

Ryan Wells

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