Lions 2015-16
 

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Editorial/Opinion - page 6

Letter: The passing of a former county auditor

in Letters to the Editor by

I was saddened by the recent passing of Jerry Morrow, who was my predecessor as Kane County auditor. I had the opportunity to work as a contractual auditor while county auditor Morrow served as the accountant for Kane County.

When Jerry decided to retire as county auditor, he convinced me to seek election as his successor. If it were not for Jerry’s introduction of me to Kane County government, I would not have been able to serve for 20 years as Kane County auditor.

Jerry Morrow’s confidence in my ability to serve as his successor will long be appreciated and remembered.

William Keck
Retired Kane County auditor

Letter: A letter from a concerned Kaneland parent

in Letters to the Editor by

I am a concerned parent of the Kaneland School District. Our kids are about to be locked out of a groundbreaking educational endeavor forever because the School Board won’t act.

The Dunham STEM School is a STEM school set up by the Illinois legislature, and only six districts in the entire state have been selected to send their kids to it. Kaneland is one of them. The school has gained the support of both non-profit and corporate sponsors, and is located on the Aurora University campus. It is already up and running, and the districts participating already have waiting lists for kids to get in.

The STEM field is where the jobs of the 21st century are going to be for our kids. According to an article in US News and World Report (Feb. 5, 2014), there are 2.5 entry level STEM job postings for every 1.1 non-STEM job postings. That is over double. Per the article, “The market for STEM jobs is bigger—actually, significantly bigger—than most other studies have reported on in the past.” In a Nov. 19, 2013, US News and World Report article, “… Of the fastest-growing job titles in the last five years, seven of the top 10 have been technology positions.”

If the School Board does not act on this opportunity now, the slots alloted to Kaneland will likely be scooped up by the other school districts that already have wait lists. Let’s give this opportunity to our kids.

Mark Weintraub
Elburn

Soup’s on

in From the Editor's Desk/Janet Lagerloef by

For years it was our goal to feature a food-oriented column in the Elburn Herald, and we spent many company meetings kicking around ideas such as a dining review, weekly cooking recipes and even a Q&A with a local chef.

None of the above suggestions panned out, obviously. It’s a conflict of interest for us to review a local dining establishment, especially when we want to see each and every Kaneland area business flourish. And what if said establishment advertises with us? That’s a problem.

And in terms of running an “ask a chef” column, we simply couldn’t find the right person for the gig. Cooking is no easy task, so we couldn’t realistically expect a local chef to take time away from their business to handle a monthly column.

Well, all of that changed in November when Janet Lagerloef, owner of Sugar Grove’s The Catering Gourmets, approached us with the idea of contributing a monthly cooking column dedicated to her favorite recipes and cooking methods. And because we long sought an opportunity to feature a chef column in our pages, we couldn’t say yes to Janet’s offer fast enough.

And lo and behold, the Elburn Herald’s guest chef column was (finally) a reality.

Janet’s first two columns instructed readers on how to create the “perfect” Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, and recreate a sugar cookie recipe passed down from her husband’s great-grandmother, Mina. This month, Janet will teach you how to make a signature dish from her all-time favorite cookbook. If it tastes half as good as it looks, you’re all in for a treat.

We hope you enjoy Janet’s column as much as we do. We look forward to further featuring her recipes, tricks and cooking insight in the Elburn Herald. Bon appetit.

From meat rocks to a glorious chicken pot pie

in Columns/Janet Lagerloef by
Food_Column

by Janet Lagerloef
Owner, The Catering Gourmets, Sugar Grove

The first dinner I made my husband Jerry was meatballs. “A no-brainer. Who needs a cookbook?” I laughed to myself as I packed super-lean burger into big, tight balls and fried ’em in a flaming hot skillet … for a really long time. By the time I decided they were done, my shiny wedding skillet was forever scorched and the white eyelet curtains in my tiny kitchen had taken on a sort of yellowish hue.

Jerry certainly tried, but he couldn’t swallow even one bite of one meatball. And I clearly saw that when it came to cooking, I didn’t know my fannie from a cake in the oven.

Who would have dreamed that 30 years later I would own my own catering business, and that nice people would actually pay me money to make them food, even on their wedding day?

That Christmas, Jerry, whose mother is the finest cook I know, bought me a copy of the “Fannie Farmer Cookbook” at the bookstore. I read it like a novel—every single page—and was enchanted. The very first recipe I tried was the Louisburg Chicken Pot Pie. Yes, it could be swallowed! I made recipe after recipe from that cookbook, and each was divine. My love affair with cooking was born.

Today, I own about 100 cookbooks—and, I like them all—but my favorite is still Fannie’s, because there’s nothing laboriously silly about it—no recipe for foie gras or infused anything. It is a large collection of solid recipes for real people who want to prepare scrumptious, easy-going dinners on a regular basis—people like me.

And after all these years, I still make Fannie’s Louisburg Chicken Pot Pie for special occasions at my house, and it is on my catering menu. Just last week, we made it for a corporate party in Lake Holiday for 80 guests—the fourth year in a row they’ve ordered the dish. Thank you, Fannie.

Fannie's Louisburg Chicken Pot Pie
Food_Column
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 6 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• Salt
• 4 cups chicken (rotisserie chicken)
• 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
• 1/2-pound pork sausage made into tiny balls and sauteed in butter

Filling
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Slowly add the broth, cream, pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Put the chicken pieces in a deep pie plate or casserole dish, cover with the sauce, and add the frozen peas and carrots and cooked sausage balls. Place the piecrust over the casserole, allowing enough overhang so that the edges can be crimped. Cut small vents in the crust to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Basic pastry for a 9-inch crust
I never had luck making my own pie crust until I got a food processor—now it comes out perfectly every time. Before that, I bought Pillsbury’s premade crusts, which you simply unroll and use. I still think they are an excellent option.

• 1-1/2 cup flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 3-4 tablespoons cold water

Put the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse a couple of times; divide the shortening into four pieces and add, pulsing another five times. Slowly drizzle the cold water through the tube and process until the dough forms into a ball. Chill 20 minutes and roll out on floured surface.

Letter: Election law prevails

in Letters to the Editor by

For the past two years, I have been trying to make a difference in Kaneland School Board governance. I must admit this has been a learning experience and eye-opener for me. I have been a member of the Kaneland Financial Advisory Committee for two years and still don’t have a comfortable understanding of how money is managed at the School District.

Oh, I know about our local debt of $230 million to our teacher’s pension obligations (Madigan’s probable state ownership dump to local taxpayers) and $184 million to long-term debt (bonds and interest) to our creditors. These two issues unto themselves are massive concerns for all parties. I feel bad for the teachers, since they have paid in their money to the pension system, and now the politicians are saying “sorry about that.”

The part that I can’t get my arms around is the Kaneland per capita tuition cost of $11,211 for operating expense, or in measurement of total revenue to the district of $70.7 million divided by 4,648 students, enrollment is $15,204 per student and rising. A student attending Waubonsee Community College pays $2,688 in tuition and fees, $1,530 in books, and $2,790 in average transportation costs, for a total of $7,008. I am sure I am missing something, but I am not missing the fact the cost to attend Waubonsee is less than half what it costs to send your child to kindergarten at Kaneland. So, from a School Board governance perspective, I would think some efficiency of operations and spending would be in order.

I could tell you about my many public comment speeches at Kaneland School Board meetings, letters to board members, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, meetings with the Special Education director, review of bus transportation conditions, etc., that in total have not resulted in any appreciable change to the efficiency of this district. It would be fun to tell you about it, but not for this letter. What is important is that I realize the only way to make a difference toward “doing the right thing” in governing this district is to be a member of the School Board itself. Common sense does not prevail over voting rights.

I have to laugh. The very first time I come out into the arena of local school board politics, I get whacked with objections to my petitions. Wow. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from three present School Board members and the teacher’s union representative. They actually testified that the voters who signed our fiscally conservative petitions—Jerry Elliott’s (133), Dan Nagel’s (131) and Tony Valente’s (86), totaling 350 voters—needed their oversight as objectors to protect us citizens from faulty petitions (township name missing). The objectors were asked if any of you folks that did sign our petitions came forward “in regret.” No, they could not provide any names. They could not provide state election law statues that required township listing on the petitions, either.

The state election law provides freedom of elections and the opportunity for any citizen residing in the school district boundaries to be in the democratic election process, and “as many folks as want to be.”

It seems these objecting School Board members—Pavlak, Lopatin, and Witt—have an election strategy of disqualifying Elliott, Nagel and Valente, only to leave voters with the ballot names of Pavlak, Lopatin and Witt as shoe-in returning School Board members. Also, amazingly, the teacher’s union representative, Lynn McHenry, attempted to expand the union’s contract negotiation “you owe me” powers with a “marker” of support for such political tactics by gang signing as an objector, as well.

These four Kaneland School District leaders obviously planned this less-than-honorary event well in advance. They must have been aware this stunt could possibly be sacrificing their leadership reputation with the children of Kaneland and its community adults. Even more egregious is the attempt of this group to deny the citizens and voters of our community the opportunity for open elections. Totally un-American, I would say.

The entire stunt was not very smart on their part. Maybe behaviors such as this are part-in-parcel contributing to the very poor overall business performance of our School District today. The timing of this election and resulting future School Board members voting to oversee the enterprise guidance of this district is paramount. It is not a lost cause, but certainly no room for fumbles or deception.

Also, thanks to the Electoral Board—Jack Cunningham, Joe McMahon and Tom Hartwell—for defending yours and my election rights.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Community Corner: Find your career path at the library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Sugar Grove Public Library director

Over the holidays, I had the occasion to meet a 20-something young man who was confused about what he is actually meant to do with his life. This is not an uncommon condition for many young adults who are looking to find their “next” after graduating from college or returning from the military. Or maybe they face this dilemma when they are just trying to find a job that sustains life or at least helps move them out of mom and dad’s basement.

In the age of a rapidly changing job market, this condition is also not uncommon for folks of all ages, as careers are made, changed or transitioned each day.

I found my passion for libraries in my 20s as I left a career in media and went to the library each week to research career options. One day, I looked up and around and pondered, ”What do I have to do to work in a library?” It was a “wow” moment for me, and I found myself heading into a career in libraries—a career in which part of my work is to provide resources to help others “find themselves,” as well. And my, how libraries do contribute to economic recovery by providing a place for others to better themselves in a myriad of ways.

Now I love being able to offer help to others who are finding or even wandering on their career paths. Research can be as simple as strolling through the non-fiction stacks to browse subjects and match ideas to occupational handbooks, or as complex as using test study books to prepare for grad school entrance exams. Our online databases can assist researchers as scholarly articles can be obtained on a virtual treasure trove of subjects—precise information that is easily searchable in the library or from home.

We have patrons utilizing our technology lab for research or completing job applications on a daily basis, and navigating online employment applications forms can sometimes be tricky. Let us help. The ability to use printers, scanners, wi-fi printing and copiers—all while having an enjoyable place to work and grab a cup of coffee—makes the library an asset to job seekers, as well as business owners who just need a quiet place to work out of the office or on the go.

No matter what stage of your career path you are on, I invite you to let us help you find your way.

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: Give life by donating blood

in From the Editor's Desk by

If one of your 2015 New Year’s resolutions was to help people and be a better person, we know of a way you can put check marks on both items. And in one fell swoop, no less.

The Elburn Fire Department will host a blood drive on Saturday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fire Station, 210 E. North St., Elburn.

Look, donating blood can be a scary thing if you’re not a fan of needles (and we’d be remiss to not mention that most of us dislike the sheer thought of them), but think of it this way: it takes just a few moments to donate something that can literally change a person’s life for the better. Trust us, it’s worth it—so much so, in fact, that all blood donors on Saturday will receive a a T-shirt for their lifesaving donation. So not only can you tell people you’re a hero for stopping by the Elburn Fire Department to donate blood, you can prove it with a nifty new shirt.

Of course, those who donate blood should be sure to eat something rich in iron prior to their appointment. In case you’re wondering, iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, spinach, beans, raisins and iron-concentrated cereals (it will say so on the box). Also be sure to hydrate, and skip the alcoholic beverages the day of donation (we know, we know … but that shouldn’t be a problem if your appointment is early in the day).

To schedule a donation, call the Fire Station at (630) 365-9226 or sign up online at www.heartlandbc.org. Appointments are preferred; walk-ins are welcome.
Thank you for considering donating blood. It’s the most important gift one can give.

Editorial: Help from the community

in From the Editor's Desk by

If you’re a frequent reader of the Elburn Herald, you’re no stranger to Elburn resident Meagan Seals, who was born in November 2009 with the rare conditions encephalocele microcephaly, anecephaly and lissencephaly (translation: she was born with the main part of her brain missing, and she has a rare formation of the brain, making it smooth).

As a result of her birth conditions, Meagan wasn’t expected to take her first breath, let alone live more than two weeks. She did both, however, and has been defying the odds ever since. And last November, she celebrated her fifth birthday.

Many of the stories we’ve written about Megan have focused on the ways the community has come through for her, including fundraisers and donated items such as an iPad and custom-built wheelchair.

Meagan continues to fight all of her medical complications, but it’s been anything but easy. She recently experienced a health setback, resulting in two emergency brain surgeries.

Meagan’s medical expenses are staggeringly high, but the good news is the community will have another opportunity to help the Seals family—parents Scott and Luellen, and their children, Ryan, Madison, McKenzie and Meagan—this time with a Meagan Seals Community Benefit on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. at Elburn American Legion Hall, 112 N. Main St., Elburn.

Tickets to the event are just $25 each, and include a meal and drink. Only 400 tickets will be sold. There will be a raffle, too, with 20 winners and a total payout of $2,500. Winners need not be present.

Ways the community can help include ticket purchase, table sponsorship, dessert and appetizer donation, help with decorations, volunteer work and monetary donation. Donations of goods and services can be dropped off at Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, 106 N. Main St., Elburn, and the Elburn Herald, 525 N. Main St., St. 2, Elburn. Event tickets can also be purchased at both locations.

For more information, contact Lynn Logan at LLogan@elburnherald.com or Annette Theobald at annerich@sbcglobal.net. You can also visit the Meagan Seals Benefit page on Facebook.

Letter: Congratulations to elected Republicans

in Letters to the Editor by

Congratulations to Governor elect Bruce Rauner, Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer and all other Republican nominees in the 2014 General Election.

Incumbents and the other nominees must always strive to serve their constituents. Republican candidates who were not elected in the General Election should continue to support their party and seek public office in the future.

William F. Keck
Sugar Grove
Retired Kane County auditor

Kids say the darndest things

in From the Editor's Desk by

We usually jump at any available chance to feature Kaneland-area youngsters in the Elburn Herald, as it never ceases to amaze us just how aware and enlightened kids are today. So when we came up with an idea last month to print New Year’s resolutions submitted to us by Kaneland elementary schoolers, well, we could hardly wait to see what the kids would send us.

And the students didn’t disappoint, either. Responses ranged from creating world (and sibling) peace and cleaning up the house to saving money and using a lemonade stand to fundraise the fight against ebola. One child even said his resolution was to weigh 82 pounds so his dad would let him play quarterback. Someone should tell that young man to enjoy his metabolism.

On a heartwarming note, several of the New Year’s resolutions we received included a goal to end bullying in 2015. That’s a huge win for Kaneland anti-bullying groups, as it’s clear that their message is getting through to so many youngsters in the School District. Keep up the great work, committee members.

It’s also important to note that we also received New Year’s resolutions from John Shields Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders. And while we were unable to print their submissions this week, we plan on featuring them in the Jan. 8 issue.

Thank you again to the Kaneland elementary schools and students who participated in our New Year’s resolution feature. As for our New Year’s resolution, we intend to feature more student-oriented holiday content in 2015, beginning with Presidents Day in mid-February.

In the meantime, Happy New Year from the Elburn Herald. We’ll see you in 2015.

Top 10 stories from 2014 on ElburnHerald.com

in From the Editor's Desk by

Our most-viewed stories of 2014

www.elburnherald.comTragedy and new beginnings dominated our 2014 top-ten most-viewed stories on ElburnHerald.com.

The list is quite diverse in terms of specific topic, but the common theme remains: the Kaneland community is all about the people that live here. Seven of the top 10 stories are about a specific person.

Thinking of Bob

in Letters to the Editor by

I wanted to take the time to write these sentiments and make them public.

This past week, a dear friend and long-time colleague basically told us goodbye. As difficult as it was for me to hear, I know that it must have been tremendously difficult for him to say. We don’t always know what to say in the moment. We are sad. We are stunned. We are at a loss for words.

After having a few days to think about this, I thought I would put a few things down on paper. I want my friend to know how much he is loved. I want him to know that all that he has done and contributed to our community has mattered. He has made a difference. He has improved others’ lives. He has brought great joy to many.

This journey that we are all on has a beginning and an end. We don’t really get to choose the timing of the end. What is most important is the journey that we have chosen to make. Did we make the most of that journey? Just think about every single day of the journey—the paths we go down; the lives we encounter on our way. We touch a lot of people’s lives in many ways, big and small. Often, we don’t even realize the type of impact that we have on others.

Think about all of the volunteers that have given of themselves to help make programs run in our community. My friend is one of those people. So many years ago, he was coaching softball, starting our local soccer program that has evolved into so much more. We all know how important youth programs are to a community. This was all before there was an active park district.

He chose to become involved in village government. After the first try and losing by only three votes, he did not give up. He was elected the next cycle, and has served faithfully for nearly 18 years. He joined the Lions’ Club and served as its president. He led that group when it was a struggle to find people to be members.

He decided that our annual Corn Boil festival really needed fireworks to make it a great festival. Using his desire to convince others, he single-handedly worked to find the funds for these fireworks. He did this year after year, even when the economy was in a recession. He didn’t give up.

He received a terrible cancer diagnosis in July, just prior to Corn Boil. He would have to miss the fireworks for the first time, but he was not giving up. These past months, he has endured radiation and chemotherapy, yet was able to attend many of our board meetings. He kept up to date with information in emails, and sent us his opinions. He did not give up.

Last week, my friend, Bob Bohler, told us that his doctor has given him a potential time limit for his journey. We hugged, we cried. Bob knows in his heart how much we care about him. He has not given up. He is choosing to change the path of his journey, ever so slightly. He has stepped down from his position as village trustee, and he will be missed.

He has chosen to travel the remainder of his journey with his family. He is spending the time with his wife, Sandy, his children and grandchildren. He knows that we love him. He knows that we will miss him. I wanted him to know that all that he has done as part of this community will live on. He has made a tremendous difference in the quality of life here in Sugar Grove.

I want all of you to know that through all of this, Bob has not given up. His body may be giving up, but his spirit is strong, and I hope that his spirit will inspire others to commit to caring about others, care about your community, and work to make things better than when you found it. Bob’s spirit will endure because it won’t give up.

I wanted to express this now so Bob knows exactly how I feel. I didn’t want to wait to say the important things.

Thank You, Bob Bohler. I promise I will continue to keep your spirit alive.

Mari Johnson
Sugar Grove

Thank you from the Elburn Lions Club

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Lions Club recently hosted a toy drive to benefit local children, and the response from the community was tremendous. We’d like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone that donated toys, cash, gift wrap, gift tags, ribbon and dental hygiene products, as well as those who assisted in wrapping all the toys. Thank you for your generosity, time and efforts.

With everyone’s donations, we were able to provide gifts for 35 children and 70 adults at Hope Haven and Safe Passage in DeKalb. Each child will receive several presents, books donated by the Elburn Lions for Literacy program, as well as toothbrushes, dental floss, coloring/activity books and homemade cookies.

We were also able to help five families in the Elburn, Kaneville and Virgil area, and 20 more families in the DeKalb/Sycamore area. We also donated a movie and popcorn gift basket and extra toys to Hope Haven for everyone’s enjoyment and daily use in the day room.

We’d like to thank the following businesses for placing a donation box at their businesses, which allowed us to collect all the toys: American Bank & Trust, Elburn; Bootlegger’s Bar, Grill & Pizza, Maple Park; Chuck’s Bar & Grill, Virgil; Dollar General, Cortland; Dr. Harry Krauspe, Elburn; Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District; Jewel/Osco, Elburn; NB & T, Elburn; Old Second Bank, Elburn & Maple Park; Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, Elburn; Walgreens, Elburn; and Winners Circle Bar & Grill, Maple Park.

The Elburn Lions would like to also thank the following individuals for their cash donations: Whispering Pines Trucking, G. Snow & Sons, Flint Trucking, Jim & Beverly Gillett, Fred Dornback and Darlene Stoffa, as well as the individuals that donated anonymously at Lions Club events. With the cash donations, we were able to complete the toy selection for the children in need, as well as purchase gifts for the adults.

Thank you to the Walmart and Target locations in DeKalb for the gift card and discounts, allowing us to provide additional gifts.

Thank you to Dr. Harry Krauspe, Dr. Joseph Sullivan and the Buhk Family for all the dental hygiene products for both the children and adults.

Thank you to Audrey Hanson of Alice’s Place, Elburn, for your donation of coloring and activity books for all the children.

We also were blessed with many volunteers who attended the wrapping party this past weekend. What a great feeling to see everyone wrapping gifts, enjoying each other’s company, baking and decorating homemade cookies, and spreading some Christmas spirit. Thank you to everyone that wrapped gifts—your assistance with this huge undertaking was greatly appreciated.

We had the pleasure of delivering the gifts to several families and the recipients at Hope Haven and Safe Passage. Our goal of making a child’s Christmas just a bit brighter during a difficult period in their life has been achieved. The looks of excitement on the children’s faces and the appreciation from their parents was the best gift of all for us. All the recipients of either an adult or child’s gift were very appreciative, and wish to extend their thanks, as well.

Lions Pamela and Renee Hall
Elburn Lions Club

Happy Holidays from the Elburn Herald

in From the Editor's Desk by

As the holidays draw near, and another year draws nearer to a close, we want to use this space to wish the Kaneland community and everyone else a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

From fabulously-lit Christmas homes to Christmas kettles and local holiday gathering and events, no community does Christmastime quite like this one, and we’re so blessed to be a part of it. And speaking of fabulous light displays, if you haven’t already stopped by the Elburn Town & Country Public Library to see its custom light show, we strongly encourage you to do so sometime between now and the beginning of the new year. The library light show is beautiful, and a lot of hard work on the part of Campton Hills resident Brian Larsen went into its design, construction and completion.

Also, speaking of Christmas activities, we’d like to take a moment to thank the community for participating in the numerous Kaneland-area Christmas events that took place in late November and early December. The new Elburn Christmas Stroll, now the Saturday following Thanksgiving, was a well-received event, as were Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove, Maple Park’s Make and Take event, Christmas in Kaneville and the Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s inaugural Jinglepalooza gala. Is there a community that does Christmastime better than Kaneland? Perhaps, but we doubt it.

Last but certainly not least, Sugar Grove Village Board trustee Mari Johnson this week submitted a Letter to the Editor regarding the incredible spirit and character of fellow trustee Bob Bohler, who recently stepped down from the Village Board due to his declining health. Many of us at the Elburn Herald have at one time or another had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bohler, and we ask our readers and the community as a whole to keep him in their hearts and prayers as he continues his battle against cancer. We’re thinking of you, Bob.

From everyone at the Elburn Herald, have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Special session is both unconstitutional and expensive

in Letters to the Editor by

With the holiday season upon us, you may not be following the news about filling the vacancy in the office of state comptroller created by the death of Judy Baar Topinka. Never in our 198-year history have we in Illinois faced the situation of a state office vacancy at the end of one term and beginning of another term.

Governor Quinn has called a special session of the legislature for Jan. 8 to pass legislation establishing a special election in 2016 to fill the state comptroller position. I believe the goal of the special session is both unnecessarily expensive and unconstitutional. Here’s why.

A special session of the legislature will cost taxpayers about $46,000. Any action they take to create a special election in 2016 could be taken during regular session days after the 99th General Assembly is seated, thus avoiding the special session cost.

Further, creating a special election without amending the constitution will be challenged in court as unconstitutional. The Illinois Constitution in Section 2 of Article 5 governs the terms of office and the timing of elections for state officers, including Comptroller. This section directs that terms for “officers of the Executive Branch shall be for four years beginning on the second Monday of January.” As the Attorney General indicated in her advisory opinion, that means that a vacancy will occur in the Comptroller’s Office for the term of office that runs from Jan. 12, 2015 to Jan. 14, 2019. Second, Section 2 also provides that the state officers, including the Comptroller, “shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter.”

The delegates to the constitutional convention in 1969 were very clear that they wanted state officers to be elected in non-presidential election years, not years like 2016. In reviewing committee reports and transcripts of the debate, we find they wanted elections of state executives to focus on state issues and not be overwhelmed by a focus on national issues typical in presidential election years.

If the General Assembly were to pass a state law that creates a special election for the Comptroller in 2016, that law would violate the express terms of Section 2 in both the length of the term of office and the date of elections every four years after 1978. It would also violate the powers granted the legislature in the constitution.

Section 7, Article 5 of the constitution dealing with vacancies does not authorize the General Assembly to order a special election to fill a vacancy or replace a person who is appointed to fill a vacancy. Rather, it says that the Governor “shall fill the office by appointment.” If the legislature wants to change that procedure, it should pass a constitutional amendment and ask the voters for approval in 2016. Such action would provide a clear method for filling vacancies in the future.

Citizens should ask their legislators to follow their oath to uphold the constitution and avoid unnecessary meeting expenses and court costs litigating their actions. After all, our democracy and society are governed by the rule of law and violating the constitution guidelines sets a dangerous precedent for ignoring other laws.

Robert Pritchard
State Representative, DeKalb, Kane and Boone counties

Column: Family recipes are the best during Christmas time

in Janet Lagerloef by
column_courtesy

Photo: Lexi Lagerloef of Glen Ellyn, Ill., and Ansley Ruh of Elburn, love their great-great-grandmother Mina’s sugar cookies.

by Janet Lagerloef
Owner, The Catering Gourmets, Sugar Grove

Born in l880, and raised in Aurora, Margaret “Mina” Lord was my husband’s great grandmother, and a bit Calamity Jane. She could blow anything away—skeet, clay pigeons, bullseyes. No matter the target, Mina was a deadeye (she always carried a Colt .38 in her purse).

And that sharpshooter could cook, too—scalloped oysters, sugar cookies, pan-fried catfish. When she rang the dinner bell, family had a way of showing up.

Mina Lord passed away 40 years ago, but her recipes are still with us. We make hundreds of her sugar cookies at Christmas for catering events, and just as many for our families. These buttery cookies are soft yet edged in the perfect crisp, and are lovely piled in glass trifle bowls, which is a fun and beautiful way to take cookies to a Christmas party or set any stackable cookie on your dessert table.

Happy Holidays!

Mina’s sugar cookies

Makes 2 dozen
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Two sticks softened butter
• Three-quarter cup granulated sugar
• One egg separated
• Two teaspoons vanilla
• Two cups flour measured after sifting
• One-eighth teaspoon salt
• Green and red candied cherries
Directions:
Beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until creamy. Mix in the flour and salt. Make the dough into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Flatten a bit with the bottom of a small glass. Brush the cookies with the egg white mixed with a little water. Sprinkle with sugar and top with a halved candied cherry. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.

Another family favorite is Mina’s scalloped oysters. I serve them on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and this is Mina’s most decadent dish. My family loves any manner of oysters—raw on the half shell or baked with savory fixings—but hands down, Mina’s scalloped oysters are the fairest of them all.

Mina’s scalloped oysters

Serves 20
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
• Three quarts shucked/drained oysters
• Three sleeves saltine crackers, coarsely crushed by hand
• Three sleeves Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed by hand
• Four sticks butter (to melt)
• Heavy cream
• Tabasco sauce
• Worcestershire sauce
• Salt and pepper

Mix the crushed crackers and melted butter in a large bowl. Layer half on the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Evenly place the oysters on top. Drizzle with heavy cream, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Blanket the remaining half of crushed crackers on top. Bake uncovered in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Letter: A letter from Maple Park Family Fund Committee

in Letters to the Editor by

The Maple Park Family Fund Committee would like to share some information with you so you will know what you have helped provide for our families seeking assistance during the holidays and Christmas.

• Food from the Maple Park Turkey Drop was shared with 16 families consisting of 96 people total. Each family received two complete dinners. One dinner for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas.
• This year, we had three angel trees in Maple Park, with a total of 150 angels. All of the angels were taken, and 150 wrapped gifts were brought back for the children.
• The Family Fund received requests for assistance from 19 families. Included in these families were 47 children and 31 adults.
• Children and adults who needed winter wear received coats, snow pants, hats, gloves and winter boots.
• Children received any clothes and shoes that had been requested.
• Several gifts from the children’s wish list are purchased, the likes of which can include anything from a shiny new bike to a jack-in-the-box.
• The Family Fund also fills family needs, including bedding, cleaning supplies, food and household products.
• In addition to Christmas assistance, the Family Fund also helps families during the year when assistance is needed.

To stay informed of our organization, see pictures, and learn of upcoming events, visit and “like” the Maple Park Family Fund’s Facebook page.

Thank you again for donating, buying gifts and supporting our one and only fundraiser raffle.

Julie Little
Maple Park Family Fund Committee

Letter: A letter regarding Kaneland’s tax levy

in Letters to the Editor by

I wrote my previous Letter to the Editor this time last month. As I was saying then, I continue to request Kaneland School Board and administration to join our other county and local taxation containment programs.

It is a well-known fact that our local housing market and business environment is suffering from stagnant-to-declining growth. The Estimated Assessed Value (EAV) did drop another one-half percent this year, for a total of 13.9 percent over three years. If your property was worth $200,000 three years ago, you and I have now lost $27,800.00 from whatever assets and savings we had. That gives me a big frown on my face.

I did attend last Monday night’s Kaneland School Board meeting. The 2014 taxation levy for 2015 collections was presented to the board for final approval. In that presentation and public hearing about our taxation, the details of the levy were not covered for the public to understand, other than to say we are levying a 4.81 percent increase with no changes made from the temporary levy presentation. That is transparency at the lowest level.

Maybe I can help with a few more details. The Kane County Levy Calculation Limiting Rate formula, which includes our EAV and Consumer Price Index, raised our levy extension from last year’s $41,196,210 to $42,020,982 this year. This is a 2 percent raise. Also, our Bond and Interest payment extension went from $9,990,572 to $10,440,290, or 4.5 percent ($449,718). Combine these two sets of numbers and we would have realized a total levy increase of 2.5 percent to our taxes next year.

But then a person has to ask: how did the School District get the levy up to a 4.81 percent increase or an additional $1,187,585 in tax money over and above what the county allocated? The answer is “manual override” and “balloon input.” The Kaneland School Board, as a public body, is fully aware of these practices but rarely explains them to taxpayers in public hearing presentations.

I listened carefully last Monday evening to each School Board member’s vote as to passage of this inflated tax levy. I have grouped them into three groups as follows:
Tax containment group
• Pedro Rivas voted no
• Tony Valente voted no
Family improvement group
• Peter Lopatin voted yes (Peter’s wife has extended her district contract with family benefits.
• Gale Pavlak voted yes (Gale’s son is district dean, and husband drives bus with benefits)
Tax to the max group
• Cheryl Krauspe voted yes
• Veronica Bruhl was absent from the meeting, but voted yes to temporary levy
• Teresa Witt voted yes

Our communities need the help of the Kaneland School District to contain its taxation and spending. Our local tax burden from this district has increased from $25 million to $52 million in just seven years. We homeowners just cannot sustain such increases. Also, the administration and board do not have the right to avoid explaining, in public hearing, such practices of “ballooning” and “manual override” of non-capped funds to double the allowed county guidelines when preparing our tax levy.

A person might ask, “What is driving the additional costs and why aren’t we looking at the extreme spending?” Instead, the effort of the board seems to be that of hiding the facts and unwilling to face the cost drivers.

The time has come for “doing the right thing” as it is needed.

Jerry Elliott
Sugar Grove Township

Letter: A thank you from Pat Hill

in Letters to the Editor by

A very special thank you to all who came out to support me and my family at the “Give Back to Pat” benefit fundraiser on Dec. 6. Thank you to all the many sponsors, Kris Weiss and her elite group of volunteers for putting this all together; and Mark, Patti and Linda of Fishermen’s Inn for their spectacular service.

I also want to thank all the individuals who donated baskets, prizes, money and time; Kendall College and Alexa Hill for their delicious desserts; Red Woody for their awesome performance; Mike Espe for conducting the live auction; Katee Werrline and Klicks By Katee Photography photo booth; Laurie Hannula Photography; and everyone who came out to show their support for me in any way.

Words cannot express my gratitude. The money raised will be a big help with all of my incoming medical bills. Once again, I am truly blessed and grateful to be part of this wonderful, caring community.

Pat Hill, Kaneville

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