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Editorial/Opinion - page 7

Answering the public’s many questions

in Community Corner by

by Renee Goier
Kaneland interim superintendent of schools

“Out of retirement and ready to work on behalf of the children of Kaneland.”
That was my focus in September when the Kaneland Board of Education appointed me interim superintendent. I will fill that role on a part-time basis for this school year. Most of my responsibility will be to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, to ensure that the School District meets all regulations and mandates, and to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible.

One other important task assigned to me by the Board of Education is to assess the status of the district, and to define its strengths and needs. To accomplish that goal, I find myself asking many questions, and many questions are being asked of me. In the remainder of this school year, I hope to publish and post answers to frequently asked questions. Any questions can be sent to me at renee.goier@kaneland.org.

School districts are complex entities. They are first and foremost learning institutions that are entrusted with the education of many children. In addition, a school district is often the largest employer in a region. Kaneland schools serve multiple communities, and the board and staff work diligently to meet the expectations of all of those communities. It is often difficult to find the common ground of multiple stakeholders.

School districts are also businesses. This time of year the business of schools is focused on levy, financial projections for the future and preliminary budgets. A question often asked of me is, “How do school districts conduct business?” The answer is complex, so I will approach it in multiple steps and will address only one aspect at this time. Look for more answers to this question in the future.

The business of school districts is highly regulated by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois General Assembly. Much of the work of the school board and administration is determining the best way to meet needs of students while working within regulations and mandates.

School district funds, or revenue, come from three general sources: local, state and federal. In Kaneland, local property taxes and family-paid student fees contribute approximately 80 percent, the state contributes approximately 17 percent, while the Federal government contributes approximately 3 percent.

With regard to spending, our primary costs are related to personnel, which is about 70 percent of the budget. These costs include salaries and benefits for teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, health aides, cooks, secretaries, coaches and administrators. The other 30 percent of the budget is typically spent on supplies and materials; capital projects, such as paving, technology, purchased services including custodians and snow removal; and tuition for students that require special services.

Kaneland has earned the highest financial rating from the state of Illinois. This improvement in rating has been achieved in the last few years through careful financial management and creation of adequate fund balances to meet emergencies.

Stay tuned for answers to questions regarding additional business practices, personnel, board of education responsibilities and programs for students and staff.

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.

Community comes through for Elburn resident

in From the Editor's Desk by

We featured a story last week detailing the theft of a Christmas light projector from Elburn resident Frances Kitz, and the special meaning the device holds for Frances and her family.

Our initial hope upon running the story was that a local resident would come forth with some information regarding the whereabouts of the projector. However, there’s never a guarantee that a stolen item will turn up, even in a kind, close-knit village such as Elburn. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit that we were prepared to accept the projector’s vanishing act as permanent, going the way of Jimmy Hoffa or a vessel traveling through the Bermuda Triangle.

Well, we’re incredibly pleased to announce that Frances’ light projector was returned within hours of the public reading Elburn Herald reporter Susan O’Neill’s story on the theft. The anonymous return didn’t include an explanation or even a note—just the projector in all its glory.

Was our story directly responsible for the item’s return to its rightful owner? We’ll likely never know, and that’s perfectly OK with us. All we wanted was for the community to step up and help out a local resident, and it went above and beyond that expectation. As a result, Frances and her family can enjoy a spectacular Christmas light show made possible by Frances’ late husband, Marty.

To the person (or persons) who returned the light, you helped make a family’s Christmas just a little bit better and a little more meaningful. And for that, we are so grateful.

And to the local community as a whole, thank you for continuing to be a tight-knit, caring, selfless group. Should we ever again need to call you to help locate something lost or stolen, we’ll know we’re enlisting the best group available.

Editorial: Community helped make Jinglepalooza a success

in From the Editor's Desk by

We want to thank the community for their attendance and support of the Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s first annual Jinglepalooza event, held Friday evening.

The Elburn Herald has hosted its annual Candyland event—in which we create a life-sized Candyland game for area kids and those who are kids at heart—for 18 years. Up until this year, Candyland was part of the Elburn Christmas Stroll event. When that event changed dates to Thanksgiving weekend, we had to choose between forcing our employees to come in during the Thanksgiving holiday to build Candyland in preparation for the Elburn Christmas Stroll, or merge our event with the first annual Elburn and Countryside Community Center’s Jinglepalooza on the traditional first Friday of December.

We chose the latter, and we are happy to report that the attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations.

We had hundreds of children play life-sized Candyland, and there are few greater things we experience each year than a child’s eyes light up as they round the bend through our Peppermint Forest and see the entirety of Candyland before them—all in life-sized splendor.

We had hundreds of adults accompany those children, and their children’s joy was clearly contagious, as the entire evening was filled with smiles and positive comments.

We owe a lot of people a lot of thanks for helping make Candyland the best its ever been in 2014. To the Community Center’s Senior Exercise Group, we want to thank you for volunteering to help at Candyland, and we hope to see you next year. To our fellow organizations and businesses who also participated in Jinglepalooza, such as MidTown Martial Arts, Creative Beginnings Preschool, GTP Activewear, Fox Valley Wildlife Center, Jazzercise, Hope Anglican Church, Elburn Jewel, Elburn Economic Development Corporation and Elburn American Legion, we want to thank you for being wonderful partners and helping the overall event be such a success.

To all the crafters filling the gym with wonderful items, many of which already committed to next year’s event, we want to thank you for your dedication to your craft and your participation in the event.

To those who decorated a wreath for the Community Center’s wreath auction, thank you for donating your time and decorative items to help raise money for the center. As a tenant of the Community Center, we know how much every dollar counts, as the center receives no money from tax revenue or any outside source. So thank you to those who bid on the wreaths, as it is your dollars that help the building maintain itself and continue to improve.

To Santa and his elves, thank you for spending time with our community’s children; we know it’s a busy time of year, what with building all of the presents for the entire world going on, so we appreciate the time you spent with us.

To the Community Center, we want to thank you for pulling all of us together for a wonderful holiday-season evening. There are so many people behind the scenes working to make sure everything came together—volunteer administrator Kristen Damolaris, Community Center Board President Pat Leyden and the staff of Leyden Electric, as well as board members Bill Brauer, Dan Hannemann and Brian Herra, who each came and did their part to make sure the whole event was a success.

Our biggest thanks of all goes to everyone who attended, everyone who brought their children and spent their family time with us enjoying the holiday season. We can’t wait until next year!

Letter: Thank you for making inaugural Jinglepalooza a success

in Letters to the Editor by

Anytime you put together a community event that includes a number of local organizations, businesses and volunteers and requires a large attendance from the community, that first year can be a bit tension-filled as the event itself approaches.

You never know how the event will be received, or if you will get the attendance and participation that everyone involved hopes for.

We at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center are so happy to report that the attendance and participation at Friday’s inaugural Jinglepalooza went beyond our hopes, and we want to thank the many people that helped make it all happen.

First, thank you to all of the participating businesses and organizations that hosted events as part of Jinglepalooza.

Community Center tenants like MidTown Martial Arts, Creative Beginnings Preschool, GTP Activewear, Jazzercise and the Elburn Herald each spent time and money putting together their various activities to help make Jinglepalooza a success.

Many different local businesses and organizations also contributed to the event with booths and activities. The Elburn American Legion, Fox Valley Wildlife Center, Hope Anglican Church, Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, Elburn Economic Development Corporation and Elburn Jewel, plus all of our participating crafters, helped fill the building with holiday joy.

There were also a number of local businesses who helped during the lead up to the event—Old Second Bank, National Bank and Trust and American Bank and Trust each helped sell jingle bells from their locations to raise money for the event and the center.

On top of all of that, there were a number of volunteers from the community who helped make sure everything came together. Leslie Flint and Carly Shaw from the Elburn Herald not only helped bring their annual Candyland to life (including Elburn Herald staff and the members of the Community Center’s Senior Exercise Group), but the pair also helped keep things organized for the center overall. Community Center Board President Pat Leyden of Leyden Electric volunteered his time and equipment, and his staff gave their time to make sure everything was set up properly. Community Center Board members Bill Brauer, Dan Hanneman and Brian Herra came and gave their time Friday evening to help wherever and whenever needed. And, Laura Herra, Jackson Allen Enterprises, Hope Anglican Church, Carly Shaw, Leslie Flint and Kristen Damolaris decorated the wreaths for the center’s silent wreath auction.

All funds raised from the event go the center. We don’t receive any tax revenue; we are entirely funded by our tenants, donations and the revenue generated from various events like Jinglepalooza. Every dollar counts, and every donation of time, materials, equipment and money are appreciated.

Most of all, we thank the community for coming and enjoying their time at Jinglepalooza. It is for you that the Community Center exists at all, and it is for you that everyone listed above (and the many who contributed but we failed to name) put together the first annual Jinglepalooza. We can’t wait to see what next year’s event looks like.

Kristen Damolaris
Elburn and Countryside Community Center

Letter: Performing Arts Boosters give thanks

in Letters to the Editor by

Often overshadowed by turkey, pumpkin pie and watching football, taking time to reflect on why we’re thankful is truly the meaning of Thanksgiving. The moment that Thanksgiving ends, the frenzy for holiday shopping begins and we forget why we are thankful.

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters is thankful for the support and dedication of parent and student volunteers, Kaneland teachers and administration, and local businesses and organizations that have helped us this year.

The Boosters would like to express their overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to the volunteers for sharing their time and talents with our organization. From the heat and humidity of a late summer evening, which quickly changed to a mad rush to get out of a thunderstorm, to the cold, damp nights in October, our volunteers stood by as we sold candy—and lots of it—at our home football games.

We could not have done all of this without the behind-the-scenes work from our very own Robin Urich. Robin coordinated the Booster football candy sales and is on the Booster Executive Board. In addition, she has spent countless hours over the course of several years volunteering in the KHS Band uniform room, hours spent sewing and repairing uniforms, organizing the uniform room, chaperoning, and caring for the band. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for her.

The Boosters are grateful to be in a district and community that supports the arts, and grateful to partner with local businesses. We are pleased to announce a partnership with Old Second Bank in an effort to raise funds for the band, choir and theatre programs in the middle and high school. The Boosters and Old Second Bank invite business and community members to help make a difference by contributing to our annual fundraising drive for the future success of our band, choir and theatre students. With an in-kind donation from KPI of Elburn, annual giving campaign letters were sent to area businesses.

For those who donate, the Boosters will publicize your business or organization as one that supports the performing arts in the schools, and our ongoing efforts to enrich the schools’ offerings. We will also accept anonymous donations. For more information, send an email to president@knightmusic.org or call (630) 365-5272.

We’re grateful for the quality music education our students receive from outstanding music directors every time they enter the band or choir rooms. This is evident with the recent nomination of KHS Choral Director Bryan Kunstman as the Kaneland High School nominee for the 2015 Kane County Educator of the Year.

A large part of the selection process is a book of letters and pictures, which will be judged by the Kane County Regional Office of Education to select the recipient. If you are a current or former student of Mr. Kunstman, or parent of one, you are invited to write a letter of support to be added to the nomination book. Pictures may also be included. Please include your reasons, such as attributes, accomplishments, personal anecdotes, etc. The deadline for these letters is Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. You can send the letter and/or pictures via email to lori.grant@kaneland.org.

The Boosters are grateful for the unique partnership we formed this fall with the Kaneland Special Needs PTA at their first annual Winter Wonderland Craft Show & Vendor Fair. While we ran concessions, the members of the Special Needs PTA were able to run an extremely successful event and show the community that “each snowflake is unique.” For more information about the Kaneland Special Needs PTA, contact Tina Murdock, at (630) 361-3220.

We’re thankful to our Booster supporters who have made Manna and Butter Braid our top fundraisers. Remember to think of Manna for everyday shopping needs, and especially in December for holiday gift-giving.

These are just a few examples of the many things we are thankful for this year. Whether you donate your time or your talents, the key to our success rests in our supporters. For more information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, send an email to info@knightmusic.org.

Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

The spirit of giving at the library

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias
Library director, Sugar Grove Public Library

The spirit of giving is alive and well at the Sugar Grove Library in actions and deeds.

This month we are collecting non-perishable items for Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove. Patrons may freely donate, or we will waive $1 in fines for every quality non-perishable item collected. Not only does this endeavor meet the mission and values of service in a public library, but it affords our community an opportunity to get involved.

A food pantry provides supplementary assistance to individuals and children that may be experiencing temporary job, health or economic challenges. In our community, donating to our food pantry is a way for neighbors to provide a dignified “hand-up” to their neighbors in a most gracious way.

Actions of giving are also evident in our community, as five volunteers responded to our call for help and signed up to assist us. Hooray! As the Sugar Grove Library has an extremely tight budget, we need to strengthen our volunteer ranks in order to continue to provide services and resources to our patrons. We would greatly welcome additional volunteers for book shelving duties, grounds and landscaping, minor administrative assistance and even “experts” in their fields who would like to present a public program of a cultural nature. Feel free to stop by and let us know if you would like to give, as we will compensate you with smiles and gratefulness.

We hope our patrons also feel the spirit of giving within our walls. This month, our cozy fireplace is running on cold days, book displays are paired with seasonal decorations, holiday programs are presented, and Mike even has yummy imported chocolates in the Java Plus Cafe. It is indeed a month of sharing, and we wish you delightful holidays in all of your homes.

Please visit us for your material needs, whether you are traveling for the season or are snug in your bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.
Happy holidays, and thank you for giving and letting us give to the community.

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.

Send us your Elf on the Shelf photos

in From the Editor's Desk by
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Each December, countless households celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday by taking in a cute little elf. He’s not just any elf, however—he’s the Elf on the Shelf. And his sole purpose is to spy on children (on their parents’ behalf, of course) and make sure they’re behaving and deserving of the presents Santa Claus will bring them on Christmas morning.

For an elf meant to help police the behavior of young boys and girls and everywhere, he sure has a hard time behaving himself at times.

And that’s where you, the Elburn Herald reader comes in. If you have photos of your elf acting out, send them to Photos@elburnherald.com or post them on the Elburn Herald’s Facebook page.

We can’t wait to see what the local elves are up to.

Editorial: Let’s get ready to Jinglepalooza

in From the Editor's Desk by

Those in attendance last Saturday for the Elburn Christmas Stroll might have noticed that the Elburn and Countryside Community Center was absent from this year’s downtown event. Fans of the Community Center’s Stroll activities in year’s past can breathe a sigh of relief, however, as the center will host its inaugural Jinglepalooza event on Friday, Dec. 5.

Jinglepalooza’s maiden voyage comes about because the Community Center was unable put forth a slate of Christmas activities for this year’s Elburn Christmas Stroll, which was rescheduled from its usual first-Friday-in-December slot to the Saturday following Thanksgiving. So while beloved Community Center activities such as the Holiday Bazaar, sleigh rides and the Elburn Herald’s life-size Candyland game were unfortunately nowhere to be found during the Christmas Stroll, you can bet they’ll be found at the Community Center on Friday night.

Jinglepalooza will feature many family favorites including photos with Santa, the Polar Express Elf Train, life-sized Candyland, martial arts demonstrations, wildlife interaction, cookie decorating, a wreath auction, craft show and more.

Community Center visitors will have a chance to check out the fun inside and outside the center, and then ride the Polar Express Elf Train. It features a train of sleighs pulled through a maze of nearly a dozen large holiday inflatable decorations.

Fortunately for the public, the majority of Jinglepalooza’s events will take place inside the Community Center. There, everyone is invited to have a photo taken with Santa, who will be on hand to hear Christmas gift requests. Cookies will be available to decorate, and holiday wreaths will be auctioned as a fundraiser for the center.

And as mentioned earlier, Candyland and its accompanying world of Christmas treasures and life-size sweets (inedible, unfortunately) will be available in the Community Center’s dance studio. The Elburn Herald has presented this beloved event for 17 years, and it continues to get bigger and better each year.

There is absolutely no charge to attend Jinglepalooza. However, residents may stop by any Elburn bank to purchase a jingle bell to help ring in the holidays at Friday’s event.

For more information regarding Jinglepalooza or the Community Center, call ECCC volunteer program director Kristen Damolaris at (630) 365-6655.

Letter: Thank you to food drive contributors

in Letters to the Editor by

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the volunteer staff of the Elburn and Countryside Food Pantry, we want to sincerely thank the Elburn Fire Department for having a food drive at Elburn Jewel-Osco on Nov. 18 to support the Elburn Food Pantry. We received a huge amount of food when it was needed most. We are currently serving about 60-65 families a week, so these food drive donations help us meet the needs of our neighbors.

Thanks to the members of the Elburn Fire Department, Jewel-Osco and the people who purchased the food for the food drive. Elburn is a very caring and supportive community that shows its generous support of the Elburn & Countryside Food Pantry.

Rita Burnham, Board president
Elburn & Countryside Food Pantry

Performing Arts Boosters give thanks

in Community Corner by

by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters

Often overshadowed by turkey, pumpkin pie and watching football, taking time to reflect on why we’re thankful is truly the meaning of Thanksgiving. The moment that Thanksgiving ends, the frenzy for holiday shopping begins and we forget why we are thankful.

The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters is thankful for the support and dedication of parent and student volunteers, Kaneland teachers and administration, and local businesses and organizations that have helped us this year.

The Boosters would like to express their overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to the volunteers for sharing their time and talents with our organization. From the heat and humidity of a late summer evening, which quickly changed to a mad rush to get out of a thunderstorm, to the cold, damp nights in October, our volunteers stood by as we sold candy—and lots of it—at our home football games.

We could not have done all of this without the behind-the-scenes work from our very own Robin Urich. Robin coordinated the Booster football candy sales and is on the Booster Executive Board. In addition, she has spent countless hours over the course of several years volunteering in the KHS Band uniform room, hours spent sewing and repairing uniforms, organizing the uniform room, chaperoning, and caring for the band. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for her.

The Boosters are grateful to be in a district and community that supports the arts, and grateful to partner with local businesses. We are pleased to announce a partnership with Old Second Bank in an effort to raise funds for the band, choir and theatre programs the middle and high school. The Boosters and Old Second Bank invite business and community members to help make a difference by contributing to our annual fundraising drive for the future success of our band, choir and theatre students. With an in-kind donation from KPI of Elburn, annual giving campaign letters were sent to area businesses.

For those who donate, the Boosters will publicize your business or organization as one that supports the performing arts in the schools, and our ongoing efforts to enrich the schools’ offerings. We will also accept anonymous donations. For more information, send an email to president@knightmusic.org or call (630) 365-5272.

We’re grateful for the quality music education our students receive from outstanding music directors every time they enter the band or choir rooms. This is evident with the recent nomination of KHS Choral Director Bryan Kunstman as the Kaneland High School nominee for the 2015 Kane County Educator of the Year.

A large part of the selection process is a book of letters and pictures, which will be judged by the Kane County Regional Office of Education to select the recipient. If you are a current or former student of Mr. Kunstman, or parent of one, you are invited to write a letter of support to be added to the nomination book. Pictures may also be included. Please include your reasons, such as attributes, accomplishments, personal anecdotes, etc. The deadline for these letters is Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. You can send the letter and/or pictures via email to lori.grant@kaneland.org.

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: Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer and generosity

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Lions Club is hosting a Toy Drive to benefit local children this holiday season. All items will be donated to Hope Haven or Safe Passage in DeKalb. Consider purchasing a new toy(s) and donating it to help out others in need.

Toys must be new and in original packaging. No stuffed animals or anything violent. Place your donated toy(s) in a donation box labeled for the Elburn Lions Toy Drive at any of the following businesses in Elburn & Maple Park.
• American Bank & Trust
8 S. Main St., Elburn
• Bootlegger’s Bar, Grill & Pizza
221 Main St., Maple Park
• Chuck’s Bar & Grill
47W739 Route 64, Virgil
• Dollar General
226 S. Somonauk Road, Cortland
• Dr. Harry Krauspe’s office
400 N. Main St., Elburn
• Elburn Fire Department Station No. 1
210 E. North St., Elburn
• Elburn Fire Department Station No. 2
39W950 Hughes Road, Elburn
• Elburn Fire Department Station No. 3
5N267 Wooley Road, Lily Lake
• Jewel-Osco
800 N. Main St., Elburn
• National Bank and Trust
930 N. Main St., Elburn
• Old Second Bank
749 N. Main St., Elburn
1100 S. County Line, Maple Park
• Paisano’s Pizza & Grill
106 N. Main St., Elburn
• Walgreens
1001 N. Main St., Elburn
• Winners Circle Bar & Grill
50W226 Old State Road, Maple Park

Dollar General and Walgreens will have their own toy drive boxes, but have committed to donating toys to our cause, so their donated toys will be given to the Elburn Lions Club if you choose to use their boxes.

If you’d like us to do the shopping for you, we are accepting monetary donations as well. Mail donations to Elburn Lions Club, Attn: Toy Drive, 500 Filmore St., Elburn, IL 60119 by Monday, Dec. 15. This will allow us time to shop before we host the wrapping party.

We are also seeking wrapping paper, gift tags, bow and tape donations. The Elburn Lions will host a pot luck wrapping party at Elburn Lions Park on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are welcome to join in the fun of wrapping all the donated toys, so bring the family down to help out. If you plan on attending the wrapping party, RSVP to Elburn Lions Park at (630) 365-6315. We also request that you bring a dish to pass that will serve four-to-six guests.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and for helping brighten a child’s life this holiday season.

Lions Pamela Hall and Renee Hall
Elburn Lions Club Toy Drive Committee

Webpoll: How far do you commute to work?

in Webpoll by
WomanDrivingHC1402_S_72_C_R

Stepping into the light of Sugar Grove

in Community Corner by

by Shannon Halikias,
Sugar Grove Public Library director

Stepping into a new library directorship means entering a rapid learning process. A new director has to acclimate to a new community and its history, learn a unique collection, and sometimes tackle substantial administrative or financial issues. Usually this process includes meeting multiple pressing deadlines, and a new director has to hit the ground running—no training manual included. In all of our nation’s libraries, we do things a scooch differently.

What I can say so far about the Sugar Grove Public Library is that it reminds me of a lighthouse, providing the community with a beacon of culture, education, civic space and opportunity. The architecture itself, with its soaring ceilings, sturdy wooden beams, bright open spaces and comfortable nooks, communicates these concepts. This library, like the patrons it serves, has a solid backbone. It was built by folks of strong stock—a community hankering for intellectual freedom paired with common sense. Our library feels like a grand space, yet it maintains an approachability and friendliness, reminding me of the people of Sugar Grove, where people are the “can-do” kind of crowd and neighbors share a friendly hello. Like I said, freedom with sensibility.

Patrons can utilize our facility and feel their spirit open a bit, as connection to this civic institution is not only transactional but also relational. Isn’t that what a great library is all about?

Walking about the library on my first day, I discovered a bounty of wonderful spaces: a quiet reading room with comfortable chairs, a fireplace, a garden room perfect for snuggling with a book, and study rooms and tables regularly filled with patrons working and learning. Each day, amazing smells waft into my office from the Java Plus Cafe (taste the blueberry coffee—wow). I love to hear the happy bustle of children in Story Time, and though I can’t hear them as they clack the keys quietly, I am gratified to know patrons are constantly using our computers, wi-fi and online resources. Psst … did you know we even have a teen room?

I look forward to manning this lighthouse and providing for the needs of a dedicated community. Please feel free to stop by for a cookie, a hello or a personal handshake at a Meet the New Director event on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I am eager to learn how I can help your mind and spirit soar at our library.

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: From the classroom to the newsroom

in From the Editor's Desk by

by Madeline Mohatt and Shannon Gilkey
Kaneland Krier staff

As staff members of the Kaneland Krier, the chance to spend a day shadowing the staff of the Elburn Herald was a great way to expand our knowledge as student journalists.

On Nov. 11, we took over the Elburn Herald newsroom. In the midst of invasion, we were given the opportunity to observe the editors and staff who construct Elburn’s local paper every week.

We were able to broaden our editing, photography and design skills by watching the staff in action. We also noticed that things are run differently in the Krier newsroom compared to the way things are done in the Elburn Herald newsroom.

The Krier staff is made up of students all within high school grade levels. Within the staff, the students are divided into four different levels of authority, which is different from the Elburn Herald. That means someone younger and less experienced could potenitially have a higher position of authority with the Krier.

Unlike the atmosophere of the Kaneland Krier, the Elburn Herald is much more organized and collected. Our school newspaper comes out on a monthly basis, whereas the Elburn Herald is a weekly paper. This gives them an opportunity to cover more timely news on a tighter deadline—an advantage that we do not have.

Despite tight deadlines, the Elburn Herald never fails to run an exceptional paper. In regard to story ideas, brainstorming exists at the Elburn Herald and Krier. However, while brainstorming it is one of the most important aspects of production for the Krier, many of the Herald’s stories are the result of reader input and a constant dialogue with the community. Therefore, the Krier hopes to incorporate more input from the student body in issues to come.

Letter: An invitation to the School Board

in Letters to the Editor by

I am writing this as an invitation to the School Board to stop by and visit the Transportation building.

This is a building that hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Currently, we have one bathroom with four stalls and one small sink, all for over 60 employees. Our seating area is roughly 300 square feet—about the size of a walk-in closet. We have one table and nine chairs. And as of now, we have no heat, either, due to a poorly supervised construction project.

We have suggested to administration several alternatives, these being a move to the old middle school, a move off campus or even an addition to the Transportation building; all of these suggestions fell on deaf ears.

I am not asking for a referendum or any extra money from taxpayers, as this would not be necessary. Each year, we get more crowded with more drivers.

Carrying a construction background, I am thinking of turning the shed next to the tennis courts into an outhouse to help with overflow.

If you would like to see what we go through every day, just come down at 6 a.m. or 2 p.m. Just make sure you don’t need to use the bathroom when you get there.

Barry Pazin
Elburn

Letter: Thank you from Keith Wheeler and family

in Letters to the Editor by

Lisa and I, along with our entire family, are truly grateful for the support we received on Nov. 4.

Our campaign theme of creating Illinois Jobs for Illinois Families resonated with voters all throughout the 50th Representative District. As a result, I am honored by the confidence that my neighbors demonstrated by electing me as their representative in the Illinois House.

Thank you to everyone who helped the Wheeler campaign. Our team did an amazing job, and I am very proud of the hard work and positive message. As I have mentioned repeatedly throughout this election cycle, politics is a team sport. Our campaign team worked extremely well together, and it was fun for me to just be a part of Team Wheeler.

Congratulations to everyone who was victorious last Tuesday. As public servants, we have much work to do, and I look forward to working with you. To those who didn’t come out on top, please accept my congratulations for putting your best foot forward and being willing to step into the arena.

Again, I am humbled by the enthusiastic response and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Keith R. Wheeler
Illinois 50th District State Representative

Letter: Thank you from Valerie Burd

in Letters to the Editor by

I want to thank all the people who helped me during this long year of campaigning, and all the people who voted for me on Nov. 4.

Although I didn’t win the election, I did win in many other ways—I made new friends, I learned a lot from all the people I talked to as I went door to door, and I gave almost 10,000 people a choice on the ballot on Election Day that they wouldn’t have had if a candidate wasn’t on the Democratic ticket in our district.

It was an honor to be asked to run. Thank you to all the people who took the time to vote. I congratulate all the winners and wish them the best of luck.

Valerie Burd
Yorkville

Letter: Thank you from Elburn & Countryside Fire District

in Letters to the Editor by

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the residents who voted against disconnecting and transferring territory from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD) on Nov. 4.

The ECFPD has served and protected the lives and property of all our residents for over 132 years, and we appreciate your confidence in our ability to do so for many more. It is our honor to be of service, and we will continue to move our Fire District forward toward excellence.

Over the past few months, we have been humbled by the support of the communities we serve. We’d like to express our gratitude to the elected officials and residents who took such an active and vocal role in making it clear what their wishes were for their families and property. Whether you took the time to write a letter, offered your home to have an informative get-together, placed a sign on your property or quietly voted no, we truly appreciate your support.

We espectially want to thank the Elburn Fire Department Association, their membership, family and friends of the district, as well as the surrounding fire departments and their personnel, who spent countless hours of their personal time volunteering to educate anyone willing to listen, meeting with residents in the affected area, and putting up signs in support of our fire district. We’d also like to thank the village of Elburn and Lily Lake for their support opposing the disconnection.

Thank you again for having faith in us. We will not let you down.

Kelly P. Callaghan
Fire Chief, ECFPD

Letter: A response to a previous letter

in Letters to the Editor by

Mr. Jerry Elliott often writes inflammatory Letter to the Editor submissions to share his concerns about the management of Kaneland CUSD 302, but he regularly includes erroneous information. This is unfortunate because it can mislead district stakeholders, suggesting reckless mismanagement of funds.

Nothing is further from the truth.

This letter is in response to Mr. Elliott’s most recent letter, published in the Elburn Herald on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, where he suggested that Kaneland “impulsively” hired 73 new people to its staffing plan since last year. Mr. Elliott did not mention that the great majority of any new hires are replacements for teachers and all other support staff workers that left the district for a variety of reasons, such as new jobs, retirement, personal reasons, health issues or higher salaries elsewhere.

The Kaneland Board of Education approved a little over 12.0 paid positions last spring. These positions include an administrator (.5 assistant principal/.5 special education), and 5.0 teachers (to reduce overly large class sizes in core courses and to implement a Spanish program at Harter Middle School). The remainder of the positions provide for technology support for increased use of technology in our classrooms, health assistance and study hall supervision.

Some of these positions are being restored from the deep reductions made previously, but none of these positions were acted on impulsively. Even with these additions, it is important to realize that staffing patterns continue to fall short of returning to the previous levels before the mass reductions (Kaneland is many things, but hasty in decision-making efforts and spending tax dollars is not one of them).

Mr. Elliott also found displeasure in the fact that he had to wait until the New Business portion of the board meeting to hear the levy presentation and discussion. The board’s agenda is, and will continue to be, structured purposefully to meet the best interests of any students and their families that are recognized at any meeting, so that they may leave for home as early as possible on a school night should they so choose. New Business items are part of a full board meeting agenda, and they will follow any board celebrations or recognitions.

With regard to his statement regarding the tax levy, I can appreciate the fact that Mr. Elliott does not want his taxes raised. No one does. Living in western Kane County in the state of Illinois, however, our local School District is very dependent upon the revenue provided from the local property tax process. Each year, the Board of Education decides a levy in order to receive over 75 percent of its revenue for the following year.

Within the law, the district is allowed to increase the tax levy extension no more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is an inflationary indicator of the cost of doing business. This year, the CPI has been determined at 1.5 percent. Additional money will not provide us with much to improve or grow our program offerings for students, but it should allow us to pay for the on-going operational costs of the district to maintain our current level of student programs and services.

As one of many taxing bodies, we all must respect and appreciate the financial support from our local community. The Kaneland District has shown several straight years of continued fiscal responsibility, making the tough decisions and making the hard 7.5 million dollar cuts in order to balance the budget and avoid deficit spending. In addition, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, Kaneland associate superintendent, has spent countless hours of her time to help Mr. Elliott to understand the processes involved.

We expect that the district’s financial profile score will increase from “Review” to “Recognition” when published later this year. This has been accomplished in spite of untimely payments from the state of Illinois and also prorated funds for General State Aid payments, on which we also depend. The Kaneland community should be nothing short of grateful for Dr. Fuchs’s expertise and professionalism.

Mr. Elliott often refers negatively to the personal and professional ethics and management skills of those individuals serving the Kaneland district. It is damaging, in my opinion, when inaccurate information is published that misrepresents the thorough work that is being done. The Kaneland School District strives to be financially transparent and is most dedicated to responsible, sound fiduciary management. To suggest otherwise is just wrong.

Cheryl Krauspe
Elburn

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