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Editorial/Opinion - page 5

Letter: Vote for responsible, respectful School Board members

in Letters to the Editor by

On Tuesday, April 7, the Kaneland Board of Education will hold elections to vote in new members. As a former member and vice president of the School Board, I encourage my neighbors to vote and to consider whom they choose. Looking at the list of candidates, the two that stand out to me as having positive goals for the students of District 302 are Teresa Witt and Gale Pavlak.

When I was on the School Board, I worked alongside both Teresa and Gale. I respected Teresa’s concern for the curriculum and the way that her priorities reflected the needs of the students and the teachers. At the same time, I admired Gale’s awareness of the district’s diverse needs, as well as her ability to see the big picture and to consider its functioning as a whole.

In addition, both of these women were extremely respectful of their fellow board members. During our meetings, they concentrated on the topic and the task at hand, and their contributions were positive and productive. They communicated in ways that promoted healthy discussion and allowed us to stay focused on what mattered most: the students.

I would like to urge you all to exercise your right to vote, to learn about the candidates and to think about their track records. Teresa Witt and Gale Pavlak have a common goal for the School District and common sense. They are respectful of their peers and dedicated to the students. They are focused on ensuring a quality education, and on April 7 they will have my support.
Elmer Gramley
Kaneville

Letter: Time for new faces on WCC board

in Letters to the Editor by

Thanks to the Elburn Herald for co-sponsoring a Meet the Candidates night event last on March 12 at Sugar Grove Public Library. For those candidates who chose to participate, thank your for your willingness to meet your voters. For the candidates who couldn’t be bothered to attend, even if running without opposition, shame on you for showing such disdain of your fellow citizens.

Waubonsee Community College has four candidates running for trustee. Two seats are open for the six-year term. Of the four candidates, only three were present and available for questions. Candidate Patrick Kelsey couldn’t be bothered to show up.

Emmett Bonfield impressed me with his straightforward approach to cost control relating to the college’s expenses. He finds much waste in Waubonsee spending, particularly in top management’s salaries. He sees much “mission creep” in what Waubonsee has become, as opposed to the reasons it was originally established. If elected, Mr. Bonfield promises he will serve only one six-year term, because “new people are needed to bring new ideas.”

Candidate Jimmie Delgado has come up through Waubonsee, and is an example of what a community college is intended to do: provide an affordable, basic college education as a stepping stone to higher education and a career. Because of this, I see him bringing unique insight to the Waubonsee board.

Rebecca Oliver is a Waubonsee trustee incumbent. She’s running for her fourth six-year term. She has already been a trustee for 18 years. Eighteen years! I am sorry, but that is too long for anyone to be on a board of any public institution. Experience is a good thing, and she has probably done a good job, but it’s time for a change. New problems and circumstances call for new people to bring new ideas.

I recommend Emmett Bonfield and Jimmie Delgado to be elected to the full six-year terms as trustees for Waubonsee Community College District 516.

Dennis C. Ryan
Elburn

Editorial: Thank you to Meet the Candidates participants, attendees

in From the Editor's Desk by

We used this space last week to preview and add some additional context to Sugar Grove’s Meet the Candidates 2015 event. One week later, we want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make Meet the Candidates a fun, informative and exciting event.

First off, we cannot credit enough the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the work it does with Meet the Candidates each year. This was the 22nd installment in which the chamber has put together a candidate forum for the local community, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

We felt honored to co-sponsor the event with the chamber (our second go-around in that capacity, after the 2013 event), and we enjoyed meeting with several candidates prior to the event. Yes, some of this year’s races are uncontested, while others are teeming with candidates (Kaneland School Board and Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees, namely), but every race features candidates who care deeply about the local community and its residents.

To expand on that previous point, to have so many community-minded people in a position to serve on an education board or as a village official in this area is a luxury that shouldn’t be lost on us. Even a brief glimpse at today’s news reveals a countless amount of communities (in and out of the state of Illinois) that would give anything to feature the public servants found in the Kaneland community. The Route 47 corridor must have some sort of magnetic pull in that regard.

We also want to thank the candidates and members of the public in attendance for Meet the Candidates. And if you were someone who submitted a question for the event’s Q & A portion, we owe you thanks, as well. After all, your question might’ve be on the mind of several local residents; the answer to that question could help voters identify the candidates they’ll vote for come Election Day. Look at you and your public service.

We also want to thank our own Albert “Bo” Smith for handling the aforementioned Q & A session. Bo worked closely with the chamber and the public to help ensure an entertaining and informational Meet the Candidates 2015 event, and we’re glad to say that their time and effort paid off.

Last, we want to bring attention to this week’s Letter to the Editor section and its numerous candidate endorsements. We welcome any and all endorsement letters from the public, so if you want to speak your mind regarding the April 7 election, submit a letter via email, info@elburnherald.com, or drop it off at the Elburn Herald office inside the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St. Suite 2, Elburn. We can’t wait to read what you have to say.

Letter: Thank you from family of Lou Drendel

in Letters to the Editor by

The family of Lou Drendel would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to everyone who offered kind words, support and such generous donations after mom’s passing. We were truly overwhelmed by the effort so many people made to let us know just how much she will be missed.

Special thanks go to Father Tim for the beautiful funeral service, the Jan Callaghan family for graciously providing food during the visitation, and to the Elburn Lions Club for the wonderful luncheon.

Our deepest gratitude goes to Ben, Joe and the entire staff of Conley Funeral Home. You made it possible to say goodbye to mom with peace in our hearts.

The families of Ralph Drendel, Lee Drendel, Dawn Neubauer and Marybeth Althoff

Letter: Thank you from the Seals family

in Letters to the Editor by

The Seals family would like to give a special thank you to Annette Theobald and Elburn’s American Legion Hall and members for organizing Meagan Seals fundraiser benefit on Feb. 21, and for all their hard work and dedication.
We would also like to thank family, friends and the community members who helped make this fundraiser a success, including: Aliano’s Ristorante, Alice’s Place, Amazing Grace Antiques, American Family Insurance – Justin Smitherman, American Legion, American Legion Women’s Auxillary, Apple Villa Pancake House, Beautiful U Ministries, Batavia Bulldog’s Red Hots, Blackberry Bar & Grill, Batavia Creamery, Collegiate Landscape, Collene Scalise – Premier Designs Jewelry, County Wide Landscaping Inc., Dreams Dance Academy, Edward Jones—Dan Murphy, Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill, Elburn Carwash, Elburn Herald, Emily Kay Salon, Fit Mama, Five-O Tattoo, Fresh Market, Focal Pointe Waxing, Glancer Magazine, Graham’s Chocolates, Great Clips, The Corner Grind, Good Cents, Grote family, Hair Directors, Hair by Meg, Harry Krauspe DDS, Hill’s Country Store, Hughes Creek Golf Course, HorsePower Theraputic Riding, Jacquie Fountain, Java Plus, Jennifer Smith, Jenny Shaw Parolek – Mary Kay, Jewelry by Design – Louise Coffman, Kayla Moreno Lemon Dropper, Just Kabobs, J. Scott and Ann Marie Martens, Kaneland Special Needs PTA, Kelly Loth Scalise – Premier Designs Jewelry, The Kountry Kettle, Kuipers Family Farm, KPI Designs, Lanier Photography LLC, Limestone Coffee & Tea, The Lodge on 64, Lord of Life Church, Luau Coffee, The Dolly McCarthy Show, M & C Specialists, Nicole Fleshman Web Design, Not Just Grass INC, OTP Wasco, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, The Chilled Palette, Prairie Shop Quilts, Pub 222, Ream’s Elburn Market, Rene Dee—Southwestern Real Estate, Rustic Road Farm, Salon Dargento, Sheer Image Salon, Shima’s Shushi Restaurant, Skin Deep Facials, Snap Fitness, Tap House, Taylor Street Pizza, Tentinger Landscapes, Terra Care Enterprises, Tip to Toe Nail Salon, Trail Side Automotive Repair, Trellis Farm & Garden, Tri County Coins and Collectibles, Tugboat Coffee, Urban Elegance Salon, Wasco Dairy Queen, Wasco Subway, Yankee Candle and 3E Love LLC.

Scott and Luellen Seals
Elburn

Community Corner: Boosters prepare for upcoming Knight of Performances gala

in Community Corner by

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

For many, watching the Oscars is something to look forward to every year. From the red carpet, the actors and the movie clips to the musical performances, the fashion and glamour, the Oscars is the Super Bowl for some of us non-athletes.

This year, one of the most talked-about performances was Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” medley. Many had no idea she started her illustrious career on the high school stage.

On Saturday, March 14, the community will have the opportunity to see and hear some of Kaneland’s finest middle and high school performers on stage at the third annual Knight of Performances, sponsored by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters. Beginning at 5 p.m., this event will showcase nearly 40 acts, including students who are either performing a vocal or instrumental solo or ensemble, KHMS Mid-Knight Special, KHS jazz combos, a junior cellist, and actors from this year’s KHS spring musical, “Shrek.”

The evening will also include a basket drawing, silent auction and barbecue dinner. The event will take place at Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove.

The Knight of Performances committee has worked diligently to acquire many wonderful items for the basket drawing and silent auction, such as: one reserved parking space for a KHS student for the 2015-16 school year; tickets to Les Miserables, the Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, Kane County Cougars and Raging Waves; local restaurant and business gift certificates; wine and beer baskets; music lessons; Elgin Symphony Orchestra tickets; Disney Frozen basket; Vera Bradley and Kate Spade merchandise; hand-crafted jewelry by local artist Bessie Tockstein; and much more. The biggest, most-coveted prize of all is a one-day Walt Disney Park Hopper pass for four. All money raised at this event will directly benefit the students involved in the band, choir and theatre programs at Kaneland High School and HMS.

Guests will enjoy barbecue from 5Bs Catering in Waterman, Ill. Dinner options include a pork chop, chicken or combo dinner, or a kid’s hot dog meal. A vegetarian option will also be available. All dinners include side dishes and a choice of homemade dessert, including pie in honor of Pi Day.

The community is invited to attend this event. Attire is casual; no need to get out your designer dress. For a dinner order form, send an email to info@knightmusic.org or visit www.knightmusic.org.

If you would like additional information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters or how you can help with this event, find us on Facebook or send an email to president@knightmusic.org. While not every movie wins an Academy Award, each student who performs on stage is a winner in our minds. Do we have a future star in our midst? Come join us and find out.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Letter: A look ahead at Kindness Campaign 2015

in Letters to the Editor by

Thank you to the Kaneland community and the Elburn Herald for support of the Kindness Campaign over the past couple years.

We are very excited about the 2015 Kindness Campaign in October. With this support, we have been able to raise quite an awareness to certain social and emotional issues in our schools, groups and community. We have been able to work with numerous groups to help promote kindness, respect and acceptance.

However, it needs to be reiterated that the Kindness Campaign is not a program for kids—it is a “movement”; it is a “spirit” for our community, brought on by a group of Kaneland community members. It is here to inspire us all to take action, whatever that action may be. But when it comes to the Kaneland School District, my wish is that we see more social emotional learning programs and opportunities for the students.

Per the CASEL website (Collaborative for Academic, Social, Emotional, Learning), research shows that SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social and emotional benefits for students. A recent analysis of 213 rigorous studies of SEL in schools indicates that students receiving quality SEL instruction demonstrated:
• Better academic performance—achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction;
• Improved attitudes and behaviors—greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior
• Fewer negative behaviors—decreased disruptive class behavior, non-compliance, aggression, delinquent acts and disciplinary referrals;
• Reduced emotional distress—fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress and social withdrawal.

I have had the pleasure of working with several community organizations, Kaneland employees, administrators and even School Board members. Every single one of them understands and respects the need for SEL programming. However, most activities in our district are still very separate and individually fueled. These programs and activities could be bigger, better and stronger if they were both financially and philosophically supported by the School District as a whole.

My wish is that this type of programming becomes a priority in the overall strategic plan. The school culture plays a huge factor in our children’s success, the maintaining of staff members and the overall culture in our community. We are on the verge of great change and even some new growth in the Kaneland community, so now is the time to make these requests.

It is my wish that the strategic plan include:
• More integrated SEL core programming
• Focus on professional development of district leaders
• Hiring a human resources manager immediately

We all have our separate platforms, ideas and beliefs on what is best. I am not at all saying this takes precedence over any other platform, but I do think these items should be considered a priority, as they will have a dramatic effect on the overall school culture.

So when we ask our candidates questions over the next several months, I urge you to consider what issues they think are priorities in the district. And what does it truly take to make the students “college, career and community ready?”

I hope to see you all on Thursday, March 12, at the Sugar Grove Library, where we have another chance to meet the candidates of the Kaneland School Board at a question-and answer-forum. It’s important we get as much information as we can on both our school and village board members. It’s not only our right; it’s our responsibility to show up and be heard on Election Day, Tuesday, April 9.

Renee Dee
Kindness Campaign co-founder

Letter: A look into video gaming machine numbers

in Letters to the Editor by

It has been over two years since the first video gaming machines became operational in Illinois, and the results may be surprising.

In the first 27 months of operations there were over 19,182 terminals that reported $972.5 million in net terminal collections. Of this total, approximately $243.1 million went to the state’s Capital Projects Fund and $48.6 million went to local governments where the machines were located.

Cook County in 2014 had the most video gaming terminals, despite the fact that the city of Chicago has continued to ban video gaming. Winnebago County was second and Kane County ninth in number of terminals. The number of terminals statewide would be higher but for the number of communities that continue to ban video gaming in their areas. The growth trend in number of terminals appears to be plateauing.

As Illinois’ video gaming numbers continue to increase, Illinois’ riverboats have lost adjusted gross receipts, with the exception of the new casino in Des Plaines, Ill. Eight of the 10 Illinois casinos had reported losses greater than 12 percent since the calendar year 2013. Overall, citizens continue to spend more money statewide each year on gambling, a figure that totaled $2.14 billion last year.

Whether you oppose or support video gaming, it has added significantly to the tax revenue for local units of government that do not have riverboats and to the establishments that have licenses. You can find the full report about gaming at www.cgfa.ilga.gov.

Bob Pritchard
Illinois State Representative

Guest Editorial: The importance of enrichment

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Donna Tate
Director of Education Programs, Fox Valley Wildlife Center

Man for centuries has enjoyed viewing wild animals in captivity. The first major example of exotic animals housed in a zoo-type setting occurred around 3000 B.C. The Egyptians maintained these collections because many of the animals had religious significance. Additionally, possessing them was viewed as a symbol of status. This mindset continued until around 1800, perpetuated by rich and royal families across Europe.

Early in the 1800s, man finally became interested in animals for scientific reasons. For the first 20 years, zoos were only open to scientists. When the public finally was granted access to the London Zoo, the local newspapers became flooded with complaints regarding the living conditions and high death rates of the animals. It was then that enclosures became more thoughtfully constructed and issues of cleanliness were finally addressed.

But animals need more. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it became clear captive creatures required more than basic sustenance. Primates housed in barren, sparse cages with only concrete floors began to exhibit odd behaviors. One anomaly was a condition called “floating arm syndrome.” One of the animal’s arms would be extended in the air, the creature apparently unaware. In vain he would then try to use the other arm to bring the wayward appendage under control. Systematically, researchers began making modifications to the animals’ environment in an attempt to find the cause. Prior to this discovery, reactions were only measured by the removal of elements such as social contact and light. These investigations marked the beginning of our knowledge of enrichment.

Many of the animals in our care reside with us just long enough to regain their previously healthy status. Most, however come in as orphans and, as in the case of raccoons, stay with us for three to four months. This is the same amount of time as the animal would have remained under the care of their parent. As these creatures grow to independence, we consistently provide enrichment to keep them healthy and happy. We use the the same approach with our permanent education ambassadors.

Enrichment can take many forms. Changing the configuration of the enclosure an animal is housed in, such as adding branches, plants or brush, will give new opportunities for climbing and privacy. We can present their normal diet in a new way, such as portions placed in a recycled egg carton or tucked into a hollow toy or paper towel tube. Success is measured by the behavior of the animals—if they exhibit conduct that is natural to their species, we know we are on the right track.

For the wildlife ambassadors in permanent residence, one-on-one time with staff is also a form of enrichment. I have had the privilege of spending many happy hours getting to know our newest ambassador, Talulah, the turkey. She is not quite yet ready for her public debut, but has been adapting well to her new normal. How do I know? One cold, sunny afternoon, Talulah stood in front of the window of our main room and began to sing—as happy wild turkeys will—and so did my heart.

Selection of best board members ‘critically important’

in Community Corner by

by Renee Goier
Kaneland School District interim superintendent

In the next few weeks, Kaneland community voters will select four members of the Kaneland Board of Education. Four members represent a majority of the seven member board, and selection of the best board members is critically important to the success of our community’s schools.

I have had the privilege of working with very talented and successful board members throughout my career. Successful board members do share some important characteristics that are supported by recommendations from the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) and other experts, such as Jim Burgett, author of “The Art of School Boarding.” I am hopeful that information about the work of school boards and the qualities desired in school board members will help voters select the best board members possible. Our community and students depend on your vote.

Before considering board member qualities, it is important to know what boards of education actually do. First and foremost, boards of education act as a group with no single member having power. They clarify the purpose of the district through vision and goal setting, and they govern the district through policy. Board members work within a highly regulated system, and they must understand the legal responsibilities and limits that guide their work. They employ and supervise one person, the superintendent, who they entrust to carry out their vision and policies in the day to day operation of the district.

Their relationship with the superintendent is extremely important for ensuring success of the district. In order to be successful, boards of education connect with the community by representing all stakeholders.

Good school boards are made up of individuals who understand their role. They work as a team. That does not mean that they always agree. In fact, some of the best boards I know have tough and thoughtful discussions that consider many alternative options. When they do not agree, they strive for consensus. They conduct their discussions civilly and exhibit respect for each other. Once the vote is taken, they all work to support the decision, even if they did not initially agree.

Good board members spend time learning about the district. They prepare for every meeting by studying the board materials before the meeting and asking questions of staff when they need more information. That work takes time. Board members make tough decisions. Their decisions are not always popular with every stakeholder group, but they make those decisions after careful study of the issue.

In order to successfully do this work, board members must be able to work on a team, keep an open mind and engage in give-and-take discussions to arrive at consensus. They must be willing to spend time studying, learning and doing the homework required to take part in the meetings. They have respect for the needs and feelings of others and have a well-developed sense of fair play. They understand the importance of their role and understand that the board is responsible for seeing that the business of the district is run by highly skilled professionals. These board members come from many different backgrounds that represent the community they serve. It is not necessary to have any additional expertise in education to be a good board member.

It is my sincere hope that voters will carefully consider the candidates for the Kaneland Board of Education and vote for the candidates who have the qualities desired in a good board member.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: John Stewart Elementary students honor our greatest presidents

in From the Editor's Desk by

It’s easy to associate the month of February with presidential birthdays.

Yes, we know February isn’t the month with the most presidential births (that honor goes to October, with six), but it’s unquestionably the birth month of some of the most popular executor-in-chiefs in United States history, namely George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (whose respective birthdays were combined in order to create a federal holiday), as well as William Henry Harrison (the country’s ninth president) and, last but not least, Illinois’ own, Ronald Reagan

In honor of the lofty names on the list of February presidential births (as well as the 40 presidents not on the list), we thought it would be a good idea to ask Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School students to name their favorite president, knowing full well that the answers would be interesting, surprising, insightful and, above all else, funny. We also expected their answers to be informed by what they read in history books and on the Internet, as well as what they hear from their parents. And we were in no way disappointed with the content they provided. History and politics weren’t lost on any of the kids who submitted an answer, and that’s pretty amazing.

We hope you’ll enjoy this week’s special presidential section, intended to send off the greatest presidential month of all (sorry, October) while allowing local students to show off their grasp of history. Perhaps one day we’ll add one of their names to the list of those who have served as president of the United States of America.

All the president’s men
ELBURN—Last week this country celebrated the birthdays of two of the greatest men to ever serve as president of the United States of America: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But while those two men are undoubtedly at or near the top of every “most respected U.S. presidents” list, they’re not quite unanimous selections (although Lincoln is pretty close, as you’ll see below). The truth is, plenty of other presidents are just as beloved as the first and 16th presidents in United States history. And to get an idea of who those other presidents are, the Elburn Herald asked Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School students to submit letters noting their favorite president and the reason for their selection. Here are their responses.

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he loved kids and was smart.”
Cassidy R.

“My favorite president is Abe Lincoln because he helped end slavery.” Sean M.

“My favorite is Abraham Lincoln. I like him because he was the one who helped us.”
Jace M.

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he stopped slavery.”
Nicholas T.

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he led us out of slavery.”
Allie R.

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he liked to write poems.”
Kendall Z.

“My favorite president is Barack Obama because he won the presidency twice.”
Parker V.

“I think George Washington was the best president because he was the first president, and he led the war.” Tanis G.

“My favorite president is Abe Lincoln because he helped stop slavery.” Sedona T.

“My favorite president is Abe Lincoln because he loved reading and liked kids.”
Cody E.

“Abraham Lincoln. He freed slaves, and he also brought the United States together.”
Alexa S.

“My favorite president is George Washington because he was our first president.”
Nicklas S.

“I think George Washington is the best president because he led us through a war and taught us so much. One of the things he taught us is to keep fighting, because he did.”
Alexis S

“My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. He treated our country respectfully and nicely.”
Lauren A.

“I think George H. W. Bush was a good president. He was nice and the 41st president. He has a good personality.”
Samantha D.

“Abraham Lincoln, because Abe was a good citizen, he believed in many things and he freed many people. He was a very honest man.”
Samantha D.

“I think George Washington is the most important president because he is the one who sailed across the Delaware River, and he was a part of how we won. That’s why he is my favorite president of all time.”
Matthew Falk
(Matthew included a ratings chart with his submission, with George Washington at 100 percent, Gerald Ford at 90 percent, Abraham Lincoln at 85 percent and Barack Obama at 25 percent)

“My favorite president is Teddy Roosevelt because he was on a motorcycle team.”
Eric

“In my opinion, I like Abraham Lincoln. That reason is because he tried to stop slavery. I hope everyone in the world thinks something special about Abraham Lincoln.”
Cheyenne

“I think Theodore Roosevelt was the best president . He helped to save nature by helping to make the National Park Service. I think that was a very good thing to do.”
Amelia

“I think Barack Obama, because he’s making this world a better place.”
Breegan

“I think the best president is Barack Obama because he is the first black president and that makes him the best and special!”
Aidan S.

“I chose Abraham Lincoln because he stopped slavery, and because he was shot. He was a hero!”
Hayden

“I think Abraham Lincoln, because he freed most of the slaves, and he was brave. I don’t think he should’ve been shot. He was very brave, and that’s why I like him.”
Rosie K.

“George Washington was the first president of the United States. He was a hero who was famous for his record. George Washington was a commander-in-chief of the continental army during the Revolutionary War, and one of the founding fathers of the United States community. He was born Feb. 22, 1731, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and died Dec. 14, 1799, in Mount Virginia.”
Camber W.

“Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. I think Abraham Lincoln is the best president because he stopped slavery. Slavery is very bad, but Abraham Lincoln was brave enough to stop it. But in 1865 he was shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth. Abraham Lincoln was said to have never lied in his lifetime. Some people call him Honest Abe.”
Ali Leon

“George Washington was the best president of the United States of America, in my opinion. He bounded America and got all the states together. Also, he was an officer in the Revolutionary War.”
Thomas W.

“I think Abraham Lincoln was the best president. He ended slavery because he felt keeping slaves was not fair. He ended up ending slavery because of his smart brain and his kind personality. The tall-hatted president is on the $5 bill and the American penny. Abraham Lincoln was truly the best president.”
Paige W.

Letter: Where’s the shovel love?

in Letters to the Editor by

I am a student in seventh grade at Kaneland Harter Middle School, and I am very disappointed in the people living near my bus stop.

Every weekday, I walk to the bus stop in the dark and the cold, and I have to stand in the street for up to 10 minutes while cars drive by, because the bus stop is not cleared of the snow. I am writing this because the people living near our bus stop do not seem to care enough to shovel the small area that is the bus stop. I understand that my parents could easily shovel it, but if the neighbors shovel their driveways, why not the extra 15 feet for the bus stop?

I am very ashamed of how inconsiderate these neighbors are.

Lillie Lindgren
HMS seventh-grader

Letter: Thank you, Snow Trackers

in Letters to the Editor by

In anticipation of the forecasted snowfall on Feb. 1, the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECPDF) reached out to the De-Kane Snow Trackers to have additional resources ready, should the need arise.

The ECPDF would like to thank the Snow Trackers for their willingness and quick assembly to meet and have a plan in hand. Specifically, we wish to recognize Jerry DeBryne, Brian Stevens, Jack Otto, Pete Dall, Kevin Hansen, Kevin and Justine Schneider, and Alex Harmon. Although we did not have to utilize this resource on Feb. 1, it was excellent to have such support from the Snow Trackers.

Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan
and Lt. Matthew Hanson,
Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District

Editorial: A clarification and a reminder

in From the Editor's Desk by

Those of you who plan to attend the Kaneland Arts Initiative’s (KAI) sixth annual Fine Arts Feast, take note: the event will take place Saturday, Feb. 21, at Open Range Southwest Grill, Golf View Road, Sugar Grove. The date of the event was previously disclosed as Friday, Feb. 20.

Regarding this year’s fine arts festivities, the event’s cash bar will open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner, program and entertainment getting underway at 6:30 p.m.

KAI Executive Director Maria Dripps-Paulson told the Elburn Herald earlier this month that the Fine Arts Feast is an opportunity to tell people about the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival. We likely aren’t revealing much to our readers by stating that the Fine Arts Festival is always a big draw for the Kaneland community and beyond. What we can tell everyone, however, is this year’s installment is set to take place Sunday, April 12, at Kaneland High School.

Feast goers should also know that this year’s event will charge for tickets (a first in the Fine Arts Feast’s six years). Tickets are $10 per person for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and the other activities scheduled to take place over the course of the evening. Seating at past events was limited, but families this year are encouraged to attend the feast and get a glimpse of what KAI is all about.

Attendees will also be the first to receive announcement of KAI’s summer show.
Tickets for the sixth Fine Arts Feast event are available at www.kanelandartsinitiative.org.

Arts-minded or not, we encourage everyone to attend the feast and see firsthand how hard the KAI works to make the arts and creative activity an integral part of the Kaneland community. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed in anything that comes out of Saturday’s event.

Editorial: Meet the candidates this spring

in From the Editor's Desk by

With several local electoral races currently kicking into high gear, now is the time to get familiar with the candidates seeking your vote on the April 7 Consolidated Election ballot. And the local community will have a few chances to do just that.

First up is the Kaneland School Board’s Candidate Forum, which will take place Thursday, Feb. 19, at Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove. As you might already know, the seven-member Kaneland School Board has four open positions this spring. The Candidate Forum event will feature an introduction of the candidates, as well as their respective statements. Those who attend the event will have an opportunity to submit questions to a moderator. The forum is open to all community members.

Next up is Sugar Grove’s Meet the Candidates night, which will take place Thursday, March 12, in the meeting room of the Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This is our second year co-presenting Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates. Our first go-around was in spring 2013, and we had such a great time helping introduce the community to candidates for Sugar Grove village president, Village Board, Park District, Community House, Public Library and Fire Department; Sugar Grove Township; Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees; and Kaneland School Board; that we couldn’t resist another opportunity to work with Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry as co-presenters of the event. And while this will be our second Meet the Candidates event, it will be the chamber’s 22nd.

Those seeking office as a village of Sugar Grove trustee, a board member of the Sugar Grove Public Library, a board member of the Kaneland School Board, a trustee of the Sugar Grove Fire District, a commissioner of the Sugar Grove Park District, and a trustee on the Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees, will all be invited to attend the Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates event, and will have a chance to introduce themselves to members of the public in attendance.

Admission to Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates is free. Community members will have an opportunity after the event to meet and speak with candidates. Candidates will be allowed to display and distribute political materials.

This event is being held prior to early voting so that everyone will have an opportunity to hear from candidates before casting a ballot. Early voting will take place from March 23 through April 5.

For more information on the Meet the Candidates event, contact Shari Baum at (630) 466-7895.

We’ll see you at the Kaneland Candidate Forum on Feb. 19, and Sugar Grove Meet the Candidates on March 12.

Community Corner: ‘News of the new’ at Sugar Grove Library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Library director, Sugar Grove Public Library

We are off with a bustle in 2015, finding ways to maximize our services for the convenience of our patrons at the library. As such, we would like to share a few bits of “news of the new.”

In an effort to encourage the free flow of materials and resource sharing, area library directors in our consortium voted to remove hold restrictions on new materials. Sugar Grove patrons may now place holds on new materials from other libraries, and we will readily share our materials. Translation: Our patrons have access to many more fresh, hot books than our tiny budget could buy, and our patrons will always be in line for “our” hot titles first. See a staff member to learn how to place holds on books, as it can be done in the library or from our catalog 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We have a new transfer station at the library to convert home movies to DVD. Patrons may bring their VHS tapes and convert content to a DVD free of charge. Bring your own DVD to use, or purchase one for $1 at the Circulation Desk. DVD-R format discs should be used, and plan for the “run time” of your VHS tapes as it transfers in real time.

After you have transferred your material, use our editing computer loaded with Adobe Premier for movie editing. The addition of the transfer station will allow patrons to relax in the library while digitizing their memories. The station is first-come, first-serve, and copyright restrictions apply.

When you are visiting our community technology lab and running out of battery charge for your phone, tablet, or idevice, feel free to use the charging station. A variety of plugs are tethered to a holding station, allowing patrons to work on our computers while getting an energy boost. Please note, patrons are responsible for monitoring their technology and must not leave devices unattended.

Our Zone section for pre-teen and teens (generally sixth grade and above) has (ta da) gaming! Each week, an age-appropriate Wii or PlayStation game will be loaded onto the game center. Zoners may check out the controllers at the Circulation Desk using their library card, and they can use the system for one hour at a time. While in the Zone, feel free to use our facility to study or check out our collection of fiction and manga.

A special thank you for donations provided by the Corn Boil Committee, as their support makes our advancements possible. If you are interested in providing funding for our collection, advancement, a memorial donation, or providing funds for items on our wish list, let me know and I will be happy to match our needs with your interests. Enjoy the new!

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: A good time for a greater cause

in From the Editor's Desk by

Within one of our issues each February is a preview of the annual Mr. Kaneland event. And that trend will continue next week when we preview the Mr. Kaneland 2015 gala and all of the fun stuff included with it.

Created in 2007, Mr. Kaneland is a male pageant meant to raise money for the Kaneland Cares fund and help those in need in the Kaneland Knight community. And it’s been successful, raising more than $25,000 over eight years.

This year’s event will take place Friday, Feb. 13, in the auditorium at Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. Bracelets will be available at the door on Feb. 13, starting at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Each member of the Mr. Kaneland Court will compete in a formal wear, casual wear and talent segment, as well as a Q&A portion. Each of the contestants can earn points in these categories, but most points are earned in the fundraising category. The contestants have been collecting funds around school and town to benefit those in need in the Kaneland community. The boy to earn the most points will be crowned Mr. Kaneland 2015.

The masters of ceremonies for Mr. Kaneland 2015 will be Omar Aguilar and Blaine Rivas. The court will include Dean Divizio, Johnathan Heumann, Noble Hwang, Andrew Lesak, Dillon Lynn, Philip Rawers, Diego Ruiz, James Tockstein and Joshua Yeggy.

A bracelet will once again serve as this year’s ticket to the event. Each bracelet is $5 and allows entrance to the event and helps to support Kaneland Knight families in need. Community members and their families are invited to join in the fun. Bracelets may be purchased from any of the Mr. Kaneland Court or by contacting Student Council sponsors Lori Grant, lori.grant@kaneland.org, or Sally Wilson, sally.wilson@kaneland.org

We absolutely encourage everyone to attend this year’s Mr. Kaneland event. The performances are always first-rate—the product of a lot of preparation and hard work. We wish all of the contestants good luck, and can’t wait to see them take the stage on Friday, Feb. 13.

Community Corner: Getting to know Fox Valley Wildlife Center

in Community Corner by

by Donna Tate
Director of Education Programs, Fox Valley Wildlife Center

On the grounds of the Elburn Forest Preserve sits a small, unassuming white house. And behind the closed doors of the converted ranger facility, the Fox Valley Wildlife Center is hard at work.

Kane County’s only state and federally licensed wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility originated from a concern for the welfare of wildlife. Opening its doors in 2001, the center has grown to treat over 3,000 animals each year. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we receive no federal or state funding, and rely solely on the generosity of public donations and revenue from education programs and fundraisers. Our staff consists of two amazing animal care professionals, seasonal help and volunteers.

Though not open to the public, ill, injured and orphaned wildlife are admitted 365 days a year. We accept all wild animals with the exception of skunks, bats and adult white-tailed deer. Approximately 90 percent of the patients we receive have been impacted by man in some way: altering or damaging an animal’s environment, dog or cat attacks, poisonings, auto and window collisions—the unfortunate list goes on and on. The remaining 10 percent are victims of naturally occurring disease or predatory conflict.

The work involved in the feeding and care of our charges is a labor of love—often messy, sometimes exhausting and emotionally taxing, it is always rewarding. Each life that passes through our doors is treated with dignity, regardless of the outcome. In the coming weeks, I will share stories from our center. You will meet some of the patients whose lives intersect with our own, as well as the challenges involved in training our newest education ambassador: Talulah, the wild turkey.

Interested in contributing to our mission of helping wildlife in need? We hold volunteer training orientations once a month. Choose from animal care and support positions, as well as more in-depth experiences as an intern.

Also consider attending events such as our wildlife baby shower, barn sale or open house. We have an extensive menu of education programs that travel to your school, Scout troop, birthday party and more. Further information on these and other events can be found at our website, www.foxvalleywildlife.org/. Additionally, you will find helpful information on wildlife, as well as other fun and informative articles, by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/FoxValleyWildlifeCenterInsider, and following us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/FVWildlife. I hope you will join us.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: Bullying continues to have devastating impact on young people

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Ronnie Blair, News & Experts
New laws, media attention and public awareness campaigns have placed a greater emphasis on bullying in recent years than perhaps ever in the nation’s history.

Yet bullying remains a stubborn problem with far-reaching effects.

More than one in four students, 27.8 percent, report being bullied during the school year, according to a 2013 report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, but most victims never tell an adult.

That’s one reason it’s crucial that everyone—not just school officials—get involved in the battle, said TV personality Cindy “Rodeo” Steedle, who founded an anti-bullying initiative called Imagine No Bullying Now (www.imaginenobullyingnow.com) and often speaks on the subject at school assemblies.

“It’s so important to me because I was bullied as a child,” said Steedle, who rose to fame in 2007 as a contestant on VH1’s “Rock of Love” and subsequently has made numerous other TV appearances.

Steedle recalls as a teenager enduring the taunts of other girls because she couldn’t afford the nice clothes they wore. The bullying didn’t stop with words.

“They would hit me on the bus,” Steedle said.

The impact of bullying can be devastating. A 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control said students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment.

Bullying is bad for the bullies, as well. The CDC reported that students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.

“How many times have each of us witnessed an act of bullying and said little or nothing?” Steedle asked. “After all, it wasn’t our responsibility. If our kid wasn’t involved, we figured, it’s none of our business.”

That’s the wrong attitude, Steedle said. She offered keys to facing up to bullying and doing something about it.

• No one should make excuses for bullies. Some people claim bullying is simply a part of life. If no one is physically hurt, they will say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just boys being boys and girls being girls.” Those people are wrong, Steedle said. “We must make it clear in our actions and our words that bullying will not be tolerated.”
• Parents should monitor their children’s cell phone and Internet use. Bullying takes many forms, and it’s not always in person. Text messages and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can become sources of bullying.
• Schools must be at the forefront of the battle. Too many schools don’t take bullying seriously. School officials need to recognize the depth of the problem, and implement and enforce strong anti-bullying policies.
• But the problem goes beyond the schoolhouse doors. If we want to eradicate bullying in our communities, we can’t rely on schools alone, Steedle said. All public and private institutions need to do more to demonstrate that bullying is simply unacceptable in our workplaces and in our homes.

“This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area,” Steedle said. “Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots.

“Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient—maybe even painful—to address. But we can’t keep looking away. We have to stand up and say, ‘No more!’ It’s up to us all to get more involved.”

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