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Editorial/Opinion - page 4

Letter: In support of Grabarek, Krukoff on April 7

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It has been a pleasure to serve alongside Bill Grabarek for many years. I find Bill to have a steady viewpoint—he does not carry nor bring forward a personal agenda.

Bill has a heartfelt care and concern about the welfare of Elburn and our residents. It is my opinion his experience and background as a lawyer brings an ability to see all sides—to weigh and evaluate all possible outcomes.

Elburn has many changes on the horizon. Since we do not have the ability to see clearly into the future, we need a Village Board with experience in maximizing our resource.

John Krukoff has served on the Elburn Planning Commission for five years. To this role he has brought a strong background in public administration and a passion for our village to be the best it can be. On important issues impacting Elburn’s future, I have observed John analyze and diligently research additional and necessary information.

Please join me in voting for Bill Grabarek and John Krukoff for village trustee on April 7.

Pat Schuberg
Elburn Village Board trustee

Letter: In support of Thomas Reynolds

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I served with Thomas Reynolds as trustee on the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD) Board. Tom is a good listener and he takes everyone into consideration as we work together to plan for the future needs of our fire and ambulance services.

Tom understands how precious the tax dollars are that support the ECFPD. The good planning for the future of the ECFPD has shown to be very positive.

We can all be very proud of the men and women who operate and serve on a daily schedule to keep our No. 1 service in motion.

I am grateful and very proud to have been a part of the ECFPD for 37 years. I know Tom will serve it well.

Jim Feece, Elburn

Letter: Re-elect Bill Grabarek

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Bill Grabarek is one of the incumbents running for one of three seats on the Elburn Village Board April 7. I’ve known Bill over 15 years. He continues to be passionate about Elburn in his efforts to preserve the past, provide for our present needs, services and plans for the future.

We continue to face economic challenges that require tough decisions.

Bill’s experience in village government since 1993 does matter. Bill listens to Elburn residents and sees the big picture of possibilities for Elburn’s future. Bill has been an excellent trustee and should be re-elected.
Joan Hansen, Elburn

Letter: Thank you from Blackberry Creek PTO

in Letters to the Editor by

On behalf of the Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School PTO Family Bingo Knight and Silent Auction Committee, we would like to thank everyone who generously supported this event on March 7.

We were able to raise a profit of $15,026.28. The donations from families, community members, businesses and KBC teachers and staff will help the KBC-PTO expand and enrich our children’s educational experiences.

Thank you to all the businesses that continue to support our community:

FINANCIAL SPONSORS: C&D Auto Body Repair Shop, Culligan, Delnor Express Care, Elburn Coop, Fleck & Uhlich, Hooked On Thread, Kaneland Youth Basketball League, Nicole Fleshman Web Designs, Old Second Bank, State Farm—Bill Nelson, and Wazio Orthodontics

SILVER SPONSORS: All Seasons Ice Rink, Allstar Rebels, Best Vac, Bill Cho United Taekwondo, Brookfield Zoo, Cadence Fitness and Health Center, Cheer Alliance, Club Z, Colonial Cafe, Delnor Express Care, Elements Massage, Elburn Chiropractic & Acupuncture, Energym Gymnastics, Fit Mama—Erin Schaefer, Fox Jewelers, Howl at the Moon, Hughes Creek Golf Course, Huntington Learning Center, Kaneland Arts Initiative, Kaneland High School Athletic Dept., Laura Gampfer Photography, M&M Dance, N Nail and Spa, Northern Illinois University, Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, Rainforest Cafe, Sign Fx, Snap Fitness, Sports Authority, Sylvan Learning Center, The Herrington Inn & Spa, The Scheibal Family , Tranquility Spa & Wellness, Walt Disney World Resort, Wireless Zone in Elburn, World Martial Arts USA Karate, Young Rembrandts, Zanies Comedy Club.

BLACK SPONSORS: Acquaviva Winery, All Things Art Studio, Arcada Theatre, Arlington Park Raceway, Avenue J. Studios—Erin Livermore, Chicago SKY, Chili’s, Chuck E. Cheese, Corner Grind, Da Capo Music Studio, Dairy Queen, Dr. Krauspe, DuPage Children’s Museum, Elburn Car Wash, Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District, Elburn Herald, Eric Carle, Excel Gymnastics Academy, Fermilab’s Ramsey Auditorium, Focal Pointe, Fox River Harley-Davidson, Fox Valley Ice Arena, Fox Valley Repertory, Goldfish Swim School, Hair Directors, Hand and Stone Massage, Hill’s Country Store, Horsepower, Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, Kane County Landscaping, Meijer, Panera Bread, Paramount Theatre, Picture People, Prairie Gymnastics Club, Pure Barre, Purdue Athletics, Santa’s Village Azoozment Park, Sci-Tech Hands on Museum, Shady Hill Gardens, Skydeck Chicago, St. Charles Bowling, St. Charles Park District, Starbucks—Randall in Geneva, State Street Jewelers, Swim with Bill/Swim Labs, Sycamore Speedway, The Bonk Family, The Murdock Family, The Turf Room, The Wruck Family, Von Jager Kennels, West Suburban Limousine.

WHITE SPONSORS: 101.9 The Mix, Ace Hardware, Aldi, Alice’s, Amazing Grace Antiques, AMC Movie Theatre, Amy’s Wild Hairs, AnnaBella Salon & Spa, Aurelios Pizza, Arlington Park Raceway, Ball Factory, Bar Louie, Bath and Body Works, Bed Bath and Beyond, Bien Trucha, Blackberry Bar and Grill, Books-A-Million, Bounce Town, BP—Elburn, Briana Pancake Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings, California Pizza Kitchen, Chianti’s, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago 100.3 FM, Chicago Wolves Hockey, Cheryl Krauspe, Classic Cinemas, Cocoa Bean, Cocoon , Cooper’s Hawk Winery Naperville, Costco, Country House, Couture Tan, Dancer’s Dream, Danielle Stombres—Mobella Salon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Discovery Center Rockford, Donley’s Wild West Town, Eddie Gaedel Pub & Grill, Enjoy Life, Epic Air Trampoline Park, European Wax Center Geneva, Filling Station, Firehouse Pizza & Grill in Geneva, Five Guys, Forever Vogue, Fox Valley Park District, Francesca’s by the River, Front Street Cantina, Fuller’s Car Wash, Funway, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Geneva Commons, Geneva Park District, Geneva Running Outfitters, Good Cents Children, Gourmet Gift Baskets, Graham’s Fine Chocolates, Grooming by Maggie, Heritage Prairie Farm, Hollywood Palms Studios, Hotel Baker, Houlihan’s, Illinois State University, It’s A Girl Thing, Jersey Mike’s Subs in Geneva, Jewel, John Deere, Kane County Cougars, Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn, Kilwins, Kountry Kettle, Kuipers Family Farm, Learning Express, LegoLand Discovery Center Chicago, Lou Malnati’s, Lowes, Lynfred Winery—Naperville, Lynfred Winery—Wheaton, Lynfred Winery—Roselle, Mardi Gras Lanes, Margo Rinella—31 consultant, McDonald’s, McNally’s Irish Pub, Menards, Men’s Wearhouse, Midwest Museum of Natural History, Morton Arboretum, Museum of Contemporary Art, New Balance, Noodles & Company, Nosh, Old Towne Pub, Olive Mill, Otterbox, Panera Bread Geneva, Perlman Fine Jewelry, Preservation Bread and Wine, Premium Outlet Mall, Pro-Fusion, R.F. Houtz & Son, Inc., Randall 15 Batavia, Goodrich, Raging Waves, Ravinia, Ream’s Elburn Market, Redbox rental, Otterwall, Richwrap, Rockford Ice Hogs, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Rookies, Rosati’s, Schaumburg Boomers, Seventh Generation, Shed Aquarium, St. Charles Paddle Wheel Riverboats, Starbucks, Steak ‘N Shake, Stockholm’s, Strawflower Shop, Subway, Sugar Grove Park District, Swing Set Preschool, Sycamore Family Sports Center, Target, TGI Fridays, The Attic Christian Arts Center, The Field Museum, The Gift Box, The Little Traveler, The Lodge Bar & Grill, The Pernice Family, The Majkszak Family, The Mazzacano Family, The Men’s Warehouse, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Office, The Spice House, Town and Country Library, Town House Books and Cafe, Trader Joe’s, Under the Big Top, US99.5, Venetian Nail Salon, Vitamin Shoppe, Walmart, Wasco Nursery, Well Polished Nails, White House Black Market, White Sox Organization, Yankee Candle.

We are overwhelmed by the continuous and unconditional support we receive from the community and businesses. We had over 250 sponsors, donating businesses and families and staff that came together to help the students of Blackberry Creek Elementary. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the support you show the students—the future of our community!

Co-chairs Kimberly Bartkowiak, Lisa Tingler;
Classroom Basket Chair Julie Keen;
Committee members Kristy Baerenklau,
Christine Isaacs, Kathryn McCoy,
Miranda Middona, Kelly Peacock,
Erin Slattery and Emily Slowiak
Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary
School PTO

Letter: Researching the eight School Board candidates

in Letters to the Editor by

I’ve been doing my research. Having moved into the Kaneland School District just a couple of years ago, I will vote in this local School Board election for the first time. I have two young daughters and realize that the quality of my children’s education and the value of my home depend on this future.

My first experience with the School Board was this summer, when a highly qualified and well-known interm superintendent candidate resigned from his position after only one day, because of the School Board’s hostile environment. As a Kaneland parent, I was highly embarrassed. I have heard various comments about the board members, but never having met any of the candidates, I decided to Google them. I encourage you to do the same. I offer some of my findings

Regarding Tony Valente, I could not find any endorsements for this incumbent candidate; found various articles that clarified the lack of endorsements. This member certainly has been publicized for his poor boardroom conduct. I feel embarrassed that our school community has had his reputation attached to it. The Kane County Chronicle pointed out that Valente’s “clashes with his fellow board members reached a new level in 2014.” When I archived articles regarding the interm superintendent, Valente’s picture was front and center, followed by comments of his lack of professionalism and hostility.

Regarding Dan Nagel, I found that just a couple of years ago, this candidate resigned as Sugar Grove Township supervisor. There were reported to be suggestions of questionable spending practices. Although there were no charges following a Sugar Grove Police investigation, he reportedly resigned for “personal and family reasons” and made repayments to the road and bridge district and the township. This doesn’t sound like the quality of personnel I would trust with my hard-earned tax dollars.

Regarding Jerry Elliott, I read eight of his letters to the editor in the Elburn Herald from over the past two and a half years. Just … wow. According to my count, he refers to taxpayer/ taxation in these letters 52 times, and he refers to children just three times—none of which were in support of the kids. Not good.

Elliott referred to “students” when complaining about why he had to wait too long for the board meeting agenda—following student presentations—in order to get to the awaited levy presentation. I am concerned about the possibility of partisan politics playing an unnecessary part in my children’s education, and I would not welcome it to a board already divided.

Needless to say, I was becoming a bit disheartened for this election and for my home purchase decision. But then, things started to look up as I continued to research the remaining five. So work your way down the ballot. The Daily Herald and/or the Kaneland Education Association has endorsed the remaining five candidates with good reasons: Lopatin, Witt, Kerry, Pavlak and Voorhees.

Over the summer, many of us parents felt powerless as a strong and distinguished leader left our district due to certain board members’ behavior. As voters, we have a say in whom we select to represent our School District. Do your own research, but be sure to get out and vote.

Katherine Schutzenhofer, Elburn

Letter: Vote for Oliver, Delgado on April 7

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Please vote for Rebecca Oliver (No. 1) and Jimmie Delgado (No. 4) for Waubonsee Community College trustees on the April 7 Consolidated Election ballot. There are four candidates for two positions.

Ms. Oliver has been a WCC trustee for 18 years and is currently our vice-chairman. She is very knowledgeable about our college, and she is very professional in representing us.

Mr. Delgado was a WCC student trustee in 2002-03. He is now a young professional with a wife and three children. As such, he knows our college and he is committed to our success. You can learn more about Jimmie Delgado at

Jim Michels
Waubonsee Community College trustee

Letter: Vote for Krukoff April 7

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John Krukoff deserves your vote for Elburn Village Trustee on April 7. He will bring six years of experience as a Planning Commission member, along with those analytical skills honed with his M.B.A. and his diverse professional and life experiences. Given his background, he is “board ready,” and I would be proud to serve with him.

Bill Grabarek
Elburn Village Board trustee

Letter: Senior citizens for better schools

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We as seniors are for better schools because it protects our property values. We don’t have any children in schools any more (maybe grandchildren); however, we are very concerned about our tax dollars.

The percentage of our tax bill is over 50 percent to schools, so we are interested in how these tax dollars are spent and the result of dollars spent. Recently, the School Board raised taxes by the limit (roughly $800,000) without itemizing where these dollars would go.

Performance is a key indicator to the efficiency of the School Board. Having a high school on an academic watch list indicates to us that the present board has shown poor performance.

We suggest a change in the present school board and recommend that you consider Jerry Elliott, Dan Nagel and Tony Valante on the April 7 ballot. These three men are strong, passionate people who have a desire to see that our tax dollars are spent wisely and frugally. They want to insist of high performance to insure top education while still preserving our property values.

Karen McCannon
Concerned senior citizens of Sugar Grove

Letter: Regarding Kaneland School Board ballot change

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Now the Kaneland School Board election ballot has just been changed. The ballot change is so recent that the original sample ballot published a couple weeks ago by the Kane County Clerk’s office is not the same as the ballot voters will see at the polls.

To my surprise, this change only applies to the Kaneland School Board election ballot. I was so intrigued by this unusual behavior of our Election Board, I inquired as to what or who caused this to happen.

It is intriguing alright. It seems that our Kaneland District superintendent and administration have announced that they took the initiative to hire a Chicago attorney to get the ballot changed. But then, on the other hand, ballot attorney Mr. Mullins stated he had been hired by the election candidates. Now, whom do I believe on that deal?

The school code election laws are different than our customary election laws, and the education associations are so politically powerful, the emergency changes were only made to the Kaneland School District election ballot. Apparently, the emergency is the Aurora Election Commission has asked for Kaneland to change its election ballot format. Would you think the candidacy challenge being brought forth by me, Dan Nagel and Tony Valente in the coming April 7 election has now become a concern of the city of Aurora? I don’t think so. It is really the existing School Board members and teachers union that are so concerned, they are taking every avenue to disrupt this election.

The first action was to get us off the ballot, and was done in January when Teresa Witt, Gale Pavlak, Peter Lopatin, and the KEA teacher’s union representative legally objected to our ballot petitions. We hired legal counsel, and after two days of testimony and Election Board decision announcements, we were found in compliance with the law. I thought that would be the end of divisive action by this group, but I was wrong. Aside from our election yard signs disappearing, here comes this confusion to our election ballot.

What else can happen? I told my wife that our candidacy group has not been funded by the teachers union and are therefore free of any debts to the union, whose contracts we will be voting on in the future. I again tried to explain to her my belief that our community voters are smart and knowledgeable. We will win this election without jeopardizing our reputation and convictions.

What does all this mean? The negative economic pressure to our community due to excessive school taxation is paramount. Several people representing you and me, such as Drew Frasz, Bill Lenert and Keith Wheeler, are listening with concern. They are concerned for our local ability to be competitive with other communities to attract business, home buying, better wages and more jobs in our immediate area.

It is essential voters come out and vote in this School Board election. See you at the polls April 7. Candidates Valente, Nagel and Elliott are the top three for tax containment, better education and the voice of reason representing tax payers of Kaneland School District.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Letter: Say no to Blackberry Township road tax increase

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Blackberry Township is asking for a 75 percent increase in their road tax rate, raising the rate from 18.5 to 32.5. It is time for government agencies to plan and live within their means as we all have to do. Since moving to Blackberry Township in 2007, my total tax rate has gone from 6.92 to 10.26—an increase of 48%.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson stated Blackberry Township has the “lowest road rate in Kane County” (from the March 20 Elburn Herald). That is not true! In looking at the Kane County Clerk’s page, where last year’s tax rates are listed, Blackberry Twp Road District is eighth out of the 16 townships. The actual lowest rate is Geneva Township with a rate of 2.5 cents per $100 EAV, far lower than our 18.5 cents per $100 EAV. There are six other township road districts with lower rates than Blackberry.

From the same article, it was stated “With the tax rate for township roads at the same rate for the past 36 years.” I looked at my 2009 tax bill, and the Road District rate was 0.135368, or 13.5 cents per $100 EAV. The tax rate for township roads has not been the same rate for 36 years. It has increased 37 percent over the last five years.

Yes, I would like decent roads, like everyone else. But it is time for officials to tell the true facts, and for taxing bodies to plan and budget wisely, not just always ask for more.

Marcia Boyce
Elburn, Ill

Letter: Please support Blackberry Twp road referendum on April 7

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The issue of township roads in Blackberry Township has festered for many years and has finally come to a head.

In an unprecedented move that underscores this situation, Rod Feece, our well-respected Township Road Commissioner, did not resurface any roads in Blackberry Township last year. He simply did not have the money to do so. Instead, he had to spend his budget for road maintenance on equipment, labor and materials.

As reported in the Daily Herald and the Elburn Herald, there are 58 centerline road miles in Blackberry Township. Of these, there are six miles of gravel roads and 52 miles of asphalt roads. In a good budget year of little or no snow, Rod may be able to resurface one mile of roads. Think about it, if your road was recently resurfaced, it may be 50 years before it is resurfaced again.

This can be a confusing issue, as are most issues these days. But please put your trust in the conservative elected officials of Blackberry Township that the time is now to pass a road referendum to finance our Blackberry Township Road District. There are no realistic options available. Please vote to pass this referendum on April 7. For more information, see

Jim Michels
Blackberry Twp. Trustee

Letter: In support of Kaneland tax payers on April 7

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School Board member election time seems to bring out eloquent testimony on behalf of our finest community leaders.

I wish we could enlist all the willing candidates to govern our educational and financial systems. We certainly need the best of minds and intentions at this time in Illinois and our Kaneland School District. As voting taxpayers supporting the actions of these leaders, Election Day will be your only significant opportunity to represent your hard-earned money for the next two to four years.

In looking at a couple possible financial drains affecting Kaneland, Chicago Public School System is declared junk bond rating even after the closing of 50 schools this last year. The millions of dollars required to continue educating Chicago children will most likely come from Madigan-redirected state funding to Chicago, thus reducing Kaneland’s $16.2 million portion. Secondly, Governor Rauner is certainly rattling his sabers as well for big changes to avoid further decline of Illinois’ financial woes, especially pension funding. Both of these situations will most likely fall back in the laps of local taxation (you and me) to make up the state-funded 30 percent budget loss to the district. Plus, we too have a local $230 million pension obligation for our district if the state fades out on that as well.

Now, our present Kaneland School Board members are aware of these dark clouds and have been diligently raising our property taxes yearly. Last year’s levy was only 4.81 percent “Tax-To-Max” increase, as compared to Consumer Price Index of 1.7 percent, but much better than the year before at 9.4 percent. My hopes were for the School District to save the additional $3.2 million funding from these tax increases as “rainy-day-cash.”

Unfortunately, the additional funds were spent to hire 73 more staff members. The increase in salaries and benefits went over budget in the General Fund to create a present deficit expenditure of $1.7 million.

On the other hand, our teaching staff-to-student ratio was reduced to one for every nine students. Kaneland now has one of the lowest teacher-to-student ratios in the area and certainly relieves each teacher’s workload down from the 25 norm. The KEA teacher’s union puppeteers must be loving every minute of the board’s actions.

Not only were the teachers workloads reduced, they were awarded a 6.1 percent contractual pay raise for last year’s Kaneland District contract settlement with the KEA union. Our school board (Teresa Witt, Board Chief Negotiator) being so generous with salaries and benefits, graciously included a teaching job for the Union negotiator’s daughter. That is really touching, I must say!

As for benefits above the generous salaries, they include: spiking pensions, dental, vision, hearing, medical and hospitalization for employees and family members. The district’s self-insured price tag is over $600,000 per month to the local taxpayer.

I am sure Peter Lopatin didn’t vote for this contract, since he personally enjoys the “family member’s” benefit package (valued at $18,000/yr), nor would he want to be in violation of his municipal Economic Interest declaration. Nepotism just simply has a way of being distasteful, no matter how you frame it.

The most notable group not being respected here is the taxpayer. As you may remember, Witt, Lopatin, Pavlak and KEA Union negotiator ganged up to block only the Sugar Grove candidates off your election ballot. Fortunately, the County Election Board denied their devious attempt to cheat the voting public of candidate choices. Tony Valente, Dan Nagel and myself were targeted as negative to the union and bad for the children. The election orchestration goes on. They couldn’t get us kicked off the ballot, so now our election signage posted throughout the district is systematically disappearing as well. I am sure my “first timer” political plight is bringing a tear to your eye by now.

Even as you may not see our names on street corners, Valente, Nagel and Elliott are the first names on your election ballot for the Kaneland School Board Members. I hope you will come out to vote on April 7, and choose your School Board membership carefully. The education of our children is a $70 million business and voting taxpayers are its most significant hope for the future.

Thanks for reading.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Twp.

Letter: In support of Gale Pavlak

in Letters to the Editor by

I have known Gale Pavlak for the past 30 years and am fully supporting her in her quest for a second term on the Kaneland School Board. These are crucial times for our district. Gale has served these last four years as a solid, dedicated and caring Kaneland Board member. She has proven her fiscal responsibility by overseeing school expenditures wisely while also sharing her passion for student development and achievement.

Gale has been a part of the Kaneland community almost as long as I have. She has always been a tireless supporter of all levels of education and extra curriculars in the Kaneland School District. It has been my experience that she understands the pressures involved in funding our district almost solely with property taxes. As a long-time Elburn resident, she has championed referendums and has personally shouldered her share of the burden of taxes. She understands how precious the taxpayers’ money is and will work hard to ensure that our tax dollars are used to provide the very best education possible for all Kaneland students. In my opinion, she has no platform other than to do what’s best for the kids of Kaneland using our dollars as responsibly as possible.

I will definitely vote for Gale on April 7 and I really hope you will also.

Ralph Drendel
Kaneland graduate, retired teacher and retired coach

Letter: Appointed judge must go

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In March 2014, candidate for Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit, 3rd Subcircuit, Marmarie Kostelny, lost the Republican primary. One year later, she remains an Associate Judge in Kane County, using a political appointment to nullify the vote, and becoming the only sitting Judge in Illinois to lose an election.

Political appointee Kostelny lost the election for good, solid reasons. Unlike other Associate Judges who are rotated through the various courts, political appointee Kostelny has been relegated to drug court, where the thought is that she can do the least amount of damage. This is a further insult to Kane County taxpayers, who are stuck paying a losing candidate $175,000 annually.

I urge all Kane County residents to let the elected judiciary know that this situation is simply unacceptable, and that Associate Judge Kostelny’s appointment should be terminated in June 2015, when it is up for review. Ignoring her primary loss is a slap in the face to all voters and taxpayers, demeans the entire electoral process and casts a shadow over the elected Kane County judiciary.

Thomas E. Doyle

Letter: All I know is what I read in the newspapers

in Letters to the Editor by

The recent Candidates Night held at the Sugar Grove Public Library was attended by all eight contestants for the Kaneland School District’s Board of Education. I was there, but had difficulty finding much difference between the candidates’ replies to the six questions presented by the moderator. Other than those replies, all I know is what I read in the newspapers:

Elburn Herald, Sept. 29, 2011:
Conflicts surface between Valente, Board.

“Valente, who has been absent from four of the Board’s five meetings between June 13 and September 12…” “Valente was principal of Kaneland High School for two years before he resigned in June 2009.” “Valente interrupted (Dr. Sarah) Mumm’s presentation several times …” “Board President Cheryl Krauspe then used her gavel to restore order to the meeting.”

Elburn Herald, Sept. 4, 2014:
Enough is enough

This is the only time I have ever seen the Elburn Herald chastise a public official for his conduct, and again, the official in question was Tony Valente. The reason? Mr. Valente’s conduct to the appointment of Dr. Ken Sorrick as Kaneland Schools’ superintendent, which drove Sorrick to resign after only one day of service. “… (Valente’s) actions during the meetings completely undermine whatever good ideas and intentions he brings to the table.”

Why did Mr. Valente resign in 2009, then run for member of the Kaneland Board in 2011? What was his motive to join the board?

I have read Jerry Elliott’s many Elburn Herald letters to the editor—very technical, very long letters—several of which were in little peril of ever being read. In one, however, a reference was made to “benefits” Kaneland supposedly provides to its school bus drivers. When I asked two bus drivers about this, they replied the only “benefit” they get is the paychecks they earn.

Mr. Elliott, you have done much research, but why did you make this unfounded, un-researched statement?

Elburn Herald, Jan. 15, 2015:
Letter: Election law prevails

In this diatribe, Mr. Elliott becomes an expert on the candidate petition process—critical of formal objections made that he and fellow cabal candidates Valente and Nagel failed to use the proper petition forms required for the Kaneland Board of Education elections.

Although a county petition review committee allowed these three access to the ballot, this could have been avoided if they had done their research. Or, if they had bothered to contact the office of the Kane County Clerk, they would have learned a ready-to-use election packet was available for every would-be candidate wishing to run. What seems strange about this is that Mr. Valente was elected to the Board four years ago and should have been familiar enough with the process to know which of the two petition forms to use.

Fellow voters, will you trust three candidates who can’t get the petition process correct, to handle the School District’s budget of many millions of dollars?

I ask questions because I don’t know, and am not willing to guess.

Dennis C. Ryan

Guest Editorial: Can I recycle styrofoam?

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Jennifer Jarland
Coordinator, Kane County Recycles
Can you recycle styrofoam? The answer is yes. But first things first—Styrofoam is a brand name for polystyrene foam, much like Kleenex is a brand name for tissues.

What we are really talking about is No. 6 polystyrene, a petroleum-based plastic foam. This kind of foam is generally found in block form in electronics or appliance boxes; as plates, bowls, cups and clamshell containers; and as packing peanuts (or as my dear aunty calls them, “ghost poop”). These shapes of No. 6 polystyrene are recyclable, but not in your curbside recycling bin, please.

It is important to note that the bendy kinds of foam blocks are not recyclable at all. The No. 6 foam blocks are generally identifiable by the way they would snap if you were to try to bend them.

I have heard that some people believe that polystyrene foam can go in the blue recycling bin at the curb, but this is not the case. The material recovery facilities do not separate this material, as it is often soiled or broken up by the time it reaches them, so it ends up as a discard at the end of the sorting process and is ultimately landfilled.

The No. 6 block foam and rinsed-clean food service items can be recycled at Dart Container Corp at 310 Evergreen Drive in North Aurora. The drop-off is open 24/7. Contact them at or (630) 896-4631. The foam is not made into new foam products, but is marketed by a third-party agent to remanufacturers who make polymer-based products such as CD jewel cases, plastic screens for remote controls, and even picture frames.

Shipping and packing stores will reuse clean, bagged and unmixed foam packing peanuts. Call your local UPS or FedEx store. Or contact the Peanut Hotline at or 800-828-2214 to find your closest location.

Also, save the date, as Kane County will include these materials in the annual Recycling Extravaganza on Saturday, June 13. We will collect clean bubble wrap, too.

As a final note, please consider avoiding the use of polystyrene, and instead use readily recyclable paper packing products and reusable washable food service items. Much of this material makes its way to the landfill or becomes a principal component of urban litter or marine debris. Polystyrene is very slow to biodegrade and can take up to hundreds of years to deteriorate in the environment or landfill.

More recycling information is available at

Letter: Vote Kerry, Lopatin, Pavlak, Witt on April 7

in Letters to the Editor by

The Kaneland Education Association Mission Statement, created in 2007, states the following: “The Kaneland Education Association serves its members by providing leadership for excellence in education.” To accomplish this task, it states, in part, that KEA will “promote positive, collaborative relationships amongst its members, administration, school board and the community to jointly help provide quality education; promote our profession and encourage a quality environment to improve the professional atmosphere; strive to maintain the utmost level of integrity by adhering to the highest standards of honesty, consistency and fairness in all its actions.”

In the spirit of carrying out our mission, KEA chooses to be actively involved in School Board candidate elections. This process involves gathering information from candidates through written questionnaires and participation in the School Board candidate forum.

Upon completion of this process and careful consideration, the KEA Executive Board endorses the following candidates for the upcoming April 7, 2015, Consolidated Election: Ryan Kerry, Peter Lopatin, Gale Pavlak and Teresa Witt.

While all of the candidates exhibit positive qualities that would benefit the Kaneland School community, we feel these four candidates embody the philosophy and vision of the district. Specifically, we believe they: will exercise balance and due diligence in supporting the best educational opportunities for our students within our available resources; value open and honest communication; display integrity and board decorum as outlined in the Illinois Association of School Boards Handbook, enabling the important work of the board to be accomplished in a timely, professional manner; will provide a strong, broad focus, and will not pursue a singular issue or special interest; and recognize the importance of strong district leadership.

We believe an atmosphere of collaboration and professionalism with other board members to be of great benefit to the students, staff and the Kaneland community.

Three of the four endorsed candidates (Witt, Pavlak and Lopatin) are experienced Kaneland School Board members and have first-hand knowledge of the district’s strengths and weaknesses, board responsibilities and issues surrounding the district at both the local, state and federal levels. We believe the board benefits from a mix of experience, as well as a new perspective.

The KEA Executive Board judiciously selected School Board candidates to endorse in the same manner we strive to provide the best education for the students of Kaneland C.U.S.D. We are committed to continual improvement in student achievement, staff working conditions, improved communication structures and community involvement.

Vote for Kerry, Lopatin, Pavlak and Witt on April 7.

Kaneland Education Association
Executive Board

Letter: Wake up, Kaneland community

in Letters to the Editor by

In the Elburn Herald from two weeks ago, Dr. Renee Goier, Kaneland’s interim superintendent, outlined the traits of a good school board member. She quoted that those candidates who are able to work as part of a team, can spend time learning and come to meetings prepared, and who can keep an open mind while engaging in discussions, are typically more satisfied with their board work and serve the community and the district well. Those are no-brainer qualifications.

She also mentioned that it is important to “conduct discussions civilly and exhibit respect for each other.” She spoke of not representing any special interest groups, and having a “well-developed sense of fair play.” This is apparently more difficult for one candidate who is running for re-election.

In the March 22, 2012, Elburn Herald editorial “Time to look in the mirror, Mr. Valente,” Tony Valente is described as “repeatedly trying to talk over other board members, attempting to shout down a fellow board member, having conduct so unprofessional that it left the overall conflict unresolved and risked undermining any legitimate points he may have been trying to make.”

The editorial goes on to suggest that stating one’s opinion and then getting aggressive, condescending and increasingly loud as others express their opinions is not a very productive way to get things accomplished. How true.

Valente has a long pattern of disrespecting other board members and the Kaneland School District administration and staff. You may remember the painful 2014 resignation letter from Dr. Ken Sorrick—the interim superintendent who resigned after just one day—which stated, “He disrespects you, disrespects the superintendent, disrespects the assistant superintendent, disrespected your union representative and disrespected me.” He went on to add that this board member, “Is interested in sabotaging the organization. I do not want to work in such a hostile environment.”

Well, folks, harassed superintendents can move on, like doctors Schuler and Sorrick have. Principals can resign and move to other schools, and faculty members and support staff leaders are following right behind them. Kaneland School District, however, cannot leave town. It is rooted as the heart and spirit of this community, and vulnerable to the best and the worst that this community has to offer.

We deserve better than re-electing Mr. Valente for a second term. Please do not have a short memory. Get out and vote wisely. I support Lopatin, Witt and Pavlak.

Laura Furco
Sugar Grove

Letter: In support of Lopatin for School Board

in Letters to the Editor by

As a longtime Kaneland resident and the parent of three current KHS students, I am very concerned about the outcome of the upcoming School Board election.

I am writing today in support of Sugar Grove candidate Peter Lopatin. I have worked with Mr. Lopatin on the executive board of the Kaneland Arts Initiative and am familiar with his manner, views and expectations. Peter has a knack for getting to the heart of an issue or problem, and a thoughtful, respectful way of addressing such. I have always found him to be very open to differing opinions—a careful listener quick to find the merit in someone else’s suggestions.

His experience in the business world has lent itself to strategic thinking, and an understanding of the need for transparency and visibility of our School Board—and also an understanding of the financial issues that our district is currently facing, and will continue to face in the near future. His expectations of high accountability, full participation and respectful behavior are exactly what are needed on our board.

Mr. Lopatin is attentive to the need for a safe, accepting environment for learning—for all students—and is a passionate advocate for student rights and needs. As the parent of a college graduate, a current college student and a KHS student, his personal experience will also provide valuable insight into the human side of the decisions and choices that face our school board.

In short, Peter Lopatin is exactly the kind of community member that our School Board needs to retain—a reasonable, rational, smart candidate who can balance tough financial decisions, making the best decisions with the limited precious dollars that we do have.

Please be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, April 7. This is your district and your board. Let’s make it the board that we need.

Trisha Mills

Letter: Vote Voorhees for School Board on April 7

in Letters to the Editor by

I am writing to encourage voters to cast their ballot for long time Maple Park resident Pam Voorhees in the Kaneland School Board race on April 7. I have had the privilege of working with Pam in the business office at a larger Fox Valley K-12 school district. We collaborated on several communications pieces that heightened the community’s awareness on issues, successes and fiscal transparency.

Pam has direct experience in all aspects of school finance and business office operations, recently obtaining the CSBO (Chief School Business Official) certification. She has established an excellent rapport with her team members and district staff, cultivating excellent working relationships with the district administration, teachers and parents. She served as the liaison between the district and auditors, insurance agencies, attorneys, park districts and the county tax assessors.

Holding both a CPA and MBA, plus years of experience in corporate finance, Pam exercises sound judgment and effectively leads people to align and achieve district goals. She has a deep passion for working for the benefit of students. Her talents, combined with her experience and education, provide her with the skills required to join the board and successfully co-lead the Kaneland School District. I strongly believe that Pam is qualified to help guide our school district into the future, keeping both student and taxpayer needs in mind.

Having been a journalist covering several school districts, and meeting several school board members over the years, I can say that our School District would benefit from Pam’s knowledge and experience. Please consider voting for her in the April 7 election.

Matt Brennan
Sugar Grove

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