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Featured - page 17

Softball beats Oswego, not fond of BC yardwork

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: The Kaneland varsity girls try to figure out a plan during their 10-5 home loss against Burlington Central on March 21. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—At the very least, the Kaneland Lady Knights softball crew no longer has to worry about where its first win will come from.

Thanks to a solid performance against the visiting Oswego Lady Panthers, Kaneland picked up its first win of the season on Saturday by a final of 8-0.

It left a better taste than the 10-5 loss to the visiting Lady Rockets of Burlington Central on March 21.

Kaneland now sits at 1-3.

KHS got all the offense it needed in the first four innings against Oswego, scoring two in the first and second, one in the third and three in the bottom of the fourth.

Senior Delani Vest picked up the win in a complete-game effort, fanning six while allowing just two hits.

Shortstop Allyson O’Herron went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while teammate Sarah Kitz added a triple and an RBI.

The win beat the overall result of the clash with the Lady Rockets. Leads of 2-0 and 5-4 could not hold up to the four-homer barrage of BC.

Alexis Villarreal suffered the loss in relief, but KHS saw good box scores from Vest (2-for-4, triple) and catcher McKinzie Mangers (2-for-4).

Kaneland couldn’t withstand three homers from sophomore Brooke Gaylord, however.

Kaneland’s 2-0 lead was put on the board by an RBI grounder from Lexi Roach and a double by Mangers.

After BC tied the score in the top of the second, the Lady Rockets scored two more in the fourth for a 4-2 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, three straight infield singles by Allie Miller, Vest and Roach loaded the bases, and O’Herron knocked home two with a game-tying single. Freshman Paige Kuefler’s RBI double gave Kaneland a 5-4 lead.

BC used defensive lapses from KHS and timely hitting from its own lineup to put up five runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to clinch the win.

All Kaneland coach Brian Willis wanted was for his lineup to move past the less-than-ideal ending.

“We’ve played 21 innings this year, and we’ve had one bad inning,” Willis said. “If you have that bad inning, this is what’s going to happen. (Gaylord) was in a zone today, give her credit.”

Additional softball action had KHS beating BC 5-0 behind Anissa Becker’s pitching effort.

Ahead for the Lady Knights lies a trip to the lower reaches of the state, as they take on Macon County High School on Friday, March 30, as part of their spring break excursion.

From challenging beginnings to a forever home: horses find their field of dreams

in Featured/Regional by

Photo:Longtime volunteer Mike Daleiden leads Jori to a pasture for an early morning turnout. Photo courtesy of FODHRA

by Lynn Meredith
BATAVIA—When Willy, a 21-year-old thoroughbred gelding, arrived at Field of Dreams (FOD) Horse Rescue nine months ago, he was severely emaciated with a dull, patchy hair coat. He had been left in an outdoor paddock all by himself and had no recent veterinary care. With the love and dedication of the all-volunteer staff and the five other horses who live there—including a 45-year-old donkey named Orlando—Willy gained a whopping 500 pounds and learned to trust that people would actually feed, groom and clean him.

Willy’s success story is everything that FOD is supposed to do. Not only was he rescued and rehabilitated, but he was also adopted out to a new owner. Along the way, the volunteers learned valuable lessons on what it means to work with and love a horse and what they can get back from the experience.

“It’s immeasurable. You can’t put words to it,” said Craig Knight, president of the non-profit headquartered in St. Charles. “Everyone does it out of love of animals and the realization that in Northern Illinois and Southwestern Wisconsin, there is a need for services. The horses come from challenged beginnings. We make sure that they are never going to have that happen to them again. We are going to respect them for the proud animals they are. We find them their forever home.”

Two shifts of volunteers work seven days a week, 365 days a year to nurture these rescued animals back to health. Annually, in the United States alone, 140,000 to 160,000 horses are produced through breeding. For various reasons, many are neglected, abused or simply unwanted. When race horses or show business horses aren’t fast enough, get injured or can’t perform at the levels required, they no longer make money for their owners. When that happens, some are prone to be neglected, put down, or shipped to Canada or Mexico and slaughtered for their meat. In other instances, people discover that horses cost a lot more money than cats and dogs and live for 30 to 40 years. They find they no longer want, or can afford to, to care for the animals.

“That’s where FOD serves a niche market in the equine business,” Knight said. “We get numerous calls of ‘Come collect my horse.’ We’d love to rescue every one, every one that we can.”

But caring for a rescued horse is not cheap. It costs $600 to care for one horse for one month. That amount includes insurance, medicines, farrier and vet services, good quality feed, and the services of a licensed waste hauler. The organization has no paid staffers and needs to raise funds to care for the horses. It holds a fundraising dinner and silent auction in the fall and other fundraisers throughout the year. In a new program called “Equine Essentials,” people who want to give money directly to the care of the horses can pay for feed and hay for all the FOD horses on a weekly, monthly or yearly schedule.

Once a horse’s physical and emotional problems are resolved, he or she is available to be adopted out. FOD takes great pains to ensure the horse will be cared for properly after the adoption.

“We want to see where they are keeping the horse, their horse knowledge and if they know what they are getting into,” Knight said. “FOD retains the right to look in on the horse after the adoption. If it is not cared for in the way they said they would, we have it in the contract that we can take back the animal. Our biggest fear is someone wants to adopt, gets in over their head and the horse ends up neglected.”

Often, as was the case of Willy, an FOD volunteer will adopt a horse and board him at the FOD stable. Right now, three horses are available for adoption: Ginger, a 27-year-old Morgan mare who has healed from injuries after a dog attack, TJ, a 7-year-old thoroughbred chestnut gelding who retired from racing due to an ankle injury, and Jori, an 8-year-old thoroughbred mare whose owners could no longer care for her.

“Adoption is a long-term commitment. It is our hope that all our horses will be adopted out,” Knight said.

FOD provides careful training in the care and safety of working around horses. Four times a year, it conducts volunteer orientation sessions to aquiant potential volunteers with the facilities and requirements of the work. Volunteers can choose to work a morning shift, which involves more physical labor, or an afternoon shift, which involves more hands-on work with the horses, and there is no minimum number of hours for volunteering.

To learn more about how to support FOD Horse Rescue by volunteering or through donation or adoption, visit www.fodonline.org or contact fodhra@yahoo.com.

Field of Dreams Equine Essentials Donation Program
Cost of care of feed and hay
for all FOD horses:

1 week: $100.25
1 month: $401
1 year: $4,812

No Child Left Behind

in Featured/Kaneland by

Photo: Teacher Diane Pierson’s kindergarten students concentrate in the Listening Lab at Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School in Elburn. Photo by Patti Wilk

Years after passage of the federal law, how is Kaneland dealing with its implementation?
In part 1 of an ongoing series relating to the 10-year-old No Child Left Behind Act, Assistant Editor Keith Beebe took a closer look at the primary measurement tool, Adequate Yearly Progress. In this, part 2, Beebe looks into possible revisions to the law, as well as how Kaneland assesses its own measure of success.

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said in late January that he wasn’t sure many people thought the No Child Left Behind law, when it was passed in January 2002, would make it all the way to its conclusion in 2014 without some type of revision, due to the law’s increasingly stifling Academic Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement.

That revision might be in the works.

According to Schuler, the state of Illinois is currently seeking a waiver in regards to the No Child Left Behind law.

“While all the details regarding the waiver process are not clear, I support (the) need to have something that better measures the progress school districts are making toward our goals of college and career readiness,” Schuler said.

The Kaneland School District, as of 2012, is currently falling short of the bar when it comes to the current AYP meets-and-exceeds requirement (minimum of 92.5 percent meets-and-exceeds). However, Kaneland isn’t the only Illinois school district struggling to keep its head above water when it comes to AYP requirements.

AYP, implemented in 2003, is a measurement tool meant to ensure that every state school improve its standardized test scores in reading and mathematics each year through 2014. It is based on Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) for grades 3-8 and the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) for grade 11. The requirement mandates that a specific percentage of students at those grade levels in every state school meet or exceed the reading and mathematics requirement in place for the year.

In terms of the ISAT test, District 302 has tallied a 90 percent meets-and-exceeds average every year since 2008 (the state’s meets-and-exceeds average is currently 82 percent, up 19 percent from when No Child Left Behind went into effect 10 years ago).

Kaneland High School’s PSAE meets-and-exceeds average is considerably lower than the district’s ISAT scores, but has been at 57 percent the last two years, and is currently six percentage points ahead of the state average. KHS hasn’t met the AYP requirement since 2006 but the state PSAE average has never exceeded 56 percent since the implementation of No Child Left Behind. KHS’ highest PSAE meets-and-exceeds average was 65 percent in 2009.

As a result of scoring below the AYP requirement four consecutive years, Kaneland High School is on Academic Watch Status and eligible for state sanctions.

Erika Schlichter, director of educational services 6-12, said she hopes the NCLB waiver happens, and believes that it is more important to look at multiple indicators of growth, rather than performance on one test each year to determine if a school is making progress.

“For states that do get a waiver, there will still be accountability, and that is good. However, the accountability should be tied to student growth,” Schlichter said. “Also, the government is finding that the punitive nature of the current No Child Left Behind consequences is not promoting improvement in all cases, so we do hope that a waiver is granted.”

So, what would be a fair and realistic AYP requirement at this point?

“I believe a growth measure would be most fair,” Schlichter said. “In other words, individual students and groups of students should show growth in learning within that group over time, rather than comparing the same grade level, year over year, with different students. I also believe that a fair measure would be to look at multiple assessments and indicators.”

Schlichter also cited Kaneland’s Vision 2014 Performance Targets as data containing many different points of measurement to paint an accurate picture of student achievement.

“We do already internally measure multiple points. We would like to see the state do the same,” she said.

There is no guarantee that Illinois will obtain a waiver for No Child Left Behind, but Schuler said he knows the state of Illinois is working hard to position the waiver in a positive manner.

“I am hopeful that the change will more accurately reflect the progress all school districts are making to improve education in our area and state,” he said.

Do you hear the people sing?

in Featured/Kaneland by

Cast members (right) of KHS’ “Les Miserables School Edition” enjoy a toast during dress rehearsal. The show was performed on March 16-18 at the high school auditorium.

Jordyn Withey played “Eponine” in the production.

Taylor Tindall, as young Cosette, cleans up in her role.

March 29, 2012 update:  On page 9A of the March 22 edition of the Elburn Herald, the photo of the actress portraying young Cosette was incorrectly identified. The correct name of the actress is KHS freshman Taylor Tindall. The photo and correct caption are being reprinted in the March 29 edition on page 2A.
Photos by Patti Wilk

State department

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Jake Razo (center) was not afraid to dirty his uniform on the quest for a state title. File Photo

Defending 3A Champs look for precious medals once again
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—2011 was a summer to remember in the annals of the relatively short history of Kaneland High School baseball.

A 13-game winning streak to end the season included the first ever regional, sectional and super-sectional championships for the 26-10 Knights, and ended with dominant showings against Waterloo and Oak Forest in the Class 3A State finals in Joliet, Ill. resulting in State hardware.

For the first time ever, coach Brian Aversa and company go into a season calling themselves defending champs.

“We have to get back to doing the work that we did last year,” the sixth-year coach said. “Coming into this season, I think the guys understood that. We’re where last year isn’t an expectation, but it’s what could happen with hard work.”

Aversa, who has compiled a record of 109-61 as Knights skipper, knows he’s got roles to fill on the diamond after last year’s captain core finished out their senior campaigns a year ago.

“We were state champs last year, but we’re not this year. We can get there, but we have to take care of A, B, C, D and E,” Aversa said.

Kaneland hopes to continue the streak of a Northern Illinois Big XII rep making it to the State finals, as LaSalle-Peru made it in 2009, and DeKalb did the same in 2010.

“Our schedule prepares us very well; we have Plainfield North, Burlington Central and Marmion. I don’t know if you can get much tougher than that,” Aversa said.

Jake Razo, Tyler Heinle and left-hander Drew Peters shore up the Knights lineup and played important roles in the State run. Razo in the outfield, Heinle at the backstop and Drew Peters on the mound take the reigns as leaders.

“They’re leaders and will lead by example. That will filter down to the younger players and even the seniors,” Aversa said.

The pitching rotation comes with the State-championship winning hurler Peters, junior John Hopkins, righty seniors Trevor Storck and Bryan Van Bogaert. With the bullpen being a work in progress, the hope is someone emerging like last year’s late season closer Kyle Davidson.

The outfield loses some key personnel to graduation, but Aversa is eager to see what the new crew can do.

“We have great speed out there, we have guys like Razo, Ray Barry, Quinn Buschbacher, Kyle Pollastrini, Mike Tattoni. They are all speed guys,” Aversa.

With guys like Bobby Thorson, who made a case for “Mr. June”, and Sam Komel no longer patrolling the infield, Kaneland hopes it’s set for 2012.

Senior Tom Fox earns a regular starting gig at third base.

“Tom will be a big surprise, and he has a great baseball mind and played in the shadow of Bobby and Drew French and getting more confidence in his abilities,” Aversa said.

Trever Heinle takes over at shortstop, and junior Joe Pollastrini mans second. Jordan Jones and Peters will split time at first base.

Kaneland knows the NIB-12 setup makes the lineup battle-tested and could lead to potentially bigger things, hopefully on par with last year.

“DeKalb will be up there, and we can’t look past schools like Yorkville and Rochelle; they finished last but run a regional. We’re going to take it one series at a time,” Aversa said.

The Knights’ journey was set to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North, and they head to Burlington Central on Thursday, March 22.

Lady Knights track to make most out of depth

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Lauren Zick looks to make her sophomore season more amazing than her freshman campaign in the 400m run. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Numbers are down, and the roster no longer includes assets like Andie Strang, Kris Bowen and Brooke Patterson.

But third-year Lady Knights girls track head coach Doug Ecker is eager and optimistic about what returns.

“We lost good kids, but we picked up some,” Ecker said. “Our numbers are down overall. We have some crossover from a successful cross-country season. So far, so good. We have some kids hurt, but we’ll make the most out of our depth.”

A fifth-place finish at the Kane County Invite and four events with a State seal of approval meant a big finish to 2011.

Still around from the Charleston group are sophomore Sydney Strang, who was in the 4x800m relay, and sophomore Lauren Zick, who finished ninth in the 400m dash.

“Zick is a great athlete and can run anything from a 55 to an 800, with her best race probably the 400, and has improved in the long jump. Sydney did well in the distance events and is getting faster and stronger,” Ecker said.

The indoor track season provided a nice barometer, but slots still need to be figured out.

“It is different, with no discus and no low hurdles, but things still need to get hashed out,” Ecker said.

Going the distance for KHS this season will be personnel like Strang, who has had a nice start in the mile event, as will Amanda Lesak, in events like the 4x800m.

Lesak will also be counted on in the hurdle events, as well.

“She’s someone that we hope will do well in the hurdles and middle distance races,” Ecker said.

Nicole Ketza, Brittany Kemp and freshman Elle Tattoni are getting looks in the field events, with Ketza and Kemp having hours chalked up in the shot put and discus.

“Kemp is someone that did the shot for us as a freshman, and Marina Schaefer is someone we are looking at for big things in the discus once she bounced back from injuries,” Ecker said.

Sydney Luse returns for her junior year, having placed in the hurdles and pole vault.

“We have good kids in these events, but we’d like to shore up our depth because you have to score in a lot of events,” Ecker said.

For sprints, returnee Ashley Castellanos will see time after excelling in the triple jump last year.

“DeKalb and Sycamore have some of the fastest girls in the state, but Ashley is right up there, as well, and will help us,” Ecker said.

A place is being looked at for senior Kelly Evers, who is coming off of injuries the past track season after going to Charleston three years ago in the 4×800 relay.

Other veterans who carry over from last year’s track group and cross-country are juniors like Gabby Aguirre, Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis.

“Maggie has been injured in the past, but I think she’s gotten past that now and she’s done well for us so far,” Ecker said. “Abby has already run 12-flat for the 2-mile. They would be stars in any other conference, but our conference is so top-heavy with distance runners, it’s unbelievable.”

Kaneland hopes for a strong body of work this season, and a productive homestretch.

“Conference is important. Geneseo, DeKalb are up there and Dixon is getting stronger, not to discount anyone else. We don’t quite have the depth they do, but we’ll be right there with them.

Kaneland softball looks toward captains to right ship

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: Samantha Hansen brings speed and bat prowess in her role as a captain for the Lady Knights softball squad in 2012. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—An 8-1 start a year ago turned into a 14-19 finish for a softball group hoping for bigger things.

With a solid group of captains ready to pick up where graduated seniors Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts left off, KHS softball looks to experience to have a more consistent season-long outing.

Third-year coach Brian Willis makes no bones about what the team needs to do in 2012.

“If we play well every day, we’ll be in there at the end,” Willis said.

Heading up the charge to make sure the Lady Knights play well every day are Willis’ captains.

Senior pitcher Delani Vest, who has the advantage of being on the Kaneland roster from the get-go this season, brings talent from inside the pitcher’s circle.

Other senior captains include infielder Samanatha Hansen and catcher McKinzie Mangers, and junior shortstop Allyson O’Herron.

“The people that left, we can’t replace them because they were such a valuable part of our team. We need to adjust to what we have,” Willis said.

With the four captains bringing experience to the forefront, the Lady Knights don’t look to see themselves playing catch-up.

“They are four girls that have been with me since I got here, and I expect their leadership on and off the field,” Willis said.

With the rotation set-up, first and foremost will be Vest.

“She’s very focused this year and close to the form she was back as a sophomore. As a captain and with her athletic ability, she’ll be ready to go,” Willis said.

Accompanying Vest in the rotation is returning pitcher and outfielder Alexis Villarreal, a senior.

“Alexis got a lot of valuable innings last year, she worked hard in the offseason and threw an awesome game on Friday night,” Willis said.

McKinzie Mangers returns to complete the battery in her final KHS season.

Freshman Paige Kuefler mans third base, and is off to a prolific start behind the plate.

O’Herron returns at shortstop and brings consistency on the offensive and defensive end.

At second, Hansen and sophomore Allie Miller are giving coaches a tough decision.

Rosary transfer Hayley Contorno takes over at first as a sophomore, coming off good numbers in Aurora at first and hurler a year ago.

“She’s established herself not only as a solid ballplayer but a solid person,” Willis said.

In the outfield, Kaneland expects to see sophomore slugger Lanie Callaghan return to full strength next month, along with juniors Danielle McCormack, Kristen Gabrielson, Sarah Grams and Taylor Krawczyk, Morgan Newhouse and Lexi Roach looking for innings.

“We have a nice mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores. They want to keep our program strong and don’t want to go out on a negative note,” Willis said.

Kaneland soccer hopes to reach beyond Regional

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Melissa Bohorquez attempts to beat her Maple Leaf opponent to the ball in the girls soccer opener Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For the past three seasons, Kaneland girls soccer has made it to heights previously unknown.

Now comes the challenge of kicking even higher.

The Lady Knights finished 12-9-3 in 2011 and fell in the regional title match for the third consecutive year, but that was with 96-goal scorer Emily Heimerdinger at her peak.

With Heimerdinger and other personnel like Sophie Blank no longer brandishing the Knight insignia, its up to a crop that mixes returnees and newbies that now know nothing but a winning attitude.

“We are young with nine underclassmen on the team,” eight-year coach Scott Parillo said. “But in the opener (against Geneseo), when we possessed the ball, we created a ton of chances, and that’s promising.”

Parillo’s captains all bring a load of experience, and 2012 brings the return of 2010 superstar goalkeeper Jordan Ginther, fresh from a tour with her Naperville club team.

“We’re excited, we really are; she’s phenomenal and a class act,” Parillo said. “She’s one of the best goalies I’ve ever seen.”

With the other captains, Parillo is eager to put them to work on the pitch.

“They’ve only been on winning teams here at Kaneland. Taylor White, Abby Bend and Katie Taylor are all three-year varsity players. They’ve been around Emily and Sophie and Amy (Fabrizius) from last year and other players before that. We hope that if we make it to the regional championship this year, we can bring home that plaque,” Parillo said.

Taylor at midfield, Ginther and goal and Bend at forward provide good security for Parillo.

“They are all helping out and taking charge. Captains have to be vocal and lead the team,” Parillo said.

On the defensive crew, returnees Brooke Harner and Amber Winquist-Bailey help protect Kaneland, along with fellow multi-year Lady Knight Anne Marie Giese.

New additions to the defense are Taylor Opperman, a freshman.

At midfield, the captain Taylor lends her skills along with sophomores Delaney Stryczek and Jess Coia, with all three tallying goals and assists a year ago.

Able to play midfield and forward is freshman Madi Jurcenko, who tallied the first assist of the 2012 campaign.

At forward is fellow freshman Courtney Diddell, who got the pass from Jurcenko on St. Patrick’s Day for the first goal of 2012.

“These new girls are extremely coachable and fun to watch. They hate to lose and (are) eager to learn,” Parillo said.

Also contributing to the effort at forward are last year’s goalkeeper Michelle Ortiz, her sister, Heather, and Melissa Bohroquez and Brittany Olson.

Boys track talent factory hopes to pay dividends

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Kory Harner is one of the many cogs in the victory machine for Kaneland boys track. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights boys track has a storied history and a lot to live up to.

In the last couple seasons, the outfit has not disappointed.

With 2010’s second-place team finish in Class 2A, and 2011’s third straight sectional championship, the final obstacle of the season saw a State crown for departed senior Taylor Andrews in the hurdles, as well as qualification in 10 events.

Seventh-year Coach Eric Baron takes solace in the fact that even with personnel like Andrews, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker not wearing Knights garb, they return athletes that learned quite a bit and excelled often.

“We’re missing that experience this year, I’ll be honest,” Baron said. “Brandon Cottier has the most State meet experience now, and we have guys that ran at State like Sean Carter in the 4×200 and Brandon Bishop and Luis Acosta. We have a lot of young talent, but not a lot of big meet experience.”

Clayton Brundinge returns for events like the 4x800m relay, and the Knights will enjoy the talents of Miki Marin and Carter.

“Carter is a great leader and it was just his first year, and you’d never know it by talking with him and being around him,” Baron said.

Baron has a pleasant problem when it comes to distance.

“What I have right now is more depth than I’ve ever had before and can run fresh athletes in almost every distance race,” Baron said.

Kyle Carter, coming off a huge cross-country season, employs his endurance for the 4×800 and the 4×400.

Conor Johnson will also be counted on for distance events, along with Clayton Brundige, John Meisinger, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Huber.

For sprints, Cottier returns to once again make a mark as a two-time Charleston qualifier, while Bishop returns off a NIB-12 best campaign in the 100m dash.

Dylan Pennington contributes to the spring side in the 4×100 and 4×200.

For the field events, Baron shows optimism.

“It’s going to be eye-opening how much we’ve improved on field events. Nate Dyer is on pace to blow away school records in discus, and Shane Jorgensen has thrown over 44 feet already,” Baron said.

Alex Snyder and Jaumaureo Phillips take care of the throwing events as well.

Perhaps the most questions center around the long jump, with basketball talent Marcel Neil making the transition to the track and hoping to answer some of them.

“Once we figure out what to do with him, he’s going to impress a lot of people in the long jump,” Baron said.

Tanner Andrews returns after having his sophomore campaign wiped out due to injury, and heads to the triple jump with teammates Marshall Farthing and Frankie Furco.

Kory Harner and Dylan Nauert look to return to rarified air in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

The Knights try to move on from a productive indoor campaign and head outdoors to the East Moline United Invite on Saturday, April 7. The Kane County Invite takes place at West Aurora on Friday, May 4.

All the right moves under my belt: Learning Self Defense

in Featured/Maple Park by

Photo: Elburn Herald reporter Lynn Meredith practices an elbow strike with the help of instructor Bernice Marsala on Saturday at the Maple Park Community Center. The Kishwaukee Family YMCA’s Black Belt Karate Staff and the Maple Park Library hosted a female self defense course, led by instructor Tom Scott. Scott is a retired Sycamore Police Lieutenant and currently teaches martial arts and self defense classes through the Kishwaukee YMCA. Photo by John DiDonna

by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—On Saturday morning in the Maple Park Community Center gym, I stood in a circle with 35 other women as retired police officer and self-defense prevention specialist Tom Scott called out, “Who has the right to hurt you?” In unison and with gusto we called back, “No one!”

We learned that lesson and many more courtesy of Maple Park Police Department’s Sgt. Buzz Hodges and Officer Andy Rissman, who invited area women to attend the free class.

Scott was assisted by three experts in martial arts—women with various backgrounds and degrees of experience. One of the women, Leslie Rigg, teaches First Year Success, a self-defense program for all first-year students at NIU.

“It’s a program near and dear to my heart. We take care of these students for their parents while they are here. We want to make sure that young women and young men are confidant as they move around campus—as we know, sometimes at one in the morning,” Rigg said.

As I looked around the women in the class practicing their self-defense stance (feet wide, one ahead of the other, hands up), I noticed several teenaged and young adult women who either came on their own or with their mothers. Scott appropriately named his program “Daughters Safe,” making clear that every woman is the daughter of someone. His program emphasizes that a key component of self-defense for any aged woman is prevention.

“We want you to be the victor, not the victim,” he said. “The best protection you have is the knowledge that you have and what you do with it.”

Instructor Bernice Marsala delivers a palm thrust to "Bob the Dummy" as Tom Scott explains her technique. Photo by John DiDonna
After loosening up and starting to breathe more deeply, we learned the eight directions of movement and the eight weapons of protection. The eight directions are compass points around the body. The eight weapons are the hands, the feet, the elbows and the knees. We teamed up with a partner and started practicing something called “Push-pull.” The basic idea is that if a bad guy lunges at you and grabs you, you don’t pull back and resist his force. Instead, you go with his force. If he grabs and pulls back, you push toward him. It seems counter-intuitive, but it is an akido move that uses the enemy’s force against him. The reversal of energy knocks the attacker off his base.

“You use their force and turn their energy on them. You are going with the motion of the target,” Scott said.

Next, Scott began circling the group and coming close up to individual women—something he called “wolfing.” Some women immediately pulled back, on their guard, but others stood still, letting him come up close. Scott explained that how close you let someone into your space is up to you, but when it seems too close, it may be a trigger that the person could be an attacker. You can prevent an attack by paying attention to someone who starts to invade your personal space.

By this time, the energy of the group was flowing, and we starting using our weapons of protection. The assistants came around holding up small mats and stood behind them while we punched the mats with the palm of our hands, jabbed with our elbows and strategically placed some upper cuts with our knees. I was beginning to think that defending myself seemed pretty fun.

Scott must have sensed the group getting a little too blood-thirsty because he took the opportunity to point out how the law defines self-defense.

“The exception to violence is when someone is hurting you. You have to fight to escape, to protect yourself, not to stay in the fight,” he said. “So if someone comes up to you and asks for the time, you don’t start jabbing him. The law says you can use force that is ‘reasonable and necessary.’”

With that caution in mind, we moved on to a discussion of “verbal judo.” What do you do, one woman asked, if someone approaches you with vulgar language? Do you ignore him? Do you yell back?

Scott and Rigg explained that the same idea of push-pull that turns the attacker’s energy on him when he grabs you turns a verbal attacker’s energy back on him when he says inappropriate things.

“Verbal pushing is like physical pushing. You go with their energy, rather than push back,” Rigg said. “Remember, it’s only words.”

We then learned how not to be singled out for an attack. The reality is that predators go for the easy target.

“They are not going to pick on someone who is going to fight back. They are looking for an easy kill, an easy target. They will go after someone they see as weak, maybe the elderly or someone who is distracted,” Scott said. “Keep your hands free and pay attention to your environment. If you’re attacked, make as much noise as possible. It may come across as impolite, but it’s OK to be impolite.”

It’s so good to be empowered.

If you are confronted

1. Note all avenues of escape and
possible “weapons” available to
you. Run away yelling if you can.

2. Act confidant, angry and
aggressive. Yell, swear and show
him loudly that you’re not going
to take it.

3. Never believe an attacker. They will
lie to gain control.

4. Never get into his car or let him
take you to an isolated place.

Maple Park girl rides the Iditarod Trail

in Featured/Maple Park by

Photo: 11-year-old Olivia Goodenough (above), of Maple Park was packed into the sled in the ceremonial start to the Iditarod race March 3 in Alaska. The Iditarod is a 1,000-mile race starting in Willow and ending in Nome. Olivia traveled with musher Colleen Robertia and her husband. Courtesy Photo

Grandparent gives once-in-a-lifetime gift
by Susan O’Neill
MAPLE PARK—Olivia Goodenough, 11-year old Maple Park resident and Kaneland sixth-grader, is an outdoorsy kind of girl, according to her grandfather, Geneva resident Dennis Goodenough. She hunts deer and coyotes, fishes and can drive a four-wheeler with the best of them. So when Dennis won a chance to ride in a sled in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race held in Alaska each March, he gave the honor to Olivia.

Olivia’s grandparents had taken her and one of her cousins to Alaska last summer to visit Dennis’ sister, Lori Kirker, who lives in Houston, about 65 miles north of Anchorage. Several years earlier, Olivia had talked her great-aunt into getting a puppy that she could call Snowball and say it was hers. Although Olivia loves dogs, her father and brothers are allergic to them, so she can’t have one of her own at home.

When Olivia came to visit last year, she met Snowball for the first time, and it was love at first sight. Olivia had a great time, and Kirker invited her to come back to watch the Iditarod, a 1,000-mile dog-sled race that starts in a town about 60 miles north of Anchorage, and finishes in Nome.

When Olivia arrived at Kirker’s home, she had the chance to drive Kirker’s sled through the Alaskan woods with her four dogs, including Snowball. But that was just a warm-up for the real thing.

Through a charity auction, Dennis won the bid for a seat on Iditarod racer Colleen Robertia’s sled. Called IditaRiders, passengers are strapped into the basket of the musher’s sled for the 12-mile ceremonial race on Saturday, March 3, the day before the actual Iditarod. Olivia met Robertia at a pre-race musher banquet, and was introduced to her dogs the day of the race.

Olivia received instructions on what to do if she fell off the sled.

Olivia Goodenough spends some quality time with the dogs of her sled. Courtesy Photo
“She (Robertia) told me not to stick my arms out, because it could break my arm,” Olivia said.

When asked if that scared her, she said no.

“I figured I’d have a pretty good story to tell back at school,” she said with a grin.

Then she climbed into the basket for a thrilling ride. She said there were people all along the race route, cheering them on.

Her family took a shuttle to the end-point to watch them come in, and to their surprise, when Robertia’s sled came into view, Olivia was driving it with Robertia standing behind her.

Kirker said that Robertia must have felt Olivia was up to the challenge. She was the only IditaRider who was given that opportunity.

“She’s so mature for an 11-year-old,” Kirker said.

“She made it around a bunch of holes, and she was standing on the brakes coming into the finish,” her grandfather said.

Meanwhile, the folks at home were watching Olivia on the television at Bootleggers Pizza and Bar in Maple Park, as they ate a festive dinner of caribou stew and reindeer meat.

The next day, at the beginning of the race, Robertia asked Olivia to “be the rabbit.” This entailed running ahead of the dogs to lead them into the starting gate. She was thrilled to do it.

When Olivia came home, the race was well underway. Although the race was likely to last into the second week, Olivia made it home in time to finish her Illinois State Achievement Test. It may be hard to come back down to reality, but the Maple Park girl brought back some great stories to tell.

KHS hoops squads can brandish honors

in Boys Basketball/Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Ashley Prost (right), Thomas Williams (left) and Marcel Neil (middle) took home first-team All-Conference honors as named by the Northern Illinois Big XII on Thursday. Both girls and boys outfits for Kaneland advanced to their sectionals in 2011-12. File Photos

Two first-team All NIB-12 picks for boys, one for girls
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s as easy as a lay-up to deduce that both KHS basketball programs would get postseason honors to recognize exceptional play and postseason runs.

The boys basketball team, which saw its season conclude with a 12-point loss nine days ago to State-bound Rockford East, saw two of its assets named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference team.

Unanimously selected to the first team were senior Marcel Neil and sophomore Thomas Williams, both pivotal to the sectional run made by the Knights.

“Marcel was the ultimate team leader and player,” boys coach Brian Johnson said. “He was very unselfish on the court. Throughout the year, Thomas continued to improve and really came into his own the last month of the season.”

Meanwhile, KHS senior Ashley Prost was a unanimous selection to the All-NIB-12 girls roster.

For the boys side, other unanimous selections were Rochelle’s Grant Prusator and David Newton, Morris’ Jake Olson, and Dekalb’s Andre Harris and East Division MVP Brian Sisler.

Yorkville’s Josh Williams was also a first-teamer.

Kaneland’s Tyler Heinle led the pack for the honorable mention as a senior.

Other members included Sycamore’s Devin Mottet and Brandon Spartz, Yorkville’s Stephen Jones and Brandon Holmes, DeKalb’s Danny Matya and Kyle Berg, Rochelle’s Matt Rosenwinkel and Morris’ Danny Friend.

Streator’s JJ Cravata was named West MVP.

Lady Knight Prost was the lone selection on the first team for Kaneland, while Rachel Torres, Taylor White and Courtney Patrick of DeKalb also earned first-team honors as did Yorkville’s Jordann Dhuse and Alicyn Hester. Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza and Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs filled out the elite selections.

Dobbs and Torres were named co-MVP’s of the East Division.

Sharpshooter Allyson O’Herron and Emma Bradford’s contribution as juniors yielded an honorable mention tag in the NIB-12 East Division scheme.

“All three players were a pleasure to coach as people, first and foremost,” KHS girls coach Ernie Colombe said. “In terms of their skills, Ashley brought a lot of toughness to our team. She has a lot of ways she can beat her defenders. Allyson O’Herron is the best long range shooter we have had during my time at KHS. Emma Bradford was kind of our Scottie Pippen,she was asked to do a little bit of everything for us.”

Other honorable mentions were Lady Redskins Julie Jurasits and Laney Torkelson, Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert, Rochelle’s Christina Williams and DeKalb’s Courtney Williams.

In the West Division, Geneseo’s Devan Griffin took MVP honors.

129 year tradition continues in Elburn on Sunday

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: A few of the St. Gall’s “leprechauns” help out during the event, entertaining the children and passing out mints to finish out the day’s dinner. Courtesy Photo

ELBURN—A long-standing tradition is celebrating 129 years of success.

The St. Gall St. Patrick’s Day dinner will be held on Sunday, March 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Parish Hall, located at 120 W. Shannon St. (corner of Shannon and Main streets, downtown Elburn). Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, rolls and homemade pies will be served.

This is family-style dinner and costs are $10 per adult, $7 for seniors, and $6 for children 6-12. Admission is free for children under the age of 5. Carry-out service is available at the American Legion Hall (Main Street in Elburn) for $8. For additional information or questions, contact the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030.

Tryin’ out some talent at McDole

in Featured/Kaneland by

Kaneland McDole Elementary School held tryouts for the school talent show on Feb. 28. The actual talent show will be held on Friday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost for admission. Melissa Becker, Special Education Teacher at McDole, is coordinating the show. Lindsey Talbott (right) performs a combination “Hoola-Hoop, Hawaiian Dance” for the tryouts.

Caleb Hwang is just finishing his piano audition.

Dallin Hwang plays the violin at the auditions.

Jenna Soucie performing a “mime” audition at the McDole Talent Show tryouts.
Photos by Patti Wilk

Kaneland to perform ‘Les Miserables’

in Featured/Kaneland by

Photo: Cast members rehearse the “Innkeeper’s Song” from the Les Miserables School Edition. Directed by April Rames, performances will be Friday through Sunday, March 16, 17 and 18 in the Kaneland High School Auditorium. Photo Courtesy of April Rames

‘Les Miserables’
Performances are Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 17, at 7 p.m.
and Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m.
Kaneland High School Auditorium
46W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park.
For tickets:
e-mail: KHSTIX@gmail.com
or visit www.kaneland.org/d302

by Lynn Meredith
KANELAND—Kaneland High School’s top-notch vocalists will get a chance to strut their stuff on March 16, 17 and 18 when the auditorium fills with the familiar sounds of the musical “Les Miserables.” A cast of 48 singers, orchestra of 15 musicians and tech crew of six will present the musical under the dramatic direction of April Rames, the vocal direction of Bryan Kunstman, the conducting of Aaron Puckett and the choreography of Paula Franz.

“We announced the show last May, and since then the students have been very excited,” Rames said. “We had a very strong turnout this year. It’s the first year we had to not cast some people. Usually we are looking for people.”

With 60 students vying for the singing roles, the competition was tough, but directors Kunstman and Rames knew they had a talented group of vocalists from which to choose. With a musical as challenging as “Les Mis” they needed to make sure they had the talent this all-sung musical would need. Even though the cast is evenly split between men’s and women’s roles, the show requires more male leads than usual and a strong male chorus.

“We don’t pre-cast, but we have to ask ourselves if we have enough men, if we have enough strong male singers,” Rames said. “We have six to seven large male roles, a strong male chorus of revolutionaries and a lot of featured solos who are not leads.”

Tucker DeBolt has been cast in the role of the redeemed petty thief Jean Valjean. The relentless Inspector Javert will be played by Eric Eichelberger. Maggie Wallace will take the stage as the tragic Fantine, while Anna Novotny acts as her daughter Cosette.

Inn keeper and thief Thenardier is played by Brian Edwards, with Kathryn Lanute as his unscrupulous wife Madame Thenardier and Jordyn Withey as their daughter Eponine. Jake Rosko and Alec Kovach have been cast as student revolutionaries Marius and Enjolras. Nearly 40 other students will also be on stage in various supporting roles and the chorus.

While this version is similar to the original productions in London and on Broadway, it is called the “School Edition.” The original production ran three hours, and the school edition runs two hours. The story is the same, but there may be fewer verses or featured solos. Nevertheless, the Kaneland vocalists are measuring up to the demands of the musical.

“The students are familiar with the show, so it’s come fairly easily to learn. There are some adaptations in vocal ranges, rhythms and emotional demands, but it’s not been that much of a stretch for the talented singers to glam onto,” Kunstman said. “We are blessed to have very talented students.”

Most of the students are in choir or have a love of singing. The musical is not quite an operetta, said Kunstman. It’s close to opera, but not in style. There is no spoken dialogue in the show. Instead, it features recitatives and arias with flourishes of runs and lines.

“It has musical theatre songs but borrows tools from opera,” Kunstman explained.

Like the original productions, Kaneland’s version will stick to a minimalist style in its sets and props. It won’t, however, have the signature revolving stage of the original set design because it would be cost prohibitive. Instead, Rames has had to be creative in making set changes while the action continues. With over 40 singers on stage at a time, she has had to plot out ahead of time the areas of the stage where everyone will be in a given scene.

“We are going to change the scene quietly on one part of the stage while someone is (acting) down stage, for example,” Rames said. “There are not a ton of props—guns and letters. We’ll use pantamine (of other props) to get the idea across.”

The set will have two small painted backdrops, platforms and suggestions of a garden or a city street by key set pieces. All Dressed Up, in Batavia, will provide many of the costumes, along with some from the theatre department’s own stock and some pulled together with the help of parent volunteers.

The cast is rehearsing five days a week putting music, action and choreographed movement together. The directors note that rehearsals have been running smoothly and that ticket sales are ahead of previous years. The appeal of a show that is familiar makes it enticing for students to become involved in and audiences to come to see, Kunstman said.

“It’s one of my favorite shows. The students are working very hard to make it a success,” he said.

Knights bounced: E-Rabs’ fourth spells doom for KHS in sectional

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There exists no direct or obvious correlation for higher drama the further you go in the Class 3A boys basketball playoffs.

That seemed to be ever true for coach Brian Johnson’s Knight crew, but the excitement failed to tip their way by the final buzzer on Tuesday night in Sycamore.

Victimized by a furious fourth quarter in the Sycamore Sectional semifinal by Rockford East High School, and more specifically, Steven McNease, KHS fell 66-54 to end its season at 17-11 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Kaneland has now ended all three seasons with Johnson at the helm with 17 wins.

The E-Rabs now head to the sectional final on Friday, March 9.

It was on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from Friday night’s 65-61 overtime comeback win in the Rochelle Regional final, which secured Kaneland’s first regional plaque since 1999.

Against Rockford East, Marcel Neil had a team-high 14 points, while Thomas Williams had 13, but it was McNease’s 26 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, that spelled the end for the Knights.

Going into the final eight minutes tied at 35, and even holding a slim 45-44 lead with four minutes, 52 seconds to go, the Knights were outscored 31-19 in the last frame. The E-Rabs went on a 22-9 run to conclude the game.

“Our boys made a match and (Rockford East) had to fight to get the win,” Johnson said. “We won a regional, and that’s something they can be proud of.”

Down 26-15 with 2:47 to go in the first half, Kaneland used baskets from Drew David, Tyler Heinle and Williams to close within 26-23 at halftime.

The third quarter was closer, and a Neil putback made it 27-26 Kaneland 55 ticks into the half. With time winding down, a Matt Limbrunner close-range bucket with 1:10 to go gave KHS a 35-33 edge before Rockford East tied it with 57 seconds remaining.

Both teams exhibited high percentages in the fourth and traded shot for shot. Dan Miller’s two foul shots with 4:10 to go tied it at 47, but McNease caught fire with a trifecta to give the E-Rabs the lead for good with 4:02 left.

The lead increased to 56-49 with 2:05 to go and could get no closer with Rockford East playing the turnovers and steals to their advantage.

In a happier circumstance against the host Hubs in Ogle County, the Knights were paced by Neil with 21 and Williams with 19.

KHS also went 29-for-36 from the foul line, while Rochelle went 13-for-16.

Down 33-20 at halftime in a raucous setting, Kaneland composed itself and closed within 42-33 at the end of three.

Down by as many as 10 in the fourth, Kaneland found itself down 57-49 with 2:17.

All the Knights did from then on was put in the last eight points of regulation to force overtime.

A basket by Neil and followed by his three-point play with 1:29 to go closed it to 57-55, while Williams’ free throws with 44.7 to go tied the score at 57 to force another frame.

KHS took control with an inside move by Neil 90 seconds into OT, and then went up by as much as six with foul shots by David, Williams and Neil.

“We had to dig deep,” Neil said. “In that fourth quarter, we knew it was going to take leadership. We stepped up and hit big shots.”

The Knights say goodbye to Neil, Tyler Heinle, Trever Heinle and Bryan Van Bogaert.

Editorial: What does it mean to be a hometown newspaper?

in Featured/From the Editor's Desk by

What does it mean to be a hometown newspaper?

It means many things, but the overriding aspect of the term is “service.” As a hometown newspaper, it is our responsibility to serve our communities by helping strengthen the many connections that exist in our communities—the connections between residents and each other, their local governments and schools, as well as businesses and the various organizations that exist.

The responsibility of serving our communities means more than simply changing what a portion of our newspaper looks like for a brief period of time and calling ourselves a locally focused paper.

Rather, it means a long-term commitment of time and effort, a true desire to serve our communities, a relentless focus on attending as many of the meetings, events and activities in order to get to truly know as many of the people and organizations in our communities as humanly possible.

Our mission is to serve as community stewards, providing quality, truly local coverage of the communities that make up the Kaneland School District—Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park and Kaneville—and do so in a manner that demonstrates how media companies can succeed as a business while also holding onto the ethical ideals of objective journalism. We strive to accomplish this mission by not only trying to provide as much local content as we can, but to also do so in a way that is accurate in both fact and context, without sensationalizing and without reporting pure speculation.

Our vision is to be a newspaper that serves to help strengthen the bonds that exist within and among our communities—whether they are person to person, person to organization, or organization to organization. We strive to realize this vision through our reporting, through our involvement in our communities, and through the way we conduct our business.

Our values dictate that we strive to never lose sight of the ideals of true journalism and ethical business practices. We seek and report the truth, and sometimes that makes people look good and sometimes that makes people look not so good, but how someone looks is based on the facts and not on our spin.

We strive to meet these challenges every single day, and there are times when we come up short, and no matter what, we are never satisfied. We always want to do better because we always can do better.

It is that combination of desires for a deeper connection with our communities plus constant improvement to better serve our communities that makes a newspaper a true hometown newspaper.

It is an honor to serve the Kaneland communities as their hometown newspaper, and we are proud to have served our communities since 1908.

We look forward to growing and changing with you in the years and decades ahead.

Van Bogaert enjoys new courtside role

in Elburn/Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Elyse Van Bogaert has gone from Rambler player to Royal coach. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann, Loyola Sports Information

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Elburn resident and Loyola University standout Elyse Van Bogaert just can’t stay away from the roundball action.

That’s been welcome news for the group at Rosary High School in Aurora.

Returning to the program that boasted her talents as the first-ever freshman to suit up for the varsity team, Van Bogaert joined the Rosary Royals under head coach Dave Beebe as an assistant for the most recent hoops season.

Despite the campaign coming to end at the hands of Yorkville two weeks ago, stamping the season’s end at 9-18, Van Bogaert felt the season was worth it, as she passed on some of what she learned during her time as a 6-foot-1 post presence for Rosary and the Loyola Lady Ramblers.

“This past year has really been my first time truly coaching,” Van Bogaert said. “I coached summer league basketball at Rosary a few summers during college and helped at camps we held at Loyola, but that was about it. Last winter I helped run a few clinics for AAU programs and ran a few skill development classes for them, as well. Aside from that, I’ve worked on an individual basis with about 10 different middle school-and-high school aged girls developing position specific skills and agility. That for me, has been the most fun.

The 2010 graduate of Loyola University in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago had coaching on the brain after a career that saw her become one of only 10 Lady Ramblers to score 1,000 career points and amass 500 rebounds.

“I stayed in touch with Coach Beebe after I graduated. When I’d come home over the summers, I helped out with camps. He took his teams up to a few of my college games. I always said if I ended up coming back to the area for awhile I’d love to coach with him at Rosary. I got home from Italy and graduated at the end of last December and started helping out with the team, then they hired me on for the next season,” Van Bogaert said.

Any player that ventures into the coaching ranks is influenced by their teachers. Va nBogaert had a distinguished field to choose from.

“I had two coaches that really left a huge impact on me as a player and an individual. I played for Larry Parker (father of Candace Parker) on an AAU team my last two years in high school. He was one of the most knowledgeable and intense coaches, but above all he cared about the well being of his players. He was just one of those coaches you would do anything to please. The other coach I really try to model my coaching style after is Rashana Barnes, my post coach my freshman and sophomore years at Loyola. She was a standout at Penn State and went on to play in the WNBA. Her technical knowledge and incorporation of strength and conditioning into our workouts was phenomenal,” Van Bogaert said.

Van Bogaert hopes that this first year is a harbinger of things to come and that her coaching skills increase exponentially—much like her court skills in Aurora and the city.

“I learned a lot about game situations and the seemingly endless number of things you need to be aware of while coaching-—luckily, I was able to observe Coach Beebe. I also began to realize how flexible you have to be as a coach. When one thing doesn’t work, you have to keep reinventing and adjusting things until things click for your players.”

40 years of RVs

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Rick and Lisa Flanigan, owners of Holiday Hour RV in Cortland, stand by a pop-up camper at the business, which is celebrating its 40th year. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Holiday Hour RV survives, thrives through economic ups and downs
by Susan O’Neill
Cortland—Holiday Hour RV owners Rick and Lisa Flanigan work hard so their customers can have fun. Their motto is, “Your pleasure is our business.”

Rick’s mom and dad, Les and Shirley Flanigan, started the business in 1972 in a renovated gas station on the south side of DeKalb. Rick began working for them full-time in 1983, and three years after he and Lisa were married, she joined the business in 1990.

The Flanigans celebrate Holiday Hour’s 40th anniversary this year. They have made it through some very tough times in the economy, and are proud to have survived through it all.

“You think our economy’s tough today?” asked Rick.

A year after his dad went into the RV business, OPEC leaders placed an embargo on the sale of gasoline to the United States and other countries, leading to a shortage of gasoline and rationing at the pump.

“People were waiting in line for an hour and a half,” Rick said. “We sold (only) six campers in 1975. You start wondering, ‘what are you doing in this business?’”

Although the embargo was lifted in 1974, the effects of the energy crisis lasted throughout the 1970’s. However, in 1976, Rick’s dad Les chose that time to build a new and larger facility. He had enough confidence in the long-term future of the business that he sold his house to obtain the money.

By 1979, interest rates had skyrocketed to 21.5 percent. With the purchase of a camper dependent upon customer financing, once again, that year they sold only six campers.

After the market crashed in 2008, 2009 was Lisa and Rick’s worst year in the business. They have seen four RV manufacturers go out of business in the past three years. They cut their inventory in half and, for the first time ever, they had to lay off three employees. However, even during this difficult time, they feel they’ve done pretty well at keeping their heads above water.

“We work this business hard,” Rick said.

He and Lisa are there at the dealership every day. Their main carrier, Jayco, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of RVs, is also a long-time survivor. Jayco has been in business for 35 years.

“It’s a very well-known product,” Rick said. “It’s a company that stands out among the others.”

Rick said the secret to success in this business is to have the right product at the right time. He said that people typically buy a camper in the summertime, and only 5 percent of their business is through orders.

“They see it, they like it, they buy it,” he said. “It’s an impulse purchase.”

Rick and Lisa’s planning, however, is always a year in advance. They order the bulk of their product in October. They carry Jayco tent campers, travel trailers and fifth wheelers, as well as Puma trailers of all sizes and i-Go trailers by Evergreen. They offer service in addition to sales, and a number of their customers store their unit year-round at their location.

He and Lisa have raised three children during the past 25 years, and Rick said they all help out with the big shows they attend. They have also gone camping together every chance they could over the years.

“There’s just some things in this country you can’t see from an airplane,” Rick said. “In the last 40 years, we’ve been all over the country. You can stop when you want, do what you want when you want.”

A Holiday Hour tire cover comes with every order, so it is easy to recognize a customer. Rick said they have run into them at campsites all over the country. They also camp together with their customers the last weekend of every month from April through October.

Rick and Lisa will host two events this year to celebrate their 40th anniversary. An open house and sale weekend is set for March 29 to April 1. Then, in September, they will hold a camping weekend at the Millbrook Yogi Bear Campground for their current customers. Back Country Roads will provide the music, and they’ll serve a pork chop dinner on Saturday and a pancake breakfast on Sunday. There will be Bingo, prizes and give-aways. Registration forms will be mailed by July.

Holiday Hour RV

Rick and Lisa Flanigan, owners
350 W. Lincoln Highway
Route 38 between
Cortland and DeKalb
(815) 756-9438

Upcoming events
to celebrate 40th anniversary

Open House and Sale Weekend
March 29-April 1

Current customer camping weekend
Sept. 21-23

Boys BB shows playoff hoop skills in win over Spartans

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: KHS head coach Brian Johnson tries to spur a comeback in the fourth period of Kaneland’s close match against Rochelle on Friday. Rochelle escaped with a 59-57 NIB-12 win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This has already turned out to be a better postseason than the last for KHS boys hoops.

Exorcising some demons of last year’s season-ending regional opener loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2, 2011, top-seed Kaneland worked their offense and came weathered Sycamore runs for a solid 55-45 win.

Sycamore (9-20) had outlasted Burlington Central in the opening game of the Rochelle Regional.

Kaneland is set to play two-seed Rochelle on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. after the Hubs edged Hampshire, 59-57.

The Knights, now 16-10, have a chance to make good on a regional title after losing to DeKalb two years ago in Maple Park.

The task at hand on Tuesday was more difficult than listed on paper, with the Spartans on a positive trajectory and having gotten the better of Kaneland in the second regular-season meeting.

“It’s a big win against a conference opponent, and they beat us earlier in the year,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “This is going to be a tough game no matter what.”

The victory marked a nice change of pace for the Knights after sustaining two losses in a row—the first time that has happened since Jan. 18, 2011.

Thomas Williams and Marcel Neil had 15 points apiece, and Trever Heinle had 13 points. It was all the better to combat Sycamore’s Devin Mottet, who scored the Spartans’ first 10 points of the evening and finished with 20.

Down 8-4 early, Heinle had a putback, Williams made two foul shots, and with 4.6 seconds to go, Dan Miller sunk a shot to go up 10-8.

Williams’ basket with 1:38 to go in the half made it 22-16 before a Spartan three just before the buzzer cut the margin to three at the half.

The offense started to click for KHS midway through the quarter on a Drew David three for a 31-21 lead with 4:21 to go. Tyler Heinle’s trey with 4.6 to go made it 36-27 by the buzzer.

The lead ballooned to 44-31 with 4:18 to go, and the free throws did the rest of the damage.

Tyler Heinle and Neil came up with pivotal three-point plays, as well.

“We knew coming into the game they’d been playing a lot better,” David said. “We knew we had to compete from the beginning.”

In the regular season finale, the Knights’ comeback fell short against the Hubs, 59-57—a reversal of fortune from the regular season finale a year ago that resulted in a Northern Illinois Big XII conference title.

The Knights were paced by Williams’ 15 points, Tyler Heinle’s 13 and Neil’s 12.

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