2015 728 Corn Boil

Elburn Herald | Sugar Grove Herald

Ream’s through May 2015
Category archive

Editorial/Opinion - page 9

Letter: Say no to fire district territory takeover

in Letters to the Editor by

Our neighbors—one a 22-year resident—will be voting against the proposed territory takeover by Fox River & Countryside Fire Protection District from the current Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District.

Fox River & Countryside Trustee President Jim Gaffney stated in a Nov. 22, 2010, Daily Herald article that the Fire Protection District was “strapped for cash” going into its opening. The article states that “trustees already expect to run out of money within the next couple of years.”

A major reason for our vote against the disconnection is because of Fox River & Countryside Fire District’s current financial debt. Just one example of the debt is the outstanding bonds and all the interest that is being paid out on a regular basis. For being less than four years old, your large debt shows lack of financial responsibility. What will happen to the taxes of your current district if this referendum doesn’t pass?

The current residents should know that there is no guarantee those millions in the “red” will ever go away. The people of the Elburn Fire District who live within the proposed territory takeover need to know the whole picture: that they would be taking on this debt. They also need to be informed of the extra fees, in addition to their taxes, for services rendered by Fox River. Where does this money that is collected in fees go? Elburn Fire District does not charge response fees, nor itemized fees for personnel time, equipment and vehicles on the scene.

Elburn Fire District is showing the community that it is currently providing our families and properties the solid and responsible financial handling of our tax dollars, just as they always have. We are urging everyone in the area affected to please vote against this referendum.

Monica Del Medico, Kevin and Sandy Hagen, Larry Katkus, Mitch Katkus, Mary Jo Dorn, Gary Dorn, Kevin Koffenberger and Deanna Koffenberger
Campton Hills

Editorial: Have your say on Nov. 4

in From the Editor's Desk by

As you likely know, our Letter to the Editor section this month has served primarily as an outlet for local residents to weigh in on a fire district disconnection referendum that will appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

On that day, voters in the northeast section of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District’s territory will decide whether they want to disconnect from the district and join the Fox River Fire/Rescue District. The portion of territory in question is home to 3,000 residents.

Just about all of the letters we’ve received regarding the disconnection referendum have been in Elburn & Countryside Fire District’s favor, with a letter from Fox River & Countryside Fire Chief Greg Benson serving as the lone exception. We expect to receive many more disconnection referendum letters from local (and even non-local) residents between now and Nov. 4, and we encourage our readers to submit a letter as a way to offer their two cents on the referendum.

However, we’ve yet to hear from an Elburn resident who is in favor of the disconnection, although a petition to disconnect from Elburn and join the Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District suggests there are approximately 128 residents who support the referendum. If any of those 128 residents are interested in sending a letter stating their reasons for backing the potential de-annexation, send it our way. We’re interested in reading your thoughts on the matter.

We also encourage all of our readers to visit the election polls on Nov. 4 and cast their General Election ballot. This week marks the debut of our General Election 2014 pre-coverage, and we look forward to bringing you information on local candidates. However, our pre-election coverage is only valuable if you vote this fall, so be sure to mark Tuesday, Nov. 4, on your calendar (or phone). When it comes to voting, you’re either in or you’re out. Make sure you’re in.

Letter: Thank you to Run for Fund supporters

in Letters to the Editor by

On behalf of the Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO, we would like to thank all those who were a vital part of our recent Run for Fund fundraiser. We would like to specially recognize Meijer and Dick’s Sporting Goods for their donations of raffle prizes, along with the Elburn Herald for their continued support. With the help of these companies, our fundraiser was a huge success.

We want to thank all the staff at Blackberry Creek ElementarySchool, and the parents, who volunteered to help assist in the event. We are also very grateful to those who sponsored our students. Your support of their efforts is beyond appreciated.

This was a fun event that encouraged physical health for our children and raised money for our school at the same time. The money raised from this event benefits all students at the school and will go to support our physical education, literacy, computer, art, music and library programs.

Kimberly Bartkowiak
Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO secretary

Letter: Corn Boil Committee donates to community

in Letters to the Editor by

This year, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee is proud to be able to give back $14,000 to various community groups and organizations after a successful event this summer. Corn Boil President Jean Lindsey on Oct. 16 will present the donations to a variety of community organizations. The Corn Boil meeting and presentation ceremony will be begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Sugar Grove Township Building, Snow and Main streets in Sugar Grove.

This year, the Corn Boil Committee is pleased to recognize and present a financial donation to the following organizations: Between Friends Food Pantry, Big Rock Park District, Calvary West Church, Clown Ministry, Community Christian Church, Elburn Boy Scout Troop, Fox Valley Career Center, John Shields Elementary School, Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Kaneland Drum Core, Peak For Kids, St. Katharine Drexel Church, Sugar Grove Community House, Sugar Grove Historical Society, Sugar Grove Park District, Sugar Grove Township Senior Center, Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, Sugar Grove Veteran’s Park, Village Bible Church of Sugar Grove, the Sugar Grove Library, and Conley Outreach/West Town Human Services Network.

The next Sugar Grove Corn Boil will mark the 48th anniversary of this annual event. Please support your community by joining in and helping to plan this special event in 2015. Beginning in January, the Sugar Grove Corn Boil meetings will be held the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Township Building. The Corn Boil is a volunteer-run community event featuring three family-friendly and fun-filled days.

For more information about the 2015 Corn Boil, visit www.sugargrovecornboil.org, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Pat Graceffa
Sugar Grove Corn Boil Committee

Letter: Elburn American Legion Auxiliary honored for donation

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary was honored recently at the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Illinois convention as the unit with the third-largest monetary donation to the National Veterans Creative Arts Program (NVCAP). Elburn Unit 630 received a certificate of appreciation.

The purpose of the NVCAP is to recognize veterans for their creative accomplishments, and to educate and demonstrate to communities throughout the country the therapeutic benefits of the arts.

The NVCAP helps to keep veterans’ minds and fingers nimble and sharp. Participation increases veterans’ sense of self-worth and helps to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. It relieves boredom and gets the veterans out of their rooms and into social environments.

Elburn Unit 630 was proud to be able to donate $300 of “Poppy Days” money, collected from the Elburn community street donations and mailed donations, to the NVCAP. It is important for VA hospitals and VA centers to be stocked with craft kits, such as model cars, model airplanes, paint-by-numbers sets, leather tooling, lacing, stitchery crafts, etc. Because of the generosity of the Elburn-area community during the annual May Poppy Days event, the Elburn unit was able to help fund the art and craft supplies that are a need for the NVCAP.

Since 2000, the American Legion Auxiliary has played a key role in the NVCAP as a co-sponsor with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Leah Anderson
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 630, Elburn

Editorial: Celebrate with some Class in a Glass

in From the Editor's Desk by

Declining temperatures notwithstanding, October is typically an excellent month for local weekend activities and fundraisers. So if you’re looking for something fun to do on Saturday, Oct. 11, consider “classing” things up with a trip to the inaugural Class in a Glass wine-tasting event from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St. The event is presented by the Community Center and Elburn Liquors.

During the event, you’ll have an opportunity to relax, learn about wines, sample food on hand, and place orders that will be ready for Halloween.

Tickets to the event are $20 each, and available at the door. Tickets are also available at Elburn Liquors, 319 S. Main St.; the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St.; and the Elburn Herald office, 525 N. Main St.

You must be 21 years of age and have your ticket present to enter the Class in a Glass event.

Fall might’ve just arrived, but with colder temperatures on the horizon, now is certainly the time to get out and enjoy local events and fundraisers while you can still go outdoors without donning a parka. Get some friends together and put some additional class in your Saturday afternoon. It’s bound to be a great event.

Letter: Vote against Fire District disconnection referendum

in Letters to the Editor by

I’m writing this letter to ask for your support to vote against the referendum to disconnect from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District.

We have a dedicated, highly-trained Fire Department that has been servicing our area for 133 years. Our personnel and the Board of Trustees have worked hard to make sure we have the best equipment available to service our residents. As of Oct. 1, we have three stations and are building a new station No. 1 to better serve our district.

The most important thing is, we have no debt. We don’t buy or build anything unless we have the money in the bank. Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District is well over $4 million in debt. You should not assume that you will continue to enjoy lower taxes for long by transferring to their Fire District. In fact, by disconnecting from Elburn, you are agreeing to take on your proportionate share of that debt, as stated in the question on the ballot.

The trustees and the chiefs work very hard to keep our tax rate level, and are always working to get them down. With the equalized assessed valuation going down the last few years, this is very difficult to achieve, but we will continue to work hard to remain fiscally responsible with the tax dollars our taxpayers have entrusted to us.

Thank you for supporting the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District over the years. We appreciate it very much, and it is our hope that you will continue to do so in the future.

Vote against the referendum to disconnect.

Thomas Reynolds
President, Elburn and Countryside
Fire Protection District Board of Trustees

Letter: Just say no to disconnection referendum

in Letters to the Editor by

There will be a referendum question on the Nov. 4 ballot about whether to disconnect and transfer territory from the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District to the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. I felt it was critically important for effected residents to really understand the issue. What I found out alarmed me, so I felt it important to share my thoughts and urge you to vote against this referendum.

Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District has served our area for 133 years. Fox River has been in existence for three years. Elburn carries no debt; Fox River carries well over four million dollars in debt. While Fox River would have you believe they are well-trained professional firefighters and EMTs, I am very concerned with the fact they are private sector employees in a for-profit environment. They also charge additional fees per call. With the kind of debt this department is carrying, how long will it be before they either close their doors or ask for more money from the taxpayers?

I also discovered that they don’t have even close to the level of equipment that Elburn possesses. Elburn’s engines are certified as paramedic engines and carry large amounts of water. Fox River’s are not certified as paramedic engines. Fox River’s water tenders are not standard. Elburn is also equipped with heavy rescue equipment and a hazmat trailer. Fox River has none of this. The EMT-Bs in Elburn have expanded scope training and can perform advanced functions.

This is not an apples-to-apples comparison; this is the critical point. You are being asked to take your home and family out of the hands of a qualified professional fire department and put them in the hands of what is truly an unqualified department. As a 30-years-plus member of the fire service, I have been blessed to have worked and trained with firefighters all over the country, and I can tell you that the members and officers of the ECFPD are a dedicated, hardworking group that bring their heart and soul to the job with them. This is not just a job for them—it is their passion to take care of their neighbors. I am proud to work with these men and women.

It is not in the best interest of the residents of any area to disconnect from a debt-free, well-trained and well-equipped fire district, and assume the debt and lower level of service of a three-year-old fire district. I urge you to vote against the referendum to disconnect.

Tim Lyons
Lieutenant, Batavia Fire Department

Celebrate the second annual Kindness in Kaneland Week

in From the Editor's Desk by

Last fall, we helped announce the creation of Kindness in Kaneland Week—seven days of programs and celebration meant to promote friendship, respect, happiness and, most important, anti-bullying, in the Kaneland community.

The collaboration between organizers and the Kaneland School District was unquestionably a success, as it helped put forth a message that went above and beyond any sort of ordinary “bullying is wrong” campaign. Rather, Kindness in Kaneland Week last year promoted the importance of positive interaction with everyone around us, looking for the good in people, helping those who are in need, aspiring to be the person we expect others to be, and treating everyone the way we expect to be treated.

That might all sound like a common-sense concept, but too often and too easily, society loses sight of the privilege that is life—how fragile it is, and the impact our words and actions can have on another human being. Life is short, so it makes absolutely no sense to spend it by making things tough on others. When a child is bullied or made fun of at school, they feel negative feelings—feelings of shame, humiliation and hurt. They then take that hurt home with them, and maybe, if they’re not too embarrassed, they’ll share the negative experience with a parent. And when a child hurts, their parents hurt just as much. And now that parent has to worry about their child’s emotional well-being whenever they’re away, and whether their child will be further targeted by bullies at school, on the playground, or anywhere else.

No child or parent should ever have to worry, and that’s why Kindness in Kaneland Week, and the Kindness Campaign overall, is such a powerful social device and group, respectively.

As the Kindness Campaign celebrates its first full year of making a difference, let’s help ensure that the second annual Kindness in Kaneland Week, scheduled for mid-October, is even more successful this time around. Be a leader. Be a role model. Be a friend. Be a great person. Be kind. All of that should encompass what the Kaneland community is all about.

Disconnection from Elburn Fire District puts lives, property at risk

in Letters to the Editor by

When word recently leaked that there is a real possibility after all these years that my neighbors and I may no longer be served by the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, I was floored.

How is it that some entity would launch a campaign to risk the lives and property of some 3,000 residents? Perhaps one of the reasons this has been kept so very quiet is that Fox River and Countryside was hoping not to have to answer those questions face-to-face.

Elburn has provided us with state-of-the-art equipment and expertly trained staff, while at the same time avoiding to incur debt on our behalf. Fox River is grossly under-equipped to meet the demands of our rural setting in terms of pumper trucks and mutual aid agreements. Their ability to provide prompt and skilled paramedic service is life-threateningly inadequate, particularly in light of their lack of ALS equipment. Also, Fox River is financially ailing, with indebtedness somewhere between $4 and $5 million dollars, depending upon whom one talks to.

It didn’t take much research to find answers to my questions. The “why” is all about a land-grab by Fox River to force us to pay off their past bills, which were incurred without benefit to us. The “how” begins with the 128 signatures on the petition to disconnect, which was entered into the record in Kane County Court less than 30 days ago.

Who in their right mind wakes up in the morning and decides it would be an excellent idea to actively pursue the possibility they may have to stand by helplessly as a loved one dies from a heart attack because there isn’t an available ambulance? Who would actively pursue the chance to pay off millions of dollars in debt when they are now debt-free? Well, the 128 names and addresses are out there in front of God and everyone to see.

Yet, there is more. As a licensed insurance agent, I can say with certainty that if Fox River’s protection class code is not equal to or better than Elburn’s, your homeowners’ policy premium will increase. In addition, they actually charge an hourly rate for equipment called to a scene. I strongly recommend everyone contacts their insurance carrier, as many will not pay for such a charge.

There are at least 2,872 intelligent residents left. We will see the majority at the polls.

Denise Klock

Thank you for another successful Fun Fest

in Letters to the Editor by

For over 15 years, Maple Park Fun Fest has provided the community with an extraordinary way to celebrate summer’s end. We take pride in the fact that we are one of the last free festivals in the area, working as an all-volunteer, not-for-profit committee. With the help of our generous sponsors and volunteers, we were able to provide the community with a fabulous weekend of events, including a car show, parade, fireworks, live music, craft show, balloon artist, the famous Toilet Bowl Races, and much more.

On behalf of the Fun Fest Committee, I would like to thank the village of Maple Park, our volunteers and our patrons for making Fun Fest a successful event. The Fun Fest Committee also sincerely appreciates our generous and supportive sponsors: A&P Grain Systems, Inc., Cortland Animal Hospital, Julie Fabrizius – Coldwell Banker, Pat White Construction, Inc., Midwest Window & Supply, Maple Park American Legion, HD Rockers, Maple Park Pub and Grill, Peg’s on Main, Paisano’s Pizza and Grill, Elburn Herald, Casey’s General Store, Honest Automotive, Back Country Roads, Wiltse’s Farm, County Line Customs, DIR Installations, Hartmann Farms, Bootlegger’s Bar, Grill and Pizza, Maple Park Lions Club, Old Second Bank – Maple Park, Sycamore Country Store and Catering, Sycamore Family Sports Center, Inc., Wm. Olsen & Sons, Inc., Hintzsche Companies, Bur Oak Group, Delnor Express Care, AHW John Deere – Elburn, Tricities, and Von Jager Kennel. We would not be able to accomplish all that we do for the community without the caring support from these local businesses. We look forward to planning Fun Fest 2015 and hope for another successful year of community activities.

Beth Miller
Maple Park Fun Fest Committee

Editorial: Get an early jump on the holiday spirit

in From the Editor's Desk by

The month of October is hardly an appropriate time to discuss anything related to Christmas (are you listening, Wal-Mart?). Nevertheless, we want to mention that a fundraiser for Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove 2014 will take place later today.

The pork chop/chicken dinner, catered by 5-B’s, is available from 4 to 7:30 p.m. in the Sugar Grove Walgreens parking lot. This drive-thru event will benefit Sugar Grove’s upcoming Holiday in the Grove event and festivities, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Sugar Grove Community House and Public Library, among other locations.

Holiday in the Grove features several timeless activities, including Breakfast with Santa, Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, arts and crafts, a gift shop, as well as several vocal and instrumental performances at the library. The entire event is a hit year after year, and continues to run annually thanks to community interest, outstanding attendance and fundraising. So this evening’s 5-B’s dinner really is just a way to ensure that Santa has enough magic in his sled to make it to each and every breakfast session the morning of Holiday in the Grove. And without Santa, Mrs. Claus would be far too grouchy to host her Sweet Shoppe.

If you don’t already have dinner plans this evening, consider taking a trip to Sugar Grove Walgreens for a pork chop or chicken (or both) meal. The cost is $10 for a one-meat dinner, $11 for a two-meat combo, and $4 for a kids hot dog meal.

The old Christmas adage “it’s better to give than to receive” will always prove true, but with tonight’s Holiday in the Grove fundraiser, you can do both. Tis the season … sort of.

Letter: A thank you from Elburn Fire Department

in Letters to the Editor by

The Elburn Fire Department would like to thank the community for the generous support of our pancake breakfast fundraiser on Sept. 7. All the money raised is going to help two of Elburn Fire Department’s own firefighters who recently had children with significant medical problems and expenses. We were able to serve approximately 1,000 people.

We would also like to thank all the businesses who donated raffle prizes and also donated for our placemat. This fundraiser would not have been able to be successful without everyone’s support, and we cannot thank everyone enough. The families have been overwhelmed with the community support, and are very thankful for everything you have provided.

Kelly McCullough
Elburn Fire Department

Letter: Support the Sugar Grove Harvest Market

in Letters to the Editor by

September is traditionally the best month for harvesting the tastiest tomatoes, juiciest fruits and healthiest broccoli and cauliflower. And tables at the Sugar Grove Farmers Market are overflowing with onions, peppers and greens.

We conclude our season with the Harvest Market on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 8 a.m. until noon, rain or shine. The market is located in the Sugar Grove Village Hall parking lot, with customer parking in the Sugar Grove Fire Department parking lot.

During the Harvest Market, the Village will also host its 14th annual Open House. The Sugar Grove Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host a Prescription Take Back Program, as well.

The Sugar Grove Fire Department will be open for family tours of its facility and vehicles, and the Sugar Grove Park District will be on hand with gourds that kids can decorate, with other craft projects available, as well. Representatives from Sugar Grove Township and the Sugar Grove Library will be in attendance.

The market is back with all the vendors customers have requested. We have veggies, fruits, heirloom tomatoes, fresh hot and iced coffee, honey, meat, trout, salmon, stone-oven baked breads and desserts, along with eggs, cupcakes, cheese, and even fresh, ready-to-bake pizza.

For your Christmas shopping, we have artists who have made jewelry, soap, doll furniture, shawls, blankets and personalized items. Kitchen products, health products and gourmet dog treats are all there, too.

Please take a few minutes to stop by on Saturday and tell our farmers, vendors and artists that you appreciate them coming out every week and braving the wind, sun, rain and cold. Show them we do really want a Farmers Market for next year—not only for our Sugar Grove residents, but for our neighbors in surrounding communities, too.

Pat Graceffa
Sugar Grove Market volunteer

Support the Family Bingo Knight and Silent Auction

in Community Corner by

by Kimberly Bartkowiak
Secretary, Kaneland Blackberry Creek
Elementary School PTO

The Kaneland Blackberry Creek (KBC) PTO feels very fortunate to have the support of our local community for our fundraisers.

Fundraising allows us to purchase great items for our students and school, such as playground equipment, library books, iPads, assemblies, field trips, bike racks and much, much more.

We will hold our second annual Family Knight Out and Silent Auction on March 7, 2015. This event, for KBC families, will include free admission and Bingo, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction items, classroom basket auctions, and teacher-donated items and events. It is a guaranteed fun night out for our KBC students, parents, and siblings.

We are currently looking for donations of goods or services to use in our silent auction. Sporting goods, event tickets, memorabilia, electronics, services, products and gift certificates are all examples of great silent auction items. Monetary donations to sponsor this event are always welcome, too.

So, if you or someone you know is able to support this great event, contact us. For donation forms and more information, visit the KBC PTO website at kbcpto.org, or email us at kbcpto@gmail.com. All donations are tax exempt and are due by Feb. 23, 2015.

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@elburn-herald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.

Editorial: Consider donating to the Beverly Holmes Hughes fund

in From the Editor's Desk by

We often use this editorial space to identify key activities happening somewhere within the Kaneland community. This week, we’d like to take a moment to direct you toward an incredibly important cause currently taking place in the village of Sugar Grove.

Beverly Holmes Hughes is someone who needs no introduction around these parts. She served as Sugar Grove’s longtime library director, was the village’s 2010 Citizen of the Year, and has been involved in everything from the Corn Boil and the Chamber of Commerce to the Farmer’s Market. Simply put, when we think of Sugar Grove, she’s one of the first people to come to mind.

Hughes last summer was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme—an aggressive brain tumor with a dire prognosis. The diagnosis is even worse when you consider that she is the sole financial provider for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister, Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still minors living at home.

Several of Beverly’s friends have joined together to host a fundraiser for her and her family, called “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer.” Organizers have set up an account at Castle Bank at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove, and they are asking area families to drop off checks made out to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund. Donations can also be dropped off at a number of locations throughout Sugar Grove (for more details, see the “In the company of family, friends” story).

Unsurprising is the news that Beverly is still working despite her illness. Since she is the only one in the family with a job that provides health insurance, she must continue working, even though the tumor is affecting her ability to walk and the chemo has sapped her strength. She currently serves as the director of library services for DeVry University in Addison, Ill., and though the library has allowed her to do some of that work from home, she must still go in regularly.

After years of selflessly and continuously giving everything she has to better Sugar Grove, we kindly ask that the local community help give back to Beverly during this time of great need. Items of need range from grocery cards and easy meals, back-to-school supplies and clothes (for her children), to paper towels, liquid soap, Lysol wipes, trash bags and hand sanitizer. Gifts of fun family activities are also welcome, as Beverly is trying to spend quality time with the children while she can.

If you’re able to donate anything to the Beverly Holmes Hughes fund, we urge you to strongly consider doing so. Even if it’s the tiniest of donations, you’re still contributing to the most worthwhile of causes.

Letter: Looking back, looking forward

in Letters to the Editor by

It’s been a little over a year since our community joined together and the Kindness Campaign was born. Our many thanks go out to the families, businesses, individuals and organizations that have joined in this journey.

There have been countless acts of kindness and stories of compassion this past year. More than in previous years? Maybe not. All too often, we focus on the tragedies and problems of our community, and there are many. Our simple “Be Nice, Be Happy” message aims to focus our community on the compassion and goodness in us all individuals and collectively as a community. It injects a positive energy and spirit into our Kaneland community.

October is once again designated as “Kindness in Kaneland” month. We invite and challenge each of you to take a minute or two to consider the individuals you interact with each day. How do you communicate their importance as family members, students, neighbors and community members? Every one of us has a new opportunity every day to reach out and make someone’s day—a genuine smile to a stranger; a positive message to our students; asking about our children’s day and then listening to their response; helping a colleague, friend or neighbor. There are countless ways to let people know they are important, and you care.

We challenge our entire Kaneland community to spread a little kindness today, and every day this year. October is “Kindness in Kaneland” month. Make a difference, get involved.

Leigh Ann Reusche
Kindness Campaign

Arts Initiative gets ‘Excited about Education’

in Community Corner by

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative

The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) is opening its 2014-15 season with a unique event celebrating education.

“Shout Out!—Excited about Education” is a series of live readings written and read by individuals sharing their educational experiences. The event is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Kaneland Auditorium. Tickets will be $5 each for this event.

The Shout Out!—Excited about Education performance will coincide with the National Education Association’s American Education Week (Nov. 17-21) and celebrates all things education. Approximately 15 cast members will represent all parts of education, from students to teachers, custodians to school board members, parents, grandparents, and anyone who has been inspired by their educational experiences. Their stories will make you laugh, cry and remember why education is vital, exciting and wonderful.

Producer Maria Dripps-Paulson and Director Diane McFarlin are looking for individuals, ages 11 to 111 years old, to write a 5-minute speech about their educational experience. The speech should be centered around the individual’s experience and should be appropriate for all ages. Auditions will be held on Sunday, Oct. 5, beginning at 1 p.m. in 10 minute increments in the Kaneland High School Auditorium. Contact Diane McFarlin at diane.mcfarlin@kaneland.org to schedule an audition time. Cast members will be chosen based on diversity and best fit for the show. Other time obligations include two rehearsals and the performance.

Auditions for the winter show, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” will begin Monday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Kaneland High School Black Box Theatre. Contact kai@kaneland.org if you have questions regarding the auditions. Mark your calendars now for the performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 23-25, in the Black Box Theatre.

The KAI is thrilled to serve the community with professional arts programing for an exciting 16th season. Check out other amazing arts opportunities offered on our website, www.kanelandartsinitiative.org, as well as our Facebook page, facebook.com/KanelandArtsInitiative.

Letter: ‘Never forget’ Sept. 11, 2001

in Letters to the Editor by

As we look back upon the events that occurred on this fateful day that left an indelible mark on the world, Sept. 11, 2001, it is very hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since the largest attack on American soil took over 3,000 lives in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn.

The news today is filled with reports of terror attacks around the world, as well as continued threats to the US and its allies, both here and abroad.
Many Homeland Security staffers and national experts have indicated that they are very concerned about the recent spate of horrific events occurring worldwide, and that the “bad guys” (or whatever we choose to call them) are focusing on the US, its allies and other western interests.

One term that keeps coming to the surface is “homegrown violent extremists” who have western ties, US and European passports, and are fighting overseas. The amount of people fitting into that definition is growing at an alarming rate. The definition may vary a bit from agency to agency, but the fact remains that there are those among us that want to wreak havoc on our way of life.

The sad fact is, violent extremism is not a new phenomenon. My very first deployment was to the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995, where Timothy McVeigh killed 169 innocent people (including infants and children) at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City.

British author Aldous Huxley so eloquently stated in “Brave New Word” that “Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; eternal vigilance is the price of human decency.”

This has been quoted over the years as simply, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” that is the basic tenet of what we really need to adhere to today.

I submit to each and every one of you that we must be vigilant, but not be vigilantes; we must be aware of what does and does not look right. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has brought up the phrase “If you see something, say something.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Many of the news commentators the last several weeks (regardless of the network) have brought up again and again that the threat posed to U.S. interests here and overseas are in some level of peril from violent extremists of any type. I concur that self-radicalization has been growing at an alarming rate.

The next event that hurts our society may not be a Sept. 11 type of attack—it may be smaller, more frequent or larger than Sept. 11, 2001. The noise and chatter we have all heard on the news recently is certainly alarming. There have been over 75 “active shooter” type events since the Sandy Hook massacre that occurred in Connecticut in December 2012. We don’t know what we don’t know, except that the time around any anniversary is a time for caution and increased awareness.

I have trained many people, agencies and organizations since Sept. 11 on awareness, training and “collecting and connecting the dots.” We must be right 100 percent of the time; the bad guys only have to be right once.

Take the time now to pause and remember those that gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, and never forget. Let us not forget their sacrifices that their families feel every day. We owe it to them to never forget.

Two weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, I was attending training at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., and I took a quick side trip on the weekend to the Gettysburg national monument in Pennsylvania. There, I copied the Gettysburg address into a small pocket notebook.

I actually carried that notebook with me while I was deployed to Ground Zero for nearly 100 days, and as I looked at the speech, a sentence stuck in my mind that, to this day, comes back to me over and over again. “That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Penn., Nov. 19, 1863.

Take the time to remember those people who came before us, who fought for our freedom, and remember their ultimate sacrifice. We can never forget.

Michael J. Fagel
Sugar Grove

Editorial: Reflecting on the events of Sept. 11, 2001

in From the Editor's Desk by

It’s hard to believe that today marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Stoneycreek Township, Penn. And while some historic events can lose a little bit of their cultural impact as time goes on, there’s absolutely no doubt that the horrific and terrifying images associated with Sept. 11, 2001, are as fresh in our minds today as they were 13 years ago, when an ordinary Tuesday morning turned into one of the most surreal, tragic sequences in the history of the United States of America.

This week’s Letter to the Editor section features a heartfelt, must-read entry from Mike Fagel, who was deployed as a first responder to Ground Zero in New York City for nearly 100 days following the Sept. 11 attacks. In his letter, Fagel states that he visited Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania just two weeks prior to the terrorist attacks, and had actually copied the Gettysburg address into a small pocket notebook that he eventually carried with him while deployed to Ground Zero. That address contains a particular sentence that rang especially true for Fagel as he aided the relief effort in New York City.

Further, the Kaneland community today has an opportunity to hear a firsthand account from someone who survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Joe Dittmar, one of the survivors of the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, will again share his story, this time at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

The special presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.waubonseetickets.com.

The session will offer those in attendance the chance to not only hear from one who witnessed and felt the terrorist attacks firsthand, but to remember the events of that day and reflect upon what they still mean to us today.

Dittmar was on the 105th floor of 2 World Trade Center (the south tower), attending a routine business meeting with representatives of other insurance companies when terrorists piloted an airliner into the north tower, 1 World Trade Center. He later learned he was one of only seven survivors out of 54 in attendance at the meeting on the 105th floor that morning.

While Dittmar’s presentation is steeped with facts and observations of historic proportions, it also incorporates reflections on what was learned that day and the lessons we should continue to teach.

Thirteen years later, the wounds left by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are still fresh. So when we look back on that fateful Tuesday, it’s as important as ever to remember all of those who lost their lives as a result of the attacks. As Mr. Fagel stated in his letter, “Never forget.”

We won’t.

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